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File 147246898765.jpg - (109.52KB, 850x680, hello.jpg) [iqdb]
1971
Annor walked down the stairs of the granite-gray polished shrine. The downward steps were a long and toiling path, crumbling underneath the man's feet. Years of negligence had ground the paved stone to little more than a rubbled slope.

Strange, the man mused, the steps are so weathered for such a quaint shrine.

He quickened his pace, praying he would make it to the forest before the rain fell. The woods would not give much cover, but they were certainly better than the alternative.

His wishes did nothing to stop the downpour. His shoulders, however, remained decidedly dry.

“Evening, mister.” A young girl who could have been no older than twenty-five twirled her purple parasol in the rain. Her teal hair was reminiscent of the noon sky on a clear day, her azure eyes even more so. “You shouldn't be out here so late in the day. A youkai might come and eat you up, no?”

“I should say the same to you. I've passed through this road far more than you'd know.” Curious was Annor, looking into the deep maroon eyes of the young girl. Or were they crimson?

“You're right. However...” The girl giggled, delighted by no fathomable cause. “You have only the clothes on your back. I have an umbrella.”

“Even if you had no such thing, I wouldn't mind.” The man stared off into the forest. Shadows loomed precariously behind the woods. “The youkai here are dangerous. I'd feel better in a company of two.”

She stared with her piercing cerulean-colored eyes. Or were they turquoise? “Be honest. Your sweet talk is to keep your clothes dry. Am I wrong?”

“I am going to the village. And if you care to follow,” replied Annor, “then I'll gratefully take shelter under your umbrella.”

“So I'll follow.” She looked to the clouds. “In this weather, I don't have much else to entertain me, you see?”

“I'm thankful,”
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A nice and sweet short. Shorts like this have a cozy feel to them.
File 147255191170.jpg - (1.90MB, 2148x3041, boo.jpg) [iqdb]
1977
That was beautiful. Thank you.
Bittersweet, yet so heartwarming...

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1941
I wrote this short out of annoyance with a certain /jp/sie and his inexplicable and oft-voiced obsession. After its posting in the relevant place met no reply, I thought why not post it here as well.

Hope you enjoy it, Dead-HP.
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File 147009529491.png - (275.08KB, 600x600, __sekibanki_touhou_drawn_by_porupu__5a99f0ca05e24a.png) [iqdb]
1962
>>1961
Sorry, mate, but no dice. I was provoked into writing the first short, and goaded into the second one, and while I do provoke easily, that's as far as this line goes. There are other things waiting my time and pen. Keyboard. Whichever. And they've waited long.
My only regret is this flowered affection for dullahans under willows. Who's going to name Benben their favourite DDC now?
>>1960
>subtlety
That's funny. Always fancied myself more of an "on the nose" sort of wordsmith.
That was good.

Cant really offer much else.
>>1965
It's fine. I'm just glad people are appreciating the Banki. Cheers, bossu.

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File 145726324329.png - (1.65MB, 1300x920, merry belated christmas.png) [iqdb]
1929
Winter had come to Gensoukyou, that time of year when snow turned the verdant valley into Whiterock's Wonderland. Those who thrived in the cold rejoiced, and those who did not came up with ever more feeble excuses to remain indoors.

Huddled in a clearing at the foot of Youkai Mountain lay the home of two out-of-season goddesses, who were presently engaged in the time-honoured tradition of lounging under the kotatsu and eating baked sweet potatoes.

"This is the life," Aki Minoriko declared, mouth half full of sweet potato. "There's just something about winter that makes you feel so cozy."

"Speak for yourself. The only thing winter makes me feel is useless," Aki Shizuha replied, face glum and chin resting on the table.

"Don't be like that! We've done our bit for the year, so now's out chance to relax until next year!" Minoriko took another bite of her food and swallowed before continuing. "We're lucky we only have to work three months of the year, you know. Think of all the humans who have to keep working through this."

Shizuha opened her mouth to reply, but whatever she had to say was lost in the sound of the door being thrown open and a great, bearded figure clad in red trimmed with white planting two mighty boots in the room.

"Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas!"

Minoriko turned her head to avoid showering her sister with hot tea. "Puwaaah! Hina!? Why on Earth are you wearing a beard!?"

"Because I'm Santa Claus!" Kagiyama Hina declared, putting her hands on her hips.

"Has your brain frozen over or something?" Shizuha asked, staring blankly at her fellow goddess.

