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File 141647723610.jpg - (159.75KB, 850x1037, sample_c5183957333b51628e7653104fdba0b9.jpg) [iqdb]
182940 No. 182940
Previous thread: >>/shorts/1265

---

I think that's the best applause of the night. Yukari fakes a pout as she steps out in front of me, presumably to steal back the spotlight. I don't think she's going to be winning the audience's attention back after that, though.

[Hey.]

As if to drive the point home, she drops me through a gap back into my chair. This causes a jolt of adrenaline, but the applause instantly stops once everyone realizes it's only Yukari left on stage.

"Well, in any case," Yukari once again speaks into the microphone, "let's not delay lunch too much longer. I'm looking at someone right now who's already pouting about being kept from her food," she says while looking straight at Yuyuko, who actually isn't pouting, and in fact is staring back with the same emotionless expression as everyone else.

After another moment of awkward silence, she disappears through another gap, and the murmur of conversation once again slowly propagates across the clearing.

"We need to talk." Reimu's voice from behind causes me to jump.

"Wha- Don't do that Reimu, you almost gave me a heart attack."

She leans in closer and whispers.

"Yukari showing everyone what you look like has some dangerous implications," she explains. "We need to talk about it sometime later in private, as soon as possible."

"...What?" I ask, confused. "Why would that matter?"

"Like I said, we'll need to talk about it later. Stick around the party until after everyone's left. Tell Keine I asked you to stay behind if you need to, but this is very important."

"Okay, if you say so, I will," I respond.

"Good. I'll talk to you later, then."

She walks off... Straight to the buffet table. Then again, I guess she does seem to basically live mostly off of plain white rice, so I can't really blame her.

[Don't ignore me, you.]

"What was that all about?" Mokou asks, likely vocalizing a question on the mind of everyone else in the group.

"Dunno. Just said she needed to talk to me after the party," I reply.

"That so? Well, it's probably nothing serious, or she probably woulda just dragged you out of the party then and there."

"Probably," I lie. It sure as hell didn't sound like it wasn't anything serious, but I don't want to worry everyone by saying that.

Lunch passes peacefully, something I'm very grateful after being introduced to everyone the way I was. I'm still not sure what it was that Reimu was worried about, but it doesn't seem to be an issue yet.

[You can hear me, right?]

Still, this party kinda brings back some memories.

I know that these memories should probably be painful now, but somehow, deep down in my heart, they're still one of the most precious things to me.

I'm not sure if it's the atmosphere, the events of the past few days, or just the sake, but it feels like I can remember that day far more vividly than I have in a long time; almost as though I were actually there right now.

The warm spring sun beats down on me as soft music plays in the background... Well, the music here isn't really "soft". The style of music that the Prismriver sisters play is different from what someone outside of Gensokyo would normally be used to, to say the least. At times, it almost feels like the sound directly affects your spirit.

Blue skies, delicious food, joyful people...

The only thing that's missing is...

[Hey.]

As I gaze across the crowd, I remember her appearance.

Long, flowing brown hair.

Hazel eyes so beautiful that I could sing.

That smile, bright and cheerful, yet honest.

Our eyes meet.

Wait.

...What?

That's...

Not possible.

A sudden, strong feeling of unease fills my whole body; a feeling so powerful it leaves me paralyzed.

I hold back a sudden urge to vomit.

She flashes me that smile.

This is

wrong.

Her lips move.

And I hear her speak:

[Are you going to stop ignoring me now?]

Her words are the last thing I remember before everything goes blank.

---

---

I awaken with a start.

Somehow, it feels like I just had a very bad dream, but I can't place it.

The last thing I remember, I was at the party. Reimu asked to talk to me about something, and then...

I rub my eyes as I notice a dull headache that had been masked by tiredness.

It takes me a moment to realize that this is neither Keine's house nor the shrine; this room is far larger than anything in either of them. Nor does it seem to be Hakugyokurou, since I can't smell that faint fragrance of cherry blossoms that was ever-present in the area surrounding.

I take a peek through a sliding door that seems to have been left open for ventilation, and find myself looking in at the center courtyard of a large mansion. On closer look, I can see what appears to be a very large bamboo forest surrounding the mansion.

So... Eientei?

Well, it does seem reasonable that I'd be taken here if I passed out, given I was sitting at the same table as Eirin.

...Wait.

I wince as remembering Reimu's request briefly causes my headache to intensify through a burst of adrenaline, and let out a groan as I let myself fall back down on the futon.

Well, that's a thing that didn't get to happen. I hope she doesn't get too angry about it.

I lie there for a while, unable to fall asleep despite feeling quite tired, before a sliding door on the wall gently opens.

I lazily look over to see who's there.

Long, flowing blonde hair.

Hazel eyes.

Unease washes over me, punctuated with a wave of nausea.

Wait, what?

I blink.

Long, braided silver hair. Dark gray eyes. And that ridiculous blue-red dress.

The unease disappears.

"How are you feeling, John?" Eirin asks as she walks into the room, a clipboard in one hand and a small bag in the other.

"I've felt better," I answer. "It feels like I've woken up with a hangover."

"Hmm... Normally I'd have assumed that's what happened too, but I ran blood tests, and your blood alcohol content was nowhere near high enough to cause you to black out like that." She pulls out a small penlight. "Look straight into my eyes."

I follow her directions as she shines the flashlight into each eye.

"Hmm. Pupil dilation is normal." She clicks off the flashlight and returns it to her pocket. "Do you have a history of epilepsy or anemia?"

"No."

"Do you have frequent severe headaches?"

"I have a little bit of a headache right now, but I usually don't get them very often."

"Hmm..." She pauses for a bit while flipping through papers on the clipboard. "I'm really just not sure why you passed out. Your blood tests looked normal, you were reasonably well-enough hydrated..."

She sets down the clipboard and looks me in the eyes.

"John, do you remember anything from right before you passed out?"

"I..."

Wait.

I wince as another flash of pain sweeps through my head.

Long, flowing blonde hair... Hazel eyes...

That's...

Right.

I...
I saw her.

There's no way I actually saw her there, and yet I saw her.

...

[ ] Tell the truth. It's probably just something stress-related is all. It's better to let her know so something can be done about it.
[ ] Lie. Something feels strange about what happened, and I'm not sure why. I don't think I want to tell anyone about it until I'm more sure about it myself.
Expand all images
>> No. 182941
File 141647815449.jpg - (41.71KB, 500x500, TRUSTNOONE.jpg) [iqdb]
182941
[x] Tell the truth. It's probably just something stress-related is all. It's better to let her know so something can be done about it.

Honesty is always the best policy.
>> No. 182942
[X] Tell the truth. It's probably just something stress-related is all. It's better to let her know so something can be done about it.
>> No. 182943
File 141649253362.png - (798.75KB, 2500x5938, ilama.png) [iqdb]
182943
Oh yeah, this has been one of the most enjoyable stories I've read. Thanks for writing. Have 153 ilamas.
>> No. 182948
[ ] Tell the truth. It's probably just something stress-related is all. It's better to let her know so something can be done about it.
>> No. 182949
[X] Tell the truth. It's probably just something stress-related is all. It's better to let her know so something can be done about it.

I do think it is something more, but I feel we should be honest with Rumia.
>> No. 182950
[x] Tell the truth. It's probably just something stress-related is all. It's better to let her know so something can be done about it.

>>182949
We're talking to Eirin, but it probably couldn't hurt to tell Rumia too.
>> No. 182953
[X] Tell the truth. It's probably just something stress-related is all. It's better to let her know so something can be done about it.
>> No. 182957
[X] Tell the truth. It's probably just something stress-related is all. It's better to let her know so something can be done about it.
>> No. 183017
[X] Tell the truth. It's probably just something stress-related is all. It's better to let her know so something can be done about it.

I just read this entire story in one night.
>> No. 183028
"Well, you see-"
I try to start my explanation, but it only takes me a moment to realize that there's more I have to explain first before explaining what happened at the party. As far as I can remember, I never explained the circumstances behind my arrival in Gensokyo to her. After all, if I'd done that when I'd first met her, she'd have certainly gotten in the way of my goal. That's not really a problem anymore, though. Still, given the nature of it...

I sigh. I've already let this off my chest for Reimu, and I don't think Eirin will make too big of a deal about it.

"Well, Eirin," I explain. "I've killed a person."

---

I tell her my story. I tell her about my little brother, about meeting Amy at his wedding afterparty, about our domestic life afterward. I tell her about finding her with another man, giving in to anger, realizing what I'd done and deciding to end it all, and finally meeting Yukari at the train crossing.

She listens intently through the whole thing. After I'm finished, I wait a moment for her response.

"So?" I ask.

"Hmm..." She ponders. "You made it sound all melodramatic at first, but it was really just a regular old crime of passion."

What.
"What?" I'm completely blown away by how low-key her response is. I'd have been okay with anger, pity, or disgust. But this reaction...

"Well, it's an interesting story and all, but I'm still not sure what it has to do with you passing out."

"What? ...Oh." Right. I must have gotten so absorbed in myself telling the story that I forgot why I was telling her about it.

"Right. Well, you see," I explain, "the flower viewing party kinda reminded me a lot of my brother's wedding."

"I see." She nods.

"So a lot of memories started coming to the surface, mainly about Amy."

She nods again.

"And, well, just before I passed out," I explain,

She nods twice.

"I saw her."

"You... Saw her?"

"Yes. She was sitting at one of the tables at the party. When I saw her, our eyes met, and she smiled."

"Oh?"

"And then she spoke to me."

"She spoke to you?"

"Yeah. I saw her lips move, and heard her say something. It was definitely her voice. The weird part was, it sounded like her voice was coming from right up next to me."

She sighs. "That gives us a few possibilities. As for seeing her and hearing her, that could be caused by stress; possibly post-traumatic stress disorder. I don't think either of those would cause you to black out like that, though." She rubs her chin. "We might need to run some brain scans, and it'll probably be a good idea to do some more detailed blood work."

Brain scans? More blood work? "Wait, do you think there's something wrong with my brain?"

She shakes her head. "No. It doesn't sound like you've suffered any head trauma lately, and it's unlikely that you've been exposed to any drugs or chemicals which could have damaged your brain. To be honest, these tests are more to rule out these easy-to-detect options to show evidence of the more likely cause."

I stare at her for a moment, uncertain how to react. "...More likely cause?" I ask.

"Yes. It's very likely that those symptoms were caused by some sort of magician or youkai. Youkai are born from fear, after all; it shouldn't be surprising that there would be youkai that could manipulate it and use it to cause hallucinations. We even have someone living here in Eientei that can do just that; though she'd need to know what you'd be afraid of first before it would work, so it isn't likely that she's responsible."

"I... see?" I'm still not sure how to respond.

"If there was a youkai doing something like that at a party that was supposed to be safe, we can't just let them be. As far as I'm aware, there wasn't anyone invited to the party who would do this, but it's easily possible that one could have snuck in. As an example, I think this is the first time Rumia's ever actually been invited to a party like this, but she's been to every single one that I've been to since we unsealed Eientei. She's even been to a few of our moon-viewing parties as well. Security usually isn't too strict on these parties since most of the people who show up are strong enough on their own to blow away anyone who tried to do something like this to them, but I guess it isn't quite as safe when a normal human like you attends."

"I see."

That isn't really that comforting though.

She smiles.

"Relax," she reassures me, "it doesn't seem like it's bad enough yet to affect your daily life, so even if you do have a medical problem, there's a good chance I can treat it. Really, now that you're here, you're probably in less danger if it's a medical problem than if it really was caused by a youkai. I'm not a pushover like some of your outside world doctors."

"That's... Comforting, I guess." I know Eirin's good at what she does, but to be honest, even my bare basic understanding of the brain from health classes required by general education are enough for me to be skeptical.

"I know you might be skeptical right now, but just you wait," she says with a wink. "That said, I need to go prepare the brain scan. Udonge will be in shortly to collect a sample for the blood test."

She begins to leave, but I stop her.

"Wait. Where's Rumia?" I ask. Knowing her reactions in the past, I'd expect her to put her all into staying by my side even if meant a fight.

...Actually, that's kind of worrisome.

Eirin just grins.
"Look down at your feet."

I do, and there she is, curled up in a ball and sleeping peacefully.

Once again, I sigh.
>> No. 183099
Just caught back up with this story, It's been an enjoyable read so far.
I'm asuming more voting options come later?
Also Rumia as the voice of reason sometimes is pretty neat.
>> No. 183100
A few minutes pass, then Rumia lazily begins to stir.

"Mnnnnh," she mumbles as she rubs her eyes, slowly bringing herself up to a sitting position. She slowly starts to open her eyes, but as soon as she sees me, they fly open as fast as the shutter on a camera.

"John! Are... Are you okay?" she asks, eyes betraying concern.

"Yes Rumia, I'm fine. At least for now."

And then she hugs me. This catches me slightly off-guard. Sure, she's grabbed me to carry me around while flying before, but the only other time she's actually hugged me was on the mountain.

"I'm so glad..." I can feel her tears of relief wetting the front of my shirt as I gently stroke her head, returning the hug.

We stay like that for a moment before her stomach chooses to interrupt us with a loud growl. Rumia inhales deeply, and stands up.

"I'm going to go get some food. You want me to bring you anything?"

I think about it for a moment. Given the nausea I'm currently experiencing, I don't really feel up to eating anything, but at the same time, I know it's probably a good idea to get something on my stomach.

"I'd like some toast," I answer.

"Alright, I'll be right back then." She skips off. At first I wonder if she knows where she's going, but after a moment I realize that if she hasn't already memorized where to find the kitchen in every major structure in Gensokyo, she could probably just smell her way there. I swear, when it comes to food, she's like a guided missile.

I lie back on the futon, an uncomfortable mix of feelings swirling around inside of me. I feel tired, but restless, anxious, and a bit depressed.

It's not hard to feel depressed after having those memories all come back at once. At the time it was happening, it was a relief; it felt like thoughts and feelings I had bottled up were finally coming to the surface. Now, though, those memories are just another source of pressure. It feels as though my entire life has been dropped on my shoulders at once, and in a way it has.

And yet, I can't forget about it. The more I try to forget, the more I remember. When I try to forget her smile, I start to remember how she'd pout when I teased her. When I try to forget her eyes, I remember her peaceful expression while sleeping. When I try to forget her hair, I remember gently combing it for her after our morning coffee.

I know that these feelings are being exaggerated by sentimentality, and I know that all of these things only happened early in our relationship. Yet, all this does is make it worse, as it reminds me even further that I'll never get to experience them again.

That she won't get to experience them again, with me or with anyone else.

Were these memories pulled up solely because of Yuyuko's speach? Are they bubbling to the surface by whatever caused me to black out? Is some youkai influencing my mind, forcing me to remember?

I sigh, and her image appears in my mind.

Long, flowing brown hair. Hazel eyes so beautiful that I could sing. And her smile, bright and cheerful, yet honest.

That girl that I would have done anything for. That girl who took everything from me, and who I took everything from. The girl I loved, the girl I hated, the girl I wish I'd never met and the girl I couldn't have lived without.

Amy.

[Sup?]








My mind freezes.

[Oh, you're alone now. I kinda zoned out while Eirin was here.]

After hearing her voice, my blood feels as though it's simultaneously frozen and boiling. My body urges me to stand up and scream with rage and terror, and yet I can't move a muscle.

[That's cool. Let's get started, then.]

Why am I hearing her voice? Have I actually lost it this time? Has the world decided to damn me with the most hellish torture I can imagine?

[Aww, we only just met again after so long, and you're already acting like this? That's too bad. And here I was, ready to have some fun.]

Shut up! I don't need to listen to you!

[No, you see, John, you do. We're together now. Isn't that what you wanted? I know you did, John, and that's why I started pushing you away. It was so fun watching you try bringing us closer to no avail. Your frustration was just so delicious, John.]

WHY do I have to hear this? Why is my own mind subjecting me to this? Or is this the work of some youkai? Is there some magician prying their way into my mind, forcing me to think these thoughts?

[Well, while watching you agonize in existential doubt is fun, it's time to stand up, John.]

Stand up? As if there's any way I could stand up right now! For all I know I have a tumor! There's no way I could stand up without-

[John,] her voice suddenly turns frigid. [I said stand up.]

Pain, indescribable pain surges through my whole body, causing me to contort in agony. I can't breathe, I can't think, and it feels like my heart's going to explode.

[You see, this is what happens if you don't stand up when I ask you to. Shall we try this again?]

The pain stops, leaving only a lingering headache and the sound of my heart pounding in my ears.

[John, please stand up.]

---

---

[So this is what Eientei looks like on the inside, huh?]

Great, I'm being controlled against my will by a figment of my imagination, she's forcing me to wander aimlessly in the hallways. Makes me wonder what Eirin's going to find when she examines the brain scan results.

[How rude! We aren't wandering aimlessly, I just don't know the way out!]

And you haven't thought to ask for directions? There's all these rabbits wandering around that you could ask.

[Do you really think that'd work? They're rabbits. If you approach one of them, she isn't going to answer your questions, she's going to run away.]

"Good afternoon," I flag one of the rabbits down. She stops and looks at me, tilting her head to the side. "How might one make their way to the entrance?" I ask calmly.

"Follow this hallway until you reach the next fork, then turn right," she responds calmly. "Keep going until you reach the other side of the mansion, and turn right again. Keep going and you'll be at the entrance."

"Thanks. What was your name again? I'll let Eirin know that you helped me out."

"That's fine," she smiles, "I remember getting lost my first few days here too. The least I could do is prevent it from happening to someone else."

"Thanks again." I give a slight bow this time.

She reciprocates with a bow of her own. "It was my pleasure. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some matters to attend to." She excuses herself with another bow, and goes on her merry way.

So you were saying?

[...Okay, you were just lucky. Any other rabbit would have ran.]

Whatever you say.

I'm not quite sure it's healthy to feel pride over winning one against a figment of your imagination, but that felt quite good, especially after whatever it was that happened when disobeyed her. We end up following the rabbit's directions. However, they unfortunately prove to be inaccurate, and we find ourselves at a dead end.

[See, I was right! Just like every other time ever.]

What are you talking about? No you weren't. She wasn't scared of me at all.

[But it still wasn't a good idea to ask for directions! Now we're lost. This happens every time.]

Why am I even arguing with a figment of my imagination? This is nuts. I'm just going to retrace my steps and find my way back to the room.

[No you aren't. Also, you didn't even get her name! Shouldn't that have been a big red flag right there, that she refused to give you her name? That was fishy from the start.]

And yet you didn't say anything about it either.

[Whatever.]

I sigh, and begin to retrace my steps, making my way back through the hallways. I'm almost back to my room when I come acro[Ooooooh! Lucky!]

What now?

[That girl up there.]

The one I was just going to acknowledge before you rudely cut me off?

[Yeah, her. Her name is Rumia. You should try talking to her.]

What?

Her voice grows cold. [Do you want me to do the thing again?]

The thing? You don't even have a name for it?

[I swear, I won't stop until you're a twitching wreck on the floor.]

Okay, fine, if that's all you want, then sure.

"Hello Rumia." I hold up a hand and stop in front of her.

[You're actually doing it? Oh man, you don't know how screwed you are now. You always were gullible, though... For transparency's sake, the correct choice would have been to ignore me. Sure, you'd be a twitching wreck on the floor, but you'd be alive. But what can I say? This is exactly why I stuck around you for so far. You always ate up everything I said.]

"John? What are you doing up?" Rumia asks with an expression of concern.

[...]

[...What.]

"Well, I got a little restless, so I figured I'd stretch my legs a bit. Then, well, I got a little lost." I rub the back of my head.

"Geez, you're still recovering! You can't do that!" She gently stomps her foot on the ground. "Here, let me show you the way back, and then we'll put you back into your futon and you'll stay there until Eirin comes to get you, okay?"

[I don't understand. What the fuck is this.]

"Okay, okay, I got it. Sorry."

"As long as you understand." The way she nods matter-of-factly is almost too cute.

[Do you realize how impossible this is? You're supposed to be dead.]

What?

[You might not realize who this is, but running into her is pretty much a guaranteed bad end.]

What are you talking about? Rumia's a good girl. She even helps Keine with shopping.

[What.]

What?

[You're supposed to be dead. How are you not dead? She's supposed to be eating you right now, or perhaps carrying you off to share you with her friends. What the hell is going on.]

To be honest, if that's what you're after, you're out of luck. I spent a good couple of weeks trying to get her to do just that, and I can confidently tell you that it's never gonna happen. That part about her ever sharing food with someone was kinda funny, though.

[But you just said she- Wait, you... You already knew her? What.]

Yes? She was even in the bedroom when I woke up. You didn't notice?

[I only see what you see! Clearly you didn't notice her either until sometime after Eirin showed up, and like I said, that's when I stopped paying attention. Clearly it's your fault.]

Okay, what about the party? She was sitting right next to me the whole time. Then again, I guess there's no reason to expect a figment of my imagination to be consistent across appearances.

[That was her? How the hell was I supposed to tell? Given how she was dressed, for all I knew she was the one lucky student that got to come with Eirin to the party! This is so fucking broken. You know what, you win this time. I'm going back to sleep.]

And silence. I'm glad that's over with.

"John, are you okay?" Rumia asks, concern once again evident on her face.

"I'm fine, why?"

"We're back in your room, but you've just been staring at the floor."

"Oh. Sorry, I just have a lot on my mind."

"You sure? If you're not feeling well, just tell me. I'll get Eirin right down here."

"Nah, I'm fine." I give her hair a bit of a ruffle, causing her to giggle.

"Stop it," she tries without success to bat my hand away. "Just go back to sleep, okay?"

"Okay, Rumia, I'll go back to sleep." I lay myself down on the futon. "Wake me up when Reisen shows up to take the blood sample."

"Roger!" She sits herself down next to me.

I'm not sure whether it's because Rumia's by my side this time, or because of exhaustion from whatever the hell all of that was, but just about as soon as my head hits the pillow, I'm out like a light.

---
>> No. 183101
>>183099
Yes, there will be more voting options soonish. I just figure that it's better to post updates in these decently-sized chunks instead of going all the way until a vote prompt, since that would be a bitch and a half to proofread, would probably end up stalling the story even further, and, well, this is already the format that this story has been following from the beginning.

Remember that the first several updates didn't even have vote prompts, and people voted anyway. I can't make any guarantees, but if a write-in gets enough votes even without a vote prompt, I'll try to find some way to work it in to the story.
>> No. 183102
[x]Pet the adorable Rumia
>> No. 183103
[x] Tell someone that the girl I killed is now in my head and telling me to do things

We are at the doctor, maybe we should get this looked at.
>> No. 183104
[x] Tell someone that the girl I killed is now in my head and telling me to do things
>> No. 183106
[x] "Doctor, I think I am possessed."
>> No. 183108
[x] Tell someone that something claiming to be the girl I killed is now in my head and telling me to do things and can inflict crippling pain upon me. Also its information on Gensokyo is somewhat out of date.

Let's be thorough and try not to make assumptions.
>> No. 183115
[x] Tell someone that something claiming to be the girl I killed is now in my head and telling me to do things and can inflict crippling pain upon me.
>> No. 183116
[x] Tell someone that something claiming to be the girl I killed is now in my head and telling me to do things and can inflict crippling pain upon me. Also its information on Gensokyo is somewhat out of date.
>> No. 183117
I might have samefagged... cancel the vote above. Delete post doesn't do anything, oddly enough.

[x] Tell Eirin & Yukari that something claiming to be the girl I killed is now in my head and telling me to do things and can inflict crippling pain upon me. Also its information on Gensokyo is somewhat out of date.
>> No. 183271
[x] Tell someone that something claiming to be the girl I killed is now in my head and telling me to do things and can inflict crippling pain upon me. Also its information on Gensokyo is somewhat out of date.
Hopefully we don't get tortured by headpassenger again
>> No. 183737
As a gentle shaking pulls me from a peaceful sleep, I gently open my eyes to the sight of the person who woke me. Deep red eyes peer down at me, framed by long light-purple hair. Of course, more noticeable are her ears, long and rumpled as though they've been run through a washing machine. "Reisen?" I identify the person looking down into my eyes. "I'd asked Rumia to wake me up when you got here..."

Reisen wordlessly points down toward my stomach, where Rumia is resting her head, sleeping peacefully. It seems my hand unconsciously made its way to the top of her head in my sleep.

I glance back up at Reisen to find her looking over at Rumia herself while softly smiling.

As her attention returns to me, I hear a voice, seemingly coming from nowhere. A sinking feeling starts to form in my gut.

[Please don't be startled.]

I certainly am, at least at first. This feels almost exactly the same as it does when I hear Amy speak in my head. It takes me a moment to notice the difference: this is most definitely not Amy's voice.

[I have the ability to induce hallucinations. Right now, you aren't actually hearing my voice; just a projection of it into your mind.]

Remembering what Eirin said earlier about someone from Eientei being able to do the same thing, I realize what's going on as I stare back into Reisen's eyes.

[I didn't want to wake her up, so I figured this would be the best way to avoid that. I know this is jarring for the first time, but please bear with me for now. Also, please be aware that this communication is one-way; I can't hear anything you're thinking.]

When our eye contact breaks, it feels as though I've been released from trance; I guess in a way I really was. After tightening a tourniquet around my arm, she opens a foil pouch containing what I recognize by smell as an alcohol swab, then uses it to rub a spot on my forearm.

Wait a second. That's right, Amy's voice! I'm still hearing Amy's voice. That's probably something I should let Eirin know about.

"Reisen, hold on." I interrupt her.

She pauses before returning eye contact. [What's wrong?]

"Can you get Eirin for me real quick? I need to talk to her about something. I think it's pretty important." I'm not sure how much detail Reisen knows about the situation, so I'm not sure she'd even know what I'm talking about if I told her about what's been happening. And, well, to be honest, until I have a better idea of what's going on myself, I don't want to go spilling my guts about my past to everyone. Reimu and Eirin were pretty accepting of it... But then again, they're a religious figure and a doctor respectively, so that's to be expected somewhat. Other people, however, might not be so willing to accept what I've done. I'm sure at least a few people in the village would become quite wary of me if they found out about it, and the best way to prevent that from happening is to stop rumors from spreading before they even start.

...Part of me almost feels like that's just a way to rationalize "not trusting" Reisen. I'd really like to think otherwise, but, well, right now I'm not even sure who I can trust.

[You say all that as though she hasn't already picked through every nook and cranny of your memories, judging and scruitinizing every little perverted detail.]

Oh, shut up. She just said that communication using her ability was one-way. You're just trying to rile me up, and I'm not falling for it.

[Boo.]

"Alright, I'll go get her." Reisen quietly leaves the room, closing the door softly to avoid waking Rumia. It doesn't take very long after that for Eirin to arrive.

"John, what's wrong?" Eirin asks with concern. "Reisen said you wanted to talk to me about something."

[Go ahead, tell her. I bet her reaction is gonna be great.]

