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170942 No. 170942
>>167252

Nitori jumps into action after you agree to head over to her lab immediately. The little kappa spreads her arms, real and mechanical, to push everything sitting on the banks back into the river.

“Follow me!” she declares, dashing off along the river bank towards the forest.

Is that all she really needs to do? Throw her things into the water? Maybe it’s magical locking water. Uh-huh.

You jog after the energetic kappa, quickly leaving the premises of the bazaar. Sunlight streams down through the tree branches above you, leaving the majority of the forest rather dark except for the glittering current.

“Make sure you don’t stray!” Nitori calls out behind her, the kappa at least ten steps ahead in her run.

“Why? Does something want to eat me?”

“Humans tasty,” Reimu says. You look to your side. The shrine maiden is staring at you, face rather neutral. Is there a smirk to her lips? She’s joking, isn’t she?

Then you feel smooth, but dead, lips envelop two of your fingers. “Tasty tasty~” Yoshika slurs. You shake your hand a few times, trying to dislodge the smiling zombie.

“Thanks you two. That makes me feel confident.”

At that Reimu smiles, her light, good-natured teasing a welcome change to any stoicism or violence. She goes on to explain the real reason for Nitori’s warning. “Misfortune goddess.”

You remember Byakuren speaking about that; some sort of unlucky woman that’s supposed to scare people away from the mountain. You guess running into her is legitimately dangerous, or at least mildly uncomfortable.

Nitori eventually breaks away from the river you are following and dashes off through the forest. You follow the kappa for several minutes before you hear her shout again. “Here we are, Genbu Ravine!”

She doesn’t stop running until she suddenly drops out of view. “Watch the leeeeeeeeedge,” she yells, her voice trailing off into echoes.

“What?” You step up to where Nitori plunged downward and find cliff.

It’s a ravine, a very steep and narrow valley that has another river running down at the bottom of it. You can spy Nitori’s head just above the water as the girl swims down below.

“You’re kidding me.” How are you supposed to get down there?

You can fly.

Right. You knew that.

Reimu walks off the ledge and floats down. You follow, coasting along through the air until you reach where Nitori is floating.

“Here we are!” The kappa’s arm shoots out of the water in excitement, sending up a spray of water.

You glance around. Rocks. Water. Mud. Kappa. “This looks absolutely no different from any other part of the ravine.”

“It is,” Nitori huffs. She climbs partially out of the water, enough to grab your ankle and try to drag you in. “Can you hold your breath for a minute?”

“Yes…”

“Great. Come on in! We have to go under.” The kappa tugs on your ankle again, watching you expectantly.

Ugh, you don’t want to do this. Your clothes are going to get wet. Stop being a baby and go get a new hand.

You hop into the water, the river at the bottom of the ravine shallow enough that you can stand and breathe. You stoop low to put your head under the water. With your eyes open, you can see tunnels dug into the sides of the banks. Nitori, after seeing you in the water, swims through the one directly ahead of you.

Damn, this is a tight squeeze. You manage to pull yourself through the kappa tunnel which eventually curves to the right then straight up.

“Fuah,” you let out as you surface. You crawl out of the circular patch of water and onto dry land, Yoshika scrabbling out just after you.

Nitori’s lab is a small cave, but it reminds you more of a mechanic’s garage. Metal plates are bolted to the floor, wall, and ceiling where they support different racks, tables, or suspensions.

Your kappa host is already off, sitting at a bench near the wall. She has a…welding torch in hand? That’s what you think it is. You sure? It’s kind of bulky.

It reminds you of flamethrower given the way there are two bulky containers strapped to Nitori’s back. The kappa holds a welding mask and yells at you before putting it on. “I’m going to start the modifications right away, but make yourself at home! There’s a tea maker on the table there. Push the blue button!”

You turn to look at the object Nitori points out. That’s a tea maker? It looks more like a behemoth blender where the blades are the size of butcher knives. It looks heavy and makeshift. Yeah, it’s about the size of a microwave. Aesthetically, it’s all hard edges and bolted metal. There a nice blue button on the base of it, right next to a large green button and an even larger red one. “Uh. I’m not going to push that.”

Reimu snorts and walks past you, right up to the device. She deftly pokes the blue button, causing the machine to whir. The table it’s sitting on begins to shake as the machine pounds and pounds. Then it dings, a tray popping out of the side with a cup of steaming tea.

The shrine maiden picks up the cup and takes a sip, smiling in pleasure before raising an eyebrow at you.

Feeling pretty silly now, aren’t you? Hmph. How is she not wet?

That’s all you’ve got say?

It’s unfair! Sure, all your important items are in water-proof pouches and your jacket is water resistant, but that doesn’t matter when your hair is soaked and your pants are soggy. Reimu and Nitori both slip out of the water without a spot of dampness. Why can’t you? As the only water-logged member of this- But you’re not.

You blink and turn to your ever-present companion. Yoshika is wringing her hat out, even while the rest of her is dripping wet.

“Are you okay, Yoshika?” you ask.

She looks at you before smiling and hugging you. “Wet~”

Ugh. “Yeah, you are. Want to take this dress off for a minute?”

“Okay~”

Pervert.

You ignore your sister and press lightly against Yoshika’s stomach, drawing a mouthful of giggles. You check other areas of her body, but it doesn’t seem like any worrisome amounts of water managed to build up under the skin or other body parts. She should be okay, you think.

You look around the lab before finding a conveniently placed bar that you can dry hang Yoshika’s clothes off of. A bit more rummaging rewards you with a pair of towels, one of which you wrap around Yoshika.

Your jacket, pants, and socks go up next to Yoshika’s clothes, leaving the two of you in your skivvies but otherwise appropriately toweled.

Once you finish with that, you find two steaming cups of tea next to Reimu. The shrine maiden is sitting where the tea maker is and, well, you guess she was watching you and Yoshika remove your wet clothes.

She seems to be staring rather intently. Yet, in her usual manner, she doesn’t comment.

“Enjoy the show?” you ask.

At least Reimu has the modesty to look down. Maybe she’s blushing, too? Either way, the shrine maiden gestures to the tea.

She’s a brave woman, pressing that button another two times.

You sit down at the table and enjoy the surprisingly decent tea before striking up a conversation. “So Reimu, it sounds like this will take some time…”

Reimu tilts her head.

“What are you planning on doing?”

The brunette tilts her head from side to side for a few seconds before deciding. “Go home. Rest.”

That’s a surprising answer. “Really? You’re planning on resting? Not investigating or fighting or whatever?”

Reimu nods. “Mhm. Have to check-in at village.”

“Right, that makes sense. Maybe Kotohime or someone has already solved the case.”

Reimu nods again. Draining her cup of tea, she sets it aside and stands up. She reaches across the table to pat you on the head, a showing of support you suppose. ‘Good luck,’ if you had to guess.

Before she drops down the hole in the ground, she speaks one last time. “Shrine open, all times.”

You smile and wave goodbye. “Thanks Reimu. I’ll keep that in mind.”

The Hakurei shrine maiden gives you one last, quick smile before dropping into the watery tunnel.

That leaves you with a grand sum of nothing to do while Nitori pounds away at her work desk. You end up passing the time playing with Yoshika, mostly fighting off the zombie girl as she tries to steal your towel.

Eventually, the clattering of tools comes to a rest. The kappa rushes over to you. “Okay! Does this look good to you?”

She holds up your new hand. It’s bulkier than the model she showed you before, but not by too much. Each metal finger is around two of your biological fingers wide. You try bending one mechanical finger backwards and finding yourself happy with the resistance. Yoshika might be able to break the hand with her strength, but you don’t think any human is going to be wrecking it. You know if you punch someone in the face poorly, those knuckles won’t be snapping.

“I think that’s fine,” you say.

“Great, then we can get started. Want to sit down over there for me?”

The seat Nitori directs you to is similar to a surgery table. You lie down on it and find a number of sharp blades and other suspicious objects in view. “Creepy…”

“Relax! It’s not like I’m going to try and steal your shirikodama or something.”

“My what?”

“You don’t know? It’s not important, just some stupid superstition.” Nitori rolls over several different carts. Some have spotlights mounted, while others contain an array of knives. She even drags over that flame-thrower like torch from before.

“Have you uh, done this before?”

“Done what? Hook up some prosthetics? Of course I have!” she assures you while slapping on rubber gloves and an apron.

“Not just that. This whole brain implant surgery process thing”

“I’ve practiced it before,” she affirms while taking off her hat and putting on a mask. She spreads something in the air from a can; you think it’s a disinfectant or something similar.

“Practiced?”

“On dolls and models and the like. Perfect approximations to a human body, if you believe the others,” she states while tying her hair back and flicking a switch on a cart, causing it to hum.

“But I’m your first live patient?”

“Yup! Isn’t that exciting?” she asks while turning a valve on a canister.

“Uh, I don’t think so.” Yeah, serious second thoughts going on right now. Maybe it’s better not to do this?

Well, you wanted the robot hand, Bro.

B-But-

Nitori floats over you, a mask in her hand. She smiles at you while lowering it to your face. “It’ll be over before you know it…”

---

Your eyes flicker open.

Welcome back. Have a nice nap?

You guess? How did- “Master~”

Ugh. Talk about taking advantage of the situation. “Yoshika, you’re heavy. Off.”

“Make me~”

“Cheeky little thing, aren’t you?” You plant your hands on the zombie girl’s waist and give her a firm shove. Yoshika slides off you and lands on the floor without a fuss.

“That’s a good start,” Nitori says. She’s off to the side, scribbling on a notepad. When she looks up again, she lobs a can at you. “Catch!”

“Whoa!” You reach out and-

Kind of destroy the can. You caught it, but you also crumpled it when you did so.

“Well, I guess we need to work on that strength. Reactions are good, though. Responsiveness, check!”

“Wow,” you let out while you look at your new dominant hand. The bulky metal prosthetic feels alien, but it also feels natural. You can feel your new individual fingers, even if they themselves don’t feel the same. Your fingers don’t respond exactly the way you want them to, sometimes moving too fast or overshooting where you want them to be, but it’s good. Overall, it’s really good.

No regrets? Not yet.

Although, after turning your head and seeing the pile of bloody towels and sheets on top of what looks like a bloody chainsaw, you’re starting to have them. Was your sister watching the operation?

Yeah, yeah, no worries. Nitori did everything she needed to quickly and, uh, effectively.

You rub the back of your head and feel the tiny stitches that are slightly itchy. You guess this is one of those things where it’s better not to ask and be happy with the results.

Nitori takes another couple of hours to help you adjust to using your new hand. It takes you a few dozen tries before you can hold a pencil without snapping it. Writing is another story. You break the pencil on every fifth character or so.

Still, you manage to get to a point where you aren’t bending silverware every time you try to eat.

“Dig in!” Nitori exclaims, before doing just that.

“Thanks?” You look down at the provided food and poke it. Don’t be rude. “What is this?”

“Cucumber sandwiches and cucumber salad with chips and cucumber dip on the side.”

It’s…not the worst thing you’ve eaten. Yoshika seems to enjoy the sandwiches when you plop them in her mouth. That isn’t saying much. Yeah, you know.

After the late lunch, you and Nitori spend some time painting your metal hand. Later on you might want to cover it with skin or magic it up some way, but for now you simply match your skin tone and put a nice, black glove on it. What a creative color palette you have.

Hey, you didn’t choose the color, it’s what Nitori had.

Once everything is acceptable, you’re off. You wrap up your clothes and Yoshika’s clothes in a bag and swim back out the tunnel. A quick dry off with a towel and redressing leaves you with wet underwear, but it’s better than the first trip through the tunnel.

“Well, I think that’s everything we need to take care of. If you notice any problems, just come find me and I’ll fix it! Otherwise, come back anyway in a month or so for maintenance. Does that sound good?” Nitori asks.

“Yeah. Thanks for the help Nitori.”

“Not a problem,” she salutes to you. “Make sure to refer your friends to Nitori Kawashiro for any of their problems!”

“Will do.” Nitori jumps in the river and swims off. You see her start to harass another kappa further down the ravine, but that’s none of your business.

It’s late afternoon from what you can see. There should still be a few hours before the sun starts to go down – nothing went catastrophically wrong and needed fixing. Plenty of time for a good fight to test out your hand!

You’re an idiot.

[ ] That dead guy thing
-[ ] With Reimu
-[ ] Without Reimu
[ ] Head back home
-[ ] Community service
-[ ] Silent observation
-[ ] Show off
-[ ] Early to bed
[ ] Gather supplies for your minions
-[ ] Muenzuka
-[ ] Human Village
-[ ] Great Youkai Forest
-[ ] Forest of Magic
[ ] <Write-in>

---

And off we go!

>> No. 170947
[x] Head back home
-[x] Community service

Let's wait until tomorrow to go about doing anything heavy.
>> No. 170951
[x] That dead guy thing
-[x] With Reimu

Righto, time to fulfill a promise.
>> No. 170954
[x] That dead guy thing
-[x] With Reimu

Time to get the plot moving again.
>> No. 170958
[X] That dead guy thing
-[X] With Reimu

Once we finish interrogating the shovel man we can upgrade and fix the Jiang-Shi.
>> No. 170959
[x] Head back home
-[x] Community service

Time to help out at the temple. Byakuren is in need, if you guys remember?
>> No. 170963
[x] Head back home
-[x] Community service

Time to go check up on the situation
>> No. 170983
[X] That dead guy thing
-[X] With Reimu

Books books books
>> No. 170985
[x] That dead guy thing
-[x] With Reimu

We'll be back to the temple tonight anyway, and the investigation is time-sensitive. We've already delayed this a fair bit; no further. Once it's done, Reimu may be able to recommend the best place to find the supplies we need for the jiang-shi.
>> No. 170986
[X] That dead guy thing
-[X] With Reimu

Plot advancing gaems
>> No. 170989
>>170985
Talk about assuming much, not to mention what happened the last time we went straight to reimu: shit happened and odds are shit will happen again.
>> No. 170991
[X] check your black onyx system
[X] get supplies from the forest of magic
[X] look for some magic-boosting mushrooms

considering it's the biggest reason we can do what we do, I'd like to make sure we aren't in danger of losing our powers and/or soul. lets hide somewhere, make sure everything's ship-shape, and if we have time, get supplies for whatever we need. fleshing out and customizing our hand, upgrading our zombie posse, things like that. and if marisa can go from a normal human to possible protagonist in multiple games, then maybe we should try some shrooms, at least cuz it'll be fun.

If we run into any heavy-hitters at less than full power, it'll end up like the shinigami all over again, and I'd rather not go full darth vader on the prosthetics. (although it would fit perfectly with the whole necromancy, techromancy thing we're building on with that hand.)

Suit up, get some dexterity back, resupply
>> No. 170992
[X] That dead guy thing
-[X] With Reimu

We really do need to get this done. Hopefully, Reimu is feeling better after a nap.
>> No. 170998
Oh, yes, and

[X] Check your black onyx system in detail.
>> No. 171002
>>170991
Thank you for someone presenting good logic as all the people voting for reimu/spiting byakuren fans aren't even taking Necroanon's general shape and time needed to get used to his hand.
>> No. 171173
>>171002
I know what you mean, but goddamn Reimu is pushing all my buttons.

I just want to help her do things and be a gentleman about it.

Byakuren's awesome, but she's got brother issues, and touches us inappropriately in our sleep.
>> No. 171175
>>171173
>Not wanting to wake up to a loving hug with Byakuren.

What is wrong with you?!

Reimu is fine too. .
>> No. 171176
>>171173
>>171175
really? She hasn't made that much of an impression so far compared to Byakuren, and the only thing with her sleep touching is that we're not awake to enjoy it.

Boy it's almost like people are out to ensure no new character gets a route in stories.
>> No. 171181
File 13732545788.jpg - (88.68KB , 850x712 , do-all-roads-lead-to-reimu.jpg ) [iqdb]
171181
After flying high into the sky, it is easy to locate the Hakurei shrine. On a hill in the middle of nowhere, the small complex stands out well.

The thought of examining yourself crosses your mind, but you can always get to that later. You have your end of a bargain to fulfill.

You shouldn’t neglect your personal health like this.

It isn’t that large of a problem. Your body seems to be in good working order. You can still feel the soul-binding spells flowing in your body, and your magic still responds to your will. With your new mechanical hand, you feel like you’re in good shape.

If you say so. Everything in your mind seems fine too, for what it’s worth.

Nothing to worry about, then.

You and Yoshika land at the top of the steps to the Hakurei shrine, deciding to walk through the gate and towards the shrine itself.

Sure enough, the red-white shrine maiden is sitting on the porch of her shrine, a cup of tea held in her hands.

“Hey.” You give Reimu a small wave and sit down next to her, Yoshika electing to sit on your lap instead of the more sensible position next to you.

The Hakurei shrine maiden nods before handing you a cup. The tea is hot and freshly poured.

The two of you sit in silence, feeling the wind blow while sipping tea.

It’s nice.

It is pretty here.

It is. The trees lining the simple but well-made stone pathway create a harmonic feeling. Beyond the gate there’s nothing but beautiful blue sky, any mountains either covered by trees or too far out to see. Even though the sun slowly dips lower, every angle of light seems to make the view shine all the more.

Sitting on the shrine’s porch feels…secluded. Not lonely. It’s calm. Tranquil.

“Do this often?” you ask. Breaking the silence feels rude, somehow.

Reimu glances at you out of the corner of her eye before nodding and taking another sip.

The two of you sit in peace a few minutes longer before Reimu sets her cup down next to her teapot. Sensing the shift in activity, you also set down your cup and force Yoshika off your lap. The jiang-shi whines, but that doesn’t stop her from leaning onto your shoulder.

The shrine maiden looks at you expectantly.

On to work, then. “I’m short on some supplies, Reimu. Do you happen to have any chalk with you?”

Reimu listens to your request silently before rising to her feet and walking off. You follow her mindlessly. Reimu walks to the other building in the complex, a large shed behind the shrine, and opens the door. Inside, you see countless boxes and items neatly stacked.

The shrine maiden walks to a seemingly randomly pile before bending over digging through it. Like magic, she pulls out a box of chalk sticks and hands it to you.

Request filled, the brunette walks back over to the shrine building and sits back down on the porch, this time facing the back area instead of the front.

You glance around, taking in the scattered trees and healthy grass, before pointing at the ground and looking questioningly at Reimu.

The shrine maiden nods.

You shrug and begin to crush some of the chalk into a fine powder. Seeing you begin to work, Yoshika wanders over to where Reimu is and sits down next to her.

Reimu glances warily at Yoshika before sliding over a tad, leaning slightly into the zombie girl. Yoshika smiles and reciprocates; the two girls manage to comfortably watch you work.

You’re silent as you slowly construct a perfect circle. It’s a simple containment circle for when you let the dead man’s soul out of your shovel. It prevents him from leaving as much as others from taking him away.

Reimu breaks the silence when you’re half-finished with the circle. “Youkai attack.”

What was that? You look up at Reimu, who motions for you to continue with your work while she speaks. “Autopsy report. Man carrying in bag, attacked. Claw marks and defensive wounds. Serious injury before being left alone, maybe to die.”

Interesting. You try to remember the dead man’s body and its condition. The splayed ribs were disturbing, but inhuman strength could easily create such a wound.

Then you try to remember Reimu had already told you about the victim. A no relations lowlife, basically. “Gate guards recalled him leaving, before sunup. Dangerous time, especially alone, even on roads.”

You finish the circle just as Reimu finishes her report. “Kotohime concluded desperate criminal, wild youkai attack. Majority of books already recovered from fairies, no further investigation. No real loss.”

You dust your hands and leave the circle in the grass, instead opting to stand in front of Reimu and Yoshika. “And what do you think?” you ask her.

Reimu blinks twice before sighing. “Probable. Reisen killed him, someone weakened him.”

She sounds confident in her beliefs, but also dissatisfied. “You aren’t happy with Kotohime’s investigation?”

“It works,” Reimu replies.

The shrine maiden doesn’t give anything else away in her countenance. You know she isn’t happy with what’s happened, but she seems willing to drop the issue now that the village has finished its investigations.

“So what, they don’t care why he did it?” you probe, trying to understand Reimu’s dissatisfaction.

“Sell books, quick profit. Not unheard of. Weak humans, weak youkai, look for easy power.” You admit, that does sound like a plausible motive. Hell, that’s basically what you’re doing now, looking for a grimoire to power up. Any amount of money would be worth it to get your hands on the Necronomicon.

You scratch your head. “You still want to know who attacked him, right?”

Reimu stares at you, her eyes slightly droopy. “Yes,” she says.

“You had time to rest, right?”

“Yes, after returning.”

You stroke your chin in thought, wondering what is bothering Reimu. Maybe because she hasn’t caught the attacker? I don’t think that’s it. Because she couldn’t find the attacker? I’d be pretty angry too if all my work couldn’t find the suspect.

That’s probably bothering her too, but you’re here to help with that. Why would she be depressed if she’s going to get an answer in a minute? Maybe she sees how flaky you are?

Stupid sister. Besides, she wasn’t depressed yesterday. Well, she was dead tired yesterday. Maybe she hadn’t thought about it? It’s possible for her anger to have transformed into depression, but you think it has to be something else.

What do you know about Reimu? She hated being lied to. She works constantly at her family job. She probably has a few grudges towards the people who- maybe that’s it?

What is?

“It’s what the villagers were saying, wasn’t it?”

It’s quick, but you see Reimu clench her teeth for an instant. Yeah, that’s it. For the shrine maiden who is keeping the balance, it doesn’t matter if the investigation is almost complete. “Did you overhear people talking while you were in the village?”

Reimu doesn’t respond, but that’s more than enough of an answer. People are stupid.

That’s pretty critical. Is it untrue, though?

Not really. Even if the crime is wrapped up, people still would rather it not have happened in the first place. Even though it was a nobody who died, I bet the humans are still upset that a non-human killed one of their own. I see what you’re thinking.

Yeah. Entitled people give hell to whoever they decide to point their finger at.

You sigh and sit down next to the shrine maiden. “You’re doing a good job, Reimu.”

The brunette straightens up and turns to look at you, eyebrow raised.

“So what, a few idiots call you out for not protecting every single human from every single youkai at every single time of the day? They’re idiots. You can’t let their criticisms affect you.”

Reimu glances away from you, instead electing brush her hand through Yoshika’s hair. “Should have stopped it.”

So it’s the villagers’ criticisms in conjunction with her personal standards. “You can’t be expected to protect everyone on your own. From what I hear, the peace that you alone have instilled is something your family would be proud of.”

The shrine maiden doesn’t look at you as you continue, “Keeping all these different groups in check with an ingenious system is something to be proud of. A few words can’t besmirch the results of your work.”

Reimu still doesn’t look at you. Great.

“Hehe~ Blush bluuuush~” Yoshika sings while pulling Reimu into a hug.

You laugh as Reimu jolts. Leaning forward, you try to get a better view. Yeah, you think her cheeks are a bit-

You fall forward, expertly avoiding the yin-yang orb that is sent careening to where your head was. Damn, she didn’t even look at you before tossing that. She has good senses. Ah, these girls are so cute.

You rise to your feet and walk back over to you chalk circle. Taking out your foldable shovel, you drop it in the center and begin to work your magic, infusing it into the circle.

A quick chant frees the dead man’s soul from your shovel, giving him a wispy cloud-like body of mana to inhabit.

His audible ranting begins almost immediately. “The hell do you think you are bottling me up in some damn whatever the fuck? You dirty little brat, I’d cuff you if you ever tried to-”

There’s a headache coming on, you know it. Well, people don’t like being put into shovels, I presume.

Right, right.

“-just like that idiot who thought to swindle me out of our deal! I’ll show that stuck-up piece of shit who really should be-”

“Quiet!” you yell. “Now, who are-”

“Don’t yell at me you damn kid! Learn to respect your damn elders! Didn’t your whore mom ever teach you how to-”

You squeeze your hand, lashing out with your magic to silence the spirit. You generally don’t like forcing spirits to follow your commands given the whole respect for free will, but this guy is annoying you.

“Who are you?” You fill your voice with power, turning the question into an unshakeable command.

“Takumi Satou,” the spirit answers.

You glance at Reimu. The shrine maiden recovered as soon as the spirit took form, her serious work demeanor overpowering any lingering embarrassment.

She nods in confirmation.

Alright then. You’d be pissed if this was the wrong guy.

“How did you die?” you ask the spirit.

“I am not sure.”

You sigh. Unfortunately, it looks like you’ll have to loosen your hold over the spirit’s will if you want the right answers.

“How did you die?” you try again, this time letting some of the spirit’s personality through so he can better answer your question.

“I just said I don’t fucking know you horseshit.” Of course, his default personality seems to be ‘unhelpful jackass.’

You didn’t think that one through.

Yeah, yeah.

“Who attacked you after you left the village?” You phrase your question better while also clamping back down on the spirit so you don’t have to deal with his nonsense.

“A youkai.”

Fuck. This is why you prefer to talk things out with the dead. Forcing information out of them takes forever. “Describe the youkai that attacked you after you left the village in the morning on the day of your death.”

“A short girl. Blonde hair, red eyes, sharp claws, sharp teeth, black dress.”

The spirit’s description isn’t half over before you see Reimu jump to her feet and stomp over to where you stand.

You glance at Reimu, but she doesn’t say anything.

“Describe the attack by this youkai you have just described after you left the village in the morning on the day of your death.”

“I was walking on the path when she dived from the sky. She knocked me down and began to rip at my chest. I tried to dislodge her, but could not. She flew off after I claimed to be a village resident.”

Next to you, Reimu growls. You want to ask her what’s wrong, but she suddenly whips out her hand and begins to recite a string of unintelligible words. Once more, red rectangles spring into existence around her, spinning and growing and shrinking and disappearing. Then, a single red line of light shoots out from Reimu’s chest, looping into the air and off into the distance.

The shrine maiden immediately shoots into the air, as fast as she can.

Uh…

[ ] Pursue Reimu
[ ] Stay behind, ask questions
-[ ] <What questions?>
[ ] <Write-in>

[ ] Let the dead man move on
[ ] Hold on to his soul longer
[ ] <Write-in>

---

You probably have time for one question if you still want to catch up to Reimu, but clarifications will delay you. She flies pretty quickly.

>plot
Who needs that when you have 2hu’s?

>Shrooms
Not to discourage you, but being the helpful guy I am I’ll tell you that Marisa has been doping and training for over half her life. A few magic mushrooms aren’t going to help you beyond being a spell reagent.

It’d still be fun trip, though, so I say go for it!
>> No. 171182
[x] Stay behind, ask questions
-[x] Why did you leave the village?
-[x] Who was the guy who broke your deal
-[x] What was that deal?
>> No. 171183
[x] Stay behind and ask questions. We're only going to get so much out of the resource.
-[ ] What Anon's already going for
-[ ] Why did you leave the village so late at night? Where were you going? Who were you meeting with?
-[ ] What books were you carrying? Why were you carrying them? For whom or for who?
--[ ] Ask him about the Necronomicon but don't mention it's name. We don't want the reapers finding out we are chasing after one of the greatest grimoires, now do we?
"Man carrying in bag"; had a complete sentence there Salsa? Something along the lines of "Man carrying books in bag."
More confirmation with "books recovered from fairies"

[x] Release the fuckers soul when we, and Reimu, are done questioning him. I don't want the Yama going after us for preventing a soul from crossing over fairly.
>> No. 171184
>Man carrying in bag
Fuck.

Yeah, the word books should be in there.
>> No. 171192
[X] Stay behind, ask questions.
-[X] Other anon's questions that I won't copy-paste.
-[X] Did you notice anyone or anything besides that youkai?

[X] Release him after confirming it with Reimu, when she's done beating up Rumia.
>> No. 171206
[X] Stay behind, ask questions
-[X] Who hired you?

Someone told this man about the books. Finding out who can lead to another clue.
As to releasing his soul, we can use that as a bargaining chip when asking the question.
>> No. 171213
[x] Stay behind, ask questions
-[x] What happened after that youkai left?
-[x] Why did you leave the village?
-[x] Who was the guy who broke your deal
-[x] What was that deal?
>> No. 171224
>>171213
-[x]What were the books you stole
-[x]What happened to the books after the attack
>> No. 171467
File 137359432360.jpg - (147.41KB , 500x703 , stress-causes-problems.jpg ) [iqdb]
171467
You get the feeling this is going to be a horribly long and drawn out process. If you need to force answers out of an uncooperative spirit, you’re bound to miss something important. But it can’t be helped if every time you loosen your control you get- “Make yourself useful and fucking dredge up some-”

Well, nothing for it. Reasserting your dominance over the spirit, you begin. “Why did you leave the village on the morning of your death?”

“Safety.”

A lot of good that did him. “Where did you intend to find safety outside the village on the morning of your death?”

“The bamboo forest.”

“Why did you believe you could find safety in the bamboo forest on the morning of your death?”

“The white-haired woman could protect me.”

Mokou? “Why did you believe this white-haired woman could protect you?”

“She is strong. She keeps her word.”

Well, you suppose that might be true. At the very least, you know Mokou would throw down for her friends. If she helps lost travelers as well, as Byakuren told you she does, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine her protecting them from any threats as well. But, you’re missing something important. “Who did you need to seek protection from on the morning of your death?”

“The Hakurei shrine maiden and the village authorities.”

“Because you broke into Suzunaan and stole many books?”

“Yes.”

That fits the situation, you guess. Because we know Mokou is willing to fight Reimu? Yeah. You don’t know the extent of Reimu’s search power, but if this guy assumed meeting her would be inevitable, he’d need some stalwart protection. “Did you believe that this white-haired woman could protect you from the Hakurei shrine maiden?”

“Yes.”

It’s good to know, but it doesn’t help you track down what you want. On to more important matters. “What books did you steal from Suzunaan?”

“Magical books.”

Sigh. Of course. “What were the titles of the books you stole from Suzunaan?”

“I do not remember.”

Not unsurprising, if he was just grabbing books at random. “How did you decide what books to steal from Suzunaan?”

“I grabbed the books that caught my eye.”

Tsk. You were hoping somebody had hired the man to steal specific books. At least that way you’d have a lead. “Why did you decide to steal the books from Suzunaan?”

“It seemed like a good source of money.”

Doesn’t sound like he was hired to me. “For what reason did you steal the books from Suzunaan?”

“To sell the books.”

“Why did you need to sell the books you stole from Suzunaan?”

“To earn money.”

Nice questions. Damn this is a pain. “Why did you need the money that you would earn from selling the books you stole from Suzunaan?”

“To pay off my debts.”

“What do these debts you speak of entail?”

“Loans and credit.”

“How did you incur these loans and credit?”

“Buying drugs.” Right, Reimu mentioned that before. Supposedly this man was a drug addict and an alcoholic. How despicable. You can’t imagine a mixture of both your parents in one person. He really wasn’t going anywhere in life.

Still, this might give some context to the dead man’s ranting. “What was the deal you mentioned when I released you from my shovel?”

“One of the dealers I bought from demanded I pay him more after he had delivered the first half of my order.”

How did he phrase it originally? ‘Like that idiot who thought to swindle me out of our deal.’ Yeah, that. “You believe that this dealer broke your pre-arranged deal by demanding more money?”

“Yes.”

