Over the years, and they were many, you have been told a great many lies.
"Fairies are terrifying and will eat you!"
"I'm the strongest!"
"Okay, maybe fairies aren't as scary as I said, but youkai certainly are!"
"I'm totally human."
"I'm totally human."
"No, I'm human!"
"Okay, maybe youkai can look indistinguishable from humans, but they still will eat you at the first chance they get! Seriously, trust me on this, I've been writing about this for generations!"
...Thinking back, most people you know are also terrible liars.
"Is it okay if I eat you now?" The blonde peeks over your shoulder, licking her lips. She clearly assumes that you will let her sooner or later, but for now those bright red puppy eyes aren't doing the trick.
"Pleaaase?" She give you her best begging eyes, which just makes you roll your eyes as best you can.
You offer her a worm, as you have innumerable times before. "No."
She sucks it up like the world's nastiest ramen. "Ish dat sho?"
"It is, yeah." Missing only one beat, you add, "And don't talk with your mouth full."
"Then I can eat you?"
"But you said yes!" Upon that maneater's face, a pout sprouts forth, as if that is all it will take to get a yes.
"I was saying 'yes, it is so' not 'yes, go ahead and eat me'."
She lets out a long-drawn sigh, as if you are the one making unreasonable requests here. "Fiiiiiine..." Then again, maybe you are. After all, it's possible that she asks complete idiots the same question, getting a far more favorable answer. However, be that as it may, you've still got a number of years left in your old bones, and you'd rather that they spend them under your wrinkles rather than in less pleasant locales among the detritus of the forest floor.
With her last attempt (if you can even call it an attempt) to eat you for the day over with, Rumia flies off, darkness itself, pure and impenetrable, enveloping her in inky black. You hear the eventual hollow thunk of an impact between the youkai of darkness and a tree, same as usual. You'd think she just wants to lower your guard by acting a fool, but that would best have been capitalized upon decades ago, so you don't even bother looking.
And, same as always, you live. And, same as always, you get another worm and bait your hook. And, just as similar to yesterday and yesteryear alike, you cast your line as you float upon the surface of the lake in your fishing boat. In your youth you might have done more practical attempts at catching fish, such as employing a net, but you've a son doing that. And he has a son helping with that. And, before long, he'll also have a son, and then your son might finally join you on the water. And, further along, you'll be gone, replaced by just your son, and then his son will join sooner or later, and the cycle will repeat over and over. And, like you are doing today and every day, they'll be wasting their days fishing for little return in a boat full of more holes than your wife.
Which is impressive, because she's been in the ground five years now.
You reach for your bottle of sake, pulling the cork with what teeth you have left, and spit it into your collection of spare bobbers. With the alcohol freed from its prison, you take a swig and pass it to your bored childhood friend.
"Can I go yet?"
"Nope. Have some sake for your troubles."
The ice fairy in your lap takes a swig herself, and then sighs, setting it back with the ice. Some might like their sake hot, or warm or what have you, but you like it ice cold. On a hot summer day like today, there's no better way to cool off than a fairy in your lap and good sake on hand. Well, other than that time that fairy encased you in ice when she sneezed. Seriously, how does that even work...?
It's lazy days like these that you live for, at least for however long you can. Back when you were young, every day was too dull no matter how exciting. "Heh... Remember that time we played a prank on Ms. Kamishirasawa?"
Looking up from under your beard, the fairy simply asks, "Which?"
Honestly? Any, really. ...But there is one that stands out. "The one with the frozen frog in her shoe."
"Heh... And when she picked up that wet shoe, it chose the perfect time to come to, hopping onto her face."
"Could hear the scream from the lake!" You give her your few-toothed grin in return.
"Right?!" She returns it with a grin full of pearls.
While you're distracted, you feel a tug at your pole, and are quick to pull back a slack line. You're left grumbling at the missing bait, not that you lack for worms, but time is something you run short on. You've been having this happening more and more of late. Applying more bait, you send it back out, only to get another tug not a second later. Reeling it in, the hook is empty once more.
