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167739 No. 167739
[-e-] All of the above.

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You almost decide to immediately accede to her request. There is no doubt that you need her help, that is sure. However, the terms that she offered were hardly helpful to you. In return for your assistance in making Margaret real once more, she offers to dump you back in Gensokyo. You need a bit more than that.

"…How about this." The girl's eyes narrow, but she doesn't say anything to stop you. "I'll help you find Margaret. I owe her quite the debt, and I doubt that I'll ever truly repay it. But in return, will you help me find the others who are my friends? I have no idea where they are, and that land… I have no idea how large it is, or where they may be. What if they are spread around this world, instead of that one?"

Marisa frowns for a few seconds as she judges you. "All that we tend to care about is eliminating threats to the humans here. If there are other changelings in this world, or Youkai, we just exterminate them. Simple as that. We don't make it a habit to go to that world, unless we have to."

Sighing, you shake your head. "Still, that will put me back at step one. You were able to find me easily enough. I mean, I came back into this world a day ago. Tops. And you've already captured me."

The girl's chest inflates a bit as she puffs out in pride. "I am rather good at what I do, you know. Although, if you had managed to hide yourself again, it would have been much harder to grab your trail once more."

"Still. You know how to track Youkai." Crossing your arms, you stare down at her, meeting her golden eyes head on. "If you helped me, we could find them much more easily."

Eventually, she shakes her head. "It's… It's quite dangerous, going to the other side. You hardly know the worst of it. Time moves different over there. It could have been five minutes since you left. It could have been five years." Sighing, Marisa looks up at you. "The odds of recovering them aren't that great."

You close your eyes and take a deep breath, calming yourself before anything happens. "What if it were one of your friends? Wouldn't you immediately rush off to go and save them, damn the consequences?"

"…I have done that before." Sighing, she shakes her head. "Look, I'll think about it, ok? There are others that rely on me. I can't save everyone. …I'm just a witch, not some sort of superhero."

"That I know. …And I suppose that is all that I can ask." The two of you stand there rather awkwardly spending nearly a minute just staring down each other. Growing tired of the standoff, you eventually sigh and rub the back of your head. "Still… thanks for just asking me to help you. It would have been rather easy for you to order me to do as such."

Marisa shrugs at your response. "It's not that big of a deal. I am still testing you, and I do have control over you. If you don't live up to your end of the bargain, I can force you to do it."

Shaking your head, you wave the thought away. "That… Won't be necessary. I want to help her too, you know…" The two of you lapse into silence again before Marisa checks her pocket. "What was it?"

"Nothing. Just called for some backup. I was rather startled when she disappeared. They'll be here soon enough, though." Your stomach drops at the thought of having to evade more mushroom witches, or whatever else might be coming after you. Apparently this particular witch was able to notice her fear, as she breaks out laughing. "Don't worry. I'll call them off. I wouldn't want them my new pet."

At her new name for you, you immediately bristle. "I am noone's pet." It takes you a few moments to realize that you are loudly snarling, and you force yourself to calm down. "Never call me that. That was what she made sure to call all of us. I am nobody's plaything."

The witch takes a step back, holding one arm up as the other falls to her pocket. "Alright, alright, calm down. Don't lose your temper, now. I'd rather not have to spark you. I'd have an aneurism, as open as this place is." Frowning, she keeps her hand on her pocket until you fold your wings back off. "Touchy…"

"Yes. Yes I am." You take another deep breath to calm down the raging beast that is screeching loudly in your head. "Also, I should point out that I am rather new to this whole… Well, not being human. If I do anything that seems strange just… Please don't overreact. Talk me down out of it. I don't want to hurt anybody." Slowly, you raise your claw until you tap the side of your head. "It's… not quite all kosher in here, you might imagine."

"That I can." Sighing, she nods. "Fine, fine. I won't zap you at the first chance. But if you do harm any of the others…"

"If I didn't have a good reason, and if I was still in my right mind, I would do it myself." The girl raises an eyebrow at your remark, but says nothing else. "…And also, don't go spreading around my name. I don't want to be constantly ordered around by everyone who may hear."

Snorting, the witch waves you off. "It is more complicated than that. I had to invoke it correctly in order to gain control. The spell is a real pain to do as such, though, so it isn't as if anybody could just take your name out of a phone book and make you obey their every word."

"…Maybe that's why she didn't…" Sighing, you shake the thought out of your head. "That's just a bunch of what ifs. Time for that later." At a lack of anything else to say, you turn to her and ask, "So, what happens now? Are we going to sit here all day?" Although you'd rather not mention it, all this iron is bothering you, if just barely."

"We're waiting for my backup." Chuckling, she grabs the broom. "Once she gets here, I'm going to grab my bag. I haven't heard of any more Youkai causing incidents, so we'll have to get back before anyone decides to interfere."

"Lovely." Sighing, you look around before edging away from the nearby rusty car. "So, when are they going to show up?"

"Knowing her? I called her about thirty minutes ago, so… Any second." Marisa snaps her fingers and freezes, as if expecting them to arrive at that moment. As seconds tick by she starts to visibly droop. "…You know, usually, I have her figured out―"

Before she finishes speaking, the ground beneath your feet begins to shake. It is just a slight tremor, but it is constant, not going away. "What in the world? What is that supposed to be?" She mentioned backup, but what kind of backup would involve an earthquake? "What do you have coming here?"

"Just a friend. Although, I hadn't expected her to take the direct route." Grinning all of the sudden, the witch leaps to her broom and floats up, her nose beginning to bleed the moment she lifts off. "I'd suggest you get up and off the ground. No telling where she is going to come up from."

"…Up?" Paling, you immediately flap your wings as the shaking nearly becomes too much for you to stand upright. Moments after you leave the ground, you seem the dirty below you scatter from side to side before a metal point emerges from right where you were standing.

Said point grows larger and larger as it emerges from the ground, eventually showing itself to be a shining, whirling cone that is twice as long as you are tall, and nearly six feet wide. Behind it is a large, metal body that is etched with an extraordinary amount of interlaced lines and symbols.

Eventually, the metallic monstrosity finishes emerging from the ground and falls onto a pair of treads, crushing a nearby vehicle in the process. It sits there for a few seconds as steam leaves an exhaust pipe on the rear of it before slowly turning around to face straight at you.

The machine then sits there once more as both you and Marisa stare at it. While you glance back at her, wanting some sort of answer, she just grins back at you, not answering at all. Eventually, the cone on the front of the enormous vehicle powers down, coming to a stop and revealing itself to be an exceptionally large drill. Seconds later, you hear metal sliding on metal before the hatch on the top pops open.

From the hatch emerges a surprisingly young girl in pigtails. While the first thought in your head is that she looks adorable, if rather out of place, you immediately pause as you see her pull a rather odd shaped device from her belt. While quite fanciful in design, you can recognize a firearm when you see one. "What's the problem, Marisa? This Youkai seems to be under control. Are there others you need my health with?"

Chuckling awkwardly, Marisa responds. "Well, let's just say I overreacted a teensy little bit. I could have taken him easily, I was just afraid he had done something nasty or that he was rather more insidious than he appears to be otherwise." Slowly, she begins to edge away, though you hardly have to wonder why as the look on the small girl's face grows thunderous.

"Marisa! What do you think you're doing, going off like that?" Grumbling, the girl hops onto the top of the tank and stares her down. "I just had to come from half a world away… You could have at least called me and had it under control."

"I could." Still grinning, Marisa continues to float away. "But I was coming back home after this was done, anyways. So I figured I might as well let you come, so that then we could hitch a ride back!" Seeing that her argument wasn't winning, she winks at you. "Alright, sheesh. Mr. Changeling whose name I can't say, would you kindly tell my friend what's going on? I need to go and fetch my stuff from the house. I know it's a lot to do, so I am going to take my time."

Before you can try to reply to the smug girl, she has already darted off between the buildings once more, landing on the ground near a nearby house and vanishing seconds later. "Great, just great…" Turning back around, you see that newly arrived girl is kneading her forehead in frustration. After a few seconds, she falls onto the top of her vehicle before staring off into the sky.

[ ] Approach her cautiously. You don't want to frighten her.
[ ] Just fly right up. You're still a person. Just remember to use your left hand.
[ ] …Technically, she didn't order you to do anything...

No. 167741
Part One: >>166200
No. 167746
Awesome. That's almost exactly how I hoped the conversation would go, considering the circumstances.

[x] Approach her cautiously. You don't want to frighten her.

Best to be careful she doesn't know us. We should do what Marisa asked, she's seems to be treating us like she does other people, even if she's pawning work on us. This is important, I think we're gaining her trust, somewhat.
No. 167747
[X] Approach her cautiously. You don't want to frighten her.
No. 167748
[x] Approach her cautiously. You don't want to frighten her.
No. 167749
Dat tank. Dat super science. The Youkai Hunters have the best ride ever.

[x] Approach her cautiously. You don't want to frighten her.
No. 167752
File 13679086441.jpg - (582.81KB , 728x1024 , tank girl living the dream?.jpg ) [iqdb]
167752
[-f-] Approach her cautiously. You don't want to frighten her.

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

Flapping your wings once, you float back down to the ground, landing quite a distance away from her. Slowly you tread over to her, pointedly skirting around the end of the drill, before looking up from the ground. "Err… Well, not sure how to say this. But hello there."

The girl takes a few moments to realize who was speaking to her, as she had been entranced by the blue sky above her. "Eh? Wait a second…" You hear feet scuffling against the hard metal of the top, and her head eventually pokes over the side, her pigtails hanging down the side of the metal beast. "Oh. You. …Marisa said you were a changeling?"

"That I am." Shrugging, you make sure to keep your one hand down and away from her, just in case. "Of course, it took her a fair bit to get her to believe that much. …Took giving her my name, it seems. Cast some spell to make me obey whatever she says."

Staring lazily at you, the girl eventually nods. "Oh, I see. …Pretty bad. Can't say I know how you feel. …There is another changeling that has the same condition back at home, though. He's harmless, but his power is… well, it's quite dangerous. He was the one who volunteered for it."

"…I can't say I can imagine such a situation." Granted, you're not quite chafing under your current bonds, but you can hardly imagine willingly giving up your freedom like that. "That can wait, though. I suppose I should tell you what's going on?"

"…You don't have to tell. Seems like it's Marisa's fault, again." Groaning, the girl slumps against the side of her vehicle. "Reimu is going to kill me. She told me I shouldn't take one of the tanks out… But I was worried that she would need help, so I took the one that would be fastest."

You stare at the pile of metal that the girl is sitting on for a few seconds. The blocky contraption is hardly aerodynamic at all. Granted, you don't know how one would move quickly underground, but such a boxy configuration shouldn't help at all. "Err… How is that the fastest?"

"Well, the fastest way from point A to point B is a straight line. Usually. While in normal circumstances our flying tank would be quicker, we do have a few canisters of pressurized ether on board. All I had to do was to route it through the prepared ejection port at the end of the drill and it lubricates the tunnel. Combine that with the engine I personally designed, and we were able to make it faster this way."

"…I'm not sure what would be more surprising. You using ether, the fact that you apparently have a flying tank, or that a fourteen old girl designed this all."

"Hey!" Crossing her arms, she leans up. "I'm eighteen, thank you very much! I just… I just haven't finished developing yet!" Pouting a bit, she looks down. "Yeah, that's right. Not finished..."

After a few seconds, you begin to snicker. "That's… Well, if you say so." You finally cover your mouth to stop the laughter from escaping, but you end up drawing the ire of the girl once more.

"What's so funny?" Frowning, she pulls out a wrench from a pocket and waves it at you rather threateningly. "Are you trying to make fun of me? Stupid changeling…"

"Nah, I'm not." You grin up at her, but quickly wipe the look from your face seconds later. "It's just… Almost surreal. It wasn't long ago that I was having to run for my life. In fact, it wasn't even half an hour ago. And listening to that just seemed so… normal. I couldn't help it."

The girl turns her nose up at you before sitting up. "Hrmpf. Fine. Be that way." At that, she decides to remain quiet, not talking to you at all. The two of you remain that way for a few minutes, as you don't wish to break the silence and accidentally insult her once again. Eventually, though, you hear her small voice speak up. "…So what did happen?"

Sighing, you quickly explain. "Came back to this world. Fell out of a building. Made a crater in the ground. Immediately started to run. Found someplace to hide and fell asleep. Marisa apparently found a girl whose memories are in my head and helped her a bit, and either took a shine to her or just decided to look out for her. I woke up, and that girl disappeared, Marisa went crazy and shot me with a giant laser."

"…Wait. Giant laser." Blinking, she immediately looks down over the side at you. "How did you survive her spark? It nearly kills her! One of these days, it will…"

Pausing, you just shake your head, as you have no idea. "It wasn't that bad. It was only about yea big." You hold your hands up, spacing them as if you were gripping a softball. "And she was bleeding a bit, but it wasn't enough to slower her down."

"Oh." The girl sighs a bit and slumps back down. "Then just a regular… I thought you were talking about a master spark. Those things level anything in their path."

"…I probably would have gotten that if I had been less cooperative." You remember the murderous look in her eyes. While the witch's smiling face may hide it, there is a terrible aggression lurking inside of her. That is just another reason to never anger her. "But yeah. That's the basics. …I'm sure you'll get the details later."

The girl shrugs at you. "Sooner or later, I suppose." Before sitting back up, she finally meets your eyes. "Get up here, will you? It's tiring having to talk down at you."

Taking the invitation for what it is, you flap your wings once, gaining enough height to leap onto the tank easily. Taking a moment to fold your wings, you sit down on the surface, keeping a fair distance from her. "Well, I'm here. What did you want?"

Seconds tick by, and you realize that the girl isn't paying attention to you. Instead, she is staring at your left arm, the one wooden all the way to the shoulder. "What happened to you? I thought you were just a beast, but… That isn't natural."

"Is any of this?" Shrugging your shoulders, you hold up your left hand for her to get a good look at. "Not like this is anything special. I just broke a tea cup, and a Youkai asked if I wanted a replacement." You can't help but to chuckle a bit. "…Granted, she never specified it was the cup that she would be replacing."

"…Ouch." Looking down, the girl shakes her head, making her pigtails bob back and forth. "Still, anything messed up…" Not really wanting to say, she points at the side of her head as a rather pained look crosses her face.

Nodding, you explain. "It's… I've got the bestial part of me always trying to encourage me to do things that I would never do. The elemental that is within me isn't really as strong, but the music box sings on its own, sometimes. That, and I have a life's worth of memories tucked away in a corner that apparently manifests when I sleep. At least, that is the only way that makes any sort of sense, now that I think about it."

The girl eventually nods, looking rather distracted. "Right, right. That sounds… pretty bad. Yeah. Pretty bad." Still, she seems rather distracted by something, and the conversation lulls for a few seconds.

"…You've something on your mind. Do you want to talk about it?"

"Not really. It's just… It's private." Well, that makes sense enough. Probably going to need more than that to cheer her back up. Maybe then she'd be willing to speak more. If you are going to a place where a bunch of people that hunt those like you and those who originally took you, you might want to make sure that you get along well with those you do meet.

[ ] What is this group you are working for?
[ ] so, you were the one to come for Marisa?
[ ] …Tanks?
[ ] Write-in
No. 167753
[x] ...Tanks?
-[x] Ask about what her friends think about her mechanical babies. Try to avoid any landmines.

/TANKS./

Really, it's the best way to cheer her up. And to get her to speak more naturally about the people she works with.
No. 167754
[x] ...Tanks?
-[x] Ask about what her friends think about her mechanical babies. Try to avoid any landmines.
No. 167758
[x] ...Tanks?
-[x] Ask about what her friends think about her mechanical babies. Try to avoid any landmines.

Sounds like a good topic for a conversation with Rika.
No. 167778
[x] ...Tanks?

Seems a decent conversational option.
No. 167785
You know, you should tread carefully. Wouldn't want to gum up the tracks because you shot your first round before acquiring the correct target. Granted, as this isn't canon, it might be hard to find the correct range before you gun the engine and advance.

Enough horrible and forced puns. Writing now.
No. 167789
File 13679640184.jpg - (348.82KB , 766x1000 , pay no attention to the eye at the bottom of the p.jpg ) [iqdb]
167789
[-g-] …Tanks?
-[-g-] Ask about what her friends think about her mechanical babies. Try to avoid any landmines.

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

You look down at the vehicle that you are sitting on for a few seconds, still trying to comprehend it. Monstrosities like yourself are easy to understand. You've already seen enough, so anything similar would hardly surprise you. However, this is not something you would have expected at any point in time. And one girl says that she built it.

"…So, you work on tanks?" You swear that you see the girl's pigtails perk up along with the rest of her, but you just shrug it off for the moment. "You said you built this one, and you mentioned a flying tank, as ridiculous as that sounds…"

"Well, that one is the hardest to use." Her eyes have already snapped back to you as she begins to explain. "It also requires a goodly supply of ether just to keep it in the air. That's the other reason we don't use it much, as it is difficult for us to require large amounts of it." Sighing, the girl leans down and puts her chin on her hands before looking up at you. "But those two are our more fantastical tanks. We have a bunch of others that we keep in the garage."

She seems to be cheering up enough, at least as far as you can tell. She isn't staring far off into the distance again. "Really? You've got more than those two?" Reaching down, you pat the top of the tank for emphasis.

"Well, of course." The girl sits back up straight and starts counting off her fingers. "We have these two, and as you can see this one doesn't have a canon. Technically it isn't a tank, but the drill is strong enough with its primium tip that it can be considered a weapon in its own right. The flyer is not the strongest of the bunch, but it's quick and it's light. Quite good enough for the small niche it fills."

Before you can respond, she continues. "As for our others… We have a walking prototype that we― I am still tinkering with." The look appears in her eyes once more, but she shakes it off and keeps explaining. "It has a much smaller footprint than the others, and I might actually get to see more time in the field with Marisa and the others. …Doubtful, though. They need someone to be mission control…"

Once again her face falls, but she manages to recover her bearings. "All of the other ones are rather standard, I must admit. We have our old standby, the Flower tank." She smiles a bit at that. "A bit old, perhaps, but she never failed us once when we actually needed her, even if she does like to break down in the shop. She just buds at the right time." Ticking off another finger, she continues. "Then we have our shrine tank, although we haven't used it in years…"

"Wait, wait." Finally interrupting her, you ask, "A shrine tank? Why would you need a tank with a shrine or something on top of it?"

"Well, one must sometimes infiltrate a festival as a mobile shrine." Shrugging, the girl wipes some of her hair from her face, clearing her eyes once more. "As I said, it's been forever since we used it. And then there are a few normal tanks. Main battle, heavy, tank destroyer, red pursuit tank…"

Before you can stop yourself, you ask, "Red pursuit tank? I didn't know there was a generic type."

"Well, some youkai are very fast. And the red makes it go faster, anyways." Absurd, but the girl seems completely serious about it. However, she notices that you seem a bit lost from her quick speech. "…Boring, isn't it? Just like all the others, it seems."

Immediately you shake your head, hoping not to turn her away. "Not boring. Just… You're throwing a lot of information at me that I am trying to process." Chuckling weakly, you rub the back of her head. "That, and you're not really describing them. Just saying that you have them."

The girl blinks before shrugging, somewhat surprised. "Usually people tend to fall asleep when I go into the details of them, and why I use a certain type of lubricant for the joints and the differences between diesel and steam and jet fuel and ether and why one works better in one situation and why one works in the other. …That, and I'm usually on my back working on a bad transmission while I'm talking to them…"

Snorting, you shake your head. "Well, that may be a bit too detailed, at least for now. But if I end up coming with you, I can check them out when I get there. Then you can do the explaining, once I can see the tank in particular."

"You… You would want to?" The girl brightens quite noticeably, and a smile graces her face. "That sounds fine, then. Maybe I have been a bit too abrasive…" Chuckling, she mimics your earlier action and rubs the back of her head. "Not like any of the others like coming down save for Marisa…"

Raising an eyebrow, you can't help but to ask, "The others don't care for you and your tanks? Why is that?"

The girl looks to the side, seemingly reluctant to answer that question. "…Most of them don't really care for what I do, really. My sister was the one that went on all of their missions, since she actually could do more than build things. And ever since she was…" She blinks, shaking her head. "Never mind. Just that I have to take care of her now, and there is one less person that can go out and take care of business. Compared to the rest of them, I'm just a normal person who plays with tanks."

"You know, I'm pretty sure that having a tank on your side would be rather nice, even if it's a bit… well…" You wave your hands around the current area, indicating the hole in the ground she had drilled up from. "Unsubtle."

"…Yeah. That's the biggest problem. Why bring a tank when you have a few others that can take care of the same problem with their fists and seals?" Sighing, she leans back on the tank and stares up at the sky. "If it wasn't for all the electronics and computer systems that sister hooked up, we'd almost be a dead weight."

You hardly want her to sink into that depression again, so you try to distract her from that train of thought. "Well, what about the mushroom witch? You said she was one that didn't seem to mind your company."

"Well, yeah." The girl smiles a bit at that, but still remains lying down. "She follows her own discipline, which is to take as much from as many different types of magic as possible. So she's willing to help us experiment and work on our equipment." Sitting back up, the pigtailed girl pats the top of the tank. "And we did need an alchemist to help synthesis some of the materials we couldn't acquire. In fact…" Suddenly, she frowns. "We need her to synthesize some thorium when we get back. We just got a new device the other day which needs fuel…"

The only thing you can do at that statement is blink. "You've got a nuclear reactor? Why in the world do you have one of those?"

"It's just a localized one. Small. And thorium isn't as bad as if it were uranium or plutonium. It's rather advanced. Quite a bit more than we are used to." She immediately falls into thought once more. This time, though, you notice her hands twitch as she mouths something quietly, and her eyes grow cloudy as she stares into oblivion.

As she doesn't speak again, you just sit there for a few minutes as she speaks softly, her words quick and gibberish to your ears, no matter how hard you strain to listen. You eventually start to wonder how long Marisa is going to take, as the house is in walking distance, as far as you can tell. However, the girl in front of you eventually does blink, and the trance she is in breaks immediately. "You back in the world of the living, miss?"

"Sorry. Just had a thought. Was imagining…" After a second, she shakes her head. "You know, now that I think of it, I don't know your name."

"There's a reason for that, you know." Didn't you just speak about this a few minutes ago? "I already gave my name to Marisa, and I don't want somebody else taking it so that they can use it against me."

Snorting, the girl shakes her head at you, clucking her tongue as she does. "There's only a few of us that know how to invoke it, and I'm not one of them. Only Marisa, that one changeling I told you about, and the leader. …Well, I'm pretty sure that lunarian knows how to as well, but she's just odd." Before you can interject, though, she sticks out her hand. "Not giving you a choice, though. I'm Rika."

[ ] "…That's a very dangerous thing to do, miss."
[ ] "I'm sorry, Rika, but I don't want to risk it."
[ ] "…No choice, eh? I'm Lucas."
-[ ] Shake with right.
-[ ] Shake with left.
-[ ] Shake with both.
-[ ] Don't.

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

It's a pain trying to find solo pictures of her that fit what I envision...
No. 167790
[x] "…No choice, eh? I'm Lucas."
-[x] Shake with left.
--[x] "I'd, uh... use the right one, but y'know. Claws."
No. 167791
[x] "…No choice, eh? I'm Lucas."
-[x] Shake with left.
--[x] "I'd, uh... use the right one, but y'know. Claws."

courtesy is key. Also, we need to be as human as humanly possible
No. 167794
>>167791
I have a feeling we're going to be awash in puns by the end of this.
No. 167795
[X] "…No choice, eh? I'm Lucas."
-[X] Shake with left.
--[X] "I'd, uh... use the right one, but y'know. Claws."

Good thing our tank questions didn't just bounce off.
I'm sorry.
No. 167796
[x] "…No choice, eh? I'm (insert fake name)."
-[x] Shake with left.
--[x] "I'd, uh... use the right one, but y'know. Claws."

We should really come up with a fake name so we don't have to keep worrying about this true name stuff. Even if we don't use it here we are going to need one eventually. We could go with something similar sounding like Luke or maybe something completely different if people are feeling really paranoid.
No. 167797
File 136797181848.jpg - (319.37KB , 600x849 , go and pay your respects when you leave.jpg ) [iqdb]
167797
>>167795
Well, if she had brought one that had sloped armor, you might have had to flank around to find a weaker chink in her armor.

[ze] Lucas's Abilities/Powers

As for his powers, they aren't that extensive, and are mostly obvious. He is stronger than most humans, and a bit faster than most due to the flight that his wings grant him. The biggest point of contention is that he is much more durable than a human, and has the ability to regenerate by returning to his animal form. The only thing of note is that his claws, and technically his teeth, are strong enough to leave marks in stone.

That sums up the bestial side of him. The doll side is rather weaker, consisting of just his arm and his music box. The arm doesn't have much going for it asides from being much more dextrous than his right one (as claws are much harder to make precise movements) As he is not an elemental originally, the arm is technically foreign and doesn't feel pain, which has its own benefits. If he turns into his bird form, his left wing would manifest as a wooden one, so that wouldn't help.

Now, the music box is different, as it is essentially his focus. Its natural ability is to manifest a sound that is alien and harmful to any Youkai. With effort, it can be redirected against any spell, curse, geas, etc of Youkai origin. That is the extent of his powers currently. However, he can make deals that would extend his powers, or he could figure out new ways to use that box and play a new tune. I'm sure you are aware that you would have to be quite careful in voting for such a thing. A deal could be detrimental to what humanity he still has. Not to mention what else he could exchange in return for power.


Also, have a Mystia. Just because.
No. 167799
[X] "…No choice, eh? I'm Lucas, though I'd prefer you call me..how about Luke for now, at least until I check with Marisa how much of my name I can give and still be safe.
-[X] Shake with left.
--[X] "I'd, uh... use the right one, but y'know. Claws."

How about a compromise.
No. 167800
[X] "…No choice, eh? I'm Lucas, though I'd prefer you call me..how about Luke for now, at least until I check with Marisa how much of my name I can give and still be safe.
-[X] Shake with left.
--[X] "I'd, uh... use the right one, but y'know. Claws."
No. 167801
[X] "…No choice, eh? I'm Lucas, though I'd prefer you call me..how about Luke for now, at least until I check with Marisa how much of my name I can give and still be safe.
-[X] Shake with left.
--[X] "I'd, uh... use the right one, but y'know. Claws."
No. 167802
[x] "…No choice, eh? I'm Lucas."
-[x] Shake with left.
--[x] "I'd, uh... use the right one, but y'know. Claws."
>>167797
Why did you have to post a Mystia pic damnit now I have tears in my eye from remembering when we lost Mystia damn bastard.
No. 167803
>>167802
Did you bother to read the title of the picture?
No. 167804
[x] "…No choice, eh? I'm Lucas."
-[x] Shake with left.
--[x] "I'd, uh... use the right one, but y'know. Claws."

Best option I can see.

>>167797
Avoid using the music box unless absolutely necessary, same tune as last time then?
No. 167805
>>167804
I'm not going to say whether or not you should. But you've already paid the price for it. I'm pointing out if you learn any more melodies or harmonies, or gain any other power, you might have to pay another price.
No. 167806
Given that he specified Youkai magic I'd say that it should be used more. Since Lucas doesn't currently have any flashy magic of his own learning how to use the music box as a defense against it sounds like a good idea.
No. 167808
File 136798672639.png - (1.00MB , 1139x973 , i feel i actually may run out of pics for her by t.png ) [iqdb]
167808
[-h-] "No choice, eh? I'm Lucas."
-[-h-] Shake with left.
--[-h-] "I'd, uh… use the right one, but y'know. Claws."

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

Sighing, you can't help but to smile a bit at her earnest offer, especially after how reluctant Marisa was to trust you. "No choice, eh?" Offering your left hand, you reply as she eventually figures out to change her hands. "I'm Lucas. I'd, uh… use the right hand, but y'know…" Holding your right hand up, you flex your fingers to demonstrate. "Claws."

The girl laughs a little bit at your rather sheepish statement. "I've noticed… Still. I suppose it's fine. Just… weird." Taking your wooden hand, she shakes it a few times before letting ago. "Huh. It actually does feel like a wooden hand."

"It does help that it is a wooden hand." It is rather odd, as you cannot even feel the girl as she grips that hand. The only way that you know that she is shaking your hand is because you can see it. "And by that, it's completely wood. Can't feel a damn thing with it."

Rika winces a bit at your curse, although she does appear to be sympathetic. "I see… That's… That's rather sad." Curiously, she picks up your hand and slowly rotates the joints, staring at each one. "It is just wood, isn't it? Do you feel anything at all?"

"I feel the wood in my shoulder pulling against the rest of my body, but that's all." After a few seconds, during which she manages to twist your hand about all the way and bend your fingers against the back of your hand, you withdraw it from her grasp. "That's enough, now. I'd rather not have this thing break. It isn't as if I can get a replacement, you know."

Eventually nodding, the girl nods before glancing away, blushing slightly. "I know. Still, it was interesting. I thought that perhaps there might be some linkages or at least a guide for the joints to move along, but it seems as if I was wrong." Eventually she shrugs. "Seems I wasn't right. …So, Lucas?"

"Yes?"

"Nothing. Just… It's a rather ordinary name, isn't it? Kinda like Marisa's. I suppose not everyone can have good names. …Or stupid names like mine and sister's…" Before you can ask why, she shakes her head. "Anyway. Still, I guess that I shouldn't use that. Wouldn't want to spread around even that much, hrm?"

"That would be appreciated." Nodding towards her, you glance back behind you, where you imagine Marisa might be still. She is taking quite a while, and you can't help but to worry a little. "I suppose I should think of a name that I should use instead. …Not that I have a good idea―"

"I know!" The girl claps her hands before smiling. "I'll just call you Lukie. How about that?"

You can only blink helplessly at her rather enthusiastic pronouncement. "…Lukie. That… That's just." You smack your head with one hand, accidentally drawing blood as you scratch yourself. "Isn't that just a bit childish?"

"Nah. It's cute, don't you think?" She grins at you widely, and you can't help but shiver as it reminds you of someone else. "Plus, if someone hears me say that, they'll probably think your name is Luke, which it isn't. So it's a win-win either way!"

Grumbling, you cross your arms and stare at her. "…Right. Don't I get a say in choosing my name?"

"This isn't your name, it's a nickname. Which means I get to choose it." The girl chuckles before patting the top of the tank. Everyone gets names, after all?"

Snorting, you raise an eyebrow. "Now the tanks are people… You're starting to remind me of someone I know. Do they get cute nicknames as well?"

"Nah. Depends on if they are cute or not. This one is a young girl, despite her looks, but she's strong. Other tanks are beautiful, others are solid, and our biggest one is so strong that we have to call him handsome. …And a him. Sister did insist."

"…And here I thought I wouldn't be hearing about well-endowed bookcases soon enough." Laughing softly, you stretch your wings. "You're starting to make me wonder, Rika."

A blush begins to grow on the girl's face and she sputters out loud. "A wha-what? Her face burns brightly, and she turns away to try to hide it with her pigtails. "I have no clue where you'd get such an idea, but I'll have you know I'm nothing like that!"

"Hey, hey now, I didn't mean…" Sighing, you hold your hands up in surrender. "Just… was reminded of one of the others I met on the other side. …I got the feeling she was a scientist at one point, and she was slightly insane." After a beat, you clarify. "Alright. She was very insane, but the point is that you just reminded me of her, the way you were describing inanimate objects as humans."

"…Oh." The girl still is quite red, but she does eventually nod. "I… I see. Just something that you had been reminded about. Right, right… Well, don't get any funny ideas, either way."

Nodding, you look away from her. "I won't. It was just a little bit amusing. Sorry."

"Too bad that you can't hear them…" Your head turns back, but the girl has already opened her hatch and is climbing in. "Anyways, I'm going to warm her up. We need to be heading back soon enough."

"What about Marisa?" While you know the girl can take care of herself, you're not so sure whether you should just leave her behind here. It wouldn't take too long to go and check on her, unless she had decided to run off.

The girl drops to the floor of the vehicle before looking back up. "She's just waiting long enough so that she doesn't have to receive any of my anger. That is why she left you here, as she knew I'd either take it out on you, or stop being angry. And as always, it worked." Sighing, Rika smiles up at you just a little, even though she is still quite red. "If you want to go and look for her, Lukie, go ahead. I'll wait for you. She can catch up."

[ ] Go ahead and look for her. It's been too long.
[ ] …Well, what could it hurt just staying here? Marisa'll catch up.
No. 167809
[X] …Well, what could it hurt just staying here? Marisa'll catch up.
No. 167810
[x] Go ahead and look for her. It's been too long.

Think we should go look, but be careful don't want to get caught if she's being questioned by say the police.

Definitely want to rely on our wits and current skills as much as possible, only seek out other abilities and skills as a last resort. Might be able to do a few new things with the music box without getting burned, but we need to be very careful, especially with our lack of knowledge. Promise nothing lightly.
No. 167811
>>167789
>pretty sure that lunarian
That Lunarian?

[x] Go ahead and look for her. It's been too long.
No. 167813
>>167811
That lunarian. I have said who it is previously.
No. 167815
[X] Go ahead and look for her. It's been too long.

Better be careful though.
No. 167829
[X] …Well, what could it hurt just staying here? Marisa'll catch up.

>>167813
Kikuri?
Ah, Kaguya.
No. 167840
[X] Go ahead and look for her. It's been too long.

It won't hurt to be a little cautious, although I hope that we can leave a note behind for Marisa.
No. 167879
File 136807312532.jpg - (230.00KB , 595x1000 , someone is having too good of a time.jpg ) [iqdb]
167879
[-i-] Go ahead and look for her. It's been too long.

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

"Alright. I'll just go and check that house again. She shouldn't have gone too far." Before you drop down to the ground, though, you realize that there is one thing that might impair your ability to make their way to the house you had woken up in. "…Err. Do you have anything that I might perhaps wear? My wings are just a tad bit noticeable…"

After taking a few seconds to pull down a lever, Rika wipes her forehead before glancing back up. "Nah, 'fraid that I don't. Hardly need a blanket in this thing, considering how hot it is… And any jacket isn't going to be your size." Shaking her head, Rika's pigtails nearly come around and slap her in the face. "Besides, your glamour is hiding us all at the moment, so you should be fine."

"…The two of you keep mentioning that word. I'm not quite sure what it means." Sighing, you suppose that she does have some merit. After all, you're sitting on the top of a giant tank with a drill, and you're not exactly hiding your monstrous nature. "If you say as much. I'll just try to sneak around and see what she is up to."

At that, you slide down from the top of the tank and land on the ground. Taking but a moment to fold your wings to make as small a profile as you can, you sneak up towards the edge of the current lot you are on before squeezing in between two of the houses.

Once on the far side, you look up and down the street to see if anyone is there. No one is out on the sidewalk, but you see a few children playing about five blocks down, and a car is slowly passing by. Pausing long enough to let the car pass by, you quickly dash across the street, your feet not quite digging into the tarmac as you run as quickly as possible to the other side.

Out of the corner of your eye, you see that some of the children notice your passage. They merely stare at you, though, and neither go running for their parents nor follow after you. You squeeze between the next few houses and head onwards, thankful that anyone who could possibly give you any trouble ignores you. While you aren't exactly tall, you are quite a bit more physically imposing than you had been previously, and that should have elicited some response from the three people you snuck by.

In the end, though, you realize that you have no idea where this house would be. Most of the homes are too similar for you to tell them apart, and you never got a good look at the outside of the house you had woken up in. Even as you continue to search, you never find a home that has a giant hole in the side of it. Since you can hardly ask, you continue to slink through the alleyways, doing your best to avoid the sight of anyone that would bother you.

"Oi, Lucas!" You nearly jump out of the skin as you hear your target speak at you, sounding far too cheerful to be innocent. "What're you doing out here? I thought I told you to calm down Rika?"

"She's calmer than she was. And I was looking for you." Turning around, you cross your arms as you finally lay eyes on the girl. "She is ready to get going. Apparently she's going to be in enough trouble anyways, seeing as you appear to have overstated the event, at least in her eyes."

"It was a legitimate worry, Mr. Changeling." Grinning slightly at her pet name that she has decided to adopt, she hoists her bag on her back. "But I'm done now. Patched up that house enough so that they shouldn't notice too much in the way of damage."

Blinking in surprise, you ask, "You patched it up? …You don't quite seem like one who would do such a thing. And especially so quickly…"

The girl grins at you and makes a motion as if to throw an arm around your neck. However, she checks herself, and you see the smirk on her face vanish for a split second. "See? I'm a nice person. They won't notice it at all. Besides, it'd be bad if we left too much collateral damage, don't you agree?" Plastering the smile back on her face, she shoulders her broom and turns about. "So, you coming with me or not?"

"…Last I checked, I was supposed to be the one fetching you." Grumbling, you do follow after the girl as she leads you back the way you came. "What was it that you needed to fetch, anyway? More mushrooms?"

"Pretty much. Mushrooms are important." Although you had been sarcastic, the girl takes your question pretty seriously. "I've got a few little instruments that my friend needs to check out, and there are other things that are quite valuable." Chuckling, she pats the strap before looking at you. "You know, I could just tell you to carry my stuff. I'm sure it'd be much easier for you to do as such."

