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File 133683698481.jpg - (148.82KB, 500x885, not_the_protag_but_close_enough.jpg) [iqdb]
53047No. 53047
First story. Had an idea, went with it, so let's see how this goes. I hope to entertain you all.
--------
The first sense that registers is the cold. An overwhelming chill permeates your body with a thousand pinpricks standing out, their source obscured by the darkness. What a strange world this is, dark and full of-

-Oh, wait a second.

You open your eyes.

Black is abruptly replaced with white. White powder above, white ground below, white covering brown trees all around. Snow, you think absently, the word coming to mind unbidden. You wonder briefly at how this happened before dismissing it as unimportant, and sit up.

Snow falls off your body in soft clumps as you look yourself over, gaze flowing over your body and words flowing into your brain. Hands, check, fingers paled by the cold but still functional. Breasts, two of those. Legs, arms, a bit spindly but they'll do. And-

Snow puffs into the back of your neck, and you crane your neck around to gaze at your last two limbs, fluttering involuntarily. Wings. Pale green gossamer constructs, slightly dampened by the snow. A darker green filigree traces out patterns across their surface, as if scribed there. Undoubtedly, these are the raiments of a-

“Fairy.” Your mouth forms around the word, your first, then is forced open again as a current runs through your brain.

“I am a fairy.” A mere four words, but you know them to be true, the very truth of your existence, and the contemplation of this fills your mind until you shiver and the moment breaks and the cold rushes back in.

Your teeth chatter frantically, and you wrap your wings tightly around yourself agh no no no that’s pressing snow into your body that’s cold that’s very cold and you brush it off yourself furiously and hide, hide again in your wings until the cold goes away...

...Ah, that’s a little better. It’s a shame you don’t have anything else to cover yourself from the snow.

Perhaps it would help to get off the frozen ground, you think.

You beat your wings and ascend a few inches into the air, hovering above the...snow? No, you must have been mistaken before. The ground is not covered with a layer of that frozen pain, but rather a circle of white-and-green flowers snowdrops, seemingly centered on you.

You shudder again and shake your head to clear it. Right. Prevention of freezing to death now, admiration of local fauna later.

That's easier said than done, though. Looking around this clearing, all you can see are spindly trees and frozen ground. Nothing in the vicinity seems likely to provide refuge from the elements, and if you stay here you'll soon expire.

Casting your gaze farther into the woods, though, you can make out a few differences from the arboreal norm. What seems to be a large body of water lies off to your left, though you can't discern more than a narrow strip of blue-gray beneath a white covering even thicker than the snow. To the right, three brightly-colored figures catch your eye. You can make out red, yellow, and blue standing out from the white, moving at a leisurely pace through the forest. No idea who they are, but perhaps they'd be willing to help you.

Best to get moving, you suppose, but which way?
----------------------

[ ] Left, towards the lake.
[ ] Right, approaching the three figures.
[ ] (Write-in.)
Expand all images
>>No. 53048
[x] Right, approaching the three figures.

Not going to begin this story with the lake option.
>>No. 53049
[x] Up.

We have wings, let’s do awesome things.
>>No. 53050
[x] Right, approaching the three figures.

Find some clothes. Meeting people while being naked will be excrutiatingly funny, but not good in the end.
>>No. 53051
[+] Right, approaching the three figures.

>>53050
A better goal would be to see how long you can go in the story without clothes. It's not like a fae really needs them, after all.
>>No. 53052
[x] Lake

She'll respawn, she's a fairy.

And then the next update will be identical to the OP as the fairy respawns sans recent memory, except for a strange sense of foreboding warning us away from the lake.
>>No. 53053
>>53051
Well, it might be troublesome if she's going to meet some humans. As far as I know, some of them may start acting strangely if they see a little girl going around naked. In the best case, she'll be adopted by a family in a gensoukoumuten fashion.
>>No. 53054
[x] Right, approaching the three figures.

I hope the idea you're running with is more than "Be a fairy."
>>No. 53055
[ ] Left, towards the lake.

Cirno can protect Fairy from the cold.
>>No. 53056
[x] Right, approaching the three figures.

It's nice to see the trio in more stuff and I don't think Cirno'd help with the cold as she can only make things colder.

I think she is wearing some sort of clothes and she remarked on "raiments"
>>No. 53057
[x] Up.

I'll be honest, I don't expect this to last long. I certainly hope it does, however.
>>No. 53058
[x] Right, approaching the three figures.

Three figures + fairy story = awesome, probably.
>>No. 53059
[x] Left, towards the lake.
Time for fairies!
>>No. 53060
I am pleasantly surprised to see this many votes.

Called for going right, update tomorrow.

Also yes, there will be more of a plot than "Be a fairy", although it might take a bit to get to.

And yes, MC is currently naked. "Raiments" was just writefag trying to sound sophisticated and actually being confusing.
>>No. 53061
It seems like you're replacing words using a thesaurus without fully understanding the words you're using.
>>No. 53062
How big are we? A decimeter, several, a meter, or human-sized?
>>No. 53063
Writefag confirmed that the MC is Cirno sized in IRC.
>>No. 53064
>>53060
Odd I figured most fairies were born with clothes.
>>No. 53065
>>53064
It's funnier if they aren't and have to go on a corpse run for their clothes every time they die.
>>No. 53066
File 133697235878.jpg - (159.93KB, 850x923, winterwear.jpg) [iqdb]
53066
[x] Right, approaching the three figures.
----------------
Yes, it’s better to try and meet people than not. Even if they might not want to help you, there’s still a chance that they will, and that’s definitely better odds than hovering here until you die.

Besides, you just have a bad feeling about that lake.

You fly towards the trio, getting a better view as you come near. The wings poking out of their backs mark them as fairies like yourself, but they have much differently colored skin, being blue, red, and white from head to toe. No, wait, their faces are the same pale- well, somewhat flushed, technically- pink as yours, those must just be coverings of some sort.

Approaching further, you can overhear some of their conversation. The white-covered one is saying something, and you strain your ears to listen.

“...gree yet that asking Alice for the coats was a good idea, Sunny?”

“I stand by my statement that you could have gone without and sucked it up like me and Star, but I guess it is nice to be warmer.”

“Well, you could have sucked it up and talked to Alice with less urging. Honestly, you talk so authoritatively to us but get all tongue-tied in front of her and most other youkai.”

“If someone’s able to sic dozens of stabby dolls on me, sue me for being a bit less eager to talk to them.”

You can...understand them? Something seems strange about that, but then again your brain has been tossing up new words and information at you since you woke up, and you don’t know why that happens either. Best not to question it.

“Um, guys, hate to interrupt, but I can feel someone...”

“You really just complain too much, Luna. ‘Sunny, I don’t want to stay out in the cold.’ ‘Sunny, I’m not helping Marisa practice her Master Spark.’ ‘Sunny, it’s a really bad idea to steal Reimu’s pan-’ Whoa!”

The loud leading fairy, Sunny, catches sight of you emerging from the trees and screeches to a halt, wide-eyed. Luna isn't so lucky, and seems to trip over her own feet upon seeing you, faceplanting in the snow. The blue girl is relatively less affected, reacting to your presence with a tilted head and muttered “my, my”.

Sunny swivels around to face Blue and starts hissing questions at her. “Star, why didn’t you warn us about her? Did you turn your power off again?” “No, and I did say something, you just weren’t listening.” “I might have, if you'd mentioned her being...this!" “I detect size and movement, not clothes!”

You gulp. This isn’t starting out very well, but you have to push forward anyway. “Hello.”

Sunny twists back to face you, staring. “Uh, hi...Who are you?”

A muffled voice comes from ground level. “Why are you naked?”

"Er, I...don't know. To both of those. I just woke up a little ways away and don’t really remember anything.” You mumble.

“Amnesia? Huh, that’s strange.” Luna comments, brushing herself off. “Well, we’re the Three Fairies of Light. My name’s Luna Child.”
“I’m Sunny Milk,” announces Sunny, standing up straight and jabbing a thumb at her chest.
“And I’m Star Sapphire,” murmurs the last, smiling at you while bowing her head slightly.

You feel prompted to say your own name in turn. But you can't remember what it is, so instead you ask, "Can you help me? With the cold, or I guess with what happened to me?”

“Well, I might be able to explain the memory loss at least,” Star says, everyone's gazes shifting to her. “Reviving usually leaves us confused for a little while before our brains get back into working order, right?. If that happened to you a lot of times in a row, like if you fell asleep in the snow, maybe you'd just stay like that for longer. So, you just need to wait a bit, and your memories will come back on their own.”

...’Reviving’? You’re not sure what that would refer to, but Star’s two companions are nodding in agreement, so you decide to just go along with it for now.

“Wait, but our clothes always revive with us,” Luna points out, frowning suddenly. “Why wouldn’t that happen for her?”

“I dunno. What if she died while she was naked?” Sunny asks.

“Well, I almost did that one time- thanks for that by the way...” Star giggles, and Luna shoots her an annoyed look. “Oh yeah, you can laugh, you ran and didn’t have to deal with that crazy...ahem, but anyway. I’m pretty sure they’d still appear with her, our dresses have gotten really torn up from danmaku before and still reformed intact.”

“Maybe she’s a newborn?” Star wonders, tapping her chin with a finger. “It’s been too long since I was born to remember, but that might- what’s that noise?”

Three heads turn towards the source of a newfound chattering sound, which just so happens to be your vibrating teeth. Pondering expressions change to concerned ones. “Right, you must be frozen solid...you really should get some clothes on you,” Sunny says.

“...W-wh-what are c-clothes?” You ask weakly.

“You don’t even remember what- okay, okay.” Luna sighs. “Really short version, they’re pieces of fabric, like our coats-” she tugs on her white covering- “which we wear on our bodies, partly to keep them at the right temperature.”

“Oh. All right.” You have a distinct sense that going without these “clothes” would be very stupid, even apart from the whole impending frozenness issue.

“Okay, good. You should come along with us, we’re going to meet someone by the lake a few minutes away. She should be able to lend you something, and that’ll be a lot faster than going back to our house.”

“In the meantime, you can borrow this.” Star walks up to you, fiddling with the front of her dark clothes -no, coat, this kind- before pulling it off and handing it to you. You awkwardly drape it over yourself, trying to reverse her actions. Okay, so your arms fit through these parts, but what do you do with these little round things on the front?...

“Good, that should help - uh, Star, what are you doing?” Sunny says, approving look swiftly changing into one of confusion.

“Hmm?” Star looks up from pulling some sort of cord on her front. “I heard when humans are cold, something they do is take off their clothes and cling together to share body heat.”

“Um, Star, I’m pretty sure the Outsider couple we saw that time was doing something a little different than-”

“No, not like that, Luna.” Star interrupts quickly, shaking her head. “You read more than me, you should have heard of this in at least one...never mind. Hold this, please.” Slipping out of another piece of clothes and handing them to her blonde friend, Star steps over to you, opens up the coat, and hugs you tightly.

...wow, she’s really warm.

Soft, too.

...You could get used to being held like this.

“Star, we really should get going.” Luna says, after a few seconds of watching your clumsy embrace.

“Hmph.” Star pulls away from you slightly, fastening up the front of the coat before looking into your eyes. “Feel better?” You nod, wordlessly, and she flashes you another smile, winking. “I’m glad~”

“You can flirt with the newborn later, Star. Put your dress back on and let’s go.” Sunny says, elbowing Star in the side and grinning before flying off. Luna hands Star her dress, and the two of them take off as well. After a moment, you follow.
---------
Within a few minutes of fairly uneventful flying, you reach the lake’s edge and a dome-shaped pile of snow. Sunny flits over to the front and peers inside, before returning to the rest of you.

“Well, Cirno’s not home right now. Must be out on the lake somewhere.”

“Ah, I hope we don’t have to search the whole lake...” Luna mutters, before perking up and jabbing a finger out. “Wait, isn’t that Cirno’s friend over there?”

“Oh, yes, I think I remember her from the war.” Star adds. War?

“I wonder what she’s doing. Just hovering there, completely still, looks pretty out of it...” Sunny looks at the fairy pensively, before a grin spreads across her face. “Seems like a great target for a prank, am I right?”

Luna glares at her. “Sunny, it was your idea to come here in the first place. This is actually a decent plan, we shouldn’t ruin it by getting Cirno and her friend mad at us.”

“But just look at how vulnerable she is! She’ll never see it coming!”

“This is the reason we’ve never succeeded in causing an incident, you know that? Because our great leader gets distracted so easily” Luna smirks at Sunny’s reddening face.

“Why, you...”

Watching the two bicker, Star shakes her head and sighs briefly before turning to you. “I don’t particularly care about what we do, but what do you think?”
----------------------------
[ ] Sneak up on and prank her. Could be fun.
[ ] Just go up and greet her. No need to be mean.
[ ] Ignore this girl and try to find Cirno yourself. Whoever she is.
[ ] (Write-in.)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This update got dragged out a bit more than I was planning, but I doubt a slightly longer update will annoy you unduly. Sorry if it seems slow-paced as a result of that, though.
Also, if MC seems too passive at the moment, that should change once you start getting better acclimated to what’s happening.
>>No. 53067
[x] Just go up and greet her. No need to be mean.
>>No. 53068
[x] Cirno's house is right here. Why not take some clothes while she's out?
Stealing all her clothes sounds like a fine prank to me. And it's pragmatic! But no.
[x] Just go up and greet her. No need to be mean.

Star is my favorite fairy. Approving so hard. This is way better than I was expecting.
>>No. 53069
[x] Sneak up on and prank her. Could be fun.
>>No. 53070
Damn, just realized the bit describing Daiyousei got cut out. Not all that important, but if you care mentally insert this three lines after the section break.

>Looking to where she's pointing, you can see a fairy floating a little ways down the lake, outlined sharply against the...fog? Mist? Whichever. Her wings look like the top sections of Sunny's, with the addition of a golden tracing along their top edge, and she wears a light blue dress. Her hair, a yellow bow in it, is similarly colored to your wings.
>...She looks completely unaware of your presence, focused on something only she can see.

>>53068 Very glad to hear it.
>>No. 53071
[x] Just go up and greet her. No need to be mean.
>>No. 53072
[x] Just go up and greet her. No need to be mean.
>>No. 53073
[x] Just go up and greet her. No need to be mean.

Let's be a good fairy here, folks.
>>No. 53078
So is this like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon where we're a human turned into a fairy, or are we a newborn fairy?

We're worried about dying, and think understanding fairies is odd.
>>No. 53080
[x] Just go up and greet her. No need to be mean.
>>No. 53082
[ ] Sneak up on and prank her. Could be fun.
>>No. 53083
[x] Just go up and greet her. No need to be mean.
>>No. 53084
File 133702539839.jpg - (124.89KB, 485x423, good-girl.jpg) [iqdb]
53084
Called for the prank-free greeting of Daiyousei. Pic related.

Oh, and to whoever already likes this story enough to recommend it (>>/gensokyo/9415): I really don't think it's deserved, but you have all my thanks regardless.
>>No. 53088
>>53084
I just needed a story to go with my shitpost, that's all. It's not l..like I gave you glowing praise or anything.
>>No. 53101
File 133711354611.jpg - (106.09KB, 623x778, hugs.jpg) [iqdb]
53101
[x] Just go up and greet her. No need to be mean.

“Ah, I don’t think you should try and prank her. What Luna said about that likely annoying this ‘Cirno’ makes sense.” You pause. “Besides, doesn’t pranking seem kind of...mean?”

The three exchange questioning glances, and Star shrugs. “Not really, it’s rather fun.”
“It is fun, even if it’s not a smart move here.”
“It’s fun, really. You should come with us some time and see for yourself, maybe even help out once you remember your powers.” Sunny offers.

You pause. That’s not really what you were expecting for doubting their entertainment. If they honestly like pranking so much, though, and want to share the experience with you, you might as well give it a try, right?

“Sure, I think I’d like that.” You smile hesitantly, and they respond in kind.

“A fourth Fairy of Light!” Star cheers, before frowning slightly. “We’d probably need to change the group’s name, though. Can’t rely on yours fitting with the theme.”

“Not to mention her powers.” Luna adds, looking pensive.

“No, that shouldn’t matter as much, I’m the only one whose power relates to light anyway.” Sunny corrects, before sighing. “Still, this might be more complicated than I thought...”

“Anyway, we should go ask that fairy about the friend you’re looking for, right?” You interrupt, feeling slightly awkward at the problem you seem to have caused. “Let’s do that now.” You take off into the mist, particles prickling on your face, and the others, after a moment’s pause, follow.
You reach the green-haired fairy in under a minute. She’s holding some rectangular object in her hands, and muttering under her breath with her eyes closed. As you watch, the object glows with light for a moment, fading to reveal colorful patterns. She opens her eyes and smiles faintly, whispering something to herself, which you barely pick up.

“Good, with this I should be able to prevent more accidents...”

“Um, excuse me?” You reach out and tap her on the shoulder. Upon contact, you feel a sharp tingling in your fingers, and your hand feels...drained, pained somehow, but also strangely warm.

“Gaah!” The girl screams, stiffens and darts forward, away from you, and the moment passes. She spins around to face you, eyes widened in...fear?

You tilt your head to the side slightly, and raise your hand again in a small wave. Why do people get so shocked upon meeting you, anyway?

“I...Ah...oh.” The panic in her eyes subsides quickly, and she mumbles two more words, too quietly for you to hear.

“Geez, what was that about?” A startled-looking Sunny flies up to stop beside you, Luna and Star following. “Little high-strung, aren’t you?”

“Sorry, I...er...get startled easily.” You get the feeling that’s not the whole truth, somehow. “I-it’s just, I was concentrating on scribing this Spell Card, and didn’t expect someone to come up behind me so suddenly...”

“Don’t worry about it,” Star says. Recognition flickers in the green-haired fairy’s eyes.
“Oh, I remember you three. You’re the ones Cirno got really mad at for knocking down our house, right?”

“Yeah, that’s us,” Luna confirms. “Oh, that was your house too? Sorry about that, we were just trying to get Cirno’s attention.”

“Oh, it’s fine, she rebuilt it afterwards with a few seconds and a flick of the wrist,” Greenie says, smiling. “Cirno’s a genius with snow and ice, and it’s not a very complex house, anyway.”

“Do you know where she is, by the way?” Sunny asks. “We were hoping to ask for her help with something.”

“Cirno? Um, the thing is, she was going around the whole lake trying to freeze it.” The girl shrugs apologetically. “Depending on how that’s going, she could really be anywhere-”

“Dai! Dai! Hahaha, I did it! I really did it!”

“...Including coming right here, from the sounds of it- oof!

A blue-white figure comes streaking through the mist and slams directly into your conversational partner, driving her through the middle of your group and making you shiver slightly as she brushes past. Everyone manages to dodge this but Luna, who is knocked away wailing, her and her hat going in opposite directions. Sunny snickers, but her and your attention are quickly drawn to the newcomer and her excited shouting.

“The whole lake! There aren’t any other fairies around who could affect a giant lake like this, no sir, I doubt even Letty could manage that! Well wait, maybe she could, I think there might have been one or two winters where the whole thing froze over, and she’s the youkai of winter, right? But whatever! The point is, I’m the strongest! And I was the strongest before, but now I know I’m even strongester than that! I’m...I’m...Double Strongest!”

“That’s amazing, Cirno!” ‘Dai’ responds surprisingly calmly for someone who’s just been tackle-hugged with ramming force and subsequently shouted half to death. But instead of worry, or surprise, the only expression on Dai’s face is radiant joy at her friend’s accomplishment, and she squeezes Cirno tightly in response. “I’m really proud of you. I knew you’d be able to do it, though.”

“Hehe, thanks. To be honest, I wasn’t sure myself if I could- I mean yeah. Yeah! Of course I’d be able to! No puny lake could stand up to the power of my ice! ‘Cause I’m Cirno, and all liquids cower in fear before my supreme chilliness!”

“Of course, of course,” Dai murmurs, giggling. “Ah, by the way, Cirno, those three light fairies are here to see you.”

“Huh?” Dai points back to where you, Sunny, and Star are floating (and staring). There’s a moment of surprise, but she quickly puts on a confident grin. “So, the science fair fairies are back! What, up for another war? Come to try and get your revenge for the last time, waiting to strike me down in a moment of weakness? Well, let me tell you something, most fairies might be tired out by the work it takes to freeze this lake, and believe me, that’s a lot of work, but not me! I’m still filled to the brim with power, I’ll freeze you into statues and put you on my lawn!”

“Cirno.” Dai cuts in. At some point during that rant, the fairy’s palm seems to have firmly attached itself to her face.

“Of course, if you’d want to delay your vengeance until, say, after I’d rested for a while, I might be persuaded to allow it.” Cirno adds without missing a beat.

“Better. Well, the intent’s better at least, your bluffing could still use some work. But no, Cirno, I’m pretty sure they’re not here to fight at all.”

“What, really?” Cirno seems momentarily confused by this concept, but her expression quickly brightens. “Are you here to play hide-and-seek again?”

“No, this is something bigger than hide-and-seek.” Sunny announces.
“Well, she’s close, in a manner of speaking...” Star adds.

“Bigger than hide-and-seek?” Cirno looks even more shocked at this. “Then, do you want my help to play pranks on Reimu and the humans? That’s always fun.”

“Yes, actually... but not in the way you’re probably thinking.” Sunny responds, smiling mysteriously. “The pranks we’ve pulled in the past are nothing compared to this. This will be an epic prank, a prank to end all pranks. An Incident!”

Cirno stares at her for a few seconds of silence, an awestruck expression quickly shifting into one of annoyance. “Aaah, just explain it already!” She tries to stamp her foot, but the effect is lost by being in mid-air.

“Okay, okay,” Sunny chuckles. You catch her eye, and realization seems to strike. “Ah, but first, could she borrow some clothes from you?”

“All I have is this coat,” you add.

“Sure, I guess.” Cirno peers at you. “Hey, wait a sec, you look different from before.” She zooms right up to you for a closer look, and you shiver as you feel that tingling sensation again, though you don’t feel drained so much as...suppressed? “Yeah, green eyes instead of red, and your hair’s different too. Same color, I guess, but shorter and without those weird drill things. What gives?”

“Makeover.” Sunny suggests.
“Surgery.” Star explains, simultaneously.

“I’m over here, genius.” Luna has apparently retrieved her hat and her bearings, and flies back to rejoin the rest of you. “Don’t listen to those two, I haven’t changed a thing. And my hair is not weird. Anyway, this is the new girl. And by that I mean newborn, as best as we can figure out.”

“Either that, or a fairy who revived too many times in a row and is still recovering,” Star chimes in. “Regardless, she woke up naked and empty-headed and doesn’t know or remember much yet, so we’re trying to help her out.”

Cirno nods. “Yeah, sure. Me ‘n Dai have a couple extra dresses back at the house, I guess she can borrow one - that’s okay with you, right Dai?”
“Of course.”

“Hm.” Luna looks the two lake fairies up and down, then does the same to you. “Dai’s clothes would be a better fit, I think. She’s bigger, both for height and...other aspects, and if I remember right so are you...”

“I can confirm that,” says Star, winking cheerfully. Luna rolls her eyes, while Sunny just looks confused.

“Okay, Dai, you can go help her with that I guess, I can wait to hear this until you get back. You three, I haven’t shown you my freezing frogs trick yet, right?” Cirno asks brightly.

Dai beckons you to come along. “Let’s go back to the house, she’ll be at this for a while.” You follow, the cold tingling fading away.
------------------
“...So, um, what exactly do I do with this?” You wonder aloud, having discarded your coat and been handed an unnecessarily complicated piece of clothing, consisting of two circular parts and several straps.

“Oh, right, that would be a bit confusing.” Dai says, looking over to you. “Look, those parts go on your chest, like - no, not like that, turn them over, no the other over, no that’s still not right, I...” She hesitates for a few seconds, eyes on your fumbling but mind focused on something else, before exhaling deeply. “All right. Hold still, I’ll get it.” She walks over to you and takes the object.

As Dai’s fingers trail over your torso, you feel that uncomfortable tingling again. Slightly weaker this time, for some reason, but unmistakably the same feeling, pain flowing into your skin and energy leaking out, warming her fingers...

“There, that’s done.” Dai’s looking at you oddly. “...Are you feeling all right?”

You give a shaky nod. “Just a bit cold and tired,” you reply honestly.

“You’re sure?” You nod. That is all you’re feeling right now, anyway.

“Well, okay, then.” She hands you another soft object. “Put your legs through the holes and pull that up. I’ll widen the wing slits in this dress.”

You do as you’re told, and are finished dressing shortly. Dai is staring at you, biting her lip. Maybe she doesn’t think you look good in these; no, she looks more worried than that.

“...Hey, are you feeling all right?”

“Wha?” Dai blinks at you. “Um, yes. Yes, of course.”

“I...”

“Let’s get back to the others.” She says firmly, and flies out the door.

...Yes, she’s definitely keeping something from you. Not much you can do about that now, however. You sigh, and follow her out the exit.
------------------
“Cute~”
“Not bad!”
“Not quite your color, but looks all right.”

Star, Sunny, and Luna evidently approve of your new outfit. You hand Star her coat back with a word of thanks.

“If you get cold again, just ask and you can have it back.” She beams at you, and you smile back. Such a kind girl.

“Okay, I was being patient to freeze frogs and wait for Dai, and I’m all out of frogs.” Cirno announces, fluttering back from the lake’s edge. There’s that shivering-tingling again.
“What’s you guys’s big plan to cause an Incident?”

“Actually...” Sunny smirks at the ice fairy’s frustrated expression.

“Oh, come on!”

“Be patient, you. I was just thinking; yeah, Cirno, you’re going to have a lot of questions about our plan. But I realized that she-” -here Sunny gestures to you- “probably has a lot more questions about, well, everything. I mean, you only have one thing to be wondering about, while she basically has the whole of Gensokyo.”

Cirno frowns, but nods, accepting the logic of this. “Well, okay. Someone as strong and knowledge-ful as myself should try and help the weaker and newer fairies.”

“I’m glad you understand. So...” Sunny turns to you. “Are there any questions you’d like to ask?”
-----------------------------------------------------
[ ] I-if it’s not too much of a bother, then...
-----[ ] (Write-in questions, directed at __.)
[ ] Actually, yes, I do have some things to ask.
-----[ ] (Write-in questions, directed at __.)
[ ] No, I’m all right for now. Sunny, Star, and Luna can just explain their plan.
------------------
For the record, if you’d chosen to try and prank Dai, you would have snuck up on her invisibly and she would have unknowingly released her spellcard against you while testing it out.

The distinction between choices 1 and 2 is just different options on how to characterize the MC.

Your current knowledge base consists of spoken language, what fairies are, what clothes are, and different sensations / species which appear in nature.
Anything alluded to in the narration which doesn’t fit with this can likely be blamed on my poor writing.

If you include explanations with your suggested questions, I'll do my best to work them into the narrative.

Constructive criticisms or other feedback are always welcome.
>>No. 53105
You might want to tone down your Cirno some. She's a biiit grating.

