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Gensokyo. A land that houses many anomalies and other conundrums that are enriching to the eye of those who wish to see it. The mysteries of this land is closely surrounded by a magical border that is loosely maintained and guarded. Though the overseers of such a border may say otherwise.

It is because of this lax security did certain “things” leak out of the border. Catching the eye of a certain group of men and women alike to these anomalies. They’ve recorded every major event that came out of the border. Detailed it into literature, visual entertainment, and audio relaxation. Spreading Gensokyo’s major events to those who wished to see what lies beyond the beyond. This was all done over the course of many years. Those who wished to explore further had come across a means of doing so years ago. However, not many have come back out with good news, those who made it back with any news at all told tales of how dangerous traversing the landscape was and discouraged anybody from entering it.

At least, not entering it unprepared…

With the years passing, more and more outsiders managed to cross the border and into the land of Gensokyo. A small amount automatically turned away from either the overseers or the border itself rejecting their entrance. But those who did make it through had to find a means of shelter, food, and income. The Gensokyian wilderness was not going to let it be easy.

There are stories of the outsiders who had managed to make it past all of the tribulations the land had thrown at them, paired up with groups or factions like the shrine on the border, the pharmacy in the bamboo forest, the underworld, or the mansion in red, and had eventually managed to settle and adapt to living to the quirky and fickle circumstances Gensokyo had to offer to those who wished to live there.

These are not the stories of the heroic or desperate actions these outsiders undertook to secure their new lifestyle, nor are these the stories of survival and harsh situations they overcame to continue living.

These are the stories of the outsiders who had managed to secure their new lifestyle, and their hosts being faced with the reality of living with said outsiders for the foreseeable future and voicing their woes to the silent air around them until they decided they needed a new form of escape.

A glass in one hand, arm cradling the head resting on it, and the lone bartender giving them the silence and feeling that someone is listening to their pleas.
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Patron 1: The Shrine Maiden
When the bar had first opened, it endured a slow start to its business. Not many customers paid much attention to the opening of yet another establishment to drink their problems away. The owner had, for but a moment, considered shutting down the business and calling it a failure.

Said moment quickly came and past when he met the bartender.

No one knows of the actual name of the young looking male manning the counter. Nor do they know if he ever released an alias to go by. Not even the tengu journalist managed to gleam any clues.

But alas, how could she focus on learning information when she was content with giving a farmland’s worth to the man she wanted to learn about.

The man looked young, and yet he had this aura of experience surrounding him that made everyone who entered the lounge feel at ease. Willing to talk about whatever was on their minds with barely any restraint.

Some called suspicion on him, claiming that he was inhuman. The plaintiffs calling him out however were dismissed as biased when they brought up the man’s place of origin only when they found out they spoke too much information on their own volition. Despite their pleas and bargaining to the man to keep what they said secret, they were only met with the same silence that he always exuded to every other patron when confronted with one who was talking. Some might argue that they became hostile because they were bribed by a competitor.

The bartender was as swift as he was silent. Dispatching of the unruly customers and booting them out onto the village road for the patrols to pick up. In compensation for the incident, a free round of drinks was given to everyone in the bar at the time. Which once again, boosted popularity.

No one questioned how the bartender was able to fend for himself exquisitely both verbally and physically. Although if one were to ask and be extremely lucky for the day. The man might reply that he just listens.

So naturally, it wouldn’t come as a surprise that one day at the beseechment of certain customers, one of Gensokyo’s well known characters paid a visit to the establishment to investigate.

The shrine maiden of red came in the middle of the day. The sun was high and was beating down its hot rays on many people outside. Some came in as a means of escape and cool down. Others were just casual regulars content to just sit and enjoy the atmosphere.

Everyone inside expected such atmosphere to shatter and be replaced with tension when they noticed her small, yet, imposing figure at the front entrance scanning the interior with eyes similar to a predator standing amongst prey and looking for the perfect excuse to wreak havoc.

When said eyes located the man at the counter, wiping a used glass for the next customer to use, they squinted. An ignorant man might call it cute, but most knew she was getting ready to pass judgement on the accused.

