Unfortunate coincidences pile up, and end up changing into a series of unfortunate events, one followed by another, soon to become a giant trainwreck, crashing into your life, changing each and every aspect you could ever imagine, mercilessly forcing you to change as well, adapt, get used to the new state of things. Why would they do that? Reasons vary. Accidents. Relationships. Ordinary, humanly greed. Sin. Hatred. Or - just like mentioned above - unfortunate coincidences. People talk about the 'butterfly effect'. Something about a mere butterfly causing a hurricane, only by flapping it's wings on the other side of the world. It could be something else, you don't really care. Anyways, it is true, that a slightest change can totally ruin someone's life. Or make it better. Depends on the case.
Sometimes you get into trouble because of your own ignorance.
For instance, accepting a guy's offer to take a shelter in his apartment for the night. Being homeless isn't easy, and one tends to miss the old times after what seems to be an eternity spent on wandering from city to city. It just happened that he caught you in your weaker moment. You just couldn't refuse the prospect of sleeping under a normal roof, just this one time, when a storm rages on outside. It was silly, yeah, and dangerous too, but... Well, to be honest, that guy looked and acted too sincere, too genuinely selfless to have any bad thoughts about his - as it appeared at first - ridiculous offer. That's why you accepted.
Sometimes, you just get into deep shit for no particular reason.
Needless to say, this is one of these situations. For no apparent reason at all, you find yourself sitting at an almost laughably low table, set up with food that your eyes have never seen, even during the pre-accident days, with three fags, one excuse for a girl and one kiddo who happened to get a good look at you earlier, because of your lack of self-awareness. To be exact, lack of awareness about your lack of clothes. But that's in the past. He doesn't look like he cares, and to be honest, you couldn't care less either, so it'd be best to leave it alone. It's not like there's much to look at anyway. And damn, it just doesn't bother you. Strangely, they all find the... things on the table apparently very tasty, and happily engage in consumption while you simply stare in perplexion, trying to figure out what's meant to be eaten and what's not. Which is a hella difficult thing.
Wait, how did you get here again?
Except not. Long story short, those two idiots - Usami Renji and Marry Han - decided to go on a road trip... And you, being under their forced jurisdiction, had to comply. Next thing you know, a car rams through the barrage of nightly darkness, with you and two singing morons onboard, with old and crappy music bombarding all of it's listeners' ears like there was no tommorow. That is, until the road decides to turn into a forest path, and then suddenly disappear, leaving you to admire how majestatically terrifying does an easternese shrine look when it's quickly ascending towards you, or to be more precise, when you are falling towards it. Fortunately the initial impact was shocking enough to make you pass out almost immidiately. Thank god.
And so, because of the aforementioned rule of poor fiction that somehow found it's way into your monotone life, just after waking up from the shock, you found yourself sleeping wrapped tightly in fluffy eiderdowns, while a carefree, horned boy watches over your sleeping self. Yes, that's right. Horned. You're not sure if those things are real, bah - they LOOK pretty real to you - or if they're just an accessory, but one thing's for sure - he's cute as a button. Of course, you're never gonna say it out loud, ever.
A plate lands with a silent clank just in front of you. Following the hand that handed it to you, you find Renji's overly happy face, giving you a warm smile. You answer it with a sarcastic frown. Did you ask for those things? What does he think you are, disabled? What's with the friendly treatment? "Come on," he says "You're not eating?" Well, whoop-dee-doo, wannabe Sherlock. This girl ain't eatin' cause there are no things that look even relatively edible on this table. No, the ones you picked don't look any better either, so you can go fuck yourself with a rake. Your gay friend would like to watch, that's for sure. 's what they call strenghtening bonds between friends, you know. Should try it sometime. Maybe at least it'd teach you not to do things that are unasked for. Fuckin' idiot. "..." Even so, while it doesn't look edible, you might have no choice but to force it down your poor throat. Yeah, you're used to eating whatever comes by, an advantage of being homeless and poor, but those... Eh, at least that insane monk didn't tell you to pay for it. Like he did about the bed. The one you slept in, that is. Like if it was something you'd decided about. Next time, he's gonna knock you out, throw you into the basement and demand a payment for using it. Hell, he DOES look like the kind of person to do that. The girl who made all those... things is his absolute counterpart. Weak and fragile like a crippled child, kind and well-mannered. Ah, how nice it would be to grab that sweet, white neck of hers! Ah, how nice it would be to drive a fist right into her mouth! Ah, how nice it would be to violate her, show her who's the boss! Her whole existence seems to be screaming 'dominate me!'. And you wish you were joking. Grow some balls, freak! God, those people are so...