“Who is this dealer who you believe broke your pre-arranged deal by demanding more money?”

“Doctor Ordum.”

Doctor, huh? Never heard of the guy. “Is this man a doctor in the village?”

“Yes.”

Pretty crooked doctor. Yeah, well, it’s not quite unexpected. When you have the supplies, why not sell them? Doctors, or those who call themselves doctors, can be shifty people. Like you, Mr. Surgeon?

Let’s get back on track. Maybe you can still find direction in all this. “Who were you going to sell the books you stole from Suzunaan to?”

“Whoever would buy them.”

Damn. Try again. “Who did you expect to buy the books you stole from Suzunaan?”

“Men from the village. The witches living in the forest. Youkai capable of negotiation.”

Well, this isn’t getting you closer to what you want. It doesn’t sound like anybody ordered one crisp Necronomicon to be stolen. Maybe, but that’d mean the theft was complete coincidence. And if it was coincidence, why haven’t they found the Necronomicon? They said they found the other books in fairies’ hands, right?

“Did you notice anybody other than the youkai who attacked you on the day of your death during or immediately before the attack?”

“Some fairies in the air.”

You do not want to go fairy hunting. You haven’t bothered to count the winged pests, but if you take a good look in any direction you’re bound to spy at least one or two of them. “What happened to the books you stole from Suzunaan after the attack?”

“I do not know.” Because he was dead, Bro. Do you really need me to point that out?

Maybe he wasn’t? “What was your condition after the youkai who attacked you on the day of your death left?”

“My chest was torn open.”

Is that everything? You-

You pause the interrogation as a particularly loud voice draws your attention skyward.

“Mean! Rude! Unfair! Injustice! Tyr-! Tyre-! Tyranical!” Reimu slams the blonde-haired girl to the ground, drawing a cry of pain as she bounces once on the dirt.

You look at the shrine maiden who advances on the fallen figure. “Reimu, did you, uh, want to talk to this guy?”

“No.”

“This cannot be! I have broken no rules!” The blonde girl’s protests go unheeded as Reimu keeps her pressed to the ground with one hand. The red-eyed blonde begins shaking Reimu’s arm in an attempt to free herself, but doesn’t look like she’s putting in the greatest effort.

The Hakurei shrine maiden says nothing as she raises a charm in her hand. You see her mouth move quickly, some indecipherable chant leaving her lips.

Whatever she’s saying throws the blonde girl into a panic. She begins to try and tear into Reimu’s arm. Her claws look sharp enough to rend human flesh. However, those claws swipe through Reimu’s arm as if it wasn’t there. An attempt to bite Reimu ends the same way. Despite the futility, the blonde girl still struggles against Reimu’s grip.

Then it all stops when Reimu brings her wooden charm down.

“No! No no no NonoNoNONONONONOOOOOOOOO!” The blonde girl’s ear-piercing scream is inhuman. Reimu backs away from the girl, letting her writhe on the ground as if wracked in pain. The air around her seems to grow darker, like a sphere of blackness, before stopping somewhere at grey. Then the sphere dissipates, as if unable to sustain itself.

The girl doesn’t stop screaming, but Reimu seems finished with her. The shrine maiden dusts off her clothes and moves over to stand next to you, staring curiously at the dead man’s spirit.

…You’re not sure if you can continue asking questions with all that unsettling background noise.

What else do you need to ask, anyway? Maybe something new, maybe a rephrasing of a question? Maybe there is somebody else that might be related to this guy? Or maybe not. You know of his attacker that is twitching on the ground, his accidental murderer who doesn’t remember any longer, and his drug-dealing doctor who isn’t quite on the up-and-up.

You’ve still got a good hour and a half before sundown, if you had to guess.

[ ] <More questions for the dead?>

[ ] Reimu
-[ ] Who’s the kid?
-[ ] Why is she screaming?
-[ ] See how you can help the blonde
-[ ] Torturing children is generally frowned upon
-[ ] That’s a strange fetish
-[ ] Tea time
-[ ] No comment
[ ] Let’s skedaddle
-[ ] Back to the temple
-[ ] Check on the jiang-shi
-[ ] Pay a visit to the village
[ ] <Write-in>

---

Probably should have waited for loopy drugs to wear off before writing. Hope I didn’t mess things up.
>> No. 171469
[ ] Reimu
-[ ] Who’s the kid?
>> No. 171470
'Aight, first mess up. There's an implicit 'let the spirit move on' in the vote once you're done. If you wanna stick 'em somewhere, say so.
>> No. 171474
[x] Reimu
-[x] Who’s the kid?
[x] Let’s skedaddle
-[x] Back to the temple
>> No. 171478
>[ ] <More questions for the dead?>
-[x] Is that the youkai who attacked you on the day you died?

That should just about wrap this up, assuming he answers in the positive.

[x] Reimu
-[x] Who’s the kid?
-[x] Are we good here?
-[x] Could you tell me a good place to get (things the jiang-shi need)?
-[x] Goodbye, lovely working with you. Keep in touch.

Then!
[x] Let’s skedaddle
-[x] To acquire jiang-shi repair materials

An hour and a half is a fair bit of time; hopefully we'll be able to wrap up here in ten minutes or so, fly to another destination, do some quick acquisitions, and be back to the temple by shortly after nightfall.

Maybe I'm too optimistic, but eh. Those jiang-shi aren't going to fix themselves, and no one else will care for them.
>> No. 171482
[X] "Who lent you money besides the doctor?"
[X} "Were they the ones who pointed you towards stealing books?"
[X] Reimu
-[X] Why is she screaming?

Normally people would steal things they can easily fence, and magical books are no such thing. Their moneylender may have been the one who told them about where to get the books, so the suspicion falls on them.
>> No. 171483
In order:
[X] <More questions for the dead?>
-[x] Is that the youkai who attacked you on the day you died?

[x] Reimu
-[x] Must be hard keeping the subjects in line.
-[x] Who’s the kid?
-[x] Are we good here?
-[x] Could you tell me a good place to get (things the jiang-shi need)?
-[x] Goodbye, lovely working with you. Keep in touch.

[x] Let’s skedaddle
-[x] To acquire jiang-shi repair materials

Anon has a plan. And we owe the jiang-shi, they saved our bacon.
>> No. 171492
>>171478
>>171483
It might be better left for a fresh day where odds of shit happening are low.
>> No. 171502
>[ ] <More questions for the dead?>
-[x] Is that the youkai who attacked you on the day you died?

[X] Reimu
-[X] Tea time
-[X] That’s a strange fetish
-[X] Who’s the kid?
-[X] Why is she screaming?

[x] Let’s skedaddle
-[x] Back to the temple

Let's have a bit of a debriefing with Reimu and check up on the situation, see if this has been wrapped up. After that, it's getting late, so let's get home for the night and show Byakuren our sweet new hand.
>> No. 171519
[X] <More questions for the dead?>
-[x] Is that the youkai who attacked you on the day you died?
>> No. 171569
[x] <More questions for the dead?>
-[x] Is that the youkai who attacked you on the day you died?
-[x] Let the spirit move on.

[x] Reimu
-[x] Must be hard keeping the subjects in line.
-[x] That’s a strange fetish.
-[x] Who’s the kid?
-[x] Are we good here?

[x] Let’s skedaddle.
-[x] Check on the jiang-shi.
--[x] Possibly acquire materials to repair the jiang-shi.

>>171492
the odds of shit going down will do anything but decrease as time pass
>> No. 171570
>>171569
more like increase, night in Gensokyo tends to be more dangerous than the daytime and the fact the visit to Reimu's went without note is a startling sign.

That and there's the chance choice material gathering may take much longer than the time we have.
>> No. 171580
Huh. Wonder why she didn't use Fantasy Heaven against the shinigami. It's not like that was a spell-card duel.

... well, she <i>was</i> exhausted.

Oh, important question -

[X] More questions-
--[X] "Why did you believe the white-haired woman <i>would</i> protect you against Reimu?"
--[X] "Who lent you money besides the doctor?"
--[X} "Were they the ones who pointed you towards stealing books?"
--[X] "Is that the youkai who killed you?"
--[X] "Is that the youkai who attacked you on the day you died?"
--[X] "What do you think would be most useful for me to know about your life?"

Kinda depending on us forcing him to give us a well-intentioned answer on that last one.
>> No. 171674
[X] is this the youkai that attacked you?

[X] acquire supplies

i still stand by us getting back to 100% on our onyx, hand, and posse, but if plot marches forward....

also I didn't expect the shrooms to actually end productively, but with your style, I expected great Marisa-laden hijinks and trippy shenanigans. Oh well, there's always next time, I suppose.
>> No. 171676
>>171674
It's pretty hard with people going for the plot for a mix of reasons which may or may not include cockblocking Necroanon from Byakuren.
>> No. 171683
>>171676
In all fairness, I make sure to vote for at LEAST one round of Byakuren time per in-story day. It's just that there's a time limit on a lot of the plot stuff.
>> No. 171684
>>171676
zomg people voting for plot in a story! The horror!

I'm sure that advancing plot will also advance romance (mostly), so why force it?
>> No. 171714
File 137386263812.jpg - (202.37KB , 850x902 , so-close-so-very-close.jpg ) [iqdb]
171714
The girl’s screaming is really getting to you. On one hand, there’s a vicious undertone, like that of a wild beast suddenly caged. On the other hand, it’s a little girl screaming.

Focus. I know it seems wrong, but we don’t know what’s going on there.

“Is that the youkai who attacked you on the day of your death?” you decide to ask.

“Yes.”

Well, that’s that. You helped Reimu catch a youkai, but didn’t manage much in your own quest. You’ll take a few more stabs at it, you guess. What to try… “Who lent you money besides the doctor?”

“Many people.”

“Describe the people who lent you money in a manner that I could locate them.”

“The owner of the Border Moon pub. The owner of the Velvet Room tavern. The daughter of the owner of the Misty night club. The owner of…”

You can feel your eyes glazing over as the man recites a long list of people. You can’t be bothered to remember that list. It’s not like you have to. Anyway, I’m not hearing anything useful. From what you can tell, this guy has hit up every acquaintance he’s ever made for money. Seems like these are all people living in the village.

“Were they the ones who pointed you towards stealing books?”

“No.”

“Who pointed you towards stealing books?’

“Many people.”

“Is that list of people who pointed you towards stealing books founded upon casual conversation?”

“Yes.”

What annoys you the most when commanding spirits is the consistent inconsistency in their answers. When they answer of their own free will, you can get a feel for their personality and what may or may not be the whole truth. When you force answers out of a spirit, they answer you as best they can.

Which is frustrating, because ‘as best they can’ means ‘as best they can based on what they knew in life with some leeway in answers given hints of influence from their suppressed personalities and some seemingly random variance of the cosmic variety meant to spite you.’

“Did any person within a week of your death suggest to you that stealing books could be a source of money?”

“No.”

“Has any person seriously offered to buy any magical books you might come to possess?”

“No.”

I don’t think you’re getting a name behind the trigger out of this. Yeah. From what you can tell, it sounds like the idiot needed a lot of money and thought stealing some magic books would be a quick fix.

He should have just tried to steal some jewelry. “Why did you choose to steal books as opposed to other items?”

“It felt right. The bookstore was less guarded than other shops. I could have made a large amount of money.” You’re just going to aggravate yourself if you keep pursuing this.

It’s still worth it to try a bit longer. Think, think, think…Oh, maybe that. “Why did you believe the white-haired woman would protect you against Reimu?”

“It felt right. She is not averse to helping humans.” You think your first wording left something out? It might have. It’s a distinction, at least, but this answer just goes along with what you thought of why Mokou would help some random guy.

What else, what else…You’re going to blow a fuse if you keep this up. There has to be something else…

“What do you think would be most useful for me to know about your life?” Really? That’s what you’re going to ask?

“The owner of the Charming Fairies Inn would give his male customers a discount on alcohol.”

Fairies? That has to be a connection! “What dealings with fairies does the owner of the Charming Fairies Inn have?”

“None.”

“Why does-” Stop, stop, stop! I’m calling in my executive veto. No more interrogation.

What? But this is the best- No it isn’t! This is not a lead!

But- It’s a damn bar name, Bro! ‘Charming Fairies Inn’ is as much a lead as the ‘Deadman’s Brewery’ or ‘Lunar Rabbit Pub’ or any of the other half-dozen names he throw out there.

What? He talked about those? Obviously- No! You’re tired and you’re trying too hard. Enough!

B-But… Even if you’re missing something, it couldn’t be that important. At least, not important enough to keep at this guessing game.

You massage your temples for a few seconds before breaking the circle and releasing your magic. Without your support, the dead man’s spirit body collapses, also taking his ability to speak. Assuming he doesn’t drift back to where he belongs and assuming he doesn’t get picked up by a reaper, it’ll take him years of existence to begin forming a body like you gave him. His chance at quick ghostdom has already passed by.

Wiping your hands of that case, you turn to Reimu. The shrine maiden has usurped your faithful jiang-shi companion and is using her as a headrest while standing nearby.

“So, who’s the kid?” you ask and hike a thumb at the now sobbing blonde girl.

“Rumia. Wild youkai. Last straw.”

There’s no emotion in Reimu’s voice, no hint of compassion or regret.

You take a few steps towards the youkai and kneel down next to her. This Rumia does not look like she’s having a good day. She’s lying flat on her back, constantly rubbing her eyes with the white sleeves of her blouse.

As if sensing you approach, her tears lessen. She quickly cleans away her tears a final time so she can stare at you with her red eyes, a look of bewilderment on her face. You watch her arm slowly raise, acutely aware of what kind of damage those hands can do.

You hear two pairs of feet crunch the grass behind you. At that sound, Rumia’s arm stops at chest height and goes no further. “I- I wa- want- don’t…” the youkai girl whispers.

To your surprise, Reimu glides past you and hefts Rumia up like a child. The Hakurei shrine maiden has no problems cradling Rumia to her chest.

“Eat,” Reimu commands, simultaneously stuffing a loaf of bread into Rumia’s mouth.

Where did she get that from? Dimensional space, just like everything else she has. She’s the greatest wizard you’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.

Rumia nibbles on the bread looking somewhat disgusted, but nonetheless keeps the food clutched tight in hands.

“Are we good here?” you ask Reimu. As curious as you are about what happened with this youkai girl, it isn’t your primary concern at the moment.

Reimu nods and bounces Rumia in her arms, the blonde youkai looking decidedly happier than when you first saw her dragged to the shrine. The shrine maiden adjusts the wooden charm that has been pressed against Rumia’s chest, taking the attached string and tying it off like a necklace around the small youkai.

The esteemed Hakurei shrine maiden gives you a weary smile and polite bow, thanks for how you’ve helped her. Then she turns and walks gracefully back to her shrine.

“Have a nice night, Reimu.” The shrine maiden waves over her shoulder, a wide-eyed Rumia also staring at you with bread in mouth before she disappears inside the shrine.

Now what?

Well, the state of the jiang-shi are on your mind. Along with that is your now drying pool of reagents.

You’d like to go back to Muenzuka and dig up the corpses you buried. Even if you don’t examine them in detail, their bodies represent the best source of materials you can think of. However, you imagine the sun would go down before you finish scavenging from a few of the corpses. Not that working at night has stopped you before, but it’s something to consider if you wanted to be back at the temple before nightfall.

Going on a quick hunt for fresh animal parts might be quicker, or it might not. There are beasts to be hunted in the forests, but who knows how long they would take to track. The danger involved doesn’t overly worry you. Yoshika makes you feel safer than you have in years.

Stopping in at the village to buy basic reagents could work, but somehow you don’t think shops are open this late. But, maybe they are. The village is a strange anachronism of old and new, so there might be some forward thinking entrepreneurs that can help you out.

Then there’s old reliable of robbing graves. Given the customs of the Japanese, that’d land you with bone dust more often than not, but every little bit counts. You think you saw some small family graves around the village you could peruse.

You could always cut yourself up, too, but that’s best reserved for when you know what needs fixing.

[ ] Material gathering time
-[ ] Muenzuka
--[ ] Jiang-shi scavenging
--[ ] Plain ‘ol grave robbing
-[ ] Hunting
--[ ] Bamboo Forest of the Lost
--[ ] Great Youkai Forest
--[ ] Forest of Magic
--[ ] Forests that you don’t think have a name and are probably safer
-[ ] Village
--[ ] Irregular shopping
--[ ] Grave plot robbing
[ ] Head back to Myouren Temple
-[ ] Assess the jiang-shi
-[ ] Show-off your new bling
-[ ] Quietly relax
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>>171482
I salute you, wise and critically thinking Anon. Being a horrible tyrant masquerading as a benevolent, democratic figure, I also laugh at your attempts. I’m sorry ;_;

>>171580
Spell cards require immense amounts of concentration, mostly because they draw upon the border to create or enhance power.

Now, while some abilities might be easily useable on their own, they might not help with what a person wants to achieve…

>>171674
Oh, yeah, it would’ve been great no doubt about that. Nothing’s more fun than a bad end from accidental overdosing.

>cockblocking
Don’t worry, I’ve got you. The love shall floooooow. Except when it doesn’t. Which is also possible. I’m a sucker for bad endings.

>Plot advancing romance
Ever think that romance can advance the plot? Gasp!

Okay, all joking aside (or is it?) the idea that:
>there’s a time limit on a lot of the plot stuff
Needs to be worded as, ‘There’s a time limit on all the plot stuff.’

The world keeps on turning. Don’t let that worry you. This doesn’t mean that there’s a ‘GG Time Limit End ~ Story Over’ ending, but rather the story will develop along a different path. It’s all interesting stuff, in my humble opinion. Every opportunity missed opens new doors.
>> No. 171715
>>171684
because sometimes it won't unless you make sure of it from the looks of things. Now we have to pay "pick a thing and hope it doesn't horribly backfire"
>> No. 171717
>>171714
Yeah but personally I feel having the plot advance the romance is natural than trying to force it in the voting. :V

No vote 'cause I don't know what to pick. :V
>> No. 171719
>>171717
Well it'd work if the story would settle on a route which it hasn't, not with people going "oh look a chance for Byakuren... we can't let you have that, Star Fox
>> No. 171730
>>171719
See, this counts as "forcing" it. This is a story, not a VN. It has an author that can and will come up with appropriate stuff depending on the choices taken.
Why are you so scared of having the story develop on its own? D'you really think Zalsa needs that much handholding?

Not to mention, where is this so-called anti-Byakuren brigade?
(And what if they want Reimu End?)
>> No. 171740
Seems I'll get the pleasure of voting first

[X] Material gathering time
-[X] Muenzuka
--[X] Jiang-shi scavenging
[X] Head back to Myouren Temple
-[X] Quietly relax

We owe it to the Jiang-shi to help them. And I think the "dead" Jiang-shi would want their body to be used to help the others.
And what's better then returning to the temple and relax after a long night's work.
>> No. 171741
>>171740
Not a bad vote but I'd like to be in the temple before nightfall for once.

[X] Head back to Myouren Temple
-[x] Assess the jiang-shi
-[x] Show-off your new bling

Besides an accurate depiction of how much we need will probably prevent an embarrassing second item-gathering expedition.
>> No. 171742
[X] Head back to Myouren Temple
-[x] Assess the jiang-shi
-[x] Show-off your new bling

In this order. Tomorrow, we should scavenge the slain jiang-shi and possibly think about upgrading our others. If we can use them as a sort of linked combat-brigade, that would drastically increase our survivability. We should also see if the necronomicon was among the books recovered.
>> No. 171744
[X] Material gathering time
-[X] Muenzuka
--[X] Jiang-shi scavenging

I get the feeling that we are going to need both the materials and the upgraded/fixed Jiang-Shi sooner rather than later.
>> No. 171745
>>171730
it's how it's structured so far with only a tiny bit of time (bedtime-breakfast) unless we vote to specifically hang around longer. And so far whenever Byakuren comes up there's usually a flurry of votes really eager to do anything but hang at the temple.
>> No. 171749
[X] Head back to Myouren Temple
-[x] Assess the jiang-shi
-[x] Show-off your new bling

Deal with repairs when we are fully Charged tomorrow.
>> No. 171776
[X] Head back to Myouren Temple
-[x] Assess the jiang-shi
-[x] Show-off your new bling

Seriously, a fair amount has happened today, we can go power up tomorrow morning.
>> No. 171779
[X] Head back to Myouren Temple
-[x] Assess the jiang-shi
-[x] Show-off your new bling
>> No. 171823
[X] Material gathering time
-[X] Muenzuka
--[X] Jiang-shi scavenging
[X] Head back to Myouren Temple
-[x] Assess the jiang-shi
-[x] Show-off your new bling
I say we get all our zombie ducks in a row as well as fill our own supply before it becomes necessary, and using like on like seems the most reliable. shops and hunting both have a chance of total failure, not to mention the powder-kegs most of those forests could be, and a possibility of bone dust here and there doesn't seem promising compared to a pile of corpses we buried ourselves not too long ago. If i can't vote to fix the onyx, then dammit I'm fixing SOMETHING

>>171776
Unless we can't because something caught us at less than full power and tore us to shreds, or the plot gets it's vice-like grip on us and flies off at mach 3. although my vote to go out and scavenge in the middle of the night has it's own risks assumed given the setting, so you might have the right idea. i find both consequences a bit unlikely anyway because that would mean we were forced to pick one super choice over a bunch of bad ends, and the writer couldn't possibly be that cruel, right guys?.........right?
>> No. 171832
>>171823
this story seems to have a high shit happening factor and being reckless would likely have us run into another super powered thing.
>> No. 171916
File 137419991455.jpg - (237.40KB , 571x688 , she-sees-your-spaghetti.jpg ) [iqdb]
171916
Off to the temple you go then.

Really?

Is that such a surprising decision?

I figured that with everything going on, you’d decide to work through the night on one thing or another.

It’s a tempting proposition. The run in with the reapers is the closest to death you’ve come in a long time. Securing yourself in this ridiculous fantasy land is near number one priority.

So, you’re deciding to go back to the temple because…?

Byakuren might scold you if you spend another night out.

That’s it?

Well, you figure it’s best to check on the jiang-shi and see the extent of their damage before you grab repair materials as well. Gathering more than you need and letting the excess go to waste would be terrible.

What if I told you to rest? Would you have done it?

Maybe.

Are you that much more afraid of her than me?

Maybe. It’s tough to say. Both women are terrifying in their own ways. In a good way!

Uh-huh.

The flight from the Hakurei Shrine to the Myouren Temple is fairly short, the mental banter with your sister and the flight games with Yoshika occupying some of the time.

As you fly over open fields, you wonder what life is like for the humans of Gensokyo. Farmers work the ground from morning till evening. Hunters form in groups and venture into the woods. Despite the abundance of magic and the supernatural surrounding them, are their daily lives no different from people elsewhere?

It’s not like you to think about things like this. What’s eating you?

Nothing. You’re just curious, is all. You wonder what it would be like to settle down in a normal life after all these years. Would things go back to the way they were?

They never can, Bro. But, that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a good life for you. I’d hope you’d be more sociable.

In seemingly no time at all, you land near the cemetery of the temple. Now, where did- Did you see?

See what?

Inside the temple.

What about it?

It looked like the monks and nuns were sitting around.

So? Aren’t they usually cleaning or training or chanting? Who knows? It’s not like you’re around the temple at this time. Maybe they’re on break.

Now, where did those jiang-shi get to? “Hey! Dio?”

You call out once, but the jiang-shi don’t come running. They could have wandered further. It’s not like you gave them a hard restriction.

True. “Shilverase? Rea? Nekurow?” You cycle through the other jiang-shi’s names, in part practice to remember them, and wait for a reaction.

Nothing.

Time to walk through the woods? It might be the only way-

Yoshika leaves your side. The undead girl takes one step forward, then another. She’s bent slightly as the waist as she leans forward, her head crooked to the side. She’s a Chinese mime, listening for clues.

“Do you hear something, Yoshika?”

“No…” she drawls, continuing on with her strange behavior.

Then she suddenly grins. “Master, master!” Your companion runs back over to your side and grabs your arm. She bounces up and down on the tips of her toes, her excitement running throughout her body.

“What is it Yoshikaaaaaaaa!” Unable to contain herself, the jiang-shi dashes off into the woods, pulling you along without a care.

Then she lets you go almost immediately, leaving you to stumble to try and stay on your feet.

“Master!”

“Hello my cute little underling.”

Oh.

Don’t freak out.

Shit.

Your four other jiang-shi are standing and floating around a fallen log. Yoshika has clambered up onto said log and is sitting on her knees, leaning into the woman already sitting there.

She’s blue. Blue hair, blue eyes, blue dress. Her hair is done up in two stupid loops held in place by some dumb hair stick. Her dress’ floral designs are ugly and her vest emphasizes her completely bland figure. She’s got a ridiculously thin shawl cloth thing that’s got nothing on your scarf. Her voice sounds like nails on chalkboards and you imagine if you were close enough she’d smell like shit.

Of course, your mental bashing does nothing to regain the confidence you need to move, to react, to strike.

The woman, after giving Yoshika a good hug and petting, turns to look at you with a smirk. “Greetings. This is our first meeting in the flesh, is it not?”

“Seiga Kaku.” The name slides off your tongue, a disgusting mouthful barely better than slimy acid.

“I am flattered you remember me.”

At least one of you is happy with the meeting. “What are you doing here?”

“My, the hostility in your tone is quite unsettling.”

Keep it cool. “Why. Are. You. Here?”

Seiga frowns for a second, a high-class lady baffled by the behavior of a commoner rat. That look pisses you off. “Yes, yes. I happened to be in the area, you see, so I thought to check on my darlings. It came as quite a shock that there were so few left of them roaming this fair earth.” That bitch. You did your damn best to save- Stop letting her get to you. “When you spoke of proper care, I imagined that meant caring for their current condition, not throwing them to the reapers.”

“You-!”

“Yes?” she interrupts, an amused glint in her eyes.

Calm down, Bro. Don’t pick a fight, no matter how much you want to.

That smirk is driving you up the wall!

Look at the jiang-shi. Look at them and calm down.

What about the jiang-shi? They…look absolutely fine. Ignoring Yoshika, who is practically purring in Seiga’s arms, the other jiang-shi are smiling. Well, not Nekurow, but that’s also normal. The big guy seems to have a perpetual scowl on his face.

Still, they aren’t bothered by the presence of their former master. See? You’re making a mountain out of a- That worries you.

Oh come on.

“Hey Yoshika,” you call out, your voice somehow devoid of any shakiness, “can you come here?”

“Eeeeh? Okay~” The undead girl wiggles out of Seiga’s arms and saunters back over to you, taking her customary position at your side.

“The rest of you too.” I’m all for being cautious, but I don’t sense a threatening atmosphere.

The other jiang-shi comply with your orders, floating over to take position at your back.

“Ah, seeing the loyalty of my adorable underlings is enough to move me tears.” The Taoist touches the back of her hand to her forehead. Of course, under her hand you see her grinning at you. “Feeling rather paranoid, are we?”

“You could say that.” Relax, Bro. Just talk it out and nothing will go wrong.

Seiga hit the nail on the head. Stop it. Your position is far too precarious for your liking. Would you stop? The fact of the matter is, the jiang-shi are a wildcard. Oh for the love of- As much as you’ve done for them and want to trust them, the niggling fear that they wouldn’t help you against Seiga leaves you woefully underprepared for any confrontation. It’s the kind of ploy a snake like her would try to-

Cold arms wrap around you. “Master, it’s okay~”

Huh?

“Master is my master~” Yoshika grins at you, that smile quickly mitigating your fears. “Nobody else can have him.”

Seiga chuckles, every utterance starting to reapply the stress. “What a bold statement. Even I may not have him, my cute little underling?”

“No!” Your zombie girl squeezes you tighter. “My master.”

Are we feeling better, now?

So, this was your sister’s doing, huh? You need to stop seeing threats everywhere you look. I just had Yoshika help out.

…Thanks. You’re feeling calmer already. But you still don’t like this situation.

“Thanks Yoshika,” you tell the jiang-shi, “but uh, when you say nobody else, does that mean I can’t date anybody?”

…Really?

What? It’s important to know. If Yoshika happens to be some crazy stalker-like person, you’ll have to re-evaluate your relationships.

Glad to hear you’re back to normal.

After a short deliberation, Yoshika comes to her decision. “…I can share~”

“Perhaps you would share him with me then, my cute little underling?”

“Master?”

“I’d rather not.”

“Okay~” Yoshika nods once at you before turning to her former master and glaring. “No.”

Seiga chuckles again, this time her voice manages to not grate on your nerves. “Does this allay your base worries?” She looks more amused than anything.

You sigh. Great. Looking like an idiot in front of this woman is the best start.

You look pretty silly most of the time anyway.

Your head hurts dealing with these people. “What do you want, Seiga?”

With the possible confrontation over, the jiang-shi disperse again, moving back to stand closer to their former master.

“As I have said, I thought to leave the rather inhospitable climate inside the temple to check on my lovelies when I felt them nearby.”

You perk up. Compared to Seiga’s previous reasoning, this catches your interest. “What’s going on in the temple?”

“A meeting between mine and yours. As with every such occasion, I am brought along for…insurance, I suppose, though I imagine my presence simply exacerbates the tension.” Seiga picks at her nails as she speaks, sounding none too upset by her position in life.

The presence of more Taoists complicates matters. Her presence here complicates matters.

You can’t help but feel like she’s waiting for you to present your back to her.

Stop being so melodramatic.

[ ] First strike, bitch
-[ ] A crushing introduction
-[ ] Bone to the guts
-[ ] Powde No! Stop it!
[ ] On with the inspections
-[ ] Outside, with an audience
-[ ] Inside, somewhere hopefully private
[ ] Speak with the devil
-[ ] How’s the weather?
-[ ] What’s this insurance?
-[ ] What’s a real reaper like?
-[ ] What’s the meeting about?
-[ ] Where did she first get the jiang-shi?
-[ ] Why is she so blue?
-[ ] <Something else>
[ ] Check inside the temple
-[ ] Air surveillance
-[ ] Backdoor snooping
-[ ] Frontal inspection
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>>171717
I suggest getting a dart board; decision making becomes a breeze!

>high shit happening factor
Nah, you’re totally imagining things.

>routes
I’ve got story routes. Romantic routes? Load the cannons, sailors, ‘cause you’re going to need to sink those other ships!

No. Wait. What I meant was, things will happen as realistically as possible (or as I please) with helpful guiding votes from the fairies in the sky. We’re not going to be bipolar and jump back and forth between two women until they run off or throw us out of their homes leaving us a sad and lonely necromancer with only his doll- uh, corpses for comfort.

Maybe. Then again, I find an ending like that highly appealing…

Where was I going with this? Right. I have not plotted out any potential romance, but I’ll also do my best to avoid screwing up any lovely story-telling momentum.
>> No. 171917
[x] On with the inspections
-[x] Outside, with an audience

>>171916
The issue isn't so such two women just one woman and a group of voters who seem to find the notion of going after her wrong for petty reasons (and likely newly introduced to the internet with summer free time)
>> No. 171921
[x] Speak with the devil
-[x] What’s the meeting about?
-[x] What’s this insurance?
-[x] Where did she first get the jiang-shi?
-[x] What’s a real reaper like?
-[x] Why is she so blue?

