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159525 No. 159525
Poor little rabbit.

Thread 1: >>157288

There's some updates in /at/ too: >>/at/25233

Google Doc: http://bit.ly/Md4pvN

/at/ Google Doc: http://bit.ly/LbuqKy

--

The morning comes, and you're woken by Marisa shaking you and Sanae awake. “Good morning! It's time for breakfast!”

All you manage to do is groan. Hangovers suck. The now-clothed Sanae manages to mumble from on top of you, “Mrh. Fifteen more minutes.” Yeah. Fifteen more minutes sounds good. Sanae wriggles herself into a more comfortable position on top of you. Judging by how Reimu is muttering curses at Marisa for being “so goddamn bright and happy”, Reimu's got a bit of a hangover too. In fact, it seems like Marisa's the only one without a hangover. And she drank the most out of all of you. Sometimes, there is no justice in the world.

At least she's not affecting that terrible German accent anymore.

The sound of bacon sizzling and Marisa singing rouses you from your fifteen-minute snooze. At least there's bacon. You can't be too angry when there's bacon. Seriously, bacon makes everyone happy. Sanae manages to rouse herself, and her eyes flutter open.

“Ow, seriously, ow, head, pain.” She winces and grimaces. Headaches suck. It's a good thing you nicked some of Eirin's aspirin, so you'll have something to dull the pain after a while. Sanae blinks once more, and wipes the sleepiness out of her eyes. Slyly, she looks around, and Reimu's trying her hardest to keep her eyes closed and go back to sleep, while Marisa's engrossed in making breakfast. And then pecks you on the lips. “Good morning, Reisen.”

Suddenly the memory of last night floods back to you, and you blush. “Um... Hi.”

“Hi? Is that it?” She yawns, and forces herself upright, by pushing herself up with her hands. Which she placed entirely by accident on your chest. Accidentally squeezing. Yep. Accident. She finishes her yawn and stretch, and winks at you. “Well, I'm getting some breakfast.”

You put out your hands. “Pull me up, Sanae.” Two can play at this game. She sighs, stands up, and grabs a hold of your hands, and pulls you to your feet. At which point you “stumble”, and “fall” on her for support. “Fall” so that both of your hands grip her ass. “Right. Well, I'm getting some aspirin for this headache.”

“You brought aspirin, Reisen?” Her eyes light up. “I've always loved you, have I ever told you that?”

You chuckle, and release Sanae. “You're just saying that because you want some aspirin.”

She shrugs. “Yeah. So?”

You laugh, and start rooting through your bag for a bottle of aspirin. Reimu's still on the floor, eyes shut hard as though to protect herself from a punch. Her headache seems to be the worst out of the three of you. After you and Sanae down your aspirin, you put two tablets and a glass of water on the floor next to Reimu. She grunts in thanks.

So Marisa, Sanae, and you all start to eat breakfast, with you and Sanae not saying much, just waiting for the aspirin to kick in. Marisa, on the other hand, is chattering on about last night. She even somehow manages to have great recall of when she's drunk.

“Would you have done that double shot with me if I'd asked you earlier, Reisen?”

You shake your head. “Probably not.”

“That's... probably just as well.”

You nod, hoping that she'll just stop talking and you can nurse your headache in silence. Sanae's just quietly drinking her tea, but you think she's doing it more to hide a smile than anything else.

But no. Marisa won't stop. “You and Sanae looked comfortable last night.”

Sanae coughs.

At this point, a thoroughly unhappy Reimu appears at the table, cutting Marisa off from this dangerous train of thought.

“Oh, hiya Reimu!” Marisa's bright and happy to see Reimu up.

Reimu is significantly less happy. She grunts non-committally.

“I made pancakes! With blueberries, and bacon!” And they were pretty damn good pancakes, if you say so yourself. Of course, you were just hoping for a distraction from the ice pick in your head. And the pancakes worked terrifically, since they distracted you long enough for the aspirin to dull the pain.

Flat voice. “That's great.” She stops. “That's... actually pretty great.” After she thinks about it for a second, she nods to herself, and stacks a plate high with them, then proceeds to seat herself next to Marisa, across from you and Sanae. “Okay. So, I asked you guys to come here for more than drinking. Not that we shouldn't do this again sometime.”

Sanae nods her head in agreement. “I had a good time.” And she nudges your leg meaningfully. You decide to say nothing and not give her the satisfaction. Apparently, your stubbornness gives her all the satisfaction she needs, as she smiles smugly.

Reimu takes a deep breath to steady herself. “So, what happened earlier, was that Yoshika found Toyosatomimi's body in the Hall of Dreams.”

Sanae cocks her head quizzically at Reimu. “Body?”

“Yeah.” She shakes her head. “It's a damn shame. Someone stomped right on her neck, crushed her windpipe.” You let your eyes widen in surprise, while Marisa looks faintly sick. “Someone just straight up and murdered her.” She looks at you. “Remember when I said that something was up?” You nod. “I think we found out what.”

Marisa nods. “That's... terrible.”

You've got to play your part as well. “So, um, what are we going to do?”

Reimu shrugs. “Same thing as we always do when we're faced with an incident. We're going to find out who's at the bottom of it, and beat them to a bloody pulp. Except this time, it's actually going to be bloody.”

“So do you know who did it?” The question you posed hangs in the air.

“No. You were at the Hall of Dreams recently, right, Reisen?”

You nod. “Yeah. Went to get a book. Yoshika and I couldn't find Toyosatomimi, though.”

“Damn. I was hoping you'd know something. Or have seen something. I guess we're at square one, then?”

Yeah, looks like it. Except, you know, for the whole 'goddamn fairies' thing.

Sanae cradles her chin in her hands and leans forward. “So what do you suggest we do?”



[ ] Split up and look around, gang!
[ ] There was a dame whose body this city chewed up and spat out. I'm a detective, and I've seen too much of this sort of thing to count.
[ ] Do we even HAVE any leads?
[ ] Write-in.

--

Voting for the second favor's closed, and there's a "winner". If you're wondering where the last update for the last thread was, it ended up in /at/. Though my plan is to make the /at/ updates completely optional, and self contained. The first one isn't even canon, but the second is.

>> No. 159526
[x] Split up and look around, gang!

We need to get away from them as fast as we can before even going to our next target.

Talking about our next target, who's it gonna be?
>> No. 159527
>>159526
It's a secret. For now, at least.
>> No. 159528
[x] Write-in.
Wriggle out of involvement. Blame bad memories from Lunarian army.
If you include a flashback I will love you forever.
>>159526
>>159527
In before Sanae.
>> No. 159529
[x] Do we even HAVE any leads?

How much information do the others have, exactly?
>> No. 159530
[x] Split up and look around, gang!

So the /at/ thing actually happened? Damn, now I'll have to read it.

>>159528
I hope not.
>> No. 159531
[x] Wriggle out of involvement. Blame bad memories from Lunarian army.
>> No. 159533
>[ ] Split up and look around, gang!
Leave Reimu, Marisa, and Sanae to their own devices? That can't turn out well. One of them is bound to find something out, especially with Reimu and her incident-resolving hax, maybe by talking to Yoshika and poking holes in our story. We should be there to mislead them. On the other hand, we run the risk of them seeing the letter too.
>[ ] There was a dame whose body this city chewed up and spat out. I'm a detective, and I've seen too much of this sort of thing to count.
Not entirely sure what this option does. Do we suggest a random name or something?
>[ ] Do we even HAVE any leads?
Aside from us being the attacker? Nope.
>[] Write-in.
Wriggle out of involvement. Blame bad memories from Lunarian army.
Same as first option.

If we had the name of our next victim, I would frame them as the perpetrator so our girls can do the killing instead of us.

[X] Do we even HAVE any leads?
Because I want to see what happens next. Do we go to Myouren Temple? Ask the Judge of Death? Question the Queen of the Higan? Go to Makai? Hell? Who knows. Should be exciting though.
>> No. 159534
[x] Do we even have any leads?

I like this whole group thing we got going. Keep your enemies close and your friends closer~
>> No. 159550
>>159530
I will go so far as to say that it's not Sanae, what with only having gotten one or two votes.
>> No. 159554
>>159550
Good.

I didn't know if I could count on the vote count to do the talking. You seemed to want someone that made sense for the story, not just someone enough people wanted to see dead.
>> No. 159557
>>159554
How did killing Miko make sense though?
>> No. 159558
>>159557
Killing someone she's never met leads naturally to killing someone she has met and finally killing someone she's close to.

Then we kick fae ass. It's a nice progression.
>> No. 159559
>>159558
>Then we kick fae ass.
>fae

Would you kindly stop replacing the word "fairy" with "fae"? It just bugs me for some reason.
>> No. 159603
Been busy this week, more so than normal. Updates to come at latest this weekend, so please wait warmly.
>> No. 159612
[X] Do we even have any leads?
>> No. 159630
File 134224249023.jpg - (40.06KB , 650x590 , 8de4b667d2757d9c5b589bb8499e5944.jpg ) [iqdb]
159630
[x] Do we even HAVE any leads?

The conversation pauses for a long moment. Nobody has anything to suggest to Sanae.

“Do we even have any leads?” You ask the question that's hanging in the air. “No, seriously, do we even have anything to go on at all besides what Yoshika said?”

Reimu spreads her hands. “Not really. I was going to go to the Myouren Temple and ask around, but considering she died in the Hall of Dreams, I doubt they've seen anything.”

“Couldn't we, you know, just ask the Yama?”

Marisa interjects at this point. “What, Eiki? We could, but... I'm not sure that Toyosatomimi would even go through her.”

“What about all the other ghosts?”

Sanae nudges you. “You could go ask Youmu if you think that'd help.” Her voice sounds like she's laughing at you. That's not very nice of her.

You become very interested in your thumbs twiddling as you reply to her suggestion. “N-no, I don't, um, don't think... that she'd help, uh, help me...”

Sanae shrugs. “What about asking someone else in the underworld? Yuyuko, maybe?”

Reimu shakes her head. “Not the way it works in the Taoist system. It's really a confused mess. Hell, it might even work like the 'Great Wheel' sort of thing, like Buddhism does. And do you really want to comb Hell and Makai through their thousands of damned souls to find one on the off chance it's there? I mean, we could. But that'd take months, and the killer might strike again. I hate to say it, but we've got to play the odds on this one.”

You pipe up with something that just popped into your head. “Why not just ask Komachi? She might remember something about it?”

Reimu nods. “Yeah, it's a possibility. Again, though, that's not quite how Taoist philosophy works.”

Marisa sighs. “Well, do you have any better ideas?”

Reimu lays her head on the table resignedly. “Not really. Investigation was never my strong suit. Every incident so far has been so kind as to announce itself. Or I just had to beat peoples' faces in until they caved and said something. I don't even know who to start beating on.”

Silence. Reimu's still got her head on the table, Marisa's leaned back in her chair, tilting it up on two legs while she thinks, and Sanae just looks bored. You, however, are doing your best to hide the fact that your mind's racing a mile a minute as you realize just how many ways there are to just, you know, ask someone about this, and how you've managed to, through sheer luck, miss almost all of them.

There is, however, at least one more option you can think of. Hopefully nobody will think of it.

Marisa drops back onto all four legs of her seat with a clatter. “Why not just ask Keine? She's got that whole history thing going on.”

Reimu mumbles up from the table. “Hakutaku.”

“Yeah, whatever. The main point is that things happened, they're historical, and she can find out what happened with them, right?”

Sanae nods. “I think that's how it works. Is that how it works?”

Marisa shrugs. Reimu grunts. Sanae looks at you, and you shrug as well. “Haven't a clue, Sanae. I never really asked about that.”

Sanae continues with her thought process. “But this happens only at the full moon, right? The full moon was a week or so ago... we're only at third quarter. That's what, three weeks?”

Reimu slumps down in her chair again. “So we're back at square one again. If that even works.”

You think for a moment. “Who else here is always oddly well-informed?”

Marisa shrugs. “Besides us? Or at least, we're supposed to be.”

Sanae thinks for a moment. “The Scarlets?”

“Bingo. They always know a bunch of stuff. Or at least, Remilia and Sakuya do. We could pump Meiling for information that she's heard, though. That's always an option, and then we don't have to deal with Remilia.” You don't like dealing with Remilia. She creeps you out. Sakuya's always nice to you, though. Reimu and Marisa? Not so much. And Patchouli just outright hates Marisa, for the most part.

Marisa starts the objections, quickly followed by Reimu.

“Welllllllll...” Marisa draws out the word.

“I'm not going there. Not a chance.” Reimu's more forceful.

You shrug. “Just a suggestion.”

Sanae sighs. “I can't see anything else. Maybe we could go rough up some fairies. That always seems to shake things loose.”

Marisa waves her hand dismissively. “They never know anything useful.”

Reimu's not happy. “You got any better ideas?”

Another long silence. You're actually completely out of ideas aside from the ones presented. Unless Mental Parliament has something else.



[ ] Go investigate the Myouren Temple.
– [ ] Ask who?

[ ] Bother Shikieiki.

[ ] Or maybe bother Komachi?

[ ] Youmu? I already said she won't help! Why do you keep bringing this up?!

[ ] Yuyuko, maybe?

[ ] Ask Keine? Even though you're something like three weeks early.

[ ] Go to the Scarlet Devil Mansion.
– [ ] Ask (ugh) Remilia. I really don't want to do this.
– [ ] Ask Sakuya. She's helpful, in her own way.
– [ ] Meiling? She might have heard something.
– [ ] Patchouli? I'm sure she hasn't been paying attention, but maybe she's got some ideas of how to find things out.

[ ] Go rough up some fairies.
– [ ] Who?

[ ] Write-in?



[ ] Go alone.

[ ] Take someone with you.
– [ ] Reimu
– [ ] Marisa
– [ ] Sanae
>> No. 159632
[x] Go rough up some fairies.
– [x] Sunny Milk, Star Sapphire, and Luna Child.
– [x] Take Sanae.

An opportunity to kick fairy ass sooner than expected. There's three of them and there were three fairies when Reisen made the deal, so obviously they're the culprits. No flaws in this reasoning whatsoever.
>> No. 159634
[X] Go to the Scarlet Devil Mansion.
– [X] Ask Sakuya. She's helpful, in her own way.
– [X] Patchouli? I'm sure she hasn't been paying attention, but maybe she's got some ideas of how to find things out.
– [X] Meiling? She might have heard something.
[X] Take someone with you.
– [X] Marisa

What's with Reisen and Remilia?
Choices: These are the people least likely to know anything about, well, anything. I'm just trying to cause conflict and delay things because with meta-knowledge that sooner or later we'll get a letter and need to disappear to do our assassination.
>> No. 159636
>>159634
>What's with Reisen and Remilia?

Things. Things happened.
>> No. 159637
[x] Go to the Scarlet Devil Mansion.
– [x] Meiling? She might have heard something.
[x] Take someone with you.
– [x] Sanae
[x] Write-in
- [x] Suggest Reimu and Marisa go rough up some fairies. They probably have some filed under 'the usual suspects'.
We can't go being too useful now, can we?
>> No. 159644
>>159637
I like this idea. Seconding.
[x] Write-in
- [x] Suggest Reimu and Marisa go rough up some fairies. They probably have some filed under 'the usual suspects'.
>> No. 159645
Marisa is going to make fun of Reisen so hard for going with Sanae.
>> No. 159668
>>159637

I too second this plan. Which I suppose means I third it?

