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162569 No. 162569
You hate digging. It’s the absolute worst activity there is. Heft the shovel into the air, slam it into the ground, step on the head, try to use your damn legs for once, toss the dirt, and repeat. Over and over again until you’ve managed to clear the entire area. It’s terrible.

If only you had done the smart thing and chosen a superior type of magic to practice. Anything with less digging would have been excellent. So what if you couldn’t actually accomplish your goals? Being able to rid yourself of this monotony would be worth it!

At least you’re prepared for it these days. You still remember your novice years when you used a normal shovel. That was terrible. Then you switched to an all metal one, collapsible for those emergency situations. Once you figured out how to reinforce your arms and legs the entire process became easier, but the motions of digging never changed.

In truth, digging in this area of the world isn’t horrible at all. After putting your back in to move the stone, the amount of digging you needed to do is trivial. Honestly, your disgust with the activity is reminiscent of your travels across Europe. Nothing was worse than walking up and discovering some idiot decided to go ten feet down. Of course, it was your own stubborn work ethic that refused to let you switch to a different plot.

Reaching down into your expertly dug hole, you liberate the supplies you need. Examining the condition of the material, you sigh. “Exactly as expected.” You dump the jagged pieces into your satchel and start to refill the hole.

Having less digging to do isn’t necessarily a good thing – it gives you much more limiting reagents to work with. It is that much of a problem? You’ve worked with less before.

“I’m not sure if this’ll cut it, here.” You pat the dirt back into place and rest on your shovel, looking around at the darkness. “I get the worst vibes from this place.”

Working under the moonlight helps to calm your mind, but your nerves are still jittery. It’s difficult to imagine that you broke through the barrier without calling attention to yourself.

It was a miracle you had even found the fabled Land of Fantasy. Even having devoted most of your young adult life to the venture, it was a stretch to think that you would find Gensokyo, let alone manage a way in. Manage a way in? You make it sound so elegant.

Admittedly, punching through the barrier with a giant fist was not your finest work ever.

Still, you didn’t know a better way to go about it. Your research had left you with no clues as to how to gain access to the mythical area. No matter what, your search took priority, so you went with the simplest method.

It only took you five minutes to start hating the bounded territory you broke into. Hate it? How could you hate this place? It was hilarious! No matter how amusing getting molested by a living, acidic vine bush might have been, you decided immediately that the strange lands might very well kill you. If the damn vegetation was as dangerous as any normal wolf, you didn’t want to know what else could be lurking.

After scurrying through the wilderness for a time, constantly checking over your shoulder, you finally found civilization. Humans, as much as you could tell, living in the dangerous lands as if nothing was wrong.

Naturally, you did the first that came to you. Getting through the barrier wasn’t cheap, after all. If you were going to have any chance at surviving in this ridiculous place, you needed as much power as you could get your hands on.

Which left you here, pushing and digging. “I should’ve found a Satanist to teach me. Spilling a bit of my blood sounds positively divine compared to this.” Stop thinking like that. Purposefully injuring yourself is far worse and you know it.

Bleeding yourself dry to right the wrongs of the world would be a fair trade. No! It is not, unfortunately, an option so you just have to keep on digging.

Halfway through the next plot, a cold feeling washes over your body. You raise your attention from the ground in front of you just in time to hear a voice to whisper in your ear. “Braaaaaains~”

Oh shit, you didn’t even- You drop and roll, kicking out with your feet to launch yourself away, leaving behind the sound of gnashing teeth. You jump to your feet with a spin and face your attacker.

“Damn, of course there would be hostile zombies out and about.” You reach one hand into your jacket and keep your stance low, ready for a fight.

The corpse across from you stares for a moment before opening its mouth again, the voracious grin setting off all the alarms in your head. “Braaaaains~” It moans before flying straight at you, arms outstretched.

Shit, how the hell is it flying? You curse whoever thought to give the stiff-looking corpse magical abilities. You dive to the ground to avoid its charge and turn once more to face your opponent. There is no doubt about it; you have to deal with this now, one way or another. You aren’t actually going to…

[ ] Look at the Bones!
[ ] The Bone of My Sword
[ ] Assuming Direct Control
[ ] Shift Into Maximum Overdrive
[ ] <Write-in>

---

Let’s get this party started.

Spoiler for blog-shit: Howdy. Whether you recognize me from my horrible story over at /underground/ or not, thanks for dropping by and prepare for the worst. This story here is an experiment for me; I’m looking at mixing things up in my writing to see how it works or even if it’s possible. Meeting writing quotas and sudden, delicious canon justification might also have something to do with starting this. Oh, of course I like the idea and thought you all could use more useless things to read as well.

Updates should not, theoretically, be affected in any way by running these two stories concurrently. The shorter updates here should fit nicely into the downtime I have in between my other writings. I plan on continuing both stories to completion but, if burn-out looks like it might become an issue, I’ll be prioritizing my other story first.


>> No. 162570
[X] Assuming Direct Control
OBEY! OBEY!
>> No. 162572
The bone of my sword!

A sword bone sounds pretty cool. Go for it MC
>> No. 162573
>>162572
[x] The sword of my bone
>> No. 162574
[X] Shift Into Maximum Overdrive

BOOST FIRE!! FULL POWAH!

Falcon punch everything.
>> No. 162575
[X] Assuming Direct Control

Going
>> No. 162576
How the heck are we supposed to write-in when we don't even know what the options really are? You brought this on yourself:
[X] Look at me assuming direct control of the bone of my sword and shifting it into MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE!
>> No. 162578
[ ] Assuming Direct Control

Assuming we are a necromancer.

>Look at me assuming direct control of the bone of my sword and shifting it into MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE!

I was too tempted to vote for that one.
>> No. 162579
[x] Assuming Direct Control

Fuck if i dont.
>> No. 162581
[x] Assuming Direct Control
>Nothing was worse than walking up and discovering some idiot decided to go ten feet down. Of course, it was your own stubborn work ethic that refused to let you switch to a different plot.

He's obviously a necromancer.
>> No. 162583
[x]Assuming Direct Control

Teach that paper faced zombie who the boss is.
>> No. 162584
I assume the options mean the following, according to my limited pool of pop/internet culture references.

[ ] Look at the Bones! -> (Monty Python's Holy Grail) Invoke a killer rabbit or other cute pintsized powerhouse of destruction to attack the zombie.
[ ] The Bone of My Sword -> (Fate/ Stay Night) Invoke a sword out of nowhere and attack it yourself.
[ ] Assuming Direct Control -> (Mass Effect) Attempt to control the zombie's mind. If it has one to begin with.
[ ] Shift Into Maximum Overdrive -> (Spongebob Squarepants) Run away... LIEK A BAWS.

So I'll go with
[X] Look at the Bones!
for the potential a companion/familiar under our command can add to the story.
>> No. 162585
[X] Look at me assuming direct control of the bone of my sword and shifting it into MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE! (Write-in)
>> No. 162593
File 135208098430.jpg - (208.89KB , 800x1000 , why-cant-everybody-just-be-friends.jpg ) [iqdb]
162593
Whoever created this pathetic attempt at a zombie should be ashamed of themselves. The poor girl looks terrible; her pale skin is flaking away and in some cases torn off. Her stiff, jerky movements speak to her inadequate energy supply or, worse, a complete disregard for the longevity of her body as her reanimated muscles weaken and joints lock.

If nothing else, it spells good news for you. Control over the pitiable girl is likely to be as weak as the effort put into her continued existence. You really are going to do it.

The dead are, in the end, dead. They are much easier to manipulate than living humans and all their finicky social customs. Why can’t you just stop and talk? Would it kill you to ask before shooting?

Ducking underneath another haphazard charge, you swing your hand out from your jacket. You connect with the zombie’s belly and jam a distal phalanx into her stomach.

In truth, it’s probably a waste of a perfectly good finger bone, but you hate doing things half-assed. It’s possible the zombie is bait, meant to draw in your mind so that the girl’s owner could crush you in a battle of mental domination. Although, you doubt you would lose such a struggle. Of course you wouldn’t lose. Remember? Even a church’s inquisitor was caught off guard.

The image of the inquisitor’s shocked face flits through your mind. It was hilarious until she pulled out her huge-ass purifying cannon.

Shaking the memories away, you begin to chant. It still isn’t too late to talk. You know you’ll be making an enemy, somewhere. Letting ancient syllables roll off your tongue, you focus your mind and draw it out of your body.

The zombie girl is charging you again, but she can’t move faster than thought. You use the finger bone you lodged into her stomach as an anchor and force your mind into her body.

To your great surprise, you meet resistance as you enter. The girl’s mental barrier shatters, the force of your will easily overcoming her psyche. See? You could have reasoned with her. Unfortunately, it’s too late to stop.

You didn’t expect to find a soul in the zombie considering its physical state and its less than intelligent actions. Violating a person’s mind, no matter how much of their living self is still lingering, is deplorable. Replacing a person’s freedom of choice with your absolute commands is a terrible misuse of your powers. Still, withdrawing now without finishing would only leave behind a broken husk of a living corpse.

Her mind is beautifully simple. In your crash and control attack you can’t figure out if she was always this way or if it’s a result of her decay, but this girl is pure in her own way. A sense of hunger, duty, and devotion – there’s nothing more to her. She’s probably the most carefree, happy person in the world.

And you just violated her mind and crushed any independence she had.

The reconstruction process is as quick and thorough as you can make it. You try to stitch her mind back together to how it was before as best as you can, slapping in only a few mental orders of your own. Leaving the devotion to her old master could be dangerous, but you need to minimize the damage you’ve done to this girl as much as possible.

Your work finished, you begin to withdraw your mind from the zombie girl. Just before you completely leave her, you feel it.

Another mind enters the girl’s body.

It’s a weak and faint power. Perhaps the girl’s creator is not as weak as you thought if they can sense the intrusion into their servant and react almost in time. Why, trying to steal my cute little underling?

The minds within a body can communicate easily, intent and emotion transferring instantaneously. Hardly. You don’t deserve this girl, leaving her out to rot like this.

Is that what you think? I suppose I should stop you, then. The ominous words spark the trap.

T-The r-roaring, wailing sound b-bursts against your mind, th-threatening to tear apaart your psyche. You react immediately, throwing up shields to protect the zombie girl’s mind and cover your retreat while you high-tail it out. It’s a massive mental assault meant to destroy you, as simple as that. Pure, brute force that whirls around, destroying everything it touches.

Your anti-trap preparations need some work. P-Progress is s-slow as the attack a-at-attempts to keep you from your exit anchor. Your thuoghts are growing h-hazy, the b-barriers you’ve e-e-erceted and honed with y-years of expe-

-rience brought down li-like nooothing comp-comp-ared to this p-p-poooower. You-

You can fe-fe-feeeeel you s-sl-slipping, dirfting aawy from any pihsycal body, soul se-se-separating fr-

-om re-reliaty as it si peleeeed apaaaaaaaa-

-aaaaaart l-l-l-yer by laaaaaaaaye-. Y-Y-Yu-

-o caan braley e-e-eevn


thnik, mn-m-mnid bla- bla- blaaaaaa-

-aaaaackening-

-til i-i-it a-all-







GET OUT OF HERE!

You fall onto your ass, mind back in your own body. Even though your entire body is tingling with phantom sensations, nothing seems to be broken. As far as you can tell, all of the scattered fragments of your soul escaped the zombie girl’s body and safely made it back.

“Damn, that was close.” You sigh in relief, wiping the sweat away from your forehead. Sheesh, think a little before acting – that was tough! And I really don’t like whoever you just went up against. She’s terrifyingly immoral.

“She? A woman? That seems oddly specific.”

That kind of malevolent, all-out destruction? It was definitely a crazy bitch, trust me.

Nodding in acceptance, you look towards the zombie girl. She is lying on her back, the paper charm on her face lit aflame.

You quickly jog over to her and kneel on the ground, swiping the burning paper away. Feeling the dark energy throbbing inside the paper, you throw the trap on the ground with disgust and stomp the fire out. At least you know how so much power was brought to bear against your mind.

The zombie girl’s eyes flick open and stare into your own. “Hi~” Her raspy voice sounds much the same as before

You blink at the greeting and shake your head. Although it isn’t much, you get the feeling the girl is perfectly fine. You bet she is. I made sure to protect her just as much as you. “Hey. What’s your name?”

“Me? Yoshika Miyako~”

You wait for her to speak again, but she doesn’t. The zombie lies on the ground and watches you with attentive blue eyes, a smile on her face.

“Well then, Yoshika, do you want to follow me?”

“Okay~” Abruptly sitting up at the waist, the blue-haired zombie floats to her feet. She’s adorable! Aw, I would just cuddle with her all day! You didn’t expect her to listen to you so easily without invoking any compulsion. She had to have decided it on her own.

First on the list is making her presentable. You don’t need a rotting corpse following you around all day.

With that in mind, you stop and turn around; the sound of feet crunching along the ground caught your attention. At the other end of the cemetery, you catch sight of bodies shuffling and floating towards you. You count a dozen more zombies, all in various states of decay, all with those accursed seals plastered on their faces.

“You’re kidding me…”

You quickly glance to your side and find Yoshika watching you. The zombie girl doesn’t even seem to notice her former colleagues, instead preferring to stare at you.

What to do about all of those zombies? If you think you’re going to take them home with you too then I’m going to veto.

Even you aren’t stupid enough to try and liberate all of them, assuming they are all like Yoshika. You think you can destroy them all and let their souls rest, but you might use up most of the supplies you acquired tonight. Blindly fleeing through these crazy lands is another option, you suppose.

[ ] Prepare for trouble and…
-[ ] Make it double; brain-eating double
-[ ] Be a bone-swinging hero
[ ] Get the fuck out and…
-[ ] Hide in that village you saw
-[ ] Find sanctuary in the nearby temple
-[ ] Stay on the move on all night
-[ ] Hide and camp out for the night
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>>162576
It’s all so I can get beautiful gems like yours. Alternatively, see below.

>>162584
Pretty much spot-on. Good job knowing them all (or using Google, which is less admirable but still praise worthy).

>>162581
What, can’t you tell that you’re a crapmancer? What else would you dig for besides the wonderful goodies that people deposit into the ground?

Seriously though, if the votes are ever completely incomprehensible just call me out on it and I’ll swoop in to save the day (or confuse you even more, it’s a gamble you’ll risk).
>> No. 162595
[X] Prepare for trouble and…
-[X] Be a bone-swinging hero

This story looks like it will be interesting
>> No. 162596
[X] Get the fuck out and…
-[X] Hide in that village you saw

I wonder how they'll react to our zombie in tow
>> No. 162597
[x] Get the fuck out and…
-[x] Find sanctuary in the nearby temple.
>> No. 162598
>>162596

I suspect... poorly.

[X] Get the fuck out and…
-[X] Hide in that village you saw

But lets find out.
>> No. 162599
[X] Get the fuck out and…
-[X] Find sanctuary in the nearby temple

Though I also wonder what would a monk say when he/she sees that one of the corpes he/she probably buried before has arose.
>> No. 162600
[X] Get the fuck out and…
-[X] Find sanctuary in the nearby temple

Might as well since Seiga really seems to want us dead and since I'm pretty sure we are behind Myouren Temple, Byakuren may be able to help.
>> No. 162601
[x] Get the hell out.

I don't care about the sub vote.
>> No. 162602
[x]Make like a tree and get the fuck out
[x]Find Sanctuary in that temple

Run Quasimodo! Minister Seiga has frenzied!
>> No. 162605
File 135217638192.jpg - (116.20KB , 800x1131 , who-can-you-trust-to-not-kill-you.jpg ) [iqdb]
162605
Twelve zombies is hardly a challenge; you can make breakfast out of the lot of them.

But discretion is the better part of valor, especially when the zombies’ creator has proven ‘herself’ to be rather vindictive. It’s not like you’re afraid or anything, you’re simply making the rational decision. Naturally, you need to worry about the safety of others instead of fighting in glorious battle.

That’s definitely it. Stop justifying and start running, please.

Promptly turning on a heel, you grasp Yoshika’s hand and leg it out of the cemetery.

Angered groans follow you. Quickly glancing over your shoulder, you see the hostile zombies shoot after you, all of them flying just like how Yoshika can.

“Sorry folks, I’m done for the night – no encore performance!” You scream into the air and open up a pocket, flinging a cloud of bone dust behind you with your free hand.

With practiced motion you sign mystic gestures and unleash your spell. Mana swirls around your hand, concentrated enough to be visible in the form of a dark green cloud. You raise the magic over your head and flick it behind you.

The sound of bodies tumbling against a floating web-like net of bone and sludge is particularly satisfying. That crazy spider-sycophant might have wanted to sacrifice you to her god, but at least she inspired some nifty spells. Stop reminiscing and pay attention!

Damn that hurts! Pointed fingers dig into your shoulder, unnatural strength attempting to wrench your arm off. You see the zombie’s decayed face draw close out of the corner of your eye, tooth-filled mouth opening wide to bite down on your neck.

You begin to mutter frantic words, trying to keep your voice steady even as you jerk wildly in an attempt to dislodge the creature. “Flesh yield to bone, death comes unseen, impale mine-”

You trip forward and shut your mouth when the grip on your body disappears. Checking to see what happened, you see a severed hand tumbling to the ground. The zombie that grabbed you is still chasing you, but he’s missing his right arm at the elbow.

Yoshika is still holding your hand, floating just behind you. She also happens to be happily munching on something, the distinctive sound of bones cracking and shattering reverberating from her mouth. Bless her soul.

Do you have any idea of where you’re running, or are you just going to hope they give up? You know exactly where you’re going. If there is one thing you’ve learned from your travels throughout the world, it’s that religious-types cheat.

Eyes squinting, you make out the form of a temple in the darkness. You hope that the complex isn’t home to a coven of cackling necromancers and dart towards the gate.

As you approach the gate, a light is raised into the air. A figure stands in front of the gate, features illuminated by the lamp-like object held in their hand.

He- She, it’s a girl. She is blonde-haired and draped in robes, tiger stripes emblazoned all over. She also happens to be leveling a dangerously-pointed spear at you.

“Halt! State your business!”

“Please help me! There’s a mob of zombies chasing me and-”

The spear motions a bit closer to you, daring you to speak again. “Do not toy with me, especially with such an obvious lie.”

“Lie? Don’t you see the…they stopped, didn’t they?” Checking over your shoulder again, all you see is darkness. The zombies, if they are out there, stopped short of the entrance to the temple.

“Indeed. Now, what do you require of the Myouren Temple in the dead of night, while wearing such suspicious clothing and holding the hand of what even some Youkai might consider an abomination?” She makes a very good point, you know. I told you to find normal clothes, but did you listen? Noooo.

Your clothes are pragmatic and functional. All the pockets, hooks, loops, and belts can secure all of your belongings to your person. The darker hues of your jacket and pants help to conceal you from things that go bump in the night. Your garments are even enchanted to increase their resistance and longevity! Sure, you might stand out a bit in a crowd, but how often do you even walk into a city? Why? Where did I go wrong? Lord, please save this anti-social soul as I cannot.

Realizing that the tiger girl is waiting for an answer, you do your best to shift the topic. “I would appreciate it if you didn’t insult Yoshika to her face; she isn’t an abomination.”

The gate guard glances between you and your newly-acquired zombie before nodding and lifting her spear from you. “I agree, she is certainly more pleasant than some others, but not all share my opinion. Nevertheless, the usual company she keeps is less than agreeable with this temple. You, though, are an anomaly. What is your relation to her?”

Well, that worked out horribly. Telling the truth is out of the question, but every second you waste thinking of a lie is giving the guard more time to be suspicious. At this rate, she’ll stab you with that spear and then-

“He and his sister protected me. They’re nice people~” Yoshika speaks up from where she is leaning against your shoulder.

Oh my, she’s rather perceptive. You’ll have to talk with the zombie later, but for now you give her your silent appreciation.

Yoshika’s endorsement sets the gate guard at ease, her stance visibly slackening. “Is that true? I should thank you, then. I admit I am rather fond of Ms. Miyako – she makes for pleasant company during my night shifts. I am Shou Toramaru, disciple of Bishamonten.”

You exchange pleasantries with Shou on peaceable terms. Other than your name, you tell her of your newness to Gensokyo and your general confusion. It’s true enough, at any rate.

She nods at your words and promises to help you in the morning. The more immediate concern is not as easy. “The temple always has available bunks for those in need. If you wish to stay the night I can direct you immediately.”

“Thanks, I appreciate it. Let’s go, Yoshika.”

“Hold,” the disciple stops you before you can walk past her. “I’m afraid Ms. Miyako cannot enter the temple, lest a conflict erupt.”

Shou even admitted to liking Yoshika yet she won’t- Don’t argue it. You know full well that most people don’t like dead things walking around. Sighing, you try to figure out what you can do. “Do you have a place we can stay, then?”

“Well, if you wish to stay together then I do not mind fetching some bedding for you to rest here at the gate until morning. However, I would be more than glad to keep her company should you wish to avail yourself to the more comfortable interior.”

Your options aren’t ideal, but they’re there. You’re still leery of relying on any ridiculous religious powers while deceiving them at the same time, but having a crazy necromancer on your tail is a strong motivator. Some of them might think like Shou and be willing to help, too. It just requires a bit of asking. And manipulation, but that’s beside the point. Unknown people aside, you need to consider what to do now.

[ ] Sleep inside the temple
[ ] Rest at the gate
[ ] Leave and…
-[ ] Sneak into the temple
-[ ] Camp near the walls
-[ ] Try the village instead
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>>162599
Who knows? I’m interested to find out. It’s important to note that cremation, being more common in the East than it is in the West, is the preferred method of burial in some regions. Unless I’m misinformed, then…whatever.
>> No. 162606
[x] Rest at the gate

Cremation is actually pretty favorable in certain parts of the far east, especially in cases where land is sparse and you need to be able to minimize space taken up by a particular graveyard. I think Japan is one of these places, so it'd make sense.

This means that, as a proper necromancer, our intrepid hero should probably learn how to control ash-zombies. Or maybe just find new and interesting ways to use corpse dust! Ash Spear, anyone?
>> No. 162607
[x] Rest at the gate.

A necromancer should be used to sleeping outdoors, besides I don't want to risk loosing Yoshika by being careless.
>> No. 162612
[X] Rest at the gate.
We Yoshika route now?
>> No. 162619
[X] Rest at the gate.
Yoshika route? Yoshika route.
>> No. 162621
>>162612
Obama gets the 9999999 get.
THP has a Yoshika route.
Rabbit updated.
Shits gonna be good.

[ ] Sleep inside the temple

Only choice.
>> No. 162626
File 135224681548.jpg - (242.92KB , 556x700 , seigayanface.jpg ) [iqdb]
162626
So Seiga is a nutter? Necrotag has a sister who may or may not be present or a ghost/spirit trapped in himself? Yoshika route what is this I don't even...

[x]Rest in front of the gate
[x]Ask Gate guard and new underling about crazy necromancers in the area. Specifically the one who tried to kill us.
>> No. 162627
[N] Rest at the gate
>> No. 162630
File 135225813858.jpg - (234.63KB , 680x650 , theres-a-trap-in-the-minor-details.jpg ) [iqdb]
162630
There’s no helping it, then. “Can I stay here for the night?”

