Thread 13 >>133878
Thread 14 >>134719
Thread 15 >>136072
In which socially-awkward touhou(s) flub.
[X] Enough of this angsty juvenile crap.
---- [X] This is nothing, alright? This is nothing.
---- [X] You will be calm. You will not be defensive. You will be moderately apologetic, not because you feel guilt, but because that's just how man-woman shit works. And you will find out what the deal is with that stupid awesome hat.
Mokou slides a glare in your direction before entering Keine’s bedroom. Keine’s muffled protests and Mokou’s low scolding shortly ensue.
A discordant symphony of battling emotions crescendos within your breast, overwhelming your thoughts. In seconds you’re going to be face-to-face with Keine.
“Hurry!” Cirno hisses at you, snatching your robe off the bed. “Fabbo! Flabbyfize!” she speaks urgently to the garment.
“What are you doing?”
“Fabolositize!” Cirno hisses with increasing agitation, shaking the robe vigorously. “Fabulosity!
The robe reacts to the command word, activating the glamer charm. The robe’s handsome gray hue turns jet black, and the bright starscape once again blossoms over it.
“Wha-” you manage, before Cirno flings the robe into your arms. “Put’em on!
” she hisses. You properly don the robe.
you?” you inquire, turning towards your assailant, but Cirno has up and vanished.
“NOO~” Keine wails from the bedroom, her raised voice easily carrying through the thin wooden wall. “I’m not going anywhere! I can never show my face in public again!”
“You’re. Getting. UP,” Mokou growls, and you hear the muffled sound of something big rolling across the floor.
Taking advantage of the extra time, you take a deep breath, concentrate, and proceed to panic. You came galloping
back here from the Mansion to make things right with Keine, before you even knew how.
Jumping without looking is standard procedure for you, but step two generally entails flinging evocation spells until your problems are reduced to neat little piles of dust. For the first time in your life, you find that approach lacking.
You grind your knuckles into your temples, tremendous frustration seizing you. “This is stupid,
” you hiss. You’ve played for far higher stakes then this: the safety of cities, the fate of kingdoms, your own life. And now you balk at the feelings of a small-town schoolteacher? This is nothing. At least it’s a damn sight more trivial then the youkai giant and the killer ghosts on the loose. And you? You fold space-time into origami cranes for giggles, so this is nothing.
Because you’re a Wizard.
And you get shit done.
“No!” Keine shouts, and her hat comes sailing out of the bedroom doorway with considerable force. “I’m never wearing that stupid thing again! It’s damn silly!”
“KEINE!” Mokou exclaims, mortified. “That’s the symbol of-”
the symbol!” Keine screeches. The uncharacteristic curse makes you flinch involuntarily. “A-and the whole d-damn affair!”
“No!” Mokou shouts, aghast. “You can’t-”
“Yes I can!
” Keine roars back. “Everything! It’s cost me everything
and now it’s cost me – it – oh dammit!
“NOTHING!” Keine screeches. “N-nobody even comes to my stupid school, so why should he-”
“He’s HERE, you moron!” Mokou yells. “He’s in the main room right now!
There’s a stifled squeak!
from the bedroom, then nothing.
The world goes dark as your hat is slapped onto your head, and a second later something tangled and woody is thrust into your off-hand. The rapid attack does your jangling nerves no good.
“WHAAAUGRHG” you cry, flailing blindly for your assailant, when a hard shove from behind sends you flying forward. Trying to catch yourself, you stumble forward a few feet and your forehead collides with a doorframe.
“Fthuggbl,” you say, staggering dizzily. With your free hand you tilt your hat back to uncover your eyes. You find yourself in the doorway to Keine’s bedroom. Keine and her white-haired friend are looking at you.
Surprised blue eyes. Tear-stained cheeks framed by disheveled blue-white hair.
You can only stare at Keine in consternation. A dozen different emotions leap for control of your tongue, but get jammed shoulder-to-shoulder somewhere in your throat.
“... is that my rosebush?” Keine says quizzically.
You follow her gaze to your hand, where there is indeed a very small rosebush, dirt still clinging to the bare roots.
“He got those for you because he’s really sorry!” Cirno shouts eagerly from the room behind you. Sorry.
An old instinct from years of perilous adventuring kicks in – when disaster strikes, above all, do something, anything.
Your brain latches onto sorry
and hauls ass for the goal-posts.
“I am severely regretful of the currently strained relations between us and hope for swift reconciliation of our differences and I abhor any lapses or misunderstandings or errors of comprehension on my part which may have led to the communication breakdown between us this morning and furthermore to the utmost I am sorrowful over-”
“I’m sorry,” Keine says.
“Spuh~” you croak as your pseudo-apology sputters to a halt.
“I – I really – that wasn’t fair,” she mutters, looking at your feet. “I... well, you said, uh, that it wasn’t about... well you did
hate the hat but you said, uh... You were nervous.” She’s clasping her hands so tightly you can see her arms trembling a bit. “I knew I was wrong as soon as you said it, but everybody was watching
and I just... I was embarrassed. And angry. So I went and made a huge scene, like an idiot.” Her eyes glisten, and she quickly pinches the bridge of her nose to hide it. “I’m a fool. Please, forgive me, I’ll never do anything like that again, I swear
The bitter stew of resentment and confusion gurgles faintly as it drains out of your breast. Keine is staring at her feet, hands clasped white-knuckled, awaiting your response.
“B-buh-” a sediment of guilt clogs in your throat.
