“I'd look for an alternative to conflict first, there's always another way.”
“Perhaps when dealing with humans, with a feral beast it's different.”
“Now you're just sounding like my dearly departed grandmother.” She would rant incessantly about dangerous monsters and how they were a threat to us. She was quite serious about Youkai. She claimed that her own grandparents used to hunt youkai. Then again she claimed she was as beautiful as a goddess in her younger days. So she wasn't the most reliable of sources. “If I”m dealing with one of those people over there,” I pointed in the general direction of the party, “I'm sure I can deal with them. No matter how determined they may seem.”
I conveniently tried not to think about the incidents with Suika and Alice. Already, for argument's sake, I was prepared to simply brush them off as 'isolated surprise situations'. Just like with Aya.
“I hope that you can.” Reimu sounded sincere. “But-”
Her look hardened and she stepped close to me, almost pinning me against the storage cabinet.
“No matter how sure you may feel, there's always the possibility that you'll fall short.”
“In that case, I'll simply go and get help. If the villagers unite in order to harvest or prepare for winter, I don't see why they wouldn't help me against monsters.”
“They would help you, wouldn't they? It's what we humans do best, isn't it?” She agreed with me, but her still set look told me that it might not be the case. “And you would probably be well if it was a conflict on a large scale.”
“But?” I was uncomfortable with having her so close to me. It might have been enjoyable under other circumstances, but not so soon after all that had happened that evening.
“We just saw what happened when something like a youkai wants to do something to someone else impulsively, didn't we?”
“...Yeah.” It was true. There was no way I could have avoided Aya I thought.
“Even if you fought back, with weapons or even with tooth and nail well... Let me just put it this way; It doesn't look like you're even able to resist something that a human would do.” She emphasized the word 'human', bringing herself closer to my face. There was nothing stopping her from kissing me if she wanted to. I felt like my heart had stopped beating along with my lack of breath. I closed my eyes.
She didn't though.
“It really doesn't matter in the end.” Reimu pushed herself away, taking several steps towards the door. I looked at her, not sure what to think. She changed tone completely, sounding chipper than I had ever heard her be. “I think that I've had more to drink than I thought. I'm saying stupid things needlessly. Sorry about that.”
She smiled, and made a gesture indicating like the alcohol had gone to her head.
“I...” Was going to say something. But I couldn't think of what to say. It didn't matter, because Reimu already had something she wanted to say.
“We've been gone for a bit now, we should go back. You have a job to do, after all, and I've got to keep an eye on my shrine.” She motioned for me to come and walked happily back to the party.
I couldn't do anything else but just follow.
“Oh hey, it's you guys!” Suika greeted us cheerfully, as if she hadn't seen us in ages. “Good timing! I was just about to send someone for you. We all got talking here and decided upon something.”
She didn't wait for a reaction from either of you.
“So yeah, in the Ultimate Battle of Life and Death for the Alcoholic Ambrosia raging across the whole of Gensokyo involving awesome oni, sexy witches,” She winks at Marisa who returns a thumbs up, “and I could go on, but time is short...”
“We've decided to speed things up, that's what she's saying.” Nitori spoke up, looking helpful.
“And what does that even mean?” Reimu asked, still sounding friendly.
“Quite simple, my dear Reimu.” Suika spoke again. She put down her glass of booze. “A single last round, knockout style to determine the winner.”
“Let me guess – you versus us?” She looked at Suika and Yukari then at me.
“Correct! The others agree, don't you?”
Everyone nodded. Marisa spoke out, holding a newly acquired bag of goodies, “They made me an offer I couldn't refuse. These are simply delicious.”
...Where in the hell did they get that many mushrooms that quickly?
In any case, for drastically different reasons, each person present had agreed to forfeit. That left just Suika and Yukari against Reimu and I.
“You okay with that?” Suika asked.
“Sounds interesting. I was getting tired of all of these pointless games anyways.” Reimu answered for us. “We'll take you on.”
“It's settled then. Let's get this started then.”
“So... what are we going to do?” Someone had to ask, so I did.
“Thought you'd never ask.” Suika beamed. The happier she looked, the more my heart sank. This wasn't going to be a walk in the park. “We've been drinking right? And it's a party, right? Then there's something sorely missing. And no, it's not ghost stories. Those are boring. Well, not always.” She went into a tangent. “When she's around, it's good. Being afraid of stories of your own kind is wicked funny.” She came back. “So, uh, the thing that's missing is a good old game of guts and honesty. One that is a time-honored tradition of any good party.”
“Get to it.” Reimu showed a bit of impatience. I couldn't blame her, rambling oni are not fun.
Basically, it was truth or dare. One team would ask the team to do something, or to tell the truth about something. But the thing was that if the other team did it, they would have to do the same thing themselves. And then the other team would get a chance to ask. And so forth until one of the teams was unable to do or say something. I felt apprehensive about it. But Reimu didn't seem to mind.
“We'll begin then.” Yukari spoke, her voice even. Everyone else moved to the sidelines as we sat opposite each other on the table. “Seeing that you're the underdog, you get to go first.”
“Suits us fine.” Reimu replied. She told me that she would go first, and then I would have a chance when it next our turn. “I'll start with a dare; I dare you to stop drinking during this game.”
There was a buzz of voices in the room. Suika smiled. “Okay. Bottles down.” She placed her gourd to her left. Yukari didn't seem to care either. “You have to do the same.”
“Not a problem.” Reimu and I hadn't been drinking right then, so we were unaffected. I wondered if maybe she was trying to get to Suika, thus making her lose. That might just work.
“Alright. So its our turn.” Suika fired a counter-barrage, “I dare you not to stop drinking during this game. At least a drink per question.”
“You can't do that.” I protested. “It contradicts the previous dare.”
“Each round is a round unto itself.” Yukari claimed. “The past doesn't count.”
“Yeah, just ask the judge.” Suika pointed at the self-appointed judge. Marisa was in the middle of drinking, looking particularly clumsy at it.
“I'll allow it.” She mumbled before getting back to her drink.
“That settles it.” Suika poured a drink for us. “Drink.”
I had no alternative but to drink. Reimu didn't say anything, so I wondered if she had foreseen this.
They, of course, had no problem in following on the dare.
It was my turn to ask.
 Truth: Why they want to win
 Dare: Toss out full bottles of alcohol