#039;s Public Enemy - Thread 2 | THP - The Destination for Touhou fans

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166295 No. 166295
Thread 1: >>163303

New thread, new experiment! These first updates will be much shorter and quicker than usual. The reason for this is that I want to try to write faster, like one update per day or two, and see if I can keep up the rhythm.

The other big difference is that they be focused on an entirely different character (pic related), so this is sort of a "paralogue", or parallel plot. Nonethelss, your choices here will be crucial and will have important consequences on the main plot, so choose wisely!

This will also double as a recap of everything that has happened until this point, so new readers can begin from here and not miss any important point.

And with that said, let's start the second "paralogue"! (The first one was that conversation between Reimu and Kotohime, if you don't recall.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Come onnnnnnn, why won't you open?"

The witch is losing her already short patience by the minute. Little Bell wouldn't normally take so long to open her door and greet a potential customer. This whole situation, however, isn't normal, not by a long shot. You don't see a hole the size of a house in the village wall everyday. When she went to snoop around, the guards told her nothing was out of the ordinary, that she needn't worry, and that there was nothing to see. Lies, of course. They've been trained to spout them almost instanstaneously, as a generic response.

"Kosuzu, you there!? Please, let me in!"

But her experienced guts told her this was the handiwork of a youkai. And as a (self-proclaimed) expert incident solver, she simply couldn't let this slip by. So she went directly to Little Bell's house, the one person that was always involved someway or another in the most recent incidents. The witch always knew that having a whole library full of demon books was tantamount of keeping Pandora's Box under your bed; waiting for big trouble to explode on your face. Actually, the last grimoire the witch read speculated that said Box was, in fact, a demon book. Maybe Little Bell has it hidden somewhere in her shelves? Now that'd be an interesting treasure to 'borrow'.

"I just wanna know if you're okay! C'mon, open the door already!"

But she's digressing. The cute airheaded librarian had already freed youkai by accident in the past. It wouldn't be surprising that this incident was also her fault. She usually isn't particularly helpful in resolving the problems she starts, but the witch has no other leads to follow. In that sense, she envies her friend and rival's natural intuition, that allowed the miko to find the culprit wherever he or she was. But with awesome powers come not-so-awesome responsibilities, like repairing holes in walls, so all in all, the witch prefers to have it her own way. Besides, playing detective is fun, too!

"Kosuzu, it's me, Marisa! I'm here to help! Please!"

But standing five minutes in front of Little Bell's door made her reconsider that last statement. Now the witch feels the urge to blast it down and barge in, as her modus operandi dictates. She'd probably be scolded for breaking the door and putting the books at risk, but she's too worried not to check on Little Bell.

"I'm worried about you! If- if you can't open, at least answer me, dammit!"

But nobody responds to the witch's concerned calls. Most probably, Little Bell isn't at home, what if something serious happened to her? There's the possibility that she's on an errand or something. But if that were the case, her parents would be at home too, right?

"This girl..." the witch sighs.

[]She's panicking over nothing. Little Bell must be somewhere else at the village, for sure.
[]Screw it, she's going in!
-[]Entering from the back quietly. No need to make unneccesary racket.
-[]Riding her broom through the window - her signature dynamic entry!
-[]What this damned door needs is a good hip drop!
-[]Annhilate the whole wall with lots of love!


>> No. 166296
[x]Screw it, she's going in!
-[x]What this damned door needs is a good hip drop!

It feels the most... 'Marisa' of the options.
>> No. 166298
[]Screw it, she's going in!
-[]Annhilate the whole wall with lots of love!

Seems like somthing Marisa would do so she could get away with it.
>> No. 166299
[]Screw it, she's going in!
-[]What this damned door needs is a good hip drop!

Headstrong and rude.
Marisa.
>> No. 166300
[X]Screw it, she's going in!
-[X]Entering from the back quietly. No need to make unneccesary racket.

Not exactly Marisa's MO, but it's best not to make too much of a ruckus while 'something' is going on.
>> No. 166304
[x]Screw it, she's going in!
-[x]What this damned door needs is a good hip drop!
>> No. 166309
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166309
[X]Screw it, she's going in!
-[X]What this damned door needs is a good hip drop!

No one expects the butt slam, especially doors.
>> No. 166318
[X]Screw it, she's going in!
-[X]What this damned door needs is a good hip drop!

I'd be all for busting it in with the power of love, but this is the most amusing option for me.
>> No. 166325
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166325
[]Screw it, she's going in!
-[]Riding her broom through the window - her signature dynamic entry!

Signature move is a must at all time
>> No. 166336
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166336
[X]Screw it, she's going in!
-[X]What this damned door needs is a good hip drop!


"That's it, I'm comin' in!"

The witch is done waiting. If she wants to go in, she goes in, period. No door, barrier or gateguard has ever stopped her, and today won't be the first time. But seeing as she is at the village, blowing things up is out of the question, much to the witch's chagrin. Besides, if she "accidentaly" burned one of Little Bell's books, she would never hear the end of her scolding.

Therefore, she concludes she needs a less destructive way to enter the house. Entering from the back door seems like a good idea at least, but the witch discards it. If there happens to be someone inside, that would lead to a lot of misunderstandings she doesn't want to deal with now. No, she needs to make clear she is barging in. Maybe flying through the window? That's how she always breaks in Voile. But Voile is significantly bigger than Little Bell's house, which means there's less space to maneuver her broom here.

And the witch feels like tryin a different thing, for a change. That door has been pissing her off too much; it needs a little ass whooping. Literally.

"Aight, let's do this! On my mark..."

The witch takes a few steps back, shakes her waist as a warm-up, brinks on the spot a couple of times, crouches down, puts her hands on the ground and points her behind upwards, like one of those athletes she heard about.

"Get set..."

If she were an ordineary person, what she is about to do would end up in a rather painful way for her. But she isn't an ordinary person at all. She is the Ordinary Magician. Her plump yet firm rear has grazed all sorts of physical, magical and spiritual bullets shot at her with no problems, and has sent many humans and youkai alike soaring through the sky. A slim wooden door like that will not pose any challenge for her!

"Bang!"

The witch starts running as fast as her legs can, and when she gets close enough to her target, she jumps, turns midair, sticks her butt frontwards and clenches her muscles. That door is about to get crushed into smithere-!

To her horror, she hears the door sliding open. But she can't see who's the fool who puts him or herself on harm's way after all her warnings, and it's too late to stop her charge. All the witch can do now is pray that the unlucky sod won't get hurt too much. But she knows better.

"Who is i- UGH!"

And now the other person does too. The witch identified her as a middle aged woman by her voice, and her annoyed tone made clear she wasn't pleased about recieving visits. Getting a surprise mouthful of pretty witchy ass probably won't do any good towards improving her sour mood, the witch thinks as she falls on to floor. Shortly after, she hears a loud crash at the other side of the room, and when she looks to inspect, she sees the woman lying dazed on a shelf, buried under a pile of books that fell over her with the impact.

"Ehhhhh, you okay?" the witch asks.

It's probably a moot question. Most people would get knocked out just by the sheer force of her Bloomers of Steel, as someone nicknamed that move. Hitting a sturdy shelf after flying ten meters at high speed and then having half of Little Bell's library fall on your head is just overki-

"Ughhhh, this is the second time in less than twenty four hours that I fly straight to a wall," the woman's voice is heard under the pile of books and scrolls. "I swear I don't get paid enough for this!"

Much to the witch's surprise, her victim stands up non-chalantly, as if nothing happened. The woman has a sort of regal aura around her that wasn't fazed in the slightest by being rammed by the witch's butt. Her long red hair tied into a ponytail is still neat and tidy, and her expensive-looking kimono hasn't a single spec of dust or tear on it. The witch has to think for a few seconds before she remembered who she is.

"Ah, Kotohime! I'm very sorry!" the witch quickly apologizes. "I didn't mean to-"

"Oh, yes, you totally meant to!" the police officer berates her. "What kind of person tries to break a door with her butt?"

"I was literally screaming at the door for five minutes! If you are inside, at least answer!"

"That's none of your business, kid! More importantly," Kotohime drives her accussatory finger of law and order into the witch's shoulder. "If nobody answers you, you are to suppose nobody's at home and take your leave, not break in her house!"

"That's-"

"I should arrest you for housebreaking and assault to the authority, with the aggravated circumstance of... of... how was the legal term for that?" the officer mutters to herself.

"'Rammin' the brass with my butt?'"

"No, that isn't it. Doesn't sound proper and pompous enough," Kotohime scracthes her back head, where she probably got hit. "But it'll work for now. I'll think of it when I'm writing my report. Now you're coming to the station with me, miss!"

The witch let out a sigh. Of all the people who were in her 'People you should not piss off' list, the police officer ranked quite high, and she just pissed her off big time. Escaping her would be easy, but that would only bring the witch trouble in the long term, not to mention that she came here to check on Little Bell. And the witch always finishes everything, even stuff she doesn't start. Leaving now would be even more unbecoming of her than smearing her ass on police officers' faces. Running away is never an option!

[]...However, a temporary tactical retreat is! Fly awaaaaaay!
[]Ask for forgiveness! She really didn't mean to hurt her!
[]Nobody will take the witch alive! Fight for your freedom!
[]Tell her why the reason why she broke in! It's actually an honest one this time.
[]Tell her a little lie! (Write-in)
[]Turn the tables on her!
-[]"Where is Kosuzu? Did something happen to her?"
-[]"What are you doing here?"
-[]"What the hell happened to the wall?"
[]Write-in

>> No. 166337
[x]Turn the tables on her!
-[]"Where is Kosuzu? Did something happen to her?"
-[]"What are you doing here?"
-[]"What the hell happened to the wall?"

All of the above! If people aren't supposed to be bothering a place that's got nobody responding to knocks at the door, then what's a cop doing in there without the place's owner around? That's illegal too!
>> No. 166338
[x]Turn the tables on her!
-[x]"Where is Kosuzu? Did something happen to her?"
-[x]"What are you doing here?" "I want to see your search warrant!"
-[x]"What the hell happened to the wall?"

The best defense is a good offense; words to live by for this gal.
>> No. 166339
[]Tell her a little lie! (Write-in)
say that Reimu sent her to check up on Kosuzu and that she assumed the worst when she didn't answer.
- if Kotohime says Reimu ordered her to investigate the house (or something like that), say that Reimu didn't think she could do it herself, thanks to the earlier failure

btw. when and how exactly did the guards and reimu find out that we had the book
from when we made contact with Rin and when we escaped the guards. there is a blank space.
or am i just being a slowpoke
>> No. 166341
>>166339
>say that Reimu didn't think she could do it herself, thanks to the earlier failure
You might want to change this part of that write-in. As of now, Marisa is completely clueless about what happened, so there's no way for her to know Kotohime failed at apprehending MC. I can work with the rest of the write-in, but I'll most likely ignore or change this particular segment.

>from when we made contact with Rin and when we escaped the guards. there is a blank space.
Yes, there is, and no, you're not being a Slowpoke. This part will get explained in the future, so you'll eventually learn the answer to your question. If you'll do it sooner or later, that'll depend on your choices.
Regardless, I applaud you for noticing it and pointing it out, because it's a pivotal point of the mystery surrounding Rin. Or was it so obvious nobody thought it was worth mentioning it?
>> No. 166342
[x]Turn the tables on her!
-[x]"Where is Kosuzu? Did something happen to her?"
-[x]"What are you doing here?" "I want to see your search warrant!"
-[x]"What the hell happened to the wall?"

Precisely! When in doubt, go on the offensive!
>> No. 166343
[X]Turn the tables on her!
-[X]"Where is Kosuzu? Did something happen to her?"
-[X]"What are you doing here?"
-[X]"What the hell happened to the wall?"
>> No. 166347
[x]Turn the tables on her!
-[x]"Where is Kosuzu? Did something happen to her?"
-[x]"What are you doing here?"
-[x]"What the hell happened to the wall?"

Let's get her on the defensive!
>> No. 166352
[]Nobody will take the witch alive! Fight for your freedom!

FREEEEEEDOOOOOOOOOOOM!

I think of Marisa as a threat right now because she's friends with Reimu. If we have her running from the law then this might be a good way to guarantee that she's on our side - or at least not on Reimu's.
>> No. 166353
>>166352
Metagaming now? Tut tut.
>> No. 166378
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166378
So now I have clear I cannot keep up with the daily update rhythm. And that if I try, I make even more typos than usual. So I'll be slowing down the pace in lieu of trying to make the writing better. Oh, and this update turned longer than usual. Always happens to me when it's time to explain things.

---------------------------------------------

[x]Turn the tables on her!
-[x]"Where is Kosuzu? Did something happen to her?"
-[x]"What are you doing here?"
-[x]"What the hell happened to the wall?"


"I'm not goin' anywhere, missus!" the witch says defiantly.

Kotohime's eyebrow twitches at the sarcastic tone she put on her last word. The witch can see her fists clenching in anger, but the officer lets out a sigh and relaxes.

"Look, miss, I have a job to do, and I don't have the time to deal with the likes of you," she pinches her nose bridge in irritation. "I'll let this... matter pass if you go away now, alright?"

"You got wax in your ears or what? I said I'm not goin' anywhere!" the witch waggles her index at Kotohime. "I happen to have a few questions needin' answering, and I'm gonna get'em one way or another, you hear me?"

"I've heard of your exploits as an incident solver, but this matter falls on the hands of the village security, so I'd appreciate it if-"

"Spill the beans! What's with that big hole in the wall of the village?" the witch ignores Kotohime and presses on.

"Hold it right the-!"

"Where is Little Bell? Why is she not here at home? Did something happen to her!?"

"Little Bell? Who is th-?"

"Actually, what are you doing here?" the witch grabs Kotohime by her collar. "A plonk in an empty house? Isn't it illegal to enter a person's home without permission?"

"You're the last person I want to hear that from, you swiper!" the woman slaps the witch's hands away. That remark was the last straw. "I'm getting real tired of your constant interruptions! I'm in a real bad mood today, so get off my sight before I change my mind... or yours."

The police officer's eyes glow in bright red. The witch takes warning; she had heard of her mysterious mind-controlling powers, very similar to a certain lunar bunny's she faced several times in the past. That's why she has the caution not to lock eyes with Kotohime, and instead focuses on her hands, which are going for her spouses. She looks like she's being serious this time, unlike their first face-off several years ago.

"So we doin' this the hard way, huh? Works for me~!" the witch grins as she reaches for her trusty hakkero inside her pocket.

Despite both of them being eager for a fight, the Ordinary Magician and the Lunatic Princess stay still, waiting for the other to make a move. The witch can see Kotohime's fingers coiling around in anticipation, and she grips her hakkero tighter in response. The tension is becomes gradually more unbearable, until the witch loses her patience and brings her magical furnace out. Almost immediately, the officer takes the spouses, while with the other hand makes a strange sign - a physical spell declaration.

"Love Sign-!"

"Luna Sign-!"


"STOP IT!"

A piercing squeal stops both combatants just before they finish declaring their Spell Cards. They turn their heads to see who dared to interrupt their duel, and to their surprise, they see Kosuzu, the little red-haired librarian in her checkered kimono and trade-mark apron, with her face red with fluster and anger.

"Kosuzu, you're okay!" exclaims the witch in relief.

"Miss Motoori, I told you not to come out until I returned," says Kotohime.

"You were making a lot of noise, and I became worried, so..." Little Bell mutters sheepishly. "Anyway, what in the world is wrong with you two!?" Suddenly, her voice shifts into an authoritative and furious scream. "You were about to destroy invaluable books with your magic! I spent a lot of time and money collecting them! And some of them are the last of their kind too! What if you accidentaly burn them down, huh!? What are you going to do?"

"I- uh..."

"That's-"

"No buts! You two are going to lay down your... your things right now!"

Kosuzu's tone admits no complaints. After exchanging a significant glare, both the witch and the officer put the hakkero and the spouses away respectively, and stop declaring their Spell Cards at once. They do not dare to spur the wrath of the little librarian.

"That's much better!" Little Bell claps her hands and smiles with glee, returning to her cheerful self. "I'm glad to see you, Marisa, and I'm sorry for not going to greet you before, but I was busy talking with Miss Kotohime here about important matters."

"I-it's okay," the witch chuckles nervously, still put off by her friend's changes of mood. "I just wanted to check on you, to see if you were alright."

"Thanks for your concern, but I'm fine. And about our discussion..." Kosuzu turns to Kotohime. "I changed my mind. I will tell you all I know, on one condition."

"I'm listening," the woman tilts her head.

"I want Marisa to be with us and listen to what I have to say."

The officer glares at the witch, then back at the librarian, and sighs.

"...Alright, she can join us, as long as she doesn't interrupt the examination," she finally says.

'Examination? So Kotohime was interrogating Little Bell? Like a witness? Or worse, a suspect? What the heck is going on here?', thought the witch.

"That's it, if Marisa doesn't mind, of course," Kosuzu looks at the magician.

"Not at all," the witch shakes her head. "I'm quite curious to know what's happening."

"Then why don't we talk about this with a nice cup of tea?"

The librarian gestures the witch and the officer to follow her to the library. The witch feels somewhat anxious as she steps in the room and sits down on the table, but she can't put her finger on why exactly. Whatever worry and panic exist in her mind are inflamed by mystery, suspicion and secrecy. Hard and exact facts will cool it, she guesses, and she is about to get them.

----------------------------------------------

"Alright, where should I start..."

The three girls are sitting on the small table on Kosuzu's library, with a steaming and savory cup of green tea on their plates. The witch listens intensely to Little

Bell's narration as she enjoys the warmth and taste of the drink.

"... I guess it all began when Ms. Knowledge sent me that book-"

The witch almost does a spit take when she hears that name. "Wait, what!? Knowledge, as in Patchouli Knowledge, the shut-in from the Scarlet Mansion?"

"Oh, is that her name? I didn't know that," says Kosuzu.

"Ahem."

Kotohime coughs to catch their attention, as she shoots an annoyed glance at the witch. Right, no interruptions, she remembers.

"To put it short, we've been penfriends for a while, and we exchange books from time to time," Little Bell explains. "About a week ago, their head maid came here and

delivered a very strange book from her. In her letter she asked me to decipher its contents, which were written in an unknown language."

'So Patchouli and Kosuzu change books? And Sakuya acts as the courier?', thinks the witch to herself. 'I dunno, something sounds off about this...'

"I thought your library only lent and sold books. Do you also decode them?" asks Kotohime.

"Um, well, not officially," the girl scratches her temple. "I haven't told my parents about this, but... you see, months ago, I discovered I had a super-duper-mega-ultra-hiper-awesome power! I learned I can decipher any sort of text, no matter what language it is written in, by just touching them!"

'She hasn't told anyone else about that yet', thought the witch. The police officer nods, urging Kosuzu to continue.

"... or that's what I thought," Little Bell continues. "Because for some reason I couldn't read that book no matter how hard I tried."

"Seriously?" the witch exclaims. "What happened to the 'any sort of text' part?"

"Maybe the book not having 'text' per se has something to do with it," says Kosuzu. "The book was filled with lines and symbols that wrapped all over themselves and formed some sort of doodles."

"Maybe it's a type of code used by a secret sect or something? The kind you need a specific cypher to crack it?" the magician guesses.

"I would've been able to decipher it if that was the case. No, I think it had a curse or an hex on it that blocks my ability on it."

"Hmmmm..." The witch tries to think of spells that impeded the proper reading of a code. She quickly comes up with five or six that fit that description, and she probably would find a couple of dozens more if she performed a thorough search in any library. It wouldn't hurt to ask Little Bell more details about the book. Maybe the witch can pinpoint the exact curse used with more information."

"Skipping the magic technicality, the book this Ms. Knowledge individual sent you can't be deciphered by anybody, is that correct?" asks Kotohime.

"Actually, there's one person who was able to read some lines from a page," points Kosuzu.

"Oh yeah, him," Kotohime snaps her fingers in realization. "Your elusive friend."

"Uhhh, I'm lost here," interrupts the witch. "Care to fill me in? Who's this him you're talking about?"

"Oh, you don't know him?" answers Little Bell. "He's-"

"An old friend of Miss Motoori that stole the book from her four days ago, and went into getaway and hiding when we were about to apprehend him yesterday," interrupts Kotohime. "He's also the responsible of that hole in the wall you saw."

"Hey, he didn't steal the book!" the librarian protests. "I lent it to him because he was the only one able to understand some words out of it!"

"That's irrelevant for the time being," the officer cuts short. "I'm more interested in another thing..."

'That lunatic officer isn't telling me everything,' suspects the witch. 'A person who is able to decipher a book nobody else can read? And he did so much damage to the wall? Who is he exactly?' Now, more than ever, she regrets not being able to interrupt Kotohime to resolve her questions. But she had struck a deal, and she had to comply to her demands. For now. 'Moreover, Kosuzu said she lent him the book, but Kotohime says he stole it from her. There's something very wrong here. Why do they want to jail him? There must be another reason, I'm sure of it.' So many things to ask, and she can't speak up! The witch clenches her teeth in frustation.

"Yesterday, around this hour he was being pursued by my men around this area," says Kotohime. "We had the streets blocked, yet he somehow managed to escape us. We suspect he asked for shelter in one of the houses of this block. Do you have any idea where exactly he could have hidden?"

The officer's voice is filled with implicit indictment towards Little Bell. The witch knows that tactic; Kotohime is trying to accuse Kosuzu of giving refuge to her friend while he was being chased, but she lacks the evidence to prove it. Therefore, she's pressing Little Bell into letting a confession slip accidentaly. The witch has been on Kosuzu's situation a number of times before. She learned that a well told lie would suffice to deflect blame, as the witch's previous experiences proved. In fact, Kosuzu needn't say a single word; Kotohime isn't allowed to send anybody to jail on a conjecture. The witch wants to warn Little Bell about this, but again, the darned deal doesn't allow her to interrupt Kotohime's interrogation. If she could only tell her-!

"N-no, I don't! Why would I?" Kosuzu stutters, way too unconvincing. "I haven't seen him ever since I lend him the book!"

'Darn it, Little Bell, now you dun goofed,' thought the witch, resisting the urge to bring a palm to her face. The cute librarian's almost a worst liar than the miko. She briefly wonders who'd win in a lying contest between those two. Stuttering, mumbling and blushing galore, for sure. The witch's attention is brought back to reality when she sees Kotohime putting down her cup of tea slooooowly back on the plate and giving Kosuzu a stare that could be best described as "armor-piercing".

"Now, now, Miss, I hope you understand the situation you're in," the officer shoots a cold smile at the librarian. "I have other ways to know what happened. It'd just take me more time and effort. And hear me well, it's much better if you tell me now than if I had to guess the truth by other sources. After all, concealing evidence from the authority is a quite serious crime..."

Little Bell grimaces and fidgets her fingers, visibly nervous.

"Am I making myself clear, Miss Motoori? Or do I need to get myself through?"

For a second, the witch thought Kotohime's crimson eyes glimmer briefly in bright red. She isn't thinking about doing that, is she? She might be forced to remain silent and let the officer harass poor Kosuzu while questioning, but if she even thinks of harming her, the witch won't stay put. Oh hell no. The magician leans back in her chair until she makes it screech on the floor. The officer looks briefly to her in annoyance, and that's when the witch takes the chance to send her a death glare of her own. Hopefully she'll get the message.

However, there's no need to escalate the conflict, because Kosuzu finally snaps:

"Alright, alright, I took him home!" she exclaims, flustered. "B-but I didn't know he was being chased! It's just that I wanted to ask him about the book, that's it!"

Little Bell's confession was a lie. The witch could see it on Kosuzu's persona; still trembling, shifting her position in the chair, her fingers still fidgeting... but at least this time she sounded much more sure of herself. It probably is a half-truth, the witch concluded, but there's something else she's hiding. Kotohime is also aware of this, judging for the serious glance she's giving at the librarian... but she lets out a sigh and relaxes.

"Let's drop this point, for the sake of continuing the testimony," the officer picks the cup again and takes a sip. "He was last seen at the village outskirts, an hour after he dissapeared in the streets. We now know he was here with you all that time. But what were you doing, exactly?"

Invasion of privacy, thought the witch; another question Little Bell could refrain to answer - if she only knew. But she is already too scared of the officer to keep hiding things from her. The witch clenches her fist in contained rage. This woman is definitely going too far with poor Kosuzu! She swears, if she crosses the line one more time...

"He... he was scared, and nervous, so I took him in and prepared him some tea," Little Bell explains, in a low voice. "When he calmed down, he told me that, ever since he read the book, he began to dream about a mysterious figure, and that he had pretty strange conversations with it."

The witch blows air out of her nose. She can already guess where is this going.

"But that day, he heard its voice speaking in his head, even though he wasn't dreaming," she continues. "The poor sod thought he was going crazy or something, and it probably didn't help that the whole town was after him."

The librarian gives Kotohime a defiant glare, but she isn't fazed in the slightest.

"Then that means..." the officer says.

"That the book was actually a demon book, and he was possessed by a youkai dormant within it," infers Kosuzu, confirming the witch's suspicions.

The librarian slouched in her chair, ridden with guilt and sorrow. It must be pretty tough to have a friend with a youkai inside his head, and knowing you were responsible for it, the witch thinks. It's not the first time she hears about this situation happening, but it occurrs mostly on the realm of literary fiction, and normally with much more ill intentions - she can't imagine Kosuzu purposely giving someone a book with a mind-controlling youkai to get rid of him. 'But wait a second. What if that was Knowledge's intention when she sent the book to Kosuzu?' ... No, Patchouli would never do that either. That was simply not her style at all. She had other safer options to eliminate an unwanted acquiantance. 'And that's assuming Kosuzu's penfriend is really Patchouli.'

"If you knew that, why didn't you stop him?" Kotohime presses on.

"Well, I... He left before I could do anything," Kosuzu explains. This time the witch couldn't tell if it was the truth or another lie. "He said he didn't want to put me in danger, so he had to go away. I... I could not stop him. Sorry..."

Kotohime nods, apparently satisfied with Kosuzu's testimony, and produces a small notepad and a pen from her sleeve.

"Thank you very much for your cooperation, Miss Motoori."

She then begins scribbling down everything Kosuzu told her. She probably has all the answers she needs, but the witch hasn't, not at all. There are still much more facts and details unclear! Too bad she isn't allowed to interrupt Kotohime's interrogatory and ask Kosuzu herself... but she could assume the officer has already finished, right? She even thanked Little Bell and all. Maybe the witch could at least press on one subject, at the very least?

[]It isn't worth it. The witch can get the answers to all her questions on her own, if she does a little searching.
[]Ask details about this Ms. Knowledge penfriend.
-[]How long have they been in touch?
-[]What kinds of book did they exchange?
-[]Could Kosuzu think of anything she might have done to offend her? Any reason Ms. Knowledge might want Little Bell out of the picture?
-[]The head maid acted as a courier, Kosuzu said. Could she give more details about that? And a description of her would be nice too.
-[]Could Kosuzu let the witch see the letters?
-[]Write-in
[]Ask details about the book, its curse, and the youkai inside it.
-[]Aspect of the cover and the pages?
-[]Estimated age?
-[]Author?
-[]A detailed description about those lines and symbols?
-[]Any idea what kind of curse it might have on it?
-[]Other traces of magic or spiritual energy Kosuzu might have noticed?
-[]Any idea why Kosuzu didn't know it was a demon book until it was too late?
-[]Why could Kosuzu friend read it, but she couldn't?
-[]Any idea what kind of youkai was inside it?
-[]How do youkai live inside a book, anyway? And how can they get inside a person's mind like that?
-[]Write-in
[]Kotohime seems to know more about this case than the witch or the librarian do. Time to cross-examinate the examinator!
-[]Who is Kosuzu's friend exactly?
---[]Why are you going after him? Apparently he didn't do anything wrong.
---[]He's only one person - with a youkai inside his head, granted. But the guard supposedly is prepared to deal with this kind of incidents. Why couldn't they stop him?
---[]What happened after he left Kosuzu's house? Does it have something to do with the hole in the wall?
---[]Any leads on where he might be now?
-[]Why is she being so pushy and insistent with Kosuzu? Does she suspect her of anything else?
-[]The hole has evident signs of the miko's handiwork at the repairments. Where is she?
-[]Is she really in charge of the investigation? It looks to the witch like she isn't as well informed as the chief of the village police should be.
-[]Write-in
Write-in


---------------------------------------------------

Yes, that's a bigass option sheet. You wanted options? Have some! Heh. Still, I must explain one or two things about this particular segment, because it's probably the most important part of this paralogue.

First, you notice how the head options are underlined? For this part, you can only pick one of them to interrogate Kosuzu or Kotohime. You may pick as many suboptions as you want, but you can choose only one general field of questioning. Ah, and modifying the write-in option into "asking everything" doesn't count.

Also, some of the questions you already know the answer to from the previous thread. But bear in mind that it's the MC who knows them, not Marisa. Depending on what information she gets from her questioning, her objectives, actions and motivations in the future will vary. So you meta-gamers out there, think very carefully about what you want Marisa to know or not.

This is also your chance to learn information about some points that might have been left unclear in the first thread. Feel free to ask whatever crosses your mind if it isn't already in the options sheet - that's why the write-in options are for. However, bear in mind that you're playing as Marisa, and that she doesn't know anything about what happened after MC left the village. Also, the information may or may not be reliable...
>> No. 166379
[x]Ask details about this Ms. Knowledge penfriend.
-[x]How long have they been in touch?
-[x]What kinds of book did they exchange?
-[x]Could Kosuzu think of anything she might have done to offend her? Any reason Ms. Knowledge might want Little Bell out of the picture?
-[x]The head maid acted as a courier, Kosuzu said. Could she give more details about that? And a description of her would be nice too.
-[x]Could Kosuzu let the witch see the letters?

I'm torn between gathering intel on how much information that reimu has on us and gathering information that we don't have yet.

Overall I think asking people who are against us will convince marisa that we are the bad guy so if we find out who the real evil in this is then Marisa will be more likley to view the case from our side.

The most important thing we need to see is the letters and I'm not sure if we'll ever get the chance to see them again.
>> No. 166381
[X]Ask details about this Ms. Knowledge penfriend.
-[X]How long have they been in touch?
-[X]What kinds of book did they exchange?
-[X]Could Kosuzu think of anything she might have done to offend her? Any reason Ms. Knowledge might want Little Bell out of the picture?
-[X]The head maid acted as a courier, Kosuzu said. Could she give more details about that? And a description of her would be nice too.
-[X]Could Kosuzu let the witch see the letters?

Never hurts to check.
>> No. 166382
[x]Ask details about this Ms. Knowledge penfriend.
-[x]How long have they been in touch?
-[x]What kinds of book did they exchange?
-[x]Could Kosuzu think of anything she might have done to offend her? Any reason Ms. Knowledge might want Little Bell out of the picture?
-[x]The head maid acted as a courier, Kosuzu said. Could she give more details about that? And a description of her would be nice too.
-[x]Could Kosuzu let the witch see the letters?

I think Marisa's main concern at this point would be who sent a book potentially threatening to her friend.
>> No. 166383
Incoming lengthy theory, may contain errors.

For Marisa the identity of Kosuzu's penfriend and whether it really is Patchouli should be easy to discern with a quick visit to the SDM without "wasting" her questioning time here. If Patchouli really is Kosuzu's penfriend she will most probably say so, if she is not then she will probably be glad to know that there is someone impersonating her. She may not spill the beans about any motives she might have had in sending Kosuzu the book (assuming she did it), but neither Kosuzu herself nor Kotohime could answer that in this situation anyway.
Thus to Marisa Kotohime's methods and questioning of Kosuzu in general should raise the most immediately answerable questions here. From what Marisa knows Kosuzu received a book to decipher, which she was unable to. Her mysterious friend (us) was for some reason able to decipher/read it, becoming possessed by the youkai inside the book. Normally, if that youkai was malicious, either him or Kosuzu would have called for help from the appropiate authorities for exorcism, but not only did they keep quiet (implying it was a non-malicious, lost or even benevolent youkai), but Kosuzu's friend immediately finds himself chased as an outlaw by those authorities while Kosuzu is being interrogated on rather illegal terms (the lack of lawyer or just her parents being even more outrageous than Kotohime's forcefulness).
Also him escaping said authorities in a rather flashy way (hole in the village wall) means that he probably used the youkai's powers, while Kotohime's refering to the suspect as Kosuzu's friend instead of "youkai-possessed guy" or similar implies that the youkai is not in control there (while hunting an aggressive youkai who possessed some poor sod in order to free him of it should be fine, hunting a guy who suddenly found himself being able to talk to a youkai book's inhabitant without any apparent aggression on either side clearly is not).

[X]Kotohime seems to know more about this case than the witch or the librarian do. Time to cross-examinate the examinator!
-[X]Who is Kosuzu's friend exactly?
---[X]Why are you going after him? Apparently he didn't do anything wrong.
---[X]What happened after he left Kosuzu's house? Does it have something to do with the hole in the wall?
-[X]Why is she being so pushy and insistent with Kosuzu? Does she suspect her of anything else?
-[X]Is she really in charge of the investigation? It looks to the witch like she isn't as well informed as the chief of the village police should be.
>> No. 166386
>>166383
I agree with virtually all of your points; visiting Patchouli, whom Marisa knows personally , would be far more effective than trying to determine her motives from others who are not so acquainted with her.

Marisa is not involved in this incident whatsoever, so her motives will be shaped by what she learns from this 'interrogation'.

[X]Kotohime seems to know more about this case than the witch or the librarian do. Time to cross-examinate the examinator!
-[X]Who is Kosuzu's friend exactly?
---[X]Why are you going after him? Apparently he didn't do anything wrong.
---[X]What happened after he left Kosuzu's house? Does it have something to do with the hole in the wall?
-[X]Why is she being so pushy and insistent with Kosuzu? Does she suspect her of anything else?
-[X]Is she really in charge of the investigation? It looks to the witch like she isn't as well informed as the chief of the village police should be.
>> No. 166387
>>166383

Interesting, I was leaning towards your choices before I read your reasoning.

[X]Kotohime seems to know more about this case than the witch or the librarian do. Time to cross-examinate the examinator!
-[X]Who is Kosuzu's friend exactly?
---[X]Why are you going after him? Apparently he didn't do anything wrong.
---[X]What happened after he left Kosuzu's house? Does it have something to do with the hole in the wall?
-[X]Why is she being so pushy and insistent with Kosuzu? Does she suspect her of anything else?
-[X]Is she really in charge of the investigation? It looks to the witch like she isn't as well informed as the chief of the village police should be.
>> No. 166390
[X]Kotohime seems to know more about this case than the witch or the librarian do. Time to cross-examinate the examinator!
-[X]Who is Kosuzu's friend exactly?
---[X]Why are you going after him? Apparently he didn't do anything wrong.
---[X]What happened after he left Kosuzu's house? Does it have something to do with the hole in the wall?
-[X]Why is she being so pushy and insistent with Kosuzu? Does she suspect her of anything else?
-[X]Is she really in charge of the investigation? It looks to the witch like she isn't as well informed as the chief of the village police should be.

You're right, going directly to Patchouli is more efficient. I guess.
>> No. 166410
>>166383
Wow, I gotta say that your reasoning is pretty sound.

[X]Kotohime seems to know more about this case than the witch or the librarian do. Time to cross-examinate the examinator!
-[X]Who is Kosuzu's friend exactly?
---[X]Why are you going after him? Apparently he didn't do anything wrong.
---[X]What happened after he left Kosuzu's house? Does it have something to do with the hole in the wall?
-[X]Why is she being so pushy and insistent with Kosuzu? Does she suspect her of anything else?
-[X]Is she really in charge of the investigation? It looks to the witch like she isn't as well informed as the chief of the village police should be.
>> No. 166435
[X]Before kotohime leaves
-[x]Ask details about the book, its curse, and the youkai inside it.
--[x]How do youkai live inside a book, anyway? And how can they get inside a person's mind like that?
--[x]Why could Kosuzu friend read it, but she couldn't?
--[x]Any idea why Kosuzu didn't know it was a demon book until it was too late?
[X]After Kotohime has left
-[x]Ask details about the book, its curse, and the youkai inside it.
--[x]Aspect of the cover and the pages?
--[x]Estimated age?
--[x]Author?
--[x]A detailed description about those lines and symbols?
--[x]Any idea what kind of curse it might have on it?
--[x]Other traces of magic or spiritual energy Kosuzu might have noticed?
--[x]Any idea what kind of youkai was inside it?
>> No. 166481
>>166383
Proof that sound reasoning can turn the tide. I applaud you for the time you spent coming up with that theory. There're a few points where you aren't totally correct, but overall you've hit the nail. Well, sort of, since there was no "incorrect" option here.

