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File 154110515734.jpg - (217.31KB, 800x1250, Lil cutie.jpg) [iqdb]
41087 No. 41087
“Despite how it looks, it’ll be easy to fix.” The young man takes a few steps back from the broken door. “Though I’ll recommend we get you a new one entirely.”

“I’m not sure we can afford it.” The teacher shakes her head. “Our budget is tight as it is, and we have to save up for winter too.”

“Forget about it.” He dismissively waves her concern away. “Regardless of what I do, I charge a standard service fee, which you’ve already agreed to pay.” Reaching into his vest, he pulls out a vial with a thick brown liquid in it. “If I take this broken door as compensation, I’ll be able to replace all other costs for making you a new door.”

“I know you run your business in an unusual way,” the teacher folds her arms, “but what exactly can you use a broken door for?”

The young artisan looks at her for a second, puzzled by her words. “Oh right, you’ve never actually seen me work.” Placing the vial on the table, he frees up his hands to cracks his knuckles. “How many years have you been my customer now, Keine? Doesn’t matter, you’re going to be in for a treat.”

Holding his hand over the vial, it starts to float. As he drags it through the air into the more open space, the cork sealing the liquid inside is popped off. Drawing his other hand away, a few drops of the brown liquid follows the motion out of the glass container.

With the vial now suspended in the air he claps his hands around the droplets. As he draws them apart again, hardwood fills the space.

Using careful movements, he guides the growth of the tree granting it the rough shape of a door. As a final touch, he flattens it before it solidifies.

“I’ll admit, doors aren’t that exciting to create. Not compared to some of the other requests I get, but this one turned out nicely.” He places his hands on his hips, admiring his own handiwork. “Though it’s not done. We still have to install the handle and the hinges.”

“What was it called that skill again?” The teacher inspects the newly grown door.

“Alchemy.” He puffs out his chest. “A rare skill passed from one master to one student.”

“Alchemy?” She thinks a bit. “It might not be a rare a skill as you think. See, I used to know this other alchemist, though his methods were quite different to yours.” The teacher holds her own hand. “Sadly he got spirited away by a winter spirit a few years back.”

“Really? How could I have missed that?” The artisan grabs the still floating vial and corks it back up before stuffing it back into his vest. “I try to keep an eye for alchemists. You know, looking for a new master, and all that.” He taps the hammer hanging by his waist.

“I can’t say I understand.” The werebeast admits. “But each youkai has its own things to worry about.”

“That we do.” He pulls out a vial of silver liquid, drawing out a single droplet in a similar fashion as last time. “Now please stand back.”

Placing a hand on each side of the new door, the alchemist drills the metallic liquid inside the wood, carefully shaping the locking mechanism. Through his skill, he can observe the matter his transmutes at all times, though not directly.

The teacher takes a silent sip of the tea she prepared. She expected this whole replacement to have taken a fair bit more time and didn’t expect to see the finished result mere minutes after she’d made the request. Instead she just enjoys her time, watching the alchemist do his work.

“And done.” He declares, pulling the handle a few times to make sure it works. “I’ll need a little help keeping it in place when I mount the hinges.”

“Oh, right, sure.” Keine places her cup on the table, running over to help.

The two of them move the door into the frame where it fits like a glove. Almost like it was made for for it.

“Now just hold it in place as I fasten it.”

One again, the alchemist pulls out the silver liquid. This time he fashions a couple of screws.

Through some gestures, he commands the screws to drill into the door, securing it.

“And done.” He declares, taking a few steps back.

“Already?” Keins asks, still surprised by the speed despite having seen it a few times already.

“Already.” He confirms. “Installation came as a free service, so don’t worry about that. I’ll take the broken door, and you can just come and pay whenever you have the money.”

“People are going to get suspicious if you keep offering them deals like that.” Keine cautions the alchemist.

“I’m only offering you deals like this because you already know I’m a youkai.” He states. “Though I don’t even need money, I have to charge a prize to keep up appearance. And I have to charge enough to not out-compete other artisans too. I doubt you’d tell on me, so I can relax this pretense here.”

“Even so.” She continues to argue.

“I’m several centuries old, Keine. I was here when Gensokyo was founded. I know how to handle myself. That said, I appreciate the concern.”

The alchemist steps over the two destroyed door. Placing a hand on a fragment, it first turns to liquid before compressing in size until it barely takes up the space of a droplet. As he picks up the other fragments, they too turn to liquid and join the droplet. Once done, he uncorks the brown vial and let the new drops flow into it before sealing it up again.

“Perfect.” He states. “As said, you can just come pay when you have the money. I’m not in a hurry to get it, so take your time.”

“Mm.” The teacher nods. “I appreciate you taking such a rush order.”

“No problem. My schedule happened to be free today.” He waves away her concern. “Then I think I’ll just get going.”

“Yeah, sure.” Keine holds open the new door. “Be sure to tell Kogasa I said hi.”

“Will do.” The alchemist raise his hand as he leaves.

==========

“I’m back.” The alchemist shout as he opens the door to his own shop. To his surprise, though, there’s a customer sitting by the counter waiting. “Youmu? I thought I closed the store before I went out.” He says, checking the door once more to be sure.

“It was, Kogasa let me in so I didn’t have to wait outside in the cold.” She spins around on the chair, facing me. “Sorry for the intrusion.”

“Don’t worry about it. I just hope you haven’t waited long.” He says, taking his usual spot behind the cover. “So, what is it this time? Need a new clipper for the trees? Maybe a new rake?”

“No, not this time. Though my clipper could use some proper maintenance now that you mention it.” The half ghost pulls up the wrapped equipment on the table. Unpacking it reveals the longsword Roukanken.

“Didn’t I just apply a new edge to this last week?” He asks, unsheathing the blade. Drawing it from its sheath, the problem becomes quite clear. “Youmu. How did you manage to snap the blade in half?”

“It wasn’t my fault, okay.” The half ghost quickly argues. “The spirits are restless for some reason. They broke the blade when they attacked me.” She curls up a little. “I had to defend myself.”

“I’m not mad, Youmu.” The youkai pinch the bridge of his nose. “Concerned, is the word I’d use. A fine blade like this doesn’t just snap. Especially not after it’s just been strengthened.” He picks up the blade to examine the broken point.

“I couldn’t believe it either!” She exclaims. “I accidentally cut them with Hakurouken as a reaction. Miss Eiki is going to scold me for sure, I just know it.”

Pig iron typically lacks in strength, making it a poor material for weapons. To compensate, blades like katana have been folded a couple of times, to strengthen the core. As a result, they become stiff, unable to distribute the force of impact from other weapons, causing them to be prone to snapping.

Using alchemy to add new material to the blade has allowed this youkai to repair even badly damaged swords. However, in cases like this where the core itself has snapped in two, the blade will need to be reforged to properly patch it up. It can be done with alchemy, of course, but that would destroy the unique enchantment that Roukanken has.

The alchemist walks around the counter to the staircase. “Hey, Kogasa!” He calls out.

Before long, the single eye of the umbrella peeks over the edge.

“You’re home. Great. I need you to reforge Youmu’s sword, if you have the time.” He gestures to the half ghost who hasn’t moved from her spot, though her ghost half has been eagler floating around the store.

The purple umbrella disappears from the stairs, and within a few seconds the blue girl comes jumping down the stairs, already clad in her thick leather apron.

“Just leave it to me.” Kogasa declares as she pulls out her gloves. She picks up the sword shards from the counter and walks into the back room.

[ ] “I’m going back with you, as soon as the sword is done, Youmu. I’ll do what I can to help with the spirits.”
[ ] “I’ll be with you in a moment Kogasa. Let’s finish this sword asap.”

Two small footnotes:
I have zero plans about this story, other than trying to write some lovely Youmu, so write-ins are always welcome, as I have no idea where I’m going.
And this story is for Nanowrimo only. I might do something more with it if I finish my main story. But that's first relevant next decade or so.
120posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 41398
>>41391
Technically, spirits are already in the after-life, depending on how you define the cycle of rebirth. I believe you mean that Hakurouken can send spirits to Nirvana by dispelling their confusion.

How would cutting the attachment to life differ from that? Or is it meant to achieve the same thing through different means?

It's a neat idea, I just want to make sure I understand it right.
>> No. 41399
>>41398

Hakurouken forcibly puts spirits into a state of tranquillity, which makes them ascend to Nivarna by their nature as spirits. As Eiki puts it, it's a cheat that doesn't really respect the nature of Nirvana itself.

