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191170 No. 191170
Family can be a blessing and a curse; the larger one is, the more issues come to light, though many would say it’s worth the price of admission. Sometimes the blessings are better than the helping hand of a tutor, and sometimes the curses are far, far worse than a little tugging of hair.

A mother and father always have great visions of grand futures. Of grandchildren with parents with grand dreams for them as grand as their dreams for those very parents. Of their children following their teachings into the next generation, and knowing that their job was done well. That those children will do the same, following in their footsteps. And their children, and theirs as well. Parents ask for a world freely given by children from all walks of life.

To some, family has a value greater than anything. Others see it as greater than nothing. There are many more views of family in between, and it can vary between different members, but, in the end, it is something we all have.

All families have far reaching histories that bind them together. Rare is the man who wasn’t born, and rare is the man who can claim as such truthfully. Even inconsequential histories are history, regardless of import. Some claim great heritage of ages past, others claim great inheritance of estates and land. All who are born gain some small part of their parents’ history, and their parents’, and theirs, ad infinum. The chain reaches back farther than most are willing, or able, to see. The bonds do not begin merely in humans, and instead stretch back into the great seas themselves.

Long ago, there were no families. Not by any stretch of the word, and certainly not as we see them today. There was no hair being tugged, or tutorings needed for a big test. There was no hair, and the only test was survival. Year by year, century by century, over eons these things came to be. Life, at first, was microscopic and inconsequential. Slowly, with every turn of the world, some small change was made.

The tree took roots, and those roots dug deep and started spreading at first rapidly, then they divided a million million times over. Some parts began to slow, others kept the same pace, and many more met their ultimate end.

All families are but one family, far removed. All life, from the smallest amoeba to the greatest elephant, from the rarest of birds to the most common bacteria, from every corner of the Earth, the deepest depths to the highest mountain, is full of but one multifaceted family of staggering proportions.

Farther back still, there is but one mother yet no father; the Earth itself. This mother bore many children in her cold depths, and they have since flourished and formed the tree that all life calls its family.

But to you, there was only ever one family, one generation; one inconsequential division of that tree that ends in six buds. Six siblings.

Of those six, only you stand in the room. Of six children, how many remain? The eldest son fell first, and from there it was a downwards spiral of pruning of the buds of the tree.

Next was the loss of three sisters, though you honestly don’t know what happened; they vanished without fanfare or even the faintest trace. There was no great struggle, no craters or pock marks. There was not a single sign that they were ever where they should have been. And, quite frankly, you know that those three were too noisy to ever hope to vanish without a trace. Someone, or something, removed those traces of battle. You just know it has to be true... So you assume the worst, and though you hope for greener pastures, you find nothing but dessicated husks of grass.

That left just you and the youngest. Your little sister, Layla. A sweet girl, who has no skeletal hands grasping at her from the yawning maw of a closet.

But then she was taken from you. You know not quite where, and you know not quite why, but she is all you have left.

Family was a blessing and a curse. A curse you wish you still knew. A blessing you wish still could be felt. No longer are there tutorings, or tugging hands in your hair. No longer do you see their smiling faces, or tearful eyes as they scrape a knee. You weren’t the eldest.

Sadly, now you are.

But you would rather die than claim the title of youngest, too.

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

You’d think that, with a goal like yours, you could go 48 hours without sleep. Your goal is more important than anything, and yet your body seems to disagree, forcing you to follow its tune. Has it really been a week of non-stop searching? You feel like you’ve combed every nook and cranny for information. Every ad, every forum, every site. Your search took you down the fishiest of places and the most unassuming of sites. You were surprised to find places you had a creeping suspicion were full of Youkai, and other places likely full of Technocrats. And yet, you pressed through.

Through the darker side of the internet you crept, worried just what might notice, you found a lot of things you didn’t want to know, and nothing you wanted to. Not one trace of Layla… Of the youngest of you six...

Your dreams are silent things, bereft of either joy or horror. It’s probably part of why you have been staying awake, by some twisted definition of awake, till you pass out, or at least an excuse to; your dreams have been haunted by the things that might be happening to the last kin you have.

But sadly all things must end, and so too does your dreamless sleep, to the tune of an odd whistle.

You jump to, reaching for your holster, but realize that you’re where you remember, and nothing horrible has happened. Scanning the forgettable hotel room you call home for the time being, hand resting firmly on the old broomhandle, you find it empty of anyone to do the whistling. Still… you know that whistle. Not the whistler, but the whistle itself. It has deeper meanings than just a whistle, and yet… something niggles at your mind, and you can’t quite grasp what it means.

Had you enough sleep, maybe you could have understood it as more than a sound. ...But, then, you’ve been hearing those whistles a lot of late. Probably just you missing your siblings; even awake, you just can’t quite grasp the meaning, though it always happens as you are drifting off, or during your sleep. Always startling you awake, only to find a distinct lack of those who know the Prismriver code.

Sighing, you look back to the computer, finding… well, that’s interesting. You look over the page in your browser, sliding a finger down the smudged screen of a smart phone. You never much liked the things, what with what carrying one meant; you can’t repair the damned things yourself, so you either have to baby them or hope they’re built tougher than they look.

Sadly, the phone is the former, and the signs are plain to see; a chip in the top left corner from where it landed when it fell from your lap a couple feet. The thing practically wants to break. Still, the size is as much a blessing as a curse, and the chipped corner is a testament to your rough handling.

If not for the fact that you didn’t remember pulling up this page, you might have just closed the window, what with it being an ad for refurbished bandages, but suspicion gets the better of you. You don’t so much pay attention to the contents as look for any hidden meanings. You scan over the suspicious message, wondering if there’s a deeper meaning than just… that. It’s probably another wild goose chase, but it’s still better than nothing.


Refurbished Bandages for Sale

Can you believe that the time of reusable bandages is upon us? One purchase and you will have a lifetime supply of medical grade bandages all in one bandage! Messes are unavoidable, but these are the safest bandages on Earth! Twist them once and they are sterile once more! Only available for a limited time, so order now! Never worry about your first aid kit having enough to save a life: order the ten pack! One ten pack is enough for most any job, then wring them out and the specially designed RTHP formula cleans them with just a little* water added. After that, all you have to do is let them dry for a few hours** and they are as good as new! Run through hundreds in only a day? Keep dozens of banaged on hand at any time? Ask about our special bulk*** pricing! Ten ten packs for only the cost of FIVE!






Pricing is dependent on credit check. Mass quantity bulk deals are available to registered hospitals. *1 gallon of water is required per bandage. **3 hour dry time only attainable with zero humidity and while being blown dry. bandages highly flammable; do not iron dry. ***bulk deals require in excess of 10,000 units
.

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

Broomhandle
Loaded: 7/10
Total Ammo: 107

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

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

[ ] Write-in
No. 191174
Given the title of this quest, it's most likely an ad that's somehow connected to youkai selling humans or something to that degree.

I have no idea what to vote, but ordering is a very bad idea.
No. 191180
I don't know what I just read, but...

[X] Close that ad.
No. 191183
It really just looks like there is some sort of clue hidden.

>You scan over the suspicious message, wondering if there’s a deeper meaning than just… that.

Seems to show as such. Should be something fairly simple.
No. 191190
>>191183

You are indeed correct in that thought.
No. 191192
>>191183
Read only the capital letters.

[X] "COMETONORTHPARKATFIVEPM". Well, it's not like we had anything else planned for the evening...
No. 191194
>>191192

It seems I can begin writing early if I wish. Expect the update within a day or two.
No. 191195
File 147122888624.jpg- (68.59KB , 620x413 , A straight line may be wiser.jpg ) [iqdb]
191195
[-a-] "COMETONORTHPARKATFIVEPM". Well, it's not like we had anything else planned for the evening…

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

At first you wonder if you have a virus and grumble a bit, nearly closing it on the spot; after you notice the word five being capitalized, you begin to notice a pattern, however...

You slowly look over the page, finding that every capitalized character, when laid out in a row, tells a message. Not the most secure code, and it seems like it might be a trap, but, well… what else can you do but go? You’ve found absolutely nothing on the subject the entire time you’ve been looking, and it’s honestly gotten you to your wits end. You have to find Layla. You may not be strong like Harold, and, heck, you’re outclassed even by Lyrica, but you’re a good big brother.

Although, if it’s a trap, you honestly have to wonder who in their right mind would set such a trap. Still, looks like you’ll be heading to some park, assuming that message isn’t so vague as to mean a park in the north. Still, you can’t help but consider the what-ifs and wonder what might await as you look to the clock on your phone. It’s 3:10 now, so you have to work fast and move faster.

Relying on the annoyingly fragile phone once again, you pull up a map. If not for how it marks where you are at all times, you’d probably just use a physical map. Plus, it does have a function for finding places, so, if all you have to go on is a name…

You enter the name and hit search, raising a brow at what you find: there’s actually a park by that name, and it’s only ten miles away to boot. That gives you just under two hours to get there. You begin to collect up all your worldly possessions, which, to be honest, only really amounts to what you need in case this is an ambush.

But what do you bring? The faithful handgun, or one of your… borrowed weapons? Sure, you have faith in your shot, but you’ve honestly not tested them, and aren’t too sure what they do.

Heck, how are you going to go about covering ten miles in just under two hours?

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

Broomhandle
Loaded: 7/10
Total Ammo: 107

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

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

Choose Loadout

[ ] Broomhandle: reliable, and its ammo is replaceable and effective. You’re used to it, and are pretty sure of your shot, but it’s just your everyday gun. Heavier ammo.

[ ] Phlogiston Pistol: uses ammo you can’t replace, but can also use lower caliber rounds, if you had some. Rika’s handiwork, so you’re a little worried it might fall apart. Looks normal enough, at least. Light ammo.

[ ] Aether Rifle: uses ammo you can’t replace. Rikako’s handiwork, so it looks sturdy enough and you know it’s no doubt effective. Sticks out like a sore thumb, so you store it in a violin case. Heavier than both handguns combined, and each canister is half a pound.

How do you get there?

[ ] You might be late, but you could run. You’re not in the worst of shape, but you might have to travel light.

[ ] Taxi limits exposure to other people, but also raises the amount of scrutiny that person pays you.

[ ] Bus is cheaper, though more people makes it risky in its own way.
No. 191197
[X] Broomhandle
- [X] Reload before leaving.
[X] Bus is cheaper, though more people makes it risky in its own way.

No sense in getting winded before you get there. And more people means safety in its own way, as well. Especially in a universe where the protagonist is throwing around the word "Technocrats" and has a Phlogiston Pistol.
No. 191206
[X] Broomhandle (Wait, this is a gun?)
- [X] Reload before leaving.
[X] Bus is cheaper, though more people makes it risky in its own way.
No. 191207
[X] Aether Rifle: uses ammo you can’t replace. Rikako’s handiwork, so it looks sturdy enough and you know it’s no doubt effective. Sticks out like a sore thumb, so you store it in a violin case. Heavier than both handguns combined, and each canister is half a pound.
[X] Bus is cheaper, though more people makes it risky in its own way.
No. 191209
File 147129449490.jpg- (5.03KB , 260x194 , No sweeping will be needed.jpg ) [iqdb]
191209
>>191206

You might say they look a tad like a broom's handle in ways.
No. 191211
File 147130443854.jpg- (33.82KB , 640x364 , a vintage from the republic.jpg ) [iqdb]
191211
>>191197
Schmot guy.

[x] Broomhandle (Pic relevant)
-[x] Reload before leaving.
[x] Bus is cheaper, though more people makes it risky in its own way.
No. 191212
[X] Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
- [X] Reload before leaving.
[X] Bus is cheaper, though more people makes it risky in its own way.


>>191211

Indeed.
No. 191224
File 147136157493.jpg- (126.42KB , 1024x774 , Paranoia galore.jpg ) [iqdb]
191224
[-b-] Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
- [-b-] Reload before leaving.
[-b-] Bus is cheaper, though more people makes it risky in its own way.

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

You make sure the less Consensus-friendly firearms are well hidden, and begin tucking them under the floor, through a hole you made. However, you did leave one gun out: your Shanxi Type 17, or, as you refer to it, the ol' broomhandle. Still, it may be a bit near and dear in some ways, but you've taken measures to avoid it having an identity. You hardly want it getting up and, say, shooting you.

Sighing, you pull out a stripper clip and push it in, sliding three of the five rounds in. Pulling the remainder out, you put away the other two where you get the whole from. You fill a pocket with another 4 strippers, giving you 30 shots if you need it; not too noticeable, but not overly unprepared, either.

You tuck the gun back in your underarm holster, securing your jacket a bit more to make sure it doesn't get exposed. You've no love for public transport. Sure, safety in numbers is a thing, and you're hardly some sort of mage, but you've still got some tech capable of being your undoing among a crowd. Still, with your goal, you hardly have much a choice, though all you can do is be careful.

Sighing, you zip up, pull up a bus schedule and make your way off. You've ten minutes before the next bus arrives, meaning you have to head out now, but there's no rush. If all goes well, it should only take you a half hour beyond that to arrive, meaning you might end up an hour early, honestly.

Well, you'll just be glad that Rikako make the energy source for these things more reliable than those that the Sleepers put out. You're pretty sure the thing was on overnight and it's still kicking.

Still wish it was less fragile, though.

You walk a brisk pace, glad at the wind rushing past you as you move. It's a bit hot, but not sweltering. You can still feel the kiss of summer, but can tell it's on its way out. The way you see it, summer's not the best season for you, what with your need to always wear a jacket. Sure, you could hide it under your shirt, but that's not the best option.

But, then, neither is getting sniffed out a mile off. Not that you're ever on the front lines. You're more or less only ever at the base, protecting what family you have left. ...Not that you've much left, but, well...

What is left is worth it. ...Well, was worth it.

Still, it will be again; you'll see to it no matter what it takes.

Having made it to the bus stop, you find yourself thankfully alone. Still, it's a busy enough street, so it's not the worst that could happen. Besides, not like you've the biggest worries, or, at least, not personally. You're not exactly some big priority for the Technocracy, and you're careful enough about Them, too. Then there's the Sleepers, who can be both a blessing and a curse, honestly. Part of why you avoid them. Well, that and how little you honestly like people in general. Still, they can be helpful, so long as you, personally, don't break the Consensus. Not that it helps a whole lot against Youkai.

Taking a seat on the bench, you sigh. Just like how being more or less the only one who isn't a mage among your siblings, ignoring Layla, is also a mixed blessing. Sure, you don't have to worry as much about these things, but, well... it would make this a hell of a lot easier. Still, you make do. Sure, none of your family really were up to snuff but Harold, but you can at least brag about being the last man standing. Not that you feel much like a man for it, honestly. Still, if there's an afterlife anything like what you hope for waiting, you'd be damned if you didn't rub it in a bit.

Before long, an old woman begins shuffling her way towards the one bench around.

The bench you're currently occupying.

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

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 107
Ammo available: 30

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20


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

[ ] Offer your seat: sure, you'll forget her soon enough, but putting someone in a good mood can be helpful in its own way. Doubly so when you've got a hidden firearm under your coat. Besides, she might pay closer attention if she shares the seat.

[ ] Share the seat: might not be the best idea, but sometimes an act of kindness outweighs more important things. Not like you'll have to wait long, right? Heck, maybe someone won't shoot you if you're that close to her. Windy day, after all. Bad day for too long of sniping, at least if you're using normal guns.

[ ] Continue sitting in the middle: might make her mad, or maybe just irritated, but what's the worst thing that could happen? Although, you'd likely have to listen to her yammering on and on about 'kids these days'. Might not be wise to head there in a bad mood. A level head can be helpful in any situation.
No. 191226
[X] Offer your seat: sure, you'll forget her soon enough, but putting someone in a good mood can be helpful in its own way. Doubly so when you've got a hidden firearm under your coat. Besides, she might pay closer attention if she shares the seat.
No. 191229
[X] Offer your seat
No. 191232
[x] Offer your seat.
-[x] Keep calm. They're just sleepers.
No. 191233
>>191232
Forgot a part!
--[x] No VIVITs are in sight, at least.
No. 191241
Why might sharing the seat be a bad idea?
No. 191244
>>191241
Because Harmon is an extremely paranoid person seeing monsters and conspiracies around every corner. But is it really paranoia if they're out to get you?
No. 191266
[x] Offer your seat.
-[x] Keep calm. They're just sleepers.
--[x] No VIVITs are in sight, at least.
No. 191267
File 147162261947.jpg- (85.25KB , 600x421 , Your expectations are a little low.jpg ) [iqdb]
191267
[-c-] Offer your seat

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

As she nears, you stand up without a word, stepping aside. She smiles a bit, her cheeks tugging at wrinkles of who knows how many years on cheeks yet older. "Thank you."

You nod, wanting to talk as little as possible. You make sure to keep a healthy distance from her as well, your side with a holster facing away from her.

Taking your silent nod as an obvious desire to talk, as opposed to, say, wanting the opposite, she says, "It's good that some people still respect their elders." You resist the urge to roll your eyes. See, this is why you don't like buses. Well, that and the inherent danger, even ignoring the safety it brings.