Anyway, yes. This selection.
>> No. 159674
[x] Go to the Scarlet Devil Mansion.
– [x] Meiling? She might have heard something.
- [x] Sakuya?
[x] Take someone with you.
– [x] Sanae
>> No. 159692
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159692
[x] Go to the Scarlet Devil Mansion.
– [x] Meiling? She might have heard something.
[x] Take someone with you.
– [x] Sanae
[x] Write-in
- [x] Suggest Reimu and Marisa go rough up some fairies. They probably have some filed under 'the usual suspects'.

Okay, play it cool. There's got to be a way that you end up with Sanae on this that isn't blatantly obvious. “Hey Reimu.”

She grunts.

“I've got an idea.”

She grunts again. “Go on, then.”

“Why not ask some fairies if they've heard anything? They kind of are everywhere, and might have heard something.” And maybe Reimu will get lucky and break the right fairy's neck. Your luck's not that good, of course. It never is.

She sits up a bit from her slumped position in her chair. “Yeah, but they've never heard anything useful. You know how fairies are.”

Marisa chimes in. “We could, you know, encourage them to remember.”

Reimu brightens at the thought visibly. “Yeah, we could, couldn't we?”

Sanae sputters an argument. “What, you're just going to go beat on random fairies if they don't tell you what you want to hear?”

Reimu shrugs. “It's not like we could do any kind of lasting damage, anyway.”

Sanae's not happy, and her face shows it. “That's not the point! You can't just go beating up people for information!”

Marisa cocks her head quizzically at Sanae. “Um... Sure we can. That's kind of how we've always done it, isn't it?” She looks at Reimu for confirmation, who nods. “Yeah; that's how things get solved around here. That's how things get done.”

Something clicks in your mind, and you make a kind of tenuous connection. “But... that kind of attitude might have led to the situation we're in now! You don't know!” Sanae's happy to see that you share her view, and squeezes your leg affectionately.

Reimu holds up her hands. “Fine, fine. We'll try asking nicely first.”

“First?!” Sanae is not pleased with the terrible bargain.

“Okay, okay. I promise we won't beat any heads in.” You know Reimu and Marisa, and know that won't last long until they get frustrated on someone they think is holding back on them. They're actually really scary, now that you think about it. You shudder a bit, inwardly. It's a really, really good thing they don't suspect you at all.

Marisa changes the subject. “Okay, we've established what Reimu and I are going to do. What about you two?”

Sanae hasn't really given it any thought, as evidenced by the “Um...”, shrug, and looking at you for ideas. You've given it some thought though, and Mental Parliament has come down with its ruling. “I was thinking of going and seeing Meiling? It's like asking the Scarlets, except, you know, not asking them. And Meiling's really a lot nicer.”

Sanae pitches in. “Yeah! I'm going to go with Reisen, too. It's boring and lonely to investigate on your own. And you never know. They might jump one of us. It's a lot safer to have a partner.” She looks at you. “Hey Reisen, would you be my partner?” She holds out a hand.

You take it, and you both shake in a very manly way, firm grip and everything. “I think this is the beginning of an awesome buddy cop story, Sanae.” Man, that was close. You almost said 'the beginning of a beautiful relationship.' Way too close. Anyways. Exactly as planned. You with Sanae, and didn't suggest it. Reisen Udongein Inaba, Master Manipulator.

You think Marisa's seen through your scheme, though. She's looking at you, gleam in her eye, smirk on her face. Yeah, smirk now, Marisa. I won, and you know it. What. What. WHAT.

Right, um, yeah. Bit distracted. And you're still holding onto Sanae's soft hand. It's nice, really. And you realize that you're blushing furiously and the game is up. Crap.

Reimu chuckles a bit. “Partners, eh? Sure, whatever you say. Leaving poor Youmu out in the cold.”

How does everyone know about that?! Seriously, how? Is it that obvious? Are you that transparent? ...Well, yeah. You guess so. But this is some bullshit. “A-anyway! We should get going! I want to get to the Mansion before sundown!”

Marisa stretches. “Yeah, and we should get started too. If we're going to the forest, could we stop by Alice's, Reimu?”

Reimu rolls her eyes. “Yeah, sure.”



You and Sanae stop for lunch in the Village, and have a nice, relaxing afternoon of travel ahead of you. You feel pretty good in her presence. She's really nice to you, and acts like she cares about what you think. You're not used to this happening, really. Eirin's a nice person, but you know she looks upon you from a pedestal. It just comes with the territory of being an assistant. Tewi you know cares, but she shows it in the oddest, and most... occasionally painful ways. Kaguya is nice, but... she kind of cares about other things more. And then there's Youmu. We'll, um, leave that one for a later time. Hopefully this won't have to come up before Mental Parliament.

And there's some asshole, right on time, shouting for a motion to review the footage. You stamp right down on that. The Queen is not budging, not today, not on this.

The day passes, and you talk about little things, things of no consequence. Apparently, and you're guessing and inferring this here, but you think that Sanae's had a thing for you for a while, and you've just completely missed it. Well, you have been busy recently, what with that whole fairy thing and all, right? Right. There's totally an excuse for it earlier too, but you're not thinking that hard about it. Not when Sanae's listening to you tell the story about how Tewi one time dressed up as a Luchador, and woke you one morning by elbow-dropping you while shouting loudly in Spanish. She laughs, and you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

This is nice.

Really nice. Sometimes you can have nice things, right?



Come evening, you finally manage to get to the front gate of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. You could have gotten here faster on your bike, but you were going at a pace that Sanae could walk along with. Sanae could have gotten here even faster, because, you know, flying, but she doesn't, and you think it's just so she could do the journey with you.

As you round the bend around a perfectly manicured hedge, Meiling looks up at you from her post. “Oh, hey, what's up, Reisen!” She waves enthusiastically at you. She's such a genuinely nice person. How people couldn't like her is beyond you. “Oh, and Sanae's here too! Welcome, welcome! It's been too long!”

You pull up to Meiling, and get off the bike. Immediately Meiling draws both you and Sanae into a friendly hug. A strong one, too. “G-good to see... you too, Meiling.” It's hard to draw a breath with her strength.

She releases the both of you. “So what brings you two around these parts?”

Sanae takes this one. “We were hoping to talk to you a bit about a few things.”

Meiling scratches her head. “Really? Is it a quick question, or is it, an actual conversation or so?”

“It'll probably take a bit.”

Meiling beams at Sanae. “Alrighty then! It's late, so I'm going to insist that the two of you stay the night! You two must be tired, and...” Her confident facade cracks a bit, and she's really hopeful now, but you can see that it would hurt her if you said no, “...and it's not like there's anywhere else in easy distance, right? So you're going to stay the night here, and we can talk in the morning.”



[ ] Take up Meiling's offer to stay the night.
[ ] Insist that you talk to Meiling tonight, because you're really sorry, but you can't stay.
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 159693
>Leaving poor Youmu out in the cold.
Hrmph. I do not approve of the suddenly-canon /at/ sideshow overruling potential Youmu loving.

[x] Insist that you talk to Meiling tonight, because you're really sorry, but you can't stay.
Avoid the SDM trap.
>> No. 159695
>>159693
Um, about that, yeaaaaaaah...
>> No. 159698
[x] Insist that you talk to Meiling tonight, but stay the night anyway.
Who sleeps on a sleepover anyway.
>> No. 159699
>>159695
I don't even know which part of that post you're "um, yeah"ing about or if I should be happy about it or not.
>> No. 159702
[x] Take up Meiling's offer to stay the night.

You know there's going to be a letter waiting for Reisen when she gets home. You just know it. Let her have one more peaceful night.

>Apparently, and you're guessing and inferring this here, but you think that Sanae's had a thing for you for a while, and you've just completely missed it.
Between leaving Youmu out in the cold and Sanae out in the cold, I'll take Sanae anyday. She's bold.
>> No. 159703
>>159702
Youmu feels bold too, but nowhere near Sanae. She's just too so- sensitive sometimes.


I think. Canon is a weird thing.
[x] Take up Meiling's offer to stay the night.
>> No. 159719
[x] Take up Meiling's offer to stay the night.

Might be better to stay. We will probably receive another letter this night, and we don't know who it is. Anyway, we could use Meiling as a potential alibi.
>> No. 159721
[x] Take up Meiling's offer to stay the night.

I just think it's better to stay in the Scarlet Devil Mansion since one of our potential hits might likely be Sakuya. We might as well (unintentionally) study our mark.
>> No. 159723
[x] Take up Meiling's offer to stay the night.

I just wanna be nice to Meiling. Is that so wrong?
>> No. 159730
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159730
[X] Take up Meiling's offer to stay the night.

Well... It's true, you didn't think very far ahead as far as planning out your reservations. You'd hoped that Meiling would invite you in, and failing that, you'd have gone and camped by the Misty Lake. But none of that's necessary at the moment.

“So, yeah! It'll be great to have the two of you over!” Meiling, with the two of you in tow, are walking down the main path of the Scarlet Devil Mansion past the elaborate ironmongery that is the front gate. It's lined with immaculately trimmed hedges, and the path splits ahead of you to accommodate an elaborate porcelain fountain. They're really not much for subtlety, are they? Meiling pauses for a moment. “What did you want to ask me about anyway?”

Sanae waves her hand dismissively. “It's business, it can wait. We're in no hurry.”

Meiling shrugs, and continues onward. You're at the main door, and Meiling bangs it open to reveal a foyer, empty except for one extremely surprised fairy maid, who's landed on her butt after the door slammed into her. “Oh! I'm so sorry!” Meiling rushes over to help up the fairy she's knocked over. “Are you alright?”

The fairy shakes it off. “No, miss, I think I'm fine, thank you.”

“Good. I'd hate to hurt someone accidentally.”

Another voice cuts into the conversation. “You know you would do so much better if you didn't just go banging around indiscriminately all the time, Meiling.” Sakuya Izayoi has appeared from nowhere, as she is wont to do.

Meiling huffs, and puts her hands on her hips. “You just love to make an entrance, don't you? Always with the coming in with your timestopping and such.”

Sakuya giggles girlishly. “Yeah, and what's your point? Someone's got to watch out for you, Meiling.” Her expression softens and she smiles.

Meiling blushes a bit. “Right! Sakuya, I've invited Sanae and Reisen to stay the night. They've got things they want to talk to me about, but it's late, and I've still got lots of things to do. Do you think you could show them to a room?”

“What, you don't think I've got things to do myself? I'm always busy, too, Meiling!” She's smiling as she says it. This seems like a game that goes on between them fairly often. “And the way you're going, the guest rooms will all be full before the week is out.”

“Look, Sakuya, are you just going to ride my ass the whole time or are you going to find them a place to stay?”

Sakuya's now fighting back laughter. “Phrasing, dear Meiling, phrasing. Alright, I'll get them a room.”

The phrasing of her own sentence is lost on Meiling, and she looks a bit confused. “Okay. Thanks. I've got to take care of a couple other things. Be nice!” She turns to you. “I'll come find you later tonight, if that's okay with you.”

You nod. How you'd go about finding anyone in this labyrinth of a mansion is beyond you, but she lives here, and you don't. So you believe her. That decided, Meiling leaves the mansion once again, to the tender mercies of Sakuya.

“Okay, so, first question then. Do you want seperate rooms?”

You begin to answer. “Yeah, tha-” but Sanae's elbow in the ribs stops you.

“No, I think we'll be good with just one.”

Sakuya looks at you, cocks one eyebrow. “One room it is.” The picture of propriety, not commenting on what just happened. Yeah. If she didn't stop time to laugh or say something for that, you'll eat your ear. “Follow me, please.” She leads you up the stairway in the foyer, down one of the wings of the mansion.

Something from the last conversation stuck in your head, though. So you ask a question. “So, you said something about guests to Meiling, didn't you?”

Sakuya nods. “Yeah. We've had a few guests over the last week or so, only a little bit more than normal.”

Guests? That's... not really the sort of thing you'd imagine Remilia doing. That's just entirely out of what you kind of think is her character. You don't know her that well aside from a few things, so you might just be prejudiced and wrong. Yeah, that's probably it. “Who, if you don't mind me asking?”

“Keine one day, and a couple of the fairies that Meiling's soft on.” Oh. Right. Meiling was the one offering them rooms. Yeah, that makes more sense.

Sanae takes a moment from admiring the furnishings as the three of you walk. “Anyone still here?”

“Yeah, Youmu's here still on an errand from Yuyuko.”

...Youmu? Here? You try not to let your excitement show. Sanae looks at you sideways, and says nothing.

Sakuya stops in front of a door. “Anyway, here we are. This is your room, for the duration. Do try not to make a mess of it.” She gestures to a small bell inlaid in the wall. “If you need anything, ring one of the bells throughout the mansion, and I or a maid will find you. Meiling should be done in a little bit. I'll come and collect you two then. Does that work for you?”

You nod. “It should.”

Sakuya stops for a moment, and cradles her chin in her hand, trying to remember something. “I feel like I forgot something.” She snaps her fingers. “Oh! Right! I remember now!” In a flash, she's back with a letter in her hand. “A fairy asked me to deliver this to you if you should show up here.” She hands it to you. “I'm kind of surprised they knew you were going to be here, but, you know how fairies are.”

Oh. Shit. You recognize that letter. The vellum envelope, with your name in golden engraving.

Shiiiiiit.

Sanae plucks the letter from Sakuya's hand. “Ooh! A letter for you, Reisen! Let's open it and see~”



[ ] Let Sanae open the letter.
[ ] Try to snatch it from Sanae's grip.
[ ] Play it cool, play it cool, OH GOD WHY WOULD THEY DELIVER IT TO SOMEONE ELSE
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 159731
[x] Let Sanae open the letter.

Before I read the update, I looked at the choices. I couldn't stop laughing the entire time. Now, let's see if we can pin the blame on these motherfucking fairies. Reisen's a cool customer, I'm sure she can pull it off.
>> No. 159735
...Yeah, none of the choices seem like they'd play out well. Write-in attempt:

[x]Catch Sakuya's eye, grab for the bell and ring it

And hope she's savvy enough to help us out.
>> No. 159736
>>159735
How would that be any better than snatching the letter? It's Reisen's letter. She's well within her rights to stop Sanae from invading her privacy.

I still really want to see what will happen if we let Sanae open it. It could go swimmingly~
>> No. 159738
>Shiiiiiit.
Shiiiiiiiiiiiiit. SDM was a trap.

Let's look at the choices.
>[x] Let Sanae open the letter.
Sanae (and maybe Sakuya eavesdropping too) learns of our...homicidal tendencies. Bad end?
>[x] Try to snatch it from Sanae's grip.
Cliche option. But will it work?
>[x] Play it cool, play it cool, OH GOD WHY WOULD THEY DELIVER IT TO SOMEONE ELSE
This is why Reisen can't have nice things.

[x] Play it cool, play it cool, OH GOD WHY WOULD THEY DELIVER IT TO SOMEONE ELSE
Fortehlulz
>> No. 159739
Aaaaugh...I want to let her open it, but...
What if she freaks out and blabs? Sakuya's here. What if the hit IS Sakuya? We might be able to explain things to Sanae and get her to sympathize with us...but then, we'd be stuck with her; if we went for Youmu and she knew, we'd be fucked, fucked, fucked.

Why are we even doing this? Couldn't we just find the fairies and kill them? Do we even know if they can make good on their threat? They're just fairies. Couldn't we talk to Eirin and come up with a plan? Why did we immediately just go "whelp, gotta do what you gotta do."
>> No. 159740
>We might be able to explain things to Sanae and get her to sympathize with us...but then, we'd be stuck with her; if we went for Youmu and she knew, we'd be fucked, fucked, fucked.
There's a very simple solution to this particular problem. Don't go for Youmu.
>> No. 159741
>>159739
> They're just fairies.
Yeah, they're just fairies that made Kaguya, Eirin, and Mokou immortal without Eirin realizing it.
>> No. 159742
>>159740
But I like Youmu! And she goes so well with Reisen; much better than Sanae.
>> No. 159743
>>159742
>And she goes so well with Reisen; much better than Sanae.
I'd say I disagree, but we haven't actually met Youmu in this story yet. And Sanae seems awfully clingy already... she might be the sort to give Reisen a thumbs up and shove her at Youmu while hoping she crashes and burns.

