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File 162511929173.jpg - (12.74KB, 225x224, tải xuống.jpg) [iqdb]
Spring, the season of new beginnings, a time of happiness and joy with countless festivals and traditions to go along with it. Ironic, because right now you are meeting your end, and you are not happy about it.
You never have any interest in Japan, the land of the rising sun, you only went there because your friends basically dragged you there on their holidays. Not going to lie, the trip did have its moment, eating across the land and seeing your friends make a fool of themselves along the way. Sure, you may not know Japanese at much as some of the others do, but being a social person isn’t one of your perk anyway.
Unfortunately, looking like a bunch of foreign idiots making every one look helpless and easy target for mugging, which it did
After a particular night which involved a lot of drinking, betting and dancing around (The alcohol is one of the few things you genuinely enjoy) with your fellow “adventurer”, you decided to wander the street a bit to clear your head and enjoy some alone time. Midway through your journey of “self-discovery”, trouble find you in the form of a group of four people surrounding you with knife, pipe and…. a gallon jug? At first you thought that they were a prank orchestrated by your friends, that thought is out of the window the moment you got bash across the head with the pipe. Normally you would’ve ran away or at least put up a good fight (This isn’t the first street fight you’ve gotten yourself into). But with the influences of alcohol and the mind council in shamble because of it, your body can’t even work properly to put up a proper block, getting beaten down and stabbed felt pretty bad, whatever was in your system at the time can’t numb the pain enough, your body lie on the cold ground, the only warmth that the body felt is on the pool of blood that is forming around you… dying a stupid death like this just….
When you finally wake up again, you never truly expected where you ended up, it isn’t on a hospital bed with equipment, personnel and friends surrounding you, rather it is on a rocky ground… god, my back hurt…
Getting up and looking around, you notice that where you are is a riverbank with souls, both human-like and floating blob of….something, maybe life essence? You always have a feeling that hell is where you would end up if you die, but a river, not the lava type but a normal river with water and the general friendliness of the place is not what you expected.
Unfortunately, even in death, language barrier is still a thing, so you are basically going through a slot machine of either people talking in Japanese (sometimes the souls talk in other languages as well, not like it matter anyway) Luckily there are people who spoke English here, even more-so is the fact that they are bi-lingual so they have more success in doing what you attempted to. Apparently, this is where the soul of dead people will gathered when they die, where they can wander the riverbank until the souls can accepted their death, in which a Shinigami will ferry them to the “other side” leaving everything like wealth, status, relationships, etc. Behind and face judgement from some “higher power”.
“This leaving behind everything and getting judged for what you did in life doesn’t seem to be what I like to do, can we just like…not do it?” you asked, knowing full well that there is no way out of this
“No, every souls that die will have to go through here at some point” replied one of the helpful souls back to you
And just let everything go? I still got a life, maybe it isn’t the best, but it is still something, abandoning it is not an option, not to mention about the judgements, going to hell is the only thing that is going to happen next after you face it
“M…maybe I will take a walk, clearing my mind and all of that” death is something I won’t accepted that easily, so I will delay it as long as I can
“As long as you want lad, but remember, there is no way out of this, you can cry, being in denial, or rage all you want, but the circumstance is still there, you are dead…. Look, I know that this isn’t easy for you, but remember that you aren’t the only person going through this, maybe talk to other people, sharing about your past and vice versa, could help your tortured soul to find closure and move on”
“Sound easy, Mr. optimistic, maybe we should form a circle where all of our stories are revealed and some sweet words will help us forget about everything, becoming best friends in the process and have our happy ending of reincarnation, how about it?” You replied bitterly, how could anybody accept it so easily?
“Look, that is not what I... you know what, forget it. Just do what you want to do, I won’t interfere with it anyway, just make sure you are left with no regret” After those final words, he wander off to some other grieving souls to comfort them, with better result compared to your interaction
Am I really going to leave the mortal coil…? You see Shinigami ferried souls to the other side, where they will be judged and possibly reincarnated into another life or face damnation for their sins. What is going to happened when I faced it? Would I live in an eternal limbo where voices of my past come to haunt me? Or it would just be endless torture where the word “death” is something you would look forward to? Just….dammit, no matter what come next, one thing is for certain. I am screwed..

Sitting around here ain't going to do anything much, is there anything i can do?
[x] Wander around to clear my head and enjoy the scenery
[x] Talk to the helpful soul from earlier, we both got off on the wrong foot, and having some acquaintance could be useful
OOOOOH, a new story!

Death is but the beginning in this scenario but I already wonder what makes the protag think they'll go to hell.

[X] Wander around to clear my head and enjoy the scenery.

The helpful soul will most likely be reincarnated soon and you may only feel worse after hearing about how much better the souls here are then you, look around to find more info. Think about why you are screwed and try to see if there's something else aside from this river.

That was a pretty good first post author, it got my attention immediatly and I am excited to see where this will go.
[x] Wander around to clear my head and enjoy the scenery
[x] Talk to the helpful soul from earlier, we both got off on the wrong foot, and having some acquaintance could be useful

Don't just keep to yourself. You need all the help you can get.
[x] Wander around to clear my head and enjoy the scenery
File 162531621589.jpg - (7.29KB, 275x183, River.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] Wander around to clear my head and enjoy the scenery.

“This is boring…” stacking pebbles to pass the time seem like a good idea a while ago, now you can barely keep your eyes open. It is hard to have anything interesting down at the border, when there are only 5 things down here that are remotely “interesting”, and calling them that is quite the stretch. There are a few trees on the river bank, most of them are already dead, but still standing. If this is the way that the other side is reminding us that we are dead, then you would rather have a big sign written “YOU ARE DEAD”, at least the message would be clear. The pebbles we already just discussed about, the river… it is creepy, to say the least.

Taking a peek, countless fish can be seen down there, at first glance everything seem normal, until you recognized some of them, they are different in many ways, but 1 thing tie them all together: They are already extinct… maybe I can see bigfoot here if I look hard enough?

