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File 154614013222.jpg - (179.36KB, 700x840, buddhistballs.jpg) [iqdb]
41628 No. 41628
Thread 1: >>41094


[x] To spar.
 [x] Loser has to sleep at the opposite abode.

I strode back out, into the open. She wouldn’t get out of those habits on her own, so I decided to shake this up. Byakuren waited by the trees.

I turned and faced her, resting my left hand on my sword. Seiga didn’t help, but I still had one card up my sleeve. I threw my right hand out, shaku pointed at Byakuren. “We’re here to duel.”

She stepped out of the shade. “Excuse me?”

I shrugged my shoulders and let my right hand descend to my side. “We’re not reaching each other through conventional means. So, I’ve decided we need to speak in a more common language.”

She cocked her head. “Violence?”

“Magic bullet duels.”

She shook her head as she rolled her shoulders. “I can accept that. What are your terms?”

“Our beds.”

She froze, turning pink. “Excuse me?”

“The loser must rest in the winner’s abode. We’re companions now, after all, so we ought at least to do that much.”

She stared back, a slant to her eyes. “I think you want to sleep here.”

“Oh ho. You’ve got some fire now.”

She shook her head, face still as she balled one hand into a fist, which she pointed at me. “How many cards?”

“As many as you have.” Or in other words, the fight would continue, all out, until someone wore out or gave in. A choice normally reserved for intense, almost desperate encounters. Or extreme workouts, as in this case.

“So, you do want to sleep here.”

I growled back, half-playfully. “I’ll still win, darling.”

Lights gathered around us both as I swallowed my fears. Byakuren was savvy, but not as proficient as I in the social sphere. Yet in direct, one-on-one combat, the tables turned. I lifted off, into the air, my cape fluttering as I ascended. Byakuren hung below, hovering barely above the grass. Her head flitted between me and the temple.

I had beaten her almost as often as she bested me. Almost. And yet, despite the odds, I had no intention of suffering even this embarrassment here. I would win.

Byakuren fired off a volley of mixed, large and small, blue orbs. I glided out of the way, only to find her retreating away and into the sky.

Cross, I pursued her, right into a solid wall of large blue balls with smaller tails. One of the tails clipped me as I slipped through. I grunted through its sting, but otherwise shrugged it off.

I fired off my own volley of golden arrowheads, wide and tightly packed, as I wove through her own bullets. This would have come across as a spectacular show of fireworks at night, as very few natives commanded the level of firepower we wielded. But even as I wove between the heavy blue spheres and their deceptive tails, I only found myself wondering who would be the first to start this battle in earnest.

Then, in a flash, Byakuren had surged across my vision in tight, impossibly quick zig-zags. I lurched back, anticipating the utter swarm of tiny bullets that followed. She chose well, too. My talents gave me an edge in baiting out and misdirecting aimed shots, but these floated at random. Perhaps we’d fought a few too many times. She stopped, almost within arm’s reach before floating back.

She revved up for another run.

[ ] I kept my distance, leaving my options open.

[ ] I pressed in close at the next lull.

[ ] I fired off my own card.

[ ] Write-in.

Votes End:
Quit livin' in the past

63posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 41861
[x] I slipped inside the Moriya Shrine.
>> No. 41863
[X] I invited Hina to follow.
[X] Tell her about our marriage
Don't give away that it's a sham though, that'd go against the spirit of the deal
>> No. 41872
[X] I invited Hina to follow.

Sure, why not? Seems like she could use the company.
>> No. 41882
File 155181599031.jpg - (176.31KB, 700x990, momiguard.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] I invited Hina to follow.

I stepped toward the mountain. “Follow me.”

She frowned. “Why?”

“You could use some company. I want someone the tengu would find less threatening.”

“They don’t trust me either.”

“They like me less. Trust me.”

I floated forward, glancing back over my shoulder. She held still.

I sighed. “It would be an excellent chance to voice your complaints to her, wouldn’t it?”

“She didn’t listen last time.”

I smiled. “You have me now, don’t you?”

“Do I?”

I sighed. “You’d have my ear, at the least.”

Hina huffed. “Very well.” She stepped forward.

I took off, flying high over the trees and toward the foothills. As I climbed ever higher to keep pace with the earth’s rapid ascent below, I heard hints of Hina’s problem close behind.

