I'm still curious about what our dreams have implied. Say that we are a youkai. Which youkai would we be? Could we possibly be an outside youkai that has been depowered for some reason, like everyone else? But since we're used to living on the outside, we're aware of the oddity that is this school? Or perhaps we're a human with some lingering magical blood (be it youkai, divine, demonic, etc) By this fact, we are able to see past the illusion that has been cast on the muggles, and are screwing up the plans of everyone.
So, again, we're back to square one. The only one who could conceivably have done this quite so easily is Yukari. Perhaps she shifted the boundaries of Gensokyo and a standard high school? It would explain the presence of the barrier.
Other than that, I could see Koishi/Satori as beeing able to manipulate everyone's minds into forgetting everything. But how did they modify everyone to look perfectly normal? Or perhaps Koishi set up someone else's problem field over each person, making them not question any nonhuman features on the various residents. It still doesn't explain the barrier.
As for epileptic tree for the post... We're one of Shinki's creations, sent out in the world as a back up plan. If ever communication from our creator was disturbed, we would return and seek our our creator in order to ensure that nothing has happened. If it has, we were to immediately seek out methods to return her back to her rightful position. However, we were affected by the field, and were redirected by the very same field, and are placed in the same position, with only the vague notion that something is not right.
"Run!" I shout, and take Yoshika's hand, knowing that she won't move if I don't. She doesn't understand my hurry, but manages to keep up rather well, only falling a few feet behind me when I'm at full sprint. Mystia and Shiki are keeping up with me perfectly.
Aya, on the other hand, remains stationary. "Who the hell are- WOAH!" She ducks with lightning speed as a slip of paper flies at her head with extreme precision, like a sword slice through the air. It is merely paper, but its flight pattern is more like that of an arrow. Now Aya begins to panic, and starts to follow us at full sprint. She is much faster, though, and quickly passes us.
The girl kicks off the ground, seeming to do something halfway between dashing and flying as she gives chase. She is mere feet from me when something incredible happens. Incredibly lucky, or incredibly stupid, I still can't decide. I slip on some dirt. I lose my grip on Yoshika, who tumbles sideways. The dangerous girl bumps right into me, and then Yoshika collapses right on top of her, pinning her perfectly to the ground.
"Grr! Get off of me, you..you big idiot!" The girl flails helplessly.
Aya pats Yoshika on the head. "Good work."
"Thanks." Yoshika says sleepily. "I don't really know what I did though."
We all surround the girl. "So..Want to give us some answers?" I ask. "Who are you?"
"I'll tell you if you get off of me.."
"I don't know if we can trust you yet."
The girl sighs, and closes her eyes. "Ah, good timing.." she mutters to herself. Her body seems to slip into her the darkness of her own shadow, slowly sinking until Yoshika is just lying on the ground.
"Okay." Aya says, eyes wide. "Someone catch me up on this."
"Me too." Chimes in Mystia.
"I want to eat." Yoshika adds.
Well, now I'm faced with another choice:
 Tell everyone about the illusory school now
 Lie and say you were just here to check out the ball
You can always pick and choose who you tell later, but for now, decide if you want to let everyone in on it or now.
I apologize for the late update. I started writing earlier but then things came up. I'm headed to bed now, but I look forward to checking on you guys in the morning~.
Not a lot of votes but its been a while and everyone has voted the same way. Here goes.
"Alright.. If you guys are willing to listen, I'll explain. But we should eat. This may take a while."
After everyone settles in outside, in Yoshika's usual spot, I begin my story, feeding Yoshika as I do so. Everyone is giving me their full attention, except the zombie, who is eating with a smile and closed eyes. She looks very peaceful.
"Okay. I've already explained this to Shiki, but when I moved here, the school didn't exist."
Both Aya and Mystia open their mouths to speak. "Hold on. Let me finish. If you want to call me crazy, fine. But based on what you just saw, both with the vanishing girl and this," I pick up the ball, my arm vanishing part way through it "I think you should at least listen."
Mystia nods and scoots closer. Aya pulls out a tiny notebook. I begin again, telling them of the school only appearing after I transfer, the DVD that wouldn't play, the stalker, the ball, everything.
"I'm sorry you had to go through this, Taku.." Mystia says quietly. "You could have told me."
"I wanted to, but I didn't know if you'd believe me. It was the same with Shiki...I didn't tell her until she witnessed the DVD."
"Yeah. I understand. If you need any help with anything.." Her usual pep has faded into a quiet, submissive need to cheer me up. I pat her on the head once.
"Thanks, Mystia." She rewards me with a tiny smile.
"Ayayayaya.." Aya mutters, scratching her head with her pen. "I'm confused. I think you're a nutjob, but I believe you, after watching her do that..this is going to be a hell of a story once it is finished."
"Please, don't publish anything about this. My life might be-"
"I won't publish anything until this all ends. My readers will think I'm crazy if I don't give them evidence. If you are ever going hunting for more information about this, let me know. I'd love to find out more."
I nod, not sure how I feel about my new ally, but glad to have more anyway.
"Well, now what?" Mystia says.
"Now we go back to school and act like nothing happened. After school we'll catch Takumi's stalker as per the plan. There isn't much else we can do at the moment, until we get more evidence."
"Ken." Yoshika says suddenly. We all turn to look at her. "Be careful." She looks strangely vulnerable. "If you need an ally, I'm probably not the best choice. But I like you. So if you need me.."
A host of new allies, some evidence, and a lot to think about..but time marches on. Soon it is time for Shikieiki's plan.
It is probably the most awkward moment of my life, but Mystia seems blissfully unaware of it. I take her hand and she leads me to the music club room, where we are alone. Shiki has already hidden herself somewhere in or around the room, but she didn't tell us where so we wouldn't give away her position. Clever, but somehow it feels like I just have two stalkers now.
Mystia runs into the room first, twirls around and faces me. She holds her arms behind her back and sways back and forth on her tip-toes.
"Taku, was there something you want to tell me?"
"Um!" I'm having a lot of trouble with this script. I'm supposed to ask Mystia out and piss off the stalker, but...This would be my first confession, even a fake one, if I continue.
"W-well, its just.."
"Don't be so nervous!" Mystia gives me a heart-warming smile, and takes both my hands in hers. "I understand how you feel. I've felt the same way myself, since we met."
Thanks, Mystia. I couldn't say it, but you can. I still wish you wouldn't, though..its confusing after holding you so close the other day.
We both turn incredibly red, but we both lean in closer...
"I CAN'T WATCH THIS ANYMORE!" Shiki bursts out of the broom closet, cleaning supplies falling around her feet.
"Shiki, calm down, its just.."
"Keeeen." I hear a familiar voice. Yoshika?!
Yoshika opens the door from the hallway, holding a girl I've seen once before by the collar. Parsee.
"Keeen. I caught a pervert."
"I'm not a pervert! Put me down!"
"She was watching you from the roof, with a camera." Yoshika points to a window. "She was making funny faces and saying weird things. Seiga says people do that when they are perverts."
The sound of flesh impacting flesh causes the room to go silent. Parsee's cheek is red, and tears ball up in her eyes. Mystia glares at her, her own tears already spilling from her eyes.
"Why would you do this, Parsee? What has Takumi ever done to you?"
"...he was going to take you guys away from me."
"You say that to everyone. But why did you stalk Takumi? Because he's a boy?" Parsee can't even open her mouth. "Do you really not trust me around guys? Do you really think I'll leave you because I made a male friend? Or even if I got a boyfriend?"
"You're horrible. Okuu was right about you." Mystia runs off, flinging open the door, sobbing wildly.
Yoshika sets Parsee down, but she makes no attempt to run. Shiki and Yoshika are here. I could chase Mystia. But she might need time alone, and I could get valuable clues by questioning Parsee about the DVD and such myself..
 Chase Mystia
 She needs to be alone. Interrogate Parsee.
