[X]Just stay by yourself. Anyone wants to talk, they'll come to you. [X]Have a drink, loosen up a bit.
You know what, while you're interested in meeting everyone else, you can't be arsed to actually get up and talk to them. To that end, you decide to simply stay where you are, and let them come to you.
Also, you don't feel like being completely sober. You can't remember the last time you were able to have an actual drink.
Getting up, you feel a few eyes linger on you as you approach the drink table. As you stop in front of the alcohol, you realize that you'll kinda have to take your mask off to actually have a drink. Thankfully, you were facing away from everyone, so you could gulp some liquid down without showing your face. You don't know why you're worried about that, however. Probably something about preserving the mystery that is you, or some bollocks.
Anyway, you manage to slip the lower half of your mask up with your good hand, which almost completely obscures your vision, but you can at least drink something. You quickly fill your glass and swallow it down, wincing as the alcohol burns your throat. You missed that.
Fitting your mask back on, you turn to see most of the room watching you, evidently hoping to sneak a peek of your face.
You can feel the alcohol doing its job as you wordlessly walk back to your table. You would've grabbed some food, but you were still full from breakfast. Unsurprising, since you've lasted far longer on far less before.
Not too long after you sit back down, you hear footsteps approaching you, and you turn to see that one green girl walking to your table, Reimu following behind her.
The girl gives a small bow, and says something in Japanese.
You just stare at her, unamused.
She realizes her mistake shortly after, while Reimu smirks. "Oh, sorry, I forgot that you don't-" She clears her throat and starts over. "Anyway, I am told that you are an Outsider. Is that true?"
You nod. "Sure is, miss."
Her eyes widen slightly upon hearing your voice. "Oh, you're British, too?"
"...yeah, I am."
She lets out a small giggle. "Sorry, I just love British accents. They're just so funny to me!"
Man, it's like you're dealing with an American tourist.
A small nudge from Reimu puts the girl back on track. "Oh, I was meaning to say, I'm actually from the Outside, too."
You tense slightly, but she doesn't seem to notice. "How long have you been here?" you ask, testing the waters.
"A few years now, I believe."
So that meant she didn't know that the world as she knew it is now being ransacked by nightmarish creatures. You felt a bit bad for her, honestly.
"Anyhow, I actually haven't heard any news from the Outside for the last few months. Is everything alright?"
No, everything is the exact opposite of alright "Yeah, for the most part, the world's doin' just fine. Some rough spots here and there, but when isn't there?"
She nods in understanding, then seems to remember something. "Oh, how silly of me, I forgot to introduce myself!" She gives another small bow. "I am Sanae, chief shrine maiden for the Moriya Shrine."
Instead of bowing, you offer your good hand towards her, which she accepts in a somewhat awkward handshake. "I'm Mr. Foster. Nice to meet you."
Wait, now that you think about it, doesn't Reimu have her own shrine? Wouldn't that mean they're in competition with each other?
Reimu apparently read your mind, because she spoke up next. "We get along just fine with our two shrines. At least, we do now."
Sanae lets out a laugh. "Yeah, you should've seen when we first arrived in Gensokyo. That was kind of a mistake on our part, to say the least."
They share a laugh, and you can't help but join in, even though you have no idea what the hell they're talking about.
While they talk amongst themselves, you let your eyes wander around the room. The two that Sanae arrived with were looking towards you, amused smiles on their faces. Upon noticing that you're looking at them, they offer small waves, which you nonchalantly return.
You feel like conversation was about to turn to you again, so you focus back on the two girls in front of you.
[ ]Ask them for some more details on what happened when Sanae first arrived. Might be a good story, and also would keep the focus off your own life. [ ]Go ahead and let them initiate a topic. It will most likely be about you, so might as well face it head on.
[x]Go ahead and let them initiate a topic. It will most likely be about you, so might as well face it head on.
You contemplate pushing the conversation into a different direction, hoping to avoid any talk of your past, but then part of your brain decides "Fuck it," and you can't help but agree.
With that in mind, you go ahead and sit back, waiting for the two girls to initiate a topic. Whatever it is, you'll be able to deal with it.
They finish up whatever they were talking about during your thinking, and, as expected, they turn to you.
"So, Mr. Foster," Sanae starts, "not to be rude, or anything, but... why exactly do you wear that mask?"
Well, you saw that one coming. "There's quite a lot of domestic dispute back home, so I had to keep this on me for a while, because of smoke and such. I guess I just kinda grew attached to it, over time."
She doesn't seem 100% convinced of your story, but thankfully, she doesn't press the issue.
You spy her gaze coming to rest at your hip, where you made no attempt at hiding your gun holster. "Is that also why you have a gun?"
She nods in understanding. "Makes sense, I suppose. Better safe than sorry..."
After that, the conversation falls into an awkward silence, the room now dominated by the sounds of other conversations. Apparently, Reimu sees that you're both done talking, and starts leading Sanae to another table.
Now on your own again, you stare at the ceiling and wonder if you could get away with taking a quick nap during all this, before you hear someone else sit down at your table. Looking back down, you see that oh bloody hell it's that vampire bitch.
She can apparently detect your glare through your mask, which only makes her smirk wider. She glances at your gimped arm. "So, I take it you're healing well?"
You say nothing, and instead just continue glaring at her.
"I see." She stifles a chuckle, before acting out a mock gasp. "Oh, how rude of me! I have yet to introduce myself." She gestures at herself with a flourish. "I am Remilia Scarlet. And, as I've already heard, you are Mr. Foster, yes?"
You do little more than nod in confirmation.
Remilia rolls her eyes. "Anyway, while it's no doubt fun antagonizing you, I am speaking to you for more serious matters."
Your anger gives way to confusion. "Serious matters like what?"
Her smile falls slightly. "Tell me, while you were at my mansion, did you happen to run into a girl about my height, blonde hair, red dress?"
Actually, that does sound familiar... Oh right. "Yeah, I saw her in the library. Why?"
"Tell me, did you speak to her at all?"
Before you could answer, she continues. "Bear in mind, I've already gotten a basic summary of events from Sakuya," she nods at the maid in question some distance away, "so remember that lying won't be in your best interests."
She smirks at the end of that sentence, and in such a way that you can see a fang poking through her lips.
You feel your drink from earlier giving you some courage. "First of all, no need to threaten me so much, 'cause it's not gonna work." Her smirk falls at that, which makes you put on one of your own, not that she could see it. "Secondly, she just asked about my mask, and I gave a simple answer. That was all."
She just sits there for a bit, no doubt thinking over your answer. Finally, Remilia speaks again. "Alright. I believe you."
She continues to look at you, causing you to prompt her to continue.
"To give you some context, that girl you spoke with briefly was none other than my sister."
Well, now that she mentions it, you could see a bit of a resemblance between the two of them.
"And I went to check on her last night, after you had left, and I found... something odd."
She snaps her fingers, and suddenly Sakuya is next to the table, handing her a few pieces of paper. She then bows, and vanishes again.
Remilia places the pieces of paper onto the table, and you see that they appear to be a series of childish doodles, of various subjects. However, recurring through a good portion of it, you can recognize a certain gas-mask wearing man in a suit.
You shrug. "She started drawing some handsome fellow. Not my fault."
Remilia grins slightly at your humor. "Regardless, it appears that, for one reason or another, you've made quite an impression on her."
"And you're telling me this, because...?"
Her smile drops. "Alright, let me get to the point, then. In the interest of potentially keeping my sister... subdued, as it were, I was going to ask if you could make periodic trips to the mansion. Whenever you have time, of course."
At your glare, she continues. "Of course, this is entirely up to you. I will not blame you should you say no, nor will I try and, say, blackmail you into showing up. Think of it as a simple favor."
She smiles again, and you feel a strong urge to just punch her straight in the face. With that maid of hers hovering right nearby, though, you doubt it would end well for you.
[ ]Accept. Why the fuck not, right? [ ]Decline. You can go without the madhouse that is her mansion in your life. [ ]You know what? You're already fed up with Remilia's shit. Tell her off, completely and utterly, just so you don't end up strangling her later.
[X]Decline. You can go without the madhouse that is her mansion in your life. Yeah, I'm with everyone else. She broke our fucking arm via balcony throwing for no good reason when we were doing a service FOR her. Remilia can go suck a dick.
Welp, votes are tied, but since >>184326 has some conditions added even if he didn't say them I'll just take it as the winning vote, in the interest of not waiting any longer to update.
Also holy hell KF2 was worth the wait.
[x]Accept. Why the fuck not, right? -[x]But with conditions.
Despite your overwhelming urge to inflict violence on the vampire in front of you, you hold yourself back. Instead, you start thinking over her offer. From the sound of it, she barely benefits from this herself, as far as you know, and this is simply something she's doing for her sister.
You'd think that was sweet, if your arm didn't serve as a reminder to you.
As Remilia waits for an answer from you, you spot a small glint of something in her eye. That helped finalize and refine your decision.
"Alright, I'll do it," you concede. However, you hold up a finger before she can speak. "On the condition that, one, all of my blood remains inside my body, and two, my job always comes first. If I have deliveries to get done, well, sorry, you'll just have to wait."
She pouts slightly at the first condition, but nods in understanding once you finish speaking. "So, we have a deal, then?"
She holds out her hand for a handshake, and after some hesitation, you agree. Shortly after taking her hand, though, you realize she was doing that thing where someone shakes your hand and then tries their best to crush it. Her hand is physically smaller than yours, but she still exerts an amazing amount of force on your own.
Thankfully, the apocalypse kinda gives you strong muscles in general, and you're able to take the crushing attempt fairly well. This surprises Remilia, who drops your hand after a few more seconds.
With the deal sealed, she gets up and heads to the food table, where you see Sakuya standing. There also seems to be a new, slightly smaller drink container on the table, and when Remilia filled her glass from it, you could see that it was oddly thick for alcohol.
No bonus points for guessing why.
With that thorn in your side currently away, you look over everyone else in the room. By now, it seems like the alcohol is starting to get to people, though no one is completely drunk yet. You also notice that Reisen is here, now, talking with that sword girl.
As you're looking around the room, you hear the chair on the opposite side of your table pull up, and you turn to see that floating girl from earlier sitting there, looking at you with an odd smile.
"Why, hello, there," you say, mildly surprised at her sudden appearance.
She giggles slightly at your accent. "Hello, indeed, Outsider."
After that, the conversation dies into an awkward silence. You cough slightly.
"You know, you're different from most outsiders I've met," she finally says.
"Well, the mask is the obvious thing, but it's not just that. There's... something about you, that I can't quite put my finger on."
She ponders for a bit, before snapping her fingers. "Oh, that's it, I haven't seen you eat anything here!"
Well, that's true, but only because you're used to living off one meal a day. Besides, some part of you is hesitant to take off the mask at all right now. Probably the alcohol speaking.
"I'm a bit of a light eater." Technically not a lie.
She hums in response, before letting out a small gasp. "Oh, sorry, I forgot to introduce myself. You can call me Yuyuko."
You feel the alcohol doing its work, and your past, pre-apocalypse reflexes kick in before you can stop it. "Well, then you can call me later."
You regret saying it almost immediately, but you refrain from backing over yourself. You know what you said, but you're sticking to it.
Yuyuko laughs loudly, getting a few looks from everyone else. "Oh, I think I like you already."
"But seriously, I'm Foster."
"Nice to meet you, Foster." You see your gaze drift down to your side. "I see you're armed."
You shrug. "Dangerous world, we live in."
She nods in understanding. "Yes, I suppose..." After a few moments of staring at your gun, she asks, "Have you ever had to use it?"
Oh lady you have no idea "A few times."
"In the outside, too?"
She pauses for a bit. "How does it work?"
Feeling that words alone wouldn't be sufficient, you draw your pistol and swiftly unload it. Safety first, after all. Yuyuko watches your practiced movements with awe.
You then go on to briefly explain how guns work, showing off various bits and pieces of the firearm. She shows an unusual interest in your gun, and when you let her have it for herself, she accidentally blinds Remilia with the flashlight, making her yelp in surprise as she nearly fell from her chair, and causing you to let out uproarious laughter.
Yuyuko sheepishly handed the gun back to you, whistling innocently as Remilia tried to glare a hole in her back. Looking over, you see that Sakuya is even fighting to keep a small grin off her face.
Feeling a bit cocky, you quickly load your handgun back up, before engaging the safety and twirling it into your holster. It was honestly stupid as hell, as anyone who halfway knew guns would tell you, but it seemed to impress Yuyuko enough.
Another bout of silence ensues, and you feel like it's your turn to start asking questions.
[ ]Ask about her sword friend. [ ]Ask about her other friends, namely the fox-tail woman. [ ]On second thought, you got nothing. Wait for her to start talking, again.
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[x]Ask about her sword friend.
You can't help but keep stealing glances at the woman with the sword, as well as her floating blob, which seems content with hovering by her.
You point her out to Yuyuko. "She a friend of yours?"
She turns to follow your finger, and smiles. "Yes, that's my personal servant, Youmu." She rolls her eyes after saying that. "At least, she says she's my servant."
Youmu turns and sees you and Yuyuko looking at her. Yuyuko then waves her over, and she approaches your table, suddenly appearing all business.