“But...” You leer at every piece of ass in Gensokyo!
your memory echoes.
an asshole, and I do
“I was just saying that,” Keine says softly, her voice nearly breaking. “I mean, you said it yourself, a man is allowed to look...” she looks up at you and tries a faltering smile. “It’s so silly, I mean, me actually arguing Cirno’s
moral judgments...” her voice trails off into an awkward silence.
Mokou, who’s hovering behind Keine, tilts her head and mouths words at you. Say something, moron!
“So you’re not angry at me,” you say, sampling the idea.
“Of course not!”
“And you... think I’m angry at you, for making a scene?”
Keine flushes, and turns her eyes on the floor again. “In front of the whole Scarlet Devil Mansion. You’ve a right.”
She thinks you’re more concerned with the opinions of a bunch of vampire lackeys with stupid hats then with hers. You can’t quite put your horror at this situation into words, so you voice the more obvious objection.
“So. Me. Worried over a... scene,
” you marvel. “This is me
we’re talking about; did the last three days just vanish from your memory? Since our argument this morning-” You begin ticking off incidents on your fingers – “I’ve gone temporarily insane, been tackled by a greased tentacle monster, knocked out Patchouli with one of her own bookshelves, sent my magic chest on a property-destruction rampage and gotten into a truly grueling bar fight.”
“That... does sound like you,” Keine admits, nonplussed.
“Exactly. I average two scenes an hour, and I drag you through most of ‘em. So no, I’m not angry.”
“So...” Keine’s voice fails, and she looks off to one side, nervously fingering a strand of hair, waiting for you to speak. Mokou is mouthing something at you while holding forth at length in some sort of sign language. It seems she either thinks you were punched in the head as a child, or she wishes to punch you in the head right now.
You hold the little rosebush up. “I’m going to return this now.”
Keine nods mutely, and you make good your escape from the bedroom. Outside, you locate the spot where Cirno uprooted the rosebush, and you jam it back into the earth as firmly as possible. There’s a few more rosebushes of similar size arrayed in the newly-turned earth of the flowerbed; apparently Keine was recently engaged in landscaping. By some minor miracle, the transdimensional Fireball
you used to toast the ghosts yesterday stopped just short of vaporizing the flowers, though most of the lawn is blackened.
You sigh shakily and lean against the front door.
She did it again. A few words, and your assault falls apart like so much wet paper. In Yuyuko’s garden yesterday... or in your room at the Mansion that night... and just now. To say nothing of how your AWESOME WIZARD GETS SHIT DONE bravado disintegrated in under thirty seconds when you set out on your errand not an hour earlier. Your indomitable courage, prize of many bitter struggles, counts for nothing against Keine. The concept is so alien that you just couldn’t comprehend it. Your personal shoulder archon would probably implicate a healthy dose of denial, but he’s not here right now, so you’ll assign blame as you please.
Thus composed, you brush the dirt off your hands and step inside.
“-know about propriety!?” Cirno’s outraged voice accuses from the kitchen. “You go flying around over town with a dress
“Young lady, you’re going to get a headbutt!” Keine retorts. Cirno comes flying out the kitchen entryway and makes a sharp turn to dive under your bed. Keine appears in the doorway, bearing a loaded tea tray.
“She got away. Lucky,” Keine says, suppressing a giggle. Walking towards her, you catch sight of Cirno’s little legs sticking out from under your bed. The schoolteacher sets the tray down on the dining room table and beckons you over. You join her at the table, sitting cross-legged for a change.
Mokou enters from the kitchen bearing a tray of sandwiches. She lays it on the table and flops onto her pad carelessly. “Cirno, come eat,” she insists.
You eye the repast suspiciously. “I wasn’t outside five minutes. How’d you heat the water so fast?
Keine smiles a little. “Like this,” she says, and leans across the table corner to caress your cheek. A faint tingle plays on your skin, and the ache from your black eye vanishes.
“... oh,” you say, distracted by the feel of Keine’s palm on your cheek. Mokou coughs sharply, and Keine jerks her hand away abruptly.
“I heated it earlier,” Mokou says, “and it got cold. Keine just dialed the history back a bit.”
“Now there’s something Sakuya can’t do. She can stop time, but she can’t unravel it like that.” You rub your eye, pleased. “Thanks; that headache was distracting. Will it last as long as last time?
“Just about,” Keine says vaguely.
“Permanently,” Mokou interjects firmly. “We’re close enough to the full moon, now, she can effect permanent change on smaller things like that.” Keine bites her lip and flicks her eyes at Mokou, who studiously ignores her.
From the corner of your eye you notice Cirno slipping along the wall behind you as slowly as possible, back flat to the wood.
“How did... everything at the library go?” Keine asks tentatively.
You briefly contemplate expounding on Pyonta, explosive alchemy, and Patchouli’s new kitty ears, then evaluate Mokou’s cold, watchful gaze.
You sip your tea.
Cirno, having worked her way behind you, cautiously approaches the table. Keeping you between her and Keine, she carefully takes a sandwich from the tray and munches on it, one hand gripping your sleeve. Mokou continues to favor you with a cold, disdainful look, like you’re at fault for something.
Everybody sips their tea in silence.
[ ] Ask to use Keine’s study for a while. You’ve got some equipment to identify.
[ ] Run back to the Mansion and collect Duke. We’ll want his backup when we take down the Society tonight, and it’s a good excuse to escape the awkwardness.
[ ] You know what we could use? An alchemist’s set. Let’s go buy one.
[ ] Visit Marisa (if you dare.) You’ve got some questions about those mushroom reagents she uses.
[ ] Write-in?
Go wild with this one.