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170934 No. 170934
Rain. Always fucking rain. Every single god-damned time some part of your life has gone to shit, it's been raining. It rained at Rowlett's Station when you watched the orderlies drape the sheet over Colonel Terry's body. It rained at Bentonville while you saddled up and made the last cavalry charge of the Confederacy in a desperate attempt to keep the Army of Tennessee from being totally surrounded. And it rained on that accursed day in May that you heard that New Orleans had fallen without a fight; the day that you knew the damned war was lost and that every single man who died after that was going to die for nothing.

And right now, a thunderstorm is dumping what seems like the entire Gulf of Mexico down on your head.

You sigh deeply for what seems like the millionth time on this long ride. It's been over a month and a half since the dark day at Durham where you surrendered with what was left of your regiment. You've been riding nearly non-stop from North Carolina back to your home in Nacogdoches County, and it's been a hard going. Thankfully, you haven't received any trouble from Federal patrols on the trip back; the parole papers from General Sherman stating that Lieutenant James Walker of the 8th Texas Cavalry had surrendered and sworn to not take up further arms against the US government had seen to that.

A lightning bolt crashes to Earth nearby, letting out a roar that would make a cannon envious. Your steady warhorse, for her part, doesn't budge. She just keeps plodding down the muddy road without giving the storm any heed. Her steadfastness brings a smile to your face, and you can't resist patting her on the neck. Just a few more miles, and you'll be home for the first time since you last left for Baylor in 1860.

Down the road, a light hazes into existence. Eventually, it resolves itself into a mule-pulled wagon trundling along. The driver, a man wearing what appears to be a very rough private's uniform calls out to you as he reigns in his mule.

"Good evenin' to you, stranger. They movin' the cav regiments around? Ain't never seen you around these parts before. Ain't nobody comes down this road but me these days."

"No," you reply back. "I'm comin' home from the war back East. The Army of Tennessee surrendered about a little over a month ag- ...wait. What do you mean nobody comes down this road? Isn't the Walker farm just ahead?"

"No-that's something I need to warn you about, stranger. That farm was quarantined and burned a few weeks back. Smallpox took everyone; Gen'l Smith even had the herds put down. Don't go anywhere nea-" The private's next words are cut off as you spur your horse hard, and send the both of you barreling down the road.

It doesn't take you long to reach the turn-off for your house. Even through the rain, you can see that the roof is gone, and that there are large swaths of the walls missing. With some effort, you manage to bring your galloping horse to a stop at the base of the front steps. As you dismount and take in the devastation of your ruined family home, a battered quarantine notice blows by in the wind; its purpose long fulfilled. You don't need to look to know what you'll find inside; you saw no new graves nearby. The realization strikes you numb; you don't scream, you don't cry.

And the rain continues to pour down from the heavens.

***

About an hour later, you've saddled back up and are slowly walking back to the road. The thunderstorm has lessened some; the thunder is low and in the distance now, although a cold rain continues to fall. Clutched to your chest is the scorched tin box with thirty gold eagles inside; your father's life savings.

As your horse plods down the road away from the four hundred acres of dead, sodden fields, you count out the coins again. "Thirty dollars gold..." you whistle to yourself, "A man can have hisself a fine month in San Francisco with that. I could probably buy 'nough opium to build a statue out of myself...fuck it," you snarl as you put the coins back into their box. "It's not like I've got anything else worth a damn left to do, do I, Virginia? Might as well head West and have some fun.

"And when the money runs out?" you say as you pat your horse's neck. "Well, we can see if them stages have as good an aim as the Damnyankee cavalry."

The rain continues on as you ride into the night. You consider stopping, but you decide against it. There isn't much (if any) cover along the north Texas road, and you figure that it'd be a better expenditure of your time to sleep cold, wet and upright in your saddle making progress than sleeping cold, wet, and motionless on the soggy ground. As the night goes on, you let Virginia's plodding pace lull you more and more into sleep. A few minutes more, and your eyes flutter shut...

...you awaken to the sounds of birds chirping. You try to open your eyes, but the brightness of the sun drives them painfully closed again.

Wait.

You force your eyes open wide in shock. You've lived nearly your entire life in northeastern Texas, and you've never seen a Blue Norther dissolve into clear skies in under a day before. Simply glancing at your surroundings confirms your suspicions instantly. With a sharp pull, you rouse Virginia from her walking slumber, and bring her to a halt. "Virginia," you whisper, "I don't think we're in Texas anymore..."

You spin around in wonder, taking in the scenery. You were still on a dirt road, but that was the only thing that stayed the same. Where before you had been on the edge of the Great Plains, you've somehow ended up in a valley, at the foot of a giant mountain. Behind you, the road stretches winding off into the distance. Before you, it winds into an old-growth forest, which feels *wrong* somehow. Around you, you recognize the distinctive bulbs of the red spider lily, which is some comfort. But amongst those spider lilies, you see something else heading in your direction...

You hold up your hand. "....does that green umbrella have a fucking MOUTH?"

>Stand your ground! Ain't no Texas boy alive who's afraid of no consarned parasol!
>NOPE. THAT'S WAY OVER THE HORSESHIT THRESHOLD. AIN'T DEALIN' WITH THAT THING.

Current Inventory:
- 1 Colt Model 1855 Carbine
- 2 Colt Model 1851 Navy revolvers
- 90 .44 rounds+percussion caps for the three of them
- 1 cavalry saber
- 1 Bowie knife
- 20 feet of ropin' line
- 1 bedroll
- 1 cavalry-issue slouch hat
- 30 gold dollars
- 1 hoss

No. 170935
[x] Stand your ground! Ain't no Texas boy alive who's afraid of no consarned parasol!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of Kogasa, something something quote I can't be bothered to look up, vote option.
No. 170936
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170936
[X] NOPE. THAT'S WAY OVER THE HORSESHIT THRESHOLD. AIN'T DEALIN' WITH THAT THING.

This shit's supposed to start post-opium binge. Hallucinations are one thing, but once you start talking to them, it's all over. MC knows this, he's probably seen it before.
No. 170938
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170938
[x] NOPE. THAT'S WAY OVER THE HORSESHIT THRESHOLD. AIN'T DEALIN' WITH THAT THING.

That umbrella ain't right ah tayll ya hwhat.
No. 170939
[x] Stand your ground! Ain't no Texas boy alive who's afraid of no consarned parasol!

Southern fuuuryyyyy!
No. 170944
[x] NOPE. THAT'S WAY OVER THE HORSESHIT THRESHOLD. AIN'T DEALIN' WITH THAT THING.

Virginia may be able to weather a storm but who knows how the old girl will take to a hungry umbrella.
No. 170949
Oh shit I remember this short!

[X]NOPE. THAT'S WAY OVER THE HORSESHIT THRESHOLD. AIN'T DEALIN' WITH THAT THING.
No. 170952
[X]NOPE. THAT'S WAY OVER THE HORSESHIT THRESHOLD. AIN'T DEALIN' WITH THAT THING.

Yep. Screw this. Leaving now.
No. 170960
[X]NOPE. THAT'S WAY OVER THE HORSESHIT THRESHOLD. AIN'T DEALIN' WITH THAT THING.

We didn't sign up for this shit.
No. 170964
[X] Stand your ground! Ain't no Texas boy alive who's afraid of no consarned parasol!

A significant number of Confederates during the end of the Civil War had faced overwhelming odds against superior hostile forces, and I'm assuming that Confederanon here is no exception. He may have no direction at this point, but based on his background as a Confederate cavalryman, I doubt that he would completely panic and turn tail upon seeing something that is admittedly abnormal.

Unless he is a cowardly or fainthearted Confederate who quails at the prospect of facing something dangerous, which is a reality he faced with every cavalry charge against presumably superior Union forces, I think it would actually be completely out of character for him to turn and run away. We have to consider that this isn't a random civilian man we're role playing as this time; this is a battle hardened Confederate cavalryman who does what his honor and duty requires at all hazards. If we choose to run away now, we immediately portray him as a yellow, easily excitable character who only did what was required of him during the war and nothing more.

Tl;dr conclusion: Confederanon probably dealt with more outrageous horseshit during the war, and standing his ground is probably more in-character than panicking straight off the bat and running away.
No. 170974
>>170964

The heart of Dixie is strong with this one. I shall cast my lot with him.

[X] Stand your ground! Ain't no Texas boy alive who's afraid of no consarned parasol!
No. 170976
[X] Stand your ground! Ain't no Texas boy alive who's afraid of no consarned parasol!

Fun fact. Contrary to what was put in the history books, there were states in the union that allowed slavery during the Civil War.
No. 170977
[X] Stand your ground! Ain't no Texas boy alive who's afraid of no consarned parasol!

Casting a vote for honor.
No. 170979
>>170964
>Confederanon
His name is James Walker.

[x] Stand your ground! Ain't no Texas boy alive who's afraid of no consarned parasol!
No. 170981
[X] Stand your ground! Ain't no Texas boy alive who's afraid of no consarned parasol!
No. 170982
[x] Stand your ground! Ain't no Texas boy alive who's afraid of no consarned parasol!
No. 170990
>Stand your ground! Ain't no Texas boy alive who's afraid of no consarned parasol!

This story looks interesting. I'm gonna keep an eye on it for a while.
No. 170993
[x] NOPE. THAT'S WAY OVER THE HORSESHIT THRESHOLD. AIN'T DEALIN' WITH THAT THING.

Green umbrellas are such bad news that there isn't even a category for them yet. Player 2 Kogasa, maybe? I'm not interested in taking stupid risks yet, though - it might be worse.
No. 170995
>>170979

Noted. It was my error to assume that this story was an Anon-centered one.
No. 170997
[x] Stand your ground! Ain't no Texas boy alive who's afraid of no consarned parasol!

Although my instincts say to run.
No. 171003
[X] Stand your ground! Ain't no Texas boy alive who's afraid of no consarned parasol!

>>170976
Aye. From what I remember the Emancipation Proclamation only applied to the states in rebellion.

What's also funny is that while slavery was a big issue that did lead to the Civil War, in addition to economic ones as well, the vast majority of Confederate troops were the kind too poor to own a slave and did not like the plantation owners as well.
No. 171039
[X] Stand your ground! Ain't no Texas boy alive who's afraid of no consarned parasol!

Never seen anything quite like this.
No. 171099
[X] Stand your ground! (Etc.)

Voting from my phone, which for some reason doesn't let me copy-paste text.

That said, hoping to see good things come from this story. Civil War / Wild West era always has been one of my favorite periods.
No. 171101
[x] ...you kind of need an umbrella.
No. 171104
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171104
[x] Stand your ground

You sit up straight in the saddle and heel Virginia around to face the rapidly approaching animate parasol. You have no idea where the hell you are, but you're certain that you're not about to be chased off by a damn umbrella. However, your act of confidence and determination doesn't seem to affect the umbrella any. In fact, it seems to be heading towards you faster. Like a predator, you suddenly realize.

