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Rice and Rain >>/shorts/2209

Inspired by, or shamelessly stolen from. Take your pick. Mibya wrote that (>>/gensokyo/15535).
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clear skies

It wasn’t bad.

The Shrine’s falling apart.

There are mice in the shed.

I didn’t get any donations yesterday.

But, it’s not bad.

Beyond cyclical, the days felt completely repetitious, like carbon paper had been pressed down on “yesterday”, and the marks from “yesterday’s” events went on to make “today”. Endless, identical sheets were pulled one after the other, creating another day of sweeping, another day of Marisa’s visits, another day of... whatever.

That was peace, and that was fine.

She was one to complain, but never about the way things should be. Keeping that way was her job, and that was how she lived, did everything. Peace was always better than the alternative. She was sure of that, and never even considered otherwise. Unthinking, unchanging, Eternal—

“Reimu,” a voice came from above.

“Ah, Marisa,” was her response.

“The heck you doin’?” spoke her friend in an accusatory tone. “I had a feelin’ you’d mess up, but have you even looked at the sky? Go on, look.”

She looked.

The sky was a cotton field: soaked, by the color of it. Hakurei Reimu was sitting on her deck under heavens that were ready to rain. Marisa had her blond hair bunched up into the hood of a kappa’s turquoise raincoat, and her golden eyes were scrutinizing the brunette shrine maiden. “Well?” she said. “Go bring in your laundry!”

Oh right, I was doing that today.

She put her chin in her palm and gave the magician on the broom above her a simple smile. “Help me out?” she asked.

“Tch...” Marisa looked away and groaned, but promptly landed and put her broom aside, running for the back of the shrine. And as she went, the shrine maiden beamed at her openly. This was also usual.

Clip... Clip...

And damp clothing folding over.

There were a few sounds of light water tap tapping at the shingles of the old roof, but the weather had yet to break. Reimu lackadaisically brought her skirts and bloomers to clotheslines inside, while Marisa quickly brought sleeves and shirts. “Ah—!” the red and white girl suddenly gasped with her hand on a clothespin. She looked at a confused Marisa and told her apologetically, “I’ve got to go buy rice. The mice got into my storage again.”

Marisa ground her teeth and grimaced, “C’mooon... What happened to the cat statue I got you?”

“Well the rat problem was over by the time gave me it, and after a while I figured it didn’t really work and just gave mine to Rinnosuke,” she explained.

Marisa’s expression soured further as she thought, It does work, though.

But Reimu probably wouldn’t have that, especially if she knew who... or rather what had made it.

That Reisen’s turned over leaf after leaf since she started comin’ to the Village, Marisa thought over as Reimu finished putting up the clothes she had in her hands. But “youkai” means Reimu ain’t gonna like the sound of it at all. Too bad for her, not that I’m sure they’re even still sellin’ ‘em through Eientei.

Reimu began to float.

“Oi, where are you going?” Marisa asked, stopping her work.

“I just said! Finish up for me, okay?” the shrine maiden replied, and she was off.

“Hey!” Marisa yelled in vain. Once her friend had disappeared into the distance, she huffed a short sigh, and continued nonetheless.

= = = = =

It was too little too late. Worse: she’d made a bet and lost.

Rain poured like it wanted to drown: looking out ahead made one’s vision shimmer and the constant noise of falling water on the awning of a tailor’s shop she’d stopped under was a bit incredible—not overwhelming or even particularly loud, just steadfastly consistent. Unless she wanted a cold, she was pretty solidly stuck for now. As for the bet—she’d bought a particularly large bale of rice that could only reliably be carried over her shoulder. There had been a deal at the seller’s, so... So basically, even had she thought ahead a little about this trip, her impulse would have rendered her planning moot anyway.

So she leaned against a wooden pillar, right calf crossed above the left, and both arms crossed over each other. The bound straw cylinder sat beside her and out of moisture’s way. Behind her, the tailor eyed her warily. Calm down, I’m obviously not here for work, she thought to herself.

She thought about her reputation then, and stared up at the sky as if she were staring it down.

“Hmph,” she puffed. Some frogs croaking, some humans murmuring, water... running... As she waited in the ambience of rain, some odder sounds – ton... ton... – alerted her to pay attention to what was over her head. Either the sky was raining a few stones now, or there was someone stepping on the awning. She heard a throat clearing.

“Eh, hehhehHEM! ... Phew, okay. Ahem!” Reimu looked up, and an eyebrow of hers went up as well.

“Excuse meee, Miss Shrine Maiden...!” said the voice. Reimu continued to look up, awaiting. The roofing made a bit more noise, and she saw what looked to be a small bucket’s worth of rainwater fall to the left. Two eyes in opposite colors met hers upside down, peeking over the awning, and a cheerful face fully revealed itself in a moment, tongue out. The “karakasa obake”, Tatara Kogasa, then shouted, “Be surprised~!”

It was as if the blue-shaded girl had tried to get a rise out of a wall. Reimu did nothing for several seconds, only eventually delivering a little mercy in the words, “You, huh.”

The girl’s mood came to match her dominant color, and she floated down from the structure with a drooping face to match it, her unstylish umbrella “half” above her head in all its plum inglory. Despite the weather, Kogasa herself looked bright. Though she’d heard the tsukumogami had designed herself to be “frightening”, she had ended up often dressing in a shirt and dress that brought to mind open almost cloudless skies so... failure. Her hair, too, was always bouncing and light. She stepped next to Reimu and put her umbrella aside, closing it and shaking it lightly. Her butt pushed into the shrine maiden’s hip as she did so, and Reimu frowned at the contact.

Once finished, the somewhat shorter youkai stood next to her and sulked.

“... Did you just come to bug me and hang around? I don’t think that ‘one time of the year’ you can deal with me’s arrived yet, right?” Reimu asked. “Besides, I’ve actually been taking good care of my needles, thank you very much.”

Kogasa sighed, and looked at Reimu somewhat sheepishly. “Oh, no,” she answered. She tugged gently at her bangs and decided to explain, “I just noticed you while I was playing in the rain and thought I could give you a hand.”

“With what?” asked Reimu at once.

“Oh...” the tsukumogami’s shoulders dropped as her mood sank instantly. Still, she managed a feeble voice to say, “Well, I’m an umbrella, so...”

Reimu cocked an eyebrow, and then her head. One could easily picture a question mark appearing over her distinctive bow with the expression.

Kogasa seemed to gather her courage, her grip on the handle of her umbrella-half increasing. After breathing in a little while, she lifted her chin (but shut her eyes) and raised her voice in confidence to cry, “I can help you get home without your rice getting wet!”

But she hadn’t raised it much. She’d clearly held back to not cause a disturbance.

“Ah,” Reimu understood, parting her arms so that she could lightly drop a fist into her palm. She extended a finger to point at Kogasa and said, “Right, that’s something you can do.”

“Give me a break!” she whined, her posture sinking even further than before.

“Well, weren’t you a... ‘scary youkai’?” Reimu asked, folding her arms again and relaxing her own posture a little more. “You’re bad at that.”

“Ohh, aw...” was all Kogasa could manage.

“I think I heard about you babysitting before,” the shrine maiden continued, looking out toward the sky, “You were bad at that, too.”

Kogasa moaned and grumbled at her side. Now she looked at the other girl again.

“But you’re good at ‘smithing’, huh? Sorry if I thought that must be your fourth job after failing at ‘sitting’, ‘scaring’, and ‘shielding from rain’.”

“I’ll have you know, I’m a perfectly fine umbrella,” Kogasa plainly spoke. She looked away from Reimu then, and away from the village. Far away, like she was looking at memories instead. In a bit of a dark voice, she muttered, “The only reason nobody used me in the first place was because of my looks, ha ha... snff.”

The human was quick to act. She dropped her left hand onto the youkai’s blue hair and pushed down firmly, yet friendly on her head. “Now, now,” said the shrine maiden, rubbing that hair a little roughly, “that sort of thing doesn’t matter to me. I’ll take your help if you’re pink, purple, or whatever.”

Kogasa lit up at that. She lifted her head, and Reimu lifted her hand. She brought her face close to Reimu’s, her red iris glistening and her blue sparkling. “Really!?” she exclaimed. “Great!”

Reimu blinked, not offering much of an expression in return. Kogasa turned, and Reimu did as well, and as the tsukumogami leaned away from her to get her umbrella open (and bumped Reimu with her butt again while the human was reaching for her rice (making her scowl)), the shrine maiden wondered for a moment if she might have a soft spot for tools. There were a few examples, weren’t there?

“Hah!” the youkai exclaimed, opening the umbrella part of herself out toward the rain and scattering droplets of water. Reimu lifted and secured the bale over her right shoulder with both hands. Then, she flinched. Kogasa had put her arm over the maiden’s back, and was now drawing close, lifting her hand so that it could grab hold of the exposed upper arm. It had gotten cold. The shrine maiden realized that now with the touch of the tsukumogami remedying that.

... That observed—

Reimu flicked her gaze to the tsukumogami, glaring at her, but the tool was too pleased to notice. She was humming a quiet song, and despite herself it had Reimu’s quick turn for a slow retreat. Even when Marisa hugged her without warning, she would respond with a fast punch or a kick. All in all, she hardly knew Kogasa. Until recently, she barely even remembered the youkai’s name.

But unlike with Marisa’s sudden approaches, Kogasa did not mean to tease; she was just happy to help. She was stubborn, but one thing that tended to sway the Hakurei Shrine Maiden was simple, earnest goodwill. It honestly disarmed her, at least momentarily, every time. In this moment, Kogasa swept her up before she could reconsider.

“Stay close, okay?” the umbrella cheerfully advised, and with an objection stopped at her lips they began to fly through the sky.

This wasn’t the norm, not in any capacity.

The helpful girl almost carried her, not letting a single raindrop touch her or her purchase.

The village beneath them had mostly closed due to rain. The forest trees that obscured the path to her shrine were twitching and bending under the pelting and persistent, precipitating skies, and a few lax fairies were sat on braches enjoying their favored weather. She looked to where the Lake would be, and swore through the downpour she could see the glimmer of its surface. Mostly, she listened. She listened to rain falling on and rolling off the cover above her, and she listened to Kogasa discreetly continue her lullaby. Like she realized it had been cold, in Kogasa’s half-embrace she realized too that she had been on edge.

“Are you feeling a little better now?”

The soft whisper beside her brought her out of her thoughts. Kogasa was looking into her eyes, sympathetic.

“Huh?” she grunted, abrasive.

“I thought you looked down...” the youkai revealed almost under her voice, almost worried to admit it. “I thought I might try making you smile, too.”

“Did I look like I was smiling?” she asked rhetorically, but the girl had an answer.

“Oh...” she started, breaking her gaze as her nerves got the better of her, “you... well, you...” ... was all she managed, before fizzling out. Reimu became confused by this, and her face openly showed as much.

Was I smiling? Yeah, right... the shrine maiden thought, but she was only mostly sure.

“... If you ever feel sad,” Kogasa ventured again, “it’s okay to let it be like that for a little while. You might feel bad about it – about just letting it out – but even if people make fun of you, even if it bothers someone, it means you, at least, know what made your heart ache.” The shorter girl continued, and Reimu wasn’t sure to who. “Then you know where your problem is,” she said, “and you can do your best to change it.” She looked out ahead, and gave a smile for the both of them. Something turned within Reimu’s chest, and she decided that little message didn’t sit well with her.

“Haaahhh...” she loosed this rattling sigh, and Kogasa panicked beside her. “Whatever,” she said flatly. Those were words for someone without confidence. They weren’t words for her. “Tell that to yourself,” she suggested. “I’m fine.”

“I... I see...” Kogasa answered sadly. Reimu told herself again, Whatever.

They moved over the canopy of woods that covered the dilapidate shrine stairway, the red torii gate looking almost gray in the distance from the rain. It had become silent between them, so when a sparrow flew out, sudden, from a hidden nest, Kogasa yelped and flinched, letting her human charge go for a moment. In that moment, Reimu took her left hand from her rice, and calmly (but firmly) secured the girl with a hold on her left shoulder. Kogasa looked into her face in surprise, but Reimu simply looked toward the gate, moving them along to their nearing destination. Still, her expression shifted a little. She felt in touching the youkai’s sleeve just how thoroughly wet it had gotten. She glanced down past the girl’s relieved face to see that water ran down the left of her skirt as well.

Not long after, they had made it to her porch without speaking another word.

As Reimu put down her new supplies and checked her clothing for any wetness (finding, everywhere, none), she felt Kogasa – who was sitting behind her and kicking her barefoot geta in the puddles beneath the veranda – stealing glances at her over and over. Eventually the human had enough, and breathily snapped, “What?”, while looking behind herself.

“Are you sure you’re okay?”

Her voice was full of concern, and her eyebrows were bent to reflect that. Reimu looked back inside, but wasn’t sure why she didn’t want the youkai seeing her face. “I am the Hakurei Shrine Maiden,” she plainly declared, speaking into her breast, “I silence crying children, I don’t cry myself. Eternal,” she explained, looking over her shoulder just slightly, “that’s what I a—”

Kogasa put her arms over the Eternal Maiden’s stomach, held her strongly, and pulled the human’s back into her chest and face. Reimu froze, noting the girl’s breath through her clothing. Kogasa felt like she didn’t want to let go, and did want Reimu to know that much through her touch. The Hakurei Shrine Maiden... was not sure.

The youkai spoke.

“Um, thanks for letting me help you...” she told with warmth. Reimu found herself silent. “I hope that what you say... can really be true.” She pushed away from Reimu, and the human finally looked down to see her fully. To see a small bead of water falling from one of her sky blue locks, and the half-discolored clothing she was wearing. She must’ve put her neck out under the rain a little while before. Kogasa reached up, and let her hand fall on Reimu’s head, gentle and cautious in her gesture. She glowed a little, crouched on her feet with her knees up, and while pulling her hand away gave the human’s hair a simple, reassuring caress; sliding past her ear and gliding over her cheek. She then pulled away a little suddenly, her eyebrows lifting and her fingers curling in.

“Oh,” she mused, cocking her head to the side and grinning brightly, “I surprised you!”

Her face felt hot.

“Use me any time!” the tsukumogami bid, and waved as she hopped away, pulled up her umbrella, and took to the sky.


Reimu put a hand over her chest, feeling it thmp... thmp... She breathed a shaking sigh again, but this time she hadn’t wished for it to waver. H-Huh...?

Intuition told her nothing.

But, she was warm all over, and not at all unhappy.

/ / / / /


[] See the bookstore girl again. Plenty of reference material!

[] See the half-youkai teacher for advice again.

[] Try to find the youkai who lives in the village again. She’s always hiding...


[] Get checked for a fever.

[] Ask Marisa if anything’s been going on in the village.

[] Close down the shrine and forbid visitors for a while.
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kogasa a cute

[X] See the bookstore girl again. Plenty of reference material!

[X] Ask Marisa if anything’s been going on in the village.
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I'm guessing we don't have to choose between one set of choices or the other, so:

[x] See the bookstore girl again. Plenty of reference material!
[x] Ask Marisa if anything’s been going on in the village.
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Son of a bitch. Looks like I'm out of a job.

Gotta keep shipping that KogaBanki though!

[x] Try to find the youkai who lives in the village again. She’s always hiding...
[x] Ask Marisa if anything’s been going on in the village.
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[x] See the bookstore girl again. Plenty of reference material!
[x] Ask Marisa if anything’s been going on in the village.

Don't worry, I'll still read whatever you write. I'll even do you a favor and vote against all your attempts to ship KogaBanki here so that you'll still have a monopoly on that.
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#1 monopoly strategy
> I'll even do you a favor and vote against all your attempts to ship KogaBanki here so that you'll still have a monopoly on that.

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[X] See the bookstore girl again. Plenty of reference material!
[X] Get checked for a fever.
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[] See the bookstore girl again. Plenty of reference material!
[] Ask Marisa if anything’s been going on in the village.
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[x] Try to find the youkai who lives in the village again. She’s always hiding...

[x] Ask Marisa if anything’s been going on in the village.
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[X] See the bookstore girl again. Plenty of reference material!
[X] Get checked for a fever.

Just inject this directly into my veins tia
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[x] Try to find the youkai who lives in the village again. She’s always hiding...
[x] Get checked for a fever.

You have my attention.
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[X] See the bookstore girl again. Plenty of reference material!

[X] Ask Marisa if anything’s been going on in the village.

Can't say no to more brelly action.
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[X] See the bookstore girl again. Plenty of reference material!
[X] Get checked for a fever.

Time to cockblock all ships.
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the book renter

[X] See the bookstore girl again. Plenty of reference material!

Time’s as capricious as time is cruel.

With a propensity for ill fortune, this philosophy – and, dispassionately, this reality – shaped the past and drove the present of a very melancholic umbrella.

In an effort to gaze ahead with a positive outlook, this was why Tatara Kogasa titled herself “Cheery”.

If the times change, you have to change too.

She told herself this constantly. That was what it meant to be a modern tsukumogami.

“I wonder if they’re closed for the rain...” she mumbled absently. She’d left the Shrine a minute ago, and was now heading back to the village to look for some books.

In the first place, she’d been in the village to go to the bookstore. She’d only been distracted by the turn of the skies, and a little after by the presence of the Shrine Maiden. It was an entirely worthwhile pair of distractions in the end: she’d helped someone, and surprised them as well. She wouldn’t go hungry again for quite a while.

But that was no cause for relaxation! If anything, now was the opportunity to get a leg up on things she could do!

If they’re not closed the umbrella thought to herself I hope they’re taking care of the books okay, what with all this moisture in the air.

She dropped before Suzunaan and stood at attention, ready to burst in.

... Instead she slowly ducked in, backwards, shaking off her purple half as she pushed through the cloth doorway of the entrance. A bell rang, and she heard a young voice calling, “Welcome~.”

Kogasa looked to her left, and then to her right, seeing at both her sides there were large and open sacks of rice. She glowed at the sight; rice did well to dry a room. She turned around promptly, shutting the more obvious “tool” part of herself and standing with it before her, used as a cane. She gladly replied, “Hello! I’ve come again!”

Behind a desk which was piled with papers and books and adorned with a brass-horn phonograph, the little librarian and little bell, Motoori Kosuzu, delivered to her customer an openhearted smile. “Miss Kogasa, are you looking for foreign books again?”

“Yeah, yeah!” she yelled, walking further in and lifting her hand with gusto. Motoori Kosuzu, the red-haired, bespectacled and bebelled librarian, chuckled lightly in amusement. “Good job keeping your library dry!” Kogasa complimented.

“Some of the books here are alive already; I wouldn’t want them angry,” Kosuzu explained, looking up at the tsukumogami and putting down a magazine as she neared. “That, and in the first place wet books mean damaged goods, and that’s bad for business.”

Kogasa presented an open palm and told her, “And if they ever become tsukumogami, they’ll get really mad at you.”

The librarian nodded. “That’s right,” she said, “and that’s why I can’t lend out any books today; not until the weather’s cleared.”

Kogasa’s smile stiffened on her face. Then, she reacted.

“Wh-What!?” she exclaimed, drawing back in shock. “b-but I can keep them dry, though!”

“If you want to take a book out of here, it’s store policy that the only way they’re leaving on rainy days is due to purchase,” Kosuzu explained rather nicely with her eyes shut, calm-faced all the while. She looked into Kogasa’s mismatched eyes again, asking, “Have you got the cash for that?”

The youkai’s shoulders dropped. She replied, “Well, I guess I do, but...” she grumbled a bit “... lending’s cheaper...”

The junior proprietor only smiled. Kogasa looked at her in despair. They held this uneven gaze for almost half a minute before the glasses-girl let go an involuntary laugh. Kogasa blinked, confused. “Don’t worry, Miss Youkai,” said the librarian after her tittering had stopped, “store policy is that we can’t lend out, but if you’d like to just read in the store, then prices are the same.”

She raised her eyebrows, then sighed with deep relief, “Oh, okay... hahh...”

And Kosuzu giggled again.

Recently, the little girl had become more open to interactions with youkai, but that being said she feared them very easily. Kogasa, however, had long been an exception to this. No matter how she tried, Kosuzu treated her the same as she would any human customer, and the only reaction she would ever give to scare attempts (if she reacted at all) was laughter. It had been long enough, and Kosuzu’s store useful enough, that the umbrella-girl did not mind it anymore. At least not much.

“Let me go find you a selection of options,” said the human. She stood and rested the needle of her phonograph on a record turning on its base. After a little bit of scratching noise, soon a bouncing viola tune began to lightly decorate the air, pairing nicely with the steady beat of rain on the roof of this home and business. Kogasa began to relax at once, humming along with it. The human tossed her a happy glance, and set to work going through bookshelves.

It was always nice to be able to feel good. Her existence often felt like such triumphs and awards of pleasant moods were things hard-fought to earn. No, that was putting it gently: living was very difficult for her these days. A long time ago she could get by with simply being where no one was expected to be, for just looking inhuman. Now, it had been a long time that her appearance was regularly mocked. Though she accepted a philosophy and ethos of needing to change... this was her appearance. It was what made her conscious at the very start. With it decided and set, it was the one thing she would never, ever give up on; no matter what.

One day she would find herself useful to a pair of human hands. Until then, she had to enjoy these quiet and kind moments as fully as she could.

In a little time, the girl returned and gestured Kogasa over to a red and fanciful couch that was off to the side.

“Three things,” Kosuzu said as Kogasa sat down with her umbrella across her lap. The renter held three written works like one might hold a trio of cards, albeit a bit awkwardly in her hands. “This one is a fact book about terrifying deaths in outside world fiction, this one is a fashion catalogue, and this one is a book about street performance.”

They were all very different. The fact book was small, black, and emblazoned with striking titling. The fashion thing was what looked like a magazine: it was tall and bright and had a very pretty woman on the cover who was modeling in a white kimono and holding a paper parasol. The last book was a bit larger than the first, and the cover was eye-catching and childlike in how many toys and pictures it displayed.

“So? Which do you want to borrow?” Kosuzu asked.
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\\ \\ \\ \\ \\


[X] Ask Marisa if anything’s been going on in the village.

Reimu marched into her home.

“Marisa!? Marisa!”

“What? What?” her friend answered in an aggravated tone. She found the blond witch on her back porch, sat behind a screen of her drying clothes and soaking wet.

“What happened to your raincoat?” she asked, thoroughly confused by this appearance.

“A raincoat’s not much good when the rain gets in your face and through your hood,” Marisa explained. She pointed down the clothesline, “Wind got real bad. It’s drying over there,” she said. “What, do you need it?”

“No, I was just wondering how you got all wet. Thanks for hanging my clothes up,” she answered.

“Yeah, thank me,” Marisa replied, and she looked out to the rain while tugging at the single braid beside her face.

“Wait, never mind that!” The Hakurei snapped. Marisa flinched and nearly untied the bow of that braid through reflex. “Is something going on in the village!?”

“You were the one just over there, not me,” said her friend, looking over her shoulder.

“I only went for rice, I wasn’t paying attention to anything else,” said Reimu.

“Well there isn’t,” she replied, turning away. Then, she lifted a finger, stating, “Ah! There’s one thing!”

“Really!? What?” Reimu asked.

“It’s raining.”

Reimu stomped over, and shoved her foot into Marisa’s back.

“Whoooaa! Cut it out, jeez!” the black and white witch moaned, having just barely avoided being kicked off of the veranda by clinging to a pillar. “What’s the matter with you!?”

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out!” she shouted, gripping her fists and blushing fiercely. Marisa was confounded.

“What? You get possessed or something?”

“I don’t know!” After shouting again, she sighed deeply. What on Earth was that? She can’t have cast a spell on me, she doesn’t have that kind of skill.

But then... why am I thinking about how cute she is!? I can’t stop!

“Aaaagh!” growled the maiden with her hands now on her head. Marisa looked on with greater concern.

“Wouldn’t be the first time something screwed you up. What happened exactly? How’re you feelin’?”

“I—” she paused, letting go of her hair for a second, “I’m just feeling... weird!”

“Outta nowhere?”

“... Y-Yes,” she said with hesitation, not meeting Marisa’s eyes.

She’s lyin’...! Don’t see that every day! thought the magician, her eyebrows raised in appreciation of the rarity. She folded her arms, and leaned her body a bit to the side. “Well, alright, then I guess you’ve gotta look into it.”

“Like, just explore the village? I just said I didn’t notice anything there before,” Reimu answered.

“Nah, I don’t think it’s an Incident. Man, your intuition can’t even tell you that? You’ve been off lately, but that’s somethin’ else,” the blond commented, resting against the same wooden column that had saved her earlier. Reimu had no response to that. “Go check Suzunaan or Kasen’s place, maybe you can figure out what the problem is from a Demon Book or from that hermit. She’s gotten you outta your dumb binds before.”

“I guess...” Reimu answered. Her thoughts drifted once more, and the fresh memory of Kogasa’s happy face had her touch over her heart again. Aaahh... She winced.

“You could just stay home,” Marisa also suggested, “could be you’re just out of it. I’ll take care of you while you sleep or somethin’.”

“Hmm...” She thought about it.


[] The horrible deaths book.

[] The pretty clothes book.

[] The tricks and performance book.


[] Go to Suzunaan.

[] Go to see the hermit.

[] Stay home and rest.
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I give up. You write Kogasa a thousand times better than I ever could.
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Remember - if you write, you lose.

[x] The tricks and performance book.
[x] Stay home and rest.
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> She can’t have cast a spell on me, she doesn’t have that kind of skill.

Yes she has, and yes she does.

[x] The tricks and performance book.
[x] Go to Suzunaan.
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[x] The tricks and performance book.

[x] Go to see the hermit.
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[x] The tricks and performance book.
[x] Go to see the hermit.

Grisly deaths doesn't really sound like something Kogasa could use effectively. Oh, I'm sure she'd think she could use it, being a scary youkai and all, but let's be real. While fashion would be nice for both potentially making Reimu go dokidoki and the stereotypical 'surprise beautification' thing, the tightwad in me is loathe to spend money to borrow a magazine, and that kinda thing doesn't really feel like it matches Kogasa, you know? Street performance stuff, now that feels like it'd be right in Kogasa's bailiwick. I might be a fool for not jumping on the immediate shippy-feeling option though.

As for Reimu, I feel like Kasen's intuitive enough to get what's going on and pass it on to Reimu that she has a crush.
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[X] The pretty clothes book.
[X] Stay home and rest.

Why go right back out in the rain when you can chill at home with Marisa?
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[X] The pretty clothes book.
[X] Stay home and rest.

Birthday updates are the best updates.
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[x] The tricks and performance book.
[x] Go to see the hermit.
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[x] The pretty clothes book.
[x] Stay home and rest.

I want to see some Kasen but I also want some quiet meditation time. I choose clothes not for shipping but for the slight chance of Kogasa trying an outfit she's not used to.
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lying on your back

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[X] Stay home and rest.

“... Alright,” she eventually relented. “It’s not like me to get worked up like this, anyway.”

“Yeah, go be lazy like normal,” said Marisa, settling down. “‘Up and at ‘em’ doesn’t suit you.”

She punched Marisa in the shoulder.


“I’m going to try to take a nap,” Reimu announced, folding her arms and turning away from the witch so she could look off toward the sky. “Take care of things, okay?”

“Sure, sure...” her friend replied in a careless voice as she rubbed her shoulder. When the Shrine Maiden began to step toward her bedroom the magician bid her, “Sleep well, okay?”

“Mm,” the brunette grunted, and she went to think things over.

/ / / / /

[X] The tricks and performance book.

“That one, please!” Kogasa declared while pointing. The renter looked at what the umbrella had chosen.

The Street Hand? Sure thing. That will be two hundred en, please.”

The umbrella took a coin purse from her skirt pocket, opening its frog-mouth design and plucking out two coins from it. On an open palm she presented them to Kosuzu, who put the other two books under her arm, adjusted her glasses, and nodded with a smile before taking the payment up. “Alright, as always we appreciate your business. Thank you very much, Miss Kogasa,” Kosuzu told her this in earnest, and handed over the colorful guidebook. Kogasa received it with a bright smile. Once the renter turned from the eager tsukumogami, she kicked off her shoes to just below the couch and put herself snug between the armrest and back, the new rental stuck well in her grasp.

Kosuzu walked away to return the unborrowed books to their old places. Once done, she stepped over to the phonograph and put her hand atop the horn, adjusting the angle with swift and remembered movement. This let the sound be better carried, and knowing by touch and ear that she’d changed it perfectly she glided past and went direct into the backrooms of the shop. Kogasa, meanwhile, did not notice.

The record turned to a brassy track that eased her well, especially as the rain above continued to drum. It wasn’t the most appropriate music for what she was reading, however. It was a book full of explanations and illustrations, both engaging for a child and very informative for an adult. She became absorbed for a few minutes reading about performing human magic, and when the section was over realized the librarian had draped her in a warm white blanket and returned to her desk, Smiling at the girl, who was herself at present lost within pages. The human was now so far gone, no word of her thoughts showed on her face. The youkai made a note in mind to thank her later.

She returned to her rental. “Any tricks with umbrellas,,,?”

She turned the pages over, occasionally flipping through several, scanning for her fellow and familiar shape. When that proved fruitless, she closed the tome before her face, turned it over, and opened its back cover to the waiting index.

Ka, ka, ka...” she repeated, in search of kasa. “Ah! It’s here!” she exclaimed, but quietly. She shut the book again.

Peeking at the top corner of each page after guessing where “page 63” was, she carefully made her way to the target subject, and once she had, opened the book with gusto and shining eyes to what instance of “umbrella” she could use in entertainment.

Since the edo period “daikagura”, a Shinto art that had long been almost exclusive to high courts, was something mandated to be brought to the people. It was originally a religious practice—a ritual, a ceremonial dance—but time is indifferent to intention. Once, the “lion dance” had been what the entertainment for the gods (and bane of evil) was best known for. Now, daikagura was almost synonymous with the art of balancing objects atop a spinning umbrella:


“Ohooohh!!” the sedulous and (somewhat posturing) intrepid youkai breathed in great interest, bringing the encyclopedic tome near to her eyes as if this act would boost her absorption of the text. I know about this...!

While the present day residents of Gensokyo might not have recalled the practice and performance, she most certainly did. Outside the Land of Illusions, the Shinto faith was not ever restricted to one shrine (and now two, historically recently), nor was it a faith with a sad reputation. The joyous daikagura was something she’d seen, only once. But, at the time...

... thinking on it, it had made her miserable.

And so the tool’s eyes welled up.

Ah, I can’t... she thought, sniffing, pulling the book away from her face, ... I’ll get the pages wet.

It wasn’t just one thing. She remembered being surrounded by blissful, cheering and awestruck humans, and looking at the priest twirling a handle with quick twists of his hands. The white cup buzzing on top, bouncing happily off of fast-moving ridges. Most clearly, the purple color of the paper parasol.

What was it? Repudiation?


It was mostly the cold feeling that had draped over her at the time, her rags and hood doing nothing to warm it away: society’s apathy. The reason she was here and not there. It wasn’t even a simple divide that she could step over, compensate for, breach. She was unwanted, completely. It could have been for any reason: spite, dissatisfaction, malice, or carelessness. At that time she realized how much it didn’t matter. It didn’t change the emptying, gloomful fact.

And that had made her... awfully resentful again.


Kogasa got out of her comfortable spot on the couch and adjusted to sit on her knees, posture straight. She put the guidebook flat and open before her, her hands within her thighs while they were not in use, and with a sober and somber face she studied the text in quiet seriousness, turning the pages when they were done, avoiding the twisted spark of the past that had excited her before. Refusing feeling.

Because it was better like this.

To just be silent, and functional.

\\ \\ \\ \\ \\

The floor was creaking under the weight of a step. She turned from her side to her back, opening her eyes to the plain, old ceiling over her head. It was vibrating, the rain entirely unkind in its fall.

Marisa... she noted neither positively or negatively. At least the roof isn’t leaking today... She put her hand over her stomach and just breathed.

What’s wrong with me? she thought for the twentieth time. Was I really getting down, and that was it? Am I that weak to a hand on my head?

But in touching her head now, and feeling back where the tsukumogami had graced her ear and face before; in blushing at the thought; in her heart’s pace picking up without her control, she knew that she was.

... Maybe I should get Marisa to pat my head, just in case. Like, to check... she thought, feeling aggravation, ... if it’s just her.

Reimu twirled her hair.

She plain and simple wasn’t used to being put on the back foot, and so was easily flustered whenever she had the rug pulled out from under that foot as well. When her friend had yelled at her for ignoring the last incident, when the gap youkai had led her around during the crisis at Suzunaan...

... and now when the umbrella had exposed a weak part of her.

She shut her eyes, brow somewhat furrowed.

She didn’t like to think things over, but she thought on things now.

Why she grumbled about a lack of donations.

Why she became furious when disrespected.

Was there something to it at all? More than simple reaction?

... Probably.

