As much as you want to crawl through the window again, if somebody's inside it'd be best to go in through the front door. You quickly catch up to Youmu as she knocks on the door. You stand at the door behind Youmu for a few minutes before you hear the clicking of a lock. The door opens and a woman's head sticks out through the crack. "Hm? What a strange guest. What brings you here, Youmu?" The woman speaks. Before Youmu can answer, you hold up Youmu's injured arm so the woman can see. "Oh, my! We need to get that cleaned up. Please, come inside." She opens the door further and waves Youmu inside. She looks at you and Aya strangely as you walk past her. Youmu heads toward the room you remember as being the bathroom. The woman leads you and Aya into the large room and gestures for the two of you to have a seat in a small couch in the corner. She pulls up a chair and sits directly across from you. "As much as I'm curious to find out what happened, I think it would be prudent to begin with introductions. Please forgive me for not being more hospitable. I wasn't expecting any more guests today." She holds a hand to her chest, gesturing to herself, "My name is Kamishirasawa Keine. I act as the historian, protector, and teacher of this village. Keine will be fine." She looks at you, ignoring Aya. You start to reply, but Aya speaks in your stead. "This man is Snake. He's a dragon hunter as well as my future husband." She laughs. You can't tell if she's serious or joking. Keine puts a hand to her mouth. "My, how bold. Pray tell, will you be writing a report on this?" Her tone of voice tells you she doesn't like Aya too much. You think it best not to ask. Aya clecnhes her hands into fists and begins to stand up. You hold your hand out in front of her and push her back down. She turns her head to you, her face a mix of frustration and confusion. You speak to the woman in front of you. "As she said, I am Snake. Pleasantries aside, we're in need of a place to stay for the night. Youmu thought you may be able to help us." "Indeed, I could. I'll be out for the night, and you're more than welcome to stay here while I'm gone. That is, if you don't make a mess of things." She looks over to Aya as she finishes her last sentence. "Don't worry, despite out current appearance, we're clean people. We just happened to get attacked on our way here." She turns back to you. "You strike me as odd. Would you by any chance be from the outside?" "I am. I've only been here for about six days now. I've been spending most of that time gathering information about a dragon or something like one." "Yes, I'd heard something of the sort. I do believe the events started the same day you claim to have arrived here." "I was in this village the day I got here. The place was empty except for two guards by the gate." "Indeed it was. The villagers had been evacuated to Eientei during this time. The reason being the reports of a dragon over Gensokyo. The guards stayed behind to keep watch that day, but when we came back they were gone." "Yeah, they disappeared right in front of me." Her eyes widen as she stands up. "What happened?!" Her voice sounds urgent. "Tell me what you saw." "To be honest, I was laying on the ground hiding from them when it happened. I didn't see anything short of a white rabbit jumping onto my face." She returns to her seat, a worried expression on her face. You hear a door open behind her. Youmu's head rounds the corner, the rest of her hidden. "Pardon me, Miss Keine, but would you happen to have a spare set of clothes I could borrow? I had to tear mine to cover my arm." Keine turns around in her seat. "I do believe there may be something in the closet to your left. It's one of mine, so it may be a bit big." She turns back to face you as Youmu disappears. "A white rabbit, you say?" "Yeah, it was following me after I got up, so I tried to catch it and it bit me. It disappeared after that." "Hmm. Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of it. The rabbit was probably one of the ones that live at Eientei, but the guards just disappearing like that is.." "Weird, I know. That entire day was a little weird." You see movement behind Keine. Youmu turns the corner wearing a pair of patchwork red pants and a worn-out white shirt. "Ah, Youmu, that outfit is.." Keine looks surprised. Next to you, Aya whips out her camera and takes a picture. "Ah, I'm sorry. It was all I could find that fit me. It's still a little big, but.." Youmu looks nervous. Next to you, Aya snickers and whispers to herself. "Ooh, this might get interesting.." She readies her camera.
>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.
