You look at Youmu and Aya, who have been silent since Yukari's invasion. They look back at you with lost expressions. You wave for the two to follow you and you excuse yourself from the building. Outside, you can still hear Yukari and Eiki arguing over this and that. Komachi seems to have followed you in the process. "So, what do we do now?" You ask nobody in particular. "Dunno, but I'm sticking with you. You still have to take responsibility." Aya sits on your pack, looking down at you. "Responsibility?" You question her, not completely sure what you're supposed to be responsible for. "I'll talk about it with you later." She looks away, pouting again. "From what I can tell, nobody's even sure that this creature does even exist. We may truly be on a wild goose chase, as Yamada mentioned earlier." Youmu sits down in the grass. For the time being, let's sit down and work out a plan." "Yamada?" Komachi looks at Youmu with a strange expression. "Who's Yamada?" "Your boss. I've shortened 'Yamaxanadu' because it's difficult to say." "Very well, we shall refer to her as Yamada from this day forth." Komachi laughs, formally attaching the designation to Eiki. "In any case, I believe it may be necessary to converse with the forest locals. The youkai that live there may be dull, but they'll know a dragon when they see one. We need to locate the individual or group of individuals that reported the dragon in the first place." Youmu taps the sheath of her longer sword, possibly a gesture of thought. Aya jumps off your back, sitting next to you. "So why not try the human village? They're out in the middle of everything, so someone there must have seen it." "Do you want to get strung up and gutted by a youkai extermination party?" Youmu removes her had from her sword. "Geh, I forgot about that." Aya hangs her head. "I may not have mentioned it earlier, but I did stop by the village while it was abandoned. The only thing I found were a couple of guards and an ice fairy." You remember your first experience here. "I didn't see any sign of a dragon." "Did you see anything strange at all?" Youmu raises an eyebrow at you. "Come to think of it, the guards tried to chase me, and then they disappeared while I was hiding from them. No trace or anything." "Rumia." "Mystia." Aya and Youmu speak at the same time, as if pointing out a suspect. "Right, and there was also this incredibly ill-tempered white rabbit.." "Tewi." "Tewi." Aya and Youmu's voice overlap again, this time in agreement. "And that was about it." "Hey, we could always try *that* place." Aya brings up another point of interest. "You don't mean..." Youmu answers. "Yeah, *that* place." "Ugh, I hate dealing with their type. That high and mighty attitude of theirs frustrates me. No thanks, count me out." "Hey, what's *that* place?" You ask. "Let's just leave it be." Youmu waves off your question. She doesn't seem to want to talk about it. "You're the team leader here, you decide where to start."
[ ] Go back inside the house [ ] Go to the fork in the road in front of the Hakurei shrine [ ] Go to the big house mentioned by Cirno [ ] Find locals living in the forest [ ] Wander aimlessly [ ] Head to the human village
Snake waited. The stars above him blinked and sparked out of the air. There were dragons in Gensokyo. He didn't see them, but had expected them now for years. His warnings to Yukarin were not listenend to and now it was too late. Far too late for now, anyway. Snake was Special Forces for four years. When he was young he watched the airplanes and he said to dad "I want to jump off the plane daddy." Dad said "No! You will BE GAP BY YOUKAI" There was a time when he believed him. Then as he got oldered he stopped. But now in the world of the Gensokyo he knew there were dragons. "This is Yukkuri" the radio crackered. "You must find the dragons!" So Snake gotted his danmaku rifle and blew up the wall. "HE GOING TO KILL US" said the dragons "I will unexist at him" said the dragon lord and he erased the records. Snake shotted at him and tried to blew him up. But then the ceiling fell and they were trapped and not able to kill. "No! I must kill the dragons" he shouted The radio said "No, Snake. You are the lizard" And then Snake had Aya for dinner.
Poor, poor, naive little Snake... Don't you realize this is all part of a clever scheme of the Japs to collect your vastly superior genetic material so they can make an army of supersoldiers to take over the world!?
"Well, as much I want to check out *that* place, I think our best bet would be to start searching the forest." Youmu makes a suggestion, "If that's the case, then there's a witch and a useless shopkeeper who have taken up residence there." She pauses for a second. "I feel like I'm forgetting something." Aya nods, "Yeah, I get the feeling you left something out too. It's probably not important." As he says this, you could swear you heard the lamenting cries of a young woman, but it's probably not important. You shrug. Komachi raises a hand. "Hey, before you leave, lemme grab something out of my house." She runs inside the building where you can still hear Yukari and Eiki arguing over nothing and everything. She comes back out a few minutes later with a small device in her hand. "Here ya go!" She puts it in your palm. "Uh, thanks. What is it?" "Oh, right, you've never seen a cell phone before. All the death gods and judges have 'em so they can communicate on the job." She points to a small button on the front of the machine. "This here'll turn it on. If you run into some sort of trouble and really need assistance, you can call the number I've programmed into it." "And here I thought you were a slacker." She laughs, "I'll take that as a compliment." She looks back towards her house. "They'll be in there a while, so you shouldn't wait for them. The sooner you get going the better." She pushes you in the direction you cane from. "The forest is huge, so try to stay on the paths." "Yeah, I'm sure I'll be fine. Thanks for the... thing." You wave to her and begin the journey back into the forest. You follow the creek bed back in the direction you came. Almost as soon as you leave the field of flowers, Youmu stops you. "We should set up camp here for the night." You look around, it's not late at all. "It doesn't look that late out, why stop here?" "Camping out in the forest is a bad idea. The place is crawling with animal youkai. Most of them have a taste for humans. I'd rather not sleep in that, would you?" "Uhh, no. I wouldn't. Let's stay here, then." Komachi's cabin is also within walking distance, you note. You drop your pack from your shoulders and examine the contents. Everything you brought initially is still there, but a few items seem to have worked their way into your stuff. You now have in your inventory:
1 Black headband (Equipped, +3 badass skill) 1 Camouflage BDU (Equipped, +50% Index in woodlands) 1 Nitori rifle (Infinite ammunition, powered by IMAGINATION) 1 Dark grey camouflage BDU (Unknown effect, note attached) 1 Damascus knife (Note attached) 1 Compass (Note attached) 1 Length of rope 1 Entrenching tool (Sharpened) 10 Hand grenades (Unknown type) 1 Customized M1911A1 pistol 1 Gear bag (In use) 2 Pictures 6 Spare M1911 mags 1 Butterfly pendant (Equipped, unknown effect) 9 Canned food 1 Mess kit 1 Camouflage paint kit (+50% Index in woodlands) 1 Small tent (3 people max capacity)
You set up the tent and prepare to camp out for the night. You have several hours until nightfall, enough time to tie up any loose ends from earlier.
