Thread 14 >>134719
Thread 15 >>136072
Thread 16 >>138582
In which a Wizard accidentally a hurricane.
[X] Head to the front door and see what’s up.
“She says you better come out there and ‘splain yourself or she’s gonna come in here after you!”
So far today, you’ve been blindsided by feminine fuming, been mind-raped by a greased tentacle monster, had your face pounded into a filthy tavern floor while being upstaged by Cirno the pint-sized pugilist and your own fucking furniture,
and wrapped it all up by being verbally flame-broiled by a ribbon-bedecked-bitch.
“Let me get this straight. Some rainbow-haired harpy is calling me out.”
Cirno takes a step back.
There’s a delicate little toing!
in your head as the last straw gives up the ghost. “Neightohaichfour!”
you roar. As always, you have a brief impression of parallel horizontal planes of plaid lights rushing by before you emerge from the Dimension Door
right in front of the house.
“-nfidence in you as a guardian if you’re harboring this fruitcake!” A woman with oddly colored hair is saying to Keine, who’s standing in the doorway. “They look to you for protection before anybody else, so it doesn’t look good when another
materialistic, reckless human magician is running around, not only with your endorsement, but with your blessing!
“You forgot powerful, all-knowing, and extremely pissed off!
” you growl.
The purple-clad caller yelps like a scalded cat and spins about, dropping into a fighting stance.
“M-m-ME,” you snarl, lunging forward to stick your nose in her face. “You want me, you got
me, gradient granny.”
The woman takes a step back despite herself, and bumps into a flustered Keine.
“I- alright, listen!” she says, slapping a fist into her palm. “I have two dozen villagers beating down the door of my shrine because of you! Barfights and rampaging boxes and all sorts of havoc, and it scares them because you’ve clearly... co-opted their protector!”
You smolder silently.
“Well?” the woman says, getting some of her composure back. “What do you have to say for yourself?”
She blinks. “What?”
“You’ve got a shrine.”
shrine maidens overzealous morons spoiling for a fight?”
“I came to-”
“-get in Keine’s face for protecting me!?” you cut her off hotly. “I’m sure you’ve seen the Bunburu Bullshit Bulletin, so you know how I got here. I stumbled away from a mortal battle with lots of wounds and no magic, and she took me in, sheltered me, healed me, guided me – at personal risk, even! So if some villagers who don’t appreciate her anyway are crying over some busted fences, you come to me,
but don’t say word one
to Keine, got it?”
Before the woman can reply, she’s hauled backwards into the house by Keine, who interposes herself in the doorway. “Stop, both
of you! She’s not harassing me,” Keine insists, touching your shoulder. “She’s okay, she really is. And you,
” she says, turning to the woman, “he’s right, you don’t know the half of it, okay?”
The woman shrugs a little, looking a bit embarrassed.
“Now,” Keine continues, grabbing you both by the shoulder, “lets go sit down and talk this out over tea, hmm?” Keine’s grip tightens almost painfully, and she firmly
escorts you both over to the dining table.
“We were just having tea,” Keine says, pouring the strange woman some. There’s footsteps from the back hall. “Oh, Mokou, Byakuren’s here.”
“Byakuren?” Mokou says, surprised. She turns to you. “You managed to piss off a Buddhist. You are truly a master.”
“I didn’t say that!” Byakuren objects, nearly spilling her tea. “Cirno, what’d you tell them?”
“Something about ‘explaining himself’ and you ‘coming in here after him,’ as I recall,” Mokou says. Cirno is guiltily slinking towards the kitchen door.
” Byakuren mutters. “No, it’s not like that at all!”
“Byakuren is dedicated to promoting peaceful balance between youkai and humans,” Keine explains to you. “Byakuren, my friend here has been working to deal with that Society Aya wrote about a while back.”
“The ones dedicated to human superiority?” Byakuren asks.
Keine nods. “So you’re both working towards greater harmony in Gensokyo, right?”
Byakuren glances at you.
You glare daggers and dirks at her in stony silence.
Byakuren looks at Keine. The schoolteacher returns a brilliant smile.
The priestess glances at her teacup suspiciously and gingerly sets it down, untouched. “Deal with them? What do you mean by ‘deal’ with them?”
“Well...” Keine trails off, then looks at you. “Good question. What are
you going to do?”
You frown and bite your lip, thinking. “I was
going to wring the ringleaders until juicy information dripped out, then proceed based on that... the division in the ranks complicates things, though. Benson actually wants
to meet you tonight, Keine, so I doubt they were behind the attack, but that doesn’t rule out Riku and his gang acting solo.”
“Attack!?” Byakuren exclaims. You and Keine detail the harrowing haunting of last morning.
“So your solution is to go after anybody remotely suspicious, then beat them senseless?”
“No, no!” you object. “You beat them bloody;
senseless people can’t be interrogated.”
Byakuren seems to be evaluating distance to the back door.
“For your information, we went straight to Yuyuku,” Keine retorts a bit primly. “She gave us information that pointed at the Society. And they’re the only ones with any motive we can discern.” Keine walks around the table to stand behind you. “And my friend here has made incredible progress in short time – he’s already got the ear of their inner circle!” Keine’s hands fall on your shoulders. She squeezes you affectionately. “His best friend is an otherworldly creature. Strife came to him. He’s been acting largely in my defense.”
Byakuren tilts her head slightly, looking over your head at Keine. “And you can’t defend yourself? Wouldn’t that be less disruptive?”
“Bah!” you object. “There’s people who’ve hidden the bloody moon
for giggles before, and you’re worried about me?