Guess I should have kept my big mouth shut. Now the Mystia route is probably doomed! Ah, well. Just keep an eye out for me in the future, I suppose. It will most likely be on a different board though.
Also, sorry for ending before a choice. It just felt like a good spot. I'll write more shortly.
"You aren't going to go after her?" Shiki gives me a meaningful gaze.
"I think she needs to be alone. I'll talk to her later, but for now..Parsee, right?"
She looks away from me. "Yes."
"Why would you threaten me?"
"Because..Mystia was going to forget me." Her voice isn't weak, oddly. Instead, it is cold, and sure of itself. "Everyone is."
"Why would she forget you if she is your friend? Don't you trust her?"
"Everyone finds someone they like better than me."
"Don't you hang out with Yuugi a lot?"
Her eyes shoot me an angry green glare. "Don't talk about Yuugi."
A smile crosses my face of its own accord. "You know she stands up for you too. That is good friendship. I can see it and I don't even know you that well."
Parsee looks at the floor, embarrassed. "I guess."
"I promise, I'm not going to steal Mystia's attention from you. She cancelled music club out of worry for you once. Music seems to be the most important thing in her life, but she put it on hold because she worried about you."
"I guess." She says moodily again, folding her arms like a pouting child. She won't look at me. "I don't want to talk to you anymore."
"You don't have a choice." Shiki's voice is filled with anger. "You wanted to protect your friendship with Mystia, but you threatened my friend. You scared Takumi. You scared me even more. You're going to be punished for your actions in accordance to-"
I hold up my hand. "Parsee. If you tell me one thing, with complete honesty, and then promise not to threaten me again, I'll forgive you."
"Taku!" Shiki gasps. "She-"
"Its okay, Shiki. There is something more important right now. "
"What do you want to know?" Parsee gives me a look filled with fear. She backs up in fright, bumping into Yoshika. "You aren't going to ask me about my three-"
"I want to know about the DVD you sent me. Did you do anything to it?"
"You didn't do anything to make it..stop playing at times?"
"All I did was drag and drop the footage onto the stupid movie maker that came with my camera.."
"Thank you. That is what I needed to know. You won't threaten me anymore?"
She shakes her head, and I hold out my hand.
Parsee twists herself to avoid my hand, as though it is burning hot and just being near it is painful. I pull my hand back, and she retreats from the room. After the door slams shut behind her, it opens slightly again.
Then it closes, more gently this time.
The moment is ruined by Parsee being dragged back in by Yuugi. Cirno leaps out from behind Yuugi's big frame., holding Mystia's hand. Mystia's face is red and puffy from fresh tears, but she is smiling happily.
"Who wants to play cards!?" Cirno shouts, and we all agree to, Shiki, Yoshika, everyone. Even Parsee reluctantly shares a hand with Yuugi.
Walking into school the next day, I have a lot of options. After school I'll present the half-ball to Yukari and ask for advice. Till then, I can take it easy. And its a Friday, meaning it'd be a great time to hang out with someone over the weekend.
For now, I approach the gates with a smile on my face. Rumia approaches me, running at me with her arms spread.
"Long time no see, stranger." She smiles. "I bring a message from Mistress Cirno!"
"You are cordially invited to sit with us at lunch."
"Don't you guys sit with Mystia?"
"Yeah, but..not today! Cirno wants to challenge you to something. That's all I can say~!" She says excitedly and skips off.
"Ah, Mr. Popular!" Aya strides up to me as well. "I'd like to do some investigating later. I'd like to question the girl who kicked the ball that you found."
Well, these two are already competing for my lunch hour. I can also find Mystia or Shiki, of course..
 Accept Cirno's "challenge"
 Investigate with Aya
 Sit with Mystia
 Sit with Shikieiki
>>157771 Oh, and forgot to mention in >>157772, that the only ones you missed completely were Medicine and Lily. Shizuha and Minoriko were already in it. So, I think it's Lily. Because she'd just kick the ball as hard as she could while shouting SPRING!
Thinking about the Mystia story a lot, I might start it before this ends. I'll mention it here when I do, so you Mystia bros can come share the love. I'm getting excited already. I think it'll be a lot easier to sustain a romance story without this persona-esque time management system that we have now. I've learned that I don't like the school setting, with all of its time skipping. That is my only regret in this story, but it was a learning experience.
Anyway, onto the excitement.
"HO-HO-HO." A dramatic, hearty laugh bellows from the small girl, her hands on her hips. "So! You have come!"
"Hi." She gives a tiny, cute wave, then makes an angry face. "NO. Not hi! Soon we will be enemies on the battlefield of life!"
"I'm not really sure what you mean."
"I have an excellent challenge for you!"
"The gentlemen's game!"
"Poker? Fencing?" I start naming games I associate with the word gentlemen. It'd be hard to play poker in the middle of the school's courtyard, though.
"Rock, paper, scissors!"
"I'm leaving." I turn to go meet Aya. There's useful information I could be learning.
"Wait! Wait!" She steps in front of me. "I'll play anything you like! I just reeeeally like games.."
"But why me? I have stuff to do right now."
"Because you're interesting. When we played cards, I watched your eyes darting from card to card. You keep a good poker face. You have good strategy. And yet, you aren't a jerk like most smart people." She gives a dramatic pose. "You are on my level! And that's why I've decided that we're gonna hang this weekend."
"Yep!" She pats my back. "Aren't you happy?"
Before I can come up with an answer, she's holding out her fist to me.
"Rock! Paper! Scissors! Shoot!"
I put out my hand in rock, and she gives scissors. Her eyes narrow, and she grins at me.
"You're pretty good...But! I'm gonna beat you! See, I'm gonna think a game ahead of your pattern. But maybe I'm just telling you that so you'll think I'm thinking a game ahead, and then I'll think a game behind! And then.."
"I don't have a pattern."
"I've just been throwing things out randomly, without thinking."
"Uuuur. You're no fun right now!" She stamps her tiny foot on the ground, but she still seems to be having fun. Until a soccer ball smacks her in the face.
A tiny blonde runs up to us, her extremely long hair flowing behind her like a cape.
"You hit me with a ball, you dumb loli!"
"I'm not a loli! I'm a senior! Besides, you're one to talk, underclassman!"
"You're..." I recognize her.
"Oh-hoh, another for my fanclub? I'm Suika."
"You have a hell of a kick."
"I can't control my own strength, I guess..once I'm here at school, I become the Oni of the soccer field!" She gives a wink and throws up a peace sign.
"Say that again."
"The Oni of the soccer field!" She winks again and repeats the pose.
"No. Not that. You said this only happens at school?"
"Yeah. At home I don't feel nearly as strong."
"Heeeey. Don't ignore me!" Cirno jumps up and waves her arms in front of my face."
"Did Aya approach you earlier?"
Suika nods. "Yep, yep. She said she thought of something, and started writing furiously..she can be kind of scary when she wants to learn something."
"HEEEY." Cirno steps on my toes.
"You're playing games with me tomorrow, okay?" She pulls out a pen and grabs my arm, writing her phone number on it roughly. "Call me tomorrow."
She starts to stomp off in (mock?) anger.
After school, I tell everyone I'm too busy to do anything. I need to focus on what I plan to tell Yukari. I want to base my discussion with her around the evidence I have. I will certainly bring all of it up, but...What clue is the most important of the ones I've gathered?
 The dangerous girl vanishing
 The DVD not playing
 The half-ball
 Suika's strength
There isn't a wrong answer, but some are better than others.
>>157779 Yup, I do consider to be a redhead. Err, orangehead. Close enough. But I wasn't gonna say anything. Since she doesn't have any horns, a little thing like hair color is nothing to get in a tizzy over.
As for the vote... Well, let's think. The ball and the dvd only show us one thing, in that the school is separated from the outside, and that students are separated from nonstudents. Which we've already known. That leaves the dangerous girl, and Suika's strength.