I'm calling it for:

[X]Kotohime seems to know more about this case than the witch or the librarian do. Time to cross-examinate the examinator!
-[X]Who is Kosuzu's friend exactly?
---[X]Why are you going after him? Apparently he didn't do anything wrong.
---[X]What happened after he left Kosuzu's house? Does it have something to do with the hole in the wall?
-[X]Why is she being so pushy and insistent with Kosuzu? Does she suspect her of anything else?
-[X]Is she really in charge of the investigation? It looks to the witch like she isn't as well informed as the chief of the village police should be.


Update will come later than usual because I have college exams to study. Fucking Physics and Structures. I will be writing in my free time (if I have any left), but don't expect it to be done soon.

Oh, and FYI, there's one question in the options you chose that you should have not picked, because it'll reveal Marisa a certain piece of information that will undermine her opinion of the MC. For all of you who have read the first thread, let's see if you can guess what question it is! Hint: It's related to something you did in the first three updates.
>> No. 166485
>>166481
I only really spent time on typing it out, it came to me while reading the options.
And if only our choosing one of the questions reveals it, then Kotohime should be pulled off the case for emotional involvment (or whatever the professional term for it is). As the chief of police she should be able to think of using the fact that the guy robbed her dad as a way to rile Marisa up against him, thus making her help the investigation on Kotohime's terms.

Physics and Structures? I have a friend in geology who has to deal with similar stuff. Pretty difficult from what I can make out.
>> No. 166503
I wasn't sure If I should have voted on the one that won or the one I voted for but, even though I cut down the options quite a bit, I still wouldn't have noticed that the bit that I think messed us up.

Did the other option that was voted on have any undermining options?
>> No. 166508
>>166485
I don't get what you're trying to say. Are you saying that Kotohime should be pulled off the case if she tries to rile Marisa against the MC or involve her emotionally in the case? Or that she should definitely do it? Anyway, Marisa is going to be involved in this incident, no matter what happens. Depending on the information she gets, she might make it personal or not - and in this case, she will. More or less. I guess you know how cold her relationship with her father is. This doesn't mean you completely fucked up, not at all. It just means it'll be more difficult to get Marisa on your side, should the opportunity arise.

Physics are hard, no question. Structures are a bit easier if you understand a bit of Physics and apply logic. It's just that my teacher makes the subject look extremely unappealing and boring... Welp, better stop ranting about my college life.

>>166503
Yes, all the options had one "trap" question that would have been detrimental to a character. Specifically, if you asked a certain question when choosing the "penfriend" option would make Kotohime even more suspicious of Kosuzu, and a suboption under the "book" choice would make Marisa think the youkai inside the book was extremely dangerous, with all the prejudices it carries. I'll leave it up to you to guess which questions they were.

And as I said above, picking that detrimental option won't mess anything up. It'll just make getting Marisa on your side a bit harder, - or in the case of the wrong "penfriend" question, make the situation on the next update more... tense. But nothing is lost yet!

This is just a heads-up to warn you that this kind of "trap" questions might appear again in the future, and while they won't lead you straight to a "bad end" or "lock a route" as the argot goes, they will make your life more difficult. So think a bit before you pick every single suboption available.
>> No. 166510
>>166508

Ah, yes, I had forgotten how important critical thinking was in this quest.
>> No. 166526
>>166508
Let me rephrase it a bit then.
Kotohime is already doing shady interrogation techniques. Now she meets up with Marisa, who is definitely not an upstanding, rule-abiding "incident solver" herself. Normally Kotohime, being the strict albeit somewhat wacky policewoman she is, would be against having Marisa investigating this case due to her being too destructive and the like. But this case is somehow special, and getting Marisa to "accidentally" spark us six feet under seems to be acceptable for some of the people involved. Thus Kotohime, if she were still level-headed, should have thought of using our robbing of Mr. Kirisame to rile Marisa up against us. The fact that Kotohime did not think of it, as evidenced by our needing to ask the "wrong" question, proves that she does not quite have her act together.

And another lengthy theory with good chance for errors.
>> No. 166640
Reading back, I think we shouldn't have asked if he did anything wrong. After all he did steal from Mr. Kirisame way back in update 2 or 3.

Unless Marisa's relationship with her dad is so fractured that she wouldn't have cared. That's a possibility too, I guess.
>> No. 166642
>>166640

Not that I'm disagreeing with you but it seems slightly hypocritical for Marisa to think that stealing is bad. Hopefully this won't dent our chances too badly.
>> No. 166717
File 136614236792.jpg - (287.77KB , 850x954 , sample-00929bc2b0ae381f34f11d2a024867d4.jpg ) [iqdb]
166717
It's official: I can't make short updates even if my life depended on it. Since this is a massive infodump/recap of what has happened until now, this update will be split into two parts. Also, I tried hard to make this massive wall of text a bit more enjoyable by putting some jokes here and there. I have the impression I have failed hard to be funny, maybe precisely because I tried too hard. Whatever. Here it is, and sorry for the "delay".

------------------------------------------

[X]Kotohime seems to know more about this case than the witch or the librarian do. Time to cross-examinate the examinator!
-[X]Who is Kosuzu's friend exactly?
---[X]Why are you going after him? Apparently he didn't do anything wrong.
---[X]What happened after he left Kosuzu's house? Does it have something to do with the hole in the wall?
-[X]Why is she being so pushy and insistent with Kosuzu? Does she suspect her of anything else?
-[X]Is she really in charge of the investigation? It looks to the witch like she isn't as well informed as the chief of the village police should be.


The witch figures out Kosuzu cannot tell her anything more that would help her in her own investigation. She suspects that the person writing the letters and sending those books isn't the same Knowledge the witch knows. Paying a visit to the Scarlet Mansion and asking Patchouli herself seems like a better way to confirm or refute her suspicions, whereas questioning Kosuzu or Kotohime won't do much. And knowing more detail about the book would be moot; Kosuzu's friends has it, and if they get him, they'll get the book as well.

Therefore, she should focus her attention to the "ellusive friend", as Kotohime called him. Piecing all the bits she heard, this person was able to decipher a book not even Kosuzu could. That means that either the curse was made so that only he could read the book, that he has the ability to bypass any curse. The first case seems more probable, but then again, this is Gensokyo, where a normal girl suddenly acquiring the power to decipher books in any language is considered a low-tier mysterious event. The witch should not make any assumptions yet. In any case, Kosuzu's friend is definitely not normal - at least not now that he has a youkai in his head. But what if he was special before he got the book? She must know everything he can about him.

"So who's this guy, anyway?" she asks. "If he was able to read the book, he must have had a dormant ability like yours, Kosuzu."

The witch decides to keep her other conjecture to herself. She doesn't want the librarian and the officer to know about her suspicions of this incident being a convoluted plot.

"You think so? Well, I don't really know," Little Bell says. "He seemed like a normal boy to me, as far as I recall. If he had powers, he didn't tell me."

"Maybe he didn't know it was a special power, or maybe that was the first time he used it," guesses the witch.

"Or he knew it all along, but decided to keep it a secret for everybody," comments Kotohime.

"No, I'm sure he didn't! He was genuinely freaked like me!" exclaims Kosuzu. "And why would he keep it a secret in the first place? We're very tolerant to people with powers here. Just look at Akyuu, or Miss Kamishirasawa!"

Or Kotohime, or herself as well, thinks the witch. If you ponder about it, many people it the village have some sort of special ability, of varying power and usefulness. And other people might have a dormant one, and they don't realize it.

"Yet you also kept your deciphering ability in the shadows until this moment," points out the officer. "Who else knows about them? Do your parents even know?"

"Anyway, tell me more about him, Kosuzu," the witch butts in before things got out of hand. "The more I- we know, the easier it'll be for us to understand what's up."

Kotohime looks at the witch annoyed at her interruption, but she says nothing. She probably realizes that she was about to go off a tangent, and the witch's petition made the conversation return to the original topic. But there's something more than simple annoyance in the officer's gaze...

"Well, he's been my friend for a long time," Kosuzu explains slowly, as if she was... unsure? "I-i remember he always liked to spend time at my library, and we would read books together."

"That's- uhhh, not very helpful. I was asking for name, appearance, that sort of things."

"Oh, right, right," Little Bell shakes her head. "So he's called... hmmm... he had hair... and... hmmmmmm..."

"Kosuzu?"

The little girl crosses her arms and her eyes, as if she was trying to remember something buried in her memory for a long time. That leaves the witch confused as hell. She just saw him no more than a day ago - why is she having troubles to tell her even his name? She has a very bad feeling about this.

"Hnnnnng, I can't... I don't understand, how can I...?" mutters Little Bell, gripping her head with her hands. "It's impossible!"

"What? What is it?" the witch asks worried.

"I- i don't remember his face, or his name, or anything else about him, it's so strange!" she cries. "I recall having a cup of tea with him yesterday, right here. And- and he was sitting right where you are, that I remember," she points at the witch's seat.

"What the hell..."

"But everything else about him is so... blurry, like... like..." Kosuzu is struggling to find the right words. "Do you know when you have a dream, and you remember what happened, and who was in it, but you don't remember their faces? But you are still sure you dreamed of them? That's how it feels."

"Uhhhhhhhhh, nope, I don't get it," the witch becomes even more confused as before.

"A dream, you say?"

However, Kotohime seems to have realized something, because she stops writing in her notepad and raises her eyebrows as if her bulb has just lit.

"You know what she means, Kotohime?" the witch asks.

The officer looks at the witch, closes her eyes, and ponders something for a long time. Then she sighs and stands up.

"Miss Motoori, could you wait here for a minute, please? We'll be back," she says.

"Yeah, sure," the librarian tilts her head in confusion.

Kotohime bows slightly in assent, and gestures the witch to follow her with a finger. The magician stands up as well and walks behind the officer, wondering what is she planning to do. Is she going to tell her something she doesn't want Little Bell to know? Or is she going to kick the witch out of the house? Nobody ever knows what's inside Kotohime's mind.
>> No. 166718
File 136614274253.jpg - (199.18KB , 850x1042 , sample-21a0e7feedf475a166d149d36c52d8bc.jpg ) [iqdb]
166718
"Marisa, are you really intent on investigating this case thoroughly?"

The officer had lead the witch to the entrance of the house, and speaks in a low voice to not let Kosuzu hear their conversation.

"Why, yes, of course!" the witch didn't need much time to give her answer. "I simply can't ignore a breach in the wall and a police officer harassing my friend!"

Kotohime's eyebrow twitches at the last remark, but she continues:

"Will you promise that you won't go 'illuminating' everyone you meet?"

"'Illuminating'?" the witch tiltes her head in confusion.

"Ehhhhh, giving them a full tour, I mean."

"I don't think I'm following you," the blonde girl scratches her head under her frilly hat.

"Would you prefer your own coined term 'spraying them with el-oh-el'?"

"'El-oh-el'?"

"'Lots Of Love'," Kotohime sighs.

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhh," the witch exclaims when she catches on the officer's euphemism.

It must be Kotohime's latest quirk, she tells herself. The red-haired officer was widely known for her strange and changing gimmicks. Every week or so, she always comes up with another way to mess up with people's minds, such as humming an ear-worming melody at exactly five o'clock, putting sediment shaped sediment inside every locker she comes across, or telling jokes about sloths in spacesuits. The worst case so far, the witch recalls, was when the officer had 'Yama complex' and started hitting every lollygagger in the streets with her own stick yelling "black". People were scared to go out of their houses until Miss Kamishirasawa put an end to Kotohime's folly with one of her infamous headbutts. In any case, when the officer has a fit of madness, her deranged imagination knows no bounds on that field, much to her subordinates' chagrin.

"Eoooooo! Marisa, you still there?"

The witch shakes her head as she's pulled back to reality by Kotohime's hand waving in front of her.

"Eek! Oh, yes, sorry, I'm here," she mumbles.

"So, what do you say about it?"

"I'm afraid I cannot do that, Kotohime," the witch declines almost instanstaneously.

"Wha-?" the officer is taken aback by her quick answer. "Why?"

"I'm an ordinary magician of the light, heat and love school, you see," she explains, taking her hakkero and juggling it in the air mindlessly. "I can deal light and love without the heat, and I can make love and heat with the lights off," the witch winks suggestively. "Hell, I can do all three concurrent or consecutive, whichever way you like it. But you can't ask me to give'em light and heat without the love. Love is compulsory."

"I'm being serious here! Must you blow everybody up to oblivion everytime you go out to resolve incidents?" Kotohime exclaims exasperated.

"That's how I roll, Kotohime! Danmaku is all about power, and love is the fuel that empowers me," the magician bumps her chest with her fist, confident.

"Alright, alright, have it your way, then," the red-haired woman gives up. "As long as you remember to ask before you shoot."

"Relax! I don't get carried away that easily," the blonde girl waves her hand. "... Most of the times."

"We'll see about that."

There is something about Kotohime's expression that unsettles the witch. The officer is true; she does have an itchy trigger finger, but what's the bad part about it? It has worked wonders in all the incidents she resolved so far.

"Sooooo, why did you bring me here?" the witch asks. "You got something to say to me alone?"

The officer closes her eyes, probably deciding if telling the magician is a good idea. The red haired woman finally nods to herself in reassurance and speaks in a very serious tone.

"I made inquiries about our ellusive friend after he escaped us," Kotohime breathes in and out. "And to my surprise, there are zero records of him. Not in the census, not in the Hieda's archives, not in the library, not even in Miss Kamishirasawa's school."

Since humans are considered an "endangered" species in Gensokyo, the human authorities take measures to account the number of people living in the village. If the witch recalls correctly, every two months Hieda's servants go door by door and update the census with the data collected. Every human inhabitant of the village is registered on the Hieda's census, but people living outside aren't accounted. For example, the witch herself isn't inscribed ever since she escaped her paren- no, she's delving into matters besides the point at hand. If Kosuzu's friend doesn't figure in the census, that means...

"Nothing? Are you really sure?" the witch asks.

"Nothing, absolutely nothing on him! I checked everywhere, and there's not even a single report, not even a single paper with his signature, nothing!" the officer exclaims frustated. "With no records of him, it's like he never existed in the first place!"

"Hmmm..."

"And that's not all."

"There's more?"

"Yes. I questioned his parents before I went here and- well, let's just say Miss Motoori isn't the only one with leaks in her think-tank."

"... Huh?" the witch blurts dumbfounded.

"Uhhh, forgot to pay the brain bill? Body in gear, mind in neutral? Needing a few screws tightened? Wheel spinning, but hamster's dead? Running on empty? Having a few empty boxcars in their train of thou-?"

"Alright, alright, I got it the first time, thanks," the magician cuts short. "Care to delve?"

"They do recall a boy living in their house, but like Miss Motoori, they don't have memories of his appearance nor his name," recounts the officer. "They even used the same simile: 'like it was a dream'. That's too similar to be just an epidemy of convenient amnesia!"

The witch raises her eyebrows in surprise. Kotohime's suspicions are, for once in a time, logical: three people using the same excuse is too much coincidence. But something about the officer's last remark rubs the witch the wrong way...

"And that's not even the best part!" Kotohime snorts. "When I checked the census, they figured as a 'couple'... with no children."

"Oh man."

This is starting to sound like a ghost story! Too many strange things, and none of them make any sense. Then again, this is Gensokyo after all; strange incidents like this are usual. Except that normally the culprit doesn't run away like he did, but... Why does the witch have the impression this case isn't like the previous incidents she has resolved? Maybe she's missing something? There are still some gaps in the story, and Kotohime now seems willing to explain things, so the witch takes the chance to fire her questions:

"Why did you chase him? What did he do to get the whole police force after him?"

"Reimu alerted us about a dangerous demon book that was smuggled inside the village, and that it might've taken possession of a villager," the officer explains.

"Wait, Reimu? How did she know that?" the witch exclaims, gritting her teeth in frustation.

Always, always that miko going one step or two ahead of her! Okay, she has her supernatural intuition and all that, but there's simply no way she could have know about a seemingly inconspicuous book all by herself! Somebody else had to give her that lead, surely.

"Beats me," Kotohime shrugs her shoulders. "She instructed us to find that book and destroy it, but no further hints as to what did it look like or its exact whereabouts. Then she said she had dire matters to deal with, and shot the breeze."

"She what?"

"Um, I mean packed a load, hugged a tree. Skinned the dog, skipped to her loo, sowed her oats. Passed a stone, jumped the fence."

The witch can do nothing but stare blankly at the officer, utterly confused at her choice of euphemism. Actually, she could swear there's a double entendre hidden somewhe-

"Humped the horse, danced a jig, spun a yarn, sip the cider? Flexed the pecs? Lubed her do? Packed the feed, licked the chicken, pinched the yens? Come on, Marisa, don't give me that look!"

"Uhhhhhhhhhhh..."

"Oh, I get it, it's hard to find the words. I understand. I mean, flying off without saying a word? That's very rude of her!" the officer shakes her head.

All of that just to say Reimu flew off!? She probably doesn't even know what's coming out of her mouth, the witch thinks. Or is she doing it on purpose, just to piss the magician? If that's the case, it's working marvels, though the witch isn't going to show it.

"I wish she were more cooperative with us," Kotohime goes on. "I mean, if she knows something that could improve our chances of protecting the village from youkai, then she should share it with us! Isn't her job to protect humans against the youkai?"

Technically, the miko's job is to maintain the balance between youkai and humans in Gensokyo, but the witch decides not to correct the already infuriated officer. She could come up with several reasons why Reimu would prefer to keep it to herself, the first one being her distrust on Kotohime and her men's abilities. Scorn aside, it's not usual of her to leave such a dangerous threat to the (in)capable hands of the guards; she would rather deal with the incident herself. The witch couldn't fathom what could be more important than a youkai in a book possessing people in the only human 'safe-zone'; a very worrisome thought indeed.

"Anyway, where was I?" Kotohime calms down. "After she left, we blocked all the entrances to the village and registered anybody who tried to get out. We also went house by house, asking people if they saw a very suspicious book or any person behaving strangely."

"Heh, that never works!" chortles the witch.

"Actually it did."

"... You kidding me, right?"

"When my men called on the parents' door, they spotted the boy attempting to escape from the window, holding a green book," Kotohime explains. "They chased after him, deeming his way of exiting his own house more suspicious than frog's breath."

"So he got nervous and ran away, when the smartest thing was to remain hidden?"

'Or was there another reason altogether to get the hell out of the village?', ponders the magician mentally.

"People tend to forgo rational thinking when find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Double so if they have a youkai inside their heads," shrugs the officer.

Some people forgo rational thinking completely, thinks the witch to herself.

"It probably doesn't help that the kid thought you were going to exterminate him for that," she recriminates.

"I admit it, that was a bad move on my part," says Kotohime, scratching the back of her head again. "But you would have done the same."

"Wha- no, no I wouldn't!" the witch brings a hand to her chest in studied offense.

"'That's how I roll!'" the officer imitates the witch's voice mockingly. "You said so yourself. Don't give me such blatant lies."

The magician bites her tongue lightly, like she always does when she's caught fibbing. If she wants the officer to keep telling her about this incident, she should keep her consummate lying habits in check - for the time being.

"So he ran away, and your men chased him," summarizes the witch, trying to return to the important topic. "What happened next?"

Kotohime looks at her in disbelief, her mouth slightly agape in surprise. "You... didn't check up on your family when you came here?"

"Wha-? My family?" The relationship with her parents have always been a sensitive issue, and the witch always tried to avoid talking about it. Having the topic brought up by the officer so suddenly catches the magician completely offguard. "Wh-what have they got to do with anything?"

"Because the guy hid inside your father's shop, and... well."

The witch's face goes pale at the thought of what might have happened, but she still manages to ask with a weak voice: "Well?"

"Your bad karma hit your poor father badly, so to speak."

"What."

"Or rather, Irony is a harsh mistress."

"Kotohime..."

She'd better not begin another hurricane of unusual euphemisms! But ignoring the witch's deadly yet worried glance, the officer sighs, looks at the blonde girl in condolence and says in a monotone voice:

"His lot ceased to be. He cashed out, kicked the bucket, curled up his toes in pain. Went to his last account, went to rest."

The witch's blood freezes inside her veins, rivulets of cold sweat falling down her temples.

"If this is another one of your stupid similes, it's not funny in the slightiest," she whispers.

"Oh, Marisa, far be it for me to make fun of such a serious matter!" Kotohime waves a hand in dismissal. "Sadly, I truly meant what I just said."

The witch's heart skips a bit. "Y-you mean my father..."

"Became a victim of shoplifting," the officer nods somberly.

"... Eh?"

"Our ellusive boy took the chance to steal a number of items and left without paying. Your father's survivalist lot ceased to be in his stand. However, Mr. Kirisame checked his cashier and discovered he didn't take any money with him. In fact, he even left some pocket change, probably as a sort of apology, and your father decided to cash it out."

"I-is that so?"

"When he found out he was robbed, he called for the police, but in his haste, he accidentaly kicked a bucket, dropping the content of it on his foot, and ended up hurting his toe painfully. When my men arrived at the crime scene, he gave us his last account of what happened and went to rest from his injury."

The witch stays silent for a few seconds, processing the information. Then, to Kotohime's surprise, she sighs relieved, and then chuckles.

"Oh, it's only that? Oh man," the magician breaks into loud laughter. "You- you had me real worried for a second there, Koto! I thought he was dead or worse! Ahahahahaha, oh wow! That was very low of you!"

"H-h-how can you say that!?" the officer blurts out, clearly shocked by the witch's reaction. "Your father gets mugged and you just laugh it off!?"

"Hey, if he's fine, it's alright," the witch shrugs, downplaying the matter. "So! What happened after the guy left the store?"

"Hum..." Kotohime keeps staring at the witch, as if to judge her after her declaration, but then she proceeds. "He attempted to escape from the north gate, but we had already established a control there. He then tried to riot the masses that were also trying to get out, but I- we found him before he succeeded."

The last second word swap didn't escape the witch, but she let the officer continue.

"Another chase ensued, but he managed to evade all my squad in the streets. At first we thought he used the youkai powers to vanish, but now I know it was his cute little friend here the one who lent him a hand," Kotohime pointed at the room where Little Bell is with her thumb.

"She didn't know he was being chased!"

"I heard that," the red-haired woman averts her gaze to the room and furrows her eyebrows. "Anyway, you know the rest."

The officer considers the conversation finished and tries to go back to Kosuzu's library, but the witch grabs her by the shoulder and stops her.

"You haven't told me about the wall!"

"Oh, that. He snuck past the patrols, learned from his failure and decided to blow up the wall to escape instead of trying the doors again. Not much more."

"He did that hole all by himself?"

"Using the youkai's powers, of course. Invoked a great wind that sweeped the wall like a... great wind," Kotohime obviously doesn't want to continue the conversation, judging by how little effort she put in the simile - if she put any at all. "Normally it'd have withstood it, but you know how old it is. It would have fallen sooner or later."

Kotohime is not telling her everything. There must be something she doesn't want the witch to know. Such hypocresy! Complaining about Reimu not being collaborative with the investigation while at the sime time hiding informaton from her! What's wrong with the officer?

Okay, that's a stupid question. It's clear there are many things wrong with Kotohime, but- speaking of Reimu...

"... By the way, where is Reimu now?" asks the witch.

"Oh, you know. Here and there. Out and around," responds Kotohime waving her hand. "Round and about. Hither and thither. To and fro, back and forth, up and down, in and out. Over and under, hippity-hoppity, round the corn-"

"Stop that already, dammit!" screams the witch, who has had enough. "She repaired the wall, so she must have come back to the village at some point. But I haven't seen her yet. Where is she?"

"She went after the suspect after she finished with the wall. And I've never seen her run after someone with so much haste," the officer adds. "Looks like she tore a page out of that green-haired miko's book."

"Yeah, sure."

If Reimu's after the ellusive boy, then the witch need not to worry about him escaping. She'll eventually catch the culprit like always - not without a good beating, but that's (un)fortunately a perk of the job. Still, her guts have been telling the witch this is not like the usual incident. Normally the incident would be as simple as stopping the vampire who released a red mist all over Gensokyo, or beating up the ghost who was collecting spring essence, for example. The culprits wer powerful and knew exactly what they were doing. This time, the "suspect" was a supposedly normal boy with extremely bad luck who hadn't done anything yet until he was forced by the circumstances - even though stealing from her father's shop was a very dickish action, it must be said.

But what unsettles the witch more than anything is that there are too many loose ends and unexplained things. For starters, it's very strange that the chief of the village police doesn't know jack about an incident that occured right in the middle of it. Kotohime might be an honorary citizen of Cloud Cuckoo Land, but even she can't be this clueless. And despite it's true that Reimu prefers to work alone, it's rather irresponsible of her to not disclose any information to the keepers of law and order of the village. In fact, the miko's actions were suspicious to begin with - what was she doing at the time between the moment she alerted Kotohime and when she repaired the wall?

"If that's all, I'll return to the room," says Kotohime. "I have some... criminals to apprehend."

"Hm? Yeah, okay," The witch responds mindlessly.

There's definitely something amiss here. Some pieces of the puzzle need arrangement, and others are missing. But the code of the magicians compells the witch to resolve this incident, no matter the cost. It's not that it's personal, not at all! It's just... curiosity, that's it! Who wouldn't be curious about a boy that noone has memory of-?

Wait, did Kotohime just say 'criminals to apprehend'? No, scratch that, where is she now? Oh gods, she wouldn't be thinking of-

"Miss Motoori, I need you to accompany me to the police station for further questioning."

The voice of the officer comes from Little Bell's library! Without thinking twice, the witch darts to the door and shouts:

"Hold a spell there! What do you think you're doing!?"

Little Bell jumps at the magician's scream, while Kotohime looks back at her annoyed.

"I'm taking her to the police officer to confirm her alibi and pass her testimony through the legal-"

"Bullshit! You're gonna jail her and interrogate her like a criminal, aren't you!?"

"Whaaaaaaaaaaaat!?" Little Bell exclaims.

"Not at all," the officer says calmly. Too calmly, in fact. 'I'm blatantly lying and this is the best way I know to cover my lies' calmly, thinks the witch. "I just want to record what she has to say for-"

"You're not fooling me. You're gonna use your lunatic eyes on her."

The librarian shivers at the mere mention of the officer's powers, but her fear is completely justified. Rumors say that the few wrongdoers who broke under the influence of the Lunatic Princess never were the same after the frightening experience. It wouldn't be too farfetched to say that this is one of the main reasons why the criminality rate at the village is near null. If Kotohime plans to use them on poor and innocent Little Bell...

"Who do you take me for, Kirisame? I'm not going to-"

"Little Bell is innocent! She hasn't done anything bad deliberately! But she's already a culprit in your deranged mind, isn't she?"

The witch can almost see a vein on Kotohime's temple about to burst, but the officer, against all odds, manages to calm herself down.

"You say she's innocent. Do you have any proof to sustain that claim?" she asks.

That catches the witch offguard. She expected the officer to become totally pissed, not that she would return the ball to her. Kotohime doesn't have any proof of Kosuzu's culpability, but the witch lacks evidence of her innocence as well. But she can't let Kotohime have her way like this! She can't let her harm Little Bell!

[]But there's nothing she can do...
[]Might makes right! Love and magic are all the proof she needs!
[]There are people more suspicious than Kosuzu! Like...
-[]The 'ellusive boy'. All this could perfectly be the youkai's fault.
-[]Her penfriend. She happens to know Ms. Knowledge personally, and she isn't the kind of person who would act like this.
-[]The boy's parents. Most families would do anything to protect their children... even though they would forget him shortly after.
-[]Keine Kamishirasawa. She has the power to erase and modify history. It was probably all a mishap from her part.
-[]Hieda no Akyuu. She is the one that supervises the census. Maybe she tampered with them or something?
-[]Reimu Hakurei. Nobody knows what she was doing while the boy was at the village. What could she be up to?
-[]Kotohime. Even the guards' incompetence has its limits. There's absolutely no way he could have escaped the whole town thrice by his own means!
-[]Marisa Kirisame. Take the blame for everything. All for Little Bell's sake. (Escaping the prison is easy peasy for her, anyway)
-[]Write-in.
[]Actually, she does have some piece of evidence... (Write-in)

>> No. 166719
Not that I have anything to vote on, but there's an important fact that Kotohime told Marisa, although the police officer failed to elaborate on. Although we can only use the evidence that both Kosuzu and Kotohime revealed to us, we all know what happened previously...

Why on earth did we use wind magic so powerful that it most definitely gave away our position to the entire village's garrison? In fact, if we could climb over the wall in the first place, why did we need to blow it down, especially since Marisa understands that we know what we were doing, and weren't acting like idiots when we evaded Kotohime's men and escaped the village.

Marisa should know from her own practice that magic on the scale of that which could knock down walls is noticeable enough to alert everybody in the village. If she ponders along this line of thought, she should realize that between the time we casted the spell, caused the wall to collapse, waited for the rubble to clear and made it over the wall, it's clear that it would've taken enough time for the nearest guards to intercept us, especially since Kotohime had a number of guard patrols near the wall who should've readily intercepted us as soon as we alerted them with the spell.

But they didn't. In fact, Kotohime never said that she and her guards managed to even catch sight of him, a clear sign that she's trying to cover up what happened there. But we know the truth.

If she attempts to protest on grounds of 'incompetence', we can simply point out the facts. No human can quickly scale the wall, even with a climbing tool, and she specifically told Marisa that she had guards near the north gate, a short distance from the hole where we escaped. The fact that the MC needed to blow down the wall makes it clear that he does not have any superhuman strength whatsoever, and the wall is clearly not a surface that can be scaled quickly by a mere boy, even with assistance, which can only mean that he took precious time scaling the wall, time that the guards in the immediate vicinity should've used to investigate the commotion.

If Kotohime continues to insist on interrogating Kosuzu and deflects our accusations, we can point out that it's perfectly clear her incompetence has allowed us to escape, and because Kosozu inadvertently aided us by taking us, she's trying to make Kosuzu a scapegoat for her incompetence, and thus is not in any state to carry out a fair and just legal interrogation.
>> No. 166720
>>166719

Youch. That's the sort of thing that'll get her hackles up. I like it.

[x]There are people more suspicious than Kosuzu! Like...
-[x]Her penfriend. She happens to know Ms. Knowledge personally, and she isn't the kind of person who would act like this.

Seriously, where did this book come from in the first place?
>> No. 166728
[x]There are people more suspicious than Kosuzu! Like...
-[x]Her penfriend. She happens to know Ms. Knowledge personally, and she isn't the kind of person who would act like this.

Also, whatever option would amount to this:
>>166719
>> No. 166729
Did Marisa investigate the status of the wall? If so, it would help if we can hear her thoughts about it. We didn't get much out of her POV, but I'd assume that she looked into it more deeply than what she revealed to us.

Based on the fact that you suggested that we might have evidence with the options, I really want us to find it, but as of now, Marisa doesn't have anything other than what Kotohime and Kosuzu told her, and I doubt that Kotohime is rational enough to not interrogate Kosuzu.
>> No. 166730
File 136616735849.jpg - (27.38KB , 500x399 , tumblr_m144fg8dBj1r4q8k3o1_500.jpg ) [iqdb]
166730
>"Using the youkai's powers, of course. Invoked a great wind that sweeped the wall like a... great wind,"
Classic.

[x] Might makes right
>> No. 166731
Summing up my wall o' text in this vote.

[X]If the 'elusive boy' managed to sneak by your forces, why would he be insane enough to make a commotion with a powerful wind spell right next to the north gate where your men were? More importantly,why didn't your men even manage to catch a glimpse of him? After all, even a human augmented by youkai strength would've still needed time to clamber over the wall, and he would've needed to rest after summoning a gust of wind capable of knocking down the wall regardless, especially with his capabilities.
[X]You said that you flew into a wall twice, and I only recall ramming my bum into you once. What happened the first time? And don't try to leave out any details.
[X]None of this would've happened if Patchouli didn't give her a demon book, especially since Patchouli should have known what would happen. We should be investigating the one who caused this entire incident, not the innocent victim who was essentially setup by the culprit.
[X]At any rate, I insist that you wait until Kosuzu's parents return home. Or do you want them to come back to find their daughter shattered by your interrogation? I'm sure that the rest of the villagers will think highly of the police force once they learn that even children can be mentally broken in the name of justice.

If all else fails-
[X]Accuse the lunatic princess for trying to make Kosuzu into a scapegoat for her incompetence, and prepare to minimize collateral damage in case things get violent.

I really hope that we'll be doing the right thing with this course of action, since there are too many ways this can go wrong and result in Kosuzu becoming a victim despite Marisa's efforts. However, our hindsight with the MC shows that there is far too much that Kotohime is simply overlooking or trying to hide with Kosuzu's impending interrogation, which we cannot tolerate. We must remember that reason is the rule of the game in the face of the law, and as such, we cannot afford to make light of the Kotohime. I know that one or two of my votes may have negative repercussions, and I fully expect them too, but this is the best course of action that would hopefully also positively impact us when we come back to the MC.
>> No. 166733
>>166719
I'm impressed with your reasoning; pretty much spot on, except for a couple of details:

>Why on earth did we use wind magic so powerful that it most definitely gave away our position to the entire village's garrison?
You were handcuffed and about to get thrown into jail. Desperate situation called for desperate measures. Not to mention it was the very first time you used magic, meaning you had next to no control over its effects.

>In fact, if we could climb over the wall in the first place, why did we need to blow it down?
You got this backwards: the weight of you and Kotohime climbing it was too much for the ancient wall to withstand, especially after being hit by the wind spell. It was just after you managed to get to the top when the fall went down.

Other than that, you practically hit the nail on everything else. I think I've said this before, but this kind of reasoning will take you places here. Keep at it, Anon!

>>166720
>Seriously, where did this book come from in the first place?
Knowing the answer to this question is the MC's main objective, aside from survival.

>>166729
>Did Marisa investigate the status of the wall? If so, it would help if we can hear her thoughts about it.
I could write one or two paragraphs about her thoughts of the wall if you want. It all can be summed up in that the wall was extremely old, looked like it could fall apart at any second, and that Reimu's "repairs" were effective, yet rushed.

>Based on the fact that you suggested that we might have evidence with the options...
Alright, this might be my fault. When I put the "evidence" option, I didn't limit it to hard evidence. Pointing out contradictions and holes in explanations also work, like >>166731 laudably did. I don't think Marisa has any hard evidence that could prove Kosuzu's innocence without a shade of doubt, but if you believe you do, you're welcome to try. Who knows, maybe you can surprise me with a detail even I've overlooked.

>>166730
I knew someone was bound to catch on that obvious reference.
>> No. 166734
My lengthy theories on the most suspicious suspects involved here. May contain errors.
[X]There are people more suspicious than Kosuzu! Like...
-[X]Her penfriend. She happens to know Ms. Knowledge personally, and she isn't the kind of person who would act like this.
Bookworm in a large library and silver-haired maid sounds pretty much like the stanard SDM, but there are still some things off. Firstly, Patchouli should have known that the book she sent Kosuzu was a demon book and what dangers that could mean, yet still sent it to Kosuzu, a helpless little human girl, who could have been killed in the worst case. Even if as a youkai her standards differ from a human's, that still is not something you do to a friend.
Secondly, if I remember correctly, Sakuya may be the general "face" of the SDM in the village (buying groceries and such), but that should be commonly known and thus relatively easy to fake (in going with the impostor theory). Also, Patchouli is technically only a guest of Remilia and not entitled to ordering Sakuya around for personal business, she has Koakuma(s) for that. Now, I do not rule out the possibility of her and Sakuya striking a deal out of friendship and/or Sakuya deciding she could play book courier when she is in the village anyway, but it still strikes me somewhat odd considering Sakuya's already existing workload (obviously, if Koakuma(s) is/are not allowed/too dangerous for the village disregard this).
These strike me more as some kind of conspiracy to frame Patchouli than proof of her involvement. The details just seem off.
-[X]Reimu Hakurei. Nobody knows what she was doing while the boy was at the village. What could she be up to?
Marisa herself raised multiple points for ths already, so this should not need further explanation.
-[X]Kotohime. Even the guards' incompetence has its limits. There's absolutely no way he could have escaped the whole town thrice by his own means!
Aside from us readers knowing what really happened, her story is full of holes as 166719 and 166731 pointed out already.

