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“Reimu!” Your voice isn’t particularly noticeable amidst the screaming guards and townsfolk. “Muenzuka! I’ll wait near the forest!”

You float in the air, waiting for some sort of acknowledgement by the shrine maiden, but she doesn’t waste a second on you.

Events are, if you had to guess, actually settling down. The fact of the matter is, none of the guards are eager to fight with Reimu. A few brave souls are standing their ground, growling menacingly at perceived threats, but most everybody else is making a break for it.

Reimu looks completely recovered. She’s spinning in place above the street, snapping out yin-yang orbs as soon as they materialize out of thin air. The projectiles careen around the street, bouncing off the ground and walls. The red and white orbs annihilate any panic-fired bolts midflight before smashing into any person dumb enough to have a weapon drawn. Riot police are incomparable to Reimu’s power.

You fly up and away, leaving Reimu to her work. You could probably wait there for her, but you don’t want to chance getting bludgeoned by a yin-yang orb. Besides, you imagine flying around while carrying a body bag is a bit too suspicious.

Maybe the village residents don’t know what a body bag is? Even if they don’t, you attract enough attention with your all-black ensemble.

You land just outside the Forest of Magic, on the road leading to Muenzuka. Setting your cargo down on the ground, you open up the body bag to check that you have an actual corpse instead of a dummy.

Yup. One good look at that exploded chest is all you need.

You hope Reimu heard you. You’d hate to be sitting around for her when you could be working. You’d also hate for her to hunt you down in vengeance.

So you’ll just sit here and wait.

Oh, there she is. You spot the shrine maiden speeding along to where you are, not five minutes after you left the village.

“Finished already?” You ask as the brunette touches down next to you.


“You didn’t get in trouble for that stunt, did you?” Laying waste to a dozen of the village’s guards couldn’t be good for that reputation she values.

“No. Kotohime’s father arrived.”

“The batty police officer’s dad? What does he- Oh, right, Captain of the Guard.”


“He trusts you that much?”

“Heard the gunshot.” Well, that sort of explains things. With everybody lugging around swords and bows, you imagine that gunshots are few and far between. That kind of anomaly probably gives Reimu all the excuse she needs to suppress the area.

The two of you walk on the path through the Forest of Magic. Unlike the tense and weary air that Byakuren maintained while you passed through, Reimu shows no such concern. Far from alert, the shrine maiden’s step slowly disintegrates, turning into a kind of shamble as the adrenaline wears off and her tired state takes over.

“You okay Reimu? Need me to carry you?” Yikes, that’s a killer glare.

Suitably chastised, you walk on in silence, keeping a careful eye on the young shrine maiden in case something changes. The stagger in her walk is worrying, but she maintains a straight course.

The two of you make it out of the forest, and then down the Road of Reconsideration, without further incident. With a couple of hours of sunlight left, the two of you amble into Muenzuka.

Right away, you spy some of the jiang-shi ambling about. The blonde boyish one, Dio, and three others are sitting on top of a few gravestones, chatting or resting or whatever the undead do to pass the time.

“Yo, Dio!” You walk up to the group and set the body bag down, stretching a bit.

“Welcome back, Master.” The blonde returns your greeting, floating to his feet. Yeah, if he plans on sticking around, you’ll need to work on him, too. He has all the same problems Yoshika had, to one degree or another. You can’t imagine that stiffness of movement or rotting flesh is particularly comfortable.

You glance surreptitiously at Reimu to try and catch her reaction to Dio’s greeting. Fortunately for you, it seems as if she could care less that you’ve gained another zombie follower. Reimu sits down with her back to a tombstone almost immediately, nonchalantly looking around the cemetery.

“Did anything happen while I was gone?” you ask.

“Not particularly. One bear youkai thought we would make a good snack. He wasn’t a very good meal.”

“I see.” You look a bit more closely at the resting zombies. Yeah, you think you see some fresh blood. “Have any of your friends had any thoughts about their lives?”

“Yes, but not many. I believe Shilverase wishes to remain with us, and you.”

“Okay, sure. This Shilverase is, uh…” Eeny, meeny, miny…

“Shall I bring her to you?”

“No, that’s okay, we’ll wait. I have a ritual to work on first.” Picking up the body bag again, you make your way towards the edge of the cemetery. Oh, wait, zombies, your other one. “Can you do something for me Dio?”


“Do you mind fetching Yoshika? She should be at Mokou’s shack out in the bamboo forest.”

“Not a problem.” The blonde zombie nods to you and flies off, one of his fellow jiang-shi taking off after him.

They’re rather diligent in following orders, aren’t they?

With all of that taken care of, you begin preparation work to breach the realm of the dead and bring back a murdered man’s spirit kicking and screaming to the world of the living. You don’t particularly like meddling with the afterlife, but in this case it’s a necessity. Besides, you throw them back when you’re finished.

Man, you hate ritual work. It’s interesting to learn about, sure, but nobody ever talks about the excruciatingly boringness of the preparation. Measure out those concentric circles perfectly, triple-check the straightness of those chalk lines, tilt the bit of bone one more degree so it aligns perfectly with the sun, then re-do it when you realize the ritual will take longer than you thought, and on and on.

“What is this?” You blink and look up. Reimu is standing on the lip of the hole you’re digging, staring down at you.

“Digging a hole.”


“To put the body in.”

Reimu tilts her head.

“So I can bury the poor sap’s corpse in a few seconds by shoving all the dirt on top of it if I have to.”

Reimu blinks.

Comprehensive explanations are a drag. “The act of burying a corpse can be useful for all sorts of things. In this case, if his spirit turns out to be unreasonably angry and unreasonably strong, burying his body in the ground should give his spirit a shock that would give me the time I need to send him back to whence he came.”

It was a trick you picked up. The other lesson you learned, along with this one, was that summoning a necromancer’s spirit is a big no go unless you have a contingent of holy crusaders on hand to deal with all the tricks stored up after death. Which you did. You miss having overwhelming power backing you up.

The soft tap of feet landing on dirt surprises you. “Reimu, you can’t help me dig this hole.”

“Can too.” The shrine maiden raises a hand, a soft red glow emanating onto the dirt around you.

“Hold right there! That wasn’t a challenge. I’m sure you can dig a hole faster than I can. But you should be using this opportunity to take a break and rest.” You pause and think about how well that argument worked the last time. “Besides, this is delicate work. To ensure success, I need to be the only one working on all the components.”

“Hmph.” Thankfully, the brunette slowly ascends out of the hole and goes back to sitting against a gravestone, watching you with drooping eyes.

When you finish outlining the second containment circle with rabbit bones you glance back over at Reimu.

Still sitting there, still watching you.

How fun is it to watch you dig holes or place objects on the ground? Well, maybe she finds it interesting. Or maybe she’s gathering information. You wouldn’t put it past her to be learning all she can about your work.

She still looks beat, though. How can she remain attentive when she’s close to half-asleep?

“Catch,” you shout at the shrine maiden. She does so, although your energy bar comes dangerously close to smacking her nose. The flask of water you lob is intercepted much sooner.

The shrine maiden looks down at the two items in her hands before looking back at you, one eyebrow slightly raised.

“Food and drinks,” you explain, “you keep your energy up, since you’re obviously not planning on sleeping. You should worry about your health more.”

Reimu blinks at you a few times before looking away. “Hey, are you blush- Whoa!” You snatch the energy bar out of the air and toss it back at Reimu. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I still expect you to eat it.”

You watch as the shrine maiden carefully inspects your modern snack, as if it’s a ticking time bomb primed to explode.

Hopefully she doesn’t try to eat the wrapper. You would tell her that, but you’d rather not damage her pride again. Instead, you go back to the next task on your list: killing all of the grass within the ritual’s construction.

Magic sucks.

Your magic sucks, to be more specific. If you had more natural ability, you wouldn’t need to rely on these overly specific rituals. It would be so nice to just chant a name three times and call up a spirit from anywhere in the world.

“Master~!” You sidestep Yoshika’s flying tackle hug and give her a little push, sending her sprawling to the ground, just offset from the line you’re digging in the dirt. “Mean~”

You smile at the zombie girl. “I’m glad you’re back, Yoshika. Please don’t touch any of the work I’ve done.”

“Wah, sorry~” Suddenly hyper aware of the designs at her feet, Yoshika floats up and over to where Reimu is sitting. The zombie girl kneels next to the shrine maiden and strikes up a rather one-sided conversation.

You give Dio a quick nod of thanks before returning to your preparation.

Hard at work, eh?

Done snooping?

Yup. I’d say you handled things well enough, everything considered.

Thoughts on anything specific?

Not particularly. You seem to have your head about you. I would comment on a few things…


But I’m not too sure myself.

You’d appreciate any insight your sister can offer.

Byakuren has problems.

Well, that was blunt. You thought the two of them got along just fine when they were parading about inside your mind.

Oh, we do. I still like her a lot, too. But I would report her for inappropriate touching in a heartbeat.

Inappropriate touching? Is your sister a kindergartener? It’s not like your sister called out the other women you’ve been with who-

Stop trying to deflect. You know what I mean, and I know you know what I mean. I saw what you were thinking.

Is that so? Ah, you understand what’s happening here.


A bit of jealousy, you suspect. Byakuren is such a kind, supportive older sister. Your sister must be feeling pressured by the competition that-

You’re insufferable, you little idiot. Have you even thought about what you’re going to say when you go meet her tomorrow?

…You hadn’t even decided on meeting her tomorrow.

Yeah, well, that’s what you’re doing unless you have a good reason not to. Whatever is going on with her, letting it sit for too long is not going to end well.

You appreciate the wise words from beyond the grave.

Of course you do. Now, watch out for that candle you’re lighting or you’ll burn yourself.

You work and work until everything is perfect. “Whew. Just on time.” You step back from the ritual site and glance at the sky, the sun already fading to orange. This is why people have apprentices. Sending hours of your life preparing one ritual is ridiculous.

You could have half-assed it to save time. You could’ve, but that’d be stupid. You’d rather have a double-containment circle with built-in energy deflection and dissipation, capable of putting a halt to anybody trying to tag along for the ride. The anti-scrying wards and miscellaneous other little tidbits you put in are important pieces of security that you would never leave out. The extra time spent makes it worth it.

“Ready?” Reimu asks.

Glancing around, you find you have an audience. Reimu is standing and not wobbling much. Yoshika is standing right there to support her. Dio is nearby, and the rest of the dozen jiang-shi are also shuffling around in eyesight. You even spy a few mice watching you from the shadows.

“Pretty much.” You take a swig of water and step into a circle of chalk. It’s a dedicated command circle – the ritual you set-up can only be managed by someone standing inside of it.

You take one last look at the sky, satisfied with the change in time. Nightfall but a few minutes away gives you the perfect window you need.

Raising your voice to a suitably dramatic level, you gather your magic into your hands and send it into the designs on the ground. “Soul of the lost, I recall thee! Spirit freshly arisen, I summon thee! Come!”

You smile in satisfaction as you feel the ritual grind to life, all the small components abuzz with magic. One that can see magical energy would notice the dark green glow permeating the ritual zone.

Then you step out of the circle and lie down on the ground.

Reimu’s face looms over you after a second. “That’s it?”

“Well, yeah. Now we wait for the dead guy’s spirit to show up.”
The shrine maiden looks thoroughly unimpressed with your methodology. You suppose compared to her active usage of the border, your own spell craft looks a bit lame. “What do you expect me to do? Send my mind down to the underworld and actively search through every human that has ever died?”

There are rituals like that, to be precise. But you prefer the more automated ones if they’re available; you aren’t good enough to make a manual search effective. Besides, you took hours to set the damn thing up, it better work on its own.

Yet, you barely have any time to relax before the signal candle to lit blows out. “So soon?” You expected the search for the dead man’s spirit to take an hour, at least. With the amount of humans that die every second, your man should not be found that easily. Is there something different about Gensokyo? Or did you simply choose your location correctly?

Either way, you jump back into the command circle. Now the fun begins.

It’s easiest to liken the final stage of the ritual to fishing. After hooking the spirit, you just have to drag it back to where you are.

Right away, you feel the snags. The ritual you set up provides most of the manpower, drawing on ambient magical energy to reel in the spirit. Your job is to manage the line, making sure it doesn’t snap in the process. Not snapping from the pull of the spirit or from that crazy guy with the knife. You also need to make sure the falling rocks don’t crash into your boat and that the water doesn’t freeze over. Put up an umbrella so the rain doesn’t sink you and- Enough of the terrible analogy. Focus.


Despite your best effort, you can feel the spirit slipping from you. If you had to cite a reason, you’d blame someone on the other side is trying to keep the dead man where he should be. In a battle between wills, you just don’t have enough. Your ritual can’t be strengthened, and your added touch isn’t good enough. Something is sinking their claws deeper and deeper into the spirit you want, leaving you with nothing to pull. If this keeps up, you won’t-

A hand touches your shoulder. What-

The weight disappears. Just like that, you have complete control over the spirit. In less than a second, you haul it into existence.

In the center of your ritual, magical energy coalesces into a form visible to the naked eye. It’s a white smudge in the air, gleaming from the fading light of the sun. Although a formless blob of magical energy, the dead man’s soul should begin to adjust to it naturally. Sight, hearing, and even a bodied form comes with time as the magic is shaped into a body more suitable to the spirit.

You glance behind you and find Reimu standing right there, her hand on your shoulder. “What did you do?”

“Helped.” She’s grinning triumphantly, as if acutely aware how you wouldn’t have made it on your own.

You understand that Reimu, some way or another, shut out all the influences over the spirit other than your own. How? You’re not even going to try to guess. You don’t even understand this nonsense about border control, let alone whatever else Reimu can do.

Whatever. On with the show. “Spirit! Speak!”

Your voice rings with the power of compulsion. It cuts through the confusion the spirit faces, shoving aside the tangle of emotions and allowing the spirit to think clearly. Your command gives the formless blob something to focus on, speeding along the development of basic senses.

A male voice grows louder and more audible. “…cares about all this damned nonsense. It’s all worthless. I might as well head back over to the den and talk with the keep. Maybe he’ll give me a discount or something.”

“Hey!” You release the magic from your voice, hoping that his spirit is well enough to communicate normally. “Who are you?”

“A guy who really needs a damned drink. This village is full of itself, thinking a man doesn’t need a drink to kick off his day,” the spirit answers, although he’s talking more to himself than you.

This is going to be annoying, but you need to get it over with. “You know you’re dead, right?”

“Eh? What kind of cheap scam is this? I’m not…dead? Hey, where’s the village? Where am I? Wait, what the hell? Where’s my hands? Not just my hands, my legs or my body or…” You lean back and sigh, waiting for the spirit to come to terms.

You aren’t entirely sure what causes the dead to think they are still alive. Expectations, perhaps? Maybe routine, or the shock of being returned to the world. Flaws in personality? You figure whoever is on the other side should sort this out with them, but you never see any evidence of it. The point is, newly formed spirits generally don’t think of themselves as dead. When you tell them, they might just accept it.

Or not. They usually don’t. They’ll generally react like this guy is. “I’m not dead! What kind of sick practical joke is this? It’s all just bad drugs, damn it! I knew I should have gotten the better stuff! I’m not, I’m fine, it’s just a trip, I’ll wake up at some joint and be-”

“You’re dead, you’re dead, you’re dead. You’re a bodiless spirit floating in my containment circle,” you yawn.

“No way…I…am, aren’t I?”

Well, that was relatively painless. No insanity, no rage-filled magic, and no unnecessary work on your part. He’s accepting it without a problem. A civilized conversation is just on the horizon.

The sun has gone down by this point, but the moon is bright and giving you plenty of light to see with. Now you just need to ask-

“Hurry up you lot! I don’t have time to waste here!”

“We’re paying you!”

Unfamiliar voices. You spin in place, looking for the source. There, above you and to the left.

On the edge of Muenzuka opposite from where you’re working floats four people. They’re all dressed differently and are different sized, but it’s unimportant compared to what they hold in their hands.


Fuck. Hey, snap out of it.

“Hah, not nearly enough for when Eiki slams me for skipping out on my work. This is a huge favor, you hear?”

“Fine, fine, whatever. Let’s finish this up quickly. I’m tired of this cursed case we shouldn’t even be working.” You watch as the group splits apart. The redhead in the blue vest remains floating in the air, while the other three shoot towards different parts of the cemetery.

What are they-

The little white-haired reaper raises her scythe and swings it during her charge. She passes right by one of the jiang-shi, the edge of the scythe dragged straight through the jiang-shi’s chest. It passes through without effort, but leaves behind no physical damage.

Yet, you watch as the jiang-shi falls to the ground, body completely powerless. With your mage sight, you see the slight curl of magic rise from the useless corpse, which the reaper promptly grabs and stuffs into its dress pocket.

One clean swipe severed the jiang-shi’s soul from its body.

Mr. Necromancer, hey!

Three jiang-shi fall to the first strikes, but the others seem to quickly wizen up. Yet, any retaliation is useless – the one jiang-shi that grabs the read-haired reaper dressed in a billowing black cloak is rewarded with a punch to the face and a ravaging scythe swing. They dodge as best as they are able, leaning away from the strikes of the reapers and staying on the move.

Wake up you idiot!

You see Dio and Yoshika fly off immediately. They gang up on the pink-haired one, harassing it as it tries to reap their fellows. You hear the reaper screech. “You annoying- Ow, that hurt!”

Yoshika attacks furiously. With the maneuverability you granted her, she is more than capable of tangling with the reaper. She bends and twists out of the path of the scythe, clawing at the reaper whenever possible. She goes for a few bites, but sticking her neck out is a dangerous gamble that doesn’t help. This ridiculous turn of events is-



Do something!


[ ] Down and dirty
-[ ] White and little
-[ ] Red and black
-[ ] Pink and loud
-[ ] Red and not actually doing anything
[ ] Down and out
-[ ] Yellow brick road
-[ ] Little house on the cemetery
-[ ] Enchanted forest
[ ] <Write-in>


So begins the next thread!

If you wanted to try a plan like, say, crashing through the wall of Nazrin’s home to steal her cheese and use it as a bribe, that’s what write-in’s are for! Specific plans or general plans are both fine – I’ll clear up any misunderstandings about what is possible or not if they arise.
Ummm, well, I'd vote, but I haven't the faintest fuckin' idea of what do any of those votes mean, so I'll wait until someone clears it up for me.
>Whatever is going on with her, letting it sit for too long is not going to end well.

Thank you ghost-sis for confirming what i suspected.

[x] Down and dirty
-[x] White and little

She strikes me as the most competent. Not sure how much good running away will do in this case and I suspect that Reimu has her hands tied due to the nature of things.

Honestly Komachi may be more of a threat but I doubt she'd do much unless provoked. That and she may be able to be reasoned with.

Perhaps in hindsight choosing this place as a spot for them may have been a mistake as it seems Higan can detect zombies.
Down and dirty refers to attacking one of the reapers

And Down and out seems to refer to retreat, and I think the locations are the road of reconsideration, Nazrin's house, or the forest of magic.
Fight and choose a target, run and choose a place. Write-in if you'd like to do something else/add some nuance to an action.

The votes aren't specific mainly because they're the obvious thoughts that occur at the moment the update ends. So, fight or flight.
[ ] Down and dirty
-[ ] White and little

Hit Komachi later, get the attackers now.
We have an army of zombies. Lets use em~
> I suspect that Reimu has her hands tied due to the nature of things.

She might not;

>“Hah, not nearly enough for when Eiki slams me for skipping out on my work. This is a huge favor, you hear?”

>“Fine, fine, whatever. Let’s finish this up quickly. I’m tired of this cursed case we shouldn’t even be working.”

This whole business doesn't seem like its on the up-and-up.
>Bringing the ghost with you
You could release the spirit and try to find it later, bind the spirit to an object, compel the spirit to follow you, and some other things. Those would all only take a minute or less with the ritual work already on the ground.
[x] Reimu. Renegade shinigamis destroying friends. Help if you can
[x] Down and dirty
-[x] The one who yelled 'we're paying you!' (Pink and loud?)

I just love how this Reimu speaks. ANyway, we should really take down the employer first.
[X] Down and out
-[X] Enchanted forest
--[X]Order the jiang-shi to withdraw with you and fire danmaku en mass at the closest reaper. Have Yoshika serve as support with her own spellcards.
---[X]Join in with your own spell cards, and request Reimu to protect the jiang-shi. If she refuses, insist on grounds that they are your companions, and threaten to withdraw your assistance in the case if she doesn't help save them.
----[X]Yell at the mice to get reinforcements.

The reapers may be able to insta-kill our jiang-shi, but only if they can come close enough. Since our jiang-shi should be able to utilize danmaku from all of their years with Seiga, they'll provide a wall of pain that'll make it difficult for the reapers to get in close. With the combined firepower of two or even three spellcards going off simultaneously (MC, Yoshika, and hopefully Reimu) along with the screen the jiang-shi should make, the reapers should hopefully be unable to pick off the whole bunch of them until they get to the forest of magic, where the foilage will make it next to impossible for the reapers to swoop down and pick off any more jiang-shi.

There are at least 2 variables here:
Is Reimu willing to help?
Are the mice capable of summoning reinforcements?
Are the reapers determined enough to continue the 'massacre' if they are being bombarded by danmaku?

According to my understanding of Reimu's role in Gensokyo, she's supposed to keep the peace between humans and Youkai at all costs. According to my knowledge, these reapers also fall under the classification of Youkai. Based on the very precepts of the Spell Card Rules, Youkai invariably cause incidents. This brings us to this question- what if the reapers from Higan are responsible for an incident? Is she supposed to merely stand by and watch as Gensokyo goes to hell due to some technicality preventing her from intervening? If the events of Subterranean Animism and Phantasmagoria of Flower View are allowed to be taken as precedent, Reimu is allowed to engage them during an incident under the Spell Card Rules, which is precisely how she's supposed to help drive off the reapers. She may not be allowed to engage in lethal combat, but she can interdict with her Spell Cards. If she's reluctant to engage the reapers, then we can simply remind her that the reapers are interrupting an investigation of the original incident, and therefore she should have every right to attack them with Spell Cards due to her jurisdiction as Gensokyo's Shrine Maiden.

The mice are a different story; it's questionable if they'll get reinforcements, and if they do, if said reinforcements will arrive in time.

Ideally, we won't lose any more jiang-shi, but with the measures that we're taking, we'll hopefully get away with minimal casualties. Remember, we want to lose as few jiang-shi as possible, not try to beat down the reapers and end up losing all of the jiang-shi.
She might be the leader but she doesn't seem as able as her assistants.

Yeah this reeks of Seiga being involved (not directly though I doubt she'd want to deal with them any more than we do)
[x] Declare a spell card duel
-[x] "You're delaying a current investigation of a high profile murder case, abiding by the laws of the land cease this senseless loss of life at once."
--[x] "Reapers, explain your presence"
--[x] "Why was that soul so highly bound? What are you trying to hide?"
-[x]"Of course you'll get the mans soul once he's been interrogated not before and this is over"
-[x]"Reimu, some help in here would be nice, they're in the way of solving the incident"

We're in gensokyo, even if in one of the borders of the land, let's abuse the non-lethal system. Meanwhile the weaker zombies should run away or something they're being slaughtered.

Deleted and changed my vote
Hurf durf, why didn't I think of that. I'm going to delete and change my vote, too. ( I was >>167269)

[x] Declare a spell card duel
-[x] "You're delaying a current investigation of a high profile murder case, abiding by the laws of the land cease this senseless loss of life at once."
--[x] "Reapers, explain your presence"
--[x] "Why was that soul so highly bound? What are you trying to hide?"
-[x]"Of course you'll get the mans soul once he's been interrogated not before and this is over"
-[x]"Reimu, some help in here would be nice, they're in the way of solving the incident"
Ah, good, someone came up with a workable plan.

[x] Declare a spell card duel
-[x] "You're delaying a current investigation of a high profile murder case, abiding by the laws of the land cease this senseless loss of life at once."
--[x] "Reapers, explain your presence"
--[x] "Why was that soul so highly bound? What are you trying to hide?"
-[x]"Of course you'll get the mans soul once he's been interrogated not before and this is over"
-[x]"Reimu, some help in here would be nice, they're in the way of solving the incident"
Ahaha. Abiding by the laws of the land.
I doubt you can take what, four reapers? in a duel. Im sure your rotting jiang shi will be very helpful in this regard.
Plus im not so sure they'd be receptive to questions from the owner of the particular blights on life they've been sent to send off.
Yeah it's a case of a overly "clever" vote being formed and people mindlessly bandwagoning it. And we're all going to pay for it.
[X] Bind the man's soul to the shovel.
[X] Down and out
-[X] Little house on the cemetery

We came here to get answers from the only person who would have them, not to pick a fight we can't win. The soul was bound because it was being judged already, and we interrupted that.
We came here to interrogate the man's soul, not fight back against four of Higan's reapers. What most of the people bandwagoning on the 'declare a spell card duel' have not considered is why would the reapers agree to a Spell Card Duel, and even if they do, what will they get if we lose.

Spell Card duels are intended to minimize collateral damage in a dispute, but there's no universal law demanding that one must agree to partake in a Spell Card duel. Yes, we may have Reimu on our side, but we're basically going in blind against four reapers of unknown strength, and the most likely scenario if we push for a Spell Card Duel is that they'll demand our jiang-shi as collateral if we lose, which is an unacceptable outcome for all of us.

tl;dr conclusion: Yes, challenging the reapers to a Spell Card duel may be a non-lethal way to resolve the conflict, but there's too much at stake since the reapers have no reason to engage in a Spell Card duel when all they need to do is pick off our jiang-shi, the man's soul, and flee.
Post 167268 in the process of deletion and changing my vote to

[X] Bind the man's soul to the shovel.
[X] Down and out
-[X] Enchanted forest
--[X]Order the jiang-shi to withdraw with you and fire danmaku en mass at the closest reaper. Have Yoshika serve as support with her own spellcards.
---[X]Join in with your own spell cards, and request Reimu to protect the jiang-shi. If she refuses, insist on grounds that they are your companions, and threaten to withdraw your assistance in the case if she doesn't help save them.
----[X]Yell at the mice to get reinforcements.