You draw your rifle from its holster and stand up in the stirrups in one fluid motion, just like you've done hundreds of times before. You cock the hammer back and take aim, sighting in on the umbrella's seemingly painted-on eye. You suck in a breath...and pull the trigger.

*CRACK*

You silently curse for the millionth time as the gunsmoke obscures the umbrella temporarily. When it clears a second later, you start in horror: the umbrella wasn't fazed. There's just a neat hole in the cloth where you shot it. Before you can ready another shot, the umbrella is on you. With an unearthly shriek, it unspools a horrifyingly long tongue and prepares to leap.

That's all Virginia can take. She may have carried you through 4 years of Hell, but this mobile piece of absurdity is beyond her mind's ability to comprehend. She rears back in terror, roaring the whole way. You momentarily ponder that this is the first time you've smacked your nose into the back of her head, and then you're flying backwards. You hit the ground hard, sending your rifle flying from your hand. You can vaguely see the umbrella and Virginia trading a few blows before the horse bolts, and then the umbrella finds you.

Like a spear, its tongue lashes out piercing your shoulder, reopening your recent bayonet wound. You scream with all your might; somehow it's not just piercing your flesh, it feels like it's injecting sulfuric acid into the wound as well. However, before it can fully weasel its tongue through your shoulder bone, your honed survival instincts kick into action. With a snarl, you connect a stiff right cross into that damned eye.

It's enough. The umbrella is knocked back out of either pain or shock, and as it pulls its tongue from your shoulder as it reels, you seize your chance. You leap up and tackle it back down to the ground, and start wrestling with it. Gunshots don't faze it and your saber's gone with Virginia, scabbard still strapped to her saddle. As the shrieking wriggling *thing* levers against the ground and tries to flip you off, you snatch at every Ranger's last chance. You reach down to your boot, and pull your Bowie knife.

After some careful maneuvering, you pin the umbrella to the ground with your knees, and stab the knife into its eye with both hands before it can react.

It lets out a demonic shriek from the Black Pit, and begins to thrash about even harder than before. A green liquid starts to seep from around the knife. You quickly pull it out, and stab it right back down again and again and again. Each strike sends more green liquid splattering out, but the umbrella doesn't seem to be any closer to dying. It just tries harder and harder to escape your pin.

With a snap, your patience runs out. Gripping your knife's handle in your mouth, you wrestle the umbrella so you're holding it with your knees, with its "back" against your torso. Taking the knife again, you place it at the edge of the umbrella's mouth, and begin to cut. Each slice of your blade elicits another shriek from the umbrella, a more frantic thrash, but you ignore it. After what seems like an eternity, definitely longer than it should take to cut through an umbrella, you slice through the green fabric at its back. The umbrella separates into two parts, and goes slack.

Breathing deeply, you push it off of you. You lie on the ground for several minutes, catching your breath after the life-and-death struggle that so suddenly ruined your morning. With a fair amount of effort, you push yourself up and take stock of yourself as you wipe the disgusting ichor off your knife. Your stout leather gloves are covered in burns from the thing's saliva, as is your shirt. The bayonet wound was definitely reopened, but the saliva seems to have cauterized it, somehow. It still hurts like all hell, though.

You stand up and walk over to the umbrella's still-leaking body. You try to look into it, to find out what kind of guts a fucking umbrella of all things would have, but you don't see anything. It just looks like a regular umbrella now. You give it a solid kick anyway on general principles.

Leaving it behind you, you walk over and locate your rifle. Checking it, you find with immense relief that being thrown against the ground didn't jar any of the percussion caps loose. Near your rifle lies your hat. You stoop down to pick it up-sheathing your knife again as you do so-when you see it.

Or her, rather. Standing beside your hat is a very little blonde-haired girl. No, you immediately correct yourself, a doll. She's wearing a blue dress and a red bow, and she's staring up at you. You spend several seconds exchanging stares with her, still bent over in the process of picking up your hat. After a few more, you manage to find your voice.

"Uh, howdy?"

The doll doesn't say anything in return. She just silently points to your left. Leaving aside this small bit of madness, you replace your hat on your head and follow her tiny finger to the edge of the forest. At the end of it you see another blonde girl, this one much taller and very much alive. And she's holding Virginia's reigns.

"VIRGINIA!" you shout in relief and joy as you begin to run. You're very happy to see your dedicated warhorse unharmed, and just as happy to find that you don't have to go hunt her down in an unknown land.

As you reach the pair, the girl speaks up first. "I take it this beautiful creature...is...?" Her voice drops off as she gets a good look at you.

"Yes!" you say as Virginia tries to nudge your face. A wince escapes your composure as she nuzzles your shoulder. "She's mine! About the only important thing I've got left in this world," It suddenly clicks in your mind that you are not following proper etiquette with this young woman. "Oh, where are my manners!" You doff your hat and give her a little bow like a proper cavalryman. "Lieutenant James Walker, Confederate States Army, at your service, ma'am. Formerly of the 8th Texas Cavalry," you let a grin slide onto your face and into your voice. "But you probably knew us better as Terry's Texas Rangers."

The girl's eyes are still wide as dinner plates, not really taking in a word you said. She stutters a bit as she finds her voice. "Y-Y-YOUR SHOULDER!"

You look down, and immediately snap your head back up. The wound looks terrible, like a gunshot wound without the blood. You can't SEE how far it goes into your shoulder, but you can FEEL that it runs deep to the bone. Even looking down on it, you can see the charred flesh and cloth. You take a deep breath and steady yourself, as to not startle the woman any further. "It's alright. I've seen wounds like this in the war, but this is cauterized. It won't kill me."

She's still staring at you in wide-eyed shock. "Well, if you say so... It still looks like it needs attention."

You wince again, the pain making itself known even more now since you looked at it. "Oh, of course, ma'am! Even though the hot iron nor the gangrene aren't gonna to take it, I'll get it looked post-haste," Your voice falters some. "Once I find a sawbones..."

"Oh, at least let me do that," the woman insists. "It's the least I could do for not being able to help prevent the wild youkai attack on you," She frowns. "Speaking of that, where is the yo-" She stops midword as she looks behind you. "Ah. That explains the...green. But still. I can't just send you all the way through the Forest of Magic to the human village for treatment. Not with a wound like that."

>[ ]I'd be much obliged, ma'am. Anything but trusting my body to another hack-and-saw maniac.
>[ ]I must decline, ma'am. I'd better go find a doctor at this village you mentioned.
No. 171107
>>171104
Can't help but feel it would be rude to refuse her kindness.

[x] I'd be much obliged, ma'am. Anything but trusting my body to another hack-and-saw maniac.
No. 171108
[X] I'd be much obliged, ma'am. Anything but trusting my body to another hack-and-saw maniac.

Do you really want to ride all the way to town with a wound that nasty, cauterized or not?
No. 171109
[X]I'd be much obliged, ma'am. Anything but trusting my body to another hack-and-saw maniac.

The odds of surviving a sawbone operation is bad enough already without the possibility of further umbrella attack in the woods.
No. 171110
>[ ]I'd be much obliged, ma'am. Anything but trusting my body to another hack-and-saw maniac.

I second this motion. it'd be rude to brush off her offer since she caught our horse for us.
No. 171111
[X]I'd be much obliged, ma'am. Anything but trusting my body to another hack-and-saw maniac.
No. 171112
[X]I'd be much obliged, ma'am. Anything but trusting my body to another hack-and-saw maniac.

During the Civil War, surgeons would far too often simply lop off damaged arms and legs because it would take just 5-7 minutes to do so, which would be a lot easier and faster then painstakingly removing any harmful fragments stuck within the limb in order to save it. Even without the fact that 80% of amputations that occur above the elbow are fatal, I presume that James would leap at the opportunity of not having his arm cut off like so many of his fellow comrades during the war.
No. 171126
[X]I'd be much obliged, ma'am. Anything but trusting my body to another hack-and-saw maniac.

I'm kind of shocked at what just happened. Attack of the wild umbrella youkai was not what I expected.
No. 171134
[X]I'd be much obliged, ma'am. Anything but trusting my body to another hack-and-saw maniac.

Well. We're off to a good start.
No. 171150
>>171126
We're an outsider on the Road of Reconsideration. Do you remember what HAPPENS to outsiders on the Road of Reconsideration?
No. 171151
>>171150

What makes you say we're on the Road of Reconsideration?
No. 171152
>>171112
That's true, but we don't really have shrapnel in the wound, just some kind of acid that's already run its course and neutralized. All we need to do is cut out the dead tissue and pack it full of alcohol-soaked gauze. Change bandages every other day or so until it starts healing, then just wrap it up and wait.
No. 171153
My option already won, but I'm monitoring this thread.

I think it can go places.

Time to be a man of honor and integrity!
No. 171155
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171155
>>171151
>dark thoughts turning towards suicide
>finds himself on a strange road bordered by flowers
>wild youkai patrolling for an easy lunch
>One of the classic ways outsiders wander into Gensokyo

You tell me.
No. 171166
[X] I'd be much obliged, ma'am. Anything but trusting my body to another hack-and-saw maniac.

Medical attention here and now is a lot better than medical attention somewhere else, sometime later, possibly with more umbrellas on the way.
No. 171303
[x] I'd be much obliged, ma'am. Anything but trusting my body to another hack-and-saw maniac.

allright.
No. 171321
[x]I'd be much obliged, ma'am. Anything but trusting my body to another hack-and-saw maniac.
Hrm, Alice. Kind of a lot of her around here lately. Don't suppose there's any chance of heading up the Mountain?
No. 171387
[x] I'd be much obliged, ma'am. Anything but trusting my body to another hack-and-saw maniac.

We're human and don't regen nearly as quick as a youkai. Sooner we get it taken care of the less chance of complications.
No. 171588
File 137369722221.jpg - (175.47KB , 840x510 , AliceHouse.jpg ) [iqdb]
171588
[X] I'd be much obliged, ma'am. Anything but trusting my body to another hack-and-saw maniac.

The memory of the last time you were inside a field hospital quickly flashes through your mind, and you involuntarily shudder. You can see the piles of severed limbs seeping streams of blood in your mind's eye; you can hear the screams of the wounded. You have no intention of ever experiencing that again. "Why thank you, ma'am!" you declare as you doff your hat once more. "I would be much obliged for any assistance you might be able to give. Anything is preferable to enlisting the 'skills' of a doctor again! I got lucky once in that regard, I don't suspect I will be again."

The woman smiles, apparently relieved she isn't going to have to press the issue. "Alright then. My house isn't too far away," Her gaze shifts. "Oh! Thank you for grabbing that, Hourai! I didn't even have to ask."

