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181443 No. 181443
[p001]

Some time ago... was it days, months, years? It could have been mere minutes as far as the outside world is concerned. In the land of Gensokyo, time is immaterial and missing. A day inside could be a year outside, or five minutes, or a day. It's no matter, at least not in the grand scheme of things. Instead, in this fantasy land, all that matters is the rule of two: The first rule, known to humans, is that the power of the Hakurei is absolute and must not be questioned. The second rule, known to youkai, is that the rule of Yukari Yakumo is absolute and must not be questioned. These are the only certainties in an uncertain land, this “country”. At least, that is what was believed until that day war came to Gensokyo.

It came from two fronts: An invasion of vampires and their servants - “Ghouls” - poured from the Scarlet Devil Mansion, attacking with magic and technology from the Outside World. They attacked quickly, using rapid strikes in the dead of night to conceal their moves. Though they underestimated the natives of Gensokyo and were slowly forced to reside only in the mansion, the damage had been done: The kappa had nearly been exterminated, the human village became a shadow of its former self, and the Hakurei Border – the very thing keeping Gensokyo together – weakened for but just an instant. This instant was all another army needed, one with a very sore bone to pick with Yukari Yakumo.

The Lunarians invaded from atop Youkai Mountain, teleporting in by the legion and laying waste, destroying all in their path. The Moriya Shrine, the tengu capital, much of the Bamboo Forest, and many other places were torn asunder as the Lunar Army with its fantastic science marched onto Gensokyo. Though they fell easily, they were also easily replaced, and before long many well-known figures had been captured by the army, led by the Watatsuki sisters. Their mission: to subdue Gensokyo under Lunarian rule, or to destroy it for its insolence. For the will of the Moon is controlled by Lord Tsukiyomi, and he won't be denied his revenge.

Somewhere, within all this mess, one location still stands, one shining light amongst the desiccated landscape. Situated along the eastern side of the Great Hakurei Border, atop a hill and appearing ever the monolith, within a red-white sphere of energy, is a Shinto shrine. Once built as a gateway between worlds, it now stands as the first and last line of defense for this country crashing down. Within this Shrine are five of the only free people who are capable of saving this land.

The first one, the weakest, sits in a corner, attempting to meditate in a lotus position like her personal hero and mentor. She struggles with it, and in her efforts to remain still, her blue-white seraphim wings flutter. She appears strained, but still attempts to maintain her posture. She takes a deep breath, keeping her eyes closed... but loses it again. She opens her eyes and looks back, looking as her friends play and laugh. The temptation is there – after all, it's in her nature to do the same as them – but she pushes it aside and resumes her attempt at meditation.

The second one sits in the kitchen, reading a great tome of spells and formulae. She rests her head on a closed fist, rubbing her chin with a knuckle as she turns a page, searching for the answer to the problem before her. On the table, pieces of dolls are scattered, their magic long gone, and with it their autonomy. As she struggles with the solution to her new problem, a distant part of her probes at the possibility that she may have to learn a new form of magic... but not yet. Not until she is absolutely certain that this next attempt is impossible.

The third one rests on her laurels, on top of the Shinto shrine. Her golden eyes view the landscape before her, able to see through the red and into the night. She adjusts the oddly shaped hat on her head that covers her blonde hair, and she worries. Somewhere out in that mess is her distant descendant, a living god in her own right, and yet, there's nothing she can do about it. She's stuck behind this barrier, as whatever technology the Lunarians have brought here render her powers useless. She touches the blue and purple choker on her neck, once again struggling to get it off, and once again failing. The goddess looks down at the shrine's grounds and sighs. Soon, she will escape this confine, she says to herself, and it will be then that hell will come to Gensokyo.

The fourth one sits amongst some of the village's survivors; those who were too afraid to run away but too brave to give up. These humans look up to the woman, despite not knowing a thing about her. She's calm and collected, and she appears normal enough; not like those youkai that have taken up residence here. At the least, her always-accepting personality is warm and kind, and though her temple has been overrun, she knows she can claim it back. It's just a matter of time and gathering energy, as the land outside of the barrier has become hostile to magic, actively lashing out against it by sapping a user of her strength. She twirls a gradient brown-to-violet hair betwixt her fingers and sighs as she listens to a man discuss his battle strategy, hoping that this next one won't be so foolish. If only he would learn that humans and youkai can work together...

And finally, there is the center. The Shrine Maiden. Hakurei no Miko, she is called by some. To others, she is a strange girl who lives on the edge of reality. Many hate her for how she treats everyone as equals, and many others love her for the same reason. She rests in meditation, focusing her thoughts on the smaller border that protects her shrine and her people from harm. She can't let it last forever, but until they can recover to start again, this is the best she can offer. The pressure is immense and unrelenting, her very existence a reminder to the lot she has been given, but she'll be damned if she doesn't make the best run at it she can. She doesn't know if they'll make it out of this alive, but she can't let that show. She has to be the rock, the calm center amongst a storm of madness, and her feelings would only get in the way. She retreats into herself, focusing only on her job, and hoping for the best.

These are five girls who can help save Gensokyo and possibly the world. But far and away, within the Scarlet Devil Mansion, another group who already has returns home.

Motes of light begin to form on the floor of the foyer. They twist and twirl in the air, made buoyant by the wind. Gently, the motes of light go to rest on the ground, forming into the pattern of a magic circle. The runes red-shift and flare, becoming too bright to look at. The runes reflect off the ceiling, forming pillars of mana, and the foyer rumbles with power. Five bolts of lightning - red, yellow, pink, white, and green - slam into the center of the circle, exploding with power. From the smoke of the impact, five figures rise. These five have already done enough work to last lifetimes, but they aren't done yet.

The smallest looks around, a long spear drawn and ready, glowing with dark energy. Two bat wings extend from her back, and another two wrap around her like a cape. She wears a long pink dress topped off with an ascot, held on by a black gemstone of sorts. A mob cap hides light blue hair, and unmistakable red eyes look out into the mansion... her mansion. “It's entirely too quiet for a mansion full of maids...” she whispers to the others.

Next to her, a Lunarian kneels with two pistols drawn. Her rabbit ears sit atop pale violet hair, framing another set of red eyes. She wears a blue blazer, hiding two bandoliers of pistol magazines, and a deceptively short miniskirt barely hides the combat knife strapped to her thigh. She gives an aside glance to the girl – the vampire – next to her. “Maybe they all went to sleep?” she whispers back. “Or maybe your friends ate them all. I hear fairy is pretty tasty this time of year.”

“I wouldn't be surprised, Lunarian,” quips the vampire. To her left, a short blonde looks around, reaching for an object in her apron that isn't there. She clicks her tongue and instead pulls out two canisters of a foul smelling substance. She looks to her left, then her right, and tosses them into the darkness. Pulling her hat over her eyes, she waits for the flares to light up, illuminating the dark room. The blonde – the witch – grins at her work. She rubs her nose and looks at the woman to her left, winking.

Said silver-haired woman nods politely. “Thank you, but aren't you worried about being seen?” she asks, her French maid's outfit no more out of place than a witch's clothes or a rabbit's blazer. Like the Lunarian, there are weapons strapped to her thighs, and others on her sides; however, unlike the large combat knife, hers are long, slender daggers, each one made of pure silver. At her side, hanging from a silver chain, is a pocketwatch, dangling loosely. Despite its unimpressive appearance, everyone in this room knows of the great power within that watch.

“Nah, why would I be worried?” The witch answers. She looks at the last person. “What do you think, leader?”

The last one stands. Her dyed black hair is framed with two ribbons – one black, topped with a bow, and one pink, to tie back her now-longer hair into a ponytail. Her bright green eyes glow with magical energy. She wears a green vest over a white shirt with a matching skirt, patterned with thick swirls. Black thigh-highs cover her legs, and she wears black shoes. Those eyes are set with determination as two practiced hands pull out two katana, one with a black blade and the other the purest white. The white blade has a gem-encrusted hilt, while the black one is plain and unassuming. It's unclear which one is the stronger one as she twirls them about. In the darkness, she can hear the voices, whispers of evil in the depths of the mansion.

“I think it's time to start this fight, and finish it,” she says to her allies. “We're going to take back Gensokyo, even if we have to kill every Lunarian that's not Reisen from here to the Hakurei Shrine,” she looks up toward the ceiling, past it, into a distant sky, or rather, a distant memory. “I made a promise,” she glances at the vampire, who gives a fanged smile back.

“Pretty soon, I'm going to have to call you sister,” she says to the green-white. “Aren't I?”

“Let's not get too friendly yet, Scarlet,” replies the samurai. “You and I still have a long way to go,” to that, the vampire gives a chuckle, but not a friendly one; rather, it's strained, uncertain, longing. Even though they don't like each other, the samurai and the vampire are bound by a mutual understanding... and a mutual loss. These thoughts, however, are pushed aside for the grand scheme. “The device is on the roof. Let's go.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Undisclosed Location, Youkai Mountain

A woman wakes up, a grin on her face. Despite being chained to a wall, the choker on her neck, and the anti-magic device humming softly in a corner, she still feels little pressure. “Oh, they have returned... ah, minus one,” she says with a hum. “It's of no matter. All the pieces are in place, now. It is time to begin the next step in the long game.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Pick a team and main character:
[ ] Maiden Team
- [ ] Reimu Hakurei
- [ ] Alice Margatroid
- [ ] Byakuren Hijiri
- [ ] Suwako Moriya
- [ ] Cirno


[ ] Ghost Team
- [ ] Youmu Konpaku
- [ ] Reisen Inaba
- [ ] Remilia Scarlet
- [ ] Sakuya Izayoi
- [ ] Marisa Kirisame

No. 181444
[x] Ghost Team
- [x] Youmu Konpaku

Sticking with what works.
No. 181447
[x] Maiden Team
- [x] Cirno

Is that serious!Cirno? Hell yes.

That said, I am sorely tempted by more Youmu. Or Remilia. I'll be having no complaints if one of them win.

My body is ready.
No. 181449
[x] Maiden Team
- [x] Cirno

The strongest team, with the strongest protagonist.

Youmu's had enough story. if you're going to vote Ghost Team please for the love of god at least vote for Reisen or Remilia to make it interesting.
No. 181451
[x] Ghost Team
- [x] Youmu Konpaku

I'm torn between Youmu, Remi, and Reisen. It sounds like they all have a personal stake in this.
No. 181452
***NOTICE***

This is the sequel to >>/others/50686 and alot of new setting and changes to the main one have been made in it which will be important for readers to know going into this so I recommend reading that first. It is quite a dark story however, so be prepared for that.
No. 181453
>>181452
It's not necessary to read it. The first story will be summarized aplenty so only read it if you feel like it.
No. 181454
[X] Ghost Team
- [X] Youmu Konpaku

Last story it was great with her and I wanna see where this goes, I cant imagine this kind of story with Cirno.
No. 181456
[x] Maiden Team
- [x] Cirno

I'm with >>181449. We've had a good run with Youmu before, but it's time to pass the baton to other warriors.

Personally I'd go for Remilia, if only to see how her character develops from Big Bad status to her redemption. But there's also a severe lack of stories with Cirno as the MC.
No. 181458
[x] Maiden Team
cirno

because she worked so hard looking for survivors, she deserves the spotlight.
No. 181460
[x] Maiden Team
- [x] Cirno

Why of course.
No. 181466
[x] Maiden Team
- [x] Byakuren Hijiri

We need more superstrong budhists
No. 181468
>>181453

Will the perspective change during the story at all or a we stuck with the choice we make now? Because some of those main characters would be a huge turnoff from the story for me personally.
No. 181471
[x] Maiden Team
- [x] Byakuren Hijiri

The fandom needs more Byakuren fics, and this setting needs an optimist.
No. 181472
I would pick Byakuren if Cirno wasn't my number one.
No. 181474
[x] Maiden Team
[x] Cirno

>>181472

She's obviously a lot smarter than I am, in all truth.
No. 181476
[X] Maiden Team
- [X] Byakuren Hijiri

Freeing Gensokyo will require superhuman effort.