Like those fairies now living behind her. Long after they’d moved in, they suddenly threw her a challenge and had a duel.

What did it mean that after trampling them underfoot, after chastising them for their aspirations to get close with her, after all her conviction against them...

... she’d offered a bottle of wine?

What did it mean to be Hakurei Reimu?

“... Worthless,” was how she rated the question, already tired of self-congratulatory evaluation. It was all stupid: thinking about it, worrying about it, all of it. It was best to just be Hakurei Reimu, then, now, and always.

Whoever that was.

| | | | |

Time went on.

The rain passed.

She fell asleep.

And the sun rose on another day.


[] See the Moriya Shrine about daikagura.
Too dangerous!
[] See Reimu about daikagura.

[] Ask the one pretender youkai in the village to borrow some things to practice.

[] Ask the Child of Miare about how well known daikagura is in Gensokyo.


[] Time to see the hermit on the mountain.

[] Time to borrow some books.

[] Let’s talk with Marisa, seriously.
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[X] Ask the Child of Miare about how well known daikagura is in Gensokyo.

[X] Time to see the hermit on the mountain.
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[] Ask the Child of Miare about how well known daikagura is in Gensokyo.
[] Time to see the hermit on the mountain.
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[X] Ask the one pretender youkai in the village to borrow some things to practice.

[X] Time to see the hermit on the mountain.
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[x] Ask the Child of Miare about how well known daikagura is in Gensokyo.
[x] Time to see the hermit on the mountain.

Let's get chatting.
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also the 'pretender youkai' — that's 'banki-chan, correct? referring to her pretending to be human, and not some other youkai whose shtick is pretending or something, right?
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Indeed, since the only other named pretender (Mamizou) only frequents the village rather than living there.
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[x] Ask the Child of Miare about how well known daikagura is in Gensokyo.
[x] Time to see the hermit on the mountain.
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Sorry for the delay of LITERALLY OVER A MONTH. I could blame how I have other stories running, but the real reason is that I find this story to be one I feel most careful with. "Hardest to write", but in a good way.


[X] Time to see the hermit on the mountain.


Reimu grumbled whilst floating above and before the most odious den of nonhumans still within Gensokyo: Youkai Mountain. She stayed posed beneath a clouded sky, arms crossed and calves as well. Good rest hadn’t worked. It aggravated her to do so, but she thought it might be a good idea to bother the nagging hermit about this. This hermit visited her shrine often, but with the skies still gray and a bit of a damp touch to the easeful, but miserably foreboding breeze, the shrine maiden was sure that Ibarakasen would stay within her special Hermit Realm today—within her Senkai.

“How do I get there again?” She actually didn’t know.

Reimu had been stolen away to the hermit’s secret place once before in the past, but she hadn’t exactly paid attention while being stolen. The truth was, even if she had, the probability steered greatly in favor of her forgetting the path. In fact, she had confirmed with Marisa (who had stayed overnight) early in the day the supposed route to sneak onto the premises, but the quickly-deemed-unimportant conversation had drifted out her memory by the time she arrived above The Great Youkai Forest. She now vaguely recalled something about lights and eagles... maybe.

“Uuu~n... should I just... go?”

She didn’t.

She continued to stare into the greenery below, almost hoping a path would show itself amidst the fluttering birds, the branches, the darting youkai, the falls...

/ / / / /

Kogasa had spent the day before reading her rented book in the comfort of Suzunaan, and was allowed to stay after closing (although she did not realize this until ten, and the shop closed at eight... that had been terribly embarrassing). Because of this, she wasn’t able to bring herself to bother any villagers for shelter that night. It had been a while, but she had to find a quiet place and rest seated against a wall until morning instead, her umbrella half covering her overhead and keeping her dry in the alley she chose... relatively, at least.

Most youkai used Misty Lake or other rivers to clean themselves when needed. Kogasa, however, had determined that to be old-fashioned. For a tsukumogami – the kind of youkai closest to humans – to head off to nature for basic needs was an absurdist concept. No, this karakasa-obake would use public baths.

“Excuse me! Miss Proprietor!” the youkai announced, tossing aside short blue curtains that marked the entrance to a bathing establishment. She closed and put down her parasol, then marched toward a smirking woman behind a counter. “I would very much appreciate it if you let me take a bath here!” she declared, her chin up, her eyes closed. She leaned toward the owner, whose grin was widening, and put her hand perpendicular to her mouth in order to speak secretly. “I am a youkai, though. I’ll do my best not to frighten anyone else.”

The young woman flinched slightly, suppressing a laugh, and said, “Yes, Miss Kogasa, I know.”

Kogasa arched her eyebrows and smiled proudly. “I’m famous...!” she realized.

“Well, I know you,” the human girl replied, leaning forward herself to show Kogasa the house rules, “but this is the first time you’re coming to our bath, hm? Anyway it’s fine, of course we accept youkai. Men on the right, women on the left. Pay first, please.”

She observed the signboard outlining the basics of etiquette and breathed out a warm sigh of relief, letting her shoulders slump down. Inexplicably, the proprietor giggled, and she looked at the girl quizzically. “So you really do that every place?” the human remarked. She tugged one of her eyebrows up and told the tsukumogami, “You know, a youkai in the Human Village isn’t an unusual sight. Anyway, would you like your dirty clothes washed as well?”

Kogasa blinked, then returned a pleasant smile. “It seems I know something you don’t as well,” she said. She then stuck out her tongue and winked. “The clothes will be clean,” she told the girl, still winking, “it’s simple youkai magic.”

= = = = =

Choosing your appearance meant choosing your wear. As long as you had the magic for it, you could restore the clothes you’d made for yourself. Even fairies were capable of this, and in a world where colorful, violent patterns often filled the skies and tore your sleeves and skirts asunder, such magic was a necessity. Wounds were another matter... only most youkai and gods could fast recover from injury, and oftentimes it relied on some sort of “other” factor such as surprise, nature, fear, or faith to do so.

Kogasa left her outer and under things in a basket to restore on their own, and she stepped from the empty changing room into an empty, smooth-stone and finished-wood bathing room. It was still early in the day... not a wonder then. She was a little relieved as she moved to the showers to scrub herself down—though frightening humans here would be rather helpful to her, the inconvenience would have left her feeling rather guilty.

While she refreshed herself and later while she soaked in the heated baths (her more-toolish half soaking along with her), she thought about what she’d like to do in the day. Since the room was empty, and the gentle ambience of swishing waters and rare droplets out of faucets was almost too quiet for her so as to make her a touch unnerved, she first began to put in practice a part of what she’d learned the day before. She lifted her other half from the water and spun it in her hands from its handle-leg, the tongue of it spinning in what she considered to be a rather terrifying manner. A bit of red, after all, was always sure to be an off-putting sight. The act scattered sparkles—or so the liquid all looked within the bathroom’s soft-yellow lighting—and she glowed to see that she was dexterous at this task. Perhaps, like how she easily connected with other aspects of “the parasol”, daikagura would also come to her easily.

She attempted to roll one of the nearby wooden buckets of water and dropped it close to immediately, standing out the bath at the very moment of disconnect.

She yelped at the resulting crash rebounding loud and hollow around her when the bucket met the stones, and fretted after while she turned it around in her hands, looking for splits or cracks.

Nothing was broken.

For several reasons, she felt relieved.

She let the bucket join her on her return to the bath as an apology, and while it swayed through and atop the surface she thought beyond “now”.

The mistake of seconds before must have been from a lack of proper form: her having been sat down and immersed in hot water after all. Given that, How much of a good or bad idea is it, I wonder?

I’m really excited about trying it out more seriously, and the idea of drawing a crowd is a great one, but maybe humans wouldn’t like it... It’s hard to guess what humans like. Can I ask someone?

“Someone who could know about daikagura... Miss Akyuu?” her voice rang everywhere, quiet though it was. “She knows everything, right? Maybe she’d know about this...”

She huffed, pumped her fist, and sloshed the bathwater.

It’s decided!

I’ll go to the
Hieda no MAN-SHON after this!

\\ \\ \\ \\ \\

“Oh, is this the place?”

Reimu was pondering aloud while walking past trees and bamboo into a familiar-feeling place. It was the usual sense of being somewhere beyond Gensokyo, though the sense never told where exactly. The sleek, white wall and rose roof, three-story Eastern mansion before her led her to believe that she’d found Ibarakasen’s secret home. It was lined modern on every side and floor with sharp and dark pink balconies—or, perhaps, “rose” would be a better word. What had been her path to get here? Sort of... meandering toward and around Gensokyo’s other shrine. The only thing that had her reconsider this might be her destination was that, surprisingly enough, it didn’t smell like a den of animals. In fact, it was like perfume—floral. She didn’t remember the place smelling bad—which made sense, since hermits could change their worlds however they wished—but nonetheless it seemed odd that Kasen’s beast-filled realm didn’t have a zoo-like odor.

“Ooooii! Kasen! You here?”

She yelled out fully expecting an answer. Reimu was certain at this point that the hermit had to be holed up in her home. Before she’d entered this warm and sunshine realm, lush with flora of all seasons, she’d had to narrowly avoid the next steps of a miserable sky, and the first drops of rain. She was once more without an umbrella... but if she wanted, she could beat up a kappa later at their nearby den and get herself a free coat. Of course, thinking about her lack of rain gear made her think of that Kogasa again. She put on a frustrated face. That was why she was here.

While taking steps down a walkway marked by different sized and shaped stones, a gray canid openly came toward her, and toward her hand specifically. She raised her palm, and sat to pet its head and ears a little while. The thought came to her mind: I wish rabbits were this friendly... dnd her stomach grumbled.

“How did you get in here? I changed the way.”

Reimu turned up her head. She saw a pair of legs, a fresh green skirt. “You really do hide out when the weather turns bad, huh.”

“Quiet, you.” Hands balled into fists and put themselves to the hips in front of her. One was bandaged. Reimu looked up higher.

“Well, I’m here Kasen,” she said, eyes falling upon a pink head of short hair, twin-tied in Chinese buns. White covers as always, red ribbons to tighten them. She smiled. “Have any tea?”

“An intruder who wants to be treated like a guest...” the hermit whispered in exasperation, fingers just touching her forehead. She sighed, and closed her eyes with consternation.

But it was Reimu who felt more bothered, pushing down on the dog’s (wolf’s) head in irritation. “Hey,” she said as she dropped her eyelids halfway, “you bother me and use my things all the time; the least you could do is get me something to drink when I drop in on you.”

“Ehh... but... well...” the older girl wanted to express that the Hakurei Shrine was open to all. Her Senkai wasn’t.

But as she couldn’t argue against the fact she often bothered the Shrine Maiden, she turned away and began going to her house. “Alright,” she said, crossing her arms and sighing again (though this time in accepting defeat), “follow me, and bring Naoe along. I’ll feed him.”

Naoe? the shrine maiden questioned in her head, looking down at the head of the affectionate canine. She shrugged. Naoe.

She then followed Ibarakasen.

= = = = =

“So? Why’d you come here?” The hostess asked whilst tipping a ceramic pot, its contents flowing into a somewhat unusual cup. Before answering Reimu eyed it suspiciously, wanting to feel whatever it was made of, wondering why it was shaped somewhat like a hybridization of a bowl and vase. “... You’ve seen these before,” Kasen spoke before her, and she turned her eyes quick to the hermit.

“I’d remember something like that,” she stated plainly. Kasen knew this was false. “Anyway, I came here to ask you some questions.”

Finished filling the cup, the hermit’s face blanched to the words. She swallowed, forced a smile, and carried over a tray to her uninvited guest. “Questions... hm?” she confirmed.

Reimu noticed nothing of this. She looked at the tray as it was placed on the table in front of her. A white tablecloth... Kasen’s home was really rather extraordinarily fancy. It reminded her of pictures she’d seen a few times of “model homes” from the Outside World: incredibly clean, incredibly stark. The windows were patterned with wood, right-angular designs, that she didn’t tend to see in the more practically architectured human village. It all struck her as funny – that an ascetic would furnish their home so expensively – so she chuckled, making said hermit more nervous.

“I’ll get right to the point,” Reimu declared, taking the tea offered to her. She sipped, the hermit held her breath, and when the girl was done she asked, “Do you see anything wrong with me?”

“Um... ehh... come again?”

“Notice anything? Like... possession, or... a spell on me...”

“On... you? On you? No, I... You seem as ordinary as ever,” was the hermit’s evaluation, to which Reimu frowned.

“Really? You’re a hermit so I figured you might know something about this. I feel strange, but can’t recognize any usual problems... I’d go to the aliens in the Bamboo Forest, but even you’re better than them.”

She grumbled. Kasen wore a mixed expression. “Well, thank you...” she mumbled. Raising her voice, she followed with, “but I don’t see anything wrong you at all.”

“Ridiculous,” the maiden hissed, and she put down her cup a bit strongly.

“What’s the matter?” asked the hostess, sitting down across from her. “Maybe I can still help you.”

“Ahh, well...” Reimu began, and her face began to change shade. She turned her eyes to one of the surrounding white walls and explained, “Ever since yesterday I, uh, keep thinking about this one tsukumogami, and every time I do she crowds up my head almost like... like an avalanche or something. Like a bunch of clouds, just... ones I keep wanting to see. Bright, y-you know? It’s aggravating.”

Kasen blinked. “... Which... tsukumogami?” she ventured.

“Oh, that’s... It’s Kogasa... the umbrella youkai,” Reimu admitted, and she let her eyes shut.

Kasen blinked again and put the fingers of her false hand to her lips, lifting her eyebrows too. Oh my, she thought. Oh my, oh my.

“So?” Reimu asked, looking at her with one eye. “Does that sound familiar?”

It did.

Really, it was terribly obvious.

“Am I the first person you’ve talked about this with?” the hermit questioned.

“I guess you’re the first I’ve been... honest with,” she admitted. Kasen put her bandaged hand over her heart.

Oh, she... trusts me enough with that? The hermit found that she was nearly shedding a tear. I hadn’t realized...

But still, what to say...?

Kasen traced the lip of her own cup with her still-flesh hand for some seconds, then drank of it slowly. Reimu meanwhile awaited her answer racked with anxiety. Ultimately, the older woman put down her cup to a saucer, brushed a few strands of hair from her face, and told Reimu:

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/ / / / /

[X] Ask the Child of Miare about how well known daikagura is in Gensokyo.

“HEY, HEY! Youkai here! I wanna see the Child of Miare!”


The servant girl at the Hieda Mansion gates was not expecting Kogasa to leap out from just outside her range of vision. She had been looking up at the sky and wondering if it would begin to downpour again, having stopped half an hour before, and was startled at the sudden appearance of a cutely dressed person.

Kogasa, on the other hand, had not expected this to surprise someone.

What? Huh? she thought, her smile plastered, but her brow contorting. She’s surprised!? Why!? It’s not night, and I didn’t even tell her I was going to spook her! Are there ghosts nearby...? Like at the graveyard?

She turned her head this way and that curiously, while the servant smoothed down her robes over her legs and realized she recognized this youkai. No relief-ful breaths were sighed at this understanding, however, as knowing who this youkai was made the reality that she had been “spooked” feel incredibly silly.

“Tatara Kogasa,” said the girl, bowing slightly before approaching the closed gates, “you were already interviewed for the Gensokyo Chronicle. Did you wish to see the Young Mistress about a revision or recall? Though it’s... been quite a while...”

“Oh, no. No no no no. No, no; I just wanted to ask her something,” explained the guest. The servant had no issue with that reason.

“I will go see the Young Mistress and ask if she would mind your company. Please wait there, I will be back shortly.” The servant bowed again, and turned to the mansion proper.

“Alright!” Kogasa shouted, and she spun her umbrella half over her head.

In the time since she’d taken a bath, it seemed to have rained. She lifted her heel and looked around her shoulder to see mud caking the bottoms of the geta’s pair of teeth, pouting without negativity and with her eyebrows raised. It was a shame she missed it. She liked when it rained.

“Still looks like it might,” she said to herself whilst looking up, hand posed a visor along her brow. The weather interested her more than the Hieda’s high-wall and unpretentiously palatial estate. She had seen it and gawked at it already; the sky, however, was always unpredictable. Zen gardens would remain zen, stately verandas would stay stately.

“Lady Kogasa, The Young Mistress will see you.”

The umbrella brought down her head and hand, and posed her fingers to her bottom lip, grinning like a cat. The servant who had returned and called for her attention tilted her head, confused. “Lady,” said the youkai with a snicker, “Kogasa.”

The servant blushed, and while fumbling with the gate she meekly explained, “My apologies, one of my cousins was babysat by you and, um, the Hieda House etiquette is...”

Kogasa marched forth as soon as the gates were parted enough for her feet. Still unconcerned with the mansion’s looks – the openness of its courtyard, how even beneath the gray color of brooding clouds the many flowers chosen kept vibrant and unscathed by gloom – she declared in passing, “Whatever name works!” and asked, “Where’s Miss Akyuu? Where she writes?”

“She is currently in the sitting room... I will guide you.”

Kogasa waited a moment for the likely younger girl to begin to do just that, following behind with a bounce to her step. The servant showed her to the dark-wood and polished porch, showed her where it was best to leave her geta, and offered no socks or indoor shoes having met many nonhumans already who swore off of footwear entirely.

So she stepped barefoot along the home’s outer edge – its near-to-earth balcony – walking largely beside closed doors, though a few were opened to rooms airing out and halls where others in the employ of the Hieda would bow upon seeing her. She sometimes wondered how these humans felt about that: showing outright respect to youkai. It was only with this latest Ninth Generation Chronicler that integration with youkai began to be promoted. Out of a small but persistent anxiety over how her presence could be unwelcome, she would smile brightly and bow in return to any and every boy and girl who showed her deference.

In a few seconds, perhaps a minute, she began to hear sounds... fake instrumentation. Energy? Something certainly... musical, though she couldn’t speak for musical tools. Long notes, slightly warbling like electricity, drew her interest and made her veer nearer to the building proper. She started tapping her finger on her skirt next, on every first and third beat, as a somewhat adventurous beat started up.

“Right in here Lady... Tatara,” said the maid, and she opened the nearest doors, exposing nature to the rather queer tunes in their full peculiarity.

Hieda no Akyuu sat within, on a stool and at a tall and thin table while she had tea. She was before a phonograph older than Kosuzu’s, and to its strange songs she was tapping her fingers on every beat, and bouncing her toes aloft as well. The room was warmly-lit, the tatami below seemed to shine, and the record-player’s stand reminded which home afforded and retained this place so well: Akyuu’s family name was gilded and set right at the front in Roman letters.

“Miss Tsukumogami,” said the master of the house, smiling to complete the perfect pose of regal laxness she was portraying (cheek rested against knuckles, arm bent before her, leaning forward but not slouching), “I really must ask: to what do I owe the pleasure?”

“‘Pleasure’...” Kogasa echoed the human girl and stepped within, the door being closed behind her, “you know... the ending of my article in the latest chronicle made it sound like me showing up was one of the most troublesome things that could happen to a human.”

“Eh? Isn’t that the kind of reputation you want?” Hieda no Akyuu remarked, lifting her face from her fist in honest confusion.

“No, that... isn’t the kind of reputation I was looking for,” Kogasa answered, lowering her head. Akyuu smiled again, but couldn’t keep a twitch from the corner of her mouth. After all, the way this umbrella acted most of the time, the idea that she lacked self-awareness regarding her own behavior and antics was rather baffling for the Historian to seriously consider. “Anyway... I wanted to borrow the Chronicle to look through it for anything about daikagura.”

“Daikagura, yes... that would be mentioned but...” Akyuu frowned and pondered, her brows furrowing. The record switched track, the next being more note-full and quite a bit more exciting to the ear. The purple-haired girl brought her hand to the phonograph and turned a nob on the side of its base, the volume lowering until it was only the level of a slight, but constant, melodic sort of wind. “Miss Kogasa, you are interested in daikagura for the show aspect of it, I take it?”

“Y-Yes...!” The youkai began to bounce back in enthusiasm, something the historian had seen often enough in her research and heard of enough in others’ accounts to know that it was manufactured.

“The umbrella juggling then,” she said. She halfway frowned and gave Kogasa a pitying look. “I haven’t written about that, then. I wouldn’t have.” She gestured to a sofa beside and somewhat behind her.

While the tsukumogami went to sit ther with her legs up, she asked, “Why!?”, and turned her head to her host rather emphatically.

“The thing of it is, although from the start it’s been entertainment for gods, and it was actually used to drive away youkai, it wasn’t long before attractions such as spinning things atop umbrellas were more for the purpose of general entertainment than something spiritual. My Chronicle concerns the fantastic, not the ordinary.” She smiled apologetically. “Sorry.”

“Dang it...”

“What did you even think I could help you with anyway?” Akyuu asked, taking a sip of her tea.

Kogasa showed her palm and a disappointed face. “I was wondering how popular it might be in Gensokyo, or if anyone had heard of it at all,” she said. “When I found something that wasn’t even heard of before... well I still babysit, but it was kind of a disaster for a while.”

Akyuu nodded. She knew. It took quite a while before her family and Suzunaan were done getting requests to send out warnings about Miss Kogasa’s escapades.

“Well I can tell you this, Miss Tsukumogami: there are many kinds of shows going on in the Village all the time, and I don’t see why umbrella spinning and juggling can’t be just as well received. Can you do it?”

Kogasa considered this for a second before answering: “Well, I can try!” Akyuu gave a light smirk to this.

“That’s the spirit, Miss Kogasa.”

“Which is it!? You keep switching!” The guest complained, lifting her fists over her head in cute frustration. The host chuckled, enough that she had to stop an encroaching cough.

But though she complained, the umbrella was happy to hear even a few words of support.

While she had the human’s time, she decided to speak further on any other matters that came to her mind: how youkai were faring in the Village lately, popular trends with humans, and just how the two of them had been doing. It went a lot like the first time she’d come to the Hieda Estate, and that familiarity was comforting. Hieda no Akyuu seemed genuinely fond of, or at the least interested in youkai, and though Kogasa wasn’t insensitive to the touch of a patronizing tone in some of the human’s words regarding Kogasa’s... less successful attempts at making a living, overall the young woman’s posture and expression were only accepting and open. Interested, and wanting.

And that was just very nice.


[] Practice at Myouren Temple.

[] Practice alone and out of the way.

[] Bother the pretender youkai. Also practice.


[] “You’re in love.”

[] “Well, I’m honestly not really sure...”

[] “I think the first thing you must do is confront the cause directly.”


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[x] Bother the pretender youkai. Also practice.


[x] “You’re in love.”
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[x] Practice at Myouren Temple.

[x] “You’re in love.”
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[x] Bother the pretender youkai. Also practice.

[x] “I think the first thing you must do is confront the cause directly.”

Who doesn't want to realize they have a potentially embarrassing crush in front of the subject itself?
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[x] Bother the pretender youkai. Also practice.

Pretty sure there were supposed to be multiple choices for this vote, but I only see one.

[x] “You’re in love.”

Best to be direct and unambiguous with a girl like Reimu.
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[X] Bother the pretender youkai. Also practice.
plus you could do like that gif and practice with her hea-no that's a bad idea

[X] “You’re in love.”
I think she'd be direct. And really, it's the only way to get through.
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the things I deal with
\\ \\ \\ \\ \\


The tea that had been in Reimu’s mouth was now on the hermit’s face, and it now dripped off her nose, Reimu tried to drink again after coughing, and Kasen spoke again.

“... You’re in—”


Kasen squinted at her guest through more warm tea; her guest who had one hand on her table, was leaning over it, and had clearly put much more force into this spit take than the last.

“... You—” was all Kasen said to make the shrine maiden pucker her lips at the lip of her cup. “Incorrigible...” said the hermit, and Reimu swallowed her drink, coughing once more. Kasen dabbed the tea from her face and the front of her shirt with a handkerchief, addressing the girl opposite her. “Reimu,” she began, “did you hear me?”

“No,” Reimu replied, her voice now somewhat scratchy. Kasen cocked her eyebrow.

“Really? So you just spit on people like that when... an odd wind tickles you, or somesuch?”

“... I heard you,” the girl finally admitted. While her host wiped away the mess she’d made, Reimu sat there not apologizing, too absorbed in the words Ibarakasen had said. She was otherwise only vaguely aware of the twittering of a distant family of birds from outside of the manor. Kasen silently continued her work, and in this quietness Reimu faced the question:

Am I in love with that umbrella?

Reimu grasped her hair with both hands, rudely digging her elbows into the tablecloth and finally making a sound: “Aaaaaagggghhh...” Kasen looked up.

“What’s the matter?” she asked with a bit of a tug up at the corner of her mouth. Reimu glowered.

“Quit joking. You know exactly what the problem is,” she said, “I... can’t! I’d... never! ... Me? For a youkai? The Hakurei Shrine Maiden!?”

“The same Maiden who’s really too lax with youkai in the first place...” noted Kasen with a sigh, wringing a cloth damp with tea into a basin. Reimu scrutinized this basin. She hadn’t noticed Kasen bringing it out. Noticing Reimu’s critical eye, Kasen explained: “You’ve been staring into your cup for five minutes.”

“Seriously?” asked Reimu, incredulous. That would have to mean that until she’d growled in frustration, she hadn’t really been thinking at all. Her mind had essentially gone blank. There was just no memory, no acknowledgement of the matter at hand. It seemed she’d unconsciously refused it. Her outburst a moment ago had really only been impulsive, and she wasn’t facing the conundrum—her entire “self” did not want to. And, as Kasen watched the knitting brow of the human she’d made her charge, she thought about Reimu, and how it could ever be possible to successfully make her realize anything through that mountain of stubbornness and self-assuredness that she was always stuck so deeply within.

“... I can only tell you what I think,” the hermit eventually said, “which is what you asked. You don’t seem to be haunted or cursed, so from other observation it only makes sense:”

Kasen put her hands on either side of the ceramic basin in front of her, and said again: “You’re in love.”

Reimu did not spit this time. She turned her cup around with her fingertips, and her face grew hot at the thought. She heard what Ibarakasen had to say, and she did not reject it.
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/ / / / /

Among the many people—and in particular, youkai—Tatara Kogasa respected, one who she respected particularly highly was the rokurokubi from the Human Village, Sekibanki. Sekibanki, in contrast, rather disliked Tatara Kogasa. Not necessarily specifically... The headless and neck-long youkai rather disliked everyone.

Kogasa was quite sure she was the coolest person in Gensokyo because of this.

Sporting a high-collar cape and a dismissive attitude, Sekibanki always seemed aloof and, ironically enough given her physicality, together. She lived in the human village hardly participating in human things, but also feigning at being human. She had been there for years, and only a few other townspeople were even vaguely aware of the truth at her neck. What youkai knew kept the secret safe, and like that, without issue, Sekibanki gathered fear quietly, leading a peaceful village life.

... Thinking on it, perhaps she did dislike Kogasa in particular, because this umbrella youkai would come up to her, obviously youkai, and strike up conversation without a care. This thought gave Kogasa pause as she made her way to the rokurokubi’s home. She stopped on the road and put a finger to her chin, her eyebrows wriggling. Would I be annoying her today, too? she thought.

Not caring about the answer, she continued on as the people she passed by put down their rain shutters. The feel in the air had gotten a bit “full” again, so they were quick to prepare. A few villagers were taking out their parasols and raincoats. Whether she was aware of it or not, she tried not to look at them.

She intended to get some advice from Sekibanki again... and to use her to get some objects to juggle. In the past, the most she usually got from the other youkai was a spell card thrashing. Today, she told herself: I’ll be her friend THIS time!

The so-called “Dullahan” lived in a perfectly ordinary, but admittedly quiet part of the village: a simple neighborhood of a few standard houses, and hers was as standard as the rest.

Kogasa trotted to her front door and rapped her knuckles against the wooden frame, saying quite loudly: “Alms! Alms! Alms for the tools!”

In a few moments, Sekibanki opened the door a crack, gazed upon Kogasa’s bright countenance, and simply closed the door back in the next moment.

“You’d let a tool rust in the rain!?” the umbrella cried, to which the Dullahan swiftly noted:

“You’re supposed to do well in rain.”

“C’mooon...! Let me in!”

“Why would I do that? What reason at all?”

Kogasa opened palm toward the clouding skies, as if the house owner within were watching. She told Sekibanki, “We’re friends, right?”

And Sekibanki answered, “No.”

“Why are you so unfriendly!?” whined Kogasa in a huff. To this, Sekibanki opened her door a bit again to ask a similar question.

“Why are you so nosey?”

Now, she kept the door open, and she stood a sight of red from within the darkness of her home. She met Kogasa’s blue eye, and then stared instead at the skies above that ordinarily matched it, wincing at their dour color. A black sky would have definitely been better. She brought her gaze back down and followed with another question:

“What do you want today?”

Kogasa shined.

“Help me improve my scares!”

Sekibanki narrowed her eyes, and her brows pushed together.

Again this?”

“Uh, please?”


“Can you help me with something else?”



“... What?”

Kogasa shined again, and Sekibanki moved away from her door with a sour face.

“Is that a yes!?”

“It’s a ‘what’. What the hell are you up to? ‘Juggling’?” she asked, and Kogasa saw a chance. The umbrella youkai stood up straight and proudly. She coughed to clear her throat.

“Ahem! I have decided to become a street performer!”

“Oh?” muttered Sekibanki lazily, and her grip on her door relaxed.

“I read about daikagura and it gave me the idea to try.”

“Can’t you settle down? You bounce around too many jobs...”

“I’m just trying to figure out what works for me...” Kogasa trailed off, and her gaze drifted elsewhere.

“Hmph...” Sekibanki’s eyes also turned away. She tightened her hold on her door’s handle and said, “Well, you can do that for yourself. You don’t need me for that.” She began to pull her hand left. “Good luck,” she big Kogasa, and then told her, “Stop bothering me, alright? Don’t come back here.”

Kogasa’s body jumped with surprise. This wasn’t an unfamiliar pattern... but...

Maybe she could change things this time...!

Stop her!
[] Barge in!

[] Make an offer for forging/making something!

[] Beg and plead!


image source: https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/2739846
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[x] Beg and plead!
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[X] Barge in, begging and pleading!
It just seems to fit the flow.

'Banki said Kogasa bounced around too many jobs, but I figured the smithing thing was a steady thing for her? Like, all the other stuff is for fun or pocket money or to help train spooks, and the forge is where she really earns her bread. Maybe it's seasonal.
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~it is a mystery~

Kogasa claims to sustain herself on surprises/spooks, but that would have surely killed her by now if that were the case. She also claims that a tsukumogami of this day and age should be whatever a human needs, and adapt with the times and trends to remain useful/relevant. Maybe it's "whatever works"
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[x] Beg and plead!

Give her the biggest, wettest puppy dog eyes you've got.
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[X] Barge in!

Seems she views us as a nuisance... clearly the answer is to make ourselves too big of a nuisance to ignore!
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[x] Beg and plead!

She began with, “Wait!”

To which Sekibanki did not.

She followed with, “Please? Can’t you—”

And Sekibanki closed the door.

“Oh, come on!” moaned Kogasa, hitting her knuckles (rather politely) against the door. “Just once! Just this once?”

There wasn’t an answer.

Kogasa stood dejected at the rokurokubi’s door, her shoulders slumping, and her posture growing dejected.

\\ \\ \\ \\ \\

Reimu had to return to her Shrine, prepare a bit more for rain, and if only to get her mind off of things: patch up some parts of the roof. Stop up the holes and all.

After checking and confirming that no mice were on her premises, she went into her home with some waterproof paper in her hand and a dull expression on her face.

She wasn’t really a repairwoman. If there were ever any major problems with her house or shrine, she relied on a wandering oni to take care of it. Really, for things like the problems in her ceiling and roof that she would be dealing with now... ordinarily she just wouldn’t deal with them. If water dripped on her face or in more than three places, then it was a problem. Anything other than that, as now, was just par for the course at Hakurei Shrine. She took a patch to the first of two leaks in her pale ceiling—in a corner of her bedroom—spreading the square thing smooth against the wound. She’d have to go up top to actually take care of the problem altogether, but this would be first.

More than a leaking roof bothered her, unfamiliarity bothered her much, much more. If anything she was presently fighting off one out-of-ordinary thing with another: ignoring the idea of romance by paying attention to the poor state of her shrine for once. While she walked to her kitchen, where the other leak could be found, she realized that was not working. Maybe hammering would change the subject.

She patched the drip, dripping spot, frowning as some water had hit her cheek while repairing, and she stepped back out of her house while sighing. She walked to the shed, reminding herself that Ibarakasen had been right.

Reimu went through the storage’s door and swiftly grabbed a mallet hung on the wall. She stepped further in to rummage through musty boxes, in search of nails.

And, after a fair while of looking, her brow began to distort.

