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File 154125098321.jpg - (35.37KB, 600x450, Dark Room.jpg) [iqdb]
199505 No. 199505
Vents, Door, or Window.

Either option will suck, but that’s al you’ve got in front of you at the moment.

+++

[] Vents

[] Door

[] Window
17posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 200182
[X] You can feel the sun, but no bed.
>> No. 200183
[X] You can feel the sun, but no bed.

I'm no good with write-ins, I always vote one of the presented options.
>> No. 200239
[X]You can feel the sun, but no bed.

Which is strange because when you open your eyes, you can’t really see if the girl is there or—

Hang on.

Where you last night?

+++

Well, the sun is a pleasant feeling at the least after getting your head pounded into the wall by the gatekeeper-slash-gardener. You’ll feel it when you go to bed later, but for now you’ve got a gatekeeper to deal with.

“Hrgggk! Aggghhhh!”

Rather, your body does.

“Ch-Chokehold is illegal!”

“Yep, well, you can file a complaint,” you say as the gatekeeper’s consciousness finally fades and your body is able to let her slump down to the ground.

You reach out, but stop yourself with a pointed glare.

“And where the hell have you been?!” you ask yourself.

You gesture wildly, beginning with a shrug, then an overhead swinging motion that ends with your fist pointed as though pointing with a stick, followed by fake heaves and a hand held to where you mouth would be to mime coughing. Voile, you think.

Then you place a hand over where your eyes would be and stumble in place with another hand held out, pretending to bump into a wall.

“No, I haven’t seen Wash. Why?” you ask

You raise your hands in a placating gesture, motion to yourself, then you, then you raise your hand up to where your eyes would be as though looking out into the distance.

You sigh. “Next time, we’re gonna work on our homing instincts.”

You sag a little at that before you lower yourself onto your neck stump, wrapping the loose bandages around it to keep your head in place before climbing back through the hole in the wall and continuing your search.


People (and by people you mean youkai) would often question why you’d bother to secure your head to your body like that when, as a Dullahan-Rokurokubi-Nukekubi-thing you’d have no need. Well one, these Youkai aren’t the ones living in the village, so they don’t need to hide their inhuman traits constantly to avoid discrimination. Two, it’s a right pain in the ass to have to align your head every time you eat or drink to make sure nothing spills out. Three…

Pi-chunn~

You’ve got more magic to work with for your Danmaku.

The first fairy bursts into flame, and unlike earlier, dealing with the others that came with it is not so difficult as you don’t have to do much to overcharge your danmaku. Hell, it’s almost pitifully easy, even for someone like you who’s only got Stage 2 certification.

“Alright. Library, then.”

That’s where you last remember Wash being. Not really seeing him, but rather hearing him demand answers from somewhere. Then when you got pinned by Meiling, you’d recovered enough to break your bonds and go after her.

Let it be left unsaid how many wrong turns you’d taken before succeeding, however.

Yes, that nobody has to know is what you think to yourself before you reach a very important conclusion.

You’ve no idea where the fuck you are.

You slow your pace, suddenly aware of just how *dark* it is in the mansion as you glide down the hall towards the next turn. The walls lack windows, or proper ones at least. Insead you occasionally see what looks like a frame with the drapes drawn, but that’s all there is. A frame and drapes.

You’d comment on it until your cape swishes and you’re reminded of the scarf you saw on the merchant’s shelf once upon a time and you decide you’d rather not be the kettle.

“Can’t we just have a regular outing next time,” you mutter as you throw open a set of doors. “Regular outing, no fucking interruptions!”

“...you’re one to talk.”

SHI—

[] Attack

[] Evade

[] “...Hi?”
>> No. 200240
[x] “...Hi?"

oh boy it's back!
>> No. 200241
[X] Evade
>> No. 200243
[X] “...Hi?”

Might as well try to negotiate before the inevitable shenanigans ensue.
>> No. 200248
[X] Evade

Also, not gonna lie, the way perspective keeps hopping around has gotten pretty confusing, especially now that we're swapping between past and present selves (inb4 2hustuck) with this whole memory recovery thing... and I'm not sure that I'm the only one.

>>200167
>The calm-yet-melancholy tone does not match her fearful eyes at all
>she stares at you with renewed horror

I'm assuming some of it is fragments of memories resurfacing (e.g. the gallows bit), but these make it hard to tell what's real and what's history. Maybe that's intentional, though, idk.
>> No. 200290
File 155132224441.jpg - (238.52KB, 850x1155, __izayoi_sakuya_touhou_drawn_by_jan_lightdragoon__.jpg) [iqdb]
200290
So just so whoever's still reading knows, I just finished finals. Yes, it took that long because our bitch Cinematography professor screwed us all over and jeopardized final projects for the other classes as well, which necessitated more cramming and bullshit in two 5-page papers than this entire story combined.

On the bright side, I'm done now! On with the show!

+++

—IT.

That’s the head maid!

What the hell is the head maid doing here?!

“I was informed that our dear gatekeeper has been found unconcious,” says Sakuya Izayoi, as she twirled a small knife in her fingers, leaning against the wall and with a worn-out feather duster in her hand. “Imagine my reaction when I find the same wall I’d barely finished cleaning and refurbishing from Marisa’s latest break-in had been… Demolished.”

She’s throwing the knife up now, spinning it and catching it by the blade as it fell. A drop of cold sweat slides down your brow.

“Now imagine what manner of thought must have gone through my head upon learning that your companion has a rather… Unpleasant history with milady.”

