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File 13307585016.jpg - (123.05KB, 850x714, keineonherthrone.jpg) [iqdb]
34206 No. 34206
Previous thread at >>33879

Thanks to everyone for being patient.

---

[x] Head towards the sound of knowledge.

---

You figure that it wouldn’t hurt to look around a bit. The school is rather small, and you have some confidence that Reimu can find you rather easily anyhow. It’s not like you’re leaving the building, right?

Walking towards the door, you can hear the sound of lecturing...

No...

That would be the sound of teaching. The speaker seems rather passionate about what she seems to be teaching, a distant cry from the typically dry, unenthusiastic droning of your previous lecturers, (besides your master, of course,) and the content seems to be very... elementary in nature.

Of course it would be elementary, you figure, taking another quick glance around you. The size of all the shelves and various shoes and bits of kit all seem to be smaller than normal. This is a children’s school. Nonetheless, you find the sound of such dedicated education to be irresistible, and you peek in through the crack in the door.

---

“So who can tell me when the Hakurei Barrier was raised?”

“Miss Keine! Miss Keine!”

The sound of little children clamouring for attention has always been understandably loud. The class is packed with the tykes, in various states of uniform and alertness. Most of them have their hands up, waving them at the unseen front of the class, frantically trying to catch her attention. The few who do not have their hands up are either desperately writing up something in their notebooks, or looking very bored. There are a couple of empty desks though.

Very interestingly, you can see a small blue-haired fairy sitting near the back of the class, doodling on her notebook, not quite paying attention to the mood in the class. It’s fairly obvious, given the presence of her crystalline wings. You’re now not quite sure about what other magical creatures are in this class.

“Let me answer! Puh-lease!”
“I know this, I know!”

You can’t help but smile, watching the sights within. You continue scanning across the room, trying to get a better glimpse of the front when a bored, brown-haired girl sitting close to the door briefly makes eye contact with you. Her hand immediately shoots up.

“Miss.”

Keine’s voice immediately responds, and the whole class goes silent.

“Yes Suzume?”

The girl points at your eye.

“Someone’s at the door.”

The entire class turns to stare at you.

Keine coughs politely, “Whoever’s there, you’re very welcome to come in and join us.”

Well.

You let yourself into the room, returning the door to its partially open state as you walk in. The whole class breathes a collective sigh of interest, and you can hear whispers being passed around the group. Keine herself seems to be quite unfazed at your appearance and merely gestures to you to sit at one of the empty desks, which you do so.

---

An interesting ten minute history of Gensokyo follows, and you learn of the formation of the Great Hakurei Barrier, the border between Earth and Gensokyo, delivered in the gentle, patient tones of Miss Kamishirasawa.

Reimu’s family have been custodians of the border, and by extension the well-being of Gensokyo for a great many years now, which does well to explain why Reimu is so heavily armed. The children around you listen in rapt attention, collectively rushing as a group to answer Keine’s questions, as well as in asking their own. Her manner is very calming, and her knowledge of the subject seems to be very thorough.

Scanning around the room whilst the children have their curiosities sated, you can see Reimu’s eye peeking in through the gap in between the door and the doorframe, before disappearing again.

As Keine is about to begin talking about the village, you can hear a bell ringing, just outside the school. The class as a whole, groans in disappointment, and begins to pack their things. The blue fairy stands, yawning as she glides away, outside. Keine merely remains seated at her desk whilst the children file out.

As Suzume finally leaves the room, she gives you one last glance, before darting off with her friends.

Keine stands, and walks over to you, her face very calm and neutral.

“Hello there, Mr...?”

“Ambrose.”

“Mr Ambrose. My name is Keine Kamishirasawa. I must ask you to avoid interrupting my classes in the future. Most of my students aren’t as interested in history, so it’s a rare opportunity for me.”

“Right. Sorry, I was just curious.”

She adjusts her glasses, smiling.

“Curiosity is always something to be nurtured. I’ve not seen you around the village before. Are you a new arrival?”

“Yes, actually. I was just coming here with Reimu-“

“Reimu’s here, you say?”

Keine seems particularly pleased, actually clapping in excitement at the mention of Reimu.

“Y-yes, she was right outside the room just a minute ago,”

Right on cue, Reimu sticks her head into the room, slightly flustered, probably by the swarm of little children. She sidles into the room, sitting atop the desk next to you,

“Morning Keine,” she says, “I’ve brought you another one.”

“Is he a relation of Sakuya’s, a brother perhaps?”

Reimu smirks, “Second time someone’s asked,”

“Third, actually,” you interject, “I’m pretty sure Marisa made the comparison the day I arrived.”

The three of you remain silent for a moment.

Keine coughs politely again, turning to you,

“I assume you’re here to ask about the village then?”

“I’d be interested in the history,” you begin, “But right now I was hoping to learn more about any customs and rules I should know about whilst I’m in the village.”

The teacher smiles as she walks up to the chalkboard, erasing her lesson notes from earlier,

“Well... The village is a safe haven for humans in Gensokyo, and is home to several thousand humans and a couple of youkai. We are mostly a farming village, so I’m afraid you won’t be able to get many of the things you may be familiar with in the outside world...” she hesitates, “What year did you come from?”

“What year?”

She nods, “Mmm, yes, what year. Being in a sort of pocket world, people wander into Gensokyo from all sorts of time periods, and Yukari is not too picky about where and when people come from when she decides to bring them along with her. Are you familiar with electricity?”

You nod.

“Television?”

You nod.

“How about home computers?”

You distinctly remember something about personal computers, so you nod.

Keine turns to Reimu, “My my, he’s very recent, isn’t he?”

“I wouldn’t know,” Reimu says, swinging her feet freely, “I don’t particularly care about electricity.”

“In any case, I’m afraid the village has no source of electricity, so if you were hoping to use any sort of scientific device then you will have to approach Yukari for some aid in finding power for them. But I do believe the kappa will eventually get around to figuring out how to make electricity for the village, without blowing things up.

Uhm... As for customs, the village is pretty normal. Most of the villagers are Japanese though, so there is a distinct eastern-dominated culture here. I’m sure Reimu will be more than happy to explain anything related to religious festivals and the like when they come around.”

Reimu shrugs, “Alright then,”

“Mmm. The village has no real rules, mostly things like, please try not to hurt anyone, and please don’t let your children wander too far outside the village without an adult... mostly common-sense rules. Do you have any special abilities by any chance?”

“I’m a magician.”

“Ooh. Please try not to use flashy magic in the village, then. Some of the villagers don’t particularly like magicians, so it would be best not to antagonise them,” she says, waggling her finger at you, “No magical trickery, no dangerous spells, and please play danmaku outside the village; it can get a bit rough.”

You nod. No magic spells to be used in the village, if possible. Keep danmaku out of the village. Play nice. Use your common sense.

Simple enough.

Keine finishes writing up the ‘rules’ , placing the white chalk back onto her desk,

“I suppose... do you intend on staying in Gensokyo?”

You quickly think. You’ve still no idea what you were supposed to be doing back on Earth. Returning now would be frankly pointless. Besides, most of the people here are friendly and helpful.

“At the moment, it seems like I will be staying. But for now, I’m staying with Reimu.”

Keine looks at Reimu, who merely gives her a look of disbelief, shaking her head urgently,

“Hurm... well, I suppose there isn’t much else I can say about the village. Any questions so far?”

[] “Are there any interesting places around the village?”
[] “Is there anyone in the village I should know about?”
[] “May I ask about the fairy in the class, earlier?”
[] “Could you tell me about yourself?”

[] “Nope, no questions at all, so we’ll be heading off to...
---[] the market square.”
---[] the Myouren temple.”
---[] Kourindou.”
---[] nowhere in particular.” *

*This option will cause you to just walk around the village aimlessly.
Expand all images
>> No. 34207
>Keine looks at Reimu, who merely gives her a look of disbelief, shaking her head urgently,
Oh my.

I'm assuming I can only pick one option.
[x] “Is there anyone in the village I should know about?”
>> No. 34208
[x] “Is there anyone in the village I should know about?”

>“Is he a relation of Sakuya’s, a brother perhaps?”
This is going to be a recurring gag. Just wait until we meet a citizen of the SDM. Or until we meet Eirin.
>> No. 34209
[x] Is there a demand for magicians on the labour market of Gensokyo?
>> No. 34210
[x] “May I ask about the fairy in the class, earlier?”
>> No. 34211
[x] “Is there anyone in the village I should know about?”
>> No. 34212
[X] “May I ask about the fairy in the class, earlier?”

Would it not be funny if, by some weird twist of fate, Ambrose was actualy related to Sakuya?
>> No. 34214
[x] “Is there anyone in the village I should know about?”
[x] “May I ask about the fairy in the class, earlier?”

She said questions. Not question.
>> No. 34215
[X] “Are there any interesting places around the village?”
-[x] “Is there anyone in the village I should know about?”

Works for me~!
>> No. 34216
[x] “Are there any interesting places around the village?”
-[x] “Is there anyone in the village I should know about?”

>>34208
That and if Reimu's found herself a boyfriend probably.
>> No. 34217
[x] “Are there any interesting places around the village?”
-[x] “Is there anyone in the village I should know about?”

This would be fine.
>> No. 34218
[x] “Are there any interesting places around the village?”
[x] “Is there anyone in the village I should know about?”
[x] “Could you tell me about yourself?”
>> No. 34220
[x] Village info.
[x] Do you know anyone who might pay cash for magical help?

Cash sounds nice.
>> No. 34222
File 133105187819.jpg - (162.19KB, 568x600, thevillage.jpg) [iqdb]
34222
[x] “Is there anyone in the village I should know about?”
[x] “Are there any interesting places around the village?”

---

“Yes, actually. Is there anyone in the village I should know about?”

Keine ponders your question for a moment, gazing upwards,

“Well, there are a couple of people you probably should get to know better. Mostly, there are a couple of shopkeepers in town who have a good deal of goods and services they can offer. You’ll be able to spot them easily enough in the market square,”

She begins listing their names on the board,

“There’s Mr Sakamoto, who runs the general store, he’s very generous with his pricing and supplies a good deal of the village with their day to day goods. Mrs Masaru who keeps the local tailors working... she may be a little strict, but when it comes to organising a group of people, she’s pretty impressive. Um... there is Mr Lin, who manages the local workmen; he’s the man you want if you need something built in the village. And there’s Mr Kirisame, who runs the second hand store, very handy if you need something and aren’t too fussy.

Sanae comes down from the mountain to sell charms and other trinkets from the Moriya Shrine on a fairly regular basis. She’s a very nice girl, and she’s been very helpful at keeping the youkai from getting too rowdy. There’s the Hieda family, very important people in the village; they maintain a very accurate history of Gensokyo and the village. Very important, and the current Child of Miare is a very bright young girl. She can help you track down anything specific you need to know about Gensokyo if I can’t.”

“Any relation between Mr Kirisame and Marisa Kirisame, by any chance?”

“Yes, he would be Marisa’s father,” she says, tapping at the name, “But I don’t think they’re on very good terms. I recommend that you don’t mention her or magic around him. I think that if he asks, you should say you’re part youkai. He tends to gloss over half-youkai having magic. You are... human, right?”

“I am definitely human,” you say, “Just had a very odd incident with magic.”

She taps her chin, “Hmm... well, I would still advise against telling him you're a magician.”

“What about Rinnosuke Morichika, the owner of Kourindou?”

“Oh, Rinnosuke is a wonderful man and he knows a good deal about his craft. I’d very much suggest going to him over anyone else if you need any magical things fixed, or if you need something identified.”

“Identified?”

She puts the chalk down, brushing her hands clean,

“Yes, identified. Rinnosuke has a talent for identifying interesting items, magical, scientific or otherwise. He can tell you exactly what its name is, and what it does. Very useful for the village given that sometimes, people come in with strange objects,”

She taps her forehead,

“Better safe than sorry, as the saying goes.”

You examine the names on the board, committing them to memory, before addressing Keine again,

“Are there any interesting places around the village?”

Keine strides over to the window, opening it. She points towards the bustling crowds just beyond the street, where you can see the market square.

“The village is full of interesting places. You just need to go and look for them. But I’d say that the best place to start would be the market square. It’s so busy and full of the spirit of Gensokyo; adventure and wonder with every step. You’re not likely to be bored when you go to the market. It’s the people who make it come to life.

Then, there is the Myouren Temple. Ms Hijiri has done an incredible job of getting the humans and the youkai to cooperate, and the temple itself is a beautiful place to contemplate and reflect on things when you’re overloaded with stress.

Over to the south of the village, if you need to get out and let your worries fly away for a while, you should go to the village tavern, where many of the working men and women head off to after a long, busy day. I also know that nearby, a particular night sparrow runs a grilled lamprey stand during the evening, and it’s a fairly popular spot for many to visit if they feel peckish.

And of course, there is this schoolhouse, where I teach the children of the village and help them learn what they need to make a good life for themselves. When either I or the volunteers aren’t teaching, we’re always open to help out villagers who need some assistance.”

You stand there, appreciating the passion with which Keine talks about the village,

“You’re pretty knowledgeable about the village, Ms Kamishiwa- I mean, Kamishiraso...” you begin, stumble over her name, prompting her to giggle,

“Please, just call me Keine. Everyone does.”

“... Alright.”

---

It is not long after that, that you and Reimu are ushered out of the classroom by Keine, given that she has another class coming in. As the children file through the hall, giving the two of you odd looks, Reimu stretches her arms,

“Well, you’ve got what you needed to know from Keine. What now?”

“We could head over to the market square,” you suggest, “Its close by, and a recommended destination. Seems alright to start there.”

Reimu seems unsure about it, but nods anyway.

---

As she leads you along the busy street, you notice that Reimu is keeping her distance from the people around her, barely glancing up as she sidesteps a person carrying a large sack.

Looking around you, you can see the focused, steady routine of the village, running like clockwork. The streets are mostly clear, with people keeping to their own paths as they lug tools, goods or merchandise along with them. Children running through in groups, greeting the people they pass with a jaunty smile and wave, before speeding off after their friends.

Colourful clothes and radiant smiles are everywhere, a brilliant complement to the shining heart of day, gazing upon them from high above, with not a single gray cloud in the sky-

As you try and keep up with Reimu’s hurried pace, a Gaussian blur covers your vision. You hear the world come to a halt; your tick of your watch now stretches out to infinity.

Everything around you has stopped. All movement has ceased, people in half-steps, mouths agape in conversation. You can’t move. Every muscle in your body protests their halt. The whole world is silent and gray; the colours faded and washed out. A strange series of afterimages imposes themselves upon your vision. Silver, black, tracing themselves across your sight, blurry and incomplete.

Your mind protests this unnatural state. You feel like retching, but your body refuses to follow. Despite all this, in the back of your mind, you can hear a long, delayed tick flowing into the tock.

And at once, the ticking continues, and your body finally responds to your frantic commands, your limbs jerking unnaturally as you collide with someone. As you try to extricate yourself from them, apologising profusely, the first thing you see is...

[] A silky white,
[] A bluish streak,
[] A greenish lock,
[] Her.
>> No. 34223
[x] A bluish streak.

This Cirno is an eyesore.

This Cirno. This Cirno. This Cirno. This Cirno. This Cirno. This Cirno. This Cirno.
>> No. 34224
[x] A silky white,

I guess he's affected by Her timestop as well.

Also, I can't think of who this could be.
>> No. 34225
File 133105595269.jpg - (150.45KB, 700x795, 11089265.jpg) [iqdb]
34225
[x] A bluish streak,

>>34223
The one who says eyesore is the eyesore!
>> No. 34226
[x] Her.

Don't tell me you really expected me to vote for anything else than the mysterious spoilered option.

I doubt it's really You-Know-Who, but it might be a good occasion to learn more about about character.
>> No. 34227
[x] A greenish lock
>> No. 34228
[X] A greenish lock
>> No. 34229
[X] Her.

Works for me~!
>> No. 34230
[x] Her.

The sooner we meet her, the better right?
>> No. 34231
[x] Her.

This mysterious option...How could I resist?
>> No. 34232
[x] Her

Well, mistery option time~
>> No. 34233
[X]Her.
>> No. 34234
So if what I think is happening is happening, wouldn't this story be more at home in /sdm/?
>> No. 34237
>>34234
Just because MC might have some sort of relation to Sakuya doesnt mean this needs to be an /sdm/ story.
>> No. 34240
>>34234

This story has started at the Hakurei Shrine, and Anon's patience willing, will end at the Hakurei Shrine. At this rate, we will make detours to the SDM, and possibly other places in Gensokyo as plot dictates, but I intend on keeping this story focused on /shrine/.

But spend enough time with someone, and Ambrose's priorities will shift, and their stories interlink more often.

Setting-wise, I believe there is a lot of potential in the human village, as lots of characters come and go from the village as life dictates, as well as being an excellent central hub for travelling around Gensokyo and being one of the safer places there.

Board-wise, it was a pragmatic choice; there was little regular activity on /shrine/. Don't want to be eclipsed by the more experienced writers on the site.
>> No. 34241
[x] A silky white

Only one I couldn't put an immediate name(s) to.
>> No. 34242
>>34241

It’s Aya.
>> No. 34243
[X] Her.
>> No. 34244
[x] Her.
Really now, must go with obvious choice.
>> No. 34245
If it was a funny story, I would be expecting something like
"Ambrose! The lost brother I never had! That's why I don't recognize you!"
"Sakuya! The lost daughter I never had ever! No wonder you're totally unknown to me!"
>> No. 34246
[x] Her.

---

Her.

You blink.

It is her. Again, laying atop you.

Her hair, though framed in the same, neatly cropped style she favours, is the same pale silver hue of yours. The braids tickle your neck as she struggles to move her hand from underneath you. Grey-blue eyes... just like hers, adorn her face in that familiar... elegant bearing, broken by contact, proximity, and she blinks back at you in confusion for the first time.

But it is wrong.

A maid’s headband lies atop her head, not the brown flat cap you’ve so often attributed to her. Not the familiar clothes, nor the same items of worth... She wears a servant’s uniform, French in origin, but dangerously trimmed; you can feel the edges of cold, deadly metal, strapped in leather on her thighs-

She hurriedly dismounts, brushes herself off, blushing as she turns away.

“Pardon me.”

The world blurs yet again. You struggle against the unearthly feelings of dread, watching the streaks of silver race across your vision. Everything you know about nature goes against this state. If you could grind your teeth, thrashing at the broken threads of reality before you, you would. The watch in your pocket ticks angrily.

There is a cracking.

The world returns to normal, colour flooding back into the district as her face flashes across the world, knowing...

You stand, and slowly walk towards-

Your legs move of their own will. They won’t stop.

Smirking. Smile, that saaaamee as she-

“W-... g-...!”

LaughingLaughing as she _____andshessaays_______________useless________ before the truth! Gone! GONE!

“...brose- wh-!“

A sudden spike of pain erupts in your chest, digging through your body as you stumble.

A hand rises, and the scar is etching itself onto your arm again.

Apologising... blood,onyourhandsonhers breathing. Breathing on your shoulder. nonononoonononno

You open your mouth, struggling to get air into your lungs as the tip graz-

*Click, click*

The world returns to focus. Reimu is shaking your shoulders rather urgently. People around you are giving the pair of you strange looks.

“Ambrose, are you with me here?”

Air. Breathe. You grab at your throat.

You lift your hands. Nothing. There is no ache in your chest, and the day is bright and cloudless as it was, not just two seconds ago. You frantically search for her. Nothing. No one within the crowd of faces.

You need air. y-y-ou want air... please... air...

Soft hands on your shoulders. You panic, flinching rearwards-

“Ambrose. It’s okay. Look at me, look at me.”

A small frown, laced with worry, plays across Reimu’s face. The brown eyes blink once.

Twice.

“You’re safe. It’s okay. Deep breaths.”

Your breathing is calmer. Your vision sharpens, and Reimu smiles gently.

“Deep breaths. Relax.”

“...” you breathe, the low groan scratching at your throat.

Reimu relinquishes her grip on your shoulders.

“I think we should see Reisen first,” she declares, leading you by the hand.

---

A small, temporary stall is set up, just around the edges of the market square. The small folding table stands under a small umbrella. a good-sized suitcase, filled to the brim with vials and bottles of strange liquids and pills. A respectable placard hangs on the edge of the table, reading:

Yagokoro’s Remedies
Cures for all ailments.


There seems to be few interested parties today, with the sole attendant of the stall, a pale-purple haired girl with the most prominent bunny ears you’ve ever seen, wearing an oddly modern student’s uniform, sitting beside the stall on a portable stool, contemplating her lunch-box with severe boredom.

Her large, white ears perk up as she hears Reimu closing in on the stall, and hurriedly puts away her food.

“G-good morning Reimu,” she says, standing to attention, “Is there something you need today?”

“Reisen, have you still got those dream pills?”

The rabbit-girl’s ears flop down as she sifts through the contents of the case,

“Uhm... like Alice’s pills, right?”

“Yeah, those ones.”

Reisen stares at you, her red eyes examining you cautiously as she grips a small vial of crimson liquid. She turns to Reimu, smiling rather nervously, an ear protectively falling across her eyes,

“U-uhm... they’re not exactly used like that, you know, er... M-master has a wonderfully potent solution for-“

Reimu facepalms, shaking her head,

Bad dreams. This fellow is having bad dreams,” she hisses, lifting your arm, “Have you got anything for it or not?”

