Thread 4 now. Today feel a little cramped, what with so many writers on with their threads.
You strain your eyes against the morning light. Despite having been totally drunk the night before, you feel fine today, which is a bit unusual. You expected a hangover, though you did get something unexpected. That being a young horned girl who apparently has decided that you make an excellent pillow. Suika, was it? Apparently Alice knows this girl, because you remember seeing her before. You slowly push Suika away, until you can pull yourself out, then go about finding Alice's dress and putting it back on. Marisa is still asleep, and has managed to kick off her covers in the night.
You look around, just barely able to remember the shrine. Not that there's much to remember, the inside is fairly barren, though one of the sliding doors is open. You make you way over to the door and find Reimu sitting where she was last night sipping tea once again. Doesn't she do anything else?
"Did you sleep well?" she asks, not turning around.
You did sleep well, despite the odd dream. Though now that you think about it, you realize that you're still Alice. Shouldn't you have changed bodies when you went to sleep?
"You should leave a donation if you enjoyed the night, it's the least you could do after all." Reimu says. You wonder if she always asks for donations, as most of Reimu's actions are an unknown element to Alice's memories you've attained. Maybe you'll come back later if you can remember, but it's not like you brought money with you.
"I'll have to get back to you on that." you say, not entirely sure you mean it. Reimu doesn't seem too interested either way as she continues to sip. You can't help but feel Reimu is quite boring, and you wonder why Marisa would come around to visit her. You don't try to understand Marisa's mind, though you feel one day you might need to. That's a question for another day. You step off the porch and into the air, floating away from the shrine.
"Don't do anything weird, Alice. People are watching." Reimu calls to you as you float away. You remember last night and how she confronted you, though Marisa said she did it to her too. Does she really know about you, or is she hoping to shake you into action? In any case, you're going to have to be careful anytime she's around. As for now though, you have nothing to do.
 Go home and return to studying  Find something else to do
Now that I think about it, Alice is actually a very good choice of body for learning how to do shit. She's normally a total shut in, so us sitting inside trying to figure magic out is completely normal.
Very much an ideal situation, and really one of the most important parts of being her. While other characters would be more exciting (at least I think so), Alice and Patchouli are really the best bets for sitting around learning how to shot web.
The Alice in you feels more obliged to go back home and get back to the books, and you really can't think of anything better yourself. Besides, Reimu did tell you not to do anything weird, so doing what Alice would do would be the least weird thing you'll have to put up with.
It takes you a few minutes to float down to Alice's house from the shrine in the mountains. When you do, you notice something you hadn't noticed before, a straw doll nailed to a tree. Granted, the tree is behind the house, but you probably still should have noticed before. You walk over to the tree to check it out, and as you do, you see another, and another. The closer you get to the back of the house, the more straw dolls you see, and they're all nailed to trees. Okay, that's a little weird. Does Alice do this? Did someone else do this? You feel a little unnerved looking at the portion of forest decorated with straw dolls. It reminds you of voodoo, but why would someone do it? You decide to go back inside, if only so you don't spend more time creeping yourself out in the forest.
Everything was just as you left it, including the doll you enchanted, which is standing up on the table.
Wait, standing? You're not that close, something must be inside that's causing it. You briefly think that it's because you left the door unlocked, but then you also remember the broken window. Right, you should probably get that fixed too, actually. There's nothing in sight in the house that seems to be triggering the doll, which occasionally shakes, making it look like it's shivering. You take a few steps towards the doll, and something flies past your head. A fly? The doll slumps limp on the table. A few seconds later, it shivers onto it's feet again. Well, mystery solved, though you wonder exactly what it is that makes the doll not dive after the fly. Maybe the fly is too small? You get the feeling you should try to look into this more, since it might affect how you proceed with research.
 Experiment with the doll's trigger  Focus on more magic for now
Knowing what sets off the doll would be a good thing to know, you figure. It might be easier to work out the rest of the spells if you can figure out what does and does not trigger a response. First though, you'll need some things to use. You spend a few minutes searching the house, picking up a variety of items, and even manage to find a small case filled with doll sized weaponry and shields, which you are surprised to find, but curious as to why you didn't remember in the first place.
