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File 149114997728.jpg - (1.69MB, 2560x1600, Where You Start.jpg) [iqdb]
195704
This probably won't be too long since I want to be able to finish this instead of letting it fade, so here it is. My first CYOA.

<hr>

Heat.

Sun.

A pricking sensation at your soles.

Grass.

Something brushing against your skin.

No harm being done, no other sounds apart from rustling. Leaves. Crisp. Close to falling. You can feel a few crunch underneath your soles..

It’s autumn.

Birds, and that’s it. The chirping. No other background noise.

Then, there’s the nothingness before you.

No, you are one-hundred percent sure that you are in a forest, The sensations on your bare feet, skin and the clean air tells you that much.

Once upon a time you might have walked through this place and described it as being a myriad of colors, ranging from red, yellow and orange for the leaves, shades of brown for the trees and grass as green as you can describe, but now you don’t.

Rather you can’t. That doesn’t stop you from walking.

You can no longer feel leaves brushing against you or crunching underneath your feet, and the grass has begun to gradually shift to something fine, dusty, a little rocky.

A well-worn path.

You can still hear birds, but the sounds are rather faint now. In the distance, you hear something very slight. Almost imperceptible to anyone who hasn’t gotten used to listening for the tiniest of sounds like you have.

Chatter. Lots of it.

A village is nearby.

You quicken your pace, wooden staff held firmly and forward. You have been walking for a very long time now. You’ve been surviving off what little supplies you could buy from the last settlement you’ve been to, but the strange aftertaste tells you that it won’t last for much longer.

You got lucky and stumbled upon a clear spring that you used to refill the pouch at your side, but it won’t last for much longer.

You don’t wince anymore when you step over some stones in the path, but you make it a point to be more cautious with your steps. Your feet are callused from being barefoot for so long, but that offers little protection compared to shoes, slippers, sandals or geta that you don’t have.

Every now and then the sound of chatter changes. It gets quieter in some parts of you walk but gets louder in others. Sometimes you pick up other sounds, ones you are not quite sure of, but you focus on the sound of civilization.

You want to run. Sling your staff unto the pack on your back and run straight for the chatter, but you remember what had happened the last time you strayed from a path.

You can still feel the scars.

Eventually, your rod taps against something. It sounds too hollow to be a stone and cannot be a rise in the path since it actually makes a sound. It feels like wood with a thin layer of paint. A house. A brisk walk around the area tell you that this house is isolated.

The sounds of chatter are close but still rather far.

Outskirts of the village, most likely.

You make your way back in the general direction of the house until you come upon one of the walls. From there you circle around until you feel metallic hinges, slightly rusted.

A door. You knock.

Silence.

You knock again.

This time, the sound of footsteps, loud and likely irritated, come from within the house. You think you can also hear some grumbling when the door is thrown open.

The grumbling ceases and the owner is silent for a while, likely taken aback by your sudden appearance, before she finally speaks.

“What?”

It’s clear that she’s annoyed.

[] Ask her how to reach the Village

[] Ask her if she can spare any supplies. You still have some money, but not much.

[] Ask her if you can come in and rest for a while.
[X] Ask her how to reach the Village
[X] Ask her how to reach the Village

Being so close to a village kinda removes any point in considering the other choices.
>>195710
Right. I should have been clearer. Sorry.

To clarify, the house you're at is still quite far from the village and, as mentioned earlier, the food you had with you started to go bad, so there's something to asking her if you can have some supplies (food). You've also been walking for a very long time so some rest isn't out of the question.

I'll try to be more specific next time so we can avoid corrections like these. Thank you for pointing it out though.
>>195708
Add [X]Ask for supplies
[] Ask her how to reach the Village
>>195711

That just makes it even more confusing. How can it be "quite far" if he can hear the chatter of civilization? Even if we triple the normal human hearing range to account for this dude's exceptionally sharp hearing, that would still put the village at less than a kilometer away. If we compare that to the length and distance one has to travail for food to spoil, there's absolutely no way the village can be "quite far".
File 149116377331.png - (411.05KB, 420x700, Who You Can't See.png) [iqdb]
195718
[X] Ask her how to reach the Village

“Sorry to bother you, miss,” you say. “I was hoping you could guide me to the village?”

“No.” She slams the door in your face. The sound and the rush of wind made that obvious.

Well, if there’s one thing experience has taught you, it’s that you won’t get anywhere without a little persistence. You knock again.

The girl throws her door open again. “Look, if you think I’m gonna give the time of the day to some stranger like you, then all I can say is ‘go fuck yourself’. Leave.”

You stand there for a moment, mulling over her hostile response. Your best guess is that she is glaring at your right now, but you can’t be too sure. You are sure, however, that she isn’t pointing any weapons at you since you can’t feel anything sharp poking you or hear the ‘click’ of a hammer being cocked.

“I’ll leave you be if you can simply guide me towards the village,” you insist.

You can hear the girl stammer before she recomposes herself and begins her tirade.

“It’s right there you moron!” she shouts. “Over there! Collection of houses! Flashes of light! How can you be missing all this!”

You assume that she is gesturing wildly towards the direction of the village. You merely stand there, acknowledging the girl as she heaves and sighs in frustration.

You then lean forward.

“Forgive me for bothering you, miss, but I was hoping you could guide me to the village.”

You open your eyes a little wider, as if to stare at her, when she sighs in frustration.

“...So that’s how it is.” Good. She noticed.

You stand there for several seconds as you listen to the girl calm herself with some deep breathing. You imagine her face is heavily flushed from the shouting that she did. After a while, she storms back into her house, lack of a loud bang indicating that she left the door open, and returns shortly after what sounds as though she was rummaging around inside. The flapping of fabric in the breeze tells you that she perhaps fetched a traveling cloak.

Her door shuts with a light sound and she roughly grabs your hand and begins walking.

“I’ll take you as far as the first few houses, but after that, you’re on your own. Got it?”

“Thank you kindly, miss?”

The girl hesitates before she replies.

“...Sekibanki. Just Sekibanki.”

“Thank you then, Sekibanki.”

You note that her pace is brisk and her grip is surprisingly tight. If she was annoyed at your appearance at her door, you can easily guess that she’s more annoyed at the idea of going to the village.

Lived alone away from the village.

Rude first impression.

A loner, maybe? That much should be obvious, but you can’t help but wonder if you detected a small trace of sympathy in her voice when she took note of your predicament.

You maintain that brisk pace for several minutes. Past the sound of you and Sekibanki’s steps scuffing against the path, you note that the sounds you heard from the village have quieted-down immensely.

Sekibanki mentioned flashes of light in the village. A festival of some sort?

“What are you doing here.”

“Hm?” you wait for her to elaborate as the two of you continue speed-walking.

“I’ve never seen you before,” she explains. “I hate going to the village but I can remember most of the people living there. You’re not one of them. What are you doing here?”

“Nothing.” That’s the honest truth. “I heard a village and stumbled upon your house.”

You feel her slow to a halt and stop yourself before you can walk into her. You can feel her breath as she leans in and closely examines your facial features. You feel a tug as she examines the worn-out shirt you wear under your traveling cloak. You feel her circle around you and peer into the contents of your slightly-empty pack.

Oh, how you wished you bothered to feel the bread before tasting the mold. A perfectly good loaf. Wasted. Molding somewhere on the forest floor, where you threw it.

Sekibanki grabs your hand again and resumes the brisk speed-walk to the village. You can hear her grumbling something along the lines of “great. Another outsider.”

No more words are exchanged between the two of you until you finally reach the village nearly an hour later. You have to wonder how Sekibanki manages, living so far from the village and all, but that’s not your main concern at the moment.

Your main concern is the sound of a struggle and of multiple projectiles bouncing off whatever surface makes a noise when they impact. You note that the only sounds that tell you that other people are in the immediate vicinity are grunts of exertion from a small group, and not the sounds you heard earlier during that festival(?) Sekibanki mentioned. You step on something that you think might be splintered wood when Sekibanki comes to a halt.

“Duck.”

[] What?

[] Uh… Okay?

[] Use the Force! (Your staff) (Sorry. Couldn’t resist!)
[X] Uh… Okay?

If she's offering guidance, probably best to take it.
Lacking both visual cues and the audio cue of voice intonation, I can only assume she's referring to the waterfowl version of duck.

[X] What?
[X] Uh… Okay?
[X] Uh… Okay?
[X] Uh… Okay?
[X] Uh… Okay?
[x] Uh… Okay?

If the scary lady says 'jump' you say 'how high'?
[X] Uh… Okay?

You immediately duck, as Sekibanki suggested, and feel multiple projectiles graze your hair as they shoot over your head.

You make a mental note to thank Sekibanki for this later.

“Fuck!”

Preferably after she cools down. Sounds like she wasn’t so successful ducking.

The sound of fighting swiftly dies down and you can hear one person, a young-sounding girl, scream in panic.

“Holy crap Reisen! You killed a villager! Reimu’s gonna kill us!”

“You mean she’s gonna kill you!” Reisen counters. “If anyone killed her it’s gotta be you!”

The two continue to toss accusations at each other while you stand there, wondering what the hell happened to Sekibanki, when the sound of skulls being smashed together catches your attention, followed by pained groans.

“Calm down you two,” a third, slightly more mature voice commands. “She’s a Dullahan. Her head’s supposed to come off like that.”

Waitwhat

“Excuse me?” you say, “what’s this about her head?”

Nobody replies. You think they must be staring at you for some odd reason or that they froze because their conversation about HEADS COMING OFF was made in your presence. You can imagine the look on their faces—

Hold on. Something just rolled to a stop at your feet and you can hear their breath hitch.

Then your breath hitches when you remember that someone’s head ‘came off’.

Morbid curiosity makes you bend down, feeling around until your hands come upon something soft and warm, which you pick up. You run your hands over it for a moment as you contemplate just what it is you’re about to discover.

Soft. Warm. Smooth.

Almost feels like skin.

Fingers slip through. Something hard, a little moist, and something you recognize.

Teeth.

Brushing sensation on the hand that holds it. You investigate. Long, silky.

Hair.

Then your hands feel something wetter. You linger there for a bit and when you bring a hand up a coppery smell greets you.

Blood.

“What exactly am I holding here?”

It feels like a head. Weighs about as much. Feels like one. Makes you want to run knowing what you’ve got in your hands but you’re more likely to crash through a wall than to successfully ‘nope’ your way out of there.

“Well,” says the young voice. “Er… How do I put this?”

That other voice, the one belonging to Reisen takes over. “You’re holding her he—”

“NOTHING.”

Something grabs the not-head from you as Sekibanki interrupts. “That was nothing.”

You decide to ignore the thought that that voice sounded like it came from you, from that not-head you were carrying.

You hear someone slowly approach you and turn to the source of the footsteps. You imagine that whoever it is might be flinching, since by the sound of things Sekibanki getting injured would’ve caused a lot of trouble.

“So, um… yeah…” The young voice. “I—”

She pauses.

“We would appreciate if you wouldn’t, you know, report all this to Reimu,” she says. “Most of the other villagers moved to the other part of the village so they won’t say anything either, but…”

You process her words for a moment before you speak.

“Who’s Reimu?”

“Eh?” Young voice.

“Huh?” Reisen and that other voice.

Sekibanki just sighs.

“He’s an outsider.”

From the three ladies comes sounds of understanding. You’re not all that sure of how you feel about being labeled ‘outsider’ as if you were a whole different race or species. You’re sure that you’re just like everyone else here. Probably.

Wait. Could it be—

“Well! Now that everything’s been settled, can I offer you some quality medicine. Good sir?”

...Reisen just tried to make a sale pitch.

“I don’t plan on staying long,” you say as you turn to walk away. You've dealt with this sort of thing before and you have no desire to deal with it again anytime soon. Also, if your guess is correct, then you should really—

“All the more reason to buy something!” God, she’s persistent. She’s even grabbed your arm. “Surely a traveler such as yourself would need some supplies for the road!”

“Don’t listen to her!” The young voice again. “How about I set you up with a nice potion? Guaranteed to make you stronger than the average person!”

Oh, God another sale pitch.

You turn to where you last heard Sekibanki’s voice from and muster up the most pleading expression you remember how to make. Unfortunately you hear her sigh from much further than you did earlier. Is she walking away?

“Don’t buy anything from Marisa! Eientei guarantees the quality of every product we sell!” What the hell is Eientei?! “Also, none of our products have any of the side-effects that junkie’s sludge is known for!”

“I am NOT a junkie and that ‘sludge’ is a Kirisame Magic Shop specialty!”

You take a moment to back away from the squabble when you lightly bump into someone and…

...Holy shit that is soft.

“Sorry,” you say as you step away. Marisa and Reisen are still arguing somewhere near you.

“It’s fine. I’m sorry you had to get caught up in this.” That slightly more mature voice from earlier. She sounds reassuring. “Keine Kamishirasawa. I’m the local teacher”

You assume that she held up her hand for a shake but given that you don’t know where her hand is and you don’t want to risk grabbing something softer, you opt to bow instead as you introduce yourself.

+++

[] Name Suggestion

I'll just put this here while I deal with some things.

However, if there's no consensus on the name, then you can opt to go without one. Won't affect the story, just the narrative.
[x] The amnesia option
>>195743
Sure, why not.

[x] The amnesia option
Finally, everything is coming together. Blindness, hearing things from miles away, everything!

[X] Itachi Uchiha
[Nameless option]
[x] Irving Washington

Tired of Japanese names. Also, I liked how he avoided the chest grabbing cliche.
[x] Nameless option.
[X] Itachi Uchiha

Eh, I like this one.
[x] Irving Washington

Sounds fine to me.
[x] Nameless
[ze] Itachi Uchiha

Sure, why not.
[x] Irving Washington

No chuuni Japanese names please.
[x] Irving Washington

Countervoting the terrible narutard option
[x] Hiro Hakurei

because why not
[x] Irving Washington

I like this.
[x] Irving Washington

Patriotic!
[X] Roy L. Enfield.

Also I've just realized we're blind. Damn I'm slow.
Hi. Anon here for a short update. So far we've got:

Irving Washington - 6 votes
Itachi Uchiha - 3 votes
Hiro Hakurei - 1 vote
Roy L. Enfield - 1 vote I see what you did there. I'd like to own one too.

Nameless Option - 1 vote

So I'm going to ask now if you guys are okay with your name being Irving Washington or if you all want to make some more suggestions.

[] Go with Wash
[] Vote more
[x] Go with Wash
A nice name and a nice reference.
[X] Go with Wash
[x] Go with Wash

Man that situation dissolved quickly.
[X] Go with Wash
[X] Go with Wash
I'd rather stick with Enfield, but Wash is fine too.

[X] Go with Wash
[x] Go with Wash

>Itachi Uchiha
Fucking hell you guys, I laughed heartily.
[X] Irving Washington

You open your mouth to speak but find the words dying before they can even enter your thought process. It feels as though it’s right there, nagging at you. Knocking on the walls from a room with no doors or windows.

You try to speak your name again but find it much harder to recall than you should, and that unnerves you.

“I’m…”

You’ve straightened up. You can feel your face contorting into a puzzled expression as you wrack the depths of your mind for information. Who are you? What were you supposed to do?

Everything way back is… hazy. You can recall parts of your childhood, but you inwardly panic at how suddenly hard it has become. You can recall your most recent memory. Waking up one morning from the base of a tree from where you rested. You reached into your bag, tasted moldy bread, and threw it away. From there you recall walking. Walking, walking and more walking until the faint sound of what was now undoubtedly a large fight in the distance.

And so, here you are.

“Hey.” Keine lays a gentle hand on your shoulder. She sounds concerned. “Are you okay? You’ve been like that for five minutes now.”

Oh, has it been that long? “It’s… It’s nothing,” you assure her as your name, after five minutes of deliberation, apparently, comes to you. “Washington. Irving Washington. That’s my name.”

“Oh! A foreigner then?” she asks, intrigued.

You can feel her lean in closer. She’s examining you, trying to discern any noticeable differences in your features from hers. You eyes notwithstanding, nothing really strikes as odd. After all, you’re…

Huh…



...half! Half-something.



..ah, nevermind. It’ll come back to you later.

Speaking of your eyes, you swear you can feel Keine linger on those for much longer than she did the rest of your face.

“You’re—”

“Perfect!”

You turn to the sound just now and can hear the clinking of small glass bottles.

“We’ll have the new guy see who’s product is the best!” Reisen then shoves a glass phial into you have.

Holy shit. They’re still at it.

“Try this one, sir!” she beams, “our patented health drink! Guaranteed to take any fatigue out of your—hey!”

The glass phial is suddenly torn from your hand. You initially assume Marisa to be the culprit until Keine, suddenly sounding very stern and annoyed, speaks.

“So you can give Mister Washington—”

“Just Wash is fine.”

“—Wash here a free bottle of medicine, but you can’t sell to the entire village in the middle of the flu season?!”

“W-Well! It’s just one bottle!” Reisen protests. “Even if I want to I can’t risk completely running out of what little stock we have left! Eirin’s not available to make any more!”

“And why can’t she just leave instructions for you and the Earth Rabbits to make any more?!”

“They're rabbits led by Tewi. Why else?”

As the two continue to argue about Reisen’s inventory—you assume she runs some sort of pharmacy—you cannot help but wonder if this is what all that commotion you heard earlier was about. Supply and demand problems complicated by a competitive market environment.

Truly, this place frightens you. You don't even know what those projectiles they nearly shot your head with were.

Despite not knowing your way around, you figure you’d better find Sekibanki and thank her for bringing you this far and for that helpful advice that seemed to do her no good but saved you from getting shot in the face.

You’ve still got some money. Maybe you’ll buy her a drink. Sit down. Talk a bit. Take a sip of the local flavor.

Speaking of which Marisa just shoved another glass phial into your open hand.

“...Really? You two are really gonna go through with this?”

