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File 134236563979.png - (92.81KB, 777x518, 27463271_p6.png) [iqdb]
They were all unconscious. The final gunshot was an exclamation mark to everything that had led to this point. I released my finger from the trigger. And then it was over. To make any kind of sense of it, I need to go back two weeks. Back to the day the pain started.

Well, I said two weeks ago, but if you want to hear the whole story, I'll have to go back two hundreds years, but since we don't have that much time, I'll be as short as I can, and I'll stick to the important parts.
Back in the days, when I was in Gensokyo, I was the unofficial leader of the Human Village. Unofficial, because I constantly insisted on the fact that I wasn't taking decision, just offering advices. I hate taking decisions, and it just happened that I was respected enough to be obeyed, no matter what I said, so I thought “okay, I'll just do my best to help them”.

You're saying I'm not giving enough details? I'm sorry, I'm not used to talk. Usually, I don't take decisions, I just follow the orders I receive. Go here, do that, come back, that kind of thing. That's why I wasn't confident in my ability to lead the village.
Hell, I'm calling it village. It's more accurate to call it a town. A small town, sure, but still a town. When you say “village”, you think “that forgotten shithole populated by 50 inbred morons”. In that case, it was a bit different. Sure, at first, most people were a bit too close, genetically speaking, but we were constantly joined by new outsiders, so calling it a village is inaccurate.
The proper name should be “Gensokyo, the Human Haven”. Because that's what it is. But you remember it, right? The calamity, and the youkai apocalypse? You don't remember? Ha right, you were dead the whole time. My bad.

I was here, and I saw everything. Well, not everything. I'm not the Queen in Purple, I cannot be everywhere, but I still saw many things I cannot forget. I guess that's why I softened. It's easy to kill someone when it's just a name, but when it's a face and a family behind it, you usually hesitate to pull the trigger. If I knew, back then, maybe I wouldn't... No, I'm saying shit. Everything would have been the same. I had no choice.

But I digress. So, it started two weeks ago. I was busy at the school, playing teacher like we usually did when Miss Kamishirasawa was not here. That woman, I swear, she looks like your usual school teacher, but she's the only one in the whole village with enough guts to leave and go look for outsiders. Once she finds one, she brings him back to the village, gives one or two lessons for the kids, and leave again. I guess she has some sort of sixth sense to know if there's a survivor coming, but that's her secret.

Sorry, I digress again. Tell me if I do that, okay? Anyway, yeah, this time, I had the short straw, so I dedicated myself for the day's lesson. It was supposed to be science, but I hijacked the planning and replaced it with history, it's much more interesting. So I was telling them about the different Lunar War. You know what I'm talking about, right? The first one was between the Queen in Purple and the moonfolks, the second still between them, the third was between us humans and the moonfolks, and the last one, the fourth one, was between Bishamonten and those lunar gals. I bet you remember it, right?
No, no, I'm not digressing again, that's on topic. Because you see, while I was explaining to the kids, there was that guy who barged in the classroom. If I remember right, his name was Amakusa or something like that. So, as I said, he barged in, and told me to follow him. And, you know me, I can't resist someone asking me to follow, so I did it. It turned out that my brother-in-arm was dying. Yes, it's relevant, because it started everything. Let me explain with more details.

I arrived at the guy's house. That's kind of sad, so many things happened since that I completely forgot his name. Whatever. So, his whole family was here, including his wife, softly crying while her sister was petting her hand. I ignored them, I left Amakusa behind me, and I asked the doctor to leave me alone with my old friend. He complied, and left us. After that, we started talking. It was a conversation I'll always remember.
At first, he greeted me, and even tried to stand. I forcefully put him back in bed, and asked him “What's wrong, old buddy?”
“I'm sorry, Colonel. Look like you're going to be the last one standing.” After saying that, he started coughing. Both snot and blood. There was clearly something wrong with him, but I ignored it and I tried to joke.
“Come on, you're not going to leave your friend behind you?” I told him that while trying to smile. He didn't smiled back, instead looking at me as if I insulted him.
“I'm just worried about you, so could you avoid joking about that?” And he started coughing again, with less snot and more blood.
“Why are you worried about me? I'm still fine! Just as always!” I said to him, trying to tense my arms like some kind of chippendale. But no matter what I tried, he was always looking severe.
He coughed again, and, opening his hand, showed me exactly what he was coughing.
“I'm not dying because of old age. There's something eating me, something nasty.” After that, I understood that I wasn't here because a friend was dying, I was here because he wanted to tell me something.
“Do you think it's related to the Fourth Lunar War?”
He shrugged. “We were the only one left, right? Everyone else died. Koizuki was killed by that bucket youkai while looking for coal, Imitsu was decapitated by that black beast, and even Ghost was killed.”
“Wait, I don't know what!” I said. In case you wonder, Ghost was a very nice guy, and a competent radio operator. And yes, it was his name. I think he was a former convict or something, because he never told us much about himself.
“Nobody told you? They found his body in the river two months ago.”
Quickly after that, we moved the conversation to another topic, and after fifteen minutes, I bad him farewell and I left him.