As for the lack of records and memories, Keine and Akyuu would be the most obvious in-village suspects, but Keine can only use her history-eating powers on a full moon (I think) and both lack any kind of motive for doing such a thing.
Using meta-knowledge now and going by memory, we("elusive boy") know, that something was done with the book and especially its contents(Sacchin) to make her disappear from memory, just like a dream. And now our parents and Kosuzu display similar symptoms to how it was described back then. This means, that whoever makes the people forget and the records disappear, it is most probably the same person who sealed Sacchin away in the first place (or it is a passive side effect from the spell that sealed her away, but I find that unlikely).

Also, good to see that I am not the only one spouting random lengthy theories(tm) that seem to more or less hit their mark. MC is likely to need that.
>> No. 166735
>>166734
1-WRONG! There's a perfect plausible explanation: Patchouli couldn't read it so she give it away to see if someone else could have more luck. And while she can't order Sakuya around, she could ask Sakuya's master (Y'know, her close friend) for a favor.
2-Good, but a bit OOC. Marisa's total lack of impartiality would mean that she would never honestly consider Reimu a culprit. She can (and she did, I think) lie about it just to have an excuse to battle with her though.
3-Spot on.

I like the discussion here. I think I'll need to change my vote pronto.
>> No. 166737
[]Might makes right! Love and magic are all the proof she needs!

I might be a fool but I want some fun!
>> No. 166738
>>166735
I still doubt that Patchouli would just go "here, have a dangerous and potentially lethal demon book to try and decipher" without taking precautions for Kosuzu's safety, if only because a maimed Kosuzu cannot work on any deciphering. Also, I do not think Patchouli wrote any warning about the book being a demon book at all, but maybe I remember that wrong.
While I do agree with your criticism about my point with Sakuya, which I already noted as slightly odd but possible, my first and main point about Patchouli's seemingly casual approach to endangering Kosuzu still stands. And even if she knew the book (or rather Sacchin inside) to be safe, she should still have known about people not being happy about it reappearing.
>> No. 166739
[x]But there's nothing she can do...
>> No. 166741
[X]There are people more suspicious than Kosuzu! Like...
-[X]Her penfriend. She happens to know Ms. Knowledge personally, and she isn't the kind of person who would act like this.
-[X]Reimu Hakurei. Nobody knows what she was doing while the boy was at the village. What could she be up to?
-[X]Kotohime. Even the guards' incompetence has its limits. There's absolutely no way he could have escaped the whole town thrice by his own means!
>> No. 166801
Gonna call it for calling Kotohime off, pointing the holes in her story you've mentioned, and direct her attention to Kosuzu's penfriend. I repat this, I'm very impressed by all your theories, and nothing gives me more joy than seeing you discussing this mystery and not coming close to the truth at all. It means I'm doing my job well. Update will come... well, depends on how college treats me. It shouldn't be a longass update like this one, that I can say.
>> No. 166936
File 136666755311.jpg - (364.65KB , 700x800 , 41cad844ef3228c004c42710de6a3144.jpg ) [iqdb]
166936
I got my daily dosis of huehuehues with this title.

I tried my best to implement that glorious write-in and still make it sound natural within the flow of the dialogue. You tell me how it ended up.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[X]Write-in by >>166731
[x][X]There are people more suspicious than Kosuzu! Like...
-[X]Her penfriend. She happens to know Ms. Knowledge personally, and she isn't the kind of person who would act like this.


It's as clear as day that the officer's tale is riddled with lies and innaccuracies. Normally, the witch would simply ignore it and go investigate on her own, but this time a good friend of hers is about to get jailed under such a lame excuse. She simply cannot stay idle and watch Kotohime take Little Bell away like this! So mustering all the annoyance she had bottled up until now, the witch slams the table loudly with her hands and shouts at the top of her lungs:

"Objection!"

The witch couldn't tell why did she use that strange term, seeing as it doesn't precisely roll off the tongue. Maybe Kotohime's oddities are rubbing on her... In any case, that's one more tick on the 'Things she always wanted to say' list, and the scream has the intended effect. The officer stops in her feet and looks at the magician with an exasperated look, fed up with her constant interruptions. Kosuzu also seems a little bit angry, but that's probably because the witch is treating her furniture without care. The blonde girl doesn't notice that, though, and points and accusatory finger at Kotohime.

"I can't let you take her when your story has more holes than a Gruyère cheese!"

"Marisa, Gruyére doesn't have holes," comments Little Bell.

"Oh, really? I'm not that good with the names of cheeses," the witch smiles awkwardly and scratches her temple. "How about Gouda?"

"No, that doesn't have many holes either."

"Emmental?"

"That's better," Kosuzu nods.

"Let's just leave it at Swiss cheese, alright?" interrupts Kotohime.

"That's a generalization. Not all Swiss cheese have holes, you know?" the librarian says.

"Whatever, I don't care. If you have nothing interesting to say then I'll be taking our le-"

"Hold it!"

The witch shouts and slams the table a second time, which earns a glare from Little Bell.

"Ugh, what now? I hope it's not about cheese again," Kotohime sighs. "I'm alergic to dairy in the first place."

"Your confusing rethoric won't work on me, lunatic princess!" exclaims Marisa. "I see through your smoke and fabrications!"

"First, you're the one being confusing right now. And second, I don't smoke."

"Don't evade the question, Kotohime!"

"You haven't asked anything!"

"I said your confusion rethoric doesn't work on me!"

"Get on with it already!" shouts Kosuzu.

"Okay, okay! Cheese, you're an impatient one, aren't ya?"

"And now you're resorting to puns? Seriously?" the officer groans. "Are you just trying to buy more time? Because that isn't helping her case."

"Take it cheesy, missus!" laughs the witch, which earns her a deadly glare from the lunatic princess.

She has already poked the officer enough - further attempts to piss her off would have dangerous consequences. Having had her fill of fun, the witch breaths in, hawks and begins to speak in a serious tone.

"Very well then. For starters, I have serious doubts about your men's inability to catch a single guy, not failing once or twice, but three times," the magician raises three fingers and wiggles them at Kotohime. "But let's set that aside for the sake of discussion. I'm much more concerned about the boy's behavior."

"What about it?"

"If he took all the trouble to avoid the guards, why would he invoke magic to tear down the wall? That would make a lot of noise and attract unwanted attention."

"I said before that people tend to not think things carefully when they're under stress," counters the officer. "My guess is that he was in a hurry and decided that breaking the wall would be faster and easier than climbing it or sneaking past the doors."

"Yet he did it a few yards away from the north door, where there were guards watching."

"Maybe he found his escape route blocked by my patrolling men, and found no other way?"

The officer's voice has a hint of insecurity, and the witch takes it as her cue to strike her attack.

"Impossible. If they were nearby, they would have hurried to the scene after he invoked the wind. They would have seen him jumping over the debris, and chased after him."

"He was already gone," Kotohime is visibly nervous. "And guards aren't permitted to engage in pursue outside the walls at night, for their safety."

"You don't know magic, do ya?" the witch grins.

"Huh?"

"Releasing such a great amount of magical energy without an external source takes a big toll on the caster, regardless of capabilities or prowess," the magician explains while she takes her hakkero off. "He'd need to 'cool off' before being able to cast magic again. Moreso for a beginner like him. Releasing a spell of that intensity must have depleted his stamina a lot..." The witch slams the table with her hand, this time a lot more gently, as if to emphasize her argument. "...to the point he wouldn't have been able to move for a while."

"That's..."

Kotohime darts her gaze away from the witch and fidgets around. That's strange: she read that people who were pointed flaws and contradictions in their alibis would react much more effusively. Guess she has to make do with what she has, the witch thinks to herself. At least she knows she's on the right track.

"Which leads me to believe that either your men were nowhere near the area when the 'elusive boy' used the spell - which I very much doubt -, or..."

"Or..?"

A grin from ear to ear draws on the witch's face. She got her right where she wanted.

"By the way, Kotohime, how's your head doing?"

"Eh?" the question catches her completely offguard.

"You said you got slammed into a wall twice this day. I figure that must have hurt a lot..."

"Well, yes, it did, but I'm okay now," Kotohime furrows her eyebrows. "What's that got to do with-?"

"Twice? I only rammed my bum into you once."

The officer winces once she realizes her slip-up.

"Eh, well, that's, uhhhhh..."

"Now, now, missus, I hope you understand the situation you've gotten yourself into," the witch chastises Kotohime, enjoying the irony of the situation. "I have other ways to know what happened. It'd just take me more time and effort. You know where I'm getting at?"

She can practically hear the noise of Kotohime's teeth gritting in absolute frustation, and it's like music to her ears. Blowing things up is fun and all that, but if beating people with her brains feels this good, she could get used to it too!

"I'll learn the truth eventually, but I'd prefer if you told me right now. It'll make my job easier," continues the maigican. "Don't leave any details out."

The officer looks down dejected, exhales a sigh of defeat and speaks again:

"Just after he tried to riot the masses in front of the north door and escaped, we found out he had a rope prepared to climb the wall. Me and some of my men awaited there, waiting for him to return, to ambush him."

"Really? He isn't so stupid to go back to the place he was spotted earlier," comments Kosuzu, who has been silent all this time.

"But he did come back."

"Oh, c'mon, you've gotta be kidding us," exclaims the witch.

"Not this time, Marisa," Kotohime shakes her head. "He tried to escape by using the rope he set up earlier, but he fell right into our ambush. However, when we were about to aprehend him, he used the magic, send us all flying and we were all knocked out."

"The cornered fox turned out to be more dangerous than the hounds, huh," mutters the witch. "And what about the wall?"

"The spell was strong enough to take it down, especially since it was in a such a precarious state."

The witch has to give her a point there; the wall really is in a bad shape. She remembers Akyuu joking about how someone could tear it down by sneezing on it. She wonders what was her face when her jest came so close to the truth. She probably doesn't even know, seeing as how Kotohime went out of her way to hide the facts from the witch - the officer surely must have done the same to the rest of the village. And that reminds the magician of something:

"Wait, so if you ambushed him, that means you must have got at least a glimpse of his face, right? How does he look?"

"Hum, well, how do I say this..."

Kotohime rolls her eyes and scratches the back of her head.

"Don't tell me you also don't..." says the witch.

"Neither I nor my men remember him," admits the officer. "And our symptoms tally with the ones displayed by Miss Motoori and the boy's parents."

The magician groans and resist the urge to slam her face on the desk. She thought she had a good chance to get useful information from the lunatic princess, but this is getting her nowhere. She guesses she has to do her inquests on her own from now on.

"I still don't get why are you taking me to the office," says Kosuzu. "I didn't know he was being chased, honest! And it looks to me it was your fault that he got away. You should always be ready for your suspects to resist!"

"First of all, I'm not detaining you," explains Kotohime. "And second, even if I wanted to detain you, I do not have solid proofs to justify an arrest."

"Then why are you doing this?" asks the witch.

"Because the people are worried."

"Huh? Whaddya mean by that?"

"Think about it for a second: we've had a youkai level magic casted on the village grounds, which destroyed part of the centennial - no, millenial wall that protected the village from feral youkai. And worst of all, the culprit has escaped, and we're nowhere near to resolving the incident."

"Oh, I see," exclaims Little Bell. "People would lose the sense of security they've had for so long, and would be understandably afraid to even leave their houses.

"That still doesn't justify anything," says the witch.

"I just... I'm doing this for the people, Marisa," Kotohime hangs her head down. "If people see the guards doing something, that'll put them at ease, even if it's only a tiny little. And admit it, Miss Motoori is the most suspicious person in the list."

"Nuh-uh, that's where you're wrong!" the witch wiggles her finger at the officer.

"Explain yourself."

This is it; this is where the case takes a turning point! The witch has to think carefully... who is the most suspicious person in this affair, the one they should be focusing their attention to? The elusive boy's moves were strange to begin with, but Reimu's already got that end covered. Reimu herself has been acting very strange too, but that's probably because she prefers to work alone. And Kotohime's attempts to conceal the truth also put her quite high on the list. But if there's one person that's more suspicious than the others, that is...

"Kosuzu's penfriend, Ms. Knowledge," says the witch. "None of this would've happened if she didn't give her the book."

"Ms. Knowledge?" repeats Little Bell, stupefied. Poor innocent girl probably thinks too highly of her friend who she has never met in person.

"Yes," nods the magician. "I know her personally, and all this thing about exchanging books rubs me the wrong way. That isn't her style. She's way too protective and possessive towards her books to be sending them by courier to the human village."

"So you think she targeted Miss Motoori or his friend specifically?" ponders Kotohime.

"No, no, too convoluted, too risky. If she really wanted to target someone, she has a buttload of special spells, hexes and maleficiums she can cast from really far away, in the commodity of her library."

"Or maybe she wanted to go for the subtle approach," the officer guesses. "Or she wanted to get rid of the youkai in the book by all means."

"I don't think so, but..."

The witch doesn't want to believe that her dear friend would do such a dastardly thing, but the truth is that she can't really rule out those two possibilities.

"What if she genuinely had no idea, like me?" asks Kosuzu. "I mean, with my ability I can distinguish demon books. If she's as powerful as you say it is, she should have been able to do it too. But this time, I couldn't do it. Maybe the same thing happened to her!"

The so-called "curse" on the book that supposedly only allows a certain people to read it, the witch remembers. Little Bell might have been unable to use her ability due to it, but Ms. Knowledge, being the expert magician that she is, should have noticed the existence of the curse immediatly. But if she knew, then why did she still send the book to Kosuzu? No matter from where do you look at it, Ms. Knowledge's actions seem to willingly target Kosuzu...

"In any case, we all agree that we should be investigating the one who caused this entire incident, not the ones who was essentially setup by him or her, right?" the witch glares at Kotohime, who remains impassive.

"The problem is that Ms. Knowledge lives outside my jurisdiction," she says. "I cannot afford to send men to that vampire's den."

"Then I'll do it, on two conditions," jumps the magician.

She would have done it anyway, but she can't let this opportunity fly by.

"State them..." sighs Kotohime.

"One, that you'll leave Kosuzu alone, at least until her parents come and give their consent," the witch says. "Of course, this means they'll have to be present if you still decide to interrogate her further."

The officer closes her eyes, and after a second, nods somberly.

"And the second?"

"You'll never, ever use your 'eyes' on her, ya hear me? I don't want to find her mind shattered by your shady techinques."

"Who the hell do you take me for, Marisa?" exclaims the officer, clearly offended.

"Think of what the rest of the villagers will think of the police force when they learn that children are broken in the name of order..."

"Agh, alright, alright, if that makes you happy, I'll promise it!" shouts the officer. "Happy now!?"

"Yep, very much," the witch grins. "But if you could just bring us a table of select Swiss cheeses, I'd be much-"

"Sod off," the red-haired snorts. "Now if you excuse me, I have a maid to look for."

Oh, that's right, the courier maid! The witch had completely forgotten about her. If Kosuzu's penfriend is an impostor, the maid must necessarily be one as well. If they could only catch her, she could point her in the right direction after some 'red-eyed persuasion'. But if the penfriend is really Patchouli, and thus the maid is Sakuya, Kotohime and her men wouldn't stand a chance... but that's why the witch is going to the Scarlet Mansion for. In any case, she has to give credit where it's due: the lunatic officer isn't a complete moron after all.

"Oh, and by the way, I am very sorry for all the inconvenience we have caused to you, Miss Motoori," Kotohime bows at a perfect angle at the little librarian.

"However, if you remember any detail that might help us in the case, please come by to the office."

"Ah, eh-eh, yeah, sure," Little Bell mutters.

Without another word, Kotohime gracefully leaves the room, taking short steps. The witch has to admit it; for someone who leaves the stage with the tail between her lags, she knows how to keep her dignity. Once they hear the sound of the front door sliding closed, Little Bell suddenly glomps the witch and scrubs her face all over the magician's chest in glee.

"Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!" she exclaims, her voice muffled by the witch's clothes. "I was very scared!"

"No need to thank me. That's what friends are for, aight?" the blonde girl laughs.

"Hey, Marisa, you are going to leave now, aren't you? To ask Knowledge?"

"Yep. Reimu's busy kicking the boy's as-" the witch interrupts herself when she sees Kosuzu frowning in concern for her friend. "I mean, going after your friend. So

I'm the only one who can do it."

"Yeah... say, Marisa, can you... can you do me a favor?"

"What is it?"

"If by any chance you find my friend, could you... could you bring him back here safe and sound? Please?"

[]Promise Kosuzu you'll do everything on your hand to save him.
[]You can't make any promises, but you'll rescue him if you come across with him.
[]You know she cares for him, but he hurt people and stole from your father, and he must be punished a little bit for that.


----------------------------------------------------------------

Also, as a reward for completing this "paralogue" without breaking a fight, you'll be treated to an extra scene on the next update. Huzzah for you! If you know your Touhous well enough, it might give you a huge hint for this mystery. Isn't that nice?
>> No. 166937
I am VERY disappointed you did not use this as a music insert!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdU8oqCbvzo

I'll vote after I read it.
>> No. 166940
[X]You can't make any promises, but you'll rescue him if you come across with him.

Well, I think that we got a desirable outcome, which is good enough considering that Marisa's primary goals were to protect Kosuzu and investigate this incident. We probably missed some points about how did Reimu learn about Rin, but ultimately, I think that we can take a brief reprieve.

I'm basing my vote on the assumption that Marisa merely wants to resolve this incident, and although minimizing collateral damage would be nice, since we appeared to also be a victim in this incident, she'll do whatever it takes to help apprehend us and destroy(?) Rin.
>> No. 166944
[x]Promise Kosuzu you'll do everything on your hand to save him.

But Kosuzu has to keep in mind that his kid has been possessed. He might not be in his right mind. Marisa might have to use a little force to make him settle down.
>> No. 166953
[X]You can't make any promises, but you'll rescue him if you come across with him.

Sure, a nice compromise.
>> No. 166964
>>166936
[x] "Well, of course!" You grin. "He can't work off his debt to Pops otherwise, can he?"

Some corrections, since you wanted them:
in the commodity comfort of her library
rethoric should be rhetoric
a table of ... cheeses would usually be a spread of ... cheeses
to engage in pursue should be to engage in pursuit
everything on your hand should be everything in your power
"paralogue" works as well as it does in Spanish, I guess
without breaking a fight should be either without starting a fight (transitive) or without a fight breaking out (intransitive)

And a couple of things I remember from last thread:
For "heavy flora", the phrase you wanted was probably "dense canopy". (Here "canopy" is a metaphor that has been adopted as a technical term. "flora" is strictly a technical term.)
The phrase "throw X to Y" implies that you expect Y to catch it. You want "throw X at Y". The former is dative; the latter is lative.
>> No. 166973
[x]You can't make any promises, but you'll rescue him if you come across with him.

We can't promise to keep him safe, there's simply too many variables to this whole thing to really justify it.

What might have happened if we had let Kosuzu go with Kotohime? If it's anything like modern Japan' criminal justice system, poor Kosuzu would not have lasted long under so much scrutiny.
>> No. 166988
[x]Promise Kosuzu you'll do everything on your hand to save him.

I want Marisa on our side. If she's a woman of her word then she'll at least not be a threat to us here. My priority is the main character.
>> No. 166997
[X]You can't make any promises, but you'll rescue him if you come across with him.
>> No. 167073
I'm tempted to go with:
[]You can't make any promises, but you'll rescue him if you come across with him.
But Marisa's the type of person who'd go with:
[]Promise Kosuzu you'll do everything on your hand to save him.
while meaning the former.

If I were to put myself in Marisa’s place, I’d chose to listen to my friend, rather than a "lunatic princess", which to me locks out the last option. (That and it may have been a TOO obvious way to choose whether or not Marisa will be hunting us or helping us.

As much as I want to promise lil' bell to help "us", I think
[]You can't make any promises, but you'll rescue him if you come across with him.
is the most fitting. (especially since my guts tell me that this'll make Marisa find and help us sooner. like how you can’t find what you're looking for, and as soon as you stop looking you find it. if she doesn't look for us like Reimu, she'll properly find us before her.)

My vote:
[X]You can't make any promises, but you'll rescue him if you come across with him.
>> No. 167074
vote count so far

[2]Promise Kosuzu you'll do everything on your hand to save him.
[5]You can't make any promises, but you'll rescue him if you come across with him.
[0]You know she cares for him, but he hurt people and stole from your father, and he must be punished a little bit for that.

[1] "Well, of course!" You grin. "He can't work off his debt to Pops otherwise, can he?"
>> No. 167109
>>167074 recounting is right. Thank you by the way. I'm closing the votes, and I'll throw in the write-in too. Funny thing is that I was planning to have Marisa say something similar, even without the write-in. Anyway, update in the next week, with an extra special scene to boot.

Also, have in mind that Marisa is a well known liar to boot. Whatever she says here might not be held true in the future, depending if her opinion about the MC changes.

>>166937
I'm not a fan of adding BSMs to the story. I find them distracting while reading. Besides, there is no better soundtrack that the one you choose for yourselves.

Though now that I'm listening to the video, I'm beginning to regret not putting a Cornered theme...

>>166964
Many thanks for your corrections. Some of them are typos, others were actual mistakes from my part, or literal translations without bothering to check the dictionary. I'll have them in mind next times.

And how did you know I'm from Spain, by the way? Is it so obvious? Or have we met elsewhere?
>> No. 167178
>>167109
>And how did you know I'm from Spain, by the way?
I didn't. I guessed from last thread's "poblated" that your native language was Spanish. (I have since learned that poblar is also a verb in Catalan and Occitan, though.)
>> No. 167249
File 136717598193.jpg - (112.05KB , 510x680 , mysterious_maido.jpg ) [iqdb]
167249
>>167178
So my terrible grammar gave me in, huh? Another reason to be even more careful in my self proofreadings.

This update is, as the title implies, the extra scene you get for resolving Kosuzu's scene without starting a fight with Kotohime. Here you'll have the chance to learn a few more details about the mystery surrounding this incident... if you choose well.

------------------------------------------------------------

[x]You can't make any promises, but you'll rescue him if you come across with him.

Bring him back 'safe and sound', huh? That was a promise the witch can't make. If things are as bad as she thinks they are, she'll have to use force at some point. Love is compulsory; that's how she rolls after all. It's very probable the poor guy will get shot along the way. Therefore, promising Little Bell that she would bring him 'safe' would be a lie. She normally wouldn't have any problems with lying to people, but not to Kosuzu. She was too much of a goody two shoes to deserve being decieved like this.

"If I see him I'll get him," the witch says, patting the librarian's head. "But right now I'm much more concerned about this Ms. Knowledge 'friend' of yours."

"Ah," Kosuzu's expression turns sour. "I thought we got along well... I can't believe she would do that to me. Or to anyone for that matter."

"Me neither. She isn't the kind of person who would do such a thing. That's why I'm worried."

"So you're going to see her and get answers from her?"

"Missus Lunatic Officer wasn't very helpful, so yeah, I hafta," the witch shrugs.

Not only that, but if whoever sent the book was really targeting Kosuzu, he or she will surely try again once he or she discovers the attack hasn't worked. But the witch decides not to tell her suspicions to Kosuzu, to not worry her. With luck she'll catch the real culprit before he or she gets another chance to hurt Little Bell, and be home for tea.

It does not matter much to Kosuzu, who looks like she fears more for her friend rather than for herself. Does she really care that much for him? Or it's just her trust in the miko and witch so great she truly believes no harm will come to her as long as they're there for her?

"Look, Lil' Bell, I know you're worried about him, but I'm sure he'll be fine," the witch says as soothingly as she can. "If what Kotohime said is true, he knows how to use magic, so wild youkai should be no prob for him. Besides, Reimu is going after him to bring him back."

"That's the part that worries me, actually," mutters Kosuzu. "You know how... um... ofuda-happy she can be."

"Naaaaaaah, as long as your friend doesn't make a stupid move, she'll restrain herself," lies the witch, waving her hands. "Reimu will rescue him and get that youkai outta his mind, and I will catch the one who threatened you, you'll see."

The magician puffs her chest and pumps it, exuding confidence. Looking at Kosuzu's mild smile, that seems to work.

"Alright, then. I'll leave it to you, Marisa," she says. "But, please, if you see him-"

"I'll try my best to bring him back, yeah," nods the witch. "He's got a debt with Pops to work off too."

"Eh? What?" the librarian gives her a confused look.

"Nevermind. Well, I must go. I've got some... criminals to apprehend."

Damn, Kotohime's way to speak is beginning to rub on her, the magician notices.

"Okay," Kosuzu squeezes the witch in her hug and lets go. "Good luck out there, Marisa!"

"You be extra careful, Kosuzu! And if you recieve another letter from her, tell the police immediatly, aight?"

"Yep!"

"And holla if ya need help or anything, 'kay?"

"Yep!"

Yes, definitely the officer's manners are sticking on her. Better lay it off while she still can, lest she becomes another lawful selfless samaritan of Gensokyo. She doesn't want to tarnish her reputation as the lovable, rogish and ordinary magician everybody pegs her. And that would be terrible!

"Well, take care!" the witch grabs her broom and starts to walk out of the room.

"See ya! And thanks again!" Little Bell waves goodbye.

The Ordinary Magician waves her hand without turning back and exits Suzunaan. She didn't get all the answers she wanted, but at least she has some solid leads towards this case. And she saved her friend's day without resorting to violence, like she usually does! That ought to be a big achievement for someone who is used to commit mischief, she thinks.

-----------------------------


The light of the setting sun is gives way to the cold breeze of evening, marking the end of day for the villagers. The witch had spent more time than she thought in there. The streets are a lot emptier and lifeless than a couple of hours before; everybody has gone to have dinner with their families or friends, the lights inside most houses are lit, and the smell of fried food fills the air.

"So tempting..." the witch mutters, as her stomach growls in hunger.

Actually, picking something to eat up before going to the Scarlet Mansion sounds like a good idea. Nobody can perform a proper investigation on an empty stomach, right? The witch sniffs the air around, trying to pinpoint where the smell of fried meat is coming from. If it's takoyaki stand, she could snatch a brochette or two and- nononono, no, no, she already did a good deed; it's be a shame to waste her hard-earned good karma on something that trivial. But those fried octopus meatballs smell so great...

"Hmmmm... I guess it won't hurt too much to take at least one, ri-? Wait..."

There's something more in the air, and it's not food. Being the ordinary magician that she is, the witch quickly identifies it as the unique aroma of magic. Gensokyo is a place brimming with magic, and the very air is filled with remnants of natural magical energy that people with affinity to nature can use. Youkai and fairies even make take advantage of this magic floating in the air to power their spells. Some people believe their very essences are made of this energy.

But this magic in particular is not natural at all. It doesn't draw power from nature, like the vast majority of spells do. No, it's more... "artificial", for lack of a better word. Someone has casted a non-natural spell -like the magic the witch and her puppeteer friend prefer to use- in the village grounds, and not too long ago, judging by the intensity of the trace. If Kotohime's recounting is true, the kid used wind magic, which falls on the natural category and rules him out as the cause of this mysterious fluctuation. Which means another human or a demon has used artificial magic in a 'safe zone'. Normally this would be glossed over as a little accident caused by a magician apprentice - the witch's own case comes to mind -, but with such a big incident going off right now, this can't be ignored.

"An arrow flies through the air and leaves no trace; but an ill thought leaves a trail like a serpent. Or something like that," the witch shrugs.

The witch doesn't know where did she get that quote from - most probably from one of the books she "borrowed" from Patchouli. More importantly, why did it come to mind now? Is it because the zigzagging trail does resemble a snake? Whatever lies at the end won't be pleasant for the witch, but since when did that stop her? Curiosity is an integral part of being a magician, and that's why she can never resist the call of the trail.

After walking the streets for a few minutes, sniffing the air like a wolf tengu, the witch arrives at one small plaza. Ignoring the weird looks some people are shooting at her, the magician follows the magic trail to a dark and cramped alleyway. The witch can't see much in the shadows, but she can tell there's a dead end ahead, and a barrel and a bin lying in the corner. The smell of trash is quite strong, but nonetheless the magician can still distinguish the smell of artificial magic. In fact, she'd say the aroma is stronger here, which means the source must be nearby.

"Now let's see..." says the witch to herself.

Suddenly, a person pops up from behind the barrel and looks at the witch startled. The witch can't see her clearly enough due to the dimness of the place, but she can definitely tell the person is a blonde girl dressed in a blue maid uniform. The suspicious maid girl is standing frozen in the place, eyeing the witch like a deer caught in the light... but beneath her frightened appearance, she's brimming with magical energy, and she looks ready to unleash it at the slightiest move. It's obvious that this person is the courier maid that's been giving Kosuzu the letters and the book, since maids dressed in a western fashion are not an usual sight - much less in a dark alleyway doing gods-know-what behind a barrel...

(Order matters in this vote)
[]Do nothing, stay still.
[]Tell her you're not going to hurt her.
[]Ask for her name.
-[]Introduce yourself first; it's the polite thing to do.
[]Ask what is she doing there.
[]Ask her if she's the one who gave Kosuzu the youkai book.
[]Accuse her of being the responsible of this incident.
[]Shoot first, ask later.
[]Butt to the face first, questions later.
[]Write-in.


-----------------------

This was a short update. We will return to the MC and Sacchin in the next one. Also, don't expect to get all the answers you want from this suspicious meido. Think very carefully about your course of actions.
>> No. 167259
[X]Introduce yourself first; it's the polite thing to do.
-[X]Mention that you're an avid collector of magical grimoires and carefully observe her reaction.
--[X]State that you were merely curious about the strong concentration of magic in this area.
---[X]Ask for her name and if you can help her in any capacity.
----[X]Ask if she's an employee of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.
-----[X]If she replies in the affirmative, ask why did Sakuya want her to be in the human village. Otherwise, ask why is she wearing a maid uniform.
I'll add on more if anything good shows up.

In case the conversation takes a turn for the worse:
[X]Before any shooting occurs, be sure to keep your distance at all times, and keep an eye on your surroundings in case she tries to make a move or her acquaintances try to jump you.
-[X]Try to gain some altitude with your broom in case she tries to blast you, and utilize all of your tracking skills to follow her.
--[X]If you have any spells that can neutralize the girl without extensive bodily harm, or even any tracking spells that you can use in a pinch, use them.
----[X]If she ducks into a building at any point, try to predict her points of exit and keep an eye out for any developments.
-----[X]Utilize low-intensity danmaku to suppress her from above, and expect return fire or air-to-air combat.
------[X]Try to engage her long enough for the town guards to react, and if you see her in a position where there would be next to no collateral damage, quickly blast her with a Master Spark.

All of these are presumed to be in order.

Marisa needs to be both purposeful and hospitable in this encounter. We have to expect that pushing her for direct answers won't get us anywhere, so minor details that will give her away would be extremely helpful, since we don't know if she actually gave Kosuzu the book or even if the SDM is involved at this point.

However, if things go downhill rapidly, we can hopefully salvage the situation with my recommended sequence with the intention to knock out the girl for capture.
>> No. 167271
[x]Ask what is she doing there.
[x]Introduce yourself
[x]Ask for her name.

Jumping to conclusions seems too foolish. Marisa may know that she's the culprit but we shouldn't be accusing strangers as soon as we meet them. It's more important that we know who they are and how to meet them again.
>> No. 167306
[X]Ask for her name.
-[X]Introduce yourself first; it's the polite thing to do.
[X]Ask what is she doing there.
>> No. 167313
File 136724951366.jpg - (112.02KB , 975x500 , This.jpg ) [iqdb]
167313
[] In a calm voice
[] Ask for her name
- [] Introduce yourself first; it's the polite thing to do
[] Tell her you're not going to hurt her
[] Ask what she is doing there
[] Write-in
- [] If she at any point try to escape, pursuit but do it stealthily
- [] If she at any point turns hostile, BLOOMERS OF STEEL to the face or master spark her ass (whatever seems appropriate)

>>Also, don't expect to get all the answers you want from this suspicious meido.
To me that’s a duh. She may be suspicious, but at this point in time, we got no proof that she’s NOT innocent. If we push too hard, it might back fire. But then again, not pushing hard enough won’t get us anywhere.
>> No. 167320
[x] In a calm voice
[x] Ask for her name
- [x] Introduce yourself first; it's the polite thing to do
[x] Tell her you're not going to hurt her
[x] Ask what she is doing there
[x] Write-in
- [x] If she at any point try to escape, pursuit but do it stealthily
- [x] If she at any point turns hostile, BLOOMERS OF STEEL to the face or master spark her ass (whatever seems appropriate)

I might as well throw my vote behind this, since this is pretty close to what I was thinking.
>> No. 167324
[x]Butt to the face first, questions later.
If it isn't broke...

Well, truth be told, I just wanted a shorter vote.
>> No. 167393
come on guys. 5 votes? this story deserves more.
>> No. 167394
>>167393
Well, it is a bit difficult to come up with the 'correct' course of action in this non-linear dilemma. Besides, there are far too many scenarios that could occur which our votes do not cover, so ultimately the writer will inevitably have to choose the most favorable action set at his discretion.
>> No. 167397
>>167393
Thanks for your encouragement, but I can work with these five votes. Two of them are equal, while the others add more courses of action that I can use to complement the main vote. Still, more votes are always appreciated; your thoughts can give me some ideas. And besides...

>>167394
You sure it's wise to leave everything on the hands of an author who explicitly stated that he's out to make your life hard in the story?
>> No. 167398
>>167397
Well, based on the track record, nothing incredibly terrible has happened yet, which may cause people to believe that their opinions as to how the situation develops won't really matter. Since it's clear that most people viewing this story are far too ambivalent to make up their mind or even vote, I'd say that it's almost completely up to you as to how you wish to progress the story with our votes. After all, you've been an excellent writer either way, and I'm quite interested to see how this can blow up in our collective faces what could possibly happen.

Have fun~
>> No. 167399
I am debating whether to have Marisa use the patented beam o love. Or do the responsible thing.

...It is a very difficult decision.

F it.

[x] Knock her out. You can question her when she isn't on the verge of blowing up.
>> No. 167400
>>167398
>Well, based on the track record, nothing incredibly terrible has happened yet
>nothing incredibly terrible has happened yet
>yet
Yukkuri shittei ne Take it easy, man. There will be plenty of times to screw up. Plenty of times. And yes, I will have fun, don't worry about that. In fact, much sooner than you think.

>Since it's clear that most people viewing this story are far too ambivalent to make up their mind or even vote, I'd say that it's almost completely up to you as to how you wish to progress the story with our votes.
If I am the one forced to pull the cart, it means I'm doing something wrong with the options, or with the situations...

Anyway, returning to the important matters: I said before there were 5 votes, but apparently I derped and counted wrong, because there were six. And with the seventh vote by >>167399 the recounting has become quite messy. As of now, this is the situation:

1 vote for Exchange names->Express curious->Offer her help
1 vote for Ask what is she doing->Exchange names
1 vote for Exchange names->Ask what is she doing
2 votes for Exchange names->Promise not to harm her->Ask what is she doing
2 votes for Attacking her, though there's a tie between Master Spark and Bloomers of Steel

That's the best I could do to sum up the essential and important parts of all the different votes. The additional write-ins will be added or not depending on the winning vote. As you can see there is a tie there, but it can easily be broken by two more votes. I'll leave the poll open until Friday, so you still have a lot of time to think or change your vote.
>> No. 167407
Hmm. She looks skittish. Saying wrong thing might cause her to run away, and then we'd get no answers. The proper course, then, is to shoot her before she runs away. By incapacitating her we will be able to get all the answers we need at our convenience!

If anyone questions our actions, she was obviously relevant to the investigation and acting suspiciously.