Said dangerous girl, codenamed Reimu, is unique in that she seemed to know about the charade, and appeared to be in charge of enforcing it. On top of that, she also committed various illegalities against the laws of nature, such as her dash/flying. And last but not least, once she was caught, she was extracted from the situation posthaste, in order to prevent the students from extracting answers.
One thing of note is that she sank into her own shadow, not into anything gap like at all. So, it still leaves plenty of wriggle room for Yukari. Not like protag has any reason to be accusing her right now.
As for Suika, she is more important than the ball or the DVD. We already know that the boundary separates students from the outside, but also makes it obvious that she is changed when she comes onto campus. We should compare this to the others. We've noticed that on campus, Shiki has shown better judgement than she does when off the campus. We could compare later to see if Mystia is as good at music when off campus than otherwise, to confirm whether the people on campus are affected.
So, in order of importance of mentioning:
 The dangerous girl vanishing
 Suika's strength
 The DVD not playing
 The half-ball
>>157782 It is player knowledge, as opposed to character knowledge, but yeah, she sank into what you guys would recognize as a gap. I will go ahead and admit this because it was a failure of description on my part.
Reimu said this was a game. The rest of the clues are here because of this game. And speaking of Yukari MegaSen, I do hope our guy will call her out on her real purpose. There is no way she has no idea what is going on after directing us the the borders of the school.
However, setting things up for this game may have been her only part in it. But who know? This is Yukari we're talking about after all.
When I arrive at Yukari's office, a woman is standing near her, a beautiful woman with hair so light that it is almost white. She gives me a graceful bow when I enter, and I struggle to do the same.
"We'll finish our discussion later. For now, though, I agree with you. You have changed my opinion, but not the facts. You know the danger, and you know I am not willing to take risks with lives."
"I understand. After all, a controlled environment doesn't prove something with one hundred percent certainty. However, you can see that your original assumption wasn't entirely correct. Just because you don't understand something doesn't make it evil." She grins at this, and sees the woman off.
"I apologize for that. She is a...business associate of mine, and we were clearing something up. Now then. Let's begin." She sits on the couch where I normally sit.
"Have a seat." She pats the spot next to her, and I obey the command.
"I have a lot to discuss since last time..I think I should start with the most jarring thing, though. I was attacked by someone who seems to know a lot more about this than I do."
"Oh?" Yukari leans in, her face mere inches from mine. "Go on.."
"W-well, she was throwing slips of paper, but they seemed to fly like..bullets, or arrows. And she ran faster than a girl who can outrun most of the track sprinters in the school. Her steps were that light."
"Almost like flying?"
"Exactly. We pinned her to the ground, and she vanished. But before any of that, she was talking about how the game was over and how she'd solve something in her 'usual way'. It was strange, but I think she is at the core of this, or knows someone who is."
Yukari leans in further, her breath tickling my ear. "Congratulations. I think we're a lot closer to figuring this out." She backs away, smiling innocently. "Are you afraid of not liking what you find?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, what if you turn out to be an illusion instead of the school?"
"Cogito ergo sum."
"Cute. I'd like you to think on something, though. We talked about not knowing who would benefit from the school, right? Well, once you find them, what are you going to do? If you defeat the grand evil and the school vanishes, you'll lose a lot of friends, right? Or maybe you'll want it to continue?"
"I've never really thought about that.."
A teasing giggle flows through the room. "Its alright. People in danger or excitement tend to focus on the things right in front of them."
Like, for example, Yukari's chest, which is once again exposing itself to me as she leans over. She's wearing a pretty fancy-looking bra. I tear my eyes away from her.
"I'll think about that, but I'd like to know who did this and why. I doubt there is a pure intent for such a thing. Anyway, do you have any advice on finding the culprit?"
"Based on what you just told me? My advice would have been to capture the girl who attacked you, but it seems she can get away from that somehow. Instead, I suppose my advice would be to do something to draw the culprit and her minions out."
"Like we did with Parsee."
I relate the story to her. "Ah, that is a perfect example. You have to push the enemy's buttons, though. So I'd make your snooping around really obvious. If you have any clues, flaunt them. You don't need to show them to everyone, but make it apparent that you are investigating something."
"Alright, that is my next move, I suppose." I'll have to talk to the others about it, though. It could be dangerous.
"Time is up for today. But if you'd like an extension.." She runs a soft hand up my shoulder, gently over my neck, and up to my cheek, which she caresses.
Part of me certainly has an extension, but something isn't right here. I'm being seduced by my therapist? Sure, she's attractive, but it'd be illegal. Why is someone so cool-headed rubbing themselves all over me?
"Sorry, I'll pass.."
"Too busy to keep an old lady company? I see how it is." She laughs and pats my head. "You are a good kid. I really believe that. You need to believe it too."
What's with all this now? I start to wonder, but don't get an answer before she sends me out. Walking home is a bit embarrassing, as I can't stop thinking about her touch, and my..extension..never goes down. Sometimes it feels just like she is still touching me. I need a cold shower, again.
That and I'll need to decide who to spend the first day of my weekend with! Luckily I amassed a lot of phone numbers during that card game.
 Parsee and Yuugi
I apologize for not updating as I promised. I started writing the update last night, but I passed out at my keyboard and woke up just a bit ago. There will be a bit of time before the next update, about 8 hours most likely. Hopefully there are a good amount of votes by then because this choice is so open.
>>157832 Hey, I just really like this Yukari. And MegaSen said we can try pursuing characters with the appropriate choices, it's just that the appropriate time for that didn't appear. Thus write-in.
Here, a bit more justification: if we see her again and talk to her more, we can try to figure out more of what was happening with her and the white-haired woman (I'm guessing Keine, Shinki, or Sariel). Which I really think we should investigate, if not the coming day (since that's clearly not going to happen) then the next.
>>157832 Voting for someone you don't see is perfectly acceptable and I will fit it in if enough people vote for it and it seems feasible. I mean, if everyone voted for Marisa right now, I'd be a little hard-pressed to fit her in considering we've never officially met her. However, I can envision a way to get Yukari in if enough people want it. It is quite clear what the people want though. What the people need. Some delicious Shikieiki.
Also, thanks for the concern, guys. Its fine, though, I didn't work myself to death writing or anything, I was just tired from getting off work at 3, but I wanted to try my best to update since I said I would.
I decide to call Shiki and ask her if she can hang out with me tomorrow, to just relax and avoid the stressful thoughts this weekend after what was almost literally the most insane week of my life. The phone rings a few times, and then someone who isn't Shiki answers..
"Heya Taku!" I can hear thumping in the background, like someone is jumping.
"Ding~! Right answer. What'd ya need?" She asks casually, like I was calling for her.
"Is Shiki there?"
"Nah, I just have her phone and I'm fighting a short, angry green-haired girl off right now. Why do you ask?"
In the background I hear a tiny voice complaining. "Komachiiii. Give me the phone!"
"Or what?" Komachi says away from the receiver. She pops back in at full volume, though. "Shiki says she wants you to take her on a date!"
"Noooo." Complains the tiny voice in the back.
"Well, I was calling to see if she wanted to hang out tomorrow. I don't really know what there is to do around here, but.."
"Well, *I* know what you guys can do, but you probably don't want to hear it from me." Then there is a thumping sound, and a loud clatter as the phone falls to the floor.
"I'm sorry about that, Taku. What did you need?"
Now Komachi's voice haunts the background. "Oooow! I didn't know you actually hit people with that thing. That smarts!"
"I was just going to ask if you wanted to hang out tomorrow.." I repeat.
"Oh, of course! What do you want to do?"
"I'm not really sure. I haven't been in town long, and haven't had time to go check things out." Well, I did once, but that led to a mental breakdown and the start of this whole thing.
"I'll show you around town, then!" She offers.
"Alright. You can bring Komachi if you like."
"It depends on how she behaves tonight. She's staying with me right now and I'm forcing her to do homework with me. I'm sure you can guess how well it is going.."
We share a small laugh, and then she says in a small, sweet voice, "I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"
"Yeah. Talk to you then. Good luck."