"Today is Christmas Day, and I have come to bring the gift of Christmas cheer to all the good girls of Gensoukyou!" Hina continued.

"Eeyup, not a single marble left," Shizuha said. "I wonder if Eientei can cure gods?"

"Can you close the door at least?" Minoriko asked.

Hina smiled radiantly. "Nope. Because you're coming with me!"

"Not happening!" Shizu
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I don't care that I'm too late for a Christmas story, that was really good!

The underrated characters really are the best. Shame no Mystia though, but I can appreciate the best umbrella youkai around.
>>1944
<3
File 146634304019.png - (924.03KB, 631x849, TASTES LIKE TURKEY ROCKET.png) [iqdb]
1948
FFFFFFFFFFFFFFF-

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1934
White Day special number one of two. Consider them failure stories because I wanted to write for Valentine's Day. So screw it. Doing it now and today.

====

The end of winter. There’s nothing too different: The grass is a colder green, the trees move with the wind, and Lady Remilia complains about the cold. Sakuya checks in on me from time to time like every other season, at the same time every day. Whew. I don’t particularly mind, but it does hurt when she prods me with one to twelve knives. Or countless more.

“So you won’t train with me today, Meiling?”

Three knives clink against each other.

My eyes stop drooping. Sakuya holds three knives between her fingers, arms crossed and poised to strike. It’s better to assume so. Looks like I was drifting asleep. Since I’ve lost any time to rub my eyes or stretch my limbs, I speak before Sakuya becomes angry.

“It is a nice day to train, isn’t it? It’d be nice if it doesn’t get any colder.”

Sakuya hums in approval. “As long as you understand. I have much to do to keep Milady from complaining any more than she is already.”

I lean on the pillar of the gate as Sakuya disappears. She wouldn’t actually scold me in any way if I was on the verge of sleeping. But this guarantees that she won’t come back to check on me for at least a couple more hours. Unless, of course, she walks out the front gate with Lady Remilia. But that’s another punishment altogether.

Ah, but I really do wish I could have sparred with Sakuya. With anyone, at this point. It really is a nice day to do so. Cold enough to get the body warm again, and warm enough to not get any colder while sparring. It’s a perfect balance with no real consequences. Well, maybe not, if the person I’m against is from outside and wants to intrude. But the number of people that fall under that category is zero by now, since Sakuya has long stopped punishing me for the human magician breaking in. That’s not to say I wouldn’t let her pass without a fight, but my point still stands.

Ah. I wish I had someone to spar with. My eyes close.
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File 145797180397.jpg - (311.25KB, 622x760, a24253146a56dd2ebb1d91215b7b6994.jpg) [iqdb]
1935
The flat of my tongue licks the roof of my mouth. The meat didn't actually melt under my teeth back then, but I now had a craving for dragon that probably wouldn't be fulfilled. My method of cooking that kind of meat leaves it chewy. But it's still tender enough that it doesn't make your mouth sore. Mudo also had a way with seasonings that leaves the spice lingering in your mouth. It wasn't a hot spice, but a herbal spice that rises into your nose.

The dreams are becoming more vivid.

“So,” Lady Patchouli peers over her book at me across her table, “these are the books that might interest you the most.”

“Thank you, Lady Patchouli.” I take the book from Koakuma, who closes her eyes and smiles as she hands me several books. The pile isn't heavy, though there are easily over five hundred pages together.

“Seven hundred thirty three pages.” Lady Patchouli turns a page. “Of which, twenty eight are most relevant to your condition. If you'd like, I can have Koakuma show you.”

“Who is showing something here?”

I turn my head behind me as much as I can. “Milady Remilia! Excuse me for using the library in my spare time.” The words come as naturally as breathing.

“It's fine.” Lady Remilia sits to the left of Lady Patchouli. “The library is a place where everyone comes to learn. What they learn is their own business,” She eyes the books in my arms, “so as I'm a good mistress, I don't meddle in personal affairs.”

“Remi.”

“What is it, Patchy?”

Lady Patchouli remains silent, turning another page. Lady Remilia sighs while sliding down her chair. I walk to find a table somewhere else, with Koakuma following beside me.

“Meiling.” The mistress calls.

I pause, turning to her once again. “Yes, Milady?”

Lady Remilia doesn't face me. She doesn't speak for a moment, and I stand waiting for her to do so. And when she does:

“You are important to us. Remember that.”

