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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.
104posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 41349
[x] Keine asked for help, whenever the alchemist had some time, about some personal problem.
>> No. 41359
[x] Keine asked for help, whenever the alchemist had some time, about some personal problem.
>> No. 41360
File 154273828580.jpg - (121.51KB, 826x1169, Racer girl.jpg) [iqdb]
41360
The clouds are starting to get darker. When the alchemist left home it was only overcast, but it seems to have gotten worse. Probably not the ideal weather for a date, though Kogasa is going to enjoy the weather quite a lot.

He knocks on the teacher’s house, seeing as there’s light inside. He hasn’t been to her home more than a handful of times. While the two know each other as youkai, are remain in friendly terms, neither of them would claim to be friends.

The teacher peeks out the door. “Renkin?” She opens the door all the way. “What can I help you with?”

The teacher has already gotten out of her work clothes and dawned something more comfortable; a set of clothes made mainly of wool, perfect for the colder weather.

“Actually, I’m here to help you.” He corrects her. “You said you had something you would like to talk about, whenever I had time.” He spreads out his arms. “And now I have time.”

“Oh right, of course.” She stands aside and waves him inside. “Please come.”

The inside of Keine’s house has a distinct old European feeling to it. The halls and rooms are small and cramped, since she doesn’t have a particularly big house but still have a lot of rooms.

The were-beast leads him to the living room. It’s a small room with a fireplace in the corner, currently lit. In front of it sits a very soft looking chair with faded green stripes running down the fabric. There’s also a bookcase, standing perhaps a little too close to the fire, filled with all sorts of books.

“Is there anything I can get you?” She asks, walking towards the other door in the room.

“I don’t need to drink, so anything is fine.” He answers, looking around the room, taking in the relaxing atmosphere.

“Alright then.” She takes the book lying in the chair and bookmarks it before laying it on the small table right beside the chair. She pushes the footrest towards her guest. “I’m afraid that’s the best I can offer since, as you can see, there are no other chairs in the room.”

“Don’t worry about it, Keine.” He says, taking seat on the footrest. “Just relax. You seem a little tense. Did I perhaps come at a bad time?”

“No. No. I was just reading, it’s fine.” She walks over to the bookcase, pulling out a paperback book, flipping through the pages. Once she’s found what she was looking for, she sits down in the chair. “So.” She tries to buy a little more time. “You know I’m a youkai. Or half youkai, at least.”

“Yeah?” He urges her to go on.

“And you know that not a lot of people actually know this either, right?” She continues to drag it out. “So, there’s not a lot of people I can even think about asking this.”

“I see.” He allows her to take her time, since he’s not busy with anything else.

“And out of all the people I know, who I can talk to about this, you’re the only one who can craft items.” She continues.

“So, I’m the only one you can actually talk to.” He concludes.

She nods. “But it’s still embarrassing to talk about.”

“I’ve worked on a lot of strange requests.” He tries to reassure her. “I doubt whatever you have in mind would surprise me.” There’s a moment of silence before he realizes something. “Wait. Don’t tell me you actually managed to break Kusanagi?”

“Kusanagi?” She looks up, confused. “No. The old thing is chipped, sure, but it’s far from breaking.”

“Oh, thank god.” He lets out a sigh of relief. “I doubt any mortal would be able to repair that sword.”

“No, it has nothing to do with the sword.” She gets back on track. “Actually, it might be easier if you just take a look at this.” She hands him the book she just fetched.

The page she shows him has an image of a woman, wearing only a towel, drawn so well that it appears to be real, no trace of a pen with perfect shadows. The woman is running her hand across her leg, which seem to make this white foam like thing disappear.

“That’s a pretty woman?” He asks, not sure what he’s looking at.

“No that’s, well I mean, she is pretty, but that’s not what I wanted you to see.” The teacher points to a tool drawn a little above the woman. “This thing.” The tool she’s pointing to looks like a thick, curved chopstick, but with blades going across it. “Do you think you would be able to make something like that?”

He examines the tool a little more. “I’d be able to replicate the shape easily.” He concludes. “But without knowing what it’s for, I might have some trouble make it actually useable.”

“Um, well. I’m a were-beast.” She states. “That means,” she trails off, thinking about how to word it properly, “it means that my hair grows a lot faster than humans’.”