“That’s fine. I will be back in a moment.” Shou walks inside the temple complex, leaving you with Yoshika at the gate.

Sighing, you lean against the stonework and slide down to the ground, resting for the first time in quite a while. You jump slightly when Yoshika sits down next to you, but calm down after the zombie leans against you. Her weight is surprisingly comforting, a known-factor in a world of crazy unpredictability.

Looking at the zombie, you seriously consider how much you hate her creator. The patchwork girl has her eyes closed while she uses you as a pillow. Her arms are still locked stiff even when they rest against the ground. The holes in her body and her clothes are saddening. As soon as you can find the time, you’re definitely going to give her the attention she deserves. Ah, how sweet. You’re such a romantic, it melts my heart.

Shush. If you’re going to have a zombie following you around, she has to be presentable.

That reminds you. “Hey, Yoshika?”

A single blue eye opens to look at you. “Yes?”

“Why did you decide to follow me?”

“You’re nice~”

“No, I mean,” you pause to think of a more specific question. “What am I to you?”

“My master~”

The declaration surprises you, causing you to review every action you took while meddling with Yoshika’s mind. “I’m pretty sure I never forced that on you.”

“You didn’t.”

“Then why do you consider me your master?”

The zombie girl wiggles her head slightly, rubbing against your arm. “You’re nice~”

Ahahaha. You palm your face and think, trying to figure out how to avoid talking in a circle forever. “What about your previous master?”

“She doesn’t want me anymore.” The girl’s facial expression does not change from the sleepy contentment she presents.

“I see. Are you okay? Nothing feels wrong?”

“I’m fine, Master~”

“That’s good.” There’s no way the girl doesn’t know the severity of what had happened. Yoshika must have felt the nature of the attack meant to destroy you both. After all, she recognized what you did and pointed it out to Shou. Is she secretly hurting? Is she filled with hidden resentment? “I can’t say I understand what you’re thinking. I guess it’s because I don’t ‘get’ people. Can you elaborate on what you know has happened, what you’re feeling?”

The zombie girl doesn’t speak for a moment, instead continuing on with her façade of sleep. You wonder if she isn’t capable of answering, if your question was too difficult for what seems to be a simple mind. That’s not it. She seems rather intelligent to me.

While you wait, you grab Yoshika’s hand absentmindedly and feel the coarse texture of her skin, of the haphazard stitches that sew her flesh together. You think of a dozen possibilities of how to treat her to a proper body, especially with the scarcity of proper materials.

After a minute, both of Yoshika’s eyes suddenly pop open and look at you. “I like master lots and had lots of fun times with master when master spent a bunch of time with me, but master doesn’t need us anymore and sent us away. Then master came by and played with me and that was a lot of fun. But master was angry with master so master found a use for me again, but then master really wanted me and protected me from master so I decided to follow master because master is really nice~ Is that what you wanted, Master?”

The two of you stare at each other, Yoshika waiting for your answer. It takes time for your mind to slowly pick apart her description. Eventually, it all clicks into place. “That’s…very clear. Thank you, Yoshika.”

Clear? How is that at all clear? I’ll need to teach her how to convey her thoughts properly. It made enough sense to you, at any rate. There are a number of worrying implications you can draw from the jumble of words, but it isn’t the time for psychoanalysis and speculation.

“You’re welcome~” Satisfied that her answer was sufficient, the zombie girl closes her eyes and nestles back against your shoulder.

“May I ask how you knew about my-”

You stop yourself from continuing and listen. The sound of shoes clacking against the stone path indicates your private time is at an end. Shou’s lamp becomes visible when the guard turns a corner, the disciple herself reaching the gate in no time. “Thank you for waiting. I hope you do not find your accommodations unpleasant.”

“No, this is fine, thanks.” The futon Shou provides you with is far better than what you’re used to sleeping on. If you stop to count, you would probably find that you had slept in a tree hiding from something or another more often than an actual bed. That wouldn’t be a problem if you didn’t aggravate every single powerful entity you meet. I guess it’s too late to set a better record for Gensokyo.

It isn’t your fault that most people can’t take a joke. Joke? You mean insult.

You never intentionally insult anybody unless it’s someone that is already trying to destroy you. People just can’t handle the truth. One day you will learn tact and all my years of effort will pay off.

“Is everything okay?” Shou is looking at you with a raised eyebrow.

Right. Sitting still and staring off in the distance is generally considered strange. “This is great, far better than I expected. I’m sorry for causing you trouble.”

“Not at all. It isn’t my place to comment, but standing guard can be a bit…boring, at times. Some excitement is welcome- What is she doing?”

You wish you knew yourself. After laying out the bedding next to the gate, you wasted no time in crawling in and hunkering down for some well-earned rest. The moving corpse that laid down next to you was a surprise.

“Yoshika, you don’t need to sleep, do you?”

“No~”

Deciphering what is going on in your zombie’s head is going to make every day difficult, you suspect. “Why would you lie down next to me?”

The zombie girl turns her neck as much as she can, looking up at Shou before glancing back at you. She does it again and again before settling down. She does not, in fact, explain anything.

You look back to Shou and shrug. The disciple shares your look of bemusement before leaning back against the gate. “Sleep well. I believe you will awaken in the morning, but if you somehow do not, I shall come for you before someone else decides to throw you out.”

You mumble your thanks to the gate guard and close your eyes. The thought of asking Shou about your newly-made enemy crosses your mind, but you decide against it for now. No need to complicate things before you rest. You can always ask again in the morning if it still seems like a good idea.

After having a day filled with unwanted excitement, lying down in safety is bliss. The cold body lying next to you is more comforting than it should be, quiet humming helping you to drift off to sleep.

---

“No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of eyes and so forth until no realm of mind consciousness.”

Five more minutes. That’s all you want, just five.

“No ignorance and also no extinction of it, and so forth until no old age and death and also no extinction of them.”

No, no, no. More sleep. Sleep good.

“No suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path, no cognition, also no attainment with nothing to attain.”

You groan and roll over, tightly clutching your pillow in an attempt to ignore the damned drums and wooden fishes that are banging and clacking at too early in the morning o’clock.

If you care, that isn’t your pillow. How can this not be your pillow? It’s soft enough, a bit tough and dead and right this isn’t your pillow.

“Good morning, Master~”

“Ungh.” You sit up and rub your eyes, trying to shake off the last vestiges of sleep. Yoshika sits up with you, the zombie girl not nearly as bothered by the early-morning chanting as you are.

Rising out of your futon, you stretch and survey the temple. In the morning light you can see the wide open courtyard of the complex, currently filled with various monks and instruments making terrible noises. The temple itself is rather large, likely capable of supporting dozens of people if not more.

Feeling well-rested, you’re ready to begin a new day of preparations and perhaps actual searching. Shou is nowhere to be seen and none of the monks are paying any attention to you- That’s wrong. There’s one exception.

A woman is approaching you from the temple, gracefully stepping down the path to the gate. Her black and white ensemble looks immaculate, her brown hair perfect. She feels like calmness incarnate, as if all the world’s troubles could not unsettle her.

She scares the hell out of you.

Your crazy-religious fanatic alarm is blaring, doing its best to get everybody to run away as fast as possible. Stop whining and fix your hair. You need to be gracious to your host.

That is one course of action you could take, even if it’s never worked out the past twenty times you’ve tried it. That’s because you only ever do the first half.

You can’t even be sure the woman is- She’s important, whoever she is. Stop trying to make excuses. Now, go greet her.

Really, there’s no real reason to stick around. The chances of it being in a temple filled with undead-haters is- You have five seconds to straighten up.

[ ] Bug out. Now.
-[ ] That village might have some leads for you
-[ ] The mansion you see could have clues for your search
-[ ] Wander the countryside and get a feel for the land
-[ ] Stop in the woods and hunt around for more supplies
[ ] Stick around and introduce yourself as a…
-[ ] Necromancer
-[ ] Lost traveler
-[ ] Hopeful disciple
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>>162626
Just think, we haven’t even hit the plot yet. Let’s turn this place upside down! Mwahahahaha!
>> No. 162635
[X] Muahaha! I am a powerful necromancer! Fear me and my newly acquired, menacing zombie puppet! ...Menacing! Zombie pupp- I said, mena-
-[X] (stage whisper) Psst! Yoshika! Look menacing!
-[X] *ahem* Yes, well, I'm still a-
-[X] ...no? Not even a little bit convincing? Not at all? Aww...
--[X] Okay, seriously though, I'm a…
--[X] Lost traveler
---[X] Ask for information and general advice
>> No. 162636
[x] Stick around and introduce yourself as a…
-[x] Magician and a Lost Traveler.

That "master" conversation was enlightening.
>> No. 162638
[x]Stick around and introduce yourself as a…
-[x]Lost Traveler.

Let's be nice to our host. She might not even be crazy!
>> No. 162639
[x] Stick around and introduce yourself as a…
-[x] Magician and a Lost Traveler.

Might as reveal at least this much
>> No. 162642
[x] Stick around and introduce yourself as a…
-[x] Magician and a Lost Traveler.
>> No. 162646
[N] Stick around and introduce yourself as a…
-[N] Magician and a Lost Traveler.
>> No. 162648
[x] Stick around and introduce yourself as a…
-[x] Magician and a Lost Traveler.
>> No. 162650
[x]Stick around and introduce yourself as a…
-[x]Lost Traveler.

~Byakuren
>> No. 162652
[x] Bug out. Now.
-[x] Wander the countryside and get a feel for the land.

No religious fanaticism for me, thanks.
>> No. 162654
[x] Stick around and introduce yourself as a…
-[x] Magician and a Lost Traveler.
>> No. 162661
[x] Stick around and introduce yourself as a…
-[x] Magician and a Lost Traveler.

Byakuren and us can talk shop, if we can steer her away from the Buddhist conversation that will eventually happen.
>> No. 162662
[x] Stick around and introduce yourself as a…
-[x] Magician and a Lost Traveler

We did stay at her temple. Should take our sisters advice and try to be polite.
>> No. 162669
File 135242415297.jpg - (114.79KB , 850x604 , consider-her-past-consider-your-own.jpg ) [iqdb]
162669
Grumbling, you sweep your hair off to the sides and try to pat it down into a presentable state. Good boy.

The approaching woman stops in front of you, her graceful smile attempting to lure you into the hornet’s nest of- Stop that. Manners.

“Nice hair.”

You feel the equivalent of a mental thwack to the back of your head. Oh well, you tried. At least you managed a compliment. You reach into your pocket preemptively, imagining the quickest way to crash through the wall and-

The lady’s giggle is like the chiming of clear bells, somehow mixing in with the surrounding chanting to turn it all into a beautiful melody. “Many thanks for your compliment. It happens to give me fits at times, but I’m happy it doesn’t perturbe you.”

“Huh? Uhm, no, it’s just like, uh, a bit purple. Nothing to be ashamed of. I think I like it like that, it makes you seem more exotic. Er, that is to say…” Oh lord you can’t do this. Her hazel eyes are giving you their full attention, watching every stammer you make and judging you, consigning you to-

“My name is Byakuren Hijiri, and as the head nun I formally welcome you to Myouren Temple.”

“N-Nice to meet you.” You give Byakuren your name and a formal bow, attempting to salvage as much of your honor as you can.

“That is a lovely name. Do you wish to come inside? We can speak more of what the temple can do to aid you.”

Byakuren’s offer is tinged with warmth, but your logic manages to intercede before you accept instinctively. “I’m not sure if that’s the best idea.”

“Oh?”

“Shou said that Yoshika could cause problems.”

The nun’s gaze shifts ever so slightly to look at the zombie standing slightly behind you. When her eyes shift back to you, there is a new intensity to her gaze. It is far worse than before, when she was laughing at your awkwardness. There’s knowledge in those eyes, the glimmering of secrets laid bare. This woman is far older than she appears and has seen everything, you’re sure. There’s no fooling her because she has already passed judgment and you have been found- Would you stop over-reacting and follow the nice nun?

You blink and see that Byakuren has taken a few steps towards the temple and is patiently waiting for you. She said it was fine for Yoshika to come in, if you missed that in your ranting.

“R-Right. Let’s go, Yoshika.” With zombie girl in tow you quickly walk after Byakuren, the nun resuming her unhurried pace when you reach her.

“May I ask what brings you to Gensokyo? I cannot say I remember you amongst the other humans.”

“I’m a bit of a traveling magician, really. I’ve wandered around the world, visiting many different places. Sorry for stumbling into your temple in the night, I’m a bit lost and confused.”

“Do not trouble yourself. It is our trial to help others; only good can come from our meeting. I am rather interested in your tale, however. I was somewhat of a traveler myself, many years ago.” Your conversation pauses when you reach the temple building and step inside.

You pass by a few different rooms, some containing more religious iconography than others, as you make your way deeper into the complex. Your host guides you to a plain dining room.

“Please, sit and make yourself comfortable. I’ll make us some tea.” With a short bow, the nun leaves momentarily.

See now, isn’t this pleasant? This is what happens when you don’t call a person’s beliefs bull-shit. That crazy guy thought eating the hearts of his enemies would grant him eternal life. As far as you’re concerned you hit the bulls-eye on that comment.

Face it, you haven’t been attacked yet. This is going swimmingly, so don’t mess it up. Fine. You admit that despite some initial panicking, the nun hasn’t attempted to shackle your soul or bind you with the blood of a lamb.

Twiddling your thumbs while you wait for Byakuren to return, you turn your attention to the zombie that is ‘napping’ once more. “You weren’t bored last night, were you Yoshika? I can’t imagine it being very fun lying around for hours.”

“I was fine~”

“Good, I would-”

The zombie wasn’t finished talking. “Master makes noises while he sleeps. I can’t eat dreams.” Yoshika pouts, looking terribly upset.

“Dream eating, huh?” You rub your chin and think. “I met a witchdoctor once who had a spell for that.”

Yoshika’s eyes light up when you mention the possibility. “Mmm, eat~”

You laugh and ruffle the zombie’s hair, making a mental note to check how much control she has over the magic available to her sometime after you fix her up.

After a few minutes, Byakuren returns with a tea set in hand. You accept the cup of tea she pours for you with cheer, savoring the heat as it slides down your throat.

“How has your stay in Gensokyo fared so far?” Byakuren makes conversation while the two of you sit in peace.

“Well, there was a lot of walking yesterday, and my night was rather…wild, but I suppose the excitement isn’t the worse I’ve had.” A confrontation with another necromancer is about the norm for you. It happens more often than one might think when everybody is working around the same areas.

Byakuren nods in understanding. “To experience the world is to know the truth as others see. You must have had many adventures for pursuit by several jiang shi to be considered average.”

“Did Shou tell you that?” You sip your tea nonchalantly, only slightly surprised by the nun’s words. “You believe what I told her?”

“To deviously lie is to be worse than insects, but I see no falsehoods in what you have said. Should I have reason to mistrust you?”

“I don’t believe so. And I suppose I have found myself in somewhat dangerous situations in the past.” Somewhat doesn’t even cut it, Mister.

“Life is replete with danger at every corner. It is an unfortunate fact only travelers such as us seem to realize. You were able to extricate yourself from such situations with magic, then?”

“That’s right. My skills are passable, I suppose, even if they do not rival the great mystics of lore.” You let your eyes glimmer for only a moment, your irises shading with green. The quick check is all you need to confirm your own suspicions. The woman sitting across from you outshines even some of the archwizards of Europe. “Or perhaps you? I’m an amateur, really.”

Byakuren chuckles and sets her teacup down. “Self-confidence in one’s potential and ability is splendid; it shows your capability to aid others. I certainly have more experience than you, but it matters little in the grand scheme of affairs.”

Now, I hope you’ve learned your lesson. Getting along with others is simple. Sitting down and sipping tea is surprisingly pleasant. The chanting of the monks is barely audible through the walls, but helps to propagate the atmosphere of calm in the room.

Then, after you had been lulled to peace, a verbal dagger is thrown into your heart. “Have you compelled Yoshika Miyako to your will?”

“I-” You almost choke mid-drink. Carefully, you decline from swallowing any more tea and set down your cup. The nun is looking you much as the same before, her eyes clear and her mouth upturned. “No, I have not. Yoshika decided to follow me under her own volition.”

“I see.” As if she had just asked about your sleep, Byakuren takes another sip of tea.

You, unfortunately, aren’t nearly as calm as before. “Is there a reason why you asked that?”

The scarily powerful magician sitting across from you nods. “All are equal under the light of dharma. I wondered what you might have done to imbalance this.”

The woman is a devil, there’s no doubt about it. She’s no melodramatic wizard or overly blunt vampire hunter, but she’s hardly an innocent Buddhist nun. Whatever sense of peaceable relations you had before is lost to the void, every new question hammering away at you. “Have you disturbed the sanctified graves of the villagers, as overseen by our temple?”

No nagging advice now, huh? You tiptoe around the issue as carefully as you can. You can’t let years of effort be wasted, especially when you feel you’re so close. “You believe this question is relevant to me?”

“I know that all are good and can do good, but oft are led astray of the path by dark temptations.”

The nun is still smiling.

“I believe a jiang shi with her seal removed, yet still able to function in a controlled manner, a curiosity. More curious would be a jiang shi’s attachment to one not her known master.

“I find it strange that the roving jiang shi we watch, cast aside by a wicked hermit, all at once found a common target to chase through the night. Little could bring them together again, except for perhaps a new order.

“I think it a surprise to find a traveler, a magician of admitted experience, to visit our home without intention. Those that wander for wandering’s sake are, at best, affording themselves the façade of ignorance.

“I wonder the reasoning behind a specific manner of dress, of an appearance uncommon, and about the unique sounds that one creates while walking; oddities that, perhaps, indicate one possibility more than another.

“I consider what to believe when I am told by the morning caretakers that our graves have been disturbed, decidedly magical debris left behind in proximity of our cemetery. With many of Gensokyo’s residents known to us, I must ponder the source of such remains.

“I know that those looking to their own selfishness find justification for all that they undertake. I know that the bright light of dharma casts long, enticing, shadows. I know that those steeped in darkness silently cry out for aid in their nefarious deeds. I know that even a bodhisattva can fail to guide the wicked back upon the proper path to enlightenment. I know that those of us considered as guiding lights are fallible, only requiring the correct provocation to sully our souls for the greater good.

“I wonder. What is your purpose in Gensokyo?”

[ ] Answer her with your…
-[ ] Goal
-[ ] Reason
-[ ] Emotions
[ ] Refuse to answer. Take your leave…
-[ ] Peaceably, with reassuring words
-[ ] Carefully, with practical reasoning
-[ ] Right through the damn wall!
[ ] <Write-in>

---

Whelp. Have fun.

I suppose this is where I should caution you about write-ins. Generally speaking, any lame write-in shall be twisted into the worst possible way for my own amusement (for example, trying “Answer with whatever would appease her” is only going to hurt). Write-ins that are specific are much more likely to achieve results (possibly bad ones, if the write-in misses the mark).

Of course, there are choices. Figuring out what they mean and how they affect the story might be better than a write-in.

Or, you know, just close your eyes and pick one. That’s what I would do.
>> No. 162670
[X] Answer her with your…
--[X] Goal

Lets see what his motivation is.
>> No. 162672
I'm seeing two routes that are likely to end well, here. Refusing to comment, and leaving peaceably (perhaps saying something to the nature of it being a sensitive issue) will likely get us out of the temple safely, albeit with a suspicious Byakuren.

On the other hand, aside from the grave robbing, we've done nothing to cause direct offense to Byakuren. If we're honest, then I suspect that we will not come out of this overly badly.

Dishonesty, on the other hand...Byakuren has already shown herself to be fairly perceptive, so I'm unsure that it will work. Her position should we be caught lying was rather well stated.


The "cast aside by a wicked hermit." phrase might imply that Byakuren herself, or someone known to her, is or was a necromancer. The comment regarding Yoshika's will lends a bit of credence to Byakuren being the necromancer in question.

But enough potentially baseless speculation.

[X]Answer her with your
-[X]History
>> No. 162673
[x]Answer her with your...
[x]Hot blood
>> No. 162676
[x]Answer her with your...
[x]Hot blood

Hot blood? I vote for going Tiger.
>> No. 162677
[x] Answer her with your…
--[x] Goal

Is a corpse more or less than a person, or the same, "under the light of Dharma?"
>> No. 162678
[x] Answer her with your…
--[x] Goal

I too am curious as to what this guy is trying to accomplish.
>> No. 162679
[x] Answer her with your...
- [x] Goal

I'm very curious for what sort of goal someone who actually gives a damn about others' free will takes up necromancy.
>> No. 162680
>>162672

She's talking about Seiga, who was the one who sent all those Jiang Shi after us and who was Yoshika's former boss.

She basically thinks that we may have terrible intentions, that our actions haven't done the best to put us in a positive light at the moment and the fact that we seemed to have connections with someone who Byakuran point blank thinks is evil really doesn't help our case. But she is willing to hear us out at least because she seems to not want to automatically condemn us.

[x] Answer her with your…
--[x] Goal

She asked about our purpose here, and I'm kind of curious to see what we are after.
>> No. 162681
[x] Answer her with your…
--[x] Goal

Maybe I've stuck around /tg/ for a lot, but necros aren't bad people by default, I mean healing spells sometimes fall under the necromancy sphere, and necro-anon actually cared for her soul when he discovered Yoshika had one and wanted to protect her, so we know for a fact he's not evil.
Necromancy is just as much of a tool as any of the magical arts, a hammer can be used to build a house or to bash the head of a man, but that doesn't make the hammer itself evil.

Also curious as to what's his goal.
>> No. 162683
First time i read over the last dialogues I thought they were Byakuren and Necroanon volleying arguments, and I was confused as hell. Took me I while to figure out it was only Byakuren speaking. IcantbraintodayIhastehdumbs.jpg. Anyway...

[x] Answer her with your…
--[x] Goal
Backstory time ahoy!
>> No. 162690
[X] Answer her with your
-[X] History

Seriously, Hotblooded? Do you guys Want to make everyone think we're insane? Or cause a bad end by Byakuren? At least History would give us backstory.
>> No. 162691
[N] Answer her with your…
-[N] Goal
>> No. 162706
[x] Answer her with your…
--[x] Goal
>> No. 162709
>>162690

Gonna go with...don't care and just feel like using it as an answer over everything listed. The image of a hot blooded necromancer is highly amusing to me. Byakuren's expression and reactions would be amusing but its mostly about the anontag being hotblooded.
>> No. 162714
>>162709
Love child of Tiger and Kamina confirmed?
>> No. 162722
File 135260542862.jpg - (113.41KB , 850x595 , In-a-fair-fight-you-lose.jpg ) [iqdb]
162722
Byakuren wants the truth. If that’s your only option, then you’ll give it to her. “Do you know much about necromancy?”

The magician across from you answers without worry or agitation. “I am aware of its existence and some of the effects it wreaks.”

“Then, would you say most of what you know is rumor? Unsubstantiated fact, anecdotal evidence, stories that you believe to be related to necromancy?”

“I could agree with that.”

You sweep your hand out to the side, suitably dramatic. “Welcome to the world of necromancy, where nobody knows what the hell they’re doing. Masters scrape together a few pages of an ancient grimoire and pass that knowledge on to their apprentices, confident their amazing legacy will endure. If you travel the world, you’ll find that few know anything of value, and fewer still continue to learn.