>>181468
>Because some of those main characters would be a huge turnoff from the story for me personally.
Do you mind explaining which ones and why?
No. 181477
[x] Maiden Team
[x] Cirno

>>181476

>explaining which ones and why

It's because he would enjoy reading a story about touhous he likes, and would dislike reading a story about touhous he doesn't like.
No. 181478
>>181468
I have been toying with the idea of at some point doing a pov shift to another touhou. It's in my notes as a consideration, but nothing concrete yet. If there's enough demand to pov shift, then it'll happen, but probably not as often or as soon as you would like.

Anyway, right now, Cirno is winning. I'm leaving the vote open overnight and probably part of tomorrow before closing it out, so feel free to discuss/vote/ask me questions about the setting, since this is a very large, very involved Gensokyo and I would like for everyone to be on the same page.
No. 181480
I'm tempted to go for Youmu just in case Flandre was sent to Hakugyokurou, but...

[O] Ghost Team
- [O] Remilia Scarlet
Do want more Remilia. Who can resist the power of charisma, after all.

Come on, guys. Are you not interested in seeing her redemption?
No. 181482
>>181478
There is one event that, regardless of protagonist, we have to see from Youmu's PoV: her reunion with Little Sis.
No. 181483
[x] Maiden Team
- [x] Cirno

Can't not pick Cirno, though Suwako is incredibly tempting.
No. 181487
>>181476

Seeing how this is kinda a sequel, I would like to see more from the perspective of one of the characters that actually appeared before. Adding to that, in this current case of Cirno winning, im almost sure that she will start of as kinda playful/childlike and then through battle will become more adult and badass, which is the exact same character development shown in Youmus Journey. I see it as kind of a shame to let the previous story end on a cliffhanger, then abandon all of the already established characters, thier motivations etc. in favor of a new main character that could have interchangable names with the previous MC. I not saying I know for sure that it will happen like this since we havent seen Glens Cirno yet, but chances are pretty high.
No. 181489
Cirno has already gone through most of that in her personal journey through the opening stages of the war. In actuality, Cirno works because you can still see the motivations of the previous team, hear their thoughts and feelings openly and honestly.

Is Cirno who I was expecting? Of course not. I honestly expected that Remilia or Sakuya would win, given that they are SDM cast and always bet on SDM etc etc. But for new readers, she's actually a really good option. I know it sucks that Youmu is going to get relegated out for much of the early story, but that's the price one pays when another hundred miles of exposition are waiting in the wings.

Fret not, dear reader. Assuming Cirno wins (and it's likely), don't give up on Youmu and Friends.

No. 181491
>>181489
As a Cirno voter, this is pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear. Hype intensifies.
No. 181494
[×] Ghost Team
- [×] Youmu Konpaku

May as well go with what works. Also, I'd really like to see the confrontation between Patchouli and Remilia, seeing as how Patchouli is more-or-less directly responsible for what happened here. Remember, it was Patchouli's actions that made the Lunarian Invasion possible, and she did so on Remilia's order.
No. 181495
[x] Maiden Team
-[x] Cirno

Casting my vote before it's too late.
No. 181496
[x]Ghost team
[x]Reisen
No. 181497
[X] Maiden Team
-[X] Cirno

Cirno is the hero Gensokyo deserves! ...probably
No. 181498
[X] Ghost Team
-[X] Remilia Scarlet

Tide, pissing, etc.
No. 181500
Alright, ladies and gents, it looks like the votes are locked in. Protagonist Number one will be Cirno, the Ice Fairy.

Man if I knew you guys wanted to play on Lunatic difficulty I'd have made Shanghai an option.
No. 181501
You should have. Shanghai never loses a vote. It's the Gensokyoland Saga Rule.
No. 181510
[p002]

Gensokyo is your home. It's the only land you've ever known. Sure, you've heard about other places, others of your kind - the fairies of Avalon are mischievous and amoral, the Fae of Valhalla are the servants of the Valkyries,and so forth - but you've never really cared. Gensokyo is a big place, big enough for the likes of you. You had your friends, or family, or whatever you felt like calling them at the time. As far as the other fairies were concerned, you were the de facto leader of the species here, given that you were the best at everything when it came to them. You even beat the black-white in single combat! That was unprecedented, something no other fairy had ever done before. Truly, amongst your kind, you were easily the strongest.

...Strongest. That was your catchphrase. "I'm the strongest!" That's what you would say. You left no room for doubt in your mind when you said that. To have doubt was to lack motivation! It was to lack confidence! Who's got time for that? Not you! Too many people look up to you! Even the Fairy Maids of the Scarlet Mansion look up to you! Daiyousei, your second and your best friend, adores you! Even Wriggle and Mystia, actual youkai, look up to you! And when you find them, and rescue them from the stupid rabbits, then you'll finally prove that you can stand just as tall as Reimu! Or Marisa! Any of those girls, they'll finally look at you and go, "yeah, she's a good guy, just like us"! Yeah! That's the spirit.

"You're daydreaming again."

Oh. You blush slightly and look over at the girl who just spoke to you. Sitting in the lotus position and attended to by a few fairies sits Reimu Hakurei, currently the only person in Gensokyo stronger than you. Okay, that's a bold face lie. You shake off the daydream and look at the shrine maiden as she stares at you with one open eye. She looks bleary, tired, completely incapable of so much as lifting a finger without help. It's an unfortunate consequence of her current job... or rather, the only job she's ever had. Reimu is protecting everyone right now; you, the fairies, the youkai and humans who have all fled to the Hakurei Shrine in fear and panic, as the Lunarians descended upon Gensokyo. They attacked with weapons you've never seen before, completely ignored the spell card rules - assuming they knew the rules existed in the first place - and started to kill the magic. You don't know how, or why, but sure as Lily White in the springtime, they were able to actually kill magic. Well, most magic.

"Um, well," you bite your lip and flutter your wings. "I lost concentration, Reimu! I was just thinkin' about Wriggle and Misty, so..." you look away, toward the red barrier that protects the shrine. "I'm still worried about them, Reimu," you flinch slightly as Reimu moves; it hurts to watch. You can hear her bones popping as she does, setting a hand on your head and ruffling your hair. "Hey..." you complain, though its more out of habit than anything else. This is really the only way she can show affection right now; anything more and the barrier collapses. You grab her hand and pull it off your head. "Concentrate, Reimu," you say. The miko just giggles at you, closing her eyes again and folding her hands on her lap. You watch her for a second more. "Do you want anything?" you venture. Reimu shakes her head, and you nod, despite her being unable to see you. You walk up to the shrine doors, opening it widely and planting your hands on your hips, staring down at the group below.

You are Cirno. Normally considered by many to be a stupid ice fairy, ever since Gensokyo was invaded by the Lunarians, you've learned a lot. Reimu intuitively gathered all the fairies she could and trained all of you the best she could, erecting the Small Hakurei Barrier when she decided you were all sufficiently trained up enough. For you, she did something a little more special: Once Suwako Moriya moved into the Shrine in preparation for war, albeit with a completely different faction, she was granted access to the ability to actually channel a god's magic. Using that ability, she... modified you. That's the best way you can put it. She strengthened your magical abilities and actually made you smarter by fixing your short term memory. There is a drawback: when you die it takes a little longer for you to come back than it does other fairies, and Suwako has warned that you are on the verge of no longer being a fairy, whatever that means. You have decided, however, that it's an acceptable risk. You can't be the strongest without taking risks!

Yeah! You flutter your wings again and walk down the short stairs to the shrine grounds, a confident smirk on your face as you watch the happenings. Everyone seems to have segregated into their own little groups, each one centered around some person or other. The remaining fairies - which at this point is just yourself, Daiyousei, Lily White, and Reimu's entourage - help Shanghai entertain some children, making a play out of the Spring Snow Incident. From the looks of it, they're still in the opening stages, with Shanghai directing a doll dressed up as Reimu to speak with Daiyousei, dressed up as Marisa. You remember that Dai had asked you earlier today if you'd take up a role and help with the play. To make the kids feel better, she (it? Alice?) said.

Sitting around a small fire, surrounded by humans, is the weird magician youkai you've met before. Byakuren is what Reimu called her. You've never really talked to her before, but she seems kind. At the least, the humans like her better than they do Lily, though you can't understand why. All she does is danmaku as far as you know, and something to do with religion. Human religion is weird. You squint at the group, looking at the humans around that fire. Some of them don't like you because they see you as a herald of winter like Letty, even though you're around all year long. Byakuren has taken great strains in trying to get all of you to work together in this time of crisis, and you promised to lend a hand when you had the chance.

"Cirno," a voice says behind you. You turn around as Alice walks up to you. "How are your studies going?" The dollmaker places a hand on your shoulder. You grin at her. You like Alice. She's a bit weird but she means well. She's also honest and doesn't hold back when you're training with her, unlike Byakuren or Suwako. She also made you this nifty getup of yours after your own clothes were shredded to pieces after one too many resurrections in rapid succession. Sure, it's basically a blue version of Reimu's clothes, but you don't mind in the least! After all, to be the strongest you have to look the part, right?

"I think I figured out how to control my power a bit better," you tell her. Holding out a hand, you form a snowball with practiced ease. "I don't make things colder anymore if I don't want to, which is pretty neat. But since it's been so hot I've been leaving it on. Gotta keep Reimu cool and all that since she's workin' so hard."

"Good girl," Alice pats you and smiles. "Hey, when you get a second, come help me, if you don't mind," you nod as you look out amongst the humans. Alice walks away from you, and your chest swells with pride. Lately, all of the girls have been involving you more and more in the day-to-day around the shrine, no longer treating you as a stupid fairy but at least as someone useful. It's a small step, but to be the best requires you to take one step at a time. If you're going to mimic Reimu to help you get there, then you need to be a miko, too! If you could figure out what the heck Shintoism is, that would probably help, but eh, details. If it's not relevant to power, which is what you need right now, then it can wait!

You shake your head, clearing it of your daydreams. Things are serious right now. No time to consider being the strongest if no one is around to revel in your power. You take a step forward, considering what to do. Byakuren looks like she's getting overwhelmed as one burly man tries to butt his way into her conversation with the tiger youkai, too nice to say anything in return. The nerve! Byrakuren really has gotta learn how to be a bit mean. Ah, but over there, the play is getting into its second act, where Reimu and Marisa go around fighting! Oh wait, that weird maid was involved too. You put your hand to your chin, rubbing it and thinking. If you jump in soon, you can play as yourself and fight the three dolls. That would give the kids a blast. You could then probably turn around and play as Letty.

Or, maybe you should go help Alice with her thing, whatever it is. Or maybe you should go check on Reimu. Or, maybe you should go find Suwako since she hasn't shown her face in a while. Argh, decisions! Who made you in charge of the day-to-day anyway?! You plop down onto your butt and think.

[ ] Help Byakuren with the rude guy.
[ ] Help Daiyousei and Shanghai with the play.
[ ] Help Alice with her thing.

AND VOTE FOR EITHER

[ ] Go find Suwako and check on her.
[ ] Go check on Reimu and make sure she's okay.

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

And so we officially begin. Cirno, it's all up to you. Don't let us down!

...yeah, I'm easing you into playing as her. Don't get too excited though, difficulty will probably start to ramp up before too long.
No. 181514
[X] Help Byakuren with the rude guy.

[X] Go find Suwako and check on her.

Well, that's my idea. Might as well look for Suwako, since we've just seen Reimu... quite the predicament she's in though...
No. 181517
[×] Help Daiyousei and Shanghai with the play.
[×] Go find Suwako and check on her.

Let's start with a little levity. Something tells me we won't have much time for playing later...
No. 181520
[X] Help Byakuren with the rude guy.
[X] Go find Suwako and check on her.

>Suwako has warned that you are on the verge of no longer being a fairy, whatever that means.
I guess she doesn't remember when Shiki made a similar warning.
No. 181521
[×] Help Daiyousei and Shanghai with the play.
[×] Go find Suwako and check on her.
No. 181522
>>181520
She's forgotten since then. She remembers the yama telling her something important but can't remember what. Suwako had to remind her.