She says something formal sounding in Japanese, which Yuyuko lightly berates her for, gesturing to you. Youmu's gaze meets yours, and her face gains an unreadable expression.
"Youmu, meet Mr. Foster, the outsider."
Yuyuko's words bring you out of your inspection, and Youmu gives a short bow. You then hold your hand out for a handshake, which she returns after hesitating.
After a few seconds of Youmu still standing, Yuyuko reaches over and pulls out a chair. "Come now, sit with us. He won't bite~."
Youmu looks between the two of you before taking the offered seat. Her blob silently hovers behind her, wavering slightly in a nonexistent wind.
In a manner of bluntness that would no doubt make your mother proud, you ask, "So what's that blobby thing?"
Yuyuko lets out a short laugh, while Youmu cringes slightly. "It is essentially my ghost half," she then says, her first words to you.
"Youmu is half ghost," Yuyuko explained. "It's a long, complicated, and also quite personal story."
Youmu shoots her a glare, and you shrug.
You do find your gaze being drawn to her swords, though. She follows your gaze, and seems to gain a small amount of pride.
"These swords can cut through anything," she says, in answer to your unspoken question.
She gives you a blank look. "Anything."
You pause for a bit. "...any-"
"Please don't make me demonstrate."
You stop talking, but you can't keep the grin off your face. God, you can be an asshole, sometimes. Not like you'd bother to not do it, though.
"May I ask where your injury came from?" Youmu asks.
Instead of speaking, you simply motion towards Remilia at another table, who was currently talking with Reimu.
Youmu nods in understanding, even though you're not sure if she even knows the circumstances.
"Aww, you two are getting along so well!" Yuyuko says with fake(?) glee. "Who knew you'd find yourself a partner here, Youmu?"
The comment brings a mild blush to Youmu's face, which is oddly mirrored by a blush appearing on her ghost half. Meanwhile, you bring your hand to your face and smack down onto the table, groaning.
You hear Yuyuko get up from her chair. "Don't have too much fun now~."
You somehow hear her float away, before Youmu gets up, too. "I should probably make sure she doesn't eat all the food."
You lift your head up and give a nod, before she walks off, following Yuyuko. A half ghost, and whatever the hell Yuyuko is. Gensokyo loves to keep the surprises rolling.
You decide at that point to take a piss break, and you get up and leave the room to find it. Thankfully, even with the language barrier problem, it was easy enough to find the bathrooms due to the familiar male/female sign.
After relieving yourself, you exit the bathroom and start heading back to the others, when you suddenly find yourself face to face with that fox woman from earlier.
You jump at her sudden appearance, but calm down quickly. "And you are?"
"Yukari sent me here to keep an eye on you," she says. "Call me Ran."
"Okay, Ran, there a reason you're talking to me out here?"
Her eyes narrow slightly. "I can tell that you have something you want to get off your chest."
"...not really, no."
"It's no use lying to me."
Being accused of lying made some anger flare up inside you. "And what bloody well makes you think I'm lying?"
"I can see it in everything you do, every nervous tic that you're not even aware of."
"Hmm, right. Well, sorry, but you were wrong, now I must politely ask you to sod off."
You start walking past her, but her voice stops you. "You're suffering from post-traumatic stress, aren't you?"
You turn to face her again. "Is that what you think now?"
"I know what happened to the outside," she continued, her voice now lower. "I know exactly what happened."
You feel a pang of... something within you, but you hide it from showing. "Now look here-"
She cuts you off. "The things you've seen, the things you've done... It's clear to me that you're still very, very much affected."
You're about to say some sort of rebuttal, but you stop. Maybe she's right...?
"You probably have several things you'd like to get off your chest, in any case, so in the interest of assisting Yukari, why not tell me, and help calm your mind about what happened?"
[ ]There's no denying what happened out there. Maybe venting about it will help set your mind at ease. [ ]As bad as the outside was, you find that Gensokyo is doing even worse things to your mind. Say so. [ ]Actually, no. You're perfectly goddamn fine, really.
[x]Actually, no. You're perfectly goddamn fine, really. Besides, why would you talk about it to someone you don't even know?
Was she really trying to play therapist to you, right now? It sure seemed that way, and you never liked it when someone questioned your sanity. Sure, back in the outside, it was hell, but despite seeing society as you know it get literally torn limb from limb, you were still of perfectly sound mind.
You don't hesitate to tell Ran that.
"Now that I think about it, how about no. I don't bloody know where you get daft ideas like this, but I'm fine. Seriously. Hell, I'm probably the sanest bloody person in this looney bin you call Gensokyo." You feel your buzz feeding your anger. "Plus, I don't even know you. So if there was something wrong with me, why would I go talking to some broad who I've just met who's trying to play sodding shrink for me?"
As your brief rant dies down, you study Ran's face. Her expression is unreadable, and after a few tense seconds, you're tempted to outright apologize, because that look she gave you honestly reminded you a bit of the same look your mom would give you when you got in trouble as a little kid.
However, she soon sighs and shakes her head. "Alright, if you insist that you're fine, I won't try to convince you otherwise."
She starts to walk past you, heading back to the party, when suddenly she stops, just close enough that she only has to whisper to you. "By the way, you might want to stay off the drinking for the rest of the night. Wouldn't want to undo all of Yukari's work just because you can't hold your liquor."
You want to refute her point, but you realize that she's probably right.
She takes a step away. "Also, I would suggest taking a short walk to work some of that anger out of you."
With that, she makes her leave. You're left alone in the hallway, stewing in your thoughts.
Were you really crazy? Did witnessing the end of the world as you knew it result in you not actually feeling fine?
You remember that brief internal panic you had not too long after arriving yesterday, and you try to think about the implications of it.
Shit, you actually are a bit loopy, aren't you?
Well, there's an easy way to test it for sure. Just think back to the apocalypse, especially some of the nasty buggers you've had to kill loads of.
Let's see, there was the grabby bastards, then the skinless sword freaks... Nope, nothing yet.
Maybe the memory of those screaming bitches?
Nah, no panic attack or anything. Maybe you are actually fine.
Well, time to metaphorically jump into the fire, then. Glowing yellow lights that turn red, that godforsaken roar...
...huh, fleshpounds don't do it, either. Then maybe-
Suddenly, you swear you can hear a chainsaw revving, and you almost jump out of your skin. You then realize that you're not imagining it, and your eyes go wide. Surely it's not...?
Throwing caution to the wind, you follow the noise of the revving saw, hand hovering over your holster. That being said, if you're right about what it is, then your measly peashooter will just piss it off.
The noise slowly gets louder as you creep, reaching its peak near a halfway open window. Steeling yourself, you quickly look outside.
A rabbit girl was using a chainsaw to chop down some stalks of bamboo that were apparently too close to the building.
You let out a breath you didn't know you were holding, and lean against the wall. You start to chuckle a bit, the remnants of a small adrenaline high wearing off. It was just someone using a chainsaw for a mundane task, and you thought it was-
Well, that tears it. You might be a little bit affected by the end of the world. Certainly not anything to go talking to anyone about, though.
As you're about to start walking again, you hear a soft "Psst." Confused, you look around for the source, before whoever did it does it again. This time, you pinpoint it to a side hallway you were close to. You can see a pair of rabbit ears around the corner, and whoever's there is also motioning you to follow.
You're not really sure what to make of this, but it seems like one of the rabbit girls was trying to actually get your attention for once. It could be important, for all you know.
[ ]It probably won't hurt to see where this particular rabbit hole leads. [ ]Nah, you don't really care enough to follow them. -[ ]Just go back to the party, spend the rest of the night mingling. -[ ]Maybe a walk around the building will do you some good, like Ran said.
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[X]It probably won't hurt to see where this particular rabbit hole leads.
You decide to see what this rabbit girl wants. After all, seeing that none of them have really spoken a single word to you so far, you're curious what they'd want to talk about now.
You head around the corner, coming face to face with, as you expected, a rabbit girl. This one seemed a bit different from the rest, though. She was wearing a simple pink dress, along with a carrot necklace of some kind. She was also a bit shorter than the average rabbit girl you've seen.
Notably, though you don't remember seeing this one around at all, she doesn't look shocked at your attire in the slightest, meaning she has probably seen you around a fair amount.
"You're from the outside, right?" she asks, her voice a hushed whisper.
"Uh, yeah, but-"
"Shh!" She almost runs into you. "Keep it down a bit, okay?"
You sigh softly. "Fine, what do you want?"
"What's happening on the outside?"
The question catches you off guard. "What?"
"What exactly is happening in the outside world?" she asks again. Before you have time to formulate an answer, she keeps talking. "And don't tell me that everything's fine, because I'm damn sure it's not."
"...and why would you think that?"
"One, no outsiders at all for nearly a year. Then you show up out of the blue, wearing that mask and with your suit torn to pieces. Obviously something's up, and I want to know."
Shit, sounds like she's on the trail to finding the truth. Quick, Fosty, think!
Sadly, you don't get any ideas that can end this immediately, so instead you wing it. "Look, last time I checked, the outside's just fine. Sure, a war or riots here and there, but that's always going on."
She shoots you an unamused glare. "Right, and no outsiders for months?"
You shrug. "Why the hell would I know anything about that? I just got here two sodding days ago."
She starts to make a rebuttal, but it dies in her throat. Looks like you've stumped her. For now, at least.
Still, her gaze is very skeptical, and as you go ahead and take your leave, you can feel her glaring at your back. You might have to keep an eye on her, because if anyone's gonna sniff out the truth, it's probably gonna be that one.
This leaves you with a bit of a dilemma. You could tell Ran (and indirectly, Yukari) about it, probably resulting in that rabbit girl getting killed and/or deported somewhere to the outside. Or, you could just leave her be. After all, Yukari only said that you couldn't blab about the apocalypse; she didn't say anything about anyone else finding out on their own. And that's assuming she actually finds out, anyway.
As you stew over your thoughts, you make it back to the party, and reenter the room. Looks like everyone else was busy in your absence. The majority of the party goers now look quite visibly drunk. The only exceptions are Ran, Sakuya, and Eirin, who all look just as sober as when they arrived. The rest vary from visibly wobbling in their chairs to simply being a bit red in the face.
Ran meets your stare for a brief moment, then continues her conversation. The others barely pay you any mind.
Well, in your experience, people are at their most honest when they've been hitting the scotch. Or whatever the alcohol here was. The point is, you could get some insight on some more denizens of Gensokyo.
[ ]It looks like Yuyuko is embarrassing Youmu in front of Remilia. Maybe you should give the swordswoman a hand. [ ]Reimu, Sanae, and the two Sanae arrived with seem to be having a great time, if the laughter is any indication. You should see what's so funny. [ ]Huh, Reisen's sitting alone with her head down. Go see what's up. [ ]Sakuya, Ran, and Eirin are still sober, so why not join them? [ ]Eh, socializing is for chumps. Just sit out the rest of the night alone, and see what happens.
Also, about that rabbit girl... [ ]Tell Ran. Whatever happens, you can probably live with. [ ]Keep it to yourself. Not your problem.
We were never implicitly or explicitly told that we should actively work on keeping it a secret. That said, what would the consequence of the truth going out be? They're secure here and, at the outside, humanity is waging a war they can't win. It's not like they can make a Difference
Well, KF2 finally updated, so I guess I have to update this, too, don't I?
[x]Huh, Reisen's sitting alone with her head down. Go see what's up. [X]Keep it to yourself. Not your problem.
Now that you think about it, you can probably leave that issue with the rabbit girl alone. Even if something comes of it, your hands are clean.
Still, you have more current matters to attend to, like this party and everyone in it. Talking with the locals has worked pretty well so far, might as well keep doing it.
You survey the room for who to talk to next, when you spot Reisen. She's sitting alone, and her head is down on the table.
Even if she's technically not human and you've only been here for a total of two days, you can't stand to see a girl cry (unless it's Remilia, then you'll just laugh).
You walk over and softly pull out a chair before sitting down. Strange, you were expecting to hear some soft sobbing or something, but Reisen is dead quiet. In fact, you're not even sure she heard you sit down.
You cough, trying to get her attention. It fails, so you nudge her slightly. Still no response.
Wait, scratch that, you can hear something from her now.
...is she snoring?
You nudge her head over to get a look at her face, and sure enough, she's just napping away.
Your moving her starts to make her stir, so you lean back and act like you weren't just pushing her around. Thankfully, she doesn't seem to notice as she lifts her head up and yawns.
Her drowsy eyes scan the room, and after blinking slowly, they rest on you. Her face noticeably brightens slightly. "Oh, heya, Foster!"
Yeah, she's drunk.
Still, you return the greeting. If nothing else, this should prove to be funny.
You hear a small crash, and you both look over to the other side of the room. Looks like Yuyuko ended up falling out of her chair and knocking over a table while trying to do... something to Youmu. Judging by the heavy blush on the latter, it probably wasn't anything good.
Meanwhile, Remilia is sitting at that same table, or at least where it used to be. You have to give her credit, she's doing a good job of not reacting to this at all.
Reisen's drunken laughter brings your attention back to her. "C- Can you- Believe that-" she starts laughing again, to a joke that only she knows. You don't laugh with her, but she doesn't seem to notice.
You're starting to remember why you never liked dealing with drunk people.
