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File 154043409481.jpg - (222.86KB, 860x1204, KogaRei.jpg) [iqdb]
41060 No. 41060
Rice and Rain >>/shorts/2209

Inspired by, or shamelessly stolen from. Take your pick. Mibya wrote that (>>/gensokyo/15535).
56posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 41840
>Marisa’s home was still clearly rather sturdy compared to hers, despite being so... well, filthy.

Superior Western architecture, folded over a thousand ti built with gaijin things like 'insulation' and 'longevity' in mind. How can nips even compete? With aesthetics only I guess.

[X] to tell the truth.

You can lie to yourself about whether or not it's correct, but don't lie about Kasen's actual words.

[X] She’d keep things straightforward and ask for scaring lessons.

Using heads would be pretty fuckin spooky, but that's a bit too bloody an image for Kogasa, right? She's going for like surprising skills/tricks with the daikagura, not fear, and I'm sure practicing with her heads wouldn't exactly be a pleasant experience for 'banki. It's a shame she doesn't seem to have any balls or wooden cups or convenient metal rings for us to borrow. May as well get some regular spookskills while helping 'bankiki out with not being such a broody creep.
>> No. 41841
[X] She’d keep things straightforward and ask for scaring lessons.
[X] to hide the truth.
>> No. 41856
>>41837
[X] She’d ask if she could practice spin-juggling by using Sekibanki’s extra heads.

[X] to hide the truth.
>> No. 41857
[X] She’d ask if she could practice spin-juggling by using Sekibanki’s extra heads.

[X] to tell the truth.
>> No. 41937
File 15530794096.png - (1.60MB, 1100x1500, てれいむ.png) [iqdb]
41937
Here's your update, and did you notice? IT'S A COMPLETE TIE! Damn, y'all. The result is... this, I suppose. For those who don't dip their noses outside of /shrine/ and /th/ or whatever, I've got a completed story over here now >>/underground/16139 , Make a fist. It's about Joon, the flashy, money-grubbing final boss with a hidden heart of gold from AoCF. Also contains gay if you're into that; actual spoiler: ========(with Koishi)========
Now, on to the update.

++++++++

[X] She’d take a gamble, and ask for two things instead.


\ \ \ \ \


Reimu decided [X] nothing, and became silenced and stiffened by the question instead.

“Hey Reimu, what the heck?” Marisa peeked around from where she’d been, the corner of a wooden box peeking out from below along with her. She almost dropped it upon seeing the shrine maiden’s face, “... Oi! What’s wrong!? If you’re gonna collapse, then switch off the mini-Hakkero!“

Reimu’s face was bright red and she was holding the heel of her hand over her eye, her free and flat gaze aimed toward the floor. Marisa believed she was ill, and that perhaps speaking about whatever currently ailed her was making things worse. Definitely some sort of youkai—or maybe even a youkai’s disease. While that ought to have been impossible, the concept of “impossibility” was a flimsy one in Gensokyo. The small magician hurried over, putting the box down on her kitchen table and marching quickly to Reimu. Reimu leaned back at the sudden approach and Marisa’s outstretched hand.

The witch grabbed behind her to shut off the mini-Hakkero, and while she was pressed against the shrine maiden, she glared upward into Reimu’s eyes and used her other hand to clasp the girl’s shoulder, pulling her down. Marisa put her forehead against Reimu’s, thinking for a while. Pulling back, she muttered, “You ain’t got a fever though...”

She took Reimu’s free hand.

“Alright, enough is enough. Come on, follow me into my room while I get changed; the air’s better in there. We’re gonna go see Eirin.”

She started to drag Reimu forward, and the slightly older girl finally found her voice again.

“Hey! I’m not sick!”

Marisa stopped, and looked her way baffled. “Huh?” she grunted. “Then what’sa matter with you?”

Reimu opened her mouth uselessly, thinking she wanted to speak but knowing she couldn’t. Her lips closed and parted in her attempts, but she was really too flustered. A bird landed on Marisa’s roof, clacking and scratching noisily with its claws as it hopped about. The homeowner looked up with a bothered face, and the two of them relaxed their postures.

“I’m in love...” whispered Reimu.

“Hn? What?” Marisa asked, her concentration having been on the shingle-tapper above.

“Ahh, I—!” Reimu found herself retreating mentally, “I’ve been... thinking about the lune...! Lunar... The moon...” she jabbered on, looking toward the ceiling, laughing breathily, and blushing as intensely as ever.

“‘Lunar’? You went nuts?” Marisa asked. The bird began to cry out, and the magician grit her teeth. “I’m gonna go nuts myself... Tch, lemme grab the mini-Hakkero,”

“Wait, no,” Reimu stopped her, moving the hand in Marisa’s grasp out to gently push both against the blonde’s chest. “Um, that’s not it,” she said.

“That kinda line... This really does have something to do with the moon? Maybe we really shouldn’t see Eirin.”

Marisa...” Reimu almost hissed, gripping at her friend’s camisole.

“Let go a’ me,” said the friend, waving off Reimu’s hands. “I heard ya, I heard ya but... did you really shoot something that cliché at me, Reimu?”

Reimu shut her eyes and whined with embarrassed noise. Marisa almost swore she saw steam coming out of the red-and-white girl’s ears.

“... You fell in love, Reimu? You?”

Reimu considered nodding. She considered suddenly, aggressively, shaking her head. This amounted to her cocking her head to the side just a little, frowning and not meeting Marisa’s eyes. After a distinct amount of silence, she glanced the magician’s way... and saw that her face was matching the blush she sported, tone for tone, scarlet for scarlet.

“Wh-Why are you embarrassed!?” Reimu snapped.

“Ah... uh... well...” Marisa scratched her cheek, her eyebrows pushing together and wriggling. She met her friend’s worried eyes. “... You’re telling me this, Reimu?”

Kaaww! Kaaww!

“Will you... shut your goddamn beak!?” Marisa turned to her right and moved to get to the window over her sink. Reimu leapt in place and grabbed her friend at her sides.

“Marisa!” she shouted, “St-Stop! You’re still in your underwear!”

She tugged the magician away from her attempts to climb toward and open her window, which proved difficult when three other birds joined in on the get-together thus bolstering Marisa’s efforts. Reimu grit her teeth and yanked the smaller girl backward, lifting her for a moment.

“Oi! Don’t lift me!” Marisa complained, raising a pair of balled fists. Reimu slipped on a slip of paper underfoot, and unceremoniously dropped onto her rear, Marisa’s bottom falling into her stomach.

“Bwooff!” the shrine maiden spat air. Marisa, having not expected the tumble, reached for anything, which turned out to be a large skillet. She reflexively pulled back her arm and slammed the pan against her forehead.

Yowch!

She kicked up her feet, knocking a nearby rolling pin.

The pin span across the counter while the two girls fell onto each other. It struck the mini-Hakkero, which fell on Reimu’s head (eliciting an “ow!”), dropped to the floor, and began to produce a high pitched, continuous noise.

“Oh, crap,” Marisa muttered. She turned off of Reimu and, beside her now, kept her head down as the miniature magical furnace erupted with blue, shining lights. It then began glowing and rumbling in place. “Crap crap crap!

While beams bounded around her kitchen, blasting things to the floor, repelling between walls, and ricocheting off into other rooms of her house (and by the noise, causing a tremendous mess (which, at least, did scare off the birds), Marisa got on top of Reimu once more and stretched her arm out long to get at the agitated device. She rapidly pressed the trigrams on its face in a certain order, her eyes wide in panic at the thought of a master spark tearing through her roof. With a final press, she felt its power immediately drain, and watched as it lost its light. She sighed, and began panting from fear, soon feeling the aggressive tickle of a raspberry being blown against her stomach.

“Hyaaahh!? R-Reimu—! St-St-Stop tha-at!”

As the trill of lips against skin grew into a resounding “plbbbbbt”, Marisa finally pushed away, seeing the hem of her camisole tug off from the back of Reimu’s head. She sat down on her friend’s calves then hopped for a moment as the final bounding laser struck her left cheek (not on her face) with a pew!