Now, just what is she changing into, that's the question.
No. 181523
[x] Byakuren assistance
[x] loli frog god get
No. 181527
Alright, I'm going to leave the votes open a few more hours, but it looks like for now we're gonna hang out with a Hijiri and a Moriya.
No. 181538
Alright, since no one is voting, giving it to Byakuren and Suwako.
No. 181550
Right. Part of your new job is to help everyone come together, united under one banner. Byakuren is key to that, and although it seems like Reimu doesn't like her very much, she is among the few non-humans who have managed to make some sort of progress in regards to the always-frosty (hee) relationship between humans and youkai. She's a weird sort, always talking about Buddhism and the like, which flies right over your head, but even you can see that she means well. As you stand up and brush off your skirt, you hear the man's voice raise a bit, and Byakuren's gentle verbal ripostes. Ah, so that's it. Like many humans, especially the older ones, the man is terrified of the youkai presence, and wants it in precise terms that, during this time of crisis, the humans should be the ones in charge. After all, if the Hakurei miko is in charge, then that is proof enough that humans should be leading!

Which, by the way, even you know is completely stupid. Sure, the humans can use spellcards - you've fought enough of the village's children for fun to know that - but past that, they're fairly worthless, and lack any redeeming qualities in a war of this time. Oh, sure, if it was against other humans you could see his point, you guess, but Lunarians are basically youkai from the moon, and what better way to fight them than with other youkai? Obviously, it would have to be other youkai, because you're stronger, faster, and in many cases, pretty much all around better than humans.

You smirk as you walk up. You're not going to wave that in their faces. That would just cause more undue pressure on Byakuren's attempt to bridge the gap. As you walk up, the tiger youkai - was her name Shou? - gives you a nod, acknowledging your presence but saying nothing as she smoulders, watching as this man sums up, in his words, the fears and desires of the humans taking refuge here at the shrine. He seems pretty full of himself, but little does he know that your ego is way bigger than his! Wait, that didn't come out right. "What's goin' on here?" you ask as you hop up onto a villager's shoulder. You cross your arms as you look down at the man and Byakuren.

"What's this then?" he inquires, staring at you with narrowed eyes. "Dressed in the style of a shrine maiden? You plan on taking over for the Hakurei after your kind murder her?" You blink, completely lost. To his credit, the guy you're sitting on look equally confused. "Yeah, I know, 'fairies are harmless' and all that crap, but you're still youkai! You're gonna eat her one day, I just know it, and if it ain't you, then it'll be one of those monsters that those damn rabbits keep sending after us!"

You narrow your eyes. The... the nerve! He's suggesting that you'll eat Reimu! How insane is that?! You couldn't imagine taking a bite out of her. That would be... well it would be weird. Then again, you've never eaten a person, so you wouldn't know. Fairies aren't exactly the hungriest of beings, and even way back when you remember going weeks without eating, and even then it was usually something small like a frog or something like that. It's only recently that you've been... well, hungrier... but still, people?! People! You never understood how Rumia ate people, but she's creepy as hell anyway.

You go to respond but bite your tongue. No, don't be mean. Don't be mean. Reimu said be nice. "I'm not going to eat her," you tell the man. "She's my friend, and my teacher! I've become better because of her! You have to understand, Mister, we're all doing our part to save our home! I know you don't like working with me, but I'm the only thing that Reimu has to a voice out here right now, and she wants us to work together!" you bite your lip and think to something that Reimu said to you before, and try your best to recite it. "Y-you have to stop looking at... looking at youkai and humans as separate! We're... uh... we're all in this together! We're no better than humans, just like you're no better than us!" Nailed it!

The man scoffs at you, however. "Drivel, pure drivel," he answers to you, crossing his arms. "You're just repeating words without knowing what they mean! You might be the voice of the miko, but you have no idea what you're talking about! How can you call yourself a student in that regard? Is she just training you, and what for? We all know that no good can come out of more powerful youkai!" Behind him, you can see that Byakuren's pleasant smile is cracking a bit as her eye twitches. "Listen, fairy, until humans are at the top of Gensokyo's hierarchy, we'll always be in danger of your kind. I mean, just look around now!" he gestures outside the barrier. "Not only are there Lunarians out there, creating horrible monsters, but that damned vampire has recreated her mist! If Reimu had killed her instead of showing mercy, our situation wouldn't be nearly as bad!"

You open to mouth to retort when Byakuren stands up, her smile still present. "Please, sir, you're getting too passionate," she says clearly. "The path of Buddha is one of virtue. Instead of begruding the past, we must instead look toward the future. Reimu could not know that the events that have transpired occurred because she showed mercy one day. That is beyond the scope of even someone like myself. Certainly, the consequences of her actions must weigh heavily on her mind, and to ask her to further complicate things is unfair to her. You are being unreasonable, though not incomprehensible, in your desires, and I understand you. However, you must come to terms with the fact that supremacy over another species - human or youkai - is a false path. The only supremacy one should truly strive for is the supremacy of yourself. I suggest you-" Byakuren pauses, looking toward the direction of the Misty Lake. "Cirno, Shou, do you feel that?"

And you do. An immense magical source has just made itself known. You float off of the villager's shoulder and toward the edge of the barrier. You touch it, trying to stare through the magic as Shou floats up next to you. "What do you suppose it is?" asks the youkai, her keen cat eyes searching. "It feels like it's coming from the direction of the Scarlet Devil Mansion..." she continues. You know where to look; from here, the mansion is quite a ways away, but the Hakurei Shrine is high up enough that you can still figure out about where it is, especially when you consider the giant red beam of light that's been coming off of its rooftop. A beam of light that's suspiciously absent.

You hear a crash from the rooftop of the shrine. Turning around, you see Suwako staring up into the sky. "The mist!" she shouts. "The mist is disappearing!" Dozens of eyes look up as you all see that she's right; the scarlet mist is indeed evaporating like clouds on a windy day. You look back toward the mansion in time to see a massive explosion come from its rooftop, followed by a terrifying sight as two massive, red, glowing bat wings stretch from the top of the mansion, stretching so long and far they extend above the Hakurei Shrine itself. A screech of epic proportions assaults your ears, and you cover them as the wings lift up, then down, then back up again. From the mansion, a sphere of red light rises up, attached to the wings and expelling rings of energy that seem to cut down into the mansion, then across at an angle. One of those rings seems to be headed- oh no. You turn to face the humans.

"GET AWAY FROM THE BARRIER!" you scream, and, despite their mistrust of you, the humans comply. You turn back around, raising your hands into the air and channeling your magic. Next to you, Shou does the same, and Byakuren pulls out her scroll. From your fingertips, shards of ice pour down, slamming into the ground and quickly erecting a fifty-foot high, three-inch thick sheet of ice that covers the barrier. Shou puts her hands on the ice and growls, strengthening it with her own power, and Byakuren enchants the wall with her enhancement magic. Scant seconds later, the red ring slams into the wall, burying itself into the ice and threatening to break through... but it holds. The ice shatters into snowflakes, but it holds long enough for the energy wave to pass. You collapse to the ground, breathing heavily. The sheer power in that energy wave would have killed you if Shou and Byakuren weren't there to help.

"What... what was that?" You ask, looking at Byakuren. The priestess sits back down, her eyes closed. You can see the turmoil on her face as she processes what she saw. "Miss Hijiri?"

"It was... intense," she says. "It was powerful. It was a message to everyone in Gensokyo, whether they be Lunarian, human, or youkai," she opens her eyes, looking at you intensely. "Remilia Scarlet has returned to Gensokyo... and she is very, very angry," you stare at her in disbelief. Remilia?! But... isn't she the bad guy?! Isn't she the one who created the mist, let the vampires invade, and weaken the barrier?! And she's still alive?! You stand up, running for the shrine and calling Reimu's name, ignoring the cheers of victory around you as humans and youkai alike celebrate the dispersal of the mist, despite not knowing how or why. The barrier she's erected still had to take much of the attack, despite your efforts, and you don't know if she was able to handle it.

You run into the shrine, Byakuren and Suwako on your heels. Reimu... still floats. Her face is brimmed with sweat, her eyes squinting in pain, as her fairy attendants desperately try to keep her from passing out, channeling pure fairy magic into her body. Reimu opens her eyes, but they're unfocused, staring through you rather than at you. "She's returned," you hear her say. "They've all returned. I can feel it. That declaration of war against Gensokyo was the purest malice of Remilia Scarlet, but I can't... hold on..." she takes a deep breath. Outside, the barrier flickers a bit. "No, I can. I can feel their essence. Remilia Scarlet. Reisen Udongein Inaba. Marisa Kirisame. Sakuya Izayoi... and..." she pauses again. "That can't be right."

"What, what is it?" You ask. You deliberately lower the temperature in the room, feeling the heat of Reimu's body even from this far away. She's going to burn up! You've gotta get her cold air. Alice comes in with a cup of water, putting it up to Reimu's lips and letting her drink. The barrier flickers again as she does, but as she coughs and clears her throat, she's able to regain her focus. "That feels like Youmu Konpaku's energy, but... but it's not. It's as if it's... warped somehow. It's... damaged. But why is that? What could it be... could it be that I don't feel Flandre's presence over there? Then that... that's impossible, Remilia wouldn't let that happen, and yet, she wouldn't leave Flandre behind. Then it is so," Reimu closes her eyes. "Flandre Scarlet must be dead for her not to be with Remilia. It's the only logical answer, and explain's her anger," she furrows her brows. "I'm sorry. I need to concentrate on the barrier. Cirno, go investigate when you can."

"Yes, ma'am!" you say, saluting. You turn to leave only to see that Suwako is nowhere in sight. Odd, she was just here. You walk out of the shrine and close the doors. Byakuren is telling everyone that Reimu is okay, much to the survivors' relief, but Suwako isn't here. You resolve that she must have returned to her perch. You flutter your wings and head straight up to her, curious. It's been a while since you've checked in on Old Frog-Eyes, since the two of you don't really get along, but you've been willing to put that aside, per Reimu's orders. You think it might be why she deliberately avoids you when she can, but you haven't brought it up. Too many other things have been going on.

Suwako is laying back on the shrine's roof, staring up into the sky. She seems despondent somehow, reserved. Your face twists in concern, wondering what's going through her head. It's been a couple of months since the war began, and there's still been no word of either Kanako Yasaka or Sane Kochiya. You've met them both before, and while Kanako was a little bit scary, Sanae was a kind and reserved soul with a hint of a wild side that really meant she was willing to fight you whenever you wanted. You learned a lot watching her moves, and you're not ashamed to admit that you stole a few of her flight patterns for your own benefit. After all, part of being the strongest being in Gensokyo is applying what you know! At least, that's what Marisa told you after you fought her.

You sit down next to the goddess. "Don't you have a mission to prepare for?" she asks, looking at you with one eye. Her hat rests on her belly, its googly eyes staring into nothingness. It's quite disconcerting, actually. You instead focus on the girl instead, her curious face actually kind of cute. "Sitting up here with me isn't going to help you with that," she continues, and you can tell a part of her is longing to go out and do what she wants, but that choker on her neck prevents that. Your eyes linger on the offending object for a few seconds; it's actually quite beautiful, if its function wasn't so terrible. A blue chain holds on a purple gemstone, pulled taut against Frog-Eyes's neck, and a third blue stone in the center glows with what everyone has taken to calling "Anti-Magic Magic". Whatever it is, all you know is that it prevents people - humans, youkai, or otherwise - from accessing their magic and thus, their powers.

"I just thought I'd check in on you," you tell her. "It's been a while since we talked last, not since that mission at the Village," your eye twitches as you speak the words. What a failure! What should have been a routine scouting mission turned sour quickly when Fujiwara no Mokou, the immortal human from the Bamboo Forest of the Lost, suddenly appeared, demanding that the Lunarians hand over Keine to her. Of course, they laughed at her, and Mokou died dozens of times trying to breach their defenses. You also died from a few missed spells and wild shots, but you still managed to record it all with Aya's video camera - all that you've found of the tengu since the war began - before reporting back home. As much as you longed to join Mokou in that fight, you had your marching orders from Reimu, and at the time you were still too afraid of the Lunarians fantastic science to do anything about it. But now? You'd gladly join in.