You see her eyes drift to your holster, and widen slightly. "Hey, Foster, you should," she takes a moment to compose her slurred speech. "You should let me see that. That gun."
"I'm pretty sure that's a bad idea," you deadpan.
"No is not! I'm good for it!" she rambles.
"Reisen, you're drunk."
She blinks. "Maaaybe a little."
You just stare at her.
You keep staring at her.
She even tries to do the puppy dog eyes thing. Though its effect is ruined somewhat by her sluggish movements.
You still don't budge on the issue.
She slumps back. "Fiiiiine."
With that, she drops her head back on the table and is quickly sleeping again.
As you shake your head in both amusement and annoyance, you look over the rest of the room. At this point, everyone else who was drunk is now at one table, which basically consists of everyone but Eirin, Ran, and Sakuya. Even then, you can tell that Eirin had at least a drink or two herself.
A yawn forces its way out of you. You could probably go ahead and call it a night now, if you wanted.
[ ]Fuck it, go straight to the drunk table. Whatever antics ensue, embrace them fully. [ ]Stop by the (mostly) sober table. You need some sanity to round out the night. [ ]Nah, sod any of that. Just turn in for the night.
Hey there's totally a relevant picture here shut up
[x]Stop by the (mostly) sober table. You need some sanity to round out the night.
Looking over the gathering, you come to a decision. Shaking the sleep from yourself, you get up and start walking towards the sober table. Eirin was laughing loudly from something or other, but she still noticed as you pulled up a chair, as did Ran and Sakuya.
Eirin calms herself down. "S- So, Mr. Foster, how are you enjoying things?"
You shrug. "Beats the hell out of sitting alone on a Saturday night."
More loud laughter sounds from the other table.
"So, just curious, how do these nights usually end?" you ask.
Ran shakes her head in mild disappointment, but you can still see a ghost of a smile on her face. "Typically, these get-togethers last until everyone either leaves or passes out."
"Or until we're forced to drag our masters back home," Sakuya said. Ran nodded sympathetically.
"So, how are you enjoying your stay in Gensokyo?" Ran asks you, as if you didn't get angry at her not too long ago. You get the feeling she somehow knows about your revelation about your mental state, but evidently she's keeping her cards close to her chest.
"'S'alright, I guess," you answer nonchalantly. "Certainly more interesting than the Outside." You weren't actually lying, either.
Eirin grins widely at you. "So, got any special lady friends, yet?"
While Ran and Sakuya suppress their giggles, you just stare, unamused. Obviously, you had no romantic relations yet. Hell, you've only been here for a couple days!
Still, you feel that liquor from earlier resurfacing, and you can't help but mess with her. "Yeah, I got a few."
Ran sees right through your lie, judging by her sly smirk, but says nothing. Sakuya quirks an eyebrow, and Eirin laughs uproariously. "A few, huh? Care to give us some details?"
You laugh, too. "Sorry, lass, I don't kiss and tell."
This gets some more laughter from around the table. You're pretty sure they know you're just bullshitting them, but if they don't...
Eh, fuck it. Not like that'll ever come back to bite you in the ass, right?
Huh, odd, a shiver just went down your spine for some reason. Probably nothing, though.
You bring your focus back to the real world just in time to hear a huge crash from the other side of the room. You all turn, and can't help but gape at the scene in front of you.
Reimu and Sanae were both on the ground, alongside yet another overturned table. Not too far away, Remilia was also on the floor, face down. Yuyuko and Youmu were near the middle of the mess, the former laughing loudly, and the latter blushing bright red with her fists clenched. Everyone else was also on the ground, but for apparently unrelated reasons. Probably passed out.
From what you can gather, Reimu and Sanae got in on embarrassing Youmu, who got angry and used violence, and somehow Remilia got mixed up in the chaos.
Sounds like an average night of drinking, to you.
While Sakuya and Ran get up to help, and Eirin just laughs, you decide that it's probably time to turn in for the night. Saying your farewells to those who are still lucid, you leave the room behind, before making your way back to your own bed.
You only make sure that you don't land on your bad arm before you quickly start to fade into sleep.
DAY 2 SURVIVED Health: 81% (+3% from sleep) Armor: 38% Dosh: £240 and 250 yen Status: Dislocated left shoulder, mild hangover
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>>186689 Of course I'm still around, blame finals and shit.
The next few days pass by uneventfully. Eirin insisted that you simply take it easy and let your arm heal, so you did so, occasionally exploring the building as you did. You didn't find anything that you didn't already know about, but it helped you pass the time, at least.
Soon, you were able to finally take your impromptu sling off, and you could use your arm again without being brought to tears from pain, so that was nice.
Despite this, Eirin still wanted you to have one more day off, just in case. You didn't think you needed it, but you weren't complaining.
You were spending the day trying to brainstorm something for your autobiography when you hear a knock on your door. "It's open," you call out.
Turning around, you see Reisen standing in your doorway. "Hey there, Foster. How's the arm?"
You give a small demonstration flex, wincing slightly. "Not perfect, but I can use it, at least."
She nods. "Anyway, come with me."
She rolls her eyes. "Just do it, please."
Seeing no reason not to, you pack your notebook back into your suit and follow the rabbit outside. She leads you through some halls, before stopping at an unmarked, solid door. You recognize it as one of the locked ones you never bothered messing with.
She taps the wall next to the door, and a keypad opens up. After punching in a brief code, which you try and fail to see for yourself, the door slides open, and she walks into a pitch black room. Cautiously, you follow.
You hear the door slide shut behind you, and shortly after the lights click on, nearly blinding you. When your vision clears, you look around, and bloody hell that's a lot of guns.
On every single wall around you, guns were displayed from floor to ceiling, along with several crates of ammo, and what looked like a crate of explosives near the back.
"Eirin told me that you'll need more than that handgun to defend yourself out there," Reisen said, "and I couldn't help but agree. So, we decided to give you something from our personal collection."
You gaze around the room. You spot several different guns, ranging from cutting-edge modern technology to old World War 2 relics, all of them kept in pristine shape. Not only that, but practically all of them seemed to be British in origin, which brought an odd sense of patriotic pride to you.
"Wait, you said give me? As in, no charge?"
She nods. "Yep, don't want an employee getting chewed up out there and losing our products."
Well, you'll take it. Now just to decide what to grab...
[ ]L85A2 Rifle: A bullpup rifle that comes with a 30 round magazine of 5.56 ammo. You've used some of them personally, and you can attest to their usefulness. (Comes with 5 spare mags and an attached holo-sight) [ ]L118A1 Rifle: A bolt-action rifle chambered for 7.62. Powerful, if heavy, and the scope allows for easy long-range engagements. Only holds 10 rounds at a time, though, so the shots better count. (Comes with 4 spare mags) [ ]Welrod pistol: An odd-looking handgun originating from WWII special forces. It requires manual working of the bolt after every shot, but it is also heavily suppressed, making it useful to avoid being noticed. And even if you miss, you still have 5 more chances to send the 9mm round home. (Comes with 6 spare mags) [ ]Sten MKII: Another relic from a past era, but still just as deadly. The folding stock makes it relatively lightweight, and while side-loading mags are a bit unusual today, it wouldn't be too hard to adapt. What it lacks in stopping power due to the 9mm round, it makes up for by being light and easy to use. (Comes with 7 spare mags, each holding 30 rounds)
[x]L85A2 Rifle: A bullpup rifle that comes with a 30 round magazine of 5.56 ammo. You've used some of them personally, and you can attest to their usefulness. (Comes with 5 spare mags and an attached holo-sight)
[X]Welrod pistol: An odd-looking handgun originating from WWII special forces. It requires manual working of the bolt after every shot, but it is also heavily suppressed, making it useful to avoid being noticed. And even if you miss, you still have 5 more chances to send the 9mm round home. (Comes with 6 spare mags)
[x] L85A2 Rifle: A bullpup rifle that comes with a 30 round magazine of 5.56 ammo. You've used some of them personally, and you can attest to their usefulness. (Comes with 5 spare mags and an attached holo-sight)
[X]L85A2 Rifle: A bullpup rifle that comes with a 30 round magazine of 5.56 ammo. You've used some of them personally, and you can attest to their usefulness. (Comes with 5 spare mags and an attached holo-sight)
Normally I would go for the long rifle. However, given that we will often be the one being engaged upon the scope and individual power of the bullet is less useful than automatic capabilities.
[X]L85A2 Rifle: A bullpup rifle that comes with a 30 round magazine of 5.56 ammo. You've used some of them personally, and you can attest to their usefulness. (Comes with 5 spare mags and an attached holo-sight)
[X]L85A2 Rifle: A bullpup rifle that comes with a 30 round magazine of 5.56 ammo. You've used some of them personally, and you can attest to their usefulness. (Comes with 5 spare mags and an attached holo-sight)
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After scanning your options thoroughly, you come to a decision. After all, the bullpup just feels right in your hands.
Once you stash some extra mags into your suit, and find a shoulder strap for the rifle, you go back to Reisen. She nods upon seeing your choice. "I see you know your firearms."
You shrug. "Was a small hobby of mine back home." Well, using them on a daily basis does sort of count as a hobby, right?
You notice a vague imprint of a holster under her jacket. "What about you? What do you carry?"
She smirks slightly, and draws an old-fashioned revolver. "Something new I'm trying out. Apparently, this is the greatest handgun in the world."
She gives a few demonstration twirls, before holstering it again. Normally you'd question being armed with only a single-action revolver, but then again you're sure that she has magic and shit to compensate for it.
"Well, if you're all settled, then, we have work to do." She motions for you to follow, and you do so, puzzled.
"Wait, didn't Eirin say I had today off, too?"
"Small change of plans. One of our customers contacted us with an 'urgent' need for a delivery. As such, I won't be able to cover another scheduled delivery, which is where you come in."
Looks like it's back into the field with you, then. "Where to, then?"
"You know where the underground city is, right?"
Curious, you pull out your map, quickly finding a spot labeled just that at the base of the mountain. "Roughly."
"Well, then you should be able to make your way there fairly well, right?"
You think about the new weight hanging in front of you. "Yeah, I guess."
After you both load up with your deliveries, you notice that your bag was a lot heavier than last time. Not only that, but it was all apparently going to the same place: "The Palace of the Earth Spirits".
"So, how exactly will I find my way around down there?" you ask Reisen.
"Don't worry, the path is actually well defined once you're underground. As for the palace, well, it's hard to miss." She smiles. "Just be sure to be careful around the locals, alright? They have a habit of pulling tourists into drinking contests and fights, not necessarily in that order."
With everything set and ready, you both exit the building and go your separate ways, you taking the ground while she flies off. You're on your own, now.
You had already ate at Eientei, so you just cut through the human village without paying any mind to the food stands. Soon, you were making your way through some woods, although your map didn't label them as part of the Forest of Magic.
As you stop to get your bearings, you suddenly hear a voice beside you. "Well hello again~"
You quickly turn with your rifle at the ready, only to lower it once you see who it is. "What do you want, Yukari?"
She lets out a giggle as she hangs from a hole in space. You don't feel like questioning it. "I'm going to be quick because I can't afford to take too much time away from my job, but I noticed where you were going, and I figure I should help you out." She hands you an odd-looking necklace, which you accept cautiously. "The place you are going to has a satori living there, meaning that they'll be able to read your mind. In the interest of making sure our mutual agreement will still be upheld, I decided to give you that necklace. As long as you're wearing it, certain thoughts will be avoided, and will be replaced by whatever asinine thing your own mind comes up with. I've already tweaked it for anything regarding the current state of the Outside, so don't worry about that."
"...that is incredibly specific and convenient."
She shrugs. "Magic is a funny thing sometimes. Anyway, ta-ta~!" With that, she vanishes through her hole in the air, and you look at the necklace. Seeing no reason not to, you slip it on and tuck it under your shirt. Now properly equipped, you continue your journey.
You soon exit the woods, and you get an unobstructed view of Youkai Mountain. Your destination was located at the base of it, so you were getting close, now.
Between you and the mountain was a massive field of sunflowers, though you spotted other kinds of flowers scattered here and there among them. The fastest path would be to walk right through the field, but you realize that the plants are tall enough in some places to potentially be hiding something nasty.
[ ]Cut through the field. The faster you get there, the faster you can be done. [ ]Go around the field. It'll take longer, but it could potentially be safer.
[X]Go around the field. It'll take longer, but it could potentially be safer. Normally I'd like to encounter Yuuka, but considering this Gensokyo is one of the dangerous kind, and that we are sorely lacking in OP magick powers, I'd rather play it save.
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[X]Cut through the field. The faster you get there, the faster you can be done.
Eh, it would probably be best to get this over with.
You start your trek through the flowers, doing your best to avoid the taller patches while simultaneously avoiding stepping on them as much as you could. This wasn't much of a problem, since even the shortest flowers still managed to reach your knees.
As you glance around, you realize that the ground underneath the flowers was slightly slanted down, as the flowers were now up to your waist before you even noticed. You're almost halfway across, though, so you just check your rifle quickly and keep going.
As you keep walking, you can't help but feel like you're being watched.
Ahead of you, the flowers become taller again, and you spot only a small area that remains somewhat clear, almost like a hedge maze, but with the biggest sunflowers you've ever seen.