You nod again, hoping to end this one-sided bit of awkwardness.

The corners of her eyes crinkle along with her mouth. "I'm glad that someone of this generation has their head on straight." Because, obviously, agreeing with her opinions is all it takes to have that be the case. "Back in my day, everyone had a good sense for what was important. Respecting your elders, pinching every penny, having enough rainy day fund to not have to beg for money..." She sighs. "And putting family first."

As the bus pulls up, you find that you hold her a bit higher in regard than just an annoyance. You don't say a word as you both climb aboard. However, you let her go in first, all the same.

The bus seems mostly unoccupied, save for seven people.

A businessman in the front, looking impatient to get off is the most apparent. He seems to be eyeballing you like you're holding him up just by existing. He looks grumpy at best, and his hair isn't quite straight, as if he has a crooked toupee. Could be a bad disguise, but the stink of perfume clinging to him says otherwise. Maybe he was just impatient to get off.

The old lady from a different walk of life yet similar ideals stops at the ninth row, perhaps wanting to be left alone. Still, everyone's a risk, so she could be dangerous, as odd as it is to imagine. But, then, you're honestly not too sure of the exact limits of magic. Sure, you're fairly certain glamour can do just about anything, and you're certain magic can level city blocks and make crazy science work, but save that, you're honestly not too sure of the limits.

The driver looks upstanding and diligent enough as you pay with cash, thankful that a card isn't required. Sure, the option might be nice for the more savory Sleepers, but you want to keep a low profile at the least, and be untraceable at best. He's clean shaven and you spy not a hair of stubble. At this time of day, that's actually a little fishy, unless he shaved mid-day or started later in the day.

A row behind the businessman is a man that could pass as a bum. Scraggly beard, ungodly odor that only just fights its way past the perfume, and his clothes aren't much better. Might be why the businessman is so eager to leave, and why the old woman went so far back. You can only imagine the smell if the businessman leaves. Might be best to avoid him.

Three rows in front of the old lady is a young woman. She seems fit and healthy, her top clinging tight enough with sweat that nothing is hidden, not that you'd ever go for her either way. She looks like she just got done jogging, judging by the state of her outfit, not to mention attire. She's also giving you a look for the attention you're paying to the way her outfit looks, so you wisely avert your gaze.

A young man sits a row behind her, eyeing the woman from behind thick glasses and a thicker book. He looks around her age, though he's a bit pale. He reminds you of Lyrica's friend when it comes to the amount of sunlight that he must get. Never much liked Rika, but she was still of more use than you, and she did take good enough care of her sister, so that gets her more points than most. Must be busy indoors a lot, or a bit of a shut-in. Judging by the book, you'd guess the latter, but he does have a laptop case in his lap. Might be wise to be cautious of him. A picture taken flippantly might be the death of you, after all, and, more likely than not, he may take pictures if she keeps ignoring him.

To the very back is a sleeping giant of a man, a head taller than any of the others. His mouth is hanging open as he peacefully rests. Best not to bother him, as he looks pretty buff from here. Sure, you've got a gun, but it'd be unwise at best to wave it around with all these witnesses in plain sight.

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

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 107
Ammo available: 30

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

Where do you sit? The closer to the back you get, the harder it is to escape. The closer to the front you get, the more likely it is that you'll be eyed. Anyone behind you has the element of surprise, and the middle is safest from front and back collisions, though the front and back are safer from being sideswiped..

[ ] Row One: Irate Businessman, Suspiciously Well Kept Driver
[ ] Row Two: Scraggly Bum
[ ] Row Three: Empty
[ ] Row Four: Empty
[ ] Row Five: Empty
[ ] Row Six: Sweaty Young Woman
[ ] Row Seven: Pale Young Man
[ ] Row Eight: Empty
[ ] Row Nine: Relatable Old Lady
[ ] Row Ten: Empty
[ ] Row Eleven: Empty
[ ] Row Twelve: Sleeping Giant
No. 191270
[x] Row ⑨: Relatable Old Lady
Best case scenario, we make some conversation and go about our business. Worst case scenario, we empty our broomstick and go about our business. Nothing can go wrong.
No. 191271
[x] Row Twelve: Sleeping Giant
No. 191272
[X] Row Eight: Empty
No. 191277
Well, let's see. a half empty bus it is, so it would look odd to share a eat with someone we don't know. IF it's a modern buss, there should be an emergency exit in the rear, either a door or window, so that's not as big of a deal as otherwise. And the woman, while a little bit nattering, probably doesn't mean any harm. But we want as many people to make a visible effort to interact with us, rather than having to turn ourselves and take the eyes off the rest of the bus. So...

[x] Row Ten: Empty.
No. 191286
File 147179707845.jpg- (7.41KB , 290x268 , He panics easily it seems.jpg ) [iqdb]
191286
[-d-] Row Ten: Empty

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

The businessman looks thankful as you pass, the bus driving off as you walk down the aisle. The bum looks to you with a surprising amount of sobriety.

You narrowly avoid getting your shin kicked by the young woman, returning her glare twice over. Better keep an eye on her.

The young man looks both irritated at you and amused all at once. The old lady giggles as you pass her by, sitting in the aisle she isn't in and in the row behind her.

With her positioning, that leaves you able to see them all, leaving little to chance. You keep an ear out anyway, though, what with Muscles behind you.

Sighing, you try to get comfortable, only to be surprised by the old woman talking a bit more. "I see someone's quite a ladies man, hmm? Looking at places you shouldn't?" You blush a bit as she chuckles. "You remind me of my husband when we were younger. His eyes wandered more than was wise, and I'd always give him a good lashing for it later." She cranes her neck, looking up. "I suppose I should have been nicer, but... well, he did have a way with being completely obvious about it. Although, he did tend to make excuses like, 'Bridget, you know you're the only one I love!'" Her impression leaves something to be desired.

She sighs, leaning back in her seat. "Still... we had a good, long life together, he and I." Her smile widens just a bit. "Sure, I wouldn't have minded more children before he was gone, but... Well, I make do with our grandchildren."

You kind of wonder if she has a thing for talking at people like they aren't there.

You feel the tug of the bus slowing, and your fists tighten. However, nothing happens. No gunshot through the windshield, no sudden explosion, and the front half most certainly isn't vaporized.

The door does open, however, and a man in sunglasses and a black suit comes onto the bus. How suspicious.

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

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 107
Ammo available: 30

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] OUT THE BACK WINDOW
-[ ] Climb
-[ ] DIVE
--[ ] SHOOT IT FIRST

[ ] CHARGE HIM
-[ ] RUN PAST
-[ ] TACKLE
--[ ] BEAT HIM SENSELESS
--[ ] "WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR"

[ ] SHOOT HIM
-[ ] Where?
-[ ] IT'S A TRAP
--[ ] NO WITNESSES
---[ ] In what order?

[ ] HIDE

[ ] Hide quietly

[ ] Stay calm. Stay cool. Maybe he's nothing like what he seems. Maybe he's not about to gun you down and turn out to be a Technocrat. Maybe he's nobody suspicious at all. Ignore how you think you see the lump of a holster. Ignore the spiraling white earpiece wire. Ignore how... professional he looks.
-[ ] Wait! While you were thinking so long he walked closer!
--[ ] Just a little bit!
---[ ] TERMINATE THE THREAT

[ ] Write-in
No. 191287
[X] Hide quietly

Just sorta... sliiiiide down, real buttery smooth like.
No. 191288
[x] Hide quietly
Does this bus have an exit in the back? If hiding fails, we could slam an emergency exit button and get out via back exit if it does.
No. 191290
It's probably just some guy cosplaying as Agent Smith.

[X] Stay cool. You're just a Sleeper.
- [X] "Comics convention?"
- [X] Go back to watching for your stop, because that's totally what you were doing before he got on.
No. 191293
>>191290
Does that exist in this timeline?
No. 191294
[x] Hide quietly.
-[x] Examine: where are bus emergency exits.

>>191288
If it's a pusher engine, there could only be the top and side emergency exits. We should not have neglected determining their location. His life may depend on it!
No. 191348
File 147208979637.png- (283.19KB , 736x459 , Cosplay or real.png ) [iqdb]
191348
[-e-] Hide quietly

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

You may not be some sort of mage, but you like to think you're pretty good at not dying. Before he notices you, you dip down lower, slouching to a degree that Lunasa would have yelling at you back in the day. And then, because of course she would, Merlin would then slouch as well. And then Lyrica would try and slouch even harder. Needless to say, she had a sore back after that. ...If only you could go back to those days. You remember those days like they were just yesterda— And now you sound like the old lady.

Resisting the urge to sigh, you try to hide in the least suspicious way possible. You slide on over to the window, and you try to— Why are the footsteps growing so near?

You begin to sweat cold as he grows nearer and nearer, until you know he must be upon you— And there he is.

...And he's turning to you.

"This seat taken?"

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

[ ] ATTACK
-[ ] HOW?

[ ] ACT NATURAL
-[ ] HOW?

[ ] DECLINE
-[ ] AGGRESSIVELY
-[ ] Calmdowncalmdown
-[ ] Dismissively

[ ] Agree
-[ ] Reluctantly

[ ] Write-in
No. 191349
[X] Agree
-[X] Reluctantly

WE CAN'T LET HIM KNOW WE'RE ONTO HIM.
No. 191350
[x] Agree
-[x] Reluctantly
--[x] Strike up a conversation
Being friendly towards your potential enemies reduces mortality rates.
No. 191351
[X] Decline
- [X] Look at him like he's just spit on you, or made some similar faux pas. Which he has.
-- [X] "There are five empty rows on this bus."
- [X] If he still tries to sit in row 10, move back to row eleven. "Whatever. All yours."
- [X] Don't talk. Let him be the one to wake the Sleeping Giant.
No. 191352
>>191351
Seriously, this is the whole restroom toilet problem writ large.

[x] Act naturally.
-[x] Look pointedly to row 3.
-[x] Look pointedly to row 4.
-[x] Look pointedly to row 5.
-[x] Look pointedly to row 8.
-[x] Look pointedly to row 11.
-[x] And look pointedly to every empty row on the other side of the aisle.
--[x] "Yes, it is taken."
-[x] If he still tries to sit in row 10, move back to row 11. "Whatever. All yours."
-[x] Don't talk. Let him be the one to wake the Sleeping Giant.
No. 191353
[x] Agree
-[x] Reluctantly
--[x] Strike up a conversation
No. 191357
[x] Act naturally.
-[x] Look pointedly to row 3.
-[x] Look pointedly to row 4.
-[x] Look pointedly to row 5.
-[x] Look pointedly to row 8.
-[x] Look pointedly to row 11.
-[x] And look pointedly to every empty row on the other side of the aisle.
--[x] "Yes, it is taken."
-[x] If he still tries to sit in row 10, move back to row 11. "Whatever. All yours."
-[x] Don't talk. Let him be the one to wake the Sleeping Giant.
No. 191359
>>191320

The parent story to this is in need of votes.
No. 191366
[X] Agree
-[X] Reluctantly
No. 191370
File 147231588029.png- (106.98KB , 394x337 , Personal space buddy.png ) [iqdb]
191370
[-f-] Agree
-[-f-] Reluctantly

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

Act natural. Act calm; among the organization, you're probably one of the least noticeable. None should recognize you; you never leave the base. "...Sure." It'd be more suspicious if you violently turned him away. Or, well. Shot him.

But then, that'd be suspicious no matter what.

He takes the seat beside you as you make as absolutely sure that your arm will keep him from touching the gun's profile as you can.

"You come here often?" His expression is neutral, and his disposition stoic.

You resist the urge to swallow your tongue or even flinch at his business-like curiosity. "Not really."

"Really? Where do you live?" He's a bit uncomfortably close, though that's mostly due to how your arm is a bit in the way, trying to subtly keep him from spotting your broomhandle. Your arm is resting against his, and that just makes your discomfort worse. The seats are spacious, but two men is pushing it a bit.

You're a bit concerned about the old lady's silence, and you're breaking into a slight cold sweat. "I'm here on business." It's the truth. Sure, you never really had to twist truths, but the trio you call sisters made sure you could. After all, Lunasa was good at keeping facts and truths straight, Lyrica was a people person and Merlin...

...Well, she used to be a people person, what feels like forever ago. Then she stopped being herself. Stopped being the sweet girl who told the worst jokes at the worst times.

"What kind of business?"

When will the bus freaking get there...? This doesn't feel like a friendly chat; this feels like an interrogation.

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

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 107
Ammo available: 30

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Write-in
No. 191371
None of your business? Even if it is a cosplayer, going after random strangers on public transportation doesn't seem like the smartest of choices.

At best just say that it is family business, maybe? The old lady would be on our side then. Maybe she'd give him a purse-smacking for it.
No. 191372
[x] "It's personal. Sorry."
-[x] "Nice business suit. What kind of company are you working for?"
--[x] Get ready to fight. Once that guy stops trying to question us, things could get ugly.
shadowruns
No. 191373
Okay he is probably a bad guy..but why is he talking to us, instead of just following silently, or trying to kill us.

Trying to figure out how to ask what we want to know without spooking the norms.
No. 191405
While I don't mind having but one vote, is that truly a wise thing to leave me with?
No. 191408
[x] "It's personal. Sorry."
-[x] "Nice business suit. What kind of company are you working for?"
--[x] Get ready to fight. Once that guy stops trying to question us, things could get ugly.

I agree with this vote, and we are now at two for this, so a surprise write in can't tie indefinately.
No. 191503
I have returned. I was having computer issues, but now that that's over, how about we get on with the climactic finale of the bus arc?
No. 191504
File 147388559372.jpg- (34.60KB , 640x400 , Add glasses and 90% less grin.jpg ) [iqdb]
191504
[-g-] "It's personal. Sorry."
-[-g-] "Nice business suit. What kind of company are you working for?"
--[-g-] Get ready to fight. Once that guy stops trying to question us, things could get ugly.

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

The man in the suit frowns ever so slightly at your answer. You tense near imperceptibly, though resist the urge to pull out your broomhandle just yet. Your knuckles do whiten as your fists clench, if only for a moment. You can't let any tells slip, though. Tensing in preparation will have to be enough.

After what feels like an eternity of silence, you add, "Nice suit. What kind of work do you do?"

His stiff lips curl ever so slightly at the question. "I travel a lot."

You notice your stop finally come up.

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

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 107
Ammo available: 30

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Get off now.
-Sure, he'll have an easier time tailing you if it comes down to it, but you can't easily act around this many witnesses. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, but you'd honestly prefer to leave less witnesses, should it come down to it.

[ ] Wait till the next stop.
-You can backtrack, and this gives him an entire extra stop to try something dumb. plus, he doesn't look as obvious as some, but he could be a cyborg or a mage of some sort. If that's the case, you'd be damning yourself to let yourself be alone and giving him a chance to off you.

[ ] Wait till he gets off.
-It's risky, and you'll likely miss the appointment/trap, but it has its merits. You'd not need to worry about being physically tailed. On the other hand, it gives him plenty of time to sneak a tracking device into your things.

[ ] Kill him.
-[ ] No witnesses.

[ ] Write-in
No. 191506
[x] Get off now.
Assuming he will attack us the moment we step off the bus, we'll have more chance to escape while in the park and tailing somebody that knows they're being followed with vegetation absolutely everywhere to serve as cover is hard. If that guy is with Technocrats and he knows where we're going though, we're in a pinch.

Waiting for the next stop gives us more time to shake that guy off if he's tailing us, but if that area has more civilians and less cover we're pretty fucked if we get in a firefight.

Finally, quitting the bus at that guy's stop is too reliant on the assumption that he's tailing us. If he wants a fight without civilians, all he has to do is to see through our clever ruse and quit at the station where it's advantageous for him to fight. And even if he is just tailing, he can just slip us a tracker and be done with it. Only merit to this is the "oh fuck wrong guy" value if he somehow knows that his target is going to North Park.

Trying to leave no witnesses alive is unrealistic. We're on a road, even if we kill everyone inside this bus we're screwed if anybody notices us leaving the bus, goes inside of it and finds a fucking bloodbath. And that is if we succeed.

shadowruns are fun
No. 191507
[X] Wait till the next stop.

Seems like a good balance of caution, risk, and reward.
No. 191512
[x] Get off now.
[x[ Wish the old woman well.

>>191506
Agreed. Might as well figure out whether he is just an annoying busybody or something more than that. Just get off now like we planned. Then we can work from there.

And, well, that shouldn't hurt us to be a little nice.
No. 191514
[x] Get off now.
[x] Wish the old woman well.

Karma is Real.
No. 191530
Calling it in about 4 hours.
No. 191532
File 147426306327.jpg- (114.17KB , 670x446 , I never promised you a rose garden.jpg ) [iqdb]
191532
[-h-] Get off now.
[-h-] Wish the old woman well.

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

"This is my stop"

The man looks somehow... disappointed, though he does step aside.

"Have a nice day, Ma'am."