The souls are what interest you the most, while most of them still remain a humanoid form and the clothes on their back, when the Shinigami lead them to the other side, every feature of them will disappear, leaving only a giant blob of soul. First of all, no way you are getting naked, even if all your body disappear, having no clothes on while everybody… or lack of bodies, but souls are watching. Secondly, how are the blobs be able to talk to the Shinigami? They have no mouth!

Finally, the Shinigami, you know they are just doing their jobs, they even seem sympathetic to the “about to face judgement” souls, but you still hate them, after all, their present means death… or at least another stage of death.

Looking both directions, the scenery is the same either way, but just sitting here isn’t going to do anything useful, with a grunt, you get up to walk around, for a moment you turn back to the helpful soul and wonder if you should try talking to him again, then dismiss that idea. Right now, I am still a bit emotionally unstable, who know what will happened next if he accidentally provoked me in the wrong way? I got mad at him for trying to help me for crying out loud…

While walking, you think back on your past decisions, your life, relationships, career choice, you can safely say that you are content with most of it except a few, but thinking back about it, you shudder about those “wrong” decisions and instead thinking of something more cheerful and hilarious, like when your nephew praise you for being a hero and a saint every time you help him. Moments like those really help you bond with the family you had… while laughing inside. Being a hero is something you are definitely not, after all who can say that a bank robber is a “hero”? Only a small portion of your acquaintances know about your true profession, luckily they keep it a secret, either because they are also somehow involved in it or just nice people who don’t judge much about it.

And no, your family weren’t poor either, it is not like you were born in the hood, where criminal and gang member roam around, rather you were born in a nice suburb area, your parents were part of a working class, while they don’t struggle financially, you were also taught about the value of money and that you should work hard to earn it, while also don’t be afraid to give it to other people in need. The first part of the lesson you took very seriously, after all 1 wrong move and you end up in the slammer, so every time you had a job, everything from planning an escape route, how many people are in the area at a time, police response time, etc is prepared carefully. Thanks to your hard work, a large sum of money is, or was in your hand where you are able to spend it at will… with some restraint, that is. The second part of the lesson just happened to slip from your mind, sure occasionally you help people around like fixing a neighbor car or donate some food to the homeless, but it is mostly because you felt like it, for the neighbor it is mainly because she bake some good muffin, and you are a sucker for sweets. For the homeless… It just felt bad that they are there, abandon by society, left on their own. Compared to them, my life was good, and here I am, losing everything in a blink of an eye, was that how they felt?

You walk along the riverbank for ages, hoping that some miracle would free you from here, and this is all a nightmare, except no, this is real. At first, everything seem to be the same. Souls gathering on the riverbank, Shinigami escort them away, and that helpful soul is still in the same area, helping others. Does he ever get tired of doing that? Then, the strangeness dawn on you. First of all, although you walk on the same direction, it all seem like you are walking in a circle. You use a tree as a landmark and keep walking to test your hypothesis. Sure enough, you encounter it later down on the road, secondly, souls aren’t allowed to be on the riverbank for long, after a certain amount of time, they are forced to transform and entered the boats anyway. Why am I and the others still here then? And the number of souls that doesn’t get on the boats keep increasing, filling the area. What is go-


That was the last thing you heard before being pulled out of the border, when your sense returned, you are on a dirt road with some other souls. At first you thought this is a private road lead to hell, that thought is out of the window when you see the Shinigami face: Panic. Okay, this obviously wasn’t supposed to happen, so is this the road that lead to freedom? Screw it, I have nothing to lose anyway. You quickly sprint away from the rift, followed by other people. Some Shinigami lead the remaining people, the ones that didn’t ran away, back to the river. Do they have a death wish or something? There are plenty of stalls around here with actual human being, if you weren’t on the run of your life, you would definitely check it out, but for now, let’s just run.

“I….made…it” you whisper between breaths, managed to lose both the Shinigami and the other souls behind. You would’ve preferred to keep going, but right now all the stamina have being drained and night time is approaching soon, it’s time to find a place to rest for the night. From the bottom of a mountain, you made out a few places where such commodity could be provided and are in the walking distance for the next 15 minutes

On the mountain, there is some kind of military base on it, hopefully they are the JSDF and be able to provided help. Further down the road, there is a village, but given the fact that you had no money, your night would be fully dependent on the generosity of the local. On your right, near a lake there is a mansion, if that is where the local government is, then maybe you can plead your case and be able to leave here.

Night time is approaching, i need to choose where to go next
[x] The millitary base on the mountain
[x] The village down the road
[x] The mansion near the lake
[x] Camp in the forest

Sorry about my format and overall clunkiness, i am trying to see what will stick
[O] The military base on the mountain.

If hell/purgatory is down some river then perhaps heaven is up?

A military base doesn't sound too friendly but from the other three choices it's probably the last place an shinigami would check for runaway spirits.

And don't worry! you'll figure it out eventually.
[X] The millitary base on the mountain.
[X] The military base on the mountain.
File 162563118867.jpg - (15.06KB, 225x224, Mountain.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] The military base on the mountain

“All chips on the side with the guns, I suppose” Hopefully, being in the safety of armed soldiers would be enough to thwart the attempt to capture you by the Shinigami if they are still chasing. Bit of a shame that the way the food there is likely going to be terrible and the climbing is going to be tiring. Oh well, can’t win them all I suppose

There are 2 paths up, one involved an open grass hill and the other is through a thick forest. Considering the time restraint and the facts that I am technically trespassing an area, I should at least tried to be clearly visible and appear as non-threatening as possible. Hopefully that should be enough for me to not get shot but taken in for questioning instead.

“All right, here we go” you mumble as the climbing start. Even with the situation at hand, it still feel quite calm with the orange light shining on your back, the sound of water flowing at the base of the mountain and the wind gently blowing in your face. After everything, it is nice to have a calming moment on its own, having nobody around. Sure, being with fellow companions have their own benefit, but with the exception of a few people, you have learn to be dependent on yourself, only relied on others if things are dire and if the circumstances are out of your control. Whether I made it out or not, it will be dependent on me, nobody for me to relied on or to blame at. Maybe things will become okay in the end, I just have to deal with all the problems thrown at me one at a time until an acceptable conclusion is reached.

