With a glance and an exchange of nods between her and her companion, the two dolls float their way over to you.
“Welcome to the team, squirt!” you hear Yuugi say, eliciting a brief scowl from your little friend. Seemingly unfazed by it, intentionally ignoring it, or simply not noticing it, she continues speaking. “Can't really hold ya, see, but feel free to grab on anywhere!”
“Or I could hold you, if you want.” you offer, holding your arms out as if to demonstrate.
For a moment, Medicine's face seems to take on a faintly purplish hue, though you suspect it's just a trick of the light.
Offering no more sign of agreement beyond the slightest of nods, she positions herself in front of you and looks at you uncertainly. At first, you wonder if she was having second thoughts, but you quickly realize that the problem is not of whether or not she wants to go along with your idea, but how it's supposed to work.
With the way Yuugi's arm is looped around your body, your upper and lower halves can do little more than dangle from the Oni's arm. Hardly a posture that lends itself to holding onto someone else. Still, you are not one to be defeated by such petty obstacles as that!
With a little bit of direction, you get Medicine to turn herself so her back is facing you, bring your arms forward and around her waist, and pull her in towards you as closely as physically possible. Tilting your head to the side just enough to avoid having a mouthful of hair, blonde strands brush against your neck and cheek as a distinctly sweet-yet-bitter smell tickles your nostrils.
“Is this okay, Medi? It's not too uncomfortable, is it?”
“H-huh? Uh, ah, yeah! I mean, no! Er, yeah! ...it's fine!” she replies, alternating between nodding and shaking her head.
From somewhere just above, you think you hear a slight snicker from Yuugi, but you barely notice it.
What you do notice is the sudden sensation of something lightly yet firmly smacking into the side of your head. From out of the corner of your eye, you see Su-san plopping herself down upon your shoulder.
“Comfortable, Su-saaaAAAAAAAAA?!” you attempt to ask of your passenger, but find your words turning into a barely-controlled yell as a sudden jolt followed by the sight of the ground falling away from you gives you the distinct impression that you're moving. Quite quickly, in fact, in an upward direction.
Though not your first experience in assisted flight, the feeling of the air against your face gives you an impression of speed that makes your flight with Tenshi feel like a leisurely stroll by comparison.
In an instant, your group manages to not only catch up with Tenshi and Parsee, but completely overtake them. Though you only caught a glimpse of them as you zipped by, you think you saw a definite look of shock and surprise at least one of their faces.
“Ha! They better pick up the pace!” Yuugi laughs.
Looking back towards the ground, you see rooftop after rooftop passing by beneath you as you find yourselves already over the city. Dotting the lantern-lit streets, the city's residents look almost like ants as they move about.
Tiny little ants.
Tiny, little, drunken ants. With horns.
Horns, and the ability to grow larger.
Oni can do that, right? Grow larger?
You think they must, because they appear the be doing it right now, the not-quite-so-tiny ants suddenly looking a bit bigger than they did a moment ago.
Then again, so does the street they're walking upon.
And the rooftops.
Briefly pondering this, you come to a sudden and alarming realization.
Buildings don't suddenly get bigger.
Neither do streets, for that matter.
Oni...well, you think the jury is still out on that one. Even if they can, you have a sinking suspicion that is not the case, at this time.
You also have a suspicion that you are, well, sinking.
As quickly as the ground had first retreated from you, you now see it rushing back up to greet you; your old friend, gravity, reminding you that it is still quite functional.
Were it not for the feeling of Yuugi's arm still wrapped tightly around your waist, you might be inclined to indulge the little part of your brain that tells you to panic when you find yourself rapidly falling towards the ground in a seemingly uncontrolled semi-vertical drop. Fortunately, you do not.
Still, though you manage to refrain from screaming in terror as you plunge towards the cold, hard ground below, you wonder if you should at least say something on the matter.
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You think you will say something on the matter.
Yes. That is something you think you will do.
“We are falling.”
...or, rather, would do if Rikako had not beaten you to the punch.
“Why are we falling?” the woman in Yuugi's other arm asks.
“Heh! Don't worry 'bout it, just hang on!” Yuugi says with a chuckle, not sounding nearly as concerned about your imminent reunion with the ground as your fellow passenger.
Though you find her composure comforting, in a way, it is somewhat offset by the knowledge that she is probably far more capable of withstanding things that would be dangerous or even fatal to a human.
Things like slamming into the ground at high velocity from a considerable height, for example.
Holding Medicine as closely to you as physically possible, you close your eyes and brace yourself for the inevitable impact.
A violent jolt...
The sound of the ground cracking...
The feeling of your every bone and joint screaming in agony as they are subjected to forces they were never meant to withstand...
...all sensations that you, much to your surprise, do not experience. You don't even feel the air rushing past you, or any other sign that you're even still falling.
Daring to open your eyes, you see the reason for this lack of falling-related sensations is that you are, in fact, no longer falling, but now slowly lowering.
“Ha! Still got it!” you hear Yuugi say upon her feet touching the ground. “You guys okay?”
“Huh? Um, yeah?”
“What was that!?”
“What was what?” Yuugi asks the purple-haired woman in her other arm/
“That!” Rikako replies, making some gesture with her hands that does little to clarify her meaning. “This! I was under the impression you were going to fly, not jump!”
“Oh, that?” the Oni woman says, casually, as if leaping through the air the way she did was a perfectly normal and mundane thing. Of course, for all you know, it may very well be just that. “Nah, flyin's too easy! Gotta make it interesting, ya know?”
“You could have at least warned us that-”
“Anyway, that's enough of a warm-up!” Yuugi continues, not paying any attention to her passenger. “Now we're really gonna start movin'!”
“Hey! Don't just ignore uAAAAHHH!”
Before Rikako can finish speaking, your group is once again jolted upward. The ground falls away, buildings shrink, and your stomach lurches as you climb into the air. As you reach the apex, you look down and see Tenshi and Parsee flying your way.
“Yuugi! They're catching up!” you warn, eliciting a hearty laugh from the Oni.
“Not for long, they're not!”
As you begin to descend, you wonder what she could possibly mean by that. Not only do those two look as if they are flying at a pretty decent pace, but as far as you can tell you haven't even moved that far in this jump, with your group falling towards a rooftop not too far from you had landed before.
You do not have to wait long for an answer.
Landing with considerably more force than before, your ears barely have time to register the sickening crunch of tiles beneath the Oni's feet before your body is jerked forward, and the ground and buildings just beneath you begin to rush by at incredible speed. For a moment, you wonder if Yuugi changed her mind about flying. You would ask her, but you doubt she would hear you over the sound of her own laughter.
Opting, instead, to simply continue watching as rooftops zip past below, you begin to notice your carrier's legs moving occasionally, and a fleeting cracking sound that seems to accompany each movement.
It is at that moment that you realize Yuugi is not actually flying over the rooftops of the city, but running and hopping across and over them, bounding from one to another like they were stepping stones. Large, artificially-made stepping stones, that seem to break when stepped upon.
You don't have long to ponder the trail of damaged rooftops you have left in your wake, however, before you find yourselves at the outskirts of the the city. Ancient buildings give way to ancient rock formations, the walls and ceiling gradually begin to close in, and the warm light of lanterns is soon replaced by the dim and eerie glow of the caves.
With no more rooftops to leap from, Yuugi's feet finally regain contact with the ground. Rather than continue onward, though, the Oni suddenly skids to a halt, and turns back towards the now-distant city, as if to admire her work. Or, perhaps, to say goodbye.
Though you no longer hear her laughing, you think you see a smile out of the corner of your eye, as you crane your neck around to look up at the Oni's face.
“Hm? Yeah, kiddo?” you hear her respond, still gazing at the city.
“Aww, that was nothin'.” Yuugi replies, her voice carrying not even a hint of false humility.
“No, really! That was amazing how we were all vwoosh and those roofs were all ker-rack, and not once did I think I was going to die or anything!” you say with adrenaline-fueled enthusiasm.
You think you hear Rikako quietly half-mutter, half-groan something along the lines of 'speak for yourself' but you know she was probably just agreeing with you.
“Well, thanks, kiddo. But the fun part's just comin' up!” the Oni says, turning you all towards the barely-lit tunnel. “We're goin' to the bridge, remember?”
“You...don't intend to run all the way there, do you?” Rikako asks, weakly.
“Ha! 'Course I do! But that ain't the fun part!” Yuugi says cheerfully.
“What's the 'fun' part?”
“I don't know how to get there!”
“You...what.” you hear Rikako say, seemingly flabbergasted that anyone could so proudly declare they have no idea of what they're doing, least of all when what they're doing is running blindly through a network of dark and treacherous cave tunnels.
“Well, y'see, I never really tried goin' back up after movin' down here. No reason to, y'know? So I only really know these caves goin' one way. But, hey, I figure all I gotta do is go the way I remember comin' down, but in reverse!”
