Almost done with all of it, rabbit. Have you the heart to follow it to the end?
“You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?”
The voice stirs you to wakefulness- and then to alarm. You open your eyes, red from lack of sleep, red from lack of rest, red because you're just so tired- and then you see Shiki Eiki, Yamaxanadu, sitting in a chair a couple feet away from you.
Your adrenaline immediately kicks into overdrive. This isn't right, this isn't right, this isn't right
She sees your panic, and holds out a soothing hand. “No, no, poor little rabbit, don't misunderstand. You are not being judged. Not yet, not by me, at least. Think of this as... guidance, as you will. This is no courtroom.” She gestures to the spartan accommodations, a rich mahogany desk being the only ostentation, heavily laden with stamps and paperwork, with cheap bookshelves lining the room, with a mirror behind her. “These are merely my chambers. I felt you could do with some... advising.”
You finally gather what is left of your frayed senses to you, and start to look around. As you turn your head behind you, Eiki shouts. “Stop!” You immediately obey, without even knowing why. “Do not look behind you. It won't help.” Then she looks behind you, as though she's speaking to someone else. But you two are the only ones in the room... aren't you? “This is as much for you as it is for her. She won't remember this.”
Eiki shakes her head. “I've bent enough rules taking you here today. But for now, do not worry. Your file is not on my desk in any official capacity.” She stands up, and walks over to her desk, long legs taking well-measured strides. She plucks the file out of the mess on her desk, and comes back down to her seat. “I'm doing this to help you. Regardless of what you might believe, you are not beyond redemption, Reisen.”
All you can do is mutely stare at her, as she slowly pages through the file.
“So. I see you're very close with Tewi. Yet you struck a bargain to trade three lives for three, but you didn't protect her with it. Why is that?”
You shake your head. “It wasn't meant to be this way. It wasn't meant for Mokou. Not her. Not at all her.”
“Do you despise her?”
You keep silent.
“You know you can't lie to me, Reisen.”
Her icy gaze pierces through you. “Did you always?”
“...no. No, I suppose I haven't always. But it's been so long.”
“Well. Let this be our first lesson today: nursing a hatred like that can only lead you astray. I see you talked to Sanae, and much later, Tewi, about the favors. Why them, and why did you wait until after the fulfillment of your first favor?”
“I... was rushed for the first favor.”
Eiki frowns at you. “You were given three days. And yet you didn't even look for a way out of this?”
You want to punch her for not understanding. “If I did nothing, they'd all die!”
Eiki shakes her head in disappointment. “No. Why would they toss away such a prize as you immediately? No, they'd have taken Mokou as a warning, an attempt to keep you in line. But they didn't need to do that. Back to my question. Why Sanae, why Tewi?”
“Because... because I could trust them.”
“And how has that worked out for you?”
You're so tired of this. You just want it all to be done and over with. “Badly, I guess, with Tewi.”
“No. Not yet. Tewi has yet to divulge your secret. She's got her own mental parliament to wrestle with. She does love you like a sister, Reisen. But no, I meant Sanae.”
“What? No.” Sanae has always been true to you. Always.
“I hate to tell you this, Reisen, but her affections were only bait for a trap. One that only very, very narrowly avoided snapping shut. You've done some terrible things to that girl, Reisen. You've treated her like nobody should be treated.”
Her words are like a punch in the gut. Your vision begins to swim, tears welling in your eyes. You try to put conviction into your voice, but none is to be found. “Take... take that back.”
“You spurned her.”
“You made her feel as though she could never actually measure up to your love.”
“You threw her back and forth through so much anguish and heartache that you've possibly damaged the poor girl for the rest of her life! You confessed to another, right in full view of her, after a night together! After she all but confessed to you!”
“No... please, stop...”
Eiki stands up now, and points to you. “And to top it all off, you brought her into this! You made her into an accessory! You should have KNOWN what that would do to the poor girl! Now she's entirely dependent on you, without even being sure of your love! Do you even love her, Reisen?” Her words are as thunder given voice. “Do not lie to me.”
“I... I don't know. I think so. I believe.”
Eiki sits back down. “Good. Honesty. Why did you not tell Eirin, or Kaguya, or Mokou? They are all very invested in this, yet you've never told them.”
You chuckle weakly. “Eirin would never have believed me. Her great breakthrough, the result of fairy magic and her assistant? She's a good person, don't get me wrong, but pride goeth, Eiki. You know this.”
Eiki nods. “Kaguya?”
“She'd have gone and talked to Eirin about it. And it would have ended much the same way.”
“But what of Mokou? I understand that the other two immortals would not have helped you, for their own blindness. But Mokou is not that kind of person. You haven't talked to her at all, even before the first favor was laid at your feet. She would have helped you.”
“But she... I don't...”
“Reisen. You should have rid yourself of that hatred long ago. I've already told you that once. But maybe you should find her. Also, go see Akyuu, maybe. She is still your friend. But perhaps just this once, try to refrain from spilling the beans.”
You sigh, trying to rid yourself of that terrible gnawing feeling in your gut that has been plaguing you for the last week. “What about Reimu and Marisa?”
Eiki nods. “Ah. Well. They are in a bit of a conundrum. Every time an incident starts in Gensokyo, it is normally with much fanfare, lots of speeches, lots of flashiness, and somewhat less death. You are far from the first to kill someone here, and I am certain you won't be the last. In fact, I'd say you've got an entirely average number, it's just who, and how. And that is what is driving them crazy: there's no baddie to smash, no obvious provocateur. They'd never find out, unless you really slipped up. Kotohime, however... Well. Someone has gone to lengths to throw her off your trail. I wonder why?”
“You don't know?”
Eiki shakes her head. “No. I don't know everything, but I'm touched that you would assume that I do. Kotohime is off on a wild goose chase. They've bought you some time, but I doubt it'll keep you from being discovered, if nothing else changes. I could be reading it entirely wrongly, though. Don't put too much stock in that.”
Yeah. Thanks a lot. That makes me feel real comfortable now. “Did you talk to Toyosatomimi and Sakuya when they came through?”
“Sort of. Toyosatomimi is outside my jurisdiction, but he came by to visit. He was really mostly just confused.”
“Oh, didn't you know? That was only one of his incarnations. He'll be back, just later, rather than sooner, now.”
You breathe a long sigh of relief. Does that count as murder?
“It still counts, by the way, Reisen.” Dammit. “Sakuya had made her peace, though. She does not blame you. She would have done exactly the same thing for Meiling, or Remilia, or Flandre, or Patchouli. She just kind of wished you'd not electrocuted her first.”
You laugh, weakly. “So now what?”
“Well. Remilia is incensed, of course. Flandre is... well, likely unstable and prone to lashing out. Meiling isn't thinking clearly, and Patchouli can't keep them all calm forever. On the other hand, Yoshika is angry and distraught. Seiga is not happy either, and nor is Soga. But she is dead, as is Yoshika. Miss Mononobe and Mamizou are trying to keep things together over there, and it seems like things will be in hand, should Kotohime continue successfully with her investigation.
“But all that is secondary. You want me to tell you what to do next.”
“Kind of, I guess.”
Eiki closes the file. “I don't know. You have some very difficult choices ahead of you, and none of them are good. You've made some mistakes, everyone has. If I had to judge you right now, it'd be very difficult. You're currently a pawn in someone's game.” She stands up, walks over to you, and leans in, arm companionably on your shoulder. “Flip their goddamn board, Reisen,” she whispers in your ear.
You smile and sniffle, as she walks back over to her desk, rifling through paperwork. “I think we're mostly done here. But I've got something for you, ahead of time, that I thought you might be wanting to read. I mean, I've broken most of the rules, what's a few more?” She hands you three creamy vellum envelopes, and you take them. They are all embossed in gold with your name.
Eiki just smiles, and gestures to you to open them. You pick one, tear it open, and paper falls out. You recognize the silvery ink, the flowery handwriting of a fae:
“Congratulations on a successful fulfillment of your second favor. One more, and our deal will be completed.
“Three days hence, we wish for a target to be eliminated. That target is-”
And you wake, in the pre-dawn darkness of Eientei, in your room, cold sweat having broken out all over you. Your head hurts, and you don't know why. It's almost as you were dreaming, but... God, it's just like dreams- gone in an instant. You can't remember any of it.
You turn on the light. Upon your bamboo desk lies a creamy vellum envelope, your name embossed on it in a very familiar golden lettering.
>>168456 Don't worry, you're not, and I'm on neither. I've been playing a LOT the last day or two, where I managed to get a blister to come up on my left thumb, and dumbass that I am, I picked at it until it popped. Now I can't really work a thumbstick. Should be good tomorrow, I can't be arsed to go out for band-aids today, but I'll definitely be up for playing tomorrow. Be gentle. I'm new.
Gahh. Flip their board. How? They've mostly gotten what they wanted, so denying them at this point won't do much.
Killing them doesn't seem viable.. How do you kill what is essentially an aspect of nature? No ideas yet.
Best I can think of is to somehow fulfill the favors, then turn ourselves in on our schedule, with whatever evidence we can get, bring em down with us, because at this point.. im pretty sure we're going down.
>>168465 The first thought that comes to my mind is denying their existence.
Break the nature down into its component pieces. Spring is nothing but a result of the motion of the earth relative to the sun; the sun and the stars are nothing more than enormous fusion reactors made of hydrogen, and the moon is a big floating rock which doesn't even generate its own light. Cold is an illusion caused by the absence of heat. Living things break down to molecules, and so on. You could potentially take everything all the way to the four fundamental forces, and Eirin could probably take it to an even deeper level of explanation than that.