Seeing no other option, you steel yourself and walk inside, rifle chambered and ready to pull up at a moment's notice.
You can still hear the sounds of nature, but the flowers are just tall enough to completely obscure your vision. And just like you thought, they formed a small maze, leaving you clueless as to where exactly you were heading.
You were just about to call out, since that usually worked in these situations, when you hear footsteps besides your own not too far away. Curious, but still cautious, you creep through the plants, crouching slightly to help minimize your profile. After taking a few turns, you arrive at the source of the noise.
Standing ahead of you was a woman slightly taller than you, wearing a plaid dress and a bright green head of hair. They also had a pink umbrella on their shoulder. From the looks of things, she appears to simply be observing the flowers, oblivious to your presence.
Not seeing a reason to avoid her, you stand back up to your full height, letting your rifle rest against your chest. You walk towards the woman, but just before you say hello, she speaks.
It sounded like a question, though, and she turns to you as she finishes, raising an eyebrow. You just stare ahead.
"Uh, sorry, could you repeat that in English, mate?"
Her expression remains unchanged, but you see a small glint in her oddly red eyes. "Oh, my apologies. Anyway, I have not seen an outsider in quite a while, much less one that wandered into my garden."
"Oh, these flowers yours?" You glance around, genuinely somewhat impressed. "Pretty good setup you got here."
"I do pride myself on taking care of my flowers," she nods. "Of course, that also involves removing certain pests if need be."
The way she said that sent a chill down your spine. "Oh, wait, I didn't mean to trespass or anything, I was just heading towards the mountain. It looked like passing though the field would be faster, but..."
She looks at you expectantly. "But?"
"...but I kinda got lost."
After a moment of silence, she lets out a giggle. "You truly are an outsider, aren't you? Tell me, do you know who I am?"
You're fairly certain she's a youkai of some kind, if prior experience is anything to go by, but that's all you can figure. "A gardener enjoying her work?"
She's oddly surprised by that. "Well, yes, but do you know who I am?"
"Not a bloody clue, to be honest."
She lets out a sigh. "Such a shame. Regardless, I am Yuuka, the caretaker of this garden. And while you may not have intended to trespass, I still do not appreciate you being here, and neither do the flowers."
Wait, what? "The flowers?"
"I have a connection with flowers unlike any other, and right now, the flowers are telling me that, for one reason or another, they do not like your presence." She looks up at a particular sunflower, then closes her eyes. "In fact, some of them think that the essence of death is found on your very being."
Well, she's not exactly wrong, but... "I might've killed a few youkai a few days ago, but the wankers attacked me first, anyway."
For a while, she doesn't say anything.
Then, Yuuka turns to you, smiling softly.
"If it's all the same to you, please leave my garden."
There's that chill on your spine again. "W- Well, I don't know which way is out of here, and-"
"Follow me, then." She doesn't wait as she starts leisurely walking away at a brisk pace, and you scramble to catch back up with her, before falling in step.
The journey is silent, until eventually she leads you out of the maze and towards the other edge of the field, Youkai Mountain now much closer.
The moment she's sure you can make your own way there, Yuuka turns to head back into the flowers.
"H- Hey, ta for-"
She cuts off your thanks with a sharp "Do not return," before she vanishes into the flora.
Both concerned and confused, you heed her words and vacate the area. It feels like even the flowers themselves are glaring daggers at your back as you leave.
After a few dozen more uneventful minutes, you arrive at the base of the mountain. The map said the entrance to the underground was somewhere around here, so it's probably...
Ah, bingo, there it is. The rather large cave opening with a single wooden sign in Japanese posted next to it.
The inside is pitch black, so you draw your handgun and use the flashlight to find your way.
The cave itself is just like what you'd expect. Dark, damp, and several branches into darkness, your only hint of where to go being occasional signs posted. You'd have to be sure to thank whoever put those up.
As you travel on, the only sound being your footsteps echoing down the caverns, you start to notice a growing amount of spiderwebs out of the corners of your eyes, slowly taking up more and more space on the walls and near the floor.
You're barely able to spot a rather massive web in front of you just before you run straight into it. Your flashlight helps you see that the web was indeed big enough to completely cut off your path, which only made you more nervous about what could possibly make a web so big.
Not only that, but apparently you walked through some web without realizing it earlier, and the stuff is sticky to the point where it almost completely refuses to detach from your legs.
You swear you can hear a faint chattering some distance away, which makes your blood run a bit cold.
[ ]You got a knife, try cutting this web down. [ ]Surely there's another path you can take to get around this, right? [ ]Nope, fuck this, just leave the stuff here and then make like a tree and get the fuck out.
I'd say that cutting the web would alert her of our presence. But it seems that she's already noticed if the webs on our legs is any indication. third option is a no-go unless you wanna be homeless for the rest of the story. Let's see if our luck holds out.
Well, as much as you'd like to turn tail and book it, you have a job to do, and currently this web is standing in your way of that.
If prior experience has taught you anything, things that are in your way are often best dealt with via high amounts of violence, be it verbal, ballistic, or stabby.
Since you're certain the first two would be completely useless, you instead take out your knife and start cutting away. The web is quite sticky, actually, but you're still able to eventually work the blade through each strand.
You start to see a small error in your plan, however, when the now-loose parts of the web start clinging to your suit as you work. You make sure to calmly remove them each time; you remember reading somewhere that the biggest reason bugs get caught in spiderwebs is because they thrash around in it, which just ties them up further. You honestly have no clue how true that is, but it seems to be working so far, in any case.
The whole time, you can still hear that chattering, and you hope to whoever is listening that it's not giant spiders. You've already had to deal with enough of those literal buggers for one lifetime...
After what feels like an eternity, you manage to cut open a hole big enough for you to get through without getting stuck on the rest of the web. The moment you're through, you let out a deep breath, and continue moving forward, awkwardly holding both the rifle and the handgun so you can be ready to fire the former at a moment's notice while still being able to use the light from the latter. Maybe you should invest in a flashlight and some duct tape when you get the chance...
As you continue walking forward, you notice something that makes your skin crawl.
The chattering stopped.
It wasn't like it faded away, either. It just stopped completely in an instant.
Christ, whatever was making that noise, they're right on top of you, aren't they?
Well, might as well bite the bullet. If you're wrong, you'll laugh it off. If you're right...
God, you hope you're not right. "Anyone there?"
SHIT ON A STICK SHE'S RIGHT ABOVE YOU
You manage to gracefully fall on your ass as you whirl upwards to face the voice. It belonged to a yellow-haired girl in a brown dress, currently floating upside down, looking as if she was descending from a spiderweb.
You curse repeatedly to yourself as you scramble away and back to your feet, still aiming your guns at her. This doesn't seem to faze her, however, as she just giggles at your reaction as she flips around and lands on her feet.
"Haven't seen a human down here for a while!" she says, somewhat cheerfully in a manner you're not entirely comfortable with. "What brings you down here?"
You take a moment to steady your breathing. "I have a delivery for the Palace of the Earth Spirits. I take it you know where that is?"
She nods in recognition of the name. "Of course! It's just past the end of the oni village."
After a moment of silence, you ask, "And where is that?"
She points further into the cave. "Just thattaway a bit."
Still keeping your eyes on her, you follow her directions, keeping your guns up as you rotate your aim. "Thanks, miss...?"
She tilts her head at your cautiousness, but before she can fully question it, you make a break for it. Thankfully, it doesn't seem like she followed.
As a girl or not, you always hated bloody spiders.
Once you're sure that you're safe, or at least safer, you slow down your pace a bit, and after a couple more minutes of walking you arrive at a bridge.
You cross it with no issues, but you feel like you're being watched as you do so.
After some more walking, you find yourself entering a rather massive cavern, where you can see a large village sprawling out before you, and a large mansion at the other end of it.
Looks like this is the place.
After descending a bit into the village proper, you realize a few things about the place.
One, the "oni" that lived here were big, brawny, and had varying amounts of horns.
Two, the buildings themselves looked like they had seen better days.
And three, everyone was either drunk, fighting, or both.
You had no idea what the disputes were about, but evidently it was enough for at least a few groups of oni to begin punching the living hell out of each other, often causing quite a bit of collateral damage in the process. Judging by how everyone else reacted (that is, not at all or just watching and cheering it on), this was a normal occurrence.
Unlike everywhere else you've been, you didn't spot a single confused glance upon your arrival. In fact, several of the oni you made eye contact with were downright friendly, giving a smiling nod "hello" or a small wave. Whether or not that was due to the alcohol remained to be seen.
After a particularly loud wall was smashed just down the street, you realize that you could go for some food right now, though you're not exactly dying for it. You're not sure what exactly oni eatery would be like, but, well, it can't hurt to try, right?
...that was a poor choice of words, but the point still stands.
[ ]Try and find some grub around here. -[ ]And whet the hell, maybe have a quick drink while you're at it, too. -[ ]JUST food. Alcohol and jobs usually don't go too well together. [ ]Go ahead and go to the Palace now, you can get food on your way back.
[x]Try and find some grub around here. --[x]JUST food. Alcohol and jobs usually don't go too well together.
You know what, you're kinda hungry right now, and you doubt it would hurt anything to take just a bit longer to reach your destination. After all, if it really was urgent to get the meds there ASAP, Reisen would've just done it herself.
Anyway, you start wandering around the village, looking for any place that might have some good food, and preferably minimal drunks in and around the building. After all you've gone through, you don't want to get killed just because a bar brawl ended with someone getting slammed into your spine.
Suddenly, you feel a hand firmly grip your shoulder, before a female voice asks something in Japanese.
You manage to avoid pissing yourself from the scare, and while the hand prevents you from fully turning around, you still manage to speak to her. "I, uh, speak English, miss."
You hear the voice laugh, and the hand lets you go, letting you turn to see that the voice belonged to, as you expected, a female oni wearing a simple white shirt with a skirt, with a single red horn sticking out from her forehead. She was also balancing a (bowl? plate?) of what was no doubt alcohol in her hand, which stayed perfectly balanced despite her booming laughter.
Soon, she calms down enough to speak clearly again. "Oh, sorry 'bout that. Name's Yuugi, kid." She offers her hand to you. "What's yours?"
Kid? You're in your thirties!
Begrudgingly, you accept her handshake, just barely keeping it together as she nearly crushes your hand. "Foster."
"So, Fosty, what brings ya down here?"
"I was delivering some medicine, and I decided to get some food in the meantime."
"Well, you won't have to look far!" She waves a hand around, indicating the surrounding area. "Pretty much everywhere has some grub for ya!"
Just as she points at a specific building, a pair of oni crash through the wall, where they start punching each other in the middle of the street. You can hear several cheers from inside the bar they just crashed out of.
You both simply watch the fight for a bit, Yuugi having a huge smile on her face the whole time. "I'd rather go to a place with... less drinking," you finally say.
Yuugi shakes her head, still smiling. "Humans... Anyway, I think I know just the place you're lookin' for!"
She starts walking down the street, and you follow, giving one last glance to the fight, which seems to have devolved into sluggish punches, now.
Yuugi leads you through the streets, with almost every other oni giving her cheerful greetings, which she returns happily.
Eventually, she stops in front of a building that stands out from the rest for a couple reasons.
For one, it doesn't look like it was constantly in a state of being smashed to pieces, unlike the buildings around it.
Two, it had a large neon sign on the front, which boldly stated the name of the place, in English, no less.
"'Big Papa's House of Love and Tacos'?" you read.
"No, 'House of Looooooove and Tacos'!" Yuugi corrects you. "The seven o's are important!"
Before you can tell her just how stupid that is, you hear more smashing from behind you, and you don't even bother to look. Yuugi does, however, and she apparently likes what she sees.
"See ya, Fosty!" And with that, she's off, letting out a war cry as she enters a massive brawl, which soon moves away from you.
Fucking oni, man.
Shaking your head, you enter the building, not entirely sure what to expect.
Even with this in mind, the inside still managed to perplex you.
The first thing that caught your eye was a counter with a menu above it, looking almost like it was ripped right from a fast food restaurant. That part was mostly normal.
However, on the other side of the room, past the tables, you spotted what looked like a wedding chapel, complete with rows of seating and a podium at the front, all surrounded by a giant heart-shaped arch.
Even by Gensokyo standards, this is strange.
You also spot the only other person in the establishment: a black-haired girl who had equally black bird wings sprouting from her back, because why not. She was evidently too engrossed in her food to pay you any mind, though you do see her sneaking a glance every now and then.
Suddenly, you hear a door behind the counter, open, and you look to see a particularly large oni, grinning from ear to ear.
Before he can speak, you beat him to it. "Sorry if I sound a bit rude, but I have to ask, what the bloody hell is this place?"
He laughs deep and hard. "Oh, an honest man! I like you already, mister." He gestures towards the chapel. "Here at Big Papa's House of Looooooove and Tacos, I can help you find either a good meal, or true love!"
"I take it you're Big Papa, then?"
"The one and only! And you must be that outsider I've read about... Finster, right?"
"Foster, but yes."
"Well then, Mr. Foster, what brings you to my humble place of business? Hunger, or looooooove?"
The way he says that makes you seriously consider just walking away. "Just food, thank you much."