“That was all your fault...” Reimu grumbled, getting up onto her forearms and elbows. Dust slowly settled down over both of them. “Why’d you put your belly on my face?”

“Why’d you blow it?” Marisa snapped, blushing and holding her molested front.

“It was squishy,” Reimu replied.

“It’s not squishy!!” yelled Marisa, lifting her hem to show the other girl. “I’m thin as a rail!”

Reimu leaned forward and poked beside Marisa’s now-visible bellybutton. “This is fat, Marisa.”

“Shut up!” Marisa exclaimed, tugging down her shirt over Reimu’s hand. She frowned miserably as Reimu squeezed the belly absently. “What the heck...” she complained.

“You mocked me for using a cliché line but... did you seriously just try to get out of what I was trying to tell you ‘cause of some birds?”

“That ain’t it...” said Marisa in her trademark style of speech. “It’s like... you don’t ever get serious with me, Reimu. I kinda wanted to get the hell out of here.”

“Really?” asked Reimu, stopping her palpations to rest her hand against Marisa. Though she asked as if the sentiment didn’t resonate with her at all, in truth she understood and even shared her friend’s reluctance perfectly.

“Uh, well, if we’re gonna be serious today,” Marisa began, stopping briefly to say “get your hand outta there” and extract Reimu’s arm, “Reimu, I’m with ya through thick and thin y’know? If you wanna tell me somethin’ in seriousness, I’ll listen to ya.” With Reimu’s forearm in her hand, she shook the limp-wristed maiden’s limb and spoke on whilst looking at her dangling fingers. “I’ll admit it’s kind of a shock hearing you, like, fell for someone, but... but, if it’s tearin’ you up like that, don’t worry! I’m here for support!” Marisa aimed her thumb at her chest, smirked, and declared, “I’m a master on love! Hit me with your best shot!”

“You’ve never been in love before either,” said Reimu bluntly, ignoring her friend’s zeal.

“I’ve got plenty of admirers...” answered Marisa, somewhat loudly at the start of her claim, but quickly losing volume. Reimu poked her friend in the stomach again.

“Loving a pudgy magician?” she teased.

Marisa flared up again, and pounced on the girl below her. “Ticklin’ and teasin’ me over and over...! Show me those pits, girl! It’s time for revenge!”

“Try it!” challenged the shrine maiden with a tooth-bearing smirk as she struggled against the magician. “You won’t even get close!”

“Damn it, Reimu...!”

And whether or not Marisa’s reaching fingertips could meet their intended marks...

In short order, Reimu found herself laughing regardless.
>> No. 41941
File 155308569616.jpg - (71.43KB, 919x725, ダメ.jpg) [iqdb]
41941
/ / / / /


“You... what?”

Sekibanki was glowering.

“And give me scaring lessons, too!” shouted Kogasa excitedly, her fists balled.

“Wait,” said Sekibanki, “no. Say your first request again.”

“If you want my help, let me try daikagura with one of your heads!”

“Hey, are you really that stupid?”

“Wait,” Kogasa stammered, “wait, think about it.”

What is there to think about?” asked Sekibanki, almost snarling. “Even if I was okay with doing two things for you instead of one... you realize how completely inane one of those two requests is, right?” She straightened her back, maximizing her air of intimidation. “What are you thinking? Do you want me to throw up?”

“O-Ohh, come on now,” said Kogasa in a voice that was attempting to placate, “You don’t feel everything your heads do, right?”

Of course I do.” Sekibanki insisted this in her deepest possible voice, almost raising the hairs on the back of the tsukumogami’s neck. “You feel everything that umbrella part does, right? Are you not sure? Should I break it in half to show you?”

“Eep! N-No violence!”

“What is juggling one of my heads supposed to be, then!? Playing around!?”

“Listen!” Kogasa yelled, holding up both of her hands before her. To her surprise, the dark room became very quiet. In that silence, the first sounds of returning rain could be heard: slowly, barely. “I mean this seriously, Miss Sekibanki...” Kogasa ventured. “Do you have to see through your other heads’ eyes all the time?”

“What do you mean?” asked Sekibanki, delivered as if her question were an accusation.

Kogasa turned in place, still on her knees by the corner table, to face her host. She put her hands down onto her thighs and straightened up, wearing a serious face.

“I mean, you’re right that my umbrella and me, well, it’s really like, we’re the same thing really...” She quickly shook her head after losing momentum, leaning her body a bit forward. “I have to want to see through that eye, otherwise, seeing stuff would be too confusing!”

Sekibanki watched Kogasa without a word. Kogasa wagered that was better than before, and kept talking. “Isn’t it the same for you and your heads? It’s disorienting! One eye is enough!”

“You’ve got two,” Sekibanki corrected.

“Excuse me, I’m a one-eyed youk—”

“Oi.”

“I’m sorry.” Kogasa removed her fingertips from her breast and let the smug look on her face fall away, sweating now. Sekibanki ran her fingers through her hair and scratched a touch roughly for a few seconds, eyes closed. With a grip of red, she aimed those eyes on Kogasa again.

“Yeah,” she said, “that’s how it works for me too. But if you drop one of my heads or attack it, I feel that no matter what.” She crossed her arms. “Same with you, right? And I don’t need you dropping and banging up my heads with your umbrella in practice.”

The tsukumogami made a fist and exhaled sharply, a glint sparking off in her eye. This was it: her chance. “But that’s the thing, Miss Sekibanki! If you’re really the same as me, can’t you control your other parts without ‘living’ through them as well?”

The Dullahan’s gaze narrowed. She understood. Dragging the words out of her gullet, she revealed as a question: “... You want to use me as a crutch?”

“You’ve got it!” Kogasa cried with a bounce, winking and sticking out her tongue just after.

“Don’t ‘You’ve got it!’ me,” replied the rokurokubi, mirroring Kogasa’s expression with none of the enthusiasm, her tongue poking from her lips lazily and her brow pushed down rather low. She sighed, lowered her shoulders, and closed her eyes. In an exasperated voice she told her guest, “Okay, fine, I get it. I’m annoyed but I get it.”

It was a simple enough idea. If her head was about to drop off the umbrella, Sekibanki could recall it before it fell, adjust its movements, float it off the thing entirely, or even tell the juggler what was off about the current attempt... should she dare venture and connect her conscious to the remote head in play. Adjusting the degree to which sensations were shared (aside from the sensation of outright pain) was as natural as breathing to several-“bodied” youkai of their sort. Still, it wasn’t anyone’s first thought to think to juggle with separate limbs, skulls, bodies, or faces... That and if Sekibanki were to help, she’d definitely need to be an active participant rather than a passive observer. Otherwise, this dull-headed tsukumogami could start outright abusing her without even thinking about it.

Regardless, said dull-headed tool youkai was now sure of it: Sekibanki was ready to accept. It was hard for her to not speak up with a “So!?” while the moody youkai before her mulled over the proposal. Waiting with rain’s drumming to a persistent, arrhythmic beat in the background, Kogasa began to hear her own heart joining as bass to the falling skies.

“Even if...” Sekibanki started after what seemed like several minutes, making the umbrella perk up, “I said ‘yes’ to that one thing, remember that you just asked for two.” She glared at Kogasa, “What gave you the idea that I was nice?”

“A-ah, well...”

She had to admit: she’d just kind of been hoping that Sekibanki simply... wouldn’t mind! She wasn’t being realistic, and had tackled this proposal mostly expecting to fail.

Sekibanki threw an arm out forward, casting her cape out dramatically behind her as she declared (once more speaking in a deep voice), “We’ll settle this the Gensokyo way...!”

Kogasa swallowed, a bead of sweat running down her cheek.

“If you can beat me, you’ll get those services you want, Tatara Kogasa...! But if you don’t...” the girl’s tone turned exceedingly dark (darker than Kogasa had even thought possible), her cape waving slightly with her energy, a pair of eyes peeking out from behind her back, “I’ll choose.”

The tsukumogami gripped her skirt.

No... I’m bad at fighting...

She gulped again, and nodded once. She’d do her best, and with luck she’d settle it with that spell card:


[] The one she’d made after remembering the railroad.