What a petty discussion, in the middle of a life or death decision~
>> No. 159745
>>159743
I know I'm enjoying it.
>> No. 159746
[x] Play it cool, play it cool, OH GOD WHY WOULD THEY DELIVER IT TO SOMEONE ELSE
>> No. 159747
[x] Play it cool, play it cool, OH GOD WHY WOULD THEY DELIVER IT TO SOMEONE ELSE

My reaction was roughly the same as Reisen's. "OH SHITSHITSHIT-etc."

See what happens when you get nice things for once, Reisen? Karma backhands the hell out of you.
>> No. 159749
[x] Play it cool, play it cool, OH GOD WHY WOULD THEY DELIVER IT TO SOMEONE ELSE

All hands on deck, think of something!
>> No. 159751
[ ] Try to snatch it from Sanae's grip.

Let's be normal.
>> No. 159752
[x] Play it cool, play it cool, OH GOD WHY WOULD THEY DELIVER IT TO SOMEONE ELSE
Oh god I'd love to see this.
>> No. 159753
[x] Try to snatch it from Sanae's grip.

I don't think "for teh lulz" is a good justification for a vote like this, guys.
>> No. 159757
[x] Play it cool, play it cool, OH GOD WHY WOULD THEY DELIVER IT TO SOMEONE ELSE

Externally? In total control. Internally? PANIC. It's perfect!
>> No. 159760
[x]Catch Sakuya's eye, grab for the bell and ring it.

I rather have Sakuya snatch the letter from Sanae and hand it to us via time-stop. She likely wouldn't look into the letter since it would be too unprofessional for her image of being a 'perfect and elegant maid.' And if she did look at the letter, she likely already done so before handing it to us. This means that the only fault of this plan is that Sakuya might not get the signal, but I think she's too perceptive not to notice it.
>> No. 159762
[ ] Try to snatch it from Sanae's grip.

No Sanae, you're not Reisen, you can't read that letter.
>> No. 159765
File 134263752126.jpg - (1.37MB , 1500x1800 , 75fe2623203f50a1b8677c7742a7cc26.jpg ) [iqdb]
159765
[x] Play it cool, play it cool, OH GOD WHY WOULD THEY DELIVER IT TO SOMEONE ELSE

Remember that time when you were running from the jellyfish, and ran into a zombie? Do you remember how Mental Parliament was? Running around, screaming, fire, all those things? This is happening now, but not quite the same. That time, everyone had an opinion, everyone absolutely KNEW what needed to be done.

This time, it's just screaming and running and fire. With everyone running around like chickens with their heads cut off, it's only a matter of time before the conga line of panicked representatives starts. But this is okay. Mental Parliament is being useless. You, as Queen, have got this. Got to play it cool. Those fairies are absolute dicks for giving the letter to someone else. Yeah. You got this. Take a moment to focus, and blank out all the screaming going on in your head.

Deep breaths, nice and calm.

The sound of tearing paper jerks you violently out of your reverie.

Sanae's already used the letter opener Sakuya's presented to her, and now she's reading the letter intently. “Hmm. Very interesting. I don't know what to say.” Her expression, grim. Your heart stops. Found out so soon? She turns to you. “How do you explain this, Reisen?”

You always knew it would come to this. You'd hoped to put it off, so far in the distance that you'd manage to never have to think of it, but you knew it would come to this. You take in a breath, and start thinking of ways to get yourself out of this. Talking? Maybe. You've never been too great at persuasion. If you use it as a distraction to get the jump on the two of them... it'll have to be Sakuya first, get her before she can react. Right. Okay.

Timing's everything, gotta find your moment.

Sanae's expression turns into a smile. “Hey, lighten up, Reisen. I'm just messing with you, it's blank.”

Bla- Oh, those fucking bastards.

Sakuya's puzzled. “Why go to all the trouble of having it delivered somewhere she might be, in such a nice envelope? It makes absolutely no sense.”

Okay. Still gotta explain your way out of this, but we can step back from Defcon 1. Mutually assured destruction isn't necessary at this point. You shrug. “Beats me. Maybe it was Tewi?”

Sanae's still confused. “It's really subtle for something she'd do.”

“Maybe she's trying out a new angle? I'm not one to try and guess everything that goes through her mind. It'd frighten me if I did know, I think.”

Sakuya clears her throat. “This was an interesting diversion, but I've got things to do. I'll come and collect the two of you soon.” And she's gone. Timestop is such a useful ability. Man, you wish you could do it. That'd be awesome. Tewi would never get the drop on you again.

...Okay, she probably still would. But that's beside the point. The time for panic is past, and the crisis has been averted. You really need to relax. A nap would do the trick, right? That in mind, you open the door to your room for the time being. It's got a large, fluffy, extremely over-pillowed western style bed in the back corner, near the outside window. Under the window is a small... mahogany? Man, that's classy. Mahogany desk, with a bookshelf beside it with all sorts of various books. On top of the desk is the letter, which Sanae tossed there when she came in. Which reminds you: You've still got the Zhuangzi in your travel pack. The carpet's nice and plush, and it's even got a seperate bathroom, which Sanae is marveling at the size of.

Sanae calls out from the bathroom. “Hey, Reisen, I'm going to take a shower. We haven't got anything nearly as fancy as this at the Moriya Shrine.” She pauses for a moment. “It's big enough for both of us~”

You're a bit distracted, because you're looking into the oddest mirror you've ever seen. It's very nondescript, in fact, it's not even got any ornamentation. It's only a stand, and a full-length rectangular mirror. It doesn't look odd. It feels odd. You shake your head, and tear your gaze free. Right. You've got a bit of time, what are you going to do?



[ ] Try and figure out the blank letter
[ ] Nap
[ ] Find Youmu
[ ] Wander outside to clear your mind
[ ] Look at that mirror again
[ ] Go take a shower with Sanae I am waaay too tense for that right now!
[ ] Write-in
>> No. 159767
[X] Try and figure out the blank letter

There's gotta be a trick here, right?

...Thought that shower option is awfully tempting.
>> No. 159768
You know what's good for removing tension? A nice hot shower~
[x] Go take a shower with Sanae

[x] Try and figure out the blank letter
-[x] Look at the blank letter's reflection in the creepy mirror.

I was all ready to post CALLED IT! before realizing I forgot to post that I thought the letter was blank.
>> No. 159769
[X] Realize that you were opening it next to someone who can stop time.
-[X] Why would she do that?
>> No. 159770
>>159769
Sanae opened it, not Reisen.
>> No. 159772
[x] Try and figure out the blank letter
-[x] Look at the blank letter's reflection in the creepy mirror.

Then:
[x] Find Youmu
[x] Go take a shower with Youmu
>> No. 159777
[x] Try and figure out the blank letter
-[x] Look at the blank letter's reflection in the creepy mirror.
Stupid fairies probably glamoured the damn thing.
>> No. 159779
[x] Try and figure out the blank letter
-[x] Look at the blank letter's reflection in the creepy mirror.
Stupid fairies probably glamoured the damn thing.
>> No. 159782
>>159770
True. My point still stands though.
>> No. 159783
[x] Try and figure out the blank letter
-[x] Look at the blank letter's reflection in the creepy mirror.

Then:
[x] Find Youmu
>> No. 159789
[x] Try and figure out the blank letter
-[x] Look at the blank letter's reflection in the creepy mirror.
>> No. 159790
[x] Try and figure out the blank letter
-[x] Look at the blank letter's reflection in the creepy mirror.

Then:
[x] Find Youmu
I can already imagine what's going to happen... We find Youmu, good things start happening. Sanae finishes her shower, walks around and finds us just before we get to have fun.
>> No. 159792
>>159790
Then things become even more fun, right? Right???
>> No. 159801
>>159792
Absolutely. Yes. Right. Impossible for anything to go wrong.
>> No. 159802
File 134272995296.png - (904.45KB , 1300x975 , 2984e785919afca25bc9d84dce26c54e.png ) [iqdb]
159802
Wasn't planning to let Reisen have time to do two things, but what the hell. I'll be nice.

[x] Try and figure out the blank letter
-[x] Look at the blank letter's reflection in the creepy mirror.

Then:
[x] Find Youmu

Well, you want to relax. You really do. But you just can't let that letter go. You got lucky, that the fairies are not trying to burn you- not yet, at least- but you can't risk that whatever the fairies put on it will reveal its message to anyone but you. And the best way to do that is to be the first to figure out what it says, and then dispose of it. Maybe fire. Maybe eating it. Whatever. You don't want to leave it lying around any longer than you have to. So you go over to the desk, and try the obvious first thing.

With a little effort of will, you look intently at it through your eyes. It'd be the best thing that they could have done- nobody else would be able to read it.

After staring intently at it for a bit, the letter stubbornly remains blank. Okay, plan B. You pull open the curtains on the window over the desk, and hold up the letter to the setting sun. Maybe the letters will show themselves this way, with the sunlight filtering through. But no matter how you move and adjust it, nothing shows.

You remember hearing about a type of invisible ink that shows itself when presented with heat. You think you'll leave that for a little later, once you've exhausted your other options. You really don't want to burn it if at all avoidable.

From the bathroom, Sanae starts singing in the shower:
Down in the street there is violence
And a lots of work to be done
No place to hang out our washing
And I can't blame all on the sun, oh no

We gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we'll take it higher
Oh we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we'll take it higher!


She sings about the weirdest things, sometimes. Maybe electrifying the letter? That's just dumb. You know you're stalling. Okay. Right. Gotta stop avoiding this. Maybe if you look at the reflection of the letter in the creepy mirror...

Tentatively, you edge over to where the mirror is, and get yourself barely in its field of view. That mirror really creeps you out. You hold the letter out as far away from you as possible, to keep your reflection out of the mirror. Still looks blank.

Frustrated, you move in, and move the letter closer to the mirror so you can better inspect the reflection. This, of course, requires you to move yourself into the mirror's field of view. Still nothing. The letter remains obstinately blank. You look up at your reflection. Nothing odd. It's just a reflection. Maybe this mirror isn't as terrible as your gut wants you to believe.

Your reflection winks at you.

You let out a small scream, and then immediately clamp down on it, while scrambling away from the mirror at full speed. You don't want Sanae or anyone else to hear that.

Okay, yeah, you're done with the mirror. Straight up done. Not dealing with that again, thank you very much! You can use the bathroom mirror if you need to see yourself.

Now you're out of ideas as to how to read the letter without possibly destroying it. In frustration, you throw it back onto the desk. You'll leave it there until you come up with some bright idea to read it.

…Sanae's still in the shower. Sakuya hasn't come to collect you two yet. You have time yet. What to do, what to do?

Find Youmu. This can't end badly like the last time, right? She'll understand. She has to. You really hope she does.

Please let her understand.

You step out of the room and close the door ever so quietly, and then realize you have no idea where Youmu is.

[ ] Ring the bell and ask Sakuya where Youmu's room is.
[ ] Wander around trying doors to find Youmu's room.
[ ] She's probably in the kitchen, right?
[ ] No, outside, you dummy. She can't practice inside, there's too much breakable stuff here.
[ ] Maybe on the roof? There should be space there, right?
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 159804
[x] No, outside, you dummy. She can't practice inside, there's too much breakable stuff here.

She'd be a fitting second target.
>> No. 159805
[x] Ring the bell and ask Sakuya where Youmu's room is.
-[x] Tell Sanae where you're going. Maybe a note?

Coming out the shower to an empty room is too sad.

Meeting Youmu would go better if Reisen stepped inside the mirror and let mirror-Reisen handle things. I know we can trust mirror-Reisen because real-Reisen can't be trusted by anyone, and mirror-Reisen would be the opposite, as befits a mirror counterpart.
>> No. 159806
>>159805
Telling Sanae you're leaving her for Youmu is bad.

[X] She's probably in the kitchen, right?
Needs to pick up some food for Yuyuko later.
>> No. 159808
I don't know about all this jealusly stuff..sanae was teasing us about Youmu earlier..
>> No. 159809
>>159808
We'll find out, won't we? We'll also see what went badly last time and the most crucial info of all, whether Youmu likes Reisen in the first place.

For a story full of conflict, we're not shying away from potentially creating our own. I like that.
>> No. 159811
[x] Ring the bell and ask Sakuya where Youmu is.

Sakuya can search the whole house in a heartbeat, this is much more direct.
>> No. 159814
[x] No, outside, you dummy. She can't practice inside, there's too much breakable stuff here.
>> No. 159822
[ ] Ring the bell and ask Sakuya where Youmu is.
>> No. 159900
Have been extra busy this week securing an apartment for next year. Updates soon.
>> No. 159905
File 134319078941.jpg - (120.23KB , 850x602 , 20120201-141649.jpg ) [iqdb]
159905
[x] Ring the bell and ask Sakuya where Youmu is.
[x] No, outside, you dummy. She can't practice inside, there's too much breakable stuff here.

Yep. No idea at all. But an idea comes to you. You reach out to one of the bells, and poke it. It makes the smallest tinkling sound, what with being made of glass and all. Fancy stuff. In a heartbeat, Sakuya is there. “What can I help you with?”

Her sudden appearance always startles you. “Well, um, I, uh, you know...”

Sakuya smiles, but she seems to be content to let you wriggle. You think she knows what you're trying to get at, but making you say it. That's just mean. “I'm sorry, Reisen, I don't know.” So mean.

You try to gesture your way to communication, but Sakuya just smiles and cocks her head in “confusion”. Nothing for it, then. “I'm, I'm, uh, looking for Youmu.”

Sakuya cups one ear with her hand. “I'm sorry, Reisen, I didn't hear you. What was that last bit?”

You ball your hands into fists. “You know what I said!”

Sakuya leans back against the wall. “Yeah, I do. Now I have to ask you, is this what you really want?” She gestures to your room, where you can just barely hear Sanae singing through the door. “You've got a pretty good thing going here. And you know her position on it...”

At this point you're looking down at your feet. “Yeah. I do. But...”

Sakuya interrupts you. “But nothing. Look at me when you say that.” You refuse to do so, so she lifts your face to hers, but you avoid looking her in the eyes as best you can. “Fine. If you're going to be that way, so be it. Don't say I didn't warn you.”

Your next words are a mumble. “I know...”

“There's no arguing with you. Youmu's out in the courtyard. Go on, get on with it.” She waves you off, and you leave, headed for the courtyard.



You stop at the large glass french doors that open to the courtyard, and stop for a moment just to watch Youmu before she notices you. The way she moves, the way she flows... it just makes your heart flutter to watch. She's framed by the large rising half-moon in the early night sky.

Slowly and quietly, you turn the knob to the door, and try to slip out unnoticed by Youmu. It doesn't work, of course. It rarely works when Youmu's not paying attention, but when she's practicing and in the zone, very few things escape her notice. She immediately freezes, and looks directly towards you, coming out of the door. You can see her slowly relax, but her face's expression...

Well, you're not going to talk about that. Forward and onward!

“Reisen, why do you keep following me around?” The note of exasperation in her voice is quite evident.

You wring your hands together as you try to muster up your courage, and try to look her in the eye. Confidence, Reisen, confidence! “Well, I, uh, I, just wanted to say...”

You can kind of hear Youmu mutter under her breath. It sounds like “Here we go again,” but she couldn't! She wouldn't!