She says nothing but the quiet rustle of fabric tells you that she shrugged. The two of you stand there in further silence as Reisen and Keine’s argument gets more heated when your spine tingles as Marisa steps closer to you.

You know this feeling. The intensity standing before you. Boring into your soul and proclaiming that you shall be punished if you will not concede. This familiar feeling that you’ve witnessed many men fall prey to, before and after you recieved your handicap.

She’s trying to give you the cute look.

“Nice try,” you say, gesturing to your eyes.

“Dammit!” she says, finally catching on to your 'condition'. “Just try it please? It’s not every day I get to sell potions like these!”

She goes on to elaborate the nature of the potion market in this particular village. Normally, Eientei, a clinic and Reisen’s home, dominate the market because of how ridiculously effective their products are, a result only achievable thanks to Reisen’s master, Eirin. Marisa tells you that she’s a medical genius, then corrects herself and says she’s a genius in general.

Unfortunately, most of Eientei’s work force is unreliable due to 'various reasons' (you hear her mention someone names 'Tewi?'). As a result, Eirin usually handles the medicine-making, but Eirin is, according to Reisen, ‘unavailable’ and has been before she could finish the new batch of medicine. As a result, Reisen’s been having to deal with a supply shortage.

“It’s the middle of flu season too, so normally everyone would want to buy Eientei’s medicine—”

“I’m not selling any more until Eirin comes back!”

“—but Reisen refuses to sell because their remaining stock will get depleted. Keine didn’t take it very well—”

“Oh, yes you will, you horny little furball!” ...what kind of an insult is that? Was that the sound of an explosion?!

“—since she’s real protective of all the villagers.”

A sound that reminds you of a series of explosions goes off behind you.

“Maybe I’ll just buy from Marisa then!”

“Oh no you don’t cow-tits! Not from THAT runt!”

You can almost feel Marisa’s killing intent leaking out at the insult, but she does a surprisingly good job at maintaining her composure. If you could see, you’d bet she’d be twitching.

“Then you tried to move in on the market and Reisen didn’t take that well?” you ask. “Is that what that noise from earlier was about?”

Marisa sighs. “Pretty much. Arguments get really heated around these parts,” she admits. “Look, could you please just try my potion? You’d be doing be a huge favor here if all goes well.”

“And what of these ‘side-effects’ Reisen mentioned?”

“Oh, that’s nothing.” For some reason, Marisa’s sudden confident tone worries you more than the sound of projectiles being fired behind you. “For this potion, which sharpens your memory, you’ll be blind for, let's see, roughly a few days at most?” Why does that sound like a question? “Anyway, you’re already in that boat ‘till you die, so what do you have left to lose?”

You can imagine just how much she’s smiling at her own logic. Truth be told you have very bad memories about the last time someone asked you to try something like this, but then it occurs to you that you’re having trouble remembering it.

Actually you’ve been having a lot of problems with your memory as of late. You can’t really be sure of when it started, but it’s gotten harder for you to recall things that should be easy, such as when you paused while introducing yourself to Keine.

Marisa’s pitch suddenly does not seem so foreboding anymore. You want to get rid of this problem with your memories, so this potion does not seem like such a bad idea. And, according to her, you’re already going through one of the side-effects on a permanent basis, so you really don't have much to lose, but at the same time you can’t help but notice the strange odor given off by the contents of the phial.

To drink?

Or not to drink?



...

You know what? What the hell.

“Bottom’s up, I guess.” You can already imagine Marisa beaming at your decision.

You unscrew the phial as Keine and Reisen continue to duke it out around you. Based on the loud cursing, you think that Sekibanki might have been nearby and caught in the crossfire.

You bring the phial to your lips, making sure that you’re not gonna spill any because you positioned it wrong (again), and take a si—

...

...

...

...

...

+++

You feel your eyelids flutter open but the nothingness doesn’t change.

Your head is pounding, and being pierced, and probably melted on the side. You’re not too sure.

Your body feels kinda numb, like the numb you get when you’ve been in a cold place for too long and your fingertips feel funny, but not a frostbite-inducing numbness.

In fact, you feel a little...

[] Violated

[] Sore

[] Cold
[X] Cold
[x] Violated

What the fuck
[X] Cold

Violated is a very strong word.
>>195808
There was supposed to be a strikethrough but I guess I didn't put it in properly. My bad.

Anyway, let's try this again.

+++

You feel your eyelids flutter open but the nothingness doesn’t change.

Your head is pounding, and being pierced, and probably melted on the side. You’re not too sure.

Your body feels kinda numb, like the numb you get when you’ve been in a cold place for too long and your fingertips feel funny, but not a frostbite-inducing numbness.

In fact, you feel a little...

[] Violated (Stop rubbing my chest, dammit.)

[] Sore (Why am I buried in books?)

[] Cold (Who's drawing on my face?!)
>>195809
Welp, context matters a lot. Thought we were describing the subjective experience of the mystery drug.

Well, my vote remains

[X] Cold
[x] Sore

Thanks now I need to watch Chen no gensokyou odo or whatever
[X] Violated (Stop rubbing my chest, dammit.)
[X] Cold
[X] Cold
[X]Cold
[X] Cold
[x] Sore
[X] Sore
File 149136161752.png - (482.15KB, 713x1806, heavy reading.png) [iqdb]
195825
[x] Sore (Why am I buried in books?)

Books!
[x] Sore (Why am I buried in books?)

I too, would like to know why that is. Cold seems too weird.
File 149138632832.jpg - (114.13KB, 1071x900, What You Wish You Could See.jpg) [iqdb]
195835
[X] Cold

You feel cold.

No, your chest feels cold.

You face feels slightly damp. You wonder why until something wet and bristly touches your face and moves in a circle around your left eye.

Your hand moves swiftly and seizes the wrist of the person painting your face, eliciting a high-pitched “Eep!”

Hmm… Too high to be Marisa.

Your other hand reaches out and follows the length of the wrist until you reach a small shoulder. You move your hand, the one grasping the wrist, and move it to the other shoulder using your best guess.

Small.

Trembling.

A child?

Cold.

This child is cold. Why is she cold? She should be warm, right? What’s she doing sitting on your chest, making you feel cold, and brushing your face with something wet?

“Where am I?” You rasp.

You guess that you opened your whitened eyes a little too wide, because the child’s trembling intensifies for a second before she tears herself from your grasp and away from you.

No sound of a door opening or closing.

No footsteps.

Through the window, maybe?

Is she still in the room?

No, you decide that were she still in the room, you would have heard shallow breaths. She panicked when you spoke to her, after all. You suppose you’ll just have to…

Have to…





Have to what? What did you have to do?

...

Actually, who are you, again?

No, no, no. Stop for a bit. Think for a bit. What were you doing last?

It was… a drink!

No.

Yes.

Yeah! A potion! One of Marisa’s!

Wait.

Who are you?

You struggle to remember. It’s… somewhere. Hidden. Frustratingly out of your grasp. And yet you can clearly remember Marisa from earlier. It takes effort, though, a lot of effort, but you can pull these thoughts to yourself.

Marisa.

Potion.

Reisen.

Sale pitch.

Keine.

Really soft.

Sekibanki.

Something head-like.

Walking through an autumn forest, the leaves crunching under your bare feet as you use your staff to feel out any obstacles before you.

And yet, your name eludes you. You massage your temples, hoping to stimulate what long-term memory might be lurking under the surface. It now occurs to you that Marisa’s potion… the memory-sharpening potion. That one. It dawns on you that you’ve essentially forgotten everything before meeting Sekibanki.

“Well, shit.”

A sliding door opens off to your side and you jump a little, taken by surprise.

“Oh, you’re awake, Wash!”

Voice. Mature-sounding. Probably Keine.

“Wash?” you mumble.

“That’s what you told me to call you, remember?”

“Not really. No.”

Keine hums a little and sets something down beside you, a tray on a wooden table, by the ‘clacks’. You hear water splashing around a little, followed by a damp cloth being rubbed against your face.

“You’ll have to forgive Cirno. She likes to play jokes on people.”

You’ll be sure to give her your ‘forgiveness’ the next time you meet. Keine continues washing the whatever-it-is off you face for another minute or so before she stops and leaves the cloth in the water.

“How are you feeling?” she places a cup of tea in your hand.

For all your internal struggling not less than a minute ago, you find yourself contemplating the best way to break it to Keine that you’ve forgotten who you are up until earlier in the day. You don’t want to alarm her by implying that you’ve suffered a complete mind wipe, nor do you want to downplay the fact that whatever Marisa fed you has likely messed up your memories.

“I think I forgot myself,” is what you settle on.

Keine is silent.

You don’t know what else to say at this point without stumbling over your words.

It only dawns on you that your wording may have sounded rather insincere, so you open your mouth to elaborate—

“Okay.”





“That’s it?” You’d stare with incredulity, but your eyes.

Seriously, though. You woke up to some cold child drawing on your face and found that you can remember a bunch of names that you’ve only met earlier in the day, but can’t remember your own. It’s a pretty jarring thought, so you thought that, maybe Keine would have a little more… ‘reaction’?

“Oh, don’t get me wrong. That’s a bad thing,” she quickly says, “But not quite as uncommon as you’d expect.”

“What.” The hell?

You hear take a sip from her own cup of tea, then set it down on the table next to the bed you’re on.

“I had my suspicions when we met earlier. Most likely, what happened is that the boundaries between your memories got affected when you crossed the Barrier,” she says. “The boundaries were probably really weak when Marisa had you try her potion, which, if improperly-brewed, would only worsen the… you’re not following, are you.”

“Keine,—it is Keine, right? I appreciate your help. I really do” you say, “But I have no idea what you’re talking about. This is coming from someone who can remember three girls he’s barely met and will never know what they look like, but can’t remember his own name.”

Keine sighs audibly. “First, it’s Irving. Your name is Irving Washington, and you asked me to call you Wash. I think you might be a foreigner.”

You say your name quietly a few times. It doesn’t feel so alien rolling off your tongue, which relieves you. All in all it feels natural. Like it’s always been there, just never on your mind.

“Second. You remember my name, but didn’t remember yours. Can you tell me your earliest memory?”

With some difficulty, you recount your meeting with Sekibanki. You take note of her frustrated sigh when you mention the door-slamming.

“Okay. Here’s what happened. Pay attention,” she says. “The place where you’re at right now? There’s a kind of border—a barrier—that you have to cross. My guess is that you started having problems with your memory around that time. The potion Marisa gave you was supposed to help you remember things, yes?”

You nod.

“She messed up, basically. Made her medicine the wrong way, most likely. Happens when you don’t prepare the ingredients properly. I’d go into the specifics of what exactly is happening inside your head right now, but you probably won’t understand. I’ll say it simply. Marisa’s potion locked up any long-term memories you had before you met Sekibanki.”

Oddly enough, you understand. You nod. You think you’re supposed to feel horrified at the thought of what Marisa ended up doing to you, but it occurs to you that you’ve forgotten if that sort of thing is normal or not.

Doesn’t change the one thought running through your head, though.

“Well, shit.”

+++

Keine left you shortly after so that you could come to terms with the fact that, to you anyway, your whole life prior to being shouted at by Sekibanki is a blank slate in your mind.

You felt as though you should have panicked a little? Then the more you thought about it the duller the whole idea of it seemed to be until it slowly dawned on you that you basically lost over two-thirds of your life experiences. At that point you just decided to sleep off the thought.

Your eyes flutter open again but this time, the shapelessness before you looks a bit darker than earlier.

Night, you guess.

You sit up on the bed and slowly walk around the room, feeling along the walls with your hands and carefully sliding your feet over the floor. It’s a modest room. You feel the bed you were on, a simple mattress on a bare metal frame. There’s the small table next to it and not much else except for an open window along the wall the bed is against.

You settle on something thin. Slightly smooth, small square patterns framed with wood. There’s a much larger wooden frame too.

A sliding door.

Wait.



It’s quiet, but you can here breathes.

No, no. Voices. Those are definitely voices.

You recognize Keine’s voice, but it takes a while for you to place the other one. Sekibanki, you think.

“—arisa’s still trying to figure out where she went wrong, last I checked.” Seki.

“Regardless, it’s best that we take him to Eientei tomorrow.” That was Keine.

Eientei.

Eientei…

Right! Reisen’s home! That clinic.

“We?” Sekibani scoffs. “What makes you think I’m wasting any more time with you two?”

“You came all this way to my house, didn’t you?” Keine’s calm counter causes Sekibanki to sputter a little.

She remains silent after that, but Keine decides to prod.

“What’s bothering you?”

You carefully crouch down and lean yourself closer to the door and press your ear against it.

Sekibanki sighs.

“His name is Washington, right?”

“Irving Washington. Not the other way around.” she says. “Did you know him?”



“Let’s just say he’s the reason I ended up in Gensokyo in the first place.”

+++

Your eyelids flutter open for a third time and the shapelessness is considerably brighter.

The previous day’s incidents notwithstanding, you feel great! Well rested and all that! You actually feel good even knowing that you’ve lost part of your memory!

You remember Keine mentioning Eientei last night while you eavesdropped. You decide to ask her about that.

You feel your way over to the door and slide it open. When you step outside, you...

[] ...are shot in the face

[] ...are tackled and pinned

[] ...are attacked with a stick
[X] ...are shot in the face

I just realized what a kick to the nuts being blind in a world revolving around dodging bright pellets is.
[X] ...are tackled and pinned

Tsk, can't catch a break. At least this should do less damage.
[x] ...are tackled and pinned

This one sounds the least painful.

>>195836

No shit.
[X] ...are shot in the face

If we're biting the bullet anyways, we may as well bite a literal one.
>Let’s just say he’s the reason I ended up in Gensokyo in the first place.”

Oh, shit.

[x] Shot in the face.

Where's your trusty rifle when you need it?
>>195840
Probably back home, where you left it. Last time you tried taking it out you almost shot someone. This was while you were cleaning it. Haven't touched it since.
>>195841
You don't get it, he was trying to disguise a murder as a cleaning accident, but missed. He is secretly an assassin.

Seriously now, I guess I should put him in the "Incompetent MCs" column
[X] ...are shot in the face

I am one with the force, and the force is with me.
>>195842
Of course you missed. For one thing, you're blind. For another, you weren't intentionally aiming at anyone. Finally, your name is not Chirrut.

>>195843
I'd reserve that mantra for the explosive option if I were you. God knows if there were Stormtroopers in Gensokyo even Rumia could take them out easily.
[X] ...are shot in the face
[X] ...are attacked with a stick
[X] ...are shot in the face

No sooner do you take the first step does something smash painfully into your face and sends you on your back. Whatever hit you lands rather roughly on your chest..

You can hear childish laughter coming from deeper within Keine’s house.

“Ha! I’m the strongest!” you hear someone say.

“Get back here ya feckin’ brat!”

...That’s coming from your chest.

“Let’s see who’s laughin’ when I tear yer wings off!”

The apparently talking projectile suddenly lifts itself off your chest.

Against your better judgement, you grab hold of it and can immediately feel it tense.

It struggles against your grip, but you tighten it slightly, eliciting a small whimper.

You struggle a bit, but you remember these feelings in your hands.

Soft. Warm. Smooth.

Definitely feels like skin.

Fingers slip through. Something hard, a little moist, and something you recognize.

Teeth.

A mouth,

Brushing sensation on the hand that holds it. You investigate. Long, silky.

Hair.

Cloth knotted at the back.

A ribbon.

Then your hands feel something wetter. You linger there for a bit and when you bring a hand up a coppery smell greets you.

Blood.

You turn the head around so that it would be facing you. You keep it there, facing you as you contemplate the meaning of this.

“...please forget you ever heard the accent.”

Sekibanki.

You feel underneath again.

Flesh. Clean cut. Bloody, but not dripping.

Sekibanki’s head.

You keep it facing you as you try to comprehend what is happening.





“...I know you can't see me so don’t stare with your eyes like that. It's creepy.”

It's talking.

It spoke in an Irish accent earlier.

It's talking to you now.

Her head.

You do what comes naturally.

”KIIIIEEENE!!!”

A door slams open nearby and frantic footsteps pound on the floorboards and stop abruptly at the doorway of your room.

“What! What happened—oh.”

She’s seen it. She’s seen you on the floor clutching at Sekibanki’s severed head, which still tries to levitate free from your grasp while you lie there.

“So that’s what I forgot to tell you.”

You have no words.

Another set of footsteps, clumsy ones, make their way to you. You can hear it bump into walls and furniture, along with grunts from that same childish voice from earlier.

The footsteps get closer and closer until something grabs Sekibanki’s head from you. In exchange, something small and cold is unceremoniously dumped onto you. You assume that was her body just now.

+++

The young child, Cirno (a fairy, apparently. As if you remember what that’s supposed to be), ran off the moment Sekibanki got her head back on because she was the one responsible for blasting it off and into your face, or so you are told as Keine guides you to a table. You note that, like last time, the bloos on your hands disappeared when Sekibanki reattached her head.

You say nothing. You don’t want to say anything because you want to know just why the hell you were holding Sekibanki’s severed head and why it was still talking to you.

You don’t notice that you’re supposed to kneel at the low table and not sit. You lower yourself to sit, but find no support and promptly fall on your ass.

Keine’s giggling.

You think you can hear Sekibanki chuckling.

Ha ha. Very funny. It still hurts.

You push yourself up and feel for the table. Your hands come upon something soft. Stuffed fabric. Flat and large.

A cushion. You assume this is where you sit or kneel.

“Right,” Keine says, forcing down her laughter. “I know this isn’t the best way to start the day, but I want you to remain calm, and I shall try to answer any questions you have,” she says. “And possibly fill you in on things you should know that I forgot to tell you yesterday. My bad.”

“Sekibanki. Head. Why?” you simply say.

“I’m a Dullahan,” Sekibanki says from your right. “It’s like an Irish headless person, except not dead. Gensokyo, the place we’re in right now, has a lot of things like these.”

