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File 134103787719.jpg - (448.56KB , 600x850 , new_recruits.jpg ) [iqdb]
53972 No. 53972
Thread 1: >>53047

Chapter 1 Start.
==========================================================================================

“All right, it’s about time!” Cirno cheers, swooping down towards the lakeshore bordering the mansion. You, Dai, and Sunny follow at a slightly more relaxed pace, Luna hanging back a bit while muttering to herself.

“...But, I never cancelled...”

You tune out Luna’s voice and alight on the shore, looking around. The gate, a few yards away, stretches up to a height perhaps twice your own. That won’t impede entry, though, given that you can, well, fly. Maybe the structure’s just there to look pretty, not like you’re an expert on large pieces of crafted iron.

It’s likely there to keep out humans.
Doubtful, considering just how many Gensokyan humans can fly.

Anyway, that’s not really important. You can better make out the green woman’s feature, now. She’s tall, considerably moreso than you and by proxy your companions, and has vibrantly red hair, several shades more crimson than Sunny’s carrot hue, and extending down either side of her head in two linesbraids, they’re called braids, er, two braids.

Oh, and she’s looking directly at you. Or, perhaps through you sums it up better? The lady blinks, rubs her eyes and takes a half-step in your direction before pausing with a shrug and returning to her slouch against the gate.

You hear a grunt, and turn your head up and leftward to see Sunny gritting her teeth, sweat beading on her brow and eyes locked in concentration.

“...Aah, shouldn’t take this much effort, even with the clouds.” she mutters.

“You all right there, Sunny?” Cirno asks, hovering over you.

“Yeah, just was having a little trouble hiding us, but I’m good now. Just feeling really weak for some reason...”

Dai and Cirno exchange a worried glance.

Before you can dwell on that for long, your thoughts are interrupted by a loud splash from behind you, and a few stinging water droplets splatter against your calves. Glancing over a shoulder, you see Luna spread-eagled on her back in the shallows, looking extremely peeved.

“...Seriously, Luna?” Sunny snickers, looking down on your latest arrival.

“Shut up, it looked like the ground extended farther over here.” Luna defends herself with all the dignity available to one fallen in a lake. She blinks, and the frustration drains out of her face, quickly replaced with confusion and a side of daunting fear. “Wait a second, you could hear me...which means that the gate guard could...aw, crap.

Oh dear.

Indeed, the woman is now tromping over here, wearing an expression that screams “I don’t know what’s going on here, but I intend to find out.” The cloud of rainbow-colored bullets aimed to encapsulate you and much of the surrounding area does little to lessen this impression.

Whipping your head around, you have an instant to process the sight of Sunny, Dai, and Cirno taking flight away from the bullets. The remainder of your turn reminds you that Luna is in an immobile, decidedly helpless, and soon-to-be-revealed position. Wonderful.

Hardly sparing a thought, you grab one of Luna’s flailing hands Right, let’s see what we can do here and, disregarding the sudden heated current fusing your limbs together, and the wide-eyed spasming Luna’s now undergoing, yank the soaking girl out of the line of fire and towards your other companions.

Not a second too soon, art that- as you and your erstwhile passenger fly backwards, a scattering of bullets grazes you, the guard’s salvo impacting against the water in puffs of steam or cutting paths into the mists. None of it striking your group, thankfully.

Breathing a sigh of relief, your gaze refocuses on Luna, whose eyes are askew and body is faintly vibrating. Er.

That would seem to be enough. The flow of power ceases and so too does Luna’s movement. She refocuses her gaze and lets out a long, shuddering breath, before clapping her free hand over her mouth, panicked gaze searching the area behind you.

Nothing to fear there, though; the gatekeeper’s merely walking back to her post, oblivious.

“…Looks like we’re silenced again, then,” you say, half statement and half lingering question.

“Looks like. Thanks for the assist, ahaha…” Luna chuckles softly, still looking a bit drained.

“You two all right, there?” Sunny asks.

“I’m good. No, better than that, I’m feeling great. Wow, I was pretty out of it just now, but now I’m feeling like it’s midnight. Midnight with a full moon, and crystal-clear skies. Yeah…” Luna trails off with another giggle.

A quick glance skywards at the gray, but still illuminated clouds confirms that it’s anything but. “And that’s…good, I assume?” you ask carefully.

“Oh, yeah. Night’s when I’m at my best, and I’m feeling a hundred percent right now.” Looking at Luna, there is a subtle energy filling her

Cheap trick.
Jealous that you can’t do anything useful?

Your clasped hands tingle, and you shiver as a chill rushes down your arm. Luna jerks, breaking the contact and ending the sensation, hands settling back to your sides.

“…How about now?” You ask.

“Um…” Luna shrugs. “Exactly the same. Which, y’know, could be a lot worse.”

As I said. Nothing useful.

“Right’s red, left’s blue.” Cirno mutters, staring at you. Dai nods.

“What?” Sounds familiar, but you can’t quite place…

“No, nothin’.” The ice fairy shakes her head. “So, did Juniper get lost, or…?”

As if on cue, the girl in question pops her head out of the mists a few feet behind Sunny, glancing around. She pauses, then looks around again, a bit more agitatedly.

“...Sunny, she can’t see us.” You say, jabbing a finger towards the searching girl.

“Hmm?” Sunny follows your line of sight, then shrugs. “Well, I can’t really do much about that, sorry. Refracted light doesn’t work on a by-person basis.”

“Oh, fine then.” You push past her and grab a fistful of Juniper’s dress, wincing as she yelps and hauling her back into your midst.

“Gackpth- Oh, here you all are.” The shorter fairy looks around at everyone. “Well, except the meaner blue one.“

“Star went ahead, she’s meeting us inside, I think.” You catch Luna’s eye. “Uh, how likely is it that the guard heard that…?”

“Don’t worry, she didn’t. I extended my power over an area large enough to include Juniper once you pointed her out. You probably could have just called out to her, actually.”

“Ah, that’s good then.” It’d be nice if Luna’d have said something, though.

“…Sunny, couldn’t you have done the same thing with your powers?” Dai asks, giving the girl in question a sharp look.

“Huh? Oh, whoops, I guess so.” Sunny raps herself on the forehead. “Sorry, I’m feeling weirdly tired out just from hiding this area, not thinking straight.”

“About that…Dai, could you-?” Cirno beckons her friend to come a bit closer, and the two start up a whispered conversation.

Luna catches your eye, glancing meaningfully in Juniper’s direction and tilting her head towards her. Ah, that’s right.

You pull Juniper out away from the rest again, keeping yourselves within an area which you’re reasonably sure that Sunny’s hiding, and address her in a whisper. “Juniper, there’s something we need to get straight before we start the prank.”

“Hmm? Juniper’s not sure what you mean.” Juniper whispers back, head tilting in confusion.

“Well, um…” How exactly should you go about convincing her, anyway? If you’re too straightforward, her determination for pranking honesty might clash with her appreciation of secrets…

…Which is what you want to stress. Yes, okay, you can build on that. “Since you’re going to be a part of this scheme, I really think that I should be allowed to know what your power is.”

“B-but it’s a secret, Juniper already said it was a secret and if you don’t keep a secret then it’s not a secret anymore.” she stutters out.

“You really are committed to your secrets, huh Juniper?”

“Of course. Keeping secrets is the right way to do things, just like telling the truth when you talk to people, or making house-wreckers be punished, or creating art.”

“Uhm, right.” One of these things is not like the others.
Anyway, though…You heave what you hope to be a suitably dramatic sigh. “Well, okay, I guess I can’t argue with secrecy being important. You should keep yours, I don’t need to know it.”

“Juniper’s glad you can see that she’s right.” Tad smug there, aren’t you…?

“Oh! That reminds me, though…” Your eyes widen with a sudden ‘realization’. “There’s something else which we decided has to be a secret. Can we trust you with it?”

“Of course!” Juniper puffs up proudly.

“All right.” You repress the smile you’re sorely tempted to show. “The secret is one we’ll have to keep from everyone else in the mansion, and it’s pretty simple. Our plan, all of it, is the secret.”

“Oh, okay, the whole plan is – wait, what?”

You press on quickly through her confusion. “And we, your friends, are going to be trying really hard to keep this secret, so it’s important that you don’t tell anyone about it and let us down. Right?“ That’s a bit of a cheap shot, but you can’t afford to take chances with this.

“…Juniper doesn’t want to disappoint her friend, Juniper’s had more than enough friends go away. Juniper will keep the plan secret.” Yeah, you’re definitely feeling a bit guilty now. Can’t be helped. “So…if someone inside there asks Juniper what she’s doing, she’ll say it’s a secret?”

And pray that they won’t be suspicious, right? “How about instead of that, you just say that we’re helping work to maintain the house and prepare for the party. That is what we’ll be doing, after all, as part of our cover.”

“Okay, so saying that would also be true. All right, Juniper will do that, then.” She nods determinedly, and you can tell that she’ll follow this course of action as best as she can.

“Great. Thanks, Juniper.” You smile at her, and she awkwardly returns the gesture, blushing slightly.

One last thing, though…“Oh, and for the record, you only said you wanted to keep your powers a secret from me. You can still tell the others, I’m sure they’ll tell you what they can do if you ask.”

“Eh? Ahh, Juniper never thought of that, but Juniper thinks she will now.” She nods, as if confirming this to herself.

“You do that.” And, if any secretive fairies happen to be caught off-guard by such a question and let something slip, well, you can hardly be blamed for listening, right?

“You two done?” Sunny barely waits for your nod before continuing. “Okay, then let’s fly over and get inside, already.”

“Um, actually…” Dai trails off, glancing at Cirno.

Cirno clears her throat. “I was thinking that you guys should go on ahead. Me ‘n Dai are going to talk to Meiling first.”

“Cirno, now’s not the time to be picking fights.” Luna says.

“No, no, I actually meant talk to her.” You can practically feel the skepticism radiating off Sunny and Luna, and Cirno clearly is likewise aware of it. “Look, we’re friends who occasionally also challenge each other to battle, alright? Talking’s not that ridiculous.”

“Technically, you’re the only one who ever does the challenging.” Dai murmurs.

“We don’t need to change the plan more now, do we?” Sunny asks. “And we really don’t need you tipping her off by talking to her.”


“We’re more likely to tip her off if I don’t talk to her and say I want a job. Meiling’ll recognize me, and some others like the maid probably will too. The wings kind of stand out from other fairies’.” Cirno points to the ice shards attached to her back. “If they just happen to see me in the mansion, apparently working with no prior excuse, they’ll know something’s up.”

“Hard work’s familiar to her, but housework isn’t, and anyone who’s met her would realize that.” Dai chimes in.

“Okay, but another thing,” Sunny counters, ”We’re already split up from Star, dividing ourselves further will just make meeting up again a hassle. And we don’t have much time to spare.”

These dissenters should know better than to go against you.

Then again, it’s not like you really need them with you right now…

Looking at the proceedings, it doesn’t look like an agreement’s likely to happen on its own, so...
What do you do?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[ ] Try and convince Cirno (Dai will follow, you assume) to just come with you.
[ ] Let Cirno and Dai go talk with Meiling.
[ ] Go along with Cirno and Dai.
[ ] Encourage everyone to go meet Meiling.
Expand all images
>> No. 53974
[x] Let Cirno and Dai go talk with Meiling.

Best to keep suspicion at a minimum.
>> No. 53975
[x] Go along with Cirno and Dai.

Cirno and Dai suddenly wanting a job? Suspicious. Cirno and Dai helping their new friend get a job and joining temporarily to help her out? That makes much more sense. We're like a flying cover story.

>Luna energizing
I'd make her take shuddering breaths anytime. Poor spoiler-chan doesn't know how her hijacked power works either...
>> No. 53976
[x] Go along with Cirno and Dai.
>> No. 53977
[ ] Go along with Cirno and Dai.

>>53975
I like this idea.
>> No. 53979
[x] Try and convince Cirno (Dai will follow, you assume) to just come with you.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm suspicious about the context they're coming up with this in, and the fact that they didn't mention it before.

But I also think that going with Cirno and Dai is better then letting them go alone, just putting that out there.
>> No. 53982
[x] Go along with Cirno and Dai.

I think it'd be less suspicious to be seen with these two than with the trio on the mansion grounds.
>> No. 53984
Calling for going with Cirno and Dai.
>> No. 53985
>>53977
You mean you like the idea of us being used as a cover story or the idea of us making Luna take shuddering breaths?
>> No. 53986
>>53985
The cover story.
>> No. 53987
[x] Go along with Cirno and Dai.
>> No. 53989
>>53985
I like both!
>> No. 54038
Status update, please?
>> No. 54063
File 134198902489.jpg - (473.73KB , 600x870 , for_real_this_time.jpg ) [iqdb]
54063
>>54038
Status update is that a real update will be within 24 hours, maximum.

Have another (likely rather empty-seeming) apology about how long this is taking, once again. I'll be doing my best to make up for the delay over the coming days.
>> No. 54075
File 134210506089.jpg - (395.36KB , 800x820 , faget.jpg ) [iqdb]
54075
>>54063
Uh huh.

Looks like we've got a new Patchwork on our hands here.
>> No. 54076
>>54075
Sigh.

>>54063
I know you mean well, but... maybe you should stop making update promises while you're behind. Instead, how about you promise us status updates? It's kind of annoying to have to poke you for them.
>> No. 54082
Status update on the status update, please?
>> No. 54084
Semi-valid excuse this time, was in the hospital for the last few days, but still sorry. Yes, status updates will be a thing in the future whenever I'm noticeably delayed, and I should no longer need to be poked for them.

Current status: about half done with the update and writing, will be up in a few hours.
>> No. 54086
File 134238419366.jpg - (558.54KB , 700x907 , cirno helping can't possibly hurt.jpg ) [iqdb]
54086
>>54084
Hooray!
>semi-valid
The only invalid excuses are lies. Sorry about your thing, whatever it was.
>> No. 54088
File 134241148384.jpg - (182.69KB , 567x800 , wave_to_china.jpg ) [iqdb]
54088
[x] Go along with Cirno and Dai.

“Actually, Sunny…” you cut in, prompting the red-clad girl to turn her focus to you. “I think Cirno makes some good points. You guys can go on ahead, we can all catch up later.”

“Ah, c’mon, this is a waste of time.” Sunny groans.

“If we make the residents suspicious and get thrown out, I think that’ll be a much bigger waste of time,” you point out. Judging by the speed with which Sunny’s mouth snaps shut, she doesn’t have much of a response to that. “I’m going to go with them too, I think my presence could help.”

“Ah, you don’t really need to do that, Sakuya –the head maid, she more or less runs the whole place- won’t recognize you.” Dai says.

“Right, but that’s not necessarily a good thing,” you counter. “Even if she won’t associate me with trouble like you or Cirno, seeing a completely new worker, especially one that looks different from other fairies, would probably get her attention and not in a good way.”

“Honestly, I’m not sure how much attention she actually pays to the maids…” Luna says. “Beyond ‘You’re doing your job, you can stay un-knifed for now’, at least.”

“And anyway, someone new like me could be your excuse for getting a job here at all: you know, helping show your new friend around.” You continue.

Dai tilts her head. “…That’s not a bad idea, actually, it’d add some legitimacy to our being there.”

“Do we really need an excuse, though?” Cirno asks. “Not like Meiling would rat us out, and with all the work needed for a party I kinda doubt they’d question the extra help.”

“Maybe not,” you admit, “But you said yourself that seeing you working in the mansion at all would seem weird, so a legitimate-seeming motivation would seem prudent to have just in case.”

“…Yeah, okay, you probably should come with us.” Cirno admits, nodding.

“Juniper wonders…” Your eyes turn downwards to the speaking girl, who’s frowning in thought. “Juniper could just fit in with all the other maids, she’s sure, but Sunny and Moony-“

Luna,” the fairy in question interjects sharply.

“Sorry, Luna and Moony…” Luna slaps a palm to her forehead, groaning, but Juniper continues undaunted. “Shouldn’t they go to get the excuse too? Even Juniper’s heard of them and what they’ve done before, so the mansion people would have too, right?”