I wasn't sure about anything, but I knew he was right. There was some kind of disease affecting everyone who fought on the Moon. But I made a very stupid mistake: I decided to ignore the problem for the time being, instead deciding to help the village.

And before you start with your “you let a friend die” speech, let me explain you a few things. First, the Human Village is the last one standing. There are probably other enclave here and here, but no matter how hard we tried to contact them, they never replied, so we were assuming that the village was the only human town still up. Okay, quite frankly, I was feeling well, he was already died, so I decided that the village was more important than him. And even if I found a cure, what was I supposed to say? “Hi dude, I found the cure for your disease, what a shame that it's too late for you before you forgot to warn me before that all our friends were dead”? No, I was too busy with everything.
What are you saying? Of course I was worried, but as I said, I was feeling fine then, so I decided not to bother about it, instead focusing my attention on the village. I could spend days explaining you a few things about the village and how most people don't have any common sense, but as I said, we're lacking in time, so I'll keep it short.

[] “Yeah, keep it short.”
[] “Hang on, tell me a bit more about the village.”
-[] “You mentioned a woman named Kamishirasawa?”
-[] “Mind telling me a bit more about how you were too busy to help a friend in distress?”
-[] “Tell me more about the different Lunar War.”
[x] “Hang on, tell me a bit more about the village.”
-[x] “Tell me more about the different Lunar War.”

Finally, you're getting better at writing, Ddyk.
File 134236799163.jpg - (74.17KB, 1600x920, Shining eyes are sometimes creepy.jpg) [iqdb]
Yes, really.

It's no longer just dialogues after dialogues after dialogues with minimal description in between.

Now it's looking more like a proper fanfic rather than a script fic.
File 134242466533.jpg - (113.91KB, 850x763, She looked like that.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] “Hang on, tell me a bit more about the village.”
-[x] “Tell me more about the different Lunar War.”

You want to know about that? I must admit I'm a bit surprised, considering the rumours I heard, I thought you would know. I guess that's the trauma, right?
So, about the village, what can I say that would be relevant? Well, first, you probably already know about it, but it's more like a town than a village. In other words, it's bigger than when you visited. And I'm also proud to say that when I left, we were living on our own resources. I mean, at first, when Miss Kamishirasawa brought the first outsiders, we were a bit short on food and clothes, but the situation improved very quickly.
By now, it's more like a town than a village. Granted, we were still a bit short on metals when I left, but since we had an agreement with the kappas, I guess the situation improved. No, wait. I'm a bit too far, the alliance with the tengus arrived after.

But yeah, we still had our own troubles. Petty troubles, I admit, but it was kind of important. For example, for several months, we had a very hot debate about our identity. Most villagers wanted to wear masks, to symbolize some kind of “attack one of us and everyone will strike back” shit, but I made them stop when I realized that it was mostly used to ostracize outsiders. Besides, we had a shortage of them, so we stopped using them.

What? You're saying I'm giving too much details? Fine, fine, I'll keep it short.
The main trouble with the village wasn't the lack of supplies. No, for a long time, it has been the frictions between the 'outsiders' and the 'natives'. You probably know about that, but let me explain again.
Before the calamity, there was Gensokyo. It was an enclave for youkais and other supernaturals beings. There was humans in Gensokyo, of course. But when the calamity happened, the humans living in Gensokyo were forced to greet humans from the Outside world. At first, it went perfectly, but after a few weeks, it degenerated.
I wasn't here back then, but I heard it started because an outsider called a native a 'brainless brute'. The thing you need to understand is that most 'natives' can fight back against most youkais, but they cannot comprehend high technology, and they're still mostly relying on plants to heal themselves. On the other hand, outsiders are cultured, can produce and use medicines and clothes, but they lack in common sense, and they usually get killed very easily.

When I came back to the village with the other veterans, we quickly fixed that. Of course, we had to break a few bones, but nobody died, and that's the only important thing. I mean, our situation wasn't that bright. And even now, mankind is still on the brink of extinction, so we did what we had to do. We created order and discipline. It was difficult, we had to breaks bones, but we did it, and we unified outsiders and natives.

I think that's all for the village. You can imagine it now, right? You've been here, or so I heard? Back then, when they were all wearing masks? How was it?

Mmmm? You want to hear more about the Lunar War? Ha, my bad, I kind of forgot. I guess you were right about me getting sidetracked easily. So, the Lunar Wars. Where do I start with that?
From the beginning? Ha, I missed your sense of humour. No, I mean it. I really missed it.
So, there are exactly four Lunar Wars. The first one and the second one are related to the Queen in Purple, and I don't know much about them. That's not something I want to know about, sorry. The Third Lunar War is the bloodiest one, albeit it wasn't really a war, but rather a following of several skirmishes between the Earth and the Moon. I heard it ended up when one of the men sent to exterminate the moon population contacted Cap Canaveral to warn them that the Lunarians released his virus in the air, making the Moon inhabitable for everyone.
I think Cap Canaveral was really desperate if they sent a biologist to wipe out the Moon. No offense.