“I’ve listened to rumors and hearsay, following every lead like a hopeful puppy. Then I tested, experimented, and discovered what was true and what was false. I have scoured the world for the tomes and diaries of the deceased, the ones who held great knowledge, only to find every record purged and burned by the art’s enemies and other jealous practitioners. Even the tiniest scrap of knowledge was enough of a lure to bait me into the most obvious of traps.

“Do you know what the purpose of necromancy is? Some wish for an army, or believe their dominion over long-deceased spirits is the pinnacle of the art. Others look towards immortality, of indestructibility. None of these are the end. The true form of necromancy is the complete mastery over death itself.”

Byakuren sips her tea. “All are fated to the cycle of rebirth. There is little gain to be had by preventing death from claiming you.”

“You weren’t listening!” You pause to calm yourself and continue without emotion. “Preventing death is useless to me, a trivial matter. If I wanted, I have the knowledge at my disposal to achieve such a feat right now. What I seek is beyond that. To master death, in its entirety, is to know the secrets of life. That is what I am here for.”

“A lofty goal. Would Gensokyo contain such knowledge?”

“Rumors have told me that it does. Do you know of the Necronomicon?”

The nun taps her chin in thought. “I know of the legend, and believe that the writings of a man thought insane are not what you wish for.”

You laugh and shake your head. “Alhazred was a fool, but a genius. He was close. So, very, close. Yet, he passed by such knowledge in search of something else. He fixated on his extra-worldly existences and ignored the secrets of humanity before him. He had it all, every scrap of knowledge he might have needed to achieve perfection in human affairs, but he didn’t connect the dots. He used his vast knowledge to pursue the impossible, delving into madness that was not meant for human eyes.”

“Rumors are an unreliable source of information at best, yet you believe that the Necronomicon contains the secret to your mastery over death?”

“The final piece of the puzzle, so to speak. It’s thanks to Alhazred’s lunatic followers that every true copy of the Necronomicon has been torn apart. Every page I have found indicates that it holds the information I need; a whole copy should be exactly what I am looking for. Even if it’s not, it is the closest lead I have.”

“Admirable dedication.” Byakuren sets her teacup down once more with a clack of finality. “However, tell me. If this temple were to hold such a grimoire, what would you do?”

“I would ask to study it.”

“If we denied you such an opportunity?”

“I don’t think I can be denied.”

Byakuren giggles, but it’s nothing similar to her previous laughs. There’s an edge to this giggle, haughty and ridiculing. “The fire of arrogance and ego burns brightly in you, doesn’t it? Perhaps you should reconsider your abilities in light of your betters.”

“Betters, huh?” You let your eyes shade green, enough to acknowledge what the nun tells you. She glows brightly, the darks flames flickering at the edges of her form impressive. Her magic could daunt any other magician you have met. “I’ve met my betters before. I can’t feel any of them nearby.”

What the hell are you doing? Stop! You let a bit of your own mana leak out and swirl around you, not the least bit afraid of her display.

The nun smirks. “Myouren Temple hosts numerous youkai, powerful creatures that are pursuing the path. You have seen some of the strongest disciples of the war god. You think yourself above them? You, who practices an art most foul in their eyes? One might say they would crush you for such foolishness.”

“I think they would crumple like paper if they opposed me.”

Damn it! Stop being dramatic! Byakuren closes her eyes and exhales. When the nun opens her eyes again there is no pretense. Her mouth sets into a frown, the first time you’ve seen her smile drop. Then she spreads her hands, a glyphic scroll unfurled between them.

Stop! Why are you so stubborn? Speak to her! Shaking your head, you let your eyes completely fill with green and watch the dark swirls of energy emanate from Byakuren. It is best to clear away any potential conflict now.

How are you this dumb? Stop escalating the situation! She was the one who started it. If the not-so-pure nun in front of you hadn’t interrogated you and tried to pin you with her haughty words, you would gladly back down. Nobody likes a bully.

She has people to protect from a shady character like you! Well, you have people to protect from a shady character like her. It all evens out. You and a Buddhist could never see eye to eye anyway.

“Your willingness to accomplish your goal is a trait well respected; however, I cannot allow such a dangerous power to wander unchecked. Will you not abandon your quest?”

Oh my god how are you this bad at communicating.

“I cannot. I will not.”

You’re going to get yourself killed over this stupid, stupid point and I can’t do- oh…

“I see. Then I must ask you to leave our home, leave Gensokyo, immediately. Shall I show you the way out?” The space behind the nun lights aflame in your vision, her wellspring of power blackening the room. Twisted, laughing faces form in the magical eddies behind her, scenes of men being crushed and eaten alive constantly shifting into view. The smoky darkness plays havoc with your senses, distorting your mind and blending mental images from past and future into the present.

You have to admit, that is fucking intimidating.

You work as much preparation as you can without letting the nun know. It will take everything you have to defeat this woman, and most of what you have are dirty nasty tricks. You start with your own bones and then move on to your flesh. You shouldn’t be leaking any tells as you begin, the itching pain of killing your own-

The movement to your side is fast, slamming into you before you can react. You fall over and cringe in pain, the feeling of shoulder dislocating something you have never gotten used to, especially when you didn’t cause it.

You scramble to your feet and- What? You stare at the scene before you.

“Waaaaah~ Nooooo! Master is being master. Please don’t hurt master because master is master and- and master is dumb and master and pleeeeeease~” The nun is still seated, but also has a wailing zombie cradled in her arms. Confusion is rife across Byakuren’s face, the serious look she sported before gone.

You don’t understand what’s happening at all. Byakuren is still aglow with destructive magic, but you can’t imagine her attacking you at the moment. A sneak attack now would be pragmatic…but you can’t bring yourself to interrupt.

With one hand still clutching her magical scroll, Byakuren uses her other to stroke Yoshika’s back. “Ah, there, there. Shhhh, it’s okay, it’s okay.”

“Master just became master and I don’t want master to become like meeeeee!”

The nun tries to calm down the zombie that is flailing against her bosom. “No need to…cry? It will be fine, there’s no reason to worry.”

“But master is-” Yoshika stops wailing without a cue and tilts her head to the side. “Word for word? I can do that~”

When Yoshika begins to speak again, it is slow and stilted. Words you never expected her to use tumble out of her mouth, every syllable pronounced carefully. “Mast- uhm, my bro-ther is a dumb-ass. Please do not hurt him. He does not un-der-stand the i-de-a of be-ing civil. He does not in-tend to harm an-y-one, and would on-ly fight in self-de-fense.”

No way. That’s impossible.

Byakuren is dumbfounded, the change in Yoshika catching her by surprise. “Who, exactly, am I speaking with?”

You’re calling bullshit.

“Nice to meet you Ms. Hi-ji-ri. I am this i-di-ot’s old-er sis-ter, dead for ten years and the per-son he wants to bring back to life.”

The nun’s eyes go wide for half a second. Her back stiffens as she freezes, a wash of emotions obviously overtaking her. Byakuren’s mouth gapes for several seconds before she closes it. Her eyes flick back and forth between Yoshika and you. Eventually, she relaxes and sighs, snapping her scroll shut. “Perhaps we should continue talking?”

---

“You left that bone in Yo-shi-ka’s sto-mach, you know?” Hearing your sister’s commentary coming from the carefully enunciating zombie is awkward. More than awkward, it’s highly annoying. You can’t ignore her as well when she isn’t in your head. Not that you would ever do that. You love her and her advice is valuable- right, she’s not in your head anymore, you don’t need to backpedal.

Everybody is sitting down peaceably at the table once more, all the magical posturing ended. Instead of leaning against you, Yoshika is across the table and sprawled across Byakuren.

The zombie opens her mouth widely, snapping it shut around the mouthful of bread that Byakuren dangles in front of her. Yoshika hums while she eats, pausing only to speak for your sister.

“Thanks for un-der-stand-ing, By-a-ku-ren. My par-a-noid bro-ther can-not han-dle nor-mal peo-ple.”

“I handle just fine,” you snap back at your sister.

“Fine? Pro-vo-king By-a-ku-ren in-to a fight is not fine.”

“I didn’t mean to provoke her, but-”

“But no-thing. You treat eve-ry sit-u-a-tion like a Mex-i-can stand-off.”

“Because they usually are!”

Byakuren laughs. Good-natured vibes suit her. Byakuren might be able to pull off the dark and intimidating look surprisingly well, but you can’t help but think it’s a terrible waste when she does so. “I apologize for my part in this altercation; we both are at fault. So, you wish to revive your sister from death?”

Your greatest strength and your greatest weakness became known to Byakuren as easily as the day of the week. “That’s right, she’s earned it. So, you want to put her soul to rest or something? Let me tell you, the last monk who tried that was-”

A chunk of bread hits you in head. How can Yoshika achieve any kind of accuracy when her arms don’t bend at the elbow? Showing your sister the way into the zombie’s mind was the greatest mistake of the century.

“Letting go of one’s attachments and ascending through the cycle of rebirth is ideal. But no, I do not wish to send off your sister.”

“You don’t?” You can’t catch the surprise that slips into your voice. “Isn’t that against your religion or something?”

“I am no judge of the dead, although thinking upon it I suppose they would object. The path to enlightenment is not so simple. I understand your situation.” Byakuren’s smile and religious talk don’t hide the look of despair you see in her eyes. After years of mucking about in the dark recesses of humanity, negative emotions are one of the things you can easily recognize.

“See? Eve-ry-thing would have been fine if you had told her eve-ry-thing from the start.”

“Listen Sis, after the last monastery you told me to spill my heart to, you know I’m not too keen on it.” The horde of warrior monks that wanted to skewer you for oppressing a soul was not fun to deal with.

Byakuren’s eyes twinkle with amusement, at least polite enough to avoid commenting on you and your sister’s bickering. “Well then, I cannot speak for the entirety of Myouren Temple, but I am willing to help you however I can. Perhaps there are questions you wish answered?”

[X] Advice on potential enemies and the Necronomicon’s whereabouts
[ ] <Write-in>

---

I was all set to write a beat-down, but then I realized that you all snagged an out. That was kind of disappointing. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to look forward to the next one.

Also, the default option is going to be asked no matter what. If there is anything else you would like answered then you can go ahead and ask.
>> No. 162735
Well, the obvious things would be
[X] Potential allies
and
[X] Yoshika's former master
but also that
[X] There's probably an interesting story behind how such a powerful caster such as Byakuren ended up as a monk in Gensokyo, and now that you've established her as the first mage in a long time that you don't have to fight for your life against, you're rather interested to hear it.
-[X] Incidentally, that scroll is a rather unusual focus. What form of magic does she practice?
>> No. 162745
[N] Yoshika's former master
[N] Potential allies
[N] There's probably an interesting story behind how such a powerful caster such as Byakuren ended up as a monk in Gensokyo, and now that you've established her as the first mage in a long time that you don't have to fight for your life against, you're rather interested to hear it.
-[N] Incidentally, that scroll is a rather unusual focus. What form of magic does she practice?

I am altering the write-in. Pray I do not alter it further.
>> No. 162756
>>162745
That was a horrible pun.

[~] Yoshika's former master
[~] Potential allies
[~] There's probably an interesting story behind how such a powerful caster such as Byakuren ended up as a monk in Gensokyo, and now that you've established her as the first mage in a long time that you don't have to fight for your life against, you're rather interested to hear it.
-[~] Incidentally, that scroll is a rather unusual focus. What form of magic does she practice?
>> No. 162759
>>162756
pun?
>> No. 162760
[x] Yoshika's former master
[x] Potential allies
[x] There's probably an interesting story behind how such a powerful caster such as Byakuren ended up as a monk in Gensokyo, and now that you've established her as the first mage in a long time that you don't have to fight for your life against, you're rather interested to hear it.
-[x] Incidentally, that scroll is a rather unusual focus. What form of magic does she practice?

Something about prayer, I think?
>> No. 162762
>>162756
>>162760
It's a Star Wars reference, for noko's sake!
>> No. 162764
>>162756
I do not think that word means what you think it means.
>> No. 162771
[x] Yoshika's former master
[x] Potential allies
[x] There's probably an interesting story behind how such a powerful caster such as Byakuren ended up as a monk in Gensokyo, and now that you've established her as the first mage in a long time that you don't have to fight for your life against, you're rather interested to hear it.
-[x] Incidentally, that scroll is a rather unusual focus. What form of magic does she practice?
>> No. 162779
File 135287254696.jpg - (103.01KB , 850x478 , you-should-vote-for-senkai-for-fun.jpg ) [iqdb]
162779
“All of you are crazy.” Ow. Yoshika is clapping her hands and laughing, wiggling with joy every time she pelts you with a piece of bread. Your sister is a terrible influence. “I’m not saying that I’m not, but this entire place is bonkers.”

“Life is absurd; we must all learn to accept the surprises it brings us.”

“Surprises? Yeah, you can say that. Although it’d be great if you never surprised me like that again – I was about ready to kill myself.” Haha, you’re hilarious. It’s a shame nobody else- Ow. No stiff zombie should have this kind of ludicrous accuracy. One more strike for Gensokyo.

Oh, maybe Byakuren got the joke too. She’s looking at you again, not unkindly but with a depth of understanding that is disturbing. How much of what you do can she discern at a glance? “Perhaps. I apologize again for my posturing. It is unseemly for one in my current position to act in such a manner.”

“Don’t worry about it, I’m used to it. Although, I hope that everybody in this place can’t just roll me over with their completely disproportionate power.”

“You should not devalue your abilities. From what I have seen, you certainly have the capability to match some of Gensokyo’s denizens.”

“Only some? That’s heartening.”

“Fear not. If you conduct yourself well, there should be no cause for alarm.” Byakuren’s face reddens slightly as she continues. “My…forward actions are not typical for Gensokyo. Between those of power, disputes are often settled in a more sporting fashion.”

Spell Card duels sound like a farce, in your personal opinion, but anything that saves your hide is something worth learning. Byakuren’s explanation is simple enough. Spraying happy magic bullets around in pretty and effeminate patterns in a bright and showy display is the complete opposite of how you normally operate, but at least the system is intuitive enough. The rules aren’t difficult and creating your own spell cards is a cinch. Whether the spell cards you create are any good or not is a different matter entirely.

“Remember that your inability to fly might lead to your downfall even against the weakest of opponents.”

You nod and slip the stack of cards into a pocket. “That’s fine. These are for keeping me in one piece so someone like you doesn’t send me five-ways to the afterlife. If I ever get into an important duel I can just cheat.” And you can, too. There appears to be plenty of ways to work around the honor code they’ve got going on.

“Such unscrupulous and dishonest behavior…” Byakuren sighs and- Ow.

All these women, alive and dead, have such perfect throwing accuracy you want to cry. At least your pile of bread is growing; the food is surprisingly filling first thing in the morning. “I thought you were a grown-up.”

“It will take much to lead you upon the honest and true path, I can tell.” The nun giggles and gracefully pours you more tea. “Besides, flaunting the rules is ill-advised. Advertising your presence to the Hakurei seems to be the anti-thesis of how you wish to act.”

“This Reimu Hakurei isn’t omnipotent, is she? The barrier can’t give her such power.”

“She is not, but that girl has uncanny intuition. At any rate, a single complaint to her is enough for the situation to end less than well for you once she decides to make a move. This advice, of course, lends itself to more than the spell card system. The Hakurei keep the peace in all large affairs and strange occurrences that may destabilize Gensokyo.”

“I guess I’ll have to be careful about who I meet, then. Do you know who might be receptive?” Of your personality? Nobody until you improve it, Mister.

What is she doing back in your head? Just dropping in to tell you that I’ll be sticking with Yoshika for a while. That girl is sweet to talk with, and she happens to listen to my advice. That’s fine, you suppose. Jumping back and forth between bodies doesn’t seem very secure, though. There are plenty of spells that could interrupt the process horribly. That’s only if they know about it, though. True enough. By the way, you’d appreciate it if they cut it out with the whole throwing bread- Oh, she’s gone already.

When you turn your attention back to the nun, you find her hazel eyes staring into your own. Seeing that you’re focused on her again, Byakuren continues. “All are equal and can see the truth of the world. Unfortunately, few maintain such open-minded thinking. For your best interest, I personally advise careful deliberation upon who to speak with in regards to sensitive matters. The major powers, from the shrine maidens to the magicians, the aliens to the dead, all look for subtle edges they can hold over each other. There is little open warfare amongst the denizens of Gensokyo, but it is certainly becoming…crowded. A new and intriguing person such as yourself would draw vast attention should your abilities become known.”

Luckily, her advice is perfectly in-line with your mindset. “So trust nobody and suspect everybody? I think I can do that.”

“I am not saying that, but…well…” The nun shakes her head, her eloquent speech broken by indecision. “What I wish to teach you may not be the optimal path you should follow to reach your present goal.”

You want to laugh at her ideals failing to meet the truth of reality, but you manage to reign in the desire. “Oh, the great dilemma of a Buddhist, huh? I have to say I’m rather surprised. I didn’t expect a nun such as you to be dark and foreboding.”

Poker-face through and through, Byakuren sips her tea. “A shy necromancer that cares for others is atypical as well.”

“Shy? Who’s shy?” You aren’t shy. A shy person wouldn’t walk right into a congregation and demand their attention, or bellow their challenge t-to a-a- W-Why is s-she so c-close?

“You.”

Elegantly stumbling backwards, you get away from the table that the nun is leaning across. Her giggle is lovely, even if you’re growing to hate it as much as that accursed temple bread that always finds it mark on your forehead. Eventually, the nun shifts back to her seat, allowing you to reclaim your position at the table.

Coughing into your arm, you try and get the conversation back on topic. “Buddhist magic is pretty scary stuff. Sealing and sending; the work it can do with telekinesis has caught me off guard a few times. Your scroll, while unique, seems to be in this style. Inspiring terror with all the unconscious fears of mankind is not.”

Byakuren raises a hand, allowing black flames to ignite and dance around her fingers. She stares at her magic, playing with it while she speaks. “Indeed it is not. I have proficiency in such magical arts, but am admittedly out of practice in the less practical aspects of them. My current magic is a product of my travels, a conglomeration of many different styles I have seen and been taught.”

“I can’t help but wonder where you were traveling to get dark nightmares as the result of your magical learning.”

“Mysteries abound, do they not? Much is unknown to us who walk the path, from our departure to our return.” The tiny black flames are extinguished with a flick of her hand. “That, I believe, is a tale for a different day.”

If she doesn’t want to share then you don’t mind. It’s her choice. “Fair enough. If we’re going to be all business, then you can probably guess what I’d want to know next. First, who was Yoshika’s previous master? I don’t exactly want another necromancer badgering me every night for stealing her creation – which I didn’t even do, but that’s beside the point.”

“Yoshika Miyako, a dutiful and sweet girl that has often interacted in a friendly manner with the more tolerant of the temple.” Byakuren pats the zombie girl who is still happily snacking away on the bread Byakuren had procured.

“They’re fun~”

The affection flees from Byakuren’s voice as her face darkens. “Her previous master would be Seiga Kaku. Vengeful, selfish, and unfortunately competent, her name as a wicked hermit that defies the heavens is well-earned. Of anybody in Gensokyo, you should naturally be most cautious of her and her cohorts. The Taoists are an ungrateful lot that seek only to improve their own standing to the detriment of all others. If you must associate with them, I caution you to take any of their words as you might a viper’s.”

“Ouch, that’s some biting language. Competition for followers, much?”

“It is not often I can say that my personal and religious beliefs coincide strongly in a negative fashion.” The dismissive hair flip says more about Byakuren’s disposition to her Taoist competition than any words could.

“Opinion noted. Then, the next point would be the Necronomicon.”

“Yes, the grimoire you wish to obtain. Despite my own grandstanding, the Myouren Temple does not contain the book you seek. As to where it is in Gensokyo, I haven’t a clue. I would not be surprised if it can be found here, but I have not had a reason to seek it. As for locations it might be, such a grimoire could find a home in any library or magician’s home of Gensokyo, assuming it was not picked up by a different party.”

“Well, I guess it’s best to start snooping around the places it’s more likely to be. Can I get some directions?”

Before Byakuren can answer you, Yoshika groans and catches the nun’s attention. The zombie girl rises upwards to whisper in Byakuren’s ear, leaving you wondering what prompted the secrecy. Byakuren listens attentively before nodding once and returning her attention to you. “Directions I can provide, but perhaps it might be permissible for me to accompany you?”

“Aren’t you busy or something? I don’t want to waste any more of your time.”

“It isn’t a waste at all. Helping others is the proper path. It is fair to say that newcomers attract attention, whether they have powers or not. Helping you to familiarize yourself with our home and ensuring that your stay in Gensokyo is pleasant is the least I can do.”

A generous offer, to be sure. “And?”

Byakuren smirks. “And your sister has asked me to make sure you do not immediately make enemies with everyone you happen across. I believe I am capable of forestalling such confrontation.”

The vote of confidence in your social skills is really doing wonders for your ego.

Byakuren helpfully retrieves a map of Gensokyo and begins to mark out the various hotspots of the land and whoever inhabits them. With so many options, it’s a wonder of where to go first. Searching for the Necronomicon might be your goal, but familiarizing yourself with Gensokyo is just as important. Your stay with a particularly zealous group taught you the importance of lurking before acting in a manner that signaled you as a complete outsider. Besides, if the search takes as long as you imagine it might, you’ll need to get some off-time and enjoy yourself eventually – it’s tough to get comfortable if you expect to get eaten at every turn. Basically, as long as you stay within Gensokyo, you see your time being well spent.

[ ] A necromancer, a zombie, and a nun walk down the road…
[ ] Decline the escort service

[ ] Hakurei Shrine
[ ] Human Village
[ ] Youkai Mountain
[ ] Misty Lake
[ ] Bamboo Forest of the Lost
[ ] The Forest of Magic
[ ] <Write-in>

---

So, choose your party and roll out. If you have reasons for wanting to go somewhere it would be useful, but not strictly necessary. Going anywhere in Gensokyo has its advantages and disadvantages (some more disadvantageous than others, but that makes life fun).
>> No. 162780
Hmmm, canonacly a copy of the necronomicon is in the human village, but I doubt that is true here.

[x] a nun, ect..

[x] The Human Village
>> No. 162781
[x] Decline the escort service.
[x] Bamboo Forest of the Lost.
>> No. 162782
[X] A necromancer, a zombie and a nun walk down the road to...
Whichever is closest between:
-[X] The Human Village
or
-[X] The Scarlet Devil Mansion library
>> No. 162788
[ ] A necromancer, a zombie, and a nun walk down the road…
[X] Kourindou
>> No. 162790
[X] A necromancer, a zombie and a nun walk down the road to...
-[X] The Human Village
>> No. 162792
[N] A necromancer, a zombie, and a nun walk down the road…
[N] Human Village
>> No. 162794
I don't know how the human villagers will react to the sight of a human in strange clothes followed by a zombie, but it'll probably be bad. Besides, wandering with Byakuren at our side could make some people think we're allied with the Buddhists, when we still haven't picked a side on the religious conflict. So, my vote is for:

[X] A necromancer, a zombie and a nun walk down the road to...
-[X] Kourindou

Because that shop is almost always empty, so we don't risk encountering normal humans there - Rinnosuke doesn't count. Besides, we might find something useful from the Outside world between all the crap he keeps.
>> No. 162797
[X] A necromancer, a zombie and a nun walk down the road to...
-[X] Kourindou

It's a store full of random outside-world crap, including at least one of the three genuine Imperial Treasures of Japan. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find the Necronomicon there, on a shelf, sandwiched between the original manuscript of Oliver Twist and a third printing of I Am America (And So Can You).