“Ah, you’re worried about our reputation preceding us, are you?” Sunny smirks at Juniper, folding her arms and nodding. “And well you should be, for the dreaded name of the Fairies of Light is one that has spread throughout all Gensokyo just as it has the Forest of Magic. We’ll be forced to hide our presence the whole time, for if we were to be discovered the Scarlet Devil Mansion would be forced to muster their full powers against us...”

Sunny smirks for a moment longer before she sighs, drooping. “…Is what I’d like to be able to say, but no. We’re not really important enough that anyone knows about us, unfortunately, and even on the off chance the maid or someone has heard of our trio we wouldn’t be recognizable to her. Especially not once we’re disguised in the maid uniforms.”

“Oi, that’s a bit negative for you, isn’t it?” Luna asks, raising an eyebrow. “Come on, Sunny, surely you meant to say we’re not important or well-known enough yet, right? That was the point of this plan, after all.”

“…Right, right, of course, I don’t know what I was thinking there. This isn’t a time for doubts, it’s a time for action!” Sunny pumps her fist on the last word, holding the determined pose before turning sheepishly to your fellow blonde. “Er, thanks, Luna.”

“Whatever, it’s no big deal.” Luna says dismissively, but you glimpse a small smile on her face regardless.

“For the record, they probably have heard of you three,” Dai comments. “The ‘Great Fairy War’ is a story that was being spread everywhere a while back, but it wouldn’t exactly help our case if you showed up with the girl you were famous for fighting with.”

“Hmm, famous?” Sunny perks up further. “Oh, so people did take notice of our plan to unite fairy power, did they? Were they cowed? Impressed?”

“Um…sure, yeah. Something like that.” Dai puts a hand behind her head, smiling uncertainly.

“So, shall we split up then?” You ask.

“Yeah, might as well. We’ll find Star, then she can help us find you once you’re inside.” Luna says. “Might start looking for the artifact, too, depending on how long you take.”

“See ya soon, then.” Sunny turns her back on you, angling herself towards a part of the gate considerably away from its guard.

“Wait, Juniper wants to go with you to meet the Chinese woman-” Juniper starts forward, but Sunny grabs her shoulder and drags her back.

“You’ll be back with your friend soon, kid, but we’ll be keeping an eye on you for now.”

“But, but...” Juniper stutters. You nod to her, as reassuringly as you can, and her whimpering subsides. “...Okay.”

“Stay close to Sunny and Luna, they’ll keep you hidden. Bye, guys.”

“Bye-bye.” Juniper waves over a shoulder, flying away from you. “Wait, Juniper thought their names were-” Juniper’s voice cuts off, and a moment later she winks out of sight with the other two.

“Uh...” You glance at Dai and Cirno, then shrug. “Okay, guess that’s that then.” You take the lead in flying towards the tall guard, waving in tentative greeting.

Only to slow to a halt, dropping your hand as you notice her closed eyes, shallow breathing, and slumped posture against the gate.

“Looks like your friend’s asleep, Cirno,” you mutter.

“Huh?” Cirno peers over your shoulder, then snickers quietly. “Oh, right, you don’t know- okay, just watch for a sec.”

Dai’s voice emanates softly from behind you. “Cirno, you could just tell her-”

“This way’s more fun, Dai!” Cirno zips past you, sporting a grin. As you watch, she flies upwards to the top of the gate, glances down towards you briefly, then propels herself forward to cross the barrier.

One moment the crimson-haired woman’s laid out in front of you, the next she’s shooting upwards in a red-and-green blur to intercept the fairy. There’s a curving rainbow blur, a crack, and a blue streak extending downwards that ends in a shuddering thud, as Cirno slams into the ground headfirst.

Your mouth drops open, and you start forward to check on Cirno, only to be stopped with a yank as Dai grabs the back of your dress.

Turning back, you see Dai shaking her head, as well as rolling her eyes but looking otherwise unconcerned. “She’s fine, just give her a second.”

Sure enough, in half that time Cirno’s sprung up off the ground, looking barely worse for wear, and propelled herself up towards the guard, trailing a fine white mist and pulling a crystalline blue sword out of the air to slash upward. Her opponent knocks aside the blade with one clenched fist, other hand snapping downwards to grasp Cirno’s left arm and pull it behind her back. Cirno yelps, dropping the sword which dissipates as it leaves her grasp.

“That enough?” The guard asks, not unkindly.

“You wish!” Cirno strains, there’s a loud popping sound -Dai winces, clenching her eyes shut- and Cirno twists out of the guard’s hold, rotating around her and slamming the untrapped hand into a green-covered sternum, the green woman shoved several feet backwards with a grunt.

Looking annoyed, Cirno tugs on her limply hanging arm for a second, then another two, gritting her teeth. “...Okay, maybe that is enough for now,” she admits.

“I guess even your determination has limits.” The guard visibly relaxes and approaches Cirno again, wrenching her arm back into place with another pop. Cirno sighs.

“Ahh, thanks Meiling.”

“No problem, but don’t just power out of my holds, okay? Dislocated shoulders can’t be fun even for you.” The woman -Meiling- admonishes.

“Hello, Meiling. Thanks for not roughing her up too badly.” Dai greets.

“Hi, Daiyousei. You two are inseparable as always, I see. Cirno not running you too ragged?” Dai’s only response to that is a grin and a resigned-looking shrug, and Meiling laughs.

“And...I don’t think I’ve met you before,” she addresses you. “What’s your name?”

“Ah...don’t have one. None that I can remember, at least.” You admit.

“Well, nice to meet you, miss nameless fairy. I’m Hong Meiling.” She smiles warmly, extending her right hand towards you. You stare dumbly at it for a second grab shake before tentatively clasping it in your own smaller appendage, moving your arm up and down. Her grip feels much restrained, but very firm in spite of that, and you get the sense that this woman could crush your hand easily if she so wished.

“So, ah...getting beaten up by this lady is your definition of fun, Cirno?” you ask, pulling your arm back.

“I wasn’t expecting Meiling to be quite that fast to react.” Cirno grumbles.

“You never do. And she always is.” Dai says, straight-faced but with a hint of teasing in her tone.

“Shut up, Dai.”

“How did you do that, anyway? Weren’t you asleep?” You ask Meiling, still more than a little awestruck.

“One of my skills is manipulating chi, and part of that is sensing its flow in the area around me. I’ve honed my abilities to the extent that I can even do this when asleep, and react appropriately to any threats.“ You guess Sunny and Luna, and Star presumably, stayed far enough away from her to avoid this.

“W-wait, so you’ve actually been asleep all these times?” Cirno gasps. “You told me that was just an act to put intruders off their guard!”

“Well, er, yes, Miss Sakuya happened to be within earshot when you asked me about that, so I sort of had to...” Meiling trails off with a nervous laugh.

“Ugh...so you can literally kick my butt in your sleep. Repeatedly.” Cirno groans and buries her face in her hands, as Dai pats her on the shoulder consolingly. “That’s actually really humiliating...”

“No, don’t think of it like that!” Meiling says hastily. “Even Miss Sakuya can rarely match me in this type of fight, not to mention that you’ve improved a great deal over the last couple years.”

“Meh, I guess. Thanks for saying so.” Cirno nods, looking slightly appeased.

“So how have things been around here, Meiling?” Dai asks.

“Busy, mostly. I assume you’ve heard about the party?” The three of you nod, and Meiling shrugs. “Well, thought I’d ask anyway, even though it’s not like Lady Remilia’s gone to any effort to hide it. Anyway, there’s been far too much to do for that, and Miss Sakuya’s had me spend the last several hours lifting or carrying things too heavy for her or the maids.”

“Several hours? But I thought you’re posted here for the whole day and night, basically.” Cirno says questioningly.

“Yes. I am.” Looking closely, the woman looks considerably drained, though she’s clearly making an effort to hide it.

“...Oh, right.” Cirno nods. You have the distinct feeling you’re missing something here. “Geez, that’s pretty harsh, not surprised that you were falling asleep.”

“It’s not too bad, double shifts like that are something you get used to when working with Miss Sakuya.” Meiling sighs. “Thanks for your sympathy, though. I don’t suppose you could spare any time to help out?...”

“Sure.” “Yeah.” “All right.” Your nigh-simultaneous responses blend into each other slightly, but the meaning behind them is still clear, and Meiling’s eyes widen. Not all that much, though.
“Wha-really? You mean it?” Meiling beams at you. “Finally, some more help! I can’t believe I actually convinced some fairies to join up, Miss Sakuya was sure I’d never be able to-”

“Actually, you didn’t convince us, we were already planning to.” Cirno interrupts. “Dai and I were getting this girl-” she nudges you- “a job, and thought we might as well show her the ropes while we were at it.

“I...oh.” Meiling seems to deflate slightly, but the end result is still pleased. “Well, that’s still good then! You can head on in to see Miss Sakuya when we’re done here, just tell her I sent you. There’s still tons of preparations to be done for the party: literally, in a couple of cases.”

“Who’s going to be at this party, anyway?” Cirno asks.

“Oh, all the usual faces. Lady Remilia invited Reimu, obviously, and Marisa will be there as well, much to Miss Patchouli’s chagrin. The other shrine maiden and her gods will be attending too, as will representatives from the Buddhist and Taoist temples. Miss Margatroid and a number of the forest youkai, or lesser youkai as milady put it-”

“What, like Wriggle and Rumia? Oh, should be nice to see them-” Cirno pauses, her eyes narrowing. “Wait a sec, they’re not ‘lesser’, she doesn’t have any right to call them that.”

“It is not my place to question milady’s manner of referring to other youkai. Nor is it yours, for that matter, Cirno.” Meiling says this mildly enough, but her blue eyes flash a threatening red, and her shoulders tense up slightly.

“I’ll question whoever or whatever I feel like if it’s wrong to- what, Dai?” Cirno snaps, as Dai grabs her arm.

“Calm down, Cirno. Meiling’s not responsible for how the vampire talks about us or our friends, and getting mad at her won’t solve anything.”

Cirno fumes for a second or two more, before subsiding. “...Fine. You’re right, it’s not Meiling’s fault that her Lady’s an arrogammph-” Dai muffles Cirno’s voice with a quickly-shoved hand over her mouth. “So, what were you saying about attendance, Meiling?”

“Hmm, who else is there...some kappa and tengu, the Prismriver sisters, the ghost princess, the hakutaku... Ah, and I’d heard a couple of those aliens will even be coming.”

“The ones that run that medicine shop in the human village?” Dai asks, removing her hand from Cirno’s face.

“I assume so, yes, although Miss Sakuya didn’t specify.”

“Aliens? What?” You ask, not even bothering to hide your confusion.

“They’re supposed to be from the moon, they came to Gensokyo a few years back...” Dai clarifies, or tries to, sighing at your continuing quizzical stare. “It’s a long story, we can explain later.”

Attendees from the moon? That sounds interesting, we should look into it.
No need, affairs elsewhere than the Earth matter little to us.
And you’re so sure of that...why, exactly?

Be quiet, you two, you’re giving me a headache. You rub your forehead, frowning, but at least the voices heed your words.

“There’s probably a couple more I’m forgetting, but that’s most everyone. Er, Cirno, you’re not going to ask for a rematch?”

“I’d be more than fine with one, I didn’t get a chance to use most of my moves just now. But, uh...” Cirno shoots a glance towards you and Dai.

Dai shrugs and nods. “A little more recovery time couldn’t hurt.”

“Alright, sure then!” Cirno exclaims. “Just, uh, give me a second to work out a strategy for round two, would ya?”

“Take your time.” Meiling smiles.

“So, um...” You cough. “You two don’t use danmaku or Spell Cards to fight, then? Aren’t you supposed to do that?”

“No, we do, just in a slightly different way,” Meiling responds. “The majority of Spell Card duels are fought at range, obviously, but the system also allows for close-ranged combat. That has more of an emphasis on physical attacks; those are my specialty, and what Cirno works on with me.”

“Huh,” you respond eloquently. Quite a diverse system of battle, isn’t it?

“I could show you, if you like.” Meiling offers. “You and Cirno could come at me together, two opponents won’t be much more difficult than one.”

She underestimates us. Foolish.
She seemed competent enough that underestimating us wouldn’t keep her from winning. Still, proving her wrong would be satisfying...

[ ] Sure, you might as well try joining in. Maybe you can find out what kind of “chi” your powers use?
[ ] Nah, you’ll pass, but it’s fine with you if Cirno enjoys herself a bit more.
[ ] No, you should get going. Dissuade Cirno -and Dai, though it’s odd that you have to.
>> No. 54089
[X] Sure, you might as well try joining in. Maybe you can find out what kind of “chi” your powers use?
>> No. 54090
File 134242261899.jpg - (269.50KB , 750x562 , 8107503.jpg ) [iqdb]
54090
[x] Sure, you might as well try joining in. Maybe you can find out what kind of “chi” your powers use?

This might seem like a no-brainer, but remember this line?
>“Might start looking for the artifact, too, depending on how long you take.”
You might want to take that into consideration.

>lesser youkai
What, seriously? I figured there was no way they'd be at a high-class party like this, and Remilia hands them an invitation? Such a generous lady. I'm pleased, even if they'll be lucky to get bit parts.

>Attendees from the moon? That sounds interesting, we should look into it.
Yeah, you would be interested in the aliens, Mokou-chan. Totally a red herring, truly the voices are original characters do not steal.
>> No. 54091
[x] Sure, you might as well try joining in. Maybe you can find out what kind of “chi” your powers use?
>> No. 54092
[x] Sure, you might as well try joining in. Maybe you can find out what kind of “chi” your powers use?
>> No. 54093
Unanimous vote called for joining in the sparring match. Writing will begin when I get home later today.

>>54090
>What, seriously? I figured there was no way they'd be at a high-class party like this, and Remilia hands them an invitation? Such a generous lady. I'm pleased, even if they'll be lucky to get bit parts.
The number of "high-class" people in Gensokyo is rather limited, so Remi's parties are more an excuse for her to show off than to mingle with the nobility.

And yeah, the two voices aren't OCs.
>> No. 54094
>>54093
A nobility's compassion, right?

Also the latest three chapters are WaHH are more or less translated, the links are at the touhouwiki.
>> No. 54095
File 134257817294.png - (0.96MB , 1000x1398 , suffer not the touch of the ice fairy.png ) [iqdb]
54095
>A noble's compassion, right?
More like conspicuous consumption.
>> No. 54100
All right, status update: currently stuck in a location without wifi, and posting this from my phone. I'll be able to post an update later today when this isnt an issue, though (or half of one at least: this update's getting split into two due to the time needed to work on its second half). Please wait warmly (or cooly might be a better suggestion, given the weather lately).
>> No. 54101
Aaand yeah, was stuck without wifi for the whole day, go figure. Will be able to update today for sure, though, at the earliest possible opportunity.
>> No. 54102
File 134283507315.jpg - (273.02KB , 500x1000 , 27294426.jpg ) [iqdb]
54102
Hoora...
>> No. 54103
File 134284866910.jpg - (661.12KB , 801x999 , kung_fairy.jpg ) [iqdb]
54103
>>54102
Yes, I know, sorry.
-------------------------
[x] Sure, you might as well try joining in. Maybe you can find out what kind of “chi” your powers use?

“Yeah, I’ll give it a try.” You reply, nodding.

“Ah, really?” Meiling blinks, looking slightly taken aback.

“Sure. Seems like it could be fun, given Cirno’s enthusiasm at least.” Granted, Cirno seems enthusiastic about many things, but still. “Why, is that so surprising?”

“A little, yes. Most of the maids here would be too scared to try, I haven’t had any sparring partners in a while besides Cirno.” Meiling taps her chin, thinking. “…And Miss Sakuya, I suppose, but that’s different.”

“Right…” you mutter. “You said that the maid fairies would be scared of doing this? Should I be?”

“Eh, there’s no need to worry,” Cirno cuts in. “Sure, we play pretty rough, but, well…” She shrugs. “You’ll heal, right?”

Dai groans softly. “Wouldn’t it be a good idea to go-“

She’s interrupted by a wordless battle cry from Cirno, who lunges at Meiling with a spinning, ice-laden kick. Meiling responds with a quick sidestep, dodging the blow save for a few ice crystals, and a looping vertical kick of her own.

“Easier…well, I tried.” Dai sighs. “Be careful, would you? They won’t be used to having a third.”