He nods in understanding. "Well, in that case, what can I get ya?"
Well, this place was called the House of Tacos, as well... "I guess just... two regular tacos?"
He nods. "I can get that for ya. That'll be 50 yen."
Nice, you don't have to dip into your pounds again. You pay the oni, and he goes back through the door. You figure he'll be back in just a bit, so now to decide where to sit.
[ ]Just sit by yourself to eat. [ ]That winged girl has been sneaking glances at you this whole time. Why not say hello?
It is my firm belief that Big Papa should become canon in every story on THP from now on forever.
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>>187897 Oh hey, someone famous on the site noticed me. Gosh, I feel so accomplished.
[X]That winged girl has been sneaking glances at you this whole time. Why not say hello?
Seeing that the girl was probably going to say something to you at some point anyway, or at the very least was interested in you enough to keep looking at you, you figured you might as well take the initiative here for once.
You walk over to the table, and you can just barely see her holding her breath as your footsteps get closer. Not wanting to appear too menacing (as if, she could probably kill you with barely a thought), you walk around her to the empty chair across from her.
Now that you're in front of her, you can see that her face is one of caution, and also there's some sort of glowing red thing between her tits no don't stare that's like doubly weird and rude
"Mind if I sit here?" you ask, already starting to pull the chair out. Sure, it was a little bit dickish, but fucking hell you survived months of hell on earth, you earned the right to act like a douche now and then.
She just looks away, as if purposely ignoring you, while she continues eating her own taco. It looks like she had quite a few, but was on her last two now.
You shrug at her lack of response, and take the seat anyway. The moment you sit down, you see her glare at you for a split second, but it quickly passes.
Weird, most women at least wait until you start talking to give you the cold shoulder.
The moment you speak again, she glares again, and holds her gaze there, saying nothing.
You just stare back. "Uh, what-"
"My friend said not to talk to you."
"What do you mean your friend?"
She freezes up at that, as if she gave away something. Then, just as abruptly, she got up and walked away, only stopping to come back and pick up what was left of her food, giving you that same look the whole time.
You just sit there in shock, until she exits the building.
Well, that was fucking weird.
Soon after she left, Big Papa comes out of the back, holding a plate with two wrapped tacos on it. Part of you is shocked and confused at the combination of fast food and normal restaurant procedure, but the rest of you is more focused on what the hell just happened with that girl.
Papa seems to notice something's up, as well. "Now, what happened to that little ol' lady that was here? Ya didn't scare her off, didja, Mr. Foster?"
His voice had a joking tone to it, but you could sense a faint undercurrent of a threat, too.
"I... think?" you slowly say. "I just sat down and said hello, then she said that 'her friend' apparently told her to not talk to me, and she stormed out."
Now Papa looked just as confused as you felt, but he quickly shrugs it off. "Well, I wouldn't worry about it. Okuu gets like that sometimes, and you didn't hear it from me, but I think she's having one of her 'imaginary friend' phases again." He lets out a laugh. "In fact, I think she let slip that this one's a talking flower or something?" He shakes his head. "The girls nice, but she's something else, let me tell ya."
As your food lays in front of you, you realize that you kinda have to take your mask off to eat. As you do so, a strange though emerges: something about Big Papa himself feels ever so slightly familiar...
Pushing the thought aside, you speak up again. "I take it she's a bit of a... bird brain, then?"
There's a silent pause, before Big Papa starts guffawing loudly. "That she is, Foster!" he says, literally slapping his knee. You can't help but laugh along, too; that pun was awful, and you know it.
Once Papa's fully calmed down from his laughter, you decide to ask him about some other things.
"So, I noticed you don't serve alcohol here. Any reason for that?"
"Boy, believe me when I say that alcohol does not fit in an establishment that performs wedding ceremonies. I had to learn that the hard way. Besides, anyone wants to wet their whistles, they got literally every other place in this town!" He lets out another short laugh.
Just as you finish the first taco, you speak again. "So, ever had to deal with rowdy drunks, then?"
He nods. "More than a few times. Lately, though, people know better." He flexes, straining his shirt to the point where you can almost clearly see every bulging muscle in his upper body. "I'm honestly a bit rusty when it comes to fistfights, but I get the job done."
You fight to show no reaction to his display. "Understandable."
Internally, however, you were freaking out, because you figured out why he felt familiar.
The man was built almost exactly like a sodding fleshpound.
You're pretty sure it's just a coincidence, but it's still enough to nearly induce another brief panic attack. Thankfully, Papa doesn't notice your plight, or at least he doesn't indicate he does.
The rest of your meal goes by in silence, as Papa goes back to the back of the place, saying he "don't want to leave the products unattended for too long." After no time at all, you're finished and your mask is firmly back in place.
You call out a brief goodbye, and find yourself once again in the streets of the village. You had no idea what time it was, due to the lack of a visible sun, but if you had to guess, you'd say it was about 2 or so.
Well, time to get down to business. ======================================= Finding the Palace wasn't hard at all, once you asked the nearest English-speaking local about it. It wasn't quite as big as the Scarlet Devil Mansion, but the fact that it was inside a cave made it seem all the larger.
There was a gate in front of the place, but it wasn't even closed or manned, unless you count the couple birds that fly away upon your entrance. What the hell are birds doing underground, anyway?
Whatever, probably a Gensokyo thing.
There's actually a decently long path from the gate to the mansion, which is periodically lit with lanterns, giving enough light to see, but not enough to make you feel completely safe.
Eventually, you reach the mansion proper, which has a fairly large amount of cats and birds around the place. While some of them are content with ignoring you, the rest stare at you intently, as if curious about your presence. Which makes sense, when you think about it, but why are so many animals out here in the first place?
Eh, it doesn't really matter, anyway. The wankers can watch you deliver some medicine if they want to.
Approaching the door, you steel yourself for a moment, before you knock.
The sound reverberates throughout the area, and you can hear it echoing inside, too. It then hits you that all the animals had gone almost completely silent.
Just when you were about to knock again, you hear the door being handled on the other side, before it's pulled open by a girl you recognize.
"Hello, how can we-"
Her cheerful greeting is stopped the moment she catches sight of you, and you have just enough time to give a half-hearted wave before she slams the door in your face.
[ ]Knock again, and keep knocking until either someone sane gets the door, or you get a reason why she's treating you like a leper. [ ]Fine, you can wait "politely". Someone's bound to notice you out here. [ ]Fuck it, try to find a side entrance or something. No weird bird lady keeps you from doing a job.
[X]Knock again, and keep knocking until either someone sane gets the door, or you get a reason why she's treating you like a leper.
Unimpressed with the way you're being treated, you knock on the door again, a bit more forcefully than last time.
You knock again, even harder. "Oi, open the sodding door! I got business here!"
While no one answers you, you do overhear some speech behind the door.
You knock again, but halfway through the door opens once more, and you see a different girl behind it. Her bright red hair stuck out, along with the pair of cat ears on top of her head.
You can barely see the bird girl behind her, pouting aggressively.
"How can we help you... Sir?" the cat girl asks, trailing off as she catches sight of your mask.
You're a little bit too fed up to be completely polite. "Yes, I know, the mask is weird. Anyway, I got a delivery for you." You motion to your bag, which gets her to nod in understanding. You also see her eye the rifle on your back for a moment, but she quickly begins to ignore it.
"Alright, right this way, we'll take you to our master." With that, she opens the door fully and you step inside, the bird girl glaring daggers at you the whole time.
The inside of the building had almost as many animals as outside, with cats and birds of various colors and types roaming around. Actually, this red head has a pair of cat tails, now that you look...
Once the bird girl is mostly out of earshot, though still following behind the both of you, you lean in towards the cat girl. "So, what's her deal with me?"
She sighs. "Please forgive Okuu, she can be... eccentric, at times," she says carefully. "You aren't the first person she became instantly suspicious of."
You nod in understanding, and when you chance a look back at Okuu, she huffs and looks away, avoiding your gaze.
The animals slowly began to become less and less numerous, until it was only the three of you within the halls. Not very long after, the cat girl brought you to a nondescript wooden door.
The cat girl knocks, and a female voice says something on the other side in Japanese. The cat girl then nods to you, and you all enter.
The supposed master of the house was currently sitting in a chair facing away from a fireplace, an open book in her lap, and a cup of tea on a small table beside her. She had bright pink hair, a pale blue dress, and some sort of weird red eye hovering by her chest, a collection of red tubes flowing from it and around her body. You feel all three of the girl's eyes gaze almost right through you.
"And what brings you here?" she then asks you.
"Got a delivery from Eientei," you say simply, taking off your bag. The girl nods, saves her place in her book, and puts it on the table before getting up and walking over to accept the bag and look through it. It doesn't take long for her to get the actually rather large bag of medicine, and she nods upon seeing it.
"Very good." She then turns back and heads towards a corner of the room. Wait, isn't she going to pay for this?
"Do not worry, I am simply gathering my payment," she says, as if she can read your mind.
You see her falter for a brief moment, but quickly recovers, and she returns with a bag of coins. "How much was it, again?"
You pull out the order form and look at the number printed there. "That'll be-"
Before you even finish, you see the girl dropping the exact amount of money needed into your bag, and shortly after takes the order form away to sign. Once she's done, you accept it back and put the bag back on.
"Well, if that's everything, I'll be-"
"There is no need to leave so hastily," the girl says. "It's not every day I see a new Outsider, and I must admit, you have me... curious. Why not stay for a little longer, over tea?"
You glance over at Okuu and cat girl-
"You can call her Orin."
Right, you look at Okuu and Orin, and their faces are unreadable, though Okuu still looks offended by your presence for some reason.
[ ]Accept the offer. A little relaxing and chatting can't hurt, right? [ ]Decline. You got places to go, people to see, and all that good stuff. -[ ]Confront Okuu on your way out. Just what is her deal? -[ ]Eh, if Okuu wants to hate you, let her do so. She'll come around, probably.
So new Doom is out and it's a lot better than I thought it would be so I can stop losing faith in video games now
[X]Decline. You got places to go, people to see, and all that good stuff. -[X]Eh, if Okuu wants to hate you, let her do so. She'll come around, probably.
If we leave, better do it directly. It'd be seen as an offense to the hostess if we hang around when we've already given our dismissal. Not to mention that by doing so, our mind will be open for probing.
[x] Decline, on the grounds that you seem to be making Okuu uncomfortable. -[x] Tell her you'd make a poor guest, since you are forbidden to talk about yourself. -[x] Let Okuu hate you. If you have done nothing to provoke her anger, you probably can't do anything to calm her either.
She has questions we can't answer. I love her, but I'm afraid we won't be able to satiate her curiosity.
[X] Accept the offer. A little relaxing and chatting can't hurt, right?
Well, it's not like sticking around a little longer will kill you.
...it better not kill you.
The girl barely hides a smirk as you take a seat across from her at the table. Almost as soon as you sit down, a fresh cup of tea is placed in front of you by Orin, who gives you an unreadable expression when your eyes meet for a brief moment.
"Now then," the mind-reader says, "I believe introductions are in order. You may call me Satori. And you are?"
"Not going to give me a first name?"
"Why would I?" Why would she need to know that your first name's-
Satori nods. "Well then, may I call you _______?"
"I'd rather just stick with Foster, if it's all the same to you."
"Very well, then, Foster." She takes a sip of her tea. "If I may ask, how long have you been in Gensokyo?"
"About... a week or so, I'd say."
"And what exactly did you do on the Outside?"
You pause. "I was a day trader."
Well, it's kinda hard to maintain such a job when the world as you know it is torn out from under you and you're stuck in some fantasy land.
An odd look comes to Satori's face for a brief moment, but she shakes it off.
"Well, in any case, I hope you won't blame me if I ask what the mask is about, as well as the less than ideal condition of your suit."
You were afraid she'd ask that...
Her eyebrow arches as you let out a sigh.
"Well, truthfully, the Outside wasn't in such a good shape when I left it." All those nasty buggers roaming around, complaining about something or other and trying to kickstart some anarchy in the process.
You shake off a very mild headache. "Basically, I lost my job, and had to take up some... less savory work."
"You became a mercenary?"
Huh, she guessed that quick. "Yeah, actually. Turns out that rich people will pay out the nose for anyone who can shoot straight and not stab them in the back." Probably helps that you were rich yourself, once...
Satori studies you some more, and you notice her eyes narrowing slightly- all three of them. "Something about your story doesn't add up. You lived in... 'London', correct?"
"...yeah?" What's she getting at?
She gives a short command to Orin in Japanese, and a moment later she's at Satori's side with a large book. Satori thanks her, then proceeds to flip to a certain page, before sliding the book around so you can see a map of the world.
She points a finger to Europe. "Here you were, in London, part of the... 'United Kingdom'." Her finger shifts to be a bit more accurate, following your thoughts. "Meanwhile, Gensokyo is sealed off here," she adds, moving her finger over to Japan. "halfway across the world.
"So I ask, how exactly did you get over here?"
Well, that could be... Nah, that wouldn't be it. Or maybe...? Nope, not that, either.
You shrug. "Hell if I know."
Satori focuses on you some more, as if trying to see if you're telling the truth. Once she discovers that you are, she eases up. "Hmm. Curious. You truly are a... unique outsider."