Preferably in that order, not that it matters, I just think this will go smoothest.
I considered going with surveillance, but honestly. Byakuren doesn’t need our help, even if the need should arise. And we can trust Yoshika who trusts Seiga. We’ll get even more information this way. Though we shouldn’t trust her under normal circumstances (normal for necroanon that is)
We can go see Byakuren afterwards.
>> No. 171922
[x] Speak with the devil
-[x] What’s the meeting about?
-[x] What’s this insurance?
-[x] Where did she first get the jiang-shi?
-[x] What’s a real reaper like?
-[x] Why is she so blue?

Sure, let's chat with the wicked hermit.
>> No. 171923
[X] Speak with the devil
-[X] Why is she so blue?
-[X] Does she know any other blue people?
-[X] Has she considered switching to green?

These are the hard hitting questions that must be asked.
>> No. 171926
[X] Speak with the devil
-[x] What’s the meeting about?
-[x] What’s this insurance?
-[x] Where did she first get the jiang-shi?
-[x] What’s a real reaper like?
-[X] Why is she so blue?
--[X] Does she know any other blue people?
--[X] Has she considered switching to green?

[X] Check inside the temple
-[X] Backdoor snooping

>>171917
Or maybe you're just being paranoid. Chillfuckinglax.

>>171923
Snerk
>> No. 171928
[ ] On with the inspections
-[ ] Outside, with an audience
[ ] Speak with the devil
-[ ] How’s the weather?
-[ ] Why is she so blue?
--[ ] Does she know any hedgehogs or virtual divas?

-[ ] What’s this insurance?
-[ ] What’s the meeting about?

I'm not keen on letting Seiga see our methods but she probably knows them anyway. Not bothering with the "ask about the Jiang-shi" question because we know it was grave robbing/murder.
>> No. 171933
[X] Speak with the devil
-[x] What’s the meeting about?
-[x] What’s this insurance?
-[x] Where did she first get the jiang-shi?
-[x] What’s a real reaper like?
-[X] Why is she so blue?
--[X] Does she know any other blue people?
--[X] Has she considered switching to green?

[X] Check inside the temple
-[X] Backdoor snooping

Regarding the MC's sister, since she's a ghost/disembodied spirit, and since she's residing in her brother's head, does she have the ability to possess her brother if he gives her consent to do so?
>> No. 171940
[x] Speak with the devil
-[x] How’s the weather?
-[x] What’s this insurance?
-[x] What’s a real reaper like?
-[x] What’s the meeting about?
-[x] Where did she first get the jiang-shi?

Any women he meets will need to get past his sisters. That is for sure.
>> No. 171944
[X] Speak with the devil
-[x] What’s this insurance?
-[x] What’s the meeting about?
-[x] Where did she first get the jiang-shi?
-[x] I had to face a squad of reapers thanks to your antics. Why don't you make like a tree and disappear ?

[X] Check inside the temple
-[X] Backdoor snooping
>> No. 171947
I hope you know what you'e doing; I think trusting Seiga past a certain point is a bad idea, mainly because as far as touhou characters go, she's the most evil.
>> No. 171949
[X] Speak with the devil
-[x] What’s this insurance?
-[x] What’s the meeting about?
-[X] Why is she so blue?


[X] Check inside the temple
-[X] Backdoor snooping

bare bones conversation cause we need to figure out what the hell is going on.
>> No. 171951
Whoa whoa whoa.
I suggest that we do not, whatsoever, interrupt that meeting. Shady necromancer dabbling in dark arts waltzing into an holy temple is not good. Shady necromancer friendly with the head nun and having a private room in the temple? That gets leaked, Byakuren and NecroAnon are both fucked.
>> No. 171955
[x] On with the inspections
-[x] Outside, with an audience
[x] Speak with the devil
-[x] Talk shop

Yes, she's evil, but she's also pulled off necromantic tricks that we can't. As long as no one else is here and we have, in theory, got a reasonably shared interest (the welfare of the jiang-shi), then it's our moral imperative as a seeker of necromantic knowledge to find out as much as we can about everything she knows.
>> No. 171981
[X] Speak with the devil
-[x] What’s the meeting about?
-[x] What’s this insurance?
-[x] Where did she first get the jiang-shi?
-[X] Talk shop a bit
-[x] What’s a real reaper like?
-[X] Why is she so blue?
--[X] Does she know any other blue people?
--[X] Has she considered switching to green?
[X] On with the inspections
-[X] Outside, with an audience

More information is usually good, as long as we don't surrender any intel of our own to get it. Keeping our cards close to our chest is a safer bet than anything here in Gensokyo, what with all the power struggles and political trickery.

>>171955
I'm not so sure we should ask for trade secrets, as anything we ask her to teach us about means she knows we are currently unable to do it, but simply discussing necromancy in general may bring to light certain things that we may not find otherwise, and be interesting to say the least anyway. Just don't ask her to teach us any tricks. Maybe she will give us tips, but I see her using any information of our limits to her advantage more than anything, as I still don't trust her. She flips sides like a coin I reckon, so who's to say she won't do so again. On the flip-side, I bet talking shop is easier than actually getting reliable information out of her, and she might find it refreshing to discuss necromancy with someone familiar with it.
>> No. 172065
>>171955

I don't think Seiga is evil per say. An Asshole with a capital A, yes, but not flat out evil.
>> No. 172077
File 137451406964.jpg - (698.22KB , 602x800 , make-way-for-the-real-saint.jpg ) [iqdb]
172077
You lean back against a tree opposite from Seiga and keep careful eye on the blue woman. “So what’s this meeting about?”

“A twist of fate, certainly. I hadn’t planned upon meeting you here, but now-”

“Not us. Inside.”

She bares her teeth for a fraction of a second when you interrupt her, but quickly returns to her slight smirk. I think you annoyed her.

Well, good. You can’t handle a fight at the moment, but you don’t want to make her feel comfortable.

“Festival,” she answers.

“Festival?” you ask.

“Festival.” She smiles.

You sigh. Your fault for being difficult first.

It was worth it. Not if you want answers. Fair point. “Please oh wise hermit, bestow upon me your knowledge of this festival discussion.”

Seiga makes a rather difficult expression but ends up telling you in a rather bored tone, “It nears the time of the Ghost Festival and my disciple wishes to lead the celebrations for the humans of Gensokyo, as she has done elsewhere in the past.”

“Ghost Festival? Disciple?” I don’t know either.

“Mmm. I believe the Japanese refer to it as Obon. While important to the humans, it is of critical importance to my disciple who wishes to increase her renown in our new home.”

“Who’s this disciple?”

“Ah, I call her my disciple, but my student would be more accurate. Perhaps I may call her my associate, or my ruler on a particularly good day.” Seiga pauses for dramatic effect, her eyes twinkling. “I refer to none other than Toyosatomimi no Miko.”

Huh. With all her posturing, Seiga obviously expected her name drop to be rather significant. Shame you don’t really recall it. The head Taoist that Byakuren spoke of. Ah, right. That was a weird portion of the discussion. Byakuren spoke glowingly of this Miko woman, even though she sounded like she was choking on a wet noodle the entire time.

“Okay, so the Taoists and Buddhists are butting heads over Obon. Why?”

Seiga scowls at you. Her glare reminds you of an angry dog. Nonetheless, she elaborates. “While in the past the village’s own leaders headed matters, it appears the devious Hijiri quickly capitalized upon her religious authority. By directing festivals and the like, she managed to quickly grow her temple and allowed her preached beliefs to flourish. A shrewd move deserving of applause, all factors considered. It left my disciple in quite a conundrum after awakening. With our Buddhist colleagues’ stranglehold over village events, there was little room for us to develop.”

She’s complimenting Byakuren…right? It feels like it should be an insult, coming from someone normal. “Why does this Miko woman even want to get in on it?”

“Power. More simply, it is her nature to intercede in human affairs. In regards to specific goals, I believe she thinks to stamp out the influence being spread by the false nun.”

“She is a nun.” You leap to Byakuren’s defense before you even think about it.

“Not as I have heard it.”

“She-” you stop, memories of your conversations with Byakuren floating into focus. So, she has some confidence issues. And some personal issues. And maybe she doesn’t even honestly believe in Buddhism. So what? You tell yourself it doesn’t mean anything.

What bothers you is how Seiga seems to know this as well.

“For what it is worth,” Seiga says, “I find the woman mildly interesting. There is meaning in her thinking to believe, but my opinion on the matter is hardly recognized by yours or mine.”

There it is again. She’s segregating herself from the others. If you recall correctly, that Taoist ghost Tojiko had a bone or two to pick with Seiga as well. “So what is with you anyway? Bit of a black sheep?”

“No less than you, I imagine.”

She’s got you pegged. “I’m a bit of an outlier, at the moment.”

“More like for all moments, no? Much the same can be said of me. It is depressing to think that despite all these new and modern values, my efforts yet go underappreciated.”

Is she serious? You doubt trickery and worse has ever been appreciated by the masses of humanity. “Let’s talk about your efforts. What’d you mean by insurance?”

Instead of promptly answering your inquiries, Segia tilts her head and rests a hand on her cheek. “Do you not think leaving a lady such as me to answer all the questions is rather rude?”

Depends on what definition of lady you use. “Tsk. Fine, what do you want to ask?”

“Let us speak of your relations. Few know much about you, but your closeness to the reputed Byakuren Hijiri has been noted many.”

“She’s helping me out with my personal search out of the kindness of her heart.” It’s been your standard answer to everybody and you aren’t changing it.

“And there is nothing more than that?”

“No.” That’s pretty much a lie, but it’ll do for now. It’s not like you’re confident about…things, anyway.

“Truly?” Seiga watches you a moment before smiling. Why is she smiling? “That is rather underwhelming, but I suppose it will suffice. Your question, then?”

“You called yourself insurance. Why?”

“I did because I am. Relations between my disciple and your oh-so-benevolent benefactor are tense, to put it mildly. Worse is between their followers. Any meeting of them all at once is akin to a volcano raring to erupt.”

“Yeah, I know.” Considering you have not heard of a single happy relationship between the Buddhist and Taoists, there’s no surprise on your part.

“If such tensions were to boil over, then it behooves my disciple to bring one such as myself along to help facilitate a new peace.”

She enjoys talking around, but you think you’ve got the gist of it. “You’re muscle.”

“In so few terms, yes, but yours is too basic a description. Despite the peace of this fantasyland, my disciple is well-versed in secular matters. Keeping a loyal few around that are capable of anything is only natural. I imagine you also play such a role.”

“I don’t.”

“Perhaps I am mistaken.” Seiga’s eyebrows rise slightly. “You have never been kept around for such a cause?”

“No, I haven’t.” Technically, this is isn’t a lie. The only time you were in a true organization, you were a member expected to stand in the light. Any underground dealings, any morally bankrupt actions, have always been by yourself and for yourself. Not for yourself, Bro. Or by yourself, either.

No. They were all selfish, your own wish that- Let’s not start this again right now.

“Perhaps not knowingly. I see nothing else to gain from aiding one of your profession.”

You don’t like the sound of Seiga’s musing. “Byakuren can’t be helping me because she wants to do good?”

“No, I don’t believe so. Humans are incapable of pure altruism.”

“Ever think that you’re wrong?”

“Not particularly. The joy of helping another is satisfaction in your own actions. While that is one possible motive of hers, it cannot be the only.”

“Why not?”

“Because then she would help all who come to her. But she does not.”

She doesn’t?

You must let something show on your face. “You look surprised,” Seiga notes. “You should not be. The Myouren Temple regularly turns away many, from the murderous to simply those too poor. She is in a position to help all, but does not because the costs outweigh the benefits. Why support the many downtrodden of the village if there is no gain? You case is an interesting puzzle, to be sure. Now, if she wanted to improve her image, she’d choose a figure that doesn’t generate undue comments behind her back.”

Nobody can be perfect. A utopia is impossible. There’s no reason for anything Seiga says to be shocking. Naturally, nobody can save the world and help every human alive.

It still leaves you feeling unsettled.

You don’t want to stay on this topic any longer. “Why are you so blue?”

Your question catches Seiga completely off-guard. “What was that?”

Elegant way to change subjects.

“Blue and white is the only thing you’ve got going for you,” you comment. To be honest, Seiga looks great, especially as the sun starts to set and the orange light filters through the trees to highlight- but none of that matters, because she looks dumb. You’re trying really hard to hate her. That can’t be healthy.

Seiga smiles again, finally coming to terms with your non-sequitur. “Should you be speaking? An all-black ensemble, minus a glaringly yellow scarf?”

“It was a gift.”

“Which speaks nothing to your original fashion sense.”

I’m starting to like her.

It’s functional! Completely functional! When you stay in the shadows- It doesn’t actually help. You know as well as I do, pure black does not camouflage you better.

Moving on!

Of all things you could talk with Seiga about, one topic glares at you, demanding to be aired out. “Let’s talk about the jiang-shi,” you say.

This isn’t particularly smart.

“Let us. I shall begin.” Your blue-haired counterpart grows highly serious, her face giving nothing away. “Why have you not restored the others as you have done with my cute underling? Such a possibility was one reason I handed my darlings to you in the first place.”

Maybe this was the wrong topic. “I thought I could leave them be for a little while. I was wrong. I was planning on starting that now, but then you were here.”

“Wrong, hm?” Her eyes accuse you and her voice mocks you. “My, that is an understatement, isn’t it? Left ripe for the picking, gathered like lambs. My darlings would have been better off on their own without your tenuous assistance.”

“You didn’t warn me! If you actually cared about them, you could’ve told me something useful!” You idiot, control yourself!

Seiga rises to her feet, matching your outrage with her own. “You dare! You think I care not about what is mine!”

You can feel your magic swirling, body prepared to react in an instant. Stop! You’re glad to feel your new hand twitching in anticipation. With your mage sight on, you see Seiga preparing less than ten steps away, glowing with vengeful blue flames. Oh you’re an idiot! Your glowing green eyes send Seiga into a-

“No fighting~” Yoshika steps between the two of you, her arms held out to forestall any action.

You narrow your eyes at Seiga, the hermit watching you with equal care.

Then the two of you back off, tempers simmering. You two are hard-headed idiots. Now, make up.

What? No way.

Stop being a child and apologize.

No!

You do not need to make her hate you more just because you’re easily insulted!

You are not! You’re just highly aware of the injustices that others-

So help me I will dredge up every single embarrassing moment in your life and share them with Byakuren while you sleep if you do not make up with this woman right now!

That’s only a threat if you cared about those memories.

Want me to do it?

…Not really.

You take a deep breath and look Seiga in the eye. “I’m sorry for offending you.”

“Not a particularly heartfelt apology, is it?” Before you can shout at Seiga again, the hermit bows her head. “I understand you attempted your best, and do not begrudge you for it.”

It feels like she wants to say more but bites back any other comments.

The two of you wait a few more minutes in silence before you manage to muster the composure to speak. “Where did you get the jiang-shi, anyway? I didn’t see a pattern in their characteristics.”

Seiga has the jiang-shi line up with a wave of her hand, the undead somehow understanding just what she intends. “I came across them, one way or another.

“Yoshika Miyako, one long since dead. She is my most recent that is still in motion. I brought her back specifically for my duties here in Gensokyo and she was most agreeable.

“Shilverase, a rather important girl in life. She was with a group of inquisitors that sought to cleanse us barbarians of our evils. They learned their mistakes, but this girl wanted to go on at any cost.

“Nekurow, self-proclaimed demon hunter. He thought to end me, but it worked out rather poorly for him. He is a strange man, willing to accept such a state for the off chance to hunt his true nemesis once more.

“Rea, a girl I came across by chance. An untimely death was hers, and I took pity upon her. She seems to enjoy life outside the cage of her former home despite her condition.

“Dio, perhaps the least of what is mine. I found him wandering, plagued by failure to carry out his former duty. His form took some adjusting, but his mind healed on its own.

“I could speak to others, but they hold little relevance now, correct?”

“Right.” Damn, you hate this. Those descriptions were not what you were expecting. You try to force the next words out of your mouth. “They all wanted to be your servants.”

“Indeed.” Seiga chuckles, a mocking laugh that plays off your former opinions. “But do not begrudge your prejudices. Certainly not all my efforts wanted to be as they were when I needed them. However, keeping any of the discontented around permanently was not advisable for my health.”

How sad is it, that her making herself out be more villainous makes you feel better?

Before you can go on, the crunching of grass underfoot draws your attention behind you. Out of the corner of your eyes, you see Seiga rise and walk over. Thankfully, she stands a few arm lengths away.

“There you are, Seiga. We are finished.” The speaker is a woman, fairly short and flat. She has light blonde hair and grey eyes. Her hair sticks up, reminding you of the ears of an animal like a fox. Strangely, she also has a pair of earmuffs on. She wears a fancy looking purple dress and vest, but also has a rather ornate looking sword at her waist. Folded in her arms is some sort of purple cloth with a gold trim.

I don’t like her.

She is a strange figure. Not like the immortals with their nauseating auras, and not like Byakuren who can flip from serene nun to shadowy magician at the drop of a hat.

This woman is…at peace. You can’t think of a better word for it. She seems disaffected. Sort of like Reimu. Yeah, sort of. Except when Reimu watches, you can tell she is thinking hard, analyzing the situation. This woman’s eyes wander about almost absent-mindedly.

Then her gaze lands on you. I don’t like her. Her eyes linger on you a second longer than the jiang-shi or the trees. Then she looks away, back to Seiga.

That…wasn’t so bad. I wasn’t as if you were transfixed by her stare. She didn’t oppress your senses with power or instill in you primal fear. I don’t like her.

Why? For once, you didn’t actually feel that threatened, even though you can tell this woman is powerful. She…looked at us.

Well, that isn’t really a- It felt like she was looking at me.

She what? Your sister lives in your body, so obviously- Not like that! It’s just…it felt like she knew, or could tell.

…Now you’re starting to get disturbed. As much as you have traveled, no person has ever discerned your sister’s presence without first coming into contact with her in some way. People claimed to have an inkling of her existence after learning, but nobody outright knew on first glance.

“I believe I asked you to send off your servants.” The strange woman passed you by in favor of talking with Seiga.

“I did.”

“Look Seiga, I know you don’t want to, but it’s important to deescalate-“

“I just told you, I did. These jiang-shi are no longer mine by right. I sent them off, to him.”

The woman looks at you but it’s only a quick glance before turning back to Seiga. “That’s semantics.”

“I did as you asked.”

“That you did.” The woman buries her face into her free hand.

Then she turns back to you. “Sorry for ignoring you. I’m Toyosatomimi no Miko.”

“Nice to meet you,” you say as you introduce yourself. “So, you’re the famed head of the Taoists I’ve been hearing so much about.”

“I suppose I am. Seiga hasn’t caused you any trouble, has she?”

You peek at the blue-haired woman who is grinning behind Miko’s back, and shrug. “I’ve managed.”

“That’s good to hear.” Miko’s face twists with that last word, a sort of wry expression like she just told a bad joke.

She looks like she is going to leave with Seiga, but stops to speak with you further. “I think you are a good fit.”

“What?”

Miko continues to address you. “You could be more open, however. Such a single-minded desire leaves little room for growth or others. It is not wrong, but it is more prone to attract great disaster.”

“You-“

She doesn’t stop. “You should step carefully around Byakuren. Her true desires are finally blossoming, but that may not end well for you. I hope this development helps her grow yet I fear her path in life shall destroy her before she can.”

“What are you-”

The way she speaks brokers no interruptions. “Oh, and you should be more selfish. Demand more, in a serious manner, for yourself. Sometimes, being selfish can create a greater movement towards the fulfillment of your desire than being altruistic.”

Miko spins on a heel and begins to walk off, a small skip in her gait.

“Hey, wait!” you finally manage to get out.

The Taoist looks at you over her shoulder. “This is all my free advice, take it as you will. If you wish for more, I would have to ask for a monetary investment.”

You stare dumbly at the woman.

“No?” she asks. “Then, enjoy your night.”

The woman with the funny hair skips off, Seiga padding along beside her. You hear a cry of “Goodbye master~” but barely take note of it.

You’re so confused.

[ ] Chase after Miko
-[ ] Demand explanations
-[ ] Not finished with that hermit
[ ] Find some dinner
[ ] Go sleep in your room
[ ] Relax in the temple courtyard
[ ] Seek out
-[ ] Byakuren
-[ ] Minamitsu
-[ ] Ichirin
-[ ] Shou
-[ ] Nue
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>>171923
Heh.

>>171933
The answer is yes, with limitations.

They’ve tried it over the years and found that ceding control from one mind to another works out well enough, even though it’s a bit disorientating. However, there has never been a real reason to do so. He can move his body better than she can, and she can already choose to feel any physical sensation he does.

The one area they wish this was useful but doesn’t seem to be is when he is knocked unconscious. In past incidents, getting knocked unconscious affected her to the point where she could not move his body. Likewise, when he was frozen by fear, her taking over the body hasn’t achieved any worthwhile actions. That is why she generally remains on mental defense duty, where she has managed a great deal of practice.

To cover the topic more generally:

Humans are tricky creatures. Nominally speaking, your mind controls your body. However, your soul is (usually) plastered all over and inside that body, similar to a protective sheathe across every single cell.

While there are varying forms of ‘possession’ the most commonly referred to is when a spirit takes over someone’s body. This involves the spirit, a being with mind and soul, forcibly replacing those aspects in a human. Whether the original mind and soul of the human is destroyed or simple relocated varies, but the spirit ultimately gains possession of the body.
>> No. 172079
[x] Fix dinner for two
[x] Find Byakuren
[x] Enjoy dinner in courtyard
[x] Discuss the Taoist meeting

It seems like Miko is trying to defuse the conflict between the factions, discuss the implications of this.
>> No. 172081
[x] Examine the Jiangshi, take note of what needs to be repaired and what kind of materials you'll need.

Showing up after Miko just left might be a bad idea, tensions might still be high.

And I guess we were wrong about Seiga, she seems to truly care about the Jiangshi.
>> No. 172093
[x] Examine the Jiangshi, take note of what needs to be repaired and what kind of materials you'll need.
[x] Seek out
-[x] Minamitsu

We should do what we set out to do originally, then speak to someone we trust about what has happened in the temple. Let's give Byakuren a little time to settle down, and see if we should even be there in the first place.
>> No. 172097
“Oh, and you should be more selfish. Demand more, in a serious manner, for yourself. Sometimes, being selfish can create a greater movement towards the fulfillment of your desire than being altruistic.”

“You could be more open, however. Such a single-minded desire leaves little room for growth or others. It is not wrong, but it is more prone to attract great disaster.”

Question is, who is this directed to? Us, or NecroAnon's sister?
If it's for NecroAnon, then Miko is telling us to pursue Byakuren romantically, and more importantly, stop being paranoid about everything and put some trust in others. The later, we're doing slowly, bit by bit. Which is good.

"You should step carefully around Byakuren. Her true desires are finally blossoming, but that may not end well for you. I hope this development helps her."
“I think you are a good fit.”

Looks like she approves of us pursuing Byakuren romantically. The update showed that the Taoist aren't bad nor do they hold apparent malice.

[x] Examine the Jiangshi, take note of what needs to be repaired and what kind of materials you'll need.

We need to do this anyway. More importantly, we can't sully Byakuren's image. Creepy looking Necromancer sneaking into the temple after a important meeting with the opposite side? It's a risk either way.

[x] Before night truly falls, sneak into our room
-[x] Talk to Byakuren if it's feasible. As in, there are few worshipers there to walk in on us

Oh, and Miko more or less confirmed that Byakuren
>> No. 172100
[x] Chase after Miko
-[x] Demand explanations
-[x] Not finished with that hermit

I think it might be a bit foolish but I wish to hear more. Plus, this is a good moment to put that feud with Seiga to rest.
>> No. 172101
[X] Examine the jiang-shi
[X] show off your new bling
I don't think we are gonna get anything else out of Miko if that's how she's going to act, and no need to piss off another major player in gensokyo. I'm not sure what else to do, but I do think we need to actually do what we came here for, and patch up the jiang-shi. And show off our bitchin' new robo-hand, of course.
>> No. 172105
[x] Chase after Miko
-[x] Demand explanations
-[x] Not finished with that hermit

Exposition is selfish right?
not enough miko on this site
>> No. 172109
[x] Fix dinner for two
[x] Find Byakuren
[x] Enjoy dinner in courtyard
[x] Discuss the Taoist meeting
>> No. 172127
>>172126
I'd like to point out that two people having dinner together in the courtyard is pretty bad for keeping Byakuren out of trouble. Last time, we were saved because we were in her room with Ichirin guarding the door and stopping the worshippers from seeing us.
>> No. 172129
[x] Examine the Jiangshi, take note of what needs to be repaired and what kind of materials you'll need.
[x] Before night truly falls, sneak into our room
-[x] Talk to Byakuren if it's feasible. As in, there are few worshipers there to walk in on us

This is basically tide pissing as the spite force is on the patrol.
>> No. 172130
>>172127
I assumed it would be at some variable time when people weren't around.
>> No. 172132
[x] Examine the Jiangshi, take note of what needs to be repaired and what kind of materials you'll need.

That's what we came here to do and damned if we're going to let Seiga and Miko's nonsense stop us.

Then we need to get into the temple and figure out what's going on. Byakuren will almost certainly be tied up in post-meeting dealing with her mooks, so let's aim for someone informed but not likely to be as busy.
[x] Seek out
-[x] Minamitsu or Ichirin
>> No. 172134
[x] Examine the Jiangshi, take note of what needs to be repaired and what kind of materials you'll need.
[x] Before night truly falls, sneak into our room
-[x] Talk to Byakuren if it's feasible. As in, there are few worshipers there to walk in on us

We came here for a reason, folks. Keep in mind that wandering off with a fresh arm is probably not going to do us any favors. If we want to talk to the Taoists, we can do so after we finish what we came back for.

That is, a good night's sleep, a good meal, and a conversation with Byakuren.
>> No. 172135
Incidentally, writer, I think I've might have an idea as to who Dio is.

Does he have anything to do with Live A Live?
>> No. 172138
[x] Chase after Miko
-[x] Demand explanations - It is rude to use her wacky powers without permission or explanation.
-[x] Not finished with that hermit - Put the feud to rest.

Besides, more love advice may help. He already knows Byakuren's stub will lead to her downfall (I think)
>> No. 172141
[x] Chase after Miko
-[x] Demand explanations - It is rude to use her wacky powers without permission or explanation.
-[x] Not finished with that hermit - Put the feud to rest.
>> No. 172143
[x] Examine the Jiangshi, take note of what needs to be repaired and what kind of materials you'll need.
[x] Before night truly falls, sneak into our room
-[x] Talk to Byakuren if it's feasible. As in, there are few worshipers there to walk in on us
>> No. 172169
[x] Examine the Jiangshi, take note of what needs to be repaired and what kind of materials you'll need.
[x] Before night truly falls, sneak into our room
-[x] Talk to Byakuren when there are few worshipers there to walk in on us
>> No. 172176
[X] Examine the Jiangshi, take note of what needs to be repaired and what kind of materials you'll need.

Really this is the only choice that appeals to me.
>> No. 172241
[x] Examine the Jiangshi, take note of what needs to be repaired and what kind of materials you'll need.
[x] Before night truly falls, sneak into our room
-[x] Talk to Byakuren if it's feasible. As in, there are few worshipers there to walk in on us
>> No. 172281
File 137481058672.jpg - (294.26KB , 700x1078 , this-cutie-for-those-not-in-the-know.jpg ) [iqdb]
172281
As interesting as that was, there’s work to be done.

“Hey everybody, line up for me will you?”

You begin with a cursory check, figuring out what needs to be fixed on the surface of each jiang-shi. It’ll give you a rough estimate on how much skin you need to find, amongst other materials needed to imitate living flesh.

If anybody was watching, they’d probably comment on the figure dressed in black examining a bunch of naked semi-rotted corpses. Luckily, nobody is. You think.

It’s funny how work can focus your mind. There are plenty of things to worry about, different emotions roiling from your little chat with Seiga and Miko, but none of them bother you at the moment. No matter what it says about you, examining the jiang-shi provides a familiar routine for you to take comfort in.

“Sing for me, please.” They sound pretty bad.

Yoshika and Dio can speak well enough, but the other three have more difficulties.

You aren’t sure if the problem is their larynx or somewhere along the way, but you’ll need to open them up to find out. You can communicate with them on thought-level if you have to, but speaking helps give them their independence. Speech is a near-requirement to maintain a façade of life. Not necessarily well-articulated speech, but something more than unnatural groans. Yoshika’s voice is still rather raspy, but it doesn’t ruin the illusion that her appearance creates.

Overall, getting the four other jiang-shi to Yoshika’s level is definitely a half-day affair for the repairs alone. Finding most of the materials you need should be a simple shopping trip through the village as well as some scavenging from the corpses you buried, but that makes the time estimation approach a full day. Factoring in unexpected problems or any serious analysis of Seiga’s handiwork leads to a serious time commitment of a few days at minimum.

Then the few days becomes a week if you want to consider the jiang-shi’s personalities. Not that they’ve told you much directly, but you assume they’ll want more than just working bodies.

“No, Rea, I shall not be wearing Yoshika’s spare dresses.”

“Waaah?”

“I like it. You would look cute~”

“That does not matter. Have Nekurow wear them.”

“Mrhm.”

“Scary~”

“Ghaaa wah grah aah.”

“Yaa? Aah, wah garcck-” you wince and reach over, grabbing Shilverase’s jaw and working a bit of your magic into it to readjust the bone. You’ll need to realign that, too.

The pink-haired jiang-shi gives you a lopsided smile, the best she can manage when some of the skin on her face has been ripped away, before returning to her conversation.

Conversation?

That makes you notice that tour sister has been rather quiet during all of this.

Very quiet.

You know she’s in there.

Hello?

Sis? What?

What’s wrong? Nothing.

Positive about that? Yeah…

What’s bothering her? Is it what Miko said?

I guess.

Usually you are the one to flip out after meeting somebody. You didn’t think Miko was threatening enough to warrant more concern than the other super-powered entities around.

She’s too…I don’t know. I feel like she’s one of the most dangerous people we’ve met here yet.

Why?

It…

You give your sister time to arrange her thoughts. It isn’t often she’s been left wanting for words.

Then, you begin to see an image in your mind. It’s a clearing in a forest, centered on a tree stump. Many people are gathered around the stump, all wearing a variety of outfits and uniforms. The divisions between groups are as stark as night and day. The all-white paladins stand ramrod straight while mercenary knights stand in their personalized uniforms. Priests and clerics and municipal officials are also in attendance.

You remember this, right?

Of course you do. You were the guy kneeling at the stump, after all. Those bitchy Pegasus Knights were set to take your head. You didn’t even do anything wrong! Sure, you almost killed one of their pegasi and sure, you might have frightened those trainees into thinking you were an undead monstrosity and sure, that senior knight probably had a decent claim of sexual harassment even though you were just trying to heal her but-

No, no, not any of that. Do you remember the trial?

Yeah. You were kneeling at the stump and listening to everybody argue about your guild. Your neck was feeling tingly with all those swords unsheathed.

And the Zone of Truth?