The Reapers aren't here on the up and up, so they will just use the lull to kill all of our Jiang-shi and then take the soul back. Also IF WE GET HIT WE LOSE OUR SISTER so figthing is right out. We need to go to ground ASAP and generally GTFO
I'm impressed and somewhat glad that you caught that. Since our sister has technically been in our body this whole time, a single swipe from a reaper's scythe would probably mean bye-bye to our prospects of being able to help her whatsoever.
[X] Bind the man's soul to the shovel.
[X] Down and out
-[X] Enchanted forest
--[X]Order the jiang-shi to withdraw with you and fire danmaku en mass at the closest reaper. Have Yoshika serve as support with her own spellcards.
---[X]Join in with your own spell cards, and request Reimu to protect the jiang-shi. If she refuses, insist on grounds that they are your companions, and threaten to withdraw your assistance in the case if she doesn't help save them.
----[X]Yell at the mice to get reinforcements.

Retreat sounds like the better option.
>>167267 here

Oh shit. I did not notice that.

[ ] Down and out
-[ ]Bind the man's soul to a bone or something, and then hightail it out.
--[ ]Zombies cover us as we get out
---[X]Yell at Riemu to help
----[X]Yell at the mice to get reinforcements.
[X] Bind the man's soul to the shovel.
[X] Down and out
-[X] Enchanted forest
--[X]Order the jiang-shi to withdraw with you and fire danmaku en mass at the closest reaper. Have Yoshika serve as support with her own spellcards.
---[X]Join in with your own spell cards, and request Reimu to protect the jiang-shi. If she refuses, insist on grounds that they are your companions, and threaten to withdraw your assistance in the case if she doesn't help save them.
----[X]Yell at the mice to get reinforcements.

I'm sure we'll be seeing them later.


Deleted old vote.

[X] Bind the man's soul to the shovel.
[X] Down and out
-[X] Enchanted forest
--[X]Order the jiang-shi to withdraw with you and fire danmaku en mass at the closest reaper. Have Yoshika serve as support with her own spellcards.
---[X]Join in with your own spell cards, and request Reimu to protect the jiang-shi. If she refuses, insist on grounds that they are your companions, and threaten to withdraw your assistance in the case if she doesn't help save them.
----[X]Yell at the mice to get reinforcements.
Argh. I hate to retreat outright; it means conceding the souls of the four jiang-shi already murdered to the reapers. Still, we can't afford to risk losing any more of them and we definitely can't afford to risk losing our sister. Depending upon how strong Reimu is compared to the reapers and how willing she is to fight, maybe she'd be able to take out a reaper and then we could use that one as a bargaining chip to get the souls back and have the others shove off?

I would feel terrible about letting the jiang-shi who trusted in us have their souls taken like this. We were going to do right by them. They were supposed to die only when they wished to. If we can get their souls back we can restore them to the bodies, right?

Somewhat less of a concern but also potentially important, Seiga Kaku might be pissed if we get a bunch of her jiang-shi reaped for good within days of being given control of them.
I'd like to point out one thing that the bug-out vote seems to be missing. Within a spell-card duel, all combat is to be non-lethal. By declaring such a duel, right in front of the person primarily responsible for enforcing said system, we would effectively cut off the ongoing soul reaping.

Just something to think about.
that would assume they'd listen to the rules or be daunted by Reimu, though it might convince Komachi to take action against them.
They might declare that their job overrides the Spell Card rules, and try to avoid us while continuing to harvest the jiang-shi.

Additionally, said person in charge of enforcing the Spell Card rules is essentially in no state to be taking on multiple reapers who could be individually as powerful as Komachi. We're going against stacked odds, since our 'ace in the hole' is weak from overwork and exhaustion, which means that it's even more important to turtle up and try to survive the onslaught.
File 136778886962.jpg - (76.14KB, 800x754 , not-dead-yet-eh.jpg) [iqdb]
The spirit wails as the tornado of dark green magic swirls around it. The flurry of magic disappears into your shovel, the dead man’s spirit sucked along with it. He’ll be fine – besides, it’s not like you’ll leave him there forever.

You rush forward and scoop up your shovel, folding it up and stowing away in short order. Then you turn back to the mess at hand.

“Jiang-shi, get over here!” You scream at the undead. The jiang-shi react quickly, all those left fleeing towards where you stand as they evade the reapers’ blows.

You count them as they approach. Seven of the thirteen are with you, although only Yoshika seems to be capable of tangling with a reaper directly on her own. She sticks to the pink-haired reaper, delaying her while the others rush towards you. Unfortunately, that leaves the two other reapers free to pursue.

“Yoshika!” The zombie girl delivers a fast knee to the pink-haired reaper’s stomach, pushing her back far enough to disengage. As quick as the wind, Yoshika makes a beeline for you.

No good. The first of the jiang-shi are reaching you, but the last few have the other two reapers hot on their heels.

Getting into hand-to-hand isn’t likely to keep the jiang-shi safe. Yeah, you know.

“Hope sign, day of wrath!” The spell card, even outside of a formal duel, blazes to life in your hand. It’s a mess of a spell card, a chaotic, near random spray of red and black bullets that saturate the air. White bullets fire from the edges of the effective area, forming a crisscrossing wall of magic in front of you. White turns to blue and sprays outward alongside the red, the holy protection turned to quelling the flame and ash that would destroy the world.

You watch as the black-robed and white-haired reapers stall at the sudden barrage, stopping their pursuit.

Your jiang-shi don’t and suffer the consequences.

The last two muddle their way through your spell card, bullet after bullet striking them, their efforts at weaving through the barrage failing. They slow and slow, until you’re afraid they might not be able to-

Yoshika dives straight past the two floating reapers, into your spell card. The now-lithe jiang-shi darts her way through the barrage and grabs her companions’ arms, pulling them along until they break through to where you are.

With all your remaining jiang-shi with you, it’s time to fall back. You see the three reapers outside your spell card’s effective range and can hear them speaking.

“But, look at him. He’s still alive.”

“Look again. His life is forfeit.”

“But it isn’t! Sure, it’s hazy, but-”

“Mare, Rags, save it. We’ll pick him up with the rest and figure it out later. Let’s go!” At the pink hair’s declaration, the three reapers dive into your spell card.

Damn. The reapers weave through your spell card without much difficulty. You can’t do enough to stop them, and your concentration is already faltering. You need the jiang-shi to pick up for you. Got it.

“Huh? Fire? Okay~!” Bouncing over to where you stand, Yoshika launches into the air. She floats above you and reaches into her shirt, pulling out a spell card. “Poison nail, undead murderer!”

Yoshika claws the air, every swipe of her hands followed by hundreds of knife-like bullets.

The other jiang-shit quickly follow their fellow’s lead. Dio, the two that floundered in your spell card, and the other three all take out spell cards. You notice that that they pull them out of their bodies, from whatever holes in their skin they can reach with their arms.

The air is filled with thousands of magical bullets within a second, an impenetrable screen of fire.

“Yeouch!” You hear the reapers scream, but can’t even see them with all the colorful bullets blocking your view.

Sighing, you let go of your own spell card and put it away.

This won’t last forever. Yeah, you know that, too. Maintaining spell cards is an exhausting affair, whether in an actual duel or not. You can’t expect more than a couple of minutes reprieve.

“Reimu.” At the sound of her name, the shrine maiden gazes up from the ground and looks at you. The brunette hasn’t done anything since the reaper arrived. She has been standing still, staring at the ground, without as much as a glance upwards. “I need your help to get everybody out of this alive.” Everybody that hasn’t been snatched already, anyway.

“Can’t.” She tries to keep a stern face on, but the slight downward cast of her mouth and eyes ends up leaving her looking conflicted.

“Why not?” You need her help. Without her, you’re positive you’ll lose somebody in a fighting retreat.

“Shinigami’s duties. Can’t interfere.”

Screw the reapers and whatever they’re supposed to be doing. “But they don’t want to go! They’re my companions, and I’m not about to let them lose their lives a second time.”

“Jiang-shi…bothersome. Wandering, eating. Everybody cautious.”

You don’t particularly care about the Gensokyo natives’ opinions on the voracious jiang-shi wandering around from before. “Damn it Reimu, they’re with me now! They aren’t bothering anybody anymore!”

“Afterlife affairs. Done too much.” Reimu looks apologetic, but that doesn’t make you feel any better.

“Reimu, I really want to help you with your work,” you begin, the anger in your voice kept icy chill. “But if don’t aid me here, I won’t continue with the investigation. You’ll be on your own.”

“A threat?” Reimu’s eyes open wide with surprise, as if you just slapped her.

Then they narrow into a mask of fury.

Shit. That was the wrong way of going about this. Probably. About what I would expect from you.

This is not the time for criticism, please. “Look, Reimu, I-”

Suddenly, you notice Reimu’s eyes twitch. Her arms whip around, tossing a handful of needles at you, almost as fast as when she isn’t exhausted. You raise your arms to block her attack-

When you notice something sticking out of your chest. It’s a-aaaaaaAAYEAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!


“There’s nowhere else to run.”

You pant and lean against stone wall at the end of the hallway. There’s a window above you, but its sealed shut by a holy barrier.

“No…I can still…keep going…” You scrabble at your escape route, smashing a few pieces of chalk into it.

Useless, completely useless. Your pathetic attempt at magic isn’t any better than usual. You could cut through the basic ward with a ritual, but you have neither the resources nor the time.

Your pursuer clanks down the hall, her walk familiar yet not at all comforting as it should be. “You never took to the training regime like I told you to. Now, hand over those cursed artifacts and come with me.”

“No! I won’t stop here!” You put your back to the wall and glare at the knight. Your side is still throbbing from where she kicked you in her surprise attack. “Agh. Damn it…”

“I had the highest hopes for you. I truly thought that under His light you could live a just and proper life. I’m disappointed.” She doesn’t remove her shield from her back, but she wouldn’t need it anyway. She outclasses you in every aspect, from strength to intelligence. You have no idea how she managed to guess your escape route, or even how she knew you would break into the vault this night.

“I thought you cared about me!”

“I do, and that is why I am apprehending you. You betrayed all the trust I had for you by continuing with this dark magic. For the crime consuming the souls of others, I’m stopping you from further evil.”

“No! NO! It was just one damn soul! Just one…”

“A sin is-”

“Enough with the damn sermons! It’s my sister!” You screech. “She was bleeding and dying and I just wanted to save her!”


“Just one woman that deserved more than a random death in some run-down apartment. She’s all I wanted to save, and I only had one hope. It was a longshot anyway, so I tried it.” You clench your fist and ignore the whispers in your head, the words of comfort that have kept you moving towards the future.

“You never repented.” The grey-haired knight kneels down in front of you and grabs the front of your vestment. “You lied to me about giving up that twisted necromancy!”

“Of course I did! You preachy, righteous crusaders would never help me! What would you say if I told you that my sister was still alive inside me?”

“I would call you mad. Insane, delusional. By destroying the very essence of her being, you consigned her to-”

“She’s with me, right now! She’s still there, somewhere, in me! I don’t give a damn about your beliefs because she’s still right there! I have to find a way to give her back her own life!”

“If you held such conviction than you should have told me! You could have asked for help.”

“I could never ask any of you for help with that! Your answer proves it.”

“You could have! You know I would have-”

“Burned me at the stake? In case you don’t remember, I’ve gone on dozens of your damned hunts already! There is no grey zone for me to live in – admitting to anything would get me killed!”

“So, you’ve continued to practice these dark arts behind our backs?”

“Yeah, I have.” You stare your mentor and guardian in the eyes, undaunted. “I’ll separate our souls and give her the life she deserves.”

The holy knight rips the sack of stolen items from your hand. “These artifacts, these gemstones. What do you need them for?”

“Like you need to know, you- hngh.” She grabs your wrist and squeezes, more than capable of snapping your bones between her metal-clad hands. You don’t have the power within you to resist her.

“Tell me.” Her eyes demand the truth.

“Protection to keep my soul, and hers, unharmed. I would never need to worry about losing her until I found a way to separate us.” You spit onto the ground and sigh in relief when she lets go of your wrist.

“These are your plans, then?” The grey-haired knight grabs the wrinkled paper sticking out of your jacket pocket. Upon it, you outlined every aspect of the ritual you painstakingly planned out. It took you years of work to create, years of furtively studying forbidden books from the library and notes you could swipe while raiding the lairs of other magicians.

“Very well.” Rising to her feet, the knight unhooks her shield from her back and swings it in a savage blow.

You wince when the grated window, and the stonework around it, explodes outwards.

“What are you-”

“Hurry up.” She jumps over you and through the hole she made. She leans back through and stretches a hand out to you. “The noose will close if you don’t move faster. There wasn’t a team close enough to secure the north side of the building before I moved in. We should have a few minutes.”

“What?” You stare at her, confused.

“You were going to try this at the Bloodstone, right? That’s several hours’ worth of hiking.”

“You’re…going to help me?”

“Yeah. Ever since I took you in, it’s been one mess after another.” The knight chuckles and reaches further, grabbing you by the shoulders and hauling you through the hole in the wall.

“You can’t help me!”

“Why not? This is a complicated procedure you have outlined. You’re likely to kill yourself if you try self-surgery. I don’t know how you planned to accomplish it on your own.”

“If you help me, then they’ll hunt you down, too.”

“Probably. I’m breaking all my vows by doing this.”

You follow after your grey-haired mentor in a daze. “…Why?”

“Why not? You’re a good kid with good intentions, just like I thought. After all my years in His service, I think some free agent work might be a nice change of pace.”

“…” The voice in your head encourages you to say thanks, but you can’t. This holy woman, leading you through the dark night defies your expectations.

A friend. Someone you might even call family. Your sister reassured you about your mentor’s trustworthiness, but you never told her. You kept your secrets from her.

You think, perhaps, it’s because you trusted her, respected her, immensely. You didn’t want to drag her down with your actions, yet it happened anyway.

And you’re grateful. So grateful you could cry, despite your sister’s mocking.

“Now, tell me about this. Is it really necessary to use so many of these gems?”

“Y-Yeah. Each one reinforces the enchantment, but can also maintain it should the others fail. Even if Satan himself grabbed my soul, I should be able to hold on to it for at least a few…”


“Keep her away from our Master!”



“Master doesn’t want you hurt either!”


D-Damn, your head is p-pounding…

And you’re moving. Rather, you’re being carried. Cold, dead arms hold you aloft as they fly through the air.

Three jiang-shi are carrying you away from Muenzuka, towards the cover of trees.

You see some of the others unmoving on the ground. You couldn’t have been out long, but to already have lost more of them?

Yoshika and Dio are still active, the pair of them tangling with the red-haired, black-robed reaper. What happened?

You sit up and extract yourself from the jiang-shi’s arms and fly on your own. They stop and gather around where you float, looking at you expectantly.

Everything seems fine after a quick check. Physically, at least, you feel in control of your body. You should be fine to-

A blur of purple flares in front of you.

You push the closest jiang-shi out of the way and mutter a spell. Dark green magic floods your arm as you raise it to block the over-head swing of the reaper’s scythe. You stare at the tip of the weapon and remember it protruding from your chest.

This bitch. She tried to rip out your soul! If anything happened to your sister-

You snarl and retaliate, flooding your other arm with magic. Your finger bones strengthen and grow, cutting through your skin as they reform into sharp claws that you use to stab forward.

The red-haired reaper glares at you and draws back, readying for another strike. Then she disappears in a plume of purple magic.

The reaper reappears to your side, but Yoshika barrels into her at high speed. She disappears in a haze of purple just as Yoshika’s jaws clamp shut, her teeth grinding into each other.

Teleportation. That explains how she snuck up on you.

You’re awake? It’s about time.

Sis? Is everything okay? Nothing changed? Still in one piece?

Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. You took the shock of the attack a lot harder. Be happy – it looks like your beloved black onyx system can withstand a reaper. Please don’t test it against anything stronger.

That’s…great news. But you honestly weren’t sure it would work out that well.

Well, it may not have. I think something broke, but I didn’t have time to diagnose it. I had orders to give out. Speaking of which, here she comes.

You grab a handful of finger bones with your nonweaponized hand and cautiously watch the reaper. Billowing black robes disappear and reappear for scant seconds.

You spin and parry the scythe as it sweeps down from the air above you before disappearing again. Yoshika cries out as she pounces at the reappearing reaper and growls when her quarry disappears once more.

The reaper appears long enough for a single strike before switching targets, harrying every member of your group. It seems that any of the jiang-shi left have adapted to their opponents combat style, but you imagine it’s only a matter of time before someone slips up.

If she wants to teleport around, then you have the perfect spell to-

Someone screams in pain.

You whip around to face the source of the noise and find Reimu faltering in the sky.

The shrine maiden spins in place, trying to deflect her attackers’ blows, but it isn’t enough. Reimu’s hand passes straight through the white-haired reaper’s, but the agent of the dead has no such problems as she elbows Reimu in the face.

Then her partner is on the attack, but the pink-haired reaper doesn’t look the same. She’s more menacing, feline-like, with dark black tattoos spread across her body. Her teal sweater is ripped and her pink hair has grown much longer. The reaper slams into Reimu, throwing the brunette through the air.

They aren’t using their scythes, you notice, but that doesn’t mean much. Reimu is getting tossed around by the pair, bruised and battered. She should do better. She would, you suspect, if she were in top condition.

Damn it, you’ll- Look out!

You duck low to avoid the scythe and throw the handful of bones at the teleporting reaper. They explode in a cloud of enchanted dust, coating the reaper in white.

You want to laugh at the look of confusion on her face when she doesn’t teleport away. You settle for Yoshika pouncing on her, eager for a bite.

Stopping a teleportation is a lot like preventing a spirit from disappearing on you. An enchantment to ground her in the world of the living is enough to muck up her near-instantaneous teleportation.

You have no doubt that if she put more power into her teleportation she could break through your flimsy leash, but hopefully she won’t have the time to try it.

She’s still a lethal threat, even without her teleportation, but hopefully she’s more manageable.

Now then.

[ ] White knighting
-[ ] With a side of zombie
[ ] Tackle death
-[ ] Ship her back home
-[ ] Bottle her up
[ ] Escape is the priority
[ ] <Write-in>


Good points all around. I think there’s a very good picture of Reimu’s role and the role of spell cards in Gensokyo’s balance amongst all the discussion.

You’re no fuuuuuuun.

But good catch, I applaud you. OHKO is a worse than reality, but not by much.

>If we can get their souls back we can restore them to the bodies, right?
Yeah. Plopping their souls back into their bodies is simple enough. Will there be lasting effects due to any accidental damage? Possibly, or possibly not.

How gentle do you think a soul reaping is?
[x] White knighting
-[x] With a side of zombie

It's our fault for dragging Reimu into this. We should take responsibility.
>How gentle do you think a soul reaping is?
...not terribly. At the same time, though, souls are taken for judgement after reaping, are they not? There's not much point in judging a soul that's too damaged, since if the soul isn't fully capable of appreciating its fate and the reasons for it then there's little effective difference between its various ends.

Unfortunately, the gap between "undamaged" and "too damaged for its judgement to mean much" is substantial. There's a lot of room for getting screwed up in there. Still, we're a very capable necromancer... maybe we can play soul-medic if they're significantly hurt. Better to try, at least.

>-[ ] Ship her back home
>-[ ] Bottle her up
These options imply that we think we could realistically either banish the red-haired reaper from this realm or magically bind/imprison her somehow, correct? Presumably with either option being dependent upon the jiang-shi pinning her first so that we have a chance to work.

If we could actually bind one of them, in a way that the other two couldn't instantly undo... it would definitely make them all hate our guts, but it would also give us at least some leverage for negotiation that we would otherwise utterly lack. Possibly worthwhile, since I think it's currently us+Yoshika+four jiang-shi against the red-haired reaper alone.

If we can banish her in a way that would leave behind any souls she's snatched thus far, though, that would probably be better. It wouldn't piss off the other two reapers anywhere near as much while still achieving at least some of our objectives, and then we can mob the other two and hopefully pull off the same thing twice more.
[X] Tackle death
-[X] Bottle her up
[x] White knighting
-[x] With a side of zombie

Damn, didn't expect they'd go all out on Reimu. Something definitely ain't right.
[X] Tackle death -[X] Bottle her up
[X] White knighting
-[x] With a side of zombie
[x] White knighting
-[x] With a side of zombie

No. Our miko.
[X] White knighting
-[X] With a side of zombie

Save Assist the miko and run for it.
[X] White knighting

Reimu saving gaems.
[X] Tackle death
-[X] Bottle her up

Why are we voting to go fight the reapers that will kill us? One threat at a time.
[X] Tackle death
-[X] Bottle her up

Send Yoshika to back Reimu up. Right now we need to take advantage of her state and make her unable to fight.
[X] Bottle death
[X] Hostage negotiation
the choice you choose is no different.

Though to be honest it looks like a rather hopeless situation either way.
[x] White knighting
-[x] With a side of zombie

Protect the miko. Her health is a key to keeping the land stable. Not just the barrier, but also relations between parties.
>coating the reaper in white.

The "white knighting" option isn't a reference to this, right? I'm assuming she's the one to be tackled.

[X] Tackle death
-[X] Bottle her up

We have one enemy vulnerable and the others are distracted. The next move is clear. We're losing the war of attrition here, we need to take one of them out of the fight or they'll all just gang up on us again.
[X] Tackle death
-[X] Bottle her up

Correct. I'm bad at remembering what I wrote two minutes before.
[X] Tackle death
-[X] Bottle her up

As most of the rest of the readers here have already realized, we need to take drastic measures in order to salvage the situation. The reapers have already shown that they apparently intend to reap our souls, which means that they'll intentionally attempt to take us out no matter where we go.
On a side note, if/when we get out of this, I really, really pity whoever's behind this once Reimu gets a good night's (and day's) sleep.

Oh, wait, he's killed... *counts* five people, attempting to kill six more, and if Reimu got caught in the crossfire, the entirety of Gensoukyou. So nevermind, I don't.
I fear we're going to need some Deus Ex Machina here to remotely revail. I mean if it's hard to fight one of these reapers, then how can we expect to banish or seal one up?
>>167678 here,
Other reader's points have convinced me, so changing my vote to
[X] Tackle death
-[X] Bottle her up
[X] Tackle death
-[X] Bottle her up
File 13689887454.jpg - (130.94KB, 1024x576 , still-waiting-on-that-death.jpg) [iqdb]
Casting a binding spell isn’t difficult. A magic circle in the dirt can contain and a rock can be used as an anchor if you had to – that’s more than enough for catching spirits. Stronger spells can completely restrict movement or paralyze a target. Reapers are no exception. Whether they are considered alive or dead, the aspect of death in them only makes your specialization more effective.

Getting the target to stay still is another matter entirely.

You charge the extended necklace chain in your hand with magic and toss it at the ground. It coils around with a life of its own, quickly forming a circle and snapping shut.

But it’s too slow. The black-cloaked reaper notices the item as soon as you throw it and darts away. Yoshika follows her relentlessly, the zombie doing her best to keep the reaper still, but it’s no good. Even without the reaper teleporting everywhere you can’t trap her.

The weakness ultimately lies with you. It’s times like this you wish you had the raw power to work without foci. By standing to the side trying to work your binding spells, you aren’t enough of a threat to box the reaper in.

Theoretically, the other jiang-shi could pick up the slack, but you don’t order them forward. Given the state of their bodies, they would not be able to occupy the reaper without serious harm to their bodies – they would likely be more of a hindrance as Yoshika would try to keep them safe.

“Master, look out!” Dio shouts from the side.

You curse and dodge, the reaper’s scythe gracefully arcing where you once stood.

The reaper stays on the move, whipping around to knock Yoshika away. Her long red hair twirls around as she moves, flowing with her long purple headdress. The lower half of her black dress also billows as she moves, obscuring the position of her legs.

Who the hell dressed this woman? You didn’t realize it before, but she isn’t actually wearing your stereotypical reaper outfit. Starting at her waist, the cloak has been shorn off. In its place, she has a purple tabard that covers her chest, held together with a few strings that stretch around her back. She has porcelain skin, hauntingly alluring in how it- Pay attention!

Her scythe drops down – andyoufeelsomethinginyourchestbuckASITATTEMPTSTOREAP –

The semi-corporeal scythe passes through your arm, the pull on your soul noticeable only by the counter-force applied by the magic artifacts implanted throughout your body. It’s like the kick of a seatbelt keeping you held in place during a sudden stop.

You fall to one knee and roll to the side, taking time to recuperate while Yoshika moves in to distract the reaper.

That scythe is a problem. It isn’t a weapon that the living uses. It’s half real, half not.

The shaft of the scythe is very real, made of some ominous purple metal and wickedly pointed at the end. The reaper has used it to block and check Yoshika’s aggression.

The blade of the scythe is not so real. Large, curved, and gleaming, it looks like a physical blade. The blinking red eye and twisted look of it is meant to instill shock, you imagine.

However, it isn’t physical in the slightest. It passes clean through whatever physical object it is swung at, be it your body or the dirt in the ground. It doesn’t cut anything but souls, from what you’ve seen.

It’s a strange hybrid of a weapon that has nearly caught you unaware. Luckily, the blade seems to interact with magic. You’ve blocked it once, completely by accident, after all.

After another couple of failures to land any effective spell, you grab a handful of bone dust to enchant. You try to put your best paralysis spell into it – a modified version of what would normally take a larger ritual. You also pull a radial bone out of your jacket. A burst of magic shapes the bone into a sharp blade, thin like a rapier but as strong as any steel-forged weapon.

It’s useless against the reaper until you flood it with magic. A dark green shimmer surrounds your weapon, a sheathe composed of concentrated magical energy. You can’t be serious about this.

You are. You can’t rely only on Yoshika to shepherd the reaper around. But you don’t even have the reserves for this! You’ve already wasted so much of your magic, a pure application of your energy like this can’t last.

It doesn’t need to be long. You just need the reaper to take you seriously for a few seconds. You’re going to get yourself terribly hurt.

Yoshika grunts as the reaper drives her foot into the zombie’s stomach, sending her stumbling back but also out of the range of a scythe swing.

Then the reaper pivots and charges you. With sword in hand, you feel prepared and stare into the reaper’s eyes-

They look dead. There’s no emotion in the eyes, no fear or enjoyment. Fatally serious, it’s a look that inspires dread and horror in the living, rooting the living in place with the terror of- Start moving hotshot!

You step to the side and raise your blade in parry, deflecting the-

Your arm is wrenched downward by the force of the blow. You nearly lose your grip on your weapon, but manage to fumble it in your hands and rise to face the reaper again.

Why is she so strong? She’s been ramping her attacks up ever since you stopped her teleporting. She has monstrous strength. If that scythe could physically cut you, you’re sure she could cleave straight through your skull and down through your groin in one easy strike.