The little old lady smiles at your words. "You too, young man. Have a nice day at the park."

You smile ever so slightly. It's not often you feel even the slightest connection with anyone, so to have someone you can get, if even slightly, is a rarity.

Although, never really going outside also helps, but still.

With your parting words said, you head on, stepping off the front. You honestly are a bit shocked you didn't have to bust out the roof, gun blazing. Looking about, you find there to not really be anyone around. Looking back, you find the door shutting; nobody else got off.

Either that's a good sign, or a bad sign.

As you walk into the park, you check the time. Seems there's time to spare. Good. Still, with all that's happened, you decide it best to tread lightly and not chance your luck. You've no idea what could be waiting here for you. Could be anything. You probably did leave a bit of a footprint on the more abnormal sites you looked through.

You head on, half expecting an army of Technocrats, swarms of the nastiest Youkai imaginable and a deathtrap you won't notice till it's all too late.

What you find is the smell of fresh cut grass, enough pollen to make your eyes a bit watery, and an irritating lack of anything at all.

If it were any other lead, you'd think it some mistake. But not only was it a code, it was a blatant code. They didn't try to hide it, and you honestly have to wonder why you even found that pop-up. Rikako's firewalls are anything but insecure, so a virus is just... Well, if it were a virus, the list of culprits would be uncomfortably ominous.

You soon come to a crossroads at a fountain, surrounded by seats. Or maybe the lip just looks like it has seats. Doesn't matter, in the end. You're not standing for the better part of an hour.

You give the surroundings, and the fountain, a once over. You'd not be surprised if this is around the middle of the park.

In the fountain, you spy no small number of quarters, and a larger number of smaller change. If you were more strapped for cash, you might grab a handful of people's wishes for your own needs.

The paths and clearing are all surrounded by freshly trimmed hedges, and beyond those is a massive number of flowers and a modest number of trees. The flowers show you the culprit of your runny nose, so at least the cause of that is reasonable enough. Still, all these hedges are more than a bit disquieting. They go up to your mid-thigh, meaning plenty of space to ambush you from. An hour is plenty time to get into position, and that's more than a little worrying.

Still, leaving isn't an option.

As you see it, you've got two thing you can do: sit or wander. Still, both aren't the best of choices. Either wandering into an ambush or the ambush coming to you isn't too appealing, honestly. As you decide what to do, you take note of every little detail, while trying to be a bit subtle about it.

The grass has signs warning about keeping off the grass.

The hedges are too big too easily get over; they're as thick as they are tall.

The trees aren't too old. Definitely wouldn't support your weight, and you'd be easy to pick out even if they did. You don't want to have to explain what you're doing in a tree, either.

The paths are a little shaded, meaning less chance of being seen from above.

If you sit still, being found by friend or foe is easier.

A quick glance skywards shows that the clouds could be whiter, but you also don't expect a downpour any time soon. Maybe a drizzle at worst, so that should probably not be an issue.

The only place you can realistically sit is on the edge of the fountain.

From what you've seen, the park is dead; you haven't spotted a single person anywhere. That's both good and bad. If you were a mage, like your sisters, you'd be happy.

As it is, it just means a lack of witnesses.


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

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 107
Ammo available: 30

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Write-in.
No. 191534
[x] Scout the paths, get to know the layout of this place.
-[x] Slow and steady wins the race - be extra careful, even if it costs you time. Listen in for any foreign noises and keep an eye out for anything that looks out of place.

By the way, how much time do we have until five pm?
No. 191536
>>191534

As of last checking the time, 50 minutes remain, there about.
No. 191543
[x] Check every piece of shrubbery and inspect nothing is hiding in it!
-[x] Even moderately aggressive squirrels.
[x] Scout your paths, get to know the layout, check the firing lines.
[x] Observe the paths of ingress and egress, including those that are not paths themselves. Be wary; most foes aren't limited by three-dimensional travel!
No. 191582
We need a tiebreaker.
No. 191617
File 147475808982.jpg- (24.27KB , 400x300 , Pretend the bags are closed.jpg ) [iqdb]
191617
[-i-] Scout the paths, get to know the layout of this place.
-[-i-] Slow and steady wins the race - be extra careful, even if it costs you time. Listen in for any foreign noises and keep an eye out for anything that looks out of place.

&

[-i-] Check every piece of shrubbery and inspect nothing is hiding in it!
-[-i-] Even moderately aggressive squirrels.
[-i-] Scout your paths, get to know the layout, check the firing lines.
[-i-] Observe the paths of ingress and egress, including those that are not paths themselves. Be wary; most foes aren't limited by three-dimensional travel!

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

Your mind made up before you have a chance to look suspicious simply by standing here, practically casing the park, you begin to head down each path in turn. You peer over the edges of the shrubs every half dozen or so steps, trying to keep the numbers from making a pattern. One time you check on the sixth, but the next? The tenth. Then the ninth.

If you make a pattern, they can try to work around it, so you've no choice, really.

Seriously, though, the grass is practically carpeted with flowers, and the bushes seem to have roses on closer inspection. It's a wonder you can even breathe from the sheer amount of pollen they must put out... You'd thank your lucky stars that you didn't try to climb them, but, well...

You never know who might be listening to that thanks.

As you pretend to be simply stretching your legs, you realize just how empty the park truly is. It's honestly clean. No one loose can, water bottle or plastic bag is lying about. Either the staff is downright anal about cleaning, or nobody comes here.

It's not eerily quiet, but without the hustle and bustle of a dozen feet on pavement, well... It's honestly kind of nice.

You nearly sigh, but stymie that want. That just makes it all the fishier.

As you wander aimlessly, or so they'll think, you notice that the trees actually block a good bit of the visibility from the buildings nearby. Not that it'd help a ton, but hey, every advantage. Really, the only place that seems truly exposed is the fountain. You could probably see it from the top of at least three buildings within walking distance.

Perfect place to pick you off with a sniper rifle. You'll have to avoid it.

Still, you keep your eyes not only on the paths, but all of your surroundings . You never know when you'll face a foe that's more mobile than third dimensional movement, or small enough to hide in those trees. They'd probably know that you'd expect the hedges, and not the diminutive trees. And they'd probably exploit that, too.

As you wander, you notice a small detail: the paths seem to be a bit grid like, save those coming from the fountain. There are three entrances to the north and south, and one to the west and east. From there, they travel a bit inwards till they hit a rectangular path that surrounds the perimeter. From there, they head towards the center, almost like...

Is it made to look like a web? There's eight paths that, from the rectangular path, head for the middle. It's honestly a pretty weird layout.

Still, it can't possibly be intentional, right? It's too vaguely web-like. If it made like that, they'd be far more obviou-

You feel a sneeze coming on, and your eyes begin to itch and tear up as a strong wind kicks up enough pollen that you can see a haze.

You try to stifle it, but it's too late; the sneeze is a bit of a hard o-

You get knocked to the ground.

As you look up, you spy someone running off- Wait...

You frantically feel for you phone, followed by your holster.

"I'll be damned, they freaking robbed me!" Your pocket is sans phone, and your holster is empty. You've only got your bullets left as you hope that those words never get taken seriously.

The Youkai are bad enough as it is.

SHIT THERE'S SENSITIVE INFORMATION ON THAT PHONE AND YOU'RE UNARMED AND YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO SPRINT RIGHT INTO A TRAP WITHOUT ANY WAY TO-

You sneeze again.

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

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: 10/10

Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30

What good is ammo without a gun...?

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Write-in.
No. 191641
Well, dang. that's lovely. It was a trap all along.

Still, we need to focus; taking the firearm and running would almost imply a (not quite) petty thief. Especially with the wallet, there's no reason to hang around.

Still, we do kinda need both of those back, and there is no real chance to get another weapon. We probably need to chase after him... and be wary of any other unarmed takedowns. (You know, waiting around corners for a clothesline, running through a crowd of people to be sucker punched, and cheap shots in general).

So, a vote to something of that effect, or anything I'm missing?
No. 191673
[x] Run headlong into the trap (pursue)
-[x] Check your corners

Do we even have a choice? Losing it all is not an option and doing anything but following will mean never catching up. And we have no idea who was that or where is it going. Goddammit.
No. 191677
[x] >>191673

Well, this sounds about as much as I would have said. Let's just get up and start chasing.
No. 191722
[x] Run headlong into the trap (pursue)
-[x] Check your corners


>>191673

Well, you could have voted a more complicated plan of interception. Jumping hedges, trying to circle around and surprise them, throwing a boot at them... stuff like that.

Ahh well. In the meat grinder we go~
No. 191723
>>191722
Goddamm, that'll teach me to vote first.

THP is lazy on weekdays though, so I didn't want to let your writing juices go to waste.
No. 191725
>>191723

Well, thank you for that. It always is quite annoying to simply not have enough votes.

But, then again, I never expected you guys to figure that out.

Plus, it hardly would make much a difference.
No. 191729
File 147509195774.jpg- (24.65KB , 414x321 , Do ya feel lucky punk.jpg ) [iqdb]
191729
[-j-] Run headlong into the trap (pursue)
-[-j-] Check your corners


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

You grit your teeth and take off running. This is a bad idea, and you know it.

But what choice do you even have?

You may be foolishly chasing, but you won't die a fool's death; you check for ambushes around every corner. You pace yourself to gain on her but not wear yourself out. You slowly gain on her.

Why are the streets so empty?

This reeks, and you don't think you'd like to know what the smell is. By the point they're within arm’s reach, they ensure that your grab misses, running down an alley.

"Dammit all!" Damned if you do, damned if you don't. But, if you're damned, you'll be damned by action rather than inaction.

You run down the alley, careful of shadows and corners. Careful of everything imaginable.

You hit a dead end. Where did they go?

You made sure you were careful of everything, yet never were careful of the most important thing.

You feel cold steel press against the back of your head.

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

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: 10/10

Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30

What good is ammo without a gun...?

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Bargain.
[ ] Beg.
[ ] Demand.
[ ] Ask.
[ ] Wait for the end.

[ ] Write-in
No. 191731
Welp, back to lurking the story I go. I blame my more intelligent peers.
No. 191732
[X] Ask.
No. 191735
[X] Demand.

We have nothing to offer it (as far as I know), and there's a 0.00 chance it has mercy. I'm only picking demand because there's a slim chance it could result in something other than 'you are abducted and eaten' or 'half your brain is now painting the ground'.
No. 191739
>>191735
What about trying to disarm them? As paranoid as Harmon is, I would think that he knows how to take advantage of this situation.

After all, considering that the person is holding us like this... doesn't seem like a Technocrat. Why would they steal our weapon?

[x] Try to spin and knock the firearm to the ground. If they wanted Harmon dead, he would have died already.
No. 191740
>>191735
Here.

Sure, ill back
>>191739
Instead.

This situation cannot get any worse, so taking the chance cant fuck us over more than we are already
No. 191753
Seems we're going full action movie!
No. 191758
File 147525527618.png- (54.42KB , 257x181 , If only you could see beneath.png ) [iqdb]
191758
[-k-] Try to spin and knock the firearm to the ground. If they wanted Harmon dead, he would have died already.

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

A woman's voice breaks the tense silence. "So, you're the one-"

You spin, punching the gun from her hand. Damn, her grip is a lot more solid than you thought! Doesn't help that you couldn't see, meaning you punched your gun, not her hand. That'll smart in the morning.

Assuming you live to see it.

Not wasting a second, you make sure that she doesn't make any sudden movements for the gun.You resist the urge to dive for it, as you're a bit intimidated by her solid build. The sling her arm is in makes you feel a bit more confident you can take her if you have to, but when that arm looks thicker than yours...

She shakes out her good hand and glowers at you. "Y'know, I could have shot you."

When you first got the thing, you had more than a little trouble with it. As it stands, you're surprised she can keep it trained on you. Your broomhandle takes a good bit of effort to pull the trigger — more than the stiff breeze a hair trigger takes, that's for sure, The handle is damn big, to boot. After all, her hand could only just grasp it, and most wouldn't be able to pull the trigger even with a good grip.

Her, though?

Those muscles are just... To put it frankly, if she's not a Youkai of some sort, you'll honestly be shocked. Sure, she has a sling, but, well... you never know.

You bluff, hoping that you might keep her from going for a second gun to go with her arm. "You could barely even hold the thing. The kickback would have sent it out of you hand for sure." She only had one available hand, after all.

She gives you a flat look, or you think she does. Under the hood, all you see is the slightest frown in the shadows. "At that range, one would be plenty." You grumble, as you know she's right. "Now, give me a reason to not ram your gun down your throat."

You gulp. With an arm like that, she could probably back up that threat, even with the handicap. Could you even get to your gun in time?

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

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10

Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30

It's on the ground, not five feet away.

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Write-in
No. 191765
[X] "You must need more for something, if I'm not already dead."

I'm really bad at write ins, but someone has to try, if only to bait a more competent person to take up the flag.

Also, how do we know Harmon is the protagonist's name? I dont see it mentioned in the story.
No. 191767
>>191765
This is a side story from No Such Thing as Magic. The story I haven't updated in a few weeks... Bah, update's half done. Just need to tie it together with some motivation. Harmon was a minor character in that story who has exited from the stage after his sister was kidnapped by an unnamed woman in a straw hat while the entire base was under siege. Abhoth has been wanting to write it since I mentioned the idea, so she's giving it a go.

As for votes... Well, I'll give this a shot.

[x] Keep your distance. She sounds confident in her abilities, and Harmon likely isn't much of a hand-to-hand combatant.
[x] Try to see if she is holding some sort of weapon in that sling.
-[x] "Let's see: reasons? One, you are the one who advertised this meeting, or theft, as it is."
-[x] "If you wanted me dead, I would be. You lead me from an empty park to a secluded alley. You want to find something out"
-[x] "Well, that, or you're a Youkai or some other creature who has already decided that I am to be a new toy, and I couldn't beat anyway."
-[x] "And, besides, I'd have a hard time telling you want if you damage my vocal box. It isn't something that can just be replaced."
No. 191768
>>191767
Ah, ive been meaning to read that anyway
No. 191769
> -[x] "And, besides, I'd have a hard time telling you want if you damage my vocal box. It isn't something that can just be replaced."

...goddammit. I even went to check if Harmon would know that one in-universe, but threads 3 and 4 are down.

[x] Keep your distance. She sounds confident in her abilities, and Harmon likely isn't much of a hand-to-hand combatant.
[x] Try to see if she is holding some sort of weapon in that sling.
-[x] "Let's see: reasons? One, you are the one who advertised this meeting, or theft, as it is."
-[x] "If you wanted me dead, I would be. You lead me from an empty park to a secluded alley. You want to find something out"
-[x] "Well, that, or you're a Youkai or some other creature who has already decided that I am to be a new toy, and I couldn't beat anyway."
No. 191770
>>191769

For what it's worth, I'm fairly certain he does not. It was hardly something Lucas tosses out to people that more or less shoo him off with a broom for so much as being in the same room as Layla.

However, he'd certainly think he has one; Lukie is a bird. What bird can't sing?

But then, that was a looong time ago, so I'll see about getting you guys an answer.
No. 191771
>>191768
Thanks, I appreciate it much.

>>191769
>...goddammit.

Ah yes, yes. This. You inspire me.

But as for your question, he wouldn't be aware. Akyuu would, but she's dead. Marisa and Rika aren't here. Rikako could figure it out, and Felia would be aware. Besides that... Harmon wouldn't be aware.
No. 191780
>>191769
> threads 3 and 4 are down.
Binged No Such Thing as Fairytales and the first two threads of No Such Thing as Magic, so I sorta want to read the rest.

Any chance these can be recovered?
No. 191781
>>191780
I'll throw everything in a Google Doc/other format sometime tomorrow. They're just in the archival process; it'll take them a few months to upload.

I would need to go through the entire thing and make sure I didn't leave any spoilers/extraneous chat. But yes, I've got them.
No. 191785
>>191781
It would be appreciated.
No. 191787
>>191785
Here you go.

>>191786
No. 191807
Writing tonight, so long as we don't suddenly wind up with a tie.
No. 191815
File 147564691793.png- (106.69KB , 500x500 , Just rinse and twist!.png ) [iqdb]
191815
[-l-] Keep your distance. She sounds confident in her abilities, and Harmon likely isn't much of a hand-to-hand combatant.
[-l-] Try to see if she is holding some sort of weapon in that sling.
-[-l-] "Let's see: reasons? One, you are the one who advertised this meeting, or theft, as it is."
-[-l-] "If you wanted me dead, I would be. You lead me from an empty park to a secluded alley. You want to find something out"
-[-l-] "Well, that, or you're a Youkai or some other creature who has already decided that I am to be a new toy, and I couldn't beat anyway."


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

She neither advances nor does she retreat. You keep an eye out for any twitch or tense; if she's going to move, you'll be damned if it surprises you.

Clearing your throat in part to calm your voice a bit, while also giving you a moment to collect your thoughts, you reply, "Let's see: reasons?"

You tick off a finger. "One, you are the one who advertised this meeting, or theft, as it is."