"Something wrong with that outfit? I think it look pretty good on her." You turn your attention to Youmu for a minute. "Ah, yes, actually, there is." She turns to face Youmu. You hear a door opening and closing in the hallway. "Youmu, could you please choose something else to wear?" Keine speaks hurriedly. "If you say so. I do find these to be quite comfortable, however." Aya continues to snicker and mumble to herself, a strange smile appears on her face. You hear a noise coming from the back. The slamming of a door, followed by hurried footsteps. A woman in a towel runs into the room. "AHH! My clothes!" She runs over to Youmu and begins trying to strip her. Youmu tries to fend off her attacker as the three of you watch in confusion. "Give them back, half-ghost!" Keine stands up and tries to separate the two. Aya, next to you, is taking pictures at an alarming pace. "Mokou! Stop it! We have guests!" "Give! Them! Back!" The woman continues to struggle with Youmu. "Let go of me! You're going to rip them!" The two women fall to the floor. You continue to sit there in confusion as the events play out before you. Aya's laughter begins to scare you. "Noo~!" Youmu looks to be on the verge of tears. "It's fine! Just take them off!" Youmu tries to put a leg between her and her attacker, attempting to kick her away. "Moukou!" Keine stands in front of them, unsure of what to do. Youmu manages to kick the woman off of her. She slides into the wall, her towel catches the carpet and is ripped off. "Now you've done it!" The girl stands up, naked, and prepares to attack again. "MOKOU!" Keine yells, redirecting the girl's attention. "What! What is it?!" The girl yells back as Keine simply points to you and Aya, who continues to take pictures. You see the girl's face turn red as she screams something unintelligible, turns, and runs back into the hallway. Youmu follows her, you suspect to change clothes. Keine calmly walks back over and sits down again. Aya puts the camera away before she sees it. "I apologize for that little scene, just now. Mokou, erm.. That girl just now is just a little high-strung right now." She continues to ignore Aya and speaks directly to you. "If you'll do me a favor and pretend you didn't see that, I'd appreciate it." "Yeah, sure, I can do that." No way it's possible to simply forget a scene like that. "Very well then. To our previous discussion, you're free to stay the night. However, you may wish to do something about your manner of dress. Outsiders and youkai are generally unwelcome by the some of the locals, and as you are now you'd stand out like a sore thumb." You think for a second. "But to get new clothing, wouldn't we have to go back out there? If what I hear is true, that might be a bad idea." "I've a small selection here you may borrow, and if nothing fits.. Well, outsiders aren't treated nearly as poorly as youkai. If I'm with you they won't act out." "Yeah, Youmu said something about hunting parties or something." "That is indeed true. Most of them are campaigns led by the shrine maiden to collect donation money. She seems to be out somewhere, so you're probably safe, provided you don't go around eating people." "No chance of that happening. I'm a human too." You laugh, but the thought of it makes you feel a little sick to your stomach. The girl from before walk into the room in the same clothes Youmu wore earlier, smiling as if nothing happened. She walks over to Keine. "Yo!" She waves a hand in greeting. "So who's the army man?" "Snake." You introduce yourself, shaking the girl's hand. "Soldier turned dragon hunter." She smiles. "Fujiwara no Mokou. Pleased to meetcha." She releases your hand. "Sorry to cut things short but I've got something to to take care of. We can take care of all the chummy stuff later." She walks out of the room. You hear the front door open and close. Keine stands up. "Yes, I should probably head out soon, too. I'll at least wait until you find something to wear." She turns to Aya, her tone of voice changing slightly as she speaks. "I guess you can borrow something, too." "Hey, thanks for all your help." You've gotta do something to keep them from fighting. You grab Aya's hand and drag her towards the hallway. Turning back as you leave the room, you notice Keine replace the chair and follow behind you. You head into the bedroom as she turns into the kitchen. Inside the room is Youmu. She's wearing what appears to be a nightshirt as she digs around in the closet.
You put your gear bag down in the familiar room, and make your way back into the kitchen. You notice Keine cooking something. She turns to face you. "Ah, I suppose you would be hungry?" "Starving, actually." You haven't eaten anything all day. "If you wait just a little longer, I'll have something ready for you. Right now, you should try to clean yourself up." You look over yourself. You're outfit is covered in dirt from your journey, and you can see bloodstains in several areas. "Yeah, I hadn't really thought about it." She points to the door. "Bathroom's just behind you." You remember, you crawled into it through the window. You thank her again, and head into the room. The bathroom is as ordinary as you remember it, although with the lights on you notice a rack of towels in a corner next to the door. You turn on the shower and bathe quickly. You wrap a towel around you and head back towards the bedroom with your dirty fatigues in one hand. Opening the door, you walk right back in. Youmu has finished changing, and Aya is now the one digging through the closet. "Hey, any of you guys seen a washing machine around here?" You ask nobody in particular. "Yeah, I think I saw one in the utility closet through the study." Youmu points toward the hall. "Damn, isn't there anything good in here?" Aya starts throwing clothes out of the closet. "She said not to make a mess." Youmu says in a flat tone of voice. Aya stands up, scratching her head in frustration. "Ahh! Goddammit that woman pisses me off!" She starts throwing her clothes off in front of you. "A-Aya, what are you doing with a man in the room?" "I don't care! It's fine! Let'm look!" She seems to be getting more frustrated by the minute. Youmu tries to stop her as she throws her shirt to the ground. "Shit, these things are hard to get off!" She struggles with the button-up fly of her pants. "Do what you like, then." Youmu sits on the bed. "I won't try to stop you." "Shut up you! You're not helping!" Aya tries to pull her pants off, but one of the legs catches on the heel of her foot, tripping her. She curses as she pulls them off and picks up the shirt. She thrusts them into your arms. "Hold these, will you?" What else can you do? She hastily unhooks her bra and pulls down her panties. Now completely naked, she throws them to you and storms out of the room, slamming the door behind her. You look at Youmu and shrug. Remembering the way into the study, you search for another door. You find it hidden next to a bookshelf. You're not surprised you missed it in your search. The washing machine is just ahead in the dark room. You throw the clothes in and start it before heading back to the bedroom. You can hear Aya talking to herself as she showers. You slowly open the door and stick your head in. You can't see her behind the shower curtain, but you can clearly hear what she's mumbling to herself. "...that bitch! Don't fuck with me! It was just one story! And it was all true, too! She shouldn't hold onto a stupid grudge like that! That goddamned woman.. In front of him, too! I won't forgive her! I'll make her pay! She'll be begging me to not publish it! Heh heh.. Oh, when I show her those pictures she'll..." You close the door. A woman's vengeance is certainly not to be taken lightly. You head back into the bedroom. "Ah, you're back. Did you find it?" Youmu looks at you, her hands in the closet. "Yeah, I managed to get there okay. I also heard something incredibly scary." "Hmm?" She gives you a look of confusion. "Scary, you say?" "Yeah, I'll have to remember to never get on her bad side." You cover your face, trying to force the thought from your mind. "I don't quite understand." "Never you mind." You notice she's pulled several outfits from the closet. "Hey, whatcha got there?" You point to the outfits as she begins to set them out on the bed. "Ah, yes. I found several outfits that may be your size. I took the liberty of searching myself. I don't want another scene like that." She puts a hand to her forehead, a look of frustration on her face. "Yeah, I think I've seen enough of her angry for one lifetime." You feel a wet sensation on your back. Aya pops her head over your shoulders. "Who's angry?" You can feel her rubbing her breasts on your back. "A-A-AYA! What are you doing to him?!" Youmu's face glows red, an expression of shock and surprise on her face. "Hmm?" She wraps her arms around you, one hand plays with the hair that's grown out on your chin. "What am I doing, I wonder~" You feel blood rushing to your face. Youmu looks on, unsure of how to react. "S-Stop that! It's inappropriate!" "Is it? Or are you just saying that? Would you care to join us?" You feel her licking your neck. "Alright, Aya. I think you're going a little too far here." You turn around to stop her. "Aww, and I thought it'd be fun." She wraps an arm around your head and gently pulls on your hair. "I think she likes you, you know." Aya turns to Youmu and grins. "Don't you?" You turn to face Youmu, who's gone completely silent. Aya continues to tease her. "Well? Are you gonna tell him?" Youmu fidgets with the nightshirt she's wearing. She turns her head to face the floor. Holding you by the hair, Aya walks you over to the silent Youmu.