“This is a tool for cutting hair?” He examines the page once more.

“Well, according to a friend, the one who sold me that book, it’s meant to cut hair.” She explains. “Just not what grows on the head.”

“I see.” He ponders the use of the tool a little, thinking about its design when it hits him. “Oh. Oh, I see. That’s how it is.”

The were-beast blush slightly. It doesn’t matter how old she gets, it’s still awkward to talk about matters like this with people of the opposite gender.

“Well, it’s going to be a little difficult to test.” He concludes. “But I’ll see what I can do.”

“Thank you. You really are a lifesaver.” She thanks him. “Oh, and please keep the book, if you need it for reference.”

“Do you know what this shaving tool is called?” He asks, closing the paperback. “Or should we give it a name?”

“I think she called a racer, or something like that.” She suggests. “That book is written in a language I can’t read, so I can’t say for sure.”

“While I’m here, there’s nothing else you want me to take a look at?” He asks.

“Not that I can think of.” She shakes her head.

“Alright, then.” He stands up. “Then I’ll take my leave. I’ll try to work on this whenever I don’t have anything else.”

“Take your time.” She assures him. “Just knowing it might be a possibility makes me feel a little better.”

The clouds have gotten even darker. It’s going to rain soon, that’s for sure, though it looks like it could still be a little while.

[] There’s still time to see what Mokou’s problem is.
[] Better not take any chances. Head straight home and start working on this ‘racer.’
>> No. 41362
[x] There’s still time to see what Mokou’s problem is.
>> No. 41363
[x] There’s still time to see what Mokou’s problem is.
>> No. 41364
[x] There’s still time to see what Mokou’s problem is.

Collect the jobs for the docket first.
>> No. 41365
[x] There’s still time to see what Mokou’s problem is.
>> No. 41373
File 154282115795.jpg - (45.26KB, 330x700, Working girl.jpg) [iqdb]
41373
Unlike her friend, the immortal lives and works by the village’s edge, making the track from the teacher’s house to the immortal a long walk.

Within her area, the immortal’s food stand is well-known by the locals that leave the village to work. Despite their attempts, however, the locals have never been able to strike up a conversation with the gal, though she’s well respected and liked despite that.

The alchemist knocks loudly on the wall of the food stand to make himself known.

After a moment, the immortal walks through the rear door holding a cup. She looks over the alchemist before pointing to the sign saying that the stall is closed.

“I’m not a customer.” He explains. “Keine told me you could use some help with some repairs.”

“Alchemy.” She says.

“Yeah, I’m an alchemist.” He answers.

The immortal down the sake she was carrying and place the cup on the end table. She unlocks the door, allowing the alchemist inside the shop. She leads him over to the main grill, which she gives a good hard tap.

“This is what needs fixing?” He asks.

The immortal doesn’t respond, instead just looks at him with the same stoic expression she always has.

Taking her silence as a yes, the alchemist places his hands on the grill, sending a small surge of mana through it to prospect.

Yakitori grills work pretty much the same as regular grills, with the exception being their shape, which is specifically designed to hold skewers, as well as the vent used to regulate the heat.

The coal is put on a grid halfway down the grill. However, the grid in this grill has been exposed to a high level of heat, resulting in the metal melting. It’s very unlikely that whatever food she was trying to cook turned out to be anything but ash.

“This is going to be an easy fix.” He says. “I’m going to need some space to work in, so I hope you don’t mind if I move it outside.”

The immortal just shrugs. It doesn’t really make a difference to her. Either he manages to fix it, or it continues to be a worthless collection of metal.

With little effort, he picks up the grill and backs out the door, placing it on the ground.

Mokou follows him outside, taking the chance to light a smoke. It’s not that she’s addicted to the those, since her condition prevents any form of addictions. To her, it’ more of a habit that’s formed, and since none of the drawbacks apply to her, she’s yet to see a reason to quit.

The alchemist draws a fundamental transmutation circle in the dirt. Since nothing is missing from the grill, he doesn’t need to add new materials to repair it. Instead, he can just restructure what’s already there back into its original shape.

“Rain.” The immortal notes, staring up into the sky.

“Yeah, it’s going to rain any minute now.” He replies without looking at the sky. At this point, you can feel it in the air, that’s it’s going to rain. “But this will just take a second.”