Once you've gathered enough objects, you decide to get to experimenting. So far the doll has tackled a book and Marisa, so you'll start with smaller things. First up, a coin. You look at the doll, sitting now. Maybe the fly managed to take off out the window. You give the coin a toss towards the doll. The doll responds by standing, but the coin bounces harmlessly off the ground without much else. Alright, you pick up a larger coin, at least twice the size of the first, and give it a toss. Another shiver, but nothing else. The second coin was about the size of a quarter, and you hadn't found anything larger, so you move on to a new item, a key. It was fairly large as far as keys go, and it apparently is used for the lock on the doll's weapon case. You give it a toss. The doll shivers again, but much more obviously this time. Could it be close to another reaction? You don't really have that much that's a bit bigger than the key, the next item was a brush, but that's almost sure to cause a reaction.
You walk over and pick up the key, the doll shaking slightly when you step in close. At least you don't have to worry about it tacking you. You head back to the table and scrounge for a loose sheet of unused paper. After finding one, you place the key in the center and fold the paper around it until you have a fairly thick roll of paper, about as thick as a finger and maybe an inch longer. Should be good enough. You give the paperfinger a toss towards the doll, which responds by tackling it in mid air. Seems you've found the 'sweet spot' as it were, and you're actually surprised that it reacts to something so small. The question is now though if you should find a way to recreate the enchantment to react to smaller objects, or continue with research with this new knowledge, trying to find any way to incorporate this new finding.
 Decrease the reaction triggers size requirement  Continue with the rest of the research
Making it attack tiny things, while making for a good flyswatter, does nothing to help. Although, I am tempted to pick the other options so that we can figure out how to make different variables in the spell itself.
At least now that you know what size objects trigger a reaction, you can direct research a little easier. After all, the more specific a spell is, the easier it is to write and cast. A spell to detect all objects within a certain radius is unnecessary now, and as best now you can worry about making the doll more effective. What to work on next is giving you a bit of a hard time.
You already got the doll to react to objects nearby, but it still needs to be able to see it's surroundings, either physically or magically. It also needs to know how to react to different stimuli, because it won't help much to have an attack doll that dives into attacks. There's also the issue of giving it independant movement aside from a simple reaction. There's also the question of independant thought or reasoning to handle other activities. Being able to see it's surroundings and react as needed is only to keep it safe, the real trick would be figuring out how to create pseudo-sentient thought in an inanimate doll. Of all the options you have to follow, making it move under it's own power seems the easiest. That is, until you realize that it would need to be able to reason for itself why it needs to move. Hmm, perception and reaction would be good subjects to research, but the more you think about it, the more you realize that everything hinges almost entirely on the need for thought.
 Proceed with free movement research, even making it patrol mindlessly would be progress.  Look into perception options. It could be possible to program it to only tackle a specific object.  Study reaction options. Being able to understand and avoid danger is fundamental.  Try to find a method to create thought. It's the key to the whole project, but undeniably difficult.
I really hope we're writing notes on how we did this and what we're doing so that when we finally relinquish control of her body, Alice won't be at a complete loss as to how to do this again. It is her driving goal, after all, and to leave her with a prototype and no documentation would be a dick move. Also, an additional note saying "I kinda borrowed your body, and I'm sorry about that, and also about the big whole in your house, but I was able to realize your life's dream for you, so enjoy. Also, those books over there are Patchouli's, so don't keep them forever. Oh, and you gave her a hug, too."
[X] Study reaction options. Being able to understand and avoid danger is fundamental.
Being able to understand it's environment is best, and probably something that needs to be done. As it is now, the doll is likely to tackle something dangerous and damage itself. To prevent this, you figure it's best to get started on figuring out how to make sure it doesn't dive into something dangerous. Where to start though?
You flip through a few of the books you have on hand, looking for ways to detect the environment. Even though the doll won't be able to think for itself, having a rudimentary knowledge of danger would make tests in the future that much easier without having to worry about the doll floating into things it shouldn't. You come across a few incantations for spells to detect elements, and jot down a few notes on the spell. It might be handy to look into more later, but right now you just need as many ideas as possible. In the same book, you find a spell to detect magical energies. You write notes on that as well, though mostly out of curiosity. Switching to a new book, you only find one spell that seems to be of any use, a spell to see a moment into the future. You write a note to look into this as well, if even for your own uses.