“I, I, uh, think I love you, Youmu.” There. You said it. You said it to her face so earnestly, who could possibly resist? Nobody. Nobody at all.

“Yeah. I know. That's great. Go away.” Her voice is bored and sounds as though she's done this before.

Well, she has done this before. You remember last time, you didn't even get the whole sentence off before she cut you off and left.

“But- but I- and you-” Your voice quavers a bit. You will not cry. You will not.

“Yes, I know. And I've told you before, I don't want anything to do with you, Reisen. Why you keep following me around is beyond me. I just don't like you at all. You're too shy, you're needy, you're clingy, and you're just not the kind of person I want to have around.” Her words are like knives in your heart. “Honestly, I don't even know what people see in you. You're not even that bright, your conversational skills leave much to be desired, and those ears. Come on, Reisen. Who are you fooling?”

You can feel a hot tear slide down your cheek, and you bite your lip as to fight it. “Why... why would you say such things?”

Youmu shakes her head and walks over to you. “Are you really that dumb? I want you to stop following me around. I want nothing to do with you. I want you to just go away. Is that so hard to understand? I tried to be subtle the last time. I tried to let you down easy. But you just wouldn't stop. So I'm going to make this real simple, for a dumb rabbit. Go. Away. I don't want to see you again.” With that, Youmu leaves.

And you slump down to your knees. Had you really been so dumb to miss all the signs? Did... did you do something wrong? She... she had to understand. You confessed so earnestly. She had to feel it. You felt it.

You feel it now, and it feels like a punch in the gut. You're doubled over, crying through your hands, wishing it hadn't gone this way. You wish there was a way you could make her understand. Make her feel something. Anything. Please.

A comforting hand rests itself on your shoulder, and draws you in for an embrace. Whose is it?



[ ] Sanae
[ ] Sakuya
[ ] Meiling
[ ] Remilia
[ ] Youmu NOPE

I feel like the worst person after this update.
>> No. 159908
Welp.

[x]Sanae.
>> No. 159910
Wow. Chalk up another victory for reader-narrator knowledge disparity...

[x] Remilia

I don't want to show Sanae Reisen's crying face, and the idea of Remilia comforting anyone is laughable.
>> No. 159911
[X] Remilia

This story is awesome. Keep at it!
>> No. 159912
Well. That was cold of Youmu.

[x] Sakuya

I'd like to see a nice Sakuya for once, although Remilia has the potential to be interesting too (given that there's tension between her and Reisen).
>> No. 159914
>>159910
I tried to drop enough clues over the past several updates to make it possible to know this would happen beforehand. So, it's not quite a reader-narrator knowledge disparity at all, really.
>> No. 159917
>>159914
Apparently absolutely no one caught them. Not sure if that means you left bad clues or if you've got inattentive readers.
>> No. 159919
>>159917
The clues were fine. Only someone in complete denial (like Reisen) could possibly miss the "She has to understand this time. She has to." one, if nothing else.

The write-in prompt underneath, though? That probably deserved some comment.
>> No. 159920
>>159917 >>159919

Saw the clues and knew something was up, but didnt expect it to be quite so bad.

[x] Sakuya
>> No. 159921
Didn't we just see nice Sakuya? It feels a little repetitive to see her again so soon.
>> No. 159922
>>159919
What write-in are you talking about?
>> No. 159923
>>159922
The one at the bottom of >>159802
>> No. 159924
>>159923
Oh. That was intended as an opportunity to write in a location that I hadn't thought to list, as you were going to end up finding Youmu no matter what you picked. The popular write-in wasn't that, but I figured I could work it in without problems, so I did.
>> No. 159926
[x] Remilia
Because what.
Also yeah, I figured it would go badly but... god damn, Youmu.
>> No. 159928
[x]Sanae.

Yeah, I kind of figured something along those lines would happen, but... not that bad.

Poor Reisen. She needs that hug badly.
>> No. 159929
>>159926
Yeah goddamn it.
I mean, you might not feel anything for her, but you just can't lose your patience in stuff like this, even if she is a bit clingy.
That said, what the fuck is she doing here? Delivering the letter? PLOT TWIST.
Or is she... the victim DOUBLE PLOT TWIST (NOT REALLY)

[x] Remilia
>> No. 159931
[ ] Sanae

Let's invest in this couple.
>> No. 159932
File 134322412276.jpg - (129.90KB , 450x536 , 013354afba5617b6214af4605b97b38e.jpg ) [iqdb]
159932
[x] Sanae

Only miko hugs can save us now.
>> No. 159935
>>159920 here

Changing vote to

[x] Remilia
>> No. 159937
[x] Sanae

Miko, please.
>> No. 159940
[x] A comforting hand of cruel violence and rape. It belongs to Youmu.
>> No. 159944
>>159940
Brilliant, but a bit OoC.

[x]Remilia
>> No. 159946
[x] Sanae
>> No. 159947
WAIT A SECOND.
What if, by having it be Sanae's hand, it meant she saw the whole confession? Would she understand?
>> No. 159948
>>159947
I certainly doubt she'd get too bent out of shape over it. We'd probably get a "Poor little rabbit" and some ear petting.
>> No. 159949
>>159947
>...Youmu? Here? You try not to let your excitement show. Sanae looks at you sideways, and says nothing.
Combined with what she said in the /at/ update... Sanae knows exactly what happened here.

Interestingly, the vote is tied right now. It would be awfully nice if both Remilia and Sanae, later, in their room, comforted Sanae. Just saying.
>> No. 159950
[x]Sanae

Of course it's bloody well Sanae.
>> No. 159951
>>159950
It doesn't have to be. It could be Remi.
>> No. 159963
>>159951
Why Remilia?
>> No. 159964
>>159963
Because she was tied for votes with Sanae?
>> No. 159965
[x]Sanae
>> No. 159977
>>159964
Well, why did people vote for her?
>> No. 159979
>>159977
Because seeing Remilia of all people comfort someone would have been awesome. Also because they might not have wanted Sanae to see Reisen confessing to Youmu.
>> No. 159984
>>159979
She was in the courtyard talking to Youmu and suddenly collapsed bawling on the ground. This edition of SDM has windows. Half the bloody mansion knows. If Sanae didn't see it personally, she can put two and two together when a gloomy Reisen shows up in the room.
>> No. 159996
[x] Remilia

Because Sanae comforting us right now would be too easy.
>> No. 160000
[x] Remilia
This option will be awesome. It must be.
>> No. 160007
Every time I come back to look at this to hope the tie's broken, there's more votes, and it's tied again. I'll see what can be done, or give it another couple hours or so.

Also I think there's probably going to be a "bonus" update for this choice because I had an idea that made me laugh. Non-canon, of course.
>> No. 160013
>>160007

Just flip a damn coin. I'm pretty sure there's some spam going on here, or there will be. There usually is, when votes drag on for this long.
>> No. 160014
>>160007
Remi got the get, use her!
Or, y'know, just pick whichever you like
>> No. 160030
[x] Remilia
Typewriter.
>> No. 160032
Okay, I'm calling the vote for Remilia now before it gets tied again. Updates should be today, possibly tomorrow.

Remilia is the best at comforting emotionally damaged rabbits
>> No. 160073
File 134373208013.png - (304.12KB , 614x725 , 12ccedbd3e535c6bed4c8f7eaa33d60d.png ) [iqdb]
160073
Pardon the late update. Your loyal writerabbit managed to step on a rusty nail that went through their shoe, and then foot on Sunday. Hooray. I've had better days. And no, a swollen rabbit's foot isn't twice as lucky. I should know.

[x] Remilia

A pair of small arms embraces you, after what was possibly the worst outcome for anything, ever. You might be prone to hyperbole at the moment, but somehow you think you can forgive yourself for this character flaw at this precise moment. Or maybe you're just monologuing to distract yourself from thinking too hard. Monologuing? Is it possibly monologueing oh God Youmu just shot you down so hard and you're crying again.

Well done, mental Parliament. We're back on the topic of crying rabbits and unrequited half-ghost love. The arms release you, at least, just one of them. The other is across your shoulders, and somehow you're now sitting on a ledge overlooking the courtyard and the half-moon. How did you get here? Who is that arm attached to, anyway? It's too small to be Sanae, and doesn't smell like her, anyway. You turn to look at who's trying to comfort you, and...

Oh God. It's Remilia. Today just keeps getting worse and worse. You're resigned to your death at her hands, now. At least you hope it'll be quick.

“So, um, Reisen, how are you feeling?” Her words sound like she's unfamiliar with them, like she hasn't, you know, had to do this herself, or very often. Nice is... a bit of an alien concept for her, you think.

Your answer is just to sniffle, and wipe a few last tears from your eyes.

“Look, I understand this is hard for you. I mean, I've been shot down before.”

You try to imagine this, and can't think it ended well. “Really?”

“Yup. So his family members started disappearing.” Her tone is extremely casual.

“Wait, you went after a married man?”

“So what if I did? Look, the point is, he turned me down, and I turned his family into cattle.”

“That's... that's horrifying, Remilia.”

“Really?” She's kicking her legs back and forth idly off the edge of the ledge. “That's what he said, when I invited him over for dinner. I made tacos.”

“Tacos? Made of what?” You immediately regret asking the question.

“That's not important. What is important, is that he got over it. Which I guess is the point. He had a pretty good thing going for him, which was tacos. That's kind of analogous to your situation, right? Think of Sanae as tacos. They're still pretty good tacos. And what's better, these tacos love you. Those tacos loved him, before I ground up the meat.”

You think you've probably turned a little green. “Um, Remilia, I don't think-”

But she's completely oblivious to your objections. “So, yeah, Youmu didn't want you. That happens to everyone, even me. You've just got to get up, and eat the tacos. They're probably better than the ice cream, anyway.”

The food analogies are kind of hard to follow without wanting to puke. “Wait, is Youmu the ice cream, or what?”

Remilia looks at you, and tries her best to hide her exasperation. By “tries her best,” you obviously mean “doesn't try at all.” “Yes, of course she's the ice cream. And you never know, you might have been lactose-intolerant.”

Okay, now you're totally lost. “I have no idea what your point is, Remilia.”

She pauses for a moment, trying to gesture her point out. “Look, the point is- well, the tacos are Sanae- and ice cream is bad for lactose-intolerant rabbits- but, look, Reisen, just eat your goddamned tacos.”

You kind of wish that Remilia had instead sent out Sakuya to comfort you, or, well, anybody else, really. Though you think you're getting her point.

She brightens visibly, as she has a 'eureka' moment to explain her point. Which she then proceeds to do. “I know what we could do, Reisen. We could go and grab Yuyuko, and make tacos, and then invite Youmu over for dinner.”

Nope. She's missed her own point completely.

“I- what? No! No, we can't do that!”

Remilia shrugs. “I think it'd make you feel better.”

“No, look, I just want to be alone.”

Remilia stands up. “I'll help you back to your room, then. It's kind of easy to get lost.”

“B-but what about talking to Meiling?”

Remilia looks down at you, where you're still sitting on the ledge. “Come on, Reisen. Everyone knows about this, and Meiling's giving you a bit of space, and talking to Sanae. I mean, seriously, there's all kinds of windows throughout this mansion, and I think almost everyone was watching the drama play out. I think almost all the fairy maids and the guests were watching.”

Oh, that's great. That's a comforting thought. Now you have to deal with Sanae. Hopefully you can go to sleep before she's done with Meiling, and when you wake up, this is all over. Right? Right. And as you're thinking that, Remilia lifts you up and slings you over one shoulder. “Hey! What are you doing?!”

Remilia looks at you like she doesn't understand your question. “I'm helping you back to your room. What do you think I'm doing?”

Right. Not gonna fight it. Just gonna roll with it, gonna go to sleep, and this will have all been a bad dream.



Remilia gets to your room, and unceremoniously dumps you to the floor. “I'm here for you if you need me, Reisen. Don't let our past differences get in the way, okay? I'm your friend.”

You get up slowly, and make sure not to turn your back on Remilia. “Thanks... a lot. That means a lot to me. Really. It does.”

Remilia nods, and leaves, leaving an extremely confused, emotionally fragile moon rabbit in her wake. You open the door, and the room is empty. No Sanae. This is good. Your eyes flick over to the letter on the desk. The letter, bathing in moonlight streaming in through the window.

The letter, with words on it.

You run over to the letter, and clutch it to yourself, and look around to make sure nobody else saw you. The coast appearing clear, your trembling hands edge it out from your breast, so you can read the silvery lettering.

Dear Rabbit,

I am pleased with your fulfillment of the first favor. As such, I have no reason to revoke the boons granted you at this time.

However, it is high time that the second of three favors be requested from you, and this is notice of just that.

You may have realized that we sent this letter through a courier, expressly so that Sakuya Izayoi would handle it. This was done deliberately so- it is a delicious irony that she would deliver the letter that marks her.

You have three days from tomorrow's dawn, Rabbit.


Suddenly you don't feel much like sleeping anymore.



[ ] Try to sleep anyway.
– [ ] Midnight Full Moon
– [ ] Fairy Ring
– [ ] Hurt Locker
– [ ] Saving Private Princess

[ ] Go sit in the shower for a couple hours. This is way too much for one poor little rabbit at the moment.
[ ] Leave the Mansion. You've got planning to do.
[ ] No, that'd be way too suspicious. You think you'll just wander and think.
[ ] Write-in.

And yes, she'll destroy the letter first before any of these. Unless you can think of a good reason not to do so.
>> No. 160077
Hahhahaah. Remilia is the best comforter.

I can't think of a good reason, but I can certainly think of a bad one.

[x] Track down Remilia, show her the letter, and beg her to alter your fate.
>> No. 160078
>>160077
You know I'm not going to write in what is essentially a Deus ex Remilia, right? That'd be terrible.
>> No. 160079
>>160078
Of course. I'd still like Reisen to confess though, and she seems as good a target as any. Sure, Miko is dead, and the lives Reisen bargained for will be lost, but better late than never, that's what I say.

More realistically, I don't think anyone else will vote for it.
>> No. 160080
[x] No, that'd be way too suspicious. You think you'll just wander and think.
So, our deal is just that we kill the people. If they don't, y'know, stay dead, that's got nothing to do with us, right?
Let's go bug Patchy, see if she knows anything about death and stuff.
>> No. 160082
1-Invite her to your room.
2-ASk to see her Luna DIal
3-Cry and ask her to comfort you
4-Kiss her
5-Stab her several times while her mouth is occupied.
5-Stab yourself several times.

So, we'll be the next victims. A Youkai can probably heal from those wounds, but a human cannot.
>> No. 160084
[X] Go sit in the shower for a couple hours. This is way too much for one poor little rabbit at the moment.

Time for a nice, quick nervous breakdown.
>> No. 160086
File 134374503458.jpg - (853.34KB , 1200x1077 , Usagimeido ikkimasu!.jpg ) [iqdb]
160086
[X] Track down Remilia, show her the letter, and beg her to alter fate.

>>160078
Oh, yeah?
Challenge accepted.

Yes, seriously. Whatever happens this way, it's sure to be interesting. (and not particularly more deus-ex-anything than, oh, Gensokyo being run by sadistic, omniscient, nigh omnipotent, skullduggery-prone fairy squadrons...)

Miko was an easy mark. Trusting, isolated, physically weak, plenty of enemies, and no one but Reimu and a couple of underlings (who, mind you, will likely still turn up) to mourn her. Sakuya? Not so much. Dicey proposition even with total surprise on Reisen's side, and between the news of Miko's death putting everyone on edge and the mysterious blank letter, the maid surely won't be ignoring our poor rabbit. Even if the hit was by some miracle successful, Remilia has, in this very update, demonstrated that her capacity for immediate wrath probably exceeds even Reimu's ferocity. No, we could scarcely get away with it without offing everyone else in the mansion too.

