“<I'm so glad you're able to do this, even on such short notice, and on New Year's day!>” remarked Kobayashi, a smile flashing on her aged face, “<I'm sorry to be such a burden sometimes...>”
You returned the mother's smile, merely shaking your head, “<No, no it's fine miss Kobayashi. It's a simple enough fix, and you know I have nothing else to do today anyway.>”
“<You should come down to the village this year, I'd be delighted to have you over.”>
It was the same every year, more or less. At least, the invitation... the reason for her visit changed everytime though, although it was always a simple fix. Patching up a ruined bit of clothing, mending a damaged kotatsu, even polishing up a old metal charm once. She was a nice enough woman, and a great mother from what you knew, so you always felt bad to turn her down, year after year.
“<I would love too miss Kobayashi, but you know how my health is... I'd get half way down the path, before keeling over and waking up the next day. It's rough enough going down for groceries and supplies.>”
The mother gave the same, sad smile in return but nodded her head in understanding, “<Of course. I'm sorry, I wish there was something I could do too help.>”
“<I'm happy enough to be able to help you. But anyway, it's all done. Good as new! Be sure to tell your daughter happy New Year from me, and remind her to take better care of her dolls.>” you say with a grin, finishing up the last touches to the doll before handing it to the mom, “<Ah, yes one more thing before I forget...>”
Easing yourself from your chair, you carefully walked over to another table, sliding open a drawer and digging around inside until you retrieved a small, decorated envelope. Returning to Kobayashi, you offer it to her with another smile. Another thing you did every year, it was after all a sort of Japanese tradition.
The mother offered her thanks, tucking the envelope away. The two of you engaged in a bit of small talk, before she gave you some wrinkled bills and departed. You weren't expecting anymore company on New Year's day, so this would likely leave you by yourself for the reminder of the day – being alone in this house was something you were all too familiar with.
It at least wasn't outrageously large, but it was still a rather decent size, it was probably designed for at least a family of four or five, but for years it had only been home to you. Your parents had died years ago, and you never heard of any extended family, so ever since you had lived alone. In hindsight, you always found it odd no one seemed to offer to take care of an orphaned young girl, but on the other hand, it probably explained how you never seemed to need any money – and the arranged arrival of some groceries every once in a while.
Still, at least it had made you a pretty independent young woman, even if one who probably seemed like a bit of a hermit to the children of the village below... hopefully they didn't think you had some kind of beard or something.
You had once looked into the background of your family home, but had really found out very little. The villagers who came to you for business, seemed to know very little about it as well. As far as you could gather, it had always been here. You had the feeling that, in generations long past, the house had been a fairly important place – its position, had it been a bit larger and move a bit more forward, would've given a very commanding view of the village below. Your best guess was that merely, over the generations, the once large estate had simply dwindled down to a small, but comfortable, two-story house. One that was a comfortable mix of old Japanese design and more modern, western design.
With your task completed, you decided there was little else for you to downstairs, beyond fixing yourself a light meal to bring upstairs to your room. It was a bit embarrassing to admit that you sometimes slept downstairs, in the comfort of a chair in your workshop, merely because some days your poor health made it a bit of effort to walk up a flight of stairs to your room, but today you seemed healthy enough to brave the task.
Perhaps you could spend the rest of the day reading, or perhaps something else... there was dreadfully little to do, really. You had electricity, but no particularly modern forms of entertainment, such as a television or a computer – heck, the place didn't even have any air conditioning in the place, but at least it was warm enough even in the cold winter nights, so that was something.
After your light meal, you decided you would help yourself to a warm, perhaps even a hot bath... it after all, helped to relax your muscles, and show help you focus on... well, something. You weren't too sure what still – a bath would be a great time to relax and think of that. Two birds, one stone as they say.
- - -
> Character set-up
> Previous data detected. Loading...
Name: Reina Roots
> Data corrupted. Attempting to restore...
[ ] Brown (Default)
[ ] Black
[ ] Blonde
[ ] Other?
[ ] Blue (Default)
[ ] Green
[ ] Brown
[ ] Other?
[ ] Large (Default)
[ ] Small
[ ] Medium
[ ] Other?
> Specialize restoring skill (Select up to two)
[ ] Woods and furniture
[ ] Non-precious metals
[ ] Precious metals and jewelry
[ ] Clothing
[ ] Paintings
[ ] A seemingly old, small beaten book
[ ] A pair of rusted, unidentifiable rings
[ ] Collection of old coins
[ ] The hilt of an old weapon
[ ] Sets of heavily used tools
> Other customization possible, just write-in and it'll be considered
- - -
So. Yes. A reboot of RiG. Why? Well, to be frank... I think what made me start to dislike writing RiG, and RiG2 (then RiG2.5), was, at some point in RiG... I stopped writing for ME. I started writing for anon. I mean this in the sense I sort of ignored whatever I had planned, and kept changing it to fit what I figured you all wanted. This might not be a bad thing exactly, but it kinda killed it for me I think.
Anyway. Yeah, here we go. Fresh start. I'm expecting the start to be sloppy for a while as I try to get back into writing and all that. “<text>” is just speech in Japanese, but translated to English.
You still own the grimoire, don't think that beaten book is it, that's something else entirely. Time system thing is gonna stay, but I'll just skip some days as required. I figured it made more sense then using just Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter, and wondering where the other 8 months of a year went.
Woods and furniture, precious metals and jewelry
Trinket: Small beaten book
> Character creation complete
- - -
As the sound of rushing water filled the bathroom, you found yourself looking at yourself in the mirror. You considered yourself to be fairly normal – brown hair and blue-grey eyes weren't anything all that unusual after all. Your hair was rather long, although you tended to keep it up in at least a ponytail to keep it out of the way, and sometimes even in a more fancy hairstyle that Kobayashi had once described as “being like a pineapple”. How you got the idea for that, you weren't sure but you just somehow knew how to do it.
Your build and shape was probably a rather 'ideal' or perhaps sought-after one; a slim figure with good hips, and a well-rounded, rather large bust. Perhaps due to your poor health, your skin was a tad light, probably not all that pale, but not all that healthy looking either. All in all, you would probably be considered a fairly attractive young woman, even if you never really thought about it yourself. Noting the bath was nearly full, you turned off the water, then undressed to start your bath.
Reading was always a hobby of yours. Probably because it required little physical activity at all, so it was an ideal way to pass the time when your health was particularly poor that day. While you didn't own that many books, only enough to fill a shelf or two of your bookcase, you had a few that were a bit more... unusual.
The one you knew the most was a rather large, somewhat heavy leather-bound book. The pages weren't numbered, so you weren't sure how many pages it actually contained, but it was probably at least a thousand, if not more. The book looked very old, with the leather coverings being very worn and dull in color, the pages didn't feel like modern paper – they lacked the bright white coloration, and in fact were somewhat yellowed with age - but you weren't exactly sure what it was made of.
While it also had no title, the book seemed to be a catalog of fantastical creatures, such as faeries or youkai. It seemed to also have some kind of information on a mythical land. You had always thought it was some author's collection of notes for a fantasy novel they had intended to write, but you had no idea how your family came into possession of it, but you were certain neither of your parents wrote it, nor their own. Despite owning it for so long, you had never actually finished it – everytime you opened it, it always seemed like there was more and more added to it. But that kind of thing wasn't possible, so more then likely, the book just had a lot of text in it.
The only other unusual book was considerably smaller, entirely capable of being carefully put into a pocket. Much like the other, it also looked quite old with faded pages and seemed to have been someone's notebook, perhaps even belonging to something like an early scientist. The pages were filled with notes, symbols, and drawings. You liked to look at it sometimes, but you couldn't actually read the notes – they weren't written in English or Japanese.
With the rest of the day, and night, left to your own devices you considered looking a bit through both. It was a good way to pass the time after all, maybe you could play a bit of Solitaire or something once that got a bit tiring... living alone without any modern entertainment was a real drag sometimes.
Over the course of the day you had moved from your upstairs bedroom, to your workshop to help pass the time. Your health was feeling rather well today, so you figured you could read a bit, and maybe make a few little trinkets. Maybe you could try to sell them to anyone who decided to visit, it couldn't hurt to get a bit of extra pocket money.
Your focus was interrupted by a knocking sound. It was rather late, so at first you disregarded it, thinking it was merely an animal bumping into the door or something, but after a few moments another knocking sound was heard – a bit louder then before.
“Who could be here so late...?” you wondered aloud, leaving your workshop to answer the door.
Perhaps it was Kobayashi, coming to give you something? But she had done nothing like that before so... when you opened the door, you could confirm it was indeed not the kindly mother – the person standing before you was slightly taller then her.
The visitor struck you as quite unusual, besides the time, they were also garbed in a hooded, black cloak that obscured any noticeable features. At the best, you could just make out some blonde hair peeking out of the hood, and a lower half of a face. It kind of sounded like some kind of cliché traveler look in a fantasy novel.