Yet another book, and this time you find several useful spells. One to improve your speed, one to sense danger, and another to create anti-magic shields. You scribble down some notes and continue on. You search more books, but don't find much else of help aside from two spells that caught your eye, a spell to animate a doll and a spell to claim control of an enchantment. From looking into the doll animation spell, you can't help but wonder if this is the spell Alice used to gain control over her dolls in the first place, as the spell outlines how to enchant dolls to move according to the casters will. Why this is significant though, is you feel that if these dolls are enchanted with such a spell, then it might be possible to create a version of the enchantment control spell that gives control of the enchantment to the target, rather then the caster. You would be able to give the doll the will to move itself on it's own, assuming it even works.
With the research done for now, and several leads, you look through your notes and books and decide that the best course would be to combine several spells into one and see if it produces results. You choose Detect Elements as the base spell, since having the understanding of magic that you do, this would give you the best edge over most magical dangers.
 Detect Elements, Detect Magic  Detect Elements, Celerity  Detect Elements, Clairvoyance  Detect Elements, Sense Danger  Detect Elements, Spell Mantle  Try them all.  Try them all, and try to reverse engineer the Animate Doll spell.
 Continue with the rest of the research  Note down what you've learned about the trigger
Doesn't need to respond to anything smaller, it'd be cool to have it pluck flies from the air but it seems like a waste of time compared to getting it to do everything else. But we should write down our notes for later reference, not reason not to return to it later.
Sense Danger is probably the best bet since that is pretty much the purpose of this spell. As you set to work on writing the new spell, you occasionally refer to the notes you made to make the doll react to objects in the first place. It occurred to you that even if it could sense it's surroundings and detect them, it might not change how it reacted. If yu were able to make dolls, you wouldn't be as cautious, but you don't know how long you'll be in Alice's body, and you don't want to ruin all her dolls, but if one has to sacrifice itself for the sake of magic, then so be it.
As you write the spell, your mind begins to wander. This is something Alice has been working on herself. True, you'r ein her body and you're supposed to be her for now, but it all seems a little strange. Almost like it's too easy. You're new to the whole magic thing, and you're still making strides on research Alice has been theoretically working on for years. She couldn't have really been trying to find a solution this entire time but not be able to come to the same conclusions you did, could she? You remember back to the first spell you wrote, how it was barely legible, and the instructions on how to make it were completely unknown. Did she give up there? Or does she not know that it could be read if you are capable of doing it?
That doesn't make sense though, she should know these things because you know them. Is that really true? The idea that you might have a great capacity for magic, to understand things that Alice didn't strikes you as kind of odd. There's also the fact that you are completing her lifes work for her. While you're sure she would be thrilled to find the solution so suddenly when you leave her, you can't help but wonder if she would feel a little cheapened by the fact that she suddenly had the solution and did nothing to earn it. You go back to your notes. Well, you are keeping fairly detailed instructions on what you've been up to, so she could always look back through it. You take your mind of of that for now, no sense worrying about it yet. You're not even sure if you're onto a successful solution yet, and you might not be the one to complete her research afterall.
After an hour or so, you've completed the new spell. A custom work that combines a modified version of your Attack Doll spell with a field that detects elements and dangerous objects. It's still perfectly legible, so it's not out of your range, which kind of makes you feel like it won't work in some weird way. There's no way to know until you try it out at least.
"O, great force, I command you, allow this object the chance to react. To avoid harm from the dangers of the world, and respect the power of the elements." you recite, focusing the spell on the doll. Once again, the words on the page illuminate, and the page flutters from your hand. Multicoloured lights appear around your hand as you extend it towards the doll, focusing magical energy into your fingertips. The dancing lights float towards the doll and one by one and seem to absorb into it, each creating a new shade of it's own colour in a shining rainbow aura that slowly fades.