Reisen immediately scrambles back into the case, her tongue sticking out as she flicks through several compartments that you were sure weren’t there before. It is a moment longer until she lifts a sealed glass tube, filled with three sky-blue pills, from the case of medicines.

“Here it is,” she announces, checking the label,“Butterfly Dream Pills, 10 microgram dosage. Once a night before you sleep, guaranteed to help foster good dreams.”

You cannot help but shake the feeling...

“Do I need a prescription for this?” you ask, massaging your temples,

Reisen waves her free hand vehemently,

“Oh no! Master’s tested this one very thoroughly! It’s very safe to use, I can guarantee you!”

Reimu reaches into her sleeves,

“Tell me how much," she asks, narrowing her eyes,

“5000 yen for the set.”

“C’mon Udonge,” Reimu moans, “I asked Alice, and she said they cost her 3500 yen the last time she ordered ‘em!

“S-she came over herself to pick up her personal order from master, so of course it would be lower,” Reisen explains, sealing the various open compartments of her case, “This is the off the shelf stuff, which master keeps around just in case anybody needs it urgently,”

“4000 yen at the very least,” Reimu offers, waving four 1000 yen notes, “Last offer Udonge.”

Reisen pouts quietly, mumbling to herself, passing the glass vial to you before accepting the money. As she locks up the notes in a small metal box, she turns to you,

“Hold on,” she says, grabbing a small notepad and pencil, “Do not take more than one pill in twenty-four hours. Do not drink excessive amounts of alcohol before taking the medicine. Do not take the pills before you are ready to sleep. Please do not use this medicine in conjunction with any other medicines you may be taking, and if any unexpected side-effects occur, please come back to me or my master as soon as you can.”

She rips off the paper and hands it over to you, and you pocket both the vial and the note.

[Items added to INV: Butterfly Dream Pill x3, Butterfly Dream Pill precautions note]

"Please take care, and we hope you have a speedy recovery," Reisen says, bowing.

---

You are now in the market square. All around you are stalls of all sorts, just outside various shops and places. There are many things you could do. Reimu has led you over to a secluded spot, where you can see a good deal of the square.

It is now 9.41 AM.

What should you start with?

[] Write in.
>> No. 34247
Pain and madness. This is what we got for not choosing Cirno.

Let this be a lesson for us all.

[x] Visit Mr. Kirisame’s shop. Look for instruments you can use in clock repairs.
>> No. 34248
[x] Ask Reimu about that 'Sakuya' person. Does she visit the shrine often?


We'll have to thank Reimu for that later. 4,000Y isn't nothing for an next-to-no-income girl.
>> No. 34249
[x] Ask about the silver-haired girl.

do not want to dick around in the market
>> No. 34251
No regrets, in fact I feel strangely satisfying as it seems to provide an answer which leads to even more questions.

[X] "Did I say or do anything while I was 'outside' of myself so to speak?"
-[x]"When you say 'Bad Dreams', what exactly do you mean. What if they're old memories resurfacing and simply just catching me off guard?"

Wouldn't Reimu remember Ambrose having some amnesia and simply waited till he explained himself as to what happened in his moment of zoning out? Also feel as if it's too soon to be asking about Sakuya just yet as what we saw were flashes of possibly lost memory returning but no understanding just yet.

I find it both strange and funny some think Reimu's messing around with some random stranger they have no clue about rather than conclude that Reimu's just simply giving Ambrose a tour of the heavily-visited-by-humans areas of Gensokyo
>> No. 34253
OP of >>34251 here.

Just realized I forgot to add where to next.

[X] "Did I say or do anything while I was 'outside' of myself so to speak?"
-[x]"When you say 'Bad Dreams', what exactly do you mean. What if they're old memories resurfacing and simply just catching me off guard?"
--[x] Visit Mr. Kirisame’s shop. Look for instruments you can use in clock repairs.
>> No. 34254
[x] "Did I say or do anything while I was 'outside' of myself so to speak?"
[x] Ask about the silver-haired girl.
[x] Visit Myouren Temple.

Knowing our way around the human village could come in handy. I don't think our clock is broken at the moment, and if we did need the materials we wouldn't have the money to buy them. We really need to look into some kind of job in the near future, as I doubt Raymoo has enough money to house Ambrose forever.
>> No. 34255
>Reimu has led you over to a secluded spot
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn4i8bAfnMY
>> No. 34256
>>34254

We can repair villagers' clocks and take money for it. Borrow some tools (more intricate ones from Rinnosuke), make a few deals, build up some reputation. It's a time consuming and “boring” job, but it is likely to pay very well, and what alternatives do we have? Probably only to work as a teacher in school (geometry fuck yeah), or get in touch with the kappas and help them with their technosorcery.

Plus, we have to fix Marisa's gear thingy.
>> No. 34257
[x] Explain to Reimu what just happened, to the best of your ability.
-[x] Check your watch.

Our watch was still ticking during the time stop, better see if we have to adjust it.
>> No. 34258
>A hand rises, and the scar is etching itself onto your arm again.

FFFFFFFFFFF


[X]Check arms for any scarring not noticed before.
-[x] "Did I say or do anything while I was 'outside' of myself so to speak?"
[X][x] Visit Mr. Kirisame’s shop; ask if he has anything work that's mechanically related or knows some one who could use some one of such skill/experience.

Bad enough Ambrose is unintentionally costing Reimu some money. Also it couldn't hurt to make friends with perhaps better business connections.

Would have gone for Rinnosuke if he were to likely get as much customers as the regular vendors and merchants at the village.
>> No. 34259
>>34258
I dont think our watch was going, Unless it was returning time back to normal. I think it was Sakuya resuming time though.

She said something along the lines of useless? Sounds like a certain Dio to me...
>> No. 34260
>>34259 did you mean >>34257?

I (>>34258) was actually referring to asking if there were any jobs that he (Ambrose) could do on the side for Mr. Kirisame to make some cash rather than fixing his watch; just changed the wording a bit seeing as it's a "write-in" option.
>> No. 34261
[X]Check arms for any scarring not noticed before.
-[x] "Did I say or do anything while I was 'outside' of myself so to speak?"
>> No. 34264
[x] "Did I say or do anything while I was 'outside' of myself so to speak?"
[x] Ask about the silver-haired girl.
[x] Visit Myouren Temple.


You got anon scrambling everywhere for Sakuya NPC. Well played.
>> No. 34265
[X]Check arms for any scarring not noticed before.
-[x] "Did I say or do anything while I was 'outside' of myself so to speak?"
[x] Explain to Reimu what just happened, to the best of your ability.
-[x] Check your watch.
>> No. 34266
I apologise for the wait.

[x] Check arms for scarring.
[x] “Did I say or do anything while I was ‘outside’ of myself, so to speak?”
[x] Ask about the silver haired girl. Sakuya, was it?

[x] Visit Kirisame’s Second Hand Shop.

---

It's 9.45 AM, and you realise that you've been standing there for the past four minutes, staring blankly into space.

Slightly dazed, you check your arms again for scarring...

A closer examination of both your arms reveals nothing out of the ordinary; slightly tan skin, unblemished and unharmed. No scar tissue, aside from that small scab-mark you scratched incessantly as a child, on your left wrist.

Your master always told you not to scratch.

Still, the lack of damage comforts you, but you feel like something is missing...

No. Something was healed. The how, where and when of it all eludes you.

“You’ve got some issues, Ambrose,” Reimu mutters, already sat upon a small public bench. Noting how lost you appear to be, she gestures for you to sit beside her, “Sit down and relax a little.”

You plonk yourself down, next to the shrine maiden. Moments pass before you turn to her,

“... thanks. For the medicine as well.”

She smirks, “It was your money, to be honest. Just think of it as your donation paying back for itself.”

You stare at her, somewhat unsure how to respond. Reimu just looks away, watching the crowds walk by with mild disinterest.

“Did... did I do anything, weird?”

She turns back to you, back to her frustratingly neutral look,

“What would you say is weird, for you?”

“Did I do anything, or say anything whilst I was...’ outside’ of myself, so to speak?”

Reimu crosses her legs, thinking of the right words,

“You... didn’t say anything out of the ordinary. To be honest, you didn’t say anything at all, but you seemed to be staring into the distance. Tripped on a rock.”

Yes, that would be unusual. You don’t trip.

“It was when you started coming back,” she continues, resting her head on her arms, “You started hyperventilating and choking.”

This seems disturbingly familiar to you... You begin cradling your head in frustration.

Her.

You need to know about that maid.

“The silver haired girl,” you say, “In the maid outfit. That was Sakuya, right?”

“Huh?”

You point down the street,

“D-didn’t you see her? Time... time stopped.”

“Time... stopped?”

“Yes. Time stopped. Right there, about-” you check your watch, “About two minutes ago. She ran right into me after time stopped.”

Reimu sighs in understanding, “Yea, I kinda see what you mean. Sakuya probably stopped time earlier when she was getting around. Wouldn’t know about it myself. She just tends to appear and disappear out of nowhere.”

You grit your teeth, a shadow of the past teasing at your memories. They seem to prod at your consciousness like a vicious prankster playing with your doorbells, then running away, giggling in silence the whole time as you rush to the door, only to find nothing there. Stupid, pointless nonsense.

At least the weather is good today, you reflect, gazing upwards for comfort.

Something in the sky catches your attention; a silver streak in the sky, like jets passing on high. A small dark speck draws attention to itself, slowly growing...

Bronze Buckler.

[ Surprise Event: Aya’s Ten o’clock Special! ]

A well folded tabloid newspaper has flattened itself against your shield, scant inches from your face. You deactivate the shield, letting the paper fall squarely into your lap as Reimu frowns.

“Good reflexes,” she says, watching the dot speed off into the distance, back towards the mountains, “Aya really needs to work on her delivery...”

You unfold it, taking a good, long glimpse at the main headline:

Oh my. There is a marvellously detailed aerial photograph of you and Reimu walking down the hill, into the forest. When was that... where? What?

The Hakurei Shrine seems to be entertaining a fascinating new stranger

The reclusive red-white shrine maiden has recently come into the village, buying an unusual amount of supplies. It looks like she was picking up groceries for two. Following up on that yesterday, I spotted an unusual white-haired gentleman leaving with her, probably to visit the witch and puppeteer for afternoon tea.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to follow them for much longer, given the usual thickness of the forest canopy. But thankfully, no explosions have been coming from the forest as of late, so it appears as though the wicked western witch seems to have let off on the wanton destruction of the natural surroundings.

But more importantly, what is the relationship between the Hakurei shrine maiden and this intriguing white-haired fellow, and where in the world did he come from? White-hair seems to indicate either youkai descent or perhaps one of the elusive Lunarians finally coming to the fore. Perhaps the Hakurei girl is finally broadening her horizons-


You can’t read this speculative garbage. So you hand it over to Reimu.

As she reads, that frown of hers continues to grow, and her grip on the paper becomes increasingly vice-like.

“Aya...” she growls, “That good for nothing, tabloid rumor-monger...”

You are somewhat disturbed by the angle of the photo. Aerial photography, without your consent or knowledge.

You need to find that reporter sometime, and tell her to be more careful about her behaviour. The odd, personal writing style seems... uncomfortably informal. There are standards for journalism.

At least, there are in the outside world.

---

After venting her frustration at the reporter, writer and editor of the newspaper, (all of them the same person,) you quietly nudge Reimu back to the present.

“Reimu, I’d like to head over to Mr Kirisame’s shop.”

“Fair enough. It’s over this way.”

The two of you sidestep around the small gaggle of children playing, passing by several shop lots, grocers and the occasional house. As you pass by several places, you note the semi-curious glances that the locals give Reimu. The odd pair of older women trade small talk, something about the ‘new youkai turning up’, or the weather recently.

Reminds you of all the times on the high streets... high streets. Hurm. Good memories of pleasant days out, popping into the grocers or supermarket, picking up the occasional can of soft drink.

Good days, good days to remember.

---

It’s the Kirisame shop, a modest, honest establishment. At the front counter, you can see a bored young man, absentmindedly defacing the poor wooden countertop with a small piece of scrap metal. Behind him are shelves and shelves of various knick-knacks and almost-brand new items, and a doorframe which leads to the back of the shop.

Not much business in general: The occasional person milling about, gazing placidly at the various old farming tools and furniture stacked around the shop floor, sometimes walking up to the counter to ask a quiet, uncertain question. Bored replies set them back to square one, or perhaps to purchase something for once.

In general, the whole place seems to be unnervingly pleasant and normal.

As the two of you make your way in, the young shop keep blearily looks up, expecting yet another boring shift. The moment he sees Reimu, he is instantly quite sober and awake.

“Good morning Miss Hakurei and..." he hesitates, "Unknown sir. Welcome to Kirisame-ya, can I help you with anything today?”

Reimu nudges you in the ribs, prompting you to say something. Anything.

[] Ask about watch making/fixing tools.
[] Ask about what services the shop offers.
[] Ask if Mr Kirisame is in.

[] Write in.
>> No. 34267
[X] Ask if Mr Kirisame is in.
[X] Ask about what services the shop offers.
[X] Ask about watch making/fixing tools.
>> No. 34268
[X] Ask about watch making/fixing tools.
[X] Ask if Mr Kirisame is in.
>> No. 34269
[X] Ask if Mr Kirisame is in.
[X] Ask about watch making/fixing tools.
>> No. 34270
[x] Ask about watch making/fixing tools.
>> No. 34271
[x] Ask about watch making/fixing tools.
>> No. 34272
[X] Ask about watch making/fixing tools.
>> No. 34273
[X] Ask about watch making/fixing tools.
-[x] Ask if Mr Kirisame is in.
-[x] Bargain for tools; trade service for tools.

Donation money aside, giving a good first impression to Mr. Kirisame may have future benefits. Maybe occasional side jobs and referrals~!
>> No. 34274
[X] Ask about watch making/fixing tools.
[X] Ask if Mr Kirisame is in.
[X] Bargain for tools; trade service for tools.

Why not?
>> No. 34275
[x] Ask about watch making/fixing tools.
[x] Ask if Mr. Kirisame is in.
>> No. 34277
[X] Ask about watch making/fixing tools.
-[x] Bargain for tools; trade service for tools.

[SUM]
[INV]
[SUM] -AUTO -FIRSTPOST
[INV] -AUTO -FIRSTPOST

So I was rereading the story and noticed this:
>Meta-Abilities Unlocked: Summary of Events [SUM], Player Inventory [INV]

So I figured I'd try that, and it also sounds like a good way to start each new thread. That second part's just a suggestion, though.

Also keep including links to the previous threads, that shit's convenient.
>> No. 34278
>>34277
I don't know... Starting it off with a silly inventory checkup ruins part of the immersion for me.
>> No. 34279
I, personally, would prefer [INV] automatically at the start of every in-story day, and [SUM] only on a mass vote basis.
>> No. 34281
>>34279
That's a pretty good idea. Though a summary would be good to start each thread off with.

[SUM]
[INV]
[SUM] -AUTO -FIRSTPOST
[INV] -AUTO -WAKEUP
>> No. 34284
>>34278

Pretty much this.

It's not necessary in the very least right now; perhaps on a sci-fi story with an artificial protagonist but not here.
>> No. 34285
>Immersion
Just ignore it. It won't be more obtrusive than the votes in between the story posts.

[X] Ask about watch making/fixing tools.
-[x] Bargain for tools; trade service for tools.

[SUM]
[INV]
[SUM] -AUTO -FIRSTPOST
[INV] -AUTO -WAKEUP
>> No. 34288
>>34285
>Just ignore it. It won't be more obtrusive than the votes in between the story posts.

The problem is that it's hard to ignore it when there is some one trying to push the silly idea in the first place toward other readers becoming all the more obtrusive.
>> No. 34330
Well, that was unsurprising.

I give this story 2 relapses tops before dying for real.
>> No. 34331
>>34330

Not a chance the author's currently busy? The writer doesn't seem to be the type to up a liveblog post unless necessary. wait till a month or two passes then we can call its death.
>> No. 34332
that's it if THIS story dies too i'm going to officially label this site cursed. i mean seriously the number of dead stories here is STAGGERING!
>> No. 34334
I really like this story's unique premise.

I hope you are fine writefag and if you are that you will keep writing.
>> No. 34342
Auto-summary set. Inventory on wake-up set.

[SUM]

It is your third day in Gensokyo, and it is currently 10.02 AM.

You are currently in Kirisame-ya, the Kirisame Second Hand Shop, located in the village.

Earlier...

You left the village schoolhouse, after meeting with Keine Kamishirasawa to discuss the laws of the village and for general information.

You have bumped into the enigmatic Sakuya Izayoi, and consequently suffered some sort of hallucination, probably related to your past.

Reimu has subsequently bought you some medicines from Reisen to help you with your reoccurring sleeping problems.

You have just caught your first issue of Aya Shameimaru’s newspaper and found it to be absolute garbage.

[INV]

Currently on your person:

- Brass pocket watch: It’s your personal pocket watch, made of brass. It has your name and a crescent moon engraved on its back. It is magically enchanted to resist external manipulation.
- Butterfly Dream Pill x3: Special medicines, these are ‘guaranteed to foster good dreams.’ Take one before you sleep.
- Butterfly Dream Pill precautions note: A set of precautions for taking Butterfly Dream Pills.

In storage at [Hakurei Shrine]

- Hakurei Sealing Charm x1: A paper sealing charm, handcrafted by Reimu. Very powerful.

Spellcards:

- [Time Sign]: Jewelled Movement- You haven’t had a chance to try this card out yet...

[x] Ask about watch making/fixing tools
[x] Ask if Mr Kirisame is in.
---[x] Offer your services in exchange for the tools.

---

“Good morning. I’ve been informed that this is a good and reputable store to obtain some items. I’m here to see if you have any precision tools.”

The shopkeep nods intently, picking up a small notepad from underneath the desk,

“Alright then sir. What kind of tools would you need?”

“Watch-making tools. Gear cutters, precision callipers, screwdrivers, lubricating oils. The like.”

“Watch-making... watch-making?” He taps the list inconclusively, “I apologise sir; we don’t really stock many precision tools. I definitely know that we have a couple of tweezers, a few of those tiny screwdrivers, more of the general items... complicated gearing tools, you’d probably have to see a smith or the kappa for those kind of things.”

You can’t help but feel some mild disappointment. Still, the shop still has a couple of tools you can start with.

“How much are the miniature screwdrivers then?”

The man slides the pad over to you,

“Take a look, see what you like.”

The prices are definitely reasonable... you think?

Quickly running some mental calculations, you rapidly come to the conclusion that you actually would need to take a look at the state of the items on sale before you make any snap judgements.

“Could I take a look at some of those tools?”

---

The array of various picks, tweezers and various screwdrivers has you quite satisfied. Most of the collection is in pristine state, with only a few dull tips and the occasional scratch. More than satisfied actually; thrilled, to be precise. You could probably pick apart and maintain your watch to the bare minimum level with these tools.

It’s a pity you’ve not enough money. You decline to purchase any of the tools and the shop keeper reluctantly pushes the boxes and containers aside for the moment. Just as quickly, he copies out some prices and names, and hands you the paper.

“If you change your mind sir, I’ll be sure to keep them reserved at their current pricing.”

[Item added to INV: Quotes for tools at Kirisame-ya]

“Could I speak with Mr Kirisame?”

The keeper pauses for a moment, before turning around and going to the back of the shop.

You wait.

Glancing around, you begin to note that Reimu is no longer in the building. It makes a sort of sense, given that she is a good friend of Marisa’s. Perhaps she has decided it would be best to avoid reminding Mr Kirisame of her.

But that makes little sense. Why would she avoid contact with the villagers? She can simply say that she is introducing you to the village to acclimatise. Why?

The thought lingers malevolently, only to be shaken away as the keeper returns with Mr Kirisame. And what an imposing figure he is.

The head of the shop is quite clearly authoritative. You can see the look with which he surveys the room, appraising everything in his view. Though of otherwise average height, the sheer weight of his personality is present as the shopkeeper shrinks under his calculated gaze.

Most interestingly though, his facial features are distinctly and unmistakably Asian, particularly the black, well-kept hair. The only real resemblance between him and Marisa seems to be the relatively eager look that he currently sports, eyeing you with particular interest.

He leans over the counter towards you, reaching out to shake your hand,

“Good morning, and welcome. It’s not often we see newcomers in the village. You do shake hands, right?”

You nod briefly, accepting his firm, warm grip with your own. He smirks knowingly as the two of you shake hands,

“Don’t mind me for saying, but I think you’ve got a pretty solid grip there young man. How can I be of service to you today?”

You clear your throat,

“I understand Mr Kirisame, that you stock various precision tools here. I wish to offer my services in exchange for use of those tools.”

He thinks over it for a moment, sizing you up, barely paying any attention to your pale, ghostly hair colour as he examines your face,

“It would depend,” he starts, steepling his fingers, “What kind of services do you offer, Mr...?”

“Ambrose. Just Ambrose, for now. To answer your question, I am offering my services as a craftsman of sorts; I have experience with assembling, maintaining and repairing various mechanical devices, such as clocks, gearing systems and clockwork mechanisms.”

“I see. Do you offer any other services besides mechanics?”

