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106800 No. 106800
The solid blue string. Yes. That's what I want. That's what I need. I don't know why, but I just know that it’s what I must choose. Its man's intuition. Its destiny.

With a sure steady hand I grab a hold of the future and pull it forth.

--
“Pfff hahaha” Mokou bellows in her half giggle, half cackle, which is slightly muffled through her mask as we walk from the festival towards the currently less densely populated residential region of the town. The eye slits in my own mask are barely large enough to see through but with an effort I can keep track of her.

“How long are you going to keep laughing?” I can’t hide my annoyance. Not after that incident.

“Until you clean up your act…fffff hahahahahahaha.” Gods be good and strike her down for her mockery, or at the very least for the bad pun. Please, if you truly exist...

Mokou nearly falls to the ground clutching her abdomen, likely a muscle cramp from her endless chortling, but maybe this time its divine retribution.

Who am I kidding? I’m not that lucky. Stupid lottery booth…

--
“Ah don’t give that face lad. The world is predetermined by the gods! Luck or lack of is just their will upon you! It’s not the prize that’s won, if yah get my meaning.” The old man said after handing me the fallen bar of soap and coupon to some obscure tavern.

--
…stupid lottery booth. As if I hadn’t wasted enough money tonight on those food stands as we made our way out, that gamble ended with me paying an inflated price for a bar of flaky dull soap. I have better items than this in my shop! Maybe I should set up a display. I mean if this is what all the villagers use, then surely there would be a market for something more refined. Maybe I could-

“Oi, is that it?” Mokou points to the modest single story thatch roofed house.

“Ah, I think so.” The sign at the doorway says so. Kamishirasawa….. Yep, that must be her. Or her parents…Oh gods no please don’t let it be. Not tonight.

“Well, let’s get this over with.” Without a moment to pause a mentally prepare myself, Mokou casually strolls to the door and makes three loud knocks on it.

Oh gods this is it. I haven’t seen Keine in a month. She told me to leave her alone and now on perhaps one of the busiest nights of the village I’m bothering her. I still remember her soft skin, her wild moans, her tantalizing taste. How can I look at her without seeing her naked and writhing in…Aaarg why am I thinking about this now?!

*Bam bam bam*
“Oi, is anyone home? Come on we haven’t got all night.” Thank you Mokou. Very tactful. But before I can chastise her and explain the proper courtesies of using a doorway, a lock unlatches with a rusty whine and it slides open to reveal…

…a small girl with vibrant purple hair, surely no older than Marisa herself. I mean she can’t be more than 8 years old. Still, the child stares with an unsettling sharp clarity which feels very unsuited for her age.

“May I help you?”

“Umm….hello there. Is Ke-…is Ms. Kamishirasawa home?”

The girl’s face immediately turns to a deadpan stare and a stern authority sets into her voice.

“Ms. Kamishirasawa is the acting guardian of this village. What makes you think she would be staying home on a full moon night, much less during such a large festival? I’m sorry, but she is not here and I cannot help you. If you require assistance with something, please check with the sentries on duty. I’m sure they’d like something else to do besides hunt youkai.”

For some reason I’m suddenly very glad I’m wearing disguise.

“Oi, what’s with the attitude kid?” Mokou steps forward angrily. “You should learn some respect when talking to your elders. Besides, if the festival is so great why isn’t a munchkin like you playing there as well?”

“I have seen more festivals than you have seen winters ma’am,” the munchkin replies with a sardonic end.” They are always the same and after a while lose their appeal. The ceremonies can go on fine without my aid. And normally I would be home but it is currently being used by some of the town elders, as is tradition on this event, and to find some peace and quiet I had to take refuge here. Not that it is any of your business.”

Mokou snorts but the tiny nostril holes of her headpiece turn it into a sort of whistle. The girl smirks.

“But if you would like to leave a message, I’ll be sure to leave a note for her. Who should I say visited? Could it be Mr...” she pauses to look closer at the design of my mask,”…Big Bad Wolf?”

For some reason that jab hit particularly hard, but I don’t know why. That’s somewhat unnerving…

“Ah ha…just tell her that…umm…a close friend wanted to see her again.”

The girl’s shoulders sag as she lets out an exasperated sigh and rolls her eyes.

“That’s the best you could come up with? Gods be good she told me you were actually clever!” The child who does not speak at all like one throws her hands up in disgust. “How did you make it this far without being questioned?! Am I the first person to try? I don’t even believe such good fortune exists!”

“Ah…I’m sorry but…”

“Oh you will be if you keep walking around like that. Get inside, both of you, before someone sees us.” And before we can resist, the child grabs a hold on Mokou’s sleeve and tugs her inside.

