[Return]  [Bottom[Last Update]
Posting mode: Reply
(Reply to 204425)
  • First time posting? Check out our site rules and FAQ.
  • Supported file types are: AVIF, GIF, JPG, PNG, WEBM, WEBP.
  • Maximum file size allowed is 4096 KB.
  • Images greater than 200x200 pixels will be thumbnailed.
  • View catalog
Show or hide post box

Watch Thread
Hide Thread
Expand All Images
Image Source
Delete Image
Delete Post
Report Post
File 16856282168.png - (517.92KB, 526x600, GoMIllus-Satori.png)
[-] Back at the Scarlet Devil Mansion

You hadn't expected this. You knew this was a stressful time for Satori, and making her dig through your worst memories can't have helped, but you thought she'd be able to handle it. She'd... she'd always been strong. Always. And now she wasn't and the only thing you could do was hold her. Hold her and make promises you couldn't keep, because you didn't control any of this. Maybe if you'd gone to Eirin first instead of talking to Tewi? Or if you hadn't knocked away Marisa's hakkero, or if you just hadn't gotten injured like an idiot in the first place! You bit your lip hard enough to draw blood, wincing. Your feelings of guilt, justified or not, weren't important right now. Not in the face of this.

Satori continued to sob, tightening her grip around your waist as she buried her head in your shoulder. You held her close, resting your head atop hers while she cried. You'd been thinking of this situation as life and death for you and Sumi, but somehow it hadn't sunk in that it was just as important for others as well. Satori's sister wasn't dead, but in some ways Koishi's predicament was the next worst thing. Or perhaps even harder to deal with. At least with her mind reading sealed, she wasn't feeling your uncertainty and anxiety.

Damn it, you wish Sumi was here. She wasn't the most sympathetic person ever, but she'd listened when you'd needed her to, and more importantly, she'd point out the way forwards. Being able to do something helped. But what could you do? What could you even say? You were still kidnapped, without leverage, without secrets, and under the metaphorical axe. Freedom seemed like a pipe dream, let alone finishing the original goal you'd made no progress towards. So in lieu of actual strength, the best you could do was pretend to be strong for her.

"Deep breaths, Satori," you murmured, brushing a lock of hair past her ear. "Come on, with me."

Your chest was tight, but you inhaled as slowly and deeply as you could before exhaling in the same manner. It took a few tries, but Satori's crying turned to hitching sobs as she gradually matched your rhythm, her chest rising and falling in time with yours.

"Enough!" Patchouli said. "None of us have time for-"

"Time for what, recovering from the breakdown you gave her?" you snarled. "Does she look like she's in any shape to do anything right now?"

She shook her head. "A few tears does nothing to change the situation at hand."

"You mean the situation where you've kidnapped her, threatened her life, had her fight a vampire, and mentally blinded her in the same way her sister traumatically maimed herself? While simultaneously blocking her from a chance to actually fix her loved one? Can you really not see why she's upset? Are you that far from human?"

The magician recoiled at that, and you carried on. "Not to mention, she never had anything to do with the urban legend incident! The occult balls were all me and Sumireko, before we'd even met her. Satori's only involvement was making the mistake of asking me for help! Haven't you done enough!? She's done nothing to you!"

In the ensuing silence, you realized what you just did. You'd yelled at one of the people who'd kidnapped you and threatened your life. It was a possibly lethal mistake, but there was no taking those words back now.

And yet, the reprisal didn't come. Patchouli was the one who'd recoiled, Sakuya hadn't stopped things, and it couldn't have been from any fear of you. They weren't even looking at you.

Oh. Of course. Nobody thought of themselves as the villain of the story, and that meant internally justifying whatever misdeeds you did. Their justification obviously stemmed from what the urban legends had done to Remilia, as a combination of necessity and you deserving it. But Satori's distress, combined with you pointing out their cruelties and that she didn't deserve any of it, had shamed them, at least a little. This could actually be an opening.

But that wouldn't last long. Hardening your heart again was easy enough, it just took a little time to distract your conscience, and everyone would be back to business as usual. Plus, Satori had lashed out at them just now; they wouldn't be that sympathetic once the initial shame wore off. Come on, think. Manipulating people was what you were good for, there had to be something!

Then it hit you. You needed something that seemed urgent, that they couldn't ignore. That meant Satori's distress, you just needed to... prompt it. She was covered in cuts, and your arms were still around her. Feeling sick, you moved your hand ever so slightly, over one of the larger wounds, and squeezed.

The sudden pain makes Satori cry out. You pull a little harder, and it's enough to unbalance her. Her knees buckle and she collapses into you.

"Satori!" You yell. You shift your grip to properly support her and your hand comes away, slick with blood. You don't have to fake a tremor in your voice. "J-just hold on, we'll get you medical care, okay?"

"Sakuya! She's hurt! From the fight in the mansion. She needs medical attention! Even if you don't care - please! She can't help you like this!"

The combination of guilt and practicality did what you'd hoped, and the maid was at your side in an instant. In the span of an eyeblink, there was a bedsheet spread out across the grass, and a first aid kit opened up.

"Lay her down here," Sakuya said, "I'll take a look."

"You know first aid?"

"A maid must be ready to serve in any capacity."

Satori looks like she's about to say something, but you lay her down as you were told, putting a finger to her lips. "Shh. Just rest, it'll be okay. I'll figure something out."

She looks at you, tears still in her eyes, and nods. Does she even realize you'd caused her pain? You turn away, looking down at the blood on your hand. It was a cut, some blood was expected. Even if Sakuya had denied her medical care, it wasn't dangerous, and you needed to paint Satori as an innocent victim here. Both of you need any edge you can get.

None of that prevents this from feeling wrong... or being wrong. But if you wasted this chance, it would make her pain meaningless. So as Sakuya starts tending to Satori, you plot your next move. What edge could you push for?

[-] You're pretty sure the binding has something to do with Satori's breakdown, beyond just the obvious. How does the binding on Satori work?
[-] The real threat here is Flandre. What's her deal?
[-] Write-in?
Delete Post
Report Post
And we're back! Sorry for the delay, (or at least the lack of communication about said delay), I got stuck writing the update and ended up taking a break anyway.

Anyway, a few replies to the end of last thread...

The reason Kanako didn't show up to do anything is that Kanako's simply not at the shrine right this second. Where has yet to be determined (and may depend on reader choices), but she's probably checking on her nuclear reactor, given the Ran interlude from way back in thread 1.

They say restrictions breed creativity. I really like good write-ins, because they let the characters be more clever and imaginative than I can be on my own. Cat Koishi might be the funniest update of the entire story, and I would never have come up with that myself.

But yeah, thanks to you, as well as everyone else who's been enjoying the story so far. It's been a wild ride, but we're not done just yet!

Regarding the Q. Nira thing, there was an anon who absolutely nailed it, and that was >>203538. The small Japanese/English ploy of replacing Q with "Kyu" and it then being an anagram for Yukarin was my intention. (Another anon made the point that the proper Japanese for it is apparently "Kyuu", but oh well. My actual knowledge of the language is minimal. :P)

As for the larger point of youkai being more friendly/less dangerous than I'd thought... well, I can sort of see it. I'm not entirely sure if Kosuzu should count (there's a bit of named character connection there), but the Lotus Eater examples seem valid. I could definitely see it being something that changes as Gensokyo grows, though I do wonder how fear of youkai will continue if they become less of a real threat.

Regardless, it's unlikely to have much of an impact in USiL either way (what with the focus being on all those powerful named characters anyway), but I appreciate the perspective.
Delete Post
Report Post
>Feeling sick, you moved your hand ever so slightly, over one of the larger wounds, and squeezed.

Reading through, it feels you progressively developed Greg from a Stand-in for the anon choices to a character that acts his own (No wonder, with the flashback-by-mindreading you did and all). This sentence cemented that to me.

Knowledge on the workings of the captor's magic for the purpose of subverting it during a pivotal moment, such as during a daring rescue?

Or going with the charisma-route and asking Sakuya what her reasons are for doing what she did? Ehhh~

[x] You're pretty sure the binding has something to do with Satori's breakdown, beyond just the obvious. How does the binding on Satori work?
Going with what seems practical.
Delete Post
Report Post
[x] The real threat here is Flandre. What's her deal?
The slip the bindings -> Patchy finds us -> Flandre instakill pipeline
Delete Post
Report Post
I've done some review on Greg and Satori's current predicament to make sure all my facts are fresh.

Can't think of any particular Write-Ins, so I'm going with...

[X] You're pretty sure the binding has something to do with Satori's breakdown, beyond just the obvious. How does the binding on Satori work?

Of the two options, it seems more immediately relevant. Info on how Flandre thinks is useful long term, but right now we have to be routing our choices with the question "how do I survive the next major problem?"

Plotting long-term is good for us down the line, but better odds now means a better foundation for the future.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] You're pretty sure the binding has something to do with Satori's breakdown, beyond just the obvious. How does the binding on Satori work?

This does seem to be the best option, also I doubt Greg is going to undo the binding anyway, just rake a look at it(hopefully)
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] You're pretty sure the binding has something to do with Satori's breakdown, beyond just the obvious. How does the binding on Satori work?
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] You're pretty sure the binding has something to do with Satori's breakdown, beyond just the obvious. How does the binding on Satori work?
Delete Post
Report Post
I'm working on the update, but this one's proving troublesome. Hoping to get it out sooner rather than later, but it's more likely it'll happen some time this weekend.
Delete Post
Report Post
Image Source
Delete Image
Delete Post
Report Post
File 168689708225.png - (73.85KB, 512x256, Th11Satori.png)
[-] You're pretty sure the binding has something to do with Satori's breakdown, beyond just the obvious. How does the binding on Satori work?

The trick to manipulating someone is subtlety. Granted, there are psychological tricks that work even if the target knows about them, and if you have enough leverage you can just batter someone into following whatever lead you want, but as a general rule of thumb, people hate feeling manipulated. If you ever get caught in the act, your past manipulation is all but undone, future manipulation is severely hindered, and your reputation is trashed to boot. A web of lies can easily entangle a person, but it can also be surprisingly fragile. There's a reason Maribel was able to crush you as easily as she did, back then.

Which made it all the more unfortunate that Patchouli seemed to have realized what you were doing.

"Come now. Flandre leaves, you give your pretty little speech about guilt, and then Satori collapses?" the magician glares at the two of you. "You do realize the timing's a little too convenient?"

"Convenient? Tell you what, why don't you give me your little day planner, and maybe her next collapse will fit into your schedule!"

It was a non sequitur. As an argument, it was logically bankrupt. But you'd already shown some anger, and angry people weren't always logical. That was the real message you were sending: That you were angry that she was calling Satori's collapse into question. You didn't need to prove her wrong, you just needed to act like she was a horrible person.

"That's not-"

"If you think Satori bleeding out is some kind of act we cooked up, do you think I'd have let her go on at length about how bloody useless you are?"

You can see that jab got to Patchouli, her clenched fists give it away, but her voice stays cold and clinical. "No. You weren't given time to plan beforehand, and Satori is overly reliant on her mind reading to act in any case. The logical conclusion is that you're exaggerating your reactions to win sympathy, and through that, concessions."

"Glad to know what you really think of me. Now, since we're agreed that Satori's innocent, why don't you her get her bleeding wounds treated?! Maybe you can even make yourself useful for once, and try examining the lead she found for you!"

"Miss Patchouli, please examine the book milady had kept hidden," Sakuya orders. "Any insight you can gleam could be critical."

Patchouli clearly understood the dismissal, but hesitated. "Are you certain? I'd have thought you'd opt to read it yourself."

"I have. But with what's at stake, I'd like your unbiased opinion on the book, as both a librarian and a mage."

"Fine. What about him?"

"I suspect he would rather stay. If Satori's state is a ploy, him leaving would undercut it. If not, then his worry is genuine. In either case, he's unlikely to try anything."

You have mixed feelings as the magician leaves. It's technically success, but Sakuya's answer was too measured, answering Patchouli's concerns even as she sided with you. She probably stopped time to better consider it, which means she won't be susceptible to more emotional ploys. You'll need a new tactic. Well, at the least Satori is actually getting care. Thankfully, Sakuya seems to be just as efficient and professional at medical treatment as anything else you've seen the maid do. The knives come out again, this time to cut away Satori's dress. After a pair of swift cuts, the maid starts peeling off blood-soaked pieces of fabric, and Satori (who had been largely unresponsive) gasps in pain, pulling away.

"Keep her still," Sakuya commands you. "If she's-"

"I get it," you force out, moving in to grab Satori's arm. "Satori, focus on me."

She clutches your arm with both hands. "Greg, it hurts."

"It's going to be alright. I-" Sakuya chose that moment to tear off the back half of the dress, and you wince as Satori's nails dig into your forearm.

"No! New pain, stabbing. Side. Like knives."

Sakuya grimaced. "Lay her down on her front! Gently!"

Satori's back is a mess. Most of her skin has been stained red, with a splash of lighter red across the center of her back, striped with streams of darker red as blood oozes down from her cuts. Freshly bleeding cuts. Your eyes turn to one in particular, with a shard of something sticking out of it.

You swallow, feeling the blood drain from your face. "Is... is that glass?"

"Milady must have knocked her through the wine cellar," Sakuya murmured, taking out a pair of tweezers. "If there's one shard, there's likely to be more."

So when you'd grabbed her, to make her collapse... You look down at the blood on your hands. Your voice is dull. "Was she just walking around with glass shards in her back? All this time?"

Sakuya pauses, glances at you. "Remember, she is a youkai. Wounds like this are less serious for her than they would be for you or I."

It's uncanny hearing the maid put you and her in the same category. Even more so to hear her talk in a gentle tone of voice, for her to be offering you comfort. But there's a hole in that logic. "How does the binding on her work?"

Sakuya shakes her head. "Surely you don't expect me to answer that."

"She collapsed after Patchouli turned the damn thing back on, and not long after at that! I know it seals her abilities as a youkai! Does that include a youkai's resilience?"

Sakuya doesn't answer immediately. You want to demand an answer, to shake her until the maid tells you just how badly Satori's hurt, whether demanding the binding be deactivated would help... except it wouldn't get you anywhere. You couldn't threaten Sakuya. You had no leverage on any of your captors. So you bit back your first three replies and resorted to asking nicely. "Is she going to be okay?"

"... you're either an incredible actor, or you are who you appear to be."


"She will recover from this, I can promise you that much." A corner of her mouth quirked upwards. "After all, she could hardly help my lady like this."

It would have to be enough. You sigh, looking down. "Is there a meaningful way I can help?"

"Remain quiet and keep Satori calm."

It was hard, just watching. Holding on to Satori's hand, and doing your best to soothe her as Sakuya treated her injuries. The process dragged on agonizingly, even more so when Satori succumbed to unconsciousness halfway through. Smaller cuts could be quickly bandaged, but there were a number of larger ones, and for each of those, the maid carefully pry it further open and probe the wound, being careful to find and loosen any shards of glass (or in a couple of cases, splinters), before removing them all in stopped time.

It was nerve-wracking, having no better option than to wait and trust someone who by all rights should be your enemy. Granted, neither her incentives nor her behavior so far (kidnapping aside) indicated she would actually hurt Satori, but even still...

You shake your head, watching as the maid finishes sowing up a particularly nasty cut. "This must be what it's like, isn't it? For you to need my help with Remilia."

Sakuya pauses, taking a moment to clean her tools. "I suppose I can see the similarities."

"It sucks, doesn't it?"

The maid lets out a quick exhale that wasn't quite a snort. "Indeed. But you have at least one advantage over me. Satori is not in real danger from these injuries."

"I don't know. Maybe not from this, but her long-term fate is uncertain at best." Yours too, though it's better not to mention it. "Flandre made that clear enough."