“Thanks, but I’m not that worried,” you say, waving a hand airily. After all, you picked up danmaku and snowball fighting easily enough –well, in the latter case more like you figured out a way to bypass the actual fighting part, but that still counts- how much harder can this be?

You stare at Meiling and Cirno’s struggles, watching for an opening, Within a few seconds, Cirno’s circling about and jabbing at Meiling has managed to turn your mutual opponent completely around, leaving her back exposed and an inviting target. Wrapping your fingers around your thumb, you lunge at Meiling, extending your right arm to strike.

Something grabs and yanks on your forearm, Meiling blurs out of your view, and you find yourself accelerating much faster forward, crashing to earth face first and skidding through several feet of rough, unyielding granite.

…That much harder, apparently. You spit out a mouthful of gravel and compacted snow, twisting your neck to fix Meiling with a pain-intensified glare. Or you would, at least, if she was even sparing you a glance instead of remaining embroiled in combat with Cirno, trading ice-laden blows for rainbow-trailing ones. Nice to know she’s paying you close attention as a threat.

Show her your pain, then. Pay her back. Sounds good to you. You clench your hand -the left one, this time- into a fist and charge Meiling again, keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground. As Cirno stabs down with her ice sword, you throw a punch at Meiling’s side, putting all your strength behind the blow.

Nonchalantly, Meiling knocks aside Cirno’s sword, and as the ice fairy unwittingly drives it down into the ground, catches your fist in an open palm. Your attack is stopped cold with both a cracking sound and a cracking feeling, and a wordless shriek escapes your mouth as you jump back, frantically shaking out your stinging hand.
You’re not very good at this, are you?

“Never make a fist like that!” Meiling calls to you, kicking down at Cirno who rolls away. “Fingers around your thumb will make your punches crush it. Always better to strike with an open hand.” As Cirno jumps up with a snarl, Meiling whips a flattened hand into her stomach, driving the air out of her lungs with a gasp. “Like that, see? –Aah!”

Cirno returns the favor, slamming a hand into the back of Meiling’s knee and forcing her to leap away, brushing off the rapidly-expanding frost.

“Or that,” Cirno continues with a cough. “But, uh, if you want to help out, shouldn’t you be sticking with other kinds of attacks?”

Oh. Right. Yes, yes! Take my strength, use it to strike her down, as we did before.
Hey, wait, no need to do that, I can help you out too…
And use unfamiliar tactics against such a seasoned foe? Foolish. Here, act now! You shudder as warming energy suffuses your body, and, with a quick glance up at Meiling, stomp the ground.

Leafy vines erupt out of the earth around you, and Meiling, already in descending flight towards you and Cirno, gasps and tries to halt her movement. Too late, though, as your new arboreous allies grab and constrict her arms and legs, suspending her parallel to the ground.

“Nice one!” Dai cheers, grinning at you.

Okay, maybe now you can actually get a hit in. You bridge the gap to Meiling, priming your leg for a kick. She’s closed her eyes, as if in acceptance of defeat.

She’s also started mumbling.

And glowing.

…Being right next to her is seeming like a really bad idea, all of a sudden.

Meiling’s eyes snap open, sclera flashing from red to violet in an instant. “Colorful Sign: 「Colorful Wind Chime」!”

There’s a woosh of air, accompanied by a horrible ripping sound, and Meiling spins, surrounding herself in a colorful corona of gyrating energy. The vines restraining her are shredded in an instant, fragments splattering onto your face and dress, and one of her rotating arms smashes into the top of your head, driving you straight back down to the ground. At least you landed on your feet this time, is your first thought as your knees buckle.

Your second is: Gods damn it.
…Agreed.
That trick of yours is getting awfully useless, isn’t it?

Gah… “C-can’t you just freeze her solid or something?” you gasp to Cirno, who nonchalantly tilts her head towards you, evading a jabbing elbow from a now de-spiralfied Meiling.

“Huh? Well yeah, probably, but what’d the point of that be?”

“…We’d win?” A simple solution to the rather pressing issue of blunt force traumas. “Isn’t that kind of the goal, here?”

“No, not really –uh, duck.” You instinctively obey, feeling the rush of air from a blow swinging over your head. Cirno shoves herself between you and Meiling, kicking out with a flurry of icicles to force Meiling back.

“Um, okay then,” you say, backing a bit farther behind Cirno. “Can you enlighten me as to what our goal actually is?”

“Training, obviously.” Cirno says, kicking up and having three massive icicles follow her foot, making Meiling hastily reconsider her forward lunge. “Getting better at fighting forms, coming up with stronger attacks, having a chance to test them out. That sorta thing.”

“Ah. Right, I guess if you’d wanted to win quickly you would have had better ways to.” That giant snowball, or something like it, comes to mind.

“Yeah, and it’s not like Meiling would be helpless either, if I tried. You didn’t see what her hat says, didja? Uh, don’t check now.” She quickly adds, as you stick your head out to the side and nearly have it taken off by an energized fist.

“But anyway, point is. Freezing things solid? I’m good at that, really good at that, already. Freezing frogs, lakes, bullets even- that’s all easy, and not something I really need training in. Heck, I can freeze fire if I time it right, you can’t go much higher than that.” Cirno pauses, knocking away several rapid strikes of Meiling’s and tossing an icicle at her. “Well, lasers are still kinda problematic, I guess, but that’s not the point.”

“Please don’t try and freeze Marisa’s Master Spark again. That’s just never going to end well.”

“Givin’ a speech here, Dai!” Cirno calls over her shoulder, before refocusing on the battle. “The point, and I really mean it this time, is that these? Actual fights, danmaku or physical? Those are the things I can still lose at, things I need work on, and Meiling’s nice enough to help me with them. Actually help, not just ‘let’s-attack-the-stupid-fairy-because-she’s-in-the-way’ kind of help. And with her help, I’ve been able to improve, and get stronger. I’m not saying that winning’s not important, or that you should always hold back like that dollmaker, but it’s better to lose and get a lot stronger for it than to win and get nothing. Because eventually, if you keep working to overcome your weaknesses and don’t give up, then they’ll all be gone. That’s what it means, that’s what it really takes, if you want to be the strongest.”

“So, just because I could do something like this…” She slams the ground with both palms. There’s a cracking, keening sound, and a field of jagged ice columns sprouts up from the ground, leaving gaping holes around you two and Meiling.

“Or this…” Cirno stretches her hands up, there’s an aquamarine flash of light, and an enormous mass of ice, shadow encapsulating all of you, materializes in the air above them. She effortlessly tosses the miniature glacier to your right, and the earth shudders as it slams into the ground, making you stumble.

“…It’s a lot more rewarding to manage this.” As her icicle field fades away what, is it evaporating?, Cirno zips in close to Meiling, dodging a jab, a hook, a kick, and slams a double-palmed blow into Meiling’s chest, blasting her backwards into the gate and sending sparkling shards of ice flying everywhere.

Cirno remains in that pose, arms outstretched, for a few seconds, before sighing and turning back to you. “So, think you get it?”

“…” You nod hesitantly, then with a bit more confidence. “Yeah, I think so. Thanks, Cirno, for that...impassioned speech of yours.” Even if you don’t really see the point of many things she said, the general point is clear. You’d gotten caught up in beating her just like with that tree, right? That was smart… , but you should be seeing this as a learning opportunity. That was one of the reasons you’d decided to participate, after all.

“Good, because here she comes again!” Meiling’s gotten up, leaving the gate a bit dented where she impacted, and a pale glowing aura surrounds her body. Cirno rushes forward to meet her, forming a sphere of ice in one hand.

You inhale deeply, and close your eyes for just a moment- you can afford to, Cirno’s keeping Meiling occupied. All right, then, er… non-growing voice. Care to show me what you can do?
Oh, thank you, I thought you’d never ask. Right, let’s give this a try…

A wave of chilling energy, this time, floods over you. It’s not uncomfortable, exactly, just a distinctly odd feeling, and you shiver.

Okay, now go up and hit her.
That, uh, didn’t work all that well the last time I tried it. Or the time before that, or the time before that-
Just do it, it’ll be different this time.
No it won’t, she’s useless to you.

You ignore the latter voice, advancing on Meiling and Cirno. The former is still surrounded by that glow, and the latter has evidently coated herself in ice. To- match Meiling, counter her maybe? Whatever. With a quick propulsion of your wings, you close the distance to Meiling, lashing out with a kick-

And missing, as Meiling shifts her torso marginally to the side. You’d sigh if you had the time and weren’t distracted by the woman twisting towards you to counterstrike.

And feel…absolutely nothing. Meiling’s eyes widen in surprise.

Your managing to turn and chop her in the throat adds to this, you like to think. It seems to do approximately as much damage as her own attack, but it’s still the first hit you’ve managed to land.
So when she hits you uselessly it doesn’t count, but when you hit her uselessly it does?
Shut up.

“Whoa, what the-?” Meiling stumbles backwards half a step, staring at you. “How did you do that?”

“Well, you let your guard down, so I-“

“No, not that. The flow of your body’s chi just …froze, for a second. Completely stopped moving or changing. I’ve never seen anything like that before, I don’t think.”

…How on earth did you manage that? And why didn’t you before?
Well, there wouldn’t have been any point with you-Oh!

Meiling’s launched herself into that tornado attack from before, throwing off Cirno and beating her limbs against you repeatedly. You grit your teeth instinctively, but there’s no need: though you can see the contacts against your arms and torso, you still feel nothing.

…Phew, almost lost it for a second there. These attacks aren’t enough to break my concentration, though.
No, really, we need an explanation here. What are you doing?
Personally, I’m fine just knowing that this keeps me safe-
Yes, well I’m not. Where did you get this ability?

“Huh, so it looks like my normal techniques won’t do a thing against you, then. However you’re doing that with your chi, it makes you really resilient, especially for a fairy.” Meiling pauses, then grins. “Interesting. Guess that means I’ll have to try something with a bit more power behind it…”

That…still shouldn’t be an issue, right?
I don’t have any reason to let you know. Perhaps I’ve always had it.
No, if you had then you would have used it against me, and we wouldn’t have gotten into this in the first place.
…Right? Hello?

Meiling draws a Spell Card, holding it aloft, and it flashes. “Fiery Attaaack…”

…Well, you did catch me by surprise. Still, I don’t care to give you any more information.
…No, I don’t care, I’m satisfied. If this failed you against me once, it won’t save you again.
Will you two shut up and help me, ideally now-

“「Roc-killing Fist」!” Her hand, now surrounded in a vivid rainbow ring, launches towards you-

What? Ohhhh, fu-

The world explodes into blinding prismatic pain, centered on a fist-sized area of your chest. Your eyes overload and take this as their cue to shut down, your field of view shifting from all colors to none black is still a color, you know. You remain dimly aware of wind rushing past and around your backwards-propelled body, buffeting at your clothes and chilling your body.

Ugh…No, that’s still me, actually. You’re welcome.

You attempt to take a breath, and fail, bringing to your immediate attention that you’re still in pain. Incredible pain, in fact.
…Also my fault. It was this or being disintegrated, sorry.
Oh, stop that already, the threat has passed. Let us heal.

The chill lessens, and the agony permeating your body starts to dull. Rather more slowly than you’d like, admittedly, but it’s progress.

Your flight ends abruptly, head impacting against something soft and your body doing the same half a heartbeat later. A pair of arms, wrapped in white cloth, wrap around you as well. Looks like someone’s caught you mid-flight, that’s nice of them. Probably.

You hear a low, throaty chuckle, and the arms tighten around you.
That…sounds horribly familiar. Of something from a long while ago, but still…

You crane your neck back, looking up. Your head is pressed against a yellow strip of cloth tied around a woman’s neck. She’s not wearing a dress, unlike every other person you’ve met so far, but rather a divided crimson garment, with darker crisscrossing lines spread over it, over a white piece of clothing. A pale pink parasol floats by her side, and you have the inexplicable feeling that it’s alive, somehow. Looking up further, forest green hair frames knowing crimson eyes and a mature, lovely face.

And she’s smiling at you. Now, in most cases, this would be a reassuring thing to notice: most of your friends are prone to smiling, after all, and it’s a pleasant expression in all their cases. But while Star’s perpetual smile indicates a blasé contentment with her surroundings, or Cirno’s grin shows the bright confidence typical of her being...this woman’s mouth forms the grin of a predator, whose unsuspecting prey has just leaped neatly into their jaws and is struggling futilely to escape.

“My, my, my, my…”

Oh, no. Not her...
What? Who is this supposed to be?

As you stare into the woman’s blood-red eyes, you are filled with the rising feeling that running away, far away, would be an exceptionally good idea. If only you could.

“What do we have here~?”
>> No. 54104
Yaaaaaay. Moe time!
>> No. 54105
File 13428540367.png - (378.17KB , 1200x1200 , 27556772_p2.png ) [iqdb]
54105
FUCK YEAH CIRNO.

Back to having no idea who italics is. Yay.
>> No. 54106
>>54105
I'm thinking that they aren't people, but aspects of our shattered subconsciousness. Italics is the part of us that is flowering and reproduction (Spring and Summer). Censored is the part of us that is hibernation and endurance (Fall and Winter). The two of them act as personified id and superego, both wanting the best for us, but going at it in different ways.
>> No. 54107
>>54106
Cool theory, but Viridian said they aren't original characters, sooo...
>> No. 54108
>>54107
Do they count as original characters if they aren't even characters, but just aspects of our character?
>> No. 54109
>>54108
Well, our character is most likely an OC herself, so yeah.

>>54106 does have an interesting theory, but I think there's too much evidence against it. The voices do seem to fit the id-superego roles rather well, though, even if they don't actually personify them.

Is there anyone else italics could be, if Yuuka's out? Maybe Suwako? Minoriko?
>> No. 54110
I'm not quite sure why I think this, but I can't help but feel that the voices are Mugetsu and Gengetsu. Especially since they seem to know Yuuka on a personal level, although pretty much everyone in Gensokyo knows about her.
>> No. 54111
>>54110
Well, one of them knows Yuuka. The other seems to be rather confused as to who she is. I immediately thought the one who knows Yuuka might be Mima, but I can't quite see why Mima would be scared of Yuuka...

Meh. Just wild mass guessing, at this point.
>> No. 54112
>Just wild mass guessing, at this point.
Lily White and Lily Black.
>> No. 54130
>>54112
Akis.
>> No. 54138
File 134317273819.jpg - (0.96MB , 867x1244 , oh_no_it_is_miss_yuuka.jpg ) [iqdb]
54138
“Ah…” You gulp nervously, staring up at the woman’s eerily smiling face.

Be careful what you say. Make sure that you don’t say anything which might offend her, or we’ll regret it. “H-hello there, ma’am. Sorry for, er, dropping in on you like this.’

You take a quick look around, attempting to get some idea of where you’ve landed and potentially seek out some avenues of escape. The lake’s no longer in- no, wait, it’s still in view, off in the distance. For the more immediate area, there’s a wide river on your left and a strip of trees on the right.

Oh, and a red-clad woman with a strong grip immediately behind you, so no escape likely. Great.

“Well, aren’t we a polite little fairy. Although…‘ma’am’, is it? I do hope I’m not looking my age…” The woman chuckles.

“Um, n-no! Of course not!” You’re quick to assure her. “You don’t look a day over…er…” She’s a youkai, right? How do they age? Very slowly, if at all. Just pick a number that would flatter a human woman, that should suffice. Um, that’s not actually very helpful… Twenty or thereabouts. Quickly, now, it’s obvious that you’re stalling. “Seventeen?”

She chortles heartily at that, jostling you a bit as her stomach vibrates beneath you. “Oh my, you are quite the flatterer, aren’t you? And amusing as well, I like that. I think I might keep you~”

Erk. “I think I’d prefer that you just put me down, let us go our separate ways…”

“Oh, but why would I ever want to do that?” She blinks demurely down at you.

“…Because I need to get back to my friends?”

“But you’re with me now, sweetie. And we’re friends, aren’t we? I do hope so, I’d be so terribly disappointed otherwise, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself…” Her hands abruptly tighten around your midsection, applying just-shy-of-crushing force, though there’s no strain evident in her arms nor a single change in her expression.