It's hard to tell in the dim light, but the corners of her mouth tense only just slightly, if only momentarily.

Another finger. "If you wanted me dead, I would be. You lead me from an empty park to a secluded alley. You want to find something out."

She snorts lightly, obviously amused by that supposition.

And one last finger. "Well, that, or you're a Youkai or some other creature who has already decided that I am to be a new toy, and so I couldn't beat you anyway."

Now she simply frowns, not bothering to hide whatever it is she's thinking on that subject.

After a moment to digest it, while you eye her sling a bit, you notice the only thing in it seems to be her bandaged arm. Strange that it's so heavily bandaged, but it does fit the ad's topic.

Odd, though. Why reveal that to you? If you knew of her, you'd be pretty certain on who she is, in all likelyhood. Not like people hurt their arms to make a fashion statement.

"Yes, of course. The one I sent." She now seems vaguely unsettled by something you said, nearly causing you to raise a brow. "But what's a Youkai?"

Well, then. That's a surprise. She could be twisting words, but the lack of any visible signs says otherwise. Well, that, or she's just good at hiding it with the intent to mislead.

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

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10

Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30

It's on the ground, not five feet away.

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Write-in
No. 191827
[X] The monsters that stole my little sister
- [X] silver tongued and utterly malign
-- [X] the encrypted message made me assume...

Hopefully we can lead this into a less gun-in-the-face exchange.
No. 191833
>>191827
[x] This looks good overall.

>assume...
Margatroid strikes again!
No. 191843
Good enough.
No. 191846
File 147595494395.png- (127.82KB , 400x600 , The youngest sister.png ) [iqdb]
191846
[-m-] silver tongued and utterly malign
-[-m-] The monsters that stole my little sister

[-m-] the encrypted message made me assume...

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

"Creatures of legend and fairytale. Their tongues are of silver, and they have a certain like of humans that won't be missed, or are otherwise easy prey." Temper going from a simmer to a boil, you growl. "And they stole my sister..."

She looks a bit taken aback by that, from what little you can tell. Her speechlessness speaks worlds, too.

You frown. "That message made me assume... Well, nevermind. Not important."

"What, that I'm some kind of monster who takes children?" She sounds just a bit offended.

"Potentially."

"Look here, buddy, I'm as lost as you are as to why you got that message. Wasn't meant for you."

...Well, now. That makes a heck of a lot more sense. It would explain why it hints at who she is, as well as the minor encryption.

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

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10

Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30

It's on the ground, not five feet away.

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Write-in
No. 191847
[X] Who was it for?
[X] Why the message in the first place?
No. 191853
>>191846
[X] Who was it for?
[X] Why the message in the first place?

This works.

On one hand, I want to ask about the bandages, on the other I don't want to antagonize her more than we have already.
No. 191869
[x] Who was it for?
[x] Why the message in the first place?

>>191853
From what little we can tell, she doesn't seem much in pain. So, either it's an old wound, or it's something else that we don't know of yet.
No. 191874
File 147612467513.jpg- (46.64KB , 450x289 , A beautiful cut of meat.jpg ) [iqdb]
191874
[-n-] Who was it for?
[-n-] Why the message in the first place?


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

Normally you wouldn't bother, but you feel now is as good a time as any to try for answers. "If it wasn't for me, then who?"

She sighs, not bothering to hide her reluctance. "A friend. That's all you'll get from me, Buddy."

You sigh, though you got more than you expected, at least. "Why encrypt it at all, though?"

"Because she's an irritating person who expects irritating things of people."

So, it's a woman. That narrows things down a great deal, if not nearly enough to be sure of specifics. "Why?"

"Just how she is." She shakes her head, saying, "Got an email, bub? Something tells me whoever did this had a reason, good or bad. If good, then, heh, you're my new best friend. If bad, well..." She snorts. "Well, we'll get shot at soon enough, I guess."

You grumble with irritation. "You have my phone."

"What, it's not got a password?"

"No, I mean give me my damned phone ba—" You scramble to catch it as it gets tossed to you. "Dammit, don't just throw it at me!" As you look back to her, you find she closed the distance.

Dammit.

At this distance, the scent of roses is downright noxious, but under it is a far more concerning smell.

Rotten flesh.

You're not a betting man, but if you had to guess, you'd place your bet on it being human flesh. Well, or she lines her pants with pork. You almost hope that's the case, as insanity is probably better than what that might imply.

"Well?"

She's a damned giant of a woman, too. Not taller than you, but you're not exactly short, so for her to match your height... Well, it's just not common. At this distance, you can also tell that she's definitely of eastern origin. Far east.

If she really is human, something's not right with her, one way or another. The question isn't if, but what.

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

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10

Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30

Five feet too far away.

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Tell her. It's just an email, right? You feel there's an implied threat here.

[ ] Don't tell her and hope for the best. You don't like this. Not one bit. You feel there's an implied threat here.

[ ] Apply elbow to nose; she won't expect it!

[ ] Dive for your gun, roll, and shoot. You aren't going to take this lying down.

[ ] Comment on her perfume; ignore the meat of the issue.

[ ] Comment on her fragrance; she might not know.

[ ] Comment on something smelling like it died.

[ ] Write-in
No. 191880
[X] express concern over wounded arm possibly producing the stench

Simultaneously questions arms status and stench source under justification of concern
Could have probably worded it better
No. 191881
>>191880
>rose scented
99.99% of being Kasen, if the bandages werent enough indication
Of course we dont know tgat IC
No. 191886
[X] Comment on her fragrance; she might not know.
No. 191888
All of the above!

[x] Comment on her fragrance; she might not know.
[x] Express concern over that wounded arm.
No. 191889
[x] Tell her. It's just an email, right? You feel there's an implied threat here.

Guys, telling a woman she stinks is never a good idea.
No. 191890
I know, I know. I've hardly given you time. However, I really want to write this, and I don't have much else of interest to write tonight.

Besides, you more or less voted well anyways.
No. 191891
>>191889
>Guys, telling a woman she stinks is never a good idea.

Of all the middle names in the world, I definitely don't think Harmon's is 'social tact'.
No. 191892
File 147616997111.png- (943.11KB , 850x1189 , I am not drawing a hoodie you're insane.png ) [iqdb]
191892
[-o-] Comment on her fragrance; she might not know.
[-o-] Express concern over that wounded arm.


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

You wrinkle your nose a bit. Not a smell you're even close to used to. Or, heck, want to get used to.

"You really shouldn't carry around meat, let alone rotting meat." At her visible frown, you add, "It's not your injury, is it? Can't be healthy, if it is."

She grumbles. "None of your business, bub." She seems just a bit off balance at the concern. Flustered, too.

You think you'll press that advantage.

"You know, a rotting wound can kill you."

"I'm fine." Your words put a grimace on her face.

"Might attract flies, too."

"I realize." She's starting to sound a bit self conscious.

"Sure, the maggots might clean away the rot, but probably wouldn't—"

"I don't want to hear this." She's shuddering, now.

"Fair enough. Just get it looked at."

She sighs, irritated. "Nothing you can do for a cursed wound. Now drop it before I drop you."

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

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10

Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30

Five feet too far away.

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Write-in
No. 191895
[X] I'm at your mercy, so what now?
- [X] Will that friend of yours be showing up?
No. 191896
>>191895
Also, she knows about 'cursed wounds' (probably a form of magic), but not youkai?
Seems suspicous
No. 191915
[x] I'm at your "mercy", so what now?
-[x] Will that "friend" of yours be showing up?
--[x] Or are you going to kill me as I "know too much."
---[x] Use all the scare finger quotes.
No. 191917
[x] I'm at your "mercy", so what now?
-[x] Will that "friend" of yours be showing up?
--[x] Or are you going to kill me as I "know too much."
---[x] Use all the scare finger quotes.

time for tactical smug
No. 191928
[x] I'm at your "mercy", so what now?
-[x] Will that "friend" of yours be showing up?
--[x] Or are you going to kill me as I "know too much."
---[x] Use all the scare finger quotes.

No. 191930
File 147633604239.jpg- (118.48KB , 850x850 , Thethathethethat's all folks!.jpg ) [iqdb]
191930
[-p-] I'm at your "mercy", so what now?
-[-p-] Will that "friend" of yours be showing up?
--[-p-] Or are you going to kill me as I "know too much."
---[-p-] Use all the scare finger quotes.


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

"I'm at your 'mercy', so what now?" Air quotes are used.

She frowns at your tone, as well as the gestures.

"Will that 'friend' of yours be showing up?"

She's growling a bit from that one.

"Or are you going to kill me as I 'know too much.'"

"No, but I think I'll bust your nose till you cough up your damned email if you don't-" And then a plug of completely intact bricks and mortar slam into the ground beside you.

A silken hand trails a finger along your jaw from behind, causing you to stiffen.

AMBU-!

"My, my... Such a handsome man... It wouldn't do to have that pretty little face of his rearranged, now would it, Kasen?"

The angry woman redirects her ire to this new person. "You're interested in this bastard out of everyone we've meet?! You've happily ignored at least a dozen men with merits!"

You risk a glance over your shoulder, and you clench your jaw to avoid it dropping from what's eye level with you. You look up to find an amused bluenette with odd hair. "I would tell you where my eyes are, but it seems you've managed to find them, haven't you~? Congratulations are in order, I think. A rare feat, that..." She lets out a titter. "Ni hao and all that." She smirks a bit, looking you over like you're meat on display, despite the way she practically hangs out.

The bandaged woman rambles, "Like that one with those big guns."

"This one has a big gun too-"

"Not like that!"

The woman in blue titters once more, looking quite pleased with herself. She seems to be leaning out of a hole in the wall that matches the plug at your feet.

With an appearance like that, as well as an appearance like that, at best she's a mage. At worst, well... You don't much want to consider being this close to one of Them.

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

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10

Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30

Five feet too far away.

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Wait, did she just hit on you? Who would do that? Suspicious…
-[ ] I mean, seriously, who would ever do that?
--[ ] This is obviously a setup. Do you look like Merlin?
---[ ] ...You feel like you insulted yourself.
[ ] She must be a Youkai; this must be a point through the hedge!
[ ] A mage! Did Rikako send reinforcements? ...After what you did before you left, you’re surprised…
[ ] This is all a bad dream. Poke the wall-boob lady.

[ ] Write-in
No. 191931
[X] Wait, did she just hit on you? Who would do that? Suspicious…
-[X] I mean, seriously, who would ever do that?
--[X] This is obviously a setup. Do you look like Merlin?
---[X] ...You feel like you insulted yourself.

TANGENTS
No. 191940
[X] Wait, did she just hit on you? Who would do that? Suspicious…
-[X] I mean, seriously, who would ever do that?
--[X ] This is obviously a setup. Do you look like Merlin?
---[X] ...You feel like you insulted yourself.
No. 191943
[x] Wait, did she just hit on you? Who would do that? Suspicious…
-[x] I mean, seriously, who would ever do that?
--[x] This is obviously a setup. Do you look like Merlin?
---[x] ...You feel like you insulted yourself.

It bothers me that the silly option makes more sense than the serious ones.

...wait. Is this the silly option?
No. 191944
>>191943
Not much of use we can do otherwise, may as well pick the (non lethal) fun vote.
No. 191946
>A mage! Did Rikako send reinforcements? ...After what you did before you left, you’re surprised…

...What did he do?

[d] Wait, did she just hit on you? Who would do that? Suspicious…
-[a] I mean, seriously, who would ever do that?
--[z] This is obviously a setup. Do you look like Merlin?
---[e] ...You feel like you insulted yourself.
No. 191967
>>191943

No, the silly option was lower.
No. 191969
>>191967
Poking was the 'just kill me now' option
No. 191979
>>191969

If you insist.
No. 191982
File 147656437118.png- (689.03KB , 489x558 , Hair bags are a hood in this case.png ) [iqdb]
191982
[x] Wait, did she just hit on you? Who would do that? Suspicious…
-[x] I mean, seriously, who would ever do that?
--[x] This is obviously a setup. Do you look like Merlin?
---[x] ...You feel like you insulted yourself.


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

You clench your jaw harder. "Stop that."

You get away from the touchy-feely woman, making sure to maintain your distance from your gun. You may be down, but you aren't out.

The woman begins to grin. "My, so touchy..." At your look of derision, she asks, "Yes?"

"You're suspicious."

Kasen snorts, grumbling. "About sums her up in two words."

Tittering once again, she points out, "But Kasen, isn't that why you love me~?"

"Love is a strong word."

"I'm hurt."

"No you aren't."

"My, so sure, are you~?"

"You're grinning; you don't look hurt at all."

You're half tempted to sneak off while they—

You hear the grind of stone on stone from the woman in blue, and you snap your head to her.

The hole is... gone?

You look around, suspicious. Kasen looks to be pinching her brow— And then the ground next to her drops out, and the woman in blue climbs on out with practiced ease.

Kasen doesn't look shocked, only annoyed. Now that you see her in full, you spy an odd charm on her calf, an odd fan on her hip and an odd pipe in her hand.

A grin on her face, too. "My, how uncouth... Looking at me like a piece of meat like that..." She doesn't look the least bit displeased.

"I was not—!" You take a deep breath. This woman is pushing your buttons. You weren't doing that in the least, but you can't let her keep you off balance like this.

"Then what were you doing, Harmon~?" ...Why does she know your name?

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

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10

Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30

Five feet too far away.

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Admit you were looking at the odd fan.
[ ] Admit you were looking at the odd charm.
[ ] Admit you were looking at the odd pipe.
[ ] Be blunt: you were looking at all three.
[ ] Lie: you'd never look at her like that.
[ ] You were examining her for weapons.
[ ] You were waiting for her to stop saying such distracting things.
[ ] Call her out on knowing your name.
-[ ] Demand to know where she learned it.

[ ] Give the email and leave.
[ ] Leave.

[ ] Write-in
No. 191983
[x] You were examining her for weapons.
-[x] After all, those are obviously fake. They must be concealment.
--[x] Those are obviously a weapon. A torpedo, or a mine. grenade...
---[x] Wait, they are the right size for radar domes. That's it!
----[x] That's how she figured out her name! a full sensory package!
-----[x] And look! wide hips for extra stability! This is an intricately designed weapons platform!
------[x] She's a full-conversion cyborg! Obviously infiltration unit!
-------[x[ Do the only thing an unarmed human can do against one!
No. 191985
[X] Be blunt: you were looking at all three.

Reigning control of the conversation is probably impossible, best we can hope for is not shoving foot in mouth.
No. 191988
[X] Admit you were looking at the odd charm.
[X] Give the email and leave.
No. 191989
>>191985
Oh, didnt notice the two options at the bottom
adding:
[X] Give the email and leave.
No. 192012
File 147675413996.jpg- (114.05KB , 850x1203 , Dork.jpg ) [iqdb]
192012
[-r-] Be blunt: you were looking at all three.
[-r-] Give the email and leave.


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

Pulling the hood from Kasen's head, Miss Blue begins to grin. "Kasen, what have I told you about hiding that pretty little face of yours~?"

Trembling with irritation, Kasen points out, "It's called stealth, Seiga. Learn it some time."

Seiga titters with amusement. "Who needs stealth when you have legs like these~?" You have a feeling she doesn't mean running.

"Twigs like those aren't much good for anything but looking pretty."

"Sometimes that can save your life just as much as crushing a coconut between them~"

While Kasen flushes at that comment, you look to her legs and realize just how much a disadvantage you're at if they decide you need to die. Sweatpants shouldn't be tight like that, let alone stretched. Forget coconuts, she could probably crush your skull.

Seiga looks back to you with that irritating smirk of hers. "My, so he's a leg man, hmm?"

Now it's your turn to turn a bit red. "None of your business." Swiftly changing the subject before you risk a crushed skull, you add, "And I wasn't looking at your legs. I was looking at the fan, that charm and the weird thing you're holding up."

"They're called breasts, you know~"

"Not that!" Sure enough, she does have an arm supporting them from beneath. She's about as irritating as they come, it seems. "The pipe, or whatever it is!" It's not your typical pipe, either way. It looks to be gold, and it tapers to a point. At the end is a flowery ornamental bit. For all you know it's a hair pin, but with the way she's holding it...

She takes a drag from it as she chuckles a bit. "My, aren't you a dork."

You blink. Of all the things she could say, that wasn't what you expected.

Somehow her responses are just an endless stream of aggravation. "Although, are you sure it's my fan you're looking to?" She wiggles her hips just a bit for emphasis, much to Kasen's embarrassment.

"I'm pretty sure I know where my eyes are looking."

"As am I~"

Forget pushing your buttons, she's downright smacking them with that hair-pipe. ...With how dumb that sounds, you're tempted to ask what it even is.

You take a deep breath, and let out a long-suffering sigh. It's like she's trying to make you do something stupid. If she's to be your ally, you hope your foes aren't anything like her, as she's making you want to beat your head against a wall enough as it is.

"As for the charm, well..." She titters a bit, sliding her pipe into her hair. ...So it is a hair pin? "A girl does need to be sure to keep protection handy, hmm?" She gives you a wink.