[x] Actually, yes, I do have some things to ask.
-[x] What's Gensokyo?
-[x] Where do the three fairies live?
-[x] What was Dai doing before you met?
-[x] Ask Dai and Cirno about those sensations. Do the other fairies give any?

Good enough. Open-ended question write-ins aren't much fun.
>>No. 53106
[x] I-if it’s not too much of a bother, then...
- [x] Dai, can you tell me about that energy thing you were doing?
- [x] Also, I felt really weird when we touched. What happened?
- [x] Gensokyo?

Timid option not because the MC is generally timid, but because this all is a bit overwhelming.

Criticism: don’t overuse italics and bold, especially bold. These tools should be reserved for very special occasions.
>>No. 53107
[x] Actually, yes, I do have some things to ask.
-[x] What's Gensokyo?
-[x] Where do the three fairies live?
-[x] What was Dai doing before you met?
-[x] Ask Dai and Cirno about those sensations. Do the other fairies give any?

Strong-willed Alpha Fairy reporting in, sir.
>>No. 53108
[x] I-if it’s not too much of a bother, then...
- [x] Dai, can you tell me about that energy thing you were doing?
- [x] Also, I felt really weird when we touched. What happened?
- [x] Gensokyo?
>>No. 53109
[x] Actually, yes, I do have some things to ask.
-[x] What's Gensokyo?
-[x] Where do the three fairies live?
-[x] What was Dai doing before you met?
-[x] Ask Dai and Cirno about those sensations. Do the other fairies give any?

This fairy shall get all the bitches.
>>No. 53114
[x] I-if it’s not too much of a bother, then...
- [x] Dai, can you tell me about that energy thing you were doing?
- [x] Also, I felt really weird when we touched. What happened?
- [x] Gensokyo?
>>No. 53123
Apologies to all for being lazy and not providing questions to ask. I just thought I'd waited long enough and wanted to post it.

>>53105
>You might want to tone down your Cirno some. She's a biiit grating.
Yeah, I kind of suspected I was going to far while I was writing. She should be a bit lower-key in future posts.

>>53106
>Criticism: don’t overuse italics and bold, especially bold. These tools should be reserved for very special occasions.
Noted. Several of the examples in that last post qualify, though.

Anyway, this is currently tied between the timid vote group and the more assertive one, so could I have a tiebreaker?
>>No. 53125
[x] I-if it’s not too much of a bother, then...
- [x] Dai, can you tell me about that energy thing you were doing?
- [x] Also, I felt really weird when we touched. What happened?
- [x] Gensokyo?
>>No. 53127
[x] Actually, yes, I do have some things to ask.
-[x] What's Gensokyo?
-[x] Where do the three fairies live?
-[x] What was Dai doing before you met?
-[x] Ask Dai and Cirno about those sensations. Do the other fairies give any?
>>No. 53128
With any luck, this will break the tie.

[x] Actually, yes, I do have some things to ask.
-[x] What's Gensokyo?
-[x] Where do the three fairies live?
-[x] What was Dai doing before you met?
-[x] Ask Dai and Cirno about those sensations. Do the other fairies give any?
>>No. 53130
Calling, assertive fairy is a go.

I'm going to be busy today and tomorrow, so the next update will be on Friday (or possibly late Friday in my time zone but early Saturday on the board).
>>No. 53183
Double posting, woo.

Status report, this'll be up tomorrow / in 12-15 hours. Writefag is dead tired and any writing produced at this point would be rather terrible.

>implying anything I write normally isn't, hurr
>>No. 53222
File 133753295424.jpg - (830.77KB, 935x1020, the_other_teachers_came_down_with_colds.jpg) [iqdb]
53222
[x] Actually, yes, I do have some things to ask.
-[x] What's Gensokyo?
-[x] Where do the three fairies live?
-[x] What was Dai doing before you met?
-[x] Ask Dai and Cirno about those sensations. Do the other fairies give any?

Yeah, you do have a lot of questions, in fact. You’ve just been following everyone around without knowing anything that’s going on. They’re nice company, but not knowing or really being able to do anything has been getting rather annoying, and it’s about time you started trying to change that.

“You said I’m probably wondering about the whole of Gensokyo; well, that’s true, and not a bad place to start. Just what is Gensokyo?”

“Gensokyo is...well, it’s home.” Luna starts. “It’s the name of the land we live in, an area sealed off from the rest of the world. The Outside World, we call it.”

“Gensokyo is also one of the only places where fairies like us, along with other supernatural beings like youkai or gods, can still exist. Everywhere else is only for the humans.” Sunny chuckles. “Not that we’re letting them take Gensokyo without a fight.”

“Eh? So, wait, if I stepped outside the Border, then...”

“You’d be gone for good. Poof, no more ice fairy. Fufufu...”

“Wh-what? That can’t be right...”

“My, finally found something that can take you out for good? Someone better be careful...” Star stares at Cirno seriously for a few seconds, before she relents, face falling back into its normal smile. “Well, I actually have no idea about that. We’ve explored a lot of Gensokyo, but trying to cross the Border is too much, even if we live right by it.”

“Come to think of it, there was that Buddhist tanuki who came from Outside earlier this year, right? So it has to be more complicated than that...” Luna muses.

“Yes, that new shrine maiden and her mountain gods crossed the Border to come here a few years back, too.” Dai adds.

“So...if I want to be sure of crossing the Border safely, all I need to do is become a youkai or god, right?” Cirno says, looking to be deep in thought. Well, as deep as it gets, for her.

“Uh, sure, I guess. Good luck with that.”

“Guys, you’ve lost me. A while back,” you interject, rubbing your forehead. Do they always get sidetracked this easily? “This ‘Border’, that’s what, the edge of Gensokyo?”

“Yeah, that’s right. It’s a giant spell circle, enclosing Gensokyo-” Sunny says.

“Nuh-uh.” Luna cuts her off. “The mountain shrine appeared right where it is, at the top of the smoke-covered mountain-”
“Youkai Mountain.”
“Whatever its name is, my point is that you can go a bit beyond it without reaching the Border, but they also came through the Border right there. It can’t be just a circle.”

“You said you live near it?” You say quickly as Sunny opens her mouth, trying to forestall an argument about the Border’s shape.

“What? Oh, yes, we live in back of the Hakurei Shrine, on the opposite end of Gensokyo from the mountain. Reimu’s mentioned that the shrine’s right by the Border."

“Reimu?”

“Grumpy, lazy shrine maiden who lives there.” Sunny supplies. “It’s her job, or ancestral duty, or- whatever, point is she takes care of the Border.”

“We eavesdrop on her a lot to try and find out interesting things that are happening, so we pick up things like that as well.” Luna coughs. “We pull pranks on her too, but that, uh, hasn’t always worked out well, for the weirdest reasons sometimes...”

“Stupid fish. We’re actually part of nature unlike her, they should have taken our side instead.” Sunny mutters.

“So, that generally ends with Reimu beating us up, just like the youkai or gods that annoy her.” Star pauses, taking in your blank stare. “Oh, I suppose you don’t know what either of those are, huh.”

“Good guess. What are they, then?” It really is sinking in how little you know about this place. But, that’s all the more reason to remedy it quickly, right? Right.

“Youkai and gods are - well, they’re different kinds of beings than us. Much stronger, too-”

“You’ve never met Rumia, have you? Or, what’s their names, the Aki sisters?”

“Oh come on, Dai, Rumia’s not - well, okay, she’s pretty weak.” Cirno admits.

“Okay, so they’re just usually stronger.” Star amends. “They always die less easily than us fairies, though. Just a few hits and bang, we're dead~"

“Eeh.” It’s a bit creepy how cheerfully she said that... “That’s why you’d want to- what- become one, I guess? It’s possible to do that?”

“I’ve never heard of anything like that.” Luna raises a questioning eye in Cirno’s direction.

“Heard it straight from the Yama herself. She said I was sinning by becoming too powerful for a fairy-” Cirno snorts loudly at this- ”and was at risk of becoming something else.” Cirno thinks for a moment, then shrugs. “Really, though, even if fairies can grow into youkai or gods or whatever, I’d rather stay like this. Get more powerful, then beat her in a proper rematch and show her that there’s nothing wrong with a fairy having strength.”

...You feel a strange response in the back of your mind, something opening in your brain that had been closed tightly before. Something in that resonated with you deeply, and you go over Cirno’s words mentally, trying to pinpoint what, but the feeling has faded. You shake your head and tune back into the conversation.

“If anyone could do that, it’d be you, Cirno.” Dai states, smiling gently. “If that’s a goal of yours, though, it might be better to work on your danmaku and Spell Cards, instead of just trying to keep freezing bigger and bigger things.”

“Yeah, you’ve got a heck of a lot of raw power...” Sunny shudders. “I might agree with you being too powerful for a fairy, actually. But we three were able to get better than you at Spell Cards with just a few months of practice.”

“Hey, my Spells are fine! It’s not my fault you guys can come up with such complicated patterns, and I managed to beat them anyway...”

“She’s been getting a lot better, actually.” Dai nudges Cirno, her smile more mischievous now. “No more giant safe spots right in front of her...”

“Dai, shut up!” Cirno pushes a tittering Dai away. Hmm, was that shaking just from laughter, or did she shiver? Anyway...

“What are spells or spell cards? And danmaku too.”

“Danmaku is how people fight in Gensokyo. Basically, it’s shooting lots of projectiles, unique to each user, in patterns to try and trap, and hit, your opponent. Just visualize the patterns, will them to appear, and they do.”

“Spell Cards are a lot like that, but they’re usually much more complicated, and would be hard or impossible to concentrate on properly during a battle. So, beforehand, we visualize them and seal them into cards like this, for later use.” Star holds up a blue, black, and white rectangular object. Looks familiar, somehow...ah, yes.

“That’s what you were working on before we met, right Dai?”

“Um, yes, I was also working on a spell. It’s not really anything special...”

“You finally made a Spell Card, Dai?” Cirno exclaims, wings beating in excitement. “Let me see! No, better, let me try it out! I thought you’d never get around to making them, now that you have I gotta see how good this is!”

“Cirno, I don’t really want to fight- Wah!” Dai yelps, stumbling back as Cirno leaps at her and starts unashamedly rifling through her pockets. “Cirno, come on, get off...” Dai tries rather unsuccessfully to push Cirno’s hands away, shivering- yes, noticeably shivering as she does so and reminding you of a question from earlier.

“Is Cirno really cold or something, Dai?” The two stop their wrestling to look at you questioningly. “Because I noticed that whenever she’s nearby, I’ve been feeling this chill, plus this weird tingling feeling."

"No, she's pretty warm, actually. Hot-blooded, I guess. 'Tingling' feeling?" Dai says, raising an eyebrow.

"Yeah. And it wasn't just then, I think when I touched Dai earlier it also made me tingle-"

Star splutters out something that sounds like a laugh badly disguised as a cough, cut off by a faintly smiling Luna whacking her on the head. Did you say something funny? You shrug, continuing.

"Plus, after that, I felt it again when Dai touched me. Oh, and something that was different than with Cirno, it made me feel warm when she touched me, and I felt kind of tired after- what's so funny?"

Star and Luna are now both failing to hold in laughter, pointing at a very flustered looking Dai. Huh, the cold must really be getting to her if her cheeks are that red.

"I- I was helping her get dressed!" Dai cries out, turning redder as this provokes a new wave of mirth. "Sh-she hadn't done it before and it was hard for her, so I-"

"You undressed a pure and innocent maiden to take advantage of her? My, my, Daiyousei..." Star wags a finger.
"And you couldn't even be bothered to be gentle on her first time? You couldn't restrain yourself, had to take her hard?" Luna grins.
"Tell us, dear, did she make you feel good, at least? Or was she too distracted by her own needs?"

"Uh..." You have a feeling they're talking about something far different than the sensation you felt. Looking around, Cirno and Sunny seem to be as confused as you, while Dai seems to have her entire body's worth of blood centered on her face. Still, can't do much besides tell the truth. "Not really, actually. It kind of hurt, made me feel uncomfortable.”

"Wh-what-" Whatever else Dai was going to catches in her throat as her eyes suddenly widen. The blood drains from her face dizzyingly quickly, effectively turning her complexion from "tomato" to "snow". Her gaze narrows, intensifies, focusing on you.

Star and Luna, meanwhile, are now rocking back and forth with laughter, holding each other for support. "Oh wow, worse and worse!’ “Worse ind-”

"Shut up, you two." Dai says coldly, flatly, and the laughter dies away instantly. Luna and Star exchange worried glances.

"Um, it was just a joke, Dai."
"Yes, don't worry, it's not like we actually think that you-"

"Not important." She cuts Star off with a quick wave of the hand, eyes still unnervingly locked onto you.

"I asked if you were all right for a reason. Did you lie, then? Have you been feeling weak? Feverish? Not coughing up blood, not yet at least. Splitting headache? Trouble breathing?” Each word she spits comes faster.

"How did we come from innuendos to a really urgent checkup?... -Erk." Luna shrinks away as Dai whirls to face her, then back to you. Her eyes, virtually emotionless a moment ago, are now filled with fear and panic.

You shake your head mutely; what’s going on? "Dai, wh-"

"Answer!" She screams, and you flinch backwards, staring. Her white wings are darkening, turning an unwholesome grey color, and the narrow golden curves are forming jagged, twisting patterns. A windstorm seems to have formed from nowhere, buffeting you backwards, and you cough as stale, rancid air invades your nose and mouth. The feeling is back, stronger than before, your skin crawls, warps in the presence of this energy make it stop make it stop-

“Dai.”

The panicking fairy jerks her head to see Cirno’s hand on her shoulder, a strained look on the ice fairy’s face. Dai’s eyes take in her swollen wings, as well, and flicker with recognition. Her eyes close, and she takes a deep, shuddering breath. Her wings’ transformation slows, stops, reverses, the limbs shifting back to their original form. The strange wind dies down as well, and the pain...fades.

“...Could you answer her question, please?” Cirno asks carefully.

“I...no. Nothing like that. I hurt again for just a second there, but I feel and have been feeling completely healthy.” Calm down, the unspoken message. You hold Dai’s anxious gaze, willing her to believe you.

“O...okay.” Dai sighs, trembling, and collapses on Cirno’s shoulder. “Thank the gods...but then what...”

“I might know, actually.” Cirno says slowly. “Remember what Letty said a long time ago? Stronger fairies’ powers make other fairies react to them. That’s why everyone used to avoid us, until we could control our powers better. So, maybe she’s just...sensitive to that, with both me and you. My power makes her feel cold, and yours makes her feel...what she said.”

“I, um.” You’re still a bit stunned after that experience. “I don’t think I felt anything like this when I hugged Star earlier, though. Unless her power is fire or something.”

“No, it’s detecting moving objects, and that’s probably why you didn’t feel anything.” Star grins, a little weakly. “I’m not very powerful, and neither are Sunny or Luna. That’s why we use our powers together, and also part of why we worked to be more skilled at danmaku.”

“Okay, so no reactions with-”

“Didn’t say that, just explaining why you didn’t feel anything. I’m pretty sure I did.” Star says, stopping you short. “When I hugged you, I expected to feel - well, just a half-frozen girl, pretty much, but that wasn’t it. You only made me feel cold for a moment, after that I felt...hard to describe, really. Better, that was the main part of it. Kind of...energized, like on a night when the stars are really clear in the sky, and stronger too. Maybe...bigger? No, that doesn’t make sense, I...” Star shrugs apologetically at you. “Aah, I’m not saying this as well as I wanted to, sorry.”

“No, that was still helpful, I think. Thanks, Star.” You exchange smiles, and a bit of her normal cheer seems to have been restored.

“Actually, come to think of it, I think I’ve been feeling a little better since we met you as well.” Luna says. “I had just chalked that up to meeting a new friend, but...”

“Yeah, me too.” Sunny adds. “But I haven’t been feeling colder around Cirno, or uncomfortable around Dai. Well, now I kind of do, but- I mean not because of your powers or whatever, but just because you were pretty scary just now, an-” Luna shoves her hand over the babbling Sunny’s mouth, grimacing.

Cirno clears her throat.

“Anyway, Dai, whatever anyone felt, the point is that you’re not-” Cirno halts, glancing around at all of you. “That nobody’s going to...The point is that nothing bad’s happened or going to happen, and you don’t need to worry. Okay?”

“...Okay.” Doubt is clear on Dai’s face, but she nods to appease Cirno anyway.

A looming silence descends upon the group. Luna, Star and Sunny are trading worried glances and fidgeting, which Dai and Cirno seem to be doing their best to ignore.

“So...” This is really going nowhere, and apparently you’re the only one who cares to change that. “What was this plan of yours, then, Sunny?”
>>No. 53223
File 133753296644.jpg - (64.38KB, 600x480, metaphor.jpg) [iqdb]
53223
“Pl- Oh, right!” Sunny’s face lights up. “Geez, can’t believe I’d almost forgotten...So.” She clears her throat. “You all remember the Scarlet Mist Incident, right?”

“Yep, that’s when I first fought Reimu and Marisa.”
“I remember.”

“...Well, unless it happened in the last hour or so, I-”

“Ah! Sorry, sorry, I planned and rehearsed this before we met you.” Sunny slaps herself in the forehead. “What it was is that a few years back, this vampire spread a red mist over all of Gensokyo, blotting out the sun for several days. It was horrible.” That...doesn’t seem too bad, but you have the sense that it would have been far worse than it sounds. You nod, bidding her to continue.

“Now, vampires are really powerful, plus this one had a great magician helping her, so nobody’s really bothered thinking deeply into that.” Sunny smiles. “But, according to Marisa, another magician that we know...”

“A spell of that size and power would have been incredibly difficult to set up and maintain with any normal methods.” Luna quotes. “They would have needed to be concentrating on it for the whole time, and Marisa said that would be impossible for the magician at least. Something about her health.”

“So, instead of doing it the normal way, whatever that involves...” Star continues. “The magician built a magical artifact for the vampire to use, which Marisa found on one of her visits to their mansion. That’s over on the other side of the lake, by the way.”

“And this artifact made the whole Incident really easy to pull off. All the vampire would have needed would be to put her hands over it and chant a spell or focus some mist into it, and the spells on this thing would have done the rest.” Luna explains.

“I don’t see the point of all this, unless you guys have figured out how to make the same mist as the vampire and want to rip off what she did.” Cirno says, frowning.

“No, that’s the best part. From what Marisa could tell, it wouldn’t need to be the same mist. You could put pretty much anything into this thing, and it would cover all of Gensokyo. Bam, instant Incident!” Sunny’s proud smile turns downwards into a frown. “And we wouldn’t be ripping her off, we’d be...uh...”

“Using our available resources.” Star supplies.
“Yeah, that.”

“So...I could spread my ice over all of Gensokyo with this?” Cirno asks, a smile spreading across her face.

“Apparently, yeah. I, er, wasn’t really sure just what we’d use the artifact as a focus for, but we can figure that out later.”

“This all sounds pretty impressive, but...” Dai finally speaks up. “Marisa’s a pathological liar. How do you know any of this is valid?”

“Well, because she was telling this to Reimu, who now wants the thing destroyed, by the way. Not that she wouldn’t lie to Reimu, but we think that over something this big, even Marisa would tell the truth.” Luna says.

“I suppose.”

“Anyway, the vampire’s having a party tomorrow night, and Reimu’s apparently going to confront her about this there. That gives us about one and a half days to find the artifact in the mansion, and take it for ourselves.” Star says.

“So, that’s the plan. Sneak in, steal the artifact, sneak back out. Any objections?” Sunny concludes.

----------------------
Everyone seems...remarkably quick to adapt to and forget Dai’s freakout earlier. With just a few minutes passed, the others are all back to their normal demeanors. Are you worrying too much about this?

...No, looking closer, you can see it’s not that simple. The eager lightheartedness everyone shows is really there, but there is caution beneath the surface. Sunny’s pride and enthusiasm about her plan certainly aren’t faked, but you can’t help but notice how she flinches when Dai speaks. Luna’s eyes are half-closed, but from narrowed focus rather than sleepiness. Star is smiling as normal, but it doesn’t quite reach to her eyes, still filled with wariness. Cirno is listening with interest to the plan, And Dai...Dai seems to be the best at acting normally, but every now and then you catch her glancing nervously back at her wings.

But, despite all this...outwardly, at least, it’s simpler to pretend that nothing happened. Nobody truly knew how to deal with the situation before, and that wouldn’t change if it was brought up again. Thus, the silent, unanimous decision to move on.

It doesn’t sit well with you, but you can understand. Shaking your head, you resume listening.
-----------------------

“The fact that you want to take Cirno on a stealth mission really makes me wonder if you’ve thought this through. No offense.”

“Huh? But Dai, I’m the stealth-est!”

“Cirno, you...” Dai looks at her, expression somewhere between pity and disbelief. “Whenever we play hide-and-seek, you can’t go more than a minute before shouting ‘I’m the best hider in Gensokyo!’ or ‘This tree sure is a great hiding spot, Dai will never be able to find me here!’ or-”

“It’s a strategy!” A flushing Cirno protests, either ignoring or not noticing the Three Fairies’ stifled laughter.

“Well, it’s not a very good- never mind.” Dai hurriedly finishes, seeing Cirno’s dejected expression.

“Anyway, you don’t need to worry about that,” Sunny says. “We could hide her presence, I can refract light to turn us invisible and Luna can get rid of sound. But that’s not really why we want her help.”

“You’re just jealous of my awesome hiding skills.” Cirno mutters.
“Oh? Why, then?” Dai asks.

“Well, because of what, or rather who, is in this place apart from the artifact. The fairy maids shouldn’t be a problem, but the mansion is the home of the vampire and her servants, and I doubt they take kindly to theft. We wouldn’t be able to deal with them, but Cirno might.”

“...So, essentially, you want her to be your hum- fairy shield.” Dai says, frowning.

“Huh? No, no, we already have a perfectly serviceable one of those.” Sunny assures her.
“She’d be our backup fairy shield.” Star chimes in.

“What?” Luna asks, looking back and forth between the two. “Guys, come on, we shouldn’t use our newest member that callously, we don’t even know if she can- you’re talking about me aren’t you.”

“Maybe.”
“We might not be~”

Luna grumbles under her breath, but doesn’t press the point further.

“She’d be more like a mercenary, really. On contract for us, to take on the dangerous inhabitants of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.”

“I still don’t like the sound of-”

“Dai, what are you doing, this sounds great!” Cirno interrupts, her eyes sparkling. “I’ve fought and won against that gatekeeper, and I even beat Marisa, this is a great chance to find other strong enemies and beat them up too! Like that magician, or the maid, or even the vampire and her sister!”

“Sis- Cirno, are you listening to what you’re saying?” Dai objects, her face having fallen steadily as Cirno spoke. “Those people are really, really dangerous, please at least think about-”

“Plus, if I make them mad by robbing them, I’ll be sure of a fight at full power! I really should hang out with you guys more, you come up with the best ideas!”

“...” Dai’s mouth slowly closes, expression more downcast than before.

Cirno, meanwhile, has attached herself to Sunny’s arm and is bombarding her with questions. “Okay, so what’s the plan? When do you want to go? Can we go now?”

“Cirno...You don’t need to go right now, right?” Dai asks tentatively.

“Well, I guess not, but why wouldn’t we?”

“We were planning earlier to have a snowball fight, remember?”

“Well, yeah, but we can do that any time, this sounds way more fun-whoa!” Cirno ducks under a ball of snow flying towards her head, which proceeds to splatter across Sunny’s face.

"Ackpth!" Sunny quickly wipes the powder off herself, glaring at Cirno. “Hey, what gives, why’d you have to let it hit me?”

“Hey, Dai’s the one that threw it, not mmlph!” Cirno’s objection is cut off by Sunny’s, in the form of a point-blank handful of snow to the face. She shakes herself off as Sunny flies backwards, and grins maliciously. “Cheap shot...You’re gonna pay for that one.”

“Luna, Star! Battle formation!” Sunny calls.
“Dai, you’re with me!” Cirno responds.

“Right.” Dai smiles briefly, picking up another handful of snow and flying to Cirno’s side.

“Ah, all right.”
“Might as well work off some energy.” Luna and Star join Sunny, as well.

“Uh...” That situation changed quickly. Still, everyone’s clearly gearing up for this fight. Are snowballs a kind of danmaku, then? Whatever.

You decide to...
-------------------------------
[ ] Side with Cirno and Dai.
[ ] Side with Sunny, Star, and Luna.
[ ] Be your own side.
[ ] Forget these teams, I'm joining forces with (write-in)!
And for strategy:
-[ ] Full-power offense!
-[ ] Dodging and weaving defense.
-[ ] Interface screw.
[ ] Try to stop the fight, this is a waste of time.

------------------------------------------------------------
Internet crapped out on me for most of the day, but this is finally up. Sorry for the overly long wait, I should be back to a regular (~2 days per) update schedule for the foreseeable future.

Yes, Daiyousei in this story is heavily based off of a particular doujin. Yes, you should be able to guess which after this update. Yes, I’m a faggot for doing this. No, I’m not going to treat any other doujins as story canon.

The strategy chosen affects personality to some extent.

Also, you know those choices that seem completely unimportant initially but turn out to have major repercussions later?
Well, this isn't one of those. Probably.

And no, this snowball fight is not going to last for months. It should be a update or less long, 2 at the most.

Constructive feedback or other criticisms are always welcome.
>>No. 53226
[x] Side with Cirno and Dai.
And for strategy:
-[x] Interface screw.
>>No. 53227
[x] Side with Cirno and Dai.
-[x] Interface screw.

Going with Asatsuki Dou's miasmic Daiyousei, eh? Good fun, good fun.
>>No. 53230
So we're going to spread good vibes across all of Gensokyo? If that's what her power is. Sounds fun~

[x] Be your own side.
[x] Interface Screw

If we're going to be screwing, we should screw with everyone. It's only fair.

>Yes, I’m a faggot for doing this.
No, you aren't. I was hoping this was true from the moment I saw the first feverish feeling.
>>No. 53231
[x] Side with Cirno and Dai.
-[x] Interface screw.

I always wanted to see someone write THAT Dai.
>>No. 53232
[x] Be your own side.
- [x] Interface Screw

Guess I should go read this doujin...

I'm rather liking the way your characters interact so far, it humors me.
>>No. 53233
>>53232
http://wingsofyuri.nekoslovakia.net/touhou/touhou-cirnochan.zip

Here y'go. It's a nice little doujin, and reading it should help you understand the update.
>>No. 53235
>>53233
Oh thank you, was just about to start looking for it.

Honestly, I think I perfer this Dai over how generically she is often portrayed.
>>No. 53236
[x] Be your own side.
- [x] Interface screw.

What >>53230 said.
>>No. 53240
[x] Be your own side.
- [x] Interface screw.
>>No. 53248
Called for screwing everyone by yourself. (No, not like that.) Update will be considerably shorter this time, but should be much sooner as well.

Glad to see that several of you approve of my take on Dai and/or the other fairies, thanks for saying so. There's a few less votes this time, though, so it's possible that this particular decision (or, you know, just something else I've done less-than-well) alienated a few readers as well. Them's the breaks.

