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"...Like, in general? Or just mine?"

She waves a hand. "Either. Both are important."

"...Well, um... I haven't heard her, or it, or whatever speak at all ever since the... bridge princess, I keep hearing her called—"

Satori slowly blinks once. "Ms. Mizuhashi. Yes? ...Ah, she was rough. That is, regrettably, her job."

"...Yeah, her. She... wait, her job is hitting people?"

"And keeping them out. Ms. Mizuhashi is the sole, underworked guardian of the Underground." She's about to say something more, but then goes quiet.

"...Seriously? Don't you have more than one way in and out of this place?" I ask, forgetting Koko for a moment. There's got to be other exits besides the one we came through. Escape tunnels, if nothing else, but seriously. And only one person assigned to... all of that?

Satori probably knows exactly what I'm thinking, but she isn't responding to any of it. "What happened after Ms. Mizuhashi struck you, aside from pain and unconsciousness?" ...I guess it's not my business, but still. Damn.

"Well, she stopped working, kinda. I can still read and speak the language, I guess, so... She's not entirely broken. Is that normal?" I briefly wonder what other questions she's got. I pray it isn't going to be some kind of long-ass customer service survey... Though I wonder: Who else has had this put in their heads? It still sounds like it's still pretty new.

"Actually, yes." I'm startled by the reply, and look at her a bit weirdly. Too bad for me her look is weirder. "The 'Koko' construct reverts to a reduced-presence mode once it has determined that its host is under the care and guard of a recognized authority... However, it should have told you this beforehand, and activated at other times to assist with basic etiquette and enhanced task advisement."

It takes me a second to interpret that. "...No, I ain't had nothing like that from her."

"Hmm. Did you bring this up to Koishi?"

"Uhh... kinda."

"And what did she say... oh. Yes, it probably does." The whole mind-reading thing's about as weird as it looks in movies. Kinda annoying, though. I guess it's faster for her, though.


...Whoops. Sorry?

She just tilts her head, like she was too lazy to shrug. "Enabling communication has always been Koko's most important function, so you don't need to worry. Until you can't read or write Japanese anymore, anyway. Then worry. And if you start being able to see sound and taste words, then you should panic." She stops, and shakes her head. "Actually, tell either Koishi or myself first. Then panic. But I don't recommend panicking."

"But you j—"

"Anyway, it does not particularly matter, since you will be returned Outside within the day."

"...Oh." I laugh a bit, and feel kinda dumb. "Yeah, I guess you're right. ...Hey, is it going to stick around in my head or anything?"

"Nope. Koko gets removed when you leave Gensokyo. Kinda screws over foreigners like you, though, huh?" Koishi answers my question as she walks in from the other end of the dining hall. Seems she's already dressed and ready to go. Maybe you could call it impatient, but trying to keep it down.

"Anyway, you done in here yet? We need to head out, like now. Hakurei's easier to deal with in the morning, but only for a little while."

So much for keeping it down.

Satori looks like she has something more to say, but then closes her eyes. "If you wish to know more about Koko, ask my sister while you are en route to the Hakurei Shrine," she says to me, and gets up. "I presume you have no further questions?"

I was kind of wondering about how Koishi rates against Koko as a tour guide/guardian, but when I start to ask, I see she's already frowning in thought. ...And stays that way for a bit longer. That's kind of worrying, I gotta admit. Just as well I didn't say it out loud though; it's kinda mean with Koishi right there.

Satori finally opens her eyes, and looks at me as she pushes her chair in. "A very good question, and not one that I have an answer for." Damn.

"...What is? And ask me about what?" Koishi asks, a little curious.

Okay, I gotta cut this off before it gets worse. "Stuff about Koko, but like she said, you can answer that on the way, right?" I grab my bag after making my interruption, and sling it over my shoulders. "I'm ready when you are."

"Cool. See you, Satorin~" Koishi gives her sister a peck on the cheek, which is returned, and then skips ahead of me, waving for me to follow. "C'mon, we're heading up. Landing pad's upstairs."

...Landing pad?

[ ] Advertisement
[ ] Brochure
[ ] Manual


Will try to update as soon as I can. I want to get back into the groove. Probably won't be as quick as when I was writing The Game, but I'd like to shoot for every other day, so get those votes in, and let's see how this turns out.
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Previous thread: >>118441
[X] Brochure

Let's stick to the short version. But not too short.
[x] Advertisement
[X] Brochure
[x] Manual

Technical explanation!
[ø] Manual
[x] Manual

This is it. Some event in the next few updates will start off the bulk of the story, and really get the ball rolling. Waiting warmly.
I bet he'll try to separate us from Koishi. She's a conflict killer.
[x] RTFM
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[ᅭ] Manual

After too damn many flights of stairs, we go down a short hall with high ceilings, and come up against a pair of large doors that look to be about ten or twelve feet high. Those themselves are then set inside another pair of doors about as wide as the hall itself and going up to about twenty feet. A little group of fairies are standing in front of these. Koishi says something to them, but I'm trying to catch my breath, so I miss it.

I look up when I hear a creaking, and see the smaller set of doors opening up, one fairy pulling open each one. Dust shakes off the doors a bit, so I guess these don't see frequent use.. And past the doors is.... wow.

I almost choke, it's so wow.

There's a big, wide-open stone platform extending a good ten or fifteen feet without any guardrails to keep you from walking off the edge. The corners are lit with something that glows brightly and shines light onto the pad itself. But beyond it...

Beyond it is that same freaky sense of HUGE I experienced when I first stepped in here, only closer up, and with the addition of height to make it worse. I'm about to fall to my knees, when...

...it doesn't matter anymore. It's there, yeah. And damn right, it's big. But it's just empty space. So what?

I turn and see Koishi next to me, giving me a look sort of like her sister's expression, minus the sense of contentment. ...Which was sort of the key part of her look, so that's a crappy analogy. But it's kind of there. She pats me on the shoulder, and I know what she has done for me.

"Hey, uh... Thanks," I tell her.

Her odd look turns more into that wide, kinda-creepy smile I saw before. "No problem. You're gonna need it, later on."

I'm about to ask what she means, when I notice the fairies pulling something made of leather straps and metal cables out of a large bag. It looks oddly familiar, kind of like...

"They ain't making a swing set up here, are they?" I ask, pointing at the heap of stuff they're working on. A large part of it seems to stay in the center while each of them fits what looks like a harness attached to a cable that trails to the pile in the middle.

"Nope, that's your ride."

I watch them for a bit more before I realize what she means.

"...I'm riding Zombie Fairy Airways to this shrine place?"

Koishi sighs. "Don't sound so worried. They're fairly reliable, and stronger than they look. Zombie fairies tend to be brighter than the average surface-dwelling fairy, anyway, so it's not like they're going to get distracted or freak out in mid-flight and send you plummeting to your doom."

I give her a disgusted look. "Thanks a ton."

The girl in yellow and brown next to me turns and crosses her arms. "It's called lightening the mood. Settle down already, seriously."

"That's lightening the mood?"

"No, but if I explain, it'll ruin the whole point. Tell you what, if you can figure out what that means by the time the trip is over, I'll give you something ...good."


"Like the kind of thing I'm not going to tell you about. Now shut up so I can tie you up."

Tying me up turns out involve strapping me into the swing-seat, which curves up around the back, too. Guess that makes it more like a chair, but whatever, it's comfortable enough. As I look over the chair, I get a pretty good idea of how it's meant to work. Not like it was hard or anything, though: two of the cables attached to the fairies are bolted to rings on the forward-most sides of the 'arms' of the chair, while the third hooks on the back.

The whole setup seemed kind of weird and complicated until I said so to Koishi, who told me it was a hell of a lot more practical than carrying me by hand, youkai strength or not, and that if I didn't like it I was welcome to try walking to the surface by myself, on foot.

It seemed a lot less stupid after that.

While they're working, I call out to one of the fairies. "Hey, you're... Necrosis, right?"

She looks up and bows slightly. ɪɴɒєєɒ ɪ ѧм, sɪʀ. wєʟʟ sρоттєɒ.

...Well, it's not like it was hard to figure it out after seeing those permanently bored eyes. Besides, the other two look a bit different; one's got a noticeably blacker tint to her flame, and the third is wearing a beret. I do a double-take, but it's definitely a little beret.

"So who else got lucky enough to get picked to haul my ass around?" I ask. They're able to keep working while they talk, without slowing down too much, it seems. I don't think the receptionist could have managed that, though.

Black Flame gives me a nod and a briefer bow than Necrosis. ɪ’м ρυтʀєsсєɴсє. Her voice sounds slightly... wet. I think of dank, misty caves when she speaks. Nice, but busy.

The beret-wearer looks me in the eye, and smirks a little. Placing a hand to her chest, she gives me a full, elaborate curtsy, even lifting the side of her skirt as she does. ʏоυ мѧʏ ʀєғєʀ то мє ѧs тυρρєɴсє. I'm immediately struck with visions of white stone statues and the clear, crisp tones of a bell. She's either a showoff or seriously full of herself. That name, though...

"How does 'Tuppence' fit into the whole... name thing you guys have going?" It doesn't seem nearly as creepy as any of these others. I mean, nice ladies, most of 'em, but those names, man...

Tuppence stops work entirely just to stare at me for a bit before looking away to sigh dramatically, and shake her head. ѧʟѧs, ʏєт ѧɴотнєʀ мυsт ɪ єɴʟɪɢнтєɴ. Looking back, she gives me that little smirk again. тєʟʟ мє тнɪs, sɪʀ... wнѧт ɪs ɪт тнѧт ʏоυ ρʟѧсє υρоɴ тнє ғѧсє оғ тнє ɒєсєѧsєɒ вєғоʀє ɪɴнυмɪɴɢ тнєм

...Like covering dead bodies with a sheet..."No, wait. She said inhuming them, and exhuming is digging the body up, right? So just before they're buried, not when you find them dead. And on the face, too. Wait, does she mean..."

"...'Pennies on a dead man's eyes'?"

My answer seems to have startled her, but she doesn't let that show for more than a split second. Instead, the smirk comes back, even wider. ρʀєсɪsєʟʏ﹗ Placing her hand on her chest, she adopts a more sad, lamenting tone that's still too dramatic. ɪт ғɪʟʟs мʏ нєѧʀт wɪтн ﺩоʏ то sєє тнѧт тнєʀє ɪs sомєоɴє оυт тнєʀє ρоssєssєɒ оғ тнє вѧsɪс κɴоwʟєɒɢє оғ ʀєғɪɴєɒ сυʟтυʀє

I think she's actually serious. Jesus.

"Well, thanks, I think? Anyway, don't let me hold you up any longer." The other two fairies had begun glaring at Tuppence's back while she stopped to fill me in, and I wasn't looking forward to them getting snippy while carting me around. Turbulence sucks. "I'm glad to meet you all, though. I really only know Necrosis, and that's just because she played night watchman."

wє’ѵє ѧʟʟ нєѧʀɒ оғ ʏоυ, тноυɢн, remarks Putrescence as she double-checks the cable-attachments on the chair. ʏоυ’ʀє мɪsтʀєss κоɪsнɪ’s ɴєw ʏоυκѧɪ ρєт.

That's it. This rumor is getting way too far gone. It's high time I s—

ѧ ρєт﹖ Tuppence covers her mouth with the back of her hand as she laughs, for some reason. ɒєѧʀ ғʀɪєɴɒs, ɪ тнɪɴκ ʏоυ ѧʀє вотн sѧɒʟʏ, wоєғυʟʟʏ мɪsтѧκєɴ. With a flourish, she points in my direction. сʟєѧʀʟʏ, тнɪs ɪs ѧ сɪɴɒєʀ ɢоʟєм ғʀом ʟѧɒʏ κѧʏєɴвʏоυ’s ғυʀɴѧсє.

All of them pause work for a moment, and look at me.

...sноυʟɒɴ’т нє вє нот, тнєɴ﹖ asks Putrescence, little black flame wobbling slightly as she tilts her head and examines me. Tuppence frowns and starts to reply, but before she can, Necrosis chimes in as well.

ѧɴɒ wоυʟɒ нє ɴот sмєʟʟ оғ ғɪʀєρʟѧсє﹣ѧsн ѧɴɒ ʟєѧѵє sоот υρоɴ wнѧтєѵєʀ нє тоυснєɒ﹖ she inquires.

The beret-fairy looks rather nervous and uneasy, now. ѧн, ʏєs, wєʟʟ... ɪ’м мєʀєʟʏ ρѧssɪɴɢ оɴ wнѧт ɪ’ѵє нєѧʀɒ, ʏоυ υɴɒєʀsтѧɴɒ, she finally says, trying not to look flustered. нє’s сʟєѧʀʟʏ ѧɴ єɴɪɢмѧ.

Putrescence gives her a skeptical look. "сʟєѧʀʟʏ" ѧɢѧɪɴ﹖ It seems like this isn't the first time she's dealt with Tuppence. It's funny, I have to admit.

Tuppence turns up her nose, and huffs slightly. ɒо ɴот ɢєт ɴєєɒʟєssʟʏ воɢɢєɒ ɒоwɴ ɪɴ тнє ρѧsт, ɒєѧʀ ғʀɪєɴɒs, ɪт оɴʟʏ sєʀѵєs то мυɒɒʟє ʏоυʀ мɪɴɒs. Ballsy little bitch, that one.

Necrosis is about to add her own comment, when Koishi walks over. They all go quiet and get back to work very, very fast.

"Funny, I thought I heard fairies wasting the time of our esteemed guest here, but I know I must have been imagining that." Her smile is wide and innocent, but her words are terrifying, as they carry a terrible, deadly undertone, plus the unmistakable message: Quit fucking around and get back to work.

Even I want to get back to work, and I can't even do anything.

"So, since I'm just imagining that, are you nearly done?"

ʏєs, мɪsтʀєss, they all reply.

"Good, good~" Koishi hands me an actual motorcycle helmet. I'm about to ask where she got it when she starts talking again. "It's going to get a bit chilly up there. We'll keep pretty low to the ground and maintain a reasonable speed so we don't hand over a popsicle to Hakurei, but it'll still be nippy. The sky-chair itself is heated— magic, don't bother looking —a bit, and this'll help retain some of your body heat, plus keep any crap from putting an eye out or clipping your head."

"Oh. Good thinking."