“<I'm so glad you happen to be awake! I thought you may have been asleep... or, were you and I woke you?>” asked the visitor, laughing, “<If so, I apologize. I love my sleep, so I guess I'd feel a bit bad if I woke someone from it themselves.>”
The voice was clearly feminine, and her tone of voice sounded a bit... haughty almost. While your Japanese was quite good, her way of speech sounded a bit odd, almost like an accent, but not quite. You couldn't quite place it.
“<Oh no, not at all. I was just working on some personal projects. Ah... not to be rude but, what brings you here? It's not normal for anyone to come up the mountain this late at night.>”
The visitor's mouth broke into a grin, “<Well, the view up here was so nice, I thought I'd like to see the sunrise! Although... today is the second, isn't it? So I guess it wouldn't be the first sunrise of the new year... pity.>” the woman sighed, “<Well, and I had to come up here to see you, Reina.>”
She knew your name? Perhaps she was a villager then, or maybe someone directed her up here and mentioned your name? That was the only thing that made sense.
“<How about you come inside then? It's rather chilly out tonight. Would you like some tea?>”
“<I would love some! I'm not sure what you have, so surprise me.>” announced the visitor, happily making her way into your home, “<My, my what a lovely little home. It sure looks cozy. It seems a bit lonely though, you live up here all alone, don't you?>”
A slight frown crosses your face, “<Well, yes I do. Excuse me, but how did you hear about all this?>”
“<Oh, you know... I just heard some things, through some people. You wouldn't happen to have any nice snacks, would you? To go with my tea, of course.>”
Something about this woman's way of speech bothered you, perhaps it was simply the way she seemed so natural to place herself in charge of everything. Oh well, whatever, she was a guest and you would treat her with kindness, even if she seemed quite odd.
“<I don't have much I'm afraid, would some curry bread or some riceballs be fine?>”
The hooded woman nodded her head, and continued her inquisitive exploration of the first floor, poking her head into your workshop as you went to the kitchen to prepare the tea and snacks. When you finished, you found her seated at the table seemingly poring over the large book and small one you had brought downstairs.
When she noticed you setting the tea and snacks on the table, she gently closed the book and took a sip of the tea, letting out a hum of approval.
“<Delicious! Even if it's a bit... plain. So, how much of this book you have read?>” she asked, gesturing to the larger one.
Taking a seat at the table, you shrug as you take a sip of tea, “<I'm not too sure. It's quite the lengthy book, still it is quite interesting isn't it?>”
“<That it is. Takes me a while to figure out where the thing ends up though, still always more things to read in it when I do find it.>”
The comment catches you offguard, and you find yourself staring wide-eyed at the visitor, “<Excuse me? Are you the books owner, then>?”
The woman pauses, before shaking her head, “<No, I wouldn't say that. Let's just say I'm... someone who knows a thing or two about it. Either way, I'm sure by now you have some questions running around in that cute little head of yours! Come, come, ask me something! Let us talk and converse!>”
- - -
What an odd visitor... (Select two)
[ ] Ask her about the large book?
- [ ] Write in specific questions
[ ] Can she read that smaller book?
[ ] Just who is she exactly?
[ ] Other? (write-in)
[X] You do have a coat rack. It's probably not comfy for her to wear that hood inside.
[X] Just who is she exactly?
[X] Can she read that smaller book?
- - -
Well, you had a few questions in mind, but first... it seemed a bit odd for her to walk around the house wearing a cloak – especially one with a hood like that.
“<How about before all that, are you sure you want to wear that cloak indoors? It's not that cold in here after all, I have a coat rack, so...>”
The cloaked woman frowned, seemingly considering your offer with quite a bit of thought, after an uneasy silence she spoke, “<Very well. I see no harm coming of it.>”
The visitor rose from her seat and casually removed the cloak, extending it out towards you to take. Before you did so, you couldn't help but give her a good look over. Her hair was quite long, probably reaching to at least her waist if not longer, and it was a very nice golden blonde color. The woman's eyes drew most of your attention, you had never seen purple eyes before, yet you swore a few times they looked gold, or even perhaps blue... but it must've been your imagination, after all no human could change eye colors like that.
She was dressed quite oddly in a floor-length dress, with a purple tabard over it, adorned with some unusual designs you couldn't place. You may not have much to compare her too, but it would be hard to not consider this visitor to be quite beautiful. She certainly wasn't anyone from the village, but the question was, just where was she from? Her features just didn't seem normal... they seemed almost too... perfect.
Snapping yourself out of your thoughts, you took the offered cloak and left the room a moment to hang it, before returning. In that short time, the blonde woman had merely returned to sitting and drinking her tea.
“<I suppose I'll be a bit frank, or direct, I'm afraid but... just who are you anyway? I do not mean to be rude but...>”
The woman grinned and shook her head, “<Your question is quite logical and expected. After all, I don't think someone randomly showing up and asking to come inside is normal for you, or anyone.>” she rose from her seat and bowed deeply, crossing an arm across her stomach as she did so, “<I am Yakumo Yukari, a pleasure to meet you formally, Reina.>”
Formally? Just where did this Yukari woman hear about you from? Well, no, that was easy enough as anyone down in the village could've given her your name. Well, at least you now had a name to go with her face, and she seemed nice enough, if a bit unusual still.
“<It is a pleasure to meet you as well Yakumo.>” you replied with a smile.
The blonde shook her head, “<Please, no need to be quite so formal. Just call me Yukari.>”
The offer took you by surprise. With her mannerisms and way of speech, you would've imagined she was quite traditional, yet here she was just letting you use her first name so casually... unusual.
“<Very well, Yukari it is then.>” you took a drink of your tea before continuing, <”Okay, how about one other question from me. Can you read that book?>” you ask, pointing to the smaller one.
Yukari picked up the book and began to flip through the pages, her eyes darting back and forth. A few moments of silence passed before she nodded her head, closed the book and set it down.
“<That's a rather good read. I'm not sure who wrote it, but it was a magician, who did a bit of dabbling into alchemy. Very basic stuff actually, so probably a student or something. I'm more curious as to how you obtained it, considering there aren't any magicians left in this world anymore, and they shouldn't have left anything like this laying around... someone might figure out how to read it, and use it, then we'd have all sorts of problems.>”
A magician's notebook? That woman had quite the imagination, you merely laughed and shook your head, not quite believing her little joke... but when you looked back at her, her expression had simply changed to puzzlement.
“<Wait, you're serious? A magician's notebook?>”
The blonde blinked, <”Well, yes, of course. I mean, you're not going to be able to use it to tear apart the fabric of time and space, or anything crazy like that. Maybe start a forest fire if you did it wrong, basic elemental stuff. Nothing all that bad, but still not something that should be in this world.>”
“<In this world? What do you mean by that?>” you ask, furrowing your brow.
“<I mean exactly what I said. There is this world, and there's another world. Sort of, it's not quite as grand as something like a parallel world, but more like a... land, that isn't attached in a normal way. You'd need to use magical means to cross over to it, or perhaps just be in the right place at the wrong time. Happens from time to time, when you hear of people being 'spirited away' or just vanishing, that's them falling through into my world, Gensokyo.>”
Okay, now this was just getting a little bit crazy. Some random woman shows up and starts to say she's from some other world or something? And that magic is real? You liked a good fantasy book but those kinds of things weren't real. Why did you get to have some crazy person come visit you?
A smirk crawled onto the woman's face, “<I can tell you don't believe me. It's written all over your face. I can't see how you find it so unbelievable, after all you've read this grimoire, haven't you?>” she lifted the heavy book in one hand, “<But ah, that's right... you probably can't really see it, can you? To you, this is merely a title-less book, with an unusual assortment of notes...>”
“<A grimoire? That's... some kind of magical book or something, right? They come up in stories once in a while.>”
“<Correct! And not all those stories are made-up. They're quite real, they are just very rare. Much like your notebook, they were not meant to be left behind. But as you may imagine, it can be difficult to collect every little trinket that isn't meant for this world anymore.>” she sighed and shook her head, “<Still, I am getting sidetracked. I came here for a reason, and that was to extend to you an invitation.>”
You shook your head in disbelief, <”An invitation huh? You're going to say something crazy like... bring me to that Gensokyo place or something, aren't you?>”
Yukari nodded her head, “<Exactly. I've been meaning to do this for a while actually, but the conditions just weren't right... until tonight. I could've done this without asking your permission, but I find this tends to make people disagreeable. So I come to you tonight, to formally ask your permission. I do not wish to pressure you, but this is your only chance – after tonight, the conditions will no longer exist.>” the woman paused, “<Rather, you shall likely be dead before the conditions happen again.>”
“<It would take that long for your... conditions to happen again?>” you ask in surprise.