>>39713 >Poor, poor, naive little Snake... Don't you realize this is all part of a clever scheme of Yukari to collect your vastly superior genetic material so they can make an army of superyoukai to take over the Gensokyo?
>>39760 This would mean that the Anons did build up Gensokyo in the whole history of it's existance, that would even explain the lack of males in the story. Every Generation some Anon come to Gensokyo and sex up some Touhou, then the die or vanishes, only to restart that again in the new Generation.
You examine the strange new equpment, starting with the notes. You start with the camouflage. The note reads: "Stealth camo. Makes your enemies mad and your allies glad. Works well in dimly-lit, indoor environments. Try it on, you'll feel quieter instantly. -Ka" The signature must be Kanako's. You don't know if she's serious or not about that last part. Next is the knife: "Damascus steel, reinforced and enchanted with strange magicks. Doesn't need sharpening. Stab something and it dies. Not to be used with glasses." No signature. The knife is incredibly similar to the one you had previously. The swirl pattern of the blade draws you in. You feel the blade's hunger for blood. You think the comment on glasses may be an obscure reference, but you ignore it for now. You turn to the compass. It's ordinary in every aspect. The note reads: "Dear Snake, You forgot one of these. -Sa" Must be Sanae's. You really needed a compass, and with the forest looming ahead of you, you may need it now more than ever. Everything else strikes you as ordinary. The grenades given to you by Aya have a number designation you don't recognize. You notice a second picture in your bag. You pick it up, the back faces towards you. A note is scribbled on the back. "Be more careful next time. -Ka" You flip over the picture. It's of you and Aya in the baths. That's right, you forgot about Aya. She's been clinging to you all day waiting to tell you something. You get the feeling you can't get her to talk with Youmu around. "Hey, Youmu," You call out. "What is it, Snake?" She looks at you, awaiting an answer. "Me and this one over here are going to go find some firewood," you point to Aya, "Could you hold down the fort till we get back?" "I do believe a fire may attract youkai. If you do start one please have it out by nightfall." "Will do." You walk off into the woods with Aya following behind you. Several feet into the trees, you sit down on a fallen log and look over to Aya. "Sorry to make you wait all day. You had something to tell me?" She looks uneasy, you motion for her to sit beside you. She obeys, and begins to talk. Her voice is quiet, unsure. "It's about yesterday, in the baths." She looks at her feet, avoiding your eyes. "What about it? Are you regretting it?" "No, not at all," she lets out a nervous laugh, "It's just.. just.." You wait, allowing her to finish. She grabs your sleeve, fidgeting with the fabric between her fingers. "I just don't want you to think I'm... well.." She pauses, again. "I mean, I only met you two days ago, and I.." You try to help her along, "You're among friends here, I won't judge you like that woman we just met. Go ahead, say what's on your mind." "But I.. I don't know.. why I let you do those things to me. I'd only known you for a day and.. I mean, it's not like me." She rests her head against your shoulder. "What do you mean?" You put a hand on the side of her head, pulling her closer next to you. "It's weird, isn't it? Falling for a man I've only just met that quickly." You hear her laugh nervously to herself. "I'm not a loose woman like that." "I never said you were." You caress the back of her head. "Do you believe in love at first sight?" "Hmph, no." She laughs at the idea. "Although, I probably should rethink it after what happened yesterday." "Heh, yeah, well.." Then you're reminded of her words earlier, "Say, what did you mean earlier when you said that I should 'take responsibility'? You're not..." "I'm not. Not with a human, anyway. A Tengu can't bear a human's children." You sigh as she continues. "What I meant by that is that I want you to take responsibility for your actions yesterday." "Hey, you started it." You laugh, trying to lighten the mood. "And you finished it. But that's not the point. I want you to take responsibility for the feelings I hold for you. I want you to love me." "Is that a proposal?" "Maybe." She finally looks up. Her eyes are welling with tears as she smiles at you. "Normally it's a man's job to do that." You smile back. "All you have to do is say yes."
>>39795 Anything and everything is possible. So far Snake's been playing his cards right. There's a number of places open to visit, but only one will bring the adventure to it's conclusion. Revisiting previous locations opens up more possibilities. Side quests are available during those times. Also, writan.