Oh yeah, that fucking spell. It was one of the more uncomfortable moments you’ve experienced. It wasn’t just the fact that you couldn’t tell a lie, but it was the chafing sensation whenever you so much as thought an untruth. It felt like everybody looking on could see every miserable little secret you had, no matter how small. Like every single thought that you had was suddenly broadcasted to the world.

It was made worse by the fact that the priest who casted the spell was a total dick. When your paladin friends went investigating, they dug up all his blackmail schemes and other under the table dealings. You weren’t the first beneficiary of his magic, but you were the one with powerful acquaintances. His crookedness cast enough doubt on the situation for the Pegasus Knights to give up on their prosecution for what was in truth a complete and total accident because you were not a-

I thought Miko felt like that, in a way.

Really? Her sudden advice session was surprising, but she sounded honest.

I know it did. I just…ugh, forget it. Maybe I’m catching your paranoia. I’ll think about it some more.

Oooookay. If you needed to, you could probably think up some reasons to distrust Miko’s words. Let’s see, for starters, she associates with someone like Seiga so she- Thanks for the effort, but no need to waste your time. I’m just being irrational. We’re done here, right?

Yes Ma’am. You’ve composed a mental list of what you need, most of which can be filled from the corpses in Muenzuka. If you don’t, or can’t, salvage the jiang-shi then it will take some more ingenious substitutions on your part.

“Stay safe. Find me in the temple if there are any problems.” Your orders are met with affirmative grunts. The four obviously dead jiang-shi head off into the woods together.

Then with Yoshika at your side you make your way to the temple gate. The thought of using the back entrance barely crosses your mind. It might be an option for late nights and early mornings, but anything more is too much of a risk at worsening your reputation.

“Hey how’s it going?” you ask while approaching the entrance.

The gate guard glares at you. It’s not a girl you’ve seen before. She’s a temple nun, dressed in plain clothes of a similar color to your scarf. She’s a head taller than you and looks rather muscular. She holds a spear and lantern and you have no doubt she could run you through.

She’s a…you can’t really tell. “What kind of youkai are you?”

“What?”

“A bunch of youkai are animal based, right? I can’t really tell what you are.” It’s not obvious. She doesn’t have any prominent tiger patterns or gossamer wings to give you a hint.

“D-Does it matter?” Your question sets her on edge. Her arms reflexively rise up before she sets them back into a rigid guard.

Hm, if she had open hands, you imagine she would have nervously toyed with her hair or her ears. Yeah, you didn’t notice it before, but her ears are larger and floppier than a human’s. In fact, her skin hue is rather ashen compared to others.

“Not particularly,” you answer, “but I’m curious. You don’t have any particular animal traits. Your ears are the biggest clue, but I’d say they’re kind of small for a-”

“So I’m an elephant youkai! Is there a problem with that?” the girl bellows at you.

You recoil slightly. “N-Not at all! It’s just-”

“So I’m not from around here! So I’m a runt! Master Toramaru accepted me! Is there going to be a problem?”

Yoshika tightens her grip around your arm, helping to ground you in the situation.

Whew, this girl has a pair of lungs on her. It’s fitting. “Not at all. I’m glad someone as strong as you is protecting the temple.”

“Well, good.” The girl nods in satisfaction and settles down. Her soft-spoken conversational tone belies the power she can exude. “Did you need something?”

“Not really. I was just curious about what happened with Byakuren and the Taoists.”

“How do you know about that?” The gate guard narrows her eyes at you. After a few seconds of scrutiny, a thought occurs to her. “Oh, wait, are you him?”

Are you a celebrity now? I don’t think so. “Am I who?”

“The man that has- oh, uh, never mind. The meeting seemed to go well enough. I believe Lady Hijiri returned to her room after meeting with some of the other monks.”

“I see. That’s good to hear, I guess. Now, what is this about me?” The gate guard’s obvious avoidance of a topic is what interests you.

“N-Nothing, Sir.” Was she honestly hoping you wouldn’t ask?

“Aw, come on, don’t be like that. It’s not like I’ll be offended. Are people saying I’m the best looking guy around? A majestic wanderer searching for the truth?”

“…A good-for-nothing knave that is corrupting Lady Hijiri.”

That’s not very fair.

I think it’s an accurate description.

“Well, that isn’t so bad,” you admit, but that doesn’t seem to be all. The elephant girl’s face is far from comfortable. “What else?”

“I d-don’t think I should-”

“I’m a big boy, I can take it.” Your assurances don’t help the conflicted gate guard. “If it makes uncomfortable, don’t sweat it. I’ll just-”

“A demon in human form, seducing our fair Lady through illicit magic,” she blurts.

There’s an idea; a whole new branch of magic to investigate. “I assume it gets worse.”

She nods.

“Good to know. Thanks for the help.” She’s confirmed that rumors are circulating, and it’s probably safe to assume these are a more common opinion than not.

You begin to walk past the gate guard, but stop as you realize something. “Say, do you know where my room is?”

“Your what?”

“I hear I’m supposed to have a room somewhere? I can’t say I’ve ever been in it, but…”

“Yes, I remember Lady Hijiri making such preparation.” The elephant youkai gives you basic directions, clear enough that you’re confident you can find the room on your own.

“Thank you. Have a nice night.”

“Um, you too.”

The sun has fallen by now, but there are still people up inside the temple. It’s mostly guards, carrying lanterns and spears as they patrol, but there are some other monks and nuns up as well. A pair is sitting under a tree sipping tea while another one is meditating on top of a rock. There is a trio of dog-like youkai looking at the moon and you think you see someone sitting on the roof.

Naturally, they all watch you walk down the path. You can only tell because half of their eyes shine in the moonlight. It’s pretty eerie.

You brush off the stares and march down the hall. None of the patrolling guards stop you, although a few give you some rather nasty looks.

Stopping in front of a door, you give a very light knock on the frame. When no one answers, you cautiously slide it open.

It’s a small room, similar to Byakuren’s in that it’s mostly empty. There are two futons on the floor, ready for use. If it weren’t for those two bags of clothing you bought sitting in the corner, you wouldn’t be sure if this was the correct room.

You sit down, Yoshika following suit and claiming your lap.

Even if you haven’t seen the temple’s entire layout, you think you understand it. At the very least, you know how to get out the front gate. You’re fairly confident in your ability to find Byakuren’s secret entrance, as well. Location-wise, if the hidden door is the back of the temple, then your room is on the side. It would do some good to actually explore the temple if you’re going to stay much longer, but it isn’t quite necessary.

The sun has set, but walking around doesn’t seem to be taboo. At the very least, most of the guards don’t seem intent on inhibiting your movement. If you wanted to you could explore or try to find someone.

Or you could sleep.

[ ] Follow your nose to some food
[ ] Head towards Byakuren’s room
-[ ] Stealthily
-[ ] Blatantly
[ ] Wander the temple
[ ] Try to find
-[ ] Minamitsu
-[ ] Ichirin
-[ ] Shou
-[ ] Nue
[ ] Sleep. Deal with things in the morning
-[ ] Before sunrise
-[ ] At sunup
-[ ] Whenever you wake up
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>>172097
Obviously, Miko is talking about you. Her desire sensor can hear through the screen, just like when you need a damn zinogre jasper.

Also, I think you forgot something:
>Oh, and Miko more or less confirmed that Byakuren ___

>>172135
I don’t think any of my references so far have been that old. Anyway, this one at least has already been addressed: >>165368

No prize for you! Better luck next time.
>> No. 172287
[x] Follow your nose to some food

Delicious foods! A healthy diet is important to a successful necromancer. Also, I suspect that if we are out in the temple, one or more of our conversation options will find us before too long.
>> No. 172288
[x] Head towards Byakuren’s room
-[x] Stealthily

Route bullshittery aside, we should probably ask what Byakuren knows about these rumors and come to a conclusion as to what ought to be done concerning them. There is great importance to this given that the temple is our base of operations at the moment. This is one of the few opportunities for us to do so since leaving the temple causes PLOT to happen at an accelerated pace.
>> No. 172289
[x] Try to find
-[x] Shou
>> No. 172293
[x] Head towards Byakuren’s room
-[x] Stealthily
>> No. 172294
[ ]Wander the temple, casually.
-[ ]Get a snack along the way, chat politely with the Myoren crew we meet
-[ ]Somehow end up at Byakurens room

Like Anon said, we should try to do much as we can now at our base before we leave to fix our zombies. Byakuren will give us the most exposition and resources so she is the priority.

Being blatant will just piss off the temple goers and reinforce a negative image of us. Being stealthy is off limits. NecroAnon stated there are dog youkai and the like that could detect us, and that's not mentioning Nue, Shou, Nazarin and Murasa who have ways of finding us. Getting caught, again, would leave us with a very negative image. More so than being blatant even.
Behaving like a respectful temple goer lets us walk around uninterrupted, if not with a few scowls our way, but can only improve or at worst maintain our relationship with the temple and how people view us. We really don't want to be seen by the majority as the anti-Christ who led Youkai Jesus from grace.
>> No. 172296
>>172294
by your logic there's no way, though it does present a good counter point to those people who go "we'll talk to her later at night": we have to worry about shit like this unlike earlier in the day where it wouldn't be so hard. Then again whoever suggests that likely has some sort of ulterior motive.
>> No. 172303
[ ]Wander the temple, casually.
-[ ]Get a snack along the way, chat politely with the Myoren crew we meet
-[ ]Somehow end up at Byakurens room
>> No. 172304
[X] Follow your nose to some food

Dinner, then nighttime conversations.

>There is a trio of dog-like youkai looking at the moon
I got a great idea for a shirt.
>> No. 172305
[X] Follow your nose to some food
>> No. 172306
[X] Follow your nose to some food
I do want to talk to her but we'll get detected and that can't be good to her reputation.
This is the second best option I guess.
>> No. 172307
[x] Follow your nose to some food!

After all, we did just have an operation today. Doesn't that usually involve being rewarded with tons of ice cream?

Yes, I know brain surgery is quite a bit more delicate and important than tonsil removal, but still.
>> No. 172310
[X] Follow your nose to some food
>> No. 172311
[X] Follow your nose to some food

Food reunites people. I'm sure we'll meet someone relevant there.
>> No. 172316
[X] Wander the temple

Wanderlust is a hell of a drug.
Also as to repairing the Jiang-Shi, start by focusing on one and repairing them up to whatever specs are needed. Then the one that was repaired can help speed up the process of repairing the others by gathering materials.
>> No. 172351
[x] Head towards Byakuren’s room
-[x] Stealthily

Let's just stop beating around the bush
>> No. 172364
[X] Follow your nose to some food
We need food.

Looking at some of the descriptions of his past, where exactly is Necroanon (does he have a name I can't remember) from? The first description that had a paladin of the Church made it sound like he was from our world, possibly from Europe(?), with the "Church" obviously being the Catholic Church. However this thing with the Pegasus Knights is making me doubt that.
>> No. 172365
[x] Head towards Byakuren’s room
[x] Blatantly
>> No. 172375
[X] Follow your nose to some food
[X] Wander the temple

Random encounters are great, and if anything bad happens it isn't my fault
>> No. 172391
[X] Follow your nose to some food.

Who knows, maybe we'll find Byakuren.
>> No. 172654
File 137567224574.jpg - (135.67KB , 600x600 , haters-gonna-hate.jpg ) [iqdb]
172654
“Are you hungry, Yoshika?”

“Mhm~”

“Let’s see if we can’t find something to eat, then.”

“Yay!”

While you walk through the halls, the nasty looks of the temple-goers don’t faze you in the slightest. Even if they did bother you, Yoshika’s bubbly joy is enough to wash away any unpleasantness. The living-looking girl is skipping while holding on to your arm, practically dancing in joy to the thought of more food. Her appearance is far from any ashen-skinned corpse.

You consider asking one of the guards where the kitchens are, but a little wandering never hurt anybody. It gives you the time you need to understand more about the temple’s layout.

The courtyard in the center is ringed by roofed walkways that connect the different buildings. The side buildings, like the one your room is in, appear to all be private rooms or dormitory-like housing. The main building, where Byakuren’s room is, also houses the different storage rooms and work rooms that the temple needs. The wall surrounding the temple is built-in to the outermost walls of each building, ultimately forming a large square-like compound.

Eventually, your wandering bears fruit. Literally. You can smell the different scents of food that contrast with the musky wood that fills the halls.

However, instead of rushing to the probable kitchen, you slow down and creep towards it. Yoshika looks confused, but you simply motion with your hand and pull her close. “Shh…”

You thought you heard noise, different from the clacking of patrolling guards.

As you draw close to the kitchen, you’re proved correct. “-an unremarkable man. I understand not how carrying out these callings shall promote my position.”

Eavesdropping is rather rude, but that’s never stopped you before.

“Now Nue, I would hope that someone your age has learned a speck of patience.” You don’t know this second voice, but it does confirm who the first speaker is.

Your first encounter with the shape-shifting, identification-whatever youkai last night was not the most civil of experiences.

“Patience? Pah, I should not need to submit myself to the musings of lower life forms.”

“It’s a different time for us, Nue. A different place. We have always co-existed with others, but the balance has changed. You need to adapt.” The other voice does not have the same fire as Nue’s. If you to describe it, you’d say the other voice sounds motherly; that kind of wise yet reprimanding tone that perseveres through a child’s tantrums.

“A nonsensical notion. We are stronger than them, better than them. How dare they brush me aside like some insignificant insect!”

“Yes, yes. If you would cut back on your bluster and your pride, things would work out better for you.

“Hmph.”

“Remember why I tasked you with this? The other temple members will accept you if you demonstrate your good will.”

“I tried! That sham of a sailor dared to interrupt my inquiries.”

“When you were sneaking about in the night, dear. That is not becoming of a trustworthy person.” The wise voice pauses a second, before rising slightly. “Don’t you think so, guest of Byakuren Hijiri?”

Maybe she didn’t mean you. What are the chances she didn’t mean you? Worse than being struck by lightning.

You sigh and step into the kitchen. “Hello, ladies.”

The kitchen itself is plain. Multiple ovens and stoves are interspersed with countertops. Cabinets and drawers are everywhere, with knives and other kitchen tools hanging or otherwise stored.

The pair of females is the interesting part. You assume the black-haired girl sitting on the countertop is Nue. If before she looked like a copycat of Byakuren, now she appears to be imitating an elementary schoolgirl. If her red eyes weren’t so prominent, her white blouse and pleated skirt would allow her to roam the world unsuspected.

The other woman is a squirrel or something. Her brown eyes match her shoulder length light-brown hair, which in turn match her fluffy brown tail and brown animal ears. Her tan shirt and red skirt are nothing special. They don’t accentuate her decent endowment or her other womanly curves, but they do give her a sense of maturity compared to the other girls you’ve met in Gensokyo.

The woman looks at you through her glasses and smiles. “Greetings. How can we help you tonight?”

Despite her disarming demeanor, you don’t let your guard down. Even if you weren’t using your magic to hide, you were still near silent. Her presence isn’t overwhelming, but you’re sure she is stronger than she appears. “I was just looking for a bite to eat for me and my friend here.”

“Food!” Yoshika grins and lets go of your arm, instead favoring to float closer to a dish sitting on the countertop.

“If that is all you seek, perhaps this might tide you over?” The woman picks up the plate that has caught Yoshika’s attention.

There’s half of a rather large sandwich waiting in her hands, a hearty meal for one and a generous snack for two. “I can’t take your food-”

“I prepared more than I could eat. This is my leftovers.”

Your stomach alerts you to its dire situation.

“Uh, if you don’t mind.” You take a few steps forward to claim the sandwich, but Yoshika beats you to it. The jiang-shi grabs the proffered food and takes a massive bite out of it. One-fourth of the sandwich disappears in a single chomp.

You hurry up and swipe the rest of it away from your voracious companion. “Sheesh, leave some for me.”

“Mhrhm.”

When you take a bite of the sandwich, you’re surprised at how it tastes. Maybe it’s just because you’re hungry, but the sandwich hits the spot. It isn’t much more than assorted meats, lettuce, and bread but it works. “Oh wow, this is good.”

“I’m glad you think so mister…” You introduce yourself to the squirrel woman. She smiles and adjusts her glasses. “A pleasure to meet you, then. I am Mamizou Futatsuiwa, a youkai tanuki glad to make her new home here.”

Tanuki? Oh, right. You guess her tail and ears are more raccoon-like than squirrel-like.

Mamizou lets you and Yoshika finish the sandwich before speaking. She seems content to watch the two of you enjoy her food.

Well, you’d like to enjoy it, but you need to eat fast before Yoshika downs all the food. You don’t know how much she actually needs to stay active and how much she likes to simply eat, but you get the feeling she won’t stop on her own. You risk your fingers several times as you reach into the jaws of danger to claim parts of the food.

Yoshika smacks her lips in delight when the last glimpses of bread disappear down her throat. With dinner finished, you turn your attention back to your kitchen-mates, specifically the black-haired girl that is staring at you.

“What?” you ask.

“You are an irregular individual, aren’t you?”

“You’re pretty strange yourself.”

Nue and you stare at each other for several seconds. She isn’t hostile, but you aren’t sure what to make of her. Likewise, she doesn’t see any reason to address your comment.

Mamizou is the one who reinvigorates the conversation. “You look troubled. Do you wish for some advice?”

Yoshika wraps her arms around your waist from behind, letting you lean back into her. Her stance is sturdier than the walls, giving you a giggly back rest. “Feels like everybody has been handing out their advice today.”

“Then it is only proper for me to contribute,” Mamizou quips.

“Is it? What are you looking to gain?”

The bespectacled woman almost looks offended that you would suggest she had an ulterior motive. “Nothing at all. Am I not allowed to assist my family?”

“Family? Unless you’re the mother of my never-before-seen pet, I don’t see any familial relationship here.”

“This temple is my new home,” she explains. “That makes you something approximate to family.”

“This temple isn’t my home.”

“Isn’t it?”' The youkai woman gives you a knowing look.

You curse yourself silently. You didn’t mean to answer like that, but the words were out of your mouth instinctively.

It’s been awhile since you’ve had a place you could consider home.

You wouldn’t have that problem if you’d just settle down someplace nice. But you could hardly continue your search if you had such a home.

Still, denying that Myouren Temple is not your home makes you feel like you are lying in some way. Certainly, you’ve spent little time here and the other residents hardly like you. Yet, maybe you wish it was something warmer? Is that why it feels strange to deny? Is it because of you or the people found inside…

You shake your head clear of the uncomfortable thoughts. “Okay, fine. You want to share with me the wisdom of an ancient?”

Mamizou simply smiles at your obvious provocation. [u]You’re losing your touch. She isn’t bothered at all. I guess a little kid’s prodding doesn’t mean anything.[/i]

“What can you tell me about Byakuren and Miko?” you ask.

Figuring out what is going on around here seems best. Your brief encounter with the Taoists is still on your mind. Maybe something she says will help you sort out your own thoughts as well.

The tanuki youkai rests her cheek against her hand before she answers. “Many things. Interesting things. What would you care to know?”

“Does this Miko lady hand out advice to everybody?”

“On many occasions, yes. Toyosatomimi no Miko is powerful and wise. I dare not call her perfect, but she is well-adapted to human society and understands it immensely well. Answering the desires of her people comes naturally to her.”

It’s a ringing endorsement for the Taoists’ leader. You didn’t expect that from someone staying in the Buddhist temple.

Then again, it matches with what even Byakuren forced herself to admit. Has anybody insulted this Miko yet? Your sister is about the only one, you guess. I didn’t insult her! She just crept me out a bit…

“How accurate is her advice?”

“It can be useful, depending on what you and she are wishing for.”

“And how about Byakuren? How does she compare to Miko?”

“In what way?”

“I don’t know. General ability, wisdom, intelligence, all the usual stuff.”

“They are incomparable.” That’s an expected answer. You didn’t expect anything use- “Toyosatomimi no Miko is stronger, wiser, and smarter than our Byakuren Hijiri.”

Wait. What?

“Miko is a natural and talented leader that can garner loyalty through numerous methods. She understands matters of politics and of social interaction. Her personal will is unshakable. She envisions a very specific future and has the ability to create it. These traits cannot be applied to Byakuren.”

“Hey!” you yell at Mamizou. “What the hell are you saying?”

She takes your outburst in stride. “Do not mistake me. Byakuren has done an admirable job for what she is, but if you ask me to compare the two as you have, then Miko is better.”

“What she is? What does that even mean?”

“Many things. From what I have observed in my stay here? I would call her an exhausted swimmer, desperately grasping at a broken rope in hopes of staying afloat.”

You narrow your eyes at Mamizou before turning around and stomping away. Yoshika disengages herself from your back and retakes her position at your side.

You have to leave before you accidentally try to cause someone’s innards to explode. At least you aren’t trying to fight her.

This pisses you off. Why is everybody harping on Byakuren? She’s done what you would have considered impossible. You’re the one that asked.

How can people not see what Byakuren has done? It doesn’t take a genius to understand that the nun has achieved something grand. Bringing together humans and youkai? That’s crazy! It demands respect.

…even if, perhaps, she wasn’t the one to do so. After all, it was Myouren who- No!

That’s the same trap of uncertainty that others are playing off of. It doesn’t matter who started what or the reasons someone is working hard. The facts are that Byakuren is an amazing individual.

I don’t think she meant to insult Byakuren. This Mamizou woman doesn’t seem like that kind of person.

Maybe.

Once you reach your room, you strip off your jacket and collapse onto your futon. Yoshika follows you down after tossing her dress to the side.

“You should put on a pair of pajamas Yoshika.”

“Don’t have any.” Well, that’s fair enough.

The jiang-shi curls up against your chest, her bedding abandoned in favor of being close to you.

Everybody is out to annoy you and unsettle you in their own special ways today. After dealing with the rowdy undead and a frustrating hermit, Mamizou was the last offense in a frustrating day.

Your emotions slowly calm while you lie in the darkness. You take off Yoshika’s hat and stroke your new hand through her hair, like a small boy clutching his teddy bear.

She’s a cold, lifeless corpse that doesn’t have any of the tiny motions a breathing, shifting human has, but in a way that’s comforting.

You’re pretty messed up.

After some time, you feel your eyes begin to droop…

…and open when the sun is too damn bright.

Ugh.

You would roll over to get your face out of the sun, but there’s a corpse lying on top of you.

“Yoshika.” You poke her side.

The zombie girl opens her eyes and looks down at you. “Good morning~”

“Can you get off me? All my limbs are tingling.”

“Aww.” Yoshika grumbles but rolls off you, letting you sit up and look around.

It’s…midmorning? You were planning on waking up earlier than this. It’s not like you ever do.

Everybody else in Gensokyo should be up and about. You throw on your jacket and walk to the door, Yoshika clamped to your side.

“Hey Yoshika.”

“Yes?”

“Put some clothes on.”

“They are!”

“Something more than your underwear.”

“Aww.”

After giving her a light slap of encouragement, Yoshika jogs over to her clothes and rifles through her bag. She slips into a plain red shirt and black skirt, a less frilly and less decorative version of the clothes she was originally wearing.

You contemplate changing into something that isn’t your jacket but forgo the idea. Everybody in the temple is already suspicious of you – no need to ruin their expectations by wearing something other than all black. Somehow, I don’t think that’s the reasoning most people would reach.

The halls aren’t busy, but they are active. You pass by several people. Some nuns carrying pails, monks carrying brooms, and the ever-present spear-wielding guard force patrolling the halls. Some walk in pairs, chatting, while others run by carrying their parcels.

When you step into the temple’s courtyard, your eyes are drawn towards the center where Byakuren is dancing.

Byakuren’s eyes are closed, her mouth set in an unassuming smile. The nun moves in tune with the cadence, a drummer mimicking the beat of a heart. Byakuren’s movements are neither overlay fast nor sluggishly slow. She takes small steps, circling the ground as she makes graceful spins. Her arms flow with the rest of her, rising into the air and twirling in circles, clapping at the most perfect of moments.

It’s meant to be a restrained dance. Yet, despite her reserved countenance, it feels as if her person is trying to break free. Her brown hair sways defiantly against the coordinated motions. Her dress splays out from her body, freely moving instead of following her constricted movements. For a few seconds, you imagine her opening her eyes and jumping free of the dance. You can envision Byakuren twirling like a dervish and putting all of her person into a whirlwind of life.

But that doesn’t occur. Byakuren sticks to the highly precise, flowing motions that are beautiful in their own right but lacking her personality. You can’t help but feel disappointed.

Suddenly, the drumming and Byakuren both stop. The nun has her back to you as she addresses a small crowd of others.

You blink and look around again. The courtyard is full of activity. Byakuren and a host of nuns are in the center, a drummer standing by just off to the side. Now that her dance is over, you see the other nuns beginning the motions Byakuren just exhibited. Myouren Temple’s head nun walks between her disciples, correcting their postures and movements.

Everywhere else, the temple goers are busy. Ignoring the ones scurrying along the halls and ferrying multitudes of items, you see Shou and her disciples practicing in a different section of the courtyard. The temple’s guards are sparring, their spears swinging and clashing together. The tiger youkai moves from pair to pair, stepping in a giving a practical display of whatever failures they have.

In a different corner, you make out Ichirin’s distinctive blue headdress amongst other temple members. Unlike the practice proctored by Byakuren and Shou, Ichirin looks like she is working amongst peers. They are sitting in the ground with numerous baskets full of colorful materials around them.

You take one last look around the temple, trying to find anybody else you recognize. Some of the guards are familiar, but you don’t see Nue or anybody else hanging around. There’s just many of the temple’s residents working on their chores. Quite a few are cleaning, sweeping, washing, and clearing.

No, wait, there is one more person you recgonize. You almost missed Minamitsu skulking in the darkness. She is leaning against the wall on the other side of the courtyard, much like you are. The shade provided by the walkways’ roofing almost made you miss her.

It’s another bright, beautiful day. There’s plenty of time for you to begin the long repair process for the jiang-shi or anything else you might want to.

You aren’t sure if there are any leads on the Necronomicon left you can pursue. Nazrin said she would find you sometime with what she found. Maybe a visit to one of the other powers?

On the other hand, clearing up matters at home could do you some good. There’s time for it.

Home, eh? You still don’t know how to feel about that idea.

[ ] Material gathering
-[ ] Digging up corpses
-[ ] Shopping in town
[ ] Sit and watch the dancers
[ ] Analyze the fighters
-[ ] Visually
-[ ] Physically
[ ] Help out the temple-goers
-[ ] Ichirin’s little circle
-[ ] The ones cleaning
[ ] Hang with the ghost
[ ] <Write-in>

---

We now resume your scheduled programming.

Naturally if you’re staying with somebody, commenting on why/what you want to talk about could help.

>>172288
Gotta go fast.

>>172296
If these people don’t see the obvious conspiracy, they aren’t looking hard enough!

>>172364
Yup, he’s just some kid that started to get involved in the magical side of our world thanks to his interest in the occult. Technically an inner-city kid, he was more of a shut-in and didn’t adopt many of the mannerisms one would expect. Boring stuff all around.

>The Catholic Church
They are one of the many forces that can be considered ‘magical’ operating in modern times. In this particular institution, however, there are few that can be considered paladins (if the definition of paladin is a heroic fighter that draws upon their religion for magical power.) The modern Catholic Church is strong because they take advantage of the numerous magical artifacts in their possession more so than rigorous spiritual training (although the best of their combative branches are indeed saint-like in spirit while maintaining ridiculous martial skill and technological affluence; the much famed Inquisitors are a force to be reckoned with).

>Pegasus Knights
The Pegasus Knights mentioned are specifically known as The Order of Bellerophon. If you take them at their word, then they are a group of knights dedicated to the slaying of monsters that can trace their roots back to ancient Greece. According to others, they’re a two-bit mercenary group that managed to chance upon a number of powerful artifacts and phantasmal beasts. Among them are their prized pegasi, winged horses that are stronger and faster than any of their wing-less counterparts. The Order of Bellerophon mostly consists of normal cavalry as they only have a few pegasi in their possession. This is possibly due to the fact that while the Order breeds many pegasi, the winged horses are surprisingly aggressive (although not as much as unicorns) and often fall in combat when their rider cannot control them appropriately. Interestingly, the best knights of the Order are women who, by all rights, could be considered modern Amazons in physique and demeanor.
>> No. 172656
[X] Material gathering
-[X] Digging up corpses
Use like to fix like, and we are guaranteed some useful materials, whereas anything to be found in the village is at best a maybe. a lot of those other options are tempting, but I've been eager to fix our posse for a good while now.
>> No. 172662
[ ] Sit and watch the dancers

Best chance we have to talk to the head nun. Whatever's going on, Byakuren is in trouble by Mamizou's observations, "I would call her an exhausted swimmer, desperately grasping at a broken rope in hopes of staying afloat"

Helping Byakuren now will pay off for us later on. The Myouren temple is our strongest ally. If it's leader is in trouble, our base of operations is in trouble.
>> No. 172664
[ ] Sit and watch the dancers
>> No. 172666
[x] Material gathering
-[x] Shopping in town
[x] Greet/Wave to Murasa before you go.

Those poor zombies have been waiting for a long time.
I'd rather shop, though. Last time we visited a graveyard it ended badly for us and generally speaking Gensokyo should have measures against corpse thieves, given there're youkai like Orin.
Or maybe that's too much metaknowledge (although necro should have experience with people not taking kindly to graverobbing). Either way, not exactly a good idea.
>> No. 172669
[x] Material gathering
-[x] Digging up corpses

It'll set us up to repair our jiang-shi, and it will most DEFINITELY call up a plot hook. Nobody who's anybody is going to ignore a dude in black, surrounded by the walking dead, violating the sanctity of a graveyard.
>> No. 172670
[x] Material gathering
-[x] Shopping in town
[x] Greet/Wave to Murasa before you go.

Let's wait till dark to go corpse hunting.
>> No. 172673
[x] Hang with the ghost

Byakuren captured his heart. This seems new to him so he needs someone to talk about her. Who else is there than her?
>> No. 172674
[x] Help out the temple-goers
-[x] Ichirin’s little circle
-[x] The ones cleaning
Time to build up our rep.
>> No. 172675
[x] Hang with the ghost

We aren't exactly welcomed at the temple yet. Let's sit off to the side, not interfering but still present, and ask Minamitsu what her take on things is.
>> No. 172677
[X] Hang with the ghost
>> No. 172678
[x] Material gathering
-[x] Digging up corpses
>> No. 172695
[x] Watch the Dancers and/or Byakuren

Needs more Byakuren time.
>> No. 172696
[X] Sit and watch the dancers
>> No. 172698
[x] Hang with the ghost

While I wouldn't want to spend the entire afternoon kicking back and chatting, I do think it's important to speak with someone fairly trustworthy about what's been going on at the temple in our absence. Joining any of the other temple options would involve some kind of multi-person socialization, which is an activity best approached cautiously.

If nothing else, it's important that we don't skate off from the temple again without letting someone here know our plans. We wouldn't want them to worry. And she would probably be able to tell us if we should be making a particular effort to talk to Byakuren, and when the best time to approach her without interfering with some kind of temple social thing like's going on right now would be.