Before she hangs up, I hear a desperate yell from the background "Bring a condom!"
After the phone clicks off, I imagine I hear a scream and a loud thumping noise, but it is probably my imagination..
>>157843 Bit of an odd explanation for why I posted this before making it to a choice. I meant to just do a transition, but I was taking a picture of a Cirno plushie, and she decided it was time for me to post it and fell on the enter button. Oops. Ah well, means I get to post another Shiki picture.
It is a bit of a chilly day, so I pick Shiki up at her place the next morning wearing a hooded jacket that zips in the center. It'll be her first time seeing me outside of my school uniform, and thus, my first time seeing her in anything else as well. For some reason, this makes me a bit excited, nervous in a happy sort of way. I'm entertaining these sorts of thoughts when Komachi flings open the door.
"Oops. He's here!" She shouts over her shoulder. I hadn't even knocked yet.
"D-don't let him in yet! I'm not ready!"
"Too laaate!" Komachi grins and gestures for me to come inside. I do so, not really knowing what else to do. "She's prettying herself up for you." Komachi says in an exaggerated whisper, and then grins, proud of herself for some reason.
"You're coming too, right?"
"Do you want me to tag along? Its not like I need to get ready or anything, I'm already pretty enough for you." Komachi bats her eyes at me. "Seriously, though, if you're taking her out, wouldn't I be third wheel?"
 Let Komachi tag along
 Tell her to take a hike
Shiki's friends should be our friends, too. Besides, I have absolute faith in Komachi to carefully set the mood, then discretely vanish when the mood gets just right... so that she can watch the whole thing from a good vantage point.
"We can let Shiki decide for us. You want to come along, right?"
"It would be fun, but a date is a two person affair."
"W-who said this was a date!" Shikieiki karate chops Komachi's head. "We're just hanging out!" Shikieiki clearly put a lot of time into her appearance. Every hair seems to be in the right place, she even has a tiny bit of make-up on, which she doesn't seem to wear normally. Her eyes in particular are accented. Its nice to see her in something besides a school uniform too, but the outfit really isn't that much different, just a black sweater-vest over a white button down shirt. The shirt is unbuttoned a little more, though, and her skirt is a bit lighter, and probably a bit shorter too. I can see Komachi's influence already. Probably the most different thing is that she is wearing black pantyhose instead of her typical socks.
I should probably stop drooling over those and focus on the conversation, though.
"Komachi was wondering if she should come along or not. I was trying to talk her into it, but she doesn't seem to want to come."
"That isn't true! Its not that I didn't want to come, but.."
"Komachi." Shikieiki's voice is serious.
"Can I have a word with you in the other room?"
They walk off into Shiki's bedroom. I strain to hear what they are talking about, but don't get up. I don't want to seem like I'm snooping, as badly as I want to know what they are talking about.
"Komachi has decided to come along. But she may have to go early."
I nod as though totally convinced that Komachi has some kind of business to attend to.
"Now then, let's go on our way."
"You two can lead, I don't know where we're going."
We end up walking quite a distance until we reach a shopping district. It is mostly filled with mom-and-pop stores, but there is quite a variety of them, and the area is filled with people our age, groups of girls gossiping as they walk past us, couples on dates, both young and old. In a way, I'm glad Komachi came along. All of these people here would probably assume the class rep and I were a couple unless she was tagging along.
"Wah~" Komachi says in a monotone. "The crowd is so thick, I might get lost~." She takes my hand in an obvious, dramatic fashion.
"Hmm? Is there a problem~?"
"I'm going to punish you for this later." Shikieiki says with a chilling gaze. My hand is immediately released.
We stop at a small stand and buy ice cream cones. Komachi gets chocolate, and I get vanilla. Shikieiki seems embarrassed at her choice of vanilla with chocolate sauce drizzled on top.
"So," Komachi says as we take a seat on a nearby bench, "enjoying it so far? This as good as the last place you lived?"
"I'd like to hear more about that." Shiki chimes in from the other side of Komachi. Its a bit hard to have a conversation with her, as I can hardly see her over Komachi's height. She leans forward to compensate, but drips chocolate on herself. She doesn't seem to notice, but I get up and grab her a napkin from the stand.
"What's this for?" I point to the chocolate stain on her skirt. Luckily it is a dark fabric so it is hard to see. She blushes and scrubs it intensely.
"Checkin out the skirt already? Atta boy." Komachi slaps my arm playfully.
"Komachi. That is another set of punishment for later."
"Right. Shutting up."
"Anyway, what was the last place you lived like?" Shiki repeats
"Did you have as many girlfriends there are you do here?"
"Yep. Got it." She makes a motion of zipping her lips.
"Honestly, I.." Weird. I can't seem to remember anything solid. The other day I was just thinking about my best friend, ____, and wondering how he was doing..wait, why can't I remember his name? My memories of before tell me I lived in a place called ________. Shit. Is this nervousness from the date? Or is it something to do with the school? Am I starting to become like the people who believe in the school? I start to sweat.
"No, I didn't have any girlfriends." I say, chuckling nervously. Stay on track, Takumi. This weekend is for relaxing.. "There isn't much to tell about where I lived before." Really, there isn't much. I lived in a place. And perhaps a time.
Shikieiki looks at me shyly. "You can't tell me no one was interested in you back there. Someone like you is-"
We're interrupted by a crying kid running up to us. His face is stained with tears and snot. He can't be older than five or six.
"What's wrong, little guy?" Komachi asks, and Shiki wipes his tears and snot away with leftover napkins.
"Are you lost?" Shikieiki asks calmly, clearly. "Where are your parents?"
"Your mommy and daddy." Komachi seems to translate for her.
"I dun know. I was walking around and got lost. Then a big scary man in black tried to grab me. He asked the same stuff you guys did."
"Komachi, if you stay here with him, I'll go find a police officer to help us out."
"Nooo!" The kid whines. "Da powice are scary."
Shiki frowns, but sits down.
"Komachi. Will you go find someone to help us, then? Not a police officer." She winks.
"Aye aye, captain~!" Komachi gets up. "Keep smiling kid. You're cuter that way." The kid blushes and gives a small smile. "Behave for these two, okay?"
"Yep!" The kid agrees quickly.
"You're gonna be fine. Komachi will find them. She's like a super hero." I smile at the kid.
"Why are you afraid of the police?" Shikieiki asks, giving him her best smile.
"They are big people and they are scary and yell a lot. They have those noisy things on their belts. They don't smile much, and make mean faces."
"Those are so they can talk to each other." Shiki clarifies. "Do you know why the cops look scary?" The kid shakes his head. "They are trying to be scary to the bad guys. They don't mean to scare you. But bad people are afraid of the police because they protect people like us."
The kid nods. "..I guess I get it.."
"You'd be sad if someone you liked was afraid of you, right? The police like people. That is why they work to protect them. Isn't it kind of sad for people to avoid them because of that?"
The kid nods, clearly thinking this over.
"Well, next time you see the police, don't be afraid. Wave to them and smile. They'll smile back, I bet."
Somehow, I feel like I understand Shiki a little better. Her eyes are just a tiny bit moist...that story was clearly a hint about how she feels.
"WAAAH!" A loud voice causes the three of us to turn, interrupting my thoughts. Rumia is behind us, shouting and pointing. "Taku! You have a kid!" Her eyes go even wider when she sees Shikieiki. "With the class rep!"
"It isn't our k-" Shiki and I start to say in unison, but Rumia's eyes are spinning.
"Poor Mystia...Taku is already a daddy..!" She turns and runs away, her arms flailing. I'm guessing I'll have a lot to clear up on Monday. Shiki and I both shrug at each other.
Soon the boy's parents arrive, being led by Komachi and a cop. The boy smiles at the cop, and thanks him, and gets a smile in return.
"Alright. That is enough excitement for me." Komachi sighs. "I'm headed home..you lovebirds have fun."