On a somewhat related note, I've been thinking that my Cirno still seems a bit heavy on the "lol baka" type of portrayal, and will likely be trying to remedy this.

If you have any input about this or other aspects of my characterizations, I'm eager to hear it.
>>No. 53249
Gah, didn't make the vote in time. My vote wouldn't have won anyway; was intending to vote for sneaky fairy backstab tactics.

This Daiyousei could be an excellent character, if written well, mediocre if otherwise. I will say that her panic made the scene excellent. Keep up the good work/Do not screw her up.

>I've been thinking that my Cirno still seems a bit heavy on the "lol baka" type of portrayal, and will likely be trying to remedy this.

In my opinion, turn down her "catchphrases", especially the entire line of "I'm the (x)-est!". Maybe tone down her boasting a bit as well. The rest of it was fine, especially her interactions with Dai.
>>No. 53256
>>53249
Eh, the chosen vote's result won't be that far from what you'd want, I think.

>This Daiyousei could be an excellent character, if written well, mediocre if otherwise.
>Keep up the good work/Do not screw her up.
I'll do my best, but any more concrete advice on the latter? Things to avoid?

>In my opinion, turn down her "catchphrases", especially the entire line of "I'm the (x)-est!".
But isn't regurgitating memes a sign of incredible writing skill and quality? Yeah, will do.

>Maybe tone down her boasting a bit as well.
No promises about this one. Cirno seems pretty prideful as well as overconfident canonically, and boasting doesn't seem OOC considering that. I'm not making her a caricature, but certain traits will help make her recognizable.

Thanks for the feedback. Anyone else?
>>No. 53261
>>53256
Honestly Dai can go various ways as there's not much about it. And it's too soon to tell with her. The trio's pretty good, but yeah Cirno's still a bit too much of a nineball.
>>No. 53266
>>53248
If I can be honest, I always like to think that Cirno does what she does because nobody bothers to teach her anything different.

>>53256
How to not screw up Dai, hmm. You could go with her power clashing with her personality or something like that. I am not a writer though, so do not take this as grade A advice.
>>No. 53267
>>53266
Dai's power already clashes with her personality. Like, hugely. It's weirded everyone out.

>>53256
I liked the introspective bit after Dai's freakout, but if you could find a way to incorporate those reactions without interrupting the dialogue, maybe it would be better? It kinda interrupts the flow and it doesn't seem like time passed between these lines:

>“So, that’s the plan. Sneak in, steal the artifact, sneak back out. Any objections?” Sunny concludes.
>“The fact that you want to take Cirno on a stealth mission really makes me wonder if you’ve thought this through. No offense.”
>>No. 53290
File 133778963075.jpg - (239.43KB, 1000x1000, nineball.jpg) [iqdb]
53290
Input makes the writefag happy.

>>53261 Glad that you think the others are all right, at least.
>>53266 Pretty much what >>53267 said.
>>53267 Yeah, I freely admit that could and should have been integrated better. I just kind of wrote that in a rushed manner after I realized that there was too quick a change in the mood. Glad you liked it anyway, though.
---------------------
[x] Be your own side.
- [x] Interface screw.

You watch as the fight begins, the two groups flying about 20 feet away from you and each other, with Sunny, Star, and Luna quickly blinking out of sight.

So, they’re just going to comfortably settle into their usual teams, eh? Forget about the new girl? Well, that’s just fine with you, you’re about to show them why that’s a big mistake.

Scooping up a handful of snow, you carefully form your weapon, take aim, and launch your snowball with deadly precision towards Cirno’s head-

Whiff.

Or, at least, that’s what you’d like to do, but you immediately discover that actually hitting anything with your snowballs is a great deal harder than it looks, and your missile lands a good ten feet short of its intended target.

Whiff. Whiff. Whiff. Whiffwhiffwhiffwhifwhif...

After a couple dozen attempts, you are left panting, numb-fingered, and with a perfect striking record against the ground. This is not going as planned.

Cirno and Dai have been evading your assault with ease, and you reluctantly note that this is largely coincidental, the result of their dodging the now-vanished Sunny, Star, and Luna’s fire while hardly paying attention to yours.

You’re pretty sure you could hit them if they would just hold still, but that’s not likely to happen any time soon. Your opponents are constantly on the move, flying up, down, forwards and backwards, side-to-side in indomitable evasive maneuvers.

“Ha! I thought your danmaku was easy to dodge, but this is just pathetic! Dai can put up a better fight than the three of you combined!” Cirno yells. Pause. “What, are you just going to take that?”

Sunny’s voice responds, seemingly from thin air. “Not like you’ve hit any of us either- waagh!” A flurry of snowballs seem to vanish into thin air, which in turn shimmers before revealing three, now snow-covered, fairies. Sunny yelps, and the area blanks out again, snowflakes all that are visible in the air.

“Pffahaha, you actually fell for it! It might be hard to hit you normally, but your voice makes it a lot easier to pick you out!” Cirno smiles proudly for a moment, before noticing Dai’s shaking her head wearily. “...Oh, wait, now they’ll know not to-”

“Yeah. That’s okay though, it wouldn’t have worked for long anyway. Back to the normal strategy.”

Cirno’s ‘normal strategy’ seems to consist of strafing the general area enemy snowballs emerge from, with salvos apparently forming themselves from the snow at her feet. She’s backed up by the supporting fire of Dai, launching only one at a time but managing to very rapidly pack and throw them. Judging by the number of these harmlessly impacting against the ground, the fairies of light are just as skilled at dodging as their counterparts. The two sides are deadlocked, neither able to score any meaningful blows, and you conclude that the only reason you haven’t yet been snowballed into oblivion is that absolutely no one sees you as a threat.

Well, that simply won’t do, now will it? Sure, you may be inexperienced, and not nearly as fast or evasive as them, and a mediocre shot, and lacking any useful powers like Cirno’s snow manipulation or Sunny’s invisibility, and...

...Yeah, actually, you’re pretty much doomed. Outclassed in every possible way, it’s difficult to see any aspect of this game where you could gain an advantage. Why did you decide to fight on your own, again....?

No, no, focus. You’re not about to let a little thing like every conceivable disadvantage stop you from winning this fight. You’re going to prove yourself, show everyone what you’re capable of. And if the playing field is leveled against you, well, all you need to do is change it. But how?

You chew your lip, thinking, looking around. You stopped throwing upon realizing that its only real impact was making your arm tired, and your unoccupied fingers drum against your sides.
Okay, what do you have to work with? The misty lake, its edge a bit beyond the still-fighting fairies? You could hide among the mist and bombard them from there- no, they’d likely still be able to dodge, and you’d need to come out to resupply after every shot. The sky? Everyone’s staying pretty close to the ground, you could fly up and make them look at the sun if they’d want to hit you...No, that’s stupid, the sun’s blocked by the snow clouds and there’s the same issue of your not being able to make snowballs in midair. And...a large, empty snowfield. Yes, there’s ever so much you could do with that.

You sigh. No, this isn’t going to work. If only you knew your own powers, they might be able to provide some help, but you don’t have a clue what they are, Star’s description notwithstanding...

Staring out over the snow-covered ground, powder falling slowly from the sky, you’re reminded of another scene. A frozen clearing, surrounded by trees, ground unyielding coldness. A wish for warmth, and...the appearance of snowdrops.

And, more importantly, the disappearance of snow.

Slowly but surely, a smirk creeps onto your face. If your guess is right, this is going to be very useful indeed.

You focus your mind on recreating that memory, that feeling, acute awareness of the cold and the single-minded wish for it to go away. This time, searching for it, you can sense something more behind, no, within this desire. Power, welling up inside you, coursing through your body and desperately seeking a way out. But instead of merely letting this energy build up until it explodes out of you, you instinctively know to guide it, direct it, visualizing your new desire and willing this power to make it so on your command.

You open your eyes, looking down. Green sparks play about your fingertips, humming lines of energy curling around your hands. That’s a good sign, you think.

Flicking your eyes up once more to check your targets’ positions, you inhale deeply, then slam your palms down onto the frozen ground, murmuring a single word as your power flows out into it.

Grow.

Two lines of energy spread forward from your hands, diffusing and widening as they go. Wherever your power touches, snowdrops burst up from the ground, the surrounding snow’s moisture pulled in to fuel their explosive growth. You grin as the shifting areas reach Cirno and Dai (and, you assume, Sunny, Star and Luna as well), and the two scrabble for more snow on the still mostly white ground, halting at the realization that there is none.

“H-hey!”
“What the- where did-”

Your grin explodes into full-out laughter, and their heads whip towards the sound just in time to receive two quickly crafted snowballs full in the face, your first two successes redoubling your laughter.

They’ll have some difficulty throwing snowballs if there’s no snow, now won’t they?

You cut off your laughter to hurriedly sidestep three snowballs hurled towards you, seemingly originating from an area off to the side of your plant triangles. Looks like not everyone appreciates your trick.

This alerts you to a flaw in your strategy; sure, removing the snow around your opponents might momentarily give them pause, but they can quickly restock from any of the snow close beside them. Cirno and Dai seem to have done this too, you note, several snowballs grazing you from your other side. You don’t see a way to prevent that, either...well, theoretically you could remove all the snow on the field, but that’s a bit too unsportsmanlike. Not to mention it would look like you spitefully ending the game due to your incompetence. Which, well, isn’t too far from the truth, but you shouldn’t do it anyway.

That gives you an idea, though. Maybe you shouldn’t indiscriminately wipe out their accessible snow, but limiting where they can harvest it could still keep things fun.

With a moment’s thought and another muttered intonation, the energy coming easier to your call this time, your left foot stomps the ground. It takes a couple seconds,but there’s an iridescent green flash, and a large circle around your guess of the hidden three’s location is replaced by newly sprouting grass. All replaced, save a small patch of snow a bit beyond the circle’s center, teasingly ripe for the picking. Quickly, you toss off another couple snowballs towards the spot, hoping - and yes, you’re rewarded with the sight of Sunny’s powers blinking out for a moment, she and the others splattered with the remnants of your attack. Ha, score two for the newbie.

You repeat this tactic several times, managing to strike both opposing groups before they wise up and stop going for the nearby trap snowpiles. Dai stops immediately, while Cirno and at least one invisible fairy each go for another and suffer for it. While this is happening, something occurs to you.

How is the ending of a game like this decided, anyway? Do you just wait for everyone to get bored? You assume that normal matches wouldn’t involve the possibility of all available snow being used up, so it would have to be something like everyone getting tired out. Which isn’t exactly good news, you note through ragged breaths, as this use of your powers is apparently rather exhausting, and you won’t be able to keep it nor dodging up for much longer.

Hmm, no, that wouldn’t be much of a game if nobody can win it. Maybe if one side manages to make the others give up, that counts as a win for them? Still not a good sign, as your antics have successfully made you a target for both opposing groups, who don’t look like they’ll stop until you’ve been put to rest.

...No, thinking about it, you might be able to do something else. You’ve halted your grass-raising circles, deciding to save your remaining energy for evasion. As a result, the others have no need to keep dashing around the battlefield, and are staying in more-or-less the same positions, save some minor twisting and circling.

Now, if you could just keep them right there...

You focus your mind once again, drawing up all of your remaining power. A couple snowballs smash into your side and leg, but you tune them out, concentrating, manipulating your power.

Time to see how strong these powers, and these plants of yours are. Holding onto thoughts of your goal, not a still image this time but a series of events, your energy bursts out into the ground, with you holding on to its two tail ends.

More icy missles impact you, and you grit your teeth, waiting, focusing. Just another moment...

The ground rumbles, and greenery rushes upward out of the snow, but much taller, much denser this time, thicker grasses twisting upwards and wrapping tightly around the legs of your shocked foes. They quickly attempt to fly away, but you urge your plants to hold them tightly, and the fairies stay restrained. Looking to the side, you see that you've managed to successfully trap the other three as well. There was more luck, er, dificulty involved in this, but you managed to get a good idea of their location from their snowballs' angles, and spawned growth all around that area.

“Nice trick!” Cirno calls over to you. You wearily smile at her, nodding in thanks.

“Mine’s better.”

...Now what does she mean byOhhhhh no.

A snowy sphere is forming in the air above Cirno, with what looks like all the snow falling from the sky being funneled into it. As you watch, the snow remaining on the field flies up to join this mass, at this point considerably taller than you.

You try to fly up, panicked adrenaline overcoming your fatigue, but feel your legs tightly restricted, not to mention chilled. Looking down, you realize that your legs have been encased and stuck firmly to the ground with the snow surrounding you. Looking back to Cirno, there’s a triumphant smile on her face.

Well, you guess if you pulled something like this, you should have expected retaliation...

As the enormous white sphere closes in on you, you think you see your life flashing before your eyes. This lasts an exceptionally short time, for obvious reasons, and your remaining time is spent mentally kicking yourself over not accounting for Cirno’s ability to move snow with her mi-

*POFF*

The world explodes into white, and you're smashed into the ground, your snowy restraints crushed. The air's driven out of your lungs, and you reflexively inhale, managing to fill them up again with snow.

While coughing this out, you think you hear a strange...shattering? sound, though that might just be the ringing in your ears. Oh, there’s another sound, too...

Clap, clap, clap.

A tall, blue and white-clad figure stands at the edge of the forest, looking out over the scene with a small smile and applauding hands.

"Well done, Cirno. I see you've improved even more since we last met.”

“Letty!” Cirno streaks over towards the newcomer, laughing, and is caught by the woman in a hug. Wait, how did she...?

Looking over to the others, you see four still-trapped fairies and a broken pile of deep-frozen grasses, which you guess to be Cirno’s handiwork.

“So, what is your name, child?"

The new lady's put Cirno down, you can see, and-how did she get over here so fast? Staring downwards, she doesn't look very happy with you.

"Are you the one who disrupted my winter here?”
-----------------------------------
[ ] I have no name.
[ ] I don’t know.
[ ] Make up a name for yourself. I am...
-[ ] Koru
-[ ] Syren
-[ ] Erica
-[ ] (Write-in)

And:
[ ] Ask who she is. “Her” winter?
[ ] Let the others go from your trap.
[ ] Throw a snowball at her.
[ ] Does she mean the plants? Apologize, you guess.
-------------------------------------------------
I still can't keep to a schedule, have a day-late update and an apology.

Name choice because dialogue with a nameless character and limited available pronouns was getting to be a pain to write.

Deconstructive criticisms or other biofeedback are always welcome.
>>No. 53293
[x] Make up a name for yourself. I am...
-[x] Erica

And:
[x] Does she mean the plants? Apologize, you guess.
>>No. 53294
[x] I don’t know.

I'd like it more if someone else named her. In-story, I mean.

[x] Let the others go from your trap.
[x] Does she mean the plants? Apologize, you guess.

Cool power use~ I want to see her use it on another fairy.

>snow drops
Wasn't there a doujin with snow drops? Something about flowers appearing even in winter. Does anyone have the doujin name? I know this is vague, but how many doujins with snow drops could there possibly be
>>No. 53295
[x] I don’t know.
[x] Let the others go from your trap.
Got nothing to apologize for.
>>No. 53296
[x] Make up a name for yourself. I am...
-[x] Erica

[x] Does she mean the plants? Apologize, you guess.

Might I ask if your Letty is based around the one from the miasma doujin? Those last few lines did sound quite cold. Oh, pardon the pun.

Also, I love writefags who talk with the readers, keep it up!
>>No. 53297
[x] Get named by somebody. You are...
-[x] Neva Galanthus

And:
[x] Does she mean the plants? Apologize, you guess.
[x] Let the others go from your trap.

I'm thinking we ought to name ourselves after the snowdrop, as we woke up in a field of them, after all. Neva Galanthus is derived from Latin and means roughly 'Snow-white flower'.

Other options include Karli Kardelen (Turkish, roughly means "Snowdrops covered in snow") and Soumatsu Yuki (Japanese, rearranged version of "snowdrop", probably actually refers to the Japanese snowdrop, which is a tree rather than a flower. Unable to find much evidence one way or the other, and 'matsu' seems to mean 'pine'.)

Also we don't really know anything about anything so somebody else should probably name us.
>>No. 53298
>>53297

it's >>53296 here

I'm liking the idea of a smart fairy with amnesia!

changing vote to:
[x] Make up a name for yourself. I am...
-[x] Neva Galanthus

[x] Does she mean the plants? Apologize, you guess.

Is she making a name up on the spot or does she remember certain words?
>>No. 53299
[x] Snowdrop

Why bother translating it? Snowdrop is a fine name for a fairy. All the other fairies' names are English-derived, anyways.
>>No. 53300
MC has a working knowledge of Japanese (translated here as English, durr), as well as Japanese words for different species (i.e. flowers) as well as nonliving things existing in nature (i.e., I dunno, rocks).

Any of the currently proposed/suggested names are legitimate and would be able to occur to you regardless, however. How? Not saying, you'll find out if you choose to name yourself. I may or may not have just now made up a justification for this, but it does fit with what I already had planned for the story. And won't require me handwaving Cirno's knowledge of Turkish or similar. I'm just going to say no votes for other characters naming you unless the suggested name is English/Japanese. Hopefully that's all right.

>>53294
Keep that bit about power use in mind.
And I, personally, have read thousands of doujins centered on the lives of Touhous interacting with snowdrops, and integrated elements of each and every one. Not saying whether or not the one you mentioned is relevant.

>>53296
In part, maybe? My Letty's loosely based off a number of fanon sources, you'll see more of her next update.
Any coldness is her reacting to, well, a newfound lack of coldness.

And thanks, I like readers who interact with their writefags too.

>>53297
I was unable to verify the translations of these one way or another, but I'll take your word for it. Also, appreciate the thought evident in your vote.
>>No. 53301
[x] I don’t know.
[x] Let the others go from your trap.
[x] Does she mean the plants? Apologize, you guess.
>>No. 53302
>>53300
The translations use a bit of poetic license, but they should be accurate, as well as being actual names. I can go into the specifics if anybody happens to be interested.
>>No. 53303
[x] I don’t know.
[x] Let the others go from your trap.
[x] Does she mean the plants? Apologize, you guess.
>>No. 53305
[x] I don’t know.
[x] Let the others go from your trap.
[x] Does she mean the plants? Apologize, you guess.
>>No. 53308
[x] I don’t know.
[x] Let the others go from your trap.
[x] Does she mean the plants? Apologize, you guess.

Spring Fairy? Obviously our main objective should be to dethrone Lily White.
>>No. 53309
>>53308
Seems like we're closer to Fairy!Yuuka to me.
>>No. 53310
>>53308
Energizing fairy. You could say she puts a spring in people's steps.
>>No. 53312
File 133787315131.jpg - (36.56KB, 481x360, koishi.jpg) [iqdb]
53312
>>53310
Oh you.
>>No. 53315
Aight, guess I'm calling this for not knowing your name and the combined actions. Makes more sense, I suppose, even if it means the dialogue will stay more frustrating to write for a bit longer, but ah well.

Next update should be sometime on Saturday.

>>53302
Feel free to post the explanations if you've thought through them. I'm probably going to pick MC's name myself at this point, so.

>>53308
Well, you should be meeting her at some point, but why would you want to do that to poor Lily? You monster.

>>53310
An energizer fairy would be far superior to the useless little energizer bunny, only good for its cells' appeal.
>>No. 53325
Hooray!

>you should be meeting Lily at some point
Has Spring almost arrived in-story? I'm kinda curious to see what she does off-season, though..
>>No. 53328
File 133793717462.jpg - (438.55KB, 800x1300, spring_summer.jpg) [iqdb]
53328
>>53325
I think I can answer that.
>>No. 53332
File 133813731777.png - (805.76KB, 1097x777, here's_letty.png) [iqdb]
53332
[x] I don’t know.
-[x] Does she mean the plants? Apologize, you guess.
-[x] Let the others go from your trap.

Name? Your name? She’s asking for your name. Hahaha, that’s so silly, you don’t know what your name is. You might as well ask her what to call yourself, she looks smart. And mad. Mostly mad.

Your head’s still a bit rattled from that snow boulder, possibly. Oh, look, now the woman’s spinning, that’s interesting and probably doesn’t mean anything bad at all.

You close your eyes for a moment to try and pull yourself together.

“Well?”

You open them again to note that her scowl has deepened, but at least it’s not shifting around her face anymore. That probably means you’re fit to respond, you conclude, pushing yourself up off the ground to do so. You still need to look up to talk to her, unlike with everyone else you’ve met so far, but things feel at least a little less unequal.

“I don’t know what my name is.” Her eyebrows arch at this. “I don’t know much at all, really. I just woke up, or was born maybe, a little while ago today. I know the names of a lot of other things, but not myself.”

"I...see." She draws out the statement longer than seems necessary. You're getting the feeling she doesn't believe you. "And were you the one who-"

"Grew the plants?" You interrupt, earning an intensified glare. "Yeah, that was me. Sorry if that disturbed you or the winter or whatever, that wasn't what I was trying to do."

"What was your intent, then?" Her expression turned a fraction less severe at that, but she still looks doubtful of you. "Trying to herald spring? Attempting to threaten Cirno and her friends, before being shown how foolish that was?"

"Um, no." What does spring have to do with this? "Snowdrops are late winter plants anyway, and grass isn't exactly limited to spring. As for Cirno and the others, we were having a snowball fight, and I wasn't doing very well. I was just trying to give myself an edge." Why did she think you were trying to threaten...oh, wait. You glance past her to see Dai, Star, Sunny, and Luna still restrained and immobile. Right, that might not look entirely innocent.

"On that note..." Energy crackles weakly around your fingers, and you urge your plants to fall away from their captives, releasing them. Those wrapped around Dai are a bit sluggish to respond, for some reason, but all obey you within a few seconds, the fred fairies flying over to you. You sigh as another burst of fatigue hits you, before turning your attention back to the woman. "There, now that's done- Eh?" She disappeared again. You abruptly feel a freezing wind on your back, biting at your skin through the thin material of Dai’s dress, and turn around very slowly...

To find the woman lowering her hands, the icy gust dying down as quickly as it started. The white scarf she wears is completely unmoved by the wind, oddly. She blinks at your wary expression. “Oh, I’m terribly sorry, you startled me by using your powers so suddenly. Might I have done the same to you?” You think you catch a brief hint of a flickering smile, but can’t be quite sure.

“Gah, c’mon Letty, I asked you not to do that anymore.” Oh, Cirno’s finally made it over here from the woods’ edge. Apparently she saw whatever just happened and is backing you up, that’s nice.

“Snow-teleporting’s so cheap, can’t you just fly like a normal person? Geez.”

...Or she’s just upset about “Letty” leaving her by the woods abruptly, and either didn’t notice or care what she just did with you. Sigh.

“I’m sorry, Cirno, I just thought it would be prudent to investigate the girl that tied you all up. Put a little fear of winter into her.” Huh, Letty’s tone is a lot less cold when she’s talking to Cirno, even if her expression’s still rather serious. “Good job getting out with that controlled freezing, incidentally. But was there a reason you didn’t free Daiyousei, or the other three?”

“Ah, yeah. Things I freeze like that usually shatter and spray shards everywhere, I didn’t want to hurt ‘em. Hope you didn’t mind being hung up for a bit longer, guys.” She addresses to your other arriving companions.

“No, that’s alright, it wasn’t really unpleasant after the initial grabbing. Hi, Letty.” Dai responds.

“It’s fine, you weren’t the one at fault...” Sunny casts an annoyed look in your direction.

“Don’t mind Sunny, she’s just mad that our teamwork lost to Cirno again.” Star says, nudging the fairy in question.

“I did suggest illusions, you know. Still think they would have helped.” Luna points out.

“You know I’m not good enough with my powers to pull off something like that.”

“I just meant illusionary snowballs coming from somewhere else, nothing really fancy. That could have kept us from being hit or caught.”

“...Well why didn’t you say so, then?”

“You were making me keep us muted the whole time, you couldn’t have heard me!”

“But you were the one controlling that, it wouldn’t have killed you to turn it off for a second and whisper something to me!”

“Guys, stop making a bad impression.” Star interrupts, with a meaningful glance in Letty’s direction. “You’re that winter youkai Cirno’s mentioned a few times, I guess? Nice to meet you, I’m Star Sapphire.”

“What?” The two cease their argument to look at Letty “Oh, uh, hi. Sunny Milk.”
“Luna Child.”

“I am Letty Whiterock, yuki-onna.” Letty inclines her head slightly. “I’m glad to meet more of Cirno’s friends.”

“You guys should like Letty. I’ve known her longer than even Dai, and she’s always been really nice.” Cirno says, smiling brightly.

“She is, even if she can seem kind of scary at times. Especially when you’re first meeting her, if I remember correctly.” Dai adds. “...By the way, Letty, there’s something I’ll want to ask you about later.”

“Hmm? That’s fine.” Letty responds, her gaze trailing over Dai. “How have you been doing lately, Daiyousei? Feeling all right? You and Cirno are as close as ever, I see.”

“Um, mostly, and yes.” Letty tilts her head at the word ‘mostly’, and Dai fidgets. “That’s what I wanted to talk about. In the meantime, though, has Cirno told you yet what she did with the lake?” Cirno looks puzzled for a moment, before the memory hits her.

“Oh, that’s right! I managed to freeze the whole lake today, Letty!” This, more than anything else you’ve seen, startles the ice woman, her jaw dropping slightly and eyes widening. “Have you done that before, Letty? A great youkai like you probably would have, right?”

“I, ah. No, not personally, I haven’t.” The woman shakes her head dazedly, muttering under her breath. “This girl...How much power is she going to get?” Cirno looks surprised, not to mention slightly disappointed at this, and Letty quickly continues. “I mean, there have been winters cold enough for that to happen which I recall, and my influence caused a great deal of that, so technically....For instance, remember that winter three years back, with the heavy blizzards?”

“Those led to the time when you helped us build the biggest snowman ever, right? That was great...”

“Was it the biggest, actually?” Dai wonders. “I think the one around the Stolen Spring incident might have been even taller, given how high we had to fly...”

You watch as the three of them descend into reminiscing about past projects. They have quite a history together, you guess.

“By the way...” Star clears her throat, looking at you questioningly. “I thought you didn’t know what your powers were. That was you with the plants, right?”

“Well, I didn’t know before. I just kind of figured it out on the spot; I remembered something that happened right after I woke up, then things came easily from there.” She looks doubtful at this. First Letty, now her...are the things you’re saying so suspicious?

“Hu-uh.” Star nods. “I don’t think I learned to use my power that fast, and it’s a lot simpler than yours seems. That’s pretty impressive.”

“It was, I guess. Even if what you did was basically cheating.” Sunny says.

“I think Star meant learning to use her power that fast and that competently was impressive, not what she actually did with it.” Luna corrects. “Although that would qualify too. Maybe you are just an older fairy who got her brain reset a few too many times. Have you remembered anything else?”

You shake your head. “No, that was it. But, hmm...” Thinking back on that feeling, something occurs to you. “That did feel like actions I’d done before, actually. So maybe you’re right.”