You turn your head to find the doll hovering in the air a few feet away, somehow carrying the broken umbrella in her tiny arms.

She silently stares at you.

You silently stare back.

The two of you hold the stare for several seconds before the woman clears her throat, signaling this "Hourai" to cut the crap and come on. She turns to you. "Well, Mr...'Walker', wasn't it? Are you coming?"

You quickly look between her and Virginia and sigh. You take your horse's reigns in your hand, and begin to lead her after the odd blonde pair.

***

"You know, ma'am," you say, breaking the silence of the forest, "I never caught your name."

"It's Alice. Alice Margatroid," she replies as she checks a pouch at her side. "I believe you already met Hourai, there. You said your horse's name was Virginia, right?"

"Yes. When I was issued her in 1861, I named her after where I thought I was gonna be fighting. Where I wanted to fight," You sigh. " 'Course, that never worked out in my fa- ...wait. You also never told me how you managed to get a'hold of Virginia, ma'am."

Alice starts. "Oh! Well, I was collecting herbs and mushrooms near the edge of the forest when I heard this horrible screaming and fighting. When I went to investigate, your gray lady there almost knocked me over. I just lead her back the way she came."

"I see..." you trail off. She isn't forthcoming with any further conversation, and the two of you lapse back into silence.

***

As you walk along, the feeling of "wrongness" that you got about the forest begins to encompass you. You ponder how; the sun is still shining down through the leaf canopy, and you can hear birds chirping in the distance. And yet... A feeling that you are walking through a source of great evil and dread permeates your being, causing your shoulder to throb that much more. And what's worse, you feel as though you're being watched. Watched by something that would be very happy to finish off what the umbrella started. Seemingly thinking the same thoughts, Virginia lets out a worried whinny.

You quickly and quietly murmur some reassurances to her. As you do so, you spare a quick glance at the woman and her doll. If they feel the same, they are doing a very good job of hiding them. Alice is very quietly humming a lilting tune, and Hourai is still silently floating along holding the pieces of that umbrella. Even still, you check the pistol on your hip. Just to be sure.

After what feels like an hour, the forest suddenly clears, and you find yourself in a decent sized clearing bordered by ...a wrought iron fence?

"Ah, here we are!" declares Alice as she unlatches the gate. Standing before you is Colonial-style house. A fucking Colonial-style house in...where ever the hell this is.. You stare at it in confusion for several seconds more before leading Virginia into the yard.

As the three of you head towards it, you speak up once more. "Uh, Ms. Margatroid? Do you think I could trouble you for a bucket of water for Virginia? We've been walking quite a while, and I know she hasn't had a drink since the last time we were in Texas."

Alice smiles. "Already taken care of, Mr. Walker," At that the door ahead of you swings open, and out fly several more dolls identical to Hourai, all helping to carry a bucket. They set it down near one of the porch columns, and immediately fly over to investigate Virginia. They swirl around her, each with a look of youthful wonderment on their face. One floats too close to your horse's face, and Virginia sends her whirling away head over heels with an unimpressed snort. The other dolls seem to find this immensely amusing, as they silently point and giggle at the misfortune of their compatriot.

Alice, for her part, does not. "Shanghai!" she scolds. "The least you could do is help your sister before you go make fools of yourselves!" The dolls visibly droop in disappointment as they collect themselves and float over to Hourai. "And cut the theatrics!" You can't hear it, but you can feel the grumbling from them as they take the bisected umbrella from Hourai and float back into the house. Alice "hmph!"s at the whole endeavor and mumbles under her breath "I swear, I let them spend too much time near the fairies..."

She shakes her head as she heads for the door. "Oh well, a problem for another time. Please, follow me inside and have a seat. I'll go get the first aid kit."

You nod as you lead Virginia up to the column and bucket. With a practiced twirl, you hitch Virginia to the column, leaving her plenty of room to drink. She whinnies in apprehension as you do so. You pet her snout. "Oh come on, girl. It's just a lady's humble abode. You'll be fine out here. If there was anything dangerous out there, it would have come knocking long ago," She snorts. "And what's that supposed to mean?! Bah! YOU aren't the one who is gonna have to deal with this shoulder!" She snorts again as she lowers her head and begin to drink. As you head for the door, you wonder why you were the unlucky bastard issued the horse with an attitude.

As you step inside, however, you discover just what has Virginia on edge: The walls of the house are covered in dolls. Hundreds of them. Some of them sit on shelves, others hang from strings on the ceiling. While some of them look like Shanghai/Hourai, others do not. All of them are in variable states of completion and dress.

And all of their heads are pointed directly at you.

You swallow hard, and stretch the fingers of your hand close to your gun. You take another step over the threshold, but none of them make a move. You exhale a fraction of a breath, and make your way to the table in the middle of the room. Even as you take your seat, you can feel their eyes and heads shifting to follow your every move.

You don't have long to worry about the dolls, though, as Alice comes out a moment after you take your seat with box marked with a red cross. "Sorry about that, I haven't exactly had much use for this thing," she says as she pulls up a stool. "Now, let's see," she adds as she opens it up, "the instructions she gave me say that before I can apply the ointment, I need to clean the wound with this. Sorry, but she also said it's going to sting some..."

A bolt of lightning courses through your shoulder again as you pull your arm out of your coat and shirt. You grin. "It's okay, ma'am. It don't hurt much anymore. Besides, it didn't even hurt NEARLY as much as it did when I first got it."

Alice looks up from bottle she was pulling out of the box. "Oh?" she asks as she pours some of the clear liquid onto a rag. "How did you get it, anyway?"

"Bayonet, courtesy of a Yankee sergeant at Bentonville. Got pulled off of Virginia after our charge broke through their lines. I SHOULD be dead, but that sergeant missed his mark," you sigh sadly. "Jimbob was never good at that sort of thing..." You suddenly wince as Alice silently places the rag against the wound and cleans it. It does sting. "What in Tarnation IS that stuff anyways?!"

"Um..." She quickly checks the bottle. "Rubbing alcohol. It says it's an antiseptic."

"Oh!" You exclaim. "So it's like that stuff that Doc Tichenor liked to use?" You relax some at the familiarity. "He's the reason I still have my arm right now. Keep goin', it's fine."

Alice continues to clean the wound for a few more minutes, before discarding the rag for another. "So what now?" You ask. "Put some new bandages on it, maybe some stitches to close it up?"

She visibly starts at the imagery. "What?! No! No no no! I'm not going to do anything like that!" She holds up a pink jar with another red cross on it. "I'm just going to apply some medicine."

You frown. The effectiveness of the common "medicine" is something you're very familiar with. But then again, they're smart enough to clean the wound with alcohol... "Alright, go ahead."

The rag is cool to the touch, almost like aloe. Alice rubs it into the wound and then presses it against your shoulder. "Alright, that should do it. Just keep pressure on it while I go put up the kit."

"Hey wait," you say as she gets up, "What about bandages? Should I just use the rag as one?"

She giggles softly. "Oh no, Mr. Walker. I don't think that will be necessary."

You ponder that for several seconds, following her with your head as she leaves the room. When she's gone, you lift up the rag to check on the appearance of the wound...and drop it in shock.

The wound is gone.

You feel it and poke it vigorously to make sure, but it's gone. It's like you had never even been stabbed in the first place. There isn't even a scar to mark the location. After several attempts, you find enough air in your lungs to whisper "...where the Hell am I?"

You quickly put your shirt and coat back on. The events of the day have finally come crashing home: You got transported at least several thousand miles during the course of a night, you were attacked by an animate predatory umbrella, met the dolls that Alice masters, and now this sorcery with your wound. You glance upwards, and meet the gaze of all the dolls lining the walls. The feeling that something is not right fills your very soul.

You very quickly decide that you have to get out as soon as you can.

Fortunately, Lady Luck smiles upon you. Alice calls out from the other room "I'm sorry I don't have any more hospitality, Mr. Walker, but my home is such a mess right now I just can't entertain any guests,"

"Oh, that's fine!" you shout back, letting a little too much relief into your voice. "It would be unseemly spending the night at a house belonging young unattached woman such as yourself! Never know what the busybodies might say!" You mentally slap yourself at the absurdity of what you just said.

Alice walks back into the room carrying a satchel about half the size of one of your saddle bags, apparently taking your words at face value. "Ugh, you're so right. Last thing I need is Aya snooping around spreading malicious rumors about me," She pauses for a moment. "I don't even have a spare bed, anyways. But you should have no trouble finding a place to sleep at any of the inns in the Human Village. Especially not with these," She hands you several coins of a make you cannot decipher. She shrugs. "If worst comes to worst, you can ask one of the villagers to take you to the Hakurei shrine. Tell the maiden there that I sent you, she'll see to you.

"But while you're the village, can you please make a small delivery for me?" She passes the satchel to you. "It's not important, but could you make sure that the florist's daughter gets this eventually? I think it'll make her day."

>Where to first?

>[ ]Visit this "shrine". The maiden there might be helpful in telling us where we are, and helping us get used to wherever "here" is.
>[ ]The Florist's. We should drop off this package post haste.
>[ ]Find shelter in the village. You have NO idea where the hell you are, and you need to get your bearings before you go mad. A stiff drink can't hurt, either.
No. 171591
[X] The Florist's. We should drop off this package post haste.

Alright then. The rest can be done afterwards.
No. 171592
[x]The Florist's. We should drop off this package post haste.

Gotta repay Alice for her generosity, a Southern gentleman would do no less.
No. 171593
[x] The Florist's. We should drop off this package post haste.

Best to go ahead & be done with it.
No. 171600
>[ ]The Florist's. We should drop off this package post haste.

Can't be good to hold off on this for too long.
No. 171605
[X] The Florist's. We should drop off this package post haste.

If such a minor favor can repay basically saving our life, then let's at least make it our highest priority.
No. 171606
[x]The Florist's. We should drop off this package post haste.
>dolls
heh
No. 171611
[x]The Florist's. We should drop off this package post haste.
No. 171615
[x] The Florist's. We should drop off this package post haste.

Seems to be in character.
No. 171616
[X]The Florist's. We should drop off this package post haste.

A getleman does NOT put returning a favor on the back burner.
No. 171619
[X] The Florist's. We should drop off this package post haste.

I've something in mind for the direction we take after this.
No. 171637
[x]The Florist's. We should drop off this package post haste.

I was amused by Alice's dolls. The way different writers portray them is always interesting. These ones are independent enough to have a "personality," like when they laughed at Shanghai getting sneezed away by Virginia.