...Okay, screw it. You're done.

"Harmony82@hooray.com." You sigh, wanting nothing but to leave by this point. "Now gimme my gun back." And, before Seiga even gets a chance to say it, you point out, "It's not girly; it's based on music, not the girl's name." You give her a look as you say as such.

"Potato, potahto~ In the end, you chose it, knowing this, did you not~?"

You just grumble, not having a defense against that one.

Kasen eyes you oddly with those odd pink eyes. "I wasn't exactly keeping you from it."

...Dammit.

You grumble as you go over and grab it, putting it away. With that done with, you head off.

You'll need aspirin, at this rate.

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

Right hand's gonna smart in the morning.

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10

Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30

Five feet too far away.

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Go grab some aspirin - you’re going to need it.
[ ] Screw it. You can do it in the morning. Just head back to the hotel.
[ ] You could use a bite to eat at some point.
-[ ] You have enough left for a quick bite at a lunch counter.
-[ ] Ransack a convenience store; that’s good enough for you.


[ ] Write in
No. 192013
[X] Go grab some aspirin - you’re going to need it.
then
[X] You could use a bite to eat at some point.
-[X] Ransack a convenience store; that’s good enough for you.

It's best to be a dork paranoid with a clear head and full stomach.

Im guessing you forgot to update the broomhandle status?
No. 192014
[X] Screw it. You can do it in the morning. Just head back to the hotel.
No. 192015
>>192013

Well, at least I remembered to add the hand. Notes corrected for next time.
No. 192026
>>192013
[x] This vote looks good; covers all the bases. Just to add:
-[x] Make sure to get some instant heat for a warm meal when you get back and some nonperishables for long term in case you have to relocate.
-[x] Grumble about maniacs. Try to research the magic that Miss Blue used.
No. 192027
>>192026
>-[x] Grumble about maniacs. Try to research the magic that Miss Blue used.

Good idea.

Seems like a good idea, touhouwiki tells me its based on some old chinese tales about a hermit, so it shouldn't be hard to at least find that.
No. 192031
I may try for a third story for the likely incoming contest, as a heads up. It'd be a daily update sorta thing, so I'll see about doing the only logical thing to do.

Writing these two stories, and that, at the same time.

Anywho, I have the update done; I just need fact checking and the like.
No. 192034
File 147700640866.jpg- (222.74KB , 700x700 , Is she stalking you.jpg ) [iqdb]
192034
[-s-] Grumble about maniacs. Try to research the magic that Miss Blue used.
-[-s-] Go grab some aspirin — you’re going to need it.
--[-s-] Ransack a convenience store; that’s good enough for you.
---[-s-] Make sure to get some instant heat for a warm meal when you get back and some nonperishables for long term in case you have to relocate.

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

You sigh as you begin walking your way to a convenience store. You're gonna need aspirin and something to fill your belly. Something tells you starving yourself with these two in your life won't fly, as they're probably going to drag you into trouble.

Seiga alone could probably pick a fight with just about anyone.

Hmm... Seiga...

You pull out your phone, looking up the name on the 'net. Not much in the way of hits, though. You'll save a more extensive search for later, but for now you'll rely on your Goggle-fu.You grumble, trying to remember what little Japanese you know. It's not really a used language anymore, but when dealing with Youkai, it can save your life.

Let's see... Sa... i... ga? No, no... Se... i... ga...?

Hmm... No hits.

Over the next ten minutes, you look through magic hairpins, magic pipes, look up Japanese, Chinese, Korean and even Asian folklore.

You also look up pipe hair pins.

After a bit, you find something about a magic plow that can pass through walls, but, well... If she can use that as a plow, you'd be surprised.

You do notice the term 'sennin' being thrown around a lot, though, in that story. You search the term, and find nothing to do with her. You throw in hairpin, pipe, and hairpipe, and still get nothing.

You grumble as an idea comes to you.

You type out Asian smoking pipes, and find a better term: kiseru

You throw together a few combinations.

Kiseru sennin, magic kiseru, hair kiseru, etc.

But when you throw Seiga into the mix, things get... interesting.

But that'll have to wait; you just arrived at the store. You walk on in as you put away your phone. You hate going out, but never going out is more suspicious. As you wander the convenience store, you start filling a basket with canned food — things that keep a long time. You wisely decide to lay off the beans, though. Even if you're alone, the smell of an all-bean diet would be picked up even by humans. Still, you try to keep a balanced selection. All the food groups and the like. You'll be damned if you die from malnourishment of all things.

You shy away from the canned bread, however. Something just isn't right about bread in a can.

On your way to the register, you pick up a bottle of aspirin, cheapest price for the most of them. You're not hurting for money just yet, but pinching pennies can go a long way.

The clerk has a hollow, empty smile, with eyes that don't smile quite as much and dark bags under them. Her eyes are lifeless, and lacking any sort of soul.

Pretty much par the course. Nothing strange there.

After you pay, she gives an equally lifeless, "Have a nice day."

You mutter the same, if only to not be remembered for being an ass.

Your bag of groceries in tow, you look over your phone, heading home. The sun isn't dipping quite yet, and you're not a fan of being out at night, but you are armed. Worse comes to worse, you'll not hesitate. Your sister is counting on you; you'll be damned if you let her down. You may have failed the rest of your family, but you're not going to let down Layla. You'd rather kill her yourself than leave her to whatever took her, if it comes to it.

Still... a straw hat, huh? You sigh in irritation. You already went over that with a fine tooth comb; no sense searching it again.

As you make your way home at a brisk pace, you look over the tales of what a sennin is.

Seiga, though... If she's someone who is enlightened and such a great person to attain such a thing, you'll be surprised, to say the least. Although, what even is this mist that they eat?

From behind you, a familiar annoyance says, "My, my, someone's been busy..." How did you not notice her? "Although, if you were so interested in me, you could have just asked." She titters with a bit less restraint than before. "Such a cute dork."

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

Right hand's gonna smart in the morning.

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10
Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] "Stop calling me that."
[ ] Try to ignore her.
[ ] Take an aspirin now; you just know you head will be pounding by the end.
[ ] Ask. She's a lot more like a puzzle than you'd like.
[ ] You're not going to risk owing her.
[ ] What was the meeting even about...?
[ ] Ask her about the straw hat
-[ ] Ask about ghosts.
--[ ] Don't say too much; you can't trust her.
--[ ] Don't beat around the bush; you have nothing to lose.
---[ ] Don't hide a thing on the subject.
[ ] Ask about Kasen
-[ ] Why is she so aggressive?
-[ ] Does she not know about Youkai?
-[ ] Is she a dork, too?

[ ] Write-in
No. 192036
[x] Take an aspirin now; you just know you head will be pounding by the end.
[x] Screw it, you'll play the one-upping game. What's the worst that could happen?
-[x] "Tsk, tsk. It's men in black suits who are supposed to be stalkers, not women in ridiculous outfits with ridiculous powers."

I figure we don't have enough leverage to go full "GIVE INFO OR STUFF HAPPENS". If she wants something out of us, we get confrontational, but for now let's just try to outbantz her.
No. 192037
[x] Take an aspirin now; you just know you head will be pounding by the end.
[x] Screw it, you'll play the one-upping game. What's the worst that could happen?
-[x] "Tsk, tsk. It's men in black suits who are supposed to be stalkers, not women in ridiculous outfits with ridiculous powers."

I seriously doubt we can one-up the super-taoist smoke eater. If anything, she'd find the act endearingly pitiful.

Sure, why not.
No. 192053
[x] Take an aspirin now; you just know you head will be pounding by the end.
[x] Screw it, you'll play the one-upping game. What's the worst that could happen?
-[x] "Tsk, tsk. It's men in black suits who are supposed to be stalkers, not women in ridiculous outfits with ridiculous powers."

This looks like fun. And I doubt that we can really annoy Seiga right now, considering her ever-present tittering, so there's not much of a downside.
No. 192062
File 147717755487.jpg- (208.96KB , 850x1292 , How cute.jpg ) [iqdb]
192062
[-t-] Take an aspirin now; you just know you head will be pounding by the end.
[-t-] Screw it, you'll play the one-upping game. What's the worst that could happen?
-[-t-] "Tsk, tsk. It's men in black suits who are supposed to be stalkers, not women in ridiculous outfits with ridiculous powers."


You feel those all too blue eyes burning a hole in you with their curiosity as you reach into your bag with a grumble. It's not long before you pull out the box, pry it open, pull out the bottle and finally rip off the seal under the lid. One's never enough, so you down two, before shoving the bottle back in as you sigh.

You're about fed up with all this teasing. When in Rome, or whatever. "Tsk, tsk. It's men in black suits who are supposed to be stalkers, not women in ridiculous outfits with ridiculous powers."

"My, haven't you heard? Blue is the new black~" Great, a fashionista...

"That's hardly a suit."

"That depends on the region." She titters a bit.

"I'm pretty sure there's nowhere that would would consider a neck that low as professional."

"You're hardly one to talk, taking medication mid-conversation~" She doesn't seem to do much other than tease, does she?

You blurt out, "Well, you've earned it."

"My, I'm honored that you pay a tribute to my words in such a manner~" She's grinning just a bit, now. Does she ever make faces that don't irritate?

"Yeah, well, you're worth at least twice as many aspirin."

"So you assign value to women based on the headache they bring~?" She starts smirking just a bit, a hand half covering it as she titters. You almost wish she just outright laughed.

"No, you're just special." Where did that even come from...?

"Why, thank you~ Although, if that's a proposal you seek, you may want to add at least a goat, you know."

You practically bite your tongue. "Wait, proposal?!"

"Why, yes; my hand is worth four aspirin to you, isn't it?" She looks like a cat toying with a mouse by this point.

"No, I meant that you give me a headache!" Dammit, this was a horrible idea.

"Is that not the same thing~?" She begins to grin just a bit, and between that and the words, you're getting at your wit's end.

"What... That's..." You take a deep breath, and slowly let it out. You're not going to lose this easily.

"My, are you giving up so soon, you cute little dork~?" She looks a bit like she's cornering prey. You gulp involuntarily.

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

Right hand's gonna smart in the morning.

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10
Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Squirm for her amusement.
[ ] Just accept your loss.
-[ ] Gracefully.
-[ ] Grumpily.
[ ] Kiss Sakuya Seiga

[ ] Write-in.
No. 192063
[X] Just accept your loss.
-[X] Grumpily.
I like how there isn't even an option to keep going, it's just that hopeless an endeavor.
No. 192064
[X] Squirm for her amusement.
No. 192065
[X] Just accept your loss.
-[X] Grumpily.
No. 192066
[x] Kiss Seiga
No. 192067
>>192066
You are whisked away to a land of smoke and tittering, in which you are thoroughly fucked to death.

Good End
No. 192068
[x] Just accept your loss.
-[x] Grumpily.
No. 192076
>>192063

Technically the first option was to keep going.
No. 192085
File 147735104179.png- (88.40KB , 240x262 , A rose by any other name.png ) [iqdb]
192085
[-u-] Just accept your loss.
-[-u-] Grumpily.


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

She smirks at that sour face you're making. "My, finished already? You know, this happens to a lot of men..." She titters. You honestly would prefer her giggling. All these restrained laughs are somehow more annoying.

You grumble. She's not making this easy on you; not in the least. Still, she bested you. You won't just gracefully accept it, but you still accept it. "I'll bet." That grin of hers is not unlike a cheshire cat. It's a bit creepy, to be honest.

Makes you feel like a mouse.

"Is this round two? My, how virile."

"No, it's not."

She sighs quite grandly, putting her whole body into it. "How premature; finished already..." ...Wait, is she...?

"Quit that!" Your ears burn at the realization of what her words have been implying.

"If that's what you desire, I think I can fulfill such a wish." She winks as you shudder. "Now, then, you never did ask any questions~" She seems to have dropped the rapidfire innuendo. Good.

[ ] Ask.
-[ ] But what?
[ ]Ignore her and head on.
[ ] Head on;
you're not comfortable with being out at this time of the night. You're not exactly staying in the best neighborhood, and—

You feel something hard pressed against your back. Dammit, you're slacking.

"Ey, buddy, 'owzabout ya... come wit me witcha girl and, y'know... talk some business?" Chuckling, he adds, "Ya girl's a pretty little ting, ain't she? Might have a little... extra business wit 'er." You can practically feel the finger quotes bouncing off your skull.

Seiga's ever present amused smugness dies out with those words. She seems to be giving whomever it is behind you a pretty nasty look. Pouting, too. Ignoring the rest, it's oddly out of place. Reminds you a bit of Merlin. Well, before Harold happened at least.

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

Right hand's gonna smart in the morning.

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10
Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Give him the Kasen special. Worked once, right?
-[ ] Maybe use of the other hand this time.
-[ ] Same hand; what are the odds that he's a leftie as well?
[ ] Draw. Are you feeling lucky?
[ ] Comply. What's the worst that could happen?
[ ] Throw Seiga at him and run. She looks light as a feather.
[ ] Book it. That surely won't bite you in the rear.
[ ] Let Seiga do whatever she does. Hope it's not on her back.

[ ] Write-in.

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

I'm going to try for daily updates next month. If I get enough votes to do so with a smile, I'll be a happy camper.
No. 192086
[X] Give him the Kasen special. Worked once, right?
-[X] Same hand; what are the odds that he's a leftie as well?
No. 192087
[X] Give him the Kasen special. Worked once, right?
-[X] Maybe use of the other hand this time.

Jesus fuck, none of the options seem particularly attractive.

And I cant imagine Harmon putting his faith in Seiga at all, so even though it seems the most logical, I wont vote it.
No. 192089
[X] Give him the Kasen special. Worked once, right?
-[X] Same hand; what are the odds that he's a leftie as well?
No. 192094
>>192087
I agree with that sentiment completely. This probably would be the best.

Although, it would be extremely unlikely to come across two southpaws, so...

[x] Give him the Kasen special. Worked once, right?
-[x] Same hand; what are the odds that he's a leftie as well?
No. 192108
File 147752959795.png- (204.62KB , 335x284 , The majority says Seiga only smiles it seems.png ) [iqdb]
192108
[-v-] Give him the Kasen special. Worked once, right?
-[-v-] Same hand; what are the odds that he's a leftie as well?



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


As Seiga reaches for her hair loops, you spin and punch, thankfully connecting with softer knuckles rather than the gun this time. You grunt as the hair trigger goes off, and you're quickly made aware of the explosion of pain in your side.


You've been shot!


The gun clatters to the street, and you swiftly reach into your jacket, much to the dawning look of horror on his face; he knows what you have, and he dives for the gun, but he doesn't notice the car coming right for him.


Too late does he notice as an incoming car turns him into a speed bump. You're left to your broken rib, checking for bleeding. Sure enough, your shirt's a bit wetter than it should be. Not that you couldn't feel it, but better to check.


Seiga huffs. "Well, now... How fortunate. Although, you could have gone without harm if you had complied." As you turn to look at her, the way she looks to the last scene he might ever make sends a chill down your spine.


Even if you don't like her, the things he was planning for her weren't deserved. "If I'd done that, he'd have done things that shouldn't be said." You rub your knuckles as you grumble, your gun no longer being so greatly needed.


A wry smirk plays across her lips. "My hero~" She looks to the makeshift speedbump. "Hmph. No value even as a bump in the road. Still, he'll live, unless you desire otherwise. All it would take is a little nudge, in his state..." Looking back to you, amused, she adds, "Ohh, and Kasen did something to that toy of yours~"


No wonder she didn't care...


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


Right hand's gonna smart something fierce in the morning. Already hurts.
Left 10th rib feels like it's broken.


Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10
Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30
Tampered with


Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.


Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.


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


[ ] He might remember you. No chances; ask her to give him that nudge.
[ ] You can't trust her. Do it yourself.
[ ] Retreat to an alley; you can't head home like this. Need to at least stop the bleeding, or you'll drop breadcrumbs all the way to your door.
-[ ] Ask her for something to bind the wound with.
-[ ] Ask if she has some crazy magic that can help.
-[ ] Try and rip your shirt.
--[ ] Fail and ask if she can.
---[ ] Feel like less of a man.
----[ ] Grumble about durability.


[ ] Write-in
No. 192110
[X] Retreat to an alley; you can't head home like this. Need to at least stop the bleeding, or you'll drop breadcrumbs all the way to your door.
No. 192111
[X] Retreat to an alley; you can't head home like this. Need to at least stop the bleeding, or you'll drop breadcrumbs all the way to your door.
-[X] Ask her for something to bind the wound with.
Wait, did the bullet not penetrate, did it just hit hard and crack the rib? Are we wearing a bulletproof vest or something?

We really should have a pocket knife/swiss army knife to tear a shred of cloth for this type of situation. Oh, well.
No. 192114
>>192111
I think that it was glancing blow, but the rib kept it from penetrating deeper on a glancing blow? There definitely is blood. I don't think he's wearing a vest, though.

Perhaps Harmon has been toughened by his previous experiences?