The spell seemed to cast no problem, but the question is if it works correctly. There's only one test you can imagine working. You walk over to the doll, which stands as you approach, and pick it up. You head towards the door, grabbing up a blank sheet of paper as you pass. You find a nice bare patch of dirt in front of the house and place the doll down. You take several steps back to exit it's trigger and it slumps to the ground. You crumple the paper, and create a small magical flame to light it. You wait until the fire has lit most of the ball, then toss it towards the doll.
The doll stands as you toss the ball, and you're given a momentary surprise as you expect the doll to tackle it. Instead, however, the doll just rattles a bit and while you didn't notice immediately, it had actually moved a short distance, and the flaming ball of paper landed directly in front of it. Despite the reaction, you can't help but feel it was a bit weak. You walk over to the doll, kicking the flaming paper aside as the last of it is burned away into ash. You pick it up and it stands on your hand. With your free hand, you create a ball of flame and move it towards the doll. As the ball of flame approaches, it simply shivers again, but this time you clearly see it move as it shifts to the side away from the flame, but doesn't leave your hand. The real surprise comes when it starts moving its way towards your arm as you move the ball of fire closer to your hand.
It's avoiding the fire, and it's also trying not to fall. It really seems that the spell is a success for it's purposes. The flame vanishes as you move your hand away, and the doll stands still once more, shaking occasionally. You bring it back inside and set it back on the table you had left it on. Whle you're glad it worked, you recall Alice again. You'd be glad to finish this research for her, but you can't help but feel that you'd be taking away something important in the process. You've already come so far, you have notes for everything you've done, as well as notes for more things to look into that should help you. She'll still have those when you leave, and with some basic steps done, all she has to do is finish the job.
 Continue work on the Automation spell  Leave the work as it is for Alice and move onto other things  Make more detailed notes branching into other leads, then move onto something else.
>While you're sure she would be thrilled to find the solution so suddenly when you leave her, you can't help but wonder if she would feel a little cheapened by the fact that she suddenly had the solution and did nothing to earn it. I'M IN DESPAIR! THIS SUDDEN REVELATION HAS LEFT ME IN DESPAIR! [x] Leave the work as it is for Alice and move onto other things Let's learn how to shot web.
You decide to continue with the spell research anyway. This is what Alice would do, and it's what you will do as her. You look over at the doll, sitting still on the table where you left it. It's held up pretty well so far and hasn't had too many issues accepting the magic.
"You've done pretty good, doll." you say aloud, as if to congratulate the doll. You feel a little weird addressing the doll, but all that fades when the doll shakes slightly as it sits. What was that? You don't think anything entered it's trigger. You dismiss the thought though, maybe there's another fly in the house and it just brushed the edge of the trigger range. You return to the notes and books, trying to decide the next course of action. So far you've made the doll react to dangers, and it attacks foreign objects. On that note, you realize an unchecked possibility. You grab one of the nearby unused books and toss it towards the doll. Same as always, it shook for a moment, then dove from the table to intercept it. So it doesn't consider falling objects a danger, and it didn't get pinned underneath the book either. Progress is going well, and you're quite pleased with the results. You take a moment to replace the doll on the table.
Now that attack and reaction have shown results, you still have free movement, perception and independant thought left. With the dolls ability to react to danger, and it's ability to detect objects within it's range, tests should be a little easier in the future. Which test will be coming next is the question.
 Work on free movement now, see if you can make it wander around a path.  Maybe perception would be best to work on now, help it see other things it can't detect.  The mind is essential, I can't finish the research without this step.
[X] Maybe perception would be best to work on now, help it see other things it can't detect.
We need to do the mind last. It'd be very disorienting for the thing to become intelligent without having basic senses. Hell, if it doesn't have them when it becomes intelligent it might actually be incapable of gaining them, then we'd have made some kind of poor cripple doll.
[X] Maybe perception would be best to work on now, help it see other things it can't detect.
You should probably work on helping it gain senses now, and this is really a pretty easy step. The only issue being that you need to have specially crafted eyes in order for the magic to work correctly. That's when you feel you've hit your first major obstacle. Are you supposed to make them yourself? Well, that would be kind of a nuisance, since you're not a dollmaker. Maybe you don't have to make them yourself though, there might be a shortcut you can take. Your head hurts a little bit, and you figure it's from spending all the time you have sitting in a dark house reading despite the fact it's still morning.