I know, I know, it would be all anticlimactic and shit... but a guy can dream. And besides, just getting the book wouldn't have to be enough to make a new body for our sister, and getting the sister rebodied wouldn't have to be the end of the story, either.
>> No. 162802
[ ] A necromancer, a zombie, and a nun walk down the road…
[]Human Village.

Population center please!
>> No. 162808
[X] A necromancer, a zombie and a nun walk down the road to...
-[X] Kourindou

I wonder what the punchline will be.
>> No. 162810
Let's check out that shop...which happens to be in the human village.

[X] A necromancer, a zombie and a nun walk down the road to...
-[X] Kourindou
>> No. 162813
>>162810

Kourindou is settled between the Human Village and the Forest of Magic, which is one of the main reasons why it doesn't get many visitors.
>> No. 162865
File 135321885623.jpg - (150.37KB , 850x1159 , white-knighting-hurts.jpg ) [iqdb]
162865
“Is this really necessary?”

“Perhaps not, but there is little reason to draw undue attention to yourself.” You sigh and grab the extra set of clothes proffered by the nun. It’s a non-descript robe, a variation of what you’ve seen the Myouren Temple monks wearing. Instead of some bright and garish color it is dull shade of brown, more in line with what you imagine a villager wearing.

You haphazardly throw the clothes on over your jacket and nod, happy with your new and disguised appearance.

Yoshika ambles over to you and thumps you on the back. You nearly topple over, the force of what was meant to be a chastising gesture far beyond what a normal human should put up with. “Ack, watch your strength, Yoshika.”

“Dress prop-er-ly. Do not be-lit-tle By-a-ku-ren’s kind-ness.” The zombie wags her finger at you the best she is able to, throwing her entire arm into the motion.

“Fine, fine.” You hate taking off your jacket. It’s not quite a trench coat in length, but its close. Other than all the magical enchantments you’ve thrown into it, the jacket has pockets; so many glorious pockets of all sizes, exterior and interior. You can literally place your hand anywhere on the jacket and you’ll find a convenient pocket. If it wasn’t weird, you would hug this jacket for all the times it has-

You stow away your emotional side and look at whoever is touching you.

Byakuren is tracing her finger along your shoulder blade, eyes intently analyzing your body. You close your eyes and breathe in, easily imagining what is running through the nun’s mind when she sees you.

“You should wear a shirt, you know? Un-dress-ing in front of a la-dy is im-prop-er.” As much as you would like to wear something underneath your jacket, replacing your shirt after every scrap is a hassle, as is finding a way to carry the extra burden of clothes.

“A life of hardship is truly what you have walked. Your day to day living has not been easy, has it?” Byakuren hasn’t stopped tracing her finger along your body. It zig-zags across your chest and down your side, looping around your ribs at back up again.

“Master is like me but not like me~” Your zombie servant joins in the fun, trying her best to copy Byakuren and feel the scars across your body. Her lack of dexterity makes her bump into your side and flounder around like a fish.

You laugh and pat Yoshika on the head. “Not for long. I’ll be doing what I can to make you as pretty as you should be, okay?”

Yoshika hums a little tune and backs off at the same time as Byakuren, allowing you to properly thrown on your new vestments. A bit of quick modification and you have yourself a rag-like long-sleeved shirt.

“If you are capable of beautifying Yoshika’s form, then why not do so for yourself?”

The multitude of scars, from the jagged lightning bolts where a dire bear clawed at your chest to the perfectly circular depressions from the plethora of extrusion damage, marks what you have done with your life. “There’s no real point. Nobody usually sees the rest of my body anyway, so it’s too much work to fix everything just for it to be ruined again a day later.”

The nun doesn’t respond, eyeing you with her hazel gaze while handing off the set of clothes you originally asked for. If she wants to judge you then she’s free to do so. As far as you’re concerned, the actions you’ve taken are perfectly acceptable. A little bit of pain keeps you motivated…or something like that.

You drape the newly acquired robe around Yoshika, making sure that the garment covers most of her exposed skin. The colors matched with Yoshika’s torn-up outfit surprisingly well.

“If you’re okay with this Yoshika, then we can start.”

The zombie girl hums her assent and stands perfectly still, raising her arms to her sides.

You get to work immediately. Your mind is churning as your hands busy themselves in preparation. The possibilities of what you can accomplish flash through your mind.

Your eyes flicker all around, hands checking to confirm your suspicions. She’s in rotten shape, literally. Her clothes can hide most of the visual disfiguration, but the skin condition is still horrid. Everything from the smell to the pallor is noticeable. There’s nothing you can do about the stitches without more materials, likewise with the holes and tears. Her back has surprisingly stood the test of time. You can probably take grafts from there if needed, but that isn’t worth it considering the multitude of problems you need to fix. Ugh, the flesh around here has basically deteriorated to nothing, you’ll have to- You’re so uncouth, touching a lady’s body like this.

Shush, you’re working. Really though, don’t you have any sense of appropriateness?

The girl is a stitched-together mess of dead flesh. Associating with her in the first place would be inappropriate by most standards. Anything else you do isn’t much worse. Besides, you’re trying to work. What’s with the distractions? Is Yoshika having a problem?

Oh, no, she’s perfectly happy. I just wanted to point out the nun that’s still watching you.

The nun that is- You turn your head to check.

Yup, Byakuren is standing against the wall by the door, watching you work.

Damn it, you can feel your cheeks lighting on fire. This isn’t anything to be embarrassed about! You’re working! It’s strictly professional!

You peek and find Byakuren still unashamedly watching. “H-Hey, Byakuren? I told you what I was planning, r-right?”

“That is correct.”

“I thought you were going to step out.”

The nun tilts her head. “Did you wish me to? You spoke as if the procedure is a common occurrence and of no great importance.”

“I-It isn’t.”

“Then is there another problem?”

“Not at all…” She’s doing it on purpose. There’s no way she isn’t. She’s lewd. She’s evil. This woman is not right in the head. If you were a normal person, you wouldn’t want to watch someone else doing this.

Although, it’s not like you’re doing anything wrong. You’re properly assessing the condition of Yoshika’s body. Undead bodies don’t regulate themselves like living ones. If they are to stay in top condition, you have to methodically check them over. It’s a strictly analytical process. You can’t confirm any condition by eyesight alone. Even if you need to carefully feel her skin, to brush your hands around her body and caress every- It’s work, damn it! There is nothing suggestive about this!

Ahahaha. Get back to work, Mr. Romantic.

Work proceeds quickly, despite being astutely conscious of the woman watching you. Byakuren fetches you the cleaning supplies you ask for so you can scrub Yoshika clean of the grime coating her body. Incising bits of rot, washing her hair, removing the foreign intrusions to her body, stitching back dangling flesh – you enact all the temporary fixes to the surface of Yoshika’s body that you can, hoping that her interior condition is well-enough. You wouldn’t open up a zombie without being prepared to clean the nastiest of surprises, after all.

Then you throw on the magic. A quick opening of your palm gives you the blood you need to mix in with a pile of bone dust. You will the skin of your hand to seal and shake out the lingering sting, then get to work applying the paste to Yoshika. Like veins for the living, you spread thin lines into an expansive system. You weave anti-rot enchantments into the pseudo-veins as well as a simple colored glow. Whenever you get around to permanently restoring Yoshika’s body you will place plenty of more enchantments than this sloppy job.

The final change you have to make is trickier. Grasping one of Yoshika’s hands in your own, you feel her skin, her bones, and her muscle. Not with your hands, those are just the point of contact. You use your magic to probe the area, occasionally splitting your mind to wander around inside.

Yoshika is accommodating of your mind. You can feel her on the edge of your mental consciousness, watching you work from inside her with curiosity. You watch yourself watch her watch the way you watch the cartilage and how you can treat her with yourself watching the…it’s complicated, having your mind in two places at once. Sufficed to say, you work on the problem from both the outside and inside at the same time.

Finishing with a single finger, you move on to the next, then the wrist, the elbow, all throughout Yoshika’s body until you’ve hit all of the important connections.

“Whew, I think we’re done.” You’re sweating a bit at the end of it all. Your pure magical ability isn’t strong, which is why you rely on physical catalysts and magical jewelry for assistance. You doubt you could delve through Yoshika’s body for extended periods of time without your black onyx necklace, for instance. The few rings and bracelets you have in your possession can help out in their own ways.

Byakuren steps closer to take a look at your handiwork. If you had the right materials you could probably do much more, but you’re satisfied with what you have achieved.

Yoshika is staring at her own arms, mouth gaped wide open. The zombie girl rotates her arm by the shoulder, bends her hand at the wrist. Slowly, as if not to break them, she wiggles each finger and curls them inward, drawing the hand closer to her face to see more clearly. Back out, and then in, far to close and back again. Then she slowly spins her arms in circle, twisting her hips and legs. She spins once and comes to a sudden stop, arms splayed out for balance. Her eyes are wider than you’ve seen them before, astonishment and wonder plain to see.

You grin and look away, allowing the zombie her privacy now that you’re finished. You complete your own preparations for the trip, stuffing your coat into a sack and retying some of your satchels around your waist. The mix of modern and classic clothes you now wear is a fashion statement, but you suppose less obtrusive than running around in your jacket.

Straightening your back, you sling your bag over your shoulder and-

ohgodyourfall-

You hit the floor with a thump, taken off your feet by the heavy weight now lying atop you. Dead arms are wrapped around your shoulders, locking you into an inescapable hug.

“Master~”

You sigh and lie on the ground, letting the zombie rub her face against yours like a cat. With the weight and force she’s gripping you, moving any of your limbs is impossible. After a minute of the one-sided cuddling, you cough. “Would you like to get up now, Yoshika?”

“No~”

Well, so much for that. You’re confined to your fate until someone decides to stop laughing and help you.

Byakuren crouches down next to you and smiles. “Come, Yoshika, I believe your…master would prefer to see you dressed.” After a moment’s hesitation, Yoshika slides off of you, taking Byakuren’s hand and bending at the knees to stand.

Her thoughts are delightfully confused, you know? She keeps repeating words and phrases over and over. Sometimes she manages a surprisingly large word, too. That’s…cute, actually. You didn’t think having movement of her limbs would be a big deal, though.

Sorry, I can’t tell you why. Maybe after she settles down, but for now she’s just exhilarated.

“You are a strange one.” Byakuren says from right next to you. Even if she took advantage of your distracted mind, it’s amazing you didn’t notice her approach.

“I feel like we’ve had a conversation like this already.”

The both of you turn around and watch Yoshika struggle into her clothes. Her motions indicate lack of practice but not inexperience, which isn’t that surprising. Everybody has dressed themselves at some point, but you’re curious as to how long it has been for her. Nevertheless, that’s a question for another time.

“Perhaps. You are an interesting one.”

“So are you. What kind of Buddhist endorses the whole walking-dead shtick?”

“A life taken is a life returned, waiting for its chance to re-enter the cycle. For all to have a chance is the greatest service I can provide; should I condemn a newly-born youkai for the faults of another?”

The zombie girl approaches you with a large grin, her hands clasped together in front of her.

Byakuren reaches over and rubs you on the head. Wait what the hell? You aren’t a kid. “She looks well, especially considering her previous state. I admit to being distrustful of your assurances, but you were correct. If she is not scrutinized, it will be difficult for a regular human to notice the dead walking once more.”

Of course she looks good; you’re a master at this. The glow from the invisible veins you create lights her blue skin in a calculated manner, making it appear as pale flesh. With only bits of non-stitched flesh exposed to the air along with her well-groomed hair, nobody should suspect a thing.

“Shall we depart?”

---

The walk to the Human Village was pleasant, the day warm and sky clear. Yoshika grabbed your left arm and hung off it while you all walked, occasionally breaking away to run and jump about.

You chatted with Byakuren to pass the time, the nun continuing to cover all the basics of what you needed to know about Gensokyo.

Passing the fields of grain, rolling hills, and babbling creeks, you quickly arrived at the gate to the Human Village. The walls of the village are of imposing stone, the gate itself an intimidating iron fixture. It has to be less than a meter wide if the archers couldn’t comfortably pass by each other at the same time. There are two militia-men at the gate, and half a dozen more along the walls. No magic enhancements of any sort that you can see; sneaking in would be laughably easy. Punching through the wall, scaling it, or even going underneath are options to consider.

Stop casing the village and pay attention. Byakuren is already speaking with the gate guards by the time you reach her.

“-really great, she’s much happier now, too. Thank you for help, Ms. Hijiri.”

“It would have been remiss of me to leave such a situation lay. Holding on to one’s anger shall only burn. We must all strive to forestall such conflicts where we may.”

“Of course, Ms. Hijiri. Ah, sorry for holding you up here. I’m sure you’re a busy lady.”

“Not at all. Thank you for your efforts.” Before you can follow Byakuren into the village proper, the other guard stops you with his spear.

“Halt. Who’re you, Buddy?” Heh, he thinks he’s tough with his flimsy armor and little stick. Sure he’s got a bit of muscle, but a brute like him could never swat a fly.

“I’m-”

“A lost traveler who has taken refuge at Myouren Temple. I brought him here in hopes of acclimatizing him to Genoksyo.” Byakuren smoothly slides in front of you, gently removing the guard’s spear with one hand and pushing back on Yoshika with the other.

Glancing over at your zombie, you realize the problem right away. You whisper to her quietly, “Hey Yoshika, don’t eat any of these people or their things unless I tell you to, please.”

“Augh…” She looks disappointed, but she’ll live.

The guard scoffs and stands to the side. “Is that how it is? Fine. We’ll be watching him, though.”

“Thank you.” With a quick bow, Byakuren says goodbye to the guards and walks you into the village. Wow. I never thought you’d try to start something before we even got into the village. Where did the years I spent teaching you go?

You wouldn’t have started anything. Probably. At least, it would’ve worked out in the end. You’re not stupid enough to antagonize the village guards too much. What am I going to do with you…

Ow. A hand collides with your head for a fleeting second. You rub the impact point and glare at Byakuren. “What’d you do that for?”

“Do what?” The picture of innocence and calm, that woman. The cries of little children delighted to see her and of older adults calling out greetings fill the air. Byakuren waves to them all, even as she speaks to you. “One word of peace is stronger than a thousand hollow ones.”

You grumble silently to yourself. She’s like your sister, but she can actually hit you. How unfair life is. I’m still here, you know. Damn. Go back to Yoshika’s body, already.

Despite the little setbacks, your first experience of the Human Village is pleasant. Your tour of the village takes you all over, from the guardhouse and schoolhouse to the doctors’ offices and strip mall. Old fashioned artisans work right next to the two story curiosity shop and the mechanic’s shop. The humans live strangely, aspects from throughout history blended together in the village. Classical clothing mixes with modern tennis shoes, some villagers walking down the street with scythes whilst others carry what looks like magical jackhammers. Much like any other town, you find content adults that greet you kindly, pushy merchants hawking their wares, and surly older folk spewing complaints. There’s a life to the village, the kind you might find in the hustle and bustle of the city, yet it takes the appearance of a rural town. The anachronisms are far stranger than any animated and murderous bottle of mustard.

“Ah, hot, hot.” You accidentally drop the steaming meat bun. Swift fingers reach out and clamp down on the food, returning it to you posthaste. You pat Yoshika on the head and rip the bun in half, tossing one part to the zombie. She consumes the food in a single bite, outpacing your own nibbling.

The three of you sit on a bench sipping tea and eating steamed buns, watching the many villagers go about their business. “What do you think of the village?”

“It’s nice. A lot nicer than what I’m used to, anyway. It’s so peaceful here; my heart is aflutter with warm butterflies.” A bit poetic, but you don’t even mean it sarcastically.

“Yes, I agree. The village is full of life, of hard-working individuals that strive towards what they can. It can be counted on to be a permanent bastion of perseverance, even amongst the many incidents.”

It’s quaint, an experience you aren’t particularly used to. Sitting between a beautiful woman and an excited girl, you can’t help but wonder when the last time you had a break like this was.

This is what you’re reaching for. This is what your sister deserves to experience after working herself to the bone in a short and miserable life. Not that miserable. I didn’t mind, you know? I enjoyed…enjoy, our time together.

It just isn’t fair. Yeah, yeah, life isn’t fair, but that’s a load of crap. You would drag her from Hell itself to give her back the time she deserves. Yeah, I know, you already tried that, remember?

Probably not your best decision; reapers cheat even more than you. It was sweet, though. Love you Bro.

Yeah, love you too-

“GET OUT OF THE WAY!”

“STOP RIGHT THERE, THIEF!”

There goes the peace and tranquility. Panicking villagers evacuate the plaza as the commotion thunders in.

The first you see is a stereotypical witch, blazing in on her broomstick, launching spinning stars behind her in spray of fire.

A rabbit girl is following along after her, using street stalls and walls as cover. She jumps and ducks around the terrain, popping shots off at the witch. Something connects and sends the broomstick crashing to the ground, witch along with it.

You feel like sticking around isn’t the best idea, but Byakuren shows no signs of interrupting her snack. Following the nun’s lead, you stay seated and feed another bun to Yoshika.

The two combatants make it into the plaza and settle into a showdown, the witch scampering around and blasting at the rabbit, return shots flying around. Non-lethal magic, you suppose, but you would never want to get hit by one of those bullets. The equilibrium between the two is broken almost immediately by more people storming into the plaza.

Well. This has turned into a clusterfuck. What had been three distinct chases transformed into one giant brawl in the middle of the village, magic and steel being thrown in every direction. Daggers fly through the air but are deflected by sword strokes and barriers. Flames are thrown in all directions and doused by sprays of water or reflected back to the source. Combatants breeze around the plaza, some running unbelievably fast while others whirl around on black wings. Energy bullets of every color fill the plaza, impacting against the stones and wood of the village structures.

Somehow, through it all, not a single stray shot has landed near you. Is it just luck, or is Byakuren doing something? Whatever it is, you aren’t too inclined to leave the possible safe zone.

That is, until the world grows a bit darker. Through your mage sight you notice the red haze that has enveloped the plaza, tinting the world in an ominous shade.

That girl floating up there looks a lot like-

“Scattered spirit…”

Why can you hear her voice?

“Fantasy seal…”

Byakuren looks tense. She’s waving her hands around, casting spell after spell upon herself. Nobody else is paying attention, though. They’re all absorbed in their own fights.

“Fader…”

Well, this could be a problem. Not for you, of course (you hope), but everybody else might eat it. You’re already moving before you know it.

[ ] Hunker down and wait it out
[ ] Use that fancy footwork
[ ] The best defense is a good offense
[ ] Dive for the…
-[ ] Nun
-[ ] Zombie
-[ ] Witch
-[ ] Bunny
-[ ] Swordsgirl
-[ ] Maid
-[ ] Phoenix
-[ ] Bird
-[ ] Maiden

---

Ugh, slipping back into the habits I’m trying to avoid.

Also, to clarify my voting procedure, I break ties based on whichever option has the first vote.

>>162808
Because it was stapled to the chicken! Wait, wrong joke…
>> No. 162866
[X] Dive for the zombie.
I hate using a PSP to type T.T
>> No. 162867
[x] Use that fancy footwork.

Time them out. Time them ALL out.
>> No. 162868
[X] Grab the zombie
-[X] Dive for the nun

Hopefully Byakuren's defenses are area-based. Don't want Yoshika taking a hit.
>> No. 162876
[X]Dive for the zombie

We wouldn't want our cute little zombie to get hurt just after we spent a good deal of effort to restore her partially.
>> No. 162878
[X] Grab the zombie
-[X] Dive for the nun

I don't even know what I'm doing but I like this choice.
>> No. 162880
[x] Dive for the bunny.
>> No. 162884
[X]Dive for the zombie
>> No. 162886
[X]Dive for the zombie

Dammit, we just fixed her! Don't mess her up again!
>> No. 162887
[X]Feel strange kinship with thieving witch. People often don't like you taking their discarded (buried) stuff, too.
-[X]Grab Witch
-[X]Use Buffed-up Nun and Zombie(+Necromantic Empowering) to screen.
>> No. 162888
>>162878
Changing vote because Anon >>162887
decided to make a fun write in.

[X]Feel strange kinship with thieving witch. People often don't like you taking their discarded (buried) stuff, too.
-[X]Grab Witch
-[X]Use Buffed-up Nun and Zombie(+Necromantic Empowering) to screen.
>> No. 162889
[x] Dive for the

-[X] Zombie
>> No. 162890
[N] Dive for the…
-[N] Zombie
>> No. 162892
[X]Feel strange kinship with thieving witch. People often don't like you taking their discarded (buried) stuff, too.
-[X]Grab Witch
-[X]Use Buffed-up Nun and Zombie(+Necromantic Empowering) to screen.

I don't even give a fuck if this is a thing or not
>> No. 162893
[X] Dive for the zombie.
>> No. 162895
[X]Feel strange kinship with thieving witch. People often don't like you taking their discarded (buried) stuff, too.
-[X]Grab Witch
-[X]Use Buffed-up Nun and Zombie(+Necromantic Empowering) to screen.

I want to grab everything, but I don't have enough hands!
>> No. 162898
>>162876

This.

[X] Dive for the zombie.
>> No. 162911
[X] Dive for the zombie.

As a Hard Mode card, this is impossible to dodge for all but the most dodgy dodgers. But spellcards are nonlethal, and everyone who isn't a zombie can heal naturally. Zombies cannot heal naturally. Therefore, we should protect the zombie.
>> No. 162912
[X] Dive for the zombie.

I'm totally aiming for necrophilia route. :V
>> No. 162914
[X] Dive for the zombie.
>> No. 162916
[x] Unlimited Dive Works

I mean.
[X] Dive for the zombie.
>> No. 162917
[X] Dive for the zombie.

I swear, this is my new favorite story. Keep up the good work!
>> No. 162919
File 13533810372.jpg - (761.13KB , 856x1203 , making-friends-isnt-easy.jpg ) [iqdb]
162919
You really wish you had your jacket on.

Making do without it, you manhandle your zombie and push her to the ground, covering her with your own body to protect her from the wall of energy blazing down on you all.

You began preparing for the onslaught once you saw Byakuren’s frantic spell casting. Everything you can do without announcing your presence to the world has already been done.

The spheres of energy aren’t bad as they pound against you like machine gun fire; they are deflected well enough by your self-enchantments. The religious projectiles are another story.

Tch, that stings. Even through the mixed layer of dead and reinforced flesh on your back, the talismans and seals hurt. Their very existence is an antithesis to what you stand for. Damn, the interaction between your magic and the barrage is literally burning your back while you soak it up. Still, it’s worth it to keep-

“Whoa!” The world blurs as you’re swung around. The disorientation mounts as you feel pressure force you downwards, the churning in your stomach from rapid climb making you want to puke.

The jerking motions don’t slow down, but you grow use to the erratic movement and concentrate on your senses.

Yoshika is carrying you, her arms holding you bridal style as she jerks around in the air. Her attention is drawn upwards, directly at the shrine maiden floating in the sky and the waves of projectiles cascading from her.