“...yes, and that was what led up to your little ‘war’...Oh.” Letty turns away from Cirno and Dai towards the four of you. “That was you three, wasn’t it? Who knocked down Cirno and Daiyousei’s home, trying to enlist Cirno in your scheme to terrorize the humans.”

“Why does everyone keep bringing that up...Yeah, it was us.” Sunny responds. She gulps, Letty’s expression’s gotten more frightening again. “Uh, are you mad about that?”

“No, no, don’t worry, it’s in the past and I’m not exactly opposed to that myself. Humans behave rather amusingly when they’re travelling along the road or through the mountains, and a blizzard hits out of nowhere...” Letty chuckles. “But, from what I’ve heard of the Three Mischievous- pardon, Three Fairies of Light, you’re quite the ambitious trio, and have had several similar grand plans you’ve come to Cirno with. So, if you don’t mind me asking, what are the three of you, or four I suppose, doing here?”

“Um...” Sunny looks nervously at the rest of you.
---------------------------------
[ ] Tell Letty about the plan.
[ ] Make up an excuse for why you’re visiting.
[ ] Stay silent.
-----------------------------------------------
Another late update, sigh, and a short one to boot. My excuse is hot temperatures making it difficult to think / write yesterday. I’ll be free for most of the rest of the day, though, so if I get enough votes in the next few hours I’ll try and crank out a second update (of similar length, probably) today. Seems a decent enough way to combat schedule slip.

Not especially happy with this one, hope the next will be better.
>>No. 53333
[x] Stay silent.

Yeah, not going to risk the thin ice again.
>>No. 53334
[x] Make up an excuse for why you’re visiting.

They were fetching you some clothes. It's not even an excuse, see, you're wearing Dai's clothes right now.
>>No. 53335
>No, that’s alright, it wasn’t really unpleasant after the initial grabbing.
THIS POINTS TOWARDS WONDERFUL DIRECTIONS
>>No. 53336
[x] Make up an excuse for why you're there.
>>No. 53337
[x] Make up an excuse for why you’re visiting.
>>No. 53338
[x] Stay silent.
>>No. 53340
Well, I'd like to wait for a few more votes to come in, but it's been over a day, so calling.
>>No. 53341
>>53340
Hooray! It sucks, but waiting for more votes runs the risk of bumming everyone out when the story gets neither votes nor an update. At least you didn't have to flip a coin this time.
>>No. 53343
>>53341
you forget that this is memorial day weekend, something which has some people out somewhere else other than their desks. That might be why things are slow this time.

But having said that, 24 hours is normally a good waiting period to start writing... maybe except on certain weekends.
>>No. 53417
File 133852817929.jpg - (275.82KB, 567x800, 27396943.jpg) [iqdb]
53417
Status update?
>>No. 53419
>>53417
Ugh, yeah, sorry. Status update time.

A lot of crap's come up recently for me in real life, rather abruptly, which I don't want to discuss here. This has made writing difficult and not something I've had time to think about or actually do. I will be able to resolve these things in the short term, but it will still take a considerable amount of energy on my part, meaning I won't have much to spare for other endeavors. As such, this story is going on a short break, for a week or so. I don't really want to call it a hiatus because that implies either death or months-long gaps between updates, neither of which will happen. Just a delay, and after that I'll be back to rejoin the summer rush and worry about how many new competitors I've gotten in the meantime.

I'll try my best to churn out another update late today to make things slightly better and tide you over until then.

After that, next update will be next Saturday the 9th, at 02:00 give-or-take a few minutes. If I don't stick to this, I recommend that you punch me over the internet. Or do the verbal equivalent, whatever. After this point, I'm going to start attempting scheduled daily updates, so if you care unduly about voting do it soon after.
>>No. 53423
File 133860117178.jpg - (609.61KB, 600x600, 27460172_m.jpg) [iqdb]
53423
Waiting coolly.
>>No. 53427
File 133860800763.jpg - (227.93KB, 1024x1291, the_cold_isn't_always_bitter.jpg) [iqdb]
53427
And here...we...go.
------------------------
[x] Make up an excuse for why you’re visiting.

Well, Sunny doesn’t look especially eager for Letty to find out about their plan. You can understand that; even if she’s a friend of Cirno and Dai’s, she’s a little creepy.

The three seem at a loss for what to say, though, which is a bit frustrating. If you don’t want her to know, it’s not that hard to just make something up, right? Really, you have a ready-made excuse right here, and it wouldn’t even require lying. The pause is stretching on long enough to seem suspicious, so you shrug mentally and speak up.

“They came here to help me.” This successfully shifts Letty’s focus to you and away from your stammering companions, so you continue. “I didn’t have any clothes when I woke up in the forest, and they found me like that. So, they suggested that I come with them to borrow some clothes from Cirno or Dai, and, well, here we are.” You wave a hand over Dai’s dress to illustrate your point.

“Uh...yeah. We happened to be in the area, and wanted to help out a fellow fairy.” Luna follows your lead, a little hesitantly.

“We knew that Cirno’s house was nearby, so coming here seemed like a good solution.” Star chimes in, sounding natural enough to convince anyone that was the whole story.

Letty seems appeased, and Sunny shoots you a grateful look. Seems like that subject’s been successfully avoided without even needing to lie.

“Yeah, and they also came to tell me about this great new plan to cause an Incident!” Cirno announces.

...Or, y’know, there’s that. The three fairies cringe in unison, and Letty shakes her head knowingly, clicking her tongue.

“Oh, so you remembered that...” Dai says, looking downcast.

“Of course! My memory might not be that great, but I couldn’t forget something this cool just because of a snowball fight!”

“Well, I can’t exactly say I’m surprised,” Letty comments. “Seeing as I rather doubt you four have forgotten, despite that convincing-sounding tale you just told...what does this plan of yours consist of?”

“Do I need to - yeah, okay.” Sunny says reluctantly, looking back and forth between Star and Luna’s expectant faces. “Well, it all relates to the Scarlet Mist Incident...”
--------------
“...And this artifact, it can amplify any powers channeled into it?” Letty queries, staring intently at Sunny.

“As far as we know, yeah.” The plan’s mastermind responds.

“Just what were you three planning to do with it, then?”

“We weren’t sure yet. No, really,” Luna adds at Letty’s skeptical expression. “We just found out about everything this morning from Marisa. Cirno had the idea of spreading her ice everywhere, I think, but...”

“Ah, Cirno.” Letty smiles affectionately, a rather startling change to her appearance if not an unpleasant one. “You have the right idea, clever girl, but you need to think bigger.”

“Bigger?” Cirno’s pleasure at being praised is mixed with an equal measure of confusion.

“Yes. Ice will extend over all Gensokyo, and so will snow, sleet, frost, and all the elements of a lovely winter. Imagine, we will put off the coming of spring for days, weeks, perhaps even months, and be able to maintain this winter wonderland.” There is a strange fervor in Letty’s tone, and an enthusiastic gleam in her eyes, which are almost humbling to behold.

“...Hasn’t that been done before?”
“Yeah, the ghost princess and her servant did that a few years back. And anyways, I like spring.”
“It’s more convenient for drinking outside than the winter. Ah, no offense intended...” Star’s hurried backtracking alerts the three naysaying fairies to Letty looming over them, still looking more than a little crazed with passion for her idea.

“I would so love to use this item in such a way...But I’m sure you three will let me. Won’t you?”

“I, ah...” Sunny takes a moment to warily observe Letty’s expression, before wilting. “Yeah, I guess so.”

“It’s not like we have much choice, is it?...” Luna mutters sardonically.

“What?” Letty blinks, taken aback and snapped out of her joyful trance. “Of course you have a choice.”

“We can choose between agreeing now or agreeing after you beat us up, right?” Star asks wryly, her nigh-perpetual smile tinged with bitterness. “It’s okay, we’re fairies. We know the drill by now.”

“No, no, that’s...” Letty sighs, apparently having reverted back to her earlier stoic self. “I’m not going to threaten you letting me use the artifact.”

“You’re...not?” Three blank stares, and your own quizzical one. Is this such a strange idea to them? You suppose so, given what Star just said, but...

“No. I admit that I’d love the opportunity to extend the winter, as I probably was making a bit too obvious, but I’m not about to beat you down just so I can have a little fun. Regardless of how easily I could do so.”

“Are you sure you’re a youkai? Because most of the ones I’ve met wouldn’t think twice about doing that.” Luna asks.

“Hey, not all of them are like that.” Cirno objects. “Rumia, Misty, and Wriggle at least treat fairies all right, and-”
“Shh, Cirno. Letty’s going to address that, I think.” Dai hushes, tugging on Cirno’s wing and quieting her.

“Yes, I certainly am a youkai. Don’t confuse me for a fairy like yourself, I’m aware of the differences between our races and how most -most, not all, Cirno- youkai respond to that. But, well...” She stares into space for a moment. “A personal philosophy of mine, albeit one which most of Gensokyo would find quite odd, is this; One who possesses great power likewise has the obligation not to selfishly abuse it on those weaker than themselves.”

Cirno stays uncharacteristically silent, but nods, beaming at her old friend’s words. You have the impression that she’s heard, and internalized, this belief a long while ago. Dai’s reaction is subtler, a slightly shuddering but firm nod, paired with a barely-perceptible glance at her wings.

Personally, now you’re wondering if what you did with the plants violates that belief, although you doubt that your power qualifies as “great”. ...You have a distinct feeling there’s more to what she said, relevant to you, but can’t think of any actual reason for this inkling, and shrug it off. Probably unimportant.

“...Well. I wish more people thought that way when interacting with fairies.” Sunny says, after a moment of thought.

“Or in general, for that matter,” Luna adds.

“Personally...” Star begins, wearing a pensive expression. “I don’t think I’d mind letting you use the artifact. Genuinely saying that, this time. What do you think, guys?”

“I’m with you. You seem all right, Letty.”
“Sure, I’m confident we can work something out.”

You’re not quite sure if you’re meant to be included in this decision, but nod anyway.

Letty smiles, a contented little expression. “My thanks. Ah, this is going to be such fun...But, ahem, since that’s been resolved. How much thought have you put into the logistics of carrying out this plan, exactly?”

“Almost none, I’m pretty sure.” You guess, glancing around at the three beside you. You quickly receive confirmation in the forms of averted gazes, embarrassed coughs, and a sheepish smile. “You were going to improve that beyond ‘Sneak in, steal it, sneak out,’ right? I hope?”

“Well, er, yeah. Of course.”
“Does disguising ourselves with the fairy maids’ outfits count?”
“Possibly, once we got in. That’s often how these things go, make things up as they come up.”

“I mean, for all I know it could be that easy, but-” You say before Letty cuts you off, scoffing.

“Hardly. The vampire is a proud and paranoid girl, and would prize her possessions highly. I’d expect some sort of traps or barriers defending anything she judges especially valuable, set up by either herself or the magician. Even that black-white witch has trouble stealing from her successfully, and that’s from a library with nigh-infinite locations to target. So, that being the case, I have some ideas I’d like to suggest.”

“Seems fair enough, now that you’re going to be benefitting from them and all.” Luna says, as Star and Sunny whisper to each other behind her back.

“But we’ve gotten in and out of the library before, and we haven’t had as much practice as Marisa with sneak-thievery.”
“Yes, but that was when they were remodeling, and I don’t think the magician was in to defend it. Someone was, sure, but there’s no way a youkai that powerful would get buried under a few books. And calling Marisa sneaky seems very wrong for some reason...”

“Oh, I would have helped you out regardless.” Letty responds to Luna, who raises a doubt-laden eyebrow. “Well, your success is in my interests, seeing as you’ve already roped in Cirno and - Daiyousei, I’m actually not sure about you, come to think of it...”

“If Cirno’s going, so am I.” Dai says. Her tone’s a bit resigned, but determination is plain to see in her eyes. An inaudible message seems to pass between her and Letty, the latter nodding.

“Good, good. As I was saying, both of my young friends are already embroiled in your scheme, and helping you equates to helping them. And, yes, myself as well at this point.”

“So, what are your plans, then?” You take the lead in asking. Letty seems to know what she’s talking about, and the way she talks indicates more intelligence than your fellow fairies. If you want to succeed, and you do wish for your newfound friends to do just that, listening to her seems a good idea.

“Well. As you mentioned, the vampire is hosting a party tomorrow night. Her gatherings are typically major events, with individuals from all across Gensokyo coming. The ghosts, aliens, Buddhists, forest youkai, tengu, the witch and shrine maiden...”

“The shrine maiden coming to a vampire’s lair for a party?” Dai asks. “Isn’t she a bit too, um, trigger-happy for something like that?”
“It’s Reimu, I doubt she’d care as long as there’s food and drink.” Sunny says, snickering.

“Ah? Is that really all the motivation needed for that vicious girl? Oddly simple...but, anyway. I have been invited to events like this in the past, as well as the upcoming one, and it occurred to me that this party would have everyone sufficiently distracted to make a burglary possible.”

“Why’s that?” You ask. You’re not exactly clear on what these ‘parties’ are, nor what happens at them.

“ ‘Cause the vampire will be too busy showing off to be worried about her stuff.” Sunny says, nodding. “...Well, up until Reimu starts yelling at her about destroying this thing, at least.”

“Not only her, but the magician and maid, and maybe the gate guard, should be at the party too. Reliably there, and away from the rest of the house.” Luna points out. “Wow, we might not even need to hide ourselves at this rate.”

“And there’s always the inevitable danmaku battle that you gotta think about.” Cirno adds. “That many powerful people in the same place, somebody’s gonna start a fight sooner or later. I probably would, at least.”

“Thankfully, Cirno, not everyone is quite as eager to - actually, I suppose more or less everyone is that willing to start conflicts. Even more so when exposed to as much alcohol as will be present. But yes, all of those reasons are valid ones for this time being optimal.

So, I recommend that you enter ahead of time, posing as maids like you suggested would help, and ascertain the artifact’s location plus any defenses it might have. Once the party is underway, you can quickly make your way to and seize it. I’ll be at the party, doing what I can to keep everyone there distracted. Telling some Buddhist I heard a Taoist planning to burn their temple, that sort of thing.” Letty finishes nonchalantly.

“Wait, but if everyone’s at the party and we’re stealing this then I won’t be able to fight ‘em.” A newly-troubled Cirno says. Dai covers her quickly forming smile with a hand.

“You could always go there and fight people after we’ve gotten away with it, if you really want.” Star points out.

“Hey, yeah, that’d work!” Cirno says cheerily.
Dai groans softly, hand shifting upward to slap against her forehead.

“Well, thanks a lot Letty, this should really make things easier.” Sunny says, grinning. “Anyone have objections to her plan? Star, Luna, Cirno, Dai, you- come to think of it, uh. We never actually asked what part you want to have in this, did we?” She asks you, prompting everyone’s gazes to shift towards you, Letty’s in particular rather surprised.

“I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say I’d like to have you along. I could understand if it’s too much for comfort, though, given how new you are just to normal life.” Star says, a bit hesitantly.

“You’ve been pretty helpful and seemed enthusiastic about this, so I guess we just assumed...Was that wrong? Or do you want to come to the mansion with us?” Luna asks.
------------------------------------
[ ] Yes, I want to go with you.
-[ ] Let’s go right now.
-[ ] But I’d want to make myself useful, so first...
--[ ] Can (someone) teach me danmaku?
--[ ] I’m going to try figuring out more of my powers.
[ ] No, I’d rather not go.
-[ ] I’ll just stay here until you’re back, I’d get in the way.
-[ ] Could (someone) stay here with me?
----------------------------------------------------
Yeah, a decent part of this was inspired by thinking I’d made Letty seem too sinister in the last update, and looking at canon sources where she’s rather more playful. Hopefully that’s been mitigated while still seeming believable.

If it seems like the previous choice didn’t have much point, it was mainly to affect how the involved characters think of you. Some of this should hopefully be apparent already.

Vote options can be paired if doing so isn’t illogical.

And now >>53419.
>>No. 53428
File 133861053838.png - (526.07KB, 1024x768, 18786724.png) [iqdb]
53428
[x] Yes, I want to go with you.
-[x] But I’d want to make myself useful, so first...
--[x] I’m going to try figuring out more of my powers.

Refusing is an option? Really? Not voting for danmaku because we're under a time limit and she was rubbish at the snowball fight.

>“Wait, but if everyone’s at the party and we’re stealing this then I won’t be able to fight ‘em.” A newly-troubled Cirno says. Dai covers her quickly forming smile with a hand.
I love this dynamic.
>>No. 53432
[x] Yes, I want to go with you.
-[x] But I’d want to make myself useful, so first...
--[x] I’m going to try figuring out more of my powers.
>>No. 53433
Letty~

[c] Yes, I want to go with you.
-[c] But I’d want to make myself useful, so first...
--[c] I’m going to try figuring out more of my powers.
>>No. 53435
[x] Yes, I want to go with you.
-[x] But I’d want to make myself useful, so first...
--[x] Can (someone) teach me danmaku?

We should learn the basics first before trying to handle an unknown (powers)
>>No. 53438
[x] Yes, I want to go with you.
-[x] But I’d want to make myself useful, so first...
--[x] Can (Star) teach me danmaku?
--[x] I’m going to try figuring out more of my powers.

Might be looking too much into this, but a few of the tactics we used with our powers seem like they'd translate nicely into Spell Cards. Plus we seem to be a fast learner, might as well get at least some basic knowledge of danmaku.

Voting Star because I like Star.
>>No. 53439
[x] Yes, I want to go with you.
-[x] But I’d want to make myself useful, so first...
--[x] I’m going to try figuring out more of my powers.
>>No. 53443
I have serious doubts about focusing on the powers doing much soon and without crossing some line in the spell card rules.
>>No. 53444
>>53443
She already successfully used them once. There's no reason to believe further experimentation won't yield rewards.
>>No. 53445
>>53443
The option wouldn't be given to us if it was going to be useless, would it?
Well, maybe it would but >>53444 seems more likely.
As for spell card rules, are we going to be in situations where it'd be an issue? Fights and such? Or what'd you mean by crossing a line?
>>No. 53446
>>53445
It's nigh-certain that a danmaku fight is going to break out, likely ensnaring the fairies and unlike most characters, our fairy hasn't gotten a full grasp (the first time wound up attracting attention from Letty). While a terrible disaster isn't likely on this road, failure to get the article is as her power is poorly suited for stealth and fighting to maintain it. (In MGS terms, her using her powers would cause things to from caution to full alert)

Of course I could be wrong and the whole thing goes perfectly and Satori freezes her ass off.
>>No. 53450
>>53446
>Satori freezes her ass off
I see what you did there.

Our power doesn't seem that unstealthy, really.The impression I got was that we just triggered Letty's winter-sense, and we did get the drop on the other faeries with it beforehand.

Although I don't really see how we'd be able to make things grow inside the mansion unless there are convenient potted plants, so maybe focusing on danmaku would be better for now. Both still seems like a safe bet, though, considering the writer outright said we could combine votes.

Not saging because Patchy Quest readers aren't and I'm pretty sure there are still voters for this who haven't seen it.
>>No. 53452
Everyone else can do danmaku. We're the only person with our power, whatever it is.

I'm not convinced that we're purely plant-based, either.

>Personally, now you’re wondering if what you did with the plants violates that belief, although you doubt that your power qualifies as “great”. ...You have a distinct feeling there’s more to what she said, relevant to you, but can’t think of any actual reason for this inkling, and shrug it off. Probably unimportant.
>>No. 53476
Votes be called for SDM post-power training.

>>53428
It would throw my plans off the rails a bit, but yes, it's an option.

>>53443
>>53444
>>53445
>>53446
>>53450
>>53452
There are a number of valid points here, but most of them would be spoilery to respond to.

And if the next update is posted later than 02:00 on Saturday, please just wait a few hours.
>>No. 53607
Watch this space, update in <1 hour.
>>No. 53608
Hooray!
>>No. 53611
How'd you manage that?
>>No. 53612
File 133921375695.jpg - (344.18KB, 1280x860, pars_unum.jpg) [iqdb]
53612
>>53610
>>53609
Weird stuff's happening with my posts, and my password's not working to delete these. Ignore them for now.
==================================
1.5 hours < 1 hour.
We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.
----------------------
[x] Yes, I want to go with you.
-[x] But I’d want to make myself useful, so first...
--[x] I’m going to try figuring out more of my powers.

They’re worried about you not wanting to join them? Ha, please, the thought hadn’t even crossed your mind. You’re enjoying being a part of this little group, and anyway it’s not like something better to do would come out of nowhere.

“Yes, of course I want to come with you. I may not know much, but I can recognize an interesting adventure when it’s put in front of me.” You exchange confident smiles with the others. “Besides, you all have been really nice and fun to be around so far, and I’d want to have more of that. But, um...” You trail off, a thought striking you.

“But what?” Cirno tilts her head slightly.

“Sorry, just thinking through this a little more. I do want to come with you for this plan, but I really don’t want to be dead weight. If I’m going to be helping out, I should be able to do something remotely helpful.” Everyone else seems fairly confident, self-assured in their capabilities, but you don’t have anything like that. Not yet, at least.

“You’re good at thinking on your feet,” Star points out. “Considering how you adapted to the snowball fight, and what you said to- what you said about the planning. That’s more than enough to be helpful to us, in my opinion.”

“Ah...thanks.” You hadn’t considered any of your thoughts all that impressive, but she seems sincere. “Still, though. If something goes wrong, we get blindsided by someone powerful in the mansion maybe, I’d want to be able to do more than think the problem away.”

“Want a lesson in danmaku and Spell Cards? We’ve gotten pretty good at both, made up dozens of cards, if you want to learn.” Sunny suggests.

“I was considering asking about that, actually, but I don’t think so. You made it sound like something that takes weeks or months to learn competently, and I’d just have a fraction of a day to pick it up. I’m just going to try working out more of my powers, plus figuring out why using them seemed nostalgic.” More than that, your powers are something you can call your own, a unique (you think) ability, and not something else like danmaku which you’d be vastly inferior to the others in.

“Picking up the basics of danmaku would be quick enough,” Dai says doubtfully. “And you really shouldn’t go too long in Gensokyo without knowing how to use Spell Card rules.”

“Ah, it’s probably not that actually that urgent. Even if something does go wrong, who’s she going to be fighting?” Sunny asks nonchalantly.

“Depending on a lack of fighting hardly seems a wise choice of action.” Letty states. “I agree with Daiyousei, we should teach her the rules of combat as soon as is practical. But I suppose that could wait until after this self-education, if necessary.”

“We need to teach her these things. Like, what if she gets attacked by some of the other local fairies? There’s more than a few gangs around the area who’d try to bully her.” Dai says, raising a finger.
“Eh, she’s with us, we could fight off any other fairies without breaking a sweat. And anyway, the forest fairies should all be staying in their homes until the snow stops. Wusses can’t appreciate the winter.” Cirno says.
“Hey, it’s cold in the snow. Fairies are made for things like drinking sake in the summertime, not getting hypothermia.” Luna

“Fairies are created for a vast number of reasons.” Letty corrects mildly. “There’s no need to fault the winter just because your constitution’s so frail.”

“Hey, I’m not that frail.”
“That’s true, if she was she’d actually hurt herself from being so clumsy.”
“Careful, Sunny. Clumsy fairy like me, there’s always a chance I might hurt someone else...”

“What if a hungry youkai attacks her? Not necessarily right now, but in the future. A lot of them could tear apart things like plants, danmaku would be needed to really give her a chance.” Dai says, quelling the tension between Sunny and Luna.

“Yeah, youkai might be a problem, a lot of them see fairies as snacks. I think she could defend herself all right, though. If something grabs and starts licking you," Cirno addresses you, "just wrap ‘em up with those vines, show them what you can do back.”

There’s a pause as everyone processes Cirno’s words.

“Er. No offense, but if you’re going to be playing with those vines again, can you do it a bit farther away?” Luna asks. “One surprise wrestling session like that was more than enough.”
“A little scary, even. There was way more strength than I’d have guessed behind those vines.” Sunny puts in.
“It wasn’t that bad, could even have been fun if-” Star coughs, Dai pointedly averting her gaze. "I mean, you probably should get to control those better before using them much more."

“All right, I’ll go off a ways into the woods then,” you say with a nod. “I’ll be back soon, then we can head off to the mansion. Or you can teach me something else if you want, whichever. See you later.” Beating your wings, you wave and take off.

“Bye.” “See ya in a bit.”

“Letty, if you don’t mind, I’d really like to have that talk now...” Dai mutters from behind you, a stressed undertone audible in her words. Letty’s response is too quiet to hear from your distance, but looking over your shoulder you can see the pair fly away from the other four.

As you fly into the woods, increasing your distance from the others, you feel an odd, if not unpleasant, feeling. As if something had been restricting one of your limbs, and with it now thankfully removed you’re free to stretch.

Except instead of your wing being freed, you know this to be about your powers, and exercising them is exactly what you plan to do.
-------------------------------------------------------
You weave among branches for a bit, not following any particular path, until something catches your eye; a cherry tree. Yes, you decide, that will do nicely for a start.

...Why that tree, though? None of the others stuck out. Staring at it, you come to the conclusion that this plant in particular speaks to something within you. In a thought seeming practiced, you will it to awaken, releasing a burst of green energy.

Clusters of small, pale pink flowers, rather spherical in shape, sprout instantly upon the tree’s branches, covering it and several surrounding trees as well. You find yourself smiling nostalgically at the sight, glancing around to see the flowering woods.

In the process of craning your neck over your shoulder, you notice something. The traced-out patterns on your wings are glowing with a faint rosy light, illuminated by some unknown source. No, that’s not quite correct; peering over the other shoulder, it’s just your right wing behaving like this.

On a whim, you pluck a single bloom to inspect and observe your handiwork. The flower is still warm from its recent life-speeding, but the life you can feel within the detached bloom is fading fast.
Can’t have that.

Your fingers clench down, unbidden, tightening around the bloom you hold and releasing a strange, cold energy into it. Gasping, you open your fingers to see the flower glowing blue for a brief moment before returning to its normal color. More notably, the dying sensation you could feel from it has stopped.

...That's very odd. Unsure of what to do now, you shove the flower into a pocket of your dress. You can deal with it later.

Your gaze settles upon a particularly large tree which remained untouched by your previous display, its breadth greater than you are tall. This tough old oak has a particularly odd appearance: it seems a couple branches have been broken off by snowfall, but there are a number of green shoots sprouting out of its jagged limb ends, as if it started repairing itself but was not quite sure of the proper way.

The transitory appearance just seems too strange, leaving it in that state won’t do. Gathering up energy, you mentally command the tree to fully regrow its lost limbs, green light arcing from your hand to the bark.

And nothing happens. Frowning, you try again, summoning up your power and crashing it against the trunk. Nothing. Scowl deepening, you fire off another series of bursts, each containing more energy than you sense is needed to spark growth. Still, nothing.

What is it that makes this tree so resistant to your powers? This is actually getting rather annoying, all other plants so far have obeyed your control with no issues, until this one. You pin the tree with a momentary glare. It responds exactly the same to your visual assault as your supernatural ones, and your gaze drops, sighing. This is more effort than you expected to require...