“I am versed in advanced magical enchantment of items for many purposes, such as strengthening them, protecting them from wear and tear and adding various defensive effects.”

Mr Kirisame just stares at you for a moment.

“I’ve got to ask first. You aren’t exactly human, are you?”

“Half-youkai, sir. Mostly from my father’s side. It is a long story,” you lie, remembering Keine’s advice.

“Hrrm... sorry, I had an old friend like you. Runs a shop just outside the village, Kourindou. Funny one that Morichika. Still, not much call for scientific mechanicking around these parts, but the kappa would be more than happy to have someone to talk shop with. I think I could give you a call if anybody needs something made or fixed,”

He slides the box of tools back to you,

“As a show of good faith, I’ll give you these tools, free of cost, but in return, I’d like you to go visit Kourindou. Check up on Morichika for me and deliver a message. Does that sound reasonable, son?”

“Yes, yes it does.”

[Items added to INV: Basic Tools, Mr Kirisame’s Letter]

---

After agreeing on several lesser details and accepting a signed and sealed letter from Mr Kirisame, you stumble back outside. The streets are still as slow as they were not ten minutes ago, with barely anyone pacing around this time of day.

Reimu is waiting for you just outside the shop, leaning up against the wall.

“I managed to convince Mr Kirisame to keep an ear out for jobs,” you say, hefting the small box of tools, “I also talked Mr Kirisame into donating me these tools,”

“What’s the catch?”

“We have to deliver a letter to Rinnosuke, preferably as soon as humanly possible.”

She smirks, “Did he ask if you were magical?”

“He asked if I was human, so I... lied,” you say, rubbing your neck, “We should probably send this message to Rinnosuke soon. Mr Kirisame seemed very insistent upon that condition.”

---

“Hey Hakurei! You coming back soonish, or are you done with us mortals for today?”

You turn, watching Jiro, the smaller watchman, leaning on his spear. The other watchman, Taro as you can recall, is nowhere to be found.

“Maybe next month you’ll bring over another one, right?” he continues,

Reimu doesn’t respond, avoiding his gaze as she continues towards the forest, leaving you to chase after her. Even as you ask if anything is amiss, she calmly reassures you that nothing is wrong.

This does not reassure you at all.

But you feel it is not your place to pry. She likely has her reasons for disliking that specific watchman. At least... you believe it is just that specific watchman. He certainly seems outspoken and forward about some aspect of her.

---
>> No. 34343
They say that many a magician is married to their work.

Magic is their mistress; they play with it, bending the world to their whims, treating themselves to the gift of the world with almost casual disregard. And yet, magic is their master. Their actions are driven by magic’s arcane rulings and logic, alien and impenetrable at times; magic obeys no authority besides its own.


Ambrose is 12 years old, and is slowly dozing off as he listens to his master in the lecture hall.

Shaking away his drowsiness, he quietly listens in,

“As I said earlier, the main application of Deltories’ Number within this system is to counterbalance the unwanted spatial dilation effects of any spell, caused by interaction of core-linked thaums with the so called, ‘fabric of space’. Essentially, the use of any wide scale time spell will cause massive destabilisation of the reality we exist within, unless we include Deltories’ Number within the sealing framework. Consequently...”

Judging that whatever his master is saying, he has already covered in his private studies, Ambrose decides to quietly slip out of the lecture theatre. As he dons his blazer, he makes his way through the massive oak doors, emerging again in that wonderfully maintained garden.

And he sees Elsa there, sat near a flowerbed, observing the tulips in full bloom. She seems to be prodding at one of the bulbs, content to watch it sway back and forth in retaliation.

“Morning Elsa. What are you doing to that flower?”

“Pretty obvious,” she says, giving him a cursory nod,

“Right. I don’t think our masters are going to be back very soon.”

Elsa leans back, her short brown hair bobbing as she tracks the fluid movement of students in the practice fields beyond.

“What do you plan on doing, then?”

“I wanted to head over to the library. Do you want to follow?”

She nods, brushing off her skirt as she rises. Together, they both head off back into the building,

“When is your old man going away again?” she asks, “I heard he was heading off somewhere,”

Ambrose closes his eyes, “Master is taking the train to Germany, to give a lecture in Stuttgart. He’ll be making a few stops along the way in Belgium to give a few speeches. I don’t think he will be back for a few weeks.”

“So he’s leaving you with us again?”

“Yes, I know he will send me to stay with you and Master Walker in a few days.”

“Tch. Sometimes I think the way people treat your master is a bit stupid.”

Ambrose is halfway to opening the door as he pauses, “How so?”

She crosses her arms, shaking her head in mild frustration,

“He’s really clever. People should at least listen to what he says.”

“You mean they don’t?”

“They smile and nod a lot when he talks, but they always talk about it afterwards,”

Ambrose mulls over this for just a moment, before opening the door wider for Elsa to enter.

---

The library of the magic university remains as usual, deserted and unappreciated. The few living beings prying through tomes and volumes speak little as they shuffle about the place. It is here that Ambrose is attempting to develop a new spell of his own.

Elsa slides over the corrected calculations,

“You keep placing two Werner matrices instead of two,” she points out, “There isn’t going to be enough power for the impact if you don’t switch over.”

“I’m fairly sure I know what I’m doing Elsa.”

“What you’re doing, is you’re making another shield-type spell,”

He glances over his calculations. And hastily scribbles over a few lines.

Elsa then scrawls a few sigils alongside the paper, connecting them together with the usual arcane circles,

“Remind me again, you wanted a ‘punching’ spell?”

“Yea. I’ve figured out how to make the Bronze Buckler give a sort of shove if I pulse it quickly. But then I couldn’t get it to go faster.”

“Limitations of the framework?”

Ambrose nods, “So, I figure that if I make a modified version of the Buckler, I could create a sort of punching spell.”

“Eh. I prefer simple blade constructs. Quick and easy.”

“Aye, blades are fast and easy, but there’s no real power in that unless you wield it right.”

The two of them look aside. Another boy, bobbing from side to side with nervous energy, is drawing closer with a pile of books,

“You two look like you know somefing,” he continues, setting the books down for a moment, “Could ya tell me where I could find Auris Gelder’s Thaumic Mechanics?”

“I think the Applied Thaumics shelves are over there,” Ambrose points,

“D’ya mind if I leave my kit over here first?” the boy asks,

The two of them shake their heads, and the new boy strides off, picking through the shelves for his books.

---

Ambrose can’t help himself, periodically peeking over to his right, watching the other boy tracing and noting some fairly complicated diagrams from the books he has taken.

Many odd mechanisms, known sources of magical power, along with some odd transmission spellworks. The occasional conversion equation.

Elsa has since taken a nap, her head resting on a pile of soft astronomy journals. Ambrose takes another look at his developing spell. Still rudimentary, the frameworks barely set properly.

“What... what are you designing?” he asks, unable to keep himself focused, turning to the other boy,

The newcomer grins, leaning in conspiratorially,

“Something I’ve been wondering about for months now. If I get this right, I think I could be onto something really big here.”

He holds his hand out, “Firstly, the name’s Hiram Whitt, yours?”

Ambrose grasps the hand, “Ambrose-“

“Wait! I know you; you’re with Alders, the time wizard, right?” Hiram says, shaking all over with that nervous energy, “Aye, it’s a good day today! T-tell me Ambrose, does he really think he can bring peace with the Far East- No. No, forget that. Gotta focus.

The important thing here mate, is that I’m working on new way to use magic. Bear with me here, bear with me... see the way I figure it, the thing about magic is how individuals manipulate the flow of thaums using- right? So, I see that if we could standardise the system, create some kind of-“

Hiram hesitates for a moment, coughing to clear his throat,

“I’m not being clear am I?”

Ambrose shakes his head,

“Okay, lemme try again then. I think I can make magic work with technology.”

“What.”

“Yeah.”

“But. But. What? Electricity and other scientific devices malfunction around magical fields; there’s too much thaumic interference for a current to flow properly. Plus, magic tends to burn out wiring and all sorts of delicate electronic parts, right?”

“Yeah yeah, but see, if magic and electricity are simply different forms of energy, then if we could convert magic to a more stable form, we could probably make magic-based circuits, and eventually magic-based technology. Once we have those, we can make foci which do spell calculations and manage complex binding fields with minimal interaction from humans.

Think about it, a world where we have magical foci which can do the work for us! Faster and more precise spell casting, with the ability to work around scientific devices without fear of interference!”

Ambrose’s mouth is still open as he tries to formulate a response.

[] “... that... that actually sounds... kind of interesting.”
[] “Charming as it seems, I hardly think this is plausible.”
[] “I want in on this.”

---

I think that during the Easter break, there will be time to continue this story. Sorry for the inconvenience.
>> No. 34344
[X] “I want in on this.”

Magitek ahoy!
>> No. 34345
[x] “... that... that actually sounds... kind of interesting.”

Turning magic and electricity into the same energy? That sounds interesting.
>> No. 34346
[x] “I want in on this.”

What's the worst that can happen?
>> No. 34347
>two instead of two
Okay, what. Proofreading error, I'm guessing?
>> No. 34348
[x] “I want in on this.”

Because yes
>> No. 34349
>>34347

Yes, unfortunately. Thank you for pointing that out.
>> No. 34351
[x] “I want in on this.”

This sounds great since this could greatly improve our watch-making skills. In addition, this knowledge of magi-tech could allow for better relations with the Kappa, who can potentially help us.
>> No. 34353
[x] “I want in on this.”

Ten bucks says this is how we ended up in Gensokyo with all our memories gone and our hair white. May as well go along with history.

Also you have no idea how happy I am to see that this story isn't dead.
>> No. 34358
[x] “I want in on this.”
>> No. 34361
[x] “I want in on this.”

---

“I want in on this.”

“Really?”

Ambrose nods, putting his own papers away,

“This sounds really interesting. I’m actually really wondering how this will turn out,”

Hiram wipes his forehead, his fingers shaking with sheer excitement,

“Y-you know, yer the first guy who’s actually interested in this. I’m finally glad someone else saw the potential of this field,”

“What? You mean people don’t wonder?”

Hiram wrings his hands, laughing quietly, “Well... yeah. Plus, I’m not allowed to work in the Artificers’ Guild building anymore... so uh...”

“Were you the one responsible for the East Wing collapse?” Elsa yawns, shifting the astronomy journals to a comfier position, “If so, I don’t particularly think this is going anywhere good,”

“That was just because I didn’t know it was connected to the mains.”

Elsa giggles, “I’ll stick to my blades, if you don’t mind.”

---

Over the next hour, Hiram and Ambrose spent time digging through old text books and magical journals, digging up as much information they could on the topic of energy manipulation. For Ambrose, it was enlightening.

There was so much to do, and so much to prove; an entirely new field of magic, one that no magician had ever looked into before. As he finished copying an equation, he suddenly realised that he had forgotten something. He reached into his pocket and checked his watch.

His master’s lecture was about to end. He should be going soon.

He tapped Hiram on the shoulder, “Whitt, I’ve got to go. My master will be done soon; I’ve got to meet him outside.”

Hiram stood up, and shook his hand, “Yeah, yeah. That’s alright... um, hold up a mo,”

The nervous boy tore a sheet of paper from a notepad, scribbling something on it with haste, passing it to Ambrose,

“Give this to yer master, send a reply as soon as ye can.”

Ambrose looked at the paper,

Master Alders, Mg 1st,

Ambrose is working with me on a special research project, on trying to develop new ways to manipulate magical energy. Could I borrow him occasionally?

Probably during the weekends, although I’m open to whenever you can spare him.

Thanks,

Hiram Whitt, Aft.S


“Wait. You have a specialist degree in artefact construction?”

“Yeah. I updated the Thalmis Mechanism for use in magical clockwork engines.”

“That was you?”

“Yeah, they call it a Whitt Device for a reason you know.”

Ambrose folds the paper, slipping it into the pocket of his jacket. He shakes Elsa gently, telling her that he’s done for the day.

“It’s been a pleasure working with you Ambrose,” Hiram says, picking through another book, “I hope to see you again soon. And thanks for trusting me so far."

---
>> No. 34362
File 133330152444.jpg - (170.81KB, 850x601, kourindou.jpg) [iqdb]
34362
Without even a knock on the door, Reimu opens the door to Kourindou. You briefly scratch your arm, taking a quick glance at your watch before heading inside.

There is no doubt about it. This is most likely the home of a magician, or someone related to the magic trade. The sheer amount of interesting looking widgets and assorted artefacts are far too numerous to be normal.

The white haired gentleman at the counter has given Reimu a cursory wave, telling her not to break anything. This must be Rinnosuke Morichika. He looks up from his book, an eyebrow raised as he spots you.

“A new friend of yours, Reimu?” he asks, carefully watching her as she digs through a small shelf of books,

Satisfied with her find, Reimu starts flicking through a small book, “Yep, he’s got a message for you, from Mr Kirisame,”

He pinches his nose, adjusting his spectacles, “Has he replaced me already?”

“Fortunately no,” you begin, walking up to the counter, “You are Rinnosuke Morichika, correct?”

“Yes, and this is my shop, Kourindou. Something about a message from Mr Kirisame?”

You hand over the sealed envelope to him, placing your small box of tools aside for the moment as you peek at some odd looking devices behind Rinnosuke.

After taking a quick look at the letter’s contents, he sighs nostalgically,

“Mr Kirisame makes a hard bargain, as usual. What’s your name then?”

“Ambrose. Tell me, do you do any sort of artefact construction here?”

Again, he sighs, “I do a few odd jobs here and there. But really, my store is dedicated to objects obtained from the outside world.”

You think hard for a moment, observing the stoic, unchanging face of the store owner. It gradually evolves to a brief staring competition between the two of you.

He speaks first, “You would be a magician youkai, correct?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes.”

Reimu flips through some more books, “He’s a recent arrival. Came to the shrine, trying to find something, I don’t know what.”

“Well, he looks vaguely familiar, in the generic way,” Rinnosuke waves around the shop, “Well, go ahead and take a look around, but try not to break anything.”

And with that, he leaves you to your own devices.

The magical presence of this shop is impressive. Barely focusing, you can feel the hum of so many different magical sources. How intriguing. You can make out some varied enchanted objects, from pendants and desk ornaments to a very unusual looking-

Is that a gramophone? Who uses those nowadays?

Is... is that a barrel of swords? You’d examine them yourself if you were more sure about handling a blade. There is a distinct voice in your head telling you to leave them well alone.

On one of the shelves, there is a familiar looking device. How curious. You walk up to the counter again,

“Rinnosuke, would you mind if I examine that thing over there?”

---

How intriguing. This device appears to be some kind of automated stirring mechanism, powered by a magical clockwork system. You turn it over in your hands, carefully extending one of the arms.

“That, would be a Whitt Device, primarily used to stir potions mixtures,” Rinnosuke says, returning to his book,

The construction seems desperately familiar. As you bring it to the counter, you can’t help but wonder at the elegant simplicity of the device; a four armed frame will allow it to balance over a cauldron, with the mechanism suspended over it. A series of agitating rods will rotate and stir the potions mixture within, the system powered by a magically wound up clockwork mechanism.

There is a part... wait. You tap at one of the parts of the main operating mechanism. It seems to be jammed... no, out of sync. Something must have dislodged it.

You swing one of the arms open, allowing you better access to the inner components. You rummage through your small toolkit, bringing out the appropriate screwdriver and begin picking at the mechanism.

“Hey. Please be careful with the merchandise,” Rinnosuke warns,

You unscrew the jammed component, turning it over, before re-aligning it appropriately. You press the small toggle switch, smiling as the mechanism chirps to life, spinning lazily in a rough figure of eight. You toggle it off, folding the device back for storage and pass it back to Rinnosuke.

“Personally, I’d prefer that you tell me what you’re about to do, before you do that,” he says, placing the device back onto the shelves, “But I can see you’re deft with your hands. Do you charge for any work done?”

You’ve never really considered that.

“Well, I’ve not been paid for very much to date,” you say, closing up your box of tools, “But I enjoy working with mechanisms.”

Rinnosuke contemplates the vast array of items on his shelves. He selects a small clockwork doll,

“A children’s toy, mechanically operated. It broke after one of my previous guests dropped it,”

---

“And how about this: A small desk clock?”

It has been at least two hours since you entered, and Rinnosuke has been passing you various items and tools, with a variety of broken mechanical operating parts. Some of them were far beyond repair, with entire sections of mechanisms missing or rusted and broken beyond salvation. Most of them were trivial repairs, a simple dislodged gear or the occasional missing spring.

Rinnosuke seems to be quite intrigued to see you work, picking apart the innards of the clock,

“You’ve done me quite a service today, Ambrose,” he says, passing a small hex key to you, “I’ve a few more functional objects now.”

“Hmm. Pass me the cover, would you?”

Locking the cover back into place, you turn the clock around, watching the second hand tick away.

“Brilliant. Winds up with a hex key, should be accurate to...” you check your pocket watch, watching as the minute hand ticks, “About three seconds, give or take. This is a fairly reliable model.”

“Could I take a quick look at your watch?” Rinnosuke asks,

You nod, passing him the brass dial. As he examines the watch, he taps lightly on the back casing.

“I... I can’t pronounce it... perhaps... the Brazen Dial? Would that be an accurate name for this watch?”

The name does not ring a bell.

“The Brazen Dial, a watch of Impeccable Timekeeping, guaranteed never to lose track of time. How useful. I’ve seen a fair few handy items in my time, but this must be one of the more benign ones.”

You weren’t completely aware that your watch had a name. As he passes the dial back to you, you turn it over twice, watching the second hand tick away nonchalantly. Somehow, you think that if it could smile smugly, it would.

Reimu has since gone through at least twelve books, (which you can now positively identify as some sort of comic strip compilation,) apparently not interested in watching two men fuss over broken gadgets.

Her indifference to the current situation is clear.

---

[] Try to see if Reimu wants to do anything.
[] See if Rinnosuke is open to job offers.
[] Ask Rinnosuke about something...
---[] Write in
>> No. 34364
[x] Try to see if Reimu wants to do anything.
>> No. 34365
[x] See if Rinnosuke is open to job offers.
[x] Ask Rinnosuke about something...
- [x] The Myouren Temple. Is it worth visiting?
>> No. 34367
[x] See if Rinnosuke is open to job offers.
[x] Try to see if Reimu wants to do anything.

It wouldn't hurt to ask.
"Brazen Dial", how elegant, I wonder if kourin ever looked the "Luna Dial".
>> No. 34370
[x] See if Rinnosuke is open to job offers.
[x] Try to see if Reimu wants to do anything.

Now we know the name of our little time-keeper. Also.

Durring Time Stop
>The watch in your pocket ticks angrily.

bra·zen (brzn)
>2.Having a loud, usually harsh, resonant sound.

Neat.
>> No. 34371
[X] See if Rinnosuke is open to job offers.

Because hard work is the key to success.
>> No. 34372
[x] See if Rinnosuke is open to job offers.
-[x] Try to see if Reimu wants to do anything.

Works for me~!
>> No. 34373
>Somehow, you think that if it could smile smugly, it would.
>The watch in your pocket ticks angrily.

IT LIVES! FEED IT, SEYMOUR! I mean Ambrose.
>> No. 34375
[X] See if Rinnosuke is open to job offers.
~[x] Try to see if Reimu wants to do anything.

Welp got a possible source for cash flow so for now; don't see why not Ambrose asking what Reimu want, what with her willingly guide him despite seemingly antagonistic aspects of the village.

what have he/she/they done to Reimu...
>> No. 34385
[X] See if Rinnosuke is open to job offers.
~[x] Try to see if Reimu wants to do anything.
>> No. 34441
Dead already?
>> No. 34445
Maybe the author's just busy with school. I hope so.
>> No. 34456
Don't think I forgot this story, writefag. I'll bump it every day if I need to, until I know if you plan to keep writing it or if you're going to run away with your tail between your legs.
>> No. 34457
Yes. To be honest, I've got a very busy exam period coming up before summer.

I will try my best to update sporadically, but at the moment it will not be possible to continue updating this story on a regular schedule.

I personally think that you anons should pursue other stories going around at the moment whilst this one is on sporadic.
>> No. 34458
>>34457
We all know that feel. Good luck, now waiting warmly for your return.
>> No. 34459
>>34457
Most touhou stories are sporadic.
>> No. 34460
>>34459
Technically, the vast majority of them are dead.
>> No. 34461
Zombie moe!
>> No. 34479
[x] See if Rinnosuke is open to job offers.
[x] Try to see if Reimu wants to do anything.

---

Despite her supposedly unaffected behaviour, a little voice in your head is telling you that she probably wants to be somewhere else at the moment.

As you pack up your kit, you decide to humour the voice, and wander over to Reimu’s seat.

“Hmm? Are you done with Rinnosuke yet?” she asks, lowering the book.

“Pretty much,” you shrug, “Just needed to ask him one more question.”

“Right. Thanks for the heads up,” she says, placing a small bookmark (conveniently sandwiched between the front cover,) and marking her place.

You return to Rinnosuke, who is shuffling some of the things you’ve repaired onto the shelves behind him. Smiling, you make your offer to the man,

“Rinnosuke, I’ve an offer for you, which I hope you’ll be amenable to.”

He nudges his glasses back into place.

“It depends on what you’re offering, Ambrose.”

“I am in need of a temporary job whilst I sort out my affairs in Gensokyo. I was wondering if you were hiring.”