>> No. 106802
File 126017314886.jpg - (184.27KB , 850x799 , akyu1.jpg ) [iqdb]
106802
--
Uncomfortably we sit at a small table in the center of a room surrounded by enough scrolls and books to make even professional writers froth at the mouth.

“Do you have ANY idea how reckless and stupid you are? The town entire town is on the watch for any youkai sneaking in tonight. And someone reported two unaccounted for figures circling around the village, starting from the Forest of Magic. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who one of them is and I guarantee he already knows about it. Still I figured you’d be alone. Maybe that’s why they haven’t caught you.”

Mokou, still confused and fuming, tries to interject. “Hey what the hell is this all ab-“

“Don’t interrupt me girl! Stay quiet for a bit while I speak to him.” She turns back to me. “Gods, do you even realize what I’ve had to deal with? Keine was in pieces for nearly a week when she got back last month. I had to teach the class for her. Do you understand what that means? There are people twice my age and half as intelligent there! I couldn’t get them to do anything!”

The strange girl continues to seethe, nearly on the verge of hysterics with a growingly childish wail.

“It was humiliating! Every time I’m reborn it’s like this until I hit puberty! Is it impossible for men to associate me with being an adult until I grow breasts? These young years are always utterly miserable! Once is enough thank you! Anyways to top it all off just when Keine seems to have her act together she runs off tonight without a word after someone mentions a stupid rumor. Honestly, I’m sure I wasn’t as fool hearty as her when I was her age!”

Exhausted, the girl falls back to the table and rubs her temples. After a moment of silence she calms herself with a cup of red tea and sighs.

“You really have no idea what is going on do you? Do you even know who I am?” She stares at me with those old eyes again.

“Umm…I’m sorry but I…”

“No, no I apologize. It seems we were never on the same sheet to begin with, and I have been tense from this whole ordeal. Please, allow me start again.” The girl stands and straightens her skirt with an eerily smooth precision that even an adult could not master without years of practice. In an elegant, almost regal voice, say says…

“ Mr. Morichika, it is a pleasure to meet you. Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Akyuu Heida, the current Child of Miare, the village’s chronicler. I have the unique ability to remember everything I see and have retained the memories of my eight previous incarnations. I have a few interesting acquaintances you may have already met. Keine Kamishirasawa is one of them, being a fellow scholar personal friend. Please allow me to be the same to you.

She bows slowly before sliding back to her seat. Dumbly I return the gesture.

“So you knew who I was all along?”

“I suspected you would come by, though for whatever business I’m unsure. Keine never mentioned you directly, but I’m far too old to miss certain things. She may try to hide them, but if you know what buttons to press its possible to sneak a few secrets out of any woman.” She grins to herself and swirls the tea on the table before looked back up seriously. “You should hurry. I do not know where Keine has gone, but I do believe she will be where she thinks YOU will be. I hope that helps.”

Where I would be? Hmm, that narrows it down to a few places.

“Thank you very much, Akyuu Heida. I am in your debt.”

Akyu giggles, but I’m sure it was meant to be the chuckle of an old woman.

“Then if you would be so kind, please take off your masks and quickly introduce yourselves. It is only polite to meet and thank someone face to face is it not?”

Eh? Oh the mask! I never took mine off, even after entering the house. Then again it wasn’t exactly a friendly environment until now. After a moment of trouble with the buckle I manage to slip it off, but am unprepared for what comes next.

Akyu’s expression twists into a confused amazement. Clumsily she practically leaps from the table and shrinks away from me.

“You! I know you….I know you…but why can’t I remember you? You’re not from my previous incarnations, you’re from…” Entranced, she slowly creeps back to me, never letting me out of her sight. “Your face…oh gods your eyes…yes I’ve seen them I’m sure of it…in a dream…or a nightmare. How is this possible?” The urgency in her voice grows. Soft sharp breathing becomes distinctly clear as if she were fighting a panic attack. Just inches away now, she trembles slightly with hints of tears in her eyes.

“What is this? ……..Who…..what ARE you?”

She reaches out to grab my hand. Instinctively I pull away, but it’s too late. The moment we touch, the world halts and plummets away into nothingness.


>>Connecting to Sample Subject 2598.
Initial Inspection: Main Line Value – Low. Container Strength – 82%....

[WARNING. ANOMOLY DETECTED WITHIN SAMPLE]

[ANALYSIS CONFIRMED]
Intrinsic ability within subject has spread beyond expected parameters, causing fragmented data from previous ******** to be stored. Contaminate data has potential to cause distortion of controlled factors in subject and system. THREAT LEVEL: Unknown.

[ATTENTION. Sample’s ability is compatible with MACROSCOPIC RESTORATION apparatus. Data may provide some recovery of previous ******** logs which were lost during emergency containment and lockdown.]
EXTRACTION Damage Probability to sample - Moderate.
EXTRACTION Damage Probability to system - Low.]