Cutting obsession and attachment would be effective against haunting ghosts or vengeful spirits, severing their ties to the mortal world, but ultimately free themselves to carry on to the afterlife, not forcibly bring themselves to it.

Versus more ordinary spirits it would be less effective. Versus mortal beings, it tends to bring about a temporary state of clarity, especially over emotions such as love or hate.
>> No. 41400
>>41399
I see, I think I understand.

Hakurouken will remove spirits from the cycle of rebirth by forcing them into a state of Nirvana.
This new sword, which we'll have to name too btw, will do the opposite and send spirits who refuse to pass on, for whatever reason, back into the cycle of rebirth by cutting their ties to the mortal world.

Is that about right?
>> No. 41401
>>41400

Correct.

As for name, some casual browsing Japanese Buddhism brought me to Aizenken (愛染剣), a Dharmapalan deity who guides worldly Lust / desires into enlightenment.

But that may be dumb, so any other suggestions are open.
>> No. 41402
File 154307822987.jpg - (390.33KB, 857x1077, Just a lovely pocky dork.jpg) [iqdb]
41402
“Kogasa!” The alchemist shouts the moment he enters the workshop.

The umbrella walks down the stairs, wearing a normal apron. “Yeah?”

“Your mithril. I’m claiming it.” He states, getting straight to the point.

“Sure?” She walks down the remaining stairs. “But why?”

“We’re going to forge a youkai blade.”

Her face slowly starts brimming with as much excitement as the alchemist’s. “Are you for real?”

“Youten has asked for a blade that won’t break.” He spreads out his arms. “So, he asked the best craftsmen in Gensokyo for help.”

“Please,” the blacksmith grabs her brother’s shirt, “tell me we’re going to enchant this baby.”

“You bet your tongue we are.” He grabs her shoulders in return. “And I already have the perfect enchantment in mind. Youmu and I,” he nods back at their guest, “are going to prepare the materials necessary. While we’re out, I want you to purify the mithril, make it as durable as you can.”

“That goes without saying.” The blacksmith runs behind the counter, pulling out the ore from one of the drawers, then she pulls out a red piece of coal. “I’ll be using some of these.” She says.

The red coal is an item created by the alchemist, using a skill called Delayed Activation. It allows for alchemist reactions to be sat up and prepared but remain inactive until manually triggered. The coal is made from combining fire and wood. Upon activation, it’ll ignite and burn longer and hotter than any natural fuel.

“Perfect. Youmu, we’re leaving.” He declares as soon as his partner has gotten started.

“This is going a little fast.” She runs out he door, trying to keep up with the alchemist. “Where are we going?”

“Well, let’s see. For the enchantment I have in mind, we’ll need Threads of Enlightenment,” he tallies on his hand, “Crystallized Soul Dust and the juice from a Heavenly Fruit.”

“I know what Soul Dust is, and I can make a good guess about the Heavenly Fruit.” Youmu notes. “But what’s Threads of Enlightenment?”

“When a hermit ascends to a celestial, they create these threads.” He explains. “They’re then used to create the scarf celestials use to fly. Not all threads are used, however. Some celestials keep them, others release them onto earth. There are also the occasional threads that fall when they’re making the scarf.”

“So, we need to find a celestial?” She asks.

“Or a hermit. Or a monk. Or hope we get lucky and stumble upon some.” He lists off the ways to get them. “I haven’t heard of a Taoist that produced any threads, though, which should limit our search even just a little.”

Heavenly Fruits are rather self-explanatory. Peaches from the heavens.

Soul Dust on the other hand is not so intuitive. Whenever a soul is reincarnated, they lose a part of themselves, slowly deteriorating over time unless they take care of themselves while they’re alive. The parts they lose becomes this fine mist that’s found in the Netherworld. Before it forms into the mist like dust, it can be found at graveyards as a thinly spread essence. While it’s in this formless state, it can be condensed into a crystallized shape. This crystal can’t be replicated using alchemy, nor will it ever form naturally which makes them scarce.

“Shouldn’t we start with a celestial, in any case?” She asks. “Because of the fruit. If we can get some threads too, that would be perfect.”

“Agree.” He nods. “The problem is just where do we start?”

It’s not like celestials just casually stroll around on earth and getting into heaven is a task beyond the two of them. Hermits, as the name suggest, are hermits, and thus tend to stay away from society.

[] The local temple is a good place to start
[] Wasn’t there a celestial associated with keystones?
[] There’s a hermit in the mountains
- [] Try to ask the tengu for directions
- [] Ask the Taoist hermits for help
[] Ask a god for help
- [] Local shrine
- [] Moriya shrine
- [] Hakurei shrine
>> No. 41403
[x] Wasn’t there a celestial associated with keystones?
>> No. 41404
[x] Wasn’t there a celestial associated with keystones?

Tenko!
>> No. 41410
> I know. It's technically magma, not lava, since they're underground. I just want to call it lava since it's above ground underground. Plus Lava Lake sounds better than Magma Lake.

No..its lava because what makes magma into lava is the contact with air and resulting outgassing. I think..I should ask my uncle.
>> No. 41411
>>41410
That I didn't know. All I knew was that there was a difference between molten rock above ground and below ground. Whatever that difference was, beyond it's relation to the surface level, was never something I bothered to look into
>> No. 41412
[x] There’s a hermit in the mountains
- [x] Ask the Taoist hermits for help

Kasen's the obvious one but we're talking about real hermits.
>> No. 41413
[x] Wasn’t there a celestial associated with keystones?

I mean, what could possible go wrong with involving her in this?
>> No. 41414
File 154316860872.jpg - (642.05KB, 800x900, They made up afterwards.jpg) [iqdb]
41414
“You want my peaches?” The celestial raises an eyebrow.

Youmu recalled that she once fought a celestial, which were associated with keystones. With that as their only lead, the duo headed out of the village for the closest keystone. And by sheer luck, the same celestial was sitting there, amusing over the small trifles of the human village.

“That’s correct.” The alchemist reaffirms.

“You two do know that you won’t benefit from eating it, right?” She crosses her legs, resting herself against her knees. “Especially for the little girl. These can be poisonous for youkai.”

“I’m not a little girl.” The swordswoman complains. “And we’re not going to eat it.”

“We’re going to forge a new weapon.” The alchemist continues.

“Oh?” The angel jumps down from her rock. “Going to cause any trouble?” She scans them over.

“The opposite.” The alchemist assures her. “This sword will have the power to restore order.”

“I see.” The angel turns around and shrugs. “Then I can’t help you. Things are too boring as they are.”

“What’s your price?” The alchemist asks.

“I told you, I’m not helping. Now scram.” She shoo at them, getting ready to jump back on her rock.

“I challenge you!” Youmu declares. “If I win, you’ll hand over your peaches.”

The celestial, intrigued by the sudden turn of events, looks back at her challenger. “Sounds fun. But once I’m done playing with you, I want to play a little with your man.”

“Alright.” The swordswoman accepts without even asking for permission.

The blue angel pulls out her red mist blade, prompting the green ghost to do the same. The alchemist just takes a good few steps back, getting out of harm’s way.

The ghost lowers her stance. The angel responds by taking a stance where her sword is held by the rear hand.

Seeing the stance, the ghost changes hers, raising her sword upwards, holding it next to her head. The angel responds by changing her stance to match, holding out the hand with the blade, pointing it down and back so she can support the blade with her other hand.

Once again, the ghost changes her stance to establish dominance. She moves her sword into a draw stance without sheathing it.

The angel lacks a proper counter to a move like that, and instead reinforce her current stance. She angles her sword more vertically, placing her off-hand’s wrist against the back of the blade.

“Hell Realm Sword, 200 Yojana in One Slash.” The ghost declares her spell card but doesn’t move an inch. She just stands there, hands on sword, ready to attack at the drop of a needle.

“Temperament, High-Spirited Sword.” The angel declares her card and immediately moves. She swings her up beside her before thrusting at her opponent, shooting out a laser with pinpoint accuracy.

The ghost dives underneath the laser and in a literal flash cuts the celestial clean across the chest.

Thanks to the declared duel, no actual harm has been caused, although she’s going to feel that cut for the few days to come.

“I won.” States the phantom.

The misty sword disperses as the angel clutches her chest. “That hurt.” She groans. “But a promise is a promise.” She picks up her hat from the ground, handing it over to the phantom girl. “Let it be known that a celestial always keeps her word.”

“Of course.” The swordswoman takes the hat and starts plucking off the peaches. “Honor is a warrior’s greatest prize. I would never sully the name of someone who fights earnestly.”

“You too.” The celestial agrees. “It was short, but entertaining.”