>You remember, you crawled into it through the window. Wait, did Snake do that? >As much as you want to crawl through the window again, if somebody's inside it'd be best to go in through the front door. I'm confused.
You stay silent, hoping the situation works itself out. Aya continues to pester Youmu from behind you, and you can do little more than watch to see what happens. Youmu suddenly looks up, angry. "Shut up, Tengu!" A look of surprise washes over the naked girl's face. Youmu continues. "How I feel is none of your concern! If I wish to tell him something, I'll do it on my own accord! You will leave me out of your strange fantasies!" She pushes you aside and walks out of the room, slamming the door behind her. "Oh ho, that went well." Aya snickers behind you. She went overboard this time. Turning around, you push her up against the wall, your arms blocking her escape. "What the hell was that for?!" She slowly turns away, silent. You ask again, louder. "I-I..." She stammers. "You what?" You lean your head forward. She speaks quietly. "I.. I just.. saw you two together like that and.. you looked so happy. I thought she'd.." You sigh. "Is that why.." "I had to show her.. so she'd..." "Show her what? A strange scene like that? Why?" She looks up at you, teary eyed. "You're mine! I won't let anyone else have you! She needed to know!" You step back putting a hand on her head. "You know, if that's what you wanted, I think you went about it all wrong." "I know that! I didn't know what else to do!" She grabs the hand on your head, squeezing it tightly. "You could've just told her. I think you gave her the wrong idea just now." "I can't tell her! It's... embarrassing.." She walks over and sits on the bed, pulling you by the hand. "Alright, if you won't do it, I will. This whole thing needs to be straightened out before we leave." "Would you.. do that?" She looks up at you. "Yeah." You pat her head. Her expression suddenly changes. "Hey, I smell food." She puts a finger to her mouth, biting the nail of her index finger as she smiles. "Yeah, Keine's making us something. But I don't think we'll be able to eat dressed like this." She's still naked and you're still wearing a towel. "Sure we can! It'll be fun!" She laughs, leaning back on the bed. Your eyes turn to the clothing Youmu had set out earlier. You see several different types of outfits sized for both you and Aya. "Hey, I got an idea. Lemme pick out something for you to wear." You smile at Aya, who starts to examine a bra she found. "Hey, that's a great idea! You can show me all your weird fetishes, now!" She laughs. You examine the outfits. You see:
[ ] Tuxedo, top hat, and monocle. Pip, pip! [ ] Black trench coat and pants. Screams 'Let's kill each other!' [ ] Traditional Japanese kimono. You weeaboo, you. [ ] Towel. Never forget to bring one.
[ ] Goth loli dress. Piece of junk. [ ] School uniform. Attracts aliens, time travelers, and espers. [ ] Tuxedo, top hat, and monocle. Pip, pip! [ ] Japanese kimono. Looks like a certain ghost princess's.
"Why, I do believe it would only be proper for us to wear the correct attire, do you not think so?" You hold out the two tuxedos, complete with monocles and to hats. "I do say, good sir! Your selection has me most pleased!" Aya takes the smaller suit from your hand. "Verily. As a gentleman of good stature, I shall take leave henceforth. I would ask that you make haste, as we shall be dining soon." You change into the tuxedo quickly, and motion for Aya to do the same. "I shall. As a proper lady it is only fitting that I change in privacy. If you will please excuse my disheveled appearance, I pray you take your leave." She begins to change as you leave the room. "I do believe I shall treat myself to tea prior to dining. I am most peckish." You head into the kitchen. Keine looks up at you in surprise. "Oh? I didn't think you'd choose an outfit quite like that." She motions to a table for you to have a seat. "Please, have a seat. Dinner shall be ready shortly." She pulls out a chair. "Madame, I am most pleased with your hospitality. I shall indeed accept your meal most readily. Pray tell, would you so happen to have tea? My throat has become parched." She looks at you, confused. "Why are you talking like that?" "My dear lady, you have me most confused. My choice of words does not please you?" "Uhh, right. I'll have tea ready in a moment. Youmu! Turn the heat down on that pot for me, will you?" She calls into the kitchen. Looking behind her, you see Youmu. She walks over to you. "My dear Youmu. I do so apologize for my companion's previous behavior. She is most uneasy at the moment. I pray you forgive her in time." She raises an eyebrow at you. "I'm not sure what you said just now, but yeah. If you're talking about that I'll let it go. I would like to speak with you later, if it isn't to much trouble." As you'd somewhat expected, she's completely regained her composure. "No trouble at all, my good lady! Why, I'd be thrilled to speak with you. In the meantime, I am afraid that dinner does take precedent. I have become most peckish and am currently awaiting tea. Care to join me?" You smile. "I would. I'll have tea ready shortly." She walks back into the kitchen. Aya appears in the doorway, dressed in the black tuxedo you gave her earlier. She looks uneasy. "Ah, my dear Aya! Pray, do come in. Have a seat, we shall have tea erelong!" You motion for her to join you. She walks over slowly. "Please, my lady. A frown does not suit you. Push the prior moments to the wayside and be merry!" She smiles. "Indeed, I should. Though it not be an easy matter for me, I shall give it a proper attempt. Pray, how is the lady Youmu? I do believe I gave her such a start." "Nonsense, my dear! The lady has swiftly recovered, though I find it prudent of you to beg her pardon." You laugh, heartily. Youmu and Keine walk over, carrying several plates of food, and set them down on the table before you. "Ah, my dear ladies. What a fine meal you have placed before me! It indeed looks rather scrumptious!" You watch as they both sit down. Keine serves everyone and you eat in relative silence.