Craning your neck for a better view, you jerk your head back forward and into Yoshika’s chest when a talisman almost smacks you in the face. You become extremely conscious of the bullet storm as you curl tighter against the zombie girl.

Cries of pain echo from below you. Shouts of indignation resound from those still standing. Someone even sends up return fire at the floating shrine maiden, but none of pathetic retaliation proves effective in stopping the onslaught. Eventually, the only sounds you hear are the swishing of talismans, annoyed grunts, and raspy laughter.

After a few seconds, you notice the vibrations in Yoshika’s chest and make the connection. Yoshika is weaving her way through the storm without a problem, none of the bullets so impacting against you or her. The zombie is in an uproar, her mouth sporting one of the largest grins you’ve seen yet. She twirls and spins and carries you along with her, seeming to enjoy every moment of the attack. Hell, now that you’re holding on to her, the girl is occasionally reaching out to graze the projectiles with her fingers. You’re afraid of what the mystical attack might do to her, even if it’s non-lethal, but Yoshika is not. Your zombie isn’t randomly jerking around in the air – much like the bullets around you, there’s a beautiful pattern to her movements. She picks her way through the storm far more gracefully than you would expect from the undead.

The situation is not entirely what you expected, but is pleasant in its own way.

Half a minute later, the red haze dissipates, the barrage ending without fanfare. Yoshika slows to a halt and floats back to the ground. The zombie girl sets you down and carefully looks you over. “Master okay?”

“Yeah Yoshika, thanks.” And you are okay. The non-lethal barrage hadn’t done much. Within the time you were carried around, you managed to repair your body from all the minor damage from before. Considering most of it was self-inflicted injury, that wasn’t much to write home about.

“Good~” The zombie laughs again, her scratchy voice distinctive yet charming. Then she grabs onto your arm and hangs off your side, content to follow you around once more.

Surveying the village, you’re surprised to find little change. Beyond a few stalls moved out of position, you can’t recognize any damage to the structures from the voluminous amount of projectiles.

The only ones hurt appear to be a few of the combatants from before sprawled out on the ground, groaning in pain. The rest of the noisemakers look defeated, nursing invisible injuries of some form or another where they caught the surprise barrage.

Byakuren lands next to you, the nun looking none worse for wear. Before you remove your mage sight you can see dark and light energies swirling around her; self-enhancements to move faster, if you had to take a guess. She was doing a fair job of navigating the storm.

Before the nun says a word to you, everybody’s attention is drawn to the brown-haired shrine maiden that touches down on top of the plaza’s fountain.

Damn, how can a teenaged girl appear intimidating? You’ve had it with this place. You quit. If that’s the person who enforces Gensokyo’s peace and prosperity, you want nothing to do with it.

Her gaze is steely, mouth set in determination, stance evoking an image of power. With one hand on her hip she slashes downward with her wooden stick, pointing the flimsy looking object at the center of the combatants. She says nothing, but her question is understandable to all.

Nobody responds to the shrine maiden.

Before you can sneak away, Byakuren grabs onto your hand. “If you manage to get away, she will only seek you out later, in an even less agreeable state.”

If? That’s ridiculous, you’re standing behind her. There’s no way she could notice.

Red clothes swish, the brunette turning in place and throwing a- What the hell, where did that giant ass Yin-Yang orb come from?

The spinning sphere rolls through the air, colliding into the back of the black-feathered bird lady that was trying to stealthily crawl away. Her face is slammed into the earth by the orb, which bounces into the air and lands on the bird once more. Ouch.

The shrine maiden nods decisively before turning back to the crowd. “Well?” She doesn’t yell her question; it is spoken in the same soft tone as when she evoked her spell.

Another second of silence, and then everybody explodes. The girls — all of the trouble makers are female, you notice — begin to babble and point, each one putting the blame on another.

The brunette sighs and jumps down from the fountain, wading into the mess of shouting girls to try and discern the truth.

Deciding to accept Byakuren’s sage advice, you sit back down on the bench wait.

It takes a couple of hours for the shrine maiden to get to you. While she is questioning everybody else all of the villagers return, allowing you to wander over to a stall and purchase a few bowls of ramen. You’ll have to figure out a way to earn more money – it’s not like you can just cash out at the nearest ATM.

It is already noon when the shrine maiden finally begins to walk towards you. Most of the others have dispersed but the original members of the incident, the witch and the rabbit girl, are trailing along behind her.

“C’mon Reimu, it wasn’t stealing, honest!”

“No good thieving human trying to hustle us – I’ve got eyes and tabs on all our orders and you aren’t any of them.”

“Whaddya smoking you dumb bunny, I talked to your owner last week!”

“Owner? I’m not a pe- er… you damned shroomhead! I’ll haul your ass up and over the moon and shake our products out of you if you try this again.”

“Ohoho, silly bunny thinks she’s so big and scary? Wah wah, we’re all so afraid.”

The arguing girls scream in pain when the shrine maiden carelessly throws two more Yin-Yang orbs over her shoulder, both of the projectiles bouncing off of heads. Where are those even coming from? Instantaneous projection of such effective weaponry is impressive.

The shrine maiden ignores the complaints from behind her and stops in front of your bench. You imagine she must be tired of dealing with everything, but her face is still clear and attentive. “…Byakuren.”

“Greetings Reimu. An arduous day, is it not?”

Reimu Hakurei, the great shrine maiden of Gensokyo that has resolved countless incidents through force of might and is proclaimed by Byakuren to be one of the strongest forces at play, nods.

And she points.

At you, specifically. You’d be lying if you said you weren’t a bit nervous.

Pointing…could mean a lot of things. Reimu doesn’t seem to be forthcoming with reasons, either.

You look to Byakuren for help.

The nun picks up the slack seamlessly. “A newcomer to Gensokyo that is seeking a means of aiding his sister. He stumbled upon my temple in the dark of night and I sheltered him as appropriate. He plans for a long stay in Gensokyo, so we came to the village for him to familiarize with everyday life. I am afraid the events of today do not shine the most favorable of lights.”

Red eyes — damn, red eyes are always trouble — look at you. It isn’t like when Byakuren gazed at you. There is nothing deep and violating about Reimu’s stare. Yet after one quick second, she draws her conclusions. “A magician?”

You narrow your eyes slightly, unsure of what to make about this shrine maiden. How much is she able to discern? Would she prosecute you as countless others have? Would you be able to stop her?

Once more, Byakuren coolly answers for you. “He is indeed, a surprisingly talented practitioner that works with the flesh and physical ailments.”

The nun’s description isn’t a lie, at least. You’ve had to learn a great deal of the human body in your pursuit. If you had to transfer back to a normal life, you imagine becoming a surgeon wouldn’t burden your knowledge much.

Reimu nods and then shifts her finger to your right. “…Yoshika?”

The zombie slurps at her second bowl of noodles loudly. “Sorry~” Ah, the influence of your sister. Yoshika wasn’t even using her utensils when she first started eating and now look at her, the picture of childish table etiquette.

Honestly, you’re surprised the shrine maiden identified her so readily. You didn’t think most could see past the physical changes, especially when they had only ever fought with the zombie before. You’re lucky the shrine maiden doesn’t seem to care about who Yoshika is as long as she isn’t causing a ruckus.

Attention returns to you, a hand extended in greeting. “Reimu Hakurei, shrine maiden. Welcome to Gensokyo.” Her subdued voice manages to convey a warm, if slightly suspicious tone.

You can tell she’s smart in addition to her stupid amounts of power and intuition. The number of Western faces you’ve seen around has been almost zero. There is no other reason for her to offer to shake hands unless she thought you would be more comfortable with it.

Well then. Time for first impressions.

[ ] “Pleased to meet you.”
[ ] “I think I’m in love.”
[ ] “Good style, very effective.”
[ ] “Please don’t hurt me.”
[ ] “Nice armpits.”
[ ] Haha, nope. Run!
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>Not enough hands
If only you were thinking with portals. Or, uh, necromancy.

>>162911
Fun fact. Of all the assembled characters, only you would be unable to timeout the spell card (without cheating), assuming everybody had a few seconds to prepare. Puny human, better get practicing.

>Necrophilia route
You sick fucks…wait, I’m the one writing this, aren’t I? Whelp.

>>162917
Ah, the sensuous feeling of my ego being stroked…glorious…

Ahem. Thanks! Please enjoy your stay.
>> No. 162921
>>162919

[X] "Pleased to meet you."
Remember, pride goeth before destruction.
>> No. 162922
[x] “Pleased to meet you.”

Be polite.
>> No. 162923
[N] “Pleased to meet you.”
The MC being polite is bo~ring! But we don't want to antagonize the red-white. At all. Ever.
>> No. 162924
[X] “Pleased to meet you.”
-[X] “Good style, very effective.”

Zero reason not to start things on a good note, especially with the local law.
>> No. 162926
[ ] “Nice armpits.”

Was there any doubt?
>> No. 162927
[x] “Pleased to meet you.”
>> No. 162928
[X] “Please don’t hurt me.”

It has to be said. Has to be.
>> No. 162930
[X] Pleased to meet you.
-[X] Good style, very effective.
--[X] ...please don't hurt me?
>> No. 162931
[X] Pleased to meet you.
-[X] Good style, very effective.
--[X] ...please don't hurt me?

I think this combo will emit the most hilarity.
>> No. 162932
[X] "Pleased to meet you."
>> No. 162934
[X] Pleased to meet you.
-[X] Good style, very effective.
--[X] ...please don't hurt me?

This combo made me laugh, either that or some slip about armpits.
>> No. 162935
[X] Pleased to meet you.
-[X] Good style, very effective.
--[X] ...please don't hurt me?

"What are those yin-yang orbs made out of? Solid rock?"
>> No. 162938
[X] Pleased to meet you.
-[X] Nice armp- uhhhh, combat style, very effective.
--[X] ...please don't hurt me?

Deciding between being polite, and "complimenting" the red-white and being pathetically hilarious? Why not everything?
>> No. 162940
>>162935
What this guy said. Hopefully we will not get hit with Reimu's massive balls
>> No. 162941
[X] Pleased to meet you.
-[X] Good style, very effective.

We're a MAN. We dont get hurt so long as our burning souls live on!

Also, writefag, you and balistafreak have singlehandly restored my faith in /th/. Keep up the good work!
>> No. 162945
[X] Pleased to meet you.
-[X] Good style, very effective.
--[X] ...please don't hurt me?

This looks like the most interesting route.
>> No. 162947
[X] Pleased to meet you.
-[X] Good style, very effective.
>> No. 162949
[X] Pleased to meet you.

Let's just be polite, for now.
>> No. 162952
[X] Pleased to meet you.

>>162938
Grab at everything, receive nothing.

>>162940
We probably will though. Unless Byakuren monopolizes the conversation.
>> No. 162955
(X)I am impressed by your ability to deal pain. We should totally hang out.

If She's on your side, she won't be hunting you down like a dog!
>> No. 162956
>>162955
I'm not entirely sure that will endear us to her.
>> No. 162965
[x] Pleased to meet you.
-[x] Good style, very effective.

Not the third part. Begging isn't our style, and she's clearly not hostile. Even saying it jokingly seems awkward.
>> No. 162967
[x] Pleased to meet you.
-[x] Good style, very effective.
>> No. 162981
>>162965

We are forgetting MC is socially awkward. Better get into character and hope Big Dead Sis get us out of trouble like always.
>> No. 162983
>>162981
He doesn't come across like someone who would beg.

If he's in character he'd be antagonising Reimu.
>> No. 162990
[x] “Pleased to meet you.”

Let's make an effort to be nice.
>> No. 163003
-[X] “Good style,very effective.”
>> No. 163022
File 13535632248.jpg - (70.81KB , 539x588 , they-can-all-beat-your-ass.jpg ) [iqdb]
163022
Wait! Stop and think before you say- “Pleased to meet you Ms. Hakurei.” You grasp the shrine maiden’s hand lightly and give it a few shakes, finishing with a little bow of your own.

What? What?

I…wasn’t expecting that. Sheesh, it’s not like you’re a barbarian. You know how to play nice. But you never manage to play nice. Hell, you flip from scaredy cat to ape-like aggression with no tells at all. I don’t believe that you-

You ignore the voice in your head and continue chatting with Reimu. “I have to say that I’m impressed. I never expected such a decisive and effective solution to that mess.”

Reimu smiles at you, taps her fist together, and throws up a hand in victory. Then the shrine maiden blinks and reddens in the face slightly, coughing and pulling her arm back down. “Thanks,” she whispers while flattening out her dress.

You think about laying on more compliments, but you’re spent. Anything else you might say would probably set back any progress you’ve made.

Tilting her head, Reimu’s disposition suddenly sours. The shrine maiden takes a step forward and leans towards you, glowering at you despite the height disparity. She pokes her stick into your chest, the flimsy piece of wood much more terrifying than it should be. “Don’t misbehave.” The sternly warning isn’t a malice filled threat, but it still sets you on edge.

“R-Right. I don’t plan on it.” Reimu’s scary disposition fades as she claps her hands in delight.

Looking at the shrine maiden up close and personal, you wonder who the hell designed her outfit. From a distance it looked similar to other such outfits, but now you realize all the problems it has. Short skirt, bared midriff, detached sleeves- detached sleeves? Who would even think of that? How does that do anything important? Is she just trying to flaunt more skin or what?

“Nice armp-” Abort! Abort! Move your eyes, too! “-armpower you’ve got. Seriously, I had chills watching you toss those orbs. Yeah. That’s what I was going to say. I mean, those orbs are pretty crazy stuff, haven’t seen much like them before.” …Adequate save, I guess.

Reimu’s face adopts a curious frown. Her eyes set up a temporary inquisition, trying to guilt you into saying something you might regret. Eventually, the shrine maiden straightens up and shrugs. She holds out a hand, one of the Yin-Yang Orbs blinking into existence before you. The shrine maiden gestures with her hand, pressing you to take the object you were so curious about.

You reach out to grab it and she lets it-

You hit the ground with a thud, forcefully pulled down by the weight of the Yin-Yang Orb. Damn. Your hands are pinned underneath the object, muscles unable to budge the sphere a centimeter.

Still, it’s a strange thing. You shuffle forward to get a better look. Perfectly spherical, the symbolic design appears perfect no matter what angle you observe it. You can feel some sort of power radiating from the orb, similar to what you felt from the seals Reimu was throwing around, but there’s a cloud; you can’t get an accurate estimate of what exactly lies inside. The orb isn’t just a storage device, but you can tell that it isn’t generating its own power either. Maybe more like a conduit? Reaching out, you probe the exterior carefully. If there’s any traps maintaining its control, you don’t set them off. Digging a bit deeper, you unravel layer after layer of misdirection to-

A wooden stick whacks you on the head. The Yin-Yang Orb is lifted off of your hands and disappears, Reimu staring down at you from above. “Mine,” the shrine maiden declares, sticking her tongue at you to assert her ownership. Magical items like that are rarities in the modern world – now you really want to examine it.

Huh. With how short her skirt is, it’s pretty simple to-

Oh god that was close. You continue to roll from side to side, avoiding Reimu’s stomps as best you can. “Sorry, sorry, sorry! Don’t kill me!”

After a minute of pleading, the foot’s angry rampage ends. Reimu squats down to your level, reaching out to rub your face with her hand. Her smile looks a bit strained, as if she wants to hold a needlessly large needle directly in front of your left eye.

Urk. Not that you couldn’t fix any damage, but there’s a kind of instinctual terror when your eyes are involved.

“Bad boy.” You…well, try to nod, but can’t really do that considering the danger. So you simply voice your acknowledgement; you’re sure that nobody noticed it was more of a whimper than anything else.

Reimu pets you on the head and then helps you back to your feet. You do your best to not agitate the shrine maiden further.

“Wahahaha, oh man, you work quick, don’tcha? Already got ‘ol Reimu over here hot and bothered, ahahaha!” A hand slaps your back, the witch from before congratulating you like a long-time friend.

The shrine maiden in question has her eyes closed and is taking deep breaths. If she explodes at the witch, you really hope you aren’t caught in the blast radius.

With you back on your feet, Yoshika comes hurrying over, quick to reclaim her spot at your side by displacing the witch with a quick shove. However, the zombie suddenly steps back and quietly stands next to you as opposed to draping herself over you as usual.

The bunny girl from before is following the zombie, a purplish vial held in her hand. “You know you have to have some!”

Yoshika looks up at you, eyes pleading. She doesn’t say anything, but you doubt it would take three guesses to figure out what she wants.

“Uh, no, don’t eat that Yoshika.”

“Eat this? This is hardly for eating, though you naturally have good taste.” The oblivious rabbit rambles on, “For one such as you, this is perfect! We guarantee that our carefully crafted lotion will keep your skin luscious and clear from the horrors of the sun!”

The black-white witch leaps back into the fray, almost tackling the rabbit girl. “Don’t buy those crappy, fraudulent products. If you’re looking for lotion, I’ve got the best stuff around. It’s made with one-hundred percent love!”

Somehow, this is worse than telemarketers. Luckily for you, Reimu is still around and slightly pissed off. She quickly brings the witch and rabbit back in line with a few decisive whacks.

“Marisa. Reisen. Introductions.”

The two girls take the corporeal punishment in stride. “Marisa Kirisame, ordinary magician at your service! Hey, Reimu said you’re a magician, yeah? You should come with me and show me what-”

“Reisen Udongein Inaba. I’m ecstatic to meet your acquaintance. If you would step right this way, I can show you to Eientei where we sell the-”

“In the forest I’ve got a whole bunch of-”

“Bamboo is much more attractive, don’t you-”

“Yeow!” Marisa and Reisen scream at the same time, physical chastisement dished out coldly.

While Reimu is busy scolding the two girls, Byakuren steps forward from where she had been watching the spectacle. “Lively, is it not?”

“That’s one word for it, I suppose. They’re tenacious, I’ll give them that.”

“The greatest magic is transforming the passions. In this matter, they have much practice ahead of them.” Byakuren pauses before continuing in a lower tone. “As we were waylaid before the conclusion of our tour, I wonder if you had noticed the potential areas for your search.”

Although the trip through the village was mostly fun, you kept your eyes peeled. “Yeah, I saw some bookstores and the like, but I doubt it would be in there.”

“What kind of book are you looking for Sir? Maybe I can help!” You jump at the childish voice that rings out behind you. Turning around, you find a short purple-haired child curiously looking up at you.

“Uh, just a magic tome.”

“Oh, I’m sorry then, my collection of magical texts isn’t extensive. I can help you find such a library, though! Would that be alright, Sir?” Whew. Children have taken advantage of their lack of malicious auras before, but the fear that you let a tiny fanatic slip behind you seems to be unfounded.

“Akyuu, who are you talking with?” An inquiring silver-haired woman walks over.

“Uhm…” The little girl looks at you again before hastily bowing. “Nice to meet you, Sir. I am Hieda no Akyuu.”

You laugh and bow in turn, introducing yourself to the two new ladies. Akyuu and Keine, the village’s young archivist and older schoolteacher, are good people. Helpful and politely inquisitive, they are the first ones you’ve met that haven’t scared the shit out of you in some manner.

“I apologize on behalf of the village for getting you caught in this and for our own inattention,” Keine takes responsibility after you explain your most recent ordeal. “We allowed plenty of time for the situation to resolve itself before investigating, but I didn’t imagine an outsider in need would be present.”

You wave her apology off. “Thanks for the concern, but it turned out well enough. This is far from the worst situation I’ve found myself in.”

“Wow, so you have many stories of the outside? I really want to hear them! If you agree, Sir, I’ll write them all down.” The kid waves her arm in the air, calling over a young woman. The modestly dressed lady presents a book to Akyuu before stepping back into the distance. Glancing over, you realize the girl has several such servants accompanying her. The young archivist opens the book and twirls a pen in her fingers, apparently eager to start.

Keine speaks up next. “I’d also deeply appreciate it if you have the time to talk. A traveler like you has a wide understanding of current events in the outside world.”

“I don’t think my experiences would be of much interest to anybody, and I haven’t exactly paid much attention to what’s been happening.” You rub the back of your head, unsure of the attention you’re receiving. You can’t imagine people want to hear about all the ways you were almost disposed of, and you haven’t involved yourself much in mundane affairs.

Their reaction, though, is instantaneous. “A story is a story; they’re all interesting!”

“Any news, however trivial, is exciting for us. In our isolation, it is difficult to grasp the intricacies of the outside world.”

“Indeed. Did we not promise to exchange tales?” You glare at the previously silent nun for turning on you. Byakuren’s pleasant smile is as nefarious as ever. Mask of evil, that one.

“Yo, Akyuu!” Your conversation is interrupted by a high-speed witch. Marisa comes hurtling over, grabbing Akyuu underneath the arms and lifting the girl into the air. The two females laugh and giggle, playing around in good cheer.

Reimu and Reisen walk over as well, the conversation splitting as various individuals greet each other and catch up. Despite the conflict between them, you can tell that all of these girls are good friends with one another.

Of the Gensokyo natives, only Yoshika doesn’t take part in a conversation. Not entirely unexpected, but you still feel a bit bad for her. You sidle up to where the zombie is standing. “Doing okay, Yoshika?”

“Yes~” She smiles at you but does little else.

Well, you guess that’s the most you’ll get out of her without specifics. “Why are you standing back here anyway? You’re usually hanging off me like a baby koala.”

The zombie girl opens her mouth to speak, but then closes it and frowns. She stares off into space for several seconds, perhaps in thought. Glancing at all of the girls standing around, she shrugs and tells you nothing.

Before you can try to inquire further, the sound of your name draws you back towards the group.

“Go back to swindling the guys around the bar; he wants to see my shop!”

“An outsider can only grasp Gensokyo after seeing Eientei’s extensive products!”

“Hey, why are you two trying to take him away from the village? He was going to tell me a story!”

“Lady Hieda, his stories will have to wait until after we learn more about the events of the outside.”

Reimu pokes your shoulder and jerks her head off away from the plaza. “My shrine. I’m curious.”

Well, don’t you feel like the popular one.

Collapsing on you, the crowd of girls tries to coax you towards what they want. The funny three-legged animal at the carnival, that’s what you are. Byakuren and Yoshika watch you get mobbed from the side, unsympathetic of your plight.

[ ] Check out the Forest of Magic
[ ] Head over to the Hakurei Shrine
[ ] Talk current events in the schoolhouse
[ ] Story time in the plaza
[ ] Go and visit Eientei
[ ] Refreshing walk through the fields
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>>162941
The pressure, I can’t handle it! Awaaaraagagagah! Thanks though, I hope I can meet your expectations.

>>162955
If that pick-up line doesn’t work than I don’t know what would.

>Socially awkward
I like to think of it as adjusted to a different society.
>> No. 163023
So tempted to vote [ ] Refreshing walk through the fields. But as in-character as just brushing them off would be, I don't think they'll take kindly to it. Instead, let's indulge them for now. Storytime is good for us too.