The swordswoman hands back the hat to its owner. “Thank you.” She says before running back over to her partner.

“You probably didn’t have to fight for them.” He notes. “I think she was playing us out of boredom.”

“It’s not like I hate fighting.” The little ghost blushes. “I actually like it a little. Plus, it worked out in the end.”

“It did. And thank you for fighting for this.” He wraps up the fruits and pocket them.

“Ah, yeah, well,” she averts her eyes, “this is important to you, right?”

“Of course, it is, but I don’t want you getting hurt because of it.” He starts walking. “That’s not why I brought you along.”

“Why did you bring me along?” She asks, keeping pace with him. “Now that you mention it.”

“Because I’m excited about this.” He smiles, looking straight ahead. “And I would like to share this excitement with you. After all, you’re special to me, Youmu.”

She’s caught off guard by the comment. “There you go saying embarrassing things like that again.” She reaches for his hand. “But you’re special to me too.”

He gives her hand a little squeeze. “Next up is the threads. That celestial didn’t have any scarf, so I don’t think she has any threads either.”

“Threads of Enlightenment.” The little phantom ponders. “I would have to guess that a monk would be our safest bet, since we know where to find some.” She concludes. “After that, we might have to find a hermit, since I don’t think any god would respond to a request like this.”

“Maybe.” He ponders on the matter too. “Finding a hermit will definitely be the hardest option, but it might also be the one most likely to succeed. But gods live at shrines, and monks at temples, so we can easily find both of those.”

[] Talk to the monks
[] Pray to a god
[] Find a hermit
- [] Ask the Taoists
- [] Ask the Tengu


>Insert obligatory "peaches" innuendo
>> No. 41415
[x] Talk to the monks

Asking the temple full of youkai is probably a better idea than asking the temple full of youkai-haters
>> No. 41418
[x] Talk to the monks
>> No. 41420
[x] Talk to the monks
>> No. 41426
File 154326088645.png - (0.98MB, 1060x1060, I'm not sorry.png) [iqdb]
41426
“I’m honored that you would consider us enlightened.” The head monk apologizes. “But I’m afraid none of us can claim to have reached that point yet.”

“I see.” The alchemist bows. “Then if I may trouble you, do you know where we would be able to claim some Threads of Enlightenment?”

“That will have to depend.” The tiger idol sitting behind the head monk speaks up. “I would like to know, for what purpose do you seek these threads?”

“Of course.” The alchemist keeps his head down. “It is our intent to create a tool, a sword to be exact, which will have the power to cut the lingering attachment that spirits may have to the mortal realm, allowing them to pass on and return to the cycle of rebirth.” He explains in length.

“And what is your reason for this goal?” The idol continues to question.

“A close friend has requested a new sword.” He explains. “Since he journeys in the outside world, wielding a blade capable is separating the fetter that keeps vengeful spirits in our world will serve everyone favorably.”

Youmu, who’s kept her head down as to not offend the image of Bishamonten, the god or war and valor, looks up to see the alchemist. This is the first time she hears about the enchantment since they began.

“I see. And what is the name of your friend?” The idol asks.

“Konpaku Youten.” He answers. “He is the current master of the Yureido sword school and brother-in-name to my companion.”

“Is this correct?” She asks the swordswoman.

“Yes.” The phantom almost shouts. “As fellow orphans, we grew up together.” She confirms. “Despite everything, I’m proud to call him my brother.”

“I see. I think I get the picture now.” The tiger declares. She starts pulling on her scarf like cloth, using her nail to cut off a sizeable portion. She folds it together and hands it over to the head monk, who in turns places it in front of the alchemist. “This cloth isn’t made from Threads of Enlightenment, but I can assure you they have the same clarity inducing effect.”

The alchemist picks up the piece of cloth. Just holding it, he can feel the effect calming him down, and as a Tsukumogami his attachment to the world is shallow from the start.

“I can’t accept this.” He places it on the floor again. “Something like this is too precious.”

“It recently came to my attention that a craftsman in this village was hired by us for a small job.” The idol states. “And that he over delivered and refused to accept pay equal to his work.” She places her pagoda in front of her, allowing a smirk to grow on her face. “Now we can return the favor and repay you for the work you’ve done.”

“In other words, I’m not allowed to refuse this gift.” He concludes, raising his head.

“I’m afraid not.” The tiger shakes her head lightly. “If you still can’t accept it, then think of it as an advance payment for a future job. After all, I was quite fond of the rat figure you made.”

“For a cloth like this, I’ll make you a life-sized sculpture of whatever you wish for.”

“I can think of a few things.” The tiger straightens her posture. “Anyway. I believe this cloth should serve you well.”

“Then I gracefully accept it.” He picks up the cloth. “Thank you.”

After thanking the monks, the duo leaves the temple with another material in their possession.

“Um,” the ghost starts. “Could you keep what I just said a secret from Youten?” She asks.

“Don’t worry, Youmu. It’ll be our little secret.” He holds a finger over his mouth.

“Mm.” She smiles as she nods.

“Anyway, that just leaves the Soul Dust Crystals.” The alchemist says.

“Those are found at graveyards, if I remember correctly.” The phantom speculates. “I only get to see the mist, so I don’t know much about the crystals.”

“You’re halfway correct. The crystals are not found but made.” He corrects her. “Soul Mist can’t be crystalized, so it has to be worked before it reaches the Netherworld.”

“Soul Mist, is that what it’s called?” The gardener asks.

“No, it’s still called Dust, even though it’s more like mist.” He explains. “The difference between Dust and Mist is where it’s located. The air in the underworld is very different than in the mortal world. That effect reaches Dust as well, changing how it behaves without changing the Dust itself.”

“So, it’s different? But it isn’t?” The ghost asks, obviously not following the logic.

“Sand.” The alchemist states. “When it’s dry, it’s very loose, almost impossible to hold in your hand as it just falls between you fingers.” He holds out his hands as to show her, though he doesn’t have any sand at hand. “If on the other hand you make it wet, it suddenly sticks together, to the point where it can keep its form. Once it dries, however, it goes back to falling apart.”

“I think I get it.” The ghost hesitates. “Dust is like sand. And home is like water.” She summarizes it very simply. “Can’t we just move the dust back from home to here? Then it should dry up and be able to get crystallized, shouldn’t it?”

“In theory, yes, that would work.” He nods. “The problem is, you can’t move it back out of the Netherworld. It stays there until it disappears for good.”

“Huh? Well, I never actually looked into the mist.” She tries to defend her ignorance on the matter. “I mean, it’s just been something natural that’s always been there since as far back as I can remember.”

“People rarely look into common phenomenon.” He agrees. “But that’s where all scientists, mages and alchemists start from.”

Collecting the Crystallized Soul Dust turned out to be the easiest task since they’re entirely predictable. The dust always appears at graveyards. From there, it’s just a question about assembling them into the crystal-like structure. An easy task for the alchemist.

With that, the third and final element is down. The only thing left to od, is to find someone skilled at enchanting.

The three witches of Gensokyo would be the obvious choices to pick from. But given the nature of the enchantment, maybe asking a shrine maiden to cast a blessing instead could work just as well.

[] Enchantment
- [] Alice
- [] Marisa
- [] Patchouli
[] Blessing
- [] Reimu
- [] Sanae
>> No. 41427
[x] Blessing
- [x] Sanae
>> No. 41432
[x] Enchantment
- [x] Patchouli
>> No. 41433
[x] Blessing
- [x] Sanae

Sanae seems more willing to do mundane tasks than Reimu.
>> No. 41437
[x] Blessing
- [x] Sanae

A blessing seems more appropriate considering the end goal.
>> No. 41438
>>41433
It's easy to motivate Reimu to do mundane tasks. Just throw enough donations her way.

Anyway, I can finally get started writing for today.
>> No. 41440
File 154334169655.jpg - (131.52KB, 850x664, Leave it to her.jpg) [iqdb]
41440
On their trek up the mountain, the duo predictably encountered the Tengu guards. It didn’t take a lot of convincing for the wolves to allow the duo to continue up the mountain. The two, however, had to agree to be escorted, as to ensure that they do cause any problems.

Upon reaching the peak where the shrine is located, the alchemist walks up to the steps before the donation box. “Excuse me but is anyone home!” He yells out.

A few seconds pass by before the front door slides open, revealing the green shrine maiden. “A guest.” She concludes, hopping down the stairs one by one. “What can I do for you, after coming all the way up here?”

“I was hoping I could convince you to help out me and my partner.” He explains.

“Yeah?” She urges him to keep talking.