[x]Shoot first, ask later.
>> No. 167408
[x]Ask for her name.
-[x]Introduce yourself first; it's the polite thing to do.
[x] Tell her you're not going to hurt her
[x] Ask what she is doing there
[x]Ask her if she's the one who gave Kosuzu the youkai book.
-[x]And why.

Be polite. Be nice. Ask the big questions. Be ready to get after her when she runs.
>> No. 167421
>>167271

Just so that my vote will count better, I'll change my vote to:

[X]Ask for her name.
-[X]Introduce yourself first; it's the polite thing to do.
[X]Ask what is she doing there.

I don't want us becoming too agressive against her or asking her the wrong questions then having her running away and distrust us.
>> No. 167545
[x]Shoot first, ask later.
Let's play it safe...well,okay violence isn't exactly safe for anybody but it'd be a problem if she fled.
>> No. 167561
Votes closed. In a surprising turn of events, the winner option is:

[x]Shoot first, ask later.

Next update will have a little spark as the main dish, but since the other options have come close, I'll see what I can do to strike a middle ground.
>> No. 167562
>>167561

Damn. Should've changed my vote to the other option.

Oh well, you guys voted so it so your choice better be worth it.
>> No. 167760
File 136792325066.jpg - (196.74KB , 850x478 , sample-65a278750c66acdbb20c7b93f1437524.jpg ) [iqdb]
167760
[X]Shoot first, ask later.

The girl matches the description of the courier maid that Kosuzu described, and the fact that she is ready to cast a spell only arises the witch's suspicions further. If she were Kotohime, she'd use her lunatic eyes to make her submit, or at least try to talk the maid down until reinforcements arrived. But she had no lunatic eyes, nor she was an officer. Besides, she only knew of one way to deal with potential threats.

"Shoot, and I'll move!" shouts the witch, taking her hakkero out of her pocket and pointing it at the girl.

The blonde maid tilts her head and gives the witch an unamused look. Several seconds of awkward silence pass, until the witch finally realizes her mistake.

"Whoops, I screwed up again!" she knocks her temple with her knuckles. "I mean, move and I'll shoot. In a flash."

The maid raises her eyebrows and tilts her head even more, part in curiosity, part in mockery. Crossing her arms below her chest, the girl looks like she dropped her guard, but the witch still percieves the magical energy surrounding her whole body.

"Is this how you always start your conversations?" the maid says in a completely monotone and apathetic voice.

"With suspicious maids doing suspicious things in a suspicious place and about to fire suspicious magic at me? Why, yes, of course!" the witch responds.

"You are a strange human, indeed."

The maid shakes her head slowly, and an almost indescernible half smile slowly appears in her obscured face. The witch can't tell if that's her way of laughing at her, or if there is an implicit threat on that grin.

"I've been told that a lot," chortles the witch.

Actually, there is something else that nags the witch. Hasn't she heard that exact sentence before? In fact, she could swear this isn't the first time she has met this mysterious blonde maid. And the way she just addressed her, it looks like- Nah, she's thinking too hard about this. There'll be plenty of time to ponder once she's done with her.

"Are you going to stay there daydreaming or what?" says the maid. "If you excuse me, I have urgent matters to do elsewhere."

The witch shakes her head when she is yanked back from memory lane. The maid girl starts to walk towards the entrance where she is standing, but the witch stops her by putting her broom in the way, like the village gateguards do with their spears.

"Who told you you could move?" the witch snarls. "Or do you wanna be shot that badly?"

With her only escape route blocked, the maid takes several steps back and eyes the witch intensely. Or at least, as intensely as her hollow eyes of tourmaline allow. If it wasn't for her impeccable and elegant looks, the witch would think the blonde girl has just got out of bed, judging from her sleepy stare and laid-back behavior. But underneath her calm demeanor, the witch senses an overwhelming and terrifying power seeping out of those unnaturally yellow eyes; a power best left slumbering...

"Are you trying to pick up a fight with me?"

... A power the witch is poking awake with her characteristic carelessness. But she isn't one to back down to any potential threat. On the contrary, she is more than eager to face it and overcome it, even if there are other ways to avoid it. She is a magician of the school of light, heat and love, and there's nothing she loves more than lighting the sky up with danmaku in a good heated fight.

"No, today it's Ace Witch Detective Day, when ordinary magicians like me crack cases," the witch explains, grinning defiantly. "And you look like you've got all the answers I need."

But today she just can't waste time in duels. She's investigating an incident, so now she must get serious and get the job done, for Little Bell's sake.

"'Ace Witch Detective Day'?" the maid girl raises her eyebrows again. "I am just a normal girl dressed in a normal maid outfit minding her own normal business in a normal village," she says in a high pitched voice, cleary mocking the magician. "There you have, the answers you search for. Can I leave now?"

The witch blows air out of her nostrils. She thought she could continue the joke a bit further, but the truth is that she is running low on patience to bear with unhelpful witnesses since she dealt with Kotohime.

"No, seriously, you can spill the beans now, or after some punishment. But you're gonna talk one way or another," she states while she practically shoves her hakkero in the maid's face.

With a quick yet graceful swipe of her hand, the blonde girl pushes the witch's magic furnace away. Then she covers her face with her other hand in a gesture of resignation and annoyance, and lets out a long sigh.

"What a bother," the maid says, her dull voice finally tainted with a hint of irritation. "Sis said I must restrain myself until the time is right..."

Suddenly, the witch feels an unnatural pressure over her shoulders. The air itself seems to become heavier as the maid's eyes lose their voidness. The magician doesn't have her miko friend's intuition, but her 'sixth sense' -for lack of a better name- sets off all the alarms on her head. That maid is about to do something really detrimental for the witch's wellbeing, and her instinct is screaming her to get out of the way now.

"... Of course, accidents do happen."

Thankfully, the witch always listens to her instincts, which have saved her from being holed by myriads of danmaku barrages in countless battles. This time is no different: just as the witch dives to the ground, a stream of star shaped bullets shoots from the blonde maid's hand directed at the magician's head. The yellow bullets hit her witch hat instead, and send it flying a couple of yards away to the main street. As the magician hits the ground, she can smell the stench of burned cloth, and as she turns her head back, she sees her hat lying in the dirt, sporting a smoky hole right in its middle.

Yes, she was definitely lucky. If those bullets had hit her face, she would've been in a world of pain. But what's with this maid? She just attacked out of the blue, without declaring a spell card or a duel! That's not how danmaku battles are supposed to-!

The witch's complaint dies inside her throat even before she has the chance to say it outloud. The murderous glance the maid is giving her makes it clear that she doesn't feel like sticking to the conventions of danmaku. So she wants to go dirty? Well, two can play that game!

Still lying on the ground, the witch points her hakkero at the maid and fires a quick, narrow blue laser at her. It was more of a crack shot than anything, with the intent of getting time to stand up, so she didn't expect it to do any serious damage. What she didn't expect was that the maid has completely vanished, and is nowhere to be seen. How did she do that? Or was her laser that strong?

No, that can't be. If her prior raids to the Scarlet Mansion have taught the witch something, is that maids have a penchant for dissapearing and reapearing behind your back to throw you a flurry of space-bending knives out of nowhere. Now this maid in particular might not be able to stop time or throw knives, but if she has other means of moving elsewhere instantaneously, the logical thing to do would be-

Right on cue, the witch feels a surge of magical energy coming from behind her. The magician quickly stands up and turns around, just in time to see a ring of round white bullets coming at her at ludricous speed. She only has enough time to take her broom and put it between her body and the bullet barrage. A couple of shots hit the broom's handle and explode, sending the witch flying until she crashes against the barrel at the end of the alleyway. She feels the air in her lungs getting knocked out of her violently, but at least she didn't break a bone or burned her clothes. Good thing that reinforcing enchantment on her broom still works!

When she manages to catch her breath back, the witch stands up from the rubble of broken wood and locates the blonde maid, leisurely sitting at the edge of a roof in front of her. Her hand is brimming with a white aura, ready to fire another barrage at any moment. But to the maid's surprise, the witch grins, dusts her dress and points her hakkero at her defiantly.

"Oh, it's on now!" the magician shouts.

The blonde maid half-closes her eyes and shoots a second and a third ring of white round bullets. This time, the witch was ready and aware from the beginning, so she manages to easily weave through the two circles. Eager to return the favor, the ordinary magician hops on her broom and quickly takes off, leaving a cloud of dust behind. The maid shoots more rings of bullets, this time of varying size, but they pose no problem to the experienced witch, who simply grazes them while flying towards her opponent. The witch's hakkero starts to shine with light as well while she mumbles the spell as fast as she can.

However, when she gets in range to unleash her attack, the maid's figure flickers, contorts and dissapears from her sight again. Did she use a teleport spell? Or is there something else going on? She can't see her anywhere on the roofs. Where is she!?

Following a sudden hunch, the magician turns her vines broom to face downwards and immediatly fires her spell, flooding the air below her with colored stars. Her astral-themed bullets collide with the sudden rain of square razor bullets coming from the ground, resulting in a big and colorful cloud of shining dust. The witch basks for a split second in the beauty of the sight... until she sees the figure of the maid girl materializing just at her right side. In a desperate twist motion, the magician sweeps her vines broom to meet the maid's kick, and both fighters engage in a brief broom-leg lock until gravity takes a hold of the maid and pulls her down to earth. Despite the considerable height, the blonde girl swiftly falls on another roof in her two feet, with no apparent injury.

The witch blinks her eyes in bewilderment. What was that feeling of déjà vu just now? Could it be that the witch already fought this person before? That would explain why does she feel like she knows the maid girl of something... But when? It's clear to the witch that they have met before somewhere, some time. But no matter how hard she tries to do memory, she can't recall anything more about this mysterious maid. It's like-

Like it was a dream.

"Who might you be...?" asks the witch.

"Good question, who might I be?" the maid retorts criptically.

"Please, I must know!"

"Get used to dissapointments."

The witch sighs. Of course it wouldn't be that easy. "...M'kay."

Then she should stick to her original plan and beat the lights out of this walking mystery to make her more cooperative. The problem is that she can't hit her if she keeps teleporting every time. She needs to restrict her movements somehow... and she has the perfect spell for that.

"「Light Sign: Earth Light Ray」"

A rain of small yellow stars fall from the hakkero and slowly float towards the blonde maid in a whirwind pattern, who stands up and carefully slips away through every gap in the barrage. At the same time, four blue orbs appear around the witch and fly to the ground, conspiciously sticking to the dirt. The maid keeps weaving through all the witch's bullets, but after a while the star barrage becomes too dense to simply graze her way out. The girl is forced to teleport to safety at floor level...

... just as planned. The moment the maid sets foot on the ground, the witch activates the orbs while she redirects the star bullets at her new position. Blue lasers shoot up in the sky, encasing the maid in a tight square and greatly limiting her movements. To add more spark to the spell, the witch shoots six more orbs when the first four vanish, which produce other six skyward lasers that keeps squeezing the maid in a smaller zone. It'll be only a matter of time before she falls to the condensed barrage, slips up and hits a laser, or teleports again, in which case she'll only have to repeat the process again. If this battle was under the Spell Card Rules, the witch would be worried about the imposed time-out, but this time she only needs to mind her own focus and energy to maintain the Earth Light Ray active. And she had energy to spare.

"Is that all?" says the maid, feigning a bored yawn - modishly, at that. "How pitiful."

"Huh?"

Without giving the witch time to react, the maid teleports to the other end of the impromptu battlefield, forcing the witch to turn around. Her barrage of stars follow the witch's line of sight ever so slowly, but to compensate, the ordinary magician shoots eight of the laser orbs at the maid. To her surprise, the maid takes the offensive and unleashes her own danmaku of square razors. The maid's bullets cleanly cut the orbs apart and keep flying at the witch, who makes an emergency evasion with her broom.

"Now you will sleep."

When she hears the maid's voice practically in her right ear, the witch turns in shock and sees her about to release her razor bullets at point blank range. She's been too careless back there, and supposed she couldn't use her teleport ability consecutively. The witch can only close her eyes, cross her arms in front of her in a futile attempt to stop the razors and-

"「Luna Sign: Invincible Shield」"

- the blades are stopped by a magical barrier that appeared in front of the witch in the nick of time. The magical wall glows purple and quickly flies towards the surprised maid, who teleports back to ground before it hits her. Both the witch and the maid turn their heads to where the declaration of the spell was heard.

"Kotohime!?" exclaims the witch.

The lunatic princess is standing at a prudential distance of the fight, her hands hiding in her sleeves and her face contorted in a stern expression. Her eyes are shining in dangerous red, and she's eyeing the blonde maid. However, her lunatic eyes don't seem to have effect on the maid, or she's clever enough not to stare at them directly.

"You there!" Kotohime raises her voice and speaks to the maid. "You are hereby arrested for using lethal magic in the village grounds, destroying private property and disrupting public order!"

The maid sighs in utter exasperation, as if saying 'is this woman serious?' Meanwhile, the police officer calmly produces a small note from her sleeve, opens it and reads it outloud.

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to consult an-"

Kotohime's lecture is interrupted by a barrage of white bullets and razors coming at her. Without fazing in the slightliest, Kotohime waves her hand, and another purple barrier appears in front of her and blocks the maid's attack.

"Why am I always interrupted when I read you your rights?" complains the officer. "It's so rude! And nobody realizes it's actually for their own good!"

"I don't have time for this," the maid grunts. "If you are going to shoot, then shoot. Don't talk."

Kotohime stares at the maid blankly and shrugs. "Fair enough."

Then, in a surprising and unexpected display of speed, she sprints towards the maid, magic barrier in front of her. Despite her long purple kimono being completely unfit for performing physical exercises, Kotohime manages to cover the couple tens of yards between her and the maid in just three seconds; a feat that impresses the witch. Once the officer gets at arm range, she lunges to do a judo throw - or whatever it's called - to the maid, but as the witch expected, the blonde girl teleports right behind her.

"Behind you!" the witch shouts.

Apprently, Kotohime was also expecting that, because as soon as the maid dissapeared from her line of sight, she pulled a black round thing from her sleeve and tossed it backwards - just where the maid reappeared. The maid catches the black "ball" by unconscious reflex, and opens her eyes in shock when she realizes the danger.

"「All-directional Lunatic Bomb」"

The black thing starts to glow red, and the maid quickly throws it away at random. Not a half second later, the bomb explodes and releases a ring of countless tiny wihte bullets in all directions, hitting the maid caught offguard. The blonde girl winces and takes several steps back in surprise and pain, then glares at Kotohime. If stares killed, the officer would be a pile of ashes. And judging by how the maid's composed behavior has fallen to pieces with that hit, making that comparison a reality seems to be her new goal. Kotohime still retains her calm demeanor, and adopts a combat stance, waiting for the maid to make a move.

The retaliatory strike doesn't take long to come. The maid shoots ring after ring of white bullets and razors at a speed even the witch would have difficulties to weave through unharmed, but Kotohime simply lets her Invincible Shield to block all the bullets that come her way and counter by throwing more of her Lunatic Bombs. Soon the field is filled with bullets, razors and barriers everywhere, while the maid and the officer engage in a deadly yet eye-catching dance.

Yet that is not enough. The battle has reached a stalemate, where neither of them has an edge over their opponent. The witch figures that it's up to her to tip the scales to their favour, but how? The maid has already proven to be agile enohgh to graze her and Kotohime's bullets, and she can always rely on teleportation to escape. If only she stop her from using that ability...

No, she is tackling the problem the wrong way. Her librarian friend always told her to turn the situation upside-down if she ever became stuck with a unsurmountable wall. So instead of making that ability unusable, she should make it useless? If the maid escapes to safe zones where the concentration of bullets is low, then she shouldn't focus on stripping her of teleportation, but of safe zones! Right? But how? She only needs to cover every place Kotohime can't reach with more bullets and lasers. In fact, the librari- no, the witch had the perfect spell for this kind of situation:

"「Love Sign: Non-Directional Laser」"

The witch invokes ten orbs and surrounds herself with them. Five of them fire narrow lasers of multiple colours, swiping the whole area around her clockwise, while the other five amass magical energy from the air to charge the next burst. Meanwhile, the witch takes her hakkero and fires a lotus-patterned barrage of multi-colored stars counter-clockwise. That ought to do the trick. The witch charges ahead and gets close to the fray, minding her distance. She doesn't need to get too close; Kotohime's bombs and her lasers will do the work.

The battle takes a turn to the better for the witch and the officer, whose combined efforts manage to drive the maid back. Pressured by the constant thick barrage of bullets and lasers, the maid frantically tries to weave her way out, but everytime she teleports to what seems to be a safe zone, there awaited a sweeping laser or a well placed bomb to put her on a pinch again.

Since the Spell Card Rules are not in effect, it's only a matter of time until finally the blonde girl finally gets hit by a stray bullet. And after that come the bombs.

And the star bullets.

And the sweeping laser.

And another bomb for good measure.

The witch starts to think they might have overdone it a tiny little bit.

When she and the officer finally lay down her danmaku and the resulting cloud dissapears, they see the maid lying on the dirt in a rather contorted and uncomfortable way. The two victors carefully get closer, the witch still pointing her hakkero at the blonde girl...

"U-ugu~~"

Neither one of them expected the maid to let out such an... adorable whimper. The witch can't hold the chuckle coming out of her mouth, and Kotohime's all-purpose sleeve fails to conceal the smile forming in her usually serene face.

Before the magician gets the chance to fire her questions, the maid girl stands up, dust herself off and rubs her face with her arm to... wipe her tears off? Then she turns back and stares at the two with teary eyes, reddened pouting cheeks and a quivering voice; completely unlike the cool, elegant and cold-hearted maid of doom facade she wore a minute earlier.

"Y-you..."

When she realizes her charisma has broken, the maid's eyes go wide for the first time and her face turns even redder, but she shakes her head, pats her cheeks a couple of times, and regains her bearings.

"Since it has come to this..." she speaks in her prior monotone voice again. "Show's over for today."

The maid turns around and starts to walk away as solemnly as she can, apparently ignoring the fact she had been flung and tossed around not a minute ago. The witch and the officer can only stand there dumbfounded at the maid's sudden shift of behavior, until the magician snaps out of it and realizes she's actually trying to flee.

"Hey, you, this is far from over!" she shouts, hopping off of her broom and running after her. "You have a lot of explaining to-!"

As soon as the witch touches her shoulder, the maid dissapears yet another time, but this time she doesn't reappear. The magician and the officer scout the roofs and the streets to no avail.

"This is but a brief parting," the maid's voice comes from everywhere, but nowhere at the same time. "We will meet again on the next dream, 'Ace Witch Detective'."

"No, dammit! Come back here!"

But the maid does not return, and the magician feels the heavy atmosphere over her shoulders lift up. She is certain the maid has left for real, and the fact that she let her escape like that infuriates her.

"'Ace Witch Detective'?" Kotohime asks. "So you got bored of the "Ordinary Magician" title?"

"No, that's- nevermind," the witch sighs.

The Ace Witch Detective walks to the alleyway where she found the maid, looking for her hat.

"That was her, right? The courier maid we were looking for," the officer continues.

She finds it in the ground, covered in dust and with that big burnt hole in it. It's a complete wreck, and it was her best hat too! Now it's personal!

"Yes, she was," answers the witch, gritting her teeth in anger.

"She used lethal magic. I don't know if she does not know about the Spell Card Rules, or if she ignores them altogether," Kotohime ponders. "Either way, she's very dangerous, and can't be left free roaming Gensokyo as she pleases."

"Doesn't matter. Next time I'm gonna open a second belly button on her with my lasers. That'll teach her to open holes on other people's hats."

The witch keeps staring at her ruined headgear, thinking about the maid. Who is she, why does she feel like she knows her, what are her goals, what sound will her body make when she gets Master Sparked...

"I... I'll increase the security around here, in case she decides to come back," the officer says, disturbed by the vengeful aura around the witch.

"She won't come back. I'm sure of it."

"Never hurts to be safe," Kotohime shrugs. "Anyway, since you seem to know her better than I, I'd like you to tell me everything you know about-"

"Sorry, no can't do."

"What?"

The witch hops on her broom again, putting her burned hat under her arm, and takes off as fast as lightning.

"I need to ask Patchouli about all this, and I can't waste any more time," she explains.

"Wait! At least you could-"

Without giving Kotohime time to speak, the witch flys off towards the Scarlet Mansion as fast as her broom can. She had a mystery to solve, a maid to stop, a friend to protect, and a hat to avenge. It was going to be an hectic incident for Marisa Kirisame, the Ordinary Magician.
>> No. 167761
File 136792336222.png - (435.78KB , 600x789 , apparently the only tengu in Booru is Aya.png ) [iqdb]
167761
[x]You'll take a well deserved rest here, and wait until you recover your normal mobility.


Your room at Lord Tenma's palace, at night, was lugubrious and dark, as opposed to the lugubrious and illuminated lounge that it was in the day. But you don't want it in any other way. You always found it easier to concentrate in such a dismal place; the inspiration for your songs came naturally in the dark. After a long and extenuating day full of events like this one, there's nothing you like more than taking a quick shower, putting your pajamas, and dropping yourself on the futon, musing about whatever thing popped in your mind first.

However, when you open the door, you spot a number of differences in the room: first of all, the small chandelier is broken into glass shards on the floor, which explains why the room was even darker than usual. The papers and scrolls in your desk are more disordered than usual; some of them fell to the floor as well, and the contents of your inkpot spilled over the table. Truly an outrageous tragedy for your work, but that's not what you're worried about right now. The differences keep piling up: all the things in your shelves were more disarrayed than usual; some of your personal effects are missing, more than usual; your closet is open and your clothes are more scrambled than usual...

... and lastly, you notice there are more tengu assassins waiting in the shadows than usual.

Everything occurs in a split second. Just as you see the distinct glimmer of diamond cord going for your neck, your first impulse is to grab your aggresor by his wrists. You were taught that the trick of every fight is to strike the weakest point of your enemy. In the case of the unbreakable diamond cord, - the weapon of choice of tengu assassins because of its ability to cut almost anything with next to no effort- the weakest point is the user himself. In what is an almost reflex move, you invoke the power of fire dormant within you, and your hands lit up in fiery flames, scorching the assassin's wrists and making him shout in pain. You take this chance to strike an elbow jab in his face, and as the hit connects, you hear the sound of porcelain breaking, followed by an acute pain in your elbow as shards stick in your skin.

At least you're now free from the assassin's grasp. You step away from him and turn back to face him, while you take a defensive stance. The assassin is wearing the same costume than all the guest of the party: an dress uniform consisting of a white top with detached sleeves and black kimono pants, tied with a big golden belt made of silk - which means that your assailant was a high ranked individual among the tengu. A red tengu mask, with its characteristic long nose, concealed his face, but after your counter, the left half of it broke down, revealing ·/&$&·")"^^¨*^Ç´]{{[€{#@|¬€~#@. You recognize that face instantly.

"Oh gods. T&$("^, is that you?" you exclaim in shock.

"Damn it," T&$("^ spits in the floor. "This wasn't supposed to happen."

"What's going on? Why are you trying to kill me?"

You can't fathom the thought of your dear friend almost decapitating you with a diamond cord. She can't be that heartless, right? There must be some kind of misunderstanding.

"Ah, screw it. Stealth isn't my forte anyways," the tengu mutters. "Rin Satsuki, for all the crimes you have committed, I will give you death right here and right now!"

Nevertheless, her resolve to kill you is as cold and strong as the blade of the wakizashi T&$("^ got from her sleeve.

"What crimes are you talking about!? Come on, T&$("^, this isn't funny! We're friends!"

T&$("^ doesn't say a word. With a murdering intent overflowing from her left eye, she lunges towards you, sword in hand, at the speed of wind, and you...

[]Crouch down and tackle.
[]Grab her and counter.
[]Dive down and run.
[]Speak up and cast.
[]Pick that and block.

[]Open your eyes.

>> No. 167762
[X]Grab her and counter.

Apparently Rin has bitchin' fast reflexes, may as well use them.
>> No. 167764
[x]Grab her and counter.
Seems like the best option.
>> No. 167766
[X]Grab her and counter.

So, Mugetsu? The mystery deepens.
>> No. 167768
[X] Write in
- Grab and counter (not attacking, but redirecting her attack)
- Use the brief moment to escape
-- Run for a more open area with less hiding spots
- Try to talk reason back into T&$("^
- Open your eyes
-- Only when/if something frightning happens
-- Only when/if a serious hit is taken


I feel like there's more to this part of Rin's story. My guts tell me she wont die. Not right now at least.
>> No. 167779
[X]Grab her and counter.

Hm. A tengu we know, or one made up by Ikaros?
>> No. 167787
The maid strikes me as Yumeko because of the lack of spell cards rules but the uniform colour doesn't match up. Maybe she's a spy who's out to ruin the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

[x]Grab her and counter.

This seems nice and defensive. Seeing as Rin's objective is simply to stay alive at this point, playing defensively seems the best choice. Simply running would have them catch up with us.
>> No. 167992
>>167787
The Blonde maid has to be Mugetsu. I wasn't positive at first, since both of the blonde maids in Touhou were related to dreams (Mugetsu is from the Dream World and Yumeko's name means "Dream Child"), but the "ugu~" clinched it.
The dream analogy was more than just an analogy, I think. Not to mention, everyone's talking about us the same way that Rin talked about the other people in her memory/dream world.
Something is happening to us, either passively from the book, or actively (probably would be Mugetsu's workings, if this).
Or, if we want to go full-on Shadowrun levels of paranoia, we start going into Final Fantasy X and Inception-based theories. Things like "We are actually just a dream, and all memories of us were implanted and, without our presence to reinforce them, are fading." This would explain why we were able to interact with Rin: As a dream creature, we would, naturally, have the ability to interact with other things dream-related, like Rin's Dream World in the book.

But Winged Ikaros wouldn't do that to us, right?

My personal odds go to the "passive book effect". I think that the book is cursed to draw anyone who interacts with its contents into it, starting with peripheral evidence of their existence, like memories, paintings, and records.
If that's true, then it might be problematic finding someone who remembers Rin, as that could be how she got there in the first place. We might travel all the way up Youkai Mountain, only to find out that even the people that Rin remembers knowing don't remember her anymore.

Anyways, back to the choice at-hand:
I'm not a big fan of playing nice with dream sequences, so

[x] Grab her and counter
-[x] With a kiss
>> No. 167994
>>167992
Oh, I forgot to mention.
Since Winged Ikaros has admitted to reading Imperfect Metamorphosis (somewhere, I'm pretty sure I saw it), we can't rule out the idea that our character is simply a construction weaved from dreams for the purposes of our interaction with everyone in Gensokyo, like the one Ms. Kazami used after her eye-opening event, and all memories of "us" before the start of the story are artificial.

It seems too meta, but, again, my paranoia compels me to not rule it out, and there is a precedent.
>> No. 168003
>>167787

Good point. It is Mugetsu. I forgot about her.

>>167992

Also please change my vote to this:

[x] Grab her and counter
-[x] With a kiss

I want to see what happens.
>> No. 168004
>>168003

Sorry, I got the quotes round the wrong way. I'm a noob with this image board system.
>> No. 168061
File 136822262438.jpg - (282.15KB , 850x1202 , and now you're (mostly) fucked.jpg ) [iqdb]
168061
>>167992
>>168003
Now look at what you made me do! I had to turn pure and inocent Rin into a lesbian! I hope you're happy, because this means MC will get no kirin booty in the future. Hmph.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[X]Grab her and counter.
-[x]With a kiss


Alright, so your friend has suddenly payed you a visit and tried to give you a neat diamond necklace as a surprise present. Luckily your reflexes prevented her from giving you a shorn crown, but you'd better repeat this feat again if you don't want that dangerously sharp knife to get your tongue.

You only need to forget about your bonds of friendship with T&$("^, regard her as the threat she actually is and remember all the things you've learned from her. Normally you'd be very reticent to hurt your friend, even when she askes you to be her sparring partner, but adrenaline and tension have kicked in and have put your survival instincts to work.

Think coldly. T&$("^'s is extremely quick, but seeing her moves for the umpteenth time makes her actions completely predictable for you.

Get ahead of your enemy's moves. Just as she brings her wazikashi down to cut you in half, you gracefully step aside, turn on your toes, and let the blade fall on your desk while you move behind her.

Defend quickly. T&$("^ sees you and tries to stab you with a wide sweep of her arm, but you are able to grab her arm and twist it, continuing your prior motion. Your friend writhes in pain and drops her weapon.

And when she least expects it, strike back. In this position, you practically have her life at your hands. Just another twist would suffice to break her right arm. A well placed blow to her neck would knock her out cold... or if you apply enough force, you could snap it like you would close a jam pot. The sheer amount of ways she taught you to hurt, kill or incapacitate someone once you hold them up is terrifyingly high.

Or better yey, what if you do...
that? T&$("^ won't expect it at all, and you'll be able to "stun" her for a while and make her listen to you. And best of all, it's totally painless for both or you! You are not sure she will mind it or not, but you're as sure as hell you don't. In fact, you might actually enjoy it, even if it's just to see her reaction.

You pull T&$("^ closer to you. She offers some resistance, but her struggles are quickly interrupted by the kiss you plant her just at the base of her silky and pointy ear. You know that is her weak point, and the reaction her body unconsciously gives is as expected, but still amusing: she lets out a surprised yet cute yelp, and her ears twitch at the contact with your moist and soft lips. Because you were wearing lipstick, you left a bright red stamp on the place you kissed a bit too eagerly, but the area around turns pink and gets goosebumps - somewhat appropiate for a tengu, you think.

Your friend clearly doesn't share your opinion, as her strong elbow blow to your head shows. While you stumble back in a painful daze, she manages to break free from your hold and step back a couple of meters away. However, you know your sneaky attack has had effect; T&$("^ did it not hit you to hurt you, but because she is totally flustered and wanted to recover some personal space.

"W-w-w-w-w-what in Lord Tenma's name are you doing!?" she exclaims, her face glowing bright red from embarrasement.

You rub your sore temple, where she hit you, and shrug. "Since you're doing things completely out of character, I figured I should do the same, so..."

"Well, stop doing that! Don't make my job harder than it already is!" T&$("^ brings a hand to where you kissed her, wiping out the lipstick under her ear.

"No, you stop that!" you counter. "What's wrong with you!? You just can't simply break into your friend's room and attempt to murder her! Not without a very good reason!"

"I have one, Rin... Sadly, I have," she sighs, her face returning to a serious grimace.

Uh oh, this is bad. You don't want T&$("^ trying to kill you again. Quick, think of something stupid to break the gloomy mood!

"This is about the ten thousand yen I still owe you, right?" you blurt out. "The family book I burned by mistake some time ago? The hamster I accidentaly threw down the Waterfall? The elderberry cake I stole from you?" No response from your friend. "Come on, whatever it is, we can talk it like civilized youkai instead of-"

T&$("^ slowly shakes her head. "No, Rin. There is no time."

You immediatly feel a surge of energy coming from the tengu, but you have no time to react. She swipes her arm in an ample arc, fanning the air in front of her and turning it into a massively strong gale that pushes you back. You are thrown in the air for a split second, before your hip crashes against the table with the force of a hundred rabbits pounding
mochi. A shock of pain soares through your entire body, and you let out a grunt as you fall to the floor and your vision becomes blurry. You think you see T&$("^ taking her knife from the floor and walking towards you. You try to move, but the pain has numbed your body to the point it no longer obeys your commands.

"I'm sorry, Rin."

You can only watch helplessly as your friend yanks you by your left arm, slams your hand against the surface of the table and grips your wrist strongly. You try to fix your eyes on your friend's face... what you find in her ebony eyes is a cold resolve and a determination of steel, tainted by the smallest of stains of what it seems to be honest regret and apology.

T&$("^ lifts her knife over her head and brings it down with the fury of a thousand gods of thunder, and you close your eyes and grit your teeth in anticipation for-


ohgodthepainyourhanditbuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurnsgoddammitithurtsithurtsithurtspleasemakeitstoooooooooooooooooooooooooop!

You open your eyes and gasp in pain as you writhe and trash around the mud, gripping your left hand burning with a not so awesome fever. It feels as if you've been stabbed by a red hot needl - and judging by that strange experience, that comparison is very close to the actual truth. But when you dare to take a look at your appendage, you see your hand is absolutely fine, save for the handcuff tightly shut around your wrist. That's when you remember all that was just a dream - a really vivid dream, but now you're back to reality. You think. You'd better confirm it for the time being.

You try to make memory of all that has happened until now; maybe that'll help you to make things clear. You are a poor boy who had the bad luck of recieving a demon book from your best friend. Said demon book happened to have an amnesiac youkai sealed inside it. She goes by the name of Rin Satsuki and apparently she was a musician at Lord Tenma's court, the king of tengu, but her memory was completely wiped clean - most probably due to a curse.

"You're finally awake," a female voice rings inside your head.

Oh yeah, it's probably worth mentioning that this Rin person has taken residence inside your own head until she gets her memories back and obtains a new body. And it's her fault that you're living this strange but vivid dreams - therefore the pain in your hand is also her fault.

"Hey, you can't blame me for that!" Rin complains. "Besides, if it wasn't for me, you'd be dead a couple of times already."

As much as you hate to, you've got to give her the point. Her knowledge and the mysterious powers over the wind and the plants that she granted you have saved you from many hardships. And all that in less than forty-eight hours! You wonder how much your magic and physical prowess would improve if you keep learning from Sacchin...

Better return to your mental recap before you get sidetracked again.

One day, for some reason, the shrine maiden and the village guards started to persecute you, and you only managed to escape alive thanks to your best friend's help and Rin's magic. Now you're running away from the most powerful people in Gensokyo, surviving the best you can in the wild full of hungry youkai. In fact, one of them almost managed to eat you, if it wasn't for Meira, a random sellsword that happened to jump on you a few minutes earlier and-

In short, things are a complete mess. And you intend to go to the bottom of it all and figure everything out. And the first place to accomplish that is checking your current status.

You are inside the giant tree you accidentaly grew while you were testing your newfound power over the element of Wood. Rin's book is resting on your lap, opened at a random page - you recall you were attempting to read more lines to no avail before you fell asleep. Your body feels a bit heavy, despite you just took that nap.

"In fact, you weren't supposed to take a nap in the first place," comments Rin. "We agreed to rest for a few minutes, but you just went and fell asleep when you began to read me. Am I really that boring?"

No, not at all! It's just that the exhaustion after your fight with that raijuu was greater than you thought and- Oh, nevermind. Let's just continue the check-up. Never argue with a woman about personal flaws. 95% of the times it's a trap.

"I heard you."

You know she did. Anyway, the imaginary pain in your left hand is slowly fading, but the soreness at your wrists is still as annoying as always. Removing those handcuffs should be put high on your priority list.

You sloppily reach out for the backpack you "borrowed" from that poor salesman back at the village and revise your scarce possessions: a gourd filled with water that you should probably change before it grows mold, a map of Gensokyo, a box of matches, four plums you grew up yourself, and a small bag filled with yellow dust or flour. That bag originally belonged to Meira, but she dropped it when she ran after the youkai. You wonder if it has any personal value for her, so it'd be best if you keep it for the time being, until you meet again.

"If we meet her again," remarks Sacchin. "So, are you done? We should get moving now. We've already wasted a lot of time here."

Right. Your pursuers must have covered a lot of distance while you were busy fighting the raijuu and taking an involuntary nap. Better get a move on while you-

Huh? This is strange. Your body feels extremely heavy. You try to lift your arm, but it only raises a few inches, even if you try with all your might. Same for your legs and torso. What is more, you actually find it a bit difficult to breathe - you actually have to focus to make your lungs pump air in and out. What the hell is going on!?

"Oh crap," Rin says.

"What? What is it?"

"I knew it was a bad idea to tackle the raijuu! Now we've come to this... Gods save us."

...

"Wait, you don't mean..."

"Yes, I do mean. I'm quite sure you've been tainted by the raijuu."

...

...

...

Yep, that sucks.

Now that you think about it, your symptoms pretty much match what Meira explained to you. And Rin might be right; grappling an electric beast that is known for infecting people with your bare hands wasn't the brightest of ideas.

Oh well, you can't do anything about that now. Don't rue the past, set your sights on the future, and all that.