Rinnosuke carefully watches your face, thinking very hard and long.

“I can’t really guarantee that you’ll be paid anything,” he begins, scratching his chin with his free hand, “There’s no real call for artefacts from the outside in Gensokyo. But, I do appreciate what you’ve done for me so far...”

“I can do with no salary or wages for now. All that’s important is getting somewhere to start from.”

“Hmm. Well. Lady Yukari and her shikigami frequent this establishment often. I’m sure I can find a way to get her to pay a little extra for repairs and refurbishing.” He holds a hand out, “I’d be happy to have a partner to work with. When will you be able to start?”

You grip his hand firmly and shake, “I hope perhaps as soon as possible.”

Reimu looks on with some faint interest, having put away all the books she took out. You decide to leave your tools here for now, with Rinnosuke sliding the box underneath the main counter. With that done, he sees the two of you out of the building.

It is now... half past three?

---

“That went well,” you conclude, strolling back up the path, towards the village,

Reimu nods minutely, “A job’s a job. Never thought I’d see the day that Rinnosuke takes on a partner. So you’re starting as soon as possible?”

“It depends on whether it’s safer out and about now.”

Reimu waves away your concerns, “I’m sure the culprit will make herself clear soon enough,”

“Herself?”

“Yeah, the troublemakers here tend to be women... you know, that’s actually pretty strange when you think about it.”

Reimu seems pretty self-assured about that and you have a suspicion that she’s onto something.

“Well, I’m done with the village for now,” you continue, “Is there anything that you’d want to do here?”

She shakes her head, stretching her arms behind her head. You take a final look at the village boundary beyond, watching the imposing figure of the taller guard leaning against the gate in boredom.

“I suppose... we could go do something else.”

“Well, you don’t have to wait for me to tell you where to go right?” Reimu mutters, “I’m just here to keep you safe, if you’re still unsure about Gensokyo.”

You blink uncertainly...

This is actually turning out to be mildly depressing. Both of you seem to be circling the issue.

“Perhaps it’d be a good idea to check up on Marisa,” you suggest.

---

It is not a long walk to the forest of magic, perhaps only a few minutes longer than you remember. Reimu seems to be on edge as you walk down the path again, her head turning to check all corners.

The mysterious assailant seems to have given up on ambushing you for now, seeing as you’ve made it all the way to the fork in the road without so much as a single peep. The fairies up above seem to be playing and laughing with little regard to the two of you below.

Fairies. It is rather sad that there aren’t any fairies left back on Earth.

---

As expected, the moment you enter the clearing to her house, you can see that Marisa is up and about, but she seems to be rather unsure of herself as she conjures some kind of...
It occurs to you that she is trying to copy your shielding technique, and failing.

The stance is all wrong: her feet are everywhere, centre of gravity too high, arms far too outstretched. She could barely stop a cricket ball, let alone an actual spell.

She heavily favours her right, telegraphs her movements like a drunk and she is awfully close to overloading her shield by sheer enthusiastic-


You shake your head and immediately grab your watch.

“Marisa!”

To her credit, she reflexively ducks. Seeing that it is only you and Reimu, Marisa relaxes, waving energetically at the two of you, not even releasing the spell she was casting, leaving a highly visible blue disc of energy floating nearby.

“Yo! Ambrose, Reimu, nice of you to come by,”

Reimu clicks her tongue in mild disapproval, “C’mon Marisa, aren’t you at least going to rest properly after yesterday?”

“I slept in this morning. Does that count?”

“No, no it doesn’t Marisa.”

As you watch the two of them beginning to chit chat, you briefly observe the shield she has conjured, sad little imitation.

Flicking your pocket watch out, you conjure your own Bronze Buckler before you, comparing the two shields, while Marisa is waving her arms in frustration as Reimu reprimands her for not taking care of herself better.

Imitation aside, the attempt is unexpectedly thorough; though she has miscounted the number of linkages, and the frame could use some tightening up.

This is nothing you couldn’t improve by trial and error, or by good intuition. An impressive effort overall, considering that she only saw the spell once.

“... marvellous.”

“What’s that Ambrose?” Marisa asks, wiping her forehead,

You tap her shield gently, “A marvellous effort, considering you didn’t ask me about the specifics.”

She hastily dismisses the blue disc, laughing awkwardly to herself, “W-well, I kinda wanted to see if the shield coulda worked for me...”

Reimu crosses her arms, “Are you just trying to copy another magician’s spell again?”

Marisa doesn’t say anything as she kicks at a small tuft of grass,

“I don’t mind very much,” you say, putting away your watch, “I’ve often heard that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.”

“Flattery. Oh, nononono, I just thought it was kinda cool and all,” Marisa begins, “It’s a really practical spell, and I was kinda wondering why not many magicians go ahead an’ use it.”

Overwhelming firepower tended to be the modus operandi of magic scholars everywhere. Magicians, wizards and sorcerers tended to be solitary, territorial creatures by default. Something about apex predators being few in number come to mind. Why bother defending yourself when you can vaporise any interlopers with a flick of your hand?

Well, for a start, so could all the other magicians.

“I couldn’t be so sure, Marisa,” you slip the watch back into your pocket, “Regardless, any chance we can relax, inside perhaps?”

---

The rest of the day is uneventful. It is a pity really.

As the sun sets, you slowly wind down, you begin thinking...

You’ve been to the village. You’ve gotten some tools. You’ve taken a job.

The daystar seems to sag deeper into the horizon as you sit there, on the stone staircase. You turn your pocket watch in your hands, watching the as the second hand ticks away.

The Brazen Dial, huh?

“Nice to know you.”

You weren’t quite sure what you were thinking, trying to talk to a watch.

Nothing doing. Nothing else. There is nothing else to do but try.

You lay back on the grass, stretch out your arms, and close your eyes.

And think. Think of the past.

===

“Our job, as magicians, is to try and uncover those rules, and use them to do things. Wonderful and terrible things.”

===

It is 10.39 PM.

Wiping the sweat off your brow, you get up, off the grassy lawn.

Reimu has already gone to sleep. The shrine is silent, with only the sound of the breeze to keep you
company.

In your room, your futon has already been set out. You know, because you did it yourself before you went outside.

But more importantly, those pills. The bottle is right there, on the shelf.

One before you sleep. That was the dosage. You crumple the note in your hand, tossing it aside.

Drugs. Drugs for calm sleep.

[] Take the pill. (Will consume x1 Butterfly Dream Pill, stock of x3)
[] Just sleep.

[] Dream about...
---[] the moon.
---[] the sun.
---[] the stars.

What is a good time to wake up?

[] 6.00 AM
[] 7.00 AM
[] 8.00 AM
>> No. 34480
[x]Just Sleep
[x]Dream of the Sun
[x]8 AM
>> No. 34481
[x] Take the pill. (Will consume x1 Butterfly Dream Pill, stock of x3)

[x] Dream about...
---[x] the moon.

[x] 7.00 AM



Let's dream about the moongirls. Ah, who am I kidding. Everyone knows that Sakuya isn't one.
>> No. 34482
[x] Just sleep.
---[x] the stars.
[x] 7.00 AM
Pills? Please. Who would bereave any CYAO of the absolute cornerstone of storytelling that is ominous dream sequences?
>> No. 34483
[x] Take half of the pill.
[x] Dream about the moon.
[x] 7.00 AM

We will make the pills last twice as long!
>> No. 34484
[x] Take half of the pill.
[x] Dream about the stars.
[x] 8.00 AM
>> No. 34488
[x] Take the pill. (Will consume x1 Butterfly Dream Pill, stock of x3)

[x] Dream about...
---[x] the sun.

[x] 7.00 AM

I don't think Ambrose has ever dreamt about the sun as of yet, and I think a change of pace with what he dreams of is due since he'll be taking the pill as well.
>> No. 34489
[x] Take the pill.
[x] Dream about...
---[x] the sun.
>> No. 34490
>>34489
Of course I'd forget the third bit.

[x] 8.00 AM
>> No. 34491
[x] Take the pill. (Will consume x1 Butterfly Dream Pill, stock of x3)

[x] Dream about...
---[x] the sun.

[x] 7.00 AM

Take your medicine properly you gits.
>> No. 34492
[x] Take the pill.
---[x] The Sun.
[x] 8.00 AM
>> No. 34493
[x] Take the pill.
[x] Dream about...
---[x] the sun.
[x] 8.00 AM

In before it ends up being Sakuya anyway, which is fine too.
>> No. 34494
[x] Take the pill.
[x] Dream about the sun.
[x] 7.00 AM

---

Drug or not, this is medicine. Take your medicine properly. You pop the pill into your mouth, and swallow as best you can.

Lie down, rest your head.

===

The sun shines bright in all her glory.

Where the moon basks in her own beauty, it is a mere seeming of the truth. Merely a reflection of the Sun's bold intent.

The light pierces the darkness, bares all for the world to see. No shadow escapes her glance.

It bears down upon you, all but scorching your back...

===

“... morning Ambrose.”

You sit up, blearily shrugging off the warm blue covers.

Your room is as drab as you recall, the dull blue paint soaking in the sunlight as you blink away the sleepiness. You fumble with the nightstand, grasping for your pocket watch.

It is 6.54 AM, just a bit later than usual today.

A light cough grabs your attention; Elsa hovers at the door, leaning against the frame as she sips from her cup of cocoa, still in her nightgown, which gently clings to her lean figure. She smiles bemusedly.

“How long you planning to sleep in, ‘amby?” she asks, sliding into the room with her usual silent stride, “Alders was thinking you’ve died in your sleep.”

She drags a chair from underneath your desk, watching you cough away. You can hear your master cooking something in the kitchen below. Sounds like... perhaps a rasher of bacon, some eggs.

Elsa is all but hovering over you, watching your face very closely.

“If you don’t hurry up, you’ll miss your certification day,” she observes, sipping away at her drink.

Certification... wait. What day is it... last night was a blur. You wipe at your forehead, watching as a short strand of black falls over your eye. You think you clocked in late last night.

You remember making your call... oh crap. It’s Sunday.

You leap out of bed, pick up Elsa and deposit her outside, before shutting the door and hastily changing.

Within three minutes, you’ve straightened out your hair, buttoned up your waistcoat, clipped on your pocket watch.

To her credit, Elsa is still sipping at her cocoa, unfazed by your man-handling as she looks over you. She nods her approval, giving you a muted thumbs up before she heads past you, into the guest room.

---

Your master smiles, handing you a small plate, “Feeling good today Ambrose?”

“P-pretty good sir.”

He serves you a few pieces of bacon, “Nervous about certification?”

“Not really. I know what I’m doing.”

“Good boy,” he says, smacking you by the shoulders, “My word, when I was fourteen, I couldn’t sit straight, never mind trying to string together words.”

Walker shakes his head, “Leave the lad alone, Alders. ‘e got enough to fink about right now.”

“I-is Elsa coming today?”

Elsa’s master smirks, “Oh she’s heading over taday, lad. Cool yer heels. I’ve done and asked her to dress all formal and all taday.”

“Huh, I was kind of w-worried.”

The two old men laugh, Alders slapping you on the back again, nearly causing you to spit out your bacon. As you massage your throat, you watch the doorway to the living room...

Elsa is in a dress. Again. The novelty of it has yet to wear off. She slowly, steadily walks in, her skirt swaying gently as she makes her way to the breakfast table.

Unsurprisingly, she is quite reluctant to leave her flat cap behind.

“Sir, can’t I just wear the trousers?” she asks, her voice unusually flat.

“No can do lass, can’t ‘ave improper dee-corum on a big day like this.”

Alders checks his own watch, swinging it with practiced ease into his coat pocket.

“Alright then, let’s get going. You’ve the keys, right Boyce?”

“Aye, that I do.”

---

You blink a few times, your eyes drooping slightly as you watch the sun filter in through the window.

As far as drugs go... you could have... so... real?

You blink a few times. Thirsty, you are very thirsty right now.

Clearing your thoughts, you carefully reach for your pocket watch.

It is 6.59 AM.

You miss Elsa.

===

“So, are you planning to head off to Rinnosuke’s soon?” Reimu asks,

Reimu has already had her breakfast, which would explain why she is already sweeping away the courtyard, whilst you nibble at your own breakfast,

“I most definitely will be.”

She pauses mid-sweep, watching the horizon. You both look out, past the shrine’s archway, watching the sun slowly rise to the occasion.

“Will you need me to follow you around?”

You mull over the prospects of her watching over you again.

Her oversight and familiarity with Gensokyo would certainly be appreciated, but given that she has been rather... uninvolved in the past two days, perhaps she would like being left to her own devices now.

Besides, you think you have enough of a handle on the locale, and you’ve got enough to at the very least block a shot and leg it to the village should anything happen. Right?

You shouldn’t let your guard down. Security above all else.

[] Make your own way to Kourindou.
[] Ask Reimu to tag along with you.
[] Ask Reimu if she’d like to follow.
>> No. 34495
[x] Make your own way to Kourindou.
- [x] Ask Reimu to meet you in the evening, so she would guide you to Myouren temple and back to the shrine.
>> No. 34496
[x] Make your own way to Kourindou.
As much as I want to like the lovely shrine maiden, she's been a non-entity so far. So, oh well.
>> No. 34497
>Also, congratulations to everyone on surviving the first terribly obvious ambush. (First thread)
I think this might be another one coming up, just a hunch. Regardless, I think Ambrose is a big enough boy to walk himself, with all limbs intact, over to the village.

[x] Make your own way to Kourindou.
>> No. 34501
[x] Ask Reimu if she’d like to follow.
>> No. 34504
[x] Ask Reimu if she’d like to follow.
>> No. 34507
[] Ask Reimu if she’d like to follow.
>> No. 34508
[x] Ask Reimu if she’d like to follow.

Don't seem needy, but don't seem stupidly reckless either.

Also, I should have said it before, but I'm really glad to see this updating again.
>> No. 34509
[X] Make your own way to Kourindou.
-[x] Ask Reimu if she’d like to follow.

If she wishes for company then she'd most likely take up Ambrose's offer. IF she doesn't then okay.

Besides, aside from directing new visitors of Gensokyo to the Human Village/Keine or preparing them to get back outside Reimu seems to be more of a "non-entity" to the Human Village as well

Or so it feels like that in this story than most for some reason
>> No. 34524
[X] Ask Reimu if she’d like to follow.

(Obligatory comment to make it not look like votespam)
>> No. 34547
[x] Ask Reimu if she’d like to follow.
>> No. 34588
File 133886046583.jpg - (241.32KB, 1244x892, 60ca453979a0dfdcaf38a46917ad4b92.jpg) [iqdb]
34588
Can we get a status update?
>> No. 34600
File 133891531528.jpg - (121.58KB, 850x850, chaps.jpg) [iqdb]
34600
[x] Ask Reimu if she’d like to follow.

---

“If you’d like to, you’re more than welcome to, Reimu.”

She mulls over the prospects for a minute, continuing her sweep of the area. With a small, reluctant sigh, she shakes her head.

“I’m sure it’ll be okay Ambrose. But if you need help, don’t hesitate to call on me,”

She passes you a small paper charm, inscribed on which is a simple, but powerful beacon enchantment. It probably has enough ‘kick’ for a single burst. Should be highly visible from quite a distance.

[Got x1 Hakurei Signalling Charm]

Slipping the note into a free pocket, you put away your plate and grab your waistcoat and watch and start making your way down the hill.

---

The air in Gensokyo is remarkably cool and fresh, compared to what you are used to back in the city. The walk down the hill is relaxingly uneventful. In the distance, you can see various birds and fairies...

That blue fairy you saw earlier is lazily strolling... no, hovering around the path, her crystalline wings glistening in the early morning sun. She spots you walking down and waves at you.

You politely wave back, recalling a distant memory of fairies and their ability to play vindictive pranks on travellers.

Thankfully, she doesn’t seem too interested in you otherwise, and continues aimlessly strolling towards the forest.

---

Making good time, you arrive at Kourindou at around 7.37 AM.

Rinnosuke is reading one of his books as you walk in. With a raised eyebrow, he puts the book down, passing you a small piece of paper when you walk by the counter.

“What’s this then?”

“Job security, a formalised contract.”

Indeed, the paper is a proper contract of employment; very professional looking, with a rather neat looking seal indicating its officiousness.

Rinnosuke turns a page, “First time I’ve ever had a subordinate. The old man would be overjoyed.”

You retrieve your set of tools from behind the counter, settling down at a desk just slightly deeper in the shop, and begin picking away at various small knick knacks Rinnosuke has set aside as needing maintenance. All manner of mechanisms require your attention. The chair swivels.

Hah, how nostalgic, swivel chairs. You spend a good half a minute adjusting the chair before settling down to work.

Most of them are simple misalignments in their gearing. Others need a bit of reassembly. There are more than a few requiring new components entirely, particularly some of the older looking pieces of equipment. With some interest, you try and identify some of the pieces you work on. Most of the objects are familiar enough, with the occasional makers mark certifying them to be from Germany or Britain or other such places.

Sometimes, you see unusual pieces, with makers you’ve never even heard of. When you show him a small gramophone you’ve pieced back together, Rinnosuke informs you that it was one of Caelondian make, wherever that is. Seems quite quaint, though you can’t quite make out how the thing is powered.

---

As you begin trying to crack open a compact astronomical clock, you hear the door of the store open. You’ve not a good view of the door from your desk, but you can catch a glimpse of...

Big bushy fox tails.

The blonde lady seems to regard Rinnosuke with a good deal of respect, chatting quietly with him as you continue working. You try and keep your attention focused on the clock...

“... how is the outsider doing?”

You can’t help but eavesdrop on their conversation.

“Well enough Ran, he is a fairly productive young man,” Rinnosuke replies,

“Hmm, the lady will be pleased. That object that she sent you, has it been repaired yet?”

“I think he’s working on it right now.”

Huh.

Speaking of which...

You can’t quite get into the inner workings of the clock, given that your current set of tools are not quite up to scratch. You try improvising to remove a particularly small bolt, but the nut seems to be just beyond the reach of your pliers.

You scratch your head for a moment, trying to figure out the approximate dimensions of the nut...

The awkward angle and positioning of the bolt makes it unlikely that you’ll be able to completely disassemble this clock. You’ll probably need some more precise tools to get into this one. Probably have to get them custom made, judging by the unusual size and positioning of the inner nuts.

You swivel around in your chair for a short while. Promptly, you write down the dimensions of the nut on a piece of scrap paper. Checking your watch, it is now half past nine.

You decide that it is best to reassemble the clock as it is and put it aside for later.

---

At ten past ten, you get up, placing the reassembled clock onto a short shelf, placing a note beside it:

DO NOT TOUCH THE CLOCK.

The fox lady seems to have disappeared by now, and the shop is back to its regular, empty state. Rinnosuke is still reading his book.

“I’ve done as much as I can with the astronomical clock over there.”

He sets down his book, “How goes the work then?”

“Most of the items need spare components. I’ll need to hunt down some parts, and if I can’t, then I will need to make them myself.”

“And how long will it take to make them?”

“It would depend on how quickly I can reverse engineer the parts.”

He sighs quietly, “How much would it cost?”

“I will try to keep costs down.”

“... meaning?”

You think carefully, “It could cost... a substantial amount. Pardon my unfamiliarity with the cost of crafting components here.”

Rinnosuke thinks quietly, tapping at his countertop. He reaches a decision, returning to his book,

“I think you should head into the village, talk to the kappa. You may find them helpful when working with metal.”

There is a brief silence as you watch your boss continue reading.

“You don’t have to wait for my approval to leave, Ambrose.”

"Oh."

---

Technically, according to the employment form, you’re being paid by the hour. (Not that you’re being paid much anyhow.) Regardless, you decide to make straight for the village, keeping at a brisk walking pace.

The watchmen obviously work in shifts, given that the two guards from earlier are not there right now. After a cursory friend or foe hail, they let you pass through the palisade.

Not knowing quite where the kappa can be found, you decide to ask a passing villager where they might be. Of course, she points you directly towards what you think is the market district.

---

The wonderful thing about traditional market districts is the experience. The sights of various stalls and impromptu stands, lined up with umbrellas on a hot day as their owners battle with each other to drag the attention of the crowds of shoppers milling about with their obviously too-good-to-be-true deals. The deliverymen stride purposefully through the crowd, hauling bags of goods or pushing small wheelbarrows of items to their destination. Once or twice, you spot the odd non-human amongst the congregation, chatting excitedly to their companions.

The smell of freshly cooked street food wafts around as you try to pin-point the location of the kappa. As you continue to enquire directions, you are told to listen out for explosions and odd, unearthly sounds, given that the kappa seem to relocate their own premises almost weekly, according to the locals. There is a scattering of children, enjoying their free time in the most traditional of ways.

You close your eyes, listening to the gossip of the housewives. The squeals of little children as they race by. The shouts of irate customers, demanding their money’s worth. Too loud. Too loud for your liking.

Where to go?

It stands to reason, that you start somewhere familiar, and work your way from there.

From where you stand, you can definitely make out the schoolhouse, just outside the marketplace itself. Just a bit further into the market square, you can see Reisen and her medicine stall. Of course, there is also the Kirisame shop, established in a proper storefront amongst the other, more established businesses.

But then again, a marketplace is an adventure, is it not? Besides, the laws of probability say that you should eventually chance upon the kappa. It is only a matter of time, time that you’ve got plenty of at the moment.

