For all I know it could be a zebra, or its even more vicious cousin, the gazebo.
I saw a gazebo once. Truly terrifying.
yeah, whoever painted it had no sense of color coordination at all
gives me the chills just thinking about it
In such cases, arson can be a gift.
I can't set fire to a horse, though. They move around too much. I'll keep a low profile for the time being, then.
...But I still want to see what's going on.
I put the spear back up onto its rack, and walk over to the window that Bigwings used the day before. Crouching under it and peering up over the frame, I take a peek outside.
A roughly made but sturdy-looking horse-drawn cart is out in front of the house. Some people are helping Orange out of the back; laborer-types. She doesn't look wounded, or physically damaged at all... But she moves like someone that is, each step unsteady, supporting herself with a makeshift cane and the help of her concerned-looking companions.
No idea who they are, but given where she said where she was headed, as well as their clothing and general appearance, it's not reaching too far to assume that these are some of the villagers from the village she mentioned running off to.
I pray she's going to be all right. Seeing her in pain makes me feel funny. A weird, bad, new kind of funny.
I'm worried and anxious and a little scared and I want to run out there and carry her in, myself, but then they'd see me, and she didn't want that to happen.
It takes me a few seconds before I realize what I've just thought.
She really has gotten me, hasn't she?
My happiness could very well be the death of me, at this rate. Or at least, another death of me.
I sigh, smiling a little sadly, and watch them go to the front porch. The farmer-y people bow profusely, thanking her for whatever she did, most likely. They'd damn well better, if she ended up like that from helping them. She thanks them, and seems to assure them that she can make it inside, or that she doesn't need much help, or something.
I wonder how much of it is bluffing and how much of it is so that they won't see me, inside.
They seem reluctant to leave her be, but she at last convinces them, and begins making her way up the path.
I race out of the room, clutching my friend close. Through the pantry-hall, and through the kitchen, and out the living room and into the hall. I almost turn the corner to greet her at the door, but I notice she's making an awful lot of unnecessary noise on the way up, and I know she doesn't move that clumsily, even when she was sharing her life and power with me.
...Oh god, maybe that's what happened?
Still, she's making this noise to warn me, I'm guessing, in case I hadn't heard the cart coming up the way. She must be hoping I'll hear it and guess what I've guessed so far, and stay out of sight until the door is shut.
That, or I'm second-guessing everything, and thinking way, way too hard about this.
But I am a tactical genius, so it's no surprise that I should do so.
I wait just around the corner, hearing the door open.
I wait, hearing her come in.
I wait, hearing her turn and shout a farewell and a final thanks.
I wait, hearing her shut the door, at long last.
I wait no longer.
[ ] News [ ] Weather [ ] Traffic [ ] Sports [ ] Call in [ ] A thank-you to our listeners
(Choose up to 3. All will eventually be covered, but some are more important than others.)
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[Ϩ] News [Э] Call in [Ϩ] A thank-you to our listeners
I run around the corner, and just barely hold myself back from taking her in my arms. I don't know how bad she's doing.
"You're back! What happened?"
Orange looks back at me and turns around, giving me a warm smile.
I missed that smile.
"I'll tell you about it in just a bit."
I can't just stand around like this.
"Is there anything I can do for you?"
She pauses in thought for a moment. "...Put tea on and warm up breakfast. I was giving serious thought to eating that horse."
"Okay!" I reply cheerfully, happy to be able to help her. I round the corner, skid to a halt, and then go back to where she's just putting on her indoor shoes.
"You're, um... not going to break, or anything, are you? Like, if I touch you...?"
She actually laughs, and shakes her head. "No, I should be fi—"
"Oh, thank god." My worries put to rest, I take her in my arms and pull her into a long, warm kiss.
She still tastes delicious.
Orange is breathing heavily when we part, cheeks flushed. I'm sure I look about the same.
She looks beautiful, like this.
"Been missing me a little, I see," she says, grinning wryly.
We kiss again.
I could do this all day.
"You probably want that tea now, though," I say, finally.
"Is the service here always this friendly?" she replies in a murmur.
"Only for our favorite customers."
"Oh? I must be at the top of the list, then."
"You've got some competition from a certain vampire, actually."
My citrus princess gives me a highly skeptical look. "Please. I don't think Kurumi even knows what romance is."
She snorts. "A few hundred years ago, maybe. Now as much as I would love to spend several more minutes seeing just how good the service here is, I would be very happy if you could go get that tea ready, please? I'm about to fall over, here."
"Ah, right away~!"
I brew some tea, and pull out the ceramic bowl of the delicious breakfasty mix of food she made this morning. Setting it in the microhotboxwave thing, I set it on for what I assume must be enough time. The western numbers have proper kanji by them, so I can approximate a good guess.
It peep-peep-peeps at me like a baby bird made out of electricity and boxes after a while, and I take it out.
...Whooo, toasty. Doesn't smell or look overdone, so I guess I got lucky.
The tea finishes right about then, too, so I take them both out to her on a large serving tray.
She downs two cups in a row, and begins going to work on the not-breakfast-anymore with gusto.
It's inelegant, but I'm not really bothered by such things. She's got a lot taken out of her, if my guess is right, and her body is likely trying to recoup what it can to the best of its ability.
It's a surprisingly human response to a uniquely youkai problem, I muse, looking at my hands.
Our bodies are funny, like that.
I'm three more deep thoughts away from becoming a philosopher. I'd better be careful about that. Philosophize enough and you can never reconnect with normal people.
It's what happens when you get in too deep.
Philosopher, or budding comedian? Life is full of possibilities~
A quiet clink of chopsticks brings my attention back to the world at large, and I am amazed to see that the entire bowl has been emptied. I look back up at Orange, who is leaning back in her seat, looking a little bit better.
"My compliments to the chef," she says with a straight face.
"I'll be sure to tell her! I hear she's the best in these parts."
"Best in most parts, if what people tell me is right."
I giggle. It's probably true, though I honestly don't know.
My opinion is hardly neutral, admittedly.
We look at each other for a moment.
[ ] How was work today, dear? [ ] Let me tell you about my day
>>110972 >>110978 >News What happened? (It seems like this one was ignored, but it wasn't, technically. She showed interest and/or concern, and that was important.) >Weather Are you all right? >Traffic Are they gone yet/is it safe to come out? >Sports I had an interview a fight with the vampire >Call in Is there anything I can do for you? >A thank-you to our listeners Kiss~
I kinda figured Kogasa was always on the quirky side, it's just that things like the curses and torture really upped the quirk factor to 11. We must consider that Kogasa might not be familiar with modern technology. I'm curious to how Orange got her hands on so much modern tech, with out there isn't much working electricity in most places. The only exceptions I'd imagine would be Yukari's place, the SDM, and the Moriya shrine, and either kappatech, magic, and/or borderhacking is involved with each case.
>>111019 Considering that the poltergeists, of all people, had a microwave, and the kappa put brand names on their consumer electronics, I think this incarnation of Gensokyo is actually pretty technologically advanced, possibly as a result of the kappa's efforts post-Subterranean Animism.
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[❂] How was work today, dear?
"So, what happened to you? You've been better, I can tell that much."
"Well... You saw the flare signal and everything; that was the message to head over to Shinon as fast as I could."
"Head over to who?"
"The frontier farming village a ways down the valley."
I nod. "Oh, okay. Not a person. Right, sorry. Go on?"
"I flew over as fast as I could. It wasn't a pretty sight, though."
"What wasn't?" I brace myself for the worst.
"A barn fell on some people," she says closing her eyes.
"Some kids got pinned under a fallen beam or a wall or something?"
"No, I mean the entire barn fell on them. There was some kind of building work going on, and they were expanding it. At some point, they accidentally knocked away some of the main supports, though I don't know how, and the entirety of the main barn fell in on itself, killing two workers and injuring a lot more."
"I got there too late to help the dead; they got killed instantly. If I'd been there on the scene, I could maybe have done something for them, but there's no way that could have happened, unfortunately." She sighs, and crosses her arms, leaning against the table. "I was able to help them take care of the lightly wounded, and I used my, uh... 'Helping hand,' as you called it, I think, to stabilize three people who were in more critical condition and heal them, a little. Long enough for them to get to serious help, at least."
"Yes, at the branch clinic run by the rabbits in town, back on the other side of the mountains." She gestures off towards the main town, city, or whatever they call it.
"That was awful selfless of you, to say the least," I tell her. "But aren't you going to have to go find them and take your power back from them once they're all better?"
Orange shakes her head, giving me a slightly tired smile. "Not in this case. That particular trick actually works a little differently than what I did with you. I decide how long my life force will reside within the recipient as well as whether it heals or merely sustains them. And at the end of that period, it returns to me. I can also take it back at any time, which is what I did with you."
"Impressive," I say. It sounds incredibly useful, especially for one in her position. I owe my life, or at least my hastened recovery to it, too.
"You know," she says, after a few moments of silence, "'Helping Hand' is a pretty good name for it. Quicker, too."
"...It has another name?"
"Mm-hmm. The proper name for the art is 'Dragon Extends Hand To Protect The Mayfly.' ...You can kind of see how 'Helping Hand' comes off a lot more nicely."
I have to agree with this.
"So how long is it supposed to go, this time?" I ask.
"About a few hours before dawn. They should be able to reach town long before then. Though, that brings up the next thing..."
"I'm going to need your help, tonight. I'm breathing for four, so to speak, so I'm not exactly at the top of my game. I don't want to impose on you, but—"
"So you're going to need my help cooking?"
"Well... yes, prob—"
"And dressing for bed?"
"...I suppose, but—"
I rest my head on my chin, and give her a wide grin. "And at what point is this supposed to be something terrible?"
She snorts a laugh, and thwaps me on the head with a chopstick.
"Why, to the uninformed listener, it would almost sound like you're just happy to have an excuse to be touching me."
"That's part of it, I won't lie." Putting on a more serious face, I straighten up. "But really, it's the very least I could do in repayment. And besides, it's you. I'm happy to do anything for you."
She blushes a little, and reaches across the table to squeeze my hand. "Thank you, Kabuki."
I really, really want to tell her my name.
"Like I said: anything for you."
That might include something bitter, soon.
Best to make the most of it while I have it, though.
Orange looks over at the television box rack collection of electric things.
"It's almost eight right now... We'd better get dinner started."
Damn, that late already?
Time flies when you're having fun, I suppose.
She begins to get up, then pauses and frowns. "Although... I just ate, so I'm fine. Are you at all hungry?"
I could go either way; I wouldn't mind a bite to eat, certainly, and definitely wouldn't mind eating anything made by her. But I'm not screamingly hungry.
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[食] Iron Chef
"Sure," I say, nodding. "I haven't had much today, anyway."
"Then let's go take care of that, shall we?"
I help her get up, and loop her arm through mine while she leans on me for support as we walk to the kitchen.
She doesn't slow me down very much, and manages a steady deliberate pace.
I kind of like this. Being relied on is an interesting experience.
Being able to help somebody is an even nicer one.
what are you talking about; you're no stranger to that
yeah, but you know the rules of that and this are different, and besides, you aren't her
curse my ungirlish figure!
leave me, i need to pout
i don't think i can leave you, and definitely not you
that was sort of the idea, after all
you take all the fun out of complaining
First, she has me grab a wrapped package of ground-up meat from the winter room. It is, as it suggests, a very, cold room, with winter hidden inside of it. I think Forkpin Mother might like such a place during the rest of the year. Perhaps she already has one. Bears have caves, perhaps she has a winter room?
I grab the meat, and Orange unwraps it, setting it out to thaw. Then we go into the pantry hall , where I grab a number of ingredients that she points out. Many spices, as well as a shiny green canister with a top that swivels around and seems to bear a weird, freakish smile, and a package of long, yellowy-gold brittle twigs. She tells me that they're noodles, but I'll believe it when I see it. Everybody knows that noodles are floppy, after all.
Next stop is in the vegetable section of the pantry, where she grabs an onion and some mushrooms.
Lastly, she has me grab a couple metal cans of tomato sauce. They must be the red things on the label, but they don't look very saucy, either. There should be laws against this kind of misleading labelage.
We return to the kitchen proper, and she gets out a large metal pot which she fills with water, and puts on the stove to boil.
