V 2017/06/09 (Fri) 17:19 No. 196927 ▼
File 149702878291.png - (366.18KB, 600x790 , More Banki.png)
“[x]Well, we’re friends, aren’t we?”
“At least, I like to think so,” you say. “I really do. First impressions aside, it’s never a dull moment with you and I wouldn’t mind having more of those.”
“You haven’t exactly objected to my company so far, and were perfectly willing to blow a hole through Yuuka’s mansion because you thought Kagerou left me to the wolves—”
“...I did not mean to do that.”
Horrible pun aside, you recall your current memories of Sekibanki where, to be precise, you’ve been yelled at, tricked and shot at (twice!) by her, but other than those moments she—like Keine—has been surprisingly accommodating of you. True, you two haven’t exactly bonded a lot, but there’s more than enough time for you two to do that.
You hope that maybe, just maybe, your conversations can be about more than her just telling you what to do and not do as she leads you.
“...Friends, huh?” she says. “Is that what you think we are? What you think I want us to be?”
You shrug, although you’re not sure if she can see you since her head is still embedded in the wall. “Doesn’t matter what I think. You’re the one I’m looking for an answer from.”
The dullahan is silent for a good thirty seconds as she processes your statement and goes over her decision.
“Fuck it,” she says. “Why not.”
You smile. “I’m glad.”
“Don’t flatter yourself. It’s only because I know that Wakasagihime will slap me if she finds out I turned down a potential new friend.”
Still, it’s a start.
“So… The ship? How’d you know what made these scars”
Sekibanki hesitates for a moment, you can hear the faint words begin to form before she bites them back a few times until she finally does speak. “Morrigan, I think, or was it..? I forgot the name,” she says. “My ship got attacked at one point. Seen your injuries on some of the crew. That’s how I know.”
“You sure?” Can’t help but shake this feeling that there’s more to this story! Then again, it could be just you being paranoid.
“What, do you want my life story or something? Gods, Wash! Slow down!”
Well, maybe you’ll ask again some other time. It’ll be better for this friendship if you don’t constantly prod her for information. For now…
“Let’s see if we can loosen you up,” you say as you stand, feeling for Sekibanki’s head on the wall.
Your fingers brush over the smooth skin of her cheek and make their way back to where the back of her head is embedded. Her ears are in the hole and you don’t have much to grip other than her hair, but you try to pull nonetheless.
“Fuck, FUCK! STOP!” she wails. You immediately halt your attempts.
“...This isn’t working.”
“No shit,” she says. “See if you can chip away at the edges. Try not to hit me.”
You narrow your eyes at her.
“I didn’t say watch where you’re thrusting, I said to try not to hit me. However you avoid hitting me is entirely up to you.”
You raise a hand to feel around the edges of the hole, contemplating the best way to remove Sekibanki’s head. It’s too deep to pull her out, but chipping away at the edges gave the risk of accidentally striking Sekibanki...
...well striking the edges are out of the question, but what about cutting it?
“You. You’re a scythe, right?” you ask as you lift Akane, who is still partially wrapped around your wrist. “Can you do something about this?”
The shaft tightens ever so slightly around your wrist, but it’s unclear whether this is a yes or no.
“Wash? That’s a stick. Why are you— Holy shit!”
You feel a subtle shift and hear a dull ‘thunk’. Akane pulls your arms up and, feeling resistance when you try to move it, conclude that it sprouted its blade stabbed itself into the wall.
“Wash? What. The. Fuck.”
You shrug. “It’s a long story. Turns out Elly’s not completely full of bullshit.” you grasp the scythe near the blade. “Try not to figdet.”
You push against the shaft of the scythe and begin to attempt to cut the portion of the wall out. The wall gives way easily, enough to make you worried that you may accidentally cut Sekibanki, but the scythe shifts in your grip. You feel it twisting and bending, using those as a guide for which way to direct your effort.
Sekibanki whimpers as you begin pushing the blade downwards, and from there decides to hold her breath when the blade passes under where her neck would be.
You shift the path of the living scythe around a little more until you finally feel the resistance suddenly cease. Moving your hand down down further you find that the blade has been concealed again—
“Fuckfuckfuck— OW!” A dull ‘thud’ and the sound of something shattering upon impact tells you that maybe you should’ve tried anticipating that Sekibanki would fall.
You really are.
“Forget about it,” you feel her levitating head, now free from what little pieces of wall were still stuck to her, nudging you forward from behind. ‘Let’s just find my body”
According to Sekibanki, she last saw her body being dragged away from where her head was embedded in the wall after Keine dragged her off to be reprimanded, so you both decide to search for Keine, or maybe even Kagerou.
Speaking of Keine, you recall just how deeply embedded Sekibanki’s head was. You consider that Keine accomplishes this with headbutts and have to supress a shiver at the thought of being on the receiving end of one.
“Has anyone ever died from one of those?”
“Not even one?”
“Not even one. She uses it on her students, so it’s fine.”
That. That stops you in your tracks.
Headbutts strong enough to embed a Dullahan’s head into the wall.
She uses it on her students.
“...You know what? I don’t think I want to know anymore.”