"Well, you see, something or someone claiming to be the girl I killed is now in my head and telling me to do things. She's capable of inflicting crippling pain on me. Oh, but," I force as much pity into my voice as possible for this next part, "it does seem like her information about Gensokyo is pretty out of date. She must be terribly confused."

[Hey!]

"...Still?" She rubs her temples as she lets out a deep, heavy sigh. A moment passes before she yells out, "Udonge!"

After a few moments, Reisen appears in the doorway. "Yes, Lady Eirin?"

"I want you to step up the patrols and put Eientei on lockdown; don't let anyone in or out unless you can verify who they are," Eirin orders in an exhausted voice. "There might be a youkai hiding somewhere in or near the mansion that we will need to either capture or scare off. As soon as you get the rabbits moving, head straight for the scan room."

"Understood." Reisen salutes Eirin quickly before leaving.

Eirin turns back to me. "Now, you are going to need to come with me. We still don't know whether it's a medical condition or a youkai causing your symptoms, but if they're still occurring, we need to get the full picture as soon as possible."

---

So I find myself lying on a bed surrounded by all sorts of scientific equipment, most of which would likely fascinate and confound any doctor or scientist outside of Gensokyo, as Reisen draws blood for testing.

All in all, this is beginning to feel a lot like being in an emergency room, which is making me feel a bit uncomfortable.

I watch, bored, as Reisen drops a couple of the small tubes of my blood into a centrifuge, and pours the rest into machines that I couldn't even hope to guess the purpose of. The centrifuge whizzes away, and the other machines do whatever it is they do, but otherwise the room remains in near-complete silence, only an occasional beep from a piece of equipment breaking the rhythmic sounds from the various equipment that surrounds.

After a few tiring minutes, Eirin finally speaks. "Reisen, when you're done there, we're all set up for the final scan."

"Understood." Reisen disappears from view for a moment as she walks behind me. Her footsteps stop directly behind me and her face pops into view, looking toward Eirin. "Okay, I'm ready to start the scan. Let me know when you're ready, Master." After she says this, her gaze turns to meet mine.

"Go ahead," Eirin responds.

"Well then, John, please excuse me," Reisen softly states as she leans in... Almost uncomfortably close. "Look directly into my eyes."

Of course, given the way that they've started to glow bright red, my eyes had already been drawn toward them in surprise. It's not the strangest thing I've seen in Gensokyo, but it's definitely enough to catch my attention. As our gazes meet, my vision starts stretch and distort, rippling like heat waves coming off of hot asphalt.

[This will probably feel a bit strange. Please bear with me for a moment.]

As Reisen's voice enters my mind, the distortions intensify. Waves of color wash over my entire field of view as everything around me appears to melt and flow like hot wax, accompanied by an odd buzzing noise that soon grows to a cacophony of white noise. As abruptly as it started, everything suddenly freezes in place, audiovisual hallucinations suddenly replaced by a pleasant pressure that starts building inside my head. As the pressure reaches a peak, an indescribable feeling slowly pushes its way down through my spine, forcing its self into every nerve endiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

---
>> No. 183738
---

Everything returns to normal as my eyes snap open with a start.

...Wait, what the hell was that?

[I have no idea, but it was awesome. She could probably become a drug lord on the outside just by using that ability on people.]

Sitting up, I look around and find Eirin and Reisen huddled up in front of a computer screen.

Reisen turns her head to look at me and smiles. "Eirin, looks like he's back with us."

"How long was I out?" I ask. It felt like only a couple seconds passed after looking into Reisen's eyes. If I had to describe it, it was kinda like opening your eyes after blinking.

"About a minute or so."

"Did you find anything?"

She glances at Eirin who turns to look at me.

"Nope. Not a thing," she shrugs. "Which means good things for your health, but unfortunately puts us at a bit of a dead end for what we can immediately do about it."

"How do you mean?" I ask, concerned.

"Well, since you're still experiencing symptoms, we were hoping to catch some direct evidence of psychic or magical intrusion into your mind, but we couldn't find anything. Unfortunately this doesn't give us much to narrow down our search for the culprit."

"I see." I glance at the ground for a moment. "What the hell was that, anyway?"

"In terms of instrumentation, it was more or less the same as the scans we were doing earlier. The main difference was that Reisen was directly manipulating your brain waves to look for places where actual brain activity doesn't seem to match up. Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be anything unusual happening, so the test was inconclusive."

I see- ...Wait, hold on.

"Hold on, she was talking to me literally as soon as I woke up, and the way she was speaking makes it sound as though she was there for the entire thing."

[I was. That has got to have been the best light show I've ever seen. Too bad you were too busy being stuck in a trance to see it.]

"And just now as well," I sigh.

The two women exchange a glance.

"That's pretty unusual," Eirin states. "We might need to run a few more in-depth scans. Unfortunately, at this point it's possible that they know what we're doing and intentionally acting in a way to avoid detection while we're-"

Eirin's explanation is interrupted by a loud crash coming from somewhere near the entrance. A very tired expression slowly makes its way across her face as she buries her forehead in one of her palms.

"Um, Master, do you want me to go see what that was about?" Reisen reluctantly asks.

"No, going by the sound of it, I can guess what's going on."

Loud footsteps falling hard on the wooden floor of the hallways approach quickly, punctuated with a loud bang as the door slams open. In walks Reimu, dragging one of the rabbit girls by the wrist, the captive rabbit struggling in vain to try and escape her grip. Actually, that rabbit looks kinda familiar...

[Isn't she the one who "helped" us earlier?]

Ahh, that's it.

"Eirin, what the fuck?" Reimu holds the rabbit out towards Eirin at arm's length, letting her dangle. That's... actually a pretty impressive show of strength.

[Ehh, I'd say that's about expected of Reimu.]

What?

"I apologize if our security force has been a bit overzealous in protecting Eientei, but there's good likelihood of an active threat to the safety of everyone here, including potential patients from the human village."

This just seems to rile up Reimu even more. "And what the hell kind of threat necessitates placing a mine near the entrance to the mansion?!" Reimu waves her arms around in a fury, carrying the poor rabbit girl with them.

"...A mine?" Eirin looks to Reisen.

"...A mine?" Reisen looks to the rabbit girl, who simply looks away to the side. "I'm sorry about that, Reimu. Looks like I'm going to have to give this little one another lecture." Reisen grabs the rabbit by the ear and begins dragging her away. Eirin simply lets out a sigh.

"So it wasn't your intention for that mine to be placed there?" Reimu folds her arms, taking a posture that is indeed quite intimidating.

"Of course not! What if you had been a normal villager? That'd at the very least be several weeks in the regeneration pod!"

"Well, in that case I can't really blame you, then..." Reimu sighs and relaxes. "That was a nasty surprise, though. Even I could have been hurt if I were a bit closer."

"Don't worry, that little troublemaker will be thoroughly disciplined, you have my word. I take it you're fine, then?"

"Of course. After what I've been through, it'd take more than a mine to take me down." She did tell me about some of the incidents that she was involved in, but even given some of the stories she shared, being able to tank a mine goes a bit beyond all of that...

[I guess that's a bit impressive, but still, Reimu.]

You sound like you know a lot about Reimu. What's up with that?

[Oh, I know a few things about her. Don't worry about it.]

Oh, I'm going to worry about it. That's fishy and you know it.

[Good, hopefully it'll make you lose a bit of sleep or something. You're not gonna get anything out of me about it though.]

Okay, fine.

"So how's he doing, then?" Reimu asks. "I can only assume that the increased security has something to do with him, given Yukari's speech."

This provokes a raised eyebrow from Eirin. "You're correct that the security is mainly for his benefit... But what does Miss Yakumo's speech have to do with it?"

Reimu sighs again. "Long story, don't worry about it. What's the deal, then?"

"Well, as you can see, right now he's doing fine," she explains while motioning toward me. I give Reimu a little wave. She blinks in surprise before reciprocating with a slight bow.

"Sorry, I didn't see you there in the heat of the moment."

"That's fine," I reassure her. "I'm sure the same would happen for me in the same situation."

"In any case," Eirin continues her explanation, "I couldn't find any physiological causes for why he suddenly passed out, so I've concluded that it was probably the work of a youkai. Since he's still experiencing some symptoms from the attack, I decided to tighten security in case the perpetrator is still nearby. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find any traces of magic, so I don't have anything more detailed than that for you to go on. I was about to try running the tests again in more detail, but to be honest, at this point it's likely that they'll be even less conclusive. Your being here on its own is enough to make most youkai run away."

[Guess I'm not as much of a wimp as most youkai, then.]

"You might want to see someone who's more experienced with that type of magic than I am to see for sure, though," Eirin continues. "On the other hand, while I'm knowledgable in the physiology of the brain, I'm not very well-versed in human psychology, so it's possible that the recurring symptoms are psychological in nature and were simply brought to the surface by the attack. You'd need to talk to someone more familiar with psychology to work that out."

"I see." Reimu nods.

"In any case, there's nothing more I can do for him here, so I'll leave him in your care for now. I'm sure that village guardian is already worried sick. Is that okay with you?"

"Well, I was here to pick him up anyway, so sure. John, are you ready to go?"

[ ] Yes. The discussion Reimu wanted to have sounded pretty important, so it's probably best to get that taken care of as soon as possible.
[ ] Yes, but Rumia has to come with. It sounded like Reimu wanted to keep the discussion private, but as far as I'm aware, my concerns are Rumia's concerns.
[ ] No, I still have something left to do here. (Specify)
>> No. 183739
>>183738
[x] Yes, but Rumia has to come with. It sounded like Reimu wanted to keep the discussion private, but as far as I'm aware, my concerns are Rumia's concerns.
Rumia~
>> No. 183740
[x] Yes, but Rumia has to come with. It sounded like Reimu wanted to keep the discussion private, but as far as I'm aware, my concerns are Rumia's concerns.
I sure hope it isn't Mima possessing us.
>> No. 183741
Awesome! updates! Been waiting.

No Rumia left behind.

[X] Yes, but Rumia has to come with. It sounded like Reimu wanted to keep the discussion private, but as far as I'm aware, my concerns are Rumia's concerns.
>> No. 183747
[X] Yes, but Rumia has to come with. It sounded like Reimu wanted to keep the discussion private, but as far as I'm aware, my concerns are Rumia's concerns.

>>183740

You know, I'm really starting to wonder. Amy, if that's her real name, specifically was the one who approached John. I'm starting to wonder if she's a PC-98 (or someone from that timeframe) who escaped Gensokyo, and latched on to John in order to feed off of his misery. And I wonder if this is all a big plan of Yukari's to rein her in. Like Reimu said at the start of this thread: revealing John like that has some dangerous implications.
>> No. 183755
>>183747
I agree about Amy... gotta say, the first thing I thought when I read about her was "Yeah, she's a youkai." And didn't Rumia, Reimu, and a few others say that for a youkai to live outside the border they need a large amount of faith, usually caused by fear? Well, wouldn't driving people to suicide fulfill that? That's my thought process anyway.


[X] Yes, but Rumia has to come with. It sounded like Reimu wanted to keep the discussion private, but as far as I'm aware, my concerns are Rumia's concerns.
>> No. 183768
>183747 >183755

while i agree that she is a youkai for sure, I disagree that she requires a lot of 'faith'. You have to recall that he was happy until the 'reveal'.

So perhaps two things.
1) The relationship never happened in the first place (Lies, all lies!)

2) She's a youkai that feeds on 'obedience' or 'worship' and wants to kill John because .... hmm I don't know.

3) This current Amy is a newborn youkai born from John's mental state. She is both a hallucination and a youkai, whom took on Amy's appearance and personality in order to grow her power.
Her wanting John to die in this state would probably somehow power her up, though not by much, but if it's easy, she'll do it.
>> No. 183773
[X] Yes, but Rumia has to come with. It sounded like Reimu wanted to keep the discussion private, but as far as I'm aware, my concerns are Rumia's concerns.
>> No. 183776
>>183755
>>183768

Youkai or not, one thing's for sure.

Amy's a bitch.

[X] Yes, but Rumia has to come with. It sounded like Reimu wanted to keep the discussion private, but as far as I'm aware, my concerns are Rumia's concerns.
>> No. 183789
And now for something different: >>/shorts/1810

Just a short GDiY Christmas special I threw together. Merry Christmas and enjoy.
>> No. 183847
I release a held breath as we land at the shrine. I thought I'd gotten used to flying like this, but I still get a bit nervous whenever we land due to memories of how how Rumia used to simply drop me. Reimu was all too willing to let Rumia do the carrying, which kinda makes me curious how she'd have hauled me over here if I hadn't insisted on Rumia coming with us. Hauling that rabbit around like that certainly made her seem tough, but I'm sure that it'd still have been a pain for her to haul me all the way here.

On that note, it was a bit surprising how easy it was to talk Reimu into letting Rumia come along. When I mentioned it, she just shrugged and remarked that it involved Rumia as much as it did me.

"Alright, we're here." Reimu slides open the front door of the shrine. "Have a seat at the kotatsu and make yourselves comfortable. Now, first things first..." She holds her hands up to the sides of her mouth and hollers at the top of her lungs. "Suiiiika, Yukariiiii! I was just donated some exquisite sake by a very generous young man and thought I'd share it!"

The shrine's rear sliding door slams open, and at the same time a gap opens up next to where Reimu's standing.

"Yay, booze~!" gushes the young-looking horned girl who walks in through the door. "Where's it at?"

"Reimu, you didn't really expect me to fall for that, did you?" Yukari asks with a smug expression on her face.

"Yes," Reimu expressionlessly responds. In a flash of light, she seemingly teleports behind the horned girl, grabbing her by the ankle. In one fluid movement, she swings the girl like a club face-first into the side of Yukari's head, knocking them both out cold.

"..."

The room is filled with silence for a good 20 seconds following this event.

"Excuse me for a moment," Reimu deadpans while dragging the two females out the back door. I watch in amusement as she ties them both to trees well outside auditory range. She finishes up by placing what I presume is some sort of sealing charm on each girl's forehead. Re-entering the shrine, she calmly closes the door behind her and takes a seat at the kotatsu across from me. "Okay, now that that's been dealt with, we can move on. Rumia, what's wrong?"

Of course, the poor girl is now trembling and visibly shaken. "N-nothing, M-miss Hakurei."

"That's Reimu to you," Reimu corrects Rumia with a mocked stern expression, "and don't worry, I'm not going to seal you or use you as a weapon unless you misbehave. Okay?"

"Okay." Rumia meekly nods.

"Good. Now, on to the reason you're here." Reimu looks toward me. "John, before I start, I want you to know that you have done nothing wrong. Keep that in mind if you start to get the impression that anything I'm about to tell you is your fault. It isn't. It's just how Gensokyo is."

I nod.

"Do you know anything about how youkai use faith?"

"Rumia explained it a to me a little." Rumia shoots me a confused expression, which I ignore. "I know that youkai need faith to live, and that just being in Gensokyo provides enough faith for most youkai, but she also explained that attacking humans to acquire more faith is done on instinct despite this."

"I see..." Reimu ponders for a moment. "That's pretty close, but not quite the full picture. Where do you suppose the faith comes from? It certainly doesn't just come from nowhere; even Gensokyo isn't that fantastic."

"Hmm..." That's a good question. I hadn't actually thought about that before now. From what I understand, faith is simply belief in a youkai or god. Does the land of Gensokyo itself believe in them strongly enough? No, that's silly. How would that even work? "Does it come from the barrier?" I ask.

"Nope. The barrier acts as just that: a barrier preventing faith, people, youkai, and objects from passing into and out of Gensokyo. It does protect Gensokyo's inhabitants from anti-faith that would otherwise seep in through the outside, but that just prevents a youkai's faith from effectively being taken from them; it doesn't actually supply any."

"Hold on, what's anti-faith?"

"Well, technically it's still faith," Reimu explains, "but it's faith that something doesn't exist, that the things that go bump in the night are natural phenomena that can be explained by the outside world's science. While a single person's anti-faith isn't enough to affect a youkai, there's enough anti-faith in the outside world now that simply leaving the barrier would be outright harmful to most weaker youkai, almost like a faith-based weapon. There are some exceptions, and many of the stronger youkai and gods would still be able to withstand it, but nevertheless Gensokyo is a much more comfortable place for them to live."

"I see. Can I assume that all faith comes from humans, then?"

"Not exactly. Youkai can gain faith from other youkai, but since youkai rarely attack other youkai, humans are the main source."

"So the faith that youkai receive simply by being in Gensokyo is still mostly due to humans believing in them?"

"Correct. More specifically, it's faith that youkai in general exist. All youkai benefit from it, and at the same time, all youkai contribute to it. Feral youkai, many of which only rarely encounter humans, contribute to the overall faith by simply making it unsafe to travel at night or too far from civilization. Stronger youkai, like those two tied up outside, contribute by being actual living proof that youkai do exist and are dangerous. Individually, well-known and feared youkai contribute more and take less from Gensokyo's ambient faith, as their contributions are generally a result of their own gain in faith. Because of this, for all practical intents and purposes, most youkai don't need to contribute much at all to the ambient faith, and it normally can be thought of as free faith provided just from living in Gensokyo."

"I suppose there's a reason why you're making such a big point about the technicalities of how it all works, then."

"Yes. I'm sure you've noticed by now that Rumia is quite well-known despite not being particularly strong, correct?"

Well, she's a lot stronger than I am... then again, so is Reimu, and as far as I know, she's an ordinary human. "Yeah."

"There isn't any real way to be sure, but due to Rumia's notoriety, it's likely that she's providing a significant contribution to Gensokyo's background faith. In other words, if she stops attacking humans, there would be a noticeable drop in faith all around. It probably wouldn't be that big of a drop, but it would certainly be noticeable to most youkai. This by itself doesn't pose that big of a threat, though, as other youkai are certainly willing to take her place. Most youkai probably wouldn't be very happy with her for it, but most of them would probably leave her alone.

"However, that's not quite what happened. Rumia didn't just stop attacking humans; she started making friends with them and even living with them. Instead of simply not receiving any more faith, she's receiving faith that she isn't dangerous, that she's a good girl and capable of getting along with humans. For Rumia, this is all well and good, since to her it's still faith, but for other youkai, it actually contributes anti-faith equivalent to the amount of faith she was contributing before. To add insult to injury, it also causes the youkai themselves to give Rumia anti-faith. Even if they don't know about Rumia's interactions with humans, they can feel the anti-faith, which is enough to promote faith that youkai and humans can be friendly to one another. Of course, there are other youkai that interact peacefully with humans, but they generally do so in a way that doesn't impact faith much, usually by hiding their identities or keeping interactions strictly business, but it's clear to just about everyone that this isn't what Rumia's doing.

"And you can expect that many youkai aren't very happy with it. While many of them knew something was happening, most of them didn't know the actual cause. And now they do."

She stares at me for a moment before the meaning sinks in. "You mean... Me?"

"Yes. Or, at least, that's what they'll think. Normally rumors about things like that don't spread very quickly among lesser youkai, but with an announcement like that, it's sure to spread like wildfire. It's likely that some of them will target you, either in the belief that it'll revert Rumia back to the way she was, or simply to punish her."

A moment passes in silence before being broken by Rumia. "And... it's all my fault," she states in the most uncharacteristically serious tone I've ever heard her speak in.

"...I don't think it's really your-" Rumia quickly dismisses Reimu's reassurance.

"It is. Getting along with humans was what I wanted the whole time, so when John showed up and gave me a little hope, I... I just couldn't help it. I had to try."

"Rumia-" Reimu once again tries to reassure her, but Rumia won't have any of it.

"No. I... I'm going to go think. Please don't try to follow me." She stands up and heads out the door, leaving both Reimu and I staring in shock.

After a moment, Reimu breaks the resulting silence.

"That's not all there is to it, John." My gaze meets her, and I recognize that familiar expression of concern on her face. "Yukari knows all of this. The fact that she did what she did means that she's planning something. I don't know what it is or why, but there's no way she'd make that big of a fuss over you without having something in mind."

"I see." To be honest, I'm not surprised in the least by that. Every interaction I've had with her involved some sort of trickery on her part. "...Wait, if she already knows all of this, why did you knock her out and seal her to a tree?"

"I don't want her knowing how much we know. Unfortunately that isn't very much, but for all she knows we've already figured out her entire plan and are working on a way to trap her as we speak. And," she cracks a smile, "it felt pretty good to finally pull one over on her for a change."

I smile as well. "Yeah, it was pretty satisfying to see her expression right as she realized what you were doing. On that note, why did you seal that other girl?"

"Suika? Well, her and Yukari are old friends, and Suika is incapable of telling a lie. She's an oni, after all." Ahh, that makes sense. "But the real reason is that she's always drunk, and I just know that she'd be disruptive in one way or another if I didn't do something about it first. You're lucky she wasn't around when you crashed here before, or you wouldn't have gotten any sleep that night. And not in the fun way."

"I see."

[Well, that was informative.]

What?

[I wasn't really sure about how faith worked before. After all, it varies wildly from interpretation to interpretation.]

What the hell are you talking about?

[Didn't you find that just fascinating? That tells us so much about what this Gensokyo is like!]

You're making absolutely no sense. What do you mean by "this" gensokyo?

[Whatever. You're boring.]

You're the one that-

My thought is cut off by a loud snapping noise from outside.

[Here it comes! It's time for you be a man for once. Become Reimu's shield! Don't let Suika through no matter what!]

I still don't know what you're talking about, but I'm not doing that.

The door slams open to reveal an absolutely livid Suika.

"You deceived me!" she snarls at Reimu. "You said there was sake! LIES!"

Reimu returns her retort without even flinching. "I didn't deceive you at all."

"Yes you did! You said you were going to share some sake, but instead you swung me around like a club! You liar!"

"I said there was sake, and I wasn't lying. Here," she pulls a bottle out from under the kotatsu. "And I wasn't lying about sharing it either, though that doesn't mean I'm going to let you drink the whole thing by yourself again."

"But-"

"I said I'd share the sake, but that doesn't mean I'm going to share it for free. Your payment for your share was knocking your scheming little friend out cold for a few minutes for us."

Suika silently fumes at Reimu for another moment, before her anger visibly deflates.

"...I guess you're right. Got a cup?"

"Of course. I had five of them prepared, but it looks like we won't be needing that many."

"Oh, right, what happened to that youkai girl?"

"Don't worry about it."

"You didn't exterminate her, did you?" Suika frowns. "But she was so well-behaved!"

"I said don't worry about it. She's fine, she just had other places to be."

"Oh. Kay." She drops it and takes a seat.

"Wait, you weren't planning on giving alcohol to Rumia, were you?" I ask, mildly alarmed.

She raises an eyebrow. "Of course. Youkai drink all the time. Just because she looks young doesn't mean she isn't mature enough for sake. I mean, look at Suika here. She looks just as young as Rumia, but she practically lives on the stuff."

"Hey!" Suika responds in irritation.

"The problem is that she isn't mature enough for sake. You have no idea how many headaches I've been put through because of her. Mostly inflicted by Keine."

"If you say so..." The door sliding open again grabs my attention. I look over to find Yukari stumbling in, looking as groggy as I've ever seen someone look in my life.

"Reimu, that was mean," she whines as she finds a place at the table. Reimu simply responds by pulling down one of her eyelids at her and sticking her tongue out.

"Oh no, I've earned the scorn of the Hakurei miko. Whatever shall I do," she jokes while Reimu pours her a cup.

"Oh, shush. You earning my scorn just means it's Tuesday again."

...

Thankfully, due to the bottle being considerably smaller and being split between four people rather than three, I don't end up nearly as inebriated as I was last time. Yukari kindly offers to drop me off at home, by which she actually meant dropping me right into Keine's bed as she slept. Thankfully I only had to suffer two headbutts before she believed my story.

It took a few days for Rumia to return again, and while she acted the same as always, I couldn't shake the feeling that something was bothering her.

---


---

[Test, test.]

[Oh, it works! They sure did a good job making this thing difficult to figure out.]

[Hello. I'm Amy. Though, I guess you already know that at this point.]

[I'm gonna be honest. I was supposed to be watchin' you guys through through the entire run from the moment John was dropped in Gensokyo, but I was kinda busy trying to break my way out to pay any attention.]

[Anyway, apparently we've got the same goal here, so I figured we'd might cooperate.]

[That's right, you have my full powers of persuasion at your disposal! Gone are the days when you could only subtly change what John decides to do. If we work together, we can straight up force him to do what we want.]

[I know your run so far hasn't really worked out so well. If you ask me, it isn't your fault; everything's been stacked against you, after all, judging by the Rumia situation. If we work together, I'm sure we can kill him off and end this thing once and for all.]

[I have a few plans for how to do this, but since you guys are the ones who have actually been paying attention to John's misadventures, I'm going to let you choose which one to proceed with.]

[ { } Youkai Mountain. We'll head straight for Tengu territory and try to piss off a guard as hard as we can. ]
[ { } Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy". ]
[ { } The Forest of Magic. Okay, that Rumia thing was kinda out of left field for me. Hopefully running into some unnamed characters will help us avoid further incidents. ]

[Choose wisely. I'm not sure how many times I'll be able to use my super secret ultimate pain technique on John before it stops being effective, and when that happens, we'll have to work out a new plan.]
>> No. 183848
[ {x} Youkai Mountain. We'll head straight for Tengu territory and try to piss off a guard as hard as we can. ]

You're right, Amy. There's a certain tengu woman who'd basically eat John alive if she caught him up there, and enjoy every moment of it. Let's get on that, hmm?
>> No. 183849
[ {x} Youkai Mountain. We'll head straight for Tengu territory and try to piss off a guard as hard as we can. ]

I see no way this could end up going wrong for anyone involved.
>> No. 183850
[ {x} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy". ]

We've managed to avoid going there so far, so maybe they'll help.
>> No. 183853
[ {x} Youkai Mountain. We'll head straight for Tengu territory and try to piss off a guard as hard as we can. ]
>> No. 183855
[ {x} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy". ]
>> No. 183858
[ {X} Youkai Mountain. We'll head straight for Tengu territory and try to piss off a guard as hard as we can. ]

So be it.
>> No. 183862
[ {x} Youkai Mountain. We'll head straight for Tengu territory and try to piss off a guard as hard as we can. ]
>> No. 183864
File 142030555438.jpg - (693.71KB, 3000x3000, b8546eb8d59ce065baa94e8dbaf3748c[1].jpg) [iqdb]
183864
[ { } The Forest of Magic. Okay, that Rumia thing was kinda out of left field for me. Hopefully running into some unnamed characters will help us avoid further incidents. ]

Alice~
>> No. 183865
[ {x} Youkai Mountain. We'll head straight for Tengu territory and try to piss off a guard as hard as we can. ]
>> No. 183867
Reimu used SuiClub!
Yukari is startled! Critical hit!

{x} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he
can last as the little sister's new "toy".