Supporting herself against the counter, she begins to mix up the sauce, pouring the cans into a bowl, and adding so much of these flaky black tiny leaves, and so much of those strong-smelling white chopped-up bits.
She sings to herself in Chinese as she works, providing a pleasant background as I chop up the meat into smaller pieces that thaw faster, and then begin rolling them into balls. I cook them as she begins chopping of her own, going to work on the onions and mushrooms, and then adding them to the sauce as well.
Partway through my chopping and cooking, I pause and turn to watch her as she empties the package of golden twigs into the boiling water.
Finally, both of us are done for a little while. I lean back against the counter, and she leans against me, softly breathing, my arms slipped under her own, hands clasped together across her stomach.
It is a quiet, peaceful, pleasant moment, and I want many more of these in the future.
It hurts to think I won't have them.
Not a physical hurt, but a hurt deep inside.
And yet, just as her being so close makes me think such things, so too does her presence seem to dispel them. She is like alcohol; problem and solution simultaneously.
But I wouldn't say I'm intoxicated by her presence. Nobody with a speck of sense would ever say that.
"Ah, the noodles are almost done, by now."
Startled out of my thoughts, I let go of her to let her go check up on the "spa-gatey" noodles. Dipping a fork in, she pulls out a single noodle, and takes a nibble of it. Nodding after a moment or two, she turns to me and flashes a happy smile.
"All right, we're ready to go!"
Following this declaration, she strains the water from the noodles with my help, and then empties them into a bowl. She places an odd, clawed ladle in the noodles which she says is particularly suited to noodle-scooping.
The balls of meat and the sauce are combined, and it smells very, very good. It's a vaguely similar smell to that of paytza, and I tell her as much.
"Oh, you've had pizza before?"
"Only once," I say, sighing wistfully.
"Hmm... You liked it, then?"
"Oh god, yes," I say, enthusiastically. "The meat was perfect, the cheese was melted just right, the sauce tasted amazing... I don't think there's a better food in existence," I tell her, thinking fond memories of it.
"I see," she says, and snickers, then says nothing more on the subject
The spa-gatey is delicious. It's amazing what kind of things you can make when you aren't limited to rice in your basic grains, and have something other than seafood providing most of your meat. Of course, that latter doesn't apply so much in Gensokyo... I think.
After my third plate, I lean back, full and content. Not stuffed, but pleasantly sated. I guess I was hungrier than I thought. That, or fighting builds up one hell of an appetite.
I look over at my citrus princess, who is watching me and smiling oddly.
She giggles after noticing me watching her. "Hee hee... sorry. I just like to watch people enjoying the things I make for them. It's a cook's greatest reward."
I sit up.
"You're sure? Just seeing people enjoy it is the best thing you can imagine?"
"Mm-hmm. I love the smile on their faces, the joy with which they eat, the anticipation when it's brought out to them... I guess I just like seeing people happy in general, if it comes to that."
"Hmmmm~" I say, fighting to hide a devious grin, and failing.
I come around to her side of the table, to where she's seated on the floor.
She looks up at me, slightly confused.
"I... well, maybe not all, but..."
I smile brightly and innocently.
"Then allow me to express the full extent of my enjoyment," I declare, and dip down, pulling her into a kiss.
Long, slow, pleasant, and warm.
I can still taste tomato sauce on her lips, but it's crowded out soon after by the taste of she, herself.
A far, far more pleasant taste, in my opinion.
We break, momentarily, and she giggles, looking up at me. "I'm not sure I entirely understand how thankful you are, yet. You'll have to show me some more."
And with that, she resumes the kiss, a little more aggressively, pushing back at me until we both topple backwards.
She grins from atop me, and starts to laugh again before it's muffled between our lips once once again, though I can still hear it bubbling up from her throat.
My hands have started to move, from behind her back, to over and across it, higher, and lower, then deciding on a preference for lower, settling to rest on half of her bottom just as one of hers begins to slip under my vest.
The sounds from my own throat make a surprised sort of noise, then a more mischievous one, and I hug her close and tight.
And then she cries out.
[ ] Oh god [ ] what [ ] I'm so sorry [ ] Oh god what is what did I do [ ] I'm sorry
I almost wanted to do the whole spaghetti-kiss thing like in the Lady and the Tramp, but then I realized that that's impossible unless both parties are eating from the same dish. It only seemed to grow more contrived from that point on.
>111073 >111101 ಠ_ಠ for different reasons, but ಠ_ಠ all the same.
>>111062 Unfortunately, it does not work that way.
She's a deva-class being. Maybe being touched by a youkai (as opposed to her touching them) is painful for her? Or maybe only when she doesn't have shields up or something?
Definitely do not want Kogasa to run out crying into the night, though. Orange only knows her by a false name, and even if she asks someone who knows the truth, like the Prismrivers, they might not exactly be forthcoming.
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I jerk away slightly, frightened by what I may have did do done did I I don't know
What is happening
What did I do
Did I do something
"I... what happened? Are you all right?!"
The orange girl atop me winces, and straightens up, rubbing her side. She doesn't look angry.
Okay, that's good.
Well, only a little good. Not all of the good.
"...Did I do something..."I'm sorry if I did..."
I sound worried, halfway-panicked, concerned, nervous
As I damn well ought to
'Fearful' sums it up nicely
I hope I hope I hope I pray I didn't hurt her
She turns back to me, looking upset, but trying to reassure me at the same time.
"No, you're fine... or... well, maybe not, but I probably should have said something."
Oh god I did do something
I'm about to break into a torrent of panicked apologies, when she continues, giving me a small smile and patting me comfortably on the shoulder. "I'm keeping three people who are hurt pretty badly in stable condition, so it's taking a bit out of me. If it were just one, it wouldn't be so bad, but right now..." She trails off and shrugs apologetically.
I'm the one who should be apologizing, shouldn't I?
"I'm sorry... I... I should have thought of th—"
My citrus princess smiles gently and places a finger to my lips.
"Shhh. Don't be too hard on yourself about it. We were both getting a little... carried away." Her cheeks color, and she almost looks bashful.
I nod, reluctantly. I still should have known to be more careful, dammit. She had to have help earlier; what would make this any different?
"I'm still sorry," I say. "I wasn't really thinking about that..."
Orange chuckles as she climbs off me, using the edge of the table for support as she shakily stands. I quickly get up to help her, now intensely aware of her condition.
"Hmm~ So I noticed. I'm sorry for cutting your show of appreciation short, though. I'm just not up to pursuing that sort of thing, tonight."
I nod, and start to help her onto the couch before she pauses, takes ahold of my arm, and makes sure I'm looking her in the eye.
"Eh? What is it?"
"...Just making sure you heard me," she says, with an odd look in her eyes.
I blink, confused, but nod anyway, and get her situated on the couch before I put the dishes on the table away, and store the leftovers in the fridge.
Something important just happened, but I'm not sure what.
I wash the few used dishes off, and return to the living room, still puzzling over this matter.
'I'm just not up to pursuing that sort of thing, tonight.'
It sounds like a rejection of my advances, but it's entirely understandable, given her state.
But it didn't... sound like one. Sort of. The tone was different from how one would normally say that. What the hell is going on?
We're a few steps away from her room, as we head to the bathroom, before all of a sudden, it, clicks.
That little pause at the end, and the stress on the final word: tonight.
But that would mean...
Beside me, Orange giggles, low and mischievously.
"It took you long enough, didn't it?"
I hadn't quite expected her to be so forward. Then again, is that really forward?
"I, um. I... maybe. Really?"
My citrus princess gives no answer except an innocent whistling tune.
you knew what she meant, didn't you?
i figured it out pretty quick
it seemed obvious enough to me
you should have said something!
it felt rude to intrude
i am not sure that you have ever been less full of it as you were when saying that just now
all right, you got me; wasn't my idea
told you i should have said it
it was worth a try
better to have had and to lose it than to gamble it all and lose your hat
what the hell are you talking about?
i forgot how it went, but it was supposed to be meaningful
can't win 'em all
i am so
you're getting off easy, you hear me? easy
Sometimes I think I we and me and I might drive me mad anew.
My mood has improved considerably, and bathing goes considerably pleasantly.
The two of us relax in the heated waters, letting the warmth surround us, and soothe our respective aches and pains. We've both got plenty, so the long soak is highly welcome.
Orange leans back against me, shifting her position on my lap to comfortably rest her head on my shoulder.
"So, how have you been keeping busy?"
"I had some company."
"Oh." A pause. "Kurumi really did come over, then?"
"Mm." She's quiet for a bit. "So, what did you do?"
"Watched a whole bunch of movies..."
She laughs quietly. "Did she show you that series with the guitar player with a bunch of guns?"
"The Mariachi trilogy?"
Nod. "Right, that one."
"Yep. Saw all three of them."
"Kurumi really likes those, for some reason. I liked the last one, myself." Orange leans against me and closes her eyes.
"She shows them a lot, then?"
"I think so." Another slight shift in posture, with the water splashing gently as she moves. "Anything else?"
"Umm... we fought."
She opens her eyes, and sits up slightly, looking at me. "You did?"
"What happened?" She sounds kind of concerned...
"Ah, no, nothing like an argument. We actually fought."
Shockingly, this does little to make her less worried.
"Did she hurt you?!" She turns a little more to me, gripping my arm tight.
"Well, yeah. It was a fight. That was part of the point."
And now she's glaring a little.
"...Would it help if I told you I won?"
She huffs, and drops back against me. Ow.
"...Maybe a bit."
I hug her gently. "By the way, you, um... your ...you know there are nurikabe and an akaname in your dojo, right?"
"Dojimo does floor repair. He came to me for work while I was out helping a tengu family set up a stand a few years back. He's trying to move beyond what akaname historically do, and put his skills to good use, so I gave him occasional floor damage to let him earn his keep. He lives in the floor, there, so it's also in his own best interest to get them fixed."
...Well, that's... unexpected.
"I see... and the nurikabe?"
"They need somewhere to stay, and there aren't many places with walls to pretend to be, out here. They heal fast enough, so... It all works out."
I'm silent for a while.
"...You have the strangest ideas regarding maintenance and architecture."
"But effective," she replies, with a wink.
"Can't argue with that."
"...So, you won?" she asks, finally.
"Good." She falls silent, and nestles closer to me.
I slip on the new teesh-urt she gave me (Black, with a large yellow three-leaf clover sort of shape like the electric fans at Silverman's shop surrounded by a thin ring, with a single foreign word beneath it, in white: Ｒａｄ． ), and pose briefly for my citrus princess.
"Perfect," she says from the bed, and grins.
I climb into bed, and turn out the light. Orange scoots close to me, and wraps an arm around me, pulling me close. I do the same, and the pair of us fall asleep in this way, each embraced by the other.
If this seems a little rushed or disconnected, I'm sorry. I wrote it in the hospital (My dad went in to get his eye looked at after the curved back end of a bungee cord hook popped him one. Apparently he has a slightly torn retina. We're all hoping it turns out okay), and was a little distracted, to say the least.
>>111192 Which brings up a slightly deeper point: is it really a good ending if we kill Sanae? She's certainly crazy, and we still have very little idea as to why that is, what started it, if she was always this way, and if it can be fixed. On top of that, we've always felt some degree of pity for her, even as early as the first post of the story, when we were at our least coherent. I still think our first goal should be to understand the nature of the beast, so to speak.
Besides, it's been hinted a few times that if we killed Sanae, her gods would revenge her death with extreme prejudice, in a way far less temporary than what we've become accustomed to. Even without taking moral arguments into account, not killing her may be a wise idea from a very pragmatic standpoint.
>>111193 Yes. Yes it is. Sometimes vengeance is sweet. If the last words of this story are Sanae's bloody murder I'd be happy. If the last words of this story depict Kogasa's failed attempt to kill her I'd be still happy, because she still tried. If half of what Kogasa said is true, she's well past the point of redemption.
[x] And I keep on walking. Let's no be selfish. She had her rest, she had her fun. It is my belief that she should quit while she's ahead.
>>111202 The last words of the story would be Kogasa getting sentenced to hell by Shiki, and guess who's waiting for her there.
Over-dramatic speculation aside, it's pretty clear where our girl's priorities lie, and being with Orange is several notches above any kind of revenge. So we should be asking ourselves what steps need to be taken to make that feasible. As far as I can see, we need to:
-Get the curse removed. -Disable green girl without invoking the wrath of her goddesses.