“<Oh, no. It'd probably only take another, oh... year. You'll be dead because your body will simply not last that long. Your health is already quite poor, and I don't imagine you will survive another month or two in this world I'm afraid.>” Yukari sighed and shook her head, “<I know this is a lot to take in, but time is short. I cannot give you much time to decide, all I can promise you is that in Gensokyo, you will recover. In this world? You will only have so little time as your body wastes away to nothing, it is already taxed to its limit.>”
“<There is so much to tell you, but you have to trust me Reina – it just isn't time for this now.>” the woman extended her gloved hand towards you, “<Just take my hand. And try not to look too closely at the eyes, I understand they can be a bit... much for the human mind.>”
You opened your mouth to protest and to likely launch quite a number of questions – but your voice caught in your throat as you stared at the woman. Behind her you saw... cracks? In what seemed to be the very air itself. They seemed to be opening, if slowly and within all you could see was a black void. There was no way you were imagining this – was this Yukari for real? Your gaze rested at her extended hand...
“<In this... Gensokyo I'll be...>”
“<Healthy? Without a doubt. I have a good idea of where to move your house to as well, it might take a bit longer, but I shall have you stay with me tonight. I'll have Ran make you something nice even! You'll like her.>”
- - -
This woman is crazy... but yet... what do you have to lose?
[ ] Accept, and look at these 'eyes'.
[ ] You have nothing to lose. But let's not look at those... eyes.
[ ] She's insane! Run, run, run!
If she's going to move your house...
[ ] Ask if she can maybe move it somewhere more flat, like a plain or something.
[ ] The mountains aren't too bad, but maybe something more like a hill...
[ ] You always wanted to have a nice view of a lake or something!
[ ] Nah, a mountain is fine.
[ ] Other?
- - -
So, as you may know tomorrow is a weekday. I can't promise daily updates, because sometimes after work, I feel like doing absolutely nothing. Just so you know.
[x] She's insane! Run, run, run! Envisioning this option as a typical cartoon scene. Suppose this option would kill the story before it really even begun? Don't suppose you'll being doing bad ends and What Ifs of the story will you? Love reading those...
[x] Accept, and look at these 'eyes'.
[x] Ask if she can maybe move it somewhere more flat, like a plain or something.
I ain't afraid of no eyes, I'm already insane. Choosing the plan since it I assume it'll be close to Yuuka. I'm not much for a story with a lesbian protagonist, just not really my thing, but RiG had a great Yuuka x Reina and Reina x Reimu story.
[X] Accept, and look at these 'eyes'.
[X] Ask if she can maybe move it somewhere more flat, like a plain or something.
>>161529 >Don't suppose you'll being doing bad ends
Remember the old version, where just one bad end resulted in mental scarring? Of course, that did result from a stupid move. It's harder seeing running away as being stupid, given Yukari is expecting Reina to take offer in blind faith.
[X] Accept, and look at these 'eyes'.
[X] Ask if she can maybe move it somewhere more flat, like a plain or something.
- - -
The offer was crazy, insane, illogical, silly... the list went on and on. I mean, how could some little world or land exist in this day and age that no one knew about? Yet, it was hard to also argue against it, when you saw the 'cracks' in the air and the appearance of Yukari in general – if she wasn't human, it would certainly explain her rather perfect looks.
You found your hand slowly reaching for the gloved hand of the blonde woman, your hand trembling with... excitement? Fear? You couldn't really tell. Maybe both. The unusual woman reassured you with a smile, her gloved hand clasping your own firmly.
“<I'm glad you agree. Allow me to formally welcome you to Gensokyo. Did you put some thought into a possible change of scenery? I know it's a bit sudden but... it's a bit trickier to move something already in Gensokyo, then it is to move something into it.>”
It was a bit sudden, but you already had something in mind. While your house did have a nice view, and the air had a nice quality to it up here, it was also quite exhausting to have to travel to and from. Even if your health improves in this 'Gensokyo', you see no reason to force yourself into needless hardship.
“<Some place more flat? This place isn't bad, but ah... it's kind of exhausting sometimes, so...>”
Yukari nodded her head, “<Very well, I have just the place in mind! Now then, hold on tight! If you let go, you might get lost forever!” the woman laughed, “I jest. At worst, you might get torn apart by some kind of otherworldy power, but that shouldn't happen.>”
“<Wait, wh-”> you start to say but are cut off when she gives your army a sharp pull, and the crack in the air splits open and the two of you tumble within.
You recall her suggesting you should close your eyes during this trip, but that only piqued your curiosity – what was the worst that could happen? How many people could say they have traveled between worlds, you may as well see all you can!
However, as you looked within this unusual space, your mind could only reel at what it saw. All you could see was endless purple and black, you seemed to be floating in the middle of some featureless location – you couldn't even tell how high up, or how low you might be. You could tell you were floating, simply because your feet were not touching anything solid. In fact, you couldn't even tell if the two of you were moving at all, there was nothing to give a sense of movement.
All in all, this seemed a rather unusual, but bori -
And then you saw something that made your thoughts blank. An eye. A eye floating within this unusual void. It did not seem to notice you, but as your eyes stared at it, the eye seemed to take notice and you saw it shift, and the single eye stared back at you. It did not blink, and – if you were in fact moving – was moving just as fast as you and Yukari, it kept you constantly within its sights. The single eye had you so transfixed, you almost didn't notice the other eyes appearing. But eventually, you did.
You wanted to close your eyes, you wanted to look away, but even when you tore your gaze away from one, you only noticed more and shown up in another field of vision. Although you could not see them all, you could somehow FEEL them all staring at you from every direction, every angle. Your heart began to race for reasons your mind couldn't understand – in fact, it couldn't grasp this area at all, and the eyes were not helping.
Then at once, all the eyes seemed to shift and change, as if their gaze was even more focused – and your mind blanked, and your vision faded to black.
- - -
January 2, Year 1 ~ Morning
With a start, you bolt up and began to gasp and pant for breath. You can feel sweat rolling down your face, and you feel as if moisture has soaked you to the very bone. In a few moments, the feeling vanishes, and a quick check reveals your clothing is quite dry – although your face is slick with sweat.
You do not recognize the ceiling above you, nor the walls, but they seem to be of a fairly traditional, and old-fashioned Japanese design. The floor also seems to be of the same old make, and you realize you are sitting ontop of a futon. Where the heck were you? And how did you..."
“Ah, you're awake. For a time, I thought Lady Yukari had brought back a corpse. It would not be unusual for her to do something like that, but still...”
With a jump you roll out of the bed and face the unknown voice, finding a somewhat tall woman standing behind you. She immediately makes you think of Yukari, but her hair is far shorter. Her clothing is also different, although she also seems to wear a tabard-like material over it... she also seems to have a pair of ears on her head, and a large, bushy tail. Just what in the world IS she?!
The woman seems to notice confusion on her face, and nods politely, “My apologies. I forgot you are a new outsider, and as such you would find me to be quite unusual. Allow me to introduce myself, I am Yakumo Ran. I am Lady Yukari's shikigami, a servant.” the fox-earred woman bows politely, “After your arrival last night, you were placed in my care after your transition. I take it you did not listen to her advice to not look at the eyes?”
It dawned on you that this Ran was speaking English – quite perfect English in fact. It had been a while since you didn't have to speak Japanese to someone. Your mind also swam with questions...
- - -
But you feel you shouldn't just bury her in them! Maybe you should just think of a few... (Select up to two or three)
[ ] Ask where she learned to speak English
[ ] Just what the heck is up with those ears? And those tails!
[ ] What was up with those eyes?
[ ] Where are you?
[ ] Why isn't Yukari here?
[ ] Other?
[X] Just what the heck is up with those ears? And those tails!
[X] Ask where she learned to speak English.
[X] Why isn't Yukari here?
>For a time, I thought Lady Yukari had brought back a corpse. It would not be unusual for her to do something like that, but still...
Why would Yukari bring back a dead guy's corpse? Give to Orin to burn?
[X] Just what the heck is up with those ears? And those tails!
[X] Ask where she learned to speak English.
[X] Why isn't Yukari here?
- - -
Pushing aside the memories of the eyes, you focused on trying to get some questions answered from this mysterious Ran... like what the heck was up with her ears and tails.
“Excuse me ah...” you trailed off, unsure of how you should address her.
The unusual woman seemed to take note of this, a foxish grin spreading on her face, “Just go ahead and call me Ran. Formality isn't something you need to worry about around here.”
“Ran it is then. I'm going to kind of be blunt here but...” you point at her head, then towards the bushy tails, “just ah, how do you have those ears and tails? They look very real...”
“That is because they are. As you will soon discover, all the fantastical things in your world, are quite real in this one. Gensokyo was made for beings like us, youkai, to live outside of your scientific world.” the fox-earred woman paused, “In short, this is a land of magic, where as your world is a land of science.”
As if your situation didn't confirm it, Ran's words only solidified it – you hadn't just imagined the whole Yukari thing. A land full of magic? It really did seem like a situation right out of a fantasy novel... it was a bit hard to believe, but you were sure it would all settle in eventually.