“Hence the weird accent from earlier—”

“Shut up. We do not speak about that again. Ever.”

...you can’t help but notice that her voice is coming from much lower than you’d expect her head to be.

“It’s just your head in the table, isn't it? Your body’s getting food or something, isn’t it?”

“Not important.”

Keine claps her hands together once. “Well, as Sekibanki just said, you’re in a place called Gensokyo right now,” she says. “If your selective amnesia permits it, you might recall hearing stories about creatures like fairies and vampires. We have those and more.”

She says this as though she expects you to immediately understand.

Strangely enough, you do.

“Gensokyo was created as a sanctuary for these things—youkai, as they are known locally—so they can keep existing. We’re sealed off from the rest of the world. This is the place you’re at.”

“You're taking this surprisingly well,” Sekibanki says.

“Well it's not as if I remember anything to contradict what I’m hearing,” you say as you gently grope around the table until your fingers brush against a cup of tea, which you take and sip from.

Keine continues her history lesson.

“When I was speaking to you last night, I mentioned a border you had to pass through.” You nod as you bring up the memory from last night. It's very recent, so it's easier to bring up than, say, your first thoughts when you discovered Sekibanki’s house while walking.

Did you even think much of it then?

“That border is the Great Hakurei Barrier,” Keine says. “It keeps Gensokyo sealed off from the rest of the world by manipulating the boundaries of reality.”

...

You sip your tea.

“Look, Keine here can go in and on about the specifics of everything here, but I'm not feeling very patient today.” Sekibanki takes a loud slurp from her tea. “So I'll put it simply. It’s like this: if something exists and it has an opposite, which is pretty much everything, it has a boundary. Gensokyo is on the other end of the ‘here/not here’ boundary as far as the outside world is concerned. The Barrier does that.”

You take a moment to process the information the best you can.

This strange feeling tells you there should be more to your reactions than this. When you think about it, it disturbs you slightly just how little you ‘feel’ about what Keine and Sekibanki’s been telling you.

The more logical part of your mind whispers to you that what they’re saying is nonsense, but it’s just that. A whisper. You’d think that it would’ve been something louder, but it’s almost as if this isn’t the first time you’re hearing these things. It’s not deja vu, however.

Keine did mention the other night that your state of mind now might have to do with this Barrier. “How does this relate to me?” you ask.

“I’m not entirely sure,” Keine admits. “My best guess is that you went through some trauma when you crossed the barrier, since normally you’d have to go through the Hakurei Shrine to get through properly, and Marisa’s potion just made it worse. It’s a medical issue, which is why it’s best that we get you to Eientei.”

You recall parts of your conversation with Marisa the other day. “Reisen’s home. The clinic.” Keine nods.

“I’m only going you as far the the Bamboo Forest,” Sekibanki says. “You guys are on your own after that. I'm gonna visit Kagerou.”

Keine’s information would have been overwhelming if you were in your normal state of mind, you think, but you find it easy to process everything. Perhaps it's because of the memories you're missing?

Much as you try, you dig for a reason, any reason to call bullshit on anything Keine and Sekibanki have told you thus far, but you draw up several blank spots.

You think that you should doubt them, but you don’t.

You might as well be learning everything from scratch with this amnesia, so this is all just new information to you.

You idly trace your finger along the rim of the tea cup as Keine and Sekibanki sit silently. You cannot really see what they are doing but you assume that they are fidgeting as well. After all, as calm as you appear to be they aren't privy to your thoughts. It doesn't help that, given your condition, you naturally appear more dismissive of their information and everything else around you.

“So let me get this straight,” you say. “I’m in a land where magic creatures were sealed for the sake of survival and is both here and not here at the same time. I didn't cross the border properly so I got brain-damage. Marisa’s potion made everything worse, and magic is a very real thing.”

“That about sums it up, yeah.”

“Well, shit.”

+++

Anything else you want to ask?

[] “If we’re in Japan, what’s an Irish Dullahan doing here?”

[] “What about you, Keine? If this is a land full of Youkai, what does that make you?”

[] Write-in
[x] “If we’re in Japan, what’s an Irish Dullahan doing here?”
[x] “If this a land where magic is real, can't someone magic up my memories? Or my eyesight, while we're at it?”
[X] “If we’re in Japan, what’s an Irish Dullahan doing here?”
[x] “If we’re in Japan, what’s an Irish Dullahan doing here?”
[X] “If we’re in Japan, what’s an Irish Dullahan doing here?”

Inb4 we're here because blind people went extinct in the outside world.
[x] “If we’re in Japan, what’s an Irish Dullahan doing here?”
[x] “If this a land where magic is real, can't someone magic up my memories? Or my eyesight, while we're at it?”

EIRIN! EIRIN!
[x] “If we’re in Japan, what’s an Irish Dullahan doing here?”
[x] “If this a land where magic is real, can't someone magic up my memories? Or my eyesight, while we're at it?”
[x] “If this a land where magic is real, can't someone magic up my memories? Or my eyesight, while we're at it?”

Keine audibly sighs at this.

“Believe it or not? There’s not a lot of people or youkai here that could manage that.” Keine says. “We could try taking you to the Scarlet Devil Mansion—they have a really powerful resident magician—but the mistress is a vampire and you’re a human from the outside world. Chances are you’ll be used as a living bloodbag if we seek Ms. Knowledge’s aid. Even then there’s no guarantee that she’ll help you.”

You like your blood where it is, thank you very much.

“In any case, we’d be better off going to Eientei. It’s less of a risk and dealing with physical injuries or impairments is more Eirin’s specialty than anyone else’s. If anyone can reliably fix the damage to your memories and your eyesight, it’ll be Eirin.”

You feel your spirits lift at the thought of being able to see again. Unfortunately, you can’t exactly remember any sight that you’d want to see again, but the thought of seeing again still excites you. You do have one thing in mind, though.

“An entire land full of magic and there’s only two people that can help me?”

Eirin and someone named “Knowledge”, You know nothing of the two of them except that one is a pharmacist, and the other is a magician who works for a vampire. You can’t help but wonder why only two people are listed as being able to help you.

“Gensokyo is a land for youkai first and foremost,” Keine says with a bit of resignation. “Most of the youkai’s abilities are based on what they are remembered and feared for. The Crow Tengu have strong wind magic, the Earth Spider can manipulate diseases, and the Rokurokubi—”

“Dullahan,” Sekibanki corrects.

“—can detach their heads. Youkai’s magic are manifestations of what people fear about them, usually. We only have three magicians in Gensokyo, and only one of them is advanced enough to potentially be helpful: Patchouli Knowledge. The other two are Marisa and Alice Margatroid, who specializes in Doll-making and animation Magic.”

“So basically most of the magic here is supposed to make everything as inconvenient as possible for everyone?”

Sekibanki snorts. “Yeah, pretty much. In that case, though, I suppose there’s always the Night Sparrow.”

“Mystia Lorelei,” Keine starts. “She’s a youkai who can cause night blindness, but that’s different from what you have. She runs a small food stand a little ways off from the village. There was a time where she would deliberately cause night blindness to anyone she could find just so she could sell them the ‘cure’ from her stand.” She sighs.

You note a tinge of bitterness in her voice.

“Could be worse,” Sekibanki says. “At least she also gets a good dose of fear when she does that. She hasn’t eaten anyone yet, right?”

Whoa, waitaminute.

“Come again?”

“If we don’t get fear or belief, we have to eat humans.” she says as if it’s a common fact of life and is completely normal.



What?

“Youkai eat humans,” she reiterates at your expression.

You almost dread hearing her answer to your next question.

“Have you?”

“Once or twice.” Your heart drops at her answer that you bare notice her “it’s been a long time” add-on. You hazily recall your meeting with Sekibanki the other day.

You were alone.

She lived alone.

No one would’ve helped.

You are blind.

You can’t help but think of how easy it would’ve been. Knock your staff away, pounce and pin you to the ground. No, her head would’ve ripped your throat out long before then. It would’ve been quick for her. A routine for her. Just another meal for her.

The thought of a youkai who feels as human as Sekibanki (severed head notwithstanding) eating humans fills you with apprehension. It disturbs you somewhat how Sekibanki goes about it as if it’s normal. You guess that is actually is in Gensokyo. You can’t help but wonder how the people in this village feel about this? About being the only human settlement in a place full of people eaters, raised like livestock—like pigs, kept in a pen waiting for slaughter.

Living in fear every day.

Thinking to yourself, ‘I’m glad it wasn’t me’ whenever someone goes missing.

Finally having enough. Enough of everything.

The anger.

The resentment.

The hate.

The rifle in your hands, raised and aimed at the abomination in fro—


In the midst of these, a single thought occurs to you.

[X] If we’re in Japan, what’s an Irish Dullahan doing here?

...a young girl throws the lantern, aimed at your—

A sharp sting hits you in the back of your mind.

You were on to something.

You can feel it.

It came to you, but now it’s gone. You reach out to your thoughts, but like before, you simply come up with nothing there.

It’s frustrating.

You hear cloth rustle and footsteps make their way to you from the side of the table opposite to you. Keine kneels beside you and cautiously grasps your wrist. She slowly pries your hand away, the one you didn’t realize was still clutching your head. You can feel the other one trembling. Splashes of hot tea sting the skin of your hand, but you do not mind it.

You were close. Keine probably suspects that you had a flash of memory just now, but you can’t place anything you’ve seen in it. You can tell that she looks concerned.

“I’m fine.”

She doesn’t let go.

You turn your head slightly to her direction.

“If he says he’s fine, then he’s fine,” Sekibanki says. She sets her teacup down. You hear the rustle of cloth as she stands. “Let’s just get this over with and get him to Eientei.”

You agree. You decide to let those thoughts of Sekibanki slide for the time being. If anything, you should be grateful that she decided to help you as much as she did.

You want to.

You stand yourself up and, remembering how Keine guided you to the table, retrace your steps to the room you stayed in. You run your hands along the walls until you come upon the familiar feeling of the staff you use while walking. You tap it once in the floor, creating a solid sound that sounds pleasant to your ears.

Staff in hand, you hold it forward, allowing it to bump and brush into any obstacles in your way as you make your way back to Keine and Sekibanki, who immediately grabs you by the wrist and leads you outside. You can hear Keine’s footsteps trailing behind you and pausing to fumble with something.

“Wait for me,” she says, but Sekibanki does not change her pace. Eventually you can no longer hear Keine’s footsteps.

Your bare feet feel dusty on the grounds as you walk. By this time, with no more fighting going on, the sounds of the village have started back up and fill your ears. You can hear several footsteps from all directions coming and going. To your right you can hear small children running along. To your left, you hear young men discussing the details of a patrol that took place recently.

You can smell things too. A sweet fragrance wafts from one side which you assume to be a flower shop. Other smells include spice, meat, and smoke. Someone is cooking nearby and peddling his food as you pass. You can appreciate all this even as Sekibanki pulls you along at her hurried pace.

While you might not be able to appreciate the view, the sounds of activity and the smells of the surroundings paints a detailed-enough picture of just what the village might look like in your eyes.

It makes you wish you still had your sight. You hope that, whatever it is you’ll be doing at Eientei, you’ll trulybe able to see again by the end of it.

“Halt!”

The voice is mature-sounding, but younger than Keine. She shouted, full of authority. Sekibanki does not care, she tries to keep walking. You, on the other hand, you instinctively stop, and wind up pulling Sekibanki to a halt. You can hear her hiss at you under her breath.

“Where are you off to in such a hurry, Sekibanki?”

The Dullahan’s response in through clenched teeth in an annoyed tone. “None of your business, Kotohime. Why don't you run along?”

The person in front of you, Kotohime, laughs.

“As if I’d let you run off with some blind and helpless beggar!” she says.

You hear her footsteps approach and stop right in front of where Sekibanki is. Her voice is a loud whisper, so she won’t be heard by the rest of the villagers.

“I know what you are, youkai,” she says. “Father might let you live in the village, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna let a thing like you make off with some random plebeian just so you can eat him.”

You feel Sekibanki’s grip on you tighten while Kotohime speaks. You may not be able to see her, but this reaction alone tells you that this probably isn’t the first time she’s been through this. You remember the girl you met yesterday, who had little tolerance of you knocking on her door or for the fairy at Keine’s house. You know that this angers her greatly, but she’s trying to keep it all in.

What do you do?

[] Intervene

[] Let Sekibanki handle it.

HINT: Sekibanki doesn't like dealing with people in general and Kotohime in particular. Maybe you should help her?
>>195889

Why even give a choice if you're going to outright say yourself that one is wrong?
>>195890
It's just a suggestion. Both outcomes have their advantages and disadvantages.

I see your point though.
>>195889
[Spoiler] HINT: On the other hand, she knows how to deal with Kotohime better than you do. Should you really risk it?
>>195893
There was supposed to be a spoiler here.

...nevermind.

I'll just... go work on the next part.

Sorry all.
[X] Intervene
I don't think the hint is necessary tbh, as your writing is clear enough to convey that "Sekibanki doesn't like dealing with people in general and Kotohime in particular."
But anyway,
[X] Intervene
-[X] Insist that you're not a beggar, thank you.
-[X] Tell this Kotohime that Sekibanki has helped you to reach the village despite the opportunity to easily kill and eat you.
-[X] Mention that Keine trust her, and so will you.
[d] Intervene
-[a] Insist that you're not a beggar, thank you.
-[z] Tell this Kotohime that Sekibanki has helped you to reach the village despite the opportunity to easily kill and eat you.
-[e] Mention that Keine trust her, and so will you.

Seems reasonable enough.
[X] Intervene
-[X] Insist that you're not a beggar, thank you.
-[X] Tell this Kotohime that Sekibanki has helped you to reach the village despite the opportunity to easily kill and eat you.
-[X] Mention that Keine trust her, and so will you.
[x] Intervene
-[x] Insist that you're not a beggar, thank you.

Sure has been a lot of Kotohime around lately. But still no Kana.
File 149154404028.jpg - (117.18KB, 800x1120, Have Some.jpg) [iqdb]
195908
>>195906
[spoiler] Have some Kana. [spoiler]
inb4 'you naive outsider' speech from kotohime
[X] Intervene
-[X] Insist that you're not a beggar, thank you.
-[X] Tell this Kotohime that Sekibanki has helped you to reach the village despite the opportunity to easily kill and eat you.
-[X] Mention that Keine trust her to take you to Eientei, and so will you.

If you mention the destination, she'll realize that we're no walking aimlessly or to her "lair"
Besides, taking out our guide when she herself probably can't take her place I'd a dick move
[X] Intervene

You recall your fear and apprehension from the earlier discussion when Sekibanki told you that youkai, including her, eat and have eaten humans before. For all the hostility she shows, you realize that, in the end, Sekibanki helped you reach the village safely when it would have been easier for her to just off you then and there.

For all that, you are grateful, and thus you do not take kindly to Kotohime’s accusations and the way she called Sekibanki a ‘thing’ or ‘youkai’ as if she were a soulless abomination of nature. For all you care, she isn’t.

You swiftly recall the hushed exchange. Sekibanki is right in front of you, and you remember how far Kotohime’s remark was from where you stand. You raise your staff and firmly slam it down between Sekibanki and your estimate of Kotohime’s position.

You don’t actually strike anything except the ground, but Kotohime’s startled “eh?” tells you that you’ve achieved the desired dramatic effect.

“Well excuse me, miss, but Sekibanki’s been nothing but helpful, which is more than I can say for someone like you,” you say evenly. You inch past Sekibanki and towards Kotohime. You hear her shuffle backwards as you press on placing more of an edge into your voice and opening your blind eyes wide. “She’s had every opportunity to attack me, especially when I turned up alone at her house, but as you can see, I am still here, talking to you, who is interrupting our trip to Eientei for no reason than at the whim of your bigotry”

“I’m willing to put my trust in her, and so is Keine—who I assume you are familiar with—and I do not take kindly to make-believe authorities antagonizing people who’ve been nothing but helpful.” Your foot brushes against a sort of fabric, which tells you that you are now very close to Kotohime.

You end that last statement by planting your staff firmly and as audibly as possible as you lean in for one last, quieter line. “And just because I’m blind doesn't mean I'm a beggar, thank you very much.”

You can imagine Kotohime’s face, mouth agape and opening and closing as she attempts to think-up a good counter for you.

“You… you! You ignorant—”

“What’s going on here?!”

You hear Keine’s footsteps approach rapidly before she pauses to catch her breath. You mentally remind yourself to apologize for allowing her to be left behind, and you think you can hear Sekibanki breath a sigh of relief as Keine continues past her, you, and comes up to Kotohime.

“I hope you had a perfectly good reason for harassing my friends, Kotohime,” she says.

“Ah, Miss Kamishirasawa! I-uh, I was just doing my job! This fiend was about to—”

“Sekibanki is just as much as a ‘fiend’ as you are an actual police officer!”

As Keine continues to give Kotohime a good verbal lashing, you feel Sekibanki gently tug at your wrist. You try to give her a look, after all you’ve already left Keine behind once, but she persists. You concede, and allow her to guide you a little farther from the argument, where you both stand to wait for Keine.

“So… Thanks for that. Standing up for me, and all,” she quietly says.

It’s funny. You never knew Sekibanki could sound so… demure.

“She was pissing me off too,” you admit. “Someone important?”

“Yes and no. That was Kotohime. She’s the daughter of one of the members of the local council—a bunch of old men who sit around and tell us what to do—and wealthy landowner. She likes to pretend she’s a member of the police.”

“If that’s how the local law enforcement operates, I think it’s safe to say that you and I are fucked.”

“It isn’t, thank the gods.” You note that she really does sound relieved. “It’s all just this fantasy in her head. Normally, people let her play along, but she still uses the old system of fighting here, which means attacking anyone out of nowhere based on her own twisted reasons. Sure, Spellcard rules make her attacks non-lethal, but it still hurts like a bitch.”