He places the grill inside the circle and start working.

Try to his word, the repair took less than two minutes, since he just needed to move around some parts.

“That’s it.” He declares. “Should be good as new, now.” He picks up the grill again and moves it back inside. “Don’t bother with paying, either.” He says. “This was such a small thing it’s barely worth anything, even before the youkai discount.”

The immortal runs her hand across the grill. “Hungry.” She looks him in the eyes.

“Well, I’m not going to turn down the offer.” He walks outside and takes a seat.

Mokou pulls out some charcoal from under the counter the throws the into the grill. With a snap of her fingers, she lights the grill on fire, revealing how it might have suffered the fire damage.

While the grill gets warm, she turns around to prepare some skewers on the rear desk. With the efficiency of a pro, she quickly prepares a handful of yakitori.

“You wouldn’t have something to wrap them in?” He asks. “I might have to head home soon, if I want to avoid getting drenched.”

The chef pulls out a smooth paper like leather cloth, which she wraps around the skewers. She then takes a normal piece of cloth and wrap around the wrapped skewers, trying it neatly so it’ll hold the warmth a little better, before handing it over the counter.

“Thanks. And sorry for the haste.” He apologizes. “If anything comes up, just ask Keine where our workshop is. Youkai like us get a great discount.”

She nods, though her stoic expression still hasn’t changed.

==========

The alchemist has barely made it halfway home when the rain starts to fall. It doesn’t take long after the first few drops before it becomes a shower.

He’s about to shield his food inside the vest, but he spots a familiar figure standing in the rain.

“Kogasa?”

She’s standing in the rain by herself, using her real body to take cover from the rain.

“What are you doing here by yourself?” He hurries up to his sister.

She doesn’t respond.

The alchemist doesn’t need any more context to figure out roughly what’s happened. The guy never showed up, and she’s been waiting diligently.

And there, if even just for a fraction of a second, anyone who would have stumbled upon this scene would unmistakably recognize the alchemist as the youkai he is. Thankfully he still has enough sense to, in the most literal sense of the word, knock the boiling rage out of himself by throwing the hammer at the ground, causing the bricks to crack.

Kogasa is obviously startled by this but doesn’t react beyond the small jump. She doesn’t feel like caring about that right now.

After picking up the hammer again, he puts his arm around the umbrella. “Let’s go home, Kogasa. You’ll catch a cold if you stand here all night.”

==========

As a rule of thumb, the one thing Tsukumogami want more than anything else is to feel wanted, to be needed and to be useful. After all, they’re items, tools created to serve a single purpose, which make that purpose the very core of their being. To appeal to the hope of being wanted, no matter how tiny, is to touch a Tsukumogami at their core, so the act of trampling on that hope is beyond unforgivable.

Kogasa, someone who was abandoned because her color went out of fashion, wants nothing more than to belong, to feel wanted above any of the other traits.

Whoever sent that letter likely doesn’t know this, which will be the only thing that could serve as his forgiveness.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder Kogasa is taking the day off.

The question is, how would the alchemist deal with this? It’s best to leave her alone since she will recover and bounce back. But should he stick around the shop working, making his presence known. Or should he close the shop and take the day off himself, leaving to do something else, like visiting the Netherworld again.

[] Stick around the shop and work.
[] Give her some room and leave for today.
>> No. 41374
[x] Stick around the shop and work.
>> No. 41376
[X] Stick around the shop and work.

Don't need to pry, but just being there is enough.
>> No. 41382
[x] Stick around the shop and work.
>> No. 41383
[x] Stick around the shop and work.

We'll be around if she needs us.
>> No. 41385
File 154290960686.jpg - (188.61KB, 850x1096, Picture I wanted to use last time but didn't.jpg) [iqdb]
41385
The two of them have lived together for more than a human lifetime. Despite that, it’s rare that things like this happen, so neither of them knows how to really handle it when the other is down like this.

The only thing the alchemist can think to do is to stick around the shop. If he was feeling down, rather than being alone, he’d take some comfort in knowing Kogasa would be around.

So that’s what he does. He doesn’t flip over the sign on the door, keeping the store closed for the day. With no orders lined up, he figures that now is a good a time as any to look into this ‘racer’ tool.