Aya stands up, slowly. She inches her face closer to yours, as she awaits your answer. Her watering eyes gaze imploringly into yours, waiting for you to say 'yes.' But you won't say anything. Her face is too close to yours, and you can't take her teasing you any more. Her mouth opens to say something, and you take her lips right then. You wrap your arm around her waist and pull her toward you. She leans you backwards, pushing you off balance. The two of you fall backwards onto the leaf-strewn ground. She pulls her head back, a single tear falling down her cheek. She smiles, knowing your answer. You pull her head back towards you as you kiss her again. The two of you remain still, locked in each others embrace. She pulls her head back again, looking you in the eyes. She seeks confirmation. Her voice comes as labored gasps, "Was that a yes?" She wipes the tears from her eyes. "You bet it was." You try to sit up, only to be pushed back down by her. She reaches her hands to her shirt and begins to unbutton her top. Her expression changes. You remember that face. It's the same one she had before she pushed you into the water to hide you. Her breathing is ragged, her movements are hurried. She wants you, now. She finishes opening the top two buttons on her blouse, a plain black bra shows underneath. You reach a hand up to grab her, but she pushes it back down, frantically. "Don't move." She says with a commanding yet labored tone to her voice. Her breathing quickens. You watch as she becomes frustrated with her top. She places her hands on the lapels and tears it off. Throwing it aside, she doesn't bother removing her skirt. Straddling your legs, she changes her focus, now struggling to undo your pants. She concentrates fully on them, her breathing beginning to sound more like that of a wild animal than a human's. Through the hair covering her face, you can see a thin trail of saliva dripping from her hanging tongue. She's got it, your pants are open. She pulls your cock out and leans down. You can feel her tongue, licking the tip. You feel it begin to harden as she plays with it in her mouth. You start to close your eyes, but she stops suddenly. She repositions her body so she sits if front of it. She lifts her skirt. "Y-you've done it again." Her words come out ragged, her expression is unreadable. She stares into your eyes. "I'll let you watch.. this time.." She lifts herself up, and positions your cock against the opening between her legs. Her panties are in the way as she tries to force it in through them. You pull them aside with one hand, and you watch as she slowly lowers herself onto you. She cries out as she inserts the tip, pushing aside the folds of flesh with your cock. She leans back, and speaks in ragged gasps. "Ah! Make sure you watch it all, now.." She slowly lowers her hips onto you, forcing you deeper inside. Unlike when you were in the bath, you can feel it entirely. There's no warm water to confuse your senses, the inside of her body wraps around you, engulfing you in the fiery heat of her desire for you. Your manhood disappears inside her as she lowers her hips downward ever further. You want to hold her. You reach out to touch her, but she brushes your hands aside, eventually forcing them down to the ground beside you. Still holding your hands, she lans down and kisses you passionately, forcing her tongue inside your mouth as she begins to move her hips. You allow your tongue to fight back against hers, as she tries to force it down like your arms. You feel her tighten around your penis as she climaxes for the first time. She pulls her head back and bites her lip, trying to muffle her voice. The movement of her hips becomes faster as she squeezes you like a vice, as if trying to suck the life out of you. She collapses her upper body onto you, still trying to move her hips. Her moaning has turned to screaming, her body has given in to the pleasure. You feel her grip tighten on her wrists, as she turns her head to face you. She stifles her cries, attempting to speak to you. Between her ragged breathing and loud moaning, you can only make out two words. "... love..." "you.." As if on cue, your mind explodes in a wave of pleasure, you cry out as you cum inside her for the second time in two days. She convulses, yelling loudly and arching her back upwards before collapsing on top of you in a heap. Your hands, now released from her grip, are brought up as you embrace her.
You lay there, holding her as she catches her breath. You reach for her wings, only to find them hidden. That's right, she only has them out when she's flying. Slowly regaining her senses, she turns to face you, her chin resting on your chest. "Mmhh.. I've done it.." She smiles, "Now you're all mine.." She pulls herself up to kiss you again, not passionately and with tongue like her last one. She simply presses her lips against yours. You want more. Separating, you look her deeply in her vaguely red eyes, and ask her the most important question you can think of. "Wanna go again?" You smile as she blushes. "You wore me out. Maybe... later?" Disappointment, yet the possibility of doing it in the tent comes to your mind. You still have hope, but she'll have to work for it the next time. Slowly, she pulls herself back to her feet. She readjusts her skirt and underwear, and she walks over to grab her ruined and mud-covered shirt. You pull your pants back up and brush yourself off. For some reason, you don't want her wearing that muddy shirt she's picked up. You take off your jacket and throw it over her shoulders. "Thanks, Snake." She says quietly, pulling it around her. "We should go back, it'll be dark soon." You hold your hand out to her. "Yeah," she says calmly, putting her hand in yours. You walk her back out of the woods to the camp site. Youmu, who was sitting in the tent, stands up in shock. "Aya, what happened?!" She looks over Aya's disheveled and muddied appearance. "I tripped and fell." She lets go of your hand and walks over to Youmu. "Are you hurt? Where's your shirt?" "I'm fine, but my shirt got caught on a tree branch and ripped. Snake lent me his jacket, so I'm fine." She walks over to the tent and gets inside. She closes the flap, hiding her inside. You hear her curse to herself before she calls out. "Does anybody have a change of clothes? I'm afraid this is the only pair I brought." She sounds slightly depressed. You think as you walk over to your bag. The second camo suit sticks out in your mind. Holding it up to compare size, you notice it's easily too small for you. Perhaps she can wear it? You walk over to the tend, and offer the uniform inside. "Here, try this on." You can hear her giggle. You walk back over to your bag, pulling out several cans of food. You examine the labels. Beans, chili, chicken soup, and something obscure that you don't recognize. The label says 'curry flavor.' You call Youmu over to help decide. She doesn't help much. "It all looks the same to me." She says, as she walks over to the tent to help Aya out. Immediately, Aya walks in your direction. She leans against you. "Hey~ I can't get my wings out of this. Can you help me?" She laughs as you walk over to your bag, pulling out the strange knife. You rest a hand on her shoulder as you tell her to hold still. The knife cuts through the tough fabric like butter, and you place it in your boot after you finish. She unfolds her wings, flapping them several times to get a feel for the outfit. "So?" She lifts herself off the ground, spinning around to show off her new outfit. "How do I look?" "Like a proper soldier." You laugh. "But now that you're out here, perhaps you could help me?" "What's wrong, something crawl in your pants?" She leans against your back, draping her arms over your shoulders. You pick up two of the cans and place one in each of her hand. "This is a life or death decision. Make the wrong choice and we all may die." You say with a straight face. She catches onto your joke, and she looks at the cans as if she were defusing a bomb. She tosses you the least expected choice. "Chicken soup?" You raise an eyebrow. "Aren't you supposed to be a bird?" "No, I'm supposed to be a Tengu." She looks at you, offended. You can't tell if she's joking or not. "Alright then, but..." You remember the firewood you forgot. "But what?" Aya crosses her arms, looking at you. "I forgot the firewood." She laughs. "Is that all?" "Yup." You put down the can, "I'll be right back." You run over to the trees, grab a few sticks and patches of dead grass, and start to form the basic shape of a fire pit in the middle of the camp. Youmu looks on, curious. "Hmm? It seems hard work to start a fire this way." She watches as you labor with some sticks, trying to get a spark. "Any help would be appreciated." You say, slightly frustrated. Youmu stands up, drawing her short sword. "Very well. Watch and learn." She picks up a rock, places it beside the wood you've piled together, and slams her sword into it with enough force to create a small spark. After several tries, she has a small fire started. After watching it build, you put a small hole in the can and set it next to the fire. After some small-talk, the three of you share the can before throwing water over the fire and heading into the tent. It's small, but you somehow manage to fit everyone inside along with your equipment bag. You turn to face Aya, who's laying next to you, in hopes of holding her to her promise earlier. You whisper to her, but she doesn't respond. She must've fallen asleep as soon as she laid down. You're frustrated, but you can't help but not disturb her. You feel yourself drift off to sleep as you play with her hair.