“We’re in the process of creating an enchanted weapon. And given the nature of the enchantment, I believe it would be better served as a divine blessing.” He continues to explain. “And therefore, we came to you.”

“Hmm.” The shrine maiden cocks her head, thinking it over. “Exactly what are we talking about?”

“A blade capable of cutting the desires that keeps you fettered to this mortal world.” He explains. “It’ll be used on vengeful spirits to force them back into the cycle of rebirth.”

“Oh, so it’s like one of those legendary swords?” Her expression lights up. “That sounds awesome. I’m in.” She declares. “I’ll have to channel a different kami, though.”

“Will it be possible for you to imbue the blessing into an object, or will you have to come with us?” He asks.

Even though it’s rarely used to its full extend, the forge in the workshop is the best in Gensokyo, the only place where a blade like this can be forged without necessitating the construction of a whole new forge.

“I don’t know if the blessing will stay, if you try to move it from one object to another.” She admits. “So, I think it might be better if I tag along.”

The shrine maiden won’t admit part of the reason for her tagging along, is that she wants to see the blade being forged. She’s only ever seen things like that in anime, which is far from a realistic depiction.

“At the moment, we’re smelting the ore for the blade, so there’s still some hours left before we’ll need your blessing.” He explains. “So, I’ll have to inconvenience you by having you wait. But your help will be much appreciated.”

“I’m not busy.” She states, excited about the prospect of seeing a real sword being made. “Do you have any alcohol, or will I need to bring some myself.” She asks. “That’s for channeling the kami, by the way.” She quickly adds, realizing how her question came out.

Traditionally, drinking alcohol is said to bring you closer to the gods. This shrine maidens and priests alike has been drinking small amounts of sake before performing a ritual. By moving closer to the gods like this, it becomes easier to allow the kami inside, so they can channel more of their power through the person.

“We don’t have any, but we can pick something up on the way.” He says.

“And now for the long walk back to the village.” Youmu adds, having stayed by the Tengu and waited for the alchemist to finish. “At least it’s downhill this time.”

“If it was getting tough, you could just have floated.” The shrine maiden points out. Having made the trip countless times, she knows how to do it the easy way.

With that, the last piece needed to forge the blade has been taken care of. All that’s left to do is to return to the workshop and begin the preparations.


-----
No vote today. Next vote will be to decide the name of the blade, so start thinking or I’ll just use my own lazy name
>> No. 41442
[x] Chomusuke
>> No. 41448
File 154343707012.png - (1.80MB, 1200x1678, Hard working gal.png) [iqdb]
41448
Responding to the door’s jingle as it opens, the blacksmith peeks out from the working area. “Ooh. The harem keeps growing.” She comments, seeing the new girl.

The shrine maiden just utters a single laugh, seeing as there’s only one man in this building.

“What’s a harem?” Youmu asks, oblivious to the joke.

“I’ll tell you when you get older.” The alchemist replies, spreading the different materials out on the table.

“I’m not a kid.” She protests, though she doesn’t ask again, understanding that it’s a perverted word.

“How is the ore coming along?” He asks his partner.

“Pure.” The blacksmith makes an ‘okay’ sign with her hand after taking off the glove. “I’ve cast it to an ingot, which I’m keeping solid but soft.” She takes off her other glove and pockets them in her apron.

“Perfect. I’ll start making the handle. Youmu,” he hands her the peaches, “you can extract the juices from these. And Miss Kochiya,” he turns to the shrine maiden, “this is where I’ll have to ask you to wait.”

“It’s alright.” The green shrine maiden assures him. “I’ll try not to get in the way.”

Despite declaring his intend, the alchemist starts working on the cloth he got from the Buddhists. Utilizing small scale alchemy, he unweaves the threads before connecting them in the ends, creating a single long thread. He then cuts the thread into thirds and braid them back together, making the thread thicker.

After that, he picks up a block of wood and starts carving the handle.

The phantom comes walking down the stairs again, carrying a bowl of fruit juice, covered by a piece of cloth.

The shrine maiden, curious about the process, walks into the back room, to watch how the blacksmith treats the metal.

Though, to her disappointment, the umbrella is only keeping the heat of the forge for the time being. To forge a youkai blade, you’ll need special tools, since normal ones will shatter.

==========

Having finished up the shape of the handle, the alchemist wraps the long thread around it, creating a compact tsukamaki style wrapping, leaving the diamond openings over the holes for securing the blade in the handle.

“Alright, Kogasa. Let’s get started.” He declares, picking up the remaining threads.

“Finally!” She jumps up.

He hands her the threads, after making sure they’ve been folded to the right length and secured. She places them on the work table, ready for when she needs them.

The alchemist pulls his hammer from the belt, throwing it up and catching it by the head, handing his partner the grab of the tool. “Don’t you dare hold back.” He threatens her playfully.

“Don’t blame me when you break, you rusty old fool.” The blacksmith takes the hammer, her chosen brother.

The alchemist walks to the corner of the room and takes a seat, resting before going completely motionless.

Kogasa takes another look at the tool in her hand. Having cut off all external connections, Tatara Renkin the Alchemist, exudes power in a way only few can understand, let alone use.

The blacksmith pulls out the bright glowing mithril ingot. With the skill cultivated from years of experience and the raw force of a youkai, she starts hammering. Every swing has a purpose, no movement wasted as she quickly shapes the block of metal, drawing it out into its long shape before putting it back into the forge to reheat.

To speed up the process, the blacksmith closes all exits to the forge, except the chimney, trapping all the heat inside. Every minute or so, she’ll peek into the flames for a few seconds, observing the color of the metal.

The shrine maiden carefully observes every move the blacksmith makes, being dearly interested in weapons crafting.

Youmu on the other hand, has taken an interest in the alchemist’s empty shell, taking the chance now that everyone is distracted to try and sit on his lap, something she’d never have the courage to try if he were awake.

“Sanae. Bring me the juice.” The blacksmith demands, seeing as the mithril is starting to get white again.

“Ah, right.” She snaps out of her little trance and runs out to fetch the bowl.

The blacksmith seals up the forge again and removes her gloves, placing them in the anvil. As the shrine maiden comes back with the bowel, Kogasa takes the threads and submerge them in the juice.

“Do you know what enchantment we want to place on it?” The blacksmith asks.

“Yeah.” She nods. “He told me in detail as we walked here.”

“Great.” She peeks into the forge again. “Then if you could cast the blessing on those threads first.”

“First?” The shrine maiden asks.

“You’ll need to do it three times in total to make the effect permanent.” The blacksmith explains. “Once on the core, which is going to be those thread. Then once on the shell, which is the blade itself. And the one last time on the sword once it’s been assembled.” She picks up the tongs again, getting ready to take out the mithril.

“Okay, I got it.” The green shrine maiden states. She opens the bottle of mild beer and unceremoniously takes a mouthful. With the alcohol in her system, she starts praying.

While the threads are being enchanted, the blacksmith pulls out the crude blade and flattens it, then folds it before flattening it again.

“Ready.” The shrine maiden declares.

Without a word, the blacksmith fishes up the thread and in a single move spreads it across the center of the blade before folding the metal once more. With a few quick yet powerful strikes she seals up the fold, permanently locking the threads inside the blade.

Predictably, the metal itself ignites, burning with a silver flame as the threads are being absorbed.

This doesn’t stop Kogasa, however, as she speeds up, landing hits with surgical precision, hammering out the edge while adding only a slight bend.

Before the silver flames can extinguish, the blacksmith takes the bowl with the remaining juice and pours it over the blade, before quenching it properly in a barrel of oil.

The alchemist, finally able to take control of his body again, places his hand on the half phantom sitting on him, causing her jump away, too surprised to even scream.

“That was a nice surprise to wake up to.” He comments, stretching his body.

“What?” Kogasa asks. She’s been too engrossed in the sword to notice anything.

Sanae couldn’t take her eyes off the sword, so she didn’t notice anything either.

“Don’t!” The little ghost yells, completely red in the face. “Don’t scare me like that!”

He ignores the chance to tease her and instead goes directly back to working. At this stage, neither of the two artisans need to talk to know what the other is thinking.

Kogasa picks up the still hot blade and wipes off the end for the handle so she can safely heat it back up. She removes it before it even starts to get red, however, holding out the end for the alchemist who stands ready with the handle.

They insert sword into the handle, letting the heated metal burn its shape into the wood, making it a tight fit. The two keep pressing against each other, making sure it reaches as far in as it should.

“Perfect.” The alchemist declares as they pull apart again. “Kochiya, if you could please cast the enchantment on the blade as soon as Kogasa is ready.”

“Yeah, sure.” She nods.