“That makes sense.” you say, nodding in agreement. Lacking any personal experience in cave exploration, you suppose it only makes sense that reversing the route you took to go down into a cave would lead you out of that cave. Barring, of course, any changes that may have taken place inside the cave between your going down into it and your attempting to leave.
“Ah, how long ago was it that you first came down here?” asks Rikako, apparently thinking along the same lines as you were at that moment.
“Oh, I dunno. Not long enough that I would forget the trip down, I can tell ya! Five hundred years, just about!”
“...five hundred years.”
“Yep! ...or was it seven?”
“Well, okay, I don't quite remember exactly when, but it's somewhere in that range. Give or take. Anyway, it'll be fine! A few fallen rocks and collapsed tunnels here and there, maybe, but other than that it should be all just like I remember it!”
“You don't suppose it would be wise to wait and-”
“Well! Enough talk, we got a race to win!” Yuugi declares, cutting off her worried-sounding passenger.
Without any further warning, you and the others are once again violently jolted as Yuugi breaks into a sprint and plunges you all head-first into the darkness of the tunnels.
Though you can see very little aside from the dark, blurred shapes of rocks rushing past you, you feel the impact of each step through your entire body, as the thundering crack of shoe on stone echoes through the narrow confines of the tunnel.
Though your eyes quickly grow accustomed to the lower level of light, you still have difficulty seeing too far ahead, with much of what you are able to see passing you by as soon as you realize you've seen it.
Even squinting your eyes does little to help you see more than a little bit further, with what you are able to make out of the path ahead ending in a solid wall of black.
A wall that is very quickly increasing in size.
And getting closer.
Very, very quickly.
Just as you begin to think there is either something wrong with this, or your vision, you hear Yuugi suddenly yell something.
“WATCH YER HEADS!”
As you feel Yuugi's body begin to lean forward, you become aware of two possibly-alarming facts:
That solid wall of black you were seeing was, in fact, a solid wall of rock.
...and it feels like Yuugi is running a lot faster than she was just a moment ago.
[ ] OH NO.
[ ] OH YEAH!
[ ] OH NO!
[ ] OOOOOOOOOOOOOOH YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH!
Apologies for the delay. I caught a bitch of a cold a couple days ago, so writing time had to be replaced by "try to get as much sleep as possible despite waking up three times during the night because I can't fucking breathe" time for a little bit.
You know, when you think about it, Parsee's one hell of a tragic figure: her suffering caused a very literal split personality disorder that assured her nothing but failure in everything she ever tries, either good or bad. Parsee will never find peace or even a moment's rest when she herself is her worst rival.
At least Yuugi is happy. You know, a Deva of the mountain in name only, quite the useless title if it's only useful as a constant reminder of a place she can never see again. She lives now underground, sorrounded by the lowest of Youkai and by what remains of her breathen, pitful shadows of their former selves I might add, exilied by the deceitful humans whom they once thought of as good rivals.
And let's not forget about Komeiji (The elder) Hated for using an ability that is as voluntary as breathing. She can read minds but not hearts, and thus, that sad-eyed girl that no-one loves, will never understand them.
What about her younger sister? The girl that denied herself and turned mad? She gave back the fruit of the tree of knoweldge and exchanged rationality for happiness; I personally believe she still remains human enough to understand and mourn for what she has lost.
Medicine? In a journey to defend pieces of plastic and wood so that she might forget about her terrible loneliness for a second. Rikako? A great scientist in a land where everything she worked for is worthless and everything she believed in is fiction.
>>151947 Actually, he's sort of right. In at least the DSIware and 3DS versions, it's 'oh yeah'. I was thrown off the first time I saw it, but I suppose it's appropriate as he does bust through a door at one point.
>>151895 Actually, I wouldn't be surpsied if she herself is possessed as well. Looking at the way her other voice speaks, and then compare it to how the other entities inside of the MC talk. Parsee's "Other Half" starts to resemble a more 'developed' version of that. In which case, knocking her out and taking her with us just in case sounds like a reasonable course of action.
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“Oh no!” you hear Rikako say, realizing what was about to occur.
“Oh yeah!” you say, realizing the same thing.
“OH YEAH!” Yuugi shouts, angling her head to point her horn directly forward.
“OH YEAH!” you reply.
Still shouting in unison with you, Yuugi slams into the rocky wall head-on. A thunderous crack can be heard as Oni horn pierces the stone, followed by deafening blast of pressure that you feel as much as hear. Closing your eyes, you duck your head down just in time to feel a spray of rock fragments bounce off of you. Your body shakes, your ears pop, and you think you even feel your bones vibrating a little.
And then, nothing.
No violent shaking.
No feeling of rocks breaking and bouncing off of your skull.
Just a loud, steady ringing in your ears, and the rhythmic pounding of Yuugi's feet on the ground.
As your hearing begins to return, you can hear Yuugi laughing heartily.
Though you realize that such a thing as what you just experienced is probably nothing to the average Oni, you still can't help but be impressed that she could laugh like that after ramming her head through a wall of solid rock. Horn first, no less!
While you ponder just how strong the skull and horns of an Oni are, you almost fail to notice Yuugi beginning to lean her body forward once again, the quickening of her footsteps, and the rapidly-approaching wall of darkness she was braced to collide with.
This process repeats itself no fewer than four times, though with all the shaking and noise interfering with your concentration, you may have lost count somewhere along the way.
Regardless, after a final push through a particularly formidable-looking caved-in passageway, your little band suddenly finds itself airborne over a large chasm Glancing around, you see it:
You did it! You actually did it!
Not under your own power, really, but you still did it!
From the deepest, darkest depths of the Earth, you have risen up! Climbing and crawling and digging your way up from the stuffy confines of the caves and into the open air of...the cave.
You're still in the cave.
Still in the dark.
But it's closer to the surface than you were before, and that's close enough to progress for you, damn it!
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“Damn it! Where did they go?!”
Seriously! What is with those morons?!
They make it sound like they're going to try to get out of here, and they just-
“...what the hell are they even doing?!”
“She jumped. They jumped. You do know what that is, don't you?”
“Tch. Shut up.”
And, of course, they leave me with Miss Personality here!
What is with her, anyway?!
One minute she's all pathetic and mopey, and now she's back to being the world's biggest bitch!
It's like every fiber of her being has been specifically crafted for the sole purpose of pissing me off.
“Oh, there they are.”
“I see that.”
As if I couldn't!
As if anyone couldn't!
“What are those idiots doing?! Hopping around like that?!”
“Well, she did make it sound like this was a race. Hm~. Maybe this is how she intends to make it fair.”
“Well, maybe she thinks someone needs that much help. ...is what I would have said, but it looks like she's actually running now.”
There's no way they would be-
...but they are.
Of course they are.
Across the rooftops.
Stupid running idiots.
“Of course, if it would still bother you, maybe I'll go ahead and say it anyway.”
Damn it all.
She's pissing me off.
She wants to piss me off.
And that just pisses me off even more!
“Oh, I can hardly see them now. Are you sure this doesn't bother you? Hm?”
Of course not!
Why would it bother me?
What's to be bothered by?
That stupid Oni wants to have some stupid race that she thinks she's going to win because she's an Oni so that obviously means she's so much better, so of course she's going to win because she's a stupid Oni and all they ever do is drink and win and laugh as they move in and make themselves at home and eat MY peach that I was saving and acts like it's no big deal because 'oh you have plenty of those things anyway' with that stupid 'nyahaha' even though that peach was specifically MINE and it's the principle of the thing but they don't care because even if they give you a rematch they know they're going to win anyway and that's what they do and like HELL am I going to let ANOTHER one rub it in my face!
“For not being bothered by any of this, you seem to be quickening your pace. Why could that b-”
“What's the fastest way out of here?”
“Oh~? Looks like somebody is-”
“WHAT. IS. THE. FASTEST. WAY.”
I am so not in the mood for this crap right now.
Not from her.
Not from them.
“H-hey! Let go of me! What are you doiAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!”
As Yuugi flies your group closer to the bridge, you are honestly surprised to find that you are not the first ones to have made it.
Seated on the railing, Tenshi sits with her arms crossed, somehow managing to look simultaneously annoyed yet pleased, not to mention somewhat more disheavled in apperance than you remember.
For a momement, you worry that Parsee didn't make it, but as you come in to land, you spot her curled up in a ball on the floor not too far from the Celestial, her clothes and hair looking just as mussed-up as Tenshi's.
“Not bad! Not bad!” Yuugi laughs, as you feel her feet settle onto the surface of the bridge. “Looks like ya really went all-out!”
With an indignant 'hrmph', Tenshi flicks some of her hair over her shoulder, sending a small puff of dust and what look like pebbles flying in the process. “That? Ha! That was nothing!”
Although being covered in dust and needing to pick small pieces of rock of your hair hardly seems like the result of anything you would consider 'nothing', you think it best to not say as much, especially since your own state is hardly any better.
Though curious as to exactly what they did to get there before you, the way Parsee was currently rocking back and forth on the ground while mumbling incoherently to herself suggests that it's not a subject you should broach just yet.
Sorry, guys, I've been slacking off lately.