He walks into his study where he starts drafting ideas for the tool.

Since it’s meant for shaving, the blades will have to be angled slightly. It’s impossible to make them move without making them unsecure, so figuring out the right angle to use is one problem.

Judging from the image, the handle is no longer than a palm, maybe less, which will provide a scale to work with. And speaking of the handle, how should it be made? Forged or casted?

==========

The blades are hard to make, since they’re so thin. Even a shaver is thicker, though that’s essentially just a knife. These blades are small and rather fragile. Pushing them against the body won’t break them, unless you apply an unhealthy amount of force, but at that point you might have other problems than just a broken ‘racer’ blade. No, the fragility shows when sharpening them. Since they’re so thin, there’s not a lot of material to shave off to make it sharper and grinding too deep breaks them.

Putting the whole thing together is easier for the alchemist, since he’s rather dexterous with his fingers, but getting to that point is taking a lot of time.

But after that, it’s finally time to test the thing.

He rolls up his pant and mimics the women in the drawing by dragging the ‘racer’ up along his leg.

And nothing. He has a lot of hair as it is, so it should be easy to see the difference. Did he make the blades’ angle too shallow? He tried being careful about making them too steep, as that would be quite uncomfortable, but he might have gone too far the other way to where the blades are no longer effective.

Which means he must remake the handle.

==========

After reassembling the ‘racer’ again with the altered handle, he gets ready to try it on his leg like last time.

And it cuts this time. It stings a little, but it cuts. He’s a little reluctant to make the blades just a little shallower since he’ll have to remake the handle again. Instead he considers how he might be able make it go a little smoother.

Working through the slight pain, he continues to test the ‘racer’ until the prototype blade starts getting dull and pull more than they cut.

Which expose another problem. The ease of changing blades. Maybe it would be easier with just one blade? Has Keine even tried a shaving knife?

“Am I interrupting something?” Kogasa asks, seeing the drawing of the naked woman and her brother’s half-shaved man leg.

“Kogasa?” The alchemist hadn’t noticed her entering the work space. “No, I was just testing a custom order product.” He puts the ‘racer’ on the table and folds down his pants again. “What about you? How are you feeling?”

“Better. Thanks.” She takes a seat next to the furnace. “Guess it was a mistake to go.”

“Maybe.” He turns so he’s facing her. “But if you hadn’t gone, you would probably just wish that you had.”

“Probably.” The umbrella agrees. “But it still hurts.”

“Rejection will always hurt.” He tries to comfort her. “But you’re a lovely girl. Some day you’ll find an owner who’ll care for you. Until then, you and I stick together. That’s what we promised, remember?”

“Our promise was to stick together until we’d both found a new owner.” She corrects him.

“I’ve already found mine.” He states. “I just have to find the time to ask her to take ownership.”

“Youmu?” She asks, to which he nods. “I had a feeling.”

“Mm.” He nods again. “But like I said, I won’t leave until you’ve found an owner you like. So, don’t worry.”

“Careful, or I might not want to find an actual owner again.” She chuckles.

“Well, that would be trouble.” He strokes his beard, playing along. “Then you’d have to stick by my side for even longer.”

“Yeah, what a nightmare.” She jumps back up. “How about we go out to get something to eat?”

“Sure.” He stands up with her. “Let’s eat us full tonight.”


-----
Youmu again soon
>> No. 41390
File 154300390260.jpg - (252.50KB, 1125x1075, Fighty dork.jpg) [iqdb]
41390
The gate to the Netherworld has made travelling there so much easier compared to how it used to be. Whether or not that’s a good thing depends entirely on who you ask, however.

Normal humans can’t survive in the Netherworld, as they slowly have their life force drained by the world itself. Exception cases like the Hakurei shrine maiden, who has enough spiritual power to shield herself, can move freely. Youkai like the alchemist remain in an unclear territory as to whether they’re dead or alive, though the Netherworld has no notable effect on them, allowing them to run freely like the natives.

Before the gate appeared, things like this was barely considered, since getting access to the Netherworld was a major challenge by itself. The Konpaku clan, the natural residents of the Netherworld, among their other skills, have a unique ability to freely travel to and from their own world, allowing them to visit other worlds, like Gensokyo on a whim.