[] The one with the heavy gusts of wind.

[] The one where she kicked.
>> No. 41943
[X] The one where she kicked.

Time for a rousing game of Touhou Soccer, using Seki's heads as balls.
>> No. 41945
[x] The one where she kicked.
>> No. 41947
[x] The one where she kicked.

I wonder if there will ever be a Touhou Soccer 3?
>> No. 41948
Oh fuck I didn't see the tie.
that's amazing.

Raspberry bullying the Taoist story.

I don't remember any of Kogasa's spell cards so I'll go with the one I like the sound of the best:

[X] The one she’d made after remembering the railroad.

Choo choo motherfuckers. And shouldn't we take this outside? Don't want to mess up the inside of her house. I guess Sekibanki wouldn't want to do it right in front of the village though, might mess with her cover. Or maybe not, depending on how danmaku heavy this Gensokyo interpretation is.
>> No. 41949
[X] The one she’d made after remembering the railroad.

This is great, just caught up on this after finishing with your previous quest w/ Joon.
>> No. 41988
[X] The one where she kicked.

Ah yes kicking. She'll never expect it! I mean, it worked for an insect so it'll work for an umbrella right?
>> No. 41991
File 155478494818.png - (311.22KB, 566x800, smug v ashamed.png) [iqdb]
41991
[X] The one where she kicked.


= = = = =

It didn’t work.

In the midst of rain, near to the bamboo forest, the two weakling youkai had a duel of spell cards. The tsukumogami had hoped the rain, and her opponent’s lack of cover from it, would give her some advantage. The effect had been negligible really. Perhaps if she’d used “Surprising Rain” to really confuse the field; maybe then she would have won.

She used “One-Legged Return Hit”. Now, on her knees and under her umbrella-half, the rokurokubi floated before her telling her plainly why that had been a bad move.

“Not pretty, not flashy, not much of anything;” she explained, her arms crossed beneath her capelet, “you just shot bullets in simple, childish circles like a child flailing around with a hose, kicking out a separate barrage here and there. Always an easy to dodge, obvious to expect, embarrassing barrage.” She sighed, pulling water from a portion of her bangs, then looking at the resulting beads just before they were lost to the incessancy of raindrops. “It got a bit tougher when you kicked a few extra times,” she admitted, “but really I almost feel bad for you.”

Sekibanki had used something she called “Glinting Eyes ‘Trauma’s Ray’”, a modification of a card she’d used against the infamous amanojaku that had been rampaging some years ago. In retrospect, Kogasa realized that the card was a simple trick. In a way, Sekibanki had given her a lesson on surprising: if something seems very dangerous, mainly by being sudden and overwhelming, even if it’s actually easy to see through you’re likely to panic. She panicked at least.

The rokurokubi told her that there were two very easy ways to avoid her card’s barrage. One was to simply go behind her, turning around back, and then forth.

The other was to stand still.

Sekibanki shook her head. “Whatever,” she grumbled, “I still want your help so...”

She reached into her cloak, and produced a copper four mon coin. Kogasa looked up, trying to stifle self-pity from showing on her face.

“Heads, the characters, I’ll grant you my one of my heads for practice. Tails, the waves, I’ll give you scaring tips.”

She held the coin between her fingers, now barraged by rain.

“Right. Here I go.”

And go she did.

Coin flip: tails!


\ \ \ \ \


Marisa slapped her hand down on the kitchen table, delivering to the shrine maiden across from her a bold announcement:

“Alright! The first strategy meeting of the ‘Seduce Tatara Kogasa’ team starts now!”

“Shut up!”

Reimu sat with her fists closed over her thighs and her face terribly red. Although she’d enjoyed the teasing and bullying session that she’d had with her witch friend earlier, the time after had been spent explaining the situation.

It was excruciating.

Marisa was loving every moment.

“Maaan,” she drew out with a smile on her face, closing her eyes and raising the palm of her free hand in a casual gesture, “but you’re really way too fond of tools, ain’t ya Reimu?”

Reimu made a noise of frustration, squirming in her seat.

“I guess the more useful a youkai is, the better you feel about ‘em?” Marisa continued, shrugging one shoulder. “Guess that explains Suika...”

“Come on! Move past this already!” Reimu begged. Marisa acquiesced as if the aside had never happened.

“Right, so it’s Kogasa you’re interested in.”

“I guess!” Reimu snapped, almost like the words were a denial.

Marisa took a roll of paper from the floor and unfurled it on her kitchen table, keeping it in place with a bottle, her mini-Hakkero, another bottle, and a spatula. She produced a pen from thin air and leaned over the scroll. “So what do you like about her?” she asked.

“‘What’... I mean, I barely get why I like her in the first place...” her guest replied, a flutter obvious in her voice.

“It’s her eyes, isn’t it?” Marisa wagered, looking sly at her friends.

“Her eyes!?” the shrine maiden exclaimed, jolting in her chair.

Marisa frowned in some confusion. “What? Not into heterochromia?”

“If anything it’d be her hair—!” Reimu stopped herself after bursting this out, covering her mouth with both hands and feeling the heat of her own face.

Marisa wrote that down. “‘Beautiful... sky blue... hair...’ ‘Lright! what else?” she finished, meeting Reimu’s eyes again. Reimu began to growl.

“Marisaaaa...” she said from behind her hands.

“What? Listen, Reimu, if you’re going to capture her heart at some point you’re gonna have ta tell her why you want her heart in the first place.”

Reimu’s posture sank. “Why do you think I want her...? Can’t I just wait until I forget about all this?”

Marisa put on a stark, irritated face. “Reimu, that’s too pathetic,” she said. “Capture your love! Where’s your sense a’ romance!?”

“I’ve got one!” she insisted. “I’ve got one, but why do I have to try to get her!?”

“... How about this?” the magician began, bringing the conversation’s level low. “If I say ‘Kogasa’, what do you think?”

“Cute...” Reimu responded, gaze cast down. “Nice... Really sweet.”

Marisa silently committed these thoughts to record. Her eyebrow twitched. “... Why ‘nice’? Because she helped you out yesterday?”

“That’s not it... I mean, it is, but it isn’t just that. She’s...” Reimu hesitated, then looked at Marisa who was looking at her. “You know how after she gave me those new needles the first time? I exterminated her instead of paying first?”

“Yeah, I remember. Cruel as ever Reimu.”

“Thing is, she still came back the year after that. And after that. She keeps making sure I’m either taking care of my needles or if I need new ones, even after I beat her up...” She went quiet for a moment. “... I beat her up before then, even, and she still came around. I was thinking, I never even said ‘sorry’ about that, but she still shows up, and not to bother me like most of them.”

“Youkai, you mean?”

“Yeah.” Reimu nodded, looking down again. “She’s nicer even than most tsukumogami, right? This morning, I remembered she was in some issues of Bunbunmaru and I looked it up, and even though she’s still really dumb she keeps trying to help humans.” She frowned, then met Marisa’s eyes and seriously asked. “Isn’t she a really good girl?”

“Well, I guess,” answered Marisa, still writing. “She scares people in the Myouren graveyard though.”

“That’s what youkai are supposed to do,” answered Reimu, still looking serious. “It feels like she’s doing everything she can do, even if she’s not successful...”

Kinda like me.

“Kinda like you, huh,” Marisa kept making notes, not looking at Reimu who was blushing again. “But, she definitely does more than you do! You’d sleep on the porch in the sun all day if it somehow meant you wouldn’t be going hungry in the next month! Heck, you do that already, even without any food!”

Reimu felt embarrassed.

But truthfully, she did have to admit that on closer inspection Kogasa was almost admirable. Given she could parallel herself with the umbrella, with how she tried to run a successful shrine to survive and Kogasa tried to be helpful to survive, she felt like she could perhaps connect very well with the tsukumogami. Maybe they could even help one another... She’d helped and been helped by a tsukumogami before – Hata no Kokoro – and that had inarguably been her best venture yet. She had to admit, however, that success in life wasn’t her intention. She could imagine speaking with Kogasa over struggling to survive, over ideas to keep going, and she thought that would be nice... She touched her lips, and felt warmth in her eyes. Something heavy defied gravity inside her, rolling up through her heart and into her throat.