“Alright, I guess I can believe that after last night... and the fact I'm not at home right now.” you manage a weak chuckle, “I guess this is less a question, and more of an observation and a... compliment I guess. But your English is really good Ran, does someone in this Gensokyo teach it or something?”
Ran raised an eyebrow curiously, “Well, yes my English is quite good but that merely comes from having centuries to learn it. However, I have not spoken any English since I have started talking to you, how were you able to tell I spoke English at all?”
“But... I'm hearing everything you say as English, and I haven't even been speaking Japanese since I woke up!”
The fox-eared woman rubbed her chin, her eyes narrowing as she considered you, “Interesting. Perhaps some lingering damage to your psyche after your experience with the eyes? You have been speaking quite fluent Japanese, I was quite impressed. While it isn't impossible for Lady Yukari to have done something, she did not inform me... interesting.”
The situation only got stranger and stranger, how in the heck were you hearing everything Ran said in English, and while you were speaking English in turn, she was hearing it as Japanese? Seems nothing was going to make sense in Gensokyo, or maybe it was just you.
“How much English is spoken in Gensokyo anyway?”
“Not too much. The natives of Gensokyo are all from Japan, so almost everyone here speaks Japanese. With the increase of outsiders though, it's not impossible to hear just about any language in your world here now. Most youkai can understand you, but fellow humans may have a problem.” Ran shrugged her shoulders, “However, in your case I don't see a problem.”
“I see... well, I guess staring into the eyes may have had an unintended side effect then.”
The youkai's face bore a grin again, “I've heard many such things happening from those who stare at them. In your case, you were lucky. I won't try and scare you with what happened to some other's, but I would say gaining the ability to speak and understand any language, is rather good.”
“R-right, well... speaking of the eyes, uhm... where is Yukari anyway?”
“Asleep. I imagine Lady Yukari did not inform you of her sleeping habits. She is quite the nocturnal creature, she sleeps until it is night and wakes only then. During the winter, she will be essentially hibernating, for the lack of a better word. While it is possible to wake her, she tends to be quite grumpy, so I shall be in charge of you for the time being.” the fox-eared woman smiled, “As such, I must ask if you are hungry?”
As if on cue, your stomach growled angrily at you. A slight blush crept onto your face as you laughed nervously, rubbing the back of your head, “W-well, my stomach seems to have answered for me. Do you need any help preparing breakfast?”
The fox shook her head, “No, that'll be fine. I'm the host after all, it would be a bit rude of me to have the guest do anything. Please, make yourself comfortable and I shall fetch you when the food is done. I only request you stay within the house itself, and do not wander off.” she gestured towards a cabinet, “If you wish to take a bath, there is a selection of yukatas in there. The bath itself is just down the hall, the door is a bit labeled. If a bath isn't what you want... you may simply explore, or if you wish to talk I shall be in the kitchen – it's down the hall the other way, just follow the smell.”
With that, the blonde bowed, before departing the room. Well, that left you a few -
Your thoughts paused as your eyes caught sight of something by your futon. Placed by you was the large, worn 'grimoire', as Yukari called it, and on top of it was the small book you had shown her last night. You didn't particularly recall having those in your hands when you left, but perhaps Yukari had left them there for you?
- - -
Time to kill...
[ ] After all this, you could use a nice, relaxing bath...
- [ ] Select a kind of kimono (optional, write-in)
[ ] Ran seems friendly enough, you'll go keep her company.
[ ] You wonder what kind of house Yukari has...
[ ] Stay put, maybe you'll just read this 'grimoire'.
[ ] Other?
Dammit, I meant a YUKATA last vote, not a kimono...
[X] After all this, you could use a nice, relaxing bath...
- [X] Flower patterned.
- - -
A bath sounded pretty good right now. While perhaps some conversation would be nice, you really needed a moment alone to gather your thoughts. Browsing through the wardrobe, you opted to select a yukata that looked to be about your size which had a floral pattern on it. In honesty, the design was perhaps a tad childish for someone your age, but it wasn't like anyone was around to judge you... and you never had worn a yukata before, your house was a bit too modern for your parents to have kept any around.
As you started to leave the room, your eyes were drawn back to the grimoire and book. While they were probably safe here, you felt it was a better idea to bring them with you. With your arms ladened with books and yukata, you carefully opened the door and shut it behind you with your foot. Recalling Ran's directions you headed down the hallway, noting you didn't smell anything like cooking so you had to be going right way.
Yukari's house looked, and felt quite old. Perhaps it was an ancient Japanese mansion type thing? As you continued down the hall, you almost walked past a door that – conveniently enough – had a sticker slapped onto it that resembled water and steam. Sounded like a way to label a bath, that's for sure. When you carefully slid the door open with your foot, you could feel the steam rush out of the room. This house didn't seem like it contained many people, but the bath seemed to be designed like a bathhouse, rather then a bath designed for, well, a home.
At the very least, you didn't think a personal bath had a room sectioned off to change and store your stuff in. Fetching a basket, you carefully placed the books within, before changing your mind and undressing, and then placing the books on top. You weren't sure who else lived here, but if someone happened to collect your clothes, you didn't want them to take the books. This way, they should see them and leave them behind, instead of being buried beneath your clothes. Grabbing a towel on your way out, you opened the second door, revealing the bath proper.
While you were certainly still inside, the bath seemed to be a naturally formed hot spring. Steam clouded the room, yet it somehow filtered out even if you couldn't see any obvious form of ventilation. Carefully testing the water before easing yourself in you found the temperature to be quite warm, yet no hot enough to be uncomfortable.
“Wow... this is really nice... I wish I had one of these back home.” you mused aloud, reclining into the water until only your head remained above the surface.
As you soaked in the springs – it didn't seem right to consider it a bath – your thoughts drifted back 'home'. At the time you hadn't considered what everyone back in the village would think, would they simply go up the hill one day and there'd be nothing there? The idea, now that it presented itself, worried you. You didn't want to cause anyone back there worry or anything... perhaps you'd have to ask Yukari about it.
For now, you would just have to enjoy the moment. No sense in worrying about things that were out of your control, after all.
After your relaxing soak, you went to fetch your things to find that only your books and yukata remained – the basket containing your clothes were gone. You hadn't heard, or seen, anyone enter yet a note remaining in the basket simply stated they were being washed, and would be returned to you in some hours.
While the thought worried you, you did remember that a yukata was an acceptable form of garment to wear after a bath. Even if it felt embarrassing to realize that you were completely naked under such a garment. Pushing the thought aside, you decided you would go to the kitchen to check on Ran, perhaps the food was ready.
The directions were vague, but you simply followed your nose to the smell of food, and found the fox-eared woman setting a table – seems you were just in time. Ran greeted you with a smile, her eyes quickly flicking up and down, looking you over as she did so.
“I see you found the bath. I'm glad you enjoyed it, I took the liberty of having your dirty clothing fetched, they should be cleaned in a few hours. Please, have a seat, I just finished the food.”
You were rather use to eating your own cooking, and hadn't really had any traditional Japanese food in a long, long time. So, while you had nothing to compare it too, Ran's cooking looked and smelled delicious. Upon a taste, you could confirm it also tasted delicious as well.
“This is really good Ran!” you said happily after a few bites, “I wished I could cook this well.”
The blonde woman laughed, taking a seat across from you, “I thank you for the compliment. I've had some centuries to perfect the art, so don't think I'm someone you should try to aspire too – a human lifespan just isn't long enough. Still, I do not often cook for guests, so I'm glad you find the selection enjoyable, I wasn't sure what you would've liked.”
“I'm not much of a picky eater really. Give me something that looks edible, and I can probably eat it just fine. When you don't have much money, you can't really afford to be picky.”
“Understandable. Consider your meals while you are here, free. Although, currency is used in Gensokyo, so when you live on your own, you will need to budget your money as you normally do.”
The thought of money hadn't entered your mind, but you guess it made sense that even a 'land of magic' would still have currency.
The youkai seemed to note the worry and confusion on your face, and waved her hand, “Worry not about it. Lady Yukari shall see to ensuring you are given enough funding to live. Although, I do not suspect she will simply shower you in money either. She is kind, yes, but... well, she does enjoy watching people squirm, from time to time.” the fox woman chuckled, “You will quickly learn that centuries old youkai have all their own quirks, and you as a human, shall likely be subjected to their whims of entertainment.”
“Well, you're a youkai Ran, so how long until you subject me to your whims then?” you reply with a grin.
“Ah me? I do not force it on anyone. We all have our own little quirks, but I do not derive much pleasure from forcing anything on anyone. Perhaps it is because I am a servant, and as thus, I have much forced upon me regardless.” Ran laughed, folding her arms back into her wide sleeves, “Please, enjoy your meal. We may talk at your leisure after.”