[Restoration Initiative has automatically queued HARVEST sequence for EXTRACTION and INCORPORATION of relevant data lines from sample subject 2598.]

>>Enter command.

[ ] Desynchronize and isolate sample from Main Line to create precautionary buffer. Commence EXTRACTION and INCORPORATE data lines into MACROSCOPIC RESTORATION apparatus for immediate activation.
[ ] Delay action. Create suppression field to inhibit further contamination (Predicted Duration: Unknown)

>> No. 106803
[x] Desynchronize and isolate sample from Main Line to create precautionary buffer. Commence EXTRACTION and INCORPORATE data lines into MACROSCOPIC RESTORATION apparatus for immediate activation.
>> No. 106811
[x] Delay action. Create suppression field to inhibit further contamination (Predicted Duration: Unknown)
>> No. 106857
[x] Desynchronize and isolate sample from Main Line to create precautionary buffer. Commence EXTRACTION and INCORPORATE data lines into MACROSCOPIC RESTORATION apparatus for immediate activatio
>> No. 106871
[x] Delay action. Create suppression field to inhibit further contamination (Predicted Duration: Unknown)
>> No. 106875
Hmmmph, I don't understand.

[ ] Delay action. Create suppression field to inhibit further contamination (Predicted Duration: Unknown)
>> No. 106896
>>106875
Anon's choice during event in which Keine tried to history haxx their lovely date triggered this Restoration path, and the 3rd person character got (took) something from her. Now he has found that Akyu has a special trait which could prove useful. Do you take it, or leave her be?
>> No. 106897
[x] Desynchronize and isolate sample from Main Line to create precautionary buffer. Commence EXTRACTION and INCORPORATE data lines into MACROSCOPIC RESTORATION apparatus for immediate activation.
>> No. 106898
[x] Delay action. Create suppression field to inhibit further contamination (Predicted Duration: Unknown)

Fuuuuuuuck.
>> No. 106953
[ ] Desynchronize and isolate sample from Main Line to create precautionary buffer. Commence EXTRACTION and INCORPORATE data lines into MACROSCOPIC RESTORATION apparatus for immediate activation.
>> No. 106954
[x] Desynchronize and isolate sample from Main Line to create precautionary buffer. Commence EXTRACTION and INCORPORATE data lines into MACROSCOPIC RESTORATION apparatus for immediate activation.

Since our quest is to repair the timeline I think we can simply return the ability to her when it's all over hopefully. Otherwise this might fuck up the timeline even worse.
>> No. 106955
[X] Desynchronize and isolate sample from Main Line to create precautionary buffer. Commence EXTRACTION and INCORPORATE data lines into MACROSCOPIC RESTORATION apparatus for immediate activation.
>> No. 107017
File 126033548773.jpg - (33.22KB , 550x715 , hourglass_nebula.jpg ) [iqdb]
107017
[Acknowledged. Desynchronizing and isolating sample from Main Line to create precautionary buffer in case of catastrophic failure.]
[…Complete]
[Commencing EXTRACTION and INCORPORATE of data lines into MACROSCOPIC RESTORATION apparatus.]

[Transfering….]
[…Transfer complete]

[Interpreting data…]
[Data is segmented. Patching gaps with highest probability scenarios.]
[Patching complete with 65% continuity.]

[Playing final moments of log…]

--
{“NO! No more! You don’t have the right to do this to us! We aren’t just play things for you!” Someone roars with such intense anger that her beautiful features seem to distort.

“You are not play things. You are all special organisms unique to any world. You are all vital to our success and survival. We love you all.” We reply matter-of-factly.

“How…how DARE you even use that word! I won’t….I WON’T FORGIVE YOU FOR THIS!” Her body trembles as she attempts to restrain herself.

“Hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn…” The girl beside her mutters with a bitter smirk.

“We are unable to understand your anger. Your time ended long ago. We brought you back. Without us you would not exist. By our analysis we should be revered as your gods.”

Another female howls with a malicious laughter, appreciating the rare level of simultaneous rage and amusement. “Poor choice of words.”

“We apologize. We did not intend to insult you. The range of appropriate terms to use for such interpretation of relationship is limited.” We return, perplexed by their behavior.

“Enough! I can’t take it anymore. This ends now! Forever!” The lovely woman screams and with a wave her arm the- }


[READ ERROR. SKIPPING TO NEXT POINT…]

{“Stop! There has to be another away! Get away from her.” A frail woman pleads desperately as she lays wounded on the ground.

“Shut up! You swore you’d follow me when you discovered the truth. You know what they are. You know what they’ve made us! I’m not going back.”