After that we go to fix the jiang-shi. To reprise the latest information on what's required for that:
>Overall, getting the four other jiang-shi to Yoshika’s level is definitely a half-day affair for the repairs alone. Finding most of the materials you need should be a simple shopping trip through the village as well as some scavenging from the corpses you buried, but that makes the time estimation approach a full day. Factoring in unexpected problems or any serious analysis of Seiga’s handiwork leads to a serious time commitment of a few days at minimum.

So we'll have to both go to the village and dig up the corpses at some point; the question is primarily which we'd like to do first, and which second. I'm thinking that shopping is easiest to do around this timeframe, so:

[x] Material gathering
-[x] Shopping in town

Note that we will also want to acquire a quality workspace to fix them up in. Using the temple for that would be... well, ideal in a practical sense, but perhaps not in a social one. Mentioning this to someone temple-affiliated that we know when we speak with them and asking for advice on the issue might be wise.
>> No. 172708
[X] Material gathering
-[X] Digging up corpses
>> No. 172711
[x] Hang with the ghost

I feel her insight would be helpful
>> No. 172720
[x] Material gathering
-[x] Shopping in town
[x] Greet/Wave to Murasa before you go.
>> No. 172734
[x] Hang with the ghost

I really, really want to say hi to Byakuren, and we still haven't shown her our new hand, but a little more perspective on our position around the temple, and possibly her thoughts on Byakuren's accomplishments, could be helpful.
>> No. 172821
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172821
You begin to skirt the courtyard, staying inside the shadows provided by the walkway. Even with Yoshika stuck to your side like glue, it isn’t crowded enough to cause any problems.

The temple goers still give you funny looks, though. Well, that’s what you get for having a pretty woman hanging off you.

“Ho, Captain!” you shout once you reach the other side of the temple.

Minamitsu glances up and grins.

You take a seat on the edge of the walkway, letting your feet rest on solid earth. Your ghostly friend joins you at the best seats in the house.

Okay, not the best. You get to see more Byakuren’s left side now instead of her right side, whoop-de-do.

“How are you doing, Minamitsu?”

“Ready to set sail. How about you?”

“Pretty good, all things considered. My life wasn’t particularly threatened yesterday and I got this neat new hand.” You hold up your gloved robotic hand for Minamitsu to examine.

The ghost grabs your hand and plays with it, bending back fingers and rotating it around as much as it can. You feel every touch, slightly dampened through the leather of the glove. It’s great. As far as you can tell, everything is working exactly as promised.

“I met plenty of men who’d kill for a grasper like this. Hook hands and peg legs get staler faster than a slice of bread,” Minamitsu appraises.

“I think it’d drive most of them bankrupt.”

“Another perk of sailing with Byakuren, then.”

“Yeah.” You watch the nun correct her disciples in their dance. She looks happy enough. She’s smiling through it all, laughing whenever someone makes a silly mistake. Going by appearances alone, you’re sure everybody in the world would say Byakuren is happy where she’s at. She’s surrounded by people who care for her and look up to her.

“Can’t take your eyes off her, huh? Has our magnificent siren captivated you so?”

You push Minamitsu a bit and shake your head. “Just wondering what she’s doing. And don’t say teaching dancing.”

“She’s preparing for the festival in a few weeks. Haven’t your head about that?”

“Obon?”

“That’s right. Myouren Temple plays a large part in the festivities. Supplying the majority of the dancers is only one of the shipments it delivers.”

“So why aren’t you out there strutting your stuff?”

“It’d ruin everybody’s fun.” Minamitsu’s voice doesn’t waver when she says that, but you can feel the mood tank like it was hit by a torpedo.

Not sure what to say to that, you go back to watching Byakuren teach. The steps aren’t particularly difficult. The dance is one where the audience could follow along, even an elderly grandma if she could stand on her own. But, the Buddhists are practicing it to perfection, more elegant and more graceful than anybody else in the country.

Eventually, Byakuren’s eyes find you. The nun looks surprised for a moment, but quickly goes back to her teaching. How professional.

“Are you going to help out our lovely Byakuren?” Minamitsu asks.

There’s no sly undertone in her voice. It doesn’t sound like she’s setting you up. “What do you mean?”

Your ghostly companion lazily waves an arm through the air. “With all these preparations, of course. It’s all hands on deck until festival. There are few other times in the year the temple is this busy.”

It’s not like you haven’t noticed it, but your particular skill sets wouldn’t apply here. Aw, don’t be like that. You wouldn’t screw it up that badly. Stringing up lights or carrying some wood is fairly foolproof. “I haven’t thought much about it. I doubt people here would appreciate my involvement.”

“I suppose so.”

Well, this sucks. This conversation is dismal compared to the ones you usually have with the teasing ghost. “Want to help me with my act?” you ask.

“Your what?”

“My own Obon work. It’s time for families to honor their long lost ancestors. What do you think I do?”

There’s a glimmer or something in Minamitsu’s eyes. It’s dark, similar to when she had been yelling at Nue the previous night. Sitting right next to her, you can feel the slight dip in temperature. “I didn’t think you’d use your abilities like that.”

“Pfh, of course I don’t. I call it an act for a reason. All the motion without the magic.”

Minamitsu nods slowly and relaxes, her mood falling back to benign curiosity. “Shouldn’t it be as easy as checking the wind for you to summon up some family members? Why a sham?”

“Oh, I definitely could. But messing with the dead always causes problems. It’s bad for business if an ancestor turns out to be rather disappointed in their current line. Or if a reaper crashes the party because someone was too recently deceased.” Like most everything to do with magic, emotions and feelings are huge. Times like Obon or Halloween allow you to raise an army of spirits if you prepare properly. Those special days have a wide-sweeping effect across the magical world. Not only are the dead more active in tearing down the barrier between life and death, the fairies start to get hyper, the werewolves are more likely to prowl, and the average mangy house cat is more likely to hiss at you. Fun times.

Considering the increase in the supernatural, you usually try to lay low and work purely in mundane matters. No need to paint a larger target on your back by jumping into the mixing pot of conflict.

“So you just bluff people out of their money?”

How rude. It’s not a wrong assessment, but it’s rude. “I help them come to terms with the past. Normally, most people wouldn’t give me the time of day but sometimes I’m the best one to give them the advice they need.”

“Ah, what a Knight, sacrificing himself to aid others from the darkness. Absolutely perfect for Byakuren!”

Ugh, finally back to normal. “Would you stop that?”

The ghost snickers and falls silent. She kicks back and relaxes, allowing your attention to wander back to the entertainment. I doubt she’d appreciate being called that.

It looks like Byakuren is back to demonstrating.

There’s definitely more energy in her movements now. Each move is a bit more exaggerated, a bit more off script. In fact, she’s- Staring right at you. She flows with the beat of the drum, but differently than before. You’re pretty sure the way her hips are swaying is not choreographed. It’s nothing overtly…sexual, or anything, but it’s just different enough from the previous reserved dance for you to notice.

You think it looks better, don’t you? Doesn’t matter. Just before you look away, you see Byakuren give you wink.

A wink!

“You’re asking me to stop, but not a word for her?” The ghost sitting next to you caught every second of the exchange.

You glance around nervously, but it doesn’t seem like any of the other temple-goers observe anything strange. The disciples learning the dance are still lapping up every move and instruction Byakuren gives. What the hell did she tell them to explain this away?

Her moves aren’t that different from before. You’re over-exaggerating.

B-But she w-!

“I can’t tell who has who in their sights with the two of you. I half expect you to force open her port, but then she goes and casts her hooks to try and board you! Really, the two of you should just hurry up and ram each other. Get each other all wet and then-”

You grunt and swing an arm at the perverted ghost sitting next to you. She fades incorporeal for a moment, your arm passing straight through and back to your side.

“Lost at sea, sailor?” She grins.

“I’d really like a compass. A good, magical one that hands out the truth.” What, I’m not good enough? Pfh, your sister is hardly infallible. Especially when most of her advice comes from reading trashy romances novels. Hey! I have plenty of life experience- and intelligence and wisdom as well. You know, but an opinion is still an opinion.

“Unwanted navigators?” Minamitsu guesses.

“I’m just a bit confused.” You aren’t even sure why. On one hand, your body is telling you off for being an idiot. Interest seems obvious enough, there’s no reason to hesitate. Go, score! Achieve the pinnacle of manhood!

You tend not to listen to that part of you when you can. It isn’t particularly trustworthy.

Intellectually, you aren’t sure what’s wrong. You can’t quite peg down what kind of relationship you have with Byakuren. Little bits and pieces of your interactions give out hints and possibilities. You aren’t sure what is true and what your hopeful dreams are. More than your feelings, what are hers? You can’t quite make what she wants of you, either.

Then there’s your concern for her. Even if other people ignore them, you know Byakuren has her own worries. The single time you’ve seen her drunk, as well as your conversation on the Road of Reconsideration, jump out at you. Most of the time she’s pleasant, joking, and helpful, but that doesn’t mean she’s okay.

Everybody else’s comments don’t help. From your sister to the apparent-saint-on-Earth-that-can-sort-of-read-thoughts-but-more-than-that, everybody has their own opinion that just doesn’t reach the heart of matters.

“An exhausted swimmer, desperately grasping at a broken rope in hopes of staying afloat,” you slowly say.

“What was that?”

“What do you think, Minamitsu? Does that phrase apply to Byakuren?”

“Who fed you that barrel of seagull shit?” Well, there’s an honest answer.

You shrug. “Just someone who seemed fairly wise.”

“Wise? Hah! Half these idiots around here think themselves ‘wise.’ They should wake up. Age doesn’t beget wisdom. I’ve been around just as long, if not longer than them and I know I don’t have the answers to everything. Whoever gave you that flowery metaphor should shove it. It’s terrible. I can see what they’re getting at with it, but they’re wrong.” The ghost is filled with passion, any of her usual jokes or slightly depressing attitudes nowhere to be found.

“Mind explaining it to me? I don’t have hundreds of years of experience like you, granny.”

“Har har.” Minamitsu looks tempted to materialize her anchor and smack you, but she lets it go. “If they’re criticizing Byakuren, then I guess they’re talking about her religion. Trying to be good and kind over the years takes its toll. You don’t mix people like me with people like them unless you’re insane. I can tell you, though, Byakuren is strong. She’s shouldered all these burdens in her long life. Does she look depressed? Does she seem beaten? She ain’t. She’s strong. Sure, she has her own insecurities, but all these idiots that think she’s about ready to roll over and die? I ought to introduce them to my anchor.”

Minamitsu’s defense of Byakuren brings a smile to your face. Maybe Mamizou meant something different, but it’s hard to argue with the ghost’s interpretation and her subsequent staunch support of Byakuren.

“Want to share more wisdom with me, wise one?”

“Are you looking for tips in bed? I’ve heard a few things-”

“I’ll ask about those if I need them. I won’t need them.”

“Fine, be that way. Ignore the experience of ages that has traveled the globe.”

You let the stupid jokes sit for a minute before asking another serious question. “Where do you stand in this temple?”

“That’s rather personal, don’t you think?” Minamitsu isn’t angered, but she’s wary.

“I guess, but it’s important. I don’t want to call it something as simple as ‘drama,’ but there’s a dynamic in this temple. Even I’m not awkward enough to miss that.” It’s hard to miss all the hostility thrown your way. Worse, while the two of you have been sitting here and chatting, it’s intensified. “Besides, I think whatever group you’re in is where I am. It’s self-preservation asking.”

Minamitsu gives you an appraising look before nodding. “Yeah, I can see that.

“Start with Byakuren. She’s the top of the temple. She plays different roles. Imagine Byakuren the nun, Byakuren the savior, and Byakuren the woman. Everybody here respects her.

“Start making your way down. I’d say our resident war-tiger respects Byakuren the nun. They’ve got this weird personal-work-worship relationship thing, but that point is that Shou understands Byakuren best when the nun is working towards bettering the temple. Extend that line of thought down to all our tiger’s little followers.

“Throw everybody else under Byakuren the savior. I doubt I need to tell you this, but Byakuren has done a lot of saving. These people were helped by Byakuren and see her as this kind of saint-like figure. They love her and mostly see the goodness in her, make sense?”

You understand that. People admire different aspects of a person.

“Then we’ve got that last group. Byakuren as a woman. That’s where I am, and I imagine that’s where you are. Do you care about Buddhism?”

“Not really.”

“Do you think Byakuren is flawless?”

“Uh, no.”

“Yeah, then that’s where you are. Welcome aboard. Looking at me, I care about Byakuren as a friend. Sure, she gave me a chance where any sane human would’ve sent me off, but I don’t idolize her for it. I just want to do right by her, keep her happy, all that sappy stuff.

“Now, that’s where you get your conflicts. Her believers don’t like how strict the temple-folk are and the temple-folk hate how unrealistic the believers are and everybody hates me because I’m a grumpy, surly ghost with a foul mouth that laughs at all of them and tries to get Byakuren drunk. Get it?”

Huh. Very eloquent.

Minamitsu is over-simplifying, but her pattern of thought seems to hold true. Everybody sees something different in Byakuren. Depending on their personal views, they expect different things of her. With many people of different thoughts and backgrounds pooled together, it’s only natural there’d be contrasting views and unwanted conflict.

The description just continues to reinforce how amazing Byakuren is. You know you’d be incapable of appeasing multiple factions like that.

Where do you stand in it all? You suppose you stand with Minamitsu, like she says. Ignoring most of your feelings on the matter, you know you’d like Byakuren to be happy. She deserves it, from what you’ve seen and heard. She manages to get all the way up there, only a few people below where your sister rests on the ‘hoping for the best’ pole. Thank you.

What about the other temple goers? Naturally, not everybody fits into one typology, but you can draw your own conclusions. Ichirin seems to be the one straddling all three groups, but definitely finds her roots as a personal friend. It’s obvious, given that the blue nun and the ghost are the ones Byakuren seems closest to. At the very least, your true profession has been entrusted to them.

Someone like Nue? That’s more difficult, but given what you’ve overheard, you know that she’s rather ostracized from the temple majority as well.

Different facets of Byakuren…it makes you wonder what non-temple denizens think of her. Eirin criticized her nun-side, while Miko seemed to be addressing who she was as a person.

Well, this has been interesting to think about.

You’ve been chatting for around half an hour, if you had to guess. It’s the perfect time to head-off and start your day.

Of course, you imagine some people are close to finishing their current activities. You doubt anybody would practice dancing for hours on end without any breaks. If you waited around a bit longer…

[ ] Get to digging!
-[ ] Bring Dio and the other three
-[ ] Invite Minamitsu along
[ ] More questions for the ghost
-[ ] About <What?>
[ ] Wait to speak with Byakuren
-[ ] “Damn girl, you looked fine shaking that thang.”
-[ ] “How are you this morning?”
-[ ] “I want to talk about us.”
-[ ] “Are you excited for the festival?”
-[ ] “Check out this awesome new hand!”
-[ ] “I’m thinking about digging up some corpses. You want in?”
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>>172666
>>172669
Remember that the digging here refers to those shallow grave jiang-shi out in that cemetery nobody usually goes to and most people don’t care for because it’s filled with outsiders.

>>172698
>quality workspace
I suggest building a house in the Forest of Magic! That sounds fuuuuun!
>> No. 172823
[X] Get to digging!
-[X] Bring Dio and the other three
-[X] Invite Minamitsu along

Digging holes is always more fun with company, and this way the Jiang-Shi can choose their own parts. It's like a really creepy Pimp My Ride.
>> No. 172824
[X] Wait to speak with Byakuren
-[X] “How are you this morning?”
-[X] “Check out this awesome new hand!”
-[X] “Are you excited for the festival?”
-[X] “Damn girl, you looked fine shaking that thang.”

It might be just a bit too early to breach the subject of "us". Plus, we're here to say hi, not distract her away from her preparations.
>> No. 172827
[x] Wait to speak with Byakuren
-[x] “How are you this morning?”

Let's take a moment to say hello to Byakuren, and then:

[x] Get to digging!
-[x] Bring Dio and the other three
-[x] Invite Minamitsu along

Practical necromancy with ghosts and Jiang Shi
>> No. 172828
[X] Get to digging!
-[X] Bring Dio and the other three
-[X] Invite Minamitsu along

YO DAWG. WE TOOK YOUR ZOMBIE AND TURNED THAT CORPSE INTO CASH. THAT ROTTING ARM? WE SWAPPED THAT FOR A SUBWOOFER. AND THAT BORING CHEST? WE ADDED IN SYNTHETIC ABS. SYNTHETIC ABS WITH BONE NIPPLE GUNS! AND THE PIECE OF THE RESISTANCE! SPININ' CHROME KNEES~
AND DAWG, I HEARD YOU LIKE CHROME SO I PUT CHROME CAPS ON YOUR ZOMBIES CHROME KNEES.
>> No. 172829
[X] Get to digging!
-[X] Bring Dio and the other three
-[X] Invite Minamitsu along
>> No. 172830
[X] Get to digging!
-[X] Bring Dio and the other three
-[X] Invite Minamitsu along
>> No. 172831
[X] Get to digging!
-[X] Bring Dio and the other three
-[X] Invite Minamitsu along

It is not time to talk wtih Byakuren yet. I do not wish to give her more problem than already and hey, their time is the one that they spend all alone and together later on.
>> No. 172832
[X] Get to digging!
-[X] Bring Dio and the other three
-[X] Invite Minamitsu along

Sounds good.
>> No. 172833
(x)>>172824
Except for that last comment.

Why? Because people have been saying 'It's not time to speak to Byakuren yet' for two entire threads.
>> No. 172834
[X] Wait to speak with Byakuren
-[X] “How are you this morning?”
-[X] “Check out this awesome new hand!”
-[X] “Are you excited for the festival?”

THEN

[x] Get to digging!
-[x] Bring Dio and the other three
-[x] Invite Minamitsu along
>> No. 172835
[X] Wait to speak with Byakuren
-[X] “How are you this morning?”
-[X] “Check out this awesome new hand!”
-[X] “Are you excited for the festival?”
-[X] “Damn girl, you looked fine shaking that thang.”

Followed by:
[X] Get to digging!
-[X] Bring Dio and the other three
-[X] Invite Minamitsu along
>> No. 172836
>>172833
I think some people were saying that because they seem offended by the notion of a Byakuren route, but I do agree we should actually talk to her normally before bringing up relationship matters (easier said than done)

[X] Wait to speak with Byakuren
-[X] “How are you this morning?”
-[X] “Check out this awesome new hand!”
-[X] “Are you excited for the festival?”
--[x] "Want me to help in a some way?"
[x] "That was some nice dancing, I'm sure they'll do great"

the way to mention a dance sounds too crude.
>> No. 172838
[c] Wait to speak with Byakuren
-[c] “How are you this morning?”
-[c] “Check out this awesome new hand!”
-[c] “Are you excited for the festival?”
--[c] "Want me to help in a some way?"
[c] "That was some nice dancing, I'm sure they'll do great"
>> No. 172839
[X] Wait to speak with Byakuren
-[X] “How are you this morning?”
-[X] “Check out this awesome new hand!”
-[X] “Are you excited for the festival?” -
-[x] "Want me to help in a some way?"
[x] "That was some nice dancing, I'm sure they'll do great"

I was tempted to go all DANG GIRL YOU HELLA FLY. But I don't think she appreciates ebonics.
>> No. 172843
[X] Get to digging!
-[X] Bring Dio and the other three
>> No. 172860
[X] Wait to speak with Byakuren
-[X] “How are you this morning?”
-[X] “Check out this awesome new hand!”
-[X] “Are you excited for the festival?” -
-[x] "Want me to help in a some way?"
[x] "That was some nice dancing, I'm sure they'll do great"
>> No. 172862
[X] Wait to speak with Byakuren
-[X] “How are you this morning?”
-[X] “Check out this awesome new hand!”
-[X] “Are you excited for the festival?"

Now is a good time to get our daily dose of Byakuren. We can go searching for dead bodies some other time, and frankly, our search for the Necronomicon (kanji edition) is kind of dead-ended right now.
>> No. 172864
Why are people asking Byakuren to help with grave robbing? THAT WILL CERTAINLY END WELL.
>> No. 172867
[X] Wait to speak with Byakuren
-[X] “How are you this morning?”
-[X] “Check out this awesome new hand!”
-[X] “Are you excited for the festival?”

THEN

[x] Get to digging!
-[x] Bring Dio and the other three
-[x] Invite Minamitsu along

I'm worried about bringing the ghost along, but I'm curious as to her reaction, and I can't resist her antics
>> No. 172868
>>172864
besides painfully blatant attempted sabotage?
>> No. 172872
>>172864
Actually, nobody's asking her that. At all.

Some people are voting to go talk to Byakuren, and then rob graves, but their votes are not worded in a way that would associate the two.

>>172868
Oh, hi, paranoidanon. Kindly go learn the fine art of reading comprehension, and/or bother to check what people are looking at when they comment before commenting yourself.
>> No. 172875
>>172872
AHAHA I cannot into reading comprehension I read "Want me to help in a some way?" as "Want to help me in some way."

Please ignore me.
>> No. 172877
>>172872
I recall there being one vote which directly had among hte byakuren question, "Helping digging up corpses", though I presume they deleted it because they realized the massive error in it.
>> No. 172901
So Byakuren is all sad over her brother's death, and we're kinda filling in his shoes, and she's going full dere-dere over necronon?

Can we just get this over with and give her the d?

>public sexy dance for us

This is the best Byakuren.
>> No. 172910
[x] Wait to speak with Byakuren
-[x] “How are you this morning?”
-[x] “Check out this awesome new hand!”
-[x] “Are you excited for the festival?”
-- [x] "Want me to help in some way?"
-[x] "That was some nice dancing, I'm sure they'll do great"
>> No. 172920
>>172901
OH wow I just realized that... she is certainly a good one at least. Also I'd imagine possibly some other swaying besides her hips just due to the notion (That dress of hers may be pretty chaste, but it seems rather snug too)
>> No. 172934
Guys, we should not go dig up the jiang-shi right now. Why?

-We don't have a location to take the corpses to so that we can settle in and do our work.
-We haven't secured the materials that we need to accomplish our work properly.

Can we take our tasks in order, please?
1. Secure workspace
2. Acquire non-corpse materials
3. Acquire corpse materials
4. Make with the necromancy

While it's not a critical mistake to mix them up, it would make things go more awkwardly.

[X] Wait to speak with Byakuren
-[X] “How are you this morning?”
-[X] “Check out this awesome new hand!”
-[X] “Are you excited for the festival?"
-[X] "Do you know where I can improve my zombies with minimal risk of angry mobs?"
>> No. 172936
>>172901
>public sexy dance for us
Come on it was a mating dance with signals that not even necronon could have missed. That eye locking. Let's not ruin it with brining her along for coropse digging or some other retarded things.
>> No. 172944
[X] Wait to speak with Byakuren
-[X] “How are you this morning?”
-[X] “Are you excited for the festival?”
-[X] “Check out this awesome new hand!”
-[X] "That was some nice dancing, I'm sure they'll do great"
[X] Get to digging!
-[X] Bring Dio and the other three
-[X] Invite Minamitsu along

For those that wanna postpone the graverobbing, remember we made a promise to those zombies and they saved our bacon. We owe it to them, and they've been waiting for a good while now.

>>172901
No because it's pretty obvious she has issues we gotta air out before committing.
>> No. 172945
>>172944
we've been postponing talking with Byakuren for even longer. That and between the two, the digging/part hunting has a greater chance for magically taking up the whole day and/or having one of Seiga's stunts pop up.
>> No. 172964
[X] Wait to speak with Byakuren
-[X] “How are you this morning?”
-[X] “Are you excited for the festival?”
-[X] “Check out this awesome new hand!”
-[X] "That was some nice dancing, I'm sure they'll do great"
Etc.
>> No. 172973
File 137635095451.jpg - (132.07KB , 850x645 , three-can-keep-a-secret-if-two-are-dead.jpg ) [iqdb]
172973
“Hey Minamitsu, are you still curious about what I do?” you ask the ghost next to you.

Minamitsu lazily cranes her neck to look at you. “Aye. I can’t say I’m not. Why?”

“I was planning on heading out to Muenzuka to begin fixing up the remaining jiang-shi. Want to come?”

“Sure, sounds interesting. But, why are you rebasing all the way out there?”

“Well, I need to salvage parts from the ones I couldn’t protect.” You could have worded that better.

Minamitsu raises an eyebrow. “That’s gruesome. Are you lost at sea and needing to cannibalize your crew?”

“Technically yes, but even if I weren’t in Japan I’d probably still do it. They don’t need their bodies anymore but can still help their friends survive.” Plus, it’s easier working with the known than searching through the unknown. You’d rather not try to find useable corpses or go hunting for animal skins.

“Dark, but I get it. I’ll still tag along.”

“I should warn you that it might be rather boring.”

“Can’t be worse than waiting on a slowly sinking ship.” Minamitsu pauses, suddenly looking rather disgusted with herself. It doesn’t last long, but you wonder what bothered her. “I can always wander off if it’s too boring. Why are you inviting me anyway?”

“You seemed interested, I guess? I wouldn’t mind some company, either.”

“Thanks for the offer, matey. Are we casting off now?”

“In a bit.” While you wait for Byakuren to finish up, a thought crosses your mind. “Actually Minamitsu, it is possible for you to grab a basket of snacks?”

“Sure can. Enough for you two?”

You start to nod, but stop once you consider your other undead companions. “Uh, can it be six? Oh, and maybe some dirty towels nobody would miss?”

“Six? Sure, that isn’t a problem.” The ghost agreeably stands up and walks off, leaving you to wait with Yoshika.

The nun is back in teaching mode when you look. All her students are, uh, sort-of gyrating in a way that isn’t particularly provocative but could possibly be misconstrued as such by certain people. They’re matching Byakuren’s previous moves rather closely.

I told you. Over-exaggerating.

You think someone is missing a few physical gestures and emotional cues Byakuren had going on.

I’m not missing anything, but you’re adding things in.

Agree to disagree. And that Buddhism doesn’t seem to have much to do with this. Agreed.

The disciples stop for a break after around five minutes. You see them mill around and sip water, resting as much as they care to.

Byakuren herself doesn’t mix with them. Instead, she makes her way straight over to you. “Good day,” she greets. The nun is all smiles, slightly sweaty but otherwise picture perfect as usual.

You stand up to greet her. “Hey. How are you this morning?”

“I am doing well. Today is moving much more smoothly.” Someone was definitely moving smoothly. You can’t tell if she’s trying to be teasing or what half the time. Naturally, Byakuren doesn’t listen to your thoughts and continues on. “I did not see you return yesterday.”

You shrug. “I got in just a bit late but I found the room you set aside for us. Thanks for that.”

“Not at all. We are always able to accommodate those in need. Forgive me if the room is lacking what you might normally expect.”

“It’s fine. It’s leagues above sleeping in some bushes or trees.”

“If you say so,” Byakuren concedes with a tilt of her head.

“Really,” you assure her, “I’m thankful that you gave me a place to stay.”

“It was my pleasure.” The nun takes a sip from the water bottle she’s carrying and points at you. “It seems the kappa had what you needed, then?”

“Oh yeah. Check out this awesome new hand!” You proudly display your dominant hand in all its gloved glory.

Byakuren accepts the hand and looks it over. “Intriguing. This was created purely of their technology?”

“As far as I know. I was a bit worried going into it, but things seem to have worked out.”

“It appears to be so. This hand appears very natural.” Byakuren sets her water bottle on the ground in order to grab your hand with both of hers. She pinches the tip of black leather glove and slides it off your hand. You flex your fingers a few times so she can see it without the glove.

The mechanical nature of the hand is more obvious once the painted exterior is seen, but you should be able to improve the illusion at the same time you’re fixing the jiang-shi.

“It is. I mean sure, it’s a metal hulk that could crush a soldier’s grip, but it’s also highly sophisticated. It sends signals to my brain and everything.” Good thing you don’t need to understand all the technical details to get it to work.

“So you are able to feel with it?”

“That’s right. Apparently, it’ll also tone down any feelings of pain or-” Byakuren clutches your hand like a precious gem, her long fingers curled delicately around your fake ones. Naturally, the hand relates to you the slight heat and smooth skin of the nun. “-or whatever might hamper my ability to fight. Or something.”

Byakuren smiles and holds your hand steady, slowly sliding the black leather glove back onto it. “A wise modification. Perhaps the kappa are more reliable than they seem?”

“I wouldn’t trust their advertising. I’ll believe when their works don’t spring half-a-dozen leaks.” Not that you particularly doubt Nitori’s skills, but there’s a tiny streak of uncertainty plaguing your opinion in regards to that girl.

Maybe that’s bias from being the kappa’s first live brain operation.

The nun’s brown eyes look into your own. “A more rigorous test is an order, then? An experience full of sensitivity might confirm the kappa’s success.”

“Uh, that won’t be necessary,” you reply, taking back your hand and rubbing it gently. The nun just giggles and sips her accursed water.

Damn it, what’s wrong with her? Maybe she wants something eh? Stop it.

Honestly, you’re confusing me Bro. I don’t understand your aversion.

Why not? Your sister has been with you all the time. She knows how many out there use their wiles to try and gain an advantage. That spider woman who wanted to liquefy you? The harpies, sirens, British fairies- Yeah, but none of them are Byakuren. Do you think the nun wants to destroy you?

No…

So I don’t understand your problem.

Maybe you just don’t want to be that way with Byakuren?

That isn’t true. I can tell you that ‘rejection,’ in either direction, is not something you’re feeling at the moment.

Wasn’t your sister the one warning you about Byakuren? Talking about possible problems and other issues beneath the surface? I was, but- Why the sudden encouragement? What’s with all the pressure?

I’m just trying to figure out where you stand. I’ve never felt you this…scattered before.

Oh please, what does your sister know?

Alright, time to stop being a kid. I know everything. I know how you hated those abomination-creating necromancers. I know how much you respected your mentor and guardian. I know how much you care for me and I know how much fun you had with that church girl underneath the pews when-

Damn it, you’re sorry. You know full well how much your sister pays attention to you. You’re just feeling…off…

As long as you recognize that. We’ll have a serious sit-down later. Now, you might want to pay attention to the ghost girl.

“He isn’t responding. Maybe I should whack him?”

“What? What? No need for violence!” You fall back a few steps, cautiously watching Minamitsu’s giant anchor. She arrived back at some point, a wicker basket carried in her other hand. “What, uh, did you just say?”

Byakuren is the one who speaks up. “Are you sure you are feeling well? If you cannot focus, you should think about lying down for a few more hours.”

“No, it’s okay Byakuren. I just woke up. I’m good. I was just a bit distracted.”

“Wisdom is knowing when to rest and when to work.”

“Ah, a wise saying from the magnificent nun? Today is looking up already!”

Byakuren’s hand shoots up, as if it to smack you on the head or something, but she stops midway and smoothly moves to fix her own hair. “Yes, well, I wish you luck in your day. Try to return before dinner is served, will you?”

“I’ll do my best!”

While you’re watching Byakuren’s backside, you briefly consider the merit of complementing her dancing or offering your services. No, it’s better not to stir the pot when you’re a bit conflicted and you can always offer to help out with festival preparations later.

With pleasantries exchanged, you and your two undead companions make for the gate.

As soon as you step onto the path outside the temple, you feel great. Leaving behind the constant surveillance is a wonderful thing. “Now, where are those jiang-shi?”