[X] Story time in the plaza
>> No. 163024
[X] Story time in the Hakurei Shrine

Because Reimu's gonna get what she wants. But I do love stories
>> No. 163025
[X] Head over to the Hakurei Shrine

Marisa or Reimu are our best bets for information right now, and honestly I'll go with Reimu on this one.
And both of them will probably point us to the SDM and Patchy, who is probably the best person to talk to about books.
>> No. 163026
[X] Story time at the Hakurei Shrine

You might wanna tone down your Reisen a bit. Her one-dimensional "brain-washed salesbunny" personality doesn't really give us the option of holding any sort of meaningful interactions with her, should we desire to do so in the future.
>> No. 163027
[X] Story time in the plaza

The first chapter of the Kosuzu manga revealed that her shop has the Kanji edition of the necronomicon
>> No. 163028
[ ] Story time in the plaza
>> No. 163029
[X] Head over to the Hakurei Shrine
>> No. 163030
[X] Story time in the plaza

>The first chapter of the Kosuzu manga revealed that her shop has the Kanji edition of the necronomicon

I think we should avoid taking advantage of our metaknowledge to advance in this thread. We have to assume MC doesn't know that piece of info, and play accordingly with it. But that's just my opinion.
>> No. 163032
[X] Story time in the plaza
>> No. 163033
[X] Story time at the Hakurei Shrine

You don't turn down an order from Reimu.

I'm sure the rest of them can take a raincheck.
>> No. 163034
[X] Story time at the Hakurei Shrine

Yeah, I think we should stay on Reimu's good side.
>> No. 163036
[x] To the shrine we go

Reimu would kick our ass if we dont, so might as well.
>> No. 163038
>>163030
I wasn't saying that to use metaknowledge, but more a "Just so you know" sort of thing.
>> No. 163039
[x] Head over to the Hakurei Shrine
>> No. 163040
[ ] Head over to the Hakurei Shrine

We shrine now.
And if I wish to take Reimu's statement in the dirtiest way possible, booty call at the shrine.
>> No. 163041
[X] Story Time at the Hakurei Shrine!
-[X] Donate some monies.

Poor Raymoo, getting no $$$
>> No. 163042
[ ] Head over to the Hakurei Shrine
>> No. 163043
[ ] Head over to the Hakurei Shrine
I sense plot in this direction.
>> No. 163044
[x] Head over to the Hakurei Shrine

We've essentially broadcasted our presence by attracting the attention of several rather prominent figures in Gensokyo. If we choose to openly talk in a public area, we'll be giving away a lot of information which will probably come to hurt us. Based on what has happened when the MC talked about his past to Byakuren, we need to be careful our dealings with everybody we meet, or else we WILL come to regret it.
>> No. 163049
[X] Head over to the Hakurei Shrine

When in doubt, follow the miko. It's never boring around her.
>> No. 163050
[x] Story time in the plaza

Tell me the story of the shepard
>> No. 163051
[X] Story time in the Hakurei Shrine

Everyone (except for the crazy telemarketers) is happy!
>> No. 163052
[x] Story time at the Hakurei Shrine.

Urgh, giving Reimu a chance to interrogate us is going to end badly. At least we might get away with some storytelling, first.
>> No. 163056
[X] Head over to the Hakurei Shrine.

Maybe it's only me, but Reimu seemed to have some severe mood swings, better not to piss off the one who trashed the floor with everyone else.
>> No. 163058
>>163056

Personally, I feel that this incarnation of Reimu rather forthright and strict, although that is to be expected, given her duty. We should be fine as long as we clear up things with her, since she appears to only beats people up if they are being disruptive.
>> No. 163060
This story is good.

[x] Story time in the village.
>> No. 163090
[N] Story time at the Hakurei Shrine.
>> No. 163136
File 135397988325.jpg - (130.49KB , 850x575 , honestly-how-many-of-them-are-actually-drunk.jpg ) [iqdb]
163136
Shrugging your shoulders, you let Reimu drag you away from the clamor.

The crowd of girls drifts after you, unaware that a decision has been made. Eventually, they catch on to the fact that the shrine maiden is daintily pinching your clothes as she makes for the village gates.

“Whoa, where’re you going Reimu?”

“Back home.” The soft words contain a tone of finality. For that, you’re thankful – the longer the attention is on you, the more chances there are for you to screw everything up.

“We’re heading to the shrine then? Excellent! I haven’t visited in so long,” Akyuu boldly steps forward before being lifted into the air. “H-Hey! Put me down this instant!”

Akyuu’s gaggle of female servants pays no heed to her. The ladies keep their heads politely bowed as they gracefully exit the plaza, screaming archivist clutched between them. “Keine, help!”

The teacher ignores her companion. “Ah, that’s right, we have meetings to attend. I guess we will have to speak at a later date. Please stop by again if you have the time.” Keine waves goodbye and departs with the other village inhabitants.

“You sure you don’t want some of this lotion? Maybe some dream pills? I think I’ve got a few cure-alls with me…” Reisen fishes a dozen different products out of her bag, waving them in front of your eyes as enticingly as she can.

You’ve never found the need for medicine ever since you learned to fix or ignore most ailments with magic. “Maybe later,” you conclude as diplomatically as you can.

“Argh, fine.” The bunny throws everything haphazardly back into her bag and looks down at her watch. “Crap, I’m behind because of this lunacy. If I miss my quota again…” Reisen’s bunny ears flop around as she wildly shakes her head.

Reisen points a commanding finger at you. “Come find me if you need something, you hear?” You watch the bunny girl turn around and run off into the village, waving a bottle over her head and shouting for attention.

With the group now thinned, you and Reimu begin to walk once more. Byakuren and Yoshika are following close behind, with Marisa striding alongside you.

“You aren’t leaving, too?” You ask the witch.

“Naw, not like I need to sell anything. I’d rather come play with Reimu!” Marisa jumps Reimu and hugs the shrine maiden around the neck. Despite the sudden encumbrance, Reimu shows no signs of slowing down in her march.

After passing through the village gate, Reimu lets go of your sleeve and floats into the air. Marisa shakes her broom and jumps aboard, and Byakuren also takes to the air.

Well, this sucks.

“Hey! I can’t fly, you know?” You shout up to the girls, the three of them glancing back down at you.

“Eh? Wanna ride on my broom? It’s a pretty fast ride; it’ll be the most fun you’ve ever had!” Marisa floats back down to you, making her offer while wiggling the stick between her legs.

“I think I’m a bit more than you can handle, Kid.”

“Kid? You aren’t much older than me, Buddy. C’mon, I know you wanna give it a whirl!”

“Yoshika, carry him.” Reimu calls down, apparently tired of waiting around as she flies on without you.

Well, that’s an option. You look to the zombie girl who is idly playing with her hair. “Hey, Yoshika?”

She jumps when you call her name and glances up at you.

“Carry me?”

Yoshika’s mouth opens, but barely any words come out. “Ah…is…?” The zombie swivels around, her gaze lingering on the witch floating nearby.

You clap your hands to regain the zombie’s attention. You don’t understand what’s going on in Yoshika’s mind to switch between nervous shuffling and overt displays of affection, but whatever is wrong, you at least know that Yoshika can carry you without difficulty. You gesture with your arms, encouraging the zombie out of whatever shyness she’s experiencing.

After taking one last second to watch Marisa, the zombie brightens and leaps towards you. “Okay~”

Yoshika easily scoops you up and takes to the air after Reimu. Being carried like this should be embarrassing, but you can’t bring yourself to care. It’s convenient and comfortable.

“Yoshika? Ain’t that the zombie that was guarding that mausoleum from before?” Marisa wonders aloud. She smiles slyly as she looks at you. “You look pretty cozy there.”

“So?”

“I think I remember Seiga being pretty close to her zombie. Can’t be that you’re making a move so quickly, huh?”

“No idea what you’re talking about Marisa.”

“Okay, sure, sure, whatever you say bud.”

Looking at Gensokyo from above, you can appreciate the beauty of the landscape. You’ve always preferred rural areas to urban sprawl, and Gensokyo holds a certain mystique to it that reminds you of the faerie fields of Britain. Pleasant place, as long as you weren’t talking to anybody.

From the air, you can make out all the different areas that Byakuren was kind enough to highlight. The bounded territory is deceptively small; flying at a leisurely pace from one side of Gensokyo to another might only take an hour. Trying to hike through the rough and deadly terrain would be much more difficult, though.

The women chat amongst themselves during the flight, joking and taunting each other to various degrees. Despite Marisa’s brashness, her gregarious nature is evident. She even manages to pull Yoshika into the conversation, including everybody in the mid-afternoon chat.

You prefer to stay silent while being cradled by Yoshika. It’s not like you need to force yourself into every conversation. Besides, you can learn a lot just by listening.

With your attention towards the ground, you can see the Hakurei Shrine draw closer. Compared to the Myouren Temple and other shrines you’ve visited in the past, the place looks empty. Two small buildings and a large open courtyard doesn’t exactly scream a center for activity.

Touching down in the courtyard, you can appreciate the sparse design. Still, you wouldn’t want to live here alone and so far from anywhere else. You wonder if Reimu is fine with her arrangements.

Yoshika sets you down and allows you to walk on your own, happily clinging to your arm once more. You don’t get her at all.

Before you enter the main building, you pass by a figure lying on the ground. Child, long orange hair, large horns, and gourd of alcohol in hand – you ignore her and move on. She has to be trouble.

Unfortunately, the girl isn’t sleeping like you thought she was. You nearly fall flat on your face when a hand grabs your ankle and prevents you from moving forward.

“Wach-tis? Raymooo, brought me a new toy?” Well, that doesn’t sound good. With a grip like that, you’re wondering how long you’ll stay in one piece.

Your guardian shrine maiden lightly kicks the little girl’s hand. “No. Mine.” Yeah, that’s right, your Reimu’s- huh? You don’t like the sound of that either.

“Awwwwwww…” Reimu’s claim seems to repel the drunken girl, who fortunately releases you as she shakily rises to her feet.

“Suika Ibuki, an oni of unmatchable strength and love of alcohol. She is much more attentive than she appears, and like all oni has a particular emphasis on honesty.” Byakuren is such a nice lady, giving you all these helpful warnings. Not that you’re a compulsive liar, but it’s better to err on the side of caution in this crazy place.

“Raymoo never any fun. Won’t do any fun with you.” The diminutive oni sways as she makes her declaration, thrusting her gourd in the air and liberally downing alcohol.

“I dunno Suika, might be a bit different with this one! Maybe our ‘lil Reimu’ll put out for once?”

“Naaaaw. Raymoo no fuuuuuun! Hey Mister, come with Suika, better than Raymoo.”

“No.” Reimu plants herself right in front of you, daring the oni to try something. The two girls lock themselves into a minute long staring contest before Suika gives up.

“Not worth it. I find you later Mister, ‘kay?”

Really, you don’t like where any of theses conversations have gone. As the entire group walks into the shrine, you take comfort in Yoshika’s proximity as the only one you can trust…actually, who knows what your sister is feeding to the zombie…

Reimu brings tea for everybody seated around the table. It’s pleasantly quiet while everybody takes their first few sips, refreshing themselves after the short flight.

Then the peace disappears when a sheet of paper hits you.

“Hey!” You don’t really appreciate it when people randomly smack you in the face with religious seals.

“Huh.” Reimu peers at you before reaching across the table and removing the paper. Then, before withdrawing, she clocks you on the head with an amulet.

“Ow!” Is she just abusive or what? “What’d I do?”

“Nothing.” The shrine maiden gets up and walks around the table.

The little growl that emits from the zombie hanging off of you is worrying. You grip Yoshika’s hand underneath the table and urge her to wait quietly. It’s nice that she’s protective, but getting into a fight with Reimu does not seem intelligent.

Yoshika’s hostility doesn’t escape the shrine maiden’s notice, but Reimu doesn’t pay attention to the zombie. You spin in place to face Reimu, only to receive a poke to your cheek for your trouble. Reimu grips your skin with both of her hands, stretching it out and rolling it between her fingers. Eventually she lets go and grunts, crossing her arms and staring at you.

“Wise ones fashion speech with their thoughts, Reimu,” Byakuren intones from your side.

“Not the same as before.” Those are the only words the shrine maiden offers before slapping another seal against your skin.

Well, there was only one other time when those seals hit your skin. If Reimu is looking for a clear display of your magic, you aren’t giving it to her. You raise your palms to the air and try to look innocent, letting the shrine maiden frustrate herself.

“C’mon Reimu, stop whatever you’re trying to prove and sit your rump back down! Akyuu might not get her stories but I still wanna hear them!” Marisa tugs on Reimu’s hand to no avail.

Not getting what she wanted, Reimu tries a different tactic. She exits the room and returns with a pitcher of sand. She begins to carefully pour the grains on the floor, drawing intricate lines of all sorts.

Huh, the design looks familiar to you. It isn’t a common rune or pattern, but there’s something about the design that rings the remembrance bell. The collection of lines and shapes is distinctive, unique to the world. Even if only drawn in a sand mock-up, subtle power still radiates from the pattern. If only you could place it, then you would-

Reimu slams her first down on the design, throwing sand in every direction.

“Hey! How am I supposed to drink this tea now?”

You remember where you’ve seen the design now. You shouldn’t forget things like that, but then again you only examined it for a few minutes.

Of course, Reimu was watching you like a hawk while she went through her demonstration; she saw the glimmer of recognition in your eyes. The shrine maiden bears down on you again, intimidating in all her short glory. “You.”

Yeah, you. The thought of trying to misdirect the shrine maiden comes to mind, but you quash the idea immediately. She’s already caught you, and you aren’t ready to test how far the monstrous lie-detector off to the side cares about honesty.

Giving the shrine maiden your best sheepish grin, you admit to her accusation. “I wasn’t sure how else to get in. Sorry, did I cause you a lot of trouble?”

“…No.” Reimu sighs and taps you once on the forehead with her fingers. Then she returns to her seat and resumes sipping tea. She still looks a bit suspicious of you, but that’s normal as far as you’re concerned. “My shrine, gateway. Exit and entrance here. Yukari was pissed.”

Her advice is duly noted. Next time you won’t punch through Gensokyo’s barrier. Still, it’s a good thing Reimu isn’t too angry with you. You aren’t quite sure who this Yukari is; you recall the name from Byakuren’s list of youkai inhabiting Gensokyo, but nothing specific. Still, you’ve had a lot of people pissed off at you before. It can’t be as bad as a vengeful shrine maiden. Crisis averted.

“Awesome, now that Reimu got all the knots out of her panties, let’s hear those stories!” Everybody looks at you with expectation thanks to Marisa’s outburst.

“Stories, huh? I don’t really know too many good ones.”

“A well-traveled magician such as yourself must have met interesting persons on your journey, no? Something someone might have told you once?”

You nod your thanks to Byakuren. There are plenty of ways to spin a story; might as well indulge the girls. “Fine, fine. Let’s see. I met a knight once. A modern day paladin while on-duty, evil-doers quaked in their boots at the sight of her. Then you found her off-duty and she’d drink you under the table…”

---

The knight slammed into the cultist with her shoulder, throwing the man off balance. The dark-robed figure screamed in agony as he was bathed in light, holy weapon driven clean through his stomach and severing him in two.

“Amen.” The word was the only obsequy afforded to the man before the knight stormed off through the forest, smashing branches aside with her shield. Light grey hair and vestments twinkled under the moonlight, creating a stream of light amidst the darkness.

She crested a small hill and leapt, soaring through the air. With trained experience she landed harshly in the dirt, her shield driven into the ground and forming a meter high obstruction. Tracking her target like a hawk, the knight lashed out with her foot and brought her prey to the ground.

Yanking her shield out of the ground, the knight pointed her weapon down at her fallen enemy. “Repent, heretic, for the end is nigh. Last rites for the-” The knight stopped and leaned forward until she was forced to kneel on the ground. “You’re just a kid!”

The figure prone underneath the knight spat on the ground. “Nope, I’m the Faerie King. Better run now, church dog, or I’ll curse you!”

The knight narrowed her eyes at young man daring to mock her so. “Child, if you were innocent, you shouldn’t have run from us. We are His most holy crusaders, come to liberate you from the clutches of evil.”

“Innocent? Who the hell is innocent? You crazy woman, you just killed everybody!”

“Heretics and sinners that dared to meddle in His affairs and threaten the lives of others. It was a mercy that we gave unto them a quick and clean death as befits all, no matter how undeserved it was.”

“I was learning from them! What do you expect me to do now?”

“Learning? Poor child, there is nothing to be learned at the hands of the wicked,” the knight’s gaze softened as she set her weapon into the ground.

“Says the holy goody wreathed in the finest clothes money can provide. Choice is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?”

The grey-haired woman sighed and fingered her personal cross. “I understand how it is to be cast off and seeking any form of connection; mired in loneliness, hatred at the world for leaving you to scrounge about like a common animal. I was blessed to find His guidance to where I am in the world today.”

The teenager on the ground scoffed. “That’s great. So, are you going to kill me or what? Because if you can’t treat my leg soon I think I’m a goner anyway.”

“Your leg? What do you mean your leg?” The knight unfurled her hand, a holy glow lightening the forest. The fallen boy’s leg had been pierced by sanctified weaponry, almost shorn away by holy magic.

Snapping to attention, the knight began to work immediately. She focused her will and her talents, washing the injury in blessed light. She imagined the flesh and muscles as whole and together in His image once more. Matter yielded to mind, the boy’s shredded leg quickly mended in what many might call a miracle. Skin and bone righted themselves and grew, reformed in short order.

“What did you…How did you do that? I never could have done that!”

“Under His watchful eyes, restoring what is right in the world is my calling,” the knight smirked and brushed grey hair out of her eyes. “A strong understanding of human anatomy and a lesson or two in modern surgery helps.”

The boy fell silent, no smart comments issued from his mouth. In a quieter voice, he asked, “You aren’t going to kill me, are you?”

The knight laughed and shook her head. She held out a hand to the downtrodden teenager. “For your association with the wicked? I shall not. It is our duty to reform, above all. Come, let me bring you back into the light of His grace. And find you some new clothes, those rags you have on are awful.”

---

The daylight slowly fades to night, swept away by the currents of stories. Once you finish a few of your own tales, the girls promptly launched into their own dramatic recounts. The incidents of Gensokyo are many and vast, it seems, and none of the girls spare a chance to boast of their accomplishments.

“So then, Reimu lost! Ahahaha, she lost and lost her skirt, too. Oh man, when she took it off eeeeeverybody stopped about caring the game.” Marisa roars in laughter as she slams her cup back onto the table.

It’s a shame those epic tales slowly devolved into spilling every embarrassing moment they could remember. You aren’t even sure how it happened. You suspect that the oni spiked the tea with alcohol, and then just started to refill the teacup with her demon’s brew. By the time Suika was blatantly pouring alcohol into teacups, people were already downing the shots like it was nothing.

Sitting in a room full of drunken girls is amusing in its own way. You, of course, aren’t drunk because you cheated. You’ve won more drinking contests than you can count by messing around with your liver and digestive tract. Losing control of your inhibitions is not something you can afford. Still, you do your best to act drunk to play along with the atmosphere.

“Indecency is…the purest form of self-expression…that is absolutely not allowed…”

“Hey, heeeey, whoosh indecent? Raymoo? Naaaw, Raymoo smack you!”

“Eh? Reimu would never ever ever hurt me, I’m innocent! I think. Right Reimu?”

“Unh.”

“See? Innocent, I say! I could just slip like this and Reimu wouldn’t hurt. Not lewd, innocent, see? See?”

Would you stop them already?

Huh? Why would you do that?

They aren’t a show. I doubt they want to make fools of themselves like this.

Maybe it’s normal for them? Who knows what kind of relationship they have?

You’re still sober so take some responsibility!

“Maybe we should stop for the night?” You break into the conversation, stopping Marisa in her groping tracks. In the end, you agree with your sister. Reimu is kind of staring at you in her drunken lifelessness. If the witch and shrine maiden actually want to do those kinds of things, they can wait until you leave.

“Mister isn’t any fun either! How booooring.” Those are Suika’s last words before she falls backwards and lands dead asleep on the floor.

“Hey, you,” Marisa wobbles over to you, “need a place to stay? I’m still offering that ride, and my home is preeety cozy.”

“Isn’t drinking and flying dangerous?”

“No way, I can do it! See?” The witch lazily takes off inside the shrine, circling above your head and showing a modicum of control.

“Oh…oh…right. Lateness is…a singer’s greatest…asset?” Byakuren slaps herself lightly on the face before rising. Really, what kind of nun is she? You should take the cloth at this rate; a fine crusader for the Lord, you would make, in all your sober power. “Will you be…staying at the temple tonight?”

Movement attracts your attention, and you see Reimu groggily trundling about, a futon gripped in her hands. The shrine maiden looks at you with a questioning tilt to her head, almost tipping over when she slightly raises the bedding in offering.

Where are you sleeping tonight, anyway?

[ ] Hitch a ride with Marisa to her house
[ ] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren
[ ] Crash at the Hakurei Shrine
[ ] Find a room in the village
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>>163026
I’ll keep it in mind, but when you’re on the clock you’re on the clock. And if you happened to actually be brain-washed too? Well, tough luck there.

>Metaknowledge
Pfh, go ahead and use it, I don’t care. It won’t save you in the end; mwahahahah!

Seriously though, it’s your prerogative to use what you know as you see fit. Just don’t expect your knowledge to work out as you might expect every single time (sometimes, it just might even work out excellently).

>>163043
Better fix your radar, there’s an equal lack of plot in every direction.

>>163050
Oh man, after a comment like that, I’m tempted to drive this story into the flames. Wait, who am I kidding? It was going there anyway!

>>163060
Thanks, I try my best. Enjoy the story as much as you can!
>> No. 163137
[X] Crash at the Hakurei Shrine

Suika said some rather... interesting things while she was on your ankle. Maybe she'll be willing to... follow up on them.

Also, path of least resistance, for the less lecherous.
>> No. 163138
[x] Ask if you can crash at the shrine

I doubt we can just stay without her permission, and dont need her getting upset with us.
>> No. 163139
[x] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren

I rather stick with our benefactor.
>> No. 163140
[X] Crash at the Hakurei Shrine

May as well. Besides, Reimu might have an idea she's willing to share with us. Maybe she's heard of the Necronomicon?
>> No. 163142
[X] These bitches be gettin' on yo' nerves. Go sleep alone in a field under the sta

[X] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren
>> No. 163143
[x] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren
>> No. 163144
[X] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren

Staying in the house of a (drunk)girl you just met, what would your sister say about you? Let's stick with the known.
>> No. 163145
[X] Crash at the Hakurei Shrine

We've spent enough time with our Nun buddy for now.
>> No. 163146
[x] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren

It's the safest place at the moment; that and I wouldn't mind finding out what happens next. Now if there was a way to get underground, that might be friendlier towards a necromancer.
>> No. 163148
[X] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren
>> No. 163163
[X] Crash at the Hakurei Shrine
>> No. 163164
[x] Shrine for the (missing) shrine god. Hax for the hax throne.
>> No. 163165
[X] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren

Uh? Where was Yoshika in the last scene? Look for her!
>> No. 163168
[x] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren

Byakuren is obviously drunk to an extent beyond the others. Additionally, with Marisa showing control, and Reimy being home already, it falls on you to make sure that Byakuren gets home safely
>> No. 163169
[N] Hitch a ride with Marisa to her house
Pissing against two ti~des!
>> No. 163172
[X] Crash at the Hakurei Shrine

Xth for terse shrine maiden.
>> No. 163174
[X] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren

Let the Shrine Maiden and Witch have some fun.