The alchemist then leaves the room to fetch the crystals.

He still needs to cut the crystals, so they can be used to decorate the handle. Doing so should help concentrate the power to the wielder’s will by acting as a catalyst. Then they need to imprint a name onto the blade, amplifying and sealing its powers. Then, after securing the handle, they’ll sheathe the blade to finalize the creation.

Choosing a name for the sword is going to be the hardest part. After all, a name is the greatest gift you can bestow upon anything, since that will guarantee it can become a Tsukumogami.


[Write-in] What name should be imprinted on the blade?

>>41442
Wouldn't it be Chunchunmaru?

2 more updates to go
>> No. 41450
File 154343869636.jpg - (26.47KB, 336x506, d5d.jpg) [iqdb]
41450
[X] Yamato
>> No. 41451
File 154344506945.jpg - (366.58KB, 850x1206, image.jpg) [iqdb]
41451
[x] Hiroshima

sorry not sorry
>> No. 41456
[X] Yamato
>> No. 41457
[X] Hiroshima
>> No. 41459
>>41451
Not even going to stop you.

Names appear in the order they were submitted. Duplicate names added for increased chance.

1. Aizenken
2. Chomusuke
3. Yamato
4. Hiroshima
5. Yamato
6. Hiroshima

Rolling 1d6 => 6
>> No. 41461
File 154352445910.jpg - (151.71KB, 1024x1024, Angry ghost for no other reason than she's cu.jpg) [iqdb]
41461
“The blade is cool and ready.” The blacksmith announces.

“Youmu.” The alchemist calls out, tossing her the handle before she even gets a chance to respond. “For Kogasa.” He says, going straight back to cutting the small gems.

The Soul Dust crystals are small to begin with, about the size of a nail. Cutting them requires concentration, since even these needs to have engravings to properly serve as catalysts.

While he’s working on getting those to be perfect, the blacksmith has prepared the blade’s naked grip to have some holes punched into it. The little swordswoman follows the instruction given to her and slides the handle onto the blade again.

The blacksmith places a thick needle into one of the holes on the grip and gives it a good hard hit with a new hammer, knocking it down through the blade. She then flips the thing over and knocks it back out from the other side, before proceeding to the next hole.

With the gems cut, the alchemist joins the smiting as a spectator, waiting for his partner to get ready for the next step.

The blacksmith quickly finishes off the last two holes, handing over the blade to her brother. “It’s all yours.”

Taking the blade, the alchemist fastens it to a bench, pulling out a chisel and gets into position.

A name is the most important gift you can give to anyone or anything. Neither of the two Tsukumogami in this room were given their name, but instead claimed it for themselves.

“What’s the name going to be?” Kogasa asks, excited.

“Hiroshima.” He answers, surprisingly calm for decision like this. “For some reason this name just sounds right.”

“That might not be a good idea.” The shrine maiden protests. “I mean, you know.”

“I don’t, actually.” He corrects her.

“Well, you know about World War Two, right?” She asks cautiously.

“I didn’t know we had a first one.” He admits. “You’re from the outside, right? Then if I tell you Gensokyo was established in 1885, a couple years after I settled in, you should have a good frame of reference.”

“Well, you see,” the green girl scratches her arm. “The entire world went into war. And as soon as that had ended, we started another one on.” The contemporary girl explains. “And towards the end of the second war, the world’s leading superpower dropped a bomb more powerful than anything we’ve ever seen, right on top of Hiroshima, killing the entire city in the blink of an eye.”

“I see.” He turns around to the sword again. “However, that’s not part of Gensokyo’s history. As sad as it may be, that event means nothing to us.” He starts chiseling the name.

The small audience watch him as he slowly etches in the characters for Hiroshima into the blade’s naked handle, mimicking the look of brush strokes.

広島市

With the name now imprinted on the very soul of the sword, the alchemist carefully slides the handle down, securing it with the pins he adorned the crystals onto.

The blade has been forged, with an enchanted core of enlightenment. Quenched in the juice of heavenly fruits and adorned with gem created from the broken souls of the dead. Now the blade has been given a name, Hiroshima.

The only things left to do to finalize the creation is to sharpen the blade and sheath it for the first time.

He releases the blade from its secure position and hands it over to his sister, who takes the blade straight to the grindstone.

While she sharpens the blade, he takes to creating the sheathe.

For a youkai blade, the sheathe is just as important as the blade itself, since it becomes part of the whole, an irreplaceable home. That’s why you must make certain design decisions when creating them.

The sheathe being made for Hiroshima will be made entirely out of leather. A study material that can withstand the forces of nature if the wielder takes care of the sword. Once treated, it won’t rot, it won’t bend, it’s not heavy. It’s virtually perfect. And to top it all off, it’s easy to work with, much faster than a wooden sheath.

“It’s ready for the second blessing.” The blacksmith states, having finished grinding the blade.

“Oh, right, sure.” The green shrine maiden snaps back to reality, having been drawn into watching them work to the point where she forgot herself. Like last time, she takes another mouthful of the beer before channeling the kami to bless the sword.

“Here you go.” Kogasa hands over the blade to the alchemist. “You’ll do the honor.”

Taking the blade, he admires the work the two of them have managed to create. A blade with a true sliver color carrying a slightly blue tint. The handle wrapped in black dyed threads with deep lilac gems embedded into it.

The best sword the two of them have ever created. A masterwork they can truly be proud of.

“You three should probably take a step back.” The alchemist announces. It’s not the first time he’s created a youkai blade, so he knows how they behave.

After they’ve stepped back, he slides the sword into its new home, and as the lock click, securing the sword inside the sheathe, the blade releases a pulse powerful enough to know down the shelves in the store.

And there it is. The little flame of a soul has appeared in the blade. It’s a sleeping Tsukumogami that’ll wake up in 100 years.

“If you’d please, Kochiya.” He holds out Hiroshima with both hands. “Add the cherry on top and make the enchantment permanent.”

“Of course.” She states, this time being prepared. With another mouthful, she casts the final blessing.

Renkin, as a Tsukumogami himself possess the unique ability to speak with sleeping Tsukumogami; to speak with the blade he just created. This ability allows him to do more than just talking, such as actively awakening sleeping Tsukumogami. And while he called the final blessing the cherry on top, he adds his own touch and awakens the blade allowing it to fully experience its entire life.

He presents the sword to the little swordswoman. “Draw it.” He instructs her. “Tell us, how does it feel to handle.”

“I get to wield it?” She hesitates in taking the sword.

“You’re the only one here who can wield a katana.” He explains. “So, you’re the only one with experience in handling blades.”

“I,” she’s at a loss of words. “I don’t know what to say.”

“Then don’t talk. Do.” He prompts her to take the blade again.

“Alright.” She slides the sheathe into her belt, right next to Roukanken. Then with careful yet purposeful movements, she draws the blade, feeling the power connect to her through the gems.

The blade itself changes it appearance slightly, gaining a frosty looking aura of mist so feint it’s almost unnoticeable.

Just holding the blade, the swordswoman can feel the will of the sword as it peeks back into her.

She grabs the sword with both hands, stabbing the air right on front of her, shifts her weight around and stabs again, then again, moving the blade with absolute ease. The weight is perfect. It’s possible to apply force with the weight, yet it doesn’t hinder the movement in any way. Swinging it almost feel as if the blade isn’t even there, though Youmu is used to her long sword which weighs more by the nature of being longer.

“This is amazing.” She comments. “Youten will love this, I’m sure.”


------
There hasn't been as much Youmu in this later half of the story, considering she's a main character. I do hope you guys still enjoyed the story regardless, because tomorrow is the last update. After that it'll become sporadic where I'll update whenever I want to bully a lovely little dork.
>> No. 41468
File 154360367938.jpg - (1.25MB, 1200x1679, Thanks for reading along.jpg) [iqdb]
41468
Having worked through the night without realizing, the three of them see off the shrine maiden as she leaves to head home before they themselves take a long rest.

The first thing they do the following day is wrap up Hiroshima and set off for the Netherworld, leaving Kogasa behind to manage to the workshop, of her own volition.

Reaching the old mansion of the dead, they find the princess sitting in the same room she does every day, spending her time without a care in the world.

“I’m home, Lady Yuyuko.” The little phantom announces.

“Welcome home.” The ghost shouts back. “How were your night together?”

“Sorry, but we were working all night.” The gardener brushes off the teasing without even flinching. Which catches the ghost off guard a little.

“It was nonstop work, but we finished it.” The alchemist holds out the wrapped blade. “Our finest work to date.”

“Oh.” She floats through the table as she rises. “Let me see.”