"Komachi...thank you. I'll take back those earlier punishments."
"Alright!" She cheers in response. "Oh yeah, here.." She fishes something out of her pocket and hands it to me. "Use protection!" It is, unsurprisingly, a condom.
"You just earned back all of those punishments."
Komachi leaves us, waving goodbye while snickering to herself at our expense.
"Do you want to see something cool?" Shiki says after a bit more walking. It is starting to get late.
"What is it?"
"Its a secret." She takes my hand and we walk for a time, eventually reaching a patch of woods. We follow a trail and then leave the path to head up a hill. We run through some underbrush, tearing bits of Shikieiki's pantyhose in the process.
"Shit." Shikieiki curses quietly, then blushes and turns to me. "I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to say that!"
"Its okay, its okay! You are old enough to, and there aren't any kids around or anything.." I don't see the big deal, but she is still fretting over it until we reach the top of the hill.
Once we reach the top, we have a wonderful view of the town and sky. You can see everything. My gaze of course leads me to find the school, which seems to stand normally. A bit of guilt washes over me. I'm here for fun, not for that..
"This is my place. I feel so powerful up here. I feel like I can see everything." Shiki stretches out her arms. "and up here, there is no one to judge me."
"Have you taken Komachi up here?"
"No. I've told her about it, but she says it is too much work to climb up here."
The sun is going down. We sit on the ground in silence, just watching as the town lights up and the sky darkens with the sunset.
Such wonderful colors...the world is tinted orange as the giant eye in the sky starts to shift its gaze to the other side of the world.
"Thank you for being with me today."
"Of course. I had fun."
"I did too." She blushes and turns away. "I don't want to ruin this perfect day by asking this, but.." She takes a breath and scoots closer to me, so our arms are touching. "Will you kiss me?"
 Don't kiss
This is probably useless, but wait until the next update to start a shitstorm about the speed of the relationship. Please, I beg of you.
>>157862 I actually have a lot of touhou plushies, I'm a bit of a collector. I used to be huge into figures of things I like, but I didn't like many of the touhou figures or statues (though I own a Cirno figure that is very cute) so I got into plushies instead. In particular I like the fumofumo line from GIFT, and I own 10 of them. You can buy them online, websites like Amiami carry them and they ship to the US even though it says japan only. Amiami also has the Nendoroid Plus plushies that are pretty cute and they are poseable, but I don't think they have the same charm.
Sorry for the off topic rant. I just really like plushies. Not very manly, I guess, but oh well. I'm not setting a good example, but we should keep things as on-topic as possible,though if you vote or have some theories, I don't mind some off topic stuff at the end of the post or something. I just don't want to go full on off-topic because it could clog the thread.
Yeah this is the right time and setting for it. If we refused to, we'd suffer a major setback in the relationship. Could even be a chance of killing the connection also, although that's a very low chance.
Fuck yeah Komachi! Seriously though, its too soon for that.
Hurrah! We're finally starting a relationship. Though if we're just a construct, I wonder what happens after the mystery/illusion is resolved?
>"Alright!" She cheers in response. "Oh yeah, here.." She fishes something out of her pocket and hands it to me. "Use protection!" It is, unsurprisingly, a condom.
>"You just earned back all of those punishments."
I've never been asked something like that before. Usually, apparently, it just happens. So of course I'm nervous. I'm also about to give my first kiss away. Though that should be more exciting than anything.
I crane my neck in close to her and close my eyes, hoping my aim is true.
My eyes snap open. Shiki has backed away about an inch from me. "I'm sorry. Its just, this is my first.."
"Its okay. If you aren't ready, or if you change your mind, we don't have t-" I'm silenced by lips covering mine awkwardly. They are soft. Warm. She pulls away after an instant, leaving me with just a hint of a minty flavor on my lips.
"That convinced me." She says, smiling cutely. "If a guy says he is okay with waiting..I think it is a good sign that he is okay to kiss." A happy giggle reaches my ears.
"Come here.." I say quietly, and pull her closer. We huddle together, her head on my shoulder.
"Was it good?" She asks quietly after a while.
"It was nice. I've never kissed before so I can't judge you on skill, though."
"Would you like to get some practice?"
I take that invitation and lean in to kiss her. This time our lips fit together more properly. We both close our eyes and kiss gently, small, tender pecks, over and over. My hand wraps around the back of her head and I gently pull her closer, slipping my tongue into her mouth. I taste her lips, but I'm stopped by her teeth, and she backs out of the kiss.
"Not yet, okay? That is a little much for me, for one night."
"Sorry." I nod sullenly.
"Don't be." Another tiny smile. "I'm flattered you tried." We cuddle closer together yet again.
"This might not be the right time for this, but..what happens after we catch the culprit?"
"We live happily ever after, I suppose."
"..I hope so."
She sits up a little. "What's wrong? Talk to me. We've come this far, we might as well share some worries."
"Well, I was talking to Yukari..er, my therapist. She warned me that everyone I met and all my reasons to be with them might vanish after the school goes."
"Even if everyone vanishes, even if these memories vanish..I don't think these feelings will." She says, staring out over the town. "Maybe that is sentimental for me, but..I won't forget you. You are a dear person to me, just like Komachi. She never forgot about our friendship when everyone else seemed to forget me..we'll be the same way."
She stands up. "This is probably rude, but its getting late. I won't end the conversation here if you need more reassuring, but can you be a gentlemen and walk me home?"
Thank god she doesn't live with her parents. By the time we make it to her apartment, its almost midnight. I walk her up to her door, and she turns.
"I'd invite you in, but I'm actually pretty tired..and you seem to be too. Cheer up. I'm not going anywhere. Go home, get some sleep, and I'll see you at school. Or...sooner if you like." She stands on her tip-toes and I bend down slightly to kiss her goodnight. I pull a stick out of her hair. We probably looked horrible to everyone we passed on the way here, with sticks and dirt all over, her pantyhose ripped in spots.
We part ways, and I rest easy. My dream, however, doesn't let me forget the big picture. Shikieiki and I are on another date at the same spot overlooking the town. We kiss, and then hold hands as the school vanishes. Then an area around the school. Then more and more of the town, till it is all gone. Shikieiki looks at me sadly and then vanishes in a puff of white smoke, mouthing merely the word "Sorry".
When I awake, I'm not feeling great about the investigation. I pull out the half-ball and start tossing it in the air gently. I've noticed that the ball acts solid around other objects, and only people can pass through the "empty" half of it. Tossing around the symbol of my life's biggest crisis isn't making me feel much better, though. Maybe I should call a friend to take my mind off of things. Or maybe I should investigate more. The school isn't technically open, but I could slip in easily if I said I forgot a book there or something.
 Investigate the school while it is empty
 Call Shikieiki to spend time with her
I took off the other choices, though feel free to vote for them. You still owe Cirno a day, and all the others can still be called. You may wish to be careful of endangering your relationship now, though just hanging out with someone for a day won't hurt you. Feel free to write something in as well.
"You said we were gonna play a game.." Cirno complains quietly as we sneak around the school.
"We are playing a game. Its called 'avoid the guards'. So far we're winning."
"That game sounds dumb. What kind of person would want to come to school on a weekend anyway.." Cirno puffs out her cheeks. She still came along when I called her, though, and she had no objections to climbing the wall once the guard wouldn't let us in.
The sound of footsteps echoes across the hall. I stop in place to make sure they aren't my own.
"Hey, are you listening to me?"
"Shh!" Surprisingly she actually goes quiet. The footfalls are quiet, as though they are also hiding themselves...and they are coming from up ahead, but getting quieter.
"Someone else is here. Someone who isn't a guard."
"Eeeh? Maybe they came here for the same reason you did. Whatever reason that is.." She pauses for a minute and a look of realization crosses her face. It quickly turns to anger. "You never told me why we are doing this!"
"You seemed fine coming along anyway."
"..thats just because I wanted to hang out with you..but I didn't envision this! I thought you were more fun than that. Geez." She hits my back lightly. "You owe me for this."