You eat silently and elegantly, like a true gentleman. After the four of you finish, Keine cleans up the dishes. You return with Aya and Youmu to the main room and await tea. "I say, that was rather delicious." "Indeed it was, good sir. I do believe tea would be most appropriate." You sit down on the couch in the corner of the room with Aya next to you. Youmu pulls up the chair Keine sat in previously and sits across from you, a confused expression on her face. "My dear Youmu, what seems to be the trouble? Are you ill?" "Uhh, no. Why are you still talking like that?" She raises an eyebrow at you. "But is this not my usual manner of speak? Is my tone improper?" Aya starts to say something as the front door slams open. Mokou parades in through the front door. "Im baaaa~ck!" She looks happy for some reason. Turning to you, her expression darkens. "Hey, what's with the suits? Did I miss something?" "Welcome, my dear Mokou! Were you successful on your errands? One finds himself quite curious." She raises an eyebrow. "Huh? Come again?" Her shoulders slump forward in a motion of disbelief. "Dear me, was I not clear? Do you find yourself in good spirits this fine evening?" "You fuckin' with me, guy?" She grins, as if you were making a joke. "No, my dear lady. Though I may be in good humour after such a delicious meal, my actions are no jest." She turns to Youmu. "Th'fuck is wrong with'm?" Youmu shrugs and shakes her head. "I do assure you my well-dressed companion beside me is in perfectly good health." Aya joins the conversation. "Her too?" Mokou puts a palm to her face. "What's going on h- Wait, are those monocles they're wearing?" "Indeed they are, my good madam. Rather spiffy, do you not agree?" Aya says as she turns to face you. "My dear lady, your monocle is most pleasing to the eye, if you pardon my jest. Why, one might find himself falling head over heels i-" You pause. Mokou walks over to the couch and tears the monocles from your and Aya's faces. "Huh? Hey, what was that for?!" You stand up, yelling at her. She growls in frustration. Aya stands as well. "Yeah, what the hell?" Mokou tosses the monocles across the room. "Aargh! Why does Keine hold onto these stupid things!" "Huh?" You raise an eyebrow. "What are you talking about?" Mokou pushes you and Aya over, forcing her way into the couch. "Lemme sit and I'll tell ya all about it!" You don't have much choice. It's a tight squeeze, but she somehow manages to fit all three of you on the couch. "So yeah, Keine bought these things from Koirundou way back when, see? Turn out they were youkai! Weird, huh? So she put one on and started to talk funny, like you did just now." "I wasn't talking funny. Why does everyone keep saying that?" You raise an eyebrow. "Yeah, really! We were fine the whole time!" Aya leans forward to yell at Mokou. "Ahh! Shut up! Lemme finish! So yeah, she spent the whole day with the thing on, and while I was waiting here for her to do shome shopping, she comes burstin' in the door with a suit on! I never laughed so hard in my life! Really!" "Oh? That's quite a statement, considering how long you've lived." Youmu speaks from her chair across from you. "Yeah, yeah. A whole thousand-something-ish years and I thought I'd die laughing!" "That's quite a declaration coming from an immortal." Keine walks into the room with a small tray. She sets it down on a nearby table and hands a cup to everybody. "It appears I've run out of tea, so I brought everyone a little something else. I hope it's okay." You rest the lip of the cup under your nose. The smell of alcohol wafts into your nostrils. "Ah HA! You brought out the good stuff this time!" Mokou laughs, drinking hers in one gulp. "You never do it when it's just me!" "That's because you'll drink it all." Keine laughs quietly to herself. You notice a movement out of the corner of your eye. Youmu is standing by the front door and motions for you to follow her. You excuse yourself and follow her outside. Aya looks at you suspiciously as you leave. Outside, you notice it's almost dark. The sun is slowly setting over the horizon. Youmu stands just outside the door.