Kokoro’s attention was… wrong. That did not surprise me. It wasn’t that it was too hostile, though. Instead it was too… pointed. Directed.

“…I don’t get many visitors.”

I tapped my chin, thinking as I crested the first hill. “Something to do with your domain?”

“I gather misfortune.”

“It scares people away, doesn’t it?”


Disappointment there, a desire expected and unmet. Perhaps Kokoro had only rattled this goddess.

“I could perhaps—”


I halted. I floated above the highest hills, just before the mountain’s face. Two white wolf tengu flanked me, both wielding round shields, the left armed with a glaive, to the right a scimitar. The one with the glaive had her hair in a ponytail, the other short and choppy. Both wore plain tengu dress of subtly different colors and decorations, with dark skirts and those detached sleeves that became so popular since I revived.

And the usual red tokin caps with their fuzzball strings.

The left spoke first. “State your business.”

Their eyes and their concerns flicked between myself and Hina. She worried them more than I.

“I am Miko,” I paused. Their hostility flared, now focused almost entirely on me. I harrumphed, staring back at them. “I’m here for my daughter.”

They hesitated. Perhaps there was some value to treating her like family after all. I softened my eyes. “I heard terrible stories about her behavior. Did she come this way?”

The wolves exchanged glances.

The scimitar-armed one spoke next. “Is this your business?”

“Of course. What other business could I have here?”

The glaive-wielder spoke up. “We can handle whatever trouble she may or may not have caused. If we need restitution, we’ll visit you.”

Kokoro caused them trouble. Her voice alone told me that.

“So, she’s here.”

Ms. Glaive flinched, wishing she’d kept her mouth shut.

Her companion groaned. “I’m sure we can send a delegation tomorrow. If you have questions, you can ask them then.”

Did Kokoro embarrass them? I preferred not to needlessly antagonize them but had already left her alone with strange ideas a bit too long.

I glanced to Hina. She shrugged back.

[ ] I requested an audience with someone higher up.

[ ] I insisted they forward my request for her presence.

[ ] I visited the nearest neutral village.

[ ] I retreated to the Moriya Shrine.

[ ] I actually retreated, choosing instead to speak with Hina further.

[ ] Write-in.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2019/03/07(Thu)19:00

>> No. 41883
...That took too long. I'll try at least keeping it down to five days per update.
>> No. 41884
[x] I insisted they forward my request for her presence.

I wonder why they don't want us to take her out of their hair.
>> No. 41885
[x] I insisted they forward my request for her presence.

Pride, probably.
>> No. 41886
[x] fite
spell cards agogo
>> No. 41887

Pretty sure Koko whopped these two in a spellcard battle or otherwise to gain entry.

[X] Fight em

2v2 me bro
>> No. 41888
[X] I insisted they forward my request for her presence.

Probably shouldn't volunteer Hina as a partner without asking her.
>> No. 41889
I'm sure we could 2v1 some no name scrubs if she declines. Probably. Man, that would be super embarrassing if we lose, wouldn't it?
>> No. 41891

Nah bro, we'll just use the good ol' Call of Duty cop-out. If I win a 2v1 it's because I'm skilled, If I lose, well...it's cuz it was a 2v1. There's no downside unless the news media gets wind that a respected political and religious icon started an international incident after violating border security laws and picking a fight with local nationals. Which would be pretty bad. But also pretty funny. But mostly bad.
>> No. 41892
I don't suppose running around, yelling 'HELP, I'M BEING OPPRESSED' would work?
>> No. 41899
File 155225551761.jpg - (117.74KB, 750x530, worrymiji.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] I insisted they forward my request for her presence.

“Let’s compromise. I’m confident you know where she is.”

The scimitar wielder sighed. “Yes.”

“Good. Tell her I wish to speak with her immediately. Perhaps you could point me to a good place to wait for her arrival?”

“You could just tell us where you want to wait so we can tell her.”

“I’d prefer to wait on the mountain.”

We floated there, air tense.

Scimitar growled. “What would your second preference be?”

I didn’t need my exquisite ears to sense her frustrations. Indeed, she gave me the sensation of an underling trapped between two bigshots’ mutual belligerence. I felt a pang of sympathy at her unenviable position but worried about the implications of this trouble going further up the chain of command.

So, in turn, I pressed the issue. “Perhaps a nearby town or outpost?”