"I don't know if your composure about this crisis is laudable or irresponsible," comments the kirin.

So now that you're tainted, treating your curse/illness/infection is now your highest priority. And sitting here mulling while Rin berates you mentally for your recklessness won't accomplish anything. First thing in order should be standing up and getting out of your arboreal refuge.

Just as you attempt to stand up for the second time, you see a figure clad in red and white standing at the entrance of the tree trunk, blocking your way out.

"Huh? Mei-?"

Upon a second and closer inspection, you spot a number of diferences between this woman and the sellsword. First of all, whereas Meira had long purple hair tied in a ponytail, this person sports a black-brownish mane tied with a big red ribbon on the back on her head and two red tubes at both sides. Her attire, while retaining the same two primary colours, is more elaborated in this girl: red skirt, sleveless red top and detached white sleeves, while the sellsword had a simple white top and red pants. Their weaponry is different too, but somehow, the girl's ofuda and purification rod seems as menacing as Meira's swords.

You probably don't need such a detailed description to realize this person isn't the red-white person you were waiting for. In fact, this miko is the one you least wanted to meet.

And the frown painted on Reimu's face shows she doesn't feel like playing nice.

[]"...Hi?"
[]Screw this, I'm going to sleep again. This is all just a bad dream.
[]Scream like a sissy girl with all the manliness you can muster.
[]Since it's come down to this, might as well off yourself to spare her the trouble.
[]Bow down before her. Maybe she'll spare your life... You wish.
[]"I am not the youkai you are looking for."
[]You're not going down with a fight! (Write-in)
[]Try to talk your way out! Or at least buy some time! (Write-in)
[]"Do you need prayer? Because I am certainly willing to lay hands on you."
[]Write-in.


----------------------------------------------

Someone here said you people are getting too relaxed because nothing too bad happened. I think he'll enjoy this part. I certainly will.

>>167779
Another mystery for you to resolve!

>>167992
Look at this man, trying to crack the case when we're still at the first half of the second thread. Your guessing skills are remarkable and laudable, but unfortunately I'm afraid I cannot neither confirm or deny your theories at the moment. In any case you'll most probably get more clues in the future. If you get out of this.

>>167994
Yes, I think I did say that before. I don't remember where exactly. Anyway, I try my best not to draw too much inspiration from other works; I want my own stories to be fresh, original and innovating. But maybe I'm aiming a bit too high.
>> No. 168063
>>168061
Well this is... quite the pickle.
We're not in much shape to defend ourself right now, what with having difficulty even standing, especially against the Red-White. We can't hope for surprise backup from Meira, because I'm pretty sure she touched the annoying weasel, too.

None of the given options appear to be very good, except maybe the spoilered out option but I don't think she's in the mood.

Time to improvise, and maybe solve some mysteries in the process. We need to get her talking, preferably about how she knew of the book and why she is so adamant that the Kirin stay sealed that she would kill one of the people that it is her duty to defend.

How much do we know about Yukari, in-character? Anything beyond what is stated in PMSS? She, at the very least, has a hand in Reimu's side of this polyhedral mystery, and is quite possibly entirely responsible for Reimu's motivation. She certainly isn't going to all this trouble simply because she is prejudiced against sealed things.
>> No. 168064
> No Kirin Booty.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...

...Maybe she's bi?

Anyway, this sucks. We got reckless, and now we're cursed and helpless in front of Reimu. It doesn't get much worse.

[x] Hello. Fancy meeting you here.

Keep cool. try to get her talking, about how she found us, what she's going to do with us, that sort of thing. Mention the raijuu curse. Maybe she wants us to head back with her, and will purge it just to get us walking. Maybe she just wants us dead. Either way, we need to get her talking.
>> No. 168074
[X] How long have you been standing there?
>> No. 168075
[X]"Do you need prayer? Because I am certainly willing to lay hands on you."

I can't very well not chose this.
If we're going to die it will be while seducing the killer.
>> No. 168082
[]"...Hi?"

Um... Hello Reimu.
>> No. 168106
[x] Hello. Fancy meeting you here.

Well, this is awkward as hell. Anybody have a plan? I doubt Reimu's going to kill us outright, but she's not going to let us go without a good reason.
>> No. 168113
>>168106
Wasn't she planning to kill us in one of the earlier posts, though?
>> No. 168114
Ok, running is out. We're way too tired.
We have to either find some way to knock her unconscious. Or get her to go away. Maybe find some way to create a bigger threat than us? So that she needs to prioritize letting us go and taking care of the bigger threat?
>> No. 168119
>>168113
If Reimu really wanted us dead, why aren't we? She had the opportunity to do so when we were asleep, so why didn't she take it and get this incident over with?
>> No. 168131
* Well, hello. What is a cuty like you doing here.

Confuse her with flirting!
>> No. 168134
File 136827407727.jpg - (17.80KB , 350x234 , this is not the droid you're looking for.jpg ) [iqdb]
168134
[]"I am not the youkai you are looking for."

...
Yeah like that'd ever work.
Rin is a qilin, not a Jedi. And I have a hard time believing MC is a Jedi as well.

[X] "...Hi?"
[X] Write-in.
-[X] Play innocent. She got no proof we can't bluff off.
--[X] In case she asks about the book, the handcuffs, the extra stuff, or the very reason we're out here, use the following excuse:
<We were kidnapped by bandits (youkai maybe, though they wouldn't keep us for too long) and held captive. Thus the handcuffs. He extra stuff we have along with the book, were things we rightfully claimed when we escaped. In case she asks about the bandits hideout or camp's location, claim you don’t know, we just ran in a random direction until we found this spot where we fell asleep.>
-[X] In worst case scenario.
--[X] Scream like a sissy girl with all the manliness you can muster.
--[X] RUN LIKE RIN JUST LIT OUR PANTS ON FIRE!!
>> No. 168135
[x]"Do you need prayer? Because I am certainly willing to lay hands on you."
[x] ask Rin for more lines because she'll be better at this.

I'm not wanting any Reimu romance. I just want to use it as a distraction to get the hell away form here. If we're lucky then maybe she'll call off the execution.

If that fails then:

[x] Why kill me? Isn't that going too far?

If she wants to try and kill us then I want answers.

[x]You're not going down with a fight! Attempt to wind blast her to the other end of Gensokyo. Only if necessary though.

Worth a try but only if we really really need to. I think I've been watching too much iron man.
>> No. 168136
WAIT WAIT WAIT
Reimu doesn't even know that its us, because nobody remembers what we look like! That's probably why she hasn't killed us yet!
We could totally play it off that we're an innocent traveler and- we don't know that people are forgetting what we look like nevermind.
>.>
But... if we -were- to act innocent as a joke and simply greet her normally, she -might- surprise us by believing us and asking if we've met someone who looks like a person of no particular description...
>> No. 168137
>>168136
First things first, please read >>/gensokyo/6052 as I assume your a new reader here.

But all of that aside, you raise a very good point. Reimu has no idea what we look like or even what our name is, so the chances of her actually knowing it's us is pretty slim. Although with her Hakurei intuition, there's no telling whether or not she will buy a bluff.
>> No. 168138
[X]"Do you need prayer? Because I am certainly willing to lay hands on you."

Fuck it, if we're gonna go for a BAD END. We're going for it IN STYLE!

We're so fucked.
>> No. 168143
>>168137
>First things first, please read >>/gensokyo/6052 as I assume your a new reader here.

Well that was nice to know. Will keep that I’m mind for later

And the Hakurei intuition is definitely a factor I overlooked. As well as the fact that Reimu seems to shoot down everyone she suspects of being involved
>> No. 168150
>>168143
Well, that opens up another opportunity for us to mislead her. I don't think anybody's ever lied to her after she beat them up, so she might not expect it.
-If- she doesn't know that its us, and her intuition makes her suspicious of us, we could put up a nominal effort to not get beat up, then "relent" and say that we met a really jumpy guy with a book who said he was headed towards [place that is in the same general direction, but not Youkai Mountain] and lead her on a wild goose chase.
We can say that "he" ran when he heard about the thunder-ferret while we stayed to try to stop it, but got infected and it escaped.

Send her all the red herrings. It should be her job to take care of things like this anyways.
>> No. 168152
>>168150
>Rin's book is resting on your lap
Reimu has probably seen us with it the moment she stepped in. And we still have the handcuffs on our wrists. Even if Reimu didn't have her intuition, I'd say she'd be suspicious of us with just one glance. We need to come up a better lie if we want to get out of this mess...

... or just put up the innocent act for a while. Most of Reimu's enemies either wanted to pick up a fight with her, had an "evil" masterplan, were busy resucitating or worked these people. I bet she'll be momentarily put off if her target this time turns out to be a nice and harmless person, which will give us enough time to make our move. Though I have no idea what should be our move
>> No. 168194
>>168152
Does she even know what the book looks like? She knows that it's a youkai book, but I don't know if she was really given the finer details. Although, I think I'm hoping too much by assuming she's ignorant of her target.
>> No. 168243
[x] "...Hi?"
Oh, and if she decides to...escalate things here, then:
- [x] Why kill me? Isn't that going too far?
because this:
>If she wants to try and kill us then I want answers.

Otherwise, I've got nothing.

(The normal non-lethal way to do things would be via Spell Card duel, but that clearly wouldn't do MC much good here.)
>> No. 168266
>>168194
>Does she even know what the book looks like?
I believe she does. How else would she tell the guards, who identified us by the book, who to look for
>> No. 168295
Recounting the votes for the time being, but the poll is still open. I'm just doing this for the purpose of organization.

[x]"...Hi?" --- 4 votes
[x]Obviously badly hidden BADEND choice--- 3 votes
[x]"How long have you been standing there?" --- 1 vote


For the record, all variants of the "hi" option like []"Fancy meeting you here." are tallied in the same vote. Further interactions with Reimu after the awkward greeting will be mostly based on the write-in by >>168134 because it is the most ellaborate one for the time being, with elements from the argument in the above posts added in. The []"How long have you been standing there?" is counted separately because it opens an entirely different topic of conversation with Reimu.

The above arguments is interesting to watch and it even made me remember some details I had forgotten, so thanks, but I couldn't help but notice a general apprehensiveness at the prospect of fighting Reimu. Yes, you are ill, and even if you weren't, beating Reimu would be extremely difficult. I'm not saying you should go with killing intentions, but as >>168243 says, a Spell Card battle might be a good idea, even in your state. If you put some effort into attempting to evade Reimu's attacks, you will be buying precious time. And in the very probable event of defeat, the Rules forbid Reimu of killing you on the spot (based on the PMiSS article on the Rules). On the other hand, what could happen after that might be even worse than death, so... Well, those are my two cents on the matter.

Oh, and just so you know, one or two of the apparently bad options miiiiiiight work out better than you expect. Or not. Question is, do ya feel lucky, punks? Do ya think you can guess which one it is?

Of course, plans that you yourselves come up with are less likely to have unforeseen consequences. So I still encourage you to make use of your privilege of write-ins before picking my options.

And for those who are intentionally trying to get everybody aboard the LOLSEDUCTION train to BADENDville, I have this message for you: I am not Bread of No Consequence. My BADENDS do have consequences, and they do not involve mikos raping poor boys 99.9% of the times. You are most probably going to get Fantasy Orbed to Oblivion and forth. And the Daedra Princes are not gentle. Neither am I. So srsly. Stahp. Pick the spoiler option at your own risk.
>> No. 168296
Godfucking dammit, I forgot to sage. Woe me.

brb committing sudoku
>> No. 168304
[X]"Thank goodness that you've finally found me! I almost thought that I would've been eaten by a Youkai out here!"
-[X]Pretend that you were wandering around the area for the past few hours after you inexplicably woke up in the middle of the wilderness when you went to sleep in the Human Village a few days ago.
--[X]Mentally converse with Rin as to what your options are, and get ready to break out the Spell Cards. During any event, get ready to fight through the trunk entrance.
---[X]Ask why is Reimu out here, and if she asks about anything regarding the book, ask why she cares so much about it, and what could it possibly do.

The best course of option that should confuse Reimu and make her hesitate is to pretend to be an unfortunate human who was merely possessed by the Youkai within the book and brought to this location near the Youkai Mountain before regaining consciousness. This would at the very least buy us some time to confer with Rin as Reimu considers our state, and we might even be able to learn what Reimu knows.

This is an extreme gambit, but after reading what >>168150 and >>168134 had to say, I agree that we should go along the lines of deceiving her. However, claiming that Youkai bandits kidnapped us is quite a stretch, as Reimu might ask how did we possibly escape from Youkai bandits who probably wouldn't be incompetent enough to allow a hostage to elude them when they can snatch a human from the Village without anybody realizing it.

And as to our primary method of resistance, running away screaming...

>you see a figure clad in red and white standing at the entrance of the tree trunk, blocking your way out

Yeah. Running isn't going to help us much. I'm just trying to throw out ideas which might salvage the situation, but whether or not they'll be the appropriate or even accepted responses for the situation is an entirely different matter.
>> No. 168307
>>168295

"You are most probably going to get Fantasy Orbed to Oblivion and forth. And the Daedra Princes are not gentle. Neither am I. So srsly. Stahp. Pick the spoiler option at your own risk."

well if you put it like that then

>>168135

Change my vote to:

[X] "...Hi?"

That write in has a better chance than my choice. In worse case scenario do these instead:

[x] Why kill me? Isn't that going too far?
[x] Prepare for spell card duel

I think I would rather conserve the Kirin race than worry about the main character's well being if worst comes to worst.
>> No. 168427
I might be calling this a bit too early, but since I don't see much activity, I think it's safe to put the poll to a close... in a day. For now the votes goes as follows:

[x]"...Hi?" --- 5 votes
-[x]"Why kill me? Isn't that going too far?" --- 3 votes
-[x]Pretend you were kidnapped by bandits --- 1 vote
-[x]Pretend you've just awoken here after being possessed --- 1 vote
[x]Obviously badly hidden BADEND choice--- 3 votes
[x]"How long have you been standing there?" --- 1 vote


Since almost everybody mentioned being ready to defend yourself should a fight break out, I find it unnecessary to count that, and such action will be included no matter which option wins.

Also, I might have come a bit too strongly when I advised you not to take the spoilered option. I am not stopping you to do it - if I really didn't want to, I wouldn't have put it in the first place. The thing is, I don't want this to become a BADEND hunting fest. Truth is, I find the thought of you trying and failing horribly to flirt your way out extremely amusing and interesting, and I would have fun in writing that bad end. I just don't want it to become a habit. The point of this story is to survive, for crying out loud; it would be a moot point if you didn't take your life seriously, wouldn't it?

Lastly, I was thoroughly surprised by >>168304 's plan. It overlooks a few details that might catch Reimu's attention and raise her suspicion of you further, but if it works, it might open an entirely different path I hadn't thought about in the beginning. It would be pretty interesting choice to follow plot-wise... Might not be so good for your and Rin's wellbeing though.

Unrelated: Far cry 3 Blood Dragon is the best thing that has happened this year.
Unrelated #2: Candy Box! is a massive timewaster. Don't play it if you intend to make use of your spare time.
Unrelated #3: Someone give the guy who wrote >>/shorts/942 a bloody medal!
>> No. 168525
I noticed I forgot to susbtract the spoiler vote from >>168307, but it doesn't change the final result, so no fuss to complain about there. Anyway, no changes of votes? Okay then. Guess it's time I close the vote. Calling it for:

[x]"...Hi?"
-[x]"Why kill me? Isn't that going too far?"


But I'll try to add everything else that has been said in the next update. Cross your fingers, pick a god and pray, guys. Better if that deity is Mima the Hakurei God.
>> No. 168531
I kind of forgot voting here but perhaps we should have mentioned our infection and the Raijuu? Maybe?
>> No. 168625
File 136873271492.jpg - (173.57KB , 400x714 , the very model of a proper miko (not really).jpg ) [iqdb]
168625
[]"...Hi."
-[x]"Why kill me? Isn't that going too far?"


Time seems to have frozen as you and Reimu stare at each other, the miko with a determined gaze in her brown ears, and you with the epitome of the 'oh crap' expression painted on your face - you think. There's some kind of unnatural aura emanating from the girl, which makes you feel uncomfortable and pressured. You unconsciously gulp, and you think your heart just stopped - or is it beating so fast you think it is not beating? Reimu is still standing there, not moving an inch, and that only makes you even more nervous. You are sure she'll shoot you down if you even think of making a move. Not that you were going to do it in the first place; you're too tired to make a run for it, and even if you tried, there's no escape anyway. Looks like your little break away has come to an-

"Calm down!" says Rin inside your mind. "It's not over yet! You can still talk your way out!"

Oh really? But Reimu doesn't seem to be in the mood of listening to people.

"You'll never know unless you try. Greet her, with confidence. Don't show her any weakness."

With confidence, okay. The logic is that if you impress her, she won't attack you. Breath in, breath out. Stay clam. Don't let Reimu know you are afraid. If you start this conversation well, you might find a way to defuse this dangerous situation...

"...Hi."

Your voice comes out weak and trembling, the complete opposite of what you intended. You can feel Rin's disappointment flooding your own mind and shaming you even further; you could perfectly picture her facepalming if she had a body of her own. Reimu just keeps staring at you blankly, judging you with those brown eyes of her. Quick, say something else!

"F-fancy meeting you here, eh? How long have you been there? Were you watching me sleep?"

Reimu brings a hand to her hip and leans on the border of the aperture, and takes a moment to shake her head and answer in a neutral voice:

"No, I just arrived here. But if you were trying to hide from me, you should've picked a better place to take a nap," she waves her hand to the top of the tree. "It's hard to miss a giant tree that wasn't here a week ago. Not to mention all the evil energy that comes from it."

"Evil energy?"

You look around, trying to catch a glimpse of anything resembling "evil energy", but you don't feel anything out of the ordinary. Not that you know what to search for in the first place.

"So you're the youkai I am supposed to exterminate?" she continues, staring intensely at you. "I expected someone much more... impressive. You look like quite the anti-climatic final boss."

"... What?"

You feel like you have been insulted right now, but nevermind that. What does she mean by a 'final boss'?

"I'm not complaining, though. It's a nice change of pace after beating two EX-bosses in a row," the miko stretches her arms. "But it's actually the cute ones who I must always beware of, so..."

Did she just call you 'cute'? As a compliment, a mockery or a threat? You don't get Reimu. Is she trying to confuse you or something? The miko's expression doesn't reveal her intentions towards you, but the fact that she's now walking towards you, ofuda in hand, makes it very clear to you.

"Um, I-i don't know what are you talking about, b-but we don't have t-to get to the fists, r-right?"

You crawl back as Reimu approaches you, until your back hits the tree trunk. Reimu's lips curve in a smile, and you can't help but feel a shudder of pure fear running through your spine.

"Oh, you're surrendering before the fight? My, that's very kind of you!" Reimu sways her rod side to side, like a whip. "You make my job so much easier! I think I should thank you properly[i]!"

That emphasis she imprinted on that last word means she will do something to you that will definitely not be good for your wellbeing. And that purification rod really looks painful. You should really do something to avoid getting whipped by that or worse, but what?

[i]"You could start by stopping pointing out the obvious and do what I told you earlier,"
comments Rin, as helpful as always.

You doubt you'll be able to convince her not to beat you into submission, but you can still stall her for time, you believe. It's worth a try.

"T-time out!" you shout with all the strength you can muster, which is not too much, truth to be told.

However, it makes Reimu stop in her tracks, surprised by your sudden outburst.

"Time out? I haven't declared a spell card yet!" she says.

You make an herculean effort to stand up. Your legs feel extremely wobbly, and you almost fell to the ground twice, but you finally manage to get up on your feet, leaning your back on the tree walls.

"I... I do believe you... you are making... a terrible mistake..." you say, between pants. "Myself as an individual in... full control of his... mental capacities... cleary wishes to state that... that he is no longer under... under the mental yoke of any youkai..."

"Eh?"

Reimu is giving you a equally confused and impatient look, and you even feel Rin is lost at your loquacious and painfully slow exposition. Just as planned. You take a moment to regain your breath and let your intentionally wooly words seep in.

"And as such, for the sake of both my physical health and your mental stability... I do believe it would be wise to be optimistic in expectation and wish that this fateful encounter does not... does not degenerate into a rather crude and barbaric execution of deadly force and... therefore I would like to negotiate the cessation of future hostilities against my persona."

A long silence settles in, in which Reimu opens and closes her mouth repeatedly, in a complete loss of words. Your verbose seems to have achieved the inteded effect on the miko.

"Looks like your little plan was a success," comments Rin.

You learned from the best, after all.

"But what were you exactly trying to accomplish with that?"

Now that you left her in a state of mental disarray, you now are able to... to... to what exactly? You haven't thought that far ahead. In fact, you didn't think this would work in the first place...

"Are you trying to run for major or what?" Reimu says after a minute. "Spare me the big words and give me the abridged version already."

The miko's frown admits no retort. You should just humor her and tell her already:

"I... I'm all fine. I'm not possessed by any youkai. And... and I want you to leave me alone!"

"Hmhm, that's more like it," Reimu closes her eyes and nods to herself. "Unfortunately, I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request."

"..."

"Means 'no'. Now turn over so I can be done with this."

You feel like you've just wasted a great opportunity to get out of this, and by the looks of it, Reimu won't give you a second chance. But if you're really going to die here, you don't want to do so without at least knowing the reason why.

"Wait!" you squeak out of desperation. "Why are you so intent in killing me? Isn't that going too far?"

"Killing you?" Reimu stops and looks at you perplexed. "Who said anything about killing?"

She tilts her head and looks at you as if you were some sort of mad person for even daring to think she'd do that, and that leaves you completely confused.

"Um... everybody?" you say. "Why would you rally all the guards against me, then?"

"Oh, you don't know what kind of troublemakers your kind turn out to be," the miko sighs, "Making a hurricane in the middle of the human village; destroying a part of the wall which, by the way, I spent all last night in repairing it; and now making thunderstorms and popping giant trees out of nowhere!" she counts all of the incidents with her fingers, and her voice grows more annoyed as she does.

"All of that was just a series of unfortunate events out of my control!" you retort. "In fact, the guards were already pursuing me before any of those things happened!"

"If I let you 'out of control', more 'unfortunate events' will happen. I'm putting an end to this now," Reimu walks closer to you, until she's at arm's reach.

"You were trying to kill me from the very beginning!" you repeat. "None of that would have happened if-"

"Again with the 'killing'? Nobody was trying to kill you!"

"Excuse me!? The guards were saying that you expressly ordered them to kill me if I resisted!"

"I said no such thing!" protests Reimu. "I only told them to exterminate you before anything bad happened."

"That's not any different!"

"Yes it is! You just misunderstood it!"

"How, pray tell, can everybody misunderstand it? They mean the same thing, for gods' sake!"

"No they don't! One means stopping a youkai from starting more incidents and the other means completely erasing its existence," Reimu explains as if it was obvious. "And I'll be honest; the villagers think I only do the latter. But that's for the best."

"Is this girl serious?" exclaims Rin. "How come she is neglecting her duties as a shrine maiden and shrug it off like that?"

You are not complaining about that, though, and Rin shouldn't either. After all, that might be the very reason both of you are still alive.

"Alright, I think I get that," you say. "But then what are you planning to... to.. uuuuuuuoooooooh..."

Your head suddenly starts spinning, and you feel your legs turning into jelly. The raijuu's taint strikes again in the worst moment possible! You desperately try to grab something to support you, but your grip on the tree slips and your strength vanishes. You can barely feel your body falling towards the surprised miko as your mind flickers into unconsciousness again...

...

"Hey, you, snap it out!"

A burning pain in your cheeks yanks you back from the realm of dreams. As you manage to order your heavy eyelids to open up, you see Reimu bringing her hand down to your other cheek, attempting to wake you up in the most effective way she knows of. But in your state, you cannot do anything to prevent the impending blow... and you hear a sonorous slap against your flesh as your cheek stings with a burning pain.

"OUCH!" you shout. "S-stop it!"

"By the gods, you scared me!" Reimu says, "You can't just drop dead on someone like that!"

She does seem pretty relieved for someone who looked like she was out for your blood not ten seconds earlier. Wait, how much time has passed since you blacked out? Rin?

...

Rin?

No response? What the hell? Did Reimu...?

You train of thoughts is interrupted when the miko crouches in front of you and nears her face towards yours.

"Um, Reimu...?"

"Shh."

Reimu is staring deep into your eyes, studying them with great attention, but that's not what unsettles you. It is the fact that her face is just a mere inch away from you that puts you on the edge; you can feel her breath and blowing on your nose. She smells of sweat - she must have been doing an intense activity before she found you-, but for some reason the 'stink' doesn't repulse you. In fact, you could almost say it-

"Just as I thought... You are not possessed by the youkai."

... Wait, what?

"I made a mistake," Reimu reads your confused expression and answers you as she moves away from you. "I thought I was dealing with the youkai that took over your body, but looks like I threatened the human instead."

So she thought she was talking with Rin, not with you? That's why she was being so aggresive? Well, technically the youkai in question still inhabitates your mind, but if Reimu believes it doesn't, you're not the one who will correct her, right?

That said, the fact that Rin hasn't given any signs of life yet worries you to no end.

"T-that's what I... I was trying to tell you..." you find it hard to speak these words. The taint is getting worse by the minute.

"My apologies then. It wasn't my intention to scare you," she does a small apologetic bow and sits on the ground at your right side, holding the-

Oh crap, she has Rin's book! Now you're screwed. You try your best not to let your face show your surprise and terror. An easy task, given your difficulties to even stay awake.

"My intuition was right after all. The youkai must have taken over another host and run away," Reimu says, staring at the entrance of the tree.

"Your... intuition?"

Despite your lack of strength, you do your best to ask that question, mainly because maintaining a conversation should help you stay awake, but also because you need Reimu to forget about the book before she does anything to Rin. And also because you're honestly curious. This girl is definitely strange - granted, everything up until now has been strange by your standards-, and since she's your biggest threat and she seems somewhat calm for now, you should take this golden opportunity to learn all you can about her.

"No, it's nothing," she shakes her head. Looks like it won't be that easy. "But tell me, why did you swoon on me like that? Are you ill?"

You suppose there is no harm in telling her about the raijuu. Disregarding the feud Reimu might have with Rin, the damned electric squirrel is a serious threat to Gensokyo, no matter how you look at it. You should at least warn Reimu about it. With luck, she'll see it so that it won't be giving any more troubles to the kappa.

---------------------------------

"I see..." Reimu mutters.

After ten minutes of excruciatingly slow and tiring narration, you finally manage to fill Reimu on the attack of the raijuu, and how you and Meira fended it off - avoiding to mention the sellsword's name; you don't want her to be involved in this - before you fell to the beast's taint.

"I know how you feel. I was also infected once with that same illness," says the miko.

"Oh... really?"

"Yeah. My friend found one near my shrine, and we thought we could use it to provide electricity for our houses for free," she explains. "But soon enough we started to feel... demotivated. Not as bad as you, though."

"You... seem pretty... lively now. I suppose there... there is a cure for it... right?"

Reimu nods. "Corn."

"Corn?"

"Yeah, corn. As strange as it sounds, raijuus love corn, and it just so happens it is also the cure that dispels its curse. My friend and I got cured immediatly after we ate some."

"Uh-huh..."

"Which makes me wonder, why didn't you just eat all that corn flour you had?"

"Eh?"

Corn flour? She must be referring to Meira's bag... Wait, does that mean you had the cure in your bag for this long? That you could have healed yourself if you just-? Oh, for the love of all the gods, how incredibly stupid you feel right now!

No, that's not the matter now. You didn't know that, so it's not your fault. Rather, why didn't Meira tell you there was a cure, and that she had it all along? There must be a powerful reason for her to neglect giving you that vital piece of information...

You notice Reimu is staring inquisitively at you. Oh right, you haven't answered her question.

"I... I didn't know," you settle for the truth now.

"Hmmm... Well, now that you do, there's no reason not to take your medicine now, right?"

Reimu leans to reach your bag - you should tell her to stop looking at your things, even though they're not really yours actually, but still! - and tosses you Meira's bag. You open it and reveal its contents: a small pile of yellow dust that doesn't look too palatable. It must have been pulverized and dried off to maximize its nutritional value, you suppose.

"What are you waiting for?" Reimu urges you. "I'm not going to spoon-feed it to you, just so you know."

The cure for this damned taint is literally resting in the palm on your hands, waiting to be eaten. However, you can't shake the feeling something's not right about this...

[]Take the medicine.
[]Don't take the medicine.

>> No. 168627
[x]Don't take the medicine.
-[x]'My intuition tells me otherwise. I'm willing to bet my life on it'

He should probably ask where is Rin but I guess he won't be able to before... Well, before.
>> No. 168631
Reimu doesn't really where's Rin? strike me as the kind why can't I hear Rin!?! of person who lies easily or well, so I'm inclined Panic panic panic! to believe her.
I say we eat some of the corn And panic really badly inside about not knowing why we can't hear Rin and what's wrong did Reimu cut us off while we were asleep and how are we going to get the book back from her, and make a note to try to find Meira if we get away from Reimu with the book and Rin, since she almost definitely has the Raijuu's infection and also knows where the Kappa are. She might appreciate us bringing her the cure, and I know just how she can show that appreciation.
>> No. 168632
Oh bloody hell this is a conundrum...

If we take it, we could be cured and be on our way. It might even wake up Rin if her disappearance is due to our poor health.

It could also exorcise Rin since it could possibly NOT be corn powder.

If we refuse, it could let Reimu know we're onto her and we're in no shape to fight her.

It could also screw us over and make us even more ill.

Damn author making one paranoid with choices like these.
>> No. 168638
>Rather, why didn't Meira tell you there was a cure, and that she had it all along? There must be a powerful reason for her to neglect giving you that vital piece of information...

Definitely sounds fishy.

On the other hand, we wouldn't have a 'normal' reason refuse it, and I'm not really keen on bringing down the judgement of a wrathful miko upon us.

Or maybe Rin's hiding and waiting 'till we're in the clear. And that means not making trouble would be the best way to go.
>> No. 168639
I'm gonna go with:
[X] Don't take the medicine.

The fact that such an easy cure wasn't mentioned (remember people have died to this), if it was really so easy to cure I can't imagine how it would have gone out of control like it's been implied that it has.

I'm also kinda iffy about her change in mood, as well as the fact that such an easy cure was just sitting nearby and that we have to take it of our own will.
>> No. 168640
>>168639

Adding to that (and sage-ing this time!), corn and corn meal based products would be a major staple for a village diet. It wouldn't be a case of the villagers simply not knowing about the cure. They would have discovered it accidentally if someone else (Reimu? Erin? Keine?) hadn't been able to help.
>> No. 168641
...If raijuus love corn, why would it counteract their powers?
>> No. 168642
>>168641
Maybe because they have a milder form of their own infection, and corn alleviates that temporarily?
>> No. 168643
>>168632

Well I think I'm ready to vote after this little discussion.


[X] Don't take the medicine.

Don't take drugs and medicine from strange and cute mikos.
>> No. 168644
>>168640
If part of the disease include 'eating anything' why has no one discovered it? Why are their attacks so dangerous if they have such an easy cure? Why Rin, a native of Youkai Mountain, doesn't know it if even Reimu does? Why are people still infected in the kappa village if Meira, the hunter, knows the fucking cure and carries it with her? After all, according to Reimu it's an immediate cure...

>My friend and I got cured immediatly after we ate some

Raijuushit.
>> No. 168650
Seeing as it hasn't been specifically said that rin's not here, I'm going to vote:

[x] take Rin's advice.

As far as I know, Reimu can't read out mind.
>> No. 168651
Yeah, there is definitely something that doesn't add up with Meira's statements, right? However, I feel like there are a couple or two of things I should mention.

>>168640
First of all, Meira was always referring to the Kappa Village in the Youkai Mountain, not to the Human Village. And second, while it's true that Japan is the greatest importer of corn in the world today, corn wasn't introduced in Japan until the Meiji Era (1865-1912), which was also around the time Gensokyo completely became isolated from the Outside. It would be plausible to therefore conclude that corn might not be that common in Gensokyo.

>>168641
Don't ask me, that's how raijuus work in Gensokyo according to Wild and Horned Hermit Chapter 6. Really, as stupid as it might sound, I'm pulling this out of ZUN's sleeve, not mine.

>>168644
>Why Rin, a native of Youkai Mountain, doesn't know it if even Reimu does?
From that same chapter:
"The raijuu is an extremely rare animal that calls down lightning, but there are extremely few people who know of its habitat. Humans have long forgotten that the raijuu holds a poison..."

That, and that you shouldn't trust in Rin's memory so blindly. After all, there are some parts of it that have been wiped clean by the curse of the book.
>> No. 168652
[]Take the medicine.

Reimu isn't the type to use tricks. She takes her opponent head one.
Though we have to get the book back.
Regarding that, I'm all blank.
I have an idea, but it’ll need a little more work first
>> No. 168653
[x]Take the medicine.

If we were to not take the medicine the logical excuse would be to inform Reimu that it's not actually our bag but Meira's and we think she may have being infected as well.
>> No. 168694
Calling it: [x]Don't take the medicine wins by 3-2. >>168650's vote doesn't count because it is implied Rin is not avaliable at this critical moment. Since I have a bit of free time, next update might come sooner than usual.

Also, I noticed these past two days have been a bit more... inactive than usual. Is this time the low season of THP? Exams maybe?
>> No. 168695
>Also, I noticed these past two days have been a bit more... inactive than usual. Is this time the low season of THP? Exams maybe?

Not sure about anyone else, but this is the first weekend of the summer semester. Also known as "Oh god, oh god, Is everything ready?!" weekend.
>> No. 168697
>>168694

At least here in the states, the college kids are just getting out of classes and probably just taking it easy.

Everyone below that still has a week or two of school left.
>> No. 168773
File 136907879789.jpg - (292.30KB , 850x890 , a samurai needs her rest.jpg ) [iqdb]
168773
After a few seconds of heavy pondering, you finally decide not to take the medicine and put it back in Meira's bag. You feel there's something not right here. Call it intuition, but something is screaming at you not to eat it, and it's not Rin.

"You aren't taking it?" asks Reimu shocked.

That said, you don't think the miko will take your hunch as a good enough reason for not doing it. Therefore, you come up with a more plausible excuse:

"This... is not mine," you explain.

"Is it from that woman you told me about?"

You nod. "I think she was... saving it for someone else. And I believe she... she is ill too. So it feels... wrong to... to eat it without her... without her permission."

Reimu brings her hand under her chin and stares at you, then at the little pouch in your hands, then back at you. You get the impression she is judging you under a different light from before, and it makes you feel extremely uncomfortable. It is almost as if your very being is laying nude in front of her, unable to hide anything from her eyes.

"So you'd rather suffer in place of a person you barely even know? I didn't expect you to be this caring and unselfish," she comments behind her sleeve. "Is it altruism or foolishness?"

It isn't only altruism, actually, it's just that you don't trust Meira enough to eat whatever she had on her. Well, what you told the miko wasn't a lie either. Besides, weren't you supposed not to eat anything you found on the ground? In any case, you don't have neither the strength nor the desire to tell Reimu about your many other reasons behind your refusal. In fact, there are other important matters on your mind at the moment. For example:

"Where's... the book?" you ask her in your most tremulous tone.

"Ah, the book. You don't need to worry about it anymore," Reimu's words get a grip on your chest. "I already sealed it so it won't give me trouble for the time being."

The miko takes the green book laying at her side and puts its on her lap so that you can see. The book itself looks as fine as ever, but there are five or six purple ofudas glued around it. Even in your state, you can feel Rin's magic being suppressed by the sealing effect of the paper amulets. You feel a wave of relief soaring through you; you don't know if she is suffering damage for this, but at least the kirin is still alive.

"It's only temporary, though. I'll have to perform a proper sealing ritual once I return this to my shrine, but this will work for now," Reimu explains. "But if my intuition is right - and it often is - I am afraid the youkai inside this book has already escaped, and is possessing another body."

No, she is wrong. You can feel it. The youkai is still inside the book, struggling in vain to break free. But you aren't going to correct Reimu. In fact, it'd be wise to play along with her, mislead her - or at the very least allow her to go in the wrong direction. That's what Rin would advise you.