The witch was right. She wanted to be with Kogasa as well. She didn’t want to let the feelings fade.

But, in realizing that, at the side of her mind arose something quiet, but massive and awful. Something impossible to deny:

The truth of how unadmirable Hakurei Reimu was.

Her shoulders lowered, and her disposition clearly as well. Marisa didn’t fail to notice. “What’s the matter now?” She waited a moment for a response. When none came, she ventured a guess, “Lemme guess: you just noticed how much of a catch you aren’t.”

Reimu now began to slouch.

Marisa thought to herself, But, well, don’t the two of you have failure in common? And the way you go about it’s the same way too; all gung-ho even if you’ve got no reason to be. Maybe she doesn’t really get it... but I shouldn’t say.

The golden-haired friend decided: That’s something she should figure out herself...!

She wrote something down with flair: a little plan of action for her shrine maiden pal’s path to conquest. The goal would be a youkai maiden’s heart, and the first step would be


[] to meet that maiden again directly.

[] to invite that maiden over under the pretext of business.

[] to hold a party at the shrine, where that maiden would surely appear again.
>> No. 41992
File 155478998268.jpg - (457.88KB, 1113x1600, Night_Sparrow_in_Love_007[1].jpg) [iqdb]
41992
[X] to meet that maiden again directly.

Party's no good — too many people. Staggeringly drunk revelry is not a good atmosphere, and it'd be kind of embarrassing to even think about maiden-capturing in the presence of so many friends and acquaintances. I don't think inviting Kogasa over under the pretext of business is good either, Raymoo doesn't have enough dosh to pull a Mystia and really doesn't seem like she can lie at all.
>> No. 41993
[X] to meet that maiden again directly.

Not only does this feel like it has the best chance of succeding, the direct approach also feels like something Marisa would suggest.
>> No. 41994
[X] to meet that maiden again directly
>> No. 41995
[x] to invite that maiden over under the pretext of business.

Given Reimu's current state of mind, getting her to go the direct route could be more trouble than it's worth.
>> No. 42000
[X] to invite that maiden over under the pretext of business.

>>41993
Then again, Marisa is also a serial liar.
>> No. 42001
[x] to meet that maiden again directly.
>> No. 42006
[X] to meet that maiden again directly.
>> No. 42051
File 155694013952.jpg - (301.29KB, 647x458, surprise; surprise.jpg) [iqdb]
42051
image source (NSFW): https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/649206

++++++++

[X] to meet that maiden again directly.


/ / / / /


“Are you dry? ... Good. Lessons start tomorrow. Get out of my house.”

With these curt words, Sekibanki put Kogasa out on the street.

“Hmmmm...” the girl moaned, walking slowly now with a light frown on her face. It had about stopped raining. She figured the sky may not clear but at least she could be dry for a bit. Of course she appreciated rain, but right now rain would just remind her of her latest failure.

... At least I got her to agree, she thought, and her frown deepened, her brow furrowed, But I really wanted to try out daikagura.

She spun her umbrella part, looking up to watch its tongue eerily flap out its mouth.

And she smirked. “Heh heh...”

From a crack in the clouds, she saw a shadow stark against the blue. “Huh?” she muttered. They seemed to be stopping. “Someone who can fly, all the way out here? Who could it be?”

While she was pondering, the figure descended, and as it did it became obviously clear and frightening. Kogasa pulled back her tool part and flinched, hopping onto one leg in the first step of retreat. The Hakurei Shrine Maiden was upon her, and she had no idea why. She did know: Hakurei Reimu wasn’t the type to come after youkai on her own without quickly grabbing them by the collar and throwing accusations... She gulped.

Maybe... that bucket broke after all...!?

With her hair standing on end, she stared wide-eyed at the human, said human landing with her shoulder to Kogasa, crossing her arms, and frowning at some other houses but very deliberately not toward her. The youkai shivered, and tried to remain calm.

“Ko—... Ko-Ko---... not that—Tsu-Tsukumogami!? Hmm? H-Hmmm... I... I didn’t see you there. You’re here, huh. Huhh.”

Reimu was acting strange.

“I... I didn’t do anything?” said Kogasa, pre-empting indictment.

The human turned her head quick, firing a glare, and asking, “Huh? You did something?”

Kogasa shoulders spasmed. “No!? I... I took care of that bucket nicely! I even gave it a bath!”

“What?” Reimu cocked her head in confusion.

And Kogasa’s shoulders lowered. “Y-You haven’t heard anything about me...?” she ventured to ask.

“Why are you talking about buckets?”

“Why are you talking to me!?” fired back Kogasa. The words hit into Reimu, and seemed to almost make her stumble. She held her hands aloft if some surprise, and grit her teeth, glaring even more. Her face was red.

“~~! Can’t I talk to whoever I want? Why not!?” she snapped.

“W-Well, we only talk when you need needles, or if I t-talk to you first, Miss Reimu! You a-always beat youkai up!”

“I... I’m not going to beat you up!” Reimu insisted. She looked at the gohei she always kept with her, then looked at Kogasa while steadily striking it into her open palm. “W-What? Do you want me to beat you up!?”

“Of course not! Please don’t!” Kogasa shouted. The two of them were panting now, Reimu’s face still flush, her’s cold and pale. “Um, so, uh, wh—why did you, umm, come to, uh, see me?”

Reimu’s face started to glow. She gripped her staff with both hands. Kogasa cocked her eyebrows, preparing another question to ask when the Shrine Maiden suddenly yelled, letting her weapon go, “I said I didn’t see you here! Obviously I only stopped to say hello!”

“Th-Then, hello!” Kogasa yelled back, her eyebrows twitching.

“Hello!” said Reimu. “How are you!? Are you doing well!?”

“Well, no! It’s, um, half and half!? And you!?”

“U-Umm, half and half!?”

“Why are you still yelling!?”

“Why are you!?”

The two stopped to huff with breath. Kogasa was entirely befuddled. Was Reimu possessed?

“If... If you’d like...” the umbrella youkai began, “shall we have lunch together somewhere? It’s the afternoon, after all.” Something like this is okay, right...? It’s polite...

Reimu stiffened. The anger on her face broke away to something almost pained. She seemed to draw back, lifting her chin and looking at Kogasa nervously. She eventually eased a bit, slouching somewhat, breaking her gaze and answering, “O... Okay...”

The Shrine Maiden is sick...! Kogasa surmised, looking at said human with a severe expression. She frowned with determination. Maybe I can help her!