Closing the door behind you, you turn to face Youmu. "So what's up?" Her face is stern, the same as usual. "It's about what happened earlier. I think I should explain myself." "Explain? You mean that?" "Yes. I'd expect you're curious to know what I feel about you." "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. Even if I am curious." "I'm not forcing myself. I've decided to tell you on my own power." Her face remains calm. "Well, if you're so intent on doing it, I won't stop you." "Very well. It is true that I like you. However, I do not feel the same as the Tengu. To me, you are an important friend and a valuable ally. I would like it if you did not confuse our friendship as feelings of love." Her tone of voice is unwavering, as calm and collected as the expression on her face. "I get it, but the way you said it is.." You scratch your head, allowing yourself to smile uneasily. "I know. I felt that it would be better if I said it directly, even if it were to mean hurting your feelings." "Straight-forward as always, huh?" You laugh. "Yes." She turns toward the door. "That was the reason why I brought you out here. That being said, I look forward to what awaits us inside." She opens the door and quickly returns to her seat. You stay outside, watching as the sun sets. You hear somebody walk through the door behind you. You turn to see Mokou, pulling something from her pants pocket. She holds it out to you. "You smoke?" You look at her hand. She holds a pack of cigarettes. You could swear they were made of solid gold. You pull one from the pack. "Never thought I'd see one again." You hold it up between your thumb and forefinger. "Got a light?" "A million of 'em." She snaps her fingers and a small flame appears at the tip of her thumb. She holds it up to your face. "So where can you buy a pack around here?" You light it and inhale deeply. You feel like you're in heaven for a split second. "Ah, here and there. There's a small shop up off the path that sells things from the outside world. You probably saw it coming in." You remember the building you walked past. "Yeah, I think I walked right past it." You sit on a small concrete ledge by the door. "After the last one, I didn't want anything to do with strange houses." "Heard about that. Aya told me you shot up a youkai." She sits on a fence post across from you and laughs. "I feel kinda bad for her though. We walked into her house uninvited and beat her into oblivion. It wasn't pretty." "Bet she was pretty pissed. I wouldn't worry too much. Shit like that happens all the time around here. A death or two is like nothing for the stronger ones." "I'm not used to things not dying after I kill them." You laugh, watching the cigarette burn in your hands as you breathe through it. "Heh, I've got a bridge to sell ya there." She tosses away a finished cigarette and lights another. "But we can save that for later. Look up, whaddaya see?" You look up. Through the orange glow of the setting sun, you can see a full moon coming into view. "Yeah, full moon, right? Best stay indoors tonight, buddy. Keine's already left. Had some.. er.. business to tend to." She had to think on that last part. "Business, huh? So why's a full moon so dangerous?" "Some youkai draw power from the moon. When it's full they get stronger. Those vampire girls like to come out and play, too. They'll probably be in town tonight." "Vampires?" You remember all the horror stories. "Yup. They're really not as horrible as you might think." She stands up and starts to walk away. "With that said, I gotta get going." She waves as she fades out of view into the darkness. You walk back inside, picking up the two monocles Mokou threw away earlier. They may be of use, so you pocket them. You notice Youmu sitting in her chair across from Aya. They seem to be talking about something.
You can hear their conversation from where you stand. It's about what you expected. It would appear that Aya is explaining her situation to Youmu. You stay be the door and listen for any new information. "...So that's why?" Youmu's controlled voice. "Yeah. That's all. I don't really know why I did that." Aya's voice is shaky, like she's been crying. "It's been done now, so you shouldn't dwell on it further. Fortunately for you, I don't hold those kinds of feelings for him. I won't try to steal him from you." "Thanks.." "But please try not to make another scene like that. It's embarrassing." "I won't." You decide to move. You walk in, pretending as if nothing happened. You sit next to Aya, who leans into you as soon as you're seated. You put an arm around her shoulders. "So what's the plan for tonight?" You look to Youmu. "When Keine left, she permitted us free roam of the house. I believe it would be best if we were to stay indoors for the night. We'll head out into the forest of magic at first light. The people that live there live very close to the village, so we should be able to make it there and back before nightfall." "Anything else?" You turn to face Aya, and turn back to Youmu. "There's a dragon statue located in the center of the village. We may investigate it before we leave, or we may investigate it tonight. I feel it would be better if we were to see it tonight. The full moon has a certain effect on ever living and non-living entity in this world. I'm merely guessing, but it may give us a sign." "We'll decide that when we get to it. First, I think you may want to find something else to wear." Youmu still wears the nightshirt she had on before. "Indeed. It would be unsightly for me to be outside like this." Aya pops her head up. "Hey, I got an idea! Why don't we let you decide what she should wear? You know, like earlier?" "Err.. that's" Youmu's calm expression distorts slightly. "Yeah, we should!" You and Aya laugh in unison. "Perhaps we could all wear tuxedos and top hats!" You and Aya stand up at the same time, and each grab one of Youmu's arms. You drag her off into the bedroom as she half-heartedly struggles to get away. Aya sets out several outfits. "These are the smallest I could find. Youmu's short and flat, so I-" "What do you mean flat?!" Youmu yells at Aya, surprised. "Oh? You know what I mean~~" Aya smirks as she cups the bottom of her breasts and pulls them up, showing them off through her tuxedo. Youmu growls in frustration and embarrassment. You can't help but laugh. Before you are several outfits. You pick:
[ ] School uniform and black trench coat. The words 'shut up' echo in your mind three times. [ ] Tuxedo and top hat. Pip pip, and all that rubbish. [ ] Padded yellow jumpsuit. Designed for revenge. [ ] Japanese kimono. Yuyuko pattern.