I'm able to write a little, bit by bit, but every time I try to get something seriously done, a little voice starts talking to me. It tells me terrible things.
"Writing? That can wait! You have three more routes to clear!"
"Update? Sure, just as soon as you get that one ending you missed!"
"How is is the next meeting with Yuuka going to play out? Wouldn't you rather think about how great a Miki route would be? Let's think about that instead!"
It took some effort, but I believe I have managed to shove most of those thoughts out of my mind, save for this strangely-persistent craving I now have for bacon.
With any luck, an update should be ready either tomorrow or the day after. Probably.
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“Would you please let me down, now?” you hear Rikako ask, weakly.
“Huh? Oh! Haha! Right, right.”
Chuckling to herself, you feel Yuugi's body lean over slightly, followed by the sound of Rikako's unsteady footsteps as her feet make contact with the wooden surface of the bridge. As lab coat-clad woman takes a few wobbling steps towards the nearest railing, you briefly consider asking if she was alright, but decide against it. Partly, it is because you are unsure she would appreciate being asked a question with such a blatantly obvious answer.
“Hey, ya feelin' alright?”
...but, mostly, it's because Yuugi already beat you to the punch.
“Oh. Fine. I'm fine.” Rikako replies, leaning on the railing for support while looking as if she were ready to puke at any moment. “I think I just felt a few organs dislodge back there, is all. Nothing vital, but...eugh...”
Though she attempts to continue speaking, her words are quickly reduced to little more than unintelligible groans and mumblings as she leans her head over the side of the railing, though you think you catch something about 'stabilizers' and 'shock absorbers' in there, somewhere.
Whatever those things are.
With another hearty laugh, Yuugi offers an amused yet sincere apology as she lowers you and Medicine to the ground, before going over to the now-retching woman and offering to hold her hair back for her.
It's a nice gesture, you suppose, though you're not quite certain if it's meant to be an attempt to make amends for the rough ride, or if that's just the sort of thing that's considered common courtesy down here. Just how common is it for Oni to drink themselves to the point of vomiting? In the event that one does do such a thing, how likely is it that anybody else would be there to help? More to the point, if there were others around, just how many of them would not be too busy laughing to bother to help?
These are the sorts of questions that haunt you when you're alone and all the lights are out.
Except, of course, the lights aren't completely out.
You're not really alone, either.
Though Rikako and Yuugi seem to be occupied for the moment, Tenshi doesn't seem to be doing anything other than looking pleased with herself. The same could be said for Parsee, as well, though in her case she doesn't exactly look 'pleased' so much as 'horrifically traumatized'.
Now that you think about it, Medicine has been rather quiet, too.
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Although your little companion is still in your arms, and you feel relatively certain there is nothing to worry about, you nevertheless find her silence to be mildly disconcerting.
“...yeah?” you hear the doll in your arms reply, much to your relief.
“Are you okay? You've been kinda quiet.”
“...huh? Oh, uh, yeah...yeah...” the little doll-girl says, distractedly.
Is she not feeling well, you wonder?
You feel fine, as far as you can tell, so you had not really considered the possibility that the others may not have fared as well from that mad-dash through the caves.
The sounds of Rikako's dry-heaving over the railing of the bridge, however, tell you that this is clearly not the case.
Would Medicine get sick from something like that, though?
Is that even possible?
You don't really know how anyone could have an upset stomach when they don't even have a stomach to upset, but you suppose far stranger things have happened.
The image of the man eating his own head is one that you have never been able to fully purge from your mind.
With a barely-suppressed shudder, you bring your thoughts back to the present.
“I mean, are you feeling okay? You're not sick or anything, are you?”
“Um...I dunno...” she says, apparently needing to give the matter some thought.
“Should I let you go, now?” you ask, now wondering if you may have accidentally held her too tightly. Again, you're not sure how much of a problem that could be, but you wonder if you shouldn't err on the side of caution, just in case.
After a long pause, you see Medicine's head make the slightest of nods.
Making sure to move as slowly and carefully as possible, you gently lower her to ground, releasing your hold when you are certain her feet have made contact with the surface of the bridge.
“U-um, Su-san is...” you hear Medicine quietly say, apparently still talking to you despite not turning around to face you, for some reason.
Though you would never forget the smaller doll of the duo, especially when you can still feel her tightly gripping your collar and part of your ear, it is only now that you realize that she has also been rather quiet throughout your trip through the caves.
Then again, she's pretty much always like that, so you really aren't sure how much of a cause for concern that really is.
Looking over at your shoulder, you catch sight of the little doll out of the corner of your eye, still perched upon your shoulder, though no longer sitting on it so much as desperately clinging for dear life.
“...I don't think Su-san likes going fast very much.” you hear Medicine quietly explain.
While you found the ride enjoyable, yourself, you can still see how one might find the experience of charging through a dark cave with reckless abandon and getting pelted with rocks whenever you crashed through a wall or collapsed tunnel more than a little unnerving. Especially when the rocks hitting you, while small by your own standards, were easily the size of the smaller doll's head.
When you think about it, it's actually quite amazing she wasn't knocked off anywhere along the way, lost in the darkness of the cave.
The remarkable death-grip she currently has on you may have had something to do with that.
Deciding to take a chance, you cautiously bring your hand up to your shoulder and gently poke the little doll, but see no response beyond a small puff of purplish smoke rising from her head.
“Um, I'm sure she's fine, Medi.” you say with a tone so unconvincing that not even you really believe it. “She's probably just, uh, resting. Yeah, resting.”
“Yep! Resting! You can do that, right? Resting? Because that's probably what she's doing. Resting, that is.”
She is surely just resting.
Taking a nap.
A little doll-nap.
Even if that was not true, you're sure she will snap out of it, anyway.
You just hope it will be in open-air, and away from anyone's eyes when it happens.
Making a mental note to try to remain downwind from everyone else until your little passenger wakes up, you turn your attention towards a certain Celestial...
>>152560 Maybe it's the lack of sleep, the limited ability of text to convey tone and intent on the internet, or just the bizarre notion of being thanked for taking too long to complete and post an update, but I honestly can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not.
Perhaps you're not. After all, I still have trouble believing anyone is actually serious when they complain about stories updating too quickly. I mean, that's just crazy talk.
Still, in the event that you actually are serious, you'll be happy to know that you have another whole day to properly prepare yourself for whatever it is you're anticipating that I will probably fail to deliver upon.
Unless, of course, all you are expecting is an update with Tenshi in it, because it will have that.
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Still seated on the railing, Tenshi seems to have been alternating between watching your dealing with the dolls and Rikako losing her breakfast with varying degrees of interest and disgust. Upon realizing that she, herself, was being watched, you notice her posture straighten slightly as she adopts a look of feigned disinterest mixed with genuine smugness.
“Well?” she suddenly says in that way that people often do when they clearly expect you to say something and feel you are taking entirely too long to say it..
That you have no clue what you were expected to say does not help matters.
“Uh, 'well' what?” you ask, hoping for some sort of clue as to what, exactly, she's wants to hear.
All you get, though, is a look from the Celestial that gives you the distinct impression that whatever it was, that question was not it.
Loudly clearing her throat, Tenshi tilts her head slightly while continuing to glare at you. Combined with the way her arms were folded, she gives off an almost perfect image of someone impatiently waiting for something. Which, of course, she was.
The only way the look could be more complete would be if she were also tapping her foot on the ground, and were she currently standing rather than sitting, you have no doubt that's exactly what she would be doing.
She stares at you.
You stare at her.
She stares at you staring at her.
As you stare at her staring at you staring at her, a sudden thought crosses your mind.
“Oh!” you say, wondering how you could fail to realize something so obvious. “You're sitting on the railing! You probably shouldn't do that!”
“...what.” Tenshi replies, looking as if you had just said the stupidest possible thing you could have said.
But it's not!
It's a perfectly reasonable observation.
Realizing that some clarification may be necessary, you continue.
“It's just that it's dangerous, you know? You might fall or something!”
“...fall.” she says, flatly.
“Yeah, fall! I mean, sure, you can fly, but that doesn't mean that you couldn't still get hurt if you, uh...um...hit the... ground? Or, maybe, uh...huh.” you say, realizing a little too late that, yes, that really was the stupidest thing you could have said at that moment.
Well, not the stupidest thing, you're sure.
If nothing else, you like to believe you're always open to the possibility of surpassing yourself, for better or worse.
Still, this might not be the best time to see how deep a hole you can dig for yourself
You need to shift gears, preferably to something less absurd than the suggestion that a quasi-immortal being with the ability to fly would ever have to worry about falling and hurting herself...
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Quick! a little voice in your head says to you. Praise her for winning!
Winning? Well, you do suppose that there was a race going on, if only between Tenshi and Yuugi.
And, as far as you can tell, Tenshi did arrive at the bridge before your group did, meaning she was the winner of that race.
That is surely worthy of some sort of acknowledgment and praise, isn't it?