"Possessing who?" you ask.

"Right now there are two possibilities, and none of them are good," Reimu's expression turns somber for a second, before returning to her usual stout look. "But don't worry, I'll deal with it. That's a Hakurei guarantee."

You take notice of the fact she hasn't really answered your question. She still doesn't trust you enough to confide everything to you. It's logical; you were supposedly enemies until a very short while ago, and you weren't expecting to earn her trust so quickly.

"That's... good..." you mutter.

"But first, I have to do something with you," Reimu sighs. "Since you don't want to take your medicine like a good boy, I'll have to take you somewhere safe first..."

Reimu closes her eyes and crosses her arms, immersed in deep thought. You wonder if her definition of "safe" is beneficial for you and Rin. Most probably not. You should recover the book and run away from Reimu as fast as you can. But the ten million yen question is "how?" You don't have enough strength to even attempt anything. And even if you had it, you're sure the miko will notice if you try to get your hands back on Rin, not to mention she'd suspect something, and that's when you will really be in deep trouble.

"Maybe there... But they won't... Hmmm... I'm sure they will understand... Or maybe...? Yeah, she knows a lot about this..." the miko mutters. "Yes, it is decided!"

Reimu stands up, puts the book under her smooth armpit - you briefly wonder if Rin would complain about the smell again if she wasn't currently trapped -, dusts her skirt, and tends you a helping hand.

"I'm going to take you to the home of a fri- an acquaintance of mine," she explains. "She is good with animals and beasts, and I'm sure she has the cure for your ailment."

"Really...?" you slowly take her hand, and let Reimu pull you up to your feet with surprising strength considering her slender figure.

"In fact, she might be the responsible for all this..."

"Huh?"

"Uh, nothing, nothing," Reimu shakes her head. "I'll escort you there, and once I catch that youkai, I'll bring you back to the village. Can you walk?"

You try to move your leg forward. It still trembles a lot, and you feel like you're learning to walk again, but you can lean your weight on it without falling face first to the ground.

"I think so..." Feeling a bit more confident, you take a second step and- whoathereverythingbecomesfuzzyandyouloseyourbalanc- but you feel a strong hold preventing you from falling over.

"Take it easy," Reimu has grabbed you by your wrist, and puts your right arm over her shoulders, giving you a much needed support. "It's not that far, but don't push yourself so far."

You nod weakly and let Reimu guide your steps, as you practically drag your feet to wherever she wants to take you. Weren't you told something about not going with strangers when you were little, specially with strangers that wanted to exterminate you earlier? Not that you can do anything for now, but you're going to have to get the book back from Reimu and run away from her at some point. If only your body didn't feel so heavy... You're already starting to regret not taking the medicine.

-------------------------

The rays of moonlight seep through the treetop branches, and the cold of the night is starting to settle in, but the humidity of the heavy forest keeps the temperature high enough for you not to feel freezing. You've lost the count of how much time has it passed since you and Reimu got out of the tree, but at the turtle pace you're going, you don't think you've covered much ground anyway. Will you get to Reimu's friend's house before the sun rises, you wonder?

Now that she's up close and not trying to blow amulets on your face, you take a good peek at the miko - without her noticing, of course. Reimu is looking at the road ahead with a determined expression on her face, intent on reaching her goal, confident in that nothing will stop her. She is not scared about the fact that something or someone might ambush you from behind or from above - a thought that has been crossing your mind for a long while -, or if she is, she hides it very well. On the other hand, if she's as powerful as the stories you've heard about her say, then she has nothing to fear in the first place.

Still, that stern and impassive attitude does not suit a girl her age much. Reimu must be around the same age as you, but there's something about her that shows you she's been through a lot more than what it looks at first glance. If you focus hard enough, you can see an aura of... fatigue? Weariness? Around her. It's as if she was carrying an extremely heavy burden on her shoulders - no, not your body; a metaphorical one -, and she had to toughen up to endure it. Having to deal with youkai ten times stronger, older and wiser must take a great toll on her You wonder what kind of training she went through to become this powerful, both physically and emotionally.

"Reimu..." you say.

"Yes?" the miko stops and looks at you.

"No, I'm fine, keep going," Reimu nods, and you both continue to walk. "I was just wondering... why are you doing this?"

"Hm?"

"I mean... why are you helping me? I'm just... dragging you down... the youkai will... will escape."

Reimu stays silent for a few seconds, takes a breath, and speaks:

"You're right, it will get away. And if she finds out, I'm in for a scolding, but..." Reimu sighs. "My job is to maintain the balance between youkai and humans in Gensokyo. I can't let people die in the wilderness if I can prevent it. It is my duty as the Hakurei Maiden. And the youkai can't hide from me for long, anyway. It'll be a matter of time before I catch him."

"But... but if you don't stop that raijuu soon... more people will die."

"Die?" Reimu snickers. "You love being all melodramatic, eh?"

"What?"

"Nobody's going to die! The most that taint's going to do is putting you to sleep until you get cured."

So basically the raijuu's infection is like that spell from that fantasy tale you read time ago - The Slumbering Beauty or something like that? Was Meira exaggerating all this time?

"Of course, if you don't give the infected something to eat, he'll die of hunger, but it's not like you can't feed someone who's asleep, so it's not a big problem," Reimu continues. "I'm sure the people nursing the poor lad will feed him corn without knowing what they're doing at some point, and when that happens, ta-dah! He wakes up! It's magic!"

"I... see..."

Well, even if things got blown out of proportion, you're very relieved to learn you are not in mortal peril. That's something. Your body still feels awful, though.

"What I am saying is that you're worrying too much. Just leave it to me and-"

Suddenly, Reimu stops talking and moving, which almost makes you fall forwards.

"What is i-?"

You look to where the miko is looking, and what you see leaves you in the same state of surprise the red-white is in. Both red-whites, actually. The one sitting under the tree is the first to react:

"Well, well, well... look who we've got here!" Meira says, sporting a tired grin. "Didn't expect to see you again, kiddos."

"... Meira?"
"Meira..."

Both you and Reimu say the sellsword's name in near unison, and when you notice your synch-up, you both look at each other in even more confusion.

"Wait, you know her, Reimu?"
"You know this woman?"

Again, you two stare at each other in silence, then back at Meira - who is simply sitting idle there, waiting for you two to work it out -, and then back at you again. You decide to speak first, even if it's just to get this over with quickly.

"She's the one who... who helped me fight the... the raijuu."

"Really? She, of all people?" Reimu's incredulity is evident. "Why didn't you tell me sooner?"

"How could I know you... you knew her?" you answer between breaths. "And where do you know her from... by the way?"

"She and I go way back," the miko says with a hint of disdain in her voice. "She worked for demons years ago."

Meira worked for demons? What in the world is that supposed to mean? Meira doesn't strike you as the kind of person who would sell her soul to the devil... but it's true that you don't know her enough to make that kind of assumptions. This only makes you more curious about the apparent feud between the miko and the sellsword.

"Those were past times," Meira raises her voice in objection. "I left that job a long time ago. Now I work as a youkai hunter."

So she doesn't deny it? This is definitely another fishy matter in that already smelly mountain of secrets surrounding Meira.

"Anyway, she can't be trusted," Reimu continues. "What are you doing here, Meira? You're not precisely having a break in a forest full of youkai, I suppose."

"What if I told you I actually was?" answers the sellsword. "But seriously, you're like a godsend. I might as well make use of you now that you're here."

Meira stands up, using her unsheathed sword as leverage, and slowly moves towards you. The pained face she made for a split second while doing it didn't escape you, and neither do the slightly trembling steps she's taking. You recall how she got hit by the raijuu too in that fight. She must have been tainted too, but she doesn't look nearly as bad as you are. Or maybe she is, but she hides it much better. Anyway, the way she's approaching you is making you increasingly nervous...

Reimu also seems to think the same, because she takes a few steps back, while eyeing Meira with an intimidating stare that could stop anybody on their tracks. The sellsword doesn't appear fazed in the slightiest, though.

"What do you want?" the miko asks.

"I want Little Mister Vinemaker there to come with me," Meira points at you with her sword.

"Wha-?"
"Not a chance," jumps Reimu. "If you haven't noticed yet, he's ill."

"So?"

"'So'!? I don't know what do you need a normal boy like him for, but he is in no state to-!"

"'Normal boy' my ass!" exclaims Meira. "That huge tree wasn't there a few hours ago," she points at the cup of the massive plum tree with her sword. It can be seen from here!? It's much bigger than you thought! "You have three chances to guess who of us three did it, and the first two don't count."

"You have no idea what's going on. I suggest you leave us alone," Reimu says coldly.

"Like I'm gonna let you go so easily," Meira sweeps her sword in the air with so much speed it becomes a silver blur for a moment. "Besides, you and I have a score to settle, ain't that right, Reimu?"

You look at Reimu, who is furrowing her brows in defiance, then back at Meira, blocking your way with her sword. You can feel the tension in the air as the miko and the sellsword lock their eyes on each other, and you can almost see sparks flying. Metaphorically, of course; you don't think the raijuu's here for a round two after what Meira did to it.

Surprisingly, Reimu gives you the book and points at one tree at the side of the road, all the while without breaking eye contact with her soon-to-be opponent.

"Hold this, and whatever happens, don't open it," she orders you. "Stay clear, but don't go too far away. I'll be done with her in a few moments."

You look at Reimu in utter confusion. Did she just gave Rin back to you like that? Is she mad? Does she really trust you that much? Or is she so focused on Meira that she isn't thinking straight? Is the sellsword that much of a threat?

Anyway, as one of your childhood friends would say, 'biological feces are about to collide with the cooling rotatory blades system'. Before all Hell breaks loose, you should do something...

[]Obey Reimu, stay clear of the fight, and wait for them to resolve their quarrel.
[]This is the perfect chance to escape! Sneak around them while they're busy fighting.
[]Try to defuse this situation before they get to the fists, swords, amulets or whatever (Write-in).
[]Take a stance and fight...
-[]At Reimu's side.
-[]At Meira's side.
-[]One versus one versus one.
[]Write-in.


You feel the book's magic pulsating through the book. Rin's must be desperate to break free from Reimu's temporary seal, but you should consider if it's a good idea to set her free yet...

[]Do not remove the seals.
[]Remove the seals.
-If attempting to run away
--[]Do it now, and escape using Rin's powers.
--[]Do it once you put some distance between you and Reimu and Meira.
--[]Do it once you're completely sure you've lost them.
-If getting into the fight
--[]Do it now and unleash Rin's power.
--[]Do it, but do not use Rin's powers.
--[]Do it when you see the chance to deal a finishing blow to you opponent(s).
--[]Do it only if you or your ally is about to lose.


-------------------------------------

This is probably the closest you're going to get to a "route lock" in this story - if you decide to side with either Reimu or Meira, of course. Then again, there are a lot more of things to consider here apart from allegiances...

>>168697
Lucky bastards, I still have a month of classes yet, and then the finals. Then again, we have quarters here, not semesters, and we begin in late September, so...
>> No. 168774
Though choice. How are we gonna make Reimu believe us? Is that even possible? Can we escape in our state? And what the fuck is up with Meira?

[x] Obey Reimu.
>> No. 168776
[x]Obey Reimu, stay clear of the fight, and wait for them to resolve their quarrel.

Honestly we'd only be getting in the way here.
>> No. 168778
Ah shit really HAS hit Aya's little hand fan...

Before anyone decides, we may need to talk pros and cons of each side. Shame I'm at work or else I'd dedicate some time to this. Winged Ikaros we gonna have a good bit of time to decide?

Also to those that may decide to go 1v1v1, or may consider it, it might be the Marisa route.
>> No. 168779
[X] Obey Reimu, stay clear of the fight, and wait for them to resolve their quarrel.
[X] Remove the seals.
-If getting into the fight
--[X]Do it only if you or your ally is about to lose.
The ally being Reimu. Those seals stay on until it's clear that she will lose and not one second earlier.

I'm not entirely sure that Meira is acting on her own desires, and she just admitted to working with less than scrupulous people. She seems to want to obtain him badly enough even is his health suffers for it, and that is why Reimu seems the better choice.
As to not releasing Rin straight off, just because someone tells you something doesn't make it the truth. For all we know she's been lying this entire time to get out of the book. Though that may not be the case since apparently the book's possessed someone else.
>> No. 168780
>>168779
Well we know she's wrong about the book possessing people, unless there were -two- youkai cursed to be stuck inside the book and Rin didn't know about the other.
It's a possibility, of course, and it might even be -us- that's possessed. That would explain the rather astonishing skill we've attained in magic in an incredibly short amount of time.

However, I doubt it. We can't start to think we're being possessed without more solid proof than Reimu's misinformed hunch.
Down that road lies madness.

I like Meira. I like her style, I like her attitude, and she's got an easy motivation. We may not be able to fully trust her, but we can rely on her, nonetheless, to perform a job she's been commissioned to do and care little about anything else.

I'm also curious about what she wants with us.
My curiosity demands satisfaction!

First things first, though. Before we do anything else, ask Meira if she's dealt with the thunder rat and offer her the bag of grain.
Let's remind Reimu that Meira was doing a Good Thing and ask if we can use it to cure our infection.

Those exact words, by the way, for that last part. It would serve as two questions at once, for us. "Will this cure me if I eat it?" and "May I have your permission to eat it?".
Must keep up pretenses in front of Reimu. She'll just think we were asking permission, but if, for some reason, she was lying about it being a cure, then Meira will tell us and we can be properly shocked that Reimu lied to us without her ever thinking we were dishonest with her.
>> No. 168781
Also, are you going to update Soiled Surface anytime soon. I like that story.
>> No. 168782
At this point, we need a thorough logical analysis of the consequences of siding with Reimu or Meira. Based on what has happened, we have no reason to trust Reimu, especially since she's under Yukari's direct orders to eliminate Rin from the picture, while although Meira has somewhat shady motivations, she doesn't seem to be one who would backstab us unless we either anger her or outlive our usefulness. Ultimately, since we don't know the extent of Yukari's influence as of now, we should not cast in our lot with Reimu in case Yukari decides to pay her friend a visit...

I'm going to reserve voting until I see further discussion, but at this point, it wouldn't be pragmatic to engage in battle against Meira or Reimu; both of them are clearly in a better state than we are, and if the side we back up losses, we'll be at the winner's mercy.

We'll eventually have to release Rin soon, but I'll leave that to the other readers.
>> No. 168806
>until it's clear that she will lose

No, that won't work. It won't be clear that she "will" lose until it's too late.
If any kind of fight is going to take place, it will be a Spell Card duel.
Because of how Spell Card duels work, we won't realize she's lost until after a direct danmaku hit, and we won't be able to confirm that until after she's taken one.
See also: "deathbomb".
>> No. 168826
>>168778
That option is not exactly a "Marisa route"; it means something like "Screw the miko and the samurai, I don't like them. I'll wait until there are more 2hus to choose from." Of course, choosing Reimu or Meira won't get you stuck with either of those two forever; following one "route" will grant you the chance to meet more people related to them. For example, in Reimu's case, you'll get to know that "friend who is good with animals". Also, you might meet Reimu and Meira later in the story regardless of your choice.

And that paragraph made remember how much I dislike the concept of "route" in a story. Oh well.

About time, yes, you'll have plenty, mainly because my exams are nearing so I won't have much time to write, and...

>>168781
... I was planning to update Soiled Surface one of these days; might as well do it now. The problem is that I struck a writer's block in that story, but I'll try to work it out while you think about this vote.
>> No. 168828
If we weren't poisoned then this would be a perfect time to run. Unfortunatley we are so

[x]Obey Reimu, stay clear of the fight, and wait for them to resolve their quarrel.

However, I don't trust Reimu so before that:

[x] Ask Meira if she has any extra corn from the raijuu fight
-[x] if Reimu gets offended that we didn't take it back in the tree then say that we regret our decision and don't want to be more of a burden

If she does and gives us it then:

[x]Remove the seals.
--[x]Do it once you put some distance between you and Reimu and Meira.
--[x]Be prepared for a fight
>> No. 168830
[x]Obey Reimu, stay clear of the fight, and wait for them to resolve their quarrel.

[x] Ask Meira if she has any extra corn from the raijuu fight
-[x] If Reimu gets offended that we didn't take it back in the tree then say that we regret our decision and don't want to be more of a burden

If she does and gives us it then:

[x]Remove the seals.
--[x]Do it once you put some distance between you and Reimu and Meira.
--[x]Be prepared for a fight

This seems reasonable enough.
>> No. 168842
[x]Obey Reimu, stay clear of the fight, and wait for them to resolve their quarrel.
[x]This is the perfect chance to escape! Sneak around them while they're busy fighting.

[x]Remove the seals.
-If attempting to run away (obeying Reimu doesn't mean fight, but stay away from the fight, which still keeps this open)
--[x]Do it once you put some distance between you and Reimu and Meira.

I’d say escaping is our better option here.

Meira has an unclear motive to get her hands on us. while it could be to pay us back for the help, it could just as well be to kill us for stealing her stuff, to being hired to get rid of us by a third party.

Reimu just tried to exterminate us, though she believed we were under the youkai's control. but Reimu is going to take away the book, and she'll likely bring us all the way back to the human village after this is done, and we've been rejected by the human village, and we were even told that if we ever return, we'd get thrown head first into jail.

While I fully agree that Rin shouldn't have 100% of our trust since there's no way for us to confirm it. The dreams we've had might just as well me created by her, trying to keep us keen on helping her.
Despite that, I think it's safer to assume Rin to be our only friend right now.

Besides. I have a hunch that Rin still is inside us, but she's mainly in the book, which will explain how she can talk with us without direct contact (when laying in the backpack), and why she can't do anything now that the book is sealed.
>> No. 168884
>>168779
Let me get this clear: you want to stay out of the fight until you see Reimu is about to lose, and only then you free Rin and butt in, right?

>>168828
>>168830
>>168842
Obeying Reimu and running away are mutually exclusive actions. Reimu told you to wait for her to finish the fight without going anywhere. Escaping would be a direct violation of her orders. I'm going to count your votes as escaping, unless you say otherwise. On the other hand, the additional write-in about Meira and the bag of flour stays regardless of your choice.

>>168779
>>168842
So you are already paranoid enough to distrust what could be your only true ally in this adventure? My, my, my.
>> No. 168913
>>168884

If Meira does have corn and gives it to us then we should escape. However if she refuses then we just obey Reimu.

Is that an acceptable choice?
>> No. 168918
>>168884
779 here. That is indeed what I intended with my vote.
As to the paranoia, you can't very let your guard down around people who were murdered once already.
>> No. 168919
>>168918
Copy that.

>>168913
Fair enough. In that case I'll count the three votes like you just explained.

By the way, currently the recounting goes as follows:

[x]Obey Reimu: 2
[x]Assist Reimu by liberating Rin only when Reimu's about to lose: 1
[x]Ask Meira for medicine and act depending of her answer with >>168913's course of action: 3


You still got plenty of time to think it over.
>> No. 168972
[X] Ask Meira if we can have some of her corn
- [X] Go in the middle of the battle and tell them that this is not the right way of things and that they should all just work together. Make Reimu help Meira in defeating the Raijuu if it is possible.

[X] Open the book, but don't show it to anyone and make sure that Reimu doesn't ask for it back, confuse her if necessary. When everyone is busy fighting the Raijuu, run. Also, try to make sure nobody is hurt, never bad to make a good Impression.
>> No. 169004
>>168972
Raijuu? What raijuu? There is no raijuu in this fight. You're going too far ahead of the needed reasoning for this choice.

Well, anyway, since it's been several days since the last vote, I'll close the votes now, with the resulting winner:

[x]Ask Meira for medicine
-If she gives it to you
--[x]Sneak away from them both.
---[x]Free Rin after you put some distance.
-If she doesn't give it to you
--[x]Obey Reimu, stay clear of the fight, and wait for them to resolve their quarrel.


Updates in... nah, I swore never to give myself deadlines I know I will not meet. Someday in the following week, hazarding a guess. But I have exams too, so I won't make promises.

By the way, for all you who were following Soiled Surface at /eientei/, I had a change of mind and decided to rewrite it from zero. The new version is in >>/eientei/25768
>> No. 169103
File 136985101783.png - (306.99KB , 713x701 , e417214882f5be0422600dd35c6b219c.png ) [iqdb]
169103
[x]Ask Meira for medicine
-If she gives it to you
--[x]Sneak away from them both.
---[x]Free Rin after you put some distance.
-If she doesn't give it to you
--[x]Obey Reimu, stay clear of the fight, and wait for them to resolve their quarrel.


You must get your priorities straight. Right now, the most important thing to take care of is the raijuu's taint coursing through your body, which has been giving a lot of troubles as of lately. You have the medicine for this illness, but it does not belong to you, but to the woman standing in front of you. You didn't take it because you thought she would need it, and your hunch was right: even though Meira is trying hard to hide it, she's suffering from the same tiredness you are experiencing. Since the medicine is hers, you should give it to her...

... But there is something that is nagging you about all this. If Meira had such an easy cure on her all the time, why did she not tell it to you? Did she think you knew about the cure, and therefore believe unnecessary to mention it? Is there a reason why you shouldn't take it? Or is this her revenge for the time you tied her up? Maybe the reason she wants to take you is precisely because of the cure! If that's true, you're sure Meira won't share any of the medicine with you.

There are so many things unclear about Meira, the taint and the cure, you don't know what would be the best course of action. If only Rin could advise you... But you cannot open the book yet, not with Reimu in front of you. You can only rely on your guile and your tongue at this moment.

On the sly, you carefully take out the pouch with the corn flour from your backpack, open it and pour some in your left hand. Then, after checking your little sleight of hand hasn't been spotted by Meira or Reimu, you talk to the sellsword:

"Meira!"

Your call breaks the staring contest between the samurai woman and the miko, who direct their irritated gazes at you. They didn't expect the ill and weak boy to interrupt their business, and they do not need words to tell you they don't like anybody interrupting their business. But you don't let their furious eyes intimidate you, and continue speaking to Meira:

"I believe I have... I have something that is yours."

You show the sellsword the pocket you hold in your right hand, and she opens her eyes in surprise, as you expected.

"Where did you get that?" she asks.

"You dropped it back there... where we fought the... the raijuu," you explain as non-chalantly as you can. "Thought you'd want... you'd want it back."

Meira furrows her brows and focuses her gaze at the bag, completely ignoring the miko she was antagonizing a moment before. That's good: you've picked her interest.

"Well, that's- pretty nice of you," Meira finally says. "I thought I lost it forever. Shirou Sendai must be smiling upon me tod-!"

The sellsword had started to walk towards you, but you bring the pocket closer to you, denying her attempt to take it. This makes her stop on her tracks and tilt her head in slight confusion. Or is it because of Reimu's defiant expression?

"But before that..." you continue. "Why didn't you tell me... about the cure?"

"Ah. Well, that's..." Meira is at a brief loss of words, and darts her eyes everywhere as she comes up with an explanation. "I- um, I didn't tell you because... ehhh... I thought I'd be able to exterminate that squirrel before anyone else got tainted, so-"

That's a lie if you ever heard one. How can you believe her with such insecurity seeping from her voice? Is she even trying?

"Did you exterminate it?" interrupts Reimu.

The pained grimace Meira makes is all the answer both of you need. The raijuu is still alive, then. That's bad news. Very bad news.

"I couldn't give it the finishing blow, but I don't think it'll survive for long after that injury," the sellsword explains.

You recall that impressive slash that cut the raijuu's tail - the attack that saved your life. The creature was bleeding a lot when it ran away. Without proper treatment, the squirrel would surely die of blood loss, and being a feral youkai, you doubt it'll get any treatment at all. However, Reimu doesn't seem to share your confidence:

"You idiot!" she shouts. "If you don't kill it for good, it will regenerate quickly!"

"Whaaaaat?" you exclaim. You were expecting something going wrong, but not this bad! You can only imagine how pissed the raijuu is going to be, and the destruction it will cause in its roaring rampage. Hell, if things go really bad, you could be talking about actual casualties, for the gods' sake!

"I can't believe it! And you call yourself a youkai hunter!?" Reimu goes on. "Just picking up a sword doesn't make you a youkai exterminator. There are special procedures and knowledge that go beyond whacking monsters with a rusty oversized knife, you know?"

"Hey, this is no 'rusty oversized knife'! This sword was given to me by-"

"It doesn't matter what weapon you use; if you don't know how to deal with youkai properly, you should just stay home," Reimu berates coldly. "Now step aside before anyone else gets hurt by your foolishness."

Meira doesn't seem fazed by the miko's insult, but Reimu's words had really hit home. The sellsword has passed through her earlier nonchalant stage, and is now in that calm lagoon of rage where the voice is steady and the manner is measured and polite. Only the trembling grip on her sword and a faint grimace at the corner of her mouth betray the inner inferno that is about to be unleashed.

"Kid, the bag. Now."

Meira's burning cold voice admits no rebuttal. At the miko's aghast gaze, you quickly toss the sellsword her bag back. You were going to give it back to her in anyway. Your next step depends on what will Meira do now with its contents, but by the way she ordered you, you have a hunch on what is going to happen.

Just as you expected, the sellsword opens the bag, brings it to her mouth and pours all the corn flour down her throat in a single gulp, all the while without breaking eye-contact with Reimu. She didn't even had the decency of leaving some for you - or she simply forgot, in her desperation of being relieved from the taint. It does not matter; you had accounted for that too. A few seconds earlier, it looks as if a great weight has lifted from Meira's shoulders. The sellsword now stands completely uptight, growing a couple of inches, and stops using her sword as a cane: she looks as intimidating as ever.
This complete and almost instantaneous recovery is all the permission you need to take the next step in your little gambit - the most important one.

"What the hell!?"

What you didn't predict was the Reimu's anger towards you. Well, now that you think of it, it's logical that she'd be mad at you for giving the medicine to her opponent. She'll want some explanations for this "treason", but what you are going to do now will make your intentions clear enough for her.

"How could you!?" the miko explains. "Why did you- Oh?"

Reimu's wrath turns into confusion as you mimic Meira and ingest the handful of flour you've been hiding in your left hand all this time. Instead of the sweet flavor of corn, you are greeted with an extremely dry flavor that uncomfortably sticks in your taste buds and in the back of your tongue. You feel the sudden urge to cough the flour off, which you quench with an urgent sip of your gourd. A short moment after the mix of water and flour goes down to your stomach, you can already feel that usual tingling of blood running through your numb limbs, and almost all the tiredness you have been dragging all this time vanishes like magic. You still don't feel at one hundred percent, but now you should be able to move normally for the time being.

And with the way things are going, you will probably have to make a run for it very soon.

"Wait, so you did all this because- but then she- and you- arghhhh, this doesn't make any sense," Reimu has already given up on trying to figure out what happened between you and Meira.

"Hey, Hakurei!" the sellsword calls the miko's attention. "You know what happens when someone sullies my sword and my honor?"

"Pft, I doubt you have any honor left in you," Reimu says, undaunted. "But I'll humor you. What happens?"

"Actually, why don't I give you a demonstration? Right here, right now," Meira supplements the threat with a flourish of her sword and pointing it at the miko.

You briefly wonder if this kind of pre-battle banter is the norm or a tradition in the duels of Gensokyo. If there was a thunder or a gust of wind, it'd make the upcoming showdown even more dramatic that it already looks. Actually, you could help with the latter...

No, it's obvious you should not be anywhere near when those two begin fighting.

"Well, looks like this is something between you two, so I'm just going to sit far away from here and wait for you to sort it... out."

Raising your voice proves to be a bad idea, because Reimu shoots you a menacing glance with an ominous message underlying: 'You and I are going to have a long chat after this.' Yep, you definitely pissed her off. Yet another reason to get the hell out of here - like you needed more.

"Heads up, miko," Meira says. "Your opponent is right here."

As soon as Reimu turns her head to look at the sellsword, you step out of the way as inconspicuously as you can. Not that it matters, because both the miko and the samurai are not taking notice of you in the slightiest - at this moment, the only thing that exists in their worlds is their rival. Still, it'd be wise to wait until they become so focused in their battle they totally forget about you. That's when you'll sneak past them and run. Meanwhile, you await for them to begin fighting...

---------------------------

"I didn't come here to fight you."

Having faced many creatures intent on hurting her, Reimu has no problems with speaking casually to the vengeful samurai. In fact, her non-chalant statement has an underlying alternate meaning - it'd be on her best interests not to fight the miko.

But when did implied threats ever work in Gensokyo? Everybody loves to pick up fights with practically anyone - and with the inclusion of the Spell Card Rules, even the weakest human has a fair chance against the strongest youkai, or shrine maidens in this particular case.

"You chickening now? Maybe you should have thought of that before stepping in the ring."

And Meira has even more reasons to get in a fight with the most powerful human in Gensokyo. It is not only because she was insulted; her reasons for getting her revenge on Reimu go much, much back in time, when they first met. Her honor as a warrior was sullied by the then childish miko in practice, and after all these years, destiny or luck had given her the chance to redeem herself of such humilliation. Meira can barely contain her excitement as she positions herself in a combat stance, gripping her sword at her head's side with both hands and pointing it at Reimu.

"What's up with you and that kid, anyway? Is he your new boyfriend or what?" the sellsword attempts to taunt the miko. "I suppose you are in that age, after all."

"Is that a question? Because I don't recall getting an answer to my question," Reimu completely ignores her jibe and produces a couple of ofuda from her sleeve. "And you getting an answer without giving me an answer... That wouldn't be fair, would it? But maybe fair isn't how you dishonored ronin roll."

Meira's brows twitch at Reimu's last statement, but she doesn't let her rage overtake her. She still has the clarity of mind to realize she needs all her wits to beat the toughest opponent she ever faced, and for that she must stay calm and collected, like she was taught.

"Nah, screw it," exclaims the miko. "Too many things going on that make even less sense than usual. I need to vent up badly, and you're asking for a curbstomp."

"Ha! Now you're speaking my language!" chortles Meira, far from being intimidated. In fact, she is even more riled up than before. "I knew you want some of this, Hakurei!"

She doesn't wait for Reimu to answer back, thus starting the fight that had been brewing for this while. The sellsword kicks the ground and dashes towards the miko in a fashion not unlike a spring going off. The shrine maiden reacts quickly by throwing the amulets in her hand, which begin to glow red and fly at high speed directly towards Meira. They are easily swat away with a single slash of her sword, without ever stopping running. Just when Meira gets close enough, she lifts her katana and...

... sticks it in the ground? Reimu, who was getting ready to parry the upcoming attack with her rod, didn't predict that at all, but she interprets this as her chance to deal her blow.

A big mistake. Just when the miko drops her guard, Meira janks her sword up with all her strength. As the katana is forcefully taken out the ground, it lifts a thick cloud of dust and gravel directly to Reimu's face, blinding her for a crucial moment. Taking advantage of the inertia, Meira deals a fast killing slash capable of splitting the heavens. It leaves a silver afterimage as it falls down to cut Reimu in half in a single motion.

But to Meira's dismay, the shrine maiden was not there when she completed her swipe. She has completely vanished, like magic. Quickly returning to her initial combt stance, the sellsword scouts the surroudings, looking for any sign of her enemy. And be it for her heighened senses, or by sheer luck, she catches a glimpse of the shrine maiden's red and white outfit just above her. In a reflex move, Meira brings her sword up and blocks Reimu's cartwheel kick from above. How in the world did she do that?

Reimu's boot collides with the blunt side of Meira's sword, making a loud metallic sound that echoes in the silent forest for a couple of seconds. The sheer force of the impact should have strained the miko's ankle or knee - if not outright broken -, but she bounces away without any apparent injury. As she flies back defying the conventional laws of physics, she takes out many more ofudas of different sizes and colors and unleashes a rain of guided amulets towards Meira.

The sellsword quickly extends her sword horizontally, mutters a few words hurriedly, and runs her fingers along the sword. As she does so, the blade starts to glow in a bright white with a mysterious and powerful energy of unknown origin. With a quick sweep, Meira unleashes that energy in an invisible shockwave that pushes the ofudas away from her and lifts, and lifts a second cloud of dust between Reimu - who is now standing in top of a tree branch - and herself.

The battle had reached a brief stalemate; a very, very rare occurence in Gensokyo. Meira takes this moment to discern how did Reimu vanish and reappear above her in an instant. It would have been impossible for the untrained eye, but Meira's keen senses picked up a trace of spiritual (or is it divine?) energy lingering in the air, around the place the first ofuda went when she deflected them. And the way she just floated to that branch where she is standing right now... Could it be?

"So you can open portals and fly without that old turtle's help?" says Meira. "Glad to see you haven't neglected your training!"

However, Reimu was not listening to her at that moment. That last defense Meira used sprayed her amulets all over the place, and the miko feared one of those stray ofudas might have hit that kid in accident. But she couldn't see him anywhere; he was completely out of sight. Or worse yet, he might...

"But you're not the only one who has picked a few new moves!" the sellsword shouts, reading her sword for another strike.

Unfortunately, Reimu had to get rid of that pushover of a samurai before that, seeing as she won't let her go in peace. The miko had to make haste; time for the big guns!

"「Spirit Sign..."
"「Dark Sign..."


Both female ready their Spell Cards; seven colored orbs appear around Reimu, while Meira's sword is enveloped by a black fume. The miko had the feeling this was going to be a long fight...

-----------------------------------------

You hear a loud 'boom' far behind you, where you left Reimu and Meira fighting between themselves. The fact that they're still going at it is certainly surprising, but it's all the better for you, since you need to gain as much distance from them as you can. You took the chance to escape when Reimu teleported using that strange portal made of amulets, and you've been running away since then. You won't feel safe until you've reached the Kappa Village - even if it turns out to be a false safe haven - but you think it's time to free Rin from the seals.

Without ever stopping running, you take a look at the amulets stuck all over the green book of Rin. They are filled with strange symbols painted in dark purple ink, whose meaning is completely unknown for you. But if you were to take a guess, you'd say it contains invocations to some obscure gods of the Shinto religion. For a brief moment, the thought of the seals being harmful to you as well stop you, but you quickly discard those doubts and proceed to carefully separate the pieces of paper from the cover of the book.

It is not an easy task to do while you're concentrating on running and not crashing with any tree or tripping over any root at the same time. As you manage to take the ofuda out one by one, you proceed to put them on your backpack - they might be useful later on. You continue to do so for a couple of minutes, until you manage to take out the last one of them. Then...

"FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-"

The very moment the last corner of the last ofuda is taken out, Rin's cry of relief and liberation invades your mind at a volume you thought physically impossible to accomplish. Then again, it's all in your mind.

"-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-"

But as annoying as her shout might be, it sure is nice to have the kirin back with you. Her absence had left a kind of emptiness inside you that you hadn't noticed until her return, not to mention her advices and her understanding on magic are invaluable in your quest for-

"-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-"

Okay, you take that back. Enough is enough.

"-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Oh hi there! Glad to see you again!"

Finally.

"You would not believe how horrible was to be trapped back there again!" Rin exclaims. "Especially after having a taste of freedom. Seriously, I don't wish this even for my worst enemy. Speaking of enemies, what happened?" Her voice becomes worried. "You blacked out all of a sudden and the next moment I'm already back at that woeful place!"

'And the next moment'? Then that means the first thing Reimu did after you fainted was to seal the book? Well, it's logical for a shrine maiden to do what's she supposed to do, but that doesn't stop you from feeling bad. You thought Reimu was a nice girl - one you should not anger, though -, but the fact that she put her work before your wellbeing... Yeah, it's a bit egoist from your part, but still-

"Okay, since you're not answering, I'll help myself and take a look at your memories," Rin interrupts your train of thought. "If you please..."

Satsuki does not wait for you to give said permission, and inmediatly dives into the deepest part of your head to search for the answers she's looking for. It does not physically hurt you, but you'd wish she'd at least grant you a bit of privacy in that matter. Who knows what kind of subconscious visions and thoughts she could find in there... Well, since she's already at it, you might as well let her. It is much easier for her to see it than for you to tell her. An image is worth more than a thousand words, after all.

"So you did that and then Reimu... Yikes, I thought she was an airhead, but this... Oh, is this that woman? She does not look- Ah. Ohhhhhh. Daaaaamn. Very suspicious. Uh-huh... Wow. Interesting..."

