Anonymous 2017/04/12 (Wed) 14:53 No. 196000 ▼
File 149200882297.jpg - (123.29KB, 850x668 , Your Guide To Be.jpg)
[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.
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.
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.
You tap it one last time and are met with the sound of rusty hinges creaking.
“Huh,” Sekibanki says. “She’s not home.”
“Now what?” you ask.
…realization dawns on you.
“Keine, no,” you say.
“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.
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.”
Sekibanki scoffs. “You of all people should know.”
Keine actually does stop for a while.
“Right. Her 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?”
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…
“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.
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.
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.
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!”
“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.
“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.
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.
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—