“The human village is close.”

I winced. So cold. Functionally, there was no intrinsic difference between waiting close or far. I could perhaps luck into overhearing a thing or two if I was nearby, but I could find other things to do if I waited further away.

What mattered was that my continued presence near their domain would… incentivize them to expedite this process.

We held a moment longer. I glanced to my new companion. “I don’t suppose you have anything to add?”

She shook her head. An exchange passed between her and the sentries. Something I preferred not to meddle with at the time. I locked eyes with them for a long moment, neither budging.

Growing tired, I chose to relent. But not without trying to get something more out of this exchange.

“Very well, tell her to visit my dojo. She’ll know where to go.”

Scimitar stood to attention, soon joined by her companion.

A peculiar, even amusing sight at dozens of meters above the earth and against the backdrop of a mountain face.

I smiled bright. “I appreciate your…” I thought a moment, “patience. If you could help convince her to leave within the hour, I would appreciate it.”

She frowned. “I’ll… see what I can do.”

And so, with my mission stalled, we departed. Hina followed, close behind but tight-lipped.

I scanned the land ahead, keeping an eye out as we returned to the sky above the smoother plains and forests of the valley, looking for good crevices. I spared a fleeting glance back to her almost impassive face. “I sense frustrations from you.”

“That should be obvious.”

Another moment of silence.

“…That was intended as a hint, my dear. Please, let me shoulder your troubles.”

“I’d rather know what it is you want.”

I thought a moment. In truth, I wasn’t quite sure. My journey to the mountain had been put on hold, and yet I preferred not to depart just yet.

[ ] I held out hope she would yet assist with them in some form.

[ ] I wanted to address Kokoro’s indiscretions.

[ ] I simply desired company.

[ ] Write-in.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2019/03/12(Tue)19:00

>> No. 41902
[x] I wanted to address Kokoro’s indiscretions.

She won't believe if we say that we just want company, even if it is true
>> No. 41903
[X] I wanted to address Kokoro’s indiscretions.

I wanted to Mom it up. You know, the cliche making-the-teen-apologize scene, where like the first time they do it they clearly don't mean it and then the parent forces them to give more of a real apology, that's how much I wanted to Mom it up.
>> No. 41907
[X] I wanted to address Kokoro’s indiscretions.

Is it really so hard to believe that we want to be a better parent?
>> No. 41909
File 155261098962.jpg - (181.97KB, 650x918, hinajoy.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] I wanted to address Kokoro’s indiscretions.

“It was entirely about Kokoro, I’m afraid.”

Hina’s expression darkened as we descended, just south of the village.

“As I had said, she is a daughter of mine… in a sense. I’ve chosen to try to educate her properly.”

“Again with that language. In precisely what sense is she your daughter?”

I scratched my hand. “I created the masks, naturally. It’s a tragedy you had to meet under such poor circumstances. Their beauty would’ve dazzled you.”

I turned toward the front of the village walls, banking toward the gate as I descended.

“You speak with such pride, yet you left them to rot sufficient to create a youkai.”

“Hey!” I stabbed a finger in her direction. “I died. It’s not my fault my successors discarded them.”

She hummed a dour tune as we approached the ground. I twirled as I touched down, only to find Hina mimicking me when I did, smiling again.

I approached the village, but Hina slowed behind me, a desire to turn around growing.

I cleared my throat, turning toward the woods. “I suspect my daughter has overstepped her bounds.” It felt strange to use that word so many times. Strange, uncomfortable, and… exciting. I had an abundance of emotions tied to that concept. Too many. “I would like to see her correct her error.”

She folded her arms, shifting her weight. “You don’t need my presence for that.”

“Oh, but I do.” I turned and stood by a nearby pine tree, scanning the road I’d left. “Apologies mean the most when spoken directly, do they not?”

“I’d most appreciate getting my time back.”

“And yet, you’re here.”

She frowned.

I smiled. “Let me hear what troubles you.”

“Your daughter.”

I sighed and sat down, lifting my cloak as I crossed my legs. The bark behind tempted me, but my dress deserved better. “I’m aware of that trouble. Let me hear what else bothers you.”

Hina leaned against a nearby tree, frowning. “I’m a goddess of the nagashi-bina festival. I guide dolls infused with the misfortune of troubled humans safely away. In truth, I’d prefer to hear your troubles.”