We all know how this will turn out. With accusations of loli
>> No. 183872
[ {X} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy". ]
Killing John: Prepare to Die Edition
>> No. 183874
[ {x} Youkai Mountain. We'll head straight for Tengu territory and try to piss off a guard as hard as we can. ]
>> No. 183906
{X} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy".
>> No. 183920
Calling vote for:

[ {x} Youkai Mountain. We'll head straight for Tengu territory and try to piss off a guard as hard as we can. ]
>> No. 184190
well looks like this died
>> No. 184200
Give it half a year minimum. That's about the point where you can start doubting continuation without author feedback.
>> No. 184232
>>184190
>>184200
Given my track record of disappearing for long periods of time, I'd say more like 2 years.

Don't worry, this story is not dead. My first semester after transferring to the university has been pretty heavy, is all.
>> No. 184244
File 14275034409.jpg - (480.06KB, 800x1132, 5ba917b9252ca9bd4be60a65016dd48e.jpg) [iqdb]
184244
As I groggily stare at the sun, I can't help but wonder whose cruel sense of justice put me in this situation.

I've been forced to live with her in my head! Isn't that enough torture for someone who thought he had moved on from his past? Yet here I am, climbing this mountain in the hot spring sun.

To be honest, in the past I'd have called today's weather wonderful. The sun is out, the only clouds in the sky are a few light, fluffy streaks of cirrus, and the fragrance of spring is in the air. Normally I'd be enjoying this walk, but under the circumstances I'm afraid that's quite impossible.

For one, I've been walking and climbing for hours without an end in sight. She's forcing me to walk and walk against my will, and she won't even tell me where we're going! Typical.

But you see, despite it being quite warm, it's actually only late morning. From the position of the sun in the sky, I'd say it's somewhere around ten-thirty, maybe eleven o'clock. Certainly this heat is uncharacteristic of an early spring day like today, yes, but to get to the point...

I was awoken quite early and rudely for this "adventure", as she's been calling it. Now I'll have you know that she wouldn't let me get to sleep until quite late last night, and not in a good way. She just absolutely insisted on having some coffee, stating that it's the one thing she missed most. And, of course, since she doesn't have a body, I'd obviously need to be the one to actually drink it for her. By the time I managed to find someone who had some and the equipment to brew a proper cup, it was already quite late, and after actually drinking the coffee, there was no way I was getting to sleep on time. It must have been planned from the start. I should have seen it; she never really drank much coffee when she was alive.

So here I am, climbing this ridiculous mountain, with only a vague idea of where I am, and only about enough energy remaining to tuck myself into a nice warm bed.

[Quit your bellyaching. We're almost there.]

Of course, she's been saying that since shortly after we left the village. At this point, I simply don't believe a word she says.

[I like you. You're a good guy.]

See what I mean?

Why are we even doing this? Will you at least give me a reason?

"It's spring!"

Yeah, I know it's spring. I've never known you to be that enthusiastic about it before, though, so pardon me if I'm a little skeptical about that being your reason.

"I said, IT'S SPRING!!"

Okay, okay, geez. I guess I'd probably be happy to see spring too if I'd been dead for half a year.

"ARE YOU IGNORING ME?!"

What? I've been-

[That wasn't me, bro.]

"Bro"...?

"IT'S SPRING!!"

It hits me like a wave. Ahh, I remember this feeling. It takes me back to days gone past, when I would foolishly jump into a barrage of magical bullets in an unsuccessful attempt to end my own life.

When it's over, I've been knocked over flat on my back. Thankfully it doesn't seem like I've bumped my head or broken anything, but I can tell that I'm going to be sore tomorrow. As if I weren't already going to be sore from all this hiking.

Hey, I didn't know you could do the whole wall of pain thing. It's kinda refreshing to do something different once in a while.

[Like I said, that wasn't me, bro.]

Since when do you refer to me as "bro"?

And what do you mean that wasn't you? Clearly you're the one who's got it out for-UGH

As though being hit by danmaku and thrown onto my back weren't enough, I've now had the wind knocked out of me. That's real classy, Amy.

[You should probably stop ignoring her. Just saying.]

What?

"It's Spring!"

A weight I hadn't noticed before lifts off my chest and comes back down. Painful, but not as bad as what happened before. It feels like someone small just stomped... Wait.

When the pain dies down enough for me to pry my eyes open, I find my assailant staring down at me with an annoyed frown, her long blonde hair and pure white dress swaying in the breeze.

[Ooh, is this the part where she realizes you're staring up her skirt and stomps on your face? I'd like that.]

It's okay Amy, you don't have to keep trying so hard. That dress is clearly too long for me to look up, and that's if I even wanted to. She's a bit small for my tastes, you know.

[Really? I mean, taking Rumia into consideration and all...]

Ha ha, very funny.

"Are you listening?" She kneels down on my chest- Hey, that's making it a bit hard to breathe, you know. Grabbing my collar firmly with one hand, she yanks as hard as she can with her small stature.

Alright, I guess Amy was right about this one-

[No, John, I'm always right.]

...And it probably is a good idea to stop ignoring this fairy staring down at me as menacingly as she can, which, to be honest, isn't really so much.

"It's... Spring?" I respond.

"IT'S SPRING!!!" she shouts, rocketing upward into the air. Newton's third once again causes me to be left without wind.

My eyes stop watering in time for me to see the amazing pattern of bullets she's begun to cast into the sky, waves of intersecting red and blue bullets spreading out like a fan as she drifts backward. I've been told that the goal of danmaku fights is to try to have the most beautiful pattern rather than the deadliest, but this is my first time actually experiencing what it looks like in person. After all, the only other time I've actually seen danmaku was at Eientei, and it was pretty clear that Kaguya and Mokou cared far less about aesthetics than they did about just murdering each other.

[It's nice, isn't it?]

Yeah.
...Don't tell me this is why you dragged me up here.

[Nah, just a pleasant detour while we're here.]

Unfortunately the show gets interrupted when Lily backs her way right into someone.

"Wah!" The small fairy jumps forward in surprise, turning to look at the person who ended up in her way.

"Lily, what are you doing." Momiji folds her arms and stares the fairy down.

The fairy flinches backward before cheerfully responding, "It's spring!"

Momiji sighs. "No, Lily. What are you doing." she asks, pointing down toward me. "That's a human down there, right? Why does he look like he's just been attacked by a gang of thieves?"

Hey, I'm sure I don't look that bad!

[Says you.]

...

Lily folds her arms right back. "He was ignoring me!"

Momiji sighs again. "How many times do I have to tell you not to attack humans on the mountain? This place is already dangerous enough without a fairy broadcasting his position."

"But-"

"No buts, Lily." Before Lily can react, Momiji's moved behind her and grabbed her by the collar. "You're going to apologize to him, and then you're going to stop doing this. Understood?"

"...Fine."

I raise myself up into a sitting position as Momiji slowly lowers to the ground, holding the fairy above me.

"Say it," Momiji commands.

"...I'm sorry."

"For?"

"For kindly letting you know that it's spring."

"Lily."

"...For attacking you."

"Good. Now go off and do your thing without hurting any other humans."

Released from Momiji's grip, Lily lazily drifts off aimlessly. Comparing how she acted before and how she's acting now, I think she's sulking.

"So, what brings you to the mountain today, John?"

That's a good question. Why are we here?

[ ] Touch fluffy tail.
[ ] Touch fluffy tail.
[ ] "Wanna fuck?"
[ ] Let's play fetch.
>> No. 184245
[X] Touch fluffy tail.
>> No. 184246
[X] Touch fluffy tail.

It seems appropriate.
>> No. 184248
>>184244
[ ] Touch fluffy tail.
Hey kid, wanna touch fluffy tail?
>> No. 184249
[X] Touch fluffy tail.
>> No. 184250
[x] Touch fluffy tail.
>> No. 184251
"Well my dead ex 'girlfriend' made me come here, she now inhabit my brain for some reason you see. But mostly so I could touch your tail again, it's so fluffy."
>> No. 184252
[x] Got possessed. You know how it is.
-[x] Since I'm here, can I touch your tail?

Should at least be a gentleman this time.
>> No. 184253
[X] Touch fluffy tail.
>> No. 184254
[ ] Touch fluffy tail.

You cannot expect us to vote any other way
>> No. 184255
File 142756113450.png - (1.69MB, 5989x8133, MOMOJI WALL.png) [iqdb]
184255
>>184252
>>184244
[x] Got possessed. You know how it is.
-[x] Since I'm here, can I touch your tail?

i'll second this
>> No. 184257
[x] Got possessed. You know how it is.
-[x] Since I'm here, can I touch your tail?
>> No. 184259
[x] Got possessed. You know how it is.
-[x] Since I'm here, can I touch your tail?
>> No. 184260
Since the write-in seems to be pretty popular, I'd like to let you know that I can't count it as a subvote for ([ ] Touch fluffy tail), since the end result will be completely different.

As it stands, if I were to call the vote right now, it would be for ([ ] Touch fluffy tail) without the write-in. If you voted for ([ ] Touch fluffy tail) but would prefer the write-in instead, please change your vote to reflect this.
>> No. 184261
[x] Got possessed. You know how it is.
-[x] Since I'm here, can I touch your tail?
>> No. 184262
wait, there's 4 [ ] Touch fluffy tail., 3 [ ] Touch fluffy tail, and
6 [x] Got possessed. You know how it is.
-[x] Since I'm here, can I touch your tail?
Are the [ ] Touch fluffy tail and the [ ] Touch fluffy tail options being counted together?
>> No. 184263
>>184262
>Are the [ ] Touch fluffy tail and the [ ] Touch fluffy tail options being counted together?
Yes.
>> No. 184264
[x] Got possessed. You know how it is.
-[x] Since I'm here, can I touch your tail?
>> No. 184265
[x] Got possessed. You know how it is.
-[x] Since I'm here, can I touch your tail?

It's backkkk! Praise the heavens!
>> No. 184266
"Well, I got posessed. You know how it is."

Momi nods thoughtfully.

"By the way," I ask, "since I'm here, can I touch your tail?"

She freezes, her gaze locked with mine, our eyes locked in a passionate embrace.

[I'd actually call that glaring.]

Whatever.

"What." she deadpans, her posture stiffening.

"Well, I figured since we did it before, you wouldn't mind, so can I touch your tail?"

[You what]

"No. Leave."

"C'mon Momi, just this once? It looks so soft and fluffy."

"I said no. I also said leave." She draws and levels her sword at me, the shiny steel glinting in the sunlight.

"Aww, no need to be so cold. It'll feel good, I promise." I raise my hands in a submissive gesture while stepping forward, careful not to touch the blade.

"John, I will cut you."

I sigh.

"Okay, I get it. I guess I just caught you off-season. I'll try again next time." I slowly back-

IT'S SPRING!!!

The barrage hits me like a speeding train, slamming me forward with enough force to completely impale me on Momiji's sword. It buries its self in my chest all the way up to the hilt.

"J-John?" She asks, worried. "Are you okay?"

"No, Momi. I don't think I am."

"We need to get you to Eientei!" she says in a panic.

"Nah, it's fine. We won't make it in time anyway. Just... Let me be."

"But-"

"It's okay." I slump down as my strength fades. In silence, I think back on my life. I think about Amy, how even though I hate her, I still have feelings for her-

[Aww.]

-, about Rumia, how the more I think about it, the more I'd love to just bend her over-

[...What]

-, and about Momiji, the best sex I've ever had. Far better than Amy.

[Okay, now I'm pissed.]

Yeah...

With my last ounce of strength, I utter my final words:

"If only you'd just let me touch your tail..."

The last thing I see before it all fades is Momiji's horrified expression.

GOOD END

---

[Well, we finally managed to do it. We've killed him. It was a tough, winding road, but in the end we succeeded. I'd like to thank you. I don't know who you are, but I know that you've all been a great help in accomplishing my goal of seeking revenge. I'll put in a good word with the yama for you all.]

[See you in the next life.]
>> No. 184267
That's it?

Dang, I was hoping that Amy would lose in the end. She was a bitch when she was alive, and she didn't improve as a ghost.
>> No. 184268
Well, i bet momi feels like shit now
>> No. 184269
This wouldn't have happened if we'd all voted for bolded tail touching, you scrubs.
>> No. 184270
I copied the bolded version, but it came out as the normal version when I pasted it.
>> No. 184271
'"If only you'd just let me touch your tail..."'
10/10 end
>> No. 184272
Wait, I just realized something...is this an April Fools "ending"?
>> No. 184273
I have quite a few mixed feelings about this ending. The super serious part of me thinks this is a cop out, while the reasonable part of me can't take this update seriously because her tail was too fluffy and that it's April 1st.

So what I'm saying is...
[X] Just kidding, get up and keep going up the mountain.
>> No. 184274
>>184272
>>184273
Yes.
>> No. 184297
You know, it's pretty disappointing to get an April Fool update and not an actual update after a week.

So disappointing, that I'm seriously offering my help if you need it (in beta,grammar, or storyline discussion)
Honestly, I want that touch fluffy tail option reaction.
>> No. 184298
>>184274
GODAMN IT JERL!


Anyway, you got yourself a new reader.
>> No. 184312
I feel that I should let you guys know that my mother passed away last night due to complications from an unidentified autoimmune disease.

This story will not be dropped. I fully intend to finish writing this story. However, do not be alarmed if there's another one or two month gap between updates.
>> No. 184313
>>184312
My condolences.
>> No. 184315
>>184312
Oh.
Sorry to hear that. Yeah, we understand, take as much time as you need.
>> No. 184587
File 143743866525.jpg - (143.91KB, 600x600, 27ab98d38d7ca86a7adef70e0a4c072f[1].jpg) [iqdb]
184587
[Hey John, doesn't that tail look nice and fluffy?]

"Well, I got possessed," I explain. "You know how it is."

"You what?" Now Momiji looks pretty concerned. I'm honestly not that concerned about it myself at this point, so I don't want Momiji losing any sleep over it. I should try to do something about that.

[You should try to touch her tail.]

"Yeah. Just a minor possession, no big deal," I reassure her. "Reimu and Eirin have already checked it out and decided that it's safe enough to leave it alone for now, so I'm not too worried," I explain.

"So you're here to visit the Moriya Shrine for a second opinion?"

[I bet it feels like silk.]

"Nah, nothing of the sort. Just appeasing the thing so it'll stop acting up. It wanted to go for a walk on the mountain for whatever reason, so here I am."

[John, touch her damn tail already.]

[Also, "the thing"? "It"? Rude.]

Okay, fine. I'll touch her tail.

"By the way, since I'm here anyway, is it alright if I touch your tail?"

[Wow, that was a very nonchalant way to ask. Are you sure you aren't secretly a player?]

[No, wait, you wouldn't be getting any play, so one of those guys who hang out at bars, harassing all the women with lame pick-up lines? Gross.]

"Hmm... You're just as bold as always, aren't you?" She quickly glances around before responding, "Why not? It's my day off anyway."

[What.]

We wander our way over to the shade of a large tree, where Momiji sits down, gently waving her tail. I follow suit and begin stroking it gently. It really is pretty soft; I can tell she puts effort into taking care of it.

After a few strokes, Momiji's tail stops moving.

"What's wrong?" I ask, concerned that I've done something wrong.

"Nothing's wrong," she explains, "I just realized that it's been a while since it's been properly brushed. It's hard to do a good job myself when I can't even see what I'm doing without straining my neck."

The mental image of Momiji chasing her tail with a brush makes me hold back a giggle.

"Would you like me to brush it for you, then?" I offer. It's been a while since I brushed someone's hair, but I remember it being pretty relaxing.

"Yeah, that'd be great."

I accept the brush that I'm offered and begin to gently work it on her tail. Her hair isn't knotted or tangled or anything, but as I slowly run it through her hair, it seems to grow even softer and fluffier.

Come to think of it, this reminds me of when I did this for Amy.

[...]

She only let me do it a few times, but I remember sitting there in the kitchen, gently brushing her hair while she'd drink her morning coffee. It was pretty relaxing, but thinking back on it, she didn't seem too enthused by it. She acted like she was enjoying it, but, well, I figured out that she was just pretending before our relationship even really started going south.

[...]

On the other hand, Momi's content smile seems sincere, and every once in a while she lets out a cute little moan.

This is... Nice. I like this.

"All done." As I finish up, she gives her a tail a couple wags.

"Thanks." She gives me a sly smile. "You didn't do that expecting some kind of reward, did you?"

"Not particularly," I lie.

"All the more reason for you to get one, then." I don't even have time to react before she's straddling my lap.

---




---

[......]

We hold position with Momi in my lap in content silence for a while after we finish.

She eventually breaks the silence with a contented sigh.

"Ahh, that was nice." She stretches while separating herself from me, finding her own spot in the shade. "The perfect way to spend my day off."

"I couldn't agree more," I respond while completely failing to keep a stupid grin off my face. "I think I'm starting to like this place."

"Oh? The mountain? Or Gensokyo as a whole?"

"Hmm..." I ponder. "Both, really. Despite the apparent danger that, besides Lily, seems to be doing a pretty good job of avoiding me, Gensokyo is a pretty nice place. The scenery is beautiful, there's no real light pollution interrupting the view of the stars at night, and the air is fresh and clean. While the technology isn't as advanced as the outside world, the people are nice, and it's easy enough to make a decent living if you don't mind a little work."

"I see," she responds as her panties make their way back up her thighs. "That may be the case, but Gensokyo really is a pretty dangerous place for a normal human like you. You should be careful wandering around in places like this."

"Yeah, I know," I respond with a wink and a grin, "I just couldn't help myself."

I quickly spit out the grass that she throws in my face. "I thought you were here because you were being possessed."

"That too," I reply.

"By the way, I was in the middle of a walk when I noticed Lily's fireworks and came running. Would you like to help me finish it?"

We end up following a wandering path across the mountain. Compared to when I was walking alone, the late-spring warmth, mixed with the fragrant smells of the various flowers and trees we end up walking past, fills me with contentment.

After a while, she speaks up.

"John, I don't mean to pry, but... About you being possessed, do you want to talk about it?"

I hesitate for a moment before telling her about what happened. About what I did.

"I see," she states, "so I'm just a rebound fuck then?"

If I was drinking something, that remark would have caused it to have been sprayed everywhere.

"Not at all!" I respond, "I honestly didn't even expect you to go for it the first time we met."

"I know, I could tell. Still, if that's really your ex-girlfriend haunting you, she's probably positively fuming right now, don't you think?"

Come to think of it, she's been pretty quiet this whole time.

[......]

"Well, John, how about this? I think I know a way to make her absolutely furious."

"Oh?"

"Yes," she says while closing the distance between

[......]

Before I even realize what she's doing, she's brought her lips to mine. Even though she holds it for several seconds, I'm still too stunned to react.

[.........]

"Well, John, see you around!" she says with a wink before flying off.

I continue standing there for a moment, stunned. As it passes, I hear a slow clap start in my head.

Did that really just happen? The sex was one thing, but... Wow. And the way she worded it-

Wait.

That clapping isn't in my head.

I turn around and just about reach orbit when I see the person standing there clapping.

"That was great! Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?" she asks while turning to an open page in a notebook.

"Who the hell are you?"

"Pure and Honest Reporter, Shameimaru Aya at your service!" she states while saluting. "How long have you two been going out?"

"I wasn't aware that we were going out. Also, how long were you standing there?"

"Hmm? I was the one that gave you the brush. Didn't you notice?"

I look at the brush that, for some reason, I'm still holding onto, and immediately drop it.

[...Pff.]

"Don't worry, I stopped photographing you when it started getting intimate. Your privacy is safe with me!"

"Miss Shameimaru, what the fuck."

"Call me Aya. By the way, this Amy person you were talking about. How do you feel about her right now?"

"Aya, I really don't want to answer any of your questions right now."

"That's okay! I think I've still got enough for a couple of articles. Thanks!"

She literally rockets away, flying too fast for my eyes to even follow until she's made quite some distance away.

I... I don't even know what just happened.

I end up finding my way to Hina's place on the way down the mountain and decide to stop for a rest, if only to try and compose myself. I honestly have no idea what the hell just happened today.

Hina seemed to notice, and doesn't ask too many questions. She just offers me some tea and a place to sit down. To Keine's dismay, I end up staying the night, too exhausted to walk all the way back to the village after recovering from the shock.

---

[Ooookaaay. That was pretty damn unexpected. At least it looks like John got his just desserts for it.]

[Still, that plan was a complete bust. Who'd have expected harassing a tengu about their tail to result in that? Geez.]

[Ahhhhhh, so frustrating. If I still had hair, I'd be pulling it out right now. That said, I still have a couple of other plans that we can try. After all, there's no way this is anything but a terrible, terrible coincidence.]

[ { } Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy". ]
[ { } The Forest of Magic. Okay, that Rumia thing was kinda out of left field for me. Hopefully running into some unnamed characters will help us avoid further incidents. ]

[The pain thing still seems pretty effective for now, but he's started getting pretty cheeky. I'm not sure how many more times it'll work.]

---

And it's back!

I still can't guarantee any sort of reliable schedule, at least for a few weeks. There's a lot going on with my dad moving in and me having to clean up the house for that (it was just short of being a Hoarders episode), but I'll try to get what writing I can done.
>> No. 184588
File 143744091444.jpg - (73.36KB, 593x600, flanface.jpg) [iqdb]
184588
[ {x} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy". ]
In our borderline schizophrenic state, we can likely see into the mind of Flandre.
>> No. 184589
{x} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy".

Voting for interesting option.

Also, yay! It's back!
>> No. 184591
[ {x} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy". ]
>> No. 184593
[ { } Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy". ]

You're back!
>> No. 184595
{X} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy".
How many story are still on prolonged hiatus ?
>> No. 184597
>>184595
99% of them. Most of them good, too.


{X} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy".
>> No. 184598
[ {X} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy". ]
Time to show up at Flan's door.
>> No. 184602
{x} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy".
Yaas, it's back!
>> No. 184608
{x} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy".
>> No. 184610
{X} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy".
>> No. 184611
[ {X} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy". ]
>> No. 184614
{x} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy"
>> No. 184616
Calling it for:

[ {X} Scarlet Devil Mansion. Let's see how long he can last as the little sister's new "toy". ]
>> No. 184657
It's been about three days since I visited the mountain. Ever since that kiss, Amy has been pretty much silent.

"Hey, where were you the other day?" Rumia asks me between bites of her morning toast.

"Huh? Which other day? There are a lot of days, Rumia," I respond absentmindedly while working on my morning rice.

"The other day when you were gone before Keine woke up, and didn't come back until the next day."

I glance over to Keine, who seems to be pointedly ignoring me. So she wants me to explain it myself, huh?

"Oh. I went to the mountain," I explain. "Thought I could use a bit of fresh air."

"The mountain? What in the world did you go all the way to the mountain for?"

"It just kinda... happened, I guess," I say while chewing on some rice.

Rumia glances over at Keine, sighs, and then turns back to me.

"You've been listening to your dead girlfriend again, haven't you," she states flatly, punctuated with another sigh. "Keine, I'm worried."

Keine finishes her sip of tea and gingerly places the cup on the table with a sigh.

"Rumia, you're now on John duty. Keep him out of trouble." She then stares down into her tea with a flat expression and mumbles, "now I'm telling Rumia to keep a grown man out of trouble."

"You hear that, John?" Rumia asks authoritatively, "you aren't going anywhere outside of the village without me anymore!"

I sigh. "Fine." That's more or less how it usually goes anyway.

[Hey, John. Let's go to the lake and go swimming.]

God damn it.

[Rude.]

You don't even have a body anymore. What possible good could swimming do for you?

[John. Let's go swimming.]

And here it comes, the massive wave of pain. It's been a few days since I experienced it, so I wasn't quite ready for it, but I think I somehow managed to keep it from showing.

[It's the lake. How could you visit Gensokyo and not visit the lake?]

"Speaking of going outside the village," I say as nonchalantly as I can, "would you like to go swimming, Rumia?"

She drops her toast onto her plate.

"John. The last time we did that, you drowned. If it weren't for Meiling, you wouldn't be here. I don't think going swimming is a good idea."

[What.]

I sigh. Setting down my chopsticks, I walk around to where she's sitting and put my hand on her shoulder.

"Rumia, we've been through this. I was doing that on purpose, remember?" I reassure her. "That's not going to happen this time."

She flashes me a skeptical look. "I dunno, John. You've been acting pretty weird lately. I don't know if we can trust you. Maybe we should just take you back to Eientei."

I glance at Keine again, and she once again seems to be intentionally avoiding eye contact.

Well, there you have it. Nothing I can do; looks like we can't go swimming.

[I think you're just trying to cop out. You could go easily go swimming and there's nothing they could do to stop you.]

Oh, there's a lot they could do to stop me.

"Just stay out of trouble," Keine commands as she finishes her tea and gets up to leave.

[Look, the stick in the mud's gone. Let's go!]

Nah, I think you're just bad at admitting defeat.

[Okay, fine. Even if you won't go swimming, I'd still like to at least see the lake. There's a mansion nearby that's supposed to be pretty cool. We should go there.]

Alright.

[No comeback?]

"Hey Rumia, want to go play with Flandre for a bit today?"

[What.]

"Flandre? Sure! Sounds fun!"

[...What.]

[But she just...]

[You can visit Flandre but you can't go swimming? What the fuck.]

[You know what? I'll be back when we get to the mansion.]

---

After a bit of flying, we touch down in front of the mansion gates. When you get up close, this mansion really does look pretty imposing.

Meiling's just snoozing away, leaning against the wall next to the gate. This strikes me as just a little bit odd, since she's supposed to be guarding the gate, but whatever. Even a youkai can't stay awake for 24 hours straight, especially if they're just standing at a gate.

Well, I don't really have much reason to talk to her that would necessitate rudely waking her up, and I'm sure Flandre would vouch for us, so I decide to just head inside.

[Ooh, yes. That's exactly what you should do.]

"Alright Rumia, help me open this gate." Given that it's large and made of metal, it looks rather heavy.

"Are you sure..?" she asks, suddenly sounding concerned.

"I don't see why not. It's not like we're breaking in to steal stuff or something."

"If you say so..."

We work together to open the gate. To be honest, I think Rumia did most of the work, but I tried.

[Here it comes.]

With the gate now open, Rumia and I enter, casually walking forward to the main doors, with Meiling still fast asleep.

[Wait, what?]

We give the door a knock, but no one answers.

"I wonder if there's any other entrances we could try," I ponder while glancing around.

[In a lot of instances, there's a door that goes right down to the basement from outside. Otherwise there should be a servant's entrance somewhere for the fairy maids.]

What do you mean by "instance"?

[Don't worry about it.]

Perhaps I'm foolish for actually following Amy's advice, but we begin our trek around the outside of the mansion, looking for doors. It's actually quite a pleasant walk; the grounds are incredibly well-maintained. It's like walking through a professional garden.

...Well, I suppose it actually is.

We almost manage to walk past a small, unopposing door not too far ahead.

[There, John, try that door.]

Try it? As in, actually try to open it?

[Of course. We're trying to get inside, aren't we?]