... which, come to think of it, wouldn't be the absolute worst plan. Tamper with the Hakkero and make Marisa 'accidentally' crater the place or some such...

But even poor little Reisen isn't dense enough that she can't tell where this is going to end up. She needs a way out, and here's one. She can't tell Eirin, or Reimu, or anyone else. But Remilia, she might understand. Reisen can lean on the Devil's shoulder again, and make another deal to escape the first. What could possibly go wrong?
>> No. 160087
>>160086
What'd be the consequences of her breaking the deal? Does anyone know?
>> No. 160091
>>160087
Two posts that might help you are >>158799 and >>159439. Those are Midnight Full Moon, and Fairy Ring, respectively.
>> No. 160092
[x] Go sit in the shower for a couple hours. This is way too much for one poor little rabbit at the moment.

Bunny Must Cry
>> No. 160094
[X] No, that'd be way too suspicious. You think you'll just wander and think.

Sakuya is a powerful foe, we have to start now if we want to make it through this.

Also, I just read the story up to this point and I had a question for OP. Is it possible to reach a bad end? Perhaps if we make poor choices (in this case with trying to take out Sakuya) can it lead to Skauya killing us and ending the story instead?

Great job on the story so far by the way. Tragedy is a great way to tell a story and make everyone feel better in the end. Let's hope that's how it ends.

Speaking of the ending, it maybe a little too early too ask, but will we be given a choice on the third target, or do you have the finale planned? You don't have to answer, but if it is the case that you have something planned, I'd like to start speculating.
>> No. 160099
>>160086
You've just about got me convinced, except for this...
>She can't tell Eirin, or Reimu, or anyone else.
Why not?
>> No. 160101
>>159439
>Remember when you mentioned nightmares? Sometimes they're just constant visions of you and Toyosatomimi, with all sorts of different things happening. What happens a lot in those nightmares, is you screw something up, and Toyosatomimi either throws you off the mountain, which is probably the best one, because you wake up easily from the “falling” in the dream. Alternately, she pulls your head off by your ears. That's probably one of the worse ones.

>This is when the fairies appear. It's always one, to begin with. One that merely taps you on the shoulder, and helps you to your feet. The second one appears, and brings you a chair. And continues to say nothing. You're never able to see their faces. They're just dark shadows in a darker clearing. The first one leaves you to the second, and comes back with a cool glass of water.

>You drink it, every time. You drank it, when this happened to you. This was your first mistake.

>>160091
Based off those quotes, it's clear that we need to pull Sakuya's head off. Or poison her water. Which, given how she prepares the food, is impossible. If we attack and don't OHKO, paralyze, or break the Luna Dial, we lose.

A good adversary, writefag.
[X] No, that'd be way too suspicious. You think you'll just wander and think.
>> No. 160103
>>160094
It is 100% possible to reach a bad end. It is, however, very improbable at this point. I don't want to bad end the story so soon, but it is possible if Reisen goes full retard (because of consistent, terrible choices.) So, yes, I guess, but I don't think it's anything to worry about at this point. Also, at the moment, I do plan to offer you guys the choice of third target, but that's down the line a ways. There are currently "plans" for the finale, but almost anybody can be worked into it, and there's multiple ways it can go down. Really, this favor here will be a major determinant in how the ending goes down. This is essentially the first major collection of plot junctions. I'm also glad you like it! It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

>>160101
Don't thank me for the choice of adversary, it was your guys' decision! Sakuya's an interesting one to fight, as she lacks the resilience of a Youkai, but, you know, timehax. I'm sure you guys will think of a way, but I do intend to (probably a few choices down the line) put in a few suggestions on how to "handle" this situation. However, there's a reason I almost always put in a write-in option, and I look forward to what you guys come up with for ideas. I will try to make this one slightly less railroady than Miko, because that one was the introduction, and now you guys should have an idea of how this stuff works.
>> No. 160109
>>160103
>>160103
>Really, this favor here will be a major determinant in how the ending goes down. This is essentially the first major collection of plot junctions.
Well, now I'm nervous. Thanks, jerk.
>> No. 160110
>>160109
Always glad to be of service.
>> No. 160113
>>160086
I think I should point something out- the fairies are far from omniscient- there are just fairies everywhere. Also, not omnipotent- but a fairy can do so much more when there's a deal struck. If it helps, you would not be too far off to imagine Grimm's vision of fae.

As for the write-in, it's... interesting, to say the least. The problem with it is that I'd essentially have to discard at least 75% of my plot offhand, and write up new plans. I'm not opposed to doing so, if the write-in is good and well-reasoned, but such a large change isn't something I'm going to approach lightly (or implement if there's just a flood of votes for it without satisfactory reasoning).

Finally, you know how I write.
>What could possibly go wrong?
>> No. 160114
>>160113
That seems like too much. And by 'too much' I mean 'something that may cause this story to not be finished'
With all due respect, writefag, this site has enough dead heroes stories.

[X] No, that'd be way too suspicious. You think you'll just wander and think.
>> No. 160115
>>160103
Well, that killed my speculations. Might have been nice to have a scripted third choice, but I'm still looking forward to the rest of the story regardless.
>> No. 160138
Posion would be the best method, and so many other generic suspects in the mansion too~
>> No. 160139
>>160138
Poison might be fine. But still being the guest here (along with Sanae and Youmu) it still does cast a bit of suspicion on us. I say we should try for making it believable for the one of the fairy maids to have killed the head maid. Do something like steal a key from one of the maids and make a simple closed room.
>> No. 160140
Whatever we do, make it look like Youmu did it. Good setup for the third favor; Reisen will feel terrible about it, accomplishing the unfortunate point of the story, and the readers will love it because of how big a bitch she was. Win, win.
>> No. 160143
[x] Go cry sit in the shower, this is a little much.
>> No. 160144
>>160140
I wonder if the SDM has some sort of treasure room that may have a katana in it. That should do good for framing Youmu.
>> No. 160157
>>160086
I wrote this for you, because I'm not going to change the story's path so drastically.

>>/shorts/620

Never let it be said that I'm not a nice writerabbit. Anyways, feel free to cast your vote for something else.
>> No. 160159
I'll ( >>160077 ) take you up on that. Please disregard if the vote is tied, thanks.

[x] Go sit in the shower for a couple hours. This is way too much for one poor little rabbit at the moment.
>> No. 160183
>>160157
>Never let it be said that I'm not a nice writerabbit.
That's not very funny.
>> No. 160194
>>160183
Nice to Reisen, probably not.

Nice to you guys with dem bonus updates? Yeah, a bit.
>> No. 160210
>>160194
Hrmph. And how much should I bet that that bonus update's a bad end of some sort?
>> No. 160213
>>160210
Only one way to find out, isn't there?
>> No. 160262
File 134407987984.png - (1.85MB , 2000x2000 , 33d9fc088014dfcbf4cb200f8c6952e3.png ) [iqdb]
160262
In case any of you may have missed it:

[X] Track down Remilia, show her the letter, and beg her to alter fate. >>/shorts/620

--

[X] No, that'd be way too suspicious. You think you'll just wander and think.

Okay, yeah, gotta think. Can't be letting an imminent emotional breakdown get in the way. You're stronger than that, Reisen! At least, this is what you tell yourself. It's probably a lie. But you're okay with that! If you distract yourself, you're good to go. Right? Right.

Okay. Let's take stock of where we are right now. We're near our target, but haven't prepared anything. You mean, sure, you could just walk up behind Sakuya, and put one in the back of her head, but there's a couple of problems with that. First, it'd be loud, messy, and entirely too easy to have someone else see. Second, what if Sakuya notices before you manage to pull the trigger? You're pretty much done at that point. No, what you need is something completely unnoticeable, or something that you could do at a long enough remove that it'd be immediate, like a long rifle or something.

Right. That's progress.

You pause in the middle of your thinking to realize you've wandered off from the room. Which is bad. Because you were kind of hoping to see Sanae and find out what she's found out from Meiling. It's like a bad version of Telephone. And what about Sanae, really? I mean, she's not Youmu, but, um, well, Youmu...

You will not cry. You will not!

So. It'd be bad to stick with Sanae just like she was a backup to something more preferable, right? You're not even sure how you feel about Sanae. I mean, Sanae's pretty straightforward, which is nice, but... you really don't think you know her well enough. Right? And having her hang around you while you're trying to take out Sakuya... You guess she'd be a perfect alibi if you manage to pull something off well enough, but if you don't... you might be screwed.

Then again, she might love you enough to actually help you with these favors... but that's a slippery slope. What if she didn't go along with it? The jig would be totally up. Unless you took out Sanae. And that's a road that you really, really don't want to go down. A small part of you wanted to confess everything to Remilia, but in the end, you think you're glad you didn't. It's kind of hard to trust something like this to anyone, even Eirin and Kaguya. Whose lives are in the balance, anyway. You couldn't bother them with this, because it was your mistake. And you're going to fix it. Right?

Right?

It's about this time that you bump into a fairy maid, and knock her right on her ass. Way to not be paying attention. “Oh! I'm so sorry!” You immediately bend down and offer your hand to the maid to help her up. She takes it gratefully, and you help her back to her feet. She's just a little thing, with black hair, blue eyes, and a completely embarrassed expression.

“No, I'm sorry, it was my fault, for not getting out of Madam's way.” She gets around to finally looking at you, and realizes who you are. Her eyes soften a bit with sympathy- she was definitely watching you get shot down by Youmu. “Oh- Oh! I hadn't realized- I'm sorry!” She tries to make a move to get away- politely, of course. But...

[ ] You grab her by the arm as she tries to leave.
– [ ] “I hate to be rude, but... I think I could go for a stiff drink. I don't know where they are here, and I was hoping you could help me. And maybe have a few with me to unwind. You're off duty, right?”
– [ ] Write-in.

[ ] Let her go.
– [ ] You're kind of tired. You'll find your way back to your room and...
– – [ ] Try to sleep.
– – – [ ] Midnight Full Moon
– – – [ ] Fairy Ring
– – – [ ] Hurt Locker
– – – [ ] Saving Private Princess
– – [ ] Talk to Sanae.
– – – [ ] About what Meiling had to say.
– – – [ ] Write-in.

[ ] Do something else.
– [ ] Write-in.

--

Short update, this cold will not go away. Being sick sucks, man. At least I can walk now.
>> No. 160263
[x] Let her go.
– [x] You're kind of tired. You'll find your way back to your room and...
– – [x] Talk to Sanae.
– – – [x] About what Meiling had to say.
– – – [x] About your feelings.

Reisen's not sure what to feel about Sanae. Sounds like something that can be solved by talking with Sanae.
>> No. 160266
[x] Let her go.
– [x] You're kind of tired. You'll find your way back to your room and...
– – [x] Talk to Sanae.
– – – [x] About what Meiling had to say.
– – – [x] About your feelings.
Fairies respawn, right? Really bad to have one get all 'hey I know you you're the one that asked where we keep the poisons how are you doing oh wait'
>> No. 160267
>>160266
We don't know whether they do in this story. More importantly, Reisen cut a deal with the fairies. I'm not sure whether that makes them more or less trustworthy with something like this, but an attempt at poisoning would be greatly helped by having someone on the inside. Our choices there are fairy maids and fairy maids.

why am I arguing for an option I'm not voting for
>> No. 160269
>>160267
I guess I need to clarify something: considering the large fairy population, not every single one of them can be associated with the antagonist fairies. In fact, it'd be safe to say most of them have no idea what's going on with it.
>> No. 160270
>>160269
but nothing nice happens to this bunny, so the one fairy we talk to will be in on the scheme... or not, whatever hurts the bunny more...

[ ] Let her go.
– [ ] You're kind of tired. You'll find your way back to your room and...
– – [ ] Try to sleep.
– – – [ ] Saving Private Princess
>> No. 160285
[x] Let her go.
– [x] You're kind of tired. You'll find your way back to your room and...
– – [x] Talk to Sanae.
– – – [x] About what Meiling had to say.
– – – [x] About your feelings.
>> No. 160288
[x] You grab her by the arm as she tries to leave.
– [x] “I hate to be rude, but... I think I could go for a stiff drink. I don't know where they are here, and I was hoping you could help me. And maybe have a few with me to unwind. You're off duty, right?”
>> No. 160314
>>160270
[x] the above.
(sorry, copy is being flaky)
>> No. 160362
File 134424589917.jpg - (668.25KB , 950x1400 , ec9c10406d6f742b5be47a40e8eeb742.jpg ) [iqdb]
160362
[x] Let her go.
– [x] You're kind of tired. You'll find your way back to your room and...
– – [x] Talk to Sanae.
– – – [x] About what Meiling had to say.
– – – [x] About your feelings.

You really want a stiff drink. Yes, you were already drinking last night with Sanae and Reimu and Marisa. But today's been a really bad day. Why people become alcoholics is eminently clear to you now, but... you've got stuff to do. You've got to find things out from Sanae. You'll figure out a way to handle things, right? You've got to keep it together. You absolutely have to.

Granted, you'd like to know how fairies spend their off-duty time, just out of a sense of curiosity. Fairies can't hold that much liquor with how tiny they are, right? You suppose that's just one of those mysteries that are forever lost to time. Oh well.

So, um, it's late. Really late. You guys arrived here in the evening, and lots of things have transpired since then. You're tired. It's been a long day. And you really just want to sleep. More than anything else, you want to sleep, you want to forget. But... you're more practical than that. You have to be. So, back to the room. Got to talk to Sanae.



You get back to the room, and this part of the mansion's quiet and dark. It makes sense, given that this is the so-called “guest” wing, and the vampires are probably out doing things. Because it's night time. And that's what vampires do, right? You realize that you've never really given Remilia's schedule any real thought. Or wondered about when Sakuya actually sleeps. You should probably start thinking about these sorts of things, really.

When you open the door, Sanae's flopped on top of the bed. She's not sleeping, though. Her eyes are still open. “Um, hi, Sanae.” You think it's best that you completely avoid the Youmu topic for now. She'll bring it up when she wants, right?

She waves. “Hi.” Her voice isn't nearly as lively as it normally is, but she's just tired. Yeah, Sanae's probably tired. That's it. Right.

“So... um...” The awkwardness in the room is palpable, and you're fidgeting with your clothes. Sanae's still just flopped there on the bed, not even looking at you. “What'd Meiling have for you?”

Sanae turns her head to you, and you can see a bit of relief that you're not talking about relationship things. “Well, nothing, really. What happened to Toyosatomimi was a ways from the SDM. And they don't really deal with the Myouren Temple too much, much less the Hall of Dreams. I mean, Meiling was more than helpful, she was. She's such a nice person. But it doesn't change the fact that they didn't know anything at all.”

“So, we've gotten nowhere then?”

Sanae sits up. “Not quite nowhere. Meiling says that she'll ask the fairy maids and guests coming to the SDM if they've heard anything, but she doesn't expect much. The fairy maids working here are a bit separated from the fairy population at large. And you know how hard it is to get anywhere trying to get fairies to know anything aside from unsubstantiated rumors. I mean, hell, Reisen, one of the fairy maids I talked to said something about a crazy rumor that you and I were responsible for killing Toyosatomimi!”

Heh. Crazy. Yeah. That's a crazy idea. Yup. “So, she's trying, but there's nothing there.”

Sanae shrugs. “Yeah. Meiling says she'll be on the lookout for anything suspicious around here, and she's recommended to Sakuya that they take a couple of security precautions here in the Mansion. You know, just in case.”

God damn it, Meiling. “It's good that someone as competent as Meiling is handling this sort of thing.”