>No. Why would they toss away such a prize as you immediately?
Gonna have to call bullshit on this, Rabbit. The bargain, as worded in the first thread, implied very strongly that it was three for three. From an in-story standpoint this is, of course, irrelevant. Consider, however, that the readers are the ones making Reisen's decisions; at no point before the completion of the first favour did anyone make a single comment along the lines of 'what if we refuse?'.
Not one. I checked. There was one post asking for clarification; a post which you replied to, and gave absolutely no clarification on anything. We never thought to refuse because you gave us no reason to do so, and every reason not to.
And as for in-character reasoning, Reisen wouldn't risk it even if she KNEW the fairies would only drop one, unless they told her beforehand that it would be Mokou.
And from what I understand of what you've told us about the fairies' motivation, they wouldn't have just dropped one; they would have killed all three and shouted from the treetops 'we kill three immortals~' because that would cause Gensokyo as a whole to absolutely shit itself.
tl;dr Good job. You tricked us. Misled us, fooled us, and thoroughly bamboozled us.
Go fuck yourself with a rake.
>>168474 I want to add to this jelly bean post that one of the bad ends, the one who were supposed to give clues, killed all three within the same day we kind of failed to kill our target because we spilled the beans to Remilia.
And, this is a personal opinion but, Reisen doesn't deserve a good ending, despite what Eiki might say.
>>168468 See, i'm not sure that would work. I don't think belief is what dictates their existence, its just the nature itself.
I'm not certain that it works that way, but they were never established to work on faith like the myriad gods of gensokyo, they're just there, embodying nature. So I don't see how us wishing them away, or even logic-poofing them away is going to work.
>>168474 Okay so I re-read this post and I think it deserves some more in-depth answering:
>No. Why would they toss away such a prize as you immediately?
>Gonna have to call bullshit on this, Rabbit. The bargain, as worded in the first thread, implied very strongly that it was three for three. From an in-story standpoint this is, of course, irrelevant. Consider, however, that the readers are the ones making Reisen's decisions; at no point before the completion of the first favour did anyone make a single comment along the lines of 'what if we refuse?'.
>Not one. I checked.
Here you are completely right, and you're not going to like what I'm going to say: It was very deliberately a blind choice. I was also very deliberately vague with the wording of the bargain in the beginning. Had the choice been someone closer to Reisen, there would have been a LOT more in-character (and I hate to use this word) "angst" towards the choice. As it was, it was someone new in both Touhou canon and to Reisen, so her response was pretty much "meh". She's still a well-trained Lunarian commando, so killing people in cold blood is not immediately off the table, like it is for most civilians.
>There was one post asking for clarification; a post which you replied to, and gave absolutely no clarification on anything. We never thought to refuse because you gave us no reason to do so, and every reason not to.
I am trying to remember what post you're referring to. Is it >>157402? Again, you're right, I didn't clarify anything at all. #4 was the correct assumption, as you know now. But back then I didn't think it was TOO far a logical leap to make the connection between "three favors owed, three lives traded" to "three artificial immortals created through the same method, also very close to Reisen."
>And as for in-character reasoning, Reisen wouldn't risk it even if she KNEW the fairies would only drop one, unless they told her beforehand that it would be Mokou.
Also true. You're right that Reisen would not have much in-character reason to refuse for murdering Toyosatomimi, given what was on the line. Had it been someone closer, there would have been more internal (ugh) "angst". I suppose I did not make it clear to you, anon, not Reisen, that she was valuable to the fairies' plans. Keeping Reisen in the dark for that would just be good practices on the side of the fairies. But I should have kept you better informed on that point, I admit. Back then, however, I had not actually decided who the three fairies were.
>And from what I understand of what you've told us about the fairies' motivation, they wouldn't have just dropped one; they would have killed all three and shouted from the treetops 'we kill three immortals~' because that would cause Gensokyo as a whole to absolutely shit itself.
You're right, it would cause Gensokyo as a whole to shit itself. But it would be shitting itself AT THEM. Which would lead to more fairy beatings. Cirno would not have made that connection. Luna might have. But Lily was steering the ship the whole way, and she's a bit more practical than most fairies.
Though at this point I hadn't chosen the fairies, as mentioned before. Anyway, there are better, more valuable targets than three immortals- of which you've chosen two, so far- and who knows, they might want to go 5 for 6 instead of 3 for 3.
Now, had you chosen to go "damn the consequences and fuck doing the fairies' bidding" way back in the beginning, the bargain's wording would have been significantly different than the ironclad no-loopholes version it is now. But that would have made it a different story entirely, so please, don't consider it a "wrong choice". I had two main plots planned out for this story, and instead of flipping a coin to choose one, I let you guys do that.
I DO plan to tell you guys what the secondary plot was, and what the secondary bargain was, but I can't right now, because it would still be ~spoilers~.
>tl;dr Good job. You tricked us. Misled us, fooled us, and thoroughly bamboozled us.
That was then. This is now. I was not a very good writer when I started. I am still not a very good writer. However, I've become leaps and bounds better at information flow management than I was at the beginning. If I had the chance, I would have redone it slightly, but them's the breaks. I'm no professional writer.
>>168538 Hm. True.. but I was under the impression that the lack of magic in the outside is why fairies aren't there.
Like I said, im unsure how it works, but at this point i'd more easily accept that the high magic concentration allows their existence, not belief.
But I suppose we'll find out one way or another, won't we?
Hmmm. Eiki gives some good advice here, though she's still a little unfair at points. But maybe that just makes Reisen think more.
So. At this point, we're sick of playing the fairies' game. Killing Sakuya HURT, no two ways about it. I just keep thinking of the ways she and Reisen could've hung out and... ugh.
Anyway, Eiki said that we should flip over their game board. I concur. I also have no idea how to go about this. So we need some help. Here are my thoughts.
-Talk to Mokou. Even if Reisen doesn't remember the dream, some instinct must still remain, otherwise giving advice would've been pointless. Mokou has probably been around a long time at this point. She might know something.
-Ask Tewi for help. Beg, even. She's disgusted with Reisen right now, yes. But she still cares for her. And if Reisen pleads for her assistance, Tewi will probably come through.
-Get Sanae, maybe. As Eiki pointed out, we've been kinda dickish towards Sanae. But maybe we can show some dependance on her as well. Senae seemed to have some understanding of fairy bargains; maybe she could think of something? Either way, we need to get some help.
-Who is leading Kotohime on a wild goose chase? It must be someone with some knowledge of what the fairy trio are up to. Maybe a dissident faction that disagrees with them? Someone we can make contact with?
Anyway, these are just my thoughts. If we get some allies together and put our heads together with them, maybe something will come up. Maybe there's some way we can totally screw up Lily's plan and force a renegotiation. Hostages? Plant evidence that they're the minions of the kidnappers, sending Reimu and Marisa after them? It's worth thinking about, anyway.
>>168551 What the fairies are trying to capitalize on is that Reisen has not told anybody else about the favors. If we start trying to gather allies in this last-ditch effort by asking Tewi, Mokou, and Sanae to help us, the fairies probably will be set back by this development. In fact, we already have- Sanae and Tewi know that both the fairies and Reisen are responsible for the murders, and the fact that they haven't acted against Reisen as of now hopefully indicates that their power only goes so far.
Basically, they've expected Reisen to be a somewhat reluctant tool, easily manipulated and easy to dispose of after her use is over. However, the fact that Shikieiki told us that we can knock over their game board indicates that we have to start thinking of things that nobody would expect Reisen could do. The fairies will kill off Mokou if we get out of line; we need to find a way to counter that. They have their innate immortality, and they know it... but I doubt that nobody thought of a way to counter that in the course of over 3000 years.
Basically, our agenda rests along these lines: Get our friends and allies together, prepare to do the unreasonable, and above all, prepare for the worst case scenario in case our efforts backfire on us.
>>168534 >the bargain's wording would have been significantly different
Wait. Are you saying, now, after seven fucking threads, that the bargain written in the first post isn't actually the bargain at all?
If I'd known that I would have made a different choice on almost every single vote.
Fuck you. I'm out.
No, he's saying that IF we had chosen differently early on, then a second storyline would have played out, different from this one. We went along with it, seeing little other choice, and hence that bargain is in full effect.
>>168566 >>168569 So basically you're saying if we'd made a choice that we had no way of knowing WAS EVEN A POSSIBLE CHOICE TO MAKE, the bargain would have changed, becoming something OTHER than what was written? Yeah okay that makes sense.
As far as I can see Rabbit, you're just prancing around, overjoyed that you've outsmarted everyone who's reading your story. By lying to them. By deliberately and maliciously causing them to believe something that was not true.
Which, by the way, is not the thing I have a problem with; I just don't like how you are so god damn PROUD of that fact.
Once again, congratulations.
>>168580 Indeed. Besides, even if a few naysayers wanted to screw the bargain back then, Anon would've probably not really paid attention to them, seeing that virtually everybody was on the 'carry out the favors' boat.
In hindsight, it's easy to criticize others for their mistakes- but you have to recognize the circumstances they were in. Do you think anybody would've accepted the decision to rock the vote back then? Of course not- Anon isn't that radical, and if anybody disagrees with me, I would like them to post an example to counter my claim. Anon has a tendency to concentrate on a few vote sets as part of a collective readership, and oftentimes, some better choices often get neglected for the sake of the ones Anon is more comfortable with.
>>168584 I'm fairly certain that we could chalk up the variant security of The Deal to Gensokyou Belief Shenanigans. We (Reisen) believed that there was no way out of the deal (as indicated by our not even trying to get out of it), so when we remembered the specifics of the deal, there was no way out of it.