[] Head over to Reisen’s medicine stand.
[] Make your way over to the schoolhouse.
[] Pay Mr Kirisame’s second-hand store a visit.
[] Take a look around the marketplace by yourself.

[] Eh. You’ve got time. Head somewhere else. (Specify)
>> No. 34603
[x] Head over to Reisen’s medicine stand.

Ask if those dreams are real or not.
>> No. 34604
[X] Head over to Reisen’s medicine stand.

I'd say it's a good start as chances are it'll have less commotion than elsewhere for now. makes for picking out unique sounds fighting over the din of regular market place sounds.

Plus with Reisen being sort of a brief acquaintance maybe she had seen where the Kappa had set up today.
>> No. 34606
[X] Head over to Reisen’s medicine stand.

Huzzah! for updates.
>> No. 34607
[x] Take a look around the marketplace by yourself.

Wonder what that clock is.
>> No. 34608
[x] Take a look around the marketplace by yourself.

Welcome back!
>> No. 34611
[X] Head over to Reisen’s medicine stand.

Works for me~!
>> No. 34612
[] Take a look around the marketplace by yourself.
>> No. 34613
[x] Head over to Reisen’s medicine stand.

She is most likely bored, and wouldn’t mind our company.
>> No. 34617
[x] Take a look around the marketplace by yourself.
>> No. 34627
[X] Head over to Reisen’s medicine stand.

She's going to die of boredom if we don't help.
Hopefully the next update is quicker, I really like this story.
>> No. 34631
[x] Take a look around the marketplace by yourself.

I'm interested in his reaction to the kappa.
>> No. 34634
[X] Head over to Reisen’s medicine stand.

Welcome back.
>> No. 34636
File 133935146972.jpg - (155.59KB, 850x1104, soisaidtoem.jpg) [iqdb]
34636
[x] Head over to Reisen’s medicine stand.

---

Reisen seems to be terminally bored with the lack of activity by her stand. You feel that you should solve two problems in one go, and quickly make your way toward the stand.

Despite her boredom, she seems to be inattentive to the crowds around her, choosing instead to indulge in reading various booklets of what seems to be... dosage tables for specific drugs. The stall is as it was before, with the suitcase still brimming with unknown reagents and drugs.

“Good morning,” you begin,

She looks away from her reading, giving you a curt nod as she stands,

“Good morning sir. How are the pills?”

You scratch your neck awkwardly as you recall how... vivid the dream was.

“They were... exceptionally effective, thanks.”

“And no unusual side-effects?”

You think carefully.

“Just ended up a little bit thirsty,”

“Mmm, yes, most people report some dry throats in the morning after... that’s very good to hear sir,” Reisen smiles brightly, “And it only took three weeks to get the average dosage right...”

“Excuse me?”

She laughs nervously, an ear drooping protectively over her eye. “N-never mind. How can I help you today?”

“Yes, well, I was trying to make my way through the market, as I was looking for a specific stall.”

She twitches her ears out, listening in to the surroundings.

“I need to find the kappa stall you see-“

“They’re not here today.”

Damn and blast.

“Oh. I was afraid of that.”

Reisen waves at the stalls around her, “Well, they’re usually only in the village if they’ve got salvage or inventions that they want to sell. I haven’t heard anything from my usual contact about them planning to come in.”

“They have to plan to come into the village?”

She nods vigourously, “Yep yep. Keine won’t let them anywhere near the village until she’s got the village on standby,” she rearranges a small stack of flyers before they get jostled by the wind, “I remember a few weeks ago, they nearly set fire to the eastern side of the market square when one of them brought out some kind of sound generating device... I think it was a karaoke machine or something. Well, that was a good day for business,” she taps her head, “A lot of split eardrums and mild burns.”

“Right.”

---

“So, I remember when I came in one day, and the other shrine maiden started tailing me...”

You are caught in a rather distressing situation.

“It got really bad when she was asking me about what the medicines did. Back then," Reisen continues, resealing a bottel of strange liquid, "I was carrying more of master’s more volatile samples, so would you believe-“

You are perched on a small stool of your own, sitting right next to Reisen, behind her stand, where she seems to be reminiscing on her times in the market square. As fascinating as it is, you can’t stop nodding and voicing the occasional ‘mmhm’ or ‘right’ as the girl continues bemoaning her fate.

“So then, Keine shows up, and before I know it, she was dragging off Moriya and giving her a pretty good scolding in front of all the children. She’s a good sort, bit air-headed, but a good sort. Ooh, but you don’t want to get on Keine’s bad side. Ever. Like that one time where-“

Oh dear lord. Why are you still smiling?

---

You surreptitiously draw out your pocket watch.

12.49 PM.

“And then I had to deal with Mrs Soujima when she wanted that refund. As loud as she was I don’t blame her; those dosages really have to be custom tailored for each individual, but she doesn’t dare leave the village walls-”

You are beginning to feel extremely guilty. You cannot even begin to see a break in the continual storm of polite conversation to duck out without being rude.

You silently plead with the passersby to try and draw her attention away so that you can bid her farewell, but they all seem to be pointedly ignoring your plight as they plod around aimlessly.

Plus, you’re getting kinda peckish.

“So then I told her to stick it...” Reisen hesitates for a moment, glancing around the market square, “Um. What time is it?”

“Ten to one.”

“Say again?”

Bah. “Twelve fifty.”

She taps her fingers together, “Oh, lunchtime. Hmm... well...”

“Do you have somewhere you need to be?”

“No, not really. I have a lunchbox, but...”

“It is not problem,” you say, glad that nature herself has granted you such a boon, “I hope I haven’t been too much of a bother,”

“Mm. I uh... could I uh...”

“Yes?” Damn. Why did you ask- please. Please say nevermind.

“You, um... I forgot to ask for your name yesterday. Master was very annoyed when I forgot to get your signature and slip and everything. Y’know, for record keeping and what,” she says, laughing somewhat nervously, handing you a small, crumpled receipt slip, as well as a pen.

You carefully sign your name, the cursive script coming out as familiarly as it always does.

Ambrose D.

She looks over the receipt, nodding as she puts it safely away,

“Ambrose D. Sounds really western, doesn’t it?”

Oh, D. Your last name starts with a D.

How interesting.

Reisen begins filing through the suitcase, securing the materials for transport as she folds up the placard. “Well, Mr Ambrose, d’ya want to come for lunch with me?”

“I thought you had a lunchbox?”

“Yeah. But you’ve been listening to me rambling all this time. Plus, I’m guessing you’re skint right now, seeing as Reimu lent you money.” She seems to be in slight disbelief at that.

Actually, you are pretty much broke. You’ve not exactly thought about it before now, but this is kind of a problem. Technically, your job with Rinnosuke should in theory pay something, but as of now, you don't really assume it will pay much.

In fact, you think it would actually be more of a commission-based wage-packet than a proper salary. The nature of the job really suggests that. You really have to take a closer look at that contract.

Sensing your dejection, Reisen claps her hands together apologetically, “It’s okay Mr Ambrose; it’s on me for today.”

Free lunch, or freedom? Choices, choices...

[] It’s a free lunch with a nice (if overworked looking,) young lady.
[] You’d rather much excuse yourself and make your way...
---[] Around the market square.
---[] Around the village.
---[] Back to Kourindou.
>> No. 34638
[X] It’s a free lunch with a nice (if overworked looking,) young lady.

I'm not a man to turn down free food. Plus, it's funny watching Ambrose suffer Reisen's rambling.
>> No. 34640
[] You’d rather much excuse yourself and make your way...
---[] Around the village.

Might as well familiarize ourselves with the village.
>> No. 34641
[x] It’s a free lunch with a nice (if overworked looking,) young lady.

It's a free lunch with a pretty lady. There is no negative part to this.
>> No. 34642
[x] It’s a free lunch with a nice (if overworked looking,) young lady.

Talkative Reisen is a good change.
>> No. 34643
[X] It’s a free lunch with a nice (if overworked looking,) young lady.

Nom nom nom. Moon bunny is so nice.
>> No. 34644
[x] It’s a free lunch with a nice (if overworked looking,) young lady.

Free food with a side of moon bunny.
>> No. 34645
[X] It’s a free lunch with a nice (if overworked looking,) young lady.

On the off chance the contract terms the salary truly as "commission based" then Ambrose is screwed financially speaking. Building a good rapport with Reisen may be a good thing; new job opportunities perhaps.

Plus all talking managed to jog a new memory, if only slightly.

D...
>> No. 34654
[X] It’s a free lunch with a nice (if overworked looking,) young lady.

Alright so Kappas are not around. Unless there's a human who happen to do lot's of metal work outside of smothing out farming tools, Ambrose's out of luck for now on getting those parts needed.

lonely bunny reminds me how my job is HHHHHNNNGGGGG
>> No. 34671
[X] It’s a free lunch with a nice (if overworked looking,) young lady.

One of the laws of life is that you NEVER reject an invitation for lunch unless you have something really important to do. And since the Kappa aren't around. Also, lonely Reisen.
>> No. 34686
[x] It’s a free lunch with a nice (if overworked looking,) young lady.

---

You decide that is very hard for you to refuse such a generous offer.

---

Just a few minutes away from the square, there is a small noodle bar. As the two of you enter, you are greeted by a relatively nice young lady, who offers you two a seat nearer to the back of premises, where Reisen carefully locks the briefcase to the chair. Taking a seat opposite, you take a brief once-over of the bar. Quaint, homely atmosphere, with lots of wood and bamboo. The smell of freshly cooked broth and the light aroma of green tea permeate the air, while a few couples and groupies alike dig into their bowls of steaming hot noodles. Here and there, you can see the odd western person, chatting away in rapid-fire English to their Japanese companions.

"The usual order Reisen?" the waitress asks,

Reisen nods firmly, "Mm, and one for him as well,"

"It's nice to finally meet you," she smiles, taking a good long stare at your hair, before turning back to Reisen "And how about drinks?"

"Just two cups of green tea."

"Two for me as well," you add, glancing at the serving on the table opposite.

With a delightfully practised grin, the waitress yells off the orders and nods graciously, before turning to serve the other customers around.

Looking around, you continue to try to take in the surroundings...

The breeze from the outside flows freely into the shop, where it very barely manages to reach the two of you. You briefly contemplate removing your waistcoat, but can't find it in yourself to even begin unbuttoning the top button on your shirt. Giggling, gossiping, gushing voices from the tables around as people chit-chat about their daily happenings over lunch...

"So I saw this really cute guy the other-" "No way am I going to the temple. Creepiest place I ever seen-" “I swear Hanamura. You need to cool off-“
"-sure you didn't leave it with Yayoi? I mean she-" "I know it's a stretch, but c'mon man. Just tonight's shift, okay?" “-and? What else did the old man want from me? I paid my dues-“

It's a bit loud in here.

"Look, Mii... do I have to go over it again? I do don't I-" "Keep your principles. I sure as hell don't need them." “I’d love to have you over tonight. Bring some of that sake and we’ll-“
"-damn! I love the work the youngest Hieda produces-" "Rika, Rika, how's the family been? Haven't seen Tomoko for a while-" “Iya~! Where’d you get that dress?! It’s so cute!”

You tune out the chatter, bringing your attention back to your own table as the same waitress passes four steaming hot cups of green tea. With that same dazzling smile, she again bows and dimisses herself, just as Reisen starts sipping carefully at her first cup.

"So... Ambrose. Why'd you come to Gensokyo?" she asks,

You don't know.

"No reason at all?" she smiles sympathetically, "Did Yukari take you away from home?"

"She saved me from... wherever I was."

"Did... did she ask you to do anything strange when you first arrived?"

You nod, recalling the donation money.

Just then, the waitress comes back, bearing two steaming hot bowls of noodles and the accompanying chopsticks and spoons. Seeing as the food has just arrived, you decide to honour it by eating it silently.

... silently.

Okay. You continue eating as silently as you can manage.

---

The flavour of the somewhat cloudy soup/broth is a delightful sort of tangy flavour you can't quite describe. Washing it down with one of the cups of green tea, Reisen just watches as you drink away.

"First time eating ramen?" she asks.

"Not too sure. It's very possible that I've lost some of my memory."

"Ah, that happens a lot around Gensokyo," Reisen says, "W-well, we have a nice little set of medicines which have been proven to help aid recall by up to-"

"I'd take you up on that offer Reisen, but right now, I have no assets. But the help is very much appreciated."

"Oh, riiight. I really do have to ask though. Are you a youkai by any chance?"

"Yes." Cover story. Stick to it.

"... could you elaborate a little?"

"Just yes. I don't particularly know whether I can tell you everything given my current mental state."

Reisen pulls at one of her ears fondly, "Well, at least you're in capable hands. Do you plan on staying in Gensokyo for a while?"

---

More questions. More questions. Perhaps, you reflect, the free meal was a sort of free incentive to poke around socially on Reisen's part. Where do you come from? Do you remember who taught you magic? Do you have any family? How old are you?

All of them, questions you're still somewhat hesitant to answer, given your unusual circumstances.

Still, she's being very polite about it. So polite, you can practically see the burning desire to ask all the unusual and potentially scandalous questions. But, at least she is honest about it. It's already been around 17 minutes since you came in.

"So you’ve gotten a job at the knick-knack shop?” she continues, “I heard that Mr Morichika is a bit strange. Does he really stay inside all day?”

“I can’t say for certain,” you reply, swirling the remains of your drink mournfully, “I’ve not worked with him long enough.”

“Un. What’s the time again?”

“It should be around... ten past one. One ten.”

She sighs quietly, “Man, I’ve got to get back to work. Ah, Irie, could you put the bill on the doctor’s tab as usual?”

The lady at the front nods, scribbling something into a small ledger.

The two of you get up, pushing in your chairs in as Reisen unchains her briefcase of medicines from the chair.

“Thanks for the lunch Reisen. It’s been a pleasure.”

“Yeah, it’s been nice talking. I’ll see you around then,” she says, giving you a brief bow before heading off in the direction of the marketplace.

“She’s a pleasant kid, that bunny,”

Huh?

“Hey new guy,” the lady at the counter drawls, “Keep an eye on her when she’s out there, for her sake, okay? She always gets harassed by that green-haired shrine maiden whenever she’s in town. You youkai have to watch out for one another around here.”

“R-right.”

“Stay safe out there, boy.”

---

You’ve got time. Still got plenty of time to keep searching for some kind of machining shop or smithy. As you mill through the village street, you’re fairly certain that a few heads are turning in your direction, particularly as you draw out your pocket watch now and then to check the time.

You suppose it makes sense: a strange new man, walking around in foreign clothes. You must be interesting to them, given that it seems to be a very peaceful, sleepy little village. Reminds you of those villages back home. Quaint. Well, given enough time, they shouldn't mind you, right?

It’s 1.17.

[] Keep walking around. Maybe we’ll find something.
[] Head back to the market square, have another look around.
[] Try to find a specific place... [Write in]

[] Head back to Kourindou.
[] Go all the way back to the Hakurei Shrine.
[] Let’s go over to the Forest of Magic.
>> No. 34687
[x] Head back to the market square, have another look around.

We should speak to someone with an appropriate stall/shop/whatever if we're looking for a smith or someone capable of machining.
>> No. 34688
[x] Head back to the market square, have another look around.

Looks like we're kind of stuck until tomorrow.

We could always ask Keine where the Kappa live and just head over to the Mountain. Maybe bring Reimu along.
>> No. 34691
[x] Let’s go over to the Forest of Magic.

Hey Marisa, do you know where I can find some sailorskappa?
>> No. 34692
[x] Let’s go over to the Forest of Magic.
-[x] Visit Alice Margatroid.

Our visit to Alice is long overdue. She promised to make us new clothes, we should ask her about the dream pills and take a look at her alchemical laboratory.
>> No. 34694
[x] Let’s go over to the Forest of Magic.
>> No. 34702
[x] Let’s go over to the Forest of Magic.
-[x] Visit Alice Margatroid.
>>34692
We should also ask for a tie.
>> No. 34714
[x]Market square, look around.

Maybe we can find some trinkets to buy, fix up, and resell at profit.

Also, calling it now: Sakuya is Elsa.

If she is, I hope it's not "rescue her from slavery." SDM gets the whole charisma/fate/domination treatment too often.
>> No. 34715
>>34714
I really hope Sakuya is not Elsa, because that'd be really cliche.
Elsa's descendant, on the other hand, could be cool.
>> No. 34716
[x] Let’s go over to the Forest of Magic.
---[x] Visit Alice Margatroid.

---

Perhaps it is time to visit the Forest of Magic again, you muse, slipping your watch back into its pocket. You can remember that Alice put an estimated time to completion of about Straightening out your waistcoat, you make your way back out towards the gate, past the early afternoon crowds.

---

It appears as though the guardsmen from before are on duty again. The smaller, skinnier man takes his time unlatching the gate, making a great show of it whilst his partner respectfully maintains his distance.

“Eh, it’s the new youk again,” the skinny guard chuckles, “How’s Hakurei doing today then, hmm?”

The larger guard nudges the skinny one, “Jiro, mind yer manners; he’s a guest.”

“Aww relax man, this son of a gun gonna try nothing here,” he shrugs, before giving you an odd smirk, “You ain’t a violent, blood-thirsty carnivore, riiiight?”

There is another nudge from the larger guard as you stride through the gate, utterly unconcerned by his partner’s words, making your way back towards the forest.

“See, he’s good with that Taro,” you can hear him say, “Damn youks. Don’t get an inkling of what’s going on in their heads...”

---

The path leading to the forest and the surrounding lands beyond is calm and peaceful. As you make good time on reaching the shady confines of the forest, you can nonetheless feel something odd about. Taking a quick look around, you can see...

“Hullo.”

The blue fairy and a green companion have been surreptitiously following you. Hmm.

“So, yer the new guy, right?” the blue one asks, her crystalline wings fluttering effortlessly in the afternoon air, “Whatcha doin’?”

Hmm. You are not quite sure about how to go about this.

Reimu told you that in Gensokyo, fairies are considered pests, and that a particular blue fairy, most likely this one, is just an annoying prankster.

The part of you responsible for mythological lore strongly recommends you take extreme caution when dealing with fairies, for they do not think or act as humans do, and that their dealings may be far more than what you actually believe.

The way these two so casually flew up to you in broad daylight, asking about your business... this is potentially a set up for a very uncomfortable set of affairs later on.

What do they want? Have you encroached on their territory? Is there some trinket they want to give you? Surely this is too much of a-

“New guy? Hey, Waistcoat?”

Polite. Polite always works with fairies, right? You’ve read that being polite and honest works well.

“Good day young lady," you begin, "I was just walking along to the forest to visit a friend.”

She smiles knowingly, “Aha, right, so yer going to see the Black-White, right Waistcoat?”

Black-White? Does she mean Marisa?

“A-actually, I was going to see the puppeteer, Alice.”

“The creepy doll lady? Alone?” she cringes, floating lazily past you, “Wow, yer real brave Waistcoat. Real brave or real stupid. Watch yerself with her; she ain’t exactly right in the head,” she says, tapping her head, “Thinks the best way to greet someone is explodin’ them. Geez.”

Oookay. You have no idea how to interpret that.

“Well whatever, Waistcoat. Hope you don’t get blown up or something.”

She hovers off in a random direction, followed closely by her companion, who seems to be whispering hushed reprimands that are brushed off with an impressive casualness.

You can’t resist waving back at them as they fly away into the distance, breathing a quiet sigh of relief as the air around you returns to its normal temperature.

It was cold just now.

When was it cold?

Good grief, she must be an elemental fairy, with control over frost. This is very dangerous; magical ice is notoriously difficult to master, and fae with elemental mastery such as her must surely have control befitting their supernatural origins. She could probably freeze you alive if she so desired.

You sincerely hope the queen of her court is a well meaning, just one.

---

With your resolve only slightly shaken by your chance encounter with the fairies, you make your way into the Forest of Magic, and find yourself on the path to Alice’s house.

It’s fairly serene here in the Forest, almost like the fairy tales of old. As you make your way past the boundary markings, you can sense the gentle pulse the simple ward makes, alerting Alice to your presence.

Making your way to the door, you knock twice. Alice answers almost immediately, greeting you with a kind smile,

“Good afternoon Ambrose. What brings you here today?”

“I’ve just come in to visit, perhaps check in on the progress of my clothes,”

She seems somewhat embarrassed, tapping her chin as she lets you in,

“Yes, your shirts and trousers... I think I have a shirt for you to try on, see if I need to make any adjustments. Would you please wait in the living room while I fetch it?”

You nod quietly, taking a seat upon one of the comfy chairs available as Alice disappears into the rooms beyond.

One of Alice’s dolls pops her head into the room, carrying around a small matchstick.

“Hourai.”

“Hello Hourai, how are you today?” you begin, smiling congenially at the doll as she hovers assertively over you, hands on her hips.

“Hourai.”

You are unsure of how this will proceed.

“I’m sorry Hourai, but I can’t quite... understand you.”

“Hoooourai,” she mutters, tapping you on the head with the matchstick.

Is she trying to assert her superiority over you? That is so adorable.

The way she pouts as she begins repeating her name, tapping you the forehead as if she is making a definitive statement of intent. How Alice managed to get such autonomy and life in these dolls is incredible. You’ve not seen anything like this back in England, and they say that magical enchantment is at its prime in Europe.