“I can’t control it!” A frightened female sobs in terror as she is bathed in blinding light and heat. “Please! Please make it stop. It huuuurts. I’m sorry I can’t do this! Please help me pleeeeease help me I’m…”}

It’s how it all begins and ends.

The blue sky is covered with white and black as giant scrolls roll across it. Brushstroke kanji miles wide drift from horizon to horizon. An immense tale which you could never begin to fathom weaves itself together like a tapestry.


[WARNING: BARRIER BREACH DETECTED ON ALL LEVELS. AUTO-INITIATING EMERGENCY CONTAINMENT AND LOCKDOWN. ATTEMPTING TO SAFEGUARD ARCHIVES IN-]

Suddenly, a blinding flash and deafening roar. The blast is like a hammer to your chest as it hits and slams you to the ground. The world trembles.

[ERROR. CORRUPTION SPREADING THROUGH ARCHIVES. EJECTING MEMORY CORE.]

Finally, your senses return. A faint dinging sound, like a wind chime, fills the air. Looking up, you see the scroll in the sky dissolving, as if being burnt away. From the scorched holes fall silver fragments like rain. The light fades as the sky disappears into the black ash, but there is still enough to see the shining metal pieces as they fall closer. Small round gears and thin pointed rods, as if from a pocket watch. They melodically hit each other in their descent, creating a tranquil twilight atmosphere which clashes the dread you feel in your gut.

[Ejection complete.]
[ATTENTION: MEMORY CORE NOT DETECTED.]

The light fails. Like a sweeping curtain, darkness covers everything.

[ATTENTION: MEMORY CORE NOT DETECTED.]

Pure absolute darkness.

[ATTENTION: MEMORY CORE NOT DETECTED.]

Nothingness.

A cold, silent void.






An eternity.












[Initiating Emergency Backup System]

Something changes.

[Resetting world to default parameters. Gathering all samples.]

A plethora of colors push their way into view. A circle of hourglasses on round blank mirrors surround you. Each hourglass is different in color, their sands glow with warmth like the sun and shine like neon lamps as they continue to flow from the bottom of their containers upwards.

[Granting full autonomy to resident curator.]

<This is a prerecorded message. If you are receiving this, it means we have detected a severe containment breech from your system and have initiated quarantine. You have been removed from all networks to the Continuum and now running on stand-alone mode with auxiliary power. This condition will continue until protective barriers are restored, until the source of contamination is purged, or until your power is depleted and everything within dissolves. Attempt to preserve as many samples as possible but cultivate their attributes if needed. Do not fail us. End message.>

[Sample gathering complete. Wiping memory of all samples and returning to initial conditions-ons-ons-ons-ons-ons-ons-ons-ons-ons-ons-ons-ons-ons-ons-]

A loud crack rings out behind you. An hourglass breaks, spilling its sand which feels like life itself across the ground. Instinctively you reach down to block the hole in the glass to stop the leak.

[Integrating into sample]
[ERROR. SAMPLE 1143 LOST.]

[Loading remaining samples into world. Initiating start sequence.]

--
[Playback finished.]

For a moment you feel something horrible staring from behind, but when you turn around nothing is there. You hang for a moment hesitantly before reluctantly returning to work. Above, small letters begin to write themselves upon the giant scrolls as they travel lazily across the sky.

[Analyzing post-extraction sample 2598. Sample stability has been preserved within acceptable tolerance. Anomaly has been successfully removed. Sample’s attribute still functional within at least one standard deviation.]
[Resynchronizing sample with Main Line.]

--
Akyu’s hand goes limp and falls back to her side. The explosion of emotion disappears as if it never existed. As the flush from her cheeks fade, so does the sharpness in her eyes. They now float aimlessly with a dazed, dreamy expression.

“Ah, must have been mistaken. Please excuse my outburst.” She yawns. “Oh my…I believe its past my bed time. Please don’t let me keep you any longer.” Our temporary host drifts towards the door, waving for us to follow. Just before she reaches it, she turns back.

“Ah, miss I never asked your name.”

“Mokou,” the forest hermit replies. “Of the Fujiwara.”

“Huh…never heard of you. Well I’m sure you have an interesting story to tell if you are one to keep such strange company. Do come by and let me record them. Well then, good luck Mr. Morichika. Goodbye, Ms…what was it again?”

“Mokou. Of the Fujiwara.” Mokou says more sternly this time but also with a concerned look.

“Ah, y-yes Fujiwara.” Akyu replies absently, her head bobbing slightly. “Please do be careful. I’m sure there will be unpleasant people on the lookout for you. Good night.” The door slides shut.

--
Later down the road, Mokou breaks the uncomfortable silence.

“Ok, what the hell was that?”