That was a few days ago. Now, here you are, fully recharged and ready to strike out again. You just want to deal with this first. "Well, it's the same now as it was then," Suwako explains to you, sitting up and setting her hat aside. Despite her appearance, for once she gives off the feeling of just how immensely old she really is; her movements are slow and calculated instead of wild and energetic like they normally would be. "I'm still worried about Sanae and Kanako, and knowing that I can't do anything because of this stupid thing," she gestures at the choker. "Just makes me so, so mad. If we could just figure out how it works, then this wouldn't be a problem! I know Alice is working on it, but, sad to say, without some knowledge of the Lunarian science, we won't figure it out... at least, not at a rate I'm happy with."

The choker has a defensive mechanism, it should be noted. One wrong move in trying to remove it and BLAM! Off with your head! Since even most youkai can't survive decapitation for too long, no one has been brave enough to try it ever since Lily removed hers that way; being a fairy, after all, allowed her to revive not long afterward, though the image of the Spring Herald's head flying through the air is an image burned into your mind, and you don't think you'll be likely to forget it anytime soon. Of course, after that event, the Lunarians started simply capturing your kind and started forcing them to work as labor for some sort of project, but the results of that - nestled somewhere between one of Youkai Mountain's peaks and Heaven itself - have yet to be seen.

"Do you want me to keep searching for them?" you ask Frog-Eyes. "I will, even while I'm doing what Reimu asked me to," Its hard for you to be so professional, but the things that Reimu has taught you has helped immensely with controlling yourself. On the inside you think if you just beat Suwako up enough, she'll get over it, but Reimu has calmly reminded you that after all this is over, Suwako would probably chase you all of Gensokyo until the end of time itself, so it's probably best not to do that. The workout would be amazing, though.

"If... if you have time, I would appreciate it," admits the goddess. She smiles at you - a broken, sad smile. It kind of hurts to look at. "Even if it's just information, I would love to know where they are, how they're doing... and if possible, bring them to me. So please," she takes both of your hands in hers and gives you a look you could charitably call pleading. "Anything, Cirno. If possible, tell me anything you find out."

You grin. "Of course!" you reply. You stand up with her, hands still holding. "I'm the best fighter in Gensokyo, now! I'll be glad to find out anything I can!"

-=-=-=-=-=-

A few hours later, as the sun begins to set, you stand at the edge of the barrier. Still dressed in Reimu's miko garb, you stare at the only people who are capable of coming with you. Reimu aside, the only people without chokers capable of surviving out there are Shou, Byakuren, Daiyousei, and Lily. Byakuren and Shou would probably take over the operation, but are powerful enough that you would respect that, to a degree, so long as they don't run roughshod over you. Daiyousei and Lily are a lot weaker, and you can easily overpower them, but as mentioned, they're nowhere near on the level of strength that Byakuren and Shou are. They do have the added advantage of being able to revive though, which is pretty handy. A mixed party of one weak and one strong would probably be a good idea, but both pairs have a sy.. syn... synergy with each other that won't be met otherwise.

Due to the current nature of Gensokyo, parties of more than 3 are too risky to take for now. Pick two girls to travel with you.

[ ] ...nah. I'll fly solo for this one.

[ ] I'll bring with me...
- [ ] Take Daiyousei
- [ ] Take Lily
- [ ] Take Byakuren
- [ ] Take Shou
No. 181551
- [X] Take Shou
- [X] Take Lily

Mix of high and low power individuals. Lily has a lot of danmaku firepower and Shou is powerful herself.
No. 181561
- [X] Take Daiyousei
- [X] Take Shou

Good old friend and a new ally.
No. 181563
- [X] Take Daiyousei
- [X] Take Shou

They seem cool.

...
No. 181564
- [X] Take Daiyousei
- [X] Take Byakuren
No. 181565
- [X] Take Shou
- [X] Take Lily

Lily is prolly the most persistent fairy in Gensokyo, right behind Cirno herself

Meanwhile Byakuren's mediating skills are amazing, so she should stay with the refugees to prevent disputes.
No. 181572
[×] Take Shou.
[×] Take Lily.

I agree that Byakuren should stay behind to keep watch over the humans.

Shou and Lily are two characters who don't get a lot of face time on THP, so...
No. 181575
Shou is most likely a shoe-in, but Daiyousei and Lily are tied.
No. 181587
>>181575
I chose Lily for her firepower. IIRC, she shoots a lot of danmaku.
No. 181595
[X] I'll bring with me...
- [X] Take Daiyousei
- [X] Take Shou

Let's not take the easily excitable person to visit an angry vampire.
No. 181599
>>181595
You'd rather take the weakest named fairy?
No. 181601
>>181599

You talkin shit about my waifu? Cuz it sounds to me like you're talkin shit about my waifu. 1v1 me IRL nerd see what happens.
No. 181618
Alright. (Dy)Cirno is taking with her Shou and Daiyousei on her quest! It's nice to see that you guys are willing to see more Shou, because she gets terribly little face time.
No. 181630
>>181618
>(Dy)Cirno
She's not going to summon a mecha made entirely out of ice and magic, is she?
No. 181632
>>181630
Naw, I just thought I'd give a shoutout to Keymaster cause I know he reads this.

ilu key
No. 181636
"Alright, Shou, Dai, let's go," you command. Daiyousei instantly jumps to your side, and Shou pauses to say something quiet to Byakuren. The monk nods and turns away, taking Lily with her, back to the group of humans around the fire. Shou turns to nod at you, and the three of you split off, walking along the border, toward the back. The three of you float over the small pond, pausing only to make sure that Reimu's turtle is alive, and head toward the back of the shrine. Even more refugees are back here - a good portion of the village and several collared youkai have taken residence in the back, and you see small tents propped up. As you touch down and walk, you pass by a mouse youkai that looks despondent. Shou pauses, and you and Daiyousei stop to wait on her.

"Nazrin?" says the youkai, her voice surprised. "How long have you been back here? Why haven't you come to find me and Byakuren? I've been worried sick!" she gets on her knees and tries to touch the mouse, but she scurries back, shaking her head. You see the choker on her neck and wonder how this small thing could have survived. "When did you get back from the Outside World?" you blink, now curious yourself.

"This one was Outside as well?" you can't help but ask. Shou looks over her shoulder at you, nodding once and attempting to once again reach for Nazrin. The youkai instead squeaks, scrabbling backwards and running away into the crowds of people. "...how did she survive?" Shou stands up as the three of you watch Nazrin scurry away. You've been Outside yourself: several months ago, you were accidentally summoned by Marisa to help aid them on a mission, and you did so admirably. Sure, you died half a dozen times, but after the mission was over, Meiling's Boss, Marisa, and Sanae all told you that you did well! It was... nice... being given genuine praise.

"Something's wrong with her," Shou tells you. "She's a bit cowardly, but not like that..." she narrows her eyes, then sighs. The three of you resume your walk to the very back, where dug into the side of the mountain, a cave rests, uncovered by the Barrier. "A few months ago, Byakuren got contacted by Youmu Konpaku, who was sent Outside on a mission to deal with the threat on vampires upon Gensokyo. She looked rough when she contacted us; her arm was clearly broken, she was bleeding, and she looked desperate. Of course we lent her aid. At the time, I was all set to go and help, but Nazrin... she jumped in and outright demanded that she be allowed to go," the three of you stop at the entrance to the cave.

"You regret your decision," you state.

"Yes, I do. I did then," Shou nods. She holds her hand out and summons a spear with a hook on the blade. She pulls her Jeweled Pagoda off of her belt and attaches it to the spear hook. "Nazrin wasn't ready for the pressures of the Outside World. She wasn't ready for that task. We gave her all the precautions we could - I even personally went to Eientei and begged Princess Houraisan to let her send one of her soldiers, just to be sure, and on top of that, Himekaidou also volunteered to go," you recognize the name 'Himekaidou' but can't place a face. "I don't know what dangers befell her out there but... you saw her eyes, fairy. She's come back wrong. And she was captured, which means she must have run away at some point. I fear the worst has befallen my mouse..." she shakes her head. "When we return, I'll need to get Byakuren to speak to her."

"You have a lot of faith in Miss Hijiri," Daiyousei quips. Shou just nods as she taps the bottom of the spear against the ground, which somehow ignites the Pagoda. Stepping in front of you and your fellow fairy, the tiger youkai walks into the cave. You follow suit, with Dai taking the rear. The conversation grows silent, Shou's keen eyes peering into the darkness, well beyond your own vision. Although you've done this particular trip many times before, it's always a fright, since something lurks in this cave that isn't your friend. Something evil...

"Stop," Shou commands. The three of you halt immediately and put your backs to each other. "She's nearby. Can you hear her?" You shake your head; of course you can't. You don't have cat ears. Either way, you prepare yourself, summoning a ring of ice bolts and charging them with cold energy. Daiyousei summons forth multiple kunai, holding three in each hand, between her fingers. They're not real ninja knives, but they're just as deadly. If anything, the war has made Daiyousei's natural talent of kin... kines... whatever, spatial sense, something truly marvelous. You bet she could match the maid at this point... okay, maybe not, but it would be interesting!

Shou tosses her Pagoda in the air and catches it, latching the object back onto her belt. "Come out!" she shouts into the darkness. "Just let us pass!" you hear a fluttering of bat wings nearby and go into a defensive posture. In the darkness, this thing is good at keeping hidden, and only by training under Reimu are you able to even get a hint as to where she is. You recall Reimu telling you this beast wasn't that scary, but... well, that was Reimu. She's fought down gods before, of course she doesn't think that this is scary at all!

You hear a giggle, very close to your ear. You gasp and swing around, ready to launch the daggers, but there's no one there. "Oi! We don't have time for this!" you shout into the darkness. At first, nothing replies, and only your own voice echoes off of the cave's walls... and then suddenly, Daiyousei falls backwards like her feet are pulled out from under her. She screams, dropping her magical knives, and both you and Shou reach down to grab at her outstretched hands, but it's too late. She's pulled into the darkness, her shrill voice echoing into the dark, until it's suddenly silenced by a cracking sound. You and Shou give rapid pursuit, heading deeper into the cave and nearly stumbling upon the culprit of the Dai-napping.

She has to back to you as she gnaws on Dai's currently lifeless body. Her black bat wings cover both her and her victim as she chews away merrily, and you feel a bit sick as she rips something off of Dai's body. You wonder, is that what it looks like when she eats me? Because this is the first time she's ever caught someone else, you've never gotten to witness this monster feed on someone else. "C-can you stop?" you stutter. You look at Shou. "Stop her!"

"Follow my lead," Shou says calmly. You nod as the tiger youkai twirls her spear in the air, then charges the demon. You follow suit, forming an icicle in the shape of a spear and hurl it, impaling the demon with your magical weapon as Shou does the same with hers. The demon screeches as Shou lifts her up in the air, turns around, and slams it on its belly on the ground. Before the demon can get up, Shou plants a foot on her, and you wince slightly as you hear the demon's ribs pop. Shou lifts the spear and puts it up to the monster's neck, threatening to thrust it in. The demon raises her hands.

"I surrender, I surrender!" she shouts. "Please, I'm... I'm just so hungry all the time, and fairies aren't very filling, but I saw and opening and I had to-" she's interrupted as Daiyousei's body lifts into the air. You look away because you know this part is gross, but you can still imagine it in your head as all of Dai's broken bones simply... unbreak, her flesh untears, her organs grow anew, and her head gets twisted back on the way it should be. The magic then ceases, plopping the fairy unceremoniously on her butt. She groans, holding her head as she comes to a standing position. You float over and put her arm around your shoulder, holding her steady.

"It's okay," you whisper. "I got ya," Daiyousei nods; the revival process is always a pain, leaving a fairy weak and disoriented for a few moments as your brain functions start back up, or at least, that's what the nice Hieda girl explained to you a while back. You don't know how it works, and you don't really care. Once again, your kind's immortal bodies have come in handy. The demon groans as Daiyousei stands above her, looking down on her with something like anger, but too weak to really do anything. Besides, Dai is way too nice for that.

"Stupid fairy," groans the demon. "Why can't you just die like normal creatures?" You tilt your head. What? Your fairy companion grins.

"...die, you say?" she asks. It takes four seconds for it to register, and you groan. Awful puns aside, you look down at the demon that's been giving you hell every time you go by this way. She... actually wears an outfit very similar to the demon girl in the Scarlet Library; the only real difference is the red skirt and blonde hair. Oh, there's no head-wings either, but you always thought those were weird. You look at Shou, and the tiger youkai grabs the demon by the throat and lifts her onto her feet.