It must be the ambient magic here in Gensokyo. Surely the only way such strong enchantments last is via this ambient, atmospheric magic.

---

It is not long before Hourai has made her way back on top of your head, ruffling up your hair as she tries to get a good seat. Alice coos at her doll, trying to coax her off your head while she carries a neatly folded shirt in with her.

“Oh, Hourai. Please be reasonable, I have to get Ambrose’s measurements again.”

“Hoooourai.”

“Hourai. Please.”

You smile congenially, “It’s alright Alice. She’ll come around sometime. We just have to wait, and time will deliver.”

She sighs, setting aside the shirt as Hourai continues her sit-on, picking up her glasses,
“You’re being rather troublesome today Hourai. What’s gotten into you lately?”

“Houraaaaai!”

“I fail to see how he factors into this,” Alice says, crossing her arms.

Hourai finally gives up, and with a barely audible harrumph, she flies off into the kitchen.

Alice is again tapping her chin in embarrassment,

“I’m sorry about that Ambrose. She’s been very strange lately, that girl. I wish she’d be more like Shanghai sometimes.”

“It matters little in the end. Now, what did you need me to do?”

---

In a matter of minutes, she has you trying on the shirt, and is busy making minute notes as she tucks and adjusts some of the fabric. It was a little bit generous around the waist, you admit, seeing as she revises her measurements.

“Well, that should be it for this shirt,” she concludes, rolling up her tape measure, “If you want, I can make more adjustments to this one before I start working on the rest of the shirts?”

“No, I am quite satisfied with this wonderfully made shirt,” you nod, buttoning up your shirt again, “I’m grateful for your work so far. What do I owe you?”

“Mmm, I’m inclined to give this one shirt to you, free of charge, considering your circumstances.”

Unusually generous...

“I think we can come to some definite monetary arrangements later,” Alice says, putting her sewing kit away on a high shelf somewhere, “So, is there anything else you would like in the mean time?”

“I was considering a tie to go along with the shirt,” you suggest.

“It can be done. I can make just black ties, mind you. Coloured fabrics are somewhat of a rarity around here.”

“Perfectly fine.”

---

[] Ask Alice about...
---[] [Insert choice here]

[] Ask if you could examine...
---[] Alice’s workshop.
---[] Some of her books.

[] Have a pleasant afternoon chat over tea with Alice.

[] Bid your farewell and head to...
---[] Kourindou.
---[] Marisa’s cottage.
---[] The Hakurei Shrine.
>> No. 34717
[x] Ask Alice about nightmares and dream pills.
[x] Ask if you could examine Alice’s workshop.
>> No. 34718
[X] Ask if you could examine Alice’s workshop.

Afterwards

-[X] Bid your farewell and head to...
--[x] The Hakurei Shrine

Considering last it was somewhere between 1-2pm and depending how long the trek between the village to Alice, it'll probably be a good idea to head "home".

Meanwhile

Maybe Ambrose can provide Alice some inspiration or services such as repairing anything remotely mechanical.

It'll help pay off for the clothing later on.

(If I've misunderstood how the voting options are then I'd go with heading back to the shrine then...)
>> No. 34719
[X] Bid your farewell and head to Kourindou.

Get back to work
>> No. 34720
[x] Have a pleasant afternoon chat over tea with Alice.
[x] Ask Alice about nightmares and dream pills.
[x] Also ask if she knows much about time magic, or if not, if she could direct us towards someone who does.
Refreshing our skills will likely jog our memories.
>> No. 34748
D'aww, Hourai.

[x] Ask Alice about nightmares and dream pills.
[x] Ask if you could examine Alice’s workshop.
[x] Also ask if she knows much about time magic, or if not, if she could direct us towards someone who does.
>> No. 34752
[X] Have a pleasant afternoon chat over tea with Alice.
-[x] Ask Alice about nightmares and dream pills.
-[x] Also ask if she knows much about time magic, or if not, if she could direct us towards someone who does.

Seems good.

>>34748
I want one too.
>> No. 34754
[X] Have a pleasant afternoon chat over tea with Alice.
>> No. 34768
[x] Ask Alice about kappa.
[x] Have a pleasant afternoon chat over tea with Alice.

We have kappa to locate, remember?
>> No. 34770
[x] Ask Alice about...
---[x] ... nightmares and dream pills.
---[x] ... time magic.

[x] Have a pleasant afternoon chat over tea with Alice.

[x] Ask if you could examine Alice’s workshop.

---

You feel at the very least obliged to ask Alice about something that has been bothering you for quite some time. But how to broach the subject?

“Alice, may I ask you something?”

“What is it?”

“I have it from a reliable source that you are taking a particular medicine,”

The blank look you receive doesn’t particularly hint at anything unusual, so you continue,

“Recently, I’ve been taking the same medication. I was wondering if... if you would be willing that is, to provide some perspective on their effects?”

Silence whispers through the room, Alice quietly pondering over something as her fingers flex across her lap. The sounds of dolls scurrying around the cottage as they go about their duties trickle into the room as she nods once,

“If this is about the dreams you experience, they are... real, in as far as memories are real. Sweet dreams of gentle times for a restful and calm sleep,” she says, keeping a close eye on you, “But even the most pleasant dream must end, eventually.”

“Such is the nature of time,” you comment, rubbing the bridge of your nose,

“I would suppose. I don’t think very much about how they work myself, but Dr. Yagokoro’s medicine has been undeniably effective in my experience.”

Unfortunately, this doesn’t address that weird... vision? Nightmare?

“Do you ever experience a... pre-dream of sorts, a shorter dream before the main one, if you can differentiate?” you ask, “Something like an omen, or a foreboding?”

“Are you quite sure you have the correct dosage?”

... that hadn’t occurred to you. “Dosage?”

“Yes. Dr. Yagokoro’s medicines are especially potent even in small doses, and it is important that the dosage is correct, lest some... potentially bizarre side-effects occur.”

Uh oh. How bad could it be?

“Typically for Dr. Yagokoro’s medicines,” Alice continues, “The standard dosage for humans is much lower than that given to youkai, mostly due to the biological differences between the two; youkai in general seem to have a higher tolerance for intoxicants compared to humans.”

Riiight, Reisen must have given you a dosage tailored for youkai. This could be somewhat of a bother.

“Are you feeling alright Ambrose?”

“I-I think I should see Reisen about getting a custom tailored dosage.”

She nods solemnly, “Indeed. But the doctor is a professional of very high repute. The drugs shouldn’t be blatantly harmful without some sort of highly beneficial effect. It would put her reputation on the line if she sold defective medicines, or ones that react badly when overdosed upon.”

This line of questioning is becoming increasingly uncomfortable to pursue.

Hourai leads Shanghai into the room, apparently engaged in a desperate argument, whilst the latter is bringing in a tray of tea for you and Alice,

She seems to be gesturing at you most fervently, “Houuuuu~”

Shanghai herself seems to be rather nonplussed, and upon spotting you, floats over, offering you a small cup of tea, which you accept with gratitude.

Alice beams quite happily at the doll, “That was very nice of you Shanghai, thank you.”

“Shanghai,”

Hourai seems to be pouting in her little corner, before storming off into the kitchen once more as Shanghai flies in after her, setting the tray down on the small coffee table for the two of you,

As you take a sip, you quietly chuckle to yourself,

“I wonder if Hourai is approaching her troubled teenage years?”

In the middle of stirring her cup, Alice quite suddenly halts.

“O-oh. I wonder if... has it really been that long?” she muses, “It can’t possibly be... I’ve only had her for... that long?”

The fact that Alice seems to be putting a lot of concerted thought into this line of thinking shows that it must be something that has never quite occurred to her before.

How fascinating a living, sentient doll must be; what would it be like to experience life in quite a different way? Never growing, but certainly experiencing change as time went by. Curious.

“Can dolls mature emotionally, if not physically?” you suggest, setting your cup down on its saucer, “It certainly occurs to me that they should at the very least undergo some cognitive changes after a long time of activation,”

“I certainly suppose they could,” she says, watching the entrance to the kitchen very closely, “She has been acting very temperamental lately. Hmm. T-this could be very difficult.”

“It is at the very least, a challenge of motherhood to deal with a potentially rebellious teenager, right?”

Alice actually looks fairly nervous by now, and is clutching her cup with far more pressure than you think is necessary.

“I’ve... I’ve got a rebellious teenager?”

“Scary, isn’t it?” you joke, “And to think that once, we were teenagers. Must have given our parents a real scare in our time, huh?”

“Real scare...”

Shanghai has flown in again, this time laden with a small pot of sugar and a pair of teaspoons. She hesitates quite briefly when she sees Alice deep in thought, letting out a small “haaaa?” as she watches her creator set down her untouched cup.

“Shanghai, I think I’ll need some milk.”

“S-shanghai?”

---

After quietly chatting about Marisa and Reimu’s antics over the past week, Alice seems to have calmed down a great deal. The topic has soon shifted over to the nature of Marisa’s experiments:

“So tell me, how often does she end up with a viable potion mixture?” you ask, allowing Shanghai to give you a third refill, “Lots of failures? Or does she just experiment randomly with whatever she finds?”

“It tends to be just raw experimentation. I’ve never really seen Marisa try to aim for a specific potion, aside from her exploding solutions-“

“Exploding solutions?”

Alice smiles nostalgically, “Mmm, she tends to consistently create a variety of these potions which explode on encountering a strong shock. I’ve never quite figured out how she does it. Stabilising the solutions I mean; they react with such ferocity when thrown, and yet she always seems to have those vials all over the cottage floor.”

“I’m surprised,” you admit, stirring some more sugar in, “I would have thought that Marisa would keep a magic workshop of sorts. It would certainly help her keep tidy. And safe.”

“You’d be surprised. She does have a workshop, much like my own, but she apparently prefers to work on her research alone, and even then, she doesn’t particularly put any priority on where she sets up her experiments,” she allows Shanghai to fly into her lap, “Still, sometimes I worry about Marisa’s recklessness. She’s not quite at the level where she can simply ignore anything hissing on the pot.”

Marisa really does sound like every absent-minded student back at the academy, given your precursory examination of her house and the consistent worry that her friends seem to have over her health. Alice on the other hand seems to have things well under control, despite the apparent age difference. What does her workshop look like, you wonder. Unable to contain your curiosity, you turn to her,

“If I may ask permission Alice, could I take a quick peek at your workshop?”

You await a response for the next half a minute, watching as Alice gently brushes Shanghai’s hair.

In retrospect, asking to see a magician’s workshop not two days after a formal introduction seems moderately questionable. Despite the constant claims otherwise, magicians are still vaguely territorial. You can see it in the way the various unions behave, constantly trying to assert their ‘control’ over parts of Britain.

If it weren’t for the council, you hardly think anything would ever get done there.

“I think I’d prefer that you come with me,” she starts, allowing Shanghai to float off with your cups, “My little hidey-hole is just downstairs,”

“Downstairs?”

“Mmm, safer underground than anywhere else; you don’t have to worry too much about blowing the walls off, or curious eyes peeking through the window.”

---

As Alice leads you over to the basement stairs, she makes sure to keep you out of the way of her various dolls, all fussing and milling about the kitchen and stairs as they diligently work away at their chores.

“Tight ship you run here,” you quip, watching as a doll easily lugs around a broom twice her size,

“I’d very much hope so,” Alice says, unlatching the door to the stairs, just in the hallway between the kitchen and bath, “To be fair though, this is the primary workshop, where I do most of my alchemical work. Upstairs is where I work on my dolls and such,”

“Don’t like mixing the two?”

“No. All those chemicals are not quite good for the dolls, not to mention the smell of ash.”

“Right.”

The stairs are mercifully short, but they lead into a rightfully imposing little room. As she lights up some of the sealed lanterns in place down here, you can see a well maintained and organised series of shelves, desks and equipment. The smell of ash and phosphorous is very faint, but you can tell that Alice is indeed, very serious about her explosive alchemy.

The main workbench on the far side of the dark, grey room seems to be occupied by a series of sealed clay containers, tucked neatly away as Alice sets one of the lanterns alight, bringing the area into clear contrast.

She stands just by the bench, dragging a hand fondly over the wooden surface,

“This is where I make many of my black powder mixtures. Have to be very careful with the lamps and the lighting, so I have to keep the place very clean.”

That would explain the fastidious cleaning habits of her dolls to some extent. You highly suspect the other is due to a deeply ingrained need to clean and organise on her part. Not a bad trait to have, to be blatantly honest, but at times could prove frustrating to deal with.

Glancing up, you notice a series of burn marks on the ceiling, oddly flared, as if their fires burnt in a certain direction. You mentally trace their start point to where Alice is currently standing, sifting through her storage shelves.

You can almost see how she would combine the reagents diligently over the workbench, placing them aside and using a small sample to test their efficacy. How interesting. Must be a terror on her clothing; from the looks of it, she doesn’t seem to keep any sort of lab coat or apron in her workshop. How does she do it?

“I hardly suppose you work with chemicals in your good clothes,” you comment, backing away from the shelf, “Would be a terrible waste of a fine dress, no?”

“Ye-es... it would be quite a waste, if I actually worked in this dress. I do have a few rough clothes tucked away in my room though.”

Figures.

“Alchemy, enchantment and craftwork. You really are an all-rounder, aren’t you?”

Flattery to be sure, but she accepts it with a small, self-assured grin,

“And you would happen to have an eye for talent, how?” she asks,

“I knew a man quite skilled with craftwork, and I’d say your work is easily as intricate as his own pieces. An alchemist of any repute has to have some skill in creating explosives, part and parcel of their work. And I myself have some experience with enchantment. I think I’m at the very least, qualified to talk on these matters.”

Alice’s head tilts minutely to the side, that tiny smile slowly turning into a smirk, “You do enjoy your intrigue, don’t you Ambrose?”

“To be honest, I’d prefer to keep clear of cloak and dagger. A fair bit too complicated for me. I’ll stick to my shields and time magic any day.”

“Time magic... do you remember me telling you about Ms Izayoi?”

Your thoughts turn to the girl in the village, disappearing in a time that stood still.

“Yes... I met her yesterday, on the way to Reisen’s stall.”

“Do you recognise her by any chance?”

You shake your head, not quite sure at the moment whether a passing resemblance is enoguh to count. She breathes out a small sigh of disappointment,

“Pity, I was hoping you would have been able to tell me more about her style of magic,”

“Oh, that I am quite sure about; she is most definitely a time magician, a chronomancer, to use the technical term,” you say, “She’s quite capable, given that she is using a high level, localised time stoppage technique. In any case, I didn’t quite see where she went after she stopped time so that would sugg-”

“You saw her stop time?”

“Yes. Of course I did, it was fairly obvious, what with the grayed out world, the lack of movement besides her-“

Her head snaps to as you say that, “Tell me again. You saw her performing a time stop?”

“She was the only one moving around during the time stop. I could tell.”

“Ambrose, no one ever sees her moving during a time stop. She just disappears and reappears.”

Hmm. That would make a certain level of sense; time stops are generally localised fractures in time, allowing someone to remove themselves from normal space... given that their movement is not correlated with the progression of time during the effect, they should disappear and reappear wherever they stand at the start and end of the time stop respectively.

Seems to make sense so far.

Damn. She must be a really powerful chronomancer to be able to stop time on such short notice. Plus the local magic conditions are ideal for spell work. This is much more complicated than you would have thought. Alice watches the way you think in silence with a curious stare.

You take a quick glance at your pocket watch, lit up by the dim lighting of the lanterns perched on the walls. It is now around 2.40.

Alice seems to be urging you to come back upstairs by the way she seems to be milling around the entrance. You suppose that she’d rather much entertain you in a more hospitable location than this dank, dark environment.

Making your way back up, you are briefly accosted by Hourai in the hallway as Alice attends to one of the groups of dolls; she seems to be shadowing you and Alice very closely, making very sure to stay just out of Alice’s line of sight. She’s close enough to you that you could probably pet her on the head without too much effort. Her sister is nowhere to be seen though...

---

Pick one:

[] Ask Alice more about her books.

[] See if you can play a bit with Hourai.

[] Excuse yourself and head off to...
---[] Kourindou.
---[] the Hakurei Shrine.
---[] the village.
>> No. 34772
[x] Excuse yourself and head off to...
[x] the Hakurei Shrine.
>> No. 34773
[x] See if you can play a bit with Hourai.

Can't resist.
>> No. 34774
[x] Excuse yourself and head off to the village.

Too early to return to the Shrine, and we may still meet some kappa today.
>> No. 34775
[x] Give Hourai's head a rub and ask her to go easy on Alice and Shanghai; you'd really appreciate it.
[x] Ask Alice more about her books.
>> No. 34777
[] See if you can play a bit with Hourai.

[] Excuse yourself and head off to...
---[] the Hakurei Shrine.

I'm game for either of these.
>> No. 34778
[x] See if you can play a bit with Hourai.

I can't resist either.
>> No. 34779
[X] See if you can play a bit with Hourai.
[x] Ask Alice more about her books.

Hourai is a doll. Plus Alice is love.
>> No. 34780
[x] See if you can play a bit with Hourai.

Best choice.
>> No. 34781
[x] See if you can play a bit with Hourai.

>>34775
>>34777
>>34779
It probably says to pick one for a reason.
>> No. 34789
>>34781
Note how I said EITHER.
>> No. 34795
[x] See if you can play a bit with Hourai.

I see nothing wrong with this.
>> No. 34798
[x] Give Hourai's head a rub and ask her to go easy on Alice and Shanghai
[x] Excuse yourself and head outisde: try to experiment with the ambient magic.
>> No. 34800
[X] See if you can play a bit with Hourai.

Reminds me of that one doujin about Hourai coming alive.
>> No. 34802
>>34800

It will be beyond hilarious if she does exactly that and then start shipping Ambrose and Alice.
>> No. 34817
[x] See if you can play a bit with Hourai.

---

She is too cute to ignore. Even as she hovers conspicuously over you, you cannot help but give a subdued smile.

You decide, almost immediately, to pet her on the head a few times.

Somehow, you felt that this was the right thing to do, despite the way she seems to be frowning at you as you reach up and give her head a little rub. Despite all her apparent protests, she doesn’t seem to make too much of a fuss about it, simply pursing her lips in slight embarrassment, turning away from you with an inaudible huff.

“You really are a stern, grumpy person, aren’t you Hourai?” you say, returning your attention to Alice, now carefully instructing another group of dolls, “Secretly, you must really enjoy the attention, right?”

She responds by shaking her head with a most certain denial.

The classic response. Well, you could have guessed she was one of those types, right?

“If you keep this up Hourai, I may be forced to play with you more,” you smirk, leaning up against the doorframe, “I’m sure Alice, Shanghai and the other dolls wouldn’t mind if you took a few breaks now and again, right?”

“Hourai,” she protests, waving her arms haphazardly, probably trying to signal her importance to the household,

“And of course, I can never be too sure of what you say anyway, so I’ll have to assume that was a positive agreement to take a few breaks,”

“H-h-hourai!” she groans, “Houuuu...”

“It is a great pity we can’t really have a coherent conversation, huh?”

“Hou-rai.”

“Who’s a moron, Hourai?” Alice asks, finally finished with her instruction, now clutching a small notebook and pencil,

You smirk, uncrossing your arms as you give Hourai another gentle pet on the head, “We were just discussing things about the household,”

Alice’s head tilts to the side, just a little, as she watches the doll storm off in a huff, “What on earth is she grumbling about?”

“It’s alright, Alice. She’s quite an interesting person to talk to.”


“in any case, that is one shirt done,” Alice repeats, scribbling away in her little notebook, “A black tie and the trousers next, correct?”

You nod, checking your watch as Alice thumbs through a few of the pages. Ten past three.

“Hurm. I wonder if I should head back now...”

Alice looks up for a moment, “Are you going back to the shrine?”

“Actually, I was thinking of Kourindou right now. Rinnosuke may need me...”

“I highly doubt it,” she says, walking away to put her notebook back onto the shelves, “From what I understand from Marisa, he’s quite used to being alone for long periods of time,”

No doubt, due to the relatively specific business he runs. How many customers did he get in a day anyway? Something to ponder. You wonder if you need to report in and ask if he needs you to stay on. Actually, this is rather important; you’ve spent quite a while out of the shop.

“I suppose. Still, I should probably check in with him.”

“Mmm, alright then,” Alice nods, “I’ll come around to the shrine in a few days to drop off your clothing. If you’ve still got time later, you’re very welcome to come back and have tea if you want.”

Invitations to tea. Something you would enjoy greatly.

“Thank you for your graciousness, Alice. Time will tell.”
>> No. 34818
File 134376627576.jpg - (165.53KB, 850x594, threetopfairies.jpg) [iqdb]
34818
It occurs to you, as you make your way through an unfamiliar patch of forest, that everything has been rather unusually quiet. So quiet in fact, that it is becoming suspicious. You take out your watch as casually as you can, angling it such as that you can see behind you through the reflection of the crystal face.

Nothing around you at all.

This is very, very unusual. You are certain you’ve spent longer walking down this path than expected. Almost like you’ve been going around in... actually, now that you think about it, you’ve lost the path some time ago and are actually standing in the middle of the forest, without any sort of recognisable landmark...

Damn. Must be fairies.