She catches the knife.

Fuck it, you’re—

‘SLAM’

...not going anywhere because now she’s slammed the door shut and is leaning against it. SO much for evasion.

“Have you anything you’d like to say?” you hear a clock tick by and for the first time in a long time you feel fear.

Fear because for all your pent-up fury, all the magic your Dullahan blood gives you, you’ve very aware of the fact that in an instant, you’ll be nothing more than the head maid’s newest pincushion.

Thusly pressured, you say the first thing that comes to mind.

“...Hi.”

Ohgodyou’redead

“...Hello.”

Or not?!

Ah, no, wait. A knife just clipped a strand of your hair.

“Let me make myself clear,” Sakuya says, suddenly behind you!

“My mistress ordered you and your friend, him in particular, to be disposed of.”

You whirl around, but she’s gone.

“This is an order I would gladly see to; it wouldn’t be the first time,” she says from beside you.

“However, the young lady has asked me to spare him, for whatever reason.”

The young lady? The crazy little sister?!

“Where is he,” you growl, but the effect is diminished by your panicked expression as you try to get a bead on the elusive maid.

“Calm yourself,” she says. You tense as a hand is laid on your shoulder at the same time. “I can take you to him, but for both of your sakes you cannot draw any more attention to yourselves.”

And just like that, everything is dark.

“What the fu—mmph!”

“Language,” Sakuya says as you spit out the soap that’s been shoved into your mouth. “The young lady may not be innocent, but I won’t have her picking up any more bad habits.

You turn to glare at her, mouth shut because you’d rather not get knifed before you can even do anything about it. Hell, the maid’s act is still highly-suspicious to you. You’ve never really seen the residents of the mansion outside of the occasional party at the Hakurei Shrine you’d attend. You’ve heard the rumors, though. Sometimes seen the evidence when you and Kagerou would pass by to visit Hime.

“Lady Flandre?” Sakuya says as she gently opens the wooden doors before her. Nobody replies, but you’re beckoned to approach. You do so warily, sending a copy of your head, Curiosity, to her. It’s only after Curiosity nods and disappears back into you that you approach, Sakuya raising a brow at the action.

As seen through your other pair of eyes, the younger vampire lies asleep on the bed. It’s a strangely cute scene, actually. She’s sleeping peacefully, surrounded by stuffed toys that have been patched up several times.

Oh, and she’s cuddling Wash’s hand.

“Shhh,” he says, not quite facing you but your general direction. He looks, different, you note. Every since you could remember, he’s always had that same troubled look on his face, but here and now with the younger Scarlet holding his hand, his expression is that of calmness. Not the happy kind, but the kind of calm where you don’t need to smile to express it, it would just ruin the atmosphere anyway.

You hold back the urge to rush over there and check on him as Sakuya approaches. Wash turns slightly to face the footsteps approaching him, not doing anything as Sakuya gently pries his hand from Flandre and replaces it with a stuffed bear from the other side of the bed.

“My mistress has ordered me to dispose of you,” she says to your irritation and his surprising calm, “and has left the manner of which to my discretion.”

Next thing you know, either of you, you’re somewhere bright. The air’s no longer dusty and you recognize the wrought iron gates of the mansion. The gatekeeper is nowhere in sight, to which you feel the slightest pangs of pride at your victory (some would call it a cheap one, but fuck them).

“What on earth?” Wash says, confused about the sudden change in environment.

“I will only say this once,” Sakuya says. “Leave.”

You eye her warily, not quite sure if she’s being serious. Wash takes the decision out of your hands, however, and grabs one.

“Let’s just go,” he says.

You sigh, and allows him to tug you away against your better judgement since this means you take your eyes off the maid for the barest moments, but after not immediately getting knifed in the back, you pick up your pace and pull ahead to start leading Wash home.

As you walk, his grip tightens and you can hear the faintest whisper from somewhere, but just like that it relaxes again and nobody's there when you look back.

+++

The first thing you do when you get back home is send your body to collapse on the bed, leaving you with Wash. The walk back was… Well, to be blunt it was very awkward since none of you talked. The sort of awkward silence that you’d try to avoid by inserting conversation. That’s what happened.

But now? Now you’re home. You’re safe. He’s safe.

And you’ve got booze, so if things get worse then there’s that.

“I saved them, apparently,” he says just as you open your mouth to ask him something.

“Saved them,” you say. “You. Save the Scarlet sisters. Who are both capable of causing large-scale incidents.”

“Ah, dunno much about the incidents, I admit,” he says as he seats himself at the table. You follow his lead and lower yourself to rest in front of him. “It was a long time ago, I think. Memory’s still hazy, but that’s what I gather.”

“Then why does Remilia hate you?” She had ordered him to be “disposed of”, after all.

He shrugs, and the room falls into silence again.

“It was nice,” he eventually mumbles.

“Hmm?”

“Confusing, it was confusing at first, seeing everything like that, like a stage play about my life except everything was so detailed! The memory, I mean. The one they drew out of me.”

So she had Patchouli take a peek into his brain. That’s not ominous, not at all.

“And then things got bad. Really bad,” he admits, thinking about the events of the memory. “But she was there, at the end. The younger sister?”

“I noticed.”

“And it felt… Not good, not necessarily, but for the first time as far as I can remember I felt content.”

You raise a brow in confusion. Wash being Wash, he probably picked up on this. “Sorry, that’s the best I can describe it. That feeling you get, the pleasant one when someone thanks you for taking the time to help them, but a little more.”