The reaper draws her scythe back around and swings. You step back out of the way and lunge in riposte, your blade poking another hole through her clothes.

Again and again, you and the reaper exchange blows. She might have inhuman strength, but not inhuman agility. She’s no faster than you are which gives you the chances you need to avoid and respond. Quick steps leave the scythe passing centimeters away from you, leaving you the opportunities to leave light injures all along her arms and legs.

The reappear ignores the scratches you’re leaving on her. She avoids and blocks any of your more important strikes and seems unaffected by any sort of attrition.

With Yoshika on your side, you feel in control of the flow. The zombie remains on the offensive, aptly attacking to throw the reaper off guard and give you reprieve. With two opponents to fight, the reaper can’t devote herself to crushing either of you.

Unfortunately, the threat of a soul reaping is too significant for you to press your advantage.

Tsk. You can’t be a coward about this. You need to make an opportunity! No you don’t! Just play it safe-

You lunge again, swiping your blade from underneath to try and catch the reaper’s hand. Your arm reverberates as the blade of your weapon collides with the shaft of hers. Grinning, you toss the bone dust with your other hand right in the reaper’s face.

Her body begins to slow as your spell- No it doesn’t.

You quickly draw back and whip your blade around to deflect the oncoming counter swing. The scythe arcs towards your chest and makes contact with your blade. There is no jarring impact as the scythe doesn’t slow for a sec–aaaaAAAaaaadamnthatHURTsmakeitSTOPmakeit–ond, passing straight through you and out.

You drop your bone sword and fall to your knees, the muscles in your body erupting in uncontrollable spasms. Shit, you’re already running dry of magic? Come on Bro, get moving!

That…should’ve worked. It should have kept her as still as stone…unless you messed up. You didn’t deconstruct the ritual properly or didn’t charge the components correctly or-

Above you, the reaper changes her grip on her scythe. She raises the weapon and readies the pointed end of it, prepared to thrust it down like a spear. Great, she’s given up on reaping you, so she’ll just stab you to death.

You see the other jiang-shi rushing towards you out of the corner of your eye, but they won’t make it. They couldn’t help much and had stayed clear of the fight.

The reaper focuses on you and hikes her scythe high. Then she screams in pain and drops it.

Her hand falls right in front of your face, the scythe still gripped tightly in it.

“Hahaha,” you can’t help but laugh at the sight of Yoshika crouched off to the side, happily chewing on the reaper’s wrist.

The red-haired reaper is screaming in pain, clutching the stump of her hand as purplish gasses bellow out of it.

It’s good to see she has emotions. In fact, she looks infuriated as she looks at you. Her eyes and face are twisted in anger, her hand growing larger and more menacing-

Crap. You try to move but end up flopping onto the ground, still too weak after the last attack on your soul.

You will the sparse amount of magic you have left into your neck, necrotizing some of your flesh and reinforcing it before she-

You cough and splutter as the reaper closes her grip and lifts you in the air. This is a, problem. You think- hear- feel- cracking? That isn’t…good…

Yoshika- tries. Charges, but is knocked away. By you. Reaper used…human weapon.

Shaking- crushing- Do you have anything left in you Bro? You’ve got to have something.

Dropped sword. Magic, in use. Maybe…a little...extra…

Just…Just hold on, okay? Creak. Squish. Rrrgh.

Ah. Pain hurts. Yoshika- again. I don’t think she can help you Bro, not the way the reaper is moving and swinging you around. She can grab your limbs, but I think a contest of strength will rip you in two before getting you out of this.

Ahahaha. Ack. Dying…sucks. There’s no way I’m letting that happen! You’re fine Bro, and you will be.

Can’t- anything. I’ll help! I will! Can’t use the other jiang-shi, Yoshika can’t help, what can I-


Yeah. Yeah, I can do that. Bro, I need a way in.


Get me to her mind and I’ll-

No. It’s- You stupid little kid, you’re dying here! Just do what I tell you, now!

Angry. So, angry. Inside, outside, angry. I’ll be even angrier if you don’t get a grip and do this, right now!


Just…gotta…lift a hand.

Hi reaper. Don’t look…happy. Waaaaving at you. Smiiiiile.

Not so happy. Opens mouth, snarls. In it goes. Ahaha.

Your arm…longer. Hah. This might-

…ow. Oooooooouch. Barely feel. Lost…them? Might be…

Oof. Dropped. Cruel life.

“Master! Master, Master, Master!”


“Master! Master Master!” Stoppit, Yoshika.

“Master! Master!” Stop. Please.

Just want some breath. “Master Master Maaaaaaaster!”

Aspirin, maybe? “Masteeeeeeer!”

On the plus side, your neck isn’t broken. “Master!”

“Master! Master!” You really hope nothing else fractured.

Now to move your- Ow ow owowowowow. You…really hope you didn’t lose... “Master Master!”

“Y-shika.” You slowly raise your good arm and tap the zombie on the shoulder. She’s been gently shaking your shoulders enough to make you sick. “Up, please.”

“Master!” The zombie girl lets go of your shoulders and slides her arms underneath your back to lift you up.

She’s surprisingly careful as she gingerly moves to cradle your neck, resting your head against her shoulder.

So much pain, it all blurs together. You assume your neck is okay. If it wasn’t, Yoshika moving you would hurt more, right?

Whatever. You can’t lie down and wait for an ambulance anyway.

“Master…” Yoshika looks terrified. You’d like to smile and tell her everything will be okay, but it isn’t that easy. For one, you can’t easily speak.

Two, she’s holding your arm up to where you both can see your off hand.

It’s the one you jammed into the reaper’s mouth when she was holding you so conveniently close to her face.

It turns out her jaw strength is also ridiculously strong. You’ve got about half of your palm left. It reminds you of…you don’t really have any comparisons. It’s a bleeding, half-eaten hand.

You focus on the injury, trying to staunch the flow of blood. The remnants of magic left in your body are enough for a quick patch. You hope there aren’t any other injuries that need immediate fixing, because you’re basically empty at this point.

Sore neck, battered limbs, missing hand…damn it your hand!

What the hell? She bit off all your fingers! That was your hand! How are you supposed to fix that?

Damn it…you guess that’s a good trade for your life. Given enough time and care, you might be able to get a functional hand back.

But, is this all you will lose?

“Yoshika, the reaper.” Your zombie nods and tilts you so that you can see.

The red-haired reaper is frozen in time, stock still. She’s floating just off the ground, bent slightly with her hand clutched to her chest.

That’s a good sign, you think. Maybe the reaper biting down was beneficial? You imagine your blood that landed in her mouth gave an even stronger bridge for your sister to traverse.

You really hope your sister is okay.

“Master, can you move?” Dio’s face appears in your view. The blonde-haired jiang-shi is followed by the other three – the last of the jiang-shi after the attacks.

So you lost eight of the thirteen, huh? That might be better than what could expect given a brush with death, but the sense of loss still stings.

“Uh-huh. It’s not a good idea, but I think I can,” you reply. Taking it slowly, you extricate yourself from Yoshika’s arms. You would love nothing more than to let Yoshika baby you, but that isn’t a luxury available at the moment. After all-

“Rags, what are you doing? Can’t you hurry it up?”

-there are two other reapers waiting in the wings.

Your jiang-shi all turn to face the other two reapers. The short reaper with long-white hair looks none worse for wear as she clutches her scythe, almost shyly, against her chest. The tattooed, pink-haired reaper is snarling as she pulls a few needles out of her skin.

“Hey, Rags?” The pink-haired one tries again before eyeing your group suspiciously. She sighs and unhooks her scythe from her side.

“Ngh,” the red-haired reaper behind you grunts.

Please, let that be a good sign.

“What’s wrong with you?”


“Ragsmuena, are you okay?” The little white-haired reaper asks, the concern evident in her features.

“Whatever, we’ll figure it out later,” the pink-haired declares. She raises her scythe and grins at you. “First, let’s finish-” Her sentence is interrupted when she yelps in surprise. The reaper arcs her back and reaches behind her. When she opens her hand, a pair of bright red needles drops to the ground. “You’re kidding me.”

The pair of reapers turns around. Behind them, you see Reimu lying on the ground. Beaten, bruised, and in no condition to be defiantly tossing needles at the backs of reapers.

“You just don’t know when to quit, do you?” The pink-haired reaper starts to stomp over to Reimu, but stops when the last of the reapers drops down next to the shrine maiden.

She was the one floating off to the side, not partaking in the attack. She is also redhead, but sporting a colorful blue and white dress. That reaper kneels down next to Reimu and lightly grasps the shrine maidens arms, keeping them restrained.

“Oh? Finally coming to help out, huh?” The pink-haired reaper scoffs.

The other redhead laughs heartily. “Trust me, this isn’t for your sake. I can’t think of any way to make my situation worse than being witness to the Hakurei shrine maiden killing herself.”

“Eh? You’re already involved. Move that lazy ass of yours so we can all go home sooner.”

“I’m fully prepared to throw you under my boat when Eiki comes for me. It should earn me some slack.”

The pink-haired reaper chuckles, “That’s rather mercenary of you, Onozuka.”

“Well you’re already paying me, Yashiro, so I better play the part.” Despite the commentary, the busty reaper kneeling next to Reimu sounds unconcerned with events as they are. She’s either friends with these other reapers or just far too easy-going.

She’s also rather loud. Even though she leans down to speak with the collapsed shrine maiden, you can easily hear her. “Stop that Reimu, you’ll make it worse. How are you even still conscious through all this? Don’t you remember Eiki’s lectures?”

“Whatever.” The pink-haired reaper runs a hand through her hair. With Reimu accounted for, the pair of reapers returns their attention to you. “Now then, let’s finish up.”

Well shit.

You glance back at the black-clothed reaper behind you and wonder how it’s going. She’s incapacitated, but you don’t know what else your sister is doing in there. You would send your own mind over through the blood-bridge you built, but that’d use up the miniscule amount of magic you have left.

If she isn’t sending word to you, that must mean she’s busy and cannot divert her attention. Maybe she’s taking control of the reaper’s body, perhaps she’s talking with the reaper, or possibly she’s trying something else. She might just be struggling to keep the reaper in check.

How are you going to get out of this mess?

[ ] Stall, stall, stall
-[ ] You’ve got a hostage!
-[ ] Negotiate. Everybody likes a good deal.
-[ ] Who needs pride? Beg like a dog.
-[ ] Intimidate them – look at all you’ve accomplished
[ ] First strike, Hail Mary, all or nothing
[ ] Run.
[ ] <Write-in>


I am king at getting sick during my free time.

The choices I put at the ends of the updates are, well, different. Whether it’s a big change or a nuanced detail, they do lead to different outcomes.

I’m not sure what numbers you’re drawing on here. In this story there have been thirteen jiang-shi, one necromancer, one murdered man, one shrine maiden, a ton of bunnies, a temple full of monks, two ghosts (assuming the murdered man is already accounted for) – I don’t see eleven possible deaths from those groups.
I think we can use Komachi. She doesn't know anything, she's only here for the ride and because the others probably needed a shinigami from Gensokyo. She's here because she's been paid, but she obviously doesn't trust anyone. And she fears the reaction of Eiki.

Basically, I think we can stall the situation by jumbling hastily some sort of lies or questioning toward Komachi. Make her wonder if what she does is the 'good' thing for her, her job, her relation with Eiki, or even Gensokyo as a whole. We can stall some time by making her question this whole affair.

I even think that we could have done that sooner - before all this fight. But what's done is done, no point in regret.

[X] Stall, stall, stall
-[X] Did your 'friends' tell you about anything, Komachi? Did you know that [bla bla bla]? There is a way for you to avoid the worse consequences of your action and it's to help us. We need your help, and we're willing to help you too if you need it. Because, beating the Reimu to a pulp? Really? And trying to stop an official investigation of an ongoing incident? Eiki won't appreciate that, you know.
Well, I just noticed after the post that that was a bunch of meta gaming. Not good at all. Disregard all the parts about specific informations our character shouldn't have, but still, the 'redhead Shinigami' is obviously not with the others. Make her question herself.
[x] Stall, stall, stall
-[x] Negotiate. Everybody likes a good deal.

Stalling, gathering information.
[x] Stall, stall, stall
-[x] Negotiate. Everybody likes a good deal.
[x] First strike, Hail Mary, all or nothing
The only way to avenge all of our friends I guess.
[X] Stall, stall, stall
-[X] Negotiate. Everybody likes a good deal.

We're hardly in a condition for anything else but stall tactics, here.
[X] Stall, stall, stall
-[X] You’ve got a hostage!

Make it sound like consuming souls is something that we can do. To make them believe this make a show of pulling out the man's soul from the shovel and then 'consuming' it by binding it to the throat or tongue. They'll be less likely to interfere if they think that their friend's soul, or their own, are in danger.
Okay so Komachi is on the up and up but the others are doing secret squirrel work for Seiga?


[X] Stall, stall, stall
-[X] Did your 'friends' tell you about anything, Komachi? Did you know that they are working for a hermit they should be reaping? There is a way for you to avoid the worse consequences of your action and it's to help us. We need your help, and we're willing to help you too if you need it. Because, beating the Reimu to a pulp? Really? And trying to stop an official investigation of an ongoing incident? Eiki won't appreciate that, you know.
[X] Stall, stall, stall
-[X] Negotiate. Everybody likes a good deal.
[X] Stall, stall, stall
-[X] You’ve got a hostage!
Alright, something I need to know. For you people voting to negotiate, would you like to go ahead with what I intended for the option, or would you rather go along the lines of one of the two write-ins?

Also, if choosing the write-in, which one? The first one: >>168736 or the second one: >>168747 ?

I was just going to write what I thought best, but I’m not sure what those people without comments had in mind. I’ll let it sit for a day or so before forging ahead with writing.

Well, to be fair, it is something you can do. It’s the first necromantic spell you ever learned (however misguided the attempt was). However, given the practically empty magic reserves, even moving the dead man’s soul is a stretch.

You’ve got enough juice to staunch a wound to a single artery. Maybe. The amount of energy you have left is on the order of throwing out some useless, glittery pixie dust and hoping it irritates their eyes.
I'd rather go with Negotiate as the two write ins sound rather meta, though I just want to get this battle over with.

Okay, so I don't really have a good idea of Necromanon's voice as a character, so go ahead and in-character-ize this:

[X] "Hey, you with the sanity. I'm not sure who you're going to get into trouble <i>with</i>, but I'm fairly sure that us backing you up will help with that. We need to get out of here alive and with that soul, though."
What the guy before me said. The write in just has too much meta knowledge for my taste.
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“Hold on for a minute will you?” You shout at the pink-haired reaper as she twirls her scythe around. “Please?”

She scoffs at you and starts to walk towards your group. “We’ve got a deadline to keep.”

You try to swallow your trepidation and keep a level head. “Can’t we just talk?”

“The dead have no say. Accept that so you don’t cause any problems for the judge.” Calm, cool, and collected – the tattooed reaper is everything you aren’t, at the moment.

“I’m not dead!” You shout at her, your mind racing as you think of what might catch her interest.

The little white-haired reaper, a child in stature that only reaches her comrade’s shoulders, stammers, “U-Uzuki…”

The pink-haired reaper pauses and looks at her companion. “What is it Mare?”

“I still don’t think he’s dead…” Of course you aren’t. You’ve made a conscious effort to stay alive these years.

Thankfully one of these reapers can see that. The little reaper smiles at you, and you return it.

“Tsk. Fine.” The happiness is fleeting. The pink-haired reaper growls and stares you in the eyes, the wild, cat-like features she’s taken on intimidating. “Stay out of our way, Mr. Stranger and we’ll leave you alone.”

“And what about the jiang-shi?” you ask. Yoshika is standing in front, prepared to protect you all, while the other jiang-shi are arrayed at your shoulders, ready to do what they can.

Your promise to let them decide what to do with their new lives rings in your ears. You’ve already failed most of them.

“What about them?” The pink-haired reaper scratches her neck and resumes her walk towards you. “We’ll collect and go home so we can get these damned souls processed. As much as I enjoy fieldwork, this isn’t the time for fun and games.”

“You can’t reap the jiang-shi!” The protest is out of your mouth in an instant.

She eyes you again and chuckles. “Oh? Are you going to stop us?” You can feel her gaze linger on your missing hand, the stiffness in your stance. If you could fight her, you would.

You can’t, though. From watching her smack Reimu around, you know that this reaper is physically stronger and faster than the black clothed reaper behind you. Even at one-hundred percent, you don’t think you could compete with her.

Desperation starts to seep into your voice. “There has to be something I can help you with.”

“Yeah, you can help us out by shutting up and letting us work!” The pink-haired reaper quickens her pace, briskly walking towards you with scythe at the ready.

Damn. What can you say here? “You’re going to get in trouble with someone, right? I could vouch for you, or help to persuade someone, or-”

“Pfh. Sorry kid, you can’t argue with the bureaucracy.” The reaper stops a few meters away and firmly plants her feet on the ground, bending her legs at the knees. “Let’s hurry up Mare.”

“Stop! You can’t-” Your words fall on deaf ears as the reaper launches herself forward.

“Master!” Sliding in front of you, Yoshika intercepts the reaper head-on, skirting the blade of the scythe and grabbing the reaper’s arms.

The black tattoos running up and down the reaper’s arms pulse while the reaper snarls and spins. She kicks with a leg, breaking Yoshika’s grip and launching the jiang-shi away. Then she pounces, pursuing Yoshika relentlessly. You watch as the zombie girl stops midair and tries to circle her opponent. The reaper laughs and ploughs into Yoshika, bullying her around with brute force and speed. Yoshika is kept completely on the defensive, using all her energy to recover and avoid the reaping swings of the scythe.

“No! Yoshika, don’t-” your words die in your throat as the white-haired reaper charges towards you. Two jiang-shi move in front of you, but the lithe girl grows translucent and passes straight through them.

You try to bring any sort of magic into your arm to fend off the reaper, but you can’t see any of the familiar dark green mist responding to your will. It isn’t the throbbing pain interfering with your spell casting – you just don’t have enough left.

You barely have enough time to take a step backwards before the reaper is in front of you.

“I’m sorry. Good luck.” The little white-haired reaper whispers to you as she passes through your body and turns, swinging her scythe at youanddearlordwhyisitsoPAINFULeverytimeITpasSeSTHrOUGhyoURBODYagainAndAgainANdAGAinItHURTSaNdiTriPSaNDAGAINANDitSnAPSaNDsHaTTERSiNsIDEAGAINANDAGAINAND


“A life so short yet exceedingly eventful, far more so than those I review with regularity. The moral and philosophical questionability of actions you have taken notwithstanding, your intent behind the majority has held true.”

I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough, Bro. I should’ve just crushed her mind like a bug to help you out faster.

“That conviction, in my opinion, is a positive. A goal towards which you have passionately worked, believing in utmost honesty it to be good speaks favorably upon your overall character, which is of grand importance.”

I just couldn’t do it, though. I couldn’t make that hard choice when a chance to talk, to understand, was there.

“Unfortunately, the nature of the sins you have committed it yet higher still. Strong character does little to outweigh the egregious deeds you have committed; criminal acts, both in the worlds of the living and the dead.”

Even now, I don’t truly regret the path we’ve taken, where we began and where we ended.

“These crimes, which shall go unlisted as both you and I know very well the form and manner of your deeds, is a list that any Yama would condemn you for. The right in you does not begin to outweigh the wrong.”

You wanted to give me my life, while I said I wanted to give you yours.

“To die of natural causes and allow my final judgment, you would be cast into the pits, relegated to an existence of torture as your sins were cleansed.”

But, really, spending time together was all I wanted for myself. Working all hours of the day to support you wasn’t enjoyable. Seeing your disgruntled expression when I got home, was.

“However, yours was an unnatural death, unlawful that is should not have occurred, would not have if those of our ministry followed proper procedure. This, lest we endanger the sanctity of all life, creates special circumstances to which must be attended.”

I was happy, spending time with you and seeing you happy. I have thought for a while that I don’t need a body as long as I was with you.

“You deserve your life, but that is something we at the ministry cannot give you. Transgression of the border of life and death in such a manner is prohibited in all but the most peculiar of circumstances. What I can offer you, should you wish to accept it, is a position here in the ministry itself. Your unscrupulous behaviors, while wrong, have lent themselves towards the development of certain skills that could prove useful in certain lines of work.”

I miss those days already. I wish we could go back to them.

“Put it more simply? I…can try. Working for me can, while not absolving your sins, create the good acts you require to balance your former life’s deeds. When right and wrong are balanced, you would be free to move on to what awaits the dead or even work for promotion within the ministry.”

But what’s done is done. I can’t do anything about it now, as much as I want to. I’m nothing without you, in the end.

“Frankly, it is unfortunate your soul was brought to me in such a damaged state. Understanding your past and gazing at your desires allows me to see your willingness for this work, but is a poor substitute for explicit affirmation. We can begin your rehabilitation immediately and from there see where we may place you.”

Now, I can only do what I’ve always done – wish for your happiness.

“A concern? Yes, that does fit you, does it now? However, despite being a concern close to your heart, I have no happy news for you. Your sister is long gone. The absorption of souls is a heinous act for a well-founded reason. Others have had more experience with such cases but the voice you have perceived throughout your life, I suspect, is little more than delusion founded upon guilt.”

I love you, Bro. Whether I’m there for you or not, I hope you can be happy.

“Dwelling upon this matter shall only cause you prodigious, unjustified pain, perhaps impairing your future work as well. We shall attend to this matter during your rehabilitation but while we have some leeway in the reconstruction of your mind, any change must begin with you. For your own good, in a cosmic and daily sense, you should cast away such dreams to lessen your suffering.”

Just, please…

“Come. I believe I can afford a minor break to escort you to the clinic. This is a grand chance. Precious few have the opportunity to earn a fresh start, so to speak. I look forward to working with you.”

…don’t forget me.


Silent Beginning ~ End


Fair enough. I said ‘along the lines of’ because I was planning more on the spirit of the vote, like >>168737 corrected, but I didn’t make my intent very clear.

On the other hand, making sure that I understand what you want is also important. A vote like >>168850 is interesting, but has a few flaws. Specifically
>you with the sanity
I assume this is addressed towards Komachi (our lovely shinigami holding Reimu to the ground) but that isn’t clear. If this is so, then from my point of view this is essentially a rewording of the write-in which the majority has not voted for and is explicitly not wanting to use – maybe this vote has less ‘meta’ in it to be acceptable, but since nobody has voiced this opinion, I can’t in good faith use it.

To explain my own thought processes: The choices for stalling as I made them would all have been directed at the pink-haired reaper. Why? Because she’s the one standing right there ready to take some heads. It’s the most obvious threat and naturally the one that holds the most concern. In this situation, taking the time to interact with somebody not the immediate danger is counter-intuitive and lies in the realm of additional reader input.

I guess the point here (other than heading off any potential anger) is that a lack of communication kills.


>Moving on already
Also a fair point.

It makes me wonder. How much have these scenes dragged on for you all? Do they feel exciting and impactful or just boring and trite? How much has the weeks-long pauses affected your perception?
They haven't.
The last thread was pretty exciting.
Everything that is longer than a week makes me lose focus on the story.
The fights scenes were very well written and detailed. It's just that I have the feeling we aren't advancing in the mystery plot much, so if you could make the actual fights a bit shorter, or mix plot advancement with the brawling and shooting, I'd personally appreciate it.

I'm not too affected by the long periods of time between updates. So long as you don't suddenly dissapear for two months, I won't feel too disconnected with the story.

And I don't think I need to ask, but this bad end doesn't mark the true end of this story, right? The lack of options in this update scares me a little.
Hm. So negotiation won't work. Taking a hostage, then? Holding a knife to her throat?

...This isn't the end of the story, right? We just go back a choice... right?
Actually? I thought this was the end of a chapter and now we get to see his life as a wage slave for the Yama (you know the guys who will not punish the rogue Shikigamis that killed him) in an existence I'm not sure is preferable to hell.
So the 'bad choice' we did actually means that his sister is lost forever and the story will now go from there. Is this not the case?
>In the middle of a battle
>tries to diplomance
>is socially incapable without his sister holding his hand

Really, there wasn't any other results from those actions. Sometimes I think anon losing sight of the character they're roleplaying and just assumes they're working from a position of power regardless of the situation.

I can't deny this. Honestly, I thought that the whole 'stall' suboptions were just a character-building thing, how we would try and get a hold of the situation.

In retrospect? Yeah, not our smartest moment.

...Boy I hope we can try that again.
Ouch. As strange as it is to say, even with the mystery killer, and our sister possibly being not real, im satisfied with this ending.

It at least makes sense to me, we didn't really seem to have a chance at all. Well, whether the story ends here, or it goes on, I loved it.
what is then? It's a goddamn hopeless battle. Reapers are pretty challenging to someone say Wizard grade but for someone who can't cut muster in any kind of real fight? Scurrying like an ant in a herd of elephants is not fun.

See above, but yeah it was a drag as I felt it was completely hopeless and dragged on and away from what was good with the story. I hope this isn't how the story really ends as nothing really got resolved.
Liked the story so far. Where this update is going? Not so much.

Welp, thats what happens when I am almost asleep and do not look where I type.

I feel like this update just kinda destroyed what I liked so far. The whole setting with a necromancer who has his sisters soul tied to him and trying to get the Necronomicon was interesting to read. Even if this continues and the last update was just a kind of chapter end, working as a reaper from now on just seems not as interesting to me, like the story was kicked down a notch. Well lets see how this will go.
A story as a reaper with a chance for Eiki or Komachi would be nice, but not under the shadow of what was left behind (a possible romance with Byakuren, all the hanging plot threads, etc)
Exactly, if it was its own story I wouldnt care but just kinda throwing away the story so far seems meh.
You guys sure are hasty in making assumptions. It's fairly silly to assume that everything built up until now is just going to be thrown into the void for the sake of a completely new continuity.
It might as well be from the tone of this ending (as the MC's basically going to get his mind wiped) that is unless we get a chance to make another choice and avoid this.
Also If our sister is really lost I dont buy the bullshit explanation Eiki offered. If she was a " delusion founded upon guilt" I dont think she could have communicated with Yoshika and used her body.
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How are you going to get out of this mess?

This is a stupidly tight spot. How were you supposed to prepare for a bunch of party crashing reapers?

You need to take a second and think of a way out. There has to be a way to keep yourself and everybody else intact, but you can’t see it. You just don’t know enough about your pursuers.

Maybe…you could throw away the jiang-shi and run. You feel that would guarantee you your life, but the very thought of it disgusts you. If you could send them off to die, you would have left already.