“This is for Youten.” He moves the blade out of her reach. “Call him here, and you can get to see it.”

“Meanie.” The ghost makes a scene of her pouting. “Youten!” She shouts after realizing her old friend isn’t going to cave in. “You have guests!”

“You don’t have to shout.” The other phantom walks in through the open door, closing the book he’s been reading. “Renkin.” He notices the alchemist. “Is it ready? Already?”

“You bet it is.” He declares with pride. “It took all night, but we did it.”

The young swords master rushes over to get a look at it but stops before actually taking hold of it.

“We agreed on a price before you began. So how much do I owe you?” The swordsman asks.

“We gave this sword an enchantment.” He explains. “Hakurouken is a sword capable of sending spirits to nirvana.” He holds out the blade again. “Hiroshima has the ability to send spirits to Higan. Your price for wielding Hiroshima will be to help every spirit pass on to the next world. Be it cutting down vengeful spirits or fulfilling their last wishes. For as long as you journey, that will be your duty.”

“That’s,” the swordsman trails off, looking at the blade as he really thinks about what the price will mean. “I accept.” He states, grabbing hold of the wrapped blade.

“Then he’s yours.” The alchemist lets go of the sword.

The young phantom unwraps the sword, revealing the well-crafted though plain looking sheath. Firmly grabbing onto the sword, he draws it, exposing the silver blade.

Being weaker than Youmu, he feels the surge of power much more clearly than her, as it washes over him. That’s when he hears it, the voice of the sword.

“This is amazing.” He comments. “And it didn’t even take you a day to make. I had planned to wait a week or two while you were making it, but it seems like I can leave as soon as I’m ready?”

“Leaving me behind again so soon?” The old ghost pouts. “And I was just so happy that my little man came home again.”

“No mom.” He sighs. “I’m not leaving already. We’ll have plenty of time to play.”

The princess chuckles. “Just go. Your girlfriend is waiting.”

“I keep telling you, she’s not my girlfriend. Yet.” He corrects her. “But thanks. I’ll make sure to come back often.” With that said, the swordsman fades away, traveling back to the world of the living, using the unique skill of the Konpaku clan.

“It really feels like it was just yesterday I took him in.” The princess rests herself against her hand.

“Maybe that’s because there is no day cycle down here?” The alchemist suggests.

“Hush, you.”

“Renkin.” The little phantom calls out. She waves him down to her level, to which he complies. Without warning, the little ghost plants a kiss on his cheek and immediately runs to the door. “That’s your reward for working hard.” She says before bolting off to her room to hide her embarrassment.

“Oh my.” Yuyu comments, hiding her growing grin behind her fan.

“Yeah, I don’t think you can top that, Yuyu.” He touches the spot where the little ghost planted her soft lips. “So, I’ll just be going home and relax a little after this busy night.”

“Oh, don’t let me keep you.” The princess places her fan on the table. “I will come see you, if I start to miss you that badly.”

“My workshop is always open for you.” He says.

“And our offer to move to the Netherworld still stands.” She replies.

“And you know why I still can’t accept that offer.” He retorts. “But one day, I will come here. Just not this decade.”

“Take your time.” She assures him. “We’re not going anywhere anytime soon.”

“Yeah. We’ll talk again soon, Yuyu.”

“Yeah, see you later, Ren.”
>> No. 41469
MORE BULLI
>> No. 41470
>>41461
It didn't have as much Youmu as I wanted (which is infinite) but just wanted you to know I enjoyed your story.
>> No. 41473
Like I said, the story isn't over, it's just becoming sporadic as I'll only be able to write on it whenever my main story doesn't take up my time. Plus, no one else I've seen has done an actual dork route, so I'll just have to carry that burden.

And, if you guys won't mind, could you tell me what you liked and disliked about this story? "Romantic" Slice of Life is far from my strong suit, so I would like some critique to help me improve the experience for you guys. I mean aside from "Good: Dork. Bad: Not enough dork." cause let's be honest, there will never be enough of Gensokyo's best bully target
>> No. 41766
>>41473

If you ask me, the ending seems like it was a bit rushed. Aside from that, though, my only complaints would be nitpicking over the various typos/missing words/etc.
Youmu is such a lovely dork.
>> No. 41810
File 154996554130.jpg - (89.73KB, 850x618, Cookie Cutter.jpg) [iqdb]
41810
“Come on, hurry up!” The phantom gardener shouts from the top of the stairs.

“Give me a chance, Youmu. You know I’m not as fit as you.” The alchemist protests.

“Yes, but hurry.” She continues to urge him on.

The little ghost can barely contain her excitement over her achievement. Even just standing by the stairs is proving a challenge, as she’s pacing back and forth, doing the best she can to wait.

“I’m here.” He declares as soon as he climbs the last step.

“Good, now hurry.” She grabs hm by the wrist and starts dragging him along.

Even though the swordswoman has shorter legs, the alchemist still struggles to keep pace.

The gardener finally stops in front of a thick tree. “Tada!” She spreads her arms wide, looking at him for a reaction.

The alchemist carefully examines the tree, being through to not miss whatever has made his little love so excited. “I think I’m missing something.” He admits, after a few seconds of not seeing anything out of the ordinary.

“It’s an apple tree.” She declares proudly. Her little ghost flies in circles around her, expressing all the excitement her human body can’t.

“I can see.” He keeps examining the tree, hoping to spot what makes it special.

“Yeah, but we don’t have apple trees here.” The gardener explains. “This is a human world tree.”

“I see.” Knowing that, it makes sense why he couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Because it is in fact a perfectly ordinary apple tree. “Wait. Did you grow it here?”

“Mm.” She nods.

“How?”

“It wasn’t easy.” She turns around to face the tree. “This is the only one out of thirty-eight that’s still living.” The ghost scoops up some dirt inside itself and lifts it up for the alchemist to see. “The earth here is very different from the one in Gensokyo.” The gardener turns back around. “It’s a little hard to explain, but the earth out there is fill with life, while what we have here isn’t.”

The dirt her ghost half scooped up shows this difference perfectly. When you think about dirt, you typically picture dark brown, wet dirt with small rocks mixed in. But the dirt here in the Netherworld is pale, dry and sandy. There are plenty of plants around, so it’s far from impossible to grow anything here. The plants that do grow in the Netherworld have adjusted to the environment. Taking a plant from here to the human world would probably cause it to grow alarmingly fast.

“The fact we don’t have a clear day night cycle like you do, made it hard to grow too.” She continues to explain. “It also became apparent very early that your plants need the sun. Something we don’t have.” She plucks an apple. “The lack of seasons is showing too.” She holds up the fruit for the alchemist. “Here. The first apple grown in the Netherworld.”

“The first?” He takes the apple. “Are you sure you don’t want be the first to try one of these?”

“I have.” The gardener declares. “That’s the first apple the started to grow. It’s not the first to be plucked, though. I made sure to keep track of it.”

“Then I’ll make sure to enjoy it.”

If you were to go around and ask Tsukumogami about the things they include, when they’re making their bodies, you would probably find very few of them who would even consider including taste. They’re objects, after all, they have never tasted anything before, so no one would think to waste effort into including a brand-new sensation into their puppet. That is not to say there aren’t any who would include the sense of taste. The ability to experience the wonders of taste, the complex taste of properly spiced meat, the simple pleasure of a juicy peach that fills your mouth with sweet nectar.

And right now, Renkin doesn’t regret his choice to include this new sense. Though, he’s not particularly excited, since the apple turned out to not be as juicy as it first looked. It still has that familiar sweet taste and firmness when biting into it.

“What do you think?” The gardener folds her arms behind her back.

“It’s decent.” He admits. “But I’ve had better.”

“I’ve would hope so.” She chuckles. “There’s still a long way to go before these can match the apples of the human world.” She spreads out her arms in excitement again. “But I did it. I managed to grow an apple tree in the Netherworld.”

“Mm. That’s amazing, Youmu.” He agrees. “What’s next? Are you going to study how to grow better apples, or are you going to move on to another fruit?”

“Both.” She declares, still full of enthusiasm. “It takes a long time for trees to grow enough to produce fruit, so I’ll have lots of time to figure out more.”

“I take it you’re going to be busy, then?” The alchemist asks.

“Yeah, the next few days will,” Her ghost half drops the dirt it was still carrying, just as the little gardener realizes she forgot something.

She quickly taps down her vest, feeling around all her pockets, though it doesn’t seem like she found what she was looking for.

“Sorry, but can I ask you to wait here for a moment?” She runs off without waiting for an answer, knowing that Ren would stay and wait.