Either that, or Alice is actually controlling everything....
No. 171649
>>171637

Considering that, canonically, Alice holds "conversations" with her dolls despite having complete control over them, I wouldn't put it past her.
No. 171658
>>171649
Yeah, people seem to forget that Alice is
a) a Youkai
b) from Hell
c) not entirely stable
No. 171666
>from Hell

While Zun is at least partially to blame for letting Paradise Lost color much of Mystic Square, I believe this is a misconception. I think Highly Responsive to Prayers made it rather clear that Makai and Hell are different places: Makai being a/the world of youkai, Hell being a place where sinners are punished. This is also assuming Dixie is attempting to reconcile the PC-98 and Windows Touhou canon at all. Judeo-christian writings also make it rather clear that Hell isn't exactly the place where Satan and his crew of fallen angels hang out, but that misconception is so widespread as to never be cleared up. But I digress.

Anyway, also going strictly by Touhou canon, I wouldn't say Alice is really fucked up; rather, she has just spent too much of her life away from regular human (or human-like) contact.

Sage for shitting up the thread and not voting.
No. 171669
[X] The Florist's. We should drop off this package post haste.

This seems like the best thing to do.

>>171666
>Makai being a/the world of youkai
Correction. Makai is the realm of demons, or mamodo, some or all of which were created by Shinki. There may also be powerful youkai living there, but they definitely aren't the dominant type of supernatural being.
No. 171680
>>171666
Makai and Hell are different places now. Y'know, Former Hell of Blazing Fires? Maybe?
Also, I never said Alice was fucked up, just that she was a mite unstable.
also, nice 666
No. 171685
>>171680
No, that's the Underground.
No. 171706
>>171685
Oh. Seems I was mistaken.
Regardless, Alice comes from a place most humans would find quite hostile, and not just physically. My point is that this would skew her worldview a bit.
No. 172319
File 13748880064.jpg - (189.86KB , 800x924 , Lee__traveler_petersburg.jpg ) [iqdb]
172319
>[X] The Florist's. We should drop off this package post haste.

"Alrighty, ma'am. I'll get right on that," you say as you take the bag. "I should probably be off right now, less this Eye-ya comes around starting trouble."

"'Aya'. And sadly, yes," she says as she follows you to the door. "I'm so sorry, but I just finished dealing with that damn tengu, and I would like some peace and quiet before she turns my way again," She glares at the trees through the open door. "That is, if she isn't already halfway through printing the next Bunbunmaru with your picture on it."

You smile a sad smile and nod. You have no idea what on Earth she just said.

Walking over to her, you find Virginia WAS thirsty: she's managed to drink the entire bucket in the short amount of time you were in Alice's house. You also find the group of flighty Shanghai (s?) investigating her some more, while also attempting to feed her some dandelions. Virginia is still contentedly munching away on the last one as you secure the satchel Alice gave you to her saddle.

"Say," you ask as you unhitch Virginia from the post you tied her to, "What am I supposed to do out there?" you say as you gesture at the forest. "What if there are more of those...wha'd ya call them things... 'yoke-eyes'?...out there? When I shot the one that attacked me, it didn't do diddly."

Alice smiles to herself. "Don't worry. I highly doubt you'll have any further trouble with any youkai, at least until you get to the village. Just follow the path to the dirt road and turn left, and you'll be at the village in no time at all. Oh, Shanghai!" she calls as you mount up. "Please get the gate for our guest if you would be so kind, dears."

The dolls immediately stop and dart over to the gate, unlatching it and opening it in one smooth coordinated movement. You're already walking Virginia towards it, intent to not waste any time getting out of this forest. Before you leave the yard, you turn around and doff your hat one last time as a proper officerly thank you. Alice waves back, as do the Shanghais as you pass through the gate. Although, you think to yourself as you pass them, their goodbye seems almost tearful. But you spare it no further thought as you ease Virginia up to a brisk trot and get on your way.

***

It's about ten minutes down the line before you notice the satchel rustling. You were too busy watching the trees, your rifle resting uneasily on your saddle. By the time the satchel draws your attention, it's far too late to even bring your gun to bear on it before it bursts open...revealing another Shanghai.

You stare incredulously at the doll as it...stretches? Yes, it's definitely stretching, and going through all of the other motions of a person waking up after a good night's sleep. After it-well, she-rubs her eyes one last time, she becomes aware of the forest around her, and starts staring out at the world. At this juncture, you decide to go with the only logical option left in a brain faced with an animate stowaway doll.

You make small talk with it.

"So," you say as you shift your rifle some, "First time outside in the real world?"

The Shanghai nods slowly, as if to not miss any detail of the passing forest. Even more slowly, she floats up and around you, still taking in everything. She even spends a good minute taking in that she was riding on Virginia, before settling down on top of your horse's head and beginning to take in the whole world in wonder once again.

You stare a little more at the doll before sighing deeply. "I give up," you mutter to yourself under your breath. "Ain't no sense to be had in this nonsense. Excuse me, little darlin'?" you say as you raise your voice to address the doll, "I know you like the view from atop Virginia's head, but I don't want you taking a tumble if we have to go 'a leaping. Here," you grab some of Virginia's mane in you hand to demonstrate. "Could you please at least hold on to this so you don't fall off?"

Shanghai looks at you blankly for a second before comprehension dawns across her face. She excitedly grabs two handfuls of Virginia's mane and pantomimes holding them like reigns. Unfortunately, while her arms aren't long enough to really pull on the mane, Virginia is still not pleased. She whinnies and flicks her ears to make the point clear. You go to pat her neck to sooth her, but the doll is already beaten you to the punch. As you watch her pat Virginia's head, you can almost hear her say "There there, girl".

Virginia snorts once, but she stops flicking her ears.

***

You keep your rifle unholstered, but Alice's prediction holds true. During your trek through the forest, you saw neither head nor tail of anything that's a mite bit threatening. Frankly, you think to yourself, it's about the most boring forest you've ever ridden through. Even the ones in Tennessee had bears to liven up the times when the Damnyankees weren't shooting at you. Your surprise passenger doesn't seem to care, however. She hasn't budged since sitting down on Virginia's head.

After what feels like several hours, the forest clears, and you find yourself on the edge of a farmer's field. At least, you THINK it's a farmer's field. It looks vaguely like the rice plantations you saw in Georgia, but there's something off about it. You can't put your finger on it, but it nags in the back of your mind as you ride past it on the road.

Up ahead, you spot a building like you've never seen before, at least not in person. From what you can see, it looks like a flat panel wooden house with the ends of its roof angled up. It looks like the pictures you've seen of the mysterious Orient, especially the ones that were printed in the special issue your local paper ran when Commodore Perry returned from Japan in 1855. As you pass, you note the sign posted above the door in elegant lettering: Kourindou. You see a smaller one amidst all of the strange objects in front: Paying Customers Only. What the Hell a Kourindou is, you have no idea. But you think the place is a shop of some kind, so you make a note to peruse it sometime in the future if you get the chance. At least, you hope it's a shop.

Leaving the building and its strange objects behind you, you spot what has to be the human village. The sight makes you halt your horse momentarily: all of the buildings look like the "Kourindou" you just passed. They look like the foreign Japanese towns you saw through Perry's eyes. You shake your head to clear it and nudge Virginia onwards once more, smoothly holstering your rifle. Well, at least that's one question answered, you think to yourself. Although you have no idea why Japan would have signs in English instead of that curious chickenscratch language of theirs. Perhaps you're in an American or British concession, like they have in China? Something to ask the locals when you get the chance, you suppose.

As you get Virginia moving again, your doll companion springs up from her perch. She had been content to just stare around in wonder, but something suddenly possesses her to just bolt for the satchel she had been in. She gently lowers herself back in, making sure to tuck her dress so it isn't in the way. She grabs a piece of paper in one hand, and then pulls the flap of the satchel down over her head.

You suppose it's a good thing she did so. Immediately after the satchel is closed once more, you turn the corner into the village and just as immediately become the center of attention. People stop what they are doing to stare at you. You feel slightly nervous, but it's nothing you haven't already felt in New Orleans. You give them a friendly wave as you walk Virginia past.

Making a turn onto a larger street, it suddenly occurs to you that you have no idea where the florist is. You could spend all day wandering the various sidestreets and alleyways reading every sign trying to find it. You could ask someone...if you could convince them to stop gawking at you for thirty seconds. You sigh. Even still, that's probably your best option.

You select a...fishmonger? to ask. As you pull Virginia to a halt in front of his stall, he doesn't even look up from his wares. "Each fish, one-eighty yen. Take your pick. I guarantee nobody in the village has better prices, farmer."

You stop midway through doffing your hat, the wind taken from your sails. "Uh, thank you, suh, but I'm not in the mood for fish today. I'm in a mite bit bigger need of directions."

He glances up at that, a look of confusion plain on his face. "And where might you need directions to, outsider?" he asks as he looks over you.

"I was told to deliver a package to the florist, suh," You chuckle some. "The sender forgot to give me directions, of course."

The fishmonger looks over you incredulously. "Next street over, take a left. Can't miss it," he says, pointing in the right direction.

You doff your hat once more. "Thank you, suh. I'll be on my way then. Giddyup!" you exclaim as you knee Virginia back into motion. As you move off, you hear the fishmonger mutter under his breath "I swear, this place spits out weirder weirdos every goddamn day," You briefly consider stopping and demanding an explanation, but you doubt that a duel would be that well received on your first day in a strange land.

***

You find the florist's just as easily as the fishmonger said; it even has a large flower drawn on its sign. Why they need to bother when they have wares on tables out front you have no idea. You dismount with a flourish, throwing the satchel over your shoulder. You almost tie up Virginia in front of the store, but immediately decide that spending all your money on a lunch for your horse isn't in your best interests. You lead her over to what appears to be a furniture shop and tie her there.

Stepping inside the shop, a familiar bell announces your entrance as you remove your hat. The florist steps out of a back room with a smile. "Good afternoon, sir! How may I be of assistance on this fine day?"

You shift the satchel into your hand. "And a good afternoon to you too, suh! I have a package here for your daughter."

"Oh? Hanako, could you come here, please?"

A little girl no older than eight comes out of the back room a few seconds later, preceded by a groan. "What is it, Papa? I wanted to get Miss Kamishirasawa's homework done the day it was assigned for once!"

Her father indicates you. "You have a visitor, Hanako."

You clear your throat before offering the satchel. "Here you are, ma'am. Courtesy of Miss Margatroid."

The smile instantly slips from her father's face as Hanako takes the satchel. "What?!"

Shanghai takes her cue. She springs upwards from the satchel at that moment holding the piece of paper she had earlier. The little girl is taken aback momentarily, before her eyes sparkle with delight. She practically screams "DOLLY!" as she grabs and embraces Shanghai in a hug. As the two spin around, you can make out the piece of paper Shanghai is still holding: "Hello! My name is Shanghai! I'm your new friend!". You can also make out the look of relief and affection evident on the doll's small face.