“Th-Then...” she said, and she held her hand out, indicating which way and road they’d walk. Reimu joined her at her side, gripping at her own sleeve and not looking in the tsukumogami’s direction. Kogasa felt emboldened. Just like the day before, she would prove her worth, and make a human happy.


~~~~~~

For the next part:

[] Reimu.

[] Kogasa.
>> No. 42052
[x] Kogasa.
>> No. 42053
[X] Reimu.
>> No. 42054
Oof raymoo you should have brought Marisa as a wingman.
[X]Kogasa
>> No. 42055
[x] Kogasa.

Must witness the confused girl's mind.
>> No. 42058
[Kogasa]

Reimu’s a mess, that’s clear but let’s see the other side
>> No. 42062
[x] Kogasa.
>> No. 42070
[X] Reimu.
>> No. 42071
[X] Kogasa.
>> No. 42076
File 155850371085.png - (96.20KB, 600x206, smooth.png) [iqdb]
42076
image source: https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/1763684

++++++++

[X] Kogasa.


= = = = =

Despite the hour, they somehow were able to find a place that wasn’t crowded. The Restaurant Aotori was open to the air, like most eateries in the Human Village. It also was more of a café than a restaurant on the food services scale, being simple, and somewhat small.

A few sky-colored noren hung at the outer edge, waving in a way that evoked the sense of being at a shore, Kogasa felt. What with the heavens beginning to clear, the blue was resonating quite well in the new sunlight. She’d thought, How Summer! when those banners and the pure white name they bore caught her eye, and she’d asked if Reimu would like to sit there. Now they found themselves at a smooth and cool table, near one of the banners which Kogasa was cheerfully observing. They sat across from one another, Kogasa slouched with her arms crossed on the surface before her, and Reimu with her shoulders up and her hands closed atop her skirt. She was looking at Kogasa’s sleeves and frowning. The table was small. They were close, and quiet.

Kogasa decided to shove aside that silence, remarking, “It’s like the sea, huh?” To which Reimu’s gaze shot up.

She turned that gaze on what Kogasa was looking at: the noren. “The sea, huh... Well, I guess,” she mumbled.

Kogasa perked up, and looked at the shrine maiden with surprise and a smile. “You’ve been!?” she asked, almost breathless.

“Oh... yeah. Just... twice, though,” the maiden dragged out a clumsy response.

“That’s two more times than almost anyone in Gensokyo!” Kogasa exclaimed, bouncing in her seat. She beamed, eyes closed, as she reminisced, “I used to go a lot...” she said. “The sea isn’t at all like rain, but it’s still a lot of water!”

“O-Oh? I see...”

“Did you know? At the beach, even when it isn’t raining lots of people in the Outside World bring along umbrellas. Can you guess why?”

“Um... because of big waves? They crash down, make a splash, and you get wet...” Reimu ventured.

Bu-buuu!” Kogasa made a noise of error, and stuck out her tongue. “Nope! Of course, it’s because of the weather! What... you didn’t know? It gets really hot at the beach during summer, almost worse than anywhere else! Jeez, that’s common knowledge, Miss Reimu! When’d you go anyway?” the youkai interrogated her lunch partner a little smugly, one eyebrow raised as a smirk perked up her lips.

“‘When’, huh...?” said Reimu in a thin voice while she looked up at the shop’s dark ceiling. “I think ‘where’ is a better question. Both times, I went to the seas on the Moon.”

“Oh! Right, Miss Reimu—you solved an incident up there a few years ago, didn’t you?”

Reimu nodded, squinted, then shrugged. “Eh...” she grunted, readying a denial, “I went to the moon a second time, but I couldn’t resolve the incident.”

“Customers, some tea. Are you ready to order?”

A waitress politely addressed the two of them while placing a green, ceramic cup before each guest, full of chilled green tea. Kogasa requested, “Rice and bamboo shoots, please,” with a light voice and a finger raised. Reimu told the waitress, “I’ll have the rabbit,” in a plain tone and with a somewhat-weak expression.

“Then, a rice and bamboo shoot plate, and roast venison with summertime herbs. Is that correct?”

“Yeah,” said Reimu.

“Would you like white rice with your rabbit?”

“Sure.”

“Will that be all for you, then?”

“Mm.” Reimu nodded once.

“Completely understood, as you’ve asked. Please wait a little while,” the waitress, in her simple tanned kimono with a wide-diamond pattern, bowed on her leave, and Reimu watched her go. Kogasa watched Reimu.

“... When did you go to the moon the first time, Miss Reimu?” she asked, taking a sip from the cup now held in both of her hands. She watched Reimu with her shoulders raised as if she were huddling for warmth, and her head bent so as to not intimidate (though, it could be argued: Tatara Kogasa was never truly intimidating). The human girl eyed her sideways, and lifted her chin.

“I was a kid back then,” she said, lifting her cup with her left hand and bringing it near her lips while casting a wistful, half-lidded gaze across Aotori. “I hadn’t even grown all that tall yet: an actual kid. Yukari was being pushy, and somehow or another I ended up fueling the Vampire’s ship to the Moon.” She drank, and puffed a breath of irritation through her nose.

“Miss Reimu as a child...” said Kogasa thoughtfully. She cocked her head behind her lifted cup. “How much more of a brat you must’ve been then over now...” she said.

Reimu glared, and turned that glare on the tsukumogami. “Aahn?” the human uttered a threat with her voice, turning halfway and taking a posture like a gangster in her seat. “Who’s a brat? Who?”

The smile stiffened on Kogasa’s face, but she did not go pale. Her heart was unwavering; Ii this moment of tension, she saw with certainty an opportunity to start chipping away at this halting ice between them. “You’re awfully well-known for being like a kid, Miss Reimu,” she answered, “and I have to tell you this! I may not be the best babysitter, but if you watch kids enough you can recognize ‘em well!”

“I-I’m not like a kid,” Reimu denied. Her cheeks were flushed.

“I don’t think you’re that much of a kid either!” said Kogasa, her two-color eyes almost dazzling. She sat up straight and lowered her cup, continuing, “Even though you’re completely useless most of the time, you throw yourself at everything one-hundred percent! It’s really cool! I could model myself after you, and I do!” She grinned after saying this, closing her eyes once again.

Reimu frowned, and feeling her aggravation Kogasa opened her eyes to see this. “I don’t want a useless umbrella calling me useless,” Reimu said, putting her cup down and leaving her elbow on the table. “And quit it with the hollow praise! I know you’re just trying to pity me again!“

“No! No! I don’t like lying, it’s bad for your reputation!” Kogasa was quick to defend herself, raising both her palms in front of herself and leaning back. Shrinking next, her shoulders dropped and she apologized with a feeble, “S-Sorry...” It was an apology on instinct, she didn’t have anything concrete she was apologizing for. Reimu seemed to accept it nonetheless. While she scrutinized the umbrella, the edge in her eyes dulled, and the frown on her lips eased.

“Uh, sorry,” she said, “I’m just... I guess, I’m anxious? Just lately, I mean. Uhh... more than usual. Sorry.”

“... Is there an incident happening?” Kogasa guessed.

“No,” Reimu replied with a shake of her head. “Don’t worry about it,” she said with a bit of a forced smile, “it’s just me.”

Well... I guess that’s good. That’s what I was trying to fix, thought Kogasa with a measure of relief. Incidents were nothing but trouble for weaklings like her

Their food arrived, their waitress thanked them for waiting, and they started to eat with no sense of peace between them. Every tap and scrape of chopstick to plate served to deepen the feeling of unease in the atmosphere, until a near perfect image of awkwardness had been developed. Kogasa wanted to escape, but she wanted to help even more. She stayed, and ate her rice.

“Um, Ko—Ko-Ko—”

Chicken? thought Kogasa, holding the ends of her chopsticks in her mouth and looking up.

“Kogasa...” Reimu breathed. Her face was completely flushed now. Kogasa turned her eyes onto Reimu’s plate.

Spicy...? the umbrella theorized, lifting one of her eyebrows rather slowly.

“What... What have you been up to?” asked the human girl.

“You... You want to know what I’ve been up to?” Kogasa sought to confirm.

“That’s what I just asked, yes,” said Reimu, staring flatly and narrow-eyed at the Kogasa.

Kogasa felt her face warming. She looked down at her plate while thumbing its ridge with her left. “O-Ohh...” she stammered. “Uh, aside from Tengu just making fun of me, no one ever really asks...”

Though Kogasa couldn’t see it, Reimu was now blushing. The shrine maiden said, rather bluntly, “Well go on, what have you been doing?” and Kogasa raised her head.

“Um... well... nothing, but, I just about started thinking about doing daikagura...” she whispered.