“Hmm...? What? There aren’t any wakugi... Eh? There aren’t any sorts nails at all?” She pulled back from the chest she’d been exploring and sat on her knees, the mallet still in her hand, which was now at the floor. “What the heck... Can I afford more nails?” she asked herself, shutting her eyes and leaning her head back. Her ears perked up, and she squinted into the shadows that hid her shed’s ceiling. She could hear some pitter and patter of the faintest rain. She closed her eyes and sighed again. “Could use Suika... Where is she when I want her?”

She went quiet after that.

Eventually, she laid the hammer down on the floor and stood, reaching for her parasol. I’ll get some stuff... she settled on this idea.

She would either go to the village to resupply, or to Marisa for possible help. She decided—

[] to go into the village.

[] to find Marisa.


No friendly Banki here, guys. Better luck next time.

Image source: https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/1939786
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[X] to find Marisa.

She's sure to have a box of nails in that junkyard she calls a house
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[x] to go into the village.
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[X] to find Marisa.
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[] to go into the village.
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[X] to find Marisa.
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the ordinary magician's house
[X] to find Marisa.

/ / / / /

It was fairly quiet, since her begging had long-ceased. Kogasa was now sat with her back to the other youkai’s door, watching a few children pass by here and there, but mainly watching nothing. A little-trafficked dirt road on a cloudy day: truly unremarkable.

Sekibanki’s rejection had put her in a seemingly irreversible mood. While the echoes of distant wheels and the occasional vague marketplace shout were cast overhead, she stayed down below, hugging her knees and feeling like her heart was being dragged further and further down in her chest—like it had become a stone in there, and her ribcage had become a deep and black pool of water it was being sunk into.

I really wish I didn’t have to do any of this, she thought. Why can’t things just go... “right”? I don’t want to be the best at anything, I just want to keep going...

To just live...

It’s horrible.

She felt like she wanted to quit again.

Contrary to how Akyuu and most others thought of her, she wasn’t without any sense. She wasn’t just a ball of easily slighted emotions. She knew well enough that in time she’d get over this, and that she’d be able to coast for a while as always until hitting some sort of wall again.

But, like always, it didn’t feel that way. It always felt like rock-bottom, end of the rope when she was like this. She could have gone to practice juggling on her own near thirty minutes ago, but instead she just felt hollow, pointless, and not dissimilar to how she had felt when she was cast off the side of the road. She felt like she was dead, hated how overdramatic that sounded, and yet couldn’t for the life of her shake the emptiness that was persistently boring through the left side of her core.

She really hated it. She really hated herself.

Being in this state of heart was more disgusting than saddening. There wasn’t even any strength in her heart for tears.

“Should just give up”, “should just go away”, “can’t do anything”—these were awful, but often thoughts, and they were bogging her down now more than ever due to a mere rejection that she should have fully expected. She sighed without feeling, she listened to the town, and she didn’t move on.

“Are you going to be there all day? Eventually I’m going to want to leave my house.”

Kogasa lifted and turned her head, answering the girl behind her with a half-broken and somewhat shaking, “Ahh...”

Sekibanki looked at her from a crack in her door with thinned eyes. “What the hell is wrong with you, anyway?” she asked. “One half of the time you’re flapping around everywhere like a bird, the other half you just look like a toad. Like now.”

“I hear they call it melancholia,” said Kogasa.

“Maybe three ages ago. I think what they’d call you now is ‘bipolar’,”

“‘Bipolar’? What’s that?”

“Just what it sounds like,” Sekibanki explained, still not fully opening her door. She held up a sign of peace, telling Kogasa, “Bi-, two, poles—like extremes. Like the North Pole and the South Pole. Feeling some way in one moment, and then completely the opposite in the next.”

“Huh... It sounds like you know what’s wrong with me, so why did you ask?”

Sekibanki grit her teeth in a frown and almost, slightly, growled the words, “Don’t get sassy with me. I’m actually giving you the time of day, here.”

Kogasa’s figure became smaller, and—


She apologized.

At this point, Sekibanki realized that while it was possible to move Kogasa from her doorstep it would possibly not be easy doing so. Besides, the girl would surely return anyway on another day. She always did. What was the less ideal option? Letting her in to deal with her happiness, or leaving her out for her to be a bother at a later date?

... Change wasn’t always a bad thing.

“Quit moping and get inside,” said the long-neck youkai. She opened the door wide and said, “Hurry, I don’t want your sitting around outside my house sending the wrong message.”

The umbrella’s eyebrows lifted, and her mood as well... but only slightly. “Really?” she asked.

“If you don’t stand up right now, I’m going to change my mind,” was the redhead’s answer.

Kogasa stood, and walked stiffly through the rokurokubi’s door. Sekibanki surveyed the area for a moment, saw that there was nobody out, and went back inside as well.

\\ \\ \\ \\ \\

The Forest of Magic.

Although her best friend had lived here since her childhood, Reimu genuinely almost never felt inclined to go here, nor did she tend to have a reason. Marisa was at her Shrine most days, the forest itself was more fairy than youkai-filled so she wasn’t often called there, and it was kind of gross. Maybe, a long time ago, this place had been a wonder to her but... she frankly didn’t remember that ever being the case. Overgrown, a confusing layout, and while she wasn’t unfond of mushrooms the ones in the Forest were usually the dangerous kind. Not that that stopped her friend...

She hovered above the trees with her eye out for the landmarks near to Marisa’s home, and with a hand over her mouth to hold off the spores and awful atmosphere of the Forest. Magicians didn’t mind the Forest much... but it wasn’t because of the place being a hotbed of ingredients for spellwork; it was because they were already very familiar with noxious air and deadly chemicals. Reimu’s only experience with the unhealthy was really just her eating spoilt food despite the warning signs, whether she had bought and forgotten something or was just having leftovers too many months after their initial making. She didn’t intentionally put herself in or under unfavorable conditions, though many might have argued that wasn’t the truth.

She was also steering clear of actually entering the Forest because unlike most youkai, fairies tended to forget why she was considered a kind of “Fantasy’s Bane”, to be feared in the day or night. If a fairy knew it could prank a human, Shrine Maiden or no they would, and she didn’t like getting lost (even if in most cases her intuition made light of any turning around). When she finally spotted a familiar dip and sparseness within the Forest’s canopy, she descended with few of these complaints actually in her head. Priority One was fixing things, not worrying over frivolous, natural occurrences (bothersome or otherwise).

She found Marisa’s house down below, and it looked as much of a trash heap as ever. Oddities from around Gensokyo and items from the Outside World seemed almost like they were spilling from her walls. There was some sort of glossy and thin black box, some sort of scaled down replica of one of Moriya’s pillars, a stood up tatami mat, an old and worn-out sofa...

There was a lot. Those simply caught her eye first. She noticed: it seemed the theft-inclined girl had lost that strange, not made of stone, old man statue...

Marisa’s home was still clearly rather sturdy compared to hers, despite being so... well, filthy. Vines, moss, and dirt choked the outside of the western building, but every shingle was firm on the roof, the windows looked new, and the door wasn’t rattling with the wind. The red and white girl wondered how her black and white friend managed this simultaneous careless neglect and responsible minding. She herself was almost fully in the camp of the former.

Reimu marched past Marisa’s “We’ll do anything” shop sign to reach her door. She knocked on it heavy, and called out, “Marisa? Are you in?”

There was a peal of several hard and heavy things falling, followed by silence. Reimu waited with her hands on her hips, listening to the chirping of birds, and watching the bit of gray sky she could see from there a little warily.

The door opened with a light creak.

“Reimu?” asked Marisa. Reimu turned her eyes to the magician. The shorter girl wasn’t exactly decent: she was only in a camisole and bloomers. “What are you doing here?” she asked. “What’s up? Somethin’ happen?”

Well, it was an exceedingly rare event: her coming all the way here.

“Give me some nails,” Reimu demanded.

Marisa narrowed her eyes. “What? You came all the way out here for that? Is your roof leaking or something?”

“That’s right.”

“Right, it was... Jeez, pull yourself together,” Marisa shook her head, and sighed. Turning she left the door open, telling her friend, “Come on in, and close the door behind you. I probably have something in here...”

Reimu did so, following after the blond into an abused entrance hall. There were more large “artifacts” (pieces of trash) pushed to either wall, and walking through looked like it would prove difficult.

“You should make trash danmaku...” Reimu suggested absently. Marisa pushed air sharp out between her teeth.

“Shaddap...” she grumbled, moving further into her warehouse-called-home.

Reimu looked on past her to see some light filtering through a window and showing that at least Marisa kept the place where she ate mostly clear. Her bedroom was on the second floor; the shrine maiden wondered if the same could be said of where she slept.

“Do you want me to help look through your garbage?” Reimu asked at a bit of a loud volume.

Marisa came back with, “Shut up!” and “It’s treasure, not garbage.”

“Getting the two confused... You’re really too much like Rinnosuke.”

Having entered the kitchen area, Marisa poked her head out to meet her friend’s eyes and to angrily state, “Oi, you’re a guest, so be polite.”

Reimu frowned at this response, thinking of how often Marisa treated herself like the Queen of her Shrine. She said, simply, “Do I even have to say it?”

Marisa returned to her search and said, “I’m always polite.” Lying, like always.

Reimu took off her shoes by a finger to each heel and stepped carefully into the hoarder’s den. She moved, almost sidestepping, toward the kitchen, intent on making some tea.

When she’d finally cleared the foyer, she rolled up her sleeves and walked to the cupboards. No dishes in the sink: everything in regards to that was clean and put away. She got out the tea leaves and kettle, and set about preparing.

“Toss me your mini-Hakkero,” Reimu called out to Marisa, who’d gone into another too-cluttered room.

“You remember how to use it?” asked the magician, returning to throw the artifact over.

Reimu caught it out the air and turned its trigram-side face up on a counter, telling her, “Yeah.” She then clicked one of its sides, starting a small flame from the center, which she set the kettle on after filling it. While she waited, elbows on that same counter, she listened to Marisa making her home more of a mess.

“Did you ask Kasen about what was going on with you?” she heard, and a blush rose on her cheeks. She pouted while looking at the wood-panel floor.¬¬

“Yeah...” she replied after a moment.

“So? What happened?” came a follow-up question, after which there was a crash and a light swear.

Answering that would be a little harder...

While Marisa was undoubtedly her best friend, close to her almost as far back as she could remember, the two of them weren’t entirely... forthright with one another. Typically, “confiding” wasn’t a part of their relationship. Reimu never told Marisa about any second thoughts she had over her judgements as Gensokyo’s Shrine Maiden; Marisa never told her just how hard it was she worked to keep up. They both knew... they were too close to not notice that much.

But admitting was embarrassing.

The same was true here. Being honest about something like her “feelings” and “romance”...? The very thought seemed to snare her heart in brambles.

“Reimu?” Marisa called.

The kettle started to whistle.

Reimu decided

[] to tell the truth.

[] to hide the truth.
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/ / / / /

Sekibanki’s home was not ordinary, though there seemed to have been consideration and some sort of effort taken to making it seem ordinary. Kogasa found herself seated in a mostly empty dining room with a kitchen somewhat nearby, but the table’s placement felt peculiar (being put to the corner right of the entrance hall), the kitchen itself had open cupboards that showed no tableware, and the entire building seemed to be dark. By peeking around, Kogasa discovered that there was a wooden-barred window within the bedroom, bringing a bit of light in, but everywhere else was sunless, silent, and... “off”.

Altogether, it was really impressive.

“Your place is pretty scary, Miss Sekibanki,” she complimented.

The other youkai, who was in another room and changing out of her flashier clothing, replied with a mumbling, “It’s not supposed to be...” that the umbrella could not hear.

The Dullahan came into the main room, no longer wearing her cape. With a hand on her hip, she frowned at Kogasa, who cocked her head and smiled (a bit confused). “What?” asked the guest.

“I’m thinking, ‘should I take the words of someone who can’t scare people seriously when they’re talking about what’s scary or not?’ I don’t bring people over to my house... I don’t know how humans would react to it, but I’d prefer they not be creeped out...” The redheaded girl’s brows began to knit. “I’m trying to come across as ‘human’ myself, here.”

Kogasa donned a pitying smile. “Humans don’t stay cooped up inside their homes all day,” she said, and Sekibanki was not incorrect to find her tome patronizing.

“Shut up... What about hermits?”

“Those are weird humans,” she answered, still smiling. The rokurokubi now looked fully miserable.

“Well... I can’t deny you know how to make humans happy...” she said.

“Most of the time, I’m not trying to...” grumbled Kogasa.

“Even if you don’t know how to frighten them, you’ve got a good handle on blending in with them. Tell you what...” Sekibanki crossed her arms and leaned against a wall before continuing, “if you tell me how to get along with humans better, or be a more convincing human... then I’ll give you pointers on how to scare or whatever.” She sighed. “My whole situation relies on the farce. I don’t want to deal with humans or youkai, but that’s how it is. I’ve got other things I want that need me staying here.”

To this proposal, Kogasa truly brightened, causing the Dullahan to wince once more. Unbeknownst to the umbrella, her miserable attitude had come in handy once more (as Hieda no Akyuu had once reported, which she actively tried to ignore: humoring the sky-colored tsukumogami was often a better choice than not). Regardless, it was a golden opportunity. Hardly hiding her excitement, Kogasa thought to herself about what exactly she would ask of Sekibanki in return. Absolutely she could ask for scaring advice, but there was actually another possibility...

Sekibanki didn’t seem to have any objects with which to practice juggling, but she did have something. Asking could provoke a firing of lasers out of her eyes, but... Although... Still, thinking it over...

Kogasa hummed in thought.

And, after much consideration, she decided:

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

[] She’d ask if she could practice spin-juggling by using Sekibanki’s extra heads.

R - reminder

[] to tell the truth.

[] to hide the truth.
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[x] She’d keep things straightforward and ask for scaring lessons.

[x] to tell the truth.
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[x] She’d ask if she could practice spin-juggling by using Sekibanki’s extra heads.

If there's an objectively wrong choice, this sounds like it. I just can't say no to it.

[x] to hide the truth.

On the one hand, Marisa seems the sort of person to offer advice we couldn't get anywhere else. On the other, it might be better to stick to other, 'safer' confidants and let her find out on her own.
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>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.
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[X] She’d keep things straightforward and ask for scaring lessons.
[X] to hide the truth.
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[X] She’d ask if she could practice spin-juggling by using Sekibanki’s extra heads.

[X] to hide the truth.
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[X] She’d ask if she could practice spin-juggling by using Sekibanki’s extra heads.

[X] to tell the truth.
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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.


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.
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/ / / / /

“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—”


“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.
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[X] The one where she kicked.

Time for a rousing game of Touhou Soccer, using Seki's heads as balls.
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[x] The one where she kicked.
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[x] The one where she kicked.

I wonder if there will ever be a Touhou Soccer 3?
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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.
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[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.
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[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?
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[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.
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[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.
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[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.
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[X] to meet that maiden again directly
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[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.
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[X] to invite that maiden over under the pretext of business.

Then again, Marisa is also a serial liar.
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[x] to meet that maiden again directly.
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[X] to meet that maiden again directly.
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surprise; surprise
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[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.
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[x] Kogasa.
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[X] Reimu.
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Oof raymoo you should have brought Marisa as a wingman.
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[x] Kogasa.

Must witness the confused girl's mind.
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Reimu’s a mess, that’s clear but let’s see the other side
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[x] Kogasa.
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[X] Reimu.
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[X] Kogasa.
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[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?”


“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?”
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[X] “Ko-Kogasa... would it be alright if we hung out a little longer?”
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[x] “Ko-Kogasa... would it be alright if we hung out a little longer?”

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[x] “Hey, Kogasa, let’s make a deal.”
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[x] “Hey, Kogasa, let’s make a deal.”

I like the winning one, but this intrigues me.
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[x] “Ko-Kogasa... would it be alright if we hung out a little longer?”

The date must go on.
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[X] “Ko-Kogasa... would it be alright if we hung out a little longer?”
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[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.”

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I'm sorry, but this chapter is too cute
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can't hold back
image source: https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/2655651

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.


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.
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Kiss de girl
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= = = = =

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.
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[x] The eyes will fall where they fall. Overthinking it will just give everything away.

God, this is fucking adorable
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[X] Leer openly.
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[x] The eyes will fall where they fall. Overthinking it will just give everything away.
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Question: whose tatas are larger? Or is it close enough that neither of the characters would know?
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Kogasa's. Not close, but the umbrella isn't *huge* either.
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Alright, thanks.
Anime has taught me relative boobies sizes matter for this kind of encounter
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[X] Leer openly.
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That's a good question to ask, thanks.

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

It feels natural for this girl and is bound to make Kogasa curious.
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[x] Don’t look, no matter what.

I feel like this is the most in character vote. Being embarrased and doing her best not to look.
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NSFW image
The image is NSFW, so are these full sizes:
https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/1835602 for the mouth


[X] Leer openly.

Reimu’s eyes widened, and her thoughts settled from chaos to a simple, clear ethos.

There was a saying like this, right?

If you’re going to eat poison, you may as well swallow the whole plate.

Kogasa entered the room, and the young woman awaiting her took in everything.

Without reservation, she stared at the youkai’s naked body.

“Looks like your bathtub’s big enough for two, huh?” Kogasa observed in a chipper tone.

“Mm...” Reimu vaguely answered.

“I’ll wash myself off first, of course!”


The tool walked past, putting her closed umbrella against a wall. Reimu’s eyes fell on the most obvious aspect presented.

Kogasa’s breasts were healthy.

She wasn’t sporting cannons like the Shinigami, and she wasn’t absolutely bountiful like Myouren Temple’s head priest.

But wow, they’re full.

Reimu swallowed, and breathed out.

They clearly resembled globes, practically making her own chest look like a pair of modest mounds (or rather, it in fact was). It was criminal, she thought, that these breasts above her were always locked up in a shirt and vest. On the other hand, that meant they were probably quite warm—stuffy by now at the end of the day. A massage probably couldn’t hurt. Not at all. She honed in on the pale-rose areolae at their front. They, too, were noticeably larger than her own. Looking at them stoked a deep, smoldering need within her. She closed her thighs together, and felt in her heart a waving tremor.

Kogasa brought a bucketful of water over her head and soaked herself. At once, Reimu’s attention went to the water’s fall, ending on the absorbent mound of teal hair above this tsukumogami’s crotch. The hair bent and shimmered from the moisture, droplets and rivulets falling from curl to curl, and Reimu didn’t realize that she was leaning toward those nethers to closely record the finer details to memory. The proprietor of that nether region, however, did.

“I-Is something wrong?” Kogasa asked, her hands lifted awkwardly. She didn’t seem embarrassed, just concerned. Reimu, whose heartbeat was deafening in her ears, barely heard the question.

She put her hand against the tsukumogami’s stomach (making her flinch), looked up with the intent to meet her eyes, and stopped at her glistening breasts. The maiden felt like the old heart of Yatsugatake; her temperature was now driving her to near total, instinct-only action.

She swallowed again.

“I’ll wash you, alright?” she offered.

“Oh, thanks!” Kogasa innocently replied. She pulled up a stool in front of Reimu, put her hands atop her thighs, and waited. Reimu, realizing what was about to transpire, looked into the youkai’s face in a bit of a huff. In fact, she was huffing through her nose rather heavily. She couldn’t really contain herself. She wouldn’t. Reimu took her bar soap from its dish, quickly lathered her hands, and pushed her palms against Kogasa’s chest.

How much is this...!? Uh, uhh, seventy—? Maybe—ninety cm!? she thought, her fingers twitching. No, no, definitely!

She kept her mouth closed to avoid panting, but it would really have only taken a parting of her lips to have her excited breath exhaling over Kogasa’s body.

These breasts are...! Th-These are Kogasa’s...!

Her thoughts became more driven.

Between her fingers was the substantial, pliable bust of Tatara Kogasa: heavy, soft, and most importantly slippery. With the soap over her hands, her fingers slid along the youkai’s youthful skin easily. The breasts smoothly changed shape to her washing: undulating, pressing together, suddenly escaping her grasp. When she got her hands underneath them, and felt Kogasa’s body heat especially well, transferring into the very grooves of her palms and fingers, her breath could no longer be contained. Her pretense of cleaning evaporated, and she openly groped Kogasa while her breath escaped her like billowing steam.

She put the prints of her fingers against the pink-color ends and rotated, the buds beneath her push flicking out and slowly swelling. She lifted the left and slowly brought her hand across the skin of the right, starting from the inside. She gently held the now-holdably stiff part of it like the end of some heavy, filled-balloon, pulled it up, and let it drop with a half-loud slap against Kogasa’s ribs. With more excitement, she pressed the heels of her hands into the front of Kogasa’s breasts. She extended her fingers and caressed the outer sides, rubbing both slowly until she felt a dull, yearning pain in her heart urging her to grasp them both completely, forcefully. Instead, she continued to mold and play with Kogasa’s chest for what felt like several minutes, eventually wincing from how much of her lust was knocking away at her own reason. They may not have been the largest, most blatantly erotic pair of breasts Reimu had seen, but that they were Kogasa’s had the human in a near stupor. When she, in passing, accidentally flicked against their erected points one more time with the pads of her thumbs, and a shock ran through Kogasa’s body making all of it cutely quiver, the last vestiges of sensibility holding the shrine maiden back shattered entirely. Her jaw dropped, and her breath began to warm Kogasa’s flushed chest. Reimu’s hands moved over the now-thumping breasts (thumping, it seemed, from Kogasa’s heartbeat) with a blatantly sexual goal in mind.

Her hands glided between them; she gripped them with some strength and trembled at the resistance; she brought Kogasa’s nipples and areolae between the thumb and forefinger of each of her hands; she slowly felt their lightly bumped texture, their growing heat, their enticing stiffness, and she—

“I-I-I think those are clean already, Miss Reimu!” Kogasa stammered, blushing seemingly from shame. “A-And why are you using your hands!? A-A wash cloth, or something...” she lost her voice, hardly able to keep her mouth controlled. She was sitting up straight now; Reimu’s wide eyed stare went from Kogasa’s breasts to her fluster-filled eyes. Reluctantly, she resisted the urge to squeeze down and tug on those now-hard tips between her fingers, instead only holding the pillows from the front.

Somehow, even with her arousal at an all-time high, Reimu managed to address Kogasa’s concerns in a staid voice, “I’m lathering you, what else? I’ll scrub you down later...” Her stare returned to the breasts still in her hands. “Lift up your arms next.”

The youkai did. With her focus so sharpened, the maiden only barely saw Kogasa’s tightly closed mouth and blushing face at the top of her vision.

Somewhat with more reason reigning her in, if only to make sure she could get the most out of this as possible without provoking too much suspicion, Reimu professionally returned to her claimed duty of soaping Kogasa’s body by starting with her right arm. Haaahh... It’s cute too... she thought, her heart aching as she pulled both her hands up the arm’s length. Probably, objectively, she could call it “a girl’s arm”: not gorgeous, particularly slender, or muscled. It was... plain, she wagered. She began to rhythmically scrub her right hand along its inner side, and she glanced to see that Kogasa was not looking her way—eyebrows knit, bottom lip being chewed lightly. ... Chance! she thought.

She slid her fingers down and into the umbrella’s armpit, careful not to tickle the girl. Looks erotic... she thought, and she pushed her thumb into the crevice, Feeling the warmth there, she shuddered, and then bit down on her teeth when Kogasa slowly closed her right arm in reflex. Whoooaa bad. Ahhh, th-this feeling...

It was hot, tight. Spurred on, she extended the rest of her hand and didn’t neglect to press and cup the nearest breast while the umbrella was still embarrassed. She finished lathering the arm with her left hand, dropped it down, slid over her right, and just like that had Kogasa’s ribcage in both her hands. She lifted her chin and watched Kogasa’s now anguished expression with attentive examination. Through her right palm, Reimu felt how rapid the tsukumogami’s heartbeat had gotten.

Thus, with Kogasa’s left arm Reimu was much more “normal” in her application of soap; not to bring Kogasa any worries. No, the plan was to push this carefully, methodically. Just not giving up. Marisa had told her: if there was a chance, take it. Well, to start, she needed to get the girl’s eyes closed.

“I’m gonna lather your face. Careful,” she warned. To this Kogasa promptly shut her eyes, and obediently kept them shut. Reimu soaped up Kogasa’s neck with easy movements, then her cheeks, then her ears (which she squeezed and, as a result, was subject to such a good jolt of feeling that she squirmed in her seat), and then most of the rest of her face. With that done, Reimu wasted no time pulling Kogasa closer to her, straight into something of an embrace.

“R-Reim—Mi—What are—!? Ah! Ah!” The other girl panicked, but noticeably remained firmly seated.

“For your back,” said Reimu, beginning to lather just that. In her mind, her thoughts were, WOOOWW! HER BOOBS ARE PRESSED INTO ME!! G-God, this is so hot—aaahh, her spine...!

She settled down. Reassure her!

“Um, Kogasa,” she spoke with an honest voice, “Um, your... your body did—did you choose this yourself?”

“Uh, I, uh, mostly I-I did...” Kogasa answered hands still raised in confusion and alarm.

“Hmmm...” Reimu moaned a blasé response, pressing wholly against Kogasa’s upper body and entirely losing it within. “It’s nice,” she complimented.

“Th-Thank you...” Kogasa accepted. “I... um... Reimu, you... you like how I look?”

“It’s cute,” answered Reimu and, finished with the back, she withdrew and moved her hands to Kogasa’s sides. Feeling this, Kogasa bounced in her grasp. After savoring this reaction, Reimu brought her hands to the front of Kogasa’s body and squeezed very gently, “Hm.”


“Your stomach is soft.”

“Are you making fun of me!?”

Wordlessly, Reimu softly probed and pushed at Kogasa’s stomach. It didn’t have much of a roll, but she could pinch it and did. She also caressed the umbrella’s ribs, teased her nipples once more for a brief second, and started teasing her front side by carefully tracing her forefingers in parallel over Kogasa’s skin. She also put her face in Kogasa’s breasts from the top, hoping the tsukumogami wouldn’t notice as she breathed in deeply, her eyes shut from burgeoning feeling.

“Um, Miss Reimu?” she heard, and she opened her right eye. “Th-That feels good, so...”


It was a positive comment delivered politely in protest, and somehow that was the last straw.

“I’m just washing you though,” said Reimu.

“‘J-Just’...” Kogasa repeated, seemingly now noticing where Reimu’s chin was.

“Hm, is it a tsukumogami thing I wonder?” Reimu pondered as she drew a little back and began tweaking the tool’s nipples once again, now gently pulling at them too and squeezing them intermittently. Kogasa started flinching. “Like taking care of a tool... you just like it because of what you are?”

“You don’t really clean umbrellas...”


Reimu went silent. She was gazing down at Kogasa’s pubic mound.

“M-Miss Reimu...?” Kogasa asked, still unable to see, but likely still feeling the fingers rounding and toying with the tips of her breast, given all the twitching.

Reimu slowly pushed at Kogasa’s right thigh with her left hand, parting the youkai’s legs. In her right hand, she felt Kogasa’s heart going from fast, to rapid. Reimu moved that hand back.

“Kogasa...” she whispered, and she lowered the hand further, further, feeling more and more blood rushing hot through her body.

And before a single hair could grace a fingertip, Kogasa grabbed Reimu at her wrist. Reimu looked to see the blue-shaded youkai puffing out her cheeks. With this absurd expression, she slightly lifted Reimu’s hand, moved it past her left thigh, and put it “down” in the air.

She exhaled.

“I can do that part myself!” she insisted.


Reimu looked on.

Kogasa sheepishly asked her, “... Do you really want to?”

“‘Want to’? What are you thinking about?” Reimu asked while looking straight at Kogasa’s vagina. “Do you not want me in there?”

To this, Kogasa’s response was a high pitched, low volume whine and a general movement of frustration.

Reimu put both her hands on Kogasa’s right thigh now.

“You said you’re feeling good...? Well, I don’t really get it but...” saying this, she firmly massaged the limb’s top, “... if you’re feeling nice, then feel nice.”

“M-Miss Reimu, that’s really close!” Kogasa protested.

“Hm? What to?” Reimu asked. She started pressing up, moving her hand closer to where the leg began.


“Your vagina, you mean?”

Kogasa covered her face in her hands. Reimu left the mound untouched, and instead focused on improving the umbrella’s feeling. Her massage down the leg was deliberately sensual, all over, and after she’d meticulously ran her fingers between and around each of Kogasa’s toes, she returned her right hand to the inner thigh and simply, slowly, amorously rubbed.

“... Nmm...”

The first moan kept her going. Reimu continued to pleasure Kogasa indirectly, and it wasn’t long before the blue haired girl began spreading her legs further on her own.

“Haah... haa... Nnm... Ah...”

Reimu’s focus was directly on the shining, small puddle in the seat of Kogasa’s stool.

She began to rub deeper, switched to her left hand, and moved her right to Kogasa’s left inner thigh, caressing both at once in strong, deliberate, motions.

“Hah!! Oh... A-Ahh...” Kogasa’s voice got stronger, echoing everywhere.

Reimu, with the sensation of a powerful engine exploding in her chest, ventured nearer and nearer to the middle point, careful not to slip straight there when Kogasa’s hips involuntarily began to thrust.

And when she was close, and found herself on her knees before Kogasa, completely entranced—

she switched to only the firm, strong press of her thumbs, carefully got near as she could, pushed deep into the springy meat of Kogasa’s legs, and spread.

Eep! Ah! Ah! Ohh—Nng, th-that’s—! Miss Reimu, um...!”

Kogasa’s natural scent overwhelmed her and, as she realized that she was about to make the other girl cum, Reimu arrived at her senses, face directly before the slightly opened, entirely moistened, and twitching pink folds of Kogasa’s most precious place. That face went pale. What the Hell, Reimu...? she thought.

This... This was molestation. Now, she knew she had a habit of being impulsive, but this was far and away too much. With her head rapidly clearing, yet her own vagina begging for a hand, she definitely wasn’t at 100% judgement, but she knew that this was not the ideal way to forge a relationship. At least, no good one.

... She had not removed her hands though.

Kogasa’s vagina was still flinching in front of her, really, really as though it was asking for something more, and Reimu, at least, wanted nothing more than to lurch forward and plunge her middle finger within. Mentally, she slapped herself in the face.

Okay... The back down. Somehow you can... probably back out of this, Reimu, she thought, eyes still affixed to the eager female part in front of her. Let’s just recover...!

And, as she formulated a new plan, Kogasa spoke up, saying,

[] “U-Um... a-are... aren’t you gonna keep going?”

[] “... Oh? A-Are you, um, done? I—I was getting a littl... a little worried.”
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[x] “U-Um... a-are... aren’t you gonna keep going?”

What even is this vote
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[x] “U-Um... a-are... aren’t you gonna keep going?”
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[x] “U-Um... a-are... aren’t you gonna keep going?”

hey, there's only one choice, what gives?
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[x] “... Oh? A-Are you, um, done? I—I was getting a littl... a little worried.”

Bad touch, bad touch.
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[X] “... Oh? A-Are you, um, done? I—I was getting a littl... a little worried.”
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[X] “U-Um... a-are... aren’t you gonna keep going?”

It's there really a choice?
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[X] “U-Um... a-are... aren’t you gonna keep going?”

The question made her heart beat louder than ever before.

“N-N-N-Not that I really, really want you to, but, um—!” Kogasa shouted. She forced out some laughter, and thus didn’t notice Reimu coming closer. The shrine maiden brought her face all the way up to Kogasa’s parted crotch, at which point she breathed in for a while, and sighed hotly, deeply, when she was completely satisfied. “Wha—!? Is that your breath!?” Kogasa put her hands above Reimu’s head, but was hesitant to push back.

This smell... thought Reimu, feeling lightheaded, I can’t get enough...

Kogasa’s not-yet clean part, obviously excited and readying itself, had a thick, alluring, aroma. Reimu breathed it again, “Hahh... Hm, fhm...”

Now she felt her heart pounding into her throat. Kogasa’s pussy was wafting with heat onto Reimu’s cheeks, and it looked so enticing... “Yeah...” said the human breathily, and Kogasa tensed from the feeling of her voice. Reimu gulped, sat up (pushing past Kogasa’s hands), and told the girl, “I’ll continue. I didn’t finish your other leg.”

“Eh...?” Kogasa voiced her confusion, still going through spasms as Reimu did as she said she would and lathered the lower left limb. When Reimu was finished, she tossed a clean rag into Kogasa’s face.

“Here,” she said, “I just realized if I scrub you I’ll take forever to get clean myself.”

Kogasa quickly cleaned her face, ears, and neck all around, hurried to grasp a bucket, filled it, cleared her face of soap, and looked at Reimu in bewilderment. Reimu, looking calm, was scrubbing her arms with a different cloth, and seemed exclusively focused on that task. She wasn’t, in fact; she was paying close attention to Kogasa, watching her indirectly and trying to settle down.

Kogasa seemed to want to talk, but instead remained looking perplexed, contorting her eyebrows while looking nowhere in particular. She slowly started to scrub herself as well, and when she was finished (and Reimu was not—she was working on her face), she looked upon Reimu with a purposeful and clearly directed stare.