What harm ever came from rocking the boat a bit?”
Byakuren rises so quickly her knees bump the edge of the table. “Well I’ll just smooth things over with the townsfolk,” she says hurriedly. “I can confirm you’re human, that ought to settle them a bit... they always like humans making good...” Byakuren bows swiftly to all assembled, and waves a hasty goodbye as she flees out the front door.
You blink. “What’d I say?”
“Long story,” Mokou says, examining you with mild wonder.
“Byakuren’s usually not like that,” Keine tells you. “She’s good reason to worry about the opinions of villagers, especially for my sake. She was sealed away by human mikos centuries ago because of frictions like that.”
“Wat? She’s human, isn’t she?”
“No,” Mokou says. “She’s a magician.”
Well, she wouldn’t be the first mage to become an effective Outsider through excessive magical modification. “So where’d the banish her to?” If Byakuren can be expelled from Gensokyo, you might escape through a similar method.
“Not banished, sealed,” Mokou corrects you. “Sealed into Makai.”
“The demon realm. There’s a portal hidden in the mountains that leads there.”
“... yet another
coterminous plane!?” you wheeze, utterly aghast. “Pocket dimensions inside pocket dimensions? Having its own private netherworld wasn’t enough, was it, needed its own hell, too?”
“Hell?” Mokou asks, puzzled. “No, Makai isn’t hell.”
You gape at her. “WHAT?”
“Yeah, Hell,” Mokou says, regarding you like an idiot. “Hot place, lots of naughty souls languishing about, you know?”
“So what, one netherworld wasn’t enough, this place needed two?
“Two?” Keine asks innocently. “What about Higan?”
You reply with a choking gurgle.
Keine fails to suppress a giggle. “I keep on forgetting how strange this place obviously is to you. Byakuren was out of line to chastise us; you’ve handled the whole thing remarkably well. You dropped into an alien world and landed on your feet!”
“Well, I had a lot of help,” you allow, and Keine beams at you. Technically
speaking you landed face-first and had a lot of help from inertia, but with the only witness dead, who cares?
“You need professional help, all right,” Mokou says. The remark is punctuated by a cacophonic crash from the kitchen.
“Cirno ran afoul of the pots again,” Keine says, releasing your shoulders. She nearly skips into the kitchen.
Mokou gives you a truly odd look. “What the hell
did you do?”
Mokou closes her eyes and caresses her head in exasperation. “Keine. All the sudden she’s farting butterflies instead of edging around you like a kicked puppy. What’d you do?”
You shrug helplessly.
“How the hell do you breathe!?
” Mokou mutters in disbelief. From the kitchen you hear Cirno yodeling from the bottom of a deep pot.
“One breath at a time. Works better when I’m not at the bottom of Lake Loony.”
“Brightspark, you beautiful son of a bitch!”
“Who?” Keine asks from the hallway. She steps into the study, carrying a tray of tea biscuits.
“Brightspark. The fellow who owns this dagger,” you reply, holding up the weapon for inspection. “He stuck it in the airships railing before bailing out. Odd thing to do, when half the ship is on fire and you’re jumping for your life. Now I know why.”
“So it’s magical?”
“And how!” You twirl the dagger expertly in your hand and manage to drop it. It buries half its blade into the floorboard by your foot. “Sharp as hell, see? Especially keen edge, very good at reaching an enemies vitals. Tends to go right through armor.”
“Or your foot, if you’re not careful,” Keine ponders.
“Oh, shush,” you snort, retrieving the dagger. “Now watch this.” You slip the dagger under your robes, and take a step back. You wave your hand over your chest and cold steel flashes. The blade flashes towards Keine and before she can even recoil, you’re sampling a warm biscuit off the dagger tip. “Nom.”
“Its ‘eager’,” you say with delight, munching the biscuit. “No matter where I stash it, I can draw with blinding speed. And I’m more likely to strike first in general, in fact.”
“That’s... something,” Keine says, surprised.
“Yeah! Brightspark was leaving it for me, in case I needed it.” You put the dagger away without any more twirling, deciding not to press your luck. “Gods bless him. So what’s with the biscuits? You just bake those?”
“Yeah, thought you might be hungry...”
“After the sandwiches?”
“And the tea cookies?”
“Those are so light-”
the fruit salad? In the last half-hour while I finished casting Identify.
” You squint at Keine suspiciously. “You fattening me up for slaughter or something?”
“N-no, I, uh...” Her gaze evades yours. “So you’re done working?”
“For today, yeah. I’ve got an appointment to keep.”
“Me too, apparently. You said they want to meet me, too?”
“Yeah.” Keine leads you into the main room as you summarize your ultrahippe ramble through town earlier, including the visit to Benson, and the appointment.
“So now that you’ve wormed your way into their secret clubhouse, you’ll see if they’ve got a tome of ghost-summoning on the bookshelf?”
“Something like that.”
“So what do we do ‘till night?”
“We’re going right now.” Keine cocks her head quizzically, and you produce Benson’s note from your pocket for her to examine.
“Twilight? But he told you after moonrise.”
“Apparently that was for anybody listening at the back door,” you mutter. You’re starting to get really tired of this cloak-and-dagger bullshit. One way or another, it’s going to be settled tonight.
Keine scratches her head, thinking. “Well, I’m invited this time... we should get somebody to trail behind and watch our backs, like I did for you.”
SELECT YOUR THIRD PARTY MEMBER:
[ ] Duke Not mandatory to get him back.
[ ] Mokou
[ ] Cirno
[ ] Byakuren
[ ] Chest