Sakuya falls silent, and you find yourself regretting those words. Sure, they were true, but it's unlikely you'll find as good a moment to talk to the maid again. But you can't just take them back. Even if you pretended to apologize, it would be too obviously insincere. Perhaps it would be best to ignore them and press on?

"Just before all this," the maid gestures at Satori, "was she telling the truth?"

You freeze. This had suddenly become dangerous ground. "About what in particular?"

"Would you have helped if we'd just asked?"

That's not where you thought this was going.

"It depends," slips out, and you wince. "The first priority would have been Koishi, and we'd also agreed to try to help with an urban legend for Alice, but I don't see why we couldn't have worked on all of those at once. Especially because there's been plenty of other people after us, and we could use all the help we can get. So, probably, though I'll admit you wouldn't have had my undivided attention."

"How different would have things been if we'd found you first?" Sakuya muttered, then sighed. "Does an apology mean anything if the person giving it doesn't change their actions?"

Was she suggesting what you thought she was? "You regret how things happened. But not enough to change anything."

Sakuya drew herself up. "Satori was right on at least one point. Before anything else, I am the maid of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. As such, my first priority must be my lady's wishes and well-being. With my actions this incident, I have wronged the two of you. I am not blind to that. But I will see Remilia healed, regardless of the cost."

"So the end justifies the means," you whisper.

"No. But it does make the means necessary. After what has already been done, I could hardly ensure your cooperation by any means except force. Given the chance, you would choose to escape, likely doing whatever damage you could on the way out. The servant of a vampire is no stranger to revenge."

"It would be easier to hate you, you know. Not a soul in Gensokyo would blame me, least of all Satori."

"So why don't you?"

You could say that it wouldn't help Satori. It would fit Sakuya's image of you, and claim a little more common ground via working towards Satori's benefit. But that wasn't why. While it would be foolish to act hostile now, you're a good enough actor to fake amiability. In the end, it was because you couldn't repeat the same mistakes that led to Maribel. And all of that had started with getting back at a few bullies. Of course, the scale here was dramatically different. But didn't that just make it more important?

"'Love your enemy, and pray for those who persecute you.'", you quoted. "One of the things my father taught me. I'm not good enough to live it, not really. But at the same time, if you pay evil unto evil, eventually you'll find someone who can pay you back with interest. I've already had that happen once."

Sakuya doesn't speak again until she's finished treating the rest of Satori's wounds. "Regarding the binding on Satori."

She had your full attention.

"While it's active, her flight and danmaku are discouraged in the same way your own magic is." So... zapping her if she tried to use them. "As her third eye is always active, it's instead redirected, so that she can't see anyone except herself. The binding does not affect her physically."

"Thank you."

She's about to respond, but it's Patchouli's voice that comes out, through your binding. "Sakuya! I've gotten word from Meiling!"

It takes you a moment to place the name. Right, she was the guard they'd sent to check for rumors in the human village.

"That was faster than I expected," Sakuya said. "What did she find?"

"Nothing! The village is gone!"

And in an instant, it's just you and Satori left.

[-] You need to know what's going on. Follow to Patchouli's tent and listen in.
[-] Anything important they'll tell you (or confront you with) later. However, Patchouli's bindings aren't foolproof, and you should have a few minutes with your captors distracted. Look for a way to weaken the binding on Satori.
Delete Post
Report Post
[x] You need to know what's going on. Follow to Patchouli's tent and listen in.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Anything important they'll tell you (or confront you with) later. However, Patchouli's bindings aren't foolproof, and you should have a few minutes with your captors distracted. Look for a way to weaken the binding on Satori.

That's probably important (Keine pulling a repeat performance, maybe?) but odds are they don't know much about the disappearance either, since Meiling presumably didn't spend too long at the village. Better to focus on Satori at the moment.
Delete Post
Report Post
Not gonna lie, I'm not entirely satisfied with either option.

Going to the tent would mean just leaving Satori lying there unconcious (but treated, sure). This would make Greg look a lot worse, especially to Sakuya, who has at least somewhat warmed to him.
Taking her with is also just a bad idea since moving her could aggravate her injuries; unless we find something like a stretcher, but then we'd still likely have to move her solo and it obviously wouldn't be stealthily listening in like the choice implies.
Even if I'm misreading the choice and it's just "join in", leaving Satori would not be right.

Staying put with Satori makes us look better and, yes, they probably will tell us anything truly pertinent, just not however much we might have found out otherwise.
Taking the time to research the binding would allow for opportunities later, but obviously we can't actively attempt any meddling right now as Patchouli would likely find out the moment we try anything.
Maybe we could just take the time to make Satori comfortable?
It'd have no real direct benefit to the plan beyond making Greg look nice; possibly granting him more leniency with Sakuya. She already said she wouldn't be swayed from her path as she's already coerced them; and while this is likely to stay the same, it doesn't mean she can't afford us more breathing room.
We can lightly examine the binding while we tend to Satori, but I'm very hesitant about doing any probing investigation.

So, yeah, I'm not entirely for either choice and my initial ideas for adjustments are mediocre at the very best.

Not voting yet. I need to stew on this; maybe others' thoughts will provide better ideas.
I suppose currently I'm leaning towards going to the tent if we can safely move Satori somehow; doing it without sneaking about means Greg could give his thoughts on the matter, however little input he might have.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Anything important they'll tell you (or confront you with) later. However, Patchouli's bindings aren't foolproof, and you should have a few minutes with your captors distracted. Look for a way to weaken the binding on Satori.
[X] If there's no way to weaken the binding without hurting Satori or alerting the others, simply study it instead and prioritize making her as comfortable as possible.

I think in the end, the best thing that can be done, is sticking with Satori. She's at her lowest point. Even if not much can be done to undo the bindings, leaving her while she's that vulnerable might send a very bad message for starters, to both Satori herself and the others. That said, I'm not sure about the binding in of itself. If it's possible to, well, loosen it a little, even if temporarily, only to reverse it when they return, might be worthwhile. Just studying it, without probing into it too much, might be a good thing to do in the long run. I don't think the information that they will probably tell Greg (albeit, on their own terms), is worth leaving Satori there for. Call me too soft if you'd like, but even pragmatically speaking, the best ally you can have is one of sound mind and sound body, and supporting her right now is the best way to get her back to that state as soon as possible.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Anything important they'll tell you (or confront you with) later. However, Patchouli's bindings aren't foolproof, and you should have a few minutes with your captors distracted. Look for a way to weaken the binding on Satori.
[X] If there's no way to weaken the binding without hurting Satori or alerting the others, simply study it instead and prioritize making her as comfortable as possible.
Delete Post
Report Post
>>204439 here

>>204440 makes a very good argument.

I was already of the opinion that Satori should be prioritised over all else and I realise now that trying to fish for info would just be putting her second.
Let's just make sure Satori is alright first and foremost. Then we can see what we can glance from the binding; without messing with it too much as that would invite too much heat.

[X] Anything important they'll tell you (or confront you with) later. However, Patchouli's bindings aren't foolproof, and you should have a few minutes with your captors distracted. Look for a way to weaken the binding on Satori.
[X] If there's no way to weaken the binding without hurting Satori or alerting the others, simply study it instead and prioritize making her as comfortable as possible.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Anything important they'll tell you (or confront you with) later. However, Patchouli's bindings aren't foolproof, and you should have a few minutes with your captors distracted. Look for a way to weaken the binding on Satori.
[X] If there's no way to weaken the binding without hurting Satori or alerting the others, simply study it instead and prioritize making her as comfortable as possible.
Image Source
Delete Image
Delete Post
Report Post
File 168732392388.jpg - (23.15KB, 169x169, GoMSigil-Satori.jpg)
[x] Anything important they'll tell you (or confront you with) later. However, Patchouli's bindings aren't foolproof, and you should have a few minutes with your captors distracted. Look for a way to weaken the binding on Satori.
[x] If there's no way to weaken the binding without hurting Satori or alerting the others, simply study it instead and prioritize making her as comfortable as possible.

It wasn't much of a choice, in the end. With Satori unconscious, alone, and half naked in the middle of the mansion grounds, you couldn't possibly leave her like this. Speaking of which, you'd better do something about her modesty first.

After a little internal debate, you decided it would be better to get her out of what's left of the dress. With the back half literally gone, it slid off easily. Thankfully her undergarments were intact, though you averted your eyes anyway. The only other fabric in the area (aside from your own hospital gown) was the bedsheet she was laying on, and while you lacked the ability to fashion it into any sort of clothing, you could at least fold it over to completely cover her. Jostling her as little as possible, you maneuvered her into a more comfortable position, and pulled her third eye out so you could examine the binding on it.

... even with all she'd been through, like this Satori looked like she was merely asleep. You stroked a hand through her hair, pausing to straighten her headband.

Enough. You didn't have time to waste.

The problem was, Patchouli's skill as a mage was on full display here. Satori's binding looked almost like a simple bandage, a pattern of red lines on white paper that on close examination resolved into dozens upon dozens of tiny runes. The work here was intricate, and a good chunk of the runes you flat out didn't recognize. Thankfully, Sakuya's breakdown of the binding gave you a starting point. The maid wasn't a magical expert, so you couldn't read too far into what she'd said, but the key detail was that the binding dealt with Satori's mind-reading and her other abilities in different ways. That in turn meant that the binding had to be smart enough to differentiate between them, and couldn't just be a blanket shutdown on her youkai nature.

Your other resource was that you had a second example of Patchouli's work: the binding she did on you. You'd been able to find time to look at yours beforehand, and while again, many of the runes were unfamiliar to you, between being able to feel the magic literally surrounding you and testing out the edges a bit, you were pretty sure you'd figured out the general structure.

Your binding was basically a mana gatherer keyed to your magical signature (something they must have collected after you'd been captured, while unconscious). It would ignore anything anyone else did (which is why Satori was able to read your mind without issue), but the moment you tried to cast anything, most of your magic would immediately flow to the little paper band around your wrist. It wasn't perfect; you could get a little energy past it, but only if you surged your magic. Which is probably why the binding immediately started burning you the moment it received any energy. The degree of the burn depended entirely on how much energy you fed it... which was actually a security flaw. Because the binding's punishment for testing it scaled up or down to how much magic you fed it, probing it weakly had let you feel out the design without incapacitating yourself or drawing undue attention.

Regardless, while Satori's binding was more complex, Sakuya had told you that part of it worked the same way. Which meant you were able to essentially pattern match the runes between your binding and hers to find the section of her binding that restricted her flight and danmaku. That wasn't the part you cared about, but it was like finding the corner to a puzzle. By recognizing that section of the runes for what it was, and examining the section that led into it, you were able to figure out which runes were responsible for recognizing when she was using any sort of ability. Which by process of elimination meant that the other downstream section of runes had to be the one that dealt with her mind reading.

Leaning in closer to peer at the relevant section, your hopes for any sort of easy fix were quickly dashed. This was even more complicated than the other sections, even if parts of the structure look oddly familiar. Wait. Those groupings of runes appear several times, and for lack of a better word, you can "feel" Satori strongly through them. So if you assume those are keyed to her nature as a satori youkai, and look at the remaining structure - you recognize this! Back when your version of mind-reading was completely out of control, courtesy of Maribel, this was one of the countermeasures you'd looked at!

The concept was simple enough, take the magic and return it to sender. And that was true as far as it went. The problem was, continuously reading your own mind acted as a feedback loop. So long as you remained calm, it wasn't a big deal, but strong emotions would literally fuel themselves. And since they really were your own thoughts and emotions, the effect was damnably subtle, despite its strength. When you'd tried it back then, even though it seemed to work, you'd abandoned the tactic after you went from depressed to nearly suicidal in a couple of days. Sumi had been horrified when she worked it out, and...

Oh. Damnation. That was what was going on here. Satori had been on the verge of snapping the entire time her binding had been active! If you compared it to her behavior back in the mansion, where she'd stayed calm and collected despite the same situation and far more immediate danger... it had to be. Her pain, her grief, her despair, they weren't "worse", not exactly. They just suddenly started hitting her much harder.

You stared down at the sealed third eye, your hands shaking. What could you even do? Saying that the binding itself was hurting Satori sounded maximally suspicious. Sakuya might be warming to you, but she wasn't a mage. She had no way of verifying this for herself, and would probably trust Patchouli's expertise. The same Patchouli who was (admittedly correctly) suspicious of you and that you'd already alienated. Plus the pride angle of implying that the binding she'd designed wasn't working exactly as intended! As for Flandre... well, wasn't that a joke? And even if you somehow convinced your captors, changing it to work differently would require serious time and effort, something they couldn't afford to spend even if they did believe you.

Maybe Satori would be fine? She was both more mature and more mentally stable than you had been, back then. Knowing what was going on did make it easier to compensate for the emotional feedback, and it's not like Satori was a stranger to being surrounded by negative emotions. It's just... this was so much more serious than some stupid classroom drama. Satori was already carrying a lot of burdens, and maybe she was capable of holding up, but this would just make them all that much heavier. Damn!

Could you manipulate the binding, change it yourself? Changing the mechanism wasn't possible. It would be easier to break it than to make it work differently, and have a sinking suspicion that the bindings would incapacitate you (or worse) if removed by force. That left changing the targeting. You already knew which groups of runes were acting as identifiers. If you could just get them to point to anyone or anything other than Satori, then that should actually work! Granted, she'd be stuck constantly reading that person's mind instead of her own, but she had to be used to that sort of thing.

This actually might be possible. Magical blood was a power source, after all. Hypothetically, soaking the relevant sections of runes in your blood would override whatever "essence of Satori" was in there, and redirect her mind reading to you. If it didn't set off some sort of tamper alarm. Or if crudely thrusting an outside source of magical power into a complex working didn't destabilize it and make the entire thing explode.

Hm. You'd need to spend more time examining it to be completely confident there wasn't any sort of anti-tampering working, but you didn't expect there to be one. Despite the level of craft on these things, they had to have been rushed. Given that Satori only entered the picture after you and Sumi had entered Gensokyo, even if Sakuya had found out immediately and Patchouli had started work immediately, that was two days at absolute max. Making an elaborate binding foolproof against the thing it was binding was difficult enough; no way had she adequately safeguarded it against the many, many types of outside interference. If she could work that kind of silver bullet in a couple of days, you'd bow at her feet and demand lessons.

The bigger concern was destabilizing the magic and causing something to blow. Given Sakuya and co wanted you alive, you didn't think there were any lethal safeguards in these bindings, but when a large enough amount of magic goes kaboom, all bets are off. You were pretty sure you could keep things stable if you could feel what you were doing (Sumi had given you plenty of practice on that front), but that was exactly the problem. Your magic was sealed. Not quite perfectly, you could still feel a bit, (which was incredibly helpful in trying to work this out), and you're pretty sure you could push a small effect through if you didn't mind getting magically tased... but trying to tamper with a binding like this was like trying to work bomb defusal with your hands stuck in oven mitts and handcuffed. Behind your back.

You sighed, cradling Satori's third eye in your hands. It was no good. As bad as the emotional feedback loop could be, getting caught tampering with her binding or screwing up said tampering would be worse. Your best bet was trying to keep Satori in situations where her mind reading was more useful unsealed, and to support her between those, at least until you could find an opportunity to properly tamper with it.

Or to escape, for that matter. It's just that, barring outside help, that one seemed several orders of magnitude less realistic.

Feeling defeated, you close your eyes, extending your arm to tuck her third eye back beneath the bedsheets... only to not feel the sheets. Or Satori, or anything other than a sudden breeze on your forearm... and just that forearm.

Your eyes jerk back open, only to see that Satori's third eye, your hand, and about half of your arm has disappeared into a literal tear in space. And then you heard a voice behind you.

"Seeing you like this reminds me of old times. I find myself rather nostalgic."

Not her. Please not her. You look behind you, parasol, purple clothes, blonde hair, damn! "Maribel."