I blinked, then chuckled. “I’m afraid it’s all rather confidential.”

“We may start with your name, then.”

I stared. She stared back. She wanted to know about me but shared no desire to exploit that information.

“I am Miko of the Toyosatomimi clan, formerly known as the legendary Prince Shotoku.”

“Do you feel content with your current life?”

“Quite so.” I paused, remembering my upcoming date. “Mostly so.”

She stared, just a hint of curiosity flickering across her face. And quite a bit bouncing through her head.

“As I said. Very confidential.”

She frowned, just a little sad.

I huffed. “Very well. I’ve married recently, but my wife and I are quite different in most ways. I’m not certain how best to…”

She giggled. Giggled. She cleared her throat. “I’m sorry, please continue.”

“I’d like to hear what you find…”

I heard it. Kokoro approached the village. My dojo proper was, of course, Senkai. But I had plenty of young disciples who couldn’t reach there, so I’d arranged for periodic lessons to be taught in the village.

Usually by more experienced disciples, but I’d stopped by myself once or twice, so it still counted.

I grunted as I stood, flattening my cloak back out. Kokoro touched down just before the guards.

I clapped once, quite loud. She turned to face me, impassive, a closed fan in one hand. Hina stood behind me, still irritated. I cleared my throat, approaching Kokoro as…

[ ] A patient mediator.

[ ] A stern mother.

[ ] A curious detective.

[ ] Write-in.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2019/03/16(Sat)19:00

>> No. 41910
[x] A stern mother.

She likes it, we like it, will Kokoro like it?
>> No. 41911
[x] A stern mother

Miko mom~
>> No. 41912
File 155262029237.jpg - (51.81KB, 700x350, Magical girls will be magical girls SMH.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] A Co-conspirator

Let her be her own person. I'm definitively not on board with getting all stern when it doesn't sound like she did anything wrong.
>> No. 41913
[X] A patient mediator

She’s probably not one to respect authority, so let’s try and hear her out as much as ‘Mom’ing out’ is temping.
>> No. 41914
[X] A patient mediator.

I think we should try to be there for her without pushing her away.
>> No. 41917
[x] A stern mother.
>> No. 41920
[x] A stern mother.

But, you know, be sure to get her side of the story before any scolding.
>> No. 41931
College has gotten messy, so it looks like I'll need a few days to push through that before I can get back to writing.

I apologize for the delay. Hopefully it'll take less than a week.
>> No. 41979
File 15539902831.jpg - (200.44KB, 618x618, kokohannya.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] A stern mother.

I held my shoulders up and my back straight as I marched forward. It seemed that today would prove a time of many new experiences and risky investments. Kokoro wanted answers and I felt… something. A nagging itch I’d thought to be buried before I was.

I cleared my throat, placing a hand on the hilt of my blade. It was a gesture entirely for show, though it did provide a sense of comfort to feel my true body at times like this.


I used a cool, level voice, but not cold. “What have you been doing?”

I waited a moment, staring her down as I felt a short pang of envy toward the satori. For all the anger and distrust that they suffered, times like this had me wishing I could truly read another’s mind.

An instant, really. Then I would hear the subtle shifts and remember just how superior my ears were.

Whatever Kokoro had done, she wanted to finish it. She desired to know more. Despite the bravado she showed in Hina’s tale, she genuinely sought the truth.

Kokoro stepped forward, adopting her red Hannya mask. “I almost had them. You stopped me.”

She flinched, now recognizing Hina. She swapped in the Monkey for only a second before returning her ‘angry’ mask.

I stood straight. “I hear you bothered this innocent goddess.”

Kokoro growled, face flat. Such contradictions amused me, though they no doubt vexed most others.

“She tried to stop me.”

I glanced back at Hina, more for her benefit than mine.

Hina clasped her hands by her knees. She did not quite glare. “I only tried to warn you.”

“You got in my way.”

“Because you weren’t listening.”

“I don’t need warnings.”

“You could have simply said as much.”

“I shouldn’t h-”

I held an open palm up, fingers straight. They quieted down.

“Kokoro, did you accuse her of conspiring with the gods of the Moriya shrine?”

She spared me only a glance, otherwise keeping her eyes locked on Hina. “She tried to keep me away from them!”

“I did not.”

I chose to try a different approach. “Was she actually involved?”