She shrugs. "Thank the kappa. ...Well, you probably won't be able to before you go, but I'll pass the word along." I have no idea what she's talking about, but it doesn't bother me much.

Within a couple minutes, the fairies have finished double-checking everything, and give Koishi an all-clear. I'm about to put my helmet on when the door creaks open and a linen closet walks out.

That's my first impression, at least. It looks like a short girl wrapped up in a whole hell of a lot of white sheets and cloths. The result is someone wearing a big white poncho/heap of clean white fabric, with strips hanging off here and there. Or maybe like a girl playing dress-up, and trying to wear a large, thick coat that's too big for her, only instead of dragging on the ground, I can see her legs underneath: barefoot, no shoes. I'm only guessing at the "girl" part of things, though the parts of the face that aren't hidden show feminine features in the eyes and shape of the head. The long, tangly brown hair hanging down here and there where it peeks out from between the fabric seems to back this up.

For once, I actually am confused. What or who the hell is this?

Someone known to the rest of them, apparently. She walks up to Koishi, rustling and shuffling— nothing hangs down to where she can trip on it, I notice —and reaches out with an arm wrapped like a mummy, handing the other woman a sheet of paper. Koishi reads it, raises her eyebrows, and looks back at me. Then she hands it back, and gives the cloth-monster-girl-I-don't-even-know-what a hug and a pat on the head. It hugs her back, then quickly leaves, shutting the door behind her.

I have no fucking clue what just happened, but it might have involved me. But right before I can ask, Koishi calls back to us. "All right, we're off! Pop that helmet on; you're going to want it!"

And just like that, I'm kept from asking about it. Worst timing ever, seriously. I'll be damned if I'm going to just let it go, though. I make promise to myself as I fit the helmet onto my head.

Next to me, the fairies rise up into the air along with Koishi. The cables wiggle and clank as they're tugged up into the air, then go taut as I'm lifted off the landing pad. Clenching the seat tightly, We go up about ten feet, and then, at a signal from Koishi, over the edge.


The bad news is that that's all for tonight, because this update grew much bigger than anticipated.
The good news is that I kept to what I was aiming for. Feels good, man.
Manual meant by hand, right? So what did the other options mean..."
Nah. This was 'manual' as in 'instruction manual'
I really want to know how they advertised this.
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Well, so much for keeping that record. Part feeling a little crappy and part reading Vinland Saga for the first time. It has joined Jojo in my list of "Things I can't believe I never got into until now."

Also, I'm not going to throw a fit if people talk before the update is finished. It's not like this is A Wizard is You, where letting people talk for too long stuffs up the thread, and it's not like I'm actively looking for discussion, but I'm always surprised that people keep so quiet. Happened a lot in Bang, too.

Anyway, expect updatage tomorrow.

I'll also be leaving on some kind of 10-day road trip in 4 days, but I'll still be writing; don't you worry.


Choices were for the level of questioning and detail later. There was no actual advertisement.
Man, I'm kinda sad to be leaving the underground, I enjoy how you're doing the Zombie Fairies.
Aw. I could see Moriya creating a fairy shuttle service to get worshippers to their remote shrine. They'd definitely advertise.

Then again, Moriya probably isn't capable of doing something like that after The Game...
>but I'm always surprised that people keep so quiet.
At least you're not butthurt about it like the DEFT guy. I appreciate that.

Plus, it's not like there's much to discuss, the story has been fairly straight-forward so far, and what isn't straight forward is hard to speculate on this early. Maybe I'm just thick though.
So far so good. Keep on rollin'
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I only get a short look at the city a ways and down from us before we wheel around the tower and head further away from it. Heading down, we enter a large, lit tunnel with warning signs and a few other people standing guard. We get to go right on through, so I guess the Komeijis either have free reign of this tunnel or they're the ones guarding it. My money's on the latter.

The tunnel isn't anything interesting. It's smoothed and well-lit, and could easily be from somewhere Outside. It's also long and bland, which brings us right back to "isn't anything interesting." It does slope down, and it gets warmer and warmer the further we go.

At one point, after it's gotten pretty damn hot indeed, there's a bunch of signage about Primary Furnace No.1 and something about Refueling Access. But both of those point off to the side at various points. Instead, we follow the arrows pointing straight ahead, marked Underground Geyser Center & Surface Access.

A couple minutes later, the tunnel starts to angle upwards a little more before ending in a big pair of steel-grating doors ("Lift No. 3 — Authorized Personnel Only"). We stop in front of them, and Koishi herself touches back down on the ground. The fairies drop down low enough that I can rest my feet on the ground, if not fully stand upright. in the mean time, Koishi fishes out what looks like an ID badge, and waves it in the air in front of what I'm guessing is an elevator.

I don't see any sensor eyes or anything, but I guess something must have picked it up, because green lights on the side of the elevator turn on, and there's a buzzing sound before the doors slide open. The five of us enter the roomy elevator, and Koishi pushes a button by a label that reads Surface while she stuffs her card away again.

The doors shut, and honest-to-god elevator music starts to play. It takes the cake for the most surreal experience I've had down here so far. I'm being carried— not this exact second, but still —by fairies, hanging out with a weird psychic girl, taking an elevator out of he depths of the earth to go see some sort of priestess, and... there's just Muzak playing, like it's all normal.

Another day on the job.

The elevator stops at Underground Geyser Center to let on a pair of short little girls with solid blue hair. Each of them is dressed in blue coveralls and carries a utility belt that'd have Batman crying like a bitch. There's plenty of tools in various holsters, too, but I only recognize a few.

They enter happily chattering, and continue to do so for about 5 seconds after the elevator starts moving again. They're babbling a mile a minute about pressure valves and the reactor when there's a lull in the conversation, and they finally take notice of the rest of us. They fall silent and just kind of stare, mostly at me.

Yes ladies, it's a real live black guy. Get a load of this hot chocolate while it lasts.

And again, I'm reminded that that people around here don't act like they see the brothers all that often. Like, ever. I'm used to being avoided by nervous white people, but fascinated stares and confusion is still pretty new.

Not really sure if I like it any better, though.

The two tiny blue-haired girls eye me for about fifteen seconds of the minute-long trip to the surface before looking away again and talking more quietly to each other once again. It still sounds pretty fast, though.

The elevator finally stops, as does the music. The doors open onto a short hallway with a pair of sliding glass doors at the end. The short girls exit and go off down an unmarked hall, while we head straight for the doors through which I can see actual sky and natural light and trees and the outdoors have never looked so beautiful.

Right outside are a few scary-looking guys with claws. I guess they're more guards, but they just give a friendly nod to Koishi, and we fly on out of there.

And like that, I'm back on the surface.


Short, boring update, and STILL no choice. I'm sorry.

I would like to know, though: does the em-space used to separate words in the fullwidth parts look too wide? I know it looks different on different machines.
/th/ is the new /underground/

And no, it doesn't.
Its all good. Both ways.
>I would like to know, though: does the em-space used to separate words in the fullwidth parts look too wide? I know it looks different on different machines.

Are you using the 'ideographic space'? It looks pretty wide here.
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The width is fine for me, but it's set pretty low relative to the text.

Also, the full-width text doesn't auto-line break properly, but you probably already know this and there may not be anything you can do about it.
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Here's another data point (Gecko/20101203 Firefox/3.6.13, Windows XP, MS Japanese fonts installed).

It's a little too wide, but not distractingly so, especially since I know what's up with it. Word-wrap works fine.
Update delayed by unexpected stuff, but should be coming in a few hours or so.
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The first thing I notice is how crazy clean the air is. I'd forgotten what "fresh air" actually meant. Not that I was choking down there or the place smelled funky or anything, but compared to home it's amazing. Although, Los Ojos itself smells about as good as this compared to Los Angeles.

It's all relative, or something.

Next thing I notice is that we're really, really high up. Probably on a mountain somewhere, since I can suddenly feel the cold starting to seep in a bit. Off in the distance, I can see the wilderness, some fields, and a river or two stretching out below. And past them, more mountains with snow on the caps.

Nice little place they've got here, I have to say. The man-eating monsters thing is kind of a downside.

We take off, heading straight out at first, then curving a little... um. Some direction. I really don't know which.

...Wait, if it's still the morning, then... I crane around in my seat, and find the sun lower in the sky off to one side. Probably a good few hours past dawn, though not too many. Around 8, 9, 9:30? That's just what it feels like, though; I can't tell time from the sun. But I at least know that it rises in the east, so if we're heading ...that way, then...

What was it? Never Eat Shred— Okay, so we're going northeast. Ish.

Not like that tells me a damn thing.

I'm able to keep myself interested as I watch the ground below rise closer as we come down from the mountain, but at some point Koishi looks back at me and gives a wave. I wave back as best I can, but I'm n—

{—r all good men to come to the aid of the party. Now is the time for all good m—}

"What in... Koko?" I say, surprised.

{And connection established! Nah, just boring ol' meeeee.}

"...Oh. So this is actually the actual Koishi?" Up ahead of me, she gives me a thumbs-up without turning back. Guess that's my answer. "So is this sort of like what you did last night?"

{Mm-hmm. Even if Koko's come loose in your head, I can still get in since she's in. I'm one of the designers, after all.}

"Must be like working for Microsoft."

{NnnnyyyeeI dunno. Who? Oh, wait, wait. Computers, right? I guess. ...Anyway, I heard there was some stuff you still wanted answers to that you were using as a pretext to seduce my sister as part of your diabolical plot?}

"The fuck are you on about?"


"What diab... No, you know what? Fuck it." I don't need that headache. "Yes, I wanted to know... Well, actually, before that: what exactly is this Hakurei chick gonna do?"

{She's going to get in touch with the Lady Yakumo so she can send you back.}

"...That's it? Just a phone call and I'm back home?"

{Nnnnot exactly.}

"I didn't mean an actual phone call."

{I know.}

"You know I know?"

{More than you could ever imagine!}

"But it's Yakumo that's sending me?"


"...So why we even bothering with Hakurei?"

{Haaaaa ha ha ha ha. Oh, don't we all want to know that? No, basically, she's got a direct line to Yakumo that pretty much nobody else does. And those that do are too much of a pain to talk to or deal with to make it reasonable, so— whoops, geese.}

We drop low really fast to avoid a flock of geese that honk at us as we zoom past. Once we're past them, the fairies lift me back up to match Koishi's lead.

{...anyway, Yakumo's a pain to get ahold of for anyone else, and finding her is even worse. It's just easier this way.}

"Huh." That seems kind of... backwards? Inefficient? It's got to be a pain for everyone else, but if Yakumo's the hot shit I hear she is, I'd want an unlisted number, too. Guess that's the price of being important.

Something occurs to me, then. "...This a common problem, then? I can't remember if I asked about this before, but I was gonna ask your sister about it."

{About Yakumo?}

"No, Outsiders. How often you get 'em coming through?"

{I'm not sure of the numbers myself, but you're the third Outsider to pass through the Komeiji border in the time that it's been up, which makes it about one per month? I guess it's enough to warrant our Border, though, right~?}

"I guess. Who were the other two?"

{Well, the first was...} Her 'voice' sounds a bit uncertain for a moment before she continues. {...We're pretty sure he was a wealthy business man from some company called Kanraku Industries.}

"Doesn't sound like he made it."

{...Eh heh. No, unfortunately. He had some kind of vision problem, and...}

She trails off.

"...And?" I say, morbidly curious. "Something eat him?"

{No, he got blown up.}

"How'd that happen?"

{I'm not sure, and Yakumo wasn't talking. Anyway, the other one was a second-year junior high student. She made it in and out again in a few hours. But more than that, it was on her own, which is pretty rare! Buuuut, that's because she stuck to the edges of the Borders. Never got too far in to where she'd have trouble leaving easily.}

"...So I'm more or less the first person you've actually been able to talk to about having Koko in his head?"


"That why I'm getting all the nice treatment?"

{No!} Koishi actually shoots me a look over her shoulder, and sounds a little insulted. {We'd do this for an— well, a bit. Mostly it's... Well, no, we'd treat any poor bastard who wandered in about as nice.}

"'Mostly it's' what?"

{Mostly it's something I'm not going to bother with. We'll be there in about ten more minutes. You holding up fine?}

"Yeah. Kinda chilly, but I'm not freezing my nads off like that time I went to Shasta in jeans."


"Hey, what was that eye-thing your sister had? It was looking at me all weird."

The pale green-haired girl doesn't answer right away. When she does, it sounds kind of formal. {That is the third eye with which a satori reads the hearts— or minds, if that will make more sense to you —of others. It is an organ that is as much a part of her body as her other two eyes.}

I ask my next question right before I realize what I've stepped into. "But you're her sister, so where's yours?"

It's a good two minutes of silence I have to feel like a total dick before she answers.

{Away.} Another thirty seconds, and then, in a more normal tone: {You figure out what I meant back at the Palace, yet?}

"Oh, um. Not yet."

I wonder what counts as 'something good.' Maybe a going-away present?

I notice that our flight path has started to take us up again. Below us is a long, well-kept, and by the looks of it, well-lit-at-night stone path that leads up a hill. There's a few people coming and going, but nobody's near the shrine itelf, yet. Every so often there's one of those red Japanese arch-things across the path, too.

{Now arriving at Hakurei Shrine~} announces Koishi as we make for a big wide spot at the end of the path, sandwiched in between a couple of hills. There's a big building that I'm guessing is probably the Shrine there, along with one or two smaller ones nearby.

As we touch down, I notice a black-haired girl in...

Man, I don't even know what to call it. It looks like something out of a cartoon, only weirder. The big bow and the sleeves that aren't actually attached to the shirt itself are what really take the cake. Nobody else seems to think it's weird, so I guess it's normal for her?

She just quietly sweeps the front steps of the big building, looking up at us and smiling as we land, but not making any move to come out and greet us. Then again, given that it takes the fairies and I a few minutes to get ourselves out of the flight seat and harnesses, I guess that's a smarter decision on her part. Otherwise you just stand around and look awkward.

Koishi greets her once everyone's out of everything, and the girl finally looks up from her sweeping. "Good morning, Koishi!" she says. "And what brings you to—"

And then she notices me.

Instantly, the smile turns to a look of anger and panic. "Sweet bloody begging Buddha in a rigged sailboat race!" she swears, taking a few steps back and clutching her broom as she goes into a crouch, eyes narrowing. Without looking away from us, she calls back into the shrine. "SUIKA! WE'VE GOT MOLE MEN UP HERE AGAIN!"