"Oh Papa, I can't believe it!" Hanako practically shrieks as she holds up Shanghai to examine her better. "A living dolly!" Shanghai nods, as if she needs to confirm this. Hanako responds by bringing her in a tight hug again. "Oh we are going to have so much fun together! We'll have so many tea parties and you'll be my bestest friend and..." A look of dawning comprehension crosses her face. "...Kuniko! I've got to show Kuniko this! She'll be sooooooo jealous! I can't believe it, a real living dolly!" She releases Shanghai from her hug and makes for the door, with the doll zipping along behind her in the air. "Bye, Papa! I'll be back for dinner!" With a ring of the bell, the two of them are out the door and tearing up the street.

You chuckle to yourself, smiling at the scene of pure childish joy you had just witnessed. You turn to her father to say something, but the man's glower of hatred kills it in your throat. "So," the man icily states, "that was the present for my little girl? A youkai SPY?!"

"Suh, I don't know wh-"

"Oh, you DAMN WELL know what I am talking about!" the man snarls. "That fucking 'dolly' came from that demon witch, Alice! And you brought it into my house!"

"Suh, I sa-"

"Oh, she SAYS that they're just gifts!" the man rambles on, his eyes never leaving yours. "Presents! A 'gift from a dollmaker to the good little girls of the village to build good will'! That's what she said after she gave away the first one. This one today that you so courteously delivered was the fourth. Four of those damn demon bitch's fucking dolls floating around our village, telling their mistress everything that goes on in our very HOMES!"

"I don't know who you take me for, 'suh'," you icily reply, "But I will not have a lady insulted in such a manner in my presence! Explain yourself, suh!" You brush your coat aside for effect.

The man's attention is drawn to the motion, and a look of betrayal momentarily crosses his face. "You know what I mean! They aren't living things! She's controlling each and every one! She looks through their eyes all the time, deciding how they're going to act!"

"No suh," you scoff. "I don't believe I do know what you mean. But if these dolls are as you say, then why don't you just take them away?"

"BAH!" the florist spits. "Just one of those damn things could level the whole village on its lonesome! Once they're in our homes, we can't get rid of them! It's a no-lose situation for the bitch once she gets them to the girls, since she knows they'll never throw away a 'living dolly' and her parents can't do it themselves."

You feel the heat rising once again. Your hand itches to go for your gun, but you force it back. You aren't going to fight a man like this, not when his young daughter is nearby. "Suh," you grind out with every fiber of self control in your being, "since you wish to persist in slandering a lady's name, I believe I should take my leave before I take actions that your daughter would immensely regret."

"That would be for the best," snarls the florist right back.

You plant your hat back upon your head before executing a perfect about face. You stomp your way to the door before throwing it open, and then slamming it shut behind you with enough force that you hear the bell fall to the floor and break. You smirk darkly as you make your way over to your horse.

You untie her and mount glowering. It's the first time since Atlanta that you've felt so insulted and angry. How could a man act in such a uncouth fashion and still dare to call himself a man?! "Hiyah!" you shout as you knee Virgina forward. The insults themselves aren't the issue-you barely know the woman-but the fact that a man would so casually use such language to refer to her in front of a stranger? You shudder. What kind of place is this to have such a lack of basic common decenc-

You turn onto another street and freeze mid-thought as you instantly spot it walking at the far end of the block. It has its back to you, but you don't need to see its face to know what it is. Blood red hair. Black clothing. Two (!) sets of black bat wings. A seductive walk no mortal could produce.

A demon. In the flesh.

And it's prowling the streets of this small town.

>What'cha gonna do, cowboy?

>[ ]Pursue and Observe! We don't have anything that can take this thing down, but maybe we can tell someone who can where it's gotten to!
>[ ]Apprehend it! We can't just let it run free in this innocent village! Maybe we can hold it until that priestess Alice mentioned can get here!
>[ ]NOOOOOOPE. NOT gettin' involved with this thing!
No. 172321
[X] Apprehend it! We can't just let it run free in this innocent village! Maybe we can hold it until that priestess Alice mentioned can get here!

You know why.
No. 172326
[X] Apprehend it! We can't just let it run free in this innocent village! Maybe we can hold it until that priestess Alice mentioned can get here!

Freakin' loved that update, especially the accent of our MC and his whole old world etiquette schtick.
No. 172327
[X]Pursue and Observe! We don't have anything that can take this thing down, but maybe we can tell someone who can where it's gotten to!

We're gonna make an ass out of ourselves if we try apprehending Koakuma. Also gotta think of why she's just walking around with no one doing a thing.
No. 172328
>>172327
That's the point. Though I do admit maybe observing is a better course of action, I'll think about it, might change my vote later.
No. 172330
[X]Pursue and Observe! We don't have anything that can take this thing down, but maybe we can tell someone who can where it's gotten to!

Because /antics!/

Also I love the characterization. While Walker may be a bit suspicious of all these weird witchy ladies, it's nice to see that they still ping as Ladies, and that Southern Classiness extends no matter how strange the situation.
No. 172332
[X]Apprehend it! We can't just let it run free in this innocent village! Maybe we can hold it until that priestess Alice mentioned can get here!

Now, see here.

We're a southern gentleman born and bred. Moulded by the firm yet loving guidance of our (religious) parents and community; tempered in the forge of battle.

We don't just talk southern chivalry--we proudly walk the talk.

If it hadn't been for the presence of the little child, we would have fought a perfect stranger for uttering rough language against a lady--a lady we've known for maybe an hour or two tops.

And now this she-devil, this temptress, is walking--in broad daylight--through a village where she could cause much mischief.

Given what we know of the supernatural so far, she represents a grave hazard to public safety. And our honour demands that we act for the preservation of the townspeople.

We ought to fight. Not because it's rational, but because it's right.
No. 172333
[X]Pursue and Observe! We don't have anything that can take this thing down, but maybe we can tell someone who can where it's gotten to!
No. 172334
[x] Apprehend it! We can't just let it run free in this innocent village! Maybe we can hold it until that priestess Alice mentioned can get here!

It fits him better. He is not someone who just stands by while all hell is about to break lose.
No. 172336
[x] Pursue and Observe! We don't have anything that can take this thing down, but maybe we can tell someone who can where it's gotten to!
>>172332
>And now this she-devil, this temptress, is walking--in broad daylight--through a village where she could cause much mischief.
And nobody is causing a fuss. Either the entire town has already fallen into her clutches, or something unusual is going on. More unusual than living dolls and succubi, at least.
Either way, getting all gun-ho might not be the wisest course of action.
No. 172338
[x]Pay attention! If the villagers aren't reacting, you're probably missing something here.
No. 172339
[X]Pursue and Observe! We don't have anything that can take this thing down, but maybe we can tell someone who can where it's gotten to!

Let's not be too hasty.
No. 172340
[X]Apprehend it! We can't just let it run free in this innocent village! Maybe we can hold it until that priestess Alice mentioned can get here!

>>172332
Having recently read an article about (British, I admit, so not quite applicable here) honor culture, I agree with this reasoning.
There is nothing logical about honor. It's about following a bizarre code of conduct to the letter, or you will be seen as be less of a (gentle)man.
No. 172341
[X]Pursue and Observe! We don't have anything that can take this thing down, but maybe we can tell someone who can where it's gotten to!

Let's be smart, here. What if this thing has enthralled the entire town? Why, that would explain the coarseness of that shopkeeper! We should investigate and see just what we're dealing with before banishing this hellspawn.
No. 172347
[X]Apprehend it! We can't just let it run free in this innocent village! Maybe we can hold it until that priestess Alice mentioned can get here!

Honor before reason.
No. 172353
>>172341
Because the smart thing to do when dealing with what looks like a succubus is to "observe" the thing, right?
No. 172355
When we've seen several instances of things that are probably magic, it's a good chance that things aren't as they seem. In a world where a Lady can heal wounds nearly as fast as they were delivered and control dolls with but a thought, one would be wise pay attention, and look beneath the surface of things...not to impugn Ms. Margatroid on any count, of course.

I'm not saying that Koakuma is Jesus, but given our current amount of information that is a possibility. Let's rule that out before shooting, alright?
No. 172357
[X]Pursue and Observe! We don't have anything that can take this thing down, but maybe we can tell someone who can where it's gotten to!
No. 172358
[X]Pursue and Observe! We don't have anything that can take this thing down, but maybe we can tell someone who can where it's gotten to!

Any Confederate soldier who ever went through a hostile town at any point of the war knows how quickly word spreads of his arrival as the townspeople cower inside their homes or glare at the unwelcome rebels. As the other Anons have noted, the very fact that the townsfolk have not reacted in this manner whatsoever despite one of their own stating the general attitude towards Youkai indicates that there is something more than meets the eye.

Unless we have gravely misread the general situation, I personally feel that the potential repercussions of trying to play the vigilante against an innocent unobtrusive 'she-devil' outweigh the benefits of making former Lieutenant James Walker a hero.

tl;dr conclusion: If it turns out that the 'she-devil' isn't up to any trouble, Walker is going to make a fool out of himself and make his own reputation as that 'self-righteous newcomer'.
No. 172359
[X]Pursue and Observe! We don't have anything that can take this thing down, but maybe we can tell someone who can where it's gotten to!
No. 172360
>>172358
>'self-righteous newcomer'
You say that as if that's a bad thing.
No. 172361
>>172360
Being a self-sufficient newcomer who can hold his own against some of Gensokyo's more powerful inhabitants justifies that title. Trying to assume that role when all one has is a horse, limited ammunition for about approximately 2 days of campaigning, and a six-shot repeater that will inevitably malfunction without the proper cleaning tools is not exactly the most favorable position to become the local vigilante.
No. 172363
>>172361
>hold his own

He shot a possessed umbrella. That's nothing. He's got human gear to deal with human enemies. His strengths will be his intelligence and his honor (and his exceedingly gentlemanly behavior towards women).
No. 172367
>>172363

He's about to jump a woman-like demon in broad daylight for the crime of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. We may not exactly know what Walker's thought process is as of now, but we do know that randomly confronting people based on their race and appearance is not how one makes a favorable impression to the denizens of Gensokyo, especially when the rumors go around that the crazy Western newcomer discriminates against Youkai based on appearance.
No. 172369
File 137502615681.png - (227.33KB , 512x384 , 1355736876827.png ) [iqdb]
172369
>>172367

>We may not exactly know what Walker's thought process is as of now, but we do know that randomly confronting people based on their race and appearance is not how one makes a favorable impression to the denizens of Gensokyo, especially when the rumors go around that the crazy Western newcomer discriminates against Youkai based on appearance.

Tell me, good sir, how do you justify applying that mindset to a solider of the CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA?
No. 172371
>>172367
While attempting to apprehend Koakuma might not be the smartest thing to do, it seems to me--given MC's background, past history and actions thus far--that attempting to do so is the most in-character for him.