Following the enjoyable meal, which you devoured until your stomach began to ate, much to your embarrassment, although Ran merely laughed it off and said she was glad you enjoyed it so much. After she took a moment to put away the dirty dishes, she led you away to another room, although you weren't too sure what was wrong with the dining room.
“I do apologize, but this house has dreadfully little in the way of entertainment. Or, rather, the sort that a human would find enjoyable. Unless you like to solve complex mathematical formula.” said the fox, a grin creeping onto her face.
“Ah, no I'm afraid I'd have to pass on that one. Can't say math was ever my best subject.”
Ran nodded her head, “But of course, it was merely a joke after all. If you have more questions, I would be happy to answer them. Otherwise, I think we have some board games or cards we could perhaps use... frankly, we merely need to find a way to pass the time until Lady Yukari awakens.” the youkai paused, “I would also not take offense if you would merely wish to retire to your room until then. It is your choice.”
- - -
It's about to be the afternoon, so what can you spend some hours doing anyway?
[ ] Guess if you have the time, better ask away! (write-in questions)
[ ] Some games sound like fun!
- [ ] Ran could probably beat you easily, but maybe some shogi.
- [ ] Maybe some card games... (write-in)
[ ] Heck, why not chat and lounge in the 'bath'? You can even ask her some things then!
[ ] Nothing is really coming to mind, so maybe you'll just sleep or something...
[ ] Other?
[X] Perhaps she could show you how to play a game she enjoys that's new to you?
- - -
“Well, how about a game you like to play Ran? I really only know some card games, and well, I figure I may as well try something new.”
The fox woman nods her head, “Very well. How about a game of shogi?”
You racked your mind for a moment, the name of the game sounding familiar. As far as you could remember, Shogi was basically Japanese chess, although it did function a bit differently. You never had really played it though.
“I've never played it before, but I'm willing to learn.” you reply with a smile.
“Of course. I'll teach you as we play, although I must warn you – I'm very good at this.” the youkai grinned, “Then again, I'm good at any game we have laying around.”
The fact a potentially centuries old youkai was good at this sort of thing had crossed your mind... but well, it was a bit too late now. You weren't about to back out and you were a bit curious to learn how Shogi was played anyway.
As it turned out challenging a centuries-old youkai, who loved to make up complex mathematical formula in her head for fun, to any sort of game involving strategy was much like 'taking candy from a baby', as they say. Even when Ran gave herself the biggest handicap in the rules, and even further handicapping herself in various ways, you simply never stood a chance against her. Everytime you thought you were winning, you would be shocked to discover you had simply been lured into an elaborate trap and crushed.
Groaning you run a hand through your hair, shaking your head, “I think that's enough. I lost count of how many games you just trounced me in...”
“Well, I would tell you, but I feel your ego is beaten enough Reina.” teased Ran with a smile, “Still, you fought admirably. I would suggest you try to not challenge Lady Yukari to such a game, she is likely more apt to... make the game a bit of a gamble as well, with a wager perhaps. And she would have little trouble defeating you, I'm afraid.”
“Mmmmm, Ran, you're going to ruin all my fun!” pouted a voice from behind you.
To your surprise in the doorway stood Yukari, looking considerably less... elegant and classy then your first meeting. She only wore a plain yukata and her hair was currently a tangled mess – it had looked like she had just gotten out of bed.
“Lady Yukari, I did not expect to see you awake. It is unusual for you to be up while the sun is also.”
Yukari yawned and rubbed her eyes, “I know, I know. But I told myself that today, I had a guest to attend to! So I thought I would wake up early today.” the woman yawned again, “If you go and warn Reina of all my tricks, how am I ever going to have fun teasing her?”
The servant grinned, “I apologize Lady Yukari. Let me fetch her clothing, and I shall get you something as well. Excuse me.”
Yukari watched her leave before slowly shambling on over to the other side of the shogi board, plopping herself down onto the floor with a thud. The simple act of that nearly disrobed her, her yukata shifting to nearly a scandalous angle, before she weakly fixed it. She really wasn't a morning person was she?
“Ran is a nice girl, isn't she?” asks Yukari, somewhat suddenly.
“Ah, yes, yes she is. Although, she's just really too good at this game.”
The sleepy youkai's eyes widen ever so slightly, “Of course she is. I believe she enjoys shogi due to its connection to tactics. There's never been a sort of war, or any real fighting in Gensokyo, but she certainly has the talent to be an exceptionally good tactician.” she yawned again, “I trust you've enjoyed your stay at my house thus far? I told you to not look at the eyes.”
You nervously rub the back of your head, “R-right, I know... I guess curiosity got the better of me. But yes, I've enjoyed my time here. I don't know how you consider a natural looking hot spring a 'bath', to be honest...”
Yukari shrugged, “You bathe in it, thus it is a bath! But I am pleased you enjoyed yourself. Once Ran brings some proper attire, I think I will show you to your house. Then I think I will give you a brief tour of Gensokyo and some pointers.”
“This sounds rather generous of you Yukari. Do you do this for everyone who comes along?”
“Oh, of course not. A lot of them don't come through with any interaction on my part, they just happen to be in the wrong spot and fall through a weak point in the barrier. Probably get eaten not too long after, considering something probably purposely weakened it enough to have them fall through...”
“E-eaten?” you ask in surprise.
The blonde youkai nods her head, “Of course. Humans are a youkai delicacy. Before you ask, no I have no intention of eating you, nor does Ran. While humans are indeed a delicacy, it is one that only young, impulsive youkai really feel the need to indulge in. They are the ones you have to watch out for.”
Gensokyo suddenly sounded a lot more dangerous then it had let on. Perhaps this was a reason why it was cut off from the outside world...
“Maybe you want to play a game of shogi while we wait for Ran?” asked Yukari, flashing you a grin, “But if I win then you - “
“Now, now Lady Yukari, it does not take me that long to retrieve fresh clothes. Here you go Reina.”
Yukari snapped her fingers, fixing Ran with a displeased glare as she returned and handed you your freshly cleaned clothes. The servant even led you away to a room to change in privacy. By the time you returned Yukari looked much like the night before, although you did notice she had several ribbons in her hair that you didn't recall seeing before – she also looked considerably freshened up, for only having perhaps a few minutes of time to do so. The two youkai stepped aside a moment to discuss something in private, occasionally a glance was cast your way, before they nodded and Yukari turned her attention back to you.
“Before we go, I have one thing to offer you. Consider it a sort of gift, but only under one condition,” the youkai held up a finger to emphasize her point, “In exchange for it, and all the time I will spend today, I only ask that at the end of the day, I shall offer you some choices and you will be obligated to pick one of them. Agree?”
- - -
What an unusual offer...
[ ] Accept, Yukari seems friendly enough.
- [ ] The gift is... seeds?
- [ ] Looks like some kind of trinket.
- [ ] These are some really old looking coins...
- [ ] What use for this beaten looking hilt do you have?
[ ] Decline.
[ ] Other (somehow?!)
[X] Eeh? At least give me some idea of what kind of choice I'll be making, Yukari! Otherwise I'll worry that you'll be making me choose between five impossible requests or some other kind of u-unreasonable things...
Silly Reina, Yukari isn't Kaguya. That said, making open-ended deals with devils isn't a good idea.
[X] Accept, Yukari seems friendly enough.
- [X] The gift is... seeds?
- - -
Yukari had so far been a very helpful and nice, if strange, individual... the gift wasn't really necessary, considering all she had done so far, but it was a welcome thing anyway. You couldn't really think of a reason to not agree.
“Alright, you have an agreement Yukari.” you say, extending your hand.
“Wonderful! I'll hold you to it Reina.” replied the youkai smoothly, clasping your hand firmly and shaking it, “Enjoy the present. Don't drop it now!”
Before you could ask what it was, the woman pulled away her hand and in your own, you found a small bag. The bag didn't look like anything special, but upon looking inside it you could see a collection of what appeared to be seeds. You had dabbled a bit in gardening, but the seeds weren't anything you could immediately recognize.
“What are these?”
A grin spread across Yukari's face, “That'd be telling! Just hold onto 'em and don't lose them. Grow them and find out. A part of the deal wasn't me telling you what the gift did anyway.” taunted the youkai.
Suppressing a groan, you merely carefully stored the bag in your pocket and decided to try planting them when you had the time. For now, you had this 'tour' or something to look forward too. Before you could bring it up, Yukari waved her hand and the 'cracks' in the air opened up and, with a gentle push, you felt yourself fall forward. Recalling your earlier experience you opt to keep your eyes shut this time.
In a short time, you felt a tap on your shoulder and decided to open your eyes. No longer within Yukari's house, you instead found yourself on a rather large, mostly flat stretch of land. Off in the distance you could see a large mountain, it would appear this is where she had moved your house to as requested.