From somewhere comes the slurred, cheerful voice of what sounds like a twelve year-old. "Roger that~!"

The weird-sleeves girl cracks apart the broom, and draws like in a samurai movie, pulling out not a sword, but a stick with a pair of ...white square-chains?

She looks really, really pissed.

[ ] I'd like to use my lifeline.
[ ] I'll try and solve the word.
[ ] I'm going to go with "Potent Potables" for $200.


Okay, now we're back on track.

...Also: Plusfag, are you still around?

>no solid consensus

Thanks for answering, at least.

What fonts are you all using to display Unicode? Not MS Mincho or something, I pray.
[x] I'm going to go with "Potent Potables" for $200.

Let's get drunk on Jeopardy!
Better than Wheel of Fortune or WWtBaM
[X] I'd like to use my lifeline.

Again? ...I'm not sure if I want to know what happened the first time.

>What fonts are you all using to display Unicode?
I'm using Arial Unicode MS, which has the extra spacing and broken word wrap.
[x] I'll try and solve the word.

We don't need Koishi's help and now isn't the time for questions. We got this.
[X] I'd like to use my lifeline.

Things will become really difficult/annoying unless someone snaps Reimu out of her jumped conclusion.
[ ] I'll try and solve the word.
[ø] I'm going to go with "Potent Potables" for $200.
mystery option
[x] I'm going to go with "Potent Potables" for $200.

Koko has just been upgraded. This pleases me greatly.
[ ] I'll try and solve the word.
[x] I'm going to go with "Potent Potables" for $200.
[x] I'm going to go with "Potent Potables" for $200.
[Connery] I'll take "The Penis Mightier" for $200.
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Idaho is flat and boring and utah is going to be worse, partially because it's utah.

Probably no update today because I will be sleeping. Much sorritude is now being expressed in advance. Have a sexy despair-free picture by xration. Would give you Hina but this was a nice small filesize and easier.
[x] I'll try and solve the word.

We're going to keep running into these situations, so we better figure out some way of dealing with it by ourselves.

>What fonts are you all using to display Unicode?

FreeSerif and Symbola.
Updates will continue to be delayed at least until I fix my netbook's car adapter or get some free time that isn't late at night.

Also, the town of Green River, WY, has a newspaper with the neatest name for a paper ever, the Rocket-Miner.
[x] "...and all of your alcohol!"
Are you dead? It's okay if you are. Just wondering.

I was starting to enjoy this. But yes he it seems he has died
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No, just really lazy and really distracted. Been riding the laziness slide off the end of the vacation for a whole fuck of a lot longer than I should have.

It's pretty fucking ridiculous, honestly.

I think that'll be over tomorrow, though. I'm sorry about this, and more than a little ashamed.
Pfft. Be as lazy as you like, I can't say anything without feeling like a massive hypocrite.

Still, hooray!
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[ポ] I'm going to go with "Potent Potables" for $200.

It's official: I don't give a fuck anymore. I might've said that before, but it wasn't nearly as hard as I'm meaning it right now. I don't care what these people call me or think I am. Youkai? Burnt body? Mole man? Fuck it. Just sit back and enjoy the ride; it's just about over anyway.

"That's right, lady," I tell her with a firm nod. "'Cause, y'know, I definitely look like some kind of mole thing. The whiskers and big long pointy nose are a dead giveaway."

She pauses for a second, and scowls. "You don't have either of those."

My mouth splits in a grin and I point at her. "Golly gee, then maybe that's a sign you're totally fucking wrong!"

Deeper scowl. "Don't get uppity at me, youkai," says the girl. "You still look the part. Anyone could tell from the..." And then she just kind of trails off, with the scowl becoming a definite frown.

"The skin, yeah, I know. I've heard this bullshit a thousand times, so ju—"

I only hear a soft whiffing in the air before POW happens.

And hard.

Stars fill my vision for a second, and the side of my head regains sensation I didn't even notice went missing. Then it throbs, and starts to hurt. When I can see again, I realize my ass is laid flat out on the cobbles. The fairies are looking at me worriedly from a few feet off, but the girl is leaning over me, squinting and glaring like she just found a hair in her soup. She's cradling what looks like a basketball-sized yin-yang thingy under one arm that wasn't there

"Gonna need you to shut up for a second there, Jack. Can't look at you with you yammering."

"...The fuck did you just do to me?" I croak.

She hefts the ball again.

"The thing I'm getting ready to do again."

"Man, fuck you, lady."

"Well that's just sweet of you. Seriously, though: shut it."

Rock above, hard place at my back. Nice. I decide to follow directions.

Whatever she does only takes about half a minute more. As far as I can tell, all she did was look me up and down a lot, getting more and more pissed with each passing second. Or suspicious, maybe. Finally, she holds out a hand as she gets ready to stand up. I'm still a little dazed, but as she yanks me to my feet, I wonder where she's hiding the muscle to be able to haul me up like that.

"What's up, doc?" I ask. "Find somethin' you liked?"

"You—" a finger gets thrust in my face "—are creeping me the hell out."

"The fuck's that supposed to mean?!" I snap back. "I cannot believe there's only one goddamn person in this entire place that's ever seen a brother before. This is some serious, Grade-A bul..." I trail off when she looks behind me, and slaps her forehead covering her eyes. Naturally, I turn around.

A little red-haired girl in clothes like the girl next to me is running out of the shrine with a sledgehammer over her shoulder, toting it along like it weighs next to nothing. "Reimu, I got the hammer! It was kinda stuck, so I had to move the room around a little. The door's on the other side now, but it shouldn't matter!" She looks at me, then around at the fairies. I don't see Koishi around, for some reason. "...Where's the other mole men?"

"There aren't any. False alarm, sorry," 'Reimu' tells her.

The redhead sighs, and kicks a rock on the ground, disappointed. "Man, and I was totally gonna beat your score, too. ...So anyway, who's this chump?"

"Temporary guest. We're sending him down the river because I have no fucking clue what his deal is."

I hold up a hand, and wave it in front of Reimu's face. "Uh, mind cluing me in?"

She doesn't even look back at me as she walks the way the redhead— who's got horns kind of like the oni back underground, I suddenly notice —came, heading into the shrine. She just waves a hand in a lazily inviting way, and only says, "It's teatime."
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The inside of the shrine looks like pretty much any picture of a "traditional" Japanese house in a social studies textbook: little shrine with incense and stuff here, paper doors, dark lacquered floors, no chairs, and furniture built low to the ground. I'm in a room with these big green rectangle things for flooring, with a little table.

On the table in front of me sits a cup of something black. It's hot to the touch, but there's no steam coming off it at all. It took me a few seconds to notice that. A few seconds more and I realize nobody else got cups of this stuff.

Koishi, Reimu, and the little horned redhead whose name escapes me are sitting on the other three sides of the table, looking at me. I don't touch the cup. I can just barely hear the fairies talking outside.

"Mind telling me what's going on before I drink this?" I ask as sarcastically pleasant as I can. This whole thing seems really, really shady, and I don't want to take another step until someone clues me in. They didn't just seriously expect me to drink it, no questions asked, did they?

"It'll kill you," says Reimu. After thinking about that for a second, she adds, "Well, kinda. The main ingredient is nightshade, but there's some other stuff in there, too. It'll shut down all but the most critical bodily functions for a few hours, and it's good for a sleeping poison, faking your death, or getting out of work you don't want to do."

I just stare at her. She meets my stare and doesn't seem the least bit bothered by what she's saying, or how I'm taking it.

"Because your whole situation weirds me pretty fierce, I can't just get you sent back through the Borders without looking into this. I'm going to mostly kill you with the tea there, and have you take it up with the reaper or her boss. Just tell 'em Reimu sent you to figure out what the hell's up with you. One of them can sort it out."

I stay quiet for a minute or two, just taking that all in. This girl's younger than me by at least a few years, but she's been doing this a while to be talking all casually about stuff like this.

"...You're sure I'm gonna be okay?" I ask, trying to sound like I'm just double-checking, no big deal, definitely not freaking out at the whole 'kinda gonna die' thing.

The redhead nods, and cracks a grin. "'Course you're gonna be fine. We've got a pretty decent success rate with this. And I'll be keeping an eye on you, so those damn fairies don't come in and screw around."

"'Pretty decent'?"


I speak at the same time Koishi does. We look at each other, then at the horned girl.

The redhead points at me. "Relaaaax, we've done this hundr... well, doz... okay, a handful of times. We're pros. Or at least, Reimu is." Then she points at Koishi, and says in the same breath, "Locals. You should relax, too."

I look back down at the cup, and grimace. And then a thought occurs to me, and I pick up the still-hot cup, which is at least hold-ably warm, now. "Hey, Koishi. I figured out what you meant back then."

The strangely smiling girl looks back at me, seeming interested. "Diiiidja?"

I nod, and look into the cup of killer tea. "It's like the dentist's office. They talk about aimless shit to keep you from thinking about where you are and what you're doing. And when you ask if it's going to hurt, they tell you it's not going to be very bad, because if they were honest, you'd get panicky. Even when you know what's going on, you're a little more relaxed when they tell you that. And you think you want them to be honest, but it'll only make shit difficult for you and them both. That's why you were treating it like a joke, weren't you?"

Koishi's eyes seem to sparkle for a second. She cocks a finger-gun at me, and says, "Kiiiiinda-pretty much. It's a bit trickier than that, but you got most of it down."

I smile a little. "Sweet. What do I win?"

"Hadn't thought about that, yet," she says, giving a shrug. "I'll figure it out when you rise from the dead. But for now, chug!"

...And then I realized I'd just drank the cup in a single go, as I was looking into an empty cup.

"I was kinda hoping to write up a will in case shit went sour," is the only thing I can think to say. I'm going to get her back for this, somehow. I'm not freaking out because my ability to panic spiked and then overloaded in an instant when I looked at that empty cup and felt myself swallow the last of the tea.

Reimu already got up at some point, and now re-enters the room with a blanket and a pillow. She drops the pillow a couple feet behind me, and stands back. "Sleep tight, Mr. uh..." She frowns, and then looks at my evil, giggling companion for a moment. "...I never did get your name. How'd that happen?"

"Dunno," I tell her. "but it's N—"

N o t h i n g.

[ ] The Road
[ ] The Garden


Fucking colds.

Fucking Vinland Saga.

Fucking Minecraft.

Fucking laziness. Fucking laziness again, for emphasis.

...Also, I don't think I ever replied to >>125854, but I finished Kikokugai aaaages ago, and holy shit, it was great. Now enjoying Madoka and reading bits of Fate/Zero here and there (and remembering once again why I hate Beast's Lair) while I wait for the group whose name I forget to get around to starting on Django (supposedly).
[x] The Garden

An update! I have no idea what I'm voting for and it feels awesome!
[X] The Road

On the highway to hell. Great to see you're back to writing.
[X] The Road
[x] The Garden
[x] The Garden
Welcome back, dead man.
[+] The Garden
I'm guessing this is the flower field near the Sanzu. Also, this seems like a very heavy-handed way of dealing with strange people who show up at the shrine. If we meet Shikieki we should arrange for them to get a talking-to.
[x] The Garden
updates, did not expect this.
Either that or the netherworld, Yuyuko's domain. But I agree that's a terribly heavy handed way of dealing with a strange outsider.

[X] The Road
[X] The Garden
From what I've read on the Japanese and their reactions with foreigners, it's almost par the course, except instead of hitting you with something institutionalized racism is used.
[X] The Road

Garden makes me think of Yuyuko, which means Youmu. And with the way people have reacted to us so far, she's likely to go berzerk.
[X] The Garden
I see someone doesn't remember how Youmu reacted to a random youkai just wandering around the place back in The Game.
Thinking about it some more, I can see how the fallout from The Game would make Reimu paranoid about strange shrine visitors. I mean, two youkai and a ghost took down Sanae and both her gods. Even if Reimu thought she kind of deserved it after getting the whole story, that has to give her pause.

What makes me curious is what Reimu thinks will happen. I mean, does she really expect Komachi or Shikieki to drop by and explain what the deal is with this guy? Suppose he comes back and says, "Apparently I'm an outsider human. Who knew? Oh, and the judge lady says to stop sending people to her like this; apparently it's a huge pain." She's just going to trust his word, when she didn't before?

We'll assume that Sanae told her about her experiences in going to hell sometime. So Reimu gets an idea for how to deal with possibly-hostile unidentified shrine visitors: she'll send them to Eiki. Reversibly, maybe (although Suika implied there had been failures), but that's not the point. She knows that Sanae was a wreck, and she was only dead for a few minutes. This stuff lasts for a few hours, more than enough time for a thorough judging and time in some afterlife or other. His protests that he's only here for a background check will probably not count for much. She's not interested in what he says after waking up so much as if he wakes up a broken husk of a person. Doesn't reflect very well on Reimu if I'm right -- it's basically "kill them all, let god sort them out" without as much of the messy bits.
Youmu was pretty reasonable if I remembered correctly. She even gave directions to the Prismriver mansion.
[x] The Road

"And I'll meet you further on up the road."
Wait does The Game and this story take place in the same "verse" or whatever?
More or less, and he hinted as such in the post story thread.
[x] The Garden
I think that's Yuyuko. Gardens -> Hakugyokuro, The road -> The road of Liminality:
which is on the way to the Yama. And I never was a fan of rigged games by crooked spirits.
[x] The Road

Hey, let's actually go see the person we're supposed to go see, and not go haring off to visit Yuyuko!
Hinted? It was outright stated in >>/gensokyo/4275

>Oh, and as a fun little thing to look forward to: NiG will be set about 1-2 years after The Game.
Thanks for reminding me. I'd actually completely forgotten about that.
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[彼岸花] The Garden

It's cold and wet.

I can tell this is true, but I'm not really feeling either of those like I normally would. Everything seems weird. Weirder than usual, anyway, and that's saying something. It's like every sense is dulled; got some Novocaine put on them, and everything's being fed right into my head.

...Like I said, weirder than usual.

Picking myself up off the ground, I crack my neck and then have a look around. Looks like I ended up in a big-ass field of some kind of red flowers. They're kinda weird-looking: curled red petals or something in the center, and then a sort of bowl-shaped ring of thinner wiry parts. Koko told me about somebody's flower field to watch out for, but she mentioned sunflowers, and these aren't them. Not by a long shot. Guess I'm in the clear there?