Hurrying out into the kitchen first, she finds the box neatly wrapped up where she left it. She quickly unpacks it to check its contents, before making her way back out to the tree.

“Here.” The little ghost holds up the box. “It’s still a little early, but I hope you don’t mind.”

“And this is?” He takes the box. “Lunch?”

“Chocolate. You probably shouldn’t eat it for lunch.” She answers. “You’re supposed to give chocolate at this time of the year, aren’t you?”

“Oh yeah, valentine is coming up.” The alchemist suddenly remembers. He’s never had to consider the day as anything more than another business day. But now he has a girlfriend.

“Yeah. It’s still a little early, but I’ll be busy the next few days. That’s why I hope you don’t mind getting it a little early.” The ghost explains.

“Of course, I won’t mind.” He assures her. “I had completely forgotten, to be honest, so this is a very nice surprise.”

“I’m glad.” She scratches her cheek. “I’m still new to this whole dating thing, so I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”

“Would you be surprised if I told you I’m also new to dating.” He pockets the chocolate in his vest.

“I suppose not.” Her cheeks flush. “Could you come down here for a moment?”

“Yeah? What is it?” He bends over, reaching down to the short woman.

She plants a soft kiss on his cheek. “To go with the chocolate.” Right after, the little gardener turns around, so he won’t get a chance to see how red she’s become.

The alchemist lets out a single chuckle. “Thank you.”

How is it the tradition goes again. He’s supposed to give her chocolate back next month? Or was he supposed to do it this month and she’d respond next month? Regardless, he should do something to show his appreciation.

[] Use those crafty hands to sculpt chocolate.
- [] What to sculpt.
[] Take her out for dinner.
- [] Any preference.
[Write in] Any other ideas.

Onwards, to more dorkyness
>> No. 41811
>Her cheeks flush

Oh hoho! I see what you didn't do there.

[X]He drew up a plan to create some spirit-enhanced gardening tools

So many fantasy settings go out of their way to create ever more fantastical magical weapons. Nobody ever spares a thought for the common man who feeds all those heroes.
>> No. 41812
[X] Draw up plans for some spirit-enhanced gardening tools.
[X] Use those crafty hands to sculpt chocolate.
- [X] A small and delicate chocolate rose, to accompany your more practical gift.
>> No. 41815
[X]He drew up a plan to create some spirit-enhanced gardening tools
>> No. 41816
Gonna need some details for those tools. It's a neat idea, wouldn't have thought about it myself.
>> No. 41817
Well shit I didn't really put that much thought into the write-in. Ok ok les'see, hows about something that improves environmental quality of life for the plants while maintaining the same effort involved? You know..so you still get that "feel good" aspect of working for stuff.

It's also interesting that Youmu used the term "life energy" rather than referencing the more traditional needs that plants have. We can very likely assume their maximum potential is some function of air, water, light, temperature, nutrients, and life energy.

Lets disregard temperature and air since those two are more of an all or nothing affair for plants. Seeds won't germinate unless they are within a certain temperature range, and nothing will grow at all unless there's sufficient CO2 for the plant to make food. Both of those have been shown to be a non-issue since Youmu regularly grows stuff.

That just leaves the key factors that influence HEALTHY plant growth.

I think she needs an Orb of Sunlight to better manage the day/night thing so the apples can get ripe and juicy, and a spade of Earthen Power to give the soil a healthy dose of life energy as needed.

I'm sure Kanako or Patchy can assist with the orb depending on if we can to go the divine or magical route, and the Aki twins or Yuuka can assist with the spade, once again depending on if we want the power source to be divine or magical in nature.
>> No. 41873
“I see. That does make sense.” The craftsman balances the hand-sized shovel on his index finger. “Guess I just never really thought about it.”

“Proper weight distribution is important for small tools like this.” The green youkai explains. “It makes the shovel far easier to handle, so it strains the wrist less, assuming you’re not using it wrong.”

“The weight management is going to be tough, though.” He gives the little shovel a small bump, rolling it around his finger as he admires the craftsmanship of the tool. “Reinforcing the head enough to be useful, means the handle has to be padded to balance the weight. But adding too much will make the whole thing too heavy.”

“The fine details are the difference between a master’s work and a journeyman’s work.” She continues. “Though, I have a feeling you already know that.” She puts down her cup to refill her drink.

“You would be right, there.” He admits. “Learning which details are important is what sets us craftsmen apart.”

“Yet you’re a sculptor, are you not? Why the interest in gardening tools?” She blows on her tea, making sure it’s not too hot. “Moreover, you decided to come all the way out here, when there are people in the village who could tell you all of this just as easily.”

“I’m an alchemist, actually. I craft anything and everything. It’s part of my pursuit of knowledge. Although I do like sculpting itself.” He explains, putting down the shovel and focus on the infamous flower youkai. “And I came here hoping for a little more than just some gardening advice.” The artisan picks up a metal ball he brought with him and places it on the table. Unscrewing it, reveals it to be a container, housing dirt from the Netherworld. “I would like to create tools that can help plants grow in dirt like this.”

The flower youkai takes the bowl of dirt and examines its contents. She picks up a small lump of the dirt and puts it in her mouth, chewing on it to get a sense of its properties. “This is not normal dirt, is it?” She concludes.

“It’s not.” He admits. “It’s from the Netherworld. Plants from there can grow in it just fine, and I’ve confirmed that it’s possible for plants from our world to also grow in it, with some difficulties.”

“It shouldn’t be any problem to grow plants with this dirt.” She states, prodding the bowl’s contents a little more. “That said, it is lacking something. I’m not sure how to describe it, but I would say it’s taste is dry, despite the water being present.”

The youkai places her thumbs on the rim of the bowl, running them around the edge. As her fingers pass, the dirt seems to grow in saturation, and following in tow are crimson stalks of grass.

“I thought as much. Is there perhaps a Kyuuketsuki near the place where you gathered this dirt? That is, the tree, not the vampire.” She corrects herself.

“If any, then it would have to be the Saigyou Ayakashi.” He notes. “It’s an old cherry blossom that used to lure people to their deaths. It has been sealed for more than a millennium, though.”

“Sealed or not, it will drain the earth for what it’s worth.” She hands over the bowl again, having learned what she needed. “Anything short of chopping it down won’t stop it.”

“So, there’s no way to restore the land’s fertility?” He reseals the dirt and places the sphere on the floor.

The flower youkai takes a sip before she answers. “I could probably do it in a day or two. Though I’m suspecting that’s not the answer you’re looking for.” She takes another drink.

“Ideally, I would like something that can be contained in a tool.” He explains to her. “Even if we have to invent a new tool specifically for this purpose.”

“That might not be necessary.” She leans back into her chair. “Can you make metal serve as a mana catalyst?”

“It’ll take a while, but it’s within my abilities.”

“In that case, I might be able to help you with a long-term solution.” She puts her cup down. “I can grow a special tree that should do just what you need. It’s going to take a few days to prepare, however.”

“It’s fine. There’s a couple of weeks until I’ll need these tools, so it’s not like you have to hurry.” The alchemist explains.

“It’s fine. There’s not much else to do at this time of the year.” She waves his concerns away. “But if you don’t mind me asking; why exactly do you need these tools? You don’t look like the gardening type to me.”

“It’s a gift.” He admits. “For a special someone.”

“Oh?” She takes her empty cup and pretends to drink the remaining, hiding her smile. “I’ll make sure to get it done quickly, then. And let’s just say you owe me a favor and call it even?”

“Yeah. Thanks.” He gives her a polite little bow. “I knew coming to you was the right choice. But can I ask, what kind of favor are we talking about?”

“I have a couple ideas for things I’d like to have custom made.” She explains. “But we’ll talk about that later. For now, you should focus on that ‘special someone.’”

With the help of the feared flower youkai, the first of three items have been all but secured. The next step is to go to the mountain to talk with some gods.


-----
A little later than I had expected, but my proofer was busy. If anything goes according to plan, I should be able to make it to around march 15, give or take some days
No, I don't dislike Yuuka in any way
>> No. 41874
Is there going to be a vote for this one, or will we just have to wait?
>> No. 41875
>>41874
Just wait for now
>> No. 41876
And for April fools day, we trick her into thinking talking to the trees helps them grow faster and then get Sakuya to timehax her apple trees overnight when she does it.
>> No. 41908
“That’s so cute.” The goddess leans in on the makeshift stone table. “Then, what’s next?”

“That’s why I came to you.” The alchemist taps on the table. “Now that the fertility of the earth has been taken care of, allowing the trees to give a great harvest.” He gestures at her. “And who else than the goddess of harvest?”