Though the success rate for ideas acquired from voices in your head has proven to be spotty, at best, you can see no flaws in this particular suggestion. Hell, it may very well have been something that you would have come up with on your own!
Assuming, of course, that you haven't come up with it on your own. Which you have. Totally.
“Oh yeah! Congratulations on your victory!”
For a moment, Tenshi just stares at you blankly, as if unsure that she heard you properly. Before long, though, realization eventually sinks in. In an instant, a variety of moods and expressions play across her face, too subtle and fleeting to identify yet distinctive enough to notice.
“O-oh? Well!” the Celestial finally replies, having apparently decided to try to conceal her surprise despite not doing a good job of it. “Of course! As if there was any doubt what would happen!”
“What did happen?” you ask, genuinely curious as to just how she managed to beat you here. “Besides winning, I mean.”
“Oh? What's that? You want to know how I beat you? Here?” Tenshi says, any traces of her previous irritation having completely vanished. On the contrary, she seems to be quite enjoying herself, now. A lot. “Well, I don't know... Some things should just be accepted for what they are, rather than-”
“She took out that glowing pig-sticker of hers and smashed through every fucking rock between here and the city, is what she fucking did.”
“Oh, great, you're awake.” Tenshi scoffs at the bridge princess, who was now carefully rising to her feet.
“No thanks to you.” Parsee hisses, holding onto the railing for support. “That's the second time today I thought I was going to die!”
“And yet, you live to whine another day. How wonderful.” Tenshi retorts, sarcasm dripping from every word. “You're welcome, by the way!”
“Parsee? Are you feeling okay now?” you ask, deciding to risk stepping in before either of them get too carried away. Not that you could do anything to actually stop them, of course, but you can at least try to distract them from each other.
“Ah, w-well, yes...a little...” Parsee replies, her tone and demeanor drastically changing as she looks from Tenshi to you. Switching from bitter and spiteful to shy and pleasant with such speed it makes your neck ache, you're not sure if these mood swings are something you'll ever truly get used to. “I think being back here is helping me, a little. ...of course, if someone actually listened to me when she was dragging me back here...”
Annnnnd there goes your neck again.
“Listen? To what?! You screaming like a baby over a few little broken rocks? Psh! Some guide you turned out to be!”
“You almost brought the fucking cave down on us, you crazy bitch!”
“Yeah? So?” Tenshi says, crossing her arms, and making no attempt at all to refute the charges against her. “I didn't, we won, and here you are complaining about it!”
“Because you almost. Fucking. Killed us!”
“I see you talking, but all I hear is 'WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!' Move on already! Sheesh!”
As this back-and-forth between them continues, you wonder if you should even bother trying to intervene, or simply sit back and enjoy the show. Then again, you could probably just start walking and hope they'll follow along, arguing or not.
[ ] Attempt to defuse the situation. Can't we all just get along?
[ ] Attempt to escalate the situation. Here's the knife, do something with the knife.
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“Well, the important thing is that you both got here, and you're safe now, right?” you say, stepping in between the bickering duo. Though you doubt they'll escalate things in any significant way, you get the feeling they're going to need all the energy they've got for what's waiting for you on the surface.
“First.” Tenshi says, a hint of smugness returning to her voice as she looks at you. “We got here first.”
“Yes. Yes you did.” you nod, agreeing with this statement of a fact you were already aware of.
“...and?” the Celestial asks, expectantly.
“Umm...” you pause, unsure of what she was wanting you to say, this time. “Congratulations? Again?”
Once again, Tenshi folds her arms and gives you that look that tells you that you gave the wrong answer. As for what that answer might be, however, you have no clue.
Fortunately, you soon realize that a clue isn't even necessary.
“We won. I won.” Tenshi says slowly, seemingly more than willing to spell out the answer for you. “Winners get something for winning.”
So she wants a prize?
Well, she did win the race, so it seems only fair, though you don't know what you could possibly give her that she would want.
Rock-throwing lessons, perhaps?
Though beating an Oni in a contest of any sort is certainly impressive, that might be too great a prize for a contest such as this.
Deciding that the victor should be able to declare her own reward, you ask Tenshi what she might want as a prize, only to have her scoff and turn her head away.
“Ha! As if you have anything I want!” she says, sounding almost proud of that fact. For a moment, you think that's all she has to say on the matter, until you hear a rushed and semi-mumbled “...I'll think of something later.”
“Fair enough.” you say, with a shrug. You can't deny that you are seriously lacking in anything you could give away, at the moment. You didn't have all that much on you before you came into this cave, and while you did manage to score a nice robe out of the deal, you don't even have the clothes you once wore on your back.
Well, technically you still did, even if they were now much smaller and darker than they once were.
Also, burnt beyond all recognition. That, you feel, is an especially significant difference.
But now was not the time to dwell on the past, or on what was lost!
Look to the future! Live in the now!
If only because doing it the other way around doesn't really work so well!
With Tenshi's prize yet to be determined, your attention now turns to the other winner of the race, even if her contribution to their victory was limited to screaming in terror as a competition-crazed Celestial forcibly dragged her through the tunnels while smashing through anything that got in her way.
Now that you think of it, that sort of thing probably warrants a reward of some sort, regardless of whether or not they won.
Hopefully, I will be able to update tomorrow night.
This has been a very strange week.
In the meantime, I'm considering combining the votes, but before I do I would like to ask if there is any particular intent behind the "DEMAND" vote that I should be aware of, or should I just assume it means what I think it means and run with it?
Either way, I can promise you that nothing bad will happen as a result of your actions, so no worries there.
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Before the bridge princess can react, you swoop down upon her and throw your arms around her.
At first, Parsee does not respond aside from making a strange sputtering sound that you suspect is due to her surprise at being hugged so suddenly. Or, possibly because you are hugging her so tightly you have forced the air from her lungs, rendering her incapable of making any other sort of sound, which may or many not also be surprising to her.
To your relief, the possibility of hug-related suffocation is quickly dismissed by a quietly uttered “...thanks.”
Slowly, you feel a pair of arms gently make their way up to your back as your hug is returned, albeit with slightly less enthusiasm.
“As for your prize...”
“No, please, y-you've done enough for-” Parsee interrupts, pulling away from you slightly.
“You get to come with us!” you continue, undaunted.
Parsee's eyes stare into your own, a pained expression clouding her features. “L-look I told you, I can't, I jus-”
“And I'm telling you, you're coming with us, Parsee.” you say firmly, even as a strange feeling of discomfort begins building up in your chest.
“Don't. P-please, don't do this.”
“You're coming with us.”
“Don't do this to me.”
“You're definitely coming with us.”
“I can't! Please!”
“Yes you can!”
“I'll stop when you say you're coming with us.”
“Sure you can! Just say 'I am coming with you'!”
Tightly clutching the sleeves of your robe, Parsee shakes her head as tears well up in her eyes, you can't help but feel kinda bad about being so insistent on something you know she considers to be impossible.
As far as she knows, she's stuck here. For you to continue pressing her on this matter is probably rather insensitive, on your part. Cruel, even.
Yet, your persist.
You do not relent.
...could this be what they mean by “tough love”?
In any case, you stand resolute, even against the protests of your own conscience, because you know this is what you must do.
No matter what she feels, believes, or even knows about the forces binding her here, you know something just as compelling.
There is another way. There must be another way!
“Why do you keep saying you can't, Parsee?”
“You know why!”
“The bridge, right?”
“Yes, goddamn it, yes! I-”
Ugh! Will you stop with the pathetic excuses, already?!” you hear Tenshi suddenly interject, her words punctuated by the sound of her boot stomping on the bridge.
“It's not an excuse!” Parsee fires back, a flicker of anger appearing in her eyes.
“Oh, right. 'I can't do anything because my rotting pile of moldy wood won't let me!' You're pathetic.”
“It's not-...I mean, I'm not-”
“You're being held back by a bunch of wood, you dumbass!” Tenshi snaps, stomping her boot again for emphasis. “You don't get more pathetic than that!”
“Look, you little bitch-”
“Hold on, she's got a point!” you say loudly enough to grab Parsee's attention. “I mean, it's just a bridge!”
“Just a bridge?!” Parsee exclaims, looking more than little indignant at your remark. “This is my fucking life, here!”
“So do something with it!” Tenshi snorts.
“Fuck you, you-”
“No, no, she's right!” you interrupt once again, feeling a sudden stroke of inspiration. “What if we did something with the bridge?”
Furrowing her brow, Parsee looks at you incredulously.
“Now, just hear me out. The bridge is here, right? And the bridge is what is keeping you here, right?” you say, waiting for Parsee's uncertain nod before continuing. “Well, if you're stuck here because the bridge is here, what if we did something to make the bridge not be here? Like, move it, or something.”
“No, no, I can't. You can't. It has to-”
“I don't mean the whole thing, of course! Just a piece of it, or something like that.”
“How about a lot of pieces?” Tenshi says, now brandishing her sword for some reason.