And potentially generate plot/conflict--it'd be exceedingly boring if we tried to stay on good terms with everyone.

What's the point of role-playing if we aren't going to play our role?
No. 172372
>>172319
[X]Apprehend it! We can't just let it run free in this innocent village! Maybe we can hold it until that priestess Alice mentioned can get here!
No. 172373
[X]Pursue and Observe! We don't have anything that can take this thing down, but maybe we can tell someone who can where it's gotten to!

>>172371
A proper Southern gentleman has restraint, and a Texan knows when to fold 'em. Or at least, they used to know.
No. 172377
Based on Walker's background as a defeated Confederate cavalryman, it is easy to make a strong argument for him to show tact or bravery before he confronts the she-devil. Since a few of us are using our meta-knowledge to plan ahead of this event, it's easy to decide against confronting the succubi. On the other hand, his background as a brave soldier makes it tempting to stay in character as a former Confederate soldier. Maybe we'll be rewarded for valuing one ideal over the other, but we should also consider that Walker is currently upset about the blatant bigotry of the florist towards Alice. Despite his past, he's only human, and I doubt that he'll relish in saving the 'innocent' townspeople who appear to unreasonably abhor a fine lady.

Additionally, we need to remember that he almost certainly has a Christian background as a demon-fearing believer, although we don't know how far this belief goes. Assuming that he recognizes the she-devil as she really is, I would assume that he would do everything he can to avoid her attention, since she might, you know, seduce him when he confronts her. This isn't just any demon he's heard about; it's a succubus, and unless he was the most morally upright soldier in his company, he's unlikely to resist her advances, making his 'courageous' excursion a fool's errand.

Don't just think about his past as a former soldier; we need to also consider his mentality as a 19th century Christian American.
No. 172396
>>172377
We should also consider his ability to stop and think for a second, here.
Charging headlong at a demon when he recently had trouble dealing with an umbrella? Probably not the smartest move. You can be as righteous and holy as you want, getting yourself killed (or worse) for nothing is pointless.
No. 172413
>>172377
Were 19th-century Christians as demon fearing as you paint them to be? Your post feels like it would fit more if our character was from Europe during the Middle Ages through to the Early Modern period than from the 19th century.
No. 172417
>>172413
Preachers those days were hellfire-and-brimstone. If someone from those times saw a demon walking around in the flesh, they'd run to the nearest church and spend the rest of the week praying for deliverance.

OR they'd believe that their faith in God made them immune (Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.) If our boy here is a good Christian, he's probably not as fearful as a medieval peasant might be.
No. 172468
[X]Apprehend it! We can't just let it run free in this innocent village! Maybe we can hold it until that priestess Alice mentioned can get here!
No. 172511
>>172333
>>172372
So were you trying to cancel out your own vote or what? I can't even call this votespam.
No. 172523
Apprehend, and see what happens!
No. 172524
[X]Pursue and Observe! We don't have anything that can take this thing down, but maybe we can tell someone who can where it's gotten to!
If he had the sense to not start a duel in the middle of the city, then a rash action would be quite out of character
No. 172542
did you miss the part where the MC didn't start the duel because there was a woman present? If the daughter wasn't there, someone would be missing a couple teeth by now.
No. 172545
[x]Apprehend it! We can't just let it run free in this innocent village! Maybe we can hold it until that priestess Alice mentioned can get here!
There seems to be bad blood between the people of the town, and these others. Let's see why for ourselves.
No. 172546
>>172545
[x] THIS
No. 172556
Okay, I admit I messed up here. "Apprehend" wins this vote (counting >>172372 as changing his vote, if you do that make that intention clear from now on), but from now on there's gonna be a max 5 day voting window from the time of the update regardless of whether the next update's up or not.

But for the people who voted "Pursue and Observe", don't worry: the intentions and thoughts behind your votes will be worked in. You won't be ignored.
No. 172557
>>172556
And by "worked in", I mean that's what he's gonna go with until something drastic enough (to him) happens to make him change his mind.
No. 172912
File 13762007981.jpg - (249.87KB , 1280x1024 , Time for Work.jpg ) [iqdb]
172912
[x]Apprehend it! We can't just let it run free in this innocent village! Maybe we can hold it until that priestess Alice mentioned can get here!

With a skill honed by years in the saddle, you bring Virginia to a quick halt without making a sound. Slowly, as to not disturb the demon, you knee your horse around and back the way you came. You find the re-appropriated bench exactly as you left it, and you hitch Virginia back to it as silently as you can. She snorts at being tied back up right where she was not two minutes ago, but you shush her before she can make more noise--even though the demon is probably far enough away to not hear a thing. Hell, it's on another street entirely. But you are going to take no chances whatsoever when faced with a spawn of the Bottomless Pit.

As you make your way to the street corner, you fill your hands with iron. The weight of your trusty sidearms brings on a small sense of calming familiarity. Although you have some doubts as to whether two revolvers will be much help against a demon if it decides to play, they're better than nothing. After reaching the corner, you peek your head around it. The demon is still making its way down the street nonchalantly. If it noticed you at any time, it doesn't show it.

You carefully weigh your options. You could just go in guns blazing, praying to God you manage to take it down. You shake your head vigorously at that. No, you think to yourself, that won't work. The demon will see or hear your approach, and you still have doubts whether your guns will actually do anything. You could try to invoke the name of God to drive it off with your faith. You snort at the thought immediately. "No," you mutter under your breath, "I ain't sinless and pure enough to do anything like that no more."

You're still mulling things over in your head when the solution presents itself. "Excuse me, Mister Outsider?" comes a voice from behind you. "What are you doing?"

You start and whirl around. Standing before you is a man wearing a clay-covered apron, presumably the owner of the pottery store you've been standing in front of this whole time. The two of you stare at each other for several seconds before an idea dawns in your head and a smile spreads across your face. "You!"

"M-me?!" the man stammers, his eyes locked on your guns as they go into their holsters.

"Do you know where to find the priestess of the Hack-oo-ray Shrine?" you ask as you excitedly point at him.

"The Hacko...-oh! You mean the Hakurei Shrine? Yes, I know where she is."

"Great!" you say as you clap the man on his shoulders. "I need you to go get her. It's a matter of dire importance! There is a demon on the loose in this village!"

"I-it is? There is?" he asks with more than a mouthful of nervousness. "A demon? B-bu-"

"No time! If you know where she is, go get her! I'll keep an eye on the demon to make sure it doesn't get out of sight. Now GO, man!" With a nod, the man turns and takes off running towards the other end of the street.

Now you're faced with the problem of just how you can keep an eye on the Damned thing. Another peak around the corner reveals to your relief that the demon has stopped, apparently to browse the window of another shop. You still have time to catch up.

You weigh your options. Walking down the street after the thing would be suicide. You stick out like a sore thumb already, and trying to stay hidden would just draw even more attention to yourself. A quick glance behind you gives you a glimmer of promise. You hustle over and confirm your hopes: an alleyway running parallel to the street the demon is on. You take a deep breath as your draw your guns once more, and duck inside the alley.

Out of sight, you bolt down as far as you can go, stopping and checking at each break between the buildings. The demon is slowly making its way down the street, still sauntering along in its sensual walk. It takes all of your willpower to stay focused on just tracking it, as opposed to slavering over it. Fortunately for your duty (and your will), the demon apparently happens on something it likes, and walks into a store. You let out a deep breath you didn't know you were holding.

You nervously scan what you can see of the street. "What the fuck is this Damned thing doing?!" you whisper through your teeth. "And where the fuck is that priestess, anyways?!" You're about to mutter something more, but at that moment the demon waltzes back into the street, yawning as it goes. A little boy comes running out of the store as it turns to go. You can't hear what's said, but to your utter and abject horror, the boy holds up a single flower for the demon. The demon kneels down and takes the flower, and plants a kiss on the boy's cheek. Even from where you're standing, you can see his face turn pink.

Your resolve immediately hardens. It's entirely possible that the demon has this entire town in its grasp. But seeing it corrupt a boy with your own eyes? A little boy who couldn't have been older than six? There are some things you can NOT abide by, by God!

You quietly reholster your guns, and then break out in a run back the way you came. You nearly slip coming out of the alley, but you manage to plant your foot just in time to keep from falling flat on your face. Virginia stands up ahead, pleasantly munching on a basket of carrots that weren't there when you tied her up. You unhitch and mount her with a flourish, pointing her at the corner and getting her moving in one fluid motion. While you don't know if your guns will do anything against a demon, you can't just let the Damned thing go along uninhibited. At the very least, you can get it away from the townsfolk until the priestess arrives to help. You turn in the saddle, your reigns already in your mouth, and pull your rope from where it hangs.

You spur Virginia hard, and she screams as she jumps to a gallop. You tear around the corner at speed, the loop of your rope already pushed open to the proper size for your target. With a skill driven into your skull by a determined cowboy during one of your winter encampments, you get the rope up and spinning over your head. You make for quite a scene as you barrel down the street, and the townsfolk are making damn sure to get out of your way. The demon, for some reason, still seems oblivious to your presence. Good.

As you draw closer, the demon finally turns around, but it is far too late. You effortlessly lead the rope around it; for all intents and purposes, it was standing still. You have a perfect vantage point to see the look of surprise plain on the demons face as the loop drops over its head and shoulders. In the flash of an eye, you blaze past the demon and pull the loop tight under its armpits, jolting the demon off its feet.

As you quickly loop the rope around your saddle horn, you say a silent prayer of thanks that the Rangers used working saddles as opposed to cavalry ones; you don't think that even your righteous fury could hold the line for long if the demon decides to fight. Which, you notice as you spare a glance over your shoulder, it is not doing. It's just letting itself be lamely dragged behind your horse through the dirt, the loop snug where it caught. Apparently, it was either stunned by your hubris or paralyzed with rage at your insolence. You don't spare a moment for the childish hope that you're actually harming it in an appreciable fashion.

A few heartbeats more, and you're far enough down the street that there is nobody close by you; in fact, you're practically on the outskirts of the town. "WHOA!" you roar as you pull the reigns back. "Whoa, girl! Slow down! I said 'Whoa', damn it!" Virginia dutifully stops in as short a distance as she can without falling over. You're already out of the saddle by the time she finally manages to stop; rope in hand, you're sprinting for the demon's prone form. You're on it before it can rise, turning it over with a well-placed kick of your boot. You work quickly, binding its arms and legs with several passes of the rope before tying it off out of its reach and shoving a bandanna deep into its mouth. You're done in less than 5 seconds.

It takes you a short while to catch your breath. The whole experience was exhilarating. You spare a glance at your captive to make sure that it was all real, that you really just roped and tied a fucking demon. It's staring back at you with pleading eyes filled with fear, and you can't help but letting out a "Ha!" of triumph at the beaten thing. After all, what's one bit of Pride in the face of hundreds of occurrences of Wrath and one big case of Sloth?