Huh. Well how about that. That’s probably one of the most genuine smiles you’ve seen on him.

You’d be lying if you said you didn’t feel disappointed that it didn’t come up from your time with him and instead from the younger vampire loli.

“You seem happier now, like a weight’s gone,” you settle on. “It shows.”

The smile fades, however. It’s still there, but less happy now. He’s been getting better at pinpointing people from their voice, because he’s almost looking right at you when he zeroes in on you and gets his hand on your head on the first try.

You groan in protest, but don’t shake it off.

“I suppose I am now.” The smile turns sad. “Sorry for being like this, Seki.”

Sorry for being a burden, he means to say.

“Bullshit,” you say, levitating up and closer to his face. “I don’t bother with people I don’t like, but you’re here anyway. Means you’re doing something right, I guess.”

Wash lets out a low chuckle as you float back down to your resting place.

“God,” he says, “I need to apologize.”

“I already said—”

“No, no! To Kurumi, I mean!”

Ah, right. He tried to cut her open the other night.

And how long was his staff actually a fucking sword?!

“I thought you have bad memories with vampires,” you carefully say.

Wash doesn’t reply immediately. “I did,” he eventually says, “But I have bad memories of a lot of things, it seems. Something was missing, and that was the only thing I had to go on then.”

“...so you’re saying that before, that was the only thing you remembered, so it looked really bad. Now that other things came up you realize it only looked bad since the others weren’t there to be worse?”

“No, I’m saying that I remembered something wrong. Not all the pieces were there.”

Huh. And here you were thinking that Satori would’ve been helpful for him to remember things.

“Well, the mind’s a fickle thing,” he muses. “All she does is help me draw it out, knows the words to say to get my mind to react. Not a lot of choice about what comes out or how I initially interpret it.”

“You’re getting way too good at reading me when I’m not speaking,” you jest. “Stop it, that’s supposed to be my thing!”

Again, he laughs. “I suppose that says something, then.”

You let out a small chuckle of your own.

“Yeah, I guess it does.”

...can Wash tell that you’re smiling?

+++

[] This carpet feels surprisingly nice

[] These sunflower seeds taste good
>> No. 200291
[x] These sunflower seeds taste good

om nom nom
>> No. 200292
[x] These sunflower seeds taste good

They do!
>> No. 200293
[x] These sunflower seeds taste good.
>> No. 200294
[X] This carpet feels surprisingly nice
>> No. 200295
[X]These sunflower seeds taste good!

“From my personal stock,” Yuuka says. “The Child of Miare is quite fond of these.”

And you can definitely taste the difference! You almost don’t notice all the fearful looks the older people in the village send Yuuka’s way.

“Enjoy this sample while you can,” she says to you. “I have a feeling you wouldn’t normally be able to afford these.”

The impact of your glare is somewhat mitigated by you popping another seed into your mouth. Jeez, no wonder Wash loves this stuff!

“‘Tis merely a statement of fact.”

“I never said anything,” you say, hands up in a placating manner. “Speaking of, I was meaning to ask you if Kurumi’s still home.”

“I’m afraid not,” says Yuuka as she examines a flower display on the front of a shop. “The days have been getting longer and hotter. Were she not more on the bat end of the vampire spectrum then a simple parasol would have done her well.”

“Well, damn.”

“You wish for her and Wash to meet?”

You nod as the two of you enter the shop. The owner, one of few people who aren’t scared of Yuuka, greets her.

“Yes, I’d heard of what happened. I was quite surprised to hear of Wash lashing out like that. I trust he has his emotions under control for you to seek out Kurumi?”

“I think?”

Yuuka regards you flatly.

“Most likely?”

Same expression.

“Okay, fine, I’m not sure. But there’s no other way to find out if he’s got his head sorted cause I’m pretty sure we’d both get knifed the moment we get somewhat close to the other Vampire’s mansion.”

“And you’d expect me to allow the possibility of my gatekeeper being injured in the process?”

“And you’d expect me to believe that you haven’t done worse on bad mornings?”

“A fair point,” she says as she hands some money over to the owner in exchange for a packet of seeds. “I suppose a slash wound will be easier to walk off than dismemberment…”

You sincerely hope that she’s joking.

“Very well, I shall inform her that Wash wishes to meet her.” With that, Yuuka takes off into the sky the moment she leaves the flower shop, leaving you to your own devices.

You’ve got the rest of the day and a small amount of spending money. You might as well…

[] Find Wash before the kids murder him

[] Find some work before you murder your savings

[] Find place to kill some time.
>> No. 200296
[x] Find some work before you murder your savings
time for boring fiscal responsibility
>> No. 200297
[x] Find some work before you murder your savings

gib dosh
>> No. 200298
[X] Find some work before you murder your savings

Capitalism, ho!
>> No. 200299
>>200295
>[x] Find some work before you murder your savings

Even Reimu works sometimes.
>> No. 200300
Well, looks like it’s time to [X]find some work before you murder your savings.

Let it not be said that you’re a bum for not having a stable line of work, but as a Youkai who haunts the Canal of Willows, you have a steady source of sustenance coming from villagers spreading the story of the floating heads under the willows. It’s not as steady as it was back when you became a Dullahan, but it means that you eat less than a human would, meaning less money goes to groceries or other essentials. Point being you can get by perfectly well on your own.