"Yukari," she corrected, walking around to your front. "Though I suppose your encounter with Maribel would have been rather memorable."

"You mean you don't prefer Q. Nira?" you said acidly. "Why are you here?! After everything you've done, why on earth would you show up here?"

Yukari closed her parasol and flipped it over, leaning on it like a walking stick. "It's for your sake, of course. You're surprisingly popular, Greg. Even with my abilities, it's proven remarkably difficult to get to you alone."

Alone? Didn't she realize? "I don't know about that. We're about to have company."

She waved a hand. "Yes, yes, the listening charm Patchouli put on your bindings. How droll. Where are those bindings again?"

You follow her gaze to that tear in space. You jerk your arm reflexively, but your elbow is stuck fast where the gap has ahold of you... and both the binding around your wrist and the one around Satori's third eye are on the other side of it.

"It's such a shame that particular gap doesn't conduct sound, don't you think?"

"You've been watching closely," you realized, shuddering. "You had to be, to know that level of detail."

"Indeed. I suppose I should compliment you. You've grown a fair bit from your school days."

"It's not like I had a choice."

"There's always a choice, Greg. In fact, you get to make one right now! I didn't come here just to reminisce, I have an offer for you. What do you know about shikigami?"

[-] Hear her out. This is as close as you can get to a deal with the devil, but... well, your situation is desparate.
[-] Sound whatever alarms you can. With magic, without magic, screaming, whatever. Nothing good can come of this.
[-] Hear her out, then sound the alarm anyway. Because screw her.
Delete Post
Report Post
No. Fuck no. HELL no.

Any offer "Maribel" might have she can stick right up her gap.

Attempting to read into what she said a little:

-It could be about Ran, who we last heard of in Eientei when she prevented Alice from helping, but I don't really know what she'd even talk about concerning her.
I suppose that would be some new plot point, maybe she was acting on her own back in Eientei?

-It could actually just be about shikigami in general, but considering who she is there's absolutely nothing new Greg could bring to the table with regards to knowledge or expertise.
Entirely unlikely for reasons already mentioned, but it's Yukari so who knows.

-The final option I see and the one I find most likely, yet dread the most: she wants a new shikigami. One named Greg.
Ran may or may not have become one by choice. Greg would be little more than a slave.
She might try to sell it off as some convenient powerup, one that would allow him to break those bindings and save Satori in one fell swoop!
But that's just utter tripe. There is absolutely zero way this would end well.
Why would she even want Greg as a shikigami? I dunno, just to screw with him/Sumireko/Satori? Maybe she just wants a competent illusionist to do parlor tricks for her.
It doesn't matter.

Just no. Fuck you Yukari.

[X] Sound whatever alarms you can. With magic, without magic, screaming, whatever. Nothing good can come of this.

I suppose I could be convinced to change to the "hear her out, then sound the alarm" option if somebody has a very good argument for it, but as it stands I think even just listening to her would be detrimental. The less we're exposed to her the better. Maybe it would even prove to our captors that we're being cooperative; instead of taking an "easy" out.

It's entirely possible I misread the situation, but that would change nothing.
Nothing she could offer would ever be without some horrific catch.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Sound whatever alarms you can. With magic, without magic, screaming, whatever. Nothing good can come of this.

Spite, nothing more nothing less, if we agree it'll 100% comeback to bite us in the ass very hard at the worst timing

Greg has no ennemies but his dislike of Maribel easily outweighs the logic of her bringing something good to him

In fact we should do something to spite her, I'd say spit on her but our arm and Satori are currently at her mercy, we'd also die afterwards

So saying something like
"So you have the choice to leave my sight and never come back"
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Sound whatever alarms you can. With magic, without magic, screaming, whatever. Nothing good can come of this.
Normally, the largest downside of calling for help is that it takes time for the help to arrive. Sakuya negates this pretty heavily. Hearing her out here gives her a foot in the door, and calling for help after having heard her out might make it more likely for her to hurt us. If we call for help quickly, it might be seen as more of a panic response and less of a betrayal.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Sound whatever alarms you can. With magic, without magic, screaming, whatever. Nothing good can come of this.
do not bring the [Yukari] near me
for there will be heavy consequences if you do
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Sound whatever alarms you can. With magic, without magic, screaming, whatever. Nothing good can come of this.

Personal grudge and/or trauma aside, isn't trusting "Q. Nira" what caused the mess Greg and Satori are stuck in? Remilia did it, look where that got her. It's possible that saying no to her is detrimental to their health, but the other option, as curious as I am about what Yukari wants regarding Greg and... possibly Ran or Chen, there's no way it won't backfire horribly.
Delete Post
Report Post

Oh right, you reminded me of the fact she's to blame for Remilia's situation as well.

Yet more reasons to absolutely not give Yukari the time of day: showing our captors we are vehemently opposed to the same "Q. Nira" that was directly responsible for Remilia's predicament could improve our standing with them.
We're already somewhat in Sakuya's good graces, this might be a convenient scapegoat for the other two's ire.
What with her being the actual culprit and all.
Delete Post
Report Post
Slight rewrite to one of the options.

[X] Sound the alarm, then hear her out. Because screw her.

She has until Sakuya arrives to make her case to us alone. I say this mainly because just sounding the alarm, though deliciously spiteful, I think she could easily fuck us over real bad if she wanted/was peeved enough. She just (presumably) needs us alive, and even that is questionable. Also if we just sound the alarm, she could probably find some way to do some gap fuckery, and then we're stuck with an annoyed hag.

I think framing it as a challenge to her lets us keep the spite we desperately want to give, while also manipulating her. Maybe the unexpected rush will throw her off her game and she'll let something slip that she wasn't planning to. Maybe she'll be upset/bored and gap away herself. Maybe she'll take care of Sakuya/Patchouli/Flandre in a way that lets us get our seals off, whether by earning their trust or Yukari taking them out of the game. It also does give us the chance to get some information out of her.

I think spitefully challenging her is going to have less negative consequences than completely ignoring her, since we all know how desperate gappy is for attention.
Delete Post
Report Post
I approve of your attempt at argumentation and raise you one serving of FUCK OFF GAP HAG
Delete Post
Report Post
I have this crackpot theory cooking up from an ominous mixture of dubious canon, somewhat prevelant fan theories and, most dangerously, bored daydreaming that all of this is Maribel's handiwork, who heard stories from old great-aunty Sumireko in the future, projecting herself into Greg's past as his teacher (to fix his abuse of Magic to elevate himself) and as Yukari now (to teach him he can't solve everyone's problems - or even his own) culminating in the most reckless exposure therapy known to man.

[X] Sound the alarm, then hear her out. Because screw her.

I really like this.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Sound the alarm, then hear her out. Because screw her.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Sound the alarm, then hear her out. Because screw her.
Any idea is only as good as its elevator pitch. And if she doesn't want to explain, also fine by me.

... I don't imagine it'd be very safe to go through the gap, especially after sounding the alarm, but I'm vaguely curious where this one leads, if anywhere.
Delete Post
Report Post
I really don't think giving her this opportunity will in any way pay off well.

It gives off a bad look to all parties.

"Until Sakuya arrives" might as well be instant and her seeing us even just entertaining "Q. Nira" will absolutely ruin any goodwill we've built with her.

We've already seen what a determined/angered Sakuya can do to us and even the likes of Marisa & Reisen. What do you think a PISSED Sakuya will be capable of?

Yukari would probably be more annoyed by this than just the near-panic response of immediately shutting her down.

Give the gap hag no quarter.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Sound whatever alarms you can. With magic, without magic, screaming, whatever. Nothing good can come of this.
Delete Post
Report Post
Hm something that I have in mind here is this conversation is occurring almost immediately after Yukari talking with Sumi, a conversation in which Wukari Implied that she thinks Greg is still the same kids that gleefully mind controlled his entire class. So the question she’s probably asking here is to see if we have changed or merely put on a mask to avoid punishment. So I think we want to avoid the last option and the write-in for this of trying to get one over her here. As for why she would care, Sumi is 3 things for Yukari, and ancestor of her best friend (parent, grandparent or further… but I don’t think too much further?) the founder of the sealing club that Maribel inherited, aaaand the person that… well I don’t think has happened yet in this timeline because of Greg entering too, but the person that has the same dream traveler condition (iirc) that Maribel had/has

Also I think Yukari might’ve messed up here. She says specifically that “It's such a shame that particular gap doesn't conduct sound, don't you think?” which… is pretty likely to tip off Patchouli as anything else. A void of sound is probably just as much of a warning and too much here, since patchy and Flandre is a youkai (a Sakuya is a very deadly agent) they could probably notice if they are paying attention the lack of the sounds of quite a few normally innocuous things (breathing, small movements, etc) or she’s doing it on purpose to trap us, who knows.

So here’s a question… What *is* Greg? Because Yukari didn’t go for a big powerboost that risked Gensokyo which she was one of the founders of, even if it turned out the who Urban legends was because of the Lunarians, which you’d think are a bigger threat than little ol’ Greg… right?

As for which option to go for… either we can sound the alarm right away in which case she leaves… or listen to her and hope that the Scarlet mansion crew has noticed the sudden lack of sound… though that risks losing the goodwill with them. Or try to be sneaky about it and listen to her while discreetly trying to signal with the bracelet, is there no sound in the gap or none that make it from this side? (though that one is leaning towards the third and write-in that I don’t think is a good idea.)

I don’t know which one to pick…

[x]buy time by listening to her offer, but try to discreetly signal by rustling the bracelet on the other side of the gap and hope the Scarlet Crew notices.
Delete Post
Report Post

[x] Sound whatever alarms you can. With magic, without magic, screaming, whatever. Nothing good can come of this.

Channel some magic through our wrist bindings and see if we can tip off patchy that we’re trying something.
Image Source
Delete Image
Delete Post
Report Post
File 168823794613.png - (1.06MB, 1411x800, Th155Yukari2.png)
[x] Sound the alarm, then hear her out. Because screw her.

Person you'd already had an extremely bad experience with, check.

Probably criminal activity (or whatever passes for it in Gensokyo), check.

Going behind the backs of everyone else involved, check.

Extremely sketchy unspecified offer, check.

Oh, look at that. Yukari's just won predator red flag bingo. It should probably say something that the people who literally kidnapped you alarm you significantly less than her. Unfortunately, at the moment you were a literally captive audience, which limited your options a bit. Gritting your teeth, you pulse your magic, calling enough energy to generate a substantial illusion and feeding it all into the binding. The shock you receive is substantial, but not enough to make you cry out. In particular, Yukari doesn't react, so you think it went unnoticed.

Unfortunately, there's no instant sign of response from Sakuya or anyone else either, so you decide to keep throwing magic at the binding while buying time. Fortunately, Yukari gave you a topic worth some drama.

"Shikigami. As in, the unbreakable magical contract where slavery meets identity death. That kind of shikigami."

"Identity suppression, not identity death," Yukari remarked. "Though considering the difficulty of breaking such a bond, most would call it a technical difference."

"Being forced to watch versus simply being gone seems like a large difference to me." you mutter. If only of the 'what level of hell did you end up on' type.

"It's hardly the torture you seem to think. The original soul remains asleep unless something disturbs it, which is unlikely due to the preconditions of the bond." The youkai brushes past your shoulder as she walks around to her front, continuing her lecture. "The shikigami bond is strong because it must be entered willingly. The servant must agree with what they understand of the master's will before they bind themselves to it, and it is that unity of purpose from which a shikigami draws their strength."

"You're trying to sell me on it. You're actually trying to sell me on it." You looked up at her, channeling as much magic into the binding's alarm as you dared. "Are you really going to ask me to become your shikigami? Me, of all people?"

Now directly in front of you, the greater youkai stares you directly in the eyes. "And if I was?"

You weren't going to play around the point. Not because your captors might be listening in, even if that should be a factor. Regardless of whether it infuriated her, made her stop talking and start acting. But for your sake, because the idea was too horrifying. Because to entertain an idea, even falsely, meant to consider what it might be like, and you couldn't. Not that. Not to her.

"I'd sooner die."

Yukari went silent, and you found yourself smiling. Even without leverage, that was the one choice you could always make. She could beat you twenty different ways, but she couldn't force you to play. There was always the freedom to take the consequences. And choosing that came with a certain strength, because it meant you had nothing else to lose, that there was nothing to threaten you with.

Yukari laughed, a low chuckle that you swore made the ground itself rumble. "Oh, Greg. You've already seen the death threats Satori's gotten, and Sumireko is fighting for her life as we speak. What makes you think you'd be the one to die?"

"If you're threatening them, you should know that won't get you anywhere."

"All I'd have to do is let things take their course. Haven't you realized? Despite all your efforts, that Sumireko would have a much easier time if she were here alone? Or that despite everything, Satori would be better off having never met you?"

You all but growled at Yukari and the youkai nodded. "That would get your attention. But why not a better question? What if you could fix everything?"

You shouldn't ask. You really shouldn't. "And by everything, you mean..."

"Satori and Koishi. Alice's quest for a living doll. Free passage between Gensokyo and Earth. Even helping Remilia if you want. Everything."

Where on earth was Sakuya?! The last thing she should want is to let Yukari make her case! "You can't possibly be promising that."

"Do you doubt me? I manipulate the boundaries between concepts."

"Exactly. It's too much!" you snapped. "Even if you can do that, even if setting up and resolving every aspect of this incident is no big deal for you, why would you be going to that effort for me? Quite frankly, I'm not strong enough to matter. I'm barely even on Gensokyo's power scale."

"Your ability has stagnated because you insist on pretending to be something you're not. Being a good man is not in your nature." She smiled. "I look forwards to when you break that facade and show your true self."

"Are you really Maribel? Because I hated her. Hated her more than I've ever hated anyone. And yet... she was right. For all I hated her, she was right to stop me, to break my control over the class, maybe even to..." no, you're not quite ready to admit that. "It's beside the point. I could see her declaring me weak, or worthless, or that I couldn't be good. But she would never have suggested I throw away my conscience to become stronger."

Yukari's mouth opened slightly as she put a hand up to it. "No one's asked that in ages. Not in that sense. Perhaps..." she hesitated, sighed, and the last words came out in barely a whisper. "The last step might be more difficult than I hoped."

What was that supposed to mean? "I guess it's a moot point. Whether you're her or not, there's a lot of reasons to hate what you're selling. The answer is no."

That moment of surprise or conscience or whatever that was is gone now. "Of course it is," she answers easily. "You were never going to work with me here. You're not desperate yet."

"I'll never be that desperate."

"Are you so sure of that? Everywhere you and your friend run, you find new problems and rack up new debts. More obstacles to face, more danger ever-present, and more people in need. You can't help everyone. You'll need to decide what - or perhaps I should say who - you're willing to sacrifi-"

[Watch - Luna Dial]

A watch bounced off of her, and Yukari froze literally mid-sentence. Not in the sense of stiffening or reacting, but literally stopped moving. Sakuya appeared beside you.


"Sakuya, I'm stuck!"

The maid knelt down, looking at the gap that was holding my arm and Satori's third eye. "Manipulating space and time aren't that different," she said tentatively.

Sakuya's hand was kind of... vibrating, blurry, with some sort of time shenanigans effect over it as it reached for the gap. You're really not sure what happened next, but an instant later all three of you are both blown back, bouncing off the ground and rolling to a stop.

Satori groans, thrashing about in the bedsheet she's still tangled in. You move towards her, and abruptly realize that's not the top concern. Inside Sakuya's time-stop effect, Yukari was ever so slowly moving, starting to gesture. "Sakuya! Yukari's moving!"

"It's expected." Sakuya said, turning her gaze to the sky. "Tenshi! We're clear!"

[Keystone - World Creation Press]
The blue-haired girl from earlier comes out of nowhere, smashing a boulder into Yukari with a yell. The watch, the time stop effect, the youkai and the ground are all pulverized. with even the boulder itself shattering into fragments.