If we had tried to get out of the deal, then it would have been differently worded because Reisen didn't believe that it was inescapable, and that would have led to an entirely different story of completely different bad things happening to Reisen.
I'm fairly certain we can all agree that there is no universe in which Bad Things do not happen to Reisen.
You groan, roll over, and shut your eyes. Now you're not getting back to sleep. You groan again, roll over again back towards the letter, and open your eyes again.
Now you know how it feels to be Kaguya in the mornings. You just do NOT want to get out of bed and face the day. But somehow, you find the strength to roll out of bed. Not get out of bed, mind you, roll out of bed, wrapped in a burrito of blankets as you roll across the floor to your desk, bumping it so that the letter falls off of it onto you.
You wriggle your arms out of your blanket burrito and tear it open.
Upon the familiar vellum, in silver ink, is written these words:
Took you long enough to finish the second favor. You have three days from now.
In three days, either Tewi is dead, or the immortals are.”
There's no signature. You groan once again. Nope. No. Nope. Not doing this. Not even considering it. Gonna go have a 'talk' with Lily. Gonna fuck up some fairies.
You roll out of your blanket burrito, letter crumpled in your hand. Then you consider that you still need to throw it in Lily's face, and it needs to be readable for full effect. So you uncrumple it and smooth it out. But that is a poor form for it to be thrown.
You'll figure that out later. Right now, your brain just refuses to process any of this.
You get up, and stretch, then rummage through your closet for something to wear. A simple white sweater and skirt will do- formal enough to show that you're not fucking around, but informal enough that you can fight reasonably well in it. Which you fully expect to have to do.
You march out of your room, messenger bag slung over your shoulder, carrying all sorts of murder implements, chief among them your gun, and the letter, ensconced safely inside from prying eyes. Tewi is in the kitchen, eating breakfast. You think you'll stop for a moment and see how she's doing.
You seat yourself at the chair directly across from her. She refuses to meet your eyes. You just sit there, in silence, until after an exceedingly long, awkward silence, in which her cereal becomes soggier and soggier, when she finally breaks it. This also gives you time to ascertain that Kaguya is still asleep, and Eirin is off doing god-knows-what. “What do you want?”
“Did you tell anyone?”
She stares into her cereal bowl. “No.”
You nod. “Okay. I want you to look at something, and it might shock you, but don't worry just yet.” You dig around in your bag for your letter, and pass it across the table to her.
She picks it up, and while reading it, her face becomes whiter and whiter, her soggy cereal all but forgotten. “A-are you going to-”
You wave the concept away with your hand. “Of course not.”
“What happens if you don't?”
“Well... Kaguya, Eirin, and Mokou all die. The Hourai Elixir will stop working.”
“Wouldn't that just, you know, make them not immortal anymore?”
You nod. “But there's more. The first time they died, their life force was snuffed out, replaced by the Hourai Elixir's magic. So if that should be pulled, they don't have their own life force to replace it with.”
Tewi's voice is very tiny when she says her next words. “What... what are you going to do?”
You smile. “Why, Tewi, I'm going to lace up my fairy-stomping boots... and renegotiate.”
You stride out of Eientei, through the Bamboo Forest of the Lost, towards the Magic Forest, all the while singing a tune to yourself.
Fairy walks warily down the street,
With the brim pulled way down low
Ain't no sound but the sound of her feet,
Machine guns ready to go
Are you ready,
Are you ready for this
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat...
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I'm gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust...
As you're walking down the path, one of the fairies that you're going to make bite the dust pops out of the brush in front of you, and your hand instinctively goes to your gun. But it's only Cirno, and you relax. She's... well, a special case.
She dives at you in a big hug. “So I saw everything that happened at the Mansion!”
You're taken aback. She wasn't even there for the ball! “Wha- but how?”
Still hugging you, she looks up at you and smiles. “When you were there with Sanae, silly! And when Youmu was so mean to you!” She lets go of you and stomps the ground in a huff. “I don't like it when people make my friends sad!”
Wait. Wait, hold on. “Your friends?”
Cirno giggles. “Of course! You're my friend, Reisen! I like you a lot, you're nice, and a cool person! Almost as strong as me too! So I got you something.” She pulls out a letter, and hands it to you. “Go on, open it, open it!”
Confused as all hell, you open up the letter, and on thick vellum paper, in what looks like silvery crayon, is scrawled:
“You hav done bes at what we needed you to do! Youve ben a good freind to me and the other fairys tto2 too!
So I kno yu need anoter favor 4 Erin, Mokou, and Kagya! And Youmu was so meen to you!
She is yur next target! Gud luck, you have 3 days!~
You are looking at the letter, and back at her, and back at the letter, and back at her, in disbelief. “I, uh, what?”
Cirno claps her hands together happily. “I knew Youmu was being so mean to you, so I got you a present. I promise she won't be mean to you anymore, and then we can be done with the bargain. Everybody's happy! Except Youmu, I guess. Maybe she shouldn't have been so mean, then.”
“I, uh... huh.” You're completely baffled by this turn of events. Confusion puts a right proper damper on your righteous rage at Lily. “Uh, gee, thanks, Cirno. That was, uh, really nice of you.” And really kind of creepy, considering you're telling me to outright murder her in the happiest tone of voice.
She grins widely. “I knew you'd like my present!” She dives on you for another hug. You ruffle her hair awkwardly. Well, uh. Man. Wow. The fuck just happened?
She lets go of you, and flies off, waving at you, as you slowly wave back. “Good luck, Reisen! I know you can do this~!”
Just. Wow. Goddamn.
Still a little dazed and confused, you stumble into the familiar clearing in the Magic Forest, where Lily is busily writing away at a small desk carved from the trunk of a tree. You clear your throat, and she looks up at you, and smiles. “Ah! Just the person I wanted to see! You've saved me the trouble of delivering this.”
You smile, and lean against a nearby tree. “Is it a letter?”
“It is. Let me put on the finishing touches.” She writes daintily away. Today she's in her black dress, a change from her normal white dress. She dots the last dot majestically, and then flutters over to you, handing it to you to read. “I hope you don't mind not having a letter to unseal.”
You read the letter, put before you.
“Congratulations on a successful fulfillment of your second favor. One more, and our deal will be completed.
“Three days hence, we wish for a target to be eliminated. That target is Marisa.”
You finish reading it, and laugh. Lily frowns at you. “What's so funny?”
You are bent over laughing, tears coming from your eyes, gut hurting. After a few minutes of this, and ever-deepening frowns from Lily, you take a few deep breaths, and wipe the tears from your eyes, while you dig into your bag to show Lily the other two letters. She begins to read them. “Tewi? But I wouldn'- I would never, and Youmu? What's the goddamn point?” She frowns even deeper. “I am going to murder the two of them.”
You smile broadly at Lily. “Well, Lily. Looks like I'm spoiled for choice here.”
She scowls at you. “Ignore the other two letters. Take out Marisa.”
“And if I ignore yours and pick one of the others?”
She fumes silently for a moment, eyes closed. Then she growls, “...It'll still count.”
“Ha! Ahahahahahaha!” You're rolling on the ground laughing. “Oh my god, you can't even control your partners! Some brains of the operation, Lily. Well done. Well fucking done.”
Lily just scowls at you harder. If looks could kill, you'd be dead several times over. Shame for her that she can't. Only you can do that. She huffs, and flies off. “Fine! Fine, do as you please, rabbit! I don't give a damn! If you don't pick Marisa, good luck getting any help from me!”
Oh man did this day get so much better, so fast.
Seriously, a three-way tie on the voting for Youmu, Marisa, and Tewi? I had a plan for a two-way tie, but not this. But fuck it, WE'RE DOING THIS LIVE. Anyway, Kotohime update next update, and then actual voting options will follow.
Oh man I like how Cirno is trying to help her, in her deranged way.
Too bad Tewi didn't won, because then she would've really taken the bull by the horns. Now, she has the illusion of choice, so she will keep going, convinced that the only way out is to do exactly what she's told.
That's some out-of-the-box thinking eh?
>>168617 Somehow, I don't think it would.
Nothing says "Lunatic" like killing someone to prove that you don't have a thing for them anymore.
I'd have to say Marisa, if we plan on fucking shit up afterwards. Her death would really rally a lot of people against the fairies. Despite her annoying habit of borrowing stuff, she really is one of the most likable people in Gensokyo, and there's a whole lot of people that would be absolutely seething at her death.
And, honestly, she'd probably be the easiest to kill, Main Character status notwithstanding. She is just a human, after all.
Luna still needs an asskicking, though. Bitch tried to make us kill Tewi, and that shit just don't [i]fly[i].
>You roll out of your blanket burrito, letter crumpled in your hand. Then you consider that you still need to throw it in Lily's face, and it needs to be readable for full effect. So you uncrumple it and smooth it out. But that is a poor form for it to be thrown.
>You'll figure that out later.
Laughed my ass off.
>“Wouldn't that just, you know, make them not immortal anymore?”
>You nod. “But there's more. The first time they died, their life force was snuffed out, replaced by the Hourai Elixir's magic. So if that should be pulled, they don't have their own life force to replace it with.”
Man, Tewi sure has a horrible memory.
That all has been covered here, already:
>>167206 >“Wait, hold on. Wouldn't it just make them not immortal?”
>You nod. “It would. If they hadn't all essentially 'died' at least once already. You know Mokou and Kaguya have 'killed' each other multiple times. And Eirin sometimes tests some of the real dangerous stuff on herself. The thing that keeps them alive is the fae magic, as they've already snuffed out their own personal life force.” You shrug. “I'd imagine it doesn't feel any different.”