“Yes, okay! We’re friends!” you gasp out frantically, and the vices on your stomach release. Owowow, your body’s still sore from Meiling’s attack and that really didn’t help…

“Wonderful, wonderful.” She beams at you, before tilting her head slightly and fixing you with a contemplative gaze. “Hmm…I can’t help but notice that you seem a bit scared, sweetheart. Don’t worry, I won’t bite...”

Her head thrusts down besides yours, teeth snapping by your ear. You jerk your head away, and the woman’s bared teeth morph into a smirk as you feel to confirm that your ear’s still intact.

“Well, I might. I suppose you wouldn’t fit my tastes, though, not those tastes at least~ A fairy like yourself- unlike fish or fowl, human or even youkai- would disappear far too fast to make good food or fertilizer, wouldn’t you? Or would you?...” She pauses, looking like she’s seriously contemplating testing that out, then giggles.

“I suppose that’s enough fun for now. Wouldn’t want you to die of fright before we can get to know each other. I have been searching for you for a good portion of my day, wouldn’t want that time to have be wasted.”

“Searching…for me?” You repeat. That can’t be good.

“That is indeed what I said, dear.” She smirks at you.

“But then, why were you…?”

“That is the question, isn’t it? Well, let me tell you a little story.” The woman shifts you around in her arms so that you’re facing her properly, instead of painfully craning your neck back to make eye contact. She also pulls you up to her eye level, freeing your head from being muffled in her chest.

“I was on a fairly routine trip to the Human Village to get some gardening supplies –could have had Elly do it, but the girl tries so hard at her real job that I couldn’t take her away. Anyway, nothing there went unordinarily; I purchased my goods, terrorized a few shopkeepers, very normal.” She looks rather disappointed in that, for some reason. “So obviously, I was dreadfully bored, and decided to take a stroll back through the forest, in hopes of finding something interesting. Now, what do you supposed I discovered?”

…Buying gardening tools, mentioning fertilizer… “My flowers?” you hazard a guess.

“Full marks, give the girl a prize!” she exclaims. “Yes, indeed. I was ambling along, still disappointed that I hadn’t even gotten to cause a little panicked mob, when I sensed something that pushed that right out of my mind: a small growth of snowdrops. So, naturally I-“

“Wait, ‘sensed’?’ you interject, evoking a scowl from the woman’s face; worrying, but you press on regardless. “How did you manage that?”

“It’s rude to interrupt, dear. Ah, but I suppose I can allow you that question, this will all make a good deal more sense with it answered. I-“ She pulls one hand off you, grasping her parasol and twirling it with a flourish. “-am Yuuka Kazami, Flower Master of the Four Seasons. Knowing flowers is, quite simply, what I do, and having a sixth sense about them – well, more like an eleventh sense, but still- is practically part of the job description. Likewise, my knowledge of the four seasons alerted me to these blooms still being one early. But I’ve gotten distracted, it seems.” Yuuka taps the tip of her parasol on the ground, frowning. “Where was I- ah, yes.”

“Naturally, upon noticing such an unseasonal event, I simply had to go and investigate it further. I was hoping I might have discovered an Incident; those are generally good for a laugh or two. Finding my way to the small clearing, I could observe the snowdrops firsthand, and managed to be surprised once again. I could feel a little residual energy on them, and- “She stops, focusing on your face, then exhales briefly. You catch a faint scent of…sunflowers? “I suppose you’re wondering how I did that too, aren’t you?”

“Um…” Are you that easy to read? “Well, yes, actually.”

“Darling, while I appreciate the attention, having to explain everything I’m capable of would leave us here long into spring. Just go along with it, would you?” You nod, and she smiles. …Has that expression gotten less scary, or is it just your perception? No, it’s a trick, don’t fall for it.

“Very good. Now, this energy that I sensed seemed familiar, though I couldn’t for the life of me remember why. I asked the snowdrops who, or what, had made them grow, and they were happy to tell me that it had been a little fairy with a pleasurable touch.” Yuuka hums, tracing a finger over your chest, down your back, withdrawing it with a smirk as you shiver. “It seems that they were accurate on both counts after all~… I certainly wasn’t convinced of that at the time, though.

“You see, prior to yourself, I’ve only met four fairies who I viewed worthy of my attention. One of these four would be capable of this, and not only did I know how distinctly different her power feels, I knew for a fact that she’ll be busy until the start of spring proper. And while there are many other fairies whose abilities relate to plants or flowers, they’d be far too weak to grow and sustain a large area of flowers out-of-season. So, I was rather stymied.”

“What happened then?” you ask, curious despite yourself.

“Well, I couldn’t leave things at that, now could I? I continued searching the forest for this mysterious fairy, and eventually I happened upon another incongruous spot; a pair of trees, each with the same type of lingering energy. One looked to have had its boughs snapped off: wouldn’t be all that uncommon, if there’d been any snow weighing it down.” Yuuka shrugs unconcernedly.

“The other was covered with a brand-new crop of cherry blossoms, and this was the one that sparked my memories, letting me recognize the influence of an old…friend.” She puts particular emphasis on the word ‘friend’, as if unsure of whether it’s the correct one to use it’s not.

“So, what’d you remember exactly?” you ask. Searching your own memories, you’re drawing a blank on this woman yes, that’s intentional but you’re not certain you can rely on your-
Wait. What? Oh, you hypocrite…

“Why, everything, child. A time long gone, before the Border or Gensokyo proper; a rivalry, innumerable battles, fear, pride, love and hate, the sealing and the exodus; oh, yes, it made me nostalgic thinking on those times and the parts we played. I remember it all.” Yuuka’s eyes are locked on your own, studying you intently for what seems an eternity, until her gaze drops with a sigh.

“But…you do not, it seems. How puzzling. That girl was never any good ay secrecy or subtlety, nor would she ever have lowered herself to a fairy’s form…” A flash of annoyance sparks up within you, but you quash it quickly as Yuuka continues. “And yet, that is unmistakably her power on you.” Her free hand plucks a fragment of vine from your hair, rolling it between two fingers. “In you.” The plant piece drops, forgotten, as her fingers stroke your cheeks and chin. Yuuka’s brow creases, and her hand withdraws.

“And there’s something else there too. Perhaps I am mistaken? Yes, I see it now, two separate weaves spread throughout your fragile flesh, oddly inimical, and yet still…growing, sustaining…” Her voice drops off, eyes trailing over you, before they narrow in on a spot by your hip. “What’s this, now?”

Quick as a flash, her hand darts in and out of your pocket, withdrawing – “Another sakura blossom, but…a still living one, is it? Untouched by heat, pressure, or even time, if I didn’t know better I’d guess this had…ahhh.” Her eyes widen. “Could it be? Have we a pair? Oh my…” Her hand closes on the flower, then reopens, revealing a small seed.

“Replicate that, if you would.” You glance from the seed to Yuuka and back again, but she cuts you off as you open your mouth. “That was not a request. Now.”

Very well. Why are we listening to her, again? Just help me appease her, would you? Oh, fine.
You touch the seed with your index finger, concentrating. Heat spreads down your arm and hand, spilling out into the seed which vibrates before bursting, sprouting a green stem and eight pink leaves. My turn. Warmth is replaced by cold, and your arm’s pins and needles pass into the bloom with an aqua flash.

“Ohh?” Yuuka remarks, brows raising as she spins you around, one hand curling about your waist while the other plays over your wings, swiftly tracing out patterns across both. There’s a moment of tension, then the cold dissipates from your body and Yuuka releases a sigh, turning you back towards her.

“Both it is, then. Quite astonishing. Ah, but if she’s here, then that means...” Yuuka’s gaze turns skyward, scanning for something. She lets out a laugh, then turns back to you, a very crooked smile playing across her face.

“The smoke no longer spreads. Now that little accident from earlier makes sense. Oh, I don’t know what game you’re playing, silly girls, but it’s certainly going to have repercussions, oh yes, ahaha…”

“I…” You gulp, staring at Yuuka. “I don’t understand. What are you-?”

“Oh, but you will, you will! Very soon, too soon, you, your friends, and all Gensokyo will know, you’ll understand, however much you try to deny it. And you, poor damned foolish girl, you’ll be at the very center of it all, fufufu…” She chuckles cruelly.

Watching her laugh, the terror you’d felt before, though temporarily gone as if sleeping, is returning and you have to consciously force yourself not to tremble.

And then she stops, and stares, and…frowns? “But perhaps…perhaps I don’t like this idea quite so much after all. The chaos and confusion will be wondrous, the pests will be weeded out, yes, but there’s still those girls to keep in mind…” Her eyes wander over you, up and down. “And I have started to like you as well, dear, despite myself… Yes, I suppose I might help, just a little.”

“I have three pieces of advice: heed them well.” Her face and voice shift back to neutrality, taking on a surprisingly serious tone. “One. Your thoughts and powers may be in you, but they are not necessarily of you, and heeding them will not long be in your best interest. Remain wary.

Two. Any other fairies at your side will be, in one way or another, immature children. Children of any species, despite the popular belief of being pure and innocent, are capable of great selfishness, spitefulness, and cruelty; do not expect more of children than is due them. Remain realistic. And three…”

Yuuka pokes between your eyes with the flower, evoking a small cry of surprise, before delicately inserting it back into your pocket. “Keep this with you, the construct grown from my seed and your energies; I will keep the other. Use the blossom to remind yourself of the potential within the young and small, of how your influence can change those around you, and of how even the simplest things may hold unexpected strengths. Remain hopeful.”

“The rest…is up to you.” As Yuuka slides her hand out of your pocket, her fingertips brush against the inside of your leg, and you let out a too-loud gasp.

“Ah?” Yuuka tilts her head, actually managing to look faintly embarrassed. “My apologies, that was accidental,” she murmurs. “Well, mostly accidental at least, but despite what rumors say I am not-“ Whatever she is not will have to remain a mystery, as an uncharacteristically loud and angry voice cuts in, and your head whips around to see a familiar face.

“Get your hands off of her, Yuuka.” Dai demands.
--------------------------------------------
I had originally planned to make Yuuka a fair bit more cryptic than this, but after an attempt at that characterization I realized that it made conveying the right amount of information really difficult. Feel like the rewrite could be better, too, but I'm satisfied enough.
>> No. 54139
File 134317277049.jpg - (321.63KB , 436x797 , dai_is_not_amused.jpg ) [iqdb]
54139
“Dai?” you say, blinking in surprise. She followed you? When did she get here? “What are-”

“Don’t worry, I’m going to help you.” Dai says, narrowed eyes fixated on Yuuka.

“Oh, it’s her.” Yuuka mutters, distaste evident in the words. She lowers her voice and whispers to you. “Mind playing along for a bit? I’ll reward you for it afterwards.”

Without really processing that, your head automatically bobs a confused nod. Play along with what? No idea, but if it’s something she needs to make up to you then that doesn’t bode especially well…

“Well, if it isn’t little Daiyousei. Trying to play hero, save an innocent fairy from the big bad flower youkai?” Yuuka smirks. “How pathetic. Still trying to fight against your nature, girl? You have to know it won’t last.”

“Your attempts at taunts won’t distract me, Yuuka,” Dai snaps back. “I did hear her just now, it’s obvious what you were doing to her.” Oh, that’s awkward. “What, you couldn’t content yourself with Wriggle, now you’re having to resort to picking up random fairies?”

…Okay, so it seems like Yuuka’s aim is just to mess with Dai and make her worry about you, not unlike what happened with yourself earlier. You feel like you should stop her…Your friend’s doing fine for herself, there’s no need. Yes, Kazami’s attention is off you now, leave it that way.

“Wriggle?” Yuuka replies, raising an eyebrow. “Huhu, so the nightbug’s let on about our night trysts, has she? Spoke of how she rubbed her pollen on my petals and made my stigma tingle?” Yuuka grins as Dai’s face reddens, though you can’t tell whether that’s from anger or embarrassment. “Oh come now, Daiyousei, I’m not quite so monstrous as the stories say, not without a good reason at least. You should know that.”

“Yes, I feel so very lucky to have gained that bit of knowledge.” Dai mutters. “But for all I know, you wouldn’t even consider it unethical to do this-”

“A misunderstanding, dearest Daiyousei. My affections aren’t something I’d administer to any ‘random fairy’, as you put it. A suitable target would need to have managed a certain closeness to me, like little Wriggle.” Yuuka pauses, a cruel twist adding itself to her grin. “Come to think of it, another possibility would be Cirno…”

Dai’s eyes narrow to aqua slits, malice flashing through them, and darkness wipes the pearly shade from her wings. A faint wave of nausea washes over you, skin crawling not this again, and the thought crystallizes in your mind that things are definitely going too far.

“Yuuka, wait, this is too- hrkgh.” Her supporting hand relocates itself from your stomach to your throat, turning the rest of your admonishment into so much gurgling, and the sickening feeling from Dai intensifies. “Children should be seen and not heard,” she murmurs, loosening her grip enough to allow air through and calm the panicked rush of adrenaline through your veins.

“My, that certainly got your blood boiling.” Yuuka addresses Dai over your head. “Better be careful, now, lest it lead to blood or body parts bursting. I have no doubt I’ll be fine at this level of things, but I’d be worried about this girl-“ she gives you a meaningful shake- “given that you’re not with Cirno right now…”

“Was with her until just a minute ago,” Dai seethes, but as her gaze flicks over you, its anger is rapidly replaced by worry, and her wings slowly settle back to a light grey, then white. “I…I’m in control, I’m in control...” she repeats to herself, a mantra.

“Such a strong will,” Yuuka purrs. “And it has to be, no doubt, to match the strength of the power you’ve attained. For you have become powerful, have you not? Little Cirno’s still working hard to eke more scraps of power from her essence, but you…you’ve very nearly outgrown her, haven’t you? Or mayhaps you have already, Daiyousei?...”

“I’m used to you messing with my head by now, Yuuka,” Dai spits. “You’re not going to-”

“Messing with your head, you say? Funny you should say that, for the body of the fairy I found by your lake earlier had her head severely ‘messed with’. It had decayed off the rest of her body, from what I could tell, now what could have caused that…?”

“I- wha- Body? No…” Dai falters, color draining out of her face. She shakes her head violently, empty-eyed. “No, no, no, you’re lying, you have to be lying, please, not again, not again…”

Yuuka stares dispassionately down at Dai’s stricken form. “I can hardly force you to believe me, Daiyousei. But I ask you, if I decided to tell you this lie…why would I wait until now? There have been ample opportunities over the past years, particularly the early days after your awakening when you were at your most fearful.”

Dai doesn’t respond, just shaking her head mutely and staring blankly at the ground. Waves of grey ripple over her wings, unnoticed.

“Although I must say, I didn’t expect you to react quite that strongly…” Yuuka muses quietly, a frown creasing her brow. “Surely you wouldn’t unless…you were already suspicious? I wonder…” She shakes her head, blinking as Dai raises her own, some life having flickered back into her eyes.

“Maybe you are telling the truth, then. I don’t know, can’t know, for sure. But…I had weeks, last time by Cirno’s side, before anything bad happened. So I’ll continue with the next couple days as planned, and then…” Dai pauses, then nods wearily. “I’ll find out the truth and…do what’s necessary.”

“…Very well, then.” Yuuka nods, looking slightly taken aback. “You’ve grown more than I thought.” she whispers, voice barely reaching your ears. “Perhaps even you, cursed girl, will make it through the coming times...”

“But if I’m going to manage that, then I can’t deal with you right now, Yuuka.” Dai continues, a calm defiance filling her tone. “Hey-“ she catches your eye. “Can you do the same chi-resistance technique as you did with Meiling, in a few seconds?”

You’re unable to articulate a verbal response, but you manage a nod to Dai. Seems things are going to escalate, then…

“Chi-resistance- Oh, so you two actually are acquainted, then?” Yuuka asks, quirking an eyebrow. “So, that explains your determination, Daiyousei. But you can’t be considering an attack with your power now, your little friend could easily take the brunt of it-“

“Which is why I’m using this instead,” Dai states, drawing a Spell Card from her pocket and holding it aloft. “Restrained Plague: 「 Trypanosomiasis」!”

The card flashes white, and a cloud of grey smoke erupts from it, reshaping itself and lightening into several dozen oblong pink shapes, a bit like very warped cylinders with long tails at their ends. As one, the shapes dart towards Yuuka, surrounding the two of you from all sides. In the same heartbeat, your body fills with the almost-familiar chilling energy.