Wash, on the other hand, still needs to eat. Hell if your recent adventures are anything to go by, you’d do well to invest in expanding your medicine cabinet and alcohol stash.

You head in the direction of the Dragon Statue, where a bulletin board is set up with a bunch of notices tacked on, from announcements to even that tengu’s tabloid newspaper, and even a few wanted posters. Job notices are tacked on to the side, from here you usually pick something that pays well for something you can discreetly speed up with clever use of your floating heads.

You look at the list.

HELP WANTED

[] Mushroom Gathering

[] Minor Youkai Extermination

[] Look at the Wanted posters
>> No. 200301
>Youkai hunting

Tempting, but let's not betray our race yet.

>Mushroom gathering

She won't pay.

[x] Look at the Wanted posters

Let's see whose mug is on the wall.
>> No. 200303
[x] Look at the Wanted posters
>> No. 200306
Not being in the mood to hunt down the feral or trouble-making youkai, you briefly contemplate taking the mushroom gathering job until you remember just where exactly the best mushrooms in Gensokyo can be found, and you’re not sure how well a certain someone would react to a youkai going through her favorite foraging grounds (especially you after what happened in the shop).

In other words, you look at the wanted posters.

[] WANTED: Tajomaru (Robbery, Suspected Murder, Rape)

[] WANTED: “Sage” (Treason, Civil Disobedience)

[] WANTED: Chisaki (Loitering)
>> No. 200307
File 15533631444.jpg - (404.41KB, 683x1024, depositphotos_150234784-stock-illustration-wild-we.jpg) [iqdb]
200307
Not being in the mood to hunt down the feral or trouble-making youkai, you briefly contemplate taking the mushroom gathering job until you remember just where exactly the best mushrooms in Gensokyo can be found. You remember vaguely that Marisa has a reputation at the village, otherwise someone would’ve contracted her to do it instead, and you’re not sure how well she’d react to a youkai going through her favorite foraging grounds.

In other words, you look at the wanted posters.

[] WANTED: Tajomaru (Robbery, Suspected Murder, Rape)

[] WANTED: “Sage” (Treason, Civil Disobedience)

[] WANTED: Chisaki (Loitering)
>> No. 200308
[x] WANTED: “Sage” (Treason, Civil Disobedience)

don't know who this is, but they sound interesting
>> No. 200309
[x] WANTED: Chisaki (Loitering)
>> No. 200310
[X] WANTED: “Sage” (Treason, Civil Disobedience)

Sounds interesting.
>> No. 200311
[X] WANTED: Tajomaru (Robbery, Suspected Murder, Rape)

I doubt anyone would complain should we use lethal force by mistake
>> No. 200312
You pick out one wanted poster in particular that looks like it’s been there for quite some time, and for good reason.

[X]WANTED: “Sage” (Treason, Civil Disobedience)

Civil Disobedience by itself isn’t much to pay attention to since Kotohime is particularly fond of handing out those penalties, but the treason… You’d need the seal of the local council to get that sort of offense branded to you.

You pluck the poster, taking a moment to examine the vague, hooded figure drawn on the paper before tucking it into one of your pockets.

One thing’s for sure, though. You’re gonna have to go off the grid to find this one. There’s only a few places outside the village where a person like this could hide, and luckily for you, you’ve got a good way of scouting out all of them once night comes.

It’s just a matter of waiting…

+++

You sit, shrouded in the darkness of your usual haunt in the Canal of Willows as you process visual feedback from multiple heads stalking the edge of the Forest of Magic, Youkai Mountain and the Hakurei Shrine. You go through a clearing in the trees away from hostile youkai territory and at the same time investigate the foot of the shrine just far-enough for Reimu to not care.

Detaching yourself is always an experience. Curiosity leaves you compensating by constantly reminding yourself to be thorough. Persistent absence only compensated by a discipline that keeps you searching. Paranoia, however, if normally something you’d gladly shove in another head.

Of course, that just means you don’t notice something wrong until Paranoia comes back full-force and the feed is cut-off.

You open your eyes as your other components dispel and return to you, curiosity over what happened to Paranoia and Persistence driving you to finish that particular investigation.

The street lamps in the area have been snuffed out, and it is the dead of night. The village guard are too busy patrolling the perimeter to pay attention to the darkest area of the mostly-empty canal. You take flight without any worry of being spotted and make your way towards the ranges a little further from Youkai Mountain.

“But why there?” you mutter as you remember where exactly Paranoia was forcibly dispelled.

It’s vague. More intense components can be harder to connect with when they’re not coming back to you and Paranoia’s, well, paranoia was at an all-time high as you floated around the northern cliffs. You’d lost control, wandered farther than you’d intended past the dead zone away from the Tengu patrol routes and the Moriya Shrine into an area most humans wouldn’t dare consider going.

It’s a good thing you’re wearing long sleeves because one of the reasons is that the northern mountains are FUCKING cold.

“Feckin’ Whiterock,” you mutter as you spot the lonely form of the Yuki-Onna flying freely around one of the peaks, a small blizzard forming in her wake and snow falling wildly as plants disappear and a fine layer of white begins to cover the bare earth beneath you.

You slow your flight and draw your coak closer to yourself, awaiting the heat the inevitable rush of combat will bring.

In the distance, you see a winding path. That’s where you decide to set down and begin walking while admiring the breathtaking view, which is FUCKING gorgeous.

Let it not be said that you’re unable to appreciate the beauty of the world because of you irritated you usually are.