The Shrine Maiden could not see this—like Kogasa before, her eyes were shut to prevent soap suds from entering—but if there was one thing she could always do it was sense when someone, particularly someone who was a youkai, was thinking of getting her. She straightened her back, knowing that Kogasa was prepared to splash her, or dump water over her head, or throw a rag into her face in retaliation. She was not, however, expecting the youkai to grab her wrist.


With her vision dark, she relied on her other senses. So presently, on her right wrist she felt an obvious, firm grasp. The cloth in her hand was pulled out of it, and she heard it fall somewhere on the floor. Unsure of what was transpiring, she lifted her free hand with hesitation, and was surprised to brush against the freshly familiar curve of Kogasa’s bust. In spite of herself, she grabbed it at once, and heard the quietly umbrella whine with a mix of aggravation, astonishment, and arousal.

Soon, she felt her hand being pushed back toward her, revealing to her that Kogasa was moving closer. The hair over her right ear was brushed aside by something soft, but prominent—the tsukumogami’s nose? She heard Kogasa’s voice directly just after, which about confirmed her suspicions.

“Miss Reimu,” Kogasa addressed her, and she kept silent. “Hmmm? You weren’t expecting this, huh? After messing around with me so much...”

What the heck is she doing!?

“I-I already know, I can scare you,” Kogasa stammered. “... Are you scared? What’ll happen, I wonder? What...”—Reimu froze; Kogasa’s fingertips were on her knees—“will...”—they progressed onto her thigh, and their destination was obvious—“happen...?”

There was no mistaking it.

Before Kogasa could do anything particularly surprising, Reimu shut her legs tight, and when she did she realized from the tug of the umbrella’s arm that that “obvious” destination had likely been a ruse.

Now, because of the timing of her shutdown, the back of Kogasa’s hand was pressed against Reimu’s lower lips.

Reimu could tell that the sensation and revelation had given Kogasa quite the jolt. The youkai seemed to quickly try to extract her hand, but... even if Reimu wanted to, she couldn’t open her legs. Factually, she could not: her thighs were inflexibly, reflexively, squeezing together, and she couldn’t stop rubbing them together either. Kogasa plainly shivered.


Reimu did not let go. In fact, without thinking, her legs closed more.

“Ah...! I-It’s twitching...!”

Reimu sighed, slowly dragged her hips forward, and shivered with pleasure. She opened her eyes just slightly—such that the cage of her lashes could prevent harmful entry—and observed.

She saw the blurry form of Kogasa struggling to free herself, and when the girl braced, let go of Reimu’s wrist to grab her own and suddenly pull, Reimu thought once more: ... Chance.

Kogasa yanked, and Reimu “fell” forward, grinding her way up Kogasa’s forearm—thrilled, flinching, and gritting her teeth as her thoughts went blank. Beneath her, she heard Kogasa panicking.

“Hawawawawa~!? Awawa, ahh... Hah! Wha—!”

She was on top of Kogasa now in a strange position. Her eyes once more closed, fallen to darkness, she wagered from feeling that she was pressed against the other girl’s torso, and that that girl was slouching, her right arm stretched forward. Against her knee, Reimu could feel a familiar, significant heat. She spoke, panting through her words, “Ah... sorry... phew, looks like I fell.”

“THERE’S NO WAY YOU FELL! M-M-Miss Reimu, my hand is on your—...! Kgh, ahhh...”

Very carefully, only occasionally, with no noticeable rhythm, Reimu pushed her hips forward, and rocked them back, shuddering from the slick sensation between her legs and not even attempting to hide the crooked, involuntary smile carving across her lips. Every time she moved herself, seeking pleasure, Kogasa gasped.

“Hey, I can’t move my left arm,” she lied (it was between the two of them, so that she could keep rotating her thumb around the areola beneath it), “and if I move my right, I’ll fall again.” She referred to her perfectly safe and stable other arm, thread under Kogasa’s left armpit to keep herself aloft. “Could you finish my face for me?” she asked, peeking through her soaped eyelids again. She saw Kogasa swallow, and nod.

Soon, the typically sullen youkai was confidently navigating Reimu’s features with a soft cloth. Reimu bent into the youkai’s hand as she moved it, and she continued to sigh and gyrate throughout the umbrella’s noises of anxiety.

When finished, Kogasa poured water over Reimu’s face, and Reimu leaned in. She opened her eyes slowly, knowing how close that face was to her bathing partner’s. Her hair fell forward, touching Kogasa’s reddened cheeks and ears. She was wearing a complex expression now. Her aggravation from Reimu’s teasing was gone, and instead she was left with a somewhat narrowed gaze, uneven and twisted brows, and an only slightly opened mouth. With a small, implicative smile, Reimu then told the girl, “Alright, shall we get in the bath next?”

= = = = =

After unwinding their small game of Twister, Reimu watched as Kogasa went into the tub up to her shoulders. Reimu rid herself of any excess soap and, when that was done, joined directly across from Kogasa. They soaked for quite a while just quietly, Reimu wearing a cattish smile and Kogasa looking contemplative. Now that such a while had passed, the former decided to rise from the water. She sat down on the bathtub’s edge, looked into Kogasa’s eyes, and opened her legs with a slow, deliberate pace, planting her arms out far apart and bringing her hips just slightly forward. Her intent was obvious. Immediately, Kogasa began worriedly glancing at the patch of dark hair a meter or so in front of her eyes.

After about a minute of this had passed, Reimu posed the question “What?” bluntly.

Kogasa answered, “Y-Your... it... is umm...”

“Ahh, this?” Reimu asked, looking down to her pubic hair. “I was getting hot, so...”

“Oh,” said Kogasa, cocking her left eyebrow and looking at a wall.

Well, that’s probably enough bullying... Reimu thought, puffing a bit of air from her nose. Really, that’s enough. If I go any further than this, it’s probably over.

Looking toward the ceiling, she sighed, closed her eyes (and her legs) and slid back into the bath, making sure to shift to her left so as to no longer be parallel with the umbrella youkai. In the swaying waters the soothing temperature, what little tension which still remained in her body ebbed entirely away. She exhaled long from her nose, until her chest depressed, and she returned to her thoughts again, thinking, I really am like a beast, though...

She opened her eyes.

I practically “ate” Kogasa. I was crazy.

She brought her head back down then, and saw Kogasa dazedly looking her way. When she noticed that Reimu’s hazel eyes were on her, she jumped a little and turned her two-color eyes away. Despite this, for some reason she looked back shortly after, smiled a bit pitifully, and then directed her gaze toward the bathroom’s window.

Haaahhhh... She’s cute.

I wonder what she thinks I was doing...

Reimu crossed her ankles and bent forward.

She said “messing around” like it was just playful, but she was definitely about to cum. I basically climaxed right on her arm, too. Thinking this, Reimu smirked with a sense of self-deprecation. I’m just ridiculous.

But... it wasn’t only that it felt good... I was really, really happy.

Thinking that, she lowered her eyelids near to closing and began directing her hand slowly toward her still-eager insides.

“Miss Reimu,” Kogasa said, and it was Reimu’s turn to jump in place, splashing the water around her as she covered her creeping hand, brought up her shoulders, and looked at Kogasa a little panicked, “what were you trying to do, earlier?”

So she doesn’t realize it... “I was just trying to cheer you up, more,” Reimu lied, and when the lie passed her lips, she felt something acrid on her tongue, and a muddled pain in her heart. “I-I didn’t want you feeling down...”

It became a stabbing pain, and she found herself looking to the water at her left with entirely knit brows.

“I don’t know if it worked...” said Kogasa, and Reimu grimaced, thinking Of course it didn’t while slouching into her now-raised knees. Slowly, she sank until the bottom half of her face was submerged in the bath. Kogasa spoke again, saying, “It, um, kinda felt like sex.”

Reimu spat, spraying water out ahead of her. Flustered, she swiveled to Kogasa, her arms lifted out of the water in reflex and at once she demanded to know, “H-HAVE YOU HAD SEX!?”

“Hwuh!? No...!” Kogasa answered, shrinking a bit.

Reimu covered her mouth, thinking that that was just a... horribly embarrassing moment. Kogasa continued with an explanation.

“I-I just know about it! And it felt good like... like I’ve read, but... Uuugh, I’m sorry! Why are we talking about this!?”

Because I basically was about to fuck you! It’s not your fault! Reimu thought. The two of them now had their eyes shut, and were each observably ashamed. “You’re, um, not at fault?” Reimu eventually managed to say.

“Are you sure? Like, I didn’t make it weird?” Kogasa asked, obviously very earnestly.

What!? I made it weird!! “N-No! Come on, I don’t blame you for anything! What the heck are you thinking!?”

“I was just thinking, you were just trying to wash me and I was feeling weird about it...” Kogasa admitted. Reimu was glaring at her, mostly due to being baffled. The umbrella youkai was shyly holding her toes out ahead of her, and not making any sort of eye contact.

She then sat up.

She cupped, and held up both of her breasts.

“You did tease my nipples a lot, though...” said Kogasa, and Reimu went stiff, “I didn’t read about that in books, so I wasn’t sure why it was feeling good...”

Some god, any god, save me: she’s begging for one of those scenarios out of the “Adult Works” section of Suzunaan.

“Oh no, it’s definitely supposed to feel good. Here, I’ll show you again.”
“Not just there... your... ears... too... you can feel good from those...”
“How about I show you where it feels best... here...” and I’d like, lean over her and t-touch her clitoris and I’d say, “So? Did your books teach you about this?”


Reimu grabbed at both sides of her head, causing another splash and making Kogasa blink in surprise (while still holding up her breasts).

She’s not asking for it, Reimu! She’s an umbrella with a body! One she’s apparently not entirely familiar with! Hasn’t had sex... I mean, me neither—but has she even masturbated!? She doesn’t know anything!

So, what? Do you want to start... p-pushing her down and... s-sliding your f-f-finger... slowly up and down her lips, watching her body flush as she moans, and squirms, and she starts panting, the s-sounds of her crotch getting louder and noisier until she opens up her legs and g-grinds against your hand and says. “M-Miss Reimu, I can’t...!”

Ahh noo...! I’m getting wet! I can totally tell I’m getting wet!

Reimu’s legs were squirming together, Eventually, she stopped having an episode of lust long enough to take her hands off her head (keeping them held up a bit over it, though) and address Kogasa’s concerns. “Don’t worry about it,” she forced herself to say, “I was just messing with you.”


Again, it was like there was a knife going through the left side of her chest. She winced, and groaned.

What the heck...?

“Well, uhm, I’m still sorry,” she heard Kogasa apologizing, and she turned her anguished eyes onto the other girl. “... Maybe I’m weirder than I thought, that’s all.”

... Huh? What...?

Before she knew it, she had moved over to Kogasa, and put her hand down on that sky-blue head, caressing her just once to the right in a gesture of reassurance. They locked eyes, and Reimu, blushing once more from her feelings rather than her base desires, firmly told her, “I don’t know about weird or not weird, but hey: don’t look down on yourself.” For a moment, she lost eye contact, but as she said her last words she caught it again, “You’re not bad... Actually, you’re pretty damn admirable.”

Like that, a smile found its way on Kogasa’s lips again and, a little misty-eyed, the tsukumogami glanced away, saying, “That really is nice...”

Closing her eyes, she started to lean into Reimu’s touch, and on cue the shrine maiden gently started to pet her with care. As she did, another pain began slowly boring its way through her chest. Eventually, she slowed to a stop behind the tsukumogami’s head, leaving a few of her fingertips gracing the nape.

Her fingers began to close through Kogasa’s hair and into her own palm.

... I’m gonna kiss her.

After she thought this, and determined to make this thought a vow, Kogasa opened her eyes with a kind, almost sleepy expression.

“Do you want to play with my boobs again?” she asked.

Reimu’s stare hardened.

Stopping her left hand from instinctively darting up, she paused entirely, waited a beat, and unconfidently asked, “Wh... Why?”

“Well, you looked like you really liked it, and right now you kinda look hurt,” Kogasa answered with an ordinary cadence. “If it makes you feel better, you can use my boobs!” She beamed innocently. Reimu, however, felt not at all innocent.

“Listen, you...” the shrine maiden began with anger obvious in her tone. “Okay? You shouldn’t say something like that so easily.”

“Hm? Why?” asked Kogasa, tilting her head.

“B-Because...” Reimu hesitated... If I lie again... is it gonna hurt even more? Why’s it so tough for me to lie unless I’m about to become a damned molester...?

She breathed in through her nose.

She sighed, and breathed out.

Finally, she swallowed her spit.

“... that... wasn’t... really something even girls do with each other, not unless—...” Reimu stopped, looked away, and grimaced, but soon she found her words, “... I was definitely turning you on on purpose, um... That’s all. I was doing it selfishly, and I didn’t ask, and uh... It was... almost... sex...”

After whispering the final word, she glanced at Kogasa and saw that the girl was in awe. Her jaw was slightly dropped, her eyebrows were up, and the eyes below it wide. All over her face, she’d turned bright red. Reimu dodged another bullet of love urging her to lock with the girl’s mouth and tongue.

“Wh-Why... sex... me?” Kogasa asked in broken Japanese.

“Ahaha... I’m just—I, I went and had some sake before we got in here and I’m a little drunk,” Reimu lied, breaking eye contact again. Somehow, this lie passed without harm. “I guess I was feeling um, horny?” Reimu! “Frisky!? It’s, like, it’s not, well you know—it’s just, I... yeah, hah, right?”

“Are you still horny? Do you want to have sex?” asked Kogasa with an almost distressed tone, her brow and eyes showing clear and passionate concern. Hearing this bold question, Reimu brought her hand from the back of Kogasa’s head to its top, grabbed, and pushed down.

“Stop asking stuff like that!!” she snapped. “What the hell is it going through this tool’s head!?”

Kogasa lifted that head, prompting Reimu to move her hand and meet her eyes. In a plaintive voice she explained, “Because...! I wanna be useful! I’ve read about using tools to feel better, and, umm—! If—If that’s what you want then I—”

“I don’t want to have that kind of sex with you!” Reimu shouted, truth shining through her tone. As soon as she said it, she realized the statement’s implications, and went pale. Kogasa was slower to realize, but assuredly after a few seconds of stewing over the words, her eyes widened again, she closed her mouth, and her blush reached her ears.

In a moment, she spoke.

“Th... Then... does that mean—”

“We’ve been in here way too long; let’s get out before we start feeling faint...”

Reimu hurriedly backed away from Kogasa, trying to hide her face by turning it away. She stepped out of the tub, and moved swiftly to the door.

“You saw where the towels were, right?” she said after grabbing the flush handle. “Make sure you dry yourself properly.”

With that, she left Kogasa back in the bath. The inhuman girl stared after her, watching the door slide closed, speechless. With her hands between her knees, she thought about what had just transpired, and what she might say after following the shrine maiden out.


For the next part:

[] Reimu.

[] Kogasa.
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[x] Kogasa
This whole bath scene was far lewder than expected. Nice
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[x] Kogasa

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[x] Reimu.

I simply must see how she handles everything she just revealed.
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[x] Kogasa
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>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...!”
Sekibanki... wasn't wearing a cape in this scene.

>Sekibanki threw an arm out forward, apparently used to casting her cape out dramatically behind her even with it not on. She thus declared (once more speaking in a deep voice), “We’ll settle this the Gensokyo way...!”
and here
>her cape waving slightly with her energy
her cape -> the flaps of her collar

Masterclass in paying attention: Sir Kizin
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>not keeping an extra cape in your pocket at all times for emergencies
I sure hope you guys don't do this
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[X] Kogasa.

/ / / / /

When she left the bathroom and dried herself and her umbrella half, Kogasa found in a basket next to her now-clean clothes a simple, white, yukata for sleeping, and a note on paper above it. The note read:

Sorry for bothering you, but, I also thank you for today. If you’d like to go back home, I understand. If you don’t mind staying, a bed is open for you.

I’ll be having a drink outside before bed myself. If I’m unable to do it in person, here I will say good night. Sleep well, Miss Tatara.

Kogasa held the note in both hands, well-thinking it over. In the dark changing room, with cicadas and frogs outside chirping and croaking evening ambience, she crumpled it just slightly, and left it beside the basket. She put on the white robes.

Without footwear, her light steps out of the room were nearly silent. She left the area and found herself outside, the moon’s light giving the shrine a cool glow, She peeked around to the front side, finding it empty, then peeked around the back—quickly backing off at the sight she found.

... After a moment, she began to stare again, as surreptitiously as she could. She put her umbrella half down on the rise.

Reimu was wearing a yukata like hers, sitting cross-legged and slouched on her back porch, and there was a glint in her upraised hand. Squinting, Kogasa surmised it must have been a lacquered sakazuki. She shrunk behind the wall she was hiding at, gingerly holding its edge.

Reimu sipped from her cup, looked down at her right side and poked a pale tokkuri flask that was there. At this action, Kogasa flinched and cowered away, her heart thumping. She eased her gaze out again, and watched the contemplative human.

What’s she thinking about... pondered the youkai. Is she thinking about me?

I-Is it conceited if I think that? Miss Reimu... thinking about me...

Kogasa’s focus slowly dropped, and her shoulders slumped.

She wants to... with me? No no no—I’m overthinking it.

She looked at Reimu again. The young woman had brought her right leg out from under her left, and was absently kicking it while it hanged. She drank more, staring into the forest out ahead of her—the sleeping cherry trees, long-since done showing their flowers.

Cool... admired the tsukumogami. With this admission, she pulled away, albeit reluctantly. Still holding the wall with her left hand, staring at the stone walkway beneath her feet, she decided, I’m gonna go to bed.

She carefully entered the shrine’s main building and made her way to Reimu’s bedroom—a room which, perhaps not surprisingly, most youkai in Gensokyo seemed to know the location of. Opening its door, she found two beds, side by side, and perhaps a foot or two apart. She stopped, leaving her right hand on the wood of the entrance. Her heart thumped again before she could step onto the tatami in front of her. Her face felt hot.

A thought occurred to her:

Put one futon away...
Wait under Reimu’s sheets...
She would pull them away and...

A warped, embarrassed smile formed on Kogasa’s lips, and now that heat in her face crept to the top of her ears.

Wh-Wh-Wh-What kind of surprise would that be!? That’s not scary! That’s p—... p-perverted! I mean, opening my yukata and waiting for herrrr—WHAT!? WHAT!? Kogasa, when did you get naked in this plan!?

She shut her eyes—frowning as if from tooth pain—set her umbrella part down, and put her left hand on her respective cheek. She was definitely blushing.

That damned shrine maiden...! She messed up my head! A-And my body’s all... Kogasa opened her eyes, looking down at herself and opening her mouth, letting out a humid kind of breath. At her chest, two points had distinctly risen.

Swooping up her umbrella, Kogasa dashed into the bed on the left, wrapped herself in the sheets, and hugged the tool part of her while beneath the covers.

M-My... My that feels—

She cut herself off, and looked down toward her legs.

The eye of her umbrella stared at her. She lifted her head quick to meet its gaze,

What? Don’t look at me like that!

It’s a human-like body, you wouldn’t understand!

S-See, it...
it feels stuff! I-I-It’s basic biology! You only have a tongue and a foot and an eye! You don’t know!

As a matter of fact it did not know at all. Her umbrella half was not at all sentient or independent: it was a part of her. The eye could look, but not on its own. The tug could wag, but only if she wanted it to.

Truly, she was talking to herself.

Her gaze went down again.

A-And, it’s supposed to feel good if you touch it, right? Like, in a certain way. She was gonna touch it... right?

She looked at her lower body in all seriousness. She wasn’t wearing anything beneath the yukata. It would be a simple matter to have at it, actually.

“H-Hey...” she whispered, “hide me, okay?”

She hugged the tool a bit closer with her left arm, the one that was to the floor. With her right, she began to reach down, hearing that thumping in her ears and from her chest even louder than before.

Uahh... it’s my first time trying this but... But I don’t got a choice! I feel... I feel like... like I’m gonna go crazy if I don’t do something! S-She didn’t finish and...

Her hand ended over her other head of hair.

... How was she... gonna do it...?

Kogasa turned her head and put her face against her pillow, exhaling into it.

Like... Like this?

Finally, she touched it. From the top, with her middle finger, wherefrom she slid to the bottom.

“Fhm...!” she puffed, and her entire body shivered.

W... Wow!

She pulled her finger back up.

“Mmh... Hm!”

Th... This is crazy!

She was almost convulsing. She could still feel Reimu’s hands on her thighs. Reimu massaging so dangerously, but nicely. In all her movements, caring. It had felt so good... Keeping it in mind, she rhythmically caressed the crevice between her legs.

“Mmf... mmf... mmf... Mm...!”

It was... almost ticklish, but there was usually something very uncomfortable in being tickled so perhaps not. Maybe she could better describe it as that tingling, fine sensation one would get from relieving a random itch. The prickling of her body hairs raising, the feeling like her skin was sparkling... It most definitely felt fantastic. She hadn’t heard wrong about all this. Pushing her right knee up (and ruining the bed’s spread), her left followed (ruining it more), and without thinking, soon her hips were lifted behind her. As she continued to pleasure herself, she huffed into the pillow over her mouth, her stare far off while she just about entered a daze, and she squeezed her umbrella half harder.

She began to hear something like the sound of drizzle against a cloth canopy.

Mm... Mm... Am I... too hot? I’m... sweating?

She closed her eyes, and pushed against herself more intensely.

I feel hot, she thought, as the distance between every pitter, patter sound shortened more and more. She soon began to notice a sound like something almost... soggy, perhaps. Wet. She promptly realized it was herself.

I-Is this really sweat...? It’s sticky... F-Feels good...

As she thought this, the first joint of her finger slipped inside of herself, entirely on its own.


A lightning strike. That was the sensation. Like a bolt from the sky had just struck her, and riddled her body with a strange power. She squealed, and quickly pulled her hand out, collapsing, quivering, and lifting her face from the cushion she’d been using to quiet herself, her panting unfortunately loud. She brought her hand, now coated in something slick, under her left breast to wipe it off. Her heart was going wild...

What...? What...?

She knew that... base things felt good, and she knew that when... sex... happened, a human male would put his sex part into a human female’s sex part. She hadn’t quite imagined that the sort of sensation resulting from this connection could be so... Too much.

Too much, but...

She turned onto her back, opening her legs a bit sloppily (her left knee up, her right leg out) to look down at her crotch. Moonlight was entering through the paper screens of the doors to the yard, and past the sheet over her, and she could see that that “sweat” was glinting now.

Certainly, putting a finger in it felt like too much.

... But, if it was Miss Reimu, then...

She put her hand over it, braced herself, and spread it apart.

Hahh...” Ahh...

In a moment, her palm became moist and warm. As the cool night air hit her exposed flesh, she twitched and bit down in quick restraint. That feeling was something she liked—like when Reimu’s breath had connected. That sudden, almost sharp feeling, and the ripples of that thrilling sensation emanating from her crotch... That was good.

Thinking that, she kept herself open with her index and ring finger, extended her middle, and tapped at her insides.

“Nghah! Wh-Wha—Hahh!

Her hips bucked.

What what what, I, what!? Kogasa thought nonsense, tapping herself again.

“NNgmm~! Ffh... Ah! Ah!” Every tap was ludicrous. That dry, rough, but brief contact—

“Fuu... Huh—kgh—”

—it was addicting. And as kept teasing herself, she began to think very much. She began to imagine, at some point. She risked madness circling her fingertip around her entrance, making it slippery, and she imagined it was the shrine maiden’s tongue. Perhaps it was strange, but she had expected Reimu to kiss her there when her face had been close, and now the thought of that freewheeling human between her legs again, having come in in the middle of all this and discovered her, chastising her, pushing apart her legs more and controlling her: that thought became desire, and fantasy.

She pulled her finger up with a detectable amount of force, and immediately shook.

“Kgha! Miss Reimu...! Can’t you...”

Closing her eyes in reflex, she let go of her umbrella part to push the first joints of her left hand’s fingers against her mouth, with the hand balled into a fist and the mouth open from her breathing. Her teeth were parted and almost bit against two of her knuckles. The pretend tongue licked again.

“Ohh... can’t you only do this... with lovers—Nn—hah!”

She moved like she thought Reimu might.

“Th-There...!? Ng... Aw no... that’s... ah... Hah, Miss... Reimu...”

Reimu would grind her tongue against those folds on the sides, and caringly tongue all around, in a circle. Oh, how that would be. And then she’d lap very strongly, that—that would set Kogasa off. Her hips lifted again. That “tongue’s” movements became shorter and faster.

And then—

going in...

She pushed inside herself, on purpose this time, and held back an involuntary groan.

It was shallow, but—

she had had honestly felt nothing before so intense.

She was unware of it, but fear seemed to hold her back from truly experimenting. Still, from her suppressed and eager voice, from the stain she was making on the bed and its noisy accompaniment, from her completely open legs, from the fact that now, genuinely, she was truly drenched with sweat all over her body... Yes, this was likely enough.

Lost in unfulfilled wishes, Kogasa went on with herself, alone, until a proper orgasm. Her consciousness drifted away shortly after, without concern for the sheets cast aside, or her robes that were in utter disarray.
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Image is indeed NSFW.

= = = = =

Then, Reimu tossed the covers off her body. She yelped, and quailed as the strong shrine maiden took a position over her, hands planted at either side of her head. She looked down at her body, seeing it was shining, and she realized she hadn’t properly hidden what she’d done. She looked for her umbrella half, but it seemed to have abandoned her.

Reimu looked into her eyes. The human’s expression was serious, and handsome. Kogasa closed her eyes, and opened her mouth. As if this was a command, Reimu leaned down and kissed her.

Adult kisses, she’d heard, involved tongues. Reimu’s tongue danced with hers almost aggressively, but mainly it felt very nice. In fact, she adored the feeling. It made her incredibly happy, such that it was as if her heart was glowing. She lifted herself onto her forearms, and tried to equal the shrine maiden’s efforts. Opening her mouth and panting into the humans, over and over, their spit entwining and making their smacking more intense. Sucking on Reimu’s lips, catching the scent of her shampoo so close—she felt needy. She wanted Reimu to push into her, fiercely, now. On cue, Reimu did.

She cried out for a moment over the shrine maiden’s face as she felt two slender digits going into her from below. Soon, with her head in Kogasa’s chest, Reimu was fingering the tsukumogami fast, and almost roughly, the sounds of her place loud and shameless with noisy squelching. While she’d thought she’d lost her mind before, this absolute assault of physical sensation was making any sense within Kogasa’s head collapse. She sat up, and hugged Reimu around her back. Their clothes fell away, and she hugged even tighter. This was what she was expecting, she was so glad that this had happened.

Reimu kept going until Kogasa was trembling on top of her, and squeezing the two fingers plunged deep within the girl as if said girl never wanted to let go. She pulled them out, and kissed Kogasa again, on her mouth, like a partner. It felt kind. She then spread Kogasa’s legs apart, and opened her own.

Kogasa looked down at where the two would meet, and she implicitly understood what was going to happen.

To have sex. To make love with Reimu,

The human’s teeth were grinding together, and that expression thrilled her. She shivered, in fact. Reimu lifted Kogasa’s left thigh with a nail-to-skin grip. She clenched her toes, and felt throughout every inch of her body anticipation, and eagerness.

Kogasa couldn’t take her eyes away, even as their mounds approached, and a blinding, white light grew to obscure them.

Ah... she thought, finally worried, I’ll have a baby...!

She woke up splayed on the futon, the bright Sun absolutely merciless, even with a wall attempting to stop it. She stared wide-eyed at the ceiling. Bird song. Morning.

Her heart was beating too fast. Her crotch felt breezy—Was it opened!?

Was that a dream!? she thought, panicked. I... I’m stupid in my dreams! Girls and girls can’t make babies, even if they DO have sex!


She gasped.

She was mortified.

Why would I want Miss Reimu to do that to me!? Was I that, um—Um! Um, pent... what? That... thing they say!

She looked to her to her right. Her umbrella half was there.

She looked to her left. Reimu was sleeping peacefully.

She quickly looked down, and closed her yukata.

Did Miss Reimu see me!? I... I masturbated last night! In her house! In a shrine! She was wrong... I’m definitely an evil youkai... This is lust! One of the seven sins!

Kogasa was sat on her knees, and covering her full-blushing face.

Ohh... what... what do I dooo? Oh no, oh no... She looked at her sheets. Look at the sheets! They bore evidence. Oh no...

Taking her hands from her face, she looked at Reimu again. Reimu was completely out. She was face-up, sleeping under her sheets, perfectly ordinarily.

Mmm... Kogasa was concerned.

Well... she thought, and with this thought she made a choice:

[] Calm down, and wait for Reimu to wake up.

[] Make Reimu breakfast.

[] Skedaddle.
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[X] Calm down, and wait for Reimu to wake up.

This lets Kogasa calm & prepare herself for upcoming discussion, is romantic, and doesn't rely on Kogasa's cooking which we don't know about.

That said, making breakfast is an appealing choice. Gives Reimu a chance to unwind a bit by processing last night (and its likely hangover). Also gets her a potential great (maybe) homemade meal filled with love from Kogasa.
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[X] Make Reimu breakfast.

Congratulations, now get married before the pregnancy starts showing, degenerate.
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Whoops didn't mean to sage a vote
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[x] Skedaddle.

Clearly, what she needs is some good old distance to clear her head.
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Oh and to be entirely clear, that lustful encounter was indeed a dream. Reimu did not yobai Kogasa. That said, we don't know how her evening went.
*Bath stuff: All happened.
*Kogasa jilling off: Did happen.
*Reimu coming in and doing all that: dream
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[X] Make Reimu breakfast.
Not even sure if Reimu would even have enough food to make something complex with but let’s try it
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[X] Make Reimu breakfast.
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[x] Calm down, and wait for Reimu to wake up.
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reimu reimu reimu


[X] Make Reimu breakfast.

= = = = =

When she cooked the fish, it became black.

She wasn’t sure when to take the rice from heat.

After adding the miso to the dashi base, she panicked when she realized doing so without an udon tebo or something similar meant she couldn’t be sure that all of it properly dissolved. So, she brought the pot of it to a boil, only then recalling that miso was never supposed to be boiled.

The meal was completed. At a glance (and whiff), she knew it was a failure.

She now sat seiza before the low dining table, her eyes wide, her skin pale, her lips twitching, and her fists clenched over her thighs, thinking, What do I do...

There was a long yawn from down the hall. She flinched.

After almost a minute had passed, she shrunk further and further into a slouching position as soft footsteps out the room got nearer and nearrer.

The door slid open. She flinched. Behind her Reimu said, “Breakfast?”

“Y... Yes...” Kogasa muttered while her host stepped past her and sat down on the side of the table to her right. She swiftly picked up her head, and her right hand, when Reimu took up a pair of chopsticks. “Uh...!”

“Hm?” murmured Reimu, looking her way.

“Uh, I,... not... cooking good...” said the umbrella.

“S’fine,” Reimu replied, taking too-soft rice into her chopsticks, “I’ll eat anything.”

And she followed through. Without disgust, without delight, she simply ate the food before her. Kogasa felt... muddled over this.

She was eating it, but only because she had an iron stomach.

... Ah, wait! A thought occurred to Kogasa. It’s Miss Reimu!

Her face flooded with red immediately.

I...! I... guess she doesn’t know, huh!? She didn’t notice!

Reimu was chewing with a dull, rather sleepy expression, staring toward the paper walls of her home, illuminated by daylight. Her hair was down and not in order, she was still in her white-robe sleepwear (Kogasa had changed, and tried to hide whatever she’d soaked at the bottom of Reimu’s hamper once she was sure it was all dry). She seemed wholly, honestly, unperturbed by Kogasa’s presence. Kogasa sighed into her own chest with relief.

Okay... she thought, placing her hands lightly on the table, I guess I’m in the clear...


... Really, why’d I do that? Should I ask her about it?

She looked Reimu’s way again, her eyes narrowing the slightest bit.

She got angry when I talked about sex before. I... I think I got it after that. I get why...

Her gaze drifted off, and her shoulders began to slump.

... Let’s not think about that. Yeah. Yeah... Dreams are only in your head. The kind of relationship I have with Miss Reimu right now is good. A business partner! M-Maybe a friend!? I... I don’t really want anything more than that much...

“Thanks, by the way,” Reimu said, taking Kogasa out of her thoughts and grabbing her attention again. “Yeah, ‘cooking not good’, but at least I didn’t have to do anything myself this morning... Thanks.”

Something Kogasa had noticed in the bath while they were close and later in bed while she was fantasizing was that she rather liked the shrine maiden’s hair. She found it to be, simply, very nice to look at. It was so pretty, all on its own. She often did it up in different ways, but even seeing those light, auburn locks fallen all down, silkily, and undone, was, just... so nice. Aesthetically pleasing. Straight, soft, and—

“Wh-What...?” Reimu stammered.