>She dives at you in a big hug. “So I saw everything that happened at the Mansion!”
>You're taken aback. She wasn't even there for the ball! “Wha- but how?”
>Still hugging you, she looks up at you and smiles. “When you were there with Sanae, silly! And when Youmu was so mean to you!” She lets go of you and stomps the ground in a huff. “I don't like it when people make my friends sad!”
But we did see her inbeween, already. And she didn't mention anthing, then! Here:
>>166552 >You reach a small clearing, lit dimly by the half-moon. There are two fairies waiting for you there. One is Cirno. “Hi, Reisen. Glad to see you.”
No matter what we do, we should hunt down Luna and bring her as a present to Tewi. She can then explain her decision to the rabbit.
>>168636 The ones that mention in each of them, "second favor", "next target", and other such things? The ones without any names written on them? In Gensokyo, where fairies are hardly taken seriously at the best of times?
Okay. Let's do that. See how it turns out, I think it'll be fun.
>>168680 "Behind the Camera for eight-hundred, Alex."
"This technique allowed film-makers to select and remove parts of a scene after filming."
"What is Editing?"
"Correct. When it was first implemented, they would literally cut unwanted frames out of the roll of film, with scissors."
>>168701 That was one of the first things I thought about. Yes, Reisen may be able to edit the video. No, we do not know if she is actually able to do that. Before we can leap onto this course of action, we have to know if doing that would be metagaming or not.
Well, since it's come to this, we need to know from the writer if we can try this out. However, I don't think it will work out for us; so what if we have hours of evidence detailing the fairy's plans, that won't save Mokou, Kaguya, and Eirin when the fairies terminate the contract.
>>168726 You are welcome to try any plans that come to mind. Granted, you may have missed the opportune moment for this particular plan (in my opinion), but that doesn't mean I'm going to bar you from doing it: you might have more in mind than I'm assuming. I DO have a plan in mind for the endgame, but it's always more satisfying for everyone involved if it is a plan you guys came up with.
That said, however, I've never established Reisen to have any video editing skills (mainly because such a plan wasn't one I had thought of, or considered plausible, at any time while planning/writing this story), mostly for the reasons that Lily laid out. So if this happens, it'd be an informed ability if it works (which I try to avoid), or, well, Reisen's an operator who operates operationally, not a video editor.
But don't let me discourage you from this. If it's what you guys want as a possible plan going ahead, I almost always leave write-in spots for a reason.
[x] I'm keeping this. I'll be back. You try to skip town, and I will break you.
I waggle the gun in her face. “I'm keeping this. If you try and disappear, I will find you. Remember last time you tried that? Didn't end so well for you. So my advice to you, Kisume, is make yourself available when I want to find you. Capisce?”
“Yeah, yeah, I got it,” Kisume grumbles.
“Good.” I drop the gun into the baggie that Nazrin is holding out for me. “I'll be seeing you real soon, then.”
Kisume just grumbles some more and tries to shoo me away.
Doesn't matter. Got a lead! Got a good lead. Kind of wishing I hadn't left the bullet in Reisen's care. I could have the gun checked out here and now. I'll get that from her if this turns out not to be the one that killed Sakuya. Maybe.
God, what I wouldn't give for a good non-suspect ballistics expert. Maybe I should talk to Nitori about it. She might know some stuff.
Parsee runs up to me from where she waited, after we've walked out of the alley, leaving Kisume behind. “That was so cool! But why did you leave her her opium?”
Shit. Fuck, goddamnit. Well. I wave my hand dismissively and say, “We've got more important things to deal with than her opium dealing. Hell, we'll see her again anyway. And we'll deal with it then.” The kid just rolls her eyes. Yeah, laugh it up, Nazrin.
“So where are we off to now?”
I laugh. “We?”
Parsee stomps her foot. “Yes, we! I won the rap battle, so I'm going with you!”
Okay not going over this shit again. “Fine. Whatever. It's nothing exciting, that I promise you. This isn't COPS.”
Parsee just stares. “What's that?”
I laugh. “Ask Kaguya or Rinnosuke. I'm sure they could fill you in.”
Nazrin brings the conversation back on topic. “So where are we going, Red?”
“We gotta go back to Eientei so you can have the bullet and the gun and do your thing.”
Nazrin nods. “'Aight. Let's go.”
You get back from your mission of cracking fairy heads, without cracking a single one. But the fact that their alliance seems to be showing some cracks, cracked you up. Okay. That's enough word abuse, Parliament.
As you're relaxing, turning over your options in your head, there's a knock on your door. You hop up, and walk over to the main entrance of Eientei, sliding the bamboo door open. Kotohime, Nazrin... and this is a surprise, Parsee Mizuhashi are all standing outside.
You're in entirely too good of a mood to be nervous. “What's up, Officer?”
“Could we look at the bullet casing we left in your care? We've got a gun that matches your description.” Kotohime holds up a bag, inside which is a Glock.
You nod, glad that suspicion has been deflected from you. I would feel much better if I knew who was deflecting it, though... “Sure. But why did you bring Parsee?”
Parsee glares at you. “What business is it to you?”
You shrug. “Just curious.”
Nazrin laughs. “Red lost a rap battle.”
Kotohime glares at Nazrin, as you try to stifle a laugh. “A rap battle. That's some ace investigative work, Kotohime. Or should I call you 'Red'?”
Kotohime switches her glare to you. “Laugh it up. Let's just get this over with, can we?”
A few moments later, the four of you are downstairs, in your kind-of-secret-hideout-thing. Tewi was nowhere to be seen, which is possibly a little worrying. Not much you can do about that now, though.
You open a small wall safe, and pull out the bullet casing, putting it on a large table. Kotohime sets the gun next to it. Parsee is standing off a little ways, trying to see everything. Nazrin is digging around in her bag for her dowsing rods.
Satisfied that this is the bullet casing she left with you, Kotohime backs off from the table, and nods to Nazrin. “Your show now, kid.”
Nazrin steps up to the table as you back off, and starts to wave her dowsing rods over the gun and casing, as she concentrates. You, Parsee, and Kotohime all keep quiet, Parsee trying to keep a lid on her excitement, Kotohime feigning boredom, and you trying to think of what the consequences are for you, whatever way it goes.
Honestly, you haven't got a goddamn clue. They didn't even tell you who their suspect is.
Nazrin lets out a deep breath, and sets down her dowsing rods. She turns to Kotohime. “I'm done.”
Kotohime rolls one finger in a 'get on with it' gesture.
[ ] “It's a match.”
[ ] “It's not a match.”
Select Reisen's action for after the fuzz leave:
[ ] Go find Mokou.
[ ] Go find Tewi.
[ ] Go get Sanae.
[ ] Write-in.
>[ ] “It's a match.”
>[ ] “It's not a match.”
Uh... doesn't Nazrin know? I doubt she resents Red's press-ganging her into being her sidekick enough to sabotage a murder investigation, so unless she's the one who, with some unknown motivation, planted the casing in the first place, I can't think of a reason she would lie.
I'll tentatively vote for her telling the truth in this case, unless someone else comes up with a good reason for her to do otherwise.
For the second part:
[x] Go find Mokou.
[x] Go find Tewi.
[x] Go get Sanae.
[x] In that order. Get Mokou, tell her what's going on and why it is in her best interests to help you, then bring her, Tewi, and Sanae together for a status update and a good old-fashioned war council.
>>168819 Of course she knows. There are three likely possibilities (as evidenced by Reisen suggesting three possible models of weapon), and regardless of the choice you select, Nazrin will be telling the truth either way. This just allows you to select what gun the bullet matches: there isn't a 'correct' variant other than the one you guys select.
[X] “It's a match.”
[X] Go find Tewi.
[X] Go get Sanae.
Tewi - Immediate threat, gotta find her and have a chat
Sanae - Give her some support, we've really been much less than good to her
For the love of gods, keep the two SEPARATE.
I can see Tewi and Sanae meeting only ending badly for us.
>>168820 Ah, I misunderstood what you were asking.
I've been awake too long to properly reason out the ramifications of each gun and whether this one matches, so I think I'll abstain from voting on that for the time being.
[x] “It's a match.”
[x] Go find Mokou.
[x] Go find Tewi.
[x] In that order. Get Mokou, tell her what's going on and why it is in her best interests to help you, then bring her, Tewi, and Sanae together for a status update and a good old-fashioned war council.
Nazrin nods. “It matches the gun.”
You watch as Kotohime claps her hands together. “Time for a little interrogation of our friend, kid.”
Nazrin just rolls her eyes. “Maybe you can make Parsee the good cop this time.”
Parsee squeals in delight. Kotohime is nowhere near as enthused. “Oh, God, please no.” She turns to you. “Thanks, Reisen. I'll be needing to take the casing for evidence. I also expect you to be on hand as both a ballistics expert, and a suspect.”
A suspect? Well, hopefully whoever did this gets them off my trail... You bow gracefully. “You are always welcome here, Officer.”
Kotohime smiles. Maybe... just maybe this will work. Thank you, whoever you are.
Kotohime, Nazrin, and Parsee have all left Eientei, to go and track down their new prime suspect. The best part about a new prime suspect is that it isn't you anymore, but you feel a little uncomfortable at the prospect of someone being thrown under the bus to protect yourself. You'll worry about that later, maybe. Right now, you've got to get to making a war council.
You walk out into the bamboo forest, until the shape of Eientei is nothing but a memory, somewhere you can't hear it at all. The fresh air is good for thinking. Tewi will probably follow you out here soon... and then you'll go and get Sanae. But first...