“Yeah. Um...” Having finished the conversation about work, the awkward silences are back. Sanae can't think of anything to say, and she can't meet your gaze.

You've got to break the ice. “Sanae, I, uh...”

She doesn't look at you. “Yes?”

“I've, uh... gotta take a shower I bet I smell terrible okay!” And with that, you dash into the bathroom, avoiding the topic in what is quite possibly the most awkward manner possible. If it were an Olympic event, you'd have taken home the gold easily. Silver, of course, would probably go to Sanae.



As you're sitting in the warm shower, trying to untangle your mind and form coherent thoughts, the door opens. You're behind the closed curtain, so you can't see who's out there, but it's obviously Sanae. Who else would walk in on you like this? You can hear her sit down out there, and she makes no move at all to open the curtain on you.

“Reisen...” Sanae starts to say something.

You remain silent, waiting for her.

“Am... am I just something you've settled on since you can't have Youmu?”

Is she?

“...Do you even like me?” You can almost hear the tears that are welling up in her eyes in her voice. “I... I tried to be bold, and you know, fortune favors the bold, right? Then, then you go and confess your love to Youmu, and I, I just don't know what to do.”

You really want to say something. You really, really do. But you don't know what you could say that wouldn't make everything worse. You kind of have a knack for saying those sorts of things.

“Look, I... um, I'll understand if you don't, Reisen. I mean, I know I'm not Youmu. But I, I, uh... I still love you. Look, I'm going to go to sleep now. Maybe that'll help? I think... I think it will.” With that, Sanae gets up and leaves, closing the bathroom door behind her, leaving you alone in the shower, with the water running down you.



Later, you leave the shower, and dress in pajamas. You get into bed, and curl up next to the sleeping Sanae. It doesn't take long for you to fall into a dreamless sleep. At least, you think they're dreamless. You don't remember any of them when you wake, anyway. And when you wake, Sanae is gone.



[ ] Go back to Eientei. You've got preparation to do.
[ ] Scout out the Mansion. This will take time, but... it'll help, right?
[ ] Go and try to find Sanae. You're on a deadline, though, so...
– [ ] Look in the Moriya Shrine.
– [ ] Look in the Hakurei Shrine.
– [ ] Look in the Human Village.
– [ ] Look elsewhere. (Write-in.)
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 160364
>Granted, you'd like to know how fairies spend their off-duty time, just out of a sense of curiosity. Fairies can't hold that much liquor with how tiny they are, right? You suppose that's just one of those mysteries that are forever lost to time. Oh well.
Why did you put this after the relevant vote? Jerk!

>the rest of the update
You... you... I like you.

[x] Go and try to find Sanae. You're on a deadline, though, so...
– [x] Look in the Moriya Shrine.

Picking a choice that doesn't involve planning to kill Sakuya feels kinda bad. That is a weird thing to feel bad about.
>> No. 160365
And I just realized Eientei means Tewi. Fuck you for making me choose between them. Flipped a coin, Tewi won.

Changing.
[x] Go back to Eientei. You've got preparation to do.
>> No. 160366
>>160364
>Why did you put this after the relevant vote? Jerk!

I was personally very surprised that you guys equated that vote with possible poison-related shenanigans, when I wasn't thinking of it in that way at all. In the slightest. I mean, I guess, yes, technically, alcohol could be called a poison. I think you guys are paranoid.

>Picking a choice that doesn't involve planning to kill Sakuya feels kinda bad. That is a weird thing to feel bad about.

And now you have come full circle.

>>160365
I laughed pretty hard at this.
>> No. 160367
[x] Scout out the Mansion. This will take time, but... it'll help, right?
We can probably use the 'I don't get out much' line to tourist a bit.
>> No. 160371
[x] Go and try to find Sanae. You're on a deadline, though, so...
– [x] Look in the Moriya Shrine.

Come on, we can't leave Sanae like that.
>> No. 160372
[x] Go and try to find Sanae. You're on a deadline, though, so...
– [x] Look in the Moriya Shrine.

On a practical level, we need to keep what allies we can muster in case of disaster. We shouldn't even consider attacking Sakuya while she's in the mansion; ambushing her while she goes on an errand is a better option, maybe making use of poison or something. But yeah, we should keep on good terms with Sanae.

On a more emotional level... c'mon, y'know. Sanae.
>> No. 160373
[x] Go and try to find Sanae. You're on a deadline, though, so...
– [x] Look in the Moriya Shrine.

Makes me wonder what would have happened if Sanae won the comfort vote..
>> No. 160385
God, now I feel like shit.
>> No. 160386
>>160385
Mission accomplished? It's like you're really Reisen.
>> No. 160389
>>160386
If I were Reisen, I would have told Eirin about this looong time ago, before this story even started. She's a god damn GENIUS; surly she could figure something out.

But no. I feel terrible because I was the one who was going "hurf durf, Sanae? But what about Youmu!?" earlier when we didn't know a thing about her yet. And look how that worked out.
Christ, Sanae is my second-favorite Touhou; under any other circumstance I'd have voted for her all the time every time, besides for favors, obviously. And now I've gone and made her cry. Aaaaugh, now I feel even worse.

Maybe I should have read the stupid /at/ update?
>> No. 160391
>>160389
Nah, don't blame yourself. It takes more than one person to win a vote.

You might want to try voting here if you haven't. We can fix this. And break it again, if that Sanae and Reisen working together rumor is anything to go by. But that's the future! For now, fixing. Maybe. Hope springs eternal in the moonbunny breast.

>Maybe I should have read the stupid /at/ update?
Uh... I'll spoiler a little bit of pertinent dialogue.

“What about Youmu? I've watched the two of you together. It's almost sad, really. You're like a poor, lost puppy.
“You know she doesn't feel anything for you.”
“That- that's not tru- “Stop that! You don't feel anything for me!”
Sanae frowns. “Oh?”
“D'aww, the bunny does love me.”

>> No. 160402
Damn it, we lost Sanae? That's terrible! But at the same time, if we take the time to comfort her, I doubt we'll have the time to act and get Sakuya. It all depends on whether Sanae would help us or not...
[X] Go back to Eientei. You've got preparation to do.
>> No. 160403
>>160402
It's the first day. Reisen spent the first day farting around with Reimu last time and fulfilled the favor with time to spare.
>> No. 160411
At the end of this thread, just like the last, I'll breakdown what impact your choices here had, with the exception of things that would be spoilers for further along in this story.

But as a little preview of them: Poor Sanae. It didn't have to be this way.
>> No. 160420
>>160411
Ok, now you're just being a dick.
>> No. 160422
>>160411

I have to hand it to you, you're doing a great job. I mean, the whole story is about Reisen making a decision and having to face the consequences. Anon's recent vote? A decision to go after Youmu, with the result that both Reisen and Sanae got hurt. (I won't necessarily call it a poor decision, as that's sort of a matter of opinion).

On the other hand, with that unpleasantness out of the way, we can focus more clearly on other goals (again, like Reisen's doing). So yeah. You really are making us feel all that Reisen's feeling right now.

You're still a meanie, though.
>> No. 160529
Updates are likely to be a bit more sporadic this month, I have moving and crap to do. I can't guarantee that I'll have internet to upload updates when I write them. We'll see if I can't get one done tomorrow before I have to start in earnest. I also had an idea for an Alice short, so I might write that as well. Short, so I won't get sidetracked from finishing this. Pretty much something to do when I want to write and there's ties/it's only been a day between updates.

>>160422
Yes, I guess I can be a bit mean sometimes. Such is life for rabbits. I regret nothing, though.

But you guys can feel free to.
>> No. 160544
>>160529
I can only sorely, sorely regret trying to win over Youmu and neglecting our Sanae. SO CRUEL! :(
>> No. 160547
File 134464090763.jpg - (551.24KB , 568x1534 , 6d7d28fd9dba695d9982bd7ad00f977f.jpg ) [iqdb]
160547
[x] Go and try to find Sanae. You're on a deadline, though, so...
– [x] Look in the Moriya Shrine.

You know what? Screw logic. Forget the fact that you probably wanted to leave Sanae at some point. Forget the fact that you're on a deadline, and you've got things to do that Sanae probably shouldn't be party to. No, screw all that. You've got love. Is it love?

...You think so.

You kind of wish you knew, though. And there's only one way to find out, right? You've got to go to her. Sometimes, things like this transcend logic. So you'll go to her, and you'll find her. It would really have helped if she'd left a note, though. That would have been nice. Unfortunately, that just means that you'll have to look for her. And obviously, the high-percentage bet is the Moriya Shrine. It's not that far of a walk, but... it's a good ways up Youkai Mountain.

One of these days, you're going to have to get Sanae to teach you how to fly.

You ready yourself in the guest room of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, and find your way out to the front gate. An idea strikes you. As you come out the gate, next to Meiling, you turn to her and ask a question. “Meiling, did Sanae say where she was going?”

Meiling shakes her head. “No, she didn't. She... wasn't really in a good mood.”

That's not what you wanted to hear. “Not in a good mood?”

Meiling spreads her hands in a it's-just-one-of-those-things gesture. “She was kind of distraught this morning. She left just as dawn broke, didn't say a word to anyone. I could tell she'd been crying, though. Red, puffy eyes and everything.”

Man. That's worse than you thought. You put your hands in the pockets of your hoodie you put on this morning, to protect you from the chill in the air. “...Nothing at all, huh?”

“Nothing.” Meiling turns to face you. “Is it something you did, Reisen?”

You can't look her in the eye. “Maybe.”

“Are you going looking for her?”

“I am.”

Meiling puts one hand on your shoulder. “Look, about Youmu...”

“I don't want to talk about it.”

Meiling sighs. “Fine. Do me a favor, though, Reisen.”

“What?”

“Stop fucking things up with Sanae.”

That's the first time you've ever heard Meiling curse. And you've known her for years.

“...Okay. I'll try.”

Meiling smiles at you. “Good. Now go find her.”

With that, you're off to Youkai Mountain. It's a good job you got one of those lightweight folding carbon-fiber bikes (seriously, sometimes Rinnosuke finds the best things), so that it's tied to your backpack, and not too heavy. Because damned if you're going to ride that thing up the mountainside.

You leave the front gate of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, and start trekking around the Misty Lake. Youkai Mountain rises majestically to the north, across the lake. It's a shame that the Scarlet Devil Mansion wasn't built to the west of the Mountain, but you suppose that there's not much reason for vampires to watch sunrises anyway.

It is a beautiful morning, however. Blue skies, shining sun, and just the littlest bit chilly. The dirt of the well-worn path crunches under your feet. You kind of hope you don't run into any fairies on the way there, though. You've had entirely enough of them for now.

As you're walking along the path, you hear mumbling and grumbling. It sounds oddly familiar, but you can't place it. You continue walking, closer and closer to the source. It eventually resolves into words, in a voice you know rather well: “God DAMN it, Marisa!”

You round the bend in the path, and Reimu is sitting under a tree, where you assume she's spent the night. Marisa's working on shaking her awake, when she looks up and sees you. She waves brightly. “Hi, Reisen! What's up!”

You wave back, slightly less energetically than Marisa. But not many people could keep up with her energy anyway. Reimu grumbles, and looks up at you, and mumbles sleepily. “Eh. 'Sup, Reisen? Where's Sanae?”



[ ] Avoid the question.
– [ ] What are you guys doing out here anyway?
– [ ] She... had... a thing. Yeah. A thing to do. Very important.
[ ] Answer.
– [ ] Honestly.
– [ ] Lie your ass off.
[ ] Run. AIN'T DEALING WITH THIS SHIT TODAY
[ ] Write-in.

If you have suggestions for the lie, you're more than welcome to say them. I have an idea, but hey, yours might be better.

Lighter fare. This story has gotten waaaaaay too dark and serious. Can't do that consistently. It's bad for a rabbit's state of mind.
>> No. 160550
[x] Avoid the question.

– [x] She... had... a thing. Yeah. A thing to do. Very important.
– [x] What are you guys doing out here anyway?
In that order.
>> No. 160551
[x] Answer.
– [x] Honestly.

This will hopefully get their attention away from investigating the terrible thing Reisen did that she doesn't want them to know about. By redirecting it to a different, but less murder-provoking, terrible thing Reisen did that she doesn't want them to know about.
>> No. 160552
[x] Just mention vaguely and haltingly that you did something to screw things up with Sanae, and now you really, really want to find her to make things up to her. Also, can one of you give me a lift to the Moriya shrine?

You know, I've been thinking. Long term, things might work out better this way. Youmu's now behind us once and for all, and we can focus all of our attention on Sanae. If we hadn't done this, she always would have been there as a sticking point.

Or maybe I'm just rationalizing. I dunno.
>> No. 160554
[x] Answer.
– [x] Honestly.
-- [x] Ask for advice. Where could she be? What should I say?

>Stop fucking things up with Sanae.
You got it.
>> No. 160557
>>160552
You're rationalizing. By choosing Sanae over Youmu without knowing Youmu isn't available, Sanae knows Reisen cares about her more than Youmu. As it is, it's still a sticking point, Sanae's the one who will always be wondering, and there's absolutely nothing Reisen can do to stop this. No amount of showering Sanae with love and affection will quell the doubt that gnaws at her heart.

Or maybe not!
>> No. 160561
[x] Answer.
– [x] Honestly.
-- [x] Ask for advice. Where could she be? What should I say?
>> No. 160562
[x] Answer.
– [x] Honestly.
Poor little rabbit, feel bad for her!
>> No. 160574
[x] Answer.
– [x] Honestly.
-- [x] Ask for advice. Where could she be? What should I say?
Did she forgot how to fly?
>> No. 160575
>>160574
No. Most touhou in this story cannot fly if they are lacking wings, or have extenuating circumstances, like Sanae does.
>> No. 160607
>>16552 here.

Changing my vote to: >>16554

I like this better, after thinking about it.
>> No. 160611
Oooh god, what are you doing, don't follow my lead, the last time you did that we ran into Youmu and started this whole mess, fuuuck...
>> No. 160614
>>160611
You are the best member of Reisen's mental parliament.
>> No. 160616
>>160550 here.

Also changing my vote to.
>>160554
since it's more likely to get us tips on how to get Sanae back...
>> No. 160628
>>160611

By following your lead, we can blame you when things go horribly, horribly wrong!
>> No. 160650
>>160628
You don't need to blame me. I've got that front more than covered.
>> No. 160654
File 134481379823.jpg - (738.61KB , 700x700 , a7e7297cf31a8e2534167eeeefa260e3.jpg ) [iqdb]
160654
>>160650
The blame train stops at every station!

--

Really? The first thing they ask is about Sanae? Well... it makes sense, you guess. It's only been one night. And you did leave somewhere with Sanae. What you really want to do right now is avoid the question entirely. But... that's just running away. And you weren't running away right now- in fact, you're trying to get to Sanae.

Well, you're kind of running away from a different thing entirely. But you've got enough time. Right? Right. So, deep breaths. Going to go for it. This will help, right?

“I... kind of screwed things up with Sanae.”

Reimu raises an eyebrow from where she's relaxing under the tree. “I'm impressed, Reisen. How'd you manage to do that?”

“So, um, when we got to the Mansion, we were talking to Meiling, and the subject of Youmu came up, and how she was staying there.”

Marisa facepalms. She knows exactly where this is going. Reimu just shakes her head. “You didn't.”

Your words are a bit of a stammer, and you stumble across them. “L-look, I- Youmu was there, and- and I, well, you know.” Your explanations leave something to be desired, even to your ears. “So, I, um, went out to confess my love...”

Marisa isn't even looking up at you, and she continues to cradle her face in her palm, at your appalling stupidity. “To Youmu. Not to Sanae.”