You take the moment to glance around the room. While Orin is still standing by, her face still unreadable, it seems Okuu has left entirely for some reason.
"She is in charge of the Underground's nuclear reactor," Satori explains. "It provides power for both the Underground, and much of the mountain above."
Wait, nuclear power? But wouldn't that have the issue of severe waste, and the disposal of said waste? And where-
Wait, none of that's important to you. There is one thing you want to know, though. "Sorry if I sound a bit rude, but I have to ask, just what the bloody hell is up with Okuu, anyway? Why is she so dead set on avoiding me?"
Satori rolls her eyes- again, all three of them. "I would not worry about her. She has been known to create imaginary friends for herself in the past, who inevitably 'told her' to do certain things. I have not looked too deeply into her mind lately, but I believe it is the same situation now. I suspect that she will be back to her completely usual self eventually."
After that, the both of you lapse into silence, and you can't even think up anything else to ask about.
Feeling that it's about time you made your leave, you start to get up. "Well-"
Satori nods her head at you. "I appreciate you sating my curiosity, Mr. Foster. Orin will show you out. I hope that we may meet again someday."
Yeah, so she can probe your mind for more info about the Outside and how much its gone to hell thanks to thugs, hooligans, terrorists, and worldwide oil politics.
Wait, shit, you said that out loud. Err, thought it out loud, or-
Eh, fuck it.
Satori seems confused by your last train of thought, but you don't give her time to respond as you say your farewells and follow Orin back to the front door. Once there, she too says goodbye, before shutting the door behind you, leaving you back in the cavern.
Making sure that you still had your payment and everything else, you start walking back to the oni village.
As you follow the path down, you get that feeling of being watched again. Odd...
Suddenly, you feel one of your pockets grow ever so slightly heavier. Curious, you reach in and find a balled up piece of paper. Unfolding it, it contains a very short message in purple ink.
You're welcome. -Y
Oh yeah, Yukari gave you that one thing. Apparently it worked, not that you even noticed. Strange. ====================================== After what feels like no time at all, you made it through the village, back over the bridge, and past the rest of the caves, once again bringing you to sunlight. You notice that not as much time passed down there as you thought, as, judging by the sun, it was only a couple hours after noon now.
You spot a purple and black speck coming towards the mountain, and you recognize it as Reisen. You give her a wave, which evidently makes her notice you, as well, as she begins to descend towards your location.
"Hey there, Foster," she greets upon landing. "Finished already?"
"I guess so." You hold out the bag containing the payment. "Already paid and everything."
"Hmm, nice work." She looks up at the mountain. "Tell you what, how about I go ahead and take the payment with me? That way, I can take it back to Eientei with me when I'm done here, letting you go see the sights of Gensokyo some more, if you want."
Well, you can't see why not. You give her the bag, which she accepts alongside her own. "Alright, that's settled, then." With that, she lifts off.
Now to figure out what you'll do now that you're off the clock.
[ ]Go ahead and head back to the clinic, get some extra rest in. [ ]Go back to the Human Village, see what sort of "local" trouble you can observe. [ ]Oh yeah, you made that agreement with Remilia. Might as well hold up your end of it. [ ]Something else, perhaps? [Write-In]
[X]Oh yeah, you made that agreement with Remilia. Might as well hold up your end of it.
Well, gotta bite the vampire-shaped bullet sometime, might as well get it over with.
Spying the top of the mansion above the trees, you take a deep breath and begin your trek forward.
It doesn't take long until you come back to the flower field, and remembering Yuuka's warning, you follow the edge of the field to reach your destination. Sure enough, as you pass, you can see the woman herself staring at you, watching your movements. You make sure to return her gaze, which you hold until you lose her behind some of the taller flowers.
Man, why is everyone here so weird? ====================================== Thankfully, your trip to the mansion was a lot less violent this time around, though you shouldered your rifle more than a few times out of nervousness.
Just like before, the gate guard is leaning against the wall, asleep- though you know better.
Not wanting a repeat of last time, you simply move to open the gate yourself, keeping eyes on her the whole time.
Just like you kinda expected, she snaps awake the moment your hand makes contact with the gate, and you're barely able to move your arm away before she can grab at it, though she doesn't let the miss throw her off her poise at all.
She glares at you for a brief moment, but it softens once she recognizes your mask. "Foster, right?"
"Yep, it's me."
She notices the lack of a bag on your back. "No delivery today?"
You shrug. "I made a promise to your... boss, so I thought I'd stop by."
She ignores the contempt you held in your voice. "Alright, head right inside, then."
This time, she does nothing as you open the gate and walk into the yard, letting it swing shut behind you. The mansion was slightly less foreboding, now, since you now knew most of the residents, but it was still impressive to behold.
Just like before, the interior was completely empty. However, unlike last time, that changed the moment the door shut behind you.
"I see you're fulfilling the mistress's request?"
You can't help but jump at Sakuya's sudden appearance, something which brings a small smirk to her face. "Bloody hell, do you make a habit of doing that?"
"It is the simple pleasures that keep us all sane, Mr. Foster," she replies, still faintly smiling.
"...you know, that's probably the most sensible thing I've heard anyone say since coming to Gensokyo."
"I would not doubt that." Suddenly, her expression changes back to the cold mask of professionalism she usually has. "In any case, are you ready to meet the younger mistress?"
You think back to your one encounter with her, and you remember the odd fear you felt while in her presence. "Yeah, sure, mate."
She nods, and begins leading you to the side of the front staircase. She opens a very well hidden door, and begins leading you down some stairs.
Unlike the rest of the mansion, the basement looked like it was pulled straight out of a medieval castle, complete with sporadic torches lining the walls. The red color theme was abandoned completely in favor of simple stonework, with no decorations whatsoever.
Wordlessly, you follow Sakuya's footsteps, each step adding just a pinch of fear onto your mind. Surely this girl wasn't dangerous enough to make her room this far underground...
Sakuya suddenly stops as the path splits into three, with one ahead and another on either side of you. There were still torches, but not enough for you to completely see into the darkness.
Sakuya looks back at you. "We are close to her room. Are you sure you wish to go through with this?"
You made your choice when you decided to come to this mansion. "Yeah."
She nods. "Very well. This way."
She leads you down the right hallway, and soon you realize that this part of the basement was a straight up maze. You both wind through the corridors, taking numerous turns to the point where you lost track of which way you were facing. Hopefully she doesn't expect you to find your way back...
Eventually, Sakuya stops as you reach a solitary bend in the path. "Her room is just beyond here." She turns to you. "Do you need me to introduce you, or can you manage on your own?"
You stare at her. "You mean you'll leave me down here alone?"
"Not necessarily; I would remain close enough to... intervene, if needed."
You're not sure how much you trust that.
[ ]Let the maid make first contact for you. [ ]Fuck that, you're a man, now man up and greet this little girl on your own.
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[X]Fuck that, you're a man, now man up and greet this little girl on your own.
You haven't made it as far as you have by being cautious, so you start walking past Sakuya. "I can handle myself."
Sakuya looks at you oddly, but says nothing as you follow the path around the bend.
Ahead, there was a single plain wooden door, which didn't appear nearly as imposing as you thought it would be.
"So, she's just in-" You don't get to finish your question to Sakuya, as you turned around and noticed she wasn't there anymore. Even when you peeked back around the corner, nothing but empty corridor greeted you.
You really hope she's telling the truth.
Swallowing nervously, you walk up to the door, thinking over what you would do. Say 'hi' to her, maybe humor her with whatever she wanted to do, and keep doing that until someone said to stop, or something.
So why do you feel so scared?
Steeling yourself, you reach up a fist and knock on the door.
You hear some movement on the other side, before the door swings open, revealing Christmas-light girl in all her glory.
Her eyes widen upon seeing you. "Heya, Foster!"
"Uh, hi there... you." You realize too late that you don't even know her name.
Thankfully, she seems to realize the same thing, and she gives a small giggle. "I'm Flandre!"
Huh, sounds French.
Before you can say anything else, she eagerly pulls on your arm, bringing you into her room with great force.
You really hope Sakuya wasn't lying to you.
Flandre's room wasn't that different from any other girl's room. There was a somewhat-messy bed, a desk with a decent sized mirror on it, a table with a teapot on it, and a door that was partially open, revealing it to be a closet packed with clothes and other junk.
Notably, however, the walls were almost completely covered in pictures, most of which looked similar to the one that Remilia showed you. There were several that featured who you recognized as the other people in the mansion, a few that had you, and even a couple that included images of a certain blonde witch.
Looks like you have to entertain an artist.
While Flandre starts looking around in her closet for... something, you just stand there, unsure exactly what you're supposed to do. You never had kids or nieces or nephews or anything, so this was all new to you.
Eventually, she lets out an "Aha!", and turns to face you, grinning widely as she holds a gasmask of her own, albeit missing a filter. "I managed to find one kinda like yours!"
Honestly, the mask looked like it was beat to hell, and part of you wonders if it was directly taken from the Outside recently, but you make sure not to let on about that. "Huh, pretty neat."
She tries to put it on, but it's clearly too big for her, and the best she can do is have it loosely hang off her face. The sight is enough to make your mostly stone heart twitch a bit.
"Like a glove, eh?" you joke.
She laughs, before taking the mask off and throwing it back into the closet. She then bounds over to the table and urges you to take a seat, while she takes the other.
Seeing no reason not to, you join her at the table, barely reacting to the sudden appearance of a pair of teacups. Looks like Sakuya was telling the truth after all.
Flandre doesn't react to the sudden cups at all, and simply starts pouring tea for herself, then for you.
Before she even finishes, she starts talking again. "What did you do in the Outside, huh?"
Fought for my life every day against horrible monstrosities who hungered for flesh "Nothing special, really."
She nods, as if in agreement, then takes a sip of her tea. Suddenly, you notice her staring at the door you entered, and you follow her gaze, seeing it closed and nothing out of the ordinary.
"Shush," she says, completely contrasting with her previously excitable behavior.
After some more waiting, she looks back at you. "Alright, she's gone now."
Flandre nods, leaning back in her chair. "Most likely to make sure the other maids aren't sitting around on their asses."
You're taken aback by the complete 180 in her personality. "You seem... different."
She rolls her eyes. "What, did you expect me to be all happy and childish, full of wonder and curiosity?" she asks, her voice falling to her previous inflection for a moment. "Nah, that's just an act I put on."
"Yep. You're probably wondering why there's such a big maze leading to my room, right?"
There's that fear you've been fighting down. "A little, yeah."
"See, I used to be a bit... shall we say, unhinged?" she explains, downing the rest of her tea. "I was capable of killing literally everyone in the mansion with barely a thought, and I was also prone to severe mood swings. That's just a recipe for disaster and all kinds of mass murder."
Well, that explains why you were so afraid. "For my sake, I hope you're still not like that."
She smiles. "Nah, I grew out of that a while ago. I'm still capable of turning you into red mist if I wanted, but I don't change moods on a dime anymore, and I don't pulp anyone unless they really, really piss me off."
"So why keep up the charade?" you ask, genuinely curious.
"'Cause Remi still sees me as her 'destructive yet innocent little sister,'" she says, giving exaggerated air quotes. "And honestly, being 'trapped' down here is pretty nice. Zero responsibility, and zero repercussions if I decide to break something."
"...huh." Your eyes wander to the pictures around the room, particularly the ones with you in them. "So, I take it you manipulated Remilia into asking me to visit you?"
She snapped her fingers at you. "Bingo, Foster."
She doesn't answer at first, and instead looks away. You can see... some unreadable feeling dancing in her eyes. "Because you reminded me of myself a bit."
Oh? "You mean you're British and have a wit sharper than any blade?"
She smirks. "Not quite." She faces you, her face serious. "I say that because we've both spilled quite a lot of blood, haven't we?"
"See, I'm a vampire," she goes on, ignoring your sudden shock. "Because of that, I'm about 500 years old. And because of that, I've gotten really good at reading people." She looks at her fingernails nonchalantly. "Of course, I was always good at killing people, and, while I'm not proud of the lives I've taken, there's no escaping the fact that it happened."
You remain silent. Does she know? Is Yukari going to drop you both to the Outside?
"My sister prides herself on reading people like books," Flandre continues, "but she can't tell a killer when she sees one." She points at herself. "But I can, because I know what to look for. I look for me."
You're suddenly very self-conscious about the rifle on your back. "You sure?"
She nods. "Even without seeing your face, I can tell a lot about how many and even why you killed. Wanna hear?"
You stay silent for a long time, thinking it over. "I suppose you're going to tell me anyway."
"Right again." She leans forward slightly, staring straight into your eyes. "You've killed enough that even you've lost count, but most of them were career killings- as in, little more than a job to you. The rest were self-defense." She leans back, smug. "Am I right?"
...well, technically, she's not wrong.
Your silence seems to be answer enough for her, as she gives a smile while standing up. "Anyway, I'm gonna get some real drinks, you want any?"
That breaks you out of your worry. "Real drinks?"
"Yeah, you know, alcohol. Helps me unwind, and it feels like you could use something stronger than that tea."
You're unsure. On the one hand, she's been able to read you better than anyone else in Gensokyo, and came dangerously close to guessing the truth behind your life in the Outside. Getting drunk around her might be trouble.