There is a girl, with long white hair bound in a ponytail with a ribbon, white shirt, red pants and suspenders, cigarette in hand, sitting on a rock, seemingly waiting for you. “What's up, Doc?”
You frown at her. That was really bad. “Mokou.”
She leans back, stretching her legs, a thin finger of smoke coming from the lit end of her cigarette. “So what can I do you for?” Mokou is smiling knowingly.
“I... need your help.”
She takes a drag on her cigarette. “Shee-it, you want more help?”
You're taken aback by this. “More?”
Mokou laughs. “Well, come on, Reisen, who do you think nicked the bucket girl's gun, and placed an empty casing by the body you made, and then got the gun back to her place before she noticed?”
Now you're straight up shocked. “That was you?”
“Yeah. Reckon I would let you have a chance to explain yourself to me before they clap you in irons, Reisen. Saw you running out of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. Knew it was you under that rabbit mask in an instant. I know you don't like me, but that don't mean I can't look out for you from time to time.”
“You were at the party?”
Mokou laughs. “What, you didn't see me there?”
You shake your head. “No... I was a little preoccupied.”
“I suppose you were. So, what d'ya need?”
You take a deep breath. “Well... about Sakuya... that's kind of what I wanted to find you and ask for your help on.”
“Aw, shit. Don't tell me you ain't got a good reason to do what you did?”
You sit down on a rock across from her. “Well, it's like this. You know the Hourai Elixir that makes you immortal?”
“I do,” Mokou affirms.
“What would you say if I told you that it wasn't Eirin's science, but faerie magic that makes it work?”
She leans back, looking up at the sky, thinking for a few moments. “Guess it makes sense. Them fairies and the three of us are the only ones that don't die when we're killed.” She sits back up and looks you straight in the eye. “Shit, even gods can be killed, if'n you know how. Yukari just cheats the borders n' shit to not die in the first place. So what's this mean to me?”
“I bargained with the fairies for it. And this is kind of why I've never liked you, but... now that I've been thinking about it, it's not your fault. You weren't supposed to ever have had any of the Elixir- you drank what I had hoped to get to Tewi.”
She scratches her head. “Makes sense.” She taps the cigarette, ashes falling from the tip. She pulls out another one. “Want one?” You shake your head. “Suit yourself.” She lights it off of her old one, and replaces it. “So what's this got to do with me?”
“Well, I traded with the fairies for that, for three favors in the future. That future is now. I traded for three lives, and they're collecting.”
Mokou shrugs. “So what? Ya tell 'em to go fuck themselves, they ain't getting what they bargained for. They can't take away the Elixir.”
You swallow. “Well... they kind of can. The deal isn't finalized. If I don't do what they ask, they'll remove the magic that makes the Elixir work. You, Eirin, and Kaguya will all die.”
The cigarette drops from her mouth. “Shit.” She picks it up. “Shit, fuck.” She puts it back in her mouth. “Goddamnit.” A pause. “So that's why you killed Sakuya.” She eyes you suspiciously. “Bet you took out Toyosatomimi, too.” You nod, wordlessly. “Well, fuck. Who's next?”
“Well, they kind of fucked this one up. I can take out Marisa, Youmu... or Tewi.”
Mokou sucks air in between her teeth. “Well, I can tell ya right now that you don't want to be takin' on Marisa. Even if you succeed, Reimu, and more importantly, Alice, will never leave you alone. They'll straight up murder ya.” She ticks one finger up. “Then there's Youmu. I dunno how that'd even work. Is she even alive?”
You shrug. “Half ghost.”
Mokou shakes her head, and shrugs. “And then you'd have to find her. You're right fucked if she's in the Netherworld. Ya gotta die to get there. Or bribe the river shinigami. And then she knows what ya done.”
You shake your head. “But I don't want to kill Tewi.”
Mokou looks past you. “Speaking of. Tewi, c'mere, have a seat with us.”
Tewi walks up from behind you. She managed to get there silently without you hearing her. Maybe that's why she can always surprise you. She sits next to Mokou, and Mokou puts her arm companionably around her. “We were just talkin' about ya. Reisen's gotta kill someone, but she doesn't want to whack you.”
Tewi just stares at Mokou nervously. “Thank God.”
“But then ya gotta take into account that whackin' Marisa's a really bad idea. And killin' Youmu might need her to die first. Can't be havin' that. So...”
Tewi turns a very, very pale white.
“Ya ever died before, Tewi?”
“N-no...” she stutters.
Mokou smiles very savagely. “Ya wanna try it?”
[ ] Go with Mokou's plan.
[ ] Wait. Find Sanae first.
[ ] Write-in.
I hate to not explain things to you, given that this is a CYOA where informed choices are really important, but I also want the plan to be a secret and surprise you if you guys don't think of one yourselves. But it will be awesome, I promise! Pinky swear.
>>168873 >Mokou laughs. “Well, come on, Reisen, who do you think nicked the bucket girl's gun, and placed an empty casing by the body you made, and then got the gun back to her place before she noticed?”
And she claims not to have known about the fairies?
That looks like total bullshit to me, considering:
>>166242 >“Did you manage to take care of it all unseen, Cirno?”
>“Yep! I'm the sneakiest!”
>“Great. That should lead the investigation towards....”
Not to mention, was Kisume even at the party? If not, doing all that stuff without preparing for it before the murder is virtually impossible.
So, is this some kind of oversight, or is it really supposed to look as freakishly suspicious, as it does?
The one thing I have learned from reading the Dresden files is that any deals made with faeries are always taken literaly if you can screw with the outcome yet maintain the literal meaning of the deal it's considered fair game after all it was never said it had to be a permanent death just implied and with fae magic implications are your best friend as they were never stated as part of the deal.
The original plan was for Luna to be the one behind the bullet casing. That changed somewhere along the way, and I had completely forgotten about that particular line. So, yeah, oversight. Congratulations on knowing my story better than I do!
(Though I think that's really the first major plot-hole style thing I've done?)
Anyway, yes, both Kisume and Mokou were at the party. Mokou would have been who you met down in the tunnels if you went that way. Kisume was also there as part of the original plan, but damned if I can remember where. I don't have the notes for the SDM portion on me at the moment.
If my memory is serving me correctly, anyone that crosses the border into the netherworld is considered dead...and it was noted that hourai immortals find an impenetrable barrier at that border, implying that at least one has tried it...
Well, we wouldn't necessarily have to enter the Netherworld to get to Youmu. She obviously leaves on errands fairly often, or else we wouldn't have made a notorious fool of ourself confessing to her all the time.
I think I see what Mokou's driving at, but this is ultimately up to Tewi. Basically, if we stop Tewi's heart, that counts as killing her, right? Then we revive her afterwards, which is something completely independant of the bargain.
It's not a bad thought (if that's what she's driving at) but will Tewi go for it? Her trust of us is really being pushed to the limit.
[x] What do you mean by that?
-[x] Get Mokou to explain her plan.
-[x] Is Tewi willing to go along with it?
-[x] If so, can Sanae's miracle abilities help out in any way?
There's probably about a billion problems with this plan, but it's all that I've got.
>>168898 >>168903 Look, I can explain it. Really I can. But it'd kind of ruin the surprise. Do you want that? If you really want that, I can do that. As for Sanae, well, you can go ask her if you want.
>>168895 Remind me that this post is a thing when we're done. I have words about it that I can't say right now.
>>168904 Based on my judgement that Mokou is about to do something extremely drastic which will allow Tewi to come back from the dead, will it involve a lot of blood and gore on Mokou's part, if you know what I mean?
Mokou just laughs, as Tewi is whiter than a ghost, shaking like a leaf. “Aw, it's alright, Tewi. Promise I won't let anything bad happen to you.”
“B-but you said we'd be trying having me d-die!” she sputters.
“What, ya think dyin's that bad?” Mokou scratches her head. “Guess it could be painful if ya go about it the wrong way.” She slaps Tewi on the back and smiles at her. “It's okay, though. Bullet to the head's about one of the least painful ways to go. I should know.”
“Wait, hold on, wait one damn minute!” you interject. “I'm not shooting Tewi!”
Mokou smiles again, all marble white, with those pointed canines. “Are you sure? Ya ain't been playin' to your strengths, Reisen. Just listen to me, and I promise the both of ya will get through this alright. Now, we just need to nick a few things from Eirin, she won't be missing them...”
It's a dark night. The moon is a sliver, a waning crescent. The new moon is only a day or two away- your path is lit by mere starlight, the silver of the moon a mere pittance. Tewi's hand is in your own, cold and clammy, but not shaking. A cold wind blows, shaking the trees ominously.
It smells like rain, but so far, tonight has been dry.
The two of you meet a fairy on the path. She is sitting upon a stump, all ringlets and gossamer wings, ribbons and bows.
You bow to her, slightly, though not taking your eyes off of her. “Luna.”
She curtseys, a smile spreading over her face, tinged with a hint of mania. “Reisen. I see you brought a friend.”
“What is she talking about?” Tewi interjects.
You wave it off. “Don't worry about it.”
“Don't worry about it.” Luna laughs, a sound that you've come to hate. “What a terrible lie. Do you have to lie to the poor girl, Reisen?”
“I'm not lying, Luna.”
She shrugs. “Then get it over with already.”
You drop Tewi's hand. “Get what over wi-” but her voice is drowned out by the roar of the .45, fired at near point-blank range. Tewi spins and collapses, a spreading pool of red under her, turned black by the darkness of the night.
Luna just laughs. Laughs, and laughs, and laughs. Like the pealing of bells. It's all you can do to not put one in her head. “Are you satisfied?”
Luna stops laughing. “No. I am not. Not yet.” She runs a hand through her ringlets. “I must make sure she is actually deceased.”