You can barely see anything through the dust cloud, but stare regardless. That attack left a crater. Surely-

Sakuya snaps her fingers in front of your face. "Take Satori and get to Patchouli. This fight is going to be vicious."

[Border Sign - Quadruple Barrier]
There's a yelp and Tenshi is ejected through said cloud at high speed, crashing through a row of bushes. Yukari floats out of the laying on a gap, looking none the worse for wear.

"That was poor courtesy, don't you think?" Yukari smiles. "We were talking."

Sakuya snaps her fingers, and a couple hundred knives fan out to either side of her. "You'll find I have some pointed things to say to you."

[-] Yeah, just take Satori and run.
[-] Try something else? (Write-in)
Delete Post
Report Post
[x] Yeah, just take Satori and GET THE %#@$ OUT OF HERE!!

I know it most likely means getting away from Yukari, but if we're fortunate enough, Greg and Satori might actually escape this blasted mansion.
Delete Post
Report Post
[-] Yeah, just take Satori and run.
Delete Post
Report Post
Wait, didn't "Sound whatever alarms you can" win?

Well, I suppose in the end the result is what mattered and I'll admit Greg is one to resort to fast-talk.
I still don't like that she got to make her pitch and get her foot in the door.

So, it turns out my read on what her offer was, was correct and it sickens me to my core.
Or she was just taunting him with the worst possible option.
The way she's talking about how the suppressed original soul cannot resurface "unless something disturbs it" sounds like maybe this incident did actually have some effect on her shikigami.
But on the other hand she is the expert and would just know this stuff.

Regardless of that all: Fuck you Yukari.

The maid says run, we run.
We got no magic and even if we did she'd see right through it anyway.

[-] Yeah, just take Satori and GET THE HELL OUTTA DODGE!
Delete Post
Report Post

So, the thing is, Sakuya's ambush/attack on Yukari was never going to come instantly. While she did in fact respond near-instantly the moment Greg started pulsing magic at the binding, the problem is that the instigator is Yukari, and that's not a fight you want without backup. (It's honestly not a fight you want with backup either, but needs must.) And while Sakuya can do a lot near-instantly, talking with other people does still take time.

As such, she settled for watching and waiting (in case she did need to intervene instantly) while Patchy signaled Tenshi and Flandre. She did drop the hammer as soon as the pieces were in place to actually do so, but it was enough time for Yukari to make her case.

((If you're wondering why Flandre didn't show up for the sneak attack, the problem is that their anti-Remilia weather measure is actually just an anti-vampire measure, and a parasol won't cut it for combat. Tenshi can disable it by swapping the weather from sun to clouds, but Yukari absolutely would have noticed that.))

Considering all that, Greg didn't actually have a way of summoning help any sooner than he did. Even if he literally started screaming, Yukari could absolutely use another boundary trick to silence him and make her pitch anyway. The write-in didn't quite have the most votes, but it was both more in-character and close enough to both the spirit and end result of the majority for me to use it regardless.
Delete Post
Report Post
Putting it all into perspective makes a lot of sense and after thinking about it I'm glad you went with it considering Greg's character.

Still, thank you for clarifying.
Delete Post
Report Post
[x] Yeah, just take Satori and run.
Greg is so freaking powerful, he just got a billion votes for what amounts to having a tantrum in front of a final boss and sounding an alarm in front of her. And then he casually changes that to a vote that wins by fast talk. In an update where Yukari herself (youkai president) comments about his ability. I'm not even complaining, but that's a plot point right here if there ever was one.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Yeah, just take Satori and skedaddle.

And we're off to the races, folks! I'm tempted to campaign for "[X] Blow a raspberry" but I think that would require far too little self-preservation instinct for anybody's own good.

Interesting to know exactly when this is happening, since according to Yukari's comment about Sumireko I assume she went straight from the Moriya Shrine to Greg.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Yeah, just take Satori and floor it.
[X] Blow a raspberry
Delete Post
Report Post
>Sakuya snaps her fingers, and a couple hundred knives fan out to either side of her. "You'll find I have some pointed things to say to you."
You know, everyone always sees Sakuya as a serious and perfect maid, they often never notice that she has an awful sense of humor that goes over everyone's heads. I'm glad you captured this with that awful pun.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Yeah, just take Satori and hotfoot it out of there.

Nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope, so much nope. Fuck that, fuck Yukari, in the unfun cactus way. Go Sakuya, kick the old hag's ass!
Image Source
Delete Image
Delete Post
Report Post
File 168828608459.png - (4.80KB, 64x99, twisted_barricade.png)
I want to cast「Orb of Darkness」again for the meme (that it is to me), but really, I think it would be counterproductive all in all. Casting illusions around the SDM crew and Tenshi to make their actions harder to discern would be more beneficial than that. Even then, running is the most optimal choice (even if Yukari wins) just to get Satori out of harm's way.

[x] Yeah, just take Satori and fly, you fool.
Delete Post
Report Post
Thinking about it even more: writing it as a sneaky call for help, without waving it in her face; while at the same time entertaining her to keep her occupied was a smart way to merge both choices in the spirit of Greg's character.

Very well executed. Bravo!
Delete Post
Report Post
>So here’s a question… What *is* Greg? Because Yukari didn’t go for a big powerboost that risked Gensokyo which she was one of the founders of, even if it turned out the who Urban legends was because of the Lunarians, which you’d think are a bigger threat than little ol’ Greg… right?
My pet theory is that Greg himself doesn't matter, but Maribel's past connection to him does. With Maribel being a human and Yukari a youkai, it's probably kind of like a twisted version of "It's my old acquaintance, I wanna keep him safe in a refrigerator for a century or two".
Image Source
Delete Image
Delete Post
Report Post
File 168831810792.png - (1.40MB, 675x885, Pondering Dream of End Times.png)
Pondering Dream of End Times
"Shikigami. As in, the unbreakable magical contract where slavery meets identity death. That kind of shikigami."

"Identity suppression, not identity death," Yukari remarked. "Though considering the difficulty of breaking such a bond, most would call it a technical difference."

"Being forced to watch versus simply being gone seems like a large difference to me." you mutter. If only of the 'what level of hell did you end up on' type.

"It's hardly the torture you seem to think. The original soul remains asleep unless something disturbs it, which is unlikely due to the preconditions of the bond."

>>204473 You made me think about whole thing with the quote and there's something obvious going on when you put some things side by side.

The emerging (or already emerged) Perfect Possession UL is messing with the Yakumos. It's also an indication (however much weight you want to put to her words) that Yukari told Sumireko that Ran was acting out of line.

I've been doing a check-up on things relating shikigami and AoCF.

From AoCF:
Marisa: "Everyone else is using perfect possession, but you're the only one by yourself, huh?"
Yukari: "Can you guess why that is?"
Koishi: "Ooh, I know! It's 'cause you have no friends, right? So sad..."

While Yukari has spellcards in the game that utilise Ran and Chen, in the story she is hanging back by herself back until she's absolutely certain she's got the dynamics of PP UL figured out. With the exception of pretty specific boundary fuckery at the right time, the Yorigami twins actually were unbeatable in the way they exploited Perfect Possession.
Given Ran's specific (cap)ability of making shikigami and her funky existence as a being that is posessed herself (I'll admit: I read that part on TVTropes) it makes sense that Yukari wouldn't want to involve her as it would mean risking damaging, losing or even having her most trusted and powerful asset turn against her.
To me the biggest thing about it all though is that PP ejects the dream-selves of those involved into the real world, which given the Yukari-Maribel relation is... well a big danger for Yukari herself first of all. And, I'm just spitballing here, it potentially cascades up to a potential existential threat to the continued existence of Gensokyo, depending on how much its creation is to be attributed to sleeping Maribel's temporally-paradoxical dream existence.
Most end-of-the-world scenarios fall flat because they haven't built up to them properly, but this one might just work if that's what is going on.

Given all of that and, just humoring myself, believing my own most egregious takes on the matter, Yukari's keeping appearances together pretty well all in all. The only times she slipped was in front of Sumireko on the topic Ran's insubordination and I front of Greg regarding how Maribel would act. That is Considering all her assets are bound to become liabilities and the Gensokyo the dreaming girl loves is in peril.

Though she did seem pretty desperate offering to solve all of Greg's problems just for his help thinking about it...

What's his part, I have no clue. I'll admit that I let my thoughts wander on the whole matter.
Now with a potential end of the world scenario due to Moon Folk Fuckery the parallels to KKHTA continue to grow like a malign tumor
Delete Post
Report Post
Right, I'd forgotten that Yukari mentioned Ran to Sumi.
Now I know why the back of my mind was nagging at me when I read that line in this update.

As it stands I cannot really comment on the part about the intrinsic aspects of Gensokyo's existence, though.
Not enough information in this story yet to even begin to understand how it is done here.
If anything, figuring this out could be considered a core goal of our MCs. Since once you know how a system works, you can figure out how to manipulate it.
This incident is just one smaller part of that whole; even if it isn't yet fully understood by even the bigwigs.
Probably because of those darn meddlin' lunarians.
Delete Post
Report Post
potentially cascades up to a potential existential threat to the continued existence of Gensokyo

How I was able to type this out without noticing is baffling.

Oh no, for what they're worth I was just airing my thoughts about the possible effects and consequences of the whole Shikigami/Perfect Posession affair.

Really though, having considered this, this recontextualises Sagume's plans for the defense against the Lunar Invaders to me. The ongoing Urban Legend incident being such an effective distraction, it would have facilitated a swift invasion of the lunarians, should it have been truly necessary.
Makes Sagume actually a genius.
Delete Post
Report Post
>the parallels to KKHTA continue to grow like a malign tumor
Stop it. Do you want to bad end us?
Delete Post
Report Post
Where is Koishi right now though? Is she STILL looking for an Urban Legend for Greg?
Either this moment right now or Sumireko's storming of the mansion - if this still is where things are going - are suitably dramatic for her appearance.

We need her here at the SDM so we can trigger all the death flags after all.
Delete Post
Report Post
New reader here! Just finished binging the entire story, and I have to say, it's amazing. I know we are on a Greg chapter right now, but I have a few thoughts about the Sumireko chapter that I felt like sharing.

First, the reason for her memory loss: I think it might have something to do with Mary. Yukari implied that Sumi's forgetfulness was a result of something she did herself. Along with that, there has been a small mystery regarding Mary's power source: she seems to run out of magic too quickly, even when Sumi overcharges her. Sumi also only showed the first signs of forgetfulness after charging the doll( >>203817 ). Not to mention, the doll's semi-sentience comes from the bundle of memories from Koishi. My main theory is that Mary runs on memories, so every time Sumi charges her, she's feeding it her memories. I don't really have any concrete proof, so this is more of a guess than a theory, but I do think the doll and Sumi's memories are connected somehow.

Second, the reason for Suwako being mad at Sumi: Did we ever take off the Koishi disguise? If not, then Suwako thinks we're Koishi. This would also mean that Koishi stabbed Sanae, which has some interesting implications all on its own. Of course, I could have missed an obvious line that disproves this, in which case I apologize for being illiterate.

Other than that, I don't have anything to add. Congrats to the author for the awesome story and keep up the great work! As for this latest choice:

[-] Yeah, just take Satori and run.
Delete Post
Report Post
Sumireko dropped the Koishi disguise during or at least after most of the treck through the mountain's forest and before she tried using Mary as a surveillance doll. Which was before the fight against Suwako.

Good find regarding aspects of Sumireko's memory loss though, I completely forgot about that (how weird).

Pulling things from old updates as well: >>202276
>The first manifestation of your magic, disappointment over a bad grade in history. [...]you see it reading 95 instead of 73.
>Experimenting. Trying to turn an apple into something else, concentrating, focusing with all your might, and nothing. No change, not even an illusion, but the changed grade is sitting there, mocking you. It wasn't a mistake. [...] So why?
>There were a handful of other incidents through your childhood. A vase suddenly unbroken, chores appearing done and giving you the time to actually do them... the only real thread was the magic showing up to get you out of trouble, but it was never predictable, and never repeatable. You tried getting in trouble once or twice, to see if it would cause the magic to show up for you, but that never worked.
>Meeting Sumireko. She came in as a transfer student to your middle school, acting all aloof and superior. She was left alone for a while, and you were happy to leave things that way. Up until show and tell. She boasted about her ability as a magician, summoned a handful of bugs, and talked about her drive to discover real magic... The kids laughed. They stopped laughing when she set the centipedes on them.
>She got detention. You punched a random kid to get one too.
>Studying the same books Sumireko had tried, the same rituals and spells she'd attempted. Maybe one in four attempts actually lead anywhere, and the magic you succeeded at was completely different from her spells, but it was progress. You eventually got it to work on command, but your magic just seemed to work better around her. The two of you never did figure out why.

My thoughts the first time reading the part about his magic working better around Sumireko were it being your typical shtick about the power of lovefriendship amplifying magical powers. I wouldn't put it past them to test the trope out, both being genre-aware geeks. The nature of his magic and Yukari's continued insistence on Greg being a bad person pretending to be good and the Shikigami offer put this in a new light.

Also turns out Greg was and still is a shitter when it comes to getting things he wants. From punching kids and fooling his dad in the past to ignoring nonconsent and actually fucking squeezing down on bleeding wounds in the present. Just that he does those things now 'only' when he deems them for the greater good.
Delete Post
Report Post

>She laughed again, which did absolutely nothing for my temper. "Oh, Sumireko. I won't be held responsible for your mistakes. Don't you remember how you ended up in Gensokyo in the first place?"

>Like I'd forget that! "A youkai's trap. Why, did you lay one?"

>"Which youkai?"

>That brought me up short. It was a simple question, but... I couldn't answer. I didn't know. Sure, I'd been through a lot the past couple of days, but that didn't matter because I'd never forget something that simple and important, and yet I had. I hadn't even realized I'd forgotten. Someone messed with my head, and I hadn't noticed. Wouldn't have noticed, if Yukari hadn't decided to taunt me about it.

>"Those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it," she said.

>"If you could do that, then why..." No, that wasn't the important part!

>"How did we get here?"

>"Do you want the accurate answer or the one that won't get me slapped?" She glared at you and raised a hand, and you hurriedly answered, "The tanuki laid a trap with that fake power stone!"

makes me glad we didn't try to abuse the koishi doll for our benefit
Delete Post
Report Post
>pretend to be Koishi
>actually get early onset dementia

Yeah, checks out.
Image Source
Delete Image
Delete Post
Report Post
File 168853620167.png - (867.26KB, 680x1109, 680px-SCoOW6Koakuma.png)
[-] Yeah, just take Satori and run.

Behind you, Sakuya and Yukari are dancing through bullets and knives respectively, Tenshi's charging back in with a ring of lasers, and the sky has gone from absurdly sunny to threatening a storm in a few seconds. Wait, scratch the threatening part, that was a lightning strike. Which Yukari somehow deflected into the mansion itself, which is now on fire.

Sometimes discretion isn't just the best part of valor, it's damn near the only part of valor.

"Satori, get up! We have to run!"

She yelps as you pull her upright. "Greg? What's going on?!"

"Yukari kicked the hornet's nest!" you yell.

You try to pull her along, but Satori stumbles and you bite back a swear. She's injured, what were you thinking? "Lean on me!" you tell her, leaning down to get your shoulder under her armpit, with your arm around her back for added support. She nods and latches on, and the two of you again try to run for it.

It's not as quick as you'd like. Satori's still disoriented, and even with you supporting her she only hobbles along at a slow jog, made slower because apparently Tenshi's sword causes earthquakes. Heavily localized ones, granted - the ground is merely unstable compared to pillars literally bursting from the ground inside the melee - but it's still enough to make running difficult at best. Nobody in the melee seems to actually be targeting the two of you, but an accidental blow could still paste you across the landscape.