You take note of ‘Spellcard’ as is seems to have something to do with combat here, especially after Keine’s statement of how ‘heated’ arguments can get in Gensokyo.

The two of you remain silent and continue to stand there. Sekibanki is probably used to this, but being unable to get a grasp of the situation as you are, you can’t help but feel awkward.

You can still here Keine chewing Kotohime out.

“If Kotohime’s so important, why’s she letting Keine chew her out?”

“Keine’s untouchable, in more ways than one,” she simply states. “She’s the only school teacher the village has and is one of the best Historians in Gensokyo, after the Hieda family. Granted, there’s a fair amount of opposition to her because of her ‘condition’, but she’s good at what she does.”

She seems to hesitate a little before continuing.

“That, and her headbutts pack a punch,” she says, rubbing her forehead. “Was on the recieving end of one once after shouting at one of her brats. Took me an hour to get my head out of the wall.”

You both exchange a small laugh at her expense. You do take note that Keine apparently has a ‘condition’ that sets her apart from other humans in the village. You resolve to ask about it when you have the time.

“Sorry for the wait,” Keine says as she approaches the two of you. “I hope Kotohime didn’t cause you two too much trouble.”

“Nothing she hasn’t already done before,” is Sekibanki’s reply. You wonder just how often she has to put up with this.

“Regardless, she really should know better.”

You ask Keine if she would have hold a grudge towards your earlier tirade. You would rather not have to deal with any attempts to smear your image to the rest of the villagers since assume that you’ll have to stay there for a while.

“She may complain about you to anyone who’ll listen, but she doesn’t really have much authority other than her social status,” Keine says. “If she causes too much trouble, she’ll have Reimu on her case in no time.”

“In other words, she’s all talk but can’t actually do anything to follow it up,” Sekibanki says. “Not with the Spellcard rules in place, anyway.”

You hear two sets of footsteps approach and stop in front of you.

“Shall we go?” Keine asks to one side,

“Let’s get this over with,” Sekibanki says to the other.

You assume they are both holding their hands out.

[] Let Keine guide you

[] Let Sekibanki guide you


It’s going to be a long walk. You might as well strike up some conversation.

(Maximum of two)
[] Ask about Spellcard rules. It sounds important.

[] Ask about Keine’s condition. Is there anything you should know?

[] What’s an Irish Dullahan doing in Gensokyo?

[] Ask about the social situation in Gensokyo. Is is really that bad for Youkai?

[] Who’s Reimu? You think Marisa mentioned her yesterday. She seemed scared.
[X] Let Sekibanki guide you.
-[X] Ask about Spellcard rules. It sounds important.
-[X] Who’s Reimu? You think Marisa mentioned her yesterday. She seemed scared.

Focus on things that might be relevant to our well-being/survival first, I'd say.
Also, imagine the things you could do with a detachable head. Hmm~
>>195922
I like the way you think.
[X] Let Sekibanki guide you.
-[X] Ask about Spellcard rules. It sounds important.
-[X] Who’s Reimu? You think Marisa mentioned her yesterday. She seemed scared.
[X] Let Sekibanki guide you
[X] Ask about Spellcard rules. It sounds important.
[X] Ask about the social situation in Gensokyo. Is is really that bad for Youkai?
[X] Let Sekibanki guide you.
-[X] Ask about Spellcard rules. It sounds important.
-[X] Who’s Reimu? You think Marisa mentioned her yesterday. She seemed scared.
[X] Let Sekibanki guide you

[X] Ask about Spellcard rules. It sounds important.
[X] Who’s Reimu? You think Marisa mentioned her yesterday. She seemed scared.
[X] Let Sekibanki guide you.
-[X] Ask about Spellcard rules. It sounds important.
-[X] Who’s Reimu? You think Marisa mentioned her yesterday. She seemed scared.
>>195921
[X] Let Sekibanki guide you

[X] What’s an Irish Dullahan doing in Gensokyo?


[X] Who’s Reimu? You think Marisa mentioned her yesterday. She seemed scared.
[x] Let Keine guide you
-[x] Ask about Keine’s condition. Is there anything you should know?
-[x] Who’s Reimu? You think Marisa mentioned her yesterday. She seemed scared.

Tide pissin'.

> “That, and her headbutts pack a punch,” she says, rubbing her forehead.

Minor nitpick: Wash noticed this how?
>>195941
Minor error on my part. Don't mind it too much.

> “That, and her headbutts pack a punch,” she says, her elbow bumping into your shoulder a few times as she presumably rubs her forehead.

Sometimes I really wish posts here were editable.
>>195941
Selective blindness for sympathy points
We're actually playing a sociopath
We're like the daredevil. Our super-hearing allows us to detect the slightest movement anyone made, which includes forehead-rubbing. Now we need red skintight latex as our costume.
>>195944
Good luck dodging the magic bullets, though.
[X] Let Sekibanki guide you.

“Yeah, let’s go.”

You reach out with you hand towards the sound of the two voices. You make a grab that siezes nothing but air before your hand finds Sekibanki’s and takes it in a firm grip. Like before, she tugs on you, though much gentler this time, to get the you walking. Her pace is slower than before, allowing Keine to keep pace with the two of you.

“How far is it to Eientei?” you ask.

“Normally, it’d only take us a few dozen minutes if we flew,” Sekibanki says. “Lugging you around with us? I’d say maybe over a hour or two.”

“Flying?”

“It’s an acquired skill,” Keine says. “Even humans can fly, given enough time to learn how, or by using a magic item. Marisa gets around with a magic broom while Reimu, in her early years at least, flew on the back of a magic turtle.”

Flying, huh? Truth be told that’s something you wouldn't mind trying one day, since Keine makes it sound so easy. You ponder the thought for a moment, imagining what it would be like to soar around on a magical broomstick.



You wince at the thought of something painful and now you honestly cannot help but wonder if it ever gets uncomfortable for Marisa, flying like that with a broomstick and all. You also can’t imagine what it’d be like for someone riding on top of a turtle, which strikes you as an amusing thought.

Speaking of which, you did hear a name you’ve been meaning to ask about.

“So who’s this Reimu I keep hearing about?”

Marisa mentioned her yesterday in a terrified tone of voice. Earlier, Keine mentioned that her intervention is one of the factors that keeps Kotohime’s actions in check. Naturally, this led you to assume that she has some sort of fearsome reputation among the populace, then Keine just had to fill your mind with the ridiculous image of her riding on the back of a turtle.

A presumably big turtle.

That flies.

You don’t even know what the girl looks like!

You do note, however, that Sekibanki seems to shudder when you bring her up. You feel it as she’s still guiding you by the hand. It’s Keine who speaks, however.

“Local Shrine Maiden,” she says. “Basically our version of a nun, if you still remember that sort of thing.”

“Except not really because Byakuren is an actual nun and she isn’t a Shrine Maiden.” Sekibanki. Please. Don't make this any more complicated.

“Byakuren’s a Buddhist.” You hear Keine sigh. “Allow me to rephrase myself. then. She’s the Shinto equivalent of a nun,” she reiterates.

Still doesn’t strike you as particularly threatening. You all are still walking.

You doubt must have shown. Even if you say nothing, Keine is kind enough to clarify for you about the extent of Reimu’s abilities and a bit of her background. Miko of the Hakurei Shrine, once the prime faith in Gensokyo until recently and where an outsider like you would have to go through to properly get into Gensokyo most of the time.

Keine then goes into an in-depth explanation of Reimu’s ability to seal youkai, exterminate youkai, perform blessings and exorcisms, and a bunch of other rituals that you have no clue of until Sekibanki is considerate-enough to cut in and offer something more understandable.

“She’s what passes for law enforcement here, basically,” she says. “Insanely good at fighting since she has the blessing of her shrine’s god, favorite method involves beating up anyone in her way, and will probably try to extort you for donations. All this while having to be Gensokyo’s peacekeeper.” Her tone dropes for the next statement. “You didn’t hear this from me, but like it or not, she’s practically perfect for the job. Doesn’t give two shits about who anyone is and beats them up regardless.”

You feel Sekibanki pause for a moment as she shudders again. The sigh to your other side tells you that Keine has done the same before the three of you start walking again.

“Don’t forget the other two,” Keine quips. “You remember Marisa from yesterday? She’s also known for resolving incidents in the same manner, the only difference being that she’s more explosive and will just skip over to stealing from you instead of going through extortion like Reimu does.”

You take a moment to recall your brief interaction with the young girl from yesterday. You wish you had an idea of what Marisa looked like since you find it hard to gauge a person just by their tone of voice.

“Who’s the other one, then? She any better?”

“Who, Sanae?” Keine says. “She’s a shrine maiden from the Moriya Shrine up on Youkai Mountain.” You wonder how you didn't notice the mountain at all as you came to Gensokyo, then you remember that you’ve forgotten how you arrived in the first place. “I worry about her, honestly.”

“She’s a living goddess who happens to be a literal airhead,” Sekibanki scoffs. “Don’t bother worrying about her and let her be someone else’s problem.”

“Don't say that. Sanae is a nice girl,” Keine replies. “I’m worried because she’s been taking incident resolution a bit too seriously as of late.”

“Meaning?” you ask.

“You have an air-headed idiot with holy powers thinking that it's completely normal to beat the living shit out of anyone to solve a problem here,” Sekibanki says. “It kinda is, the beating up thing, but she’s way too enthusiastic about it now. Basically a Shrine Maiden in Gensokyo is expected to keep the peace and dispose of any troublemakers”

Sakibanki pauses for her thoughts. You wish you could see what Keine is up to as Sekibanki speaks.

“This includes youkai like me,” she continues. “Her and Reimu, their primary job is to exterminate the troublemaking Youkai, feral or not, and make sure nobody’s causing any trouble. Sometimes the really bad ones, even ones that look human like me are killed in broad daylight but Humans don’t really care. We youkai are all just ‘youkai’ to a lot of them.”

You shudder at the word ‘exterminate’ and the context of it being the Shrine Maiden’s job and Sekibanki’s status as a youkai.

Wordlessly, you tighten your grip on her hand ever so slightly. You feel her tense for a brief moment, but that disappears quickly.

You can’t help but wonder what it must be like for Sekibanki, living with the knowledge that beings of her type are ‘exterminated’ by what passes as the local law enforcement and nobody from the village will care too much. You figure that, this is a thought that has crossed a lot of the human-looking youkai’s minds a lot, but it rings in your head particularly about Sekibanki, who lives in a human village (albeit along the outskirts).

You can almost imagine now what consequences the rest of the village finding out about her lineage will bring. Kotohime knows, apparently, but it seems that her father has an agreement with Sekibanki that allows her to live near and walk through the village with no problem.

You don’t know what she looks like, hell you don’t know what the other youkai look like at all if they have anything that gives away their lineage, but you can imagine that, since her defining trait is the ability to detach her head, it’s rather simple for Sekibanki to pass off as human in the village, but realize that it's also quite the risk. You remember how guarded she sounded when her head (which you realized was actually her head in hindsight) was knocked off and rolled to your feet yesterday, and insisted that it was nothing of note, what you picked up.

If it’s that easy for her head to be simply be knocked off, and not pulled, cut, or otherwise have more effort exerted into separating it from her body, you wonder just how careful she has to be whenever she’s in the village to make sure no ‘accidents’ happen.

When you think about it, you’re not surprised anymore about why she lives so far from the rest of the houses of the village and why she sounded so hostile to a human like you approaching her house out of the blue. She lives far to decrease the chances of anyone easily witnessing a headless moment in her daily life.

Living alone, you hypothesize that she doesn’t have much in the way of friends, You wonder if she thought that you visiting her the other day was someone or some people coming to confront her about her lineage.

You really wish you could see her now and try to gauge her expressions.

“Sounds like rough living,” you muse,

“Well, for all her violent tendencies and uncaring attitude, Reimu’s not unreasonable, though,” Keine quips.

Sekibanki stops so suddenly that you bump into her before you can react. She stays like that for a few seconds, likely staring at Keine.

“...not completely unreasonable.”

Sekibanki still doesn’t move.

“...fine. Only sometimes, Reimu can be reasonable.” Sekibanki seems to accept this amendment and starts walking again. You feel the ground shift from the well-worn village to something more uneven as you all walk. “She did implement the Spellcard system here a few years ago. That's solved a lot of problems.”

“Spellcards?” You heard this be mentioned earlier.

“Those things that were flying around when Sekibanki brought you over yesterday,” Keine continues. “It’s a system devised by Reimu to settle disputes nonviolently, non-lethally and for everyone to have an equal chance of winning.”

“Bullets still hurt like a bitch, though,” Sekibanki adds.

“Anyway,” Keine continues, “With the rules in effect, humans can fairly beat youkai in a fight while Youkai, in turn, can fairly beat someone powerful like Reimu without resorting to violence and suffering the consequences. It’s created a bit of a delicate situation, though. If someone like Kotohime or another youkai broke the spellcard rules and someone gets killed in a regular fight, the more bloodthirsty personalities in Gensokyo will see it as an excuse to start killing again unless a serious crime has been committed.”

“One time a human villager killed himself and used the local librarian’s curiosity towards one of his books to turn himself into a youkai.” Sekibanki says. “Reimu killed him even if he planned to run and live away from the village, but none of the youkai complained since what he did was pretty unnatural.”

You choose to file away the thought of people killing themselves and coming back as youkai through other people in the darker parts of your mind. You find it to be mildly unsettling.

Keine then recalls to you how, in the time of Reimu’s predecessors, most altercations between humans and youkai in Gensokyo involved a fair amount of bloodshed, a detail that you notice she describes with a touch of bitterness.

She then explains the concept of a duel to you. A duel must be proclaimed and the combatants have a limited number of spellcards (slips of paper with a name and description on them) that have to be declared before casting. It’s basically tons of projectiles being launched in mind-boggling patterns that you can’t hope to imagine based on description alone, dodging the aforementioned bullet patterns and whichever one is the most beautiful wins.

You suddenly have a very bad feeling at the pit of your stomach.

“So you mean to tell me that everybody here starts and settles their arguments by shooting bullets in highly-intricate patterns at each other and exploiting the barest of openings to make sure you don’t get hit?”

“Yes.”

You take the opportunity to pause and process everything for a few seconds.

Shooting magical projectiles.

Visually intricate patterns.

Finding and exploiting small gaps and reacting to the patterns.

“I’m fucked, aren’t I?”

Sekibanki laughs. “Oh, yeah. Big time.”

Your blindness is starting to feel less like a handicap and more like a kick to the balls.

The ground beneath you now is starting to become softer now. Your bare feet feels unevenness along with compact spots, as though footsteps pass through frequently but not regularly enough to weather the path like the footsteps of a village does daily.

Your foot brushes against something.

Soft. A little round,

Layered, tipped with a non-sharp point.

A young bamboo shoot.

Sekibanki stops walking.

“That’s odd,” Keine says from beside you. “Usually the path to Eientei reveals itself by now.”

“Well, bunny-girl did say that they’re having domestic issues,” Sekibanki says. “Not that I think you believe her.”

“Well, without the path, we can still find Eientei,” Keine says, ignoring Sekibanki’s last remark. Her voice is slightly louder than earlier, meaning she’s turned to face you when she says this. “I have a friend named Mokou who lives here. She can guide us to Eientei if we find her.”

“The pyro?” Sekibanki scoffs. “The same one who kills and gets killed by that moon princess on a weekly basis? I’d rather take my chances finding Kagerou. If anything she can sniff out some rabbit for us to tail or just follow their scent to Eintei.”

Questioning thoughts of ‘weekly killing’ and tracking scents aside, it looks like you’re gonna have to choose here again.

[] Mokou. It sounds like she’s in some sort of violent relationship with one of the residents of Eienter, but she can at least take you there directly.

[] Kagerou. She’ll have to rely on scent or tailing someone with a scent, but she doesn’t ‘kill or get killed by that moon princess on a weekly basis.’


You have some time before you get to any of their houses, either way. Anything else you want to ask them about? The more Wash knows about Genskyo, the better he'll fare in a situation since he doesn't remember any stock knowledge or past experiences to rely on.

[] Ask about Keine’s condition. You never got to ask her earlier.

[] “Killed on a weekly basis?” should I be worried?

[] “Sniffing out a rabbit?” I thought we were going to a clinic, not on a hunt.

[] Why do we even need a guide? What’s this about the path revealing itself?

[] Ask away.
[x] the non murderer option
[x] Why do we even need a guide?
[x] Keine condition
[X] Mokou. It sounds like she’s in some sort of violent relationship with one of the residents of Eienter, but she can at least take you there directly.

Mokou is a far better guide.
[X] “Killed on a weekly basis?” should I be worried?

[X] “Sniffing out a rabbit?” I thought we were going to a clinic, not on a hunt.

[X] What’s an Irish Dullahan doing in Gensokyo?
I will see this question answered one day.
[X] Kagerou. She’ll have to rely on scent or tailing someone with a scent, but she doesn’t ‘kill or get killed by that moon princess on a weekly basis.’

[X] Ask about Keine’s condition. You never got to ask her earlier.
[X] “Sniffing out a rabbit?” I thought we were going to a clinic, not on a hunt.
[X] If a fight broke out near me, what should I do? Can I, dunno, hear or smell magic?

Better not risk a fight between immortals near the blind guy.
[X] Kagerou. She’ll have to rely on scent or tailing someone with a scent, but she doesn’t ‘kill or get killed by that moon princess on a weekly basis.’

[X] Ask about Keine’s condition. You never got to ask her earlier.
[X] “Sniffing out a rabbit?” I thought we were going to a clinic, not on a hunt.
[X] If a fight broke out near me, what should I do? Can I, dunno, hear or smell magic?
[X] Kagerou. She’ll have to rely on scent or tailing someone with a scent, but she doesn’t ‘kill or get killed by that moon princess on a weekly basis.’