Darkness. You remember. The same darkness after you passed out. A dream. Yes, this was a dream. You remember. A voice, calling to you. You listen. Nothing. Silence. This cold and silent darkness. Death. Is this the feeling of death? No, you're still alive. You know it. Something in the dark. You can hear it. Feel it. It chills you to the bone. Fear? No, you're not afraid. You know fear all too well. A weight in your hand, the feeling of cold metal. You recognize it as a gun. The smell of blood. A warm, sticky sensation around your feet, creeping up to your ankles. Laughter. Your own voice, your own laughter. But it's not coming from you. You can hear it, faintly. In the distance. Ahead of you. You walk forward. A sticky sensation between your toes. Climbing up your leg as you walk. Rising, climbing. Up to your neck. A metallic taste. The taste of blood. Blood. Up to your neck in blood. Or are you? The sensation disappears in an instant. Laughter, in front of you. Whose.." Yours, yet.. different. Something slithers against your feet. Snakes. That's right, you are Snake. You are the silent killer in the dark, whose venom kills even the strongest of creatures. Your bullet, your venom. You raise your pistol and point it into the darkness. You pull back the slide. The smooth clicking of metal against metal as it locks into place fills your ears. A round is chambered. You squeeze your index finger, tightening over the trigger. Click. The hammer pulls back. Click. Farther. Only a millimeter of space. The border of life and death. One bullet. One bite. You are Snake. You are silent, a killer in the darkness.
You cannot see your target. Kill. Pull the trigger. You cannot see into the darkness. What is your target? You release your grip on the weapon. Kill. You cannot kill that which you cannot see. A dim light. Your target. Before you. Who is it? Too dark. Closer. You must get closer. Closer to the figure you were about to kill. Your legs are held in place. Snakes. Wrapped around your legs. Keeping you from moving. The figure moves. It's eyes. It's red eyes. Glowing, staring. Staring right through you. Hunger. You can feel it's hunger. Kill. It wants to kill you. Darkness. The figure fades into darkness. Eyes, glowing, approaching you. Pain. Blood. It digs it's fingers into your shoulder. Pain. Those red eyes. Right in front of you. Kill. Your weapon. Pain. Your shoulder. Numbness. A blinding pain, the tearing of flesh. Those red eyes, staring through you. Light. Monster. Demon. Devil. Beast. Reptile. Snake. It's face, scales. Yours.
You jolt. A tent. You're in the tent. It's still dark, but you can see fairly clearly. You remember the pain from your dream as the best ripped your arm off. It's face.. It was yours. You hold a hand to your face. Your face feels normal. You look at your arms. You have both. Neither are covered in scales. What the hell was that? Aya sits up beside you. "Mmmmmmh.. What's wrong?" She mumbles, half asleep. "Nothing. Just another nightmare." You feel her hand against your face. It's warm sensation brings you back to reality. You lay back down. She turns your head to look at hers. "Are you sure you're okay?" "I think so." She frowns and closes her eyes. She doesn't answer, she falls asleep with her hand against your face. You step outside the tent. The faint orange glow of the rising sun glows on the horizon. It won't be much longer to morning, but you decide to stay near the campsite. A noise comes from the woods. A breaking twig. You look in the direction of the noise. Movement. Something moves in the dark. You pull the knife from your boot and begin to work your way over to the source. Before you can make a move, the creature stands up. "Ah, found out already?" Komachi's voice. "Damn, you're better than I thought. You can actually see in this light?" "I guess so. What exactly are you doing here?" You slowly put the knife back in your boot, keeping one eye on her silhouette as you do. "I felt a weird presence from this area, so I came to check it out. Figured it might be a youkai on the hunt so I came over to make sure you guys were okay." "You still feel it? Is it still around here?" "Nah, it stopped a few minutes after I got here." You hear her walking towards your camp. "Mind if I sit down?" "Go right ahead." She comes out from under the trees into the faint light of the moon and rising sun. She's carrying a huge bladed weapon. "Oh, this? Don't worry about it. It comes with the job. The grim reaper's gotta have it's scythe after all." She laughs quietly, aware of the others sleeping in the tent. "So I was gonna head back all silent-like and then you come running out with that knife of yours. Really, I worried over nothing." "So why are you awake at this hour?" "Work starts early. Real early. Ever wonder why I sleep so much? Well, there's that and something else, but that's my business." She pauses for a minute, "So anything weird happen in the last few minutes?" "No, other than the fact that I woke up from this horrible dream where a snake monster was trying to kill me." "Oh? Sounds scary." "Yeah, and what's worse is the thing had my face. Maybe it's because of your boss's little lecture earlier." "Yeah, she has that affect on some people. The bad dreams aren't necessarily a bad sign, though." You see her lean back, relaxing. "Then again, I could be wrong." "What do you mean?" "Outsiders don't usually have nightmares in Gensokyo. At least, the ones I've spoken to. It's always some erotic fantasy or some plot where they save everybody, but it's never a nightmare." "So what, are you saying I might be turning into that monster?" "Haha! No way!" She laughs into her palm, trying to hide her voice. "That's like a scene from a bad comic book." "That dream was more of a scene from Hell." "Doubt it. Hell really isn't what people make it to be, trust me. It's not an eternal torture chamber like Miss Eiki makes it out to be. She just scares people that way in hopes they try to shape up." "Scare tactics never worked well with me." "So it would seem." She stands up, leaning the weapon over hr shoulder, "Anyways, I'd best get to work. The shift starts in ten minutes ad I've got a whole lot of sleep to catch up on." She laughs. "Don't be here when I get back." A light-hearted threat. "Didn't I say scare tactics don't work against me?" "Did you? You looked pretty spooked coming out of that tent." "I bet I did. Don't worry, we'll be out of here when the sun's up." You see her wave to you as she walks toward the river. You can hear movement in the tent. A yawn tells you that Youmu is awake.