“Nice spot isn't it? Handpicked of course! This is a rather nice central location in Gensokyo I'd say. As you can see in the distance that is the Youkai Mountain. It's quite the long walk, so don't try to take it... it's also rather dangerous. Tengu and kappa aren't too hostile, but they aren't too fond of uninvited outsiders, not to mention any wild youkai along the way.” explained Yukari, gesturing towards the mountain
She waved her hand off in another direction, “That way will bring you to the Human Village, as the name implies, it is where most of the humans in Gensokyo live. I would've gotten you closer, but well, they tend to object when I move there. Beyond the village is the Hakurei Shrine. I'll have to see if I can't get a road or something out here...
“Anyway, if you went that way instead,” she pointed towards the indicated direction, “you would eventually come along a large, thick forest known as the Forest of Magic. Much like the mountain I must strongly caution you against going there, especially at night. It's not only full of youkai, but the wildlife and plantlife ranges from helpful to vicious.”
The names around here didn't seem too creative to be honest, but who were you to complain?
“Well, what about here? I mean, anything special about this spot in particular?”
Ran gestured towards the ground, “Besides the location the land itself is rather fertile here. The humans have wanted to establish a farm here, but it's too far and they don't tend to expand the village anymore these days. Other then that, it's fairly normal.”
Fertile soil huh? Well, that would certainly give the seeds a wonderful place to grow. You weren't sure if you could ever set up a business in this land, but if you did, the location wouldn't help too much... there wasn't any trees around or any real materials... still, no use in thinking about something that may not matter.
“Can I see the village? It seems like the only place around I can even consider traveling too.”
Yukari flashed you a smile, “Of course! That was my intention anyway. Here, take my hand and hold on tight. Walking would take too long.”
The fact that Yukari knew how to fly shouldn't have surprised you, but you had to admit it did a bit. It just always sounded like something impossible and magical, which means it made perfect sense in a land of magic like Gensokyo.
For something called a 'village', the Human Village was quite large and ringed with a wooden palisade. You weren't sure if a wooden wall would offer any real protection, but it seemed to give the village a sense of security anyway. While most of the buildings were within those walls, the outside of the village was mostly farmland; from what you could tell, they were mostly growing things like rice and wheat.
You were expecting Yukari and Ran to simply walk you into the village, but ever since you landed, the duo seemed to simply stopped for a moment.
“Please, go ahead Ran. I will bring Reina along in just a moment.” announced Yukari suddenly, she took grip of your wrist, “Seems I'll be introducing you to someone I wasn't expecting to meet.”
Before you could question her, the blonde youkai led you away from the village a short distance, stopping once she had reached one of the many fields in the area. After a few unusual, awkward seconds of silence, a door creaked open and you turned towards the sound.
Emerging from the farmhouse – which you now noticed was vacant – was a somewhat tall woman. You had to guess she was about Yukari's height, but that was about the only similarity between the two. This woman had short green hair and red eyes, and she wore a plaid vest and skirt, with a white blouse. Something about her seemed unsettling, but she seemed to be paying you no attention at all.
“How unexpected to see you here Yukari. The sun is still up, and yet you are wandering about?”
Yukari threw up her hands and shrugged, “Today was a special occasion, it wouldn't be too proper to tour the village in the middle of the night.”
“A special occasion...?” the green-haired woman's gaze slowly drifted towards you, “a outsider? You never did personal tours before, Yukari.”
“Like I said, this was a special occasion.” repeats Yukari calmly.
The red-eyed woman carefully takes a few steps towards you, her gaze firmly fixed upon you. While her face remains unreadable and passive, you can't help but feel a bit vulnerable. Something about her just seems... different. After a few moments, she nods and steps away, returning her attention to Yukari.
“I see. Interesting. Very well, I shall take my leave.”
Without waiting for a reply, the woman merely walks off into the distance. Yukari watches her depart, before gesturing towards the village again.
“Well, I wasn't expecting to see her. That was Kazami Yuuka, and she's certainly among the most powerful youkai around here. Actually, here's a good pointer: the more polite a youkai is, the more powerful. Only young, brash youkai have any need to be rude.”
“R-right, I'll keep that in mind.” you reply meekly, shaking your head, “She seems totally different from you Yukari.”
The blonde youkai laughs, “That's because she is. She seems quite dangerous and all that, but really, she's rather nice. Just don't go mistreating any plants or flowers. Now then! We have a tour to do! Let's see... not a lot of time left in the day... so I'll just list some places, you pick one, and I'll tour it with you personally! The rest... will just get some kinda explanation or something.”
- - -
Yukari is no good at managing time, is she..."
[ ] Getting a tour of the 'commercial' district seems like a good idea.
[ ] Seeing the school seems like a good idea.
[ ] It could be nice to know about some good places to relax...
[ ] Actually, you're more interested in that building you can barely make out on that hill.
>Fertile soil huh? Well, that would certainly give the seeds a wonderful place to grow.
Ah, the Harvest Moon trap. It sounds easy but after all the digging, planting, watering and weeding, you ask "Where did all my free time go?"
>Tengu and kappa aren't too hostile, but they aren't too fond of uninvited outsiders,
Hmm, that might change if some of the seeds are for cucumbers.
[X] Getting a tour of the 'commercial' district seems like a good idea.
- - -
“I think seeing the shops is a good idea. I should get an idea of what kind of things you can buy in a village like this.”
Yukari nodded her head and pulled out a fan, snapping it shut and pointing towards the village gates, “Very well! The village has quite the selection of goodies, if I have to say so myself.”
The youkai led you towards the gate, which opened on their own as she approached, although you saw no obvious signs of sentries, or anyone in general who could open them. Magic, perhaps? Ran was waiting beyond the gate and quietly slipped into step with Yukari, who had started to talk once more.
“Before I explain the commercial district, let me touch upon a few other areas of the village. If you went down towards... that way,” the blonde pointed with her fan, “you'll find the school around here. It's quite the place! The teacher is a half-youkai and she's quite welcoming to humans, she serves as a kind of guardian of the village so mind your manners if you meet her.
The blonde pointed off in another direction, “There's a inn or two in the commercial district, but if you were ever looking for some places to catch some sleep in the village, there's a good inn that way. Kind of expensive, but if you mention my name, they might give you a discount. Maybe.”
“Lady Yukari, perhaps you should explain currency?” offered Ran.
“I was just getting to that Ran, be patient!” snapped Yukari with a huff, “Much like the outside world, Gensokyo has its own currency. Well, rather its the currency the outside world used to use at the time, and we've simply kept using it. The value and all that is enforced by some group, but I don't really pay any attention to that.”
The fox youkai grinned and leaned towards you, “Lady Yukari actually helps maintain the value by providing the materials to make it and all that. She simply tends to forget, and I usually handle it myself.”
Yukari opened a small gap in space, pulling out a small sack which she tossed to you, “Consider that your 'Welcome to Gensokyo!' money! Don't go spending it all in one place, eh? Just because I could provide you with all the funds you'd ever need, doesn't mean I would.” said the youkai with a laugh.
“That's fine with me, I'd prefer earning it anyway.”
Opening the sack you peeked inside and withdrew a small, round coin with a square hole punched through the middle. You vaguely recall reading about this somewhere, and guessed it was a 'mon', the currency of Japan some centuries ago. Placing the coin back into the sack, you carefully used the excess string to tie it into a belt loop on your pants, and hoped it wouldn't come loose while you walked.
As you did so, you suddenly realized you were carrying your grimoire. You didn't remember grabbing it at all... and how come you didn't feel the weight until now? Odd. Well, it was already here so nothing you could do about it. It didn't actually feel as heavy as you remembered it, come to think of it.
“A hard worker eh?” asked Yukari, “There's not too much to do in Gensokyo usually, but I'm sure something will crop up. The village, as you may imagine, has been around long enough for it to usually have much of what the inhabitants need. If you have some unique talents, you may be able to market them though.”
You nodded your head and flashed the youkai a smile, “I'm sure I'll think of something. So is this commercial district much farther...?”
“Nope! We're here now!” announced Yukari, gesturing around her.
The commercial district seemed quite a bit different from what you had seen throughout the village until now. While before the village had a rather uniform, old Japan feel to it, the commercial district had an unusual mish-mash of different style of shops, some were more old-fashion looking, while others appeared more modern. Now that you stopped to look around, you realized the people were somewhat diverse as well, even if most of them wore traditional Japanese clothing, you could spot the occasional person in the crowd wearing more modern clothing – they must be outsiders like yourself, or perhaps natives who had taken a liking to outside fashion?
“We would be here all night if I showed you to every single shop... although some nice places do open up at night around here...” the blonde youkai trailed off a moment and shrugged, “but no time for that! Follow me my dear Reina!”