You try one of the round, brown things, suspicious about their origin, but it turns out to be just rice... With some sort of filling. Weirdly coloured, but it's undoubtedly rice. Hm, would've never guessed. Well, this might not be as bad as it looks...
No, actually, it is, but screw that. You can't allow yourself to be fussy. Not in this kind of situation.
And there's also that note about a job you found in your backpack but didn't have time to even run an eye over...
"So," the priest suddenly speaks up, almost making your rice ball to drop to the plate "What are you two... three here for?" Oh? Renji said he was his and Marry's friend, that insane fetishist. This question didn't sound very friendly, now. "What do you mean?" You steal a glance at Renji, who seems to be busy enough with avoiding the priest's stare to not notice you looking at him. Playing stupid won't work, you damn fruitcake. Not that you need to play anyway. "You can't be sitting around here all day long. Unless you want to help out with the chores, hm?" Ah, wish you could make that eversmiling idiot grimace like this, don't you. Well, it appears the red-white monk is the only one capable of intimidating him though. A pity. "Actually, we wanted to... uh, get some help from the village... to remove the car... yeah." "I told you I'd take care of it." "Uh..." Renji almost shivers under his conversant's intensive gaze "Y-you know..." he suddenly turns to you "H-hey, Fuku! You'd like to see the village, right? It's your first time here, so sighseeing would be nice... I can show you around a little, and stuff... right?" You give him a cold look before returning your attention to the meal. Does he really need to involve you? It was his fault for making that car pop up above the shrine in the first place, and now he's trying to bait an excuse? And what, is he expecting you to comply? And most of all, why the hell is he calling you with that name? Anyways, as nice as it would be to maybe catch some fresh air, if that note is from whom you think it is, you have to read it as fast as possible. The problem is, if it's about the job, there might be some little... complications. You've never been to this place before, but while it was always like this, finding your recipent might be a tad bit harder than usual... The thing is, this shrine is surrounded only by trees, as far as you could see... Is there even a city nearby? It has to be, otherwise, wouldn't living in such a desolate area be pretty much impossible? Unless the psycho fetishist has an underground powerplant and an all-year-round garden where he gets all this crazy-looking shit. Anyways, until you find a larger settlement to hang around in, the job's gonna be a pain in the ass to do. In that case a 'sightseeing' tour would be helpful... Well, the fact that this idiot is the one suggesting it kinda puts out the enthusiasm you would otherwise feel about the whole ordeal, but what can't be sacrificed for the sake of your work? Or, you could simply try to find the way on your own, no matter how hard it may seem at first, like you've always been doing.