After a quick search, you find the four of them where you left them the previous night. The only difference in the clearing is the lack of a certain hermit, and the fact that one of the trees is pocketed with bite marks.

It’s actually rather impressive. The top half of the tree is missing, leaving only the trunk. That trunk is on the verge of collapsing. The holes in it are not clean like those made from a woodpecker. They’re messy gashes as large as your head in some cases, randomly found all around the tree.

“Are you all…doing okay?”

“Yes, Master. Why would we not be?” Dio asks.

A vision of a feast flashes across your mind. A feast, along with a sudden crash of any savings you have. You glance over at the basket in Minamitsu’s hand before asking, “Just, uh…how much do you all need to eat?”

“We do not need much to operate.” The blonde jiang-shi watches your eyes before glancing back behind him. “Oh, that. Normal trees are less filling than other foods.”

You know that their stomachs, somehow, convert objects into mana for their bodies to operate. It makes sense if they break down the mana found in all matter. Generally, animals have more mana in them than vegetation, but you’d bet that there’s more mana in the dirt of the Forest of Magic than there is in your average human.

“Well, let’s go kids. We’re heading back to Muenzuka.”

The jiang-shi leave the poor tree behind and follow you into the air.

The trip is a fairly quick flight. Most of the time is spent by Minamitsu chatting up the jiang-shi, getting a feel for what’s occurred and their relationship with you. She gets a more comprehensive retelling of your little run-in with the reapers, replete with sound effects and voluminous praise.

It might be only Yoshika and Dio voicing their opinions, but you get the feeling the other three jiang-shi likewise have a somewhat high opinion of you. It’s unwarranted in your mind. It wasn’t your best fight, but it was far from the worst ending.

Below you the large fields, the Forest of Magic, and the Road of Reconsideration pass by. You don’t encounter anybody else in the air, and the few people you do see aren’t looking up at you.

Your group drops down into Muenzuka, right where you had the shallow graves dug. You hand your shovel off to Yoshika and let the hard working girl go about exhuming the corpses.

“Letting a girl do all the hard work, eh?”

You don’t even deign the ghost with a glance. “She could break me in half like a twig. If she doesn’t mind the work, I don’t either.”

Once Yoshika drags out all of the corpses, you fall to your knees and start the long process. You remember most everything that needs to be fixed, so it becomes a matter of scavenging what you need. What you need most of is human skin, but there are some other parts you take as well. “Oh, this is a nice arm.”

You take bits and pieces from each corpse that you can use to touch up the jiang-shi. Overall, the remaining jiang-shi’s insides are fine, so you don’t need many bones or other parts from the corpses. Some jaw parts here, a few extra ribs there, and everything looks perfect.

“I would rather have an appropriately colored eye,” Dio points out.

“What?” You hold up the organ in question and give it a little twirl. “You don’t like heterochromia? I think it’d look neat.”

“Well, if you believe so Master…”

“Eh, I’ll just fix it with some magic. This is the best eye in the bunch.”

The others come up with a few specialized demands as well, as conveyed to you by Dio and Yoshika, but it’s all manageable.

Stripping the corpses of their skin takes far longer and is rather- “Disgusting. This would be pretty creepy for most people,” Minamitsu comments.

“And what about you, hardened sailor of the seas?” you ask just as the decayed intestines tumble out of one corpse. Not going to need those.

“Seawater has some interesting effects on the dead.”

Most of the time while you’re working, the jiang-shi and Minamitsu are simply talking like before. Girl talk is a thing even amongst the dead it seems. You feel your sister flit away from you multiple times, off to converse with Yoshika or whatever she does in there. You stay out of most the talk. Not that you need intense concentration for what you’re doing, but you don’t care to comment on- “I’ll find you a nice suit and make you my first mate, Yoshika!”

“Yaaar~”

During your scavenging, you also take the time to take a examine one of the corpses’ stomachs.

You got a lot more than you bargained for. The first stomach you open up explodes in a wash of guts and magic. You dive out of the way of most of it, but still get splattered with assorted rotted meats. It’s not very pleasant.

It’s also rather humiliating. Everybody around decides to chime in with their laughter.

“Damn it, Seiga…” you mutter and go about your analysis in a different way. The hermit’s self-destruction spells go off whenever the integrity of the stomach is breached to too significant of a degree. Basically, if you open them up wide enough to study, they blow.

From the glimpses you catch of the spellwork, it seems vastly more complicated than something as simple as ‘break objects down into base mana and vaporize remainder.’ If you want to learn more, you’d need to ask the hermit herself directly, or spend weeks figuring out a better way to study the inside.

Overall, you’d say the most important lesson here is to better protect the jiang-shi’s stomachs. A sword through the gut wouldn’t explode them, but a cannon shot would. That’d stop most people, you know?

True. The take away lesson is that anything over-kill for a human might just do-in the jiang-shi as well.

You manage to finish your grisly work an hour or so before lunch time. With a few shoves, you drop the pile of organs and bones back into the grave. You only store the material useful to keep in reserve. If nothing else, it’s always handy to have a guaranteed cache of bones on hand in this country.

That leaves you with a rather large pile of dead human skin, cut into neat rectangular shapes. You tie them up and cover them with the towels Minamitsu brought until you get the chance to use them and drop them into an even shallower hole. You’d consider carrying them around, but you doubt they’ll get stolen or anything. It’d be more likely to get you in trouble.

After a quick brush down and rinsing of your hand, you stop work for a much needed break. Everybody gathers around the basket Minamitsu brought, the ghost herself settling down on top of a tombstone.

“Open up, Rea~” Yoshika and you feed the other jiang-shi in respect of their rather stiff arms but it doesn’t bother you. If you keep working through the day, their problem should be fixed soon enough.

“I hope this hasn’t been too boring for you, Minamitsu.”

The ghost shrugs. “It hasn’t been half-bad. You put a lot more planning and thought into this than I imagined.”

“People might like to belittle necromancy, but it’s just as complicated as any other kind of magic.”

“Do you know many other kinds?”

“Of magic? Not particularly. Intellectually, I’ve learned all the basics. I’m also familiar with some more ‘holy’ spells, but I can’t use much beyond my limited necromancy.”

“Hm.” The ghost grips her chin in thought.

“What’s wrong?”

Minamitsu slowly answers after a minute of thought. “Necromancy deals in spirits, right? Souls of the dead? Ghosts?”

“Yes…” You set down your paper plate and watch the ghost. “Are you trying to get at something here?”

The ghost stares you in the eyes, as if searching for some sort of answer. Her next question isn’t angry, but it’s close. “Have you forced someone to be your servant?”

“What do you mean?”

“I can feel it. Sort of. Something jumping around from body to body. It’s a spirit, right?”

Well, that’s intriguing. You didn’t think a mind jumping from body to body had any properties someone else could sense without an intricate spell. Maybe the miniscule amount of mana used in the transfer forms a temporary spirit-body for the mind to travel? That’s one possibility, but- Theorize later.

Minamitsu doesn’t look angry, but she’s definitely cautious. Her hand is gripped tightly around her phantasmal anchor, ready to strike if your answer is out of line.

Do you really seem like that kind of guy? Bummer.

“Don’t worry. It’s not as bad as your imagining. I accidentally ate my sister’s soul while she was dying and I’m trying to find a way to give her back her life.”

“…What?”

Minamitsu takes the explanation of why you’re in Gensokyo rather well. She doesn’t break down in tears or erupt in anger. She asks a few clarifying questions, as well as asking to speak with your sister, but otherwise doesn’t comment.

“Please con-tin-ue to look aft-er my bro-ther,” your sister finishes, enunciated ever so carefully by Yoshika.

Minamitsu simply nods her head in understanding and moves on once her curiosity is satiated.

Huh. Telling her was a lot easier than you expected.

I’m surprised you decided to. Usually you’d just deflect.

It was possible, but you don’t mind Minamitsu knowing. Hell, you’ve already told Byakuren, so what’s one more? You might not have known them long, but you don’t think they’ll abuse the knowledge.

You hope they won’t. Betrayal generally happens when you think it won’t. Don’t let it get to you.

The conversation drifts back into non-important chatter. Once the food has been polished off, you insert your plans for the jiang-shi into the chatter. Before you start fixing them up, you’d prefer to have the reagents you need on hand to enchant their bodies with all the good stuff, from anti-rot spells to the illusion of a blood-filled body.

Minamitsu agrees to help you out with the shopping that needs to be done. Yoshika naturally comes along with you, while the jiang-shi stick around Muenzuka to watch what you’ve already prepared. You’re hesitant to leave them alone in that cemetery again, but you don’t think the reapers will attack again.

At least, nothing is going to happen in broad daylight. That much you’re almost sure of.

---

Right. Shopping means village.

And village means humans.

“Who are you and what business do you have here?”

There shouldn’t have been any problems. Yoshika looks as good as alive and Minamitsu rather smartly changed her outfit to that of any normal black-haired girl.

Unfortunately, with neither of them standing out, the guy dressed in all black manages to catch the flak. Changing into one of those outfits you bought for this very purpose would’ve been smart. Couldn’t somebody have reminded you?

Slipped my mind. Now, answer the good guard so we can go in without any more problems whatsoever.

“Just looking to shop, Sir.”

“Oh, is that what you want to do?” The other gate guard takes one step closer to you, trying to intimidate you with his size. Dumb brute.

Brute? Oh, damn, you remember this guy. He’s the one you punched in the gut a few days ago. By the looks of it, he remembers your face all too well.

Unfortunately, his partner is new and equally thuggish looking. You were hoping that sensible older guy would be here, but no dice.

“Yeah, it is,” you answer.

The brutish guard tilts his spear into your path, stopping you from pushing past him. “Well, that’s unfortunate. Looks like the village is suddenly closed.”

You give each guard another once over. They’re still as non-magical as before. You could keep trying to talk, maybe intimidate them a bit. Or skip straight to forcing your way in. Please don’t. Or maybe something else.

You could also give up on the venture entirely but you do need to resupply on reagents. Especially the ones you need to help liven up the jiang-shi’s appearances. Sure, you could probably patch them up and slap on some make-shift enchantments without the reagents, but they would be less durable than Yoshika. And they wouldn’t look nearly as alive. Worse, you would exhaust yourself by using your own mana instead of reagents, like all the non-half-assed wizards.

Man, these guards are getting under your skin. Maybe you can just him them and run away?

[ ] Keep talking
-[ ] Use reason. It never ever fails
-[ ] Money talks better than you
-[ ] Threatening to complain works too
[ ] Put on a show
-[ ] This girl is pretty hungry…
-[ ] Nice spear – see this hand?
-[ ] Help, I need a doctor!
--[ ] Sick does the trick
--[ ] Bleed is all you need
[ ] Force aside the guards
[ ] Up and over?
[ ] Find someone that can get you in
-[ ] Reimu
-[ ] Byakuren
-[ ] Ichirin
-[ ] Shou
-[ ] Mokou
[ ] Back to Muenzuka to finish what you can
[ ] <Write-in>

---

>>172839
That’s her problem if she don’t appreciate.

>>172864
Sounds good to me. She probably knows where the actual bodies are!

>>172901
>Descartes
Go for it! I mean, really. Do it. That sounds fun.

>>172934
A bit of extra travel never usually doesn’t hurt anybody.
>> No. 172979
[x] Find someone that can get you in
-[x] Mokou

I'm tempted to use Byakuern instead, but I think Keine's friend would make a better impression.

Also if Byakuren was talking about I think she was, well there'd be many guys happy to "test" area out with her.

Though I get the feeling we won't be back in time for dinner if this fails.
>> No. 172980
[X] Find someone that can get you in
-[X] Reimu

Just because Byakuren's busy at the moment.
>> No. 172981
[c] Keep talking
-[c] Use reason. It never ever fails.

In case that doesn't work:
[c] Find someone that can get you in
-[c] Mokou.
>> No. 172982
[X] Find someone that can get you in
-[X] Reimu
>> No. 172987
[x] Find someone that can get you in
-[x] Mokou

Our only problem is if she's in the village.
>> No. 172988
Not sure how effective Reimu would be as there's the risk of the village not looking upon her too brightly. That or she might end up making more trouble. But I could be wrong here.
>> No. 172991
[x] Keep talking
-[x] Money talks better than you

Because money opens every door for you. Why should it be in Gensokyo otherwise?
>> No. 172992
[x] Find someone that can get you in
-[x] Mokou
>> No. 172994
[x] Walk along village wall until out of sight, then hop over.

This is the fastest and least problematic way.
Lets not waste time and get back to delicious Byakuren~
>> No. 172996
[x] Keep talking
-[x] Use reason. It never ever fails

Last thing we need is to make a scene or give people more reason to distrust us.
>> No. 172999
[x] Keep talking
-[x] Use reason. It never ever fails

Asking the others would take up too much time.
>> No. 173002
>>172999
I'm not sure about that, reason tends to work on people with brains, not meat heads and this guy appears to have it in for Necroanon.
>> No. 173004
[x] Find someone that can get you in
-[x] Mokou

I'm hoping the assistance of someone else will be a more permanent solution than talking our way in or using force. Should leave a longer lasting impression.
>> No. 173005
Well, we seem to be on a clock with a day night system considering how events have played out. We're expected to be back at the temple in the evening. I'd like to finish shopping for materials and not run against time
>> No. 173021
[x] Keep talking
-[x] Use reason. It never ever fails
>> No. 173024
[x] Find someone that can get you in
-[x] Mokou

Necromancer blacks really don't endear us to the local law enforcement.
>> No. 173045
[X] Find someone that can get you in
-[X] Reimu
>> No. 173050
[x] Find someone that can get you in
-[x] Mokou
>> No. 173051
[X] Put on a show
-[X] This girl is pretty hungry…
-[X] Nice spear – see this hand?

I suggest a combination of the two.
>> No. 173069
[x] Find someone that can get you in
-[x] Mokou
>> No. 173080
(x) Ok guys, you got me. I'm here cuz I got some info for Kotohime about that killing

A princess and police officer must have some clout around here.
>> No. 173115
[X] Find someone that can get you in
-[X] Reimu

Any excuse for Reimu.
>> No. 173127
>>173115
bad reasoning as we don't know if they'll listen to her and/or if her idea of persausion involves kicking the guard through the door. Tradionally the village is lukewarm at best towards to the shrine due to all the youkai visiting there.
>> No. 173161
[x] Find someone that can get you in
-[x] Mokou
>> No. 173173
[X] Keep talking
-[X] Use reason. It never ever fails.

Always exhaust avenues of diplomacy first. It can get a lot of points on our side in the future. Granted, it may not work against meatheads whom we have already hit once.

In case that doesn't work:
[X] Find someone that can get you in
-[X] Mokou.
>> No. 173180
>>173173
Only issue is that it'd waste time trying to do the first thing.
>> No. 173266
[x] Keep talking
-[x] Use reason. It never ever fails
[x] If that doesn't work, let those two enter by themselves-your sister will act as a relay between you and them so they know what to buy, while you look for another way in.
>> No. 173297
>>173266
now this is clever, but I'm worried about the efficacy of this plan. Not only am I worried about sending our sister back and forth, looking for another way in may just get us in more trouble. Any other ideas? Otherwise I'm changing my vote
>>173173
to this
>> No. 173301
May I ask why just going out of sight and hopping the wall isn't being considered? It's the safest and fastest method barring rational talk to get us on track in the story. Hell, you could probably tell Keinr about how shitty the guards are and bring her with you to the gate on the way out.
>> No. 173303
>>173297
I don't think it's really effecient, if anything it's a nigh-sure shot at failing for a mix of reasons.

I still hold to my belief Mokou is the best ticket on due to her connections with Keine.
>> No. 173328
File 137720236971.jpg - (360.00KB , 600x411 , ancient-grudges.jpg ) [iqdb]
173328
“So, you’re sure the village is closed?” You stare the village guard in the eyes, his height putting you at a disadvantage.

He puffs his chest a bit and smiles. “Yeah.”

You try to force the man to reverse his decision with the power of your mind. You try really hard.

It doesn’t work. You are no psychic.

You need to be more intimidating.

Sure, you’ll just go put on another fifty pounds and grow a head taller.

To your left, Minamitsu takes a step forward. “Listen hear you pathetic excuse for-”

“I’m sorry for being a bother,” you interrupt her, grabbing her hand and pulling her away. “Let’s go.”

“Hey! What do you- Hey!” You manage to drag the very light ghost several meters before she wizens up and plants herself firmly in the ground. Her wrist fades incorporeal, removing your grip. “Why are you cutting and running? We should be tossing those bastards around by their britches!”

You shrug and start walking down the road. “Oh, I’d love to. But we don’t need to.”

“Why’s that? The nerve of those men!” Minamitsu takes position right in front of you and floats backwards, her scowl a sight to behold.

“They already hate you, right?” you reason. “No need to alert them to the fact you’re running around in plain clothes.” Nothing blows a disguise like swinging around an anchor.

“What, so you think you’re doing me a favor?”

“Yes but don’t worry, that’s just a side bonus.” The ghost sends you a withering glare when you dismiss her like that but she isn’t truly offended. At least, you don’t think she is. “Obviously, punching that guy before didn’t win me any favors. Personally, I’d like to get into the village without any more trouble.”

“And to do that you are going to?”

You let the ghost’s question hang. Once you see the beginnings of an anchor form in her hand, you give. “Get escorted like a kid.”

“Good plan. That’s worked out so well already.”

I have to agree with her. Is your brain working properly?

No less than usual. Since you’re an outsider, you figured that someone with a bit more weight could leave a better impression on the guards if you went in with them. That way, you wouldn’t catch so much flak in the future.

You mean someone like Byakuren?

That’s exactly what you- oh. That’s already happened, hasn’t it? Okay, you see what Minamitsu was implying. There might be some flaws with the plan.

Yeah.

At any rate, getting in again after this trip is a secondary concern. “Look, I just want to get in there and get what I need. It’s best to go with the guaranteed method.”

The ghost next to you holds up her two index fingers. “Punching guards and getting escorted have the same success rate for you, don’t they?”

“Maybe. But what about you? Has punching guards ever worked out.”

“…No.”

“Great! We’re off to find a responsible adult then and I have one in mind.”

“Ah, I see. You just want to sail in Byakuren’s wake to-”

“No, not her. She’s busy.” You don’t need to interrupt her preparations more than you already have.

“Then who? Nobody lives in this direction except all the rabbits and-”

What timing! Mokou is right there, walking down the road with hands in pockets. The white-haired immortal gives you a very slight wave before pocketing her hand again.

“Her?” You almost don’t recognize Minamitsu’s voice. It sounds like a cat slowly being strangled.

It isn’t until the air drops a few degrees do you remember- that they have problems. Right. Damn. You have problems, they have problems, why does everybody have problems?

“Hey.” Mokou slows to a stop in front of you acting mightily cool. She doesn’t say anything else.

You do not want to step into this cold war, but it was your idea to find Mokou.

Just keep it simple.

Right. Simple and unconfrontational. That’s easy enough. “I was just on my way to ask if you can get me into the village. The guards don’t like me much.”

“Sure.” The fiery immortal nods and continues to amble down the road. As she passes past you to take the lead, things seem to be going so well.

Then the train starts to derail.

Mokou stops and slowly turns her head to look at you.

No, not you.

Damn it.

Taking a few steps out of the way, you find Minamitsu and Mokou glaring at each other. Once more, you’re feeling the burning heat and the freezing cold at the same time. Why does this happen? Why can’t you just go bargain for overpriced goods without incident?

You should try to defuse the situation. The last time these two met, Mokou stalked off before anything happened. “Hey you two-”

“What?”

“What?”

Their answers are simultaneously and equally frustrated.

Nice try.

Yoshika begins to growl like an angry dog but you give her arm a squeeze to calm her down. It’s not like she can eat either of them. You think.

“Don’t yell at him!” Minamitsu shouts.

“I wasn’t yelling at him you crazy woman,” Mokou snaps back.

“Hah, I’m the crazy one?” The ghost grins. You’re positive she takes offense to every single thing Mokou says.

“Tch.” Mokou looks ready to light somebody on fire. “I chose the wrong word. Forgive me.”

“Of course you chose the wrong word. I’m not the one cavorting around in the forest entrapping every hapless fool that stumbles by and propositioning-“

Mokou explodes in a fiery rage. Literally, flames erupt from her backside and blaze across her shoulders. “What the hell are you suggesting you- you- you wicked ghost?”

“Pfhahaha! Is that all you have for me? The name calling of a child?”

“What is your problem?” Mokou stamps her foot, her fires flaring in tune with her emotions. “You always go on about this and that like a hissy brat, shouting at me and hating me! I never did anything to you!”

Minamitsu’s eyes narrow. She takes a step forward, bending at the hip slightly while she glares at Mokou. “Hah, a hissy brat? The only little brat here is you, a scared little girl that couldn’t even live up to the standards of her dirty conniving family.”

“You’re insane! I don’t know-”

“Of course you don’t know!” Minamitsu takes another step, heedless of the fire surrounding Mokou’s body. “You don’t know because you never did anything! You sat around at home and then ran away once your oh so prominent family finally found a use for you, didn’t you? Why else would you be romping around in the woods like a barbarian?”

“What are you-”

The chill in the air begins to overwhelm the heat. The flames of Mokou’s anger begin to lessen with Minamitsu’s continued advance. “Am I wrong, Fujiwara? Are you going to tell me you were a well-behaved, diligent child that was prepared to be married off to some fat aristocrat because your scheming family wanted to embezzle more taxes?”

“No,” Mokou grounds her answer out from between clenched teeth. Her fire resurges when she yells back. “But do you know how you sound right now? You’re raving about nothing! My family was not some family of criminals!”

Minamitsu isn’t fazed by Mokou’s response. If anything, she looks excited that her prey is putting up a struggle. “Oh, no, of course not. They were just rotten selfish aristocrats that let robbers, rapists, and all other kinds of ruffians run around and ruin the lives of everybody, yeah?”

“That’s a lie! I know that-”

“You don’t know shit! All you did was hide and run until you had a spot of luck and managed to outlive all of them! You’re just as craven as the rest of your damned family!”

“I- I-”

“You what, eh?”

“My family was not-”

“A spineless group of criminals? They didn’t manipulate their peers? Steal from the people? Tear families apart?”

You watch Mokou visibly shrink back from Minamitsu. Even if Mokou is taller than Minamitsu, the ghost is looming over her. The immortal gives ground, one half-step, than a full one.

“Enough of this!” You bellow, a small bit of magic deepening your voice. “Both of you, stop!”

Mokou, horridly meek, shivers in response to your command. She doesn’t shout or protest or even look at you. She just stands there, head slightly bowed.

Minamitsu’s reaction is nowhere similar. “You want me to stop? Maybe you should-”

“I will make you shut up and calm down if you don’t on your own!”

“You little-!” The ghost snaps her mouth shut, fuming but thankfully silent.

Problems. Everybody has their own damn problems. I think your problems are more frustrating than theirs. Everybody means everybody.

You take a few steps towards the white-haired immortal. “Mokou, start walking, okay? You have business in the village, don’t you?”

“Y-Yeah…” She nods twice before turning back down the road towards the village.

With Mokou on her way you turn back to the other half of the equation. “Hey, you know I wouldn’t want to force you into anything, but all of this was uncalled for.”

Everybody made mistakes, but Minamitsu’s vindictive nature made her take the confrontation too far. As far as you know, the ghost’s verbal assault was completely unwarranted.

The ghost doesn’t look at you, her gaze fixed on the fields to your sides. “Tch, I get it.”

Well, shit. You did your best. At least it didn’t turn into a fight like it usually does when you’re involved.

Is that supposed to be praise?

You could have done worse.

You all walk back to the village in silence. You think the few minutes that pass help to cool tensions from ‘I just ran over your dog’ down to ‘I just ran over your dog but he died instantly.’ The two of them manage to make it to where they steadfastly ignore each other.

Your dysfunctional group reaches the gates of the village. You give your best smile to the guards. “Hey guys, I’m back.”

“Didn’t I tell you the village was closed?”

“Yeah, well, I thought it might be open now.”

“Not a chance.”

Before you can get into another staring contest with the guard, Mokou strolls forward. “Hey, you. What do you think you’re doing?”

“Ms. Fujiwara, what do you mean?” The brute sounds mildly confused.

Mokou stomps her foot once, a small lick of flames puffing out from the soles of her feet. “Do your job and stop harassing this guy.”

The gate guard isn’t cowed by the fiery immortal. “He’s a dangerous. The village will do better without him.”

“He’s rough around the edges, but he won’t cause problems. I helped him out myself earlier.”

“This little- He punched me!”

Mokou shrugs. “Yeah, well, you probably deserved it. Do you want me to report you? Or are you going to try and keep me out too?” When she finishes her sentence, the air starts cooking.

You can see the two gate guards begin to sweat in their metal armor. “…Welcome to the village. Don’t cause trouble.”

“Thanks.”

With Mokou leading the way, the rest of you walk pass the guards.

You could have done that. Maybe with less heat and more sickly green haze, but you could have done that. They would’ve just seen you are a major danger and attacked.

Fair enough. You quicken your pace to draw alongside Mokou. “You know, I was thinking you’d have a less…confrontational way of getting me inside.”

“What did you expect me to do, seduce him?” You try to picture the scene in your head. A white-haired beauty, slowly unbuttoning her shirt, pushing herself up against the guard as she lets her hair flow freely and wrap around her…then she starts to stutter and ramble and question herself and the image falls apart.

“Maybe if I were in a better mood I’d have thought of something,” the immortal says, kicking a pebble down the street and glancing over her shoulder.

“You underhanded-”

“No! Don’t start this again,” you interrupt, cutting off any further retorts. You pat Mokou once on the shoulder, giving her a none too subtle look. “Thank you for the help, Mokou.”

“Yeah. See you later.” Not missing a beat, the immortal walks off to wherever she needed to be.

You look around at the village, full of life. Some people are dressed in traditional clothes, others in western and modern garbs you’re more familiar with. They walk, talk, and shop. Groups of old men are sitting around shooting the breeze while mothers are out with their toddlers. They call it a village but it’s more like a very busy town.

You get some strange looks but none are obviously horrified or repulsed. You’d say it’s slightly disapproving, about equal with the looks the obviously non-human youkai get.

There are a few of those about. Some uniformed fairies, some rabbits, some birds, and plenty of other types are going about their business. Some are trying to rustle up sales like one loud kappa while others are picking up goods for themselves. They travel in ones and twos, not exactly welcomed but not ostracized. You guess they only let the well-behaved youkai in.

Or, the ones who can be well-behaved if they try. “So Minamitsu, do you know if anybody here sells wolf’s bane?”

The ghost wrinkles her nose at the question. “What is that? Some kind of trap?”

“It’s, uh, a poisonous plant.” You glance around again but use the time to sneak peeks at Minamitsu. With Mokou gone, she seems to have calmed down considerably. “Do you know where an herbalist is? I can start there.”

“Yeah, I know a few places.”

Minamitsu leads you around the village, taking you to wherever you need to go. You stay focused on picking up supplies and, surprisingly, find the shops more than adequate. The village has ridiculous amounts of diversity for a place inside a barrier. More esoteric magical reagents are sold right next door to some of the latest modern electronics.

After emptying your pockets of most of the actual money you carry on you, the rest of your pockets are comfortably full. You’re nicely stocked on all sorts of general reagents as well as what you need for the jiang-shi.

The shopping itself was quick and efficient. The store owners seemed to have reasonable prices that you were fully willing to pay. What you didn’t count on was Minamitsu.

The ghost drove a hard bargain, beating down prices wherever she could. Maybe she was working off stress or maybe she was trying to form a kind of apology, but she saved you a good deal of money.

When you finished, you decided to rest at a little roadside café.

Everybody has their own drinks, the free refills a great boon for the black hole that is Yoshika. It’s lunch time and you need to decide on what to do.

[ ] Back to Muenzuka, work your magic
[ ] Grab a bite to eat
-[ ] Make it takeout
[ ] Look for Mokou
-[ ] Apologize for dear Captain Murasa
-[ ] Convince Minamitsu to apologize
-[ ] Get her side of the conflict
[ ] Speak with Minamitsu
-[ ] Thanks for the help
-[ ] What’s the issue with Mokou?
-[ ] Thoughts on Obon?
[ ] Visit another place
-[ ] Suzunaan
-[ ] Schoolhouse
-[ ] Police house- guard headquarters- whatever it is
[ ] <Write-in>

---

Sorry for the wait. Hope I didn’t fuck things up because I forgot something. I had a little story of mine to finish elsewhere. Now that it’s all done, I have more time to spend over here! (More like I’ve got plenty of time to play Rome 2 and Hearthstone when they drop)

Open vote, mix ‘n match, do what you like. Shop for other stuff or visit someone else in the village, whatever. Or get business done as quickly as you can. Ignore people. Whatever.

>>173004
>Entering the village
For memory’s sake, Byakuren escorted you past the brutish guard and his more serious friend (while you had some funky temple clothes on) the first time. The second time you got in, this brutish guard was punched after harassing Minamitsu (then the serious friend let you through). The third time was a quick (for you) airborne insertion and extraction with Reimu.

>>173005
The night is dark and full of terrors.

Yet, as a necromancer, you’re one of them. Don’t fear the darkness…

>>173024
But they’re stylish as fuck. Worth.

>>172994
>and least problematic
About that…

>>173303
I can think of one reason and it has to do with crossbows.
>> No. 173329
[x] Grab a bite to eat
-[x] Make it takeout
[x] While eating, speak with Minamitsu
-[x] Thanks for the help
-[x] What’s the issue with Mokou?
-[x] Thoughts on Obon?
[x] Look for Mokou
-[x] Get her side of the conflict
[x] Back to Muenzuka, work your magic

Do we know about Keine's connection to Mokou? Should we ask what she knows about this conflict? Or is that just a pointless distraction?
>> No. 173331
[ ] Look for Mokou
-[ ] Apologize for dear Captain Murasa
-[ ] Get her side of the conflict
[ ] Speak with Minamitsu
-[ ] What’s the issue with Mokou?
[ ] Grab a bite to eat
-[ ] Make it takeout
[ ] Back to Muenzuka, work your magic

I detect issues in our future if we don't head this off RIGHT FUCKING NOW.
>> No. 173333
[x] Grab a bite to eat
-[x] Make it takeout
[x] While eating, speak with Minamitsu
-[x] Thanks for the help
-[x] What’s the issue with Mokou?
-[x] Thoughts on Obon?
[x] Back to Muenzuka, work your magic

We can inquire with Mokou when we aren't accompanied by her secondary nemesis. She probably needs time to cool down, anyways.
>> No. 173334
[X] Grab a bite to eat
[X] Speak with Minamitsu
-[X] Thanks for the help
-[X] Thoughts on Obon?
-[X] What’s the issue with Mokou?
In that order.
[X] Visit another place
-[X] Suzunaan

I want to find out what has her so pissed off at Mokou, and as a bonus we can spend time until nightfall to do necromancer things.
>> No. 173335
[x] Grab a bite to eat
-[x] Make it takeout
[x] While eating, speak with Minamitsu
-[x] Thanks for the help
-[x] What’s the issue with Mokou?
-[x] Thoughts on Obon?
[x] Back to Muenzuka, work your magic

Need our zombies up to snuff.
>> No. 173336
[X] Grab a bite to eat
[x] While eating, speak with Minamitsu
-[X] Thanks for the help
-[X] Thoughts on Obon?
-[X] What’s the issue with Mokou?