“Well... yeah.”

Marisa's not happy. “Reisen, sometimes, you are the dumbest person I know.” It hurts to hear, but you're not sure that she's not exactly right. “Look, you've confessed your love to Youmu before. It ended... well, better, because Youmu wanted to let you down easy. And then, there were hints dropped by, well, everyone. That Sanae likes you. And then, finally, I bring you and Sanae together for drinks-”

It's at this moment Reimu interjects. “Hey. They drank my alcohol. At my place.”

Marisa looks down at Reimu where she's still sitting. “Yeah, but it was my idea.”

Wait, hold on. “The meeting was- it was for, you know, the other things!”

“Yeah, and why do you think that we invited you, and held off on business until the morning after? We were doing Sanae a favor. And then you had to go and screw it all up. Congratulations, Reisen. You're entirely insensitive.” Marisa isn't even trying to spare your feelings.

“Whoa, whoa, Marisa. Slow your roll. Calm your tits.” Reimu's holding up a calming hand to an increasingly agitated Marisa. “Look, what are you doing right now?”

You shrug. “Um... heading up to the Moriya shrine to go find Sanae?”

Reimu gives Marisa a pointed look. “See? All hope is not lost yet. She came to some of her senses.” Reimu looks back at you. “So, what's your plan?”

You shrug again. “I don't know. I, I was kind of hoping,” and your voice trails off to a mumble, “to come up with something along the way.”

Marisa throws her hands up and starts to walk off. Reimu glances at her, and then back to you. “She'll be back. She just needs to work off a little steam.” Reimu stands up, and brushes off her skirt. “But she's kind of right. You handled this all kinds of badly.”

You lean up against a tree for support, but keep your hands in your pockets. “So, what? I'm screwed?”

Reimu shrugs. “Probably.”

“Probably?”

“Yup.”

A silence follows. “What should I do?”

Reimu shrugs again. “I'd suggest asking Marisa for advice, but she's currently locked out of Alice's house for 'bringing over that red-white homewrecking bitch'. So she's probably not the best one to ask for relationship advice.”

“Wait, hold on. If she's with Alice most of the time, why does she hang around you?”

Reimu chuckles at this. “You're as clueless as she is. Alice... doesn't share well. Don't get me wrong. Alice is a really nice person, at heart. But if she detects a threat to her relationship with Marisa... she gets defensive.”

You think about this for a moment. “And are you a threat, Reimu?”

“Nah. But neither Marisa or Alice will understand that. Alice, because of what I just said, and Marisa, because she keeps thinking she can have her cake and eat it, too. I've told her multiple times that we're just friends, but... sometimes, she tries to take... liberties.” Reimu claps her hands. “But that's beside the point. Marisa's been in the doghouse plenty, she knows how it goes. You, however, are a first-timer. We're talking about you.” Reimu walks over to you, and drapes a companionable arm across your shoulders. “The problem, Reisen, is that you managed to screw it up before the relationship was even established well. And, you screwed it up by confessing to the person that Sanae viewed as the biggest threat to her relationship with you.”

“So... so what should I do? Apologize?”

Reimu laughs. “Not so fast. Apologies from the start of the conversation is a great message to the other person that you did something wrong.”

“B-but I did. I did do something wrong.”

Reimu pokes your nose with her finger. “You're right, you did do something wrong. But! The point is to avoid emphasizing that! You're going to apologize, but you're going to do it AFTER you get back into Sanae's good graces!”

At this point, Reimu's walking you down the path to Youkai Mountain. “And... and just how am I going to do that?”

“Simple. You're going to find her, say nothing at all, just kiss her when you see her.”

“...And if she pushes me away?”

Reimu takes her arm off of your shoulder, and walks around you to look you square in the eye. “Then you're probably screwed! But this is the best idea I've got. Take it with a grain of salt, though. I try to avoid relationships. Too much drama. And... well, maybe it'll even work.” She smiles. “I don't think you've screwed it up irreparably, Reisen. Sanae really does like you.” She frowns, and her voice takes a serious note. “But if you screw this up, you've probably screwed it forever. So, no pressure, then, Reisen.”

That's great. No pressure at all. You hear that, Mental Parliament? We might not be completely screwed. We just have the opportunity to completely screw ourselves. Yup.

But... “Hey, Reimu, what are you guys even doing out here?”

“Oh, Marisa and I? We've... been interrogating fairies. Um, you know, friendly questions and all that.”

You give Reimu a look. “Friendly questions?”

She backs up a step, hands up defensively. “Yeah! Totally friendly! We haven't blasted any of them for refusing to answer, I swear!”

“Did you hit any of them?”

“We, um, uh...” She backs up another step.

Goddamnit Reimu, this is why you're in this position today. “Did you?!”

“There may or may not have been a couple of fairies who were reticent to part with the information that they had. I, however, cannot recall any incidents at this moment.”

It's at this point you shake your head. “You know what? Forget I asked. Did you guys at least learn anything?”

Reimu shrugs. “Nah. Not unless you count the 'theory' that a lot of fairies seem to have.”

“Which is?”

“That either you and Sanae did it, or a Jellyfish did it.”

Huh. Curious. For some reason the fairies believe you and Sanae did it. That's half right, in a sense. Curiouser and curiouser. “So, nothing, then.”

Reimu nods. “Yup.”

“Well, crap.”

Reimu shrugs. “I should probably go find Marisa before she does something she'll end up regretting. Good luck with Sanae.”

You and Reimu embrace, and then part. “Thanks a lot, Reimu.”

“Anytime.” She waves, and then is gone, shortly after, leaving you alone on the path bordering the Misty Lake. You look out over it, and sigh. You'll fix all of this, right? Right. You turn to the mountain. There's two paths up that you can see easily- one's rough, but more direct. This is probably the one that the Tengu use. The other option is a more worn, easy, but longer path. This is probably the path that pilgrims to the Moriya Shrine ended up using when they took trips there.

Time to go, Reisen. There's hardly any to waste.



[ ] Take the short path
[ ] Take the long path
[ ] Jump in the Lake
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 160657
[x] Take the long path
>pilgrims
Seems fitting.
Also, not taking the chance to blame the jellyfish?
>> No. 160659
Yeah, we had that coming. Well, to some extent at least, given that we didn't have a choice in the actual Youmu confession and such.

Still, that was a nice scene. I do like your Reimu, RabBit. Interesting to get some info on her, Marisa, and Alice as well.

...That said, we really need to figure out what's going on with the fairies, once we've (hopefully) fixed things with Sanae. It's interesting that Reisen seems fairly sympathetic to the situation of fairies as a whole. Ideally (in my mind), we could seek out the deal-makers (which are almost certainly Sunny, Star, and Luna) and try to get some idea of why they're making us do this, maybe see if we could come to some modified/other agreement (or meaning of the three lives owed). If their objective is to sow chaos throughout Gensokyo via these assassinations and/or show people that fairies aren't to be messed with, which seems likely, perhaps we could convince them there's some other way of going about this? Yeah, I've been getting less and less eager about actually following the assassination plan as the story's been progressing. If it's at all possible, I'd like to avoid more killings and despair. Anyone with me on this, or are most of you still for making Reisen miserable?

Anyway.

[x] Take the long path
Agreeing with >>160657 about the pilgrim comparison.
>> No. 160660
>>160658
I like this post.

>given that we didn't have a choice in the actual Youmu confession and such.

I think after the next update, there will be few enough posts before autosage that I can do the choice breakdown/question + answer bit at the end of the thread. I will address this.

>Still, that was a nice scene. I do like your Reimu, RabBit. Interesting to get some info on her, Marisa, and Alice as well.

I think of almost all of the Touhous being generally nice people. There are, of course, a couple of exceptions, but not everyone's a chill bro in real life anyway.

>seek out the deal-makers (which are almost certainly Sunny, Star, and Luna)
>their objective

I'm glad to see speculation actually start to happen regarding the fairies. It makes me feel like I'm writing a story worth thinking about.
>> No. 160662
[x] Take the long path

Yeah. The pilgrimage comparison fits so well. This'll give Reisen a chance to meditate on things.

...But seriously, why do this? What do the fairies gain? Is there some sort of emotional power to draw from a suffering Reisen? To sow chaos? For the hell of it?
>> No. 160664
>>160662
I wouldn't be too surpised if it was the latter.
>> No. 160665
>Anyone with me on this, or are most of you still for making Reisen miserable?
I'd like to see her squirm after being told to kill Tewi or maybe Sanae first. That would be good motivation for Reisen having a change of heart about this assassination deal.

[x] Take the long path

>>160662
Some fairies are bastards. If that Remilia thing is canon, they can do things they normally can't with Reisen's help.
>> No. 160666
[x] take the long path.
Short path equals tengu equals more time wasted.
>> No. 160669
[x] Jump in the Lake

I cannot resist. Sorry.
>> No. 160672
>And then, there were hints dropped by, well, everyone. That Sanae likes you.
...there were?

[x] Take the long path
I'm not sure I like Reimu's advice. Bunny needs to think.

>>160659
Yeah, we've got to figure this shit out. If only we had an incredibly smart friend that was good at solving these sort of mysteries, had a sufficiently violent history to do what needs to be done if it comes to that, and had damn good reason to help us in this quest.
Oh well.
>> No. 160678
[x] Jump in the Lake.

This vote actually makes sense and will help us further our mission, with a bit of luck, of course. It will also provide us with a reasonable excuse should she get discovered.

I know Reisen is hurt, but there's something she has to understand right now: she can't have her cake and eat it. The best end result for her after committing the 3 (5) murders is exile from Gensokyo. She has to stop trying to be happy and just perform her duties so the people she loves can be happy instead.

Why? Because this will get discovered sooner or later and even if it isn't, her conscience will never, ever, let her rest.
>> No. 160728
File 134501416112.png - (318.24KB , 502x1000 , 9455f5aba1ef3ad9283c615cb068021d.png ) [iqdb]
160728
Short update, I had started to write the part after this. And then I figured I'll let you guys decide just what Reisen is musing about. She might even think about something that will help you guys down the line.

[x] Take the long path

The lake looks really nice. It's probably pleasantly cool. I mean, yeah, it's kind of chilly today. But this is the first time this year. So... the lake's still probably very swimmable. And the chilly water would probably help clear your mind.

But... time. You haven't got the time. You're already spending entirely too much on Sanae. Even though if someone were to ask you, you'd say it's completely worth it. You hope. So. You've got to go forward with your plans, and go and find Sanae.

The shorter route probably wouldn't be too hard for you, even with the added weight of your bike and pack. However, the problem is the Tengu that are probably guarding that path. If it's someone you know, like Momiji, it'd be cool. You'd talk, and chit-chat about completely normal, unrelated things to unwind for a bit. But Momiji's mostly promoted past regular guard duty. And you don't really know any of the other wolf tengu quite as well. Oh well. Just a sign of time moving by and taking your friends with it. You'll have to make time to go say hi to her sooner or later.

And, by avoiding that path, you get to avoid a possible stop with Aya. Her investigative journalism and habit of asking piercing, professional questions to get to the bottom of a scoop might prove bad for you. You already know you're a pretty terrible liar. And Aya is the best of the best.

...Well, best reporter in Gensokyo. For what that's worth. Hatate doesn't really do much 'investigating'. You'll pass that subject up for now, though.

Your feet crunch on the soft dirt of the path: it's rained lightly recently. Probably after you went to sleep last night. That's why it's chilly, and the smell in the air. It's a nice smell. It relaxes you. It's probably a very good thing that nobody else is on the path with you. It gives you time to think.

Time to think about... what?



[ ] Sanae.
[ ] Your current mission.
[ ] The past.
– [ ] Midnight Full Moon
– [ ] Fairy Ring
– [ ] Hurt Locker
– [ ] Saving Private Princess
[ ] Wait, hold on- who's that?
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 160730
File 134501558267.jpg - (140.14KB , 420x1000 , a76587a0dc9b59b46b8d9876140e8c20.jpg ) [iqdb]
160730
Like I promised, a breakdown of the choices in this thread, and their results.

>>159525
It was an aesthetic choice. Honestly, I kind have forgotten where the other choices would have led- but the "split up" would have been a more blatant "I want to go with Sanae" thing.

>>159630
Information's hard to come by in Gensokyo sometimes, and really, you did a good enough job covering your tracks the first time that there wasn't much to find. This is either a good or bad thing, depending on your position on what Reisen should be doing.

>>159692
It was late, so, rejecting Meiling's offer would have led to camping out by the Misty Lake with Sanae. You might have had encounters with fairies, but that letter was going to be delivered tonight, one way or another. And the Youmu options would have been still there.

>>159730
Blank, of course. But having Sanae open it might have indicated Reisen being more willing to bring Sanae in...?

>>159765
So. The mirror. It was intended to be the opening to a "special" scene and by "special" I mean /at/ scene. It's still only half-written, and I'm not too happy with it. I'll probably revisit it and post it anyway. I liked the basic premise of it. Of course, you weren't going to figure out the letter with that option, with it being activated by moonlight and all. Napping would probably have led to missing the Youmu scene and waking up with a Sanae on your lap. Wandering outside would have been more Meiling. Possibly with a side of Flandre.

>>159802
No matter where you picked, you'd have found Youmu. It was just a choice of setting.

And on the topic of Youmu: Considering how much I built up the Youmu thing, I did not honestly expect you to choose anything but the Youmu option. This is why, and this is important, there were absolutely NO direct negative consequences at all for choosing to go see Youmu. I mean, I totally dangled it in front of you guys for almost an entire thread's worth of updates. I cannot fault you for it, and I wouldn't penalize you for it. However, it did open up options...

>>159905
Phoo. This one. This is where the first of two Sanae relationship options were available to salvage the whole Youmu thing. Obviously, if Sanae had been picked to be comforting, she'd have had to be understanding to be at all comforting. Sakuya is a bro, and she'd have tried to comfort as well, and then you would have read the letter that told you to kill her. Welp. Meiling is also a bro, but probably the option I gave the least thought ahead for. It's probably because you guys missed the earlier Meiling options that you didn't really have any incentive to pick her here. And that's fine. Remilia was the comedy option, and I really enjoyed writing it.

>>160073
This was the second chance to salvage things with Sanae. Sleeping would have still had sad Sanae, but she wouldn't have left without talking to you, so you'd have still had her in the morning. Showering would have led to Sanae attempting to comfort you, but probably being worse at it than the previous option. Leaving would have confused poor Sanae, but she'd have tried to find you. However, the choice selected... welp. That's kind of where it all broke down.

>>160262
Drinking with the fairies would have been a fun, more lighthearted scene. However, it would have led to Sanae coming looking for you, and finding an inebriated Reisen. Not sure how she'd have handled that, honestly. Probably not too well, at this point. Sleeping would have led to the outcome described above. And, well, since Reisen had been 'avoiding' Sanae in the previous choices, she'd definitely not open up now. And she didn't. But Sanae did. And that led to...

>>160362
At this point Sanae was too far gone for tonight. The rest of the choices in this update have yet to fully play out, so I'll leave them be for this.

>>160547
Avoiding the question would have led to a short Marisa/Reimu intermission where they... "interrogate" fairies. I can still write it for you, if you want to see it. It'll just be that Reisen won't know the details. Honesty led to what you see there, and the write-in helped me focus on how Reimu and Marisa would help. And they both tried, they really did! Marisa is just shorter on patience than Reimu. Reimu's a bro. Who's friendzoned Marisa. Which is kind of sad, but Marisa still has Alice. And Alice is fine too, right? I'm going to write a short about Alice soonish, unrelated to this story. I'm kind of excited about it. Not long at all, though. Definitely do not want to burn out and leave this story unfinished. Haven't decided what running would do. Reimu and Marisa would come to assumptions, but those assumptions would have included the possibility that Sanae was the one that screwed things up.