This is it. It must be the trench coat. Aya verifies your sentiment. "For a sword girl it must be a trench coat!" Youmu looks stunned. "Huh? Why? It'll make it hard to move!" You wave a finger in her face. "No, no, Youmu. This is the look that all sword girls strive for!" She raises an eyebrow. "Uhh.. I guess I should try it, then." She pushes you to leave the room. Minutes later, Aya opens the door and pulls you inside. She holds her hands out, presenting Youmu's new look. "Hey, it fits. We should do something about that white hair, though." "Shut it! I'm not changing my hair!" She holds her hands to her head as if you were about to steal her hair. "Fine, fine. We should probably get going then." You pull her and Aya towards the front door. "I didn't agree to this!" Youmu struggles as you direct her towards the front door. She somehow manages to work her way out of your grip. "I'm not going out in this!" She yells as she runs back into the room. "Damn." "Damn." You and Aya curse in unison. The outfit matched her so well it felt like it burned your eyes. A minute or two later, Youmu walks out in an outfit similar to Yuyuko's. Her carefree level goes through the roof, even if her expression is one of frustration. "Let's go." She says as she walks past you and out the door. You quickly run back into the bedroom and grab the coat she simply threw on the floor. You grab Aya as you catch up to Youmu, throwing the coat over her shoulders. She looks up at you with a mix of confusion and frustration in her eyes. You follow her to the center of town. Despite all of the warnings and dangers, you can still se people on the street. Perhaps it's safe inside the village. Youmu leads you to a statue of what looks to be a lizard coiled over itself. The head of the corroded statue points to the sky, it's mouth open. Two red jewels are inlaid as eyes, and you could swear that they were glowng. Youmu turns to face you. "This is odd. I expected some sort of sign, but the statue seems ordinary." "So why did you bring us here if you knew nothing about it?" She shrugs. "It was something Keine explained to me a while back. The statue represents a dragon, but I can see nothing strange about it." You look around your immediate surroundings for clues. The dirt roads of the village extend in all four directions, with the statue placed in the exact center of the crossroads. Several people seem to be staring at your group, and you just smile at them as they go about their business. The full moon glows in the sky, the orange hue of the setting sun long since gone. Aya clings to your shoulder. "Something wrong?" You ask. "No, I'm fine. I'm just a little uneasy around all these humans." She looks up and smiles at you. Somehow she's forgotten that you're human too. You take a look around again, searching for anything. Several shops seem to be still open for business. You look from person to person, your eyes searching aimlessly for anything unusual. Hey, was that a maid just now?
Your eyes follow the maid. She stands out in the crowd. You begin to walk forward. "Hey, where are you going?" Youmu asks, training behind you. "I saw something weird." You continue to trail the maid as she walks down the streets. Aya clings to your shoulder. "What'd you see?" The maid turns and walks to a food stand. You point to her. Aya turns in the direction you've pointed in, searching, not seeing the maid. "I don't see it." She looks at you, confused. "Didn't you see the maid just now?" "Maid?" Youmu looks at you and back in the direction of the stall. "Where?" Right there. She walks out back into the street. "Ah, you mean that one?" Aya points to her. "Yeah. Something's weird about that. What's a French maid doing in the middle of a Japanese-styled town?" You look over to Youmu, "Isn't that ri-" Youmu's gone. "Hey, where'd she go?" You look around, trying not to lose track of the maid. "Huh.." You shrug. For the time being, you follow the maid. She turns down an alley, off the main road. You follow, standing at the corner of the building next to the alley for a second before turning and walking inside. The maid's gone. "Huh, where'd she go?" You scratch your head. The alley's a dead end, so she couldn't have gotten far. Aya pokes your shoulder. "What is it?" She pulls your shoulder to turn around. Ahh, so there's the maid! She's blocking you in the alley and brandishing several knives on one hand. "Looking for something?" she takes a step forward. "Yeah, actually. I had a question to ask." "Oh? What might that be?" There's a strange glimmer in her eye. "I was wondering, what exactly is a-" You stop, hearing a strange noise coming from behind you. It's slowly getting louder. "What is that noise?" Confused, the maid asks you, "Is that your question? I'm afraid I can't help you there." She takes another step into the alley, boxing you in. The noise behind you continues to get louder. It sounds like... Youmu? Something drops in front of you, kicking dust in your eyes as it lands. You fall to the ground backwards. "What the-" "Big sister~~! I missed yoooouuuu~~~~!" It's Youmu's voice. She rushes the maid. You slowly sit up. Wiping the dirt from your eyes, you watch as Youmu rushes forward and tackles the maid, hugging her as the two fly back and hit the ground. Next to you, Aya has pulled out that camera again, taking pictures with that creepy smile like she was doing not too long ago. You watch as the strange maid struggles to free herself from Youmu's embrace. all the while, Youmu speaks unintelligibly. You hear the occasional 'big sister,' but the rest is muffled by the maid's struggling.