Her comments are making you feel a bit nervous, like you were being examinated by your teacher after an oral test. It does not help that she could easily keep her words to herself if she wanted. Sometimes you wish you had that privilege too.

"I must say, I am truly impressed," Sacchin finally gives her 'veredict' of sorts. "Not only did you manage to recover my book unharmed, but you also cured yourself from the taint! A magnific performance!"

Your chest swells with pride at her heartfelt praise, but you can't help but remember that your escape must have infuriated both Reimu and Meira.

"It was bound to happen at some time, and they weren't people to be trusted much in the first place, so don't worry about that," Rin reassures you. "Anyway, now that we're back at square one, we must focus on reaching the Kappa Village. We have wasted too much time already, and I don't think we'll be so lucky if we're caught again."

Word. The more space between you and an angry miko, the better for you and Rin. You speed up through the silent forest, gracefully dodging trees, roots and branches, but with no particular direction. Hoping to stumble with the Kappa Village like this is wishful thinking, but you think you might find some sort of indication to go there...

--------------------------------------

After a short while, you hear the first sound apart from the noise of twigs breaking under your feet.

"Water?"

Indeed, you see a small river running through a clearing in the forest. It is not particulary big, but the water is crystal clear - you can even see your reflection on its surface. The current is gentle and the water is cool; you can't resist the urge to introduce your feet inside and splash around for a little while. After all that running, a refreshing bath seems nice... but you haven't the time for that. You instead take a moment to refill your gourd and quickly wash your dirty face and arms.

"Oh, of course, I'm so stupid!" suddenly says Rin.

Huh?

"If there's water, the Kappa must live near it! Because, you know, they're aquatic creatures."

Yeah, that makes a fair amount of sense. How could you not think about that earlier? You just only need to search along the river, and you'll be bound to find the village sooner or later!

The only problem is - which way? For all you know, it could be either stream up or stream down.

"Good question... I have no idea, though. Sorry," the kirin apologizes.

So it's a matter of lucky choices, then. Or is there something you're missing that could help you in figuring out where is the Kappa Village? Some (not so) obvious fact you're not taking into account?

[]Upstream
[]Downstream
[]What about that small crook over there?


---------------------------------------------------------

Fun fact: Your write-in has prevented you from reaching a bad end where you fall asleep due to the taint and never wake up. So congratulations! Keep up the good work!

Also, blame Hopeless Masquerade for killing the already scarce free time I have in the exam period. I still have difficulties trying to figure out how to use Byakuren and Koishi properly. On the other hand, after looking up the four new girls in the already big roster, I miiiiiight find a way to introduce one of them in the story, if the plot allows it. How would you feel about that?
>> No. 169105
Not that I'm complaining but, since Meira did not give us the cure (despite seeing our state) and lied to us, shouldn't we have gone back and waited like Reimu asked us in the first place?
I know she was angry but a truthful answer ('I wanted to see what were her priorities') would have been enough to defuse the situation.

Anyway, the Youkai Mountain river goes downstream to a lake (the Misty lake) so I'm guessing upstream is a safe choice. Except that the kappa village is at he foot of the Mountain... but it has never been depicted as being near the Scarlet Devil Mansion so maybe.. they're in another lake?
Aw, fuck it.

[x] Upstream.
>> No. 169107
[]Upstream

I'm guessing the creek has the new mermaid toohoo but I think it's best if we make haste.
>> No. 169116
[X] Upstream

Guess I'll go with the above Anon's deduction on this matter.

Hmm...looks like Reimu genuinely wants to help us, but still, better be paranoid than sorry. ...and we're not letting her take our book waifu without a fight, either! *ahem*

As for the newcomers, if you want to write them, then by all means! The more the merrier.
>> No. 169117
[X]Downstream

A river with 'crystal clear' water doesn't seem like something that would happen if a town was upstream. Even if they are aquatic creatures they should create some form of river pollution.
>> No. 169118
[x] Upstream

Always go against the current!
>> No. 169119
[x] Upstream.

If it leads down the mountain and into the misty lake then it would lead to the forest of magic and the SDM which isn't where we want to go. Upstream will either lead us to the Kappa village where we want to go or it would lead us to the tengu civillisation on top of the mountian.

Plus they're kappa. Who says that they haven't invented and experimented with water filters yet?

I may change my vote soon though. The last line seems to suggest that I'm forgetting somthing.
>> No. 169120
[X]Upstream

You generally don't build towns/live downstream.

Maybe
>> No. 169122
[x]What about that small crook over there?

I'm just curious.
>> No. 169126
[X]Upstream

On the newcomers, it's fine by me if you include them. Just don't shoehorn them in.
>> No. 169142
[x]What about that small crook over there?

This sounds interesting. Also, I would love if we meet Koishi. Haven't seen her used in any stories yet. She is certainly an interesting character and if she is anyway freudian like I expect, she will be hilarious. If not, she still sounds interesting.
>> No. 169216
[] Upstream

The crook could be a trap for all we know. Though it may just as well be our only safe heaven for now. Or maybe even an entrance to the kappa village, though I doubt that one since they live underwater (but it's still possible).
Deciding about upstream or downstream were a little more coin toss than I like to admit. But I chose upstream from the fact he didn't mention the water flows strength. From that I can say its normal, which means there isn't a waterfall anywhere near right now. And since I don’t believe we've traveled all that high so far, it's safe to say that the waterfall is up ahead. And the kappa should be around that waterfall.
>> No. 169305
File 137026180632.jpg - (105.26KB , 850x496 , non indicative flow.jpg ) [iqdb]
169305
[x]Upstream

You have no strong preference for either way, so you just end up picking upstream out of mere chance. It later occured to you that, even if you don't find the Kappa Village, you will nonetheless get closer to the Tengu Village - your final destination. It would be a win-win choice if it wasn't for those damned handcuffs. After two days of uncomfortable and painful rubbing, your wrists must be totally skinned by now. Not to mention you don't want anybody to get the wrong idea - which actually would be the right idea, technically speaking. In short, you need to get rid of them one way or another before you get to the Tengu Village. Their policies with outsiders are already strict enough without any proof of being an outcast.

You make your way up the Youkai Mountain, wading the shallow river at Rin's advice - something about not leaving footprints for anyone to follow -, slow but steady. In the meanwhile, you enjoy the stunning sights that the Great Youkai Forest offers you. If someone asked you to describe Gensokyo, you'd direct him to this very place. Maybe it is the sunset rays traversing through the trees, coloring everything in a light shade of orange. Maybe it's the pleasant sound of the cool water running through your feet. Maybe it is the gentle breeze that makes the maple leaves sway. Maybe it's something else you can't put your finger on, or everything at the same time. This scenery raptured and bewitched you to no end; you could touch its beauty, and smell the magic floating in the air.

Still, there is something wrong going on here.

"It's so quiet... So devoid of life," comments Rin.

It's been nagging you for a while, but now it dawns on you that, ever since you set foot into the forest, you haven't encountered a single living creature, save for the raijuu and Meira. Going by all the tales and rumors you've heard about this place, you were expecting to come across a flock of fairies or a minor deity on your way up. But so far the only noises you have heard are your own feet splashing in the river and the leaves in the trees ruffling. Where in the world is everybody?

"It must be the raijuu's taint," Satsuki says, after hearing your concerns. "If Meira was telling the truth, then that beast poses a real danger, not only for us, but for the whole Forest."

Now that she says it, Meira mentioned some people at the Kappa Village falling ill to the taint as well. If it was able to bring such reportedly powerful beings bedridden, then you were extremely lucky to have gotten the cure before it did you in.

"But corn isn't that uncommon," you mutter. "If we find some and hand it out over here, I'm sure they'll be up in their feet in no time, just like me."

"Hmm... Corn was a rare delicacy in my times, though according to you, that is no longer the case today. However, you need massive amounts of corn and time to cure all the poblation in the Youkai Mountain. And we lack both," Rin argues.

"Still, there must be something we can do, right? We can't just let the whole forest to sleep forever!"

"Believe me, it also pains me to see my homeland wither away like this," you can sense heartfelt frustation in her words. "But right now it is out of our possibilities, and we also have more pressing matters at hand."

As much as it annoys you, Rin is right again. It's very generous and unselfish when you care about the wellbeing of creatures that normally would not hesistate to shoot you or eat you, but your own safety must always come first. But it would be nice to help solve this crisis if you can...

-----------------------------

After walking for a few minutes in gloomy silence, you hear in the distance the clamor of water plummeting down with the force of a hundred boulders. You unconsciously pick up the pace and head towards the clearing ahead, where the source of the noise comes from.

You are greeted by a breathtaking sight. In front of you there stands the biggest waterfall you have ever seen, of several tens of yards wide, and three or four times as high as the tallest building of the Human Village - and that is a long fall. The water goes down at high speed from the top of a rocky cliff eroded by the centuries, and forms a pond of considerable size at the bottom, where it remains still until it reaches the river you've been traversing. The last rays of sunlight reflect over the surface, coloring the clear water purple-ish.

This must be the Waterfall of Nine Heavens.

"Sunlit, the Incense Summit, aglow in smoke and steam;
To afar like a shimmering curtain, a waterfall hangs up-stream:
Rolling, flying, fluttering - plunging three thousand feet,
As if ‘twere the Silver River, falling from Heaven Supreme."


As you are partaking on the impressive scenery before your eyes, Rin begins to hum a song that sways your heart with calmness and peace. You can almost hear the sound of a string instrument accompanying her verse.

"Actually it is not mine. It is a poem titled View of a Waterfall at Lushan, by Li Bai," corrects the kirin.

"Li Bai? I haven't heard of him, or her."

"Him. He is considered one the most acclaimed poets of the Tang Dynasty, the Golden Age of Chinese poetry," Rin doesn't miss the chance to give you an impromptu culture lesson. "I guess he isn't that famous around this place. You should read some of his poems whenever you can, though. He was a knight errand who travelled across the country, and he wrote about all the things he saw in his trips. That, when he was not making poems about wine."

"I-I see..."

"No, but seriously, you are missing a lot. I could sing some of his works if you want. Or even teach you to recite them."

"I... appreciate the offer, but right now it's not the best time for that."

"Yeah, it's true. I said that myself, didn't I?"

She tries to hide it, but you pick up a slight note of disappointment in Rin's voice. She must have been really looking forward to sing something to you. Maybe you should humor her when you have the time?

"Anyway, why did you sing that song?" you ask her.

"Oh, well, you know, when I saw the waterfall, it just came naturally to me," Sacchin answers. "This is the kind of scenery that inspires poets and musicians to write their most magnificent works. You know what I mean, right?"

"I'm no poet, but even I can see why is that," you comment, looking at your surroundings in awe.

It takes you a while to realize the implications of arriving to the Waterfall of Nine Heavens.

"Say, Rin, shouldn't have we stumbled upon the Kappa Village by now?"

"Uh, now that you say it... Yes, the Kappa Village was definitely down the river, after the Waterfall," says the kirin. "I think we chose the wrong path."

"That, or we skipped it because we weren't looking hard enough," you guess outloud.

"I doubt it. The Village is too big to simply overlook it. If we really walked past right it, the kappas must have been actively hiding it."

"And why would they do that?"

"I could come up with a couple of reasons, but it's more probable it's just our mistake."

What would those reasons be? Are they trying to hide from the raijuu? Or more importantly, how? You can ponder those questions all the time you want, but standing around here doing nothing won't answer them.

"So we turn back?"

Rin remains silent for a moment, thinking about the best course of action, and then speaks:

"I believe we should keep moving forward. Or up in this case."

"But I still have the handcuffs on," you argue, resisting the urge to scratch your innaccesible wrists. "Weren't we going to the Kappa Village to get rid of them?"

"I am sure the kappas are not the only ones who can pry them open. I only suggested it because they are the most amicable towards humans, but there's nothing impeding you to ask a tengu for help," she explains. "If we go back we risk being caught by our pursuers."

"Still, I don't think they'll just graciously help a fugitive."

"Knowing how well do they treat outsiders, I don't think they could care less if you have handcuffs or not," retorts Rin sarcastically.

You consider your options for a while. On one hand, Rin recommends you to continue towards the Tengu Village. The cliff itself doesn't look too hard to climb, especially with your new powers to create vines - you just need to be careful with slippery rocks. However, it'll take you a lot of time, and it will be exhausting. And you are almost one hundred percent sure that you won't be welcome up ahead. For all you know, you could be ambushed by a tengu patrol in the middle of your climbing.

On the other, you can go back to the crossroad (crossriver?) and continue downstream, or maybe explore that semi-hidden crook you saw there. But as Rin warns you, if Reimu, Meira or any other being have been following you, chances are you will stumble upon them, and you'd prefer to keep unwanted encounters to a minimum.

[]Begin the ascension up the Waterfall of Nine Heavens.
[]Go back to the previous spot.
-[]Go downstream.
-[]Go through the crook.
[]You have the feeling you are overlooking something. Better check it out in detail.
-[]Inspect your surroundings.
-[]Look behind the waterfall.
-[]Check underwater, at the bottom of the pond.
-[]Turn back and search around the river.


------------------------------------------------------

Your arguments are sound on both sides, but only one option is correct. But don't think too hard about clear waters, water filters and whatnot. If you play Mountain of Faith you can more or less guess where the Kappa Village is.

>>169105
I interpreted the conditionals regarding your health state, not following exactly what Meira did. I supposed that, since you managed to cure yourselves, you wanted to escape ASAP. Also, if you want the MC to answer to a question using your exact words, you need to say so when voting. That's usually why I put the []Write-in options.

>>169126
The newcomers won't be shoehorned, that I assure you. What is more, since currently you are far from where the three characters from DDC live (Misty Lake, Human Village and Bamboo Forest), you won't be seeing them anytime soon.

>>169142
Freudian as in 'a youkai who lacks Id'? Or as in 'prone to make sexual innuendos'?
>> No. 169308
[]You have the feeling you are overlooking something. Better check it out in detail.
-[ ]Behind the lake

MoF has you fight Nitori at the base of the fall, before fighting up it. I'm guessing it's behind the veil. Stage 4 has you pass through it near the top to enter the cave system I think.
>> No. 169314
[X]You have the feeling you are overlooking something. Better check it out in detail.
-[x]Look behind the waterfall.

In these types of scenarios there's always a cave behind the waterfall.
>> No. 169315
[X] You have the feeling you are overlooking something. Better check it out in detail.
-[X] Look behind the waterfall.

It's the typical place to hide a passageway.

>However, you need massive amounts of corn and time to cure all the poblation in the Youkai Mountain.
"to cure the population on Yokai Mountain." Population implies everyone, and they aren't living underground.

>He was a knight errand
A knight may go off on an errand, but if he was not commanded by his lord to do so, he's a knight errant.
>> No. 169316
>>169308
>-[ ]Behind the lake
interesting choice

[X]You have the feeling you are overlooking something. Better check it out in detail.
-[1]Inspect your surroundings.
-[2]Check underwater, at the bottom of the pond.
-[3]Look behind the waterfall.

in that order, please.
>> No. 169323
[x]You have the feeling you are overlooking something. Better check it out in detail.
-[x]Inspect your surroundings.
-[x]Look behind the waterfall.
-[x]Check underwater, at the bottom of the pond.
>> No. 169324
[x]You have the feeling you are overlooking something. Better check it out in detail.
-[x]Inspect your surroundings.
-[x]Look behind the waterfall.
-[x]Check underwater, at the bottom of the pond.

Being aquatic creatures, I suspect the kappa are underwater. Or possibly behind the waterfall, as people have said.
>> No. 169332
[X]You have the feeling you are overlooking something. Better check it out in detail.
-[1]Inspect your surroundings.
-[2]Check underwater, at the bottom of the pond.
-[3]Look behind the waterfall.

I don't know why the order but it's better than randomly looking around.

In every RPG I play I always look around. Whether there are secrets or usable objects around the area, it tends to pay off. We may even find sombody who knows why/if the kappa are hiding.
>> No. 169342
>>169332
I chose that order based of prioritized thinking.

-[1]Inspect your surroundings.
To check the surroundings of any possible danger and or treat. When we can be as sure as we now can, that our back is secure, we move on.

-[2]Check underwater, at the bottom of the pond.
With our back secured, we can check underwater more thoroughly.

-[3]Look behind the waterfall.
Waterfalls can’t be trusted. They hide thing from us. Like caves. But to be sure we should check there last in case one of the above shows results.
A last resort if you may.
>> No. 169437
File 137054366792.jpg - (204.91KB , 850x1062 , i've been spotted!.jpg ) [iqdb]
169437
[X]You have the feeling you are overlooking something. Better check it out in detail.
-[X]Inspect your surroundings.


No, it can't be. There's absolutely no way you haven't encountered anyone in a forest that is specifically known for the incredibly high amount of fairies and youkai living there. You have definitely missed something, or they are actively trying to hide from you. Either way, you should inspect your surroundings, if only to make sure you are not being followed.

You stare for a while at the base of the waterfall. You have the feeling there might be a secret tunnel or staircase behind it. There is always one in nearly every adventure or mystery book.

"Just because you read it in a fiction book doesn't mean it's true," Rin comments. "But I guess it won't hurt to take a peek, just in case."

You'll do it once you finish your scouting. For now you'd better-

Wait.

...

... What is that?

Over there, a few meters behind you, you can see a huge green bag on the floor - no, scratch that, on a girl lying on her belly, dressed in a robe colored exactly like the shore sand. You suppose her clothes are meant to blend with the ground, but the aforementioned bag and her showy blue hair, tied in two pigtails at her sides, completely wrecks her camouflage.

The blue-haired girl is staring intensely at you, not realizing she's been spotted. You don't make any move, partly out of caution, partly because your mind is flabbergasted at the girl's epic failure at concealing herself. Meanwhile, you take note of more details about her. Her "camouflage" suit covers her short figure from neck to ankles, and is full of pockets everywhere. Her oversized backpack, which stands like an eyesore, is also full of extra compartments, yet it still looks so stuffed it's going to blow open at any second. The girl's also wearing a greenish cap with a strange white line on it - you can't make out what is it supposed to be from this distance.

You haven't noticed until now, but this girl is... cute. Her childish pigtails tied with red hair bobbles, her round face curled in a focused frown, and those blue eyes watching you inquisitively give her an appearance of a curious little child. Normally you would be on edge in this kind of situation, but this girl just doesn't give you a sense of danger like Meira did. In fact, she doesn't look like she'd be able to hurt a fly even if she tried. Gods, you even feel the urge to pet her so badly...

"Watch it. That's how they lower your guard before going for the kill," says Rin, as cautious as ever.

Uh, okay. She's probably being overly paranoid, but better be safe than sorry, you guess. The girl is just lying there on the ground, without moving a single muscle or batting an eyelid. Why is she staring at you so intensely? It's starting to make you feel very uncomfortable. Is Rin right and she's just waiting for the moment to strike? If that's the case, you should be on your guard. So you stay still like a statue and stare her back in the eyes, waiting for her to make the first move.

An extremely long minute passes by. Eventually, the girl starts to realize you miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight be looking at her directly and not at the ground below her. When it dawns on her, her mouth curves downwards in a terrified grimace, and her eyes dart everywhere, looking for a hiding place. Then, she slowly and "discretely" crawls back to the bushes behind her, as if nobody hasn't seen anything. You just stand there in utter disbelief, looking at her while she scurries back like a snail. It's very hard to supress a chuckle at that.

"That's unbecoming of you!" Satsuki chastises you. "You can't laugh at her when she tries so hard!"

However, you can sense in her tone that she's also stifling her laughter. Heh, what an hypocrite.

Anyway, you should still go after her. You calmly walk over the bushes where she "dissapeared" and start to set the branches away.

...

Huh, that's strange. You'd think you'd find her quickly with that clear brown suit of hers, but you are actually having problems with-

Ah, there she is! The blue-haired girl was hiding behind a bush a bit further into the forest. And now that you stare at her, you notice her clothes have changed colors: now they are a dark green that match the plants around her. So her dress can change colors and patterns depending on where she's stnading? That's actually pretty cool! Too bad her blue hair and her giant bag give her position away.

When the girl sees you and realizes you caught her a second time, she remains there paralized in fear, like a deer in front of the headlights. No, not in fear. Is she... is she blushing? The girl slowly reaches for a couple of branches with her hands, and bends them so that they cover her face. And then she stutters:

"I-i-i'm a tree!"

...

[]ಠ_ಠ
[]"It's nothing. My mind is playing tricks on me."
[]"BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"
[]SELF-DEFENSE KICK!
[]"I can turn you into a real tree, you know."
[]"Relax, I'm not going to hurt you."
[]"And who are you exactly?"
[]"How long have you been stalking me?"
[]"Caw."
[]Boop.
[]Pet.
[]Grope.
[]Write-in.


---------------------------------------

A very short update this time. In this part, you can do anything hilarious or stupid without getting yourselves in danger, as long as it isn't overly harassing to Nitori the poor girl. Let yourselves loose!
>> No. 169438
File 137054471635.jpg - (40.66KB , 422x317 , regular wall.jpg ) [iqdb]
169438
[x]"Caw."
I chuckled at the end. Two can play this game I guess.
>> No. 169439
Do we have any seeds left on us? I'm tempted to vote "No, I am" and grow a tree around us.
>> No. 169440
File 137054785355.gif - (289.05KB , 480x360 , tree powers!.gif ) [iqdb]
169440
>>169439
Yes you do. And even if you don't, you're in a forest. You're bound to find something you can grow into a tree just by looking up or down.
>> No. 169441
[X]Do we have any seeds left on us? I'm tempted to vote "No, I am" and grow a tree around us.

I want to go with this option just for the lol of it.
>> No. 169442
>>169440

Oh good, so here's my vote

[x]"No, I am"
-[x]Tree powers activate (hopefully in a way that's easy to get out of)
>> No. 169444
[X]Caw
- [X] Pet.

Cause its adorable.

Also what's the first choice? Phone just has random boxes, guessing its moonspeak.
>> No. 169446
>>169439

THIS. THIS. THIS.


[x]"No, I am!"
-[x]Tree powers activate
>> No. 169453
[X]Caw
- [X] Pet

Adorable Nitori is adorable! Ofcourse you are a tree
Can't resist pet option
>> No. 169454
[X]Caw
- [X] Pet

"!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQiDzSWLIm4
>> No. 169461
[X]Caw
-[X] Pet
>> No. 169464
File 137060925361.png - (2.46KB , 200x200 , disapproval.png ) [iqdb]
169464
>[-]ಠ_ಠ
>ಠ_ಠ
ಠ_ಠ

[x]"No, I am!"
-[x]Tree powers activate

I’m usually not the bandwagon type. But that’s too funny to pass up.
Besides, my naïve side tell me that if we impress her somehow, she’ll be likely to help us out.
>> No. 169468
[X]Caw
- [X] Pet.

As much as I'd like to show her what a real tree looks like, I think it's too wasteful of a seed and brings too much attention to us. We don't know if Meira and Reimu are done with their battle yet so I don't want to risk it.
>> No. 169473
[x]"No, I am!"
-[x]Tree powers activate
>> No. 169484
>>169305

Lack of Id or Freudian Slips/Sexual Innuendo?? Well, I think she is portrayed with both? I am unsure, but because she doesn't have emotions like normal People, she may have a tendency to say such things. I never played any of the games so I am unaware of whether this is Canon of course. Still, it would certainly be funny and embarassing for us.

As for the choice. It is a hard one. I really want to Show her a real tree, but the other idea is also good. I am also unsure on whether that will not scare her away. (If we suddenly turn into a tree I mean.) Do we know if she likes Petting? If yes, add me to that vote, otherwise, Tree Powers Activated!
>> No. 169512
When I heard of 'tree powers' I could help but think of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTMgHPnGEAU#t=2m10s
>> No. 169535
i just realized something.
Rin Satsuki. i figured out who she is
>> No. 169657
Since you don't know how she'll react when you pet her, I'll count >>169484's vote for the activation of your Earth Powers to disguise yourselves as a generic example of the Plant species in order to elicit a favorable reaction from the girl.

However, this leaves the votes in a perfect tie of 6-6 between both options. If nobody is going to tip the scale to one or the other, I'll be forced to count that vote for the petting option - as much as I like the other idea.

You have until tomorrow to make any changes if you want.

>>169484
I'll see what I can do when if we get to that point.

>>169512
Gosh dang it to heck, man, are you reading my mind? Because that's more or less the look I was aiming to get for the MC. Probably his powers as well. And here I thought Fate/EXTRA was a pretty niche game, even for the Nasuverse.

>>169535
Oh? Please do share your insights with us.

Unrelated: I stumbled upon a pretty nice erhu arrangement of Candid Friend. Maybe you'll like it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgZb-TzysfU
>> No. 169662
[x]"No, I am!"
-[x]Tree powers activate.

I might as well be the tie-breaker voter here.
>> No. 169663
>>169662
I s'pose I'll call it here for the Tree Powers. Update late because I'm in the middle of exams.
>> No. 169863
File 137150681929.jpg - (267.06KB , 850x1062 , could not let the reference pass.jpg ) [iqdb]
169863
Apologies in advance for the plethora of shamelessly shoehorned references in this update. With the avalanche of exams I'm having, I don't feel like being original. I promise I'll get better in July.

-------------------------------------------------------

[x]"No, I am."
-[x]Tree powers activate!


Whether this strange girl is trying to deflect your attention by seeking refuge in audacity and stupidity, or by taking advantage of her moe moe factor, her maneuver not only doesn't work as she intended, but it also awakens a hidden part of you that you didn't know about: your competitive side. Call it pity for her, call it pride, or just a desire to test your powers, but the truth is that watching the girl trying so hard at impersonating a tree makes you want to show her how it's done.

"Do you really have to?" asks Rin with a hint of resignation.

Well, of course! When you see something done badly, you have this irresistible urge to make it right!

"Ugh, whatever, do what you want," she realizes she won't make you change your mind.

Oh yes you will. You clear your throat to get the girl's attention, and speak with your most clear and awe-inspiring voice:

"Aha! Your disguise almost fooled me, stranger!" Not really, but you want her to feel good about it. "But lo and behold-"

"Seriously?"

"-you have stumbled upon a true master of the art of... um..."

"Chlorokinesis."

"Chlorokinesis!" You mentally thank Talking Thesaurus for her saving throw. "Now watch me as I become one with the forest!"

Your speech could've used a bit more of work, but you believe it got the point across. Plus, if the girl's dumbfounded expression is of any clue, it made you look cool in her eyes. Hopefully.

Now it's time for the part you prove your (let's admit it) slightly exaggerated boast. You take a handful of dirt and one of the branches the girl was holding to hide her face, snap it in half and put its base on the soil. It only takes you a couple of seconds to focus and form a connection between yourself and the branch, like you did hours before.

"Oooooooooh," the blue haired girl whistles amusedly, enthralled by your handiwork.

Soon, the results of your efforts are evident: the twig that was cut off from its roots is now growing anew. You're becoming much faster and proficient at this, you notice. Still far from being a 'master of chlorokinesis', of course, but your progress is astounding for someone who knew nothing about magic yesterday. Maybe you have a special talent for this from the very beginning! Or, more probably, it's a side effect of having a youkai in your head. Whatever, you're not going to ruin your time to shine thinking about that. You must put on a good show for your audience!

With a bombastic and flamboyant move with no other purpose than adding uneccesary emphasis, you descend the hand holding the branch from your chest, and plunge it in the soil at your feet with the force and verve of a lightning brought down with the fury of the god of storms. Once the newly sprouted roots come in contact with the ground, the twig's growth speeds up even more, stretching up several inches per second. You feel something tugging under your feet: a secondary branch that is about to come from the ground. You take a hold of the now considerably thick trunk, and let the magic flow from you to the soon-to-be tree. After a couple of seconds, the branch comes out and rises up to the sky along with the rest of the tree, taking you up with it. Good thing you had a good grip, or else you would have fallen down.

"I think that's enough," Rin says. "You already showed her, now you should stop."

Eh? Why don't you take it a little bit further? Not just to impress the girl, but also to learn your own limits and all that.

"That's not a good idea... What if Reimu sees us?"

... Ah. You had forgotten about that. Yeah, you should quit before it happens. Following Rin's advice, you interrupt the flow of magic and open your eyes again. You find yourself standing atop a full grown tree of around fifty feet tall; practically as high as the tallest trees of the forests.

"Was this awesome, or was it awesome?" you ask to your audience.

"Totally uncalled for. Could have put us in risk of being spotted. Bad entonation where it counted. Random use of archaic vocabulary for no good reason. Had to ask me for the term 'chlorokinesis'. The feat wasn't particularly impressive anyway. I give it a 3 out of 10," Rin thoroughly picks on your performance with the ruthlessness of a theater critic. "Try harder or don't try at all."

Jeeeeeeez, she didn't need to be so cold. There's always a first time for everything, right? Besides, the blue haired girl looks like she enjoyed it, because she's applauding and chuckling at you.

"I can't tell if she's really amused or just mocking you, but if she had a fun time, I guess your stunt was worth- Hey, are you alright?" she shifts from derisory to genuinely worried, but you can barely understand her words. "You're getting dizzy."

Of course! Except for the fact that you just realized that you didn't create a way to go down the tree, and the girl is now a blue spec on the sea of green down there, and vertigo is kicking in, and your legs are shaking and ohgodsyouaregoingtofall!

Your impaired balance makes you lose your foothold, and for a split second everything becomes blurry as you plunge to the ground. You think you hear a gasp, but in the haze of sudden fear and adrenaline you can't tell if it yours, Rin's or the girl's. Acting on instinct, you throw your arms up and try to grab whatever you can... which happens to be the very branch you were standing on. The pull of gravity over your body scourges your shoulders, and you grit your teeth not to let an howl of pain out. You flounder and kick the air in vain; without any foothold you can't pull yourself up like you did back there at the village.

"Can't you reach for the trunk? I don't want to meet our end in this ridiculous way," snarks Rin.

If she has time to complain, she has also time to help! You stretch one of your legs, but you don't even graze the log. Doesn't Rin have some sort of spell to help you get down without breaking your spine?

"If I had one, you'd need to read the book to learn it, and I think you don't have enough free hands to do so."

Well, ain't that peachy. Now what are you supposed to d-? Wait, peachy? You have still some peaches in your bag. Maybe you could throw one to the ground and grow a smaller tree where you can drop yourself to, and then to the ground. But that means you have to let go of one hand and use it to reach your backpack, and you don't think you're strong enough to hold yourself with just the other hand...

"H-h-hold on! I'll try to help!"

Luckily (?) for you, the blue haired girl has thought of another way to get you down the tree. She drops her huge bag to the ground, opens it and starts to rummage ita contents, until she finds what she was looking for: a massive... drill?

"Wait, what are you going to do with that!?" you shout to her.

The girl pulls a kind of chain, and the drill starts to spin on its own, producing a loud whirr capable of piercing the heavens - and your eardrums. For some reason, the sight of a nimble girl carrying manning a huge drill with such ease makes you feel uneasy.

All your doubts are cleared when she positions herself just at the bottom of the tree.

"Oh oh. I hope you're not thinking about..."

Your complain is drowned by the awful sound of the revolutions of the mining tool. Realizing you can only accept your fate, you just close your eyes and wait for it to be over.

Inexplicably, the skyward shout of the girl can be heard above the howl of the drill and reaches your ears:

"I got this! Kappa... Drrrrrrriiiiill... DESTROYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!"

You ignore the nagging feeling that you've read something very similar in one of those comic books from the Outside that Kosuzu used to lend you, and grit your teeth to prepare for what's coming. The sound of the drill lowers at least two octaves as it starts to hole the base of the trunk, and you grip the branch as strongly as you can while the vibrations violently shake the whole tree. That's not the worse, however: the tree is starting to lean down ever so slowly. Soon, gravity will do the rest.

Strangely enough, you're more worried about the possibility of the girl getting crushed under the tree than the certainty of you about to fall fifty feet and break all your bones.

"No no no no no no no nonononononononoooooooooooo!" you scream.

As you plummet down to the ground, the wind soars through your ears and your guts get churned by the effects of the short free falling. You'd throw up, but that wouldn't be a dignified way to go out, right? So you hold your meal inside your bowels. Amazing how you can think about such things when you're about to die. Isn't here when you see your life in a flashback? Because you're experiencing no such thing. Somewhere along the fall you have lost your grip of the branch. Not that it matters anyway. You wonder if you'll hear the sound of your bones breaking before you die?

You feel the impact shortly after when you fall on your back, followed by a burning stinging, sudden coldness and asphyxia, and then everything turns black...

---------------------------------

"Um... are you sure you're okay?" the girl asks.

"Y-yes, I th-th-th-think I am," you try to answer as convincingly as possible, but between the shock and the cold, you can't stop gritting your teeth.

"Speak for yourself. I got all my pages soaking wet!" snarls Rin. "I hope the ink hasn't bled..."

It wouldn't make those doodles any more unreadable, though.

"Har, har, very funny. Just thank your gods you got out of your mess with nothing more than a scratch."

Truth to be told, it wasn't all divine providence - but you can count yourself very lucky you haven't broken a bone, as Rin says. It turned out that the blue-haired girl didn't just drill the tree at random; she aimed it so that the tree would fall to the pond. As a result, you and your equipment took a dive into the freezing water, but at least you made it out alive. Unfortunately you can't say the same for your clothes and your things: the map had practically dissolved, the matches are so wet they have become useless, and Rin's book miraculously avoided the map's fate, but it still is pretty damp - you should dry it soon before the pages get destroyed too. Your clothes are also too wet for you to wear, lest you catch a cold, especially with the chill breeze of the night. Currently you're covering yourself with a thick towel the girl gave you, while you wait for your clothes to dry off.

Speaking of the girl, you take a moment to look at her. Her initial shyness and later shock had gone away, and now she's leisurely sitting at your side, occassionally checking at you and your things. She kicks and splashes the water with her feet, impervious to its cold temperature; she looks like she's enjoying it, actually. If her "battle cry" is of any indication, the girl is supposedly a kappa. Again, all the descriptions of kappa you have read don't match what your own eyes see. She seems rather friendly towards you, in total opposition with the rapist monsters of lore. In anyway, meeting her is a great stroke of luck for you: she could lead you to the kappa village, or even better, help you get rid of the handcuffs for good!

"I should thank you for saving my life, um..."

"Name's Kawashiro. Nitori Kawashiro," the kappa introduces herself, lowering her tone an octave. "Heheheh, I always wanted to say that."

"Aaaaaalright? Anyway, I'm sorry for all of this. I got too cocky and got ourselves in this-"

"Nah, don't sweat it. As sworn allies, we kappa and humans must look after each other, right?" Nitori pats her chest proudly. "Besides, I wanted to look cool too, and I got the chance to test my new drill, so it wasn't too much of a hassle. Did I look cool?"

"Wow, I guess that adage about 'forethought being easy and repentance hard' doesn't apply to you two, huh?" comments Rin.

You ignore the kirin; there's something else bothering your mind. Kappa and humans, sworn allies? That's the first time you've heard about such vow. But better return to the current topic.

"Couldn't take a good look, sorry, but I'll take your word for it," you say. "I don't want to be picky, but was there not a... less risky option?"

"Probably," the blue-haired kappa shrugs. "But I couldn't think of any other way in the nick of time. And my friend says drilling your way forward is the universal solution to all problems, so..."

"What?"

"She knows a lot about the Outside, and she says that's how Outsiders roll."

It can't possibly be that Nitori's friend has read the very same comic you did, right? You want to tell Nitori that what works in the Outside world doesn't necessarily work in Gensokyo. You mean, humongous robots that function with "drill energy"? That crazy stuff can't possibly happen in this world! It's a clear violation of common sense! But the kappa seems genuinely passionate about this, and you'd hate to burst her bubble, so you don't say anything.

"By the way, what were you doing here?" Nitori asks out of the blue. "Don't you know this is a very dangerous place for humans like you?"

"Wha-? Ah, well, um, you see..."

You should have seen this moment coming. After all, you were going to need an explanation as to why were you trespassing tengu territory. If only you remembered to think of a credible "alibi" in time... But now you have to make do with what you come up with right now. However! Even if you can't just tell her the truth, your answer must not be too cavalier or misleading. The thing you least want now is to make your savior angry or distrusting towards you.