Shenanigans with Byakuren.
>> No. 163175
[X] Crash at the Hakurei Shrine
>> No. 163176
[x] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren
>> No. 163177
[X] Crash at the Hakurei Shrine

Going by SoPM Byakuren's supposed to be a teetotaller. I thus find all instances of drunken Byakuren amusing.
>> No. 163179
[X] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren
>> No. 163190
[X] Crash at the Hakurei Shrine

Make nice with the miko, especially since Yukari's pissy at us.
>> No. 163191
[X] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren
>> No. 163192
[x] Crash at the Hakurei Shrine
>> No. 163193
[x] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren.

Including my vote, the count is as follows:
Shrine: 11 (assuming >>163164 is for the shrine)
Temple: 13
Marisa: 1
>> No. 163194
[x] Crash at the Hakurei Shrine

I'm sure Reimu would threaten us if we decide anywhere else.
>> No. 163195
[X]Anywhere but Reimu’s shrine. Fending off super-strong amorous preteens is not my idea of a good time.
“Well, this was lots of fun, but I can’t get drunkenly ravaged and/or torn limb from limb tonight, I have that magical doodad to find in the morning! Marisa, how’s your stock of magic books?”

So basically, I guess that's a vote for Marisa.
>> No. 163196
[x] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren.
>> No. 163199
[x] Crash at the Hakurei Shrine
>> No. 163204
File 135416585423.jpg - (196.21KB , 650x650 , shes-a-lot-like-you.jpg ) [iqdb]
163204
“Are we heading back now?” You stand up and help Yoshika to her feet before walking over to Byakuren.

“It would be…for the best.” Nodding slowly, the nun begins to stumble away from the table. She stops next to Reimu and hugs the shrine maiden before making it out the door.

“Thanks for having us.” You give a slight bow to Reimu as you pass by.

“Unh.” The shrine maiden grunts her acknowledgement and drops the futon she is carrying onto the floor. Reimu drifts past you and down the hall, turning off into a room.

“Reimu, wait for me!” Marisa flies after the shrine maiden, barely making the corner into the hall. The witch tries to enter the room after Reimu, but you watch as she suddenly stops and falls to the ground, slamming into an invisible wall. The witch rolls around on the ground, moaning in pain. Quickly checking with your mage sight, you notice something covering the seemingly open door. It reminds you of the border design that Reimu had drawn before.

Whatever, they’ll be fine. Marisa doesn’t seem very drunk and Reimu’s in her home. Time to leave.

Walking outside, you see Byakuren swerving around in the air. You tap Yoshika on the shoulder, the zombie girl eagerly sweeping you up and flying after the nun.

“Doing okay, Byakuren?” You ask the nun as you pull up alongside her.

“Fine, good, excellent!” The brunette answers with cheer, a large sedated grin on her face.

“I have to say, I didn’t think you’d be one to get sloshed like this. Your image of a perfect Buddhist nun is a bit tarnished in my eyes.” Not like you ever imagined her as a real nun after her terrifying display of dark magic, but this is like the icing on the irreligious cake.

“Intoxicants exist…in all of life’s…parasols…” The nun blinks and frowns, looking like she just swallowed a lemon. “Don’t sell alcohol, that’s bad. Drinking is a bit okay, right?”

You laugh at Byakuren’s change in tone. When she’s not trying to sound wise she can sound normal, too. “You’re asking me? I’m not the practicing Buddhist here.”

“Who says I am, huh?” Byakuren glares at you, planting her hands on her hips and pulling ridiculously close to your face. Hell, you’re surprised she didn’t slam into you in her drunkenness.

“Uh, you do?”

Byakuren frowns and looks down at her fingers. “I do? Oh, I guess I do. Do I?” As if to meet your expectations, the nun collides with you and Yoshika. You lift yourself up with your arms, holding on to your zombie’s shoulders and resting against her chest in order to avoid being crushed by the drunken nun.

Confused by the sudden obstruction in the air, Byakuren simply shrugs and grabs a hold of Yoshika, wrapping an arm around the zombie’s shoulder to support herself.

The zombie doesn’t seem to mind. Even while carrying you and keeping Byakuren flying straight, Yoshika shows no signs of burden. When Byakuren rubs her head in the crook of the zombie’s neck, Yoshika growls in delight. You suppose the affectionate zombie enjoys the attention.

You tilt your head backwards to look at Byakuren while you speak. “How are you confused about your own Buddhism when you run a temple?”

The nun stares down at you as if she didn’t hear you. Then she laughs from her gut, loud and boisterous compared to her sober, pleasant giggles. “Those who follow…the eaten-food path…I don’t even know!” Byakuren shouts, her laugh loose and free. “Who voted for me? I know I didn’t.”

Drunk her responses might be, this is still interesting to hear. “You mean you didn’t want to be in charge of the temple?”

Wait, what is that on your head?

You blink and recognize the feeling of fingers threading through your hair. This happy, bubbly Byakuren is weird, but you think you might like her more than the terrifying and teasing one. “Nope! Well, this one, maybe. All have a common…respectability to…responsibility of…something like that. I had to do it or he’d hit me for being lazy!”

“He? None of the monks would dare to hit you, would they?”

“Of course he would! Myouren is always so strict and stuffy; he should loosen up! There’s life beyond the sutras that he should really get out and see. I know a few of the village girls are eying him; one of them is a bitch, but the others are pretty.”

Hold on. Byakuren’s babbling is giving you a horrible sense of déjà vu. “Myouren?”

“Yeah, the little idiot! It’s great that he’s doing what he loves and all, but he shouldn’t obsess over it so much. Thinks he can lecture me on what’s proper from his fancy scrolls; he needs to see more faces than all those other old-timers and has-beens. I worry about him you know? He just wants to jump from kid to old man. If he just listened to me for once he’d have a lot more fun!”

If you weren’t sure before, you’re sure now. Byakuren sounds- A lot like me. Yeah. You get those tyrannical vibes from- Tyrannical? I am not tyrannical! Sure, whatever it might be called, it’s an oppressive sentiment shared by all older sisters it seems. “Byakuren, are you talking about your younger brother?”

“That’s right! Myouren, the little scamp, he is…” The nun slows her speech, the happy tone fleeing from her voice. “…he was great.”

Wetness forms, no, falls onto your cheeks.

Shit.

The tears continue to steadily drop onto your face, Byakuren’s eyes clenched tightly shut while her body quivers. She doesn’t sob or wail, but you think this is something you shouldn’t be seeing. Hell, this entire side of Byakuren is probably not what the nun wants others to know about.

You caused it you oaf, so- Yeah, yeah, your problem, it’s your responsibility to fix it.

Still, you aren’t even sure what you can do to help the silently crying nun. You think you can connect the dots yourself. If her temple bears her brother’s name and she usually keeps it together, than this is probably not a recent pain. How are you supposed to comfort someone when you never fully dealt with the issue yourself? A little advice would be appreciated. I experienced the problem from the other end, don’t ask me. You can try, uh…

Dead arms readjust their hold on you. Yoshika frees one of her arms and wraps it around Byakuren’s shoulders in a half-hug. The zombie coos, for the lack of a better time, mumbling sweet-nothings like a mother might.

I didn’t tell her to do that. Well, that just means the zombie is more insightful and decisive than the two of you combined.

You follow Yoshika’s lead, adjusting your hold to hang on to the zombie while embracing the nun.

You hate the subtle vibrations that come with crying. Every jittery shake extends uncomfortably throughout your body. Every wrack simply dredges up the memories of your own body huddled on the ground, screaming and thrashing in impotent rage and confusion.

They aren’t memories you enjoy and you’ve never gotten used to the associated feelings. Whatever Byakuren is reliving in her own mind, you wish you could do more for her.

Before you even notice, your feet touch the ground. Looking around the darkness, you see the glow of a lantern and make out the hazy shape of Myouren Temple a short distance away. You aren’t sure, but if you had to guess you would say that Yoshika landed just out of sight of the temple’s youkai guards.

A finger taps you on the shoulder. You turn around and-

Wetness. On your forehead, this time.

You blink and reach up to touch the spot on your forehead where Byakuren backs away from. Her lips were soft; they stirred up your own memories of the countless kisses your sister gifted you with in exactly the same manner.

“You’re more fun to tease than he was.” The nun giggles and rubs you on the head. Pulling Yoshika into a big hug, the zombie and the nun laugh together before taking off, heading towards the temple.

“W-Wait up!” Damn, what’s going on with her? You blame it on the alcohol. A hermit’s life would be attractive if you had to handle mood swings like this everyday.

You hurry after the pair, reaching out to help steady Byakuren when she occasionally stumbles on the grassy hill.

Instead of heading towards the glow of the gate guard like you expected, Byakuren swerves off the path. “They’ll bug us all night if we go that way.”

Byakuren brings Yoshika and you to the back of the temple. She ambles up to the wall and places her hands against the stone, feeling around. Before you can accuse her of drunken antics, the nun claps in delight and kicks the wall.

A cleverly disguised door swings open without a creak.

Sure, why not. If Byakuren sneaks out often or if her disciples nag that much, this kind of entrance makes sense. You can appreciate a good set of trap doors and hidden causeways.

The back entrance to the temple places you in some sort of storage room filled with crates and barrels. You stop and make note of the door’s position before pursuing Byakuren, who is climbing through the mess with practiced, drunken ease.

Exiting the dark room, you find yourself in a long hallway somewhere within the temple. Leading Yoshika by the hand, you continue to follow the nun stumbling her way around.

After a quick minute of navigation, Byakuren opens a door and waves you in.

It’s a bedroom, large but sparse. Other than the bedding in the center of the room, you spy a small cupboard and a closet. It’s about what you expected from a Buddhist room; not overly indulgent, but not impoverished.

“Hey Byakuren, is this your room?” You ask the nun, but don’t receive an answer.

She’s fallen face first into the bedding on the floor.

Creeping over, you kneel next to the woman and confirm that she’s sleeping contentedly. This could be a problem. “Yoshika, do you know your way around the temple?”

“Nope~” It wasn’t probable, but worth asking.

Nothing for it, then. You can’t stay here! Why not? You were basically invited. Besides, where else would you go? There a dozens of different ways this situation could go horribly wrong no matter what you decide to do.

You really hope that those ‘strongest disciples of the war god’ are reasonable and willing to listen to your diplomatic advances if they find you. You don’t mean that.

Yeah, you don’t. Still, you’d hate to cause trouble for Byakuren considering how helpful the nun has been. You think you can act with a bit of discretion for her.

[ ] Sleep in Byakuren’s room
[ ] Try to find an open bunk in the temple
[ ] Use the back door and sleep out in the cold
[ ] Explore the temple for the night
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>Myouren temple
>Safest place
Whew, this joke almost had me-

>Underground
>Friendly
Ahahaha, that’s a good one. There’s no harm in going down to check, right? Just vote for it next time; there’ll be loads of fun, I’m sure.

>>163165
Eh, she’s around, generally no more than a few steps away. But you don’t actually care about the corpse, right? That’d be creepy.

>SoPM
Hah, Akyuu is such a silly girl. I wonder how many of her second-hand accounts are wrong or misled. Surely, she must have some things correct…

>>163193
Thanks for the help. I try to keep track of the votes as they come in, but it’s good to have a second count to check with.
>> No. 163207
[X] Use the back door and sleep out in the cold
>> No. 163209
[X] Sleep in Byakuren’s room

Although I'm getting really bad vibes about this, given that our sister probably has a good reason to tell us to leave, personally, I feel that it's better to take our chances with Byakuren rather then wander around without acknowledgement from the temple guards. It's simply too risky to walk around the temple, since the residents who are still awake don't know that we came in with Byakuren, and will probably treat us like an intruder.
Exiting the confines of the temple is the riskiest thing we can do right now; there's a reason why humans rarely venture outside in the middle of the night in Gensokyo. That's not even considering the fact that a certain vengeful hermit is probably waiting for us to make a mistake and leave the protection of our company.
>> No. 163210
[X] Sleep in Byakuren’s room
-[x] If you can, inside a closet or something that won't make your presence obvious to some passer by and/or minimizes the chance of rolling over next to Byakuren

Just being extra careful here.
>> No. 163211
>>163209
[X] Sleep in Byakuren’s room
Pretty much the same reasoning behind my vote, considering we used a hidden back entrance that the guards likely don't even know about suddenly appearing deep inside the temple would just cause problems. If someone finds us in here we at least have the benefit of a drunken Byakuren to help us.
>> No. 163212
[X] Sleep in Byakuren’s room
-[X] In a position that suggests that you were attempting to watch over her at a virtuous distance but inevitably succumbed to your own fatigue.
>> No. 163213
[X] Use the back door and sleep out in the cold
>> No. 163214
[X] Explore the temple for the night

There might be other secret entrances in the temple that we could learn about, and it might be useful if we need to escape in a hurry, or enter undetected in another occasion. Besides, who needs sleep anyway?

Yes, I know we risk being found by the guards. We've been too diplomatic lately, that's why I'm searching for a little trouble to make things interesting.
>> No. 163215
[X] Sleep in Byakuren’s room
>> No. 163216
[x] Head back to Myouren Temple with Byakuren.

Drunken nuns are somehow vastly more amusing than drunken other-girls. I want to see what other bits of Buddhist wisdom she'll butcher horribly.
>> No. 163217
[ ] Sleep in Byakuren’s room

There is no other choice.
>> No. 163218
>>163209
>That's not even considering the fact that a certain vengeful hermit is probably waiting for us to make a mistake and leave the protection of our company.
Well, when you put it that wa~y...
[N] Use the back door and sleep out in the cold
>> No. 163219
>>163218
I like how you think.

And that said, sleeping in her room is just gonna make trouble for her when their disciples stumble in the next day.

[X] Use the back door and sleep out in the cold
>> No. 163220
[x] Sleep in Byakuren’s room
>> No. 163223
>>163204

>SoPM
But that was an interview told in 3rd person omniscient! (Plus Miko would've caught her on her lie. :V)
>> No. 163225
(X) Steal nun's bedding, sleep outside
-(X) Tomorrow, be a helper! "Hey, don't suppose you hung onto your brother's body or soul, did you?" PC the Helpful Necromancer, yes we are
>> No. 163231
>>163223
Who to say Akyuu didn't make a false transcription? Just a possibility.
>> No. 163234
>>163231
One'd think she'd put Reimu in a less tsundere light.
>> No. 163235
[x] Sleep in Byakuren’s room

The other choices just seem like a waste of time.
>> No. 163239
File 135425411349.jpg - (436.31KB , 1200x849 , too-many-lewd-pictures.jpg ) [iqdb]
163239
Opening the closet, you’re disappointed to find it full of clothes. You were hoping for a secret passage, or at least another blanket. Actually, Byakuren’s clothes do look rather soft…

Sighing, you close the door and wander back over to the center of the room. Yoshika is maneuvering Byakuren into bed, making sure the nun is somewhat comfortable even when fully dressed.

The zombie gingerly finishes tucking the nun in and stands up in front of you. “Find any-thing use-ful?”

“Nope. This room is as inhospitable to unexpected guests as a grotto of rage-filled specters.” You walk over to the wall and set all your things on the ground.

Yoshika trails after you, dropping to her knees and curiously peeking into your various bags while reciting your sister’s words. “Do you re-al-ly think it is ap-pro-pri-ate to stay here?”

“Probably not, but I still don’t see where else to go. Unless you want me to set off an incident with the rest of the temple? Or maybe go pick a fight with the things that go bump in the night? I’d be up for that, too.”

“Fine, fine, go to sleep. May-be you will get three nights of sleep in a row for once.”

Hah, you doubt it. Skulking around in the darkness is an intrinsic part of your profession.

Ah, back in your jacket once more. The clothes Byakuren provided aren’t bad, but they don’t give the same comfort of protection. If you run into a surprise, you would much prefer to be wearing it.

The rustling of bones forces you to look over. “No, Yoshika, don’t eat that.” You chuckle and grab the rabbit skull from the questing zombie, chucking it back in its proper bag and shutting it tight. Yoshika pouts and lightly rams her head into your chest, gazing up at you with hungry eyes.

“No, no, you can’t have any of this. We’ll find you something else in the morning, something better, okay?”

“Aww~” Unbelievably simple in speech and actions, yet able to read the mood; it’s a strange paradox your zombie girl presents. You really want to pick her brain sometime. Hah, man, your jokes are the best.

Well, don’t you look dumb, thinking to yourself like this? A single mind is a lonely place.

Yoshika doesn’t stop her pitiful mewling. You laugh and wrap your arms around the zombie to distract her. She gleefully wriggles around in your arms, slipping under your hold and getting behind you. The two of you tussle about in play, wrestling like children, each looking for the better position.

You lose, eventually. Yoshika clamps her arms around you and refuses to let go, dragging you with her as she scoots backwards and leans back against a corner of the room. Delicately, the zombie lowers your head onto her chest. “What do you think you’re doing, Yoshika?”

“Master sleep~”

Yeah, go to sleep Mister. Hush, you do what you want. It just so happens that sleep sounds pleasant, and it would be unfair to disregard Yoshika’s effort. You twist around a bit, finding the comfiest position possible. Yoshika’s arms rest on your chest and stomach, her body providing impromptu bedding.

The day wasn’t particularly strenuous, but sleep easily claims you, the enchanting tune of a softly hummed lullaby guiding you away.

---

Every night, without fail. Whether it comes first or last, you always see it. You’re obsessed, really, but it keeps you going like nothing else.

The skinny little building, sandwiched on all sides and half-stripped of paint, a decrepit building in a rundown neighbor, just outside anywhere of any significant importance.

You’ve come to hate every step towards that place, the home filled with hundreds of precious memories.

You detest the chipped stone path underneath the rusted gate, the creaking stairs leading up to your apartment.

That door kicked in, handle smashed away, is the gate to the abyss. Yet, you always step through without fail, voice calling out in unsure trepidation.

Table upturned, food and belongings strewn across the ground, furniture slashed open; you’ve memorized the position of every can and piece of trash after all these years. You hardly noticed at the time, but now you don’t dare to let yourself forget.

Your vision blurs, but you easily imagine what lies beyond your tear-screened gaze. Memories speed by as you distantly hear yourself scream, frantically pounding on the phone and shouting at the operator who can’t help you at all. You cry and plead with the figure on the ground, horrified at the onrushing fate.

Like clockwork, you feel yourself turn and sprint towards your room, desperately rummaging about for everything you think might help.

You try and try but you can tell your efforts mean nothing. First-aid kit tossed aside, bloody towels useless. Then you turn around, always desperately grabbing those damned yet blessed stories which interested you so.

Rifling through the print-outs and worn books, you throw away the obviously fabricated accounts and unhelpful rituals. Freezing when coming across a particularly short piece, you brush away your tears and look up to-

-an ancient wooden dining table, Victorian decorations of your grandmother lit perfectly by antique lamps.

This isn’t right.

Proud, happy figures stand around the table. A man, perfectly sober as you had never seen before. A woman, complexion and acuity unmarred by years of drug abuse.

And another young woman, living and breathing, beckoning you over with open arms.

It’s all wrong.

You aren’t crying or sobbing or screaming. You’re smiling happily, seating yourself at the table and partaking in a dinner that never was. You want to scream at yourself, to set everything back to how it should be.

But you can’t.

Instead you suffer through the impossible happiness that was never meant to be.

---

You awaken to a dark room, peace and quiet without any early morning chanting.

A hand is gently stroking your face. Eyes flicking over, you find Byakuren seated next to you, her robes shed in favor of a pure white chemise. The nun watches you without any sign of her previous drunkenness. “Pleasant dreams?”

Pleasant…dreams…?

You don’t even need your mage sight to know that she did something. It’s beyond obvious.

“Pleasant dreams,” you whisper.

Then all at once, rage overtakes you.

“DON’T MESS WITH MY MEMORIES!”

Strong arms immediately hold you back, preventing you from leaping to your feet in fury. Still, your bellowed words are enough to cause the nun to recoil backwards.

Never. Never again, damn it! Those bastards, always trying to sway you, to crush you and turn you into nothing, a pile of ash or a blank slate, a meat puppet for their bidding! Like fucking hell! They’ll never- CALM DOWN!

You f-feel your m-mind reel from the m-mental s-slap. Your brain t-tries to recollect itself after being sent into a dizzying spiral.

Jeez, would you recognize where the hell you are before you start shouting like an ape? We aren’t dangling in a fucking cave or tied to the stake, you moron.

But she- Was trying to relieve you of your damn nightmares; don’t blame her for not knowing about your dumb masochistic tendencies and paranoid hyper-reactions. I keep telling you that not everybody is out to get us. Especially here, I think.

You- Need to apologize, now!

Adrenaline is sucked away by the guilt that is riding you like a horse. “H-Hey, Byakuren? I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have yelled.” Your apology sounds hollow, even to you, but you forge ahead no matter what. “I’ve…got issues, even I know that. You’ve been beyond kind to me…to us. You deserve way more than my stupidity.”

The nun slides closer, her eyes closed. “As I have said, I understand your situation. Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future; these are difficult words to live by. The greatest good is a peaceful mind.”

Byakuren looks down at you again, stroking her hand through your hair with a smile. “I wish to help you, whether as a Buddhist or not. To live in misery despite seeking the happiness of others is an injustice.”

You murmur your thanks and lay quietly, enjoying the aura of peace Byakuren exudes.

She speaks again a few minutes later. “I apologize for my own unseemly display and thank you for your assistance in helping me home.”

“You weren’t too poor off, but I’m surprised you’re so chipper now. Magic?”

“There are ways to cure many conditions.” The nun clenches her free hand, glaring at the ground next to you. “That oni, it seems I must be more wary of her in the future.”

As relaxed as you are, words naturally tumble out of your mouth. “I dunno, I thought it was pretty amusing.”

The hand in your hair stops, fingertips resting against your skull. “Amusing, was I?”

“Yeah – you should just write out your wise sayings for the day on your arm so you don’t forget them.”

“Is that something I should do?” You feel Byakuren’s other hand come to rest on your chest, displacing Yoshika’s grip on you.

“Yeah, you should. Actually, you should just hire me. I know from experience that older siblings aren’t the brightest, so-”

You shut your mouth when nailed fingers pull at your scalp and dig into your chest. You gulp when dead hands suddenly clamp onto your wrists, preventing you from defending yourself.

Yeah, this was a miscalculation. The teasing wasn’t worth it.

Byakuren’s face grows closer, her hot breath tickling your nose with every word. “I wonder, what can be brighter than the light of wisdom? Can you see what-”

The clacking of the door smacking into the frame interrupts the conversation “Hey, Byakuren, you sneak back in? Shou was wondering what you’re up to.”

The nun raises her head and looks to the door, her voluminous hair parting just enough for you to peek behind her. With the bit of light creeping into the room, you can barely make out the white-clothed figure standing in the doorway looking down at you.

The stranger nods once before spinning around and dashing away.

Byakuren looks back down and meets your eyes.

[ ] Seize her!
[ ] Scatter…
-[ ] Back out the door!
-[ ] Into the temple!
-[ ] Right through the wall!
[ ] Nothing’s wrong, start your day calmly
[ ] Too early, everybody back to sleep

---

>Night time outside
Naw, how can that be dangerous? Maybe a little, considering all those crazy-strong little girls prancing around, but it should be fine. Some of them might even help you! Besides, it’s not like you’re a helpless villager, you’re just mostly helpless.