----

Three months. Some time after three months, I lie back on my bed. Mudo has long since slept inside with me,
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Magnificent. A really well written, bittersweet story, thank you for writing this.
That's okay... I just wanted to wash my eyes from the inside anyway...

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1295
No Touhous appear in this story!
_____

Man, being stuck in a dark box really just sucks.

Especially since, instead of being mindless, I'm sporting actual thought processes, which tends to make time drag on when there's nothing happening. Like right now, for example!

Well, I suppose I wasn't really mindless, as it were, but being an inanimate object doesn't really give one lots of room for philosophical thinking, since fitting an actual squishy brain in several inches of pointy steel is not a high priority for century-old knife-makers. Shocking, I know.

It's kinda funny; I remember a lot of things happening, but at the same time it's all pretty fuzzy, since I was missing critical brainpower at the time. I don't know how I've got it now, all of a sudden, but I'm not really complaining!

Oh, what's that, nonexistent person I'm talking to in order for time to pass by more quickly? You want to know where I've been? Well, seeing as all my sisters in this place are asleep, no matter how hard I yell at them to wake their lazy butts up, I don't think any of them would mind a story time.

Even if they did mind, I'd do it anyway, because they're all jerks.

Ahem. Let me commence with the story-telling!

If you want a date, the World War One trenches were a great place to be! It was all “Affix bayonets!” and “Charge!” and finally “OH GOD THE PAIN” for a lot of my wielders, because as I learned firsthand, machine gun beats knife when it comes to range. You ever spend a month sitting in a puddle of mud because your owner got shredded by a landmine? Be happy you haven't!

I ended up changing hands quite a bit, thanks to stuff like that. Heck, one tenacious Soldat used me to stab his way through a whole trench-
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That was great.
I didn't laugh that hard in a long time.
Absolutely amazing.
I demand more.

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1903
The top of the four poster bed bore the brunt of Harry's stare as he tried to bore through it with his own vision. The night before had been long spent on his attempts at studying. He had sworn to delve into his Potions and Transfiguration homework before the weekend so it all could be done and over with. Of course, that was his intension; but the appearance of a few Messrs. Weasley were enough to distract him from the ongoing fruitless attempts at labor with Quidditch, Gobstones, and not a little bit of batting and dodging Bludgers.

In the end, that had left him rather tired and unsuccessful in his efforts to try and study some more. Indeed, it was just the same as always; a day behind and needing to scramble and catch up on everything tonight. He was not looking forward to getting out of bed this morning. All the same, Harry knows that the inevitable is awaiting, although it's not enough to motivate him.

However, a roar of laughter and applause from the common room finally spurred his curiosity. "Who in the world is making that racket at this hour?" Swinging his legs out, Harry grabs his robes and sack of books before making sure that his wand has slid down in his pocket. Once satisfied that none of his notes had ended up in the dustbin (not that it'd matter with the house elves cleaning), he heads toward the doors and marches on down the stairs.

Of course, the moment he reaches the bottom of the stairs, he is met with a most incongruous sight. The Weasley twins, looking amazingly fresh and awake for all their activities last night, are in the middle of the common room grinning and posing in quite the ridiculous outfit. Looking around for Ron, Harry finds the youngest brother hiding in the corner and shaking his head. "Say, err… What are those two getting up to?"

"You really don't want to know, mate." Ron just shakes his head. "They tried to drag me into it as well. Cor, you see me getting dressed up in that outfit? Not going t
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------------

The evening sun is beginning to set as two figures are walking into the forest. Near the edge of the trees, one looks back to the castle as a faint roar of frustration echoes about the grounds. "…Did you hear that?"

"I'm sure that one of the Merman are mad that their prize dabberblimps were lost." The blonde turns back and smiles at Harry as he follows after her. "They are rather aggrieved when they wander off to lay in the sun, after all. They have to let their sacks to dry out. If they're too soggy, they won't be able to float."

"…I'm sure that is all that it is." Harry shakes his head. "I'm rather sure it came from the castle."

"The merman is quite the ventriloquist."

"I'll take your word for it." Harry shakes his head and speeds up, catching back up to the girl. "So, where exactly are we taking your little friend, Luna?"

"Back home, of course. She did wander quite a long way."

"But how did you even find her in the first place?"

"Well, I was looking for records on the breeding habits of Moon Frogs when I was wandering around the Room of Requirement. Funnily enough, there was a lot of material on Moon Rabbits, but everyone knows that's pishposh."