[Forbidden Barrage - Starbow Break]
Feeling the spellcard declaration, you glance back as Flandre charges in with the subtlety of a nuke. In the span of a couple moments, you see Yukari dodge away from a sword swing from Tenshi, and open up a gap which the celestial falls into. The other end of the gap opens up directly into the vampire's path. Flandre continues her charge regardless, and it's only the quick intervention of Sakuya that prevents Tenshi from becoming friendly fire.

Then the spellcard's wave of bullets hit the ground, resulting in a brand new set of craters across the lawn, and a brand new stumble from the ground shaking. And then Yukari retaliates.

[Sinister Spirits - Double Black Death Butterfly]
Satori mutters something about remembering that one, and you do what you can to keep pulling her forwards. At least this spellcard is completely airborne, so you have a reprieve from becoming collateral damage. And Patchouli's tent is right there.

All told, the journey only took a couple of eternities minutes, but that didn't stop it from being one of the more harrowing experiences of your life. There's a moment of panic when you nearly hit a barrier surrounding the tent, but it lowers as you approach it and snaps back up the instant you've crossed. And with that, you're inside to relative safety.

The tent was absolutely bigger on the inside, seeing that it contained an actual library. As in, a dozen rows of bookshelves that stretch to at least fifteen feet high. Looking through the aisles, you see Patchouli down towards the far end of the tent, kneeling in the middle of what looks like a ritual circle. (The candles are a dead giveaway.) There's a red-haired girl with bat wings watching said ritual, and when she sees you, she hurriedly gestures for you to stay away.

Fine by you. You make a beeline for the nearest chair, one of those big comfy armchairs meant for reading, and breath a sigh of relief as you help your friend into it. "How are you feeling, Satori?"

She practically sinks into the cushions, closing her eyes with a groan. "Side hurts less, burns a little. Head feels stuffy and dizzy. Reminds me of being sick."

"The medical supplies Miss Sakuya used were from Eientei!" You almost jump at the high-pitched voice. That winged girl you saw earlier snuck up on you. "I believe their bandages have a painkilling effect."

Having yet another unknown factor puts you on edge. "Are you another vampire?"

She smiles at you. "Sure!"

Satori starts coughing, and you glance at her in concern. That's not great. So if she's a vampire - and she's got little head-wings too - and with that hair color... "So would that make you the scarlet devil? I guess that means you're supervising things here?"

The scarlet-haired girl's now grinning openly. "This is a rare opportunity. Should I start making demands?"

A rare opportunity? What did she mean by that? You bite your lip, considering. You hadn't seen her earlier, so could she be here because of Yukari? But if she had a major power she should be helping them fight right now, so maybe she's a trump card? Sure, she looked young and innocent, but at first glance, so did Flandre.

Satori breaks into open laughter. You stare at her, baffled, and after a couple attempts she gets out, "That's Koakuma. She's a minor devil and Patchouli's assistant."

She mock glares at Satori, hands on hips. "You ruined it!"

Oh. You misread things. The smile wasn't hiding a deeper meaning, she was just messing with you. Maybe the whole thing with Yukari made you a little paranoid.

That said, the name does sound familiar. "Isn't she the one who stopped Remilia with the cross?"

"That's me!" She leaned in conspiratorially. "After that, my master was so pleased she tripled my pay!"

That at least is a setup you recognize. "You don't get paid, do you?"


Even expecting it, the punchline does cause you to chuckle. "So why are you over here, anyway? If you're Patchy's assistant, I figured you'd be helping with the ritual."

She shrugged. "It's already running at this point. I figured I'd see if you need anything," she said, looking pointedly at Satori.

"Some water would be nice," Satori said, closing her eyes again. "Come to think of it, it's cold in here too."

Following Koakuma's gaze, you belatedly realized the bedsheet got lost somewhere along the way. You rubbed the bridge of your nose, specifically not looking at the beautiful young woman in her undergarments. "I think she's asking if you'd like new clothes."

Satori opened her eyes, irritated. "Why would I need new... eep!"

"I like the flower pattern!" Koakuma said brightly. "Very lacy."

Satori went bright red and hugged her knees to her chest. "Greg! What happened to my dress?!"

"Sakuya had to cut it open to get at your injuries. It didn't really survive the process," you said, still doing your best not to look at her. "At least... it's not that different from a bathing suit?"

Satori mumbled something about Aya and buried her head in her arms. Thankfully, out of the corner of your eye, you saw what should be at least temporary salvation: A blanket. Darting over to grab it, you draped it over her, and leaned down to tuck in the edges. "There. That should do the trick, at least until Koakuma can get you new clothes."

"Coming right up!" Koakuma declared, flying off into the library.

Satori looked up at you, cheeks still burning, grabbing the blanket and shifting uncomfortably with it. "Did you-" she shakes her head and looks away. "Never mind. Thanks."

You take a moment to pluck out a leaf that got tangled in her hair. "Are you really okay?"

She tensed at your movement and hugged the blanket tighter. "Why wouldn't I be?"

You stare at her in disbelief. "Satori, you were injured, had your ability sealed, collasped, fainted, and then were woken up Yukari's gap imploding. That's literally a list."

"I'll be fine." She said, still not looking at you. "You don't have to worry about me. You should probably use this chance to gather information."

[-] Let it pass for now. She's not wrong about the opportunity, and you should...
----- [-] Check out the ritual Patchouli's doing.
----- [-] Try to find a useful book in the magic library (insert a topic)
----- [-] See how the battle's going outside.
[-] Catch her up on the developments since she fainted, specifically about the details on her binding and what Yukari said.
[-] Ask if she's worried about being close to you.
Delete Post
Report Post
My first impulse is to vote for (X)Catch her up on the binding, then go see Patchi's ritual.
Getting to speak to patchy is important for negotiation, and the ritual is probably relevant to the battle, and we might be able to help. I don't really want to trouble Satori with Yukari's offer either, but letting her know about the binding might be fair.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Wait for Satori to get dressed, and catch her up on the developments since she fainted, specifically about the details on her binding and what Yukari said while checking on Patche's ritual.

And she's back! Satori's clearly not ok, and I think Greg gets that, but he also gets right now they have bigger fish to fry. I think theoretically options 1a and 2 can be fused. If not, well:

[X] Catch her up on the developments since she fainted, specifically about the details on her binding and what Yukari said.

I think out of the two, making sure our closest ally and friend is caught up to speed. Of the first option, I think checking on Patche's ritual is best, since going in blind trying to find a useful book doesn't seem like a very efficient thing to do right now, and maybe I'm paranoid, but I feel checking on the battle might lead to a hostage situation. Finally, the third option, once shit leaves the fan, then I'd go for it. Like I said, Satori's clearly not okay, and I'm pretty sure Greg knows it. So once the situation's resolved, things can be processed, but right now? Bigger fish to fry.
Delete Post
Report Post

204495 here. Looks like we share a braincell.
Delete Post
Report Post
Not really sure what to do yet.

I don't want to leave Satori, even if she's relatively safe now.

Catching her up is fine and all, but those specifics are extremely bad to mention openly.
Even if we didn't have bugs on us in the form of the bindings, we'd be saying it in Patchouli's library, a witch's home turf, temporary or not.
Better that she reads it from our mind when next she can. If she asks about Yukari just give her a look to signify there is something you can't say openly?

Asking about if she's worried about being close to Greg feels rather insensitive, especially to spring that on her now of all times.

So in my opinion the most productive thing would be to give Satori an update of the things that are safe to mention and then doing one of the other things with the time left.

Disturbing Patchouli's ritual seems like a real bad idea.
Koakuma already shooed us away and if said ritual is what keeps us safe in the tent we don't want to mess with it.

Taking a look at the battle doesn't really seem to serve any immediate purpose.
We'd be in the barrier and so relatively safe from stray attacks, but what would we even learn?
I suppose we could learn a bit about how everyone there attacks, which could be an advantage later.
The thing is that Greg doesn't do straight-up fights well anyway, so he'd probably be looking for weaknesses to exploit and escape opportunities in patterns.
Overall not awful, but it doesn't get us anything immediately beneficial to our current goals.

That leaves searching for books.
Arguably the most useful source of immediate information, but I can't really think what topic would be top priority to search for.
If any other readers have some insight into good topics I'd be all ears.

Postponing vote until I decide on a book topic or somebody writes in a good argument for some other course of action
Delete Post
Report Post
>>204497 here
It posted my wall twice.
Sorry about that, it's deleted now.
Delete Post
Report Post
[x] Try to find a useful book in the magic library (insert a topic)
-[x] Sealing Magic. Specifically the chapter about un-sealing magic.

Might as well take advantage of everyone being distracted to unseal ourselves. If we get the seal off we can make an illusion of the seal still being on us.

If they catch us reading it, we can say we are trying to figure out how Patchy managed to fuck up Satori's seal badly enough to seriously injure Satori.
Delete Post
Report Post
[x] Let it pass for now. She's not wrong about the opportunity, and you should...
---[x] See how the battle's going outside.

There's really only two choices here. The first option is to go check out Patchouli's ritual. In my opinion, it's likely to be something that seals the mansion, corrupted Remilia, ourselves (!) and Yukari completely inside, as that accomplishes most of the preparations needed to deal with the SHTF scenario currently happening for SDM crew. As regrettable as that is, we shouldn't interrupt it - or anything else Patchy cooks up, should my guess be wrong. Because if things go wrong for them, no matter what kind of escape or action scene we pull off, it will return back to us somehow. And that's on the bright side of the fuckup spectrum. Call it an educated guess.

So to best use the opportunity, observe the battle outside. Not only for the battle itself, but there's dozens of things from outside that may screw things up. Orin + Okuu combo rescue party, Koishi interrupt, Alice busting in or even Sumi making it here in record time (?!?) with all of tengu hot on her heels. Even if we can't fight, we are much better at observing or receiving those kinds of uninvited guests than all of SDM.
Delete Post
Report Post
Hm, there's really not a consensus just yet. If there's anyone who hasn't voted who would like to, please get them in within the next 20 hours or so, if possible I'd like to start writing tomorrow.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Let it pass for now. She's not wrong about the opportunity, and you should check out the ritual Patchouli's doing.

I don't see much point to looking at the battle, and I understand the risk of catching her up with the bindings on, even if they're probably frying bigger fish at the moment. That means the only other two really viable proposed paths are checking out the ritual and looking for a book on sealing magic. Both seem perfectly viable, but there seems to be a slight consensus toward the ritual so I'm going with that.
Delete Post
Report Post
>>204497 here
I'll throw my eggs in the Patchy basket.

I'd like to make sure Satori's alright before we head out, though.
Maybe ask if she needs anything before we leave?
There's no real way to signal we have something to say but can't say it without being on the topic already, so that'll just have to come later.

[X] Let it pass for now. She's not wrong about the opportunity, and you should check out the ritual Patchouli's doing.
-[X] Make sure Satori has everything she needs before going.

Satori probably needs a moment right now, anyway.
Delete Post
Report Post
>>204504 here
Scratch that post. I am a complete and utter idiot.
Even with the risk of spilling sensitive information we absolutely should mention the fact her binding causes a negative feedback loop that causes a severely taxing downward mental spiral similar to the one that almost turned Greg suicidal once.

Following the lead of the first two anons.
[X] Catch her up on the binding, then go see Patchy's ritual.

If combining isn't possible just catch her up.

Better to let something slip now and have to answer difficult questions later than leave Satori in the dark about something this serious for who knows how long.

Truly sorry about the double post, my brain just decided to up and die on me.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] Catch her up on the developments since she fainted, specifically about the details on her binding and what Yukari said
Delete Post
Report Post
[x] Catch her up on the developments since she fainted, specifically about the details on her binding and what Yukari said.

>Satori, you were injured, had your ability sealed, collasped, fainted, and then were woken up Yukari's gap imploding. That's literally a list.
Can't help to be overly aware of things like this now, but notice how the wording leaves out Greg's part in Satori's fainting.
I wonder how her feelings changed from the time we saw her last POV.

>Sumi making it here in record time (?!?)
Now I'm imagining the Greg chapter ending with her bombastic appearance and him (and Yukari) going like "what, how" followed by the story switching to Sumireko's POV detailing how she got here which would be such a fucking cliché and make me mad and I'd be ALL for it.
Delete Post
Report Post
[-] Catch her up on the binding, then go see about Patchy's ritual.

You wanted to press. You didn't need to read her mind to see that she's upset, and on a deeper level than mere embarrassment. It reminded you of the kiss at Alice's house. It was the only thing before the binding that had rattled her like this, and just like back then, she was turning you away, looking for a chance to compose herself.

That's wasn't the worst way to handle problems, (it's certainly easier to deal with than Sumi just blowing her top), but it struck you as a way to avoid the issue. Like how she'd brushed things off before as Koishi's fault.

The problem was, if this was what you thought it was, if it wasn't just you, if Satori was troubled just by the idea of being close to someone, that was the sort of thing where it was easier to never confront it. To keep all your interactions cordial, professional, distant, and through all of that, safe. Because dealing with loneliness was far safer than letting someone in.

But did you have that right? Even if she should let someone in, you'd only known her a couple of days. It was entirely possible she'd be more comfortable opening up to someone else. But then again, you were certain that this would be the last thing she'd want to talk about. Maybe even less than Koishi crippling herself. You might not be able to get her to open up if you missed this chance. You looked down at your hand, still stained with her blood, and sighed.

"We all need someone to worry about us sometimes," you said gently. "But I won't pry."

It was the wrong way to look at it. Encouraging Satori to work through her issues, whatever they proved to be, might be good for her. Ambushing her with them while her mind reading was disabled and her emotions were compromised was not. You couldn't just assume you knew best and rush forwards, damn the consequences. Especially because you didn't really have privacy.

Satori barely reacted, so you laid a hand on her shoulder, saying, "That said, there is something you need to know. Something important."

Satori took a deep breath, used the corner of the blanket to wipe her face, and looked up at you. "Yes?"

"While you were unconscious, I got a good look at the binding on you, and how it restricts your mind reading." You hesitate, then fold your hands behind your back. Better to do this professionally. "The short version is that the binding redirects things so that you're constantly reading your own mind. Basically, your emotions are going to feel a lot stronger while it's active. And feed into themselves."

Her eyes widened, and you could practically see her replaying the moment in the gazebo, or when she'd snapped at Patchouli and Sakuya. An instant later, her eyes narrowed. "Was that intentional?"

You grimaced. "Probably not? It's not an obvious effect. I only spotted it because I'd tried something similar on myself, back then."

She didn't respond, and you laid a hand on her arm. "It's better not to think about it. It's far too easy for your thoughts to spiral somewhere dark."

"Which part shouldn't I think about?" Her voice started low, but rose in volume as she built up momentum. "Being kidnapped, being held hostage, the death threats, having my third eye sealed, having my emotions compromised, or any of the other 'small' ways they've screwed us over?!"

Damn! You took as much magic as you could, and threw it at her, pushing a feeling of calm. Most of it got sucked away by your binding, but a good bit still made it through. Then the binding's punishment hit, and you gasped as the shock ran through your system, stumbling and catching yourself on the arm of the chair.

Satori sat bolt upright, staring at you. "Greg?!"

You pushed yourself back up to a standing position and gave her a sad smile. "Anger's better than despair in this case, but not by much."

She relaxed slightly, still looking at you. "That's it then? Think positive?"

"'Whatever is good, whatever is noble, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about such things.'" Satori looked nonplussed, so you added, "Philippians four, verse eight."

She raised an eyebrow at you. "How many of those have you memorized?"

You breathed a sigh of relief. That was somewhere between mild annoyance and bemusement, which was exactly what you'd been hoping for. "To be fair, my dad is a pastor."

"How does that work with you having magic?"

It's your turn to wince and look away. "I never told him. For that exact reason."

She nodded slowly. "You were worried he'd think you were possessed."