[X] Ask about Keine’s condition. You never got to ask her earlier.
[X] “Sniffing out a rabbit?” I thought we were going to a clinic, not on a hunt.
[X] If a fight broke out near me, what should I do? Can I, dunno, hear or smell magic?

Never not vote for an Awoo.
[X] Kagerou. She’ll have to rely on scent or tailing someone with a scent, but she doesn’t ‘kill or get killed by that moon princess on a weekly basis.’
[X] Ask about Keine’s condition. You never got to ask her earlier.
[X] Kagerou. She’ll have to rely on scent or tailing someone with a scent, but she doesn’t ‘kill or get killed by that moon princess on a weekly basis.’
-[X] Ask about Keine’s condition. You never got to ask her earlier.
-[X] “Sniffing out a rabbit?” I thought we were going to a clinic, not on a hunt.
-[X] If a fight broke out near me, what should I do? Can I, dunno, hear or smell magic?
File 149187459845.jpg - (1.29MB, 992x1403, phoenix > awoo.jpg) [iqdb]
195984
[x] Mokou. It sounds like she's in some sort of violent relationship with one of the residents of Eientei, but she can at least take you there directly.
[x] "Killed on a weekly basis?" should I be worried?
[x] "Sniffing out a rabbit?" I thought we were going to a clinic, not on a hunt.
[x] Mokou. It sounds like she's in some sort of violent relationship with one of the residents of Eientei, but she can at least take you there directly.
[x] "Killed on a weekly basis?" should I be worried?
[X] If a fight broke out near me, what should I do? Can I, dunno, hear or smell magic?

We are kinda fucked if somebody wants to fight us.
[X] Kagerou. She’ll have to rely on scent or tailing someone with a scent, but she doesn’t ‘kill or get killed by that moon princess on a weekly basis.’
-[X] Ask about Keine’s condition. You never got to ask her earlier.
-[X] “Sniffing out a rabbit?” I thought we were going to a clinic, not on a hunt.
-[X] If a fight broke out near me, what should I do? Can I, dunno, hear or smell magic?

ye boi
>>195970

Tough luck, maybe next time.
>>195992
I swear to put it in every vote this quest. No matter the context.
What it says on the tin

Update pending.
>>195995
That's not politically correct. What if she's born here, y'know? There's a chance she's been a Japanese all her life, y'know?
File 149200882297.jpg - (123.29KB, 850x668, Your Guide To Be.jpg) [iqdb]
196000
[X] Kagerou. She’ll have to rely on scent or tailing someone with a scent, but she doesn’t ‘kill or get killed by that moon princess on a weekly basis.’

“I rather like the idea of not being involved in any ‘weekly killings’, thank you,” you say.

Keine sighs as Sekibanki gently tugs your hand to begin walking again. “I keep telling everyone it’s not like that,” you hear Keine mumble.

“Keine, I’m a dullahan,” Sekibanki says as you walk. “Sometimes, I decapitate myself by accident, and even I think that decapitation is a weird way of saying ‘hello’ to someone.”

You resolve to ask about this later once you can stop thinking about girls being casually and regularly decapitated. Just what kind of place did you wander in to for this to be a normal conversation piece?

“Should I be worried about this whole ‘killed on a weekly basis’ thing?” you ask.

“No, no, it’s just how Mokou and Kaguya know how to do things,” Keine says. “Don’t worry about it too much. They always revive afterwards anyway.”

Her statement reinforces your decision to seek Sekibanki’s friend in the forest over this ‘Mokou’ person.

Speaking of which…

[X] “Sekibanki, you mentioned that we’d be sniffing out a rabbit? I thought we were going to a clinic, not on a hunt.”

“We are,” she assures you, “Eientei’s full of rabbits.”

You tilt your head slightly in a questioning manner.

“Rabbit youkai,” Keine clarifies. “Reisen is one. They look like a regular person except for the ears and tail. The local rabbits are difficult to deal with at times, which is not helped by the fact that they look towards Tewi for leadership. She’s a troublemaker by nature.”

“I still owe her a thrashing for using my head as a kickball,” Sekibanki grumbles. “Never trust one of the local rabbits, Wash. Especially not Tewi. I’d rather deal with Reisen, even if she is a moon bunny.”

“Actually she’s an earth rabbit now,” says Keine. “Claims that living among the ‘impurity’ effectively tainted her and removed her lunarian heritage.”

“Once a moon bitch, always a moon bitch, Keine.”

“That’s not true. Just look at Eirin. Remember how she was before the Eternal Night incident?”

“...well, that’s true. She’s been friendlier recently ever since Old Gappy put her in her place.”

You tune out the the last part of the conversation and wait for the two to settle. Meanwhile you take the opportunity to get a good feel of your surroundings. It’s been awhile since you’ve done so, with Sekibanki’s guidance limiting your usual reliance on mapping out your immediate surroundings.

The air here feels cooler than before, when you were near the village.

The dirt beneath your bare feet is getting looser now, as opposed to earlier when it had patches of compactness. You recall that your trio is not following a specific path anymore, hence the loose dirt.

You tentatively stretch your staff low to the side and feel it bump against several hard poles, each making a hollow and somehow-soothing ‘knock’ upon impact.

You conclude that you’ve begun to enter the bamboo forest.

Unfortunately, with your staff to the side and Sekibanki distracted by her conversation with Keine, you fail to notice and walk right into a bamboo in front of you.

“Shit. Sorry,” Sekibanki says as you gently massage your face where you hit the bamboo.

“It’s fine,” you say, “Should’ve paid more attention.”

You do your best to put on a reassuring expression as you motion to Sekibanki that you can continue walking. Sekibanki does her best to help out by subtly pulling you away, but with your attention diverted and focused to your walk, you do a decent job of dodging bamboo as it comes.

You can’t really think of a good way to explain it when Keine asks you how you’re doing and how you know when to move. Sekibanki also expresses her curiosity in regards to how a blind person such as yourself gets around.

Again, you try to dig through your memories but pull back when a pinprick sensation starts at the back of your head. The best way you can explain it is the feeling you might get when someone stands close to you and there’s a sort of light pressure coming from that direction. Whichever bamboo your staff does not tap against you dodge with the barest of space between you and the bamboo as you walk.

You note that there is more fully-grown bamboo than there were young shoots earlier. You conclude that you’re progressed deeper into the forest.

Keine is impressed by what is essentially your reflexes and senses getting used to the lack of sight, which is all muscle memory and still accessible to you. Sekibanki says that she’ll try being like you the next time she loses her head somewhere inconvenient.

For all you can feel around you, however, it doesn’t really help against projectiles flying much faster than you can react. You just so happen to be in a land where projectile combat is the norm.

“Can’t really remember how well I do in a regular fight,” you say. [X] “Speaking of which, if one of those ‘duels’ broke out near me, is there anything that’ll help me survive? Like, is there any way to know if—”

Sekibanki lets go of your hand.

Rustle of cloth, shift in wind, specks of dirt kicked up against your feet.

She’s put some distance between you two.

Slight pressure.

Mild heat, you feel it in the air.

The faint buzz that your ears detect.

You jerk your head sharply to the side and feel all of these intensify along the right side of your face. Heat sears along the side of your cheek and the buzzing intensifies for a second next to your right ear. You feel vibrations, mild but unignorable vibrations as something zooms past your head, grazing some strands of your hair. You hear it impact a bamboo behind you.

“Sekibanki!” Keine shouts from the side.

You’re about to question what exactly happened and what that thing was when you hear a sharp whistling sound. The initial sensations come a second later, which then becomes much closer in half tha—

“Ow!” You feel a sharp sting in your left shoulder as you begin to twist your body out of the way. You weren’t fast enough.

As you massage the sore spot on your shoulder, you hear footsteps and the rustle of cloth approaching you. Your hand is taken into the firm grip you’ve come to associate with Sekibanki.

“Do what you just did if you can,” she says, “although I doubt it’ll help much. You’re probably gonna get your ass kicked.”

You turn to the direction you last heard Keine from.

“I have to agree with Sekibanki on this one,” she says. “The most warning you’re gonna get is when someone declares a spellcard. Even then the projectile patterns aren’t so one-deminsional.”

You let out a sigh, knowing that you’re practically incapable of properly lasting through a duel you get caught up in. That first projectile, the slow one that Sekibanki threw at you, you barely dodged. You’re not confident that you could pull off the same trick if several were coming at you all at once and confusing your senses. This isn’t going into the faster projectiles like the second one Sekibanki shot at you.

Your grip tightens around your staff.

“On the other hand, when we get you to Eientei and have Eirin restore your vision, it’s just a matter of practice!” Keine reassures you.

That’s right. You’ve been told that Eientei will be able to restore your eyesight, and your memories, hopefully. You all just have to get there.

You nod to Sekibanki as she continues to guide you and Keine through the bamboo to Kagerou’s house.

“It’s not far,” she says.

You continue to reach out to the surroundings with your senses. You can hear three sets of footsteps, yours, Keine’s and Sekibanki’s.

The ground beneath your feet is still loose but you find your staff knocking into less bamboo.

Then, something you step on batches your attention.

Soft, but slightly prickly at the ends.

Not particularly long. Feels familiar.

Hair?

No. Hair is smoother. This is fur.

You can smell it slightly too. A lingering scent among the vegetation.

Eventually your staff stops knocking into bamboo altogether and the ground beneath you gains a sudden evenness to it.

“We’re here,” Sekibanki says. “Give me a minute.”

She lets go of your hand.

“Oi! Kagerou!” She says as her voice grows further away. You shrug and, with your staff forward, follow the sound of her voice.

Eventually a rough knocking sound fills your ears. As you approach, it gets suddenly louder until your staff connects to something solid. You tap it a few times and brush against who you assume to be Sekibanki as you bring yourself closer.

Hollow.

Wooden.

A door.

You tap it one last time and are met with the sound of rusty hinges creaking.

“Huh,” Sekibanki says. “She’s not home.”

Shit.

“Now what?” you ask.



…realization dawns on you.

“Keine, no,” you say.

“Mokou’s harmless!”

“You told me earlier that her idea of a greeting involved decapitation!”

“Her idea of greeting Kaguya! If it’s you, Wash, it’ll be fine!”

“If you end up getting roasted alive we’ll be able to heal you anyway at Eientei.”

“Sekibanki, you’re not helping.” You let out a sigh. “Why do we even need a guide?”

“If you’d like to wander around here for all eternity and eventually starve to death, then be my guest,” Sekibanki says. “It’s called the Bamboo Forest of the Lost for a reason.”

You open your mouth to raise a complaint until you remember your conversation from earlier. You’re in a place full of magic where most magics are purely for the sake of making human lives inconvenient.

You want to say something but the tantalizing thought of being able to see convinces you to keep your thoughts about this to yourself.

“...lead on, then,” you sigh.

“If it will make you feel better, we can have lunch when we get there,” Keine says as she grabs your hand. “Mokou’s house is also a yakitori stand.”

And with that, Keine begins walking through the bamboo, guiding you to the murder—Mokou. Mokou’’s house.

You think back to Keine’s brief but telling descriptions of her friend. She apparently kills some princess regularly, both of them don’t seem to die from that, and she runs a food stand to top things off.

It makes you wonder just how the hell Keine met her.

Actually, if that’s the kind of company Keine keeps, what does that make her?



Wait a minute.

No!

No.

You refuse to think negatively about your host, not when she’s been so accommodating of you and your blindness. Hell, you didn’t even expect her to join you on your trip to Eientei, much less take you into her home or bail you out from that confrontation with Kotohime.

You think back to what you know about Keine. You know that she’s a schoolteacher, that she’s a kind person (based on your current experiences) and that despite her positive traits, there are people that object to her because of some sort of condition she has, despite Sekibanki’s claims that she’s very good at teaching history.

You resolve to get to know her better while you have the time. For now, you’re going to focus on not running into any bamboo as the three of you continues walking.

“Not gonna lie. I’m worried about Kagerou,” Sekibanki says.

“Why is that?” Keine replies.

“Well, for one thing, it’s her time of the month again.”

“Meaning?”

Sekibanki scoffs. “You of all people should know.”

Keine actually does stop for a while.

“Right. Her too.”

Too?

“That’s what has me thinking,” Sekibanki says. “Usually she’d lock herself in, not wander about.”

In the recesses of your mind you recall a passing remark from when you were conversing with Sekibanki after the Kotohime affair. Keine has some sort of condition, doesn’t she? Does this mean that Kagerou has it too?

[X] “Hey, Keine?” you say. “You and Kagerou aren’t sick, are you?”

“No.”

“Yes.”

You all stop walking and a moment of silence passes.

“Kagerou thinks she is,” Sekibanki clarifies.

“Ah, of course.” You say. “What is your condition anyway?”

You can feel her squirm a little through your grip.

“It’s not a sickness, if that’s what you’re wondering.” She pauses for a bit, as if deliberating the best way to tell you what’s afflicting her. “Kagerou is a werewolf. I’m a were-hakutaku.”

You respond with the blankest stare you can muster (which is made more blank thanks to your blindness) towards the direction of her voice before Sekibanki offers her own explanation.

“Kagerou turns into a wolfgirl. Keine turns into a were-cow-thing.”

Ah, so that explains the softness from yesterday.

“I am not!” Keine says. “A Hakutaku and a cow are two very different things! Firstly, a Hakutaku resembles a lion more!”

“And the horns?”

“Not the point!” She pauses for a bit, then you hear the sound of what you think is her palm meeting her face. “No pun intended. Point is—aww, dammit—I transform into one every full moon. My hair turns green, my horns grow out, I gain the power to create history....”

You try to imagine what Keine would look like with green hair, but you don’t even know what her usual hair color is, much less what she looks like with horns…

Wait.

“How the hell does one create history?”

“It’s… hard to explain, actually.” Keine says as she continues to guide you and Sekibanki along. “People can breath without knowing how just like I can ‘eat’ and create history, the latter of which I can only do during the full moon. For the former, I can conceal or temporarily reverse history. If, say, you had a cut, I could eat the history of you receiving it and it’d disappear. It’s still there, though, just concealed and will show up again eventually, hopefully after it heals. It’s just temporary”

“So, in other words, you can’t fix my blindness.”

“No. Sorry, Wash,” she says. “Either way, I’d have to know exactly how you got to that state. WHen I transform, I become aware of all the history of Gensokyo, but only Gensokyo so far. You’re an outsider.

You should have known it couldn’t be that easy…

“What about creating history, then? What’s that all about?”

“It’s exactly how it sounds. I can create a history of something and it will happen.”

“Which is why those ‘Secret History Association’ jackasses don’t trust you,” Sekibanki says. “That and the thought that all of everyone’s dirty little secrets are yours for a night.

Keine pauses and lets out a tired sigh. “Don’t even get me started on those misguided fools. The number of times I’ve had to deal with their paranoia…”

“I still don’t understand why you don’t just erase their history.”

“Firstly, it’ll only prove to them that their suspicions about me are true,” Keine says, “which will matter because, secondly, I’d only be able to do so temporarily.”

Sekibanki sighs. “Then just have Reimu kick their asses then.”

“They’re not actually causing any trouble for anyone, so I can’t.”

“...you could always arrange for some ‘youkai’ to crash their not-so-secret meetings.”

“No! That’s just make things worse!”

You decide that you’d rather be listening to something else rather than these two’s arguments, so you slowly back away and lean on a sturdy-feeling bamboo cluster while you wait for the two to settle their dispute.

Secret History Association, huh? From what little you’ve heard it sounds as though most of the trouble they cause is political in nature, which makes it hard for any retaliation to take place. You note how stressed-out Keine sounded while talking about them, so you resolve to ask around on your own when you have the chance. Preferably after you get your sight back.

If not, you could always wander the village and wait for anything your hearing may pick up.

Speaking of which, you think you can hear something.

‘Zzz…’

It’s faint, but it almost sounds like light snoring. You barely pick it up somewhere further from where you lean.

“—I’m not gonna shoot anyone!”

“How do you expect to get anything done?!”

Sounds like Keine and Sekibanki are still going at it.

Your curiosity gets the better of you and you silently inch towards the mysterious sound. Your staff is held out, softly tapping against bamboo as you lower your feet softly to avoid stepping on any—





+++

...You’re upside down.

You have no idea what happened, but you remember being whipped up by your ankle, which has something rough and fibery wrapped around it. You, unfortunately, can’t gauge how high you are and you lost your grip on your staff when you lost your sense of direction after being whipped up. You recall feeling a something blunt smacking into your head on the way up as well as being splashed with some sort of liquid.

Your next words perfectly summarize what’s going on through your head right now.

“Well, shit.”

Curiously, that soft snoring sound you heard from earlier? It’s a bit louder now and is coming from right in front of you. Maybe someone else also got snatched up?

“Zzz… zzz… hmm… huh? Eh?!”

Looks like she woke up. You decide to do the polite thing and do a simple wave.

“Hi.”



“KYAAAAAAAAAAA!!!”

The scream itself is painful enough, but you also feel a searing pain in your cheek as something smacks against it quite roughly. You can also feel something rake your cheek as the slap sends you spinning.

“D-don’t look, pervert!”

You take offense to that, and almost begin to rebut until you realise that she’s probably also being hung upside down.

Last you were able to see, girls still wore skirts.

In your pained disorientation, you hear voices calling out from below you.

“What happened? Wash?!”

“Sekibanki?!” the person hanging out with you says.

“Kagerou?! Where are you?!”

“Up here,” you weakly say.

“Oh. Shit.” That’s a good summary, yes. “Keine! I found him!”

Farther below you you hear the faint rustling of what few shrubbery and leaves being ruffles as Keine no doubt makes her was to Sekibanki.

“You did?” she says. “Where are the—”

You next hear a series of sounds that sound like several ropes lashing and wood blocks tapping against each other before a louder one takes place next to you. What the hell happened.

“Oh… my head.”

That’s Keine’s voice. It’s coming from right beside you.

“Keine? Goddammit Keine where are you?” Sekibanki calls out.