On the other hand, getting shitfaced sounds really appealing right now, it might help fight off the crushing shock of these events. Or maybe you'll pass out and you can escape this pressure.
[ ]Accept the offer. You're involved in far too much shit to go sober. [ ]Decline. You're involved in far too much shit to get drunk. [ ]Actually, maybe you should just go take your leave now.
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[X]Accept the offer. You're involved in far too much shit to go sober.
"Eh, what the hell, get me some drinks, too."
Flandre smiles at you. "You got it, Fosty."
She hovers over to a corner of the room, where she slides open a hidden door on the ceiling. She disappears inside it, and after a few moments, she returns, now clutching a pair of wine bottles.
You give her a questioning look as she closes the door behind her and retakes her seat.
"Wine cellar is right above us," she explains. "Been slipping a bottle from the back for years now. No one's caught on yet."
Crafty little bird, this one.
She pours the tea out of the cups into the floor, then replaces it with wine. Once she's done, she sets the bottle aside and gives you an impish grin as she takes her first sip.
"Well, now I get to see your no-doubt stunning face, don't I?"
Right, the mask has to go for you to drink. Part of you considers just removing the filter and drinking through there, just to be an ass, but you decide it's not worth the effort.
The moment your mask is off, you can see Flandre scanning your face intently, making you a bit self-conscious. Sure, you weren't that bad looking (in your own humble opinion), but things like the apocalypse tend to put a damper on things like face care. While you've been able to get the worst of it while staying at Eientei, you haven't had a proper, non-knife shave in a long while, and there were still plenty of scars all over your face.
All things considered, Flandre took it pretty well.
"Gonna be honest, you look like shit."
Or maybe not so well.
"Glad to see I still got it," you quip, before taking your first drink of the wine. It was a bit stronger than whatever was served at that party a while back, but still not as strong as some of the brews you've had in pubs over the years.
"Well, now that we're all comfy and stuff," Flandre starts, "let's get chatting. What did you do in the Outside?"
You shrug. "Day-trading. Put bread on the table and dosh in my wallet."
She just looks at you, confused.
"You know, day-trading? Stock market?"
She lets out an "Oh" of understanding. "So, like, buy low sell high, all that?"
"Of a sort. Turns out I was real good at it." You take another sip. You never were a wine person, but this is alright.
Flandre matches your sip. "So, where did all the killing come into it?"
You hesitate, before coming up with a white lie. "Times were getting tough in the stock market. World going to shit tends to do that." Another sip. "Plus, on a more local level, anarchists were starting riots in the streets, all in the name of some bollocks about government reforms or whatever. Things got dangerous, and at first I looked into hiring some local security."
"So, like a bodyguard?"
"Basically. But it turned out that I wasn't the only one looking, and there were far more requests than there were able-bodied people willing to keep hell off someone's lawn." You lean back in your chair. "So, I started supplying what was needed."
Flandre nods in understanding as she drinks some more. "And that's where you started killing people."
"Hey, I told 'em to piss off, they got violent, I had a gun." You shrug. "Shit happens, and it kept happening. Cops were bloody useless, they were so understaffed."
She giggles. Looks like the alcohol was already getting to her, if only a bit.
"Now, your turn," you say. "Answer a question of mine."
"Yes, my sister is single," she says, giving you a cheeky smile.
"Cute. But seriously, there's something I've been wondering."
She sets her cup down and places her hands behind her head. "Shoot."
[ ]Why is Remilia such a bitch? [ ]Is there a reason Sakuya can teleport and shit? [ ]Were you always living in Gensokyo? [ ]What the hell are your wings? [ ]The fuck is wrong with this mansion? [ ]Or something else? (Write-in)
Friendly reminder that gunslinger is the most fun perk in KF2.
[x]What the hell are your wings?
You find your gaze being constantly redirected to the Christmas display on Flandre's back, so your choice of question becomes obvious. "What the bloody hell is up with your wings?"
Flandre's eyes widen slightly, and she just stares at you, mid-sip. For a moment, you start regretting all of your life choices leading up to this moment.
The moment passes, however, as she spits out a mouthful of wine into the air beside her and starts laughing hysterically.
Eventually, she calms down enough to form a coherent sentence. "Heh, woo, oh, man, sorry, it's just..." she breaks into another fit of giggles before controlling herself. "You really just go for the throat, huh?"
Something about the way she says that... "You mean no one's asked about it before?"
"No one!" she shouts, spilling what little wine is left in her cup as she gestures wildly. "Everyone I meet, I see them looking at them like they're weird- I mean they are, but- no one ever asks!"
You think back to how she acted around other people. "Maybe they were scared of you?"
Flandre starts to refute your point, but stops before she can even get a word out. "...huh, that's probably true." She shakes her head. "Still, even people who can actually whup me in a fight don't say anything. It's kinda weird."
You just give a blank stare at her. "You have seen what else is here in Gensokyo, right? To them, Christmas light wings are probably just another Tuesday."
Flandre pours herself another cup, while you take a sip.
"You didn't answer the question, either," you say.
"Huh? Oh, right, sorry." Flandre puts the bottle down. "Anyway, don't feel too disappointed, but I'm not sure where exactly these wings came from."
"Not at all!" she says, oddly happy for the subject matter. "I mean, I know that I didn't always have them, but that's about it." Her previously jovial demeanor drops a little bit as she looks at nothing in particular.
"Does your sister know?"
She stays silent for a time, before shrugging. "I think she does, since she's a bit older than me, but whenever I ask, she gets this... look on her face... like she doesn't want to remember."
Well, this is getting kinda depressing. The last thing you want is to leave with Flandre in tears, or else Remilia might skin you alive. Time to change tracks.
"So, how do you fly with them, exactly?" you ask. "I mean, Remilia actually, well, uses her wings to fly, but it didn't look like you even flap yours."
Flandre shrugs, and starts slowly hovering out of her chair, her wings barely twitching. "It's magic, so I dunno."
Of course it is.
She suddenly starts grinning. "That's not the only thing I can use them for, though!"
You notice the crystals starting to glow very faintly. "What-"
All of a sudden, there's a flash of light, and you shield your eyes, badly missing what little glare protection your mask offered. When you look again, there are now two Flandres sitting in front of you, one in the chair and one beside her on her knees.
"What the fuck," you calmly comment.
Chair-Flandre grins widely at you. "Yep!"
Floor-Flandre also smiles. "I can clone myself! How cool is that?"
Your brain is still trying to process this, so you can't do much in the way of asking questions.
"...there's more!" the Flandres say one after another, before there's another flash, and now there's four of the blonde girl sitting in front of you.
You look down into your mostly-empty cup. After giving some thought, you grab the open bottle and take a large swig.
When you're done drowning your sheer confusion, you just sigh. "You know, just a few weeks ago, I felt like my life was in a rut."
Chair-Flandre- Flandre Prime, you decide- just shrugs.
You notice that each other Flandre has a different expression on their face. One is looking intently towards the pile of junk near the back of the room, one is looking at you a bit uncomfortably, and the other is staring intently at the wine bottle.
"The four of us are still part of the same mind," Flandre Prime explains.
"But we can still act independently of each other!" junk-Flandre says happily, wearing the gas mask she- they- fuck it, the gas mask that wasn't yours.
"Of course, splitting into four like this also divides my personality," wine-Flandre says in a somewhat melancholic manner, taking the cup from Flandre Prime and downing it in one go.
"Can you go even farther?" you ask, genuinely curious.
Flandre Prime shakes her head. "Nope, four is the limit."
"Shame, because I could always use more~," the last Flandre says, getting closer to you and speaking in a way that brings more than a few things to the front of your mind.
However, the alcohol in your system takes hold, and makes you switch to your default personality setting of "unamused prick".
You stare at the Flandre approaching you. "Are you coming onto me?"
After staring for a bit longer, you look back at Flandre Prime. "What was that you said about dividing your personality?"
"Being a vampire doesn't exclude you from hormones," she says. "Just ignore it, everyone else does."
You happen to look down and see wine-Flandre now chugging the remainder of the first bottle.
"Isn't that bad for her? Er, you?" you ask.
"I'll feel it when I pull myself together," Prime says, smiling at her little joke, "but trust me, I've had worse hangovers."
"But we'll run out of wine at this rate."
Flandre Prime pauses as she sees your reasoning, but the alcoholic Flandre continues drinking anyway.
"Okay, cut it out," Prime tells her.
Alcoholic Flandre shakes her head, mouth not leaving the bottle until she downs every drop. The moment she drops it, she starts sobbing. "Nobody likes me cause I'm scary and crazy and I smell baaaad!"
She immediately starts trying to open the second bottle, making Prime actually get out of the chair.
"Okay, seriously, give it here, you look miserable and pathetic," she tells her clone.
The clone maintains her grip on the bottle, still sobbing. "In misery is where I belong!"
While she's busy collapsing in on herself, you notice that seductive Flandre is now uncomfortably close to you. "You know, they don't have to be the only ones on the floor~"
"Hey guys, I found a bug!" junk Flandre suddenly calls out, having apparently fished out a spider from somewhere in the pile.
This is getting out of hand. "Can you dial the you's back to one, please?"
All of the Flandres look at you, before there's another flash of light, and now only one Flandre remains.
"Sorry about that, I keep myself cloned for too long and we start to mentally diverge."
"You know, I'm not sure if that's normal or not, but to hell with it," you say, picking up the bottle that's now on the floor and finishing opening it, topping off your cup. A few drops land on the table instead, showing that the alcohol was definitely starting to have an effect now, however small.
"What is 'normal' but a figment of our imagination?" Flandre says, also clearly affected by the rapid alcohol consumption by her clone.
Philosophical debates aside, you were at a loss for what next. Your inability to pour perfectly probably proves that you should cut your losses.
[ ]Make your leave while you're still completely lucid. [ ]Staying a little longer couldn't hurt... -[ ]Just make sure to hold off on drinking much more, so you can make the trip back. -[ ]You know what? Fuck it, keep drinking and being merry. You can just crash here overnight. What could go wrong?
[x]Staying a little longer couldn't hurt... -[x]You know what? Fuck it, keep drinking and being merry. You can just crash here overnight. What could go wrong?
On second thought, being careful is for squares. You down your cup, while Flandre pours herself another one.
The alcohol was starting to have an effect on your mind, so you immediately said the first thing that popped into your head. "So, what the hell did Remilia do while you were in the outside?"
"Oh, you know, lived as a vampire in the French countryside," Flandre explains, taking a deep drink. "Though for the last hundred years or so, she was pretty... uh, what's the word? Re... Re-something."
"Reserved?" you offer.
"Yeah, that." Looks like she's being hit even more than you right now. "Anyway, yeah, she'd go into town, lure some unsuspecting schmuck to the mansion, then-" She made a cutting motion across her throat. "Dinner for two."
A morbid part of you decides to speak up. "Wouldn't it be more beneficial in the long run to just keep a few people prisoner, to get a semi-permanent source of blood?"
"Oh, totally, that's why we do it now."
"...what the hell?"
She laughs at your sudden worry. "Don't worry, we have an agreement with the human village. They give us their, you know, irredeemable criminals and stuff. We used t' get some outsiders, too, but Reimu told us to stop that after a couple weeks."
Well, that's totally comforting.
Flandre smiles after taking another sip. "But back then? Nah, we just grabbed 'em as we needed 'em."
"Well, mostly her and Sakuya. I was busy being unstable, remember?"
"Sounds like quite the romantic lifestyle."
Suddenly, Flandre spits out her mouthful of wine and starts laughing loudly. At your confused look, she calms down slightly. "Sorry, sorry, just- ha! You, you reminded me of something really funny that happened."
Now she had your attention. "Go on."
She takes a couple deep breaths to stop her laughter. "Okay, so, this was back in... I dunno, 1800s? I forget, anyway, Remi decides to take a trip to England, to 'observe the lay of the land', she says. I stayed behind, but thankfully Sakuya shadowed her there, and I overheard what happened later."
She has another giggle fit, but clears her throat and forces herself to stop. "So, there was this English guy, owned this estate and private school. Remi took notice, and played the part of a new girl arriving from France." She starts giggling again. "And- And get this, Remilia Scarlet, the then-400 year old vampire... got adopted!"
She starts laughing hysterically again, and you can't help but join her. This should be good.
"The, the school owner! For some reason, he decided to adopt her!" Flandre laughs again. "B- heh, but trust me, it, it gets worse!"
"What, did she get roped into a marriage?" you try and guess. The mental image of Remilia in a wedding dress is an odd one, but imagining her frowning the whole time makes you happy.
"Worse!" Flandre lets out a single loud laugh. "She fell in love with the owner's son!"
Now it was your turn to spit out your wine, as you join Flandre in uproarious laughter.
Once you both calm down a bit, she continues. "S- So, she ends up staying for a little over two years-"
"Two years? Bloody hell, that's a while," you interrupt.
"Not much for vampires," Flandre says, shrugging. "Anyway, she's busy being in love with her own adopted brother-" She laughs again. "-but, funny thing, she's never actually been in love before!"
"Nope! I mean, sure, she had lovers, when she thought she was being quiet enough that I couldn't hear, but those were typically the same people that later got-" She lets out a childish giggle. "-sucked."