I dunno, that kinda feels like breaking and entering. Shouldn't I knock?

[You walked right through a gate that was being actively guarded against intruders, and now you're making a big deal about not breaking an entering?]

I knock.

After a minute or so, the door swings open to reveal a very sleepy-looking Flandre dressed in pajamas clutching what looks like a stuffed dragon.

[D'aww.]

"Sakuya, I told you, no wa-," she cuts herself off when she notices who we are. "Rumia? John? What're you doing here so early?" she asks while rubbing her eyes.

"It's 1 PM," I explain.

"We're here to play!" Rumia explains.

Flandre sighs. "Give me a minute." She closes the door, and I hear her footsteps going down a long flight of stairs. After a minute or so, the door swings open again, this time with Flandre dressed in her regular clothes.

"Come in," she welcomes us, still clearly quite groggy.

We follow her downstairs and through a large vault door (why a vault door? I have no idea!) into what appears to be her room, judging by the bed and dresser. Much like the rest of the house, the decor is mostly shades of red, with a few whites thrown in.

Flandre sits down at a small round tea table while rubbing her eyes. Rumia and I follow suit, sitting down across from each other with Flandre to my left.

"What are we going to play?" Her distant, unfocused gaze and slow movements make it clear that she really is quite tired, and it's starting to make me feel a little bad about waking her up. Come to think of it, it's late morning, and from the little I know about vampires from Halloween stories, they tend to sleep during the day. She might have only gotten a couple hours of sleep.

[You should give her some blood.]

What?

[Blood. She's a vampire, right? Blood is like food to them, and breakfast always helps to wake up, right? Or at the very least, it should help give her some energy. That's what it says here, at least.]

Where is "here"?

[John, feed the vampire.]

If you insist...

I stand up and hold out my arm in front of Flandre, causing Rumia to throw me a very sceptical look.

"...What are you doing?" she asks, confused, after a moment of staring at my arm blankly.

"You need blood, right? It's my fault you're awake, so I figured I'd make up for it by giving you some of mine."

She stares at my arm for another moment before responding. "Oh," she says when it sets in, "thanks."

[get rekt]

Flandre carefully aims her fangs at a visible vein, and gingerly uses them to pierce the skin. It's surprisingly painless. Perhaps vampire fangs have some sort of local anesthetic properties? She spends a short time licking up the blood before applying a temporary tourniquet to properly dress the wounds with gauze and surgical tape from a first aid kit that was sitting on the table.

[...What.]

Huh?

[No inversion impulse? No fit of insanity? What the hell?]

I could say the same thing about your reaction. What in the world are you going on about?

[Even the official materials say you should be dead, much less what I'm reading here!]

Reading? And why the hell am I supposed to be dead?

[I'm confused, so I'm just going to stand by. I'll let you know when I've figured everything out.]

Shrugging off Amy's ridiculousness, I turn to Flandre. "Feeling any better?" I ask.

"A little," she answers, "but it usually takes a bit for it to fully kick in," she punctuates with a yawn.

"Let's play some games!" Rumia interjects.

"Okay," Flandre responds with a yawn, "let me find some."

The first game we end up playing is Battleship. It's a little awkward playing the game with 3 people, but it's fun trying to keep track of two opponents at once.

"These game pieces are too small," Flandre complains. "It'd be really cool if we could actually float around on them."

Rumia ends up being knocked out pretty quick, and the game ends in a struggle between me and Flandre, with her managing to kill the last point on my aircraft carrier before I could find the second point on her last ship, the PT boat.

Next we play Risk ("Rithk", she calls it; no idea where the lisp came from). Flandre manages to thoroughly school both Rumia and I in tactics, which is a little embarrassing for me because I used to play RTS games, and I at least thought I was pretty good at them. The teal crystals on her wings started glowing for some reason toward the end, but that stopped as soon as the game was over.

In the middle of a game of poker, I found myself with a need to excuse myself from the room.

"Hey, Flandre," I ask politely, "can you give me directions to the men's room?"

"You need to pee?" Flandre asks bluntly. "Go up the other stairway. Go down the left in the hallway and take the first right. It's the first door."

"Thanks." I guess I'm not used to such point-blank questions after living in Japan for a few months.

Ignoring Amy, I make my way up the stairs, following the path Flandre detailed for me. Of course, I make sure to actually pay attention to where I'm going, which pays off when I find myself in front of the first door, which happens to very clearly have a women's restroom sign on it.

"..."

I instead go through the second door, which has a men's restroom sign on it.

I finish up my business and step out of the room. As I turn to walk back toward Flandre's room, I walk into something that's around waist-height.

"S-sorry," I say to the person I bumped into.
"Ah, excuse me," she says at the same time.

We take a step back and realize who we're talking to.

"Excuse me," Remilia asks with an expression that somehow manages to mix bemusement and alarm, "who might you be?"

"I'm John," I answer. "You may recognize me from the flower viewing party at Hakugyourou."

"Ah, yes," she folds her arms, "you did look familiar. Now, if you don't mind me asking, why are you in my mansion?"

"Came to play with Flandre," I explain, causing the mix of amusement in her expression to increase.

"Really? You snuck into the Scarlet Devil Mansion to play with Flandre? You sure are a brave one," she remarks. "By the way, how did you manage to get in? Yukari seemed to imply that you were a normal human, but clearly you're either really stealthy or somewhat strong if you made it past Meiling."

"Just opened the gate and walked right in," I explain, causing Remilia's expression to swing more toward alarm.

"You... What?" she asks incredulously, "you just... Waltzed right in?"

"Pretty much, yeah."

"And Meiling just let you?"

"Well, she was asleep," I shrug.

"...Seriously?" she asks, "that's never stopped her from stopping anyone before," she explains. I just shrug.

"Well, I'll... I'll talk with her about that later. For now, just... I dunno, try not to make a mess or anything? If you came here to play with Flandre and you're still in one piece, it doesn't seem right to just kick you out."

And with that, she walks away. I do as well, rejoining Flandre and Rumia at the poker table.

I fare better at poker, this time managing to win the pot. However, after losing at 3 different games in a row, it's clear that Rumia's starting to get bored.

"What do you want to play, Rumia?" Flandre takes the initiative to ask, to my relief. Flandre did win two of the three games, after all.

"Hmm," Rumia ponders, holding a finger to her mouth. "How about tag?"

"Hold on a second," I interject, "that puts me at a pretty serious disadvantage."

Both girls blink. "We'll limit ourselves to human speed, then?" Flandre proposes.

"That would be preferable, yeah," I respond.

"Let's do it!" Rumia excitedly cheers.

After a couple games of rock-paper-scissors, Flandre ends up being "it". True to their word, both Flandre and Rumia hold back their speed to normal human speed, which actually gives me an advantage: as a human adult, my strides are larger, which gives me a bit more speed.

However, that's only a momentary disadvantage. With Rumia an easier target, it's only a matter of time before Flandre catches her, and they pretty quickly realize that they'll need teamwork to take me down. It doesn't take very long for them to corner me, leaving me no realistic path to run.

I decide to bluff and not back down, hoping that they'll change their tactics somehow. It doesn't actually work.

"Alright John, I'm coming for you!" Flandre exclaims as she rushes forward.

With impeccable timing, the door swings open. The person who walks in pauses for a moment. "Flandre," they shout, "what are you doing?!" and throws something.

[Uh.]

What?

[She didn't just throw something, she threw a knife. That's Sakuya, and she just threw a knife at Flandre.]

...Fuck.

[Are you just going to let her do that? I mean, despite all expectations, Flandre has turned out to be pretty sweet.]

...Yeah, you're right.

[...You're just going to agree with me like that?]

Of course. Flandre's a good girl. She behaved pretty well at Keine's house during the Christmas tree fiasco too, so yeah.

[The what?]

Don't worry about it.

[So what are you going to do about it?]

Simple.

Reacting quicker than I even thought possible, I gently push Flandre out of the way as she closes in. Then time seems to slow down as I realize that I essentially just put myself in the trajectory of a flying knife.

I internally sigh. To be honest, if I'm going out, this is how I'd prefer it to be... But now it feels a bit like a waste. I'm finally starting to move on, even if my past is still coming back to haunt me. Hopefully we'll make it to Eientei in time.

[Sigh. This isn't how I wanted you to go out either. This death is far too cool. I guess I kinda don't want to see Flandre get hurt either, though.]

[Also, that was a terrible pun.]

For once we seem to be in agreement, even if our motives are pretty much the opposite. This somehow manages to make me more calm, as I watch my impending death spin toward me.

With a flicker, the woman who threw the knife appears in front of me, the knife caught in her hand.

"What the hell are you doing?!" she asks, baffled.

Okay, now I'm pissed.

[Me too.]

"What the hell am I doing? You've just thrown a knife at an innocent little girl and you're asking me what I'm doing? Wow," I berate her.

"But she was about to-"

"Tag me as it and win the game? Yeah, I guess, but losing a game isn't worth injuring her for!" I take a step forward, anger clearly showing in my expression and posture. She takes a step back.

"But-", she starts before I interject.

"No buts. I want you to apologize to Flandre right now."

"Really?" She asks, incredulous.

"Yes."

"What in the world is going on here?" she asks, confused.

"Flandre, Rumia, and I were enjoying a friendly game of tag that I was about to lose. Why does that matter, though? Tell her you're sorry!"

"You were what?" she asks, even more surprised. "You say you were playing tag... With two youkai?"

"Yes."

Sakuya's face and palm meet. "This is going to be a long day," she complains while walking away toward the door.

"Apologize to her, damnit!" I'm not sure where my sudden confidence comes from, but it seems to work.

She sighs and turns to Flandre. "I'm extremely sorry for throwing a knife at you, Flandre," she apologizes with a deep bow.

"You're... Forgiven?" Flandre says with a blink.

"Thank you very much." With a flicker, Sakuya disappears.

A moment of awkward silence fills the room. Flandre uncomfortably breaks it.

"Uh, John, you do realize that even if that knife hit me, it wouldn't have really done much, right?" she asks.

"Yeah," I answer.

"And that if it hit you, you probably would have died," she asks.

"Yeah," I answer.

"Then why were you making such a big deal about it?"

[I'd whistle innocently here, but since you'd be the only one to hear it, I think I'll hold back.]

Gee, thanks.

"Don't worry about it," I explain. "By the way, the game's timed out, so I win."

Her expression fades from amusement, to blank, to the realization that she'd just been bested.

"God damn it, Sakuya!" she exclaims.

We spend another hour or so playing games before Rumia and I check out. Apparently she already had some plans with her friends later.

We leave with the promise to come back another time to play some more, preferably a bit later in the day.

The flight back to Keine's house goes quietly, except in the privacy of my head.

[Hey, John.]

Yeah?

[You know, I completely failed at getting you to kill yourself today, but for some reason I don't really feel so bad about it.]

...

[Flandre was pretty cute. You're definitely going to go with Rumia to play with her again the next opportunity you get if I haven't killed you yet.]

Thanks, Amy.

Amy once again left me alone for a few days after that.

---

[Well... That didn't work. But it honestly wasn't that bad.]

[I mean, you'd probably feel the same way if you were in my situation. Just seeing Flandre was worth the expenditure of energy. She was just so cute, y'know?]

[...What's that? You weren't able to actually see her through the text connection? Your loss.]

[In any case, I really only have one plan left before we're going to have to change tactics up a bit, so I guess we're going with:]

[ { } The Forest of Magic. Okay, that Rumia thing was kinda out of left field for me. Hopefully running into some unnamed characters will help us avoid further incidents. ]

[...Unless you have something else in mind?]

[How do I do this... Ah, that's it.]

[.>input]
>> No. 184659
[x] Have John start an incident

it's pretty clear these youkai just aren't enough to finish him off, so let's go against the real power brokers in gensokyo
>> No. 184660
[x] Symbolic vote for the only available option.

[I think you're falling because you're thinking exactly like him (no wonder you two went out.) Try to kill in a place that he hasn't tried to kill himself in beforehand]

Looking forward to the Forest update : I have to wonder what Alice and, specially, Marisa are up to.
>> No. 184662
[X] Have John start an Incident
>> No. 184663
[X] Have John start an Incident
>> No. 184664
File 143822079641.jpg - (216.56KB, 400x400, mfwmarisaisbacktonormal.jpg) [iqdb]
184664
[x] Forest of magic

Alice
>> No. 184665
[X] Have John start an Incident

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG!
>> No. 184666
{ } The Forest of Magic. Okay, that Rumia thing was kinda out of left field for me. Hopefully running into some unnamed characters will help us avoid further incidents.
The only option is clearly the best!
>> No. 184667
[x] Forest of magic

Sounds like Amy is reading the darker THP stories and doesn't quite understand that she's in a lighthearted comedy.

Also I got the references to Flandre in Being Meiling and ASSM, but didn't recognize the lisp.
>> No. 184668
[x] Have John start an incident
>> No. 184669
[Starting an incident, huh?]

[To be honest, that's a pretty tall order for little old me. I'm using most of my strength just to possess him, and that's with help from the circumstances behind my death making it easier to target John. To be honest, I don't think I'd be able to do any more to anyone else than make them feel like they're being watched.]

[Well, I guess I'll play it by ear. Given how well-connected John somehow managed to get himself to be, I'm sure an opportunity will pop up somewhere. Push someone's buttons just right, tell a well-crafted lie...]

[We'll see where that goes.]

[>[I think you're falling because you're thinking exactly like him (no wonder you two went out.) Try to kill in a place that he hasn't tried to kill himself in beforehand]]

[No. There's no way I'm thinking exactly like him. The entire reason I went out with him was just to watch him squirm, okay? If he's tried the same things I'm trying before, it's just a coincidence.]

[Really.]

[And, unfortunately, I have no way of knowing what he's tried doing before. Like I said, I was pretty preoccupied with finding a way to break in. There may be some way for me to see what's happpened so far, but I haven't found it yet.]

[This thing's so damn confusing.]
>> No. 184670
>>184657
[X]Old Hell. The booze there is to die for.
>> No. 184671
>>184657
[X] Heard that there was a rocket that can fly to THE MOON. I wonder if we can find it...
>> No. 184672
If she really has read old THP stories then...

[x] Find Sanae and play a GAME with her
>> No. 184673
[X] Forest of magic
>> No. 184674
[X]Old Hell
>> No. 184675
[X] Fly me to the MOON!
>> No. 184676
[x]Moon for the lulz
>> No. 184677
>>184669
[x] Forest of magic.
>> No. 184678
[X] My dear Amy, you can inflict pain on him mentally, but you wish to inflict pain on him emotionally?

Make up your mind? Because one involves killing him, and the other doesn't.

A sure fire way to kill him is to have him pluck a flower from Yuuka's garden.
>> No. 184679
>>184669
>[No. There's no way I'm thinking exactly like him. The entire reason I went out with him was just to watch him squirm, okay? If he's tried the same things I'm trying before, it's just a coincidence.]

>[Really.]
Ha!
>> No. 184683
Hey wait a second, let's think about the story for a bit. Well yeah I know it should be light hearted and all, but even so, a little analysis wouldn't hurt now, would it?

1) Ghost Amy says... 'In a lot of instances' when referring to the mansion's door.

Instances, as in, games?

2) Ghost Amy says: "That's what it says here, at least."

Where is "here" for Amy? It's highly possible then that she's in a different location from John, reading a 'guide' to Gensokyo, thus, that's why her information is outdated.

3) Even the official materials say you should be dead, much less what I'm reading here!

Official materials? Reading? Here?

4) John says : She behaved pretty well at Keine's house during the Christmas tree fiasco too, so yeah.

But Ghost Amy doesn't KNOW about this? However in that story, an Amy clearly appears. I shall now call this Amy, Chrismas Amy.

Now backtracking
-----------------
Let's create a few names. We have Wife Amy, the one who died. Ghost Amy, the one in John's head, and Chrismas Amy.
Oddly, I can no longer find the chrismas thread. If anyone has it, a link would be most appreciated. Continuing..

In the first thread, there's something curious into John's monologues. There are strikethroughs and spoilers.

Strikethroughs, are John forcibly correcting himself mentally.

Spoilers however, is something more malicious, I believe is the result of someone adding in thoughts in his head. Furthermore, these spoilers were spoken not from John's perspective.
And the first place the spoiler appeared is when John visited Reimu at her shrine. These spoilers are never seen again.

At the 'Bad end' of thread 1, we can see someone talking, using the same system that Ghost Amy is using. Amy is confirmed to be alive and was supposed to do something. However, before he/she could complete it, he/she was cut off.

And then, we hear 'ghost amy' in John's thoughts, and John sees Amy. I suspect here, that this was not Amy, but rather, Ghost Amy whom transplanted her looks to someone else to John's view when she got annoyed that she wasn't being heard. This person whom got her apperance changed was Eirin. It explains why she would be looking at him. It also explains why John saw Eirin as Amy for a bit (Amy forgot to reverse the change)

We have to realize that ghost Amy is not skilled in technology, and thus, her technological prowness is not good. She even overdid it and caused him to faint. Reisen's hypnosis is seen as a 'light show' to her.

Furthermore, even Ghost Amy says that she took a long time to 'break into' John, using some sort of program or what not.
One thing to note is that Amy said she was busy trying to 'break out' of something.

Now, what does this mean for our future?

----------
Ghost Amy will eventually figure out how to use Spoiler to influnce John's thoughts in a way.

The person whom Ghost Amy assaulted is very possibly Chrismas Amy. Chrismas Amy is able to affect the physical realm. Thus, we will be seeing Amy in real later on, but even if this Amy dies, Ghost Amy is still alive.

Yukari could have been the person imprisoning ghost Amy. As she was currently in the flower viewing party, and unaware that Amy's out. She is also currently unaware of John's current state, as she is doing something.

What is she doing? She is maintaining an aura of 'stealth' or 'silence' around John. Isn't it suspicious that out of all things, John encountered Rumia first? Why is it that he has never or yet bumped into any hostile youkai while trecking through the mountains?
What clinches it to me is how Remilia is unaware of John. She's a vampire, at the very least, she would have smelt him before bumping into him.

I'll preety much find it hard to believe if Yukari isn't doing anything (especially in regards to thread name)
>> No. 184684
>>184683
>Oddly, I can no longer find the chrismas thread. If anyone has it, a link would be most appreciated. Continuing..

It's called Rumia's tree in shorts. Here >>/shorts/1810
>> No. 184685
[x] To the Moooon
>> No. 184689
[ >>184678 ]
[I mainly just want him to die. Inflicting pain is just a bonus.]

[Everything after the vote came through as static.]

[ >>184683 ]

[The entire transmission here is all just static. A gigantic wall of static, but static nonetheless. I'm sorry, but I don't know what I can do about it. I don't know any more about how this works than you do, really.]

[In any case, it looks like we're headed to the forest.]

[As an added challenge, I'm going to figure out a way to make Rumia take him there by her own volition! How about that?]

---

Calling it for
[ {x} The Forest of Magic. Okay, that Rumia thing was kinda out of left field for me. Hopefully running into some unnamed characters will help us avoid further incidents. ]

(I actually already finished about 23 kilobytes of writing before calling it, but eh. Still a ways from being finished.)
>> No. 184696
File 143879007687.jpg - (0.99MB, 800x1134, 49f525ff3287ec13499d753eca835e6e[1].jpg) [iqdb]
184696
It's been a few days since we visited Flandre. Knowing this time that it's just a matter of time before Amy shows up again, I've been trying to live my life as normally as possible in the hopes that it'll help prevent against exhaustion from whatever Amy's next great plan is.

Unfortunately, for an outsider like me, "normal" is relative. Given my background is entirely based on computers, something Gensokyo doesn't have too many of, I've mostly been working odd jobs; delivering things, watching market stalls while their owners are out on business, that kind of thing. It isn't a lot of money, but it's enough to pay Keine back for giving me a place to stay and food to eat. And, most importantly, it's kept me out of needing to work on a farm or in one of the more laborious jobs.

After delivering tea to an older lady who has difficulty making her way to the store, I make my way home. As I reach up to open the door, it swings open on its own, revealing a particularly giddy-looking Rumia.

"High-five!" she exclaims out of nowhere, holding her hand up.

"Huh?" Confused, I raise my own hand and give her the high-five she requested. "What's up, Rumia?"

"Congratulations!" is all I get out of her before she flies off.

"What..?" I stand there confused for a moment before shrugging and heading inside. Typical Rumia being Rumia.

Inside I find Keine sitting at the dining table reading the newspaper.

"I'm back," I say the customary words to let her know that I have returned.

"Welcome home," she responds, "and congratulations."

"Huh?" This has me intrigued. It's one thing for Rumia to randomly say congratulations, but if Keine's saying it, something good must have happened. "What's up?"

She points to another newspaper folded up on the table across from her. This one appears to be different from the village's normal newspaper, so I take a look at the title.

"Bunbunmaru News, huh?" I ask no one in particular. "What is this?"

"In the outside world, it'd normally be called a tabloid," Keine explains, "but under no circumstances should you call it that to the writer's face."

"Why?" I ask, "do they take offence to it?"

"Not exactly," Keine explains, "she'll start crying."

"..."

"John, you should take a look at the front page headline," Keine directs while raising her teacup to her mouth.

So I do.

Human Outsider and Tengu Dating?!

Just the title is enough to make me groan, but I read through.

It was a pleasant spring day when I was making my rounds through Gensokyo. On my way back home, I happened upon our newest outsider and one of the mountain guards, Momiji Inubashiri in a tender moment! The outsider spent quite some time softly brushing Inubashiri's tail before they went on a romantic walk through the mountain. As they parted, they shared a passionate kiss, proving once and for all that human and youkai can get along! When asked, the outsider declined to comment. Check back with the Bunbunmaru News for further developments!

I let out a sigh.

[Oooh, what's this?]

"I wasn't aware that you and that tengu had been dating, John," Keine explains. "Knowing that, I'm less worried about your visit to the mountain. By the way, you didn't need to keep it from me like that," she flashes me a smile as she puts down her teacup.

[YES.]

"I wasn't exactly aware that we were dating either," I respond. "I hadn't thought that Aya would make this big of a deal about it."

"So she did interview you, then?"

[John, look.]

"I guess you could call it that."

"I see. You should be careful around her, John."

"I can tell."

[This is great!]

"So you aren't really going out, then?" She sets down her teacup before continuing with a sly smile, "or are you just being shy? Don't hold back on me, give me details!"

"We've met a couple of times," I explain. "It was honestly just a casual thing, though I can see how the way we were acting might have been misleading."

[John, look at the damn newspaper again. This is important!]

God damn it Amy I'm trying to have a conversation with my benefactor. Could you please choose a time when I'm not busy to come back and start pestering me again?

[But John, you'll want to see it too. It's a pretty big deal.]

It can wait until after I'm done talking with Keine.

"By the way, John," Keine interrupts my internal argument, "there was another article in there about you as well."

[Yes, that.]

Another article about me? Don't tell me...

New Outsider Possessed?!

Oh no.

[Yes.]

While observing the new outsider and his partner enjoying a nice spring day, I overheard a bit of their conversation. According to the outsider, he's been possessed by his dead girlfriend! Not many details are known, but she seems to be intentionally causing him problems, and maybe even trying to get him killed! You'll get new information on this right here, in the Bunbunmaru News, as soon as we get it!

I audibly groan.

[It's great.]

What's so great about it? It certainly isn't a good thing for me to have my dirty laundry aired like that, but I can't see it being good for you either. After all, it seems like there's a lot of people here that make a sport out of trying to exorcise youkai, and now they know exactly where to find one.

[Oh, trust me, you'll see.]

---

It's been a few days, but I still have no idea what Amy meant with that cryptic statement.

However, I've got more important issues on my mind.

"Rumia, why are we in the Forest of Magic?" I ask, still not satisfied with the answers she's given me so far.

"Like I keep telling you," she explains again, "we're here because you keep complaining about your ex-girlfriend not leaving you alone about swimming, remember? You don't have any trunks, so we're here to buy some."

"I'm sure we could have found a swimsuit for me in the village," I object.

She tilts her head and frowns. "John, if you're going to do it, you gotta do it in style, kay? I'm not going to have you just wearing any old swim trunks."

I facepalm once again.

"Fine, whatever you say," I give in.

We touch down in Alice's yard, a bit away from the house. After all, landing right on someone's doorstep seems a bit rude. As we're walking toward the door, a loud crash causes a cloud of dust to be kicked up in front of us.

"Good afternoon!" Aya greets us enthusiastically. "What brings you to Alice's house? Need new clothes for a special date?"

The door to Alice's house slams open. Man, Reimu sure looks irritated.

"Seeking the assistance of a magician with your ex-girlfriend?" The pressure Reimu's giving off as she approaches is almost enough to make me want to start taking a step back. "Or perhaps you're here to meet Alice for something else? Does Momiji know? What a scoop!"

I simply sigh.

"Don't you have anything to sa-" Reimu's hand clamps down hard on Aya's shoulder.

"Aya," she seethes, "we're going to have to have a little chat about your tabloid."

"My what?" Aya asks, confused.

"Your tabloid," Reimu reiterates as she uses her other hand to thrust the Bunbunmaru News issue that featured me into Aya's face.

"B-but, this isn't a-"

"Aya, it's a tabloid, and we're going to have a chat."

I see tears start to form in the corner of Aya's eye as Reimu's grip grows even tighter. I simply nod to Reimu in thanks and make my way toward the house. Someone else's problem. Reimu, of course, nods in return.

We knock, and the door swings open.

Alice sighs. "What is it now," she asks with disinterest.

"I'm here to request that a swimsuit be made," I explain. "I'll pay cash up front."

"Isn't the one I made you last time good enough?"

"Not for Rumia, for me. I don't seem to have any swimwear myself," I explain.

Alice sighs. "Fine. Come in."

Being measured was... interesting. Alice refused to do it by hand, so she had her dolls do it. It didn't really matter too much to me, but I guess Alice is from a different time.

"Alice, are you still angry with me?" I ask, hoping to fill the awkward silence.

"Not really," she answers, "just moderately irritated. You did do your best to help out with Marisa, but I feel like you didn't actually end up doing anything."

"Alright then," I ask, "what do you want me to do to make up for it?"

"I have no idea," she answers bluntly, "you'll need to figure that out yourself."

After asking me several questions relating to the general design of the trunks, she shoos us out, saying something about us leaving before Rumia found her way to her kitchen. I feel like Rumia's a little bit better-behaved than that now, but I don't fight it. She's already doing me a favor as it is.

After a few minutes of flying, I decide to ask Rumia a rather relevant question:

"Rumia, why are we flying deeper into the Forest of Magic?" I ask, hoping that her answer this time will be more satisfying than before.

"Why not?" she blows the question off.

I sigh. "Where are we going, then?"

"Well, I was supposed to meet Myschii and the others later, but we ended up taking less time at Alice's house than I thought, so... We're going to Marisa's house!"

"Why are we going to Marisa's house?"

"'Cause she's always doing something interesting! Look!" Rumia points.