With a heave, you toss the demon over your shoulder. Even though it's tied up, you don't like touching it any more than you have to. "Alright," you grunt, "Let's go find that priestess and get you to the shrine," As you start walking towards Virginia, you run the past few minutes over in your mind again. By far, it's one of the most exciting things you've ever done. You've caught and bagged a real demon! And what's more, you managed to do it without getting anyone hurt. All in all, it was a perfect endeavor.

Which is why you're so surprised when a giant beam of blue light shoots past your left shoulder and ignites a nearby tree.

You slowly turn around, the afterimage of the beam still burned into your corneas. It doesn't take long for you to pick out the obvious source of the beam: a woman in a weird red and white dress slowly floating to earth. She plants her feet on the ground, and with a flourish, points the strange paper stick she's carrying right at your chest. "Alright, who on earth are you, and what in the Gods' names do you think you're doing in the village under my protection?!"

"Uh..." you drone incredulously. To say she'd rendered you speechless would be a massive understatement. What were you doing again? Movement to your left draws a glance. Oh yeah... "Uh, apprehendin' a demon that was prowlin' the town, ma'am?"

"Apprehending nothing!" spits back the strange woman. "You kidnapped someone plain and simple! In all my years as a shrine maiden, I've never seen someone so blatant!"

Something clicks in your head. "Shrine maiden? Oh! You must be the priestess Miss Margatroid mentioned!" You shift the demon's weight slightly before continuing, relief apparent in your voice. "Thank God you're here! I managed to take the fiend down before it could do any more harm to your fine village. I was just about to carry it off to your shrine. With all the power of the Divine you obviously wield, we can destroy this demon once and for all!"

She snorts. "When I heard that a new outsider was clamoring about a 'demon' that needed to be dealt with, I knew there was going to be trouble. But I never thought that it would lead to kidnapping and attempted murder of an innocent cit...i...zen..." her voice trails off as she gradually takes in the demon on your shoulder. A fascinating look of great annoyance and fatigue spreads across her face as she does so. "Koakuma," she grits through her teeth as she pinches the bridge of her nose, "what are you doing?"

A gulp comes from behind you, as does the voice of the demon for the first time. "Reimu, shut up! You're ruining everything!"

What.

"What," 'Reimu' thoughtfully concurs. "But he's kidnapping you."

"Exactly! He was just about to ravish me! And then you stepped in and started cockblocking me!" the demon...whines? Yes, that's a whine. The demon is whining. Wait. WAIT. WHAT THE FUCK DID IT JUST SAY.

"Whuh?" you authoritatively inquire.

"Koakuma," Reimu sighs, "He tied you up and was about to take you to me at the Shrine."

"So?" 'Koakuma' pouts. "I thought he was into kinky stuff like that!"

Reimu lets out a sigh the likes of which you haven't seen since a Virginian cavalry officer tried to teach the Rangers proper etiquette. "Just...get down from there. You look ridiculous."

"Oh, I might as well. You already went and killed the mood deader than a doornail," And with that, the demon...effortlessly oozes out of its binds and off your shoulder. It is by far the most inhuman display of agility you've ever seen. One moment it's tied up securely on your shoulder, the next 'Koakuma' is standing at your side popping her back. It turns a salacious grin on you. "Oooh, tell me beforehand the next time you want to do that, cowboy. It's been a while since I've had someone so...forward."

>the visage upon your face at this moment in time?
No. 172913
File 137620225097.jpg - (2.67KB , 179x83 , 136696703057118019654.jpg ) [iqdb]
172913
[x]
No. 172914
File 137620416041.png - (173.50KB , 424x470 , raeg.png ) [iqdb]
172914
[x]
No. 172915
File 137620440578.jpg - (74.08KB , 640x360 , k-bigpic.jpg ) [iqdb]
172915
"Are you fucking kidding me?"

In a more Southern Gentlemanly way.
No. 172916
File 137620506695.jpg - (10.46KB , 175x288 , absolutelydisgusting.jpg ) [iqdb]
172916
[X] absolutelydisgusting.jpg

We were being led on by a demon, and the priestess doesn't seem to care. Let the gentlemanly rage begin.
No. 172917
Flabbergasted is what I'd probably be feeling if I was in his shoes.
No. 172918
File 137620656463.png - (26.33KB , 510x546 , horridrealization.png ) [iqdb]
172918
This face.
No. 172921
File 137620942261.gif - (677.17KB , 500x600 , 884.gif ) [iqdb]
172921
[x]

Related because horse.
No. 172922
File 137621001839.jpg - (34.37KB , 420x420 , 856d342682c301c3b10261dd6bd792b9.jpg ) [iqdb]
172922
[x]

There's just too much going on to even properly react to this entire situation.


>And then you stepped in and started cockblocking me!
Oh gods, my sides.
No. 172923
File 137621014781.png - (64.50KB , 355x328 , puck.png ) [iqdb]
172923
[x] I mean he thought he didn't know what was going on. But now he KNOWS he doesn't know what's going on.
No. 172927
Wat.
No. 172928
Well, let's be fair now. For a succubus, what James just did might very well have been the height of romance. I mean, abducting her and tying her up? That could be her equivalent of candlelit dinner!
No. 172929
[X]

Someone else already said "flabbergasted", and I can't think of any equivalent terms off the top of my head, but the point stands.
No. 172931
>>172916
Also in support of this.
No. 172932
>>172929

What in tarnation?
No. 172933
File 137624686410.jpg - (28.37KB , 600x300 , Splitting the Atom.jpg ) [iqdb]
172933
[X] Stupefied.
No. 172935
[x] ಠ_ಠ
No. 172939
File 137625030276.png - (351.77KB , 700x990 , 1374415833276.png ) [iqdb]
172939
[X]

There are rare moments in a man's life where he realizes everything he's learned up to that point cannot and will not help him. This seems to be one of those moments.
No. 172941
File 13762530206.png - (163.03KB , 342x378 , what is happening.png ) [iqdb]
172941
We've got to remember who James Walker is, here. At first, what is happening is so far out of his cultural context that can only stare in horror, fighting to comprehend.
No. 172942
File 137625317673.png - (3.18KB , 210x230 , 1308217016814.png ) [iqdb]
172942
>>172941

And then, like a dark shadow spreading over his soul... realization dawns.

He, a proper Southern gentleman, has just done something incredibly lewd. To a demon girl.
No. 172943
File 137625322530.gif - (320.64KB , 500x375 , 1365905545212.gif ) [iqdb]
172943
>>172942

There is only one possible response.
No. 172948
File 137626327779.jpg - (13.21KB , 223x176 , 1314328733275.jpg ) [iqdb]
172948
[x]

What is this witchcraft?

Oh boy! Time to learn we are the WEAKEST thing in Gensokyo!
No. 172955
File 137629056567.jpg - (4.00KB , 120x126 , 1326439487750.jpg ) [iqdb]
172955
[ ] Absolute mortification that a proper southern Gentleman has done something incredibly lewd to a an maiden
No. 172956
[x] >>172939, followed by >>172942, possibly with a bit of >>172916 thrown in.

Because they are the most accurate series of reactions that would and should describe poor Walker's feelings at this time.
No. 172958
File 137629908514.jpg - (879.55KB , 637x900 , chen is confused.jpg ) [iqdb]
172958
>>172956
i'll second this
No. 172959
Frankly Walker's reaction in the first place still strikes me as something from the 18th or 17th century, or even before. For all that people talk about fire and brimstone preachers, the 3rd Great Awakening was much more focused on social evils, hence all the various reform movements on things like alcoholism and slavery. It was part of the Social Gospel movement from what I remember and that was more theologically liberal but more conservative socially. You aren't going to denunciations on demons or witches but denunciations on slavery or alcoholism or corruption such as in the Gilded Age.
No. 172960
Same guy who wrote >>172959: Frankly I think if you wanted a protagonist who was more "unholy demon begone" it'd be better to get someone from say Tsarist Russia considering how feudalism and serfdom had practically only been abolished in 1861 and even then the vast majority of serfs/peasants there were much more medieval in attitude, and life, then someone from Western Europe or the Americas.
No. 172965
Yes, an update! Yay!
voting for >>172941
No. 172966
>>172959
>>172960
It's not that hard to imagine that Walker received the occasional fire-and-brimstone sermon as he grew up, especially after a civil war broke out. Regardless, if you saw an actual demon in the flesh, it might cause one to get very religious very quickly.
No. 172967
[x] nope.avi

>>172943
Put it best.
No. 172968
>>172960
But then our character would be Russian, and not a Confederate Cavalryman. Admittedly a Russian character could be more superstitious, but at the same time there've been plenty of Russian characters, and only the one Confederate. Frankly arguing about this kind of thing is pointless, because ultimately not everyone has the same values and beliefs in any era.
No. 172970
File 137634576816.jpg - (7.90KB , 200x200 , mc.jpg ) [iqdb]
172970
>mc's reaction to his first day in gensokyo.
No. 172989
File 137636385559.jpg - (39.89KB , 325x211 , 1319830554006.jpg ) [iqdb]
172989
Why so lewd koa?
No. 172990
>>172989

...Is that a trick question?
No. 173060
>>172990
There's nothing in canon to indicate that Koakuma actually is a succubus and not just a female devil. She could be an imp, or a gremlin, or the type of spirit that animates corpses and turns them into revenants. Or maybe just a household assistance devil servitor of some sort.

Succubus just happens to be the most common interpretation here for some reason.
No. 173064
>>173060

I am well aware. Doesn't change the fact that it's kinda obvious which interpretation Dixie is going with. Also, it was a joke.
No. 173498
rip
No. 173789
File 137880337653.jpg - (556.48KB , 1000x1414 , what she wants (but ain't gonna get).jpg ) [iqdb]
173789
>Total Loss, followed by Righteous Indignation


You stand there at a total loss, the past several minutes overloading your poor pitiful brain long past what it can endure. Even after all the hell you saw during the war, coming to grips with the mere concept of "Koakuma" effortlessly escaping her bonds is harder than you imagined. It'd be one thing to turn around and find her free; watching her inhuman escape with your own eyes just makes the act even the more incomprehensible. Faced with such absurdity, your mind latches on to and voices the obvious question floating in the air.

"Were...weren't you gagged?" you manage to stammer out.

"Yup," oozes Koakuma as she pats her throat. "I swallowed it. Would you care for a...more prolonged demonstration?"

Fortunately for your fragile sensitivities (and grasp on your sanity), Reimu chooses this moment to speak up again. "Koakuma," she sighs, "What are you doing outside the Mansion, anyways? I haven't seen you roaming about in years."