To that end, we'll need allies. I can think of several individuals off the top of my head who could potentially help with either or both of those, but who we can actually trust to do so is another matter entirely...
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[∥] but i don't want to walk alone anymore
I take a
And I move no further.
"You will do what you have to. But consider others before you do."
The words in my head from yesterday morning come back to me, giving me pause.
That's the really sticky part of it, right there.
I could leave, right now. Quietly, and unobtrusively leave, making a clean break with Orange.
Orange, and all she's done for me.
Orange, and all that she cares about me.
Orange, and all the warm, pleasant thoughts I have of and for her.
I could leave.
I should leave.
I need to be leaving, not thinking.
Dammit, shit, and fuck.
I can't do this. I can't stay.
I am endangering her by staying.
Choosing to remain here is completely unacceptable.
This is a fact I am fully aware of and cannot escape.
...So why aren't I going? Why aren't I moving? Why aren't I leaving?
I need to go!
But my body will not move, like a mountain will not move.
"But consider others before you do."
I turn back, looking at Orange. She sleeps peacefully in her bed, the moonlight falling over her, making little shadows and valleys and ridges in the cloth of the blankets.
She sleeps off to one side, rather than in the center, as one who sleeps alone does.
I should be there.
I want to be there.
I can't leave her behind.
Is it selfishness that makes my shoulders sag in defeat, that turns my footsteps back, that shuts the door as I walk back into her bedroom, that directs me to unpack my clothes and belongings?
Or is it care for others that makes me undress, that puts the clothes she gave me back onto my body, that sets my friend back to rest in his spot, that has me climb carefully back into bed, that wraps my arms about the beautiful woman next to me?
I don't know.
I don't know anything anymore.
No, that's not true. I know one thing.
I know I will need to tell her my choice, and what this means.
After all, the decision of whether I stay or go is no longer mine:
To think of others is to consider their desires.
It is hers.
I sigh quietly to myself, and brush back a thin lock of red hair that has fallen over her face.
Did I do the right thing?
Am I doing the right thing?
I hope so.
All my doubts and misgivings scream at me, but I want to believe that I am not so cruel as to cast aside the wishes of those that care for me in the process of doing what I believe is best for them and for myself.
Perhaps I am simply a weak and selfish woman, seeking to extend her happiness for as long as it can go, even as the devil waits to take me at the end.
I still don't know the truth of things.
But I just don't want to do this by myself, anymore.
Tears falling down my cheek, I hold my citrus princess close, but carefully.
She has kept me here.
Whether my reasons are selfless or selfish or both can be argued forever, but she is what keeps me here.
I feel arms hugging me from behind, holding me close. My head rests on her breasts, and momentarily mistake them for hers. But then I realize they aren't hers, they're hers.
I'm not still awake, then.
"You've made your choice, then."
Not a question, really; she states it, like commentary.
I nod. "Mm-hmm."
She stays silent for a little while, and begins stroking my head, running her fingers over my hair.
Like a mother, she seeks to comfort.
"...Are you ready to deal with what may come?"
"I... no. Some of it. I know what to do, but I can't remember that I have to do it. And I don't want to be faced with what happens if she finds us before then, or if it fails."
The hand pauses.
"What's that supposed to mean?" she asks, eventually.
I smile to myself. "You're a mysterious dream voice... person... thing. Aren't you supposed to know it all, already?"
"Ha! Your faith in me is appreciated, dear, but I'm no product of your imagination. I'm quite real."
I try to look back at the person embracing me, but I turn
s l o w l y
Like a dream, really.
I can't quite get to the point of turning around and looking at her.
"...I thought you were real. Why can't I see you?"
The hand pats my head gently.
"Fortunately for me, dear, you're not a very lucid dreamer."
What a bitch.
"That's fortunate? If you're so real, go out and tell somebody! Do something! You know what's happening to me, right?!"
The other woman is silent for a very, very long time. When she speaks again, she sounds like she's trying to keep from crying.
"I want to. I want to more than absolutely anything. I want to let people know, I want to go up the mountain and stop this all, singlehandedly. But I can't. When this began, the first thing that was done was to keep me from interfering. And every night, when I look upon you, I pray for you. Sometimes, I cry for you. Other times, like now, I talk to you. But I can't do anything!"
That last word comes out in a tortured sob, and her body shakes with the shedding of silent tears.
Even now, she wants me to think well of her. She wants me to know she can be relied on, and that even when all is bad and wrong and dark, that she can be trusted to help me through it. She thinks that such a person shouldn't seem weak.
I can't turn to look at her, but I can turn part of the way, and my body a bit more.
I turn as best I can, and hug her back.
"Thank you," I tell her. It's all I can think to start off with. "...Thank you for everything. Even if you say you can't interfere, though, I know you've done things for me. I am grateful for everything that you've done."
She laughs a little, and sniffs. "Heh... I haven't, really, though. Everything you have done under your own power, dear. I maybe gave things a tiny, barely-felt bird's-breath of a push in a direction that might help you, but it's really all been you."
"If you say so." I give her a squeeze.
One hand briefly leaves me, probably to wipe her cheek, by the momentarily obscured sound of her breath.
"Are you ready for the things that come from walking this path, child?"
"Not at all. What may come is yet to be seen."
"Oh?" The voice sounds a little amused, now. "You're good at mysterious, vague platitudes, my dear."
"I ought to be. I have somebody who feeds them to me in my dreams all night; I've learned a thing or two about them."
She actually snorts in amusement now, and thumps me gently on the top of the head.
"Watch it, dear. This business is a lot more important than you think it might be. And besides, better this than the things you normally dream of."
"I have other dreams?"
"You would have had them. People who go through the things you go through find it very, very, very hard to sleep at night, to say the least. You've felt, on waking, what you should have been dreaming, but you haven't been plagued by it, because the dream is kept from happening."
My brow wrinkles, and I look up at her in confusion— or try to.
Right, can't look.
I settle instead for a "...Huh?"
My hair is gently ruffled. "You're in better shape than someone in your situation might normally be. The rest is a bit technical." She kisses my forehead, and hugs me close once again.
"Good night, child. I will say this last thing to you, and you, and all of you, and the very, very, very you: "
There is a pause, and it seems like the world takes a breath
and she says
in very, very, very real and present and existing and there
"Perhaps you should remember."
There is a faint cracking sound, and light begins to spill through fractures in the darkness.
Sort of interesting that our friend didn't have anything to say about the decision we just made.
>My head rests on her breasts, and momentarily mistake them for hers. But then I realize they aren't hers, they're hers. Mysterious voice confirmed as Yukari? Or maybe we've died so many times that Yuyuko went ahead and had a direct line installed in our brainstem.
>>111213 I was thinking Yukari as she does not live on the mountain and have the power to stop Sanae + 2(?) goddess(es) on her own, according to >I want to go up the mountain and stop this all, singlehandedly. But then again, I have a habit of assuming that the mystery characters are Yukari.
>>111224 Dream girl could very well be Byakuren. While nothing explicitly states she has the ability to enter other people's dreams, a thousand-year-old magician is bound to have plenty of tricks no one knows about. She also fits well with the personality and motives of our mysterious helper. Also breasts.
Or maybe Fell is throwing a complete curveball here and it's really that he's going to stall until the touhou 13 demo comes out, then pick the first character he sees that even vaguely fits dream girl's description. Which will of course be Mima.
Or (And this is about as likely as Reimu turning into a murdering psychopathic cannibal that likes using skin as clothing) it could be Sanae. And by that I mean the part of her that was sane that was locked away/forcefully removed from her mind when Crazy!Sanae took control.
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[囗] Never eat anything bigger than your head
I stretch out, nice and thoroughly, accompanied by a clickity poppity symphony of joint-related noises.
is it possible for you to make a more unholy combination of sounds?
not unless i'm in pain
i don't see how you couldn't be, after that
oh, loosen up; oh wait, you don't have any joints to loosen
i am frowning hard at you
I'm feeling good, this morning. I don't know how long it'll last, because of what I need to do and say and take care of, today....
I hope it lasts.
I scoop up my friend, and we go off to the living room.
Before we get there, though, the front door closes, and Orange walks in, clothed in her workout greys, and toweling herself off.
"Good morning, Kabuki!" She smiles on seeing me, and rushes forward to kiss me and give me a little hug.
"Mmm... and a very good morning it's turning out to be," I reply, after the kiss. She giggles, and saunters past me, heading for her room.
"I'm off to go take a shower, and then I'll be getting this afternoon's surprise ready. Breakfast is already on the table. Don't peek in the kitchen, it's a secret!"
Giving a little wave, she disappears into her room.
This afternoon's surprise?
I'm looking forward to it, then.
I go into the living room, and start in on breakfast; leftover spa-gatey. No time to prepare something new?
...Well, it's not like I'm ungrateful; far from it. But it suggests that she needs to devote time to this... surprise.
My eyes wander over to the closed kitchen door It had a door? with a note on it, saying "Top Secret - Stay out, please! (It'll be worth it)"
I can hear the water running a ways off while I eat this strange and delicious foreign meal.
Well, she certainly seems to have her strength and power back. She's definitely in a good mood.
I hope I don't wreck it too badly.
With such thoughts running through my mind, I work my way through breakfast, nodding at her as she passes back through, freshly cleaned and dressed and smelling of soap. I didn't get a good look at her, though, as she almost runs through the room. One could almost call it skipping.
Either way, she shuts the door behind her soon afterwards.
She wasn't wearing the usual yellow-green thing, though. I think she was actually wearing a skirt.
I pause, and look down.
It occurs to me I'm still in a teesh-urt and panties.
They're awful nice panties, but I should probably be getting dressed, before long.
(Pick any combination you like, in the order you'd prefer. not "leave without telling Orange and never return" or anything along that line. ) ________________________________________________________________________________
For those of you who are curious or just now picking up the story, all seven previous threads are still on the board, though Thread 1 is on page 8. Read 'em while you can! Thread 1: >>94836 Thread 2: >>98717 Thread 3: >>102071 Thread 4: >>104301 Thread 5: >>106277 Thread 6: >>107749 Thread 7: >>109362 Thread 8: If you need help with this one, you are beyond help.
Well, turns out that this was more of a checkup sort of thing thing, and god only knows when the actual surgery itself will be. On the upside, his eye is looking much better, from an outside perspective.
What this means for you folks: Not having a huge chunk of uninterrupted free time for most of the day means no updating twice, unfortunately. However, this update is shaping up to be at least a little large-ish, so you have that to look forward to.
On an unrelated note: If you're the kind of person who moans in relief while in the bathroom or the shower, then for god's sake have the decency and courtesy to not fucking do that at the gym or in bathrooms not your own. It is creepy and unsettling as fuck.
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EQUIP ☞ SEARCH INFO PARTY Triple Triad
Nodding happily, I put my slippers back on, and leave the room. However, I only take a few steps into the hall before I hesitate, and look back.
The guest room.
Is Bigwings still in there?
I turn back and pause before the door.
Is there some rule about waking vampires, or am I imagining that?
She slept weirdly, I remember that much.
...Well, I'm not learning anything standing here. I knock on the door, and wait.
Maybe she's tired? It's time she should be sleeping.
Then again, she was having trouble sleeping.
I frown, then throw up my hands.
I push open the door, and poke my head inside.
"Hey, living dead girl. You still here?"
I open the door wider, letting light from the hall in. ...Oh, that's sunlight, isn't it? I stop opening the door, and let my youkai senses take over.
My particular brand of youkai-osity doesn't just "see better in the dark." Rather, my odd eyes just make better use of any and all available light, no matter how minuscule, to improve the overall quality of vision. Something I saw at Silverman's shop worked the same way, but had a warning about sudden exposure to bright light while wearing the silly thing. I don't have any such problem; my vision would instantly revert back to normal sight.
Other youkai have other ways of dealing with it; some can see different kinds things, like heat, or sound, or spiritual presence, or whatever. Some of the more powerful and/or divine big shot types probably can see you simply because you are there, with science having little to say in the issue.
...Of course, science doesn't get much of a say very often here, anyway. This is Gensokyo, after all.
Poor science. At least the kappa take good care of it.
And the result of all that is... the bed's empty.
The bed is made, surprisingly.
Suspiciously, in fact.
A few minutes of poking at it and checking reveal nothing except a note on the pillow.