“What what?” asked Kogasa, oblivious.

The maiden’s left shoulder was slightly raised, and she was side-eyeing Kogasa’s fingers in the hair beside her cheek. Fingers... Kogasa stiffened, but did not pull back.

“... Um... I just wanted to, so I guess I, um... Is... Is that okay?” asked the youkai girl, genuinely worried at how emphatic Reimu’s answer of “no” would be.

Reimu looked away, returned to her meal, and answered, “... It’s fine.”

After a short moment of silence, Kogasa did not allow herself to be stunned. She seized the chance, and continued.

It feels good, too... So smooth, she thought, lightly pressing a lock between her thumb and forefinger, and rubbing a few times. I wouldn’t change my hair or anything, but boy do I like this.

Birds continued to sing, Reimu continued to eat; Kogasa began combing her fingertips through strands, ignorant of the warmer color now on the other girl’s face. Without intending to, the youkai eventually grew bolder, lifting up from her knees enough to lean closer to the human. Reimu’s eyelids slowly fell from calm – near to squinting – while Kogasa continued to play with her hair with more and more affection: twirling it ‘round a finger, gently grabbing it, stroking it...

I should sit next to her, thought Kogasa, hearing the beat of her heart in her ears once again. But, she remained where she was, only bringing her hand from beside Reimu’s face to behind Reimu’s head, where she began to absentmindedly pet the shrine maiden’s full length of hair, all down her back.

Reimu, now wincing, turned those narrowed eyes on the dazed umbrella’s face, saying to her, “Um, did you sleep well?”

The umbrella paused. With the answer, “Yes”, however, she continued. Reimu plainly shivered.

“That’s good...” Reimu whispered, waiting some seconds in silence before she straightened her back. “I wasn’t the nicest last night,” she said. “Sorry.”

“Not the nicest”...? Kogasa repeated in her thoughts, cocking an eyebrow and stopping her hand at the very back of Reimu’s cranium. Well, she was scarybut...

“If anything I was a little disap...”

Kogasa mumbled just a bit of her thoughts.

“Huh?” Reimu grunted, turning to look at Kogasa directly. In her action, she moved her ear into the tsukumogami’s grasp. Immediately, a stifled gasp passed her lips, and her posture grew sloppy again. Kogasa, hardly noticing all of this but certainly noticing what was touching her palm now, put her thumb to the unique grooves of the human’s ear and carefully brushed the pad of it against them. Reimu flinched, but did not deny her this. “Uh-Uhm, whatever. Yeah, I... Sorry. Don’t know... what came over me.”

Kogasa did not reply. The combination of pliability, softness, and stiffness within her fingers was too engrossing. It was terribly cute, in looks and in sensation. Like an adorable, peculiar toy. It was getting warmer in her hand, too. As it did, she began to fiddle with the top of Reimu’s ear, pushing the indent of it out from behind and finding the dull pop-like feeling to be very satisfying.

“A-A-Anyway, if you w-weren’t... bo—th-thered—! ... Mm... I’m glad,” Reimu spoke while holding her bowl of miso soup steady in her left hand, but having trouble with the chopsticks in her right. Kogasa remained unaware of the human’s physical responses, though she was listening to the human’s words. Soon, she had moved to Reimu’s side as she’d wanted, to play with Reimu’s ear with her left hand and palm Reimu’s hair with her right hand. Reimu seemingly focused on finishing her meal, and she was still not the slightest bit angry.

So, Kogasa squeezed at her earlobe. Squishy.

She caressed the nape of her neck. Pretty.

When her hands had slid into Reimu’s robes to feel her shoulders, and when her nose and mouth were pressed into the top of Reimu’s head, only then did Kogasa notice that she was not only behind the shrine maiden, but was on her knees and pressing against the other girl’s back with her chest.


She briefly stopped to think about what she was doing here.

Whatever it was, it wasn’t like what Reimu had done to her, nor what she had done to herself, the night before.

She thought, it was akin to finding a very cute cat that wasn’t particularly mean. It didn’t mean anything more than that. See? Miss Reimu’s still eating just fine, and I haven’t surprised her at all. These facts confirmed it: this was completely, utterly, innocent affection.

But, wow... Awesome... Miss Reimu’s hair smells so nice! It’s like the Sun... And there’s that scent like branches from the bath... Nice... So nice...

Her thumbs began to rotate in small circles on the bone of Reimu’s shoulders, unconcerned with the sudden jolts and trembles going through Reimu’s body as a result. She breathed in, and closed her eyes.

“Wh-What the heck are you getting so comfortable for?” asked Reimu. Her voice, Kogasa noticed, was breathy, and it didn’t have the sort of bite it usually did when she spoke like that.

“Well... it’s soft,” Kogasa explained as she reluctantly pulled back from Reimu’s head to indicate, by touch, that she meant the shrine maiden’s luxuriant hair. Bouncing it a bit infrequently, she sighed in an almost depressed fashion, saying, “You’re so pretty, Miss Reimu... Ahh, I’m jealous.”

“C... Come on...” grumbled Reimu through a mouthful of rice. She was nearly done eating.

I envy your life~!” Kogasa sang the generic ghost’s ghastly wail, clasping both of Reimu’s ears and rubbing at them earnestly.

“Shut up...” moaned Reimu, but still she was not actually protesting.

“...” After having her fill of either ear, and after she began to notice that Reimu was slightly panting and her eyebrows were flinching, Kogasa looked at Reimu’s back as she pulled her hands slowly down to rest her palms against it.

A mischievous (but not only that) thought then occurred to her.

With only... a little movement... her hands could be right over Miss Reimu’s—

She shook her head. No. No! Why? Why would she even think of doing that? After how agonizing the night and early morning had made her, what strange wind had blown across her and made it so she might invite more tension? Invite stressful complication?

... Then again, it doesn’t have to be like that, I mean... I can just say “Ha ha! I gotcha~!” and that’d be okay, right?


Her nails pulled gently through Reimu’s robes.


In doing so, the right and left sides both slid off her shoulders.


Her two-color eyes focused on Reimu’s flawless, exposed body, and her mind started to wander. She realized, with some elation, that her own body was getting excited.


[] Wrong.

[] No.

[] No!

[] Nuh uh.

[] Stop!

[] What are you thinking!?

[] She’ll exterminate you!

[] Absolutely not!

[] Revenge.

[] At... At least a massage!
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[X]All of the above.
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[X] Revenge.
Surprise her by taking the offensive! Do super lewd things like, uh, hand holding and uhhhh

I'm a little surprised Kogasa was so bad in the kitchen. I mean, I wasn't expecting master gourmet chef, but the basics at least... Well, luckily Raymoo will eat anything so long as it fills her stomach, she's too poor to be picky.
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[X]All of the above.
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[x] She’ll exterminate you!

We just messed up her sheets or something with our naughty thoughts. She'll surely throw us out if we take this any further!
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[x] Revenge.
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[X] Revenge.
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[X] Blow a fuse; grope the shrine maiden.

Kogasa did as she was thinking: she made a little movement, slipped her hands under those arms, and put them right over Reimu’s breasts.

Reimu flinched again, and went still. As did Kogasa. The two of them were, it seemed, equally surprised by the umbrella’s move.

But, after six or so seconds had passed, Kogasa moved again.

So small... she thought as she squeezed the human lightly. She could hardly feel the breasts from over the cloth of Reimu’s robes. She could feel them though: enough that she was bothered the sensation wasn’t so obvious. She pushed her palms up and down Reimu’s chest, squinting as she tried to determine the optimal way to feel them like this.

... Ah, that’s right.

A thought suddenly occurred to the youkai.

She spread out her fingers, in particular her pinkies, smoothing the cloth out and unbunching the natural folds.

It’s all folded up...

She grasped the lapel with her right hand and lifted it a bit, to slide her hand under it.


I knew the cloth was thin.

Now it felt very almost like Kogasa was palpating Reimu’s exposed breasts. The fabric was, of course, in the way, but she could feel the gentle and cute slope of the human’s chest very well. The squish, and amusing sensation of squeezing those soft, small shapes. It felt a bit like messing with the balloon of a not-too-full yo-yo tsuri. For a minute or so, she simply had fun seeing how they would reshape to her grasp and touch.

Reimu, subjected to this, was quiet. After Kogasa had had her fill experimenting, she looked at the side of the human’s face, expecting to find a tomato shade coloring it. And indeed, Reimu was blushing, but it wasn’t near as much as Kogasa was hoping for. The tsukumogami remembered: this wasn’t how the shrine maiden had tormented her last night. It had been a lot... slower, hadn’t it? Hotter, and...

Kogasa rested her hands calmly against Reimu’s chest, before resting her chin on Reimu’s left shoulder. Nosing away the hair beside Reimu’s face, she whispered into the human’s ear (remembering, also, how it had made the young woman shiver before).

“W-Well, were you expecting this? Don’t lie... I mean, I can tell, Miss Reimu. I~ got~ you~,” Kogasa teased, cupping Reimu’s breasts gently. She wanted to pull it off right this time: to tease Reimu without having the tables turned. To that end she mimicked what had felt pleasant to her from their time in the bath, feeling all over the front of Reimu’s body while closing her eyes and imagining the robes away. Focusing on the contact under her neck, and the heart-aching aroma of Reimu’s shampoo.

It was a crucial error. In no time, Kogasa forgot her intentions entirely.

Once more, she put her nose and mouth to Reimu’s hair, though now she was nearer to the human’s face and ear. After breathing in Reimu’s scent for a little while, she rubbed a cheek against that ear and allowed herself a small and blissful smile, enjoying the grooves again. Meanwhile she let her hands move not playfully, but amorously. How to make Reimu twitch like she had... Like this? Grasping here? Rubbing like this... Squeezing, and tugging just a bit...

She lost track of what she was doing, and for how long, and when next her senses drifted in, she realized that the two of them had shifted to a more empty part of the table. Reimu had her left hand pressed to the wood, and her right forearm bent ahead of her, hand gripped into a fist. She was panting, and her nipples were hard.

In this new situation, Kogasa thought, ... I won!

This is it! The shrine maiden’s just like clay in my hands!

She grinned, a wicked feeling pulsing through her. She was leaning over the shrine maiden’s back now, with her right thigh between the other girl’s legs, the hem of the sleepwear partially hiked up (though by who, she wasn’t sure). Of course, there was nothing beneath this sleepwear... so now there was an unmistakably damp and warm sensation on the youkai’s skin. The wicked feeling inside of her vanished, being replaced very quickly with panic.

Uh, I—uh, wha-WHA-WHAT DO I DO!? Her... that! With m-my leg!?

“Hah...! Hah...!” she let out her breath as an incredibly enticing image came to mind.

Her heart was thumping.

Pull it down... Pull it off... her shoulders...

She started to do that, lifting her right leg and muttering thoughtlessly her host’s name. Reimu, beneath her, began to bring her legs together, almost locking Kogasa’s invading one in place. Or perhaps, a better term would be “locking it into a specific route”, with a target in mind.


Kogasa gazed on as the robes fell down. It was like the shrine maiden was glowing... And the way her right shoulder was raised, that almost mid-writhing position her body was trapped in...

But it was really most of all that beautiful skin, being revealed inch by gradual inch as she undressed the shrine maiden. So pretty... she thought absently, her heart feeling very tight now. She touched beneath Reimu’s left shoulder blade, and traced her finger over Reimu’s body. It felt nice—like perfect, smooth, like a soft porcelain, and it was almost “cute”, but mostly... mostly it was “sexy”. Holding the robes with both hands again, Kogasa pushed her knee toward Reimu’s crotch, rubbing between her firm thighs and making the girl groan with feeling. Reimu’s body twisted the other way, and she bent her head as if trying to hide her face. With her hands still gripping the robes, Kogasa almost felt paralyzed. Only almost. Something more than fear was compelling her to—


—bend forward and kiss Reimu’s back, right between the defined and beautiful bones there—


—and breathe the other girl’s scent of sweat while prodding closer, closer, with that lascivious thigh. Over, and over, brushing against ticklish hair, and this sticky, moist sensation. Press. Press. And slowly swivel it, seeking, as you nearly force yourself against it. She’s moaning, isn’t she? So, tease her again. Again. Again...

“How much... are you gonna do—ah!” As Reimu finished her question, Kogasa stopped teasing and brought her knee to Reimu’s womanly place, though fabric bunched between skin and skin, barring a direct touch. Undeterred, the tsukumogami ran her fingers up Reimu’s sides, over her ribs, and finally Kogasa returned the favor by pressing the points of Reimu’s breasts between her thumbs and the joints of her index fingers, sniffing the human’s hair deeply as she tugged the nipples forward. Reimu’s back arched against Kogasa’s chest, and Kogasa kissed it again before panting hotly and bringing her face up the spine. The shrine maiden sighed a long, sexual breath—

“Yo, Reimu! I came over to play!”

The two looked at once toward where the front of the shrine was, Kogasa’s face stuck in Reimu’s hair, and Reimu’s crotch stuck to Kogasa’s leg.

Miss Marisa!? No, right, it’s the morning... Why wouldn’t she come over!? Kogasa thought in a panic. In her grasp was a frozen, sweat-glossed Reimu, almost completely disrobed and smelling very lewd. Just looking made Kogasa squeeze on the shrine maiden’s nipples and wince with longing at the girl’s pleasured reaction. She leaned down, unable to get enough of the feel of Reimu’s back against her lips. Parting those lips, she moaned “Miss Reimu” between the shoulder blades, holding Reimu’s body longingly and asking, “More...”

“No! No!” Reimu whispered harshly, now realizing what was going on. She turned and pushed her right hand against Kogasa’s forehead, making the umbrella shut her eyes and whine. “Go... hide! Or run away!”

This made Kogasa depressed.

“D-Don’t get like that! You know what’s happening, right!?” Reimu took her hand back and started fixing her robes. “Tha... That’s enough playing around! Right!? You got your payback, so...”

“Right... it was just playing...” said Kogasa, intending this to sound truthful and enthusiastic, but delivering the words with a bleak, empty, weightless voice, and feeling sick for delivering them at all. She had wanted... to make Miss Reimu feel good. The starting excuse... was only that: an excuse. What she’d wanted, was...

Just like that, Kogasa felt her eyes well up with tears.

Reimu, seeing this, went pale.

“D-D-Don’t cry!! Ah, jeez...!” said the human girl in a hurry. She grabbed Kogasa’s head and pushed her to her breasts. “There, there, get it together, you stupid monster umbrella.”

Kogasa was unable to get it together. She quietly hiccupped, wept, and shook, upset with herself, but unsure if she should be, and unsure about anything. Her already fragile emotional state had gone through too many sudden turns in too short a period of time. What she wanted, what she thought she wanted, her thoughts on Hakurei Reimu, her own sense of worth. What she was doing, what she was trying to do... What? What were these last eighteen hours? What did she actually want? What was she thinking? What was she thinking? Now, her thoughts were left in a tumultuous mess: an awful, turbid deluge of lust, self-loathing, longing, confusion, and laments. Whenever she became depressed over things, she would tune out for hours. With this kind of turmoil, she could probably be sobbing for days.

Reimu, however...

\\ \\ \\ \\ \\

Reimu was terrified.

Marisa would not be the worst person to find her in this kind of state, all things considered, but that didn’t matter. Logic wasn’t going to help her horrible shame over having, apparently, seduced an umbrella to breaking point, such that said umbrella was ready to outright molest her, and she had been all for it.

She could understand the tsukumogami’s disappointment. The two of them had begun to near an understanding through sex, but with this interruption she had to imagine Kogasa was only more confused and bothered with herself. And, it couldn’t be helping that the one who had encouraged the feelings within her in the first place was now rejecting them, no matter the reasons for that. Again, logic wasn’t about to mend the wounds dealt to her heart.

But she couldn’t be seen here. Even if Reimu could trust Marisa to not spill the fact that she and a youkai had shared a tryst so shortly after only one half of this pair had realized her feelings, she couldn’t trust that her friend’s surprise wouldn’t be heard by tengu on the wind, draw attention and cause a controversy. Hakurei Reimu, no matter how she fancied herself, was not “nobody”: she was arguably the most “somebody” in all of Gensokyo, and her actions (or at times, her inaction) could and would cause stirs.

Tatara Kogasa had enough trouble. Hakurei Reimu didn’t want any more on the tsukumogami’s head.

So really, what could she do?

[] Don’t make Kogasa leave. Protect her by not letting Marisa anywhere near the main room or bedroom (two beds, too suspicious).

[] Drag Kogasa (and her umbrella!) into a hiding place before Marisa comes in.

[] Kiss Kogasa on the cheek, and calmly tell her that they can talk later.


image source: https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/1888844
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[x] Drag Kogasa (and her umbrella!) into a hiding place before Marisa comes in.

Something something umbrellas are supposed to get wet
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[X] Kiss Kogasa on the cheek, and calmly tell her that they can talk later.
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[x] Drag Kogasa (and her umbrella!) into a hiding place before Marisa comes in.

I'm sure she'll have no problem with this turn of events.
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[x] Drag Kogasa (and her umbrella!) into a hiding place before Marisa comes in.
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[X] Kiss Kogasa on the lips, and calmly tell her that they can talk later.

And I mean a chaste kiss, a quick closed-lips peck
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[x] Hide her unbrella in the closet. Marisa won't recognize her without it.
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[X] Drag Kogasa (and her umbrella!) into a hiding place before Marisa comes in.

No real time to think...!

Ironically thinking that, she pushed her left arm underneath Kogasa’s right, hefted the tsukumogami’s somewhat heavy body (now near-bereft of will or spark) toward the hallway doors, and snatched up the umbrella’s second body before she reached them. She next planted her foot against the black catch of the rightmost door (and some of the paper surrounding it), quickly kicking the fusuma open with a less than slight clatter.

Reimu growled in frustration, and Kogasa (still sobbing) began to slide out of Reimu’s grasp while she was distracted. The human swore under breath and got a better handle on the youkai by her abdomen, pulling her into the hallway and hurriedly shuffling over the floorboards—away from the entrance where she could now hear approaching footsteps. Away from those, and toward her kitchen. The best she could do would be to use her “broom and general tools” closet—most things she kept in the shed, these spares she kept in the shrine for disastrous weather/out of laziness. Shortly finding the western-styled door that marked it, Reimu set down Kogasa’s umbrella a moment, opened the door, pushed the more toolish tool inside, and then dragged Kogasa herself into the dark space, shutting the door swiftly behind them.

And, like that, their surroundings were deafened.

Reimu quietly, but hastily breathed, her past arousal by now almost entirely vanished by the prospect of her friend catching the reason for it. She swallowed, listening for her fellow human’s movements.

“... Hcku... hk... hk... Ohh...”

Kogasa’s crying made that difficult.

Reimu looked down at the youkai’s face, or... at least where she felt the youkai’s face: her forehead, it seemed, was at Reimu’s chin. It was pitch black in the closet. There was a light and a string to power it overhead, but she didn’t want to give Marisa any leads.

Against her better judgement—perhaps, even, she had no judgement in this at all—Reimu carefully brought her hands to each of Kogasa’s cheeks, holding her still, kindly, and with intent to address her. Reimu could feel the tears running over the tsukumogami’s skin, barely pooling at the fingers touching them, and flowing slow over her digits. Slightly, very slightly, she bent toward the other girl, stopping her lips before they could connect.

“Kogasa...” Reimu whispered, “I’m sorry.”

Quietly, she opened the front of her robes and used her lapel to wipe dry Kogasa’s face, even as the umbrella continued to hiccup and twitch, adding more liquid.

Guilt, like a cool and finely sharpened knife, slipped agonizingly through Reimu’s chest. She sat down in the tiny hollow, bringing Kogasa low with her, at which point she cradled the other girl’s head, letting tears fall against her chest and stomach.

From somewhat far away, she heard Marisa’s muffled voice. The magician was announcing something loudly, and sounded worried. From past experience, Reimu imagined she had seen the sorry state of the dining room and assumed serious trouble had befallen her best friend. The heavy, fast, and fading stomping told Reimu indeed: that was probably the case, and Marisa would be out questioning others about the Hakurei Shrine Maiden’s whereabouts.

So, there was a little more time before anyone else would come.


Reimu was now quite upset as well.

Being uncertain wasn’t something she ever truly was while facing an ordeal.

... Stop being stupid, she thought, her empty stare narrowing. Her heart’s beat got heavier. A weight began to bear down ugly on her shoulders. Be clear.

Say it.

“Kogasa...” Reimu whispered beside what, she was sure, was the youkai’s ear, “I want to see you.”

She didn’t lie.

“I don’t want to push—... Listen, okay? I... I...”

She felt like she was shaking. It could be that she was.

“I’m... I...”


The room illuminated.

Kogasa, who had lifted herself to pull down the light’s cord, was directly in front of her.

Enough that by accident, in the moment the two of them were only moving by the breaths filling and leaving their bodies, the two’s top lips touched, brushing together briefly, and Reimu’s eyes went wide.

Kogasa, perhaps, hadn’t noticed. Her rosy, tear-marked visage was certainly showing that she was hot and, in fact, bothered, but that contact had done neither more nor less for her passions. She just said, weakly, “Okay... here I am.”

Thmp. Thmp. Thmp.

Reimu, disheveled and still close to her, gripped her hands (now to the floor) into fists. Without thinking, she whispered, “... Stay together with me.”

“Huh?” Kogasa’s confusion was pure, and showed in her brow. “What... do you mean? To be yours?”

“No—That’s not—...” Reimu stammered, and looked away. Where was her confidence from the evening? Her determination to give herself minutes earlier? No: all her drive was there, it was just stuck. In her throat, in her chest.

I... can’t... say it!

I can’t say it!

What was the problem?

What was—


She made a queer sound as she felt the touch of a hand on her left cheek, She looked at the only person it could be.

“If it’s okay with you...” Kogasa said. She moved close, closed her eyes, and kissed Reimu, simply, without reserve.

There was no eros to the kiss. It was, in fact, completely innocent. With that quiet innocence, all the tension, all the lust that had swirled so wildly between the two of them since the previous evening came to a sudden and flat halt. With Kogasa’s lips on hers, Reimu’s thoughts and movement ceased as well.

With a small sound, Kogasa pulled her lips away. Red and blue, she looked into Reimu’s fully opened eyes.

“Miss Reimu...” she said with little volume, “sorry. If you didn’t, um, want me to do that... Ah... Ahem, ah, I... I don’t really know what I’m thinking.”

Reimu didn’t answer.

“I think I’m going crazy...” Kogasa continued. “I’m going to say ‘sorry’ for that again. But... I do... like you, Miss Reimu.”

While saying this, Kogasa couldn’t meet Reimu’s eyes, but on her lips she wore a small, shy smile that marked her words as honest. She turned her eyes onto Reimu’s again and said, “I just need to figure out what that means.”

Vaguely, Reimu attempted to process that statement.

While trying and failing to do so, Kogasa returned a favor: hugging Reimu’s head warmly to her tear-marked, soft and safe-feeling chest. Reimu felt the tsukumogami’s face resting against her hair, and felt the strands shift as the youkai spoke again. Her senses started to return.

“I’ll come back tonight.”

And like that, she was stunned again.


Was that monster umbrella saying something?

She thought she heard a door shut, but she stayed still on the floor, unaffected by the sound.

“Like”, and what that meant...

Reimu felt, she needed to figure that out as well.


I'll try to get the next bit out shortly.
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/ / / / /

Was that smart?

Even jokingly, she couldn’t give an answer to that question. Tatara Kogasa had kissed the Hakurei Shrine Maiden. What did that mean?

The most obvious answer was that she’d be exterminated. Barring the kiss, she’d felt up that human, a lot, and it hadn’t ended at her breasts. Somehow, she’d gotten very heated, and Hakurei Reimu’s body became irresistible. Thinking of it, hadn’t she kissed Miss Reimu’s back...? A number of times, at that.

But she could explain that, like she could explain exploring herself before sleep or the dream she’d had during sleep: it was lingering, bodily desire. Physical, immutable feelings inside of her “human-like” form that she couldn’t shake. Just... lust. That’s what it was. That’s what it mostly was. Indeed, it wasn’t just that.

So what was it?

Something to think on; ruminate on.

In the human village now, she stopped in front of a small, unassuming house, and knocked on the door.

The door opened up with a creek, though only enough to see the face of the homeowner.

Sekibanki within looked upon Kogasa dully and said, “Wow, you’re serious about this.”

“Of course,” Kogasa replied with a smile. Sekibanki squinted at the expression. Though Kogasa was not aware of it, her smile was rather vacant.

“Hm. Did something happen to you?” Sekibanki asked, opening the door completely. She was, again, not wearing her cape, and her collar was open to show a... perfectly unblemished neck (not even a scar—surprising). She looked Kogasa up and down, with one hand on the door and her other on her hip.

Kogasa lost her smile and replaced it with a touch of surprise. She asked Sekibanki, “Oh? Would you like to know?”

Sekibanki turned her mouth at a slant, murmuring, “I dunno...”

The two of them had no words for a moment.

The Dullahan spoke again first. She moved aside and bid Kogasa, “Well, come in.”

“Okay...” was Kogasa’s quiet answer as she entered her fellow youkai’s home.

It was rather pleasantly low temperature in the darkened place—different from the day before. Somehow, she supposed, Sekibanki’s house did decently well with dry heat, but not humidity. Getting inside made her realize that it must have been a very nice day today; in her travel to the Human Village she hadn’t noticed the Sun at all, but its sudden absence was at once, drastically noticeable.

After exhaling a short breath nearby the entrance now that she was cooling off, she went to sit at Sekibanki’s table in the corner. Again to her surprise, a tray and two cups of tea had been set.

Sekibanki sat at the side adjacent to her, in a rather unladylike (knee up) manner. Kogasa scrutinized her host’s undercarriage with a lopsided frown.

The rokurokubi kept on, saying, “It’ll be a pain if you’re mopey while we work so... get whatever stupid worries that are on your chest off it now.” She picked up a yunomi and lifted her chin. “So? What happened?” she asked, lifting the cup toward her lips.

After a few seconds, Kogasa replied:

“I kissed the Hakurei Shrine Maiden.”

And Sekibanki spat her drink into the umbrella’s face.

Kagh! Koff! Wh—What!?” Sekibanki yelled. Kogasa sat with lukewarm tea dripping from her face, her expression neutral.

“... On... On the cheek?” Sekibanki ventured. She wasn’t offering to clean at all.

“No, mouth to mouth,” Kogasa explained.

“What the Hell!?” the other girl screamed, leaning back and dropping her drink on the table. It fell in the tray, and pooled there. “How aren’t you dead!?”

“Ah, well...” Kogasa paused, looking at the ripples in the tray, moving like liquid shadows in the youkai’s lightless home. “... It’s... um... strange,” is how she decided to explain it.

She peeked at Sekibanki with a sideways glance. The red-head was now red-faced, and glaring. She brought her knee down to sit cross-legged, bringing an arm onto her table, slouching, and pushing her cheek and half her mouth against the palm of her other hand. She began to, arhythmically, tap a finger against the wood. “Hm—Hhmmm... That’s... well... I... I get it I guess.”

Neither said anything for a little while.

And when that while was up, and after much thought, Kogasa was the one who decided to break the silence. She

[] would push away those concerns, and focus on her lessons.

[] would make an attempt... to get Miss Sekibanki to help her sort out her feelings and concerns.

\\ \\ \\ \\ \\


The shrine maiden was shaken into focus by a pair of slender, but calloused hands. She recognized, immediately: they were Marisa’s hands. She looked at the blond witch, whose hat had fallen to the floor behind her with how fast she’d dropped down onto her knees. Reimu realized: she was still indecent. With Marisa’s hands still on her shoulders, and with a blush now spreading on her face, she covered up.

“Hey... Hey! Did something happen!?” Marisa demanded to know, looking into her eyes with not even a shimmer of humor. So, she was in full concern-mode... As Reimu had been expecting.

“Nothing... bad,” she said, squinting while turning her eyes away. She then locked her gaze with Marisa’s, trying to match her friend’s intensity of expression. “Calm down, Marisa,” she said, hoping this severity would convince the jumpy magician of her honesty. “I’m fine.”

“Really? Really really?” asked the other girl, but she still hadn’t loosed her hands. After searching Reimu’s eyes to find truth within them, she pulled her hands back and put her right one over her heart, almost crumpling into a heap before Reimu. She sighed a rattling, body-trembling breath, growling, “Daaamn, I was worried. Thank god.” She fell backward into the opened closet door, leaning her head back, closing her eyes, and sighing again. “Don’t scare me like that, Reimu...”

“Don’t just barge into my house,” Reimu replied.

Marisa opened her eyes to lift her brow in doubt, picking up a knee and dropping her left hand onto it. “What?” she began. “I’ve saved you by doing that how many times now? Thank me for being nosey.”

“Thanks for breaking and entering,” said the shrine maiden.

“Just entering,” said Marisa, and she sighed, long, once more.

Reimu, now in possession of her awareness once again, meanwhile looked toward the bit of floor in front of her and thought about the reason she had lost it.


The scenes played out in her head.

What she’d done, what Kogasa had done. What she wanted and what she’d tried to do.

I never said it, she reminded herself. So did I get through? By... Well, kind of by accident?

I wanted to have sex with her, so much that it was like possession, but what I really wanted—why it was I even tried to find her in the Village in the first place... Did she... get it? That I wanted her to feel good? About herself...

I hope she got it...

... I made her cry.
Reimu thought this, and her posture gently sank as a frown fell on her lips.

“You aren’t pensive much,” Marisa noted. Reimu lifted her head to pay her friend attention. The magician now had her legs stretched out and her hands behind her head. “Yer sayin’ there’s nothin’ wrong but you’ve got too much of a bad look on your face, Reimu. And I mean...” Marisa continued, her face contorting with a general, mild sense of discomfort, “you were half-naked in here... What the heck?”

“... I fell down,” Reimu said. Her voice was a bit hollow in tone. Marisa scrutinized her, frowning more—irritated.



“You fell in the closet and lost your mind?”

“Who said I lost my mind?”

“You were starin’ at the wall, blank, just staaaaaaare.... Like that.”

“Not for a long time or anything.”


“Eh...? What’s a liar doing calling other people liars?”


“I tripped and stared off into space for a minute. That happens to people.”

“You’re like, the second least clumsy person I know, Reimu.”

“So that means I can’t ever trip and fall?”

“I’ve never seen it.” Marisa finished, her hands now pushed down into the front of her dress. She sighed, obviously annoyed as she told Reimu, “Don’t wanna say? Fine, don’t say.”

She didn’t.

There was a lot to sort out in her head, and though the memory of that kiss was nice, absolutely, the words that came with the kiss meant:

-Kogasa was not ready.
-Reimu had, mostly unknowingly, pushed her to do that and more.
-And, for all of the shrine maiden’s feeling, for all this genuine attraction she felt... couldn’t it not matter at all? If Tatara Kogasa could be safely called innocent, nothing Reimu felt mattered. If that was how it was, then she was manipulating a person who still lacked a concept of what they were even being manipulated toward. And, that made Reimu an even worse person than she’d ever considered. A selfish, waste of breath.

She was horribly, horribly selfish.

“You were supposed to meet Kogasa yesterday after you left.” Marisa seemed to have a knack for yanking her friend away from downward slopes. “How’d that go?”

Reimu wore a serious face again. How to answer that...

Her eyes drifted away from Marisa’s.

Explain the actual events...? Lie? Neither seemed like a good idea and neither she wanted to do.

She straightened her back and made eye contact again. She no longer had the hesitation inside of her that had made her only reluctantly take Marisa’s suggestion from the day before. Inside her heart were two strong desires, and she felt more strongly one over the other. It didn’t matter, that was how she felt. She made her conviction and asked:

[] “What can I do to make her mine?”

[] “What can I do to make her happy?”
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[x] “What can I do to make her happy?”

Still not sure on the other one, though...
(Also, you really need to do more proofreading on your Sekibanki segments!)
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>you really need to do more proofreading on your Sekibanki segments!
I... didn't notice any errors! Well, I have 0 doubts there are errors of grammar I'm entirely unaware of, though. Odd phrasing, too many commas... perhaps
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In retrospect, I think it's more likely that the one being an idiot was me...

> Kogasa lost her smile and replaced it with a touch of surprise. She asked Sekibanki, “Oh? Would you like to know?”

> Sekibanki turned her mouth at a slant, murmuring, “I dunno...”

Since the most recent thing to be mentioned in-text was Seki's lack of a scar or some other mark where her head detaches, I assumed they were talking about that, and forgot Seki's most recent statement re: Kogasa's bodily state...

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It's fine. I've made dumb mistakes and wouldn't put it past me
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[x] would push away those concerns, and focus on her lessons.
[x] “What can I do to make her mine?”

Reimu can be a little possessive sometimes, but Kogasa may want to wait a bit before trying to delve into her mess.
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[x] focus on lessons
[x] “What can I do to make her happy?”