The Fourth Lunar War is a hot topic, and I hoped I could just ignore it and tell you about my very interesting life back in the village, but I guess you're not going to let me dodge it, right?
I hate you sometimes, I want you to know that fact.
So, about the Fourth Lunar War. It started several years after the calamity. One day, that tiger youkai came to the village, and claimed that the lunarians were responsible for the calamity and Hijiri Byakuren's death.
What, you don't know Byakuren? Oh boy, I'll keep it extremely short, otherwise it'll take me years: she was one of the many who protected the village when the youkai became crazy. And she died quickly after that. I heard she was wounded in a fight, that part's unclear, but point is that she allowed herself to die, leaving her followers behind. She came back to life later, but I wasn't here back then, and it happened after, so let's stop here.
So, back to the topic, that tiger youkai comes to the village, and she claims that she's Bishamonten incarnated and that the lunarians will pay. After that, she told us:
“You're by my side or in my way!” and she left. Immediately after that, we held a council, to decide what to do, and I told them that I was going to join Bishamonten's army. Of course, nobody gave a damn at first, so I grabbed the nearest rifle laying around, I aimed, and I broke the eldest guy's pipe right in front of him, while he was holding it. They all began staring at me, with fear in their eyes, so I quietly reloaded, and I said: “I'm joining Bishamonten. That way, she won't attack the village. Am I going alone?”

Of course, it was a fiasco. The whole war quickly turned into a bloodbath. Bishamonten was grateful for the troops the village provided him, so he never retaliated or tried anything funny against it, but, at the same time, he never really trusted us. He had a whole army of youkais, and they were all considering humans like us as either food, or game at best. We weren't taken seriously, but I was fine with that. My main goal was to protect my troops and make sure that they would all go back home on their feet instead of being in a wooden box.

Not that it really mattered, as I said, the whole war was a fiasco. Bishamonten is a god of war, yes, but he's mainly a god, and he cannot adapt. When he appeared, people where still fighting with swords and bows, so the strategy was simple: charge and cut.
At first, it worked, and after a few victories, we cornered the lunarians in their Capital. But then, the commander changed, and the strategy used by the lunarians changed too. Before that, one lunarian would just stand against Bishamonten's whole army, eventually supported by moon rabbits. But when the commander changed, the strategy changed too. Bishamonten charged with his youkais thinking that victory was already here, but instead of being challenged in a duel, his troops were facing a wall of fire and lead.
This is the part where I go all melodramatic and start crying that war is hell, but if I do that, when I'm lying.
In fact, when I saw Bishamonten and his youkais minions being butchered by those firearms he scorned so much, I actually laughed my ass off. Everyone in my group was looking at me funny while I was laughing at the youkais being cut in pieces by a vastly superior firepower.

Hell, I said that Bishamonten cannot adapt, but the lunarians are the same. At first, those moonfolks tried to challenge him into a duel, but they brought their own support to help them in battle. It took a brand new commander to totally rethink the strategy and change the war.
I swear to God, I laughed hard that day. Bishamonten and those youkais, so proud of their strength, scorning us for using those 'lame boomstick', and sometimes even threatening us, they all got humiliated or killed that day. Bishamonten himself was badly injured, and we, the pathetic humans, had to carry him all the way back to the base, with the moon rabbits being on our heels. Now, I said that those lunarians can't adapt, but same can't be said about their weapons. They definitely had better weapons than us back then. One of my guy was beheaded by a bullet shot by a rabbit, despite the fact that he was hidden behind a wall. It's been years since that day, and I still don't understand how a single bullet could penetrate a wall, and still be powerful enough to rip the guy's neck in pieces.

After that, I think Bishamonten was broken. He completely lost all his self-confidence, and since most of his officers and best warriors died in that futile charge, the rest of us were quite defenseless. I've been careful, training my men hard, and constantly trying to engage into skirmishes with the moon bunny to loot their weapons, but the moment they started shooting at Bishamonten, the war was already lost. We were cornered, trying to fight until the end, but knowing that it was hopeless.

What? You're saying that's enough for now?
Fine by me. I don't really to talk about that anyway. Bad memories.
So anyway, where was I? Ha right, just after visiting that guy. That's funny, I remember his name now. He was called Shiraishi, but we all called him “B.F.”. It means Bunny Fucker, because each time he saw one of those moon bunnies, he started drooling and panting. Needless to say, he never caught any. I made sure of that. After all, we joined to war just to make Bishamonten happy, but I wanted to avoid getting on the Lunarians' nerves.
Sorry, I'm rambling again. Let's try one more time.

So, several days after B.F.'s died, as I was having a lazy morning for once, there was that girl knocking at my window. Needless to say, I was quite pissed off after her, so I opened the window and started screaming at the girl, but then I remembered that my room was on the second floor.
So I stopped screaming, and I silently stared at the girl, my mouth wide opened like some kind of moron, and I realized that, little one, she was flying and that, little two, there was a very small probability of her being human. A very small one.