The view makes you think of something a tad more distressing. You can see trees in the distance, looking progressively greener and more distorted the farther away from the mountain side you’re on. You realize now that you may not have much time because if a group of human rebels are out this far into the wilderness of Gensokyo, they might be trying to escape through the great Barrier.

Eventually, the path leads you to a cave, and whoever was in it got arrogant if they thought they could put up torches and whatnot cause nobody would think to look for them that far out.

“Fucking idiots,” you mutter as you send out Discretion to scout ahead.

“Let’s see what we have here…”

It’s standard fare, really. Cave stuff for the most part, meaning rocks and moss, but this guy had set up torches as well, and there was a box at the end with a simple mat rolled out—

“GAH!”

FUCKING axe in your shoulder!

You leap from where you stood, reaching to yank a simple-looking iron axe from where it was thrown into your shoulder and scowling at the asshole who did it.

He stands there. You can barely see his eyes through the shadow of his cloak, but you do see a fighter’s physique and simple leather and fur protecting him. Not something you see everyday in Gensokyo, all things consider—

“...aH!”

A wave of force slams into you and nearly knocks you out of the sky before you can react. Scowling, you right yourself and begin hovering around him, firing danmaku bullets and lasers, which the guy was doing a fairly decent job of weaving between until one caught him in the shoulder and he winced in pain. That was when he brought out a shield.

“..iN!”

No, your eyes are not deceiving you, he really is breathing FUCKING ice at you.

Your stupefaction costs you, however. Not only are you grazed by the frost breath, making you shiver, but the guy somehow has been concealing a bow under that cloak.

“The FUCK is with this guy?!” you hiss to yourself as you return the favor of a dodged arrow with another wave of danmaku.

This continues for a while. You levitate around him and assail him with projectiles that he either grazes or deflects with that shield he keeps pulling out, then *something* weird happens that wears you down. So far you’ve avoided a wave of fire, gotten shot with an arrow to your leg because apparently Sakuya’s in the area and time slowed down, hell you’ve even had another axe thrown at you at some point

It all comes to a head when Discretion scores a lucky hit on his back from the cave.

“GAH!” says someone other than you this time.

Discretion weaves wildly, flitting in and out of your opponent’s sight while you pull the arrow out of your leg, thankful that it didn’t his your knee. You’re back in the fight, and suddenly things become a lot easier. You draw the guy’s attention, and Discretion delivers some stinging shots when he’s unable to defend.

Hell, if you can overload his seemingly abnormal pain tolerance (just how many shots did he TAKE?!), you might be able to capture him alive for a bonus!

And that is when things go to shit.

The stranger is on his knees, catching his breath, which makes you think that it’s all gonna he over soon—

“...DAH!”

And that’s when you find yourself feeling like you were slammed into a wall at subsonic speed, Discretion de-materializing.

Normally, it would take more to keep you down, but as you crash down into the the ground, you’re assailed by at least two hundred pounds of pure muscle trying to smash an axe into your head, which you block by grabbing at the handle, the blade just barely stopping in front of your nose before it is lifted up again for a stronger blow.

You escape by blasting the stranger in the face with a Danmaku laser and throw him off before leaping to your feet. You try to fly, but—

“...aH!”

Another wave of force slams into you and knocks you off balance. Before you can react, the stranger swings his axe and cuts off your head.

“Hah… hah…” he stands there, breathing as you allow yourself to crumple to the ground, waiting for the opportune moment of the stranger turning his back towards you to head back towards the cave and drinking something from a flask.

You strike.

He winces at the renewed Danmaku assault before his hands start glowing and your Danmaku suddenly does not appear to be having any more effect. Exhausted and winded from the assault, you fail to take note of where exactly you’re standing—

“...oh DAH!”

—before another wall of force slams you and your body off the edge of the cliff.

Tired, your world turns to black.
>> No. 200314
File 155412412246.png - (442.97KB, 850x478, Don't Open Until Later.png) [iqdb]
200314
Pain.

...

Soreness.

...

Irritation.

...

Frigid air.





...

Yep, that adds up to your previous memory. Whatever that asshole did to you really stung after taking that fall. Something’s off, however. It’s frigid, but not as cold as the mountain would be. You also smell wood and horses, not to mention the rocking motion.

Did somebody find you? One of the Tengu patrols, maybe?

“Hey, you.”

Wait.

“You're finally awake.”

No.

No no no!

You slowly open your eyes, begging and pleading that it’s not actually happening.

Alas, you are met by the sight of a blonde man with grizzled hair and beard.

“You were trying to cross the border,
right?”

No! The Hakurei Barrier isn’t so easy to cross!

You’re on a wagon, and your hands are bound, Humans in armor at the reigns.

“Walked right into that Imperial ambush, same as us, and that
thief over there.”

You turn your head to the right, and Marisa Kirisame is there, staring at you.

“Sup?”

Your eyes widen in horror as a set of words fade into your vision.

The Elder Scrolls V:
Skyrim

>> No. 200315
It works. It just works.
>> No. 200316
MOTHER FUCK
>> No. 200317
>>200314

This is canon, right?
>> No. 200318
>>200317
Belated April Fools
>> No. 200319
File 155422389961.png - (20.55KB, 640x478, woosh.png) [iqdb]
200319
>>200318
kinda just hoping for a bit more seki in skyrim (sekirim?) tbh :P
>> No. 200374
File 155716080140.png - (89.70KB, 614x699, Sekibanki(complete).png) [iqdb]
200374
Just wanted to give anyone still holding out for an update. College schedule shat itself and we're up to our necks in unnecessary requirements (who the hell asks an animation student to make a 5-page research with interviews of professionals about family planning?!). I'll be sticking to my policy of getting at least one update out before the end of the month, and I'll jump off a cliff if I can't.