"I didn't come here to be turned into a pack mule, you know." You glare a bit at the back of her head, and you can see her hairs rise in response. "Don't even think about ordering me about frivolously. I've taken this whole thing well so far. I'd rather not regret agreeing to this deal."

The girl rolls her eyes, but she eventually nods and turns around. "Alright, just don't get your knickers in a bunch, will ya? We'll be taking you back with us. Hopefully she won't mind us bringing in another youkai…" She trails off before finally noting, "Oh, she will mind. But it's not like she doesn't have her own pet."

[ ] Remind her politely that you aren't hers, either.
[ ] Remind her forcefully that you aren't hers, either.
[ ] Remind her subtly that you aren't hers, either.
[ ] Ignore the slight. Ask about (insert here)
No. 167880
[X] Ignore the slight. Ask about where you all will be going.
No. 167882
[X] Remind her politely that you aren't hers, either.
No. 167883
[x] Remind her politely, but firmly, that you aren't hers, either. You are not a pet.
[x]Ask her about true names
No. 167884
>>167879
Don't get our knickers in a bunch, she says... when she is casually joking about forcibly magically compelling us to fulfill her whims, she has us in an irresistible magical bind, and is planning to bring us to an organization which apparently keeps at least one changeling as a worker... and refers to them as a "pet".

I'm thinking that Marisa does not fully appreciate the gravity of what is going on here. Trading one form of enslavement for another is not what we're trying to do here, and at the moment she's setting off all kinds of alarm bells.

To make matters worse, she can give us orders to not attempt to escape and never to attack her- which means we potentially have a rapidly closing window in which to do so, if we want to ensure that we avoid entering a sustained period of bondage. But escape would likely be impossible while she has our name and we certainly don't want to kill her, which would be the only way to effectively eliminate this hold. Not that we should tell her about that particular line of thought, of course.

I'm undecided on the issue of if we'd be able to rationally explain our position and get her to remove the bind or not. Ultimately she's in a position of enough power that she can utterly shut us down and do worse to us than Wriggle ever did if she wants to, so we don't want to risk making the request for her to give up that power unless we're reasonably certain of success, but... I suspect that if we delay until she's brought us to her boss she'll end up with pressure from above to never let us go. We don't have a lot of time to get her to break it.
No. 167890
[X] Remind her politely that you aren't hers, either. It's sort of a touchy issue.

'Cause we did sort of make that deal, earlier.
No. 167892
>>167883
Added notes:

Want to be polite because she seems to be warming up to us, the fact she stopped herself from throwing her arms around us implies that she's subconsciously thinking of us as a normal human and has to check herself, because we're not and she doesn't know us well. We need to make it clear though that we're a person, not a pet, it's very important to us after our experiences with Wiggle and we need her to understand this. Also want to know if it's safe to give just our first name out or not.

>>167884
In fairness, it seems like she's the only one who refers to the other changeling as a pet, and he willing put himself in bonds because he has problems controlling his powers. Situation may not be as bad as you imply, I understand we're you're coming from however, and we should explain this.
I agree about Marisa, though the fact she hasn't forced the issue is a point in her favor. While she could be deceiving us, the fact she doesn't seem to fully understand the gravity of the situation and how she jokes about it shows she's a bit crass and thoughtless, but a good person. It's hard to judge, I think we need to make it clear that we want to be treated as a person, not sure if we'll be able to convince her to remove the bonds at this time, though I'm up for trying, don't know if this is the right time though. It helps Rika likes us.

I agree we need to be careful about her boss. I think the most important job right now is to get Marisa to respect and trust us. I think if we can befriend her she'd defend and help us, if we're being wronged. Not sure if we can do this in such a short time.
No. 167899
[X] Remind her politely that you aren't hers, either.
No. 167943
File 136813962221.jpg - (96.90KB , 333x500 , cant stand and talk forever.jpg ) [iqdb]
167943
[-j-] Remind her politely that you aren't hers, either.

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

"Oh, really?" Your wings bristle just a bit at the insult, as you know what it is that she is implying. "So, do you consider me to be yours?"

Blinking rapidly, the girl spins her head around, sending blonde hair flying as she does. "Eh? What do you mean by that?" Marisa blankly stares at you as she tries to figure out what you mean. "Wait. You think that I meant that you're my pet? Why would you think I meant that?"

Sighing, you pinch your nose and shake your heads. "I was someone's pet previously, Marisa. And you just out and said that this other changeling, even if he was willing, is this person's pet as well. Such a designation is quite unnerving, to say the least."

Still somewhat perplexed, the witch eventually nods. "Right. Well, I was joking around, you know? Trying to make you relax some. You're much too uptight for your own good." Marisa crosses her arms and looks up at you. "…Although, I think I'm missing a few things. You act pretty normal, and yet you keep freezing up when I mention a few different things."

"When you've been through that, you would understand." You put your hands by your side, wishing that you had pockets large enough to fit them in. Walking past her, you take the lead on the trip back. "Just remember that I am nobody's pet. Not yours, and not hers."

As you pass her by, she reaches out and grabs your arm, trying to hold you steady. "Wait here…" You grumble and look back as she pulls you around, but once you look at her you freeze in place. For a split second you see her holding you with her claws, green eyes burning as she stares into your soul. Before you can jerk your hand away from her chitinous grip, you see Marisa trying to get your attention. "Wait a second. What's wrong? 'Bout looks like you saw a ghost."

"….Right. Just a ghost." The image disappeared as quickly as it had arrived, and you are now left with the blonde magician as she judges you carefully. "Just… It's a touchy subject, ok? Don't go assuming that I won't react. …I'd think that you'd know what the Changeling go through, considering how many you run across."

The witch lets the hand drop from your arm before letting her shoulders fall. "Considering that I have to put down the majority of them, I never really get the chance to speak with them. …We've only got two true Changelings back at home that I've ever interacted with. One who has completely suborned himself, and the other one is mad enough that I would have put her out of her misery if she wasn't a friend…"

Frowning, you turn around, not caring that you were out in the open. You hadn't been bothered yet, after all. "I remember something like that. And Rika always got a distant look in her eyes when she mentioned her sister…" You look at Marisa as the pieces finally click together. "It was Rika's sister, wasn't it?"

"…Yup. It was. Don't know what they did to her, but she came back broken." Before she continues, though, Marisa snaps her head towards you. "Wait. How did you know her name? I didn't tell you."

"She told me. …It was dumb, but she didn't give me any choice. She knows mine, though, so it's not that big of a deal." You smile a bit as you glance back in the direction of the tank. "She's a nice girl. …Almost surprisingly, considering what you've told me."

"It's easy for her to disassociate. It's harder for me to, especially considering how many I've had to take care of. Many of which look as wild as you." Frowning, Marisa looks up towards the sky. "Easier to take care of them if I remind myself they are just animals to be exterminated. That's all that we are, after all. Glorified exterminators."

You nod at her, understanding where she is coming from. "Just don't lump me in with them. Heck, it'd probably be more accurate to say that I'm your prisoner. Unless you'd be so kind as to eliminate the bonds?"

"Not yet." You hardly expected anything else, but at least she doesn't seem offended that you asked. "Alright then. Prisoner is what I'll call you, Mr. Changeling. But now, how about we…" She pauses for a few moments before narrowing her eyes. "Wait a second…"

"What?" You glance up at the skies, trying to find what she is looking for. "I don't see anything. Few contrails up there, but nothing special." A few cirrus clouds are floating along with said contrails, though there is nothing else that seems particularly curious to you. Although, you see a bit of worry on her face for the very first time."…Can you see something I can't?"

"No. But I do recognize one of those contrails. An Aurora…" Snapping her head down, Marisa grabs your wrist and tugs you after her as she starts to run off. "We need to get out of here before they find us. Move it!"

"They?" Although you feel your mind start to enforce the order, you start running on your own. "Who would be after you? Another type of Youkai?"

She doesn't respond as she drags you through the streets, cutting through the houses as quickly as she can. Soon enough, the two of you appear once more in that field, where the tank is still sitting remains. You hardly notice the few clouds of steam billowing out of the exhaust as you march towards it. Not bothering to climb on top, she approaches the rear and bangs on a hatch that is there. "Rika! Open up! We have to get going, now!"

As you wait for the hatch to open, you shake hand out of her grip and try to ask her once again. "What's got you so spooked? You beat me down easily enough, so what could this be that you're afraid of?"

"Don't get to prideful, Mr. Changeling. You're unique, but there are stronger. Them, though…" Sighing, she grips the hatch and pulls it the moment the latch on the inside is released. "There is a lot that you don't know about. Of course, they're probably coming after me. I'm sure by now I've a bounty on my head." A cocky grin slips on her face as she jumps inside, curtailing any argument.

Grumbling, you grab the sides of the hatch and pull yourself in through the small hole. While the girl had an easy time of it, you have to expend more effort in order to pull your wings through the hatch. You finally make it end, though, and Marisa slams the door shut and latches it. "We're good, Rika. Gun it!"

While you fold your wings, you look up towards the front of the vehicle. The pigtailed girl is up front, sitting on a leather seat and hammering a thousand different switches as she consults the dirty gauges that lie in front of her. "Roger that. Hold on to something. We are diving now." At that she reaches down and pulls a lever on the floor. The machine immediately starts to shake, and you are nearly thrown to the floor by the nasty vibrations.

Eventually, you manage to grab onto a handhold on the wall and steady yourself. The metal of the tank groans as the vehicle tips forward. The tank slowly begins to descend into the ground as the engine roars loudly, its piston banging against the metal walls with every stroke.

You can only clench your teeth as your bones rattle against each other. Fortunately, the tremors are not so great as to bang your brain against the sides of your head. After a few minutes, the quaking dies down, and Rika reaches for a second lever. "Releasing stream."

Seconds pass by, and the shaking eventually stops. As far as you can tell, the vehicle isn't even moving, although the whole vehicle is still tilted sideways as it descends into the earth. You take a few moments to catch your breath, as you hadn't realized what burrowing underground would require. That, and the small space of the tank starts to make you feel claustrophobic, especially as you couldn't spread your wings if you even tried.

Leaving you be, Marisa climbs down to the front of the tank and taps Rika on her shoulder. "Hey. Sorry to be in such a rush, but I saw one of the Technocracy's spies. We had to get out of there soon."

The girl nods, the annoyance from earlier not showing up on her face. "Then we should have done that. Don't worry." Frowning, Rika turns about to look. "So, just back home to face her?"

"Yeah, sounds like a plan. Just take us back to Aso." Sighing, Marisa drops the bag in a seat before flopping into a nearby seat. "Take the moment to get some rest. Still have a bit of a headache from earlier."

"Aso?" Finally speaking up, you look down at the two. "Your home? Don't know a town by that name."

"Hitting Mach One… now." Pausing, Rika turns to look back at you. "It's more of a mountain. Has its own natural security system, so we're left alone, for the most part." Turning back, she stares at her dials before reaching up towards a tab that is sticking out of the roof. Grabbing it, Rika pulls it down, revealing a screen that is much smaller than any monitor that you've seen. "Why did you ask? You have somewhere to go?"

[ ] Actually…
-[ ] Where?
[ ] No, I think I'm good.
No. 167944
[X] Actually…
-Nagasaki. You want to pay your respects to Mystia.

It's good to pay one's respects to the one who helped you escape Wriggle.
No. 167950
[X] Actually…
-Nagasaki. You want to pay your respects to Mystia.

Yeah. I like this. Just a chance to say goodbye.

Technocracy's in this world, huh? Hmmm...
No. 167956
I'm quite tempted to spend the ride peppering them with relevant questions, like "how the heck are we able to tunnel underground at mach one" and "who are the Technocracy, and why are they someone to run away from". We don't really know much significant about the organization of our captor here, aside from that they apparently make a policy of hunting down and killing changelings and youkai. That's not a lot to go on. More information is better.
No. 167958
>>167956
As I had planned to do such a thing, you are welcome to list those things you'd want to touch on. Should have honestly put that up as part of the vote.
No. 167961
>>167944 Here. Adding to my vote.

[X] You said something about a bounty? What's that about?
No. 167964
>>167958
Okay, questions. In no particular order...

-How can anything possibly move through the ground at mach one?
--"Magic" is only an answer if she then explains how the magic works.
--What other ridiculous things can this tank do?
-Who are the Technocracy?
--Their spies leave contrails? Who uses a plane to spy on people?
--What are their objectives? Why does this involve opposing Marisa and Rika?
-What organization are Marisa and Rika part of?
--What are its objectives?
--How large is it?
--What does it use to do its business- super-tanks and witches, obviously, but what else?
--Who is in charge of it, and why are they in charge?
--Why do Marisa and Rika work for them?
-How do changelings and youkai get into the world?
--Can we do whatever they do to access Gensokyo?
--We have a creepy double. Is he going to be a problem?
--How often do they come through? What kind of numbers are we looking at here?
--How messed up are we, as changelings go? We think we're... okay, considering. But then, most of the changelings we knew were full-on dolls.
--How do people not pick up on all this?
-What is a glamor?
--So I have one of these things?
--How can I control it?
--What are its limitations?
-Are there other magics common to youkai and changelings?
--What do they do?
--Should I expect to have them?
--How do I control them, if so?
-What kind of magic does Marisa use?
--Is it distinct from youkai magic? If so, how?
--Why does it cause her injury to use?
--What can it do?
--What are its limitations?

Going through all that will probably take a while, but then, getting to Japan even at these speeds is going to take quite a few hours, so we'll run through this list long before even the halfway point of our trip, I suspect.
No. 167972
>>167964
Wow that's a lot of specific questions. Don't know if we want to overload them, but directing the conversation...

Subjects I think we should touch on:
--True Names (still think we should finds out about this, since you know, we gave ours to someone)
--Magic
--Youkai, changelings, and gensokyou (need to know as much about this as possible, if we want to save our friends)
--Learn more about Marisa and Rikka (friendship option, we need as many friends and allies as possible...and well I like this portrayal of them, great characters.)
--The group they're apart of and the members
--Technocracy

No real order, whatever is natural.

No real opinion on the actually choices, all about paying respect to Mystia, RIP, but not sure where in Nagasaki we'd need to go, she never went into great detail. If we don't now though I think we should try do something later to honor her, even if it's just a small tombstone, Margatroid as well, if for some reason we can't bring Maggie back, maybe even if we can. Probably won't have time, but if we survive till the end, and we're not insane or broken, think it would be appropriate.
No. 168612
By the way, Begi's been MIA when it comes to being online for 6 days now, so he may be missing awhile. I would have preferred to not have to bring this up, but I believe it a good time to state this.
No. 168623
I know I've been away, but I just got out of the hospital. Haven't been able to get online. Please wait warmly.
No. 168628
And the prize for being precognitive goes to...!

I had a feeling warning everyone would be a good way to tempt fate in my favor...

Great having you back, Begi!
No. 168775
Sorry to hear about your health! Here's to hoping you get better soon. And I'm not just saying that because this has become one of my favorite stories (Well, maybe a little).
No. 168848
Just an added thought on if we do stop to pay our respects to Mystia, we do have claws that can cut into stone, would be easy to make a makeshift tombstone. Possibly somewhere like a small cemetery on the edge of the city...

Best wishes. Hope you're better soon.
No. 168851
File 136919849656.jpg - (138.17KB , 850x610 , sorry no infodump today.jpg ) [iqdb]
168851
[-k-] Actually…
-[-k-] Nagasaki. You want to pay respects.
-[-k-] Ask various stuff I'm not going to type as there's way too much.

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

"Actually…" Glancing back at Marisa, a thought does rise unbidden in your head. "I need to go to Nagasaki, at least at some point. There was someone from the other side that I need to… to pay my respects to." Looking down, you try not to have the exact memories come back to mind, but your voice does become a fair bit thicker with the emotions. "Not that I'd know where to go, but at least a little bit would be enough."

Marisa's face falls just a bit, and you can see from the corner of your eye that Rika's shoulders slump just barely as she fiddles with her screen. Without glancing back at you, the tank girl speaks. "That might not be the wisest for you. The town has a lot of memories. Those that are magically inclined might find it uncomfortable there."

"How do you mean that?" Frowning, kneel down a bit to put yourself on the same level as them. "Is there some sort of presence that is there, or is it due to a curse or some sort of Youkai?"

"Just be careful if you do go there." The witch speaks to you this time, taking your attention away from the front of the vehicle. "If you never believed in ghosts, that is one place that will convince you of their existence. There are simply many to stay hidden away and out of sight."

"Ghosts… Compared to everything else I've seen, that seems rather sane." Sighing, you lean back against the wall. "I just figured I'd ask, in case I actually don't come back from the other side."

Neither of them tries to correct your proclamation, and instead just remain in their seats. As the conversation dies, you look over at Rika and see what it is that she is doing up there. In front of her, the screen that she pulled down has lit up, and you see a rather basic outline of the tank driving through a black circle. After a moment, you realize that it is a simplified vision of the Earth, and the tank is burrowing through it rather quickly.

After a few more seconds of examining the curiously thin monitor, you finally notice the small numbers ticking away in the top right corner. Each one extends to about five decimal places and rapidly flashes as they all increase. "Wait a second. What is that top number? If I'm right, that would be…"

"Yes, that's speed." Not turning back towards you, Rika holds her hand on the same lever, slowly moving it forward after pressing down a third pedal on the floorboard. "Not that I use that much. Prefer the indicators in front of me. Just need to get the proper bearings so we don't come out in the middle of the ocean. This tank is many things, but it isn't watertight."

"But how can something go this fast?" You shake your head at the sight, even though the rumbling inside the vehicle has fallen to a minimum. "We're in a tank. This isn't some sort of jet, so how is such a thing possible?"

The girl sighs and glances back over her shoulder. "Essentially, the drill bore is perfect, and unless we run into a large chunk of diamond, we're not going to have any trouble drilling through. That, and we're releasing a solution that creates a near frictionless coating around the vehicle, and within all the moving parts. No wear and tear, so we can travel exceptionally quickly through the land. …That, and I just came from this direction, so there is little we need to drill." After a moment, she shrugs and adds on as an afterthought, "it wasn't originally my design, though."

You just rub your head and continue to stare at the screen for a few seconds as you contemplate a response. "That seems a tad too ridiculous, if you ask me. There's nothing that exists…" Pausing, you realize the absurdity of that statement, especially considering that you have wings. "I suppose that you have something that will make this work?"

"Indeed. And I said once already, it's expensive. That, or it's a pain to gather." Sighing, Rika leans down for a moment as she knits her forehead. "Not that the others use it for much, but we're going to be in deep once we get back. I thought it was a bigger emergency that I originally thought."

"No use worrying about it now. It's already happened." Shrugging, you reach forward and timidly pat her on the shoulder. "I can't exactly tell you not to worry about it, but think of it this way. Is she liable to break your limbs because you messed up a little bit?"

Laughing weakly, Rika shakes her head but doesn't look back. "Indeed. Just settle in back there. It's a long trip, and you look like you're tired. Or at least you did earlier."

Frowning, you almost try and begin asking some more questions, but decide to wait a little bit. Marisa would probably be the better source of answers anyway. You instead leave the girl to continue and man her post at the drivers seat. Once you stand against the wall of the vehicle, you slide down the hull, ever mindful of your wings, until you are sitting on the bottom.

"Hey, Marisa." Taking a moment to glance up at the witch, you notice that she doesn't react. A second later, you see that her eyes are closed and that she is quietly snoring as the vehicle softly rocks. "…She fell asleep, didn't see? I figured she'd be awake for the whole time and pointing that block of wood that she used to fire lasers at me."

Snorting, you can see Rika grin as she glances back at the two of you. "She's been high on mushrooms since last night. It's a wonder she didn't fall asleep earlier. Let her sleep it out, alright? She'll be cranky if you wake her up now."

Even though her words are cautionary, you can see a little glint of mischief in her eyes. "Don't even think about waking her, then. I don't want to be fried, baked, or broiled by her. Just because I have wings, doesn't mean I'm food."

"…You're definitely tired. I didn't say anything about that." Shaking her head, she looks back at the monitor. "Just rest some on your own. I know you have questions for us, but you'll have them answered sooner or later. …Just hope that Reimu decides to go easy on us."

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

Eventually, Patchouli manages to lead Meiling through the halls of the mansion as they twist and turn about themselves. A few times, Meiling swore that the two of them are passing through the same hallways again and again and again. However, the two eventually do end up at a large set of double doors, similar to the ones that the taller girl had found originally.

Before she opens them up, though, Patchouli turns around. "I'll give you warning. This Youkai that we are dealing with is quite the capricious devil. She does many a terrible thing on a whim, but she is quite a bit more calculating than she might appear. Above all, though, she does everything for her amusement, nothing more." Her eyes grow sharp as she stares at Meiling. "As long as you keep her entertained, at least a little, you will survive. If you do something that instead angers her, though, and voids all joy she might take, you will regret it."

Holding her injured ribs, Meiling just looks back, still rather incredulous about everything, and still very much queasy from the earlier sight. "She enjoys that? What kind of twisted person would enjoy such a thing?"

Patchouli's eyes become blank and she turns away from Meiling. After a few seconds, she finally manages to speak. "…Not… Not a good person." Sighing, she finally pushes open the door. "Come this way, and seat at the end of the table."

Meiling follows into the next room and glances around, looking curiously about this tall room even though her mind is weighed down by a myriad of other concerns. Just like all of the other rooms, the hall is completely black and white, with no other colors to brighten its interior. Even the silverware placed upon the table is the same, without even the gleam of metal to break up the monotony.

Slowly, Meiling ambles her way over to her own appointed seat. The moment she raises a hand to pull it back from under the table, the chair is suddenly ready to be sat in, apparently having moved in the blink of the eye. "…Oh dear."

Once she steps in front of the seat and takes her spot, she is instantly scooted into place, with no indication she had ever been somewhere else. Before she can freak out too much about what is going on, Meiling spots someone moving at the other end of the long table in the long room.

Striding in, clad in a gown just as she had earlier, the white-haired woman smiles at her. "Hello, Meiling. I'm glad to see that you've made it in time." Chuckling, she stands beside her seat, not quite ready to take her spot. "Although, before we begin, I would like to ask what you would prefer to have for your first dinner as my guest?"

[ ] What does she want?

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

Sorry for the wait. Updates are going to be slower for the immediate future. Wasn't the best, but I wanted to pound out something to get this rolling again, at least.
No. 168862
[X] Let's ask for something that might entertain her, yet is simple. Something Chinese, so as to gauge if she knows Chinese. If she asks what it is, simply explain it. It's good to know if there's any weakness one's "host" has, even if they can't likely be used against them. Although, if you were to find that another can speak Chinese, while she can't, you could use that as a way to speak without Sakuya knowing what you say. Maybe plot your escape even.
No. 168869
>>168851
>sorry no infodump today.jpg
Damn. Don't think you'll be able to dodge one forever!
No. 168871
>>168869
I am aware. I'll save that for when we're rolling along, and you can talk to the leaders.

Of course, assuming that all goes well, of course.

I shan't bring up a remark about Margatroid, at least without spoilers.
No. 168872
>what you would prefer to have for your first dinner
[x] Ask for something outlandish like the worlds rarest truffle.
-[x] Let that request sink in for a moment then say 'but we don't always get what we want in life do we.'
No. 168878
>>168872

Don't anger the Youkai!

Besides, we have thousands of years of Chinese history to draw on. Let's go with the Four Treasures.

[x] Sea Abalone!
[x] Shark's Fin Soup!
[x] Sea Cucumber!
[x] Bird's Nest Soup!

And because I'm hungry for it--

[x] Chicken Feet in black bean sauce, dimsum style.
No. 169006
Well, I keep checking back to see if a consensus has been made, but I just get hungry every time. I'll check back later tonight. If not, I suppose I'll invoke author fiat.
No. 169009
The stupid but silly/playful response:
[] You.

But I'll cast my vote for:
[X] Shark's Fin Soup

If only because I'm terrible at deciding what to eat for dinner.
No. 169029
[x] Shark's Fin Soup!
[x] a salad

In case writing hasn't started, this works
No. 169047
[x] Shark's Fin Soup!
[x] a salad
No. 169048
[x] Shark's Fin Soup!
[x] a salad
No. 169086
File 136977194524.jpg - (794.41KB , 1800x2800 , give her a moment to lambast her servant.jpg ) [iqdb]
169086
[-l-] Shark's Fin Soup

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

Resisting the urge to snort at the brevity that the woman is showing, Meiling stays silent for a few moments as she tries to both calm herself and think of an answer. Turning her eyes away, the dark-haired girl avoids the gaze of the pale woman so far across the table. Seconds continue to tick by as she tries to think, no real choices coming to mind.

"Well, I would say that we do not have all day, but in fact, we do." The woman across the tables laughs softly as she snaps her fingers. Nothing happens, although the woman seems to believe it has. "Tell me what comes to mind."

Naturally, the first few dozen things are thoughts that are rather heated, being questions about why she was taken and what is going on here. However, her mind drifts back to the warnings that the girl with the purple hair gave her. Swallowing to calm herself, Meiling thinks of something that is rather flippant. "Shark's fin soup, then?" There is not much that could be harder to acquire, as far as she knows.

Meiling didn't expect her to have it on hand. Perhaps the woman might know of it. Maybe she could throw something together that would simulate it. What she did not expect was for the white-haired girl to smile broadly at her request. "That is hardly impossible. Although, I might have figured you'd pick such an exquisite dish. Have you ever the chance to taste it before?"

Shaking her head, Meiling immediately answers in the negative. "No, I haven't. It's not something that we could afford. And my family has too much pride to eat something that is not the real thing." Raising her head to watch the woman, she waits for her to say anything else.

The tall girl sees the woman's lips lower slightly, but it is gone in a flash. "I suppose that means the ones that raised you had good taste. Consuming something that is counterfeit is horrid to one that knows what the true article is." Her smile returns once more as she reaches forward and shakes a silver bell that lies on the corner of the table.

A few seconds pass, and the silence starts to grow heavy and thick. Meiling shuffles awkwardly in her seat as the woman across from her begins to frown. Placing her hands on the side of the table as if to stand up, the woman looks over at Meiling and sighs. "My apologies. It seems my servants are running a tad late."

Before she can stand up completely, a panel on a nearby wall opens up and another girl steps through. It takes a moment for Meiling to realize that this newcomer is exactly what she thinks she sees. Another girl with wings is standing in the frame of the hidden door. This one, though being the same height and apparent youthful age, has a shock of white hair on her head along with great leathery wings that are folded against her back.

While she looks so dissimilar than the other girl, Meiling can see a few similarities between her and the other. She bore none of the madness that the other had, and instead stood there silently, her sharp eyes staring towards the taller girl but not quite meeting them. "You called… milady Sakuya?" She winces slightly as she forces the words out, but they flow so eloquently that Meiling thought that she was imagining it.

Sakuya, Meiling finally remembering the name she had heard but once before, watches her for a few moments before arching an eyebrow. "I did. And you certainly took your time in coming. Is there something that is wrong in my manor?"

The girl with wings shakes her head, placing her hands primly in front of the apron on her outfit. "Not at all, …milady. I merely had to take some of my own business. I would rather not make you appear unseemly, especially as it appears that we have a new guest."

Smiling slightly, Sakuya laces her fingers together and leans forward. "Indeed. Well, seeing as any of your business is also mine as well, I do believe you could take the time to share with me? After all, I am rather curious as to what took you so long."

The other girl's face becomes rather blank as her ears burn red. "It is… Nothing too important to bother you with. Merely some personal matters that I had to… attend to. …You know how difficult it is for one such as me to use a sink without a stopper."

"Oh, so that sort of problem." Grinning a bit more, Sakuya leans back. "Now, show me your hands first. I want to see the extent of the damage."

Meiling merely watches as the smaller girl holds up the palms of her hands, as the former does not have a clue what is going on. However, as she sees the palms of the smaller girl's hands, she nearly lets out a gasp. Horrible burns line the inside, but even now seem to be slowly shrinking away.

Still, Sakuya did not show nearly as much sympathy as she glances back up. "These must have occurred minutes ago, which means that you took time of your own free will, and not of any desire to appear well for me." The shorter girl cringes at her words, but still maintains the impassive look on her face. "So, your punishment for taking too much time…"

Snapping her fingers, Sakuya suddenly grins. "This will do. Go and fetch the ingredients for this guest's meal. However, ensure that they are as fresh as they come. Do not take them from the pantry or the icebox."

Frowning, the girl with bat wings on her back ponders before asking, "What is it that she has requested?" She opens her mouth again, but shuts it after considering that another remark may be ill timed.

The look on the woman's face grows quite predatory, and Meiling can suddenly see a little bit of the monster that Patchouli had claimed she was. "Go into the pool and fetch the ingredients for shark's fin soup. I am sure she would care for it most if it came straight from the source. Is that correct, Meiling?"

Although the smile loses all hints of danger as Sakuya turns to regard Meiling warmly, she still feels a hint of fear as if it had been upon her. Gulping, she shakes her head. "I am not sure. I never have had it before."

"Pity. But that will do for the moment." Smiling, she looks back at the girl. "Now, do as I request and all will be forgiven for your tardiness."

"B-but milady. You ask me to go in the water?" The girl's veneer of inscrutability has vanished, and she now is curling up slightly, wringing her hands in the fabric of her dress. "That will grievously harm me. And even then, I would not be in a state to do… do your bidding."

Even as she struggles to regain her poise, Sakuya clucks her tongues and reprimands her. "Now, Remilia, you have served me long enough. You should know the reason for my actions. I abhor those who like to think that time is on their side. However, do not worry. I shall give you all the time you need to complete your task." After another snap of her fingers, the girl vanishes in an instant.

Turning back to Meiling, Sakuya gives her an apologetic smile and a nod. "My many regrets that you had to seen that. One must keep the servants in their place, after all. Cannot have them become too uppity. I would rather not have to remind them of their place too severely." Chuckling, she brushes the thought off and looks at Meiling directly, leaning forward. "So, on to the conversation. How are you enjoying my home so far?"

[ ] Remember what Patchouli said. Butter her up.
[ ] Don't speak illy, but don't go out of the way to entertain her ego.
[ ] Be blunt. Tell her that you've not.
-[ ] Bring up the blonde girl that she made vanish.
-[ ] Bring up the charred girl being experimented on.
-[ ] Bring up Patchouli, and her actions.
-[ ] Ask about this new girl, and what she is doing.
-[ ] Bring up your own woes and injuries that still have yet to be attended to.
No. 169087
[x] Remember what Patchouli said. Butter her up.
-[X] Also bring up your injuries, if you can find a chance.
No. 169088
She may dislike blatant attempts at getting on her good side, she seemed to enjoy how Meiling responded to the creature sent to abduct her and disliked the show of submission Meiling gave when confronted with Flandre.

Being rude is uncalled for, but there is no reason not to talk about what you've seen in the mansion so far, particularly the more interesting bits.

[X] Don't speak illy, but don't go out of the way to entertain her ego.

Also, it might be a good idea for Meiling to use this opportunity to ask some questions.
No. 169095
>>169088
I agree, besides remember, Patchouli only said to stay on her good side, and be entertaining.

[X] Don't speak illy, but don't go out of the way to entertain her ego.
[X] "It's different, I've never been anywhere like it.
-[X] Bring up the blonde girl that she made vanish.
-[X] Ask about this new girl, and what she is doing.

We should ask questions to keep her interested in the conversation, but I don't think we should ask about Patchouli while she's sitting there, it would be rude, don't know if we can trust her yet, bet she is human and so far she's the only one who's answered our questions and helped us.
Also while I think we need to do something about our injuries, I'm hesitant to bring it up, on one hand Wiggle was willing and able to heal Lucas's injuries, but I also remember what Margatroid's idea of help was. Sakuya is much more cunning then both of them. I'm not sure how it would go. It may be impossible if we want to survive, but I'd like to try and stay fully human.
Also think we need to ask about directions, but we might be better off asking Patchouli later.
No. 169099
[X] Don't speak illy, but don't go out of the way to entertain her ego.
-[X] Ask about this new girl, and what she is doing.
-[X] Bring up the blonde girl that she made vanish.

So I'm going to start of by saying I'm really enjoying the setting in this story as well as the voting options. Something as simple as, what do you want for dinner and now remilia is out trying to wrestle a shark while being horrifically burned alive. So much despair...
No. 169227
[-m-] Don't speak illy, but don't go out of the way to entertain her ego.
-[-m-] Ask about this new girl, and what she is doing.
-[-m-] Bring up the blonde girl that she made vanish.

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

Meiling takes a few moments to decide how to speak. Tamping down the urge to be as rude as possible, she turns her head to the side, not quite looking in the woman's eyes. "It's certainly different. I can't say that I've been anywhere like it."

"I would hope not." Her smile becomes a little bit smug as her voice grows thick with pride. I do try and make sure that my home remains unique. I take every opportunity to change things up, after all."

"…You change it every day?" Frowning, she thinks back to the place she had woken up in. The door had disappeared right behind her, after all. "Were you the one that locked me out of that room earlier?"

"Indeed. I had to get you moving along, didn't I?" Her smile falls a bit, although it seemingly becomes more honest at the same time. "It would not do well for a lady such as you to sleep too late. Such a thing does mar one's body, especially if they grow used to it."

Snorting softly, Meiling just shakes her head. "Can't have that, can we." The brief laughter merely accentuates the pain in her side, though, and she winces. "…But why not simply appear and lead me through the house? Save me from quite a bit of pain if you had simply done that."

"For a few reasons: partly because it is not my duty to show my guests around; that would belong to the servants." Pausing, Sakuya holds a hand up, nearly looking apologetic. "But then again, I wouldn't be able to see how you reacted to your sudden appearance here. That is always one of the best parts about fresh faces, after all. Even if they do disappoint me in some way."

Meiling winces a bit at her emphatic words, but she doesn't back down. "Far be it for me to do that. I woke up, found myself disoriented after losing a fight against someone or something that wouldn't just go down, and wandered about your mansion and into a girl with blonde hair that seemed to want to eat me. Not to mention some other less... savory things." Although she tries not to, Meiling can't help but to glance at Patchouli as she quietly sits at the side of the table. "So what kind of person does it make you when you go out of your way to let that harm befall me?"

Sakuya stares Meiling down for a few seconds, not moving one inch. After seconds tick by, with the former not speaking and the latter unwilling to, she smiles. "If I were a person, I'd say a bad one. Considering I'm not, though..." Her eyes suddenly shift towards the second person there before she frowns. "Is there something wrong, Patchouli?"

"Nothing at all." By the time Meiling glances back, the girl's face is flat. Either Sakuya could see something that Meiling couldn't, or the girl had wiped her face free of any emotion before she could be noticed. Even if she was emoting, it'd be hard to see any expression under that purple hair that frames her face. "Merely contemplating how the experiment is going. This girl became lost and wandered into one of them."

"Indeed? Do tell, then. Which one did she stumble upon? I always forget how many you have set up..." However, Patchouli merely shakes her head, doing her best to indicate to the white-haired girl that she did not wish to pursue that line of inquiry. Surprisingly enough, Sakuya does drop it, although her forehead knits slightly in consternation.

As the silence drags on, Meiling decides to ask about something that had been bothering her this whole time. Well, a lot of things had been, but one was doing so more than the others. "Whatever happened to that girl?" Sakuya looks up, waiting for Meiling to continue her question. "That blonde that was trying to attack me. Or wasn't, but another part of her did? She did do a good job in confusing me. That much I know."

"Oh, that one!" Smiling easily, Sakuya leans back, her earlier frustration gone. "Nothing too much. She was one of two prizes that I acquired a few decades ago. She came along with the main part of my reward." Shrugging off any odd looks that Meiling gives her, she continues. "I had to do a bit to restrain her madness, but she is much better off than she used to be. Even is herself some of the time." After a moment she realizes what she has said and begins to laugh, seemingly thinking she had just made a rather funny joke.

Meiling nearly goes off again, mentally wondering why this woman hadn't tried to get her help. Although, considering what else she had seen, that might not have been the best of questions. "Alright, so you took her away? But what is she? Why is she like that in the first place?"

"It is something that is more complicated than you'd imagine. And something you would not believe even if I told you the truth." As she grins again, baring her white teeth, you can't help but to wonder what exactly that could be. "Needless to say, she has been cursed with a magic that poisons her blood. I can't remove it, but I can make her forget."

"...So when you said a few decades ago... You weren't exaggerating? The girl wasn't a day older than fourteen. Younger, probably."

"Much older than that, my guest. Much much older. You are the youngest of those who live here by not an insubstantial margin." Smiling again, the woman continues to speak enigmatically. "As long as I am around, there is plenty of time for those whom please me, and little indeed for those that do the opposite."

Gulping a bit, Meiling glances over at the ever impassive Patchouli before sighing. "What of the other girl, then? The maid that you had cowering in front of you before she vanished from here?"

"Oh, here? She is my absolute favorite" If there was any mistake before, this time she notices that the girl's smile is more than a bit devilish. "She was quite a proud creature before, and had dozens of men and women under her thrall. That was before I decided I should humble her. Her charisma does make her quite the perfect and elegant maid, at least until she forgets how to." The woman gracefully sighs before opening her eyes to gaze back at Meiling. "Even as her body has been wound back, her mind has gone far ahead into its elder years. She knows plenty, but the vagrancies of her body only let her remember so much before it slips away from her grasp and becomes impossible to recover."