The journey to the base is cut short when you spotted some figure near the waterfall, although you can’t see them clearly, they don’t carry the signature scythe that the Shinigami usually carried, so at least they aren’t an immediate threat, what are they doing here then? Looking more closely, their group appear to be around 6 people, all wearing white clothes while armed with various medieval age weaponry. 2 bowman, 2 swordsman, 1 spearman and 1 squad leader, while the rest of the squad appeared to be playing some kind of chess-like game, the squad leader seem uninterested in the game and instead monitor the surrounding area, both her eyes met yours… uh oh.

“侵入者を発見!” Said the squad leader before the rest of the squad jump into action, grabbing their gear and start rushing toward your positions. Okay, right now things are probably not going as I expected, maybe I can out run or sneak by them and continue my trip to the base

[x] Attempted to sneak by them
[x]Make a mad dash for it
File 162563147986.jpg - (11.01KB, 306x165, Wolf.jpg) [iqdb]
[̶x̶]̶ ̶A̶t̶t̶e̶m̶p̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶s̶n̶e̶a̶k̶ ̶b̶y̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶m̶ ̶
[̶x̶]̶M̶a̶k̶e̶ ̶a̶ ̶m̶a̶d̶ ̶d̶a̶s̶h̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶i̶t̶

Before you can have a plan made up in your mind, however. They have already disappeared, where did they…

“侵入者、ここにあなたの名前とビジネスを述べてください!!” Said a voice behind you. How the hell did they got here so fast, it literally have just been like 10 seconds, and the distance between your hiding spot and the waterfall are around 200 meters, another squad maybe? Okay, standard procedure, hand raised, slowly get up and turn around, all while appearing non-threatening

You were going to say something, but that is when it struck you. Your captors aren’t human, even though they have mostly normal human feature, their previously obscure dog ears and tails are now clearly visible. Okay, since when can dogs walk on two feet, carrying weapons and holding people hostages? There is no logic in any of this!

You tried to slowly walk backward, but an arrow placed between your legs is a good diplomatic strategy for you to stay still. You can’t leave here, but they aren’t doing anything much but shouting something at you, what they are saying is beyond understanding, however. After a while, the dogs patrol member appeared to be tired of all of this and walk toward you with swords raised and killing intentions in their eyes. Dammit, not like this, how the hell am I supposed to fight back against armed opponent who outnumbered me 6 to 1? Then their squad leader walk forward and order her underling to halt, which they are clearly confused. She pointed at my clothes and said something to them, which calm them down a bit before putting away their weapons… and promptly knock you down to the ground, tying your hands behind your backs with ropes and drag you to the military base. Good news, I am still alive, bad news, I am captured as a prisoner, in a place filled with armed dog soldiers and I can’t communicate with them, in other word: I am screwed…again

Before entering the base, you are forced to put on a blindfold and was given an even tighter security squad consist of 8 dogs armed with Canada shield, something tell you that they aren’t here to protect the other citizen if you manage to break loose, but the opposite. On one hand, it means that the local here are likely to be hostile and could try to kill me, on the other hand, whomever in charge here at least tried to put in the effort for the protection of a lost stranger

Even with the blindfold on, you can still hear the bustling streets around you, not the sound of soldiers marching or vehicles moving around, but the sound of a market, with people bargaining for goods, little kids running around and people coming near you, trying to ask questions while the guard tell them off. For me, this is one of the worst situations to be put in, for everybody else here though, it is a Monday.

After walking for who knows how long, you enter in some kind of building, in which you were forced down to your knee and have the blindfold removed, in front of you is a bird lady wearing a dark blue dress with white trim and belts, a golden pauldron on her left shoulder with a large blue gemstone and a cape extending to her knee, the village commander perhaps?

What happened for the next 30 minutes is perhaps the most boring moments you ever had, after the initial introduction, the guards and the commander is discussing about something, only pointing at you occasionally, rendering you completely at the sideline, unable to contribute in anyway beneficial to your imminent fate. Maybe nobody will care if I sleep for a little bit… long day and all…


“Huh?” A word automatically utter out of you, can’t I at least rest in peace!?

No, there is no rest for you yet, for your personal distance is invaded by another bird lady, but this one seem to be more “unprofessional”, holding a notepad with a pencil behind her pointy ears, clearly interested in you, to the dismay of the other people in the room.

“ここで何してるの、綾??” The commander impatiently asked.

The atmosphere in the room suddenly feel a lot harsher than before, with the commander and the indifferent bird exchanging words, which steadily got louder and appearing outright hostile, even the guards assigned to you glance at each other with worrying looks, apparently I became the center of the conversation as the fingers are pointed at you much more frequent than before. Eventually, the commander just grunt while the other bird just give her a smug look, then walk toward you. She point at you, the notepad and her. Then her two hands give two different gesture, one is a thumb up, the other is a thumb down.

What is the right answer in this situation?

[x] Look at the thumb up hand
[x] Look at the thumb down hand
[x]Don't do anything
[x] ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
[x] Look at the thumb up hand

I believe she's asking if you know how to write?