“I don’t know.” I answer honestly, trying to shake something nagging in the back of my mind. “Momentary insanity? She seems well enough now. Maybe she really has been under a lot of stress taking care of Keine.”

“Well whatever it is, that kid is just weird. Remembering eight lifetimes perfectly? Hell I’ve lived about that long and even I can’t do that.” She pauses with a sour expression, and then speaks quietly. “What is it with you and girls like that?”

Wait, what? “I beg your pardon?”

“Nothing! Forget about it.” She waves her hand to dismiss it. “Hey listen. We need a plan. You were depending on Keine to help you find Marisa right? Well she wasn’t here. The kid said she went to where she thought you would be. What does that even mean? Where do we go now? Do you still want to look for her?”

[ ] Open choice.
>> No. 107030
>>107028
While I am a fan big fan of IPF, I assure you I had this planned back in the beginning. Curse you HY for making such a likable character with easy to digest technobabble!
>> No. 107044
>>107028
If she thought Rinnosuke had stayed home, why would a rumor about someone sneaking into the village make Keine freak out about him?
>> No. 107147
>While I am a fan big fan of IPF, I assure you I had this planned back in the beginning. Curse you HY for making such a likable character with easy to digest technobabble!

We know, of course. You have nothing to apologize for.

>“Mokou,” the forest hermit replies. “Of the Fujiwara.”
>“Huh…never heard of you. Well I’m sure you have an interesting story to tell if you are one to keep such strange company. Do come by and let me record them. Well then, good luck Mr. Morichika. Goodbye, Ms…what was it again?”
>“Mokou. Of the Fujiwara.” Mokou says more sternly this time but also with a concerned look.

Okay, so we took Akyuu's ability to remember everything. A historian like Akyuu would definitely remember an important name like 'Fujiwara', which is why Mokou is concerned that she has to repeat it.

Either the 'lost sample' was a flashback as a result of acquisition of this ability, or maybe it was Keine's ability. The second would be a good thing, because it might mean Keine has her ability back. I don't think we ever used it. In most cases, I think the 'suppression field' option is the way to go.

>“You! I know you….I know you…but why can’t I remember you? You’re not from my previous incarnations, you’re from…” Entranced, she slowly creeps back to me, never letting me out of her sight. “Your face…oh gods your eyes…yes I’ve seen them I’m sure of it…in a dream…or a nightmare. How is this possible?” The urgency in her voice grows. Soft sharp breathing becomes distinctly clear as if she were fighting a panic attack. Just inches away now, she trembles slightly with hints of tears in her eyes.

Bad dreams involving Yukari, I'm thinking, who she definitely does not like. Or she knows about the presence possessing him.

>If she thought Rinnosuke had stayed home, why would a rumor about someone sneaking into the village make Keine freak out about him?

You're right. Akyuu also mentioned a he knowing about Rinnosuke's presence as if it should be alarming, so the only sensible place is Marisa's.

[x] Marisa's place. Remember to put your mask on.

Hey, now you have an alibi.
>> No. 107148
[x] Marisa's place. Remember to put your mask on.
>> No. 107566
File 126072698418.jpg - (288.76KB , 1254x403 , 122716620291s.jpg ) [iqdb]
107566
Hmm, I swear I've seen some of that text from somewhere before...

[x] Marisa's place. Remember to put your mask on.
Seems likely enough.
>> No. 107596
[x] Marisa's place. Remember to put your mask on.

>[ERROR. SAMPLE 1143 LOST.]
Anyone have a copy of thread 4? It's missing from the archive and I'd like to check if 1143 was previously referenced. Though I suspect it hasn't been, since we weren't given a color for the spilling sand in this last post.
>> No. 107614
>>107596
http://www.mediafire.com/?tnnoxntjzjn
>> No. 107629
>>107596
Actually only one sample has been lost, and that was in thread 1. Don't worry too much about it, its not something hidden or new.
>> No. 107644
>>107614
Thank you.

>>107629
>Don't worry
Too bad that's not what I'm here to do. After all, I'm an ice fairyanonymous. This is my job.
>> No. 109688
File 126302326526.jpg - (99.13KB , 819x614 , Takayama.jpg ) [iqdb]
109688
“We’re going to Marisa’s house. If anything Keine probably thinks I ran there first to find Marisa.”

“Well we better hurry then. Lead the way.” Mokou brushes her hair away before slipping the mask over her face again.

---
Darkness settles awkwardly over the village, constantly vexed by the shining of the full moon and sporadically warded off by lanterns and torches. Less and less people pass by as we leave the more densely residential areas and head closer to the center of town. The houses slowly take on different features, morphing from small shacks to grand homes and rows of annexed buildings. Looks like we are getting closer to the commercial end of town. Most older families in Gensokyo refused to give up their lands to anyone other than those who were bound by blood and honor to serve them. Marisa’s father was especially stern about this. The newer and obscure branch families with little power moved to the outer edges of the village where there was more room, often alongside the farmers who work in the fields. It’s almost like a physical statement of power…

…and here I moved clear to the other side of the field and up to the forest. I wonder what that’s makes me? Heh, ‘location location location.’