Meiling just stares back at Sakuya, at no small loss for words to respond with. However, she manages to shake off the shock of what she is hearing before she manages to look back at Sakuya. "How can you think that it is a good thing at all? What you're talking about is doing more than making her a servant. It sounds like you've planned far worse."

Sakuya leans back after a second, and the guise of the happy lady returns to veil her emotions. "Leaping to her defense so soon? Do you know anything about this girl and what she has done? Or do you just see her as a kindred soul and instead support her, even though you've yet to hear her speak?" The lady turns her nose up just a little, holding it high in the air as she looks down its length. "I may enjoy it when you fail to submit, but there is also your time and place to understand. Something which you cannot."

[ ] Well, it's time for her to explain, isn't it?
[ ] If she insists, let the conversation flow on. Ask about something else.
-[ ] What?
No. 169253
[X] If she insists, let the conversation flow on. Ask about something else.
-[X] You're quite curious about why you're here. Come to think of it, where IS here, anyway?
No. 169281
[X] If she insists, let the conversation flow on. Ask about something else.
-[X] You're quite curious about why you're here. Come to think of it, where IS here, anyway?
No. 169335
[X] If she insists, let the conversation flow on. Ask about something else.
-[X] You're quite curious about why you're here. Come to think of it, where IS here, anyway?
No. 169625
[X] If she insists, let the conversation flow on. Ask about something else.
-[X] You're quite curious about why you're here. Come to think of it, where IS here, anyway?
No. 169708
File 137110453284.png - (340.73KB , 400x655 , i am quite frustrated by now.png ) [iqdb]
169708
[-n-] If she insists, let the conversation flow on. Ask about something else.
-[-n-] You're quite curious about why you're here. Come to think of it, where IS here, anyway?

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

"…As you say." Meiling eventually deflates, letting the sharp reprimand slide off of her as best her ego can take. She has the small little feeling that tells her that asking for an explanation might be a bit too much. This woman, whatever and whoever she is, certainly won't explain everything now anyways. She is enjoying the ordeal way too much.

Instead, Meiling mentally shrugs her shoulders and lets the woman continue to speak. "…Hrm. No smart remark? Seems like you may just know your place. Can't have the guest be getting out of order too soon, now can we?" Sakuya grins at Meiling a bit before composing herself and sliding back into her seat. "At least you are proving sufficiently interesting that I might keep you as a guest for a long while. I would hate to lose such a valuable source of entertainment too early."

The tall Chinese girl gulps before glancing towards Patchouli, seeking out any sort of advice. However, a minute shake of her purple hair is all that Meiling receives in response. As Sakuya stares expectantly towards her, she dredges around for something to speak of. Eventually, lacking anything to talk about that wouldn't dredge up the horrific events that she has already seen, she thinks of something that is rather basic. "So, why am I here in the first place? You say that I am a guest, but I do not remember any invitation…" A recollection of the fight she had against the doppelganger comes to mind, but she shoves it out as she awaits an answer.

"Oh, that is one of the questions that your human mind cannot understand, I am afraid. Or, perhaps, it would be better to say that you cannot comprehend it." Sakuya holds a hand up as she glances over Meiling's head, looking far into the distance of the rather stark room. "I have had many guests over the years. Some of which were intriguing enough to stay. Sadly, the majority didn't like becoming my guest, and as such were never stimulating. The left my presence soon enough."

Before Meiling can say anything, though, Sakuya continues to speak. "As for why you were chosen, well, it was random. You were the one that my eye happened to fall upon, and the one I chose to accompany me for now. That is why I sent my creation to fetch you. It will take your place while you are gone, and if you still desire to return to your home after you are done, you can take your place as if nothing happened."

"…So you too me because you are bored, and will allow me to go back home when I want to?" Frowning, Meiling tries to think of how much trouble might be caused by that impostor. There isn't much choice in the matter, it seems, especially since the other girl could disappear on a whim. As much as she wished that she could let her fists and feet do the talking, there seems to not be a good chance for that to occur. "That sounds less like a guest, and more like a prisoner."

"Perhaps. But to my own mind, it makes perfect sense. You are my esteemed guest, and you will be treated as such."

All this talk about being such an esteemed guest is starting to make Meiling wonder about exactly why she is here. After all, she may be such an important person in this insane woman's mind, but there is nothing that makes her special. She's just a tired worker in a restaurant where everyone hates her. There isn't anything particular interesting about that. If this person were watching her, she would know that. "Are you certain you have the right person, then? I'm not the most exciting of people. I don't have any real impressive things that I've done."

"There is more to a person than accomplishments. And my point of view is quite different from yours." A few rather acerbic thoughts flash through Meiling's head, but shakeups her temper as Sakuya continues to speak. "So, don't delude yourself into thinking that. There is no reason for you to leave until I decide it is your time to depart us."

Meiling just nods faintly, before looking down. "…What is to prevent me from walking out the front door, then? Or breaking out a window and leaving your home that way?"

Sakuya arcs an eyebrow, and Meiling feels for a moment that she has stepped over the line. Instead, though, she merely smiles, laughter tugging at the corners of her lips. "I would be shocked if you left my fine hospitality, if even for a moment. And it would make me very sad if you left the mansion. It would be terrible if you suffocated for lack of air to breathe."

"Wait a second…" Turning to look for a window, and finding none, Meiling feels her worry rising to the fore once more. Her feet begin to tap against the floor, anxious and able to start running should she feel the need. "We're not on Earth anymore? Where are we?"

"Far from your old home, Hong Meiling." Smiling widely, Sakuya knits her fingers together and gazes at her, quite pleased. "This is my own humble little corner of Gensokyo, if I do say so myself."

Silence reigns o'er the table once more, with Meiling not having any good response to her declaration. Fortunately, Sakuya seems satisfied, and turns to the other guest at the table, whom has remained rather quiet this whole time. "So, how goes your work, Miss Knowledge? You test subjects seem enough to scar my guest, but are they worth the trauma that you are inflicting upon her?" She gestures towards Meiling alone, seemingly not caring about the state of the subjects herself.

"They go, Lady Izayoi." Straightening herself up, she raises her pale head up to meet her eyes directly. Her face never shows any emotion, not even the slightest of irritation. "The one fair one that I've been working on seems pretty standard, in all regards. Nothing special, save for her skill in teleportation. Nothing that seems special, save for the source of her ability is different than the magic I am used to. Naturally, that applies to all of the creatures on this plane."

"That it does. Still frustrated in your attempts to replicate it?"

Shrugging, Patchouli doesn't even bother to move the hair that falls over her face. "I suppose. All attempts thus far have failed. I have tried extensively; if I were still back on Earth, the paradox would have erased me from existence several times over."

"Indeed it would have. What about the darkling? You've spoken little about him in the months since he has been here." Sakuya tilts her head as honest curiosity covers her face. "I'm surprised that you don't let him out more, really. I'm sure he would stir up plenty of reactions."

"Hardly. I'd lose my controlled environment. I don't want the subject to be violated by some sort of outside force." Patchouli glances to the side, looking at Meiling for but a moment. A second later, she turns away. "What about those new specimens that you were searching for? You had mentioned some prospects."

Sakuya does not answer, and instead merely toys with one utensil that lays aside her table. "Perhaps I had. However, shouldn't you concern yourselves with those here? It would be such a pity if all of your hard work would just end up having to be tossed out, wouldn't it?"

"Perhaps. They are hardly pleasant creatures. The world will not grieve for their loss." Patchouli's eyes glance at Meiling, trying to judge her reaction, before she twitches and turns to the wall that the maid had used earlier.

Laughing softly, Sakuya follows the girl's gaze. "As aware as ever, aren't you?" A second later, and the girl reappears once more from the doorway, balancing a tray on one hand. She expertly wields it as she glides into the room and silently circles around the table, depositing large bowls in front of every person at the table.

The movements of the maid remind Meiling of some sort of muted dance as she strolls around, turning and fixing everything as she passes by. Just as much as she watches her, wondering how the girl could be done so soon, Sakuya watches Remilia even more, extremely amused by the sight playing out before the women there.

Once the bowls are in place, Remilia silently walks away, returning seconds later with an opaque bottle. She stops in front of every spot and lowers the bottle, removing the cork with a deft twist that would be impossible for most. She pours first for Sakuya, filling her glass with a liquid that is as black as the walls. Stepping back and towards Patchouli, she lets the mouth of the bottle descend to another glass. Out pours another liquid, this one a soft if slightly lurid purple.

Next, she steps beside Meiling, reaching forward to pour her glass. As she does so, the girl with white hair and wings turns her eyes toward Meiling, staring quite intently. Scarlet eyes pierce through the skin of the girl, and judge the soul within as if it was laid bare. As she stares, Meiling cannot help but to turn away, wanting to redirect that gaze.

The red liquid stops pouring from within the bottle and Remilia steps back, holding it in her hand. Sakuya does her best to smile graciously, although much mischief lurks in her grin. "Thank you much for serving us this, Remilia. I am glad that you took the time to consider the consequences yet again."

"That I did… milady." Whatever may have happened, the girl still has that same grit in her voice, even thought she tries to contain it. "Is there anything else that you require?"

"Nothing right now." Turning away, she reaches for her utensils and raises them. Without waiting any longer, she lowers her head and begins to eat.

Looking down, Meiling stares at the soup that lies before her. Steam wafts over her nose as the scent fills it, as it is unlike anything she has smelled before. She may have seen pictures of the soup at some point, and had heard others speak of how it felt on the palette, but it was something that she had never tried in her life.

One hand raises, unbidden by her conscious mind. She manages to control herself. Meiling hesitates for a moment, wondering whether or not she should partake of the meal.

[ ] Eat
[ ] Don't eat
-[ ] Excuse?

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

So, slightly off topic, but any suggestions for computer components? Looks like I'm going to have to work on building one sooner rather than later.
No. 169709
[X] Eat

Good luck in building your new computer, Begi. I hope it works more reliably than your current.
No. 169710
Personally I'd vote for "Don't Eat" but I can't think of a good excuse.

Sakuya here strikes me as being like a Fairie or Sidhe or something and while I've not played the Changeling game, and really can't remember specifics about nWoD Fairies, from what I do remember regarding fairies in general weren't their food and drink often enchanted in some way that could negatively affect humans like forcing them into their debt or whatever?
No. 169742
> Seconds continue to tick by as she tries to think, no real choices coming to mind.
[x] Eat
No. 169753
If Patchouli is eating it should be safe, otherwise it might be a good idea to stall saying something like "Not hungry Patchouli?" and seeing what her response is.

So, if Patchouli is eating: [X] Eat
Else: [X] Ask Patchouli why she isn't eating.
No. 169754
>>169753
Good thinking.

if Patchouli is eating: [X] Eat
else: [X] Ask Patchouli why she isn't eating.
No. 169782
>>169742 changing to:
if Patchouli is eating: [X] Eat
Else: [X] Ask Patchouli why she isn't eating.

Because of what happened last story, I wonder if eating fairy-touched food is the trigger to transformation. Also, if a bird eats seeds, who eats shark fin soup? Dragon or reptilian-changling Meiling? The transformation will probably be more wild than regal though.
No. 169786
>Because of what happened last story, I wonder if eating fairy-touched food is the trigger to transformation. Also, if a bird eats seeds, who eats shark fin soup? Dragon or reptilian-changling Meiling? The transformation will probably be more wild than regal though.

I want to say that was just a quirk of Wriggle, but then again Alice also changed changelings into things more suited to her idea of reality.

Perhaps Meiling would be changed into something entertaining? Or maybe Sakuya doesn't do that so she would have more entertainment?

There's also still the bit where Meiling walked on the ceiling, or something.
No. 169793
>>169753
Hurray a write in to solve my paranoia about eating the soup.

So, if Patchouli is eating: [X] Eat
Else: [X] Ask Patchouli why she isn't eating.
No. 170158
A Luminous story on the second page? Unthinkable.

Na, I jest. Waiting warmly.
No. 170560
File 137226101182.jpg - (34.80KB , 360x235 , couldnt find my amy vanderbuilt book for this.jpg ) [iqdb]
170560
If Patchouli is eating: [-o-] Eat
Else: [-o-] Ask Patchouli why she isn't eating.

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

If there is anyone that Meiling can trust right now, it is the pale woman with purple hair. It matters not if there is some other motive going on, or the exact reason she is experimenting on those girls. From the sound of it, nobody save that girl is human. Patchouli also warned you on the basis of being a fellow human in this mansion that is apparently full of monsters.

Those thoughts in mind, she looks to the side, viewing the quiet girl. She herself is examining the food careful, her lips barely moving as she chants under her breath. After a few seconds, she apparently deems it safe or good enough to eat, as a white hand emerges from her robes and grabs a spoon before she leans down and takes a sip of it. "…Interesting. Not sure if I would particularly commend it myself, but it has its own virtues."

Patchouli looks up and catches her eye as she finishes speaking, having finally noticed or finally responding to her inspection. She says nothing and simply turns back, continuing to eat as her eyes glue to the food in front of her.

Heartened by her reaction, Meiling copies her and lowers her spoon into the soup. Spending scant seconds as she hesitates, she manages to gird herself enough to take a bite of the soup.

Seconds later, she wonders why was so concerned. The soup has quite the interesting taste―indeed, it is nothing like she has ever partaken of before. The meat of the soup is cooked quite thoroughly, not too much to make it tough, but just enough so that it is not quite chewy. It is a texture she has never had before though, and she takes a moment to savor it as she continues to eat.

"I take it that you enjoy it then?" Sakuya is smiling once more as she stares at you from the head of the table. Whatever meal had been before her is now gone, plate and all. The only thing that remains is her glass. "I prefer something a bit richer myself, but it has its own subtle flavors."

"…I suppose that is one way to put it." Meiling would have rolled her eyes if she was not busy eating. If there was one thing about the soup that was good, it was the warmth that was spreading through her body as she eats it. It was far more comforting than anything else she had seen, and she relaxes a little bit more. "So, you have already finished? I didn't see much of you eating…" That doesn't count the first bite or two, but none of the others hadn't so much as finished."

Chuckling, Sakuya merely folds her fingers together and looks down towards her. "I always eat quickly, as I'd rather pay as much attention to my guests as possible."

Meiling keeps herself from doing more than shivering at the insinuation. This woman is quite obsessed with her observations, and seemingly has no shame at all. The one being observed immediately lowers her own head, returning to her food and pointedly avoiding the woman's eyes. Even still, she feels them on her face, those eyes constantly watching her every move.

As she finishes her bowl, the warmth begins to spread even more in Meiling's body. Her idle thoughts that this was merely the broth getting into her stomach and heating her core disappears as it continues to diffuse through her body. "What in the…" Looking down, she begins to pat herself down, forgetting all of her worries about the ones that are watching her so closely.

Still, nothing seems to be visibly changing. Propriety be damned, she looks over her body as the warmth continues to feel her. Her hands flitter about as Meiling tries to find what is going on. Curiously enough, even though she feels warm, her skin remains the same shade, and does not grow red. No sweat begins to drip from her body as she grows warmer.

However, in the middle of her inspection, she suddenly stops after spotting something that is off. "Wait one second here. Why is it so easy…" Turning to the side, she looks down at her left arm. The bruises that had adorned it the entire time were now gone, with nothing left behind save for normal, unhurt skin.

A flurry of thoughts whisk through her mind. She wounds what could have caused such a thing. Bruises that deep take days to fade, not mere hours. It couldn't have disappeared unnoticed. Someone had to have done this. And there were only two people that she knows of that would be capable of such a thing, or so she suspects. Still, Meiling does not break out into a flurry of questions, but instead continues to check herself.

After establishing that it isn't just her arm that has healed, Meiling slowly looks up. Truth be told, she had gotten used to the quiet ache of her injured jaw and her eyes, and they no longer bothered her. Now, though, the very absence of her pain shook her quite a lot. Looking up, she simply stares at the woman across from her. Even from the foot of the table, she can see the smile that still rests on her face. The answer may be readily apparent, but Meiling can only think of one thing to ask of Sakuya. "What is it that you have done to me?"

"What does it appear to be, Miss Hong?" Sakuya merely laughs softly as she takes in the scene. "I would be a horrible host if I allowed my guests to remain injured. After all, you are under my hospitality. As long as you are, I would be most upset if you are injured so." Coyly, she tilts her head. "Were you expecting something different?"

Meiling doesn't answer for a moment, the shock still overwhelming. Once more she glances at Patchouli for any kind of guidance, only to receive a minute shake of the head. If it weren't for the placid nature of the girl, it would have appeared to be merely an errant twitch. "…Not really. I was merely shocked. I hadn't expected anything to happen."

"Really now?" While amused, the woman does not call Meiling out on the little fib she told. "If you insist. Still, do eat up. I prefer my guests to be healthy, after all." Sakuya glances up and to the left, distracted by some unseen disturbance. "…My apologies. I must depart. There are many things that I must do. Subjects to acquire, new guests and old that need entertaining… Quite a lot overall." She turns back toward Meiling as she stands up. Once at full height, she nods her head. "Farewell."

Before Meiling can even blink, Sakuya has vanished from sight. The room falls into a silence as Meiling stares at the spot where her hostess once was. Although part of her mind tries to tell her that nothing harmful was done to her, the feelings in her gut never go away. If someone can heal her wounds so simply, what else can they do?"

Still, she is shaken out of her stupor by the clinking of china and metal. Whirling her head to face the sudden noise, Meiling only sees Patchouli continuing to eat. She glances up once at Meiling, but the purple haired girl keeps her silence, not yet deigning it time to say anything else.

[ ] Sit down and finish eating. It hasn't done any harm.
[ ] She's not exactly hungry now, is she? Don't bother.

[ ] Is Patchouli just going to sit there?
[ ] Wait a moment. Where did that maid go?
[ ] Just stand up and leave. She's tired of this already.
No. 170568
[x ] She's not exactly hungry now, is she? Don't bother.

I think Meiling may be done for now.
No. 170569
[x] Sit down and finish eating. It hasn't done any harm.

This meal seems to be safe. That may not always be the case.
No. 170571
Sorry, was supposed to be an "&" between the first two votes and the last three, as it is supposed to be a double vote. Apologies, but I didn't want to correct it and bury the two already made.
No. 170572
[X] Sit down and finish eating. It hasn't done any harm.

[X] Is Patchouli just going to sit there? Maybe try and strike up some conversation.
No. 170573
>>170569

[x] Wait a moment. Where did that maid go?

Adding this, since it's a two-part vote.
No. 170576
[X] Sit down and finish eating. It hasn't done any harm.
[X] Wait a moment. Where did that maid go?
No. 170757
[x] Sit down and finish eating. It hasn't done any harm.
[x] Wait a moment. Where did that maid go?
No. 170899
File 13729161626.jpg - (3.76KB , 400x224 , what else would you expect from her.jpg ) [iqdb]
170899
[-p-] Sit down and finish eating. It hasn't done any harm.
[-p-] Wait a moment. Where did that maid go?

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

While the immediate reaction is to turn away from the table and to leave the food there, Meiling takes a moment to think things out. The food did nothing to her. At most, it made her healthier, so it would be rather dumb to turn it down at the moment. At least then it might please the woman in some myriad way, perhaps. If it does the opposite, she can't really say much of anything about it.

The next few minutes are spent in silence, with Meiling eating quickly, not caring at all for propriety. Instead, she debates on what to do next. Thoughts of fleeing the mansion and leaving it far behind cross her mind, but she knows that the woman has something up her sleeves. She is much too confident for there to be any other answer.

Still, there are a few plans that come to mind. The woman… This Sakuya seemed to take joy in belittling that girl with wings. Patchouli seemed to be honest when she spoke to her earlier. At the very least, Meiling believes she can trust the purple-haired girl.

However, she does not want to push that trust. There is no reason to annoy her with too many questions. Meiling can think of many people who are like that. It would be best not to push her for too many answers right now. Besides, given how much she has already tried to assist, Patchouli would speak up if there were anything more to say.

If there was one thing that she had learned over the years, Meiling would like to think she knew how to keep her head down and out of trouble. Even if she didn't use her head to think most of the times she should have.

Eventually, she finishes her internal debate and her soup, and she sets it down and pushes it away. No more ill effects had occurred from eating it, although nothing more that would be advantageous has happened, either. While she is a little thirsty yet, she glances at the red liquid in the glass and shakes her head. There was enough liquid in the soup to satisfy her, and she could deal with a little thirst. Meiling still isn't quite sure why she is being so cautious, but every time she wonders she thinks back to all of those that she has seen so far.

Once done, she almost speaks to Patchouli again. However, she stays on her task to not bother her. Instead, she decides to go search for the girl with wings. The maid had disappeared sometime earlier, at a point that Meiling can't recall. Perhaps she could shed some more light on what is going on. Again, thoughts of what had happened with the other girl come to mind. Should she bother to risk herself, in the not unlikely case that this girl with bat wings might do the same?

Meiling's curiosity wins out in the end, as there is no other voice to discount her silent musings. Quietly, she slips around the room and starts to feel for the secret passage.

"A foot to the left, nearest to the candelabra." Meiling manages to control herself this time when Patchouli speaks up. Turning around, she spots the girl staring back at her, looking as droll as before. "You are looking for that vampire, are you not? She went back though that passageway."

"Thanks." With a quick adjustment, she easily pushes the wall in, revealing the passageway. "…Should I be looking for her? Is she as dangerous as the other Youkai?"

"That vampire is no Youkai." Her dark eyes glance away for one moment before darting back to meet Meiling's. Even in the stark contrast of the room, she is only able to make out the eyes by a muted glow in her irises. "She is something else, and is not a being of dreams and magic that is yet not. They are more of the Earth than they are of this realm."

She pauses and glances up and about as she debates the rest of her response, her nearly sallow skin brightening for a few seconds. However, it fades back to pale as she shrinks into the shadows of the room and her clothes. "As for whether she is dangerous, there is not a thing in this mansion that is not dangerous. Everyone will want something, miss." Patchouli's mouth curls up for a second before any hint of joy vanishes. "You need merely consider what is more dangerous to you, and what you are willing to give up."

The low intensity of her speech, both low and insistent, causes Meiling to clench up and not look away, even when Patchouli herself does. Once the other girl finishes, Meiling takes a deep breath and nods. "Right, thanks. …Bye for now, then." At that, she turns and walks down the hall, closing the secret passage behind her.

That was yet another unfortunate mistake, though, as the hallway within is black as ebony, and there is no light to bounce off the hard floors or walls. Instead, Meiling has to feel her way down though the meandering hallway, which never leads straight but always crooks to the left or the right. During that time, she has plenty to wonder about how serious Patchouli's warnings are. That, and what exactly she must want, if they were.

Impacting a door at the end of her crawl snaps her out of any musings. She nearly falls flat on her rear as she rebounds backwards, and her hands shoot to her face. "…At least I didn't break my nose. There's enough that's going wrong already." Once satisfied that nothing else has been injured once more, she places her hands on the wall and firmly shoves it forward.

The light nearly blinds her as she steps out and into the room beyond the dark corridor. The gallery that Meiling happens upon is well lit, much more than any of the previous rooms, save perhaps the room with the burned girl. Just as soon as the memory comes up, she shakes it out of her mind. Now is hardly the time to be sick once more.

Meiling finally notices that there is something, or rather, someone, moving around in the kitchen. Now that she has pushed the thoughts to the side, she takes a look around the place. It seems to be quite well kept, just like the rest of the mansion that she has seen so far. Not a single copper pan hanging from the potholder on the ceiling or a single china dish stacked high on top of the cabinets is out of place. The black stone countertops are wiped clean, and not a single drop of water or one smeared bit of food is left on it.

Save for the area around the sink, and the person that is standing in front of it.

The same girl with bat wings is standing there, staring down at the sink. Her reinvents are the same as before; a maid's outfit of all things isn't something one would expect to see another wearing. That would have to be a question relegated to later, though.

The only other odd things about her dress were the two gloves that she wore as she scrubbed the dishes. They are absolutely enormous, covering her arms all the way up to her elbows. Even protected as she is, she holds the wet dishes with distaste, and barely manages to grip them with the tips of her fingers. Meiling can't help to frown a bit at how she is washing them. If she did the same back at her job… Well, they certainly wouldn't get done quickly enough to keep it.

Quiet still pervades the room as Meiling watches, as the girl seems to be too focused, or too furious, to bother to speak to her. Deciding to put her foot forward, Meiling clears her throat and speaks to the white-haired girl. "…Hello there, Miss. If you have a second, I'd like to talk…"

Snorting, the girl slowly turns around and stares, her scarlet eyes burning as she looks. "Oh, I have plenty of seconds right now. So do you, in fact. Indeed, quite the surplus, as I have to continue this until I am done. And as there is a specified time I must be asleep by in order to wake up at the proper time, we have all the time in the world to speak." Her eyelid twitches a little bit as irritation drips off of her tongue.

Meiling immediately backs away at the girl's ire, bowing her head just slightly. "I just… Just thought I should follow you. I didn't have a particular reason to, I suppose. I just… don't really know what I should do, and I thought I'd try and find out…"

"Find out what? What you might end up as?" Shaking her head, the winged girl sets down a plate and stares at you. "What does it matter to common rabble like you? You are just the same as the last dozen that she has brought in. Or has it been a gross? It's hard to keep track of humans like you. All so… unrefined." Sneering, she turns up her nose just a bit. "There was a time… Bah. At least when she broke us, we were special. You… All of you are just the same. Same sad stories, and the same sad fate you will endure. And I no longer remember how I could change it, if I possessed the desire to do so."

Shrinking a little bit in place, Meiling tries to ignore the words that slap at her like a lively cod's tail. "What do you mean? Others… I know there are others, but what is it that you mean? And how is it possible to change one's fate?"

"Because it is such a beautiful thing to do. Or so I think I remember." The girl's harsh eyes turn away from Meiling, relieving her of the torment of her stare. "And what I mean is something that requires no large vocabulary to understand. There have been other humans… Just like you. Those who are not special in the slightest." She frowns, realizing she may be saying too much. "But I'll have you know that you will not be conversing with me in such a manner. You will address me as proper. I am Remilia Scarlet, an ancient Toreador. You will respect me as such." Her young voice quickly switches from imperious to cloying as she finally smiles while the fire in her eyes dies down. "I can make it worth your while, after all."

[ ] "As you say, Miss Scarlet."
[ ] "Just hurry up with the goods, Remilia."
[ ] "…"
[ ] "I will address you however I want."
No. 170911
[X] "As you say, Miss Scarlet."

Well, why not humor her? We're not exactly in a position of power right now, anyway.
No. 170912
[x] "…"

Not convinced I want to play along with this arrogant woman. In any case, she is very much NOT the one in control here, as Sakuya has demonstrated.
No. 170921
[X] "As you say, Miss Scarlet."
No. 171004
[X] "…"

This is our first private interaction with Remilia and will likely set the tone for the rest of our interactions with her and how she sees us.

We need to make it clear that we're both Sakuya's playthings, it doesn't matter what either of us were before. The last thing we would want is to appear subservient to her, she may try to throw us away just to make her life easier.

We should make it clear that we're both in the same shitty situation, but that doesn't mean we can't make each others lives slightly less shit. Accept her offer for help, but offer your own as well. She doesn't like washing dishes (lol-acid-water), Meiling has experiences working in a kitchen and has probably washed dishes before.
No. 171005
[X] "…"

>>171004
I agree with your statements. Meiling and Remilia are both subservient to Sakuya, and humoring Remilia while inviting retribution from Sakuya may end up disastrously for Meiling in the short and long term.
No. 171038
[x] "I will address you however I want."

The little bitch doesn't deserve our respect.
No. 171103
>>171005
Echoing this sentiment as well. We need to lay out some ground rules if there is any hope of a partnership. I'm fine with calling her miss scarlet so long as she stops referring to us as 'common rabble' and what not.
[X] "…"

On another note Remilia's hands were burned when she was first brought into the dining hall despite using these thick gloves for washing dishes. Therefore her hands must be burned by the flowing water despite the barrier in between. As such I theorize that the gloves are not there to protect her hands from the flowing water but instead to stop her from bleeding all over the dishes while she washes them. Just bringing this up because, well, how horrifying.
No. 171113
[x] "…"

Need to be very careful here. I agree that we don't want to appear subservient to her, but we don't want to be rude. Remember she's a vampire and this is a dark world. We may need to work with her, but we should not trust her. Don't want to escape from Sakuya, only to end up as a vampire's pet. I may be wrong, but it seems like no matter what we're going to have to side with someone and they'll all want something in return. If we can avoid making any deals, that would be best, but if we must, we can't be rash about it. As of now I'd much rather try and get Patchouli help. At least she's human. I don't know how much that's worth here and I don't know if it's the right choice, but it's something.
No. 171169
File 137324620582.jpg - (784.65KB , 827x1168 , it even has the right hair color.jpg ) [iqdb]
171169
[-q-] "…"

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

The declaration and offer that Remilia makes is met with nothing but silence from the girl opposite of her. While the former's twee smile fades quickly, she seems rather perturbed by Meiling's continued silence. "Well? Are you that shocked by my offer that you have no words?"

Letting out a great sigh, Meiling shakes her head. "Not at the least. I'm just… Just a bit surprised that you would care about such things. Does it matter at all which name I refer to you as? After all, I'm here on Sakuya's behalf, not yours."

A flash of anger crosses over her face, but she manages to compose herself. "It has always matters when you were one of the nobility. I never had a large demesne, but I worked behind the shadows. I was the power behind thrones!" Her eyes glance up as she continues to rave, her voice being directed at someone unseen. "I never was required to step in and do things myself. A king word here, a simpering request there, and humans were putty in my hands. When that wasn't enough, I would sit down and weave something beautiful upon my loom."

Her head snaps back down and faces Meiling. "Do you not understand? I was as Lakhesis was. The futures of men were but a shuttle's throw away from changing. I may not have been like those that stand around the well of Urd, but I shaped their lives just the same. Something that one as low as you probably couldn't understand…" Remilia's eyes grow hard once more as she stares her down. "And yet, I must suffer these… indignities. I am forced to be that creature's plaything."

Meiling manages to not back down at the hateful glare, although part of her would dearly prefer to. "Even as all that may be, you are no longer that person. You are stuck here in this mansion all the same. Claiming to be the heir of those I have never heard of will not change the situation. The dead and the nonexistent cannot help you."

"They are dead. Not nonexistent." Growling softly, Remilia turns away. Her wings rise up to hide her body, although they are too small to cover much. "That creature takes me on the lark, because it'd be interesting. She never gave us even the barest opportunity to fight her. Instead, she stripped our minds clean… And reduced us to this." At that, she motions down at her body. "Forced back into a body that I haven't had to endure for centuries. Mockery of the greatest measure."

At least that explains why both maids were little girls. Still, something tickles at Meiling's mind as she listens to the speech. "You keep on talking about us. On and on about that. Is that other maid your friend?"

"She…" For the first time, the girl seems to be at a loss for words. "…She is my sister. Younger by five years, at least by our date of birth. We were both turned near the same age physically, so we at one time passed for fraternal twins…" Clenching her fists and digging the abnormally sharp nails into her chubby palm, Remilia looks away as her voice softens. "She is worse off than I. When we had our minds wiped, we forgot what we were. How to be what we are. That does not change what we are now."

"It is why I am reduced to this. I was a woman before, an ancient. Now I am a doddering child who cannot even control her temper!" Grunting, she turns back and looks up at Meiling, finally making apparent how short the winged girl is. "Nothing I can do helps it. I do my best to keep an even temperament as I used to do. I was the master of my visage. Now, this damnable body is."

She pauses for a moment, and Meiling can see her eyes flicker as something else comes to mind. "…My sister, though… She got the worst of it. She is unlike me, succumbing to an incurable madness in her mind. Before, I was able to help calm it, but now… Now there is no way for her to resist."

"I can sympathize a bit with that." Shivering, Meiling glances down. "I ran across her before anybody else. Staring at the side of the room one minute, clutching her head the next, and threatening me the very next moment."

Remilia watches the other girl closely, gauging her reaction. "She tried to feed on you, didn't she? Hrm… It makes me curious as to whether it was her, or the beast that decided to do it…"

"What are you even talking about?" Meiling shakes her head a bit as she watches the smaller girl just as much. "What is the difference between the two?"

"It is a difference that one such as you wouldn't understand." Snorting, Remilia shakes her head. "But enough of that. I've said too much as it is. If I wasn't already, I'd damn myself again…"

While consternated at how quickly the girl changed subjects, Meiling initially decides not to push her to speak about it. However, there is one thing that she wanted to cover, especially as they didn't finish discussing it earlier. "Why would I not understand it? What is it to understand? Are you and that other girl monsters, with thoughts so alien that I cannot comprehend them?"

"It depends on what a monster is, peasant." She grins widely, and Meiling can see the two long canines that shine in the light. "You should be wary about tossing around terms when you are ignorant of what goes on in this palatial manor home of horrors. You might end up finding something that would break your little mind."

"…You can't help but to gloat, can you?" Crossing her arms, Meiling stares down at Remilia. "At least I can see a little bit of why Sakuya has you be her maid."

"When pride is all one that has left, one clings to it tightly." Elegantly shrugging her shoulders, Remilia looks back, not flinching one inch as she does. "Not that you would understand. It is so easy for your kind to submit to every single pressure, whether it be from the sharp and harsh words of your master or the tip of a sword against the small of your back. You bend, and you break. I have the strength to resist all of these offenses upon my person, but do you?"

The intense look that is being sent at Meiling finally becomes too much, and she looks away. As she does, the smile on Remilia's face becomes just a little bit wider. "I don't know about that, but I did my best to fight off that other version of myself that tried to take me. Was annoying when breaking its arm did nothing to stop it."

"Intriguing…" The challenge fades from Remilia's eyes, and instead she simply becomes curious. "And you are a baseline human? That is impressive." She strokes a chin with a short, stocky finger. "Perhaps it was for a different reason she brought you here, then. Maybe you are not like the others…"

Before Meiling can formulate a response, Remilia flicks her wings and walks around, her eyes looking over Meiling's body. "Certainly much too tall and bulky to be ladylike, not to mention the lack of a lithe form. Although, I suppose you do have a few muscles hidden beneath that bulky fabric." Her eyes linger on Meiling's torn sleeve, and her vulpine smile quickly sinks. "Or lack thereof."

"I'm glad that I've passed inspection." Meiling rolls her eyes, even as she blushes just a little from the lingering stares being cast at her. "If you are satisfied, you mentioned something earlier about making it worth my while to help you?"

"I said nothing of the sort. I said that respecting me as I am would be rewarded. Although, since you bring it up…" Remilia stops beside Meiling and flutters her wings, flying up a bit. She primly sets herself down on a nearby counter, as far from the water as she can get. Even then, she still has to look up to meet Meiling's eyes, even if she is closer to her eye level than before. "I know you want something. It is the nature of all creatures, even those that are less capable. Speak, and I may answer."

[ ] (Insert here)

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

>>171038
Needless to say, that was a very bad idea.

Next entry takes us back to Lucas, Marisa, and Rika and her tank. Was going to be this update, but I decided to stretch it out a bit.
No. 171193
>>171169
>Needless to say, that was a very bad idea.
Too bad.
No. 171201
>>171193
Thought you might like knowing that it was one of the bad end choices.
No. 171214
[x] I think we both want the same thing.

Let the conspiracies begin.
No. 171261
File 137337338975.jpg - (107.64KB , 414x551 , one starts to feel a bit nostalgic.jpg ) [iqdb]
171261
Although I hate to ask it, I do need votes if you want me to write. So if you would kindly do as such, it would be much appreciated.

Have a Mystia for your trouble.
No. 171262
>>171261
You sure do like twisting the knife.
No. 171266
[x] I think we both want an out.

Because FREEDOOOOM.

Also, damn Lum. There was enough heartache in the last CYOA about Mystia, wasn't there?
No. 171268
[x] I think we both want the same thing.

Not sure if we can trust her enough to confirm anything just yet.
No. 171271
[x] I think we both want the same thing.

Because I don't think that both of them wish to remain as Sakuya's play toys for the rest of eternity.
No. 171283
[x] I think we both want an out.

Neither girl is particularly happy with this situation. Let's work on that a bit.
No. 171305
[x] I think we both want an out.
[x] Try to find out more about our situation. Don't press to hard if she resists answering our questions.


Still don't like working with the vampire and think we need to be very careful around her, but I think this works as a conversation starter, if we do decide to work with her. More conversation will help us find out if we can trust her or not. Don't want to bombard her with questions, but we do need more information.
No. 171306
>>171262
>>171266
It did seem to work, did it?

Besides, I watched Madoka for the first time, and Mami reminded me of her a little bit. Got me feeling a bit nostalgic.

I could hardly use Tokiko, anyways, since she's going to be in this.
No. 171317
[x] I think we both want the same thing.
No. 171318
While I'm glad Luminous is getting some votes (Dude deserves it) I think what holds a lot of people off from voting is how important each choice is in the story. This shouldn't hold you back from voting, it just means you need to put a little more thought and awareness into it.