“…No. Probably not.”

“Don’t you think you’d acted prematurely, then?”

Kokoro pouted. “She was suspicious.”

I wanted to groan. “I’m sure you could spare an apology.”

“Not before she does.”

“It was my duty. I can’t apologize for that.”

…And they continued staring each other down.

[ ] I separated them, hoping for a more conciliatory attitude once they’d calmed down.
 [ ] I spent some time with Kokoro.
 [ ] I spent some time with Hina.

[ ] I held firm until we all ironed this out.

[ ] I asked Kokoro about her investigation first.

[ ] Write-in.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2019/04/01(Mon)19:00

>> No. 41980
[x] I held firm until we all ironed this out.

Stern mother, remember? Hina deserves an apology and Miko has failed his 'daughter' often enough to not do it now.
>> No. 41981
[x] I held firm until we all ironed this out
>> No. 41982
OP, how old is Kokoro in this context?
>> No. 41983
Sorry for the delayed response, but I'll try to answer.

Individually, the masks (as youkai) would be more than a millennium old (about 1300-1400 years, I think) but it was maybe two or three decades ago that they all merged to form Kokoro.

Due to the nature of tsukumogami psychology, hers in particular, her emotional development lagged far behind most human peers and even much of the rest of her own mental growth.

If you're asking for what human age her mental or emotional maturity would match, that may just have to be something for Miko to find out, but Kokoro's nature may or may not prevent such an answer from existing.
>> No. 41985
[X] I asked Kokoro about her investigation first.

Hina doesn't deserve an apology. If Kokoro is brash and tactless, then that's just what she is.
>> No. 41986
[x] I held firm until we all ironed this out.
>> No. 41987
[X] I asked Kokoro about her investigation first.

Let’s get down to the true cause behind such actions
>> No. 41990
I'm afraid I need to put this story on hold for awhile. My primary reason is that it's been too long since I committed to writing a reward and this thread currently takes the most time.

I'd hoped at least to get one more update out before the pause, but I think I'd rushed some of the recent updates a bit too much and now I need to take a step back to reorient again.

I cannot express in this medium how upset I am to have to do this and promise to return just about as soon as I can. At the very least, expect progress updates if this takes more than a few weeks.
>> No. 42102
I said to expect progress updates if it takes more than a few weeks. I did not provide such updates. All I can say is that I screwed up there.

On the plus side, I think I've completed the rough for this project. So I hope to upload it within two weeks, or within the month at the most. I apologize for how long this pause has dragged on for, but once that's done, the next update shouldn't be too far behind.
>> No. 42143
File 156150378337.jpg - (188.02KB, 800x800, kokostretch.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] I held firm until we all ironed this out.

I stood back, watching the two stare each other down.

They paused a moment, dragging a heavy silence into the road.

“You helped the villains get away, you bastard.”

Hina startled, eyes growing dark. “Excuse me?”

“They were planning something. If not for you, I’d have learned their schemes by now.” She conjured her light blue glaive, bringing it low to the ground.

A weapon much prettier than the tengu’s version.

Nonetheless, this was not as I’d intended. I debated stepping forward to stab my shaku between them but decided against it.

Hina started floating first, summing green balls of light around her. With a groaning sigh, I turned around. This was how Gensokyo operated.

I folded my arms behind my back as the duel began. Kokoro would win, of course. She excelled most in the more hand-to-hand fights, but she commanded an excellent repertoire of danmaku as well. Once it ended, I’d need to peel her off Hina. Convince her to be gracious in her victory.

Then I might have to duel her myself. She’d been rather hot-headed lately.

I sighed, the Byakuren issue still unresolved. Just what was that damn monk thinking?

“Why do you even care that I slowed you down? What schemes?”

“Getting Miko and Byakuren married.”

Silence fell. Not one bullet sounded.

“They’re married? When did this happen?”

“They don’t suit each other. It will tear the village apart.”

I froze.


I turned around. Hina descended, Kokoro following shortly behind. Hina stared me dead in the eyes.

I shrugged. “Could you not put it together? Byakuren, I, and a marriage? That seems by far the most natural conclusion.”

Hina’s mouth opened, then closed. “I had assumed it was too inane to be a possibility. What do you even share in common?”

“We’re religious leaders, are we not?”

“Is tha-”

I turned to Kokoro. “What did you mean by ‘tear the village apart?’”