[ ] No, you are not losing to a stupid tree. You must not have been using enough energy before: take your power to a hundred and ten percent.
[ ] Give up. It’s not worth spending energy on something like this, and you’ve already figured out something new with your powers.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This marks the beginning of my experimentation with shorter (although I’ll try to keep them from being too short), more rapid (1/day, theoretically) updates. Votes will be called in 18 hours, next update will be as soon as possible after that.

If the quality of this seems notably lower than normal, I blame it on extreme sleep deprivation.
>>No. 53613
[x] No, you are not losing to a stupid tree. You must not have been using enough energy before: take your power to a hundred and ten percent.

Rash fairy? Rash fairy. Did she just make a zombie flower or what?

I didn't notice a quality drop, but I'm not exactly comparing side by side either. Don't push yourself too hard maintaining your self-imposed schedule, please.
>>No. 53614
[x] No, you are not losing to a stupid tree. You must not have been using enough energy before: take your power to a hundred and ten percent.

Cirno's getting stronger was shown by her being able to freeze bigger things like the lake, right? If we overcome this, it means we're getting stronger too.
Plus the whole "muscle" analogy which was stated.
>>No. 53615
[x] Give up. It’s not worth spending energy on something like this, and you’ve already figured out something new with your powers.

Contrary to popular belief, dog trying to get a bone through a normal doghouse door will never succeed. We still have a theft to assist in and wasting energy like this will only hinder that.
>>No. 53616
[x] Give up. It’s not worth spending energy on something like this, and you’ve already figured out something new with your powers.

Star said she's good at thinking on her feet. That means not injuring herself doing stupid shit.
>>No. 53617
>>53615
Thing is despite all that energy usage, there's no sign of us getting tired yet. I think being out of Cirno's presence lets our powers work more effectively, and I doubt there'd be that bad a downside to making this thing grow.

Also, what with making the zombie flower and now our not being able to affect a tree, I think something's changed about our powers. Which would be a good thing to realize before going to the SDM, and we can find out what's changed or if something's changed by more testing.
>>No. 53618
>>53617
I don't want to be the sort of fairy that minds losing to a tree.
>>No. 53619
[x] You're obviously going about this the wrong way. Try making the tree grow flowering branches.

It's winter and the natural state of a tree has no flowers, and everything we've done so far has been with flowers.
>>No. 53620
>>53618
thinking of "losing to a tree" is even worse.
>>No. 53621
>>53620
That's what the vote option says. It's not "thoughtfully experimenting with her power," it's "obstinately refusing to lose." If you want thoughtful, someone made a write-in for that.

Or maybe I'm reading too much into how the vote choices affect personality.
>>No. 53622
File 133922083226.jpg - (293.32KB, 750x480, seigapalm.jpg) [iqdb]
53622
And this is why one shouldn't write updates when having the tiredness equivalent of inebriation. They come up with brilliant characterization ideas like caring about losing to trees.

Authorial rewording of the first choice due to being bad writing and out of character for the protagonist, who has previously been characterized as fairly reasonable / sensible and highly unlikely to care about things like this.

Rewritten choice:

[ ] Put as much energy as you can into making it grow. Something might be wrong with your powers if you're not capable of something like this, you need to find out one way or another.
[ ] Give up. It’s not worth spending energy on something like this, and you’ve already figured out something new with your powers.

If you wish to change your vote at this point, feel free. >>53619 or other reasonable write-ins are acceptable as well.

>>53613
The tiredness is unrelated to writing, but I'll do my best to avoid burnout.
>>53621 and similar-minded
The chosen votes do affect development of MC's personality, but are also intended to fit at least decently with previously established personality. I feel that the new version does this more accurately.
>>No. 53623
[x] Give up. It’s not worth spending energy on something like this, and you’ve already figured out something new with your powers.
>>No. 53624
[x] You're obviously going about this the wrong way. Try making the tree grow flowering branches.

Though I'm not sure if oaks actually have flowers.

Also only one wing glowing implies we have some sort of other power, probably some sort of counterpart to our growy-powers.
>>No. 53626
[x] You're obviously going about this the wrong way. Try making the tree grow flowering branches.
>>No. 53628
So I don't much care for the write-in.

>>53619
>the natural state of a tree has no flowers, and everything we've done so far has been with flowers.
Trees flower, that just happened with the cherry trees with no problems. Although that was before the zombie flower so not sure what to make of it.
Also, the thing we used to catch the other fairies was just grasses. Or maybe vines, description was inconsistent, but point is there weren't flowers.

Anyway, tide pissing changing >>53614 to
[x] Put as much energy as you can into making it grow. Something might be wrong with your powers if you're not capable of something like this, you need to find out one way or another.
>>No. 53629
>>53628
This reminds me about something I didn't explicitly say.

>>53613, if you want a valid vote, you'll need to change to one of the two newly stated options or the write-in. I'm not counting the badly written choice at all.
>>No. 53631
>>53628
In my defense, you're leaving out an important qualifier I had there: It's winter. Trees don't flower in winter, which is what it is right now. Or at least oaks don't.

You are right that we've done stuff with grasses though. My bad.

I guess we aren't a flower fairy like I thought we were. Then the question is, what are we?

My current guess is that we have power over growth of plants, such as growth and flowering, and not so much the loss of leaves and stuff, because that's not really growth. Am I wrong? Probably. Trying will let us know.
>>No. 53632
[x] Put as much energy as you can into making it grow. Something might be wrong with your powers if you're not capable of something like this, you need to find out one way or another.

My guess is our power is over life or possibly growth.
>>No. 53633
File 133925997762.jpg - (75.67KB, 469x560, 388c9e6f7bbd2182a7d5b01943e6fdf7.jpg) [iqdb]
53633
[x] Put as much energy as you can into making it grow. Something might be wrong with your powers if you're not capable of something like this, you need to find out one way or another.

I think she has power over PLANTS. ^_^
>>No. 53635
>>53633
>^_^
No.

Those could work too. I guess the question is whether making the tree regenerate is possible, and if so, why it takes more energy and/or a different approach than growing grabby vines.
>>No. 53638
Coming back to count up a 3-3-3 tie, fun times.
Rolled a d3, calling it for the write-in option.

I'm a little surprised nobody guessed the reason for the growing problems, but I guess I didn't really make it clear. It should be next update, though, which I'll say should be up at roughly 04:00.

On a separate note, reading everyone's discussion and speculation about the story is still fun.
>>No. 53639
It's the "zombie flower" in her pocket. Too late now... Fuck, I'll toss in a write-in anyway.

[x] Place the flower you used your power on far away and try again.
>>No. 53646
File 133933876327.jpg - (206.94KB, 365x1039, related.jpg) [iqdb]
53646
And I fell asleep at my computer in the middle of typing this up. 10 1/2 hours later, short update.
------------------------
[x] You're obviously going about this the wrong way. Try making the tree grow flowering branches.

You take a deep breath, forcing down your irritation. It’s just an old tree, for crying out loud, why are you getting so worked up? Being able to affect it with your power is not that big a deal.

It is still rather strange, though, and more frustrating than you’d like. It’s rather tempting to just privately admit defeat and get back to the others, but a nagging thought stops you; if you can’t get your powers to work on this, what’ll happen if they fail at some critical point when you’re in the mansion and-

...Actually, you can’t think of a single potential use for your powers during the burglary. Something tells you that this mansion might be lacking in trees or flowers there for your convenience. Maybe it would have been more practical to learn some danmaku... But regardless, you came out here to learn more about your powers, and leaving with a new, possibly critical, problem strikes you as really irresponsible. Don’t leave loose ends like this.

Given how effective repeatedly throwing power at it has been, though, you’ll almost certainly need to try something else. Trying to just overwhelm it, bend it to your will with your superior strength holds a certain appeal, but you quash that urge. Even if your spells of fatigue haven’t been returning yet, attempting something that major would almost certainly exhaust you. Plus, even if it would probably work, brute force seems so inelegant a solution; you’re sure you can come up with something cleverer.

Your give the offending oak a once-over, gaze lingering on its broken-off branches with their strange new growths poking out of the snow. Maybe those have something to do with your difficulties. You’re certain new development like that wouldn’t happen naturally in the spring. Or perhaps it’s that you’re needing to fix the tree’s injuries, you haven’t needed to do that before. Regardless, time to try influencing it a bit more delicately.

Thin tendrils of energy extend out of each hand, flowing into the branches. Focusing on them and their green shoots, you direct your powers into making the green strings bloom into flowers. Time to test if...yes.

There’s no visible effect, but you can feel something different this time: your power coming into contact, into conflict, with that of another, suffused throughout the two boughs and the tree as a whole. So, that’s what was holding you back, is it? Well, time for a little more experimentation.

Drawing on another barely-there memory, you send a silent message to the tree. It’s following preexisting commands, or possibly instincts, to grow in a certain way, but it should ignore those. You are its true master, your will is the only one that matters, and it will obey you, change in accordance with your wishes...Now.

There’s a flash of green light, and you can feel the other power giving way. Clusters of golden buds sprout from the green stems, and the broken wood extends outward, becoming whole and forming a pair of picturesque flowering branches.

You nod, a small but triumphant grin playing across your face. There, it’s been restored to a healthy form, and one much more pleasing to the eyes. More importantly, you’ve established that you’re not suddenly impotent, which is a relief. Thinking back, though, your powers did seem a bit restricted during those last few attempts, oddly enough...

“Heeeey, what’re you doing to Juniper’s home?” A voice calls out from the tree, and you jump back. What the-

A section of the tree trunk swings open with a pop, and a fairy a bit smaller than yourself, wearing a simple black gown, leaps out of it. She doesn’t look especially happy to see you, agitatedly flitting up and around the regenerated tree branches.

...Well, huh. Apparently a trunk that wide translates into a suitable house for some fairies. No idea how she hollowed it out, though.

“Aah, you ruined it, you ruined it! It’s all wrong, Juniper was going to grow it slowly into the bestest house ever, let it grow to really fit her, but you stupidhead had to come along and mess that all up!” The girl shouts at you.

“...It looks better now, though. Not like some half-finished piece of-”

“Ugh, you just can’t appreciate Juniper’s vision! Not you, not anyone else! Juniper’s an artist, but none of the other fairies appreciate her, not even after she’s blasted some sense into them! Agh, so annoying...”

...So, this high-strung girl was the one making the tree grow the way it was. You guess her ability relates to trees, or oaks, in some way? Hold on, what’s she doing now-

“It’ll take forever to find another tree Juniper can grow the way Juniper wants, and it’s all your fault...Juniper’s gonna kill you!”

A stream of red and blue orbs courses out of her body, organizing itself into several distinct lines of bullets all making a beeline for you. Wait, she’s trying to kill you? Over this?

You yelp as one of the spheres tears some fabric off your shoulder, leaving an angry red mark, and quickly dodge to the side, the other orbs impacting against the snowy ground in a rumbling series of bursts.

“Ha, not even going to fight back? You really are stupid, but that just means it’ll make it easier for Juniper to take you out! Die!”

A blue energy ball explodes against your stomach, dress fabric barely cushioning the blow before disintegrating, and you grit your teeth to suppress a scream. Those things hurt. You worriedly remember what Star said about a few hits being enough to kill you, and can understand it after feeling that.

Okay, the girl’s firing off another salvo of what you’re assuming is danmaku, you need to make a decision now.
-----------------------------
[ ] Well, she did attack you first. Fight back.
-[ ] Take her down hard and fast, she’s just an obstacle to you.
-[ ] Be more careful in dealing with her, you don’t really want to hurt anyone.
[ ] Ignore the pain, try to talk her down. You’re both reasonable fairies, you can work something out, right?
[ ] You have a mansion to raid, you can’t be bothered with this. Try and flee.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vote’ll be called at 04:00.
>>No. 53647
[X] Well, she did attack you first. Fight back.
-[ ] Take her down hard and fast, she’s just an obstacle to you.
-[X] Be more careful in dealing with her, you don’t really want to hurt anyone.
>>No. 53650
[X] Well, she did attack you first. Fight back.
-[X] Be more careful in dealing with her, you don’t really want to hurt anyone.
>>No. 53652
[x] You have a mansion to raid, you can’t be bothered with this. Try and flee.

I knew insisting on making the tree grow was a bad idea. This isn't a fight we can win as our power's useless in it for the most part.
>>No. 53657
[x] Ignore the pain, try to talk her down. You’re both reasonable fairies, you can work something out, right?

Well, I sure wasn't expecting that.

Anyway, we can almost certainly undo what we did to this tree (even if we have to do it manually) and then tell it to listen to Juniper again. If we turn out to need to break the branches off but aren't strong enough, we should be able to use vines. It's the least we can do after accidentally messing up her house.
>>No. 53658
[x] Well, she did attack you first. Fight back.
-[x] Take her down hard and fast, she’s just an obstacle to you.

Badass fairy, coming up.
>>No. 53659
>another tie
>another 3-way tie
ಠ_ಠ

I mean, I guess it's better than having everyone vote for the same choice, but...

Can I get a tiebreaker in the next 2 1/2 hours?
>>No. 53660
>>53659
Sure. I just deleted my talking vote and am changing to

[X] Well, she did attack you first. Fight back.
-[X] Be more careful in dealing with her, you don’t really want to hurt anyone.
>>No. 53661
>>53660
There we go, thanks. I'm just going to call it now, then, for fighting back carefully.

I'll be wanting to sleep between now and the update, so I'll say it'll be up at ~13:00.
>>No. 53662
Next up, we get our ass beat because we don't know the first thing about danmaku. Fun times.

I'm going to vote even though voting was closed before I could, because we really should do the smart and nice thing and try to fix this.

[x] Ignore the pain, try to talk her down. You’re both reasonable fairies, you can work something out, right?
>>No. 53663
>>53662
Taking her out carefully doesn't preclude fixing her house. Talking will go much smoother with her inside a vine cage.
>>No. 53664
>>53663
Good point. I guess I'm happy as long as we fix her house, and it probably is wise to calm her down first.
>>No. 53665
>>53663
that's assuming we win, knowing jack squat about danmaku and the other fairy having an idea of our powers. Maybe if she didn't know, we'd have a shot.
>>No. 53666
[ ] Well, she did attack you first. Fight back.
-[ ] Take her down hard and fast, she’s just an obstacle to you.
>>No. 53670
File 133943472031.jpg - (199.33KB, 707x1000, yuuka_not_related.jpg) [iqdb]
53670
[x] Well, she did attack you first. Fight back.
-[x] Be more careful in dealing with her, you don’t really want to hurt anyone.

Okay, it’s pretty clear that this girl expects you to retaliate, instead of just frantically flying out of the way of her barrages. Well, if that’s the case, you might as well indulge her. Your powers just might be of some use here...

Ducking under a spray of blue pyramid-shaped bullets, you send a quick mental command with a modicum of your power to the newly grown flowers around Juniper. Clouds of yellow pollen burst out of them, changing her condescending chuckling into choked coughing, and the girl’s constant fire pauses momentarily. Good, that should be all you need.

In the same motions of your finishing move earlier, you call up thick vines and grasses out of the ground, wrapping around and neatly ensnaring the enemy fairy. You cover her legs, torso, and mouth for good measure, leaving a space to breathe but enough plant matter to muffle her exclamations. Her black hair and dress are covered up with green versions of your own making, and you grin at how ridiculous this makes her look.

The girl, clearly not expecting this kind of attack, starts frantically struggling around, or as best she can with everything restrained down to her wrists. You let out a triumphant chuckle, watching Juniper’s struggles. Wave your hands around all you like, girl, no shots from them will free you without hurting your-

A bright green beam of focused light shoots out of her fingers, cutting off your train of thought just as neatly as it does your bindings. Well. Okay, so she can shoot those things too. That’s, that’s not that bad, you can still probably deal with Oh no now she’s firing them at you.

You draw up some thick knots of grass as an attempted rudimentary barrier, but the half-dozen lines of light shear through them as easily as empty air, each blade falling into seven pieces. Great. You do your best to dodge through the beams, bending and twisting your body under one, over another, but can’t completely evade them all. One glancing ray sears a sizzling red line into your side, a second burns the tip off your right wing. Lances of pain stab through your body and you scream in sudden, wordless agony.

“Ah, geez.” Juniper notices your discomfort, frowning. She actually looks a bit concerned, for reasons you can’t begin to fathom. “Look, can’t you just stop struggling and die already? It’ll be way easier, spare you and Juniper both a lot of pain and effort.” The beams vanish from her fingertips, more balls and pyramids spawning instead.

...Does she actually expect you to- Okay, this girl is really starting to anger you now. You force your jaw shut and your shriek down, not planning to give her the satisfaction of seeing your discomfort.

The idea of just trying to collapse the tree on top of her and end this flashes through your mind, and it’s very tempting, but you dismiss the thought with an extreme effort of will. Even if she’s attacking you to kill, and even if she’s already injured you severely by-the-gods-those-beams-burn, you don’t need to give in to your rage and sink to her level. And she did have a motive for attacking you in the first place, however poorly-founded it might have been.

So, you’ll need to find some way to beat her. The problem is, you don’t have any idea how to fire danmaku. As you so cleverly chose for yourself, out of pride in your newly vaunted powers and a belief that the need wouldn’t come up.

You’d probably slap yourself in the forehead if the momentary distraction wouldn’t lead to you getting burned or blasted to bits. Instead you spend that energy shooting upwards to dodge Juniper’s latest salvo, but the thought’s still there, darn it. Honestly, why did you think remaining completely in the dark was a good idea-

...Actually, that’s not entirely right, is it? You’ve never used danmaku before, but you were told about it at least briefly. Very, very briefly, but that’s more background knowledge than you had about your powers, and look what happened there. Dodging to put the trunk between yourself and Juniper, you think back on Luna’s explanation, smirking faintly at the frustrated yell as your opponent inadvertently restructures her outside wall.

“Danmaku is how people fight in Gensokyo. Basically, it’s shooting lots of projectiles, unique to each user, in patterns to try and trap, and hit, your opponent. Just visualize the patterns, will them to appear, and they do.”

That...that doesn’t sound all that different from how you use your powers, actually. Almost exactly the same, in fact. Visualize your goal and will it into existence. Well, if you got it to work for one thing, why not another?

Holding images in your mind of Juniper’s bullets and a few dozen odd flowers, you try to make something, anything, appear. A genuine sunflower pops into the air in front of you, disintegrating away almost immediately. No, that’s not what you wanted.

You keep the tree trunk blocking Juniper’s view of you, forcing her to keep chasing you in circles and hiding your on-the-fly danmaku experiments. No, you don’t want the bullets to target the flower. Or- geez, you didn’t even know there were flowers that looked like bullets. Okay, a single bullet shaped like a flower, that’s a little better...

No, that’s not how you do it at all.
An invisible hand seems to grab you for a split second, and your vision whites out in a flash. When your sight’s restored, you’re facing Juniper in the air, holding still with power crackling around your hands, before it’s released. A wide stream of brown bullets spirals towards her, with green spheres interspaced along it. Juniper emits a shocked yelp, and barely dodges out of the way of the column, before shrieking a second time as the green spheres explode outwards into five- and six-segmented pink shapes, your artificial cherry blossoms blasting her backwards into her tree.

Impacting against the branch, Juniper gasps as the air is forced out of her lungs. This is followed up by an audible gulp, overshadowed by the cracking noise of six unnaturally sharp growing out of the branch, tips each ending an inch from her head. You tie up her body again with vines for good measure, and alight in front of her, staring her in the eyes.

“Try those burning rays again,” You state calmly, “And these spikes are going through your skull.” You wouldn’t actually go through with the threat, but fortunately she doesn’t realize this, and sighs in defeat.

“All right, Juniper guesses you win. No hard feelings? Much?”

“...You were trying to kill me.” You say flatly.

“Well, yeah, just a little. What’s so bad about that?” She asks innocently. Is she serious...?

“A lit-What do you mean, a little?” You splutter out. “Dead is dead, and pretty bad in my view.”

“Woow, you really don’t know anything, do you?” Juniper tilts her head to the side, or at least attempts to before freezing up as her ear touches a wooden spike. “Uh, and by that Juniper means that she can teach you. Basically, fairies like you and Juniper, we don’t die when we are killed.”

“What.” You think your brain freezes for a second trying to parse that.

“Well, okay, that’s not exactly it. We do die, but it’s only for a minute or two, or less, usually. Our bodies disappear for that time, and then reappear good as new, no harm done. Respawning, a lot of us call it.”

“Reviving,” you think aloud, that strange term used by the trio earlier finally making sense.

“Yeah, you could call it that too. But I thought you'd go down and respawn -or revive, whatever- a lot more easily than that. I didn't mean to hurt you that much first, sorry.”

So, her death threats weren’t nearly as malicious as they seemed. That’s... really rather difficult to wrap your head around, but she seems sincere about it. You needn’t keep up your death threat, then, and snap off your spikes with a few tugging vines. What she did probably seemed reasonable for her, a few moments’ pain and humiliation in exchange for the ruining of her hard work. Well, in that case...

“I might as well fix what I’ve done to your house. I made it like this, I should be able to undo it as well.”

“Huh? You can? Really?” You can see sparkles fill her eyes, before she averts them with a cough. “U-um, meaning, Juniper knew that, Juniper’s smart. It was part of her plan all along to make you fix what you’d done after you lost.”

“I...see.”

“Yeah, you bet. Juniper’s a genius, you were playing into her plan the whole time.” She glances down at her bindings. “Um, well, up until the point when you won, at least. Juniper wasn’t expecting that.”

“What can I say, I’m full of surprises,” you mutter. This girl has quite an ego on her, but it’s not half as annoying now as her earlier behavior. So, how to undo what you’ve done...

You stare at Juniper’s tree, contemplating it, at a bit of a loss for how to fix this. You send a token order to the tree to return to its previous state, but nothing happens. Ah, well, you probably should have expected that. Growth can never be reversed outright, but new changes can cancel out the old.

...More thoughts popping up from nowhere, always offering solutions to the problems of a moment. Well, you shouldn’t complain, it’s given you an idea, and you form a set of new instructions for the tree, and specifically the branches. Taking a deep breath, you begin transmitting them.

Grow. Grow uncontrolled, beyond direction or reason. Expand yourselves, growing further and further and further, until you can no longer support-
With a grating, creaking noise, the now hugely bloated branches slowly snap off under their own weight and fall to the ground with muted thuds. Almost as an afterthought, a few green strands pop out of each stump.

Well, you think that looks right, but it’s not your house, so... “Is that good?”

“Y-yeah, it actually looks just the way Juniper’d made it before. Maybe you’re not as stupid as Juniper thought, not about trees at least. Um...thanks.” A faint blush crawls onto her cheeks, and she looks away from you.

“Glad to know you appreciate me.” Huh, so she is capable of expressing emotions besides rage and overconfidence.

“D-don’t get any funny ideas.” She blurts out quickly. “Juniper’s just happy that you fixed what you were stupid enough to cause in the first place. You should consider yourself lucky to even be getting her thanks at all.”

“I’m sure,” you respond, smiling despite yourself. This girl’s actually pretty amusing, and intriguing, when she’s not acting all murderously. Plus that blush of hers is rather cute, the way her red cheeks contrast with her white-and-black visage.

As you’re thinking this, she shivers and lets out a surprised gasp, blush deepening sharply. Huh? Why did she-ooh. Looking down, you can see that a single vine seems to have worked its way up under the hem of Juniper’s dress. You can’t see what exactly it’s doing where, but can conclude that it’s something uncomfortable judging by her increasingly-visible reaction.

Okay, you’re pretty sure you weren’t directing it to do that. You hurriedly will Juniper’s plant restraints to fall back onto the ground, and her blush fades away, stabilizing at a red still noticeably darker than beforehand.

“Er, sorry about that, I wasn’t trying to-”

“I-it’s fine.” She stutters out, voice a bit higher-pitched than previously.

An awkward silence falls, the two of you steadfastly looking away from each other.
You feel compelled to break it somehow, though, so...
-----------------------------
[x] Talk to her a bit, ask her about herself. You can kill a few minutes before getting back to the others, your time limit’s a day plus.
[x] Well, now that that’s been dealt with, time to leave. Bid Juniper goodbye.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
In which I prove to still be bad at judging possible update times. This one will be called in 24 hours, a couple people got left out of voting this past time and I won’t be able to write until tomorrow afternoon.
>>No. 53671
[x] Talk to her a bit, ask her about herself. You can kill a few minutes before getting back to the others, your time limit’s a day plus.

Sweet, we got a new friend.

Also I enjoyed the danmaku experimentation quite a bit.

The fight was pretty good too.
>>No. 53672
[x] Talk to her a bit, ask her about herself. You can kill a few minutes before getting back to the others, your time limit’s a day plus.

No way I'm giving up on the tsundere fairy who we just had a possibly-intentional lesbian experience with.
And did we just give the tree cancer?
>>No. 53675
[x] Talk to her a bit, ask her about herself. You can kill a few minutes before getting back to the others, your time limit’s a day plus.
>>No. 53676
File 133945240459.png - (906.71KB, 1000x750, 27832899.png) [iqdb]
53676
[x] Well, now that that’s been dealt with, time to leave. Bid Juniper goodbye.

I'd rather talk with Star and the others more.
>>No. 53682
[x] Talk to her a bit, ask her about herself. You can kill a few minutes before getting back to the others, your time limit’s a day plus.

I think they'd be glad that we made a new friend.
>>No. 53684
[x] Slide another vine or two under her clothes, feel around with them a bit. She said it was all right, didn't she?

Come on, I can't be the only one who's at least tempted to see this.
>>No. 53686
[x] Talk to her a bit, ask her about herself. You can kill a few minutes before getting back to the others, your time limit’s a day plus.

Juniper's all right.

>>53672
I suppose we did, though it was benign.
>>No. 53687
File 133946286985.jpg - (1.28MB, 1200x1800, 23096219.jpg) [iqdb]
53687
>>53686
It was unconscious. I worry about this fairy...
>>No. 53690
>>53687
>No, that’s not how you do it at all.
>An invisible hand seems to grab you for a split second
>Okay, you’re pretty sure you weren’t directing it to do that.

You might be onto something. Taking bets now that Koishi's found us interesting and has been screwing with our head.
>>No. 53693
>>53690
The first appearance of spoiler text was when she used her blue power.

>On a whim, you pluck a single bloom to inspect and observe your handiwork. The flower is still warm from its recent life-speeding, but the life you can feel within the detached bloom is fading fast.
>Can’t have that.
>Your fingers clench down, unbidden, tightening around the bloom you hold and releasing a strange, cold energy into it. Gasping, you open your fingers to see the flower glowing blue for a brief moment before returning to its normal color. More notably, the dying sensation you could feel from it has stopped.

She has one green wing.
>The traced-out patterns on your wings are glowing with a faint rosy light, illuminated by some unknown source. No, that’s not quite correct; peering over the other shoulder, it’s just your right wing behaving like this.