“Alright,” you say, pocketing your watch and putting your hands up, “You’ve got me. I’m well and truly lost, at your mercy and all. Do as you please.”

There is a quiet rustling from the tree tops somewhere around you.

“Yes, yes I know you are there. Now could you please kindly show yourselves?”

The rustling stops and three heads pop out of the brush; one ginger, one blonde and one brunette. All of them, childish and female, with the ginger and blonde sporting especially wide grins.

Fairies alright. At least they didn’t try to curse you or anything.

“Ehehehe, you sure talk funny, guy,”
“Yea, but he’s awfully polite,”
“True dat, Luna. Wait, what did he say?”
“‘Do as you please’”
“We can do that?”
“Yeah, he said we could,”
“What should we make him do then Sunny?”
“Uhm... got any ideas Star?”

“Ladies? Could I ask to be pointed in the right direction?” you ask, an uneasy feeling growing in your chest,

“Nuh-uh. Hold on while we think,” the ginger one says, pulling the other two back into the trees for a quick strategy session.

After a few minutes of tense deliberation, the three fairies jump straight out of the trees and hover as imperiously as they can over you, though the facade is somewhat diminished by both their diminutive size and barely stifled giggling.

“Seeing as we have you at our mercy,” the ginger one smirks, “The Three Fairies of Light demand a sacrifice!”
The brunette one slaps the ginger round the head,
“Fine. We demand sweets,” she says, massaging her poor head,

You are not quite sure of how to take this.

“Not just any sweets, too,” the blonde one picks up, “We want you to get us the really sweet kind, in the shape of flowers and stuff.”
“Ooh ooh, and get me some dango,” the ginger one says,
“And some rice crackers,” says the brunette.

This is... reasonable, you guess?

How to deal with them... maybe Reimu would know how.

“I am not quite sure about where to get these sweets for you right now, Three Fairies of Light. Perhaps if you would follow me to where I stay, I could get you some sweets.”

“Sounds cool!”
“Alright then!”
“... okay?”

---

The three of them are chattering away excitedly as they trail behind you, having led you back to the forest path. Well, the blonde and ginger are, are least. The brunette is watching you very closely. From their conversation, you can gather that the ginger is Sunny, the blonde is Luna and the brunette is Star. All three of them seem fairly innocent, but you can’t really take that for granted, given that they are fairies.

”The fairies are just pests.”

Reimu’s words ring in your mind as you take out your watch.

Pests, huh?

If they are considered pests, then perhaps it would be expedient to try and surprise them, making your escape in the confusion that ensues. Then again, given that they seem to be powerful enough to trick you into taking false paths and getting lost, perhaps it would be unwise to do so. Plus, they probably know the forest a lot better than you. That is assuming of course, that they are serious enough to try and chase you for their snacks.

Attack them, knock them out and continue on your way? You would probably be able to make a clean getaway if you do so, and you could probably try out that spell card of yours, but you don’t particularly like the odds; three magical beings with mostly unknown capabilities in their home grounds. Plus, they may continue to antagonise for the rest of your stay in Gensokyo if they find sufficient offence at being attacked.

Take them back to the shrine and see if Reimu can deal with them? Seems like a fairly solid plan, and they are, right now, acting in a more or less childish manner. But they may or may not continue to try and extort snacks from Reimu if you bring them back, and you are not quite sure if she would enjoy being bothered with (what you hope is) a trivial occurrence.

Alice or Marisa? From where you are right now, you could make your way to either of their houses and get some help from them. Alice is still in her cottage, and you know for a fact that her dolls are more than equipped to handle a confrontation if necessary, but you don’t particularly think it’d be worth it to disturb her with fairies. Marisa can pull her weight in a fight, but she could also be sleeping or distracted with something else right now. It’s a gamble to try arriving unannounced. Plus, their houses are in the forest, and the fairies probably know who they are and what they are capable of and dealing with it in some way.

Whatever you do, you’ve got to act soon.

[] Distract them and try to flee in the confusion.
[] Take the risk and engage them, head on.
[] Take them to the shrine and see if you and Reimu can negotiate.
[] Go over to Marisa’s house and get some help.
[] Go over to Alice’s cottage and get some help
>> No. 34819
[x] Go over to Marisa’s house and get some help.
Seems like a good idea to get on the fairies' good side, but I doubt Reimu has any sweets, and Alice is doing something far more important than saving us from troublesome pests.
>> No. 34821
[X] Go over to Marisa’s house and get some help.

Something tells me Marisa would enjoy this sort of thing. And who better to test new things on than fairies?

Also I've just started reading this story, and so far, I really like it. Especially Alice. Keep up the good work, writefag.
>> No. 34822
[x] Take the risk and engage them, head on.
It's time to man-up! Put that practice to good use.
>> No. 34823
[x] Take the risk and engage them, head on.

We've got to test this spellcard on someone.
>> No. 34824
[x] Challenge the ginger one to a duel. Say you were searching for a worthy mistress for some time now, and you will become her eternal slave if she wins and proves herself worthy.

Fighting them as a combined force is unwise. We should use the pride and foolishness of their leader to separate her from the others.
>> No. 34826
[X] Go over to Marisa’s house and get some help.

Works for me~!
>> No. 34827
[x] Take the risk and engage them, head on.

Lets roll the dice. At worst, they might humiliate him a bit.
>> No. 34828
>>34824
Wow, I have seen some bad ideas before, but this takes the cake.
>> No. 34829
[x] Take the risk and engage them, head on.
If you cant beat a fairy, life will be very, very hard.
>> No. 34830
[x]Take the risk but fight cautiously. They are fairies, but they are *named* fairies. We all know named characters have importance in plot and are either weak, or strong. We don't have an accurate reading of our own strength just yet. Play them along and test our selves.
>> No. 34832
>>34830
OOC knowledge is no fun just FYI ~♪
>> No. 34833
[x] Take the risk and engage them, head on.


Danmaku is useless, period. But, magic practice never is and, since this is a CYOA with an actual plot, I get the feeling that we'll need to be stronger before facing the head maid.
>> No. 34835
>>34832

Uh. Uh. Meta-gaming!

http://dizzy.pestermom.com/thcomic/138.png
>> No. 34836
>linking to that attention whore KimikoMuffin
Screw you.
>> No. 34838
File 134397736348.jpg - (147.27KB, 850x850, bbbuh.jpg) [iqdb]
34838
[x] Take the risk and engage them, head on.

---

You hardly think that it would be prudent to try escaping without some assurance that they would not track you down. Getting aid from the other magicians would take too long, with too much risk that the fairies would realise your plan as you go down their paths.

“The fairies are just pests.”

Take them out and make a clean getaway it is. First things first. You look behind you, and take a good long look...

The three of them seem fairly familiar with each other, so you can assume that they are companions, and will know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, hopefully compensating for a lack of individual combat ability. Accounting for that, you need to take out the most competent one first, that the other two will lack an edge.

The brunette seems to be the most competent; the way she shadows you so closely, keeping an eye on your watch hand suggests that she knows how to conduct threat assessments. Despite her seeming competence, she still hovers within your reach, a potentially fatal mistake. Does she assume that you will engage with ranged magic first?

Use that against her. She desires to keep an eye on your dominant hand, so reward her scrutiny with a Brawler’s Buckler to the face, hopefully instantly knocking her out.

The ginger and the blonde should be having a short moment of confusion at this point. Out of the two, the ginger is the apparent leader. Loud and proud, you should probably keep her for last if possible; she ostensibly leads the trio, and scaring the daylights out of her should deter any future mischief.

The blonde on the other hand, seems relatively scatterbrained to say the least. Not as much of a threat as you could conceive, but you should still be cautious. Eliminating her quickly would be a good thing. You don’t want to be caught up in a potential crossfire whilst taking care of the ginger one.

They’re both about three strides away from you, too far to close the range and knock them out with the Brawler’s Buckler. Keeping your distance should be easy, but that doesn’t play to your strengths.

A few danmaku should even the odds, so see if you can pelt a couple in the blonde’s direction as you close in for the knockout blow. Move quickly to seize the advantage. Now would be a good time to see how you can apply this spellcard’s effects.

If all goes well, this should be over in about... you look at your watch... 3.10.11.

Give or take, about twelve seconds.

“Ladies. I seem to have realised something,” you say, tightening your grip on your watch.

“What is it guy?” the ginger asks, not quite paying attention,

“I regret to inform you, that in fact, I can’t quite offer you sweets,” you enunciate, dropping your parcel of clothes to the ground. “Brawler’s Buckler.”

Pichuu~n

A backhanded blow instantly knocks the brunette into a nearby tree, knocking her out post haste, with a loud thud.

3.10.14

“I can however, offer you gratuitous magical violence, if you desire,”

With some effort, you swing outwards, firing three few marble-sized danmaku at the blonde, who immediately panics, and fires off her own-

Pichuu~n

Two of your danmaku intercept the incoming magical projectiles, smashing right through them before dissipating, leaving the single one that remains to conk her neatly on the head, knocking her out instantly. She slumps to the ground with a quiet ‘kyuu~’, leaving the ginger one stunned and bewildered as you slowly, carefully close in.

3.10.19

“So, Sunny, was it?” you continue, walking within punching distance, “How about we settle this in the traditional way. With danmaku?”

“B-b-buh... bwa huh?” she mumbles, looking around at her unconscious comrades, “Y-you... you meanie! That was just... just mean!”

3.10.23

Immediately, a bounded magical field appears, locking the two of you into a small square area. The two of you have immediately been separated from each other, with a solid ten metres between you. How intriguing, an automatic duel boundary.

The ginger one puffs out her chest as she hovers back upwards, towards the forest canopy,

“I’ll make you say sorry for that!”

3.10.29

This is taking longer than expected. Still, you bite your lip and dive to the side as a cascade of magical projectiles meet you, smashing harmlessly on the ground. Rolling out of your dive, you realise that she is hovering way too far and at such a height.

She is flying. And you have no way to get at her, besides using your own danmaku. A few deft flicks, and your danmaku are easily avoided by her natural agility in the air. Damn and blast. She is currently strafing as fast as she can, trying to edge in for a better shot at you, past your defensive curtain of danmaku.

You slide underneath one of her projectiles, reaching into your waistcoat pocket for the spellcard.

How does this work? Announce the name of the spell card...

[Time Sign]: Jewelled Movement.

From your watch, a brilliant series of gear shaped danmaku burst out, careening to the sides and spinning in concentric circles around the forest floor as they swivel in closer to the fairy in the centre. You can see the pattern unfolding, slowly spiralling inwards as they wind down, leaving smaller and smaller gaps in the curtain of magic as they close in for the kill.

Unfortunately, the ginger has failed to see the gaps. At all.

Pichuu~n

3.11.32

The boundary collapses with a faint whisper, the forest rapidly returning to its normal vibrant hue.

The defeated fairy is on her knees, still bewildered by the rapid turn of events. You walk up to her, petting her twice on the head,

“I... wha?”

“Thank you for your time Miss Sunny. Now, would you please be so kind as to leave me alone? I have errands to attend to, and time is wasting away.”

“B-b-buh...”

"Good day."

And with that, you pick up your parcel of clothes and continue on your way. You can hear her collapsing to the side with a whimsical sigh.

===

So it spins in circles, huh?

You turn the card over and over within your hand, watching as the image on the front move and perplex you. Pocketing your card as you approach the long path to Kourindou, you take a long deep breath and continue onwards.

===

As you open the door, you can see Rinnosuke still reading a book at the counter. He briefly looks up, continues reading for a few moments, before he realises that you’ve returned.

“Ambrose? Any luck finding what you need?” he asks, raising an eyebrow,

“Unfortunately not boss. I was coming in just to report my failure,”

“Really. Well, business as usual today then,” Rinnosuke takes a quick glance at one of the clocks you have restored, “Not much call to be here if you can’t do anything else today. You can stay if you want, but feel free to go out and about if you please. You’ve done enough in my books.”

“Thanks boss,”

Well, it is as Rinnosuke says: You’ve done your job today, and you’re free to go if you want.

It is 3.54 PM.

[] Head on back to the Shrine.
[] Visit the village for a while.
[] Back to the Forest to visit...
---[] Marisa.
---[] Alice.
[] Stay here at Kourindou until ‘closing time’.
>> No. 34839
[x] Head on back to the Shrine.
We need to brag about our victory.
>> No. 34840
[X] Back to the Forest to visit...
[X] Alice.

Alicealicealicealicealicealicehouraialicealicealice
>> No. 34841
[X] Head on back to the Shrine.

So when's pay day...
>> No. 34842
>>34838
[x]Alice

More Hourai please.
I do want to move the plot along. Ask more questions about Sakuya and the SDM. We need to find the connection betweem Ambrose and Sakuya.
>> No. 34843
[x] Visit the village for a while.
That's where we first met her
>> No. 34844
[x] Visit the village for a while.

We just came from Alice's, and is smashing 3 fairys while using the element of surprise something to boast of?
>> No. 34845
[x] Visit the village for a while.

Didn't we just think that "fairies are just pests". And now we want to go boast about it?
Why?
>> No. 34846
[X] Head on back to the Shrine.
>> No. 34847
[x] Stay here at Kourindou until ‘closing time’
>> No. 34848
[x] Shrine

See if we can scrounge up more info about Sakuya.
>> No. 34849
[X] Head on back to the Shrine.

Works for me~!
>> No. 34850
[x] Visit the village for a while.

Poor faeries. We should grab something for them next time.
>> No. 34851
[x] Head on back to the Shrine.
>> No. 34852
[x] Head on back to the Shrine.

Need moar Raymoo...
>> No. 34856
[X] Head on back to the Shrine.

...I don't think I've voted already.
>> No. 34860
>>34859
Namefagging is looked down upon outside your own story threads. Namefagging when you don't even write is even worse.

Stop namefagging. Thank you.
>> No. 34863
>>34860

Duly noted. I fail to see how having an identity is such a big problem, but whatever. I'm also changing my vote to:

[X]Back to the Forest to vist...
---[X] Alice.
>> No. 34864
>>34863
It's just a cultural thing around this imageboard. Nothing too fancy. Also, thank you for not being a dick about it. That's always nice.
>> No. 34865
File 134557681882.jpg - (107.77KB, 400x600, happygolucky.jpg) [iqdb]
34865
[x] Head on back to the Shrine.

---

You suppose heading back to the shrine would suit you just fine.

“Alright then Ambrose, I’ll see you tomorrow,” Rinnosuke says, returning to his reading.

---

Your journey back towards the shrine is as uneventful as any good afternoon walk should be. Calming as it is, you can’t help but take a few wide stretches along the mostly deserted path through the field, spending a couple of minutes just admiring the view.

Sadly, you are beginning to see the novelty of it all wearing away. One can see how quickly boredom can set in such a place, and how it must be that regulated duelling can become a way of staving off ennui.

The path is mostly deserted. You say mostly deserted, because, for the past three minutes, you have observed in the distance a small girl making her way down the path towards you. Almost lopsidedly at that. The very fact that the girl has two very obvious, very pointy looking horns protruding from the sides of her head indicates that she is not human and thus, combined with the apparent drunkenness, must be approached with some measure of caution.

As she gets closer, you can immediately deduce that she is headed straight for you.

“Aha! There ya are, new guy,” she starts, grabbing your free hand as she starts dragging you along, “Been looking for ya all day,”

She has surprising strength. The small trails you are digging into the path as you try to dig your heels in attest to that.

“E-excuse me?” you begin, immediately stumbling after the girl as she drags you along with her, “Who exactly are you?”

---

Being manhandled was not on your itinerary for the day. Thankfully, the horned girl, an oni identifying herself as Suika Ibuki is both familiar and friendly with Reimu.

“Nice of ya to keep Reimu company and stuff while I was gone,” she continues, having finally released your hand about half way to the hill, “Damn shame ya didn’t bring anything fun to do,”

Massaging your wrist, you keep an eye on the steep climb up,

“I’m not quite sure I came here by choice Suika, so I doubt I’d be able to bring much,”

“Ehhh, details. Oooh, tell me, do you think Reimu’s sweeping or drinking right now?”

“Why does it matter?”

“If she’s sweeping, she’s paying attention and if she’s drinking, she ain’t,” Suika laughs rather abruptly, “I gotta sneak in, cuz I forgot to tell her I was visiting a friend,” she leans over to you in a mildly secretive manner, “She don’t like it much when I slack off the job,”

“W-wait wait wait. You work for Reimu?”

“Eyup. Well, not actually really sorta difficult ta explain. Loooong story, I’ll tell ya later.”

You can smell a faint trace of alcohol. Well, no, actually, you can smell alcohol, and in an unusually high concentration as well. The girl is more than tipsy, she’s absolutely smashed.

“H-have you been, drinking by any chance?”

She replies with a series of unnerving giggles as she makes her way up.

---

From the moment the oni stepped into the shrine grounds, she was doomed to servitude. Within minutes of your arrival, Reimu has systematically set her to work at sweeping the grounds, having reprimanded her for shirking her duties.

With a heavy heart you watch as the oni wobbles just briefly, using the broom for support, before getting on with her duties as best as she can. On her face.

“Honestly...” Reimu groans, rubbing her neck, “That oni is just something. How was your day Ambrose?”

“Productive to a certain point,” you hold up your package of clothes, “I got stuff from Alice. She sends her regards,”

“Hmm,”

The two of you continue staring as Suika hoists herself back to attention, grinning one of the most stupid drunken grins as she finally starts sweeping the path. With the other side of the broom. Ye gods, that scraping noise.

“How long does she stay like this?” you ask, risking a quiet snigger as the oni realises her blunder. It is like a bad comedy skit.

“About half an hour or so. She's less confusing when she’s coherent.”

---

It is much too late at night. Twenty past eleven, and not even a wink of sleep.

You can’t. The ticking of your watch, minute as it is, irks you right now. It beckons, calls, screams for you to attend to it. It ticks and tocks and ticks. You relent, taking it aside and picking away at the stem of the watch, as if it would make a difference. Turning it over and over in your hand, watching as the dim moonlight from the minute crack in the sliding doors filter in, revealing the pale scripture and scratching on the casing.

“You really want to tell me something, don’t you?” you whisper, tapping the watch’s face, “Let me get some sleep, please...”

The Brazen Dial falls quiet, and you lie back down.

You’ll get your sleep, Ambrose. Just don’t forget to keep an ear to the ground.

---

Deltories lay as still as he could, careful to stay within the shadow of the moon,

You’ve heard this story so many times,

And he caught a glimpse of a wondrous lady, clad in shimmering silver, the Spirit of Time. But sadly, his skill in disappearing with the magical arts was for naught; she held the strings of time in her hands, having foreseen his arrival and bade him to reveal himself.

“Have you come for my knowledge, young man?” she asked, drawing closer to him, “If you can accomplish my trial, I shall grant them to you and your followers if you please.”

Deltories being a magician of insatiable curiosity, eagerly accepted, and she spoke to him,

“I require you to stay with me a full seven days and seven nights, without rest, respite, food or drink and with nary a word in between. Accomplish that and I shall reward you greatly with a thread of time itself.”

As soon as he nodded his assent, he was sorely tempted by the lady. Day and night, she would tempt him with all manner of distraction. When the sun rose and lit the sky with its fiery radiance, she offered him her shade. When the sun set and brought the cold moon to bear upon him, she offered him her warmth. When she supped and dined, she offered him food and drink. When the day stretched from dawn till dusk, she offered him banter.

Deltories stayed vigilant and for seven days and six nights he held firm.

But, on the seventh night, the Spirit of Time offered him her respect. Though he struggled, she related to him of her need for a worthy champion, one who would take up a righteous cause and stand firm against the many.

“Would you take up my cause?” said she,

And with a weary mind, Deltories relented, and said “Yea, I would do so.”

With that, the Spirit vanished, laughing as only the spirits can, whilst he cursed his weakness. He begged the Spirit to return, to permit him to pursue arms in her name, to champion her righteous cause.

And she appeared once more, her voice a merry giggling as she tied around his fingers a chain of silver.

“You are strong indeed, for a mere mortal magician,” said the Spirit, “And for this amusement you have given to me, I grant to you a thread of time. Keep it close to your heart and call upon me to run or halt as your needs demand. But I shall tell you this only once.

You must never allow the chain to be broken, for it is time itself. Should you fail, your soul is forfeit. Your soul is mine.”

---

You wake up at four o’clock, propped up against the wall, clenching and unclenching your fists. Sleep found you relatively quickly last night. But you forgot the pills. You forgot the pills, why did you forget them?

A children’s story. That is what it was. A children’s story. Told to apprenticed chronomancers as a warning to not abuse time.

It is still far too dark to see much, with the moon now starting to dip into the horizon. You can see gashes on your left arm disappearing in the pale moonlight. Steadying your breathing, you blink a few times as a hint of colour returns to your vision.

Your watch lies before you, flat on its face, ticking away.

[] Stay awhile and listen.
[] Get up and get moving.
[] Crawl back into your futon.
---[] Take your medicine.
>> No. 34866
[x] Stay awhile and listen.
Doesn't seem like we're getting any more sleep, might as well start the day early.
>> No. 34867
[x] Stay awhile and listen.
>> No. 34868
[x] Stay awhile and listen.
---[x] Take your medicine.
Be a good boy and don't die.
>> No. 34869
[x] Stay awhile and listen.