“Oh, stop it.” She playfully dismisses his apparent flatter. “But why didn’t you come here from the start?” She asks. “I could easily take care of the fertility problem as well.”

“Getting a bountiful harvest and making lands fertile are two different things, even if they’re related.” He explains. “I assumed you wouldn’t have the ability to make land fertile.”

“I see.” The goddess strokes her chin, trying to look thoughtful. “Seems it’s my own fault, then. I try to not advertise that ability of mine. Most humans think about sex when they talk about fertility, and I’d rather be a goddess of autumn than a goddess of sex. Connotation and all that.” She explains openly.

“Yeah, kami are a lot more malleable than us regular youkai, so I can imagine how that perception change would affect you.” The alchemist crosses his arms and nods along. “Tsukumogami are pretty well defined as living objects. It would be hard for me to change that, even if I wanted to.”

“What’s it like, by the way?” She changes the topic. “You guys tend to crowd around the human village, so we rarely see any up here on the mountain.”

“What’s it like being a Tsukumogami?” He asks, to make sure he understands the question. “About the same as it’d being a kami, I imagine. This is the only life I know, so I can’t exactly compare it to anything else.” He explains. “Sorry I can’t answer it any better.”

“No, it was a strange question to begin with.” The golden goddess dismisses her own question. “But let’s get back on topic. What exactly do you imagine I can help you with?”

“Like I said, I would like to create something that can increase the quality of a harvest.” The youkai explains again. “I’m not sure what form would be most effective to achieve this, though.”

“Manure.” The goddess states as a matter-of-fact. “Feeding the plants an abundance of everything they need will allow them to grow more and faster, up to a certain limit.” She rests her head in her palm. “I don’t think that’s what you’re looking for, however. Not just because it’s not very romantic to give your lady a sack of literal shit.”

“I think she would take it, but only out of formality.” He agrees with her. “So yeah, I would like something a little different.”

“Hmm.” She taps the table, thinking over the possibilities. “How much mana does she have?”

“I can’t say for sure.” He admits. “She has less than me, that’s for sure. If I had to guess, I’d say her spiritual power comes in first, with qi following right behind.”

“So, it’s her weakest trait.” The goddess concludes.

“Why do you ask?”

“The best solution I can think of right now, would be something akin to a lamp.” She sits back upright. “I would pour my blessing into it and every plant within its radius would experience a more radiant growth.”

“But it’d have to be recharged by mana periodically.” The alchemist finishes her explanation. “How much and how often?”

“I wouldn’t be too much.” She shrugs. “I’m not exactly a spellcaster, but I can keep the blessing up an entire season.”

“You’re not a spellcaster, but you are a god.”

“Touché.” The goddess chuckles. “But seriously, it shouldn’t be too much.”

“I was thinking of attaching a mana battery to it to keep it working for longer periods. Charging these batteries, in turn, won’t take too long, though it’ll cost of a lot of mana.”

“Ooh, that could work.” She jumps up from her seat. “You wouldn’t happen to have something that could be used as a container, would you?”

“That depends. Are there any requirements?” The alchemist follows her lead and stands up too. “Metal, plant, glass? Any traits specifically?”

“Glass.” She states. “The blessing will work similar to a light, so it’ll need to shine.”

“Clear, frosted or prism?” He continues to ask. “Will color make any impact.”

The goddess looks confused as she tries to process the questions.

“I’ve never thought about that, to be honest.” She admits. “Frosted glass is out for sure. But I don’t know how a prism would affect the blessing. So, let’s just go with clear. Color shouldn’t have any impact either.”

“Then it should be easy to make. It’ll only take a couple seconds.” He says as he pulls out a vial of stone essence. “Encased or embedded?”

“Embedded. That works best with blessings.” She states.

“Alright then.”

Starting the process, the alchemist surrounded the vial with his magic before uncorking it, taking out a few droplets of the grey liquid. After carefully sealing up the vial again, be starts manipulating the stone droplets, first changing them into sand, then changing the sand into glass, keeping it in a liquefied state. After shaping into a sphere, the glass solidifies into a clear, nearly perfectly transparent ball of glass.

“Done.” He states, holding out his latest creation. “Now it just needs your blessing.”

“So that’s how you make things.” The goddess awes in amazement. “I’ve never seen alchemy before.”

“We tend to be more secretive with our methods than even mages.” He explains. “And there are few of us around to begin with.”

“Why?” She takes the crystal ball. “I’m not saying this should be made a common skill, but why not write some books on it?”

“Alchemy borders in the line between science and magic.” The alchemist sits down again. “I probably don’t need to tell you what would happen if we introduced science to Gensokyo, of all places.”

“You have a point.” The goddess places both hands on the ball and starts channeling some of her energy into it, creating the blessing. “It just seems like a useful thing to have, you know.”

“Alchemy is useful in more ways than you can imagine. It just takes ages to learn, much less master.” He explains. “I’m not trying to brag. I’ve just had a long time to learn what I have.”

“No, I get it. I didn’t learn all this overnight either.” She holds out the glass ball. “That should be it.”

“Thank you. I think she’ll love this.” He stands back up to take the ball. “I’ll owe you a favor. Feel free to come by my shop whenever you’ve thought of something.”

“I already have.” The little goddess waves the youkai down to her level, to which he complies. “That wolf that’s been escorting you. Just mention to him that he’s free to come back later if he wants to.” She whispers to the alchemist.

The tengu, being as territorial as they are, don’t allow strangers to wander on their mountain. The youkai that live here can walk around freely, though they’ll be observed. Strangers like Renkin, however, must be escorted around, which is typically done by the wolf tengu because the dai-tengu can’t be bothered to do small tasks like that.

The tengu in question is politely keeping his distance with the back turned to the two of them. He knows this is mostly a formality and a display of power, more than anything else.

“I think you’d have a better chance asking him out directly, but it’s not my place to meddle.” The alchemist replies. “I’ll make sure to tell him on the way down.”

“Thanks, you’re a gem.” She says, hopping back a few steps. “If that’s all for now, then I’ll go back to sleep. I Hope the gift works out.”

As she says that, the goddess seemingly dissolves into light, flying into a nearby tree. The only tree which currently bear fruit, which is strange since it’s still early spring at best, later winter at worst. And in case you’re curious, there is indeed another tree nearby, still bearing red leaves. It’s not hard to guess where the sisters reside in their off-seasons.

Yuuka, the flower youkai, should drop off the branch one of the following days, after which the alchemist can finally get started on his gift. There’s a thought that’s been poking at him for a while now. Is all of this too much? He’s committed to the tools, which he’s sure Youmu would gladly accept. But all she gave him was chocolate, which were delicious, by the way. It may feel a little disproportionate as a return gift.

[] Scrap the plans and make some chocolate instead
- [Write in] Sculpt it into a shape? If so, what.
[] Skip the chocolate and only give her the tools
[] Go all out. Tools and chocolate
- [Write in] Same as above.

Sorry for the delay. Seems valentine will have to last just a little longer this year. Also, forgot to add the title for the last update.

>>41876
Sell it to me. How do you want to convince her? Keep in mind she's a gardener, though I'm not above having some fun bullying our little dork.
>> No. 41918
[x] Go all out. Tools and chocolate!
- [x] Something small, but delicate - the chocolate rose mentioned earlier might do the trick
- [x] Remember that if your primary bulli victim girlfriend feels overwhelmed by the quantity/quality of gifts, you can point out how these tools will no doubt help her make delicious fruits, a gift of which would more than return the favor.

Also, re: >>41876 - I'm not the one who came up with the idea, but he might be able to convince her by arguing that, since the border between living things and dead things is weaker in the netherworld, the borders separating different *types* of living things (animate and inanimate) might also be weaker...
/shrug
>> No. 41919
[x] Go all out. Tools and chocolate!
- [x] Something small, but delicate - the chocolate rose mentioned earlier might do the trick
- [x] Remember that if your primary bulli victim girlfriend feels overwhelmed by the quantity/quality of gifts, you can point out how these tools are an investment in our future together


>>41908

Easy. We make some bauble or trinket that [i]looks[/s] absurdly powerful, and tell her The micro-myriad god inhabiting the item responds to songs sung in his honor by cute girls.
>> No. 41921
[x] Go all out. Tools and chocolate!
- [x] Something small, but delicate - the chocolate rose mentioned earlier might do the trick

>>41908
Yukari is messing around again tells you about a new Outside World discovery about how plants are actually sentient and you need to bark orders at it to force it to grow.
>> No. 41922
>>41908

Eirin's shady voice activated growth drug.
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