“What on earth are these-“ A frowning Yuuka grabs one wriggling shape out of the air, crushing it between her fingers. Her eyes widen. “Oh, that’s rather clever…Hah!” She leaps away, dodging through the group of Dai’s projectiles, which blur past you too quickly to see their points of impact. Exceptions being one that grazes your leg, and another striking your stomach, but you wouldn’t know it if you hadn’t seen the collisions.

The spell ends, and Yuuka drifts back to ground, smiling. “Not bad, Daiyousei, but it’ll take more than that to-uhhn…” Her body sags, eyes drooping shut, and she slumps down to the ground, grip on you loosening enough for you to pry her fingers off your throat.

“Ah, good, it worked.” Dai smiles, flying up to you. “You’re all right, then?”

You nod, inhaling deeply and squeezing out a few hacking coughs. Couldn’t Yuuka have just put her hand over your mouth or something? “Yeah, I’m fine. Thanks for the help.”

“No problem, now let’s get back to the ma-mmgk!” Dai is interrupted by the back of a large hand smacking her across the face and snapping her head back, shoving her back several feet.

“Juuust kidding!~” Yuuka announces, jumping up and using her slapping hand to grab her parasol, the tip of which starts to glow. “I did say it would take more than that to put me down. Oh, wait, did I not manage to finish saying that? How confusing it must have been. Anyway…”

Yuuka flourishes her parasol at Dai, simpering. “Like it or not, that was tantamount to starting a duel, now it’s your responsibility to continue it. Prepare yourself-“

No,” you assert, grabbing her parasol interesting, it ripples under our touch and plunging its tip to the ground. You’ve been waiting far too long to speak your mind.

“What?” Yuuka stares down at you, brow furrowing. “Dear, you do realize that you can’t actually stop me-“

“I said no,” you repeat. “Shut the hell up.”

Yuuka’s head jerks back in a manner uncannily similar to Dai’s a moment ago, the woman seeming almost physically affronted. Her voice takes on a dangerously sweet tone, each word dripping honeyed acid. “My dear, do you realize just who you’re talking to-“

“Yes, I do, in fact,” you interrupt, and Yuuka’s eyes narrow further. You do have a plan here, right? Right? “I’m talking to the woman that provoked my friend, choked me and threatened to hurt her best friend to further mess with her, and convinced her of something I don’t entirely understand but that practically drove her to tears. All of this you did for no apparent reason other than her worrying about me, and all of it you’re now trying to use as a justification for attacking her. And I’m not having it.”

You pause for breath. Dai’s mouth has dropped open and she’s staring at you blankly, looking unsure whether to applaud or pull you away and flee as fast as possible. Yuuka’s face, meanwhile, is an unreadable mask.

…How long can you block Kazami’s attacks for before she kills us?
Given her power, I doubt it would be possible at all.
Well. Shit.

Your voice softens, and you press on. “But in addition to that, I’m talking to someone who is supposedly my old friend, professed a liking for me herself which wasn’t entirely unreciprocated, and despite being needlessly creepy in doing so, gave me a great deal of unexpected advice for the purpose of helping me through some unmentioned danger. And for that last part, Yuuka, you do have my thanks.” You stare up at her, and note that her expression still hasn’t changed one iota. Oh boy.

“So, I hope it’s not necessary to fight, but if you’re going to attack me for my disrespect just now, could you at least leave Dai out of it? She was just trying to-” You trail off, in the face of one new, entirely unprecedented development.

Yuuka is laughing.
And not like the refined, knowing laughs she’d exhibited every time before. Belly laughter bursts out of her in great waves, the force of her mirth doubling her over and breaking her composure more than anything you’ve seen this whole time, tears even leaking out of her eyes between the guffaws. Dai looks askance at Yuuka’s bent figure, opening her mouth and then closing it again with a shrug, at a loss for a proper verbal reaction. Eventually, Yuuka straightens up, wiping a tear out of her eye.

“Ahaha…Ah, that was just superb. I had no idea for a moment there if you were brave or unbelievably stupid, and, well, now I’m convinced it’s more than a little of both. But still, the sheer bravado needed to confront me like that- marvelous.”

“Yes, with resolve like that, now I’m definitely sure that you’ll be all right. I’d suggest a bit more common sense in just how you use it when addressing powerful beings, however. Very well, the two of you are free to go. But, one last thing…” She smiles at you mischievously.

“…What last thing?” You’re not sure if you like the way she’s looking at you, nor are you sure what to make of it.

“I did say that I’d reward you, didn’t I? And, well, I suppose that I owe you something more for putting you through all of that. Fly up here for a moment, would you?” Yuuka beckons you with a hand.

…She’s going to give you something else for a reward, then? Exchanging a bemused glance with Dai, you do as you’re told, fluttering up a foot to Yuuka’s eye level.

“Close your eyes…” You obey, last sight being the knowing smirk on Yuuka’s face.

…Wasn’t her face awfully close to your own-

Her arms, gentle this time, wrap around your back to pull you close, and a pair of soft, warm lips meet your own, the tip of her tongue sliding into your mouth.

Wha-

[ ] Pull away.
-[ ] She doesn’t have the right to do this.
-[ ] You’re not comfortable with this.
[ ] Go along with it, but don’t give her the satisfaction of anything more.
[ ] Kiss her back.
-[ ] Harder than she wants; beat her at her own game.
-[ ] You’re curious about how this happens.
>> No. 54140
[x] Go along with it, but don’t give her the satisfaction of anything more.

Trying to pull back would be dangerous and I'm too unsure of her to want to continue.
>> No. 54141
[ ] Go along with it, but don’t give her the satisfaction of anything more.

Our Fairy-self probably doesn't even understand what exactly Yuka is doing. Inactivity due to a mix of confusion and being overloaded by the new sensations seems like the most likely response. At least to me it does.
>> No. 54142
[x] Kiss her back.
-[x] You’re curious about how this happens.

If this is a thing that's going to happen for fear of offending Yuuka, I for one would like to learn some things. For later. Nevermind that Dai is watching.

I sure am glad I didn't bother typing up a justification for my Lily guess. Still no idea~
>> No. 54143
[X] Kiss her back.
-[X] You’re curious about how this happens.

I am willing to make a gamble.
>> No. 54144
>>54143
What gamble? If she wasn't pissed about nameless fairy's little speech, she sure as hell isn't going to be pissed by getting kissed back.
>> No. 54145
[X] Pull away.
-[X] She doesn’t have the right to do this.

It's not OK for your uncle to touch you inappropriately, and it's not OK for thousand year old youkai to touch you inappropriately.

Stand up for fairy rights. Don't just go into "OH shit guys it's Yuuka" mode.
>> No. 54146
[X] Kiss her back.
-[X] You’re curious about how this happens.
>> No. 54147
[X] Kiss her back.
-[X] You’re curious about how this happens.

Nice to see a Yuuka that isn't totally insane. This one seems far closer to the Yuutroll I prefer.
>> No. 54148
[ ] Go along with it, but don’t give her the satisfaction of anything more.
>> No. 54149
>>54145
>It's not OK for your uncle to touch you inappropriately, and it's not OK for thousand year old youkai to touch you inappropriately.

>Stand up for fairy rights.

Assuming that you're being at all serious, it's just a kiss, she's not actively molesting us or anything. If she was then that'd be a problem, sure, but as things stand now not so much.
>> No. 54150
>>54149
She's using tongue. That's definitely Bad Touch.

But I'm not complaining~
>> No. 54151
[x] Kiss her back.
-[x] You’re curious about how this happens.

Oh hell, Why not?
>> No. 54152
>>54149

>It´s just a kiss
>Not actively molesting

you don't seem to quite grasp the definition of molest. Come now, im sure am upstansing gentleman such as yourself could spare a moment or two to open a dictionary.
>> No. 54153
[x] Pull away.
-[x] She doesn’t have the right to do this.

A peck would be one thing. Tongue? Too much, right there.
>> No. 54154
[x] Go along with it, but don’t give her the satisfaction of anything more.
>> No. 54155
[x] Kiss her back.
-[x] You’re curious about how this happens.

You have my attention now.
>> No. 54156
[x] Kiss her back.
-[x] You’re curious about how this happens.

I'd vote for the assertive option, but it doesn't have any support. A bit of a shame it was ignored in favor of this one, really, but since both are good options, I'm not gonna complain.
>> No. 54157
>>54156

Why not vote for the other option then, since it doesn't matter anyway? You voting for the less prefered but more popular choice won't change a thing, but there if there is turnaround in votes your vote could be the one that swings it around.
>> No. 54158
File 134325654772.jpg - (109.35KB , 1080x1080 , bear is going down (sexually).jpg ) [iqdb]
54158
>>54157
A turnaround for an option he wants even less, likely. The margin is way too low for symbolic gestures.
>> No. 54159
[x] Kiss her back.
-[x] You’re curious about how this happens.

Growing up is so cute~
>> No. 54161
[x] Kiss her back.
-[x] You’re curious about how this happens.
Hooray for learning!
>> No. 54163
File 134331817136.png - (537.88KB , 480x800 , what_fourth_wall.png ) [iqdb]
54163
Meant to do this earlier, but calling for curiosity-compelled kissing.

So, of course, the kiss option gets by far the most votes of any choice so far, not very surprising.
Likewise, it probably says something about people's' priorities that only 2-3 people out of 15 commented on any part of the update besides the kiss. That's okay though, looking back the second section was done pretty badly anyway.

And it looks like I gave Yuuka a more rape-y vibe than was intended, which is unfortunate. Interesting how those few words mentioning tongue changed the meaning so much.

>>54141
Your fairy-self doesn't, really, but the voices do, and the options are largely based on which personality has the most control in the decision.

>>54142
I think I mentioned this previously, but you are going to be meeting Lily White and Black at some point. Probably rather soon, in fact.

>>54147
This Yuuka was designed, more or less, around being a troll, although I'm not sure how well the final product conveyed that.

Oh, and writing is now in progress. Shouldn't be 4.5k words or take 4 days this time.
>> No. 54167
>the options are largely based on which personality has the most control in the decision.
What? Dropping a super-ominous line so casually...
>> No. 54171
>>54167
That is pretty ominous, especially considering:

>Your thoughts and powers may be in you, but they are not necessarily of you, and heeding them will not long be in your best interest. Remain wary.

Not to mention that I'm pretty sure we didn't pick the "fairy" choice, though I'm not sure what that would have been.
>> No. 54172
>>54171
Curiosity is pretty fairy-like. Besides, italics definitely doesn't like Yuuka, and while spoilers might do it to annoy italics, that isn't a very strong motive. Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss.

As far as pernicious influence goes, I'm far more concerned about this line.
>Searching your own memories, you’re drawing a blank on this woman yes, that’s intentional but you’re not certain you can rely on your-
>Wait. What? Oh, you hypocrite…
That some mindwipe? Of fairy's memories? I don't remember what the hypocrite line could be referring to.

>troll Yuuka
That came across well. I can't think of any other reason why she'd poke at Dai like this... I like her. Quite a bit. That she's exhibiting concern for fairy despite being a troll is probably a large part of this.

>The smoke no longer spreads.
Well gee, what person is known for smoke? Could it possibly be Mokou? I'm kinda curious, if this is what that sequence is like now, before you decryptified it... it must have been utterly impenetrable.
>> No. 54173
>>54172
It's entirely possible that italics and/or spoilers were responsible for our amnesia in the first place, given how they seem to have been the ones causing us to regain specific memories. Still not sure on how this would have worked, though.

>Well gee, what person is known for smoke? Could it possibly be Mokou?
This seems almost too obvious, now that you've pointed it out, but that definitely furthers the current "spoilers is Mokou" theory. Nice catch.

>I'm kinda curious, if this is what that sequence is like now, before you decryptified it... it must have been utterly impenetrable.
I have no idea what you meant here, though, or if you're being sarcastic or anything. Who's the "you" you're referring to? Yuuka? The writefag?
>> No. 54174
>>54173
The writefag.
>I had originally planned to make Yuuka a fair bit more cryptic than this, but after an attempt at that characterization I realized that it made conveying the right amount of information really difficult.

I'm not sure what information was supposed to have been conveyed here. All I got out of Yuuka's speech, other than her warnings, was "something big is going down", "fairy is involved whether she likes it or not", and maybe "the voices started it". I'm sure I'm missing lots.
>> No. 54176
>>54173
I suspect that one of them, probably spoilers, is actually Kaguya. The timeless flower certainly narrows it down, given her power over eternity.
>> No. 54177
>>54176
Kaguya has power over both eternity and the instantaneous. Using the instantaneous part, she could probably do something like speed growth. So she could be either one. And maybe-Mokou said she hijacked could-be-Kaguya's power, which would be easy since possibly-Kaguya is, by her own admission, fragmented by her opposite's last-ditch attack.

As for why the powers only seem to work on plants and fairies (so far), that's might be thanks to the whole fusing with a fairy thing.
>> No. 54178
Oh, and hastening memory degradation could cause something like amnesia. Sort of. I'm reaching here.
>> No. 54179
File 134352915859.jpg - (481.82KB , 1000x1414 , strong_ones_are_usually_smiling.jpg ) [iqdb]
54179
>>54167
Just wanted to see which of you were paying attention, that's all. Or I like scaring you.

>>54171
Actually you did, as per >>54172's reasoning. Roughly speaking, if I'd edited the choices' text to match they'd be
-[ ] She doesn’t have the right to do this./-[ ] You’re not comfortable with this./[ ] Go along with it, but don’t give her the satisfaction of anything more./-[ ] Harder than she wants; beat her at her own game./-[ ] You’re curious about how this happens.

>>54172
Thanks for the feedback, that was pretty much my desired audience reaction to Yuuka. Additionally, good catch, and your hint's to look over the previous update's little argument.

>>54174
All right, so judging by this I kept it at the right level of vagueness. And yes, it was pretty bad previously, but I deleted the previous draft so can't post an example.


But anyway, current status: update's about 2/3 written, but it's being delayed due to the fact that my computer suffered a hard drive failure yesterday.

...Now that I've given the 2-3 of you that care enough to be checking this heart attacks, I'll follow up by saying that, purely from the perspective of this story, this actually isn't a big deal. All of my notes and writing for the story are backed up online (and have been since I started, having previously noticed the "THP curse"), and I've been working from them with no problems to write the update.

From a personal standpoint it's a bit more of a hassle, given that I wasn't quite as scrupulous about backing up most other things on my computer. Dealing with this is a large part of what's been responsible for the delay, but /bloggan.

tl;dr: currently experiencing technical difficulties, update will be done once I've slept and written some more (i.e. within the next 12-ish hours). Have a Yuuka, she cracked my screen in the last picture, maybe she caused this.
>> No. 54184
...Or tomorrow, sigh. Freaking summer. Why do I even keep making these assurances about time estimates, again?
>> No. 54197
Because, even though you prepare for the worst, you're still foolishly optimistic in other ways?

>your hint's to look over the previous update's little argument.
Italics asking spoilers where she got her new power? I'm not seeing much there.

>choices determining which personality has the most say
Looking over the past choices, most of them seem too straightforward to be hiding secret personality flags. The only one that definitely looks suspicious is when we were deciding how to fight Juniper.

>[ ] 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.

The careful one is probably fairy? I can't tell what the others are. It's probably best that we don't freak out and try to always choose the "fairy" option, in any case.

Fairy will never get a name of her very own ;_;
>> No. 54230
File 134383771924.jpg - (692.64KB , 900x1200 , milkshake_brings_all_the_boys_to_the_garden.jpg ) [iqdb]
54230
[x] Kiss her back.
-[x] You’re curious about how this happens.

This…
This feels strange.

…Not necessarily strange in a bad way, though.

Certainly, having a woman you’ve just met grab and kiss you wasn’t something you were expecting to happen, but…

A tingling sensation runs through your body, and a barely-audible gasp comes unbidden from your mouth, swallowed up in Yuuka’s own.

…But it’s not something you’re especially eager to stop, either. On the contrary, this feels surprisingly pleasant, being held by Yuuka in this way, having her tongue’s tip play about the inside of your lips…

And, owing to some base curiosity you hadn’t known you possessed, you want more of it.