The bartender was content to stand there and waited patiently. Eyes closed and hands methodically scrubbed the inside of the large beer glass. He endured the piercing gaze of the shrine maiden

The silent battle between the two would only be truly known to the ones who participated. But onlookers would hazard a guess that perhaps the brunette was still investigating or the bartender knew for certain that she would move in and sit.

Either way, with a subtle purpose, the lady moved and plopped herself right on the seat across from the man. Content to just stare at him menacingly, waiting for him to slip up and give her an excuse to waylay him.

Instead, the bartender continued to stand there, idly cleaning the glass in his hands. Unbeknownst to everyone in the bar however, or at least he hoped, was that the glass in his hand has already been cleaned ten times over. He was just silently cautious of moving from his position in fear of setting off the trigger happy maiden.

The situation stayed like this for a good while, the red-white glowering at the man, and the man slowly turning the glass around as he, once again, wiped it.

Everyone in the bar thought this would be one of the rare cases where the maiden would break first. Her brow twitching as she strained herself to continue staring at the man.

Just when everyone thought it would happen, the bartender froze his movements. His neutral expression twisted to a small frown, not of warning, or of malice, but of a gentle disappointment. Like a parent or big brother who saw their sibling trying way too hard on something small to the point of self-harm.

He put down the glass and cloth, gently, but was not at all surprised when the miko hardened her gaze and twitched. Before softening into a hint of confusion and curiosity when the bartender turned away from her and began moving up and down the aisle purposefully. Taking this and that, various ingredients, and the one thing that so much as gave a clue to the miko as to what he was doing was the glass in front of her slowly filling up amidst the blur of sweet and sharp smelling ingredients being mixed in.

The red-white was shaken out of her stupor when the man placed the glass down in front of her, he moved out of her sight and then returned with a strawberry and pierced it on the lip. He stepped back, to give the lady some space, and to admire his work.

For the shrine maiden, it was a sight. The sweet, strawberry smelling, concoction being made in such a timely manner as well as the sharp tang of alcohol made for an enticing drink. The gradience of the drink from peach to red, bottom to up, made her wonder just what went into it.

Such a thought lingered into her mind when she stared at the man once more, the question unspoken but written all over her face with a hint of caution. Was the bartender trying to poison her?

The question was answered when she saw the man pour a tiny bit of the leftover concoction into a glass and took a sip. Eyes mulling around as his lips mull about determining the taste and the quality.

With a nod and a hum of approval, the man gave her a thumbs up.

Her mental position placated, she lowered herself back into the seat. A pang of guilt spread across her face as she grimaced at the drink. One thought clearly on her mind as she spoke.

“I’m doing it again, aren’t I?”

She spoke it as if someone already knew the answer. Perhaps the bartender already did, but he didn’t make it known. Content to clean the glass he previously took a sip from as he stood and listened.

The girl continued staring at the alcoholic drink in thought. She shifted about, preparing her next words for him to listen to. Her face contorted as she drew her lips in a bout of mental frustration. Before finally caving in with a sigh and finding comfort in taking a sip from the glass.

She put it down with a thump, lips smacking loudly as she tasted the concoction. Eyes glazed over, staring into the distance as she processed the various tastes and ingredients put into the drink. Before finally coming to a conclusion.

“This is… Good.”

The bartender never stopped cleaning.

Taking another sip, the miko continued. “You’re… Not like the other types I’m used to.”

She expected him to take the bait. He never did.

She realized how it was supposed to work and heaved a sigh.

Other patrons would call it the ‘sigh of defeat.’

“When I heard that there was an another outsider I had to take care of, I assumed it was just gonna be another case of a rowdy idiot harassing Keine or a corpse in the outskirts being eaten by a wild youkai.”

Another sip.

“When I came and heard that it was about a man in a bar, I thought it was gonna be a case of drunken shenanigans and prepared myself for a big pain. But lo and behold. Everything is normal. No one is dead and no one is hurt.”

She leaned back to stare at the ceiling, drink loosely held at the edge of the table.

The bartender had already finished cleaning his glass and moved to other glasses. Eyes low but ears perked.

“So then I wondered what exactly is going on. An outsider running a bar, everyone is drinking and having a happy-go-lucky time, and there’s no hostile feeling in the air.”