So, yeah, long story short, I was like “wheuouat?” and she was like “aren't you letting me in?”, and I was like “I don't know. Are you going to kill me?” and she was like “I don't eat humans. Not enough meat.”
So I let her in. After that, it's a bit complicated, and as I said, it was my day off, so I don't remember everything that happened, but to make it short, her name was Aya, she was a tengu, and she wanted the tengus to trade with the village, so they send her here. I remember asking her “you're not a merchant, so why you instead of one of those white wolf? I heard they're pretty sharp!” and she answered something unusually smart. She said exactly “because I'm pretty, and I know how you humans are thinking, therefore I'm a better negotiator”, and it made complete sense.

Sorry, I'm giving too much details, but long story short, I put on my pants and a shirt, and I declared a special council, only to repeat exactly what that tengu girl told me. Basically, the tengus were ready to give us tools in exchange for raw aluminium and other rare metals. My opinion is that we were being ripped off, since it was basically giving them the basic materials in exchange for the finished products, but someone in the council said that if we agreed, then that would free some hands to help with the village, and everyone agreed to say that he was right. After all, we can create energy, we can recycle , but we were always in need for more manpower, so trusting the tengus to do the job for us was kind of interesting.
So when that tengu girl came back to my house, I told them that the whole village was fine with that deal. I didn't say that I agreed, I just said that the village agreed.

And, oh boy, I was wrong. Because the way that Aya girl worded it, it sounded like the tengus were going to give us basic tools in exchange for the aluminium. You know, like hammers, scythes, nails and stuff. And, DAMN, I was totally wrong. Instead of getting tools, they gave us several dynamos, many coils, and enough cable to supply the whole village in energy.
But I'm getting sidetracked. Just before that, in order to make the trade official, we had to send a representative from the Village to meet the representative from the Tengus in a neutral place. Of course, I've been chosen, because I was respected and stuff, but also because in case of a youkai attack, I would be able to defend myself.
So I packed my things, took my rifle, and just as I was going, the eldest arrives with a girl following him, and tells me “oh, by the way, you're not going alone. We need someone to write down what's happening, I hope you don't mind”. And with that, he leaves, while the girl just stares at me and tries to introduce herself.

I hated both of them that day, and I was really wrong again. Hey, you'll probably think that I'm wrong very often. And you're probably right.

[] “Can you tell me more about that girl?”
[] “And what happened then?”

Once the introduction is over, you'll have real votes.
[x] “And what happened then?”
File 134264264652.jpg - (102.99KB, 600x331, 16311719_m.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] “And what happened then?”

Oh, nothing much, really. We went to sign the deal, we took a few drinks with the tengus, and we went back home. It's while the “let's get back home” part that we ran into a small problem.
Let me tell you a few things about those tengu folks first. You see, unlike your usual youkai, a tengu is usually well-behaved. If anything, a tengu is probably more human-like than any other youkai. Of course, any of them could probably kick your backside into oblivion, but what I am is that they're not constantly acting like wild beasts. In other words, you can have a chat with a tengu. You can't have a chat with a futakuchi-onna. Well, you can try if you want, but she'll break your neck or eat you alive.
Well, point is that tengus are nice folks. They were very friendly at first, and once the deal was officially accepted, they quickly opened a few bottles of alcohol. And after that, well, you know, I'm friendly guy and stuff.

Yeah, we got wasted, you can say it like that. Nothing stupid happened anyway, I didn't woke up with a naked tengu sleeping next to me, but the walk back home was kinda difficult. You see the youkai mountain, right? Well, there's that huge waterfall, and down there, there's a small hut. That's where we signed the deal. And if you know the area a bit, you can see how hilly the place is. You can easily break your leg here if you don't pay attention.
Ha, I see by your face that you understand. That's right. Anijû and I, we walked back home from here, both totally wasted and totally unable to even know where we were going. I was singing an old English bawdy song, while the Hieda girl was speaking to herself about how alcohol wasn't like another Hieda described it.

Hmm? Don't bother with that, it was just a young woman rambling around, you don't need to write it down. If you really want to know, it's a bit complicated. Basically, the original Hieda family has a special perk. I don't really know much about that, but I know that it was lost when the original family bit the dust, that perk was lost too. So Anijû, being a distant relative or something like that took over the name, and became what we can call the village's record keeper. You get it? Okay, so let's move on.
So, as I said, we were both wasted, completely drunk. Damn good thing I could stand on both my feet, because Anijû was constantly pulling my arm to not fall. Of course, I was a heavy drinker back in the days, so even the tengu's special alcohol wasn't enough to get me down.

So anyway, long story short, we got completely lost. Not big surprise. And then, out of fucking nowhere, there's a mansion in front of us. So Anijû decides to spend the night in, and we enter the building, her stumbling and pulling my arm and me singing a song about Picadilly Circus' finest whores.
I stopped singing once I was inside. You're probably going to laugh at me for saying it, but that place was damn creepy. Try to imagine it, an isolated building in the middle of fucking nowhere, nobody inside, creepy thingies outside, and the whole thing is also damn clean. When we got in, it was like the thing was waiting for us.
Of course, I tried to hide the fact that I wasn't feeling that great, but luckily, the Hieda wasn't sharp enough to notice it. Well, to be honest, she was scared by the place. Probably even more than me. And I can't really blame her.