“Yeah, a bunch of pieces, maybe.” you say, nodding in agreement. “Something small and easy to carry would be good, too. What do you think about that, Par-” you suddenly stop yourself as you notice Parsee's eyes widen. Following her gaze, you turn around just in time to see Tenshi thrust her sword down into the bridge.
It's the last thing you see before the floor beneath you disappears.
Well, 'disappear' might not be the most accurate description, you think to yourself.
After all, even though you can no longer see a floor beneath your feet, you do see what used to be a floor there.
You see a lot of things that used to be the floor, actually.
Here, there, everywhere...
Yes, the floor certainly did not 'disappear' so much as 'change', much like how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, but with less waiting around in a cocoon and a lot more getting blown up into a bunch of tiny little pieces.
By a sword.
How does that even work, anyway?!
Not that it really matters, of course. You have more important things to worry about.
Things like the fact that the bridge that was once beneath you is no longer there.
That black, yawning chasm that the mass-of-splinters-formerly-known-as-a-bridge was keeping you from falling into, on the other hand?
Gravity? Also still around, if the sudden sensation of falling was any indication, which it usually is.
Acting on instinct, as most are known to do in such situations, you try to grab a hold of anything you can to stop yourself from plunging into the dark abyss below. It is a task made substantially easier by the fact that you are already holding onto something. Or, rather, someone.
“W-wah?! What the fuck?!” you hear Parsee yell, as you close your eyes and tightly clamp your arms around her. “What the fuck?!
Feeling something warm and soft pressed against your face, a wave of relief washes over you as you no longer feel yourself falling. Though your dangling legs remind you that you still can't afford to relax just yet, the sensation of Parsee's body against you is still somehow comforting.
“My bridge! My bridge! What the fuck?!”
“Uh, Parsee?” you call out to the woman whose body you were now slowly sliding down. Apparently, despite how tight your own grip may be, it is not quite enough to counter the forces of gravity acting upon you
“You! You! You fucking bitch” the now bridge-less bridge princess screams, so consumed with rage that she apparently does not notice the guy desperately clinging to her for dear life, let alone consider how her assistance might be useful in some way.
An understandable oversight, you suppose, given the sudden and violent nature of her loss, but one you would feel more sympathetic towards were you not the one desperately clinging to her.
“Hey, Parsee!” you call out more forcefully, not at all eager to see if it will be your strength or her clothes which ultimately be the first to give out and send you plummeting to your untimely demise.
Much to your dismay, though, Parsee simply continues screaming in what you assume is Tenshi's general direction, neither of whom seem at all concerned about your plight. If you did not know any better, you would go so far as to say they didn't even seem to be aware of it.
But how could they not, aside from being precisely the sort of people who would fail to notice something like that when distracted by other matters?
And so, here you are. Desperately hugging yourself against an enraged bridge princess who seems utterly oblivious to how close she is to having an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction, while the chasm below you feels as if it were trying to drag you down into its depths...
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As you valiantly continue in your seemingly-futile struggle against the dark forces of gravity that seek to bring your journey to an end, you weigh these two options in your mind.
To an ordinary man, such a thing would be unnecessary, with the proper course of action obviously being the one that does not carry the consequence of death with it.
Good thing you are no ordinary man, then!
Sure, you could hang on as you are, clinging to the suddenly bridge-less bridge princess until someone notices your plight and actually helps you, but what if they don't? Or, at least fail to notice before some of Parsee's clothes either tear or come undone, sending you plummeting while Parsee is left to wonder where that sudden draft was coming from.
Odds are, someone would be bound to notice something was amiss at that point.
It might be too late to do anything about it, but they would almost certainly notice.
Yes, an ordinary man would be satisfied with that course of action.
Even when the worst finally happened, and they found themselves clutching Parsee's skirt like a child holds a security blanket, screaming and weeping and sobbing as they plunge into the inky dark abyss below, they could at least feel confident that their choice was the right one.
...even if it was not?
Sure, it seems only natural to do whatever you can to continue living, but must it be at the expense of others? Is extending your own life, however briefly, truly worth the cost?
On the one hand, you might buy yourself a few precious seconds, or even minutes if you were lucky.
On the other hand, Parsee's clothing would be ruined for a much greater length of time. Be it due to tearing, or becoming stained by the splatter of blood and gore that will surely erupt from your broken body as it crashes into the jagged rocks below, her clothes will be damaged in a way that cannot be undone without a great deal of sewing or washing.
Truly, were you not going to die in the process, you are not sure you would ever be able to allow yourself to live with such a thing on your conscience!
That's why you'll...!
What if it hurts?
Well, of course, it probably would. Nothing that kills you is usually pleasant
But what if it really hurts?
Like really, really, really hurts?
What if you make a mistake, you don't die instantly, and you're left helpless and in excruciating agony?
You're not sure how one could screw up something as simple as falling to their death, though.
It's not like you have to really do anything.
Not flying, perhaps, but that's never been a problem for you.
Still, perhaps that is reason enough to not take such a risk?
Perhaps the best thing to do really is to just hold on, and wait for someone to notice you?
Yes, that is what you will do.
Even though somebody should have noticed you by now, right?
...why haven't they noticed?
Why hasn't anyone noticed?!
They should notice.
They should definitely notice!
You're right there, aren't you?
You want them to notice.
Of course you want them to notice!
It's not like you want to fall into that pit, or anything!
Falling would be bad.
Very very bad.
So someone should notice you.
Someone should definitely notice you!
Someone should help you.
You would be very grateful if they did.
Who should it be?
...you're not sure if it really matters who it is, just so long as they-
Suddenly, you feel yourself violently jolted downward, as if a lead weight had been tied to your ankles and suddenly let go. Unable to maintain your grip, you can do nothing but flail your hands about as you feel yourself drop.
It is only through sheer luck that you manage to grab Parsee's ankles in time.
Who should it be?
You're not sure why you would be wondering such a thing at a time like this, but
Who should it be?
you're equally uncertain why you would now be feeling a tugging sensation on your ankles, almost as if
Who should it be?
some unseen force were pulling on them, but you have a feeling that it's not going to get any better unless
Who should it be?
you answer the single question that has annoyingly rooted itself in your mind for some reason.
NOW NOW NOW
NOW NOW NOW
NOW NOW NOW
NOW NOW NOW
NOW NOW NOW
“...-out a lot of pieces?”
“Yeah, a bunch of pieces, maybe.”
No sooner does the child's companion begin to regain her...composure, that she finds herself assaulted by the tedious babblings of fools and imbeciles.
She knows not why they have stopped, nor does she care. The simple fact that they are no longer careening through the caverns with reckless abandon like the dullards they are, with nary a thought that one such as she might be damaged in the process, is a small blessing in itself.
“Something small and easy to carry would be good, too. What do you think about that, Par-”
Why, then, they must insist on destroying what could have served as a rare moment of peace and tranquility with their obnoxious meat-flappings?
It is not as if they even ever say anything of great importance, for all the air they expend in the effort. Why do they not simply WHAT is that one doing with that ridiculousFOOL STUPID PEACH-ADORNED TART DO NOT DARE-
“What the fuck?! What the fuck?!”
She did it.
That empty-headed, sword-flailing, loud-mouthed fruit-picker just destroyed what appeared to be a bridge.
A bridge upon which this small herd of useless creatures and future poison depositories were standing.
”Were”, in this instance, being the operative word.
Why the impudent strumpet thought it prudent to perform such a baffling display of blatant stupidity, she immediately decides is irrelevant. All that matters is that it is a clear sign that someone has a strong desire to have their next meal poisoned.
...but, of course, there are far more pressing matters to attend to.
Quickly surveying the area, the child's companion assesses the situation.
Now lacking a solid floor beneath them, those with the ability of flight have already taken to the air.
The child is safe, though clearly confused and disoriented. No cause for concern, at the very least.
The fool, to his dubious credit, seemingly possessed enough of a survival instinct to attach himself to something, even if that thing was his would-be assassin mere hours ago.
It would be almost fortunate if the detestable creature were somehow able to accompany them.
If nothing else, it would make punishing both her and the moron she was now bickering with so much more efficient.
The only other thing of note, as far as could be seen, was that the other human was also safe, though apparently the worse for wear as a result of their little trek through the tunnels.
Though human suffering has never been something that has bothered her, she still found herself feeling a sensation vaguely similar to what might almost be considered sympathy at that moment.
...not enough that she would hesitate to poison her at the first provocation, of course, but that does not appear likely to be an issue. Indeed, as creatures go, this particular one has done an adequate job of marking herself as something not needing to be filled with mass quantities of poison as soon as is physically possible.
Not bad, for a human.
As for herself, the child's companion remained safely perched atop the fool's shoulder.
For all of his many shortcomings, it is almost a relief to discover at least one respect in which he is marginally useful.
If only he would-
With a sudden jolt suddenly interrupting her thoughts, the child's companion quickly grasps the fool's ear for support.
What is that idiot doing?! she finds herself wondering, baffled at how any living creature could come so obviously close to meeting their demise without letting out even the slightest sound of alarm.