You hear more rustling as she tries to locate her missing companions (in other words, you and Keine).

“Sekibanki!” you call out. “Watch out for the—”

The same series of noises reach your ears before you feel something brush against you to the side opposite of where you assume Keine hangs.

“Fucking hell that hurt,” you hear Sekibanki say from somewhere below you, a bit further than she sounded previously.

“What the fuck was—aww, seriously?!”

You imagine that her head must’ve been knocked off by the same mechanism that brought you up.

“Sekibanki,” the girl says, hold it up!”

“What?”

“Hold it up!” Kagerou says. You can imagine her frantically pointing at Sekibanki’s body.

Least you have a vague idea of what she’s wearing now.

Not that you’re trying to imagine the other details.

You aren’t.

Honest.

“Why?!” Sekibanki says. “Kagerou, you idiot! He’s blind! He hasn’t seen anything!”

A moment of silence passes as you imagine Kagerou’s gaze flitting back and forth between you and Sekibanki. “Ah,” she mumbles.

You’re still massaging your sore cheek and you actually feel a light trickle of blood along a set of lines where you were scratched. You then do what comes naturally.

“Hi.”






“...whydoesthishappentome.”

You never thought you’d think this, but for once, you’re glad that you aren’t able to see what’s in front of you. You’d rather not have the rest of your face scratched-off by an embarrassed werewolf.

It’s starting to sting, actually.

“How’s Keine?” you ask.

“It hurts and I’m covered in some sort of liquid.”

“Got some of that on me too,” Kagerou says. “Can’t fly or shoot danmaku at all and it sucks!”

You hear Keine grunt a few times, presumably in an attempt to fly or shoot bullets.

You’re still hanging and starting to lose feeling in your foot, so you assume that Kagerou’s right and that Keine has mostly failed in her attempts.

“Now what?” you ask.

To your right, you hear Keine grunting as she does whatever it is she’s doing to try to break free. Sekibanki’s body has mostly been quiet while her head is spouting curses. Kagerou is lamenting about her misfortune and is also mumbling apologies to you.

To make matters worse, you’re hungry.

“This is why I hate rabbits,” you hear Sekibanki grumble. “Fecking rabbits and their fecking traps knocking my damn head off…”

You suppress the urge to tell her that her accent’s slipping again because a thought occurs to you amidst her rambling. You recall the incident earlier in Keine’s house, where you were shot in the face by her head.

“Can’t your head float?”

Another round of silence.

“...oh. Right.”

You and Keine groan while Kagerou shouts “Godsdammit Sekibanki!”

Now it’s just a matter of waiting, since you can’t really see if she’s gotten to levitating her head or not. You assume that she is.. You honestly have no idea how Sekibanki’s gonna get you all down, though. Maybe she’ll chew through the rope—
File 149200901235.jpg - (177.87KB, 1024x718, Are you kidding me.jpg) [iqdb]
196001
Rustling.

Light pounding.

Footsteps.

“Son of a bitch!”

You being too late to warn Sekibanki.

“A butterfly net?” she seethes, “of all the things you could’ve used, you chose a BUTTERFLY NET? Is that the best ya cotton-tailed whores can come up wi—mmpf!”

You hear the rustle of cloth and feel several interwoven lengths of rope, a net, being thrown at and tightened around you as you struggle. You can hear Keine and Kagerou struggling as well until their voices abruptly drop to a location under you before you yourself find yourself falling and painfully hitting the ground, knocking some air out of your lungs. As you catch your breath, the rustling of fabric continues and Keine’s and Kagerou’s voices

“What’s going on—mmpf!” You yourself find your voice muffled by a manner of rough fabric that you can feel rubbing at your face and neck.

It occurs to you that they’ve shoved a burlap sack over your head, and you are filled with rage.

“Are you kidding me?! I’m BLIND!

+++

You find yourself roused from the nap you decided to take while you and your companions were dragged like carcasses to wherever you are now. Your eyelids flutter open and the shapelessness that greets you is darker than usual.

You feel your surroundings.

Cold.

Echoed breathing.

Damp earth. Loose.

Underground somewhere?

Thankfully you don’t feel the burlap sack over your head anymore, neither do you feel restrained, so you sit up.

“So you’re awake.”

You turn your head to the direction of Sekibanki’s voice.

“Rabbit hole, or something,” she says. “Keine and Kagerou are here too.”

“Hey Wash,” Keine says.

“I feel like this is karma somehow,” says Kagerou.

You chose to ignore that statement and all that it implies.

“What happened,” you say.

You merely hear the rustle of cloth as Keine reaches over and brings your hand up. You wonder what she’s trying to do until she places your hand on something warm.

Smooth. Wavy.

Hair.

Someone’s head. Not severed, you hope.

Something else.

Softer. Long.

...rabbit ears?”

“Wash, meet Tewi Inaba,” Keine says.

“Hi~” a new voice says, which then harshly whispers “don’t be rude, say hi!”

You hear two dull thuds that sounds suspiciously like flesh beinf struck, followed by two “eeps!” coming from two other voices you haven’t heard before.

You remember hearing a little about Tewi Inaba, leader of the earth rabbits and apparently a trickster by nature.

The sack over your head is still fresh in your mind.

[] What do you say/ask?
[X] Hi.

Keeping it simple
>>196001
[X] What’s an Irish Dullahan doing in Gensokyo?
Maybe the venerable Tewi knows the answer to this grand mystery.
[x] "Get me out of here before I start craving rabbit soup"

Trapped, hurt, bound, and still blind. Sounds like a recipe for good mood.
[X] Why.
[X] Why.

More appropriate, honestly
[X] Why.
File 149205174328.jpg - (42.30KB, 489x797, waitthatsnotright.jpg) [iqdb]
196012
[X] Hi.
[x] Why.

What'd we ever do to you?
[X] Why.
[X] Why.
The barrier of 'getting hit in the face' is frayed
[X] “Why?” you simply say.

You feel a faint tremor throughout the room and a little dust and dirt raining down around you. In the distance, you hear something that you conclude sounds like a distant explosion.

“That’s why,” Tewi says.

Oh, yeah. That totally answers all your questions.

You have been enlightened.

You think it’s showing on your face because Keine and Sekibanki immediately clear their throats.

“Anyway, let’s try this again,” Keine says. “Wash, Kagerou, the friend Sekibanki was talking about Kagerou, this is Irving Washington. We just call him ‘Wash’.”

You’re ashamed to admit it, but you almost forgot what your full name sounded like, with everyone calling you ‘Wash’ so often. You raise a hand in greeting.

“Sorry for earlier,” Kagerou mumbles. Your face still aches.

“Done speaking? Good,” Sekibanki interrupts. “Wash, this is Tewi.”

“Hi again~” she says. She sounds enthusiastic but earlier statements of her being a troublemaker and the irritation in Sekibanki’s tone as she introduced you firmly prevents your opinion of her from progressing beyond ‘person-you’ve-heard-so-much-about’.

You don’t really know how to react to this situation. On one hand, you’re still mad about the sack thing (call it crying over spilled tea, but that was basically a kick to the balls for you) and have begun to crave Rabbit Soup. You want a proper answer. On the other hand, you’re not too keen on discovering what the cause of that explosion was.

You settle on a simple hi—

“I’LL POUND YOUR EYES INTO MOCHI.”

Uh…

“COME HERE COME! I WON’T BITE!”

...

“Give me a moment,” Tewi says.

You hear the mysterious new voice protesting loudly before the sound of a loud punch connecting, and of something smashing into the floor, reaches you. You think you can hear Sekibanki mutter “good riddance” in the background.

“...Hi! I’m Seiran!”

...what?

“You’ll have to forgive my colleage. She has a slight problem and has been experiencing mood swings,” another voice says. “I am—.”

“Not welcome here!” Sekbanki snarls.

“Now, now, let’s all try to get along,” you hear Tewi say. You suppress a snort, remembering just how you ended up there in the first place. “Banki, while they may be snitches, Seiran and Ringo are my guests here.”

Snitches?

“Then why are they tied up?”

“So Seiran won’t try to make mochi out of anyone’s eyes.”

“And the orange one?”

“...she was like that when I found her.”

You hear Seiran mumble something that suspiciously sounds like: “she interrupted our fun Ringo.”

This is a land of Gods and Magic, right? You subconsciously ask whichever one might be listening if people continuing the conversation as though you weren’t there would be a recurring thing is your quest to regain your sight and memories.

You clear your throat and turn to where you last heard Keine from. “I’ll rephrase my question from earlier,” you say. “What?”

Keine sighs as you hear the girl who threatened you, Seiren, lightly humming a formless tune.

“Some rabbits, the ones we told you about, carried us here after they tied us up. Seiran was leading them.”

You briefly divert your attention and listen to Seiran singing about pounding mochi in a cheery tone, with lyrics that you’d rather not think about.

“She was just about to start making mochi—”

“With my head!”

“—when Tewi wandered in and found us.”

Another tremor.

“I told them to bring any humans in the forest to me but didn’t specify,” Tewi says in the same cheery and mischievous-sounding voice she’s been using. “My bad~”

She is not sorry.

It’s written all over her voice.

Hell, she probably laughed when she saw the blindfolded blind man.

“You’re quite the bold one, aren’t you?” she suddenly says.

You wonder what exactly Tewi means by that. It’s not until she purrs that you realize with a start that you’ve been unconsciously petting her ever since Keine guided you to her.

Mmm… her hair actually feels ni—

No! Bad!

You withdraw your hand as politely as you can in the quickest way possible, but not as politely or discreet about your flustered state as you’d like. You hear Kagerou giggling and there’s nothing else to laugh about, so you assume you’re blushing.

You let out a frustrated sigh.

“If nobody’s actually still tied up, can we go now?” you ask as you stand.

You note that you’re not answered immediately.

“Actually, Reisen’s supposed to live nearby, right? Can we see her?”

Again, you’re not answered.

You pause.

“...something wrong?”

You hear the rustle of cloth as someone stands and footsteps approach you.

“I think it’s best if we don’t go to Eientei, Wash.”







...but eyes!

Memories!

...

YOUWANTTOSEEAGAINDAMMITWH—

You swiftly gather your thoughts before you say or scream out anything you'll regret. It's hard, though, knowing that your friends are essentially saying: "we think it's best that you don't go to the place that can restore your eyesight and memories (which you've only lost yesterday)".

The question comes slowly out of your throat, grinding and dragging itself out and coming out scratchy.

“Why is that?”

Your answer crashes through the ceiling and—

[] Sounds like a bitch.

[] Shoots (insert character) in the face
-[] Take one for the 2hou?

[] Lands on (insert character)
-[] Take one the the 2hou?
[X] Shoots Tewi in the face
[x] No, let her take it.
>>196042
Won't it just miss though on account of Tewi being extremely lucky?
File 149219457883.jpg - (47.98KB, 749x518, 17522871_1500371483309347_9208808993377583020_n.jpg) [iqdb]
196045
>>196042
Hey!

[x] Shoots Tewi in the face
-[x] Take one for the 2hou
>>196044

Is she? I thought she was merely able to grant good luck to humans.
[X] Sounds like a bitch.

Huh, I think this is the first time I've seen someone ever use the "seiran is mentally unstable" fanon.
[X] Sounds like a bitch.
[X] Lands on Tewi
-[X] Take one for the 2hou!

Protect the fluff!
[X] Lands on Wash.
[X] Shoots Tewi in the face.
-[x] No, let her take it.

"Of all the people here you had to squash me?!"

Why? Because being Wash is suffering.
File 149220892023.png - (1.07MB, 850x1200, __inaba_tewi_touhou_drawn_by_nnyara__18ef9531f71b2.png) [iqdb]
196053
[x] Shoots Tewi in the face
-[x] Take one for the 2hou
[x] Shoots Marvin in the face. [x] Lands on Wash.

Designated butt monkey.
Just a head's up that thiss'll probably be the last post for a while. Heading out for a few days soon but I'll still try to update.

+++

You hear your answer coming before you feel the shock of it crashing through the ceiling thanks to all those explosions taking place somewhere outside. Your anger and confusion at not being able to restore your sight and memories after coming so far and being so close is temporarily forgotten as an explosion goes off closer to where your group is holed-up.

Something crashes through the ceiling and lands next to you, causing you to stumble and trip. You hear Ringo, Keine and Kagerou giving off startled yelps.

Seiren is asking nobody in particular if they’ve started pounding mochi.

Tewi does react in any audible way except for when she shouts a little.

“You again? Watch where you’re falling!” she says.

You feel the air immediately begun to heat and buzz as you stumble back to your feet. You recognize this feeling from when you were struck by Sekibanki’s projectiles and immediately know what’s coming to Tewi.

“Know your place, filthy vermin!” a pretentious-sounding voice seethes.

You can tell from listening to everyone’s voices that you’re the closest to Tewi. On one hand, you’re still pissed off that you were held up and blindfolded on her orders (though another part of you argues that it was Seiran who interpreted it as such). On the other hand, the decency as a human being in your subconscious is pushing for you to do the right thing.

In the end, your decision is made for you when, without your staff, you trip, and in your fall you wind up pushing Tewi out of the way.

Then, it happens.

you are bombarded as the sound of projectiles fills your ears again, laced with the occasional explosion. It’s all around you, ricochets coming from every direction. Hard projectiles pelt you even as you eventually fall to the ground, stinging with each impact and making you feel nauseous.

You try to stand. Amidst the hail, you force yourself up to a kneel, arms tense and pushing you up. As you stand, you feel something impact squarely on your forehead and you are sent reeling back, choking back a sharp gasp.

Instinctively, you whip your head side-to-side, trying to get a read on where the projectiles are coming from, but you see the same thing you see all the time.

You want to get out.

You have to get out.

You try vainly to stand, but projectiles just keep hitting you everywhere.

It feels like hours, trapped in that barrage of sensations, but in reality it’s only for over a dozen seconds that the bullets have flown. Mercifully, the projectiles eventually stop. You take deep breathes as the shooter lets out a huff. You feel a rush of air and assume that she’s left the same way she got in.

More explosions sound off in the distance, but your body stings all over too much for you to care.

“Wash!” You hear Sekibanki and Keine shout, then one of them running up to you and placing a careful hand in your own as she helps you up. You stumble, and find that she’s still supporting you.

“You okay?” Sekibanki asks.

You nod. “Just a little sore,” you say.

Once you’ve re-oriented yourself, you find your staff shoved into your free hand and a foreign grip seizing the wrist it’s attached to.

“We should leave,” Tewi says, oddly serious-sounding.

“But what about the mochi?!” Seiran protests.

Yeah. Leaving. Going away from the explosion sounds that are now louder with that hole in the ceiling.

Let’s go. Please.

Sekibanki still has a grip on you but the person you allow to lead you is Tewi. You can hear Keine, Kagerou and the two rabbits’ footsteps amidst the sounds of a duel outside.

You are led through a long tunnel with an earthen floor and the smell of soil. You are still underground, but the air is starting to feel and smell different. By now the sounds of explosions have become muted again, to your relief as Tewi has you stop and lets go of your hand.

Sekibanki gently tugs on the one she’s holding. “Watch your step,” she says.

You feel the dirt at your feet slope upwards sharply and the shapelessness before you brightens when you turn your head upwards. You slowly pulls yourself out, feeling around the edges of the hole while someone, most likely Sekibanki, pushes you out by supporting your heel.

You plant your staff upright in the dirt and feel for the lip of the hole. When you reach it, you offer a hand downwards, waiting for someone to grab hold. Someone does, and you pull her out.

“Thanks,” Sekibanki says.

You offer your hand and pull a person out three more times, though you note that the third seems to be incredibly heavy. It turns out that Ringo had to drag Seiran out of the hole.

“My mochi!”

“We’ll make some more later, now shut up!”

The sounds of explosions and projectiles still rage on, but at a generous distance away from where you all are. Now that you have some time to think, you realize that your breaths are still heavy and that your body still stings. You attribute this to the sheer number of bullets you’ve taken.

“Is everybody here?” you ask.

Nobody responds.

“He’s blind, you idiots, remember? Stop nodding.” Thank you Sekibanki.

Suddenly, you feel something slam into your midsection, as well as a fair amount of air leaving your lungs.

“My, aren’t you the heroic one?” Tewi?

Oh, right. Earlier.

“Not that I needed it, but the thought is appreciated.”

WHAT.

You tense. You’re blind, so there’s really not much distracting you from your other senses. Every wave of heat, vibration and sting during that brief danmaku barrage made it feel much longer to you than you assume it would have to someone who’s lived with it before such as Sekibanki or Tewi.

That said, Tewi’s comment did a really good job of pissing you off again and reminding you of how mad you were at her earlier.

She must have felt you tense up.

“I’m the White Hare of Inaba, basically the luckiest thing alive,” she says, “I’m still grateful though. Not everyday you see a stranger go through that kind of thing for you.”

You remember that you actually didn’t want to do that.

“Either way, Yorihime wouldn’t have hit me anyway,” she continues. “Eirin won’t be too pleased with her or her sister if they shot-up her host, even in current circumstances…”

You turn your head to where you last remember Sekibanki’s voice coming from and muster the most pleading expression you can remember. At this point, if you’re not able to go to Eientei and get your eyes fixed, you’d much rather go home.

You feel Sekibanki’s grip take your hand as Tewi parts from you.

“Anyway, I’ll be looking for Reisen now. Bye!”

Just before she leaves, however, you feel something on your cheek.

Soft.

Slightly moist.

Warm.

Did Tewi just… kiss you?

“Thanks again,” she whispers, and you hear her footsteps running off to who knows where.

You can feel Sekibanki’s grip on you tighten, all of a sudden.

You also notice that Seiran and Ringo haven’t left yet. You didn’t hear their footsteps and can still hear Seiran quietly singing about mochi.

You really need to sit down.

[] You’re starting to lose feeling in your hand. Talk to Sekibanki.