So [x] Do an thumbs up too..if you have thumbs that is.
Honestly Aya would be asking if you would allow her to interrogate you.
She did point at her and the notepad as an indication.
[x] ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
He is a little bit tied up at the moment
[x] Look at the thumb up hand
just saying yes is hopefully good for survival
File 162607548668.jpg - (8.53KB, 200x225, AYAYA.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
[x] Look at the thumb up hand

Let’s look at the whole situation from the beginning again, I am captured and brought to the village HQ, the only reason that I am not dead yet is because of my clothes, probably as proof that I am an outsider and now I am given an opportunity to be interrogated by a bird lady. While she did gave an option for me to refuse it and it is obvious that this interaction is not standard protocol for them given the expressions of everybody else in the room. That would’ve shown that I am uncooperative and created more hostility between me and them, at this point me and the soldiers here are already on thin ice, melting it further is basically asking to be beaten up, and I am no masochist thank you very much. Agreeing to be interrogated on the other hand have its own set of problems, while it ensure my immediate survival, the language barrier and the questions will cause misunderstanding down the line, and depending on what kind of questions that they asked and how long I will stay here, my involvement with the Shinigami could be revealed, now I don’t know if these two groups have any alliance with each other in anyway or not, but it is best to just be prepared for the worst outcome. So maybe it is best to play dumb? Technically I am not rejecting them, it is just that I don’t know what to do, which is half true, and they can’t exactly fault me for not understanding Japanese in the first place, for once I am glad that there isn’t any translator here, or else I won’t be able to fake it until I make it.

“Huh” I replied with a dazed look and a slight slur in the words

In response, she just look at me, give the same illustrations from earlier but slower and then give her two hand gestures again. So I just look at her, give a shrug and tilt my head to the left a little bit. This little game of charade go on for a while, every time she gave me some other gestures and even plead with me, I just react with naivety and indifference. It got to the point where the commander is cackling on her chair, while the bird just pout back at her and eventually moved away from me, I release a sigh of relief.

And this is where I fuck up

It turned out that birds have pretty good hearing, and she caught on to what little sound there was that went out of my mouth, her face immediately invade my personal space again with the same expression when we just started, I tried to play dumb, but this time she gave an all-knowing smile and shake her head slightly… sometimes it is the little thing that unveil the whole scheme, I of all people should’ve known, but this is just ridiculous!

So right now I am between a rock and a hard place, either I start acting or I keep my mouth shut, both options are bad in their own way. After some personal debate that felt like an eternity, I decided to agree to the interrogation because that way I can partially control what will happen next, unlike the other option which basically say “Automatic provocation”

Reluctantly, I nod my head and look at her thumb up finger, she then draw something in her notepad and show it to me, it had a stickman outside a circle that is labeled ‘Gensokyo’, she point at me and the stickman, is she asking me if I am an outsider? I gave her a confirmation nod, which she happily mutter something then continue drawing some other figure: A clock symbol and a question mark, probably asking how long I was here. How long was I here anyway? The river doesn’t have any day or night cycle, only constant gray sky filled with mist, let’s just assumed that it was a whole day then.

Although, how am I supposed to tell her that it was a full day? There is no way to gesture that using only my tied up hands and words that make no sense, the only way that I can fulfill her question is if I write it down, might as well try to request for restraint removal, if it worked great, if it doesn’t nothing is lose anyway. I shake my hand behind my back and stare at the restraint then back at her and her pen, she got up and walk over to the commander to say something, which once again devolve into screaming… sometimes I wish politics in real life is like this.

While the screaming contest is going on, another bird flew into the room, albeit it was much slower and with more grace, compared to the other bird lady, this one is younger and wore a… purple school uniform? At this rate the room is going to be a fashion show soon.

Finally, the commander decided to quit the contest and acknowledge the newcomer, while the bird lady keep pestering her about something. Out of patience, the commander yell an order to the guards, they approach me and take off the restraint, man it felt good to move my hand normally again. While you are massaging your hand, a conversation pick up in the middle of the room, while the bird is still her cheerful self, the commander have taken a more calm approach, if only because to talk to the young newcomer, she herself reply with utmost respect to the others, but occasionally I can see her cast a glare to her fellow comrade, all while the guards just stand around with tired expressions on their face.

When the conversation die down, the bird lady come back to me and gave me her pen and notepad, I wrote next to the clock symbol ‘24h’, hopefully she used the 24 hours clock instead of the 12 hours clock. Finally, she drawn a ‘+’ and a question mark right next to the stickman, how many people come with me? While I did came to Japan with my friends, none of them also die and join me in the afterlife, or at least I hope not. I shake my head and cross everything she just drawn and drew a circle around the stickman, further emphasizing the fact that only 1 person came here, and that is me.

When everything is done, she tip her cap and flew away as fast as when she came, leaving behind dust, mystery and feathers. I suppose that the word slow isn’t in her vocabulary, but sometime you need to-

*Achooo* these dust are irritating!

“Bless you” said a voice

“Thanks” I replied back… wait, who said that?

The young school girl walk toward me and offer her hand, I accepted it and was gently helped up, this is quite an unexpected turn of events, but a nice one nonetheless.

“You know, most people in Gensoyko would’ve probably ignored Aya, much less indulged in her antics” She said in a tone that express amusement.

“To be fair, I was held at sword point, and I thought she was their interrogator” I replied while pointing at the guards

“Interrogator, heh, no she isn’t, just a journalist”

“Wait, so that wasn’t standard protocol?” I had my doubt about that before, but let’s confirm it.

“Nope, she just came here because there are stories to be written, and apparently she got one, was hoping that you both can’t understand each other, but somehow she got her scoop”

“First of all, she didn’t get much information out of me, just some basic stuff like how long I have been here and how many came with me, secondly what do you folks usually do with outsiders?” Hopefully I was just been over paranoid.

“Well, although she didn’t get much out of you, it is still information, she can just filled it with her own opinions and blatant lies anyway. “Pure and honest Shameimaru” my ass. Oh, and usually we bring in outsiders to ground them up and turn into sake”.

“Really?” Hopefully that was a joke, people here are different compared to humans, well the ‘normal’ humans anyway.

“Yes” She suddenly turn very serious and stare at me… for a few seconds until she lose it and let out a laugh

“No, no we don’t do that, we just sent them to the Harukei Shrine where they can choose if they wanted to stay or leave”

“Wait, if I was supposed to be sent there, why am I still here?”