There's trees here and there way in the distance in one direction, and low-lying fog in the other. Reimu said something about a river, so my money's on the fog being where I should head.

The fog and the dew on the flowers means my clothes start getting damp after a while, especially since they had a head start from me being sprawled out in this field. Wherever this river is, I'd like to get there ASAP. I'm not freezing my ass off yet, but it's getting there. Too used to sunny Los Ojos, I guess.

After a few more minutes, I notice the ground starting to slope just a little, while up ahead, the fog is getting a little brighter. No idea if that's a good sign or not, but it's something definiti— "Whoa, shit!"

My next footstep didn't hit the ground like I expected, but landed on the edge of a ravine. My foot slips off and plunges down the side, and I get dragged along for the ride since the loss of balance came out of nowhere and didn't give me much reaction time.

Luckily, it seems the ravine's pretty short, and I only drop about six feet before tumbling to a halt on ...a river bank?

It looks like a river, except the water doesn't seem to be moving fast, if at all. The surface glows without actually giving off any light, somehow, and I can see pointy rocks jutting up through the water here and there. The whole place is weirdly silent.

Or it would be if I didn't hear strangely familiar music in the distance.

The sound triggers memories from a long, long time ago, sometime after my fifth birthday. A cousin— I think it was Frank? —had given me his old, grey, clunky-as-a-brick Game Boy. After that, I used to waste dozens of hours, deeply entranced, playing...

"...You've got to be kidding me," I murmur, and after brushing the dirt off of me, I start walking down the river bank towards the sound.

At points, the bank disappears, and I have to climb back up the ravine and walk along its edge in order to stay out of the water. I don't know what the afterlife customs are here, but I can't think taking a dunk in the river's a smart idea at all. I assume Reimu was telling the truth, at least, and that I am mostly kind of dead right now. Err on the side of caution and all that crap.

As I get closer to the sound, the music picks up in volume, with that same little electronic edge to the sound that I still remember even now. And I'm certain somebody's playing that game, because I can make out the little sound effects of the blocks being slapped down into place, and the warbling noise as rows disappear.

What the fuck?

Then, a woman's voice: "Just a few more minutes, hold on."

[ ] Done for
[ ] Done up
[ ] Done gone
[ ] Done deal


This update grew larger than I originally meant for it to do. On the upside, though, I'm hopefully re-establishing a decent pace.
[x] Done up
[x] Done deal

whichever one has us sticking around; I really want to see how he reacts to Komachi.
[x] Done gone
Frequent updates would be welcome.
[ ] Done deal
[x] Done deal

>This update grew larger than I originally meant for it to do. On the upside, though, I'm hopefully re-establishing a decent pace.

Just in time for me to catch up!

I was worried for a bit that the story was going to end soon. I still am I guess, hopefully being half-dead is a good enough visa for Gensokyo.
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>I was worried for a bit that the story was going to end soon

Oh my, no. It's only getting started.
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[x] Done deal


I approve. Oh, man, do I approve.
[x] Done up

Goddammit, Death is a hooker.
[X] Done up

Up and away?
[x] Done up
I had no idea what I was voting for anyway, so I rolled a die.
>done up
>1. Dressing well, as to attend a formal function.
>2. In youth culture, dressing in a manner which is comparable to that of a prostitute.

It could go either way. This vote is probably for his reaction to Komachi.
[x] Done for

Tetris is an allegory for the inevitability of death.

Unless she's actually playing Dr. Mario.
[ø] Done deal
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You're upsetting me, buddy.
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Are you telling me that exposed ankles, even covered by a thin veneer of fabric, isn't shameful? That it isn't an act of wantonly tempting a man into an uncontrollable lust? That it wasn't done for the sheer purpose of luring men into SIN with this lewd, shocking display?!

Where are your standards, sir?

I, for one, am appalled.
Komachi has a couple of naturally lewd things, but they're not her feet.
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[↔] Done deal

Her voice is kind of low and lazy, but distracted. Ray had a sister that sounded a lot like this woman does; someone who could get glued to the TV so hard you'd need a flatbar to pry them away from it. Or at least wait until there was a commercial break. If it was an emergency, you generally had to actually yank out the plug.

...'Course, if you did that, she'd pop you one. Nella was kind of a bitch like that.

Whoever this is probably isn't as liable to freak on me as Nella, but I still think I'm just going to play it cool. With that in mind, I keep walking on the shore, closing the distance between me and the voice of the game-playing woman.

That's when I see the boat.

It's not too much to look at. Just a big wooden rowboat pulled up onto the shore, nothing fancy. Don't see any oars, though, and it doesn't look like there's an outboard motor on the back, so I'm not sure how it gets around. ...unless that pole sticking up on the other side is used to push it around like this was Huckleberry Finn or something. "Titanic" is written on the side, so whoever this is has some Outsider knowledge, at least.

A full head of red hair is leaning back against the pointed part at the head of the boat that I can never remember the name of. Prow? Stern? Whatever; "head of the boat" works fine. Hanging over either side of the pointy part are two loosely bound ponytails or something tied up with what look like those hair ties with red balls on them. The owner, whose face I can see just a little of from this angle, is intently focused on playing a Gameboy Advance with one of the older Gameboy cartridges sticking out over the top.

"Oh, come on already," she mutters, sounding a little irritated. "Give me a long one already. No. No. Oh goddammit. Fine, you'll have to do." She goes quiet again, and there's a warbling noise as rows disappear. The world feels your pain, lady.

I find a broken rock nearby to sit on, and spend the next ten minutes just chilling, feeling strangely relaxed. Where did the hurry I felt earlier go? I should be worrying about that, but I'm not. Fuck it.

Meanwhile, the woman in the boat mumbles to herself, occasionally swearing, and occasionally cursing the lack of one kind of piece or another. Finally, the game gives the little electronic sheep-bleating and chime that signifies a game over. That's my cue to get up.

"So, you free now?" I ask her. She replies by whipping around to look at me and giving a little startled scream. She crams the Advance somewhere out of sight, and is starting to draw in breath for a frantic excuse when she actually gets a good look at me. She stops spazzing out, and then looks at me, cock-eyed.

"Wow," she says after a second, and sits up. "Don't think I've ever seen an actual..." She pauses, and then looks away, as if trying to think of something. "...Do they still say 'negro,' or is there a newer term?"

Not only does she know, she knows to ask. It's almost quaint, though I'd have expected that question to come from somebody way older. Then again, no link between appearance and age here, so maybe that's exactly what's going on.

"Stick with 'blacks' as long as you don't make it sound nasty, and you'll be good," I tell her. She nods, as if committing that to memory. although if I'm the first, I'm guessing there won't be another one anytime soon. Can't hurt to lay down the foundation, though.

"Right, gotcha," replies the girl, and looks at me expectantly. "Sooo... you got your fee?"

I dig in my pockets, but can't find any of the stuff I normally keep in them. I'm still wearing my clothes, though, so that's a plus. ...Wait, hold on.

Feeling something papery in my back pocket, I fish out a folded piece of paper that I'm pretty sure I didn't have when I woke up this morning. 'Give this to the lazy redhead' is written on it, with a little scribbling of someone that looks pretty much like this woman, although I don't think her rack was that big.

I look back at her, and only then notice that the way her vest sits means she does have a respectable pair. To her credit, she's not showing it off, and trying to look professionally dressed... if a big floofy white dress underneath all that is part of the uniform, anyway. Too bad she doesn't act professional, though.

Ain't my place to judge, though, so I hand her the paper. "No, but apparently this is for you," I say, giving a little shrug.

She takes it, and opens it up. Her eyes move back and forth over whatever's written inside, although she stops reading more than a few times to look back up at me. Each time she does, she cranes her head around to look at me from a different angle, squints, stares, or does something else. Finally, she folds it up, and gives me a flat-out frown.

Been getting a few of those today. Always a bad sign.

"Well this is the first time she's ever done something like this. ...Or I guess it's happened a couple times before, but that might've been her mom who was working the temple back then," she adds, talking to herself for a moment before focusing back on me. "But anyway, she's got pretty good reason to do this, because you are some kinda... weird. I've got my suspicions, but I'm gonna send you up to my boss. She's more qualified to make the diagnosis."

At long last, that worry comes back. "You know why everyone's giving me funny looks and stuff?"

"Aside from being black?" She's being serious, so I don't get pissy about it.

"Yeah, besides that."

She just waves a hand back and forth. "A few, but I don't wanna scare you, so..."

There's the dentist's office again.

"...I'll let my boss do that instead."

Oh great.

"So, where's your boss at?" I ask, looking around. Mostly for show, since I haven't seen anything even close to a building since I woke up in the flower field.

Instead of answering immediately, she takes a hold of that pole and hoists it over her shoulder, then steps out of the boat. turns out it's not a pole, but a scythe that gets a little a wavy right at the end. She's got some kind of long, long white socks or something on, and a pair of really thick, shiny black sandals. They crunch softly on the dirt of the shore as she takes a few steps towards me and holds out her hand.

The only reason I haven't flipped out and started running is because she acts like she's taking the scythe along like she has to, and not like she's about to use it; kinda like how a repairman brings along his toolkit even for minor things.

"We're going to take a shortcut," she says with a wink. " 'sides, it's not your time for the boat ride yet."

I look at her hand, then the boat. "...So, when is i—"

The woman snorts, cutting me off. "Don't even try. C'mon." She beckons.

I have another look around and then take her hand. Nothing else here for me to do, after all.

She turns to face the glowing, barely moving, river, and takes a single step—

...You know that part in Star Wars where they go to hyperspace or light speed or whatever, and the stars blur and stretch and race past them? Imagine that, but if you had actual scenery instead of space and stars.

The river, the rocks, and the fog stretch, streak, and zip past us in less than a second, to be replaced with what looked like lots of stone walls and buildings, then hallways, then...

—and she keeps on walking, normal as you please. Only instead of being on the bank of a river, we're in a [waiting room]. I can't actually describe it because it wasn't there in the normal sense of things. And yet I somehow know, instinctively, that this is what it is. Next to me is a [chair] and a [table]. Across from us is a [door].

The redhead doesn't seem bothered by the sudden world-warping trip or the non-existent-but-still-there room we're in, unlike me. She just goes over, and knocks with the back of her knuckles on the [door]. "Got a weirdity for you, boss, courtesy of Hakurei." She gives me an apologetic look, then pats me on the shoulder. "Cheer up, pal. It prob... Well, I hope it goes okay for ya."

And with a wave of her hand, and another step, she's gone, leaving me alone in the [waiting room].

[ ] Sit
[ ] Stand
[ ] Burn down [waiting room] in a fi

And then a cool voice, slightly muffled, rings out. "You may enter."

The [door] clicks slightly, and hums. Then it takes shape, and appears, and suddenly it's just ...a door, not a [door]. Nice oak finish, brass knob and hinges.

In a world of "isn't," this most certainly "is."

[ ] The Lady
[ ] The Tiger


I meant it in terms of the first. I don't know whose "youth culture" they're talking about, but I've never heard of that second definition.

Oh, come on.
The lady or the tiger? An impossible choice? Well, maybe not for us, and I'm just guessing here, but

[x] The Tiger

IF I recall, the actual story had some kind of catch to it. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. But this is the one where we open the door. So let's open the door.
[x] The Lady

Being forced to marry the Yama doesn't sound that bad.
I'd rather stick with Koishi. Assuming she cares.

[x] The Tiger

Mean-tempered Shiki is the best Shiki.
[x] The Lady
[x] The Lady

This would, most likely, be staying with Komachi, given the Lady & The Tiger story.

One opens the door, or stays with the girl. I guess?
[ ] The Tiger
[x] The Tiger
Except that Komachi left. Both choices in the story involved opening a door; the difference was in what was behind the door.
[X] The Lady

Recently, I've found myself using Dule Hill as a model for the MC. It's quite awesome.
[X] The Lady
[X] The Lady
[x] The Lady
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Schedule was slightly thrown off yesterday, so I'm bringing it back on track today. Writing is occurring, but no updatage today.

Accept this Hina by way of apology.
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[♀] The Lady

I take a hold of the doorknob. It doesn't feel particularly weird, or anything. Maybe slightly cool, but no duh: it's metal, and there's no sunlight around, so no real way to heat it up. Nothing to be afraid of, right?

On the other hand, this is apparently some grim reaper chick's boss. If the gender trend holds, this one'll be female, too. I couldn't really tell from the voice alone, but from everything I've seen over the last couple days, it's a safe bet. I seem to recall seeing more than a few male oni back underground, but women were still the majority.

...That's a pretty big point in this kooky fantasyland's favor, honestly. Probably not enough to make up for all the weird and dangerous shit, but still, you could do worse.

God, why am I getting so nervous about this? Everything's going to be fine, right?

As much as I want to believe that, the eternal voice of pessimism doesn't even say 'no' to that. It just laughs.

Well, whatever happened, worrying over it now can't change a damn thing. Seize destiny, seize the day... seize the doorknob.

I open the door, and walk in... then pause.

It's like a lawyer's office from an accident attorney's commercial, minus the jackass in a suit talking all seriously about how if you've been injured, the law offices of Cracker & Whitebread will fight for you. A little green lamp sits on a desk that's otherwise completely bare.

Given what the waiting room looked like, I was expecting something a little more trippy. Maybe like the trial in that Superman movie.

Then I had some other thoughts, but they got derailed once I saw the woman at the desk, rising up from her chair to greet me.

...The only bad thing was that it was a really silly-ass getup, but that tiny downside got blown out of the water immediately because not only did she make it look good, she made it look good.

Her uniform makes me think of a cop, or maybe some kind of formal military cadet's outfit, if it turned into a skirt down by the waist. Dark blue, polished brass, crisp, clean... her hat's sorta like a cop's too, but most cops I've seen don't have a frills on the trim, and definitely don't go in for big long red and white ribbons here and there. So yeah, kinda goofy.

But the woman herself is something else.

It's impossible to not notice those dark, dark blue eyes that probably see right through me in more ways than just the figurative. Like almost everyone else here, more weird hair color: green, this time, hanging down long on the left. On anyone else I'd call hipster BS, but this woman gives off such an air of professionalism and sheer authority, it's easy to believe that it's for purely stylistic reasons, and not just to get attention. She's not even as remotely well-built up top as the redhead, but...