What is this nonsense playing out before your eyes? What happened to that calm and collected Youmu standing next to you just several minutes ago? You turn to Aya, who's demented laughter would make an average person soil themselves in fear. You turn back to the scene of carnage playing out in front of you. "Ahhn~~ Big sister is more rough than usual~~!" What? Could this have something to do with her callous attitude towards you earlier? Maybe she's... No, now is not the time. You've never seen something as weird as this. Even the number of strange beings you've met before don't compare to this. You need help! You turn to the only person you can think of. "Yukari! Youmu has gone into some sort of berserker rage! How do I calm her down?!" *How should I know? I can't see anything.* "Please! I need help!" *Fine, fine. I'll be right over.* Another hole in space appears in front of you. Yukari appears from it with a scowl on her face, facing you. "I was about to go to sleep, what is it you called me out here for?" You point in the direction of Youmu and the maid, who somehow have worked their way apart and back to their feet. Yukari stifles a laugh, covering her mouth with a hand. "My goodness! How... I should say interesting." "Can you stop it?" "I can try. It's no easy task separating these two once they get started." She snaps her fingers and another strange woman appears from the hole. "Ran, do something about this, will you?" The woman, Ran, sighs as she walks over, pulls the two apart, and throws Youmu behind you, knocking her unconscious. She holds the maid by her neck, preparing to repeat the action, when something explodes in front of her. She drops the maid and leaps back in front of the laughing Yukari. As the dust clears from the explosion, you can barely make out the shape of somebody standing over the maid. "What do you think you're doing with other people's servants, Yukari?" "My! The short one herself appears~" Yukari laughs. As the dust settles further, you see the figure of a small girl standing in front of the maid. The girl holds up a hand, slowly clenching it into a fist. Yukari throws the woman in front of her back into the hole she came from. "Oh, my would you look at the time? Gotta runn~~~" She jumps feet-first into the hole and disappears from view. "Don't you run from me, you gap demon!" The girl yells, throwing something into the gap as it closes. You can hear a small explosion. Suddenly, Aya puts the camera away and goes back to clinging to your shoulder. The small girl steps over the maid and begins to approach you. She stops directly in front of you and leans over, examining you. "Hmm? A human and a Tengu. Have you picked up another stray dog, Aya?" The girl notices Youmu behind you. "The half-ghost?" You see the maid slowly get to her feet and slowly walk over, standing behind the girl.
"So? What business do you have with my maid?" The girls asks, crossing her arms. "Yukari did it." She looks at you, narrowing her eyes. "I'm aware of that. Answer the question." "Yukari did it." It's all that can come to your mind. The girl sighs and starts tapping her foot. You notice a small pair of wings behind her. You can't tell if they're fake or real. "Perhaps I could... persuade him to speak, mistress?" The maid holds up a hand, several knives fan out between her fingers. "That won't be necessary, Sakuya. I'll have him learn to speak properly if it takes me all night." The girls grins at you, a small pair of fangs protruding from her lips. You stand up, slowly. "So, have any of you girls seen a dragon around here?" You look at the small girl, she's several feet shorter than you. "Sakuya. This human is looking down at me." The girl gives you a look of disgust. "Yes, mistress." The maid bows slightly. You're looking up. Somehow, you wound up off your feet. Did you trip? You don't remember losing your balance. "Better." The girl's red dress enters your field of vision. "Perhaps now we may talk, human." She pauses. "Hm? This is odd. Are you human?" She leans over you, giggling. You turn your head, slightly. Youmu's still laying on the ground, face down in the dirt. You can't seem to find Aya. You mutter to yourself. "Where-" The girl kicks you into a wall. You manage to push yourself to a sitting position as she walks over and grabs your shoulder. She pulls on your shoulder, forcing you to your knees, her strength is immense for someone her size. Behind the girl who seems intent on interrogating you, the maid and Aya seem to be having a friendly conversation. You can't hear them over this loud noise that's been ringing in your ears for the past minute. You didn't really notice it before, but as you push it to the forefront of your consciousness, it seems to be coming from above. It sounds like... Something hits the ground next to Youmu. It's... Youmu? Before you are two Youmu's. One unconscious, and the other holding a sword to the girl's throat. "Let him go, vampire. He's with me." Youmu demands. You can see a crowd gathering on the main road, watching the events play out. The girl narrows her red eyes, smiling as she faces you. Youmu holds the sword steady from behind her. "Let him go, you say? I would most certainly be pleased to be rid of it, but I'm afraid I'm not finished quite yet." She tightens her grip. You feel a sharp pain. "This one interests me." "This one's not for eating!" Youmu yells, her sword cutting slightly into the girl's neck. A trickle of blood falls down her neck, staining her dress. The girl disappears into a cloud of black, which zips through the air behind Youmu. "Who do you take me for? I don't *eat* humans like some disgusting youkai!" The girl's disembodied voice fills the air. You pull yourself to your feet, looking around. Your eyes settle on Youmu and the black cloud coalescing behind her. The girl's small hands appear from the cloud, draping over Youmu's chest. The girl pulls herself from the cloud, or rather takes form from inside the cloud. Her wings extend outward and flap once as she floats behind Youmu. Youmu struggles to free herself as the girl stares at you and grins.
You stare back at the girl. "Are you molesting Youmu?" "Hm? What was that?" She turns her head slightly, as if to angle her ears better to hear you. You cough into your hand. You point to her and repeat yourself. "ARE YOU MOLESTING YOUMU?!" The girl's head reels back, a confused expression on her face. She suddenly smiles and laughs. "Why, do you want me to?" She draws an invisible line down Youmu's jaw with her forefinger. "Unfortunately, I happen to be a woman of class. Such vulgarities are unbecoming of one such as myself." Her tone is condescending. You wonder to yourself what she'd sound like with one of those demon monocles on. For now, at least, she doesn't seem intent on killing you. You decide to humor her and hear what she has to say. "So, what do you want with an average human like little old me?" You grin. "'Average human' you say?" She pushes Youmu forward. You catch her while she's still off balance. "Do you honestly think I'll fall for that?" "Huh? Believe what? I'm just an average guy in search of a dragon." You shrug. The girl puts a hand to her chin, holding her index finger above her lip. "You honestly believe that, do you? Dragons aside, my eyes don't lie. I know a human when I see one." "Huh?" You look yourself over, trying to find anything unusual. Aside from the spiffy tuxedo, you don't find anything out of the ordinary. She shakes a finger at you. "No, no. As you are now, you appear to be an average human." She looks off into the sky for a second. "Well, if we're not going to destroy each other, it may be prudent to learn each other's names." She floats over, flapping her wings a second time. "But a filthy alley such as this is no place to talk. We will go elsewhere." She turns to face the streets. "Come, Sakuya. We're leaving." The maid bows curtly and follows the girl. "You will follow us." She says, not looking back. Aya walks over to you and Youmu. Her expression reads, 'what-the-hell-just-happened'. "Don't worry about it. More importantly..." You look over to the unconscious second Youmu. "Who's that?" You turn to Youmu, pointing at the body. "My ghost half, materialized." She explains quickly, walking over to the body. As she becomes closer to it, it fades away and disappears from your vision. "I'll explain later. We should follow." She walks after the maid, calmly. You wonder what that outburst was earlier. Aya smiles and clings to your arm again as you follow Youmu into the street. The girl and maid are standing facing you. Both look equally impatient. "My home is not within walking distance of this hovel of a village. I will be generous and allow you to choose a proper location for us to talk." You nod and look around. Several of the shops are still open. You could also return to Keine's house. You think for a second. With each passing minute the girl shows more signs of becoming impatient. You...