She took another sip and had a wry smirk on her face as she stared back at the man.

“I wondered what kind of youkai you sucked up to get this. An outsider living a perfectly normal life? Practically unheard of.”

Her finger tapped the table as she closed her eyes in thought, memories rolling through her head to calculate a statistic. When she opened her eyes again, they didn’t have any sadness, no empathy, what she stated came out as if it was just a normal occurrence

“Ever since I’ve been a shrine maiden, I’ve had to deal with possibly more than a thousand outsider cases. Most of which solved themselves by the suspect. Most of which ended with their deaths at their own stupidity.”

And for her, perhaps it was normal.

“The ones of which I had to intervene ended with the majority in their deaths as well, for they were found either too incompetent to live or too dangerous. The rare cases where it’s just an outsider causing a headache for the general population usually just ended with a thrashing and a lecture by me or Keine.”

Her eyes regained their focus and trained themselves back on the idling bartender.

“So imagine my surprise when nothing bad is going on and it’s just an outsider manning a bar. Doing a good job, too.” Her tone took upon an almost accusatory manner. As if she still could not believe the sight in front of her.

But then she relaxed once more and took another sip from the glass. “It reminded me that there’s always two sides to a story. That I shouldn’t just judge a case by the words of some jealous competitors gunning for your head.”

“Most of all. It reminded me that there are outsiders like you just trying to get by in life…” She ended with a lilt. The sign of more wanting to be said prevalent.

But the bartender never pressed.

The shrine maiden snorted and chugged down the remaining liquid in the glass. The barest hint of a blush on her face as she stands up.

“Well. I’d say that’s a story for another time. I’ve wasted too much of yours anyways.” She reached for pocket on her garb, “how much do I owe you?”

The bartender cut her off. One hand palm out to stay her movements, the other pointed to a sign nearby with a deal written in nice bold letters.

“First time here, first drink free.”

The miko looked at the sign for a while. A look on her face that would would take for a look of surprise or bafflement. “Ah... I see.”

“I guess that’s a good thing then. I only brought enough money for one drink anyways.” She shrugged off. Never noticing the quiet puff of air the bartender shot out. His amusement visible only to himself.

The shrine maiden stood at the counter for a while longer, an awkward silence permeated between the two. Although only one of them felt awkward, the other was used to making his customers feel that way with his continued act of silence.

Seeing as the man would not speak to even say good bye, the miko bowed hesitantly. “I, uh… Guess I’ll be on my way then,” she raised herself up and turned to move out of the building.

Once she was halfway there she stopped and looked back at the bartender, an afterthought in mind, “By the way, I’ll have a ‘talk’ with the men spreading false rumors about you.”

The bartender stopped wiping his glass, leaving the rag inside. With not a word, but a gesture. He gave her a thumbs up to show his approval. He was not adverse to justice, after all.

With that done, the shrine maiden turned to leave. However it wasn’t until she reached the doorway was she stopped by a voice that came from behind.

“Have a good one.”

She looked back, scanning the interior for the one who said the sentence. But everyone was still sitting where they were, drinking, talking, or generally enjoying the atmosphere. Even the bartender was back to his routine glass cleaning.

...Surely, it wasn’t him?

The maiden stared at the man. A questioning look upon her face as the unspoken inquiry was sent.

But the reply was never sent, the man continued to gently wipe the glass in his hands. Slowly turning it this and there to make sure every part was cleaned. Barely a difference from when she first entered the bar. Not even the small smile was gone.

Only left with an assumption, the miko hesitantly turned away from the interior. Her eyes followed last of all, as if she was expecting the man to jump up on the counter and start spouting off random gibberish and charge her.

As she exited the pub, the man released the rag and did a small wave until the door shut.

He never expected a response, given that the girl’s back was turned. But it was the thought that counted.
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----Some time later.----

The bar had turned quiet. The previous liveliness it had earlier in the day no longer apparent as the candlelights emitted only a pitiful amount of illumination around the interior. Out performed by the lamp that shined brightly at the unmanned counter.

The sound of wood being clanked echoed around the lonely building. As the only person in it had turned the sign from open to closed. In preparation for leaving.