“Daikagura? Like all parts of it? That can’t be. You mean the juggling?” To Reimu’s question, Kogasa nodded. “The juggling huh... Well, even if it’s just one part of it, isn’t that dangerous?”

Now the color drained from Kogasa’s face. She met Reimu’s eyes with hers full of concern. She repeated, in a stark voice: “‘Dangerous’.”

Reimu kept eating, speaking to Kogasa with one cheek full, “You looked it up, I guess? Maybe the book or person didn’t know, but daikagura is a practice to banish and ward off evil.” She swallowed, and went about picking apart the meat in front of her. “It’s good for humans,” she continued, “but would a youkai like you even be able to do it? That’s like self-harm, right? Suicide.”

“Is it that dangerous!? I-I knew about it being the bane of evil, but...!” Kogasa’s lips quivered in fear. This was a shock. Wasn’t juggling just juggling in the end? Surely if it was just that, nothing would happen to her... She began to lose her physical appetite.

“Eh, it’s probably alright,” Reimu said, still eating just fine. “After all, it’s just juggling you’re doing, and in the first place you’re a sweetheart so I don’t think you’d get warded off by anything like that. All you do is scare a few humans, which isn’t even ba—”

Reimu stopped, and seemed to have realized what she’d just said after a delay.

Kogasa realized at once. While stirring her rice nervously, the blush in her cheeks increased. She spoke quietly, smiling as she said, “Ha... Ha ha, ah, thank you, Miss Reimu... I ... I don’t know about sweetheart—heheh, heheheh, ‘sweetheart’. Th-Thank you!”

The compliment was making her giddy. While she wanted to be of use to humans, she’d also quite often been called a nuisance to them, and she had to admit that for a long time she’d been against humanity on principle. But even when scaring people she was usually sure to be polite and ask for their attention and time first.

She was a tool made by humans, for humans. Perhaps objectively that sounded like a depressing existence, but in reality that meant that any time she neared her purpose, and any time her efforts were recognized, she felt truly alive. A sweetheart, huh...? she thought, still smiling. Maybe “an idiot” would be better, but... Wow, that makes me happy...!

In the meantime Reimu was quickly finishing her food, shoveling meat and rice into her mouth while holding her plate up from the table. When she finished, she put down the dish and her utensils, then gulped the rest of her tea while shutting her eyes. Done with the cup, she landed it heavily onto the table and looked out toward the Human Village. With the back of her hand against the corner of her mouth, knuckle ready to clean away anything left, she looked as though she were steaming.

Kogasa, however, was entirely oblivious, caught up in a pleasant sort of embarrassment with eyes shamefully shut. She cleaned her own plate with a joyous rhythm, and when she was done she put her hands together to say, “Thanks for the meal.” She looked at Reimu, then, telling her, “And that meal too.”

Once again, somehow she’d managed to get some surprise energy out of the shrine maiden. Reimu looked across the table at her lunch partner, and her face almost looked pained. Despite this, she was able to show a more assured face in a moment, after exhale. She looked into the restaurant, saw the waitress making her way to their table, and said—


[] “Hey, Kogasa, let’s make a deal.”

[] “Hey, wo—... w-would you like to come over to the Shrine after this?”

[] “Ko-Kogasa... would it be alright if we hung out a little longer?”
>> No. 42077
[X] “Ko-Kogasa... would it be alright if we hung out a little longer?”
>> No. 42078
[x] “Ko-Kogasa... would it be alright if we hung out a little longer?”

Cute...!
>> No. 42079
[x] “Hey, Kogasa, let’s make a deal.”
>> No. 42080
[x] “Hey, Kogasa, let’s make a deal.”

I like the winning one, but this intrigues me.
>> No. 42081
[x] “Ko-Kogasa... would it be alright if we hung out a little longer?”

The date must go on.
>> No. 42098
[X] “Ko-Kogasa... would it be alright if we hung out a little longer?”
>> No. 42108
File 156022936410.jpg - (160.37KB, 562x774, calming down.jpg) [iqdb]
42108
[X] “Ko-Kogasa... would it be alright if we hung out a little longer?”


= = = = =

By now, the Sun had mostly dried the rooftops and the ground.

Kogasa strolled down a half-busy street, swinging her umbrella half in something of a wheel at her side. Behind her, Reimu eyed the flying tongue warily.

The afternoon was afoot. With lunch finished, and nothing solidly planned, Kogasa thought it would be best to wander around with the shrine maiden. The human hadn’t said that she wanted to do anything in particular, just that she wanted to spend some more time with the tsukumogami she’d had lunch with. Kogasa would oblige at the very least that much, and the fair weather and chatty villagers around her had even gotten her to forget how nervous the prospect of “more time with the Hakurei” had made her.

She watched as a pair of birds flew down from the sky and into the shade of a building. There, the two started bathing in a puddle that the sunlight had yet to touch, flitting quickly and splashing about. Smiling, Kogasa ceased the spin of her umbrella, opened the canopy over her head, and looked over her shoulder at her current partner.

“If we stay together until the evening, Miss Reimu,” the youkai began, “should we go to a hot spring too? Or a bath. How’s that sound?”

“Huh?” Reimu hadn’t seemed to notice that Kogasa’s attention had been on her. She turned from looking at a trio of children playing with some sort of ring and answered, “Whuh? Uh, yes! Yeah, let’s do that!”

After answering, she stopped, her face went white, and her eyes lost focus.

“Uhh, don’t worry,” said Kogasa, looking worried herself. She stopped as well and explained, “A bath’s fine. We don’t have to go to a hot spring.” Reimu wasn’t the most well-off of humans, and the blacksmith umbrella didn’t want a repeat of the first time she’d asked the Hakurei to spend money on something.

She shifted the subject. “Anyway, the Sun sure is working hard, huh,” she said, turning her gaze to the sky peeking out from under her plum brim. Suddenly, she pouted, and then rose her fist past the top of her second half. “Fiendish heavens...!” she bellowed. “You can’t beat the power of human invention! Give it all you got; a mere parasol can stop you at every turn!” With this declaration, she shook the upraised fist, and nearby some villagers looked her way and chuckled. Behind her, Reimu puffed with a little laughter as well. Hearing that, Kogasa bounced with surprise. She was used to hearing villagers laugh, but it may have been the first time she’d gotten a chuckle out of the Hakurei.

She didn’t like laughs as a general rule, but... given that today she was trying to heal a haggard heart, laughs were acceptable. She looked at Reimu, who was half-smiling while staring vacantly at the road beside her foot. Putting a smile on herself, the blue youkai said, “W-Would you like to fight the Sun together with me?” and inwardly cursed herself for stuttering. Forcing a wave of bitterness down, she bent her umbrella-part a little forward and turned her hand under her arm in a gesture of invitation.

Reimu straightened up, looked to Kogasa’s palm, then nodded once, a little quickly, and with a quiet, “Yes...”

She joined Kogasa under her shade, walking up to Kogasa’s right side. The tsukumogami’s smile turned to a beam, and, now close, she and her human continued on.

“Have you been thinking up anything new lately, Miss Reimu?” she asked, looking the shrine maiden’s way.

Reimu did not look hers. “Hmm...” she huffed, eyes on the gutters of some building to her right. “You mean for the shrine?” she pondered. Kogasa nodded, not that Reimu could see. “No, not anything recently. Things went pretty well for a while, but I had to work too much... and I just don’t like working.”

This sentiment rather soured the umbrella’s mood. She frowned, and told the other girl, “You have to work hard if you want anything.”

Finally, Reimu met her eyes. Unfortunately, what she had to say was not what Kogasa wanted to hear.

“Yeah,” she agreed, telling Kogasa, “and I got what I wanted. I think... I’m cool with that.”

The youkai’s frown became almost jagged in its contortion. “Miss Reimu,” she said, “that’s lazy.”

“I-It’s satisfaction,” Reimu declared this feeble defense, breaking eye contact again. “What I need is all I’ll work for. You know, that sort of thing.”

Kogasa did know. She herself didn’t necessarily want vast renown, popularity, and success; she wanted to survive. However, from what she’d heard about Reimu, the maiden was not infrequently in some sort of danger from not having enough money or faith to her shrine. In truth, she wasn’t working for what she needed. If she truly wanted that, she would make some basic effort. Then, she could at least live her life if not wealthy, then untroubled.

... She at least had talent, so it would be easy for her. That’s what the tsukumogami thought.