The bed was useful.
It is good that you did not die or else I would likely have fallen asleep on the dojo floor.
...This is, again, probably what passes for thanks, for her.
Well, I'm not overly surprised. Nice enough of her, though.
My curiosity satiated, I return to the hall, and close the door behind me.
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EQUIP SEARCH ☞ INFO PARTY Triple Triad
Heading back into the living room, I ponder what to do next. I'm sort of reduced to waiting here, or going outside or something.
Outside actually doesn't sound too bad, actually. I've been inside most of this time. Fresh air would do me some good.
As I get up, though, I bump the table slightly, and let out a brief cry; more from being startled than actual pain.
"Kabuki?" Orange calls to me from the kitchen.
"I'm fine. Just hit my knee on the table, is all."
There's a pause, then she continues: "Are you looking forward to lunch?"
"I look forward to anything you make, but ...is there something special about this?"
She giggles. "Heehee... Why, I'm glad you asked~ We're going out on a picnic today."
"What's a... that thing?"
There's a pause, and then some footsteps. The door of the kitchen is pulled aside slightly, and she looks out at me with disbelief.
"You've never heard of a picnic?"
I shake my head.
She sighs, but smiles, and pulls her head back in before shutting the door again. Not before I catch a whiff of something cooking. It smells tantalizingly familiar that escapes my memory.
I blink, looking around.
The hell was that?
Orange continues as though she hadn't heard anything. "It's where you find a nice spot outside and eat a meal, usually with someone. You get to appreciate their food, the company, and the outdoors all at once! And to be honest, you've been staying inside too long."
This is true, and I'd been coming to the same conclusion, earlier.
There's a good reason, for it though. And that reminds me...
"Actually... I wanted to talk to you about something."
She pauses for a moment before responding. "I don't mean to sound rude, because if it's you saying it, it's probably something pretty important, but... can it wait for an hour or so? I'm really sort of busy, actually. I can talk, but I can't... If it's going to be something important— and it is, right?"
"Then I'd like to be able to listen to you completely and devote my attention to that. Right now, though..."
"Oh, no, it's okay," I tell her. In retrospect, bringing it up right now probably wasn't very smart. But at least I found out what the kitchen-secretiveness is about, I think. It's not too far a leap to guess that she's making something for the peekneek.
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EQUIP SEARCH INFO ☞ PARTY Triple Triad
Well, it seems I have some downtime before we go.
What to do?
...Eh, might as well go outside. I haven't gone outside for outside's sake in a while.
I'm getting soft. Losing my edge.
I'll be getting rusty, at this rate!
Well, that's it, then. To the great outdoors!
I stand up, careful of the table this time, and walk out of the room.
Then I walk back.
"I'm going to be outside for a bit!" I call to her.
"All right," she replies. "Have fun~"
It feels strangely like asking to go out and play.
I shake my head, smiling at the image.
At the entryway, I put on my geta, setting my indoor slippers to the side. To my satisfaction, I discover that I do indeed have sufficient wiggle room and space and whatnot in the toes of these stockings to be able to wear them with my sandals, just as I had planned.
Humming aimlessly, I strap them on, and walk outside with my friend, taking in the beautiful, sunny day. The days are getting slightly nippier as autumn gets nearer, but not to the point where it'd bother a youkai, and especially not me. Heat is no problem for me, and I can stay toasty when it's chilly if I need to.
It's all about who you know.
I stand there with my eyes closed, basking in the warmth of the sun, relaxing for a second, and just generally enjoying the moment.
Feels good, man. It really does.
Opening my eyes once more, I wander around the house, looking at the sky, the hills, the mountains, the clouds, the forests, way off
I twitch as I hear that sound again. Looking around, I don't see anything that could have caused it. It's a cracking sound, but the material sounds harder, and higher as it breaks, not the dry, brittle cracking of twigs. More like an oyster shell, or something, or a very thick egg made of fired clay.
It sounds clinky.
I'm mildly surprised to realize, on thinking about it, that I'm not worried about it. Rather, the sound makes me hold my breath, as if in anticipation. I stay still for a moment again, waiting for more.
I shrug and continue on, making my way around the house.
I stay for a while longer in the garden of sorts out back, outside the sliding glass door leading to the master bathroom. It's a quiet, pleasant, place.
I realize, after about four minutes of screwing around with the carp in the pond, that I'm itching to go back inside.
Am I that hard up for the indoors, already? Damn, I must have fallen LOW.
No... no, it isn't that. I'm just not as interested in relaxing outside because I'm looking forward to this peekneek thing. I guess I want to be sharing it with Orange; spending my time outside with her.
Three minutes later, I'm outside the thin window that looks in onto the billiards room. I have spent a good two-thirds of that time trying to pry the window open with my knife, but due to the mechanism that opens it, I can only get the blade partially in before pushing it any further is impossible.
it cannot possibly fail
i dunno, it's not going entirely swimmingly so far
bitch, bitch, bitch
then help alre— ohhhh, oh, oh; waaaait a minute
this tone of yours, it is disquieting
now whyyyy would you say that?
I stop my efforts with the knife wedged in place in the window as far as it can go.
Closing my eyes, a grin spreads across my face as I spend a little in the same instant that I bring my hand chopping down upon the handle.
There is a series of metallic clangs, clicks, and sproings, then a solid thunk. A brief rush accompanies the final sound.
I open my eyes to see the window popped open neatly on its extended arm, and the knife quivering in the wood siding of the house, a scant distance from my friend.
He can't really turn white, but I imagine he's trying.
y-you are a very, very, very, very mean woman
it wasn't coming open any other way, and i can't go through the kitchen; besides, you helped! be happy[/i]
i think i'll go be emotionally scarred, instead, now
whine, whine, whine! let's do this, already!
The window is clearly too small and too thin for me to climb through.
But not for my friend~
I help him up through the window, so he's mostly inside, and juuuust balancing on the edge.
I hide inside (of him)
Squeezy close in and tight, but teeter tottering and off our balance we are because I leaped up
though that was the idea
and now we rock back and forth,
and the clock strikes FLOOR
the floor feels all soft and cushy like a dream job
so the mission was a success and we do not have to mail the splits
because when you do not succeed you mail the splits because you aren't saying it right
that is what i was told
Okay it is done-time now
And my friend releases me from hiding. I stand up and look around.
Indeed, we have both made it into the billiards room.
nice work; you done good
perhaps to thank me you could keep the knife away from me from now on
oh, lighten uuup
pardon me ever so hard; it's just that i have severe knife allergies ever since i was little; my father was cut with a saw, you know
that sounds terrible
you have no i— okay, maybe you have some idea
My citrus princess pokes her head in, and is momentarily taken aback Ah, a little rush, there to see me in the room.
Her next words die on her lips as her brow wrinkles. I see her eyes dart around the room, and then settle on the open window.
Back to me.
"...You'll have to show me how you did that, some day," she says, finally, with a quiet chuckle. Entering the room, she takes off an apron, and then looks at me again, as if realizing something.
"Oho~ ...Were you planning on coming in through the back and taking a peek?" She hangs the apron on a peg, but when she looks back at me, her eyes seem crafty and yet somehow dangerous.
Honesty is often a wonderful policy.
"The idea hadn't occurred to me. I was going to play nineball."
Her expression changes to something like delight, and she claps her hands together once, gleefully.
"Oooh! Were you? Well, then... care to play a game or two against me before we go, then?"
>what?! you can't infringe upon the pursuit of basic civil liberties! you will regret this! >In the crazy house, that's where, sandwiched between clowns and jokers. That's no place to be; none at all. I'd lose an ear like that. Have I told you lately how much I love this story? Because if I have, it wasn't lately enough.
>Not before I catch a whiff of something cooking. It smells tantalizingly familiar that escapes my memory. I think I know what our surprise is.
>A brief rush accompanies the final sound. So we can get power from surprising our friend? Isn't that like the Gensokyo equivalent of pudding farming?
>>111380 >>111381 It's our memories, trying to be remembered after what the mysterious dream lady said. The first crack occurred after the word "memory", and the second came while we were looking at the scenery and our mind was wandering. Of course, that's just speculation, but I'm pretty sure I'm right.
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[³] 3▲ (confirmation)
A game against the lady of the house?
Sure, why not?
I give her a nod. "I'd love to."
Orange happily skips over to the rack of spears, and selects one of the ones neither Bigwings nor I used. It has a reddish-orange cast to the wood of the shaft, appropriately enough.
I pick the one I've been using, one with sort of a red and blue triangle pattern, like rows of teeth. It seemed rather appropriate for me.
Traffic lights go click-clack in older times, but I have no machinery in me.
"So, nineball? That is what you said, right?"
"Yep." I nod and confirm her question.
"Then it's the diamond rack for this."
"Eh? Oh. ...I knew that." I did, but I wasn't even thinking. I'd probably have tried playing with the triangle anyway, and then where would I have been?
In a land where triangles fly at night and go blink blink blink, that's where. That, or getting frustrated at this horribly designed triangle that did not make diamonds well.
i'd probably have mentioned the diamond-shaped one after about minute two of that
gee, you're a shining beacon of thoughtfulness
why thank you, madam
think nothing of it, dear sir
nah, i'd probably have mentioned it sooner than that
We flip a 100-yen coin (minted in 1937) that Orange pulls from my ear, somehow, to see who goes first. I am still unsure as to how she did this, because I stopped hiding money around there for safekeeping decades ago. Maybe my fight with the vampire knocked one that I'd forgotten loose.
...It's pretty difficult to put more than one or two there per ear Or behind them, but you have to have well-trained muscles, there, so it would be sort of difficult to lose track of them, though, wouldn't it?
She ends up going first. No edge-tricks, this time.
The orange girl racks the balls, and takes the first shot, with a crackity-clackity thump bump bump
She sinks the seven ball with the initial shot, and goes again. I hope she knows the rules better than I; all I can recall is the outline of the game: you use nine balls, and try to sink them in numerical order, one-two-three-four-five-six-seven-aytball-nine.
There were some other rules about the number of missed shots, and something about missing on the first shot, but I can't think off the top of my head what they were.
Well, I hope she knows them.
"Nuts. Missed that one. Your turn, Kabuki."
I walk around to where the cue ball ended up at, and look for the unsunken one-ball.
After a moment's searching, I find it. I'm still not able to immediately identify ball by color and pattern on sight, aside from the aytball. And the cue, I guess.
Is the cue the zero-ball? It's all white and featureless, so it does sort of embody "nothing" rather nicely like that.
My spear has just been set to the table as I take a shooting position, when Orange asks me, in an unusually calm and serious tone, "So, did you want to talk about what you were starting to mention, earlier?"
[ ] REEFERSPACEMIDNIGHT YOUKAI MADNESS [ ] So, a youkai and a miko walk into a bar shrine... [ ] Nussink! I see know nussink!
I am finding that sometimes when I want to write, but I just don't want to write what I have to write, the best course of action seems to be to fucking write it anyway, and I'll eventually get into my groove soon enough. The same thing seems to apply to the gym and exercise, and probably countless other things in life.
>>111392 >>111467 Your write-in makes no sense. It is bizarre and I have no idea what you mean in the slightest.
>>111472 All joking aside, I honestly don't get this one, if it is in fact even gettable.
[Ħ] So, a youkai and a miko walk into a bar shrine...
I jump slightly at the question, as it comes out of seemingly nowhere.
It wouldn't be a bad idea to talk about it, now, though. Would it? Better than during the peekneek, which seems like something kind of nice and relaxing, and I'd hate to bring it down by bringing it up then.
I give her a nod, and set up the shot, drawing my spear back. "Yeah. I mean, yes. I should."
I hit the one-ball, sending it bouncing off the side, and juuuust narrowly missing the pocket I'd aimed it at, sending it rolling and clicking into a small cluster of other balls. The... ah, it's the four-ball; it almost goes in.
I think it's a foul shot if you sink them out of order, so lucky me.
She seems to be patiently waiting for me to continue, and I oblige her while she prepares her own shot, taking her time.
"I'm staying," I say. She pauses and looks up. "That is, I, I want to stay. With you, that is. If you'll have me."
Dammit, I'm blushing. I should have prepared what to say in advance.
I risk a look at her, and see she's smiling pleasantly.