The bartender had already cleaned up most of the tables easily. Save for a couple where some louder than usual men had karma thrust upon them for drinking too quickly and couldn’t get booted out in time. A mop and bucket was used for those, with the man’s grimacing face as he tried his best not to smell the accursed bile only a side effect.

With the pub already cleaned and wiped, the bartender had it all to himself until he wished to leave. In which he had made his way back to the clean and polished countertop, save for a lone glass.

He reached over and under the counter and grabbed a certain brand of alcohol that he brewed himself for his own tastes. After he poured a modest amount, he took a seat and took a sip.

His lips released the glass with a silent sigh, savoring his work both then and there. He stared at the other side of the counter, a view that was more comfortable for his customers than for himself. But for that moment, he was perfectly fine with switching sides.

Another sip was taken, his staredown with the wall broken in favor of taking a larger drink than before. The ceiling his new point of interest… The roof needed to be repainted again.

The glass was put down again, the thap of it slapping against the wood echoed through the building quite loudly. But no one was bothered.

The bartender scratched his head in thought. Mind filled with today’s events and the emotions with it. His face contorted into a look of exhaustion before he uttered a sigh.

It was one of the sighs he used to hear from his customers, it was the same sigh he’d hear when a customer was getting ready to tell the tale of their woes. It was the very sigh one utters when they have a lot on their mind.

“Man… What a day.”

And that day, he had a lot to talk about.

So this was a thing I did to get started with writing on the site. May or may not continue it, I dunno. It's up to you guys if you want more. I've got some ideas laying around.

This story was more set to act as practice to get back into the gist of writing, so feel free to rip and tear into me about certain parts.
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Should also mention that I got this story idea from this post >>>/gensokyo/13721

So... Props to that guy for giving me the story idea I could use that I could actually turn into a short. He's cool.
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Don't know about anyone else, but this has certainly peaked my interest.

How many you thinking of doing, and what's your update schedule going to be?.
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As much as I can think of. Which is both saying something and isn't.

The way I'll have the story work if people want to see it continued is that I'll write a 'chapter' for each character you want to read about. That way, I can write the story in a manner where if I burn out, it's left in a state that can be qualified as 'finished.'

As for update schedule... I'm not too sure on it, I'd like to say it'd be at the most monthly or bi-weekly, or earlier. But I dunno. I'll be honest and say it's a case of the writer's excuse in that there'll always be something to catch my mind. Luckily I was able to finish this by not being tempted by gaming during free time in class. So if I had the same mindset constantly for any future chapters I could probably push out one for every week or so. But we'll see.

One thing's for certain though, I'll be damned if I just leave a chapter unfinished on here halfway through and leave it at that.
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I think this is pretty neat.
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Yeah, I'd be interested in seeing your portrayal of characters like Koishi and the Watatsuki's
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So seeing as there's a modest amount that wants to see a continuation, I'll go ahead and send out the votes.

So. Pick yer poison.

[ ] The Shrine maiden from before had made a return pretty quickly with another sour look on her face.
[ ] A two horned regular made another stop here. Normally she mingles with the others, rare does she sit at the counter, subdued.
[ ] A blonde haired maiden of black and white made another stop, no doubt to tell me about her grand adventures once more.
[ ] The local school teacher is a regular that likes to come by near closing time when most of everyone had already left or are too drunk to remember. Seems she's got another tale to tell about her students.

>Koishi and the Watatsuki's

Come on, even I have standards.

Although if I were to write them it'd be a while after we get through some of the other characters.
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[ ] The Shrine maiden from before had made a return pretty quickly with another sour look on her face.

The more Reimu enjoys our bar the more popular it becomes
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[X] A two horned regular made another stop here. Normally she mingles with the others, rare does she sit at the counter, subdued.

I didn't know Suika could even do "subdued."
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[X] A two horned regular made another stop here. Normally she mingles with the others, rare does she sit at the counter, subdued.
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[X] The local school teacher is a regular that likes to come by near closing time when most of everyone had already left or are too drunk to remember. Seems she's got another tale to tell about her students.

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[x] two horned

Suika has been absent from this site for far too long
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Calling votes in favor of two horned loli.

Looks like we'll be hearing her tales of drunken woes. Or maybe the reverse...
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Are you still around? I really like this
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