Thread 1: >>153744
Thread 2: >>155091
Thread 3: >>158584
Thread 4: >>162964
Thread 5: >>164210
Thread 6: >>167423 RESULTS
[X] Perform a scrying and track Meiling down.
This will clear you of your obligation to Sakuya sooner, rather than later. Besides, if Yukari's got her merry band of incident solvers, then you'll not reveal yourself if they'll deploy to do what's needed - after all, you're likely to end up revealing yourself at the exact same critical locations and times, which might be awkward. But what'll happen if you turn your back on the battle? Can you really put your trust in them to act when needed, when they're led by that overly-paranoid gap hag?
it's excruciating. Every fiber of your being wants to teleport
out there into the fray, blasting away every trace of Taint until the land is pure once again. You can't even blame it on the Hope infusing you; no, this is purely a personal vendetta. Sai?
Kogasa's mental prodding rouses you. We'll find Meiling. If we can't reveal ourselves in force, then the least we can do is rescue a few people.
And if Meiling is Recette's mother, then? you can hope that Meiling has Hope in her as well. Maybe. It'll give you one more effective weapon in this fight, at the very least.
Your karakasa companion picks up on your intent immediately, and walks back over to the mirror by the wall, dragging it over by the frame even as it squirms slightly as if discomforted by the manhandling - well, sentient-object-handling. "Recette?"
The girl jumps a bit, the fairy on her shoulder leaping up to hover over her head as she does so. "Yes?"
"Come over here for a second?"
Obediently, she walks up to the mirror. As Kogasa reaches out towards the girl's robe, though, she surprises you by anticipating your request, pinching the bloodied cloth around the site of her former wound and offering it forward towards her.
"Scrying focus?" she asks, with an unreadable expression on her face.
"Y? yes," Kogasa says slowly, reaching forward to wet her fingertips with Recette's blood.
"Useless." Her expression is somewhat sad - distant, even. "Take a few of the threads - they'll probably be more useful."
"Your clothes are hand-me-downs?" Kogasa asks for you. The confusion in her voice mirrors your own.
Recette shakes her head. "No. Mother did handle the outfit at some point, but more importantly it's just like hers, and that uniform is unique to the gate guard of the Scarlet Devil Mansion - that similarity is the best link I can think of." She touches her hair, frowning. "it's too bad I lost the hat. That'd have helped."
"Meiling's your mother
, isn't she?" Kogasa wrinkles her brow just like yours even as she takes Recette's advice, plucking off a bit of the frayed fibers around the hole in her outfit.
The girl shrugs slightly, looking down. "Adopted."
Mamizou and Sakuya suddenly look very sheepish, making you wonder if that was a fact they were trying to conceal from her. You let out a mental sigh of frustration. Not having the blood connection means this process will be a lot slower than you thought it would be.
Kogasa flicks her fingers, wicking the blood away from the threads with a quick prestidigitation
for a cleaner focus. As she reaches out towards the mirror, you load a scrying
with ?find the only other person wearing clothes like this?. You wish you could have picked ?find this person's mother?" that would have be so much simpler. Blood connections are basically the strongest bond for this sort of spell; even after being diluted through multiple generations, it's still better than the most prized keepsake.
? but you can't perform the scrying until you're out of Sakuya's time stop. Well, you could try, but from what you could gather tells you that at best the spell will be ineffective, and at worst, you might rip some kind of hole in space. "I can find Meiling, but only after we exit this timestop," Kogasa says.
"It sounds like things are out of our hands, mostly," Mamizou sighs, resigned. "The village will be safe in an hour, and the tengu - well, I have a line of contact with them. We'll deploy warriors there if we can spare them here, and move them in force once the Sanctum is complete."
"Then let's get the scrying
started," Recette says, voice prickly with some dark emotion. Is it anger? Sadness? You can't tell. "Sakuya?"
The maid curtseys as she's called. "Yes, Recette?"
"Can you leave us and perform a personal reconnaissance of the entirety of Gensokyo?" You blink, surprised at how direct that command is; coming from the adolescent to the adult, it seems almost degrading, and yet there's a firmness that prevents it from reaching that point. For that matter, that request was one you were about to have Kogasa bring up yourself, but it seems that the girl asked first of her own accord.
A second curtsey from the maid. "But of course."
"You are not
to risk yourself in any way. Do not intervene, do not engage anything
." Recette chews her lip for a second in worry.
"And why not? With the Luna Dial, I can ? ?
"The nature of the enemy is something alien. I'd not have to risk coming into contact with something that can match you, somehow. The giant's poison, for example?" Recette raises an eyebrow. "I'm sorry, Sakuya, but you were originally confident that you could just run headlong into it, and if you made a mistake like that out there? you're not invincible, Sakuya. We can't afford to lose you here."