“I meant what I said. You’ll make fools of each other. It will embarrass your followers and they’ll get mad at the others. Then…”

“You may be looking a little too deep into this.”

She kept silent a moment, pouting. “I know emotions.” She looked back toward the mountain. “The tengu refused to let me see their gods. They’re hiding something.”

I frowned. “Be that as it may,” I turned to Hina, “would you apologize to Kokoro for slowing her down, if she apologized to you first?”

Hina huffed. “I’d consider it.”

Kokoro frowned. “What are you scheming, Miko?”

I held my face firm. “Didn’t you want her apology?”

“…You’re too devious.”

I couldn’t help a chuckle at that.

Kokoro glanced between Hina and I. “I’ll think about it.”

Hina sighed. “Then, if your business with me is finished, I’ll return to my duties.” She turned and walked away.

I groaned, but chose to settle for the small victory, considering my next action. I’d come here to spend time with Kokoro, but all this business with the mountain did intrigue me. Between them and the tanuki, there seemed far too much intrigue for such an absurd event.

[ ] I chose to return to the mountain myself.

[ ] I chose to invite Kokoro back to my dojo.

[ ] I chose to invite Kokoro for a stroll through the village.

[ ] Write-in.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2019/06/28(Fri)19:00

>> No. 42144
The project's finally done, so this thread should be back in business for a while. Again, apologies for that massive delay.
>> No. 42145
Better late than never, as they say.

[x] I chose to invite Kokoro for a stroll through the village.

Our plot is being a fucking father
>> No. 42146
[X] I chose to invite Kokoro for a stroll through the village.
Of course we'll embarrass each other, however it won't inspire anger, but jealousy! "Ah," they'll think, "if only I could be so lovey-dovey..."
or maybe it will inspire anger. reeee normalfags explode and die
>> No. 42147
[X] I played into Kokoro's conspiracy theory while guiding her towards the truth

I feel like this is how their father-daughter time would go.
>> No. 42159
File 156243962931.jpg - (111.24KB, 1071x1308, mikokoro.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] I chose to invite Kokoro for a stroll through the village.

“Let’s go back to the village.”

“The culprits are still loose.”

“We can’t reach them with the mountain so paranoid.” I strode down the road, back toward the gate.

“This was my investigation. You don’t need to follow.”

I glanced back to find Kokoro walking close behind, her blue glaive now gone.

“And the investigation’s over until the mountain eases its borders or these culprits descend from it.”

She wore the Hannya near her face. I sighed and gave an idle wave of my hand as I turned to exchange pleasantries with the gate guards. Stepping back inside the village, I stepped through the crowds with half an eye on the peddlers and hawkers at the edges of the street. I listened close to the crowds. The tanuki had vanished, of course. But so had the kappa.

Kokoro followed me in.

I shot an idle glance her way. “Not pursuing the villains?”

“Help me get past them.”

I sighed. “To what end? What could you learn by recklessly charging in?”

She pouted. “It works just fine for you and the monk, doesn’t it? Just fight, crash, boom. Then get your answers on the way.”

I groaned, scanning the nearby stalls. Dango, manju, sake…

Kokoro wanted to know what they’d hid from her, obviously. And, as usual, she wanted to better understand emotions as well as how to convey them. But she also wanted to know much more about Byakuren and myself.

A desire that reminded me of my purpose for coming here.

“The monk’s not as wise as she thinks she is. Proper battles are often best saved for more serious engagements.”

“Was the fireworks festival a serious engagement?”

An awkward silence descended as I glanced toward more distant shops. The danmaku fireworks festival, a silly idea that had no less proved an irresistible chance for many to show off their abilities. I had not only participated in that event, I’d stolen the show, regardless of what some of the rabble said. I counted the shops off. More food, tools, textiles…

A new dress would have done me good, but few in the village would have had the needed skill. I exhaled. “What I mean to say is there are ways to learn what you want without confronting the source in open battle.”

“You think I should ask their friends?”

“It’s a good start, but you should also consider visiting the places they frequent and listening in on their conversations there.”

Kokoro stopped, having traded the Hannya for the fox. I halted too, turning back to her.

“That sounds shady. And it would take too long.”

I rapped a knuckle across my shaku. “Stick to battles and gossip if you wish, but dynasties don’t survive without knowing their enemies’ secrets.”