While I'm still in a self-depreciating mood, I want to take another opportunity to thank anyone who still bothers to read this trainwreck of a story. Have a Seki I drew while on a caffeine high a few weeks back.
>> No. 200375
>>200374
Cool, waiting warmly.
>> No. 200376
>>200374
Fuck college.

(Good job on the seki drawfaggotry, by the way.)
>> No. 200377
WAITING COLDLY
>> No. 200387
You pick out one wanted poster in particular that looks like it’s been there for quite some time, and for good reason.

[X]WANTED: “Sage” (Treason, Civil Disobedience)

Civil Disobedience by itself isn’t much to pay attention to since Kotohime is particularly fond of handing out those penalties, but the treason… You’d need the seal of the local council to get that sort of offense branded to you.

You pluck the poster, taking a moment to examine the vague, hooded figure drawn on the paper before tucking it into one of your pockets. Definitely something that’ll bring in some money if you can get it done.

You leave the Dragon Statue and make your way to Keine’s school. Your thoughts run wild about how exactly you’d go about finding this “Sage” person. Official support is immediately out of the question, not with Kotohime running wild with her childish fantasies of being an actual officer of the law. She’s an idiot, that Kotohime, but she wouldn’t outright accuse you of being “Sage”.

She’d just make things very, very difficult.

This leaves you Keine and your old channels in terms of support. One you can see right now. The other is best left until dark.

“Oh? I didn’t expect you to be back so soon,” says Keine as you enter the room. “Wash isn’t done with the lesson yet.”

Wait, what?

“Lesson? The hell do you have him teaching in there, how to guilt-trip everyone into submission?”

“English, actually.” Keine squints at what appears to be a Japanese-to-English dictionary. “Although while I was there I noticed that the terms he was using were rather archaic.”

You shrug, nothing to say since Keine’s already heard your accent and deemed you unfit to teach english to children (totally because they can’t understand your accent. Totally not because your english vocabulary is 99% profanity). Nothing else to say, you take the wanted poster out and slam it down on the table.

Keine sighs. “Try to keep your heads hidden this time, alright?”

“No promises.”

“Close enough.” Keine walks over to her desk and takes a seat, inviting you to take the one in front of her. “He was a Buddhist, apparently. Nobody really remembers his name.”

“Not even the temple youkai?”

“Not even them. You know how Hijiri is.”

Too kind for her own good, sometimes. The worst kind of person depending on who you ask, but years of bad blood with Youkai can do a helluva lot on someone’s impression of a character.

In any case, you have a lead.

|><|

Under most circumstances, you’d believe it’d be night time to be the best time to interrogate someone.

Unfortunately that isn’t the case with Myouren temple, with all the spirits flying around the graveyard and the nocturnal youkai you wouldn’t be able to keep track of. As you walk through the grounds, you see the human and youkai practitioners in the courtyard going about their business. The nun supervises these proceedings. Toramaru was outside, chasing down Nue, and Mamizou you saw walk into a bookstore on your way here.

In other words, there was nobody stopping you from approaching Byakuren Hijiri in the temple proper. As though she knew you were coming, there was nobody around as she sat in contemplative silence in her room.

“My, it truly has been a while, Sekibanki-san.”

You offer the barest of nods to the head nun as you sit in front of her, setting your cloak to the side and pulling the wanted poster from your pockets.

“Ah, Sage-san,” she mournfully said. “He was such a dedicated person, did you know? Came by the temple almost every day.”

“And yet you don’t even know him by name?”

Hijiri shakes her head. “I’m afraid he never stayed too long. I’ve said he dedicated, not devout.”

“But he still came here,” you state. “I highly doubt he hasn’t interacted with at least one person here.”

“You wouldn’t be wrong.” She turns and gazes out the window of the room. When you follow Hijiri’s gaze, you see a younger youkai, brown ears and tail and sweeping at one of the paths of the temple.

“He was good with Kyouko. I dare say he had her wrapped around his finger.”

Your brows shoot up as you whip around to face her.

“Not like that,” she clarifies, her steely gaze making it clear she wouldn’t allow such a thing, “she was drawn to him. When he still came by the temple he would speak with her often. Her and a handful of other followers.”

“Lemme guess. All youkai?”

Hijiri chuckles.

“Well,” you say. “Things just got harder.”

“If that is what you think.”

Hijiri continues to smile pleasantly at you.

“Think about it this way, when would humans and youkai be the most alike?”

You… You ponder that, for a moment. It’s a but hard to say, after all. You’ve been living as a human in the village for the most part. You dare say that once or twice you’ve felt a sort of kinship with a few.

“When we can get along, I suppose.”

Hijiri maintains the pleasant smile. “I’d advise you speak to Kyouko about Sage-san. They had a bit of an argument the last time they spoke, you see.”

You nod, recognizing when Hijiri has nothing else to say, and leave.

+++

You can’t remember the last time you’ve dealt with kids. Human kids, that is.

“Say, mister! How do ya get around like that?”

“Hmm? Like what?” you ask. It’s the end of the lesson so you’re just sitting at the desk in the front of the room while you wait for Keine to dismiss the class.