Now a bit more chipper, Cirno teases, "Man, someone must be getting their fill." Ohh, you'll give someone their fill alright. You give that little smart alack in your lap a noogie, though she takes it with a giggle, finding great joy in your reaction. Releasing her and grabbing the oars, you begin paddling your way to the shallows. The deeper end of the lake's a mite bit dangerous anyways. Talk of sea monster and worse and all that. Not that you ever much believed that sorta thing. Ohh, sure, you believe in sea monsters, but sea monsters are, y'know... in the sea.
This ain't no sea, no matter how deep it is. Heck, you'd bet one of your precious few teeth on that! ...Not that you'd really want an idiot's teeth if you won, no matter how good a trade they might make with some ambitious magey type.
Now in the shallows, and hopefully not being stalked by any kappa with weird tastes, you begin to rear back, readying to cast your line.
"Cirnooo~" Taking your eyes off the water, you spy Cirno's green-haired friend. What was her name again?
Grinning like a million bucks, Cirno launches into the air, getting a wince from you due to where she launched off of. "Dai!" No, that wasn't it. Somethin' a mite bit longer.
Now at eye level, if not foot level, Cirno gives her a big hug. "Dai!"
"Wanna go play?" She gives her smaller fairy friend a giggle, which you don't think is anything alike to a hug, but who are you to judge?
"You bet your ass I do!"
And with that, you find the hot summer day all the more uncomfortably hot, as you've lost your favorite ice pack.
To alleviate that, you take another swig of your sake. ...Not as good without company, though. Pausing for a moment, you get a terrible idea, and get to work, fashioning your spare sake bottle into bait fashioning a noose with some rope to get it secure.
If you're gonna be harassed by kappa, might as well get a drinking buddy in the process.
I paddle back to the depths, parking my little fishing boat dead center in the lake. The moment I chuck the bottle of sake overboard, there was a splash as it got tugged down. But I was ready. I had my feet planted right, and I was fully braced; this little boat would capsize long before I'd get pulled down with it, that's for sure.
Or, well... seconds before, as ain't no bracing good enough to work on water. Not for a human anyhow.
With a roar of effort, my lifetime of toil allowing me this small victory, I put all my strength on the table and then pulled harder still. After a few tugs and a couple attempts at faking her out, I found success, pulling out what was mine, a kappa suctioned to it like some kinda sake leech.
She stares up at me, unblinking.
I just stare back, smug that this somehow worked.
She blushes a little, looking to the bottle and rope, though her lips yet wrapped around the thicker end of it.
I smug that little bit harder, as what was she even gonna do? Seriously, the bottom half is crammed in her mouth like some kinda rat! "Do you always drink sake from that end?"
Doing the most sensible thing, she spits out the bottle, firing back, "Do you always pick up girls this way?" She, however, wasn't letting go by any means.
Giving the bluenette a shrug, you answer, "Works every time, it seems." Haven't exactly tried this before, so not exactly lying. "Still, y'do know that you're supposed to suck the other end, right?" Can't just leave that there. Girl could probably fit her fist in there and then some, and it has you full of the strangest feeling of curiosity. This what outsiders call a train wreck? Maybe a verbal sort.
She just flattens her gaze at your joke.
Changing subjects so as to avoid a deadly game of assgrab with the kappa, you ask, "Care to join me for a drink?" You give her your best grin, which most would just call a wee bit gross.
She doesn't seem to notice the grossness at least. "...Fine, I guess. Better than an oni." You'll take that as a compliment.
Five minutes later, she can barely speak, let alone be understood. She's a very happy drunk, probably, and this pleases you. Not that any of her babbles make a lick of sense, so she could be yammering anti-human crap for all you know, but still.
By the time another hour goes by, and the bottle is dry, everything has become a blur, and then everything is dark.
You groan, a familiar ache in your head and a long forgotten warmth in your arms.
...Seems it was you that played grabass, judging by the stink of rotting fish and smells marginally better, if only comparatively. You give a squeeze and feel a rather lacking squish in your hand, knowing well that softness, if not the source. Though, you do feel it's pretty obvious.
Well, damn. Signs point to you bedding a kappa.