[x] Retreat to an alley; you can't head home like this. Need to at least stop the bleeding, or you'll drop breadcrumbs all the way to your door.
-[x] Ask her for something to bind the wound with.
-[x] Go out of the way to get pick up a utility multitool.
No. 192119
>>192114
>Go out of the way to get pick up a utility multitool.
While I do think its important to have some form of utility knife, I dont think now (banged up hand, cracked rib, hungry), is the time to do so.
No. 192136
File 147770446368.jpg- (58.06KB , 401x479 , harmon.jpg ) [iqdb]
192136
[X] Weariness. Is she going to do this every time...?
[X] Fascination. Here we observe the bluenette in its natural habitat.
No. 192137
>>192136
And its.. gone?
No. 192139
File 147770555374.jpg- (195.49KB , 850x1172 , Best pocket.jpg ) [iqdb]
192139
[-w-] Retreat to an alley; you can't head home like this. Need to at least stop the bleeding, or you'll drop breadcrumbs all the way to your door.
-[-w-] Ask her for something to bind the wound with.



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


Grumbling, you begin to head down the alle— A hand pulls you back by the collar with just enough strength to stumble you in the direction wanted. You do your best to not choke or gag, as you can't show any weaknesses with someone like her around, but, in the end, the inevitable happens and you cough a bit. Glaring back at her, you demand, "What wa—"


You get a finger on your lips for your trouble. If she doesn't have something important to say, you're gonna be more than a little annoyed. Her voice a hushed whisper, she points out, "You know, for as paranoid as you are, I'm shocked you would take the route offered by a speedbump, you dork."


You don't know what you hate more: the way she says it chidingly like you're a kid that needs to be tugged about by the wrist... or how right she is. Sighing, you ask, "Got a better idea, then?"


"The next alley, perhaps~?"


You sigh as you head on down the street, trying to put pressure on your wound. You flinch away from your own touch, realizing that it's tender beyond the norm. Yeah, definitely broke something, or at least cracked it. Still, the bleeding isn't so bad, so you forego such things for now. It can wait a minute or two; wouldn't want to have to do it twice and risk puncturing something in your hurry.


Not even a block later, you arrive in an alleyway. You hate to do it, but you're not about to go shirtless or the like. Especially not with the bluenette around. Looking to Seiga, you ask, "Hey, uhh..." You rub the back of your neck a bit awkwardly. " You... wouldn't happen to have something I could dress my wound with?"


"I think I have just the thing..." You don't think you like her tone. You can't quite decide whether it sounds sinister or sensual, and you're doubly unsure which one you'd rather it be. If it's the former, at least you'll be proven right. If the latter, well... you'll probably react just about as well as you would in the other case. Really, not a whole lot you can do against a mage without your gun at the rea... dy...


You stare a bit as she starts rummaging in between a certain area, her arm enveloped to the midway point of her forearm.


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


Right hand's gonna smart something fierce in the morning. Already hurts.
Left 10th rib feels like it's broken.


Hungry, Pain Numbed


Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10
Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30
Tampered with.


Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.


Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.


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


[ ] Paranoia. IT'S A GUN
[ ] Fear. YOU'RE ALONE WITH HER
[ ] Arousal. You're alone with her.
[ ] Apathy. Whatever. Just get it over with.
[ ] Worry. What's she got in there...?
[ ] Guilt. What are you staring at when you're sister's in trouble?!
[ ] Shame. Why are you staring...?
[ ] Embarrassment. Is she really rooting around in there while you watch...?
[ ] Weariness. Is she going to do this every time...?
[ ] Disgust. What is wrong with her?
[ ] Fascination. Here we observe the bluenette in its natural habitat.
[ ] Privilege. What a completely unsarcastic honor.
[ ] Nostalgia...? J-just like Merlin...?
No. 192141
>>192136

[X] Note to self: one vote before the post.

PS: don't post the update three times next time.
No. 192142
[X] Arousal. You're alone with her.
[X] Fascination. Here we observe the bluenette in its natural habitat.

Could be funny
No. 192144
>>192139
[x] Fascination. Here we observe the bluenette in its natural habitat.
No. 192145
[x] Fascination. Here we observe the bluenette in its natural habitat.
[x] Nostalgia...? J-just like Merlin...?

This is getting really weird really fast for Harmon. Seiga definitely doesn't have a comfort zone that's located anywhere near his.

And I'm betting this angle gets us juicy monologues.
No. 192146
[X] Guilt. What are you staring at when you're sister's in trouble?!
[X] Shame. Why are you staring...?
No. 192153
Called~ Gonna need you guys to really hustle with the votes starting next update. I'd like to have at least three votes before I combobulate them, as I have to get the okay from Luminous as to if it's up to his standards.
No. 192154
>>192153
This update you got about 3 votes in a 5 hour span.
No. 192155
>>192154

Yup, I noticed~ I was quite pleased! The story is really attracting attention.
No. 192178
File 147796389199.png- (109.36KB , 214x443 , Is it fresh.png ) [iqdb]
192178
[-x-] Fascination. Here we observe the bluenette in its natural habitat.


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


You just stare as she pries apart her cleavage, peeking within as if some vast treasure trove is hidden in those soft depths. You begin to wonder if all women with blue hair and a large... personality... are like this. You don't even know quite what to say about this, so you just observe her. There is no precision to her rummaging.. She doesn't even seem to remember where she put whatever it is in there. She may be a bit of an irritant, but looking at her when she's quiet like this...


When she's not tweaking your nose or teasing you, her nigh unending smile isn't quite so irritating. When she's not being perverted or trying to embarrass you, she's actually not so strange a woman. As you stare, you begin to wonder about her dress. It's extremely Eastern. Doesn't look Japanese, and it certainly looks expensive, but you have to wonder just what era it originates from. Things like that simply aren't worn around here anymore since Japan was Anglicized. Not that you ever saw it before it was, but, well... she sticks out like she's been displaced in time.


From what you saw, a sennin is some form of immortal. Could it be that she's some ageless mage or something? There's plenty you don't understand about her, but when her focus isn't someone else, and she is acting alone... she feels rather normal. Sure, calling her normal is a pipedream, but as her face lights up, you feel like you might understand just a bit more about her.


"Will this do~?" She titters with amusement as she offers you a stocking that looks far from cheap.


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


Right hand's gonna smart something fierce in the morning.
Left 10th rib feels like it's broken.


Hungry, Pain Numbed


Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10
Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30
Tampered with.


Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.


Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.


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


[ ] Accept.
[ ] Decline.
-[ ] Ask for something else.
-[ ] Ask for something specific.
[ ] "Where did you even get that from...?"
[ ] Was she just using that?
[ ] Could she borrow a bandage from Kasen?


[ ] Write-in
No. 192188
She's a little too disarming. Perhaps a little too good to be true. Still, we don't have another option right now (if only because she isn't going to be leaving us be fore a while.

Perhaps something along these veins?

[x] Ask if she has another piece of fabric on hand that would do a better job of bandaging her up. Be it a bandage or just a strip of fabric or a towel.
-[x] If successful, ensure it isn't magical or cursed in some way.
-[x] If not, take the stocking as offered.
-[x] Either way, ensure that both sides are aware that you are accepting her offering as payment for the previous instance of defending her honor, and that it is not a down payment on future instances.
No. 192189
[x] Ask if she has another piece of fabric on hand that would do a better job of bandaging her up. Be it a bandage or just a strip of fabric or a towel.
-[x] If successful, ensure it isn't magical or cursed in some way.
-[x] If not, take the stocking as offered.
-[x] Either way, ensure that both sides are aware that you are accepting her offering as payment for the previous instance of defending her honor, and that it is not a down payment on future instances.

This is suitably paranoid.
No. 192201
Anywho, bed time. Calling at around 04:00-08:00, as I did post at 01:30 or so.
No. 192224
File 147809958034.jpg- (176.93KB , 850x850 , What's in your wallet.jpg ) [iqdb]
192224
[-y-] Ask if she has another piece of fabric on hand that would do a better job of bandaging her up. Be it a bandage or just a strip of fabric or a towel.
-[-y-] If successful, ensure it isn't magical or cursed in some way.
-[-y-] If not, take the stocking as offered.
-[-y-] Either way, ensure that both sides are aware that you are accepting her offering as payment for the previous instance of defending her honor, and that it is not a down payment on future instances.



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


You give her a dry look. "Don't you have anything other than your hosiery...?"


She shakes with a quiet chuckle. "Such as~?"


"A strip of fabric, a towel, or... I guess maybe some bandages? Your friend seemed to use plenty of the things, after all."


Grinning a bit, she teases, "My, and here I thought you were a leg man~"


Your face ignites with a blush. "None of your damned business!" You pinch your nose as you take a deep breath. Just have to calm down. You're starting to realize she probably has no intention of ever stopping. "As we were saying...? You never did answer the question."


"Well..." She tugs at her exceedingly low collar, pulling it just a bit lower still. "Maybe you'd like to take a look for yourself..." The tone of her voice makes you gulp involuntarily.


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


[ ] Deer in headlights.
-[ ] Get swept away by the car.
[ ] Stumble over your words.
-[ ] Decline.
-[ ] Accept
No. 192226
[X] Deer in headlights.
[X] Stumble over your words.
-[X] Decline.

Am becoming increasingly certain she's casting some sort of charm.
No. 192229
>>192226
Same. It seems a bit off. Probably should try and fight it. Who knows what plans she has.

[x] Decline.
-[x] Gather your wits.
-[x] Tell her that you didn't think that she was that kind of woman. You're disappointed.
No. 192235
File 147817331830.png- (126.91KB , 271x275 , How cute.png ) [iqdb]
192235
[-z-] Deer in headlights.
[-z-] Stumble over your words.
-[-z-] Decline.


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

You stare blankly as she increases the size of the valley before you, tugging it low, but not too far. Tantalizing, yet not quite— You shake your head free of the thoughts as you rip your eyes from the sight.

"Such a cute dork..." Giggling, she asks, "Still... your answer~?"

You swallow the frog in your throat, yet still croak out a garbled stream. "W-wh... I..." You bite your cheek. "No."

Grinning at your response, she asks, "Cat got your tongue~?"

"I'm sure she would if she could get her hands on it..."

Her eyes light up with delight. "My, my, so he does have a pair~" You shudder, as that look was the sort that gets thrown at pets and children. Tittering, she adds, "Still, I do have one other thing I found, though it might not be of interest to you."

Well, now we're getting somewhere.

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

Right hand's gonna smart something fierce in the morning.
Left 10th rib feels like it's broken.

Hungry, Pain Numbed

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10
Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30
Tampered with.

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Risk it.
[ ] Just give me the damned sock.
[ ] Write-in.
No. 192238
[X] Just give me the damned sock.
No. 192242
>>192238
Let's be a little more thorough.

[x] Just give me the damned sock.
-[x] Under the same conditions listed here: >>192188
No. 192245
[x] Just give me the damned sock.
-[x] I'll bleed out at this rate.
No. 192248
[x] Risk it.

Backbone acquired.
No. 192262
File 147829741735.png- (335.99KB , 589x600 , Laughter is the best medicine.png ) [iqdb]
192262
[-a+1-] Just give me the damned sock.

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

"Just give me the freaking sock before I bleed out." After a moment's thought, you quickly add, "And just know that I don't owe you anything; this is in exchange for beating the gun out of that guy's hand."

A particularly strong titter rocks her body, and she looks all the more amused. "My, you act as if I'm some sort of monster looking to steal away with you..." You get a chill up your spine at how she saw through you like your hand was in the cookie jar behind your back. Before you can come to your own defense, she adds, "Very well, you little dork~" Looking you over, she adds, "Although, you've not even lost one pint of blood. Still, before you do as such, it would be best if I gave you a thorough inspection..."

She dangles the smooth silk stocking before you. This thing looks like it more belongs in a museum than a dresser drawer.

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

[ ] Accept the assistance.
[ ] Do it yourself.
[ ] Just bind the wound.
[ ] Write-in

[z] Ask a question to the authors.

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

It's that time again! It's time we spin the wheel of Z! ...I lost the wheel, but the way it works is you ask a question, barring exceptions, from myself or my [i]lovely assistant! If you look to the top of the update, you will see the letter A. Each update gains you a letter, and when it hits Z, well... I'm sure you get it. Simple system.

Ohh, and careful, now; Z's are also your continues. To a point.[/i]
No. 192265
[x] Just take the damned sock.
[x] Do it yourself.
-[x] Ask her if she has any real business stalking you or not.
No. 192266
Ready or not, it's the next day.
No. 192267
[x] Just take the damned sock.
[x] Do it yourself.
-[x] Ask her if she has any real business stalking you or not.

I wonder if Yoshika exists, though self-preservation overpowers any curiosity to meet magic zombie.
No. 192294
File 147838110410.jpg- (143.38KB , 600x675 , Blender not required for drinking_.jpg ) [iqdb]
192294
[-b+1-] Just take the damned sock.
[-b+1-] Do it yourself.
-[-b+1-] Ask her if she has any real business stalking you or not.


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

You snatch the sock as you grumble. "Why are you even following me?" You start to take off your jacket and shirt, and before Seiga can do anything, you start to feel the area around where you were shot. Doesn't feel too bad, save the sharp pain of a broken rib and missing skin, but the aspirin dulls it a bit. All in all, you think your organs are fine and that the shot bounced off your rib.

"My, my, undressing right before me? Such a tease..."

You roll your eyes, though do blush a bit, cheesy or not. "Well?" Her eyes sliding along your not quite athletic physique, she mutters something under her breath. Frowning, you ask, "What was that?" You begin using the stocking as best you can. It's a sturdy material, and certainly feels like silk. You're a bit disturbed by how warm it feels, but that's a bridge you think you'll not think too much about crossing.

"O-ohh, yes. Right." She clears her throat a bit. "I merely wanted to keep an eye on you~"

You shudder a bit. "I think you're doing that a bit too well." You're starting to understand Merlin's complaints about being stared at, especially with how it made her feel.

"Ohh? Trying to reverse things, now? How cute~"

You grumble, annoyed at how quick she catches on. "What of it?"

She grins a bit at your evasion. "It's almost like you're flirting with me, you dork~"

Your face pinkens just a bit more as you tighten the sock to a snug fit, wincing. You're glad it's soft, what with how you lost some skin, but it's still tight enough to be painful.

"My, wearing stockings, are we?"

"Only because you forced it on me."

You shake out your shirt and jacket one after the other, and proceed to put them back on.

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

Right hand's gonna smart something fierce in the morning.
Left 10th rib is broken, and you're missing some skin over the area.

Hungry, Pain Numbed

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10
Total Ammo: 107
Ammo Available: 30
Tampered with.

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Left back at the hotel.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Left back at the hotel.

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

[ ] Head home. She'll probably follow you either way, and you're tired from talking to her so much.
-Lose her somehow.
--[ ] Write-in
[ ] Write-in

>>192267

You could always make it a Z question~
No. 192297
>She grins a bit at your evasion. "It's almost like you're flirting with me, you dork~"

...Seiga? You been hitting the sauce? Or are you just having fun being creepy?

...the answer is likely yes.

[x] Head home. She'll probably follow you either way, and you're tired from talking to her so much.
No. 192299
[x] Head home. She'll probably follow you either way, and you're tired from talking to her so much.

should have kissed her earlier just to make her shut up
No. 192301
[X] Head home. She'll probably follow you either way, and you're tired from talking to her so much.

>>192297
Seiga was bitten by a radioactive porn dvd, and is now incapable of speaking or hearing anything other than flirting.
No. 192304
[x] Head home. She'll probably follow you either way, and you're tired from talking to her so much.
[z] Playing around is fine but does he really have any chance of him getting anywhere with her? Anywhere that doesn't involve his ridicule and/or demise?

There. Now I wasted the Z question on a something that everyone already knows the answer to. So you lurkers better fite me or my mild curiosity will be satiated at the cost of other, theoretical, important stuff.

Also, your Seiga is lovely.
No. 192306
>>192304

Look out! He's got a question and he's not afraid to ask it!
No. 192307
>>192304
I don't even know what a Z vote is.
No. 192308
>>192307

I just told you guys in the update before this one.
No. 192309
>>192308
Missed it, well that's interesting.
No. 192316
Update ready, just need it looked over. Sorry about all the teeny tiny updates, but I felt the choices were important.
No. 192322
File 147844416619.jpg- (53.89KB , 1000x1000 , I actually searched up this picture.jpg ) [iqdb]
192322
[-c+1-] Head home. She'll probably follow you either way, and you're tired from talking to her so much.

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

Screw it, you've had enough of this. "I'm leaving."

As you begin to turn away, she chides, "Ah-ah-ah, you look like you've been on a killing spree~" She wags her finger at you like some twisted mother, and the fluids begins to pull from your clothes, collecting in a ball of dirt and blood. Probably sweat, too, if you had to take a guess.

"What is wrong with you?"

"I would call it love sickness~"

"I'd call you sick in the head..."