Looking around, you can see daylight. The sun slowly rises over the field of flowers. Youmu pops her head out of the tent, "Oh? You're up early." "I couldn't sleep after I woke up." She slowly walks out of the tent. "Perhaps you can help me, then." "With what?" You stand up, not sure what to expect. "Food, and not something like what was in that can." "You making something special?" You raise an eyebrow. "I am a gardener. I know what plants are edible." She walks toward the forest. "I'll be gone for an hour or two. Be ready when I get back." You walk over to the tent. If she's going to be making a meal out of things she finds in the forest, she'll need some manner of cookware. Leaning down inside the tent, you pull the mess kit from your bag. You look over to Aya, still asleep the way you left her. Leaning over, you kiss her on the cheek. She stirs. "Mmmmmh?" She rolls to face you, her eyes closed. "Morning, Aya." You watch as she stretches her arms and rubs her eyes. "Mmh.. morning.." She looks up at you, not fully awake. You hold out your hand to help her up. After helping her out of the tent, you begin to tear it back down. She sits down and watches as you work. "Sleep well?" You ask her, pulling the anchors from the ground. "Like a baby." Glancing over, you see her smiling. "Guess you had a rough night." "Yeah, there was this horrible monster trying to kill me." You grit your teeth, straining to pull apart a metal support rod. You continue to talk about the nightmare as you pack the tent away. She laughs as you speak, and you pretend to treat the monster as a big joke. Even now, the vision of that creature makes your blood freeze. You pull the knife from your boot, trying to start a fire like Youmu did the night before. Funny, it worked the first time. Almost as if the rock were coated in gasoline. You boil some water from the nearby stream in your canteen. You can see Youmu coming out of the forest. "Ah, it's Youmu. Where'd you run off to?" That's right, Aya was sleeping when she left. "Had to grab a few things." She walks over next to the fire and sets down a bundle of plants. "Stand aside, I'll take it from here." She pushes you back and begins to make something with the water you boiled. Aya leans over, "Whatcha making?" "A morning without tea is not acceptable." Youmu replies matter-of-factly before continuing her work in silence.
"Yes, tea is perfect for a morning like this." You agree with a smile. "Ah, a man of taste, I see." Youmu laughs, not looking up. "Of course. Real men drink tea." You cross your arms, grin, and look to the sky. Aya breaks into a fit of laughter. "Hahaha! What was weird move just now? Hahaha!" You allow her time to settle down as Youmu hands each of you a cup. You have no idea where she got them from, but you take a sip of the hot liquid. It tastes like pine. "It's primitive, but better than nothing." Youmu looks fairly proud of herself. "Couldn't you have borrowed something from the Death God?" Aya looks to Youmu. "No. I believe she only drinks coffee in the mornings." Youmu stares into her cup. You shake your fist. Coffee? You bastards! You attempt to change the subject. "So anyone know anything about the forest?" "Yes, plenty." Youmu answers, not bothering to look up. "It covers most of Gensokyo, is surrounded by mountains on all sides, and is home to several very dangerous Youkai." She takes another sip before continuing, "The human village is to the South, and there's a large lake just to the Northeast of it. The Devil Mansion is to the South of the lake, just East of the village. There's a small island in the lake. Trust me when I say you do not want to go there." "Why not?" She sighs, "You'll have sunflowers growing out of your eyes. I mean that figuratively and literally." "So it's an island of man-eating sunflowers?" You laugh. "I suppose you could say that, yes." She coughs into her hand, "Continuing, the Hakurei shrine is to the West of the human village, and *those* people live to the South of it." "You really don't like them, do you?" You raise an eyebrow at Youmu. "Indeed. Milady and I had a difficult time with them a while back. They were incredibly rude and I'd rather not see them again. That won't be entirely too difficult considering where they live." She looks at you briefly, "If you'll permit me to continue, where we are is called Muenzuka. Currently, we are at the Northwest-most end of the Border with the Sanzu and gates of Hell just beyond us." She pauses, "If you'll allow me to explain, the Hakurei Border seals this world off from your own. Once you reach the Border, this world ends. You cannot fall off the world like in human myths, you would merely walk through it and appear back in on the other side of the world." "So the world of Gensokyo is flat? Like how we used to think of the outside world?" "A bit of a simple explanation, but yes, our world is indeed flat. Much like a world inside a snow globe. The Border merely gives living beings the illusion that it is round." "I... think I get it. So is there anything else I should know?" You don't get it at all. "Plenty. To the East of us is the mountain where we were previously. Below us if the sealed gate to the Netherworld. Most outsiders manage to work their way in through the cracks in it's borders. Below that is a small location wrought with powerful Youkai we refer to as the Forest of Magic. It is due North of the human village. That is our current destination." "Powerful Youkai? I'm not sure I like the sound of that." You'll let it go, for now. "I've got a question, though. Where is the place where I met you and your Lady?" "The Netherworld is located outside this world, yet a break in the Border allows us to travel from one world to the other via a stairway in the sky. A 'Stairway to Heaven' if you will." She laughs, as if she made a joke.