I suspect that the conversation may take a turn for the ugly once Mokou comes up, so let's leave that for the last item of Minamitsu discussion.

Once we know what the heck is going on, then and only then can we make a decent stab at convincing Minamitsu to apologize. That may or may not be a wise social move, so let's not lock it in.

Either way, though, we'll probably want to
[x] Look for Mokou
-[x] Get her side of the conflict

Apologizing for Minamitsu isn't really our place, although we can apologize for putting Mokou in a position to get yelled at- we certainly didn't expect it. In any case, Mokou has been very good to us and it would be vastly preferable to try and patch this up before we leave.

Once that issue is done with, though, it's
[x] Back to Muenzuka, work your magic

These zombies aren't going to make themselves into beautiful specimens of the undead form, capable of displaying grace and might with equal ease. It will probably take a while, but we can turn them into veritable works of art, because we're just that good.

I doubt showing off your awesome zombies is a popular event at the Obon festival, but we totally could.

And then we need to fix our soul containment before we explode or something. Can't put that off too much longer.
>> No. 173337
I take it there's still time until dinner? As I'd like to know how much time is left before making my vote.
>> No. 173339
[x] Grab a bite to eat
-[x] Make it takeout
[x] While eating, speak with Minamitsu
-[x] Thanks for the help
-[x] What’s the issue with Mokou?
-[x] Thoughts on Obon?
[x] Look for Mokou
-[x] Get her side of the conflict
[x] Back to Muenzuka, work your magic
>> No. 173340
[x] Grab a bite to eat
-[x] Make it takeout
[x] While eating, speak with Minamitsu
-[x] Thanks for the help
-[x] Thoughts on Obon?
-[x] What’s the issue with Mokou?
[x] Look for Mokou
-[x] Get her side of the conflict
[x] Back to Muenzuka, work your magic
>> No. 173342
[x] Grab a bite to eat
-[x] Make it takeout
[x] While eating, speak with Minamitsu
-[x] Thanks for the help
-[x] Thoughts on Obon?
-[x] What’s the issue with Mokou?
[x] Look for Mokou
-[x] Get her side of the conflict
[x] Back to Muenzuka, work your magic

Well that could have gone better. Might as well see if we can defuse this.
>> No. 173343
> Don’t fear the darkness…

Well of course not, the darkness is an idiot who runs into trees.

Personification of Fear of the Dark aside, it's the stuff inside the darkness that we need to fear. Sure, we're a Necromancer, but without Undead to back us up, we're rather squishy.

And Youkai like squishy.
>> No. 173344
[x] Grab a bite to eat
[x] While eating, speak with Minamitsu
-[x] Thanks for the help
-[x] What’s the issue with Mokou?
[x] Look for Mokou. Alone.
-[x] Apologize for dear Captain Murasa
-[x] Get her side of the conflict .
>> No. 173346
[x] Speak with Minamitsu
-[x] Thanks for the help
-[x] What’s the issue with Mokou?
-[x] Thoughts on Obon?
-[x] Convince Minamitsu to apologize

If he has any charisma left, time to use it now. Besides, Ms Dear Ghost using Mokou has a way to vent her frustration with a clan that is long death is petty, at the very least.
>> No. 173348
[x] Speak with Minamitsu
-[x] Thanks for the help
-[x] What’s the issue with Mokou?
-[x] Thoughts on Obon?
>> No. 173355
[x] Grab a bite to eat
-[x] Make it takeout
[x] While eating, speak with Minamitsu
-[x] Thanks for the help
-[x] What’s the issue with Mokou?
-[x] Thoughts on Obon?
[x] Look for Mokou
-[x] Get her side of the conflict
[x] Back to Muenzuka, work your magic

Really want Murasa to apologize, but trying without knowing all the details will just end in pain. Let's get the whole story, then see what we can do. Also I don't know when it will be a good time, but at some point we need to fiddle around with our black onyx soul-support system, make sure it isn't screwed up.
>> No. 173356
[x] Grab a bite to eat
-[x] Make it takeout
[x] While eating, speak with Minamitsu
-[x] Thanks for the help
-[x] What’s the issue with Mokou?
-[x] Thoughts on Obon?
[x] Look for Mokou
-[x] Get her side of the conflict
[x] Back to Muenzuka, work your magic
>> No. 173367
[x] Grab a bite to eat
-[x] Make it takeout
[x] While eating, speak with Minamitsu
-[x] Thanks for the help
-[x] What’s the issue with Mokou?
-[x] Thoughts on Obon?
[x] Look for Mokou
-[x] Get her side of the conflict
[x] Back to Muenzuka, work your magic

Do Minamitsu and Mokou have any relationship in canon? I don't remember anything about the Fujiwaras and Buddhism. With Soga no Tojiko I could understand bitterness due to the history between the Soga and Fujiwara clans.
>> No. 173371
>>173367
I think it's more Minamitsu was alive/ghosty during the heyday of the Fujiwara. Considering the ghost seems more like a commoner than a noble, which Mokou was, there is plausible reason for hate.
>> No. 173372
>>173367
I think it's more Minamitsu was alive/ghosty during the heyday of the Fujiwara. Considering the ghost seems more like a commoner than a noble, which Mokou was, there is plausible reason for hate.
>> No. 173375
>>173367
no idea as there's only a hinted grudge of Nue towards Murasa only if you take a very flismy line of logic (one of Murasa's cards reference the archer that shot Nue)
>> No. 173376
To the people figuring out the plausible Mokou-Murasa link:

As far as I can tell, the Fujiwara's main thing was marrying off their daughters to the Royal family to get a rather large amount of control, right up until the end of the Heian period. Thus, Murasa has a couple of reason's to hate Mokou, which I haven't spent the time sluicing out. However, it most certainly ISN'T Buddhism because the Fujiwara clan was very friendly to them and integrated them into the clan to gain more stability.
>> No. 173377
>>173376
Weren't Buddhist monks also very, very political at that time, much like the Catholic Church was during the medieval era?
>> No. 173390
>>173377

Indeed. If I'm correct, they became so involved in court politics that the emperor apparently moved the capital and banned all Buddhist temples within the new capital.

It didn't work. Even though they couldn't be in the city, the Buddhists exploited a minor loophole in the law and built temples around the city.
>> No. 173417
(x) Off to Muenzuka
Necronon doesn't fix problems, he creates them. Better to stay uninvolved. It's probably some thousand year grudge from back when Minamitsu was alive, anyway.
>> No. 173420
>>173417

All the more important to deal with it then. One pissed off immortal (Eirin) is bad enough. We don't need another one (or worse, two) on our case.
>> No. 173430
File 137770354486.jpg - (98.68KB , 500x700 , anger-issues-and-a-bit-more.jpg ) [iqdb]
173430
“Do you want anything, Minamitsu?” You wave the café’s menu in the air when you ask.

The ghost scans the single page of items. The café isn’t anything special. Their menu is full of sandwiches, drinks and desserts, each one named to be more ridiculous than the last. Naturally, the prices directly correlate with the increasingly long descriptions. “Can you really afford all this?”

“Of course I can. You saved me a fair amount.”

Minamitsu wavers before setting the menu facedown. “It’s fine. I don’t need to eat.”

“Just because you don’t have to doesn’t mean you don’t want to.”

The human mind is a strange thing. For a ghost, eating is a net loss. They need to waste valuable energy breaking down food that they can’t use – not everybody has a mana generating black box enchantment laced inside of them. Yet the allure of partaking in such a human activity is too much to resist for most.

You see Minamitsu begin to sway. “It sounds like you want to spend your money.”

“Maybe I do.”

She pointedly ignores your suggestion, but only for a few seconds. “Fine, but you offered.” The ghost flags down the waitress and lets you order first. Then she grins and takes the stage. “I’ll have this triple scoop sundae, this double berry smoothie swirl, the…”

At some point Yoshika jumps in, pointing at the menu and splitting the waitress’ attention. The poor girl has a look of confused delight on as she races to write down everything the two of them are asking for.

For two undead creatures, they eat far more than you ever would. Or could. You speak up, looking to end this before all your savings are for naught. “Hey, I was hoping we could start heading back soon. If you two just order everything on the menu, I don’t think-”

“Don’t worry sir. We have takeout boxes!” The waitress rushes back inside to grab one, as if to guarantee they exist.

They do. And they can be packed with ice. How thoughtful.

And this is why you don’t write blank cheques.

You watch with slight despondence when the waitress dashes back inside to begin filling the order. Thankfully, she brings out a set of sandwiches first, letting you refuel.

“Anyway Minamitsu, thank you for helping out with all this shopping. I would’ve been wandering for the rest of the day without you,” you say between bites.

“Not a problem. I’m always good for a spot of navigating. You needed some very strange items, though.”

“Yeah, some of the items are unconventional, but it’s what I learned with. In the end, the emotional attachment I have to them outweighs any proscribed formulae.” Magic is a force of feeling and emotion as much as anything else. You might be a person that casts with their mind more often than not, but flinging spells with the heart is just as workable.

The great eastern mystics might have used rice in their rituals to disable the undead, but you used whatever you had on hand when you needed to a few years back. For you, that meant permanently changing the key casting reagent from rice to jelly beans. You could probably work with either, but there’s something ‘right’ about throwing a handful of chewy delights at something trying to kill you.

It happens. The strongest magic is always wielded by the most dedicated and, consequently, the craziest.

You eye the box of four sundaes the waitress brings out before sighing. It’s the last of the large order. You reluctantly hand over your money to the ecstatic waitress and stand up, half-eaten sandwich in hand. The three of you grab the boxes of food and start walking off.

In the end, you estimate that you still saved money even with Minamitsu’s splurging. You probably earned some appreciation from the café too.

And it went towards a good cause. Huh?

You didn’t actually think this was all for her, did you?

….Maybe?

Count, you idiot.

Other than ordering one of everything on the menu, which you’re also sure she did, it seems like there’s enough to go around for a group of seven. That is what your sister meant, right?

And you didn’t even think of buying the jiang-shi anything to eat.

You already fed them once!

Uh-huh.

This is getting more and more expensive every day.

You free yourself from gloomy financial thoughts of the future. “So, about Obon.”

“What about it?”

“I’m curious what you plan on doing. I mean, you’re here instead of helping out at the temple.”

“Aye, I am,” Minamitsu lifts one of her boxes and takes a sip from the straw of her milkshake. “There’s no reason to get in everybody else’s way.”

“I thought you said this was all hands on deck.”

“I did say that, didn’t I?” She laughs and shrugs. “Well, I can’t say folding paper all day appeals to me.”

“You were just trying to make me do your work, huh?”

“Not…necessarily. Byakuren would definitely appreciate your help. That was true advice.” Even though she says it with a huge, suggestive grin on her face, you think she genuinely means well.

It would be a decent way of starting to repay what Byakuren has done for you, at least. Along with perhaps earning some goodwill from the temple? “Maybe if I manage to find the time. Have you had any thought about my offer?”

“Was that serious?”

“Well, I do need a way to make my own money…” Especially considering the skyrocketing costs of maintaining the jiang-shi. Building up your savings during Obon can’t hurt.

“I’ll consider it. A nice split would sweeten the deal.” Suddenly, bringing in the ghost on any entrepreneurial effort seems counterproductive. She’ll take your money as easily as anybody else’s.

The three of you walk through the village. When you look around, it seems like most people have cleared the streets in favor of finding delicious food to eat.

“So, what’s your problem with Mokou?” you ask without preamble.

Minamitsu doesn’t freeze, but she does come to a halt and turns her entire body to face you. “You’re straying into dangerous waters, don’t you think?”

“Am I?” What the hell are you doing?

“Why do you want to know?”

This is not the way we should be going about this! “I’m concerned.”

“Why?” Minamitsu wisely sets down the foodstuffs she carries, giving in to the flow of the conversation.

“I don’t want my friends to be fighting. Is that wrong?”

You can feel the air chill, your words setting off all the wrong warnings. “That Fujiwara is your friend?”

“Yes. So I’d like to know, with actual details, why you hate her so much.” This can’t be happening.

Minamitsu voice’s is carefully controlled, strained but still even-measured. “You can’t trust her. You can’t trust any of them.”

“Has Mokou, specifically, ever done anything to you?”

“…No.”

“So the problem is her family?”

“That’s right!”

“What did they do to deserve your unending hatred?”

“What didn’t they do? Those damn serpents praying on-”

You cut her off with a question. “Minamitsu, how did you die?”

Well, that’s it. We’re done for.

It’s a calculated risk. If this goes south, you’ll be the cause for unleashing an out-of-control hundreds of years old ghost in the village.

Sprits are creatures of emotion. Without a body, the soul is powerful but volatile. It is easily influenced and unbalanced, one of the reasons why sane ghosts are the most dangerous. Somebody that had the strength of will to remain on the earth, the power to fight off any who would stop their mindless rampaging, and then the ability to reign themselves in an gain a semblance of control? Minamitsu is a barely contained explosive when you consider it all.

If she never fully sorted out her past, which you guess she hasn’t, these questions are playing with fire. You should probably dance around the subject but that isn’t your style.

Oh no, you can’t be cautious. You just have to blunder right into the mess and hope it works out.

She doesn’t explode immediately. That’s a good thing. “Why do you want to know?”

“I want to understand your suspicions.”

“I drowned,” she says, letting the words slowly escape her mouth. Finding the words to be just right, she begins to elaborate, faster and more assured. “I fell off my boat in a storm and drowned.”

“Minamitsu-”

It’s a storm, sudden and furious. You stand at the edge of a howling gale, words formed into a force of nature. “I drowned! I drowned in that damn storm! We drowned! We had a fishing boat! We never should have been out there! Everybody knew not to go out! We told them! I told them! Dad told them! Nobody in their right mind would go out in that storm! We told them we told them but they didn’t care! Those idiots! Those damn Fujiwara!”

Crap.

“They thought they were so important! They thought their business was urgent! They were insane! Damn them for ordering us out! We told them! They deserved to die! They deserved it! Those damn Fujiwaras killed us all for their foolish self-importance! I wish I could’ve drowned them myself! I would’ve poured the water down their dirty throats myself! I wanted to see their eyes bulging as they choke and gag to death!”

Terrible idea. You’re going to have to-

Suddenly, the cold dissipates. As if someone shut the freezer door, all of Minamitsu’s rage disappears back behind her carefully controlled countenance. “There. Are you happy?”

She stands across from you, arms crossed and foot tapping, as if she had just elaborated on why your fashion sense is horrendous.

“T-Thanks for telling me,” you manage to say.

“I hope you know that is hardly the only incidence of the Fujiwaras’ guilt. I met many more men shoved around, left to flounder like fish in the open air because of the Fujiwaras.”

Long seated grudge confirmed. You wait a few seconds, letting the gravity of Minamitsu’s hatred sink in.

“Right. Let’s head back to Muenzuka.” Not that you wouldn’t love to pick her brain further, but this is about as far as you’re willing to push your luck. “Actually, Minamitsu, I have one last thing to do here. Can you bring all this back to the jiang-shi with Yoshika?”

Minamitsu looks around, observing the multitude of villagers standing around staring at her. The ghost’s not-so-little tantrum attracted everybody’s attention. She had been disguised before, but normal humans don’t cause the air temperature to drop. You can see the guards hovering, not quite sure whether to approach or not. “Fine,” she agrees.

“Thanks. See you soon.” You give the two of them a smile and wave, glad to see that the gate guards aren’t harassing them as they leave.

Want me to go with them?

Please. Keeping things light should be all that’s needed to make sure nothing escalates.

You feel your sister shift over to Yoshika. With you well and truly alone, it’s time to find an immortal and make amends.

Finding anybody on your own in this village would be a difficult task, but luckily Mokou stands out. More than her appearance, it seems everybody knows the few places where the immortal might hang out.

After a few quick questions, you manage to make your way to the village’s main schoolhouse. While there are other private tutors and places to learn, it’s this schoolhouse that covers most general education for the young.

You remember Keine from when you met her and Akyuu on your first visit. Nice lady.

When you go to knock on the front door, your hear something on the other side of a window. Eavesdropping is wrong, but…

It takes a couple of tries, but you manage to magically enhance your hearing a few degrees. “-trying so hard Keine but isn’t nearly as easy as you keep telling me it is. I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be doing when stuff like that happens. I mean, how are you even supposed to be thinking straight when they’re attacking you and you have your memories and maybe just maybe they aren’t actually wrong with what they’re saying so you have to wonder if you’re really even right?”

“Mokou, some people are simply unreasonable. You can’t let them dictate how you think.”

“But I don’t know what to think Keine! I want to say that she’s wrong and completely off base but I can’t say that because then I might be lying. Even after all these years I still remember back when I was a child and looking at those memories now, I’m not sure if I can honestly believe in what I thought I should have been saying.”

“Don’t let this ruin your day, Mokou. Give it some thought when you can, but don’t let it bother you overly much.”

“You too, Keine. I wasn’t even planning on annoying you with all this but you started asking and I couldn’t stop myself. I’m sorry, you have another class soon and I took up all of your break and-”

“I asked, silly. I’m glad to talk with you.”

“T-Thanks.”

Well, that’s a good enough pause of any. You tap politely on the door and listen to the rustle of wood.

A moment later the door opens revealing the long bluish-silver haired schoolteacher. “Hello? Oh, it’s you. How can I help?”

You give her a slight bow. “Ah, sorry Keine. I’m actually here for Mokou.”

From over Keine’s shoulder, you see the white-haired immortal walk into the hallway. You can make out tiny portions of the room they were in. The desk leads you to believe it’s just a generic classroom.

“Excellent timing then.” Keine steps to the side, allowing Mokou to walk outside. “Have a nice day Mokou.”

“You too.” The immortal gives her friend a slight hug before stepping onto the road and turning to you. “So, what’d you need now?”

“Sorry for putting you in that situation,” you apologize.

“Don’t worry about it. You didn’t mean for anything to happen.” There’s no hint of anger in her voice. If anything, you think she sounds apologetic.

“I’m still the one that helped create the situation.” The two of you walk side-by-side, aimlessly navigating the streets of the village. “I was wondering how you saw things. Do you have a problem with Minamitsu?”

“More like she has a problem with me. When I finally started trying to socialize in the village more, these people I’ve never met thought I was some kind of lying cheating monster! I have no idea what’s wrong with Murasa to have spread rumors like that.”

“She’s…just a bit vengeful. Part and parcel of being a ghost, really. It’s hard to fight it.” Sure you’re making excuses for the moderately stable ghost, but you think this might help mend their relationship. Lessening the feelings of hatred on both sides has to help. It’s an innocent lie.

“Is that so? I guess I can understand that. It’s pretty hard to control yourself when you don’t really know how or can’t. I mean, it was hard enough getting back into the whole ‘acting human’ thing after, uh, not cavorting around but definitely living in the forest for such a long time. II guess I was barely more than an animal for some of that time so I can understand…”

“You’re a good person Mokou,” you begin. “I know I’m new here and all, but I’ll try to calm Minamitsu down. It’s the least I can do to repay you.”

“Oh no, it’s not like I’m keeping track of debts or anything. You’ve already done a lot for me too and you’re a pleasant sort of guy so I don’t mind helping you out a bit more than most people you know? Er, it’s not necessarily for any particular reason but, uh, I mean you are nicer than you appear, uh- Thanks.”

“Yeah, no problem.” Before you part ways, there’s one more thing you want to know. “Oh, by the way, what are you doing for Obon?”

“Eh? Well, in the past I’ve relaxed at home and sometimes I went around with Keine, but I think I might bring my stand over this year.”

“Great, I’ll be sure to stop by. See you later Mokou!”

“Huh? Oh, yeah, bye.”

You take off at a light jog and race out of the village. From there, you lift into the air and make the best time you can to Muenzuka. It’s not that you want to abandon Mokou, but you’re fairly concerned about how Minamitsu and the rest are getting along. If the ghost doesn’t have her emotions in check as you expect, things could be getting messy.

As soon as you land in Muenzuka, it becomes apparent you were worrying over nothing. Minamitsu has retaken her seat on a tombstone, the jiang-shi loosely arrayed in front of her.

“What took you so long?” she asks.

“Sorry, I had to wait around a bit.” When you examine the jiang-shi in greater detail, you notice the traces of ice cream around their lips. You also notice something missing. “Did they eat the cups? And the spoons?”

“Delicious~”

“Right. Should’ve expected that. Anyway, I guess it’s time to get started.”

You dig out the skin you harvested and get to work. You take it one jiang-shi at a time, letting them lie down on your jacket while you sew together skin and smooth over wounds. Part magic, part physical, you patch together the undead, replicating nerves in long dead eyeballs and quickly regenerating weathered and torn cartilage. You cut into throats to restore damaged larynxes and saw into arms to replace weakened bones. You hack and tear and smash, all in the name of restoring the jiang-shi.

A career as a medical doctor might be shot; surgeons generally need to keep their patients alive, something you’re not quite sure you can do. I hear morticians can make decent money. That’s more up your alley at this point.

They just ate and talked?

That’s right. I didn’t notice anything unstable about Minamitsu.

That just means she can bottle up the little things, saving all her fury for when someone pushes her buttons. It’s a different type of instability.

As always, you don’t pay much attention to the chatter of the undead. They are talking about random things that don’t really mean much. As curious as Minamitsu is to how the texture of maple tree differs from an oak tree, you don’t particularly care. If the information ever becomes relevant, you’ll ask then.

Once you restore the jiang-shi as a patchwork of parts, the next task is making them look stunningly alive. You mix your blood with bone dust and other ingredients, painting intricate veins and other enchantments onto the undead. With your general resilience enchantments and Seiga’s own specialties, these jiang-shi could outlast you and all your progeny. At the end of it all they glow with false life, probably looking better than they did before they died.

Finally you finish to your satisfaction. The last jiang-shi sits up and looks down at her body before jumping to her feet in one fluid motion. “Thank you very much for fixing me Master! You won’t regret it!” the pink-haired Shilverase exclaims.

“That’s great. Want to put on your clothes?”

The naked girl looks away in embarrassment before throwing on her tattered uniform. You suppose you’ll need to buy all of them clothes as well.

The girl with long black hair, Rea, bows to you. “Master, I’ll do my best to live up to your expectations.”

“Thank you, Master,” Dio says, his new eye looking perfectly natural.

The biggest and manliest of the jiang-shi, Nekurow, grunts. “Master. This is passable for now.”

The big man’s semi-gratitude draws the ire of the others. “Nekurow, you should appreciate what master has given you,” Di chastises.

Shilverase jumps in with her own two cents. “Yeah you big grump!”

“I am not unappreciative. However, I lack the necessary tools to fight his or my prey effectively.”

“And what would these tools be?” you ask. You honestly didn’t think the jiang-shi needed more than their unnatural strength and ridiculous bite.

“A quality sword to begin with, especially one that can slay the beings of darkness we will fight. From there, armor and appropriate sidearms.”

Dio huffs, his boyish appearance spoiling the scolding tone in his voice. “There is a point where you ask for too much, and-”

You jerk to the side when your pink-haired jiang-shi decides to tug on your arm. “Are we getting weapons, Master? I’d like a handgun! And a really large sword, too. Actually, if you could get me a staff…flail kind of thing, I think that would work best!”

“A what?” you ask Shilverase.

“It’s a staff, but attached to the end of it would be a chain and a weight. I, well, I knew a guy that used something like that and I’d really like one for myself.” She seems almost bashful in her request.

“I…you…” You sigh and turn to the others. “How about you, Rea? Do you have some weapon from a past life you’d like?”

“Me? Oh, no, I didn’t really fight much. I think learning, uh, with my hands is best.”

“Okay. Fine. Dio? Any surprises?”

“Well Master, now that we’ve breached the topic, I’m inclined to learn how to throw knives.” He’s shameless, immediately capitalizing on the situation despite his earlier protests.

“Yeah, sure, why not? What about you, Yoshika?”

“I’m fine~”

“As sudden all of this is, getting you lot actual weapons is a good idea. At the very least, I should whip up some sort of enchantment that would let you fight a reaper.” Or a powerful and angry ghost. Everything else can probably be sorted out with a good bite or three.

“Wow. I didn’t think they’d look as good as this,” Minamitsu comments.

“Even after you saw Yoshika?”

“Well, it seemed crazy that you’d manage this all in day.”

“It’s not like they’re perfect. Your eyes might betray you, but any other sense would give them away. Granted, most humans wouldn’t notice that there wasn’t breath associated with the falling of their chests or they wouldn’t tell what the slight anesthetic smell meant, but they’re there. Of course, adding to the illusion after what I’ve done is exponentially more work for little gain. If they’re careful, their bodies are more than enough to live a simple life and deal with any surprising violence.”

If there’s one thing you’re curious about, it’s the jiang-shi. Yoshika has proven herself to be surprisingly capable; a beautiful fighter that can brawl and duel with the best of them. You don’t know much about her past, but how do these other jiang-shi compare now that their conditions are even with Yoshika?

You’d like to get a better grasp on their abilities, especially if they’ll be with you for the foreseeable future. How much are their past experiences relevant? Can you beat any of them in a fight? Can they ‘negotiate’ in the style of Reimu for you? What are their personalities like? Are they all as unreasonably dedicated as Yoshika?

Then again, none of that is an immediate concern. You’ll get to know them eventually and Seiga wouldn’t have kept them around if they weren’t useful in some way. These are the jiang-shi that already survived a reaper attack; your improvements can only increase their capabilities.

You could just as easily go visit somewhere else or return to the temple early. You still have a couple of hours before sundown, a perfect amount of time to get some practice in. It’s also around the time you expect normal families to be gathering around the table for dinner. You don’t really know how the temple does it- But you can easily find out.

Right. “Hey Minamitsu, how does dinner work at the temple?”

“Dinner? I guess it’s about that time. Whoever’s on kitchen duty runs it like a mess hall. People grab some grub whenever they can in-between their duties or whatever else they have on their schedules.”

[ ] Evaluate the jiang-shi
-[ ] Physical practice
-[ ] Spell card practice
-[ ] Just talk
--[ ] Motivations
--[ ] Desires
--[ ] Beliefs
--[ ] Pasts
--[ ] <Something else>
[ ] To the temple
-[ ] Rub a dub dub thanks for the grub
-[ ] Who needs a helping hand?
-[ ] Look for <someone> to talk to
--[ ] About <something>
[ ] <Write-in>

---

Updates will continue to be sporadic and unscheduled until I manage to hammer out a new routine. Sorry about that.

>>17337
>It’s lunch time and you need to decide on what to do.
Generally speaking, I try to structure the end of an update with thoughts on the future/clarifying offered vote options. I also tend to mention any time-related issues there too.

>>173367
>canon relations
As far as I’m aware no, they do not. But one of my favorite aspects of writing is examining relationships between characters. I’m no Japanese History major but it’s all very interesting to study and piece together, then fucking everything up and destroying all my plausibility; the joys of being a writer.
>> No. 173432
[x] To the temple
-[x] Rub a dub dub thanks for the grub
-[X] Look for Byakuren to talk to
-[x] Who needs a helping hand?

We should let the jiang-shi get used to their improved bodies before asking much of them. Not that it will take long, but we have time to hang at the temple and take it easy for the evening. Besides, Byakuren was hoping we'd be back for dinner.
>> No. 173433
[x] To the temple
-[x] Rub a dub dub thanks for the grub
-[X] Look for Byakuren to talk to
-[x] Who needs a helping hand?

The more Byakuren the better.
>> No. 173434
[ ] To the temple
-[ ] Who needs a helping hand?
Well, he did say he wanted to help Byakuren as a way to start paying his debt with her... which seems to be an important topic in this story.

Also, I liked this update, the weapons part was well done.
>> No. 173435
[x] To the temple
-[x] Rub a dub dub thanks for the grub
-[x] Who needs a helping hand?
-[x] Look for Byakuren to talk to

We ignored her for too long. Now it is time to actually talk to her.
>> No. 173436
[x] To the temple
-[x] Rub a dub dub thanks for the grub
-[X] Look for Byakuren to talk to
-[x] Who needs a helping hand?
>> No. 173438
(x) To the temple
(x) Bring the Jiangshi. More hands for Obon!
>> No. 173439
[x] To the temple
-[x] Rub a dub dub thanks for the grub
-[X] Look for Byakuren to talk to
-[x] Who needs a helping hand?
>> No. 173440
[X] To the temple
-[X] Who needs a helping hand?
While I really want to upgrade the Jiang-shi, There is way too much for me to pick one or two, as well as it taking far too long to try everything, and something tells me endearing ourselves to the temple would be a great idea anyway. I'm still waiting for a chance to fix our black onyx system, but I don't know what is needed or how long it would take if it is indeed broken.

>>173438
Also, I don't think bringing in all the Jiang-shi would be a great idea, as there are probably plenty youkai that wouldn't like that. they may tolerate yoshika, but we don't want to push their limits.
>> No. 173441
[x] To the temple
-[x] Rub a dub dub thanks for the grub
-[X] Look for Byakuren to talk to
-[x] Who needs a helping hand?
>> No. 173451
[X] Evaluate the jiang-shi
-[X] Physical practice

A couple of sandwiches are enough of a meal for a wizard.
>> No. 173452
>>173451
But wizard needs food badly.


[x] To the temple
-[x] Rub a dub dub thanks for the grub
-[X] Look for Byakuren to talk to
-[x] Who needs a helping hand?
>> No. 173468
[x] Evaluate the Jiang Shi
[x] Just talk
[x] Motivations, desires.

I'm all for more Byakuren, guys, but we're kind of hanging out with a bunch of thinking- not really breathing- people right here. It's important to get to know our friends (minions)!

You know, Social Links and all that.
>> No. 173475
[x] Evaluate the Jiang Shi
[x] Just talk
[x] Motivations, desires.

I'd like to talk to them some more too.
>> No. 173477
>>173468
you forget that Byakuren expressed an desire in Necroanon being back in time for dinner, what you're suggesting would likely ruin that. Especially as with the lack of Shit happening as of late, the odds of it happening are higher.

Such a thing would be better done tomorrow with a fresh day, same with any testing.

[x] To the temple
-[x] Rub a dub dub thanks for the grub
-[X] Look for Byakuren to talk to
-[x] Who needs a helping hand?
>> No. 173478
[x] To the temple
-[x] Rub a dub dub thanks for the grub
-[X] Look for Byakuren to talk to
-[x] Who needs a helping hand?
>> No. 173485
>A zombie named Rea with long black hair
Excellent.
>> No. 173600
File 137835341921.jpg - (308.22KB , 661x638 , let-the-montages-begin.jpg ) [iqdb]
173600
That’ll be good enough for now. There’s plenty of time to test out the jiang-shi or get to know them better; they have the potential to live longer than you anyway.

“Alright, let’s head back folks.”

“Eager to return to port?” Minamitsu asks.

You shrug and take to the air, everybody else following along after you. “Well, I figure I should get in early at least one of these nights. Byakuren asked rather nicely.”

“I see, I see.”

Minamitsu’s grin implies that she does not actually see. You don’t want to disappoint Byakuren. That’s all there is to it.

And why don’t you want to disappoint her?

That’s not important.