You are staring daggers at her, making sure you don't break eye contact. “Then get on with it.” Your hand tightens around the grip of your gun.
She smiles at you, curtseys again, and dances over to where Tewi lays. “This is just perfect, Reisen. I didn't expect to get to watch you do it, not like this. It's beautiful, really.” You stay silent. “I've always hated you, you know, Reisen.” She chuckles. “Well, maybe not always. Certainly since I had to be your handler. Can't even do things for yourself. Oh, and I've delivered the rifle to Eientei. Hope you find it before someone else does.” She did do that. You found it already, and stashed it away, and nobody but Mokou saw you with it.
Luna dips a finger in the pool of blood, and licks it off her finger. “Delicious. Are you crying yet, Reisen? That would be the perfect accompaniment.” She looks up at you, and sees your face nothing but barely controlled rage. “No tears? A shame. Salt goes well with the tang of iron, so I've found.”
She puts a hand under Tewi's nose. “Not breathing.” Pokes Tewi in the eye. “Nope. Still nothing.” She picks up Tewi's wrist and feels for a pulse. “Aaaaand... nothing. Well done, Reisen.”
“So are we square now?”
Luna thinks for a moment, and smiles. “Yes. I believe we are. I'd much rather have seen you in despair instead of so angry, but I suppose the despair will come over the next few days. Our bargain is concluded.”
“Good.” You extend a hand down to Tewi, who takes it, and stands up.
Luna's mouth falls open.
Tewi just smiles at her, blood running down both sides of her head. “Jesus Christ, Reisen. That was loud as hell.” She rubs her temples. “And now my head hurts.”
“B-but how? You weren't breathing!”
“I held my breath. Duh.”
“And I poked you in the eye!”
“And it hurt.” She pokes Luna in the eye, and she yelps in pain, and steps backward. “See?”
“B-but you had... had no pulse!”
Tewi smiles in that way she always does when she pulls a particularly good prank. “I'll let Reisen answer that one.”
You laugh. “Yeah, about that, Luna. Mokou told me I hadn't been playing to my strengths. You know what my strengths are?”
Luna spits at your feet. “Killing people and being stupid.”
You roll your eyes. “Besides that.”
Luna just glares at you.
You flick her in the forehead. “Illusions. You were so interested in seeing me break down, you kept looking at me. Looking me in the eyes. It's much, much harder for me to maintain an illusion for touch. But you kept re-establishing contact. Kept re-establishing the illusion.”
“But the blood! It was so real! It tasted real!”
Tewi smiles. “Oh, it is real. It's even mine, too. You know, authenticity and all that. We drew some of my blood earlier today. Put it in small bags taped to the side of my head, under this shaggy mop. Reisen had a small, very, very small explosive, like one of those popper things, in the bags, remote activated by her trigger. She pulls trigger, blood bags explode, and I do my best collapsing act!” She lays a hand across her forehead dramatically. “I feel so faint, Luna. I do believe I'm coming down with a case of the vapors!”
Luna's face is a contorted mask of rage. “You SHOT her!”
You toss the gun up in the air idly and catch it. “Luna, do you know anything about guns?” A silent glare. “Do you know what a blank is?”
Her voice comes, in the manner of a person dragging themselves across broken glass. “...No.” Being outwitted seems to be extremely painful for her. Serves her right.
“Not all bullets have to, you know, actually fire bullets. This one just has the light, the sound, the smoke. Hell, everything but the bullet. The only actual illusion I used on you was for Tewi's heartbeat.”
“Bitch,” Luna grumbles. “You broke our deal.”
You laugh. “Oh, the deal that you said was finished earlier? The contract you completed? Ain't shit about it you can do now.”
Her face says you've got the complete truth of it. “Bitch,” she growls again.
You frown at her. “That's not a very nice word.”
“I loathe you, Reisen.”
You smile, and put the barrel of your gun against her head. “Don't care.” You pull the trigger. The second bullet you had loaded was certainly not a blank.
Tewi spits on Luna's temporary corpse. “Do you know just how goddamn long it's going to take to get the blood out of my dress? Bitch.”
You take Tewi's hand, and the two of you walk home to Eientei, as it begins to rain. A soothing, warm rain.
There will be an epilogue, tying together the dangling plot threads, Sanae chief among them. There will also be more :words: about the fairies' motivations, which I wish I had handled better. Finally, I'll also break down what I think I did right and what I think I can improve. If you've got feedback, I'd love to hear it. And now all questions are fair game- nothing left for me to spoil.
>>168988 Also now that I'm thinking of it I may as well tell you WHY you got this ending:
-Reisen was essentially not a dick. Bonus points.
-You guys tried to confess to literally EVERYONE. Seriously literally EVERYONE. So from that comes a plan from someone who's not Reisen (because Mokou (and maybe Sanae a little) was my original plan to be the person Reisen broke down and confessed to. That never really happened, I guess. We missed literally every single point for that, except the end.)
- You guys kind of sort of came up with a plan? But nobody ever actually tried to push it and make it a thing. I'm kind of lukewarm on that, I still really wish I'd been able to write a plan you guys came up with.
- This was essentially a combination of the two-way tie and Tewi vote endings: how it ended was pretty much chosen by the vote for the third favor. The first and second favors were blueprints for how Reisen would handle the third favor. It was never intended for there to be a long, drawn-out third favor (unless you guys ended up going with taking out Marisa/Youmu, then it'd be more like the second favor all over again.) Which would have become more of an option if you'd decided to talk to Sanae first: her recommendation would have been Youmu, while Tewi would have recommended Marisa. Of course, more explicit and confirmation choice after the first one, kind of like how you had the immediate choice to implement Mokou's plan or go and talk to Sanae.
Anyway, tl;dr: third favor was always going to be on rails, due to Reisen's handling of it being mostly determined by how she acted during the first, and more importantly, the second favor.
>>168991 There is one. That's the main thrust of the epilogue. Same update schedule for it, the main difference being that I think there is only one reader choice for it. It's still an important one, though.
Also I didn't think it was too somber overall? I tried to make it... well, shit I guess it was. I have got to get better at black humor. Anyway. Needs improvement, that's for sure.
>>168986 >Pokes Tewi in the eye. “Nope. Still nothing.”
I am surprised that she didn't outright poke out the eye. Too yucky for Luna, or something?
Dessecrating the corpse seems like a good idea to torment Reisen further, after all.
The jig would likely have been up. And an eye gone, on top of that.
I am not sure, how reparable the latter is, in your setting.
>“So are we square now?”
>Luna thinks for a moment, and smiles. “Yes. I believe we are. I'd much rather have seen you in despair instead of so angry, but I suppose the despair will come over the next few days. Our bargain is concluded.”
So, not only could Cirno have specified, that the third favor was to kill some bug (not Wriggle), she could also have just proclaimed the bargain concluded on the spot?
>You toss the gun up in the air idly and catch it.
>The second bullet you had loaded was certainly not a blank.
Reisen demonstrates how not to hadle a gun. Especially a loaded gun. Loaded with a live round, to boot.
>You smile, and put the barrel of your gun against her head.
So, another blank round would have sufficed, especially as she can't kill the fairy for real, anyway.
It has been a nice story, when all is said and done.
I found some parts needlessly drawn-out and distracting - especially the dream sequences, which had little-to-no connection to the plot or mood of the rest of the story and thus felt largely superfluous.
Other then that, I enjoyed Reaisen's character and her emotional rollercoaster through grimdarkness and puffy clouds of love quite a lot.
It's a shame, that the fairies did not have - could not have had, due to the nature of the game mechanic - any coherent goal in mind.
That said, the players having been their own worst enemy was recompense enough, though that angle could have been played up a bit more, I feel:
Reisen did not rage that she has been arbitratily forced to kill Sakuya, when Lily all but admitted that Patchouli would have been a equally good choice, for their purposes, for example.
And while the players controled both - the favours and Reisen's action - there is no IC connection at all. The dreams and associated memories of Reisen's past could have been used to reinforce the theme of "it's all your fault".
Also, I did not like the uniform moralistic perspective:
Nobody seems to consider
1) that immortality in exchange for a mortal life is a bargain,
2) that with Sakuya dead, it's three immortal lives vs. one mortal, or
3) that death is apparently not (always) such a bad thing in this setting.
And the whole fairy conspiracy plot makes little sense, seeing as they
1) can use the great equalizer themselves,
2) are really weak in a direct fight,
3) have no power over Reisen, once the deal is concluded, while she - and almost everyone else - can hurt them just fine and
4) have no plan to in place to eliminate her or any allies she has aquired.
As it is, they have had almost no chance of escaping vengeance from the very start, no matter in what way the plot developed.
Instead, they should have
1) remained anonymous, somehow,
2) forced their chosen operative into perpetual servitude by lawyering, or
3) forbidden Reisen to inform others about the deal, as a part of the deal.
>>169007 I think you guys are underestimating the epilogue: we've still got a fair few updates to go. The reason the last update was the "end" is mostly because that was the last time you could have a significant impact on the story, and is the beginning of one of the planned ends. Maybe I shouldn't have put "fin" there.
Now that you're done shitting all over everyone's hopes and dreams, mind telling us what the contract actually fucking says?
>given that this is a CYOA where informed choices are really important
GEE IT SURE IS A SHAME YOU'VE LIED TO EVERY FUCKING PERSON READING THIS SINCE THE START OF THE FIRST THREAD THEN, HUH
>>169030 Tell you what. Let's make a deal, you and me. Set the tinfoil hat down. Leave it off for at least a week. I did promise that I would explain what would have happened with the bargain had you chosen otherwise earlier.