"What do I owe you?"
"An actually fun day.."
We start to tail the footsteps. As we close in on the sound, I catch a glimpse of someone small leaving a door and walking into the courtyard. It could just be a student who forgot a text book and really had to come back for it. But something feels odd. It almost felt like they wanted me to hear their footsteps. I should..
 Follow them with Cirno
 Continue to investigate the school with her
>>157933 Ah. Well, it was an overwhelming winner, so I went with it. She might not be having fun, but she isn't walking out on you, is she? Cirno is weird to write. I didn't want to make her a complete moron, just kind of spacey and childish. I also wanted to avoid making her too much like some other, similar characters, like Rumia..
Anyway, I'll be here, refreshing and waiting for votes so I can write more. Its another long day at work and I should be able to update a lot.
Well, seeing as I can't update this until I get some more votes, I'm gonna start writing the intro to the Mystia story. At first I thought it'd be a pain to update two stories, but honestly I'm so bored at work that it shouldn't be a problem with how slow the votes have been the past few days. I guess if you are a Mystia fan, I'll see you in /shrine/ once I post.
>>157948 Ah, well, Shrine has human village, where the MC would live and a few of the other girls involved. I guess its best to post in the board that has the female lead, though, to draw the most attention..Thanks, I'm kind of a bird-brain.
Eh. Six ain't bad, and it seems pretty one sided. Follow her it is.
I motion for Cirno to follow me as I tail the person outside. As we
chase them, I catch glimpses with strangely perfect timing. Its like
they are invisible unless they are going around a corner. All I can
see is that the person is wearing a pink hooded sweatshirt and shorts,
and has darker colored hair. They aren't that tall either, so they are
most likely a student..
Eventually, after an extended chase, we approach a field, more or less
empty except for a lot of weeds. Now I can see the person clearly. I
shout for them to wait, but then something unexpected happens. My
footing begins to shake, as though there is an earthquake. She seems
fine though. Cirno is rushing to catch up and looks on in horror as I
tumble beneath the ground. My hands shoot out to try to grab onto
something, but the earth I grab crumbles in my hand and I land right
on my butt.
Besides the ache of the fall, I'm okay, but I'm in a really deep hole
in the ground. It has to be at least ten feet deep.
"Takumi!" Cirno runs up the edge of the hole. "I'll run and get help.
Stay put!" She runs off, but I don't really have much of a choice in
"Oh-ho-ho? What have we here?" A tiny girl looms over the edge of the
hole, the girl I must have been chasing, judging by her outfit.
And...is she wearing rabbit ears? They seem pretty life-like. "Another
pedophile~? Or are you actually the one I'm looking for?"
"I don't know what you are talking about. I was just grabbing a book
from school and-"
"And you saw my cute butt and wanted to chase it, I get it, I get it.
You're like a dog, you gotta chase a cute rabbit when you see it." She
spits down into the hole, but it misses me by a mile. "Dog pervert."
"Please don't call me that. What kind of person digs ten foot holes in
the ground, anyway?"
"Tewi, please don't tell me you caught another one." Comes a more
mature voice. "This isn't the best way of going and looking for him...
I thought I told you to actually look around and ask questions."
"I was lookin'! I was lookin' in a school and this this guy followed me."
Another pair of bunny ears peers down the hole.
"I'm sorry about this!" She apologizes. "Are you okay?"
"A few bumps and bruises, but I'm fine. Can you explain what is going on?"
"Well, my friend and I are looking for a guy, but we don't know his name or what he looks like. Or even if its a boy, I guess."
"You totally know its a guy! You saw his-"
"Shut up!" The older bunny fumes. "You're making me sound like a pervert! And just because he's a guy in one place doesn't mean he is here."
"Um, Hi. I'm still at the bottom of this hole."
"WE'LL GET TO YOU." The two finally seem to be able to agree on something.
"Takumi!" A familiar voice shouts. Finally. "I brought some help, but.."
"Oh dear." The older rabbit's voice. "I think we might be outmatched here, if that is who I think it is, dear Tewi."
There's a purple-red flash, and a young guy dressed like a punk flies into the hole with me, almost landing on and crushing my leg. For something to throw him in here with such force, though, and not cause him physical harm..
A rope hits me in the head. "Climb up!" I do so, and a smiling Cirno awaits. "Glad you brought me along, huh? You okay? They didn't touch you in weird places?" She gives me a once over.
"No, I'm fine, but who did.." My eyes answer my question for me. Okuu and a few punks with baseball bats and lead pipes stand facing the rabbits.
"You okay, guy?" Okuu looks over in my direction. "Cirno said you needed help, and any friend of hers is a friend of mine. Well, mostly. You're Mystia's boyfriend, right?"
"No, but I'm friends with her."
"Well, I'm Utsuho. Reiuji. And I'm savin' your ass, so you better worship me." She gives a huge smile, showing perfect teeth, odd for a punk. Then she charges in, gripping an aluminum bat. The grin never leaves her face as she swings at the taller rabbit. Her hit seems to connect, but the rabbit simply vanishes when struck, and appears a few feet behind where she was before.
"What the hell are you people?"
The tall rabbit points a finger and a bullet flies out. Or, a large, purple bullet-shaped object, anyway.
Real life no longer makes sense.
Okuu rolls to the side in a practiced motion, and the bullet strikes the ground uselessly.
"Who the hell are we? We're moon rabbits!" The two smirk and take combat poses.
"That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Maybe I can beat the crazy out of you.." Reiuji's hands tighten on her bat again.
 Let them fight.
 Try to talk both sides down.
File 133886358995.jpg - (509.59KB,
1000x970 , im sorry for being cute.jpg) [iqdb]
"Stop! Everyone, stop!" I run in the middle of the fight. I'm either going to stop them or regret trying in a few seconds.
Okuu skids to a halt, and the rabbits stare at me.
"What's the big idea?" Okuu spits out her words, clearly miffed.
"What does either side gain by fighting? Reiuji, thank you for saving me. But I want to know what these two are after." I turn, making it dramatic as possible. "So? Care to tell me why you dropped me in a ten foot hole?"
"Reisen, you tell him." The smaller rabbit drops the ball in her friend's court.
"Tewi, I regret being partnered with you for this mission. I just want you to know that."
Reisen holds back her rage with a sigh. I think I've seen a similar pair somewhere before, though now the tall one is the serious one.
"Alright. You did us a favor, so.."
"RUN!" Tewi starts to bolt, but Reisen grabs her by the hood of her sweatshirt without even looking back.
"We're looking for someone. He's not a good man. That is pretty much all I can say."
"That is all you can tell me? You can't tell me about the purple energy you can shoot from your fingers?"
"I can tell you about the pedophiles, if it helps." Offers Tewi. "Maybe it'd be more your thing~."
"I'm serious. Look, I'm dealing with a bunch of stuff I don't understand. My school appeared overnight. I was attacked by someone. I have a ball that I can phase my hand through, and a DVD that won't play for everyone. Now I'm falling in holes set by rabbit girls? Help me make some sense of this, please."
The two rabbits look at each other and whisper.
"Um. Okay, but only if you come with us, please~." Tewi puts her hands behind her back and smiles sweetly, leaning closer to me and giving her best innocent look. Reisen tries to mirror the Tewi's pose. "Alone."
I don't trust them as far as I can throw them, but they know something, for sure.
File 133886384722.jpg - (42.55KB,
531x406 , the moon.jpg) [iqdb]
>>157990 >>157993 That is an interesting vote. I wish you had posted earlier, it might have caught on. I was already writing when you posted though, so I missed your votes. I guess I took too long, I apologize.
They know stuff. We don't know what they know. We need to know the stuff they know. And so stuff that'll let us know what they know is a good choice. Better to go along cooperatively than have to face those suppositories bullet thingies that rabbit girl shot.
>>157997 Where's that screenshot from? I can't seem to find a working Touhoumon English rom anywhere.