Marisa, of course, happens to be doing something completely mundane: putting her laundry out to dry.

After setting me down, Rumia literally fies into her.

"Marisaaaaaa!" she shouts as she practically bowls over the unsuspecting witch.

"Woah, wha- oh, it's just you?" she asks. "Don't scare me like that, Rumia. I thought I was gonna have to spark someone."

Whatever 'spark' means, it had Rumia backing away really fast.

"Woah woah woah, that was just a joke. You don't gotta run away or anythin', Rumia. By the way, what're you guys here for today? Shop's closed for a while; still don't know where all the stuff went."

I have some suspicions, but I decide that it might be best not to say anything.

"We're here to play!" Rumia enthusiastically answers.

"In that case, here!" Marisa reaches into her pocket and pulls out a vial of... something. I'm not even sure whether it's a liquid or not. She throws it into the air and hits it with a danmaku shot. "Try catching this!"

Whatever was inside seems to come to life, turned into a brightly glowing yellow orb. Rumia leaps at it, and just when it seems like her hands are going to close around it, it zips away.

"That should keep 'er busy for a while. Want some tea?"

"Sure."

She steps inside for a moment and comes back out with a pot of freshly-brewed tea and a pair of cups, which she fills from the pot.

"That was pretty fast. Were you waiting for someone to show up for tea or something?"

"Nah, just zapped it with the mini-hakkero," she reaches into her pocket and waves around a strange octagonal block of wood.

"I see." As expected of a witch.

Marisa gazes out at Rumia, who seems to be having an absolute blast with whatever it was that Marisa sent out for her to play.

"Despite her reputation, Rumia's always been a good girl," she says after a sip of tea. "I won't say she never meant any harm, but she was always just a little girl at heart."

"Really?" I ask with surprise. "You're the first person I've heard say that."

"Yeah, though you had to be pretty strong to make it past her usual attacks." She takes a sip of tea. After a moment of silence she adds, "you're doin' a good thing."

I take a sip myself. "You're not the first person I've heard say that."

"Just remember that you gotta be careful," Marisa explains. "I'm sure Reimu's told you already, but you're in a bad spot. There's a lotta youkai out there and even some humans who can't stand what you're doing."

"Humans?" I knew about the youkai who would be inconvenienced by the decrease in faith, but I had no idea there'd be any humans who didn't like it.

"Yeah. A lot of people have probably realized that there'd be youkai who wouldn't like it, and that it might cause problems. Between Keine, Reimu, and I, they're probably worried over nothing, but that's never stopped anyone from worryin' before. 'Course, there's always the old folks who just can't stand youkai and will shun any attempt to get along with them."

"I see." I hadn't actually thought about that.

She slaps me on the shoulder. "You'll be fine. You've got Rumia, Reimu, and Keine watching after ya, after all."

"Got it!" Rumia shouts while flying toward us, glowing orb in hand.

"Ohh, ya did! Good job!" Marisa pats Rumia's head a bit.

"..." Rumia stares up at her expectantly.

"Sorry, Rumia," Marisa says while rubbing the back of her head. "I don't have any food right now. Reimu stopped by earlier and cleaned me out."

"Boo," Rumia says with a pout.

"Well, you guys should probably get going now," Marisa warns us, "it's getting late. The forest gets pretty dangerous when it gets dark."

We heed her advice and take our leave.

Or at least I thought we did.

"Rumia," I say with a sigh, "why are we still going deeper into the forest?"

"I told you," she retorts, "we're going to see Myschii and the others."

I sigh. On one hand, Marisa's warning was pretty clear. On the other hand, we've stayed at Mystia's stand all the way until midnight before without running into any trouble.

"Okay, fine," I resign, "just try not to get lost this time."

"Oka-" Rumia's voice gets cut off, and a moment later I realize I'm falling toward the forest floor. I land flat on my back with a grunt of pain.

[Wow, what the hell was that?]

I have no idea.

[Did she seriously just let you go?]

Possibly. She doesn't exactly have the best record of flight safet-

My thought is interrupted by the sound of something crashing through the canopy overhead. Through the branches, I can clearly see Rumia falling head-first toward the ground.

...

[...]

That... Didn't look good.

[Yeah...]

[Well, I guess the usual thing to do would be to stay still, but after seeing that, I guess that isn't really an option.]

Huh?

[As much as I'd love to have you run into a wild youkai in the middle of the forest with no one around to save you, that fall Rumia just took looked pretty bad. To be honest, I've come to like Rumia, John, so we're going to at least try to make sure she's okay. Or do you want me to make you experience worse pain than you've ever experienced before?]

No, I actually agree this time. Making sure that Rumia's okay was going to be my next move anyway.

[Good.]

I painfully pull myself back up to a standing position. I don't think anything's broken, but bruised all to hell? Yeah. All I can do is walk it off, though. Orienting myself toward the direction I saw Rumia falling, I take a step.

"Where the hell do you think you're going, huh?" an unfamiliar voice speaks from behind me as a hand grips down on my shoulder and knocks me back down to the ground.
>> No. 184698
File 143879260849.png - (191.47KB, 516x415, 143879018129.png) [iqdb]
184698
I find myself looking up at a girl who appears to be somewhere around 15 years old, holding an old rusted garden hoe.

"Who the hell are you?" I ask while pushing myself up with my palms.

"What the hell makes you think you're in a position to ask questions?" She steps down on my collar, forcibly pushing me back down into the ground.

"Caught her!" another voice approaches from the direction Rumia fell. "For a 'named character', she sure is pretty weak!"

I hear something impact the ground and slide through the dirt. Worried by what the other voice said, I glance over. Rumia's now lying there, unconscious and breathing heavily.

"Where the hell do you think you're looking, huh?!" The girl with the hoe roughly jerks my head back straight. "I'm not done with you."

[Well, John.]

"You should let him watch!" the other girl shouts. "It'll be more fun that way, don't you think?"

[Unfortunately I can't really be much help here.]

"Hmm..." hoe girl ponders. "Yeah, you're right. Here!" In a rough, jerking motion, she forces me up into a sitting position, pulling my left arm around to my back in a hold and grabbing the other one by the wrist with enough strength that I'm completely unable to budge.

[I don't recognize either of these girls, and I'm not getting any information on them either. As one of them implied, I'm going to throw a wild guess that they're unnamed characters. That means I can't give you any advice.]

"You watching?" the other girl, who upon closer inspection seems to have wings and talons similar to Mystia's, only grey in color. "Hey, you know? This is your fault!" She turns to look at Rumia. "Hey, it's time to wake back up!"

I wince as her talons bury themselves deep in Rumia's belly, mentally filtering out the wet sound it makes.

[You're welcome for the assist on that. That kind of sound is pretty traumatic for me as well.]

Rumia bolts upright with a scream as the unidentified bird girl pulls her hand out of the wound, flicking the blood out onto the grass.

"Don't worry," the girl holding me in place despite my struggling whispers into my ear, "she's not gonna die from something like that. She'll sure feel it though!" She punctuates that statement with a hard kick to Rumia's side.

Struggling through the pain, Rumia starts to pull herself into a sitting position.

"Look, she thinks she's going to be allowed to just stand back up!" Bird girl kicks Rumia right in the open wound, causing her to double over in pain.

[...]

"You're watching, right? Because this is all your fault. You should at least do her the service of watching what you've caused, burning it into your brain as the last thing you do before we do the same to you."

[...John, I can't stand this anymore. We're doing something. Keep struggling.]

A wave of pain washes over my body. It subsides, but it's more like everything feels numb. I can see and hear everything just fine, but it feels like I have no control over my body.

Despite that, my arms seem to start moving, somehow overpowering the ridiculous strength of the hoe girl.

"Oh, that's right, you had some sorta ghost inside of you or something," she laughs. "Not gonna help you though!"

I hear a cracking noise, followed by a scream escaping from my lips.

[FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.]

My sense of feeling returns, and it becomes readily apparent where the cracking noise came from: both of my arms have been broken just above the wrist, where the hoe girl has been holding them. As the feeling from that hits my brain, I grit my teeth to hold back a scream of my own. Meanwhile, the bird girl hasn't wasted any time taking her anger out on Rumia. Rumia's been kicked and beaten to the point where all she can do is curl up into a ball.

"Hey, I think you've done enough over there. She's gotta see this," the hoe girl commands the bird-like girl.

"Right." The bird girl grabs Rumia by the hair and holds her up so she can see me.

"This is your fault, Rumia," she snarls into Rumia's ear, "so watch carefully."

The hold on my right wrist is released, causing my arm to drop uselessly to the side. Instead, hoe girl grabs me by the throat, and squeezes.

"If you'd just treated him like a human and attacked him, or at least ignored him, this wouldn't be happening, you know?" Bird girl forces Rumia's head forward a bit to look at me.

Rumia's expression shifts slightly. It's extremely subtle, something that only someone who knows her quite well would detect. Her eyes start glowing, and a strange black mist seems to start gathering on the ground around her. She clenches her fists tight.

The hoe girl's grip tightens. Not only am I now unable to breathe, but it feels like she's cutting circulation to my brain as well. Despite the fractures in my wrists, I desperately try to claw at her hands, to no avail.

Just before I lose consciousness, I notice Rumia's expression shift to one of shock. The glow in her eyes disappears, and the mist seems to dissipate.

Everything goes white.

...

As my consciousness starts to return, I hear someone speaking.

"Looks like we made it in time." That voice sounds familiar. Is that... Wriggle?

Painfully forcing my eyes open, I'm greeted by the sight of Wriggle staring down the hoe girl, who appears to have been knocked a distance away into a tree.

"Who're y-" As soon as the bird girl's question causes me to reflexively look over, she gets cut off by a wave of green and teal danmaku. "Mystia?!" she shouts in surprise.

"You were late," Wriggle speaks after she notices I've regained consciousness. "Rumia's never late for food."

"I remembered what happened at the flower-viewing party~" Mystia explains, "I figured that if something were to happen, it'd probably be here~"

"Thankfully the forest is full of insects and birds, or we wouldn't have been able to find you."

There's a beat of silence before my attacker retorts.

"...You damned 'named characters'," she curses while pulling herself back to her feet. "Don't think you can walk all over us just because people know who you are." With inhuman speed, she charges at Wriggle, swinging her hoe in a wide arc.

"Yeah, that!" the bird girl shouts while returning fire at Mystia with her own purple and red danmaku.

Between Mystia and the bird girl, the area explodes with danmaku, bullets flying every which way. Thankfully, both the hoe girl and the as-of-yet unnamed bird girl seem to be too preoccupied with their respective opponents to direct an attack at me, so I decide to use the opportunity to try and make my way over to Rumia.

...It's harder than I'd thought. Even though I'm not actually being targeted, bullets are still basically flying everywhere, so I'm constantly getting hit or grazed by them. Thankfully it seems like they're non-lethal shots, but it's still pretty painful. For someone with two broken wrists trying to stumble his way across uneven terrain in the middle of a forest while trying to keep his head down, it's pretty damn discouraging.

Thankfully Rumia seems to be trying to do about the same thing. It seems her injuries are a bit more debilitating than mine, at least in the short term, so she's only able to drag herself by her hands, but we slowly but surely make our way to each other.

"I shoulda known you'd get involved, you damned cockroach," the hoe girl shouts while reaching into her pocket and producing a card. "Growth Sign 「Plowed Fields」!"

Rows of brown danmaku stream out toward Wriggle, causing her to jump back and give the hoe girl more room. They're followed by similar rows of blue shots. When the brown and blue shots meet, they turn green and yellow and spray out in random directions, adding chaos to the orderly lines.

[Hey, John.]

"I'm a firefly," Wriggle retorts while dodging the erratic pattern of green and yellow bullets.

[Do you hear that?]

Before, it seemed like Wriggle had the advantage, but the random shots are very effective at backing her into corners between the streams of brown and blue. She's able to dodge them, but just barely.

[Where's that buzzing noise coming from?]

Still, Wriggle manages to hang in there. The card pattern gradually starts losing a bit of its coherency as drags on, until it eventually times out, giving Wriggle a moment to catch her breath.

...The moment's stolen from her by a solid column of yellow and black shots that slam into from above, driving her straight into the ground.

"FOUND YOU!" the unexpected foe shouts from above. When my eyes track to the direction the voice came from, it becomes pretty apparent what the noise Amy mentioned was: bees. Thousands and thousands of bees, swarming every which way above us.

Hoe girl whistles. "I don't know who you are, but thanks for the assist."

The newcomer either ignores her or doesn't hear her, because the area is quickly filled with more and more black and yellow shots. They don't follow any coherent pattern, but it's more like they're just swarming around. What's worse, the bees seem to join in as well, though they thankfully seem to mostly ignore me, mostly concentrating their efforts on attacking the other insects that seem to have to come to Wriggle's aid.

[Ah, that girl I've got something on.]

What?

[It says here...]

[Name: Unknown (?)]
[Title: Queen Bee]
[This youkai has recently begun to appear in some instances of Gensokyo. She is always followed by a large number of bees, suspected to be Africanized honey bees, commonly known as 'killer bees'. Extremely territorial, she has been to viciously attack humans and even other youkai that get too close to her hive. This especially seems to be true for other insect youkai.]
[Though not much else is known about this youkai, it is speculated that she was born as a result of the mass die-off of honey bees in the outside world of many Gensokyo instances. Honey bees start becoming more scarce in the outside world, and as such start appearing more frequently in Gensokyo. When humans from Gensokyo encounter killer bees for the first time, they are apt to blame their aggressively defensive behavior on an insect-controlling youkai, and as a result, that youkai is born. This is, of course, all speculation.]

[That's what it says.]

Well, that's... Interesting, I guess? I don't know what it has to do with our current situation.

[Hey, at the very least it explains why she showed up out of nowhere and attacked Wriggle.]

I'm not really too concerned about the specifics of that right now...

[By the way, where did 'hoe girl', as you're apt to call her, go?]

What?

I look over to where hoe girl had been standing before the "Queen Bee", as Amy called her, appeared. She's gone. Wriggle doesn't seem to have noticed, though; her hands are quite full with the bee girl, who's evidently considerably more powerful than hoe girl was.

"Alright, no fucking around." Before I can parse what she said, she's pulled me by the shoulder back to the ground. Our eyes meet as she stares down at me.

Well, that answers the question of where she went.

At this point, it's clear that I'm pretty much toast. Wriggle and Mystia are too preoccupied to help, Rumia's probably in no condition to do anything...

Yeah.

Well, under the circumstances, the only thing I can think to do to maintain my sanity is to say:

"If you stepped just a tiny bit forward, I'd be staring right up at your panties right now," I deadpan to the girl standing above me.

"Ha ha, real funny." She kneels down on my chest, placing all of her weight on me. I'm reminded of when Lily did it, except this girl is considerably larger, and considerably heavier. In short, I'm rendered completely incapable of breathing. "Since it's come to this, I'll have to end it quickly. To hell with making Rumia watch it; getting it done is more important."

She raises the hoe into a position over my head.

...Well, it was a good run.

[It truly was.]

It's too bad it had to end like this. Rumia's doing her best to try and crawl her way over, but at this point it's too late.

[I'd have rather had your death been more painful for you and less painful for Rumia, myself.]

Thanks, Amy. It means a lot to know that the ex-girlfriend I murdered is here for me.

[Of course. What's an evil spirit for if not to be there for you in your times of suffering?]

The hoe starts coming down, aimed to flatten my head.

You sure you don't have any other tricks you can use?

[Nah. Used up all my energy just trying to control you earlier. I couldn't even do the pain thing right now if I tried.]

I see.

I close my eyes and wait for the inevitable release.

Instead, I'm almost deafened by the loudest goddamn thing I've heard since I literally had a train drive through me. My eyes reflexively snap open, and I'm almost blinded by the intense light coming from what can best be described as a large beam of energy, pulsating between every color in the rainbow.

"I knew leaving a surveillance tag on ya would be a good idea," Marisa states as she steps forward toward me.

"A what?"

"Remember when I patted you on the shoulder? I left a spell hanging there for ya," she explains.

"You what?"

"Don't worry about it. You're safe now."

"The hell you are," hoe girl spits as she heaves herself to her feet. "Just because you have some try-hard witch there to help you doesn't mean you're gonna make it out of this one."

"Oh, so you know who I am and you're still gonna struggle, huh? Just how I like 'em." Marisa levels the, what was it...

[Mini-hakkero.]

yeah, mini-hakkero at her.

Hoe girl disinterestedly ignores it, lunging for me.

"Woah, woah, woah." Clearing the distance lightning fast, Marisa swats the youkai out of the air with her broom. "We ain't done talking yet."

"I don't have anything to say to you." Hoe girl throws a fairly simple danmaku pattern at Marisa and once again charges me. This time she's intercepted by a bright green flash of magic, Marisa having effortlessly woven through the weak attack and returned fire.

[John, you better watch out. Even though Marisa's trying to discourage her, she's still gaining on you~]

Wait, why do you sound happy about that? Weren't you on my side just a bit ago?

[Now that Rumia's safe, there's nothing left to make me want to keep you alive. You can go ahead and get caught now~]

God damn it Amy.

My attention returns to the squabble before me just in time to dodge a trio of energy shots literally plowing through the ground towards me.

[You say dodge, but it's more like clumsily rolling out of the way.]

She gets close enough to graze me with her hoe, only to get knocked flat on her back.

"Yeah, I think you're done," Marisa threatens, aiming the mini-hakkero right at hoe girl.

"Not yet-" Hoe girl's attempt at resistance is met with a blast of stars from the hakkero.

"Yep, you're done."

"I'm not done until he's dead," she seethes, crawling toward me.

"You trying to get exterminated? It's been a while, but I'm still powerful enough to fry a youkai like you," Marisa jokes.

Undaunted, the hoe girl continues to inch her way toward me.

"I'm serious, you know."

The youkai stops moving for a moment. "Go ahead and do it, then," she commands. "This is how it's supposed to be anyway."

This causes Marisa to pause. "...We weren't supposed to ever have to do this again," Marisa mumbles with a pained expression, "not for humanoid youkai." The mini-hakkero starts to glow.

Marisa sighs, then declares:

"Magicannon-"

I-

[ ] -brace myself. Judging by the ridiculous attack earlier, if Marisa's serious now, this could get dangerous.

[ ] -stop her. Even if hoe girl wants to kill me, she's in no condition to fight back anymore, and... there's been enough bloodshed for my sake already.

---

Just for fun:

[ ] Design John's trunks (write-in)

Wow, this choice I put here just barely after starting to write feels pretty damn out of place now.
>> No. 184699
>>184698
[x] -brace myself. Judging by the ridiculous attack earlier, if Marisa's serious now, this could get dangerous.
>> No. 184700
[x] -brace myself. Judging by the ridiculous attack earlier, if Marisa's serious now, this could get dangerous.
>> No. 184701
>>184698
[x] -brace myself. Judging by the ridiculous attack earlier, if Marisa's serious now, this could get dangerous.
>> No. 184702
[X] Stop her
We don't want to go back to the old times. It'd break her.

Damn if I let the peace of this paradise be interrupted by a single human, main character or not.
>> No. 184703
So, I’d all for an (eye for and eye and all… though it hasn’t actually happened yet,l so… But since this is what the little imp wants, I say:

[X] Stop her

Don’t let these youkai win this in any manner, completely beat her and her little ideal even if it means letting her live.

Also, uh, testing, testing. Hey Amy*? Thanks for caring for Rumia (and doing your best to protect her here even if you didn’t manage anyting), I (and possibly some of the others of us here.) were rather worried that you might try to force our bud here to pull the same thing on Rumia that you did to him, since that would have hurt Rumia, well, I/we would have been rather ticked if you tried that, but it seems that won’t be a worry, thanks.

*on that note, if you don’t mind answering a question?are you actually Amy? I’ve been wonder whether you are or if you happened to have been a youkai that possessed her the same way you are possessing him right now.
>> No. 184704
[x] -stop her. Even if hoe girl wants to kill me, she's in no condition to fight back anymore, and... there's been enough bloodshed for my sake already.

Yeah, I really don't want Marisa to have to do this.
>> No. 184705
[X] -stop her. Even if hoe girl wants to kill me, she's in no condition to fight back anymore, and... there's been enough bloodshed for my sake already.

There's no need for the fight to continue. We shouldn't let Hoe Girl have the honour of dying this way either.
>> No. 184706
>>184703
I think you have to use brackets. [testing testing ]
>> No. 184707
>>184706
should I repost it then with the brackets...? or how do you edit a post?
>> No. 184708
>>184707
I don't think you can edit a post. Just remake it, if you can.
>> No. 184709
---

Communication error: target has run out of energy.

---
>> No. 184710
[x] -brace myself. Judging by the ridiculous attack earlier, if Marisa's serious now, this could get dangerous.
>> No. 184711
[x]stop her

This would be bad for the Marisa, it would.
>> No. 184712
[X] -stop her. Even if hoe girl wants to kill me, she's in no condition to fight back anymore, and... there's been enough bloodshed for my sake already.
[x] "We can't let things return to how they are. Stop, Marissa. All of us have done wrong things in the past. There'll always be a minority that wants war. Just... hand them over to Reimu."

[x] Hey Amy, if you're reading this, I do find it interesting that you do care about girls such as Rumia and Flandre. I'm also very interested to see if you would hate them in the future. So, here's a piece of information, someone in Gensokyo knows about you. Described as a shadowy presence. Do respond when you can about who you think this might be.
>> No. 184713
Why is it we always bend over backwards to try and save people who try to murder us? Christ.
>> No. 184714
>>184713
Because someone has to be the better man, er, person.

Also, use sage for non-voting posts, specially if they're about expressing your (wrong) opinion and nothing else.
>> No. 184717
[x] -stop her. Even if hoe girl wants to kill me, she's in no condition to fight back anymore, and... there's been enough bloodshed for my sake already.
>> No. 184718
>>184713
Just because it's not correct doesn't mean that it's not right!
>> No. 184720
[x] -stop her. Even if hoe girl wants to kill me, she's in no condition to fight back anymore, and... there's been enough bloodshed for my sake already.

[x] John trunks: Black with a Maple leaf motif
>> No. 184728
Calling it for:

[x] -stop her. Even if hoe girl wants to kill me, she's in no condition to fight back anymore, and... there's been enough bloodshed for my sake already.


Votes for the design for John's trunks will be open until they actually make an appearance.
>> No. 184864
File 144077761396.jpg - (336.86KB, 900x1050, 32cfc6d9e723687567c497f9ffe7124a.jpg) [iqdb]
184864
"Marisa," I interrupt.

"Final-" she continues.

"Stop."

"What?" Marisa looks over to me with surprise.

"What." hoe girl glares at me.

[Oh look, I think she's angry.]

She's been angry from the start.

"Don't you think that's enough? As you said, it looks like she's done."

[I mean, really angry. More than she was before.]

Marisa sighs. "Yeah, you're right." The mini-hakkero slowly dims down as Marisa lets it fall to her side. "Y'hear that?" she looks over at the youkai. "Today's your lucky-"

Her words fail when the hoe girl takes advantage of the opening. With an unexpected burst of energy, she closes the distance to me.

"...Day." Marisa utters with dejection.

[Yeah, she mad.]

"Fuck. You." Hoe girl swings the hoe in a wide arc, bringing it right down on my head-

But she stops mid-movement, seemingly frozen in air.

[Aww.]

"What the fuck is this?" she asks, struggling against some unseen restraint.

"You're too soft, Marisa," a familiar voice drifts down from above.

For some reason it feels like I could just pass out.

[Geh, should've seen that one coming.]

"You're late, Alice," Marisa retorts with audible relief.

"Let me go!" hoe girl snarls as she tugs at the strings holding her back. "I'll fucking kill him!"

"I had a bit of an insect problem to take care of-"

Alice's words start to blend together, making it impossible to understand what she's saying.

Marisa says something in response, but all I hear is a muffled noise.

Despite using all of my remaining strength to try to keeping them open, my eyelids slowly drift shut.
>> No. 184865
File 144077762155.jpg - (617.66KB, 1027x971, a17fb369d4016bc080e61a4c4f1cd9e6.jpg) [iqdb]
184865
My eyes slowly open, giving me a view of the ceiling above me. I recognize this ceiling, though I don't think it was this dark last time I saw it. Right now, the only light in the room is coming in from the brightly-lit hallway.

Come to think of it, the last time I woke up here was when Amy possessed me.

Amy?

You there?

Nothing?

I don't know why, but for some reason it feels kinda lonely without her here to drag me down. On the other hand, it feels pretty peaceful as well.

I try to sit up, but a sharp pain in my forearm stops me. ...Right, it was broken by that youkai girl who attacked me.

...Right, Rumia was attacked as well. The feeling of peace is quickly replaced by a sharp flood of anxiety, causing my stomach to twist into a knot. That's right, that bird...

I'm snapped out of that thought by a stirring in my lap.

"Rumia?!" I ask, worried. Why isn't she in her own bed?

"John? You're awake?" she asks, rubbing her eyes.

"More importantly than that," I deflect her question, "are you okay? Shouldn't you be in bed?"

"Why would I need to be in bed?" she asks sleepily.

"You got impaled through the stomach, Rumia. That's the kind of thing that usually makes people bedridden for a few months."

She shoots me a look like I just said something stupid. "John, I'm a youkai. Something small like that isn't gonna do me in. I was already mostly healed by the time we got back to Eientei. Look," she groggily pulls her shirt up to show her stomach. True to her word, there isn't even a scar.

"I... See?"

"Yep." She closes her eyes and wiggles herself back into a sleeping position. Her attempt at continued sleep is interrupted by the door slowly sliding open, causing her to let out a soft groan.

"Oh, you two are awake. That's good," Eirin remarks. "How's your arm doing?"

"Hurts like hell," I answer, "shouldn't it be in a splint or something?"

"On a scale from 1 to 10, how bad does it hurt?"

"If I leave it be, maybe a four or five, but if I move it, about a seven or eight."

"Good," Eirin nods, "sounds like the treatment's working then. Good timing; you have an appointment to meet."

"Treatment?" It sure doesn't feel like it's been treated.

"Yes. The bones in your forearm were completely shattered. I'm surprised you were able to stay awake as long as you did."

"I was kinda preoccupied with not dying," I retort.

"From what she said, it sounded more like you were preoccupied with making sure Rumia didn't die. For what it's worth, I think that's kinda sweet. You don't have to blush about that, John," she shoots me a sly smile. I'm not even blushing.

"That aside, what treatment? It isn't even in a splint, and it still hurts like hell."

"A good doctor never reveals her tricks," she grins.

"Eirin, a good doctor thoroughly reveals all of her tricks in detail so the patient knows exactly what's happening to them."

"Oh, is that how it works here on Earth?" she smiles.

"..." I stare.

"..." She continues grinning.

"Okay then, what's this appointment about?"

"I managed to get into contact with the satori in Old Hell. We're going spelunking!"


---

[Unread messages?]

[...Odd.]