I can't describe her legs. They were long, and she had black stockings and some kind of short boots on. Saying anything more would be a crime, because using words would just make a mockery of them. I mean, goddamn.

This all takes a couple of seconds to digest, and then several more before I stop checking her out, and decide to just watch her eyes. They're scaring the hell out of me, but I'd rather look at them, then have them looking at me for looking at her for way too long, which would be so very easy to do.

She doesn't seem amused or bothered, or anything. Just patient, like she's waiting..."Oh.

I shake her hand, which has been held out for a good long while, now. I don't say much, except maybe a mumbled, "Oh, um, hi, sorry. Hi." Got to keep words down to a minimum. It's way too easy to get tongue-tied around this lady. Firm grip she's got, there, too.

There's a chair in front of the desk, and I sit down, noticing a nameplate that reads EIKI. This is turning out to be hell on my nerves, but for different reasons than I'd thought. She doesn't say anything to me after I sit for about ten seconds, and just watches me. Stares at me.

...Then takes out something flat and round, and looks into it. From the way the light flashed a bit when it caught the thing, I think it's a mirror.

When she speaks, her voice is as clean and crisp as her uniform. No malice, no kindness. Just the efficient, clear voice of Authority. "Nicholas Bartholomew Hendricks."

...God, why is it so embarrassing to hear your full name? "Yes, ma'am?"

"Shrine maiden Hakurei has sent you to me. Do you understand why?" The eyes move away from the mirror to look back into mine. They always bring you back to where you are, those eyes, no matter where your mind wanders off to.

"Um... Not exactly, ma'am? I went to her to get sent back through the Borders, but she seemed to get all worked up about something when she had a good look at me. I'm not sure what about, and I don't know if she did, either, but she had me come here, figuring you'd know what to do." I lay out the situation as best I know it, figuring that this Eiki lady probably has enough sense to figure out I'm an Outsider. That, or she already knows, and already knows everything I've told her.

Eiki nods once, that curtain of green on her left swaying slightly with the motion. "She was right to send you to me. Not even her estranged patron youkai would have been able to puzzle your case out."

My mouth feels a little dry. "'My case'?"

She looks into her mirror again, and sighs quietly, before putting it back in the drawer. The drawer clicks shut as she slides it closed, and she looks up at me once more with the faintest hint of sympathy in her eyes, hands clasped together on the desk in front of her.

"Nicholas, I have good news, bad news, and worse news for you. You will enjoy hearing none of it. Which would you prefer to hear first?"

[ ] Bowling ball
[ ] Safe
[ ] Anvil


I suffer from some kind of curse where the characters I lust after like the most, I write the least, or not at all. Conversely, characters that I don't really think about very often, or have no strong feelings on one way or the other, I seem to end up writing a lot about, and eventually appreciating. This is probably better for me, and it likely helps broaden my horizons, but it still seems somehow unfair.

And on the few chances I do get to write a good few updates' worth (or more) about someone I like, I never feel like I'm doing them justice.

>Not even her estranged patron youkai

[X] Anvil

Wile E. Coyote style.

I'm digging his name, although a GIS for Nick Hendricks reveals a collection of the whitest people I have ever seen.
[ø] Anvil
worst news first.
>implying you don't like Koishi

I know what you mean, though. I can't even imagine scenarios about my favorite characters without it feeling wrong. It must be far worse to actually write them.

[x] Safe

Does this choice matter? It seems meaningless, almost like you wanted a break from writing Shiki.
The Minigame did say that Reimu isn't nearly as close to Yukari now, partly due to meeting the shrine's true goddess.

[-] Anvil
The bad news is probably that we're not going home. I'm most eager to find out the underlying issue.
[x] Bowling ball

Always nice to have a descending order to these things I think.
[X] Anvil

Anvil's the heaviest hitter by far...
>partly due to meeting the shrine's true goddess.
Wait what huh? Did I miss something?

[x] Bowling ball
Break on through.
Again from >>/gensokyo/4275:

>Is it me, or does Reimu seem a little bit... weak? What gives?
>Yukari has more control over Reimu in this take on Gensokyo, because Reimu has had more or less nobody to look up to as a role model for much of her life. This sort of changes between The Game and NiG, especially after Reimu meets the deity of Hakurei Shrine. Yukari becomes more of a distant mentor to her, at that point, rather than someone to keep looking to for direction.
Oh, well, ok...but it seems odd to so casually mention/pass over something so incredibly important.
it might have been a major event in Gensokyo, but not exactly in these two stories.

[x] Safe
I think that's the worst news and might as well get it out of the way.
[X] Anvil
Give it to him, hard and fast. He can take it.
[ ] Anvil
[x] Anvil
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>The Minigame
>'The fuck is he on about?'
>[Story List]
>Reminisce and find the answers to my questions at the time
>Koishi and Parsee would have been viable route choices. One of them will also still be such in NiG.

On one hand, I want to see either in 'Do the Right Thing' more, but on the other, either can't happen often enough.
[x] Bowling Ball

Descending order, going from bad, worse, to worst? This is not Nicks day.

Please do not misuse the quotes.
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[Ѫ] Anvil

This isn't the dentist anymore. This is the doctor, when he comes back into the examining room, and the guy up on the table tells him "...How bad is it, doc?"

The illusion that preparing for something bad is going to help you isn't just wrong here, it doesn't even apply. Suspicion can't hold a candle to knowing for sure, but it feels so much worse at the time.

Knowing all that, I still try and brace myself. You can't not do it.

I close my eyes, take a few quiet breaths, and open them again, staring at the smooth, finished surface of her desk.

"I'm ready," I lie. "Hit me with the worst."

Some expression flickers across her face so fast I'm not sure what it was I saw, but then that look of sympathy deepens just a little.

"You will never be returning to the Outside world again," she tells me, calm as the grave. "It is both physically and metaphysically impossible."

Immediately, denial kicks in. I don't want to believe it, it can't be true, it's not true, it's a lie I'm dreaming this isn't happening im still in bed i just need to wake up itsnotrealitsnotrealitsnotreal

But I know in my soul that I've never been a lucid dreamer, my dreams have never been this clear or sequential, and I can remember exactly how it started. Most of all, I know that what this woman speaks is always a completely undeniable truth. I don't even know how I know that, but I knew that from the moment I saw her.

I'm still reeling, inside, but now I want it all. The horrible reality of the matter will truly settle in later. Pain from my hands makes me realize I'm squeezing the arms of my chair incredibly tightly, and I loosen up on them just a little.

With a nod, I gesture to her. "...Okay. That's... don't stop now. Keep it comin'." I risk a look up at her before she speaks, and her expression doesn't change.

"...This is due directly to the fact that you were killed."

Okay, did not expect death to come second to exile in a list of bad news, but it makes sense.

I give a weak little smile, and even that is forced. "This 'good news' had better be really, really good," I tell/beg of her.

She only returns my gaze, and speaks in the same tone of voice.

"Despite what has happened Outside, you are very much alive, here."

...I've had better good news.

[ ] A minute alone
[ ] A minute in your arms


I'm sorry this is kind of short.

It's a completely original name, as far as I know. I love you all, but I don't trust you folks not to get all reference-y.

>>implying you don't like Koishi
Eh? No, quite the opposite. She falls firmly into the third category, much to my dismay.
[x] A minute alone

Guy's gonna need a bit to process and reboot. Much easier when there's not someone getting their meat all in your way.
[x] A minute alone
[x] A minute in your arms
I'm assuming this is the option where the main characters asks for an explanation, not one where he breaks down crying or some shit.
[x] A minute in your arms
Ya' know, I was expecting the worst news for Nick to not be directly proportional to how bad it would feel as a reader. There's a joke here about 'told' status and creative euphemisms, but I'm burnt.
"You can never go back to the life you enjoyed." Wait... what? "You were murdered." The fuck you say? How far out of your way did you have to go to manage that? "Take solace in the fact that at least you're alive in a world that can kill you thrice as easily as the one you once lived in." How is this good news?

My hat is off to the author.

[X] A minute alone
[ø] A minute in your arms

[x] A minute in your arms

I'll have you write comforting Shiki.
[X] A minute alone
Take a moment to start to handle this, then get an explanation. How this happened should be on the list. Also, Koishi would be way more reassuring.

Also, I tried going back to the first thread to reread our encounter with crazy monster girl, but it's not in the archive.

I think it's good news if only because it means the thread of possibilities is not entirely cut off. He's not dead. So that means that he can still DO.
>"...This is due directly to the fact that you were killed."
>you are very much alive
Damn you Erwin Schrödinger!

[X] A minute in your arms

Will someone please collapse this waveform?
[X] A minute in your arms
[x] A minute in your arms
[x] A minute alone
[x] A minute in your arms

I wonder if she knows who tried attacking him.
So did we ever figure out who that blue haired girl was that got us in this mess in the first place?
probably just Random Youkai who's been mucking around in the real world for one reason or another. While Nick might run into her again, it's doubtful.
[x] A minute alone

The other option just sounds a bit too pathetic for our character. He doesn't seem like the type to lean on others when he's shocked or mortified.
[x] A minute alone

Way too many masculinity points would be lost if we had a panic attack in Eiki's arms.
[x] A minute in your arms
Masculinity points doesn't really matter when you've found your own demise. I know I wouldn't care about how the fuck I look if I suddenly died at a young age.

The guy who wrote The Game is going into this story without thinking up a primary antagonist? It might depend on the direction we take Nick, but I don't think that 'Random Youkai' is just a plot device.

[x] A minute in your arms

He needs clarification, not more ruminating.
I wonder how much of this Koishi knew beforehand. She did get that note right before leaving the Palace, and you'd think that "and then I died a bit" is something that she or Satori would pick up on. Also, she made Nick drink the tea; I'm guessing she figured Shikieiki would cut through whatever layers of denial he could muster.
That does explain a few things... but wouldn't it be simpler to just tell him? Koishi is even better at cutting through denial than the Yama.

I guess it would ruin his trust in Koishi... but that's nothing a bit more mindfuckery can't solve.
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SURPRISE GARAGE CLEARING means no update. Cooking tomorrow, too, so you're likely doubly screwed, I'm sorry to say.

In the mean time, you can go read Priceless (Owen's new story) in /others/. There's also Eastern Robot Wars, also in /others/, which I recommend because I hate most super robot stuff and I still like that story, so give it a shot.

And if you don't want to read either of those, there's 'Yandere Kanojo' on MangaFox, which is about a delinquent and a deceptively normal/bland honors student that fall for each other. If romantic comedy is not your thing, read this anyway, because it kicks most romantic comedy bullshit in the fucking face. What it doesn't kick, it makes funny.

And as always, have some lovely and delicious Hina.
most delicious Hina. The waiting time is forgiven already.
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[x] A minute in your arms

[x] a minute in your arms
[x] A minute in your bosom- I mean arms.
[x] A minute in your arms
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Good news: This is because it's getting to be a longer update than planned, which is why the late start is holding it back today.
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[ಥ] A minute in your arms

Hollow, that's the word. I feel empty, I feel lightweight, light-headed, and thoughts just seem to bounce around inside of me.

I'm not going back.

I can't go back.

I'm stuck in this batshit petting zoo for Japanese fairytales.


I can't think any further beyond that. My mind isn't allowing it. I know it's true, but my mind can't let those things through.

So my thoughts start over again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again.

At some point, something bounces funny, and I pause, and listen to them all again, in order.

"...Who killed me?" I ask. My voice doesn't sound nearly as shaky as I feel. I don't know how that's possible, but it sounds kind of cold. Dead. ...Well, maybe that does sound right for me. It's a nice little joke, a nice little lie. I'll hold onto that for a bit.

Anything's better than sitting here in a fucking daze.

She frowns just the smallest amount. It's frustration, not anger. "I am afraid even some things are out of my purview when it comes to Outside matters. And your case is an unusual one, although not without precedent."

"...Huh?" Seriously, it's all I can do to keep up with what she's saying, with the way I'm feeling right now. think intelligently or converse intelligibly, but not both.

"There was only a material-puppet in the mirror, when I looked upon your death. This means the killer belongs to a specific subset of creature, and the potential list of perpetrators contains only a finite number of suspects. Unfortunately, it is a very large finite number."

I sit there for a bit. After a while, I manage a decent, "...What?" That time I really did lose track of what she was saying. And when did she move her chair around to this side of the desk?

Her hands are really warm.

"I understand that this is a terrible event for you, Nicholas. If you are at all interested in moving forward from this point, you will need to listen and follow along."

Her voice is firm without being harsh, and a rock I can cling to in a sea of 'what in fuck happened to me?' It's someplace to start. I give her a nod, and try to focus.

She lets go of my hands, and sits back a little, but stays seated next to me here. "I am sure you have been briefed on the basic nature of Gensokyo, yes? If not by that clever little program of the satori girls, then by one of your hosts." She sees me nod, and continues. "Scattered throughout Gensokyo are various points at which one may cross from there into another world. This place, Higan," she says, rapping her desk once, "...is one such connected world. Places like here, Old Hell, the current Hell, Makai, the Netherworld, and dozens of other locations and dimensions all connect to Gensokyo, for it is the place most closely connected with the earth that still contains high levels of ambient faith."

I don't exactly know what those places are, but I can at least follow the concept. It's kind of like an airline hub, I think. Kinda. I try to look as if I'm following along, which seems to be enough for her to go on.

"Your killer, whoever it was, was from one of these neighboring worlds, rather than a true Gensokyo native. The proof for that is twofold: the presence of a material-puppet in your memories, and the nature of your existence here." She pauses for a moment, looking down in thought, and then smiles. "You are familiar with remotely controlled robots, yes? Specifically, those made to go forth into a place where it is unsafe or impractical for humans to go, such as a deep-sea exploration probe, or one of those rovers that were sent to ...Mars?" Eiki gives a little uncertain pause before saying this word, like she'd been about to call it something else. It doesn't stop her for long, though.

"Think of a material-puppet as being something akin to those. Demons, spirits, and other such creatures that have no specific form and no specific legend attached to them generally prefer to use these when they wish to go to the Outside, as the cost of opening a fully formed, stable, two-way portal is considerably high in these times, and only grows greater. The use of a material-puppet is far more cost-effective, and works almost as well, since all that is required is the opening of a tiny, momentary, single-directional connecting portal to allow the placement of the puppet. After that, a newer, even smaller stable portal is created, and the being synchronizes with the puppet, allowing it to take on whatever form and features the being in question desires. Has this all made sense to you so far?"