[] You’re confused. Talk to Keine. She seems calm—and hopefully sane—enough to explain some things.

[] You’ve barely met her and haven’t been able to talk to her much yet. Talk to Kagerou

[] You can feel someone tugging at the hem of your shirt and the light singing tells you that it’s Seiran. Talk to her or Ringo.

[] Specific Question
[x] You’re starting to lose feeling in your hand. Talk to Sekibanki

Jealousy?

Also, holy shit he was wrecked.
[X] You’ve barely met her and haven’t been able to talk to her much yet. Talk to Kagerou
[X] You’ve barely met her and haven’t been able to talk to her much yet. Talk to Kagerou.
[x] You’ve barely met her and haven’t been able to talk to her much yet. Talk to Kagerou
[X] You’re starting to lose feeling in your hand. Talk to Sekibanki.
-[X] “If we’re in Japan, what’s an Irish Dullahan doing here?”
[x] You’re starting to lose feeling in your hand. Talk to Sekibanki
[X] You’re starting to lose feeling in your hand. Talk to Sekibanki.
[X] You’ve barely met her and haven’t been able to talk to her much yet. Talk to Kagerou.
>>196089
I admire your tenacity. You have my sword.

[x] You’re starting to lose feeling in your hand. Talk to Sekibanki.
-[x] "What's an Irish dullahan doing in Japan?"
File 149249219067.png - (365.39KB, 500x401, I feel pretty.png) [iqdb]
196096
>>196095

I admire your admiration of tenacity.

[x] You’re starting to lose feeling in your hand. Talk to Sekibanki.
-[x] "What's an Irish dullahan doing in Japan?"
File 14924923577.jpg - (51.12KB, 500x667, and my meme.jpg) [iqdb]
196097
>>196096
My only regret is that if this wins, we lose the joke.

[x] You’re starting to lose feeling in your hand. Talk to Sekibanki.
-[x] "What's an Irish dullahan doing in Japan?"
>>196097

They could always throw Old Spice guy into the mix.
[x] You’re starting to lose feeling in your hand. Talk to Sekibanki.
-[x] "I'm lost, what the actual fuck happened back there?"

Tide pissin'
[z] You’re starting to lose feeling in your hand. Talk to Sekibanki.
-[e] "What's an Irish dullahan doing in Japan?"

Talk to the Banki.
[X] You’ve barely met her and haven’t been able to talk to her much yet. Talk to Kagerou.
[X] You’re starting to lose feeling in your hand. Talk to Sekibanki.

You hear Tewi’s footsteps bounding away from your small group. You’re still absently touching the spot on your cheek where she kissed you while wondering just what the hell goes on in her mind. You honestly don't know what to think about Tewi at this point.

You also realize that Sekibanki’s hold on your hand has turned into a vice and that you are starting to loose feeling from it. Ouch.

“Sekibanki?”

No response.

“Uh… Seki?”

“What?!”

You are I itially taken aback at how irritated she sounds. Then again, you'd be pretty irritated as well after all of the confusing things that have been happening. You honestly have no idea about what exactly went down in the what-you-assume-was-an-underground-room other that you ended up taking a barrage for Tewi, who decided to express her gratitude with a kiss to the cheek. How that is a reward exactly you have no clue.

Still, Sekibanki’s grip really hurts now.

“I can't feel my hand.”

Your hearing detects the barest hints of a sharp intake of breath directly beside you as Sekibanki hastily lets go of your hand.

“Sorry,” she mumbles.

She genuinely sounds apologetic so you can't stay mad at her. Still, you wonder what has her so steamed.

“Is something wrong?”

She doesn't respond.

“Sekibanki, is something wrong?”

You hear her let out a tired sigh as you hear Keine conversing with Kagerou in the background. You didn't hear any sets of footsteps leaving so you assume that Seiran and Ringo are still around.

“I don't like the rabbits,” Sekibanki says. “Mischievous and persistent little bitches have done nothing but make things inconvenient for me and anyone else caught up in their bullshit.”

“I'm sensing a story here?”

“Some of them wandered outside the forest and decided to booby-trap my house when Kotohime’s father visited. This happened.”

You feel something being shoved into your arms, which you fumble with for a bit before you recognize the familiar feeling of Sekibanki’s head. You can feel small rivulets of blood running down your hands to your wrist and forearm.

Realization dawns on you as you recall Sekibanki’s situation as a Youkai living amongst humans. You recall Kotohime’s statement from earlier about how her father knew that Sekibanki was a Youkai.

You wonder if she used to live closer to the village at some point.

“Never trust a youkai rabbit, Wash. Especially not the older ones like Tewi or moon rabbits like those two furballs with us.”

“What have we ever done to you?” you hear Ringo ask from nearby.

You feel Sekibanki’s head abruptly levitate from your grip and feel a slight buzz in the air.

“Speaking of rabbits!” you say, grabbing Sekibanki’s head and eliciting a surprised yelp from her, “Who the hell was that just now, why did she kiss me, and what does this have to do with whatever happened earlier?”

“Mmff!” You feel Sekibanki’s head struggle against your grip. The buzzing is still there so you readjust your grip and resolve to keep her there until she calms down.

Nobody answers you.

“Another question, then. Who the hell just shot me?”

“I’m just as clueless as you are,” you hear Kagerou say after a moment of silence. “Also, again, I’m sorry for scratching you…”

The good news is that the three scratches on your face no longer ache. The bad news is that it’s due to the stinging sensations all over your body from your run-in earlier.

“Watatsuki no Yorihime.”

You turn, feeling your eyes widen slightly as Seiran speaks.

“Former boss,” she simply says. “From the moon. Doesn’t like Mochi or earth. Mochi. Mo—”

As Seiran’s mind wanders off into thoughts about mochi, you hear Ringo sigh. You note that, while her voice has gone quieter, her tone has gotten more hysterical.

“Seiran has some very bad memories of our former superiors,” Ringo says. “We’ll be taking our leave now before she gets any more… ‘passionate.’”

You hear Ringo whispering something into Seirans ear as their footsteps grow further and further away until you cannot hear them anymore. You feel a foreign-but-gentle grip on your shoulder. You conclude from the feeling of long nails through the fabric of your shirt that it is Kagerou standing behind you.

“I don’t know much but I know that someone’s visiting Eientei right now,” she says. “Probably the same person who shot you and the reason why Eirin isn’t there.”

“Seiran mentioned someone named ‘Yorihime?’” you say.

“Watatsuki no Yorihime,” Keine finally speaks. “I’ve only heard her name, though, from Marisa and Reimu when they went to the moon.”

Your thought process grinds to a halt.

“I’msorrywhat?”

“The first time they went to the moon, I believe. That was the one with the rocket. I’m not sure how they did it the second time.” You can’t help but wonder why Keine is saying all of this so casually.

“Regardless, I recognized those Danmaku patterns coming from Eientei when we got out,” she continues. “Wash, I know you want your sight and your memories back, but I don’t think it’s safe to go to Eientei at the moment.”

She hesitates.

“We should go home. It’ll be dark soon and we’ll be safer in the village.”

It’s frustrating, knowing that there was a possibility of curing your blindness that was snatched away due to circumstance, but Keine hasn’t led you astray in the short time you’ve known her. You do note, however, that her tone betrays doubt that she’s trying to keep hidden, as if there were somewhere else she wanted to go.

You resolve to ask her about this later and reluctantly concede to head home for the time being.

Also, you may be unable to access your memories, but your common sense works just fine. You can still hear explosions in the distance and that scares you. After all, being able to see what’s causing those explosion noises won’t do you any good if you get your limbs blown-off in the process.

“Uh, excuse me?”

You recognize Kagerou’s voice.

“Washington, was it?” You turn slightly and nod. “Could Sekibanki have her head back? I don’t mean to sound offensive but you can’t see that her body’s acting strange.”

You wish she was more specific when she said that Sekibanki was acting ‘strange’ but you decide to trust the judgement of someone who can actually see. Also, while the buzz of magic has died down, you can feel that Sekibanki’s head as gotten very warm in your hands, as though she either developed a slight fever or was blushing heavily.

You slowly loosen your grip and allow Sekibanki’s head to levitate out of your grasp to rejoin her body. You think you can hear Keine give off a quite, knowing chuckle, but it could just be your imagination.

Your group bids Kagerou farewell and begins the long trek home.

It’s an uneventful walk to the village with nothing but the change in the ground beneath your feet to give you something to think about. Sekibanki hasn’t made any attempt to talk to or approach you since earlier so you conclude that she’s still upset over something with the rabbits.

You wonder if maybe it’s something you said earlier that got her to be like this, but when you go over the events of earlier you can’t find anything in your statements that would’ve offended her.

Of course, it might have been something else about you that offended her. Your mind briefly wanders back to the conversation you overheard last night. Two Washingtons were mentioned: yourself and another. You remember how Sekibanki confessed that one of you was her reason to travel to Gensokyo, which makes another thought pop into your mind:

‘What’s an Irish Dullahan doing in Gensokyo?’

Regardless, you don’t interact with Sekibanki for the rest of the trip.

Keine has taken to guiding you but her grip seems subdued and she mumbles under her breath every now and then as though she were deep in thought. Perhaps Tewi told her something that has her worried? You fell asleep while Seiran and her rabbits were transporting you and Tewi was already there when you woke up. Any words could’ve been exchanged between your companions and Tewi while you were out.

Maybe Keine isn’t telling you everything?

Your earliest memories tell you that you had a pack with you when you arrived at Sekibanki’s house, so you decide to stay at Keine’s for another night and find some suitable lodgings tomorrow so you can stop bothering her.

Before long, you part ways with Sekibanki as her footsteps fade away towards the direction that you assume her house is at.

You feel sore and tired by the time you arrive at Keine’s house, so the moment she guides you to the room you occupied, you collapse down unto bed and let sleep overtake you.

+++

The night goes by quickly and you immediately feel a little better than you did yesterday after getting shot. However, something is different when you wake up. Something is…

[] Tracing along your face near your unopened right eye. It feels dulled, though. Could it be a scar?

[] Making some sort of sound. Sounds like a click and… something scratching against paper?

[] ...warm. WHY IS IT IN BED WITH YOU?!
[] ...warm. WHY IS IT IN BED WITH YOU?!
[x] ...warm. WHY IS IT IN BED WITH YOU?!

Damn, the scar sounds like a really interesting backstory element, but the other option is just too good.
[X] Tracing along your face near your unopened right eye. It feels dulled, though. Could it be a scar?
[X] Tracing along your face near your unopened right eye. It feels dulled, though. Could it be a scar?

I want me some juicy plot.
[X] Tracing along your face near your unopened right eye. It feels dulled, though. Could it be a scar?
-[X] Ponder your inability to ask simple questions.
[X] Tracing along your face near your unopened right eye. It feels dulled, though. Could it be a scar?

As tempting as the silly option is, I'm more curious about the potential backstory right now.
[x] ...warm. WHY IS IT IN BED WITH YOU?!
[X] Tracing along your face near your unopened right eye. It feels dulled, though. Could it be a scar?
[X] Tracing along your face near your unopened right eye. It feels dulled, though. Could it be a scar?
[X] ...warm. WHY IS IT IN BED WITH YOU?!
[x] Making some sort of sound. Sounds like a click and… something scratching against paper?

Aya deserves at least one vote.
>>196153

But four people already voted for Aya, didn't they?
>>196156

5/10 made me re-count.
>>196156
I'm only seeing one vote for Aya though, unless you're referring to the Warm thing
>>196160
thatsthejoke.jpg

Also sage goes in the email field.
[X] Tracing along your face near your unopened right eye. It feels dulled, though. Could it be a scar?

Being blind and losing your memory means two things:

1. You don’t remember how you got blind; were you born blind or were you blinded?

2. You don’t remember what you look like.

You suppose you could try mapping your face out with touch, but the thought doesn’t appeal to you. It feels as though you’d make an image for yourself when it really isn’t who you are.

You’ve already forgotten who you are, so you really don’t need anything to make the feeling worse.

Regardless, your curiosity gets the better of you and your hand snaps to the wrist of the person touching your face as your other traces along where the feeling of being touched was dulled, eliciting a quiet gasp of surprise from her.

You can feel it now, the dulled poking surrounding your eye.

Warm flesh. Warmer than the rest of your face.

Rough. Uneven.

A burn.

So that’s what is was.

“...does it hurt?”

You recognize Sekibanki’s voice, surprisingly. You honestly didn’t expect her of all people to be in your room right now.

“I hear that some burns never stop aching,” she says quietly. “Does yours ache?”

“Not so far,” you reply.

Sekibanki is silent for a moment, as are you. You’re still lying down on the bed but your eyes have fluttered open by now, brightening the shapelessness before you. Sekibanki is still sitting on the bed. You can feel the depression in the mattress to your side where she sits.

For a while, she doesn’t say anything, and nothing immediately comes to mind for you to start up a conversation. It’s an awkward silence, much like how you remember how she was for the later part of yesterday.

Maybe you should do something about that....

“I’m sorry.”

You feel a slight brush against your arm and hear the rustle of fabric. The mattress shifts slightly beneath you. You conclude that Sekibanki has turned to you in surprise.

“What?” Surprise is evident in her voice.

“If I did anything to offend you yesterday,” you say. “We didn’t speak at all after Tewi and you seemed distant, so I’m sorry for anything I might have done to offend you.”

You’ve only known her for two days at the most, but like Keine, Sekibanki’s been nothing but tolerant of you, except for your first meeting where she shouted at you at her house. You don’t quite know how to describe it, but you want to feel as though you can rely on her while you’re incapacitated as you are.

You’d rather clear up any misunderstanding that may cause rifts between the two of you. It’s easy to apologize. After all, if you had any pride, you no longer remember it.

She remains silent. You wish you could see so you could gauge her expression.

“It’s not you.”

“Pardon?”

She sighs. “You didn’t do anything to me.” Then why does she sound so reluctant when she says that? “Still, thanks for caring, I guess.”

Sekibanki falls into silence again as you sit yourself up on the mattress. You bring you hand up to your face again and feel burns around your eye. You wonder what had Sekibanki to interested in your scars.

Actually, the conversation from two nights ago flashes through your mind again. You remember that there’s something you’ve been wanting to ask her for a while now.

Well, you might as well.

“So,” you start, “What’s an Irish Dullahan doing in Gensokyo in the first place?”



“That’s bold,” she says.

“I wouldn’t know.”

You hear her sigh.

Some guy published a book that made things too hot where I was living,” she says. “Hoped on a boat and have been here ever since.”

You want to press for more information but only get as far as opening your mouth before Sekibanki interrupts you.

“That’s all you’re getting. Drop it.”

Fine.

You feel the bed rise slightly as she gets up to leave.

“Breakfast is ready when you are.”

You hear the door sliding open and closing.

Looks like Sekibanki hasn’t completely warmed up to you yet, but at the very least there’s something between you two. God knows you need friends if you’re going to survive here, if yesterday’s shooting was anything to go by.

You raise a hand to your face and rub the soreness out of your eyes. Your hands run over the burn scar of your right eye and the closing cuts over your left courtesy of Kagerou’s outburst from yesterday.

You also feel a series of smaller scars running over your eye, but you can’t remember what caused those.

Keine’s waiting for you, though. You swing your legs over the side of the bed and feel around near the headboard for where your staff was leaning against the wall.

You feel the familiar wooden staff in your fingers, lingering over the small crack near the top, before you lift yourself off the bed and feel your way out the door to where you remember the kitchen being.

“Ah, good morning Wash!” Keine says, oddly cheerful.

“Morning,” you reply. Your staff taps against the edge of the low table, where you decide to sit. You hear the sound of something being slid across the surface to your side where you remember Keine’s voice coming from.

You gently feel around the table for the cup, which your fingers brush against. You take it gently and take note of the sensations around you.

The sound of Keine sipping her tea to your left.

The tap that Sekibanki’s cup makes as she sets it down across from you.

Something furry brushing against yo—





You want to ask what that is so badly but at the same time you’re afraid that it’ll just be something else you can’t understand.

Speaking of questions, you might as well ask Keine something while you have the chance.

[] Ask about possible accommodations in the village

[] Eientei is out, so ask about your alternatives

[] What the heck is touching my leg right now?

[] Obligatory Write-In Option
[x] Eientei is out, do what are your options?
[x] Wouldn't want to impose too much on the houselady, are there any places to sleep available? Jobs?
[x] Is there something touching my leg?

In order of importance. If we can only pick one pick the first and so on.
[x] Wouldn't want to impose too much on the houselady, are there any places to sleep available? Jobs?

I just want to express my immense gratitude that the MC finally worked up the courage to ask the central question of this quests.
>>196174
Even if he didn't get a complete answer yet?
[x] Wouldn't want to impose too much on the houselady, are there any places to sleep available? Jobs?
[x] Is there something touching my leg?
[x] Wouldn't want to impose too much on the houselady, are there any places to sleep available? Jobs?
[X] Wouldn't want to impose too much on the houselady, are there any places to sleep available? Jobs?

I'm guessing that's referencing Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Never read it myself, anyone know if it's good?
[x] What the heck is touching my leg right now?
[X] Wouldn't want to impose too much on the houselady, are there any places to sleep available? Jobs?

“Well, personally I’m perfectly fine with letting you stay here, but if you want to find other accommodations in the village, then I won’t stop you,” Keine says. “About jobs, though… how should I say this…”

“Nobody wants to hire a blind guy.” Sekibanki says.

“Nobody wants to hire anyone with impairments,” Keine corrects. Doesn’t really sound more polite than Sekibanki’s statement but you appreciate the thought.

You resist the urge to sigh. After all, you don’t want to give the impression that you’re in a hurry to be rid of Keine. You’re not, you actually quite like her, but who knows that other people will think.

“Still, there’s got to be something I can do,” you say. “At the very least some housework?”

A moment of silence.

“Take this to the kitchen for me, will you Wash?” Sekibanki says as she places her empty (it feels light) teacup in your hand.