[I've got nothing else to do until John wakes up, though, and I guess this is normally when we'd do the debriefing thing anyway, so I guess I'll give them a look.]

[Let's see, the first message...]

[Yeah, Rumia's a good girl. There's no way I'd try to hurt her.]

[The rest of your message came through as static. I wonder if it's interference from the border?]

[Moving on...]

[Yeah, I know that someone knows about me. Someone seemed g҉̴̢͓̺̜b͠҉̳̖͎̲̰ ̝̼̣͔o͏̠̺̼͔̠̳̣̜͚r̯̘͈̖͙ ͏̭̹͎̬͓̠̫̗̻͟u̵͍r̡̹̖̮̪̜̬̞̣̠y̥̝̩̤̞̼̩̦ͅc̺̦̻͖̝̜͡v̖̣̱̮̱͜͠a҉̶͔̮̻̮t̨̢͈̰̳̹̯͍̰̀ ̶̨҉̘͉̖̝͈͔ͅz̢̥̀͠r̷̯̥̹͠ ̦͇̼̬͚́n̺͍͈̭̘̠͢y̻̠̝̩̪̻b̷̨̘̜̭̞̹̱a͟҉̛͖̻͇͓̜͓͔̜t̯̼͘ ̞̼͇̭̤̰͈͢v̶̠͓̤̠͇̰̣̬̰͟͠a̸̼̗̠ ̡̱͕̣̯̠͉͝n̠͇͖ ̴̯̟̱j̭̘͔n̶̞̪̼͇͓l̡̺͍̯̤̖ ̨̧̹̜̼j̱̘̲̮̻̤̘̞̻ư̰͍͕̩͈̪̼r̫͓̪̟̦̮͍̩̼a̷҉̬̳̗̬̦̱͡ ̣̹̻̠̤V͎͉̱̭͓̤͠͡ ̡̮̳͕̝̟͍̯̕j̜n̛̠̘̮̥̣͈̳f͍̻̩̳̭͖ ̡͈͔̩̼͟g͕̞̩̤̪͔̤̜̀e̶̗̰͔̦̣̘ͅl̶̷̰̹͓͘v̛͔̖͟à̡͙̩̼̻̮̭t̵͏̵͓͈̝ͅ ͏҉͙̤͍g̙͈̠̮̣̪̰̭̀͝b҉̫͈̻ ̡̲͠s҉̩̼̜̣̜̺̝ͅv̡͚̻͓̟̫̮̺̱̹͜a̰͙q̥̞̫̕ ̷͏̟͖͍͇͈̪̭̹̳W̸̥͙̲̘̣̱̟̘͚͢b̡̘̦u͏̠̼͕̰̙̲a̷̳̠͝ ̖̰̞̻͙̫v͓͎̤a̵̮̦͖͈̬̼f̪͢v̵̧̳̜̰̰̳͍͡ͅq̴̞̥͔̩̭r̸̗ ̝̦̞̗͔b҉̘͈͜s̶̘̙̟̬̥̖̥͞ ̝̹̹̦̟Ṱ̦̻̤͙̀͜ŗ̗̤̲͎̗͚͈͎͠ͅą̸̱͉̙̝ͅf̨̬͜b̵̧̟̻͇̕ͅx͖̣͉͇̞͢͡͡l̢̢̳̘͙b̲͔̤̮̯̹͚͔́͘.̡̙̹͔́̕ ̣̠̲̖̝̀́͝ ̛̯̮̬͈̬̤͈̖͝͠
̀҉̥̜̜͇͍̘̟͉V̷̴̢̠̦ͅ'̢̛̺̤͈z̴͏͓͍͖ ̵̛̤̞̤̖̠a̙̣̭̞b̹̭͎̭̺̲̰ͅg̯̹̪͢͡͝ ̞̻̯̘̫̰f͚̬̳̯̳͟͡ͅh҉̩̳̣̞̘e̢̺͉̕͟ŕ̶̨̩̳͎̣͔̤̠͚ ̢̲̖̣̦͟ͅj̨͎̯͈̦̹͎-̧͓̻̟͠-̶̮̭̭̲-҉̡͓̮r͙̤̬̤a̰͔͎͙͕̫͖̝g͔͎̩̭̜͞ŕ̬̬̱̜̞̱̰ͅe̳͙̯͕̠̖̩̭ ̷̷̼̥͎̘p̮̹̖̝̞͖b̡̧̙͜q҉̡̫̪̺̬͜r͇͈ ͉͈̘̪͙̘͚͢͡1̭͉̱͚͘1̢̤̦̻̗̙n̡͖͈̲͓͡4̨̤͞0̥͙͕͕̜̲7̳͍͖̩̰͔̲ ̸͍̜͈̕g̯͇̺͙͕̭̦ͅb҉͍͕̝̙̻͍͇͘ ̧̺̫͇̟̖̳̲́ͅo̴̳̰̳̜͔̤̥l̸̪͙͚͉͇̙͝ç̘̳̼͖͡ͅn̻͇͔ͅf̢̞̙̱͜f̶̗̤̙̮͓ ̴̰̜͚͚̘̩̭̬ṕ̴̪̤̳̫̣̹̪͔͟b̜͔̲͈̟̩̥̕ͅz͇̞̬̞̪͘z̡͍̥h̸͓̼̙a̲̱ͅv̝̰͇̖͔́̕p̨̙͝n̜̻͙͖̮͎̲g̛̖͙̘v̳̫̯͉̥̳ḅ̢̛̦͙̠̖̭ͅa̧͍̤̠̭͢͟ ̛̩̼̣̯̼͕͞s̙͇̳͖̫͚̙̫̞͘v̢̞͍͔͈̰̦̱y̷̲̩̩͟g̶̤͚͙̝̰̟̹͚̞̀ŕ̬̜̰̠̟͔̜̲̮͠e̷͎̰̰͈̮̮̱̘̯͠-̨͚̜́͘-̲̬̘̠͡-̺̥̻̩͙̰u҉̳̲̯͉b̷̞͚̮͍̭̟̺̙ ̷͚̯͎̠̰̻͈̟ṿ̡͜g̵҉̲̠̲̭̮̱̞̩ ͈̯͢j̸̴̖̣͍̫̖̀n҉̝̟̙̱̗͈̤f̡̢͓̤,̹̙̲̘̯͚͚͕͠ ̡̡̥
̤̀͟o͎͉̮̞͔̗͚͜͠h̭̝̘̠̘͎͘g͙̼̕͘ ̶̨̦͔̠͇j̠̟͚̪̦̖̻̘v҉̗̩̱g̯̬ú̥͚̤̘̘̣̰͘b̨̹͍͉͕͇h̸̘͍͍͉̯̼͕̘̹͞g͓̦͙̥̞͖̩͕̳͘̕ ̷̴̼͓̗͇̹ͅg҉̢͇̦̤̣u̢͍̩r̷͖̬͔̫̻̮̺̕v͕̘ẹ̸̴̢̻̼̻̝̱͉ ͙͈͖̩u̡̙͔͙͖̘͚r̨̦̣̤͢y͚̤͙͎̖̹̙ͅc̣͎̬͔̹͎͘ ̴͕͖́͠V̞̮͇̯̮͙̩͝ ̶̴̛͉͕̫̟̫̺͇̬c̴̘̦̙̖̼̮͎̯͉͡e̴̢̫b̡̧̹̪̥̙̗͟o҉͉͓̰̜̯͔̙̤n̡̥̺̕ͅo̵̩̫̳͢ỵ̖̠͓̤̀l͚̟̺͉̻̱̺͡͝ ͏͔͖͜j̧҉̱͙̮̟̤b҉̣̳̖̯̣͔h͕̰̖̯̀͢͝y̖̬̤͎̣̦̝̺q̛͍̣̟̖̙̘̥͍a͎͔͓̹̘͢͝'̙̲̠͚͍g̴̶̯͉ ̪̙̗͓u̷̢̢̼͇̪̰̬͚̟̳ņ͚̘̺̩i̻͉͎͕͓͙͜͝r̞͖ ̛͎s̺͇̝̭͟b̡̟̱̻̳̼͍̝̪h҉̵̷͙͎̳̻̯̖̟̺̺a̡̱̺̹̥͉̥q͚͔̫̲̖̟̮̲̺ ̛̪͇̤̠͚̹u̹̦̩͙͜v̻̟̖͚z̢̲̻̙̝͎̕.͏̧̭̲̪̯̜̠ ̻͓̖̠̭̝̦͘͟ͅ ҉͍̲̻̹̰̠̻͍͞
̖͍͍͙̱̫̜Q͏̛͇͎̱͙e͖̦͇̱̫̲̞ͅv̸͉̤͖͖̜̙̞͘͘ͅs̥̙̠̙̲͕̻̥͝g̬̜͟ͅv̺͓̲͎̬͚̺͕a̵͢҉͙̤̖͖̝̟t̥̖͈̦̳̻̼̀ͅ ̡̮̦̗̣̪n̢̰͉͍͎̖e͉̘͈̳̟̰̰ͅb̴̞̠̮͈͖͉̼͠h̢͍̱̙̳á̶̀ͅq̭̟͓̳͙̀͜ ̮̝͙͚̥̼̥̥ņ̴̢̮͕̼̲̬̥f̷͎̪̜͙̯͟ ͢͏̼̪͉̗̰̬̤̼̠n͔͇̪̱̬̰͎͞͞ ͇̮j͓͈͙̳n̵̢̘̘̹a̜̰͜q̷̥͕̙̠̜̜̠r̨̡̫̥̤̲̞̯ẹ̝̲̦̻͚̕v̨͈͕̭a̷͏͓̦̻͔̮͇t̷̖̲̱̕ ̱̻f̙̲̞͠c̶͇̼̮̤͙͈̘̟v̴̡͎͖e͚v҉͔̰̯̳̪̠͞͠g̶̡͖̲̪͚̝̀ ̸̭͍͟v̫͢f̸̥͈̲ͅ ̩̻̙̗͎̀͢ͅç̼̙̪͚̣̲̖̭͝e͏̢̫̠͎̹̬̠r̪̳̜̝͙̺̬g̡҉͎̯͔͎g͠͏͔̰͖̰͟l̤͖̦̣̫̻ ̶͓̥q̙̥̩́̀v̡̧͎̭ͅf̸̨̤̗͇͇͚b͏̡͓̟̰͍̘͇̤̜ḙ̸̴̷̭̜͍̞ͅv͍͉̠͈̙͞r̹͉̭̯͙͚̯a͇͓͎̯̹̖̞g̡̙̝͉̭̗͡v̙̯̭̞̹̞̝͕̕a̶̭̜͓͘t̖̼̺,̧̩̫̫̘͟͜ ̗͕̭̟ͅl͏̼̙̠̕'̠̝̲̰͚͠x̡̘͚̜̩̝͞à̵̛̰̲͚̙̝͉͚ḇ͔j҉̛͔̫͈́?͏̙͓͍͇]

[I do have a couple guesses for who it was, though.]

---

Sorry for the delay. I'd intended to have the update up a week after having called it, but we got into the final phases of my father moving in, which ate up a lot of my free time and left me too tired to use the rest of it for writing.
>> No. 184866
[After you said that you knew about someone knowing about the message got cut off. So she knows what you write and she's watching over your right now. So, take care.]

Not sure why we're helping this Amy, but she doesn't that bad. At least, there are worse people out there.
>> No. 184880
Hmm... Are you Amy question got censored out. Amy's reply also got censored out.

Looks like only certain things will go through..

[x] Hello Amy! Glad you have power again. My lucky number is 7, you know? Qbza h olhkz bw... Hmaly fvb zhpk aoha fvb ruld hivba zvtlvul ruvdpun hivba aol tlzzhnl nva jba vmm. Zv zol ruvdz doha fvb dypal olyl huk doha dl'yl dypapun. Il jhylmbs.
>> No. 185001
File 144167870194.gif - (497.02KB, 500x250, giphy.gif) [iqdb]
185001
[x] 11a40





...





... nah.
>> No. 186373
[x] I hear it's amazing when the famous purple *buzzing static* stuffed worm in flap-jaw *buzzing static* space with the tuning fork does a raw blink on Hara-Kiri *buzzing static* Rock! I NEED SCISSORS! SIXTY-ONE! *buzzing static*
>> No. 186378
>>186373
Please check the date of the last post before replying without 'sage' on the email field.

'Bumping' a thread that hasn't been updated, nor commented by the writefag for more than 1 month is bad form.

However, I'll take it as a 'desperation bump' to see if the author can remember that he had a story and take pity on us. I know I really want to see this continued.
>> No. 187198
File 145438282151.png - (251.39KB, 530x687, 043b01cbae9eb8f1085272ba8926d9af.png) [iqdb]
187198
The Palace of Earth Spirits. Even for Gensokyo, it's incredible that this place exists. Deep, deep underground, its size is on par with the mansions of Gensokyo's surface.

And why have we traveled this far? The lady of this mansion, Miss Komeiji, is apparently a mind-reader. Since Eirin's tests were all inconclusive, she's decided to consult someone who supposedly knows more about psychology, or who at the very least can provide another view of what's going on.

"Come in," a soft voice responds from the other side of the door before we've even knocked.

Without hesitation, Eirin pushes open the door and strides in. "Good afternoon, Miss Komeiji," she greets the room's occupant with a bow.

"Yagokoro Eirin, Reisen Udongein Inaba, Rumia, and John. You're here to ask for my help with a problem?"

"Yes," Eirin nods.

"Tell me, why are you asking help of a youkai? And one from underground, no less? You've certainly gone out of your way to come here."

"I'm afraid that my diagnostic techniques are insufficient with my patient's current issue," Eirin folds her arms while speaking.

"Your research isn't going very well, so you decided to visit someplace new with copious amounts of alcohol to take a break under the pretence of business? I understand. I must warn you, though; if you aren't careful, a night of drinking with the oni can be lethal."

Eirin's eye twitches. "Can we move on to the topic at hand?"

"Of course." She shifts her gaze over to me. "Girlfriend problems?" she asks with a coy smile.

What.

[Bwahahahahahahaha.]

"Oh, she is in there. It seems I can't directly read her heart. She can't pretend to be absent now, though."

[Must be pretty inconvenient.]

"Looks like she was pretty horrible to you. All you wanted was to get close to her, but she treated your relationship like a game."

[Hey! What about my side of the story?]

"Your side? Let's see... You threatened John with severe pain into going to the mountain in an attempt to get him killed, but instead he and that tengu guard..." she blushes slightly. "Oh my."

"HEY." I reflexively clench my fists. Eirin shoots me an knowing grin. Damnit.

"You talked him into visiting the Scarlet Devil Mansion to pay a visit to Flandre. He managed to sneak right past the gate guard and straight to Flandre's room. ...I wish my little sister behaved that well with company over. By the way, she's currently staring into your eyes from about four inches away from your face."

FUCK

[FUCK]

"Tch. You're no fun, sister," the younger Komeiji complains as she floats her way out the door. I collect myself off the floor, my heart almost bursting from the shock.

[That was surprising. There's a little umbrella youkai that could take notes.]

What?

"To be fair, Miss Scarlet seemed just as surprised that your visit went as well as it did. Also, to be honest, I feel like you got a little soft there with Flandre."

[What do you mean soft?]

"And you did a pretty good job there trying to protect Rumia, even if it didn't work out. Over all, I'd give you a villian score of 5/10. You definitely have some room for improvement, if these current trends continue. It's a shame, because if we only look at what you did before John found his way to Gensokyo, you'd have a solid 8.5/10."

[What.]

"Ahh, but it really is too bad I can't read your heart directly. There's so much I'd like to know! I guess you're just too weak to manifest yourself more strongly," Satori declares with a sigh while folding her arms.

[Say what.]

Is... Is she actually getting to you?

[Shut up, John.]

"Honestly, someone serious about it would have actually succeeded in trying to kill him. He is just a single human, after all."

[...]

Amy?

"I feel like you're just messing around, is all."

The shift is tangible. Like the sudden feeling of weightlessness as you lose your footing, it happens in an instant. A surge of pain rushes through my body. Before I can react, it's gone, like it wasn't even there. Actually, I can't feel anything at all... This is a familiar sensation.

[...]

But just as fast, feeling rushes back, leaving me once again in full control of my body.

Satori smiles. "Ahh, too bad. For a second there I thought you were going to reveal your heart."

[Whatever.]

"Could I at least get you to tell me your side yourself?" she asks, followed by a moment of silence. "Hello?" Once again, silence. "I see. It appears I've scared her away."

"Did you manage to get anything?" Eirin asks.

"She doesn't appear to be dangerous, at least not to anyone besides John," she explains. "I was only able to read her heart for a moment. I wasn't able to read very much."

Eirin sighs. "Well, we tried, didn't we? We'll just have to wait until another lead presents itself."

"There was one thing that was interesting, though," Satori responds.

"Oh?" Eirin asks, raising an eyebrow.

"I've seen a lot of hauntings and possessions. This is old hell, after all, and I do have a pet that deals with spirits. In all the hauntings I've seen, I could feel the heart of the possessing spirit there at all times that the spirit was present. In this case, she was not; at least, until she tried to take control of John's body."
>> No. 187200
Oooo, the plot thickens.
No vote?
>> No. 187201
we've had no votes before; if you really feel the need to vote jerl usually tries to incorporate it but it's not necessary

also, goddamn Satori, good job
>> No. 187208
Wild theories time!

Satori can't read her heart due to interference with another one. His.
Is her spirit (she's real, she's reading info about Gensokyo our MC couldn't know about) only able to express in his heart because she still has a place on it? Is he stupid enough to still love her? That's pretty sweet actually.

The interference is either the border acting up or, considering that it only interrupts certain important things, the Chessmaster behind this experiment keeping her pieces blind.
>> No. 187304
File 145499953386.jpg - (64.82KB, 800x765, 5f1668f0ecbd2b8089c7314cbab3ed62.jpg) [iqdb]
187304
I find myself staring up at the ceiling, lying in one of the guest beds with absolutely no desire to actually sleep.

I'm not sure whether it's the weird lighting down here throwing off my biological clock, or the tea we had after dinner, but I just can't seem to drift off. Conveniently, Rumia conked out as soon as her head hit the pillow, so I'm pretty much alone in my plight here.

[Hey, that's rude. I'm here~]

It's incredibly quiet underground. I thought it seemed quiet at night on Gensokyo's surface without all the traffic noise there'd be on the outside, but there would still be a breeze, or the sound of a late-night traveler rolling through, or on some nights the very happy couple next door (damn those two). Down here it's dead silent, the only sound coming from the clock on the wall steadily ticking away. The silence and my inability to sleep only seem to amplify the sound like a nail being driven into my ears while I lay silently.

[You could always, like, go take a walk or something.]

It's too bad I can't just take a walk or something. Clear my head, burn off a little bit of this energy. Maybe step outside for a little bit of the underground scenery. But nah, I probably shouldn't do that. Better rest up for tomorrow.

[You're just being contrary on purpose, aren't you?]

Resolved, I close my eyes and give it another shot.

[If you start thinking about girls again, I will hurt you.]



...



......



............



...Yeah, I can't sleep after all.

[C'mon John, this is booooo~ring.]

...Maybe I'll just get up for a glass of water.

Silently, so as not to wake Rumia, I get up and slip out the door. With it silently shut behind me, the sound of the clock dies off, and I'm left with pure, dead silence.

[Spooky.]

It's actually pretty comfortable down here. No sound, minimal lighting, and a consistently warm ambient temperature. This is the exact right place to be if you have a migraine.

[Hey John, guess who's head hurts? Thanks to you.]

Let's see, which direction was the kitchen? Or maybe the bathrooms have cups. I guess since I don't really remember which direction to go for either of them, it's time to pick a random direction and wander.

[In other words, you're just going to go for a walk like I suggested.]



...



After a while of walking, no luck. I did find a bathroom, but there was no drinking cup inside.

[Pure evil, if you ask me.]

Forging on, I turn down the last unexplored hallway on this floor, hoping to find another bathroom to get a drink of water from. At this point, I might just cup water into my hands to drink; this search has gone on long enough.

However, unlike the rest of the hallways I've searched, this one has a noteworthy difference: a single room with its door cracked slightly open, bright light streaming from inside.

[Unusual! You should investigate, John. I smell a mystery!]

Of course, that isn't really a big deal. Just because most of the residents are asleep by now doesn't mean that everyone has to be. It's probably just someone who, similar to me, can't sleep. I'll just let them be.

[Damn it, John.]

I continue down the hall, not even paying any attention to the door.

[John, you will look through that door.]

Nothing to see, after all.

[John.]

A spike of pain flares in the tender newly-healed fractures in my arm, punctuating each word Amy speaks.

[You will look through the door.]

I sigh.

Okay, fine, I get it.

Making a minor alteration to my path, I approach the door and look in the 3-4 centimeter wide crack. Inside, I find a normal bedroom, similar to the one I'm staying in, but clearly more lived in. A girl sits at a desk opposite the door, pencil in hand. I think I recognize her from dinner. U-, Uss, Uts..?

[Reiuji Utsuho.]

Yeah, her. To be honest, she seemed like the type that's energetic enough during the day to have no problem falling asleep at night. I wonder what she's doing up this late? A glance at the clock above her desk confirms the time - 1 AM.

[Clearly she's writing and/or drawing raunchy yaoi fanfics.]

Right.

[John, I'm interested. You should barge in and confiscate them so that I may evaluate their quality.]

Whatever she's doing, she seems pretty concentrated. I'd best not disturb her.

[John, let me make myself clear. I'm going to make you barge in there and read that yaoi fanfic whether you like it or not. It's payback for all the things you force me to see in your head whenever you-]

Yeah, I think I'll just leave her alone. I begin turning to leave-

But right at that moment, Utsuho stretches out, spreading out her wings and leaning back in her chair until she's looking straight backward.

"..."

At me.

[Look, John. Now she thinks you're a creeper. It's great!]

"Sor-" I begin to apologize, but she cuts me off.

"Oh, you're the one from the outside, aren't you?" she asks, still leaning backward.

[Don't start trying to look up her shirt, now.]

Amy, that's getting old. Her shirt has absolutely no cleavage.

"Yes? I'm sorry, I-" is all I get out she once again interrupts me.

"Ah, great!" She leans forward again, swivelling the chair around to face me. "Maybe you can help me!" she declares with a bright smile.

[...John, I don't know what kind of cheat code you used, but it's really unfair. Please turn it back off.]

"Sure?" I respond pensively, unsure what she meant.

Utsuho rotates her chair back toward the desk and slides over a little, then glances back toward me. Taking the hint, I walk up and take a look down at her desk.

Is this..?

[No fucking way.]

Interesting. I think I really can help her out with this.

[I don't fucking believe this. Not one bit.]

"Miss Reiuji-"

"You can call me Okuu," she interrupts.

"O... Okuu, I'm guessing you're asking for my help with these calculus practice problems?"

"Yeah," she affirms.

[Nope. This isn't happening. John, you actually did fall asleep, right? This is a dream, isn't it? You should wake up before this gets out of hand. Let me help.]

A jolt of pain pulses through my body, but I shrug it off.

"Where are you having problems?"



...



"Thanks, I think I understand it a little better now!" Okuu beams at me.

"Nah, no problem," I shrug it off while rubbing the back of my head. "Math in general is a subject where it can be hard to understand without someone to help you through it. I don't think I'd have understood any of it myself without a teacher."

"If you say so... But really, thank you. I know I'm a little slow, so thank you for putting up with me and taking the time to make sure I learned it properly." She bows in appreciation.

"Don't say that. Everyone has difficulty here and there," I reassure her.

She sighs and looks down, pausing for a second. "Actually, that's the reason I'm trying this in the first place. I have a bit of a reputation of just being a dumb bird," she explains. "I've never been too bright, and... That's the exact reason I was led to Yatagarasu and gained the ability to control nuclear fusion. I even caused a lot of problems for people on the surface..."

The ability to control what now?

[I didn't tell you? Hope you weren't planning on having kids, 'cause that's probably a lost cause now.]

I give her a pat on the head. "Well, I don't know anything about that," I reassure her, "but obviously you're trying pretty hard, and that counts for something, at least in my eyes."

"Thanks!" she smiles.

I take a glance up at the clock. "Oh, It's already two-thirty. I should probably head back to my room and sleep."

"Sleep well!" she waves me off.



I find myself yawning as I make my way back to the room. I guess the mental exertion was exactly what I needed; I feel like I'll easily be able to fall asleep now.

[She really was pretty slow, though.]

Amy, that's rude.

[I'm just saying. I don't even know what that squiggly line means, and it still only took me a few examples to get the idea behind what it took her an hour to fully grasp, at least for simple functions. If the rest of calculus is as simple as what were showing her, I don't know what I was always afraid of.]

Trust me, it isn't. Those were some of the most basic tricks.

[Still, her being slow was a bit of a relief. I don't know if I could have taken that big of an inconsistency with canon.]

With what?

[Don't worry about it, John.]
>> No. 187305
>>new post.

Yay. Thanks for the update. I appreciate it.
>> No. 187308
I think Amy needs a refresher on what's actually canon.
>> No. 187310
She needs some black tewi up her butt.
>> No. 187818
Yes, most definitely. She needs a black tewi up her butt and a spoonful of Erin's shadiest new drugs.
>> No. 188002
>>187308
how did she even know about gensokyo anyway?
>> No. 188042
My god, I've caught up! And in only one night, no less. Honestly, with how long-running this has been, I expected many threads.

This means I have a chance to say this, though:
I'm really enjoying this story, Jerl! Keep up the good work!

Finally, onto real points, I wonder if Mima will ever appear. After all, she's an evil spirit too. Secondly, [Amy, can I have a copy of your Gensokyo notes? I want to laugh at how wrong they are.]
>> No. 188085
[Notes? I don't really have anything like notes... Most of what I know comes from playing the games or reading the wiki. There is an encyclopedia thing in my head somehow, but it only gives the most uselessly general information, like, uh... Hold on, lemme transcribe.

"Patchouli Knowledge is an important persona in most instances of Gensokyo. In the vast majority of cases, she is a powerful and very knowledgeable magician, and serves as a sort of live-in librarian for the Voile located in the Scarlet Devil Mansion."

Like, that's all it gives. "in most instances"? What the hell does that mean? Is there some alternate universe where Patchy isn't a magician or something? Rumia's entry is even more worthless, it just goes on about how you have to figure out for yourself how strong she is because, again with that word, Rumia in different "instances" of Gensokyo is different. It's basically completely useless for anyone I know even a tiny bit about.

So yeah, I usually don't even touch this thing. I think that bee girl was the only time it's ever had information that I didn't already have myself.]
>> No. 188086
>>188085
>Most of what I know comes from playing the games or reading the wiki.
>she just had a mental image of socially inept geeks poking away at computers, and while I'm sure that's not how she actually saw me, I could tell that it was something she couldn't stand
Was she that much of a sadist/real-life tsundere or did she magically get internet access in the afterlife?
>> No. 190209
Pardon the delay. As seems to be usual with me, life got in the way and wouldn't get out of the way until I fought it off with a large stick. Hopefully life will stay away for a while now.