Yet it’s almost fitting that I move there, considering the history. Nearly twenty years before the Hakurei Border was created, the country was drastically changing. The Edo period was gone. The Shogun resigned. The Emperor was restored. Merchants and artisans, who were considered the lowest of citizens, were suddenly people of power. A new motto and goal had been made by the magistrate. The nation was awed by the West and wanted to be respected by the world, encouraging businessmen to go forth and make the country wealthy and powerful. ‘Rich Nation, Strong Army’ they cried out in zeal. But not everyone supported it.

The new military especially caused discord. The European model of the armed services and the Conscript Laws forced everyone to serve together. Feudal houses were now powerless. The men whose family name was once revered or feared stood in formation next simple peasants and bore their shame. Mothers of farmers cried that their sons had no place in war. Neither side was happy. So many grew reclusive and distrusted the government that betrayed their ways. Both groups moved farther into the untamed mountains, where dark things still lurked. In the end they had to work together. Former peasants and samurai alike came to this valley we now call Gensokyo. Here they would make a new home and take this small hamlet as their own. And amongst it all two very different people had to integrate. Naturally there were power struggles and treachery, in fact there still are, but the bloodlust of youkai became the greater threat that bound them together.

Nothing like a mutual enemy to bring the worst of company together

So they fought, side by side, against the darkness and dark things within. New generations never learned the bigotry of old, or rather were less affected by it. In the end those stubborn families who left a modern Japan because they refused to dirty themselves with commoners became a community with them. Thus a hidden town of strange and strong outcasts grew in size and xenophobia to survive. Their hands carried swords and pens alike, and the most powerful families were the ones who knew how to handle both.

Families like that of Kirisame, which influences more things than I care to ponder.

---
Ahead we keep walking. Mokou, who I’m not sure has been in the village, jerks her hard back and forth taking in the strange sights while clutching her booth prizes tightly in one hand. It’s not cute or childish like it sounds. It’s more like a nervous animal carrying home its kill. Everyone we pass seems relaxed or jovial, which makes her anxiety that much more pronounced. Worst of all it’s starting to spread to me too.


“Oi, Rinnosuke. We’re being watched.” Mokou gives a harsh whisper but keeps facing forward as if it were nothing.

People watching us? Oh that’s not good. Quickly I scan for any guards around but can’t find any. Just houses and random patches of people on the streets. Trying to stay calm I resist the urge to turn to Mokou.

“Where, I don’t see them.”

“Up there.” Mokou does something but I can’t see it in my peripheral vision. “That group. Look! Shit one just pointed at us.”

Up the road, about 20 meters away, moves a platoon of…teenage couples? For a moment I think I have the wrong group but sure enough one of them points to us and murmurs something, causing the other girls in the group to smirk or laugh.

…That’s it? Gossiping children? Surely Mokou hasn’t been isolated for so long that she’s forgotten the sight of that has she? …Well I suppose they could be a sort of a threat too if they try to talk to us. Best to throw them off. When in Rome.

In careful but quick motion I manage to grab Mokou around the hips and pull her close.

“Wha-wha-what the hell are you doing?!” Mokou stammers in a flustered gasp of surprise. Good she didn’t freak out too much. Now that she is close enough I do take a second to appreciate the fact that her eyes are now the size of saucers. Always fun to see.

“Just stay calm. We’re acting the part so trust me on this. Now hug and nuzzle me.”

Mokou nearly trips at that but I manage to keep her upright, causing the girls up ahead burst out in giggles. Awkwardly my companion reaches her arms around and leans her head very lightly against my chest. Having a woman do this would normally feel nice, but sadly the angry searing heat cutting through my clothes ruins the moment.

The crowd passes uneventfully. A few guys give a supportive thumbs up and grins while the girls continue to stare then look away playfully. I swear one of them made a ‘daaaaaaw’ sound. As soon as we pass out of sight Mokou shoves me away and shakes with clenched fists.

“You better give me a good reason why you just-“

“Because Akyu warned us.” I interrupt sternly. “She said that there being two of us probably threw off the guards, who were expecting just myself because I don’t have any friends left in the village. I’m sure those kids just thought we were quarreling lovers, so I played on it.”

“…oh.” Mokou replies after a moment of comprehension, sounding deflated. Or is that disappointment? No surely not.

The streets continue to thin out, but there are enough random villagers to keep Mokou on guard.

“Here, just try to hold my hand. Ok? It will help with the image.”