“... What? You look like you’re going to get mopey again,”

Kogasa met Reimu’s eyes with a dour look.

“Uhh... don’t,” Reimu asked, breaking gaze again. “It’s annoying when you get all depressed.”

“My face is down here, Miss Reimu,” said Kogasa bluntly.

“I know where your face is!” Reimu snapped, her shoulder raising and brushing against the tip of Kogasa’s nose. Kogasa looked at the human’s ear, seeing that the top of it was red. She squinted, confused.

“... Anyway, you shouldn’t waste your life, I think. Uh, that’s—just...! This... humble umbrella’s opinion...” Kogasa shrank, eyes downcast, and the top of her umbrella part pushed against the back of Reimu’s head while the “body” part slouched.

Suddenly, she felt a hand around her left arm and something at her back. She was pulled to Reimu’s body, where she could hear the girl’s heart beating. She looked up, confused again, and saw Reimu looking straight ahead as they moved.

“Straighten your back,” Reimu said. “You’ll get burned if you keep looking down.”

Kogasa looked to the upper arm that Reimu was grasping, and realized that she’d been keeping her left side under the sun to give her human more canopy and thus shade. The frown she’d been wearing became muddled, and her eyebrows twisted too.

“Y’know—” Kogasa whispered, intending to give this audacious human a piece of her mind. However, as she secretly glanced Reimu’s way, she went silent. Although the girl was red-faced as was usual for this outing, her expression was staid and certain. She looked, Kogasa thought, completely sublime.

Kogasa stayed silent as they walked. And as they walked, Reimu’s hair fell from behind her ear and slid smoothly over Kogasa’s. When it did, the faint scent of almond branches came across nicely, and she winced. Her heart thumped once, her brow furrowed further. Close to Reimu, the tsukumogami felt distinctly bothered, and utterly perplexed.


They eventually came across an unpopular bridge. It wasn’t unsightly, but perhaps too out the way of ordinary traffic, nearer to one of the village walls. She stood with her back straight, holding her umbrella up over Reimu, who was leaning on the red guard rail, looking at koi swimming below in an artificial pond. They hadn’t spoken since Reimu had given her that advice, so when the shrine maiden spoke again Kogasa had not been expecting it.

“I guess I’m like these fish,” she muttered absently.

“... Red and white?” Kogasa ventured.

No.” was Reimu’s terse response.

“Oh... Mindless?” Kogasa tried again.

To this, Reimu, looked at her somewhat incredulously, but mostly intimidatingly. Her gohei was now in her right hand, and she was lightly fwipping it into the palm of her left.

“Wh-What?” asked Kogasa, not understanding what had set the maiden off. After looking the youkai’s way for a few second, Reimu sighed in a way that, Kogasa felt, seemed resigned. She let her purification rod slip into her detached sleeve.

“Day to day, you don’t really want anything, then something comes along and—” Reimu stopped, rummaging inside her skirt pocket for something. She withdrew a rice cracker, held it past the railing, and began meticulously breaking it over the water. As the pieces and crumbs fell, the carp went into a small frenzy, messily gaping at the offering and each taking whatever bit of it they could swallow. “You get like that, like everything ‘right now’ matters more than anything else.”

She put her chin in her hand, placing her digits like a resting spider on her cheek. Kogasa watched closely as she licked the dust of senbei off her other fingertips.

“... I guess it is kind of mindless,” she concluded.

Kogasa hopped in place, moving her attention away from the shrine maiden’s thumb (the nail of which was now placed between her lips). She didn’t have a response to what had just been said, but felt like she ought to deliver one. Thus, she declared:

“That’s what I like about you, though, Miss Reimu.”

Reimu shivered, dropped both her hands, and turned her face away so that Kogasa couldn’t see it.

“I mean, it’s really annoying how you give up, and then start complaining about how things are bad for you. Whenever I hear you talking like that, or I read about you in a newspaper talking like that, I wanna yell at you. ‘You brought that on yourself, you lazy shrine maiden!’ I yell that sometimes, like by myself,” Kogasa jabbered on, still mostly speaking out of a sense obligation, but slowly coming to earnestness. “But like I said before, you give everything in a moment, and when you’re really trying it’s, um, really motivating!” She blushed. Can’t you say a full sentence without messing it up...!? “I meant that for real when I said it the first time, and I mean it for real now! That’s... That’s all I want to say! Thank you!”

“Pff, ‘thank you’...” Reimu echoed. Kogasa lifted her head after having bowed, seeing a light smile on Reimu’s lips. Her bangs hid her, eyes, however. Kogasa found that disappointing.

... Why, she wasn’t sure.

Reimu’s smile seemed to tremble for a moment, but just as quickly as it had, it widened. “Alright, you tsukumogami; I’ll believe you already. You respect me? Thanks.” A breath puffed from her nose. “That’s nice. I mean that.”

Kogasa stood up again and let out a soft breath of relief her brow relaxing. Thank goodness... she thought. A breakthrough. Maybe this meant their interactions wouldn’t have to be so temperamental.

“D-Do you have any more crackers? I want to try feeding them too!” Kogasa bid the other girl.

Reimu, gave her a look of slight disbelief and said, “I know I had the one in there, but it’s not like I carry them all the time.” She moved from the rail and held up her hands in a shrug, closing her eyes and saying, “Besides, I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to use like... some sort of pellets or something instead of crackers...” as she finished, she lowered her arms and opened her eyes again, “I... I just wanted to make my point.”

“Then let’s get some of those!” Kogasa insisted, leaning a little forward.

Reimu put her hands on her hips. “Come on, you really want to just spend time feeding fish?”

“Yeah! ... Why not?” asked the umbrella girl. To this question, Reimu shook her head lightly, but not dismissively. When she spoke again, it was in acquiescence.

“... Sure, let’s do that. I bet there’s a place around here where we get food for them.”

“Awesome! Great!” exclaimed Kogasa, jumping with her hands aloft.

“I’d rather have them as food, though.”

“What!?”
>> No. 42110
I'm sorry, but this chapter is too cute
>> No. 42111
File 156040816399.jpg - (194.33KB, 273x902, can't hold back.jpg) [iqdb]
42111
image source: https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/2655651

>>42110
Thank you!

Next update will have a choice.

++++++++

\ \ \ \ \


She had to face it: she enjoyed watching Kogasa too much.

The tsukumogami had a flair to almost everything she did, acting on innocent, honest nature generally without a second thought. One of the carp would splash too excitedly, her cheek would get touched by water, and she’d leap in place and yelp. She threw out food excitedly and cheered the koi on with total enthusiasm. When she left the bridge, she held her hand out to the pond and squealed, shivering, when they gulped pellets out of it. She was adorable in every way. Reimu ended up doing little more than watching her antics for the few hours they’d spent handling the fish, and talking with the shop/pond owner nearby who decided to remedy their curiosity on this rather slow day.

As evening approached, with the sky still blue, Kogasa said this after taking her feet from the water (having sat at the pond’s edge to rest): “Thanks, Mister!”—this was to the koi’s keeper—“Reimu! Let’s go to the Shrine!”

As the umbrella daintily put back on her geta, Reimu remembered their arrangement, and her internal workings went into a frenzy.

The... bath!
Am I really going to do that!? Is that okay!?
Wait, no, of course it isn’t!
Oh God... am I a pervert?
Why didn’t I say no...?
Ah, but, Kogasa’s breasts...
Like, her being naked....
Her in a towel and all wet...
—Eh!? Wh-What am I thinking!?
I don’t care about that stuff when I’m bathing with Marisa!
Ehh, but... Ohh, her butt...
...!! Stop, Reimu, stop!


Reimu grabbed at her skull with both her hands and groaned through grit teeth. The villager and tsukugami looked at her strangely, then at each other. They each shrugged, The usual Hakurei Reimu strangeness.

“Yeah, let’s go!” Reimu forced herself to say. Kogasa nodded politely to the shopkeeper then, and with that, she waited for the trembling Reimu to join her on the way to Gensokyo’s eastern border.


To her momentary relief, they only reached the shrine in twilight. Until night fell, running a bath would wait. That meant she could sit down. That meant she could have some tea. That meant she could relax.

“Pheeww!”

Kogasa, exhaling with pleasure, sat right down beside her on her left. In that moment, Reimu stiffened entirely. In the cup held over her lap, a ripple was sent out.