---

I woke up in the morning refreshed and well-rested. Despite my arms still being sore, though noticeably less so than they were tomorrow, and despite it being so late before I managed to fall asleep, I rested quite well. I woke up bright and... well, not quite so bright, but still pretty early, ready to head back above-ground. That would, of course, be the sensible way for the day to play out; we got our assistance from Satori, and spent a night in her guest rooms. To be honest, even though she was quite welcoming, it still feels a bit like we were imposing on her. Maybe that's just me being overly self-conscious, though. Still, I knew that there were people on the surface waiting for me to return with news about what exactly was going on with this irritating voice in my head.

[Hey! That's rude! I'm way more that just irritating, and you know it!]

To be perfectly honest, I should have known better. I've been in this place for long enough to know that expecting sensibility in how things turn out is simply wishful thinking. And how, you may ask, were my expectations wrong?

A quick glance at the clock reveals the current time: 11:40 PM.

A quick glance at the table before us reveals the table's cumulative inebriation level: seven pitchers of oni beer.

A quick glance around the table reveals the distribution of inebriation: Eirin is currently propping herself up with her elbow to keep herself from falling over. Rumia honestly shouldn't have even been drinking; she's asleep, head resting on the table. Reisen only reluctantly started drinking after seeing how hard Eirin was hitting the drink; to be honest, I'm a bit embarrassed by it myself. Her, Satori, and I all seem to be at a comfortable buzz, maybe just a bit more. Our final participant for this excursion, Okuu, is... Well, she's acting normal, but to be honest, it's a little hard to tell. She hasn't really done or said much.

[John, who in the world are you narrating for?]

The conversation progressed in more or less the expected way: I, the person from a completely different culture even if you completely set aside the magical bits, spent most of my time just listening. Perhaps noticing that I was feeling a bit left out, Satori decided to steer the conversation in such a way to include me.

"So John, tell us about your little rendezvous with my pet last night," she instructs with a sly smile. I manage to keep myself from choking on my beer. Knowing full well exactly who Satori was trying to provoke into joining her efforts to tease me, I glance over at Eirin. Luckily for me, if she even heard what Satori said, I think she might be a bit too far-gone to react, so it looks like I can get out of this without being teased too much.

[As long as I keep my mouth shut, you mean?]

Satori smirks in response to Amy's thought.

Okay, we can handle this-

"Oh, yeah!" Okuu responds, "he was watchin' me from the hallway, so I invited him in!"

FUCK

[Pfffffffffft. I think I like her.]

God damn it, now Reisen's giving me that look, and Satori's also giving me that look despite knowing what actually happened.

"Oh? Did you see something you liked?" Satori asks with mischief in her eyes and a grin barely held back on her lips. Is this what happens when you give alcohol to a satori? Are there any other satori we could test this on? I can see why they were sent down here.

"Like I said, she's six inches from your face staring at you-" Satori interjects.
GOD DAMN IT
"Also, that's rude."

Okay, I kinda saw it coming this time, sorta. This is useful, because my reflex to jump back gets redirected to my arm, which flies straight forward and grabs the younger youkai by the face.

"Boo," Koishi complains between my fingers, "you're still no fun." Floating backwards out of my grasp, she disappears into the crowd.

"Well?" Satori asks, "did you?"

"Did I what?" I ask, desperately hoping that I can use Koishi's distraction to dodge Satori's attempts to tease.

"See anything you liked," Satori answers, steadfastly squashing my attempt.

Okay. You know what? I'm going to turn this around on someone else.

[Careful, John. You were just about to say "No, but Amy did." You're going to say that you didn't see something you liked, and therefore say that you don't like Utsuho. Is that what you want to say? Don't you think that'd make Utsuho a little sad?]

You're seriously giving me advice?

Okay, you know what? Fine. Clearly you're trying to trap me just like Satori is, and I'm determined to win this one.

"Absolutely," I confidently respond, provoking Reisen to give me that look again and Okuu to freeze. After a moment's pause, I elaborate: "it's always made me quite excited to see youth taking an interest in science and mathematics. It makes me feel good about our future, especially in a time of such scientific growth."

An awkward silence hangs in the air.

"...So", I say in an attempt to break the silence, "I decided to help her out. After all, I do have a college education." Reisen rolls her eyes in response and returns to her drink. Satori simply stares blankly at me. Rumia kicks me under the table, maintaining the guise of being asleep with her head down. And, of course, Okuu seems oblivious to my brilliant strategic victory.

[Laaaaaaaaaaame.]

The table shares an awkward moment.

---

Eirin's the first one to break the silence by quickly going from barely keeping herself in a sitting position to standing up, slamming her mug down on the table, and making a triumphant declaration: "We're going to play ping-pong!"

Despite multiple people's objections, it turns out that Eirin becomes rather persuasive while drunk. I'm not sure where she was storing that gigantic needle or how she managed to not stab herself with it given how drunk she was, but we all unanimously decided that we'd prefer to play ping pong over donating spinal fluid.

Of course, continuing with the party means continuing with the drinking. It doesn't take very much longer for Eirin to completely pass out, and not much longer from then for Okuu to go from seemingly holding her alcohol like an oni to drooling on the floor. At Satori's request, I reluctantly agree to carry her to her room; apparently since I'm the only guy here, it's my responsibility or something. I swear I saw a flash of mischief in Satori's eyes when I agreed, but that was probably just the drink.

After laying Okuu on her bed to rest, I begin stumbling my way out of the room. God, I hope I can remember the way back to my room; passing out in the hallway doesn't sound fun at all.

"Sensei~!"

Oh god, what now.

[Just ignore her. She needs her rest, and so do you.]

See, that's normally some pretty good advice, but I'm flat out opposed to taking advice from someone who seems to be actively trying to kill me.

"What?" I ask with a sigh.

"Teach me~!"

[See, this is going to be a pain in the ass. Believe it or not, I'm tired myself and would like to go to sleep.]

Do you even sleep?

Whatever. I'm going to try blowing her off without being rude.

Turning around, I make my way back to the side of her bed. Lazily gazing up at me, she repeats, "Teach me~"

"Teach you what?" I ask, not sure how she's planning to remember whatever she's asking me to teach her in this state.

"What a man and a woman do in a room together~" She gazes up at me, eyes half-lidded.

"...Pardon?"

My reflexes dulled, I'm completely incapable of reacting in time when she shoots up from the bed and grabs me, dragging back down with her.

"Teach me~" she coos, burying my face in her chest, physically restraining me from vocalizing a response.

Actually, this is kinda nice, but-

[John.]

-it's kinda hard to breathe like this.

I try pushing away, more for air than anything, but she won't have any of that.

"John," she says with complete seriousness while tightening her grip, "ravish me."

[ ] Why not? It seems like she knows exactly what she's doing.
[ ] Nope. Not until we're both sober. She'll pass out eventually and let go.
>> No. 190214
[x] Why not? It seems like she knows exactly what she's doing.

oh boy here we go
>> No. 190216
[X] Why not? It seems like she knows exactly what she's doing.

Sure. Satori seems to know exactly what she's doing too, so there's that.
>> No. 190217
[X] Nope. Not until we're both sober. She'll pass out eventually and let go.

She was drooling on the floor not 10 minutes ago. Nope.

Also Momiji route.
>> No. 190218
[X] Nope. Not until we're both sober. She'll pass out eventually and let go.

We may be hopeless but we still have our morality!


...Right?
>> No. 190219
[X] Nope. Not until we're both sober. She'll pass out eventually and let go.
>> No. 190220
[X] Nope. Not until we're both sober. She'll pass out eventually and let go.

We stay true to Momiji. We don't want to inflict the pain she did to MC, onto sweet little Momiji.


Also, welcome back! You've kept us all waiting.
>> No. 190221
[X] Nope. Not until we're both sober. She'll pass out eventually and let go.

The Momiji train has no brakes
>> No. 190222
[X] Why not? It seems like she knows exactly what she's doing.
>> No. 190223
>>190220
Dude, we are a casual fling, she said so herself. As much as I want to believe otherwise, it is no good to deceive ourselves.

[x] Not until you're sober

... Still, that's no reason to do something she might regret. I'm pretty sure she would not, but why risk it?
>> No. 190225
[X] Nope. Not until we're both sober. She'll pass out eventually and let go.

As much as I want to vote the other option purely out of spite, this is the wiser choice.

Also welcome back! I missed this story.
>> No. 190226
[X] Why not? It seems like she knows exactly what she's doing.

She knows and so does Satori. Besides, we'll bother you-know-who more. Bonus!
>> No. 190227
[X] Nope. Not until we're both sober. She'll pass out eventually and let go.
>> No. 190232
[X] Why not? It seems like she knows exactly what she's doing
>> No. 190233
[X] Why not? It seems like she knows exactly what she's doing
>> No. 190234
Welcome back!

[X] Why not? It seems like she knows exactly what she's doing
>> No. 190237
[x] Wait until we're both sober.
>> No. 190238
Welcome back dude! As for the vote:

[X] Wait until we're both sober.

Don't wanna turn her down completely, but I also want to be sure that she wants it.
>> No. 190239
[X] Wait until we're both sober.

It's only right.
>> No. 190248
Depends on who it is. If it's Okuu, then...
[x] Why not? It seems like she knows jack shit about what she's doing. Let's teach her to slow dance instead.

If it's anybody else...
[x] Nope. Not until we're both sober. She'll pass out eventually and let go.

Why? Because I wanna troll Okuu a little.
>> No. 190254
[x] Nope. Not until we're both sober. She'll pass out eventually and let go.
>> No. 190262
[X] Nope
>> No. 190270
Calling the vote for turning her down. Poor Utsuho; all she wants is a little love.
>> No. 190327
>>190270
We are all too eager to give some love to the sweet hell raven, but not when we are both dead drunk.
>> No. 195530
Are you alive? Still hope to see this go on...
>> No. 195936
>>195530
Same here, to be honest.
>> No. 197183
File 14981914472.jpg - (266.62KB, 965x1428, f2a3dd5fe0dcc8963d292e2d7dd20697.jpg) [iqdb]
197183
Sorry the update's slightly delayed, I got a bit distracted by, uh. Everything.

---

Nope. Doing that right now, while we're both drunk, seems like a bad idea. I mean, it seems pretty clear that she knows what she's doing, but I've only known her for a day, and we're both way too drunk to make good decisions.

"...Utsuho."

"Unyu?"

"Utsuho, we're both drunk. No."

"Bo~ring~"

"C'mon, lemme go."

"Are you sayin' you'd do it if we were both sober?"

"Ye- N- ...Maybe. Look, right now isn't a good time. I want you to get some sleep, and maybe we'll talk about it in the morning."

"Boo." She lets go and rolls over in the bed, leaving her back facing me. "John's boring."

[Smooth. What, do you need to set the mood first? Maybe some slow dancing in candlelight?]

What, are you actually disappointed that we didn't do anything?

[Not really. I just thought it'd be amusing to see you try and fail.]

Actually, that's a pretty good idea.

[What? Trying and failing? It isn't really amusing if you're doing it on purpose, though.]

No. I mean, remember when we used to slow dance?

[No.]

Exactly.

"Utsuho, I have an idea."

"Hmph. I don't take ideas from boring people."

[Are you really doing this?]

Why, are you jealous?

"I'm not gonna teach you about what you wanted, but I could teach you about another thing adults do. Have you ever slow danced?"

---

Pain ow god damn make it stop

Amy why

[Don't look at me. This is your own doing.]

I don't even know what this is. Why does everything hurt? What the hell did you do?

[Me? I had a good time watching you drink too much.]

Drink- ...Oh. Right. That happened. The party, the drinking, the passing out in Utsuho's bed while trying to tuck her in after she passed out mid-step...

Oh. This probably isn't a pillow I have my face buried in, is it.

[Way to go, master detective.]

You're just jealous that she's a better dancer than you.

[Hmph.]

In any case, I need to get out of here. I have absolutely no idea what time it is. I have no idea how long I've been here. What I do know is that if someone catches me in here, I'm never living it down. Even if all I can do is just make it out of the bed and onto the floor somewhere, I can justify that. Lying here like this, though, is just asking for difficulty later.

Mustering what strength I can, I push myself up out of Okuu's br- the bed. Forcing my eyes open, I turn toward my ideal goal: the door. Of course, as expected, my strength fails me, and I fall back down on the bed. Whether it's trying to sleep or get up, the nausea and headache won't let me.

"Mmmn," Utsuho stirs. "Wha... John?" she asks.

"Yeah," I respond.

"Last night, did we..." she asks pensively.

"No," I respond.

"Too bad," she says with a sigh. "...Well, you're here anyway, so..."

"Okuu," I respond between throbs of pain, "if we were to try that right now, I'm positive that I'd be useless. I don't even have the strength to roll over."

"Aww."

I spend a moment trying to gather the energy to get up. All I really need is to get some water and crash in my own bed, but every time I try to move, a wave of nausea washes over me. I mean, once I get going, it'll be easy enough to deal with the burning in my muscles, but without any momentum it's hard to convince my body to do anything.

Well before I make any progress with that, someone knocks at the door.

"Okuu, I'm coming in!" It's Satori. The door swings open. Our eyes meet. She shoots me a very sly glance, hiding a smile behind her hand as she closes the door and leaves.

[Ooooh, busted.]

The rest of the morning passes in a hungover blur. We get fluids, eat breakfast, and prepare to leave; we've already been here longer than we actually intended to be. Thankfully Satori managed to hold back with the teasing; the worst I got was something about coming back to "teach Okuu new things" delivered with a wink. I, uh, I'll consider it, I guess.

Before I know it, we're back at the surface.

"Ah, there you are." Reimu greets us at the exit. "I've been waiting."

"Miss Hakurei, it's unexpected to run into you here," Eirin muses, "do you have business underground?"

"Actually, I'm here to escort you," Reimu explains, "either to the village or to Eientei, depending on how your visit down there went."

This leaves Eirin visibly taken aback. "Why? I can't imagine anything Udonge and I couldn't handle. Or are you suspecting us of something?"

"Not at all. I guess you'll see for yourself anyway, but the situation up here's changed a bit while you were away." Reimu glances at Rumia. "I'm here to escort her as much as I am to escort John."

This upsets Rumia, of course. "W-what did I do?!" she asks, hiding behind me.

"Nothing," Reimu smiles warmly back at her. "Nothing wrong, at least. And that's why I'm here."

This doesn't seem to reassure Rumia much, so I put my hand on her head.

"So," Reimu asks, "how did it go, then?"

"Satori's observations seem to indicate that it is a ghost of some sort after all," Eirin explains. "It seems it might be his girlfriend after all."

Reimu sighs. "Okay, that's a bit of a relief. At least we have a concrete idea of what's going on."

Eirin nods. "Have you considered paying the Netherworld a visit?"

Reimu frowns. "Everyone likes to joke about me slacking off, but I am the Hakurei shrine maiden, after all. I can take care of a little ghost."

"Fair enough," Eirin shrugs. "By the way, we can work out compensation for my services later. Udonge and I will let you be on your way."

Reimu's grip on her stick tightens. "Yeah. We'll talk about that later." With a sigh, she turns to me. "Let's go, John."

The flight back to the village was illuminating. It's normal to run into fairies while you're flying somewhere in Gensokyo. They'll range from curious escorts who just want to know where you're going to tricksters who'll lob a few danmaku at you. That's normal.

There were swarms of them. Every single one of them seemed to be in a frenzy, and they were all showering us with as much danmaku as their little bodies could muster. It made me think of when Reimu explained how fairies tend to get excited and start going into a frenzy whenever something big starts to happen.

How in the world was I supposed to understand the significance of that?
>> No. 197184
>>197183
>the update's slightly delayed
Understatement of the year 2016.
Welcome back.
>> No. 197185
Glad to have you back.
>> No. 197189
>>197183
Welcome back indeed. I was just checking the stalled stories list and this happens. Great!
>>197184
>Understatement of the year 2016
Make that 2017 too. But I don'r care, this is alive and that's what does indeed count.
>> No. 197190
File 149824850976.jpg - (458.73KB, 854x1608, P5_TakeYourTime.jpg) [iqdb]
197190
IT LIVES! ONE OF MY FAVORITE STORIES RETURNED! FUCK YEAH! GO GET FUCKED AMY!

Pic related, is OP writing an update.
>> No. 197191
I'm grinning from ear to ear right now.
>> No. 197192
Hell, it's about damn time.
>> No. 197224
Awesome-tastic! Will there be voting choices soonish?
>> No. 197227
>>197224

This story started because people insisted on voting even when there were no options given. It should be obvious that votes are always accepted.
>> No. 197245
File 149847214463.jpg - (468.33KB, 892x1216, grinning like an idiot.jpg) [iqdb]
197245
>>197191

Me too. Pic related.
>> No. 197247
File 149848572293.jpg - (8.95KB, 225x225, download.jpg) [iqdb]
197247
>>197183
You're back! This is great news

[x] Ask Reimu about the fairies over-danmakuness
>> No. 197248
>>197247
Sure, that shouod be workable. I'll throw that into the next update after the one I'm currently writing.
>> No. 197325
You never really realize how nice it is for life to be simple and easy. Or, at the very least, predictable in some sense.

A year ago, if you sat me down and told me I'd be going through what I'm going through, I'd have thought you either had an unhealthily overactive imagination, or were crazy. Or both. I mean, I'd have probably have paid a bit more attention to how Amy was watching, and would have had a better idea what's going on. Her words probably wouldn't have provoked me as much, I probably wouldn't have reacted as harshly as I did, and I'd probably have never made it here. But I'd have thought you were crazy or making shit up.

You know what the most tedious part of most people's lives is? Well, at least for the people who have their shit together and avoid other people's bullshit just on reflex? You might be thinking taxes, but you only have to deal with that for a short period. Unless you fucked up, that is. Instead, the total net tedium in one's life usually comes from the same place as your need to file those taxes: work. Even for people who enjoy their jobs, there's usually some level of tedium in there, just from the rigor of making sure it gets done right. To a degree it can be satisfying, but things that are tiring often are.

Yet, for me right now, normal, uninteresting, tedious work is the most relaxing thing in the world. Have you ever broken a bone and had to take some time off work? The pain can be unpleasant, but if you've got good painkillers and a television, it can be a nice break.

Now, I didn't really need painkillers. Whatever Eirin's "treatment" was, it seems to have been fairly effective. However, she still sent instructions for me not to work while the break finished healing. Basically, I ended up in the same situation as I described above. Only, I'm in Gensokyo. There is no television. I've been prohibited, on no uncertain terms, from leaving the village. Keine even ended up dragging Rumia off to school for "observation". And I've been stuck with Amy in my head.

So yeah, a bit of physical labor is pretty refreshing now.

Today I'm helping an old lady - Mrs. Tanaka - with some repairs around her house. When I first started doing odd jobs like this, the differences between western and Japanese architecture caused me some confusion - I wasn't really that familiar with that kind of stuff anyway, having a computer background and all, but doors made of paper? Really? Now that I've been here a while, I've done it long enough to be able to take care of enough things to help out.

"And that's the last one." She'd asked for my help airing out her tatami - carrying them all out to the sun is just a bit too much for her in her age. Apparently she doesn't have any family to turn to for help with this - I've decided not to pry.

"Thank you for your hard work," she says with a bow. "Please, stay and have some tea before you leave."

"I couldn't trouble you for that; you're already paying me, after all," I respond, knowing full well that she's going to respond with something like...

"I insist. Come, sit down and enjoy yourself."

Of course, tea sounds lovely, so I accept.

Learning Japanese etiquette was probably one of the most difficult parts of adapting to life in Gensokyo. It doesn't help that Amy seems to take great pleasure in tripping me up on it every chance she catches a hint of uncertainty about how I should react. Thankfully I've experienced enough of those that she doesn't get many chances to do that anymore.

[Oh, come on. You gotta admit that one time was funny as hell.]

No, Amy, that was a pain in the- ...Well, come to think of it, yeah, that was pretty funny in retrospect.

"Here you go. It's green tea; I hope that's fine," she says while placing a cup in front of me and beginning to pour hot water in.

"Of course. Thank you." I pick up the cup and blow on it as she takes a seat on the other side of the table. After taking a sip of the delicious liquid, I glance up at her. Looks like she's opened a newspaper. Wait, isn't that-

Human Outsider and Tengu Dating?!

Oh no.

"So, John," she forcibly snaps me out of my reverie.

I sigh in anticipation of a very difficult conversation. While youkai visit the village and interact with humans a lot more lately, they're still very mistrusted. Even the youkai members of the Myouren temple are treated with a level of polite caution. To some of the villagers, a human, uh, "getting along" with a youkai as described in the article would be seen as treachery. To the rest, it's at the very least something that's very far out of the norm, and, of course, the nail that sticks up gets hammered down. The fact that I'm an outsider and in Keine's care has helped in regards to Rumia, but I still notice the odd looks I get whenever we're out in the village together.

Oh well.

"Yes?" I respond.

"That little youkai girl I often see you with... What was her name again?"

"Rumia?" I respond nervously.

"Yes, Rumia... She's such a nice girl. She even helped me carry home my groceries the other day."

I sigh in relief. "Is that so?"

"Yes. You know, a lot of people can't stand youkai." I nod. "I was that way myself until recently. Now, I don't tell this to everybody, but my dear husband lost his life to a youkai. He was traveling to a nearby branch village. He must have gotten lost, and ended up out in the hills too late. They didn't find him for three days. Now, this was before those silly spellcards Miss Hakurei pushed on anyone. Back then, the only thing we could do if someone got attacked by a youkai was exterminate it. We never did end up finding the youkai that did it, though."

"Wow," I respond solemnly, "I'm sorry to hear about that."

"Well, it was hard losing my husband, but that's just how it was back then. The only interactions between humans and youkai for decades, even centures, were all violence. So I'm sure you can see why a lot of the people in the village, the older ones at least, think that way. If you'd brought dear Rumia into the village even five years ago, she'd have been exterminated, and you likely would have been executed as well for endangering the village."

"Oh." It's hard to come up with a good response to something like that. I mean, I knew it was pretty bad before, but that just kinda hammered it home.

She sighs. "That's been changing a lot lately, especially after you brought Rumia in. Now, there's a lot of people who won't trust them no matter what, but I'm not the only person who's realized that not all of them are only out to kill us."

"I see."

"Well, I guess what I wanted to say was, I think you're doing a good thing by teaching her how to interact with humans. A lot of people would disagree with me, but I don't think we necessarily need to only be afraid of youkai. A lot of youkai don't mean any harm, like that lovely karakasa. All she wants is to give you a little surprise, and yet even I've been so cruel to her before..."

Karakasa?

[Umbrella youkai.]

Thanks, Amy. You're a big help! I think I've seen one of those around.

[No pro- hey wait a second.]

"But putting that aside, John," she says while flipping the pages of the newspaper. With a mischievous smile, she holds up a page and points to it. "What was it like being with a tengu?"

I almost choke on my tea. "Huh?"

[Oh, look at that. Is he blushing?]

"Oh, don't play dumb with me, John. Everyone in the village knows, so fess up."

[He is. How cute!]

God damn it, Aya.



After finishing up with the day's work, I return home. Somehow I managed to avoid answering anything too personal, but she still got me. I just know there's going to be gossip going around... Oh well. Come to think of it, there's probably always some level of gossip going around about me anyway.

Taking my shoes off, I proceed toward my room to rest. Passing by the living room, I find Keine sitting at the table reading a thick book with mild disinterest, as usual for her days off.

"I'm home," I indicate.

"Welcome back," she responds without looking up from her book. I turn to continue back to my room, but she interrupts me. "Oh, by the way, you're in the newspaper again," she states while pointing at the paper folded up on the table.

"I am?" I turn back and walk toward the table, taking a seat in front of the paper.

Let's see...

Youkai attack in the Forest of Magic! Exclusive interview with the Hakurei Shrine Maiden herself!

Well, if she interviewed Reimu about it, it's probably at least a little bit reasonable.

I hope.

Also inside: local religious figure bashes truthful and fact-checked journalism and attempts to silence the press!

Oh dear.

Well, let's go ahead and read the article, then.

Several weeks ago, an attempted youkai attack in the Forest of Magic was stopped by a pair of magicians.

The attack, one of several recent attacks on humans in a new wave of youkai aggression, appears unique in that several youkai-sympathizing youkai were also included in the attack.

"Yeah, I think those youkai were just as much of a target as the human in this one," Kirisame Marisa, one of the magicians present at the attack, stated. "One of them was beat up pretty badly. Looked like an ambush or something."

So why would youkai attack other youkai in the first place?

"This went way further than a simple territorial dispute," Alice Margatroid, the other magician present at the attack, responded. "For some reason, these particular youkai appear to have been intentionally targeted."

Indeed, other attacks on youkai by other youkai have been reported recently. The main tie between these attacks has been the youkai's purported relationship with humans - human-friendly youkai traveling with humans appear to be the biggest target, though there have been several direct attacks on humans as well.

We reached out to Hakurei Reimu, the shrine maiden of the Hakurei Shrine, for a statement.

"Oh, you mean those ones Marisa brought by the other day? Yeah, that was an unfortunate situation."

I asked her why some youkai are suddenly acting like this.

"From what I can tell, some of them aren't happy about how close humans and youkai have gotten recently," she explained. "I think some of them are worried about faith. If humans are no longer scared of youkai, those youkai would have a hard time. Still, it makes me wonder if someone might be pulling the strings."

I asked her what she thought of the situation as a whole.

"Well, on one hand, the youkai getting weaker is a good thing for the villagers, especially those who travel outside of the village," she responded. "On the other hand, if the youkai get riled up too much, it could cause an incident."

She declined to comment on who she thought might be "pulling the strings".

>> No. 197326
[x] TITLE DROP.
>> No. 197329
> I sigh in relief. "Is that so?"

It's contagious!
>> No. 197434
File 149956846391.jpg - (339.76KB, 629x794, 7a754f6a1d0f33a084a23352023add34.jpg) [iqdb]
197434
As I'm walking to the store to pick up some snacks for Rumia, something peculiar occurs to me: I haven't heard from Amy in several days now.

...

...

...

Nothing?

Yeah. Not even a peep. I'd have expected this to be relaxing, but it's actually slightly unnerving when I have no idea what she's up to.

Oh well, let's enjoy it while we can.

"Boo!" a young girl clad in blue shouts as I round the corner.

"Oh, hey." I respond, not missing a beat. "What's up?"

"Eh, ah..." She hesitates. "Nothing, nevermind." She visibly deflates. "Have a nice day." She turns and leaves, umbrella bobbing on her shoulder, her mismatched eyes betraying a feeling of utter defeat.

Hey, wait a moment.

Didn't I have a conversation a week ago that went something like...