“Well, right now it is nighttime and the shrine maiden get very cranky if anybody interrupted her break time so we can’t send you there at the moment, in response the Tengu elder are handling your temporary sleeping accommodations for tonight, although it won’t be comfortable, and there is no guaranteed that your personal effects will remained where they are”

“So do you have any suggestion then?” this is the part where she will offer a better alternative for either a favor or some price.

“Weelll my house does have some spare room that you can use, and you can enjoy a nice warm bath and good food, all for a low price of giving me an exclusive interview about where you came from and your past, don’t worry I won’t invade your personal issues, just enough for an article”.

“Wait, won’t the elders object this?”
“Nah, they will just be glad that the problems is off their shoulders anyway”

Hmm, so all i need to do is giver her an interview and i can enjoy a proper night indoor? Sound a bit too good, but right now there aren't many options anyway

Should i trust her?
[x] Yes
[x] No
[x] No, would be my first response. trust doesn't suddenly come out of nowhere buuuut.

[x] Do accept her offer

It's not like you can go anywhere better at the moment and I doubt any scythe dudes will try to barge into the mountain, sneak their way into the chimney and then assasinate you the moment you close your eyes.

Tldr: Don't trust her 100% but do accept her offer, try to get her name too and keep the cooperative act up.
[x] Do accept her offer
[x] Yes

She's the one person who we can have a conversation with and has been helpful thus far. We're going to have to trust someone eventually so it might as well be the person who's actually been helpful.
File 162645321528.jpg - (8.95KB, 177x285, Hatate.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] Do accept her offer

After dealing with everyone being hostile or at least indifferent toward me, it felt weird that somebody is actually showing hospitality, but it all seem too good to be true, for all I know this is a ploy to kidnapped me or something worse. Let’s see how bad where I was supposed to stay at, then make a decision later.

“Hey, umm… can you take me to the place where the elders provided me?”

“Really? After all I told you about how bad that place was, you still want to go there?”

“Not quite, I just want to see it with my own eyes to know how bad it really is, I still want to have faith in your elders to handle this well” Damn, that sound cheesy.

“Faith, huh? Yeah, we don’t have much faith around here for neither gods, religions nor our elders, only for the man, the myth, the legend: Lord Tenma!” She raise her hand dramatically and talk like a sportscaster introducing a star player when they enter the field. “But yeah, if you want I can take you there, just be ready for the ultimate letdown.”

“Meh, I used to live in horrible places anyway, so my standard is very low.”

*sigh* “Fine, give me a moment” She then walk up to the commander to discuss something, while that is happening you take the time to look outside the windows to see the village. The sun have already went down, but the street is still kept lit with lanterns and as busy as ever. There are the normal dogs patrol, but there are also the ones who are on leave, most of them are either in the arena fighting with wooden weapons or playing some kind of board game in teahouses, very few are seen bartering for goods or spend time with their families, no cross-species romance though, maybe that is a good thing for my eyes… I wonder how my own family is doing…

The place that you caught your attention the most, however is the giant tree in the middle of village, it is like a separate airborne village with their own treehouse designs. Occasionally there are birds, both actual birds and humanoid fly in and out of the treehouses. Unlike their canine counterparts, the birds don’t spend much time on the ground, if they do it is only to buy supplies and then immediately went up again, what is happening in there, I wonder?

“So, nice view huh?” She is back.

“Yeah, you people sure know how to build a beautiful village” The view almost make it worth it for being dragged here.

“You ready to leave and see you new sleeping quarter yet? Or would you prefer to be left here a little bit longer?"

“Can I bring the window with me?”

“Nope, let’s go.”

She gesture me to follow her, so I did. The corridor that I am walking through have a different feeling that is emitting from the concrete itself. Unlike the lively village, the walls are bare and simple, there are only paintings of a giant long nose old man who stare directly back and slogans written in Japanese, it doesn’t help that there are only 2 people walking around here, so I can hear my own foot sound echoing throughout the hallway. With these many rooms, how come there is nobody here!? So we just keep walking and walking, with the only known presence is the school girl and the clacking of our footsteps. Naturally, when there are nothing our mind would just wander off… We are begging you, please don’t…

“So, what do you birds usually do?” Nope, no, definitely not, the silence is way too oppressive now, I need to break it with something fast.

“Wait, birds? What do you think we are?” she replied back with an annoyed tone, uh oh.

“No, it is just that I see you guys have wings and dog ears and stuff like that, so I thought you guys are dogs and birds”

“You really see us like that?”

“Well I mean…yeah, sorry for thinking like that”

“Apologies accepted, and for your information, we are the Tengu, or more specifically my species is the Crow Tengu, while the ‘dogs’ are White Wolf Tengu, you never seen picture of our species in the outside world?” That is an actual question?

“No, we don’t depict Tengu being humanoid in our world, or if we did they usually have long-nose and red skin, kinda like the pictures you hang around here” You point to one of the picture, it is still very creepy.

“Oh, lord Tenma? Yeah I admit he is not the best looking in human eyes, but trust me, that is tradition, thousands of years ago we look just like him, only smaller. Over time natural evolution happened, making us more human-like to adapt with the changes in technologies and society, only a few like him have that appearance, they are some of the oldest and most knowledgeable people around here, granted some of their decisions are… not favorable, to say the least.”

“So there are a lot of people like him? So how come there are only picture of one person?”

“There used to be a lot more tengu village, but with the formation of the Gensokyo around 500 years ago, we are separated and lost contact with all of them, leaving this the last one Tengu village in the border. We haven’t heard anything from them since then, but judging from what you said, the other villages doesn’t seem to fare that well out there.”

“Hey, were you born during the time that the border was erected?”

“No, they are just stories that my parents told me, but trust me, they are very real.”

“So how old are you then?”

She suddenly stop, turn around to me, mouth gaping and slowly facepalm, what did I do wrong?

“Were you raise in a barn or something? It is common sense that you never asked a women age, much less when you don’t even know her name” Wait, since when are you not allowed to ask a women’s age?