I see by your face that you're not convinced. Maybe you're right. Maybe we were overreacting, but try to imagine that: you just signed a major deal with monsters able to break you in two, you're drunk, night is falling, and you're arriving in a mansion that looks like it's been waiting for you. Oh, and also, you're traveling with someone you don't really know.
What? Of course not! There was no way I could be scared of a young girl. But I think that maybe she wasn't really trusting me. People like that, who spend their time writing and reading history are usually extremely cynical. Maybe as much as politicians.

But I digress again. So, we enter in the two-stories-tall building, and then we see that everything is clean. I immediately stop singing, I draw my rifle, and I load it. Just in case, of course. I was on my guard, but I was still drunk as hell, and probably unable to properly send a bullet in something's head. Except if said thing was two inches away.
What's an inch, you ask? Sorry, I don't really want to waste my time about that, so let's just say “10 centimeters away”.
And that's not the point, so let's get back to the main topic. As I said, we're into the house, everybody is tense and ready to jump at the first weird sound, and then Hieda just say out of the blue “let's see if someone is around”. Usually, I woulda answered “I'm not taking order from a brat”, but that day, I admitted that her advice was damn relevant, so I told her “I'm going first, you stay behind me. Get ready to run if things are out of control”, and she nodded. After that, we slowly started walking, me first, holding my rifle, ready to fire, Anijû on my heel, still holding my shirt to not stumble.
I guess we could've screamed something like “Anybody hooome?” but, I dunno, that never came to mind. I mean, when you're shitting your pants but unable to run away because it's fucking night outside and having your neck broken isn't fun, you don't scream. You don't shout neither. In fact, you don't do anything loud, you just try to look as small as possible, while being as silent as you can, hoping that nothing will jump out of a trash bin to stick a steak in your face or something like that.

Give me a few seconds... we entered, right, so after that, we went... ha, I remember now. We first went to the right, to visit the place, see if we could find someone. I already told you? Sorry. So, we looked around, and it becomes even weirder from now. Because, you see, the place was clean and stuff, not your typical abandoned house, but there was a room, maybe the living room or something, filled with scattered mechanisms.
Yeah, “mechanism”. It's several days later that I was told it was a typewriter. An old typewriter that has been thrown against the wall several decades ago, instantly breaking into pieces, and still here after those years.

[] “Interesting. And so, you found something in the house?”
[] “A typewriter?”

[x] “Interesting. And so, you found something in the house?”
[X] “A typewriter?”
File 134286482368.png - (175.33KB, 480x544, 076ea166f7e3d624dcae11f7f1a1c1dc.png) [iqdb]
Too bad, I was ready to write today. Guess I'm just going to sit and read someone else's story instead of updating this one.
Just go and flip a coin or something.

Or do you want me to vote twice?
File 134287921379.jpg - (50.57KB, 530x402, double-face.jpg) [iqdb]
No thanks. I'll flip a coin.
I can't stand your writing, but here is a vote anyway, if you care.

[x] a type writer?
>I can't stand your writing
File 134327433268.jpg - (601.02KB, 750x1000, bf52f54ea5c33a8f9c4eade94291c2d8.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] “A typewriter?”

Yeah, you know, that old machine where you're pressing buttons and it types letters on a paper. You see, that kind of thing. So anyway, that one was completely broken and totally unrecognizable. It's like it's been thrown against the wall, and then stomped on several times. But I only discovered what it was the day after, so let's not explain too many things, otherwise you'll get lost.
So, as I said, there was many small metallic parts everywhere, scattered on the floor, deformed and beyond recognition. When I saw that, I stopped being afraid of the house, and I just became extremely careful. In my mind, there was no doubt that there was something here. And when I say “something here”, I mean “something here one minutes ago”.

So yeah, I was on my guard, looking left and right, trying to see if someone was hiding in a corner, but nothing happened. So, I slowly moved forward, while trying to not walk on those tiny metal shards. You can say I was sneaking, sort of, but I was just trying to not make any noise. And I forgot Anijû, who was right behind me, being as loud as the whole goddamn Egyptian army.
You don't know what “Egyptian” means? Ha, forget it, I'm just rambling. Forgive a poor old man, would you kindly? Hahahaha! Joke aside, my effort to go unnoticed were promptly ruined by Hieda's clumsy stomps and pained groans. Because yeah, walking on a small thing usually hurts you. Have you ever walked on a small lego in the dead of night while going to the restroom?
You ask what a lego is? Damn, you make me feel old, stop asking questions.