Uncertainly, you push your mouth up against Yuuka’s, transforming your lips’ touch from the barest contact to a more mutual caressing. Yuuka makes an approving sound, somewhere deep in her throat, and the noise speeds up your heartbeat, urging you to press your whole body close against her, warm chest squishing under your own.

Your tongue lashes forwards to meet Yuuka’s own, sliding teasingly around it, along its underside. With an appreciative moan, Yuuka forces her tongue fully into your mouth, filling you and sending pleasurable shocks down your spine. You feel an urge to have more of her, arms reaching around to grab her in a tight embrace.

A breathy sigh from Yuuka pushes its way past your lips, and you return it with a muffled gasp as she wraps her tongue around yours, pulling both back into her own mouth. She bites down on your tongue, just hard enough to elicit a muffled yelp from the shock you feel, which morphs into a series of low moans as she nibbles on your tongue, a not-unwanted punishment for her mouth’s intruder.

Not satisfied with that, she begins sucking on your tongue, pulling you further past the rows of her teeth, suction tightening the walls around the part of you inside her and sending overwhelming tingles from your tongue to the rest of your body.

Your hands are tracing out searching circles on Yuuka’s back, intermittently roaming and grasping at her flesh through the thin fabric. One of Yuuka’s own hands, in turn, has slipped down below the small of your back and is playing about the area below. Yuuka’s strong arms are squeezing you tightly against her, exerting enough pressure to cause a growing pain in your chest.

A nagging doubt floats up through your brain; no, wait a second, she’s not holding you too tightly, what’s causing-?

Oh, that’s right. Oxygen. Although a not insubstantial part of your brain cries out that it would be worth it to continue with this until you suffocate, the majority reluctantly asserts that you need to break the kiss.

“Mmh...” You separate with a shuddering gasp, a thin trail of saliva linking your mouths as you draw your tongue back. Panting heavily, you gaze at Yuuka’s flushed, smiling face.

“…Am I to assume my little reward was appreciated, then?” Yuuka purrs.

You nod mutely, granting no voice to the dozen thoughts whirling through your mind, urging you to grab her, pull her close once again, move your hands and hers to explore places markedly more interesting, pull that top off her and make her-

“What was that about not being affectionate to people you weren’t close to, Yuuka?” Dai asks sharply, her voice cutting through your hormonal haze and dragging you back down to reality.

“Oh, but this was just a reward, Daiyousei. Entirely different.” Yuuka says with an ingratiating smile, but Dai remains visibly unimpressed.

“That might make a halfway decent excuse if I hadn’t, you know, been standing here watching and listening the whole time.” Dai deadpans. “And I’m pretty sure that administering an award doesn’t require quite that much tongue.”

Yuuka shakes her head, sighing in defeat. “Haa, I suppose that you do have a point, Daiyousei...although that’s not quite as interesting as learning you like to watch, is it?” Dai splutters, Yuuka regaining her smirk and addressing you.

“I believe I did overstep my bounds with you just then, dear -you’re far too tempting, really, being so very pleasant to hold and touch~…and if so I apologize, though you really didn’t seem to mind.” She grins.

You find your voice again. “I…no, I didn’t. It was…nice.” Well, most of your voice at least, your brain’s still fogged enough that you’re stumbling over your words. You could let us help out, we at least are still in control of our mental faculties.

“But would you have known enough to tell when it stopped being so nice? Not to mention that we’ve known each other for little more than a second, on the scale of my life at least.” Yuuka shrugs. “Even little Daiyousei would be a more suitable choice in those respects, but all things considered…”

Dai chuckles bitterly. “I’m not sure if I hate you too much or not enough to try that, Yuuka. And even if I did want to, a youkai of your age would have to have some survival instinct, right?”

“True enough; it seems all things have been considered by you, hmm?” A mocking overtone adds itself to Yuuka’s smile. “Such a smart fairy, but not smart enough to keep her friends safe…”

“Don’t…don’t count on that,” Dai retorts, but there’s little energy behind her words, and her face has fallen again. “A-anyway, you said we could go, didn’t you? So let’s-“

“Weeell, there is one more thing I’d like to discuss with this girl here, but you can run along now.” Yuuka waves her hand absently in a shooing motion.

Dai’s eyebrows raise. “And if I choose to stay and listen to this discussion?”

“Why, then it won’t happen of course. I do like some things kept private- but those don’t need to include your secrets, if you don’t want to leave us alone like a good girl~.”

“Yuuka, you…” Dai grits her teeth. “Fine, then. I’ll go and wait out of earshot, but I’ll come back in a couple minutes and I don’t want to find you kissing, so keep this brief and restrain yourself.”

“Very well- but you should take your own advice as well, Daiyousei.” Yuuka raises a hand in a little wave, which Dai returns summarily to her and more warmly to you before flying off.

“Rather protective of you, isn’t she?” Yuuka asks rhetorically, grinning. “Of course, having to be concerned about others’ safety isn’t exactly new for Daiyousei.”

“She seemed to think it was justified with you in particular, though.” you note, glancing up at Yuuka, whose grin falters- just for a split second, but that’s long enough to notice. “What’s happened between you two in the past?”

“Ah, now that…would be telling, and exceeding our little time limit to boot.” Yuuka deflects quickly. You raise a questioning eyebrow, but nod, accepting that as Yuuka continues. “I’d suggest you direct any questions about me and Daiyousei to the girl herself, if you think them pressing enough. But in the meantime, I have my own questions about the two of you.”

Seems reasonable enough. “All right, what are those then?”

“Well, my queries themselves are rather simple, although your answers to them may not be. By all appearances, Daiyousei seems to care about you- do you like her, as well?”

“Um…” Do you like me? Star’s words echo in your mind. Yes, thank you, I was remembering that on my own. Just thought you could use the hint… “What do you mean by ‘like’, exactly, because there was this thing earlier-“

“Ah, so you’re not quite as innocent as you appear, if you’re thinking to ask that? Who exposed you to that meaning of the word?” Yuuka eyes you speculatively, before shaking her head. “But I’m getting sidetracked. I meant how do you view her as a friend, assuming you do in the first place?”

“Oh.” That’s an altogether less confusing question, in that case.

You trawl back through your memories of the day’s events- it has been a full one so far, hasn’t it? Day’s still young. Relatively. It’s the mid-afternoon…
You recall Dai lending you her clothes and aiding you in using them, chatting with and helping advise you on Juniper’s issues, coming to your defense in this situation, and sticking up for you and the others in that conversation with Letty.

“Yes, I like her. She’s been kind and helpful to me so far, maybe more so than any of the others I’ve met.” Well, actually most everyone has acted like that towards you, but their behavior had generally been more broken up by fits of violence, sarcasm, or just outright confusing behavior.

“Indeed, I’d think it’s practically second nature to her at this point. An effective enough way to complement Cirno’s own personality, and it’s understandable that you would enjoy her friendship as well. However… Do you trust her?”

“Well, I-“ …Huh, that’s not quite as simple to answer as you’d expected. Dai’s exhibited her fair share of confusing behavior as well, come to think of it, and in markedly more worrying ways than the others. From the first moment you and she met, in fact, and continuing to that almost-breakdown she had, which everyone else saw fit to ignore afterwards. It also disturbed you how aggressively she was acting towards Yuuka just now, in stark contrast to her usual demeanor.

And perhaps most tellingly, there’s the fact that she had to have that conversation with Letty at all.

“…No. I’d like to say that I could, but…I don’t trust her, not entirely at least.” you say slowly.

Yuuka smiles and nods, clapping her hands lightly together. “And that is wise of you to realize. I doubt that any who have come to know the girl, save perhaps for Cirno, trust her fully. Especially not Daiyousei herself, but that’s another complicated subject.”

“…All right.” That’s a more reasonable-sounding response you expected, given the animosity Dai and Yuuka seem to share, but definitely something to think on. “So, is that it then, or…?”

“No, we’re not quite done yet,” Yuuka says, placing a hand on your shoulder. “I noticed that you never introduced yourself to me, which didn’t strike me as especially odd until I realized that Daiyousei also never addressed you by your name. So, if you’ll excuse me for prying…”

“I don’t know what my name is, and so neither do my friends,” you reply, shrugging. “I’ve just been going without a name for the time being.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that, is there?

“Well, that certainly won’t do, now will it?” Yuuka’s eyes unfocus slightly, acquiring a far-off gaze. “I think…ah, yes, that should do nicely…that you shall be called Hebe.”

“He…be?” You sound out the word, seemingly comprised simply of the two smaller ones. “Why that?”

“It’s what another old acquaintance of mine was called, back when I lived in a distant land.” Yuuka responds, smiling nostalgically. “And I think it suits you.”

Oh come on, names can’t be given as simply as that, even by ones such as Kazami. “Well, I appreciate the thought, but I don’t think I really need-“

“Hebe,” Yuuka’s gaze hardens. “Do remember my first piece of advice, would you?”

…Yes, that’s a good point. “Hebe it is.” You pause. “…You can’t read my mind, can you? How did you know-”

“That was a guess, dear, if one that I’m not especially surprised to have confirmed.” Yuuka hums disquietedly, a vaguely displeased look on her face, before brightening up. “Oh, well, I’m confident that you’ll be able to overcome it.”

“Now, time is ticking on-“ Yuuka pulls a shining pink pocketwatch out of the air, scrutinizing it for a moment before stowing it into- er- somewhere, and continuing. “So, I believe I’ll take my leave for now.”

“Ah- oh, all right.” That’s a rather sudden turnaround, but not entirely unexpected coming from this woman. “Will I see you again?”

“I did say ‘for now’, didn’t I?” Yuuka giggles. “You can’t be rid of me that easily, and I do expect to see you tomorrow at the vampire’s gathering.”

“You’re going to that?” You frown, remembering. “Meiling didn’t mention you as one of the people that were invited…”

“Yes, I will have to take that up with little miss Scarlet,” Yuuka drawls. “In truth, I hadn’t been planning to attend, but now I have a…feeling that it’s going to be the first stage of the coming event, and I simply couldn’t miss that.

“But I simply must be going, now. Adieu, Hebe~” Yuuka steps away, blowing you a kiss. She raises her parasol above her head, twirling it. A swirling cloud of flower petals rises up around her, and the next moment she’s gone.

“Yuuka, I really need to get back to- oh, she’s gone.” Dai flies up to you, perking up as she sees you’re alone. “Ready to go?”

“Yeah, let’s.” The two of you take off, flying up until you can catch sight of the – wow, you flew a long way from the mansion. “You sound pretty relieved that Yuuka left- and you reacted pretty violently to seeing her, too. Why’s that?”

“Yuuka and I have a bit of a…history.” Dai says grimly. “We don’t get along well, as you might have noticed.”

“What do you consider not getting along well?” you ask. “Like, it seemed like you were both trying to make the other mad, but you also seemed ready to attack each other, but on the other hand that doesn’t usually mean much…”

“Hundred-plus murders or attempted murders, repeated attempts to hurt the other as badly as possible when lethal force seemed impractical, generally being a blight on one another’s lives.” Dai rattles off, grimacing.

“…Oh.” And from how she phrased that, it sounds like Dai wasn’t so much an innocent victim as an active participant. You’re not quite sure what to make of that, even if it does seem worryingly fitting with how she was acting towards Yuuka.

“Yes.” Dai sighs. “I don’t really want to talk about it. But, hey, at least she’s gone now, right?” She smiles at you.

“Well, yeah…” you admit. “But she also said she’d see me tomorrow at the party, so there’s that.” Dai’s smile withers and dies, and she groans.

“Oh, that’s just freaking perfect. Can’t just stay in her gardens like, oh, any other day, has to come to the party too. Wonderful. Why’d she even have to keep you there longer if she was planning to talk again tomorrow She knew I couldn’t afford to stay there for long, she was outright taunting me about it! Argh…”

You stay silent, thinking now probably isn’t the time to mention that you’d been looking forward to seeing Yuuka again. Brilliant deduction there.

“Ugh, and I thought fetching you would just take a minute of being away in the first place…so much for that.” Dai shakes her head.

“Uh, sorry about that.” you say sheepishly. “But you do realize that I didn’t exactly plan to get caught by-”

“Don’t worry, I know it’s not your fault,” Dai mutters. “It’s Yuuka’s. Yuuka’s and mi-” She stops herself.

“…Meiling’s?” You fill in speculatively. Seems like Dai doesn’t want to speak badly of her friend, even if she did hit you really hard. Aaand you’re back to being an idiot. Well, more of an idiot.

“Um…sure, yes. Meiling’s. Anyway…” Dai adds quickly, not to mention a bit awkwardly. “Why did she want that last couple minutes with you, then?”

“Well, she…” You hesitate, unsure of whether mentioning this is a good idea. No, it’s almost certainly a bad idea, but- you have to clear the air about this sometime, don’t you? You’ve seen how unstable this girl is, do you really think it’s wise to do this? Probably not, but you being against the prospect is the little bit of added motivation I needed, so thanks. Wha- that’s ridiculous! What have I actually done so far to make you so distrustful, it’s-

“Yuuka asked me whether I trust you or not,” you say over the frustrated mental voice, watching closely as Dai stiffens up slightly. “…And I said no, I don’t. I like you, Dai, but way too much of your behavior’s been suspicious, and I can’t ignore that.”

A mix of emotions play across Dai’s face as you speak, but as you finish her expression falls into reluctant acceptance. “…Well, I can’t say I blame you. The way I’ve been acting around you all hasn’t exactly screamed forthcoming or trustworthy, has it?” She hesitates, twirling a strand of hair around her finger. “Not to mention- you overheard me and Letty, didn’t you?”

So she did pick up on your hint. “I did, yeah, and that’s why I’m intentionally not bringing this up around her. I don’t want to get even more on her bad side considering what she was advocating for us.”

“Letty was just running through ideas, I don’t think she’d actually hurt any of you.” The doubt visible in Dai’s eyes makes you less than certain about this. “And even if she tried, I wouldn’t let her.”

“I heard you tell her that, and I’m grateful, but…” You sigh. “You’ve still been acting really strangely, Dai, and I want to know what the reason for that is.”

There’s a long moment of tension as Dai considers this, before heaving a weighty sigh. “…And I guess you deserve to know, too. But I can’t tell you now, there’s not enough time for it, and I wouldn’t be able to make things sound remotely trustworthy or understandable. I’ll tell you- have you mentioned this to any of the others?”

“No, but I’m considering it,” you admit.

“Please don’t, then, at least for now,” Dai begs. “The fact that you were willing to come to me about this indicates that you’re trying to be reasonable about it, and I’m not so confident that the others would be. I’ll tell you what you want to know later, but for now can you keep this quiet?”

“…I guess so.” Well, you practically have to say that, but you think you will for now. It’s still possible that you’ll change your mind, though.

“Thank you,” Dai murmurs, a measure of relief showing itself on her strained face.

The two of you fly in silence for a few moments; you think it’s a more peaceable silence this time, though, your worries having been somewhat alleviated.

“…Oh,” you say, an afterthought striking you. “Yuuka decided to give me a name, too.” Dai looks at you in surprise.

“She gave you a name? Huh, that’s…weird.” Dai chews her lip. “What was it?”

“Hebe. She said it suits me, for whatever reason. Sound familiar at all?” you ask.

“Can’t say it does, no; that’s probably something which makes sense to Yuuka and her alone. Sounds nice enough, at least, if a little outlandish.” Dai remarks.

“Why’s it weird that she named me?” you say.

“Well, it seems…right. Fitting. All fairies are born knowing their names, so the fact that you didn’t kind of made you an anomaly. And she fixed that…what would she have to gain from doing that?” Dai wonders aloud.

“…So, basically you’re saying it’s unbelievably strange for Yuuka to do something right or helpful,” you say flatly, raising an eyebrow. Dai sighs, nodding.

“That probably sounds strange, and I admit that I might be more than a little biased, but yes, as a matter of fact it is. Yuuka’s more likely to help someone off a cliff than give them a helping hand, if she thinks it’d be funny at least.” A mischievous smile worms itself onto Dai’s face. “Sorry if I’ve been ruining any fantasies about your crush.”

“Wha- she’s not my crush!” you protest, feeling your face heat up.