“Well, you’re blind, right? You got those ugly scars and all!”

‘THUD’ Flesh on flesh.

“Ow! What was that for?”

“You don’t just ask those sort of things, Kenta-kun!” one of the young girls says. You hide your chuckle behind a cough.

“It’s alright,” you say. The placating smile on your face strains the slightest bit when you really pay attention to your own voice. How long have you known how to speak Japanese? You don’t remember.

“Well, it’s hard,” you say to them. “I… wasn’t always blind, I think.”

“You think?” the girl asks curiously.

“It’s been so long,” you tell them. So long as far as you can remember, anyway. “At some point I just got used to it. I learned to listen for things around me, feel things in front of me. This thing helps me know what’s in front of me.”

You carefully lift up your staff for the two children to see, but gently pull it away when one of them, that Kenta kid most likely, reaches out to touch it.

“It looks kinda old, though!”

“Kenta-kun, was it?”

Nothing.

“He was nodding, Washington-sensei.”

Christ that sounded weird.

“Well, I’ve had it as long as I can remember.” Technically true. “It’s never failed me once.”

“...But it’s a stick— OW!”

“Now, now, Kenta-kun,” said an eerily-calm Keine, “What have I told you about watching what you say?”

You respond to the scene with a lighthearted chuckle. “It’s really alright, Keine.”

“If you say so,” she says. “Class dismissed!”

What follows is a barrage of sounds as children shout, laugh or talk while leaving the room.

“I’m surprised you know how to speak Japanese,” Keine says when the children are all gone. You tilt your head in confusion. “Naturally, I mean. You couldn’t translate directly to english if you were relying solely on the language boundary.”

“Well, Neither did I,” you say, standing up and leaning on your staff. “Think I might know who taught me, though.”

Your mind flashes back to that one woman from the ship and her daughter, People are short on this side of the world, apparently, so whenever you look back on that memory you have to wonder just how old they really were for them to look so haunted like the did.

“Can’t really give you a name. Don’t think I ever got any.”

“Well, if they took the time to teach you Japanese, I’m sure they must’ve enjoyed your company.”

Hmm. Maybe. You’re not too sure.

“Well, either way I doubt I’ll see them again,” you say, standing and feeling your way to the exit. “Bye, Keine.”

“You’re sure you can find your way back to Sekibanki’s house?”

“Yes, I can manage. If not, I’ll go back here, if that’s fine.”

You nod at Keine before you leave.

As you exit the door to Keine’s house, you can’t help but notice a change in the atmosphere in the village. Gone is the constant, loud stream of chatter and in its place are hushed whispers. You count your steps, reaching out in front of you as you turn down a path that should take you back to Sekibanki’s house. At the same time, the whispers turn more and more frantic before you finally notice what seems so off about the village.

You follow the smell.

Now, the chatter does pick up in intensity. People still whisper, but there’s more. A lot more.

You pause as your staff taps against something.

“Hey! Watch it!”

“Ah, apologies,” you say to the man in front of you. “I was just wondering which building was burned down.”

Yes, the smell of something burning is quite strong here.

“Hell if I know,” he says, “this isn’t even the building that caught fire!”

“Really now?”

“It was the one next to it. The Kirisame Magic Shop.”

Kirisame?

“Marisa?”

The man in front of you scoffs. “Old man Kirisame’s brat? No way. One, there’d be nothing left if she did it. Two, she doesn’t hate her old man *that* much.”

“In that case, I’d like to know how the building beside it burned down when it was the shop that caught fire?”

“Hell if I know. Anyway, sorry about earlier. Been on the edge lately. You take care now, you hear?”

“Likewise, friend.”

The stranger claps you on the shoulder as he walks away. You’re about to retrace your steps to Keine’s house and from there restart your memorized route to Sekibanki’s when another voice speaks up from beside you.

“Quite a tragedy, isn’t it?”

Youthful. Coming from around waist-height.

Another kid?

“Well, yes,” you say. “I suppose that even if there were no casualties, the fact that someone’s home or store burned down still counts as a tragedy.”

The young girl doesn’t say anything.

“Are you lost, little one?” you ask.

Again, she doesn’t say anything. You give a light hum.

“Hey, mister,” she finally says. “Can you help me with something?”

Hmm…

[] Yes

[] No
>> No. 200388
File 155892554383.png - (262.70KB, 600x450, 1486694696591.png) [iqdb]
200388
>>200387
[Yes]
What is the worst that can happen?
>> No. 200399
>>200388
Are you sure you want to temp fate... or me like that?

Are you REALLY sure?
>> No. 200400
>Are you sure?

[x] Yes
>> No. 200401
>>200387
[Yes]
>>200399
Fate is calling me
>> No. 200402
[x] No.

Forced to be the voice of reason.

Also, isn't the Kirisame Magic Shop supposed to be located somewhere in the Forest of Magic?
>> No. 200403
>>200402
Yeah, that’s a typo. Didn’t see It till it was too late.
>> No. 200404
[x] Yes
>> No. 200405
File 156091121080.jpg - (70.49KB, 680x601, heymistermonster.jpg) [iqdb]
200405
[x] Yes
>> No. 200406
File 15615671956.png - (75.61KB, 230x411, __hakurei_reimu_kijin_seija_senketsu_and_sukuna_sh.png) [iqdb]
200406
Well, you’ve always one to be helpful.

“It would depend, but [X]yes. What is it, little one?”