You let out a single laugh.
"But, right, this guy. She had no idea how to get his attention, romantically, so of course she does what comes natural to her."
"She throws him out a window?" you offer, your shoulder pain flaring up for a brief moment at the memory.
"Close!" She smiles at you. "She tries to be superior to him! In the 1800s!"
It takes a bit for the punchline to arrive in your mind, but once it does, you join her laughter.
"A- And it gets better! When that didn't work- she killed his dog!"
You laugh, and you feel bad for doing so. "What?!"
"Yeah! Somehow, she convinced herself that killing his dog when win his heart... somehow!"
You both share another laughing session, but Flandre calms down considerably afterwards.
"So, of course, things started going downhill from there. I don't know the specifics, but at some point Remi killed the father and revealed that she was a vampire, and along the way the guy's estate burned down." She shrugged. "After that, she came back home, and locked herself in her room for a month."
"What about the guy?" you ask.
Flandre shrugs. "I dunno. I don't think he died in the fire, and Remi was too proud to look into it, even years later." She puts a hand to her chin thought. "I think their family name was... something with a J? I forget. They're probably all dead by now, anyway."
You laugh at the story as a whole. "Almost as bad as this one bloke I knew..."
Now you had her attention. "Oh, do tell, Fosty."
And so, time passes as you both begin to swap stories. You tell her about the time one of your roommates in private school accidentally knocked out power for a whole block while on a date, she tells you about the time Remilia captured and killed a squad of German soldiers during WWII, you tell her about a childhood friend who continued to eat glue well into the age of 16, and yet was the most popular kid in school.
At some point, you were aware of Yukari starting to listen in on the conversation, since you spotted one of her holes in space behind Flandre, but you ignored it. You could hold your liquor just fine, thank you.
By the time Flandre finished up the story of their first arrival in Gensokyo, you can't help but let out a yawn. "Christ, what time is it?"
Flandre, now undeniably drunk, giggles. "Dunno. Night?"
You get up from your chair, only to discover you're not much better yourself as you almost immediately faceplant. "I... I think I'll be leaving, now," you say, taking care to not slur your words too much.
"Kay. Nighty, Foster!" Flandre waves, clearly not as concerned about her speech.
Putting your mask back on, you say your farewells before leaving through the door, bringing yourself back into the maze of a basement.
Shit, you need to find your way out, don't you?
Thankfully, the moment you reached your first branching path, you hear a welcome voice. "I take it meeting the young mistress went well?"
Somehow, your inebriation manages to keep you from jumping at her sudden appearance. "Yeah, went smashing."
You spy a smirk on her face. "Speaking of 'smashing', is there a reason you are intoxicated?"
Shit, she's onto you, isn't she? "...no idea what you're on about."
"Mr. Foster, I can smell the alcohol on you."
Unexpectedly, she lets out a light laugh. "Do not worry, I understand. I should've expected Flandre to liquor you up."
Wait, hold the phone. "What?"
Sakuya motions for you to follow her, and you do so, as she continues speaking. "I've known about the young mistress's true personality for some time now. However, she still thinks that I am clueless, so I play along whenever I see her."
Well, this is news to you. "Why?"
She shrugs. "I find it entertaining."
...fair enough, you suppose. "What about Remilia?"
"She remains in the dark about her sister. I make no attempt to keep her this way, Flandre is simply good enough at acting to fool her sister on her own. I see no harm in it, and I can change things the moment I feel that it is necessary."
...well now you feel less special.
"So you know about her taking wine, too?"
You want to smack yourself for letting that slip out, but thankfully Sakuya just smiles. "We have far more wine than we could ever hope to go through, even if lady Remilia decides to become a chronic alcoholic."
You stumble more than once trying to match Sakuya's brisk pace, and from the way her smile drops, you know she noticed. "Will you be able to return home in this state?"
"I... I can manage," you grumble out, leaning on the wall for support.
"As entertaining as watching you attempt to travel at night in this state would be..."
Shit, it's that late already?
"...I feel it would be in your best interest to simply stay the night here. We have plenty of open rooms that no one uses."
You had entertained the idea, but looks like now you have no choice. "Alright."
She nods, and continues to lead you back to the ground floor. Before you actually get there, though, something occurs to you.
"What about Eirin?" you ask. "Shouldn't someone tell them I'm here?"
"I've already taken care of it," Sakuya says. "I had to run an errand there anyway, and while I was there she asked about you. I simply said that you were still alive, though you may or may not have to stay overnight."
Well, you're sure you'll be questioned a lot about it still, but at least you won't get fired. "That works."
The rest of the journey passes uneventfully, though you still almost lose your footing several times. Eventually, she stops at one of the many doors, and opens it to reveal a very simple bedroom, with nothing but a bed, a pair of small tables on either side of said bed, a wardrobe, and a door most likely leading to a bathroom.
Not too different from an average hotel room, really.
"I will wake you up at 8 in the morning," Sakuya tells you.
Before you can ask anything else, she vanishes.
Well, looks like nothing left to do but pass out.
And once you set your guns aside and reach the bed, you do exactly that.
You slowly rouse yourself from sleep. You sit up in bed and shake off the remnants of last night's dream; a familiar one, involving once more fighting off zeds for survival and profit. Curiously, on retrospect, it seems that your subconscious inserted at least a couple instances of someone from Gensokyo also being there. You weren't surprised by this development, but now you were curious how someone like Flandre would handle herself against the zeds...
Oh, that's right, you slept over at the vampire mansion. You quickly bring a hand to your neck, but a brief inspection reveals no puncture wounds of any kind. All your blood is still inside you, for now.
Cracking your back as you get up, groaning as the weight of a mild hangover hits you all at once. Clutching your head, you notice that your gear is neatly laid out on the room's other bed, weapons unloaded and arranged neatly. Since everything else was still in place on your person, you go ahead and load the guns up once more, before putting them back in their rightful places, followed by your knife.
Once properly outfitted, you look at a clock on the wall. Just past 7, it looks like. Not too early.
The moment you step outside of the room, Sakuya is there instantly, giving a very brief bow. "I trust you had a pleasant sleep?"
You give a nonspecific grunt, suffering from both still being partly asleep and the hangover.
Sakuya takes the answer in stride, though. "Will you be staying for breakfast?"
You must've been spoiling your body during your time in Gensokyo, because you can feel your stomach give a silent groan at the word 'breakfast'. "Sure."
Unlike the good but bland food at Eientei, the food that Sakuya gave you was probably five-star restaurant material. Apart from an odd look at your unmasked face, Sakuya said nothing as you wolfed the food down. Your head was still being a pain, but at least you were no longer hungry.
As soon as that was dealt with, you decided to leave ASAP, just in case Remilia decided to wake up suddenly and ruin your day before it even started. Sakuya assured you that she would inform Flandre of your departure, and soon after, both Sakuya and the gate guard are bidding you farewell as you stride away into the forest, rifle at the ready.
Time to get back to work, then. ---------------------------------------------- It isn't long before you realize that you've lost your sense of direction in this forest. Maybe it was the hangover preventing you from fully focusing, or maybe it was just general carelessness, but either way, you no longer had a clear idea of which way to go.
Thankfully, it seems that your prior fight with those wolves seems to have left an impression on the wildlife, as not many creatures come out of the bushes to greet you. The only ones that came close were some bugs that could only find exposed skin on your wrists, and they were easy to swat away.
...actually, now that you think about it, the forest seems oddly quiet, now. That's never a good sign, so you decide to pick up the pace a little bit, rifle raised and ready to shoot at a moment's notice.
After some more aimless wandering, you begin to notice something else that was odd: was it getting darker?
Confused, you look up through a small clearing in the trees ahead of you, and curse to yourself as the sun immediately blinds you. Once your vision returns fully, you look again, squinting this time. Sure enough, it was still fully daylight, and yet it was definitely darker than it was before.
Having no idea of where to go anyway, you keep moving forward, taking care to go slowly and quietly this time. After a few steps, you confirm that, whatever's going on, it's starting to get even darker.
You pull out your handgun and turn on the flashlight, but even that doesn't seem to work. The light is coming from the bulb just fine, but the moment it gets ahead of you, it appears to just get swallowed up by the darkness.
You decide not to venture further into this madness, only to find identical results when you start heading the opposite direction.
So, time to evaluate the situation. It's daylight, and yet it's getting darker for no apparent reason. Not only that, but the darkness appears to resist all attempts to light it up. You're alone, and you're in the middle of a forest that has been confirmed hostile to you.
Could be worse, honestly, but you're sure Fate isn't quite done with you yet.
[ ]Weapons free, fire into the darkness and hope for the best. [ ]Keep moving. You're sure to get out at some point. [ ]Maybe the answer is a more natural light source. A welding torch can work as a lighter, most likely. [ ]Might makes light, and not much is mightier than an explosion. Grenades could work.
So, I decided I'm going to make a map for KF2, now. I'd like to take this time to ask if you people have any specific environments you'd like to see made. This isn't really a vote, more like me bumming ideas from you guys. There's no real rush on this, just something else you can yell at me about besides votes.
[X]Might makes light, and not much is mightier than an explosion. Grenades could work.
Right, you still had a few grenades on you. Surely they could help out.
Keeping eyes on the trees around you, you fish out a grenade as you let your rifle fall against your chest, allowing you both hands free to pull the pin and throw in some vague direction.
Once it leaves your hand, you take a couple steps in the opposite direction, before getting down to the ground to take cover. A couple seconds later, the grenade explodes, and you feel yourself get pelted with a few pieces of dislodged dirt.
When you get back up, you notice that it stopped getting darker. It was still rather dark, though, so you decide to keep going.
You get back up and throw another grenade in the same direction, getting the same results. After a brief moment, you notice the darkness ever so slightly receding, though it was still not quite full daylight again.
Well, one more can't hurt.
You throw your last grenade out, this time ducking behind a tree as it goes off. Once the sound of impacting shrapnel and debris stops, you look out to see that it was now barely dark at all, and it looked to be staying that way.
However, as you stepped forward some more, you noticed that the darkness started to return. When you cautiously started backtracking, it started getting lighter again.
Well, looks like whatever the source of that darkness was, it's not moving anymore.
[ ]Just leave, not your problem. [ ]Your morbid curiosity is taking hold, so of course you gotta see why that was happening.
This will (probably) be the last update before the new thread, too, so now's the time to call me whatever mean names you want.
I lied, here's one more update before the new thread.
[x] Just leave, not your problem.
Knowing your luck, if you go investigate you'll probably end up with your face chewed off.
With that in mind, you start heading away from the darkness, keeping your rifle at the ready just in case it starts coming back.
Thankfully, it never does, and you're able to travel through the rest of the forest unmolested.
However, you seem to have gotten lost during that short episode, because you felt like you should've been out of the forest by now, and instead you're still inside it.
At least it's somewhere near the outskirts of the forest, if the slightly lesser amount of trees is anything to go by. Not enough to figure out which way is the exit, but enough to know some vague progress is being made, at least.
After some more stumbling through the brush, you come across your first landmark since you entered this forest, in the form of a decent sized building of sorts. It looked a bit like a house, but it also looked like some sort of store. A sign above the front door says something in Japanese, so you assume it's the latter.
That being said, the building looked to be in quite a state of disrepair. Several parts of the walls were chipped or broken away, and the roof looked like it had collapsed on itself several times, only to be hastily repaired just as many.
With your track record in mind, you cautiously edge the front door open, rifle at the ready for a textbook room scan. Once the door is just open enough for you to see inside, a bell above the door rings, and shortly after you hear a male voice say something in Japanese. It sounded decidedly non-hostile, so you quickly lower your gun as you push the door open the rest of the way.
Just like you thought, the interior was some kind of store. Items of all kinds lined the shelves, though in no particular pattern that you could see. Like the outside, the inside has definitely seen better days, and you think you can even see mold growing in a few spots.
Soon, a silver-haired, glasses-wearing man comes in from a back room. He's saying something as he comes in, but practically freezes when he sees you. You just barely see his eyes flick towards the gun hanging off your chest before returning to your mask.
You give a wave. "Hello there, mate."
He seems to visibly relax slightly at the sound of your voice. "Hello. How may I... help you?"
You shrug. "I got a bit lost in the forest, stumbled on this place, figured I'd give it a look."
"Ah, I see." He looks a bit closer at you. "Then you are the same outsider that was in the paper?"
"Yeah, that was me."
He lets out a "Hmm," before looking around the store. "Well, feel free to take a look around. I collect a lot of things from the Outside, so maybe you'll find something familiar that you want."
You weren't really planning on doing any shopping today, but what the hell? "Cheers, mate."
You start looking through his gathered inventory, spotting a bunch of things you recognize instantly. He's got things like a (half-empty) bottle of motor oil, a toaster, some unmarked CDs, and even an original iPod, of all things.
While seeing these things again was kinda neat, none of it was really helpful in any way.
While you're browsing, you just barely notice the shopkeep slipping back into the room he came in from, and you can just barely see a few more boxes of stuff from where you're standing. Maybe he has some extended inventory you could look at?
[ ]Try and get a better look, and ask if he has anything else for sale. [ ]You're not interested in even more mundane items, just ask him for directions back to the village and be on your way.