"Oh, nothing major," replies the demon as she turns her attention off of you. "Suzunaan got a new demon book in, and Miss Knowledge wanted me to go find out how much Kosuzu is charging to rent it out."

Reimu's eyes narrow. "Another one? What madness has fallen into Gensokyo this time? Does it have anything to do with the lines that have started running through the Forest?"

"No idea!" winks back Koakuma. "That's why we want to examine it. I was just heading over there to take a look myself, when this delicious distraction interceded, and I just had to change my plans," She licks her lips as she turns her gaze back to you.

"Oh yeah, about that..." Reimu says. "Do you want me to handle that at all? I mean, he DID drag you through the streets and tie you up."

"Hm? Oh, no," the demon purrs as she waves her hand. "I'm quite alright, as you can plainly see. No harm done. Besides," she adds as a salacious grin spreads across her face, "it's been so long since a man has tried something besides groveling at my feet. It would be remiss of me to have a new lover beaten up for an inspired attempt, no?"

Reimu sighs as she pinches the bridge of her nose again. "Alright, fine. Just keep your foreplay off of the street, okay?"

Those words strike into your soul. The horrifying realization that this... this THING was deriving sexual pleasure from your actions fills you with a burning resolve. How dare she. How DARE she! You were an ho- an officer of the Confederate States Army, not some low-down bastard of ill-repute! A plan quickly formulates in your mind; you know just how to handle this demon. You go for your guns before either woman can react...and form a cross with their barrels in front of your face.

"Cursed spawn of the Black Pit," you snarl through your teeth, "I'm no toy of yours! Get back! Begone from this place and its people!"

"What," asks Reimu.

Koakuma reacts instantly: she clasps her hands next to her cheek as...hearts? form in her eyes. "Aww...isn't he ADORABLE?" she coos. "I just want to eat him up!" She saunters slowly toward you, seemingly unaffected by your makeshift cross. She begins to reach to caress your face. "Oh please, cowboy. We both know your soul is too stained to call upon that."

You grit your teeth and grip the handles of your pistols harder. "Try me, demon."

Before she can actually reach the cross or your face, Reimu's voice breaks in. "Koakuma, enough. Don't you have a job you need to be doing? Patchy is gonna be pissed if you blow off a task she's given you."

Koakuma's hand stops. "Ah...you're right." She draws her hand back and tosses her hair with a sigh. "I guess we're out of time. Some other day then, cowboy! Ta-ta!" As she turns to go, she pauses and blows a kiss to you. Even though you can't see it, you feel it smack into your cheek. You send a snarling blistering glare back in return. Koakuma simply smiles and waves, and then sashays back up the street.

Reimu sighs again from somewhere behind you. "I swear, every time she leaves the mansion, something comes up. You'd think they would have learned to just send Sakuya by now."

You instantly round on her. "And you! YOU! What are you doing, a priestess consorting with demons?!"

She raises an eyebrow. "You're one to talk."

You can actually hear the crack in your brain. "Wha-Bu-I'd NE-THAT IS BESIDE THE POINT!" you finally manage to stammer out. You re-holster your guns so you can point your finger at her better. "I actually tried to take the thing down. YOU seem to be content to be its friend!"

She sighs deeply. "Damn, you really are an outsider. I can practically smell the barrier on you. We need to have a little chat so I can tell you how things work here, before your attitude goes and gets you killed."

You snort. "Bah! Your hollow words will not sway me, fallen priestess! I will not be corrupted by the likes of you. Give me one good reason why I should!" ZAP. "Your reasoning is sound, and I am all ears."

She smiles. "Good! Now, there's a tea shop near here. I think it would be most agreeable to adjourn there so we can bring you up to speed in peace, don't you think?"

"That sounds lovely, ma'am," you shakily concur. "Just let me fetch my horse, and I'll join you," You make your way back to Virginia and start leading her back to where Reimu is waiting for you, taking delicate care to not look at the second charred obliterated stump on the edge of your vision.

***

"So let me get this straight," you say as you swirl the cup holding the weird green liquid Reimu insists on calling "tea", "Demons are commonplace here in Ginsoakyo?"

"'Gensokyo', and yes," she replies. "This is why this area was sealed off in the first place, as a kind of nature preserve."

"A what?"

"A place where nature is allowed to grow freely without interference," She directs an inquisitorial gaze at you over her own cup. "You really don't know what that is?"

"...No? Isn't that just...'nature'?" You shake your head. "That's beside the point. The point is that demons like that 'Koakuma' roam the streets constantly here?"

"Yes. They're mostly benign unless you make them mad," Reimu pauses for a moment. "Well, the intelligent ones are, at least. If you come across a wild youkai or tsukumogami, that might not hold true. So be wary of any animate household objects heading towards you."

"Animate household objects?" You snap your fingers as you make the connection. "Oh! That's what attacked me earlier on the road! So carnivorous umbrellas are a frequent hazard here?"

Reimu starts. "You were already attacked by a youkai?" She reappraises you with a different look in her eyes. "Well, if you arrived via the Road, THAT certainly explains why you're so jumpy. To answer your question, yes and no. They aren't a problem in the Village, but in the Forest of Magic and on the Road of Reconsideration especially, attacks are frequent. You're lucky to have managed to make it this far if you came to Gensokyo on the Road. Most people who walk that path don't."

You take another sip of the bitter drink. "Well, I didn't come through unscathed," You finger the hole in your uniform tunic, mentally making a note to fashion a patch at your earliest convenience. "The thing stabbed me with its tongue pretty bad. Went straight through to the bone. But a very kind lady happened upon me after Ah dispatched the cursed thing, and healed me up so I didn't even have a scare," You shake your head. "Miss Margatroid even specifically mentioned I should go find you after she finished healing me."

Reimu pauses once more. "Well, if Alice thinks you're on the level, that's definitely a big vote of confidence in your favor," She levels a hard glare at you. "Just don't do anything stupid like that again, got it? Not without someone ACTUALLY attacking you first. Most youkai in Gensokyo will not take your attempts to capture them as foreplay."

Your eyebrow twitches involuntarily. "Hey just a minu-!"

"Please," she cuts in. "I know you didn't want it to be taken like that. But unfortunately/fortunately for you, Koakuma had a specific 'itch' she wanted scratched. Count yourself lucky she didn't decide to tear your balls out through your eyes."

The blunt imagery leaves you speechless for a second. "...well then. So, demons are everywhere, but don't shoot them unless they attack first?"

Reimu smiles. "You've got it! Just treat it like any other town and you'll be fine," She stretches as she stands up. "Now, I'd like to give you a more in-depth introduction to Gensokyo, but it's getting late and I've got to go buy some sake before the shops close. Suika has been cleaning up the grounds and I promised her I'd buy if she did. Drop by the Shrine tomorrow, and I'll be able to answer all of your questions."

"And how do I get to the Shrine?" you ask as she turns to go.

"Just follow the marked road. Take care, I don't want to have to burn any more trees if I don't have to. Be seeing you!" And with that, she's out the door.

As the door clicks behind her, you let out a massive breath you didn't know you were holding. You feel several years older, like you had just come out the other end of another massive battle with your life clutched between your teeth. You shudder as the day's events pass through your head: being transported to a strange land, fighting for your life against a Got-Damn umbrella of all things, encountering a strange woman who brought dolls to life and managed to perfectly heal your wounds, encountering and attempting to capture a demon walking the streets-your mind snarls at the thought of that one-, and finally having a casual conversation over "tea" with a woman who demonstrated multiple times that she could effortlessly kill you with a power beyond your comprehension. It's almost too much for you to handle.

You take another gulp from the teacup, not even noticing the bitter taste. After everything you've experienced today, your adrenaline has finally run out. You feel exhausted. No, not just exhausted, you realize with a sad thought. You feel exactly like you did yesterday before you were transported here; you feel like you did on the long walk home. The excitement from the new and strange place finally wore off, and you remembered who you are: a defeated man from a defeated army.

You pull your rolling papers and tobacco silently from their pouch; fighting through North Carolina had its benefits. You roll a cigarette with the tired practice of a dedicated smoker, and light it with the lantern conveniently placed at your table. The first pull you take is like a breath of Heaven itself, the smoke smoothly warming your drained soul. You savor the flavor-a tentative connection to the world you've lost-as you ponder what to do next.

>Fuck this. Fuck all of this. I need a fucking drink.
>I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.
>Goddamn, I'm tired. I'm going to go find a bed and collapse into it.
No. 173790
>I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.

Let's see if he can't rustle up some grub. Wonder if he's even got names for what kinda eats 'round these parts.
No. 173792
[x] I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.

Food is always good.
No. 173793
>I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.

Why the quotation marks around "tea"? The US may have switched to coffee due to the Revolutionary War but Americans then certainly knew and drank tea, if not as much as coffee.
No. 173797
>Fuck this. Fuck all of this. I need a fucking drink.
No. 173801
>I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.

>>173793
I guess it's because he's used to black tea, and in Gensokyo they mostly drink green tea.
No. 173802
>I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.

Hunger is terrible. Besides, we can reach the point of Needing a Goddamn Drink when we see Suika.
No. 173807
>I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.
No. 173808
>I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.

Well on our way to meeting Mokou with food and smokes in mind.
No. 173810
>I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.

Time to eat.
No. 173811
>I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.
No. 173815
>Fuck this. Fuck all of this. I need a fucking drink.

This seems par for the course.
No. 173817
[x] I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.

And just when I had given up hope.
No. 173825
>I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.

Yay
No. 173875
File 137918683960.jpg - (314.92KB , 1600x1064 , 8040784.jpg ) [iqdb]
173875
>I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.
No. 173887
[x] I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.
No. 173898
[x] I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.
No. 173922
>Fuck this. Fuck all of this. I need a fucking drink.

also, this is my first time in this kind of site. what's a 'sage'?
No. 173924
>>173922
It means writing "sage" (without the quotation marks) in the email field.
That lets you post without bumping the thread. Like this.
No. 173937
>>173924
like this?
when are you supposed to use sage? also, we need to get drunk. i want to see some Suika.
No. 174099
>>173937

When you don't use sage, it gives an Alarm and the Story is put on the first page of the Story list, making everyone think there was an update. So, sage is used normally always, unless someone were to update all the damned time. Then it would be Kind of meaningless, but how often does that happen?
No. 174103
>>173789
>I'm starving. Let's see about scrounging up some chow.
Horse has had more food than Walker
No. 174110
>>174103

Why would you not sage, immediately after a discussion on the use of sage?
No. 174171
>>174110
Because he voted, genius.
No. 174234
Okay, I apologize for the delay in getting this out. My hard drive died on Thursday (taking my notes and latest update in the process), and I'm in the process of replacing it now. I don't know how long it will take to get my comp back up, but as soon as it is I'll get back to writing.