Smelly dumb phone posting scum so I can only easily copy and paste one option.

I admit, we got too lewd too fast. Take it easy and slow down, communicate more. It may be very unjap, but it may be necessary.

As for 'banki, well, if she brings up romance, don't drive it away, but don't push the topic yourself.
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[X] would make an attempt... to get Miss Sekibanki to help her sort out her feelings and concerns.

[x] “What can I do to make her happy?”
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[x] would push away those concerns, and focus on her lessons.
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Just Kogasa for now. Image source: https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/2713022?q=hair_over_one_eye+tatara_kogasa


[X] “What can I do to make her happy?”

[X] would push away those concerns, and focus on her lessons.

/ / / / /

Kogasa stood still while Sekibanki steadied her by her shoulders.

“Let’s try this,” said the rokurokubi.

She put her right hand to Kogasa’s hair and began to arrange it toward the right side of her face. Brushing it that way, sliding a lock or two out from behind the umbrella’s ear, lightly tugging grips of strands into new places. In a little time, Kogasa half-couldn’t see. Sekibanki stood before her, holding her right elbow in her hand while scrutinizing her hairdressing with a loose fist against her lips,

“Better...” she muttered.

“I can’t see as well like this,” Kogasa muttered. Sekibanki looked into the now solely available eye that she had: her crimson left.

“I think this red eye and the one on your umbrella tell enough: you know red’s a striking color. Obviously, I agree,” said Sekibanki, who was largely red. “Emphasize it more. That should help.

“... Do I have to get some red clothes, too?” asked Kogasa while looking down at herself.

“No,” the teacher answered quickly, plainly. This surprised her student, though the more scare-experienced youkai failed to notice as she examined the outfit in question. “To be honest, in the dark you won’t be seen well no matter what you’re wearing—dark or red clothes just help a bit. In the daytime, you can use these colors... white, and blue, and you could theoretically scare something even if you were out in a full-on sun-shining sky.”

Kogasa was amazed.

“Right!?” she exclaimed, leaning forward enough that she was almost in her mentor’s face. Said mentor backed off, scrunching up her nose and glaring.

“‘You could’, with a general ‘you’. Whether you could, well... let’s say ‘that remains to be seen.’”


“It really starts with behavior,” Sekibanki went on, stepping back once and crossing her arms, bending her head, and closing her eyes as she spoke. She shot Kogasa a severe look and said, “Kasa (Umbrella), you don’t have a dark enough attitude.”


Sekibanki’s eyebrows pushed into one another and created a caret slant. Her frown was potent.

Kogasa,” the girl in blue corrected further.

“... So we’re going to fix your attitude, Kasa,” said Sekibanki flatly, and with a flat look to match. Kogasa moaned with disappointment again. “First, stop introducing yourself before you try to scare people.”

And here, Sekibanki saw Kogasa’s one visible eye widen with shock as her mouth widened along with it. She even looked a little pale.

“That... Why would I do that!?” she shrieked, her shoulders falling as she slouched from the weight of what was, evidently, a truly inconceivable bombshell.

“This is fundamental...” said Sekibanki darkly. She stared into Kogasa’s one available eye. “... If you want to surprise humans, you have to, at least a little bit, think of them as ‘prey’. As exploitable. As the enemy. I guess that you, a tool, kind of find that difficult, despite your circumstances...” she trailed off, leaving the referral to Kogasa’s natal abandonment implicit. “But you seriously need to decide: can you bring back the grudge that birthed you, hone it, and turn it into malice? Into intent to harm humanity, even if it’s only psychologically? Only temporarily? I’ve read about it... you say you want revenge against those thoughtless humans who neglect their possessions, no? Well far as I can tell, as it stands ‘revenge’ is only something that you say you want. Again: it’s fundamental. If you aren’t going to accept that you have to hurt people, just a little, to survive, then I I’ve got to say that, honestly, I just can’t help you.”

With her words done, Sekibanki stood a bit straighter.

Kogasa was still slouching, but her expression leaned now more toward stern than stunned. She noted to Sekibanki, “Miss Sekibanki... you’re really serious about this yourself.”

“We made a deal,” Sekibanki reminded her, and that was that.

So, for a few minutes, Kogasa decided to honestly consider her new teacher’s words.

Thinking on it, Sekibanki had spoken a kind of truth to Kogasa that was so natural that... well, she’d just never questioned or considered it. Like how the Sun rose during the day and the Moon rose at night: she was a tool, so she wanted to help people; she was a youkai so she needed to hurt people. Sekibanki had spoken of birth, but in actuality this umbrella had been born twice, each for a different reason, and those reasons seemed entirely opposed. The question was, could they even be reconciled?

At the end of her rumination Kogasa determined thus: of course not, it was impossible. Picking one or the other, in order to live with that solely in mind? No. No. Absolutely not. Although her heart was divided... How to put it? It was her heart.

And I don’t want to change.

“I can’t do that,” Kogasa replied.

“I had a feeling,” replied Sekibanki in turn. She shrugged, and explained, “That would’ve made things easier. If I could just cut to the heart of things, but, well... guess not, huh.” After looking off toward her kitchen, the room still cloaked in darkness, Sekibanki looked her way again. “Okay,” she said, “then I guess I’m forced to do this the long way. I lied.”

“You tricked me!?” Kogasa was once more in disbelief. Frankly, the other youkai was being quite rude. That other youkai closed her eyes, uncrossed her arms, and shrugged.

“Whatever,” she said with casual dismissal. Kogasa pouted, and Sekibanki put her hands down to her hips. “Let’s move on, and really start these lessons. To begin with, tell me what you think the scariest thing you do is.”

“Hm.” Kogasa gave a glare as she thought, slowly going through her portfolio of techniques.

“And to be clear:” Sekibanki said, catching Kogasa’s attention for a moment, “I mean what do you think, not what you know is the most effective.”

Kogasa had in fact assumed that.

She straightened her back and thoughtfully touched her bottom lip.

“... Going, beehhh—” here she stuck out her tongue, “and saying ‘I envy your life!’ Hm. It’s very spooky, right?”

“Why do you think that?” asked her teacher, who was now leaning against a wall at her right.

“Because it’s direct...” Kogasa wagered. She looked at Sekibanki. “It seems like a really vague threat! But, it’s scary! If someone’s jealous of your life, it’s like, ‘oh no, I’m gonna die!’”

“Hm,” Sekibanki grunted without approval or disapproval. “And you usually introduce yourself by saying ‘excuse me!’... Right?”

Kogasa nodded.

“I think it can work,” said Sekibanki.

“Really!?” cried Kogasa again. Sekibanki pursed her lips, but did not back away this time.

“You’re just too cute. It can be fixed,” said the Dullahan, pushing away from the wall and moving toward the door. Kogasa blushed at the first statement, and upon noticing this Sekibanki was appalled. “Don’t blush at that,” she chided. With her hand at the door, she looked back at Kogasa and told her, “We’re going out to practice. Where do you want to go?”

“I choose?” asked Kogasa, pointing at herself.

“Yeah,” answered Sekibanki, “that’ll give me more of an impression of where you are in terms of skill.”

“Oh, okay...” said Kogasa, somewhat quietly. “Then...

[] the Myouren graveyard. I’m used to it.”

[] let’s stay in the village. It... It has the most people.”

[] how about the road to Hakurei Shrine?”

“Hm... Fine, then.” Sekibanki held her hand behind her, and Kogasa leapt in place as a red-haired head flew out from her host’s bedroom, a cloak bit inside its mouth. The partial clone delivered the article to the main body, who threw the cape on with distinct flair. After coolly meeting Kogasa’s eye, the rokurokubi declared, “Now, let’s be off.”

And with a “Yes!” and a nod from Kogasa, quite promptly they were.
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[x] the Myouren graveyard. I’m used to it.”
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[x] the Myouren graveyard. I’m used to it.”

If you want advice, you want advice for the worst case scenario, not the best. She's a known factor in this graveyard so, as far as spooking people go, this is it.
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[x] the Myouren graveyard. I’m used to it.”
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[x] let’s stay in the village. It... It has the most people.”

Gotta break out of routine.
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\\ \\ \\ \\ \\

“You’re sure?” Reimu asked.

“Yeah, for real,” replied Marisa, pointing her finger casually, her hand upside down. She told Reimu, “Seriously, y’know.”

The two girls were sitting in the now-tidied dining room, Marisa with her elbow on the table and Reimu sat opposite her in seiza. The shrine maiden was properly dressed, now, and seriously mulling over the advice the black and white witch had given her. They each had tea, and snacks sat waiting between them.

“... That seems too easy,” Reimu judged.

“Huh? What kinda idea of her did you have before? It’s Kogasa, she’s like, y’know... a simpleton,” Marisa explained. Thinking about this, she flipped her still-pointing hand over and said, with vigor, “Kinda like you!”


Something told Reimu that things couldn’t go as easily as Marisa said, and for once that nebulous “something” did not seem to be her intuition. Her intuition didn’t always follow a logic, sure, but this feeling was completely void of any rationale, it seemed.

She understood what Marisa was saying, but she was riddled with anxiety telling her that this would go wrong.

“... Reimu, idiot,” Marisa pulled her out of her thoughts. She had both her arms resting on the table, now, and was leaning forward. Cocking an eyebrow and looking at her with both pity and good humor, she said, “Just keep hanging out with her, and she’ll be ecstatic.”

“That’s too easy, right!?” Reimu snapped, sitting up straight and twisting her brow. “Don’t I have to do something else!?”

“Like what?”

She planted her hands firmly on the table, lifting herself from her knees as she exclaimed, “That’s what I’m asking! Help me, Marisa!”

Marisa shrugged, getting even lazier in her posture as she reached for the rice crackers sat at the table’s center. She took one, and brought it between her lips. “Iunno”, she mumbled without using vowels. She bit into the thing and began mashing it in her cheek. “Remember the plan I made for you in the first place? Simplify it in your head a sec; in the end, I just told you to go hang with her. And how’d that go? Went well, right?”

With this, Marisa finished off the senbei.

Reimu, however, sat back down and still. Thinking of how “that” had went, her face instantly went as red as her clothes.

“... Whoa, just how well?” asked Marisa, looking severe as she wiped crumbs off her fingers with her apron.

“That’s... hard to, well, explain,” said Reimu.

“Hmm...” breathed Marisa. She picked up her cup of tea. “You shouldn’t second-guess yourself so much. Once you’re feelin’ comfortable with her, we can talk about this stuff again and figure out where ta go.”

She started to drink, washing down the dryness from those snacks.

“What about sex?”

With this sudden, earnestly delivered question from Reimu, Marisa choked on her drink, sputtered into the cup, and while coughing tried desperately to not make a mess.

“How soon is too soon to have sex?” asked Reimu, completely unaffected by Marisa’s display of surprise.

“I don’t know! Why would I know that!?” Marisa screamed.

“Eh? Weren’t you a master of love?” asked Reimu seriously, to which Marisa screeched:


“I guess it’s too early to have sex, then?” asked Reimu with a bit of a smile and a look of pity.

“S—Stop saying that!” Marisa pleaded grabbing the brim of her hat by its sides and yanking it down over her eyes.


“AAAAGH!” bellowed the magician. In point of fact, this was not Reimu’s teasing, and Marisa knew that. She understood that these were completely honest and forthright questions from Reimu, who she was too familiar with. But... But, that didn’t make the prospect any less shame-inducing.

The smaller girl, almost curled into herself now, unhid her eyes, showing that she was scrutinizing the wall which Reimu was facing. Reimu seemed to be thinking about something, from her pose and hand posture. “Like...” Marisa suddenly spoke up, “why’re you... Did you...?” Slowly, she moved her eyes to match her gaze with Reimu’s. Now pink-faced, she asked, “Did you, like... almost... y’know?”

“’Almost’?” asked Reimu, moving a lax hand a short bit away from her lips.

“Like... You...” Marisa lifted both of her hands, seemingly clawing at the air. Her cheeks grew into a brighter color. “You uh... her?”

Reimu got the message, and she frowned ashamed. She answered , “... A little.”

“Eeeehh?” breathed Marisa, bringing her hands down to the table and sitting up. After a short silence between the two, Marisa raised her shoulders nervously and asked Reimu, “Can you give me details...?”


For Marisa, alone, she could a bit.

If anything, it would be nice for someone else to give her grief for her actions, and put her predicament properly into an outside perspective.

What proceeded was the heated talk of two naive girls, whispering closely together as if the Hakurei Shrine were not a secluded place. Mutterings and comments were quietly exchanged, and as they were a weight slowly lifted off of the Shrine Maiden’s shoulders. Her sins were aired, and her worries as well, and before she knew it the few minutes’ conversation had turned into one of several hours.
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two old names
/ / / / /

“Uh, um, this usually works better at night...” Kogasa spoke apologetically, plaintively, as a bead of sweat made its way down her cheek.

“I see,” said Sekibanki, who was hiding behind a fairly large family grave, towering a few heads above her.

They were in Myouren’s graveyard, a fairly sizable thing made of large, lengthy steps and smelling sometimes faintly, often strongly, of incense. In the distance one could occasionally hear the faint yells and chants of the priests and acolytes of the nearby Buddhists echoing overhead, but otherwise, like any proper graveyard, the sacred ground itself was often wholly quiet,

It had not arrived with the Myouren Temple’s Palanquin Ship (well, accurately, the two were one and the same), but it bore the name of the head priest’s late elder brother all the same. With its overhanging, currently out of bloom trees which eerily glowed with the color of cherry blossoms in spring, it was a properly unnerving sort of place which tended to make Kogasa’s life quite a bit easier. She and her mentor youkai stood here now with the sun illuminating all of it, and not a single thing had happened yet. This said... they had just about arrived at the place. With her first words, Kogasa had wanted to save face should this all fail, as she was expecting it to. Her task was to surprise some humans... that alone was often a tall order, but to do it at this hour, and with Sekibanki observing...?

Nervous, the tsukumogami tugged at the hair over her sky-colored eye.

People still visit graves in the daytime, but...

... And—And, I’ve been hanging around here so much, maybe people are getting used to me being here? Like this is my haunt...

Her shoulders sank.

... I’m gonna screw up.

“... Someone’s coming,” Sekibanki quietly informed her student. Her other heads were dotted around the area, scouting behind graves and trees.

Kogasa readied herself.

Stop getting like that! Jeez! she chastised herself. Are you just anxious because Miss Sekibanki is watching? Calm down... and do it!

She was standing behind a family’s gravestone herself, and she could hear the wandering human’s approach on the stone walkway. While the volume of their steps became steadily louder, Sekibanki noticed something else, and in an irritated whisper snapped, “He’ll see your umbrella! Bring it back, back!”

Kogasa awkwardly did so.

And soon, the human was close!

To give fair warning, she coughed twice to indicate her presence. After she did so, she heard a slap from behind her.

She half-lid her left eye, hopped out from behind the stone on one foot, and with the resounding clack! of her geta, she bellowed, “Beeeehhh~!”—naturally while opening her mouth and sticking out her tongue.

“Ah,” the young villager uttered when he saw her. After lightly holding on to one of the front folds of his yukata, he asked, “A youkaI?”

Kogasa went silent. The gears in her head slowly turned.

Slowly, slowly, she came to a scenario, and she began it when it was ready with a mellow-toned, “My eye is...”

He tilted his head with a “Hm?” He couldn’t see her face as she had bent it, and was slouching now. She gripped the leg of her umbrella half tightly, hunching her shoulders and continuing in a deep voice.

“My eye... my eye...” she repeated. The human frowned, and began to stand up straight. “Where is it... Where is it...!?”

And next, without warning, she spun her second half around, its tongue lolling noisily for a moment before she rested its enlarged, crimson, and sole eye over the right side of her face. She opened her own red eye wide then, met the human’s gaze, and in a raised voice spoke of the young man’s right eye: “IS THAT IT?”

At once, she was filled with vigor.

The human stepped back quickly and, emanating fear, he threw his hand out in front of him in an attempt to bar chase. In a hurry he stumbled back, almost falling, and while he ran to escape the cemetery he pleaded, “Stay back!”

She didn’t notice him, but she would heed his cry; after all, she was presently absolutely ecstatic with herself, and much too caught up to care about anything else. She’d done it. She’d done it just like that.

Oh wow...! she thought.

Wow wow! That went so well! I—... I’m gonna get stuffed at this rate!

She heard Sekibanki’s voice, sounding impressed as she gave a “Hohh...” Her red head peeked out from behind her chosen grave and she told Kogasa, “That went well.”

“That’s what I was thinking!” Kogasa exclaimed, bringing both of her fists in at the sides of her torso, hardly able or willing to contain her enthusiasm. The other youkai thought, her left eye was shining. “It’s amazing! Just because you moved my hair, Miss Sekibanki!”

“No... I just moved your hair,” Sekibanki plainly stated. “What was with that angle you chose? I don’t think I’ve seen something like that before...”

“Oh, that—that, it was—it was when the Urban Legend Incident was just starting up! I looked up more Urban Legends at Suzunaan because people kept talking about it in the village, and you know...! There are lots of weird stories the Outsiders have thought up!”

“Hehh...” muttered Sekibanki, showing more of herself, and thus her folded arms.

“A lot of them have the youkai—ah, that’s wrong—the urban legend monster asking something! Like what they’re missing or something... And I thought ‘Hey, my other eye isn’t here right now’ so I went with something like that!“

Her tongue could hardly match the rate her thoughts were arriving.

“That was smart,” Sekibanki judged, as usual without much of an expression (beyond her raised brow).

Kogasa opened her arms wide, turning to face her new mentor and thrusting out her chest. Like this, she exclaimed, “I did it!” with her brightest face.

“You did,” said Sekibanki.

“Yeah!” Kogasa cried, lifting her other half above her head as she raised her arms in joy.

While she did this, Sekibanki’s brows shifted to separate heights and, without her wanting it, the left corner of her lips perked up just a bit.

She spoke again, “Come on...” she muttered, pulling up her collar over her mouth as she did so, “it was just one huma—”

She stopped. Another of her heads had just—

“Ah... fuck,” grumbled the rokurokubi.

“Miss Banki!” Kogasa exclaimed with a gasp, leaving her left hand before her mouth.

“That’s not my name,” said the other youkai, and Kogasa could see that she was tense. “I think we’ve got some trouble.”

Miss Reimu!? Thinking this, Kogasa drew in her hands and lifted her shoulders. Then, confused, she put one hand over her mouth. Her lips were turning up...

“It’s that old, smelly priest... What’s she showing up for?” Sekibanki continued to mumble, glaring in what Kogasa imagined must be the direction of said certain-scented priest. “She doesn’t usually bother when youkai do their business on her land.”

The Dullahan pushed herself from her gravestone with her shoulders and back, “Let’s vamoose,” she said. “I don’t want to get cau—”

Kogasa leapt back as a bolt of lightning flew past her, sideways. The sky-blue streak ran into Sekibanki, and at the end of it, on the front of the youkai’s shoulder, a slender hand appeared, pressing her with three fingers.

Before Kogasa could realize that it was Hijiri Byakuren, the monk had shoved Sekibanki’s body to the stone she had been hiding behind. Just her body; her head flew off.

“Hey! What’s the big idea!?” that head complained, out of reach and beside the top of the gravestone. Still glaring, she grit her teeth while looking at her pinned and struggling body.

Clothed in black and white, cloth strips in highlighting monochrome wrapped over her chest and arms, the ageless head priest of Myouren Temple was grasping at Sekibanki’s cape. Her bountiful, two-tone hair fell slow after the sudden flash of movement that had taken her here, and the skirt of her dress gradually shook down as well. As everything settled, Sekibanki’s other heads, all five of them, gently came over one by one.

“While we’ve gotten complaints before,” said Hijiri, coming to a straightened posture before the body she was restraining, “they don’t come in the day, mostly. There have been a few too many youkai acting without restraint around our temple lately, and I figured it was time to act... It was you, wasn’t it? The rokurokubi who lives in the village?” She aimed her eyes at the floating head, and she smiled.

Sekibanki brought her brows up to a pointed angle, breathed in sharp through her noise, and with a voice of simmering, waiting aggression growled, “Huhh? What are you gonna do about it if I am, crap-monk? Try it, granny; I’ll spit in your face and do it six times at once.”

The other heads looked ready.

“M-M-Miss Banki! Wait!” Kogasa stammered. This wasn’t the rokurokubi’s fault...

“I’ll give you ten seconds to let my body go before I rain on you, then ‘dry’ you with eye-fire,” Sekibanki threated,

“I won’t allow you to terrorize humans while in broad daylight. You may not be my student, but I will punish you harshly all the same!” With this declaration, Hijiri brought back her left hand, posed for a practiced strike to the youkai’s chest.

Sekibanki counted, “Six... five... four...”

And Kogasa realized, this was a moment where only she could act.

With no time left, she decided—

“Now now, now now.”

The tsukumogami stopped. She noticed immediately that behind her teacher’s heads, other tsukumogami had appeared and grabbed onto each instance. A kettle, a plate, a broom, book, flute, and biwa... all surrounded by gray smoke, and their maestro was sat on the central headstone, her great ringed tail curled underneath her to give her a proper seat—rather, a huge sofa of fur. The smoke came from the thin pipe in her hand, which she was now steadily tap, tapping against the top of the monk’s head. Slouched, she coolly regarded Kogasa and adjusted her glasses.

“Wasn’t it this little umbrella who was causin’ you trouble, eh Byakuren? That’s who you want ta punish... no?”

Kogasa froze.

“Mamizou, please do not tap my head with tobacco,” Hijiri made this request while wearing an overtly cute face. She was still holding the rokurokubi fast.

Mamizou kept tapping.

The great tanuki looked as deliberately slovenly as she ever did. Earthy-colors draped her, marking loose clothing: a shirt almost showing her lowland chest, a skirt bunching up carelessly over her thighs. Her hair was a mess, her scent was almost inebriant, and the pale, round gourd tied to her hip tocked on occasion as if to remind exactly why that was. Only her eyes were sharp. With them still locked onto the single, shimmering ruby beneath her, she gave the umbrella tsukumogami a wholesome, curling smile.

She looked to the magician whose head she was bothering, slouching even further into herself while she spoke to the younger woman. “Though...” she began, “won’tcha give the young lady a pardon? Seein’ as she tried her hardest today.”

The tanuki turned her head enough to show a tilt and a wink to the young lady in question after delivering her bid in a smooth, utterly agreeable tone. Hijiri’s expression did not change even a smidgen. In her inexpression, Kogasa saw that this tone was something Hijiri Byakuren had become very used to.

“Mamizou, were you spying on them out here? Can you honestly confirm that the culprit is this umbrella?” asked Hijiri. Her hand was just not moving from Sekibanki’s clothes. Overhead, the rokurokubi’s duplicated skulls looked absolutely furious, every one. “This child can hardly scare anyone,” Hijiri explained, “let alone during the day.”

The casual wound to her soul dealt Kogasa crushing damage.

“Have a look, at her covered eye. This precious lil’ thing did a little something special fer today. Look,”

She recovered.

Mamizou was pointing at her now, lackadaisically, with her thin fingers. She tapped Hijiri one more time and when she lifted her pipe again, she brought it away from the monk’s hair to take a short drag from it. She breathed out after a handful of seconds to offer another, honest, compliment within a cloud of smoke: “Cute, ain’t she?”

Kogasa blushed, pulling stiffly at the hair over her other eye, not meeting Mamizou’s with the one she had available.

“I can’t believe that,” said Hijiri. She turned her attention to Sekibanki, lightly dusting off where Mamizou had been tapping. With a stern face, she announced, “I will act on my judgement, and my judgement is that this youkai hasn’t been just.”

Mamizou frowned, her eyelids lowering partway and her brow darkening her eyes. When she bent her head, her spectacles met sunlight, and their glass surfaces shined a sheer white.

She turned her pipe over, dumping her ash to the ground.

And Kogasa noticed: Sekibanki’s many eyes were now glinting.

Oh no...!

She stood ramrod straight, looking sternly at the monk, her mentor, and the old maid in that order.

I’ve gotta do something, now! Or this is going to turn into something dangerous!

She can’t aim her eyes... If Miss Banki shoots off her danmaku, and it hits a human somewhere around here, she could get in
real trouble!

So, with this in mind, the intrepid umbrella...

[] Loudly declared: she was to blame.

[] Smacked Hijiri over the back of the head with her umbrella.

[] Called to Sekibanki for a tactical retreat.


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[x] Smacked Hijiri over the back of the head with her umbrella.

I'm sure nothing will go wrong
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[x] Smacked Hijiri over the back of the head with her umbrella.

Reimu and Kogasa both continue being utterly adorable.
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[X] Loudly declared: she was to blame.

Great to see some updates, love this quest.
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[x] Loudly declared: she was to blame.
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[x] Loudly declared: she was to blame.
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[x] Loudly declared: she was to blame.

Kogasa isn’t one to just resort to violence like this
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[x] Smacked Hijiri over the back of the head with her umbrella.

My mind calls for hijinks.
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Lowkey tempted to rescind my vote for Loudly Declare, just so we can get another tie in.
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Can't remember if I voted? Ignore if I already did I guess.

[x] Loudly declared: she was to blame.

Be proud, Kogasa! Be sure to tell her you've been studying new tricks, and offer to show her. Sure, it won't scare her since you've gone and told her, but seeing the raw spook levels you can generate with new techniques is sure to quell any disbelief.
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My main thinking is that, if Kogasa just loudly insists that she was totally the one who scared that guy, Byakuren might just brush her off the way you'd ignore a small child. Also, one of Gensokyo's least powerful youkai implicitly challenging one of its strongest is amusing, even if (or perhaps directly because) a fight between the two would only ever end one way...

Consider >>42240 (pretty sure that one was my vote) withdrawn.

Also, re: >>42255, there's an easy way to check if you already voted or not - try to delete all the votes. If the only error that comes up is along the lines of "incorrect password," you didn't vote, but if you get a screen that says "You may no longer delete this post," then at least one of the posts you tried to delete was your own, therefore you already voted.
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Unfortunately, I recently changed the password and made my browser remember it, because I am big retard. Also I don't know how well that works across multiple devices and IP addresses, as I have several of each I may or may not have read/voted from and a very poor memory. Normally, I attempt to add something other than just the vote, a piece of commentary, a joke, anything, and thus I can look at such a post months, even years later and get a gut feeling that it is my post. But, as stated previously, I am big retard and sometimes forget to do so.
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>I don't know how well that works across multiple devices and IP addresses
By default it doesn't work, however I think you can input your own unique password in the password field (bottom right of the page) and used that between devices. I think. I am definitely not sure.

By the way, update SOON
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I thought this was going to be a shorter story. Thanks for keeping up, though the updates are slower.

Anyways, image source: https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/2386902


“I was the one who did it! I scared that human, okay!?”

[X] ... loudly declared: she was to blame.

Grasping her umbrella half tightly, she looked Hijiri Byakuren in the eye and refused to look anywhere else. She wanted it to shine through: the truth of the matter, with complete certainty. If she had to suffer because of that truth, that was fine; Kogasa could not allow Sekibanki to suffer in her stead.

“... You sound so sincere,” the monk slowly admitted, not breaking her gaze either, now that Kogasa had grasped it. She asked, “Are you?”

“Yes!” Kogasa firmly asserted with a nod. “Let Miss Banki go! I-If you’re gonna hit someone, it should be me! Ask the human – it was me, okay!?”

After shouting all of this, she breathed, exasperated. Byakuren looked as if she still didn’t quite believe her...

... but her grip on the rokurokubi eased.

One of Sekibanki’s heads broke from the hold of a sentient teakettle and flew down to hit the left side of the monk’s skull. Kogasa gasped; Byakuren winced and let Sekibanki go entirely. Sekibanki drew her cape with flair and leapt to Kogasa’s side. Kogasa looked at her, blinking, while hearing the hearty and deeply amused, chuckling of Mamizou from above.

“Fufu... FWA HA HA HA!!” the tanuki laughed uproariously as Byakuren held the spot where Sekibanki had struck her. Kogasa looked on at the rokurokubi’s headless body, still a bit shocked by how quickly Sekibanki had acted. The body had its arms folded, and the main head was floating over one of her shoulders, glaring with pure contempt.

The aching immortal finally began to recover. Not standing straight, but maintaining (single) eye contact, she addressed Kogasa, “... It was really you?”

Kogasa flattened her brow and turned her lips miserably. She said of the monk, “You’re so stubborn.”

“Well... be more mindful of when you’re acting, Miss Kogasa,” Byakuren weakly pleaded, rubbing her skull. In reaction to that plea, Sekibanki’s head almost spun around in the air.

“What!?” snapped the red youkai. “What!?” she screamed again. “What the hell!? You were about to knock my head off!”

“Was your head not already off?” asked Byakuren rather innocently, still looking to be in pain.

Shut up!” screeched Sekibanki. Mamizou’s laughter had gotten to the point that she was doubling over, almost falling off the tombstone where she was sat.

“You should hit me, Miss Hijiri,” said Kogasa, with as much earnestness as she could muster.

“No, that’s quite alright,” Byakuren reassured her. Sekibanki’s gaze began to shine again.

In a panic, Kogasa made a quick step that put herself between the two youkai, blocking the rokurokubi’s eyesight.

“Please hit me!” she insisted.

“Ah, well...” began the monk’s response. Meekly, she followed with, “You aren’t a part of our temple, so that’s a bit...”

Even the typically gloomy rather than glowering karakasa-obake was beginning to grow genuinely aggravated. Above them, she saw that the other heads were attempting to take aim despite their restraints, and her hair stood on ends.

“Okay! Stop!” said Mamizou in a loud, though still distinctly old and somewhat scratching voice. “I’m basically the second boss of this place—”

“... Don’t say ‘boss’,” the first boss gently interjected, though the tanuki continued to speak over her, unimpeded.

“—I’ll take care of her punishment.” The tanuki grinned at Kogasa, who frowned in return. The umbrella watched as smoke crawled from the elder youkai’s mouth, and her frown turned slanted.

Mamizou pointed at Byakuren with her pipe. “Byakuren, go smooth things over. You’re the temple’s face, so go stomp out any a’ yer small problems afore they start turnin’ big on ya. Don’t leave the place headless,” she advised.

“Sure,” said the monk, and she started to step away. Movement in her periphery told Kogasa something was happening, and looking she saw that what was happening was a rather angry crowd of heads’ struggle against some straining against household items. Beside her, Sekibanki’s main head flew forward. Frowning noq with severity, her eyebrows high up, Kogasa dropped her umbrella half and quickly threw her hands forward to grab the hurrying skull before it could launch another strike against the monk’s temple again.

“Let... GO of me, tool!” growled Sekibanki. Behind Kogasa, the other youkai’s body reached out and yanked the umbrella back by her shoulders. Feeling her hold weakening, Kogasa pushed her arms forward so that she could hug Sekibanki’s head to her chest, covering the rokurokubi’s eyes with a forearm just in case. The rokurokubi almost roared, grumbling out, “Agh! Stupid pillows!”

Kogasa blushed.

“Now, now, now, now,” spoke Mamizou again, attempting to level the mood surrounding them and lifting both her hands in a gesture hoping for the same effect. She waited until Byakuren was near to the graveyard’s entrance before she chose to continue, turning her eyes onto Sekibanki: her heads in the air, then the one in Kogasa’s hands, and finally her headless body. “You’re the rokurokubi from the village, yes? I heard you were calm and composed—more of a still life apple than a spittin’ fire.”

The head in Kogasa’s arms gritted its teeth. “I don’t like being told what to do,” she said.

“That so?” queried the secondary boss. For a second, Kogasa saw sunlight reflecting once again off the old youkai’s eyewear, but the menace that evoked vanished quickly as did the white light trapped in the glass. With an easy look, the old youkai said, “I see.”

“What kind of punishment are you going to give me?” Kogasa asked clearly, clinging to the head in her arms as if it were a doll (not appreciated).

To this question, Mamizou twisted her expression; her smile curled, her eyebrows shifted levels, and she cocked her head. “‘Punishment’?” she repeated, and Kogasa leaned her upper body back, confused. “Did you hear her? You ain’t part of this ramshackle temple, and nor is the red girl! And, if you don’t understand – you two’re youkai! Youkai, y’hear!?” Mamizou smacked her left hand down on its respective knee. Holding her pipe atop her hand – almost courtesan in appearance though the image was trampled by her forward posture –this boss of youkai spoke heavy to the both of them, Kogasa loosening her hold to let Sekibanki watch as well while she did. “Listen up, brats, because your better is going to give you two some simple wisdom! When you scare a human, skedaddle! Or you get the self-righteous and the heroic chasin’ yer tails! Alright, Miss Umbrella?”

Kogasa nodded twice, sincere and seriously.