In any case, you don't have any existing knowledge of these eyes, though you do know that Patchouli knows, as she was the one that mentioned them. You also remembered that you happened to give her a little token of thanks, and now you're a little embarrassed thinking back to it. You don't know how she will react if you see her again, you just hope she won't refuse to help you, or that would likely be the end of the road for you. Then again, you know Marisa also has a load of junk laying around her house and boasts about her 'Magic Shop'. You might be able to find something there, and if not for the doll, then something interesting none the less.
 Go see if Patchouli will help you  Go see what you can take from Marisa, for once.
[X] Go see what you can take from Marisa, for once.
>Your head hurts a little bit, and you figure it's from spending all the time you have sitting in a dark house reading despite the fact it's still morning. Suuuuuure it is. And the doll reacting to our praise was just a reaction to a fly we missed. Of course.
[X] Go see what you can take from Marisa, for once.
Marisa is always taking things from Alice, so why not collect on a long overdue debt? You decide to head over to her house to see what she has 'for sale'. You leave the house, closing the door behind you, and take to the air.
Marisa actually lives pretty close to Alice's house, so it only takes you around a minute to reach the house. It's a fairly large looking place, and you can see lights on inside. You wonder if she's home, and decide to check by knocking on the door. After a few minutes pass with no response, you decide to check the door. Locked? That's kind of funny, actually. You decide to try Marisa's apparent favourite and check the windows. All locked as well? Well, I guess it takes a thief to know a thief, but you're not going to let something like a lock discourage you, you return to the front door. As opposed to Alice, Marisa's locks do have keyholes, so you take advantage of this design flaw by putting a finger against the lock and taking a moment to focus. There is a small flash of light and when you pull your finger away, a thin trail of smoke streams from the keyhole. The knob, now quite warm to the touch, turns easily and you push the door open. As it turns out, you realize that very trick is the reason Alice no longer uses locks with keyholes.
Yous tep inside and are immediately overwhelmed. There is literally stuff everywhere. There are tables and counters nearly buried in random objects. Books, papers, clothing, various bottles, staves, trinkets... It's unlike anything you've ever seen before. You immediately feel you could spend years looking through this room alone, and the farther into the house you go, the more you realize that there is more junk. Still, there's got to be some things of value in here, and if she has this much stuff, she has to have at least something interesting. You wouldn't put it past her to have the eyes you're looking for either.
You take a quick look around the house to see if she's home. Doesn't look like it, and the lights you saw were msotly in her kitchen, or at least what looks like it was supposed to be a kitchen. You can't really tell, because you find some things that look like food stored next to vials of glowing liquids. It looks more like a lab then a kitchen, and the main source of light is a small fire burning beneath a large cauldron filled with some kind of weird, deep green sauce of some kind. The smell is unreal, and just being in here makes you feel like you're going to fall over. Maybe Marisa really does make some kind of weird drugs. You leave the kitchen and return to what you assume to be a living room. The only things not covered in junk is a single table and chair, and the table seems to contain several books and papers. You almost instantly recognize the notes she took from you, and notice a few more notes as well you realize matches the rest of Alice's writing. She must have taken these before.
While you look at the table, something catches your eye in the junk piled everywhere. It looks like some kind of handle of a sword, and it's piled under several books and papers. It looks pretty old, but it also looks extremely out of place.
 Check out the sword  Ignore it, keep searching
EZMode: 'You see an old sword in Marisa's magical garbage' "FUCK THAT SHIT SWORDS ARE GAY" 'I lol'd.' EZMode: Thank you Anon, passing up incredible historical artifact weapons is one of the best ways to guarantee you have no options when you get to a Bad End. :D
The sword looks like it's made of bronze to begin with. It doesn't look like anything worthwhile, you decide to ignore it and continue.
Despite your searching none of the stuff really seems all that valuable or interesting. Anything that does seem interesting doesn't have any real obvious use that can't be checked without testing. You find a few short sticks that look like some kind of wants, with engraving and markings etched into their surfaces. A stuffed monkey hand balled into a fist, some kind of ventrioquist doll with a broken jaw, a few cracked bottles, whatever these things were being kept for, they sure look like garbage to you, but if she wants to stack trash, as long as it's not in Alice's house you don't mind.