“Okay, so how about this, what is your name miss Crow Tengu”

“See, that is much better now, you are finally learning the basic on how to introduce yourself to the local!” She said in a sarcastic tone and a horrible attempt at doing a poker face

“Anyway, name’s Hatate Himekaidou, pleased to be your acquaintance. “She extended her hand to me, I grab it and give a firm shake

“Pleased to be your acquaintance too, Miss Hatate” hopefully this is enough to fix all the mistake I made earlier
“Well, I think we have being standing around here long enough, shall we continue our journey?”

You give a nod and continue walking through the hallway, eventually reaching a door. Finally! You were about to open it, but was stopped by Hatate

“Hang on there, buddy. Before we leave there is something we need to prepare, my friend should be here any moment now”

“I have already been here for the last 10 minutes now” A wolf tengu walk out from a nearby room. Hey, she was the squad leader from earlier!

“Ah, Momiji, sorry for letting you wait long, did you get the mask?”

“Of course, here you go” The Wolf Tengu handed her a mask

“Alright, thanks! Good luck in the Shogi tournament!”

“There are only skills involved, not luck, but your blessing is welcome nonetheless” She said that then walk off in the opposite directions, giving Hatate, which was given back

"So what is up with the mask?" I asked her

“As you may know, your presence is not planned, so you are still technically an intruder here, we need a way to mark you as a guest, so here, try it on”

You put on the mask and look around, despite the small eyeholes, it is surprisingly non-restrictive and comfortable, except for the stupidly long nose, of course.

You continue to walk forward with Hatate, there are occasional look or comment from people around, but most just ignore you and walk on, a much better improvement compared to what happened last time. This time when I am up close with the tengu, with the exception of the ears and tail, these people act just like how people from the countryside act. This is even truer for the stall owners, they look just like human with no distinct difference, no ears, tails or wings. Their nose are slightly longer, but it is hardly ‘non-human”. Eventually, both of you reach a watchtower near the corner of the wall, on the bottom floor there is a futon with some basic racks around it

“So, like what you see?” Hatate asked me

On one hand, this set up isn’t exactly bad, you slept through worse

On the other hand, WHAT.THE.FUCK? This place wasn’t even meant to be used for sleeping, they don’t even try to make it look like an attempt was made!

“It is… acceptable, say can I see through your house for me to make a final decision?”

“See, I told you so, finally decided to accept the deal huh?”

“Not quite, I just want to expand my options to see which is more beneficial”
She give me a smirk then just walk away, I instinctively followed her.

We walk for a little while longer until Hatate stop right in the track and walk into a house, her I assume.

“Welcome to my little kingdom, we provided bath and food for a low price of information, not to mention there is an actual bedroom here.”

You take off your shoes and look around, it is a simple but nice wooden house, there are 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and a kitchen. If you close your eyes and just sit down for a moment, you felt like this is where your home is, where you have being living for the last 2 years, where you are trying to go back. But right now there is no time to reminisce the past, it is time to make a decisions.

“So what kind of information do you want, Hatate? If it is anything personal, I am out"

“Like I said, I just want to know about where you came from, their government, your job and how the youkais are doing out there.”

Most of them would likely be easy questions to answer, it would seem, if that is what she is actually going to asked. *sigh* Maybe I need to place some more trust in her, if I can avoid sleeping in that room and everybody is benefited from this, then so be it.

“Alright, let’s start this interview then”
Immediately, she grabbed her pen and notepad from her bedroom and urge me to the table, I sit down with my back against a wall, everything in view and the door within arm’s reach, so if anything goes wrong or look like they are about to, I can leave the area immediately. I take off my tengu mask and look at Hatate, let the interview begin.

“How long have you been here?”
“Around a day or so”

“How did you get here?”

“I was sightseeing with my friends in Japan, we got drunk and stumble around, when I woke up again, I just appeared here” Let’s leave the fact that I die and ran away from death, she doesn’t need to know that.

“Where are you from?”

“American, the land of freedom” You said the latter words in a sarcastic tone, land of freedom where we are free to be idiots, that is what.

“What form of government do you guys have?”

“Democracy, we vote our leaders into officer, shame there are usually only 2 options though”

“Can you explained it a bit more clearly on how your government work?”

You spent the next 20 minutes explain to her how things like Parties, voting, taxes and how different laws from different states work. When that is over, I asked her my own question

“So why are you interested in our government so much? Most people just asked a foreigner about their personal life or where they came from, not the whole country and its flaws, ya know”

*chuckle* “Yeah, I have to admit these are some odd questions, it is just that I want to know how your government work, then compared it with our own to see if it is better or not. Say, can I asked you 1 more question?”

“Sure, I guess. But please keep it reasonable please”

“Are you happy with where you live?” That is an obvious question

“Of course I do, it may be a little bit flawed, but it is still home and I still got my family and friends out there.”

“Okay, so what exactly is your role in society?”

“What?” Why is she suddenly interest in my job?

“You seem to be living in America quite well, not rich per se, but still content with your life, so can I ask, what is your contribution to society, how did it repay you back?”

Sure, I am a bank robber who stole money and spent it for my own benefit while giving some other people PTSD about it, that is NOT something I will be talking about, maybe something that closely resemble what I do?

What is your cover job?

[x] Soldier: +++ Ranged combat, ++ Reaction, ++ Perception
[x] Martial artist: +++ CQC, ++ Reaction. + +Athleticism
[x] Handy man: +++ Crafting ability, +++ Perception, + Athleticism
[x] Driver: +++ Driving skills, ++ Crafting ability, ++ Reaction
[x] Freelancer: + everything
Sorry, I forgot about 1 more choice
[x] Manager: +++Social skill, ++ Perception, +Reaction, + Driving skills
[x] Freelancer: + everything

Cause I like red mages and don't know too much about the protag at the moment.