We just need to be careful not to jump on the first guy who says something (though I'm agreeing with the jumping in this case), otherwise we'll end up with another Mystia.

[x] I think we both want the same thing.
[x] Try to find out more about our situation. Don't press to hard if she resists answering our questions.
No. 171329
>>171318
I agree, though its interesting to note that the lynchpin vote went 2 votes in the correct direction before going 3 to tip. It also had virtually no discussion. Lesson is, look out for shortfalls, and BE VOCAL about any misgivings.

I was thinking of voting for the more verbose write-in, but the author deleted it. Yes, this one. Get back here.

[X] Though we may be different, we are much the same. You wish to be free, yes? So do I. Perhaps we could come up with something between us. Perhaps not. What could I come up with that you could not? And yet that is what I hope to do, with your help. To come up with something - anything - that could free us all. Perhaps we could even help eachother. You wish to be refered to with respect. As a start, refer to me with no disrespect, and I shall consider referring to you in a respectful manner, Remilia. You obviously do not want to be near the burning waters. I could help you with that, but... you would owe me.

While the language is not very Meiling-like, it does a good job in showing to Remilia that we can be equals. Only then can we consider forging deals or alliances. The highbrow diction could also could remind Remilia of her bygone days, providing some impulse to action for her.

"I think we want the same thing" says whats on our mind, but it puts the ball back onto Remilia too quickly, and other than the expeditiousness, it would feel like a cop-out response to her. You only get one chance~
No. 171330
>>171329

I changed my vote so that I could break the tie that had happened, but thank you for thinking so highly of my vote. Although, you're certainly making me consider changing it back. I honestly had no idea it did half of that stuff.
No. 171341
>>171329
>>171330

I wrote the write in everyone seems to be bandwagoning. I noticed no one was voting so I put that up to get the ball rolling hoping others would expand on it. While I agree we do need to have a talk with Remilia about not calling us peasants I don't think we should even offer to help her with the dishes. Mainly because if Sakuya sees her maid letting a guest do her duties for her there will be retribution that could make Remilia view us as a bumbling fool instead of a potential ally.

We don't want Remilia to associate Meiling with Sakuya punishing her or else she wont ever trust us. We've already got one mark against us because of the shark fin soup incident, which I'm surprised Remilia didn't bring up as soon as she saw us. Lets try not to get the vampire dunked in water again.
No. 171419
File 137352329561.png - (0.97MB , 2000x1000 , look at it this way she didnt bite her.png ) [iqdb]
171419
[-r-] I think we both want the same thing.
[-r-] Try to find out more about our situation. Don't press too hard if she resists answering our questions.

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

"You know that is a question you don't have to ask." Meiling looks down at the little winged girl and crosses her arms. "It's rather simple, isn't it? We just both want the same thing." The girl's face becomes blank at her words, and Meiling thinks that she has finally broken through, or made a point. Their two situations are not so different, after all. However, as seconds tick by and she never responds, Meiling starts to grow a bit concerned. "…Are you alright? You zoned out that for a sec―"

Before she can finish speaking, Remilia slowly leans her head back and begins to laugh. High echoing peals of gay hysterics shatter the relative quiet of the room and startle Meiling so much that she jumps away from the girl. "You… You think something like that? Oh, such a plebian notion! That… That I… That I of all people would desire the same that such an insignificant speck… Ohoho… Now that is hilarious!"

Taking another step back, Meiling just watches as the girl shakes. Remilia's relatively short hair bounces from side to side and her wings shake, the taught skin barely shivering as the long fingers that make up its structure twitch. As she is quite concerned at the reaction, Meiling automatically drops one foot back, raising her arms just slightly in case she does try to attack. "What is so funny about what I said? I merely spoke the truth…"

That sends the girl into another bout of cackles, which take nearly half a minute to subside. Once she manages to calm down, Remilia leans forward and grabs the edge of the table. Her face still covered with a manic grin, she barks out a response that rings with mocking laughter. "Oh really? This truth… What is this truth that you speak of? You mean to say that I am the same as you? That our two goals, our two fates would be intertwined so closely? I may have had the thoughts rotted out of my very mind, but I assure you, there is no way that such an assumption would be true."

"We would want the same…" Shaking her head, Remilia eventually tilts her body back, the crazed smile smoothly morphing into a smug one as she stares down the taller girl. "What a load of tripe and pish-posh. Verily, there is quite little that we would want that is the same. Tell me, do you desire to bear station once more? To lord over the hordes of mongrels that call themselves your subjects?"

Meiling finds herself on her back foot once more. Prepared she may be for an exchange of fisticuffs, yet another war of words is not what she was hoping for. "Not in the least. All I want is a nice job so I can teach."

"So, a simple servant is all that you desire to be." Meiling attempts to interject and correct her, but Remilia's voice carries over top of the taller girl's. "No matter how you look like it, that is what you are. Loyal to either customer or coin is all you want. No aspirations for anything more."

Frowning just slightly, Meiling tries to defend herself from the other girl. "I am not sure what you would expect of anyone. There is no one that rules like that anymore. Nobody who is civilized, at the least."

Jaw clenching, Remilia tries not to laugh at the other girl. "There isn't? Pray tell, there are no women like me? Human, there are always those like me. You simply seem unaware, dumb, or naive enough to believe that they do not exist." Shaking her head, Remilia finally slides down off the table and back onto her own two feet. "And perhaps they need a firm hand telling them what to do. Pray tell, were you satisfied with what you had on the other side? Or are you just like every single other little human she brings in here?"

By now, Meiling has no more words to respond, and merely glares back at the vampire. The white-haired girl's lips curl up in response and she begins to stroll around the table. "I thought so. That's a pity. There is some talent within that being of yours, but what good is it if you lack the ability to use it to its fullest degree? Help me, and I may deign to find a position for you that is proper once we are free."

"…I think I'll decline on that offer as it stands. I want not what you are offering me now, Remilia." Still, there is a small part of her that wouldn't mind taking her up on that. Getting out of those kitchens where she has had to work so long is alluring in and of itself.

"It isn't? Pity. You do seem to have your uses, but you do not seem to use your mind enough. You would do great if you allowed me to do the thinking, then." Slowly, she turns around and begins to circle around the table. "After all, you merely want out, don't you? Or do you? You have never even said."

Not waiting for an answer, she walks to the other side of the table and leans her body against it, resting her head on her now dry gloved hands. "I do not want out, human. I want far more than that. I want to pay her back every inch of what I have been given. For every drop of water that has been run across my body, for every second of starlight I have had to endure without atmosphere to protect me, I wish to return it all tenfold to her!"

Her mouth curls into a bit of a snarl as she stares across the table and at Meiling. "That woman has heaped injustices upon my back! Deliberately injuring and antagonizing me, so that I must keep on such a simpering face when I am in her presence. She has ruined my kin, twisting her mind far worse than her curse ever did!" As Meiling watches, she not being sure whether she is too shocked or too scared to move, Remilia squeezes her fists tight. The fabric of the gloves begins to stretch under the pressure, and her nails start to puncture through the edges.

"Leaving is not merely enough, peasant. It is too deep, and too personal. You would not understand unless you have spent the years I have here, forced to be her personal play toy. No, leaving would never be enough." Her eyes shine brilliantly as the red in them literally begins to shine. "I will not ever be satisfied with such an ending. I want her under my boot and drinking my blood, my essence. Then, and only then, will I be satisfied that the creature which holds me in bondage has paid its dues!"

At that proclamation, the girl hefts one of her fists to swing down at the table. The countertop only manages to withstand the force for one second before it cracks along the middle and buckles. Her hand continues downward, splitting the piece down the middle with seemingly relative ease.

The glove protecting the hand, though, was not nearly as fortunate. Caught on the splinters of the table, her long glove had its bottom ripped apart by the shards of the table. The hand wrapped inside of it, even though it is yet partially obscured by the dangling fabric, seems to be covered with blisters and welts and burnt skin.

Even as Meiling tries to get her mouth to work again, Remilia stares at what she just did and clenches her eyes shut. "Not now… I will not let you take… Not now. Not ever. I am better than that, you thrice-damned animal…" She remains there, clutching at her head as she does her best to stop moving and not continue with her assault on the furniture before her. "I am the master. Not you."

"Are… Are you alright?" Finally speaking once more, Meiling takes a few steps forward. "You look… Your hand. That's what the water does to it?"

"Yes, you fool. Now… get out of here!" Remilia's eyes snap open and she glares at Meiling. "Do it. Get out of my sight. Go back to that mage that you begged for directions the entire time during dinner. Or go back and try and find the mistress of this mansion. She is one more likely to enjoy the company more than I."

"Still, I need to help. Is there anything―"

"Begone!" Her wings flare up behind her as she snarls. "You do not understand me, not in the slightest. And unless you are ready to do that, you will find little here for you, peasant. Remember… what I said…" Her show of aggression dies down easily, and she looks back towards the ground. "Damn it, damn it! Keep it down…"

Knowing that there was nothing else to do, Meiling immediately turns around to the secret passage. Pressing the door open once more, she pulls it to. The last thing she sees as the door meets the jam is Remilia curling up into a ball and starting to shake in a manner that is quite familiar. Meiling says nothing as she heads back down the dark hall, wondering how badly she had messed up, and if there was even a chance she could have succeeded.

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

The first thing that jars you out of the trance you had sunken into was the hissing of the steam engine as it began to pump harder and harder. The drone of the engine had been steady over the hours you had spent underground, and had nearly lulled you to sleep. However, the lack of anything to do had instead left you in a daze, not tired enough to drift off into the realm of dreams nor energetic enough to bounce around the interior of the tank like a rivet blown out walls from the pressure.

Of course, Rika did explain to you that it wasn't her fault, and the tank was perfectly fine. And if you badmouth her tank you are going to regret it, so it would be best to keep silent.

That event was enough to wake you from your stupor, though, and you decided to take the opportunity to tell someone, anyone, all of what had happened. There wasn't much else that you could have done, and having a captive audience didn't give her much of a chance quiet you. Given her reaction, you doubt that she would have done such a thing, as she was brought to sniffles by quite a few things that you shared.

Finally, you stand up and stretch your arms and wings as much as you can. The brief moments of claustrophobia had passed by, but you still would much rather be outside. At least the metal walls of the tank are a far sight from the dim rock corridors of the burrow. Although, you do have to consciously remember not to touch the hull itself.

Once you've done as best you can to pop your aching joints, or at least the joints that you have that still yet ache, you meander on towards the cockpit. Leaning over the other girl, you narrow your eyes and stare at the numbers on the screen. They still don't make too much sense, especially as she seems to have shifted them around on the thin monitor. "So, what's the deal? Are we going up?"

"Yes, we are." She turns around and glances at you. Her eyelids droop a bit on their own, as if she is close to sleep herself. "Sorry. Just a little tireeaaahd-" She breaks out into a yawn before blushing and averting her eyes. "…Sorry again. I'm just a little tired."

"I can tell." Chuckling softly, you look away from her so she may compose herself. "We've been riding for a while. I'm surprised you're not more exhausted than you are."

"Well, I was in a hurry on the way here. Stressed the engine a little too much for my liking. That's why I've been taking it easy on the way back." Glancing back, Rika idly adjusts a dial, and the engine's groaning dies down a little bit. "Besides, I did want to wait for Marisa to wake up first. We need a good meat shield if we want to survive Reimu's wrath…"

She seems to be joking, but only a little bit. It's impossible to tell if she's serious or not. However, given the number of times that she has mentioned it, there is at least some validity to her complains. "Knowing everyone's reaction so far, I was going to assume that would be me. What's a few more lasers to the chest?"

Rika snorts out loud and turns back to the console. "She won't use a laser. She's more apt to use a fist. Or a needle. Or just the nearest stick-like object she can find." Sighing, she shakes her head. "Still, let's not focus on that. Maybe we'll be lucky and get off easily."

"Something tells me there's a fat chance of that." She does not respond to disagree, so you take that to be the case. After a few more seconds, you glance back to peer at the witch in the back that is still asleep. "Is she ever going to wake up? She's alive, but she's been out like a light ever since we got in."

"It's those mushrooms she was hopped up on. They'll keep anyone running. She's fed them to everyone at home at least once, and most of the time it's even with permission!" Sighing, she shakes her head. "Still, it's rather unlike her to be knocked out this one. Whatever concoction she brewed up, it must have been a potent one."

The tank shakes again and the grinding of the drill becomes a little louder. "We've entered the crust once more. At least we seem to have avoided most of the giant caverns under the ground." She doesn't bother explaining as she pulls another random lever she has not touched the whole time. "It shouldn't be but a few more minutes until we get to the underground entrance to our current home."

"Alright. Whatever you say." While you still have plenty of doubts about the how of burrowing so deep under the ground, you're not going to ask at the moment. Something more pertinent comes to mind instead. "So, are you going to bother to tell me anything about what to expect, or are you going to leave me hanging?"

Awkwardly laughing and rubbing the back of her neck, she eventually glances around and looks in your general direction. "I'm… I'm not the best to ask for that. I was going to wait for Marisa to wake up… She knows everyone much better than I do. They don't like us and our tradition." Rika neglects to elaborate more on the subject at hand, and she starts to turn back.

Before she goes back to watching the controls again, you clear your throat and plead for an answer. "Would it hurt to tell me what little you do know? Heck, I don't know the names of most of the people. …Not that they'd be real names, I suppose, but they'd be names all the same." At her silence, you implore her for answers. "Please. I'd rather not walk into this blind if I can. Come on, Miss Rika."

"Miss Rika?" Snorting, she finally shrugs her shoulders. "Fine, fine… Whatever you say, Lukie." At that, she turns around and grins at you.

Grumbling a bit, you roll your eyes. "Why are you still using that name? You know I dislike it…"

"Aww, lighten up a bit. I'm just trying to ruffle your feathers." You see a bit of a light dancing in her eyes as she snickers softly, something that is not helped when you ruffle your feathers in annoyance. "And it's working, it seems."

"That was rather uncalled for." Pointedly pulling your wings back and keeping them as restrained as you possibly can, you cross your arms and stare back down at her. "Are you going to answer?"

"Ask away. Just remember that I am driving this thing. We don't have an autopilot installed in here. So give me a moment if I don't respond."

[ ] The leader. She sounds like someone you should know about.
[ ] The changeling. Is there anything about him she could tell you?
[ ] The lunarion. Sounds like a moon person. Is she actually…?
[ ] Her sister. She hasn't spoken much of her, but you are curious.
[ ] Any others that might be there?
[ ] …Why does no one care for her tradition, whatever that is?

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

>>171318
I was just trying to bump the thread, as I felt the update may have been buried.

Well, overall, that could have gone better. But it could have gone worse as well. No bridges are yet burnt. That's all that I'll say for now.
No. 171423
>It shouldn't be but a few more minutes until we get to the underground entrance to our current home
But... but we had a whole gigantic list of questions! How are we supposed to ask them all now?
No. 171424
>>171423
A few minutes would be exaggerating it a little, perhaps. Twenty minutes or so is what you actually have. I do still have the list, so this was intended to influence the direction of the conversation. That, and you were planning to question Marisa, as she seems to have more of an idea of what's going on.

Not, mind you, that this prevents you from choosing more than one from the list, or plucking ones from the old list that Rika might answer.
No. 171426
[x] …Why does no one care for her tradition, whatever that is?

A question she is best qualified to answer.
No. 171457
>>171424
Twenty minutes. Okay, that's time for a bit. Let's start with
[x] The leader. She sounds like someone you should know about.

That's the most likely to be immediately relevant to our future. Move from there into the organization-related questions from >>167964 if we can; specifically,
-What organization are Marisa and Rika part of?
--What are its objectives?
--How large is it?
--What does it use to do its business- super-tanks and witches, obviously, but what else?
--Who is in charge of it, and why are they in charge?
--Why do Marisa and Rika work for them?

Again, since we're low on time this is angling to get the maximum possible amount of information likely to be immediately useful in the expected imminent social encounter. There are tons of other questions worth asking, but they're mostly of less expected short-term utility.
No. 171464
[x] …Why does no one care for her tradition, whatever that is?
[x] Ask about the leader
[x] Is there anything I need to be especially careful about?
[x] Ask about the organization they're part of.
[x] Ask about others as time allows.

No matter what I think we should first ask her about the tradition. For one it could help us further bond with her. We need allies and one with access to tanks could be helpful. Plus, even if she's not a lot of help with the others, she is a friend of Marissa, who seems to be an important player and either way I'm all about Marissa trusting us more. Also from a non pragmatic view point, frankly, I like her and I think Lucas would just want to get to know her better.

All the other points are for as time allows. I just put them in the order I think is important. I want to find out about the leader and while clearly the fact we're a changeling is going to put them on edge, I'd like to know of any possible sensitive subject we should avoid around different individuals, such as don't ask the changeling about his power. As to the organization, we know a little bit about the group from Marissa, but another perspective would be nice. Doubt we'll get to the last one, hell I'll be happy if we cover the first two or three, but it's there just in case.
No. 171466
[x] …Why does no one care for her tradition, whatever that is?
[x] Ask about the leader
[x] Is there anything I need to be especially careful about?
[x] Ask about the organization they're part of.
[x] Ask about others as time allows.
No. 171665
File 137376731731.png - (99.62KB , 278x255 , at this rate it might be a good idea to learn to d.png ) [iqdb]
171665
[-s-] …Why does no one care for her tradition, whatever that is?
[-s-] Ask about the leader.
[-s-] Is there anything I need to be especially careful about?
[-s-] Ask about the organization they're part of.
[-s-] Ask about others as time allows.

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

"Alright then, that's fair enough." There's little reason to try and bother the girl driving, save for the multitude of questions that you still have; a multitude of which some need to be answered before you get too close. Even if you were not walking into the situation completely blind yet, you'd rather understand more than less.

However, as you debate what to ask her, something comes to mind. The girl keeps on mentioning this group that she is in, and yet she seems more skittish than one should be. That, with what she said earlier about the others not liking her, or her tradition. The word carried a certain weight when she spoke, even if she waved it off without a second thought.

So, instead, you let your curiosity and concern for the girl override the other questions for now. "What was that you mentioned before about nobody caring for your tradition. Why is that the case, and what is that in the first place?"

The girl's cheeks burn slightly red as she turns around, her face flustered. "Huh? Why do you want to know about that? It's not like it's anything important. They don't let it get in the way of what we are doing…" As you raise your eyebrow, she averts her eyes and looks to the side. "…Most of the time."

"Why would that be? If your group is supposed to take care of the rogue Youkai and changelings, why would it matter what the others are?" Pausing for a moment, you add on to your question again, hoping for some clarification. "And what is the tradition mess you speak of? It sounds like something important."

Turning back to the console, Rika idly tugs at her pigtails and tries to cover her ears. "It's not that important… Although, considering what Marisa is, some of her opinions may have rubbed off onto me." She sighs a bit before grabbing a lever and pulling up steadily, keeping her hand on it even when she stops moving it. "Sister… Sister and I are part of the Son of Ether. Daughters of ether, perhaps would be better said. If I were to boil it down for you, it would be to say that there is no theory that is incorrect. You can prove it true, so long as you have the talent to design and build your designs perfectly."

Her smile becomes quite proud as she pats the console. "That's why this girl exists, after all. I designed it to incorporate ether and primium, along with a few other proprietary technologies. It usually works eighty percent of the time, as well!"

"You really shouldn't have mentioned that…" Sighing, you glance at the sides. You thought that this thing would have not given you a chance of dying in the middle of digging under the ocean.

At your rather dejected tone of voice, she spins around and waves a hand. "It's not like it would have failed! There's… well, there is always a chance of dying, but that won't happen. I just meant the equations don't perfectly work all the time. If we didn't, we'd have to drill the old fashion way."

"That's better, at least. …At least you waited until now to tell me, instead of informing me as we started out. I'd have been worried to death the whole time."

"Yeah… Right." Rika grins sheepishly before rubbing the back of her head. "I'll remember to not go over the safety lectures in the future." Turning back about, she shakes her head for a few moments before adjusting a knob on the controls. "Now, though, the Technocrats don't like our methods of learning. They say that our scientific discoveries do not exist, and thanks to the Consensus, they are true as far as the rest of the world is concern."

"The what now?" You step forward and grab the back of her seat with your left hand, as you lack a convenient handhold that is not made of iron. "A Consensus, you say? Of what? You know that's just a lot of mumbo jumbo to me. You'll have to use either smaller words, or explain as we go."

"So, me should talk not long? Like caveman? Say magic is big fire, that… You know what? I'll leave the sarcasm to Marisa." Rika chuckles weakly, glancing over at the witch's slumped form. "I really wish she could do it, as she would be able to explain this far better than I. But the Consensus would be, essentially, what reality is. It is governed by the beliefs of everyone that is sentient on this planet, essentially. Even those that are not awake yet affect the definition of reality."

While pulling the lever up just slightly, she waves at Marisa and continues. "You remember how Marisa was in such bad shape once you two decided to stop fighting? That was due to how much she was breaking the Consensus. She created a paradox between what the Consensus defines as reality, and what she believes it. And it is trying to stop her."

"You know, she was doing all the fighting. I've just done a bunch of running this whole time. Not that it does a lot of good when the person chasing you flies faster than yourself." Shaking your head ruefully, you look towards the witch once again. "She didn't seem to be affected by whatever that was, though. She was getting a bit loopy towards the end, but she seemed determined to continue until I was dead."

Rika smiles a bit, chuckling as she stares at the screen. "Well, that's Marisa's personality and her mushroom potions speaking. It's dangerous to take them, especially with the damage it does to her. It keeps her awake and raring to fight, but it has its side effects, as you can see. Although, she is very efficient at her job, and she never misses her mark. The only one that does better than her is our leader. And Reimu is just unnaturally good at what she does."

"I… see." Well, at least that is good to know. The head of the organization is better than Marisa, but Marisa seems to be better than anyone else. At least you might have a chance of running away unless anything else pops up between now and then. "I'm just curious as to how I haven't experienced anything like that this entire time. I'm much more out of place than that girl would be. And a witch on a broomstick seems to be a more likely sight than a half man, half doll, half bird combination."

"So, you've another half of a person in there?" Rika snorts under her breath before shrugging from her console. "I wouldn't really know anything about the theory behind that myself. But no magical creature that we've ever run across has to deal with the Consensus affecting them. Only mages are bothered by its ill effects on their bodies."

There's not much you can say to that at the moment. The only thing that comes to mind is how they still seem to be human, at least the ones you've met so far. That alone may be an explanation right there, but it isn't something to worry about for now. However, a thought does come to mind that makes you chuckle a bit. "You know, maybe if you stopped capitalizing things like Consensus, then it wouldn't be such a big deal."

She joins in your laughter, giggling a bit as she cranks the lever one more time. The tank lurches under your feet, but not enough to toss you over to the side. "Maybe. But if that were the case, we'd just stop capitalizing Youkai as well. We'd never have to worry about them again, either."

Eventually, you manage to regain control of yourself, even though you don't really wish to continue your interrogation on your captive audience. "Well, I'd love to ask about all of this, but you never finished explaining what you meant about you not being particularly liked by the others just because of your… magical tradition?" The term still sounds a bit odd to your ear holes.

"Do I have to? It's… Well, it doesn't really matter to me, in the end. It's just one of those occasions when one is judged when predecessors and men from a hundred years ago. It doesn't have to do anything with my sister or myself."


[ ] "Please explain. I do want to know."
[ ] "You don't have to. Just tell me about your leader."
[ ] "I'll just have to ask Marisa later…"

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

Well, I typed this while on a five hour ride. If I get the time, I might try to finish this tonight or tomorrow, so we can move along and get this show rolling once more. We shall see.

And the questions will continue last time. I figured you might like a vote, though.
No. 171670
[X] "You don't have to if you don't want to. If you don't want to, just tell me about your leader."
No. 171675
[x] "You don't have to if you don't want to. I'd like to know, but if it makes you uncomfortable, don't worry about it. Just tell me about your leader."
No. 171678
[X] "You don't have to if you don't want to. I'd like to know, but if it makes you uncomfortable, don't worry about it. Just tell me about your leader."

Fair enough, we don't really have to know.
No. 171707
File 137386076238.jpg - (1.10MB , 1800x1300 , what goes down must come farther down.jpg ) [iqdb]
171707
[-t-] "You don't have to if you don't want to. I'd like to know, but if it makes you uncomfortable, don't worry about it. Just tell me about your leader."

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

"Don't worry about it, then." You reach forward and gently pat on her shoulder with your one free hand, being careful to not press to hard and cut through the skin at the same time. "You don't have to if you don't want to. I would like to know, but not if it makes you uncomfortable." Rika's shoulders slump a bit in relief, and you feel as if you've made the right decision. "Instead, could you just tell me about this fearsome leader that I need to worry about?"

Rika takes a few moments to respond, as she is busy gripping one of her levers firmly and watching one of the screens quite intently. "Alright. The leader… That I can explain. The one that is in charge of all operations is Reimu, at least most of the time. She doesn't get much into the nitty-gritty details so often, but she is the one who can detect crossings of the border between Earth and the other realm."

You frown for a moment as you take in that short little blurb. "That sounds rather… off. So she doesn't lead due to be qualified?"

"No no, it's not that. She's very good at what she does. She would just be more at home out and doing what Marisa does than sitting back at base and giving orders and directions to everyone. She only bothers to come out to work on the most serious of problems. Although, she's had to do that more and more often as we've lost others…"

"I see." Her sister might be one of those included in that number, but it doesn't seem like she's the only one who has been lost. "…How many have not been able to… succeed?" You wince a bit, wishing that you had a better way to word it.

Rika does twitch at your words, but she says nothing about your weak turn of phrase, instead addressing the content of the question. "There's been a few. …We lost Harold a few months ago. …Or maybe longer. …Has it been?" She stays quiet for nearly a full minute before speaking again, her voice tiny and quiet as she does. "There's been too many. Reimu had to take care of that one personally."

"I'm sorry." The girl is injured enough from the loss, and there is nothing that you can offer aside from empty platitudes. You decide to not do any more, just to ensure you don't insult her. "Do you trust her, then? It sounds like she is at least good at what she does."

"That she is." The girl stares at the numbers on the screen for a few more seconds before nodding. "Scarily good. She'll do whatever it takes to keep everyone safe, even if it isn't exactly pleasant. It's why she's the de facto leader…"

That is the first piece of news that you've heard all day. "So, Reimu isn't the actual leader, then? She's just… taken on the job?" Thoughts of the actual leader being killed flash through your head, making you wonder exactly could have happened. If this Reimu is as good as Rika says she is, and there was once someone above her, who was able to take them out and how did they do it?

Before you can think of too many questions to ask, Rika clarifies with that same quiet voice. "Yeah, pretty much. Our actual leader is… Well, she's still growing up. No one that is still unaware of us would be able to take her seriously. So, Reimu takes over a lot of her duties until she grows up."

It takes your mind a few minutes to process that tidbit. "So, the leader is actually the child of someone else? Did the old leader die and leave her there to assume his position?"

"Actually, no." Rika's voice brightens a bit, and you think you see the edge of a smile creeping up her face. "She is a mage that discovered how to reincarnate herself. But she has to start from birth all the way through life. …She's currently stuck as a twelve year old girl."

"Well, I can she that she is thrilled with that." You laugh a little yourself, somewhat tittered by her explanation. "I suppose that is something that I should not bring up in earshot of her?"

"That would be a good idea, unless you want to get beaten up by a little girl." Snickering, Rika leans back and looks at the ceiling. "I have never seen grown men so pathetic as that time…"

"…Noted." It wouldn't be as big of a hit to your ego as she seems to intimate, considering you already have been beaten up by a little girl. You just know there is more reason to avoid it than pure principal. "So, is there anything else I should look out for before we get there? Any buttons I shouldn't try to push, even if it would just be an accident?"

Rika hums to herself as she leans back, leaning backwards to look up at you. "Well, there are a few things. Never mention her age; never say anything about Reimu's shrine or what happened to it. Never ask the lunarian to get her glow on. Don't press the changeling for answers. Don't touch anything if you don't have permission. Definitely don't touch anything if you don't have a clue what it does. We have plenty of pieces of equipment that might be a bit… unstable if messed with."

You nod faintly, backing away just a little bit to put some distance between your two heads. "Sounds fine with me… And there's nothing in particular that I should look out for otherwise? Or should I just try to stay on everyone's good side?"

"That would be your best bet. Everyone could be dangerous, although I have no doubt you could over power a bunch of us." Rika laughs weakly and leans forward, looking at the screens once more. "I don't have anything without my tanks, after all. It wouldn't take much for you to carve me up like a piece of cheese."

"Well, good thing that I like you, then." You grin and pat her on the shoulder once more. "You seem like a decent girl, and a far sight better than my old…" Well, you're not going to go there, but she gets the idea anyways. She never seems to notice the awkward silence, though, as her ears burn a little bit and she resolutely stares ahead. "Now, if you're actually made of cheese, though, things would be different."

"Hwuh?" She turns around, still flustered and confused by your words. "What do you mean?"

"Well, I do like cheese. So, if you were made of cheese, I would sadly have to cut you." You drop your head and let out a voluminous sigh, trying not to grin. "It is for the good of my taste buds, after all. Nothing personal."

Rika stares at you for a few seconds before breaking out into nervous giggles. "Right… Right." Spinning her head about, Rika stares straight forward once again. "I see. That was a joke." She begins to laugh more and shake her head. "Sorry. Took me a second. Most of those that threaten to eat you are a bit more serious…"

Well, there goes that joke. "Right… Sorry." Your wings droop a bit and you glance away. "Was just trying to lighten the mood."

"I know. And it was funny, once I realized…" She shakes her head and laughs, this time more ruefully than before. "You wouldn't eat me. You just don't seem like the type."

"…Thanks." You hope you continue to be that, at least. The beast side of you has been quiet recently, but you've not been in a situation that could be stressful enough to trigger it. Hopefully. "And I'm not going to eat you, so no worries about that." Deciding to change the subject, you lean forward to glance at the monitor. "So, how long until we get to your home? Sounds like it shouldn't be too long."

"Not at all. We'll hit empty caverns in about two. It's about a three minute drive from there to the underground entrance." As she speaks, she points to the edge of a monitor, at which you can see a few numbers counting down rather quickly.
"You might want to hold on when we transition back out of rock. It might be a bit bumpy."

"There's not exactly much to hold onto right now…" Frowning, you tighten your grip onto the back of the chair anyways while you brace yourself. "So, being serious, what is this group of people that you all are a part of? Something tells me this isn't exactly normal, even for an organization that includes witches and tank girls."

"Well, it's not much at all. Just a bunch of various mages and scientists that try to fight changelings and Youkai that cross over and cause too much trouble in this world." She shrugs as her hand squeezes the lever and pulls it back. The tank shudders a little, but you can't tell anything else from that. "We don't have a name or anything, and we're not a huge group of our own. We just… are." Rika shrugs and looks back. "I think that the reincarnated girl, Akyuu, was the one that originally formed it before she died. Although, I'm not sure of much. They approached my sister to recruit her, so I came along for the ride."

"I see." You hoped that there might be more, but this truly does seem to be quite the ragtag team from what you've heard so far. At the very least, it isn't some vast government conspiracy you'd have to deal with. "Is it common for that to happen? Are there other families that are in this place?"

"…There are. The biggest one actually has a fair few members there. There are actually―" She freezes as an alarm starts to blare on one of the screens, which is flashing red numbers in front of her face. "What the… We shouldn't be hitting the exit for another forty-five… Grab onto something!" At that, she begins pulling on the lever she has been holding as hard as she can, while her other hand dances across a series of dials. Each one is quickly turned, closing off valves that head towards the tip of the drill. "Dammit, how did I overshoot…"

You tune her out as your reactions take over. Having only one hand latched on, you glance around for any other place you can hold. While you are reasonably confident you could dent the iron of the hull, you know that it would hurt more than anything else to even attempt it. Besides, you would probably injure yourself quite badly in the process. Instead, your clawed hand seeks out one of the seats you previously had sat upon when you were riding earlier. Your arm misses its target by nearly half a foot, but you manage to impale the claws into the seat of the seat, which gives you enough grip to hold onto the frame. "What is going on here? What did we―"

As you speak, you hear a sudden roar as the tank starts to shake, and your teeth bounce into each other as you clench your mouth shut. Rika curses to herself as she continues to yank on the liver, doing her best to halt something. Luckily, Marisa was buckled in, so she is only tossed around like a ragdoll instead of being tossed about inside the interior of the tank. Somehow, that exceedingly large hat manages to remain on her head. If you cared at the moment, you would be pretty sure the explanation would be 'magic'.

Seconds later, the shaking stops, and all is silent. Only the constant pumping from the engine can be heard as everyone holds their collective breath. You sigh in relief, as you think all the danger has finally passed.

Seconds later, you feel your stomach lurch and the tank begins to fall.

Rika is talking nonstop under her breath as she plays with the dials, trying to make something work. "StupidwheredidIbackupplacewhyweresensorswrongIknowtheyworkbetterthanthat…" She has released the other lever by now and is pulling every single little piece of metal or dial that can be tugged, pulled, or otherwise manipulated. Still, nothing is happening, and the tank continues to fall.

At the same time, your instincts take over and you spread your wings. Falling is hardly a problem now, especially as you can fly. With one quick flap of your wings, you automatically try and correct yourself. However, a thick iron sheet checks your progress, leaving you with a raging headache and a burning head clouding your vision. The claustrophobia from earlier returns with a vengeance, fueling the frenzy going through your head, and only one thought is clear in your mind.

You want out, and you want out now.

[ ] Rip through the iron as best you can. The pain will only be temporary.
-[ ] Have to get the girls out.
-[ ] Every man, woman, and changeling for themselves!
[ ] A hatch… There was a hatch, right? There should be enough time to just open it.
-[ ] Have to get the girls out.
-[ ] Every man, woman, and changeling for themselves!
[ ] No, Rika has a plan. Ignore the urges, and trust her to fix this.
[ ] It doesn't matter. You can heal. Do your best to protect them from the fall. You're tougher, after all.
No. 171709
[ ] It doesn't matter. You can heal. Do your best to protect them from the fall. You're tougher, after all.
No. 171711
[ x] No, Rika has a plan. Ignore the urges, and trust her to fix this.

Remember Margatroid, you are not an animal calm the hell down!
No. 171713
[X] No, Rika has a plan. Ignore the urges, and trust her to fix this.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say "Falling from the top of a cavern" is something the tank (which was designed to traverse them) has contingencies in mind for.

I mean, if it can withstand the pressure of a few tons of earth, it can probably withstand a fall. How high can the fall be from anyway? It's not like there isn't an upper and lower limit.
No. 171716
[X] No, Rika has a plan. Ignore the urges, and trust her to fix this.

If we can't trust her to fix this, just what can we trust her to do? I agree that we should try to keep the animal within at bay, as that is what makes us us what with the whole I AM I business. Stay calm, and don't do anything rash. If we try and protect her, we just might get us all killed, or at the very least get the tank damaged, which Rika wouldn't be happy about.
No. 171726
[X] No, Rika has a plan. Ignore the urges, and trust her to fix this.
-[X] Be ready to protect the girls, just in case.

Trusting Rika seems like the best idea. We don't know what exactly is going on outside - might no t be the best time to leave the tank.
No. 171777
[X] No, Rika has a plan. Ignore the urges, and trust her to fix this.
-[X] Be ready to protect the girls, just in case.

First off I agree we need to calm down, we are not a beast and this is not a cage. Panicking in an emergency only makes things worse.
Neither escape route seems viable. I don't know if we'd make it to the escape hatch in time and someone could die trying to get out of it. Tearing our way out would be quicker, but we risk loosing ourselves to our beast side. Also if we do all survive we could permanently damage the tank, which may be our best way out. Also we don't know what's outside and there may be falling debris. We could probably escape alone, but we are not leaving them.
In the end I think we should trust Rika, but be ready to shield them if all else fails.
No. 171927
File 137421299311.jpg - (35.85KB , 567x425 , i am aware this is not a tank.jpg ) [iqdb]
171927
[-u-] No, Rika has a plan. Ignore the urges, and trust her to fix this.
-[-u-] Be ready to protect the girls, just in case.

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

"Down" You shout out loud as you try to fight back the animal instincts and the desire to flee this cage of iron and steam. The urges are stronger than they have been before, as it is not just the feral urge to solve your problems with tooth and nail. You hate being trapped in this box, and you want out to save yourself. With strong wings and stronger arms, you can get out of your perilous enclosure.

Still, you grit your teeth and pull the wings closer, ignoring the pain caused by burning iron against your feathers. Forcefully, you tense your legs and look down at the two girls. A brief thought crosses your mind as you watch them. They are two far apart to easily snag them both. If you have to take the risk and just protect them instead, you aren't sure if you could get to them both.

Putting the worry out of mind, you watch as the girl takes a deep breath and pauses for just a moment before lifting the panel that all the dials are attached. "Just about… Now where was it. Need to blow the tanks." Rika's hand trails along the multitude of levers on the lower panel before nodding with a grim smile. "Let it work let it work let it work."