What else? Running. Running is always an option, even if it isn’t a good one. The forest could provide the cover you need to escape, but you’re likely to lose someone. Going down the road seems idiotic, but you could keep a tight formation and take advantage of your numbers. That might work better, or it might not.

Otherwise, you don’t see much of what you can do. Your sister is probably cooking something up, but she needs time you don’t have at the moment. Stalling for a chance at salvation isn’t ideal. It would be best to make the reapers retreat, but how could you do that?

Fighting is out of the option. No magic and one hand leaves one capable fighter amongst your group. Yoshika can manage herself fine, but you and the rest of the jiang-shi are little more than slightly greased pigs when it comes to close quarters.

Divide and conquer has been a sound strategy in the past. Whether it was jealous witch covens or prideful paladins, individuals in a group have their differences. The pink-haired reaper is driven – you doubt you can do anything to her if she’s willing to pound on Reimu to get what she wants.

The black-clothed redhead behind you is being dealt with by your sister, but what about the one holding Reimu? She seems separate from her peers, selfish even. You know she will intercede, but you’re not sure if you can meet the price. You’re no Hakurei shrine maiden.

The white-haired one? She’s worried about the reaper behind you. Is she compassionate? Can you use that? Its guesswork, based on a few overhead words, but it’s all you have.

You weren’t sure before, but after thinking about it, these might be your best options.

They all suck.

And now the pink-haired reaper is walking towards you with that scythe. Shit.

[ ] Retreat as quickly as possible
-[ ] Down the Road of Reconsideration
-[ ] Into the forest and beyond
[ ] Divide the reapers
-[ ] Offer what you can
-[ ] Act pitiful and beg
[ ] <Write-in>


Operation Split off the Vote for Dramatic Effect proves successful!

Thanks for the feedback folks. Glad to know I’m not veering horribly.

>Overly long fight scene
I agree that this is going a bit longer than I intended, but it does serve a purpose. There are a number of lessons and information that can be drawn from all this, a number of which involve personal capabilities and matching up to Gensokyo’s residents.

Negative. This ship has a clear goal and will not deviate!

I think I mentioned this before, but if you had died earlier in the story, things would have changed. A variant of all this would have been very real. Alas, that possibility is for an alternate universe me to take up (or I might write some snippets or something if I feel like it).

Yeah, pretty much. Even assuming a social and charismatic human, I think you’d still be hard-pressed to come up with effective bargaining given the situation. There’s just not much incentive to listen to the guy that’s got a foot in death’s door.

>Character building
I do like those kinds of votes, it is true.
the one holding Reimu is komachi right? Or is she off to the side? If so there's one thing that can be offered: Interesting stories.

I'd be inclined to run away but we have no known advantages in the forest and what's in there would affect us more than them. That and it'd put Yoshika at even more risk. Not to mention leaving Reimu in a bind. Futher more it'd be delaying the problem as if these other reapers were basically sent about by Seiga, merely retreating wouldn't solve the problem in the long term.

in short it's down to picking a choice and praying, not exactly a good sign as far as choices go.
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Yes, Komachi is the one holding on to Reimu. Attached is a masterfully painted map of the situation (figures not drawn to scale).

Also, you'll notice the votes here are different from before. Options have been pruned for good reason.

How is our mana supply? If enough to fight off wild Youkai, then

-into forest

if not,

-Road of reconsideration

Reimu should be capable of smacking these shinigami down singlehandedly, and they wouldn't dare harm the only Hakurei and endanger the border.
On a side note - something we can gain from the Bad End is this: our sister is very, very good at hiding.

Well, that, or just ended up becoming a ghost.

At any rate, we know she is alive (for a given definition of alive) because she can communicate with and affect other people. At the very least, then, she's a magical split personality - at which point Occam's Razor points to it really being our sister.

[X] Divide and conquer
--[X] Offer what you can.

Hmm... I wonder if we can pull an Atlas-esque "I'll take on your supernatural burden for x days".
Normally, yes. She's exhausted, and has already been defeated.

(On a side note, while we shouldn't say anything, this is also a great big I Told You So moment.)

Also, less-meta-anon here. Yeah, that was basically the intention; I was hoping for it to be picked up, but apparently no one saw it in time, or else no one liked it.

Or we could just be projecting her though our necromantic talents.
[X] Divide and conquer
--[X] Offer what you can.

Seems like the best choice to me. He can neither fight nor can he flee from them. He needs outside help to get out of this.
[X] Divide and conquer
--[X] Offer what you can.

While the white-haired Reaper may be sympathetic, Komachi's a better known factor (maybe the MC might not know that but we do)
[X] Divide and conquer
--[X] Offer what you can.

I don't think they'll just let us run, anyway.
[x] Retreat
[x] Down the Road!

Why? Because there's no good reason to move through the forest. These things can slip through matter like it wasn't there, and trees would only slow us down. Also, 'Offer What You've Got' might mean giving them this very nice shawl that we just picked up from that very dead monk.

Just, y'know. Just saying. If you can't think of something we can give up, then don't give up anything and run.
The main person we'd be trying make a deal with is Komachi and she's canonically known for liking good stories. And such stories are something the MC has no lack of, that and the investigation could be another interesting story.
[X] Divide and conquer
-[X] Down the Road of Reconsideration
--[X] Offer what you can.

Maybe the fact that they don't want to involve bystanders could be used against them. We stay behind, and Yoshika picks up the reaper behind us and runs. This should get them some time for whatever their plan is,and while the white and pink chase them the other jiang-shi can harass them from afar.
In the event that only one of the reapers chases them then it's up to Necroanon's masterful use of bargaining to delay the remaining one. By which I mean we're screwed.
You're not a clever as you think you are.
[x] Retreat.
-[x] Down the Road!

We know this, but necranon doesn't.
[x] Retreat
[x] Down the Road!

Grab the protesting miko and fucking run for it.
Get to the temple ASAP. If nothing else, we have allies among the myouren crew.
Last time I checked super speed wasn't among Necroanon's powers and odds are the reapers will catch up.
>Grab the protesting miko and fucking run for it.
Your idea of retreating is running towards the reapers to try and take Reimu from Komachi? Are you retarded? Stop trying to get us killed again.
Not taking her but talking with her into siding with us, it's better than running down the road where they can catch up with ease. Necroanon is not Aya "Faster than a Kenyan" Shameimaru. A truly retarded course of action is trying to appeal to the white-haired reaper's (an unknown's) sense of compassion.

That and this'd risk Yoshika getting reaped, not to mention Dio and the others.
Reimu is already working with us. Are you saying we should try to convince one of these reapers, who are working together in a combat situation, to switch sides to the team that is obviously doing something shady with dead people, and is already losing on top of that?

Ain't gonna happen. Cut and run, they wouldn't dare harm Reimu because Border.
You're assuming Komachi's fully working with them as opposed to trying to stay out of it (and her reason for holding Reimu, to keep her safe)
Permanently, no. Keep her out of the fight, yes. Lose her good-will, likely.

On top of which, we simply won't get away in time.
[x] Retreat as quickly as possible
-[x] Down the Road of Reconsideration
-[x] Come back with reinforcements, if only to help Reimu
--[x] Tiny and clever reinforcements.
We have allies at temple, plus Nazarin might be around here somewhere. Better to run back and see if anyone is around.
I don't think she'd be too inclined to help and this is assuming we're not cut down trying to run. I don't think Necroanon is in much of a shape to try outrunning reapers, something hard enough to do in the best of shape.
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“You guys understand?”


“Yes, Master.”



“I get it~”

“Okay. Good.” You smile at the jiang-shi and back of out of the semi-huddle. It only took a few seconds to outline your escape plan – which is all the time you really had.

“Conspiring, huh? It won’t help you! There’s no escape!” The pink-haired reaper roars and charges the remaining distance across the field.

“Hey, uh…” You take a breath and glance at the jiang-shi once more. Then you turn on a heel and run, grabbing the black-clothed reaper’s injured arm as you go. “…Fuck you!”

“Come back here!”

“W-Wait! W-Where are you taking- Wait!”

You ignore the cries of the reapers and move as quickly as you can. Luckily, the paralyzed reaper offers no resistance, simply floating along as you pull her.

“Be careful, Yoshika!” you yell back to the jiang-shi who is resolutely staying behind.

“Yes~!” After the sweetly rasping affirmation, you hear a loud thud. No doubt it’s Yoshika intercepting the pink-haired reaper.

It’s a dangerous plan but the fact is, Yoshika is the only one capable of fighting and keeping herself in one piece. You can’t be more thankful for her.

Luckily, it seems she only has to tangle with the pink-haired reaper.

After all, the little white-haired one is closing in on you.

Damn, you’re in no condition to be running. Your body is on fire. The motion caused by feet pounding against the ground makes your neck throb. The air bites into your ruined hand, assailing you with every move. Magical exhaustion is also taking its toll on your body physically, little flares of muscles spasms withdrawal-like in their origins. If this was just you, a grandma on her scooter could probably outpace you after a few minutes.

Yet, you’re not alone. Behind you, the jiang-shi move slower still. Their retreat is methodical as they float backwards, confronting the reaper that would take them. Despite their stiffness and their decay, their ability to launch danmaku is unimpeded. The dead men and women keep up their barrage far longer than you ever could, countless multi-colored bullets filling the air to deter the reaper.

The little white-haired reaper is aptly dodging through the barrage, but does not move to attack the jiang-shi themselves. She’s flying determinedly towards you. The cross-barrage of magic slows her down, but doesn’t stop her.

Further back, you see Yoshika grappling with the pink-haired reaper. They exchange blow after blow, much like before. The ferocity of the bestial reaper isn’t enough to land any decisive strikes against Yoshika, but numerous minor blows assail the jiang-shi. Fortunately, the undead girl is not hampered by such strikes.

Your retreat plan seems to be working, much better than expected.

Yet, how long can it last? Should the reapers coordinate themselves, they could move after the jiang-shi and slowly pick them apart, one by one. As you retreat down the road, you can’t help but think this plan is too risky. You never should have used the jiang-shi like this.

Surely, you could have come up with a better solution. Perhaps bargain with the reapers or offer yourself up? Endangering the jiang-shi was stupid, foolhardy. You could still call them back now, have them run ahead of you instead of aiding your escape.

There must be something you can do on your own, without the jiang-shi. This is the worst time to be second-guessing yourself but thinking is the last strength you have to stand on. You’ll have to think quickly because that white-haired reaper is getting closer!

Shit, shit, shit. You can’t run any faster when your entire body is hurting.

Run? How about fly? Maybe you can put the last of your magic into the scarf to- No good. You can feel the lift, but you don’t trust your reserves to give you the speed you need for the amount of time you need it. You feel it’s more likely you’ll fall on your face and come to stop then go anywhere.

You’ve managed to survive a few extra minutes, but that time is rapidly coming to a close. What can you- Adrenaline shoots through your body when you feel the arm in your grip move.

You half-turn, to look at the reaper you’re pulling along.

In you peripheral vision, you notice the little reaper just behind you, her scythe raised high to-

A hand shoots out, grabbing ahold of the little reaper’s wrist. “Mare, stop.”


You trip and stumble to the ground when the reaper you were dragging along suddenly stops and becomes impossible to move.

I’m back! Miss me?


“Ragsmuena!” While lying on the ground, you watch the little white-haired reaper hook her scythe to her back and jump up, wrapping her arms around the red-haired reaper’s neck. “Are you okay? Are you hurt? What happened to your hand?”

Around you, the four stiff jiang-shi form up. They had been flying far apart from each other and from you in order to set up their barrage of bullets, for their own safety. Yet now they’re right here, in prime position to be reaped by- Calm down Bro. No need to panic anymore.

Sis! W-What happened? I worked out a deal with our friend! It was tough at first, but she became much more receptive to my offers and we managed to settle.

T-That’s…good? She isn’t a problem then? Nope. I have her word that she’ll stop the reaping and go home with her companions.

What about the jiang-shi you already lost? …Sorry, they’re non-negotiable.

Tsk. You’ll just have to- Keep sitting on your ass and let them go. Don’t even think of trying to get them back.

But- No buts. We’re lucky to be getting out with what we’ve got. I know you don’t like it, but we have to accept it.


The red-haired reaper Ragsmuena and the white-haired reaper Mare are talking to each other, both happy as can be. It’s as if they haven’t been racing to kill you in some fashion or another.

“I shall be fine. Let us go.” In a rather monotone voice, Ragsmuena continually waves off her little friend’s worries while floating back towards Muenzuka.

Mare floats next to her black-clothed companion. “Huh? B-But what about-”

With the help of Dio and the other jiang-shi, you take to your feet and follow the pair of reapers at a reasonable distance. You can imagine them drawing their scythes and spinning around to- They won’t.

Oh? You would be pretty pissed if you lost a hand- oh wait, you did! And you are! Look at that. That’s your own fault, Bro. You could have thought a better way to build a bridge for me.

Yeah, well, it’s not like you had something else you could stick in the reaper. For the low price of five fingers, you kept your life. How can this Ragsmuena not hate you for letting Yoshika bite her hand off?

She isn’t too worried about, because…well…

You glance at the red-haired reaper’s missing hand, only to find those black tendrils waving from the stump slowly wrapping around each other. If you had to make a wild guess, you’d say that whatever the reaper consists of is regenerating her hand.

That’d be a fair guess.

This sucks! Can you trade places? Maybe if you take a sample and inject it in yourself…

You grunt in frustration and go back to eavesdropping on the reapers.

“We have already obtained our targets, have we not?”

“Y-Yes, but if we leave now, Uzuki won’t-”

“It is not our place to linger here. Do you disagree?”


So…is this it? Yup.

Just like that? Sure.

They aren’t going to cause more problems? It sounds like you’re fishing for an excuse to fight them again.

It’s too easy. Your sister just swoops in and saves the day? Exactly! I’m a hero, praise me.

No way. Explain. Everything.

Fine, Mr. Grumpy. Well, it turns out that- Hold on.

Ahead of you, the pink-haired reaper Uzuki manages to hook Yoshika’s ankle and toss the undead girl, causing her to plough into the ground and slide along the road.

That bitch. Yoshika’s clothes are going to be ruined because of stunts like that, let alone her skin! Minor abrasive damage is the worst to fix because it doesn’t warrant replacement but makes it look awful- Is this really important?

Well. Yes?

Refocusing, you watch Yoshika arrest her movement and rise to her feet, conveniently a few meters away from the pair of reapers and yourself.

The pink-haired reaper Uzuki brushes a lock of hair to the side and twirls her scythe in hand, the tattoos running across her exposed skin throbbing. She takes notice of her companions as she walks towards Yoshika. “About time Rags. Hook this bitch in the back so we can-”

Ragsmuena doesn’t let her finish. “We should leave.”

“What? No way!” The pink-haired reaper- Are you going to user her actual name?

No, you don’t like her. The wicked and evil pink-haired reaper stamps her foot on the ground, cracking part of the road in the process.

Ragsmuena keeps floating forward, eventually moving past Yoshika. “Our disappearance will be noticed soon.”

“So what?” The return of her companions seems to calm the pink-haired reaper. At the very least, she stops to talk to them. “I’ll take a demerit for an unauthorized break over half-a-dozen missing souls any day!”

“Your absence will heighten any disciplinary-”

The pink-haired reaper turns around, away from you and the jiang-shi, in order to argue with her peer as they move towards the cemetery. With Ragsmuena floating towards Muenzuka at an even pace, the pink-haired bitch falls in line with her body if not her words. “How can you expect me to hand in half of what is required? What am I going to say? Sorry sir, I could have done all my work, but I got lazy half way through?”

“You attempted to complete your work during allotted times, but the task was beyond your ability. The fault lies outside of our department.”

“We already lodged those complaints, remember? Fact is, I’m going to get slammed by the deadline before we get any reviews from that direction.”

“The infractions being incurred here outweigh your work failures.” Ragsmuena raises her hand to count off her fingers. “Taking unauthorized leave. Assaulting the Hakurei shrine maiden. Attempted transgression of the border-”

“Wait, hold on, we never did that last one!”

“We attempted to reap that living human.”

You freeze in place when the pink-haired reaper whips her head to look back at you, but she quickly returns her attention to her red-haired friend. “You thought he was dead!”

Ragsmuena shrugs. “I have revised my opinion. Are you now having second thoughts?”

“Damn it, I need to bring them all in.” The pink-haired reaper lets out a shout of frustration before attaching her scythe to her back. “But this is rubbing me the wrong way. Argh, I hate these irregularities.”

“I believe you have handled the situation admirably. Taking responsibility to withdraw now should reflect well for your eventual promotion.”

“Fine! Fine, we’ll go. What was wrong with you, anyway? You good?”

“Yes, I am fine.”

Well, this is peachy. Now you just need to stab them in the back to get the other souls and- Stop it. You know you can’t.

Yeah, and you hate that. You’re just supposed to let these reapers have half of the jiang-shi’s souls? Yeah, we have to. We can’t stop them. Besides, they’re supposed to move on.

Somebody else here is supposed to be dead and have moved on. Are you really going to-

Sorry. You’re just bitter about all this.

“Master~” You blink and glance around. Yoshika’s warm face greets you with a slight nuzzle, the zombie girl cuddling you in her arms.

When did she pick you up? About when we walked by her.

Huh. You should worry about how natural this feels.

Maybe later. “Are you okay Yoshika?”

“Mhm~” You smile and plant your remaining hand on the affectionate jiang-shi’s forehead to keep her bangs off of your face.

“How are you feeling, Dio? And,” you really should learn the others’ names, “uh, the rest of you?”

The blonde jiang-shi answers for them all. “We are fine.”

That’s good. It’s not as if they’re in a respectable physical state, but at least the extended fight hasn’t harmed them further.

After all, they were either scooped up in one blow or not. “Do you…hate me? For not protecting your friends?”

“Of course not. We are fine.” Dio looks you in the eyes, his look more annoyed with having to repeat himself than anything you failed to do.

“No, I mean-”

“They, too, will be fine. They must move on to whatever awaits them next, just as we shall one day.”

Philosophical, or perhaps just practical. “You aren’t angry? I let them die-”

“We have already died,” the jiang-shi interrupts. “Our anger, if any remains, lies with what cut short our lives in the first place. You, Master, have shown us nothing but kindness.”

“I see.” Do you need me to translate?

No. You sure?


He’s saying that you aren’t to blame for- Yeah, yeah, you get it. You aren’t blaming yourself completely for this, either. Only a bit, for the preparations you could have undertaken.

All is quiet, everybody content to think on their own, until the pink-haired reaper looks back at you. “Hey, why are you following us? If you’re trying to get these souls back, I’m ready to pick up the rest of my work.”

You glare back at her. “I’ve got a shrine maiden to pick up.”

“Hmph.” Uzuki is trying to fix her appearance while she walks. The tattoos might have disappeared from her skin, but her clothes are still ripped and torn from when she was more cat-like in appearance. “You better watch yourself, Kid. Whatever you’re doing with the dead will get you in serious trouble.”

What the hell? Life advice? “Trust me, I know.”

“I’m not kidding. When the real hounds get sent after you, not us paper pushers, you’re going to have a bad day.”

What’s up with her? “Thanks for the heads up.” These reapers…aren’t right. They can flip from rampaging murderers to polite acquaintances at the drop of a pin.

Or maybe you’re just not capable of understanding their point of view. Paper pushers? What’s up with that description? Well, these shinigami are clerks.

They’re what? Clerks. They process the dead that are bought to them.

You got your ass handed to you by a bunch of desk drones? Pretty much.

Okay. Okay, putting that embarrassment aside, why are they here? Apparently, the souls of these jiang-shi had been assigned to them for processing. Something like a departmental transfer.

A what? It’s like, the jiang-shi didn’t come from this area originally. When the dead souls moved from wherever to here, it fell to these shinigami to make sure they’re ready to be judged.

That’s…how does your sister know all this, anyway? I told you, I was talking with Ragsmuena. Anyway, even though they needed to process the dead, the souls never came in. Whoever was sent to collect the jiang-shi was rebuffed.

How is that possible? The jiang-shi could barely handle on of these clerks on their own. If the guaranteed monster that was supposed to be catching them was even stronger…Well, this was a while ago, before the jiang-shi were aimlessly wandering on their own.

Then, the death police tried an official collection before you came into ownership.

Seiga Kaku. The name is a sour pill.

Yet however you feel, this Taoist hermit is stronger than you want to admit.

Okay, so the souls never showed up, so the reapers decide to get them on their own? That’s right. When they noticed the jiang-shi gathering so close to where they worked instead of being scattered throughout Gensokyo, they decided to risk it.

That’s nonsense. How could they be held responsible for something out of their control? They filed complaints, but apparently ‘bureaucracy from hell’ is an apt description in more ways than one. If they don’t meet their deadlines, pay cuts and demotions are the least of their worries.

…What else do they need to worry about? For a clerk, failing to turn in their work on time is a sin.

Huh. And the punishments for sins?

I don’t know. She wasn’t very chatty on the topic.

Great. You feel like dying less and less every day.

“I think you lot missed a few.” The red-haired reaper Komachi that is currently sitting on top of Reimu points at you.

Uzuki rolls her eyes and taps her foot on the ground. “Yeah, yeah, laugh it up Onozuka. Take us home.”

“Sure. I’m not taking you back out here again if you change your mind, though.” Komachi leans down to whisper something to Reimu before standing up and patting the shrine maiden on the head. Then she walks over to the other reapers.

“Just take us home.”

“If you-”


“Okay, okay. I expect you tell me all the details about this eventually.” The three reapers stand behind Komachi, the red-head spreading her arms out to- ow. The ground in front of them is fuzzy, blurry, as if you’re looking through tears and hot gas. They take a step forward and-

Gone. Uzuki and Mare, pink and white, look like they just moved several kilometers in one step. But that’s impossible because the forest is right there and it’s so blurry your eyes are starting to hurt along with rest of you by trying to examine-

Ragsmuena taps you on the shoulder, the black-clothed redhead’s serious tone seemingly the norm for her. “I expect our deal to hold when I return within the fortnight.”

After those words, she too floats forward but far further and-

Once Komachi steps forward, it all disappears. You blink, and there’s no trace of the four reapers left.

So. This deal…? It isn’t that bad.

Selling your soul is out of the question. This isn’t some half-assed demonic bargain.

Oh? No! You’ll just, uh, be doing some paperwork sometime soon.


Yeah. Not so bad right?

Ragsmuena flipped coats over some paperwork? …Yes.

You’ll…you’ll deal with whatever paperwork from hell it might be when it arrives. There are far more important matters to attend to.

Tapping Yoshika on the shoulder, your group approaches the shrine maiden struggling to raise her head. “Hey Reimu.”

The brunette manages to raise an arm. She reaches up and- and she pulls down your arm with half a hand. No matter the fact that from her angle on the ground, she shouldn’t even be able to see it.

“Fine?” she croaks.

“I’m fine.”

As soon as the words leave your mouth, Reimu nods and lets go of your arm. Then her head drops to the ground and her eyes close.


She’s…alive, after you check. You assume she’s finally succumbed to the stress of all the activity. You aren’t even sure how she’s managed to remain awake through all of this.

It’s sad. It’s only after Reimu collapses unconscious and is lying on the ground in an absolutely miserable state that you can recognize her for the young girl she is and not some juggernaut. Without the dominating aura and ridiculous power you normally see her exude, you can see she’s nothing more than a child working far beyond reason. I think you’re a bit too young to be deciding that, especially when you’re just like her at times.


You have the four other jiang-shi lift Reimu between them, allowing the unconscious girl some measure of rest.

Now, where do you go? You need time to rest and recover. Everybody is hurting, well, everybody who can hurt, and in no condition to doing much of anything.

You don’t think you need much help. You are missing a hand! Yeah, but that’s fixable. Now that you have time and space to think, this might not be as large a problem as it seems. It’s your off-hand that you don’t particularly need in the first place. Assuming you have the time, you’re positive you can regenerate it on your own to the point where you have some sort of functionality. You, are, missing, a hand.

Well, even bodiless people seem to get along just fine. Stupid little- I’m sure there’s somebody here in Gensokyo that can help.

Probably, but the question is who to go to? There are enough downsides that-

If you’re thinking of staying here-

You might be. You might be. You aren’t sure what other dangers wait out there in the darkness, but you’d be relying wholly upon Yoshika to ward off any threats, and that’s assuming you don’t let her carry you.

Besides, nobody else knows about the events of tonight. Maybe it should stay that way. Your penchant for secrecy is highly aggravating.

You’re just considering all your options. What kind of help do you need? Who can you trust? Who can keep a secret?

Now that you have time to consider, you will. From where the moon is, the night isn’t even half over.

[ ] Eientei
[ ] Hakurei Shrine
[ ] Human Village
[ ] Mokou’s Shack
[ ] Myouren Temple
[ ] Nazrin’s House
[ ] <Write-in>


I hope this event has been enlightening in a number of ways. Back to the 2hu’s!
Well yeah, it has been enlighting in the fact that Nazrin is less than useless and that taking them here was the worst possible option we could have ever taken.
Oh and that our MC is weak as fuck.

[x] Myouren Temple.
We helped Reimu as best as we could, so we should go back to our unfinished business with Byakuren.
Besides, I'm sure Reimu will appreciate breakfast when she wakes up and she won't have that in her shrine.
[X] Myouren Temple

I have this lurking feeling that we need to get the whole Byakuren situation under control before we move on, but that may just be me.

That and I want to see more figurative-older-sister but-possibly-more-than-that nun.
Okay, lets see the choices.

[ ] Eientei
I'm averse to this. The forest we can't get through without Mokou.

[ ] Hakurei Shrine
Far away and requires either flying or a lot of climbing. Not the best choice given the damage we sustained from the fights.

[ ] Human Village
Plausible. Keine might have something to help us, either with the hand, or in general.

[ ] Mokou’s Shack
She seems likes she'd go out of her way to help us. We helped her fix her house. We can kinda cash in on that. Plus, we can go to Eientei with her in the morning.

[ ] Myouren Temple
Known flyers, safe place to rest, hiding spots for our zombies, and the advantage of a very powerful magician with experience in body altering magic.

[ ] Nazrin’s House
Temporary safe house, but I think she'd just take us to Byakuren in the morning.

I'd vote [ ] Myouren Temple given the choices. Stop by Nazrin's and ask her to escort us as well.
[x] Myouren Temple
[x] Stop by Nazrin's and ask her to escort us as well.
[x] Myouren Temple.