"...Actually, yeah," I tell her. It's easy to get your ear talked off if the woman doing the talking is cute, and even easier if you're trying to listen so hard that you don't have time to worry about more horrible things. It's kind of an anesthetic made of words. "Like, uh... telecommuting, right? Why spend all the money on gas and have to dress up if you can do it all from home in your underwear."

She blinks, and then slowly nods. I can see a little bit of a smile there, too. She mumbles something that sounds like, "If only," but then gestures at me. "In a way, yes. But since there is no actual spirit present, all that I see in my mirror when I look upon your death is a puppet. It is frustrating, I know, but this simply confirms the reason you are here now."

The woman next to me crosses her legs and leans back. I watch out of the corner of my eyes, because there's some animal part of my brain that gives no fuck at all about remorse, loss, and existential crisis. All it knows is that you literally don't get to see something so breathtakingly perfect-looking every day, unless that day is also your very last.
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"There is a relatively new piece of law in the afterlife which states that humans belonging to or believing in no particular faith, when slain in the outside world by a resident of Gensokyo— this was later expanded to include any of the major worlds connected to it, as well —may be allowed to resume their existence in Gensokyo, along with whatever recent possessions they had. It would seem perhaps a cruel fate to send a victim to their killer's homeland, but it is a form of compensation."

I raise an eyebrow skeptically. "...So why even bother? And why the no-religion thing? I ain't trying to be ungrateful or anything, y'know. I mean, I assume I got in thanks to this, uh... law, right? And I don't get why this means I can't go back, either."

Eiki sighs. "Going right for the uncomfortable part, then, Nicholas? Very well." She looks up at the ceiling when she starts talking again. "This law was originally known as the 'Metaphysically Homeless Reparations Act' but since about..." There's another catch and a pause, like when she talked about Mars. "...1960 or so, it has been informally known as the Narnia Doctrine." She looks to see at me if I catch the meaning. I read the first book, and knew there were more, but I never read the rest. She shrugs. "It is named for a partially similar event in one of the books which my subordinate, whom you have already met, neatly summarizes as 'die in your world, live in ours.'"

I just keep quiet, assuming that this is going somewhere, which, sure enough, it does.

"...It is that part about dying in your world that is the crux of the matter, here. Normally, a person of faith goes on to whatever awaits them, good or bad, according to the tenets of their religion. Those without faith are ...generally not so lucky."



She keeps talking, with only the shortest pause. "And when a life with nowhere to go is killed by something that does not exist, the world rejects paradox by erasing that person from existence. They fade from memory, and whatever material traces they left behind in the world are one by one mitigated, absorbed by another, simply forgotten, or outright eliminated. Were you to attempt to return Outside now, you would find yourself dead within minutes, as the world cannot tolerate the existence of something that never was."


"And it is not only an apology for such tragedies that the Doctrine seeks to create, but the other half of the correction process the world undergoes... For as I am certain you have been told, Gensokyo is the home of that which no longer properly exists in the Outside. It is such a thing that your very being has now become."

And like that, I'm back to shell-shocked again.

...No, that's not right. It's not the same, this time.

This time it feels weird. It feels terrible.

I really can't ever go home again. I can't even say goodbye to my family, any of my friends.

This must be what Tom felt.

You don't even get a last chance, because you never knew you were going to need a first one.


I'm only aware of my trembling when I feel Eiki put her arms around me, and I suddenly sense the feeling of my body against hers as she leans over me from behind. Her voice is low and quiet in my left ear.

"Although it may sound trite, and perhaps even means nothing to you at this time, trust me when I tell you that I believe things will work out for you."

I don't say anything, and just lean against her shaking quietly. Right now, I need this.

After a while has passed, I slowly start to pay attention to my surroundings again. I don't know how much time has passed, but I think it's been more than just a few minutes. I take a few deep breaths, and try to get my shit together, mentally. I need to do something, anything. If I'm stuck in Gensokyo, then I'll need somewhere to go, but...

"'What now?'" says that quiet voice by my ear, guessing my thoughts. I just nod.

Eiki stands up, releasing me from her embrace. She takes her seat again, and looks me in the eye.

"You have a choice to make when you return, Nicholas. I cannot give you all the answers, for what you do with your life from now in is up to you. I will offer a suggestion, though, if you will but hear it."

[ ] Insider Info
[ ] Outsider Optimism


I suppose I should put in a disclaimer here about not trying to push any kind of religious views or anything. Hell, I don't even have that much to push. I probably wouldn't have even thought about adding this except that I just recently heard of the facepalm-worthy exploits of UsuallyDead, and am worrying about coming off a little like that.
[x] Outsider Optimism

Was there any indication at all that hearing her advice might be a bad idea? I'm picking the other choice just to spite you.

Nice plot device. Awfully nice of the supernatural beings to consider the plight of people that deny their existence.
[x] Insider Info
>"Normally, a person of faith goes on to whatever awaits them, good or bad, according to the tenets of their religion. Those without faith are ...generally not so lucky."
>I suppose I should put in a disclaimer here about not trying to push any kind of religious views or anything.
It's not like an atheist who finds himself in the afterlife he didn't believe in could really expect much. Trying to avoid that fate just leads to Pascal's Wager, and that shit is for theological pussies agnostics.

[x] Insider Info
[x] Insider Info
[x] Insider Info


Hard to deny something when it kills you.
[x] Insider Info
[x] Insider Info
The explanation behind how Nick got here is an order of magnitude better than "a Yukari did it."

[X] Outsider Optimism

I'm certainly not opposed to the advice, but it's a rare opportunity to get a second crack at life like this. I see the votes as "here's how to make the best out of your new life" and "here's your chance to make a better life," respectively; or more practically speaking, tide pissing games.
It's not surprising that it was able to kill him. Even hardcore atheists can't get below 3 faith without active effort on their part.
[x] Outsider Optimism

It's always strange to read about these characters horror and indignation at such events, when I would be completely ecstatic.

Though I am worried about Nick. If he literally doesn't exist on the outside world, and can only live in Gensoukyou, can he even be considered fully human?
I see it as more as a suggestion of ways to go, or just winging it and whatever trouble that comes with it. No one said we have to follow said advice if we don't like it.
[ø] Insider Info

interesting, I hope we get to explore Makai in search of Nick's murderer.
>She keeps talking, with only the shortest pause. "And when a life with nowhere to go is killed by something that does not exist, the world rejects paradox by erasing that person from existence. They fade from memory, and whatever material traces they left behind in the world are one by one mitigated, absorbed by another, simply forgotten, or outright eliminated. Were you to attempt to return Outside now, you would find yourself dead within minutes, as the world cannot tolerate the existence of something that never was."

...How strange.

When I read this, I became...angry. So very, very angry. I could literally feel the tips of my ears going red.

Dying? I don't want to die any more than the average person wants to die, I think, but if I were to die in this world and wake up in another, I could handle it alright, relatively. I might be sad about the friends and family I left behind, about the things I never got to do, but I think I would be able to accept it.

But to die and learn, upon arrival to the other world, that my existence had literally been erased, that my friends' and family's memories had been wiped away, that every mark I had made upon the world, small and temporary to begin was, now not only wasn't but in fact never was--

You'd think typing this would let off some steam, but it hasn't. I've only become madder. That red-hot fury has moved past the warm colors to a brilliant white.
How strange. I had the completely opposite reaction. To have my existence erased from this world is one of my fondest wishes. Being allowed to live in Gensokyo after my removal would simply be icing on a beautiful cake.
File 129949317454.jpg - (8.64KB, 240x240 , 877502.jpg) [iqdb]
Whenever a figure of authority tells me that something is impossible, I immediately set about to prove them wrong.

Strengthen up your ego border, boys. We'll reestablish our goddamned existence, even if we have to do it by sheer tenacity alone.
You're weird.

[ø] Insider Info
I see no reason not to.
[x] Insider Info
Wow your life must suck. I mean I've been suicidal at times and never got to that point...
Calling it now, we're going to track down and doublekill a deceased Grand Wizard of the KKK.
File 129979960453.png - (230.34KB, 450x650 , it is important to enjoy your job.png) [iqdb]
[ï] Insider Info

"Sure, lay it on me," I say. I suppose I could turn it down, and try to make my own way, but I'd be flying blind, and we both know it. She's been nothing but kind, honest, and supportive, so far. Any advice she gives is probably going to be something solid.

"I believe the satori will soon make you an offer. I would advise you to consider it." says Eiki.

"You believe?"

She gives a slight nod. "As a judge of the dead, I am by both nature and necessity, exceptionally wise. I am not, however, omniscient." With a little shrug, she pulls open a drawer behind the desk. "Nevertheless, I am extremely well-informed, and have it on good authority that the she and her sister are on the brink of something great."

I wait for more, but she doesn't add anything else. "...Is that it?" I ask. "I mean, I don't wanna sound ungrateful or nothin'. I just, uh..."

Don't see how that's any good for me.

She smiles a little, and picks up from the drawer what looks like the bottom part of a wooden necktie, painted gold and engraved with a whole bunch of weird shit. "It will be sufficient. Do not worry," she tells me, and then holds out the wedge of wood, point facing straight down towards the desk. "I also believe you will find a measure of satisfaction, one day. Be well, Nicholas. Remain safe. I truly hope I will not see you here again soon."

And she taps wedge down onto the surface of her desk with a single, gentle tak.


We made it back, at last. I actually kiss the ground, happy to be on something stable again.

This is good.

Very, very good.

There were many stops along the way, and more than a few nights cramped in those tight, cold metal boxes. But now we're at last able to begin the final step towards the beginning.

She'll be so proud of us.


I suddenly realize I can feel my body again.

I am aware.

And that awareness tells me something.

[ ] Watching the dead
[ ] Rest in peace


I struggled with this one for way too long before cutting it drastically short. I'm sorry about the delay.

>The explanation behind how Nick got here is an order of magnitude better than "a Yukari did it."
Thank you. I just knew I couldn't do something as cheap and bullshit as that (no offense to the reputable stories that have done exactly that.)

I'm not sure which one of you worries me more.

Return of the Jedi.
[x] Rest in peace

Stellar advice there, Shiki. I guess it might prevent an autopilot refusal.
File 129980441083.jpg - (32.01KB, 311x248 , 1226849620730.jpg) [iqdb]
>metal boxes

[x] Watching the dead
[x] Watching the dead
Someone was keeping an eye on him, right?
[x] Watching the dead

I wouldn't mind hanging with Satori and Company.
[x] Watching the dead
We now have an opponent, an objective, a distraction. Anything to stop thinking about what we have lost.
[x] Watching the dead


[x] Watching the dead
[x] Watching the dead
[ ] Watching the dead
File 129998135969.jpg - (133.49KB, 500x625 , Before me I beheld a vision in viridian.jpg) [iqdb]
[霊] Watching the dead

It tells me that someone is near me. It's like when I felt something watching me in my apartment, but there's nothing that gives it away. Nothing subtle, nothing tell-tale.

No breathing.

But definitely something.

I open my eyes.

There's the ceiling. The light's moved down, so I'm guessing it's later in the day.

...No, hold on. I moved. This isn't the same room I drank that tea in. This one's smaller, and looks even more bare. Still the same Japanese-ish style, so I'm betting this is the same place. Not that that's really too unlikely, anyway.

And there's a woman.

From the green hair, I almost think it's Eiki at first. That only lasts a second, though: She never had this permanent hint of a teasing smile in her features, and where her eyes looked at you, and into you, this one seems to just watch, eagerly. Their clothes aren't anything alike, though, which probably accounted for most of the realization.

Her outfit looks strangely formal, in a weird-ass foreign kind of way. Formal and fancy, and definitely Asian. All I can get a glimpse of is a big, hat that'd look silly if I saw anyone else wearing it, and sleek, dark legs under one of those Chinese super-long shirt/dress things that everyone knows what they look like, but never the name. Then, in a flash, it disappears, replaced by blue robes with designs in yellow on it and a much smaller, kinda pointy little hat in the same theme as the robes.

Still the same person, still the same look to them, and looking at me.

That... was kind of odd.

"So did she talk your ear off? She does that a lot."

A smooth, rich voice to her. Kinda hot, actually. I seriously wouldn't mind hearing this voice every morning when I woke up to...

To go to...

Oh, right.

Can't go back, after all. Never can, never will, if I want to make the most of this second chance.



I close my eyes again.

"Heeey, don't go back to sleep," she says, disappointed. "I'm not that bad, am I? C'mon, I gotta be water in the desert after sitting for a zillion hours while she chews you out."

I don't bother opening my eyes when I reply. "I'd be able to give more of a damn if I hadn't just found out that I'm dead."

"Pfft. Join the club. And anyway, no you aren't."

"Sure am."

"Nope. I know these things. I'm a god, after all."

<Pick one from the first bloc(k?), and any combination that makes sense from the second.>

[ ] orly
[ ] w/e lol
[ ] stfu

[ ] a/s/l
[ ] halp
[ ] rez plz
[ ] u ded
[ ] gtfo


Far, far, far too short. I'll try and update tomorrow. If I break it down into smaller, manageable parts, I won't feel like it's too damn much to deal with. That's the theory, anyway.
File 12999823383.jpg - (579.21KB, 700x1036 , 10311894.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] w/e lol

[X] a/s/l
[X] u ded
[X] w/e lol

[X] halp
[X] rez plz
[X] orly
[X] a/s/l
[X] halp
[X] u hav soj?
[x] w/e lol

[x] u ded
[x] w/e lol

[x] u ded
[x] gtfo

mima pls go
[x] w/e lol

[x] u ded

lol, u think ur an god
[x] orly

[x] a/s/l
[x] halp
[x] orly
[x] u ded
[x] a/s/l
You're dead, I'm dead. Let's be friends.
[x] orly

[x] a/s/l
[x] halp
[x] rez plz
[X] orly

[X] a/s/l
[X] u ded
[X] rez plz

>A smooth, rich voice to her. Kinda hot, actually.
wav or gtfo
[x] orly

[x] a/s/l
[x] halp

Oh gods, Meems.
File 130002412344.gif - (25.59KB, 400x420 , mimachibi.gif) [iqdb]
[x] w/e lol
[x] u ded
[x] a/s/l
[x] halp

I'll fraternise when I'm dead, dammit!