So, all my great efforts at being sneaking were ruined by Anijû's total lack of military training. I don't want to speak ill about her, but she was an archivist, not a warrior, so she never trained herself. She knew, of course, that everyone else in the village was working hard, that their lives might depend of it, but she used to say “I'm an archivist, therefore I'm never going to leave the village”.
And, well, that night, she was proved wrong. Not only we had to leave the village, but her total lack of training made the situation extremely dangerous. Yeah, there's also the fact that we were both more or less drunk, but even when I'm drunk, I can still use a weapon and defend myself. Anijû couldn't even stand by herself.

Sorry, I'm getting sidetracked again. So, as I said, I was walking silently, while Anijû was stomping the floor while groaning. We quickly left the living room, and we continued sneaking around the ground floor. And that's when I saw it for the first time. Through a window, two red eyes staring at me as if I was a piece of meat. At first, I thought I was hallucinating, so I didn't shot. It's only when Anijû saw it too and screamed that I raised my rifle and shot.
The window exploded, throwing glass shards all over the area, but the eyes were already gone. Even now, even after all this, I still remember that night. I aimed, I pulled the trigger, right after I saw it, backing away from the window, disappearing in the woods, but I shot anyway, destroying the window, and alarming the whole neighborhood. I knew I missed it, I knew it would come again at me, but when the things in the woods started shrieking, I forgot everything about that beast, and I instantly decided to focus on Anijû.

I remember that part perfectly. I said exactly: “We're going on the first floor, and we're going to barricade here until the morning comes.” And that's exactly what we did, running to the first floor, looking left and right, trying to find a room easy to defend, going in, and locking the door.
After that, we spent an agitated night. I was sitting against the wall in front of the door, ready to shoot if someone opened the door. Of course, it wouldn't do much against a youkai, since those things are extremely resilient, but it would stun it long enough to close the door at its face.
Mmm? Yes, it's possible to kill a youkai. But you have to literally fill it with lead. Let me explain: when someone shoots at you, that someone is basically throwing a bullet at you really fast. So what hurts you more isn't the bullet itself but rather its speed. That's why, when you're shot, you usually stumble back, because it's like being hit with a truck, but with a pin, you see?
Perhaps I'm not explaining myself properly. Let's say you have a hammer. It's quite fast, and it does lot of damage if you hit someone with it. But you'll never be able to cut someone with a hammer, and you know why? Because it's blunt, yeah, but also because it hits on a large surface. Take a spear, for example. A spear is totally the opposite, because all the strength is focused in the tip of the spear, so instead of hitting with a large surface, you hit with a pin. That's why it's easier to pierce and cut with a spear than with a hammer.
What's the point of all this? Well, the point is that youkai are extremely resilient to shock. You can hit a youkai with a hammer, but it'll be back to its feet in a blink. However, I estimated, and I highly doubt I'm wrong with it, but I think that it's weak to blood loss. In other words, if you keep hitting it with a hammer, it's going to laugh at you, punch you in the face, break your neck and eat your warm and lifeless body after drinking your blood. However, if you can injure it, if you can force it to bleed, you can kill it. Well, of course, if it notices it's bleeding because of you, it's probably going to slap you in the face with something heavy and pointy, but at least, you have a chance to run away.
I knew there are bullets designed to cause bleeding, and I knew how they were called, but when I was spending the night in that creepy mansion, I was totally ignorant of those 'expanding bullet'. And that's a shame, because when I started using them, I noticed they were quite useful against youkai. But that's spoiler.

So, where was I? Ah, yeah, the night with Anijû in an isolated mansion lost in the middle of nowhere. Well, nothing happened between us. Nothing at all, you don't need to ask.
Uh? Well, yes, we couldn't sleep at all. Even through we were drunk, we were mostly scared, so we couldn't make any noise.
No. NO! Stop asking about that, I'm not going to tell. Stop pestering me, okay?

Fine, fine. I admit that, um, during the night, I was a bit distracted. And I did something that I'll never regret. But you know, we were both drunk! What do you expect when a man and a woman are forced to sleep in the same room because of some creepy-ass monster roaming free?
Do you know why we stopped using expanding bullet? Because they were forbidden in 1899. It was too efficient, because you see, the bullet is hollow, so instead of penetrating the body, it flattens upon impact, causing a giant wound, while full metal jacket are penetrating the body.

LALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU so anyway there are two kinds of expanding bullets, the hollow point bullet, and the soft point bullet. Usually, the hollow point is better, because soft point bullets are causing a bigger wound but are a bit slower. Not when you shoot them, I mean. When they're hitting the dude in front of you. They're slower at hurting him than hollow point.

Okay, now shut up. I'm going to resume my story, so unless you want me to keep talking about bullets and youkai, you shut up.
So, it was morning, Anijû was loudly complaining about having a hangover, while I was too busy looking for my clothes to complain. After dressing up, we quickly left the house, not trying to figure what was happening inside. I always thought that, somehow, there was a mystery to unveil here, but that morning, I couldn't care less about broken typewriter, ghosts at night, poltergeists and things like that. The only thing I wanted was to get back home, polish my weapon, clean it properly, then take a bath and forget the huge error I made that night.
And that's more or less what I did. Of course, I had to waste a huge amount of my time finding the way back to the Village. And it's been the boring part. I mean, have you tried to walk around in circles while having a hangover with a girl you're too uncomfortable to talk with? For the whole day, we only talked by groaning, and we tried to avoid looking each other.