For her mind-reading being sealed, that was dead-on. You shook your head, she probably saw it earlier. "More or less. I mean, my power is mine. I'm absolutely certain about that. But I don't have a way to prove it. And the fact that Sumi gets a kick out of making magic look occult doesn't help."

"With how you talk about your dad, I thought you were close."

"We are!" you defended. "I'm only keeping the one secret. It's just-"

She put a finger to your lips. "I understand. Sometimes we keep secrets for good reason, because some conversations only promise pain." She gave you a sly smile. "Or should I be telling you to open up and trust him?"

You'd have to be blind to miss the parallel. Which really raises the question of how she outmaneuvered you that badly. "I thought you were disoriented?"

She sat up a little straighter, looking you dead in the eyes. "I know how you think, Greg. And it was sweet of you to distract me from my thoughts with yours."

You glance down at her binding, then at yours, and meet her gaze again. Was she reading your- "Only for a moment. What you did a minute ago, to calm me down, was helpful, even if it is fading."

"Should I try it again?"

Her arm shot out, grabbing yours by the binding, and you stumbled as she pulled on it, shifting it ever so slightly and revealing the red, raw skin beneath. "Only if I need it." Her eyes flicked down to the burn, then back to yours. "Only if I really need it."

"As you wish," you said with a sigh. Regardless, did she think you should-

"Go on," she told you. "I'll be fine. You don't need to worry about me."

The same words as before, but a very different energy behind them this time. You smiled at her. It was good to have her back.

She blushed, pushing you away. "I said go!"

You shook your head, chuckling. Fine then. Time to check out Patchy's ritual.

[-] To be continued.
Delete Post
Report Post
This is interesting stuff. Has Greg's nationality been stated yet? If not I'm going to assume he's a US military kid, and his father is either still in the military or has gone native. Alternatively he could be native Japanese, Japan does have an existent Christian population, from recent converts, filipino/brazilian immigrants, or that weird Christian/Shinto mix sect that survived underground while the religion was banned.

All I know is that we definitely will need Greg to meet Seiga now.
Delete Post
Report Post
Man. Am I glad my dumb ass remembered the whole mental feedback loop thing and changed my vote... even if that was directly after I posted something different.

Greg's magical mental tranquilliser had the side effect of temporarily allowing Satori to read minds again?
I wonder how that interaction came to be.
Initial theories include overloading the binding; too much energy to fully absorb, so it has a moment where it weakens afterwards.
Or maybe his brand of mental magic creates a bridge of sorts between minds, if only for a moment, allowing Satori to read it.
Whatever the case, we have a countermeasure now, if a desperate one. And one that Patchouli will possibly know about now.

I don't subscribe to the "Greg is still a bad bean" theory myself, but if I did I suppose I could read the part of Greg helping Satori in this update as him still resorting to enforcing his will on others by force as he did in the past; even if just to help them.

I, for one, believe in Good Guy Greg.

As for Patchouli's ritual: going to see her immediately is best, as long as we don't actually interrupt the ritual, because now we've basically confessed to messing with our bindings while being recorded.
Better to rip that band-aid off now and be candid about any questions flung our way.
If she's not too busy trying to fight off the monstrosity that is a Yakumo, of course.
Delete Post
Report Post
>ywn have Satori put her finger to your lips to shut you up
>ywn be told that you're understood by Satori
>ywn be called sweet by Satori for trying to cheer her up
>ywn be told by Satori to be there for when she needs you
>ywn be pushed forward by a flustered Satori to go do something you set out to do
Why even live?

SIMP-posting aside Satori's being cute this chapter.
Delete Post
Report Post
>Damn! You took as much magic as you could, and threw it at her, pushing a feeling of calm.
My man casually induced an emotion in a youkai. Those aren't even human. With this and some speech check fueled elbow grease, this guy could actually fast talk the entire SDM if the bindings were off. And even with them, he is managing.
Image Source
Delete Image
Delete Post
Report Post
File 168913490916.jpg - (38.28KB, 384x436, 384px-GoMIllus-Patchouli.jpg)
[-] Check out Patchouli's ritual

Considering the tent is obviously a temporary location, the magic circle Patchouli's sitting in is surprisingly intricate. While the rest of the tent is sitting on grass, someone put together a circular wooden platform in the center, raised maybe a couple inches off the ground. (A part of you idly where they found the time to construct something that polished, but it's hardly the most important point right now.) Instead of the standard magic circle setup you and Sumi use for your rituals, the mansion's mage has the central design of her runes laid out in the shape of a five-pointed star.

Patchouli is chanting a language you've never heard before in the center of the star, and each of the points contains an object: Arranged clockwise, you see a candle, a wooden stick, a bowl of water, a knife, and a small pile of dirt. Above her, the tent has a skylight letting the sun down directly onto Patchouli, reflecting off of a crescent mirror at her feet. You barely recognize any of the runes being used here, but you hardly need to. This is obviously the elemental power source for the rest of the ritual, and you can feel the magical energy flowing through the points of the star, spiraling around and around the mage.

From the points of the star come a number of lines, gracefully curving around towards around a dozen or so smaller circles that are themselves filled with runes. The designs of those vary significantly, from small ones with only a couple of runes and one line connected to them to ones that could be entire rituals on their own, complete with their own materials. The most noticeable of those is a full-sized mirror, and as you watch Patchouli continue to chant, that circle containing it is the first one to light up, with sun and moon energy gathering into it.

Oh, interesting. It's not just a single spell. This entire setup is essentially a modular ritual, with various types and amounts of elemental power being channeled into whichever of the smaller effects Patchouli wants. That's brilliant and slightly terrifying, actually, but you're careful to remain quiet and not interrupt. Patchouli catches sight of you in her peripheral vision, and you can feel the glare she sends your way, but she continues her chant regardless. She kind of has to. If you interrupt a ritual and you're lucky, it dissipates harmlessly. If you're not, you're at ground zero. This danger increases with the size and complexity of the ritual, and while you don't doubt there's safety protections in there somewhere, you'd be surprised if a disruption to this left the tent standing. At any rate, you offer no such trouble, and Patchouli's spell goes on, causing an image to appear on the mirror.

It's the battle outside, from a bird's eye view. You're not really sure who's winning; with the exception of Tenshi (who seems to be getting absolutely destroyed at every turn), the other combatants are trading blows; Flandre and Sakuya tossing out complicated spellcards that Yukari takes hits from in exchange for further annihilating the celestial. Tenshi's throwing out some strong attacks of her own, but unlike Flandre and Sakuya's, those never come close to hitting the gap youkai, and a couple of them get turned back on her.

Which is honestly curious. Tenshi's attacks look both strong and fast, from what looks like a sword made of fire to giant rocks and circles of lasers, and yet you're pretty sure Flandre's attacks are leaving larger craters. Nevertheless, Yukari is making sure to never take any hits from the celestial, and willingly tanking hits from the vampire to do so. (As well as from Sakuya, but her knives don't appear to be doing much of anything in this fight.) Considering how Yukari's absolutely pounding on Tenshi at every turn, you're really not sure if this is some hidden strategy, or if she just has a grudge.

But Patchouli's attention isn't on them, as the mirror's view pans over to the mansion. The mansion that is still, in fact, on fire. The chant changes tempo, and a new circle lights up, this one drawing power from the water point of the star.

[Water Sign - Princess Undine]
Water bullets crash into the top layer of the mansion, taking out the fire on impact along with chipping away the roof's tiles where they land. Patchouli keeps the spellcard going for half a minute, running it back and forth along the roof's surface to make sure the fire is completely out. Which it is, but looking at the state of what's left of the roof... you guess it's technically an improvement.

Regardless, Patchouli then turns her attention to the actual fight. Tenshi's off on the sidelines, having been rescued by Sakuya, and Flandre's currently chasing Yukari through one of the gap youkai's spellcards, a curtain of giant red orbs flanked by lines of cyan daggers. Yukari says something, getting a scowl from Flandre, but Patchouli moves on to another spellcard of her own.

[Fire Water Wood Metal Earth Sign - Philosopher's Stone]
All five points of the star light up, glowing their respective colors as they feed power into the largest of the secondary spell circles on the platform. Around Flandre, five books suddenly manifest, each shooting out bullets in a different element and pattern. The sudden addition of those bullets forces Yukari to bank right, dodging away from the onslaught, but a wall of knives suddenly appears there and she has to reverse course.

Yukari instead opens up a gap, with most of Patchouli's bullets pouring into that, but Flandre simply flies around it, swinging her own flame sword down with devestating force. The gap youkai blocks that with her parasol, deflecting it sideways and letting the extended blade carve a burning furrow in the ground beneath. The handle of the parasol hooks out, nabbing one of Flandre's wings and pulling her off balance, causing the blade to fly wide, narrowly missing Tenshi. The celestial charges in at Yukari, a keystone in either hand, but Yukari simply tosses the vampire at her and falls back into the gap she'd just made. Sakuya appears, barely pulling Flandre out of Tenshi's way as the celestial throws the keystones she's holding, getting them into the gap just before Yukari seals it behind her.

Everyone tenses, waiting to see where Yukari will pop up next. Patchouli lets go of her high-powered spellcard, and a couple of other circles light up, not quite activating yet as the different elemental energies circulate. Tenshi's got a ring of keystones lined up, Flandre has her flaming sword held in one hand, the other one tensed in a claw pose as she stares around at the battlefield. Sakuya flickers in and out of visibility as she stops time, dashing back and forth to various places for who knows what end.

Thirty seconds pass. Then a minute. Then two. You say nothing, watching intently. Patchouli maintains her magic on the edge of casting a spellcard, but you can see the strain on her face. Ultimately, it's Flandre who cracks first, stabbing her sword into the ground and yelling.

For an instant you think Yukari's made her move, but... nothing. Sakuya's there, appeasing Flandre, and Tenshi lets her ring of keystones collapse as she pounds a fist on her chest and starts talking, her nose in the air.

Flandre looks at her, scowls, and flies off, back towards own tent. Sakuya gives a put-upon smile and says something to the celestial, who ignores her and continues saying... whatever she was on about.

And then a gap opens behind Tenshi, and a keystone flies out of it, beaning her in the back of the head and sending her sprawling.

This instantly puts everyone back on high alert, but over the next several minutes, no further action occurs.

[-] To be continued.
Delete Post
Report Post
Did Yukari just turn this into a battle of attrition? Either way, things are heating up.
Delete Post
Report Post
I think the keystone was just a final fuck you from Yukari instead of an act of attrition, but we'll see.

Philosopher's Stone should look pretty familiar to poor ol' Greg, having been on the receiving side of it before.

The things he could've learned from Patchouli if it were different circumstances...

The thing he's gotta worry about is the grilling he's about to get, though.

No regrets, however. Some things just had to be done.
Delete Post
Report Post
ty for continuing to write this
Image Source
Delete Image
Delete Post
Report Post
File 168998906363.jpg - (47.60KB, 299x600, PMiSS_keine.jpg)
[-] Regroup.

It took another ten or so minutes for Sakuya to gather everyone for a mansion-wide meeting, most of which you spent being interrogated by Patchouli. There wasn't a real edge to it, so you suspect it's mostly just annoyance. Between Satori hitting a nerve, Yukari getting away, and you sitting there watching her spellcasting, you're not exactly surprised she's irritated. Still, it was something of a relief when Sakuya showed up and announced a planning meeting. To your surprise, you and Satori were to be included.

So there everyone was, gathered at the entrance of Patchy's tent... well, for a certain value of everyone. Satori was sitting in the same spot as before, still bundled up in the blanket. A table had been added, with other chairs placed around it. Probably Sakuya's work. Speaking of which, the maid was standing off to the side, looking as spotless as ever, while Patchouli took a seat on the far side, book still in hand. You walked around to claim the seat next to Satori, and then and only then did Sakuya take her own chair. So then... you, Satori, Sakuya, and Patchouli, though Koakuma was also lurking by the bookshelves. Tenshi being absent wasn't really a surprise, but the other absence was more notable.

"No vampire this time?" you asked idly.

"The young mistress is rather upset." Sakuya said. "It has been some time since I've seen her this furious."

You're not about to argue that point. "Is there a reliable way to navigate her... moods? I'd rather not suddenly get blown up from saying the wrong thing."

Sakuya hesitated, and you repressed a sigh. Right, the maid wasn't going to reveal anything that might be considered private information regarding the Scarlets. Which would be respectable if the consequences weren't potentially deadly.

"No." Patchouli replied. "Flandre has always been a wild card. Your best strategy would be to avoid aggravating her."

"Does that include presenting bad news? Because there's always the chance of getting some of that, and I need to at least know if she'll shoot the messenger." Granted, hiding or sugarcoating such news was also an option, but you really didn't think you'd get away with that.

"Consider it additional motivation to succeed." Patchouli said icily.

"Yes, you're just asking Greg to succeed where you've failed." Satori said acidly. "No pressure."

The two glared daggers at each other, which was only interrupted by Sakuya's polite cough. "We're all better off if this doesn't reach the level of assigning blame."

Satori backed down on that, but Patchouli merely turned on the maid. "We? That reminds me, why are they here?" she said, waving an arm around at the tent. "I see no reason to trust them with planning our next move."

That's not unexpected from her, but you'd much rather have a say in what could be a life and death decision. "Flandre made it perfectly clear she'd kill us if Remilia died. You can't pretend we have no stake in her survival."

Patchouli's unmoved. "Or in creating circumstances that would aid an escape attempt."

"Oh, come off it. If I was going to try something, don't you think I'd have at least negotiated with Yukari?"

"Her offer was hardly worth pursuing. Becoming a shikigami is a fate similar to death."

"Becoming what?!" Satori exclaimed.

"I know that." you said, reaching over to put your hand on Satori's. "And considering I used the binding to alert you before even hearing that offer, my point stands. The only reason Yukari got to say anything is because Sakuya somehow didn't respond instantly."

Sakuya shook her head. "Fighting Yukari without backup would have been unwise. Even with my ability, talking with others still takes time."

Ah. Well, that explained that particular detail.

"Regardless," Patchouli interrupted, "Yukari's appearance is a little too convenient. It's suspicious that she confirmed her involvement immediately after you two singled her out as the culprit, in a way that let you distance yourself from her while also giving you leverage with us."

"Leverage?" It takes you a second to catch what she means by that, and you can scarcely believe it. "You mean her 'offer' to fix everything if I became her shikigami?! You just pointed out that's a fate worse than death! How does another way to commit suicide possibly benefit me?"

"It limits the pressure they can apply." Satori said, staring the mage down. "They have to tone back the death threats, because if you think you're going to die either way, you might just take Yukari's deal."

Patchouli stared right back. "That would work out just fine for you, wouldn't it?"

Satori snarled, jumping up. You grabbed her hand, trying to pull her back. "Satori, please! It's not worth it!"

For a moment you thought she would lunge at the mage anyway, but then her hand grabbed yours, giving you a gentle squeeze as she sat back down and addressed Patchouli. "If you really think that, it says more about you then it does about me."

"You're no stranger to collateral damage." Patchouli smiled. It wasn't a kind smile. "Isn't it a fascinating coincidence how Koishi just happened to find that mask?"

"Are you trying to get us to hate you?" You snapped. "Or are you taking out your helplessness on her?"

It wasn't the most diplomatic thing you could have said, but as it wiped the smile off Patchouli's face, you found you didn't care.

"Enough!" Sakuya said, slamming a knife into the table. Everyone flinched at that, and she released a breath, sighing. "Patchy. Part of the reason for doing things this way was to motivate them as much as possible. I'm not suggesting blind trust, but they've already shown insight into these urban legends. By all means, check their claims and question their conclusions, but we cannot afford to ignore them, any more than we could Yukari's words. Now, please. Contact Meiling again."

"Fine." Patchouli said, placing her book on the table.