"What's your name?" you ask cautiously. "We've never met, have we? I'm Cirno, this here is Daiyousei," you gesture at the green-haired fairy. "And the youkai who's going to end you if you breathe funny is Shou," the demon yelps a bit, staring at the youkai with her hand around her throat, and Shou gives her a non-too-pleasant smile. "What's your name?"

"...Elis," mumbles the demon. "Look, I'm sorry! I am!" she looks straight at you, red eyes teary. "I just... I've been ordered to guard this gate ever since the Hakurei reopened it, right? And... and I know that there's a split down the road that leads into the Misty Lake, but I have to do my job! And I get... so... hungry. Lady Shinki forgets I'm down here, and I can go weeks without eating because of it! But... but here you come, every week or so, like a light snack, just for me!" you wince at the thought of this girl gnawing on your bones, then sigh. You suppose it can't be helped. You've been eaten by uglier things.

"Look, just," you look at Shou, and nod. Shou relaxes her grip. "Tell you what? Why don't you go out and to the Shrine? I'm sure Reimu will tell Alice to get you something to eat," you point at her. "But, listen carefully: the next time I come through here and you eat me or Dai, I'll kill you, okay?" Elis yelps, but nods. "Alright, go. You're not the first weird thing the humans out there have seen, so it shouldn't come to be much of a shock. You remember what Reimu looks like?"

"How could I forget?" sighs the demon. "Oh, did you mean Alice Margatroid?" You blink, confused.

"Ah... yes...?" you venture. Elis brightens and flutters off, back toward the shrine. You shake your head, rubbing the back of it slowly. Man, if she had just shown herself sooner, you could have died a lot less often. Shrugging to the others, you continue your little procession to a fork in the road. To the left is the Misty Lake; or rather, a tunnel that leads to a pocket of air under it. There are a few nasty things in the Lake, but they've mostly been fished out by the Lunarians and vampires. To the right is the entrance to, from what you understand, Makai. You've never been there, nor are you welcome. You were told that very sternly by a white-haired woman with wings. So sternly you ended up in literal pieces all over the cave.

You turn left, leading now. You've walked this path so much you could do it in your sleep. The tunnel gets tighter, and you turn sideways, walking that way for what feels like forever, and it probably is. The Misty Lake is a good several miles from the Hakurei Shrine, and without flight, it'll take you hours to reach it. You can just turn your mind off, as can Daiyousei - after all, most fairies have simple brains, says the Hieda girl - but you worry about Shou. You glance back at the tiger youkai as the three of you walk down the tunnel; she seems to be locked into some sort of trance, repeating a series of sutras in an old dialect of Japanese you haven't heard in a long time. Hell, you think the Old Man was still alive back then, not the tree he now claims to be.

You let it go. You continue wandering down the tunnel, through the darkness, and eventually, after a long descent followed by a longer walk, you find the end of the tunnel. It's not very large, barely big enough to fit Shou, but you're not planning on staying. At the end of the path is waht appears to be a puddle, when in reality it's a part of the Lake that stretches into a cave system; this one, to be precise. You curse the fact that you have to swim and can't just walk through the Small Hakurei Barrier, but if you could do that it wouldn't be much of a barrier. You take in a gulp of air and dive in.

You hear splashes as Dai and Shou dive in as well, and it's a mad race to the top while your breath holds out. The three of you break the surface just as you use up the last of your oxygen, and you gasp for air. You look around, noting that you're near the shore farthest from the mansion. Of course. It would be easy otherwise. The three of you swim to the lake edge and get out of it, sitting down on the sandy shore of the lake. "Without the mist, it's actually quite pretty out here again," you quip. Shou and Dai nod. "Alright, our clothes are soaked. We should probably get a fire going."

"Ah, Cirno, isn't your house nearby?" Daiyousei asks. You look around, noting the positions of a few specific trees. She's right! Your house is just a few hundred feet into the woods from here, assuming no one has moved in or torn it down. You grin, standing up-

-and then the shriek hits you like a truck. You look into the woods, opposite the direction of your house, and hear a girl screaming agony. "Crap," you mutter. You look up to see Remilia's outstretched wings glowing in the night.


-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

[ ] Go investigate the shriek. Could be a trap, or someone could need help.
[ ] Fuck that. It's a trap. Go home to dry out.

Cirno Lives Remaining: 6
Daiyousei Lives Remaining: 9


While you're outside of the barrier, it is possible to run out of lives and lose.
When you die, it takes you six hours to respawn. Alternatively, it's instantaneous if you expend two lives.
Lives refresh every time you visit the Hakurei Shrine.
No. 181639
[x] Go investigate the shriek. Could be a trap, or someone could need help.

Cirno, Hero of Justice
No. 181640
[x] Go investigate the shriek. Could be a trap, or someone could need help.
No. 181643
Do fairies just respawn where they died, or do we get to choose the location?
No. 181644
>>181643
I'll explain this in depth when Cirno dies (and let's face it, it's a when), but the short answer is that most fairies spawn where they die, but Cirno spawns at a save point.
No. 181645
[x] Go investigate the shriek. Could be a trap, or someone could need help.

Considering we've only just surfaced, If it is a trap I doubt it would be for our group and I doubt that Youmu would ignore it if their group heard it from wherever they are.
No. 181673
You look toward the direction of your house and sigh. You can't just ignore a plea for help, no matter if it's a trap or otherwise. You jerk your head toward the direction of the sound and start flying that way. Shou and Daiyousei stare at each other, then chase after you, getting up to either side. You skim the surface of the lake, and you can't help but dip your hand down into the water, leaving a trail of ice behind you as you do. As you get closer to the source, Shou gets ahead of you, spear in one hand and several gems in the other. "I detect an evil aura," she tells you. You nod and put your hands together, forming between them a ball of ice.

Shou breaks into the forest first, spear pointed forward, and you see the creature giving off the aura. It's a small thing, barely taller than you, but you can taste its malice from here as it chases a cat youkai of some sort. Shou grits her teeth and charges, slamming into the beast with her spear tip and tossing her gems into the air. The gems hit the surrounding trees and burst into lasers, piercing the creature and causing it to scurry backwards. You land in front of the cat youkai and hurl at the beast your frozen orb. It shatters into shards midflight, driving it further backward into the woods.

"Th-thanks," the cat says. "I would have fought it off, but this damn thing," she lowers the collar of her shirt to reveal yet another anti-magic choker. "I was trying to get to the Hakurei Shrine and got lost. Name's Kaenbyou, by the way. Rin Kaenbyou," you each give a quick introduction. "I'm from Old Hell... the Lunarians finally broke our defenses, and... well, I think they might have killed Lady Satori."

"What?" Shou gasps. "Her and Lady Byakuren were sending psychic missives to each other just a few days ago! How did they break through so suddenly?"

"I'm not sure," Rin shakes her head. "Before we knew it, they had Miss Yuugi captured in some anti-magic forcefield and were firing on the Palace. They captured myself and Utsuho when we tried to counterattack, but... they blew up the Palace," she takes a steadying breath. "I didn't see them pull Lady Satori out of it for capture, so I can only assume..." another deep breath. Shou puts a calming hand on the cat youkai's shoulder.

"What about the younger sister?" she asks. "What was her name? Koishi?"

"She's fine," Rin replies. "She ran off somewhere during the attack at Lady Satori's orders. I can only hope that she's still alive, and-" a rustle in the trees catches your attention, and Shou steps in front of you, toward the source. The creature from before pounces, leaping clear over Shou's head and onto you. You grit your teeth, and at this close range, you can see for yourself what this creature is... and you don't like it. It's another Abomination. At least, that's what you know them to be called.

"Get offa me!" you scream, kneeing the beast in the stomach as hard you can and sending it up and over your head. Shou is already on it as Daiyousei dive tackles Rin out of the way, spear thrusting into its belly as Shou pivots, lifting it above her head and throwing it back at you. You leap backward, forming a dozen ice knives and hurling them into the monster, its shriek of pain echoing in the forest. You land, form a giant two-handed hammer of ice, and smash the creature sideways, off to the side. The hammer shatters into icicles, and you gather them together into a giant spike, hurling it into the monster before it can recover. The creature howls again as its blasted backwards, landing on its side in the distance.

"What type is it?" you wonder as you ready yourself. Sure enough, the creature gets back up, its wounds rapidly healing as it charges you again. "Where's its heart this time?" The giant creature, its beaklike maw glistening with spit, stops a dozen feet of so from you, glaring at you with blood-red eyes. As Daiyousei pulls Rin away from the beast, Shou fires lasers at the ground, forming more gems. She levitates them and spreads them out behind the two of you, and you steele yourself. The creature opens its beak and shrieks at you. You wince at the sonic assault, closing your eyes from the pain... and when you open them, you can only see a few feet in front of your face. "Damnit, night blindness," you mutter. "Shou, this one has Mystia's powers!"

"Looks like it can control insects, too!" Shou shouts from the darkness. "I've got centipedes all over me!"

"That means it's Mystia and Wriggle then," you mutter. You look down at your legs and see spiders starting to crawl up them, giant arachnids with nasty teeth. You freeze them off of you and float upward, nearly smacking into a swarm of mosquitoes. They all land on you, biting and sucking and generally being a nuisance. You flash freeze the air around you, killing the insects instantly and giving you some room. Without being able to see, the monster can attack you from anywhere. Such is an Abomination: an odd Lunarian science experiment that splices together the powers of two or more individuals, creating a beast that's as powerful as it is horrifying.

It's a good thing it's not really Mystia or Wriggle... right? You shake your head of the thought as you hear the beast make a guttural sound in the darkness. You form an ice lance and hurl it at the monster, but no contact. Cursing, you fly backwards, unsure, as you hear Shou apparently find the beast and engage it. You form your ice hammer and head toward the noise cautiously as the darkness closes in a bit more, preventing you from even seeing your own hands.

You bump into something hard. Something moving. You hop backwards and instantly hurl icicles at it. The creature whines in protest, and you press the assault, twirling and firing off a ring of icicles horizontally, then vertically. They pass into the darkness, you hear the beast make a sound, followed by a sharp pinging sound. The darkness breaks before your eyes, and you can see that the beast has been severely injured. Your icicles were spot on, but its already regenerating again. Shou leaps down from a tree in front of the Abomination, twirling her spear. Behind you, Daiyousei stands protectively in front of Rin, twirling several kunai in between her fingers.

Shou looks at you, and you nod back at her. The tiger twirls her spear once, plants it in the ground, and leaps upward, kneeing the beast in the beak. Using her momentum, she whirls around and gives a hard roundhouse kick, sending the creature flying. You hurl a blue bolt forward that turns the ground under it into an ice sheet, causing it to slide and to keep it from losing its footing. Shou flies forward, spear clutched tightly, as she charges the monster while it struggles to stand. With a loud scream of rage, she plunges the spear into its head, twists, and pulls out, taking with her pieces of brain matter and skull fragments. Shou twists around, coming in for a second strike, but somehow, the Abomination is still able to function, and grabs the tiger by the throat.

You charge in, hurling yourself against the beast, but it seems to have little effect. You notice that its muscles seem to have grown even larger, underneath its black feathers and chitin, causing the exoskeleton to ripple and crack. You form an ice dagger in your hand and shove it into one of the cracks. The creature howls and drops Shou, and the two of you fly backwards, gaining enough distance to try again.

"It's becoming unstable," Shou notes. You nod; this is a common occurance with these beasts. After they fight for so long, whatever makes them up becomes volatile and it becomes even stronger and more violent. Fortunately, it loses the ability to use any powers, but if it closes in... well, you've died more than a few times to one such as this. However, as you look at Shou, who sets her spear up in a defensive stance, you know you can't just let her take the brunt of the attack. You look back at Daiyousei and Rin, both of whom look worried, but at the least, Daiyousei looks ready to fight anyway.

"Daiyousei, come on!" you say, and the fairy obliges. "Alright, we have a few seconds before it gets up. Play keep away until it dies on its own?"