And so, what you tell Nitori is:

"I am..."

[]The truth: a fugitive of the Human Village, searching for a way to revive a youkai trapped in a book.
[]A botanist studying the flora in Gensokyo, also versed in the magical manipulation of plants.
[]A sorcerer (in practice) in a search of knowledge, now self-learning the basics of Earth magic.
[]An adventurer who, after a small scuffle back at your hometown, is wandering Gensokyo in search for a quest.
[]A musician looking for inspiration for your works - and for the instrument you lost somewhere in the forest.
[]A youkai hunter for hire, currently after a dangerous creature that steals the life essence of other people.
[]A book collector with a fondness for Demon Books - like the one you have -, and for the history behind them.
[]Write-in.


------------------------------------------------

This choice is much more important than it seems. Not only it will affect how Nitori will see and treat you, but it'll also have a huge impact for the rest of this adventure. Choose wisely, or be creative.
>> No. 169866
Dammit. Um... hm. Not sure what to vote on. Truth is right our, for now. We need to keep who and what we are under wraps this close to the tengu village. If Nitori learns that we're possessed, who knows how she'll react.

Maybe... the adventurer route? Had to leave the village due to some trouble, now have no choice but to wander?
>> No. 169874
[x] A desperate man in a pilgrimage: a friend of yours is trapped and only the gods in Youkai Mountain can free her.
>> No. 169877
Since it's clear what we tell Nitori will impact who will aid us, or hinder us for that matter, we need to consider if we should tell the whole truth, a partial truth, or a blatant lie.

Obviously, a lie would help us by tricking the Kappa into giving their whole support to us, but if Yukari, or Reimu for that matter, shares her side of the story, then we'll have another batch of locals who would be hostile to us.

If we tell the truth, then it'll be a tossup as to whether or not Nitori will simply turn us away, since she may be against helping the Kirin return to the Youkai Mountain or unearthing the secrets Rin holds.

I personally believe that we should tell Nitori that we are a confused boy who is looking for our own truth in a possible quixotic quest to unearth some buried Youkai secrets. This is by no means an actual vote; I intend to wait until further discussion is made.
>> No. 169882
Well that was a good show of our potential, even if that vote wasn't intending to grow fifty footer on a whim.
>> No. 169899
Throwing this out for a start.

[X]A traveller in search of knowledge who recently started self-learning the basics of Earth magic from a youkai book.

Omitting the (admittedly not unimportant) fact that we are a hunted fugitive while still telling the truth. We are a traveller in the broad sense, trying to reach a place where we are safe and not extradited. We are searching for knowledge, specifically the knowledge of how to free Sacchin and not to screw our own situation up (more). Mentioning the book is a bit of a gamble though, as I am unsure of how these things are generally seen in Gensoukyou.
This can (and probably will) still come back to haunt us for not being completely honest later on, but hopefully by that time we have established other bonds with any potential allies.
>> No. 169915
[] The truth: a fugitive of the Human Village, searching for a way to revive a youkai trapped in a book.
-[] Tell her Rin’s part of the story as well
--[] Ask her to keep it between the two (three) of them

The way I see it
It’ll be best to tell Nitori the truth right here, right now, so that it doesn’t bite us later.
Telling her our view of WHY we’re fugitive would likely benefit sine that’ll clear up some confusion for her. She’ll likely agree to help us if she knows what we know.
I also consider it a good choice to inform her about who Rin is.
Of course we should leave out the part where we stole, the part where we beat the guards with some wind, the part where we broke the wall, and the part where we ran away from Reimu while she was fighting.

I might change the vote later as others contribute to the theories and opinions.
>> No. 169922
[] The truth: a fugitive of the Human Village, searching for a way to revive a youkai trapped in a book.
-[] Tell her Rin’s part of the story as well
--[] Ask her to keep it between the two (three) of them

Works for me.

Also, wue to you author. Don't you know that common sense is a well known weakness in all of Gensokyo!!
>> No. 170130
>>169922
I was trying to be ironic there...

It feels wrong not to sage a non-update post. I don't want to sound like I'm whoring out for votes, but only four votes for a seemingly important choice does seem a bit lacking. Some of you said that you'd wait until there was more discussion, and since no one is discussing right now, I think I should throw a peeble in the pond to stir the stale waters.

If you're going to lie, be it partially or blatantly, keep in mind that, as long as Nitori is with you, you'll have to maintain the masquerade. For example, introducing yourself as a youkai hunter won't put you on the best of terms with some youkai (obviously), but as you keep up with your lie, you'll have to learn the tricks of the job to pull off a convincing cover. In other words, you'll become the mask and learn the skills and knowledge of a youkai hunter, with all its advantages. The same goes if you pretend to be a practitioner of any other art or profession. Of course, if what >>169877 fears happens, and you encounter Reimu, then your lie will be surely exposed...

For those of you who want to tell the truth to Nitori, but keep it a secret for others, you might or might not earn Nitori's trust (it is a risky bet, are you sure you want to take it?), but remember that this situation will happen again when you meet other people. Then you'll have to decide whether or not to let them on to the secret as well.
>> No. 170131
[X] The truth: a fugitive of the Human Village, searching for a way to revive a youkai trapped in a book.
-[X] Tell her Rin’s part of the story as well.
--[X] Ask her to keep it between the two (three) of them.

Guess I'll take the truth option...
>> No. 170133
[X] The truth: a fugitive of the Human Village, searching for a way to revive a youkai trapped in a book.
-[X] Tell her Rin’s part of the story as well.
--[X] Ask her to keep it between the two (three) of them.

Nothing can possibly go wrong.
>> No. 170140
[X]A botanist studying the flora in Gensokyo, also versed in the magical manipulation of plants.

You people are far too trusting of someone we met not thirty minutes ago.
>> No. 170141
[X]A botanist studying the flora in Gensokyo, also versed in the magical manipulation of plants.

Here's to hoping we know at least the word "botanist" and can at least sketch plants.
>> No. 170142
>>170140
We are just helpless against her moe moe factor.
>> No. 170195
[X] The truth: a fugitive of the Human Village, searching for a way to revive a youkai trapped in a book.
-[X] Tell her Rin’s part of the story as well.
--[X] Ask her to keep it between the two (three) of them.

I feel morally obliged to tell the truth. If Nitori doesn't trust us then what's the worst that could happen?
>> No. 170352
File 137200015954.jpg - (143.28KB , 850x525 , sample-c7fa0ab29e18fb791aa87daddeea49fb.jpg ) [iqdb]
170352
I shouldn't be writing. I have lots of exams to study for. Why do I feel most inspired when there's so much shit to get done?

-------------------------------------------------------------------

[X] The truth: a fugitive of the Human Village, searching for a way to revive a youkai trapped in a book.
-[X] Tell her Rin’s part of the story as well.
--[X] Ask her to keep it between the two (three) of them.


"Hold it," says Rin, sensing what you are going to tell Nitori. "Are you sure she can be trusted?"

It is a difficult decision, but ultimately you feel you have to be honest with the one who saved your hide. And the kappa girl looks sensible enough to keep a secret if you ask her nicely.

"Hm..." the kirin does not sound very convinced. "Alright, I'll trust your judgement, and let's hope for the best."

It's not exactly a vote of confidence, but at least she gave you consent. You put your ideas floating in your head in order; it proves to be a harder task than you thought, since a lot has happened in just two days. And you don't think it's a good idea to tell Nitori everything - the (justified) violent actions you were forced to take, for example. Once you decided on what to tell the kappa, you take a breath and say:

"If you promise to never tell anyone about this, I'll tell you."

"Whaaaaaa-? C'mon, don't do that to me!" she whines.

"It's a secret. I can't be revealing it to every person that asks me!"

"Oh please, don't be so childish!"

Never mind the pout she's making to you.

"Nuh-huh, not telling."

"Alright, alright! I promise not to tell anyone! Happy?"

"Nope. You have to swear it."

"Swear it? Seriously?"

"On your most precious thing," you cross your arms to let her know you're being dead serious.

Nitori sighs, closes her fist, places it on her chest and speaks with a deep voice: "By the vow of fellowship our kappa and human ancestors made time ago, I swear to never tell anyone about what I am about to hear. Is that good enough for you?"

You nod in affirmation. Although you still don't know what is that "vow" about, Nitori seems to hold it in very high regard, so you don't have any reason to mistrust her any further.

"The truth is, I am a fugitive."

"A fugitive?" Nitori tilts her head.

"Yes, a fugitive from the Human Village," you reinforce your statement by shaking your wrists, showing her the handcuffs.

"Ahhhh..." Nitori stares at them intensely, and then she blinks in realization. "Wait, so those are real?"

"Hum, yes?"

"They're not a fashion accessory?"

"Why would I want to wear these hideous pieces of metal?" you say, confused.

"I dunno. I thought it was the latest fad. There's been quite a few oni at the Human Village recently, and maybe you took inspiration from them."

Onis, those boisterous, muscular and horned youkai who are deeply in love with sake, and wear heavy chains and shackles like they were feathers. You don't recall seeing any of them in person, but some of your friends spotted them in bars and pubs when the "religious popularity war" happened. Is that what Nitori is talking about?

"No, I don't think so," you shake your head.

"Oh."

There is an awkward silence, in which you dart your eyes all over the place except Nitori herself, and the kappa looks down and fidgets her fingers. Telling her the truth turns out to be much harder than you thought;it's like you were confessing your sins to a priest, and you feel extremely uncomfortable. It must be the same for Nitori, who apparently is unable to ask you the reason why you are a fugitive. Does she think it's rude, or is her shyness overtaking her? You finally force yourself to break the silence and continue speaking, hoping it'll be easier once you get the stone rolling.

"I don't know exactly why they chased me out like that, but I'm sure it must be because of this book."

You take the green book from your side and show it to the kappa, who looks with curiosity.

"They jailed you for stealing a book?" she scratches her head over the cap. "Wowzers, you humans sure have strict laws."

"No! No, I didn't steal it!" you exclaim. "This is a demon book."

"A demon book..." Nitori repeats slowly. "You mean those books where youkai are put into when their existence is forgotten?"

"Their existence is forgotten...?"

"Hum, I don't know what are you talking about, but yeah, I think this is one of those."

"Interesting..." the kappa mutters, pensive. "What was a book like that doing in the Human Village in the first place?"

That's the cue you were waiting for. "A friend of mine was given that book and- well, it's a long story."

Sure enough, that phrase is enough to catch Nitori's full attention. It truly works marvels. It dawns on you that this must be the second or third time already you told a story to another person. Heh, since this is sure to become a recurrent situation, maybe you should hone your storytelling skills while you're at it. You clear your throat and start your narration:

"My legend begins in the 21st century..."

------------------------------------------

"... and that's how I met you."

You were able to sum up your adventure in five minutes, omitting the part where you violently broke out of the village and when you dumped Reimu and Meira while they were fighting. At Rin's petition, you didn't mention the names of the people involved other than yours and Rin's; you wouldn't want them to get in trouble if the story somehow spread out. It's not that you don't trust Nitori to keep the secret, but you can't ever be cautious enough with this kind of situation. Nitori proved to be a good audience: she listened to your whole tale without ever interrupting you, ocassionally nodding at you or letting out interested "hums" and "ahhhs".

Truth be told, it actually felt good to have another person listen to you as you revealed the truth - even if it's not the whole truth. It relieved you of an invisible weight in your chest that had inadvertently grew since you left the village.

"Huh, wow, I- I don't know what to say..." stutters Nitori. "You sure had it rough, man."

"I deal with it the best I can. At least I have some help to get through it in one piece," you tap the cover of the green book.

"Damn right. If it wasn't for me, you wouldn't be here talking to this girl right now," exclaims Rin proudly.

Exactly. If it wasn't for her, you'd be currently reading a book at Kosuzu's library like always, enjoying a good story, a warm tea, and the sight of a cute girl, without fearing for your life every second and without an angry shrine maiden going after you.

"...Yeouch. Are you ever going to drop it out?"

Not until you get her out of the book, and then some more. Rin simply snorts and goes silent, and you return to the conversation you were having with Nitori.

"Which reminds me, does the name of Rin Satsuki ring any bells?" you ask the kappa.

"Can't say it does," after a few seconds, she shakes her head. "But if she really worked for Tenma, there must be something about her in their archives."

You guessed as much. Even though not much is known of the tengu society, if they're as advanced as the rumors say, they must have a place where they keep all kind of records, just like the Hieda Mansion at the human village. Moreso knowing the endeavor they put into their newspapers.

"Will they really let me snoop around in the first place...?" you mutter, looking at the waterfall.

"Forget it. Humans like you are still not welcome in the tengu village," sighs the kappa.

"I know..."

"The road ahead is very dangerous. There are many youkai waiting in ambush to eat you up."

"I know..."

"And the raijuu might still be around here. You know how fierce it is first-hand, right?"

"Yeah, I know that!"

"How do you plan on getting there?" Nitori asks. "Don't tell me you're just going to shoot your way in too!"

"'Too'? Someone did that before me?"

"Ah, erm, nevermind! You can't go there, period!" she says flustered.

"Then why bother telling me if I can't!?" you exclaim.

"Hnnnnn- look, you just can't!" she crosses her arms and furrows her brows, attempting to sound serious. "Forget everything I told you, okay?"

The way Nitori is acting right now is getting exasperating by the minute. Seriously, first helping you and now denying you the chance to do what she herself advised you to do? What is wrong with her!?

"Don't you see? She's conflicted," says Rin. "Right now she's debating herself between her loyalty to her society, and her vow to help humans out of kindness."

Now that you look at the kappa, she does seem to be having a hard time right now. She's gripping the folds of her vest tightly, and she's biting her lower lip... That's right, you have no reason to be angry with her; in fact, you're the one who's making things hard for Nitori, not the other way.

But that doesn't mean you're going to give up on looking at those archives, no sir. Not after going through so many hardships. You don't have a home to return to, anyway.

"It's alright, I'll drop it off. For now." you add, mumbling. "It's not like I would go anywhere far this late, in any case."

While you were talking to Nitori, the sun had set, and you could see the moonrays passing through the trees and reflecting in the surface of the pond. It is truly a breathtaking sight, comparable to the same scenery in the sunset, but it also heralds danger: now it's the time when less friendly youkai come out from their nests and look for their preys. Then again, none of them attacked you last night, but...

"See? I knew you would listen to reason!" Nitori smiles, visibly relieved. "Which reminds me, you don't have a place to stay for the night, am I right?"

"Well, I could grow another tree as a provisional shelter or something?"

"No no no, that won't do!" Now she seems a bit annoyed. "Um, I mean... Fairies love to hog trees for themselves, and they will kick you out for sure, y'know."

"Oh. That isn't very polite, is it? Heh heh... heh..." you chuckle, nervously.

"And that's why..." Nitori averts her gaze and blushes a bit, but she coughs and regains her confidence. "That's why you'll be staying at my place for tonight!"

Wait, for real?

"... Come again?"

"If you don't mind of course. I'm just extending a cordial invitation to you," she whispers, back at her shy self again. "Oh geez, what am I doing? Inviting a guy into my house for the night? She'll nag me to no end! And I don't have that much space for another person in my crib... But he looks so helpless... What do I do now?"

She keeps on muttering to herself, and you can't get to hear what else is she saying. But from what you have heard, taking you in is a bit problematic for her - something about not having space, and a person who won't be happy about this? Knowing that despite that Nitori still is kind enough to invite you makes it even more heartwarming and valuable than it already is. Not to mention she'll take you to the kappa village, where you wanted to go in the first place. But is it okay for you to accept? Apart from the forementioned troubles for Nitori, she is still reticent about you going to the tengu village. When morning comes, the kappa will most likely force you to leave the mountain.

[]Accept her invitation. You do need a safe place to spend the night, and you can ask Nitori for help later.
[]Refuse her invitation. You can survive by yourself just fine, and you don't want to cause more trouble to Nitori.


-------------------------------

And holy hell, there's been a recent boom of new stories all over the place. I have to keep up a good rhythm if I don't want this to fall from the front page again!

After the exams, of course. Which will be around the 1st of July. Please kill me...
>> No. 170354
[x]Accept her invitation. You do need a safe place to spend the night, and you can ask Nitori for help later.

Seems logical enough
>> No. 170357
[x]Accept her invitation. You do need a safe place to spend the night, and you can ask Nitori for help later.
-[x]Sneak us into her house with her big green bag

This is the most logical action to take here! We won't cause trouble for Nitori if we keep ourselves hidden and then Nitori doesn't have to experience her companions eternal naging. Genius!
>> No. 170359
[x]Accept her invitation. You do need a safe place to spend the night, and you can ask Nitori for help later.

We have little choice. This place is going to be dangerous. But...

[x] Make sure it's truly okay with her. You don't want to get her into any trouble. If going to her place is too much trouble, maybe there's a safe point that we could stay the night. That way, Nitori and we both stay out of trouble.

Just a thought.
>> No. 170361
[x] Accept the Invitation
-[x] Think about what we might have to offer to the kappa in exchange for searching the archive on our behalf. A bargain that would not only benefit her, but also simultaneously allow to keep her vow and loyalty would be difficult to say no to.
>> No. 170366
[x]Accept her invitation. You do need a safe place to spend the night, and you can ask Nitori for help later.
-[x] When someone asks who you are, say that you are her friend. If they get the wrong idea, it isn't like it would be a Problem and it isn't a lie strictly speaking. Also, flirt the hell out of Nittori now that we are on good terms.

That is too good not to do.
>> No. 170405
[x] Accept the Invitation
-[x] Think about what we might have to offer to the kappa in exchange for searching the archive on our behalf. A bargain that would not only benefit her, but also simultaneously allow to keep her vow and loyalty would be difficult to say no to.

I want Nitori on our side so a thank you gift would be the kindest thing to do for her.
>> No. 170413
[X]Make sure she’s okay with it
-If yes
[X]Accept her invitation. You do need a safe place to spend the night, and you can ask Nitori for help later.
-If no
[X]Refuse her invitation. You can survive by yourself just fine, and you don't want to cause more trouble to Nitori.

Giving her the chance to think over it once more, since she's invited us before she thought it through.
>> No. 170417
[X]Make sure she’s really okay with it
-If yes
[X]Accept her invitation. You do need a safe place to spend the night, and you can ask Nitori for help later.
-If no
[X]Refuse her invitation. You can survive by yourself just fine, and you don't want to cause more trouble to Nitori.

This works. Maybe she's inviting us out of a feeling of obligation.
>> No. 170731
File 137254410538.png - (427.63KB , 560x793 , 9a5f5078d62a783f6ec10e06dc759868.png ) [iqdb]
170731
So many stories in this site currently with Nitori on the spotlight... Is it the Kappa Appreciation Week or what?

---------------------------------------------------------------

[X]Accept her invitation. You do need a safe place to spend the night.

"Sure, I'll gladly take on your hospitality, thank you very much," you say, as you bow to the kappa. "If you're really fine with it. It looks like it'll get you in quite the predicament..."

"No! No no no no! Well, actually yes, but- No, it doesn't matter!" Nitori waves her arms frantically. You have to admit it is kind of cute, seeing her so flustered. "We have our share of problems at home, but that shouldn't keep me from giving shelter to a stray human!"

"Problems?"

You already have a clue of what those problems might be about, if Meira's testament is anything to go by, but it'd be wise to hear it from a second person, preferably from someone who actually lives there. However, Nitori seems a bit reticent about letting you in on the problems in paradise.

"Hmm... I suppose you have the right to know, since you'll be staying for a night," she tilts her head, making her pigtails bob to the side. "Come, I'll tell you on the way home."

She gestures you to come by her side, and you are quick to stand up and follow her. Unfortunately, your mind was not so fast at realizing you were wearing nothing under the towel, save for your underwear. The kappa blushes, yelps and quickly turns her back to you in embarrasement. Isn't that kind of overreacting, though?

"Seeing someone in their undergarments is akin to almost seeing how nature concieved that person, a privilege only reserved for family and lovers," says Rin. "Nitori is part of neither group, so her reaction is logical, especially given her shyness."

Yet.

"What?"

Nothing, nothing. Anyway, you usually expose the same amount of naked body than when you wear trunks, so there's nothing the kappa should be embarrased about.

"Trunks? As in swimwear?" You mentally nod. "Are you serious? Has fashion changed so much while I was away? I need to check."

While you put your clothes back, the kirin starts to skim through your mind to see what do people of today wear for summer. Again, without permission. The thought of her (or anybody) checking your memories is incredibly annoying, but you can't do anything about it for now. You wonder if there a way to block your memories from a being living inside your mind, like meditation or amulets or something. That reminds you, you still have the amulets Reimu used to seal Rin temporarily inside the book. If you really need to, you could always do the same in an emergency, or if you just don't want her nagging you about anything. Of course, she is not going to like it in the slightiest, but she should understand you need a bit of privacy too!

But for now, you can only pray Rin doesn't stumble onto that while she's checking for information.

"Oh. Oh my. My my my! Isn't that... a tad too revealing?" the kirin exclaims flustered. "It doesn't cover anything! How can you flaunt so much skin and not die of embarrasement?!"

Your fears seem to have come true. You should tell Sacchin that those photos of the models from the Bunbunmaru 2010 Calendar: Summer Edition aren't exactly an accurate portrayal of today's swimwears... but on second thought, you refrain to do so. Let her believe what she sees; the laughs you will get once misunderstandings arise will be worth it! Just don't think about it while she's around.

"Really, have you no shame? Who would've thought people would become so daring these days?" Rin keeps on. "But I guess I should be glad we got rid of inhibitions, hm?"

Despite her criticism, you can tell she's genuinely interested in what women wear nowadays, even if she tries to sound embarrased about it.

After you finish dressing, you pat your clothes to check them. They are still a bit moist, and therefore feel heavier, but at least you won't get a cold, you think. You also put Rin's book, the five amulets, and the three plums back in your bag, and when you think you're good to go, you call for the kappa.

"I'm ready, Nitori!"

However, the blue-haired girl isn't nowhere to be seen. The only trace of her is the massive green bag lying on the ground. Where on earth is she?

"Boo!"

Nitori steatlh-scare startles you at mere inches from your left. She had been pressing against a trunk, with her face covered in mud and her camo suit turning brown, making her near invisible to the naked eye.

"Holy sh- Damn you, I almost had a heart attack!" you complain.

To which Nitori laughs merrily, making a sign of victory. "Haha! Great success! The Octocamo works just fine! I just need to apply it on the bag next time. Oh, and a Octomask would be fine too," she adds, while she washes her face on the river. "Not only could it mimic the environment, I will make it so that it turns into another's person face! Oooooooh, the possibilities are endle~~ss!"

"Yeah, that sounds pretty cool, but shouldn't we get moving?" you urge her.

"Er, true, sorry. Let's go."

Nitori picks up her own bag as well with surprising ease considering her own size - until you remember she's a youkai, several times stronger than you. You still can't get over the fact that the legendary monsters of history turned out to be so... human like. On the other hand, it's much easier to interact with them if you don't think of them as monsters that could easily rip your limbs (or in the kappa's case, your shirikodama) like you would break a twig from a tree.

In fact, if it wasn't for that display of strength, you wouldn't believe Nitori to be a youkai just from mere looks. The way she speaks to you, how she splashes the water at her feet and giggles to herself... no matter how you look at her, she looks like a girl only a couple of years younger than you. The thought of the supposedly greatest enemies of humankind being so friendly and generous is comforting, yet frightening at the same time.

"That's just a generalization. There are good-hearted youkai like this kappa, and there are others who simply follow their instincts, like the raijuu," says Rin. "But it's true that there are youkai who enjoy mischief. Some of us are good, some of us are bad, and some stay in between."

So... just like humans then?

"Just like humans. Though what is good for us might not be acceptable in your culture. Our logic and morality aren't the same as yours. Do not forget that."

Food for thought. You let Nitori guide you back through the river you came from before while you think about things like youkai morality, interspecies relationships, vows of alliance, and other philosophical stuff. Your see the kappa's figure gracefully prancing on the water, without really watching her; your brain is busy at wild guessing.

"Sorry to interrupt your musing, but I think you should ask her about those problems she spoke of."

"Oh, that's right. Nitori!" you call the kappa, and she turns around to face you, while walking backwards. "You were going to tell me something."

"Ah, yeah..." Nitori scratches her neck and looks around. "Normaly it's pretty calm around here, save for the usual fairy pranks. But recently we're having a streak of incidents, one after the other, that we have difficulties to solve."

"Incidents?"

"Yeah. About one month ago, our power lines from the Underground Geyser Center started to malfunction, leaving the whole Underground and Youkai Mountain without electricity."

"Underground Geyser Center? Power lines?" asks Rin.

You guess those concepts must be alien to the kirin. You'd readily explain them to her, but you're focused on listening to Nitori, so instead you reluctantly point Sacchin to that part of your brain where all your trivia of current events is stored.

"No electricity? I guess it must've been hard to live without your fancy appliances."

"We manage. But our factories and labs stopped working, so we can't continue to make stuff, do research and all those things we like, so it is kind of a big deal," Nitori explains. "Oh, and the Nuclear Furnace went out of commission too. The guys at the Underground are having it worse than us."

"Don't you have back up generators for this kind of emergencies?"

"Yeah, we do, but they run on fuel from the Outside, very scarce around here. They only last for so long," the kappa shrugs.

"I see. So I take you went to fix that problem?"

"Of course! It's our duty to make sure the Underground facilities work well," Nitori pats her chest with her fist. "However, there was a problem we weren't prepared to deal with."

"Something unfixable even for the mighty kappa engineers?"

"No! If we managed to build it from scratch, we can repair it just as well!" she exclaims, offended. You reckon you just hit a sensible spot there. "The thing is, the power lines were cut off."

"Cut off..."

"And before you ask, we have all the reasons in the world to believe it wasn't an accident."

"You mean someone deliberately severed the wires?"

"Yes. We welded the wires back together, and the power went back. We also asked the tengu guards to patrol the power lines so that it didn't happen again, but..."

"But it happened again, right?"

"Uh-huh," Nitori nods somberly. "The wires were cut off again, but the worse part is that we found the patrol squad knocked out, with no memory of what hit them."

"Hmmmm..."

"You don't get it, do you?" the kappa mutters. "We're talking about a group of highly trained soldiers, experts in scouting, ambushing and vigilance! They are said to spot any trespasser from more than ten miles away, and reduce them before they even see them! They can't possibly get caught in a surprise attack! And yet they did. Do you see how wrong that is?"

You think what Nitori is telling you is a bit of a exaggeration, but-

"It is not an exaggeration," Rin says. "Whatever was able to ambush the ambushers, it must be pretty good or pretty powerful. Maybe both."

"And that's not all," Nitori continues. "Those guards started to feel extremely tired, and they said their bodies were heavy and dumb. We tried to give them all kinds of medicines, but none worked. Eventually, they fell asleep, and I reckon they haven't woken up yet."

Realization dawns on you, and hits you hard like a mallet to the skull. You are too familiar with those symptons...

"The raijuu's taint," you whisper.

"We didn't know that at the time, but exactly, it was," the kappa nods.

"So the raijuu cut down the power lines and attacked the tengu guards?" you recap.

"The patrols were definitely attacked by the raijuu, but the cuts were too clean to be made with claws or fangs. There must've been someone else with a proper cutting tool. We suspect it has to be the raijuu's owner."

The mystery thickens by the minute! So there is another culprit aside from the crazed electric squirrel? Who could it possibly be?

"But why would that person want to cut the power off?" you wonder outloud.

"Beats me. We've no time to think about that," Nitori says. "Anyway, we kept on repairing the lines and sending more patrols, and all those patrols got knocked out, the wires were cut off again, and the tainted were getting worse day by day. This went on for a week, until one day..."

"One day..."

Nitori takes a deep breath and looks up to the sky.

"We had the biggest friggin' thunderstorm we've ever seen. Lightning falling everywhere, rain flooding the streets, hurricane blowing through!" she waves her arms and makes noises in an attempt to depict the scene. "The whole city went pitch black, nobody dared to go out of their homes. And here's the kicker..."

The kappa rummages one of her countless pockets until she produces a small lantern from it. She then puts it just below her shin and turns it on. The light of the tool makes her face eerily stand out in the darkness of the forest, and stresses the shadows under her eyes.

"Some people say... in that horrible night..." she narrates with a spooky voice. "A strange creature appeared... a monster that came from the very depths of Hell... Its very sight sends you a shiver down your spine, and it haunts your worst nightmares..."

"Let me guess: it was a blue squirrel with big fangs, right?" you cut her off.

You're not in the mood for horror stories, especially at night in a forest of youkai. Though you have to admit the raijuu will surely visit you in your dreams - if you're not experiencing one of those memories of Rin, that is. It's definitely not because you were genuinely scared of Nitori's show, not at all.

"Awwwww, you're no fun!" Nitori pouts, turning the lantern off. "Well, yes, there were a few witnesses in the tengu village that saw the raijuu, but they didn't know it was the reason behind the storm."

"It's much more serious than we thought. Not even the tengu village was safe from that damned beast," comments Rin.

"The morning after, nearly all the town showed the same symptons the guards had," Nitori sighs.

"Oh no."

"Even Lord Tenma has fallen ill, and is currently bedridden."

"Oh no..."

"Our village was later attacked by the raijuu too, and most of my neighbors are tainted as well."

"Oh no!"

"And all our reserves of corn have dissapeared."

"Oh n- Wait, what?" you say, flabbergasted.

"I know, right?" Nitori laughs. "After all those serious crimes against the youkai society, and the culprit does something as petty as stealing corn! Can you imagine?"

She doesn't realize the dreadful implications of that action. You'd better warn her.

"Actually, yes. That means you've been robbed of the only cure for the raijuu's taint."

"Huuuuuuh?"

"The corn. It's the cure for the taint," you spit the words slowly, to let their heavy weight sink in.

The kappa seems quite confused. Hasn't she made the connection yet? After more time than she should've taken, Nitori slowly opens her eyes in realization and covers her mouth with her hands.

"Oh. Mah. Gawd!" she exclaims. "Does that mean...?"

"Yes, it does," you nod.

"Then the more reason I have to catch that corn hoarding bastard!" she pumps her fists, determined.

"Ah, so you were out to catch the thief?"

"Yes! I am going to teach him or her a lesson that he or she will never forget!" Nitori waves her arm dramatically, flailing an imaginary cape. "It is compulsory to share food and medicine with the people who most need it! Keeping it for yourself makes you a selfish arsehole! And the punishment for being a selfish arsehole is to have your arsehole tickled for two hours non-stop with...! A herring!"

...

You can't tell if she's being serious or not. That "punishment" is way too disgusting. Is that her idea of a joke? Because it is not funny at all. She can't be serious. No, definitely not. You hope. Not to mention she got the reason of the motive of the crime all wrong. But you don't make any comment, astonished as you are.

"So that's why you shouldn't stay in the mountain for long, my friend," Nitori says. "We've got an electric squirrel, a bigoted arsehole sapping our power lines, and a selfish bastard who steals our corn. All at the same time. It's no safe place for a kid like you."

"I... I see..."

She didn't even consider the possibility of the "bigoted arsehole" and the "selfish bastard" being the same person. Honestly, is she even trying?

"She might be a gadgeteer genius like all kappa, but being intelligent doesn't necessarily mean you're also good at deductive logic," comments Rin.

Still, you don't think the connection is too hard to make... By the way, you take the chance to ask the kirin about her thoughts on this chain of incidents.

"My opinion? It's too contrived to be just a chain of unrelated incidents. The culprit picked the tengu patrols off group by group, left the Youkai Mountain and the Underground inoperative, and then spread the raijuu taint through all the area. Whoever did this, it was definitely premeditated."

But what could the culprit accomplish with all that? Is it a vendetta or something?

"I don't know. But one thing is for sure; we can no longer ignore this. Nitori said Tenma was tainted as well, and he was our only source of information about my history. We mustn't let him fall victim to the squirrel's spell!"

Right. But how are you going to cure him - and everybody else - when the culprit made sure the cure wasn't available? Rin stays silent, lacking the answer to the million yen question. Nitori notices you frowning and looking down the ground, and pats you reassuredly in the shoulder.

"Hey hey, no need to be so gloomy, okay? I told you I would give you shelter for the night, right? So you don't have to worry about anything!" Nitori puffs her chest up, interrupting your train of thought. "As long as you're my guest, you will be done no harm from anybody!"

Her words comfort you a bit, even though you have all the reasons in the world to be worried, and you can't help but crack a small smile at her. She reminds you of the big ditzy sister you never had.

"Thanks, Nitori. I'll be on your care for tonight," you say.

"That's it, leave it all to me! And now, to lighten the mood, a joke!"

"Huh?"

"What kind of money do fishermen make?"

You look at the kappa, dejected. "Excuse me?"

"C'mon, c'mon, play along!" she urges you with a smile.

You're not in the mood for jokes... but eh, you decide to humor her anyway.

"I don't know, what kind of money do fishermen make?"

"Brrrrrrrrrrr..." she mimics a drumroll with her arms. "Net profit!"

[]"..."
[]"Pfffffffffffffffffffffffft!"
[]"That joke was bad, and you should feel bad."
[]"... I don't get it."
[]"You call that a joke? I'll tell you a good joke!" (Write-in)


------------------------------------------------

This is just a place-holder choice that also doubles as a small relationship development part. More plot development will happen in the next update/thread. For now, don't think too hard about this vote and just roll with whatever you like. But it'd be nice if you come up with a good Touhou joke.

Also, I can't believe it took me two entire threads to get to this plot relevant point! I thought I'd get here in the middle of this thread, but we got sidetracked by one reason or another. Anyway, from now on, this is going to be less about raw survival, and more about resolving the mystery. But don't neglect your own wellbeing while you're at it! People who stick their noses in matters that don't pertain them tend to have shorter lifespans. Ufufufufufufufu.
>> No. 170732
[x] When celestials go fishing, what do they catch?
-Holy mackerels.
>> No. 170733
[]"Pfffffffffffffffffffffffft!"

I was told that I should feel bad once, it made me feel bad. As an act of sympathy, I don't want that happening to Nitori. I'd choose to make a better joke but I can't think of one that's actually funny. I can only think of jokes that are on a similar scale to Nitori's. I don't know if she'll get the joke "A man walks into a bar and he says ouch" or if she'll think badly of us for making such a bad joke.
>> No. 170735
Calling it now for Meira owning the Raijuu
>> No. 170738
File 137257866839.jpg - (16.89KB , 210x240 , Carlos_Ramon.jpg ) [iqdb]
170738
Holy shit and I thought I made bad jokes.

I oughta bust a kappa all up in your ass for that one
>> No. 170739
[X] "How many oni does it take to replace a light bulb?" "One to hold it in and all the rest to drink until Gensokyo starts spinning!"

...yeah, I'm not too great at this either...
>> No. 170747
[x]"Pfffffffffffffffffffffffft!"

I am such a horrible person... I actually thought that was pretty funny.
>> No. 170751
[x] "How many oni does it take to replace a light bulb?" "One to hold it in and all the rest to drink until Gensokyo starts spinning!"

It is time for bad puns.
>> No. 170754
[x]"Pfffffffffffffffffffffffft!"

the joke wasn't funny. it's the fact it's so bad that's funny
>> No. 170756
[X]"Pfffffffffffffffffffffffft!"
- [X] "How many oni does it take to replace a light bulb?" "One to hold it in and all the rest to drink until Gensokyo starts spinning!"
- [x] When celestials go fishing, what do they catch? .... Holy mackerels.

Why the hell not?
>> No. 170807
[X]"Pfffffffffffffffffffffffft!"
Also, I have a feeling I know who the culprit is.
Meira.
She fits the criteria. She has a proper cutting tool. She obviously knew what the raiju could do. She had corn on her.I'm guessing the raiju got free and she was heading after it. I also believe she was trying to con the kappa, or perhaps even something more.
>> No. 170821
New thread: >>170820

Votes are still open for more bad puns jokes, so if you come up with any more, post them here. Saging, of course.

And as always, feel free to discuss plot and theories, point my grammar mistakes and typos, make suggestions, comment like and subscribe and insult the writefag as you see fit.