Even the dumbest beast can emit a cry to signal their life is in danger, and yet this human cannot manage even that much?
Apparently not, as all he seems capable of is quiet mumbling, as if he were in a toxin-induced daze. A state that should not be possible, given his acquired resistance.
Whatever the cause may be, it is irrelevant.
As he is at this moment, he is beyond useless.
The voice continues to ask, whispering in your ear, while something tugs at your ankles insistently.
Slick with perspiration, you begin to feel Parsee's ankles slide away from between your palms.
This isn't good, you think to yourself.
Because it's not.
You're dangling over a large, dark pit of unknown depth.
No one around you seems particularly worried about that fact.
A fact that is, in itself, rather worrying.
Despite your best attempts, no one around you seems to even notice that you're there.
Whether you call out their names, say 'HELP', or clear your throat in an increasingly loud and attention-grabbing manner, no one around you seems to even acknowledge your presence.
If nothing else, you were sure Parsee would have been getting curious about why it felt like someone was tightly gripping her ankles, and yet...nothing.
Are they ignoring you?
Is that it?
Have you done something wrong, and this is their attempt at giving you the silent treatment?
Even if you had done something to deserve such treatment, this seems a little extreme, doesn't it?
This is bad, you decide.
Very, very, very bad.
Try as you might, you don't think you can hold on much longer.
To make matters worse, even your vision seems to be failing, now.
While, mere moments ago, you could see your surroundings with their usual clarity, now you find your sight growing dim and hazy, as if your head had been engulfed in a cloud of fog.
Your hands slip a little more.
Your vision darkens.
Your head pounds.
Pounding, like a pair of fists striking your head.
Tiny, tiny little fists.
Over, and over, and over...
as you feel the pounding continue, you realize something....
Those are fists!
Tiny little doll fists!
Blinking a few times to clear what you assume to be poison from your eyes, you suddenly realize that Su-san was now floating in front of your face, and was for some reason viciously beating on your forehead with all of her little doll-y strength.
“O-ow! Hey, ow! Su-san! What are yo-ow!” you manage to stammer to the little doll assaulting you.
Unsurprisingly, the little doll does not speak, but does respond by halting her not-all-that-painful attack to jolt backwards in surprise. Staring at you for an uncomfortably-long moment, given how close you feel you are to losing your grip on Parsee, Su-san suddenly turns away and snaps her head upwards.
“...h-huh?! AH!” you hear a familiar voice gasp from somewhere above you, as you feel yet another tug as Parsee's ankles finally slip free from your hands.
Before you can even feel yourself begin to fall, however, a small pair of hands suddenly wrap around your wrists
“Human! I got you!” Medicine says, visibly straining to hold you aloft. “Uh, I think!”
“Medi! Thanks! I thought-”
“Ah? Sorry, Human, could you-...huh?” Medicine cuts you off, looking distractedly at the smaller doll hovering in front of your face. “Su-san? What happ- Huh? What do you mean- W-why do you keep yelling like that? Su-san! H-hey!”
Though you can only hear one side of their conversation, such as it was, both Medicine's words and Su-san's overall posture give you the distinct impression that the smaller doll is very angry, for some reason.
“I-I don't know! The peach-lady went and blew up the bridge or something, and then they were yelling, and I didn't know where you and- Right here? Where here? Really? But-!”
“I think they're having a fiiiiiight~!” Koishi whispers into your ear, echoing your sentiments about the scene playing out in front of you. Though part of you feels compelled to try to get involved, you wonder if this isn't the sort of thing that is best sorted out between the two people involved in...wait.
“...Koishi?” you hesitatingly ask, as you become vaguely aware of something wrapped around your abdomen and pressing against your back
“Where have you been?” you calmly ask, looking down to see a pair of legs wrapped around your torso. Holding you from behind like this, their owner giggles as she begins to idly tap her fingers upon your head.
“Weeeeeeeeeeell, I was heeeeere, and theeeere, and over, and under, and in and through and out and and up up UP, and then there was the bridge and the boom and then DOWN down down, except not, because you're not, so I'm not, and she's not, so you won't, and I don't...unless we do~!”
“I don't think I would like that, Koishi.”
“Oh~? You don't want to plunge into the big, dark, gaping hoooooole~?”
“No, falling is bad.”
Well, that's not completely true, of course.
It's not the falling that would be so problematic for you, but the sudden stop at the end.
That's always the killer.
Humming tunelessly to herself, Koishi's finger-tapping begins to take on a strange rhythm that does not appear to match with anything she's humming. After a moment of this, both the humming and tapping come to an abrupt stop, and both of Koishi's hands clap down on the sides of your head.
“Hm~. Yeah, I guess I think I guess I think I think that.” she says, using her hands to tilt your head back, bringing her upside-down face into your view. “That was interesting through, wasn't it?”
“Uh, what was?”
“That~! This~! This-that~!” she cheerfully replies, answering your question without actually answering it. Not that you would expect otherwise. “Oh yeah! I found something innnnnnnnnnnnnnnteresting~!”
“Human, who are you talking toW-WAH?!” Medicine begins to ask, only to yelp in alarm as she suddenly notices the strange girl occupying the space between the two of you. Though her surprise causes her grip on your wrists to loosen, briefly, are relieved when she still maintains her hold on you in spite of the sudden shock of realizing she's holding up two people instead of just one.
“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii~!” Koishi says, raising her head to look at Medicine directly.
“H-huh?! A-ah, w-w-well, um...” Medicine stammers, apparently uncomfortable with how close Koishi's face is to her own. “...eh...h-hello...?”
“I like you~!”
“Eh? A-ha, ah, um...”
Now definitely uncomfortable, Medicine glances down at you and Su-san with an increasingly desperate 'what do I do?! look in her eyes. It is a fleeting look, however, as her expression rapidly shifts from uncomfortable uncertainty to shocked alarm when Koishi leans forward over you and kisses Medicine right on the lips.
As Medicine begins to make strange, incomprehensible noises, pinkish mist wafting out of her ears all the while, Koishi pulls back. Smiling, she licks her lips and then looks back down at you.
“Shee dastes lige burding ad tigling ad I cad feeb my mouf~!”
“That would be because she's poisonous, Koishi.”
“Yoo wadda gibber keeseeys doo~?”
“Shee's a goobgurl ad I ting yoo soob gibber keeseeys for beeng sogoob~!”
Despite her poison-induced numbness causing her to horribly slur her words, you think you have a vague idea what Koishi is talking about.
You're just not sure what you think about the idea....
[ ] She's right! You should gib Medi keeseeys for beeng sogoob!
-- ( ) Shushan, too! Shee needs keeseeys too!
-- ( ) ...but maybe you should get back on solid ground, first?
[ ] Change the subject.
-- ( ) You are still in the middle of the air, and not on the ground. Maybe something should be done about that?
-- ( ) That tugging and pulling you down. Was that really necessary?
-- ( ) Something else entirely
[x] She's right! You should gib Medi keeseeys for beeng sogoob!
-- (x) ...but maybe you should get back on solid ground, first?
[x] Change the subject.
-- (x) That tugging and pulling you down. Was that really necessary?
Su-san shouldn't get any until she learns to ask for it properly.
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You know what? She's right! you think to yourself.
Yes, you should gib keeseeys to Medicine for beeng sogoob!
She deserves it, after all!
You have no idea why your internal monologue started slurring words like Koishi was, but it does nothing to diminish the validity of the point!
But first, you believe, it would be best to get back on solid ground.
Suggesting as much to Medicine, you are slightly dismayed to see she is still rather stunned by Koishi's impromptu display of affection and violation of her personal space.
Setting your sights slightly lower, you manage to make eye-contact with Su-san, and feel a small amount of relief that at least one of the two dolls is still responsive.
Indeed, since Koishi made her presence known to the three of you, Su-san seems far more alert than she did a moment ago. Alert, and very wary of the girl that put her larger counterpart in her current state, if the small doll's posture is any indication.
Floating just outside of what you estimate to be the limit of Koishi's reach, the smaller doll seems to be exhibiting more caution than you would expect from someone whose favored strategy for dealing with threats has generally been, as far as you have seen, along the lines of 'put poison in it until it stops moving'.
“Hey, Su-san?” you say, successfully grabbing the small doll's attention. “We should probably get back onto solid ground, right?”
For a moment, Su-san silently stares at you. Though you realize she cannot really do much else, you can't help but wish she would offer you a nod or shrug or any other indication that she did or did not understand what you were getting at. Fortunately, it appears that she did, as the little doll soon whirls around and looks back up at Medicine. Though she makes no sound that you can hear, you can easily imagine her calling up to the larger doll in an attempt to shake her out of her dazed state. When that fails to achieve the desired effect, Su-san apparently decides to adopt a more direct approach to getting her partner's attention.
'Direct' in this case meaning quickly flying up to the stunned Medicine and planting a solid kick to the side of her head. Though you can't help but wince at the impact, even when you doubt anyone so small could really cause that much harm, the attack seems to have had the desired effect, as Medicine begins shaking her head and blinking her eyes.