"Could work," Shou nods. "If you can grab Rin, we should be able to fly from it. I haven't seen any that can do that yet. However..." she looks back toward the lake, toward the mansion and up to the ball of crimson energy atop it. "We have to be sure not to lead it up to the mansion, either."

A rustle behind you causes the three of you to turn and face it. Behind you, the Abomination keeps trying to get up, but your ice prevents it from doing so... for at least a little while longer. "Who's there?" you shout.

"Cirno, izzat you?" a familiar voice calls. From the forest bursts a familiar blonde in a black-white outfit. "Hey, it is! Sup, Cirno, miss me?"

"Marisa!" you exclaim, losing yourself briefly. A sharp look from Shou and you swallow your enthusiasm. "You came at a good time! We need help against that thing!" you point at the Abomination. Marisa looks over and pales slightly.

"Oh, man, what the hell is that?" she asks. "Um, okay, sure, I can help," she reaches into her pockets and pulls out some canisters.

"How did you find us, anyway?" Shou asks as the now four of you prepare to blast the Abomination; Marisa drinks from one of the canisters and forms several magic circles, Shou pulls two handfuls of gems out of her pockets, Daiyousei creates some magical kunai in a ring around the beast, and you form several orbs of cold.

"Heard some explosions, thought I'd check it out," the witch tells you. "I've been guarding Scarlet while she does her thing up there, so I have some free time. The others are playing catch-up in the library, 'cept for our leader; she's asleep, I think. Finally..." she shakes her head. "Nevermind. Shouldn't we shoot it before it stands up?"

"Ah, good point," Shou nods. She tosses her gems in the air; several dozen lasers form and shoot from all angles into the beast. You shoot your ice orbs as Daiyousei fires her kunai, impaling and freezing the creature. Finally, Marisa throws her canisters in the air and conjures forth a familiar magic symbol, but without its accompanying object.

"Master Spark, shoot!" she screams. A thin ray of energy fires from the circle, followed by a much larger - though still smaller than normal - magical cannon that rips into the creature. The Abomination howls in pain and agony, which is silenced when several detonations go off at once around it. You grin as magical smoke lingers in the air. Whatever it was, there's no way it could have survived that. That was too much magical damage for all but the strongest of youkai... right? You grin and land on your feet. "So... what was that now?" Marisa asks.

"You mean you really don't know?" you reply. "Jeeze, how long have you guys been gone?" Marisa shrugs.

"Iunno," she says. "Remember, time flows diff'rently out there. I know for them it was about six months though... I think," she sighs. "Things went by so fast, I don't know if I can really recall..."

"It's fine," Shou pats Marisa on the shoulder. "Don't think too hard on it. Besides, from my understanding, your war is over. Let us handle things now," and to that Marisa grins, but shakes her head.

"Not until our boss says so," she tells the tiger youkai. "And lemme tell ya, Youmu ain't plannin' on takin' a break just yet, not with the Lunarians runnin' around, yeah? So just let us help, any way we ca- uhh, Cirno!" Marisa shouts, and you feel yourself being lifted up into the air. The Abomination is still alive! As the creature lifts you up, it leaps into the air, smashing you against a tree as it does. It hurts, but its a glancing blow, and you can heal that. You just gotta get out of this bind, if you can... oh no.

The monster opens its beak and tendrils lash out of it, grabbing you by the legs. It holds you up into the air and begins to pull you closer.

You really don't want to be eaten today. What should you do?

[ ] Believe in your allies to help.
[ ] Help yourself and fight back.
[ ] Combination attack, duh.

Read spoilers for easy mode hint:
Two of these options are fatal.
No. 181676
[X] Combination attack, duh.

Considering how annoyingly tough this thing is, it seems like everyone hitting it at once would be the best option.
No. 181677
[X] Combination attack, duh.

Put more firepower into it.
No. 181678
[O] Combination attack, duh.
When has the power of friendship good teamwork ever failed?
...hopefully combination attack means that her teammates would use good teamwork to help her out.
No. 181679
[×] Combination attack, duh.
Anyone seem to notice we had tons of people voting in Youmu's Journey, and voting for who the protagonist should be, but we have only a handful of voters now?
No. 181680
[X] Combination attack, duh.

>>181679
I think that's because so far the options didn't offer many real alternatives to choose from. When two out of three options are inconvenient and it's fairly obvious which one isn't, adding one vote more with the same option doesn't really amount to anything.
No. 181682
>>181679
Generally speaking, Youmu's Journey followed a formula: Smaller decisions, like the example here in this story, effect the immediate future. Other decisions have far reaching effects because they tend to be branching paths. Thirdly, there is also the fact that a bunch of smaller decisions can add up to also cause a divergence in the story.

Also because this is still early on I'm really using this as a baseline for how you guys want your Cirno to be like. For example, the way the votes have been swinging, she's clearly a team player instead of a solo pilot, which is a direct contrast to much of Youmu's early story... and even then, once she was part of a group, she still tended to be a loner.

Am I making sense?

(Vote still open btw in case anyone wants to change it)
No. 181683
Are the Lunarians and vampires working together in some areas or are they also fighting each other? If they're fighting each other are there places where we can get them to attack each other?
No. 181710
>>181683

No. The Remnant Vampire forces and the Lunarian forces pretty much hate each other. The Remnant are hiding in the SDM somewhere and thus can't leave the mansion.
No. 181718
You plant your feet on either half of the Abomination's beak, keeping you from getting pulled in. Despite the fact that you couldn't logically fit into that, you know from experience that it will find a way for you to fit in. Given the tentacles pulsing on your legs, you have a good idea of how it plans to do this. You have to act now before you die. You glance back at the others, hoping that they'll follow your lead, and ready yourself, because this is probably going to hurt.

Grabbing one tendril with each hand, you reach within yourself to cast a spell. The Abomination tries to reel you in, but you're not going to let that happen today. You've had enough of being eaten to last lifetimes. Gritting your teeth, you flash freeze the tendrils and snap them off of the beast, jumping back and pushing the broken appendages off of your legs as it shrieks at you, grabbing your leg with its massive arm and swinging you about, throwing you onto the ground. It pounces on you, pinning you down with its arm and screeching at you. You close your eyes, preparing for the worst, but a tiger youkai leaps onto the Abomination's back, spear in hand as she stabs at its armor repeatedly. The creature shrugs her off, too focused on you to care. It hisses at you again, and that's when you notice that the edge of its beak is still frozen.

So that's it! Instead of freezing it from the outside in, freeze it from the inside out! It's so obvious even you should have noticed that a long time ago! You suck in a deep breath and exhale a cone of ice into the Abomination's face, and it recoils off of you in shock. You scrabble to your feet and take flight, floating backwards but not far enough to lose its attention. You shoot icicles at it to keep it looking at you as you look at the others. "Guys, shoot it with everything you have when I give the call!" you shout at them. The others react to your order; Marisa summons more magical circles, Shou pulls a handful of gems from her pockets, and Daiyousei summons a horde of kunai.

You charge in towards the beast and reach into its mouth, holding its beak open with your other hand. "You're not gonna eat me today," you growl, opening your hand in its mouth. "Perfect Freeze!" you shout, and ice bullets explode from your palm, shattering against the Abomination's inside and freezing them solid. The beast flails, twisting about like a bull in an attempt to swing you off. You grab its tongue, unable to maintain your grip on its beak, and continue to freeze the monster. In the distance, you see multiple flashes of light as spells are cast, and the first wave of Daiyousei's kunai start pummeling the Abomination. It shrieks, confused as to what to do, and you regain its attention by punching it in one of its beady eyes.

The monster recoils as lasers smash into it, peeling away the rapidly cooling exoskeleton. Deciding now is enough, you break away from the creature, only to be surprised as your sleeve gets caught on the end of its beak! You reach for the string that holds it on your arm, attempting to get the knot off as you struggle against the beak and-

You hear the crunch before you feel it. You pause, looking over at the beast's beak as it jerks its head one final time and rips your lower arm off. You fall back, holding onto your ragged pieces as you try to keeps your wits about you, but there's blood blood so much blood. Your eyes widen as you stare at the creature, your lips quiver as it opens its beak and you see what's left of your arm being swallowed, and you put your remaining arm in front of your face as it leaps at you.

The fatal blow never comes as a fully-charged Master Spark rips into the Abomination and destroys its exoskeleton, then its frozen body parts. It explodes in a spectacular fashion, raining blue blood an frozen pieces all over you. You keep your arm up as you bleed all over the ground, and only instinct saves your life as you freeze the bloody stump. Slowly, you lower your arm, watching as a black orb glowing with power lands on the ground, rolling toward you. "F-finally..." you mutter. You lay on the ground as you dimly hear Shou land next to you and stab the orb with her spear, extinguishing its magic. The abomination is dead.

But are you? You feel your eyes closing, but they're too heavy for you to fight it. You feel a pair of arms scoops you up, and you look into Shou's concerned eyes as she calls your name, but she sounds so distant. Your heart is slowing down, but not stopping, as your body attempts to undergo regeneration. With this much damage, it will certainly take a while to regrow an arm, but you think you'll live, unless you choose to die. You point Shou in a direction, and she follows it, the others trailing closely behind. You weakly call out directions, operating purely by memory, until the tiger stumbles upon a squat one-story one-room house; your house.

"Under the rock, left side," you mumble. Marisa runs up and kicks the rock aside, revealing a key. She unlocks your door and Shou brings you inside. Being a fairy, your house is fairy-sized, and the tall tiger has to lean over to bring you in, ducking down as Marisa lights your candles and oil lamp for light. Shou places you on your small bed, and you sit up. "Sorry about this, my house isn't rebuilt entirely yet..."

"It's fine, just rest," Shou commands. You shake your head, gesturing at Marisa as she kneels down, fiddling with Rin's choker and shaking her head.

"Need to talk to her," you say. "Gotta know what's going on. Reimu said-"

"Hush now," Shou interrupts. "Just sleep. Let your regeneration take over. Focus on healing for now."

You nod, laying back on your bed and closing your eyes. You do need to heal, but you're hanging on by a thread as it is. It would be faster to just die and wait to resurrect, but your limited power out here would mean you had fewer resurrects left. You could put more willpower into your resurrection but would be left with even fewer. Likewise, you could regenerate faster but your magic would be hampered for quite some time.

What should you do?

[ ] Regenerate Normally (10 Hours)
[ ] Quick-Regen (5 hours, lowered magic power for 24 hours)
[ ] Die and Resurrect (6 Hours, -1 Life, Point of View Switch)
[ ] Die and Instant Revive (0 seconds, -2 Lives)
No. 181719
Man, this is a tough choice. I don't want Cirno to die, but my gut is telling me we should get to the SDM as soon as possible.
No. 181725
[x] Quick-Regen (5 hours, lowered magic power for 24 hours)

We should save our lives for when we need them. With this, we minimize downtime while preserving our precious lives.
The minimized magical power is offset with Marisa joining our party, so there's no problem.
No. 181729
>>181725
Good point, though I'm still concerned about the time penalty...
[x] Quick-Regen (5 hours, lowered magic power for 24 hours)
No. 181730
[x] Quick-Regen (5 hours, lowered magic power for 24 hours)

Since it seems like we'll be meeting with Youmu's team soon the lowered firepower shouldn't be an issue. Even if it is and we end up in near-death state again, we can use the expensive insta-revive then.
No. 181732
[X] Quick-Regen (5 hours, lowered magic power for 24 hours)

If we'll be meeting up with Youmu's team then a little less firepower isn't going to be that big of a deal.
No. 181741
[X] Die and Resurrect (6 Hours, -1 Life, Point of View Switch)

While the quick regen option sounds good, consider that Cirno isn't that strong to begin with. If we allow her magic to be nerfed for a full day, she'll basically be dead weight. We may even put her into a dangerous situation where she is forced to expend the resource we are trying to conserve. Or, worse yet, we may wind up in a situation where we are unable to save someone who doesn't have multiple lives. Let's not hoard all our resources just because we might need them later.

Also, I have to admit, the PoV shifty intrigues me a little.
No. 181745
Calling the vote for Quick-Regeneration. Infodump time! If you haven't been reading because this story is a sequel, the next update will be a good starting off point because I will be using Marisa to summarize the plot of the first story (albeit in her words, so you won't be getting the full story).