It took only a handful of hours for the sun to start to dip below the horizon, and the stars to start appearing in the sky. In the meantime Yukari had toured you to a number of stores and allowed you a brief look inside before moving on. The selection of goods in the village was quite impressive, while it had all the basics – such as food and clothing – the selection was diverse, ranging from traditional Japanese, to European choices, and even some from further west. You couldn't see any problem finding anything you'd need in the village, although you could not be sure of how you would be able to get work to afford all of it.
Yukari assured you the funds she provided would be enough to last you some time, but you would still need a job to really have the luxury of splurging on anything. With the arrival of night however, Yukari had to declare the tour ended, and explained she had to take you home – she was nocturnal, but she still didn't want to keep you around all night. After all, you had your house to attend too! Or so she claimed, in truth, you figured Ran would get mad at her or something instead.
“Make sure you get a good night's rest! In the morning I suggest you stay home and not go wandering too far, I'm going to see about arranging a... individual to meet you tomorrow, someone of some importance.” Yukari paused and frowned, “Hopefully I can get them to agree to it, they can be so stubborn sometimes! Anyway, have a pleasant night Reina!”
- - -
Guess this ends your first real day in Gensokyo...
- Before Yukari goes, you had a quick question...
[ ] Just how in the world do you hear everyone's speech as English?
[ ] Why can't she just give you a bunch of Mon?
[ ] Inquire more about Yuuka
[ ] Other?
- In the morning!
[ ] You'll stay around the house by finding a good place to plant the seeds.
[ ] Do a good lookover of your house and workshop, maybe if you have some materials laying around you can pass time making something.
[ ] First morning at your house! You'll spend it just relaxing and having a long bath...
[ ] Other?
[x] Inquire more about this individual
[x] Do a good lookover of your house and workshop, maybe if you have some materials laying around you can pass time making something.
While normally I would be voting for every option with Yuuka in it, given we only saw her once and even then only in passing, and how Yukari just mentioned that this person tomorrow is important and stubborn this seems to be more relevant. For now.
[X] Just how in the world do you hear everyone's speech as English?
[X] Do a good lookover of your house and workshop, maybe if you have some materials laying around you can pass time making something.
Winter's a bad time to try planting seeds because the ground's all frozen. Better to wait until early spring.
[x] Inquire more about Yuuka
[x] Do a good lookover of your house and workshop, maybe if you have some materials laying around you can pass time making something.
- - -
“Real quick before you go Yukari, but ah... can you tell me abit more about that green-haired woman? Yuuka, right?”
The blonde youkai nodded her head, “If you run into her, best to play it safe and just call her Kazami for now, formality and all that. But that aside, what else can I really tell you about her... I don't want to say too much, if you want to know a lot about her, you're better just asking her yourself.
“What I can safely tell you about Yuuka, is she's very dangerous if you get on her bad side. I'd say if I had to think of the top ten strongest individuals in Gensokyo, she's pretty high up there... below me, of course,” Yukari grinned before continuing, “she doesn't have much in the way of social skills though, which tends to make her a bit worrisome for people to approach. She's not a bad person, but well, she cares more about plants and flowers then humans or other youkai.”
“As long as you don't mistreat plants or flowers, I don't see any potential problems with her.” added Ran.
“Good advice Ran! Just don't go burning down flowers in a fit of madness or something, and you'll never have to worry about her doing anything terrible towards you.” said Yukari with a laugh.
“Er, right I see... thanks for all this Yukari, really.”
The youkai waved her hand, “Ah, don't mention it. It's a bit refreshing to get out and poke around Gensokyo once in a while! Well then, as I said before, have a good night's rest Reina.”
- - -
January 3, Year 1 ~ Morning
Your workshop was much like you had left it, although after a closer look, you realized the stock of materials within it seemed to be... more then before. You didn't put a lot of thought into it though, and merely assumed Yukari had something to do with it. Still, at least you had things to work with, and it would give you a way to pass the time, and possibly some things to make to sell in the village perhaps?
As your hands busied themselves on a project, your mind had time to wander and digest the events of the last few days again. There really was simply a lot to take in, and you had to admit you had probably handled it rather well. Still, you were somewhat worried that you seemed to be quite... unaffected by all this. Wouldn't a normal person be more concerned with all this, or at least more surprised and in shock? Yet you seemed to be taking all this in stride, and even when you were thinking about this, you didn't even feel worried or scared.
Maybe you had just always wanted to live in a world like this, you did after all like reading about fantasy...
“Guess just goes to show how 'normal' I am...” you mutter under your breath
Your thoughts are interrupted by a loud pounding on the door. Quickly placing aside your project and tools, you go to answer the door. Judging by the loud 'knocking' on the door, and the fact they hadn't just walked in or something, this must've been that 'individual' Yukari was talking about. They didn't seem to be too happy with the situation though.
Waiting beyond the front door was an oddly dressed young woman – lots of red and white, with what looked like detached sleeves from her top. Wasn't like anything you had ever seen before, yet it seemed to look kind of traditional but yet... not.
The red-white clad woman's eyes narrowed as she stared at you, a frown on her face, “So, you're Reina huh? You look rather... normal. Can't tell why Yukari has such an interest in you.”
“Ah, yes I'm Reina. You must be the individual Yukari briefly mentioned last night?”
“Huh? Oh, uhm, yeah I guess I am.” her frown vanished, replaced by a look of mild surprise, “You have some really good Japanese, I thought I was going to have a problem talking to you but, well... anyway!”
The woman sighed and shook her head, “Formal introductions I guess, I know you but humor me anyway. I'm Hakurei Reimu, the shrine maiden of the aptly named Hakurei Shrine.” she jabbed her thumb behind her, “Roughly that way, on a hill near the village. Not easy to miss, but no one bothers with the trip up there anymore really.”
“I'm Reina Roots, it's a pleasure to meet you miss Hakur-”
Reimu held up a hand to silence you, “No, no. Just call me Reimu, I don't need any of that formal stuff, alright? Everyone says I have an important job around here, but I don't need fancy titles or anything.”
“R-right! Reimu it is then. It's nice to meet you.” you say with a smile
The shrine maiden placed a hand on her hip and returned the smile, “Yeah, same to you Reina. With those introductions out of the way, I guess I'll explain why I'm here.
“I'm basically here to do a bit of work around your house, stuff to keep wild youkai away. The last thing Yukari wants is for some to notice this new house, come snooping and break in and eat you in your sleep or something. I already did that before I came knocking, so don't worry about that. It won't keep any actual powerful youkai away, but all of those are friendly anyway, so you have nothing to worry about. You just have to be worried about the weaker ones, fortunately.”
That seemed a bit reversed to you, shouldn't strong things be dangerous and weak ones not? Then again, that probably had something to do with that politeness thing. Reimu seemed to notice your confusion and shrugged.
“Don't overthink it, it's just how things work here in Gensokyo. The wards will also keep the fairies away unless you invite them in. They're not exactly a threat to your physical health, but they like to pull pranks, so if I didn't do this, they might sneak in and ransack your house or something. You probably haven't seen any yet, but I'm sure you'll see them sooner or later, they're pretty distinct.”
“That all sounds very helpful and useful, thanks Reimu. I guess I just never thought of this place as dangerous, it doesn't really feel like it...”
The brown-haired woman nodded, “It's not really, in all honesty. The occasional problem pops up from time to time, but that's just part of my job to fix them. We call them 'incidents' around here, but we haven't had one in a little while, which I'm thankful for – the last time some new place popped up in Gensokyo, an incident happened, but you don't look like you're up to trouble.
“Although, you do kind of look like a magician with that book under your arm.” added Reimu, pointing at you.
Following the direction of her finger, you realized you were holding the book. Much like yesterday, you didn't remember ever grabbing it, so how in the world did you..."
“A magician you say? With this old thing?” you say, holding the book up before you, showing it to Reimu.
She nodded in response, “Yeah, it looks like some books Patchouli owns. I guess it's a bit too worn to remind me of the one Alice owns, not to mention yours is a different color. I'm guessing you owned this before arriving in Gensokyo huh? Maybe we can see about showing it to one of them.” the woman shrugged, “Your call though. The other part of my job was to just show you around Gensokyo if you wanted, it's kind of a walk for you to anywhere that isn't the village – and even that is kind of a long walk.”
- - -
Another 'tour' day huh?
[ ] Maybe you should meet this 'Alice' person.
[ ] 'Patchouli' huh? The name is interesting...
[ ] Visit Reimu's shrine
[ ] Other?
- - -
As an aside, I did forget about the deal thing. I'm accepting total blame, as its what happens when I try to crank out an update before I go to work and end up rushing it. I'll just bring up the agreement later.
Reimu shrugged, “I guess? She's not a mean person, or a kind person really. Patchouli is a magician youkai, so she's lived for quite a while I imagine, her and Alice are the only noteworthy magicians in Gensokyo – that are youkai anyway. If you want to ask her about your book, she's probably the best bet, she practically owns a giant collection of books in her library.”
“Do you think you could take me to go meet her then?”