But as a more direct answer to your question: >>157288.
>>169003 I really do appreciate the well-thought-out criticism, really I do. This was A Bad Story from my perspective as far as quality goes, but it's an important step to writing A Good Story.
>Also, I did not like the uniform moralistic perspective:
>Nobody seems to consider
>1) that immortality in exchange for a mortal life is a bargain,
>2) that with Sakuya dead, it's three immortal lives vs. one mortal, or
>3) that death is apparently not (always) such a bad thing in this setting.
You are about at least half correct. I completely didn't think of 1 at all. 2 I did consider, and would have brought more of it to bear, should it have been necessary. I'll explain more about that when I talk about some of the possible 'bad' endings. This ending isn't finished yet. I really shouldn't have put 'fin' there. As for 3? I completely agree with you. In fact, I made reference to that, however small, with Eiki's mention of what happened with Toyosatomimi. There will be more on that point, though.
>And the whole fairy conspiracy plot makes little sense, seeing as they
>1) can use the great equalizer themselves,
...I am incredibly surprised that I did not even give this a passing thought until you mentioned it just now. Seriously, wow. I guess I am so used to the stories I've read about fae and their preferences for cats' paws. But yes. Certainly the fairies could have done that. Less competently than Reisen, but still a possibility.
>2) are really weak in a direct fight,
>3) have no power over Reisen, once the deal is concluded, while she - and almost everyone else - can hurt them just fine and
As for the 'everyone else' bit, well, their plan for that was 'make Reisen entirely to blame, or hide the blame entirely'. Of course, Luna didn't even consider that Reisen would strike back at all, in her arrogance. Though what is a bullet to a fairy? Like Mokou said, it's one of the less painful ways to go.
>4) have no plan to in place to eliminate her or any allies she has aquired.
Lily is very good at improvising. That's all I will say for now.
>As it is, they have had almost no chance of escaping vengeance from the very start, no matter in what way the plot developed.
Escaping vengeance from Reisen? Probably not, but they didn't consider her that much of a threat to them, given that they considered her mentally weak and easily controlled. Everyone else? Oh, yes, they considered it. Who expects something like this from fairies?
>Instead, they should have
>1) remained anonymous, somehow,
This would have required forethought and pre-planning on the fairies' part for making the bargain. The bargain was a boon that fell into their laps, completely unexpectedly, and Lily scrambled to get what she did out of it. Anonymity would be a lot to ask for her. Sure, it'd have been smart to only have one face for the fairies, but... she just didn't think of that in the heat of the moment.
>2) forced their chosen operative into perpetual servitude by lawyering, or
This was actually a possible end. I will put more words towards it later.
>3) forbidden Reisen to inform others about the deal, as a part of the deal.
Again, entirely not enough planning by the fairies for that. They were scrambling just as much as Reisen was, when she asked for the bargain. They were just better at hiding it from Reisen, than Reisen was of hiding it from them.
>>169003 Hurf. I forgot to address the first part of your post as well.
>Pokes Tewi in the eye. “Nope. Still nothing.”
>I am surprised that she didn't outright poke out the eye. Too yucky for Luna, or something?
>Dessecrating the corpse seems like a good idea to torment Reisen further, after all.
Luna just didn't think of it. She had planned to do precisely that, after she confirmed Tewi's death, but things did not go as planned for her. She was expecting to get shot for that, which is why she was so cavalier about making Reisen angry.
>The jig would likely have been up. And an eye gone, on top of that.
>I am not sure, how reparable the latter is, in your setting.
With Eirin as a doc? Entirely.
>“So are we square now?”
>Luna thinks for a moment, and smiles. “Yes. I believe we are. I'd much rather have seen you in despair instead of so angry, but I suppose the despair will come over the next few days. Our bargain is concluded.”
>So, not only could Cirno have specified, that the third favor was to kill some bug (not Wriggle), she could also have just proclaimed the bargain concluded on the spot?
I did not consider this. Lily and Luna would not have given her an out like this, as you guessed. Cirno simply would not have thought of it. Neither did anyone else, I suppose. When Lily clarified, she clarified very specifically.
>You toss the gun up in the air idly and catch it.
>The second bullet you had loaded was certainly not a blank.
>Reisen demonstrates how not to hadle a gun. >Especially a loaded gun. Loaded with a live round, to boot.
Stupid rabbit indeed. Who taught you to play with your gun like that, Private!" IT SURE AS SHIT WASN'T ME!
>You smile, and put the barrel of your gun against her head.
>So, another blank round would have sufficed, especially as she can't kill the fairy for real, anyway.
>>169031 >But as a more direct answer to your question: >>157288.
But Rabbit, that doesn't answer my question at all. For the entire duration of this story I have assumed that 'Three favors owed, for three lives traded. For a life thrice, a poor little rabbit must repay in kind.' was the bargain. You've made very clear that this is not, nor has it ever been, the case.
I'll ask again. I know you're pretending that it's some Schroedinger's plot device bullshit but I don't care.
What is the exact wording of the verbal contract that Luna declared Reisen has fulfilled?
I don't get why this is still a big deal. The language of the deal depended on our initial choices way back during the beginning. You would think the people on this site with its VN tropes and routes would be able to follow the choice progression of such a short story.
>>169041 >The language of the deal depended on our initial choices
No, the initial choices depended on the language of the deal. In fact, ALL the choices depended on the language of the deal. The players were making decisions based on the information provided to them.
Seriously, go back and read the first thread; nobody pipes up with 'hey lets just refuse to cooperate and see what happens'. And yes, Rabbit does give us an option to vote for to do that; nobody votes for it. Nobody even discusses it. I don't know about everyone else, but when I saw that option I thought 'gee he couldn't make that bad end any more obvious if he tried'. I assumed this because the bargain made it very clear to me that if Reisen did not complete all three favours, then Eirin, Kaguya and Mokou would ALL die.
>>169044 Then why are you prancing around saying ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS REFUSE THE DAMN FAVOUR, CJ when that could never have happened?
While I sympathise with the view you're taking (I too would have loved it if the deal was more clear at the start), Jesus christ man calm the fuck down. Rabbit has admitted she made mistakes in making this story: it's not like she did it to screw you on purpose.
>>169051 >Eiki shakes her head in disappointment. “No. Why would they toss away such a prize as you immediately?
>You could have easily gotten a good end if you'd only made a choice you had no justifiable reason to make, either in-character or out.
This, primarily, is what I'm taking issue with; not just being misled, but having the fact that I was misled shoved in my face like it's something worthy of praise.
Except Rabbit stated that it was a deliberate course of action, planned out before even writing the first post.
>>169053 Oh no my actions on the internet are tarnishing my reputation whatever shall I do.
I am angry at what Rabbit has done. I am going to express that anger. I apologise if this offends you but this is the internet; be glad I'm not just spamming furry cosplay scat fetishists all over the place.
>>169055 I'm going to copy/paste this from my /gensokyo/ thread:
>It's not the "best" path. It would be a different story entirely. Please, please stop saying it's the best path. It wasn't and it isn't.
I don't know what else to tell you. I've still got an epilogue and explaining-things-post to do. Save it for after that, at least.
Okay what the fuck just happened? How in the world did the third favor suddenly abruptly conclude like that? I mean for pete's sake, it was like a random climax! Three or so updates of Mokou, and done. It just feels...too easy! Somehow I feel cheated out of a satisfactory ending...
Bang. “This court is adjourned.” With those words, you, and the rest of the court attendees file out of the courtroom, and the prisoner is led away, a guilty verdict having been brought against her for the murder of one Sakuya Izayoi. You walk over to one of the glass-roofed patios that the courtroom has, and just stare out into the snow. You feel someone come to stand next to you.
“Nah, kid. She's off being distracted for the moment. I just wanted to talk to you myself, about this,” Kotohime says.
“The Izayoi case? But Kisume was found guilty for that.”
Kotohime steps up beside you, and pulls out a cigarette. “You mind, or want one?”
You shake your head. “No to both, I guess.”
“Alright.” She lights it, and takes a long drag. “I still don't believe Kisume did it.”
“Then why'd you take her to trial?”
Kotohime shakes her head. “Doesn't work that way. Not my decision. I'm only a cop, not the prosecutor.”
“You still think I did it.”
Kotohime nods, staring out the same window you are. “Yup. That's kind of why I wanted you called as the ballistics expert. Maybe, just maybe, you'd slip up.”
You smile at her reflection in the glass. “But I didn't kill her.”
Kotohime switches the cigarette from one side of her mouth to the other, and studiously avoids making eye contact with your reflection. “Who can say? And the Toyosatomimi case is unsolved now, too. Makes the whole department look bad.”
“I thought the whole department was just you.”
“Nah. The kid's been brought on full-time. She does good forensic work.”
The two of you stand in companionable silence for a few minutes, the smoke of Kotohime's cigarettes weaving in and out of the sunbeams. “So why the push for prosecution, if you didn't think Kisume did it?”
Kotohime sighs. “The Scarlets were leaning on the prosecutor to hang someone for this. Remilia did not take very well to having her favorite head maid killed. Hell, Reisen, the kid's going to swing for this. Murder one's not something people forget about.”
You nod. “So what's your theory on the motive, if you think the Izayoi and the Toyosatomimi case are related?”