“Hey, Medi? You okay?”
“Huh? Human?” she replies, looking down at you in confusion as her senses return to her. “Oh, uh, yeah. Yeah, I guess I'm okay!”
“Good, good! Listen, do you think you could move us over there? To the ground?” you ask, trying to be as clear and concise as possible about what you're asking. Though you don't want to doubt your little friend's abilities, she's clearly not used to carrying anyone around, least of all two, and you're not exactly eager to test the limits of her strength while suspended over a large pit.
“Huh? Over there? Uh, yeah, I guess so! But why do...” she says, trailing off as she looks back down at you. You, and the yawning chasm below that threatens to swallow you all. Suddenly remembering the situation you were currently in, Medicine's eyes go wide as her mouth lets loose with a flurry of panicked apologies.
“A-ah! AH! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I forgot! I didn't mean to! I just-”
“It's okay, Medi! Just calm down, and let's move, okay?”
“Huh? R-right! Right! Move! Move! Ah, how do...which way do I...What? I know that, Su-san! I just gotta, uh...like this?”
Clearly unused to dealing with passengers, Medicine seems unable to decide upon the best way to go about moving towards her destination, awkwardly twisting and turning her head and body around in the air as best she can without doing anything that might affect her grip on you. Judging from the increasingly frustrated-looking gestures Su-san was making, you can only assume that whatever silent 'coaching' the little doll was offering, it was not helping matters.
“Uh, no, no... Well, what about...no. Maybe if I just...huh? I know! I know, Su-san! Okay? I'm trying! It's just- I am not yelling!”
Not helping at all.
Now frustrated, herself, Medicine decides to just start floating backwards towards your goal. Though her flying is slow and uneven, as would be expected of anyone trying to move backwards in any fashion while carrying something bigger and heavier than themselves, you are hard-pressed to complain as long as it gets you where you want to go.
Not wanting to throw any fuel on the fire, you refrain from saying anything other than the occasional basic direction whenever Medicine begins to drift too far in one direction or another. Or whenever Koishi chimes in with her own, somewhat less-basic directions.
How are you supposed to count in 'paces' when you're floating in mid-air, anyway?
Despite the 'help' she was receiving, Medicine gradually makes her way over, and you soon find your feet dangling over solid ground.
Well, to be fair, your feet were always dangling over solid ground. The only difference was this this ground was not quite so far down, and you were significantly less likely to break every bone in your body upon landing on it. Or dying. That was also far less likely to happen.
Informing Medicine that it was now safe to let you go, she offers you a nod and relieved sigh in response, and allows you to drop to the ground below. Quickly surveying your surroundings, you spot Yuugi and Rikako just ahead, both standing with their backs to you. Before you can begin to wonder if they really were ignoring you, however, you realize the reason for their inattentiveness towards your plight most likely had something to do with the two shapes you saw rolling around on the ground in front of them.
Though the low light and distance make it difficult to see them, the sounds of cursing and grunting echoing off of the damp cave walls left little doubt in your mind that it was anyone but Tenshi and Parsee.
Having dismounted from you without you noticing, Koishi was already skipping towards them for a better look, saying something about a saucer of milk and a 'table two', though you have no idea what that's supposed to mean.
Now somewhat alone with the two dolls, you figure now is as good a time as any to do what you were about to do.
Moving quickly and decisively, you turn towards Medicine and, in a single motion, effectively pull her out of the air and into your arms. Though she lets out a surprised yelp, she offers no resistance, allowing you to hug her.
“You know, for saving me? Getting us down safely?”
“O-oh, um, well...okay.”
“Okay?” you repeat, wondering why she sounds so uncertain about something she should know she just did.
“W-well, um, I mean, I didn't really do much, really.”
“Didn't really do much?” you remark, pulling back just enough to see her face. “You saved my life, didn't you?”
“Well, yeah, but...” she says, lowering her head. “...I almost didn't.”
“What, you had second thoughts, or something?” you say, half-teasingly.
“Of course not!” Medicine snaps, suddenly looking at you as if you had just suggested setting a box of puppies on fire.
You're not sure how Medicine would react to such a suggestion if real puppies were involved. You don't know if she even likes puppies.
Then again, you're not sure if you even like puppies, if you're the sort of person who would ever seriously suggest setting a box of them on fire, you sick bastard.
“Hey, now, I didn't mean it like that.” you assure her, as eager to calm her down as you are to forget all about thoughts of cute little animals and how flammable they are. “I know it wasn't easy, and we were probably pretty heavy for you-”
“Yeah, you were.” Medicine agrees, completely straight-faced.
“But!” you continue, overlooking the interruption. “You held on as best you could, and it's because of that we can stand here and have this talk, right?”
“You're standing.” she corrects you, squirming slightly in your arms.
“You know what I mean, Medi.”
“Yeah, yeah...” she says, nodding before lowering her head again. “But, it's just...I didn't know.”
“Didn't know what?”
“You were in trouble.” she says, quietly. “I was there, and you were there, and you were in trouble, and I didn't know, and if Su-san didn't say anything...”
Ah, so that's it, you think to yourself.
You've heard it said that 'not knowing' something is the worst part when a disaster strikes, but you're not sure it's better to 'know' something when the thing you know is that you didn't know it. Least of all when that thing is something you could have stopped or prevented, had you known sooner.
...of course, those who know they didn't know something at least now know what they did not know, and so are less likely to not know it in the future When you think of it like that, it's like an opportunity to improve yourself! A reason to be thankful, not filled with regret!
Bolstered by this realization, you give Medicine a reassuring squeeze.
“Medi, you did everything you could. You both did. It's because of that, that this turned out so well! Yeah, I was in trouble, but that's over now, right? Does it make sense to keep worrying about something after it's already happened?”
“...no.” she quietly answers, still looking downward.
“Well, does it make any more sense to worry about something that didn't even happen, at all?”
“I...I guess not.”
“Exactly! There's no reason to cry over spilled milk when the milk never even spilled, right? So stop looking so down, alright? “
“Mm...yeah. Yeah.” Medicine says, gently nodding and looking up at you. “I guess you're right. Sorry.”
“Hey, I told you, you did your best and everything worked out in the end, so there's nothing to be sorry about. You did great.”
Smiling slightly at this praise, you almost think you see her cheeks begin to take on a faintly pinkish-purplish hue.
At that moment, you realize: this is it!
Weak point exposed!
Main weapon is ready to fire!
With but one shot to hit your target, you know your aim must be true.
With quickness and precision, you strike, landing a decisive blow to...
[ ] Upper Hull
[ ] Side Hull
[ ] Bridge
[ ] Thermal Exhaust Port
[x] Upper Hull
Yeah, really don't want to ruin things and upset Medi by pulling a Koishi on her (especially not so soon afterwards). And this spot is the least likely to make Tenshi break something else or have Parsee paru, if wither sees.
Very unlikely, as they are currently trying to kill each other.
>Yeah, really don't want to ruin things and upset Medi
To be honest, I think Medi would actually like it. It's obvious she cares for th MC, and they have been bonding for quite some time now. There would be some awkwardness at first, but she won't mind it much. Also, hilarity will ensue when she breaths tons os poisonous gas inside MC's mouth.
There, easier and faster than voting X and explainning I want Y. Why others didn't simply write in what they wanted instead of picking an ambiguous choice is beyind me.
So, there you go, another vote for mouth. I am much more interessted in Susan's reaction than the kiss itself, it can be even a quick french kiss to me. Of course, a deep kiss with tongue action should cause a stronger reaction...
>>153708 It's a staple of this story (although it started in another) and it's kind of interesting trying to decipher the meaning or references they're trying to make (In THE GAME, a google search was the absolute minimum to know what you were voting and it still required some thought)
Exactly. And when you're talking about trying to blow up her "core" by firing your "proton torpedo" down that narrow shaft, the innuendo doesn't quite work so well if what you're talking about is her nostrils.
>>153732 Well, there are only three, maybe four things "Thermal Exhaust Port" can be, and Mouth/Nose are only two of those options. Sadly though, this is not an /at/ story, so the other two options will remain unmentioned for the moment.
"Sadly"? If this were an /at/ story, I doubt I would have made it past the third thread before burning out from trying to make each sex scene more ridiculous than the last, and by that point the whole thing would have already become little more than one long "Aristocrats" joke, anyway.
Not that I'm completely opposed to the idea...
Diddle the Raunchy Touhou, featuring Lily White: Coming in Spring 2017!
Well, it looks like I'll finally have time to get this damn update done tonight.
On a semi-related note, I would like to congratulate >>153706 for predicting the shit-on-fan action that has occurred over the past few days.
>>153783 >would we see the return of the Spanish Rabbit!"
I would say that's about as likely as a return of Sheep Mokou in such a thing.
Take that as you will.
>>153813 >And whatever happened to that Robot Alice... wait, was it a robot?
As for another radio short, I actually had an idea for one a while ago, but forgot what it was before I had a chance to write it down. Still, if the mood strikes me and I have the time, I wouldn't mind trying to hammer something out.