[] “Pfahahahaha!!”
[] “I can relate.”
[] “Fascinating. So, you got home or not?”

Hot. Busy. Woke up at 3:00AM to write that. Be happy. Otherwise I'll punch you over the Internet somehow. Magic. Voodoo stuff.
[x] “Fascinating. So, you got home or not?”
File 13439406842.jpg - (57.37KB, 641x392, Received that by mail.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] “Fascinating. So, you got home or not?”

Of course we did, you twerp! After all, it's not that complicated once the sun is high enough to see where you are. It's just a matter of skills, and I have plenty of them.
So anyway, we managed to get back home safely, just early enough to start the “we-just-allied-with-the-tengus” drinking party. Yes, we're drinking a lot, I guess. Hey, life's rough, so when we have an excuse to be happy, we take it. And, well, we had a good damn one that day.
Mind you, the tengus is the biggest youkai organization out there, so if you're allied with them, the world is yours. So that alliance was, as I probably said before, one of the best thing that happened to the village since the calamity.

Who are you anyway? Sometimes, I feel like I remember your face, and sometimes, everything's too foggy...
Mmm? Yeah, you're probably right. I should focus on the story. That'll clear my head. So, we arrived to the village, we saw that huge party being prepared right away, and people going here and here to bring food and drinks, and even Ivan is bringing some vodka. From his private stock. Says it's to “make lyudi in Mir happy”. Never really figured what it means, by the way. I suspected it was bullshit, and that he was using Russian words in an “hey-look-I'm-different” way.
Mmm? Oh, sorry. So, once we got the booze and the food ready, we started the feast, with me explaining why it was awesome to be allied with the tengus, nobody listening to me, and Hieda talking with some girls in an isolated place.
Hu? WHY YES I WAS WATCHING HER NOW SHUT UP ! So as I was saying, I talked for a bit, trying to make a speech, like people did back in the days when something great happened. But when I took a boot in the head and I fell head first in spirit. Yes, I mean the alcohol, not the thing from another world. After that, I don't remember much.

The thing that woke me up, however, I remember it quite clearly. It was a bucket of water thrown at my face. No, no, it wasn't water, it was a bucket of water. Yeah, both of them. At once. Needless to say, I was a little upset. Hair of a dog, added to water in the face, and added to bucket in the morning face equals “king demon awakening to murderous intent” or something like that.
So I was like “Hey, you son of a bitch, keep your disgusting junk in your pants or I'll carve you a new smile!” and he was like “Thank god I could wake you up, we have a problem here.” So after gently explaining him why you shouldn't throw heavy stuff at sleeping people, I asked him what was wrong.

And he told me... but you know all of this already, am I right? You know what he warned me about, right?
[] “...”
[] “...!”
[] “...?”
[x] “...”
Pointless choice, ahoy!
It's not pointless. It's going to influence the interviewer's identity.
File 134446460767.jpg - (39.13KB, 860x565, Nice way to start the day.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] “...”

You're not answering, hu? She told you already about everything, right? She can't keep a secret. I should've knew it, to never trust a woman.
The thing is, that Hieda went around and told everyone that we fucked. So when I woke up, everyone in the Village knew about that. Hell, everyone in the Village? More like everyone in Gensokyo. So, of course, since she was nowhere to be seen, I was the first one interrogated about that.

And, frankly, for the first time in centuries, I panicked about someone else than me. When I heard that she went missing, I assumed that she made a mistake, and I volunteered to look for her. So after losing a few hours looking around the village and asking people, we started wondering if she went in the forest.
Mmm? Of course not, we wouldn't really do that kind of thing for anyone. It's just that Anijû is really important to the Village. She's the memory of the village, after all, she's the one writing things down, and that's really important and stuff, so she's kind of essential. And to answer your other question, no, I wasn't going to slap her around to make her shut up.
That's a rather complicated matter. Sleeping with her was a huge mistake, and I'll regret it for the rest of my life. Because in order to find and rescue that bragging idiot girl, I gathered a few men to comb the whole goddamn forest.
And then? Well, it didn't take long before we start hearing gunshots and screams.

… What do you mean, you don't understand? That's simple! The day started when I took a bucket in the head. Then, it got worse when I heard that Hieda was bragging to everyone about how we slept together in that old creepy mansion. And then it got even worse when I heard that she's been missing since. I tried finding her in the village, but she wasn't there. So I took some guys, and we started looking in the forest, because most often, when people disappears, they can usually be found in the forest. Most often with a missing limb and no pulse, but still, we had hope. After all, everyone in Gensokyo knew how important she was to the Village.
But that was a mistake. The whole thing was a mistake. The second we separated, the youkais started attacking, and the whole area became a war zone.