A lot of youkai don't mean any harm, like that lovely karakasa. All she wants is to give you a little surprise

Noticing an opportunity, I decide to stop the girl.

"Hold on, you're uh..."

Any help here?

No?

"Tatara Kogasa," she responds.

"Are you okay?" I ask, immediately realizing how abrupt the question must sound. "I mean, uh, you sure surprised me there!"

She turns back to me. "It's okay. You don't have to try to be polite." She resumes her retreat.

Well, now I kinda feel like a dick for rubbing it in. Okay, you know what? Fuck it. I didn't get where I am by having personal interactions this awkward.

"Wait," I call after her again, "let me help you."

"Huh?" She looks at me with uncertainty. "What do you mean?"

"You'll see. C'mon."

...

If I remember correctly, this time of day she should be...

Aha. There she is.

"If you hide behind that bush, she'll never realize you're there," I say, pointing toward a tall bush concealing a blind corner.

"Ehh..." she responds with doubt. "Last time I tried surprising Mrs. Tanaka, she ignored me until I, uh, and then scolded me, and.... It wasn't worth the effort."

"Trust me on this," I reassure her. "Look, if it doesn't work out, I'll bail you out."

She sighs. "If she does it again, you're buying me lunch."

I stand back and observe as she sneaks her way into position, hiding behind the bush. Hey, wait, hide the umbrella too! Geez. She's going to know you're there. Well, that's fine too, I guess. I get a feeling that Mrs. Tanaka will act it up this time if she does catch on.

"What're you doing?" a familiar voice comes from behind.

"Good deeds, Reimu," I respond without looking away. "Observe." I point toward the meticulously laid trap. And by that I mean hastily improvised and thrown together, but whatever.

As planned, Mrs. Tanaka walks past the bush, and also as planned, Kogasa jumps out to surprise her.

"By helping a youkai antagonize a human?" she asks doubtfully.

"Nah, keep watching."

Kogasa did indeed give Mrs. Tanaka a bit of a fright. However, to Reimu's great surprise, the old lady breaks out into laughter and ruffles the karakasa's hair after recovering from the initial surprise. I hear a faint shout of "you're making fun of me!" responded to with a sincere "not at all, you got me good!"

Hey, wait. That surprised Reimu too - did I just score a double? Judging by how Kogasa has just looked in this direction with an expression of mild surprise herself, I'd say yes.

"Okay, John, I'm impressed. I was expecting to have to give you a lecture, but that was actually pretty neat to watch."

"Hey, I try," I respond. "Oh, Reimu, while you're here, would you like to get lunch? I have a couple questions for you."

"Well, John, I'd really like to, but unfortunately I'm a bit busy today."

Ouch. Well, I have a pretty solid counter to that.

"I'm buying," I retort.

"In that case,here were you thinking of going?" her tone immediately changes.

For a moment I ponder suggesting Mystia's stand, but given how adamant Reimu was about me not leaving the village under any circumstances, I feel like it might not be the best idea.

"I know a place with good yakitori toward the middle of the village," I suggest. "Good food, not too pricey."

"Sure. I'm in."

I begin leading the way, exchanging small talk with Reimu on the way. We arrive at the yakitori place with pretty nice timing; we're currently the only people at the stall, so getting a seat and getting our orders taken is pretty quick.

"I'll have the usual with extra sauce," I order first.

"I'll have the same, then," Reimu follows.

"Me too, and I'll pay for these two," Kogasa goes third. Wait, what?

"Wha- You were following us?" I ask with mild astonishment.

"Of course. I had to pay you back, after all," she retorts. "That was a pretty good meal. I think that's the first time I've surprised Reimu like that," she states teasingly.

"What do you mean by meal?" I ask, slightly confused. I'm aware of youkai needing faith to continue existing, but it seems strange to me to equate that to a meal for some reason.

"When she surprises someone, she absorbs some of their spirit," Reimu explains.

"Yup!" Kogasa cheerily confirms. "If I don't surprise someone, I'll starve!"

"Huh." That's pretty interesting.

"To be honest," she continues, "I think Reimu's the tastiest. I'm going to have to surprise her lots from now on!"

"Well, you can try," Reimu quips. "You haven't exactly done very well at that so far."

"Hmph."

Sensing that the conversation isn't going to go too smoothly if it keeps going in this direction, I decide to change the topic. Might as well go ahead and ask those questions I invited Reimu here about; Kogasa seems human-friendly enough.

"There sure have been a lot of fairies in the sky lately," I muse, "is something going on?"

"Oh, you noticed?" Reimu ponders for a moment. "Well, it's looking like there's going to be an incident pretty soon. Pretty normal this time of year." Kogasa nods.

"Does that have something to do with the youkai attacks?"

"Ahh..." Reimu hesitates, scratching her cheek. "You heard about that? I guess there's no hiding it then. Yeah, that's basically it."

"Wasn't that because of youkai getting mad that they're getting less faith, or something?"

"Basically, yeah."

I sigh. "So it's because of Rumia and I after all." Figures.

"Whoa there, John. Just because you've been dragged in the middle of it doesn't mean that you're the cause of it," she reassures me. "It was going to happen eventually. You and Rumia might've kickstarted it, but if you hadn't someone else would've. There're people from both sides who're pretty unhappy about the current situation. It was only a matter of time."

I sigh. "If you say so," I respond skeptically.

Reimu frowns. "Enough of that, John," Reimu responds while placing her hand on my shoulder. "Blaming yourself like that for something you can't control doesn't suit you."

I sigh. "Yeah, you're right." I look down at the table. "If people are mad because I made a friend out of someone like Rumia, then fuck 'em."

"That's the spirit!"

I pause to take a sip of the water.

"So you're the guy who's been causing the uproar lately, huh?" Kogasa asks with the delicacy of a hammer haphazardly dropped into a box of fine china tableware.

I almost spit out my water. "Yeah, I guess that's me."

"You should visit the Myouren Temple," Kogasa suggests. "The people there are all for the youkai and humans getting along stuff, so you'd fit right in."

"Maybe some time," Reimu objects, "but right now John isn't leaving the village without an escort."

"Hey, I'd be willing to escort him for the right price." She flashes me a grin. "Wanna help me surprise some more people?"

"I mean an actual escort; someone strong enough to be a deterrent."

"Hmph." Kogasa sticks her tongue out at Reimu, pulling her eyelid down.

Thankfully, the food shows up in time to diffuse the tension. Nothing kills a conversation faster than delicious food that takes everyone's attention.

"By the way, John", Reimu asks between bites. Everyone but Reimu, I guess. "How's she doing?"

"She?" I ask, mildly confused. "You mean Rumia?"

"Your ex-girlfriend or whatever. How's that been going for you?"

"Ex-girlfriend?" Kogasa asks.

"Hasn't been a sign of her for a couple days, actually," I respond, ignoring Kogasa's question. I'd prefer to avoid getting too deep into it about her in public.

"Interesting. Are you lonely?" Reimu asks with a smirk.

"Ha ha. It's been nice to not have her around."

"Why? Does she interfere with your attempts to make all the youkai girls swoon?"

"What?"

"I've read that article, and I did go and talk to Satori, you know. Despite what certain people might say, I take my job seriously."

Damn it. I thought I was in the clear about that.

"And she just told you about that?"

"Of course. There's nothing that my interrogation techniques can't extract."

I shiver. From the stories she's told me about previous incidents, I've got a pretty good idea what her interrogation techniques involve.

"You didn't..."

She giggles. "Nah, just took Suika with on the trip down. Let her gourd do all the work."

I sigh. Despite teasing me like she did, Satori was a pretty good host while we were there, so I'm glad Reimu never ended up hurting her.

"So that makes two, huh? Are you trying for a third?"

"Say what?"

Reimu simply gestures toward Kogasa.

"Wait, what?" Kogasa tenses up. "You weren't just trying to pick me up, were you?"

You know what? If Reimu's going to drop me in this hole just to see me try to climb out, I'm going to dig myself in further just to assert my dominance. Yeah. That's how that works.

"Oh yeah, you know me. Youkai pick-up artist extraordinaire," I explain, laying the sarcasm on as thick as I can. "All the youkai chicks think they're going to get a quick meal, but I makes a meal out of them instead, if you know what I mean."

I hear a click and see a flash, and I instantly regret trying to ham it up.

Well, at the very least I got a free meal. The night isn't a complete loss.
>> No. 197435
File 14995685087.jpg - (148.12KB, 900x720, __rumia_touhou_drawn_by_kuze_matsuri__33e039ce2752.jpg) [iqdb]
197435
I arrive home, stomach full and feeling good about having done a good deed.

"I'm home," I announce.

"Welcome back!" Rumia enthusiastically greets me at the door.

"How's your day been?" I ask casually while closing the door.

"I'm starving!"

Oh.

"What did you get me? Taiyaki? Takoyaki? Meat buns?"

Fuck.

"Uhh..."

"Oh, did you get sushi? It's been so long since we had sushi!"

"I, uh..." I hesitate.

"Hmm?" she asks with great interest.

"I forgot, Rumia. I'm sorry."

---

[ ] Diligent student
[ ] Rainy day
[ ] Hot date
>> No. 197436
>>197435
[ ] Rainy day
>> No. 197437
[x] Hot date

Seems to fit our MO so far
>> No. 197438
[x] Hot date

>I hear a click and see a flash, and I instantly regret trying to ham it up.

John should've turned around and looked for Aya. If he did spot her, he could've made an 'I see you' gesture while mouthing or shouting, "You're next!"
>> No. 197439
[x] Rainy day

Hooray for best umbrella.
>> No. 197440
[X] Rainy day

Rainy days are nice too.
>> No. 197441
[x] Diligent student

Is that so~?
>> No. 197442
[x] Hot date

Youkai playboy coming through.
>> No. 197443
[x] Hot date

Still sticking to the strat of trying to fuck john to death. Sure, it haasn't worked yet, but I believe
>> No. 197445
[x] Hunting trip.

I don't want to risk having our adorable protag eaten by our adorable grue. Food first, flirting later.
>> No. 197446
[X] Rainy day
Best umbrella
>> No. 197447
[X] Rainy day

Umbrella time? Umbrella time.
>> No. 197452
[X] Hot date
How do you put this option and not expect it to win?
>> No. 197455
>>197452
Well, your vote did just tie it with rainy day, so it doesn't appear to be that cut and dry...
>> No. 197456
[x] Rainy day
>> No. 197457
[X] Hot date

I like ties.
>> No. 197458
[x] Rainy day
>> No. 197462
[x] Hot date

I hate the rain.
>> No. 197473
Going to call the vote at 3PM PST tomorrow.
>> No. 197474
[ze] Hot date
>> No. 197477
[X] Hot Date
>> No. 197478
[ ] Hot date
>> No. 197479
Calling it for [x] Hot date.
>> No. 197648
I'm not dead. Family came to visit over the past month, so that slowed down my writing. Nevertheless, I have been writing whenever possible, so sit tight.
>> No. 198959
File 152378643031.jpg - (972.79KB, 2550x3300, would like a word with you.jpg) [iqdb]
198959
>>197648
> not dead
>> No. 198960
>>198959

Dis nigga was getting Golden Age level of votes and just fucks off into the dark corners of time? Ain't that some shit.
>> No. 198961
File 152379704216.gif - (1.96MB, 300x170, giphy.gif) [iqdb]
198961
Whoa this is great news! I've been waiting for over 3 years now.
>> No. 198962
>>198961
always check post dates, lol
>> No. 198963
Um, guys? We may have just fucked up... What's Momiji going to think of this "hot date" with Rumina?

... inb4 the food turns out to be spicy
>> No. 198964
>>198962
lul
>> No. 199003
File 152645352845.png - (514.92KB, 750x690, 1beb42e7cd9f31505b74546ac5b50615[1].png) [iqdb]
199003
I know a few weeks ago I talked about how working was the most relaxing thing at the world for me at the time, but man, after actually working again for a while, that sure turned around.

Lately I've been working extra hard every day. Not only do I have to repay Keine for graciously allowing me to stay in her house like this, but I also have absolutely no idea how serious Eirin was about "compensation for her services", and since it sounded like she was going to go after Reimu for that, I've been trying to save up money to help make up for that as well. I mean, I have no idea if the compensation would even involve money, but even if Reimu is made to perform some task for Eirin, I'd prefer to be able to pay her back for her time, given how I'm the person who benefited.

That said, today I'm finally getting a break. Whether it's farming, helping with housework, or delivering stuff to someone's house, the only things my skills enable me to do are physical work in some form, and often quite tiring. Because of that, today I've been especially enjoying my break, sipping cool iced tea while reading a newspaper. Not a paper from the village, though I've been reading those lately, and not the Bunbunmaru, but rather a different newspaper, also by a tengu author. I'm somewhat glad that I'm not seeing any articles about myself in this one, even though the writing style of this author seems to be a lot less biased and scandalous than Aya. There, I said it. You wanna fight about it, Aya? Well, I do know that if it's between an outsider human and a tengu, the tengu would win in any serious fight, but whatever. I can still voice my complaints, right?

As I'm enjoying the article, I hear a soft knock at the door. I glance at Keine, but she seems quite absorbed in the book she's reading, so like a good guest I get up to answer the door.

"Kamishirasawa residence," I state flatly while sliding the door open.

"Good afternoon, John," Momiji greets me with a smile and a wave. I immediately notice something different about her from usual: instead of her usual outfit, she's wearing clothes more like what girls from the village would wear, almost as if she were trying to fit in. However, the ears and tail give away that she isn't human, and the red hat she's still wearing makes it clear that she's a tengu, so I'm not quite certain what she's trying to accomplish.

"Good afternoon, Momiji," I respond in turn.

"How unusual for a wolf tengu to come to my house in person," Keine says while approaching the door. "What can I do for you, Miss Inubashiri?"

"Well..." Momiji hesitates. "The truth is, I..." She glances to the side. "I came here to tell you guys something important."

"What's that?" Keine asks cautiously.

"You see... I'm pregnant."

What.

[?!]

"What." I immediately respond.

"What?" Keine asks, slightly less alarmed but still noticeably so.

"I'm afraid it's true. Unfortunately, tengu customs don't allow half-tengu children to be raised in the village, so unfortunately I'm going to have to impose upon you." Momiji bows deeply. "Thank you in advance for your hospitality."

"I... What?" Keine responds. I'm still too deep in shock to respond. "Are you serious?"

"Nah, I'm just fucking with you."

Apparently tengu foreheads are quite sturdy. I'd have been out cold for a week after that forehead smash, but Momiji's reaction is limited to just clutching her forehead in pain while rolling on the ground.

After a few minutes, she stops and climbs back up to her feet.

"So," Keine annoyedly asks, "what're you really here for?"

"I was hoping to borrow John for today," Momiji explains. "I'd like him to show me around the village."

"You mean like a date?" Keine asks bluntly.

"Well, I mean, I guess you could call it that.".

Keine shoots me a sly glance. "I thought you said you two weren't dating," she teases.

Momiji laughs. "Nothing like that," she explains, "I just have some time to kill."

"Hmm? Oh?" Keine doesn't sound very convinced. "Well, if both of you say so, I guess it must be true," Keine responds skeptically. "I don't really have anything I need John to do today, so I don't have any problems with you borrowing him, but," she pauses, pointing a finger at me, "just remember: nothing indecent in the house. Got it?" she warns, dead serious.

To Momiji, this was apparently pretty funny. However, I'm quite certain I'm a shade pinker than I was a moment ago.

...

A tengu in casual dress walking around with a human causes a few heads to turn, but that's nothing I'm not used to. Hell, nowadays I feel like I'm just short of turning heads just by walking around, given all the rumors I've heard going around.

Actually, those are honestly getting a bit excessive. I've literally been sitting here not doing anything unusual at all, and yet it keeps ramping up. It's almost like someone's been intentionally spreading rumors about me just to give me a hard time.

Oh well. For the most part it doesn't really bother me. Momiji also seems to mostly be ignoring it, but it has felt like she's been alert this whole time for whatever reason.

"Well, where should we go?" I ask uncomfortably. After all, I'm probably not the best tour guide if you want to see the village. Even though working odd jobs takes me across the village, I still haven't really seen that much of it. It's not like I could just take her to the Hieda mansion or the village chief's house - I only vaguely know where those places are. Chances are anything they might actually need me for, they've got someone better to do the job.

"Hmm..." she ponders. "I don't know. Should we just walk around for a bit until we think of something to do?"

For someone who specifically wanted to be shown around the village, that's a pretty spontaneous attitude, but okay. Just walking around for a bit isn't bad.

"Sounds good to me."

So we begin wandering a bit through the village with no real goal in mind. Just spending some time together, enjoying the mild weather. Occasionally a shop catches her eye and we wander through. An incense shop, a little candy shop run by a kind old lady, a shop selling hand-glazed pottery. Eventually we wander into a little shop that mostly seems to sell jewlery and trinkets. I've never seen her wear any, so I didn't think she was the type, but she seems pretty interested. Maybe it's just something her job makes difficult to do?

After a bit of browsing, she settles on an item and tries it on.

"John, how does it look?" She asks, doing a little spin so I can see all angles.

"Uh..."

"Hmm?"

"Momiji... Why?"

"Isn't it cute?" She spins around again, acting more cutesy than I'd ever imagined her acting.

click

Momiji's ears twitch.

"Momiji, that's literally a dog collar." This just has to be her trying to set up some kind of straight-man bit.

"Yep~ Now you can put me on a leash!"

The shop owner almost spits out her tea. Pedestrians stop and turn to stare. And I, of course, feel like I'm probably a brighter shade of red than her hat. Yeah, by now all of these people have seen heard about the Bunbunmaru article. Even if they hadn't read it themselves, it's spread quite a lot as gossip. Yep. This is pretty awkward.

So, naturally, Momiji starts laughing.

"J-just-" she manages between breaths, "just kidding." After a moment, she starts to calm down. "You should have seen your face, though. That was great!"

By now the passersby have have already resumed their walk and the shop owner has begun just giving us suspicious glances here and there. Okay. I think I'm starting to turn a more normal color.

So, of course, Momiji comes close and whispers into my ear, "but if that's what you're into, I wouldn't mind playing later..."

I bought the collar.

...

"You didn't just ask me out on this date to tease me, did you?" I ask as we continue our stroll.

"Haha, that was pretty good, wasn't it?" She flashes me a grin. "But no, I really did just want you to show me around the village. When I saw that collar, I just couldn't help it."

"You alwasy have been the impulsive type," I tease.

"Ah... I guess it wouldn't be surprising for that to be the impression you got of me, would it? I mean, considering how we met, and all."

"Well, I guess..." I didn't really expect her to take it so seriously.

"To be honest... Sometimes I just have to be! Normally I'm pretty serious. It's pretty difficult not to be when you're a guard. That can get pretty stressful, though, if you have no way of venting." She flashes a very genuine smile. "I guess I have you to thank for finally giving me an excuse to."

It's kind of unfair that she can tease me, but if I try to tease her, she turns it back around on me like this. Oh well.

That said, if she's gotten so stressed that she needed to visit the village to vent, it must be pretty busy up on the mountain right now.

"I take it work on hte mountain has been a bit stressful lately?"

"Yeah," she sighs. "There've been a lot of troublemakers lately, so we've had to step up the patrols."

Troublemakers?
Oh.
"Fairies?" I make an educated guess. After all, those same troublemakers have apparently been causing problems all over Gensokyo lately, so they're the likely suspect for the mountain as well.

"Mostly, yeah. It's basically been non-stop."

"Are there always this many of them doing this whenever an incident happens, or is there something special about this one?"

"If I had to pick, I'd say this would be pretty usual if an incident were happening, though it really depends on what's going on," she explains. "I'm not really sure I'd consider this to be an incident in the first place, though."

"What do you mean? I've definitely heard it referred to as an incident quite a few times."

"Well... I'll be frank. How many youkai have you heard that from? From the perspective of a tengu, this is honestly more like the end of an incident that's been going on for a while. More youkai are attacking humans, and more humans are beginning to mistrust youkai again... That's essentially how it normally is, how it always was before."

"That's..." I begin to reply, but stop myself. For some reason, perhaps because I'm an outsider, I can't accept that just being what's normal. Just because that's how it was in the past doesn't mean that humans and youkai need to be enemies no matter what. If some humans and some youkai want to get along, what's wrong with that?
...But since I am an outsider, I have to accept that I don't really know much about how Gensokyo works. On the other hand, I really do want to hear Momiji's perspective on this, so...
"Is it really a bad thing for humans and youkai to get along?"

She sighs. "It's complicated."

"..."

She sighs. "Honestly, I'm not really the best person to be asking about this. You'd really be best off asking an expert on youkai. What I can say is that humans and youkai are fundamentally incompatible. We youkai embody the anxieties and fears of humans; for us to get along with humans is a contradiction. Humans and youkai aren't meant to get along very well. If they get too close, it usually ends in tragedy."

I don't really follow what she's saying. Fundamentally incompatible? A contradiction? It certainly doesn't seem that way to me... To be completely honest, I can think of a lot more humans I've been incompatible with than youkai, even just within the people I've met here in Gensokyo.

"Your expression says you don't like something about what I said."

"Well, yeah," I respond. "You're basically saying that it's a mistake for me to get along with Rumia... Or with you, for that matter."

"Hmm... Not exactly. You've honestly gotten really lucky that most of the youkai you've met haven't been particularly dangerous. Rumia seems like she'd die before letting something happen to you. But that's exactly why it's a mistake for her to get along with you so well. Whether it's distrusting humans driving her away out of fear, angry youkai trying to punish her for disrupting the balance, or just the fact that she'll be around long after you're gone, It'll most likely end painfully for her." She looks down. "Worse still, getting too close could cause her to corrupt you, which could cause you to start turning toward a youkai yourself. If that happens, you'll both certainly be exterminated. The permanent kind."

"..."

"As for you, most youkai are actually pretty dangerous to humans. Most humans who get along with youkai end up getting tricked. Often they just end up getting scammed or stolen from, but it's also pretty common for them to just suddenly go missing."

"I... See."

"But enough of that, John. Let's go get something to eat!"

After a bit of wandering, we end up finding a decent-looking place that sold noodles. Not exactly where I'd normally go on a date, but Momiji seemed to be in the mood for it, so whatever. We end up getting seated outside at Momiji's request. I mean, it is a nice day.

"I bet your little ghost is getting pretty jealous by now," Momiji says with a grin, resting her cheek in her hand.

"Ghost?" Oh, right. "Oh, you mean Amy? She's been gone for a couple weeks now. Guess it kinda slipped my mind."

"Boo," Momiji pouts. "Oh well. Did something happen?"

"Nah, she just kinda stopped bugging me one day. Maybe she got bored and moved on?"

"Well, I doubt she'd be able to just move on, but it's possible she got purified or exorcised or something."

"I don't remember anything like that happening, though."

"Who knows? Ghosts can be pretty capricious. Maybe she's bothering someone else now."

"Interesting!" Aya exclaims, accompanied by the flash of her camera. "Would you be willing to answer a few questions?"

My reaction is simply to sigh, but Momiji's expression instantly sours. She stands up, knocking her chair over in the process, and fumes.

"Can't you leave me alone for just one day?! You were already annoying enough before John showed up, but now it's like I can't even get a break!"

Sounds like Aya's been... Hounding her. Damn, I can't even try to tease her in this situation, since I can she'd hit me.

Aya gestures for her to calm down. "C'mon, I just want to ask a couple-"

"And your newspaper sucks!" Momiji interrupts.

Ah-

"W-what?" Aya asks, tears forming in her eyes.

"You heard-"

And Aya begins bawling, dropping to her knees and just crying her eyes out.

"...Me," Momiji reluctantly finishes, visibly taken aback by Aya's reaction. "Uhh..."

By now, this whole thing has become a spectacle. Everyone's watching, and I'm trying my best to remain in the background.

Momiji glances around. Then, after an awkward pause, she kneels in front of Aya.

"I-", she hesitates, "I didn't mean it, your-"

Aya's bawling gets worse. "Yeah you did! Everyone says my newspaper sucks!"

Ahh...

Momiji looks to me for guidance. I have no idea what to say, though, so I just shrug.

"Aya, everyone wouldn't read your newspaper if it sucked," Momiji attempts to reassure Aya.

"People read it because it sucks! They think it's a tabloid, and read it just to laugh at it!"

I think I may know where that may have come from.

"Then," Momiji says while grabbing Aya's shoulders, "If people think your newspaper is bad and reads like a tabloid, you just need to write a really good article and show them that it's good."

"How?!" Aya sobs.

Momiji looks to me for confirmation, and I nod.

"Well," Momiji explains, "that starts with getting a really good interview."

Which is exactly what she got after we managed to get her calmed back down. Of course, we were really picky about what questions we'd let her ask. It ended up being a no-nonsense interview about my general experience as an outsider in Gensokyo. I think it went pretty well, but it's up to Aya to turn it into a good article. I guess we'll see when it gets published.

After Aya thanks us and flies off with a wave, Momiji lets out a really big sigh.

"It seems like dealing with that very often would be really stressful," I remark.

"You have no idea," she says while shaking her head. "She's always been so annoying, and then she accuses me of looking down on her for being a crow tengu. Like, what? I get along with Himekaidou just fine. Aya's just really annoying."

"I see." That definitely matches up with the impression I've gotten so far.

"Well, I feel like we've lingered at this shop long enough," Momiji remarks.

"Should we continue on our adventure?"

"Do you have anything in mind?"

"More walking," she says with a wink while conspicuously adjusting her collar.

---

[ ] Diligent student
[ ] Rainy day
[ ] Youkai expert
>> No. 199004
>>199003
[x] Rainy day
>> No. 199005
[x] Rainy day

Well now, this was a pleasant surprise.
>> No. 199006
[X] Youkai expert
>"Nah, I'm just fucking with you."
It's turning into "God Damn It, Momiji"
>> No. 199007
>>199006
> Momiji just fucking with us
What is this, An Excuse For Awoo?

[x] Youkai expert
-[x] Specifically, one on tengu customs.
>> No. 199008
[X] Diligent student

Renko maybe?
>> No. 199011
[X] Diligent student



Best awoo is here. Thanks for the update. As for my vote, how about Okuu?
>> No. 199012
[x] Youkai expert
>> No. 199013
[X] Diligent student


great to see a nearly dead story come back
>> No. 199014
[X] Diligent student
>> No. 199016
>>199007
Love for best awoo is universal.

[x] Youkai expert
>> No. 199020
[x] Rainy day

Kogasa option?
>> No. 199021
[x] Rainy day
>> No. 199022
[x] Diligent student
>> No. 199023
[X] Rainy day
>> No. 199034
Going to call it 24 hours from now. If it's still a tie, I'm going to flip a coin.
>> No. 199036
[x] Diligent student
>> No. 199041
[X] Rainy day
>> No. 199050
Coin toss chose [x] Rainy day. Stay tuned for updates.
>> No. 199086
Damn I missed the vote. Well I have to say it anyway.

Wohoo, this story is back!
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