An image appears in your mind for a split second, as if someone forced it into your head. A metal diridgible. You turn to Youmu, "I just had this crazy image of a blimp in my head just now. Is that normal?" You ask Youmu. "For most people, it's fine. For you, it's weird." She raises an eyebrow. "In any case, we should be leaving. It's light out, and most of the Youkai will be asleep." "Most?" That part worries you. "Yes. The ones that remain awake will most likely be able to speak and reason, so there's really no need to worry about a surprise attack." She stands up, the cup in her hands disappears into a thin white mist. "If you're finished, I'd like my cups back." She holds out her hand. "Uh, yeah." You and Aya hand them over at the same time, both of them disappear as soon as they touch her. "So, how'd you do that?" "It was a simple manipulation of the form of my ghost half." "Ghost half?" You don't see anything. You open your mouth to speak, but Youmu starts faster. "I expect you're next going to ask me where it is. It's a part of me, so it follows me at all times. Did I not say that an average human is unable to see an ethereal body?" You nod as she continues, "This field is literally covered with the souls of the dead." She points to the field of red flowers, "Your inability to see them marks you as a human." She begins to clean up the camp site in preparation to leave, lecturing you as she does. "Were you to see them, your body would become vulnerable to their influence." "Meaning?" She's always cryptic like this when she's talking about the dead. "Meaning that spiritual beings that normally can't touch nor see you would be able to do both." This strikes you as odd. If she's truly a half-ghost, then.. "So what about you? You're half-dead, right?" "I do have to fend off the occasional attack, yes. The blades I carry have the ability to cut through them. I suspect the knife you carry is no different." With the campsite cleared away, you lift the pack onto your shoulders. Weird, it feels lighter than before. Aya hands you the strange rifle, which you sling over your shoulder. "All set?" Aya asks you as Youmu begins to walk into the forest. "Yeah, I don't think I forgot anything." A quick look around verifies that. Aya opens her winds and flies to her position on top of your pack, leaning her back against your head. It doesn't bother you, so you let her do as she pleases. You walk quickly to catch up to Youmu, who stands at the edge of the forest. You follow the creek bed for several miles. Slowly, it separates from the creek and becomes a path, leading into the forest. It's dark. The tree's looming above your head block the sun's light. If it weren't for the occasional ray of sunshine through the leaves, you could have sworn it was night. Following the path, you happen upon a small, run-down cottage in the forest. You'd almost missed it even though it's only built several feet from the path. The building's overgrown with vines, and it appears to have been built around the trees, rather than removing them to build a foundation. It looks as if it were a part of the natural environment. The windows and door are covered in vines, and it appears to be abandoned. Youmu stops, examining the building. You stop just next to her.
You raise your gun, "Something wrong?" She waves an arm in front of you. "Not sure, I've never seen this place before." You head a noise above you. Looking up, you see Aya holding up a camera. "Uhh, what are you doing?" You raise an eyebrow at her. "Taking pictures, of course. I may have lost my senses because of you, but I'm still the number-one journalist in Gensokyo." She turns the camera towards you and takes a picture. You turn your head back to face Youmu. "Should we check it out?" "I think we should, yes. Something about this place doesn't seem right." She runs over to the house, silently. She's by the window in an instant, looking inside. She waves you over, directing you to go behind the building. You feel a weight lifted from your pack, and you see Aya fly over your head and onto the roof. She really does look good in that camo suit. You sneak your way to the back of the building. Slowly walking through the trees, you notice a door on the side of the house. Aya looks on as you sneak up to the door and lean into the wall beside it. You test the door knob. It's unlocked. Carefully, you open the door a crack and aim the muzzle of the rifle inside. You open the door further with your foot, and take a step inside the building. It's only a single room, so it doesn't take long to search. The place is empty, but shows signs of recent use. You signal to the window that the building is sake, and motion for Youmu to come inside. Aya drops in through the chimney, coughing and covered in soot. Youmu raises an eyebrow at her. "What are you doing, Tengu?" "*cough* I thought it'd look cool." She stands up and dusts herself off. "This place is empty, but it looks like someone still lives here." You turn to face Youmu, who looks at you questioningly. "Why do you say that? It looks abandoned to me." You point to a small wooden table. On a plate are scraps of food, and you can see steam coming from a small glass. "Looks like someone was just sitting down to eat before we waltzed in." You turn to Aya. "Hey, but normally people wouldn't just leave food lying about like that, unless.." Aya trails off, allowing Youmu to complete the sentence. "They saw us coming..." Youmu draws her swords and calls out. "Show yourself! We know you're in here!" Silence fills the room. The three of you search the building one more time, looking for any more signs of life. "There's nobody here," You call out to Youmu and Aya. "This place is deserted." You turn to face the way you came in. An unknown woman stands in the door. Youmu and Aya rush to either side of you, as you point your rifle at the woman who just stands there calmly, smiling. She speaks. "Why is it that people keep breaking into my house?" She walks forward, toward you. Staring at you with red eyes, that friendly smile on her face. "The doors may be unlocked, but that doesn't mean you can walk right in." A blur, her arm moves forward at an impossible speed. You hear Youmu cry out beside you, and turn to see her clutching at a wound on her arm, her expression shows pain. Something like a large needle pierces her wrist, blood dripping from the ends. The woman continues to approach you. Instinctively, you bring your weapon to bear, the thought of the needle through Youmu's wrist stuck in your mind. You pull the trigger and watch as an innumerable amount of needles bursts forward from the tip, yet stop as they hit the woman. Her smile contorts to a scowl as she speaks. "How rude. First you break into my house, and now you try to kill me?" You take a step back, fearful. You try to think of something else, but fear clouds your mind. The weapon doesn't fire. The woman takes a step closer, pushing you backwards. Youmu lunges at the woman with a yell, her sword swings to take the woman's head. The woman's faster. She ducks under Youmu's sword, and with a single movement throws her into the brick wall of the building. Youmu hits the wall with a thud and slumps down onto the floor. "Weak." The woman spits out the single word and turns away from the unconscious Youmu to face Aya. A wretched smile appears on the woman's face as she runs toward Aya, pinning her hands against the opposite wall in an instant with one of those needles. Aya cries out as she struggles to free herself. The woman punches Aya in the chest, knocking the wind out of her. You reach down and pull the knife out of your boot and hold it blade-down in your hand, preparing for an attacks as the woman turns her attention to you.