"It is?"

"Of course it is. Everyone knows those ears are fake." Luna smiles and looks down. "So I found this little friend down here rolling about. It looked like it was teething, like it was trying to gnaw at my arms, so I figured I should help take it back!"

"But what does that have to do with the posters?"

"Well, I needed help bringing Sexy here back. That's why I asked." She smiles and pats the top of its head. "Isn't that right, Sexy?"
File 145032823829.png - (879.40KB, 570x788, Sexy.png) [iqdb]
1912
The round object in her lap turns up and shoots a glare at Luna. "I told you ten times already! My name is SEKI!"

"Such a sweet girl, isn't she?" Luna pats the disembodied head. "But as it was, I could hardly leave her here. Nearly Headless Nick was disappointed at the sight, saying that he was rather jealous."

"What a freak… You think that a ghost would be able to take care of that trivial thing!"

"…Aren't you just a disembodied head?"

"I'm a Rokurokubi, not some human. I'm a vicious man-eating monster!"

"Aww, don't say such things." Luna rubs the back of the head's head, right near the bow. "You're such a doll, so don't say things like that. You might give Harry a bad impression."

"I think she's already succeeding…" The head closes its eyes a bit as it gets rubbed, but the moment that Harry speaks it snaps them back open and glares at him. "So, erm… she lives in the forest? Is it wise to be going here at this time of day?"

"Well, not until we get lost. Once we don't know where we are, we'll be fine." Luna just smiles. "Besides, the Forbidden Forest does have a nice atmosphere. It helps the thestral's and their lovely coats."

"Hmpf. You don't need to take me back. I could fly there on my own! …If I could still. Stupid outside…" Harry looks down at the creature and it puffs up. "What? I can do it, to! If I just had my body, I could fly just fine."

"Don't lose your head, Sexy. You know how bad your temper is."

"DON'T LOSE MY… MY NAME IS…" The head lets out an anguished scream and shakes back and forth. "Just take me back home, please… I don't want to be with this madwoman anymore."

"So… What happened to your body in the first place?"

"I… err…" The head looks away as blood
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After reading this, I'm not sure if I should drink more or less.

Good job.

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1901
Wanted to get some practice with action scenes. Adapted this from a certain scene in a certain movie.
----

“Agh, what a pain…”

Rei, the two-colored heroine of justice, stands defiant atop the roof of Eientei. Though she has the solid, small-chested body of Reimu Hakurei, its control is shared between the priestess and her partner, Reisen Udongein Inaba. Small burns and tears mar her half-red, half-purple catsuit, signs of the many battles she’s faced just to reach this point. Her red right eye flashes, and Reisen brings the right arm - her side’s arm - to her chest. “Please, Eirin, we don’t have time for this! Let us through!”

On the other side of the roof, Eirin Yagokoro hides her chuckle behind a pale hand. Her imposing, unnaturally-pale figure stands a foot taller than Rei, and her red-and-blue robe strains to contain her bust’s jiggling as she sweeps her arm dramatically. “I will not allow anyone to stop the Princess now, not even you. Soon, all of Gensokyo will share her terrible fate!” Pulling another arrow from her quiver, she aims her bow at the heroine. Massive wards etch themselves into the air around Eirin, crackling with strange and alien powers. However, her display pales in comparison to the earth-shaking rumbles of magic that wrack the entire Bamboo Forest; far above, at the peak of the transformed Eientei’s tower, a far more terrible power pulses and grows with every second.

“We’ll have to make this quick,” Reimu mutters. Clenching her fists, Rei squares her stance and flexes her powerful legs beneath the skintight leggings. The air itself grows tense as the two two-colored warriors stare each other down, anticipating the furious battle about to occur…

“Wait, wait. Stop.”

… When suddenly, a flat voice interrupts the scene. A small red token clatters down and rolls noisily across the roof, bumping one of Rei’s soles before it finally tips over. Eirin narrows her eyes in confused suspicion, and Reisen focuses on her opponent while Reimu reaches down to pick the item up.

“This is…?”

“Ah… sorry, that’s mine.” A short pink-haired girl jogs to a stop at Rei
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Fighting scenes are one of the hardest things to translate to text, but it seems like you did a good work. I like it.

Descriptions are key and you have enough-but empty dialog lines are a pet peeve of mine. I'd say that they should be integrated to the story; at least with a short sentence explaining the tone and feelings that those words are trying to convey.