She grins again. "See, this is why I like you~"

You pause, giving her an odd look. "What, because I don't like you?" Pausing, you quickly add, "And give me my blood back!" The way she's acted so far, you imagine her having a pretty wicked agenda.

"No, no; that will change with time." You shudder at the implications of that. "Still, if you want it back so badly..." She points the finger the orb floats over towards you, and— OHH GOD!

You dive to the side, narrowly avoiding it splatting into your face. When you reach for your gun, looking for her, you spot a delicate hand pulling a hole in the brick and mortar shut.

Dammit.

Sighing, and with nothing else keeping you here, you nearly walk towards the outside of the alley, only to spy a surprising amount of blood unsurprisingly splattered in the street. You grumble a bit; how could you even clean that up?

Whatever she really wants, you don't think you much like it. You walk deeper into the alleyway, resecuring your weapon, as you aren't taking a step out into such a mess. You could chase her into the building, you could scream and beat at the wall, or you could scale the wall and climb through a window, but, quite frankly, you're tired.

Tired of this day, tired of all these shocks and surprises, tired of talking to people, tired of being made to blush or defend or punch guns.

You just want to sleep.

You start heading on home, and thankfully nothing happens the rest of the way. Reality isn't torn asunder by Youkai nipping your heels for whatever reason, you don't have a full conversion cyborg pop out of a building with guns aimed at you, nor does Seiga jump on your shoulders and demand a piggyback ride. Seriously, you wouldn't run it past that woman, what with how irritating she is.

You reach home hale and whole, and you simply flop over on the bed after locking up. You don't bother undressing, or removing your gun.

You just let sleep find you.

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

Right hand feels like you punched a brick wall.
Left 10th rib is broken, and you're missing some skin over the area.

Hungrier

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: ??/10
Total Ammo: 107 Unconfirmed.
Ammo Available: 30
Tampered with.

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Unconfirmed.

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

Unconfirmed.

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

[ ] Abrupt
[ ] Delayed
[ ] Drawn out
[ ] Early
[ ] Repeat
-[ ] Rep̶ea͝t
--[ ] R͠ep͟e̴a̧t

&

[Z] Playing around is fine but does he really have any chance of him getting anywhere with her? Anywhere that doesn't involve his ridicule and/or demise?
-[ ] Yes, ask this question.
-[ ] No, save it for later.
[Z] Write-in
No. 192324
[X] Drawn out
He really, really needs it.

[Z] Playing around is fine but does he really have any chance of him getting anywhere with her? Anywhere that doesn't involve his ridicule and/or demise?
-[X] No, save it for later.

I'd rather keep the Z thingy as a continue in case something tries to eat our butt.

Also not sure what questions we should be asking yet, so id rather sit on it til' something of dire need to ask pops up.
No. 192335
>>192322
Is that some carbon fiber weave?

Also, he definitely needs all the rest and patience to deal with Seiga.

[x] Drawn out.
No. 192344
File 147851439446.jpg- (161.13KB , 850x1391 , Always was the cutest of the three_.jpg ) [iqdb]
192344
[-d+1-] Drawn out.

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

A burst of balloons, bursts of, "Surprise!" These are the things you remember best of the very first birthday you recall. You were six, and you barely even remember what you got. That which you remember best was the now foreign smile of Merlin; you can't remember the last time she smiled. Well, before the three vanished without a hint or trace. You remember Lunasa being a bit shy back then, though she still was reserved, again, up until they disappeared. But among the three sisters, Lyrica never much changed. Always teasing, always joking.

You don't much remember Harold's face from that time. He might not have been there, or just wasn't much memorable. Your sisters were always more interesting to you, to be honest.

When you were seven, you noticed your sisters starting to not want to bathe with you anymore. You had felt like you were the master of making a good bubble bath, and a fair ruler to your fleet of rubber duckies. You commanded vast armies of over three duckies to do combat with the hoards of boat scum. You weren't talented with music like the others, but you had to be good at something, right? So, as such, you were pretty upset when they started shying away.

First Merlin, who wouldn't give you a straight answer, then Lunasa, who gave a flat no when you asked her to come back. You were starting to get a bit suspicious, honestly. Why would anyone not want to? But Lyrica, though embarrassed, accepted. Of course, then you wouldn't stop asking questions about certain things involving hair while the two of you crashed boats and duckies together. Was the first time she didn't know what to say. You miss those days when Quackers Supreme reigned, well, supreme.

Around eight, you noticed that Lyrica's music was really beyond compare. The sound was the same as always, and yet it was never quite the same. Whenever she played, you always just felt a bit more at peace, as it had that special touch of your sister to it.

You remember one time when you were nine, the pet dog ran away. Never did find that damned mutt. Still, Merlin and Lyrica did their best to cheer you up, but you could tell that Lyrica wasn't in any mood to, the way her eyes were as red as yours, if less tearful. She loved that dog as much as you did. Merlin's jokes always had more punch to their lines, but Lyrica could fire them off one after another. Working together, though... it was a beautiful sound that calmed you down, their jokes.

When you were eleven, you and Lyrica felt a little out of place around the rebelliousness of Merlin and the melodramatics of Lunasa. She commented that it was just a phase, though she wasn't sounding too sure after a month. Said phase lasted a few months apiece, which I think was helped by Harold's teasing. Don't remember the specifics as clearly, but still.

Th̕e ̕wa͏r͟mt͝h ͡i͢s s̡low҉l̢y ͏drain͝in͡g̴. I̕t hưrţs ͞so m͞uch. ͟Merli͏n͠. ̡L̀un̢asa͞? W̛he҉r̶e͞ ar͏e th̷ey...҉ ̷Y̕ou.́.̛. ͢re̛me͞mb͞er ̴s͢o̡m̴eth̢in͡g̷?̛ ͘Me͞r̴liņ,̨ ͠s̶he͘.͘..͏ ̶.͞.̛.she̛ f́ell̶ over?͡ ͘I̵t's͟ ͠g̸e̢t͡tin͡g ͜so c͡ơl̀d͢.͠.. ̡so͟ ͟ve͢ry ćol̡d͡...͟

You awaken in a cold sweat, huffing and puffing in the middle of a night. You're trembling, as that felt so real. That creep of slowly dying. It felt so vivid.

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

[ ] Write-in
No. 192349
>>192344
[X] Wet face
- [X] In fact, have a shower, you feel and smell like shit
No. 192362
>>192349
[x] ...Was that some sort of vision? Premonition?
-[x] Check to make sure the door locks first.
--[x] And that nothing is gone.
[x] Wet face.
-[x] In fact, have a shower, you feel and smell like shit.
[x] Continue to search for leads.
No. 192369
>>192362
Dude who made the first vote here.
This is all good.

Also, can we get a physical description of Harmon? Mental image is ordinarywesterndude.jpg
No. 192370
>>192369

I...

...You know what, I'm not 100% sure, actually.

I've just been imagining ordinarywesterndude.zip, so I'll get back to you on that. If it helps, I know the color of his clothes! Kinda!
No. 192378
File 147861588618.jpg- (102.03KB , 850x567 , Maybe not quite so dramatic.jpg ) [iqdb]
192378
[-e+1-] ...Was that some sort of vision? Premonition?
-[-e+1- Check to make sure the door locks first.
--[-e+1-] And that nothing is gone.
[-e+1-] Wet face.
-[-e+1-] In fact, have a shower, you feel and smell like shit.
[-e+1-] Continue to search for leads.


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

Catching your breath, throwing off the covers. Good, no Seiga. You were half expecting this to be a second nightmare in a row. You have those more often than you'd like. Rubbing your temples, you ask yourself, "Was so real... too real..." You sigh. "If I had to guess, I'd say that might be..."

You can't say it. Even after all this time, admitting that those three are also dead isn't easy. You accept it, but admitting it aloud is another story. Heck, if they weren't dead, then you'd honestly be horrified; who knows what's Keeping them. The best case is they abandoned you two, and the worst case, well... Youkai. Technocrats and Marauders are somewhere between the two, of course.

You grumble, getting up. As you rattle the door knob, you wince at how your hand feels. Punching your broomhandle hurt you about as much as you expected.

You head over to where you hid the guns and check on them, also having the good wisdom to check the one on your person. After counting each cell and both kinds of bullet, you find you're down three bullets, but you already knew that; had to be sure he stayed down, after all.

You notice your face is oddly drafty, and touch it, only to find it wet. You clench your jaw. You shouldn't be crying; you don't have time to cry when Layla might be out there still. Might be alive. And, for all you know, might be better off not alive.

Shaking your head, you let out a sigh. You stink; all the tenseness of yesterday didn't do well for how you smell, nor did dropping your jacket and shirt in an alleyway. Sure, you picked a clean spot, but that doesn't count for much in such a place; even clean is dirty.

As you strip off your clothes, you make sure your pockets are empty, only to find an odd paper in your pocket. Throwing caution to the wind, you pull it open, finding it to say a phone number.

It also says Call me, followed by a winky face. Probably Seiga giving you her number. Not one to throw away even horrible leads, you set it aside on the nightstand, and take your gun with you after managing to pull a big wad of musty bandages out of the barrel. You'd hold it against her, but, honestly, you're more happy that your gun's fine. Pink hair isn't something you see outside of two circles after all: Youkai or mages. You'd rather a mage, but, well... you'll take not having it ripped in half.

You head off to the shower, making it quick but thorough, keeping your gun handy. You don't go for floral or clean smells; you go for unnoticeable smells. Honestly, doesn't help you make friends stinking like grass and such, but even a small edge might save your life when it counts. Besides, if the friends you might make otherwise are even slightly like Seiga, well...

You dry off and head out into the main room, finding Seiga laying on your bed like a pinup or something.

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

Right hand feels like you punched a brick wall.
Left 10th rib is broken, and you're missing some skin over the area.

Hungrier

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 107

On hand

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

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

[ ] Continue as if she's not there.
-[ ] Eat
-[ ] Continue to researching her in front of her face.
-[ ] Look for leads.
[ ] Mention the note.
[ ] Glare.
-[ ] Grumble.
--[ ] You expected her sooner rather than later, but still.
No. 192379
[X] Continue as if she's not there.
-[X] Eat
-[X] Continue to researching her in front of her face.

Mental image is too funny, sorry.
No. 192383
[X] Continue as if she's not there.
-[X] Eat
-[X] Continue to researching her in front of her face.

We're clearly hallucinating. Yes, let's ignore the hallucination and do some work.
No. 192384
>Continue to researching her
pls
No. 192386
[x] Continue as if she's not there.
-[x] Eat
-[x] Continue to researching her in front of her face.

Not like Harmon would know what to do with a bluenette, even if bluenettes existed.
No. 192391
File 147868422873.jpg- (102.18KB , 850x709 , Are you a cat person.jpg ) [iqdb]
192391
[-f+1-] Continue as if she's not there.
-[-f+1-] Eat
-[-f+1-] Continue to researching her in front of her face.



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


You stare at her for a moment. Screw it. Maybe if you ignore her, she'll go away. As you walk on by, her eyes slide along, piercing through you as if they were trying to undress you more than you already are. A disturbing thought, with what you're wearing.


You make sure to at least show her your back as the towel drops. You also try very hard to ignore what sounded like a purr of appreciation, while also pulling up a pair of boxers. Somehow her silence is worse than when her mouth doesn't stay shut.


You pull a fresh shirt, a new pair of jeans, equip your holster, insert your gun and phone, and put on your other jacket. The jacket's a deep brown and the jeans are blue, which doesn't look too terrible with your slightly purple buttons on the white buttondown.


You always did like that dumb matching outfit that Lunasa made everyone when you were little. The fact that yours and Harold's still had a skirt was a point of teasing they always liked to use, though. And, well... you're not amazing at sewing or anything, but changing buttons isn't too hard, if only to not forget those times. Mind you, you only learned due to stitching and fixing damaged clothes now and then. Lunasa got busier than she used to be, and you were relegated to babysitter.


You walk past Seiga again, her eyes sliding along after you. Rummaging through the bag, you get out a can of spaghetti and the bottle of aspirin, knowing you'll need it soon. You figure eating the things that don't keep as long first is best, and so you grab a styrofoam plate, dumping half the contents on it, as no more will fit.


As you head for the door, you feel the plate warm up. Looking to the food before you, you notice it steaming. Giving the blue intruder a sideways glance, you find her smirking. You snort in response, and she just grins. Well, at least it's not blood to the face. Sighing, you head over and sit on the edge of the bed, grunting a thanks, if not really wanting to. Getting back to ignoring her, you start to eat. When you reach the last bite, having one meatball left for it, you find a plump pair of lips swiftly wrapping around the fork, before stealing off with it, having cleaned it off.


"What are you, a dog...?"


"Nyan~"


You just stare at she who looks like the cat that caught the canary, deciding to just ignore that. It was cute, and it was Seiga, so obviously the food was just bad. You must be hallucinating. "You can have the rest of the can if you want it." There. That should get rid of any spoilt food. How fresh canned food went bad you won't wonder too hard about.


She looks pleased as she finally slips off of the bed, sashaying over to what's left of the can. You just try to ignore her as she reaches between a certain place. While she's distracted by spaghetti, you take out your phone, wondering where to begin.


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


Right hand feels like you punched a brick wall.
Left 10th rib is broken, and you're missing some skin over the area.


Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 107


On hand


Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110


Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20


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


What do you check the database for? Combinations matter.


[ ] Seiga
[ ] Sennin
[ ] Hairpins
[ ] Artifacts
[ ] Quing'e
[ ] Plows...?
[ ] Kasen
[ ] Curses
[ ] Diseases
[ ] Flowers
[ ] North Park
[ ] Write-in
No. 192394
[X] Sennin
[X] Curses

These seem most pressing.
No. 192399
[X] Kasen
[X] Curses
[X] Diseases
No. 192407
[X] Sennin
[X] Curses
No. 192419
[x] Sennin
[x] Kasen
[x] Curses
[x] Diseases
[x] Flowers

In that order
No. 192425
File 147882115860.jpg- (316.08KB , 850x1251 , Why is this a picture.jpg ) [iqdb]
192425
[4] Curses
[3] Sennin
[2] Kasen
[2] Diseases
[1] Flowers

-----g+1-----

You type in curse— No, dammit, not purses— Wait, why are there so many resu... No, no, focus.

"You know, you can turn that sort of function off."

You jump just a bit, looking behind you. Seems she snuck up behind you, to the point that she even managed to sit down on the bed. You're not going to bother to ask about the chopsticks, as you know she got them from her breasts. Fancy ones at that. Shaking your head and grunting your thanks, you go and look through the settings, eventually turning it off.

Typing in curses agai— "I suggest including 'rot'~" —n, you press enter, earning a pout. The results are... pretty numerous. "I did tell you so, did I not~? Curses are rather common things, given out like candy from less desirables." Sighing, you type in rot curses. Hmm... Not too bad.

Mummy Rot

Deadening Curse

Nerve Rot

Slow Rot

Rapid Decay "Wart Removing Cream"

Spectral Rot


Hmm... Not too bad a list. Seiga slurps up a noodle, sadly not giving any more helpful tips. You'll save it for later, then, deciding on typing Sennin. "My, my..." Once again the list is lengthy, but you've gained a grin for your troubles.

You're not sure why, but that makes you feel a little less annoyed, weirdly enough.

Shaking you head and wiping the small smirk off your face, you next search Kasen. Seiga, of course, pouts. "Her and not me? How cruel..." Like you'd be so blunt with her right next to you. Unlike her, the concept of subtlely isn't completely foreign to you. "Well, once you're done with her, I suppose I'll—" You type in diseases, earning a completely unlady-like snort. "See, and now you get diseases!"

Now it's your turn to snort. If nothing else, her entire lack of aggression is a nice change of pace.

Smirking, she teases, "My, my, so he can smile~" You stiffen. No. No fun. You have to save your sister. Frowning at the sight of you clamming up like that, she adds, "Morale is important; whatever has you in such a ways, don't let it become all you are." You give her an odd look, earning a grin. "My, am I not allowed to do anything but flirt with my adorable little dork~? Ohh, and if you want any results... I suggest adding Ibaraki."

You don't like the sound of that; not one bit. "What, does your friend's name mean nothing to you?"

She grins. "It's as much her name as Harmon is yours."

Sighing, you just get on with it. Sure enough, just one result. You'll give Rikako one thing, if nothing else: she's damn thorough. Still, you have other things to gather together. Best to have all your ducks in a row before you count chickens. ...As butchered a metaphor as that is.

Ibaraki "Oni" Kasen (reverse name order.)

You like the touch of listing the ordering. Does help, if only a little. Sighing, you move on, hoping that she's not an Ogre. Didn't seem the type, even as aggressive as she was, but if it's possible, well... You don't want to think about losing arms and such. Changeling or Youkai, it's not something you want to see.

Shaking your head, you type in flower. "Ohh, that's just an ordinary rose~"

Comforting. With how many results you got, you'd be hard pressed to figure out if it's magic or no—

Seiga seems to have finished her meal and gotten bored, the way she's now pressed hard against you.

