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File 157508430842.jpg - (660.86KB, 600x960, nanowrimo-29.jpg) [iqdb]
201207
Everyone’s waiting for you to continue. The thing is, you didn’t have anything to follow up after that. But you don’t want to disappoint, so you say the first thing that comes to your head.

“And then we can beat him up,” you conclude, earning the respect of battle-happy shrine maidens across the world. You’re sure Reimu’s clapping in her head with the approving nod that she’s giving you.

“...Him?” The badger sputters. “As in, the other guy… and not me, y-yes?”

“Do you want to be beaten up too?” asks Reimu.

With a somber expression, he shakes his head slowly and silently.

“Good.” The shrine maiden jerks a finger to the mountainside. “Now take us to your boss, leader, or whatever you call him.”

Despite how talkative the badger initially was, he does not say a word through the forest’s passage and the climb up the steady hillside. With Reimu following right behind the badger, it looks like he’s being walked to his execution—and the shrine maiden, his executioner. He stops at a patch of open area. Around is conspicuously clear of brush, as if all the foliage was trimmed away. All that’s missing is quiet in the forest, a dark mist that permeates through the woods, and you’d be wondering if you’re experiencing a serious case of deja vu.

A horned figure steps out from the cover of the trees. Just like the badger described, the youkai has a ruddy, taurus-like face. Dark splotches color the sides of the man’s face like oil, finished with a black muzzle that juts out. Mino, you think for a second before discarding it.

His eyes narrow at the sight of the shrine maiden and protracts his gaze, meticulously scanning each person before curtly saying, “...Guests.”

“Y-yes,” the badger says, lowering his head.

“You invited many.”

“I—I wouldn’t say that I, um, invited them, but...” The badger trails off as the bovine-headed youkai stares straight at him with his beady eyes.

After he silences the badger, the youkai turns to you. “Have you come to seal my fate?”

“Not this time, kudan.” You toss your head to Reimu’s direction. “She’s the one you want to talk to. I’m merely here to observe.”

He glances over the shrine maiden, but his eyes remain trained on Tewi. “And the rabbit?”

“Same boat,” she says, patting your arm. “I’m with the wolf.”

Lastly, the kudan rests his eyes on Reimu. The badger, in the meantime, is smart enough to scurry over to the side, hiding himself from view.

The shrine maiden readies her charms. “I don’t suppose you’re willing to give up now and stop attacking the village?”

He crouches down. “Would you back down if I said that I cannot? Even if I wished to?”

“By force it is,” she says.

There is a half-second where the entire forest is still. Then, sound breaks, and the bovine lurches forward, trampling through the grass. The beast-man scrambles low to the floor, wildly using its hands to push off the sediment. The ground shakes with his movements as if he were a charging bull.

Reimu leaps back to throw several needles down the kudan’s path, each sinking into leveled grass. The bovine slips to the left with an almost graceful sidestep, careful not to touch any of the still-glowing projectiles. A brief respite falls between the two as they assess the situation. Then, in silent agreement, they resume.

The shrine maiden does not allow the youkai to close distance as she circles around the open field, using her weapons as obstacles to slow the kudan down. As she readies her next set of needles, she throws her charms from her opposite hand. They whirl through the air with an invisible force guiding them to their enemy. Unable to finesse his way past the homing amulets, the youkai jumps back. His legs find solid matter as he finds his back pressed to the tree, so he uses its trunk as a base to jump from, kicking off the tree.

But Reimu is already prepared—rather, she has been waiting for this. The moment the kudan leaps into the air, she reveals a red-and-white slip to the air, and the parchment disappears to dust. The light that peeks through the forest trees starts to dim as Reimu puts a hand out in front of her—a cosmic, blue orb shimmers into tangibility. It is like a vortex: The orb sucks in the light around it to expand until it is twice the shrine maiden’s height.

The kudan, realizing his error, could only shield himself with his arms and brace for contact. The moment he touches the luminescent light, he is repelled—hard. The bovine ricochets back with added whiplash until he crashes through one tree and slams into the second, exposing the bark with splintered cracks.

Dust settles, and the two participants are looking real confused.

Reimu is the first to speak. “...Huh?” she says in quick wit.

“...Uh?” the kudan coughs out.

Real articulate folks you got here.