>>163216
I agree, but you might want to refresh the webpage.

>SoPM, again
Oh, well, I was talking about the profiles. If you were to referring to the actual symposium, then you need to remember that Akyuu recorded the dialogue. I’m not sure what your point of contention is, but Akyuu is only human and may or may not be trusted.

>>163235
Waste of time? Waste of time!? This entire story is a waste of time!
>> No. 163241
[X]"Yoshika! Seize her!" Ha haaa, we're freee! Escape in the confusion.
>> No. 163244
[X]"Yoshika! Seize her!" Ha haaa, we're freee! Escape in the confusion.
>> No. 163245
[x] Too early, everybody back to sleep

Byakuren route is probably futile but yeah.
>> No. 163246
[x] Too early, everybody back to sleep
>> No. 163247
[x] Open the door
[x] Get on the floor
[x] Everybody walk the dinosaur.


[x] This was a thrile~~~~r, thriler night!

[X]"Yoshika! Seize her!" Ha haaa, we're freee! Escape in the confusion.
>> No. 163249
[X] Too early, everybody back to sleep

NOPE.JPG option, obviously.
>> No. 163252
[X] Too early, everybody back to sleep

Sleep is god and we must worship.
>> No. 163253
[x] Seize her!
Indoor wrestling games
>> No. 163259
[x] Too early, everybody back to sleep

worry about it later
>> No. 163260
[x] Nothing’s wrong, start your day calmly

So, this is the feel of going against the tides.
>> No. 163261
[x] Too Early, Go Back To Sleep

Because our pleasant nightmares were interrupted by a good dream, and we need to have our requisite night-time angst to maintain Necromancer cred.
>> No. 163263
[x] Too early, everybody back to sleep
>> No. 163265
[ ] Nothing’s wrong, start your day calmly

I can't Yoshika route. She's to innocent and childlike.
MC's Sister route then?
Or patch things with Byakuren?
>> No. 163273
[x] Too Early, Go Back To Sleep

Almost feels like Byakuren is becoming a big-sister figure to us.
>> No. 163278
[x] Too early, everybody back to sleep

Let us relive our tragic, expositional memories in peace, crazy magic nun.
>> No. 163281
[x] Too early, everybody back to sleep

reacting might make things worse, let Byakuren deal with it.

As far as routes, I wouldn't mind a Byakuren route. A Yoshika route is pretty unviable due to A) her rather rotted state and B) her overly simple mind.
>> No. 163284
>>163265
>Patch things with Byakuren

Sounds good. Both of them are wood from the same tree, after all.
[x] Nothing’s wrong, start your day calmly
>> No. 163290
[N] Too early, everybody back to sleep
Let 'em talk. I'm cer~tain there are worse things you could've been caught do~ing....
>> No. 163321
File 135441968163.jpg - (211.99KB , 600x450 , seiga-route-can-be-fun.jpg ) [iqdb]
163321
“If you pursue her directly then I can cut her off at- Aieeee!” A quick tug is all it takes to unbalance Byakuren and bring her crashing down.

“Wow, that was a pretty girly squeal.” You shuffle around on the ground, working with Yoshika to find a comfortable sleeping position now that there is a nun lying on top of you.

Byakuren raises her head and glares. “What do you think you are doing?” She barks her question, surprise and anger mixing together in beautiful harmony.

“Sleeping. No sun no wake-up.”

“That is not an option. We have to find her!”

“Why? Because she saw a stranger in your room? Lighten up.”

“Lighten up? I cannot afford-”

“Aww, there, there,” you pat Byakuren on the back, “if it were really urgent you’d already be out the door. That girl who peeked in must be reliable, right?”

Glum reluctance answers your question. “She is. Murasa would not spread rumors of great importance.”

“Then you’re fine. Back to sleep! And don’t change my dreams, please.” You snuggle back against your undead pillow. Byakuren isn’t a terrible blanket, all things considered. A bit heavy, but she’s pretty soft herself.

“You cannot expect to sleep again so soon after…”

---

Your apartment is as pristine as usual, all the food stored away and trash cleaned up. It’s sparse in furniture, but that just gives you more room to mess around with. The little red ribbons draped on the sides of the couch and table are wonderfully touching and highlight the special occasion.

This is a nice memory. One of your favorites, really. You’re just crawling out of bed at noon, glaring suspiciously at the strange decorations.

“Happy birthday, Bro!” The slice of cake is shoved into your hands, a box-made treat filled with love. You smile and sit at the table, handing your sister a fork for her own piece.

The two of you eat and chat, perfectly content to savor the time spent together. Your sister manages to find a break every holiday and birthday, without fail. Spending the entire day together, as opposed to catching a few minutes every night, is a godsend.

“And here’s your present.”

You take the book she hands you and glance over it, flipping through the pages. “Oh, this guy. He lays the mysticism on thick. It’s pretty poor writing.”

“Hmph, if you’re going to be that way I’ll just take it back.”

“No way, it’s my gift!” The two of you laugh together, your criticism of almost every fictional story a constant. There are few decent writers of the occult, with everybody else spewing nonsensical lies. “Thanks, Sis.”

This birthday wasn’t much different from any of the others, but it was still perfect.

Your memory is unaltered, replaying before your eyes exactly as you experienced it. Every tiny detail, from the titles of the books on the shelves to the every breath the two of take is engraved in your dream.

Everything is in order, but there’s still a foreign presence you can feel. You step away from yourself, separating from the dream and moving your mind’s attention elsewhere. The images of your past play in the background as you confront the anomaly in your mind. “You were really curious, huh?”

Mental landscapes are strange, different for everywhere and forever changing. The room bleeds away to white, an infinite plane of cloud-like nothing filling the rest of your view. A black swirl starts appears of you, slowly expanding and taking on a familiar form.

Byakuren’s image bows to you and steps around in your mind, clad in her sleepwear.

Mind magic is messy stuff, tough to learn and tricky to describe. As far as you can tell, the nun seems to have linked her sleep with yours, splitting her mind and sending herself over to your head. Your brains identifies the magic, analyzes the link, prods the dark mana, keeps dream-memory on track, prepares possible counter-measures, regulates your sleep, and presents yourself in this completely useless mental imagery that the two of you are meeting in. Byakuren’s presence is just as active, exploring the interior of your mind but not forcing her way into anything you have under lock and key.

There are multiple things happening at once, to say the least.

“I wondered what you held so dear that I had interrupted. Was I mistaken in intruding?” The thought-talk isn’t real. It is a symbolic illusion of the knowledge you two trade. In truth, by allowing her into your mind, the nun already understands your base-level thoughts and emotions as soon as you have them.

But describing the complex interaction of melding thoughts takes a dozen moving diagrams. It’s easier to imagine that everybody is actually speaking.

Byakuren is practiced at this. You know that from before. Whatever spell she had used the first time to change your dream was effective; without help, you couldn’t dislodge it on your own. As such, you know that trying to read her mind of anything she doesn’t want you to see would be useless. You take a peek just to confirm and find her mental defenses ready to repel any intrusions.

“Not really. You’re welcome here. I’m not too good at sharing, but I guess I’m worse at expressing myself. This is a lot easier than trying to explain why I freaked out earlier.”

“I can see that.” You’re pretty sure the nun skimmed your other memories, the other dreams you force yourself to have. They aren’t all terror inducing – there are memories of being cocooned in acidic webbing alongside terribly boring physics lecture. “Most do not corroborate their dreams and memories as you do. I am sorry I did not understand that.”

“Its fine, you were just trying to help. I’ve found my dreams, my memories, to be invaluable. After having them taken from me before, I can’t stand to lose them again.”

“That is…logical. You maintain your emotions and motivations by reliving your memories, yes? Your dreams are not imagined desires but well-known truths. Certainly, you are mired in the past.”

“Is this going to turn into a lecture about how to let go?”

“No.” Byakuren let’s her bitterness tinge her thoughts before reigning the emotion in. “Perhaps I should have been as proactive as you? I tend to find my own faded memory frustrating.”

Another mind enters the dream meeting. “Nah, you don’t want to do that, Byakuren. This idiot puts himself through too much for his ideals. It isn’t worth it.”

She takes the form you know best. Short hair, jeans, t-shirt, and her glasses set stylishly low on her face. She is only of medium height but her proportions are all perfect, not necessarily stunning but beautiful nonetheless. Strong and intelligent, she’s the kind of woman you can imagine working as a secretary, a waitress, a cashier, a bartender, or even a construction worker, and not just because she did all those things.

Every time you visit your mental landscape, you feel a bit depressed seeing your older sister. In her, you see your hair, your eyes, your facial features – the two of you look strikingly similar.

Eight years difference, yet now you look almost like twins. How much longer will it take? Will you be old and graying, by all appearances a grandfather to any of your nieces and nephews?

“Stop that, sheesh. It’s bad enough that I have to deal with your mental brooding, don’t lay it on Byakuren, too.” Your sister whacks you on the back of the head, sisterly-love as painful as ever. “Anyway, welcome to my brother’s mind! It’s a grand-old place full of nothing.”

“You maintain a separate presence in his mind? Fascinating.” Byakuren walks over to your sister and lightly grasps her hands. In truth, the nun is trying to meld with your sister’s mind like she did your own. It doesn’t work in the slightest.

Dark magic swirls in your mind as Byakuren applies more pressure, attempting to find a crack in your sister’s mental defenses.

“Sorry Byakuren, but I’m a bit more private than my brother.” Your sister flicks her finger, launching Byakuren flying through the white-space. In one decisive shove your sister affirms the boundaries, demolishing all of Byakuren’s magic and leaving the nun back in her observer-like position inside your mind.

“Thank you for indulging my curiosity.” Byakuren bows to your sister, the two women smiling with cheerful camaraderie.

“No, thank you. I need as much practice as I can get. I almost didn’t notice the fourth-layer of that attack”

“I have little else to offer beyond that. I doubt I could ever best you with my limited skill.”

“Hah, don’t feel too bad about it. There isn’t much else to do around these parts, so I have a fair bit of practice.”

Well, isn’t this sweet? You’re glad the two women that were arm-wrestling inside your mind and bonding. It’s about as delightful as sharing a bath with a giant spider and a giant cockroach that decided to get it on.

Yeah.

“He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.”

“Yeah, don’t be a baby, Bro.”

“What? I am genuinely happy for you two.” And you are, despite whatever misgivings you might have. You can’t imagine how it would feel to be cooped up in your mind, unable to interact with anybody else for years.

The two women exchange thoughts for a few seconds, getting their face-to-fact chitchat in. They’re mostly swapping favorite objects, silly jokes, hair care tips, and some stories- Oh crap.

“Where are his opinions on older sisters?”

“Oh, I think they’re over there. I generally find them lodged in between his recollections of embarrassing moments.”

“Hm, this seems rather interesting.”

“That incident? No, that isn’t the funniest. Try this one.”

“Nope!” You cry out in your mind, trying to dissuade the wicked women from looking at what your sister wants to show her. Naturally, you can’t dislodge them. Their powers combined far outstrip whatever meager magic you can throw at them, so you decide to pull your trump card!

Uh.

Trump card?

Right, Byakuren has locked you into sleep, just like before. No waking up on your own from that.

Where’s your super-powered ally? Help! The older sisters have staged a coup!

Oh, wait, you have another trump card.

She might not be sleeping, but she’s still yours. A quick hop over and-

---

Your eyes snap open, vigorous shaking enough to break the light sleeping charm that Byakuren set over you. Your zombie is peering down at you. “Thanks Yoshika, you really saved me.”

“Eheheh~” The zombie basks in your praise, letting go of Byakuren and you to scratch her head.

Byakuren blinks and sits up. “How rude. I was looking forward to seeing, what was it, an incident involving a mother harpy?”

Oh, that. Baby harpies have it rough with all the expectations placed on them. You’re lucky that you were born human…and could survive a mountaintop fall.

“Good to know you were having such fun inside me.”

“Pleasure can be derived from the simplest of matters. We should do this again sometime.”

Yeah, I’d enjoy that. Well, you’ll see. And by that you mean no, not anytime soon. There’s a dangerous power bloc forming here, and you don’t have a strong enough coalition to oppose it. Spoilsport.

You stretch your arms and wish you could move your legs. “I’ve already got my hands full with one woman, Byakuren. Two at once is just too much stress for a guy like me.”

“That is surprisingly weak. I expected more from you.”

“Harsh. I try my best; a Buddhist like you should be satisfied with that, right?”

The clack of the door opening preludes a screaming voice. “What’s going on in here?”

It’s another nun. This one’s headdress has a more catholic flair to it. She looks a bit red in the face; her screaming probably isn’t helping.

Behind her is the white-clothed figure from before. Now that you can properly see, you can identify the sailor suit the girl is wearing. She’s snickering behind her compatriot, looking- Is that an anchor? Is that girl really carrying an anchor behind her back?

Byakuren jumps to her feet, finally freeing your legs from her weight. The head nun adopts a stony face and walks to her closet, not even looking at the two girls who had burst into the room. She grabs her clothes off the hanger and glares at you over her shoulder.

Look away or leave, isn’t that obvious? Right, of course it is. You turn and face the corner, changing out of your jacket and gathering all of your belongings. Yoshika helps, handing you your things in the order you usually keep them secured. Huh, even you can’t do that. You always have to open the satchels to see what’s inside, considering they’re all identical bags.

You hear the intruding nun gasp and the sailor girl bellow in laughter. They’re pretty noisy.

Once everybody is completely dressed, you turn around and walk over to the two girls standing in the doorway, Yoshika attached to your side per usual. The little nun is completely red, pulling her hood over her face in a desperate attempt to shield her eyes or something. The sailor is just leering at you.

Nobody says anything, everybody waiting for someone else to begin.

Is Byakuren looking at you? Yeah, she’s looking at you. Her piercing stare is saying, ‘It’s your fault this is happening, you explain.’ If you were to flip over to your mage sight, you imagine she would be steaming with dark mana.

Anger must be clouding her judgment if she trusts you to do the whole self-introduction shtick. Excellent.

[ ] Plastic surgeon
[ ] Lover
[ ] Adopted brother
[ ] Baker
[ ] Freeloader
[ ] Traveling magician
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>Necromancer cred
Yo man, you gotta be dark and edgy to hang out in the underworld.

>Routes
Every route is still viable and full of character development, as far as I’m concerned. The power of love (and some magic) fixes all problems!
>> No. 163322
[x] Lover
[x] Traveling magician

So a Necromancer, a Witch, a Monk, a Jiang Shi, a Shrine Maiden and an Oni all walk into a shrine...
>> No. 163324
[X] Traveling magician

Stick with the truth. Doesn't hurt, and might even help.
>> No. 163325
[x] Lover
[x] And once Miss Nun Habit over there is thoroughly freaked out--
[x] That was a joke. Actually just a travelling magician who helped Byakuren with something last night.

Because poking a bit of fun at her is fine if she's going to be doing the same to us while we're asleep, right? It's not quite an eye for an eye, but a little back-and-forth is probably fair game.
>> No. 163327
[x] Lov- please don't kill me.
[x] Ahem, Traveling Magician.

Well, that was fun.
>> No. 163328
[X] Plastic Surgeon

Okay why is that choice so funny? I can't figure out why, but it has me in stitches.

[x] Lover, and play this card as long as you can without being killed on the spot.
[x] And once Miss Nun Habit over there is thoroughly freaked out--
[x] That was a joke. Actually just a travelling magician who helped Byakuren with something last night.
>> No. 163330
[X] Wandering door-to-door plastic surgeon.
-[X] "See the wonders I have done with my newest customer here? Does Yoshika not look like she has been given back ten years of her life?
--[X] "Why are you staring at me like that, Byakuren? I was at least trying to hide the fact that we are secret lov-
---[X] "Pfft. Nope. Couldn't say it with a straight face. Alright, jokes over. I'm actually a travelling magician who Byakuren's letting freeload here for a while. Hi all."
>> No. 163331
[x]Adopted brother
[x]Lover

I see writefag has also seen that doujin.
>> No. 163332
[X] Wandering door-to-door plastic surgeon.
-[X] "Why are you staring at me like that, Byakuren? I was at least trying to hide the fact that we are secret lov-
--[X] "Pfft. Nope. Couldn't say it with a straight face. Alright, jokes over. I'm actually a travelling magician who Byakuren's letting freeload here for a while. Hi all."

Let's do a combo!
>> No. 163334
[X]"Traveling mattress salesman. Miss Byakuren was sampling the goods."
>> No. 163335
[X] Wandering door-to-door plastic surgeon.
-[X] "Why are you staring at me like that, Byakuren? I was at least trying to hide the fact that we are secret lov-
--[X] "Pfft. Nope. Couldn't say it with a straight face. Alright, jokes over. I'm actually a travelling magician who Byakuren's letting freeload here for a while. Hi all."

One day this kind of jokes are going to get us killed for real. Until then, we might as well enjoy doing them as long as we can.
>> No. 163336
[N] Lov- please don't kill me.
[N] Ahem, Traveling Magician.
>> No. 163338
[x] Lover
[x] And once Miss Nun Habit over there is thoroughly freaked out--
[x] That was a joke. Actually just a travelling magician who helped Byakuren with something last night.

I can live with that.
>> No. 163342
[X] Wandering door-to-door plastic surgeon.
-[X] "Why are you staring at me like that, Byakuren? I was at least trying to hide the fact that we are secret lov-
--[X] "Pfft. Nope. Couldn't say it with a straight face. Alright, jokes over. I'm actually a travelling magician who Byakuren's letting freeload here for a while. Hi all."
>> No. 163344
[X] Wandering door-to-door plastic surgeon.
-[X] "Why are you staring at me like that, Byakuren? I was at least trying to hide the fact that we are secret lov-
--[X] "Pfft. Nope. Couldn't say it with a straight face. Alright, jokes over. I'm actually a travelling magician who Byakuren's letting freeload here for a while. Hi all."

Irritate ALL the Buddhists! Who needs social etiquette anyway?
>> No. 163345
[X] Plastic surgeon
>> No. 163346
[x] Wandering door-to-door plastic surgeon.
-[x] "Why are you staring at me like that, Byakuren? I was at least trying to hide the fact that we are secret lov-"
--[x] "Pfft. Nope. Couldn't say it with a straight face. Alright, jokes over. I'm actually a travelling magician who Byakuren's letting freeload here for a while. Hi all."

Maximum troll is best revenge for mental intrusions.
>> No. 163348
[x] Traveling magician
>> No. 163351
[x] Lover, and play this card as long as you can without being killed on the spot.
[x] And once Miss Nun Habit over there is thoroughly freaked out--
[x] That was a joke. Actually just a traveling magician who helped Byakuren with something last night.
>> No. 163353
[X] Wandering door-to-door plastic surgeon.
-[X] "Why are you staring at me like that, Byakuren? I was at least trying to hide the fact that we are secret lov-
--[X] "Pfft. Nope. Couldn't say it with a straight face. Alright, jokes over. I'm actually a travelling magician who Byakuren's letting freeload here for a while. Hi all."
>> No. 163356
File 135447991432.jpg - (232.22KB , 850x850 , waiting-for-you-next-thread.jpg ) [iqdb]
163356
Well, we’re almost at the end of the thread, so to help kill it faster I’d like to ask for comments and critiques. How do you like the story so far? What do you absolutely despise? Story too fast, too slow? What can I improve on? Anything you’d like to say can help me improve, so I’d be glad to hear it. Of course, you’re welcome to lambaste me at any time, but I’ll specifically ask for it at the end of each thread.

On that note, feel free to ask any questions you might have. Need clarification on something? Curious about what would have happened had a different choice be taken? Want to know my opinion on something? I’ll try to answer everything, but spoilerable answers are likely to be fraudulent and misleading.

Oh, you can still vote here, too. The next story post will begin the second thread. If nobody wants to comment, that’s fine. I’ll talk to myself for a few posts and move on.

Thanks for sticking around!

TL;DR – Comments, critiques, questions and answers time! Next thread == continuation of story.
>> No. 163357
I really like it. It feels too like you have hit the canon mix of grim dark and fluffy.
>> No. 163359
[ ] Lover
I mean [ ] Traveling magician
But I am a [ ]Lover
>> No. 163362
>>163356

I really like the juxtaposition of the fluff and grimm-er stuff, yeah. If there's one critique I have, it's something that came up when the Reimu thing happened. Would all of those girls have been /that/ interested in our intrepid hero? Besides that, I like your Byakuren. She's got a spark of something.
>> No. 163363
>>163356

I agree with >>163357 in that you managed to strike the balance between fluffy, humorous and serious. However, towards the end I had the feeling we were deviating from our main goal of acquiring info about the whereabouts of the Necronomicon. But I'm going to blame it on Reimu and Suika this time. I hope you won't delve too much in romantic routes and lose sight of the MC's objective, but I think you won't make that mistake.

And another question, did you base MC and his sister in Edward and Alphonse from FMA?
>> No. 163365
File 13544895151.jpg - (315.31KB , 800x800 , e7e0fbe5f9c9a58750062940d4b50d37.jpg ) [iqdb]
163365
>>163356
I love how you went from one topic to another, how one second we're in a comedy and another in a tragedy. It is risky (specially on more important situations) but I love it.

I hope you continue like this and don't focus too much on the necromicon because this'd be kinda short that way (start-patchouli-favor-done-location given-we find it-the evil mc has it-we fight it-win-end)

As for characters, Reimu is lovable, your Yoshika has a sis-con aspect that I like but all the prizes and praises go for Byakuren. I love her so much right now.
>> No. 163375
>>163365
Yoshika varies depending on if Sis is possessing her or not.

But so far I like the story though I do worry about how much hijinks you allow as I've seen stories derailed by such things.
>> No. 163376
Headvoices are kind of over-used in quests (usually when the author feels the need to justify the questers presence), but at least it's an original use of it.

MC ineptitude at interacting with people is amusing.
>> No. 163380
For some reason, I love the Reimu of this story. It's just that demeanor..
>> No. 163502
>Would all of those girls have been /that/ interested in our intrepid hero?
Outsiders always cause a bit of a stir, whether they are found half-eaten or not. A self-admitted traveler of some power is even rarer. You’re good for a few minutes of entertainment, at the very least.

>And another question, did you base MC and his sister in Edward and Alphonse from FMA?
Nope. At least, not consciously. Some of it is based off of a different story I had started that never went anywhere and sits dead on my hard-drive, but I can’t pinpoint exactly where the idea originated from off the top of my head.

>Romance, PLOT, comedy, and all that other jazz
I’m glad this dancing around has worked out okay so far. Playing around with mood is one of the goals I had in mind when starting this story. Getting mired down in one aspect is unfortunately simple; trying to strike a balance is what I’m working on.

>Derailment
Always a concern, but I’ll try to keep everything cohesive. A little wandering around in the beginning is what I expected. It allows you all to get a feel for my version of Gensokyo and the characters I can write. Naturally, once the shit hits the fan, I’ll be encouraging some more decisive action towards your goals.

Pacing is the second goal I had in mind for this story. A lot of my writings tend to be unbearably sluggish in their length and speed because of my preferences. I’ll be trying to keep everything right, but if you think the story is moving too fast/too slow don’t be afraid to yell at me.

Thanks for taking the time to comment, everybody.

>>163501