It wasn't flashy. The mage simply opened up the book, said a few words, and then Meiling's voice came out of it.

"Patchy? How'd things go? Did you get Yukari?"

"No major developments," she said. "The gap hag played around for a bit before running."

"Sounds like her. Did she at least say anything useful?"

"A few things, but the main one was making an offer to Greg to become her shikigami," Sakuya said. "The rest was largely taunting."

You don't doubt that, exactly, but you wouldn't put it past her to have some other meaning. "What did she say to you and Flandre?"

Sakuya's hands tightened into fists. "She said it was ironic for Remilia to be laid low by a story for children. Along with asking what my plan was when Reimu came knocking."

"Do we, uh, have a plan for that?" Meiling asked. "Not to doubt you, but back during the scarlet mist, she did-"

"I am aware of that." Sakuya snapped. She took a deep breath, visibly relaxing. "Should the worst come to worst, I can use the same trick on her I did on Marisa."

"Marisa was at Eientei with Eirin fast approaching!" Satori protested. "You'd kill her!"

Sakuya waved a hand dismissively. "We have some of their supplies remaining."

"We don't." Koakuma said, then flinched back when everyone turned to stare at her. "No, really, we don't! That roll of bandages was the last of the Eientei stuff!"

"Surely the blood replenishment-"

"You used that," Patchouli said. "You gave it to Flandre after visiting Remilia."

"One moment," the maid said, vanishing. A moment later she reappeared, sighing. "It's as you say. I was mistaken."

"There's a better option in any case," Patchouli said. "Reimu may be gifted at danmaku, but she's not much of an investigator. So long as our prisoners aren't literally right in front of her, she's not likely to find them."

Patchouli paused and shot a meaningful look towards you and Satori. "But we should talk about those countermeasures in private."

"Indeed." Sakuya nodded, tapping a finger against the table. "But returning to the main issue, there are two clear priorities. Getting information from Yukari, and regaining access to the human village to see what goes on there."

"Just getting information?" Meiling asked what you were thinking. You'd expected a far more violent reaction.

"Make no mistake, Yukari will reap what she's sown." Sakuya snapped, wrenching the knife back out of the table. "But she can be dealt with in time. Restoring my lady takes priority."

You suppose there's also the question of practicality. Actually 'dealing' with Yukari would require blocking her ability to simply vanish through a gap, and if anyone here could stop that, they'd have done so earlier. But that brings up a very related problem. "Can you force information out of her?"

Satori gave a laugh, shaking her head. "I don't see how. Meaningfully threatening Yukari herself is difficult. Not only is she absurdly strong, but most of the people she cares about are nearly as powerful. Yuyuko, Suika, Reimu... trying to use any of them as leverage is begging for disaster. Even her shikigami's a nine-tailed kitsune, and that's without Yukari powering her up."

"Bringing in another group would be foolish, yes." Patchouli smiled. "But there is a weak point here. You're forgetting a certain cat."

Satori looked blankly at her for a moment before realizing something. "You're going after her pet?! There's no way Chen knows anything!"

"Hang on a second," you interject. "Who's Chen?"

"Ran is a Yukari's shikigami, and still fairly powerful in her own right." Sakuya explained. "Chen is Ran's shikigami, and a standard low-level youkai. Simple enough to get ahold of, and while Yukari may or may not care, it is near certain that Ran will."

Oh, great. More kidnapping. "If Ran's your real target, couldn't you just go after her directly?"

"There's two problems with that," Patchouli said. "The first is finding her. From all reports, she's been rushing across half of Gensokyo during your little incident. The second is the shikigami bond. If Ran is acting according to Yukari's wishes, she's nearly as strong as Yukari herself."

You can see the logic. "You're gambling that by threatening Chen, she'll drop everything to find her, which won't be according to Yukari's plan, and leaving her with just her own strength. You think Ran will know what Yukari's up to?"

"She is Yukari's primary servant, and frequently acts on her behalf," Sakuya said. "It is unlikely her mistress left her uninformed."

"Like Remilia informed you all about her urban legend?" Satori asked.

That earned a flinch from you and angry looks from everyone else, but Satori bore them defiantly... though the effect was slightly spoiled from still being wrapped in that blanket. "The point stands. Assuming Yukari let anyone know everything about her plans, even her own servants, is far from guaranteed."

Sakuya sighed. "Nevertheless, it's our best lead at present. Now, Meiling. The details on the disappearance of the village, if you please."

"There's not much to say. I'm where the village should be right now, but it's not here. If I try walking around I keep ending up back in the forest."

"Hang on," you interrupt. "Do you mean 'not here' as in there's clear signs the village has been moved or destroyed, or 'not here' as in-"

"It looks like it was never there in the first place," Meiling answered.

Hm. That would point heavily towards some sort of illusion. Or perhaps regressing time to before the village existed, but you doubt that level of power exists, even in Gensokyo. "Any suspicions as to who could pull such a thing off?"

Everyone hesitates at that. After a pause, Meiling's voice comes from the book. "I don't know. I didn't think anyone had that power."

That didn't sound quite right, but as you thought, Sakuya spoke up. "This has happened once before. During the full moon incident, the village disappeared in similar fashion. Unfortunately, my lady and I did not encounter the culprit at the time."

"Isn't the obvious answer Eientei, then?" Patchouli asked. "If they can hide the moon, hiding a village must be child's play."

Everyone's nodding along, even Satori... and looking at her, you don't think she's bluffing. Except, didn't she tell you about someone capable of hiding history? Cain? Conner? Keine! That was it. Given Satori spent most of her time underground, you doubt Keine was all that hidden.

"Eirin is responsible enough to think of such a thing," Sakuya muses. "But if it is them, that will make things difficult. They will hardly volunteer the information to us."

It's not the most subtle question, but if you're right, that won't matter. You turned and addressed Satori. "What do you think, Satori? About Eientei being involved, I mean."

"What?" She's taken aback. Surprised, a little confused. "I didn't pick up anything from them while I was there, but Reisen was able to trump your illusions, so there's at least some ability in that direction."

They don't know. They really don't know.

"Do you have an idea?" Sakuya asked you.

[-] "Eientei might not reveal the human village, but what if it was someone else asking?" If you can get to Eientei, you can probably try pulling off something.
[-] "Eientei's a red herring. I heard about a youkai who specializes in hiding history. I suspect she hid both the village and her own existence. Fortunately, I'm an expert in illusions, if you let me examine the effect, I can probably break it." It's better to cooperate, both for your own sakes, and because you feel a little responsible for Remilia.
[-] "Eientei's a red herring. I heard about a youkai who specializes in hiding history. I suspect she hid both the village and her own existence. Fortunately, I'm an expert in illusions, if you let me examine the effect, I can probably break it." There were a number of powerful youkai (and humans) in and around the human village. The odds of being able to sneak a message to someone there are pretty good.
[-] "No. It was just an idle thought." Let them do whatever they want. You know the binding on you isn't perfect. If you can get more time unsupervised. maybe you can figure out a better workaround.
[?] If there's something else you want to add to the discussion, now is the time.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] "Eientei might not reveal the human village, but what if it was someone else asking?" If you can get to Eientei, you can probably try pulling off something.
Delete Post
Report Post
Okay, everyone, route split.
>fool everyone
Screw over SDM, escape with a burning gas trail behind us. Super dead if we ever decide to slow down on our escape attempts. Because there is no countermeasure, Yukari can just kill us at any point if she ever wants to shikigami us for free. Both of Greg and Satori are non-combat characters and need to link up to Sumi and Former Hell to do anything. The Burning Gas Trail will mean that we're getting the ISC treatment and can't actually deliver on our promises to help anyone.
>no its keine lamo
SDM side, Stockholm Syndrome. Get to the bottom of this, but not only do we risk the vampire doing the vampire thing (on the only human around who's conveniently to blame), but Yukari also actually gets mad. In addition, history manipulation is different from illusion. After getting to the village, revealing it with illusions will fail as history manipulation is unrelated to illusion. Keine then must be fought as an encounter.

After weighing just how bad each route gets, I'll go with Stockholm Syndrome. We can't win without getting SDM on our side because our opponents this time are, if we count them:
-Tanuki that laid the power stone trap (Mamizou probably)
-Most of everyone else who thinks it's a good idea for a power boost
Even beating the first two is already impossible for just Sumi and Greg. It's not possible to do this without making desperate with getting allies. Greg's power is utility, not combat. That power is rolling a Charisma check really really high. If we stop using that at any point, the burning gas trail catches up.

[x] "Eientei's a red herring. I heard about a youkai who specializes in hiding history. I suspect she hid both the village and her own existence. Fortunately, I'm an expert in illusions, if you let me examine the effect, I can probably find her. Once you beat her, the village is restored." It's better to cooperate, both for your own sakes, because you feel a little responsible for Remilia. And because of a mad hope of getting more allies.
Delete Post
Report Post
[x] "Eientei might not reveal the human village, but what if it was someone else asking?" If you can get to Eientei, you can probably try pulling off something.
Delete Post
Report Post
[X] "Eientei's a red herring. I heard about a youkai who specializes in hiding history. I suspect she hid both the village and her own existence. Fortunately, I'm an expert in illusions, if you let me examine the effect, I can probably break it." There were a number of powerful youkai (and humans) in and around the human village. The odds of being able to sneak a message to someone there are pretty good.
Delete Post
Report Post
I normally write very long posts weighing each option but >>204519 has already perfectly encapsulated my thoughts, so my vote goes to playing nice with the SDM.

A few extra points, however:

Keine hid the village because of all the turmoil, but it's not guaranteed that we'll end up fighting her if we're just there for info.
Granted, she's shown in IN that she's more than willing to just deny entry to all for the sake of the village.
Just saying that with Greg's Charisma score we could avoid a fight there potentially.

I agree that Greg's ability probably wouldn't work, but he seems to believe that Keine's ability is rooted in illusions so I see no reason for him to doubt himself there.
If and when he fails he can just admit he gave it a try and guessed wrong, they can hardly blame him for that.
But to immediately call out the actually correct way to fix the problem borders a little too much on metagaming, in my opinion.

As for whether to play it completely straight or try to get a message out...
Since this would be our first time properly out and about since getting kidnapped, I highly doubt we won't be watched extremely closely.
It's simply too risky to try anything now.
Better to play it cool now and pull stuff later if necessary.

[-] "Eientei's a red herring. I heard about a youkai who specializes in hiding history. I suspect she hid both the village and her own existence. Fortunately, I'm an expert in illusions, if you let me examine the effect, I can probably break it." It's better to cooperate, both for your own sakes, and because you feel a little responsible for Remilia.
Delete Post
Report Post
[x] "Eientei's a red herring. I heard about a youkai who specializes in hiding history. I suspect she hid both the village and her own existence. Fortunately, I'm an expert in illusions, if you let me examine the effect, I can probably break it." It's better to cooperate, both for your own sakes, and because you feel a little responsible for Remilia.
Delete Post
Report Post
This actually brings to mind something else:
How does Greg remember Keine?

If she hid her own existence so that Gensokyans wouldn't search her out for the dissappearance; how does Greg still know?
Is it because he only heard of her in passing?
Is it because Keine wasn't concious of Greg as an individual and therefore couldn't affect him?
Or does it just not work on outsiders?

I don't know what the reason is, but it could be something more nefarious like Yukari mucking about with him.

Other theories include the SDM messing with Greg to see if he'll jump at the Eientei distraction by playing dumb about Keine.
Satori's reaction seemed a little to genuine for something like this to be the case, though.

Or maybe, just maybe, Greg has some secret talent or power that has protected his memory.
Maybe it's what Yukari's been hinting at all the while: about him not being as nice as he appears.

Food for thought.
Delete Post
Report Post
I'd prefer the Greg villain arc to another Yukari did it incident. Right now though, well. Too out of place.
Delete Post
Report Post
[-] "Eientei's a red herring. I heard about a youkai who specializes in hiding history. I suspect she hid both the village and her own existence. Fortunately, I'm an expert in illusions, if you let me examine the effect, I can probably break it." It's better to cooperate, both for your own sakes, and because you need to supress Satori's urge to punch Patchouli in the face through any means necessary feel a little responsible for Remilia.

As much as I want the Chireiden group to bust down the doors of the SDM, and smoke those two Vam-Tires and their goons (Though it would be a bit of a shame, honestly, as that would also mean taking Meiling out, and she's my favorite Touhou character.), I'm also gonna have to agree with >>204519.
Delete Post
Report Post
>This actually brings to mind something else:
>How does Greg remember Keine?

>If she hid her own existence so that Gensokyans wouldn't search her out for the dissappearance; how does Greg still know?

Keine hid the existence of the Human Village too, but the mansion residents still know it exists. Presumably, Greg remembers Keine's existence for the same reason. Apparently, Keine leaves a few crumbs behind when she eats the history of something.

[X] "Eientei's a red herring. I heard about a youkai who specializes in hiding history. I suspect she hid both the village and her own existence. Fortunately, I'm an expert in illusions, if you let me examine the effect, I can probably break it." There were a number of powerful youkai (and humans) in and around the human village. The odds of being able to sneak a message to someone there are pretty good.
Delete Post
Report Post
I think I figured out why Satori 'forgot' about Keine and Greg didn't.

As the SoUL gang visited the village under a veil it's highly likely that Keine is largely unaware of Greg. She for sure can't be aware of Satori telling Greg about her and her ability. This is assuming a full moon hasn't happened. There hasn't been a mention of it as far as I can remember.
Keine can't erase history she doesn't know (I'm assuming) and even if she could she would have to make a wild guess. Going and erasing history blindly before a full moon based on a guess would be a risk she wouldn't want to take.

In contrast Keine knows of everyone else, Sakuya, Satori, Patchouli and so on and their (shared) history and so would be able to erase said history without much trouble.
I even think that Keine purposely didn't erase the history of the Imperishable Night incident and the village's disappearance in order to lead the incident resolvers to Eientei by association to meet up with Eirin, someone who would be able to figure these things out by her wit alone. The fact that the whole shebang happened because of the lunarians is sheer happenstance which would undoubtedly aid in the incident resolution.

Tidepiss inbound.

[x] "No. It was just an idle thought." Let them do whatever they want. You know the binding on you isn't perfect. If you can get more time unsupervised. maybe you can figure out a better workaround.
-[x] Whenever the opportunity arises, let Satori read your mind, specifically remembering her telling you about Keine.
[x] If there's something else you want to add to the discussion, now is the time.
-{x}Now that there's a break from the tension, maybe it's a good opportunity to ask Sakuya about what happened to Sumireko. You haven't heard any mention of her whereabouts.

IF I'm right and Keine erased the history pertaining to her ever meeting the SDM crew, they won't believe Greg either way. He'd have to prove her existence to them somehow.
Delete Post
Report Post
[-] Tell them Eientei's a red herring. It's better to cooperate, both for your own sakes, and because you feel a little responsible for Remilia.

You're pretty sure your hunch is correct. You don't have hard evidence, but the fact that Keine's existence has been forgotten at the same time the village disappeared is too much to ignore. The problem is, you can't prove it. The only evidence Keine exists is your own memories, and the only one who could verify that is Satori. But all the same... if you're right, and you let them blunder into Eientei, that's going to end badly. First for them, and shortly afterwards for you and Satori.

"I think Eientei is bait," you told them. Taking a deep breath, you charged forwards. "I heard about a youkai who specializes in hiding history. Keine. I suspect she hid both the village and her own existence."

No one reacted to the name. "Why do you think she hid her own existence?" Sakuya asked.

"From what I remember, she wasn't exactly hidden. She was a schoolteacher in the village. And given Remilia's problem, I'd assume someone capable of affecting history would have been your first priority."

Sakuya seems lost in thought, while Patchouli rolls her eyes. "Really," she said. "You do all realize the problems with this theory?"

"I assume you're referring to the difficulty in proving it."