Kogasa fanned her neck, pulling out her collar for a better wind. Reimu’s gaze locked on to a few beads of sweat crawling down her skin. The tsukumogami reached for the tray to her left, took a ceramic cup, and lifted it eagerly over her lips. The shrine maiden’s eyes widened as the contours of the other girl’s throat swelled and depressed while she drank. The youkai gulped, and the human gulped as well.

Ahh... that’s... that’s really sexy... Ahhh, her lips are—

“What’s up?” asked Kogasa, turning her head and speaking with geniality. Reimu realized she’d begun to lean a bit toward the umbrella, and that her gaze had glossed over. She brought her right hand to her forehead, slouched, and frowned. It was annoying. It was pathetic. This really may as well have been a curse.

“Nothing...” She managed to draw out a matching pathetic response for her pathetic behavior. What was she doing? Thinking, she brought her hand down and covered her mouth. She wanted Kogasa that much? ... The tsukumogami had been right: she was a total simpleton. She wanted to take her heart from her chest and berate it. In one evening, and one afternoon, it had completely fallen for this girl.

A raven crowed while time crawled on. Cicadas chirped loudly, and in the trees around her shrine it sounded as though squirrels and chipmunks were hurrying to and fro, probably to their burrows and nests. Night was coming whether she wanted it or not.

Now clutching the left side of her chest, bent and wincing with pain, she realized: ... what she hated was that she did.

“Miss Reimu,” Kogasa spoke again, and from the direction of her voice Reimu wagered she was speaking toward the sun-setting sky, “how come you don’t get depressed when your plans mess up?”

A sort of question she should’ve expected, given who was asking it.

“Uh, is it alright to ask that?” Kogasa wondered, and Reimu noted that her tone was a bit colored with worry.

“... It’s fine,” she allowed.

“Oh, okay, phew.” Now she sounded relieved. Feeling a tightness behind her breast again, Reimu sat up straight. Kogasa said, “Like when you make an event for the shrine and no one comes, or when the shrine on the mountain is doing better than you, or those times when you can’t be the one to resolve an incident...” and Reimu looked at her, seeing that now Kogasa was bent forward, looking at the geta barely being kept on her swaying feet. “When stuff like that happens, it’s not just that you ‘lost’, y’know? Your reputation suffers, your stomach suffers, and your pocket... I’ve never heard about you getting depressed over any of that, though.”

Still looking at the other girl’s feet, Reimu thought about this. Kogasa wasn’t exactly “strong-willed”, or rather—if she was ever hurt emotionally, she took it darkly hard. In Reimu’s encounters with the umbrella, it wasn’t only once that said umbrella reconsidered the purpose of her existence, began to weep, or seriously considered the tsukumogami equivalent of suicide: returning to the non-sentience that was being an ordinary item. Wholly, seriously, rather dark.

On the other hand, looking back Reimu hadn’t ever gotten more than momentarily bummed out over something going wrong or a plan falling through. She could get frustrated—if she had to be honest, failing was definitely really frustrating. But, depressing? Even when she felt like the land she was protecting was being batted around by residents of the moon manipulating everything outside of her hands, getting everything they wanted while she had to put herself in harm’s way for their people... it had pissed her off, but she never got sad over it.

“Because it’s all what it is,” she answered. “Life is annoying, and hard sometimes, and a pain even more times than that, but that isn’t bad.” She picked up her head, looking over the treetops before them. “It’s life,” she said. “I’m alive.”

Beside her, Kogasa rejected this with the exclamations, “But sometimes you’re starving! And people make fun of you! And you don’t get any respect even though you try so hard for everyone else!”

... You only talking about me? she thought, next thinking (as her heart squeezed and ached again), I want to hug her...

“... That helps,” she ultimately said, looking into Kogasa’s upset face. It became confused, and she explained, “A few people see it. That helps, Honestly, whenever I do get praised, I feel kinda stupidly happy about it...” Like now... “But even if I wasn’t getting praised,” she said, “I’d do it because it’s my job. The world isn’t going to work if we all start asking questions about how or why anything works. It just does, so keep at it. I guess... I’m one of those people that see it in you, too. You aren’t useless. Believe in yourself,”—she put her right hand down on Kogasa’s left shoulder—“it’s as simple and stupid as that.”

And, she realized, she really should have grabbed the nearer arm. Holding Kogasa this way had them directly face to face, almost chest to chest. She looked into the mismatched colors of Kogasa’s eyes and knew her heart was loudly, thoughtlessly giving away her feelings. She couldn’t help herself. She narrowed her gaze, frowned, parted her lips only slightly, moved just a bit closer—

Kogasa buried her face down below Reimu’s neck, set her cup behind the human, and hugged her tightly—enough that the maiden’s ready lips parted entirely as breath was forced out from between them. Reimu just barely kept her own cup in her lap from spilling, and was surprised that this contact wasn’t setting her off. Perhaps she just understood at once the message this embrace meant to convey. Calmly, kindly, Reimu lifted her hand from Kogasa’s shoulder and patted her twice on the back.

“I’m sorry!” Kogasa breathed toward Reimu’s stomach. The shrine maiden swiftly prevented herself from twitching and scratching at the other girl’s spine. “I wanted to cheer you up but got you trying to motivate me instead, I’m sorry!”

“Uhh, yeah, it’s... alright. Don’t... Don’t worry about it...” Reimu mumbled, now patting Kogasa’s back steady and continuous.

“I was really sad today...” Kogasa explained, and Reimu couldn’t help shivering as the youkai’s grip relaxed; her palms resting now against the back of the human’s ribs. “When you found me, I’d just messed up again and was feeling pretty bitter. I thought I could feel better by making you feel better... I’m sorry.”

... Wait, wait, wait, Reimu had just gotten the umbrella’s sentiment, and squinted somewhat incredulously upon realizing, you thought I was feeling down?

“I don’t get beat up when I can’t do something, and I don’t get depressed in general, alright?” Reimu reassured her, rubbing her back now. “... But, thanks. Like I was saying: someone caring at all is nice.”

Kogasa held her tighter again, saying, “... It is.”

And Reimu looked down at the girl’s sky-colored hair in silence. She pulled her hand back, and put it to one of the tsukumogami’s upper arms, gently moving her away. When they’d parted enough for her to see the youkai’s face, she saw that the Kogasa’s two-color eyes were downcast, but her expression was obviously, warmly glad. Seeing it, before she could reconsider Reimu moved close to the umbrella-girl’s cheek, only just hurriedly killing a strong compulsion to kiss her there before contact could be made. Instead, with her mouth to Kogasa’s ear, Reimu delivered, quietly, a suggestion to go heat the bath, and prepare to end the night.
>> No. 42112
Kiss de girl
>> No. 42113
File 156047119520.png - (354.32KB, 900x1000, heartbeat.png) [iqdb]
42113
= = = = =

Alright, Reimu. Keep calm. She’ll be coming in soon, she won’t be wearing anyth—hey, hey. No. Quit getting aroused.

Behind the unclothed shrine maiden, the door rattled open.

Thmp. Thmp. Thmp. Thmp.

Her body heated instantly, and it wasn’t for the steam of the sauna-styled bath. As the door shut, and Kogasa took a wet step forward, Reimu’s focus oddly centered on the echoing both actions were causing around the wood-plank room. Hollow, loud, pounding into her heart.

She had to decide. This could mean everything.


[] Don’t look, no matter what.

[] Leer openly.

[] The eyes will fall where they fall. Overthinking it will just give everything away.
>> No. 42114
[x] The eyes will fall where they fall. Overthinking it will just give everything away.

God, this is fucking adorable
>> No. 42115
[X] Leer openly.
>> No. 42116
[x] The eyes will fall where they fall. Overthinking it will just give everything away.
>> No. 42117
Question: whose tatas are larger? Or is it close enough that neither of the characters would know?
>> No. 42119
>>42117
Kogasa's. Not close, but the umbrella isn't *huge* either.
>> No. 42120
>>42119
Alright, thanks.
Anime has taught me relative boobies sizes matter for this kind of encounter
>> No. 42121
[X] Leer openly.
>> No. 42122
>>42117

That's a good question to ask, thanks.

[X] Leer openly.
>> No. 42123
[x] Don’t look, no matter what.

It feels natural for this girl and is bound to make Kogasa curious.
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