[x] w/e lol

[x] a/s/l
[x] u ded
party please
[X] orly
[X] a/s/l
[x] u ded
[ø] w/e lol

[ø] u ded
File 13000742662.jpg - (203.65KB, 804x860 , Come closer; I`ll only bite a little.jpg) [iqdb]
[神] Mimacopia!

"...A god?" I crack an eye open and look at her. That's a new one, for sure. She could be shitting me, but I've got no reason to disbelieve it.

But given everything else I've seen so far, and all the kinds of stuff that's supposed to live in Gensokyo, it's not really any big surprise. Maybe it's because she's not doing anything godly, or maybe I just don't care.

Little of Column A, little of Column B, probably.

"That's cool." I close my eyes again.

Abruptly something cool, yet warm enough not to be chilly settles on me. It's like if someone who felt like a patch of shade in summer sat on me. After an 'oof', I take a look, and indeed, find her sitting on me, looking a little ticked off. Her wispy tail rests on the thick green mats that make up the floor in this room.

...A tail?

No, yeah, that's a tail, all right. Comes out from under her robes where legs out to be, starting out kind of blue, but fading to a smoky white, like some kind of weird, thick mist.

The tip twitches back and forth too, making me think of a cat. It's almost cute, but hey, woman on top of me; bigger issues to focus on. ...Second one in the last day or two, now that I think of it. Nice.

"Don't you get all jaded on me, buster," she says, leaning over. "Outsiders don't get many chances to see a god while they're still alive these days, unless something's changed in the last handful of decades. Now show some respect already!" Thwip, wap, wip, wap goes the tail, exactly like a cat.

I try not to laugh, because I'm pretty sure it won't help my case in the eyes of Sexy Casper here. "Okay, but If you're a god, then how can you be dead, too?" I ask. I don't mind listening to this voice a little longer before I drag my mind back to the more unpleasant shit I'll have to deal with in a bit.

Blue-and-Green gives me a little smirk. "A man works for ten years as a laborer. Then he has no work for two years. And then the next year, he starts his own business. That's not so impossible, is it?"

"Well... I guess not, but tha—"

"Ah, ah! Shoosh." The god-lady-thing cuts me off and holds out a commanding finger that silences the rest of what I'd been about to say. "It's not even close to what actually happened, but it works juuuust fine as an analogy." And with that, she's back to smiling, and I'm back to confused.

"...All right, whatever works," I tell her. "So, uh... who the hell are you, why are you sitting on me, and what were you doing in here?"

The hint of teasing in her smile becomes one of pride as she draws herself up, and takes a breath as she thrusts her chest out— And that's odd, since I remember something about her not breathing, but my attention is much more focused on the top-grade puppies that the motion just now revealed to be hiding under those robes.

Thank you and fuck you, hormones. I'm ogling a dead god's rack. I hope you're happy.

She lays a hand on her chest. "I am the goddess Mima, deity of Hakurei Shrine, no matter what that miko might tell you or what proof she might show you. I'm the genuine article, baby." And she winks.

"...As for what I'm doing in here..." Mima looks down as her tail turns in a lazy circle. "...Some weird Outsider got brought here by the creepy satori sister and a fairy entourage, and I'm watching over him, as any god worth her salt ought to do for guests in her house." Then she fixes me with a gaze, and that smirk slowly returns. "Only he's getting weird and uppity on me, and I'm not going to just let that slide. Are you sorry for doubting me yet, by the way? You'd better be."

A very pointed stare.

"...I'm very sorry, your, uh... Sta- no, shit, um. Godliness?" I say, as apologetically as I can.

It seems to do the trick, as she gives that short little upward nod and sniff that women do so well that basically says 'Fucking showed you.' while somehow being a civil and polite gesture. Guys can do it, but they have to be rich or at least English. Cats pull it off, too.

"I would personally prefer to be call 'She Of Eternal Perfection And Gloriousness In Spite Of Divinity, The Grand And Absurdly Wise And Let Us Not Forget To Mention Extraordinarily Beautiful Sage, Lady Mima,'" she tells me, "...But because so few speak the divine languages around here, and because I suppose it seems you have realized the error of your ways, it will make conversations easier if you refer to me as 'Lady Mima'."

After a few moments of looking at me, she goes on to add, "Or if you ever become the praying type, 'The Glorious And Most Learned Lady Mima.' It's important for prayers, but like I said, you don't seem the type."


More either tomorrow or the next day.
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>"...I'm very sorry, your, uh... Sta- no, shit, um.
'Sta-' what now?

>'The Glorious And Most Learned Lady Mima.'
Personally speaking, I'd certainly become the praying type if only for this rather charming slice of ectoplasm undead goddess.
playful Mima is the best Mima.
File 130024439379.jpg - (130.38KB, 500x375 , technically familiar.jpg) [iqdb]
"Nailed that one," I tell her. "You can get that just from looking at me?"

"That and more~."

I actually stop and give this some thought. "...So, do you know what my na—"

"Nicholas Batholomew Hendricks," she says, before I can finish. The words come out a little funny on her tongue, but she manages it just fine otherwise, and doesn't stumble over them.

Huh, not bad. I suppose she could have gotten it from my wallet, but if that Parsee chick was any indication, doing that's not exactly an obvious first step for these people yet.

"Golly, that's impressive," I tell her. "What else ya got up your sleeve?" They're dickish words, but I try to take the edge off them.

Mima gives me a long, quiet look that slowly wipes the smile from my face. "...Um..." I begin, hoping I haven't irritated her. Pissing off gods in stories never really works too well for the mortals unless they're clever sons of bitches. And even if she's BSing me on that, she's definitely something inhuman, meaning she's still pretty dangerous.

The green-haired god's voice still has that same sexy edge to it, but her tone's a lot more serious, and the teasing look is gone from her expression entirely. Only that watchful look in her eyes remains, and even that has turned into something kind of like Eiki's gaze. They're the eyes of someone who is reading you like a book. "I see, you wish proof. Very well then. Would you like to know what is happening to you, and why that uncertainty about you only grows with every day?"

'Every day'? Have I been here for longer than an afternoon? "What do you mean, 'uncertainty'?"

"Your left pocket contains a missive to my shrine maiden from the Judge of the Dead, explaining your situation and the nature of your arrival and existence within Gensokyo. I know what has happened to you, Nicholas, and it explains a great many things about you."

Reflexively, I look down, although I see only blanket and the hints of an outline of goddess-ass through her robes. At least, I'm guessing that's what it is; I've got no clue where the body stops and the wispy tail starts. I reach a hand under the blankets, and hear/feel the crinkle of paper in my pocket where I had nothing before.

"Your very being gives off an inescapably clear sense of newness to those who have an eye for the spiritual, or at least a sense attuned to death. Yet only infants and newborns, green shoots and just-sprouted saplings, all that has just recently come into being... Only these give off this feeling." With one hand, she gestures at me. "And yet here before me is a grown young man smelling just the same."

"Actually," I say slowly, as the memory comes back, "One of the girls in the Underground, looked kind of like the Wendy's hamburger chick with cat ears... she said something like that. Said I smelled like death at the same time, too."

Mima gives me an odd look, then says, "...She had red hair, and favored dark green clothing, perhaps?"

"That's the one."

"The kasha, then. Yes, she would know well. The smell of death must have been more fresh, then. I can see only a little upon you, but that is what lingers from your visit to Higan, or so I had surmised."

"How about that 'uncertainty' thing?" I ask, still a little worried about the way she put it. It's good that I got one little mystery out of the way, but this one bothers me, now.

"Yes... that." Her hint-of-teasing smile returns, and she leans down until she's practically lying on top of me. My hormones continue to enjoy the sensation, and I continue to hate them for it. It should be a lot creepier than how I'm taking it, but that 'should' is where the problem lies. "Nobody really knows what to make of you, do they, Nicholas?"

"It's Nick." Really stupid thing to say at this point, but her smile quirks a little.

"I like Nicholas. Sounds more exotic." And like that, she brushes my words aside. "...Anyhow. You are something of an anomaly, Nicholas, and not merely bec—"


The paper door of the room slides aside, and in walks the little horned red-haired girl wearing the same clothes as Reimu. Her mouth opens as if to say something, but it dies as she takes in the scene.


[ ] Not what it looks like
[ ] Exactly what it looks like
[ ] I er um you see that is oh god dammit


I have recently been unable to get the music of Trocadero and Jurassic 5 out of my head for the past month or two or so, and it's not a terrible thing at all. I'm sure that none of you care, but I have been wanting to share this with somebody for some time now, but it's never really been conversationally relevant.

And on another music note (ha), does anyone know if Mayumi Kojima made it out okay?
[x] Exactly what it looks like
[x] Exactly what it looks like

I feel a bit bad for having no idea what you're talking about.
[x] Exactly what it looks like
[x] Exactly what it looks like

Sure, why not
File 130024736739.jpg - (176.90KB, 600x826 , 8645697.jpg) [iqdb]
[X]Exactly what it looks like
Live inOwn the moment

>the music of Trocadero and Jurassic 5
Goddamnit, why? I had just managed to stop listening to J5
[ø] Exactly what it looks like
Oh hello there, Suika.
How you doing?
[x] Exactly what it looks like

[X]Exactly what it looks like

Hello, Suika. Look at yourself. Now back to Mima. Now back to yourselfNOW BACK TO MIMA. Sadly, you aren't Mima. But if you got in this bed, you could be with her and me. Look back up, where are you? You're in a bed, looking at people who could be Mima and I. Back to me, where am I? In a bed with Mima. Look again. Mima is now NAKED. Anything is possible when you get into bed with Naked Mima and I.

I'm in a bed.
[x] Exactly what it looks like
Ghost molestation! Better than it sounds!
[x] Exactly what it looks like
Great timing, Suika. Hopefully this option pointedly asks, "Do you mind?" Also, spectral-cat-tailed Mima is awesome.
[X]Exactly what it looks like

Google translate isn't the most accurate tool, but her website says something about selling tickets as of 3/14, so probably.

Also, for variety,

[x] Not what it looks like
File 13003138789.jpg - (437.81KB, 1050x771 , cute does not exclude deadly.jpg) [iqdb]
[Տ] Exactly what it looks like

It's a sitcom moment. That's what keeps running through my head right then.

Hot (dead) (but still hot) god lady lying down on top of me.

Sudden interruption.

Wide angle shot of the whole scene as each party stays frozen.

Laugh track plays.

...Like a lot of things in life, it seems funny until it's you in that situation.

"Are you doing what I think you're doing?" asks the horned girl, suspiciously. Atop me, Mima stirs at last, and starts to say something.

'Starts' being the key word, there. "Yes?" I say, before she can get a word in. See how you like that, god of interruptions. Although it wasn't meant to pitch upward into sounding like a question; I guess some of the nervousness crept into my voice at the last second.

The girl nods appreciatively, and gives me a thumbs up. "Really? Nice catch," she tells me, with a grin and a wink.

From her side, she takes some kind of purple... water bottle? It looks like a papier-mache thing; two purple balls, with stickers or something on the outside of it, and a cork in the top. But I hear it slosh slightly as she grabs it, pops off the cork, and takes a long, long, drink before capping it again, and wiping her lips.

Jesus. I can smell the alcohol fumes from here. The fuck's in that? Paint thinner?

"...So, what exactly is it that you're doing?" she asks.


Nobody gets to answer, because then Reimu arrives, and glares a little at the horned girl. "There you are! Those dishes aren't going to wash themselves, you know."

"They did last week!" whines the redhead.

"That's because that freaky poltergeist girl stopped by."

"Really? Aww..."

At this point, Reimu finally takes notice of the pair of us in the room, even though neither of us moved much at all. You'd think if Mima found this so embarrassing, she would have moved by now. And then I recall that teasing smile, and I wonder if it's not a little intentional. The hell is wrong with her?

"Oh, hi Mima. Gonna have to ask you to get off him unless you want me to ram a stack of ofuda up your ass. He's a guest." There's something really creepy about the way she says something like that in the same way you'd greet your mailman.

The woman atop me grumbles, and then shoots me a look that I don't quite get the meaning of before sighing and slipping off me. "I'm just making sure he's all right, Reimu. Settle down, won't you?"

Reimu snorts. "Right. And that's the hospitality of the Hakurei Shrine, is it? I don't think so."

"You'd get even more worshipers coming by, certainly~."

"And then I'd be running a one-woman brothel, and that's not happening. You stick to your mysterious god schtick, and I'll keep to the shrine maidening."

"I was kidding! You need to ease up, Reimu, really..." Mima pouts a little, and Reimu's gaze softens, though you'd have to look real close to notice.

"...Right," says the girl, resting a hand on the horned girl's head. "We can't afford to screw around though, Mima. You and I both know things aren't what they were a year ago." And she turns away, heading back down the hall. Mima catches herself, and then shouts for her.

"Ah, that's right! He's awake!"

The footsteps stop, and then return this direction. This time when she looks in, her gaze is focused on me. "Well, how about that. How was your trip?"

"Well," I say, sitting up, and feeling my bones crack and pop. I dig into my pocket, and pull out the letter. "I have here, in my hand..."
File 130031392711.jpg - (22.00KB, 400x300 , It`s like I`m not even remotely japanese!.jpg) [iqdb]
Reimu read the letter. Looked up at me with sympathy and pity in her eyes.

Good to know she's not all bitch, inside.

She told me that I'd been out for the better part of a couple days. Koishi and the fairies were off at someplace I didn't quite catch the name of. "Korean Dough" or something, but I don't think I heard it right. Kay's language translation didn't put it into words, but I had the sudden sense of "junkyard."

I wonder if they'll ever be able to actually fix Kay? Or the Kay that's in my head, at least. If I'm going to be living here from now on— a concept I still can't quite wrap my head around, can't fully appreciate the entirety of, yet —then I could really use that odd little tour guide/voice in my head.

They'd be back for dinner, she told me.

I got up, helped Suika, the horned girl, fold up the mattress-y pad. Supposedly it was called a futon, but it didn't look like any futon I'd ever seen. Where was the whole mattress-to-couch frame? ...Then again, tacos at Taco Bell looked nothing like the what the shifty-looking guy at Los Hongos del Tejón had up outside on the big picture menu next to the little aluminum-frame window in the side of the big kitchen-truck where he took your order.