Once she finally pulls the last hammer, the vehicle suddenly slows down as something is ejected from the bottom of the vehicle. The entire body of the tank shakes as it decelerates rapidly. Unfortunately, you do not decelerate quite as quickly, so you are flung into the floor , leaving a small dent where your head impacts the deck.

Even as pain shoots through your head, you manage to brace your hands on the burning floor and push yourself up, slowly. Something wet dribbles down your crown, but you ignore it and simply continue pushing, trying to right yourself and see what is going on.

It doesn't help much, as a second later you finally hit the ground. While the impact is muted from whatever she did, it is still enough to rap your head against the floor, causing the pain to spike yet again. You hiss softly, letting out one single brown note in your pain.

Both the girls twitch in response, but it is quiet enough to not cause much damage. "I… I think that we're fine." Rika slowly lets out a sigh of relief as she shakily unbuckles the straps on her seat, her fingers fumbling with her latch. "That… That was a little closer than I would have liked to be…" Eventually, she manages to pull back the latch and release herself from her binds, and she stumbles all the way up. "Heh. But we made it. I was right!" She giggles a little bit, either from relief at surviving or from a bout of madness caused by the stress.

Her words barely register in your head as they slip out one ear hole and out the other as barely more than slurs. Your head pounds from the impact, and you struggle to make it back to your feet. In the thirty seconds or so that it takes you to stand back up completely, though, the pulse of blood has already lessened noticeably, although it is quite the major ache either way. "What in the world just happened, then? How far did we fall?"

"Oh, Lukie! I thought you would have been knocked out!" She dances over to you and hugs you tightly, moving much faster than you would have expected. "It worked! Never had bothered to test the thing before. Well, never had a chance. We don't normally go falling multiple stories when I drive!" Rika eventually does let go and bounce back to the console, dancing from side to side. "Now, let's see what else its got to say…"

Shaking your head at the excitable girl's actions, you instead turn to the third member of your party and let the other calm down. Kneeling next to Marisa, you check to make sure she is alright. "Hey, witchy girl. Can you hear me?" She never answers, and you frown just a little bit. "Oi, Marisa. Can you hear me? Are you awake at all?" Carefully, you reach forward and tap her head with your left hand, seeing if you can make her react at all.

The test fails, and she remains there, limp. "Don't tell me…" Exchanging arms so that you can feel the girl, you test for a pulse and for any breath coming out of her mouth. You sigh in relief moments later, once you feel it. "Good. At least I don't have to worry about that being the case…" Even though your words are flippant, you know that for a moment there your heart stopped. If anything had happened to her… Shaking your head out, you push the thought out of mind. "Alright. So she has to be unconscious instead… There's no way anyone could have slept through that."

Granted, you don't know if she had fallen into a coma of some sort due to the potion she had partaken of when she went after you, or if it's some other magic bull, but you can't stand around and vacillate. Marisa needs to be taken in as soon as possible, just to ensure that she is alright. The cynical side of yourself does remind you that helping her might get you a few more points with those that lead this organization, but you banish the thoughts from your mind and turn back to Rika. "So, are you able to get this thing going again, or are we going to sit here all night?"

"Morning; it's about dawn where we currently are located." Rika blinks and turns back to you. "I just want to get all of this data in first. So many notes to take about the performance… There needs to be a possible reallocation of the vents in the future, as we did not land quite level on the ground."

"…Rika, as far as I can tell, we landed straight up. That, or you have some sort of anti-gravity plates built in to the floor of this machine, or I've just gone screwy…"

"We cannot count out that last point." She grins at you before shaking her head. "But no, we compensated for any tilt when I blew that valves. It uses an internal gyroscope and a small computational machine to automatically adjust how far each valve is opened and how far the tank balances. But we were half a degree off when we impacted…"

You sigh and shake your head at her response. "Right. Could you even tell that we were off when we landed?" Before, Rika had already turned back to digest some of the information flashing across the screens. When she hears your question, though, she pauses. "Did you?"

"Not really. …I was praying that we were alive, for the most part." She looks down and blushes as she pulls both of her pigtails over her ears. "I stopped paying attention, and we came out a little bit too high… I should have just installed an autopilot instead of working on that project…"

"Stop it. I was the one that was asking questions. Now's not the time for lambasting yourself, anyways." Turning to the side a bit, you point at Marisa. "Our witch seems to be out of it. I don't know if she was knocked out, or if―" The rest of your speech is cut off my Rika as she nearly blitzes you as she runs towards Marisa. "…if it is just that potion."

Rika doesn't respond as she checks over Marisa herself, feeling everything that you did. However, once she is done with that, Rika presses her fingers over various parts of Marisa's body, from her forehead to her shoulders to her kidneys and stomach. The worry on her face slowly melts away as she lets out a sigh of relief. "She's not that injured. She may have a little bump on the back of her head, but she's still in her potion-induced trance. Just what did she use to get in this shape…"

"You're asking me." Shrugging, you turn back to look at the control panel, not having much else to do than to watch the two girls. As you do, Rika puts a hand on Marisa's shoulder, seemingly wanting to make sure she is alright, even if she is reluctant to shake her and try to wake her up. "Now, can this thing keep on running? Or do we need to take her there on foot?"

"…No idea. I need to check. The engine should run, but we hit the ground hard. Something might have popped out…" Rika abandons her position next to Marisa with great reluctance and instead heads over to the console. "Let's see here… Ignition sequence… Bypass emergency warning from transonic computational engine. We're not going to be using that anyways; we'll just stick to the treads."

As she mumbles, you take the spot she had maintained once more and ensure that the girl is still alright. After glancing at Marisa and shaking your head at the absurdity of your luck, you mutter under your breath. "Anytime now, Rika…"

She does not respond initially, instead taking a few moments to watch the dials and switches underneath the screens. "…I can't start her up. The pressure is much too low; Something must have come loose." Rika gets up from her seat and heads toward the engine proper. "Just give me a little bit…"

"Don't we need to get Marisa there now, though?" Rika pauses once again and slowly nods. "Exactly. Are we close enough that it would be easier to take her that way?"

"Yes. It would be about one or two minutes driving until we hit the underground entrance proper. And that is at tread speed, not at full speed, so it isn't that far." Before you can ask, she glances towards the top hatch. "And it should be safe outside. If there was a leak of magma nearby our landing zone, it would have been solidified by the expulsion of ether." She trails off after that, waiting for you to make the choice, as you both know who would be doing the carrying if it came down to it.

[ ] Give her the time to try and fix it.
[ ] You are almost there. Just walk with Marisa.
[ ] It's a big cave and you have wings. Fly.

If applicable:

[ ] Insist Rika comes with you.
[ ] Let her stay and try to fix it.
No. 171931
[X] Give her the time to try and fix it.
-[X] Rika, are you sure the tank's fuel lines are intact? That was quite a fall...

It would probably be alright to wait for Rika to repair the engine, but it would be prudent to check for any spilled fuel or whatnot. Having something spontaneously ignite/explode would really ruin our day.
No. 171932
[X] You are almost there. Just walk with Marisa.
-[X] Insist Rika comes with you to avoid misunderstandings

Leaving the tank here is the safest option currently. My reasoning is if something bad is going to happen, such as a cave in caused by digging through the wall or magma flowing in on us, the correct decision will of been to leave the tank there to its fate. If nothing bad happens then the tank will still be there to be fixed later so nothing of value is lost by heading directly to the base. Heading to the base is therefor the optimal solution.
No. 171941
[X] You are almost there. Just walk with Marisa.
[X] Insist Rika comes with you.

If she can't get the tank running again it means she'll be walking back alone. She can come back with proper tools and help in case she can't get it started again and it has to be moved manually.
No. 171954
[x] If Rika can get it running quickly then let her.
[x] If not, you are almost there. Just walk with Marisa.
[x] Insist Rika come with you.


I figure we give her a few minutes to see if the problem is something small that she can fix quickly. If not we should leave and try to get Marisa medical help.
I don't think we should leave Rika there. As someone mentioned she can come back later with tools and if she can't fix it we don't want her to have to walk back alone. We also want to avoid any misunderstandings with their group, which she could clear up.
I know we're stronger then an average human, so if we could somehow carry both and fly that would be ideal, but not sure if that's possible.
No. 172116
[X] You are almost there. Just walk with Marisa.
-[X] Insist Rika comes with you to avoid misunderstandings
No. 172207
File 137463860886.jpg - (504.77KB , 1920x1200 , well at least for once the cave was safe.jpg ) [iqdb]
172207
[-v-] You are almost there. Just walk with Marisa.
-[-v-] Insist Rika come with you.

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

"…Leave the tank for now, Rika. You can always come back to get it later." Sighing at the wince that she makes at the thought of leaving her baby, you continue to talk her out of her desire to stay and fix. "We need to get Marisa in, and the sooner the better. Even if you could fix the tank, we could walk there just as quickly. Correct?"

After a moment, the girl nods in resignation. "Yes, you're right. I would first need to check what is wrong, and dig out the tools and take it apart. It'd be easy, but without larger equipment it might take a while. Depending on what is wrong. If it were just a patch job, it wouldn't though…"

"But we don't know, and we can always come back for it later. It's not going to go anywhere." Well, it could, if what she said about molten rock is correct. But if that is such a major factor now, you really shouldn't even be standing around talking about it, should you? "Just come back and fix it later. …Didn't you say you have other tanks?" The girl nods quickly. "Then take advantage of it and just tow this one in, preferably to someplace where we don't have to worry about melting. Or bursting into flames."

"…That would be logical, wouldn't it?" Rika sighs, before looking around the hull. "Still, I know I can do it…"

Smiling just a little, you turn your head away so that you can focus on Marisa. "Leave your pride out of this, Rika. Hubris is the cause of far more falls than it is the reason for admiration." Carefully, you unbuckle Marisa from her seat, breathing a sigh of relief when you realize that the buckles themselves are not the same iron that composes the entire body of this tank. "Besides, I need you to come with me so I don't get shot at. Again."

She giggles a bit weakly as she finally accedes to your wishes. "I suppose that would be an important thing. Even though they probably wouldn't as long as she was in the line of fire." Turning about, she collects the backpack that belonged to Marisa, along with her own personal effects that had been hanging unobtrusively to the side.

As she goes about collecting the belongings of those inside the tank, you pick Marisa up, cradling the girl in your arms. It's almost funny how short she is as you heft her up, as she certainly did not appear this small when she was chasing after you like a blazing star. Still, you put it out of mind and wait for Rika to open the door for you, as you certainly cannot do it yourself.

Maneuvering out of the door is certainly no mean feat for you, as it was much too small for you to get in with your wings in the first place. Now, though, you have to get through it sideways with a witch in your arms. Going through the hatch sideways with your wings pulled as close as they physically can. It still isn't enough, and quite a few brush against the frame of the hatch, singing them a bit.

However many minor burns you take in the process of extracting the girl, you manage to get Marisa out without causing nary a scratch or bump on her head. Well, not anymore than she already has. Now that you are out, though, you can finally take a good look at your surroundings, which are much brighter than you would imagine.

The cavern that you are in is quite tall, stretching hundreds of feet up into the air. An arc of stone stretches above your head, its rough exterior barely visible in the farthest corner of its dark recesses. The floor below you is polishes and smooth, save for the ground that the tank landed on, which has shattered as if it were simple black glass instead of stone.

The more you look, though, you see that the cavern is actually angled to the side, with the only flat land being under your feet. Behind you and the tank, the cavern eventually tapers until the ceiling meets the floor. And, in front of you, the ground slopes up and away from you, appearing all to the world to be the burrow of a great creature the likes of which you have never seen.

Your very first impression is that this location is something truly unpleasant and all too familiar, but you manage to tamp down the emotions. The whole of Wriggle's burrow could have easily been swallowed up by the cave you are now within. After taking a few deep breaths to calm your racing mind down, you look back at Rika. "So, are you going to take us there, now? You did say it was close."

"Just give me a second. Was checking something…" The girl emerges from behind the tank as she glances over every bit of it, her eyes taking in every single rivet that lines its hull. "I think you were right earlier. The left rear idler has snapped off of its axle. At best, we'd be limping back. I don't have a welder on hand for that type of fix…"

"Well, let's just go ahead then. No reason to stick around." Rika slowly nods and shakes her head before walking towards you. "You can come back for it. It's not going to go anywhere soon."

"I know. It's just hard to leave her behind." Letting out one more sigh, Rika glances one last time before fixing her eyes forward. "Now, let's find the entrance…" At that, she begins to hike up the relatively steep incline away from the tank.

You frown a bit as you easily jog after her. It barely crosses your mind that your wings are flapping automatically, helping to push you up the slope with ease. "Rika, you do[ know where the entrance is, right?"

Chuckling a bit, she glances back at you, grinning a little. "Of course I do, Lukie." She grins a bit wider at your annoyed snort. "Sister and I did put this together. …We just do not typically use the smaller entrance. There's not much reason for us to come out here ourselves… That, and it is hard to see." At that, she pats an odd looking torch that is strapped to her belt."

"…Ah." You had forgotten about that change. "Right, sorry. It's easier for me to see in the dark. Didn't even think of it."

Rika goggles at you for a moment before realizing what you meant. "I see. That sounds… Well, I suppose that makes sense." She leans forward, squinting into what is to her the darkness. "Your eyes do look kinda freaky with how large they are now…"

"At least that makes me feel better about myself." Sighing, you ignore her comment and try to motion to Marisa. "Now, if we could hurry along, that would be nice."

Suddenly nodding, she turns around. "Right, right…" Scurrying along, you easily keep up as she scrambles over the dark, craggy rocks. Minutes pass by with the two of you silently continuing to climb. The monotonous trek is only interrupted by your footsteps as they echo in the large cavern.

A few dull minutes later, Rika stops in her tracks. "This looks familiar…" A few seconds later, she trails her hand along the ground as she searches for something. "The lever is somewhere… right about… Got it!" She punctuates her explanation by reaching down between the rocks and pulling back a lever, which reveals a crystalline knob underneath.

"Well, that looks fancy." It seems a bit unnecessary for the entrance to need such a thing, but by now you realize that everything has a purpose. Even if the purpose is not necessarily an important one. "So, this is our entrance?"

"For us, it is. The main is hydraulically actuated, but this one we just have to pull up." Clenching her teeth, Rika lowers her hand and grabs the knob. "Hate that they make us go through with this part…"

"What part do you―" Before you can finish, you see her hiss softly and withdraw that hand before swapping it out. Rika cradles her one hand a bit as she pulls on the handle, which releases a man-sized trapdoor a few feet away. "Rika, what just happened?"

"Just a test to ensure that we are whom we say we are." She shakes her head and squeezes that one hand a few times as she tries to rid herself of pain. "Not that it can't be fooled, but some people just love their methods." Rika eventually looks at you as she starts to massage it. "Go on ahead. There are a few steps, and I have to close it behind you anyways."

Frowning a little bit, you head on ahead and down through the tiny entrance. "If you insist. I'll wait until you catch up, though." Passing by Rika, you slowly step down, folding your extra limbs as you try to fit both yourself and the witch in. You manage to by hunching over and going down the steps sideways, scraping your side on the rock as you angle Marisa sideways.

After walking about ten steps, though, the narrow tunnel expands to that of a normal hallway, which is quite the relief. Either these people are obsessed with narrow entrances, or you've merely been unlucky, which wouldn't be that unlikely. Once you are on the level and off the stairs from before, you wait for your companion to join you before heading on.

Rika eventually appears from the stairwell, looking a bit better than before. "Well, at least the sting fades quickly enough…" Shaking her head, she walks up next to you and looks up. "So, I guess this is where I welcome you to our home?"

"I suppose. Although you know that I do not do well with underground lairs."

"I know. But it's actually worked on. The only rooms that look like that are the larger underground chambers. All the hallways have actually been built" She waves a hand about, indicating the one you are in.

Glancing around, you have to agree with what she said. While there is certainly nothing special about the room, as far as you can tell, it certainly is a far cry from roughhewn stone corridors that you are all-too familiar with. "I suppose so. Just as long as there is nothing hidden behind these walls."

She smiles a bit at you. "There are no secret passages in here. …And frankly, there's not much down here. Just some living quarters and… our workshops." Her expression falters a bit, but she recovers quickly enough. "Most of the rooms are closer to the surface, so that it is easier for everyone else to head outside."

"I see." As you walk along the rather plain hallways, you start to relax a bit. "I was honestly expecting something slightly more… fantastical than this. If I didn't know better, I would think I was in some sort of office building. A curious one without many doors, but one nonetheless."

Snorting a bit, Rika elbows you. "Hardly. After all, there are hardly any of those fluorescent lights that seem to be so popular outside. Hate the things… Always get a headache if I stare at them too long."

"…I think anyone would get a headache if they stared at a light for too long." Definitely an odd folk, all of these people. "So, which way are we going?"

"Just down here. I was going to just poke my head in and tell someone I was back, head for the infirmary, and hope that Reimu cools down before she finds me." Chuckling weakly, she keeps walking, passing by a door on the right. You have but a moment to look through the window, revealing a large room that almost looks like a hanger, full of machine equipment. In the corner you think you see a sprocket nearly ten feet tall, but it seems to just be a trick of the light. "That's the first door to the workshop. There's another one closer up that isn't blocked by a few spare parts. You'd never get that one open if you tried."

Considering your improved strength, you could probably debate that quite handily. Still, you're not that obsessed with your own pride to try and open up that line of argument. "If you say so. Is it going to be much longer?" You look down to check on the witch, only to be met with the same sight of her unconscious body. You do not look too long, wary of looking improper in front of your companion.

"Not long at all. Just let me poke my head in this door." After a few seconds, you pass by another door on the right, which she opens and sticks a head in. "Harmon, we're back, just thought I'd let you know. The tank's outside, and we're going to have to drag it in. Need to report to Reimu first, so let me just go on…"

Before Rika can close the door and continue leading you on down the hall, a man's voice responds. "Hold on a second, Rika. What happened out there? And where is that tank? You never come in the side entrance."

"Like I said, we're going to have to drag it in. One of the idlers broke, and the track wouldn't stay on, so we'll just have to pull it in." She edges away from the door just slightly, ready to move on. "I'll take care of it in a second. We just have to get Marisa up there…"

"Who is this we?" You both wince at his words, and Rika's ears burn red. "Marisa being incapacitated is odd, but there isn't anyone that should have been in that area. Come here and explain." The voice is firm, giving her no other options.

For all appearances, Rika seems to have been reduced to a scolded child. "This isn't going to go well…" She nervously heads inside, and you see no choice but to follow after, as you are going to come up either way. You might as well see how the first reacts to you instead of waiting to reveal yourself to many at once.

For a moment, you get to inspect the interior of the room. If there were one way that you could describe it, the best way would be to say that it is familiar. A man with rather plain brown hair is sitting at a desk, which itself is covered in paper. Beyond it is a bay window that looks out over the interior of the bay, which would give you another chance to examine the vehicles within if you were not busy otherwise.

There is one thing that looks out of place in this oddly typical office. In the corner, you see a small child with brilliant green hair playing with a few old papers and markers. She hums to herself quietly, not at all concerned about the man's shouting. Instead, she concentrates on her drawings, which are indecipherable from this angle.

A small gasp of shock draws your eyes away from the peculiar child as you instead look to the mamma once more. His eyes meet with yours, and you can see the tired wrinkles that belie his age harden with realization of what is here. "Rika, what the hell are you thinking? Bringing one of them back in here?"

"Listen, Harmon, calm down, I have a very good reason―"

"Which doesn't mean jack squat!" You brought that thing in here, and you're entrusting Marisa of all people to it? What would she think?"

"Considering that he has been bound by her, it's not really that big of a deal as you're making. And you can trust him, please…"

He snorts and reaches under the desk. "The only one that we can trust around here is Kourin, and that is because he has been shackled enough by Reimu that he couldn't do anything if he wanted to. Does the same apply to him? Did Marisa give him orders to not do anything while she was asleep?"

Rika doesn't say anything, as she doesn't have an answer. "I trust him, though. He didn't do a thing to us while we were on the way here…"

"It doesn't mean a thing, as you know how violent they can be. Perfectly fine for days, and then something breaks inside and they go berserk." Thoughts of the beast that dwells within you come to mind, but you still hold your tongue. "And I won't have them close to my sister. Not after what happened to our brother."

Finally, you decide to speak up for yourself, and take a step forward. "Just give me a moment. I'm not going to do anything at all. I just need to get Marisa down to the infirmary…" You stop in your tracks as the man draws a weapon from underneath and points it forward at you. The beast growls a bit, and you barely stop a snarl from crossing your lips in the process. "What is that for? I haven't done a thing yet."

"Like I said, I won't have you near my sister. Nowhere near her." Harmon's voice drops to a whisper as he stares you down over the length of his barrel. "Just put down the witch and we can all go upstairs where Reimu can watch over everything."

You really need to start sending forward notice at this rate.

[ ] Put the witch down. You don't want any trouble, and she should be alright.
[ ] Keep the witch. She's the only insurance you have at the moment from being shot at.
[ ] You don't have time for this. Look for the infirmary yourself, and let Rika explain.
No. 172221
[X] Put the witch down. You don't want any trouble, and she should be alright.

Let's comply and hope they're not crazy paranoid. They can get Marisa to the infirmary on their own, anyway, and not letting go/wandering off by yourself is just asking for trouble.
No. 172225
[X] Put the witch down. You don't want any trouble, and she should be alright.

Fine. No reason to antagonize these people in their own lair. But can SOMEONE get Marisa to the infirmary, at least?
No. 172235
[X] Put the witch down. You don't want any trouble, and she should be alright.

Let's hope this doesn't get us shot.
No. 172238
[x] Put the witch down. You don't want any trouble, but make sure she's going to get medical help immediately first.
[x] If necessary send Rika to go get a doctor while you go with Harmon. She can join us afterwards.

I understand his caution, but I'm worried about Marisa. I'm fine being the level headed one, someone has to be, but Marisa is a top priority. We need to stress how important this is. I don't want to face Reimu without Rika, but I'm willing to if it's the only option.
No. 172284
File 137481292746.jpg - (415.20KB , 1054x695 , funny no one has asked who they are.jpg ) [iqdb]
172284
[-w-] Put the witch down. You don't want any trouble, and she should be alright.

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

There are not many choices that you have. You can either keep hold of the witch and hope that being so close will prevent you from getting shot, or putting her down and earning a little bit of good will. As much as you hate giving up any card in this situation, you'd rather not earn anyone's enmity. So, reluctantly, you kneel down on the ground and deposit Marisa as carefully as you can, seeing no other option. "It doesn't matter what you say, though. She needs someone to check her, and soon."

Harmon doesn't say anything at first, but instead moves closer. As he does, you notice that his hands are shaking just a bit, and the gun that he is pointing at you is quite unsteady. "That is noted. Now, get back. Stay far away so that you can't do anything to us. Not with those claws or teeth or whatever glamour that you have under your control…"

Considering that he has to use a weapon, you doubt any shout that you make would do anything more than irritate his eardrums. Even if it could do anything, that girl in the corner would be harmed just as much. You'd rather not harm any innocents. Without word, you take a few steps back and hold your hands up, making sure that all of your limbs are clear and exposed.

The man steps even closer, the quivering gun trained on you the whole time. "Let's see…" He takes his eyes off of you for a few seconds to examine the girl that lies unconscious on the ground. "What in the world happened to her? She's out cold…"

A rather uncharacteristic huff comes from Rika as she finally gathers some of her courage. "That… That is what we were trying to explain. She got hopped up on mushroom juice, and was on a high for hours. She crashed as soon as she sat down."

"…Oh. Well, why didn't you say so?" The silence that meets his question is answer enough, and he rubs his head, somewhat chagrined. "True. Still, I don't trust that thing around here. Not if it managed to outlast Marisa."

"I don't think that you could say that he did that. Instead, he managed to talk her down, while she was taking a murderous mushroom samba." Rika shakes her head quickly, sending her pigtails flying each and every way. "So, he had to offer something really good in order for her not to spark him all the way to kingdom come."

"…That, and she did chase me into a junkyard…" You shiver a bit at the memory of all those old rusty cars. "If I wasn't too careful, I would have ended up with a face full of iron. That is not an experience I'd wish on anyone, even if it doesn't burn them as it does me."

Frowning a bit, the man sighs, but does not lower the firearm. "I do not doubt that would be the case. Still, there is too much unknown. You are the one she was hunting down, right? The major signature that appeared in the middle of the city."

That sounds about like your circumstances. However, hadn't it only been a few days since you had vanished? Unless you had lost track of time during the transition between worlds, shouldn't they have known about another? That doesn't even count Wriggle's movement. Harmon clears his throat and nearly starts you, as you hadn't realized you had fallen into so deep of thought. "I suppose that would have been the case, unless there was some other mad marauding changeling there and I was merely an innocent bystander."

"Don't be cute, now." His glare hardens, and he stands up once again. The gun wavers a bit, but it never leaves your general direction. "She chased you down, but you talked her out of it. There has to be some reason…"

"Hwuh…? What's… that?" You both immediately look down, and you see that the witch is no longer unconscious, and is instead slowly turning over the ground. "…Why am I… kissing the floor?"

Rika darts into action before either of you react, and is rolling Marisa over to lie on her back. "I was getting worried… You weren't waking up, so I thought you might have been injured. Lu― The changeling was carrying you in, but Harmon decided he needed to make sure that the changeling was murderous and wasn't going on a rampage…"

Marisa slowly nods, still gathering her surroundings. "Right… Got you. Was carried by Lukie in…" You wince at the name she uses, but her words raise yet another question. How did she hear that if she was unconscious the entire time? Granted, she could have the same naming sense as Rika, but you don't think two people could be that horrible… "Hey! Harmon! Why did you make him put me down? If he's coming in the back door, it's not because he decided to swim through the lava―"

"Magma."

"Whatever, Rika." She snorts and sits up, apparently feeling much better than she did a minute previously. "And you, why did you let him make you set me down?"

"I have a deep desire down inside me not to be shot." You've no idea why she is so upset with this turn of events, but you do catch Harmon rolling his eyes while Marisa looks at you. "Was I supposed to have carried you all the way as I get pumped full of lead?"

The grin on your face makes you wonder if she would have liked that, but she turns back to Harmon. "Seriously, though, it isn't often you get a chance to be carried in like that. Usually it's Reimu hauling me in like I was a sack of sweet potatoes. Such a demeaning way to be taken in…"

"I think I'm just going to wait until you're completely back to normal before trying to hold a conversation with you." Sighing, he walks back over to the desk and places the gun back in whatever hiding spot it was originally placed in. "So, you've got another changeling like Kourin, or is he that valuable."

"I suppose that remains to be seen?" She looks back to Rika, tilting her head. "So, why are we in here, anyways? The garage is outside this little office. Why did we have to take this entrance, anyway? Did you crash the tank?" Rika's ears burn red, and Marisa's grin widens. "Oh, now this will be interesting… What were you too busy doing that distracted you from driving? You should go ahead and tell."

Rika begins to explain once more as Harmon listens on. However, you hear shuffling nearby, and you turn your ear holes away from the explanation of the events that you personally took part in. Glancing towards the source of the noise, you notice that the little girl from earlier is gone. "Huh? Where did she go?"

It takes a few seconds for you to actually look down and see the little girl that is right in front of your eyes. No longer content with her drawings, she is staring up at you with wide, pale eyes. Now that she is mere inches from you, you can see small bags under her eyes. The girl has not been sleeping well for quite a while, it seems.

Still, she is staring at you with an innocence that is almost relieving. She doesn't seem frightened of your claws or your other bestial parts. Instead, she is staring at the wings on your back. "…You have really pretty feathers…"

Blinking, you close your right hand and pull it behind your back before leaning down just a bit. "What was that?"

She doesn't respond for a moment, but then stares up at you. "…Are you a monster? Big brother called you a changeling."

There's no denying that parts of you are monstrous, yes. But as long as you remember that you are you, and not the beast or the doll, you remain confident on that. "I'm… Not. I don't want to hurt anyone, now do I?"

"…Monster killed biggest brother." She tilts her head to the side, far enough so half of her face is covered with hair. "But you don't seem like one. That, and you have pretty feathers…" At that, she reaches up and towards your wings, as if to stroke them.

Before you can decide whether or not to pull them back, her older brother seems to notice and grows alarmed. "Layla! Get back!" He shoves Marisa to the side and runs up to her, scooping her up in his arms. For your part, you take another step back, not wanting to even appear like you were going to hurt her. "You shouldn't get near him. He's… He's dangerous. A changeling."

"But he looks like an angel! See, he has wings…"

"He's no angel, Layla. Angels are the ones that took your biggest brother home. He is not like them." He shoots you another look before stepping backwards, as he is reluctant to turn his back on you. "Just leave my sister alone, changeling. Not like you would listen."

"What are you going to do, Prismriver? Shoot him? He could probably kill you before you would even get close to finishing the job." Marisa snorts derisively as she casts her eyes over to the desk. "That gun won't do you much good against anything strong enough to get in here."

Harmon just sighs, looking quite tired of arguing with her. "There's not much else that I can use, Marisa. Some of us can't depend on magic, after all." He shakes his head and turns about to sit down at the desk. "Go on ahead. You need to go to the infirmary either way. I can take a deposition from Rika, even though Akyuu is going to be picking the both of you over the moment she gets you free." He sighs and rubs his forehead as he pulls another piece of paper out.

"Alright then." Marisa slaps a smile on her face and marches over to the door. If you didn't know better, you would have never guessed that she had been out completely a few minutes ago. Although, you still wonder if she has been hit on the head or not. "Now, let's get going. Or do I need to order you to come along?"

[ ] No reason not to go. You might as well follow her, and give the man a bit of breathing space too.
[ ] You're curious how strong the bond is. Have her order you.
[ ] Not quite yet; you want to wait for the tank girl.
No. 172285
[X] Not quite yet; you want to wait for the tank girl.

Well, that situation went well enough.
No. 172286
[x] No reason not to go. You might as well follow her, and give the man a bit of breathing space too.
- [x] Bid Rika goodbye and wish her luck in recovering her tank.
- [x] When we're out of earshot of others, tell Marisa that her joke about ordering us was in poor taste.

That guy's reaction to us, his lack of respect for us as person, as well as his description of Kourin's state set off a lot of my paranoia alarms. We're trusting Marisa with our fate here, but better to be quite clear that there is no way in hell that we will accept ending up as someone's slave, and that taking the concept lightly is not something we are willing to do.

As for being curious about the bond, the only curiosity I have about it is how difficult it will be to remove, once we have convinced Marisa to do so.
No. 172301
[X] No reason not to go. You might as well follow her, and give the man a bit of breathing space too.

This is not friendly territory. Let's not rattle the cage too much just yet.
No. 172376
[x] No reason not to go. You might as well follow her, and give the man a bit of breathing space too.
- [x] Bid Rika goodbye and wish her luck in recovering her tank.

This sounds good, I'd like to wait for Rika, but I think we should give Harmon some space. I'd mention something about her showing us the other tanks later, but Harmon might take that the wrong way.
Also as much as I'd like to keep harping at Marisa about ordering us around, at this point I think she's doing it just to annoy us. Let it slide this time.
No. 172726
File 13758514323.jpg - (404.14KB , 960x1200 , what are the current odds on this going well.jpg ) [iqdb]
172726
[-y-] No reason not to go. You might as well follow her, and give the man a bit of breathing space too.
-[-y-] Bid Rika goodbye and wish her luck in recovering her tank.

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

Considering how much the man here has shown his distaste for you, you would rather get out of here as soon as possible. That, and you do need to go ahead and meet with some of these others that live here. The longer you do wait, the angrier that you'll imagine them being when they find out that someone like you has been wandering around their home.

Still, there is something you need to do first. "Hey, Rika. Good luck with getting your tank out of there. Hope you don't run into any other problems." You smile just a little bit, ignoring the look that Harmon is giving you. "Take care."

"You too―" Her eyes widen as something comes to mind. "Oh dear, I need to get going before the magma breaks through. I can't have her melt…" Fretting, Rika nervously bounces back and forth from one foot to the other as she glances towards the man. "I need to go get her now…"

Harmon lets out a long-suffering sigh as he just shakes his head. "Go ahead and get it; I'm not going to stand between you and your tanks. I do have a desire for continued survival." Considering her affection for said vehicles, you would agree heartily. At least she doesn't have powers like certain others do.

"Thank you!" At that, she rushes by you, squeezing out the door and dashing down the hall. "Bye Lukie!" She doesn't even give you the chance to shout a response as she disappears down the hall.

Marisa starts to snicker, and you just glare at her. "Don't even…" Grumbling, you head out the door and shut it once she is out as well. "Let's just go to this place, then. Infirmary or whatnot. You definitely need to have your head checked out."

She just shakes her head as a large grin covers her face. "Uh-uh! I am perfectly sane. Although, I do wonder how much advantage you've taken of my poor little friend while we were riding. After all, put two people alone in a room…"

"Like I said, you need to have your head checked out." This is starting to get on your nerves. "Sometimes I wonder how you and her could be friends."

"Well, I am interested in her brand of magic, even if I'm not one to start following her tradition. Even if her "science" is not liked by the others, it is still methodical enough that it helps me with my alchemy." Marisa smirks a bit at your rather stunned reaction. "Well, it isn't as if I don't know what I'm doing. I do only have so many resources though."

"I… see." Well, everyone keeps talking about these mushrooms that she is making. And she doesn't seem like the type to be wrapping them up and smoking… As far as you can tell, at least. "So, you just care about learning from her or something?"

"You're so defensive, aren't you?" She chuckles and shakes her head. "You asked me how I was her friend. That is how I first met her, though. …And she doesn't get out of here much. Her sister took care of her most of the time." The jovial smile slips from her face for a moment, and she looks back straight ahead. "Well, someone's got to keep her straight. And none of the others are going to."

That is something that has been bugging you ever since she mentioned it. You don't want to ask Rika, but you don't see the harm in bringing it up now. "So, mind telling me why no one else seems to like her? She seemed quite… bothered by it, I suppose would be the best way to put it."

Marisa stares at the wall for a moment before shaking her head. "Not much to tell. She's too caught up in her tanks, as far as the others are concerned. It isn't the proper application of her talents. If only she'd open up her mind and see the truth, blah blah…" Marisa waves her hand in the air as she starts to snicker again. "Far as I'm concerned, it's a load of hogwash. I don't give a flip about the source of it all. As long as I can appropriate it for myself, I'm happy as a clam."

"…Well, I suppose that makes some sense." Sighing, you clench your hand a little bit as you think. You do remember to stop before you cut your hand with your claws, though. "It doesn't exactly seem like you have enough people to be worrying about little things like that, though. Or am I missing something here?"

"Nah, you're not. Some people are just really set in their ways." She juts her thumb back the way you came. "Kinda like Harmon. Although, with his older brother dead and his three older sisters out on a mission, he's just a little bit stressed."

"I do believe I noticed." Sighing, you shrug and look down. "Still, there was something familiar about him. …Does he stay down here and do all the paperwork? He did mention something of the sort to Rika before she ran off." Before Marisa can even open her mouth, you glare at her once more. "And no. Not in the mood for it."

The witch just grins and looks away. "You're taking all the fun out of things, you know?" When you fail to react, she merely shrugs and continues to walk. "Well, he does quite a lot of it. Never cared for magic in the least, even though he does know of its existence. His loss." Marisa pauses as she thinks of something else, but is interrupted as the entire lower level begins to shake. A loud roar echoes down the hallway as a deep rumble makes the floor tiles shiver in place. It isn't enough to knock you off your feet, but you grab onto the wall just to make sure you don't fall.

The thrum disappears after a minute, leaving you standing in the hallway, quite shaken by what felt like an earthquake. Although you didn't notice it earlier, you almost seem ready to take to the air, what little of it is there in the small hall. "What in the world was that? Don't tell me that something just caved in…"

Turning to face Marisa, you notice that she is hardly frightened in the least. In fact, she seems more likely to bust out laughing, at least by the look of the wide grin on her face. "Nah, I know that rumble. Seems like she decided to bust out that old prototype of hers." She snickers as she adjusts her hat so it is straight once more. "Even if the other was half destroyed, there's no reason to get out that monster. Eh, her preference." Her grin turns just a little nasty as she spots your hand. "And you might want to take your hand out of there. Don't want any of the others getting any ideas, after all."

Looking down at your hand, you notice that you've sliced into the walls with ease. "Right. I'm not here to destroy anything, after all." Sighing, you pull your hand out and flex the fingers before checking to ensure that no rock is wedged between the claws and the skin. "How much longer is it going to take to get to the infirmary, though? Seems like we've been walking for quite a while."

"It's only a few minutes. You're really getting impatient, aren't you?" She points at the end of the hall, at the very last door. "We just have to go upstairs. It's not down here on the basement level."

"Well, you'd be impatient too when you have to worry about whether you're going to live or be taken prisoner." Huffing quietly, you march down, past the girl. "And you're not exactly helping things, you know."

Her face shifts for just one moment, but you can't tell exactly what she felt before she hides it behind a smile once more. "I'm just getting you used to how they will treat you, you know. Not everyone here is as nice as me, you know. Or as good at what they do." She flips her single braid quite arrogantly before returning to her amused state. "If you can't deal with them even mentioning what you are, you'll probably have a tough time dealing with them. You need to lighten up, Mr. Prisoner."