It doesn't have a new plot or anything, just some words and sprites replaced, as well as all the pokemon replaced with Touhou with appropriate abilities. I haven't played long, but it is a fun blast of nostalgia. Some of the lines are pretty awkward, though...or maybe I'm just a pervert.
Hrm, actually asking for a write-in? I'm gonna try something, see if it makes sense.
[x] Ask if they are working with a strange girl with a red bow that throws cards and flies.
-[x] If they seem shocked or appalled by the idea, go with them.
-[x] If there is no reaction, or they try to bluff, refuse.
-[x] Have Okuu and Cirno go inform everyone what is going on if you do leave.
Feel free to pick apart, I'm just throwing out my ideas.
[X] Gice me your cell phone numbers. Im obviously not going to follow 2 energy bullet weilding crazy rabbits who trap innocent people in holes. This way, you or whoever you work for can discuss this matter with me alone.
"Could you possibly make a more suspicious-sounding offer? Especially since I have no reason to trust someone who just dropped me in a hole."
"Fine then.." Tewi shakes her hips. "I guess you can resist my charms~." This earns her a karate chop to the forehead from Reisen.
"I do have a question, though. Can you at least tell me if you are working with a girl who wears red bows in her hair? Dark hair, hair tubes?"
"Oooh, the shrine mai-" Tewi starts, but her mouth is covered by Reisen.
"You've seen her?" Reisen locks eyes with me. My legs start to feel woozy.
"Are you working with her?" I press on, holding onto my willpower. Is she doing something to me?
Suddenly she is behind me, putting a hand on my shoulder. "Where is she?" Then there is another one, running a finger delicately across my chest. "Where did you see her?"
"Answer my question first."
Both of the Reisen's sigh, and then vanish. I fall over in surprise, and she returns to her original place next to Tewi.
"What the hell did you just do?!" The laws of reality keep shattering in front of my face, but it is no less surprising each time.
"Tewi. They don't have danmaku in here. We're free to go all out on them."
"Then we should just take him~."
"NO." Cirno stands in front of me, holding out her arms. "I don't know what is going on...like, at all. But I won't let you take my friend."
The two rabbits snicker and then break into full laughter. "YOU?! The ice fairy?!" Reisen extends a finger again and fires those large purple objects once more, this time aiming right at me, and thus, Cirno. I leap to my feet, prepared to take her and dive out of the way.
"Yeah. Me." She grits her teeth in an odd, confident grin. A chill goes up my spine, but not from fear, or excitement. The air is actually getting colder around my head. A giant lance made of ice appears over her shoulder and flies right at the rabbits..
But it simply shatters on the ground a few feet from them. "I missed?!"
"She kept her abilities?!" Reisen gasps. "We should go, Tewi."
"Why? Its just a lame ice.." She stops and follows Reisen's gaze to Okuu. "Oh. Oh! Yeah, we should go."
"Hold on! Not until you answer my questions!" I shout, but they are already running.
"Bye, pedo! I'll see you later!" Tewi sticks her tongue out as she runs.
Do we give chase? Or do we let them go? I have a lot of questions for them, but now I also have questions for Cirno, who seems to have similar abilities. And why were they afraid of Okuu even though Cirno was the one shooting ice at them?
All right, Reisen and Tewi are against us. This may also mean the rest of Eintei is against us, but maybe not. Reimu seems to be a third party in this. Yukari is a third party who's maybe helping us. Or she's screwing around.
Everyone else we've meet are affected by whatever's going on, some less so than others, as displayed by Cirno just now.
As for my vote:
[X] Chase them, carefully.
-[X] Make sure everyone else is coming with you.
As a side note, the BGM for IN is some of the best in touhou, and I heavily encourage you to listen to it while reading, especially the stage 5 songs for this part.
I sprint after them, and Cirno does the same. Okuu looks at us for a time, shrugs, and then rushes to catch up.
"Anyone care to explain what is going on?"
"I don't know either.." Cirno replies, and they both look to me.
"Long story short, I don't really know either. Our school isn't real, though. Or at least, I don't think it is."
The two of them look at me dumbly, slack-jawed.
"Okay, okay, not the best explanation..I can give you the whole story later!"
We're gaining on them.
"Wah!" Cirno's foot starts to sink into a trap, like mine did before. I grab her hand and pull her up. "Thanks."
"Watch where you walk!" I shout ahead, as Okuu overtakes me and is mere feet from them. She gives me a slight nod. Eventually she manages to grab Tewi by the hood. She lifts the small rabbit by her stomach.
"Help! Help! Molester!" The tiny girl waves her arms and legs uselessly, and Reisen turns.
"It seems we have a bargaining chip now, rabbit girl." Okuu says with pride. "Now, explain yourself or Takumi will have his way with her."
"W-What?!" Both Tewi and I stare at the raven-haired girl, who is grinning and staring right at her prey, Reisen.
"You can have her. I don't really like her anyway!" Reisen shouts and starts to flee again.
"You idiot! You stupid, useless rabbit! Get back here and save me!"
Her partner is already getting away, though. "I'll tell Eirin you got eaten by a monster, okay? Don't worry!"
"It seems you are alone, little rabbit.." Okuu looks like she might eat the poor girl. She's certainly good at playing the villain.
"If you tell me what I want to know, I'll let you go. I didn't plan on hurting you guys."
Tewi groans and goes limp in Okuu's grasp. "What do you want to know?"
"Who was that red-white girl? You seemed to know her."
"Oh, the shrine maiden? Reimu's her name, and she's supposed to be a big hero, someone who solves incidents like these. She usually beats a lot of innocent people up on the way though.."
"What do you mean, incidents like these? What incident?" I home in on key words so as to avoid being lost in her casual demeanor. I think this girl could talk casually about anything, and even the most cruel of tragedies might be a joke to her..
"Oh, like the time that Gensokyo was covered in red mist. And the time spring wouldn't come. And stuff."
"Woah, woah, slow down. Where is Gensokyo?"
The rabbit's eyes grow wide. "You mean you don't know? It's here. Ish."
"Yeah. I don't really get the details, but we're all sort of there and sort of not. Eirin could explain it better, but.." She shrugs, or as much as she can with Okuu gripping her stomach. "I guess you guys don't really get it. Um..so..like, you probably aren't who you think you are, or something. People in here aren't, really. This is all some temporary, illusion-thinger. All for this guy. 'Cause he's real bad."
"Well, we don't really know. He just kinda showed up one day, and was all huge. I didn't see him, but he ate a lot of people. And then a bunch of people fought over what to do with him."
These answers are giving me more questions, but Okuu can't hold the girl all day.
"If we let you down, will you talk to me? And not run?"
"I'm not letting her go, Takumi." Okuu grips her more tightly. "She's just going to run. Its true I can't hold her forever though, especially if she keeps struggling.."
"Yeah." Cirno agrees. "She's a tricksy type."
"Well, we could always toss her in one of her own holes and talk to her that way."
"W-wait, you don't need to do that! I swear, I'll be good, I'll be good!" She struggles to get out of Okuu's grip.
We throw her in a hole immediately.
"You could have been more gentle, Reiuji.."
"Hey! Let me out of here, you big stupids!" The girl shouts uselessly. "I'm not gonna shout answers at you from down here."
"Then watch out." I lower myself in the hole with her.
"Rapist! Rapist!" Tewi runs to the other side of the hole in genuine fear. Or maybe not, I can't tell. "I know I have adult charms, but I'm just a little girl, I swear!"
"Oh, calm down. I have a girlfriend anyway."
"That's hard to believe." She says bluntly. "You're pretty normal. I guess you are kinda cute in a normal way, though." She tilts her head and squints.
"Just answer my questions and they'll let us both out of here, okay?"
"Alright.." She sighs. "What do you want to know?"
 Ask about Gensokyo
 Ask about the "bad guy"
 Ask about the powers Reisen and the shrine maiden used
 Ask who Eirin is and why she sent them here
 Touch fluffy ears
There's a reason why you can only ask one, so choose wisely.