Although, that raises a better question: where are you? It feels like you're in a bed, though it seems oddly jiggly, like some sort of gelatin. You'll need to figure a way out of here, and you'll need to figure it out soon. You can just imagine what a kappa might do to your ass now that you don't have a bottle to shove her way, and doubly so one with a hangover. Women can be a pain in equal parts to the amount of pain they're in, and you have a feeling she might be a woman, and, indeed, will be in pain. And a woman in pain is best dealt with from a distance, lest you get the rolling pin again.
[ ] Forget your clothes and leg it; modesty ain't worth it when your ass is on the line, and you do mean that literally. [ ] Find your clothes and leg it; you don't want some sort of reputation as a streaker. [ ] Wake your captor, no matter how bad an idea it seems. Ain't no way you'll be getting out of here blind, and she's probably got a good idea of how to fix that.
You grope about for something less nice, but still local. Sure, you could shake her awake by those, but ain't no way you want that to be her first impression from you in this situation. You aren't dumb, and it's kept you alive this long, so continuing to try and not be dumb would probably keep a good thing going, right?
Sure, waking her up is risky, but so was getting frisky. Doctor's not a fan, saying that your heart's just not up to it.
Well, shows what she knows, right? Not that you have in years, but still.
Now, let's see... Huh? Fabric? ...Probably that hat. Going back to where you were before with a fairly pleasant softness, you find the shoulder based on that. Gripping firmly, you begin to shake her awake. And you shake, and you shake.
But, as far as you can tell, she ain't waking no matter how much she gets jangled about like a rag doll.
This calls for extreme measures. "Cucumb-"
"WHERE?!" Not a moment later, you hear a horrible groan. "Ugh... my heaaaad..." Yeaaaah, that's what you were hoping to avoid. Girl got sloshed, and a youkai with a hangover is almost as scary as your late wife on her period.
Keeping your voice quiet, as you know that having good bedside manners is important now more than ever, you say, "Morning, Miss." You'd normally be less overly polite about these things, but you're kinda in hot water here. And, as you'd like to keep hands from going places they really shouldn't, you need to keep her from getting in a panic and acting rash. Kappa tend to be like that.
And, of course, you hear a squeak just before you hear the sound of rustling fabric. If you had to guess, that was her diving under the covers. "WHO ARE YOU"
"Now, now. Calm down, y'hear?"
"WHY AM I NAKED"
"Miss, calm down."
"WHY ARE YOU NAKED"
"Miss, if you'd start usin' punctuation and pipe down a bit, I'd-"
"WHY AM I ALL STICKY OHH GOD WHY IS MY BED ALL STICKY AND THE CEILING IS COVERED IN- OHHGODWHATHAPPENED"
"Shut up!" She suddenly goes silent. Good. "Now, if you'll just calm down, and talk like an adult, we can-"
You hear a clapping, and the lights go on. You see a rush of green, and notice the bed's now empty and... jiggling? Sheetless, though. Looking behind you, you see a door slam shut. Looking up, you wince at the gruesome state of the ceiling. Last night sure must have been wild, with that mess.
I just realized this is a good spot for a vote. As such...
[ ] Get dressed and book it. You have your eyes, and you still have your health while it lasts. [ ] Comfort kappa. Might be risky now, but the favor of water spirits is ideal to have, so could pay off for your already numerous descendants.
[x] Get dressed and book it. You have your eyes, and you still have your health while it lasts. The other option is going to win in a landslide. You have to offer more incentive or reason for people to choose the non-"spend time with and be nice to 2hus" options.
>>200355 From your perspective as the writer, maybe. No so much to the reader. Stakes haven't made clear nor have the possible consequences of choices in the story yet. In short: no reason not to pick anything but the (presumably) plot hook option.
>>200356 They've been beaten over your head constantly, from the very options available to the MC's thoughts approaching a broken record of constant caution. While this is largely used jokingly, that doesn't make it any less existant.
If you don't want to pay attention, that's fine, as it's a lighthearted story at its core, but to say that likely over a dozen pretty blatant warnings isn't making something apparent is a bit of a stretch.
Well, this is a fine kettle of rotting fish, isn't it? On one hand, you want to get out of here. On the other hand, you don't want to be remembered as 'that asshole'. Emotional women are best avoided. Emotional women that eat ass are best fled from asap.
But, well... you've lived a long life. A fulfilling life. If things go tits up now... you think you could live with that. Or not live with that. As you'd be dead.