"Good thing I don't have to stand their presence for much." You fall silent at her words, as she does remind you of your circumstances. You may need their help, but as far as they are concerned, you're just another source of trouble at best. At least Marisa hopefully won't view you as an animal, like she referred to the others. Would her allies be so kind to you, though?

Eventually, you head through the door without a word, even though you draw a curious look from Marisa in the process. "Sure you're ok there? Got real quiet."

"I'm sure." Oddly enough, you seem to be in another cavern, although it could simply be an old mineshaft. You can't quite tell, and the walls are too barren to really indicate much. This cavern is lit up by a multitude of lamps hammered into the walls, and either cement or some sort of natural stone is covering the bottom of the chamber, while the top is too dark and too far away to see. "I'm just… really considering the position I'm in. I had forgotten that I'm technically your prisoner…"

Her head tilts to the side before she lets out a snort. "True. I just suppose I'll have to make sure you've got a nice cell. We might even let you have running water and a toilet!" She smirks as always before crossing her arms across her chest. "In all seriousness, you should be fine. They'll know if I bothered to bring you all the way back you're not worth killing, at the least."

"…You have no idea how much that reassures me." You take a moment to stretch out, as you are quite relieved to be in yet another open space. You can't help but feel a bit freer now that you are not in the confines yet again, even if they weren't as tight as that tank. "Anything else that'll help? Should I tie my hands above my back? Cut my other hand off?"

She shakes her head even as she rolls her eyes. "I can only promise so much. And I would rather tell you the truth instead of mincing words. Never liked doing that." At that, she decides to tap you on the arm and tries to redirect your attention. "So, are we going to head up, or are we going to stand here all day?" Marisa then points towards a small spiral staircase that leads up to various doors above you, all of which are stories above your head.

"Up, I suppose." Although, now that you think about it, she never bothered to specify how you should get up. If you are about to face this person that gives the one who chased you down with ease pause, you reckon that it might be nice to enjoy the air underneath your wings.

[ ] Just fly up. Marisa can walk or ride that broom if she desires.
[ ] Walk. You don't want to show off right now.
[ ] Pick Marisa up and take her with you. Maybe that strategy will work this time.

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

Sorry for the delay. A reminder that next update is the [-z-] Update.
No. 172728
[X] Pick Marisa up and take her with you. Maybe that strategy will work this time.

So we can be a charming gentleman.
No. 172729
[ x] Walk. You don't want to show off right now.

I don't know man. As funny as that 3rd option would be, the person we're meeting might take that the wrong way.
No. 172732
[x] Walk. You don't want to show off right now.
No. 172733
[X] Pick Marisa up and take her with you. Maybe that strategy will work this time.

Let's see how this goes, shall we?
No. 172735
[x] Pick Marisa up and take her with you. Maybe that strategy will work this time.
- [x] Assuming that she doesn't mind, of course. Wouldn't want to just suddenly sweep her off her feet.
No. 172736
>The grin on her face makes you wonder if she would have liked that, but she turns back to Harmon. "Seriously, though, it isn't often you get a chance to be carried in like that. Usually it's Reimu hauling me in like I was a sack of sweet potatoes. Such a demeaning way to be taken in…"

[x] Pick Marisa up and take her with you. Maybe that strategy will work this time.
- [x] Assuming that she doesn't mind, of course. Wouldn't want to just suddenly sweep her off her feet.

Something tells me she likely won't say no.
No. 172742
[x] Pick Marisa up and take her with you. Maybe that strategy will work this time.
- [x] Assuming that she doesn't mind, of course. Wouldn't want to just suddenly sweep her off her feet.


She is recovering from a mushroom-induced coma, and is possibly injured after being thrown around her seat in the tank, and should not be doing strenuous things like walking up long flights of stairs.
No. 172794
File 137602563137.jpg - (581.03KB , 700x979 , so hard to find one even close to decent for her.jpg ) [iqdb]
172794
[-z-] Pick Marisa up and take her with you. Maybe that strategy will work this time.
-[-z-] Assuming that she doesn't mind, of course. Wouldn't want to just suddenly sweep her off her feet.

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

Considering the supposed state of your compatriot, there is only one thing in mind. With her injured, even if she appears fine now, she does not need to be doing anything strenuous. So, you think you'll take it upon you to carry her the rest of the way up there, once you do ask her for permission. It is for her own good, as you would hate to see her injured.

Besides, she has been rather cheeky with you this whole time, so you don't see any problem with taking a bit of revenge for her actions. "So, how far up do we need go? That staircase looks like it goes… well, like it goes quite a ways."

Marisa just shrugs at your question. "It's the third doorway on the way up. I'll point it out when we get up there." At that, she spins around and starts walking towards the stairs. Even though you look to see if anything seems off about her, you can't tell too much. If she is injured, she is keeping enough of a lid on it that you wouldn't notice.

Still, that is no excuse for you. Quickly taking a few steps to catch up to the girl, you tap her on the shoulder to get her attention. "Well, technically, even though I'm supposed to be your prisoner, I'm the one that is responsible for getting you up to the infirmary."

"Yeah, and?" She turns around and looks at you curiously, wondering exactly where you might be going with this line of thought. "I am quite capable of taking care of myself."

While very tempted to debate that, based on what you've seen, you just smile as best you can to try and calm any nerves that have been frayed. "That you can. However, wouldn't it be easier to carry you up there? I am stronger than you, no matter what sort of concoction you happen to take."

She blinks her eyes as she stops in her tracks to look at you. "I certainly didn't expect that from you. …Are you trying to get on my good side or something?"

"Well, perhaps. I won't deny that I am attempting to humor those who seem capable of blasting me into little bits…" She grins a bit at that, not offended at all by the accusation that still lingers in your words. "That, and what would your friends say if you showed up in horrible shape? They'd be just as likely to assault me because I treated you poorly."

"We can't have that, then. Reimu would never get over herself." Snickering just a little, she puts her hands on her hips. "Fine, then. Just don't do anything too sudden. You don't want to frighten the natives, after all."

You nod at that and immediately step forward and grab her. Mindful not to simply sling her over your shoulder and risk her ire, you gently pick the girl up. "Alright then. Just tell me when to stop."

She nods and waits for you to start walking forward. After a few moments, she glances back, wondering why you haven't started moving. "What's going on, now…" Marisa's eyes widen at the sight of your spread wings. "Wait a moment, are you about to fly?"

"Naturally. You can't fly, as that seems to harm you. And I'd probably hit your head on the rail on that narrow staircase, so this is the best way to go." At that, you flap your wings and dart upwards.

While it takes a few seconds to get used to the admittedly light weight of the witch, it gives her enough time to panic just a little bit. "Wait a second, this isn't a good idea. If one of the others sees you like this…"

"Well, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't attack me as long as I have you close." Grinning a bit, you give in to the urges and take to wing wholly, flying quickly up the tall cavern. "And it won't take too long. We're already making good progress now."

"Still, this is not a good idea you son of a bitch." Even though her words are harsh, she can't help from laughing out loud. "I can just see this going so well… Oh well, this better be worth it!" She grabs her hat with one hand in order to keep it from blowing away in the wind. "…Although, it is nice to fly without the constant throbbing in my head…"

Enthused at her relatively eager acquiescence, you continue flying up and pass the first door. As the second one approaches, you shout at her. "Is this the one we have to stop at?"

"No, the next one!" Her other arm pulls out of your tight hold and points upwards. In the process of guiding you, she unbalances herself and immediately latches on to your shirt. "Dammit, I hate not being able to control myself when flying…"

You neglect to point out that she could just order you to fly as she wishes, even if such micromanagement would certainly be a pain. The thought of her ordering you to individually move each and every feather does amuse you, though. "Well, it won't be long now. Just hold on for a little bit without spilling your lunch all over me."

As you pass by the second door, you can't help but to look at it, considering the lack of features that the cavern has aside from the metal structure. As you do, you notice that the door is actually open and a small girl with dark hair and a rather complicated robe is walking away from the hall. When Marisa lets out a small yelp that sounds halfway between enjoyment and illness, she spins around and meets your eyes for a heartbeat. Fortunately, you are flying fast enough that you are gone before she can move.

Seconds later, you hear metal ring as someone hits the railing with quite a lot of force. "Crap… Who in the world did we pass by down there?"

"What did she look like? I didn't get a close look at her." Before you answer, the staircase rings again and you finally look down. Below you is that same girl, who appears to be leaping up the side of the staircase as quickly as possible. As she flips from one rail to another, Marisa finally answers. "Well, it could be worse…"

"Just what I wanted to hear. Well, give me a moment…" Somehow, this girl is managing to gain on you, mindless of the fact that you are flying and that she is merely climbing up the wall. "Almost there. …How much do you want to bet she'll listen to reason?"

"I know Akyuu. She'll listen once she's proven her point. So, not soon at all." Grumbling, Marisa looks down once more. "…Set me down once we get there. That way I can try and talk her out of beating you up."

The thought should have been humorous, but after taking what Alice did to you into account, you'll take pause before assuming yourself safe from bodily assault. "…Right. Dang it… Should I do that, though? I'd rather not lose my one possible protection."

"Do it." A tinge of regret crosses her face as the order settles in and you immediately set out to follow through. "Just be quick. I'll try to calm her."

"You're one to talk, you know?" Snorting quietly, you fly up and land on the correct floor, glad to finally set foot on ground again. Without a word, you let Marisa slide out and onto the floor as you try and gauge where the girl is. "There you go. Now where did she―"

Right as you land, the girl pops up from the floor below, flipping over backwards as she flies towards the wall of the cave, landing on the lip of the door that Marisa was approaching. By some crazy feat of balancing, she manages to stay upright without even grabbing the lip or the rock wall. It is there she remains, coiled like a snake and ready to strike.

Marisa just sighs and shakes her head a few seconds into the tense standoff. "Hey there, Akyuu! You are just as chipper as ever. Listen, if you could do me a big favor and not―" Ignoring Marisa, the girl leaps over her head, straight at you. "…do what you are doing right now."

You barely have time to react to the incoming missile of a girl. As you do not wish to accidentally impale her with your claws, you clench your fist and put it behind your back. At the same time, you hold up your left arm in order to shield your face.

Not that it matters much, As Akyuu immediately latches onto your arm. Using her momentum to swing around, a foot rises up and catches you just below the jaw. You yell in pain and stumble backwards while she drops down. With a strength belied by her size, she kicks down on your shin hard.

Grunting loudly, you fall over on your side in an effort to get away from the girl. "…Just once, I'd like to not get attacked by someone at first sight." Still muttering under your breath, you put your hand down in an effort to rise back to your feet.

The sting of a burn lancing through your hand is all it takes to realize just what this platform is made out of.

"Of course…" You immediately suck up the pain and stumble back to your feet. "Everything is going to be made of iron… Just great." You wish it were this easy to stumble across the stuff back at the burrow. Then again, it might have been used on you if it were there, so perhaps you were lucky in that case.

Before you can stand fully up, though, the girl walks to you and stares into your eyes. It almost seems as if she is judging whether or not you would be allowed to live. Tentatively, you open your mouth in order to try and talk her down. A blink of an eye later, and you are bent over, grasping at your throat.

"Alright, now, was that really necessary?" Marisa glares over at your direction as she sticks her hand in her pack. "Punching him in the throat won't make him more cooperative, you know."

"True, but I'd rather not take any risks, what with you bringing one this strong in here." Akyuu shakes her head and knits her hand in her short and oddly enough purple hair. "Quite irresponsible. Yet, that is something that we can always expect when you are on the job, isn't it?"

"Yeah, yeah, I hear ya. Just step away from the Changeling and we'll be all well and good. I don't want him to be startled by you too much."

Akyuu snorts and puts her hands on her hips as she stares you down. "Leniency is one thing we do not expect from you. Have you gotten too attached to this one? I had wondered why you appeared so comfortable. From how you appeared, one could have expected you to be under a geas from it."

If anything were further from the truth, you don't know what it could be. Marisa just grins and crosses her arms. "Well, if it were, would I admit it to you? This guy isn't a mastermind, though. Unless he's managed to fool us all. But then, what could we do about it?"

The wide grin on her face does not faze the little girl as she turns to stare at you. "Hardly words to make me sympathetic. Especially as he is not restrained at all. You allowed him in without any guarantee."

"…I found the cuffs unnecessary." Marisa shrugs again, and you wonder what angle she is playing. If she has your very name and will bound to her, why doesn't she just admit it? "He has not caused any trouble since I managed to talk him down from his panic. Although he did lead us on quite the chase."

"…Rika's actions can be discussed later. As for now, restrain it. I don't even want to risk it getting out up here." Reluctantly, Marisa looks at you for a few seconds while Akyuu waits impatiently. She continues to stare for a few moments before shrugging and reaching down into the pack. A moment later, you see her pull out a pair of thick and heavy iron clasps, which would chain together your arms quite firmly if placed on you.

[ ] Let her do it. You've had worse.
[ ] Mention what Marisa has done to you.
[ ] Refuse both. You are not an animal to be chained.
[ ] Debate her. She is so quick to judge. Call her on that.
No. 172796
[x] Let her do it. You've had worse.
No. 172797
[X] Debate her. She is so quick to judge. Call her on that.
-[X] Failing that, accept the binding.
No. 172804
[X] Let her do it. You've had worse.
Then
[X]Debate her. She is so quick to judge. Call her on that.

>>172797
I think our position would be a lot better if we first show that we mean no harm, and are ready to even have iron clamped to our body to prove it. I was also thinking of suggesting that if he's willing to go THAT far he could even roll up his sleeves and offer up his arms so that the iron definitely touches skin... But then I realized that I don't remember him actually getting any clothes since turning back from being Maggie... (Good think birds don't have very obvious genitalia, I guess.)

If we argue the point first, it'll seem as if we're the usual kind of changeling/youkai and are trying to wriggle out of it through lies and misdirection. (Nightmare-inducing pun completely unintended.)
No. 172806
[x] Refuse both. You are not an animal to be chained.

This is getting out of hand. He's been trying to cooperate for a while now, and now they're planning to flat-out lock him up, just like that. Using bindings that will torture him. Confrontation might be inadvisable, but Luke should at least try to to stand up for himself.
No. 172807
>>172804
Oops. Rereading it, apparently his regular clothes that he was wearing under the trenchcoat reappared with him when he "returned". (E.g. his shirt is mentioned in the fight with Marisa.)
So that makes rolling up his sleeves as a show of sincerity a possibility.

Although all this is making me remember "A Very Lost Infernal" when Nash was talking to Daiyousei. He was so set on her being a Fair Folk that he kept reading layers upon layers into everything that was said, while she was just doing the regular mindless fairy banter.

I get the feeling our conversations with Akyuu might be something similar.
Even if we're telling the truth, she'll assume that there's always something unsaid, twisted or otherwise obscured in everything we say or do.
Maybe if Marisa gives him the courtroom treatement ("tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth"), she'll believe us.
...But probably not.
No. 172808
Her being so quick to judge is understandable, she doesn't know that he is already restrained or what his intentions are. Imagine if someone brought home a wild bear and was just letting it roam around your living room, would you be alright with that?

Granted, He isn't a wild bear, but Akyuu doesn't know that.

>Before you can stand fully up, though, the girl walks to you and stares into your eyes. It almost seems as if she is judging whether or not you would be allowed to live. Tentatively, you open your mouth in order to try and talk her down. A blink of an eye later, and you are bent over, grasping at your throat.

Makes me wonder if she will attempt that again should we try to speak and before we are "appropriately restrained", bird-style changelings would likely commonly have powers tied to their voice, so attempting to speak may seem threatening.

I'd say that our first order should be to accept the restraints, while we understand their necessity we don't want to wear them longer than needed.

Tldr;
[X] Let her do it. You've had worse.
-[X] Debate her. She is so quick to judge. Call her on that.

Maybe take on a slightly sympathetic tone? We know what kind of awful things Youkai are capable of, but we have no ill intentions. Furthermore doesn't the base already house two changelings? Surely she knows that not all changelings are wild beasts.


Wasn't expecting an update so soon, happily surprised.
No. 172810
>>172808
This is what I was talking about when I suggested accepting the irons first, and attempting diplomacy second.

This turned into a bit of a wall of text, but eh.
Here's the tl;dr:
Everyone in here will be assuming that we're dangerous, and wants to drag them off to a fate similar, or worse, to the situation Lucas was in at the start of the story.
Becuase if they don't, that would have already happened to them years ago.


And the long version:

This is an organisation that fights Changeling/Youkai/Fae/Whatever.
Akyuu is ready to kill Lucas just for existing, because he is something that can't be trusted.
That's why I think we need to go along with just about anything that could prove out trustworthyness, for now. (Well, anything less than giving out our Name, at least.)
We have to work our way up just to find rock bottom as far as trustworthyness goes.

Right now, to Akyuu, Lucas is a dangerous, habitual liar with at least half a dozen hidden agendas that are all contrary to their own. Not to mention a monster to whom human logic is inapliccable.

Take Wriggle for example.
Wriggle was never "cruel" according to her own reasoning. She honestly believed it was her inviolable right to punish her disobedient pets in whatever way she deemed fit or to feed upon them, should she feel like it.
And, according to the the way Gensokyo (which is the Arcadia/Realm of the Fae in this story) works, that is the truth.
We are in the wrong for thinking otherwise.

Akyuu assumes Lucas is, at best, on the same level as Wriggle. Probably worse, because we have gained Marisa's trust. Which leads to the assumption that he is crafty/powerful enough to trick even someone who has seen firsthand what happens to those taken (Rikako). Is it really that strange that Akyuu would prefer to punch Lucas in the throat and clap him in irons rather than let him speak a single word, simply because it's safer than actually trusting even Marisa's opinion of him?

We're probably gonna have to go through this little dance with every single one of them too, because everyone will assume that we have somehow tricked/glamered/dominated everyone before them until they (meaning the person we're talking to, not everyone we've already talked to) can prove otherwise.

It's like The Thing. You can't trust anyone or anything until you have made sure of it yourself, because the moment you take someone at their word without double (and, in this case, trip-, quad-, quint-, sex-, sept-, and octuple) checking, an eldritch horror will devour you and use your face to eat your friends.

(Also worth noting that the only reason I stopped at octuple checking is because I don't know the latin word for nine. When dealing with Fae you never, EVER, stop re-checking every little scrap of information for hidden traps.
Always remember:
Even if you get them to swear on their True Name that they are telling the truth, they are still trying to trick you.)
No. 172811
[X] Let her do it. You've had worse.
-[X] Debate her. She is so quick to judge. Call her on that.
No. 172812
>>172794
[X] Let her do it. You've had worse.
-[X] Debate her. She is so quick to judge. Call her on that.

I hate this situation. We agreed to come here peacefully, we have been repeatedly injured by these people with no provocation whatsoever, we already gave Marisa absolute power over us, and there are limits to the amount of degradation and dehumanization we're willing to endure before we turn entirely hostile. Chains- iron chains- are a long step toward those limits.

But we have to go along with it, because Akyuu has demonstrated an intention to harm us before allowing us to speak. We can't debate in those conditions. She's a violent paranoid, but there's nothing we can do about it... and apparently she can give Marisa orders.

The more we meet these people, the more I dislike them. If they find out that Marisa has total power over us, there is a very real risk that they will turn us into an enslaved tool, bound by magic- I suspect that is why she hasn't brought it up, and is opting to use the chains. Her ordering us to land but regretting it demonstrated rather well that while she wants to be nice, ultimately practicality trumps morality for her- she's willing to force us to do what she wants, she'll just feel bad about it. Even that is more than we're likely to get from anyone else, so she's choosing to inflict temporary and visible harm rather than be put in a situation where she'll inflict harm on something that matters more than our body- our freedom and will.

Unfortunately, accepting these chains puts us in a very weak position. We still don't have any standing orders not to harm Marisa, so far as I'm aware, so thus far we've always had the option- if a distasteful one- of attempting to kill her before she could order us not to, then fleeing. The chains remove that option, and further remove our ability to effectively protest any further violations of our person. This could potentially be just the first in a series of wholly unacceptable things... but it's still the best of our very, very shitty options at this point.
No. 172813
File 137607120196.jpg - (279.21KB , 700x700 , she is waiting for her turn after all.jpg ) [iqdb]
172813
Interesting discussion. Good to think of your position, but I would point out that the two changelings that they do have are there based on extremely extenuating circumstances.

This is one point I was being capricious in my decisions. It was a coin flip to decide who you ran across. The other one is in the picture.

Anyways, just here to point out you're at [Z], if you are wanting to debate on what to use it, or save it for something later.
No. 172814
>>172812
I think you're going a bit too far by assuming that "put me down so I can try to convince my friend that you're harmless" is the same as "I'll enslave your very soul if my boss tells me to, but at least I'll feel bad about it".

Yes, that's a bit hyperbolic on my part, but it sounds to me as if that is what you're saying.


Personally, I prefer to assume that the twinge of regret she showed when she told him to put her down wasn't because she values practicality over morality, if she did she wouldn't have shown regret in the first place. I think it's because it's the complete opposite and she's realized that he ISN'T a complete monster and thus the True Name binding is closer to the enslavement of another person, rather just than keeping a dangerous beast on a leash.

I actually think there's more evidence for that, too.
She's friends with Rika (who everybody else seems to consider just extra baggage that came with her sister, the one they really wanted), she showed genuine care when dealing with Margaret and tried to help her instead of using her as a pawn in the same way she assumed Lucas was, she hasn't already put some sort of extra restrictions on him despite having his Name and, most of all, she hasn't mentioned it to Akyuu because she knows that if she had his Name it would take less than a heartbeat until she decides to tell Lucas to not so much as breathe without permission. Hell, she'd probably set up a contingency that "in case of X you shall stop living", because she believes him to be nothing more than a monster that shouldn't exist.
(Actually, she'd probably word it as something like "stop existing", or "stop being", because "stop living" can be subverted and escaped from. People have been declared legally dead and returned, after all.)
No. 172816
I'm not sure whether to call this a vote or just a subject thrown out for discussion, but I'm interested in knowing more of the mechanics of True Names.
What power does a Name hold/give in your story? How far can a bond like this be pushed or bent before it breaks? Can it be broken at all? Why can't someone just take his name from a phone book, if his True Name is just whatever his parents decided to call him? (I'm guessing that last one is because of the difference between "taken" and "freely given" that so often features in tales with such themes.)

I also looked up True Names in Changeling the Lost (well, skimmed through the book at least) just in case it would make the entire question irrelevant, but the rules there mostly deal with Fae swearing an oath upon their name and such. Couldn't find anything relevant to how it's used here, so I'm assuming it's more based on the folklore/superstitions about names than CtL.
No. 172817
>>172816
I'll answer the second half of that right now. The invoking is something I decided just for this, as this is not a straight Touhou in CtL and etc. That, and we've yet to come across any Youkai that would even understand how to make an oath. (barring Yuuka, and she was hardly in the state to do anything) It is more based on the old tales of one having power over those who know their name. (I believe that may be closer to the old djinni tales, but it has been quite a while since I've looked at them personally)
No. 172825
[X] Let her do it. You've had worse.
-[X] Tell Marisa that you're fine with being restrained since you trust her.

Marisa already told us that Akyuu will not listen to reason in this state, and it's clear from Akyuu's actions that the most we're going to get for our trouble is probably another blow to the body for attempting to weasel out of this situation.

We may not be able to convince Akyuu of our 'innocence', but we can reassure Marisa that she's doing the right thing. She clearly doesn't want to restrain us, especially since we requested her not to entrust our well-being to her comrades, but if it must happen, then we ought to express that we're doing this only because we trust one of the only people who's reciprocated that trust in return. Allowing ourselves to be restrained in order to pander to the demands of Akyuu won't do much to establish any trust between us and the organization, but at least this will help Marisa know that we won't bear her any ill will.
No. 172826
[X] Let her do it. You've had worse.
-[X] Debate her. She is so quick to judge. Call her on that.

I don't like the decision to wear the chains, but being compliant here may be the only way to get her to actually listen to us without Marisa being forced to reveal she has bound us by our true name, even though she may know already, since Rika mentioned it to Harmon. It wasn't really addressed since he was panicking a little and he's not a mage, so he might have missed it.
Also while we don't want to be too antagonistic, I think it's important we engage her in debate. We've demonstrated in the past with Tokiko and Maggie that we can hold our own in intelligent debate. While it's important to recognize her caution, the fact changeling and youkai are lumped together in her mind is wrong, not only can changelings retain much of their humanity, but she's essentially holding us responsible for being victims. In fact her actions so far have been much more in line with how the fae act then with humanity.
Also didn't Rika mention how she can reincarnate herself, very fae like...though we might not want to mention that as it might get Rika in trouble. Plus we should stick up for Marisa and Rika, seems like she should trust the people who work for her more, especially Marisa who she trusts with important jobs in the field.
>>172814
I agree with this opinion on Marisa. I think she's at least most of the way if not all the way to looking at us as a person.
>>172810
I understand where you are coming from and agree, but to that ,debating with her will probably undermine her trust. At the same time I think Lucas would do it anyways and I think it sets a good foundation for her to trust us more later, it we can prove our honesty. Though as someone else mentioned, I also am not sure I like her, but it's hard to know her real personality in this situation.

As to the z vote, I wouldn't mind holding onto it for a little bit in case something else comes up, but I'm also for finding out more about true names, that's what I suggested last time. Eventually though we may want to ask something about Meiling's situation, so far the z questions have come up during Lucas's parts so we've focused on that.
Also curious if the Lucas will end up at the mansion, though I'd prefer the question answer a little more then that.
No. 172840
>>172826

Eh, it was never actually mentioned that he was bound by Name. She just said that he was bound. That could be taken as some form of lesser agreement too. The Fae makes deals all the time. In a way their deals and favors and debts are all that keeps their "society" from collapsing in on itself, if I remember my CtL lore correctly.

We can't really undermine a trust that isn't there, and without speaking to her we have no chance of ever explain our side of the story.
I don't think being antagonistic in any way is a good idea with her so I don't think we should debate her but, on the other hand, without a dialogue there can never be understanding.

I do agree with you about the unfairness of her lumping Changelings and Fae (well, Youkai, but Fae is just easier to say) together but, as Marisa pointed out, when he accepted his new identity he became something Other, like the Fae. Even if he is different from them, he's no longer human either.
Akyuu has simply drawn the only dividing line possible for an organization such as theirs:
Human or Other.

Of course there are non-humans that can be trusted, as well as humans that can't be, but for everyone's safety the line has to be crystal clear even if there are some possibilities of a case-by-case judgement (Rikako, Kourin). Still, the overwhelming majority of cases has to err far on the side of caution when dealing with things like this.

And yeah, I don't like her much either (at least not right now, maybe things'll be better when she's not kicking jaws and punching throats) but I felt that someone should take the role of devil's advocate here, just to cover all angles.
No. 172842
>>172825
>Tell Marisa that you're fine with being restrained since you trust her.

This. I like this.
I can't be arsed to delete my old vote and repost it just to add it, but I hope it's included in the update.


>>172817
Yeah, I figured as much.
If the z-question becomes info on True Names, there's one thing I'm really interested in knowing about (besides the more general info):
How does it interact with Margaret?
Lucas is Bound to Marisa, but isn't Margaret close enough to being a completely different person to not be bound by it? (When she was "awake", even her blood didn't register as Youkai blood, so it's way beyond regular Glamour which is just smoke and mirrors, so to speak.)
If Lucas learns how to control the transformation (or at least how to communicate with Margaret or something), could he bypass orders like "don't do X" without violating the binding because, technically, Lucas won't be doing anything?

It's one of the reasons you should never trust a Fae who swears that "I will not do X...", because that doesn't stop them from simply sending someone else to do it.
Seiously, Fae deals are the worst ever. Even after you read the fine print (and the finer print), they'll still somehow screw you over based on a single innocently ambiguous word.
No. 172854
>>172840

That's true with the bonds, but have to be careful with how much you take from CtL lore.

The problem is that I think she'll take us trying to open a dialogue with her as antagonistic no matter what we do. Not saying we should full out argue, need to be cautious, but I don't think we should let her just brush us off, which she'll probably do if we don't engage her.

Also we may have become something new when we accepted our identity, I am I, and all that, in their eyes though we became nonhuman the second we ate the seeds and woke up in the cell.

Don't get me wrong I understand their view, I might even act the same way in their situation, but I think the distinction between youkai and changeling is an important one for us to make. Also is human/non-human the only dividing line for a group like theirs or simply the only one they chose.

We're making a lot of assumptions, not only about them, but about everything outside. Maybe they're justified, maybe not. We haven't met many changelings period, much less those that have escaped from Gensokyo. Hell we've only been a changeling for like a week. Maybe the majority of them have lost most or all of their humanity and maybe they haven't.
Also maybe she just doesn't really trust Marisa and Rika, or at least their judgement, which is another issue entirely.
No. 172857
>>172854
I agree that we can't just let her brush us off, but if she believes we are pushing her in any way, she will push back harder. At least right now.
I believe (well, I hope) that we'll eventually get to the point where we can talk to her, but right now we're likely to get another punch to the throat if we appear to be threatening in any way.

Of course they could have chosen another dividing line that human/non-human, but Fae are a slipperly slope and they live and breathe ambiguity and double meanings, so grey zones are both their playgrounds and their hunting fields.
It's not the only line possible, but it's the only one that's not suicidal.
No. 172889
>>172857

Understandable. I suppose we should also keep in mind that we'll probably need their help if we want to rescue Tokiko and Amsterdam, and figure out a way to help Maggie. Also if we somehow manage to pull all that off without dying, we still have to find a place in the world, something they could probably help with if we can gain there trust.
Even if we ultimately can't get them to help us directly just convincing them we're not a threat would get them to let us be. We'll probably have enough trouble with the possibility of Wiggle or other fae trying to track us down, we don't need a group of humans trying to kill us. Better to make allies then enemies.
No. 172902
>>172889
Yeah, the best scenario would be if we could be allies, but failing that a pact of non-aggression/intervention is still pretty good.
We find a uninhabited corner of the world where we can stay out of their, and everyone else's, way and they don't exterminate us.
No. 173000
File 137636962115.png - (187.56KB , 342x425 , quite a long row to hoe.png ) [iqdb]
173000
[-a+1-] Let her do it. You've had worse.
-[-a+1-] Debate her. She is so quick to judge. Call her on that.

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

Grumbling a bit, you shake your head in derision. "I don't like this one bit, Marisa…" The girl immediately raises a hand in order to strike down at you, and you raise your eyes up to meet her straight on. "Don't bother. I'm not going to try anything."

"So you say. But your kind always tries to worm their way out of whatever trouble they get into. Be quiet, or I will make you pay for it." Akyuu holds her palm up, prepared to strike once again. A large part of you wishes you could fight back against her, or even just slap some sense for her obnoxious comments. However much the beast wants to break out, you can't allow that to happen. Who knows how everyone else in this damned hole will take your appearance, much less an assault on one of their fellows.

As you wait, Marisa shuffles forward, and kneels down in front of you. "…I'm sorry. I know you're…" Her voice falls quiet as Akyuu steps forward, and she sighs to herself. "Listen, just do what she says. You'll get through this fine. And we'll get you… Well, we'll get you back so you can find them."

Nodding, you look down at your wrists. With no little amount of hesitation, you pull the sleeves away as slowly as possible, as you don't want to rip the thin fabric with your claws. You notice a hum of interest from one of the girls as your wooden arm is revealed even further, but you don't bother to check which one it is. With a sigh, you offer your arms forward. "Go ahead with it. I trust you; I'm fine with-"

"I said enough!" Once more Akyuu lashes out with an open palm and slams your throat even harder. This time, she manages to drive deep enough to hit the metal box that had been implanted inside of your neck. It jams against your esophagus and gags you as you crumple to the iron floor once more. It takes every bit of your being to prevent the box from spinning its horrible notes as you grunt out in pain. "That's enough. Hand me those, Marisa. I will take this one in myself."

You moan a bit in pain as you push yourself off the floor as quickly as possible. As you do, you hear Marisa's heated voice lashing out at the younger girl. "The hell I won't. I am perfectly capable of handcuffing a Changeling, Ninth Child." Without any further ado, she reaches down and waits for you to get back to your knees. Without any wait, she clasps the irons around your wrists and locks each one shut.

The metal bonds burn your skin horribly, and you dearly want to cry out as it tattoos your arm with its terrible chill. You try to ignore the smell of flesh and wood burning as it settles into your arms, though the wretched scent does drive most any other thoughts from your mind.

Eventually, you are shaken out of your painful reverie by a firm hand. "Come on, now. We need to head on inside before anything else happens." The hand shakes you again, and you realized that tears are streaming down your face as your teeth mash together.

Finally, though, you respond and get to your feet. Marisa turns her face from you and immediately raises a hand to wipe some dust out of her eyes. "Move it. Don't even think of doing anything else, Akyuu. My prisoner, my job." She shoots the younger girl a glare as she takes your arm and guides you to the door.

"If you insist, Marisa. However, I will be accompanying you, and Reimu will join us soon enough. This is a serious breach of our policy, and is the last thing I expected from you." If it wasn't clear before, you now know that Akyuu suspects you of doing something. Your mind flashes back to the anger that she showed when Margaret vanished, and you wonder if she would have followed through if you couldn't have told her anything about what happened to the other Changeling.

Still, the question is moot. You're here now, being lead through the door and into another hallway. This one is, oddly enough, quite a bit larger than the one downstairs, being nearly ten feet across. That, and it is a much older style, being line with stones and torches instead of the stale and boring walls that lie further down in the ground. You can't help but to shiver at the familiar sight, thinking back to the last person who held you captive in a similar lair.

Chancing a glance at the witch, you see that she is biting her lip and is marching ahead without looking back at smaller girl. Said girl seems to be nowhere in sight, and you cannot even hear her footsteps to tell if she is following after you. The feathers on the back of your neck are the only things that tell you that you're being followed.

Silently, you march down the hall, keeping your eyes focused and not glancing into any of the rooms that seem to have been strewn haphazardly among the floor. Considering the sheer number, you would have expected there to be at least a small number of people active in the halls, but it is deserted, almost abandoned. It is much too large for just a few disparate mages.

Still, the smell is distracting, and you glance down again. At the very least, they seem to be using some sort of one size fits all deal, so your wrists don't have their circulation completely removed. The char of your flesh is easily visible beneath your cuffs as the arms sway to and fro, and it reminds you that it has been quite a while since you have bothered to eat.

"Marisa, go faster. I'd rather not have to see another starving Changeling start to eat itself." Akyuu reaches forward and prods the girl, who merely looks back and shoots a glare at the girl. "Don't even give me that look. I've dealt with these things far longer than you have. If you are still in power, I merely ask that you listen to me."

"I am quite aware, Akyuu. If he was going to try anything, I would have already blasted him like the very first time I met him." She grins quite viciously as she speaks, although her mouth does twitch a bit as you glance at her. "You know that I prefer not to hold back with little bouts of indirect magic. Sparks applied directly to the forehead are much more efficient."

Akyuu snorts loudly at Marisa's words. "Careful, now. You're starting to talk like one of them, again. We might want to check and see if you're alright upstairs. I don't want to risk you breaking paradox on everything and putting the blame on us in the process."

"I'm not going to maraud, Akyuu." Marisa snorts derisively, even though her voice quavers a bit. "My will is strong enough. I've not lost sight on reality yet."

"And here you are accompanying a Changeling, of all things, as if it were a friend. You have me quite worried." Her voice is as low and quiet, and just as intense as it was when directed at you. "Do not make me root about and ensure that you are staying on the straight and narrow. If you become a threat…"

"I've heard it a million times from you. And when have you ever been right? I've never done anything that truly threatens to throw me into that realm."

The girl's voice falls to a whisper that you have to strain your ear holes to even hear. "They never do. Remember she who was at the fall of Babel, and look where she is at now."

She didn't fall until after the Consensus was changed, and you know it." Marisa grumbles and turns to the next door on the left and opens it up. "In we go, now. We need to be checked, it seems." Past the frame is a rather large room with plenty of familiar, if antiquated, white beds. "So, are you going to pull the princess out for this?"

"Later. Now, I wish to interrogate that Changeling, and see if we need to make any permanent decisions now. There'd be no point in hemming and hawing over his fate." She turns her head to you and stares you down for a few minutes. "…There is nothing truthful that could come out of your mouth, but I will try. What is it that you want, beast?"

You do not answer immediately, as you walk over to the beds and hope up on one. Even though it makes you just a small bit taller than before, you hope it makes you less threatening in return. After folding your wings tightly, you glance back. "Foremost and overall? I want to go back to Gensokyo so I can find the others that I left behind."

The girl taps her lips and stares back at you. "Really, now? There's not a sane Changeling I've met that wants to go back to that damnable place. Have a deal that you need to finish or some older Youkai's power to usurp?"

"Nothing like that. I escaped my old master with the help of two, and helped to liberate another from a second master. One died in the escape, but the other two managed to survive. However, I appeared out here and they remained behind."

Akyuu scoffs just a little bit. "So you say. What has he told you, Marisa? Much to that regard?"