We better not run into that Reaper's sister who carries around a sword that needs fixing...
Totally useless. What is that damn rat doing? It’s not like she’s combing Gensokyo because you asked her to or anything. Nah, she’s probably just sleeping like a lazy bum while there’s a fight on outside, right?

>Worst possible option
Don’t worry, there are always worst options.

>Weak as fuck
I’m glad we’ve definitely established that! Of course, don’t let me lead you astray – power levels are less important when you have crafty plans.

To clarify some points:

You can navigate the bamboo forest just fine if you’re heading to Mokou;s home or Eientei. You’ve done both before.

Heading anywhere outside of Muenzuka/Road of Reconsideration area necessitates going through/flying over the forest of magic.

Nazrin’s house is on the edge of the cemetery, and has been within eyesight whenever you weren’t facing away from Muenzuka.

Who do you think you are? Some kind of alchemist? Pfh.
[x] Myouren Temple

I think Byakuren's going to freak out over the hand considering A) we didn't chase after her and B) we did something stupid. If this will result in her kicking us out or a marshmellow hell hug is anyone's guess.

Though I'm not sure how well trying to go to Eientei would go. But yeah tomorrow we need to do something about the hand if Byakuren has nothing about it.

Nice to see running away actually worked and not failing horribly though I am worried about the deal sis made.

I'm not sure how much plans can do against a major mismatch in power, specifically foes that are a hard counter to the necromancer class. That and they seemed tough enough to give a stronger MC a hard time.

Like I said before scurrying like an ant hoping for some miracle isn't much fun to read.
[x] Myouren Temple

Because we need to deal with Byakuren, and the temple's a good a place as any to keep Reimu on the mend until she's healed. Better than leaving her at the shrine, anyway. She'd just saunter off to try and solve the mystery again.
>More power levels
That is also true. I don’t want to say much more on the matter, other than the fact that ‘crafty plan’ doesn’t always mean some variation of ‘ambush.’

If you’re in a situation where you need a miracle, you probably could have thought harder beforehand.

>stronger MC
This is highly variable. Of course, considering it seems like we have either Powerful Wizards on one hand and Normals on the other, comparisons aren’t particularly helpful.
[x] Myouren Temple.
Seems like the best option.
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You know I'm surprised nobody's pointed it out, but:

>They can flip from rampaging murderers to polite acquaintances at the drop of a pin.

So where's Kariya? :V

[x] Myouren Temple.
[x] Myouren Temple.

If we can say we have a base of operations this is it.
>What kind of help do you need? Who can you trust? Who can keep a secret?
This pretty much narrowed it down to one.

[x] Myouren Temple.

Just going with the flow.
[x] Myouren Temple.
[x] Myouren Temple.

Doing what he always does: slack off and let the others do all the work.
[X] Myouren Temple

It'd be wrong to impose on Mokou this late at night, and anyways Buddhists are all about that hardship.
[x] Myouren Temple.

Just for tonight, to rest. In the morning, we should go somewhere private and question that ghost before letting him go. Then, maybe head to Eientei and see if they have anything for a maimed hand.
There are a series of jiang-shi corpses left lying around now that their souls have been reaped, and if Yoshika was anything like their standard every one of them had magical workings in them that we can't personally replicate. Using their bodies as raw material, we may be able to vastly accelerate the repairs of the surviving jiang-shi. Leaving those bodies behind to decay unattended would be a criminal waste.

Oh, and we could probably give ourselves a temporary zombie-hand off one of them, to act as a substitute until we can regrow our hand properly or get someone else to do that for us.

The recent battle has amply demonstrated that we cannot be counted upon to perform well in conflicts, but our creations most definitely can- Yoshika gave a star's showing, and the others' abilities were critical to our survival and their own as well. Further, they are some of the most reliable allies that we have here in Gensokyo. Investing time and energy into them should be a high priority.

We also need to examine and repair our black onyx soul system. Damage to that is potentially extremely hazardous to our survival. Also, maybe we could figure out how to improve it so that it doesn't break next time someone tries to reap us.

I'm not sure how effectively we'll be able to transport any corpses with our people in their current states, unfortunately, but it's at least worth bringing up. If nothing else, they could shift Reimu to being carried by one of them (probably more restful than being carried amongst four separate people, anyway) and have the other three grab the three most intact bodies.
provided that anyone that he ends up fighting doesn't have a bunch of hard counters to them. That was what made the reapers so hard to fight: They could basically instantly "kill" one of the zombies with ease.
[X] Myouren Temple

Back to base, fellas. Collectively we're not looking too good, let's regroup and clean up.
Even if they're super-useful there's basically no way to bring'em back home.
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Well, this is what I get for not acting like the young person I'm supposed to be and storing everything on a cloud service.

My computer exploded when I was messing with it and I may have lost the 5000+ word update. If I can't recover the data then I'll have to rewrite...My bad.
Never trust the cloud. It is the precursor to Skynet. It only exists to see humans suffer.
There's a reason why there's warnings about static electricity and hence have something to help discharge it from the body.
I think his point is that we need to be finding non-combat options.

For example - hypothetically, if we had (by some miracle) managed to make Reimu rest for more than a few seconds at a time, she probably would've been able to put up a proper fight against the shinigami. If we had seen this coming (which, admittedly, would've been pretty hard to do), we could've stayed near a populated area, or somewhere with more backup. Things like that.
The logic behind where we stored the zombies was to hide them better (having them blend in with other dead in the area) not have a big neon sign with ZOMBIES HERE.

Hard to have non-compat options when dealing with things out to get you specifically. But I hope the writer gives better hints on what would or wouldn't be a good idea.
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What a waste. You’re a vulture, you know that?

Hey, you’re just thinking practically here. With the showing the reapers and the entire realm of the dead have put on today, you doubt you’ll ever get the jiang-shi’s souls back. Taking that as fact leaves eight corpses worth of usable resources.

You’re truly interested in whatever spell is in their stomachs. Think of the possibilities if you could create your own independent creations! You wouldn’t be limited by your meager magical reserves to sustain any future endeavor.

You could always open them up now.

You could, but that wouldn’t help if you can’t analyze the spell. You need magic to look at magic, and right now you’re empty.

Of course, you’re in no condition to sit in place for a few hours working, either. Even standing here is a chore. At least you aren’t the one digging, eh?

And isn’t it great? This is wonderful, pure bliss. Having an assistant is the best thing in the world.

After a few more minutes, Yoshika jumps out of the shallow grave she dug and hands you back your shovel. “Thanks Yoshika.”

“Mhm~” Without complaint, the undead girl beings to gently lift her former comrade’s bodies and deposit them in the grave, side by side.

She’s sweet. Yeah.

As you put your shovel away, you seriously hope the dead man’s soul hadn’t been reaped by accident. You think it’s still in the shovel. Hopefully you’re right.

Once Yoshika finishes her duty, all the jiang-shi work together to quickly push the dirt back into the hole. The end result is a shallow mass grave, but it’s the most you can do at the moment.

Are you going to say any words? Eh? You’re not a priest. Besides, this is more for storage than anything. You’re sure the jiang-shi’s souls will be fine and move on to some happier existence.

You just don’t like saying goodbye. Oh please. You hardly knew them, anyway. Hell, you didn’t even know their names, let alone what they were like or what they believed. Sure, sure. Let’s go.

After dropping Reimu into the stone-stiff arms of Dio, Yoshika picks you up and begins to fly.

What’s next? Rest. Then? You’re not sure. There’s a lot to take care of. Between Byakuren, Reimu, the jiang-shi, the dead man’s soul, the Necronomicon, your supply of reagents, and whatever paperwork from hell might show up, you need to prioritize.

“How are you all holding up?” you ask the jiang-shi during your flight. You receive various positive-sounding answers.

You observe the three jiang-shi that you don’t know. Two females and a male. One girl has long, pink hair, her clothes looking like the remnants of some kind of uniform. The other girl also has long hair but its black, and she isn’t wearing much at all. Some sort of silky dress is barely clinging to her stomach. The last one is an adult man, much different from the other children and teenagers amongst the jiang-shi. His brown hair reaches his shoulders and besides his generic shirt and pants, it looks like he has bits of plate armor still attached, around his hip, on one arm, and a few more places.

“Hey, what are all of your names?” You’re going to do a better job of protecting their choices, as a sort of repentance if nothing else. Learning their names is probably a good first step.

“Shilverase, Rea, and Nekurow,” Dio translates the myriad of sounds worn-out vocal cords attempt to make.

You’d like to converse with them, to understand them, but they aren’t in condition to do so. You suppose you’ll have to be satisfied with their names.

The form of Myouren Temple looms soon enough, lit partially by the lamps and fires in and around the temple. Yoshika lands a fair distance away, still in the darkness and presumably out of sight of the gate guard on duty. Are we not going in?

You are, but Yoshika has good intuition. “Dio, did you all have any troubles when I left you out here before?”


“Okay…Okay. I want all four of you to stick together and if something happens, run to the temple. Otherwise, wait around out here as you please.”

“Understood. Stay safe, Master.” You decide to stumble around on your own and leave Yoshika free to carry Reimu inside.

I’m surprised you didn’t try to bring them in. You want to, but you’re already causing enough trouble without bringing the obviously undead into the temple. This way, hopefully, nobody will be discovered.

Slowly, you circumnavigate the temple, heading towards the rear wall with Yoshika and Reimu at your side. Going through the front would be easier. You have no problems dealing with the monks’ ire. However, something tells you parading an unconscious Reimu around is one of the worst ideas imaginable, for her and yourself.

So, you find yourself on your knees poking at the back wall of the temple. If all she did was kick the darn thing, then one of the stones must- Aha!

The stone under your hand sinks into the wall, causing the hidden door to soundlessly pop open.

After clambering over the storage crates in the following room, you find yourself in a nondescript hallway. If you remember correctly, Byakuren’s room is this way- This is not a good idea.

Huh? Why not? It’s not like you know where else to go from here. It’s the middle of the night. She’ll be sleeping!

Well…you’ll deal with that when you find her room. Maybe she has some late night prayers or something?

Thinking one particular nondescript door looks familiar, you take a chance and open it.

Oh, looks like your sister is right. The nun is fast asleep on her futon. She doesn’t awaken when you quietly enter the room and close the door, but she rolls over in your direction- Damn, that’s pretty- You idiot!

What? It’s not your fault she isn’t using her blanket and isn’t wearing more covering nightwear like a good set of PJs or- She’s sleeping. She doesn’t need her rest interrupted by your perverted staring.

Who’s staring? You’re not staring! What’s there to stare at? Byakuren’s simple black camisole? You’re appreciating her comfortable looking clothes. Your eyes might be drifting down her smooth sides, her wonderfully exposed thighs and catching a glimpse of her pure white panties that you would love to te- Hold on.


Anybody there?


Distracted much? You frown and quickly glance over Byakuren’s body again. Stop it.

Oh-hoh. Now you see. What’s wrong? Jealous? Not at all. How about we leave?

Why? The straps of Byakuren’s camisole are almost slipping off her shoulders, giving you an excellent view of her chest. Myouren was rather fortunate, having a sister with such large- Oh shut up already.

She is jealous! Am not. I’m just thinking how irritatingly large those jugs are.

Irritating because it’s a reminder that- Drop it.

Fine, fine.

So, are you going to try your luck elsewhere? Maybe. Your situation is stable enough that you wouldn’t mind waiting for her to awaken in the morning, but you’d like to find better accommodations for Reimu. Perhaps you could find Minamitsu or Ichirin or someone.

Before you leave, you tiptoe forward and kneel down. As silent as a shadow, you grab Byakuren’s blanket and drape it over here.

You freeze when Byakuren shifts. “Myouren…”

...Does she talk in her sleep? You don’t think you disturbed her rest. The nun shows no signs of rising.


Okay, time to go. Agreed.

No need to stick around, especially if she starts saying other things. Just gotta open the door and walk out- Thud.

You glance back at Yoshika, who is looking at Reimu’s foot that has connected solidly with the door frame. “Sorry~”

You want to rub the cute girl’s head and tell her its fine, but you can’t really do that because behind Yoshika you see Byakuren’s eyes flicker open. The nun blinks once before leaping to her feet, causing certain parts of her to bou- Whoa!

Byakuren slams the door shut and throws you- Ouch, onto her futon.

“Where are you doing here? Where have you been? What-” The nun is sharp, quickly noticing your half-eaten appendage. “What happened to your hand?”

“Well, there were some circum- Ow.” The nun grabs your wrist and inspects your wound before gently setting your arm across your chest.

“That’s…stay here!” she commands. “Do not think of moving any more, understand?” Byakuren turns on a dime and confronts the other person in the room. “Yoshika Miyako, make sure he does not- Is that Reimu?”

Byakuren is going to give herself neck strain the way she’s whipping her head around.

You smile at Byakuren and her narrowed gaze.

The nun audibly growls and turns back to Yoshika. “Lay her next to him and do not let either of them leave this room, understand?”


With orders handed out, Byakuren quickly runs over to her closet and throws on her white dress before storming out of her room. For having just awoken she moves quickly, making a wonderful show of it.

Yoshika sets Reimu down gently next to you on the futon. You scoot over a bit, allowing the shrine maiden full use of the bedding. The floor isn’t that uncomfortable.

“So I can’t get up and go?” you ask Yoshika.

The zombie girl tilts her head before- Oof. She plops herself down on your stomach, leaning back and supporting herself with arms and legs so she doesn’t aggravate your injuries. “No~”


“Ehehe, Master silly~”

Well, there’s really not much you can do in this situation. Maybe you can think about what you’re going to say in advance?

You could, but that sounds rather boring. I’m not sure about boring, but you couldn’t act more boorish if you tried. Oh really? Care to bet on that? Idiot.

After a few minutes of mental banter, the door suddenly slides open. A certain phantom steps inside, her sailor suit looking as impeccable as always. “Well, well, well, look what the fisherman hauled in!”

Behind Minamitsu, you spy Ichirin dressed in a plain white dress, devoid of her usual blue layers. The girl takes a quick glance inside before closing the door, leaving Minamitsu inside with you.

“A poor looking catch, I must say.” Minamitsu sets the bucket she is carrying down on the floor next to you and sits down. She picks up your arm and inspects the hand wound before peering over the rest of your body.

“Is that Ichirin outside?” You’d like to know why the blue-haired girl did not join you in Byakuren’s room.

“Aye, but don’t mind her. She has the less enjoyable job here, but that’s not to say I’m going to enjoy my own. Wait, what am I saying? Of course I will!” The phantom grins and leans over you.

“What are you-whooing wa raagh.” Yuck. She stuffs something in your mouth. An old rag, you think.

Oh, I see where this is going. Bye. Bye? What do you mean-

You see Minamitsu glare at you before smiling cheerfully. “Bite hard.”

The phantom quickly takes your hand and dunks it in- hooooOOOOOOOLYCRAPTHATBITCHYOUWILLDESTROYHER!

After a few minutes of wordless screaming, the burning sensation slowly begins to subside. By the time you manage to calm yourself, Minamitsu is nearly finished wrapping your hand in a bandage.

You manage to spit the rag out of your mouth. “What the fuck?”

“Never get injured before?”

“I have but damn it! I don’t dunk the entire wound in a damn bucket of alcohol!”

Your rage doesn’t faze Minamitsu. She laughs and bops you on the head. “Quit your blabbering, I’m no doctor.”

“Trust me, it shows,” you grumble.

“Well, maybe as an esteemed surgeon yourself, perhaps you-” Minamitsu suddenly stops speaking and glances over her shoulder.

“Wha-” you begin, but the ghostly girl covers your mouth with a hand.


Outside, you hear movement. The clacking of wooden shoes coming to a halt on the floor, followed by voices.

“Is something the matter gentlemen?” A feminine voice asks. Ichirin, you presume, although you haven’t heard the girl speak enough to recognize it by sound.

“We heard noise,” a gruff male voice answers. “What happened?”

Minamitsu rolls her eyes at you, as if to say ‘If you were a man and didn’t scream we wouldn’t have this problem.’”

“Oh, nothing.”

“Nothing? Why are you standing out here then, Ms. Kumoi?” A second male voice, lighter than the first but slimier sounding, says. You imagine he’d make a good corrupt politican.

“I am taking a short break while I wait for Lady Hijiri to return.” Ichirin maintains a polite and demure tone, similar in manner to Byakuren when the head nun is dealing with others.

“A break?”

“That’s correct. We are in the middle of a lesson.”

The slimy man doesn’t try to hide the tone of suspicion in his voice. “This late at night?”

“What needs be done shall be. The timing is irrelevant.”

“What good teaching could Lady Hijiri possibly offer now?”

“That is for her to decide, is it not?”

“You know what I think?” the slimy voice asks.

“Enlighten me.”

“I think you’re dragging Lady Hijiri back into the shadows, pestering her to teach you those dark spells that will-”

Ichirin cuts in, her voice suddenly heated. “What words we utter should be chosen with care, for good and ill words alike resound in people’s ears. I hope, Sir, you are not suggesting Lady Hijiri is involved in something untoward.”

“I would never-”

“You would never? Imagine that a disciple such as you is more knowledgeable than our Lady? Suggest that one who is our light is involved in illicit activities?” Ichirin drives forward.

“I…Yes, I would never do that.”

“Thank you for attending your jobs, gentlemen, but nothing is amiss here.”

“…Very well, Ms. Kumoi.” With that, you hear the clacking of walking once more.

Once it is clear the strangers are gone, Minamitsu lets go of you and leans back.

You would not have liked to confront the blue-haired nun on your own. “Ichirin is scary.”

“Yeah, I know, right? It’s bad enough having one Byakuren around, but two? Ugh. It gets more miserable around here every day.” You laugh at the phantom’s troubles.

Feeling better? No thanks to your sister. She abandoned you in your time of need! The least she could have done was suffer with you. Sorry, I’m not that empathetic.

“What?” you ask Minamitsu. The ghost seems fond of glaring at you for no reason.

“Nothing,” she assures you, her demeanor returning to its usual friendly self, “I’m just wondering how you managed to wreck yourself this badly. What kind of rocks did you run into?”

“Well, do you want the full story? I planned on waiting for Byakuren, but I could tell you now.”

“That’s smart. Maybe give me just the highlights?”

“Sounds good,” you tell Minamitsu while scratching behind the kitten’s ears. “Long story short, I ran into some-” You shut up immediately when Minamitsu levels her anchor in your direction.

The large, heavy, metal kind. Even if she’s a phantom, you feel like getting smacked by it could send you hurtling to heaven.

Minamitsu’s voice is deadly serious when she speaks up. “Nue Houjuu. This is not your room.”

Who? The name sounds familiar...It was one of the youkai Byakuren mentioned. I can go looking if you want.

The kitty sitting at your side tilts its head and waves its tail.

Wait, kitten? It wandered in through the door, I think. Huh, the door is open slightly. You didn’t even notice.

“Speak your business or leave at once. I’m not afraid to toss you overboard.” The phantom shakes her impromptu weapon. Not at you, you realize, but at the cat.

Naturally, the cat opens its mouth. “My, my, how very vicious.”

“Is that cat talking?” you ask, trying to understand the situation.

“It is no cat,” Minamitsu grunts. “It is a deceiver of many faces that will rip a hole in your sails-”

The cat’s mouth opens again while the little beast scratches its head. “Rich. Ridiculously rich, that a garish little girl playing at being a sailor would-”

“Out. Get out, right now or I’ll-”

“Drown me?”

“You-!” Minamitsu hefts her anchor into the air, but stops short of swinging it down. You see the hesitation in her eyes.

“How decidedly droll. If you’re spoiling for a scuffle, even in this room, I’d be happy to help cure you of that affliction.” The voice emanating from the cat is silky smooth, a warm and seductive voice that could turn any man into mush. You don’t look like mush. Does that mean you’re not a man? Quiet, now isn’t the time.

The phantom girl pauses to think before letting her weapon disappear. She looks helpless in this situation. “…What did you want?”

“Thank you.” The cat turns its attention to you. “I am most interested in our injured guest here. There are many questions I would like to ask.”

You take a good look at the black cat with red eyes that is staring up at you. “I don’t like answering to a cat.” You’re just trying to piss it off.

“Annoying…” The cat rumbles. Then it begins to twist. Its head rotates around and around before popping off, the cat’s bloody spine dragged into the air as the head floats upwards, its eyes bulging and teeth shining. The cat’s tongue reaches out and out, the rest of the mouth following as the pinkish flesh envelops the lips, the entire mouth turning inside out as red flesh replaces black fur. Blood sprays everywhere, the cat’s innards flopping out of its floating body and onto the ground. The intestines start to bulge, as if thick bile is filling them. The cat is not recognizable. It is a fleshy mass of organs and blood expanding at a gurgling rate.

Suddenly, it all stops. The fleshy mass where the cat’s separated head used to be quickly transforms into the face of a girl. “Why are you not screaming?” her smooth voice asks.

“I’ve seen worse.” Hell, you’ve done worse on occasion. People don’t seem to appreciate what creating fleshy golems actually entails, what with all the cutting and sewing and disemboweling and smoothing and cleaning.

The face does not look amused. In a second, the entire gross process finishes, leaving a fully formed girl standing on the ground. There’s...something suspicious with how she looks. “Does this form please you?”

“That’s uh, better?” It’s a mini-Byakuren, if Byakuren had long black hair and red eyes. And pointed red and blue pseudo-wings coming out of her back. And her white dress cut off at skirt length, revealing pure white skin until coming upon thigh-high stockings. So, really, it’s just that strange black-laced dress-jacket thing that Byakuren likes to wear which makes it seem like her. Because the bust size is nowhere near as- I told you to drop it!


Minamitsu is almost hissing from where she stands. You suppose she doesn’t appreciate how this ‘Nue Houjuu’ appears. Found it. Byakuren didn’t mention much. Nue Houjuu, a mischievous youkai that has some sort of power over identification and lives in the temple. Uh, I assume Byakuren meant the ability to shape shift or something.

Or she meant identification. With the number of people with ridiculous powers running around, you’re not going to assume anything if you can help it. Fair enough.

“Excellent.” Nue smiles, that silky voice still mismatched with the teenager-sized body she has. “Now, as the rumors begin to ripple in this quaint temple, inquiries as to your involvement with the beloved head nun arise with greater clamor.”

“It’s a personal affair,” Minamitsu interjects.

Nue glances back at Minamitsu and smirks. “As much as has already been said. Yet such statements do little to quell the interests of those ill at ease with such association.” The copycat youkai turns back to you and raises an eyebrow.

You don’t understand the problem. You’re a suspicious figure. What’s there to understand?

You shrug and answer her. “Byakuren is a good person, much better than us. She’s decided to help me, a stranger, with my search out of the kindness of her heart. Why? What’s it to you?”

“I am personally interested,” Nue responds, “as much as any in the safety of our Hijiri. That the concerned commoners came to me for my aid simply stirred my heart to action.”

Minamitsu looks incredulous as she grabs Nue’s shoulder and turns the youkai around. “They…approached you? You?”

Nue chortles. “Where else could they turn, with those closest to our fair nun as stiff as stone? To be honest, they turned first to Mamizou, but agreed to assign me the duty upon her suggestion.”

“Like I already said, this is a personal affair.” Minamitsu doesn’t budge an inch. You aren’t inclined to talk to this youkai, either.

“And the so-called sailor refuses to rethink her stance.” Nue eyes Minamitsu, turns to look at you and Yoshika, then sweeps her gaze over Reimu before sighing. “I believe this is as far as I will get, yes? I wish you luck in your affairs this night.”

The strange youkai bids you farewell and steps outside. You hear Ichirin squeak in surprise, but otherwise does not bother Nue as she leaves.

Minamitsu and you look at each other, exchanging a look in the wake of Nue’s passing. The phantom pretends to gag, shaking her fist at the now absent youkai. It looks like you truly are causing problems.

Soon enough the door opens again. Byakuren steps through and sets another two futons down on the ground. Ichirin steps into the room behind her before closing the door.

“Minamitsu, is he well?” Byakuren asks.

“I reckon he’ll live, but treating injuries is really opposite my specialties.”

“That is fine.” The head nun sits down next to you, giving Yoshika a smile and patting her on the head before gently pushing her off of you. With Byakuren’s help you sit up, Yoshika shifting around to cuddle you from behind, acting as a convenient backrest.

Minamitsu and Ichirin sit down across from you, everybody giving you their attention. “So, what happened?”

You sigh and think about where to begin. “Well, Reimu and I were at Mokou’s place, but this shrine maiden is too much of a work-a-holic...”

The trio listens to everything you have to say. You recount all of what occurred, from Reimu’s scuffles to the magic you tried to use. You’re tempted to skip over some details, but as your sister likes to remind you, somebody needs to know what happened. Trusting these three is a necessity. Besides, you’re the one making trouble for them – they deserve some sort of recompense.
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When you finish, Byakuren and Ichirin look contemplative, trying to understand the implications of what has happened. Minamitsu is not so cautious. “I can’t believe you went up against those juggernauts in a sloop! You have a fool’s tenacity, eh? Daring and audacious, just the way Byakuren likes ‘em!”

“Minamitsu!” Ichirin turns to her companion, aghast. “This isn’t the time-”

“Indeed it is not.” Byakuren’s stern gaze quiets everybody. “Coming here in such a state is troublesome. However, fortune may yet shine upon us.” The nun takes one quick glance at Reimu before stroking your face. “Rest now. We can continue with this in the morning.”

You grab Byakuren’s hand and pull it away, the nun looking surprised. “This is important, isn’t? I’ve messed up. I’m digging you a hole that’s too deep to-”

Byakuren squeezes your hand. Her skin is very soft. “Rest. Unreasonable haste is the direct road to mistakes. We shall attend to matters in the morning.”

Before you realize what’s happening, Byakuren and Yoshika have dragged you down onto the futon next to Reimu. To your left, you see Ichirin fixing Reimu’s bedding, straightening the shrine maiden’s clothes and adjusting her blankets. Then Yoshika lies down next to you, the undead girl all smiles.

To your right, Byakuren is looking hot as ever as she takes off her- You’re more distractible than a dog. Stop it.

Byakuren crawls into the futon to your right, stripped back down to what you first saw her in. She lies on her side, her back facing you.

Ichirin waves goodbye, and Minamitsu makes some suggestive gestures before leaving the room.

This is ridiculous! There are so many things that have gone wrong, could go wrong. How can these people just lie down for sleep when- You’re barely keeping your eyes open. Go to sleep.

Nonsense. It’s only midnight, if at all. You’re fully capable of heading back outside to take care of Dio and the others or- You’re running on adrenaline. Close your eyes and watch what happens.