"Not just that. The village may be missing, but its existence is no secret. We clearly remember it. Why would her ability work completely differently in concealing herself?"

"A question of power, probably," you said. "An entire village is a lot more to hide than just one person. Would Gensokyo's existence even make sense without the human village?"

Patchouli shook her head. "Perhaps. But even if we grant the existence of a youkai who can hide her existence from all Gensokyo, why would you alone remember it?"

"I'm not sure," you admitted. "It could be my affinity for illusions, because I'm not from Gensokyo, or even because Satori used hypnosis to dig through my memories earlier. Without knowing more about the effect, I can't really narrow it down."

"So what?" Meiling asked. "What's it matter if she exists if we can't find her?"

"Who cares about finding Keine? The point is that the village itself hasn't been moved or destroyed, just hidden. And, speaking as an expert in illusions, if you let me examine the effect, I can probably break it, or at least figure something out."

"If this youkai does exist, her ability could be quite useful," Sakuya said. "Finding her may well be worthwhile."

Patchouli turned towards the maid, shocked. "Are you actually considering this? He is suggesting an impossible-to-dectect actor, one that only he is aware of, and that for a reason he cannot explain! I literally cannot invent a more suspicious idea."

Sakuya nodded, turning back to you. "While I'm prepared to consider anything, she makes a valid point. Greg. Do you have any evidence of this?"

You hesitated, thinking furiously. That was the real problem, wasn't it? You didn't. Given the memory wiping scenario, you didn't see how getting evidence was even possible. But admitting that was better than trying to invent something. "No. Satori could check by reading my memories, but somehow I doubt you'll accept that."

Maybe there'd be some breadcrumbs of Keine's existence sticking around? Sakuya sighed. "Indeed. Then in that case-"

"To repeat Meiling's question, so what?" Everyone turned to Satori, who rolled her eyes. "You're all missing the forest for the trees. By all means, forget Keine. Assume she doesn't exist, or can't be found, or was secretly Yukari the whole time - it doesn't matter. Greg's actual suggestion was to magically examine where the village should be!"

You snapped your fingers. "Right! If something that size was moved or destroyed, even by magic, there should be signs of it. Energy, especially that much of it, can't just appear or disappear on a whim."

Satori picked up where you left off. "And you know returning to Eientei is extremely dangerous at best. There's a reason Sakuya fled the scene before Eirin could show up the first time."

"Just how dangerous is Eirin, anyway?" you asked. "I thought she was just some medical genius."

The question is bait. You're already aware that Eirin's strength is significant even by Gensokyo's standards. But the thing is, when someone asks a question, the natural tendency is to think of answers to it... such as Eirin being literally immortal, or already having good reason to be hostile.

Satori gives you an aside glance, but thankfully doesn't fill the silence, because there's a pause as everyone else considers it.

"She's basically Kaguya's version of Sakuya", Meiling eventually said. "Handles basically everything and rules her domain with an iron fist. The relentlessly hyper-competent type."

The maid looked a little taken aback at that.

"Really?" you asked. "I was only there for a few minutes, but the rabbits seemed pretty lackadaisical."

You could practically hear Meiling shrug. "Well, Eirin's pretty relaxed about unimportant details, and they're more Tewi's thing anyway."

Koakuma's gave the communication book a curious look. "How do you know all that anyway?"

"I chat with Reisen sometimes! She actually stops by the gate, unlike some people."

Huh. You'd forgotten that Gensokyo, despite seeming larger than life, was also in some ways a small world. How well did Sakuya know all the people she'd been fighting lately? Just how personal were the bridges she'd been burning for even a chance at helping Remilia? You shook your head. Not the issue at present. "Regardless, the point is, Eirin and the rest of Eientei aren't going anywhere, but trying to get information out of them would be difficult and dangerous."

Also pointless, but you can't prove that. "Even if I'm wrong about the human village, and a magical examination yields nothing, you can always try Eientei then. The worst that could happen is a small loss of time."

Sakuya hummed, tapping her fingers on the table. "Patchouli, thoughts?"

The mage hesitated, looked at you and Satori, then sighed. "The logic is sound. Having a proper mage examine the village's disappearance first is only sensible."

You're caught a little off guard. You'd expected Patchouli to protest out of sheer contrariness, but that makes things convenient. "Exactly. Illusions are my specialty, and given that I'm pretty sure the effect is illusory in nature, I'm pretty sure I can figure something out."

Patchouli snapped her fingers. "I said a proper mage. I'll go."

[-] To be continued.

((Apologies for the delay. It turns out playing tennis almost daily is great for fitness, but really bad about leaving me with spare energy for writing. I'd have liked to get to another choice point, but I'll settle for updating at all at this point.))
Delete Post
Report Post
>"I said a proper mage. I'll go."
Whoa. Satori's crit really got to her, huh?
Delete Post
Report Post
>Whoa. Satori's crit really got to her, huh?
Awww. Is the wittle Pachoowe feeling insecure?

>I chat with Reisen sometimes! She actually stops by the gate, unlike some people.
I always did imagine Meiling and Reisen would get along, what with their respective masters and/or co-workers always treating them like garbage and such.

>It turns out playing tennis almost daily is great for fitness, but really bad about leaving me with spare energy for writing.
You play tennis? Hey, that's pretty cool! NGL

Anyways, enough of that. Looking forward to the next update! I'll see you then.
Delete Post
Report Post
Why is Patchy being such a fat jerk? Is there anything we can do to make her less of a fat jerk?
Delete Post
Report Post
People tend to be jerks under stress, and given all the problems that occurred and plus Satori's targeted roasting of insecurities, she has a lot of reason to not be in a diplomatic mood.

Also, her expertise, which she literally became a youkai in the pursuit of, was called into question.

Maybe when Remilia is cured and her insecurities are less on her mind, she'll be less 'jerkish', but for now, better to tolerate it. And even than, her default wasn't sociable in the first place.
Delete Post
Report Post
Well that explains the jerk part, but what about the fat part?
Delete Post
Report Post
>what about the fat part?
Not moving her butt from Voile for at least a hundred years? Either that or it's not that she's fat, but rather big-boned.
Image Source
Delete Image
Delete Post
Report Post
File 169117881896.png - (255.37KB, 544x222, Migratory Library.png)
Migratory Library
>Patchouli snapped her fingers. "I said a proper mage. I'll go."
Delete Post
Report Post
Damn she really did Greg like that
Delete Post
Report Post
Oh, the sass from Patchy today.
Well, she has a point, from her point of view Greg is nothing more than a rank amateur.
A hobbyist, even.

I like that Meiling gets to chat with the more normal guests of the house.
Does make me feel a bit bad for the nicer inhabitants of the mansion's social interactions in the future, but that's how the cookie crumbles I suppose.

All this bridge burning reminded me of something.
How did they rope Tenshi into this?
Clearly she's still on relatively good terms with the people here, with the assistance she's giving.

I'm starting to think that Greg's reason for remembering Keine could just be the mundane and practical option.
Because he's "just" a human.
If a normal human, outsider or not would forget why the village is gone they'd be dead in the water if they happen to be outside.
The human village is one of the few actually safe places in the entirety of Gensokyo so any new arrivals would have no real hope of surviving without that anchor.
Of course, that requires having knowledge of Keine before the wipe happened, so maybe not.
It'd at least partially explain why Sakuya was excluded, as she's powerful enough to stand at the side of a vampire.
Whatever it is, we'll find out eventually.
Delete Post
Report Post
[-] Wait, who's going?

Patchouli's declaration got a reaction out of everyone else present. The mansion's residents mostly contained theirs, likely not wanting to seem too shocked. Satori didn't bother. "Wait, seriously?"

"Is it that unusual for her to visit the village?" you asked.

Satori smirked. "There's a reason she's known as the unmoving great library."

"A pattern borne from preference, not necessity." Patchouli said, icily.

"Oh, really. How's the asthma?"

Patchouli glared at her, and the books on the library shelves started rattling. "Not nearly as debilitating as you seem to think. Shall I prove it to you?"

"Satori, please!" you grabbed her arm. "Don't provoke her."

"Or what?" she replied, still smirking. "She's too self-controlled to do anything that will harm Remilia's chances, and any sort of injury would qualify."

"There are ways to hurt someone without lasting injury you warned."

Satori shook her head. "Even then, it would ruin their chance at cooperation from us, and that's more valuable to her than petty revenge. What, exactly, is she going to do?"

Satori kept her self-satisfied smirk as she stared at Patchouli, even as a book levitated over her head... right up until the point where it opened and dumped a few gallons of water on her.

It was Patchouli's turn to be smug. "You shouldn't need to be a mind reader to see that coming."

Satori glared back at her, opened her mouth, and got another impromptu shower for her trouble.

"Normally we'd just let them fight it out with danmaku," Meiling commented, "but we don't have time for that."

Sakuya rolled her eyes, drumming her fingers against the table. "Now, if you're quite finished?"

"I suppose that might be sufficient."

"Good." Sakuya sighed, and looked Patchouli dead in the eyes. "Now, I'm sorry to ask this, but there's more than pride at stake here. Are you certain you're up to this?"

"I am not-" Patchouli snapped, then stopped, and forced herself to take deep breaths. "Today is a good day. My asthma will not be an issue."

"Then I won't question you further. Take Greg, and examine the site as you see fit."

"Do you really think that's necessary?"

Sakuya gave a small shrug. "He claims the effect lies in his area of expertise, and that he has some inexplicable resistance or immunity to it."

Patchouli shook her head. "That's not what concerns me. You know he'll be in far better position to attempt something away from the mansion."

Satori and I spoke at the same time, and glancing at her, I motioned for her to go ahead.

"If you've been paying attention, you should know Greg is no threat to you in danmaku." Satori said. "Asthma attack aside."

"As if a direct battle is the method he would use," Patchouli said. "Subterfuge is a far better fit for his personality and skillset."

"Even so, I wouldn't just leave Satori here!" you interjected, glancing at Satori and silently willing her to stop sniping at the mage.

"So you say."

"What do I have to do?!" your fist hit the table. "If I wanted to 'attempt something', as you put it, don't you think Yukari would have been the perfect chance? Did you even know she was there before I told you?"

"No. But Yukari's offer is irrelevant here. Even aside from your personal animosity towards her, becoming her shikigami would in effect be your death, something you are well aware of."

"Oh, so now you'll accept that I'll hate her."

Patchouli gave you a cold look. "In case you haven't realized, my goal here is to see my friend restored. To that end, I am prepared to discuss and investigate every possibility, from the magic involved to the participants' roles and motives. The best liars tell mostly the truth. Your best strategy for escape is to cooperate up until you finally make the attempt. As such, the benefit of the doubt is something you cannot purchase, and that we cannot afford to give you."

You glare at her, stymied. The logic is sound. That's the entire problem. The logic is sound and she just explicitly stated she's going to suspect literally everything you do. You can outmaneuver her socially, make her look like an ass, but if anything it'll make her more stubborn, and she's your magical jailer. Damn!

"Be that as it may," Sakuya finally says, "Time is of the essence. Yukari made at least one valid point in that it's a matter of time before Reimu or another group pays us a visit, and I think the risk from a delay is worse than the risk of whatever Greg might pull. Take whatever precautions you feel you must, but take him and go."

Patchouli gives a grudging nod, as the maid turns to the communication book. "Meiling, you stay in the area and wait for them. There's little for you to do at the mansion at present."

"Sure, but don't you want me to guard Satori?" Meiling asked.

"She'll be with me", Sakuya said. "Like I said, time is of the essence, and the sooner we fetch Chen, the sooner we can ask a few questions of her master."

[-] To be continued.

So, because splitting the party once just wasn't enough, we're about to have Greg and Satori split up as well. I do have some ideas to keep these two branches a bit more connected, but I also want to get some reader sentiment here. Are you more interested in Satori + Sakuya (and probably Tenshi) catnapping Chen, or Greg + Patchouli/Meiling figuring out what's going on at the human village? It's also worth noting that while the catnapping could happen largely offscreen depending on interest, there's some aspects of what's going on with the human village that are important to directly show.

[-] Follow Satori, kidnap the cat.
[-] Follow Greg, find the village.
[-] Interested in both.
Image Source
Delete Image
Delete Post
Report Post
File 169207846142.jpg - (798.20KB, 1257x1675, IMG_20230815_073327.jpg)
Unless there's gonna be some fun hijinks happening in the Chen kidnapping, I don't think it needs to be shown right away. But maybe as an POV Interlude or retelling (depending on interest) later down the line, when Satori tells Greg about it?

[x] Follow Greg, find the village.
-[x] Interested in both, though.

Now to the important issue; what change of clothes will Satori be given to wear on the trip out?
Delete Post
Report Post
[x] Follow Greg, find the village.
Any excuse for some Misuzu screentime is fine by me!
-[x] Interested in both, though.

-[x] Have Satori non-verbally threaten Patchy before they leave
I'll stop now. lol
Delete Post
Report Post
[x] Follow Greg, find the village.
something something off-camera charisma rolls bad
Delete Post
Report Post
[x] Follow Greg, find the village.
-[x] Interested in both, though.

While both are interesting, I kind of want to see what will come from Patche and Greg working together. They definitely do not exactly have a good relationship going on, but still, it should be fun, especially with Meiling in the mix if she ends up going with them.
Delete Post
Report Post
Folks have already said all the salient points, so there's nothing for me to add there.

[x] Follow Greg, find the village.
-[x] Interested in both, though.

I wonder how Meiling will treat Greg, as she appears a lot more affable than her librarian counterpart.

At least she's with Sakuya. Patchy might've just denied her a change of clothes.
Delete Post
Report Post
also this isnt cute at all
improve thy skills
Delete Post
Report Post
>>204545 here.

It looks good to me.
I find it cool when people draw art of the stories I enjoy.
Delete Post
Report Post
[x] Follow Greg, find the village.
-[x] Interested in both, though.

Nothing to say that hasn't been said.
Delete Post
Report Post
In all honesty, personally I'm just happy to get fanart. It's one of those things that feels like a small milestone for the story, you know?

Regardless, seems like we've got consensus on having Greg's side of things be the main branch, and perhaps showing whatever parts of Satori/Sakuya's jaunt that are most interesting. Which is actually what I'd originally planned on, but it's good to have confirmation that that's what you guys want as well.
Delete Post
Report Post
Oh man, you should've checked out the drawthread. I've already made some pictures explicitly referencing scenes of the story quite some time ago.
Some scenes just get me vividly visualising. Though actually they ain't really the ones I take to drawing, I rather go for the ones I think could be fun as a picture.

A bit of an lordly way to go about it, innit? If you're earnestly interested in facilitating improvements, point out specific shortcomings and/or expose ways to improve.

Thanks for the kind words. I also tought it was looking quite fine enough - wouldn't post it otherwise. I'm happy to show my appreciation for these stories in this way.
Delete Post
Report Post
1) it has no hat (important)
2) low femininity energy (very important)
3) low appeal (not as important)
4) low cuteness (medium important)
I like cute girls and I'm not afraid to show it
Delete Post
Report Post
[x] Follow Greg, find the village.
-[x] Interested in both, though.

My man Greg has -20 in luck I'm sure we're going to encounter some angry god or a force of nature
Delete Post
Report Post
Just a quick post here for those who haven't seen the other thread: I've been taking a break from USiL to write a quick Piper short story (https://www.thp.moe/youkai/res/31763.html) after a prompt from the writing advice thread caught my fancy. It has no story relevance beyond exploring a bit more of a minor character's backstory, but I figured I should at least explain the delay here.

Anyway, as far as the next USiL update goes, my plan is to get back to this after I'm finished with the kappa short (which is another 2-3 updates to go), so it'll probably be around the end of September. As always, this is subject to change and random flashes of inspiration, but that's the plan.
[Return]  [Top]

- Took 0.04s -
Thread Watcher x
Reply toX