“Oh come on, you were really blatantly into that kiss; heavy breathing, sensual moans, deep blushing, the works.” Dai teases, the hint of a blush showing on her own face as well. “I feel sorry for poor Star, having you stolen away by Yuuka Kazami of all people, though not as sorry as I feel for you…”

“I was really into the kiss because she was really good at kissing,” you defend yourself. “…From what I could tell, at least, not like I have anything to compare it with. And even if I’m sort of thinking of her as a friend, Yuuka does still creep me out too much for anything like…that. As for Star…” You trail off, suddenly uncertain. Dai gives you a regretful glance.

“Mentioning Star was out of line, sorry. And I wasn’t serious about the crush accusation. Not entirely, anyway. Still,” Dai muses, “first Star, now you…very odd for fairies to grow enough to be interested in this kind of thing.”

“Um, yeah. Odd. Anyway, I don’t actually get why the name thing counts as helping me out,” you say, shifting away from uncomfortable subjects. “What’s so special about a name?”

“It’s…kind of hard to explain, really, and maybe it’s not quite as big a deal as I’m making it.” Dai hestitates, before nodding firmly and pressing ahead. “But a fairy’s name –anyone’s name, really- is a large part of forming their identity. Gives us something to define ourselves by, distinguish ourselves from everyone else – or provide a link making us similar, depending. Cirno’s the one who named me Daiyousei, in case you’d wondered; I had another name beforehand, but it meant little compared to the one she gave me.”

“So…by naming me, do you think Yuuka’s trying to establish the same kind of relationship you and Cirno have?” you ask, half-jokingly.

Dai shudders visibly. “Gods, I hope not.” A voice, indistinct from the distance, sounds out, and Dai perks up as you catch sight of a growing blue dot heading towards you.

“And, speak of the little devil,” you drawl.

“Huh, what?” Dai looks at you, eyebrows raised, before she shakes her head, tapping herself on the forehead. “Right, Cirno, I thought you were talking about someone else we know.” She frowns. “How’d you know that expression, anyw-uff!”

You duck to the side, as for the second time that day Cirno greets Dai via a high-speed ramming, grabbing her in a hug. Guess it’s how she meets this place’s standard of meeting people with violence.

“There ya are! I was really starting to wonder where you’d gone once I beat Meiling and you still weren’t back, like maybe that you’d gotten in a duel with some youkai that found and ate her-”

“Well, that practically happened, in a manner of speaking…” Dai mutters as an aside to you.

“Or maybe you’d run into Reimu when she was in Incident Mode and gotten shot down from that, or maybe you’d just run into Rumia or Mysty or Wriggle or Letty or someone and gotten sidetracked from-” Cirno’s laying out of her ideas is interrupted by a series of violent, hacking coughs, the force of which breaks her grip on Dai’s stomach and doubles Cirno over.

“Cirno? Cirno?” Dai backs away a few feet, staring anxiously at Cirno’s bent and coughing form.

A pale blue glow, just for an instant, suffuses Cirno’s body and the next moment she’s upright and smiling again. “I’m good- so yeah, I was coming up with hyposythis-es like that, but now you’re back so I guess that proves about half of them wrong, but that’s okay.”

Light flashes in your eyes. Abruptly, the cold feeling filling your body –which you hadn’t been actively noticing, oddly enough- drains away, only to be immediately replaced with a slightly less familiar chill. That’d be Cirno’s, I guess-

Your mental ruminations are interrupted by a-sigh? Ahh… There we go, it’s about time.
What’s wrong with you?
You hadn’t noticed? Well, I guess that speaks well about how successful I’ve been, then, but…
Noticed what?
The green-haired one. Since she showed up, she’s been constantly barraging us with some kind of weak energy attack. Wasn’t hard to defend against to start with, but concentrating for a while takes its toll, not to mention that I think it started getting stronger.

…Attack? You stare at Dai, now contentedly listening to Cirno about the final outcome of her fight. She was attacking you? You don’t think you want to believe that she’d go that far, but your suspicions about her are hitting uncomfortably close to home right about now…

Why that treacherous little bitch.
Again, well done with the hypocrisy, but yes. It’s stopped now, though, I guess she didn’t want to catch her friend in it or have her notice. Something like that. Now, what’s this about a name?

The voices quiet down- or something akin to it, given that they’re not actually producing sound, but the end result is a quiet buzzing in the back of your mind. Mildly annoying, but minor enough that you turn your focus to the end of Cirno’s story.

“…so once I‘d managed to freeze her legs to the ground, she wasn’t any match for my finishing move, and I finally managed to take her down!“ Cirno grins proudly, but her smile sags as a realization seems to strike.

“…And I guess she’s still stuck to the ground, actually. I should prob’ly fix that, hang on-“ Cirno snaps her fingers, and a scream echoes over from the gate. Cirno winces. “Crap, forgot about the shards. I really need to work on that part. Uh, but she’ll heal fast enough, right?”

“Well, yes, but you still might want to go-“ Dai starts.

“Apologize? Yeah, yeah, I will, hang on.“ Cirno about-faces quickly, zooming back towards the gate. Augh, not again.

Watching her go, Dai smiles. “…Well, at least she’s learning. Come on, we should let Meiling know that she didn’t accidentally tenderize you before we head in.” She accelerates forward to follow Cirno, and you do the same.

The two of you drop down to the gate, to find Meiling rubbing her legs while Cirno flutters overhead. …Huh.

“…no, really Cirno it’s all right, I know it was an accident. Hmm?” Meiling looks up as you and Dai fall into place besides Cirno. “Oh good, you found her then Daiyousei? I’m really sorry about that…” she addresses you, one hand going to the back of her head. “I was trying to take things a bit more seriously, but I should have known better than to use that spell on you. I suppose I was getting a bit caught up in the heat of battle, but that’s no excuse for a martial artist of my experience.”

“…Well, it still hurt a lot, but I guess I forgive you,” you say, perhaps a bit grudgingly. “I did make the decision to join in the match after all, shouldn’t get too upset if it didn’t go the way I wanted.”

Meiling looks relieved. “Thank you for being so gracious. I’d offer you some tea inside to make it up to you, but I’m still on duty, not to mention that I’d have some trouble moving right now…” Cirno squirms guiltily beside you.

“That’s nice of you, Meiling, but we should really go meet Sakuya already,” Dai says, glancing at you and Cirno.

You nod in agreement. “Where can we find her?”

“Oh, you can just head on in and you should find her,” Meiling says. “There’s a ward Miss Patchouli set on the front door, set to alert her when it opens, so Miss Sakuya will be along any moment.”

“Great, thanks Meiling. We’ll stop by and see ya later.” Cirno says, and the three of you fly off over the gate. You pass through a large courtyard, skimming over an impressive-looking garden ah, I haven’t seen some of these in ages but ignoring it, quickly reaching the mansion’s front door. Cirno pulls the large double doors open effortlessly, and you file inside.

“So, where’s this ‘Miss Sakuya’, then?” you wonder aloud, scanning the empty entrance hall.

The breath catches in your throat as unexpectedly, a young silver-haired woman is there in front of you. She’s quite pretty, dressed in a dark blue maid’s outfit that shows off her figure wait, since when are you noticing things like that?, but detracting from this somewhat is the fact that she is idly twirling a steel-gray knife in one hand while she surveys you.

“Did you fight your way past Meiling again? Really, that girl has to learn to stop going easy on pests…”

She shakes her head, silver locks swinging back and forth. “I’d really rather not have to deal with intruders right now, but I shall if it’s necessary.” She brandishes the knife at the three of you. “If you have any business here, state it, if not leave or prepare to be thrown out.”

How do you introduce yourself?
[ ] “I’m Hebe, and Meiling said I should find you to get a job here. They’re with me.”
[ ] “Heard you could use some extra hands? I’m Hebe, Cirno and Dai are my friends.”
[ ] “I was bored, so my friends suggested that I get a job here and brought me along.”
[ ] (Write-in)

And, assuming that this goes as expected:
[ ] Plan to go off and find your other friends, then you can see about doing work.
[ ] Plan to go off and find the others, unless the job she assigns you seems really important.
[ ] Plan to get the job done first, then you can catch up to the others.
[ ] (Write-in)
>> No. 54231
Hit the character limit, woo.

Writing kiss scenes is really goddamn hard due to being limited in how much can realistically happen in one kiss, and I apologize if this one was unbearable to read. It was for me, at least.

Second choice thrown in because I didn’t want the next update to be really short just to fit it.

>>54197
>Because, even though you prepare for the worst, you're still foolishly optimistic in other ways?
Yep, that sounds about right. I’m cynical enough to avoid disappointment in everything except my own laziness. Some good thoughts in the rest of your post too.

>Fairy will never get a name of her very own ;_;
Yeah, that made me feel even worse about delaying the update. Ah well, making me feel guilty about slowness is decent enough motivation.

Question for anyone: does the fact that I’m producing walls for updates (by most current stories’ standards, at least) do anything at all to make up for the delays? I'll be going back to (relatively) shorter ones after this to at least try and increase my updating speed, but I'm interested in knowing what you all think.
>> No. 54232
[ ] “I’m Hebe, and Meiling said I should find you to get a job here. They’re with me.”

[ ] Plan to go off and find the others, unless the job she assigns you seems really important.

Interesting name Yuuka gave us, but it sort of makes sense.

I'm fine with you making up for delays with more content.
>> No. 54233
[ ] “I’m Hebe, and Meiling said I should find you to get a job here. They’re with me.”
[ ] Plan to go off and find the others, unless the job she assigns you seems really important.
[ ] Plan to get the job done first, then you can catch up to the others.

>>54231

I'm fine with either. Though long updates usually start needing more and more time, until they simply stop.
>> No. 54234
Walls definitely make up for relatively slow update speed. I don't mind either way, and you should feel guilty about the broken promises, not the speed, which is fine.
>Dai likes to watch
Yesss. I liked the scene as well, even if you found it a pain to write.
>Hebe
One google later... goddess of youth, huh? She's also associated with forgiveness and pardons.. sounds like someone Yuuka would get along with; she has done an awful lot of things that need pardoning. I'm going to pretend Yuuka is somehow responsible for Hebe getting a flower named after her, cause that's neat. Feels good to finally have a proper name to toss around.
>hebephilia
Heh. Unintentional association, I'm sure.
>Mokou and Kaguya not having a monopoly on murder-feuds
Awesome.
>Wha- that’s ridiculous! What have I actually done so far to make you so distrustful, it’s-
Hebe wouldn't remember what she's done, would she? Italics wouldn't let us. ~paranoia~
>“I was really into the kiss because she was really good at kissing,”, Incident Mode
Hahaha.
>spoilers being absent
I was wondering why she was so quiet. She's too busy fending off Dai to speak.
>wait, since when are you noticing things like that?
I think italics is leaking. Hebe shouldn't be noticing that sort of thing after one kiss.

[x] “I’m Hebe, and Meiling said we should find you to get a job here. Cirno and Dai are my friends.”
[x] Plan to go off and find your other friends, then you can see about doing work.

I like the Meiling namedropping, but it seems too dismissive of Cirno and Dai for my tastes. They need jobs too. And we need to make sure the others do work too, or they'll be caught in short order.
>> No. 54235
[X] “I was bored, so my friends suggested that I get a job here and brought me along.”
[x] Plan to go off and find your other friends, then you can see about doing work.

I was against kissing Yuuka, and I'm against using the name she gave us.
>> No. 54236
[x] “I’m Hebe, and Meiling said I should find you to get a job here. They’re with me.”
[x] Plan to get the job done first, then you can catch up to the others.
She already knows we know Cirno, if she finds out we know the Three Fairies as well she'll probably get suspicious.
>>54231
I don't care just write more
I mean, uh
Either's great but smaller updates are probably easier to plan, while larger ones allow better flow (and fewer choices for us to mess up).
>> No. 54237
[x] “I’m Hebe, and Meiling said I should find you to get a job here. They’re with me.”
[x] Plan to go off and find the others, unless the job she assigns you seems really important.
>> No. 54238
I think Dai wasn't trying to attack us but rather it's the result of her power without Cirno to keep it in check.
>> No. 54239
>>54235
Why, to both? I can understand being against the kissing, but what's wrong with using the name?

>>54238
That seems pretty clear from Mokou's spoilers' reactions afterwards, yes. I really doubt that Dai would actually want to attack us, she wouldn't have enough motivation to do so. Hopefully.

>>54233
I don't think you can vote for two of the "plan" options.
>> No. 54240
[x] “I’m Hebe, and Meiling said we should find you to get a job here. Cirno and Dai are my friends.”
[x] Plan to go off and find your other friends, then you can see about doing work.

I'm not sure if I like all this exposition so quickly; we're still in thread 2.
>> No. 54241
Calling for:

[x] “I’m Hebe, and Meiling said I should find you to get a job here. They’re with me.”
[x] Plan to go off and find your other friends, then you can see about doing work.

Technically there might be a tie for the second choice, but since I can't tell what >>54233 intended, I can't count the latter part of their vote. Sorry. Additionally, the write-in will be taken into account.

>>54232
So at least the speed/content ratio seems well-liked enough, that's good.

>>54233
That does seem unfortunately likely, based on how long updates have been working for me.

>>54234
>you should feel guilty about the broken promises, not the speed, which is fine.
They're interrelated, but yes, I feel guilty about the false hopes and broken promises. I think I'm just going to outright stop making promises about timing for the forseeable future, it never works.

Glad to see all the ways you liked the update, too. I might actually make that flower-naming thing canon. Several good insights, as well.
>hebephilia
Well, given Yuuka's tastes Yes, that was unintentional. The other associations, however...

>>54236
>I don't care just write more
Seems to be the prevailing sentiment. Yessir.

>>54240
It is a bit infodump-y, isn't it? That's the majority of the exposition for the near future, though. I'd initially planned to introduce Yuuka later on and have her exposit then, but that ended up changing.

Oh, and don't worry, despite all the exposition so far there's still many, many things that you don't know.
>> No. 54245
Any news on the update?
>> No. 54257
File 134431310219.jpg - (559.49KB , 805x910 , just_give_me_a_second.jpg ) [iqdb]
54257
[x] “I’m Hebe, and Meiling said I should find you to get a job here. They’re with me.”
[x] Plan to go off and find your other friends, then you can see about doing work.

The head maid’s expression indicates to you that she’s going to be very no-nonsense about this issue, whether due to stress, prior experience, or just her intrinsic personality. Whatever the case, you suppose you’re the one who should appease Sakuya. Seems a better idea than leaving it to those two, yes.

You step forward, pushing past Cirno and quickly forestalling her attempts to speak. “Hello, miss Sakuya. I’m Hebe, and Meiling said I should find you to get a job here.” You glance back towards Cirno and Dai, the latter of which is shushing the mildly annoyed-looking former. “Um, they’re with me.”

“They’re with you? She’s with you?” Sakuya asks, raising one elegant eyebrow and nodding towards Cirno. The ice fairy looks distinctly more rankled now, actually: you suppose that comment of yours might have come off as a bit dismissive. Plus, you suppose the implication of Cirno being submissive to you like that would seem rather odd.

“Yes, Cirno and Dai are my friends. They had the idea of coming here in the first place, and suggested it to me.” You pause, noting that Sakuya looks a bit mollified, lowering the knife a fraction. “So, was Meiling right to direct us to you, or-”

The words catch in your throat, as it’s suddenly apparent that you’re speaking to an empty hallway. Your head swivels around quickly, but you can’t find any sign that she was there at all. Although, turning back towards Dai and Cirno, you can see that they don’t look concerned at all. “Where’d she go? Do either of you-”

“Very well, your story checks out,” Sakuya’s voice comes lazily from behind you, and you spin around with a yelp. How’d she do that? The faint smile on her face quickly wipes itself off yep, she’s messing with you, replaced with a neutral, businesslike expression. “Maybe you have managed to keep Cirno in line then, miss Hebe. Meiling confirmed that she’d given you permission to enter, after she’d convinced you to lend us your aid. Do any of you know how she got that limp, though?”

“N-no.” Cirno blurts out, a bit too quickly. Sakuya shoots her a withering look, but one that only lasts a moment before she shrugs.

“Well, it’s not really my business how Meiling spends her time while on duty. I suppose I could order her to stop her little training sessions, but she does seem to enjoy herself with you, and she did manage to stop Marisa from entering at least once even while preoccupied so.”