[ ] Go to the nearest shop [ ] Find a restaurant [ ] Go to Keine's place [ ] Talk in the streets
That's an idea! You've made up your mind. You'll take her to- "Ahh!" She yells in frustration, "You're taking too long! I'll choose!" She storms off with the maid close behind. You follow her, keeping some distance between you and the maid. She stops in front of a well-lit building. Somehow, there appears to be electric lighting wired to this one. She slams the door open and stomps inside. Looking around, the place looks like an average bar. Not too different than the ones you'd visited back in the outside world. The place looks deserted, save for the barkeep, a very familiar girl slumped over the bar, and a suspicious-looking character off sitting in a dark corner of the room. The girl sits at a large table in the middle of the room, almost right next to the bar. The bartender walks over. "So, what'll it be?" You bury your head in your hands, lamenting your current situation. "Something. Anything. Make it strong." Aya orders something unusual you've never heard of before. Youmu orders tea, as you had expected. The bartender gives her a strange look. The maid orders a bottle of wine, and the bartender ignores the girl and begins to walk away. "Hey." The girl has a sour expression. "Where are you going?" The bartender looks at her wryly, "I do believe you are a little young to be drinking?" The girl looks at the man like he'd raped her little sister and scooped out her best friend's eyes. Her expression makes you shiver. "Bloody mary, and be quick about it." You think the order fits a vampire. The man bows, "At once, madam." He walks back to the bar and begins preparing everything. The girl turns to you, her previously terrifying expression turns to a happy smile as she turns her head. "So, let's pick up where we left off." You introduce yourself first, "I'm Snake, an outsider. Yukari's got me running an errand for her. I'm supposed to find a dragon." "Yes, I know all about it." You wonder if you're becoming famous in this world. She doesn't explain how she knows about you. "I am Remilia Scarlet. The woman next to me is my head maid, Sakuya." What about her last name? "What's all this nonsense about me being not human then?" You raise an eyebrow. "It's as I said. I'll make my explanation short." She moves to speak as the barkeep brings over the drinks. She gives him another look and shoos him away. She takes a sip of the drink, her face turning to one of disgust as she sets it back down. "This is terrible! Where's the blood?!" Sakuya leans over, whispering something into her ear. Remilia stands up, pushing the chair over behind her, "WHAT?!" Then why didn't you tell me that earlier?!" She whispers something else. "What do you mean my face was scary?!" Remilia sits back down. Wait, wasn't the chair on the ground earlier? Remilia lays her head on the table, placing her arms over her hat. She speaks to you as she sits like this. "Where was I? To put it simply, I have the ability to see and change a person's fate. Whether or not you believe in fate is irrelevant. It exists and I've the power to mess with it." She sits back up and crosses her arms. "I've seen your fate. While I believe it foolhardy to tell you anything beyond what is necessary, I do have the ability to ease your situation slightly." "So you're offering to help?" You lean forward, resting your elbow on the table and resting your chin on your hand. Your other hand grabs a small glass of something, and you drink it in one gulp. It's strong, almost knocking you out of your seat. You feel a strong burning in your throat all the way down to the pit of your stomach. You hold up your hand to order another. "I am, to an extent. I'm offering you a chance to become stronger. Though the events will play out anyway, I can speed the process up for you. Normally, it may take several days, but I can have it all occur by the morrow. Don't worry, it's quite painless." "Why are you doing this? I don't know anything about you at all. Why should I accept your help?" "Ah, questions. The answer is simple. You don't know. Whatever the reason, if I were trying to stop you or kill you I'd have simple spattered you across the wall in that alley." You notice Youmu glare at her as the says this. You turn to face your allies. Aya seems oblivious, concentrating fully one the- What? On the table in front of Aya lay a mass of empty bottles. You didn't notice because you were concentrating on Remilia's offer, but Aya's been drinking up a storm right next to you. How in God's name could she have downed that many bottles in such a short period of time? Judging by the look on her face, you'll probably have to carry her out. "Uhh, right. Sorry, got sidetracked there. What were you saying?" You turn back to Remilia, who carries a sour expression. "If you continue to ignore me, I'll simply walk out and leave you to your own devices." She rests her hands on the table, her expression softens. "So, what'll it be? Will you accept my help, or will you refuse my offer. The choice is yours." The light from above shines off one of her fangs and into your eye. What a strange dramatic touch.