>>181741
Actually, right now, she's the strongest member of the current party if you take in consideration that A) Marisa doesn't have her mini-Hakkero, B) Cirno's got a lot of utility, C) Rin is incapable of using magic, and D) Most of Shou's power comes from her Jeweled Pagoda.
No. 181747
>>181745
Well, that would've been good to know, though I dispute the fact that Shou is weak because she's reliant on her Jeweled Pagoda.
No. 181749
Will we have a chance to see through the eyes of Youmu, Reisen, or Yuyuko, and reflect back on everything that't happened, after this is all over? I don't want to see all of that epic character development go to waste.
No. 181754
You shake your head. You don't have time to sleep, you need to gather information. That's what Reimu sent you out here for, after all. As Daiyousei puts a pot of tea on, you struggle to sit up, attempting to use an arm that doesn't exist. You look at Shou, a pleading look in your eyes. The tiger youkai sighs and helps you up, and Marisa winces as she watches you. "Don't that hurt?" she asks as you pull your legs up, sitting in the lotus position on your bed. You need to regenerate quickly, and you have a method for that. Starting from the ragged tear, you create a block of ice roughly in the shape of your arm and begin to channel magic into it. You close your eyes and focus on it, but keep your ears open... and, briefly, your mouth.

"Marisa," you begin. "My mission was to come out here and a... as..." you look at Shou.

"Assess," Shou offers. You nod.

"Assess the situation," you continue. "If you could, can you explain to us what's going on? From the beginning?" Yes, that's what Reimu would want to know. Between yourself, Shou, and Rin, you should be able to retain all the information, since for now, heading back to the Hakurei Shrine is out of the question; if you're going to not just figure out the situation at the mansion, but also find out about the fates of Sanae and Kanako, you need to stay active. The trip back to the Shrine would simply take too much time to go there and back again. Marisa nods, sitting down as Shou takes up a position next to the window, peering outside of it and looking out for any enemy presence.

"It all started, I guess, after we were Outside," begins the witch....

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

One day, the Yakumos and Saigyouji called a meeting of the most powerful people in Gensokyo: Myself, Reimu, the Scarlets, Eientei, even the Palace of Earth Spirits people showed up. I'm sure I'm forgettin' someone, but that's not important. What's important is what we learned while we was in that meeting.

Accordin' to Yukari, there actually is magic Outside. It's quite a bit weaker, but it exists out there. There was one group of vampires - I forget the name, couldn't pronounce it anyway - that operated outside of Europe, way off to the west. We were gonna split into two groups: The first group would go through mainland Asia and destroy the enemy's... frontlines, I guess. Military bases, power plants, and the like were the targets. The second group would be led by Remilia, and she would infiltrate the vampire order and cut off "the serpent's head". There was some deliberation, but it was agreed that Youmu would go with Remi, and Sanae would come with myself and Sakuya.

Youmu... ya know, I should have offered to go. She wasn't ready, not back then. She was so damn eager to prove herself, prove that she was able to be just as good as me or Reimu when it came to solvin' incidents... you know, nevermind that she helped us out a ton when the Taoists showed up. You know she fought Miko to a draw? They totally ignored the Hakurei Spellcard Rules and just straight-up dueled. It was insane. I ain't never seen that kind of skill with a sword, neither of them giving a centimeter. It wasn't until we showed up that the duel finally ended. But that ain't here or there.

We learned pretty early on, before our group met up with Youmu, that Remilia intended to betray Gensokyo and take over not just it, but the rest of the Sealed Lands as well - Avalon, Valhalla, Olympus, and the like - along with the rest of the planet. Sakuya told us this information, actually - in fact, she was key to part of her plans. The work would begin after we defeated the vampires, since they would be, in Remilia's eyes, the single largest threat to the completion of her task. Sakuya was to provide assistance by killing all of us once we met up with Youmu and Remilia, but of course, Sak had no intentions of betraying Gensokyo; it was, after all, home, and Sak used to be a vampire hunter, so killing them was second nature to her.

Not to say she didn't love Remilia and Flandre, but...

Anyway, I don't know too much of what happened between Youmu and Remilia, but when she we finally met up in Greece... she looked rough. At the time, she was accompanied by the tengu girl Himekaidou, the rabbit from Eientei, the mouse girl from Toramaru's people, and Flandre Scarlet, which, mind you, was pretty odd, since Flan wouldn't go anywhere without Remilia. Anyway, along with them were some people, some vampire hunters from Avalon and Valhalla. Turns out, one of them was Sak's mom, and there was a pretty tearful reunion to be had. Heh, you couldn't mistake the woman for anyone else, either. Sak and her mom look identical. But yeah, we all met up and hung out in Greece while Youmu recovered, and let me tell you, the girl... she'd been through some stuff. She wasn't "soft" no more, that's for sure.

I don't know what happened to her, before you ask. I know she lost her Roukanken - that's the larger katana - to Flan at some point, cause she broke it, but I can't tell you where the other katana came from. It was powerful, though; even in its sheath I could feel its power, and my magic detection out there was pretty weak. Some other stuff happened to her, too; she was quiet, but her voice had a command to it that you couldn't help but follow. Out there hardened her pretty quick-like, and that was impressive for someone like her. No, you don't understand, when I say Youmu was "soft", I mean that. Before she was nice, yeah, but she was pretty meek, too. Whatever happened - and I'm not saying I do, because she won't tell anyone 'cept Reisen - it brought her and Flan close.

Flan... she was off too. Her power'd been sealed off by Remilia in a show of good faith or somethin', but there was... I dunno. It's hard to talk about Flandre. It's only been ten days, and it still hurts. What? Lemme get there.

While we were in Greece, that Celestial bitch and Iku showed up to take Youmu to Olympus. Apparently there had been a meeting of... I guess "afterlife people"... and they decided that Youmu, being a caretaker of the dead, wasn't supposed to be participating in mortal affairs. They were gonna exile her to Heaven until the incident was over but she talked her way out of it, best I can reckon. She even got some cool armor out of it. While she was gone, I was able to remove Flandre's seal, but Sanae and the others went back here, cause we knew the war was going on... no, we dunno what happened to them neither. We were hopin' to find out though, once we pacified the Mansion.

So, all this time, Remilia's been gatherin' her power. She stole King Arthur's swords and crown, usin' it to power that big machine that was creatin' that mist. We were on our way back to fight her, in this country... France, I think. We stopped to train for a while, since Youmu felt we weren't ready and... well, she was right. We still weren't ready, when all was said and done. But I'll get to that; while we were training, I think her and Flandre became a pair of sisters of some sort. I dunno. I know her and Reisen were seein' each other, but I don't know about Flandre, what she was to them. She was still my pal, too, and we'd hang out.

...no, I'm not cryin'. Shut up.

We went to France to fight Remilia. She was powerful; the mist was givin' her strength. Flandre too... but damn if she still wasn't the toughest thing. Near godlike power, best I can reckon. Reisen an' Sak an' I held off her people while Youmu and Flandre fought her. That fight... well, I bet the world won't be the same after that explosion of magic power. Not for a hundred years at least. They fought like wild animals, but they still couldn't kill 'er. I don't know if they really wanted to, but they were makin' a good show of it. It wasn't until Reisen popped her spellcard that locked her away in her mind that the fightin' stopped... but there was a casualty.

...I'm fine, Dai, just lemme finish. No, I don't need a 'kerchief, I ain't cryin'.

We... we ran. Well, I ran. I gathered the rest of them and I ran. I was fortunate, though; I ran into King Arthur, who was searchin' for her swords. Yeah, her. Go figure. Anyway, she helped me get to Avalon, where I tried to get Youmu an' the others outta Reisen's head. I was failin' miserably when the Yama and her reaper showed up. I knew why they was there, but I didn't want to admit it. I couldn't. I just couldn't...

-=-=-=-

You watch as Marisa wipes away tears again. "Shut up, I ain't cryin," she says again. "I ain't..."

"...Marisa, if you can't finish, then I'll go ask-" you begin, but Marisa waves you off.

"No, goddamnit! I can finish it! Just... here!" she opens her hands, placing one to her temple and the other straight out, palm facing up. "Recollection," she says, and an image pops up. It's from Marisa's eyes, you can tell. It's a dark room, nondescript; Reisen is floating in midair, her eyes glowing a blue hue as three girls materialize on the ground; two of them are already awake on the ground, looking around curiously. "Flandre leaped in front of a spell that Remilia had cast to protect Youmu," she tells you. "The spell was..." She shakes her head as the image looks down as her hand locks with another person, swirling up to see that it's Sakuya, her breathing uneven and unsteady. She blinks back tears as Marisa's vision goes back toward the center.

You watch as Flandre reappears... or rather, her body does. It falls to the ground, and both Remilia and Youmu run to her, screaming her name. Youmu scoops her up but Remilia pulls her out of the half-ghost's arms and screams a painful scream. You watch as the image gets closer, as Marisa puts her arms around Youmu. Off to the side, you see two figure's you distantly remember - Eiki and Komachi - walk up, telling everyone that it's time to go. Everyone backs away except for Youmu and Remilia, who refuse. Komachi grabs Youmu and pulls her back, averting her eyes as Youmu screams.

"Give her back!" Youmu cries, her tears falling freely. "Don't take her! Give her back to me! Flandre! Flandre!"

"No, Youmu," Eiki says. "It's time. I'm sorry," she walks past the crying half-ghost as you watch Remilia close Flandre's eyes. "Remilia, let go. I have to take her," the vampire glares up at Eiki, but relents, blinking away her own tears. She looks down at the still form.

"Sleep well, ma cherie," she whispers. You watch Sakuya grab Remilia's arm and start to lift her up. "Je t'aime!" Sakuya pulls her back as Eiki just reaches into Flandre's body and pulls out the vampire's soul, still holding her form. Flandre opens her eyes and looks around, smiling at everyone. She says something to Youmu, then looks at you - or rather, at Marisa.

"Take care of them for me," she asks of Marisa. The image disappears briefly, and you hear Marisa's voice say, "Will do, little'un," you hear Flandre ask the same of the other girls, who all agree, then finally, to Remilia.

"Goodbye, Sis," you hear her say. "Moi aussi, je t'aime," and as she turns to walk away with Eiki and Komachi, you hear Youmu shout something. Flandre just looks over her shoulder. "I love you too, Youmu. Don't worry about me. I'll always be within your heart," and Komachi waves her hand and spirits the three of them away to Higan.

The moving image ends, and you're silent, along with everyone else... save Marisa. Her lips quivering, she lets out a quiet sob, and looks away from everyone. "Marisa, I didn't-" you begin, but shake your head. You didn't mean to dredge up sad memories; you just needed to know what was going on in the Mansion, needed to know Marisa's side of the story. Instead, you get this, as you watch Marisa hug her legs and pull her hat over her eyes, looking down. You look over at Shou, who continues to look away, and then at Daiyousei who - well, Dai has always been emotional. She's using Rin as a shoulder to cry on. The cat youkai, to her credit, doesn't shed a tear, but it's likely she's heard stories like this before.

Marisa sniffs. "Sorry about that," she says. "I didn't mean to do that. A-anyway... we're holed up in the Mansion now. We, uh, destroyed the machine, and I think Remilia lost it after that. She ain't come down from her bubble up there since it all happened. Youmu found a room and locked herself in, too. Right now it's up to me, Sak, and Reisen to establish the Mansion as a base, tame Meiling, and convince Patchy to open up the library."

"What do you mean?" you ask.

"Well... basically, we got three objectives," she tells you. "In detail: There are still evil vampires in the mansion, somewhere; the place is huge, after all. Secondly, Meiling is wandering the halls lookin' pretty fierce, attackin' everyone she comes across, so we figure she's gone feral, and finally, Patchy locked up the library and ain't come out. I think she's trying to resummon her devil or summat, but I can't get it to tell. Oh, and also, I gotta help you guys out, sorta."

"We also need to find out what happened with Nazrin," Shou offers. You nod. "And find out the fate of Kochiya and Yasaka. Cirno, you're in charge, you decide."