“That’s what the parents said after too after she caved that feral youkai once.”
...Yep. Definitely don’t want to know!
With that final thought, you and Sekibanki make your way to Keine and Kagerou and for once you don’t have to rely on Sekibanki for guidance! Akane proves to be just as effective a guide as it is a scythe.
Sekibanki grumbles something when she sees you walking unassisted by her, but you just can’t seem to decipher it. You’re grateful that, of all the sentient scythes you could’ve gotten attached to you (Holy shit that’s one sentence you don’t think about every day), it happened to be one that knew its way around the mansion. It’s only two turns and passing through a door before you encounter Sekibanki’s body.
“Hey!” Sekibanki says, “Why is my body being forced to do seiza?!”
Seiza… Doesn’t sound familiar but you assume that it’s painful. That or highly unpleasant at the least.
The clinking of glasses is the only reply that Sekibanki gets. You can smell something fragrant too. Smells like tea. You can also hear Kagero growling a little while Akane subtly tightens around your wrist.
“Glad to see that you’re doing well, Wash,” Keine says.
You mutter your thanks as you feel something zip past you.
“Mmpf..! Don jusht shtand dere, help me!” Slightly muffled voice, as though there’s something in her mouth… Grunts of exertion...
...is Sekibanki chewing on rope?!
“Wash?” Keine asks you.
You shrug and make your way to the sound of Sekibanki’s struggles. “We’re good now,” is all you say to Keine.
Slowly treading forward with Akane held out, you feel the scythe stiffen as it comes into contact with something. Kneeling down, you tentatively reach out and feel the familiar fabric of Sekibanki’s cape. You gently poke and prod her, trying to get an idea of where the ropes are so you can help until her body squirms and Seki’s head reprimands you for poking her so much.
Complaints aside, you’ve soon got the ropes cut and Sekibanki’s body freed. From what you could gather, she was forced into an uncomfortable kneeling position and had a stack of heavy books resting on her lap.
“It’s penance,” Keine nonchalantly says when you question her.
Since yesterday, you’ve been in Yuuka’s mansion giving life advice, confirming a friendship, being blasted due to a misunderstanding, and eating sunflower seeds.
Now, you stand at the front door of the mansion with your company waiting outside while Yuuka and Elly see you off.
“I do hope you’ll come visit again, Wash,” Yuuka says, sounding a bit more relaxed that you recall her sounding since you’ve met her. Elly hums in agreement from directly beside Yuuka, which brings a smile to you face. Sounds like they were able to work something out. You won’t pry, though.
“I will,” you say. “Thank you for hosting us.”
“No, thank YOU for not running away the moment I appeared!”
...Holy shit she sounds so casual when she says it! Was it really that bad for her?
“Well, good luck,” Elly says, “and thank you.”
She then gently grabs your hand and places a familiar wooden shaft in your grip while grabbing the one currently wrapped around your arm.
“Well, we won’t hold you up any further,” she says. “Let’s go, Akane chan.”
You suddenly feel a sharp tug on your other arm and feel the sentient wooden scythe wrap one end tighter around your wrist.
“...oh my Gods, you were serious,” Elly says, her voice suddenly dropping to a bland tone.
“Well, she did present a formal letter” Yuuka adds.
...oh. This is about the scythe.
“Should I… Should I be worried?” you ask. “Considering how it’s wrapped around my arm and all?”
“That depends,” Yuuka says. “On one hand, Akane is sure to be more useful than a plain staff. On the other hand you would be leaving with my Gatekeeper’s weapon.”
“And I need Akane-chan!” Elly whines.
“What about Kurumi?” Yuuka asks.
“She’s out visiting some cousin of hers. Besides, you know she hates turning into a scythe.”
“Think about it though. With a scythe like Akane, Wash wouldn’t have to constantly rely on others to hold his hand. He might even be able to better defend himself since he can rely on more than his senses.”
“Admittedly, I really do find it easier than with my old staff, much as I’d rather not part with it,” you say.
Honest. It really is easier.
“Er… Well… You could try turning your staff into a Tsukumogami?”
“A what?” you ask.
“Basically give it life like Akane, except a bit more animate,” Elly says.
“In other words, there’s the chance that it will eventually manifest a human form and attack Wash,” Yuuka counters.
“Only if he’s been mistreating it, which I’m sure he hasn’t. Besides, it’ll still be able to assume the form of a staff so no worries there.”
“...You can do that?”
...oh, wait. You’re in Gensokyo, where rabbits come from the moon, easily-embarrassed werewolves roam, the local healer can cure blindness, and you can make friends with a Dullahan.
“Nevermind. Forget I asked that.”
“And the leave?” Yuuka asks.
“I’ll take Akane somewhere nice and be sure to keep my mouth shut,” Elly replies.
You feel Akane’s coil loosen ever so slightly, as if considering Elly’s offer.
Yuuka sighs. “Well Wash? What’s your take on this?”
 Bring Akane with you and leave your staff with Elly so she at least has something to use. You’ll miss the staff but things will be easier for you with Akane.
 Keep your staff. The tsukumogami idea sounds interesting and as tempting as Akane is, you just don’t feel comfortable parting with your staff yet.