Being able to do a little bit of everything is essential when you're stuck in any village in Gensokyo since that means you can do any job reasonably well.
[x] Manager: +++Social skill, ++ Perception, +Reaction, + Driving skills

Networking is always important when building a team of heisters.
This story shows promise.
[x] Manager: +++Social skill, ++ Perception, +Reaction, + Driving skills
Fine, guess I'll change my vote to [x] Manager too
And i thought charisma is a dump stat
Anon likes being able to talk good, it's an cycle that cannot be broken
File 162749204161.jpg - (10.48KB, 217x232, Entry.jpg) [iqdb]
Next time I will have an ambassador MC for them social skills

[x] Manager: +++ Social skills, ++Perception, +Reaction, +Driving skills

I suppose a Manager would have similar skill sets to my own: Planning, emotion understanding, persuasion, intimidation, adept hand-on capability. It could work, though what kind? Upper management is immediately out of the equation, I don’t even know enough about specific management terms nor any business theories. Middle-management I could bullshit my way through, but judging from Hatate’s sentiment from earlier, she doesn’t seem to have much respect or trust for that role, and being associate to it will subconsciously give her a reason for disliking me. Low-management role would possibly be my best choice here, she seem to be on friendly terms with the squad commander from earlier, and it is much easier to sympathize with others if the ranks difference are small.

“Hey, are you still there?” She wave her hand in front of my face

“Huh? Oh yeah, sorry, just thinking of memorable experiences for your topic” I clear my throat and give her a calm smile “I am a Team manager for an insurance firm called ‘ 2nd chance’, our job is to persuade other people that their life need a safety net, and we can provide that safety if they pay us money. So it is a win-win situation, we earn our pay, they have their safety guaranteed. The company itself pay me well enough, plenty of chances for promotion and raises but I refuse because of my teammates, I want to stay with them as they are like family to me. Except for my boss, she is a nitpicky asshole”

“Both of us are the same then, bosses who have too much time to waste… so how are the youkais doing in the outside world? They don’t seem to be well off nowadays.”

“I don’t really know, they haven’t been seen for hundreds of years, any paranormal activities can be solve with science, and if there are any actual mystery, we would just dismiss it and move on except for id- experts who tried to prove that people like you exist, so far none of them succeed.”

“…”This must hit hard for her…

“On the bright side, however. The concept is pretty popular in media, there are plenty of movie and video games about it so you guys aren’t forgotten yet! And Earth is a large space anyway, I am sure there are still some youkai holdouts out there.” You quickly add something to salvage the mood.

“I sure hope so…” …

“So is that enough for your article?”

“Yeah, that is all, thank you for the interview.”

“So are you going to send this over to someone else or are you free for the rest of the evening?”

“Meh, it is late anyway, I can just finish this tomorrow morning. You are hungry already?”

“What? No! I just ask because this is interesting, I always love to see how reporters work behind the scene and if it is possible to contribute to their story or not” But yes, I do felt a bit hungry

“That flattery is cliché and obvious, you know.” Despite saying that, she still seem happy, that must have stroke her ego

“Alright, give me a moment to prepare for dinner, you should take a bath in the meanwhile”

You give her a nod and walk toward the bathroom. After entering, you take off your clothes and try to see and smell how dirty it is, it was weird how after a whole day of wandering around, your clothes apart from having dust stuck on some part of it, they are still clean. Well at least there are no need for clothes change yet.
While waiting for the tub to be filled, you rinse your body with warm water, then a thought creep in. If I got out of Gensokyo, what will happen next? I don’t have any money or passport, so even if I leave the magic land border here, I am still stuck in Japan. Hmm… this complicate things, I need to figure out what to do… When the tub is finally full, you step in and enjoy yourself.

Ahhhhhh………. This is heaven…..

You sit in silence for a moment, there are ideas filled in your head, both good and bad, after some filtering, you had a solid plan… probably

>Be me
>Die to a jug
>Revive in Gensokyo
>Leave Gensokyo
>Still stuck in Japan
>Find shelter to live
>Earn money
>Contact friends for help
>Reach US Embassy
>Leave Japan, Reach America
>Life is good

When you are finished, you dry yourself and put on your clothes… only that they are gone, instead replaced by a bundle of clothes consist of full body underwear, a robe and a sash. Is this a yukata? After a lot of trial and errors, you finally manage to put it on properly, it only took 20 minutes!

Stepping out of the bathroom feeling refreshed and back into the living room, you are greeted with a table filled with food, 2 serving of soba noodles, each complimented with a bowl of miso soup and some tea. Yum!

“Took you long enough”

“Sorry, was dressing up to impress the homeowner” Half the truth that statement was.

“And yet you still do it wrong anyway” Hey!

“What do you mean? I wear this like every other normal people wear.”

“First of all, Kimono are always wrapped from the left side over to the right, not the opposite, secondly the bow of the obi is supposed go at the back, not front. Finally, your shoulder are all exposed, so no offense but I think you look like a male prostitute.”

“Your comment is noted, but it is a bit too late to change that.” That was embarrassing and uncalled for…

Sitting down once again, both of you dig in and eat in silence. When that is done, you headed to the guest room to finally put an end to the day, or at least tried to. Although your body is exhausted, your mind is still on alert, but from what? Looking out the windows, there aren’t anything interesting out there but the occasional patrol squad, so no Shinigami will be coming for me anytime soon. Closing the curtain, you unfold the futon in the corner then lie down, there isn’t anything much in the room, but it still felt uneasy for some reason, not helping with the fact that you are sleeping in a stranger home. Getting up once again, you put your ear against the wall adjacent to Hatate’s room, the only sound that can be heard is soft snoring. Finally, you check the door’s lock, it is still there and will likely hold against any attempt to break in soon.

When all of that is done, you get back in to the futon once again, feeling more secured.

“At this rate, the paranoia would kill me before any scythe wielding figure would…” You mumble tiredly to yourself, I really wanted to put my trust in other people and feel safe, but being paranoid is just second nature now.
File 162749257473.jpg - (8.88KB, 262x192, Dawn.jpg) [iqdb]
*Chirp chirp*


*Chirp chirp chirp*



“Alright, I get it!” I angrily yank the curtain open, which scare the bird away. Can’t I enjoy a good dream without getting interrupted? I haven’t even save the 3rd doctor yet.