...Goddamn, I'm going to miss those burritos.

Once that was done, I headed out of the room, where I nearly bumped into Reimu. She looked in, and grunted in approval at the clean-up. Then she told me I was free to wander around the place until then. but not to touch anything that looked like it shouldn't be touched, or go into any room whose doors were shut.

That was a few minutes ago.

I hear sounds.

<Pick any two>

[ ] shfff, shfff
[ ] clink!
[ ] glug
[ ] s p l o o s h


Oh, does it? I didn't even think about doing that, so thanks.

Either you have a strange and amusing mind, or this is from something. Either way, I laughed.


Consider it a preemptive punishment for saging your vote.
Glad you like them, though.
I'll have to think on it but I must ask: Is it wrong to wrong to go for Mima in this story? Besides the whole "she never gets love thing", yours is rather lovely.
[x] clink!
[x] glug

Sup Suika.
[X] clink!
[X] s p l o o s h

Because sploosh is an awesome sound.

I thought it was Koko. Quit trying to confuse me into thinking AFT is still running.
[ ] s p l o o s h
[ ] glug

This combination seems appropriate.
[x] shfff, shfff
[x] s p l o o s h
[x] shfff, shfff
[x] s p l o o s h
[x] s p l o o s h
[x] glug

The only two that fit together.


Even if we fucked Mima and ran off to live together there would still be no Mima route.
[x] shfff, shfff
[x] s p l o o s h
[X] shfff, shfff

[X] s p l o o s h
[ ] shfff, shfff
[ ] clink!
[x] clink!
[x] glug
Wow, what the fuck. Yeah, I meant Koko.

brb, chewing out my proofreader and then slamming my head into a wall.
I figured it was an affectionate nickname.
[x] shfff, shfff
[x] s p l o o s h

>Either you have a strange and amusing mind, or this is from something. Either way, I laughed.

You seriously don't know where that's from?

[x] shfff, shfff
[x] s p l o o s h

This seems promising
[x] shfff, shfff
[x] s p l o o s h

Glug sounds like drinking with Suika, and I can't see that being a good idea right now. This sounds like Reimu sweeping followed by a bath.
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[x] shfff, shfff
[x] glug

>Even if we fucked Mima and ran off to live together there would still be no Mima route.
Well, we never know until we tr-

>The Minigame did say that Reimu isn't nearly as close to Yukari now, partly due to meeting the shrine's true goddess.
>Apparently that's Mima
>Reimu had taken Mima Route even before Resentment started

Goddammit. No Mima route AND I'm now thinking about hot shrine maiden on ghost action.
Following isn't the same as romancing/fucking, and it'll be 100 years before someone else with the balls to remotely flirt with her comes around.
I wouldn't be entirely sure that Mima is actually the shrine's goddess, or at least not the only one. Reimu called it a schtick, and Mima herself implied that Reimu might try to show Nick proof that she really isn't.

That being said, becoming Mima's apprentice could be interesting.
[x] s p l o o s h
[x] glug

Plop plop, fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is!
[X] clink!
[X] s p l o o s h
[x] shfff, shfff
[x] s p l o o s h

The trash is coming out in droves. First that Press_start faggot, and now this one. Oh joyous day.
Could you be more polite when calling people out? I'd rather see a few namefags than read your terrible posts.
No. I will not be polite to these wastes of space. It isn't my job to teach them how to act.
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This delay was brought to you by:

-The letter L2

Okay, settle down, kids.
While namefags do need to cut that out post-fucking-haste, I can only advise you to do what I do and try to tell them that in something resembling a civil fashion, unless they're actually doing stupid crap.
[שׁ] shfff, shfff
[ஞௌ] s p l o o s h

>Los Hongos del Tejón
Una serpiente para llevar, por favor.
[x] POMF =3

I just can't help myself.
File 13012815844.jpg - (71.61KB, 567x567 , sup.jpg) [iqdb]
[┅] s p l o o s h
[Ϡ] shfff, shfff

Somewhere, I hear the sound of something heavy splashing into the water. It sounded like it was... this way, I think. I don't know if it's towards the front or back of the shrine, since this isn't the same room I was in before.

Half a minute later, I slide aside another door, having been guided by occasional, smaller splashes and watery sounds. Maybe they've got an outdoor pool here?

...Turns out they do. And in it is the biggest goddamn turtle I've ever seen.

It cranes its head a little bit to look at the person disturbing its little swim in the large pond amongst the garden outside. I guess this is the back of the shrine, then? It's actually a pretty nice-looking place Reimu's got back here. What do they call these, rock gardens? Bonsai gardens? It's got that "cram a whole bunch of shit into one place but still not have it look crowded" thing going on, with a big ol' pond in the middle of it.

And a big ol' turtle in the middle of the pond.

I shrug. I've hung out in worse places. Shutting the door behind me, I have a seat on the edge of the deck/outside walkway. The turtle stops giving me the eye, figuring I'm not here to...


Why would I know what a turtle thinks?

There's a term for giving animals the traits of people, but I can't remember what it is. I'm probably doing that. With that thought in mind, I just sit back and take it easy.


For about ten seconds, at least. Because it's then that I'm reminded, looking at the lazily swimming turtle, that I'm in Gensokyo, where weird shit is the order of the day, and apparently every goddamn person and thing has superpowers. So, maybe the animals do, too?

...It's not impossible. Who says this is even JUST some ordinary turtle? In fact, I'm gonna go ahead and say he isn't, because he has a beard. Pretty sure normal turtles don't have hair. And if he's not normal, then there's no harm in testing out a little hunch.

"Hi there." He says nothing. "Nice out today, huh?" Still nothing. "...Come on, man. If you're like anyone else I've met here, I'm betting you can talk, too."

And still noth—

"Nnnnope." An old, deep voice, rumbling and scraping like a tuna can lid on the ground, finally answers me.

Ha! Nick 1, Gensokyo ... well, Gensokyo's still winning, probably. Damn. Still, I give the turtle a grin. "Thought so, I say."

He's got hair and he talks. I'll bet he can fly, too.

"Vvvvvery clever, Burnt Man," it replies, not even looking at me. He seems happy to just drift there, eyes closed, despite it sounding like he has to yank hard on the start of the sentence to get it spoken. "Hhhhow was death?"

...Jesus. Is there no privacy at all here? "...Kinda quiet," I say, more casually than I'm feeling. "The ladies looked good, but I'm gonna try stickin' with the whole 'being alive' thing. Seems like a better deal."

There's another rumbling, and a series of short scraping noises. I think he's laughing.

"...So what's a hugeass talking turtle doing in a temple pond?" I ask him, after the sound dies away.

"Shhhhrine," he corrects.

"There a difference?"


I shrug. "'Kay, 'shrine,' then."

The turtle opens his eyes long enough to give me a brief look before closing them again. "Eeeenjoying my retirement, temporary though it may be."

...Okay, I hadn't really expected that. It's almost normal-sounding, except for that it's coming from a big turtle. I'm kind of curious. "Retired from what?"

"Fffffighter pilot, more or less."

"You're just fucking with me, now, aren't you?"

"Wwwwatch your tongue. Aaaand no, I carried the young mistress around before she llllllearned to fly on her own."

"Totally called it."



And just like that, the conversation dies away. Neither of us seem to be too interested in chatting, and he isn't pressing me about what I'm doing here. I'm cool with that. He wants to float in the pool, let him. He's probably earned it.

So for an hour or so, I find myself just chilling here. It's nice and quiet, and the occasional bit of birdsong makes the afternoon go by a lot easier. I try not to think about what happened to me, and what that Eiki lady said.

I mostly succeed.

The sound of splashing water gets my attention. I look over to see the turtle climbing out of the main pond, into a more shallow section. A little ways further down is some kind of shed/nest combo.

"Headin' home?" I ask. For some reason this gets a snort, though it sounds like someone coughed and sneezed violently at the same time, startling me a little.

"Mmmmore or less. Take care of yourself, Burnt Man. Yyyyou'll need it."

...I think that was supposed to be a dig, but eh. Maybe he's being friendly. Even if it was, I can take a little razzing.

"Thanks, uh... sir. Need me to carry something for ya?" Okay, so I'm a jerk, too.

He snickers, and waves a flipper at me in a weird little motion. It isn't until I'm out of sight that I realize he probably just gave me the bird, in some turtle-y way. ...That, and I never got his name.
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Standing up and stretching, I hear more than a few joints crack and pop. Guess I'm still pretty stiff, though it doesn't feel like it. Hiding a yawn, I shuffle back through the shrine, and remember/realize I don't have my shoes on anymore. That's another Japanese thing, isn't it? It always seemed kinda dumb, but I guess it makes a little more sense looking at it from the past: wearing shoes would probably scuff up the wood floors and wear out these big green mat-slabs.

...'Course, back home, people just do it to avoid having to vacuum the place. Score one for laziness.

It takes about five minutes to find my way back to the front of the place, where all the shoes are. My black Cons are right where I left them, but even if they weren't they stand out. It's are pretty easy to spot them amongst the wood sandals, black slippers, Mary Janes, and an honest to god pair of steel-toed boots. 'They're my incident-solving shoes,' was all Reimu had said when she caught me staring at them.

The fuck exactly constitutes an "incident" around here? Koko had mentioned some of the bigger ones in passing, but they sounded either really tame (some kind of fog, an extended cold snap, a whole lot of flowers, and some grumpy neighbors), like a demented stoner's ramblings (a fake moon, a month of partying, a nuclear bird, giant shadows, flying saucers, and a missing arm), or kinda disturbing (invading the moon and something about a girl that caused earthquakes). Only that last group sounded actually serious, but maybe they were all pretty bad, and I just wasn't paying attention.

...Man. If that kind of shit really is common around here, I really should ask around about them, or find out if there's anything I can do to prepare. I don't think a week's worth of clean water and a roll of duct tape is exactly going to cut it. DHS emergency preparedness kits are a joke, here.

Now, if I had one of those survival guides they give to pilots of fighter jets for when you're downed in enemy territory, that might come close to being useful. At least some of that would be applicable to my situation, but I don't really want to go it on my own, here. I'd be toast.

Eiki did say the satori— which I guess could be either of the sisters, or another one I haven't met, yet, but my money's on it being Koishi —would make me an offer soon, one I should consider. Might be letting me stay somewhere. I don't know how to feel about the whole being-underground thing. I kind of like natural light and trees and all. Then again, Eiki didn't strike me as the sort to give bad advice. Shouldn't count my eggs before they hatch, I guess.

Or chickens. Whatever.

Having had more than enough time to think about all this while putting my shoes on and tying them, I get up and head out the door. Seems kind of thin for a front door, but I guess that's how they make 'em.

Pausing just outside, I take another deep breath. God, that's some nice air. You don't know how bad you have it until you stop having the bad. ...Don't know if I could really call my current situation the best, though.

Damn. I really, really gotta stop bringing myself down like that.

Shaking off that line of thinking again, I walk out into the big stone-paved courtyard in front of this place. Somebody's out sweeping up, which seems kind of difficult to do in this light. It's not too dim, yet, but it's working on it. I almost think it's Suika from the horns, but the "Yo" is already out of my mouth when I realize this girl's taller, has redder hair, and another set of horns. Gold ones, at that. They curl like a bull's do, and the second set do the same thing, but curving down instead of up.

How many people live in this place, anyway? It's like a damn clown car: more weird people keep popping out.

Speaking to her causes the girl— scratch that, woman —to turn around and look at me with an utterly blank expression for a second that then snaps into a warm, cheerful smile. "Welcome to the Hakurei Shrine! Please state the nature of the spiritual emergency or reason for visiting!"


[ ] Take me to your leader
[ ] Stand aside, Earthling scum
[ ] This is but the first conquest of many!


Okay, I seriously need to regulate my F2 playage. This is getting ridiculously, embarrassingly out of control.

Also oh god New Reno what the hell. This crime family thing seems like Yojimbo A Fistful of Dollars Arena a clusterfuck.
...Although, I must say: It's so refreshing to see that even after the end of the world, somehow, the art of car theft has been kept alive, even when there are apparently barely any running cars left to steal. Bastards.

Well, thanks.

very interesting twist in the story. If I had more time, I'd almost consider writing that as some kind of spinoff story in /shrine/. 'Mai Mai Mima'? ...Now that I think about it, I kind of like this idea, though I don't think it'll ever happen. H and more A, but not so much of the L). I can't write aimless fluff, or at least, not for long; I try to keep all fluff good and aimful.

Still cannot believe I did that. STILL need to kill/fire my proofreader.

Nope, hadn't seen it. I like it, though. Last Old Spice commercials I remember were the ones with ...Bruce Campbell, I think? He was playing a piano and there were women lounging around everywhere.

>now thinking about hot shrine maiden on ghost action.
I could stand to see more of this.
...Although that statement could also be construed as Sanae x Yuyuko, which is a strange notion that I nevertheless find extremely compelling.

I enjoy being reminded that there are perceptive and/or clever readers. I didn't forget, but I do like the reminders.
[X] Take me to your leader

>Please state the nature of the spiritual emergency
Great, now I'm imagining Robert Picardo with red hair doing falsetto- ack, getitoutgetitoutgetitout.
[x] Stand aside, Earthling scum

I have no idea who we're talking to.
[X] This is but the first conquest of many!

I read that as "Yyyyup." I have no idea why.

Also, for a dude like Genji to call Nick "Burnt Man," (twice, no less) why am I suddenly thinking that that title means more than what would be obvious?
[x] Take me to yon white bitches.
[X] Take me to your leader
[x] Stand aside, Earthling scum


I can't think of anywhere Nick got burnt, unless Genji is referring to the underground.
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Well, she WAS dead at one point...
...This is all I've got (not exactly safe for work)
[X] This is but the first conquest of many!
[x] Take me to your leader
Just want to talk / don't need your bullshit / make up something?
[x] This is but the first conquest of many!

Liminal beings need characterization too.
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I would not mind some tie-breakan gaems.

In return, valuable strategic information.
[x] This is but the first conquest of many!

Tie broken.
[x] Take me to your leader
I somehow overlooked that update. Shame on me.
[ø] This is but the first conquest of many!

Tie-broken tie-breaking gaem.
Also, autosage, etc
You still out there Fell?
Next thread:

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