“Alright, we got him. Good job, Reimu,” Tewi says, clapping politely.

Reimu’s still not getting it. She looks to you for assistance. “What… what just happened?”

“You beat him,” you state.

“No, I mean… how? That was a little too easy.”

“God.” You point to yourself, then her. “Shrine maiden.”

She goes full dead fish on you.

[ ] Just tell her.
[ ] Play dumb.
Previous thread: >>200225
[x] Just tell her.
File 157508617256.jpg - (2.58MB, 2100x2970, comeon.jpg) [iqdb]
201211
[x] Just tell her.

Reimu has been a powerhouse without a god for years. I can only imagine how much terror she will inspire now that she has a god.
[x] Just tell her.
[x] Play dumb.
[x] Play dumb.
He was probably just the stage 1 midboss
[x] Play dumb.

He didn't even declare a Spell Card, the scrub.
[x] Play dumb.
lying liar god lies
[x] Just tell her.
[X] Just tell her.

Reimu won't acknowledge anything without the subtlety of a jack-hammer behind it.
Called for telling her.
File 157515901763.jpg - (109.38KB, 850x889, nanowrimo-30.jpg) [iqdb]
201226
It doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together. Reimu, however, is severely lacking in the knowledge department. You can forgive her: She was all alone. If the old Hakurei god would not—or maybe, could not—lend her power, then of course the girl would be surprised by her newfound strength.

“Shrine maidens directly draw on their god’s strength. That is what divine power is. You, on the other hand, have relied on your own abilities—up until now, that is. You’re a lot like your mother in that way. The Hakurei bloodline is impressive, I’ll say that.”

“Then before all this, that means I’ve been more or less resolving incidents as a normal human?”

“As a Hakurei, girl. You are no normal human.”

Reimu lifts a hand up to her face in awe. “So that means I’m really strong, now that I’m drawing from your power?”

“Just a fragment of my power,” you clarify. “But yes. Congratulations, Reimu, you are a real miko now. We should throw a party.”

“...So, is there a catch? To wielding your powers?”

You grin. “You shall do something for me as my shrine maiden. But that’s in the future, and I promise you—nothing bad will come of it. Barring that, you are free to use my divinity as you please. So go crazy and start beating people up with extreme prejudice.”

“I’m not going to do that!”

“But you just did,” Tewi says. “And speaking of. What are we going to do about the kudan?”

Reimu glances back to the scene of the wreckage. “Oh, yeah. Him.”

The kudan looks content to lie there and remain dead to the shrine maiden, but the twitch of sore limbs regretfully gives away the fact that he is still alive.

Reimu prods him with her gohei. “So are you going to ‘fess up what you were doing now?”

“I would have obliged,” he wheezes out, “Without the reckless fighting. Mujina, come closer too. And if you could, please help me up. I shall now clear the situation.”

“Y-yes, sir.” The badger, who would have preferred to remain invisible, reluctantly leaves his shelter behind the trees and joins the bovine-faced youkai, lifting the kudan up from under his shoulder.

Kudans are destined to die from the moment they are born… as all mortals do. But their deaths foretell of misfortune to come, as decreed by the kudan’s prophecy.”

“I thought that kudans die after their prophecy has come true?” you say.

He shakes his head. “A misinterpretation. They live long enough to foretell the misfortune to come, and when they die, they expel the misfortune they have gathered from the area. It is a curse from the land, if you will.”

“I didn’t know that. Interesting.” You smile. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

A “curse of the lands,” he says. The kudan is yet another you can wrest control of and consume

“So what does that do with you ordering the badger to attack?” Reimu asks.

“On the pathway down the mountainside, I had stumbled onto some humans. I do not believe they saw my visage, only the shadow my body drew from the moonlight—it was late at night, I believe—and they screamed of a youkai, running back to their homes. By the next day, they had already spread rumors of an amalgamous beast. I then realized: What if I become this beast? So, by luck, I found a mujina, and used him to spread rumors that a youkai of many forms was attacking the village. By association, that would have been me, who had initially started the rumor. I had to make it authentic, so I threatened the mujina to deliver a convincing performance.”

The badger goes wide-eyed. “You—really?”

The kudan nods.

“Hold on.” Reimu takes a provocative step forward. “Are you saying that you’re trying to… transform yourself to another youkai?”