"Pretty much, yeah. He wanted help, so I decided to help him, so long as he helped me." Marisa doesn't get to finish her explanation, though, as the door opens up and reveals yet another intruder on the scene.

You have to wonder if anyone here wears normal clothing as the next girl comes in wearing… well, you don't know. Granted, Rika and Harmon both worse something normal, but the witch costume was a bit much. And now this odd… thing that is being worn by the black-haired newcomer makes it hard to take her seriously. The hard expression on her face and the long wooden stick that she is brandishing does help belie that a bit. "Akyuu. Heard from down below that there'd been a newcomer. …Not exactly the best looking of ones, either…"

"Were you expecting one of the fairest, Reimu? This one is another simple beast. It's a wonder he has enough of a mind at all, considering how far his transformation is." Shrugging, the girl motions her forward. "We were just about to extract some sort of story from him. I'm curious to see what tales he'll weave to make us feel pity."

"Ah." The girl nods and steps forward, bypassing Akyuu. Anger wells on the smaller girls face at being cut off, but she calms herself as the taller girl speaks. "Well, let's try this the easy way, first." At that, she raises her stick up a bit, preparing to whack it on top of your head. "What is your name, Changeling who is more than that?"

[ ] Tell them. After all, you don't think you could be twice-bound.
[ ] Lie.
-[ ] Luke. It is what the whole mess with Rika's convoluted and embarrassing nickname was for.
-[ ] There are some who call me… Tim.
-[ ] Blau
-[ ] No, Geld!
-[ ] Claim to be Wriggle. Stealling her name would be rather appropriate, and amusing.
-[ ] Write-in and reason.
No. 173009
[X] Tell them. After all, you don't think you could be twice-bound.
Half a vote and half a question: [X] Could we ask that Akyuu leaves the room before we give Reimu our name? We trust Marisa, and Marisa trusts Reimu. She has also shown that she's willing to just talk. Akyuu, on the other hand has done nothing but assault us from the moment she saw us even though we've done everything we can to try and prove that we mean no harm. I also don't want her to hear our name because, even she can't actually bind us, there's no doubt that she'd probably be able to use it for SOMETHING.


I don't think Reimu is as trigger-happy as Akyuu and would try and instantly bind us during an interrogation, and I'm trusting Marisa to speak up for us if that is about to happen. I'm also assuming that Reimu would be able to confirm the truth of that.
What I do think though, is that Reimu will be able to tell if we're lying.
No. 173020
[x] Luke. It is what the whole mess with Rika's convoluted and embarrassing nickname was for.

It's a name, and not technically a lie, either. Luke is short for Lucas, after all! Besides that, Reimu didn't exactly capitalize 'N' in 'name.'

A little meta, maybe, but fae are involved and that means, sometimes, a little logical nonsuchery is okay.

Besides, Akyuu is listening, and we don't need her knowing our Name- and it's not like she'd just leave, even if ordered. If Reimu needs to know our real Name, then Akyuu needs to leave first.

(If Akyuu is willing to make herself very and assuredly scarce, with no means of listening in, then speaking the full name should be less reprehensible.)
No. 173025
>>173020
Yeah, that's what I was thinking of first as well, but even if technically true, it's still an evasive answer. And that won't exactly earn us any friend points with Reimu.
Besides, that exactly the kind of thing that would make Akyuu go "I told you so, he can't be trusted".
I guess he could be evasive and glance at her or in some other way hint that she's the reason for it.
When someone asks, he can explain that he's worried about what she'll do if she gets his Name. (Or even just says something she doesn't agree with. Throatslams, ho!)


Right now it would be nice to know about True Names (as a z question), if nobody has any objections to it. There's just so much about it that we could really use right now.
Like, for example, what if we only give her our first name? Does she need our full name to work magic or is that enough? What can be done with someone's name besides the overkill "you must obey my every command"? Can it be used for various forms of sympathetic magic? (Like the classic voodoo doll. You have something that is part of your target, and therefore you have a link to them to affect them with your magic.)

Because if they need a full name, then just "Lucas" is 100% true and we're still safe from Akyuu.
No. 173026
[X] Tell them.
-[X] But before that, state that Akyuu needs to leave first, or you'll resist to the best of your ability.

We can assume that Reimu is treating us just as she would any other Changeling or Youkai, and if Lucas appears to be a threat, she'll simply summarily execute him without question. However, she cannot be the undisputed leader if she acts unreasonably, so even in the unlikely scenario she beats us for not immediately answering her question, she won't do anything extreme... yet.

With the knowledge of our Name, Reimu will probably use it to prevent any possibility of Lucas harming the members of her organization, but this is all supposition in the end.

This might come back to severely hinder us later on in the story, but Reimu is clearly primed to beat us into telling her our Name, and deflecting the question to Marisa, who already knows our Name, is somewhat of a backstab considering that it was supposed to be just between Lucas and her.

>>173009
>One last thing I will say. Write-ins are welcome, and even encouraged. As are modifications. Although unless you have something particularly brilliant, I ask you to think through your choices. It would be dangerous for you to give me enough rope that I may hang you with it.

I agree with your reasoning, so I rephrased your write-in to make it more of a vote.
No. 173027
>>173026
Yeah, I was thinking of making my vote something along the lines of "[X]Swear to truthfully answer everything they want to know, as long as Akyuu promises to leave the room and leave you alone during the interrogation. If Reimu deems you to be a threat afterwards she'll be able to do whatever she wants to you, anyway."


Also, Reimu isn't the undisputed leader.
She's only the de facto leader, meaning that everyone acts as if she's the leader, but if it comes down to actually pulling ranks she'll have to back down. Which sucks, because Akyuu is the de jure leader.
No. 173031
[X] Tell them.
-[X] But before that, state that Akyuu needs to leave first, or you'll resist to the best of your ability.

Don't say anything until the mean changeling-hating lady leaves.
No. 173038
If we're going to tell them I say only give a first name. The whole bit about not being twice bond sounds like an assumption. Not sure if that will be enough or not. Unfortunately they've put us in a terrible position.
Lie and they think the worst.
Mislead and they think the worst.
Tell the truth and they don't believe us and think the worst.

I half-heartedly voted for the z question to be about true names, but now I think we need to know about this before we make a decision.
No. 173039
>>173031

She's not mean in the truest sense of the word; she's being pragmatic in that Lucas could be trying to infiltrate the organization, and that by not simply killing him outright, it leaves an incredibly risk to the base's personnel with minimal gain to her organization.

Lucas may have survived that nightmare in the burrow, but now he has to manage to deal with the well-substantiated prejudice against changelings. After all, he's extremely fortunate to still have his conscience after the hell he's been through, and since most changelings become psychopathic monsters, Lucas is an extreme exception to the archetype of the changeling that the organization deals with regularly.

Regardless of what Akyuu and Reimu intend to do to him, I feel it is pertinent for Lucas to make the others understand that it is because of his abduction and subsequent experience as a changeling that he now has a purpose in his formerly 'meaningless' life. Right now, Reimu, Akyuu, and all of the other organization members save Marisa see a monster just waiting to slaughter them all the moment they turn their backs, but we need to prove through our actions that all we want is to be reunited with our friends.
No. 173041
>>173039

Actually, if one reads this part, you'll know Akyuu doesn't have the ability to invoke Lucas' True Name.

>There's only a few of us that know how to invoke it, and I'm not one of them. Only Marisa, that one changeling I told you about, and the leader. …Well, I'm pretty sure that lunarian knows how to as well, but she's just odd.
No. 173042
>>173020 here.

>>173039 raises a good point. Could we get an answer to a True Name [z] question before we decide?

That said!

[z - Teach me, Professor Luminous!] What is the deal with the True Name thing? A general overview would be great: The mechanics on how one can bind another with a Name, who can do it, and what the effects are.
No. 173043
>>173000
Give her our first name only. Marisa bound us by the full thing, but I suspect that a bind established using only part of our name- if that's possible- will be easier to break out of, while not being untrue in any way.

Spending a z-question on learning exactly how true names work would be fine by me. To be honest, I felt sort of cheated when the z-question at >>167797 didn't cover any a myriad of things that definitely seem to be part of Lucas' supernatural powerset, like his weaknesses, the significance of true names, the rules on making bargains, etc. but I guess the answers are supposed to be very narrow so as to keep us from relying on OOC knowledge too much.

On a completely different topic, every word that comes out of Akyuu's mouth makes her seem like more of a bitch.
No. 173046
>>173039

You may be right, but I do think you're making a lot of assumptions.

We don't actually know if most changelings go mad and are dangerous, sure we've seen some that are, but we've also seen those that aren't. Are most changed by the situation, yes, but so are war veterans and people who are subjected to long term abuse, trauma changes people, sometimes you overcome and become stronger, sometimes you break, and sometimes it's somewhere in the middle.

We also don't really know a lot about this group, we're just assuming we do by our interactions with Marisa and Rika, who are in a way outsiders themselves. Rika because of her tanks and Marisa because of how she skirts the line of acceptable magic. Honestly, I'm starting to think the reason Marisa might trust us is because she identifies with us. While we skirt the edge of what's been done to us to survive and yet stay human, from what Akuya said Marisa may be doing the same with her use of magic.

You're also making judgements about other characters that we've just met. Maybe Akuya is really a good person, then again maybe she's not, there's been no actual proof that these are the good guys. Not saying they're bad, just practical. Practical doesn't always mean right. Shoot first and let God sort them out isn't always the best method. Also if she's lived as long as I think, ninth child indeed, that's a long time to be fighting and the quote, “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.' keeps popping in my head. Of course part of the problem could just be she's more temperamental while she's a child and could be more reasonable as an adult, because it seems like Reimu is the one being pragmatic.

I don't know if I'd push the "meaningless life",
but agree we need to do what we can through actions, and to a lesser extent words, since they'll be mistrusted, to show morals and human emotions. We need to show we can form friendships and care about people as people, something the youkai don't seem capable of. We really do just want to rescue and help our friends despite what Akuyu says Tokiko, Amsterdam, and Maggie matter to us as people, not things. She clearly has her set views, but we are not a mere beast and we do not think like one. If we are given the chance to talk we can challenge her narrow minded view, and while we need to be careful, I think altering her perception of us is the first step towards allowing her to view us as a person. At least we may be able to convince the others, especially Reimu, whose judgment she trusts.
Of course, I may totally be over thinking this, but...
No. 173047
>>173046

Sorry if this ended up being a wall of text. Just started putting thoughts to text and this ended up coming out.
No. 173056
File 137644904056.jpg - (807.37KB , 1200x1364 , what might have been.jpg ) [iqdb]
173056
[ze] Alright, let's start this. And not delete half the post this time. For the names, I'll start with invoking, as that is what is most pertinent right now. The current rules that I am following are as follows: One, you must use what one considers their whole and true name, whatever it may be. This includes middle names and suffixes, or a nickname if that is what is considered as the true name. If, for some reason, a person decides over the course of their life that a nickname takes precedence over all or part of their real name, then that counts as part of their true name. Secondly, one of the parties involved must be of the youkai (fae). No matter what, one human could not enslave another under these particular rules. Thirdly, the invoking must be done using an arcane spell that is alien to humans, and was originally created by a Youkai. ...Mind you, I hadn't originally intended this, but I wished it to be something more involved than simply knowing a name and having power over one. The one casting the spell must have sufficient knowledge to successfully bond one completely.

In Lucas's case, though, everything that happened with
I AM I changed things on the identity front, as he is no longer human. His very nature is a lot more fluid, as can be seen with Margaret. Once you took the first step to being more than a monstrous bird with wings and becoming fully Youkai, he became less restricted. He is what he defines himself as, and he currently is Lucas Adler. That is the name that can be used against him.

As for who is capable, it is only those who are the strongest of Youkai. That book that Tokiko had you read did not have the spell, but another in there did, as Yuuka was capable of invoking (which is how she ensured the loyalty of Elly) And Wriggle's name was in the burrow, you just didn't find it. If I recall my notes from then correctly, it was the last option when you were searching that one room that you found Hatate in for the first time, just outside Wriggle's bedroom. It would have been possible to turn the tables on Wriglo that way.

However, it is safe to assume that all who know how to do it must have contact with a Youkai that is of the top tier, or received it from one who once was. Although, most Youkai and Changelings would guard such secrets with their lives, for fear of it being turned against them.

The bond is self explanatory, and is near universal. You cannot disobey an order, but you can find a way around it. And any orders must be explicitly given. However, they must be followed. Even so, one could get around an order to fly into the sun by noting that they did not specify when. If one must stop existing, every point in time can be said to be difference, so you stopped existing just then and exist in a different state now, etc. Even so, there is a compulsion to follow through with the orders, which are more easily circumvented when one is not as stressed and when you keep your emotions detached.

Contracts can be made just as you might imagine by swearing on your name (or on anything, for that matter) Again, though, be wary of giving too much away, as those making the contracts can be detrimental, based on how they are worded. And they are only valid if the one promising thinks they are valid. One swore on a whim might not even be considered true, so the Youkai wouldn't have to follow it.

...I think that covers most everything. If not, go ahead and bring it up. No promises I'll answer more, though, as I do not wish to give away too much information, as it will influence your decisions, no matter what.


...Well, I'll neglect to put a Mystia up this time, and ease your hearts. Have a Wriggle instead, just because.
No. 173059
[x] Name compromise- "My name is Lucas"
[x] Address Reimu, be forthcoming about your story and answer her questions honestly. If Akuyu asks questions answer but speak to Reimu as you do. I don't support just giving out our full name though.
Don't want to just ignore Akuyu, but speaking to Reimu shows our anger without being rude.


>>173056

Lots of good information. Confirms what I suspected about true names and brings up new questions, though I understand if you don't answer. Also confirms what I thought about contracts based on previous conversations, as well as hints with our deal with Tokiko. Glad we worded it so well.

First you bring up how our identity is flexible, is this the same for all fae, or is Lucas different because of I am I. If so what are you willing to say about the differences.
It also sheds more light on Lucas's nature. From the QA part of No such Thing as Fairy Tales I knew that this might be the case, clearly he's not an ordinary youkai, though I don't expect you to go into anymore details cause it might give too much away. If you want to feel free. I presume we kept our morals and mentally we seem to still be human because we embraced all aspects of ourselves, including our human part.
I'm curious what would happen if we tried to break a contract like the one with Tokiko. I know it would be bad, and I have no intention of doing so. If I was going to I'd try to wiggle around the wording. I wouldn't because she deserves better then that, as a friend, if for no other reason. I'd just like to know, more if it comes to play if we are forced to make other deals. I also want to know if we can fully bring Maggie back.


I wonder where she is now...
No. 173062
[x] Name compromise- "My name is Lucas"
[x] Address Reimu, be forthcoming about your story and answer her questions honestly. If Akuyu asks questions answer but speak to Reimu as you do. I don't support just giving out our full name though.


I like the wording more in this one. It makes us both go without saying our whole name, and without giving Akyuu ammo.
No. 173063
>>173020 here. Changing my vote to this, because I like how it's worded.

[x] Name compromise- "My name is Lucas"
[x] Address Reimu, be forthcoming about your story and answer her questions honestly. If Akuyu asks questions answer but speak to Reimu as you do. I don't support just giving out our full name though.
No. 173070
>>173009 Here.
I'm okay with just being passive-aggressive like >>173062 suggests. It clearly shows that we know that Akyuu doesn't like us, and we don't like her. Reimu on the other hand seems okay so far.
So you can count my vote as:
[x] Name compromise- "My name is Lucas"
[x] Address Reimu, be forthcoming about your story and answer her questions honestly. If Akuyu asks questions answer but speak to Reimu as you do. I don't support just giving out our full name though.
(Instead of [X] Tell them. After all, you don't think you could be twice-bound.
[X] Could we ask that Akyuu leaves the room blah blah blah...)


And, something I just fridge-logic'd:
Akyuu isn't actually the bitch she appears to be, she's just a bit of a spoiled brat at the moment.
She is acting rash and impulsive and not listening to reason, even though she's supposed to be the leader of an entire organization. Clearly she should have more self-control than that, otherwise this organization would never have even gotten off the ground.

Could it be because even if she has all the knowledge and skills of her previous life, she is, at the same time, just a child?
It's kinda hard to explain it, but...
Basically, she has the mind of an adult, but her "heart" is still a child. If that makes sense? No wait, it doesn't.. Hmm..
Essentially what I'm thinking is that even if she has knowledge, she is still lacking in maturity.
"Even if her soul is old her body is a child, therefore she acts like a child." Or something...
Like "your outside affects your inside, as much as your inside affects your outside".
Umm... Oh yeah! I guess you could call it a reverse of the theme of The Beaty and the Beast:
The Beast was cursed with an appearance matching his "ugly heart" and only when his heart cleaned up could his appearance do the same. But in this case, Akyuu has to let her body grow up before her mind can return to acting like an adult.
Does that make sense?

I know I should probably try to explain it in a less confusing way, but I'm not entirely sure how to explain it to myself either.


But tl;dr Reimu is the de facto leader, not just so people will take them seriously but because Akyuu doesn't just look like a child, she is a child.
No. 173078
Hrm, well, I was thinking about calling it, but I'll wait a few hours. I'm going to try to write tonight, as I'm going to be really busy the next few days.

Currently, the vote stands at 5 for the compromise, and 2 for telling them straight out. However, there's a total of 3 votes for asking Akyuu to leave. The initial vote seems decided, so I am just going to wait and see whether we should ask her to leave or not, as I'm currently leaning against including it right now.

>>173059
Every one can. However, the more youkai (fae; that never sounds right when I use the other term, does it?) you are, the easier it is for you. Sakuya would be far more able to do it than, say, Rumia. Also, I would point out that Lucas isn't exactly one of a kind. He's the same as Margatroid, in a sense. And that's all I will say.

Oh, and it might be more pertinent to ask where she is not. She could be right behind you, as far as you know.
No. 173081
>>173078

Don't know if you've started writing, but as the person who came up with the compromise people are using, I was implying we shouldn't ask her to leave when I put the whole part about answering her questions to Reimu. If it wasn't clear that's my fault, and not sure if others meant that as well. Don't want to rock the boat too much in this situation.

Also as a follow up question if youkai can change their true name, can they do so if they've already been name bonded by someone else. If so it seems like a cheap out for the more powerful fae. Also didn't mean to imply we were one of a kind per ssay, I would think most youkai who were once human could develop in the same way, but that it didn't seem common, at least from those we've seen so far.
Though all of this does raise questions about Amsterdam/Dolly.
No. 173089
File 137654642052.jpg - (384.57KB , 1024x768 , what exactly is she staring and how can she tell.jpg ) [iqdb]
173089
[-e-] Name compromise - "My name is Lucas"
[-e-] Address Reimu, be forthcoming about your story and answer her questions honestly. If Akyuu asks question answer but speak to Reimu as you do.

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

"Lucas." Staring back at Reimu, you meet her straight in the eye. "That is my name, which you are so determined to receive."

The girl with brown hair arcs an eyebrow at the ease at which you answer her. "That easy, then? Almost too easy, I imagine…" Still, she doesn't seem quite as hostile as Akyuu, and merely seems curious at the reason you replied that quickly. "I wonder what is it that you have to gain, or if that is merely one of many names that you can use."

"Well, I've only used the one name, even if Rika seems determined to make me start using that silly nickname she cooked up." Shrugging, you lean back on the bed you've appropriated as a seat, making sure to keep yourself as small as possible so as to not alarm them again. "Were you trying to get my entire name?"

"…Not anymore." The girl smiles a bit as she tilts her head. "Your magic is off. You've already been bound once, Changeling." Immediately she faces Marisa with that same small look. "I suppose you did decide to put Kourin's lecture to work. Why did you not tell Akyuu what had happened?"

"Well, for one, she wouldn't have listened." Marisa snorts as she looks at the little girl. "I've never seen her so furious before, and that is saying something after Shanghai. There wasn't any point in reasoning with her then."

Akyuu snorts out loud and looks up at the others. "Whether or not that may be the case, you brought a dangerous savage in here, Marisa! Who knows what this creature can do? Besides, you both can tell he's not merely a Changeling. He's already accepted his position. He's one of them."

Marisa just shrugs at her accusation, seemingly much relieved to have Reimu there between her and Akyuu. "Well, that hardly matters as he has done nothing tricky the entire time. Unless he is a schemer greater than most we've met, he has managed to be completely honest with us. …And besides, it's not like he asked for those shackles that we put on him."

"Those are just insurance. And you know what can happen even then. That one still managed to escape after asking for them."

"And I sparked him a moment later, and he died. Not that big of a deal." Marisa rolls her eyes at Akyuu as the two begin to debate even more. "I know how to handle them when they're a danger. But what you haven't figured out yet that he is not going to be one."

Reimu ignores the two and focuses back on you. "Well, you've gotten Marisa to trust you. That buys you at least a few more minutes so I can figure out whether you've tricked her or not." Firmly, with that mouth set into that same smile, Reimu asks another question. "Tell me what it is that you want, exactly. I need to know your motivation if I am to make sense of you."

That, fortunately, is a question you can answer easily. "All I want to do right now is get back into Gensokyo so that I can find my friends. The ones who were left behind when I crossed over."

"And who are these others that you are looking for?" Akyuu decides to interrogate you instead of Marisa and steps forward, obviously trying to get in front of Reimu in the process. "Other Changelings? Or more Youkai that you plan to lead back out? If you can cross over the one way, I imagine you are certainly capable of going back on your own."

You immediately shake your head and look back at the older girl. "I have no idea. I was taken into Gensokyo by a fetch of myself. And I returned to this world when I was sound asleep. I've no idea how I transitioned from the one to the other."

Without pause, you keep speaking to Reimu. "It doesn't matter in the end. I can't get back, which is why I need your help." Sighing, you look down a bit, wondering where to begin. "There were two survivors that could be called sane…" Tokiko's face flashes in your mind, and you can't help but quirk a lip. "Well, kinda. They certainly weren't trying to kill me, nor were they obsessed with their respective masters like the others."

Reimu nods idly, her eyes not deviating from you one bit. "Indeed. Describe them. Why do you want to save them so much?"

"…Because they deserve to get out as much as I. Tokiko has been stuck there for I do not know how long." You shrug once more, as the whole events before are so real, yet so surreal that you can't easily describe them. "She had regressed to staying in her animal form most of the time. Although, she lost quite a lot when she was turned. She was once some sort of scientist, and the ability to read was taken from her. I'm not sure whether she locked herself in that cage of books, or if the depository was the only place she could go that was not her cell of a room."

You notice that Marisa winces at your explanation, and she shakes her head. "Just like little science…"

"Maybe. But Rikako is no longer exactly one that any of us could communicate with." Akyuu shoots Marisa yet another look. "If you would have let me put her down so that she no longer has to suffer from that curse, everything would be much simpler. Instead, we have to worry about her breaking out and trying to hurt herself, or one of us."

"And what? Rikako is one of us! And you know what that would do to Rika if she found out that we went and killed her sister as a mercy? She could still be saved…"

Akyuu shakes her head derisively at Marisa's words. "Truly? There is no way we could purge that which is youkai from her. She's dead sooner or later. We're merely delaying until that little seed in her takes over and starts to grow, overwhelming what's left of her human mind with that of the beast."

You pale a bit at her words, and the same part of you that keeps demanding its share of your soul. Could you yourself be one day overwhelmed? As you stare into space, you barely hear Reimu's sharp words bringing you back into focus. "…the other?" You sap your head back to her and she sighs, realizing that you hadn't heard. "Listen, Changeling. What of the other? You spoke of two."

"…I did." For lack of a better way to start speaking, you try to raise your hand. However, wood meets iron and you feel the burning even through the otherwise dull wrist. "…Dammit…" Grumbling, you jerk your head down, referring to it nonverbally. "You've noticed this other arm I've got on me. There was another Youkai that lived nearby, a little girl to whom everything was a doll. Her strongest underling gave this to me, among other things."

However, now is hardly the time to get into Margatroid, as that subject is much too complicated, especially when you still have your own life on the line. "Anyways. I'll skip the story and just say there was one who worked for that one underling. A doll that may have belonged to her when said underling was still a human. She did her best to help us, especially as she could sing to me and tell us when one Youkai was going to assault the other. …That, and all the other dolls had their will broken too much to try and help." Not that you know that it's true, but you can't dwell on the others. If they were lucky, they could have escaped when you did, not that it helps your conscious.

"Sing to you? What was this doll doing?" Reimu leans back a bit and crosses her arms as the others listen to your story. "That sounds quite farfetched, as most that have suffered a fate like that cannot speak at all, much less sing."

"…It's different." For a moment you think of tapping your throat, but the shackles stop you once more. "That's not the only thing that happened. I had my vocal cords removed, and a music box placed inside."

"So that's what I hit when I punched you in the throat." Frowning a bit thoughtfully, Akyuu looks down, the aggression from earlier seemingly having faded away. "I was curious as to whether you had swallowed something heavy and metallic having thought it was food."

While you have the urge to remind her that you are not a goat, you instead forces back on Reimu, who is already asking her own. "So, why was that put in? It sounds like a rather odd thing to do, unless there was some ulterior motive."

"Considering it was one of the things I used to help kill her with, I doubt it had a motive. From what I know, it was merely an off-the-cuff decision made by a power-mad little girl of a Youkai." A whisper crosses your mind, and your hairs stand up at a familiar, horrible presence. You jerk yourself upward and immediately look around. However, no matter what you see, she is not there

"Lucas!" Your head snaps back around, and you see Marisa. "Focus. What is it that you see?" The three of them are staring you, with no small amount of derision on Akyuu's face, as if she is thinking about going about you once more.

You slowly shake your head as you get everything under control. "It's nothing… Just a ghost of a memory that struck me." Something that you'll have to be careful about later… You hope that it's just your fear getting to you, and not something worse. "…But anyways, that's how I got this thing in my throat. With it, I could talk to Amsterdam… And I could hurt them."

Akyuu smiles widely and coldly. "I had thought so. All it would take is one little screech and you'd be attacking us…" She drops one foot back, as if preparing herself to launch forward and attack you. "Don't get any ideas, or I might have to take care of you."

"Well, that depends, Akyuu." Reimu turns and shoots her a look before glancing back to stare you down once again. "What is it that your voice does, Changeling. I need to know."

"…I'm not too sure, to be honest." Frowning a bit, you think back to the memories of your voice distorting, with gears clicking and whirring as your voice turns otherly. "Every time I've used it, it has hurt a Youkai or a Changeling. …Although, if I screech loud enough, it would harm anyone. Even so, it's a music box that is producing the sound…"

Reimu snorts all of a sudden. "…The Prismrivers would love you, if that turns out to be true. Although, if it is true that it harms others of your kind…" She pauses as she hums, thinking over possibilities. "So, this underling did all of this to you, then? Why did she do it? Was she just following orders?"

"She made a deal: put the box in my throat in exchange for a changeling that belonged to my old master." Shivering once more, you look back at her square in the eye. "My hand was her own idea, as I made a mistake in how I spoke. It was an object lesson that could never be matched."

"Interesting. So, tell me, how did you not succumb to the urges? With two different types of being making up you, I'm surprised you didn't tear yourself apart."

Well, there is only one person who could make you understand and accept. "Margatroid did it. The one who did all this to me. She went in my head and fixed me. I tried to do too much… I nearly broke myself completely, but she put my mind back together. …But she left a large piece of herself before she withdrew."

"What." Akyuu's eyes widen dramatically, and even Reimu seems a bit alarmed at your admission. "You've got another Changeling in your head influencing you now? Is it telling you how to deal with us? Or is it merely lying in wait, lurking so that it may overtake your body for its own?"

"Nothing like that!" You hate to raise your voice, and you immediately regret it as Reimu raises the stick. "Nothing like that… Just listen. She left memories of when she was human herself. Her whole life is trapped in my head, up until the day she was taken herself. Nothing from afterwards. Nothing at all."

"That's not good enough!" Akyuu crosses her arms and stares up at Reimu. "I don't care what Marisa thinks; I am not going to risk some Changeling with another's memories in his head walking around in our home! There's a thread even when locked up that he could cause trouble."

To your great relief, Marisa finally steps in to put her own two cents up for grabs. "Listen here. I've met those memories. They are manifesting themselves as Margaret. I met the girl last night in the middle of the streets, and she had no clue what was going on. It looked as if she was a human tossed out of time for the enjoyment of a Youkai. Trust me, she needs help."

"Marisa…" Sighing, Reimu stares down at you, contemplating what to say. "Curious. But Akyuu is right here. I would need to see these memories myself or talk to this girl. You might seem trustworthy, but it's no longer you I must judge." She turns to Marisa and waits a few seconds as she ponders. "…You say you met her. How does she appear?"

Grimacing, Marisa glances at you, worried as to whether or not she should say. After a few seconds, though, she finally sighs and relents. "…She appeared first in the dead of night, and I helped her until morning light and she went to sleep. When I came back the moment she vanished, he had essentially taken her place. When one sleeps, the other one seems to wake up."

"Well, that makes this simple." With one step, Reimu is standing next to the bedside you are sitting on. You barely have time to react as her hand lifts up and starts to come down upon your head. Your vision blurs and brown shifts to green as one chitinous limb hits you on the side of your head. She is much stronger than you remember, and you find yourself thrown onto the floor as your vision fades to black.

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

"What the hell, Reimu?" Marisa nearly pulls out her hakkero as Lucas is thrown to the floor, completely knocked out. "Why'd you hit him like that? He hadn't taken a single hostile step yet!"

"Because I need to talk to that other one in his head." Reimu shrugs and lowers her arm, looking curiously at her gohei. "This was merely the fastest way to achieve that."

Grumbling quite loudly, Marisa clenches her fist even as she lowers it from her pocket. "It still doesn't make it right, you know."

"I know that, Marisa. But we have to know." She sighs as Lucas's form begins to blur. "Well, it looks like something is happening, at least. We'll see soon enough." The three watch as his form slowly dwindles down, and it soon becomes apparent that he is shrinking too much to be becoming someone else.

Seconds later, a small bird is left on the floor, wings splayed against the floor just as he had landed. The iron shackles rested far from his still form, as they were too large to even be used as a collar should one of them get that in their mind. "…Well, looks like you succeeded marvelously, Reimu. I remember Margaret having such beautiful plumage."

"Just shut up, Marisa." Rolling her eyes, she smacks the gohei against her hand, testing it. "…His head was harder than I had expected. Gonna have to go fix a new one. Either way, we'll have to wait until he wakes up next to speak to him or Margaret."

Akyuu crosses her arms as she watches the bird's form. "As it is obvious that we won't follow the prudent route, I am going to see if any of our cells or cages are sufficient enough to hold such a small animal. It'd be too easy for him to slip through the bars otherwise, even if they were iron." At that, she heads on out, still muttering under her breath even as she leaves.

"…I wonder if she expected me to be able to hear that." Frowning at the softly spoken insults, Marisa just shakes her head. "Well, we can't just lock him up. We made a deal…"

"What deal is this, Marisa?" Reimu snaps her head around immediately, her face immediately becoming blank. "Speak, now. I'm not in the mood for hearing you getting yourself in a bind."

Marisa sighs voluminously as she heads over to Lucas's prone form. "Just a promise. I'd help him get back to Gensokyo if he helped me get Margaret out."

"Is that even wise? You can't be sure who that girl is."

"It may not be. However, even in the worst-case scenario, it would weaken the two of them. And if they both turned out to be a threat…" Sighing, she kneels down and squats over his body. "Although I promise you he isn't. He's not like the others."

Reimu's own shoulders slump as a frown crosses the blank look she had maintained the entire time. "I believe you. However, we're dealing with more than one person here. So I have to speak to the other."

Nodding idly as she gathers up the bird, Marisa tucks his wings back against his body before standing up and placing it on one of the beds. "Kinda wish that more of them were like this, you know? People we could help instead of pure monsters that we kill…"

"Don't. If there were more, we would start hesitating when we are out in the line of duty. And you know that one moment of hesitation can spell defeat."

"I know, Reimu." Marisa rolls her eyes as she looks at Lucas's body. Her eyes trail down the one wooden wing, which seems to have been carved expertly out of a single block. However, now there is a burnt section near the end, and Marisa idly rubs her wrists. "Great. Just great. So, what now?"

"Now? First, you sit down and I examine you. And then Reimu chews you out later for misallocation of resources." Both of them turn their heads to look at the newcomer. A tall woman with long black hair and even longer robes smiles back softly, even as she pats the bed. "Firstly, sit, Marisa, so I can take a better look at you.

[ ] "Kaguya? Back already, eh? Moon holding itself together, then?"
[ ] "Oh, you're back. Did you decide to come back after making a new request to some fool?"
[ ] "…Look at the Changeling first. He is probably worse off than me.

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

I did decide to progress through the letters on purpose, so that was no mistake.
No. 173102
[X] "…Look at the Changeling first. He is probably worse off than me."

So Reimu just cracked his skull hard enough for him to go into regeneration mode?
Ouch.
Well, hopefully Lucas'll get some regular sleep after recovering from the head injury, and Margaret can be absolutely flabbergasted again.
No. 173122
[X] "…Look at the Changeling first. He is probably worse off than me.

The other 'choices' seem to be merely intended to poke fun at Kaguya, and when we consider that Marisa said that the lunarian is 'odd', we might as well choose the most beneficial choice for Lucas rather than banter with her without knowing what we're getting into.
No. 173123
They are actual choices. They boil down to "put a smile on and act as normal", "be bitchy as Marisa is in a bad mood", or "redirect her attention to Lucas". I just phrased it as an actual response than putting them as the rather bland choices above.
No. 173126
[X] "…Look at the Changeling first. He is probably worse off than me.
No. 173129
>>173123 Hmm. It's kinda nice having dialogue as choices. But, seeing as we don't know anything about Kaguya, there's no specific reason to pick one of the first two. Trying to avoid suspicion doesn't seem like it'll work with how cautious Reimu is. Might as well say what you want.
[X] "…Look at the Changeling first. He is probably worse off than me."
No. 173130
>>173129
Point taken. Just thought I'd try it out, as Marisa does know her, and wouldn't act otherwise. Just thought I'd experiment a little bit with the dialogue tree and see how it'd work.
No. 173360
File 137731382094.jpg - (108.63KB , 600x675 , she did pick up a little while hanging around doc.jpg ) [iqdb]
173360
[-f-] "…Look at the Changeling first. He is probably worse off than me."

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

Thoughts of chewing out Kaguya for the actions of everyone else quickly flee Marisa's mind as she merely shakes her head. "That can wait. Take a closer look at that Changeling first. He's probably far worse off than I am."

The moment she mentions it, the placid girl pauses for a moment as her eyes lose focus. "One of them in here? Curious. You brought it in then? Otherwise you wouldn't have cared." She smiles a bit as she looks about for Lucas, her eyes eventually finding and focusing upon his feathered form. "Interesting. Would be a relieving change from rabbits. Been around so many of them that I believe that we would grow allergic to them."

"I didn't think you'd actually be around them. You're not exactly one that I'd see on in a battle, you know."

"Perhaps. But there is a certain art to it. And in a life as long as ours, one does learn all manners of arts." She smiles thinly as she walks about to the bird and begins looking over him. "Of course, you are correct. Toyohime and Yorihime are more suited than even I to the fighting. Although, I did have to mellow them a bit after they tried to make a fuss over being raised by the humans."

Marisa just snorts and watches her examine Lucas as she herself jumps onto a nearby table. Kicking idly at the air, she replies to the lunarian. "Yeah, yeah, I know. Still, that doesn't explain what you've been doing up there. I thought you were going back to see the old doctor?"

"I was." She smiles once more as her hands trace over every single shaft of every single feather. "Curious indeed… It has been quite a while since I've seen an avian." Kaguya chuckles a bit as Marisa clears her throat. "But we did have to go onto the killing fields to recover any that managed to survive. And interrogation is always rather messy; you get fur in places you would have never imagined."

The same smile stays on her face the whole time she speaks, which might have unnerved Marisa. "Never change. So, has there been any change up to?"

"That I might want to know as well." Reimu finally speaks up, having been standing there with her foot tapping the entire time. "We've not been able to do much on the ground against them. Are you still adamant about us not going up there?"

"Quite. Or rather, others are particularly against any more involvement from the humans. We have enough fronts in our battle without a potential fifth one. Although, they do appreciate the few cells you have raided down in Australia. The infection in that great land was rather horrid in the amount it festered. We are all glad it was excised."

Marisa just snickers a bit. "Although, aren't you supposed to use something sharp? That gohei of hers is hardly what you would call bladed…"

"Quiet you." Without any hesitation, she thumps Marisa on the head with said stick. "So, I take it we will not be receiving anymore help with our local problems?"

Kaguya merely shrugs as picks up the bird, looking at it with that same faraway look. "None more than I; however, that should be enough. Or do you need me to stuff jewels in bamboo to help pay for it as well?"

Snorting, Reimu shakes her head. "There's no bamboo underground, so I'm afraid we'll have to decline that." Sighing, she turns around and heads toward the door. "I'm going to head out for now. Make sure that the witch here is alright in the head." After a moment, the former shrine maiden's lips quirk. "Well, as right as it ever is."

"I shall try." The lunarian's own smile widens a little. "Although, that request might be impossible for me to perform. I will valiantly attempt to perform it, though."