You look at the others. Marisa is an emotional trainwreck and Rin is useless right now, so going to the mansion might be the best idea. On the other hand, if Sanae and Kanako are unhurt, they could be a big boon to your power. Reimu needs a break desperately, after all.

[ ] Head for the Mansion (Main Storyline)
[ ] Find out about Sanae and Kanako (Side Story)
-- Take One: [ ] Daiyousei, [ ] Shou
No. 181756
>>181749
When a POV shift happens, you'll be picking from a member of the Ghost Team (if the vote was for a Ghost Team character before, it would be a POV vote for Maiden Team).

There are two scenes currently planned that have to take place from Youmu's perspective.
No. 181758
[x] Find out about Sanae and Kanako.
--[x] Bring Shou with you.

By "Side story", I take you mean if we choose it, we can go right back to our mission of securing Scarlet Devil Mansion once we're finished?

Sanae was the one who escorted Nazrin and Hatate back to Gensokyo, and I definitely want to know what happened to them...
No. 181759
>>181758
Yes. Side quests are just that. Note that you don't have to take them right away, which is important because some of the main quest will be time critical, and other side quests might be too hard for you to do. Don't worry, I'll be sure to indicate when you're on a quest of high difficulty.
No. 181760
>>181759
Duly noted.
One concern I have is that if we rescue Kanako, she won't be able to get along well with Orin. But since you stressed that Orin can't fight, she probably doesn't pose a threat.

Also, Glen said that Hatate was a red herring at the end of Youmu's Journey, because she would've contributed nothing to the final battle against Remilia, unlike Reisen, Flandre, or Nazrin. Although it sounds callous, we should treat Orin the same way. We should't abandon her, but we shouldn't treat her like an invaluable asset, either, unless we need someone who's unaffected by heat, lava, or vengeful spirits.
No. 181764
[x] Find out about Sanae and Kanako.
--[x] Bring Shou with you.

Hmmm... according to the last story, Remilia's forces managed to capture Sanae. The question is whether she's still confined to the mansion, or was moved somewhere else.
No. 181766
[x] Find out about Sanae and Kanako.
--[x] Bring Shou with you.
Let's hope Sanae hasn't been turned into a ghoul or something for a vampire's sexual purposes.
No. 181772
>>181766
Wh-what kind of story do you think this is? How lewd.
No. 181774
>>181772
Last one had Flandre getting er...raped. But as you admitted yourself you didn't care for the scene and won't plan on doing anything similar anymore.

Still I'm just nervous about Sanae possibly being turned. Can gods be turned into ghouls or turned or are they too powerful for that?
No. 181776
>>181774
Sanae's not a goddess, she's an arahitogami-- a human with the powers of a goddess.
No. 181777
>>181776
I wasn't talking about Sanae in that question about gods being turned. Sanae is a deified human but Kanako is a goddess right?
No. 181778
>>181777

Well... in Old World of Darkness, Hunters could not be turned, period. I don't think they could be ghouled, either. Possibly the spark of the divine making them immune to the transformation. Quite likely, this would be the case with full gods and beings like Sanae. Pretty much Glen's call, should it come up (and I really hope it doesn't).
No. 181819
Alright, calling it for Cirno and Shou going on an adventure into the deep dark evil of deep darkness.

Seriously though, I'll start writing now.
No. 181830
>>181754
[X] Find out about Sanae and Kanako (Side Story)
-- Take One: [X] Shou
Reimu totally needs a break.
No. 181884
"Alright, we need to find Kochiya and Kanako," you decide. "But, I think you guys need to head on toward the Mansion. It's safer there," you gesture toward Marisa, Dai, and Rin. "Shou and I will look for them together. Do you have any leads, Marisa?"

"Well..." Marisa rubs her eyes again; she's still feeling pretty awful. "I know that it wasn't the Lunarians that captured Sanae, despite what people think; in fact, it was what you would consider Remilia's forces at the time. Somehow, Sanae managed to escape with Nazrin, but we ain't seen fang nor feather of Himekaidou, and accordin' to Patchy, she's still in the mansion somewhere... somethin' about feelin' her presence or somesuch. I dunno where they went, but..." she shrugs. Shou looks up from her perch next to the door.

"Nazrin is at the Hakurei Shrine," she tells Marisa. "They must have run into trouble. Nazrin had one of those collars you see on Orin here," she gestures toward the cat, who points it out to Marisa. "Those things... I don't know if you've run into them yet, Marisa, but they somehow lock away magic within a person, and it's hard to do even the most basic of tasks. Anyway, between the collars and Nazrin showing up at the shrine... I can only assume the worst, that Lunarians have somehow contained her."

"Just contained?" Marisa asks. Shou nods.

"Yes, they don't seem to be killing anyone, at least, not just yet," You cut in. "Well, they've killed a few fairies but that goes only so far. Anyway, if they've captured Kochiya, then they probably would have taken her to the human village since that's the closest to the Mansion, assuming they captured her near here. They've been segregating people into camps they have for captured people. As far as we know, there's four different ones: one in the village, one somewhere on Youkai Mountain, one in the Bamboo Forest, and a final one somewhere way out on the western end, within the Garden of the Sun."

"Rumors of a fifth camp persist," Shou offers. "But we haven't been able to confirm or deny its existence."

"So because of these collars, you can't just go in and bust people out?" Marisa asks, leaning back on her hands. "Or is there something else?"

"Of course there's something else or it would be too easy," Rin pipes up. "From what we've seen, there seem to be some sort of anti-magic fields around the Lunarian camps. We're not sure how they work, but these fields simply... well, they kill magic, unless you have a certain other type of collar that lets you function within the field. Before I was collared, Lady Satori was having me try to get one off of the Lunarians, but they're on there pretty tight and I wasn't able to retrieve one; when they deploy, the Lunarians leave the collars behind unless they're trying something," she pulls a piece of paper from... somewhere... and unfolds it. Within is a sketch of a squat hexagonal object. "This is a device of some sort that seems to power the field. Like I said, we're not sure how it works, but whenever they bring in these things, magic stops working."

"Hmm..." Marisa takes the paper from Rin and inspects it. "I'll see if I can't break into Patchy's library and do some research on this. Meanwhile, Cirno and Shou will go look for Sanae, right?" You nod. "Alrighty, then. I guess we'll split up here. How many of those monsters are still out there?"

You shrug. "No one is for sure," you tell her. "But that's been the fifth one I've taken on, and you see how much effort it took. Normally I just die a lot to kill it, but since my... redos... are getting fewer and far between, that's not really an option anymore. Anyway, they're few enough that Shou and I shouldn't have to worry about them too much, as they seem to be centered around the mountain anyway. That one way out here was either a scout or it turned wild... it seems that the Lunarians don't have really good control over them."

"Alright, well... we're not getting anything done here," Shou gets off of her perch and looks at you. "Cirno, how's the arm coming along?" You look down at the frozen block of ice that's in the shape of your missing limb and shrug. "Still gonna be a while, huh? Alright, well, we can't do anything until Cirno is healed up. Can the three of you make it to the mansion?"

"Yeah, I got a way in from here that'll be sneaky," Marisa mentions. "I'll go ahead and take everyone there. When you show up, go in through one of the side entrances; Reisen has mined the front door to hell and back as a surprise to any unwanted visitors, and all of the other doors will just send out a passive alarm. We'll know when you make it in. Dai, Orin, let's get outta here," Marisa adjusts her hat and opens the door, letting the fairy and cat go out first. She turns to look at you. "You grew stronger, Cirno. A lot stronger. You sure you still a fairy?"

"I think so," you reply. "But Suwako told me I'm on the verge of... evolving as she put it," you shrug. "If I'm becoming something else, maybe it'll be for the better?"

"Dunno, but keep your mind open," replies the witch. "It's rare to see youkai change once they've settled on a form, but if they are, it's because their current body can't handle the power. Whatever it is you become, keep your wits about you. Accordin' to Patchy and Alice, you can lose yourself," she tips her hat to you and walks out the door, shutting it quietly behind her. Shou waves her hand and snuffs out the lights, and your small house falls into darkness.

-=-=-=-

As some point you must have fallen asleep, as it startles you when Shou relights one of the candles. "It's been about five hours," she tells you. "It's almost predawn. We need to get moving if we're gonna search for the Moriya," you blink the sleep out of your eyes and look down at your arm. You grin and flex your regrown muscles, and the ice cracks, falling into pieces and revealing your newly formed arm. Being a fairy is an amazing thing, you think.

You stand up and pop your bones. "Let's go," you say, fully awake now. Shou nods, and the two of you leave your house, blowing out the light as you do. You and Shou take flight, flying above the tree line and skimming the canopy, making a wide arc that will lead you to the human village. You learned long ago not to beeline for it, as there are point defenses on the walls now that will shoot down anyone who gets too close. It's fatal to fairies and weak youkai, but it seems to merely stun others. That's how they got half of the Myouren Temple's people; on their escape, most of them were shot down, leaving only Byakuren and Shou at the time.

Your thoughts wander to Nazrin. You again marvel at how that small youkai, who's power is even weaker than yours, was able to make it for so long outside. You don't know what horrors she faced, but the poor thing has clearly seen things that hurt her mentally. Looking over at Shou, you can see that her thoughts seem to also be of the small creature, but she doesn't show it like many others do. She's been fairly stoic ever since the war began, moreso than most. You suppose that, as an avatar for a war god, you thought she would be a little more excited about all of this, but instead Shou has done nothing more than show deep concern for her allies and friends.

You dip below the treeline and slow your travel, coming to a stop at the edge of the clearing that denotes the beginning of the village's territory. You peer out into the clearing, where the Lunarians have set up several towers with watchers in them, using large spotlights to search the area. You can probably sneak by them to get into the village, but experience has taught you that isn't easy. That said, with your reduced power, a straight up fight is out of the question. Considering that you don't even know if Sanae is here, this might be a huge waste of time, but you have to be sure. You look at Shou.

"Any ideas? I just need to get into the village," you say. Shou leans back on a tree, staring at the spotlights. "We can't brute force it this time."

"Well..." Shou considers. "We can always go in sneaky-like; once we get past the ring of watchtowers, all that would be in the way are the point-defense towers, but those are anti-air only, so we could easily get past those. Since the Lunarians rebuilt the wall, it'd be hard to get over it, but you could probably get under it if we find one of the sewer grates that lead under the village; I doubt they've done anything with those just yet. There is a third option, however," Shou pulls her Pagoda from her belt. "I can use this to cause a huge distraction a few towers down, but I won't be able to follow you in."

You look back at the towers as it spots a feral youkai. The small creature growls at the light before a sniper's rifle shoots it in the head, killing it instantly. You sigh.

[ ] Sneak-in (High chance of getting caught, but if successful, able to bring Shou along)
[ ] Distraction (Low chance of getting caught, and Shou won't be able to come with you)
[ ] Look Around (Delay mission, but may find a clue)
[ ] Head back (Delay mission, Resume Main Quest)

Short update because I've been busy with the thing on /v/
No. 181885
[x] Distraction (Low chance of getting caught, and Shou won't be able to come with you)

Shou can take care of herself right..?
No. 181888
[X] Look Around (Delay mission, but may find a clue)
I'd rather not take risks while Cirno is debuffed.
No. 181891
[×] Look Around (Delay mission, but may find a clue)

Remember, Cirno's not operating on full power because we chose the Quick-Regen method. We need Shou to compensate for our lack of power.
No. 181895
[X] Look Around (Delay mission, but may find a clue)

Changed my vote due to remembering Cirno's current powerlessness.
No. 181898
[X] Look Around (Delay mission, but may find a clue)

Yeah, we can't risk having Shou get caught and collared like so many others.
No. 181949
It's been a week... This story isn't dead, is it? Please tell me this story isn't dead!
No. 181950
>>181949
No. I broke my hand so I can't write really well. I'm still writing, it's just really, really slow.
No. 181952
>>181950

...You have the worsst luck, dude.
No. 181954
>>181952
It was my fault this time. I should know better than to fight people.
No. 182034
Hey, Glen, when do you think you'll be able to start updating again? Do you have an estimate?
No. 184510
There once was a pretty good thread
I'd grin whenever I read
Fast-forward ten months
And I have a hunch
That Glen and his story are dead.