"Kabuki, I'd ....yes. I'd like that very much." She giggles nervously. At least I'm not the only one off-balance here. I let out a relieved sigh, but I'm not nearly done by half.
"That's not all of it, though. You know I'm being hunted." She nods slowly, face darkening, smile slowly fading.
"And that's what I wanted to talk to you about. I... I want to stay with you. I really like you, but I don't think it's fair to drag you into this. If I stay, I'm putting you at risk." I shiver a little as I think about the past. "I don't want to do that to you, not at all! But... I want to stay with you, and..." I'm starting to lose focus, here. My hands are starting to tremble, and I hold onto the billiards table to keep them steady.
She's looking at me, expression neutral.
I feel so fucking awkward.
I hate it.
I have to do it.
"My, uh, my point in all this," I say, trying not to stumble over my words, "is, um. I'm leaving that decision up to you. If you'll have me, you'll have a lot of trouble on your hands, sooner or later, and it won't be pretty. There is no other person in Gensokyo who can be as sure of that fact as I am. If you don't want to risk that, I... Well, I can't blame you."
I'm talking a little faster and faster with each passing minute. Nervous, definitely. Very.
And she just sits there, shot still untaken, frozen in thought and time.
...Say something! Don't leave me out in the cold, screaming inside my own head. Please?
I don't want her to let me go make me go go go away. Far away. But I should and I could so why didn't I would?
I douldn't knouwldn't.
please speak already it is not good for me
"I'm..." I start to speak, and then clear my throat; my voice is all dry all of a sudden and my throat no wait only the throat
"...I'm sorry to force this decision on you," I say. "It's just that I've tried to avoid staying in one place for very long at any given time. I usually like to keep it to three days, but seven is the absolute max, and I've been here for seven or eight, and it's time to go and I don't want to and I should and need to but I don't want to but it would be worse just go without telling you why and unthinkable and despicable and horrible to stay and never tell you about this and I'm so sorry to make you do this but it's the only right thing to do, and—!"
The calm, steady voice of my citrus princess cuts through the rapid, panicked torrent of words spilling out of me, and I look up suddenly to find her next to me.
And she kisses me
and I want to cry
I already am crying
I don't deserve this
I don't deserve her
She doesn't deserve to have my troubles visited upon her
We are all unworthy of each other together.
As we break apart, she whispers to me.
"You may stay with me for as long as you like. I will stand with you against all that comes for you."
I start crying again.
It's a better kind of crying, a little.
"Why?" I ask, almost faintly.
I hold her close as she holds me, spears leaning against the table, forgotten in this moment.
Another kiss; shorter and lighter. She draws back, smiling lightly, and looks at me. "Every creature is deserving of love. I want only to return that which you have given to me, and in doing so, enjoy the harmony created between us."
I blink, partly from the tears, and partly from confusion. "...Huh?" I ask, sniffling a little.
She grins, and brushes some strands of hair out of my face. "I love you."
"Oh. ...Oh." I laugh weakly, and nod, beginning to smile as well. "Good. Me too."
Goddammit. I just made probably the worst confession in the entire history of affection.
Ha. I guess I really am smooth like sandpaper, after all.
I can feel her giggling quietly to herself. I pray that she was amused by it and isn't taking it badly.
I stand there for a while with her.
Two people, together, ready to stand against all that comes.
I pray that I haven't doomed her, and fear in my heart that I already have.
I think I screwed this up bad. If it feels as weird and forced to you as it does to me, let me know, and I'll rewrite it. I want to hope that this is just the writer's curse of being dissatisfied with what's actually decent work,k but I don't dare rely on that, because then it'll turn out that it really isn't. ...Man, fuck you, Murphy. Fuck you.
[X] After shooting first I guess this is either apologizing or negotiating with Jabba the Hutt.
>I think I screwed this up bad. Kogasa's internal monologue was noticeably more straightforward than usual, but I assumed it was an artistic choice, meant to show that lots of the disorder in her thoughts is just affect, and when it comes down to matters of the heart, she is, in many respects, a normal girl.
I'm not sure if that was your intention or not, but even if I'm giving you too much credit here, rest assured that you've earned it.
>>111628 Actually, I don't think it's ever been said explicitly that the curse has anything to do with names at all (other than Sanae's and Reimu's, of course). For a while, I assumed that Kogasa's aversion to names was just an unfortunate side effect of being driven crazy, and it wasn't until Orange gave her name and Kogasa said something about a "loophole" that I realized that all of her name-related oddities were probably also the curse's doing.
We know for a fact that she cannot say Sanae's name, and moreseo, even thinking of the other shrine maiden cause immense psychic pain. Not the visceral pain of torture, because at least last time she refused to dissociate in order to burn it into her mind.
I agree partially her use of mnemonics aids could be the a result of trauma, but it's just as likely a geas. (Sanae seems capable of producing immensely powerful curses, such that even other supernatural entities.) Kogasa comes into contact with are affected, which I remember one of the Prismrivers becoming flabbergasted by her own lack of insight for being prompted to ask the details. After all, she did something similar with Reimmu, when all Reimu would do is carry out an extermination.
However, Sanae doesn't want Kogasa exterminated; she wants to hunt her down, capture her, and then torture her for a bit, before flinging her into the wild.
There are numerous speculations over why Sanae is doing that. First is that hunting down a specific youkai tests her prowess as shrine maiden in hunting down youkai, especially crafty ones like Kogasa. The second is probably curiosity: cutting youkai open to see what makes them tick. Third is that harming a dehumanised creature is some sort of outlet for her aggression and inferiority complex. Finally she seems to take a perverse, sociopathic pleasure in sadism, which reminds of Michael Madsen in Resevoir Dogs.
In actuality this might have started as an attempt to provide lasting extermination, that became boggesd-down when Kogasa refused to stay dead. Now its a hunt for Sanae to practice her tracking skills, rather than improving her abilities as exterminator. Or at least that's probably what she'd say if asked by a third part.
It's really a shame that Sanae keeps fucking around with Kogasa's head so much so that there is little opportunity for verbal communication during the torture scenes.
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[؟] After shooting first
I lean over to speak to Orange, raising my voice a little, though we aren't going fast enough to need to shout.
"So, have you done this before?"
She looks back at me oddly, with a funny look on her face. "What, go on a picnic? Or this?" She lifts up our joined hands at the mention of the latter.
I smile back. "Either one."
"Well, when I'd go out flying with my sister, we'd hold hands. That was back when I was little, though. Long time ago."
I nod, briefly wondering just how old she is.
"...Come to think of it, I used to have picnics with her, too," she adds, looking up in thought. "Probably why I think so well of it." She shrugs and gives a lopsided smile as she turns back to me. "These days, though, we mostly go out for lunch at some restaurant and tell the owners funny stories about their grandparents."
Another pause, then,
"...Well, except for Mokou. We just ask her if she's doing okay this year, or decade, or whatever."
I briefly lose altitude, as I momentarily forget to keep flying. That breaking sound, again. Stronger and harder, this time; much more so.
She looks at me in concern, and pulls up until I'm back aloft. "Kabuki! Are you all right?! You just sort of... stopped, all of a sudden!"
I'm giggling happily for some reason.
"I'm good, I'm good," I reassure her. "Everything's fine."
"...Are you sure?"
"Mostly. Pretty much. Yeah, I'm fine."
She looks unconvinced.
"Trust me, if it were bad, I'd be painfully aware. ...Okay, maybe not, but it seems like a good thing."
...Unconvinced and skeptical.
"If I fall over bleeding, then, well. I'm sorry, and you can say 'I told you so.' So, what's for lunch?"
She sighs, but drops it. "Well... I think you'll be very pleasantly surprised."
"If you made it, that isn't hard at all."
She grins. "Well, to start with, I made food. I also made food, and some food, as well as food to go with those. Also, drinks, to be served in cups of some type."
Ouch. Petty revenge?
"You're a very cold woman."
"That's not what you said last night~"
"Well, that was in the bath."
She hums happily, clearly pleased with herself.
"Fiiiine. All right, then... where is the spot you have in mind?"
"Two places actually. One for eatinng, and a special place I want to show you, afterwards."
"Both of them are in the forest, over there. It's the one west of Shinon."
"Shinon's that big sprawl of farms and the cluster of buildings in the middle, over there?" I point at a large patchwork of fields with houses here and there, though many more are indeed focused in the middle, where they meet.
"Hard to mistake it for much else." She laughs at this.
I look at the forest in question. It's pretty huge; about as large as all of Shinon's farm fields put together, but stretched out in a long, thick ribbon that has a stream It's probably actually a small river, though flowing out at one end, where the trees have to grown farther apart. The stream/river probably comes down from the mountain and supplies Shinon with water for irrigation.
I follow the river back up into the forest with my eyes, and sure enough, the forest seems to roughly follow the path of the river, as it goes up the mountains of the valley for a ways.
I wonder how much of Gensokyo there is that I've seen, but never really... seen.
>"...Well, except for Mokou. We just ask her if she's doing okay this year, or decade, or whatever." >CRACK Huh. I had been wondering for a while why, for pretty much the duration of the story, we haven't been able to think about the Bamboo Forest and related entities; now it seems that it's because that's the memory we're going to recover soon.
"What part of the forest are these places in, exactly?"
She points ahead, to the lower end of the forest. "We'll be eating down there, where the tree cover is a bit scattered. I know a nice spot with a decent view."
It sounds pleasant enough, but I really have no idea what to expect.
I'm fine with unexpected, as long as it's her unexpected.
Unexpected-unexpected and other unexpected is not always so welcome.
Be it shock, surprise, or terrifying ingenuity, things can turn on you in... well. In ways you don't expect. It's a bitch to plan for, and sometimes the only plan is to not plan at all.
Sun Tzu doesn't have shit on me.
...As expected of a master tacticarial genius such as myself.
We make our descent, down, down, down to green earth. Orange's peekneek spot is by a tree in a meadow of sorts. It's quiet, pleasant, and surprisingly warm. It's about an hour, maybe half, to noon, so the whole feel of the place is quite nice. The ground runs down along a gentle slope to the river, which is a short ways away. Not loud enough to be distracting, but close enough that it sounds like a blah blah blah babbling blah brook from here.
Other trees dot the field here and there, each maybe half a minute's walk from each other. The sun shines down on this peaceful little spot, and makes the picture complete.
Something like that.
Directed (not unkindly) by my citrus princess to 'go appreciate the scenery while she got everything set up,' I wander around for a few minutes, admiring the view. I make my way over to the river bank, and peer at the stream.
Yep, it's got water in it, all right. Looks like this one is up to code.
I walk along the bank for a little while, geta making soft squishy-crunchy noises in the dirt.
I've just plucked a cattail from a section of tall weeds a few seconds before Orange calls to me from over to my right.
But wait, isn't that in the middle of—?
I whip my head to where the voice came from, and see a most bizarre sight:
She dances, tip-tap-tip-skip-hop-tap-tap, up the river, coming to a stop beside me.
On the river.
She looks perplexedly at my wide-eyed gaze, then looks down, and giggles.
I'm trying to ask how she's doing that, but all that comes out is a confused, "How...?"
She winks at me. "A man once said 'Be water, my friend.' But see, that really isn't hard at all. A human is mostly water to begin with. The real trick is convincing the water to believe you are not water at all, and it will reject you. This is one of the more amusing applications."
"Not in the slightest. But it's amazing all the same, no?"
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Hopping off the water onto the bank beside me, she takes my hand. "Everything's ready, now!"
I start to follow, before pausing to hand her the cattail.
"Ah, that's right. This is for you."
"It seemed to be for you, and now it is."
She gives me a strange look, but chuckles.
She leads me back to the spot she had picked out, but once we get back to being just short of being within sight of it, she tucks the cattail into her vest, and then covers my eyes.
It must be one hell of a surprise.
"Okay, just keep coming this way... okay, stop. Now, sit down there; I brought some cushions."
I follow her directions, and have a seat on something soft.
"Aaaand... now it's okay to look," she tells me, and removes her hands.
I blink once, and then look down before me at the meal she's prepared.
A bottle of either some kind of fruit juice or fruit wine, and a pair of expensive-looking glasses are what catch my eye, first. Next are the bowls of salad, and what looks like a loaf of tube-bread, sliced in half, and smelling of butter and garlic. And there, in the center—
Yes, it is.
All hail the Crimson Queen.
Before me lies paytza.