“Which way?”

“To your left.”

Sounds easy enough. You’ll just feel your way over to the nearest surface and—

Step on that weird thing that kept on brushing against your leg.

“YOW!”

Next thing you know you feel something shoot out from under you right into your jaw.

Then you stumble backwards and fall on your back.

To make matters worse, whatever it was that gave you the uppercut decided to trip or stumble thanks to your dropped staff and land on yo—

“OOF!”

Can’t breath… Hard to breath… Give it a moment...

Aaand now the pain replaces the feeling of emptiness in your lungs. Apart from the fact that your jaw hurts, there’s a painful sensation at the back of your neck when your head snapped back. You wonder just how much more of this bullshit you can put up with before you snap.

You also heard the teacup shatter somewhere far from your current position. Must’ve thrown it by accident. Gonna have to buy Keine a new one when you have the chance and the money.

On another note, you recognize the voice behind that yelp of pain from earlier, and the owner of the thing you stepped on.

“Good morning Kagerou,” you mumble.

“H-Hi…”

She’s on top of you and quickly pushes herself up to a seated position.

“Why does this happen to me,” she mumbles. If only she’d get off your stomach.

Then, you hear it.

Soft, repeated wheezings coming from Sekibanki’s direction (or you think it is). Someone is laughing at you and doing a poor job of hiding it.

“Way to kick a man while he’s down,” you grumble.

Sekibanki doesn’t even bother anymore. SHe just goes into full laughter.

As you’re gently shoving the trembling Kagerou off of you (you can imagine how red her face—or your mental image of her face—is), you a sickening sound that reminds you of two blocks of wood being smashed into each other interrupting Sekibanki’s laughter, quickly followed by the sound of something hitting the wall, falling to the floor, and screaming “Ow!”

“Don’t mind Sekibanki,” you hear Keine say, “You may not know it but that’s how she normally is.”

You nod before feel around for the edge of the table as Keine’s footsteps make way over to where you heard the teacup shatter.

“If you insist on staying somewhere else, then there’s a few places you can stay,” she says. “You have some money in that pack of yours so you should be fine for a while. Of course, you’re welcome to stay here some more if you wish.”

[] Stay with Keine

[] Look for a place to stay in the village

[] Look for accommodations elsewhere
[X] Stay with Keine.

How much did we forget anyway? Maybe help Keine with school stuff?
[X] Stay with Keine.
>>196196
About everything personal before Sekibankii yelling, apparently.
[X] Stay with Keine
[x] I like it here, I just didn't want to be a bother
[x] Also you yell at me like 90% less than the last place I tried to crash in.

Poor Wash. Poor Kagerou.
At least he can use some of that money to pay for the cup and the food.
[x] Stay with Keine.
-[x] I like it here, I just didn't want to be a bother.

The dullahan may have been a bitch about it, but she does have a point, sadly - not many people are as sympathetic as Keine.

Also Keine headbutting Sekibanki's head off FTW.
>>196205
If only someone made a fanart of that!
[x] Stay with Keine.
-[x] I like it here, I just didn't want to be a bother.
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196238
[x] Stay with Keine.

You figured that you may as well accept her offer.

“I’ll stay here then,” you say. “I mean, don’t get me wrong. [x] I like it here, I just didn't want to be a bother.”

Keine chuckles at that. “Oh, it’s fine! Besides, what kind of ‘Protector of the Village’ would I be if I couldn’t accomodate a few lost souls?”

“You mean like that wizard you were banging?” Sekibanki’s head says from where it—

...wait a minute.

“Keine—”

“IT WASN’T LIKE THAT!” she shrieks. You hear her spring from her spot at the table followed by the sound of a body hitting the floor and Sekibanki’s voice suddenly becoming muffled.

“SHUT UP!” Keine shrieks.

Shortly after you hear another body leap followed by a series of thumps that tells you that it might be Sekibanki’s attempt at retaliation.

You turn your head to Kagerou’s last known direction and raise an eyebrow questioningly. You can tell she catches you gaze when she sighs, takes your hand, pulls you up, and guides you to the sound of thrashing, muffled screaming and Keine’s grunts of exertion.

You hear her struggle and haul Sekibanki’s body away, then you crouch and feel for Keine’s shoulders.

“Now, now. The Dullahan might not have been polite about it, but that’s no reason to smother one of the only other friends I have here,” you say as your hands find her shoulders and you pull her away.

Speaking of friends, you really have to try speaking to Kagerou one of these days. You’re curious about her ‘condition’.

She resists at first but eventually lets you pull her away. You hear Sekibanki’s head gasp as she takes in as much precious air as possible.

You throw a questioning expression her direction.

“Can’t you just breath through your neck?”

The only reply you receive is a grunt from Sekibanki as you hear her body step past you to where her head is.

You sigh and sit back down at the table.

At the very least you can have a decent meal before the rest of your day takes a shit on you.

+++

After your meal is concluded, Keine and Kagerou offer to handle whatever dishes needs to be washed. Honestly after what happened to you earlier, you can’t really blame them for being so adamant in you not assisting.

There was a little incident where Sekibanki cut her foot on a shard of the broken teacup, but nothing else happens (apparently you’re supposed to remove your footwear in some places in Gensokyo).

You’re actually thankful for the uneventfulness since it means you aren’t really wearing yourself out.

You decide to go through your possessions back in your room and Sekibanki—perhaps feeling a little apologetic—offers to help you identify anything you can’t remember or map out with touch.

That’s where you two are. Kneeling on the floor with the simple cloth sack in front of you and you rummaging around inside. Your hands brush upon a smaller sack that you pull out and shake. The metallic clinking noises tells you that it is full of coins; whether the currency they represent will be accepted in Gensokyo is another matter.

You hand the pouch over to Sekibanki.

“Gold and silver coins,” she says. “That’ll do.”

You say nothing.

“Got anything else?”

You merely continue rummaging.

“...is this about earlier?”

Again you don’t say anything.

Truthfully a part of you is nagging at you and calling you a moron for being this petty, especially since you’re the one who stood up, but the part of face and torso that still aches from being hit by Kagerou (who you suspect might have were-kangaroo ancestry. You facer still hurts a lot!) is overwriting anything you common sense is telling you.

You pull a few assorted cloths that you assume are spare clothes from the pack and lay them next to you on the floor.

“...fine. I’m sorry I got a kick out of your suffering.”

God dammit.

You can only sigh as your hands brush against a larger folded cloth at the very bottom of the pack. You pull it out and set it down before turning to face Sekibanki’s last heard direction.

And just stare.







“...and for putting you in that situation in the first place.”

You nod and smile. Now she’s getting somewhere!

“If it’s any consolation, You might have inavertedly charmed Kagerou.”

You continue nodding, turning back to the pack to place the clothes back inside. There is what feels to be a large hole in the bo—





“waitWHAT?!”

She chuckles. “Kagerou’s real sensitive about her appearance and men are in short order in Gensokyo (at least ones who won’t run away from you or towards you with weapons. So, whens she sees someone like you, someone she doesn’t have to worry over her appearance for, she’s bound to get idea.”

You slowly lower your face into your hands as you process this information.

“Also, I think she might be in heat.”

WHY.

+++

After that ‘enlightening’ conversation with Sekibanki, you opt to finish placing the clothes back in—mindful of the hole at the bottom of the pack—before you feel around for the money pouch and stand to find Keine.

You’re only alerted to the hole in the pouch when the coins clatter to the ground. It’s lucky that the pouch ended up in a position that kept the coins in when the contents of your pack shifted around as you walked.

“That’s a fair amount of coins,” Keine says when you hand her the pouch.

“If only I could remember where they came from,” you say. “Take some. For the cup earlier. Again, I’m sorry about that.”

“It’s fine!” she reassures. “After all, it wasn’t completely your fault.”

You feel a slight temperature drop in the room and can almost swear that she’s glaring at where you last remember hearing Sekibanki and Kagerou having a chat.

“That aside, I was hoping that it’d be enough to pay off whatever cost at Eientei ‘till I remembered what happened…”

Well shit, now you feel like shit again.

It’s that feeling, that feeling you have that you should be remembering something, but no matter how hard you wrack your mind and try to focus, that one memory nagging at you is just out of reach and you can’t see a damn flash of it.

Which reminds you of your blindness just as Keine decides to speak.

“Well, I suppose there’s other places we could try—eek!”

Before you’re aware that you’ve homed in on her voice, you find that you’re eagerly gripping her shoulders as she finishes muttering the last few words of her statement.

You’re holding on a bit too eagerly, actually…

“Sorry.”

“It’s fine,” she says as you lean back to where you sat. “First place that comes to mind is the Scarlet Devil Mansion. The magician living in the library might know something.”

“Didn’t you advise against going there yesterday?” you ask.

“That was before I found out that Eientei had ‘guests’,” she says, “and for a good reason. The youkai who live there are…”

“Batshit insane?” Sekibanki quips.

“Different. I was going to say different,” Keine replies. “Unless either of you have any other ideas?”

Sekibanki and Kagerou remain silent as they deliberate.

“Remember Mystia?” Kagerou says.

“NO!” You’re surprised at how unified Keine and Sekibanki are in speaking out against this idea.

“If anything we should go see that Satori,” Sekibanki says. “She’s all about mind stuff, right?”

“Except she’s difficult to reach,” Keine counters.

“And the Scarlet Devil Mansion is?”

“...fine.”

“If all else fails, we can just go see Marisa—”

You open your eyes as wide as possible and snap a furious gaze towards Kagerou’s voice. You wouldn’t be surprised if Keine (maybe even Sekibanki) did the same.

—a-and ask her to help us find Reisen!” Nice save Kagerou. “She might have some medicine with her wherever she’s staying.”

“I thought her home was in Eientei,” you say.

“It is, but apparently she’s trying to lay low because of whoever’s at Eientei right now.”

Ah, well, that explains it.

“It’s your decision, eyesight and memories Wash,” Keine says. “Where do you want to go?”

+++

Keine’s Suggestion
[] Scarlet Devil Mansion
- Their magician might be able to do something about your memories and blindness, but she’s not exactly known for being altruistic. Then there’s the fact that her familiar is a Succubus and the head of the house is a Vampire. Then there’s… her…

Sekibanki’s Suggestion
[] Palace of the Earth Spirits
- The master of the palace is a Satori who can read minds and hopefully help you with your memories. Only problem is that she lives underground in a place called ‘Old Hell’. Did she mention that the palace is surrounded by the perpetually-drunk Oni and that one of her loyal pets is a nuclear-powered Hell Raven who’s dumb as rocks?

Kagerou’s Suggestion
[] Lamprey Stand
- Apparently run by a Night Sparrow who used to regularly blind people and sell them the cure as part of her business. She might have some advice to give on you blindness. Kagerou mentiones that even if she can’t help, the lamprey stand is surprisingly popular so there’s a chance that you might run into someone who can help.
[X] Palace of the Earth Spirits
Knowledge or her master might ask a price that we can't afford... And we wouldn't want to have our friends pay for it.

The underground is far too away and dangerous to traverse blindly.

[x] Lamprey Stand
-[x] Close, safe and, hopefully, useful

Weird about that hole, though. I guess she own wanted to steal from him?
[X] Palace of the Earth Spirits
Probably wroth the risk of the journey.
[X] Palace of the Earth Spirits

Might as well go big or go home.
[x] Lamprey Stand
[X] Palace of the Earth Spirits
[X] Palace of the Earth Spirits
[x] Scarlet Devil Mansion
>>196242
Seems more like none of them none of them noticed. Happens sometimes of you hold the pouch a certain way. One moment you have it in your hand, next moment sharp movement makes the coins inside move and fall out.

I lost a lot of good money that way...
[X] Palace of the Earth Spirits

Satori shall be in this story.
[x] Lamprey Stand

Seems the most reasonable. It's not like the other options are going anywhere.
[X] Palace of the Earth Spirits

I like your writing. I'd be thrilled to see how you handle Satori.
[x] Palace of the Earth Spirits

All of the options sound like they're going to fail messily, so I'll just let my blatant Satori favouritism decide for me.
[X] Palace of the Earth Spirits

I miss Wizanon.
[x] Lamprey Stand
I'll probably make a new thread after this update. Just a heads-up and a sorry for taking a while to post this.

+++

“Well, the [X] Palace of the Earth Spirits sounds promising,” you say, “and honestly I can live a little longer with blindness. What really bothers me is the fact that I can’t remember anything about myself.”

“It’s not really all that surprising, though,” Keine says. “You looked like you were having headaches when I met you the other day before you took Marisa’s potion. A lot of outsiders why just ‘pass through’ the barrier have those.”

Kagerou hums from the side. “Sometimes they wander into the bamboo forest,” she adds. “Usually by that time they’ve started going crazy.”

“Usually, it’s a side-effect of not going through the barrier properly,” Keine continues. “A lot of boundaries are being manipulated there to keep Gensokyo sealed. Here and not here, existent and nonexistent, visible and invisible to name a few. You were already having memory problems to begin with. Normally, it would go away after a few days of getting used to Gensokyo, but whatever Marisa had you drink probably gave you brain damage that isn’t being allowed to heal. It’s either your memories are on the boundary of remembered and forgotten, or you head is on the boundary of healed and injured.”

You take this wall of speech about as well as you would being force-fed too much water.

“My head hurts now, Keine. Thank you though.”

“How do you even know all these?” Sekibanki asks.

“I’m a were-hakutaku and a historian,” she says with a tinge of pride in her voice, “It comes with the job.”

...you still have no idea what the hell a were-hakutaku’s supposed to be.

“Anyway, Palace of the Earth Spirits, then,” you say. “That’s underground?”

“It is,” Sekibanki says. “I can take you there if you want. The Oni know me so we can avoid being challenged to a drunken bar brawl every two feet.”

“That would be nice,” you say. You recall Sekibanki’s ‘test’ from yesterday. You’re somewhat confident that you can dodge regular things being thrown at you, but given how much emphasis the Sekibanki went into mentioning the Oni as a possible obstacle, you’d like to avoid throwing in with them as much as possible, since she and that ‘Yorihime’ person proved just how helpless you are against fast projectiles and a large quantity of them.

Being blind really sucks. Almost makes you glad that you can’t remember what it was like before you arrived in Gensokyo. Who knows what kind of situations you got into?

“Now that I think about it, how do you even know the Oni, let alone the Satori, Sekibanki?” Keine asks. “Most people would usually try to avoid the underground and getting involved with them as much as possible.”

You take note of an interesting sound you hear.

Wheezing.

Quiet groaning.

Kagerou’s trying to hold in her laughter for some reason.

Sekibanki sounds like she’s recalling something unpleasant.

“Let’s just say that I had a run-in with the younger Komeiji sister and leave it at that.”

“Satori has a sister?”

“Yes, Keine, she has a sister: Koishi. She’s the one who keeps groping people whenever Reimu has a party in her shrine. You just don’t notice her because that’s her thing.”

For once, you don't even want to know. You’ll probably find out, one way or another.

“Calling the fact that nobody notices her violating them her ‘thing’ doesn’t explain much,” Keine says.

“Look, I don’t really know much about it, okay? Also, if anyone should’ve noticed Koishi doing her thing, it should be you!”

“Me? Why me?”

You’re treated to a moment of silence that lasts for a few seconds before Keine gasps sharply.

“All the time,” Sekibanki says. “Always starts and ends with you.”

“W-Why?!”

“You tell me, cow-ti—”

You hear and feel the buzz and vibrations you’ve come to associate with the magic projectiles from Keine direction, immediately followed by a sound that, if you had to describe it, sounded something like ‘pichu~n’—

“Again, Keine?” —followed by Sekibanki’s complaints. “Really?”

“I have no idea what’s happening,” you say.

Kagerou is just quietly laughing in the background.

+++

Miraculously enough, you manage to get through the village with Sekibanki guiding you uninterrupted. You think that, at one point, you heard Kotohime give some sort of shout before someone older and stern-sounding began scolding her for harassing villagers again.

You can hear Sekibanki snicker.

“Serves her right,” she says. “Her dad’s been much stricter with her after she jailed Reimu for no reason.”

“That so?” you ask.

“Kotohime is very excitable,” Keine says. “I’ve tutored her before but she’s spent majority of her early life sheltered in her house. It doesn't exactly help that she’s part of the ’old generation’.”

Either way, you quite like walking through the village without anyone accusing your guide of planning to murder you in an alley somewhere. You realize just how easy it is for a Youkai with no outstanding physical traits to hide and pose as a human.

Even Kagerou seems to be doing just fine blending in since nobody’s started calling her out (“All I have to do is tie this bandana over my ears and tuck my tail in,” she said). You wonder though if she’s really okay with traveling with you like this.

As such, with nothing to deter you, you reach the end of the village rather quickly.

[] Talk about something on the way there
-Sekibanki’s run-in with Koishi
-The oni
- Write-in

[] Let’s just get to the entrance (Skip)

Continue bringing Kagerou?
[] Yes
[] No
[X] Talk about something on the way there.
-The oni

Continue bringing Kagerou?
[X] Yes

Why would anyone ditch the awoo?
[x] >>196283
Same. Awoo is love, awoo is life.
[X] Let’s just get to the entrance (Skip)

[X] Yes
[X] Talk about something on the way there.
-Sekibanki’s run-in with Koishi

Continue bringing Kagerou?
[X] Yes
[X] Talk about something on the way there
-The oni
[X] Yes

Since he's going underground, may as well learn about oni.
[X] Talk about something on the way there.
-The oni

Continue bringing Kagerou?
[X] Yes
[X] Talk about something on the way there.
-The oni

Continue bringing Kagerou?
[X] Yes

I like how Kagerou is basically following along like a lost puppy. I'd made a joke here but I don't think I need to.
[x] Koishi option
[x] Awoo option
[X] Talk about something on the way there.
Koishi

Continue bringing Kagerou?
[X] Yes
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