She says that in a tactical sense in a clipped tone of voice, but you can tell the sentiment runs deeper in the way that their hands fidget nervously, that their eyes uneasily slide away from each other, then back. Meiling is both Recette's mother and Sakuya's close friend, after all.
Mamizou harumphs, then flicks her tail underneath her jacket. "I've completely forgotten what was last being said before Sakuya arrived," she complains, trying to make light of the situation. "Getting back into the flow of communications is going to be awkward?"
"Are we all ready?" Sakuya snaps, glaring from side to side.
With nods all around ? pop
, and the squawking of subordinates through the sending stones
fills the room once again.
Kogasa raps the mirror, prompting it to obediently tilt a little more towards her while also releasing the scrying
you loaded earlier, humming in mock concentration. Mamizou is silent for a few seconds, but now seems far more collected than she was before the timestop, and starts barking commands, her words rushed not with panic, but with authority. Recette sits by Mamizou, filtering through the waves of incoming information and presenting the salient points to her teacher with a practice that reminds you of when you worked on rituals and other circle magic with your own, except there's a distinct lack of a third? person?
You decide to look for Sakuya instead of continuing that line of thought. She's already gone? except she comes back a second later, her initial reconnaissance patrol complete in an instant.
Time pops again so she can report without losing further time to the process. Without missing a beat, Recette begins firing questions at her, carefully sculpting her words so that Sakuya answers as concisely as possible. Her mind isn't that of a child - it's that of a master strategist. Perhaps not as advanced as Mamizou, but when her mistress is busy giving orders instead of analyzing the situation, Recette's cunning stands on its own two feet. Even in the discussion, Recette presents herself as an equal amongst the two older women and your own companion, and is treated as a peer, not a child.
You and Kogasa can't think of much else to do but stand and listen. This is relatively new information to you as well, after all.
There's a lot of information to be swallowed, but from what you can understand, it's not pretty out there. There are no ?lines of battle? in something like this, against an overwhelming, invincible enemy. Instead, deception and evasion are the names of the game. The tengu are using lightning fast units to strike at packs of Tainted wildlife, but only as far as to get their attention. Immediately, they turn tail and flee, but only just barely faster than the birds and beasts to keep them interested, leading them away from the mountain which they call home. The village has similar units, although they seem to be relying on illusions and deception more than physical baiting.
That's only the wildlife, though. The youkai and fairies are far more dangerous, not only because of their original power in life but because of their heightened intelligence. Already the tengu are reporting casualties to ranged attacks, the villagers to detection during their escapes. More worrying is that here and there, entire teams have gone silent.
If this is anything like what you remember, it'll only be a matter of minutes before those teams reappear, and not for the better.
Finally, there are a few high level threats. There's a skeletal giant, some ?gashadokuro?, that's twice as tall as the highest tress in the forest it's in, and there's something
swimming in one of the lakes that's even larger, lurking in the water after having devoured an entire patrol that flew too close to the surface in a single lunging bite.
The last of these is the miasma-covered giant from before. it's still making a beeline for the village, and will be there in minutes, but apparently the village's defender, that huge construct, is already operational, and on an intercept course.
You can't leave Mamizou's office in person, not if you want to maintain the scrying
, and while you could take the mirror with you, that would raise questions you'd rather not try and answer later. But you're adept enough to continue your scrying
casting an arcane eye
, and there's little reason to not personally keep an eye on things while the outside world is in motion. You won't be able to offer any assistance, but the viewpoint might be worth something.
CHOOSE YOUR TARGET OF SECONDARY RECONAISSANCE
[ ] Scroll through the human village and watch the ?Sanctum Project? move closer towards its activation. What kind of preparations were made, how long ago, and how are the civilians in the village handling it?
[ ] Find wherever the tengu elders have holed up and see how their own leadership is handling this crisis. they're not in direct contact with Mamizou, even if a few of their patrols are. Knowing the status of the other fighting force on Gensokyo is important.
[ ] Find and follow a unit as they attempt to keep the enemy from reaching either of the two centers of civilization. What do the subordinates, the common people of Gensokyo think about the current situation?
-[ ] A tengu unit.
-[ ] A village unit.
--[ ] Of purely Travelers.
--[ ] Of mixed Travelers and villagers.
--[ ] Without Travelers.
-[ ] A unit consisting of all three factions.
[ ] Watch the battle between Alice's construct and this miasma-spewing giant, to judge her capabilities. She was present at ground zero of your fusion with Kogasa, and she and her husband stood with the Hakurei and Yukari as peers - you should learn more about her.
[ ] Something I've completely overlooked.
Using the arcane eye
to also search for Meiling is the equivalent of trying to sort through a haystack to find a needle by hand. The scrying
is a metal detector by comparison - there's no reason to use both for the same goal.
I apologize for seemingly presenting you with more ?filler?, but realistically Sai isn't going to turn down an opportunity to learn more.