“…ok” A small warm hand slips into mine and we interlock fingers. How odd that they feel so delicate, despite the calluses.

After a few minutes we turn onto a familiar road where the dirt gives way to cobbled stone. Ah, The Merchant’s District. It’s strange that I should be walking through it under such circumstances. Just last year I was returning from the same festival with a very worn out Marisa in my arms. I always felt a little strange being her escort, but Mr. Kirisame asked me to do so every year since he was so busy managing the events and booths. I’m sure he wished he could be with her instead. Surely he did. He always loved hearing Marisa’s stories the next day and would bring her the best prize from some game vendor.

A tight squeeze jerks me from the memories in time to see that we’ve nearly arrived. But how would Mokou know if she’s never…

The emblems on the paper lanterns are a dead giveaway. Nearly every guard has one. The reflections off their swords and oiled leather uniforms give an eerie glow in the darkness. Suddenly the main entry door to the Kirisame house slams open and two worried guards dash out with a familiar woman in blue dress and strange hat.

…It’s Keine.

The sentries urgently bicker back and forth about something.

…Why is Keine with them?

The woman in blue sternly points off towards the road that leads to the festival grounds and barks an order. The patrol dashes off in that direction save two soldiers who man their posts outside the estate’s entrance. With an annoyed look the lady turns and begins to quickly walk towards her home, which naturally is the direction we just came from.

“Shit. In here!” My mind is racing through so many thoughts that Mokou hardly even registers as she pulls us into a shadowy transport alley between two houses.

“What the hell is going on?” Someone angrily hisses into my ears, but I don’t understand. All I can think about is Keine. All I feel is her wonderful loving embrace in the forest. All I see are the tears in her eyes when she left. All I hear is…

TAK. TAK. TAK. TAK.

…the loudening footsteps on stone coming towards us. Seconds later she passes, not even noticing us. My mind freezes for a moment, unsure of what to.

[ ] Call out to Keine.
[ ] Stay hidden.
>> No. 109788
[x] Call out to Keine.

Nice to see you updating this again, Doc. I missed it.
>> No. 109801
[x] Stay hidden.

Not the best of circumstances for mending relationships. Continue to observe.
>> No. 109805
[x] Stay hidden.
>> No. 109807
File 126311113637.jpg - (74.17KB , 256x256 , advicetewi.jpg ) [iqdb]
109807
[x] Call out to Tewi
>> No. 109808
>>109807


FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF.....

God, I wish people would stop doing that.
>> No. 109811
>>109809
And they love getting it wrong~ It's calling out for, not calling out to~

And yes, I get that it was formatted to fit the doujin offered choice. I'm just messing around
>> No. 109816
Keine is angry. Two guards are seen with worried looks running away from her. Narrator recently took Akyu's ability to memorize things and possibly returned Keine's ability.

>“Ms. Kamishirasawa is the acting guardian of this village. What makes you think she would be staying home on a full moon night, much less during such a large festival? I’m sorry, but she is not here and I cannot help you. If you require assistance with something, please check with the sentries on duty. I’m sure they’d like something else to do besides hunt youkai.”

Tonight is the full moon. Keine is seen making a beeline for her home, just after she possibly maybe got her powers back. Now, waiting for Keine to get home and find Akyu acting funny while we're a font of historical knowledge will probably do little to help matters.

Now, we went here to find Keine, didn't we?

>“We’re going to Marisa’s house. If anything Keine probably thinks I ran there first to find Marisa.”
>“Well we better hurry then. Lead the way.” Mokou brushes her hair away before slipping the mask over her face again.

Mokou sure seems to think so. This is why she was just willing to put herself in what for her must be terribly awkward situations. So telling Mokou you've 'changed your mind' after you'd grabbed her ass and told her to hold your hand, well, even if you were going for Mokou as love interest, might not be so intelligent, especially when within the next set of choices you might fully 'bury the hatchet' with whom to Mokou must seem like the primary competitor.

But we also wanted to ingratiate Mokou with at least someone important in the village. We don't want her to be viewed by the village as a possibly dangerous youkai, mask or no mask. Now Akyu might not even remember the conversation she had with her, so it has to be Keine if it's going to be anyone.

>…That’s it? Gossiping children? Surely Mokou hasn’t been isolated for so long that she’s forgotten the sight of that has she?

She certainly hasn't been doing any interacting on her own.

[x] Call out to Keine.
>> No. 109820
[x] Call out to Keine.
>> No. 109822
Keine it is then.
>> No. 109823
>>109822
Hooray!
>> No. 123994
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123994
As Keine passes us, seeing her turned and walking away, a horrible sense of déjà-vu hits me. The pain from seeing Keine leaving my home so upset a month ago returns with a vengeance and overpowers any logic in my mind. Without a second though, I pull the mask from my face and step into the dim lantern light. Once again, I am exposed to a human in the most dangerous of places.