“I’m not you.” The Hannya returned to her face.

I let out a quiet chuckle at her childish response, before old memories choked it out. I took a long, slow breath. I waved it off. “I’d hope not. I never intended to be anyone’s tool.”

Her eyes darkened. I parted my lips to correct the blunder but found her desires… odd. She wanted not to correct an offense, but to strike back at a deeper scheme. I’d need to talk with her in greater detail, but I’d also need a setting that could ease her mood.

And I preferred to wait for a more opportune time to probe her on that. I’d started to feel somewhat disrupted.

[ ] I purchased some manju and found us a quiet spot.

[ ] We returned to the amphitheater.

[ ] We stopped by the dragon statue for luck.

[ ] I parted ways with her, returning to Senkai.

[ ] Write-in.

Votes close in:
Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2019/07/10(Wed)19:00

>> No. 42160
[X] I purchased some manju and found us a quiet spot.
McDonald's McDonald's McDonald's!
>> No. 42161
[x] We stopped by the dragon statue for luck.

We need that.
>> No. 42162
[X] I invited Kokoro to the communal hot springs.

Oh we'll relax her alright. Surely she isn't too old to take a bath with pops.
>> No. 42163
>Votes close in:
>Time remaining: ::

Timer machine broke, when's the cutoff?
>> No. 42164
Just over 19 hours from the time of this post.
>> No. 42173
File 156313361293.png - (95.77KB, 272x637, dragonstatue.png) [iqdb]
[x] We stopped by the dragon statue for luck.

Needing a chance to clear my head, I simply started walking. I listened to the desires around me, letting them float in, then out. In, then out. I had a destination in mind, of course, as I am not one for idle wandering. But it was the journey that mattered right now.

This was not a time to dwell on past troubles.

Dirt crunched in a rhythmic pattern behind me. The menreiki had chosen to follow, silent. It was not, however, the silence of reflection or suppression. As angry as she had gotten at my sidelong comment, I had worried her too.

I turned away from the shops and stalls, the homes and warehouses, walking out into a quiet walkway at the village’s edge. A relatively humble abode for the monument to such vital entities.

The dragon gods. Said to be the most powerful beings in all Gensokyo. A most fitting location to take my rest, as I intended to one day take their place. Almost idly, I checked the statue’s eyes.

They glowed a dull, faint gray. I turned my eyes to the heavens, finding clear, open skies. To the east, however, I found a heavy cloudbank. It seemed the statue was right. My “date” would occur under an overcast sky.

Fitting, really.

I clapped my hands together and bowed to it, terse and shallow. Let me make fools of the temple and see Tojiko soon.

“I want another mask of hope.”

I blinked, turning to Kokoro. She came up from a deeper bow of her own, then turned back to me.

She glanced aside, wearing the Fox. “That’s how this ritual goes, isn’t it? I don’t think this is a Taoist practice.”

I waved an idle hand, swinging my shaku. “Humility is key to any successful pursuit of the Tao. I’m seeking guidance from beings clearly more in tune with the universe than I.”

“I’m shocked. You admitted to someone being above you.”

I groaned, finding myself tempted to bonk her for that. “I may be an administrator first, but I do take my path seriously.”

“Your path?”

I rubbed my shaku. “I never did teach you much of the Tao, did I?”


I sighed, staring at the statue. “Rather than Byakuren’s dogged pursuit of giving, submission, and asceticism, the Tao begins with a simple, three principles.”

“That’s a funny way to talk about the woman you love.”

“…” I flipped my shaku front to back, then back to front. I needed to answer her but found myself unsure of the right approach.

[ ] Mentorly. Teach the Tao.

[ ] Defensive. Love does not require I respect all ideas.

[ ] Clarifying. What I love about her is…

[ ] Evasive.
 [ ] I acquired snacks.
 [ ] I invited her to the baths.

[ ] Write-in.

Time remaining: :: Timer ended at: 2019/07/17(Wed)19:00

>> No. 42175
[X] Evasive.
 [X] I acquired snacks.
>> No. 42177
-[X] Some might say belief is the first step to finding hope. Are you truly against embracing this opportunity to grow and learn?

Politicians gunna politic. Our daughter doesn't seem like the brightest girl, so we might as well play to our strengths here.

This premise would be so much better if Miko was single.
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