That’s stupid, you- Are acting exactly like a certain passed out shrine maiden. For better or worse, we can deal with it all in the morning, just like Byakuren said. Sleep.

Even if you close your eyes, nothing is going to...

...happen. Your eyes flutter open, the room noticeably brighter. There’s no sun shining through the sunlight, but it is most certainly dawn. That wasn’t what woke you, though.

The tingly sensation of a hand running through your hair was enough to awaken you.

You can’t see anything other than black and some tan- Oh.

How are you supposed to extricate yourself from this? Any tips?


Where is your sister? Sleeping? Talking with Yoshika?


You end up wiggling a bit until Byakuren notices you’re awake. The nun thankfully scoots herself back, removing her hands from your side and head to give you a bit of breathing room.

Sometime during the night, you and Byakuren had rolled over and faced each other. And move closer, apparently. Well, uh, you move your legs from where they are partially intertwined and, uh, okay. Good.


You and her are entirely separated now. Sure, your face is only a dozen or so centimeters away from her chest, but there’s absolutely no touching.

Quickly glancing over your shoulder, you spy Yoshika cuddled up to Reimu. Or rather, the shrine maiden has forcibly taken your zombie girl and is using her like an oversized stuffed animal. Her back is to you, but you suppose she enjoys it considering she hasn’t pushed Reimu away.

“Good morning,” Byakuren whispers to you, a tranquil smile on her face.

[ ] “Is there breakfast? I’m famished...”
[ ] “Thanks for all you’ve done for me...”
[ ] “It’d be great if there was a spare hand lying around…”
[ ] “Sorry for bringing a stray shrine maiden home...”
[ ] “You know, I’m not your brother…”
[ ] “I left some corpses back at Muenuzka I would really like to scavenge...”
[ ] “Fondling people in their sleep is generally considered creepy...”
[ ] “There are four jiang-shi wandering outside that deserve a bit better...”
[ ] “Your brother was a lucky man...”
[ ] “It sounds like there’s some discord in the temple...”
[ ] “I’m not a person you should care for…”
[ ] “I met a youkai that looked a lot like you, well, sort of...”
[ ] “Ichirin sounds a lot like a certain someone…”
[ ] “About the afterlife enforcement in Gensokyo...”
[ ] <Write-in>


Go ahead and vote for multiple topics, but remember that order is important. A write-in mentioning the topics you would like to cover works fine as well, no need to follow the format.

Also remember that comments help clarify the intent/meaning of the vote. This is probably important, unless you like me screwing with you.

Who? That doesn’t sound like a cute little girl.

Sensible thought for the future? What is this doing here?

>But I hope the writer gives better hints on what would or wouldn't be a good idea.
Eeeeeeeeh? What do you think this is, easy mode?

Seriously though, I could, but I’m happy with the current level of knowledge. Flipping back through some comments, at least some voters were aware of possible shenanigans with shinigami - not to this extent perhaps, but the concern was noted. While I never specifically wrote out “Damn, I hope a bunch of reapers don’t show up at this nexus between life and death,” I feel there was enough general knowledge to make an educated guess.

But you’re right, this wasn’t very obvious. Because, based on what you’ve investigated, it isn’t obvious! This is all part of the joy of exploring Gensokyo!

You can never be perfectly safe, especially if you only work with ‘in-character’ knowledge. The characters in this story offer the most relevant concerns on their mind, but often those are in-line with what you all might be thinking already. They can be (mostly) trusted to catch any of the larger issues in their musings, but limited knowledge is a bitch to work with.

If you wanted more, you would have to try a careful analysis of the options - a more ‘meta’ line of thought. Is there a location that is only one-hundred percent positive? Probably not. So what problems would setting up in the bamboo forest have compared to the isolated cemetery? What has been mentioned, what can be assumed, and what can be extrapolated?

In the end, events are a culmination of decisions. What if you had sent off some of the jiang-shi? What if you had repaired some of them? What if you had gone after Byakuren? What if you had tried to beat Reimu up yourself? What if you had tried the summoning in the daylight? Just a few different choices (not even write-ins!) would have led to very different situations (and, perhaps, very different problems).

Of course, you could always just ask me every single update, “How would this choice screw us over?” And I wouldn’t tell you! But I could give you more hints. In the end, you get what you put into it. If you could read my mind and use perfect write-in’s, you could fly through this story. In lieu of that, you have to use all my shitty context clues and whatever else you can scrounge up if you want more.

TL;DR - Step it up senpai, or else enjoy the ride.
[x] “Thanks for all you’ve done for me...”
[x] “It’d be great if there was a spare hand lying around…”
[x] “Is there breakfast? I’m famished...”
[x] “It sounds like there’s some discord in the temple...”

Not going to mention her brother at all as there's no signs that she was thinking of him. The bodies can wait until later.
[x] “Thanks for all you’ve done for me...”
[x] “Sorry for bringing a stray shrine maiden home...”
[x] “It sounds like there’s some discord in the temple...”
[x] “Is there breakfast? I’m famished...”

Basically, we're causing her trouble, and we know it. We just don't know what to do about it. Everything else can wait until later. Right now, we should really have a heart-to-heart.
[x] “Is there breakfast? I’m famished...”
[x] “Thanks for all you’ve done for me...”
[x] “Sorry for bringing a stray shrine maiden home...”
[x] “Your brother was a lucky man...”

As much as I would like to vote for some of that, it would destroy the moment just when he is doing better.
[x] “Thanks for all you’ve done for me...”
[x] “It’d be great if there was a spare hand lying around…”
[x] “Is there breakfast? I’m famished...”
[x] “It sounds like there’s some discord in the temple...”
I like the way you think.

[x] “Thanks for all you’ve done for me...”
[x] “Sorry for bringing a stray shrine maiden home...”
[x] “It sounds like there’s some discord in the temple...”
[x] “Is there breakfast? I’m famished...”

Same order, same reason, et cetera, et cetera.

You. I like you.

[x] “Thanks for all you've done for me...”
[x] “Sorry for bringing a stray shrine maiden home...”
[x] “It sounds like there’s some discord in the temple...”
[x] “Is there breakfast? I’m famished...”
[X] “It’d be great if there was a spare hand lying around…”
[X] “I left some corpses back at Muenuzka I would really like to scavenge...”
[X] “There are four jiang-shi wandering outside that deserve a bit better...”
[X] “Fondling people in their sleep is generally considered creepy...”
[X] “I’m not a person you should care for."

This should get her to reconsider throwing her lot in with a necromancer. She's too damned nice, and staying with her will only screw her up more.
[x] “Thanks for all you’ve done for me...”
[x] “Sorry for bringing a stray shrine maiden home...”
[x] “It sounds like there’s some discord in the temple...”
[x] “I’m not a person you should care for…”
[x] “Your brother was a lucky man“
[x] “Thanks for all you’ve done for me...”
[x] “Sorry for bringing a stray shrine maiden home...”
[x] “It sounds like there’s some discord in the temple...”
[x] “Is there breakfast? I’m famished...”

This is probably the safe set of choices.

[ ] “Your brother was a lucky man...”
[ ] “You know, I’m not your brother…”

Now these choices approach some very shaky ground. This is something we'll need to confront and take care of, although not when just waking up, since I believe Byakuren isn't fully over her brother. Even something simple as the bro was a lucky man choice seems such a volatile choice since I can really see her tearing up and becoming depressed as much as I can see us winning some Byakuren Points™. The "I'm not your brother" choice is obviously more prone to just being all emo and dark and push her away while shaking her up even more. Also dick move.

Now everyone choosing [ ] “Fondling people in their sleep is generally considered creepy...” choice? Would you complain when a hot woman or man you're very attracted to starts feeling you up/"molesting" you?

Byakuren is just adorable in this fic. Then again, I'm a sucker for aggressive women.
Yeah the brother choices are too volatile at the moment, not to mention we have no basis for saying that. Trying to do so now will likely have it explode in our faces.
[x] “Thanks for all you’ve done for me...”
[x] “Sorry for bringing a stray shrine maiden home...”
[x] “It sounds like there’s some discord in the temple...”
[x] “Is there breakfast? I’m famished...”
[x] “Thanks for all you’ve done for me...”
[x] “It’d be great if there was a spare hand lying around…”
[x] “Is there breakfast? I’m famished...”
[x] “It sounds like there’s some discord in the temple...”

Go go nice morning choices
[x] “Thanks for all you’ve done for me...”
[x] “Sorry for bringing a stray shrine maiden home...”
[x] “It sounds like there’s some discord in the temple...”
[x] “Is there breakfast? I’m famished...”

This is a nice combination. The first two items combine particularly well, in that one of the biggest things Byakuren has done for us is made us able to refer to her temple as "home" in the first place. A home that we have to hide from other people in and sneak into unseen, sure, but that's a lot more than we've had most other places. We ran here when we were hurt and exhausted, never once doubting that she would be able and willing to give us a safe place to stay, and to provide us with help. That's a ridiculous level of trust and faith for us to be showing in anyone, given our background, and that Byakuren has managed to get it says a lot about how consistently nice she's been.

And of course we feel bad for making so much trouble for her when we haven't really done anything in return, so that's the topic that dominates the mind after our thanks. One of these days we're really going to have to come up with a way to start paying her back.

Anyway, we've got all day to deal with practical matters regarding the problems facing us, and they're probably not best addressed in an... extremely close... setting. Better to handle personal issues regarding our feelings toward Byakuren right now, like how wonderful she is and our vague sense of guilt over perhaps abusing that, and then break off from that topic with something neutral that she'll probably have a generally positive response to, like food.
[x] “Thanks for all you’ve done for me...”
[x] “Sorry for bringing a stray shrine maiden home...”
[x] “It sounds like there’s some discord in the temple...”
[x] “Is there breakfast? I’m famished...”

Yeah, now isn't the time to bring up the brother stuff.
I feel like this needs to be said first:
[x] Lay there and enjoy the moment
and one of the following
-[ ] ... Hey....
-[ ] ... Hey.... You're beautiful you know
-[ ] .... Good morning....

Because it just isn't NecroAnon without some delicious foot-in-the-mouth idiocy.

[x] “Thanks for all you’ve done for me...”
[x] “Sorry for bringing a stray shrine maiden home...”
[x] “It sounds like there’s some discord in the temple...”
[x] “Is there breakfast? I’m famished...”

Hand joke. Because it's worth it.
[ ]"Help me up? I could use a hand"
[ ]"I hope the shrine maiden isn't too much of a handful"
[ ]"I need to make this up to you. Anyway to be handy around the temple?"
Here, add this:

-[x] ... Hey....
-[x] ... Hey.... You're beautiful you know,,,
-[x] .... er good morning....

To add some old fashioned sleepy talk shenanigans.
[x] ... Hey....
[x] ... Hey.... You're beautiful you know,,,
[x] .... er good morning....
[x] “Thanks for all you’ve done for me...”
[x] “Sorry for bringing a stray shrine maiden home...”
[x] “It sounds like there’s some discord in the temple...”
[x] “Is there breakfast? I’m famished...”
[x]"Help me up? I could use a hand"
[x]"I hope the shrine maiden isn't too much of a handful"
[x]"I need to make this up to you. Anyway to be handy around the temple?"

All the votes.
No terrible puns, dammit.

And we are perfectly capable of putting our foot in our mouth while pursuing options that don't involve derailing the entire conversation by calling Byakuren beautiful, however true it is. Saying good morning is fine, though.
Agreed. I already voted, but is there some way I can change my vote to vote against that write in?
Just quote yourself and make a note that you're changing your vote.

I'm sure that ZAL isn't so anal as to lock your vote it.
File 137203623741.jpg - (149.42KB, 850x637 , rest-assured-volatility-will-find-you.jpg) [iqdb]
Okay. Okay. This is easy. Simple. All you have to do is move your mouth and oscillate your vocal chords. “Morning beau-”

Okay. Okay. Not so easy. A bit more difficult. Just have to think first.

Byakuren is staring you in the eyes. You expect her to say something, but she seems content to lie across from you.

“So, uh…” you whisper, starting and then stopping almost immediately.

“What is the matter? Are you in pain?”

“Yes.” True, but also not what you meant. “I mean, it’s manageable. I wanted to say something.”

“Yes?” Byakuren waits patiently, the hint of worry disappeared after you confirmed you feel mostly fine.

Having your hand bitten off should hurt more, but you have the power of magic on your side. After a good’s nice rest, your body has restored most of your mana – a byproduct of not having large reserves to begin with. It takes a quick application to kill the nerve endings in your stump of a hand.

Phantom limb problems will still persist, but at least this way it’s only a minor annoyance for the moment.

“Er, uh,” you try again, ultimately settling on simple words. “Thanks. For all you’ve done for me.”

Byakuren frowns and shakes her head slightly. “What little I have helped you with is-”

“It’s not,” you interrupt. “It’s not a little. You’ve done so much for me, far more than most ever have or would.” Byakuren has held your hand, giving you shelter, guidance, gifts, and more when all you did was stumble onto her doorstep.

The nun smiles while she reaches over to ruffle your hair. “And I have been happy to do so. While it has been trying at times, I would say it has been worth it.”

“Worth it how? I’ve only caused you more trouble.”

“Perhaps from your view.” The soft hands slide from your hair, glancing past your ears on the way to the side of your head. Well-manicured nails reach behind your ears and oh that’s nice. Dexterous fingers brush the hair behind your ear into place before softly scratching.

Byakuren is smiling across from you, but you aren’t really paying attention to her. Or rather, you’re paying attention to her dancing fingers.

That’s nice.


You see why animals like this.

You’re losing all respect, Bro.

It feels reeeally good. Don’t knock it ‘till you try it.

You are the dumbest- Oh.

Yeah, see?


Where was your sister, anyway?

It’s not like I need to guard your mind twenty-four seven. I was keeping Yoshika company during the night.

Oh, that’s right. You shake your head a bit, causing Byakuren to disengage any further scratching. Then you gesture to the other figure lying next to you with your head. “And what about her? Isn’t she trouble?”

Byakuren cranes her head up a moment to look over your shoulder before falling back onto her pillow. “Yes, indeed. However, what is more trouble is your idiotic and dangerous behavior!” Uh-oh. The nun’s tone takes a turn for the worse. The ‘angry lecture’ voice spells disaster no matter who it comes from. “To live is to suffer, but that does excuse your ridiculous attempt to combat the shinigami!”

“Hey, I was just protecting myself and the others!” Back on topic. And be contrite. “But we weren’t talking about me. Bringing Reimu here causes you problems, right? I’m sorry about that…”

“Yes, well, it is better here than elsewhere. Reimu works hard, yet often her efforts go underappreciated. This girl does not need another night alone in that shrine of hers.”

That sounds terrible. The sad part is, you can imagine the young shrine maiden cleaning around her shrine and drinking with herself at night before quietly padding off to bed, not a single word said. “It seems entirely unfair to expect a teenaged girl to maintain any sort of balance in Gensokyo on her own.”

“It is, but there is nothing to be done,” Byakuren sighs. “While I was not around when the Hakurei were at their peak, I hear the aftermath of their fall was particularly tragic. Youkai were long oppressed by the powerful clan which allowed humans to proliferate throughout Gensokyo. Once their number took a disastrous decline, the youkai wreaked their revenge upon the humans, forcing them into the single large village you see today. Compared to that, Reimu is a genius for creating such a stable and civil peace.”

The nun pauses before sighing again. “Well, she is a genius anyway. That, I gather, is why she could affect what changes she has.”

“Genius? Yeah, I can see that.” Perhaps not a traditional high-IQ genius, but someone who is uniquely gifted in a number of overpowered specialties. The threat from extremely powerful natural talent might be the only thing keeping Gensokyo from spiraling out of control.

It’s a wonder, a miracle. The magical world as you know it is nowhere near as peaceful. Various churches and religious groups, your former associates included, constantly go toe-to-toe with every creature of the night and each other. A single egotistic maniac with a rare grimoire is enough to turn a region on its head for a fortnight. That such powerful groups located in Gensokyo are not directly fighting with each other is astounding.

“We shall tend to her as best as we are able. After her trials of the previous days, we of the Myouren Temple will play the proper host and allow her the rest she needs.”

“So, having her wander your temple won’t cause you problems?”

“I never said that. It is unfortunate that, due to her role, Reimu is likely to be heckled no matter where she travels. Here, at least, those unwelcoming towards the Hakurei can be temporarily relocated.” That’s good. You’re glad for Byakuren’s dictatorship. Don’t be rude to her. You’re not trying to be, but with everybody in Myouren Temple subservient to Byakuren, what else would you call it?

“Besides,” Byakuren continues, “engendering a sense of thanks towards us in Reimu’s heart is not an unwelcome opportunity.”

You smirk. “Oh? Is that a selfish side to our gracious, saintly nun?”

Said nun flicks your nose. “It is the practical side.”

You scrunch your nose in annoyance, earning a chuckle from Byakuren.

“Speaking about practical concerns,” you segue, “it sounds like there’s some discord in the temple.”

“Oh? What do you mean?” Byakuren doesn’t seem surprised, just cautious.

“Well, I don’t expect everybody to get along like best of buddies, but there’s a certain…hostility, from some of the people in this temple.”

“To you?” The nun’s eyes take on a darker slant, a specter of anger haunting her guise. “Perhaps it is time for a temple-wide lesson on-”

“No, no, not me. Well, yes, me, but people tend to dislike me.” You stop Byakuren in her tracks, before she tries to protect you from something non-important. “What I meant was you. Or, I guess, the people close to you. Minamitsu and Ichirin, really. Last night while you were gone, a pair of monks or somebody was giving Ichirin a hard time. Not that she wasn’t dishing it back out in spades, but I thought you should know.”

Byakuren settles down immediately once she hears your description. “Ah, yes. It is unfortunate, but as you say, not everybody can act harmoniously. Resentment, partially from my own actions, does indeed run in this temple. The sheer diversity of backgrounds ensures that there will always be some disgruntlement. It is my faltering. I am incapable of practicing Myouren’s ideals as he did.” The nun settles a hand on her cheek while she criticizes herself. “I do what I can, but it never seems enough. Despite the adoration I receive, I cannot turn that attention into equal respect for all. In the end, I am not good enough-”

“You’re great!” you interrupt. “Amazing, excellent, awe-inspiring! Don’t go saying you’re not good enough. What you’ve achieved here is greater than anything I’ve ever seen. Members of the same human family can have a tough enough time being civil. Here? You have different groups of humans and different groups of youkai living as one! It’s practically unheard of! Don’t put yourself down. You’re doing fine. I don’t know about Myouren, but I couldn’t be more impressed.”

You hate to see her mope in self-doubt like this. Byakuren, in your mind, is a crazy dominating older sister that burns black and has no trouble with meeting out punishment. I’m sure she wouldn’t appreciate the description. Seeing her stutter and worry is cute, but only to an extent. You can’t stand seeing her mired in non-existent failures.

“I…see…” Byakuren swallows once, twice. She’s silent.

Until she gives you a grand smile and surges forward, wrapping her arms around you. “Thank you for your kind words.”

It’s a gentle hug, not a crushing one. It’s a bit awkward while lying down, but comfortable enough. She has to raise her head slightly, resting her cheek on yours during the embrace. You end up receiving a face full of hair. A bit ticklish, but it’s silky smooth and smells wonderful.

“Uh, yeah. No problem. Just my feelings. Don’t mind me.”

Her soft laughter is pure, a true giggle felt in the heart. You can feel the vibrations from her body as she laughs. “Honest feelings, honest mind, honest soul,” she whispers. “Great men before you have walked such a path. It is a good one to follow. After all, those ideals formed this temple which you so praise.”

You could go back to sleep, just like this. Who cares about the consequences? A warm body pressed against you, soft and comforting. Shifting your head slightly causes your cheek to rub against hers, the sensation of skin-to-skin snuggling sending shivers through your body. Perhaps the best part is the feeling in your chest. If you had to name it, you would call it…familiarity? Cuddling with Byakuren like this hearkens back to memories of your childhood, when after a particularly rough day you could crawl into bed with your-


Then the illusion breaks. The magical moment you feel passes by. Byakuren is still pressed against you, stroking your back idly as the two of you lie together, but something in the mood has changed.

Not for her, perhaps, but definitely for you. The situation is awkward. And dangerous. Dangerous? You should know what that word means by now.

You do. This is something you need to extricate yourself from, and now.

Oh, sure, a supposed real man would seize the moment, capitalize on the obvious emotion in the air and score with the hot woman next to him; aggressively snuggle and see where it leads. I think you’re misdirecting yourself, here.

Those real men would also be dead a dozen times over.

Lethally poisoned by a kiss from a seductive apprentice of a rival wizard.

Enthralled by a charismatic witch looking for a blood sacrifice.

Soul sucked out through their dick by a succubus.

People joke about living a full if they go in such a fashion, but they’re the idiots. It’s a nice fantasy, but a horrible reality. This situation does not at all relate to those.

But it does! Because, well…Well?

It just does. You can feel it. I think you’re a bit too jumpy.

You are not! It’s just…not right. You’re starting to sweat under this scarf, so obviously something isn’t right.



I think you’re reading too much into everything. Wasn’t your sister the one worried about Byakuren?

I was. I still am, I guess, but it’s not like I can read her mind. I’m no psychologist, either. I’m not sure how to place all this. Besides, you’re scaring yourself.

No way. You’re of sound mind. You- are having what constitutes a mental breakdown. I’m dead, I’m your sister. She’s alive, she’s not your sister. Stop worrying.

What kind of advice is that? What happened to reporting Byakuren for ‘inappropriate touching?’ I don’t know. I’ve got mixed feelings, I guess. It annoyed me at first, but I’m kind of enjoying it now. At least, I’m enjoying your discomfort, in a way.

That’s horrible! Your sister is supposed to be helpful! Oh stop whining, you aren’t going to die here.

Her pelvis is rammed right against yours! And she hasn’t pulled away. Considering your state, I’d say that-


I wonder about you sometimes.

The ghost in your pathetic shell can see your memories! She should know full well who you’ve done- Well, I’ve know who you’ve tried. Heh.

Stop laughing! Who’s laughing? I don’t hear anything.

Oh man. You’re so confused right now.

And then your stomach grumbles.

Nice one.

It rumbles quite loudly, enough for Byakuren to pull back a bit to look at you.

“Uh, is there some food lying around?” you ask.

Byakuren laughs again and lets you feel her body shaking one last time before disentangling herself from you completely. “Of course, of course. One moment, if you would.”

The nun gets up and walks over to her closet. Her hands grab the sides of her camisole, lifting the nightwear up to disrobe, completely exposing her undergarments. The curvature of her back is a beautiful arc, especially when she turns at the waist. You get to see her exposed navel, her smooth skin, and then black.

“Do not watch.” Following her order to the letter, you keep her worn camisole lying on your face.

Really marshaling your mind here, huh? It’s one of the hardest fights of willpower you’ve undertaken. Actually, this is nice. It’s a simple, non-confusing situation to understand.

Eventually, the black hood is removed, revealing a nun fully dressed in her silly outfit. She sways out of the room, giving you time to sit up and compose yourself.

You manage to calm yourself. You still don’t know what to think, but at least your mind is not whirring in dizzying circles. You can interact in a normal fashion, you think. What is ‘normal’ for you?

Byakuren returns quickly with a tray. On it is a large pot, several tin bowls, and spoons.

She sets it down at the edge of the futons, where you crawl over to. The nun sits down next to you and reaches forward to remove the lid. Inside the pot is steaming rice porridge. “It is perhaps not the most flavorful of meals, but it will provide a solid base for your day.”

“That’s okay. I can appreciate any meal when I’m hungry.” You excitedly watch the nun scoop the porridge into the bowl. She dips the spoon in and blows on it three times before raising the spoon up, head facing away from her mouth.

“Excellent. Open.”

“Open? Mhrh.” The spoon slides into your mouth and presses down onto your tongue. Your mouth reflexively closes around the utensil, where it is then withdrawn. “Ah.”

“It is good, then?” Byakuren asks.

“Well, yeah.” There are no toppings for the thick gruel. However, the light salting makes it surprisingly tasty.

It takes another three spoonfuls before you realize what’s wrong. “Wait, wait, wait! I can feed myself.”

Byakuren’s spoon pauses mid-distance to your mouth. “Even with your dominant hand in such a condition?”

“Yeah. Watch me.” You reach out with your off hand and take the spoon from Byakuren. It isn’t so difficult to direct the spoon into your mouth. It feels a bit clumsy, but you can do it. “See? Easy.”

“Surprising.” The nun shrugs and places the bowl of rice porridge on your lap.

“Yeah, don’t underestimate-”

“But you spilled some.” A white napkin dabs around your mouth, the nun cleaning up after you. You can feel the embarrassment flush your cheeks, your defenses weak so soon after the previous incident. You can’t tell if the nun is taking too long or your own perception of time is horrendously slow.

Someone clears their throat, causing Byakuren to jump. The nun quickly retracts her arm and sits up perfectly straight.

You frown and turn slightly. Right behind you kneels a certain shrine maiden, her chin on level with your shoulder. Reimu is on all fours, having somehow silently crawled her way across the futons. Next to her is Yoshika. The zombie girl seems to be mimicking the shrine maiden, but is actually floating just above the bedding.

Byakuren, against all odds, begins to stutter. “Reimu, I d-did not t-think you would arise so soon. W-Would you care to-”

“Open wide Reimu!” you say. Hah, this whole off-handed business is pretty simple. Maybe you were secretly ambidextrous?

You remove your spoon from the shrine maiden’s- Well, you try. Reimu is biting on the spoon, refusing to let it go. You need to wiggle the spoon some before she releases it, the barest traces of food gone. “Tasty, isn’t it?”

Reimu blinks. Then she plants her butt down next to you and opens her mouth. “More.”

“Haha, sure.”

After another two spoon scoops, you feel a tug on your arm. “Master~”

“Oh, do you want some too, Yoshika?”


“Here you go!”

The porridge in your bowl is almost gone by the time Byakuren interrupts, the nun looking rather miffed. The Buddhist had the foresight to plan ahead, having brought a bowl and spoon for each person in the room. She quickly doles out the food, making sure everybody can feed themselves in good order.

“What are your plans now?” Byakuren asks you while everybody eats.

“I’m not sure. There are a lot of things I need to get done.”

“Then you should prioritize your hand. Such an injury can be crippling.”

“Do you have some sort of magic to fix it?”