That’s how the Konpaku clan came to become customers of the alchemist in the first place. A couple of clansmen visiting Gensokyo, having heard of this supposed “youkai paradise” from the spirits. By sheer chance, they went into the workshop where they started a conversation with the alchemist, leading to them placing a repair order.

From there it followed a pretty stable growth in business until they entrusted him with a method to travel to the Netherworld. A method which has now become obsolete thanks to the gate.

Of course, the fact it’s become easier to travel there means he now has more excuses to visit. And that’s exactly why we find him approaching the dead princess’ manor.

“Yuyu!” He calls out through the open door. “Are you home?”

No answer.

He shrugs. It somewhat sucks that he came all the way here, only for her to not be home, but so be it. The princess may be dead, but she’s not bound to this mansion in any sense of the word.

He’s about to leave when the gardener falls from the sky, just barely grinding to a halt before falling to her knees.

She doesn’t notice the alchemist but is instead focused on the other half ghost that follows her down to the ground.

The little swordswoman rises to her feet again and clutch her wooden sword, preparing for another clash with her opponent.

“How nice of you to join us.” The ghostly princess appears next to the alchemist. “Youmu is a little busy, as you can see, but feel free to wait a bit.”

“Yeah, I just came to say hi again.” He answers. “It’s been a while after all.”

“That it has.” The ghost rests against her guest’s shoulder. Her weightless form makes it almost unnoticeable, if not for the cold touch of her skin.

The swordsman, Youmu’s opponents, sheathes one of his two wooden swords, grabbing the main one with both hands. “It doesn’t feel like you’ve improved much.”

“That’s because unlike you, I have an actual job to do.” She barks back. “But it’s a surprise how much better you’ve gotten, considering all you do is chase tail.”

The swordsman snicker in response, raising his sword high above his head. “Stance of the Rose: Death by a Thousand Cuts.” He swings the blade down, pulling it slightly to the side, allowing him to swing it back around a second time. Through the entire move, hundreds of small needles shoot out from the blade, homing straight in for the gardener.

Youmu lowers her sword, keeping a tight grip. “Crescent Moon: Threefold Slash.” She swings her blade up, causing a strong gust to blow the needles off course. At the same time, her ghost has taken a translucent human shape and attacks from above.

The swordsman pulls his second blade, deflecting the phantom’s spirit blade. Continuing the motion from the draw, he spins around to gain enough power to block the swordswoman’s final blow by directing her sword into the ground.

“That wasn’t a Threefold Slash.” He notes to his opponent. “The blades are supposed to come at the same time.” He places a foot in her stomach and push her backwards. “Like this. Crescent Moon: Threefold Slash.” He swings his blade, and true to his word, the blur of three separate strikes, each with their own angle comes at the gardener.

She manages to block two of them, but the final slash hit her in the side.

“Who’s the newcomer?” The alchemist asks. “I don’t think I’ve seen him before.”

“You don’t recognize him? That’s Youten.” The ghost declares proudly.

“Really?” The he takes another look at the new ghost, and sure enough, he can see how he resembles the little vegetable Youki took a liking to. “He sure has grown a lot.”

“Wait.” Youmu finally notices the guest. “Stop, Ten. Wait a minute.” She holds out her hand. She runs over to the alchemist, still sweating and panting from her spar. “Renkin, what are you doing here?”

He shrugs. “I just felt like visiting my old friend.”

“Renkin.” The swordsman calls for attention as well. His breath is much more controlled, though he’s sweating far more than his opponent. “It’s great seeing you again.” He bows. “Thank you for always taking care of mom.”

Yuyu chuckles. “Taking care.” She repeats, finding some amusement in those words.

“If she’s ever giving you trouble, just call on me.” He continues.

The alchemist places a hand on the swordsman’s head, applying a playful amount of force down. “You’re a few decades to early to talk like that, boy.” He releases the boy who look up with a smile. “Now what’s this I hear about ‘chasing tail’?”

“Oh, just wait ‘till you hear this.” The princess starts fluttering. “Little Youten has gotten a girlfriend. A beautiful blonde.”

“Mom!” The boy interrupts her.

Obviously, the two of them aren’t related by blood, since the princess is dead and all that. But like Youmu said, Yuyuko has a habit of taking in orphans and treating them like her children. The affection rubbed off on the boy who started to call her mom.