The left (sinister, heh) wing is probably blue, and is linked to whatever made her repress her memories. But hey, if the old personality likes molesting fairies, it can't be all bad.
>>No. 53694
>>53693
>green wing
>rosy
I can't read.
>>No. 53696
>>53694
Yeah, both the wings are light green, as described in the OP. The red or pink glowing part is normally darker green.

The description of the glowing patterns as tracings, "as if scribed there", is interesting. Did someone put a written seal on us or similar?

>The left (sinister, heh) wing is probably blue, and is linked to whatever made her repress her memories.
This seems likely. Let's remember to keep an eye on the left wing whenever we use more of the...blue power, whatever it is. Should probably investigate the zombie flower more closely.
>>No. 53697
>>53696
You're reading way too much into things. It's probably just like 'raiments' was.

>>53693
>is linked to whatever made her repress her memories
What are you basing that on? After all, the voice has given advice on both sides of our power.

And yeah, both wings are green, but a blue glow for the left one sounds plausible.
>>No. 53699
>>53697
>what are you basing this on?
A hunch.
>After all, the voice has given advice on both sides of our power.
Nope. The spoiler-voice only gave us advicecommands on the blue power and danmaku. In both cases, it seized control of her body and did it for her. No knowledge was gained. They're unfamiliar. The italics-feelings, in contrast, do give knowledge and a powerful sense of deja-vu.

I think she was a fairy that became too strong, and is now some sort of half-youkai half-fairy hybrid. The transformation messed up her memory, and the half-youkai bit explains why she has two powers, one familiar, one unfamiliar and accompanied by a commanding voice.

Or something.
>>No. 53703
[x] Well, now that that’s been dealt with, time to leave. Bid Juniper goodbye.
I'm with >>53676, the non-OC fairies are more interesting than Juniper.

>>53699
>No knowledge was gained.
Do we know this for sure yet? Haven't tried replicating the danmaku or zombie flower from memory.

>I think she was a fairy that became too strong, and is now some sort of half-youkai half-fairy hybrid. The transformation messed up her memory, and the half-youkai bit explains why she has two powers, one familiar, one unfamiliar and accompanied by a commanding voice.
Like the fanon idea of what will happen to Cirno eventually, right? I approve. So basically our youkai and fairy halves might end up fighting for control?
>>No. 53704
[x] Talk to her a bit, ask her about herself. You can kill a few minutes before getting back to the others, your time limit’s a day plus.
>>No. 53705
File 133952241285.jpg - (318.71KB, 565x800, new_friends.jpg) [iqdb]
53705
Called for conversing with Juniper. I've been notoriously inaccurate at judging update times, so I'm just going to say it will be up today.

Also, did I mention that I love all the speculation and theorizing? Because I really do. I'm smiling about as much as pic related. Also, I'm impressed at some people's observational skills.

>>53676
You still will be, just a bit later. And that's an exceptionally cute Star, saved with my thanks.

>>53684
Try to avoid doing write-ins like this, please. MC doesn't actually understand just what it was her vine was doing, and Juniper doesn't really either.
>>No. 53707
Fairies and youkai are completely different things, you can't turn one into the other unless you happen to be able to manipulate the boundary between the two.

My opinion is that either we're some youkai, possibly Yuuka, that was a threat to Gensokyo and got sealed into a fairy. Or we're actually a newborn and the voice is just someone else talking to us and showing us how to work our powers somehow.

I personally hope it's the latter, improbable as it may be, because I would find the part about discovering who we really are rather boring and much better occupied with adventure.
>>No. 53711
>>53707
I don't think it's that absolute as it was touched upon in PoFV that if Cirno keeps on getting stronger, she'll ceased to be a normal fairy and something that can die permanently.
>>No. 53714
>>53711
Hmm, so it does, but it's quite heavily left open to interpretation. For example, Shiki could be saying that Cirno's great power leads her to wander far from whatever part of nature she's a personification of. And if she gets killed then, she won't respawn and will be judged.

But turning into something else is another interpretation, though. In that case, I still wouldn't say they were youkai unless they had to eat emotions for food or whatever the specifics for youkai are. They'd certainly be something, but I wouldn't call them youkai. Or half-youkai.

Whatever happens, I still don't see how it would erase our memories, though. That's why I think we are either newborn or have had our head actively fucked with.
>>No. 53718
>>53714
it'd depend on type as magicians (Alice, Patchy) could just consume magic in the air to sustain themselves. It'd hard to say how a fairy-based youkai would work out.
>>No. 53719
>>53707
>>53714
Good points. I don't mind the self-discovery bits, myself. As long as the story doesn't have a drastic tone shift, it's all good.

I really hope she isn't Yuuka, though. That's Rumia's gimmick.
>>No. 53726
The board was down yesterday (another DDoS?) when I was trying to post this, and I've been out for most of today. Apologies, update will be in a few hours when I get home.
>>No. 53727
>>53726
nope just a screw up by the hosting company, wasn't too long anyways.
>>No. 53730
"youkai" basically just means weird magical being. Its about as specific as the English words "monster" or "creature".
>>No. 53731
>>53730
Don't bump the thread unless there's been an update. Sage goes in the email field.

And in response to your post, that's true, but there generally is a distinction between the qualities of fairies and what's generally termed youkai. Fairy immortality, in particular, and the need for youkai to be sustained on human fear which fairies don't have.
>>No. 53732
File 13396309844.png - (741.31KB, 800x600, 24895382.png) [iqdb]
53732
>>53731
Youkai that can feed directly on fear like Nue are exceptions. Most of them require more concrete sustenance in addition to being easily affected by belief. ... According to Akyu, anyway.

She also says fairies show up often in the human village. I'll believe that when I see it.
>>No. 53735
>>53732
No real way to check on that as the canon rarely looks at the village really well
>>No. 53737
File 13396443156.jpg - (125.67KB, 850x612, not_a_strictly_accurate_depiction.jpg) [iqdb]
53737
okay here
----------------------------------
[x] Talk to her a bit, ask her about herself. You can kill a few minutes before getting back to the others, your time limit’s a day plus.

Eh, a few more minutes shouldn’t worry everyone unduly. You’re sure they have something to satisfy themselves with back at the lake, you might as well get to know this girl better, and clear your throat to get her attention.

“So, Juniper...This tree, your house I mean.” You tap the trunk the two of you are hovering next to for emphasis. “This is what you wanted it to look like? Your artistic vision or whatever you said earlier?” It doesn’t seem any more aesthetically pleasing than it did before, but you don’t have much for reference about art.

“Huh? No, no, of course not just like this. This was just stage one of Juniper’s plan, the final product was going to be waay better.” She spreads her arms wide, presumably to show just how much better. “This isn’t art yet, it’s just the beginning of it. It’ll take a while for Juniper to finish it, but when she does it’ll look awesome.”

“Would you want my help getting it done faster?” You offer, and her ears perk up. “If you tell me what you want the finished tree to look like, I could probably grow it into that form right now.”

“Well...” She visibly contemplates the idea for a moment, tapping a finger on her chin, before nodding decisively. “Nah. It’d be cool to have it done now, yeah, but it just wouldn’t be the same if Juniper wasn’t doing it, you know? If you just do all the work, it’ll still be Juniper’s house, but it won’t actually be Juniper’s, see.”

“Yeah, I do see. That’s pretty admirable, I guess.” You’d expected her to just take the easy way out, but you guess the girl has more integrity about her work than you’d given her credit for.

“Juniper thinks a big part of being an artist is being able to person- per-son-ah-lize your creations. Leave your own touch on everything you make. If someone else does everything for you, then you can’t call the accomplishments yours any more.”

“I suppose.” You’re not sure how likely it would be, though; it’s not like someone would be, say, taking control of your body and doing things for you, right? “So your power is to control the growth of trees, then?” You ask.

“Nope!” She preens briefly at your confused glance before continuing. “Fairies help trees an’ plants grow just by being around them for a while, like living inside ‘em, and letting our energy sink in. And more than that, you can learn to control just how they grow, if you tell them the right things. Juniper’s guessing you didn’t know that, right? Not many of us do.”

“Actually no, I didn’t, but...” She halts you with a satisfied chuckle and a nod.

“See, exactly! You don’t need to feel bad about it though, only a few fairies are smart enough to know as many things as Juniper.” She grins proudly.

...You were planning to finish that statement with ‘but I’m not sure how much that counts for, considering I’m amnesiac’. You might as well just humor her at this point, though.

Or, you think as a smirk slips onto your face, you could tease her a bit. “So...what other kinds of things does a genius fairy like yourself know, Juniper?”

“Wh-what? Oh, uh...Juniper knows how to grow plants by being near them, and how to make things grow in the most artistic ways, and, uh...how to find things you can eat in the forest, and...how to use danmaku, and...umm...” Juniper visibly wracks her brain for more scraps of knowledge, placing both hands on her forehead and shaking it softly, mumbling to herself.

It’s a bit pathetic to watch. Sighing, you take pity on the flustered fairy and provide her with an out. “I’m sure your knowledge is just so expansive, covers such a huge number of things, that it’s really hard to remember all of them at one time. Right?”

“Huge number of- “ Juniper stares blankly at you for a moment, before light dawns in her eyes and her mouth forms a small ‘ah!’, head bobbing resolutely. “Right, right! Juniper’s just so much of a genius that, uh, her brain can’t properly think about how much of a genius she is. Yeah.” She puts on a relieved smile, confident that her brilliance has been assured. You match the expression and nod understandingly, managing to keep your snickering purely internal. Well, if you needed any more evidence that Juniper’s self-professed genius was an exaggeration...

“Oh, Juniper was wondering...” You’re not sure if that’s a hurried change of subject or just the result of a short attention span. Could be either, with this girl. “Why did you wait so long to use danmaku? You might’ve won a lot faster if you’d used it earlier. Unless you thought the only way you could beat Juniper was with a sneak attack like that, which would also make sense.”

“I, er, actually didn’t know how to use danmaku until just then.” You admit, slightly sheepishly.

“Whaaaaaaat?” Juniper’s jaw drops, before her drawn-out question finishes and she hauls it up again, shaking her head vigorously. “No way, Juniper doesn’t believe you. Everyone can use danmaku.”

“Everyone except me, apparently. Well, now I can,” you amend, “But I couldn’t before the end there, it was my first try at danmaku and worked a lot better than I was expecting.”

“But...how? Juniper doesn’t know any fairies that don’t know any, even the worst of them can shoot a few bullets at least.” Her eyes widen as another realization strikes. “And, and, wait, there’s no way you could have shot something that complicated at Juniper on your first try at danmaku. You’re a liar!”

“Juniper, I’m not a-”

“Liar.” She glares at you petulantly.

“I am not, there’s a perfectly good reason-”

“Liar, liar, dress on fire, lightning’s struck and you’ll expire-”

“Juniper!” You snap, slapping a hand to your forehead and silencing her grumbles. “Can I just explain, please? It technically might not have been my first try at danmaku, probably wasn’t in fact. It’s just that my memories are pretty screwed up in regards to just what I do or don’t know; I have amnesia.”

“Am-what-uh?” She looks at you quizzically.

“Amnesia. I’ve lost pretty much all of my memories that are older than today.” If I even had any to begin with, you think privately. But you must have, otherwise where would all of these new thoughts - and memories, you definitely identify some as being memories - come from?
You’ll just have to wonder about that, won’t you?

What the- no, you shake that thought off. Something tells you that it’s better not to think too hard about how or why, you should just let the changes to yourself happen. Don’t question them.

...

...Yes, you’re convinced it’s definitely better to just keep talking to Juniper. “A-and anyway, I wouldn’t think that lying’s such a big deal to fairies. You do things like play pranks on humans and each other all the time, don’t you? It seems like you’d need some deception to pull that off.”

“Well, yeah, most fairies maybe. Juniper plays pranks a lot too, but she’s honest about it. If a human comes along and sees Juniper when she’s planning a prank, and they ask ‘Hey there little fairy, what are you doing?’ then Juniper will say back ‘Well mister human, I’m hiding here in these bushes by the side of the road to ambush any distracted humans that come along.’ ” She beams at you, clearly proud of this explanation.

“That’s...uh.” You might ostensibly be the younger one in this conversation, but it’s becoming increasingly clear how much she outstrips you in childishness. “How’s that work out for you?”

“Juniper’s not as lucky with her pranks as she’d hope, actually. The humans always seem to see her coming, and Juniper can’t figure out why.” She sighs, face falling and wings drooping slightly, before brightening up again. “Buuut, Juniper’s sure that she’ll pull one off eventually. So, if you don’t remember anything, does that mean you don’t know your name?”

“Nope, can’t remember that.” A point of some annoyance, actually, it seems degrading somehow to be referred to solely by ‘you’ or ‘her’. You’ll get used to it.

“What about those vines that you, er,” There’s that blush again. “Used against Juniper. How did you remember about them?”

“That’s something else I just figured out a little bit ago, in part at least. I’m not clear on what exactly they are though.” You think you’ve gotten a pretty good grasp of your powers, actually, you just can’t shake the feeling that there’s something more to them. “By the way, what’s your power, Juniper?” You ask.

“Nooope, not saying.” Seeing your frown, Juniper sticks out her tongue playfully. “Until you tell me yours, mine’s going to be a secret too.”

“Oh come on, that’s hardly fair. I can’t help not telling you what I can do, I’m not sure myself, but it’s not like you have that excuse.” You pause your grumbling, seeing from her folded arms and still-extended tongue that it’s lost on her. “I’ve figured out it’s something to do with growing and controlling plants, but I don’t know the specifics.”

“Huuh. That’s not much like Juniper’s at all, then.” She winks at you. “Yep, that’s all you get- hey, hey, wait! Where are you going?!”

“Eh?” You turn back towards the now-flustered girl, feigning innocence. “Why, I was just realizing that I should probably head back towards the lake about now, I have friends to meet there for important business. Friends that actually tell me things “ If she wants to tease you, you can very well do the same right back.

“Ngh.” Juniper fixes you with a glare, which you return with a charming smile. “Well, what are you going to do with them that’s so important?”

“Sorry, can’t tell you that. It’s a secret.” You smirk as her glare melts into a more pitiful expression. Not so fond of her own tactics being used against her, huh?

“Aww, come on, come on! You can’t just leave it at that, stupid, now Juniper’s curious...” She seems to try and scowl at you but it’s ruined by the pout now prominent on her face, and you give in with a giggle.

“Oh, all right, then. We’re planning a...” You stop yourself short, realizing it might not be the best idea to blab about Sunny’s plan to every fairy you meet, especially one who would be unwilling to lie about it. A simplified explanation will do. “A big prank, on a lot of different people. We’re all going to be helping out with it.”

“Ohh, cool. Can Juniper help? Juniper hasn’t pranked anyone in a while, but she’d really want to.” The wide-eyed girl looks at you expectantly, fluttering her wings with excitement.

Well, that’s...something you hadn’t considered, actually.
-------------------------------
[ ] You’d be fine with her coming. You’re sure there’d be something that she could help with.
[ ] How about you take her back to the others and let them decide?
[ ] You don’t think that would be such a good idea. Sorry, Juniper.
---------------------------------------------------------
Update schedule should be back to a more rapid one after this.

Oh, and to those discussing the distinction between fairies, youkai, and potentially changing between the two: it was touched upon briefly in the Q&A story post. If you have any specific questions that I can answer without being spoilery, feel free to ask and I will.
>>No. 53738
[x] How about you take her back to the others and let them decide?

Given the situation, she might be useful somehow in the prank.
>>No. 53739
[x] You don’t think that would be such a good idea. Sorry, Juniper.

I feel bad about this, but a fairy as honest as her should know as little as possible about the plan. Even knowing the participants is a danger.

>Something tells you that it’s better not to think too hard about how or why, you should just let the changes to yourself happen.
What a fairy-like thought. Spoilers and italics don't seem like they'd agree much, whatever they are.
>>No. 53740
File 133964504595.jpg - (77.15KB, 783x675, b9da58a0313d3e2fd3ca8ab0bc0e0f27.jpg) [iqdb]
53740
[x] You’d be fine with her coming. You’re sure there’d be something that she could help with.

Tsundere fairy is adorable... ^_^
>>No. 53741
>>53739
Juniper can keep secrets at least if she's convinced to, I don't think it'd be too bad to give her a chance at least.

>>53740
>^_^
Emoticons are rather heavily frowned upon here. Don't use them, people will rage. >>/gensokyo/6052
>>No. 53742
[x] How about you take her back to the others and let them decide?

It's what I was thinking before I saw the choices. Had to pick it.
>>No. 53743
[x] How about you take her back to the others and let them decide?
>>No. 53745
>>53739
>What a fairy-like thought. Spoilers and italics don't seem like they'd agree much

Hmm? On the contrary, seems like they agree with it a lot, and we're the curious one temporarily trying to go against it. But then again maybe the thought's fairy-like enough that it was our idea and the voices were just taking advantage. Maybe.

Still, am I the only one a bit creeped out at the whole "Yield unquestioningly to strange changes to yourself" thing? Especially since it's not clear just how much control we had over the decision to change our minds.
>>No. 53748
[x] You don’t think that would be such a good idea. Sorry, Juniper.

The Mischevious Trio planned the prank, and only let us help out because we're the MC they took pity on our amnesia, or something. Bringing in some other fairy that has her memories probably won't go over well, and like >>53739 said, telling everything to an honest fairy is just asking for the information to be given to the wrong person.
>>No. 53751
[x] You don’t think that would be such a good idea. Sorry, Juniper.

I like this fairy, I just don't think she should tag along.
>>No. 53752
[x] How about you take her back to the others and let them decide?

I don't want to outright turn Juniper down, but letting the mischevious trio do it should be fine.
>>No. 53753
[x] You don’t think that would be such a good idea. Sorry, Juniper.

Sorry, but all it would take would be one party-goer asking a question and the whole plan would go up in smoke.
>>No. 53754
...Okay, that's three out of the last 4 votes that have ended in ties when I tried to call. I feel like I'm doing something very wrong here.

But regardless, flipped a coin and am calling it for telling Juniper you don't think she should be involved.
>>No. 53760
>>53754
if they're a tie, then ask for a tie breaker.
>>No. 53761
>>53760
No, he's right to flip a coin. Asking for a tie-breaker encourages people who would not otherwise vote to vote, which is obviously bad. Or someone votes twice, which is worse. This is in addition to causing a delay when the writer wants to write.

>>53745
Yeah, they agree now, but I think that's not usual because... well. It's formatting overload. It doesn't make sense to use two different formattings where one could do the job.

And yeah, this is super-creepy.
>>No. 53762
>>53761
Not always true, there's always a straggle or two when it comes to voting and some readers don't vote as it's usually decided well ahead of time. There's also the fact some of the usual readers might be busy with something until a certain time. It'd be far better than leaving something to the whims of luck, more so if it's a weighty decision. Not saying this is (right?) but something to consider when a big one comes up.

calling for a tie breaker might get someone to change their mind.
>>No. 53763
[x] How about you take her back to the others and let them decide?

I don't even know what I'm voting about, but here's your tie breaker.
>>No. 53764
>>53763
I sincerely hope you're being ironic.
>>No. 53767
File 133989491482.jpg - (255.91KB, 750x750, cirndere.jpg) [iqdb]
53767
[x] You don’t think that would be such a good idea. Sorry, Juniper.

Looking at Juniper’s expectant visage, you can practically feel the eagerness radiating off of her. Which is rather odd, actually...why is she this interested in something that vague, which she’s only just heard of?

...Well, whatever the reason for her enthusiasm, it makes you feel rather guilty that you’ll need to turn her down. But it’s really kind of necessary; having a participant with the tendency to blatantly explain her pranks would just leave too many things able to go wrong, and could easily lead to the plan’s failure. You could always leave the decision up to Sunny, Star, and Luna, but you have a feeling they’d see the issue the same way as you.

“Sorry, Juniper, but I don’t think that’d be possible.”

“Eh? But, but, why not?” Her wings’ beating takes on a more agitated tone. “Is this because Juniper said she was never very lucky with pranks? Juniper isn’t that bad, really, she’s pulled off a lot of good ones in her time! Like, like, the one with the travelling merchant and the giant barrel of wine, that was fun-”

You hold up a hand to quiet her frantic babbling. “No, it’s not about how good you are at pranks, Juniper.” Well, actually it is, but she doesn’t really need to know that; it’s probably kinder to keep her ignorant.

“It’s just that my friends are the ones who actually planned this, and I think it was already a stretch for them to let me in on it. I don’t have the right to just bring in anyone I meet to join their secret plan.” Especially when that ‘anyone’ would have difficulty keeping the plan secret.

“You said that they’re your friends.” Juniper says, eyes narrowing.

“Well, um, yes.” Why is she focusing on that? “I haven’t known them long, but I do already consider-”

“Does that mean that Juniper’s not your friend? If you thought that Juniper was, you would have said your other friends instead of your friends, but since you didn’t say other friends it means that you don’t think you and Juniper are really friends, right, ‘friend’?”

“...What?” You shake your head slightly, but the jostling doesn’t rearrange her words into any more coherent an order. “Juniper, it’s not about whether I consider you a friend or not, it’s-”

“Juniper knew it!” She turns away from you in a huff.

“No, Juniper, I didn’t say that I don’t think you and I are friends...gah, I mean I do think of you as a friend, it’s just that’s not-”

“Well, fine! J-Juniper doesn’t need your friendship anyway, Juniper’s friends with plenty of other fairies in the forest. You’re just a stupid house-wrecking planty fairy, it’s not like Juniper was actually starting to like you...” Her voice is shaking slightly, but it doesn’t seem to be due to anger, and you think you heard a sniffle in that last bit.

“Juniper, I’m sorry, but you’re really making this into a bigger deal than it needs to-”

“Oh, just go away! Leave Juniper alone, go off and have fun with your other friends.” She’s still steadfastly turned away from you, but you can make out the mumbled addendum, “...just like everyone else does.”

...Well, you can’t just leave her thinking like that. You reach out your hand towards the girl wordlessly, but jerk it back with a yelp as a cluster of bullets shoots past your arm. Juniper glares back over her shoulder at you. “Come on, leave, or Juniper’s going to shoot you up again!”

“...All right, then. Bye, Juniper, I’ll come back to see you in a couple days.” You take off out into the woods, hoping that she’ll calm down soon. Well, that’s not really what you should be focusing on at the moment, you need to get back to the lake.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
After a few minutes of flight, the realization dawns that you do not, in fact, know how to get back to the lake. The tree varieties are widespread enough that they don’t provide any clues about your location, and not only because you paid little attention to their layout on your initial flight out. The branches and trunks are obscuring enough that you can’t catch a glimpse of any landmarks, it’s annoying how much they get in the way...

You come to a halt in midair, slapping your forehead in mute realization of your stupidity. They don’t actually need to get in your way, you can do this.

Ceasing your forward movement, you instead begin ascending through the tree branches, blinking a few snowflakes out of your eyes as you make your way up. Once past the canopy, you take a look around and- yes, there’s the lake, a good distance away. The exact opposite direction from where you were going. Well, that’s nice, you apparently can’t navigate to save your life.

Soaring forward, in the proper direction this time, you manage to cover distance rather quickly, trees blurring together as you speed over them and the lake quickly filling your field of view. You should be making it back in under a minute.

...Huh, what are those faint voices you’re hearing, though? Curiosity piqued, you head down into the trees once again to investigate.

Standing in a small clearing among the trees, you catch sight of Dai and Letty, the latter pacing back and forth in the limited space available. So their conversation from earlier is still going on?

You hesitate for a moment; this doesn’t seem like your business, but Letty looks sufficiently disturbed by whatever they’re discussing that you judge it to be some important problem. And you overhearing shouldn’t really affect anything for the worse, right?

With those rationalizations in mind, you settle down behind a tree of sufficient girth for hiding and listen, peeking one eye out to observe.

“...So you’re sure about this, then?” Dai asks anxiously.

“Do I look like I’m sure, Daiyousei?” Letty sighs, coming to a halt and turning to face the fairy. “The human phrase ‘Catch-22’ is rather fitting here, you realize, which hardly makes for a clear-cut decision. If you go along with this plan and your worries prove to be founded, you’ll be risking the lives of, at the very least, all your friends coming with you. But...”

“But if I stay behind, it’ll almost certainly lead to more deaths, Cirno’s in particular, and we have much more than a guess to support that. Right.” Dai sighs explosively, face contorting in frustration. “I really, really hate this godsdamned ability of mine. Is there any way you could...I don’t know, try something like that ice power one more time?”

“Would that I could, but your power has grown significantly in these past years, whereas I have reached the limits of my own strength. You’re too strong now for me to succeed with anything like that, Daiyousei.”

“Not that I ever wanted to be, but yes, okay. What about Cirno? Could you show her how to do it, if we explained the situation to her?”

“Cirno has the raw power to succeed where I would fail, but she lacks the necessary finesse. I might be able to instruct her as to the proper method, but it would take a great deal of time. Too much.”

“Yes, I guessed as much, but I had to ask anyway.” Dai shakes her head wearily. “Do you think there’s any chance of just convincing Cirno to give up on this burglary?”

“It’s possible, if we can help her realize the consequences. But then your other companions would require an explanation, and at least a couple of them seem bright enough to be suspicious. Particularly that one girl who’s far too quick to be a newborn. Not to mention that there are still stories floating around about you, if one would care to look, and that trio seems familiar enough with Hakurei that they might tell her. It might be necessary to...silence...them-”

No, Letty. That’s the exact thing we’re trying to avoid here.” Dai’s eyes flash with anger, and a wave of blackness ripples across her wings before they settle down again. “I won’t let you do that to them, especially not just to protect me.”

“You and Cirno, in fairness. If the shrine maiden comes along to exterminate you, and I am referring to the old meaning of that term, do you really think your best friend will just let her? And the Hakurei line is not known for their mercy.”

Dai’s expression wavers with doubt briefly, but quickly returns to determined resolve. “No, Reimu isn’t nearly as ruthless as her ancestors; she wouldn’t do something like that. And if it did become necessary, I could deal with Cirno. I’ve considered the possibility of situations like that before, and come up with some solutions.”

The two lock stares for a few seconds, and Letty eventually nods. “Very well. I do not wish to harm your new friends if at all possible, but if the situation requires it know that I will value your safety above theirs. I suppose we shall just proceed with the current plan and hope for the best. Come, let us return to them. Take my hand.” She extends it to the fairy.

“All right.” Dai reaches out her own, but hesitates, fingers splayed above Letty’s. “Are you sure I won’t-”

“I will be unharmed. I have been using my powers since we left Cirno to generate a suppressing aura much like her own. You can tell this by the fact that I’m still standing upright instead of in a twitching heap on the ground.”

“Right. Interesting, isn’t it, how you’re so easily able to emulate her. I could have sworn only fairies had auras which could interact with each other.”

“…I’m not sure what you think you’re implying, Daiyousei, but I have been able to develop several unorthodox uses of my power throughout my life as a youkai, and-“

“No need to get defensive, Letty. I don’t actually care why what you’re doing works, so long as it keeps me restrained. I’m not planning to pry beyond that. Now come on, let’s head back.” Dai grasps Letty’s hand.

A whirlwind of snow rises up around the two, and a moment later they’re gone.