"You two really are a hoot, aren't you?" Rolling her eyes, Marisa pulls her hat down over her eyes, glancing away as she does. "Just get out of her, will ya? I'm already tired of the smell. You probably forgot your deodorant again, I bet."

"That really was bad, Marisa. You’re slacking." Reimu continues to smile at the witch. Her eyes harden and take on a steely gaze as the humor fades from them, and them alone. "However, we will be speaking later. Do count on it."

Even the hat pulled over the brim of her eyes does not halt the severity of the look, and Marisa winces. "Right… right. Will get chewed out later. See you, then." Reimu takes a few more moments to glare at her before turning on her heel and heading out the door. "Great. This has been a superb day."

"It has, hasn't it?" Finishing her examination of his wooden, Kaguya sets Lucas back down on the bed. "This one will be fine, though. A few major wounds, and a bit of malnutrition. It's curious that there is no glamour up, even in sleep. Perhaps he neglected to learn it."

Marisa shrugs at that. "No idea. Whatever it was, he didn't exactly have the best of treatment on the other side. He probably hasn't really tried to figure out what he can do. I did chase him down real quickly after he got out, so unless he was doing something before I caught up."

"Perhaps. Maybe you should ask him, since you hold the bond over him." Marisa winces again, although Kaguya simply continues to speak despite that. "It is easy to tell when you know how to see. Although, it is curious to see you as the one making a new pet, instead of Reimu."

"He's not a pet, alright!" Marisa snaps her head up at Kaguya and takes her hat off, tossing it to the side in one jerky throw. "He's my prisoner. That's all. I just had to use something better than the shackles. Besides, there's a piece in him that I need to extract. Another person." She crosses her arms and points her nose in the air while looking away. "And I can hardly do that while he is dead, alright?"

Kaguya shrugs at that and turns away. "Perhaps. Perhaps. The doctor has attempted to take a few of them for herself, but none of them were sane enough to have any use." After a moment's pause to let it sink in to Marisa, she continues. "But truly, it is not uncommon for those that change to hear voices. The madness from inside is all consuming. Are you certain he is not merely projects his disease upon you instead?"

The witch merely bites her lip and glances to the side. "…No. But then again, are we ever sure of anything? Unless we go ahead and kill them without question. Then it's easy to tell."

"Isn't it?" Shaking her head a bit, sending the long dangling tresses of hair on her head dancing from side to side, Kaguya responds. "Practical. Too much unease will lead to a group like yours to fracturing, should you allow too much of it to form."

"If it isn't already…" Grumbling, Marisa looks back down. "Listen, right now, I know what I saw. And if I am right, he will be better off alive. And if I am being delusional…"

"Hrm." Without another word on the matter, Kaguya detaches from the bird and heads over to Marisa. "On that note, I believe you need to be checked out." Folding her hands primly, she stares Marisa in the eye before starting another query. "So, as to your mental health, let me begin with the first few questions. Have you experienced any pain in your head recently?"

"A headache." Marisa shrugs nonchalantly. "Not that it's uncommon around here."

"Any other pain, then? Pounding in the back of your head, any noticeable swelling, odd growths, tiny fairies dancing around inside, and so on?"

Marisa shakes her head. "None of the above, Kaguya."

She nods and blinks for the first time in a while. "Any of the classic symptoms of Babel Syndrome? Derangement, feelings of impotence, desires to conquer or destroy the world and remake it in your own image?"

Snorting just slightly, Marisa shakes her head. "Not really. Although, if we're trying to drive back them, I suppose you could say a little…"

"I'll put that down as a maybe." Smiling a bit, Kaguya tilts her head to the side. "Any desire to harm others or feelings of being spurned?"

"No, not particularly."

"Have you made an arch nemesis recently? Have you recently developed a hero complex, or the opposite thereof? If so, how strong is said complex, on a scale of phi to pi?"

Waving her hand in a circle, Marisa tries to hurry up the lunation. "Really, does that matter at all? I'm not going mad with lust for power or all that…"

"Do you still thumb your nose at Casualty?" At the witch's reluctant nod, Kaguya smirks just a little. "Then yes, it is relevant. I'd rather not have you tear apart reality as we know it for some misplaced whim. After all, you might accidentally create another moon." Sighing, she begins to list questions once again. "Have you recently had any hallucinatory events, auditory or visual?"

Pausing, Marisa taps her lips. "Hrm… No, I haven't. I don't use those types of mushrooms, you know."

"Do you?" Kaguya still smiles as she stares down Marisa, not blinking at all. "Of any hallucinogenic episodes you may have experienced, did you have one you could interact with?" At the roll of Marisa's eyes, she continues. "Did you notice any local change of reality that could not be explained without using magic as part of the explanation?"

Idly, Marisa continues to nod as she tunes out the lunation. It's the same set of questions she's gone over a hundred times. It isn't as if another recitation will help. For now, you have to figure out what you're going to do with that Changeling once you get out of here.

It's not like they can actually keep you in here if she mandates bed rest.

[ ] Take him down to the cell. Prisoner and all.
[ ] Put him in your room. Your prisoner, and you don't want the others trying anything before they wake up.
[ ] Rika might like a little company down there, and he hasn't hurt her yet.
[ ] Take him to someone/someplace else? [Write-in]
No. 173361
[X] Put him in your room. Your prisoner, and you don't want the others trying anything before they wake up.
No. 173362
[X] Put him in your room. Your prisoner, and you don't want the others trying anything before they wake up.
No. 173364
[x] Your room.

Posting from a phone so I can't copy properly.
No. 173366
[X] Put him in your room. Your prisoner, and you don't want the others trying anything before he wakes up.

>before they wake up

The last time I checked, the only prisoner Marisa has is Lucas...

Unless she's becoming delusional.
No. 173369
[X] Put him in your room. Your prisoner, and you don't want the others trying anything before they wake up.

Considering the stellar indroductions Lucas has had so far, it'll be best if we put him there for his own safety.
No. 173373
[x] Put him in your room. Your prisoner, and you don't want the others trying anything before they wake up.

We've already done Lucas enough harm without putting him in a position to be left to the others' not-so-tender mercies. Besides, we want to keep him under observation in case his other half pops up.
No. 173402
>>173366
Well, it might refer to Lucas and Margaret.

Also, Margaret appearing now would be interesting to say the least. For both sides.
Margaret is obviously not aware of what happens while Lucas is active, so she'll once again wake up in an unfamiliar place. Cue Evangelion: "This ceiling is unfamiliar."
Even if she is human Akyu is likely to resent her due to her connection to Lucas. Reimu will probably be more accepting, and Marisa is already her ally.
It would also confirm Marisa's story concerning why she's made a deal with Lucas.


But most of all, I just want to see what happens when the time-skipped Margaret meets Rika and sees all her stuff.
No. 173421
[X] Put him in your room and all that.
No. 173549
File 137809233639.jpg - (266.15KB , 1067x800 , of course she wouldnt take her medicine.jpg ) [iqdb]
173549
[-g-] Put him in your room. Your prisoner, and you don't want the others trying anything before they wake up.

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

Well, there's really no question to it once Marisa gives it some thought. No matter what the others think, she trusts the Changeling enough to know that he wouldn't do anything. So, instead, she closes her eyes and waits for Kaguya to finish her work.

About thirty minutes later, and after refusing offers of treatment for any injuries, Marisa hops off the table and slams her hat back on her head. "Thanks, but no thanks. You know I'll be fine. I'll just have to whip up a potion and I'll be perfectly fine in an hour or so."

"You would say that, wouldn't you?" Sighing, the lunarian shakes her head. "You just endanger yourself even more by doing that. You are an amateur at best." Holding up a hand, she stalls any argument. "At least from my perspective. You have not the years nor the training to create medicine that would pass inspection."

The witch merely sends a grin her way. "Good thing that I'm not making it for you, then. I'll be perfectly fine with it, as I'm certainly the best at what relates to me." Chuckling, she grabs her bag and slings it over a shoulder. "And even if I stopped believing it would work, it only needs to get out of my system before it could conceivably cause any harm. So you're making a lot of ado about nothing."

Smiling a bit, she shakes her head. "It isn't nothing. But you all are quite an interesting study in contradictions. If things were more interesting, we might have to study you."

"…You know, I like you a lot more when you're not in medic mode, Kaguya." Marisa strains and puts one more smile on her face and looking toward where Lucas is lying down, still unconscious. "And besides, I honestly don't care about doing things a certain way. The only way that really counts is my way." Pausing, she shrugs her shoulders just a bit. "Well, that, or anything that I appropriate for my way."

"Indeed." Folding her hands together, the woman boys her head just a little towards Marisa. "You might as well leave before I make you uncomfortable again. The last time I lectured you, you suddenly had an urgent thing to do."

"Yeah, that thing. Well, I have to do it again, so I can't say. So gracious of you to remind me." Taking the opportunity, Marisa doesn't wait before gathering the bird in her arms. "Well, I suppose I'll see you enough."

She nods once again and spins around on her feet. "That you will. I will not be departing for a few days yet, and I do need to share with your allies the exact circumstances surrounding us."

"Yeah… Good. Seeya then." Walking out the door, Marisa makes sure to cradle Lucas safely in her arms. Once outside, she begins to head down the halls, heading opposite of the stairs.

As she walks down the deserted corridor, she takes her first good look at the bird. "Heh. Curious. A bird of prey, that much. Why would a Youkai want a hunter instead of a songbird?" Her eyes trace over the wooden wing, examining each and every feather. "Kinda funny how real they look. Although, I suppose that goes without saying. We always are the oddest ones, aren't we?"

Chuckling softly, she steps past the newest installation in the upper corridor and into the pale artificial light surrounding it. "Too bad that I don't have the key. Rika might want to see him. Ah well. I'll talk to her about using the elevator later." After all, she doesn't want Akyuu to see her sneaking the Changeling into her room. "Right, right, no lollygagging. You don't have to tell me."

Still mumbling to herself, she opens the door and dashes in, stepping into the messy domain beyond. Without a word, she heads on over to the bed and sets the bird on the center of it, not really having a better place to put it. "…I wonder which one will pop out. Bah, I'll have to stay here to make sure nothing does happen. Don't want either of them to be startled." Shaking her head, she pauses for a moment before draping a blanket over his body.

Turning around, she slings her bag onto a hook nearby her workbench before falling on the table herself. "…Wait a second, where is my broom…" Grumbling at having forgotten it somewhere along the way, she slumps down on the bench and just stares at the wall for a few seconds. "Well, this isn't good. Not good at all. I suppose I should have realized that Akyuu would have…"

Snorting a bit, she drops her head into her hands. "At least Reimu was her normal self. I don't want to have to beat her up just to get my point across." Chuckling weakly, she leans back. "Still, nothing to do. I'll just need to do something to figure out how to get Margaret out of him. Although, where do I start…"

Before she realizes it, she's halfway to a bookcase that is chock full of old and musty pages, half of which are falling apart and the rest being in even worse condition. "Well, there are a few things I could check. Spirits are just like potions, after all. I just need to distill her spirit from his vessel before they get mixed." Curiously, she looks at Lucas as he rests. "…Nope. Can't boil him. Have to think of something else."

Pausing, she suddenly slaps her head. "Of course! I forgot. Need to brew that potion for myself first. Just in case, just in case." Immediately, she steps over week-old laundry and to her bag and starts pulling stuff out. "Hrm… I'll go ahead and make him a dose. He might need a pick-me-up when he wakes up. …Or she, whatever happens." Still muttering under her breath, she takes her ingredients and tools her out as she starts to toss ingredients onto the workbench. The majority of which seem to be mushrooms.

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

Days have passed by, and still Meiling does not know what is going on, or why she even remains in the mad woman's home. Every day she finds herself being met by Remilia to bring draw water for the tub and to assist her with whatever may be necessary. The girl's tone remains clipped and curt, and she speaks no more than what is required. Nothing Meiling says drew a reaction from her, much less a response.

The days are idle, with nothing being required of her. Her host, for lack of a better term that Meiling is willing to use, has yet to appear in person. Whenever she asks Remilia where she might be, she calmly says that she has business outside of the mansion and that there is nothing more to it.

So, instead, she keeps herself occupied by trying to figure out the mansion. Yet, no matter how many times she walks the halls, they never make any more sense. A left one day may be an up two days later, and the monotone hallways never are content to stay straight. They turn left and up and sideways and back around, so that she walks a mile and goes nary a foot.

Fortunately, she never has a problem finding her way back to the room. Twice, she has found the corridor that leads to the trio of rooms in which the burned girl was kept. Despite the girl's claims, Meiling still tries to get to her chambers and talk to her again. However, the times that she manages to make it to the doors without turning around and ending up at the start again, she merely steps through to the beginning of the hallway. While the room may have been a place she was welcome earlier, that is no longer the case.

The girl is left confused, and with no visible way out. The only relief that she has are the small chats that she maintains with Patchouli, whenever she manages to find her in the hallways. The pale girl says little, though, and merely advises her to keep her head down and never accede to Sakuya's wishes without considering what she gains out of it. Any further inquiry is stopped, as the girl is reluctant to say anything that could be overheard.

No matter the reason, nothing has been said, leaving the girl consternated and unsure as to the next steps she could take. She has yet to find an exit, as every door she can open leads her to yet another hallway of black and white. She can't even find her center when practicing her forms, and it takes quite a lot of effort to not punch a hole in the damnable white walls.

On the fifth day, she wakes up once more than the ever-present, unchanging light. As always, she is awake early, although without a timepiece there is no way to tell how early. It doesn't bother her, though, and she remains listless on the top of the bed for a while, waiting for the maid to come in.

To no surprise, Remilia enters the room half an hour later, her back stiff and unbending as she stares past Meiling. However, in her arms is a small package wrapped in thick paper and tied together with hemp. Without even a moment for you to ask, she answers whatever question may have come to mind. "Milady Sakuya has returned, and she has requested your presence."

"…She has?" Sitting up a bit more, Meiling tries to meet Remilia's eyes. "Would she have mentioned whether or not she was going to let me leave yet?"

"…Still as foolish as always, aren't you?" Finally, the cutting eyes of the vampire meet Meiling's, although the snarl that frightened the girl out of her wits days before is not present. "That is not the case, as you should be aware. She merely wishes to converse with you, and enjoy her company." Shaking the package slightly, Remilia sets it on the nearby dresser. "She requested that you wear this when you met her."

Shrugging as she wonders what exactly is going on, Meiling spins off of the bed and stands up. "Now why would she…. She wants something from me, doesn't she?"

"So there is a brain." Shrugging, Remilia spins about and walks to the door. It is simple enough, so you will not require assistance in dressing yourself. I shall wait until you are finished, after which I will escort you to milady." At that, she opens the door. Her motion and form are as exact as always, more like a robot than a living being.

[ ] Ask what Sakuya wants. Perhaps she'd part with that.
[ ] Apologize to her. Meiling did not mean to offend.
[ ] Apologize, and point out that Meiling is willing to learn if she are still ignorant.
[ ] Ask about her sister. She's yet to see her again since the first time.
[ ] Don't say anything.

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

>>173402 She wouldn't be that surprised. After all, her science may be advanced, but it's truly on a greater scale more than anything else. She'd be more surprised by computers and stuff along those lines, such as Marisa's tablet than great horseless carriages with cannons.
No. 173550
[x] Apologize, and point out that Meiling is willing to learn if she is still ignorant.
Knowing this Remilia, though, even an apology like this could be taken as some kind of insult.
No. 173552
[X] Ask about her sister. She's yet to see her again since the first time.

I doubt that Sakuya would deign to inform her underlings the reasoning behind her orders, and an apology seems unnecessary, seeing that Remilia will either brush it off or scoff at Meilin for her trouble. However, Remilia showed that she cares about her sister to a degree as far as I can tell, and asking about Flandre's well-being is a better lead than either blatantly trying to gain Remilia's favor or simply saying nothing at all.
No. 173559
[X] Ask about her sister. She's yet to see her again since the first time.

I wonder, just how well would a Malkavian handle a place like this? Would she be right at home? Or would it make her thought patterns even worse off?
No. 173582
[X] Ask about her sister. She's yet to see her again since the first time.
No. 173672
File 137853277629.jpg - (475.51KB , 1069x1483 , she is only so patient.jpg ) [iqdb]
173672
[-h-] Ask about her sister. She's yet to see her again since the first time.

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

"Wait a second!" Meiling immediately steps to the door, hoping that the maid would stop before she left and shut the door. Fortunately, she halts in her motion, but she doesn't look back at towards the girl. "I… was wondering about something. Where has your sister gone? I haven't seen her since the first time I met her. I know why I can't find some of the other… people in here. But where has she been? You two share the same jobs, don't you?"

Silently, Remilia stares at the wall opposite her as she holds the door. "…I have taken any duties that she may have had that would also possibly come into contact with you. The lady of this house still values you, and you do need the best of service. A job I may hate, but I still have enough of my pride to do it correctly."

Frowning, Meiling stands there, feeling rather awkward. "Is that all? She looked very out of place. She may have threatened me that one moment, but earlier she was―"

"It doesn't matter what she was before. Unless you could take care of yourself around our kind, you would always be threatened. So, never assume yourself safe." She frowns and glances back to Meiling for a moment, her eyes and face blank. By the time that Meiling blinks, Remilia is facing the hallway, ignoring her once again. "…Besides, I'd rather her not to be responsible for any mistake. Her situation is not helped if Lady Izayoi comes down on her head as she is wont to do." At that, she pulls the door shut behind her and waits for Meiling to finish.

Shaking her head, the girl walks over and opens up the package that was left behind. "What would Sakuya wanted to have left behind? After being gone for that long… Maybe I'm being given a jumpsuit since she's kept me in prison." Snorting at the bad joke, she peels apart the paper after untying the rope.

Inside the package is a set of clothes, a shirt and a long skirt, which she unfolds and takes a closer look. "What in the world… Well, it's certainly been long enough since I've gotten a change. Didn't even have a pair of pajamas in here." Shrugging it off, she lays the clothes on the bed, not going to bother worrying about the why right now. After all, that is something to ask the lady herself.

Soon enough, once she washes herself and changes into a cleaner set of clothes, Meiling moves the hair out of her eyes and heads on out. Once outside the door, she spots Remilia standing in the hall, her eyes closed as she waits for her to come out. "I'm here."

"I know." Opening her eyes, Remilia immediately turns to the left and starts walking down the hall. Meiling hurries up to catch up to the girl before she is left behind. The silence stretches over the two of them as they both walk down the halls, which fortunately remain straight and level for the moment.

After a few minutes, Meiling grows tired of the silence and looks to the girl. "So, is there anything you can tell me about where you are taking me?" At her slight nod, Meiling waits a few seconds, expecting her to start speaking. "Are you going to say anything?"

"Not presently. There is not much to say." However, she does look back and shoots Meiling a glare before her face falls blank once more. "Such impertinence, speaking to me like that."

Shrugging, Meiling continues on behind the maid. "Well, you've only responded to me when I accidentally insulted you. I thought I'd try something else and see what you'd do."

Shaking her head softly, the girl stays resolute, only continuing to lead. "Not that it matters. Perhaps I misjudged her. She'll be gone soon enough." Remilia's lips quirk up into a smirk as Meiling realizes exactly what the girl means. "Just continue to follow me, and do not deviate. You'd not want to fall through one of the holes in the halls."

"The what, now?" Distracted for just a moment, Meiling begins glancing around at every nook and cranny, looking for said holes. None are in sight, as there are no shadows that are cast in the omnipresent light. "Why would I be worried about holes? This place looks like it is maintained very well. I don't think I've seen a single thread out of place."

The girl sighs and slumps her shoulders imperceptibly. "Then you look merely at the thin veneer that your eyes can see, instead of knowing what is here. You see, and you may know, but you do not comprehend. It is a problem that humans like you has been having for a long time. And it makes you all the easier to manipulate."

"It's not like you have tried to hide it when you asked me a favor. I may not be the brightest woman, but I was able to see that much." Shrugging, Meiling falls behind her instead of beside her, only stepping where Remilia steps. She'd rather not risk falling into one of these holes that were mentioned. "You tried to get me to call you by your last name, after all."

"I do try to be blunt. And I have no reason to hide my motives from you. After all, isn't it obvious what I think about Lady Izayoi?" Shrugging as well, Remilia glances back at Meiling for but a moment. "It is obvious to her, and everyone else. She knows how much I detest the situation that she has placed my sister and I in. And we are powerless to do anything about it. Should we ever get close enough to do actually be a danger, our brains proceed to age and rot even more." Before Meiling can even speak, Remilia waves her off. "No questions. If you are to be useful to me, you can figure it out yourself. Now, be quiet, and follow after me."

Having no other option, lest Meiling wants to earn Remilia's ire, she closes her mouth and follows after her. Awkwardly, she picks at the new clothes, as they still do not feel right after wearing the others for so long. Time and again Meiling glances at Remilia, wondering if she should speak up again, but she manages to stay her tongue.

Curiously enough, the hallways never become twisted and fanciful, and instead remain straight and true no matter which turn Remilia leads Meiling about. However, they still remain just as labyrinthine, and there is no telling if she has doubled back on her path, or if you can take three left turns and yet never cross another hall in the process.

Eventually, Remilia stops beside a random door in the hall. "She awaits inside. Please go on in." She remains silent as Meiling walks up, and waits patiently as she considers whether to actually open the door. After a few minutes of her dithering in front of the door, though, the maid speaks up. "It isn't going to harm you. That woman is a lot more dangerous than the door."

Sighing, Meiling looks at the girl, wondering again whether to speak. There is nothing that she can say, though, and instead heads inside. She shoots Remilia one last glance as she enters the room, preparing to see whatever Sakuya might desire from her.

Emptiness is not what she expected.

"What in the name of…" Meiling waves her arms about and tries to lunge for the door, but it vanished the moment she took her eyes off of it. Instead, she does her best not to fall into the dark abyss she is presently trapped inside. "Did she just lead me into one of those holes?"

However, as her mind realizes that she is not falling into the depths, and that Remilia didn't send her to her death, she starts to breathe a bit easier. "That was… I thought I was going to die…" Meiling's panting slows as she realizes her footing is secure, even though all is yet black. "Not a hole. Am I… standing on glass? It feels as solid as stone, but there isn't anything this dark."

As she calms, Meiling notices that not everything is pitch black. Little pinpricks of light begin to shine as her eyes adjust to the dim light, and she begins to see more and more. A dozen lights appear, then a hundred, and then millions of points of light. Both above and below her head they stretch out into infinity, and she remains in the expanse, unmoving, secure on a platform that is invisible to her eyes.

"The stars? Is this some sort of planetarium?" Slowly, Meiling takes a step forward, looking about in every direction. "I don't recognize these constellations, though. They're… off. Very off. What could it be for, though…?" A frown crosses her face as she tries to figure out what exactly is wrong with the picture before her. "It's been years since I've seen them so clearly. Maybe I'm just rusty…"

"Doubtful. Although, they are quite beautiful, are they not?" Meiling starts and spins around as Sakuya seems to appear from nothing, the lady of the mansion stepping out from the stars themselves as she walks toward the girl. "Infinity has its own luster, but it is sometime matched by that which is not as lasting." Smiling at the shocked girl, Sakuya tilts her head. "Do not be so shocked. You knew I summoned you here, did you not?"

"You did, although there has to be something more to this than that alone."

"Perhaps." Smiling just slightly, she folds her hands and looks at the stars for a moment, admiring their shape as they twinkle in the darkness.

[ ] Ask her where she has been. She's been gone days, after all.
[ ] Ask her what she wants. There has to be something, especially after that gift.
[ ] Ask her how she has done this all. It seems too real to be a mere projection.
[ ] Write-in Option
No. 173688
[x] Ask her why she's doing this. There has to be some reason, especially after that gift.

Reworded it because just asking Sakuya what she wants could be... 'reinterpreted' as binding acceptance of whatever she may ask of her.

That, and the other two choices seem to dodge the issue too much. Meiling wants answers, after all.
No. 173693
[x] Ask her how she has done this all. It seems too real to be a mere projection.

I admit, this may not advance the plot too much, but I am generally curious to how Sakuya accomplished all that.

It certainly has Meiling's attention so why not?
No. 173698
[X] Ask her how she has done this all. It seems too real to be a mere projection.
No. 173704
[X] Ask her why she wanted you in this room specifically, and not merely another large hall. There has to be something to this, especially after that gift.

This course of action should lead Sakuya to tell Meiling the nature of the room, which I believe is the vampire's version of Wriggle's 'garden', except with fewer damned souls and more elegant scenery. Learning more about this room can help us discern the scope of Sakuya's powers, and it's quite obvious that Sakuya will get to the point eventually as to why she desires our presence.
No. 173707
>>173688 here.

Changing my vote to match >>173704 because now that I think about it, Sakuya's not gonna let Meiling in on what's going on that much.

And also because I want to see if the 'garden equivalent' theory is true or not.
No. 173730
[X] Ask her what she wants. There has to be something, especially after that gift.

From her point of view we don't need to know where she has been or how she can accomplish what she does, so she likely won't tell us.
Or she does, and we find out that we really didn't want to hear the answer.
On the other hand she has a reason for summoning us, even if she just wants to be amused by the silly human who doesn't understand (a.k.a. "enjoy our company") so we might as well get to the point.
Politely, of course. You don't want to accidentally insult a Fae because that never ends well.
No. 173734
>>173688
Asking a Fae what they want does not mean you agree to actually provide it no matter how much they might want to make you believe that it does.
In the same way, a Fae asking you what you desire in return for your payment/offering doesn't mean they actually agree to get it for you.
Only a "yes" or "no" actually means anything. The rest is just tricks to make you believe you actually got something out of the deal.

For example:
You contact a Fae and say "I will provide you with payment in return for you performing a favor for me."
The Fae asks you what favor, you tell them, you negotiate the payment, blah blah blah...
Finally the Fae says:
"That is an acceptable deal".
You hand over the payment and the Fae laughs at you and fucks off, because they never actually agreed to anything.

Fae trickery always cuts both ways, though, so unless you say "yes" or "no", even (or, since we're talking about Fae, especially) if you didn't understand what you just agreed to, you still haven't agreed to anything.


Of course, that is all irrelevant because Meiling is in no position to make any kind of deal anyway. She's merely the newest plaything that the Lady happened to have acquired and has nothing to offer that cannot be taken without her consent.
No. 173737
>>173730

>From her point of view

We don't know her point of view. Sakuya herself told us that she doesn't exactly think like a rational human being. However, if one considers the fact that Sakuya considers Meiling as her 'esteemed guest', it's logical to think that even for a Youkai, it's a basic courtesy to answer Meiling's questions since Sakuya is utilizing the human concepts of dignity and respect. Remember, in this story, we don't have a sympathetic Youkai reminding us not make assumptions.

>we find out that we really didn't want to hear the answer

If the magic maintaining the room is beyond what Meiling can comprehend to the point that it can break her mind, I doubt that Sakuya would bring her to this room, considering that she still finds Meiling's current state amusing.

Even if the room is being maintained by some abominable method, we should still try to find out what that method is. After all, we didn't like what Lucas saw in Wriggle's garden, but ignorance wasn't going to make the garden disappear, and that probably applies to Meiling and this room too.
No. 173774
>>173737
She's not considered "an esteemed guest". She called that but she's considered a favorite plaything, at best, because she's just a human in the clutches of an extremely powerful Fae.
No. 173778
>>173774

Think about this, though. Even though Sakuya doesn't think of Meiling as a guest, she's going to keep the facade up for at least a bit longer.

Unless this is the part where the mask comes off, in which case we're more or less screwed.
No. 173784
File 137878959859.png - (536.43KB , 789x970 , quite concerned about her isnt she.png ) [iqdb]
173784
[-i-] Ask her what she wants. There has to be something, especially after that gift.

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

After a few seconds of continued silence, during which the other woman remains still, merely smiling at the vast expanse that lies beyond. Eventually, Meiling feels that she must ask something in order to break the still air. "May I ask what it is that you want?"

Tilting her head, Sakuya turns to the girl, her blue eyes unblinking. "You may. But there are many things that I could want, just as there are many things you could as well. However, we have just met. There are other things to talk about before we get to business." Her smile widens a bit as she watches Meiling, never deviating one bit as she waits.

There is something eerie in her voice, something that reverberates in the quiet, and is felt more than heard. Not knowing what it could possibly be, Meiling just shakes her head and responds to her host. "Well, I was wondering if there was anything specific that you wanted. After all, I wouldn't expect you to give me this without wanting something in return."

"Your garments? I thought them appropriate. Especially after seeing those rather coarse garments you were wearing otherwise. How are they?"

" …Which ones?" Meiling waits for an answer, but doesn't receive one. Assuming that she means both, she answers. "Well… These are fine, I guess. Certainly better than what I would have imagined. Although they do feel a bit awkward, too."

"Truly? That is a pity." She chuckles lightly, glancing away. "It seems that I am not perfect at everything yet. I have not yet mastered the needle, so it seems."

Frowning, Meiling finally looks back at the girl, curious at what she means. "You are the one who made it? I wouldn't have thought you the type to do something like that."

Nodding lightly, the woman does not break her stare, which is still as yet unblinking. "Correct. I had considered merely visiting a few different others while I was out on business. Youkai wouldn't help me, but I wouldn't have to twist the knife much in order to persuade them."

"…Ok?" Wondering what exactly that means, Meiling tilts her head. "But what does that have to do with anything? I get the feeling that there isn't a store that you could just go and buy one?"

"And not have it fit properly? That just wouldn't do." Snorting, she finally glances away, and a weight lifts from Meiling's shoulders that she had yet to notice. "However, while I was out, the one I like to visit was not there. It was a pity. Such an interesting creature, even if she preferred to simply give me the cold shoulder." Clapping her hands, she looks back at Meiling. "So I insisted on doing it myself. I do consider myself to possess many talents, after all."

Getting extremely disturbed by her constant stare, Meiling glances away. "Right… Well, thanks, I guess. These are a lot better than what you had left on me. There wasn't anything I could do to patch those clothes up. And they were merely a work outfit, after all."

"That would explain its harsh texture, indeed." Smiling still, Sakuya turns her head again, standing there with her hands folded. "So, prattle, what is it that is wrong with the garments that I provided for you?"

Biting her lip, Meiling tries to avoid blurting out that it is a skirt, which alone is something she would never wear. "Well, I was just trying to ignore it." Looking down, she picks at the top, eventually finding a clump on the hem on her left side. "Just looks like a knot of thread. If I just had a pair of scissors, I could fix it―"

Before her eyes, the thread instantly disappears, and Meiling finds that her hand has been moved up and out of the way. Jumping just a bit at the sudden happening, she almost yelps out loud and turns toward Sakuya. "What in the world just happened?"

"I fixed that for you, that was all." Shrugging, Sakuya just smiles back, her face still not changing in expression. "My guest's comfort is of the greatest importance, I'll have you know. I would hate for you to have a bad experience in my domain."

"…Right…" Shaking her head, Meiling takes a step back, which still does not garner a reaction from the other woman. "So, what did you want from me, again?"

"So insistent, though." Chuckling, Sakuya glances away. "I merely wished to enjoy your company, as it were. I should get to know my guest much better, especially as I have spent so long away from my home."

"Ok." Shrugging, Meiling stands around, looking about awkwardly. Seconds tick by, and the patient woman does not even seem to bother to interrupt her as she debates what to say next. "…Well, what is it that you wish to know? It isn't as if you've done much more than have me join dinner with you once… Besides holding me captive."

"Time is something I have plenty of, but sometimes it needs to be spent rather than saved." Nodding to herself just a bit, she lets out a sigh. "A watch does get rather tiresome to watch if you pull out the crown and stare at its unmoving face, doesn't it?"

Groaning a bit internally, Meiling looks back at her, slightly confused. "Well, last I checked, a watch doesn't wear anything, so one with a crown would be an odd enough sight, as far as I'm concerned."

A small giggle leaves Sakuya's lips. "Ignorance would breed such an answer. But an amusing one nonetheless. But no matter. Do you mean to say that I should be giving you more attention, personally?"

"Well, it's not so much that." Considering how friendly the woman has been since you have met her in this bewildering room, Meiling is hesitant to give even that much ground. "But you brought me here, left me injured for quite a while, and then stuck me in a room for five days on end. I don't know any person that would rate that as good hospitality."

Sakuya's eyes seem to flash red, but nothing else happens as she maintains that expression. "At least you are honest. A rather common combination, I must admit. Those that are ignorant do tend to have less to lie about, after all." Her smile widens a bit more as she stares at Meiling." But do go on ahead. Continue in that train of thought. I want to know all of what is bothering you, my esteemed guest."

Gulping a bit as Sakuya's gaze is leveled upon her, Meiling shivers quite noticeably. "W-well… I just stayed in my room the majority of the time. I did try and go out and do something, but anytime I tried to retrace my steps, I found that I couldn't."

"That is quite true." Her smile loses its predatory quality as steps forward. "I would hate to see you be injured by that ignorance that yet plagues your mind. Such a shame, as I can tell enough that there is more than air between your ears." Turning to the side, she looks up at the starry visage that surrounds every side of the room. "Truly, is it so bad that I have offered you? You are fed, watered, and sheltered. I may have slacked in giving attention, but there are some things that come before my guests."

"I… I didn't mean to insult you." Swallowing the lump in her throat, Meiling attempts to take a step away. However, through either fear or some sort of sorcery, she cannot move her legs one inch. "You've just kept me a captive in here, and I was getting a little stir crazy."

Sakuya immediately claps her hands, making Meiling jump, seemingly freed of whatever spell held her. "If that is what is bothering you, then I shall attempt to alleviate all that which ails you. What is it that you want me to do?"

[ ] Perhaps some way to train would be best. Or someone to train with. Meiling might appreciate something to punch.
[ ] Maybe just moving her to somewhere near Patchouli, so that it wouldn't be hard to find her if Meiling needs anything.
[ ] Free run of the mansion might be nice. After all, you don't know who else she has captive here, and the burned girl might be of some help. Or, at least, comforting.
[ ] Maybe you could get the other vampire be your maid. She seemed nicer, at least half the time she conversed with her.
[ ] Sakuya is offering now, straight up. Just ask if Meiling can leave. Does she want anything else?
[ ] Obligatory Write-in Option
No. 173788
[X] Sakuya is offering now, straight up. Just ask if Meiling can leave. Does she want anything else?

I am [b]curious[\b] as to what total honesty will do.

Ps: Since this is the first time I'm posting here I have no idea what I'm doing.
No. 173794
[X] Perhaps some way to train would be best. Or someone to train with. Meiling might appreciate something to punch.

Somehow I don't like the 'can I leave?' option.
No. 173796
[x] Ask for a room closer to Patchouli's.

Not going for the leave option because Sakuya only said she'd 'attempt' to give Meiling what she desires. Nothing to say she can't deliberately half-ass it.

And Patchy's got some sanity left, and she doesn't have as rough of a demeanor as Remilia, so... Ally +1, perhaps?
No. 173804
>>173788
If you want to bold something, you should use "/" instead of "\". Same with italics [i], underline [u], strikethrough [s], or spoiler [spoiler]. You were right otherwise.
No. 173809
>>173788


Honesty won't do much for us at this point; Sakuya already told us that she's not going to let Meiling go until she is finished with her, and pressing the issue again would technically be impolite and even risk Sakuya unleashing her wrath against us. After all, just because we can ask her anything we please doesn't mean that there won't be any repercussions (Think of Alice and her request to 'play' with us in No Such Thing as Fairytales).

Personally, I'm conflicted as to what is the most prudent course of action. However, I insist that we do not squander this rare opportunity to improve our circumstances; Sakuya doesn't exactly seem the type to grant favors on a whim, and this could be the only opportunity we have to take advantage of this.
No. 173821
Changing my vote to from
[X]Sakuya is offering now, straight up. Just ask if Meiling can leave. Does she want anything else?

into

[X]Maybe just moving her to somewhere near Patchouli, so that it wouldn't be hard to find her if Meiling needs anything

Without knowing the rules of the Game(?) physical training might be totally counter productive. Better to up the chances of contact between Pat and Mei Ling since that can bring more long term results.


>>>>[X] Have a discussion/ debate of *Random topics* between Patchouli/ Sakuya and Mei Ling.

Milking for information where possible from Sakuya and Patchouli would be beneficial in almost any variation of the game. Hence this second choice(?)

PS: The second choice(?) is more of a possible followup to the first choice. I don't really know the actual etiquette for this kind of game(?), so I'm sorry if I'm threading on someone's toes
No. 173826
[X]Maybe just moving her to somewhere near Patchouli, so that it wouldn't be hard to find her if Meiling needs anything
No. 174712
[X] Perhaps some way to train would be best. Or someone to train with. Meiling might appreciate something to punch.

We are impressive for having broken the arm of our doppelganger, lets NOT let that lead slide please. Also, while I'm certain that something along this route will either mean we use someone undeserving as a punching bag, or mimic the birdseed incident, we need some personal asset of strength before we can bargain with other residents.

Also, I must say I am very surprised that Meiling wasn't just tossed in front of a pile of riches and left to make mistakes based on how under-appreciated she was in employment.
No. 177430
>>173878

Sorry for forgetting this