>>160654
Of course, these choices have hardly played out fully. I actually intended to strikethrough the Lake option, but I forgot to put that in. I did end up thinking of what to do if that won, so I didn't edit it.

If there are any questions, I will try to answer them without spoiling the story yet to come.

But remember! Hope springs eternal, and Reisen can have nice things. Maybe.
>> No. 160731
Do we et to pick who [ ] Wait, hold on- who's that? is?
>> No. 160734
[x] The past.
– [x] Hurt Locker
I really should get around to watching that movie.
>> No. 160735
>>160731
You can if you want.
>> No. 160736
>>160730
Grrgrkgh. I'm blaming you Remilia guys entirely if this doesn't work out.
So are we locked out of Sanae route, then? I can't believe I just referred to it as route.

I'm torn. On one hand, focus is important; we're not going to get anywhere switching tracks every other update...so I want to pick Sanae. On the other hand...is this really a good idea? Killing Sakuya won't be as easy as Miko...right?
>> No. 160737
>>160736
>So are we locked out of Sanae route, then?

Reimu certainly doesn't think so.

>I'm torn. On one hand, focus is important; we're not going to get anywhere switching tracks every other update...so I want to pick Sanae. On the other hand...is this really a good idea? Killing Sakuya won't be as easy as Miko...right?

"If you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both." This is an old American Indian saying. It might be applicable. I mean, it involves rabbits, right?
>> No. 160738
[x] Sanae

Reisen kind of needs to actually think about Sanae to have a hope of this turning out well. Seriously. She hasn't thought about her at all, and she's planning to try to make things up to her?

I know it feels like we're not focusing on the mission. But if this trip doesn't accomplish its objective, we'll be wasting even more time.
>> No. 160739
Right, I wanted to address this too.

>>160672
>And then, there were hints dropped by, well, everyone. That Sanae likes you.
>...there were?

Think of it less as "it wasn't written in", and more "this happened in the past, before the story started, and Reisen never remarked on it because she's completely oblivious to these sorts of things."
>> No. 160741
[x] Sanae.

really don't want to meet anyone now, so last option is out. The hurt locker, private princess thing is tempting due to how often it's been mentioned, but sanae more important.
>> No. 160751
[x] Sanae.

So yeah. I know the mission's important, but we can't have this hanging over us. We need to have some closure here, for better or worse. I sincerely hope for the better.

Seriously, did we make all the wrong choices when it came to Sanae? God dammit. And yet, that seems perfectly in-character for Reisen...
>> No. 160753
[x] Your current mission.
Focus damn it
>> No. 160754
>>160753
That's what we're doing. You're the one not focusing.
>> No. 160762
>>160754
It should have said:

'Focus on the things with a time limit, dammit'
>> No. 160772
>>/shorts/670

It's a story about Alice. I promise.
>> No. 160792
>>160738
>>160751
You know what? You're right.

[x]Sanae

Now if things go wrong, it's YOUR fault, not mine!

>>160737
You better be right, Reimu.
Also...oh fuck, are we picking Sanae over one of the immortals?
>> No. 160794
>>160792
It's more like Sanae picked Reisen. If Mokou and Kaguya were interested, we'd kno... wait. Reisen would be oblivious. Someone would know about it.
>> No. 160797
>>160794
I mean one of the immortal's lives. Can't catch two rabbits and all that.
>> No. 160817
>>160797
Yeah, we are prioritizing Sanae over the mission right now, if that's what you mean. The two rabbits saying means don't try to do two things at once. We chase one rabbit (Sanae), then chase the other (the mission).

The "Alice" /short/ updated, by the way.
>> No. 160830
>>160797
One?
>> No. 160833
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160833
[X] Sanae.

Reimu's got a point. You should be focusing on Sanae. The mission is also very important, but that's slightly less immediate. Besides, you can figure out a plan for that later. There's still plenty of time. But Sanae? You'll be at the shrine in less than an hour. You've been walking since the morning, and you've only now managed to sort your thoughts out, and now it's almost noon.

But you're focused. You've got this. You'll patch things up with Sanae. It'll work, right? There's no way it can't. Because Sanae loves you. You've only screwed up once. Sure, it was a big thing, but it WAS only once. And everyone's allowed one mistake, right? Right. You'd give most people a second chance. Of course, not everyone's as nice as you are. But Sanae is. She's good people. You never really realized it until now. But she's really, actually, good people.

So she'll probably be disposed to forgive you. This is a comforting thought.

Now, you've got to think of how to do this. You've come up with the feeling that it's possible, now you've just got to figure out how to get it done. You could take Reimu's suggestion and just sweep Sanae off of her feet. That's a fairly confident way of doing it, and you're not sure you can muster up the courage to do so. But you'll try, if that's what you decide. You'll try, and that's what matters.

Of course, you could just start with an apology. But Reimu said that was probably a bad way to go about things. And maybe she's right. But an apology when you've done something wrong feels right to you. And... you're reasonably certain that you can pull that off. You've done plenty of apologizing in your time, normally when you've done something to make Eirin angry. Like accidentally contaminating a sample. She gets angry about that.

She sometimes gets angry about it even when it's not your fault. But it's okay. You help her, she teaches you, and for the most part, you get along. But you're getting distracted. You should focus on Sanae again.

Maybe there's a third option. You kind of wish that you'd brought a gift. Thinking ahead would have been nice, but you didn't think of it at the time. That's a bit of a lost opportunity. Oh well. Well... there are flowers along the mountain path, red ones, green ones, blue ones, purple ones.

This is actually fairly nice. The smell of the flowers with the crisp mountain air has you feeling better than you have in a while. And you're going to fix things with Sanae.

You know what? Today's going to be a good day, goddamn it.

You're almost to the Moriya Shrine. The long walk has really lifted your spirits, instead of the exertion the shorter path would have been. Maybe it's even given Sanae enough time to cool off. That'd be a great start to the day.

You're almost to the Shrine. If you go any closer, you're sure to be spotted by someone who lives there. You should probably decide on a plan of attack before you get there. Even if it's someone who's not Sanae, like Kanako or Suwako.

What's your choice?

[ ] Reimu's Plan
[ ] Apologizing
[ ] Pick some mountain flowers
– [ ] Which ones?
[ ] Write-in.
[ ] Turn around and go back down the Mountain. No! I've come too far!
>> No. 160835
[x] Pick some mountain flowers
– [x] Which ones?
- [x] The ones that has tentacles and white water coming out of them.
>> No. 160836
[X]Reimu's plan. Build up your pluck.
>> No. 160838
[X] How about a statement "I can't believe I've been such a fool to miss something in front of me the whole time. I won't let that happen again!"

And then Reisen will attack. With rabbit moe.
>> No. 160839
[X]Reimu's plan.

Personally, I think that Reimu has a bit more wisdom than people tend to give her credit for. But here are my reasons for this decision. Warning: sentimentalism alert.

So, we fucked up. We done fucked up good. The whole Sanae thing? Completely frigging screwed things up. Going after Youmu, and our response afterwards, hurt Sanae bad. We now have one last chance to make things right, and an apology isn't going to cut it. Let's face it, some things you just can't explain away. The only thing we have left is our feelings.

So, we take Reimu's advice and kiss Sanae with every drop of feeling we have for her. Every last scrap of emotion, baring our souls in a way words just can't. After that, it's pretty much up to her. If she accepts our feelings, both romantic and apologetic, maybe then we can talk things out, make up. If she finds us wanting, and pushes us away, well, that's just how things fall out. Either way, the ball's in Sanae's court at that point. But at least we'll have come all this way, and tried.

Okay, done now. Please forgive wordy reply.
>> No. 160840
[X] Reimu's Plan.
-[Y] Pick some mountain flowers.
--[Z] Green and purple ones.

Give her symbolic flowers, then tackle her.
>> No. 160845
If we go in there and just immediately kiss her and stuff, she's going to think we just think of her as an easy lay. Couldn't we just hug her instead?
>> No. 160847
[X] Reimu's Plan.
-[X] Pick some mountain flowers.
--[X] Green and purple ones.
I like Reimu's plan, but adding flowers should help too.
>> No. 160849
[x] Reimu's Plan
>> No. 160858
[x] Apologize
[x] Pick red flowers. Those mean love, right?

Sanae knows and loves Reisen. She'll be able to tell Reimu's plan wasn't Reisen's idea. Apologizing is the most Reisen-like choice, Sanae should know that, and if she doesn't accept it... Reisen tried, as herself. Not as someone she isn't.
>> No. 160861
>>160858
Damn good point.

[x] Apologize
[x] Pick red flowers. Those mean love, right?
-[x]And maybe a purple and green one.
>> No. 160862
[X] Reimu's Plan.
[x] Pick red flowers. Those mean love, right?
-[x]And maybe a purple and green one.

I have a feeling Reisen would nervously apologize afterwards or during the act anyway.

I'd think taking Reimu's advice and failing is preferable to acting on our own and failing too.
>> No. 160863
>>160849
I'd like to append 'hug variation' to my vote.
>> No. 160876
[x] Apologize
[x] Pick red flowers. Those mean love, right?
-[x]And maybe a purple and green one.
>> No. 160883
So, um, the story in /shorts/ is tied, and I kind of want to update that before I go up north with no internet this weekend. I'd update this story, but I think I want to give you guys the weekend to decide on a course of action. Sanae's apparently important or something like that. Or so I've heard.

So if one of you fine people would break the three-way tie here: >>/shorts/670 , I would be indebted to you.
>> No. 160887
[x] Reimu's Plan.
[x] Pick red flowers. Those mean love, right?
-[x]And maybe a purple and green one.
>> No. 160922
File 134553261922.png - (522.87KB , 1414x1000 , 47e844d0e3019755ed8729a30d4ffb37.png ) [iqdb]
160922
A nice way to finish out the thread. I had planned for this to be more... comedic, but since Reimu isn't telling Reisen this story, there's no reason for me to be leaving out the bits that she wouldn't have told Reisen. Expect more Reisen tomorrow, maybe? Possibly Wednesday if not tomorrow.

--

I'm Reimu Hakurei, and I'm an “incident resolution specialist”. Or a shrine miko. Whatever. Take your pick. I've seen my share of incidents, and none of them have played out the way this one has so far. First, you've got an outright murder. Normally, this sort of thing just doesn't happen. At least not around the upper echelons of the power ladder. Sure, youkai abduct, and probably eat, humans. And sure, I know for a fact that the Scarlets are vampires, and the blood has to come from somewhere.

It's an unfortunate fact of life that I've come to deal with over the time I've been the miko for the Hakurei Shrine. It's not about protecting the innocent, not about punishing the guilty, not about justice. It's about stability. Making sure that the current status quo- which has many great powers, balanced perfectly against each other on the head of a pin. Someone tipping that over by blatant murder and disregard for the nonlethal system? Well, I break them.

And not many incidents have... such well-hidden instigators. There's hardly a clue to be found. Normally I can just waltz on over to the explosions, or the red mist, or the cackling laughter of the instigator. And then beat them senseless. So here I am, investigating.

Investigating! Me! And... well, I'm not too good at it. Normally my investigations involve beating people up until they know something. Or I decide they don't.

But Sanae and Reisen don't want us to beat fairies for information. Normally I wouldn't even bother with trying to get useful information out of fairies. They're dumber than bricks, for the most part. And the ones that aren't... well, Marisa and I have a bit of a reputation. So they try to stay as far away from us as possible. It's a bit of a pain.

“Look, I'm not actually here to hurt you.” Marisa is straining to keep a friendly grin on her face, and her hands are in a white-knuckled clench. “But you've got to tell me what you know.”

The tiny fairy is petulant, and angry. And maybe a little arrogant, since we haven't started to rough her up yet. “No! I ain't telling you bozos a damn thing!”

Marisa turns to me. “Can I? Please? Just a little?”

God, I wish. “No. If she's not going to talk, let her go.” I cross my arms and sigh. We're not getting anywhere at all. I just hope Reisen and Sanae are having better luck at the Scarlet Devil Mansion. It's nice that I got to do something nice for Sanae for once. She's been absolutely smitten with that rabbit for so long. And Reisen's just missed every single hint of it. She's a 'special' girl, that Reisen.

The fairy, confused by the fact that she's just going to be allowed to leave, stops. “Um. Really? I can go? You're not going to beat me?”

“No.”

“Not going to shoot me with danmaku?”

“Nope.”

The fairy glares at Marisa for this next one. “Not going to shoot me with that fuckhuge laser of yours?”

Marisa is obviously wishing she could. I can see the fingers on her hand twitching. I should probably calm her down. I walk over to Marisa, under a large tree, and grasp her twitching hand with both of my own. I give her a pained smile, and turn back to the fairy. “Look, if you want to go, you can go. We're not going to stop you.”

“Oh. O-okay! See you, lamers!” And with that, the fairy is off.

Marisa is pissed, and pulls her hand from mine and starts storming around in a rage. “We could just beat the information out of them! Why don't we? It's already sundown, and we've not got a single clue!”

I slump down against a tree trunk, tiredly. “Look, Marisa, I know that. I know that we could get much further with beating fairies up. I mean, think of that one that you lost your temper with and smashed over the head with your broomstick.”

Marisa smiles a bit. “Yeah. That was good times. I felt pretty good at that point. And the fairy talked, didn't she?”

“Yeah. She did. But it didn't tell us anything we didn't know already. They're saying that Reisen did it.”

Marisa sits down next to me, and places her warm hand over mine. I kind of want to pull mine away, but... well, I'll be nice tonight. Marisa's had a stressful day. “Yeah, yeah, I know. Do you believe it?”

I sigh. “We've been over this. I don't think she did it. I think she could have, and that she's worth watching. I mean, there's two people in Gensokyo I trust implicitly: you and Sanae. That's why we sent Sanae to watch Reisen, see if she acts... off. Or if she can pick up any clues. But I don't put much stock into fairy rumors, you know that.”

Marisa's hand slides off of mine, and then up to my thigh. I should probably stop her before she gets ideas and tries something. But it's late, I'm tired, and I don't care. “I can't blame you there, Reimu. It's a crapshoot. I mean, remember that one fairy's vast conspiracy theory? That there's some 'illuminati' pulling the strings of the SDM behind their backs, and manipulating Sakuya into hiring hitmen to take out prominent religious figures so that they can install Meiling as the deity for their new, jackbooted world order?”

Man, that fairy was a hoot. “Yeah, I do remember her. She had some crazy ideas.” And now Marisa's rubbing her finger up and down the inside of my thigh. Yeah, I think we're done. “Anyway. It's dark, and the stars are out. I'm going to go to sleep, Marisa.” So I turn over, and her hand slides off of me. Down my butt, of course, and not without a pinch. That girl is nothing if not determined. “Tomorrow's probably going to be more of the same, unless you can think of anything better to do.”

Marisa's voice sounds a bit miffed, but there's a reason I'm not looking at her. “Can't think of anything offhand, really.” Her arm drapes over my side, as she leans against me. Her fingers travel a bit around my chest, but this is normal for Marisa anyway. And I wasn't kidding: it is probably going to be the same investigative slog again tomorrow.

What I wouldn't give for a good, old-fashioned violence throwdown.
>> No. 160926
Hmm. So Reimu suspects Reisen, at least to some small degree. That's interesting.
>> No. 160927
All fairies know that she did it and they're saying it out loud? This is great.
>> No. 160945
File 134562604594.jpg - (1.29MB , 2394x1381 , 83495a928692b287e9d7b61436d98999.jpg ) [iqdb]
160945
Thread 3: >>160944