>This is all some temporary, illusion-thinger. All for this guy. 'Cause he's real bad.
>"Well, we don't really know. He just kinda showed up one day, and was all huge. I didn't see him, but he ate a lot of people. And then a bunch of people fought over what to do with him."
So, considering those dreams from before...
MegaSen. Wanting to finish this fast is one thing. Rushing so fast you can literally have a good idea where the plot is going way before it reaches that point is quite another. As such, my interest in this dropped severely with just this update.
You know, this is making me curious as to the why behind everyone that is taking part in the ilusion. It seems to me that a good number of the people who are in it are ones who annoy Reimu. Nineballs, Marisa, and even Suika fit it to a degree. Similarly, Aya, Parsee, and even Yuugi and Remilia annoy some people. All of the ones in the illusion, bar perhaps Okuu (in the case of those who use power from the reactor, such as the kappa) would not really be missed by the majority of people in Gensokyo. Well, except Marisa, but have we seen Patchy/Alice? Don't remember at the moment.
That makes me wonder, perhaps, why Shikieiki is also in the illusion? Komachi is understandable, but imagine how backed up the cycle of reincarnation if one of the Judges of the Dead went missing? Could she perhaps have moved against Reimu? For that matter, could the bad guy have befriended all of the residents of the school?, and they had assisted him, or at least not moved against him? Hence, Reimu and Yukari, plus unknown others, imprisoned them all in this illusion, until they figured out how to wean them off of the bad guy and back into society?
And consider how badly it's backfiring. If that wasn't the case, look at it now. He's befriending all of these people, even getting in close relationships. And if they ever returned to normal, do you think any of them, especially Shiki would let Takumi stay imprisoned? Even if the 'bad guy' did something, well, bad, does that mean that Takumi is the same as the bad guy? So, basically, this illusion is self-defeating for the ones who are still in reality, as they are only going to be turned against the longer the illusioned remain in their current state.
>>158089 But that's the thing. Do you have a solid idea where this is going? Good. I plan to mess with that a little. I have over twenty days of updates left before my predicted finish. I can't fill twenty days of updates if I've revealed everything to you already.
I resist an animal urge to touch the fluffy ears in front of me, as cute as they are, and instead ask what I hope is an educated question. "Tell me about this big bad guy. What does that have to do with everything? Is he the one who made the school and everything?"
She sighs. "Kinda. He didn't make it, but he's the reason for it. And he's here. Somewhere."
"Because this is his prison. But some people don't like him here. Some people want to free him. Some want to kill him in case he breaks out." She shudders. "But no one really knows where he came from. Or if he can die. Or if he is really that hostile, or just confused."
Now I'M confused. "So, you are saying someone here is this guy."
"And he might not know it."
"So it could be me."
"Yep. Or your girlfriend. Or one of those people up there. Or anyone. Well, except me and Reisen. You can trust us." She grins. "Well, except if you are the bad guy, I guess. We're supposed to kill him." She happily makes a gesture of slitting her own throat.
"Okay, now tell me about this Gensokyo place."
"Because I stalled you for long enough." She makes a peace sign, and then seems to vanish into thin air.
After being helped out of the hole, I explain the situation to the others. Okuu nods at every word, as though she suspected this all along or something.
"I don't understand a bit of it." She admits at the end of my explanation. "But I guess we're allies now. You owe me though." She points at me and narrows her eyes, and then starts to walk away, baseball bat across her shoulders.
"Where are you going?"
"Off to see my gang." She says without looking back, and that is the last we see of her.
"So, have fun?" I turn to Cirno.
"Well...it was something."
"How'd you do that ice thing earlier?"
"I dunno. I tried to make a cube of ice earlier, but I couldn't. Its like I can only do it when I'm totally fired up!"
"Huh..interesting. Still, that was pretty amazing." I say with genuine wonder.
"Pretty cool, you mean!"
"No. No I don't."
We part ways after a time and I walk home. Its getting late. I'd better tell Shiki about this tonight..and Yukari tomorrow after school. I now know the purpose of the illusion, at least. But why am I here? Am I that beast that Tewi was talking about? And if I am..why am I not..beastly? And why are all the other people here?
There are still a lot of questions, but tangible progress has been made. Shiki echos this sentiment over the phone.
"You discovered a lot today. I wish I had been there. Well, I don't think you are this..monster..for what it is worth. If this is an illusion, and the world here exists to placate a mythical being, I think it'd be a lot more focused on you. Right now you've got a lot of changes and stress in your life, the kind of thing you'd think they'd avoid if they are seeking not to anger something."
"Though, the girl who attacked us, that so-called shrine maiden, seemed to think otherwise."
"True. You could be a monster."
"If I turn out to be the monster, will you still like me?" I say jokingly, trying to lighten the mood.
"Of course." She says without humor or hesitation. "What about if I'm the monster?"
"If you don't eat me, we're cool in my book." We share a laugh.
"Its getting late, and I don't mean to be needy, but..can we hang out soon? After your appointment tomorrow or something?"
"Sure, I'll see you tomorrow in school and we can talk about it then."
"Alright. Goodnight, Taku."
Consider this half an update. The other half will be posted soon, with a choice. I wanted to post this much before I ate though.
Sorry Tewi fans, had there been more votes for touching the ears, you might have gotten something nice.
"Thank you for taking care of Yoshika for me the other day. She ranted all about you, in her own way. She said you had a crazy adventure."
"To say the least."
"If I'm ever absent again, can I count on you to take care of her?"
"As long as she lets me know, I'll certainly try. I do have someone I should eat lunch with, though, so.."
Seiga gives me a knowing nod. "I'll leave you to it, then. If you ever get a chance, come sit with us again outside. You are always welcome."
"Oooh, Shiki's gonna be maaad, you're flirting with older women." Komachi seems to appear behind me, causing me to jump. "Oh, scared huh? That means you are guilty. So, tell me, what is it you see in her? The bewbs?" She makes a show of lifting her own breasts, and I feel guilty watching her despite my lack of control.
"When I told you last night about what I'd do to people flirting with Takumi, I didn't ever once say that you were exempt, Komachi." Now it is her turn to jump.
"I wasn't flirting! Cross my heart and hope to die." Somehow that seems ironic coming from her, but I can't say why.
We take a seat , this time with Shiki sitting next to me and Komachi across from us. I almost feel bad splitting the two up like this, but it is nice to have Shiki next to me so we can discreetly hold hands or play footsie. My hand slips over hers, and I rub my thumb in a circular motion across her hand, feeling its warmth and smoothness. It is amazing how such a small motion can cause such a warm, pleasant feeling inside me. Judging by Shiki's smile as we chat with Komachi, she is feeling the same thing.
"Excuse me, lovebirds." Aya takes a seat across from us, next to Komachi. "I was wondering if you found anything out that I can use.."
 Share yesterday's story with Aya
 Keep quiet about it; anyone could be the monster, after all
>>158118 I'm just teasing. Besides, I like sharing with you guys, as I don't plan on running this story again here or anywhere else, and I don't have anyone else to talk to about it. Sorry if it really is that annoying.
>>158120 It'd be less annoying if you'd tell us what we missed rather than hinting. You're not going to run the story again so spoilers aren't a concern (if they are, wait until it's no longer relevant), and it would give us more to talk about than "Man, I sure wish we'd picked that thing."
>>158124 Fair enough. I suppose I'm in the minority, but not knowing something doesn't really bother me, so I never thought of it that way. I've annoyed/lost a lot of readers today, I think. Basically you missed a potential Tewi route if you guys stayed consistent with it, though there was little chance of that since so many people went for the Shiki route already.
I hope the guy from earlier didn't just drop the story because he thinks that Tewi spoiled the big reveal. Because that isn't the big reveal.
I'll learn to keep my mouth shut and write instead of making small talk, since clearly that isn't making me any friends.