As you rummage through the junk, you notice a book laying on top of another pile. Some really strange looking thing that looks like it's bound in leather. You notice a strip of paper wrapped around it several times with 'DO NOT TOUCH' written on it. You're curious as to why the paper is wraped aorund it, and you think you get the idea when you turn the book over and see what appears to be a human face stretched across the cover. That's about when you realize the book is probably bound in human flesh. Well yeah, definitely seems like something you wouldn't want to touch, but you can't help but wonder why you're not supposed to. You do get the feeling you've seen this book somewhere before though, you just can't remember where.
You don't even feel like you should be holding it, so you stick it back on top of the junk. You decide to put a nearby apron covered in some kind of green stain over it. Just in case. You look back over at the sword handle sticking out of the pile of junk. You just can't figure out why Marisa would keep something like this. You pull it out a bit, and notice that it's wrapped in some kind of crude leather sheath. You carefully extract the sword from the pile, drawing it slightly. Definitely made of bronze, a single edged blade, though it very dull and has several pits and marks in it. It looks like it's been around for hundreds of years, but compared to almost everything else it actually looks like it might be worth something. Marisa must keep everything for a reason, and if she's keeping a weapon, it must be something important to her. You decide to take it, see if she even notices. You could probably always sell it later, if you ever actually need money.
You return to your exploration of the Kirisame Garbage Dump, and don't find too much else. A small box filled with an assortment of rings and pendants, the most bizarre being a set of five rings, each with a symbol of a different element, except for the fifth, which bears a heart symbol. You kind of wish you had the forethought to think of some way to identify magical items, since you're unsure if you're supposed to be able to feel if they're magical or not, but so far everything seems fairly mundance, if not a little strange looking from time to time. You put the jewelery box back and head over to a small shelving unit filled with similar small boxes and the occasional book. As you go through the boxes, they seem to be nothing more than assorted collections of miscellaneous objects. Coins, keys, buttons, teeth? One box contains what looks like crystal shards. You open another fairly larger box and find yourself looking at about two dozen glass eyes of various colours. Okay, she does have glass eyes, but you're not sure if they're the kind you need or not. You kind of doubt that they're anything special, as these boxes seem to be mostly useless items, but you could still take a pair just to be safe.
 Green  Blue  Brown  Black  Red  Yellow  Let's be heterochromatic and take two different eyes - Pick colours
You decide on red and green, because they have better contrast with each other. You slip the pair of eyes into a pocket at your side and close the box, pushing it back into position. You take another look around at the mess. As much as you'd like to try to find something absolutely amazing, seems you're going to have to make due with an old damaged sword and a pair of mismatched eyes. You briefly consider taking back your notes as well, but you decide that if Marisa comes looking for the sword, you can always make her trade them back.
You head out of the house and close the door behind you, leaving to go back home. Along the way, you think back to what Patchouli said. Specially prepared eyes, though does that mean the eyes themselves have to be magical, or is there something that can be done with normal glass eyes? In either case, you're not sure whether or not you're good to go, since she hadn't been too clear on what needs to be done. You could probably find out in one of the books, but you're already outside now, so if you should go ask, it's probably best to do it now.
 Go get more information from Patchouli  You probably have something at home
This is the last post for tonight. I was considering maybe writing one more, but I was halfway through writing the explanation when I noticed I had made at least 7 typos, so my writing quality will only continue to decrease (like it has far to go lol).
Have a better chance at doing it right? Or fumble blindly in the darkness? Gee. I wonder which is the better idea.
 Go get more information from Patchouli
'present' or no, Patchi seems to have the key pieces of information that Alice has been missing. Best to get her help, despite any other awkwardness there may be. Unless, you know, she kills us on sight.
There's no saying it will follow you. It would be up to you to find it again if/when you switch bodies. You could always stick it somewhere though if you're about to swap and then go back for it and avoid the whole weird hassle of taking something from someone you might not have any other reason to talk to.