You head on after her, opening the door.
Ohh, right. Pants.
You close the door, and you go about redressing.
With your form less exposed, you reopen the door. "Look, I'm sorry about last night."
She's quick to turn into a bundle of smelly green sheets, all that's exposed of her being her eyes. "Why won't you leave me aloooone..."
"Because I feel bad about last night."
"Just go already..."
The pile of cloth and stress deflate. "Why...?"
"Because I want to make it up to you."
"Make it up to me by leaving..."
"...Make it up to me by giving me your shirikodama."
...See, this is why you don't like kappa. "I'll put it in my will, then."
"No, my will."
Silence fills the air. "...Really?" You're not sure you like that shift in her tone.
"If it'll make it up to you."
Silence fills the air once more. "You'd give me your soul?"
"Yeah? Don't want my family getting a shit reputation 500 years from now, right?" Taking one for the team and all that.
Once again, silence, this time a bit uncomfortable. "...I see..." You're starting to feel a bit uncomfortable, the way she's looking at your crotch. And then she looks back to your eyes. "...But what if I'm pregnant?" When she says that, you can't help but burst into laughter, much to her obvious annoyance. "What's so funny, Human...?"
Ahh, dagnabbit. Made it worse. "Look, if you're pregnant, my name's Candy." She stares, not seeming to get the joke. "It should be impossible at 82."
She lets out a sigh of relief. "Ohh, good..."
"Sides, from what I've heard from that second hand shopkeeper, the odds of a youkai and a human getting anything out of sex are, uhh... what's the word... ...Well, they're basically so low it might as well be zip. Still, if you were, I guess I'd marry you or some such?"
Judging from the very small part of her face that's not covered, you can tell her face is bright red. "MARRY"
"Yeah. I got plenty money saved up, so I could probably afford a ring."
"KYAAAAAAAA" And, just like that, the eye slit closed up. "WHAT KIND OF HUMAN LOVING PERVERT DO YOU TAKE ME FOR" Her words were almost hard to understand, if not for the sheer volume of them.
"As much as you seem to bug me? Yes." Seriously, today wasn't the first time your bait's vanished. Still, she's cute when she's flustered. Surprising from a kappa.
"IDIOT" The pile of cloth chooses that moment to lash out, and while you do manage to dodge it, you end up stumbling and cracking your head on the sink.
Everything goes black as you hear ever distant words of apology and eventual questions about your rear.
Seems that Miss Hieda wasn't lying after all. But... maybe only the tsundere ones need to be worried about.
You feel cold and light, as if a breeze could carry you off. Not far off, wispy souls crowd around a single woman. You see the world's calmest seas ahead, or perhaps... a river.
>>200357 Now you're just being an asshole. You've got a new story, are only two choices in and haven't stated what the hell you're going for other than therapy for yourself. Worse yet, you aren't nearly as clever as you might think. I got the warnings, paid attention and voted accordingly but you don't seem to understand how utterly loaded your choices have been. They're non-choices in effect because people will always vote to know what the fuck is going on and to interact with characters that they like. Unless you fix that the story is just going to be frustrating for both you and your readers. Lighthearted or not (good to know 6 posts in, incidentally), no reason to get invested in something like that.
>>200360 Yes, actually, I do know quite how loaded my choices have been.
There is a reason for that which I cannot discuss as of this point.
As for 2 choices in, it's primarily a choiceless story, so measuring by choices is a bit pointless. I just figured giving the option for short-term direction would be a nice thing to have, whether the destination is largely set or not. The choices being there at all is simply a bonus, as I had a few ideas for directions to take a given scene, thus giving the option to direct it a bit.
As your vision clears, you realize the woman is a redhead.
As your vision clears, you also realize she is actually asleep.
Looking around, the sheer amount of spirits gives you a fairly good idea of where you might be.
And what you might be. Or rather, what you might not be.
For a time, you consider legging it, as she is asleep, but you've always been the type to not avoid your fate. Nudging her with some vague part of your ghostly blob of a body, she yelps awake. The spirits around you two all scatter, obviously spooked.