“Oh, yeah, that was fun.” Cirno says. “Marisa’d put some kind of spell on her broom to supercharge its speed, so it was a lot harder for us to chase her down, but we still managed.”

“Ah, you helped out with that?” Sakuya says, looking a bit taken aback. “I’d assumed that she just had to deal with two opponents at once.”

“Yeah, I don’t really have anything against Marisa, but Meiling asked me to lend a hand.” Cirno falls silent, thinking. “…And I think that was the day after she’d Sparked me from behind on her way to the caves, so there’s that.”

Sakuya nods. “Well, I suppose I can thank her for making you less of a nuisance, both then and now. I’ll have to remember that next time I’m assigning raises…But, regardless.” Sakuya flickers in and out of view, pulling three blue-and-white dresses from behind her back. She tosses one to each of you, and you fumble the catch for yours, quickly grabbing it up off the ground. Klutz. Shut up!

“For the moment, the only job I can think of which I couldn’t do far more efficiently myself is the dishes- running water’s so inconvenient- and there’s quite a lot of those to do before dinner, considering how many mouths we have to feed.” She pauses, absently tapping her chin with the flat of her knife. “…Even if you fairies don’t technically need to be fed, or eat at all, but that’s moot considering we do it anyway. Do you remember where the kitchen is?”

“Down the left hallway from here, two turns right then another left, bordering the dining hall,” Dai recites quickly.

Sakuya blinks, then nods approvingly. “Right, then, so you can change in the bathroom down this hall, and I’ll leave that job to the three of you. Hebe, Cirno, and- er…”

“Daiyousei.”

“Yes, that was it; I’m sorry, that was unprofessional of me. Now, I have a thousand and one things to do before tomorrow’s event, so farewell-” And she’s gone again, last words echoing in the hall.

“…That’s going to be hard to get used to,” you mutter.

“It’s what everyone goes through when they first talk to Sakuya,” Dai says reassuringly. “Her time manipulation’s something you learn to deal with pretty quickly when working here, don’t worry.”

“Speaking of first talking to Sakuya…I coulda done that too, you know,” Cirno grumbles.

“Well, she didn’t seem to like you much,” you defend yourself. “And you did say earlier that she’d probably be suspicious of you coming to work here, right?”

“Well yeah, I guess, but…meh.” Cirno crosses her arms. “I just don’t think I like you acting like you’re in charge, and even Sakuya assuming it. What, does suddenly remembering your name make you the boss of us?”

“If it helps us reach our goals, what’s wrong with me being in charge?” you ask, a bit annoyed. “Look, just because you want to be the alpha fairy, doesn’t mean you’re the best for the role.”

“Who says you’re any better, then?” Cirno counters. “You barely know anything or anyone, that doesn’t exactly make you a great-”

“Guys, this arguing isn’t getting us anywhere.” Dai asserts with a frown, quieting you both. “We’re inside, we’ve gotten our alibi for being here, and we haven’t made anyone suspicious. Right?”

You nod, albeit a bit reluctantly, and Cirno does the same.

“Right, so let’s just keep going, get done what we had planned, and avoid fighting with each other.” Dai continues. “Okay?”

“…All right.” you mutter.
“Fine,” Cirno says, though not without sticking her tongue out at you as Dai turns away.

“Okay, so let’s change into these,” Dai says, giving her maid dress a shake. “If we’re going to be fitting in here, we need to look the part.” She hovers down the hallway towards the door Sakuya indicated, you and Cirno following.

The door swings open, and the three of you enter a large, nearly overwhelmingly white room. Dai drops her new outfit on the edge of a lustrous bowl-shaped structure, swiftly reaching around her back to undo her dress’s buttons.

Following her lead, you copy Dai’s movements, or at least attempt to before running into some difficulties. Your fingers slip over the brass circles on your back, and you grimace.

“Ya need some help, there?” a snickering Cirno asks, having already slipped out of her own dress.

You fumble at the buttons for a few more seconds before admitting defeat. “Fine, yes. Can you help me out, then?”

“Eh, I guess.” Cirno steps over to you, pushing your hands out of the way. You feel no chill this time Ha! Got it!, nor any particular sensation barring a light flow of air over your exposed back.

“There we go.” Cirno’s hands leave your back, and she steps away from you. “I really don’t get how you can’t handle things this simple, though.”

“Um. Yeah.” you mutter, paying little attention to Cirno’s words. Your eyes are drawn to the sight of Dai disrobing in front of you, stepping out of her dress and exposing her pale skin and sizable curves to your gaze. Her undergarments are made of a thin-looking green material, practically translucent and teasingly revealing, and as she bends over to pick up the replacement apparel your hand begins reaching out toOkay, seriously. Stop that.

You pause, dropping your hand to your side. I- um, oops. Too blatant?...
No, not you, I meant her. …But you should definitely stop too, yes.
I, er, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

The inclination to stare is gone, suddenly, and you reorient yourself with a shake of the head, followed by shrugging your dress up and over it. This successfully results in blocking your line of sight to anyone’s unclothed bodies. You breathe a small sigh of disappointment, though you’re unsure if it’s really yours.

Don’t play innocent, you were making her look, practically leer at that girl, and the other too. And I can feel those urges you’ve been pushing her to, as well…

“Uh….so, I’ve been thinking,” you say, clearing your throat. The voices have quieted again as they stopped addressing you, and you think conversation should be an effective distraction from a moment ago’s thoughts. “It seems to me like we should locate the others before we start getting caught up in work.”

Given how much you yourself have been influencing her lately, I have to do something to get my own back.

“I’d be fine with that,” Cirno quickly agrees, surprising you. “Putting off anything as boring as dishes sounds good to me, hopefully once we find them we can make ‘em help us out.”

“That should be possible, yeah,” you affirm while reaching for your new outfit, frowning as a thought strikes you. “Um, even if it’s boring, this isn’t an especially important job we have, is it?”

And besides, it will help her in the long run, even you should know that.

“Not technically, no, but it still doesn’t seem something we should ignore,” Dai says, pulling her dress up. “Sakuya implied that it would at least be a chore to do them herself, and I’d really rather not start things off here by getting on her bad side.”

The “long run” doesn’t apply to her, she’s a fairy! They don’t develop past this point!

“Eh, Sakuya can suck on her knives for all I care,” Cirno mutters. “It’s not like we have any reason to be afraid of getting on her bad side- what’s the worst she could do?”

“Well, she can manipulate the mansion’s space and time, so theoretically she could drop you in the basement with the vampire’s sister.” Dai says flatly.

Oh? Then explain the changes in that friend of hers.

Cirno flinches at that. “…Okay, technically that’s a reason to be afraid of the sister, which everyone is so it doesn’t count. But fine, I guess we should avoid anything happening like last time.”

“Mhm. More realistically, though, she could easily decide to kick us out of the mansion if we’re not doing our jobs well.” Dai pauses, eyes flicking back and forth as she contemplates that. “…might…possibilities…” she mumbles, mostly inaudible.

“Sakuya could easily do that to them too, though. They don’t even have an alibi for what they’re supposed to be doing.” you argue. “And they’re already probably searching for the artifact on their own, which…seems like it could lead to some screw-ups, honestly.”

How should I be able to- ohhh.

“Well, not necessarily, they might-“ Dai says half-heartedly, before grimacing and nodding. “Yes, I guess those four together right now are a disaster waiting to happen. Let’s find them.”

…I admit, that’s a rather clever way to take advantage of our situation. Still, when all’s said and done, there will have been little point. Not to mention…two can play at that game.

“Plan of action check, disguises check.” Cirno says, looking around to you and Dai. “And they don’t look half bad, too. Fit well, very snug.”

“Yes, they are.” Dai says, smoothing down the outer white layer of her dress. “…Surprisingly so, actually. Did Sakuya get our measurements?”

You take a moment to properly take in your new appearances. While your previous clothes consisted of primarily blue cloth and white trim, the maid outfits are the reverse, with three frilly white headdresses adding to the ensemble. Cirno and Dai keep their ribbons, adding splashes of color to personalize their outfits. You don’t have anything like that to distinguish yourself, though.

“Where are we going to put these, though?” you say, gesturing to the three discarded dresses. “Can we just leave them here on the floor, or-“

“Got it covered.” Dai grabs the clothes, opening a small pair of wooden doors in a box-like structure on the wall, and tosses them in. “We can retrieve our normal clothes from here when we’re ready to leave tomorrow. I think we’re ready to go look for them now, though.”

“Okay, sounds good.” You step out the door, moving a few feet into the hallway, then stop.

“…Of course, that would be easier if I had any idea where they were.” you mutter, slapping a hand to your forehead. “I don’t suppose either of you…?”

“No, they didn’t mention anything to us either.” Cirno says as she steps out the door behind you. “…Maybe this isn’t such a great idea.”

“Oh, but how hard can it be, really, to find four potentially invisible and inaudible fairies, in an enormous multi-floored building, with all of us constantly on the move?” Dai remarks, rolling her eyes, before letting out a sigh. “But we should at least make an attempt to find them before they do anything stupid. “

“Okay, but how? Especially assuming they’ve been hiding themselves, we have no- what are you doing?” you ask Cirno, noticing that she’s been muttering under her breath, alternating points down the left and right of the hallway.

“…if he hollers, eat his toe, eeny meeny miny moe- wha? Oh, it’s a rhyme Rumia taught me for situations like this. So, left it is!” Cirno launches off down the hall.

“Eat whose what? Hey! Cirno!” you call after the ice fairy, you and Dai flying to catch up. With her lack of response, you shake your head, turning to the rather stressed-looking girl by your side. “How did she even decide this?”

“More or less randomly, the rhyme’s result is determined by which way she pointed first. Yes, I know,” Dai smirks at the chagrined expression you’re certain has formed, “but it’s not like we really have any better options at this point, do we?”

“I guess not…” you admit grudgingly, continuing in Cirno’s wake and passing down the hallway with no sign of your friends, only a couple of unfamiliar maids quickly passed by.

You fly forward to the hall’s end, where Cirno turns another seemingly arbitrary direction into another hallway branch, repeating the process again.

And again.

And again.

“You know, just because we have a lack of better options doesn’t mean that this is a good one,” you pant to Dai. Your wings are starting to ache, you can only assume from the high-speed flying.

“Did I ever say it was?” she responds wryly. Oh come on, how is she not even breathing hard? “By all means, let’s mention that to Cirno, it should have dawned on her by this point.”

With another burst of speed, you bridge the few feet gap between yourselves and Cirno, grabbing her by the arm and slowing yourself down. A chill flows from your shoulder to hand, and Cirno screeches to a halt.

“Cirno, this really isn’t working.” you say, letting her go and dropping to the floor to rest your wings and lungs.

“I agree with Hebe, sorry.” Dai says. “While we’re covering ground quickly, it’s not actually all that much given the sheer size of this place. We could be at this for hours.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.” Cirno nods, frowning. “Any better ideas?”

“Why not -haa- ask someone if they’ve seen or talked to the others?” you suggest.

“Mightn’t that make us seem suspicious? Well, no, I suppose there’s plenty of legitimate reasons we could be looking for some other maids.” Dai allows.

“Do you wanna just pick some random girl or what?” Cirno asks.

“Random choice’s steering us so well thus far, why move away from that?” you mutter sardonically, looking around.

You seem to have stopped at what amounts to a hallway crossroads, and observe three strangers who you might ask for aid. Straight ahead, there’s the only maid you’ve seen thus far to be wearing a unique hat, a white one with red stitching and a matching bow. Dai is looking at her oddly, wearing a somewhat surprised but not displeased expression.

To your left, there’s a frowning maid with deep red hair flitting down the hallway towards you, opening the doors of each room she passes and looking inside before closing them with a huff.

On your right, there’s a young woman walking away from you with nearly identical hair, albeit much different in all other respects- she has two pairs of bat wings (what?) on her head and shoulders, is wearing a black and white short dress, and looks a great deal more physically mature.

You could conceivably ask any of these girls to try and help you locate your friends, but which to choose?
---------------------------
[ ] Try talking to:
-[ ] The blonde girl with the hat- Dai seems to recognize her, at least.
-[ ] The redhead who seems to be searching for someone herself: coincidences happen, right?
-[ ] The redheaded non-fairy, with the bat wings on her head and shoulders. You guess she’s a resident here, she might know more than just the workers.
[ ] No, you don’t like the looks of any of them, just keep going with your current method- blind luck has to pay off eventually, right?
[ ] (Write-in.)
----------------------------------------------------
Going to call this one a bit faster than normal, FYI.
>> No. 54260
Unreasonably long comment time.

>Cirno taking offense
At least it'll be easy to make it up to her. Hopefully. Her grudges are the stuff games are made of.
>italics leaking
I'd be lying if I said I didn't appreciate this. But it's Bad and Wrong and she should stop. I'm kinda curious how spoilers has been leaking. She seems to like disregarding friends, or maybe being assertive/leading, I guess? That would fit a loner-type. Such as Mokou.

I'm not happy that they're influencing fairy, but I like their results. Guess I should suck it up and embrace the corruption.
>How should I be able to- ohhh.
Voices making connections we can't is getting old. Is she implying that Dai also has or had a head-voice? It must be has, since her power strengthening. Dai's hypothetical headvoice seems like a pretty cool chap, all into making her all sensible and cool.
>“Oh, but how hard can it be, really, to find four potentially invisible and inaudible fairies
What. Did anyone think this plan through? I sure didn't.

[x] Try talking to:
-[x] The redhead who seems to be searching for someone herself: coincidences happen, right?

Hi Lily, hi Koa. I don't really care what we pick here.
>> No. 54261
[x] Try talking to:
-[x] The redheaded non-fairy, with the bat wings on her head and shoulders. You guess she’s a resident here, she might know more than just the workers.
Because I just HAVE to see how you write her.
>> No. 54262
[x] Try talking to:
-[x] The redheaded non-fairy, with the bat wings on her head and shoulders. You guess she’s a resident here, she might know more than just the workers.
Because I just HAVE to see how you write her.
>> No. 54265
Why am I suddenly getting the feeling italics is Koishi? And why does it seem amazingly silly that I'm getting that feeling?

[x] Try talking to:
-[x] The redheaded non-fairy, with the bat wings on her head and shoulders. You guess she’s a resident here, she might know more than just the workers.

Nothing can go wrong here!
>> No. 54266
[X] Try talking to:
-[X] The blonde girl with the hat- Dai seems to recognize her, at least.

Tide, pissing, etc. Hear me out.
While I would want to talk to Koa as well, we're most likely to be able to find her on her own later, since she canonically(ish) works in the library.

Plus, Lily seems more like a potential party member. And not only does Dai apparently know her, but Yuuka mentioned knowing her too.

>>54260
You picked the one that seems to be neither Koa nor Lily, but whatever.

Dai having a headvoice is a pretty intriguing idea, no lie. I was probably interpreting that line the wrong way, then, because I assumed it meant Star as the one who'd changed (see also: Dai and Luna's comments about her).
>> No. 54267
-[x] The blonde girl with the hat- Dai seems to recognize her, at least.
>> No. 54270
[X] Try talking to:
-[X] The blonde girl with the hat- Dai seems to recognize her, at least.

Someone our group already seems to have a connection with seems the wiser choice.
>> No. 54272
[ ] Try talking to:
-[ ] The blonde girl with the hat- Dai seems to recognize her, at least.
>> No. 54273
I'm liking italics even more now.

[x] Talk to the blonde girl.
>> No. 54274
Vote called for talking with the spring fairy. Sorry, Koa fans, but you'll still have the option to interact with her later (>>54266 was right in this regard). The other girl too, but nobody actually cares about her, right?

>>54260
Nothing unreasonably long about this.
>Voices making connections we can't is getting old.
Sorry, but you should be getting more enlightened relatively soon. Well, depending on choices.
>What. Did anyone think this plan through?
Something to keep in mind (which I think I've touched on, but maybe not too explicitly): generally speaking, a fairy using their powers tires them out, with longer periods of use meaning more fatigue. Staying permanently undetectable wouldn't be viable.

>>54261
You still will, see above. >>54262, it's generally good practice to avoid copy/pasting people's comments and just do so with their votes.

>>54265
I think someone theorized this in the last thread.

>>54266
You'll see.
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