Lovely, wonderful, delicious, glorious paytza.
I turn in amazement Ah, she's done it again to face Orange, who is smiling at me. I gaze at her in wonderment and adoration. Were this a picture, my eyes would probably be sparkling.
"Ah, good. You seemed to talk pretty glowingly ab—"
That's as far as she gets before I spring up and tackle her, netting a short rush of that same, especially good kind of surprise And now I've done it back~ I felt when I rocketed over her head a week ago.
I squeeze her in a close hug as she laughs between the kisses being planted on her, turning a little red as she does.
"...Well, as I was saying before I was so pleasantly interrupted..."
She smiles, and kisses me back.
"...You seemed to speak in pretty glowing terms about pizza last night, so I figured I'd make some for you... Though with this kind of reaction, I'm wondering if it isn't more of an aphrodisiac for you."
I think she stopped at that point and turned red, but I wasn't really paying attention.
It was actually worth a moment's thought: is it?
But goddamn if it doesn't make me think the world of the person making it.
Although in this case, I already do think the world of the person who made it, so... hmm.
Well, I'm happy either way.
I get off of her, and help pick her up, and the two of us start in on the feast.
The pizza has these sweet golden wedge-shaped bits, tasty crunchy bacon, green onions, purple onions, and ham. Tomatoes too, I think.
It is as if god created a pizza, and bestowed it upon the world as his crowning gift to its peoples.
I was already in heaven, and now I am in, like... super-Heaven, or something.
As expected from my citrus princess.
The fruit juice is fruit juice, from something called a "mango," which tastes strange but delicious. I hope she has more at home.
The tube-bread has had butter and garlic toasted or baked or something onto it, and it, too, is delicious. Crunchy, as well.
The salad is fresh and crispy, and has sliced hard-boiled eggs on it. I did not know you could put eggs on salad, but she did it, and it works quite nicely.
I, admittedly, do not eat daintily. It would be better described as "happily plowing my way through the food." Not messily, though; just with gusto.
After a long, happy time of devouring everything in sight, it is over.
The two of us lean against the nearby tree and relax, holding hands.
[ ] Stillness and serenity~ [ ] Pick-up and progression!
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(Kind of compromised with this vote, as I started writing part of it for one, and then the tide turned around when I was getting finished with it. I should remember to call it before writing next time.) ________________________________________________________________
The two of us stay here like this for a while, happy, full, and content.
This was lovely.
I've never really been able to sit and relax and eat with someone like this.
A relaxing place, wonderful food, and a beautiful woman to share it with.
Life is good.
I will make it last.
I have to.
I think maybe Tall Red knew what she was talking about.
And maybe I could take her advice if I could know what it is that's breaking apart. There's something there, something to be known. I can feel it a little more, every time my thoughts brush against it.
I just can't force it to do so, is all.
I hope it happens soon.
What am I doing, and where am I going?
I don't know, but from now on, I'm going to be deciding that, I think.
I follow Orange through the forest, and the trees get closer and closer together the further in we go. These trees are nice trees, unlike the ones in the magical forest. It had nice trees, but it had meeeean trees, too. Like ones that could eat you if you went in there at night like a fool.
I went in there at night, but I'm a youkai, not a squishy human. I know what I'm dealing with.
...Okay, that one tree that had seizures creeped me right the fuck out. It was impossible to make any sense of that fucker. Seriously.
But most of the rest of the trees can be tricky.
And don't get me started on the wildlife there.
I have no idea how the magical women can live there. Maybe they made some big-shot tree their bitch on the first day they got there, and nobody messed with them after that.
That's what I'd do. You can't become a tree's bitch, after all; being a tree's bitch means becoming a tree's lunch.
Living in the magical forest, though... It's rough. I wouldn't know where to start or where to begin.
But here? Here is quite fine. The trees are normal, if close together, and making this place a little darker than normal, but the animals I've seen so far all seem normal, and it isn't crammed with weird youkai. I mean, a few from the mountains or whatever probably hunt here, and were I a human, it definitely wouldn't be a good idea to come here in the evening, and just stroll through, whistling loudly.
...To be fair, though, I think that's never a good idea.
Aside from all this, though, it is a very relaxing, peaceful place.
It's kind of funny.
Usually forests put me on edge, because I've generally only been in them as I hide from the green girl.
Right now, though, I don't feel any of that fear. In fact, being in the open hasn't been making me panic or put me on edge at all, today.
Definitely a positive change.
I have my citrus princess to thank for that, I think.
The cure for madness strides confidently ahead of me.
All hail the Crimson Queen.
We come to a stop in a mossy sort-of clearing. The sun shines through in large patches, but not in one single, huge section. It breaks it up, spreading it around, in a way.
A stream trickles down from a short barely-a-cliff, winding its way among rocks and burbling gently among flowers and ferns and moss. Across from the stream is a small hill; more like a mound. Red flowers grow along one slope of it, which is currently basking in the sun.
The stream itself forms a small pool, roughly the size of a medium hot spring or thereabouts.
It's a tiny, quiet, hidden little slice of sylvan paradise.
I turn to Orange, who faces me a quiet, calm smile on her lips. She beckons me to follow, and leads me to sit down with her on the mossy little hill.
"I found this place a while back," she tells me after a while, speaking in a quiet voice. "I came upon it while I was out looking for some... well, it's a kind of moss. I didn't find any of it here, but I didn't really care. I took a bath here, and fell asleep. Probably one of the most relaxing nights I've ever spent outdoors."
She falls silent, and I see no reason to break the quiet.
I lie down on the soft hillside But really more like moundside, and look up at the trees above us.
The canopy here ha breaks and gaps, but looking around, most of the rest is pretty close, offering only brief holes and tiny pockets of sunlight to shine through.
Around evening, or even late afternoon, this place must get pretty dark. And with the trees so close together, it'd be so easy
in the forest
C R A S H
A shattering, a smashing, a momentary cacophany of breakage resounds in my head, and light streams forth in my mind:
The light of an idea, short in the making, long in the hiding.
It races through my mind, reawakening old thoughts, old ideas, cut off from my memory when the main idea was sealed away.
My lips stretch in a maddened, gleeful, grin; a grin of anticipation.
The smile of victory.
I laugh, joyously and triumphantly, for I remember.
The light fades from my mind, but the ideas remain. That's easy; they were never gone to begin with. Just not answering when my brain came a-knock-knock-knockin' at the door.
Sometimes you gotta knock a little harder.
Other times, you have to break it down.
I slowly come to realize I'm sitting on top of Orange. She looks simultaneously confused and amused, and has bits of moss and leaves in her hair and on her clothes. So do I, come to that. The fact that we're at the base of the little mound is probably related to this.
I hear myself saying "I remembered! I remembered!"
"Remembered what?" she asks, one eyebrow raised.
"How to fix this all! I know how to stop it! I remembered what I thought of a long time ago!"
"Well, that's good to hear... but..."
"...This is the second time today you've borne me to the ground today, you know."
Her lips curve into a sly smile, and her voice takes on a breathier, more quiet, more implication-filled tone.
"...Well, if you're going to be making a habit of it, then now is as fine a time as any to remind you that it isn't yesterday's tonight, anymore."
And she winks
I think I want this.
As long as I'm in the business of remembering things, I think I'd very, very much like to remember having shared something intimate like this, as well.
I've been reading it from the beginning. When I wrote the post, I was thinking how Kogasa was not welcomed at the SDM, but Meiling was never mentioned by her, and since Meiling was the only Touhou that came to my mind when I read "Tall Red", therefore I thought it was her. However, in retrospect, I realized that Orange mentioned multiple times that her sister is a gate guard, and Kogasa did not recognize such person, so I was grossly wrong, ignore that line, etc.
but seriously, if I'm supposed to know who this "Tall Red" is, I guess I have not been paying any attention, and/or I don't know my touhous well enough
I might even go so far as to say I need this and in fact I think I do because I will yes please.
I let out a breath I didn't realize I was holding, and it comes out in a nervous giggle.
"Heh..." I lean down, letting her pull me closer. I can feel her pulse starting to pick up. Might be mine. Might be both of ours. Probably that.
"...I wasn't checking the calendar. Are you absolutely sure?" I try to look sort of cocky. Maybe a little casual about the whole thing.
She snickers. "Very sure."
I'm nearly lying down on top of her, now. Our noses bump, and the two of us giggle simultaneously.
We're both trying to look brave, and both of us are nervous.
I'm fine with that.
"You think you could show me?" I say. "I just want to be su— ...Mmm."
My words are cut off and rendered into indistinct humming sounds as she pulls my head down for a kiss.
This kiss is different.
Hungry, excited, eager, full of bouncy, giddy anticipation.
Our tongues twist and twirl about, and hands, hands everywhere. Mine, hers, I'm losing track.
I feel my vest being pulled up, slowly, and hands running along my chest. Her jacket seems to have been taken off sometime in the last few seconds, and my fingers seem to be slowly unbuttoning her shirt.
Funny how they work so fast.
We break apart, breathless, and tittering, grinning like maniacs at one another, before we come together again, kissing, gasping.
She trails little kisses along my jawline and down my neck, making me shiver.
It feels good.
It feels great.
My hands hold her close, distracted momentarily in their task of clothing removal. I force myself to resume, eventually.
Her shirt comes off a second before my breast-cupping garment is popped open. Ah, no good; I'm already losing ground.
I feel her start to pull my shirt up the rest of the way, but I stop her. "No. Just trust me, you don't want to. Remember before?"
She blinks, not having expected that, then nods in acknowledgment. The last thing I want right now is for her to be hurt in the middle of this.
I wrap both arms around her as I go in close, fingers trying to work the damnable catch on her own breast-holding clothing-thing. It's like trying to wire a trap in the dark, inside a box that can barely fit both your hands.
Except not really, but it's a close enough analogy.
Tricky, is the point.
While we're pressed close again like this, she begins nibbling slowly down along my neck to my collar bone, which is one hell of a distraction. A very nice one indeed, and it takes me a good several minutes for my hands to stop shaking.
Soft noises; little gasps, moans, and quiet laughs sound within into the little clearing. The noises echo a little off the trees, but not very much.
A pleasant little slice of the world carved away for the two of us in this most special of moments.
I couldn't have asked for a better spot.
She takes advantage of the fact that I'm distracted and pausing, shivering, to pull the unhooked garment out from around me, tossing it to the side.
My cheeks color, but I'm not ashamed of anything. It's embarrassing, but only because of the novelty of the experience.
She props herself up a little, and grins evilly at me before bending her head down, and what is she doiOh, wow.
She kisses my exposed nipples, which have already hardened from the odd breeze blowing cool air from the stream. Then she begins to suckle and nibble on the left one, before kissing it again, and working her tongue in a slow, agonizingly wonderful circle around the areola.
...Really, I'm this close to drawing blood from biting my lip, at this point.
And she knows exactly what she's doing to me: I can hear her giggling, muffled by my flesh.
My hands have found themselves around her head, at this point, and I can hear myself making ridiculous little noises and partial bits of words and it feels like a pleasant, happy fog is descending and wait, is she undoing my skirt?
I look down, and yes, she is.
Shvwiiip, off it comes, sliding along my stocking-covered legs. She tosses it to the side, and it flutters down to the ground like a couple of fabric-y birds coming to rest.
I blink, and make an effort to focus in the brief space of time allowed me as she switches to my other breast.
...Yes. At some point, her pants went missing.
Don't think I did that. Probably her.
My god, I am losing ground at an alarming rate, here.
I let out a low moan as I stop trying to hold back from making a noise, and focus instead on retaking the advantage.
My vision feels like it should be unfocusing slightly, but I know I'm not that close, yet, am I?
She's making decent progress, though.
I feel a little selfish, so it's back to work, for me. I reach down, and spending a tiny bit, simply flick the ridiculously complicated catch on the back of her breast-holding better-than-a-sarashi thing. It not only pops open, it springs open, as though under pressure, the straps flying apart. I snicker a little (Though it comes out as more of an unsteady, drunken giggle) as I feel a momentary rush from her, accompanied by a surprised "Mmmph?"
She pulls away from me, and fixes me with a confused look, breathless, panting.
"...How did you just—"
I give her an innocent look, and point to the hand that did it.
"The fingers of my hand are magic fingers."
She actually bursts into laughter at this point, and in doing so, opens herself up to attack.