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

Right hand feels like you punched a brick wall.
Left 10th rib is broken, and you're missing some skin over the area.

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 107

On hand

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

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

[ ] Ibaraki "Oni" Kasen
[ ] Mummy Rot
[ ] Deadening Curse
[ ] Nerve Rot
[ ] Slow Rot
[ ] Rapid Decay "Wart Removing Cream"
[ ] Spectral Rot

[ ] Seiga
Sennin
[ ] Hairpins
[ ] Artifacts
[ ] Quing'e
[ ] Plows...?
Kasen
Curses
Diseases
Flowers
[ ] North Park
[ ] Write-in

[ ] Write-in
No. 192427
>You're not sure why, but that makes you feel a little less annoyed, weirdly enough.

Harmon, straighten on up, now. You're better more paranoid than this.

In this order, research:

[x] Ibaraki "Oni" Kasen.
[x] All the rots.
[x] No Seiga.

And, when appropriate.

[x] Inform the annoying cat that you'll get her a ball of yarn later. Perhaps even a shiny one.
No. 192428
File 147882639241.jpg- (25.98KB , 200x267 , less than flattering.jpg ) [iqdb]
192428
[X] Spectral Rot
[X] Deadening Curse
[X] Mummy Rot
[X] Slow Rot


I doubt it's rapid or related to nerve damage, so these four seem most likely.

I'm guessing 'spectral rot' from OOC knowledge, but given:
>this isnt generic touhou so anything could change
and
>relying on OOC is both dangerous and a bit douchey
I wont just vote that

[X] Ibaraki "Oni" Kasen

I'm tempted to straight up ask Seiga what's up, but this act of defiance is amusing enough.
No. 192432
[X] Spectral Rot
[X] Deadening Curse
[X] Mummy Rot
[X] Slow Rot

[X] Seiga
[X] Plows...?

See what the Internet drags up.
No. 192434
>>192432
[X] Seiga
[X] Plows...?

>plowing seiga
3274273409 results on magical pornhub

That was a terrible joke but I'm sticking with it.
No. 192436
>>192434

3 billion? She must get around...
No. 192441
File 147890490164.jpg- (646.61KB , 662x800 , I feel dirty now.jpg ) [iqdb]
192441
[3] Spectral Rot
[3] Deadening Curse
[3] Mummy Rot
[3] Slow Rot
[2] Ibaraki "Oni" Kasen.
[2] Plow Seiga

-----h+1-----

Your face tomato-red from Seiga's affections, you begin to search the more likely candidates. Serious, you doubt she got it from a wart cream.

Spectral Rot

A form of rotting curse that is mainly used by ghosts, though isn't strictly used by ghosts alone. Youkai and mages with skill in more necrotic magics are also able to do so. The curse spreads from the touch of a hand. It can touch anywhere, and if one makes a complete circle from finger to thumb it can be especially dangerous. Most commonly applied to ankles from the ground, but wrists and throat grabs aren't rare. Ghosts normally have a cold touch, but when using this the cold is replaced by a burning sensation that can last for minutes.


"Hmm... whoever wrote that left out that it has uses on disloyal lovers." You shudder at the very thought. She in turn chuckles with amusement.

Deadening Curse

A curse that more removes all feeling from the body than it kills or rots. Under such conditions, most would go mad. The curse, however, has no lasting effect, making it a shoe-in for torture usage for a less scrupulous mage, particularly with sensory deprivation techniques. Signs of affliction should be obvious: you won't feel a thing.


"My, they get a gold star... Most don't recognize the uses of such a simple curse." You're starting to get an idea of the kind of mage your stalker is, and it's not a comforting thought. For all you know, Kasen was cursed by her or something.

Mummy Rot

Contrary to popular belief, mummies are not likely to rise in hoards. They refer to themselves as "Arisen," much like vampires use the term "Kindred". Not a topic of much importance to us, but it's good to at least have basic information when dealing with curses like this. In all likelihood, if you manage to catch such a thing, you're out of luck. I say catch, as it's a disease. A magic disease that has a 24 hour incubation period, and after that, well... you aren't likely to get rid of it. It's one part curse and one part disease, and after incubation, both parts have to be dealt with, in that order. Before, all that needs be done is to treat the disease. Still, don't anger any Arisen and you'll be fine. Failing that, stay well out of reach.


Surprisingly, Seiga has no comment. The quiet is nice.

Slow Rot

One of the least painful rotting curses. It's difficult to actually detect early, as all you tend to see is bruising till late in the curse. However, it's typical to notice something is wrong once an entire limb is bruised. Simple to remove, but with detection so difficult, one typically doesn't remove it until a lot of damage is already done.


You can practically hear the grin from over your shoulder as she says, "Ohh, now that's a fun one. If placed well, you can cause serious damage." You simply sigh in response as you begin looking up the next one. "My, my, Kasen now? You know, I'd know more about her then some general knowledge database."

"Yeah, but I know I can trust it."

"I am quite trustworthy."

"You threw blood at me."

"And?"

"And have been stalking me."

"It has been quite an entertaining day, too~"

"And drop innuendos like they're going out of style."

"Well, I must keep them relevant~ It would be a shame if they did, don't you think?" She titters a bit.

You just grumble a bit, getting on with it.

Ibaraki "Oni" Kasen

Not a figure of much note, though she has an odd curse on her right arm that causes it to rot, but is very defensive about letting others see it. Specializes in flower manipulation and martial arts, and is a force to be reckoned with in hand to hand.


"See? It didn't even tell you her cup size~"

You just sigh. Your face can't get any redder at this point.

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

Right hand feels like you punched a brick wall.
Left 10th rib is broken, and you're missing some skin over the area.

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 107

On hand

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

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

Look up "Plow Seiga"?

[ ] Yes
[ ] No
No. 192443
That picture is perfect.

But alas, unless it involves beating Seiga swords into plowshares, then I don't know what this would be useful for. At least besides making her titter even more.

[x] No
No. 192445
[X] No

The best it could do is catch her off guard for a second, then Harmon would have to brace for 1000 years of titter.
No. 192446
>>192445

...Is Seiga related to the Sarlacc or something?
No. 192447
[X] No
-[X] Look up "Magical Girl Seiga" instead
Crude jokes can only go so far.
No. 192448
>>192446

Are you saying she digests people through laughter?
No. 192451
>>192448
If anything is like a sarlacc, its her cleavage.
No. 192452
>>192451

If Boba Fett climbs out, I'm sure we'll have gone insane.
No. 192453
File 147894872661.png- (313.04KB , 584x609 , dinner bath or boba fett.png ) [iqdb]
192453
>>192452
canon
No. 192459
File 147899087486.png- (878.07KB , 850x1133 , Itsatrap.png ) [iqdb]
192459
[-i+1-] No

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

Your face screws up just a bit, but you bite your tongue. She, of course, notices quite well, what with her chin being on your shoulder. "My, what's this~? Someone's bleeding..."

Ohh.

Great, she somehow noticed in the creepiest way possible.

"What are you, a shark?" Just sidetrack. Can't let her know you stooped to her level of humor for a second.

"My, first I was a dog and now a shark? How indecisive~"

"Well, you did steal my meatball."

"Why, I'd never steal from you." Bullsh— "I don't steal; I take... Stealing implies a care for if the act is found out after all~" She grins just a bit with amusement at the way you shudder. That throws you for a loop, and she knows it.

After finally collecting your thoughts, you ask, "What, so you're a corrupt tax collector?"

"No, no. Hardly such a grandiose role as that; I merely take what I need."

You give her an odd look, having to rear back your head to avoid her nose, though they're only just not touching. "You need a meatba—"

She pecks you.

"Dork."

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

[ ] What
-[ ] Why
--[ ] Who
---[ ] Where
----[ ] When
[ ] Write-in

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

>>192453

You're awesome.
No. 192462
There is only one reaction that can be had.

[x] PANIC PANIC
[x] THIS IS THE FIRST STAGE OF SOME SORT OF CURSE
[x] DEFEND YOURSELF
No. 192463
>>192459
[X] What
-[X] Why

[X] Panic
-[X] Internally

The hell is wrong with this woman, does Harmon secretly have Kusanagi tucked inside his trousers.
No. 192464
[X] What
-[X] Why

[X] Panic
-[X] Only a little
No. 192465
[X] Panic
-[X] Internally
-[X] Externally
No. 192467
>>192463

What would he even need a sword fo— Ohhhhh.
No. 192468
File 147905538050.jpg- (239.91KB , 850x1203 , You dork.jpg ) [iqdb]
192468
[-j+1-] Panic
-[-j+1-] Internally
--[-j+1-] What
---[-j+1-] Why

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

Your heart speeds up, going from fast to faster, hard to harder and confusion turns to fear. You swallow that feat, however. You just have to play it cool. "What was that for...?"

Wrapping her arms around your chest from behind, she idly traces what little muscle there is worth tracing. "Because you're a dork." Well, obviously— No, don't fall for it! "But..." Here it comes... Something horrible. She'll turn out to be a Technocrat about the stab you with her pipe or a Youkai wanting your soul or a Fetch come to take you or a vampire wanting to— "You're my dork."

Your blood runs cold. "What do you mean by that...?"

"Why, isn't it simple~?" She traces your jawline with a nail.

"Not really..." Your jaw tenses.

"I fell for you when first I heard of you..." She smiles warmly. Certainly warmer than the smirks and grins and—

Wait...

"Why do you know of me...?"

"Why, a little birdie spoke of you~" The Youkai...! Dammit, he betra— "She seemed to know you like the back of her hand, too... Almost like family, if I had to say~"

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

[ ] WHO
-[ ] WHERE
--[ ] WHEN
[ ] Write-in
No. 192469
[X] WHO
-[X] WHERE
--[X] WHEN
No. 192471
[x] WHO
-[x] WHERE
--[x] WHEN
---[x] HOW
----[X] WHY

[x] PANIC
-[x] SHE WANTS TO MAKE YOU A PET
--[X] OR SOMETHING WORSE
No. 192472
[x] WHO
-[x] WHERE
--[x] WHEN
---[x] HOW
----[X] WHY

[x] PANIC
-[x] SHE WANTS TO MAKE YOU A PET
--[X] OR SOMETHING WORSE

Let's hope it's not 'Wriggle 2.0: now with boobs'
No. 192473
File 147908414877.jpg- (231.86KB , 1200x1400 , harmon is on the right btw.jpg ) [iqdb]
192473
>>192472

Oh no...

We're going full Space Jin
No. 192474
File 147908707656.jpg- (275.67KB , 750x1000 , Swan song.jpg ) [iqdb]
192474
>>192473

No, no, obviously this is a story all about Mystia wanting one last bad end.
No. 192475
>>192473
Looked it up.

Legs status: clenched firmly around testes
No. 192476
>>192475

Don't add Remilia to the search~
No. 192477
>>192474

You forgot the knife.
No. 192479
[x] WHO
-[x] WHERE
--[x] WHEN
---[x] HOW
----[X] WHY

[x] PANIC
-[x] SHE WANTS TO MAKE YOU A PET
--[X] OR SOMETHING WORSE
No. 192485
File 147915467130.jpg- (321.36KB , 549x703 , On the cheek ON THE CHEEK.jpg ) [iqdb]
192485
[k+1] PANIC
-[k+1] SHE WANTS TO MAKE YOU A PET
--[k+1] OR SOMETHING WORSE
[k+1] WHO
-[k+1] WHERE
--[k+1] WHEN
---[k+1] HOW
----[k+1] WHY


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

You swallow the building dread; the lump in your throat. She has you in her clutches. Literally; you're in her arms, and if she's...

You swallow again, knowing that if she's a Youkai, you're screwed twice over. What's more, she knows a sibling of yours. There's only four possibilities, and three vanished without a trace. She looks a lot like Merlin, likes to tease you a lot like Merlin.

At least Merlin didn't kiss your lips, but what if...

You take a deep breath to steady yourself, your voice quiet. You're trying very hard to not show any signs of the worry, of the fear, but when faced with a potential twist in your search like this, who wouldn't be afraid? Something like this could end any hope you have of finding Layla. End any hope you have period. Rikako was lucky that she was found, but who would even know you vanished? "Who?"

"Why, that's a question I know not the answer to~" Smirking with amusement, she adds, "However, I do know what they chose to go by. The name was not unlike yours, little Harmony." You don't even grumble. You're far too afraid right now to do anything but await her to continue. "After all, musicians do enjoy such terminology."

You swallow your fear a bit, if only to move it along. "Get on with it, Seiga..."

"Now, now; you act like I'm about to kill you~ I have no such plans, you dork~" You decide to calm down a bit. If she is a Youkai, that's at least a slight guarantee of living if nothing else. "As for her name, well... it's a little odd. TwoStringSnake."

Odd... You don't remember anyone with such a name... The only person it might be is Lunasa, and the snake part is hardly like her. "Where did you find her...?"

"Ohh, I didn't~ She found me!"

Odd... "When?"

"Why, two days ago, right before Kasen sent her little message to me~"

"How did I guess you were the one that sent it." You grumble a bit, starting to calm back down. Too honest to be a Youkai, let alone a Keeper out for you. Plus, if a Fetch, this'd be a really convoluted way to nab you. "Wait, why send it to me?"

"Because she requested it~ Even knew where to send it." Great, two stalkers. And this one knew your email.

Wait, that doesn't explain how it was up when you woke up...

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

Right hand feels like you punched a brick wall.
Left 10th rib is broken, and you're missing some skin over the area.

Shanxi Type 17 "Broomhandle"
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 107

On hand

Phlogiston Pistol
Loaded: 10/10
Total Ammo: 110

Aether Rifle
Loaded: 100%
Remaining Canisters: 20

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

[ ] "Where are my sisters?!"
[ ] "Who else knows of me?!"
[ ] "Where did you get contacted by this person?!"
-[ ] "Is it safe?!"
[ ] "Did you leave that note in my pocket?!"
[ ] "Who are you working for?!"
[ ] "What are you?!"
[ ] "Who is your daddy and what does he do?!"
[ ] Write-in

[Z] Ask a question to Luminous or I
No. 192486
[X] "Where are my sisters?!"
[X] "What are you?!"

Harmon -> Harmony

Ok, im confirmed to be braindead for not seeing this.
No. 192487
[X] "Who else knows of me?!"
[X] "Who are you working for?!"
No. 192488
>>192486

Also, the older brother as well.

Harold -> Herald
No. 192490
>>192488

Huh. Didn't even realize that...
No. 192491
[x] "Where are my sisters?!"
[x] "What are you?!"
[x] "Who are you working for?!"
No. 192503
File 147923384179.jpg- (240.73KB , 850x1200 , I found the good images!.jpg ) [iqdb]
192503
[x] "Where are my sisters?!"
[x] "What are you?!"
[x] "Who are you working for?!"


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

"Sisters? My, I didn't realize your parents were so proactive..." She chuckles a bit, earning a shudder. You never wanted to think the thoughts she just put in your head.

"What even are you?" You glare at her, though you're having trouble looking serious with the way she's simply snuggling you with her chin on your shoulder.

"Why, what do you think?" She chuckles a bit.

"You're... ...Err..." You consider that question a moment, and really only one certain answer pops up. "...Irritating."

"Well, at least he's honest..." She shakes with a titter. "Although, is that truly the answer you want?" She's grinning from where her chin rests.

You grumble, as you don't feel like you're asking the right questions. "Who are you working for?!"

"Why, who do you think?" You give her a dry look, earning a bit of a pout. "Spoil sport." She taps her lip a bit. "I suppose it could be said that I work towards what interests me? Allies are fleeting, friends rarely last..." She chuckles, a fond smile touching her lips. "Although, I've yet to chase off Kasen~ She's a stubborn one, that girl."

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

[ ] She's a Youkai.
[ ] She's human.
-[ ] A mage.
-[ ] A sennin, whatever that is.
[ ] What is she...?
-[ ] Write-in
No. 192505
[x] She's human.
-[x] A sennin, whatever that is.

[x] What 'interests you' exactly?

We know absolutely nothing about her motives.
No. 192507
[x] Does it matter? She doesn't care about the Consensus by her obvious magical casting. She has the personality of a Youkai that seems to have been blended with that of a tease, but there's no telling how serious either.
-[x] It doesn't matter what right now. It matters what she is not.
-[x] If she is not joking, she can be a help. If she knows where your sisters are...
--[x] You can tolerate that.

[x] What 'interests you' exactly?
No. 192508
[x] She's human.
-[x] A sennin, whatever that is.

[x] What 'interests you' exactly?
No. 192511
File 147926924087.jpg- (168.17KB , 1280x960 , harmon's inevitable family reunion.jpg ) [iqdb]
192511
No. 192512
>>192511
Hey, it's Mister Roger's Neighborhood!
No. 192513
File 147928244027.gif- (0.99MB , 193x211 , You're fun.gif ) [iqdb]
192513
>>192511

What are the odds of that?
No. 192516
File 147930809339.png- (166.63KB , 500x595 , Dooooork.png ) [iqdb]
192516
Next thread: >>192515


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