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1862
"Everyone get down!" I shout amidst the roar of the battle. Not a second later a huge wave of frost engulfs the area where my head was not too long ago. "Damn it!” I curse under my breath, “Holly what's our status?" I take this brief moment of respite against the enemy to see how the party is doing.

Holly, our dwarven cleric, responds with her thick norsemen accent, "We ain't doin so well Cap! Wee James just got hit by the the bastards tail and I'm all out of juice!" Her thick accent made it hard to hear over the din of battle but you could understand what she meant. "Hate to say it Cap'n but I think we may be in trouble."

"Why is that?" The answer comes by her pointing behind me, only for me to get a face full of dragon, "FUCK! Dude! personal space!" Startled by my proximity to the dragon I respond by stabbing my dagger straight into its eye. His pained reaction, while hilarious, only proceeds to anger the creature further.

"Foolish pests!" It roars, anger filling its lungs, "how dare you assault my chamber! I am Arereseafulafar the Frozen King of the North!" The dragon once more takes a deep breath, about to make Holly and I icicles.

"Yeah? And you're about to be the frozen king of the floorboards you fat fuck!" A very familiar voice shouts back as the dragon receives a fireball straight to the face. God bless Averine that magnificent bastard, taking this opportunity I quickly duck behind another pillar and dive for the item we were sent here to get. Not too pretty I must admit, but why the hell a dragon would keep a mithril short sword of dragon slaying is beyond me. After taking a firm grip on the handle I pull my cowl over my head and slinking lower to the ground avoiding detection. Our fighter, after my sudden retreat, gets the attention of the dragon with a well placed claymore to the leg. I know we have one shot left to finish this before things go south, we have been fighting the beast for almost three minutes and everyone's running on fumes. With the final bit of courage I can muster I climb the stone pillar next to me to reach the rafters hi
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1869
Boom! The sound of thunder resonates through the hospice room as I slowly open up my eye. Rain hitting the roof of the building with small thuds. Sitting in a chair not too far from my bed is the girl from earlier, Aya was it? It’s hard to tell from the rain but it appears to be nighttime outside and I don’t even know what day it...Is that a calendar? I squint my good eye to try and see through the darkness to the other side of the room where there appears to be a paper calendar situated to the left of the window. Bah! I can’t even tell what those symbols mean, I must be running low on spirit reserves. Sending a mental ping to check my power reserves they are indeed low probably spent making sure I didn't die, barely functioning in fact, however that isn’t the only reason.

A small gap in my spirit energies tells me one of them is made manifest around here. It's strange that one of them would manifest themselves outside of combat situations so this must have been important for them.

A small whimpering comes from the left of the bed. I shift slightly to get a closer look, and peer over the edge. Leaning against the bed huddling in a small ball is my dear Siara, my spirit of water, crying.

This girl is my manifestation of the water spirit, these spirits come in many different forms, depending on the relation between the elementalist and the spirit. For me, Siara is a small girl of eastern origin. She has long black hair that reaches down to her waist, and stands roughly a meter tall. She has eyes the color of crystal clear water, and wears an all blue dress with wave patterns riddled across its surface. You could say I treat her like a daughter. She is a real cry baby but I can’t bring myself to be hard on her compared to the other spirits because of it.

She continues to stifle small tears as I gently whisper to her and ask what's wrong?

She jumps a bit, as if not expecting me to even be conscious right now. Collecting herself she stands up, her head barely able to look over the bed and turns to look at me. "Well umm... The other spirits and myself were worried about your conditions. You seem to be taken care of rather well but we haven&
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Post to another board
New thread is here; >>/others/62265

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1874
Veterans, your stories go here. Read the rules at >>/gensokyo/13738
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1893
Today is not a good day.

...

I made it home.

It took me a long time to recover enough to pick up a pen.

Minutes, maybe hours passed while I just sat there and tried to breathe.

My heart felt like it would explode if I lost concentration for just one second.

My heartbeat felt too fast, more like a continuous stream rather than individual beats.

But, here I am now.

...

I don't know how one should write in a diary.

I've mostly been pacing back and forth, sitting back down to write a line every few minutes.

I can't bring myself to look upwards, at lines already put down. But this is why I'm using ink.

I need only to suppress my desire to rip out the page.

...

At some point, I remembered to take off my boots. Allowing my feet to breathe, preventing me from tracking mud around my house.

The forest gets so annoyingly muddy this time of year.