You sag back against the tree, wide-eyed.

...What the hell was that about?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
You stay in that position for a minute or two longer, thoughts running rampant through your mind.

So, apparently Letty knows quite a lot about whatever dangerous problem Dai’s having, and Dai’s confiding in her over Cirno. You wonder how, or if, the issue relates to what was happening whenever you and Dai touched earlier. Maybe that’s the whole thing that prompted the conversation? No, more likely it’s that outburst with the black wings and the bad air.

Oh, and evidently your lives are at risk, either unwillingly from Dai or more willingly from the once-again scary Letty. Wonderful. But wait, Juniper said that fairies’ lives basically can’t be at risk, given that you come back if you ever die. So either she was wrong, along with Star, Sunny, and Luna you guess, or Letty and Dai know something about that which you don’t. Very worrying.

You should just leave. Fly away, forget you ever met these people. They don’t know you know their dark secret, they’d have no reason to go after you, you can survive forever on your own.

Make yourself a new identity, off in some far corner of this land. You can always make new allies, but you’ll only have one life.

…No. You can’t do that. If Sunny, Star, Luna, and Cirno are in danger, and you’re aware of that, you’re not just going to abandon them.

Idiot.You have so far still to grow, don’t risk it all like this.

No, you’re not being stopped from doing this. From a purely selfish standpoint risking your own skin to help others might be considered stupid, yes, but you’re not a fairy who only looks out for number one. Those girls in danger are your friends, and as their friend you’re responsible to look out for them as best you can.

Foolish child.

If a foolish child has a more functional moral code than the two mysterious voices in her head, then you’re entirely fine with being one. You rise up above the canopy and take flight towards your next destination. The lake.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
As you make your way over to the misty lake’s edge, you can hear Sunny’s excited voice drifting up from below.

“...And by the time she woke up, her shrine was completely filled with soba! Reimu complains all the time about not having enough food, so we just gave her exactly what she wanted. But what an ungrateful shrine maiden, we give her all that food and she throws it out, so it’s just her just desserts to stay hungry for days afterward, right?”

A cacophony of laughter bursts out in response, ranging from Cirno’s energetic crowing to Star’s tinkling giggles to Letty’s deeper chuckles.

Well, good that they’re all enjoying themselves. You swoop down towards them, alighting in the snow a few feet away. “Hi, everyone.”

“Hey there...whoa, what happened to you?” Sunny asks, blinking as she takes in your appearance.

“Those look like bullet and laser injuries; I’m assuming you didn’t grow some plant that spat bullets at you, so what did?” Luna says, raising an eyebrow.

“I messed up somebody’s home and got in a fight with them over it, it wasn’t that big a deal. Star, I’m okay, you don’t need to worry about me,” you say to the blue-clad girl now fretting over you, biting her lip at your burns and bruises. “Er, sorry about your dress, Dai.”

“No, it’s not important and I have several more like it anyway,” Dai assures you, a worried stare accompanying her words. “Are you sure you’re all right, though?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. These don’t hurt any more, and they don’t look quite as bad as before either.”

“That’d be your natural healing kicking in,” Star clarifies. “Anything more lethal than a certain threshold will make us pop instantly, but as long as our injuries are less than that we’ll regenerate them and be back to normal within a few minutes.” Star’s mouth forms a small ‘o’, and she gingerly grabs you in a consoling hug. “Oh, poor dear, you must have been practically dead on your feet if you’re still this hurt...”

You pat Star on the back a bit awkwardly, feeling a warmth come to your cheeks. Still not quite used to that. “Actually, they didn’t get much worse than this - the burn was a little redder, and the bruises were a tiny bit darker, but that’s it - before I won.”

“Eh? You won?” Star pulls back, eyes wide with surprise. “I was assuming you’d just have run away. That’s what I’d do.”

“It’s true, she would. And has, for that matter, usually leaving us behind.”

“Hush, Luna.”

“So how’d you win?” Cirno asks. “Another sneak attack with your vines?”

“Ah, no, I tried that, and got this to show for it.” You point at your side, grimacing. “I ended up having to, er, figure out danmaku on the fly, from the things you’d said earlier.”

“…And you were able to succeed with that?” Letty asks skeptically.

“I think another of my memories kicked in or something like that, and gave me an idea. Here, I’ll do it again.”

You turn away from the group while concentrating, holding the memory of that branchlike pattern in your mind, then snap your hand up and fire.

The same spiraling pattern of brown, green, and pink bullets courses through the air. Looks like, despite how disagreeable that voice was recently, it did see fit to help you permanently with danmaku.

“Oh, wow, that’s cool.” “Nice pattern, can see how you could get caught easily in that.” “Are those supposed to be sakura blossoms?” The other fairies seem duly impressed with your little trick.

Letty, surprisingly, looks to be a bit beyond that, rather taken aback and shaking her head slightly in disbelief. She opens her mouth, presumably to address you, but Dai stops her with a nudging elbow in the stomach.
“Figure it out once we’ve gotten past the current issue, okay?” Dai murmurs. The yuki-onna nods, looking a bit chagrined.

“…Uh, Star, by the way.” You address the girl still clinging to your back. “Did anything happen with my wings just now when I did that?”

“Your wings? I didn’t see or feel anything besides the normal warmth, so no. Did you expect something different to happen?”

“Uh…no, nothing really.” You cough, regaining control of your own vocal cords. Okay, so vengeful voice in head doesn’t want you to expose the changing wings. That warrants some further thought, but you don’t really want to deal with it at the moment. “So…off to the Scarlet Devil Mansion?” You ask.

“Yeah, everything’s worked out. We’ll go in first and dress up as maids, then spend the day finding the artifact. Letty’ll come in for the party and do her thing...” Sunny says.

“Letty and I can talk over distances with a trick of hers, as long as I make some snow first.” Cirno explains. “So she’ll let me know once everyone’s been distracted, and that’s when we can take the thing. You guys can leave with it, I’ll hang around for a bit and try to find some people to play with at the party.”

“Not if I can help it, you won’t.” Dai mutters, almost too quietly to hear.

“All right, so let’s go!” Sunny cheers, lifting upwards and half-turning out towards the lake.

“...No, wait a moment, everyone.” Star says, detaching from you and dropping her voice to a whisper. “I only just noticed it, but there’s someone hiding in those bushes. Fairy-sized, a little smaller than us.” She glances around, strained smile showing some slight worry. “That’s easily close enough to hear what we’ve been talking about...”
----------------------------------------
[ ] Just head out to the mansion already, you shouldn’t need to bother with them.
[ ] Ask Sunny and Luna to sneak up on and drag them out.
[ ] Go bring the eavesdropper back yourself. You have a feeling you know who this is.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>Update schedule should be back to a more rapid one after this.
Yeah, so obviously I’m a fucking liar. Things preventing me from updating just kind of coalesced on this one, but I’m not trying to make excuses for myself after this many delayed updates. The next two updates, at least, will be within 24 hours of this one or another or I’m going to shoot something.

Also, in the future, I will most likely be asking for tie-breakers instead of flipping a coin (at the very least with big decisions), the latter of which I’ve mostly done so far. It has its downsides (as >>53763 illustrated), but some things probably shouldn’t be left up to chance, I feel like that’s kind of slighting you voters.

Votes will be called in 16-17 hours.
>>No. 53768
[ ] Go bring the eavesdropper back yourself. You have a feeling you know who this is.

It would not be a good idea to just leave her on her own, and the other girls might be a bit too rough with her.
>>No. 53769
[x] Go bring the eavesdropper back yourself. You have a feeling you know who this is.

Well. Looks like everybody is eavesdropping this update. Good thing we ditched her early or we probably would have missed that Dai/Letty conversation.

>...What the hell was that about?
My thought exactly. At least it's confirmed that they're separate, and spoiler-chan is probably younger. Or an old person pretending to be young, god knows Gensokyo has enough of those. I don't think we've tossed out Patchouli's name yet... She might have been experimenting on a fairy. We did wake up near SDM, after all.
>>No. 53773
[x] Go bring the eavesdropper back yourself. You have a feeling you know who this is.
>>No. 53775
Well, this is certainly interesting.

If I'm reading this right, it seems that Dai's miasma abilities are held in check not only through her own will alone, but with Cirno's reinforcement as well, an ability that Letty is able to duplicate (or perhaps she is the one who taught Cirno how to use it? Food for thought here). Also it seems that this aura may have a decent range, as Cirno was busy freezing the lake while Dai was alone working on her spellcards.

It sounds like Dai is worried that her intrinsic power may "hijack" the artifact if she's nearby, so to speak. Which would be bad. Except there's a piece of the puzzle I'm certainly misinterpreting: If I'm correct, why does Daiyousei not going with them lead to more deaths? They might mean that without Dai holding Cirno in check, Cirno could dive headfirst into situations she should be avoiding, but it sounds like something more complicated that that.

In addition, it appears that in addition to "See you soon!" Death, you have "Even fairies die when they are killed" Death, which Dai's maisma aura seems to lead to. In addition, it sounds like people powerful enough or knowledgeable enough can kill fairies permanently. Just something to note.

And also we have the spiritual successor to headgames from FOM appearing in this story to boot. Two of them, even.

Oh right, the vote.

[x] Ask Sunny and Luna to sneak up on and drag them out.

We told her not to come. Maybe pulling her our roughly should get the message across that she's not really wanted in this prank.
>>No. 53776
[X] Ask Sunny and Luna to sneak up on and drag them out.

>>53775
Shit, you put a lot of thought into that. After reading your post the update makes more sense I think, but I also think you're wrong about a couple parts of this.

>If I'm reading this right, it seems that Dai's miasma abilities are held in check not only through her own will alone, but with Cirno's reinforcement as well, an ability that Letty is able to duplicate (or perhaps she is the one who taught Cirno how to use it? Food for thought here).
This is straight out of the Because Cirno-chan doujin, if I'm reading it right. Cirno's power naturally weakened Dai and other fairies around her, and led to her being a pariah, so I doubt Letty would have taught it. But Letty being able to duplicate it is weird as hell, if convenient, considering that.

>Also it seems that this aura may have a decent range, as Cirno was busy freezing the lake while Dai was alone working on her spellcards.
But the only times we felt the tingling from Dai, not counting her breakdown, was when Cirno wasn't with her.
Plus there's the fact that we felt "suppressed" when near Cirno and that Cirno touching Dai seemed to calm her down. So I think the range is actually pretty short.

>why does Daiyousei not going with them lead to more deaths?
No idea about this, unless it's the same aura thing as before, and her being away from Cirno for that long.

>And also we have the spiritual successor to headgames from FOM appearing in this story to boot. Two of them, even.
Ayup. Been trying to figure out the differences between spoiler-chan and italics-voice, but I'm not really confident of anything yet.

We really need to get some answers out of Dai about this at the first possible opportunity. Not Letty, because Dai actually seems nice enough to care about us much more than Letty does.
>>No. 53778
[x] Go bring the eavesdropper back yourself. You have a feeling you know who this is.
>>No. 53779
[x] Go bring the eavesdropper back yourself. You have a feeling you know who this is.
>>No. 53780
>Shit, you put a lot of thought into that.

What can I say? Enjoyable stories deserve discussion, especially when a big serving of PLOT comes along.

>Cirno's power naturally weakened Dai and other fairies around her

I just checked, and Cirno's power didn't do that. She just dropped the ambient temperature around herself too much for any other fairies to want to be near her.

>But the only times we felt the tingling from Dai, not counting her breakdown, was when Cirno wasn't with her.
>Plus there's the fact that we felt "suppressed" when near Cirno and that Cirno touching Dai seemed to calm her down. So I think the range is actually pretty short.

Looking back, you seem to be mostly right. I guess it's a complicated combination of factors then: Dai alone (or at the extreme ranges of Cirno's aura) can control her power well enough to stop things from keeling over, but not enough to prevent her "touch of death" properly, based on how panicked she was when our MC touched her. With Cirno in relatively close proximity, the effect lessens more, enough for her feel safe enough touching others. And if I'm interpreting things right (from Cirno's strained face when calming Dai down), direct contact and/or Cirno focusing her powers can keep in check even bigger surges of miasma from Dai when she's especially distressed.

Man, I'm really feeling sorry for this Dai. She's like a combination of Rogue (death touch) and Hulk, except if she loses control, she doesn't turn green and grow, everything around her dies instead unless Cirno or Letty are present to stop her.

Also it's interesting that while Star could sense our aura of life (or so I'm assuming from her description: bringing life to plants seems to be a valid interpretation), she couldn't sense Cirno's suppression aura. She never touched Dai, so we can't be sure if we're more sensitive to her and fairy auras in general, or if her touch affects all equally. (On a side note, attempt to resurrect insects/heal injuries when given the opportunity, just to find if our power works that way too.)

>No idea about this, unless it's the same aura thing as before, and her being away from Cirno for that long.

Given that Cirno is being listed as one of the potential casualties, I doubt it's her separation from Cirno that assumedly would cause the deaths.
>>No. 53781
Oh look there are giant posts of theorizing. Those are extremely nice to see.

Okay, this is being called for going to get the eavesdropper yourself. Sorry if anyone didn't get the chance to vote, update will be in <7 hours.
>>No. 53782
>>53780
her ability is the detection of living beings, beyond that depends more on the senses a gensokyo resident develops as they get stronger. I'd be surprised if Reimu or Marisa couldn't sense it somehow upon trying.
>>No. 53783
All I have to say is poor Juniper, I hope you people are happy with yourselves.
>>No. 53784
File 133998376528.jpg - (658.84KB, 790x790, pretty_much_unrelated.jpg) [iqdb]
53784
>>53783
Have a little faith.
-----------------------------
[x] Go bring the eavesdropper back yourself. You have a feeling you know who this is.

So, there’s a fairy who suddenly showed up at the edge of the woods, presumably from the woods, at the edge of the lake where you said you’d be, and is listening to you talking with your friends. Oh, and they’re apparently Juniper-sized.

Yeah, that seems a little too convenient to just be coincidence. You sigh, frustratedly trailing fingers through your hair. If you’d wanted her to stay away, you probably shoudn’t have mentioned the lake as your next destination. Assuming this is Juniper, apparently the fact that you left in the exact opposite direction of the lake did little to dissuade her.

You open your mouth to speak, but are interrupted by Luna, speaking rapidly with a businesslike air. Ah, you can let Luna say her part, you suppose.

“All right, I’ve silenced the area around us, so whoever that is listening should just assume we’re whispering too quietly for them to hear. We’re a fair distance away, that shouldn’t be a stretch. Now, Star, did they only just appear at the woods’ edge, or did you sense them earlier and it just didn’t register?”

“No, I’m sure I only started sensing them a moment ago. And it’s funny that you use the term ‘appear’, actually, that’s almost what it felt like happened. Not quite though: it was like someone entering the area I can sense, but in reverse, kinda.” She taps her chin, musing. “Hmm, and I didn’t realize my power could reach quite that far…”

“And it’s just one fairy?”

“Either that, a smallish youkai, or a human child, not that the latter would likely survive for long in the forest. Fairies are far more common than youkai, anyway, especially ones of this size.”

“Right, if it’s just an eavesdropping fairy we should be able to deal with them easily.” Sunny says, slightly harried confidence in her voice. “C’mon, Luna, we can grab ‘em and haul them over here before they see anything coming. Let’s find out what they know.”

“Actually, guys…” You interject. “Do you mind if I deal with this? I’m pretty sure this is the fairy whose home I messed up, I mentioned that I’d be coming here.”

“What, do they want revenge on you for ruining their home?” Cirno asks, before shrinking under the trio’s glares. “Aw, come on, I can’t be the only fairy who’d react like that.”

“Well, probably not, given that she tried to kill me for it. But we worked that out, once I beat her and fixed her home up for her with my powers. Now we’re basically friends.”

“Well, good to see you’re catching on to how things work in Gensokyo.” Dai says with a small smile.

“So, yeah, I’ll go get her, there shouldn’t be any need for you to rough her up or anything.”

“Oh, but it would only be fair, wouldn’t it?” Star purrs, her normal smile having shifted into something almost predatory. “After all, she hurt you so much, I for one wouldn’t mind at all if she got paid back for it…”

“You’ve got a little crazy on you there, Star.” Luna mutters, frowning. “Yeah, we won’t do anything bad to your new friend.”

“But make sure you don’t let her escape,” Sunny warns. “Anyone who might betray our evil plan must be silenced…fufufu…”

“Oh, good, would-be supervillainy.” Luna says, voice heavily layered with sarcasm. “And how do you plan to manage that, Sunny? Torture her into staying quiet?”

“What?” Sunny’s eyes widen in horror. “No, no, Luna, what’s wrong with you? I’d just, uh…ask her not to tell anyone, I guess?...”

“I was joking, Sunny. And yeah, you’re really bad at this.” Luna says, but her tone has softened, and a small grin forms on her face. “Still, that’s for the best, I suppose.”

“I’ll be right back with her, then. Where is she, exactly?...” You follow Star’s gaze to a cluster of bushes at the forest’s edge, and make your way over. You can make out a slight rustling in the foliage, which settles down as you approach.

“Juniper, is that you?” You call out.

“Juniper is Juniper, yes.” Well, not many fairies that would answer like that.

“What are you doing there? Didn’t I say I couldn’t bring you in on this?”

“Juniper was just overhearing her not-friend’s friends chatter on about their past plans and present prank. Juniper doesn’t need to follow what you say, she can follow you along anyway.” A mop of black hair pokes out of the shrubbery, obscured eyes staring at you stubbornly.

“ ‘Not-friend’…Juniper, I said this already, I do consider us friends, but-”

“Really?” You jump back as a grinning Juniper bursts up out of the bushes, excitement radiating off her. She quickly settles back down to the ground, doing an exceptionally bad job at masking her cheer as her put-on pout flickers and is replaced with a smile every second.

“Juniper didn’t care that much, just so you know, Juniper was just getting really tired of staying in those bushes. So, when is Juniper leaving with you then? Juniper’s really excited to-”

“Juniper, listen to me, I essentially said this earlier but I guess you didn’t get it. Just because we’re friends, that doesn’t automatically mean that I can let you come with us.”

“…It doesn’t?”

“No. This isn’t my plan, and I’m not the one who calls the shots for it, my other friends over there do and they don’t know you at all. Not to mention that they’re not exactly happy with you for spying on them like this.”

“Juniper’s sorry. Juniper just wanted to have some fun with you pulling a prank, that’s all…” She drops her gaze to the ground, scratching lines in the snow with a foot.

“Yeah, I know.” You sigh, looking at her downcast expression. “Don’t worry, it’s not that big a deal. Just, come with me and talk with them, okay? If you really want, you can ask if you can be part of the prank.” You offer her your hand.

Juniper stares at it for a moment, then clasps it in her own with a blush. “Juniper’s glad her friend’s so nice, even if she says stupid things to Juniper too. She’ll go talk.”

The two of you head back over to the group. Star’s gaze zooms in on your clasped hands, and her eyes narrow considerably.

“Everyone, this is Juniper. Juniper, that’s Star, Sunny, Luna, Cirno, Dai, and Letty.” You point to everyone in turn, detaching your hand from Juniper’s to do so.

“Juniper heard their names already. Nice to meet you all.”

“Yes, I do wish we could say the same.” Star responds. Her eyes have returned to their normal width, but her smile looks extremely forced, and you can’t tell what sort of emotions it’s hiding.

“Yeah, Juniper, I’m Sunny. Hi. Why were you spying on us?” Sunny asks bluntly.

“Juniper heard from her friend that she was going to the lake to talk about a big prank, and Juniper was curious, so she came and listened.”

“I didn’t go into any more detail than that, I swear.” You say quickly as accusing looks begin targeting you.

“How much did you hear of what we were saying, Juniper?” Dai asks, kind voice cutting through the hostility.

“Juniper heard everything about how you’re planning to steal something from the vampire mansion. Juniper’s heard about the place from her maid friends who work there, and it sounds pretty scary, but Juniper would still want to help you out if she can.”

“Yeah, sorry, Juniper, but we’re going to need you to stay quiet about all this.” Sunny says dismissively. “I really don’t think we can- Wait. Did you just say you have friends working in the SDM?”

“Juniper did, yes. Several of the forest fairies Juniper knows had the vampire’s dog-human send for them, and they’ve been working there as maids for several seasons-“

“All right, you’re in.” Sunny announces.

“…Sunny, don’t you think it’s a bit late to be changing the plan we’ve decided on?” Letty asks, giving her a sharp look.

“I agree with Letty, I really don’t think she should come with us.” Star adds.

“Look, hear me out. Actually finding the artifact in the mansion was one of the plan’s weak points, right? The place is huge, and we wouldn’t have anything to go on. But, if we have friends of friends…uh, of friends, who would know the place and can tell us where it would be, it’ll make that step way easier. I think that’s more than enough reason to have her along.”

“…Eh, I guess it’s worth a shot.” Luna says.

“I suppose this could make things considerably easier…” Dai says hesitantly.

“So, it’s decided then. Right? Right.” Sunny states. “Welcome to our no longer especially little group, Juniper.”

“Hooray! Juniper gets to come along!” She grabs you in a hug, spinning you around and laughing. Star slowly turns away from the sight, hiding her face from you, and Luna softly pats her on the shoulder.

“Let’s go already, then. Geez, it feels like I’ve been waiting weeks to get going with this…” Cirno says.

“I wonder how far away I’ll need to get to stop sensing that…” Still avoiding your gaze, Star takes off into the mists, a worried-looking Luna following.

“Sure, time’s-a-wasting.” Sunny shoots up and after her companions, Cirno and Dai doing the same.

“Ah? Hey, wait for Juniper…” The clinging little fairy pulls herself off of you and flies off into the mists.

“Farewell, then. I’ll see you all tomorrow night if everything goes well, I wish you the best of luck.” Letty calls, before disappearing in a cloud of snow.

You take off last of your group, trailing behind the rest in the flight pattern and briefly struggling to keep them in sight. You have to, you’re the only one who doesn’t know where this place is after all.

The expanse of the lake fills your field of view, it’s large enough that transversing it means you’ll have a few minutes free for conversation. Now, how to make use of it…
----------------------------------------
[ ] Tell (write-in) about Juniper’s potentially problematic honesty.
[ ] Talk to Dai, try to find out about that worrying conversation she had with Letty.
[ ] Ask Juniper about your misunderstanding earlier. Seriously, why did she react that strongly?
[ ] Ask Star why she started acting strangely once Juniper showed up.
[ ] Write-in.
[ ] Just fly in silence.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Okay, so it's 24 hours rounding down. Close enough.

You are allowed to pick multiple conversation options, you just might not get as much mileage out of each one as you would if a single choice wins.

Next update will be the last one in this thread, just for the record, so try and help me fill up the remaining posts if you feel so inclined.
>>No. 53785
File 133998519998.jpg - (20.53KB, 300x343, stephanie_brown.jpg) [iqdb]
53785
To that end, comment responses time.

>>53769
>Good thing we ditched her early or we probably would have missed that Dai/Letty conversation.
This is correct, Juniper staying with you would have kept you sufficiently distracted that you wouldn't hear Dai and Letty.
>spoiler-chan
Well, rolls off the tongue better than Headgames. Also, pic related.

>>53775
Nitpicking, but Dai's powers technically are about plague, not miasma.
>it sounds like people powerful enough or knowledgeable enough can kill fairies permanently.
There are very few people who can overcome inherent fairy immortality, and doing this is on more of a case-by-case basis than by power or knowledge.
>And also we have the spiritual successor to headgames from FOM appearing in this story to boot. Two of them, even.
Hurr. I think reading FoM might have influenced me a bit too much. There's some notable differences between MC's voices and Headgames, though.

>>53776
>Shit, you put a lot of thought into that.
You don't need to make that sound like a bad thing.
>This is straight out of the Because Cirno-chan doujin
A few story aspects are taken wholesale, but most of them I've interpreted slightly differently in my own way. Wouldn't be any fun if you could guess everything just by reading the doujin.
>Ayup. Been trying to figure out the differences between spoiler-chan and italics-voice, but I'm not really confident of anything yet.
The distinctions would be rather difficult to see as of yet.

>>53780
>Enjoyable stories deserve discussion
Aww, thanks.
>Man, I'm really feeling sorry for this Dai. She's like a combination of Rogue (death touch) and Hulk
One of my original planning notes about Daiyousei was "basically Fairy!Hulk". Entirely serious.

Obviously there's a lot of things I can't respond to because spoilers. Hopefully I'm not going out of line or seeming like a tease by doing this much, though.
>>No. 53787
[ ] Tell (Star) about Juniper’s potentially problematic honesty.

For the plan to work this one has to be addressed. The write-in was a tough choice, though.
>>No. 53788
[x] Ask Star why she started acting strangely once Juniper showed up.
[x] Talk to Dai, try to find out about that worrying conversation she had with Letty.

Looks like Star's set on a nameless fairy route. How cute~

And headgames is a tired old moniker that's inaccurate besides: it implies an alien entity is living in our mind and its every action is one of malicious intent. With the conclusion of FoM it's become apparent that this was not the case, but that's a topic for another thread. Even if the voices in our head aren't, well, ours, they're certainly not malicious: at least one is the reason we didn't die or become even more injured in our fight with Juniper. Labeling them as "headgames" will only serve to the detriment of the story, and would give Viridian a clear and easy outlet to apply reverse psychology through, if s/he felt like it.
>>No. 53789
[x] Ask Star why she started acting strangely once Juniper showed up.
[x] Tell (Star) about Juniper’s potentially problematic honesty.

All in on Star. I want to talk to Daiyousei, but that might be a conversation better left for another time.

>How cute~
She's jealous~
>>No. 53790
[x] Ask Star why she started acting strangely once Juniper showed up.
>>No. 53791
[x] Ask Star why she started acting strangely once Juniper showed up.
[x] Tell (Star) about Juniper’s potentially problematic honesty.
>>No. 53792
[x] Tell Dai and Star about Juniper’s potentially problematic honesty.

As much as I would love to interrogate question Dai on what we overheard, now isn't the time; she's likely clam up if we tried it at the moment.
>>No. 53793
[x] Ask Star why she started acting strangely once Juniper showed up.
[x] Tell (Star) about Juniper’s potentially problematic honesty.

Star's range started to increase after we appear? That sounds related to our mysterious power.
>>No. 53794
[x] Tell Dai and Luna about Juniper's potentially problematic honesty.

Giving Star, who's already jealous of Juniper, information to use against her does not strike me as a good idea. These two seem reasonable enough to make good use of knowing this, though.
>>No. 53795
>>53794
The only reasonable person here is Daiyousei. Star is the most likely to make malicious use of the information, which is why I want to tell her.
>>No. 53796
[x] Tell Dai and Luna about Juniper's potentially problematic honesty.

Giving Star, who's already jealous of Juniper, information to use against her does not strike me as a good idea. These two seem reasonable enough to make good use of knowing this, though.
>>No. 53797
>>53796

Fair enough. Amending >>53792 to be Dai and Luna instead of Dai and Star.
>>No. 53798
[x] Tell Dai and Luna about Juniper's potentially problematic honesty.
>>No. 53800
Okay, a bit unsure how to call this. Calling at least for asking Star about why she's acting strangely, but I'm going to ask for a tiebreaker on whether or not you tell Dai/Luna or Star about Juniper's honesty.