“Not permanently, nor in a manner that would be pleasing for those around you. As loathe as I am to suggest it, Eirin Yagokoro might be your best chance at a complete recovery. I am unaware of any real alternatives.”


“Huh?” Everybody turns to look at Reimu. The brunette helps herself to more porridge, something like her sixth serving, before speaking quietly again.

“Kappa. Build one.”

It’s a suggestion about your hand, you think. “Byakuren?”

The nun takes a second to consider before responding. “Reimu’s suggestion is a possibility, I suppose. The kappa living near Youkai Mountain are famed for their tinkering with both machine and magic. Perhaps they have a terrestrial alternative to fixing your hand.”

“I’ll think about,” you offer as you glance around, “but there might be more important things than fixing my hand.”

“Placing other needs above your physical health might be virtuous, but it is also stupid.”

Before you can retort to Byakuren’s criticisms, Reimu’s eyes widen. “Me?” The shrine maiden asks while pointing to herself.

“Uh, yeah. Possibly.” Did she manage to read your intentions from a single glance? “We never did finish what we started last night.”

The shrine maiden nods slightly while Byakuren looks on impassively.

Thank goodness nobody here is silly enough to make a joke of your choice in words.

There are plenty of other things on your mind, too. The state of Myouren Temple worries you. At first glance things seem cheery and cohesive, but you’re starting to see the cracks. You think you can help everybody make friends?

Maybe. A common enemy can do that. Want to be a martyr, eh?

It’s just a thought. Maybe you could finally pay Byakuren back by helping around. If nothing else, trying to understand the dynamics of your home in Gensokyo isn’t a bad idea.

On the other hand, you also have responsibilities outside of the temple. You can’t imagine the jiang-shi fearing any of the youkai that might be roaming in the daylight, but there are forces out there that can kill them, permanently. Unfortunately, it’s not like you have a ton of materials on hand for fixing them up. Or for any serious rituals, in truth. Last night’s festivities took most of your basic reagents from you. Your supply of jewels and knick-knacks are relatively untouched, but your stores of corpse-derived materials are almost empty.

There are plenty of other things to worry about, too. When is life ever easy?

[ ] Temple tour
-[ ] Chat it up
-[ ] Help out
-[ ] Observe
[ ] Hand job
-[ ] Alien doctor
-[ ] Kappa mechanic
-[ ] Selfie
[ ] Dead men better tell a tale
-[ ] Byakuren’s room
-[ ] Hakurei shrine
-[ ] Muenzuka
-[ ] Mokou’s clearing
-[ ] <Somewhere else>
[ ] Surgeon simulator
-[ ] Jiang-shi transplants
-[ ] Forest scavenging
[ ] <Write-in>



You sir, are a gentleman with fine taste. Or maybe a woman with fine taste. Either way.

YOU AREN’T ALLOWED TO- yeah, it’s fine to change a vote like that. Even the non-vote comments that say ‘Don’t fucking do this you retards’ are taken into consideration.
So, I'm guessing we can't use our own skills to grow/transplant a hand? Perhaps temporarily?
[x] Hand job.
-[x] Alien doctor.

That would be the "selfie" option, and I'm guessing it involves animating an undead skeletal hand that's strapped/bolted to our wrist. So, the exact opposite of subtle.
[x] Temple tour
-[x] Chat it up
-[x] Help out
-[x] Observe

One choice is clearly not enough to pay back all that she did for him. If it wasn't clear enough already then the last update should have made it perfectly clear. And she is just adorable.

I-it is not like I want more Hijiri time and have the writer write a long update about it.
See: >>170386

One correction: Much like Yoshika's current condition, a bit of magical makeup can go a long way towards fooling everybody that isn't Reimu and assorted others.
[x] Temple tour
-[x] Chat it up
-[x] Help out
-[x] Observe

More Byakuren~
Stay at the temple for the better half of the day. 'Round afternoon, do something about our hand. I am... Apprehensive about meeting with Eirin again after the disaster that was our first impression, but as a patient, it might go smoother.
So I say meet up with Mokou in the afternoon to get some help through the forest for a walk-in appointment withe moon doc in the evening. We don't need her to get through, but Salsa's Mokou is cute.

[x] Hand job.
-[x] Alien doctor.
I'd be all for spending time at the temple.... but after we fix our hand.
[x] Temple tour
-[x] Chat it up
-[x] Help out
-[x] Observe

How much are we allowed to pick? Can we choose from more than one branch?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the black onyx system take some damage? You know, that thing responsible for keeping Necroanon's soul in place. Shouldn't that be a priority?
[x] Hand job.
-[x] Alien doctor.

Better get ourselves patched upp before we do anything. We can't even eat food properly right now without spilling
[x] Hand job.
-[x] Alien doctor.

Help us, Eirin! We just need a new hand, easy right?
[X] Hand job
-[X] Alien doctor

Hand fixing gaems
[x] Temple tour
-[x] Chat it up
-[x] Help out
-[x] Observe

We owe her this much at the very least, even if there's a chance that we'll accomplish little.
[x] Hand job
-[x] Selfie

Voting this because it might be the cheapest option and I don't like the idea of Eirin getting near our black onyx.
Anyone remember the last time a CYOA protag got a hand job from Eirin?

[x] Hand job
-[x] Kappa mechanic

But seriously, why would Eirin help? What kind of bullshit would she ask in return? I think the less we deal with her, the better.

With the kappa, at worst we get a functional mechanical hand, at best we become a MAGITEK CYBORG.
>Anyone remember the last time a CYOA protag got a hand job from Eirin?
No, care to remind me?
That spoon feeding thing was totally sweet.

[x] Temple tour
-[x] Chat it up
-[x] Help out
-[x] Observe

The image of a kind, socially awkward man trying to help others and restore harmony while grievously wounded himself is really attractive. Honoring the scarf and all that.
Man, does no one here believe that Eirin can help people without further motives? Kinda reminds me of: http://www.touhou-project.com/gensokyo/res/172.html#4214
[x] Hand job
-[x] Selfie
[x] Surgeon simulator
-[x] Jiang-shi transplants

[x] Temple tour
-[x] Chat it up
-[x] Help out
-[x] Observe

Eirin has no reason to help us and will probably do some weird shit to us for shit and giggles given our previous interactions. We can fix it ourselves and then augment it with Jiangshi parts.

Deluge of Lunar Fantasy, an older story. When someone came in, she twisted our dick to prevent us from cumming, to conceal what was going on. So yeah, people are wary about the prospect.
[X] Hand job
-[X] Kappa mechanic

There's an order with these things: get hand, get corpse tools and materials, and get answers.
At first I thought about asking Mokou to donate a hand, but then I realized the truth. If we get an augmented hand we can attach whatever we damn-well please to it.
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[x]Hand job
-[x]Kappa mechanic

We are asking for this.
>Deluge of Lunar Fantasy
Oh, that one. I might just reread that.
[x] Dead men better tell a tale
-[x] Mokou’s clearing

I vote we head towards Eientei, to deal with Eirin in an entirely business-like manner, and do the summoning en-route. Reimu can get her information and go do her thing, while we get our hand fixed. THEN we can decide what to do next. Helping BYakuren should be near the top, I'd say.
[x] Hand job
-[x] Kappa Cybernetics

[x] Temple tour
-[x] Chat it up
-[x] Help out
-[x] Observe

Why? Because I could never pass up the possibility of a /Necrotech Megabuster/

More seriously, this is Reimu's Intuition talking here. We should probably heed it.
[x]Hand job
-[x]Kappa mechanic

Robo hand? Robo hand.
Don't do it man. Too many shitstorms to be enjoyable.
Eh. I'm good at skimming past them. It'd be thrown on the several-dozen-item backlog anyway so it would be quite a while at any rate. I'll probably have forgotten what, exactly, it was by time I get around to it.
>>170421 Here
Shifting to
[x] Kappa mechanic
Even Teruyo wouldn't want someone to read it. It is not that bad but just retarded choices that drag the story down.
magic and technology don't mix, and exceptions to this rule are rare.

Even Starwars, it's the case as Anikin's conversion into the Darth Vader we know basically ruined his overall ability to use the force (and basically made the best of it, becoming a rather slow but very powerful lightsaber duelist)

The writer is not Teruyo and the choice refers to fixing our hand. People like you are why /th/ is sometimes called the dumbest board.
That's cause he lost most of his body which meant that his ability to use a power connected to life was diminished cause he was mostly robot bits. We are only getting at most a bitchin hand.
Also we are not Jedi. And Touhou is not Star Wars
First, Anakin's conversion to a cyborg didn't diminish his Force power. It did diminish his physical agility, and it made him unable to use Force lightning without frying his arms, but he actively uses the Force to supplement his synthetic limbs' motors, and he frequently uses the Force for other purposes as well, such as blocking blaster bolts or choking the incompetent. If something had diminished his Force power, it would be related to him being physically and mentally destroyed following the events and battle on Mustafar.

Very frequently, including in Star Wars, magic and technology can coexist just fine. Whether this is true of a particular work tends to depend on things like the tone of the work, and the beliefs and knowledge of the author. Touhou itself has already shown magic and technology combined by the kappa, who use their innate control of water and other unnatural abilities right alongside and together with their advanced technology.

Secondly, >>170414 is clearly joking. The wording of the choice in question is also clearly meant to have a double meaning for the purpose of humor.
How do you type without a humerus bone in your body?
[x] Hand job
-[x] Kappa Cybernetics

We could go to Eirin and owe all sorts of favors for another shitty organic had, or we could slap on enough bones to manipulate objects and call it good...

...But neither of these will be as awesome as the flamethrower-equipped, extending-fingered Frankenhand that the kappa are likely to build for us just to show off that they can.
[x] Hand job
-[x] Kappa Cybernetics

you're assuming it will be outright better instead of actually thinking on the side effects.

Then again /th/ isn't exactly known for choosing sensible choices over flashy stupid ones.
Any side-effects a mechanical limb could have won't be as bad as owing a favor to Eirin.
[x] Hand job
-[x] Kappa Cybernetics

The last thing we need is for Eirin to go poking around our body and finding our Black Onyx thing, I'd rather have a robotic hand despite the disadvantages it could bring to our magic. Maybe we can fashion a skin covering for it and disguise it.

I'd like to help out Byakuren but I don't think we have the speech skill for that yet.
why would she need to poke around the body when she's fixing a hand? It's like you're selectively choosing facts that justify your choice.

I'd laugh if we get it and it just gets broken in the every next fight we get into.
[x] Temple tour
-[x] Chat it up
-[x] Help out
-[x] Observe

Against the tide...!
[x] Temple tour
-[x] Chat it up
-[x] Help out
-[x] Observe
To reconnect the nerves and work with the muscles, and so on; and also, I think the black onyx system goes right up into where his hand was, so it's not something that would be that hard for someone replacing that hand to find.
[x] Hand job.
-[x] Alien doctor.
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Votes called. Please wait warmly.
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“I would rather not go back to Eirin,” you admit. Not that you doubt her ability to fix your hand, but she rubbed you the wrong way.

“I do not fault you for that,” Byakuren agrees. “Does this mean you will be seeing what the kappa may provide?”

“I guess so.” You don’t have many other options if you aren’t entrusting the lunarian with your health. While you think you can regenerate your hand, you highly doubt you’d be able to make it fully functional. Your capabilities in the non-death aspects of life have never been your forte, especially because some of that ‘holy’ magic taught to you tends to burn. It’s an unfortunate side effect of your own self-image.

Plus, you’d like a permanent solution. As fun as it would be to run around with an undead hand maintaining it would be annoying.

“Very well then.” Byakuren collects the used dishes and dumps them back into the pot. “Shall we be off?”

After everybody stands up, you grab Byakuren’s shoulder as she tries to pass by. “You aren’t coming.”

The nun turns to you, a furrow in her eyebrows. “What was that?”

“Don’t you have to take care of things here at the temple, Byakuren?” you ask. “We were just talking about that.”

The nun smiles and pats the top of your hand, dismissing you like any adult does a cranky child. “Well perhaps, but priorities must be made-”

“Shouldn’t you be prioritizing the people living in your temple, then? Don’t you have a duty to make sure they’re all okay?” You don’t let up, interrupting Byakuren rather rudely without care.

“Yes, but-”

“I feel bad particularly about Ichirin. She took a lot of flak for us, all with a smile.”


“And she’s the polite, courteous one. I wonder what Minamitsu in all her mocking ways is going through.” Lay it on thicker why don’t you?

You could do it if you want. Guilt tripping isn’t a tough skill to learn. You just wished it worked more often. That’s because you tried it every day you little brat. Who wouldn’t get used to it?

The nun breaks before your very eyes, the sudden slack in her shoulders noticeable. “Very well. I will remain here and attend to matters.” Then she’s standing tall once more, suddenly in your face with a fierce look in her eyes. “But you need to take care of yourself!”


She pushes the dishes into your hands, forcing you to reflexively take them, freeing her hands to grab both of your shoulders. “It is obvious there is a severe flaw in your decision making process. Do not allow yourself to be distracted. Beware any scams. Do not startle the kappa or mock them. Be courteous. Be polite. Be vigilant for anybody that may wish you harm along the way, youkai or human.”

Sheesh, she’s worse than your actual sister! Hey! “I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine. You can stop fussing!”

You struggle with Byakuren for a moment who seems intent on transmitting all her polite mannerisms to you through her grip on your shoulders. Eventually you manage to shake off the nun who reluctantly takes back the used dishes. She watches you warily for another second before turning away.

She peeks out the door and turns to ask, “Will you wash up before you leave? The clothes you bought previously are still waiting for you in the room we prepared.”

Do it. How many days has it been since you washed up? It isn’t that bad. Do it. “Maybe really quickly.”

Yoshika moves to hang off your good arm as you approach the door, but someone doesn’t follow. “You coming Reimu?”

The shrine maiden, who was quietly sitting on the floor, looks startled. You see her frown as she thinks, before finally nodding and standing.

Byakuren leads the three of you sneaking through the halls. The sun is out, it’s a beautiful morning, and Byakuren is carefully checking around every corner. Reimu and you don’t speak while following her, but you’d like to. Byakuren is acting strangely.

She has a shifty looking guy and a shrine maiden that nobody saw enter the building with her. Oh, right. Thanks for clarifying. Uh-huh. You’re hopeless.

The bathroom Byakuren leads you to appears to be moderately sized, but is split down the middle by a barrier. There are showerheads on either side of the barrier with tiled floors and grated drainage holes. It’s reminiscent of a public shower at a gym or swimming pool.

“There should be nobody in this section of the building this early in the morning, but if you are able, please keep it quiet.” Reimu nods to the nun before stepping off to one side of the room, her clothes quickly thrown to rest on top of the barrier.

You move to the other side of the barrier but, before disrobing, glance back at the nun still standing in the doorway. “What? Do you want to wash me or something?”

“N-Not at all…” Byakuren ducks her head and disappears out the hallway, dishes in hand.

You shrug and disrobe, claiming a different portion of the barrier for your clothes.

Then you notice the undead girl intently staring at you, after you’ve taken your clothes off. Huh. The two of you stare at each other for several seconds, you wondering what is going on in her head. Can you hurry it up?

Right. “You take your clothes off too, Yoshika.” What?

The undead girl follows your command with a smile, quickly slipping out of her blouse, skirt, and undergarments. Her shoes are thrown to the side leaving a smiling, naked, jiang-shi.

“You forgot something.” You laugh when, after you off her hat, she pats her head in confusion.

Like staring at her body, huh? Oh please. You’ve already seen it all. You were the one fixing it, remember?

“Hold still, Yoshika.” The zombie girl squirms in your arms as you try to wash her hair and her body. You use the time to double-check her condition after all the fighting as well. The outside look good, but you still aren’t sure what her inner organs look like. It can’t be terrible, but you’re still curious.

She starts mewling when the shampoo gets in her eyes. “Quiet. You have your own hands, use them.”

“Master~” she whines, refusing to do anything for herself. Man, what a lazy girl. You spoil her, what do you expect?

Taking care of Yoshika and then yourself takes time. Byakuren has already returned when you turn off the showerhead. The nun is standing on the other side with Reimu, but drops two shopping bags over the top of the barrier. “I brought the clothes you bought so you may have a fresh change.”

Thanking the nun, you throw on a different pair of black pants and your comfortable jacket, while Yoshika pulls on a beautiful red dress. It’s one of those, what do you call them? Qipao, I think. Right, one of those traditional Chinese dresses with flowery designs. This one has long sleeves, but otherwise hugs Yoshika’s slender body well.

Reimu is…not dressed in her red-white outfit. Kind of obvious given that the clothes she has been wearing have been run ragged, but knowing that didn’t prepare you to see the shrine maiden out of her usual garments. She’s in a full white dress that comes down to her knees. If you had to guess, it would be one of Byakuren’s old dresses considering how similar it is to the one she wears now. You say older because it isn’t too loose on the shorter and flatter Reimu.

With everybody dressed, Byakuren ushers you all out through the temple’s back entrance. “Remember that you do indeed have a room set aside here. Use it, for once.” With her rather stern command given, the nun shuts you, Reimu, and Yoshika outside.

After a quick second, Reimu is off and through the air. You follow her well enough thanks to Byakuren’s gift of flight. Now that she doesn’t need to carry you, Yoshika can stick to your side as always even in the air.

You pull up alongside the shrine maiden in order to hold a conversation. “Thanks for showing me where to go, Reimu.”


“How are you feeling?”


“That makes sense.” Well, that was a lame answer. Yeah, try again. “I’m sorry about all that.”


“For getting you involved, especially after all the work you had already done.”

Reimu shrugs and continues flying.

This girl. You have no idea what else to say. Should you bring up something frivolous? Ask questions about the kappa? You end up not saying anything, content to fly in silence with Reimu.

Eventually, Reimu looks at you again. “Not your fault. Wasn’t going to help, remember?”

You forgot about that. It’s true. Reimu wasn’t going to help you protect the jiang-shi, even if she wanted to. Funny how that doesn’t feel too important anymore. “Why did you start fighting them then?”

Reimu doesn’t answer again, instead choosing to fly on. You stare at her, noticing when Reimu’s eyes just barely move to look at you. After you catch her glancing at you for a third time, she speaks. “You. You’re alive. My right to protect.”

“So it is my fault?”

“No!” Reimu stops in place when she shouts. You watch as she nervously shifts in place, grabbing her fingers with one hand for a quick second before forcing her arms to her sides.

You laugh. You can’t help it. You don’t want to laugh when Reimu is showing her emotions, but her nervous embarrassment is something you find hilarious. And that is why people hit you, Bro.

Luckily, Reimu opts not to hit you with something, although she is pouting fiercely. She turns and flies ahead of you, just fast enough that you can’t draw even with her.

Teasing Reimu is a ton of fun, like a barrel full of explosive, agitated monkeys. You’re beyond grateful for her assistance.
File 13723520187.jpg - (123.70KB, 843x595 , good-work-takes-time.jpg) [iqdb]
Youkai Mountain, always noticeable, becomes more prominent as you draw close. There isn’t much to describe. A green-covered mountain that towers over Gensokyo, you can see water falling and buildings dotting the sides.

Reimu unexpectedly turns before you reach the mountain, before you even break the border of the forest surrounding the mountain. She floats down to the ground, towards the river flowing out of the Great Youkai Forest.

“We aren’t going all the way to the mountain?”

The shrine maiden’s anger seems to have waned, considering she answers you at all. “Kappa bazaar here. Villager accessible.”

On the river, just where the forest meets the open field, there is a large commotion. Dozens of people are milling about on either side of the river, a stone bridge giving access to both sides. Tents are set up and wagons are parked. Some humans walk about and you notice a couple of youkai flying in as well.

The stars of the action are, naturally, the kappa. The river is partitioned, floating barriers giving each of the kappa their own small section. From their potion of the river they interact with those on the banks. The goods for sale are arrayed wherever the kappa see fit, standing on the grass or floating in the water. The mech-walker-thing sitting on the grass that a pair of dog-like youkai is examining might be the largest merchandise for sale, but it’s only on one end of the spectrum. One of the kappa looks like he is selling bags of paperclips or something.

In the crowds of people, a pair of purple ears stands out to you. “Is that Reisen?”

Reimu takes your cue and silently lands next to the rabbit youkai. It takes you smashing your feet into the earth, comparatively speaking, for Reisen to turn around. “Eh? Oh, it’s you all! How are you?”

Your highly expressive friend nods, leaving you the duty of giving Reisen something to talk about. “Well, I could be better,” you answer and raise your injured arm.

Reisen’s reaction is instantaneous. She hops forward, barely glancing at your injury before tugging on your other arm. “W-What happened? That looks serious! Come on, we should go see Master right away!”

Thankfully, she isn’t as incessant as the other woman you know. When you try to shake her off, she lets go immediately. “Thanks but no thanks, Reisen. I’m here to see if the kappa can help me with this.”

“Are you sure?” Reisen worries. “With an injury like that, we should check for further complications.”

“I’ll pass.” You give your firm denial and try to redirect the conversation. “Why are you here?”

The rabbit girl doesn’t look pleased at your none-too-subtle brushoff, but she continues on. “Master ordered a new device from the kappa. I’m here to pick it up. Oh!” Suddenly, Reisen kneels down on the ground and digs through her bag before jumping back up, a small tube in hand. “You should take this cream and apply it to the injury for a few days. It’s a tried and tested formula Master created! More than just an anti-bacterial, it’ll help with your skin and should speed recovery too!”

“I don’t think I can take this, Reisen.”

“Don’t worry, this is on the house. Think of it like a trial sample!”

You sigh and end up taking the tube from her. “So it’s just part of your marketing scheme, eh?”

“Not at all! I want to give you a gift,” she pauses for a second, “for some reason. It’s just friendly help, you know? I’m not on sales duty at the moment.”

You smirk and slip the present into a pocket. “Does that mean I can find you for free samples later, then?”

The rabbit’s nose wrinkles. “That sounds like system abuse.”

“Reisen! Here you go!” A kappa crawls out of the water from behind Reisen, holding a strange device.

It’s long, around three meters in length. The base seems like nothing more than smooth block of metal. Attached to it on the sides are leather straps, while along the top are arm-like pieces with circles on the end. Then there are smaller metal arms and rods connect them all and, well…nice description.

Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense. It’s a bar with little thingies coming out of it.

Reisen sets the device on the ground and pulls a syringe out of her bag. She sets it into one of the metal arms. When she pulls on a lever at the end of the device, all the arms move down in unison.

If you had to guess, it’s something like a multi-inoculator. Assuming the little metal arms are outfitted with syringes, you could theoretically stick nine people at once. It seems like it’d be a tight squeeze sitting people down for it, though.

“Thank you, Nitori.” Apparently satisfied with the work, Reisen stands and hands the kappa several bills. “Have a nice day!” she shouts as she bounces off in a hurry. “Remember to use the cream!”

You shake your head and eye the creature you’re here to see. The kappa, Nitori, looks like a little girl. Blue hair, teal clothes, green hat and green backpack, you would never guess she was a youkai engineer if she wasn’t carrying around a tool belt. “Reimu! Here to buy something?”

Nitori, strangely enough, looks completely dry despite having crawled out of the water.

“Not me,” Reimu answers and points to you.

The confidence Nitori had while facing Reimu vanishes when she turns to you. “Him? H-How can I help you sir?”

“Can you give me a hand?” you deadpan and raise your arm.

Your joke doesn’t faze Nitori at all. The kappa girl takes one look at your stump of a hand before diving back into the river. She re-emerges with a small case which she promptly pops open. “What kind are you looking for? We have prosthetics of all shapes, sizes, and materials ready-made.”

The ones Nitori show you are all what one might expect from a prosthetic; good-looking lumps of plastic or metal. The hands and feet in the container look well-made, but aren’t what you need. “I was thinking of something more useful.”

“Useful, huh? I’ve got just the thing for you!”

Back into the river she goes. Then out she comes, a different box propped open.

She pulls out one prosthetic hand before shaking it, electricity arcing off the tops of the fingers. “Give someone the surprise of their life with this shocking hand!”

“Or this fiery one.” A burst of fire, like a large lighter, momentarily flares in front of you.

The third hand has fingers that bend away to reveal a gleaming blade. “Or this stabby one! We can set it up with a variety of execution commands, from gestures to voice. We can vary intensity, too, so if you wanted to light a cigarette we have you covered!” Her sales pitch is good. It isn’t an aggressive sell like Reisen’s, but she has the advantage of selling to an interested customer.

Still, not what you meant. “When I said useful, I meant articulate. Like, well, a new hand.”

“Something like this?” Nitori asks while leaning forward. A white-gloved hand on the end of a metal arm emerges from her backpack. It waves at you and twiddles its fingers, somehow under the control of the smiling kappa.

“Well, yes. But something that is attached to my arm, preferably.”

“I can do that too!” she assures you. “It’s more complicated, though. It all depends on what you want. If you want the best performance, we would need to connect it to your nervous system, perhaps through your spinal cord, possibly a brain implant. After some practice, it’d be just like your old hand!

“Otherwise, we could have gestures or muscle movements to sort out some functionality. I doubt you could write with that, but you’d be able to pick up a cup or something. We could also try out an artificial intelligence to control the hand as the situation dictates! It’s one of my latest projects, but I think it has a ton of potential!” Nitori becomes more and more excited while she speaks, the slight hesitance when first meeting you nowhere to be found. “Does any of this sound right?”

“I think these are some interesting options.” You pick up one of her less useful hands and smack it against your arm. Solid metal, despite its appearance. It isn’t the worst alternative in the world if you were to use one temporarily.

“Great! Now, let’s talk price.” You blink in surprise when the kappa pulls a clipboard out from somewhere and starts scribbling on it. “Naturally, these advanced options aren’t cheap, but I guarantee they’re worth it! Further, if you sign with me, I’ll provide a lifetime of maintenance and throw in a-”

“Nitori.” Reimu speaks up, interrupting Nitori’s further yammering.

“What is it Reimu?”

The shrine maiden stares at the kappa, somehow conveying a serious message.

“No way! Like I said, this isn’t cheap!” Nitori cries out.

Gensokyo’s formidable shrine maiden is back in top form as she simply stares, her posture perfect and arms locked on her hips.

“Reimuuuuu. Are you trying to run me out of business?” Nitori swings her arms wide, gesturing to all the other kappa along the river. “Do you see these swindlers out here? Look at the quality of their work compared to their prices! It’s outrageous! But people still buy because it’s cheap. If I don’t charge high for the level of my work, I’m done for!”

Reimu is unflappable. She moves her arms from her hips and crosses them over her chest.