“Seems like he’s a little quicker than you, Youmu.” The alchemist takes the opportunity to tease her a little. “I mean, it’s everything but official by this point.”

“Ren!” The gardener shouts, quickly growing a blush.

“You mean you have a boyfriend?” The boy asks. “You? The try-hard little tomboy? I don’t believe it.”

“Quit calling me little.” She demands on the boy. “You may have gotten taller than me, but you’re still younger.”

“Oh really?” The boy stands tall next to the little gardener. “And what if I don’t stop? What can you do about it from all the way down there?”

There is at most five centimeters between their heights.

“Are you asking for another beating?”

“Maybe I knocked you too hard, since it seems you’ve forgotten how badly you were losing.”

The two of them butt heads.

From their bickering, it’s hard to imagine they were each others’ first love. Though, they were kids and a lot have changed since then.

“Youmu.” The princess interrupts them. “Think you could be a darling and get us something to drink?”

“Ah, sure.” She pulls away from the headbutting so sudden the boy almost falls over. She runs out of the room to prepare something to drink.

“So, what have you been up to, Youten?” The alchemist asks. The two haven’t seen each other in years, since he left with Youki to train.

“I’m exploring modern Japan.” He answers. “Feel like I need to rack up some more experience before I’m ready to actually call myself the Master of the Yureido style.”

Yureido, Way of the Ghost, is the sword style practiced by the Konpaku clan.

“Although,” he continues, “I actually came back because I wanted to talk to you.”

“Really?” The alchemist rests his head in his hand.

The swordsman places his hands firmly on the floor and bows all the way down. “Please forge me a new sword.”

The youkai looks over at his dead friend. She shrugs, still with her carefree smile.

“Alright. But it’s not going to come cheap.” He agrees.

The boy lifts his head. “I’ll pay anything it’ll take.” He declares. “But it has to be forged by you. Every other blade I’ve used have broken.”

The gardener comes back, carrying a tray of four cups. Two with warm tea and two with iced tea.

“Youmu, I’m going to have to borrow you for a few days, it seems.” The alchemist states.

“What’s going on?” The phantom girl asks.

“I’ll need your help to secure some materials.” He answers, standing up. Just thinking about the possibilities excites him. Working on Youmu’s sword comes with restrictions. Creating weapons for humans is dull, since no one is powerful enough to wield enchanted gear. But this. A youkai asking for a sword. Now he and Kogasa can finally go all out again.

“Aren’t you going to have a drink?” She asks.

“No, sorry, but that’ll have to be another time.” He apologizes. “I want to get started on this as soon as possible.” He starts walking home.

“Hey, wait.” The gardener calls out to him. “At least let me pack a few things first.”

Exciting. Truly exciting. An enchanted sword meant to be wielded by a youkai. Oh, the possibilities.

The base material needs to be Kogasa’s mithril. It’s sturdier than anything they can craft naturally, and lightweight to boot.

Enchantments are endless in possibilities. A basic elemental attribute, allowing him to harness the power of nature? Maybe a more complex enchantment like the ability to only cat what the wielder desires?

The type of enchantment will dictate the materials they need to gather, and who to talk to about the enchantment itself, since neither the alchemist nor the blacksmith is skilled enchanters.

[] Simple enchantment
- [Write in] Choose an element. You’re not restricted to the basic 4 or 5 so be creative
[] Complex enchantment
- [Write in] Anything goes

Both write-ins are optional, but if I don't get any, then I'll just have to pick something boring and generic.

Also only one week left. Thought I'd have burned out a long time ago, but surprisingly I haven't. Though I do miss my free time a little.
>> No. 41391
[X] Complex enchantment
- [Write In] Cutting of obsession and attachment.

Just working with my own imagination here, but it'd be nice to make something mirroring Roukanken and Hakurouken, since Youten seems to be so fond of his rivalry.

Hakurouken can cheat by bringing spirits to the afterlife, so why not a sword that cheats by ending a spirit's attachment to the mortal realm. Can probably have some fun anti-curse properties, too.
>> No. 41394
[X] Complex enchantment
- [Write In] Cutting of obsession and attachment.

The concept of a sword that can cut through a ghost's fetters seems really cool.
>> 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
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