“Taking you there shouldn't be hard, but... I'm not sure if she'll do anything. Like I said, she's kind of weird. Still, I guess it can't hurt, you can also get a bit more acquainted with the Scarlet Devil Mansion. It'll make more sense when you see it.” the shrine maiden extended a hand towards you, “You can't fly, right? Just grab my hand and hold on.”
The Scarlet Devil Mansion was clearly not a native part of Gensokyo, as it seemed to be of a more European design then anything. It looked quite old, yet well-maintained and was on the far side of a large lake that Reimu said was called the 'Misty Lake'. As you drew close to the mansion, and Reimu flew lower to the ground, you noticed a redheaded figure in green clothes seemingly asleep near the gate. Considering the shrine maiden was flying, the gate could do little to prevent her from landing past the gate and striding up to the door.
You considered asking about the red-headed woman, but Reimu never paused and merely pounded on the large doors before the mansion. Within a heartbeat, they opened and a silver-haired woman wearing a maid's uniform stood before the two of you. She barely looked at Reimu, but her gaze fell upon you and you couldn't help but gulp slightly as she stared you down.
“Don't worry about her, she's with me. I'm taking her to go see Patchouli.”
The maid's eyes slowly moved away from you and back to Reimu, “Very well, if she's with you I can allow her in. Lady Patchouli is in the library as usual, do you require anything else today?”
“Nah, that'll be all Sakuya. If we need anything after this, I'm sure you'll show up anyway. You have a habit of doing that.”
The silver-haired woman, named Sakuya it seems, curtsied – casting one last glance towards you – before walking off. Before you could try and ask about her, Reimu marched off and you scrambled to catch up to her.
As you followed your guide through the mansion, you couldn't help but notice a lack of windows and an abundance of candles and the like throughout. The interior was quite well-decorated and expensive looking, and the entire place was exceptionally well-cared for and clean, despite you not seeing anyone around actually cleaning or tending to it all. Actually, aside from that Sakuya, you didn't see anyone, even if there were many, many doors you saw down the hallways.
It occurred to you that you had no idea how to leave this mansion, and it seemed quite big despite it not seeming that big on the outside. But before you could ask Reimu if she knew where she was going, you saw a pair of large doors and the shrine maiden marched up to them and pushed them open. Within was a large room, large enough that you wondered how you didn't see it from the outside. And inside it was an impossibly large number of bookshelves – if it was possible, you were sure the ceiling would be bookshelves as well, and each one of them was filled to the brim with books.
“Impressive, isn't it? I'm not much of a reader, but that look on your face says it all.” commented Reimu with a smirk.
You blushed slightly and nodded your head, “It is! I have a small collection of books at home but this... this is something else. I've never even imagined so many books could ever be in a single place.”
“Who is this lovely guest of yours Reimu? She's not someone I'm familiar with, and I thought I knew everyone you knew!” asked a voice.
Quickly spinning to face the voice, you found yourself staring at a red-haired woman with matching eyes, dressed in a black vest and skirt combo, with a white blouse. She also had a pair of black, bat-like wings sprouting from her head and another pair from her back. That ruled out her being a human, that's for sure...
“E-excuse me, are you... Patchouli?”
The winged woman blinked at you and laughed, shaking her head, “Me? Oh, no, no! I'm merely Mistress Patchouli's familiar. It's a pleasure to meet you, you can call me Koakuma, it's what everyone calls me.”
She extended her hand towards you and you reflexively reached out and clasped it, giving it a firm shake, “I'm Reina, it's nice to meet you Koakuma.”
“Well, that's one introduction out of the way. I guess Sakuya let you know we were coming? I know you're not here by chance, you aren't carrying any books to shelve.”
Koakuma giggled and grinned, “How observant of you Reimu. As a matter of a fact, she did. Please, follow me.”
Without another word, she quickly began to walk off – you noticed from behind she also had a small tail – and you followed after with Reimu in tow. As you walked, you couldn't help but glance from time to time at the books lining the shelves. You wondered if you could ever get to have some time to look through some of these... maybe there was some good novels in here.
Eventually Koakuma led you to a small 'clearing' within the bookshelves, where a purple-haired woman sat at a table that was littered with various books. As you approached, she barely glanced up at you, seemingly engrossed in her reading.
“Your visitors, Mistress Patchouli.” announced Koakuma, curtseying slightly.
“What brings you here? Sakuya neglected to ask for your business before allowing you in.”
“It's so nice to see you as well Patchouli,” said Reimu with a sigh, “and here I am bringing someone with an unusual book to show you.”
The purple-haired woman seemed to look up a bit more from her book, her purple eyes resting on you now, “An unusual book? I hope you did not merely bring me some off-the-shelf book that just happens to look funny.”
You nervously offered the book towards her, “N-no I don't think it's anything like that...”
Patchouli took hold of the book and carefully removed it from your grasp, her face remaining passive as she slowly opened it and began to flip through the pages. An uneasy silence hung in the air for several minutes, before she looked up at you again.
“Interesting.” she said after a few heartbeats, “You are an outsider, correct? How did you come into possession of this?”
“I'm... not sure. My parents owned it, I think and then they gave it to me. I never really asked much about it, it just seemed like the kind of book an author writes to keep notes in or something.”
The magician youkai nodded her head slightly, “This isn't something that should be in your world. The mere fact it catalogs so much of Gensokyo alone is reason enough, but I feel there is... more to it then a simple catalog.” her lips slowly formed into a frown, “It would take time for me to fully analyze it however. From what I know now, I can safely say this is a grimoire and not a normal book. The purpose of it however eludes me, no magician would waste so much time and energy to make a grimoire a simple catalog.”
“I'm afraid I don't quite - “
“In simple terms, if you want me to figure out more, I would need to borrow your grimoire for an unknown length of time. You came here to find out more, and I in turn tell you what I need to figure it out.”
So... she just needs to borrow your 'grimoire' for a while?
“If you feel uneasy leaving it here and going home, I can arrange for Remilia to have you stay here until it is complete.” added Patchouli.
- - -
[ ] Well... you are kind of curious...
- [ ] Go home
- [ ] Remilia? Well, you'll stay here...
[ ] This doesn't feel right to you, you'll have to decline.
- [ ] Ask Reimu to take you home
- [ ] See if you can get a tour around the place
[ ] Other?
[x] Well... you are kind of curious...
- [x] Remilia? Well, you'll stay here...
Considering how the grimoire was in RiG and how it's always been with us, even when we don't think about it, it's probably the same type. If we leave the grimoire and travel a great distance, we gradually grow more and more sick. If enough time passes, we die.
>>162108 My problem is the opposite. I like mechanics, but they don't always mesh well with story writing, as I have often pointed out. It doesn't help I can never really fully flesh out the mechanics before I want to write, so I keep trying to make it all work.
So now I'm kind of trying to think if I want to keep trying it, or just drop it all and just kind of... I dunno, do what RiG was. Kind of random and spontaneous. I'm not sure.
Only two months ago? Swore it's been longer. Figured I'd give out an official statement, instead of... not.
So, I guess the first question is: "Did you drop this?". I guess the answer is... sort of yes. I'm not getting a good rep around here, I'm sure.
As for the why... I guess it's a number of things. As a character, I like Reina simply because she's kind of simple and you, the readers, mostly created her as she is now. The problem is, when I started writing Restorer in Gensokyo years ago was it was meant to be a blend of Harvest Moon with some aspect of Princess Maker in it.
Which is to say, the game should've been centered around daily life, but also in having to manage doing work to earn money, so you could buy things and spruce up the house. Befriend Touhous, go on dates... that sort of thing. But it kind of all revolved around a level of life management and work, and of course on hiring workers and improving them to earn more money to spend on other things.
As pointed out by anons, none of you seem to like this idea and preferred just skipping all that and just doing slice-of-life without any work. Then there's the fact there's a plotline behind the grimoire, but I never seemed to be good at getting you all to try and follow that, and I really hate having to force it all on you.
I guess the problem is Reina's story, as I imagined it, just isn't something that will ever work in a CYOA format. It would be too slow, and it would take 100's, or 1000's of updates to get through a year. And while I like Reina as a character, I just can't find a way to make myself write her story without having all these things in it. When I tried to do it, I became increasingly disillusioned and hateful of the story because it was just so random and aimless. I was just making stuff up as I went and figured it was what you all wanted to see. I tried to salvage out a system to go back to the original plan, but as you could see in RiG2, that never worked.
Then I just tried to start it from scratch so the features and mechanics would've been embedded from the start, but it didn't take long before I've been told that was still a core issue and I've never heard anyone say they liked the time management aspect.
So I'm not going to make any promises. Reina might be a 'dead' character forever, because I just can't find anything I want to write her in at the moment. I don't care if you all write things with her in it, as I honestly view her more as your creation then my own. I really do want to tell Reina's story, but I somehow feel in a CYOA, it'll never happen in a way that makes me, and you the readers, happy.