Uh-huh.

It isn’t! You have a gracious host and you’re trying to do right by her. Everything else is incidental to the topic at hand. Any mixed feelings or confusion on your part is not pertinent to returning to the temple early.

Sure.

The trip back to Myouren Temple is the same as ever: easy and full of chatter. You fly over the Forest of Magic instinctually, even if flight itself still isn’t a natural motion for you. It isn’t hard, per say, but manipulating your gifted ability is not at all similar to waving an arm or casting a necromantic spell. When you rub the yellow scarf between your fingers you feel…strange. You’ll get used to it soon enough.

As always, you don’t pay particular attention to the conversation. Whereas before it was a medley of grunts and translated grunts, now you can perfectly understand the words of all the participants.

“I really liked the strawberry one! It was delicious!” your pink-haired jiang-shi shouts.

The big and brown-haired jiang-shi scoffs at his compatriot. “Sweets such as those will make you weak, prey for the evils of the world.”

“Oh shove it Mr. Grumpy Pants, you enjoyed the treats too! Besides, that doesn’t apply to us anymore!”

The conversation doesn’t manage to reach the next tier of sophistication.

As per usual, you touch down far enough away from the temple to remain indistinct to the guards on duty and then detour towards the woods around the cemetery.

Once there, you hand out the same instructions as always to the jiang-shi; stay relatively close by, try not to bother people, and come running if help is needed.

“Understood Master,” Dio answers.

“No, wait!” The loud-mouthed pink-haired jiang-shi jumps in place, animatedly waving her arms in front of you. “Why can’t we go in too?”

Dio sighs, the blonde with a child’s stature being the most level-headed of the group. “Shilverase, you know why. The temple-”

“Yoshika can go inside! Nobody cares about her, right? Now we can too, can’t we?”

“We can’t just show up announced. We shouldn’t impose like that,” Rea advises. You’d say the black-haired jiang-shi is the most polite.

“But I want to go inside! We’ve been in nothing but these woods and fields for so long!”

Nekurow, ever the dour man, laughs. “You are weak. These exercises will harden you for the future.”

“Well nix to that! I’m use to patrolling the city and chasing down bad guys, not roaming the wilderness!”

“Shilverase, stop causing trouble for our master,” Dio says.

The blonde’s chastisement seems to work. The pink-haired jiang-shi turns to you and bows. “Sorry, I don’t mean to be a burden.”

“No, don’t worry about it,” you reassure her. “It’s not like I want to force you all to stay out here. I’ll see what I can do but bear with it for now, please.”

“Okay!”

With that you leave the jiang-shi to their own devices.

“Adjusting to a new crew is the toughest part. If you aren’t careful, mutiny will end your free sailing days,” Minamitsu advises.

“I’ll keep it in mind.” You don’t doubt the jiang-shi’s loyalty. Seiga already confirmed that the ones she kept active were the ones that wouldn’t stab her in the back. The same should hold true for you.

The most surprising discovery of this process was how articulate the jiang-shi are. Once they could start talking, their personalities became evident. It makes you wonder about Yoshika and her speech. Your constant companion hasn’t said nearly as much without prompting.

We already know she has strong intuition and I feel like there’s a great intelligence in her. But I still haven’t been able to grasp many strong, coherent thoughts. There’s snatches of something in that head, though.

Something to think about, at least. Maybe that’s just how she is.

The monk guarding the gate lets you, Yoshika, and Minamitsu in with a slight nod of acknowledgement. Not exactly a warm welcome, but it’s far better than anything the village guards gave you.

The temple is still fully active even this late at night. You wonder if Shou’s disciples ever stopped sparring and drilling; maybe the guards that were off duty rotated with those on it. Other monks and nuns are going about whatever they need to do with the fading streaks of daylight, be it painting wooden planks or sewing together long banners. You saw a few people just outside the walls as well, wiring together fences and larger decorations.

You pass by it all to reach the really important stuff.

Instead of entering the kitchen directly, you walk into the adjourning cafeteria-like room. It isn’t as large as more modern cafeterias, but it is able to serve well enough. There’s one line where those working are filling the bowls and plates on hungry people’s trays. The few tables in the room are all full, human and youkai sitting shoulder to shoulder while they eat. The lack of space isn’t a problem because you’ve seen people eating wherever they want. It seems like many of the temple residents eat wherever they please, whenever they can.

The line empties of the last two temple-goers when you enter it.

“Well, well, if it isn’t our honored tenant?” You’re surprised to find a tall and buxom black-haired woman wearing a hairnet behind the counter.

“Hey Nue. Food me.”

The shape shifting- identity distorting- whatever youkai frowns. “If you were a gracious guest, you would ask more considerately.”

“And if you were doing your job, you wouldn’t hold up the line.”

She turns to look at the empty space next to you. “There is no line.”

You waggle your arm a bit, making sure she notices the girl that’s attached to your side. “Yoshika here eats enough for ten people.”

Nue scowls at you further but stops when a bowl full of rice clacks down in front of you. The tanuki you met the other night smiles, her apron and hairnet looking completely appropriate on her. “I’m glad to see you’re taking good care of your friend here.”

“Thanks Mamizou,” you say while passing the bowl over to Yoshika. “How are you doing?”

“Well enough, even with all the activity. In truth, I find it rather exhilarating to be involved in a festival like this once again. It makes me feel young and spry.”

She doesn’t even look that old. If you took away the ears and tail, you could imagine her as a young mother. Even with the tail and ears I can imagine it. Don’t those little tanuki babies look adorable? “You have big plans for Obon then?”

“Not necessarily. I, at least, intend to help where I can and then enjoy myself. I believe Nue here will be helping the temple throughout the festival with whatever is needed.”

Nue scowls and ladles soup into a bowl. “Indeed I shall. It is an urgent unpleasantness I must endure.”

“Oh Nue, that is the attitude you need to change,” Mamizou chastises. After handing you a second tray she asks a question. “How about you? Are you prepared to help out at home?”

Tsk. She’s really emphasizing that last word. “Yeah, maybe. Do you know what I can do?”

“I do not, unfortunately. I simply help when asked. You should seek out Byakuren Hijiri or someone else in the temple to see where you might be of service.”

“Sounds like a plan. Do you know where Byakuren is?”

“Indeed. She recently came through. I believe she took her meal back to her room to eat in peace, some solitude during these activity-filled days.”

“Thanks.” You pick up the tray of food and walk away. Only a few other temple goers have stepped into line behind you.

“Take care.”

You know exactly where Byakuren’s room is and start to make your way there. Yoshika is humming behind you, a little bounce in her step.

During the walk you begin to have second thoughts. If Byakuren wants peace and quiet, maybe it is better you don’t bother her. I think you should go anyway. If she actually wants to be alone you can bow out, no harm done.

It’s not like you’re incapable of finding people to help. You could march right outside and make an offer to the first person you see. Everybody is busy. Surely somebody- Stop making excuses and go talk to Byakuren.

You aren’t making excuses! Stop being stupid and think about what to say.

Why? You’re just going to see how you can help.

Because you’ve been dancing around this for days now.

You aren’t dancing around. Oh please, don’t try to deny it.

You aren’t denying anything. You’re just…putting things off.

And how is that supposed to be better?

You’re staying focused on what’s important. Right now, that’s avoiding being a complete dead beat and leeching off Byakuren’s kindness.

Fine. But you need to seriously consider everything having to do with her. I know I’m not spelling things out much, but this is your life. The most I’m willing to do is give a few hints and little nudges.

Best relationship counselor in the world.

I just want you to be happy, Bro. How you get there is your own trial.

Whatever. There’s plenty of time yet. You can think about it all again later.

When you reach Byakuren’s room, you lightly knock on the door three times. The answer is almost immediate. “Come in.”

You find the nun sitting on the floor with a tray of half-eaten food in front of her when you enter. “Hey, Byakuren.”

“Ah, hello!” The brunette nun quickly glances between your tray and hers and then stands. “We should move to a proper dining room instead of sitting here on the floor.”

“That’s okay,” you say. “I’m fine with eating on the ground.”

“Truly?” Byakuren looks surprised before nodding quickly and sitting back down. “Then you are welcome to join me here. I hope the walk from the kitchens was not too far for you.”

“Not at all.” You sit across from the nun and set your tray down. Yoshika falls to her knees next to you. You watch her begin to tear into her slightly larger portion of food.

“How has your day fared?” Byakuren asks.

“Pretty good, actually. There was a minor hiccup, but nobody tried to kill me today so I consider it successful.”

“What was this hiccup?”

“Oh, just a little spat getting into the village, nothing big. The guards were giving me some trouble over the color of my jacket or something. And maybe because I had punched one of them before,” you admit.

A tint of anger crosses Byakuren eyes before she closes them and shakes her head. “They are still too distrustful, I see. The humans of Gensokyo have been working past their prejudices and mistrust but I see they have not advanced as far as I have hoped.”

You were expecting her to chastise you. Now that the picture of goodness has taken your side, you feel a bit guilty. “Don’t blame them. I’m a pretty suspicious character. After all, I’m the one cutting up dead things and making them move again.”

“You’re mildly distasteful actions have little bearing on how the villager should be treating strangers.”

“My actions are only mildly distasteful? You don’t have more problems with it?”

“Not in your case.” The nun waves at hand at Yoshika. “You allow life to grow and develop where it has ended. It is rather beautiful in some ways,” she says with a smile.

Huh. You’ve always thought your art was beautiful, but most people rate anything dead lower than dirt. Not even most necromancers appreciate or respect with what they work with. It’s nice that somebody is able to understand.

“What about your day,” you ask.

“Excellent. I am certainly tired but we accomplished a great many things today. If preparations for the festival continue as they are we will have a most splendid year,” Byakuren answers.

“That’s a shame.”

“How so?” The nun asks with confusion evident on her face.

“Oh, I just thought I could help out in some way. If you all are-”

“Of course you can help,” Byakuren quickly interrupts. “Why would you believe otherwise?” She leans forward towards you, breaking her perfect posture to do so.

You shrink back a bit before defending yourself. “It sounded like you had everything under control.”

“Your help would be appreciated,” the nun says, her voice stern and commanding. She pauses for a second before blushing slightly and taking a bite of chicken. “Everybody in the temple is doing something. Any one of them could use the extra help. It is an excellent way to build your reputation here. You should do it.”

“You think? Wouldn’t I put people off more than I’d help?”

“Not at all. The others need to adjust to you living here as much as you do to them.”

You swallow a scoop of rice and frown. “But I’m not a member of the temple.”

“That does not matter. You belong here as much as the others. We who live together in this temple should strive to maintain a harmonious lifestyle and work towards an enlightened future.” Byakuren begins with her lecturing tone but slowly transitions to a warmer and more familiar one. “I can only do so much to vouch for your character. I do not want the others to continue to suspect you and harry you.”

You shrug. “The temple members don’t think that poorly of me. Compared to the village guards, they love me here.”

The nun doesn’t look satisfied with your answer. “You only avoid the problem by brushing it aside with jokes. It is something you must resolve head-on.”

“Well, thanks.” You pause for a bite of bread. “I don’t mean to sound ungracious. I’m really thankful for everything you’ve done for me. Even now, trying to make me feel welcomed here.”

Byakuren smiles. “As before, I have no need for thanks. I have been happy to help.”

“Why?” you ask.

The single word question escaped from your mouth, encapsulating all of the confusion you’ve been feeling.

“Excuse me?” Byakuren asks.

You set down your cup of tea before continuing. You could say it was nothing, that you misspoke or you forgot. But you need to try. “Why are you so willing to help me? I haven’t seen you help anyone else like this.”

Byakuren doesn’t answer immediately. Her eyes are averted to side, ignoring your gaze, while she thinks. After a final sip of tea, she looks you straight in the eyes. “Because you have not seen me aid others in the short time we’ve been together, you believe I never have?”

“No…”

“Then, you must be special in some way because I have chosen to aid you to the best of my abilities when you came to me for help?”

“No…”

“Then I fail to understand your question. I wish to help you because-” Byakuren pauses, considering her words another few seconds. “I wish to help you. That is who I am at this point. To those that seek aid, I shall offer.”

You nod slowly, digesting her explanation. “So that’s really it?”

“That’s all it should be,” she answers.

Nobody says anything. The only sound is the clack of wood meeting wood and the gnashing of teeth while food is chewed. When you look at Yoshika to see how she’s doing, you find she’s already done with her meal and watching you with a curious eye.

Huh.

The silence drags on for a couple of minutes while you and Byakuren finish eating.

Your sister doesn’t have anything to say?

Nope.

Even if you ask?

Do you really need me to help?

Your sister always makes you feel like a child. Looks like you’ll have to tough it out on your own.

You finish your food and seemingly double-checking the reagents you bought. Yoshika leans into your shoulder and seemingly rests while Byakuren has her eyes closed and hands clasped in what seems like meditation.

A tapping sound makes it so everybody actually looks at the door.

“Come in,” Byakuren calls out.

“Lady Hijiri, do you happen to know- ah.” It’s a plain human girl with average Asiatic features. She’s another nun, you assume. The girl bows once to Byakuren and then once to you. “There is a visitor for you, sir.”

The temple nun bows once more before turning and leaving, letting the guest in. A short youkai with mouse ears swaggers into the room, a small trail of mice nipping at her heels. “How’s it going? You too Byakuren, how are you?”

“Ah, Nazrin, a pleasure. You do not visit us nearly often enough. Shou is ready to explode.”

“She’s a big girl now. She can handle a bit of separation.” Nazrin sits down between you and Byakuren, right next to Yoshika. “Anyway, I’m here on business.”

You watch Nazrin’s rodent friends pour over the dishes on the ground, feasting on the scraps and remnants of your meals. Then you bring your gaze up to the youkai herself when she clears her throat.

“After searching for these past two days,” Nazrin says, “I’m sorry to say I’ve got nothing for you.”

As much as you fight it, you feel a pang of disappointment after the brief moment of anticipation. “So you couldn’t find the book?”

“I haven’t yet. I’ll keep searching, but I can almost guarantee your book is nowhere easily accessible.”

“What does that mean?”

Nazrin shrugs and waves her crooked wand around. “It’s either lost deep in the Forest of Magic, or it’s somewhere my mice can’t easily search. Places like Heaven or Hell are the most obvious. Other places also keep a tight shift. I can’t get anybody into the Scarlet Devil Mansion or Eientei, for example. I can work my way up through most of Youkai Mountain, but any of the head Tengu keep things locked down pat.”

From Nazrin’s explanation you understand that the Necronomicon, if it’s still in Gensokyo, is somewhere hard to reach. In other words, it’s in the possession of someone ridiculously strong, inside their home territory.

“Like I said, I’ll keep checking around and seeing what I can found, but I wouldn’t expect to find your book without letting the secret out of the bag somewhere.”

“Thank you for trying, Nazrin.”

“It was a job I accepted. Thank me if I complete it properly. This is my pride on the line!” After her declaration the mouse girl jumps to her feet and summons her troops before marching off. She complained a fair bit when you first went to her, but she seems to be enjoying herself now.

With the small interruption gone, there’s nothing stopping the awkward silence form reasserting itself.

Maybe you should just give this search up?

Give up? Give up? After all this years, you should just give up? You aren’t giving anything- Not what I meant. I meant that you should take a break.

A what?

A break. Obviously, you’re out of any solid leads. Unless you want to start involving more people and blindly knocking on doors, you’re just wasting time by searching further.

That’s how you managed to get this far! Following every possible lead and suspicion, no matter how insignificant- I know, and I’m saying you should rest.

It’s been a non-stop journey, Bro. When was the last time you weren’t traveling around, tracking down some hedge mage that supposedly cast a spell that seemed like it possibly came from the Necronomicon?

We’re here, in a place that is relatively safe compared to everywhere else. I know you aren’t burned out, but you have to pause at some point. This is that point.

But you know Necronomicon is here! But you don’t know where and you still don’t know the area well. A professional is looking, and can’t find it. You won’t discover anything without proper planning.

Then you’ll plan! You’ll consider the top wizards and witches in Gensokyo and decide on whom to pursue! That isn’t proper planning!

What I’m saying is to take it easy and learn about the area. Let your body and mind recover from this long journey. A little vacation from your search will invigorate you, keep you healthy.

A vacation? Where?

Here. Take some time and help people out. Get to know them while you recuperate. More than just resting, you’ll get a better feel of Gensokyo too. See?

Time is precious. You can’t- keep doing what you’re doing. You should rest, just for a little bit. Don’t be so thickheaded about this. I don’t want you hurting yourself with some reckless chase, Bro. Not this far along, not when you’re doing so well.

The Necronomicon is here. You know it. Somewhere, a book with the knowledge to let your sister live her own well-deserved life is waiting for you.

How could she even suggest that you stop, for any amount of time? Why is she even suggesting? This isn’t advice you asked for! I’m just letting you know how I feel. If you don’t want to hear it then I won’t tell you again!

You didn’t mean it like that. You appreciate your sister and her words. It’s just…

You’re afraid you can’t adjust. That’s the crux of it all, really. You’re afraid. You were afraid at the beginning of your journey, but skulking in the darkness has become your comfort zone. You’re afraid you can’t return to a ‘normal life.’ You’re that crazy guy with the cats, except instead of petting cats you fondle human corpses.

Then you’re afraid you can’t finish your quest. You’re afraid you aren’t intelligent enough to save your sister. You’re afraid you’ll drag everybody around you down into the pits.

It’s not like you fear others. You know to run from threats and you can struggle for your life without hesitation. But what’s herein Gensokyo? It’s not something you’re familiar with.

What your sister suggests, what Byakuren is suggesting – you’ve avoided it all. It feels like there are dozens of little voices in your head that refuse to agree on how you’re supposed to go forward. Do you keep worrying about the future? Keep struggling against what fate seems to throw at you? Prepare for every and any eventuality? Or do you stop, for however long it might be? Do you wait and throw aside the instincts that have kept you alive for years?

Ultimately, your sister argues one very solid point. You don’t have any more substantive leads. Official investigations turned up nothing. Nazrin couldn’t find the book. Your own brand of magic seemed to be a dead end. Unless you missed a clue somewhere, you can’t think of any way to search short of posting an ad with all the magicians proclaiming what you’re looking for. And that sounds like one of the worst ideas you’ve ever had.

It…might be for the best. Helping out and truly acclimating to Gensokyo could have innumerable benefits. And talking with others might give you new perspectives on, well, everything.

[ ] Take a couple weeks off
-[ ] Minamitsu
-[ ] Ichirin
-[ ] Nue
-[ ] Mamizou
-[ ] Shou
-[ ] Nazrin
-[ ] Random Buddhists
-[ ] Reimu
-[ ] Akyuu
-[ ] Kosuzu
-[ ] Kotohime
-[ ] Mokou
-[ ] Random villagers
-[ ] Village guards
-[ ] Eirin
-[ ] Reisen
-[ ] Tewi
-[ ] Random rabbits
-[ ] Nitori
-[ ] Jiang-shi
-[ ] Seiga
-[ ] Miko
-[ ] Reapers
-[ ] <Someone else>
[ ] <Write-in>

---

Vote for multiples if you like, within reason. To be clear, the choice is spending time with any character…except for Byakuren. Because fuck you guys. Just kidding, we’ll get to her. We need a filler fluff character building update(s) first.

Alternatively, if you have an amazing idea for the search, feel free to try and garner the votes. Make some wild guesses, pull some crazy stunts, re-read any plot critical points and look for loopholes, whatever makes you happy.

>>173434
Thank you.

>>173468
>Social Links
That’s a great way to look at this! Except that you might not get any benefits. In fact, it could be absolutely detrimental. Or not. It could be fun! You could make new friends! Or not. Maybe you’ll piss people off more. But you never know if you don’t try!
>> No. 173605
[x] Take a couple weeks off
-[x] Ichirin

We should talk to another close friend of Byakuren's
>> No. 173606
[x] Take a couple weeks off
-[x] Ichirin

Icirin route go
>> No. 173607
[x] Fix the Black Onyx system.

Because he'll finally have some downtime to do it.
>> No. 173608
[X] Take a couple weeks off
-[X] Minamitsu
-[X] Reimu
-[X] Mokou
-[X] Reisen

To be honest I'd absolutely love to vote for nearly all of the available options, but I narrowed it down to these ones. It's a good sign when you like all the characters enough to want to get to know all of them.
>> No. 173609
[X] Take a couple weeks off
-[X] Shou
-[X] Reimu
-[X] Mokou
-[X] Jiang-shi
-[X] Reapers

Voting this way because I can~
>> No. 173611
[x] Take a couple weeks off
-[x] Ichirin
-[x] Shou
-[x] Random Buddhists
-[x] Reimu
-[x] Do a more thorough check on the black onyx

Buddhist stuff, Reimu stuff, and soul stuff.
>> No. 173614
-[x] Reimu
-[x] Akyuu
-[x] Mokou
-[x] Ichirin

No one thought of Mokou? How else can we see immortals drop spaghetti every where?
>> No. 173615
[X] Take a couple weeks off
-[X] Ichirin
-[X] Reimu
-[X] Mokou
-[X] Jiang-shi
-[x] Mamizou
-[X] (Black) Onyx
>> No. 173617
[x]Take time off
-[x] Mokou

My awkward immortal can't be this cute!
>> No. 173623
>>173600
[ ] Take a couple weeks off
-[ ] Reimu
-[ ] Minamitsu
-[ ] Mokou
-[ ] Jiang-Shi
-[ ] Random Buddhists
>> No. 173624
>>173623

I can get behind this. Hang out with all the people we already know like us, and interact with random buddhists so the poor Jiang-Shi don't have to stay out in the cold all the time. Hopefully Random Buddhists will include a little bit of the other UFO cast as well.


[x] Take a couple weeks off
-[x] Reimu
-[x] Minamitsu
-[x] Mokou
-[x] Jiang-Shi
-[x] Random Buddhists
>> No. 173625
[X] Take a couple weeks off
-[X] Fix the Black Onyx system.
-[X] Visit Heaven

They're always looking down on people, so they might have seen something.
>> No. 173626
[X] Take a couple weeks off
-[X] Minamitsu
-[X] Reimu
-[X] Mokou
-[X] Jiang-shi
>> No. 173628
[x] Take a couple weeks off
-[x] Reimu
-[x] Minamitsu
-[x] Mokou
-[x] Jiang-Shi
-[x] Random Buddhists
Ehh, I like this mix, hang back interact with the people who could loosely be called our friends in this place, and get the temple people to stop looking at us so shiftly.
>> No. 173629
Well, this thread is nice and dead. As always, I would love any questions or comments you all might have. If there are none you can keep voting and the next update will be in the next thread.

>>173608
I was afraid some bastard would actually vote for all of them and somehow gain the majority. Glad to see I won’t be slogging through that (however fun it would be.)
>> No. 173630
[x] Take a couple weeks off
-[x] Minamitsu
-[x] Ichirin
-[x] Nue
-[x] Mamizou
-[x] Shou
-[x] Nazrin
-[x] Reimu
-[x] Kosuzu
-[x] Jiang-shi
-[x] Seiga
-[x] Miko
-[x] Reapers

Because yeah I want to have more Seiga and Reapers.
>> No. 173631
[x] Take a couple weeks off
-[x] Minamitsu
-[x] Random Buddhists
-[x] Reimu
-[x] Mokou
-[x] Reisen
-[x] Jiang-shi
-[x] Akyuu

These are my picks.
>> No. 173632
[x]Take time off
-[x] Mokou
-[X] Jiang-shi
>> No. 173635
There are a couple essential things that we need to get done here, in addition to talking with others.

Firstly, it's simply cruel to leave the jiang-shi living out in the wilderness now that they've been repaired and can both appear normal and coherently express themselves to others. Byakuren should be able to get them permission to go into the temple, at least, and from there they can probably rely on their own friendliness and social skills to start fitting in- they could even help with festival preparations, just as we are. And for non-temple places, well, they can go pretty much anywhere now and not be immediately identified as undead, no?

Secondly, as has been noted, the black onyx system has been damaged and needs repairs. Even if we weren't having a "vacation", it would be vitally important to fix it before continuing our hunt for the necronomicon. We're at a great enough power disadvantage already, and going to interact with dangerous people (like those who, it seems, have the book) when we're not in top form could easily be suicide. Fixing our system and even improving it if possible is essential before we resume our quest.

As for who to talk with, trying to generally get to know and hopefully not offend the Temple crowd is good. Mokou's been friendly and is worth keeping up a relationship with, Nitori we need to keep in touch with on a professional level if nothing else because of our hand, Reimu is a very worthwhile contact who might be able to help us out later and fought the reapers with us to boot, which is the foundation for a friendship if I've ever heard one. Next, of course, the jiang-shi are our responsibility and getting to know them is important- as is fixing them up if they get hurt and gradually tweaking their forms as they desire, to make sure that they live happy and comfortable lives.

I also added our sister as a write-in, because sitting down and talking with her for a while wouldn't hurt us, I think. She's been a persistent voice urging us to slow down, to ease up, and to generally... not worry about her. A conversation about our overall strategic objectives here may be in order.

[x] Get the jiang-shi out of the wilderness and accepted by others.
-[X] Fix the Black Onyx system.
[x] Take a couple weeks off
-[x] Minamitsu
-[x] Ichirin
-[x] Nue
-[x] Mamizou
-[x] Shou
-[x] Nazrin
-[x] Random Buddhists
-[x] Reimu
-[x] Mokou
-[x] Nitori
-[x] Jiang-shi
-[x] Sister
>> No. 173636
[x] Take a couple weeks off
-[x] Minamitsu
-[x] Ichirin
-[x] Nue
-[x] Mamizou
-[x] Shou
-[x] Nazrin

I'd like to see a focus on the supporting cast as befriending them and such will be helpful in more ways than one and it should be interesting, even in regards to Byakuren.
>> No. 173638
Fixing the Black Onyx system, preserving the public image of the Temple, and keeping it social are the best things to do now.

[x] Fix Black Onyx System
[x] Take a couple weeks off
-[x] Minamitsu
-[x] Ichirin
-[x] Mamizou
-[x] Shou
-[x] Nazrin
-[x] Reimu
-[x] Mokou
-[x] Random villagers
-[x] Eirin
-[x] Nitori
-[x] Jiang-shi
-[x] Reapers

Brainstorming:
-If we hang out with Mokou enough, we'll eventually meet Keine, and she may be able to find the Necronomicon with her Hakutaku powers during the full moon.
To a lesser extent; the same could go for Reimu and meeting Yukari( provided she didn't take the fucking book in the first place).
-Eirin (despite being a bitch) could possibly provide us with a lot of necromatic material such as skin and bone provided we developed some kind of relationship.
-The Reapers could also provide a way to help perfect the Black Onyx system, as well as teach you a few things about spirit-body bonds and such.
-Nitori could provide possible augmentations to you or the jiang-shi. Which would be fucking awesome.
-Helping random villagers will help maintain Temple image.
>> No. 173640
[x] Get the jiang-shi out of the wilderness and accepted by others.
-[X] Fix the Black Onyx system.
[x] Take a couple weeks off
-[x] Minamitsu
-[x] Ichirin
-[x] Nue
-[x] Mamizou
-[x] Shou
-[x] Nazrin
-[x] Random Buddhists
-[x] Reimu
-[x] Mokou
-[x] Nitori
-[x] Jiang-shi
-[x] Sister
-[x] Seiga

Looks good but I'll add Seiga in as well. If will can get her to show us how to make that super Jiangshi stomach then we'll have decent back up plan for our Sister if we never find the Necronomicon.
>> No. 173641
[x] Take a couple weeks off
-[x] Minamitsu
-[x] Reimu
-[x] Mokou
-[x] Jiang-shi
-[x] Seiga
-[x] Miko
-[x] Reapers
The last 3 are just to get him to expand his horizons, although the very last one is kind of stupid.

As for the rest: voting for everything is the same as voting for nothing.
>> No. 173645
[x] Get the jiang-shi out of the wilderness and accepted by others.
- [X] Fix the Black Onyx system.

[x] Take at least a week off
-[x] Ichirin
-[x] Random Buddhists
-[x] Keine
-[x] Random villagers
-[x] Tewi
-[x] Random rabbits

A little acquaintance up at the top, a little at the bottom.
>> No. 173662
>>173638
My god. I did a quick word search of the past threads, and we only talked to Keine on the first thread. For an entire sentence. I forgot she existed in this story.
>> No. 173663
I can't help but to wonder if offering so many choices was a mistake or not as I fear them being used to derail things.
>> No. 173674
... Hm.

You know, if I had to guess who had a given book, with no other data, I'd guess Patchouli.

I'd suggest acting on this, except NoSocialSkillsAnon would probably turn that into a fight we <i>prooooobably</i> can't win.
>> No. 173706
>>173674
His only chance would be to have it happen on a bad day for her as on a good day she'd blast him with ease as Necroanon isn't all that powerful in raw magic, relying on relics, trinkets,etc to fill in the gap.
>> No. 173708
>>173706
To be fair, she can probably blow him away with relative ease even on a bad day.
>> No. 173745
[X] Take a couple weeks off
-[X] Minamitsu
-[X] Reimu
-[X] Mokou
-[X] Jiang-shi
>> No. 173765
I cant decide at all on who to hang out with, so I'm leaving that to the majority, I just hope we use this oppurtunity to increase our web of information, not just flirt with half the cast. I just want to upgrade our repertoire in any way possible. I also think we should expand our connections and move set however we can, so any way in general for us to level up is A-ok in my book.
[X] Take a couple weeks off
-[x] Get the jiang-shi out of the wilderness and accepted by others, we need them to be an asset we can rely on without complicating matters more.
- [x] Fix the Black Onyx system.
- [x] Upgrade our hand if possible (paint job, secret weapons, just practice with it, etc., we need to be familiar with its capabilities)
- [x] Upgrade the jiang-shi some more (body modification, weaponry, clothing and armor, etc., make them powerhouses)
- [x] Generally get more information about the area (terrain, fauna and flora, people and places, etc., any info helps)
- [x] Train with the jiang-shi for fighting together (squad training, learn strengths and weaknesses, etc.)
- [x] Get a hold of magic in the local style (books, artifacts, chat with marisa, anything that can teach us about the unique things gensokyo has to offer as far as magic goes, maybe learn a few new secret techniques or hidden powers)
- [x] Get a fair stock of our supplies so we don't have to run back to the village anytime we run low (general cache of ready supplies, a reliable source for bulk purchase or something, I don't know)
- [x] Examine the jiang-shi power source and other intricacies, maybe we can glean some useful info from their function.

I understand these are pretty vague and would require more votes to specify how these things happen, so the only thing I'm adamant about is fixing the black onyx system. Letting our lifeline sit there useless is a terrible idea.
>> No. 173996
>>173662
There was more polite chatting off-scene and you also talked with her in this thread for a few words. But yeah, haven’t seen much of the lovely teacher.

>>173663
Derail? Hah! It’s all planned! All of it!

>>173674
That’s a very logical guess. Who knows how many books have been collected in Voile?

And maybe Patchouli would appreciate a very direct young man that has a thirst for knowledge enough that she would overlook any crass behavior. I mean, it is a possible outcome.

>>173708
No way, the battle would definitely be an epic, uh, chase? Okay, maybe you have a point…

New Thread: >>173993