You can practically hear the massive smile on the kid’s face at your reply. That and you’ve only ever heard that sort of “Hah” sound earlier, when one of the kids was suddenly very happy about something.

“I’m looking for a friend of mine!” she declares. “They won’t let me in the bar, though!”

“I’m sorry, I do ‘t believe I heard you correctly?”

“That bar on the other side of Kirisame’s Second-Hand Store. I think my friend might be in there.”

You’ll assume her friend is one of the older village kids.

“And nobody would help you if you told them?”

“Nope! I’m not even that young…”

The humans in this village seem pretty apathetic, you think.

“Well, it’s not *that* bad,” she says. “Most days the villagers are really helpful, but…”

You pick up on the implication and slowly face towards the scent of burned wood. Everybody’s in the edge from the fire, it seems. A normal warehouse fire would’ve been chalked-up to an unfortunate accident.

“I think it’s because the Kirisame shop caught fire first.”

“And didn’t burn down? Or just the fact that it was burning in the first place?”

“The first one, I think.”

Well, you don’t really know Mr. Kirisame. Just his daughter.

Maybe you were a bit too hard on Marisa last time.





...eh, you’ll buy her a drink next you see her.

“Anyway, let’s find your friend, yeah? What does your friend look like?”

“Oh! No worries, I actually have a picture of her!”

What’s a picture?

Whatever it is, she hands you a folded piece of paper. It feels a bit different to the usual paper, and is rough around the edges, as though it was torn from a larger scrap on one side.

“Oh, a sketch? You two must be very close for you to have drawn this and kept it with you.”

Oddly, the kid doesn’t immediately respond.

“Y-Yep! I totally drew that!” she said. “Anyway, lemme help you to the door!”

She takes your hand in her smaller one and guides you to a building right next to the burned-down warehouse. As you approach you smell the tell-tale scent of alcohol. It’s fortunate indeed that this bar did not catch fire from the warehouse beside it. It surely would have burned down in an instant.

“Here we are. Don’t take too long, mister, and thanks again!”

You nod towards the young girl before pushing the bar door open.

It’s a quiet place, smells smoky from both the whiskey and the actual smoke.

“Excuse me!” you say, “I’m looking for this person?”

You hold up the paper.

+++

You are not easily pissed-off.

When Captain took on those castaways, you could’ve gotten mad that you’d have more work making sure they didn’t shrivel-up and die on the trip.

When Kagerou abandoned you out of fear (the first few times) you could’ve gotten mad, but you didn’t.

Hell, you can’t even get mad at Marisa since you’re the idiot who agreed to test out her potion.

In those situations, you just don’t see fit to be mad.

This is not one of those times.

“What part of being BLIND do you IDIOTS not understand?!” you rage and thrash while grabbing at the offending burlap sack and doing your damndest to tear it with your teeth.

You woke up feeling oddly like you had a bottle smashed against the back of your head. Remembering that you’ve last went into a bar, this outcome would actually be expected. Hangovers are a pain.

However, this is a concussion. There is nobody in bed with you. Your hands and feet are bound and staff nowhere to be found.

There’s a fucking Burlap Sack over your head AGAIN.

Door opening.

Footsteps—interrupted footsteps.



“...You put a sack. On a blind man.”

“Finally!” you say, “Someone who makes sense!”

“Well, I suppose it wouldn’t make a difference if we left it on or took it off…”

“GRAAAAAAAAH!!!”

All your thrashing manages to do is knock you over.

“Okay, okay! Fine! We’ll take it off!”

Mercifully, the cursed bag is lifted away from you, and you can breathe just a tad easier now. Or, you would if the current situation had been any different, regardless of wether your face was pressed against the ground or not.

You’ve been knocked out and tied-up. You think they’re about to tell you why.

“So you’re probably wondering why we’ve tied you up.”

Bingo.

“Oh, no I couldn’t care less!” you hiss. “I just wanted that FUCKING sack off my head.”

This guy the leader? He’s gotta be. He’s the only one who sounds like he knows what he’s doing.

“Well, tough luck I guess cause we can’t apologize without explaining ourselves,” he says. “The guys thought you were a youkai.”

You level your most deadpan glare at his general direction.

“...and now I can kinda see why. Geez, man! Cover your eyes! That’s unnerving as hell!”

You narrow your eyes before sighing. You close them.

“Thanks,” the guy says, footsteps coming closer. You feel someone lifting you by the shoulders so you and the chair are properly up again. You feel him fiddling around with the ropes around your wrist.

“Anyway, they thought you were a Tenome—looks like a blind person, actually has eyes on their hands—so they got spooked,” he explains.

“This may sound impertinent of me given my lack of status in the village, but what makes you think that makes everything okay?” you ask.

“Well, thing is…”





...

“...just untie me already.”

+++

Way you see it, after all that horseshit, you have two options.

[] Go home
[] Keine’s House
[] Sekibanki’s House

[] Get a drink at the other bar you can hear because HOLY SHIT THEY’RE SO LOUD
>> No. 200407
File 156183246831.jpg - (34.42KB, 480x600, HBC5245-BLACK-POST.jpg) [iqdb]
200407
>>200406
>[X] Get a drink at the other bar you can hear because HOLY SHIT THEY’RE SO LOUD

Wash sounds like he could use a drink to relax.
>> No. 200408
[x] Get yourself a drink
>> No. 200421
I feel like I should as if you all are really okay with leaving the final decision up to two votes? If yes then I’ll just go ahead and start writing
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