I"ll check back in another hour and call then or after if it takes longer for a tiebreaker to appear.
>>No. 53806
[x] Tell Dai and Luna about Juniper's potentially problematic honesty.
[x] Ask Star why she started acting strangely once Juniper showed up.

Apparently Star felt only someone leaving, so I'd guess that it's that Juniper is stealthy somehow and she's used to being able to sense nearby people.
>>No. 53810
And there's the tiebreaker. Ah well, this won't be quite as entertaining for me to write, but it'll probably be better for you all in the long run.

I'm somewhat doubtful that I'll be able to get an update up in the next 3-4 hours, but I'll be writing it up ASAP and will be starting thread 2 sometime tomorrow. (The update will be a 2-parter, there aren't going to be any more votes in this thread.)

I don't think it's a faux pas to start a new thread before you reach autosage, but if it is I apologize. I'll probably be doing a saged imagedump afterwards anyway to prevent bots and such.
>>No. 53813
>>53810
It is, especially if the votes left until that point is above say 5.
>>No. 53824
>>53810
I'm pretty sure it is. Also nobody bothers protecting against spambots FYI.

Though that might be because they actually wait to the thread to finish before starting the next one.
>>No. 53825
>>53813
>>53824
All right, noted, and thanks for stopping me from doing something stupid. I will actually wait until autosage before starting thread 2, my reasoning behind doing otherwise didn't make all that much sense anyway.

Update should be late today.
>>No. 53856
File 134025538646.jpg - (356.04KB, 900x700, shovel.jpg) [iqdb]
53856
Stop jinxing yourself already.
>>No. 53880
File 134041188211.jpg - (209.56KB, 850x1275, so yeah.jpg) [iqdb]
53880
Dammit, really sorry about yet another delay. It's been too hot to think effectively, let alone write anything decent, where I live for the past few days (attempts led to me staring blankly at my computer screen until I gave up and started doing something else. In retrospect, I think I've been rather perpetually dehydrated, which probably didn't help). No, that's not an especially valid excuse, I realize, and I'll be trying to make up for it again. I won't actually say I'm going to keep a schedule, as we've seen how well that turns out, but I will be devoting as much time as I can to writing for the forseeable future. My summer ended up being busier than I'd expected, is all.

At the very least, a voteless update will be up in the next 3-4 hours, followed fairly soon after by a proper one. Again, I'm sorry about this.

>>53856
Hopefully this time isn't jinxing myself. Where's that pic from, on an unrelated note?
>>No. 53885
>>53880
And, of course, the wireless at my house goes out. Great. Seeing as I can't post anything from my phone, I'll update this after I get some sleep.
>>No. 53887
File 134043581558.jpg - (634.23KB, 640x770, 28144344.jpg) [iqdb]
53887
>>53880
http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=19178540
Saucenao works with pixiv. If iqdb doesn't work, try it.

something about no need for excuses, etc.
>>No. 53915
File 134067885911.png - (1.46MB, 1025x1199, no_pictures_of_these_two_plus_dai.png) [iqdb]
53915
[x] Tell Dai and Luna about Juniper's potentially problematic honesty.
[x] Ask Star why she started acting strangely once Juniper showed up.

Well, there’s rather a lot of ways you could pass the time now, really, and you mentally filter through your options to pick a couple good ones. Not like you’ve got a week to spend here, after all. Speaking with Dai and/or Juniper are first to come to mind, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that they’re still on your mind, given how recent their behaviors were. Confronting Dai about what you overheard is more tempting now that Letty’s gone, but you dismiss the idea quickly. It’s likely that someone else would overhear you even now, which wouldn’t exactly encourage her to respond meaningfully.

As for Juniper, hmm...You should let at least one of the others know about how honest she is towards pranks, as that could cause problems, but you’re not sure who should know exactly. You’re still wondering about her practically breaking into tears when you left earlier, but seeing as you’ve just smoothed things over it’s probably best to let that lie. Her earlier animosity’s all but disappeared, even Star was more upset than her.

...Come to think of it, why was Star acting so oddly, exactly? Part of it seemed to be worry about your injuries, but that doesn’t seem enough to explain why she was the most hostile towards Juniper, -you’d expect the opposite, really- nor why she left in such a hurry. That seems something worthwhile to find out, in fact. But first, you’ll need to catch up with her...

You fly forwards through the mists, shivering as the moisture soaks into your already-chilled clothes and skin. Great, first the snow and now this. You hope the mansion will be at least a bit warmer.

Dipping down to evade Juniper as you fly, you observe her giggling as she traces out patterns in the mist, spiralling every which way through the air and tracing faint trails of emptiness on her ethereal canvas. The girl makes art wherever she goes, you guess.

Continuing forward, you catch sight of Cirno to the right in front of you, chattering to Sunny about something or other as they progress through the mists.

“...So you guys hang out with Marisa that much, but you’ve never tried, I dunno, taking something from her house? She’s supposed to have collected a lot of cool stuff, right?”
“We’ve tried, actually, but it turns out she’s not as fine with other people ‘borrowing’ her things as she is with borrowing herself.” Sunny shudders. “Still has the same criteria for returning them, though. I guess I should be glad her Master Spark’s at least a quick death...”

Dai, hanging by Cirno’s side, catches your eye and gives a small wave, beckoning you over. You return the gesture, floating over to her and merging her flight paths.

“You and Juniper are keeping up all right, then?”

“Ah, yeah. She was hanging behind a bit, playing around with the mist, but I’m pretty sure she knows where this place is so that shouldn’t be an issue.”

“Well, that’s good. Er, playing with the mist you said?” Dai asks, quirking an eyebrow. “That’s a new one...”

“I think she’s trying to draw something in the air. She seems really interested in art, for whatever reason.”

“That’s not uncommon, really. Danmaku is as much an art form as a mode of combat, and many fairies like competing with each other to make the prettiest bullet patterns. Well, most everyone does that, actually, but we’re no exception.”

“Well, I’m not sure if she really-” Come to think of it, looking back you realize that all the bullets she was shooting at you were organized in distinct shapes and patterns, evidently tailored to Juniper’s liking. Not that you were paying much attention at the time, the aesthetics of the weapons flying at you seemed less important than not dying to them. “Actually, I guess she does do that. But there’s more to it, she also tried controlling her house’s growth to be artistic, not to mention...” You glance backwards to see some strange pattern of concentric rings, bridged with curves and spirals which it hurts your brain to look at. “That.”

“I see. Well, that’s interesting, but still fairly typical. Most fairies have their own individualized interests or passions, although those tend not to last too long. Short attention spans and all that.” She shrugs.

“You’ve met a lot of other fairies, I take it?”

“Not all that often, just when Cirno wants to go out somewhere, but yes.”

“Why only then?” Dai starts at your question, squeezing her eyes shut and spitting out an inaudible word. “Are you just not very social? I mean, you don’t seem to mind our company, but...”

“No, I like being able to meet and playing with you and other fairies, it’s just...I need to stay by Cirno’s side, and- Er...” Dai falls silent, her voice replaced by Sunny’s emanating from your right.

“Nope, no way you managed to freeze Marisa’s Master Spark. I refuse to believe that.”
“Okay, fine, so I froze a shield out of thin air and used that to block the laser beam. The part about beating it’s still true, though.”

You remind yourself of the decision not to pry into Dai’s secrets, at least not yet. “It’s okay, I think I get it. You’re really passionate towards Cirno, then, and that’s why you’re always with her?”

“I - what? How did - no, that’s, ah...” It’s really quite amazing how fast blood can flow to her cheeks like that. Dai quickly spins towards Sunny and Cirno, who seem too engrossed in their own conversation to have heard, and turns back to you with a sigh of relief. That’s the second time you’ve said something that made her blush, now. You should probably look into that.

Oh, I could explain that. Or help you cause more...
No, shut up, she doesn’t need to know these things.

“...Like what you just said, about fairies having interests like that?” You prompt, ignoring the voices.

“I - oh, that’s right.” Tomato-shaded cheeks fade to sakura blossoms. “I suppose you could put it that way, yes. Although, on the other note...” A glint of mischief enters her eyes, and she smiles at you. “Are you planning to talk to Star about the two of you?”

“I was just going to, actually, yeah. She was acting kind of oddly and upset, and I was wondering why.” You pause. “Wait, what other note?”

“Nothing, nothing~” She waves a hand absently, giggling. “If you haven’t realized yet, it’s not my place to say. Go talk to her, it’s something you might as well clear up now.”

“All right, I will. But, um...” A thought occurs to you, given that Dai seems to know how other fairies think. “I’ll want to ask you for advice about Juniper in a bit, there’s a chance having her with us might cause problems. Is that all right?”

“Advice? Well, I’m not sure if I’d be the best one to ask, but sure.”

“Right, thanks.” You accelerate forwards again, leaving the three behind.

After a few moments, you can see two silhouettes through the mist, which fade into clarity as you approach. Unsurprisingly, it’s Star and Luna, who seem to be talking from their flapping mouths and gesturing hands but are producing no sounds. You cough audibly, and Luna looks back towards you before snapping her fingers.

“-and I just can’t help it, honestly. Luna, what are you looking at-” Star’s mouth snaps shut as she catches sight of you. “We’re still muted, right?” she mutters out of the corner of her mouth.

“Hi. What can’t you help, Star?”

Star deigns not to answer, instead exhaling through her teeth while fixing Luna with a glare.

Luna, for her part, looks wholly unapologetic and seems to be trying to hold back a smile. “Oh come on, you had that coming. And I didn’t let her hear anything important, anyway.”

“Humph. Well, then,” she turns her attention to you, “Hello. Decided to ditch the other one, did you?”

“I’m not ditching anyone.” You say, frowning.

“Ah. Well, your loss, then.” Star turns away from you, evidently choosing to focus on her forward flight.

“I just wanted to talk to you.” That gets her attention, though she only lets it on through a brief glance before turning away. “You’ve seemed upset since I came back, more so once Juniper came along, and I was just wondering why.”

“….Luna, do you mind giving us a bit of privacy?” Star asks.

“Sure, no problem.” Luna snaps her fingers again, and shifts her flight path a few feet away from you.

“All right, then.” Star focuses on you again, sighing. “Look, recently I’ve been feeling a bitLuna I know you can still hear us.” She grits out. Luna, for her part, continues flying innocently and silently by your side. “All right, then. Star Sign, 「Comet-”

“Ack, okay, okay!” Luna cries, flinching away. “Sorry, for real this time.” Another snap, and the faint rushing of the winds and water is cut off.

“…Can you use Spell Cards without taking them out, then?”

“Oh, no, I wasn’t trying to. I wasn’t even sure if Luna was listening, that was just a little trick~” She beams at you, but the moment of happiness fades into hesitance. “A-anyway. Like I said, I’ve been feeling- no, that’s a stupid way to say it…” Star bites her lip, looking away again.

You wait for a few moments of silence, before prompting her gently. “Did I do something to make you mad, or worried? Or did Juniper, maybe?”

“Did- well, yes, actually. I don’t like the fact that she hurt you so much and you’ve still been willing to let her so close to you.”

“…I don’t really get that, though. From what everyone’s said, fighting and even killing each other is pretty commonplace, and you all still manage to make close friends. Or maybe I’m just not understanding what you mean by close…”

“I…Close, affectionate, you know?” Apparently your blank stare clarifies that you do not, as she sighs and continues. “Holding hands with you, hugging you, that sort of thing.”

“What’s wrong with that, though? You act like that with me too, not that I really mind when either of you does.”

“Well, yes, but…” Star shakes her head.

“Do you like me?”

“Eh?” You blink. That seems like a simple question to ask and answer, but the anxiousness with which she’s looking at you makes you think there’s something you’re missing. “Well, yes, I like all of you that I’ve met so far. You’re interesting, and fun to be around, and-“

“No, that’s not what I meant. Do you feel anything- ahh, this is hard to describe.” She locks gazes with you, her eyes a bit wistful, and you shiver.

“Anything more than with the others? A strange but not unpleasant fascination you’ve never felt before, urges to hold you- hold me to you tightly, try something more even, maybe your heart beats a bit faster when our eyes meet or hands touch…”

“I don’t...” You shift awkwardly, and this time you’re the one forced to look away. You feel rather exposed, looking at her like that…No, you suppose that she’s the one who’s exposed too much of herself, and neither of you know quite how to deal with it, however much you’d like to. “I don’t think so, sorry. I’m still new to all of this, and I haven’t really…Sorry.”

“…No, don’t apologize. It’s my fault, really, I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.” Star avoids your gaze, staring down at her feet and the lake below.

“Star…” You reach out tentatively to touch her hand -she said she liked that, right?- but she pulls it away wordlessly.

“I’ll meet you all at the mansion, okay?” She speaks the words through a masking smile, eyes hidden by her dark curtain of hair, and shoots away before you have the chance to respond. Your hand is left grasping empty air.

“…Well. That didn’t go all that well, it looks like?” Luna says, gliding back over to your side.

“Not really, no.” You’re still not sure what you should have done, but the obvious outcome is still that Star’s feeling worse than before.

“No memories of anyone confessing to you conveniently popped up, I guess?”

“…Confessing what to me?” You respond, blinking in confusion.

“You really didn’t get it at all, then? Well, that’s a bit disappointing, but I can’t say I’m too surprised; we are fairies, after all. Any one of us behaving like Star’s been is a huge rarity.” Luna frowns, tapping her chin. “Actually, this is weird even for her, I don’t think she’s ever acted like this before...”

Luna’s pensive look breaks into a smirk as she elbows you sharply in the side. “You must be just that special, huh?”

“Oww...what do you mean, special? I don’t understand why Star was saying the things she did, or why I’m involved in this at all really. Well, other than getting Juniper involved, and what that did...oh.”

“Getting it now?” Luna nods.

“No, I just remembered something else which would be good to get advice about. Could you come back with me, I was going to ask Dai too...”

“So, you’re just going to drop this issue then. Just like that?” Luna says flatly.

“If I had any idea what else to do about this, I’d do it. But I really don’t know what more to say, or how to deal with this at all really.” You shrug helplessly.

Luna’s expression softens. “...Yeah, all right I guess. Feel sorry for Star, though. So,” she continues, eyes brightening slightly as her thoughts shift onto a new topic, “what was that about advice, then?”

“Juniper being with us might be a problem, and I’m not really sure what to do about it. You and Dai seem to have a bit more common sense than the others, so...” Well, rather less in Luna’s case, but you don’t mention that.

“The green shrine maiden wouldn’t approve of that, but thanks.”

“And for another thing, you both understand whatever’s up between Juniper and Star. Er, and me. Still, do you think I should let any of the others know? Sunny, maybe, it was her plan...”

“Oh, Dai noticed too, huh. And no, don’t bother. No offense to Sunny, -well, not much at least- but while she’s the best of us at putting plans together, she’s not so hot at actually knowing how to carry them out.” Luna looks at you expectantly for a moment, face falling when all you do is nod. “You know, hot...like the sun...n-never mind. Where is Daiyousei, then?”

“Back a little bit, with Cirno and Sunny.” You about face and head back in the direction of said fairies, Luna following. “I was hoping you could keep them from listening in?”

“Sure, that’s easy enough. Ah, there we aagh!” The fact that your two groups are flying at high speeds towards one another means that the three loom up out of the mist much faster than you expected. You manage to dip down and evade the oncoming Sunny, but Luna isn’t so nimble, crashing directly into Cirno and sending the two of them spiralling down and away.

You halt, as does Sunny, Dai immediately following the wayward pair. “Um, are they okay?” you ask.

“It’s just a little collision, they’ll be fine.” Sunny says dismissively. “I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen Luna’s clumsiness affect her flying, though.”

Sure enough, the three of them quickly ascend back to your position, Luna rubbing her forehead and grimacing. “Geez, Cirno, my head’s been hit with bullets that hurt less than that…”

“Just be glad it isn’t a few years ago, otherwise our faces would probably have been frozen together. And you’re the one who hit me, anyway…why were you coming back here?”

“She wanted to ask me and Dai about something.” Luna points to you, maybe a shade accusingly. “And yes, just us,” she adds as Sunny opens her mouth.

“Ah, right, you mentioned earlier.” Dai nods. “So, we should probably keep going, but did you want to…”

“Ah, just a sec.” Luna does the seemingly obligatory finger-snap, and she falls into place beside you with Dai, Cirno and Sunny flying a few feet ahead in silence. “All right, soundproofed from both sides, we’re good.”

“So, what’s this about Juniper that you think might be an issue?” Dai asks.

“Ah, well, she’s…honest.”

“Wow. Honest. Yeah, we better lock her up, she’ll be the death of all of us.”

“By which I mean,” you continue, giving Luna a sharp look, “that when she tries doing pranks on her own, she explains them. To her prospective victims.”

“She does what?” Luna looks at you incredulously.

“That…could be troublesome, yes.” Dai says, wincing.

“And it’s never occurred to her that this is, I don’t know, incredibly stupid?” Luna spits out. “Come on, nobody’s incompetent enough to do that! I’ve met some really, really dumb fairies before, one of them thought picking that flower youkai’s sunflowers would be a great idea, but even she wasn’t that bad at pranks!” Luna interrupts her rant with a shudder, and her eyes glaze over briefly. “Oh, that poor girl…”

“Yeah, well apparently Juniper’s really big on honesty, even when it violates common sense. Now, I know that seems like it makes her a liability…” You’re quickly interrupted by a snort from Luna.

“No, really?”
“It…really does, sorry.” Dai murmurs.

“But, I’m pretty sure there’s a way to stop her from just telling everyone in the mansion about our plan.”

“Short of kicking her out or permanently gagging her, I’m not seeing it.” Luna mutters.

“Oh, let me finish. The thing is, she’s also really steadfast on keeping secrets. So, if we can convince her that the whole plan is supposed to be one…”

“Then we should be safe, or at least safer, yes.” Dai nods. “All right, if we’re going to keep Juniper with us that has to be done before we enter the mansion. Once we reach shore would probably be ideal, I assume you’ll talk to her?”

“I’ll do my best.” Convincing her shouldn’t be that hard. You hope.

“Even accounting for that, though, we’ll need someone to babysit her the whole time we’re inside.” Luna says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she forgot she was supposed to keep it secret.”

“I, uh, think I’d be more amenable to babysitting her if I knew what it meant,” you say.

“You know the word ‘amenable’ but not…ah, whatever. Human term, means having someone watch and take care of their babies or children when the parents can’t.”

“Well, Juniper’s not a baby. Or a child, for that matter.” Childish, you can see, certainly, but…

“You’re one to talk.” Luna smirks at you, but her expression turns a bit doubtful. “Well, at this point, I guess I’m not too sure of that…”

“For all intents and purposes, she is a child.” Dai speaks up, and the two of you look at her. The gesture isn’t returned, however, as whatever Dai is seeing in the distant mists certainly isn’t you.

“All fairies of Gensokyo are children, the children of nature. Eternally youthful and carefree, lives full of easily-forgotten pains and pleasures. Journeys from play to pranks and back again, no worries marring them for more than a few fleeting moments. Death’s of no concern, it simply doesn’t exist in a child’s mind, nor meaningfully in our own. That’s all there is to the life of a normal fairy. A scant few like us might mature some, gain knowledge of the world and lose traces of our naiveté. But most, like Juniper, will keep that pure innocence for all of their existence, and be infinitely happier for it.“

“The way you say…all of that…makes it sound like you’re not one of us,” notes Luna.

“Oh, I am.” Dai’s vacant eyes and upturned lips are juxtaposed in a melancholy smile. “I’ve just been forced to grow up a little faster, that’s all.”

“Forced?” Luna tilts her head.

Dai gives no sign of having heard her, merely staring into the mist.

Luna stares at her for a few seconds. “Does this have anything to do with what happened ear- what?”

“She won’t want to talk about it, now’s not the time to make her,” you mutter, ceasing your tugging on Luna’s sleeve. Still…

“Dai, I don’t actually care how you know, or why you’re saying these things, so long as it doesn’t cause us problems. I’m not planning to pry beyond that.” You say slowly, emphasizing the last line.

Dai stiffens slightly, but doesn’t respond further to your statement. That’s all right. The idea’s taken root in her mind now, and it won’t easily be extinguished.

“...Ah, looks like we’re here.” Sunny says, breaking the silence and evoking a puzzled look from Luna.

A shadowy profile looms out of the mists, sharpening into focus to reveal an enormous redstone building. Soaring towers mount either side of the main structure, in turn spotted with crimson rectangles of glass. An iron fence lines the building’s front, with a green-clad figure visible by its gate. It looks like, for better or worse, you’ve reached the first stage of this little adventure you’ve embarked on.

The Scarlet Devil Mansion.
--------------------------------------
End of Prologue.

“Welcome to Gensokyo, we’ve got fun and games
We got everything you want honey, but we don’t know your name.”


==============================================================================




























Well, this isn’t too bad, I suppose. More than I was expecting, although your presence was an unpleasant surprise…

For myself as well. It was fortunate that this one is susceptible enough to allow my growth, otherwise I would not have reached even this state.

Allow your...oh. Oh, so that’s how you pulled it off. Damn, I knew I should have made my move earlier.

It’s rather unsurprising that you could not, considering what you had just been put through.

...So you remember that, do you.

Naturally. Apparently you don’t realize just what I am, then?

I think I’m starting to. Heh, so that last-ditch attempt of mine was more effective than I was hoping for, was it?
...Wait a second, then how were you able to influence her so quickly? You shouldn’t have been in any better shape than me.


Adaptation is no stranger to me, even in this fragmented form. You know that.

Fragmented?

Ah...

Much more effective then, if it messed you up so badly that you’re all that’s left.

...Ah, yes. That’s what I meant, of course.

Well. Even playing field, then. Or not, given that I was able to hijack your powers those times-

You overestimate your own importance. Those effects were only due to how deeply integrated into her my power already was. Your measure of control was a fluke, at best.

Ngh...

We are antithetical, and cannot both be sustained here for long. You’ve been proven to be weaker, and have no chance to survive.

...We’ll see about that. Survival’s something I’m pretty good at, after all.



I will not lose to you.
>>No. 53916
>mailto:about freaking time
Well said.

At least we got a wall after that long a wait. Didn't expect to talk quite that much to Dai, but I'm not complaining.

And wow, poor Star. We don't understand romance at all, huh? We should listen to italics-voice, maybe it can help.

Philosophical Dai-chan. Seemed out of place, but wasn't bad.

That ending part was...ominous. All I have to say about it.
>>No. 53917
>>53916
I support listening to italics, for now.
>>No. 53920
>>53917
I'm not sure that either is all together on our side, though the spoiler voice sounds more down to earth.
>>No. 53923
So...anyone have an idea yet of which characters the voices could be? Would they match up with any canon characters?

Italics could easily be a sealed Yuuka, but no idea about spoilers. What characters would be antithetical to plants or life or whatever?
>>No. 53945
>>53923
Going purely off choice of metaphor...
>The idea’s taken root in her mind now,
Yuuka.
>and it won’t easily be extinguished.
Mokou.

>>53917
Pft, you're only saying that cause italics is willing to divulge the secret of the blushing. Not that there's anything wrong with that motivation.
>>No. 53949
>>53945
That makes a frightening amount of sense. Sadly for >>53916 I doubt either would be a great aid in romance as neither are characterized as being knowledgable about romance.
>>No. 53950
>>53949
We were just told that italics, whoever she is, knows the romance. And in any case, it'd be more surprising if either of the centuries old beings didn't know about romance.
>>No. 53952
>>53950
Yuuka might know something of romance but not Mokou, she's far too obsessed with her revenge towards Kaguya. In CiLR, when she hears a rumor about Kaguya leaving, her reaction is pretty severe.
>>No. 53953
>>53952 Mokou has only been able to act on her grudge for the last three hundred years.
So she might have found some romance before that.
>>No. 53954
Let's file Mokou's many previous romances under Not Relevant to This Story, shall we? We know spoiler-chan doesn't care for that stuff for some reason known only to herself, which implies she knows what it is.
>>No. 53960
Mokou does strike me as someone unlikely to be interested in romance, so she might be spoilers. More evidence for this is the
>Survival’s something I’m pretty good at, after all.

Who'd be better at it than an immortal?

On the flip side, the whole antithesis issue gives me pause. I mean, fire's pretty damn destructive to plants, but not vice versa, and I can't think of any real way these two could be considered opposites.

Plus there's the whole question about how the hell they could be influencing the protagonist in the first place...
>>No. 53964
Could be Kaguya? Also immortal, has power over eternity that could conceivably produce the zombie flower thing and as opposites go, eternity and growth maybe count? Still very much reaching, though. At any rate, I'm acually rather more interested in how they got here than who they are. What sort of effect could seal two (apparently fairly powerful) people in the form of a newborn fairy? Who could pull that off?
>>No. 53965
>>53964
Right, Kaguya would seem to be a better fit, good thinking.

As for the sealing issue, I can't think of much that would be capable apart from borderhax. It'd be really cheap if the culprit was just Yukari screwing around again, though. Reimu might be capable, of both sealing and overpowering the two powerful entities.
>>No. 53969
>>53964
>What sort of effect could seal two (apparently fairly powerful) people in the form of a newborn fairy? Who could pull that off?

Just throwing out random ideas looking through the Touhou ability list, but:
Assuming the voices were of dead people, Yuyuko's manipulation of departed souls maybe.
Maybe, unlikely, Keine, depending on how far history manipulation could be stretched.
Shikieiki, perhaps, if she could make people be reincarnated as a fairy?
Sanae's miracle manipulation, maybe.
If they were evil spirits, Orin could have done something.
Kogasa: Surprise! You're a fairy! No, that's just too silly.
Nue or Mamizou: We're not actually a fairy, just disguised as one. Directed by M. Night. Shamalama.

That's all I've got. Not counting magic-users, border-users, or PC-98s.
>>No. 53973
File 134103796511.jpg - (949.71KB, 1296x1279, madam_not_appearing_in_this_film.jpg) [iqdb]
53973
I'd just like to clarify a couple things. First, while a few of you are getting surprisingly close to accuracy on your theorizing (albeit likely not in the ways that you think), there's several parts of the puzzle, so to speak, that you really aren't capable of guessing with the information you have so far, as not everything's entirely supported by canon.

I'm not trying to discourage speculation, quite the opposite, just saying that you might not want to cling too closely to all of the current theories. Some of them you probably should, though.

Second, Yukari is not responsible for your current situation. I don't particularly want to deal with the issue of just how powerful her boundary manipulation is supposed to be, nor do I want to introduce her as a plot device, villain, deus ex machina, manipulator, or similar. I like her fine as a character, I just am lazy and think that her presence can easily overcomplicate stories, so I'm not bothering to write her in. As to where she is at the moment, it's winter. Pic related.

Anyway, I'm finally done consolidating my plans for the SDM, so new thread. >>53972
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