“If I cease being a kudan, then no misfortune shall befall Gensokyo.” A trace of self-conflict reflects in the youkai’s darkened eyes. “That is all.”

Reimu looks doubtful. “Can you even do that? Just… become something else?”

“You can,” Tewi says in soft assurance.

You look to the rabbit, ready to say something, but instead you drop the matter and agree. “Yeah, it’s possible. A rare circumstance, but it has happened before.”

Reimu chews on a fingernail in contemplation. “Alright. So—tell me honestly. What do you think we should do with you?”

“I do not know,” he says gravely.

[ ] The kudan’s doing no real harm, so let him be.
[ ] The kudan needs to stop the pointless attacks to the village.
[ ] You could offer to strip away the curse—you are a curse god, aren’t you?
[x] You could offer to strip away the curse—you are a curse god, aren’t you?
More like the very definition of a curse, from many viewpoints, but we'll go with that.
[x] You could offer to strip away the curse—you are a curse god, aren’t you?
[x] You could offer to strip away the curse—you are a curse god, aren’t you?

Yo this sounds fucking awesome
[X] You could offer to strip away the curse—you are a curse god, aren’t you?
Just eat it
[x] You could offer to strip away the curse—you are a curse god, aren’t you?
File 157518025333.jpg - (225.55KB, 850x708, Nurse raymoo.jpg) [iqdb]
201233
[X] You could offer to strip away the curse—you are a curse god, aren’t you?

Just imagine if he gets sick from eating it.
[x] You could offer to strip away the curse—you are a curse god, aren’t you?

This will not backfire horribly in the far future, no siree.
A quick status update: As it turns out, December is a bad month for me. I'm also devoting my writing time to catching up on writing the Nanowrimo rewards for 2018... which is as sad as it sounds. Expect delays as always. You know the drill already.
File 159809241330.jpg - (144.70KB, 1689x1865, __inaba_tewi_touhou_drawn_by_tsukiori_anbooru__227.jpg) [iqdb]
201644
You are a curse god, aren’t you?

And yet, you suffer from your own delay. The words, quick to form in your mouth, die when your own mind strikes them down with thoughts of a foolish god—Toyoke. Her name serves as an eternal reminder of your failure, and every character in her name tells you: You are no lord of curses, no. You are—

merely a curse itself

Of course you are… or so you lie to yourself. But you find yourself staring straight at contradiction, found in a frilly, pink dress. Her healthy complexion, her cleared, red eyes speak the changes of the present. Were it past still, she’d only be recognized by the mire that dirtied her rags and clouded her eyes. Without you—and you yourself—she would have remained as rot.

Tewi turns, noticing the gaze you’re putting on her, and grins.

“What?” you ask.

“You don’t have to be all shy when you’re looking at me like you got something to say.”

“I don’t.”

“Right. Sure.” Tewi says, drawling out her words. She couldn’t be any more smug, the damn Rabbit of Inaba.

“I really don’t. Anyway.” You quickly kill your obtuseness and face the kudan. “I could strip away the curse for you.”

The bovine remains silent, though with his increasingly frustrated shuffling, he kindly paints out his emotions for you. “You—you can do that?”

“Of course he can,” Tewi answers back immediately. “He’s done the same for me.”

“Really? It’s that easy?” the mujina badger asks incredulously, a buffoonish look on his face.

Despite your own reservations, you respond. “It is so. Now come, kudan. To me—and within arm’s reach.”

He complies and walks forward, head down and somber.

You put a hand to his shoulder. “It isn’t your execution, youkai, so stop acting like it is.”

Gingerly, he raises his head. “Understood,” the kudan says, though with measured pause.

“Good. As for the rest of the onlookers—I advise you all to take your distance. And, should you find yourself approaching darkness, do not let yourself be engulfed in it.”

“What?” the mujina says, voice yielding to higher pitch. “W-What do you mean?”

You do not dignify him with a response. In but a moment, it will be evident. You grip down firmly with the hand placed on the bovine’s shoulder. And, within the youkai’s self, you find something familiar: It is a feeling of dread—of horror. Not from you, but from the kudan. But you find it—that which plagues the youkai’s being. So you let go of the bovine, but only briefly. You wind your arm back.