I waste no time in exploiting this opening, and sink down to her chest level, pulling off the unhooked garment in the way, and tossing it aside.
It's one thing to see them through clothes, and quite another to see them unbound in the bath.
But having them in front of me, when I'm about to return her rather enthusiastic favors, makes a world of difference. She's very, very well endowed. Not ridiculous, and not too-large, but definitely... generous. It probably runs in the family.
I take a moment just to appreciate them. Full, firm, and if I may say so (and I damn well do say so) perfectly formed. Heaving slightly, in rhythm with her breathing, with round areolae tipped by already-erect nipples.
And I suddenly have a thought, as I gaze at her ...impressiveness.
Ah, but she's starting to recover. Time to put it to the test!
I lean forward, and take a nipple into my mouth, returning the favor she performed for me.
Almost immediately, there's a sharp gasp, and I feel her entire body quiver.
I think I'm on the right path. Next, I give it a slight, sharp nip.
I almost pull away, but the sudden shuddering breaths that fall from her lips and the hand pressing my head closer to her chest keep me from doing so.
As expected from her choice of places to focus on me, she's sensitive here. Very, very sensitive, if that was any indication.
My smirk is lost against the soft skin pressed against it, but I'm quite all right with that.
Another little nip, and another shriek.
Quite all right.
Having found something she particularly enjoys, I decide to keep at this for a while. I alternate between breasts, licking over them and kissing, suckling occasionally. My hands have found relatively stable places from which to hold her close to me: one snaked down the back of her panties, holding her bottom, and the other slipped under and behind her back, angled up a little.
I should have been paying attention to where her free hand was going, though. Otherwise, the feel of fingers slipping under the waistband of my own underwear (blue, a perfect half-match) would not have come as such a surprise to me.
I falter momentarily as I nurse on her left breast, and then hum in happy anticipation as my mind registers the sensation with the cause. I'd been getting steadily wet, but as Orange's fingers go to work, I feel that happy little warmth in me increasing into a sizable fire.
The girl knows how to stoke the furnace; this is soon evident. I'm more than happy to let her demonstrate her own magic fingers, and press hips against that hand, beginning to grind softly in response.
Fingers dance, and fingers stroke, rubbing and pressing in all the right spots, and it's kind of scary that she's this good it's like somebody gave her a damn map and the combination to the lock and in goes the key as her fingers press inside of me, now. I clamp down on them almost instinctively, and pull back from her breasts to take in breath, but it's almost like I'm hyperventilating except not and it's hard to breathe right but I don't care because what she is doing feels amazing and I feel on fire and it's like magma is pouring out of her fingers and a slow, intense heat is building and flowing throughout me and filling me up from the inside and I could melt iron again with just this heat i think and i'd be back at the forge again and better than ever and screw the coal all i need is oranges fingers sweet god in heaven how the fuck is she doing this it is amazing and i think my heart is stopping and it is the most amazing thing i have ever felt and
yes and yes and
and some more yes
more yes while
and her fingers twirl about and twist inside my slick depths and she
im pretty sure this isnt normal
stopped caring awhile ago
hour or second or year
the flames of hell are nothing next to the hand of heaven with which my citrus princess touches me
more is g
and and a
nd there is so
me mo o o ooore
is coming down a
but still down
not it but me
there's a difference
i'm pretty sure
i lie against something warm, moving, and soft
and try moving a little bit.
My arms are kind of
She's pretty good at this.
All hail the Crimson Queen.
I manage to crane my head upwards to look at her.
She gazes down at me with cheeks redder than her hair, and a wide, happy smile.
"Hmm?" she asks.
"Was, uh. Tha' was ver, very." I pause, and take a deep breath, closing my eyes and trying to regain some measure of clarity. "...Good." Quite the understatement.
She winks at me, and points to her hand, fingers still glistening with my excitement on them... and the tips of two of them wreathed in silent, blue-white flame.
"The fingers of my hand are magic fingers," she says simply.
I almost choke from laughing too hard.
After it dies down into little fits of giggles, I become aware of her hands gently running over my body, stroking smoothly, and caressing.
>I wrap both arms around her as I go in close, fingers trying to work the damnable catch on her own breast-holding clothing-thing. It's like trying to wire a trap in the dark, inside a box that can barely fit both your hands. Kogasa, I feel your pain.
>>111898 In order of appearance (of the name, not the character): Silver Tinkering Examining Man - Rinnosuke Little Dark - Rumia Flygirl - Wriggle Blue Fairy - Cirno Curly Fairy - Luna Extra Bird - Mystia Water Mouse - Nazrin? Watching Girl - Meiling Silver Dog - Sakuya Balanced Head Nice Blue - Keine Small Silvergreen - Youmu Tall Red - Yuuka Pinkblue Madness - Merlin Black Hand of Slap - Lunasa Little Red - Lyrica Forkpin Mother - Letty Whooshing Noise - Aya White Opening - Kana Pinky Think - Satori Small-walker - Alice Mini Mini - Shanghai Mini On A Shoe String - Hourai Blue Copy - Mugetsu Pink Copy - Gengetsu Chop Clerk - Elly Orange - it is a mystery The Emperor's Color(s) - Yukari Flower Child - Akyu Whitewater Fire-eater - Mokou Snoozy-Blue - Komachi Bigwings - Kurumi Hollow Eyed Oddtalk - Anton Chigurh Smiling Man - The Joker
I think this is all of them; I ended up skimming the last few threads.
Also, it turns out we did mention the bamboo forest without any memory skips or other oddities in the very second post of the story: >>95013. Simple author oversight, or clue that we should analyze to death?
Got a third or a quarter of the update written, but feeling crappy, so no update until tomorrow or this passes. Think thoughts of Hina, Orange as a lingerie model, Aoi and a tentacle monster, Hina, Eirin experimenting with shady drugs, naked-apron Ran, Hina, Shou's messy hair, Patchy and Koakuma engaging in mana transfer, or Hina to tide you over until then.
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[月] Ride all night
I am a selfish girl, despite my best efforts.
Well, that won't do.
"Hmmm," I say, by way of announcing my intent. It isn't very clear, but that's okay, too. If I was to go around being clear about my intentions, I wouldn't be the youkai I am today. Well, except for the times I very clearly outlined it, which created the I I me I and we that exists today.
Besides that, though.
I push myself upright, and manage to stay that way for a while. Okay, good. It seems feasible so far: I'm not falling right back down!
"What about you, though?"
A person looking surprised or confused is an amusing enough sight. When they're naked, it just makes it ten times as hilarious, it really does.
I grin evilly.
"Hee hee~ ...I'm not just going to leave you behind, now."
"What do y— Hey!"
Having stealthily reached under her, I yank off her panties Which are quite damp, I'm happy to see, pulling them down to about mid-calf before she catches on, and happily assists me, pulling the other leg out of them, and not even bothering to take them all the way off, leaving them stranded on just the one side.
Kneeling between her legs, I gently push them apart.
...First, though, I look up at her, unable to keep that smile off my face. Her cheeks are flushed, but her expression is of someone anticipating something wonderful or amazing.
I hope my efforts will qualify.
After tossing a wink her way, my head sinks down between those firm, toned thighs. I breathe in deeply, savoring the smell of Orange. Sweat, copious excitement, and something that I would swear was either ginger or cinnamon. Very unusual, but very, very her.
I love it.
I lap up the trails that have formed along the smooth skin of her thighs; little rivulets of her growing anticipation. She tastes like how she smells Pleasant and it only serves to drive me harder.
And my tongue winds its way closer and closer to the spring from which these all emanate.
In my ears, I her heartbeat resounding in her veins, and the muffled sound of her breathing, growing faster and shorter as I get close.
Breathless anticipation, indeed~
Just as I am about to lick that plump, tender mound, I feel her sit up slightly, and gently —'wait, wait,' not 'no, stop'— push my head away.
I look up in confusion, and blink. It must come off as somehow comical, as she has to cover her mouth to stifle a giggle while she motions for me to pause.
"Hold... just, ah. Just hold on a second, o... okay?"
With that, she sits up a little straighter, and scoots herself closer, taking ahold of my shoulders and rolling me over
—still gently, and I move with her motions—
onto my back. Then she curls forward, leans over me, like she's going to crawl forward (and she does, a brief one-two) and then relaxes, lying down atop me, our mostly unclothed bodies close and hot and pressed together.
I'm slightly lost, but not for long. She sees to that.
I hear her giggle faintly, from down between my legs. Her hands, sure and steady, part my stocking-encased legs, and I see what she is doing now, maybe. But I was in the middle of...
...And as if reading my mind, her rear shakes itself enticingly, drawing my attention.
I put two and two together, and this result of four that I have here is a most lovely answer to the problem.
Reciprocity is the name of the game where we do both the same.
While I sit a while in uffish thought, thumbs hook into the waistband of my panties, on both sides, and fwwzzzziiip~
—off they go into the grass and moss and ground, the green grass grew all around all around, the green grass grew all around.
I think I see what she's playing at, and I like it. With an impish grin, I reach up, and grasp the smooth, rounded curves of her rear Not hard enough to be oak, not soft enough to be fat; just the right kind you want to
and it is firm and ripe and full and lovely.
It's even better than mine, dammit.
With a grab and a squeeze, I take ahold of her perfect behind, and pull it down, and get my first look at that mound I sought before.
Plump and swollen and wet and oh so quite and right invite(ing); bare and smooth Just like me and that is not perspiration that beads on its lips.
I pull her closer t—
and I fffffffffffffffffreeze and sweet merciful heaven I am in the company of gods once more because her tongue swiped over my own nether lips and good god it is like being on fire but without all the downsides.
Warm, hot, and making you very aware that something is going on. Dear god, is it ever gooooooh yes.
It, on. It's very a lots of a bunch of it and wow. A tremor runs through my body and I wonder if she is doing the same thing with her tongue as she did to her fingers, but no, it is not that amazing. This is just exceptional technioooh. Another little shiver as she begins placing soft little kisses on my womanhood. One, two, three, and a little lick, four, five, six, and another, and she is driving me slowly mad(der) and I am loving every minute of her and part of her and and and and yes.
It is time to even the ah, ah, ahhhh. Ah.
...Odds. I shiver gleefully.
i'm going to need your help here
i thought you'd never ask!
you wish; no, i need to borrow a little something
oh, you should have said so! done and done!
My features settle into an evil little look that is shortly broken by my cheeks flushing red and very silly little look replaces the evil as Orange's tongue swipes up and down along the slit, teasing playfully at the top, then nipping the little bud there lightly.
...I'm rather sensitive, sometimes.
This is one of them.
Ohhhh, is it ever~
It takes me a few moments to get my breath back, and when it does, it returns quick and high. I've already been riding on heady heights of pleasure, and she isn't going to need to do too much more to me to make me come once again.
So, I need an equalizer.
But what belongs to my friend belongs to me as well, by default. That's how it works.
Still, I think it's only polite to ask.
The evil look returns, and I let on nothing. It's not like she can see me anyway, but all the same: I don't let her know at all.
It's more surprising this way, obviously~
My hands holding onto that large firm rear, I bring her hips down, my own lips touching a very different pair of lips, and I lick.
Lick, tease, and lap.
She doesn't suspect a thing.
I extend my tongue a little, and probe between the folds. Motion unceasing, I continue to lick, my mouth filled with her taste, nose filled with her scent.
She is smooth, wet, and trembling inside. Down below, I feel her ministrations come to a brief halt as she moans happily, feeling the gentle intrusion.
But that's only the start.
I extend my tongue into her, further, lapping her up, drinking from the honeypot, as it were. If a bear came for this, though, I'd have to kill it. Can't be having with that bullshit. It might take her away and lock her up and stand on top of a high building and roll barrels at me and frankly, I don't have time to run around that shit. Thank god I can fly.
She moans again, but her head is already bent back down as she returns the favor, delving her own tongue deep inside of me, so she hums in pleasure right into me, and the vibrations are very, very nice, and dear god, how does she know exactly where to goddamn!
...Does she have a map or something?!
I'm losing ground again. This is supposed to be about her! Curse her benevolent heart for making it mutual!
...That's not true. I like her benevolent heart, although my lust-filled brain is saying that oh, it's rather quite fond of her benevolent mouth at the moment, too.
Be quiet, brain. I'm busy.