“And you’d think you’d know better, Miss Red-head,” Mamizou scolded, slouching even further than she had been slouching before. Sekibanki narrowed her eyes. “Yer closer to me – to a tanuki – than ya are any other sorta monster and—” Mamizou took a drag from her pipe, sighing smoke over them when she continued (neither happy with this)“—and if that’s how yer goin’ ta be, ya best shape up and get the scene! The landscape! How’s that, you hear what I’m saying?”


“I’m tired a’ sittin’, tcheh...” the old tanuki mumbled. She straightened her back and made a very slow fall to the ground, one hand lost in some pocket of her flowing clothes and the other with her pipe, brought again near her lips. At a flick of her wrist, the tsukumogami that were holding heads (aside from Kogasa) were summarily dismissed, vanishing from thin air in puffs of off-white smoke. She then sighed, before putting the pipe back in her mouth and chewing on the end as she spoke, “You youngsters are too free, you don’t really see how humans can cause ya trouble – ‘specially in here. Gensokyo, it’s nice, but yer—y’know what you are? Know what they call it – it’s ‘peace-addled’.”

“Shut up, you old raccoon. All that Rising Sun era babble and I can hear your joints creaking on top of it,” Sekibanki’s tongue was venomous. Being struck by it, Mamizou blinked, stared, and then let a smirk cut across her lips. Eyes shut with mirth, she threw her head back and chortled.

“Ha ha ha ha! You’re a riot! Man! It’s a shame you stay holed up in your house and the village so much,” cried Mamizou.

Sekibanki looked at her, showing clear in her brow and her half-open mouth her deep, pitying confusion. After staring like that for a few seconds, she gradually said, “... You’re still talking.”

“I think Miss Banki needs to go back home,” said Kogasa, ignoring the response of “that’s not my name” from her arms. Kogasa gave a smile touched with regret. “It’s a shame,” she said, “but I don’t want her to get her caught up in any more trouble.” Sekibanki had nothing to say to that.

Good girl,” declared Mamizou, withdrawing her hand from wherever she had been hiding it to smush and ruffle the umbrella’s blue hair, revealing the same-color eye it had been hiding when she did so. “But! You don’t have to do that! Of what sort is a practice that ends with one try? Come, you two,” said the tanuki, gesturing with her head that they follow, “let’s away. Hup hup.”

She began to step away.

“W-Wait!” Kogasa bid, not moving from where she and Sekibanki stood. “Where are we gonna be going!?”

The elder youkai gave them one eye over her shoulder, and enough of the lower half of her face to catch a glimpse of the smirk turning up her lips. Like that, she said shortly,

[] “Deeper.”
(to the Divine Spirit Mausoleum, or the Senkai of Toyosatomimi no Miko)

[] “To my place.”
(to the forests surrounding the Human Village)

[] “Where else? To the Hakurei Shrine.”
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[X] “Deeper.”
(to the Divine Spirit Mausoleum, or the Senkai of Toyosatomimi no Miko)

I don't know much about how taoists actually are in canon, but I can't imagine Miko being too harsh towards Kogasa if she's caught.
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[x] “Deeper.”
(to the Divine Spirit Mausoleum, or the Senkai of Toyosatomimi no Miko)
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[x] “Deeper.”
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[x] “Deeper.”
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[X] “Deeper.”

Miko is awesome, guessing Mamizou wants to expose them to a serious response that won't permanently maim/kill them.
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[x] “Deeper.”

I wanted to piss against this tide, but I can't deny my true desire.
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[X] “Deeper.”

= = = = =

Several years ago, on a colorful spring night just before the dawning hours, the mausoleum within the graveyard (which had long been sitting in what would become Myouren Temple’s backyard once the Palanquin Ship landed) suddenly began to stir. Divine spirits were gathering, powerful humans were investigating, and Kogasa had been lurking, completely unaware of the goings-on. As always, it was just a good place to set up shop and scare and if anything the influx of apparitions could only aid her by creating a worrying atmosphere. The only problem was a zombie near the not-so-hidden tomb. The curious, aggressive jiang shi would not let the umbrella roost so, earnestly, Kogasa enlisted the aid of the humans who had come to sort things out. So went the third distinct time that Miss Reimu exterminated her.

At night, the path to the mausoleum was particularly distressful. Tall trees blocked the moonlight and twisted shadows across a stone and dirt, unmaintained path. One could barely see a few feet out ahead of themselves, and were this path not entirely straight, losing direction would be guaranteed in such sheer darkness. In the morning, these concerns did not apply.

Kogasa, Sekibanki, and Futatsuiwa Mamizou now walked down the – still tunnel-like, but frankly unfrightening – walkway which drove far into the ancient cemetery. While one could not see the sky from here, the Sun was causing the canopy and tree lines to become luminescent. At night, it seemed a road to Hell, on the morning it could only evoke a sense of heaven. Birds made their joyful cries above the tangled foliage, gravestones were far behind the troupe now, and between trunks, squirrels and mice could be seen going about their business, foraging, frolicking, and simply living.

It was no place to spook, but it wasn’t their destination.

“Ah, there’s the cave,” said Mamizou (and indeed, ahead, was a cave), “That jiang shi will be up ahead soon.”

She turned back to look at the two younger youkai behind her, and she grinned, “I can’t be givin’ her orders, but—”

Suddenly, white smoke poofed up all around the elder youkai’s body, and her voice completely changed.

“—If’n I catch her unawares, might be able t’turn the ol’ girl around juuust long enough!”

But not her words.

Once the smoke had cleared, the two others saw that the tanuki had performed a transformation. She had changed into a gorgeous, buxom woman with twisted, turquois locks. Her eyes were heavy and sultry, and a deep blue as well, and a pin was running through the back of her hair to maintain a distinct pair of loops there. Her new dress was light and casual, but the distinct “flowing” it evoked (helped much by the veil lingering around her shoulders) gave an obvious impression of grace. All said, the chest was nearly all the red and blue youkai could focus on, with Kogasa raising her eyebrows in awe and Sekibanki glaring. The former recognized her: Futatsuiwa Mamizou had become the wicked hermit Kaku Seiga, the very same hermit who was that zombie’s master.

Mamizou-turned-Seiga faced forward and lifted a finger, gesturing ahead to bid that the two follow. And so they entered the shadowy cave, Kogasa staring close at the new Mamizou’s features (which, far as she knew, were mimicked perfectly) and Sekibanki looking beyond, more impressed with the earthen walls and innumerable pebbles on the ground (which she was not impressed with at all).

About a minute after they’d walked inside, they came across an aging pair of shiisaa, an aging pair of stone doors behind them, and aging letters on the door’s frame: the tomb they were seeking.

The doors and flanking walls of the tomb were marked with portraits of old royalty, and standing before all of this was an old guard, reanimated and seemingly in a daze. Clad in black, purple, and rouge was the jiang shi, ordered to keep watch of the entrance to Toyosatomimi no Miko’s Hall of Dreams. Mamizou approached the gray-skinned girl cheerfully.

“There you are!” she declared with enthusiasm.

“Nn? Ah—Master!” mumbled the zombie, and though she recognized the hermit before her she nonetheless looked confused.

“We’re going to see The Prince. As you are~,” Mamizou gently commanded, passing the jiang shi by and being joined in her passing by the youkai in her custody,

“Of course!” shouted the guard, and she stood straight. Her arms were raised, and would not move...

Mamizou easily reached the doors, and was quick (but not hurried, rather swift) to open them. Kogasa and Sekibanki helped her do so, and after bidding a “Good bye~” to the gatekeeper, they were inside.

And inside were more caves, it seemed.

There were many peculiar sights on the way, like lingering spirits many-colored spirits, a clean and shining lake full of flowers, and a strangely shaped pillar standing inside of it, but on the journey Kogasa preoccupied herself with pestering Sekibanki.

She wanted to apologize for what had happened in the cemetery, and she wanted to know why Sekibanki had been so ready to take the blame in her favor, and she was curious how Sekibanki had learned to fire eye-laser magic and—

“You’re talking too much,” Sekibanki interrupted her interrogation, looking her way and looking distinctly bothered. Kogasa shut up and turned her head away, but was surprised when Sekibanki spoke again—and was more surprised by what the rokurokubi had decided to say:

“We’ll talk after.”

Kogasa felt her heart beat deeply in her chest. She knew she was a rather dense umbrella, but even she could tell that that sort of promise was something rarely earned from Sekibanki.

“Right here,” said Mamizou, who had abandoned her disguise on the way. They were by the queer pillar they had initially seen in the distance, having walked a stone bridge above the surrounding water to reach the massive, wooden structure. Is this a pagoda...? Kogasa wondered, looking toward its top.

Their guide continued to speak, saying, “This here’s a way in to that arrogant woman’s Senkai,” while pointing at a seemingly ordinary panel near the bottom of the tower. “We lift that, and we can slip into the place.”

“What are we doing here?” Sekibanki asked.

“I said, right? It’s practice, practice,” Mamizou answered, patting at Sekibanki’s shoulder and making the red-headed youkai stare daggers once again.

“We’re going to bother Miss Miko’s students?” Kogasa inquired.

“Hmmm, ‘her students’...? Well, what do you think girl?”


“You’re the one we’re helpin’ today. You decide: who are we gonna scare?


Kogasa thought about that.

She wasn’t at all familiar with the so-called “Crown Prince’s” hermit world, only knowing that her hermit world existed. The Crown Prince herself, too, was someone with whom she was terribly unfamiliar. Like any proper hermit, she tended to keep to herself, only making appearances for grand attention and sweeping movements, or for incidents gripping all of Gensokyo. They had never spoken, putting it another way...

She had, however, come across and been bombarded with plates by that white-haired, wild and mad girl who constantly praised Toyosatomimi no Miko’s name. Other than that... she only knew that plenty of humans were learning to become hermits there.

“Well...” muttered Kogasa, and her seniors waited for her answer.

She thought—

[] best to go big or go home; they would go to frighten Toyosatomimi no Miko herself!

[] the girl dressed in white who wore streaming, colored tassels was easy to frighten, so her best bet would be attempting to spook the firebrand: Mononobe no Futo.

[] going after someone significant wouldn’t be the brightest ideas. Indeed, they’d spook the students, and try not to draw the attention of their teachers.
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[x] the girl dressed in white who wore streaming, colored tassels was easy to frighten, so her best bet would be attempting to spook the firebrand: Mononobe no Futo.
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[X] best to go big or go home; they would go to frighten Toyosatomimi no Miko herself!

Go for the big bux. Honestly I really doubt it'll work, but while I feel like it's a 50/50 for Futo, I think losing the coin flip with her would result in a burning umbrella. Miko probably won't be too harsh on us.
As for the students — literally hu?
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[X] best to go big or go home; they would go to frighten Toyosatomimi no Miko herself!
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[x] the girl dressed in white who wore streaming, colored tassels was easy to frighten, so her best bet would be attempting to spook the firebrand: Mononobe no Futo.
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[x] Mononobe no Futo

Vengeance for the plate incident! Miko'd likely hear us coming, anyhow...

Probably just some baldie.
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[X] best to go big or go home; they would go to frighten Toyosatomimi no Miko herself!
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Got a tie here. Head's up: I'll go with my own decision if someone else don't.
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[x] the girl dressed in white who wore streaming, colored tassels was easy to frighten, so her best bet would be attempting to spook the firebrand: Mononobe no Futo.
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[x] the girl dressed in white who wore streaming, colored tassels was easy to frighten, so her best bet would be attempting to spook the firebrand: Mononobe no Futo.

We’d be heard from a mile away trying to spook Miko
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[X] the girl dressed in white who wore streaming, colored tassels was easy to frighten, so her best bet would be attempting to spook the firebrand: Mononobe no Futo.

= = = = =

Her eyes could not cease wandering.

The portal – in the classical sense – that led to Toyosatomimi no Miko’s secreted abode was unremarkable in appearance and transition: a square opening in the tower that the three youkai crawled through one after the other, and perplexingly this led not to the tower’s insides but to an outdoor place, defying physical location completely. The place itself: that was what had Kogasa terribly distracted.

This hermit world was, in a word, “audacious”. They had walked through an unguarded gate that stood tall and extravagant, with turquoise stone making its walls, murals of ancient japan carved on pillars and those walls’ faces, red and gold lanterns—the gold...! Wherever she looked, she would find something gilded. The roof of the gate had been made of gold scales, reflecting warmly onto the phoenix and dragon sculptures which stood on top of it—posed in arresting majesty. There was gold leaf on the blood-red outer walls of the main building, as if beauty was being grown from the foundation itself. A figure of the Sun, held in the hands of men, stood golden in the center court, “radiance” captured in fixed “beams” erupting from the stolen celestial body. Apart from gold—the designs of flowers and vines—these could be found everywhere. It was an entire, gorgeous, audacious complex, and sneaking through it yes, Kogasa could not stop the sparkling of her eyes.

Perhaps something was scheduled for the humans who trained in this mansion... dojo... castle-place, because at the time they arrived they could find none walking the polished wood floors or dustless stone walkways placed atop unfinished dirt ground in clear defiance. The umbrella found she couldn’t hear anything—not anything living. The whole world was... what she’d call “pleasantly quiet”. The tsukumogami got the sense that this quality... this interesting feature was something unique to this crafted, designed domain. The acoustics themselves seemed as if they suited the listener. Kogasa only heard the light creaking of a reliable old place, and distant sounds of sweeping, swishing sleeves. Man’s made things, satisfactorily put to use.

Behind her, Sekibanki asked out of the blue, “Are we just going to keep wandering?” Looking back, Kogasa saw that the red girl was staring into what seemed to be an extraordinarily comfortable sitting room: one complete with four sets of cushions, two thick blankets, a table piled with import books, and a strange artifact spinning around in the corner, pushing the room’s air as if by magic. “I don’t hear anything, They’ve clearly gone out.”

“They’re here, they’re here,” Mamizou reassured, ahead. “Can’t hear Mononobe?” she asked them, looking at both other youkai. They shook their heads, and the tanuki chortled with her nose. ”I can. I guess that’s this Prince’s doing; leave it to the lad-lass of ears to get mighty concerned with the ‘sounds’ of a place. Hmwell if you’re goingta hear everythin’ whether you’re wantin’ t’hear it or not, a place where you only hear the faraway things you’d like to, I guess that’d be your ideal hermit paradise.”

“You talk way too much,” said Sekibanki. Mamizou wore a polite smile and put her hand down on the rokurokubi’s head, grabbing it over its top, and tugging it from the young youkai’s shoulders.

Hey!” hissed Sekibanki as her body fret, left behind. Kogasa held it by the hand.

“Let’s have fun here, girlie. Lose yer bitter tongue for a minute, alright? Or I’ll stuff this thing in’a sack!

Kogasa caught Sekibanki’s expression: angered, with irritated acceptance. Sekibanki was saying, without words for that bitter tongue was now caged within clenched teeth, “Fine.”

“Where is Miss Futo?” Kogasa brought up to her senior.

“She’s talking with someone loudly down this hall,” Mamizou explained pointing for indication, “in that room. Mhm, all the way down there.”

The inside of the main building was quite massive. Where Mamizou was pointing was still rather a trek from where they were.

“Let’s make a plan now, since yer askin’,” the tanuki continued. She held Senkibanki’s head (which was looking at Kogasa; brow flat, frown firm) in both of her hands, still smiling kindly. She asked Kogasa, “Well, Missy? What are ya thinkin’?”

[] She wanted to try this herself. She was going to hide somewhere and get Mononobe’s attention while out of sight. When the Taoist approached... Boo!

[] Since there was help provided, help she’d take. Mamizou would don a disguise and she would lie in wait. Sekibanki’s severed head would definitely be spooky!

[] She would sneak to the door and barge in, shouting to be afraid. The classics, they were classics for a reason.
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[x] She wanted to try this herself. She was going to hide somewhere and get Mononobe’s attention while out of sight. When the Taoist approached... Boo!
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[x] She wanted to try this herself. She was going to hide somewhere and get Mononobe’s attention while out of sight. When the Taoist approached... Boo!
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[X] She wanted to try this herself. She was going to hide somewhere and get Mononobe’s attention while out of sight. When the Taoist approached... Boo!

She won't improve if she doesn't try pushing her utmost limits, and that means doing this without assistance. And even if she fails, that's part of improvement too.
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[x] She would sneak to the door and barge in, shouting to be afraid. The classics, they were classics for a reason.
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Side note: while I feel like Kogasa probably wouldn't learn much from getting help from a powerful/experienced youkai like Mamizou, finding a creative way to try and use Seki's head in her scaring strategy could provide more valuable experience w/ learning how to change things up and use her environment to her advantage in frightening victims.
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[x] Since there was help provided, help she’d take. Mamizou would don a disguise and she would lie in wait. Sekibanki’s severed head would definitely be spooky!
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[X] “I think... I want to try this myself,” Kogasa told the elder. “I’m gonna go hide somewhere and get Miss Mononobe’s attention while I’m out of sight. Then, when she comes close... Boo!”

“Hm,” Mamizou made this small noise with a warm, placid smile. “We’ll be watching,” she said. The tanuki passed her by to enter the comfortable room. Still holding Sekibanki’s head, she got the rokurokubi’s shoulder in her other hand as well, and pushed the younger girl along and out of Kogasa’s hold. Left alone (in a way... they were both staring past the doorframe), Kogasa put on a determined glare and marched—... tiptoed to the bombastic Taoist’s alleged location.

In a while—

... she heard “... verily!” from a bit away, as she was getting closer.

“... sense...” came across her ears. “Are you...”

“... ko! ... words!”

Confusing, but not concerning.

A giant, blue vase stood on the right side of the door to the room where Mononobe Futo seemed to be. It was ornate and gilded, of course, but more importantly... it was the perfect place to hide! The door seemed traditional, so it wouldn’t swing open and block her... Yes: perfect.

The chatting had stopped as she’d gotten nearer. She now heard light clacks and taps, spread somewhat far between one another. Were the people inside playing a game?

If so, then they were distracted!

Kogasa hid on the side of the vase away from the door (of course). The paper, sliding door was less than a meter from where she stood. She reached the vase, between it and the wall, and got her nails on the paper, dragging them down on it without tearing it, and braving the horrible sensation all the while. A weak, but distinct scraping noise arose, and she repeated it until she heard feet on the ground.

This is it...! she thought, and she brought back her arm, holding her umbrella up straight. Her heart’s pace quickened and her focus became perfectly clear. Holding her breath, she listened to hear the sound of steps.

None came, but the door did open.

This confused her, but—Now! Jump out now!

“Who the hell—” she heard... the voice of someone much less enthusiastic than Mononobe no Futo. Nonetheless—!

She leapt out, shouting, “Bleh bleh, boo! Booo~!!” with her hands in the air and both her tongues out.

The ghost of Toyosatomimi no Miko’s Senkai gazed down on Kogasa, her arms folded and green electricity running coursing over her body. Or, was that imagination... There was deep, jade green on her body in the form of her dress’s color, her short, scraggly hair was pale and sea-colored, and her eyes were similarly shaded like moss. Her odd hat was simply black and wrapped with a single ofuda, though. Looking down at the bottom of the ghost girl’s skirt, Kogasa determined that she was a ghost for many other simple ofuda seemed to be attached to the dress and keeping her at bay. That, and she had no legs—only thick, ethereal “tails”.

“You’ve got some nerve,” gave the ghost, Soga no Tojiko, as she crossed her arms and eyed Kogasa darkly, “saying ‘boo’ to a ghost and hoping to scare it.”

Indeed. With this situation it was Kogasa who was terrified. One of her feet was raised, her shoulders were hunched, her eyes had almost gone white, and out her throat came a pathetic, short, squeal of fear.

“An umbrella, huh?” the ghost asked, looking at just that part of her. She raised her right pointer finger from the crux of its opposite arm. “Those are very susceptible to lightning strikes, you know?”

And, hearing this...

[] Kogasa cried, “Wait!” followed shortly by “Please!”

[] Kogasa tried to run off, only to trip and fall.

[] Kogasa had a flash of remembrance and shouted, “Help me, Mikoemon!”
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[x] Kogasa had a flash of remembrance and shouted, “Help me, Mikoemon!”
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[x] Kogasa had a flash of remembrance and shouted, “Help me, Mikoemon!”
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[x] Kogasa tried to run off, only to trip and fall.
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[X] Kogasa tried to run off, only to trip and fall.

Maybe she won't bully once she sees the true extent of Kogasa's power
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[x] Kogasa had a flash of remembrance and shouted, “Help me, Mikoemon!”

A formidable opponent
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[X] Kogasa had a flash of remembrance and shouted, “Help me, Mikoemon!”
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[x] Kogasa cried, “Wait!” followed shortly by “Please!”

Bring out the puppy dog eyes.
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[X] Kogasa had a flash of remembrance and shouted, “Help me, Mikoemon!”

The charge surrounding Tojiko’s body instantly dissipated. Her expression lost fire and became pale as her shoulders sank. She narrowed her eyes and groaned, “... For the love of—”

“What seems to be the problem?”

A new voice.

Kogasa looked to the source: below... below the ghost’s skirt, to be precise. A woman with eye-catching golden hair had appeared there, cushioned between an ample pair of ghostly thighs. It wasn’t the further addition of gold that made this woman’s hair catch eyes, it was how prominent it was. Quite literally, it was stuck up almost like the horns of an owl. Those horns were sticking up the ghost girl’s dress.

With irritation, and not a little shame, Soga no Tojiko shouted: “Crown Prince!”

“Ha ha ha! These are Tojiko’s thighs, aren’t they!? Who would have guessed this is where the path would lead!” The woman’s voice was loud and full of life. She crawled out from the ghost’s skirt, chuckling to herself while the ghost pushed down on the front, blushing (did she have something to hide? Could ghosts blush?). The woman stood up, to about Kogasa’s height (not counting her hair). She had on a cape more ostentatious, but less “cloaking” than Sekibanki’s, and her expression was a perfect blend of energy and pleasant insouciance. The sudden woman was dressed peculiarly... “audaciously”, perhaps, would put it all in a word. Her gold bangles, her purple-tinted and laced, kingly shirt and skirt; her sun-shining and plated belt, her sword with its grand and Helios pommel, her bizarre, dark earmuffs, emblazoned with the letter and word of “harmony”, everything gave for an immediate and arresting presence. This woman, smoothly, lovingly, turned to Tojiko and tapped the deceased on the nose with a sizable, glittering shaku, declaring the matter “A very happy accident.” This was she: the fabled Mikoemon.

“So, an uninvited guest?” she said with a turn to the guest in question. “Welcome to my home. You were lucky, I suppose, that there’s a crack between the door and hall. I am the owner of this Senkai, Toyosatomimi no Miko,”

The fabled Toyosatomimi no Miko.

Kogasa breathed a sigh of relief. In the Child of Miare’s last edition of the Gensokyo Chronicle, along with rude remarks directed toward the umbrella tsukumogami, she’d offered quite a lot of advice regarding various beings and, more specifically, people. Toyosatomimi no Miko, the dazzling hermit who came from the past, was one of these persons, and that call had been Akyuu’s suggestion to employ during dire straits.

“Why, you’re a youkai!” announced the Prince, eyes wide and eyebrows up. At once, Kogasa cowered, thinking Is that bad?. Toyosatomimi no Miko put her shaku over her face, by its edge, and she squinted. She was, openly, evaluating this umbrella. “Fairly straightforward in your wants, eh...? I should let you know, Futo isn’t someone you want to scare cautiously! Ha ha!”

Kogasa yelped.

“Now, now, don’t scamper off. You’ve come into a lion’s den for quarry. Face it, don’t back down!” She was speaking a bit seriously, and very loftily.

“N-No,” Kogasa insisted. “I’ve lost, well, the thing for surprise!”

“The element of surprise?” Miko cocked her head as she posed this question.

“Is that it?”

“Most likely.” The Prince wagered. Again she squinted, thinking. “... Well, that’s interesting.”

Kogasa lifted one of her eyebrows. She wasn’t sure what the woman meant... And the woman chose not to elaborate.

“I suppose you’re harmless enough, but I feel like bothering you if you have the time and lack of minding. Would that be alright, little umbrella?”

She knows my name! The umbrella was dazzled.

Miko shook her head. “You’re a little umbrella. Your name is as much? It was coincidence, though I do recognize you. Tojiko.” Once more the prince turned to the ghost blushing behind her. She took her right hand from her shaku and brought it to the other woman’s cheek... past her cheek, carefully into her hair where the hermit’s fingers felt over locks and strands. When the ghost winced and her left shoulder lifted, Kogasa knew what had happened, lifted her own shoulders, and gulped.

The Prince held the wraith’s ear, and moved close. She pulled her hand back enough to press its heel to her woman’s cheek, and with small motion bid the lady to turn her head. With the free cheek presented, Toyosatomimi no Miko calmly put a kiss to it, and though surely the ghost girl had no blood, her face was as red as cherries.

“Sorry, Tojiko,” said Miko, “for embarrassing and teasing you a bit. Hm?”

That little sound at the end of her apology... it was another bid. This time Miko pushed the woman’s cheek, gently, and when her head turned the Prince took her lips.

Wh... Whoa! Kogasa had turned red herself. Wow! It was quite the display. So beyond how pairing humans usually interacted... at least, within reality. The Prince was a Prince Charming: awesome and fantastic.

The hand still on her shaku clenched. There was a desire there – in that grip and in the slow, repressed straightening of her back – which Kogasa saw in Toyosatomimi no Miko; a desire she had recently become able to recognize. That hand with her staff... it was very close to the ghost-girl’s prominent chest.

Kogasa swallowed.

The Prince and her wife (it seemed) parted.

And the first whispered, though Kogasa was not sure what the woman had said. She could only see Tojiko meekly nodding, her hands daintily held one over the other before what was now left of her legs.

“So, how does that sound to you?” Miko asked, facing Kogasa once more. “If you refuse, that’s all well and good. I was a bit caught up when you called for me.”

“Oh, uh, I, um,” the tsukumogami was now rather flustered. Bothered.

“I—” she began.

And she said:

[] “Sure. Let’s talk!”

[] “Can my friends join?”

[] “No... sorry.”


By the way, no Futo right? She'll show up next time, regardless of what is picked
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[x] “Can my friends join?”
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[x] “Can my friends join?”

>She knows my name! The umbrella was dazzled.

That's fucking adorable
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[x] “Can my friends join?”
The power of friendship.
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[X] “Can my friends join?”
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In lieu of actually voting (since I'd probably just follow the bandwagon anyways) I'm just going to second this fellow's remark.
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[x] “Sure. Let’s talk!”

No reason to say no to some one-on-one time. (Why yes, I'm tide-pissing ages after the vote began. I'm just that slow this time.)
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[X] “Can my friends join?”

“‘Friends’?” Miko repeated, curious. She looked down the hall, in the direction Kogasa had originally come from, and she asked, “You mean those two youkai over there? The... tanuki, and the rokurokubi.”

Kogasa lifted her eyebrows and opened her mouth in slight, but obvious, shock.

“Hmmm...” Miko audibly pondered the umbrella’s proposal. “I’d rather... not have that, honestly. But—” she paused and winked at Kogasa secretly, “I can simply sweep you away after a limited chat so that we can speak more intimately.”

Kogasa nodded agreement to this, though she had given neither an answer of “yes” or an answer of “no” any real consideration. After realizing what she’d done she stared forward, not truly looking at anything, and inwardly concluded that such was the power of true and natural, human charisma. Or, perhaps, this was just her nature as a human tool...

Toyosatomimi no Miko rubbed her chin, considered something, and said, “No, the first. You may feel free to look up to me, but you shouldn’t look down on yourself, even if you are a manmade tool.”

Kogasa blinked and took the words with the importance Miko had imparted them with. It could be that the importance was only an invention of her heart, but nonetheless: the significance behind that advice, applicable to her, was felt and real. She nodded and hoped that in the future, however far ahead the future entailed, she would try to follow it.

The Prince gave her a pleased look with a shine in her eye, and she patted the umbrella once on her shoulder as she turned to face the hall she had looked down a moment ago.

“Youkai!” she called with a great shout. “Will you come out, or must I force you out!?”

“Cool it! Cool it!” came Mamizou’s distinctive voice. She walked from her hiding place with her hands up and her head slightly bowed. She turned to the room where she’d been and said, “Hey! You too!”

Sekibanki revealed herself with a glare and her hands in her skirt pockets.

“Hello, you two,” said Miko, still smiling confidently. “I was about to have a conversation with this young umbrella here, and she requested your company. Will you join us?”

“I won’t,” said Mamizou, grinning. The Prince raised her eyebrows. Putting down her hands and lifting her head, the old youkai explained: “I don’t want you thinking I’m here to gain anything. We’re both big shots, aren’t we? You’re usually more concerned with the monk, but I ain’t been entirely on your side neither in the past. You start thinking I’m out for something, it’ll just be a bother for me.”

Miko continued to listen, the other two youkai watched. Tojiko was still blushing, and a small woman behind her was trying to get a better look at the hall.

“I came here to help her,” said Mamizou, pointing to Kogasa while slouching. “Screwed up a bit, though. Remember I’m in the neighborhood, umbrella.” She turned, giving a casual salute over her head. “Be seein’ you! Don’t let her turn you back into a tool, alright? Ha ha!”

“I would never,” said Miko lightly, smoothly, and with a perfectly easy expression. Hearing this declaration, Kogasa felt somewhat uncomfortable. After all, she realized that she couldn’t actually tell how truthful the statement was, not through tone or through presentation.

“Don’t worry,” Miko said next, glancing her way, “I won’t.”

Kogasa did not notice the small difference in wording. Sekibanki, however, did.

“Let’s be off to a private chamber,” Miko said, showing the hall behind her with proper and gentlemanly poise. She then turned, her cape lifting high with the action, and the two youkai followed. Sekibanki bumped her shoulder against Kogasa’s, and Kogasa gave her a quizzical look, yet the rokurokubi determined to keep her eyes straight ahead, saying nothing.

= = = = =

The private chamber they were taken too was a distinctly shadowed one, but with comforting and rather cozy darkness. A soft and warm glow, like firelight, was being emitted from somewhere behind the great oak desk that Miko had sat behind after they’d entered; it couldn’t be true fire, as the glow never flickered, it only remained steady. It was quiet in here as well as anywhere else within Toyosatomimi no Miko’s Senkai, though unlike the rest of the manufactured place this room was swathed in earth tones rather than glittering, sun-like tones that could be found when one panned rivers. The walls looked almost pliable – pillowed? – and the ceiling along with its hanging lamp were noticeably high, giving an almost cradle-like impression, Kogasa thought. While she pondered why exactly that impression might have been, she and her teacher sat in two chairs before the the master of this house, Kogasa’s eyes exploring, Sekibanki’s eyes fixed. The chairs sank well with her bottom. The whole place was coaxing her to sleep...

Miko was somewhat resting atop her desk, slouching forward to do so. Her cape was hung up on the wall at her right, and she had her hands over the exposed skin of her own forearms, absently, vaguely pinching herself every once in a while, for no reason. She met Sekibanki’s pointed stare.

“Neck youkai,” she said, addressing the touchy lass before her plainly, “really: I’m not planning anything for you.”

“So you’re planning something else?” was Sekibanki’s answer, and it immediately put Kogasa on edge. “I don’t really care what you’re getting at here, honestly, I just don’t see much reason to trust someone so bright,” she said.

“Why is that?” asked The Prince.

“It’s blinding,” said the rokurokubi, and The Prince smiled once again. Sekibanki explained, “I’m only staying here because I owe time to this Kasa. That and, since I’m supposed to help her out, I can’t really leave her in your hands without leaving her at risk.”

“So you were indeed here for practice? Why not scare ordinary humans instead of hermits?” Miko questioned, still slouching and presenting herself very casually.

“That was my plan. The raccoon wanted to come here.”

“Ahh, maybe to please Hijiri?”

“Who cares.”

“You, right? Though not about her.” Miko looked at Kogasa for a moment and said, “About her.”

“A charge is a charge,” Sekibanki rebuffed the hermit without emotion, but she kept eye contact with the the old royal. Miko read the look for a few seconds, listening behind her snug earmuffs.

And, she next said: “Kogasa, was it? You don’t kill humans, correct?”

The umbrella was startled from examining her companion’s expression, turning her head with alarm and answering, “Huh!? Of course not!”

“You don’t consume anything physical of humans? No blood, nothing like that?”

“No!!” she shouted emphatically.

“You don’t either?” Miko asked Sekibanki.

Sekibanki replied, “I don’t.”

“Could you two confirm something for me, then?” Miko further questioned.

“Yeah.” Kogasa.

“Shoot.” Sekibanki.

“You youkai really do only need to remain in human consciousness to survive, correct?”

“That’s the deal, yeah.” Sekibanki, again.

“Which is why someone like you needs to do little else than reside in the Human Village to stay alive, yes?”

“Kind of.”

“The border, and Gensokyo itself, are kinda special,” Kogasa noted, lifting her palm as she elaborated. “Only kinda but, if humans are ‘aware’ of youkai, they’ll keep living... mostly.”