“KEINE!” I half shout to her in an uncertain plea. She stops and turns to the alley away, eyes narrow and confused for a few seconds until they suddenly widen in recognition.

“…-suke?” Her lips move but only two syllables are audible. Her eyes dart down both sides of the street before turning all their focus onto the dark alley around me. A horribly intensity fills her gaze, full of fury and amazement and something I cannot place. Slowly yet discreetly she walks into the passage between the merchant homes and disappears from outside view. A mere few feet later she stops to stand in silent determination before me.

“Keine….” I try to whisper, but two things happen in quick succession to stop me. First is that my cheek suddenly stings with pain, knocking me into a slight daze. Second as that the beautiful woman who apparently just slapped me is abruptly hugging me with all her might.

“Rinnosuke!” Keine cries out in a shaky muffle against my shirt, and suddenly all the dread and uncertainty leaves me. My arms move to embrace her without a second thought and for a wonderful moment there is nothing else but the simple pure joy of a reunion with a woman intimate to my heart. Seconds later the connection is broken as Keine pulls away and hits me weakly on the chest rather than my face a second time.

“Oh you stupid man! You had me worried sick! Why of all nights did you come now?! No matter, where is Marisa? When did you get her? The guards are furious right now.”

Wait.
Wait wait wait wait wait.

…Why is she asking me about Marisa?

“Keine, we just got here. Did something happen?”

Dread creeps over her face like a pale plague. “You…don’t have her?” The words seem ridiculous for some reason.

“Hey we just got here. Do you mean she’s not inside?”

“No!” Keine explains in a slight panic now. “The house was deserted. Cloths and drawers were thrown about. For a moment I thought she had been robbed but then…” She trails off, trying to fully grasp the situation but the bystander I had fleetingly forgotten about beats us to it.

With an annoyed voice which forcefully reminds us that none of this has been private, Mokou steps out from the shadows in the back of the alley. “Well if she isn’t home, where is she?” In surprise Keine tenses up and steps away from me, sending a questioning glance to both of us.

“You are that woman from…”

“Yeah I’m the bitch from the forest. Rinnosuke and I are having a night on the town, and figured we’d make a house call. Great to see you again but now’s not really the time to reminisce. You said the kid’s not here right? Then we got a problem.” Mokou’s words seem straightforward and no harsher than usual, but there is a certain tone in them I don’t quite like. It’s something offsetting and …dangerous?

…No I’m just imagining it. Mokou is a friend and is here to help. I shouldn’t think such things.

“Y-yes that’s right.” Keine replies nervously, before her voice defensively firms to that of authority. A faint tension rises in the air around us. Not taking her eyes of Mokou, Keine steps closer and pulls of my sleeves to herself. “Oh Rinnosuke, if she was not home and is not with you then I can only imagine she ran away. I couldn’t bear for our Marisa to be hurt. Miss, do you know where she might have gone?”

Mokou’s eyebrows rise slightly before furrowing into a glare. “No, haven’t a clue. Never even met your Marisa before but boy has Rinnosuke told me a lot about her.“ With a cock of the head she turns to me asks much more warmly. “What do you think, partner? You know her best.”

That I think is that I should separate you two as soon as possible.

“If she’s not home and we think she ran away, she must have run off to find someone she can feel safe with. But she wasn’t at Keine’s house so that means…” I trail off in dread at the thought.

“No, that’s ridiculous. The children know better than to leave the village at night. Marisa may be headstrong but surely she wouldn’t…” Keine’s sentence fades away as well, only serving to increase my panic.

“What?” Mokou asks in confusion? “You don’t think she went where?”

“My shop,” I reply darkly. “She left her house after dark and is probably heading to my shop at the edge of the forest. It’s a full moon…but she can barely fly…and she doesn’t know danmaku.

Keine bites her lip in silence, but Mokou clenches her teeth and curses.

“Shit.”

(to be continued soon)
>> No. 124050
Oh my goodness an update! I was thinking about this story recently, very happy to see it again.
>> No. 124070
Hooray, you're back!

Looking forward to the rest~
>> No. 124335
Good to see you're still writing this.
>> No. 133535
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133535
Ah ha, you thought this was an update! The update you so richly deserve and are long overdue. Sadly it is not and I do apologize from the bottom of my heart. There is so much in the story in need to get to, but I've hit a rut the size of Tenshi's ego and others things I won't mention. So I'm working on a short story to get myself back in gear and shake off the cobwebs before Rinnosuke has to fight someone in the next update of RoTS.

Hope you enjoy.
http://www.touhou-project.com/others/res/31151.html