Twirling my tongue about inside of her, twistily-twist, and tuuurn about, I smile as I hear her sharp little gasps and cries, rising slowly in pitch and frequency.
Now it is time for the surprise.
I push my tongue in further.
Ah, can't go any deeper inside of her.
She lets out a shriek of surprise and the resulting rush is amazing. I've had better, but only when I was dealing with a decent crowd.
My citrus princess actually pulls away, and from the sound of her voice as she speaks, turns back to me, saying, "K...Kabuki..."What th-the... what the hell diahhh! W-what the hell, your, you... tongue! How the, what the hell?!"
Incoherency and stumbling speech have never been so gratifying to hear. It lets me know I'm doing my job right.
"Heh-hehhh~" is all I give by way of reply, and she lets out a long whimper, and a tremor ripples through her body. At the same time, juices begin to flow onto and around my tongue in greater amounts, and perhaps I have regained more ground than I thought.
No time to rest easy, though. If you sit around and take it easy, your brain turns to mush and all that's left of you after a hundred years is your head, filled with mush. I don't want that happening to me. It sounds like a horrible fate, despite the fact that I live with evidence that says this isn't true. Then again, I don't know if he had brains to begin with.
normally i would complain at this point, but for some reason i can't bring myself to do it
hush, i'm pretending you aren't here
quiet as a mouse, me
At least he has his uses.
Orange quakes and quivers above me, and I think she is getting closer.
I on the other hand, am there.
I scream, moan, whimper, and giggle into her nether lips and I am feeling better and better and beeeeetter and there we go there it goes, goes going, gone and gone and on and on until the break of dawn and doing this until then would be fine and of course lovely because she is lovely and this is good and back and forth and i don't let
riding the wave
i cruise along on blissful, happy light
filled with sunshine and kittens and good, good times
i don't know who put kittens in my head but they look cute so that is okay
down aaaaaand down
oh so slowly
how long has it been?
But Orange is still atop me
Bucking and squirming and moaning happily and dear god, I kept going, I think.
Her excitement flows like rain, and rides along my tongue, and I drink deeply of my love once more as she moans happily against me, thighs squeezing my head, and it is a good thing I am a youkai and not a human because I would have passed out from lack of oxygen by now.
After an eternity or two, her legs slowly go limp, and she sags against me.
The two of us lie there, turned about on opposite ends, basking in the happy, fuzzy, glorious afterglow. Blood races, and breathing slows, and panting fills the little glade as we simply relax in the wake of our lovemaking.
I notice, after I have enough energy to look around, that she's clawed up bunches of moss and grass, which are clenched like bedsheets in tightly bunched fists.
Mind still in a happy, sticky daze, I slither out from under her, and crawl up alongside her as she rolls onto her back.
I look over at my citrus princess, who is in a state of erotic disarray. What little clothing she's still wearing is rumpled and untidy. Everything else is flung here and there around us; clothes littering the landscape. Her hair is fanned out beneath her in a beautiful red halo, although some still sticks to the sides of her head, pressed there from exertion and sweat. Her generous bust heaves up and down in time with her slowing breathing, and her eyes seem slightly unfocused. Her mouth is half open in kind of a spaced-out, happy smiling sort of way.
She seems vibrant and alive, pleased and happy.
I guess that's why it's called the afterglow.
...It is the most erotic and beautiful sight I have seen in my life.
I curl up next to her, and inch a hand over to hers, teasing one open. The ripped greenery falls to the ground, and I take her hand in mine.
Placing a soft kiss on her cheek, I smile at her. She turns to look at me, still smiling dazedly, eyes half-lidded.
"I love you, Orange."
I say it quietly, but she still hears me, as her smile becomes even bigger, and tears form at the corners of her eyes.
I think that's the first time I've ever said that to her.
I'm long overdue, I realize, but I'm glad I've said it.
"I love you, too, Kabuki."
Her voice is very drowsy-sounding, and she cuddles up next to me.
"...My name's not Kabuki."
She's quiet for a while, before murmuring back, "...'s okay. Still love you."
I don't deserve this wonderful woman.
Not at all.
Presently, her breathing has become slow and steady; the careful pace of one who has fallen asleep.
I look up at what sky I can see.
Our time together was longer than I thought. Definitely longer than it seemed; it's mid or late-afternoon, I think. I'm not sure.
I feel more than ready to doze off right here.
But we should leave now.
Maybe. The green girl wouldn't be able to notice us here unless she knew where to look, and there's no way she could have found me this quickly.
...I can remember thinking that last thought a few times before. I wasn't wrong every time I thought it, but there were a few times when I was.
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[➶] Off like a shot
We should probably go while it's still daylight out.
But I don't waaaanna move.
Too bad, me. Get going.
You're always so mean, me.
I require my own firm hand.
Forcing myself to get up... whoa. Okay, hi there, ground. It appears my bones are like jelly.
Let's try that again.
Hooray, sitting up! Short break to recuperate. I take this time to pull my teesh-urt back down, feeling a little more dressed, now.
...Okay, Standing Up, round two!
Theeere we go.... whoa... yeah, no, yeah. Yeah. Ah. Okay. I'm good.
Having found my way to my feet, I stand steady for a bit, which seems a waste of my recent accomplishments in the field of verticality. But sacrifices must be made in the name of motion. Or something.
I take a short walk around the place, careful to keep upright until I am sure that I can ...keep upright. It's not as redundant as that.
Once I'm sure I'm not going to go all giggly and collapsy-down again, I walk around where my citrus princess and I made love, and begin picking up our clothes, separating them into piles for each person. Once that's done, I set them down by the pool of water, and then go back over to sit down next to Orange.
I place her head gently in my lap, and lean back a little, looking up through the canopy, again... Or as best as I can. I think it's a bit later than I thought before when I thought about it. I can tell because the sun and the birds are almost down from the top of the sky and that means we really should get moving, soon.
Paranoia can motivate as well as paralyze.
Moreso when it's justified.
Still, I can stay like this for a while.
I look back down at my love.
...I realize, a good few minutes and several phrases later, that the whole notion of love songs and poetry just seem like so much Normal regular stuff until you're actually there, in love; living it. Then one finds themselves coming up with those sorts of things all on their own.
Same with gooshy romance talk. If she was awake right now, I'd probably be embarrassing myself.
I sigh, and smile a little, cheeks heating up from my thoughts.
if i break into song at any point, then you have every right to whack me upside the head
i may be in love but i want to at least keep my dignity, dammit
how about if you claim you're all right?
i won't be thinking clearly; i'm relying on you to do this without hesitation
i dunno, are you sure?
absolutely; i can't have you hoping i'll come out of it on my own, because if i'm that far gone, i won't
how about if the birds and cute woodland creatures follow you around and sing along with you and help you clean the house?
then i'll need you to kill everyone involved
you know, normal friends just ask each other to borrow money, usually
well, i'm the kind that asks them to put or pull me out of my misery, should i be put in it, because that is just how i roll
for the record, is this any kind of singing, or what?
only the awful kind that is accompanied with a dance of some sort
i'll do me best, then
thanks; i'm counting on you
That important business out of the way, I shake Orange's shoulder gently.
"Time to wake up~" I say, softly.
Her eyes open— no fluttering of eyelids here; straight from Asleep to Not —and she looks up at me.
She seems almost hesitant to ask something, but finally works up the courage. "Kabuki, did we..."
Her voice trails off as she looks down along the length of her mostly nude form. Her cheeks color, and she smiles a little.
"...Oh. Good. Wasn't dreaming that part, either."
...She doesn't remember the bit about my name, it seems.
It's just as well. I wouldn't have anything to tell her.
Without another word, she breaks through my despondent mood by reaching above her, linking her arms around my neck, pulling me down into a kiss, and meeting me half-way.
It is long, slow, and delicious. We pull away after it breaks, but not very far.
The next minute or two is spent with the two of us sitting still like that, staring at one another, with goofy smiles on our faces.
Finally, I interrupt. "I'm enjoying sitting here like this, but if we stay out here much longer, the moss will be growing over us."
"Oh, I don't know," she replies in a thoughtful tone. "I could fashion some kind of bikini out of it and the grass..."
I'm given pause while I imagine that. ...Not bad at all, really.
"Maybe next time you take me out here, then," I say, placing another kiss on her forehead. "But right now, we need to clean up and be going, I think."
"Mmm... you're right." She gets up, and stretches a few times, bending herself into some very interesting and flexible positions.
It's fascinating to watch. I know youkai have much higher limits on the things they can do to and with their bodies than a human, but even this is impressive.
She comes out of an impossible-looking curl Should legs be able to bend to the side like that? and looks none the worse for wear. If anything she looks better and more awake, more energized.
Looking around for something, she notices the piles of clothes by the water, and nods to herself. Taking off the last of her clothes, she hops into the pool of water.
"Ahh... like it's fresh off the glacier." She sighs happily, and then beckons me over. "Come on, Kabuki! Don't tell me you got all freshened up while I was sleeping, I can tell." She winks and taps her nose.
"Wouldn't dream of it."
I take off the teesh-urt, and drop it atop my other clothes after walking on over there. Sitting down on the edge of the grass next to the water, I pull off my stockings, uncurling them along my outstretched legs, and then add them to the pile.
Now completely naked, I hop into the water and it feels just fine. Somewhat nippy, but fine. A human would probably be chattering her teeth and hopping right back out, though.
The two of us wash up as best we can without soap, and then realize we don't have towels. We make do with the peekneek cloth, with Orange using it first (After a lengthy "You first," "No, you" "Oh, but I insist" exchange which ended in me tackling her and forcefully drying her off amidst much giggling and laughing), and then me. We get dressed again, pick up our things, and head out of the forest.
A slight breeze picks up, making the early evening air cooler on our skin. Slightly cooler even still, as a peekneek cloth does not make an ideal towel.
We fly back, slowly and leisurely, holding hands once again.
We're quiet for a while longer, content to be like this.
After a few minutes, though, she speaks up. "So... you were saying something about how you remembered something?"
I snicker, and blush a little.
That was quite the interruption, wasn't it..."
I nod. "Yep. I had a plan a while back for how to take her out once and for all, or at least put her out of commission long enough for her to get the message that continuing to chase me will just end badly for her."
Smiling grimly, I review the idea in my mind. It had been a number of months since I'd thought of this. But now, I have more options available and elements at my disposal to be implemented. But the basic plan is the same.
I outline it to Orange, and tell her how I came up with it after searching for Whitewater Fire-eater's cart one moonlit evening.
Orange nods, staying quiet for most of it.
It's not an overly detailed plan. A lot of it is on-the-fly sort of stuff, and specific areas and so on simply can't be planned for.
I'm not even quite sure it will go well, or that I'll even make my way out.
But god knows the green girl won't be so eager to come after me, after that.
It's not a very good plan, but it's the only one I have. Its strength is in its simplicity.
By the time I've finished telling her the details, the wind has risen considerably, and I'm needing to raise my voice somewhat.
"So, what do you think?" I ask in just under a shout.
"It seems okay to me, I suppose." she responds, voice equally loud. "But don't you thi—"
A frown settles over her features, and she breaks off in mid sentence. She looks around, this way and that.
"...Something isn't right," she tells me. "The clouds aren't moving the way they..."
She suddenly freezes, and she goes white.
"The black wind howls," she says, in a voice so faint that I barely hear it over the rapidly rising wind.
It's hard to stay flying in a straight line, now.
Orange's head whips around, and she yanks on my arm, hard, pulling me.
"Kabuki, go! Head for Shinon!"
What the hell is happening?
The cold hand of dread wraps blackened fingers around my heart, and I am more terrified than I have ever been.
>>112137 I think one of the best ways to do it is going for the PR angle, revealing what a monster she is on the inside. I doubt even the Tengu and Kappa will think kindly of the shrine that has a monster shrine maiden. It'll make Reimu look good in comparison. But for now we must fend her off somehow.
You're complaining about being unable to make an informed vote when the votes are all already in and the next section of the story is written for everyone to see, in the meanwhile also having the choice explained, not just two Anons taking you aside and reproving you, but being able to confirm these explanations by the actual outcome.
That's not just stupid. It's not even double stupid. It's more an oligomeric chain of stupid.
I want to analyze you like some newly discovered polymer—find your specific gravity, your flash point, your resistance to corrosion by acids.