“F-Fine,” Nitori breaks, “I’ll comp it for a friend, but I’m not happy about it!”

The exchange leaves you feeling rather poor. “Nitori, I don’t want to cause you any trouble. What kind of price are you looking for?”

“It depends on the time and resources? For something particularly fancy, I don’t know, maybe this?” The kappa hands you her clipboard after scribbling more onto it.


That’s a lot of zeroes.

Yeah. You’d rather buy a mansion or something.

You hand Nitori back her clipboard and fish around in your pockets. You ignore the crumpled bills and instead empty one of the sacks of jewelry you have. “Would some of these work as compensation?”

“Whoa! That’s some pricy looking jewelry.” Nitori greedily takes the rings, earrings, bracelets, and other items from you and inspects them. “Why do you carry this around?”

“I’m used to bargaining with people that don’t accept money.” In truth, most of the jewelry you have is illicit gains; loot, from various sources that wouldn’t need the accessories any longer. You had to make a living somehow, at any rate. Peddling and health service is always good for a bit of cash.

“Well, Reimu is asking for a favor, so I wouldn’t want to take all your jewelry.” Nitori hands you back your possessions, but not before picking something out. “Buuut, if you insist, I think this earing goes great with my outfit! If you let me have this, I’d consider everything fair and square.”

“It looks good on you.”

“Thanks! So, if you want to go through with this, it’s best to be clear. I think I can fulfill anything you ask for within reason, but everything takes time. I have an articulated, mechanized hand I can hook you up with, slim and functional, but no frills. If you want it to launch missiles or something, I need time to adjust it.

“Likewise, if we need to operate to get your new hand working, don’t expect to wake up in an hour and go about your life flawlessly. There’ll be adjustment time, perhaps some physical therapy to get used to it if you want the help. There shouldn’t be any complications but, you know, that happens occasionally.”

So, she’s offering you whatever you want? Don’t get a rocket hand.

Why not? It seems cool!

There are better things you can do than punch people from a distance.

If she’s willing to put it on, why not?

It’s dumb.

Well, it’s one of many options you have. Your imagination is your limit, you guess, assuming you trust Nitori’s machinations.

The question then is all about timing. Can you afford to spend the better part of the day letting Nitori put funny metal bits into you? Could you get something temporary while Nitori makes you something better? Perhaps it’s better to find a different solution to your hand issues or, perhaps, table the idea for now.

[ ] Just kidding
[ ] Shop around
[ ] Ready-made
-[ ] Boring prosthetic
-[ ] Interesting prosthetic
--[ ] Electrified
--[ ] Flaming
--[ ] Bladed
-[ ] Articulated prosthetic
--[ ] Artificial intelligence
--[ ] Muscle reading
[ ] Customized
-[ ] <Special augmentations>
-[ ] Articulated prosthetic
--[ ] Nerve connections
--[ ] Brain hookup
[ ] <Write-in>


Choices are in order of how much time and work it’ll take. Ready-made category is something you can pretty much slap on and go. Customized either requires time for Nitori to construct the additional parts (the write-in sub-option, something like rocket punches or whatever) or for some surgery to take place.

Kind of confusing, hopefully that all makes sense. Ask questions if you need to, I’ll try to clarify.

Yeah, you can always pick more than one, but remember that A) Order is important because B) More often than not, events create choices. For instance, the last set of options was mostly mutually exclusive in part because they would physically take you to different locations.

Shh. We don’t talk about that here. Trying to take away the author’s fun toys for the future, tsk, tsk.

Because Eirin is a dick and Seiga is a dick and Byakuren is olev so there. Characters can’t be deeper than a puddle, silly.

Hah, I forgot about that, but man it was great. Oh, the ideas…

Also, Mokou’s hand would probably catch on fire and burn to ashes once you cut it off. But that’s pretty cool too.

I won’t divulge into the whole magic versus technology and diminishment in the modern world and all that jazz. Just know that technology is not magic’s antimatter. It’s A-Okay to mix.

>Black onyx system
The system is centered on five magical artifacts, the phylacteries of a former group of liches. These five black onyx gemstones (hence the name) were stripped of spells required to be phylacteries, leaving what amounts to high-capacity mana batteries.

These gemstones were enchanted up the whazoo and then surgically implanted in the body, all within the torso in various locations. In that manner, a loss of limbs does not render the magic any less effective. A physical examination of a hand wound would not reveal their existence. However, magic analyses might tell a different story.

What’s important is how the spells maintain their coverage. Each gemstone has the same spells and enchantments cast on it. Each gemstone also takes advantages of the user’s blood vessels as a base for the spells, pumping mana along the pre-created pathways to anchor the user’s soul to their entire body. To those magically aware, the black onyx system appears no different than the magical reserves of any normal magical creature (which are also situated throughout the body). However, bleeding all over the place and leaking magic would be…unusual, to say the least.

I think that covers anything relevant in a somewhat abbreviated manner. I tried to avoid writing pages upon pages of irrelevant magical theory, so if something doesn’t make sense, go ahead and ask (no guarantees my answers will make more sense).
>I have an articulated, mechanized hand I can hook you up with, slim and functional, but no frills.

[x] My hand is augmented
-[x] A balance between finesse (nerve-connected) and...
-[x] Heavy duty endurance and strength

We are a surgeon. Kind of. We need a hand that is, at least, functional for the job but... why not take the opportunity to get a new weapon in case we run out of juice again?

The hand is made but adjusting its strength and preparing the operation will take sometime I wager.

[x] My hand is augmented
-[x] A balance between finesse (nerve-connected) and...
-[x] Heavy duty endurance and strength

While the extra strength will come in handy, we need to move the hand a lot and it has to be exact movement. No extra bits like fire, rockets or blades, we just need a new hand thats actually working for our job.
what would the difference between a brain hookup and a nerve connection?
[x] My hand is augmented
-[x] A balance between finesse (nerve-connected) and...
-[x] Heavy duty endurance and strength
-[x] See if we can't later figure out a way to integrate it into the Black Onyx network. Some kind of arcanomechanical necromancy focus- like a wand, but an awesome robot hand, or something.

It's an interesting opportunity- and a very, very curious possibility. If it works, we'd end up with a very potent weapon. One that's potentially similar to Kasen's arm, actually. Hm.
I'm cool with pretty much anything, so long as we get an attachment that will let us ruffle hair as the great masters once did.
Here, I want to include >>170624 in my vote.
Brain hook means that the the hand is equal or better than a real one. An upgrade of the 'nerve connecting' option.

Disclaimer: I'm guessing
-[x] Articulated prosthetic
--[x] Nerve connections
because getting a brain implant is too risky. repairing our own spine/nerves should still be within our abilities.
Pretty much this: >>170628

If you’re looking to simulate your old hand as much as possible, hook that shit up to your noggin.

Technically speaking, you have Brain -> Nerves -> Muscles -> Movement in desired limb. Electrical signals all the way down. The options choose at what point in the chain of command you want Nitori to take directions for the artificial hand. Pulling information directly from the brain should offer the widest possible range of movements.

For a possibly exaggerated example:
Brain – Sexy time fingers
Nerves – Tense fingers
Muscles – Hand can grip
AI – Unintentional groping

This is kappa-level technology and it all looks pretty. Measly human-level technology (aka modern tech) manages a jerky hand grip after rewiring some nerves while looking noticeably mechanical.
[x] My hand is augmented
-[x] A balance between finesse (nerve-connected) and...
-[x] Heavy duty endurance and strength
-[x] See if we can't later figure out a way to integrate it into the Black Onyx network. Some kind of arcanomechanical necromancy focus- like a wand, but an awesome robot hand, or something.
-[X] Articulated prosthetic
--[X] Brain hookup
---[X]See if we can't later figure out a way to integrate it into the Black Onyx network. Some kind of arcanomechanical necromancy focus- like a wand, but an awesome robot hand, or something.

It would really suck to have to relearn shit with our off-hand. Also, sling spells with a magitek hand sounds like a really good time.
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this reminds me of something. though i can't put my finger on what it is...
-[X] Articulated prosthetic
--[X] Brain hookup

Deleted old vote in light of new information. We want to use our new hand as much as we can.

I still say this is better than owing Eirin a favor. Or letting her know about our Black Onyx System.
[x] My hand is augmented
-[x] A balance between finesse (nerve-connected) and...
-[x] Heavy duty endurance and strength
-[x] See if we can't later figure out a way to integrate it into the Black Onyx network. Some kind of arcanomechanical necromancy focus- like a wand, but an awesome robot hand, or something.

Stealing vote.png. The last part sounds awesome!
So, we are a dark-clad necromancer planning on getting an artificial hand which we want to enhance with arcane technology.

...We are becoming Darth Vader.

Original trilogy Darth Vader. None of that young Anakin Skywalker nonsense.
-[X] Articulated prosthetic
--[X] Brain hookup
I imagine the downside to getting a brain uplink is more downtime?
[x] My hand is augmented
-[X] Brain hookup
-[x] Heavy duty endurance and strength

Changing my vote to brain hookup.
when you can't beat the flow, join it.

I'm still concerned about the posserbility of failure though.
Among other possibilities. But, you only live once, yeah? No worries.
Hahaha. Except for the fact that we're a Necromancer, amirite?

Changing part of my vote for [x] Brain Uplink

Because, as you say, we only live once.
Going to vote later, but can we get a... secondary augmentation? I was thinking something along the line of protection for our eyes. Help with tracking bullets. I don't know, say... orange shades that slide out from metal coverings above our brow. I didn't ask for this

Also, how close can we get this hand to look like a perfectly normal hand? I mean, we're a necromancer. If we supply the necessary materials like skin to Nitori,can we have a flesh layer grafted on top so it seamlessly blends in? It's far more... surprising when the hand looks natural and does unexpected things.
[X] Customized
-[X] Retractable blade (Length retracted can make it a combat weapon, or a tool for surgery.)
-[X] Integrated Taser
-[X] Articulated prosthetic
--[X] Brain hookup

This is going to have us out of action for a while, but it should help by not needing to use magic for the skeleton scalpels.
[X] Customized
-[X] Retractable blade (Length retracted can make it a combat weapon, or a tool for surgery.)
-[X] Integrated Taser
-[X] Articulated prosthetic
--[X] Brain hookup
-[X] Articulated prosthetic
--[X] Brain hookup
---[X]See if we can't later figure out a way to integrate it into the Black Onyx network. Some kind of arcanomechanical necromancy focus- like a wand, but an awesome robot hand, or something.

Voting for the suitably necromantic option.
[X] Customized
-[X] Retractable blade (Length retracted can make it a combat weapon, or a tool for surgery.)
-[X] Articulated prosthetic
--[X] Brain hookup
-[X] Articulated prosthetic
--[X] Brain hookup
---[X]See if we can't later figure out a way to integrate it into the Black Onyx network. Some kind of arcanomechanical necromancy focus- like a wand, but an awesome robot hand, or something.

Black Onyx Network... Upgraded!!!
Okay, guys, aside from the actual votes there are a number of things to consider here...

We are in a popular commercial area and have, if not money, then an acceptable form of wealth. We also have need of (or at least could really use) a number of items:
-Supplies to repair our black onyx system (assuming we know what we need; we might need to take some time and assess that)
-Supplies to bring the jiang-shi up to our standards; on par with Yoshika would be a nice minimum, plus some extra supplies for fancy extras later
-Some kind of weapon which could effectively defend ourselves from a future reaper attack
--Hey, would the jiang-shi like/be able to use kappa armaments/gear?
-Any other useful doodads we could pick up for our necromantic rituals
-Arcane batteries to help make up for our terrible personal power level

Even if we don't have time to seek these things out ourselves, and even if they're not in this particular commercial area, we can write up a wishlist and have Reimu or Nitori recommend someone else to employ as our agent in acquiring them and then delivering them to us. Neither of them is likely to vouch for someone inclined to cheat us, and Reimu at least would probably run down and beat someone who mugged someone employed sort-of-maybe on her behalf, so we can have reasonable confidence in our success here.

If we do nerve/brain connections, we should spend at least some time trying to integrate the machine with our actual nerves using our fleshcrafting-magic. If we can grow scalpels out of our bones and regrow skin in hours, I think we can at least take a stab at improving some nerve hookups. If nothing else, our arm already has all the nerves that it needs- all we really need to do is wire them up properly to the mechanical hand. We should be able to at least make our hand a lot better than someone without any magical command of their own body would be able to manage.

If we're spending all day waiting on brain hookups or what have you and have some time where our personal attention is not necessary, we need to attend to Reimu's dead guy and the interrogation thereof. She's still on a timetable with that investigation and we agreed to help. Plus she fought reapers... well, clerk-reapers... on our behalf. That counts for enough that we should give her some priority. If it would be a bad idea to summon the guy in the kappa bazaar (and it probably would be) we can run off to a more empty site nearby and do the work. With the soul already summoned it shouldn't be too time-consuming to get answers, right?

That's all I can think of at the moment, but there are likely other items worth attending to if we've got a bit of downtime.
but that's not the choice at the moment.

I just hope the hand doesn't break at the first sign of trouble.
Of course it's not the choice at the moment. You may have noticed, however, that there is more to each update than the voted-upon choices. It's important to keep other considerations in mind- and written down, so the GM will know they're something to move toward if the character has a chance after moving upon the immediate vote.
Is ethereal touch an option? Maybe I'm being reactionary, but it miiight be nice as an option.
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“What are we looking at if I let you hook something into my brain?”

Nitori’s mechanical arm pops out of her backpack with a drawing in hand. The little kappa holds it up so you can see. It’s a basic drawing of a human head, detailing what Nitori would implant. “Just a few small pieces of metal and wiring, don’t worry! It’s so tiny, you wouldn’t even notice. It’d look just like a silver vein. If I pull signal data directly from your brain, you’d have a perfectly functioning hand after you’d gotten used to it.”

“Still sounds too good to be true.”

“It isn’t! Wait here.” She dashes off and dives into the water, once again re-merging with a box in hand. “See, this is the hand I have in mind.”

Is this the magic river or something? Why does she have all this with her? Maybe prosthetics are a big business for her?

She pulls out a mechanical hand, a metal piece that looks very much like a shiny, grey hand. She takes a few wires out of the end of the hand and plugs them into a box. Then the fingers begin to move, splaying out and making a peace sign. “I’m controlling it remotely right now, but it would work just as well off your own electrical signals.”

You stoop over and examine the hand, poking it a few times. “It looks kind of flimsy to me.”

“Well, it is. This model simulates a human hand rather closely. Is that a problem?”

“I’d prefer something durable and strong. I’m a magician, see, and I can make a hand of flesh rather powerful.” Sure, you’d have to necrotize the flesh, but the point still stands. It’s no good if the metal hand is weaker than what you can do.

“Let’s see. I can make some quick enhancements, I think.” Nitori sketches on her note pad, visually showing the changes she would make. “The motors aren’t fully taxed at the moment, so adding on extra layers and reinforcing the joints shouldn’t be much of a hassle. The hand would end up being larger than your other one if I do that.”

The bulk would be similar to if you put on well-fitted padded glove. The difference would only be noticeable if someone was watching your hands closely. “What level of improvement could I expect?”

“If you go with what I have in mind,” Nitori taps her pen to her forehead while she thinks. Her mechanical arm extends from her backpack and grabs a sheet of metal sitting on the banks. “For durability, you could punch this with a finger without any damage. Strength-wise, the hand can already crumple the sheet.”

Nitori’s mechanical hand holds the pocket-sized sheet up so that you can inspect it.

You curl your good hand and punch it. “Damn that hurts!” That was dumb. What was the point of that?

You wanted to see what it was like. There’s no way you’d try to jam a single finger into the sheet now. If you put your magic into it, you imagine you could at least dent the metal, but finger breakage would still be likely.

After shaking out the pain, you take the sheet in hand and try to crush the metal. No dice. It doesn’t even budge.

Nitori takes the sheet from you and places it in the artificial hand. After fiddling with her remote control, you watch the fingers curl, bending and tearing the metal.

Fair enough. “Okay, I think those modifications would work. How long would it take you?”

“Not long at all!” she chirps, putting everything away. “I was already thinking about making these adjustments anyway. It’d take less than an hour to enhance it. Is that all you wanted?”

“How long do you think other mods would take? Like say, a retractable blade or a taser?”

Her answer is instantaneous. “At least a day, if not more. To make those fit into the form of the hand would take a reworking of the design. They would still extrude to some extent as well.”

“That’s fine, I don’t think they’re too important.” The additional functionality would be neat, but the additions would ruin the appearance of the hand. You’re worse than a girl, caring about how you look. It’s important to consider! No reason to look like a freak outside of work. Yeah, you sound like one enough anyway. “What about magic? Can I get a boost from the hand?”

Nitori looks at you funnily before sighing. “Maybe? I honestly can’t say. I don’t work with magic in my projects beyond my own power. There shouldn’t be a problem if you want to do something with it.”

You might tinker with it if you have the time and can find the resources. At the very least, it’s not like this hand will hinder your rather measly spell casting. Yet, this line of thought causes a relevant concern to cross your mind. “The only part of me this hand needs is my brain, right? Everything else is independent?”

“Well, it’d be hooking it to your wrist, too. There’s some pressure feedback and a very minor sense of touch as well. If the sensation hits too high of a threshold it’ll cut off so it won’t be a hindrance, but there’s that.”

“It doesn’t need my blood or anything?

“Uh, nope. It’s all self-powered, self-contained. The radioisotope I’m using for the battery is-”

“Hold on,” you stop Nitori. “Radioisotope? Like, radioactive isotope? Nuclear power?”

Nitori beams at you and pulls out another diagram. “Yeah! After the Moriya set up their reactor underground, I’ve been learning a fair bit about-”

“I do not want a nuclear-powered hand!”

The kappa looks offended that you didn’t even listen to her explanation. “It’s perfectly safe! There aren’t any chain reactions involved or whatever else you might be thinking of. No risks of meltdowns or poisoning or whatever. Everything is perfectly shielded and prepared for. It’s stronger than anything you humans have worked out, but it’s safe.”

“I see.” You asked because you did not want Nitori poking around in the rest of your body. Your black onyx system isn’t delicate, but you’d rather her not mess with it.

Much like your possible new hand, the magical system you created is fairly independent of the rest of you. Sure, it’s sitting in your body and sure, it’s using your veins, but that’s only so it can achieve its goal. The gemstones circulate magic in your body, but none of that is yours to command. It’s all a part of clamping your soul down tight, protecting it from any outside influence.

The onyx gemstones each have a ridiculous amount of magic, enough to theoretically reconstruct a lich’s body, but you don’t have access to it. It’s a closed circuit. Unless you wanted to completely remove a gem from your body and chuck it at someone, you can’t take advantage of that energy.

Your own reserve of magic is a byproduct of the system. It turns out that having powerful magic spells constantly circulating in your body builds magical ability. If you wanted to compare magical power to skin cancer, then the black onyx system is your own miniature sun. You can’t harness energy directly from the source, but it’s still hitting you with its rays. That is a terrible analogy.

Whatever. Point is, you don’t want to modify the system. While you could theoretically power up significantly, run around shooting death rays, doing so means invalidating your soul protection.

And that, in the end, is something you aren’t going to do. No amount of power is worth that risk. How sweet. I’m touched. Now that we’re on the topic, is your beloved system safe after that last fight?

You…aren’t sure. You cast a pulse of your magic into your body, trying to assess the condition of the gemstones. The protection is still in place, but there is some sort of problem. Physically, the gemstones are still there. You suspect that spells on an individual onyx piece have been shattered or that the mana stored in one of the gems has been depleted, but anything could have happened.

“Hello?” Nitori asks, waving a hand in front of your eyes.

“Sorry. How long would this take to implant?”

“Excluding the minor changes you wanted to make…I’d say around six hours from when we get to my lab to when you’re ready to walk out.”

“That seems like a long time.”

“That includes preparations, surgery, and recovery time. When I say recovery time, I mean make sure nothing went wrong and that you have some control over your strength. Maybe install a limiter. We wouldn’t want you crushing any cups, or worse.”

Well, that leaves one question on your mind. “Where’s your lab?”

“Over closer to the mountain. It’s a quick swim upriver. Do you want to head over there now?”

That’s the real question, isn’t it? The operation will take up half your day, whether you start now or later. It is midmorning right now, and you still have quite a number of things you should do. Juggling all these social interactions is tough. It was easier when you could skulk in the darkness with one goal at a time. You’re growing up. It makes a sister feel proud.

[ ] Get it on
[ ] Delay
-[ ] Shop around
--[ ] <For what?>
-[ ] I see dead people
--[ ] Hakurei shrine
--[ ] Myouren Temple cemetery
--[ ] Great Youkai Forest
--[ ] Out in the fields
--[ ] <Somewhere else>
[ ] Let’s reschedule
-[ ] Consult with Eirin about Nitori’s practice
-[ ] Head back to the temple
-[ ] Look for Nazrin and see what she’s found
[ ] <Write-in>


Hey! I liked Anakin. Who doesn’t like a whiny, angsty kid? I’ll drag us down that road yet!

This guy gets it. Obviously, I can work with just a single vote, but added comments are always nice. Other than making me feel good, knowing what the readers intend is useful (for many more reasons than just ‘I can mess with you better’).

That’s mostly due to my nature of over-writing everything, but hey, what can you do? I’ll try and change my writing style (again, and with more effort) on my third story.

[x] Get it on.

Anyone else see a reason not to?
[x] Get it on

With Nitori.

[x] Get it on
Hurry. I miss byakuren already.
I have reservations about letting the Kappa poke in our brains. Has she done this operation before? Is she reputable, or will there be a reputable surgeon there?

Also important: We have a passenger. I dunno if she is "hanging out" in our brain or in our soul, but might this operation carry a risk of accidental exorcism?

If both of these things are safe, then

[x]Get it on
[X] Get it on

The sooner we have a pair of working hands, the sooner we can get back to important things, like finding out who killed that ungrateful douche farmer (the fatal wound, not the following accidental overdose by Reisen). Also, Sister and Byakuren will probably be happy to see us take care of ourselves for once.
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[X] Get on with it.
[x] Get it on

I would have liked to interact with the sexy nun but let's do the thing we came here for.
You guys are asses.
> Wat

Oh, right, the reapers were still corporeal, and I'm not sure it'd help against the blade.

... still useful!
[x] Get it on
[X] Delay
-[X] I see dead people
--[X] Hakurei shrine

Let's question the shovel man before we start doing things that would put us out of action.
Have any of you guys thought about the deal that the sister made with the reaper? It would be great to know what is going on.
[x] Get it on

And see how well it actually works.
[ ] Get it on
Want to make it back before it's dark to the temple.
What the paperwork thing? That probably isn't going to come back and bite us in the ass.
Unless we're talking about ridiculous levels of paper stacks we should be able to finish easily.
I very much doubt our sister is telling us everything on that front. considering how we are, I'm willing to bet our sister is similar, twisting words so they technically get the point across. kinda like sphinxes and genies: you wish to be famous and end up a national criminal.

[X] get it over with
we do need to inspect our black onyx systems tho, so lets talk to sis and do that later. maybe while we recover we can talk to her? if we aren't loopy from anesthetic, that is. i doubt brain surgery can be done with just some ice and something to bite down on.
Well, any other questions that someone has a burning desire to ask? About the story or otherwise, seeing as this thread is near expiring?
Did Necroanon have to rekill some liches to get the gems for the black onyx system or did he just stumble upon them?
I too, wish for more sexy nun encounters. So lets get our hand implant done in the morning, knock ourselves out for the afternoon, and see if we can make it back to the temple for the night. Else wise, we'll need to find another place to crash for the night, most likely Reimu's for safety considering we would have just had a major operation.
[x] Delay
-[x] I see dead people
--[x] Out in the fields

We can get a new hand later, and hopefully we can get a lead now. Right now, that dude is the only thing going for the murder case. This way, Reimu can continue her investigation while we recover.
How is it that we can regrow huge amounts of flesh in a day, and can resculpt and yank out our bones on a whim to use as surgical tools, but we can't grow back a decent hand?

Have you seen the number of bones and tendons that make up a hand? Hands are about the most complex constructs of the human skeletal structure that we've got. If growing a pound of flesh back is like baking a sheet cake, then regenerating a new hand is like trying to manage the frosting on something you'd see out of Cake Boss.
Sure, but it's not like we'd have to do it quickly, we can correct any errors as we go given our control over our body, and we have a fully functional working hand to use as a template/reference. I wouldn't expect us to be able to pop a new one right out of our wrist, but it seems to have been presented as beyond our ability to do at all- which seems odd, given that we're a high-skill but low-power type, and would logically have the power to accomplish this over time given what we've done already.
At the very least, he's not pulling out his own bones to use as tools/weapons. He has a bunch he's collected in his bags/pouches/pockets that he uses as weapons or spell reagent.
I'm assuming it's more that we need something quick, and creating a hand is not quick, especially without said hand to aid in the creation process. not too mention, we can make a hand out of flesh, but a symbiosis of man and metal is potentially more powerful, as the potential upgrades indicated. metal doesn't crumble as easily, and can do more than normal flesh in the same space. if necroanon wanted to make himself able to crush metal sheets easily, he would have done it before. if we get this metal hand now, and tinker with it later with our own brand of ingenuity, we may come out of this better than before. or it might blow up in our face with an inspector gadget amount of screwing up simple tasks. depends on how sadistic the author is.
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A certain group of crusading religious fanatics, whose sworn mission is to combat the evil forces in the modern world that would lead humanity astray, put down that particular group of liches. Necroanon was, at the time, affiliated with the group and saw the paladins cleanse the phylacteries and lock them up. He then stole them for his purposes once he was ready.

They also have a legal group! It’s markedly less successful than the ‘kicking down doors and putting people to the sword’ division.

It’s the difference between- uh, >>170865. What he said.

In one case, it’s simply stimulating some stem cells and regular cells to work faster to repair tissue. The other involves an intensive application of magic to do things the body shouldn’t be able to do. It’s not beyond possible, but considering there’s never been any practice at regenerating a hand from scratch, it might take chopping it off and trying again a few times to get it working properly.

Also, I suppose this has been unclear, but- uh, >>170895. What he said. Damn it people, what am I supposed to answer?

I might not be remembering correctly, but I believe all cases of truly weaponized bones so far have been these collected ones (or perhaps a sharpened finger bone, which can simply be retracted back into the finger).

Shooting out ribs as lethal projectiles is possible, but is also rather intensive to fix.

>sadistic author

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