And then you plunge it straight between the kudan’s ribs. His eyes bulge out in shock, and the youkai looks down upon his body. Then he realizes: No blood stains his garments. Instead, blackness muddies his clothes until he erupts in a thick mist. The miasma—its temperament is like a swarm of locusts, making angry, helical passes around you. It, however, is only a nuisance. Now that you have freed the curse, you can release its vessel. You drop the kudan, letting the youkai fall to the ground, and take in the curse.

The darkness explodes into visceral, wordless screaming. It twists into itself on the ground, digging its formless claws into the dirt, scrambling back toward the kudan. Before this, however, you take your geta and drive it into its back, forcing it still. Then, much like the kudan, you wrench your hand into its chest. The curse seeps into your being, and you feel your reach extend, letting your jurisdiction, the fog which houses your maladies, roam further and further. You can take more, you can let it run free, you can take more and more and more, consume until nothing is left, and you should not stop it, Hakurou. Do you hear me? Hakurou. Hakurō. HAKURŌ.

“Yeah, yeah, I get it,” you say, waving the voice away.

“Y-You—!” the kudan chokes out.

“Calm yourself,” you reply. The mist, whose tendrils inched towards the forest, retreat back into the shadows at your beckoning. And after doing so, you hear a blood-curdling shriek exploding from the audience.

“He’s dead!” the badger screams. “I can’t believe he’s deaaaad!”

“Oh shut up, you buffoon.” Reimu snorts. “You just heard the kudan speak. He seems alive and well to me.”

“I am...” he pants out, frantically patting where you wounded him. He desperately tries, and fails, to find a gaping hole where your arm was. “...still alive.”

“It would have been counter-intuitive to kill you, kudan. Unless, that’s what you wanted?”

“No.” The youkai drops his head to the ground, allowing himself to rest on meadow grass. “I’d much prefer being alive.”

“So he’s not dead?” the badger says between hiccups.

Tewi rolls her eyes. “Would it kill you to listen? The kudan’s still breathing and talking right in front of you.”

“No! But I saw—and he—that! The—the stomach! And the gross… thing!”

You direct your gaze at the badger. “Settle, mujina. I did not pierce flesh. Instead, I reached into the kudan’s soul.”

“Arguably even scarier,” Reimu adds.

“Hush, you.”

“Then...” The once-kudan trails off. His face remains contorted with worry. “What happens now?”

You meet his gaze. “You tell us, youkai. Is the curse gone?”

He blows out a puff of air. “It is gone. Decidedly so. But,” the kudan says, anxiety dripping in his voice, “is that all?”

“The more you doubt, the more you are asking for ill fate.”

“...So I shall stay my tongue.”

“Good,” you say. “Then we’re just about done here.”

Reimu, doubt evident in her raised eyebrows, replies, “We are?”

“We could always turn this into an even bigger incident,” you add.

“Forget I said anything,” she says. “Let’s go home.”

“Now you’re getting it.”

But before that…

[ ] Nah, never mind. Let’s call what you did for the kudan “charity work” and wrap up for the day.
[ ] Purification comes at a cost, no matter how minor.
[x] Purification comes at a cost, no matter how minor.

Reimu's gotta eat, god or no god.
[x] Purification comes at a cost, no matter how minor.
[x] Nah, never mind. Let’s call what you did for the kudan “charity work” and wrap up for the day.
Think of all the exposure you'll get, love.
[x] Nah, never mind. Let’s call what you did for the kudan “charity work” and wrap up for the day.
[x] Nah, never mind. Let’s call what you did for the kudan “charity work” and wrap up for the day.
[x] Nah, never mind. Let’s call what you did for the kudan “charity work” and wrap up for the day.
[x] Nah, never mind. Let’s call what you did for the kudan “charity work” and wrap up for the day.
[x] Nah, never mind. Let’s call what you did for the kudan “charity work” and wrap up for the day.

Glad this is back
[X] Purification comes at a cost, no matter how minor.

Surely he could spare some pittance of an offering for the shrine maiden's services. It's not like Raymoo gets a damn paycheck every month.
[x] Purification comes at a cost, no matter how minor.

At least some food man.
[X] Purification comes at a cost, no matter how minor.

Work for free, never!
[X] Purification comes at a cost, no matter how minor.

There is always a price.
[X] Purification comes at a cost, no matter how minor.
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