*sigh* It was tempting to get back into the futon, but the earlier I get ready, the earlier I can leave this place, so into the bathroom I went. You clean yourself up and finally wear the Kimono the ‘right’ way. Now I know that I have to change back to my regular clothes soon, but being called a prostitute was just too bad of an insult to be ignore, and I would rather not being labeled as that.

Back to the living room again I go. And when I said living, they are supposed to be lively and filled with activities, but instead you are met with utter silence. Hatate is still sleeping soundly in her room, the merchant is just setting up their stall and even less tengu patrol than before. I should’ve slept in a bit more…

Out of boredom, you just go back into the bathroom and the closet, grabbing a broom, mop, bucket and some rags to start cleaning around the house, too bad there are no bleach or window cleaner, that would make things easier. After wiping every surface possible around the house, the street have gotten a bit busier with the early morning bartering, no sign of Hatate waking up though. What the hell am I supposed to do now? Walking out alone seem like a bad idea, and waking her up directly is just rude… All because of those damn birds

*Ding dong*

“到来!” Hatate’s voice come from inside her room, have she been awake the whole time?

She rush to the door to meet the guest, which was the Squad leader from earlier…again, what is she doing here? I could hear some Japanese and saw her gave Hatate a package, then leave.

“Hatate, quick question, how long have you been awake?” You asked

“Oh, since an hour or so, but just a bit too lazy to get up” Fantastic, that was a huge waste of my time

“So what is with that package?”

“Oh” She unwrapped the package to reveal some sushi balls inside of it “Our breakfast, Onigiri, here have some.” She then hand me some of them, I took it and take a bite. Yum!

“By the way, where did you put my original clothes? I haven’t seen it anywhere”

“Ah, I hang it on the roof, after we finished our breakfast I can grabbed it for you” The roof is slanted, how on earth could she… oh right, wings, stupid of me to apply human standard.

“So how is your article doing?” You idly ask her while eating

“Making pretty good progress” I am pretty sure that translate to I haven’t done anything yet

“Whatever happened next, I wish you good luck for this and whatever you will be doing next in your career”

“Thanks, and I hope you will be able tolive out there peacefully” She gave me a nice warm smile, which ease my worries a little bit, still can’t avoid what will come after I leave though.

After both of you finish the meal, Hatate give back your clothes, which you put on immediately.

“So are we flying or walking there?” If she can give me a lift then it would be great.

“Flying, of course. Now let’s Hrrgghh go” She said as I am picked up and carried like a princess… you close your eyes to avoid being stared at by other people, I was hoping to be pulled by the arm, not this!

“Man, you are pretty light, now hang on tight.“ You comply

The takeoff was pretty quick, unlike regular airplane which take time to accelerate, she just instantly get in the air traffic. When it was sure that I left the village, I open my eyes again, it is pretty cold up here, not even my coat can block all the winds. Looking around, you can see Gensokyo in whole, for all it’s weird magic stuff, it look fairly mundane from a bird’s eye view.

“Seeing anything interesting down there” She loudly ask to compensate for the winds

“Not really” I shouted back

“If you want you could hire somebody to be your guide here if you ever change your mind about staying here”

“I will think about it” That mean not gonna happen

When you are near the lake, there are constant fireworks over there, or at least at first glance it look like that, when in reality it was an aerial fight between a flying little blue kids against a witch. Star, icicle, explosions everywhere, and yet Hatate doesn’t even bat an eye, seem like this is a normal incurrence here … Yeah I would like to go back to the normal world soon, please.

Finally landing in a shrine, you jump off her embracing arms immediately to avoid any further humiliation, this run down shrine is my way out?

“Hey, are you sure this is the right one? It look abandoned”

“There is only 1 shrine in Gensokyo anyway, so this is the correct one by default, she is probably just being lazy in there, don’t tell me I said that though”

Both of you enter the building, calling out to a person name ‘Reimu’, to no avail, well this is bloody great. When suddenly there are mumbling and the sound of footstep coming out of the storage room in the back, finally!

Stepping out is a little kid with a giant pair of horn and holding some kind of jar, occasionally drink from it and stumble toward both of you

“Umm miss Reimu?”

You walk forward to try to talk to her, only to be held back by Hatate

“That is an oni, not Reimu, their kind are very dangerous, so whatever you do next, don’t underestimate her.” She look and act just like any normal 9 year olds so that is a bit hard to believe, but then again I did spent time with the Tengu and saw some magical fight bullshit on the way here, so what is reality anymore? At a closer look however you can see that her hand are rough and while subtle, you notice the muscle bulging in every movement of her arms. So even if she isn’t some paranormal creature, this prove that she is a capable fighter, so I need to tread the ground carefully here.

She tried to say something, but between being in Japanese and the drunken stupor, you can understand her even worse compared to previous encounter, as there aren’t even any proper body language. Hatate also tried to talk with her, but the little girl just shrug nonchalantly and told some kind of story… I think

Both of you are tired of this antics and while Hatate sit down in defeat, you gave a face palm. Seeing this, the demon girl go back into the storage room, pull out a dish and pour some sake into it and gave it to you. You look over to Hatate for additional assistance, but she have already fled back to the trees… shit.

Now, it is still too early in the day to be drunk, but this could help her to open up more to me, and plus alcohol is a great way to close the language bridge. However, Hatate is blending into the trees like the Vietcong, and you have never seen her this afraid before, so this could be bad… very very bad…

[x] Drink with her
[x] Go to the trees too

Sorry for my late update, life decided to give a rollcall
[x] Drink with her

If you are dead you cant get drunk
Thats how you beat the oni
[x] Drink with her
"And then I'll rob yer bank's bank and I'm the grass man, punk yeah heaven's heathen..."
[x] Sniff the sake first, and taste it
[x] IF it's somehow way too much for you then politly refuse.

A drunk man is a man with loose lips, don't wanna say something you shouldn't right next to an reporter
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