“You, I saw you performing daikagura once with a human skull for coin. Was that not to earn a living?”

“I wasn’t doing juggling!” Kogasa snapped. “I was in the graveyard and another youkai threw a skull fell at me. When I bounced it off, some people started throwing coins!”

“Oh, really? If you say so.” The Prince relented.

“Anyway, whole races of youkai can die out if they’re not doing anything, or humans stop worrying about them. Gensokyo can help that because all the humans know youkai exist, but someone like me... if I don’t ‘eat’ humans’ surprise energy, I could starve and everything.”

“What she said,” said Sekibanki.

“You lot got me wondering about the relationship between youkai and humans in Gensokyo again, I suppose,” Miko admitted, finally sitting up and then leaning back in her chair. She gazed into the nigh-lightless ceiling above. “It necessitates conflict, doesn’t it.”

“Yeah. I think the Shrine Maiden made things a lot better though,” Sekibanki admitted. Behind her high collar, she smirked. “There isn’t much I have to do to keep my existence up, and I don’t have to worry about dying for scaring somebody.”

“Why don’t all of you frighten people?” Miko asked, looking at Sekibanki and lifting her right hand to rest her cheek against its knuckles. She raised her eyebrows. “Why do those of you that attack and consume humans just... not? When your existence simply relies on fear?”

“Man, do I have to get into this?”

“Because nature is hard to shake, especially because we’re made by humans,” said Kogasa. “Unlike gods, we don’t have a, um... um... pri... prim... eval state, like before humans... What humans think of us makes it true, and, uh, while we, uh...”

These were high concepts. She preferred when she was thinking at lower levels concerning youkaidom...

“While we can shake that given nature,” Sekibanki picked up where Kogasa left her thought, “doing so runs a risk of us kind of... ceasing to exist, by contradicting the ‘truth’ that is our species or supposed, singular, identity.”

“So humans are to blame?”

“And they’re the solution. If they think we’re less dangerous, we can keep living without hurting them. That’s what makes that eh... fire...” Sekibanki rotated her hand before her face, by its wrist, “... firework, bullshit—”

“Danmaku play?” Miko offered.

“Yeah, especially under the spell card system; that’s what makes that really good for us.”

“And yet there are still several humans who are killed or eaten by youkai, especially those who wander in from the outside,” Miko observed, tapping her desk with her free hand thoughtlessly. Sekibanki shrugged.

“Some youkai kill, and eat, and their existence has been made concrete to do so by humanity. So, humans become a more regular kind of prey,” said the rokurokubi. “It’s just a fact of life.”

“But it doesn’t have to be,” Miko stated, no longer looking at either of them, but instead seemingly lost in thought. “Wouldn’t this land be better without them?”

“If tigers and bears and lions can exist alongside and slaughter unfortunate humans in the outside world, should all of those animals be indiscriminately made extinct? We all have the right to life, and humans aren’t powerless. They fight, we fight, and the survivor survives.”

Kogasa looked Sekibanki’s way and said, only, “Wow.”

“Thank you for telling me that,” said Miko, and both youkai knew those words to be the truth. “I don’t have many opportunities to speak with youkai. Since reviving in Gensokyo, I’ve had to learn quite a lot about its Dao.”

“Yeah, I’ve read, but you fancy yourself the kind of person who can change it,” Sekibanki spoke with a little bite, though not near as much as she had used on Mamizou an hour before. She crossed her arms and leaned back in her chair. “Do you want it changed? Not very Taoist, I think.”

“I’m not sure,” said Miko with a smile. She sat straight and put both her hands in her laps, tilting her head with surprising, disarming cuteness. Her smile turned a touch wistful, and she said, “That’s why I ask these questions.”

Sekibanki heaved a heavy sigh. “We going to start a symposium here now? Keep me anonymous if we are.”

And Miko laughed! She uproariously laughed. “You’re a very charming youkai, you know? You ought to show yourself more often!” she complimented.

Sekibanki said nothing, but looked at a flowery decoration on the wall rather deliberately, fiddling with the middle strap among the three cobalt bits that decorated the front of her collar.

“That satisfied my curiosity,” Miko admitted, calming down from her humor, hands again on her desk. “Kogasa, I have something else to speak with you about specifically but...” She looked Sekibanki’s way and her near ever-present smile turned apologetic. “Miss...?”

“Seki, banki.”

Kogasa smirked wryly.

“Miss Seki Banki? Sekibanki, right?” Miss Miko confirmed. The rokurokubi shrugged once again. “While this conversation has been very enjoyable, I think I might request your leave. Or rather, from your desires... you don’t wish to stay much longer do you? I think you’ve come to trust me enough as well.”

Sekibanki told Miko, “Damn, you’re full of yourself.” But, the hermit was not wrong.

Sekibanki looked at her student a bit dully...

However, her glance told Kogasa that she was interested in Kogasa’s response to Miko’s wish.

Seeing this, Kogasa thought for a pair seconds, looking down at her feet, and coming quick to a decision:

[] To bat her eyes, pleadingly, at Sekibanki, conveying a wish for the rokurokubi to stay.

[] To wave a goodbye at Sekibanki, allowing the rokurokubi to reclaim the rest of her day for herself.
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[X] To wave a goodbye at Sekibanki, allowing the rokurokubi to reclaim the rest of her day for herself.

Let’s let Banki go so the conversation can flow better considering she doesn’t want to be here.
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[X] To wave a goodbye at Sekibanki, allowing the rokurokubi to reclaim the rest of her day for herself.

Well, she trusts Toyosatomimi enough to leave her and Kogasa to a conversation, and I trust her people-reading better than mine, so I'll put my faith in her judgement and let her avoid talking to someone she doesn't want to.
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[x] To wave a goodbye at Sekibanki, allowing the rokurokubi to reclaim the rest of her day for herself.
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[x] To wave a goodbye at Sekibanki, allowing the rokurokubi to reclaim the rest of her day for herself.

We have a chance for a private discussion with the prince. I can't let it go.
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[X] To wave a goodbye at Sekibanki, allowing the rokurokubi to reclaim the rest of her day for herself.

As cool as Seki is, it seems she'd be more comfortable elsewhere. Additionally, gives a chance for a more in depth interaction with Miko.
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[X] To wave a goodbye at Sekibanki, allowing the rokurokubi to reclaim the rest of her day for herself.
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[X] To wave a goodbye at Sekibanki, allowing the rokurokubi to reclaim the rest of her day for herself.

The other youkai acknowledged this silently, looking her student over rather indecipherably before turning to face Toyosatomimi no Miko again.

“Alright, I’ll go,” she said. “... Sorry about barging in.” And she apologized, looking not into the Prince’s eyes as she did so, but instead at the noblewoman’s desk. She stood from her chair, gave a polite bow with her eyes closed, and then once opened her eyes fell on Kogasa. She muttered, then, “... See ya.”

“See you,” Kogasa replied, and the rokurokubi made her way to the door, opening it, and passing through as innocuously as a shadow.

So the umbrella was left with the hermit. Kogasa looked the hermit’s way, trying to hold her composure. Worry showed on her face, however. The little warning from Mamizou, and Sekibanki’s unsubtle trepidation had her innately on guard against this powerful, human woman.

Toyosatomimi no Miko sat up straight. “So...” she said, in all seriousness, “the Shrine Maiden, hm?”


Not expecting this—in fact having been deliberately ignoring this for its tormenting complication—Kogasa felt her face grow suddenly, very, terribly warm. And she completed her exclamation, releasing a loud and distressed, “Eeehh!?”

“Reimu... isn’t the sort to fraternize openly with youkai.”

“Ah... Ahh...” The tsukumogami was trembling.

“Let alone romance or sleep with them.”

“AAAAHH!” Kogasa held up her hands, waving them over Miko’s desk in a frantic attempt at halting what was transpiring.

Miko continued unabated, speaking frankly and plainly as before.

“You really seem to be set on her. Not... wholly, but...”—here, Kogasa gave an unheeded “please stop!”—”Such pure desires... It’s nice to hear something so simple and unclouded and earnest. When I heard your desires, I was moved.”

Kogasa held her face. Now, she was slouching. “I don’t want Miss Reimu!” she denied, speaking to the floor. “You’re hearing things.”

“Yes,” agreed the Prince, specifying: “your desires.”


“I can only hear your heart’s desires, though,” explained the hermit calmly as she closed her eyes and rested her hands in her lap. “Your thoughts, I can gather those—if you were unaware it’s something of a trick I woke to when I woke up in this new and fantastic land. In my old life, I was able to listen to ten people at once; somehow that, hm... ‘leveled up’.”

Kogasa lifted her head, staring at the Crown Prince through her fingers, her mouth agape. She said, simply, “I don’t care about that...!”

And the Prince answered, simply, “I know.”

Finally, Kogasa took her hands from her face. She brought them to her own lap and pushed her knuckles into her thighs. In the ensuing dearth of conversation, she heard a clock somewhere in the room diligently keeping time. Its quiet ticking, second by second, restored her little confidence little by little and, with her head hanged, she asked the Prince, “Do you want to use me? To try to get at Reimu?”

Miko didn’t answer, so Kogasa decided to tell the more she had to say.

“That’s what the big ones in Gensokyo like to do, right? You make big, crazy plans... Well, now you know I’m... I’m... that I’m... thinking about Miss... Reimu, so—so—!” She brought her head up quickly, matching her red-blue eyes to the steady sunlight gold of the Crown Prince. Her nerve, however, dissolved at once. She grabbed at her skirt and, with little volume she spoke once again. “So...” she whispered, “do it, I won’t fight, just don’t spread a rumor... please?”

“I won’t spread anything,” said Miko. Her posture relaxed in her chair and she brought her arms back onto her desk. Kogasa stared at her confused, and the Prince continued on, ignoring that. “Hm, that was rare for me: hearing someone speaking twice in the same voice, and regarding the same things.”

The Prince thought for a moment, looking up toward what Kogasa found to be the spirit-bolstering clock: a square, black thing with silver notches and bronze hands. The thought was truly only for a moment; in the next she told Kogasa, “Let me help you.”

“...” Kogasa stared at Miko.

In a few seconds, what the woman had said registered, and the umbrella simply uttered, “Huh?”

“I’d like to help you capture the Shrine Maiden’s heart.” said Miko.

“No... I don’t want to do that,” repeated the umbrella, holding her hands up again, resistant.

“Your words and heart are at odds,” Miko commented, sitting oddly (arm out over her desk, her other elbow on the nearby rest and her posture melting) as she interpreted this odd display. “What’s the point, Umbrella? You want her.”

Kogasa’s heart thumped, and involuntarily, her fingers curled down.

“... And she wants you?” the Prince ventured.

Once more, Kogasa’s head was beginning to hang.

“... So you—”

There was no interruption: Miko stopped herself. Her eyes moved quickly in rumination, and she slowly sat in a more proper posture. “... It would be rude of me, a stranger, to try to ‘fix’ your interpersonal troubles,” she spoke carefully, genuinely. Then, “I apologize... I’m afraid I felt quite compelled, and not just a little... confident. I meant you no distress.”

Kogasa only nodded.

“A pure desire, stifled by a hundred doubts, eh?” remarked the Prince. Within her voice was a clear attempt to return the atmosphere to its preceding pleasantly casual one. “Do you like women?” asked Miko. Kogasa shrank.

“I just like humans!” she replied.

“Well,” began Toyosatomimi no Miko, “it’s fine.” She then leaned onto her desk again, meeting Kogasa’s eyes. Earnestly, she made a wish: “I hope that you can sort out your desires, little umbrella.”

Her desires...

The morning, the night...

Kogasa shook her head, to shake out those worries.

Yes. She hoped so as well.

“Let’s discuss other things,” offered Miko with the faintest smile on her lips.

Kogasa scrutinized the human. “Wha...?” she absently let loose a syllable, and found its brethren within a second. “What? You don’t mind that I’m ignoring stuff about Miss Reimu?”

“Listen, little umbrella: when concerns are high, they often feel like the most important, all-consuming things in life. Tragedies, boons, ambitions all can swallow your mind whole, your days whole. But the Way isn’t to change. Life isn’t a series of important matters, or fleeting respites between them. Countless, empty conversations; frivolous games; time spent on tiny little hobbies: it’s the unchanging days which give life its meaning. And, when life seems to be one mad spin after another, it is those listless, ordinary days that keep us at ease, gentle. Not that listlessness in excess is any good either, hmhm.

I’ll call for a playing board and pieces for Go, and we’ll talk, about nothing, over tea. If that’s alright?” the woman from Asuka spoke openly, charmingly, but without any sort of second intention. She bid Kogasa, “Let us return to the ordinary,” and the umbrella nodded, feeling in her soul the calm the hermit had espoused settling coolly down already.

They played some games of Go, and spoke about colors and songs, and in that tiny place, tucked in a crafted world, the tears and heat, the pain and happiness all that had confused her, confounded her soon enough felt much less pressing for Kogasa. Less so than autumn fire, and the meaning of a bird locked in a cage. Scaring, and umbrella spinning, it could all wait before talk of spring and summer flowers, beautifying the hills and fields. In winter, the spotless blue sky; the black trees stood from soft pale piles. Year by year, season by season, always.

Just let it pass, it will pass.
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\\ \\ \\ \\ \\

Late into the afternoon, she found herself blessed alone, sweeping the stone path to her offertory box although nothing was obstructing or even littering the path. To call it “blessed” wasn’t to say that she hadn’t cared for Marisa’s company, quite the contrary, but youkai did like to bother her whenever she was free. Or, whenever she was not... Whenever at all, truth be told. This summer day was still quite bright, rather subdued in wandering life, and very dull. She wondered if she might lie down and nap...

[] She would.

[] She wouldn’t;
----[] she still had things to think about.
----[] she still had chores aside from sweeping to accomplish.
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[X] She wouldn’t;
----[X] she still had chores aside from sweeping to accomplish.
work work
me not that kind of ork!

Wouldn't it be "blessedly alone"?
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>Wouldn't it be "blessedly alone"?
Since it's a verb here, I don't think so
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[x] She would.

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[x] She would.

Who wouldn't?
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[X] She would.
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[x] She wouldn’t;
----[x] she still had things to think about.

She's got a lot of things to think about, that's for certain.
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[X] She would.
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[x] She wouldn’t;
----[x] she still had things to think about.
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[X] She would.

“Nothing’s happening and it doesn’t matter...” she muttered. “Let’s have a rest...”

Everything had calmed down. She’d spoken so long with Marisa, and so long ago that all anxieties and guilt had simply wandered from her mind.

And her sitting room, the sun shining onto its floors so gold, so warm, so inviting...

She had to go.

Reimu left her broom on the ground beneath the porch, fell on her back into her home, and let the heat of the sun overtake her. Basking, relaxing, she felt consciousness slipping. Her blood flowed; the sensation of the faraway sky on her skin was too pleasant. The Shrine Maiden let herself be baked, and it was as nice—perhaps nicer, than that could ever sound. She just hoped no youkai would find her like this while she slept, like a cooked and ready meal.

= = = = =

It was around the time for another party, wasn’t it? It had been a little while since the last.

She had parties often; mostly in the spring, but other seasons were far from bereft. She celebrated regularly. She celebrated nothing. She gathered people to her Shrine on evenings so frequently that, years ago, when that oni had returned to Gensokyo, few even paid it any mind when the little devil youkai encouraged parties for three days and nights straight, repeatedly and tirelessly. Reimu just liked a drink, and despite protest: she loved the company.

And that was not to mention events, festivals, attractions on display—

She had to do something again.

If only, because this was the day to day—

...!? Shit...! A youkai—!

The Shrine Maiden woke up suddenly and without grace: a line of drool ran down the side of her mouth and onto the floor, and had she not been wearing an undershirt: her stomach would have been exposed. She opened her eyes to early evening light: the sky a blood-orange and dull now, and the Sun causing its color nowhere to easily be seen. There were already crickets out; the moon would rise soon, and a being which derived power from that pale celestial body was on her premises.

She scrambled to the ready... Or, she made some effort to that effect. Though a rapid readying of tools and body was what she wanted, what Reimu managed was flopping over to her body’s side, craning her neck up to where she felt the presence of the supernatural creature, and blinking the blur from her vision as a drop of spit fell from her lip. She didn’t catch it when she rubbed the saliva from her mouth with the back of her hand. At once she made to dry the spot... spots (to include where her head had rested) off the tatami with her right sleeve. Whoever had intruded on her shrine: they at least weren’t attacking her.

“Oh, darn that... You look surprised, but it isn’t because of me, Miss Reimu,” said the youkai sitting at the other end of her porch, relaxed and hugging her knees—resting her head against them too. “Ah, not that I need that. I actually have some great news, heh heh.”


Reimu finally realized who this was.


She raised her head from the stains on her floor. Looking at the blue youkai, who stared at the human using her red eye, Reimu was floored.

Or, she was already on the floor so “sobered” fit her state more suitably. Perhaps she should have been ashamed to be found in such a lackadaisical, pitiful and to some extent gross manner. Perhaps that was so; however her greatest concern had her eyeing the rest of her shrine.

Are we alone!? Wait—would anyone even care if we were!? It’s not like I’m never alone at the shrine with youkai...

Calm down, Reimu!

She shut her eyes, and desperately made this command.

She sat onto her knees.

She wiped the last of the drool from her mouth with her left sleeve.

“G’morning,” said Kogasa, smiling.

Reimu, lightly squinting (with, almost, the impression of a headache), retorted, “Good evening,” and Kogasa brightened. Now slouching, Reimu went on to say, “You really came back...”

Kogasa seemed perplexed. “Hm? Of course. I said I would,” she explained.

Reimu held her mouth.

Do we need to fuck before you figure out I’m hungry for umbrellas and I think you look delicious? God, she’s so stupid!

She’s so cute!

She bemoaned and was thrilled by the tsukumogami’s decision.

“A-Anyway, how was your day, Miss Reimu?” Kogasa asked after stammering. She looked on at Reimu with a face genuinely eager to know: a hesitant but open smile, her eyebrows raised and her cheeks a lightly colored red.

“Oh, it was... uneventful, like... Nothing happened,” said Reimu, blushing as well.

[] She decided to sit up straight. She patted the mat beside her and said, “Hey, come over here.”
----[] (And she would do nothing perverted, she just wanted the umbrella close.)
----[] (It had been almost instantaneous: once she knew that Kogasa was here and had made sure they were alone, her thoughts, or rather her desires, had already begun pulsing through her—particularly through her hand as she leered.)

[] She then asked about Kogasa’s day in return.


image sources:
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[X] She decided to sit up straight. She patted the mat beside her and said, “Hey, come over here.”
----[x] (And she would do nothing perverted, she just wanted the umbrella close.)

Moved a bit too fast last time, I think.
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[x] She decided to sit up straight. She patted the mat beside her and said, “Hey, come over here.”
----[x] (And she would do nothing perverted, she just wanted the umbrella close.)

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[X] She decided to sit up straight. She patted the mat beside her and said, “Hey, come over here.”
----[x] (And she would do nothing perverted, she just wanted the umbrella close.)

Appreciate cute umbrella
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[X] She decided to sit up straight. She patted the mat beside her and said, “Hey, come over here.”
----[X] (And she would do nothing perverted, she just wanted the umbrella close.)

Although, kind of hoping they do chat a bit too - Kogasa's day was kind of eventful.
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[x] She decided to sit up straight. She patted the mat beside her and said, “Hey, come over here.”
----[x] (And she would do nothing perverted, she just wanted the umbrella close.)

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[x] She decided to sit up straight. She patted the mat beside her and said, “Hey, come over here.”
----[x] (And she would do nothing perverted, she just wanted the umbrella close.)

Time for soft romance~
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[x] She decided to sit up straight. She patted the mat beside her and said, “Hey, come over here.”
----[x] (It had been almost instantaneous: once she knew that Kogasa was here and had made sure they were alone, her thoughts, or rather her desires, had already begun pulsing through her—particularly through her hand as she leered.)

Reimu said it (thought it) herself. She's hungry and the meal is right in front of her.
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[x] She decided to sit up straight. She patted the mat beside her and said, “Hey, come over here.”
----[x] (It had been almost instantaneous: once she knew that Kogasa was here and had made sure they were alone, her thoughts, or rather her desires, had already begun pulsing through her—particularly through her hand as she leered.)

Pfft, since when has Reimu been about self-control? Drink when the booze is your hand! Feast when the food is front of you!
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red and white beast in waiting
[X] She decided to sit up straight. She patted the mat beside her and said, “Hey, come over here.”
----[X] (And she would do nothing perverted, she just wanted the umbrella close.)

“Huh!? Uh, okay...”

With this, Kogasa crawled from where she was sitting to do just that. She sat seiza next to Reimu, at close enough distance that “friendly” would be an inapt descriptor. Reimu, having taken to sitting yokozuwari rather than seiza, had her hand planted on the floor behind Kogasa’s back. As they were, it would be no matter for Reimu to push the tsukumogami down if she wanted to—and she did want to.

But she wouldn’t.

“D-Did you move closer!?” asked a flustered Kogasa.

Reimu replied, “I didn’t.”

And indeed: she hadn’t.

Reimu leaned away, slid back a little, and then changed her posture into something poor – cross-legged and slouching – to leave a bit of actual distance between herself and Kogasa. “We don’t have to be that close to talk,” Reimu said with honesty and calm. Kogasa looked at Reimu, looked at the floor, then breathed a sigh of relief.

I guess she’s still aware of me.

Reimu’s heart beat at the thought, and she felt distinctly heated.

It was good that she’d moved. If she hadn’t that impulse to push the girl down... she would have swiftly taken it.

“So n-nothing happened with you today, Miss Reimu?” asked Kogasa. She was leaning forward and wearing a nervous smirk. One didn’t need exceptional intuition to tell: she was terribly eager to say something. Reimu shook her head. “Well, me, today I...!” she practically fell forward, holding the floor in front of the shrine maiden’s right knee, posed almost like a prowling cat. “Listen up:” she announced, “I scared someone!”

Reimu pulled her gohei from out a gap in her sleeve and quickly thwacked the youkai on the head.

“Ah!!” yelped Kogasa, shutting her eyes. “Why?” she asked in English.

“You scare humans,” said Reimu, lifting the rod (and as it was, filled with no spiritual power: it was indeed just a rod) from Kogasa’s head, “I punish you. That’s the way it is.”

“You encouraged me!” Kogasa whined. Her chin was on the floor, now, and her hands were raised somewhat like claws—once more like a cat.

“I told you it wasn’t so bad. I didn’t say it wasn’t bad at all,” said Reimu.

“What do you want me to do!?” Kogasa asked, incensed.

“Scare people,” Reimu answered bluntly.

“But then you’ll hit me!!”

“Well if you don’t like it...” Reimu began, letting her gohei fall once more through a gap in her sleeve, “I think...” she continued, placing her hands over each of Kogasa’s. She tugged the other girl upward and embraced her ‘round the back with her left arm, looking into the umbrella’s now pink face with smug satisfaction. The Shrine Maiden finished saying, “I could come up with other ways to punish you.”

And while she smirked handsomely at Kogasa’s rosy cheeks and wobbling open mouth, the umbrella’s heartbeat pounding against her chest, Reimu suddenly thought, —Eh? Wasn’t I supposed to play it cool?

I guess this is cool...
She looked into Kogasa’s eyes, noticing they were sparkling, But it’s not the same... uhhmm...

Reimu forced a different, “amicable” (attempted) smile onto her face. She closed her eyes as well, to not let Kogasa’s visage prove any more a distraction. “Ha haaa... As in... I could make you work for me...!” the shrine maiden spoke like a hitching, unoiled machine. “Yeah! I do that all the time?”

“Y-Y-You didn’t mean you’d kiss me or something!?”

“Ah—! Ahaha, no? Ki—wh-whyyy would you think that? Of course not!” Reimu looked at a wall in desperation, thinking, I mean, to be honest I wasn’t thinking of kissing, ha ha... The machine was falling apart.

“I thought you were gonna grab my butt again...” Kogasa muttered earnestly, looking down at the shrine maiden’s arm still clinging to her. Reimu sputtered.

“Wha—!? No, no! I never grabbed your butt in the first place!” I did a lot of things, the human admitted, making eye-contact with the umbrella, but I didn’t do that! I did l-l-like everything but that.


... Let her go already, Reimu!

Kogasa’s left hand was still clenched within Reimu’s right. The shrine maiden looked at it, and argued back:

No! I don’t want to!

You decided you wouldn’t do anything perverted...!

This isn’t perverted! I’m just holding her! Holding her!

And wanting to do more to her!

I... won’t...!

She closed her eyes.


Forces of lust and purity did battle in her head, and in half a minute, purity had won.

... But it had not come out unscathed.

Reimu reluctantly let go of Kogasa’s hand, and even removed the arm from around the other girl’s back.

However, her left hand found its way somehow onto Kogasa’s left thigh and her right hand had returned to the precarious position that was: “planted behind Kogasa’s back”.

She no longer had the umbrella captured physically, but this posture had no secrets in its intent to capture the umbrella’s heart.

And, after staring blankly ahead as Reimu moved around her, Kogasa looked up into the shrine maiden’s face and became aware, once more, of their closeness.

“Anything else?” Reimu asked.

“Eh? Eh?” The youkai was confused. “Didn’t you say we didn’t have to be close to talk!?”

“We don’t have to be,” Reimu admitted. Her posture eased a little, though she did not move her hands. “Do you not want to be?”

Kogasa then, quietly, admitted, “N-No, this is fine...” and Reimu’s smile from hearing this was in no ways pure.

“So what happened aside from scaring?” she asked.

“Wait, you aren’t going to say anything else about that?” asked Kogasa in a tone both concerned and frightened. “You hit me for that.”

“I’ll do this, too,” Reimu said, and she moved her hand—her right hand—from behind Kogasa’s back to the top of Kogasa’s head. Rubbing kindly, she said, “Good job, nice.”

“Wh-Which is it...!? Do you wanna punish me or praise me!?” Kogasa complained—though without making a single effort to stop Reimu’s petting.

Regardless, it stopped; Reimu putting her hand firmly to Kogasa’s head in a gesture of reassurance. “I like that you did what you’re supposed to,” she said. “But as a human, I’m supposed to fight you.”

“Oh, well...” Kogasa straightened her back. “I like the praise more.”

Reimu tugged her ear and flicked the side of her head.

And so Kogasa cried a high-pitched, “Gwah!”

“Don’t get too used to it if you plan to keep terrorizing people,” said Reimu, putting her hand back to the floor. “I mean if it’s only ever terrorizing I don’t have much of a problem with it, but I still have to do my job. Seriously.”

“‘Cause it’s Gensokyo...” followed Kogasa, in a whine.

“‘Cause it’s Gensokyo,” Reimu concluded. “Were you really only going to tell me that you pulled off a scare? I’m...” she paused, fidgeted. “After yesterday when you were in that funk and all, I’m pretty happy to hear you did it... It’s like, ‘phew, what a relief!’”

Kogasa was glad to hear it.

“But is that it?” Reimu asked. “I mean, you were really excited.” Please say something. Distract me from this feeling.

Kogasa’s shape was tantalizing: its angles and hills... its scent and warmth...

“I was mostly excited about that! Bit, I guess I did other stuff too. I got along with that tanuki, and the hermit behind the temple!”

“Eh? Those two?” Reimu’s voice was flat and her expression bothered. She looked into Kogasa’s face, asking, “Why? They wanted something from you?”

Kogasa considered this with a finger to her bottom lip, and after a few seconds she shook her head saying, “No, not really.”

“Huh...? Them...? Are you sure?” Reimu looked down and swallowed. “If you don’t tell me... I really will punish you...” she “threatened”. Kogasa quizzically followed her gaze and finally noticed where the shrine maiden’s left hand was resting.

“It was really nothing!” she shrieked.

“Eh, really?” asked Reimu, breaking her gaze from the hem of Kogasa’s skirt. Kogasa nodded desperately. “Hmmmwell, yeah, I could see the tanuki taking a random interest in you, but not the hermit...” A shine ran over her eyes. With a mischievous simper, she met Kogasa’s eyes again. “Really? That hermit didn’t want a single thing?”

“She—” She did. But, what she’d wanted was...

Kogasa went white, and then red. “She didn’t...?” the tsukumogami whispered, and the manner she had done so was terribly unconvincing.

Truth of it or not, Reimu knew: “You’re lying.” She puffed air from her nose smugly and brought her right hand in a flash to Kogasa’s left wrist—then to Kogasa’s right, both of which she grabbed and pulled over the youkai’s head. The human pushed the inhuman down, her left hand shifting to the girl’s other thigh, and the skirt starting to bunch at the shrine maiden’s lifted wrist. “Time for a Hakurei interrogation,” she coolly declared.

“Tha—! Wha—!? Interrogation!? Can’t we just have a spell card duel!?” hollered the youkai.

“I’d beat you in a second. This is way more interesting,” said Reimu, and as she said it she wasn’t even aware: not a single lewd thought was currently inside her head.

Genuinely, she wanted to enjoy this.

“So... are umbrellas ticklish?” she asked.

“No!” Kogasa said emphatically. “But I am! Tsukumogami are!”


“Wai—! N—! We aren’t—!” Kogasa feebly protested, but the fingers of Reimu’s left hand were already beside her neck.

“There!” Reimu declared, and she stuck her hand into the umbrella’s collar.

“Bya!” Kogasa squawked. Reimu grinned.

“Alright...! Why’d the hermit call out to you!? What did you go there for!?” the shrine maiden questioned.

“It—It wasn’t anything, Miss Reimu!”

“You can’t fool my intuition!” Reimu shot back, poking Kogasa’s stomach.

“Pihi—!” Kogasa spat, her entire body writhing from the sensation.

“What? She needed a cute little umbrella entertainer for an upcoming seminar? Something like that, huh!?” Reimu lightly, but quickly began to scratch under Kogasa’s right arm, pushing at the cloth of the sleeve. Now the umbrella began to squirm and cackle.

“Mi—... ss Reimu, I... didn’t... make a deal or anything...!” the youkai managed when she could breathe. Still smiling brightly, Reimu went at her side.

“Oh...!? Then what’s this sense I’m getting here? You’re a bad liar, huh!”

She was getting less of a reaction through Kogasa’s vest, and she frowned. “This vest is in the way...” she muttered, and she unclasped the first button of it from over the youkai’s chest.

“Eep!” sounded an alarmed Kogasa.

“What...?” grumbled Reimu, believing that scream to be a bit of an overreaction.

However, she was undressing Tatara Kogasa.

... Uh—

She still wanted to tickle the umbrella. This was proving to be rather fun, and the youkai was actually not putting up any resistance. This wasn’t perverse: it was innocent, energetic, lady roughhousing.

[] Surely she was overthinking. She pressed on.
[This carries a high risk of composure loss with Reimu’s hunger vs. her will to remain chaste.]
(A pair of dice will be rolled: 2d6 with a modifier of +5**, an outcome of 15 will be a pass.)
<Yes, dice rolls work on THP.>
{While I can’t speak on probabilities exactly, when tested 25 times, 20 times resulted in failure, 5 resulted in success.}

[] Still, awkward though it might be to end it here: she would.


**Sort of Disco Elysium rules, assuming the difficulty is “Heroic” and Reimu’s “Psyche”/“Volition” is 2/3 (Reimu is extraordinarily weak to temptation, though she’s a stubborn girl).
Example roll: Rolling 2d6 plus 5 => 14 (6, 3, Rolls: 9)

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[X] Still, awkward though it might be to end it here: she would.

Just hug her until she melts down
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[x] Still, awkward though it might be to end it here: she would.
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[x] Still, awkward though it might be to end it here: she would.
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File 157912466638.png - (289.46KB, 872x930, kogasa a cute.png)
kogasa a cute
Bringing out the dice, huh? Welp, time to whip up the good ol' dice chart. Since Reimu needs a 15 to keep her endless umbrella thirst in check and 5 is gonna be added no matter what, she needs a 10 or higher to keep it in her pants. This means that out of 36 possibilities, 6 of them result in a win (lose?) for the porn lottery.

So we've got a 6/36 (16.67%) chance to have a nice, wholesome, family friendly tickle session. I am very fun at parties.
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[x] Surely she was overthinking. She pressed on.

I like to live dangerously.
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[x] Surely she was overthinking. She pressed on.

Stopping now is just too timid.
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[x] Surely she was overthinking. She pressed on.

if its wrong then i don't wanna be right
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[X] Still, awkward though it might be to end it here: she would.

We’ve already had our “fun” last encounter didn’t we?
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[x] Surely she was overthinking. She pressed on.
Shiny button, what does it do?
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You monster, you've tied it!

Tie break requested for now, I'd rather not flip a coin
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I want to wriiiiite

Coin flip: tails!
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[x] Surely she was overthinking. She pressed on.

possibly a bit too late but w/e
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I hadn't gotten far before I ended up falling asleep, so I'll accept it.
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blue skies
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