File 133023486335.png - (10.74KB,
300x300 , I KEES YOU.png) [iqdb]
A faint yet audible squeak is the only sound Medicine makes as you gently press your lips to her forehead, poison-laced strands of blonde hair tickling your nose. Lingering there for only a brief moment, you pull back and smile at the girl in your arms.
“Ahh, um...s'okay.” she replies quietly, looking away from you as the pinkish-purplish color of her cheeks rapidly spreads to the rest of her face. Beginning to squirm in your arms again, you wonder if you've made her uncomfortable. Bending down, you gently set Medicine on the ground, hesitantly releasing her as you notice her unsteadily swaying. Despite your questioning if she would rather you continue holding her, she hurriedly mumbles something that vaguely sounds like an assurance that she was fine and that such a thing was unnecessary.
Or, at least, that's what you think 'uhmnonothasokayI'mokayokay' was supposed to mean.
Though you are not completely convinced, especially not with the way smoke appeared to be once again pouring out of her head, you do not press the matter further.
Rising back up, you try to look back over towards where the others were, but are stopped by a sudden tugging sensation on your ear.
“Hey, now, I didn't forget about you, Su-san!” you say, turning your head to address the little, floating doll staring at you.
Arms folded across her chest, she tilts her head to one side. The very image of dignified impatience, you can practically hear the unspoken 'Yes, and...?' her posture is clearly meant to convey.
“I'd have been in big trouble if you hadn't been there. Thanks.” you say, with genuine gratitude, even if you can't say for certain about exactly what she did without being able to understand her. All you need to know is she did something, and that's enough for you.
For a moment, Su-san simply floats there, unreadable as always. As she continues to stare at you, you begin to wonder if she was satisfied with such a simple expression of gratitude. Even you have to question if it wasn't lacking something. She did help save your life, after all. In fact, she may have been as important a factor in that as Medicine was. Shouldn't it follow that she receive a similar sign of your appreciation?
You don't know if you've even been the sort who makes strange faces when they get an idea, but from the way Su-san was now slowly backing away from you, you get the distinct impression that she's picked up on what you're thinking.
“Aw, come on! I'm not going to bite you, or anything!”
Arms still crossed, she sharply turns away from you. Could the little doll speak, you have no doubt that the motion would be accompanied by an indignant 'humph'. Curiously, though, you notice that she is not moving any further away from you.
“Su-san~.” you say, trying to coax a response from her.
She does not move.
“Suuu-saaaan~!” you say again, a little more sweetly.
Again, no response, aside from a slight twitch.
“Suuuu-saaaaaaaaaaaaaan~!” you say once more, trying to sound nice but having it come out as more of a pitiful whine.
The little doll visible cringes, though you can't tell if it's due to the repetition of her name, or your delivery. Regardless, it accomplishes your objective of getting her to do something other than pretending to ignore you.
Without turning to look at you, Su-san unfolds her arms and thrusts one in your direction, leaving the other to fall to her side. Palm facing downward, she angles her hand in such a way that the back of it points directly at you.
At first, you're not sure what to make of the gesture, but it slowly begins to dawn on you what she was waiting for. The more you thought about it, and the longer you watched her, it was all too clear what she wanted you to do.
And you weren't going to do it.
“Well, okay, then.” you say, turning away from the little doll in front of you. “Let's go see what all the commotion is about. Okay, Medi?”
“H-huh? Uh, um...h'okay.” your little friend replies, the smoke wafting from her head now little more than a few thin, pinkish wisps.
As you begin to walk towards the source of the cursing and grunting that continued to echo off of the cave walls, you pay no attention to the little doll you had no doubt was now following you in huff. Not when you feel an increasingly insistent tugging on the back of your head, nor even when hair-pulling gives way to what you can only assume are the blows of little fists and shoes.
You're not the only one who can play the 'pretend to ignore you' game you think to yourself.
As dickish as it may make you feel to suddenly ignore your tiny rescuer, especially when you were thanking her for said rescue, you also feel it is somewhat dickish to not accept an honest display of gratitude in an equally honest manner.
Or whatever the female equivalent of 'dickish' happens to be.
You've never really been clear on that.
Regardless of the label given to it, you feel that if you were to give her anything, it would be nice if she did not make a display of looking as if she did not want it, even if she really did. Not only does it strike you as being somewhat impolite, but it is also more than a little confusing.
Therefore, you believe the only proper course of action is to not give her what she wants until she can have the decency to make it look like she actually wants it! Truly, it is a simple and straightforward idea that you feel cannot possibly blow up in your face.
Blow into your face, perhaps, not unlike a cloud of poison, but not up.
Not unless some of the stuff your toxic little friends are packing happens to be combustible, at least.
As you draw closer to the rest of your group, the one-doll assault on the back of your skull finally relents, and you begin to clearly see what you had already guessed.
Rolling around on the ground in front of you, each girl struggling to break free of the headlock the other had them in, was Tenshi and Parsee.
“Hey, kiddo.” Yuugi asks casually, as she intently watches the struggle in front of her. “Still alive?”
“Yeah, I am.” you say in a similarly casual manner.
>Informing Medicine that it was now safe to let you go, she offers you a nod and relieved sigh in response, and allows you to drop to the ground below. Quickly surveying your surroundings, you spot Yuugi and Rikako just ahead, both standing with their backs to you. Before you can begin to wonder if they really were ignoring you, however, you realize the reason for their inattentiveness towards your plight most likely had something to do with the two shapes you saw rolling around on the ground in front of them.
“I fully expect we will all be picking pieces of wood out of our hair for the next week.” you hear Rikako's voice chime in. “...among other places.”
Looking past Yuugi, you see the bespectacled scientist leaning with her back against the cave wall, grimacing at the at the fight playing out before her. In contrast to Rikako's expression of resigned disdain, Yuugi seems to regard the celestial-on-bridge-princess action as a fine form of entertainment. So much so, in fact, you halfway expect her to start cheering them on.
“Aw, c'mon! Don't just hold it! Ya gotta twist it around! No, the other way!”
...or heckle them with tips on how they could be fighting better.
“Hey! Don't just let her twist it around like that! All you gotta do is grab her by the- yeah! That's it!”
...both of them.
“So, uh...who's winning?” you ask, unable to tell who, if anyone, looked to be coming out on top of this fight. Then again, you're not entirely sure why they're even fighting like this, at all.
No magic bullets.
Not even a single flashy thingy.
Just two girls, on the ground, trying to twist the other's head off.
“Funny ya ask, it's been pretty close up to now.” Yuugi says, taking a break from her half-heckling, half-coaching to look at you. “I mean, the Celestial's got the strength advantage, but the Princess is pissed, so she's fighting harder. I'm kinda impressed she's kept up as well as she- hey! Come on! You gonna let her get away with that? Ya got teeth! Use them! No, not you, Princess! You're just gonna get-”
Hearing Yuugi's words a moment too late, you see Parsee attempt to bite Tenshi on the arm, only to suddenly gag and jerk her head back
“Kinda. Anyone like her, really. Not something ya wanna get in your mouth.”
“Celestials are naturally unpalatable to youkai.” Rikako explains, adjusting her glasses. “To be precise, their bodies are said to be toxic to youkai.”
“So, they're like poison?”
“Yeah, and not the fun kind.” Yuugi says with a smirk. “No buzz or anything, just the worst taste you can imagine, and then straight into all the pain and sickness and regret of the morning after. ...or so I heard.”
“And you just encouraged her to-” Rikako begins to say, only for Yuugi to cut her off.
“Hey, hey, whoa, I didn't mean for her to bite the Celestial, I meant the Celestial should bite her!”
“And you are encouraging this at all, because...?”
“It's fun?” Yuugi shrugs, brushing a few chunks of wood from her hair.
[ ] Rikako is right, we shouldn't be fighting each other right now!
( ) Stop them! By force, if necessary! ( ) Ignore them! It's time to get moving!
[ ] Yuugi is right, this is pretty fun to watch!
( ) Cheer them! Do that thing to that guy! ( ) Heckle them! You hit like girls!
>>153910 >Just for curiosity, was Bridge the mouth or the nose?
>>153933 >Holy shit, you guys are STILL underground? Has Yuuka just been dicking around outside all this time?
Hey, we're kinda-almost-sorta out of it! We'll probably be out of it by the end of the next thread. Probably.
As for Yuuka, the next thread will also probably answer that question. Probably.
Unless, you know, the protagonist discovers his shoe is untied, and we proceed to have no less than three updates devoted solely to deciding exactly how he should go about re-tying them.
The wrong choice of knot will have dire consequences.
As much fun as watching two girls squirm around dealing clothing damage against one another in their bid to claw the other's eyes out... And I've got nothing.
[X] Yuugi is right, this is pretty fun to watch!
Besides we still probably need Parsee to calm down so we can see if carrying pieces of her bridge works for her. Then again maybe Medi has a sedative they can use, (or Su-san if she isn't still pissed that we kinda snubbed her.)