The thing with his arm just makes me more curious each time it pops up.
>> No. 34870
[X] Get up and get moving.
---[X] Prepare some breakfast.

Getting back to sleep will be troublesome now, and I doubt it's worth it with for another two or three hours or so.
>> No. 34871
[x] Stay awhile and listen.
We were reminded to listen...sorta.
>> No. 34872
[X] Stay awhile and listen.

Works for me~!
>> No. 34873
[x] Stay awhile and listen.
It wants to talk.
>> No. 34880
[X] Get up and get moving.
---[X] Prepare some breakfast.

There's a good reason why we were just told not to abuse time in that update.
>> No. 34882
[X] Get up and get moving.
---[X] Prepare some breakfast.
>> No. 34883
[x] Stay awhile and listen.

===

Continuing to steady your breathing, you calm yourself and take a deep breath. Flexing your fingers, you can begin to feel the warmth returning to their tips. Gradually, the world seems to return to focus once more, the sharp lines of the wooden doorframes slowly etching themselves into your vision as your eyes acclimatise to the growing light.

Whispering in its gentle, ticking cadence, your watch awaits its retrieval patiently. With a twist and a flick, the watch is in your hands once more, its face dimly lit by reflected light.

4.09 AM

Survive.

You are sure that if it comes down to it, you will survive at the very least. You’ve survived... maybe even starting to live now. A house, a home. Perhaps you need a place to call your own. If you plan on staying, of course. There is not enough to work with right now, you think, gripping the timepiece for some comfort. Leaning back against the wall, you listen as closely as you can, shutting your eyes.

So much to think about.

The ticking and tocking of your watch in your hands. A steady and solid beat, one which will never fail you. Your heart, pulsing gently in its unfaltering rhythm alongside it, uneven yet powerful.

Snoring and breathing of the two girls in the rooms opposite. One is a loud and unashamed slumber, the other a minute, restless dream. That you can make the two distinctions is amusing.

The creaking of the branches and the rustling of the leaves in the wind. Minute moans as the breeze passes through the eaves. Shuffling, shuffling of-

Feet.

The hairs on the back of your neck prick upwards as you shift your weight, now on your knees.

The wind blows, sending a low groan as they race through the building.

Easy. Steady and calm. Your watch is up in a defensive position. You draw it once across your chest, a faint flicker as the protective shield rises.

The shuffling has stopped.

And you wait.

Blink.

Breathe.

You’re being watched, you conclude. Being watched by whom?

Yukari?

Unlikely. She would not need to walk, if your previous encounters are to be trusted.

Fairies, come to avenge their sisters?

They can float as well. No footsteps.

Whoever they are, they are most likely gunning for you; Reimu doesn’t seem like the sort of girl to develop mortal enemies, and whilst the oni is an unknown factor, she appears harmless and well meaning enough. The first time the assailant (or assailants) attacked, they did so in the forest when you suspected something, even with a witness and guardian around. You relaxed slightly at the apparent false positive and they struck at once.

They needed that first strike. But why not wait? Why not leave you well enough alone, so that your guard is lowered?

You are a fleeting target of opportunity. Targeted, but why and by whom?

There is not enough to act on right now. For either of you. You are too suspicious and they are in a disadvantageous position.


You lower your shield, letting your aching knees rest as you fall flat on your bum, your arms retiring to a more comfortable position.

You gently release the watch, letting it dangle from the chain, swinging back and forth, back and forth. You almost expect a flash of silver to cut across your sight. Nothing comes and nothing goes. You yawn, feeling the corners of your eyes tear up gently. You scratch your head for a moment, placing the Brazen Dial aside.

Inhale... exhale. There is nothing there, you assure yourself.

You close your eyes, and rest your head.
Within five minutes, you are back to bed.

===

Six o’clock and you’re up like a shot.

The sun has risen now, bathing the land with its gentle morning glow. You’re on your feet, stretching your stiff left arm as you reach the door.

“Good morning Ambrose,”
“Muh... mornin’”

Reimu is awake, having already attended to breakfast, now clutching a cup of tea closely for the warmth. Suika is half awake, her chin resting squarely on the table, barely able to muster words to greet you.

“Good morning,” you return the greeting, “What did I miss?”

Reimu takes a sip, “Breakfast.”

“Damn.”

“Eeeeh. Breakfast is overrated anyway,” Suika groans, discreetly sliding over her unfinished plate of food to you, “So~ I forgot to ask. What’s the deal with you two?”

“What?”
“What.”

Both you and Reimu raise an eyebrow at that.

She lifts her head off the table, resting it on her arm, “A couple of the guys and gals in the village are buying inta some sort of weird gossip. Kept hearing the words, ‘living together’ and ‘so polite’ being thrown about.”

Reimu’s mouth curls downward just that much.

It’s a small village. News travels quickly in such a tiny community, with plenty of time to play Chinese Whispers and twist the words a little. You think back to the cafe, where the din of natter and chit-chat seemed to rule.

“Not even a week and they’ve gone down that road,” Reimu groans, shaking her head in disappointment,

“Give it another week, some other guy’ll fall from the sky,” Suika says, “Y’know? I never heard anything about outsiders landing up on Youkai mountain. Whatdya reckon happens to them?”

A moment of silence as the two of them give the matter some thought.

===

It is 6.26 AM. The dishes are away by now, and while Reimu has already gotten started with her chores outside, Suika seems to be engrossed in thumbing through some of the few books lying around the living area.

Today is going to be a long day. It’ll be great, you can tell.

[] Report in to work at Kourindou as soon as possible.
[] Take it easy for a while; you’ll get to Kourindou at your own pace.
[] You’ve got time to use. See if you can get a bit of practice done at the shrine.

[] Strike up a conversation with Suika about...
---[] ... the village gossip.
---[] ... herself.
---[] ... Reimu.

[INV] Would you like to grab anything useful before you start?

In storage:
---[] 1x Hakurei Sealing Charm (Extra Strong)
---[] 1x Hakurei Signalling Charm
>> No. 34884
Are there four options or are there three and we have to talk to Suika?
>> No. 34885
[x] Take Hakurei Signalling Charm.
[x] Strike up a conversation with Suika about herself. Ask about magic she practices and spell cards she uses.
>> No. 34887
File 134645197351.jpg - (223.59KB, 576x676, Lucia.jpg) [iqdb]
34887
[x] You’ve got time to use. See if you can get a bit of practice done at the shrine.
I have a feeling that death is near he needs to get stronger to win.
>> No. 34888
[x] You’ve got time to use. See if you can get a bit of practice done at the shrine.
[x] Strike up a conversation with Suika about herself. Ask about magic she practices and spell cards she uses.
[INV] Grab both.
>> No. 34889
>>34884

Sorry about the ambiguity of the choices. You've got a choice to either:

Start heading off to Kourindou as fast as you can OR at your own pace.

OR

Train a little at the Shrine before you go.

OR

Strike up a conversation with Suika on one of three topics.

In addition, you may also pick up EITHER/BOTH of the charms you have at the moment before doing any of the above choices.

I hope this clears the choices up slightly.
>> No. 34890
[x] Strike up a conversation with Suika about...
---[x] ... herself.

[INV] Take 1x Hakurei Signalling Charm
>> No. 34891
[x] You’ve got time to use. See if you can get a bit of practice done at the shrine.
---[x] 1x Hakurei Signalling Charm
>> No. 34892
[x] You’ve got time to use. See if you can get a bit of practice done at the shrine.
---[x] 1x Hakurei Signalling Charm
>> No. 34893
[x] You’ve got time to use. See if you can get a bit of practice done at the shrine.
---[x] 1x Hakurei Signalling Charm
>> No. 34907
>>34893
>>34892
Accidental vote spam. Sorry.
>> No. 34931
[x] Strike up a conversation with Suika about...
---[x] ... herself.

---[x] 1x Hakurei Signalling Charm
>> No. 34956
[x] Strike up a conversation with Suika about herself.
---[x] Magic and spells.

[INV] 1x Hakurei Signalling Charm

---

“Suika.”

The oni diverts her attention towards you.

“Ayup?”

“ This is just out of interest, but, would you be willing to tell me a bit more about yourself?”

She laughs whole-heartedly, slamming the book shut before bursting into a somewhat ponderous story about herself, from her first interactions with Reimu, to her excursions to the Heavens. Somewhere along the line, you pick up a few interesting stories about Yukari, which you file away for future cross referencing, but for the most part, it seems like fluffy drabble and disjointed tales of drunken mischief that you could do just as well without knowing.

By now, it is about 7.05 and she shows little sign of slowing down, now segueing into how she’s been recently paying the village more visits, sometimes taking groceries and the like back to the shrine and other times simply to visit a few good drinking friends.

Of course, the notion has been bothering you for some time now and you wait for a suitable pause in the flow of words before interjecting,

“Could I ask you about your magic?”

“Eh? Why’d you need to know?” she asks, having sitting up as she manoeuvres the cushions to a more comfy spot,

“I was just... curious to know. Just curious.”

From outside, you can hear Reimu sweeping away as Suika considers,

“I can make copies of myself. Tiny, tiny copies and such,” she nods, splitting herself into smaller parts, which begin giggling at once, “Manipulate density, size, that sorta thing. Not anything too special though.”

One of the copies has begun darting off to one of the shrine’s other rooms, ostensibly to grab a few things, whilst the other is fetching her another one of the books from the shelves around the room. Useful talents that.

“I see.”

“And you? I hear you’re a real nice guy, calls himself a half-youkai,” she leans over just a bit, “You practice some kinda shield magic and you carry a pretty flashy pocket watch, like that maid.”

She winks, “I guess you’re not gunning for her job then, right?”

“Most certainly not, Suika. I wouldn’t dream of it.”

“Man, I’ve got to take you out drinking tonight,” she mutters, slapping you on the back with far too much familiarity than you feel comfortable, “See what kinda man you really are. Can’t trust Reimu with a stranger till he’s drunk,”

"Huh."

She gives you a long hard stare.

"I was serious about the drinking thing. I'll pick you up later, okay?"


---

After finding another break in the flow of chatter, you excuse yourself for work, taking a quick detour to go ahead and grab one of the charms that Reimu has given you, the one which signals her. Tucking the paper slip neatly into your waistcoat’s left pocket, you leave the shrine, giving Reimu a wave as you pass her, making your way down the stairs...

---

The blue fairy and her companion stopped you along the way again. This time, the blue one (who you figure to be named Cirno from the way the green fairy refers to her,) was asking if you’ve seen any ‘pesky, stuck up’ frogs lately and if so, where exactly.

Uncertain as to what the ice fairy could want with frogs, you respond in the negative and bid her a good day, continuing on your way to work. This is of course, terrible, because now the two of them seem to be following you, seeing as they are now rather bored and unwilling (or unable) to do anything else productive at the moment.

You can't begin to imagine what they are thinking right now.

---

Upon reaching Kourindou, your boss has shooed away the two girls, asking them to find somewhere else to play, leading to much grumbling and disappointment as they fly off towards the forest in search of things to do.

Since then, you’ve been tinkering incessantly with a few of the broken mechanisms lying around the shop, as well as rooting through a few boxes of varied stuff to organise them according to your boss’ requirements. As you go back and forth between the storeroom and the shop front, you notice another girl sitting around the bookshelves, back towards you, absorbed in a good, thick book. You can see two tiny horns in her blue and white hair, barely noticeable.

You’re not quite sure regarding Rinnosuke’s browsing policy, especially since Reimu was doing the same much earlier, but you can’t help but be bothered by the way she seems to be ignoring everything else around her as she practically buries her face into that book, other than occasionally stealing glances at Rinnosuke and shaking her head frantically.

On your third time heading back to the storeroom, she has given you quite the dirty stare, eyes narrowing as you pass by and making sure you can’t take another look at her book’s contents, keeping it angled quite a way away from you.

This of course, encourages you further.

Hefting a small cardboard box as you head on back into the shop front, you surreptitiously pass closely behind her reading spot again, and you can see that she seems to be reading something about...

Fifty Ways to Please a Man

It is illustrated. In detail. A bit of a risqué choice for a young lady, isn’t it?

She hardly seems to be paying attention to you right now, engrossed as she is in her reading material. You think about it...

[] It’d be best to ask Rinnosuke about it, see what he has to say.
[] Might as well ask the girl about it herself, you’ve got spare time.
[] She’s not doing much and it’s not particularly your business. Just leave her be.
[] “WOW, THE THINGS YOUTHS READ THESE DAYS.”
>> No. 34957
>[] “WOW, THE THINGS YOUTHS READ THESE DAYS.”
Tempting, but no.

[X] Might as well ask the girl about it herself, you’ve got spare time.

Trying to woo him? Oh, if only Suika's density manipulation worked on thick skulls.
>> No. 34958
[x] “WOW, THE THINGS YOUTHS READ THESE DAYS.”

>>34957
He has reached Shirou-level in that aspect, if doujins are to be believed.

-'I love you'
-'Who?'
-'You, Rinnosuke, I love you'
-'What?'
-'I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU'
-'I'm not sure, I follow...'
>> No. 34959
[x] She’s not doing much and it’s not particularly your business. Just leave her be.

Tokiko route: DENIED.
>> No. 34962
[x] “WOW, THE THINGS YOUTHS READ THESE DAYS.”

This is somewhat out of character, but I think the result will be amusing enough to make up for that.
>> No. 34963
[X] Might as well ask the girl about it herself, you’ve got spare time.
>> No. 34964
[x] Might as well ask the girl about it herself, you’ve got spare time.
And offer to pricecheck, of course.
>> No. 34965
[x] Might as well ask the girl about it herself, you’ve got spare time.

Well we do work here, so talking with a potential customer isn't out of order
>> No. 34966
[x] She’s not doing much and it’s not particularly your business. Just leave her be.
>> No. 34968
[x] She’s not doing much and it’s not particularly your business. Just leave her be.

Meh.
>> No. 34969
[X] She’s not doing much and it’s not particularly your business. Just leave her be.
>> No. 34970
[X] Might as well ask the girl about it herself, you’ve got spare time.

I want that fucking Tokiko route.
>> No. 34971
>>34970

[X] She’s not doing much and it’s not particularly your business. Just leave her be.

Too bad she already seems to be smitten with Rinnosuke.
>> No. 34972
[X] She’s not doing much and it’s not particularly your business. Just leave her be.
>> No. 34973
File 13480701513.jpg - (245.26KB, 768x1024, ratheruniquetastes.jpg) [iqdb]
34973
[x] Might as well ask the girl about it herself, you’ve got spare time.

---

You've got a sly little idea forming in your mind as you approach the girl. What's the worst that could happen?

“Hullo there little lady,” you begin, setting down a box as you lean over her, “Isn’t that quite a... advanced text for one such as yourself to read?”

She immediately slams the book shut, grimacing fiercely as she tries to wave you away,

“It’s not that advanced!” she protests, before quickly shutting her mouth as her brain reasserted itself, “Guh. I mean I was just browsing!”

“I see. Well by all means then, continue,” you wave, discreetly pointing at one of the more dusty shelves behind you, “If the little lady so desires, there are books more suited to her... unique tastes just over there,”

A furious blush and inaudible muttering follows as you retrieve your boxes in your effort to resume your duties, suppressing a glorious smirk as you watch her embarrassment peak, sputtering nonsensically as she tries to return the book to its original resting place upon one of the higher shelves.

---

After an hour or so of increasingly tedious rearranging of various books, knick-knacks and assorted gubbins, your otherwise quiet corner of the shop is intruded upon by the little lady, who seems to be in some kind of stupor, a ferocious heat in her face, trembling with the most tempestuous of emotions,

“Caaaan I help you little lady?” you ask, setting a small stack of old magazines aside,

“... you can’t be serious,” the little lady mumbles, “You really can’t be...”

“Can’t be serious about what?”

She lifts a hefty looking tome and waves it at your face, “You’ve got to be joking about recommending me this stuff!”

As soon as she stops shaking, you take a closer look at the cover...

The Sins of a Scarlet Woman

It is blank and otherwise non-descript, the ummarked and unassuming book beginning to look increasingly suspicious as you try and remember exactly what the title could imply. A scarlet woman is...

“By any chance, is it fiction, little lady?” you deadpan.

She slams the book into your face, “Y-you absolutely dirty old man! It’s illustrated a-and graphic and-”

“So it's factual then?” you continue, rubbing your sore head,

“It’s totally fictional! B-but that’s beside the point, I mean, how could you recommend such... lewd things to an innocent young girl,” she wails, pointing at an increasingly messy stack of books behind her, their spines embossed with some of the most suggestive names you’ve seen in print.

You guess you must have accidentally pointed her to a larger, more indecent stash of books that the boss kept hidden. How... unusually ironic. The sheer probability of such an occurrence is a pleasant, yet ultimately untimely surprise for you as the little lady continues to rail against your heinous perversion and intent to corrupt as she continues passing books to you, complaining about the sensuous, unadulterated nature of their contents as she forces you to take them off her hands,

“A-and then this disgusting piece, with the cases of unpure love between a father and his adopted daughter is absolute trash that deserves to be burnt by that firebird in Hell!”

The fact that she knows the plots and the outcomes of some of the stories she complains about is not lost on you. A knowing smile graces your face as she finally takes the opportunity to breathe after venting for so long,

“I suppose the little lady is... unsatisfied with my recommendations?”

“U-u-unsatisfied?! I’m horrified!” she starts, “H-how could you be such a...”

“I merely made a close observation as to what interests the lady could have had in mind. A charming man to try and impress-”

She has started shaking you by the collar rather vigorously. You decide to play along for her sake,

“You can’t tell anyone. Not ever. Please. Especially not him!” she pleads, those mournful eyes staring into your soul.

“Especially ‘him’? Say, do you happen to harbour a liking for anyone-”

She shushes you with an urgent hiss, “Rinnosuke can’t know! It’d be too embarrassing!”

“So Rinnosuke is your game, eh little lady?”

“EEEEEE!”

---

After negotiating a vow for your continued silence, you aid the book-loving youkai [b]Tokiko[b] in surreptitiously replacing the offending works into their respective shelf, with the girl handing them over to you with such speed, as if they were hot coals. The way her gaze lingers over a particular book lends itself to much teasing as you ‘hesitate’ to put it away, before being given the saddest wails of panic you have heard to date.

And yet, she seems to bear no real ill will towards you as she tapes on a hastily made sign declaring the contents of the shelf to be perverted and unseemly. It seems to you as though the girl is used to teasing, or at least inured to its effects as she declares that no self-respecting man should dare to touch them now. You do however take the opportunity to try and raise the point of her excluding any self-respecting woman from reading titles from the forbidden shelf but she shoots you down before you can finish and speeds away, the first book she was reading earlier in tow, leaving you behind to continue your tasks.

And to think, all this time, Rinnosuke was enthralled by his own book at the front of the store, unaware of the happenings in his shop. He seems quite oblivious to the goings on of his business.

---

It is now 1.32 PM.

Your work is done and you’ve little else to do now in the way of official duties.

“Well. That was quicker than I expected,” Rinnosuke says as you report in, “I was spending quite a while thinking about things I needed done around here. I suppose I never got round to doing them,” he shrugs, picking up where he left in his book, “You’re free to leave if you wish Ambrose, though I’m sure there are still a few things tucked away, somewhere if you want to keep at it.”

With that, he resumes reading. You take a good long look at the outside world through the glass windows. It’s a bright, beautiful afternoon in paradise. Must be nice out there.

Well...

[] ... you suppose you could poke around the store for a bit, maybe read up a little?
[] ... might as well see if you could tinker a bit with a few of the mechanisms lying around.

[] ... a good afternoon stroll seems in order, given the good weather.

[] ... there’s nothing for you here at the store. Head off to:
---[] The Human Village [Optionally, specify a location in the village]
---[] The Hakurei Shrine
---[] The Forest of Magic [Either Marisa OR Alice’s house]

===

>>34970
I will have to disappoint and say that there will be no Tokiko route in this CYOA, unfortunately. I would have enjoyed trying to make it work though.
>> No. 34974
[x] There’s nothing for you here at the store. Head off to the Human Village and search for kappa at the marketplace.
>> No. 34975
[X] ... a good afternoon stroll seems in order, given the good weather.

We might bump into someone out there.
>> No. 34977
[X] ... a good afternoon stroll seems in order, given the good weather.
>> No. 34978
[] ... there’s nothing for you here at the store. Head off to:
---[] The Forest of Magic [Marisa’s house]

I think we're loooooong overdue for a visit.

Also, trolling Tokiko was hilarious.
>> No. 34979
[x] There’s nothing for you here at the store. Head off to the Human Village and search for kappa at the marketplace.
Clockwork powerarmour in our future? Oh I do hope so.
>> No. 34980
[] ... there’s nothing for you here at the store. Head off to:
---[] The Forest of Magic [Marisa’s house]

I want Marisa route.
>> No. 34981
[X] There’s nothing for you here at the store. Head off to the Human Village and search for kappa at the marketplace.

We still need the parts to fix that clock in the shop.
>> No. 34983
>>34981
A fair point sir.
[X] There’s nothing for you here at the store. Head off to the Human Village and search for kappa at the marketplace.
>> No. 34985
[x] There’s nothing for you here at the store. Head off to the Human Village and search for kappa at the marketplace.

For clock parts, and maybe a random encounter.
>> No. 34988
New thread at >>34987
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