“That's a good question.” She takes a long drag. “Well, it's odd. Their two targets really antagonized some people. The Taoists were new faces around here, what with the recent resurrection of Prince Shotoku, or some name like that. And someone whacks her right after? Smells of an arranged hit. The Taoists are not happy. They're at the throats of the Buddhists- they're the ones that are the immediate target, anyway. Then there's Sakuya. Murdering her pissed Remilia off. But that's not the main thrust of their plan, no. They take out Sakuya. Meiling's best friend. Meiling is overcome with rage, and so is Flandre. But Flandre doesn't have Meiling to lean on this time, because Meiling doesn't want to calm down. That smacks of big-ass incident right there.” She scratches her head. “But that's kind of half-assing it. You've got two groups on the brink of incidents, and you've got two competent mikos and an ordinary witch to handle it. But.” She taps the ash off her cigarettes. “Like I said, half-assed. What's to gain here? We go back to status quo, and nothing's changed. Sure, there's some bad feelings, but... So I get the feeling there was supposed to be a third hit.”
You nod. “Who, then?”
She looks at your reflection, her scarlet eyes meeting yours. “Probably one of the mikos. I'd guess at that point the ones ordering the hits would have someone to take the fall. So the other two would be hard at work 'pacifying' the hitman, while the Scarlets and the Taoists become even more unstable. Hell, it would have been the biggest mess we've seen in a long time. It'd have been hellbound to spill past the spellcard rules in short order. Someone's got a grudge against the current state of affairs, and big time.”
You realize that you've never quite realized just what Lily's plans were with the hits she assigned you. Maybe Kotohime's right. Suddenly, you're very, very glad that you did not decide to take out Marisa. “Who has a grudge like that, though?”
Kotohime shrugs. “There are a few, but they're not power players. Most people harbor a little resentment to one of the mikos or to Marisa for something or other.”
You smile again. “What would you say if I told you it was the fairies?”
Kotohime pauses, looking out the window at the falling snow. “I'd say they probably have the motive. But fairies organizing and pulling off something like this? Well. Maybe, but I doubt it.” Kotohime looks away from your reflection.
“Yeah. The fairies wouldn't be able to organize something like that, I'm sure.” You'd almost believe it yourself, too, if you didn't know so much better.
The moment ends, as Sanae walks into the room, and just hugs you from behind. Kotohime chuckles. “I'll just show myself out, then.”
The two of you, you and Sanae, have been together 'officially' for the last three months or so. Since you've finished with that hectic favor schedule, the two of you have had more time to see each other. Of course, Sanae is still busy trying to defuse the incidents the fairies nearly set up- but she's handling the Taoist side of things, not the Scarlet side of things. That's Reimu and Marisa. Faith for faith, and power for power, you suppose.
Marisa still tries to get together with Reimu on the side, while Alice threatens to murder her every time. It never actually comes to that, though.
Kotohime continues to go over both the Izayoi and Toyosatomimi cases- cases which are officially closed for now.
As for Eientei, not much changes. Eirin and Kaguya continue to do what they normally do, but Mokou is seen inside much more often, as you happily feed her now. Eirin remarks on how she's happy the two of you have become friends. You're maybe a little more protective of Tewi, but she seems a little distant from you. The fact that you've murdered two people does tend to widen a gulf.
Some nights you dream. It's not really a good dream. These are dreams with just you and Eiki, alone. But she's seated at the bench. Dressed for judgement.
“Reisen Udongein Inaba.
“You murdered two people. This is a fact. There are, however, considerations to be weighed.
“You did this for your family. You did this in exchange for three lives. You managed to do this with merely two, but by suborning the spirit of a binding contract. You merely adhered to the letter of a contract.
“But you also let an innocent take your place when judgement came.
“Oh, I understand that she is not entirely innocent. Her record comes with spots all its own. But such an action does have consequences, Reisen. I hope you are not ignorant of this fact.
“In all, judging you leaves me at a bit of a quandary. But I have come to a verdict.
“I pronounce you guilty of the aforementioned crimes. The sentence will be-” and there she bangs her gavel, but at that point, you always wake up. It's just a dream, though. Maybe you shouldn't put too much stock in it. Most nights you just go back to sleep, cuddling Sanae that little bit tighter. She needs you, Sanae. It may not be the least dysfunctional relationship, but at least you're happy. You could never leave Sanae. It would make her such a sad girl. And Sanae is a good girl. You'd hate to make her sad again.
The cell is made of rough stone, the iron bars rusted. It leaks from the ceiling, and the insulation is crap for winter. The food is shit, and the shitter is shit. Worst of all, you're here for a crime you didn't even commit. Sure, you've committed a fair few crimes. But murder one? You never thought you'd hang for that. Your rap sheet didn't help your case. The prosecution didn't care about your pleas. They weren't interested in a plea bargain. Even their evidence was flimsy as hell. Anyone could have seen it was a setup, a framing, a screw-job. But when that bunny girl gave her 'expert testimony', you could see it sway the judge, in the least pleasant of ways.
And so here you rot, in a black prison cell, waiting for your rope, and ticket to hell.
They didn't even let you keep your bucket.
The cell block door opens. This is odd- the jailer had gone home a while ago after dinner, and normally doesn't come back until morning. It's the middle of the night, and they didn't even leave you a light.
Delicate footsteps on stone echo through the room. You catch a glimpse of gossamer wings.
“Who the fuck are you?” you growl.
“A friend. You seem to be in an unenviable position.”
“No shit, Sherlock. I'm going to be hanged within the week for a crime I didn't commit.”
“Well. That is quite a problem.”
You just spit at her.
“That is uncalled for. I said I'm here as a friend.”
You laugh scornfully. “What, you going to be my mercy angel?”
You see her smile, pearly whites in the darkness of the room. “I could be. Or, I could let you out.”
“I do not bullshit, Kisume.” She holds up a key. “This is the key to your cell door.”
“Well then, if you're going to free me, either shit or get off the pot. I'm not here for your cryptic witticisms.”
“Yes, well, I intend to do that. But I can't do that for free.”
You scowl at her. “So what's the catch, then?”
“Oh, we can strike a deal. All I need is you to repay the favor you'll owe me...”
>>169058 >Reisen actually allowing Kisume to take the fall
Wow Rabbit I didn't think you could get any worse.
So much for my 'cop to the murders, accept the death penalty, and beg Eiki to reincarnate the Favour victims' plan.
And so much for player input, consistent characterisation, and plot developments that actually make sense.
Well, there might be a particularly vocal naysayer, but I really lied this story, Rabbit. That people were so worked up over Sakuya's death shows just how good you are at characterization. Maybe some mistakes were made, but that's all a learning experience.
Overall, I enjoyed this story a lot. I'm looing forward to your next one.
Just keep in mind a few things:
Endings are uncommon so we have above-average expectations for them. So, try to make them bigger: beat around the bush a little, put a few artifical problems and obstacles here and there. It should be, at least, twice the lenght of a normal update.
Posting the epilogue with the ending also helps; take as long as you need.
It doesn't make much sense, but little in THP does.
Huh. That was...well at least there was some denouement. It sure seemed to deescalate quickly at least. I don't particularly like the epilogue, but it at least brought what I feel was a proper end to the story, with it all coming round to the beginning. Kinda. Sorta. Favors. But thank you for the story rabbit. Few manage to finish, and you are one of them!
Now that this story's done, I have to say: Up until halfway through this last thread, it was fantastic. Emotionally driven, solid writing, no horrific plot holes, a sense of urgency, and a distinct sense of player agency in that we were responsible in a very direct way for how things went.
That kind of went out the window with the third favor. The triple-tie and subsequent obvious error on the fairies' part was a decent setup for a serious effort on the players' part to break free, to turn this whole thing around and make the fairies get caught, suffer, whatever. It built up a bit as we realized the possibilities and started turning to others for help... but then ended basically out of the blue.
The sense of player agency basically vanished into thin air- and at an awful time, because that was the critical moment; the set of choices at which we should have finally either "won" or "lost", based upon our decisions. By moving events swiftly to their conclusion at that point the sense of player responsibility was lost, leaving me at least with the sense that my victory was stolen. The epilogue patched things up from there, but the point remains; that ending wasn't our ending. It was someone else's, slapped on the end of our story and claiming to be ours. That bites.
I think you should. Not because the ending was bad in my opinion, but because I've writefagged for other sites before and know this exact feeling. I can recall dropping an entire series because it felt so ugly and poorly-done. If you think it'll be better with a different ending, by all means go for it.
>>169127 You can always do things over hoping to do them better the second time, but it's not necessarily wise to fix everything. It's entirely possible that redoing things in a different way will merely anger the players differently.
It may be better to simply do a new quest instead, and avoid making the same mistakes. Up to you, though, of course.
>>169127 At least you ended it. On the other hand, you could just say it was one ending and that readers have the option to choose another (probably more satisfactory) ending. Satisfactory as in having a sense of player agency, not that Reisen ends up without angst/suffering/a bad end.
Just finished reading this, and although I found the ending a bit underwhelming, with the first two favors being very thought-out and the third being a cut to someone else's plan, overall, this was a good story. I also expected the consequences to be a bit more than feeling guilty, with our building pile of mistakes to cause an equally growing pile of consequences, but I suppose it's fair to have a scenario where we either get caught for our terrible screw-ups, or don't get caught because we didn't screw up THAT bad. Not everything we do in life directly corresponds, so getting away scot-free isn't impossible. I don't get all the hate over a malleable plot, as CYOAs have to roll with the punches. A story has to be quick on it's feet to handle write-ins, anyway, so making things more fluid works well. I enjoyed your characterization of most of the characters, with a few personal issues here and there, and the action segments, like sneaking through the mansion, were well done as well. I would have like a much more cohesive and structured plot personally, but that didn't fit very well when the audience was playing both sides, the cat AND the mouse, so I'll chalk that up to personal preference as well and leave it at that. I look forward to the epilogue, and thank you for an interesting read.