"Ahh, you're a human, aren't you?" The woman tilts her head, a demented grin appearing on her face. "Looks like I dine well tonight." She laughs as she draws closer. You need to think of something. She defeated Youmu and Aya in an instant. Your opponent is strong. You look to your allies. Their injuries are minor, but they're in no position to help you. The woman in front of you. The murderous look in her eyes. She intends to kill you and eat you. You can't let that happen. You drop your pack, freeing yourself from it's weight. This rifle, it's heavy. You throw it aside. The woman in front draws closer and closer. You ready your knife, waiting for her to get closer. The speed of her arms is incredible. You feel a sharp pain in your leg as you try to widen your stance. Those needles. Those goddamn needles. You pull it from your leg. Green. It's green. Like the stalk of a plant. Step. The woman draws closer, throwing her arm towards your gut. You deflect it with your knife, cutting her hand in two. She screams. Distraction. You spin, your knife in your outstretched arm. Resistance. Blood. Your knive drives itself into her neck. She smiles. Those teeth. A pain. Her hand on your throat. You grab it, trying to pull her off balance. It works, her grip is released as you push her past you. You bring your knife into her back, through her heart and spine. Her blood splatters on your face, it flows invisible down her read shirt. You kick her, forcing her away from you. She hits the wall face-first and turns around. Her face is covered in blood. She's smiling, laughing. Your last move should have killed her. She rushes forward, back towards you. A blinding speed, a blinding pain in your chest. She throws you onto the wood floor. You look up, her hand is covered in blood. Your blood. You look down. You're bleeding. You try to stand. Her foot on your throat, pushing you back down. Crushing you. You stab her leg, cutting her calf. She doesn't move, doesn't feel pain. She's not in pain like you. Her laughter fills your ears as she crushes your neck. Those eyes. Those red eyes.. Red like blood. A voice in your head. Yukari's? It calls out to you as your vision clouds. Painless. Numbness. The smell of blood. Darkness. Death.
So I hear you got made into somebody's dinner. That's so unlike you, Snake. You've been doing so well up to this point. Ah, yes. Speaking of points, using a knife and CQC to kill a youkai? Well, that may work for some people, but you're still just a human. You may be slowly getting stronger, but at this point you're too weak to do something like take on a full-fledged youkai in hand-to-hand combat. Your CQC isn't going to be of much use when you face off against someone powerful like that woman. Come to think of it, you really have two options in this scenario. She's the kind of person who respects only power or obedience. You can either defeat her with your own power, or grovel before her and beg for mercy. I'd recommend against the latter. She might eat you anyway. Let me give you a small hint. Some youkai are powerful, but are weak against outside-world technology because their magic can't affect it. If you have something with you from your world, you may be able to do something.
"Ahh, you're a human, aren't you?" The woman tilts her head, a demented grin appearing on her face. "Looks like I dine well tonight." She laughs as she draws closer. You need to think of something. She defeated Youmu and Aya in an instant. Your opponent is strong. You look to your allies. Their injuries are minor, but they're in no position to help you. The woman in front of you. The murderous look in her eyes. She intends to kill you and eat you. You can't let that happen. You drop your pack, freeing yourself from it's weight. This rifle, it's heavy. You throw it aside. The woman in front draws closer and closer. You drop your knife. Her eyes turn to it as it falls and lands point-first in the wooden floor, sticking straight up. The woman in front of you stops her advance, looking at you with a slightly confused expression. "Giving up human? A wise decision. I'll make it quick for you." She grins, her teeth glistening in the dim light. You reach to your belt, to your sidearm. It only takes you a second to draw it. You aim it at the smiling woman as she resumes her approach. She licks her lips in anticipation for her next meal. You give her a .45 caliber dinner she'll never forget. The click of the hammer, the familiar weight of the trigger as you pull it. An explosion of noise fills the room as you fire a series of rounds into her chest and head. The impact throws her backwards. You watch as she falls to the ground. You fire two more shots into her as she lay helpless and bleeding on the floor, yet she still breathes. She isn't human, after all. You don't expect her to die easily. As you holster your pistol, you reach down and pull your knife from the floor. You carefully walk towards your opponent as she lay silently, still breathing, on the floor. To the right of the woman, Aya struggles to free herself from the wall. You want to rush over to help her, but you first need to immobilize the woman who lays at your feet. You kneel down over her, thinking of a way to keep her still. The weight of the knife in your hands reminds you. You grab the woman's arms and pull them over her head. Placing her hands on top of each other, you skewer them into the ground with your knife. As you stand up, a blur of silver rushed past your vision. Youmu has regained her senses and thrusts her longer blade into the woman's heart. Bloodied and battered, she turns to you. "This won't keep her down for long. Make sure she doesn't move, I'll get the Tengu." Youmu limps over to the wall and begins to struggle with the stake holding her hands to the wall. You kneel down over the woman again, you notice her eyes follow you as you drop to one knee.