That was quite epic, now that I think about it. We were quietly moving, trying to see if anything was off, like, I dunno, a girl sleeping on the ground or something like that, and suddenly, Ivan starts screaming “Someone's fighting!” and just after that, we start hearing gunshots. So of course, we run like madmen to help them, and suddenly, black things are pouncing us while shrieking madly.
When the first one attacked me, I answered by making it kiss my rifle butt before sending a bullet deep in its face. After that, it stopped moving, but I shot it a second time just to be sure, and I moved back to assist my ambushed fellows. No surprise, the killed monster wasn't really dead, even with two lead bullets between the eyes. While it dragged me away, I put a bayonet on my rifle, and I started stabbing it. It shrieked again, and ran away.
Well, I guess it ran away, but maybe it went flying instead of running. I'm not really sure. Anyway, we kept on fighting for a while, and I got a large scratch on my leg while beating one of those things with a stick.
Mmm? Yeah, I'm omitting many things, but that doesn't really interest you, right? So I'll make it short. We all fell in an ambush, but luckily nobody died. Ivan got his arm torn off, but we managed to get him back to the village safely, so no worries.

[] “Don't you feel guilty about that? He followed you and lost his arm, and that's all?”
[] “You're kind of a dick, you know? That's rhetorical, don't feel obliged to answer.”
[] “Just tell me if you found her. I don't care about your underling's petty little trouble, but that girl is necessary.”
[x] “You're kind of a dick, you know? That's rhetorical, don't feel obliged to answer.”
File 134520230478.jpg - (373.46KB, 700x700, 14157697.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] “You're kind of a dick, you know? That's rhetorical, don't feel obliged to answer.”

You're the last person I want to hear that from. You're a manipulative and violent bastard that killed a man to marry his widow. You like pretending to be weak only to break people down, for no real reason than your selfishness. I wonder why we're friends. I wonder how we could become friends to begin with. And I also wonder why we're still friends.
I guess that things are so complicated and dangerous now that even I have to accept your help. No matter how crazy you are.

Anyway, that aside, we quickly returned to the village, carrying Ivan. Well, I said “quickly returned”. The real word I'm supposed to use is “we ran away Stalingrad-like”. Even Ivan called us out on that. The others couldn't understand what Stalingrad was, so they gave up and listened to us old geezers.
But then I made a really stupid mistake: I forgot about Anijû. I mean, Ivan got his arm torn off and was barely conscious, so we panicked and brought him back to the Village, and we forgot about her, and that's something that... that I'll...
I'm sorry, give me a few minutes.

I'm fine now. Sorry, I just... stuff. I won't talk about that now. Your PhD isn't in psychology anyway, so don't try to help, okay? I'm just here to tell you what happened, and after that you'll tell me your side of the story, and then we'll get this thing done. Nothing else, and don't try to psychoanalyze me or anything like that. I'm serious. I'll shoot you if you try, before you can even touch me.
Yeah, I know that if you can grab me I'm done for, but I have a better range than you, because I have a rifle. And you, what do you have? Nothing but your fists and your bar brawler experience. I highly doubt that you can avoid a bullet like you would avoid a punch.
So anyway, we quickly got back to the Village, with Ivan almost unconscious due to blood loss. So I quickly took a decision, like I used to do back in the army, blocking everything emotional in order to stay calm. Back in the Village, they called that the Old Maid Face. I never really explained them why I was so good at taking decisions, and I never told them that deciding was a completely inhumane thing to do. Well, luckily in that case, it was a simple decision to do, but later, when... no, no, spoiler.
Where was I? Ha yes, so we were in Ivan's house, everyone looking around while I was trying to put a tourniquet to avoid him a painful death from blood loss. That wasn't easy, because he was bleeding on me the whole time. Warm blood. Red blood. It was a bit... hypnotizing. But extremely disgusting. Even after all that time, I still have standards, and I don't like when people die while following my orders.
After placing a tourniquet and drugging Ivan, I played short straws with the others, to decide who was going to bring Ivan to the Eientei. Luckily, I won.
Why, you ask? Because I don't really like them. The Eientei folks are mainly moon folks, and even now I still don't feel comfortable having moon folks around, especially considering my back story with the Lunar Capital.

Once I was sure that Ivan would be safe for the time being, I decided to visit the Hakurei Shrine. There was no point in me searching in the forest alone, and after what happened, I didn't really want to send another searching party. So I left the village alone and I went to the Hakurei Shrine.
Of course, now it seems easy, but in fact it took me a while. Mainly because while the area around the Shrine is calm, there's still a lot of youkai around. Just enough to make sure the travel isn't a tea party. Luckily, since the Hakurei is still kicking around, things are still calm near the shrine. Considering how violent she became, there's no youkai stupid enough to stand in her way, and that's a good thing.

Except that when I arrived, there was nobody but Meira.

[] “I bet you avoided her and returned to the village.”
[] “And did you get your answers?”
[] “And then you ignored her and snooped around, looking for some charm to help you.”
[x] “I bet you avoided her and returned to the village.”
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