It's so annoying.

Cleaning up the mud is a chore. Taking off my boots is a chore.

An unnecessary extra "thing" to do.

Were it up to me, I could just sit in place and do nothing.

Like a vegetable.

But simply being alive brings with itself obligations and burdens.

Well, as long as you wish to be part of the civilized world.

There is always the option of... killing my mind, going feral.

But that too would be inconvenient.

Feral creatures do not live in cushy houses that shelter them from the elements.

They do not eat meals they prepare out of refrigerated goods that they didn't need to scavenge for.

Not that I need to eat, of course.

It's just that I'm too weak to give up these convenient aspects of life, so I must bear the obligations that come with them.

...

I went and checked on my guest.

Still asleep. Good.

The drugs seem to have worked well, providing a peaceful sleep.

Something I myself have not known in far too long.

And immeasurable unit of time.

Every night, lying down in bed is like strapping myself to a torture tab
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1894
The first time I encountered the snow maiden, I had just turned ten years old.

I had run away from home. In the excitement of my younger brother being born, and the anger of my older brother being caught stealing, my parents had forgotten about my own birthday. I had been replaced, I thought, and this time I decided to run away for real. Not just to the shed out back, or to the school where I played hide and seek with our friends. I packed myself two meals, a change of clothes, and I left my home. I walked until the village gates, and then walked some more. I walked past the farms, and away from the trails to the shrine or mountains. I walked far away from the safety of the village. I walked into what I knew was the domain of youkai, but I didn't care. I just wanted to run away, as far as I could go.
By the time the sun began to set, I was already hopelessly lost. I had no idea where I was. I didn't know of any landmarks or features I could use to get my bearings. All I saw around me was short grass, tall trees, and great mountains. I sat down to eat the food I had brought, and as the sun set and the winter night began to replace it, I grew cold. The clothes I was wearing were too light. I took out the spare clothes I had brought and wrapped them around myself to keep warm. It was then that I started to panic. With the night came darkness, and with the darkness came fear of what lied beyond the pale moonlight. My imagination ran wild with tales of youkai, and the horrific fates of those who encountered them. I began frantically running, searching for anything that I might be able to use as shelter before the last glimmer of light faded. To me, in that moment, a hollowed tree trunk looked like the inviting arms of my mother. I regretted running away as I holed up inside it, and slept through the night unharmed.

The next morning, it began to snow. The cold winter didn't care that I was out here. As the snow began to blanket the ground, I was no longer able to even tell what way I had come to get here, and my mad dash the previous night cost me all sense of direction. I finished the last of the food I had brought, and left the comforting shelter that the tree hollow provided. A
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She hefted me to my feet, and I'd be a liar if I said that lying there on the ground was good for me. But standing was worse.

“You're not the sharpest tool in the shed, are you?” She brushes the broken glass off my shirt, and I groan. I'd jumped through the window after breaking it with a convenient rock, tripped, and landed on the broken glass face-first. And thankfully I missed the broken glass with my face.

“So. Sit down and let's do something about that glass in your arms. Then you will explain things to me.” I'm frogmarched to a chair by a surprisingly strong girl with rabbit ears, and she sits me down.

While she plucks out the glass from my arm and applies (probably-deliberately) overly-stinging peroxide to the cuts, she prompts me to explain what made me break into her pharmacy. During the middle of the day. When she was just in the back for something.

“I, I, got a problem.”

“No shit,” she replies.

“I needed my fix.”

“Fix of what? Aspirin? Sulfa drugs? You get high off beta blockers, kid?”

“D-don't you have any of the hard stuff, like opium, or cocaine?”

She snorts in derision as she continues to clean my wounds. “What is this? The nineteenth century? Look, there's maybe a bit of morphine, but we haven't done straight-up opium in like, a century here.” She stops, and looks into my eyes. Hers are red, sparkling, beautiful, and angry. “What are you going to do when I call the cop on you?” Cop, singular. Kotohime's still the only one who takes on that 'job'. God knows I don't want to have to deal with her again.

Reisen raises my arm, and turns it underside-up. I blush and turn away. “Track marks,” she says. Of course she'd notice. “You know, kid, the world's gonna roll you one of these days. Look. I'll make you a deal, I don't want to see you waste away your life. You work here now, for me. And I won't report this crime to the authorities if you make something of it. We got a deal?”

I nod, knowing that I never planned to show up here again.

“Good,” she says, finishing up
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