You draw out your pistol again, holding it to her head. Her blood-red eyes stare into yours. She coughs up blood as she tries to speak. "Don't move." You tell her, tilting your head to your pistol to make her aware of it. She coughs, "Don't think that can kill me, human." Her words come out ragged, full of anger, yet strong. You glance over to Youmu, who continues to struggle to free Aya's hands. The woman at your feet sighs, lamenting her current position. "Damn, defeated in my own house... Again." "Again?" You ask her. She ignores you, continuing to fall deeper into despair. "Heh, guess that's the hand I was dealt.." She looks towards the ceiling. "What a cruel world this is." She begins to laugh, but is overtaken with another fit of coughing. You a faint but heavy sound come from the woman. The bullets you fired into her are working themselves back out, falling to the ground. The shot you fired at her head has already healed. She coughs again, and turns her head to face you Her eyes stare into the barrel of your pistol. "You know, I'm beginning to think we got off on the wrong foot." You speak to the woman as she stares at you. "We've been trying to kill each other since we first met and I don't even know your name." She looks at you with anger in her eyes. "I've no name to give to a burglar like you." "Yeah, I should apologize about that. See, I was just curious. A house out here is a little unusual, don't you think? We would've left quietly if you didn't try to kill us." She tries to answer, but is quickly silenced by a voice from across the room. "Snake!" Youmu calls to you. Looking up, you notice she's freed Aya and is walking over to you. She puts a hand on her sword and pulls it from the woman's chest. The woman's face contorts in pain. Youmu looks at you. "We need to get going. Now." Her voice is urgent. "Yeah, lemme grab my stuff." You pull the knife from the woman's hands as you stand up. As you begin to walk away, she grabs your ankle with one hand. You aim your pistol at her. She looks up at you, grinning. "So you're called Snake?" She releases her grip on you as she speaks, "Kazami Yuka. You should hope we never meet again." "If we do, let's hope it's under friendlier circumstances." You walk away without another word. Grabbing your pack and rifle, you follow Youmu and Aya back out of the house and onto the path. You run several miles down the path as you distance yourself from the small house. Reaching a small clearing, Youmu suddenly stops. She turns to face you. "Are you hurt?" "No, I'm fine. More importantly, what about the two of you?" You look at Youmu's arm. Aya flies in front of you, "I'm a youkai myself, so a small injury like that heals quickly." She holds out her bloodied yet uninjured hands. "See? I'm fine. More importantly.." She turns to Youmu. "I'll be fine. A wound like this is nothing." Youmu pulls off a small strip of her dress and wraps it around her injured arm. "If I cover it, it'll heal in a matter of days. Honestly, we're lucky to still be alive. That flower woman went easy on us. As she said, we'd best try to avoid her from here on." "Agreed. So where to from here?" You help Youmu tie off the cloth dressing on her arm. "This path eventually leads to the human village. While I cannot tell where we are at this moment, we will be able to clean ourselves and work our way up from there." Youmu turns and starts down the path. Aya resumes sitting on your pack as you follow. Further down the path, you reach the edge of the forest. Looking around, the path runs along the edge of a steep hill. Below, you see rice fields carved into the slope of the hill, and a small village at the bottom. You see the white church-ish building from before. This must be the human village. Following the path, you can see another small building in the forest, three asian characters are painted in large letters above the doorway. Having had enough with strange houses, you ignore it for now. The path runs continues along the edge of the almost cliff-like hill, parallel to the village. Eventually, you come to a fork in the road. You remember this from earlier. Looking off to the side, you see the overgrown staircase of the Hakurei shrine. You begin down the path that you remember leads into the village.
You head down the path. Ahead of you is a gate. The same gate you ran into when you first came into this world. Off to the side is a group of people working to rebuild the guardhouse. No guards block your entrance, and you walk past the gate freely. You think to hide your weapons. Considering the overall look of the village architecture and the manner of dress of the residents, they probably wouldn't recognize a handgun if you pointed it at their face. You take the large rifle and hand it to Aya, who puts in in your bag after taking a second to play with it. Looking around, the village is full of activity. It's completely different from your last visit. You turn to Youmu, unsure of what to do. "So, where to from here?" She thinks for a second. "Well, we need to do something about all this blood, and a change of clothes would be necessary if we stay long. Your camouflage practically screams 'outsider,' and it may be beneficial for us to blend in as best we can." You turn to face Aya. "You know what that means." She looks at you, confused. "What does it mean?" "You're walking too." You grab her arm and try to help her off your pack. "Aww, I like it up there, too." She kicks the ground. "First, we should find a place to stay." Youmu continues planning. "I have an idea, so if you'll follow me.." She gestures for you to follow. You continue past the gates down the main road. The village is only about four city blocks wide. You see a few shops interspersed with people's homes. The dirt streets are full of people. Youmu leads you to the same building you spent your first night here in. She stops and turns around to face you and Aya. "We may be able to stay with the woman who works at this schoolhouse. I've only met her a few times before, but she really does seem to love this village. If we can prove to her that our mission will be beneficial to this village, I'm sure she'll help us." Youmu turns back to face the building and heads for the front door. You remember the building's layout. It certainly seemed more like a house to you than a school. Youmu's almost at the door. You..
[ ] Follow behind Youmu [ ] Go in through the window for old-times sake [ ] Leave Youmu and head off into the village