"Ohh. Huh. You're surprisingly ready, huh?" Guess so. "Well, hand 'em over. You know what you need, right?" You just kind of... float there. You're not quite sure where to check for the coin, or how to for that matter. "Here, let me help." She winces as she reaches within you, soon pulling out a small sack of coin. "Well, that's, uhh... holy crap. ...How many people like you?" Quite a few, you'd like to think. And, judging by the sack, you're not wrong.
"Well, hop aboard. This trip'll be the shortest one I've had in... quite some time, honestly. Must have been popular in life, huh?" You do as directed, floating onto the boat. She starts counting the coins, whistling. "Buddy, that's more people than live in the human village, isn't it? Someone's adventurous..." You never were so good at the fearing youkai thing.
"Well, let's get going." Tucking the sack between her ampleness, she grabs her scythe and shoves off.
...That really was a short trip, huh?
"We're here. Sorry about the long trip!" The grin on her face makes you try to chuckle, though nothing escapes. "Well, off you go. Go on. Yama's waiting for your judgement."
>As for 2 choices in, it's primarily a choiceless story, so measuring by choices is a bit pointless. I just figured giving the option for short-term direction would be a nice thing to have, whether the destination is largely set or not.
Ah... I get it. Rather than pick between chicken and beef, we're getting eggs no matter what. But at least we're getting to pick whether they're scrambled or sunny side up. Does this mean we would have died regardless? There was that mention of a weak heart...
The story is largely off the cuff, but as of... I believe it was the 2nd or 3rd update it has been planned, yes. Originally the plan was quite different, but I realized an idea for a way more interesting plot. Death was more a matter of when, how, etc. There were generally ways to avoid it, but sooner or later it would come.
Also, to poke at your analogy, I'd say that it's more like requiring eggs be in the dish, as it's not like you can't have some long term impact, it's just not to be expected. You could drink raw eggs, bake a cake, etc. For example... you could have survived longer and seen more of who the MC was with certain choices. Likewise, your current choices have impacted the long term to a degree, but not so much changed its course, only how that course will play out, like delaying a flight by a day. Yes, it's the same trip, but weather might be different, and stormy seas, turbulent skies or a flock of ducks getting affectionate with a turbine can change things significantly.
>>200362 >>200367 You're not the first author to railroad plot and characters and, truthfully, I don't have a problem following a plan if the story is compelling. That said, your choices really suck so far and are inherently unsatisfying if they're designed to be so loaded. You should still treat your audience with respect and, when you do offer choices, actually give them a couple of interesting and competitive options no matter what the ultimate result might be. It should not surprise you that on a site where people write and read about little girls with silly hats that voting skews towards that.
Instead of being patronizing towards people who are trying to pay attention and being defensive about being called out for shit execution of voting, you're better off taking into account what me and others have said. It's good that you're being transparent now about what you're trying to accomplish here. That should have preceded any vote or, at least, had you be clearer about the premise and story tone in your first few updates. The audience is not in your head and how you choose to present things and when is important to our (reader and author's) enjoyment.
>>200358 >"Why won't you leave me aloooone..." >"Because I feel bad about last night." >"Just go already..." >"No." This is not my idea of "comforting". I don't think anyone intended to vote for staying past our welcome, and the other choice seemed like it was running away without a word. A reasonable course of action would be to try talking to her, feel out the situation, and leave if that's what she wants, but apparently the MC isn't capable of acting reasonably.
>>200357 >a broken record of constant caution >over a dozen pretty blatant warnings Warnings like the danger of youkai being called "lies"? Warnings like Rumia's desire to murder the MC being treated as a nuisance? Warnings like the MC being fine after Cirno encased him in ice? Warnings like the MC surviving to be an old man despite being the kind of guy to lure in a kappa out of boredom?
"And, same as always, you live." And this is what finally does him in?
>If you don't want to pay attention, that's fine Hell, looking over this again I'm now convinced that both the choices and these insulting, annoyed-sounding replies are just you fucking with us. 8/10, nice bait.
So uh is this a "wrap it up lads, story's over" bad end, a "alright you died reload a save and don't make the same retarded choices" bad end, a "pops died and now I'm the protagonist" surprise, "old man kappafucker's journey through the afterlife" transition, or what? Between the arguing I'm not sure what's going on