But if there's help being offered, and if it can save you a lot of trouble, why not accept it? Maybe it's not pure politeness that's the reason for Renji's suggestion, but does it matter now. The only thing that's left is to find a way to cope with his idiocy. Shouldn't be really that hard, considering you've spent a lot of time with him already - and are still relatively alive and sane, but... Eh, if it weren't so helpful to have a guide, the choice would be much easier. But then again, life's never spoiled you. No other way than to accept what's being given to you and move on then. Giving him as much as a confirming nod or glance would be too much of a pain, so you just settle for a silent response instead. "... yeah..." you swallow the rice "... sure, why not." "Aha!" he sounds almost suprised. No wonder, just like life's never spoiled you, you haven't gone easy on that bastard a single time. Perhaps having you suddenly agree to what he says is kinda shocking. Whatever. "There you go!" Damn, this stuff's really dry... Is there anything to down it with here? "I'm afraid you misunderstood. I was not asking." Ehe, this intimidating tone again. Looks like your plan won't succeed after all, Renji. Despite the unexpected help of your damsell in distress. "I was simply stating that you will repay me for letting you stay... and eat. No, before you ask, I don't need anything. Just a little... help with running the shrine. You know, like cleaning all the floors? Sweeping the yard?" Damn, there's absolutely nothing. Not even tap water. You'd have to fatigue your sorry ass to the kitchen to get some. What a pain. "Floors..." Renji pauses for a moment "Wait, wouldn't that take at least twenty hours?! This place is huge!" "Exactly." Oh. So the so-called priest is just a lazy bastard. Saw that coming. It's a pity that you're not going to get any help with navigating after all, even after you'd bent your pride to accept it... Oh well. Nothing bad that wouldn't turn out good in the end. At least you won't have to put of with Renji's faggotry while on the job. Now that's-- "I'll stay." What you didn't anticipate, is that Marry would suddenly cut into the conversation with a ridiculous smile like this. Another damn fruitcake lookin' to stir up some trouble? They come one after another, eh? What an ordeal. "Of course you will," the priest answers "There's too much work to let anyone slack around." "No. I'll manage." you could swear the pride in Marry's voice doesn't sound any false "I'm good at house chores. Better than you would expect." That you have to agree with. From what you could see during your short stay at Renji's, the one doing all the home-related work - maybe with the exception of cooking - is Marry. Eh, he did remind you of that girly-type of guys, but this is really... Maybe it's the blonde hair giving him that feeling. "Still, I don't think--" "Oh, Reymont." Marry cuts in again "How about a little bet then?" "Now we're talking business. What's the stake?" "Ten thousand yen." "Make it twelve." "Deal." Wait, they're making a bet? What is this all about? Cleaning contest? And what the hell is that yen stuff? Money? Hell, hold up for a sec - did he say TWELVE THOUSAND? That's ridiculous. But then again, you expected nothing less from those two. The only question is, which one of them is sane enough that what they're doing is not only stupid, but also pathetic? Come on, how old they are? And why the hell are they betting so much money? "If I do everything you list in one day, I win. If not." "It's my win." the priest finishes in an amusing tone. How diffirent from his previous one. It's like if the change of topic also miraclously changed his mood. Freaky. "Simple as that. Well then, I think it's settled. You're free to go, Usami." Stealing a short glance at the comedian duo, your eyes are met with a peculiar sight. Like if their minds were exchanged, Marry is grinning at his friend in an almost hilarious manner while giving him a thumbs-up, and Renji... Just gapes at him in perplexion. They then exchange a few mute gestures, and the interaction ends with Renji letting out a big sigh. Ooops, he's noticed you. Fortunately, all he does is give you a sad, resignated smile. You can almost feel his confusion.
[ ] Wait for everyone to finish, then proceed to prepare for march out. Nothing hasty. [ ] Forget it. If they're busy with eating, there's no way for them to catch you reading that note. [ ] Forget it. Instead, drag Renji out. You need a word with him. In private.
[x] Forget it. If they're busy with eating, there's no way for them to catch you reading that note.
But that's that. You're kind of lost as well, as to why is he so negative about his friend's... excess, but it doesn't matter. You can't be bothered to give it any more thought. Actually, there's another thing on your mind. That note's been bugging you since the very moment you found it, and if it can serve as an excuse to run away from this horrible food, then so be it. It's not like you have anything better - or more important - to do. So there's no time to waste then. Quickly, but carefully not to make too much noise, you push away your plate a little, to signalize that you're done, and stand up. Though both Rin and Renji give you some weird stares, they don't even get a chance to mutter a single word before you leave the room.
Back where you woke up. Fortunately it appears no one had enough balls to meddle with your crap while you were gone. Well, unless there are more people living here at this shrine than whom you've seen, there was no one around to do that. Either way, it's good that everything's sound and in place. Then, that note...
Dear Fuku. (THAT name again...)
We're sorry to inform that we had to change our method of informing you of assignments for you to do. Due to your sudden departure from the previous place of living, we had to strain both our brains and pull a few strings, but we've managed to hire a field agent that will take care of delivering messages to you from now on. (didn't really take them long, did it)
But back to the topic, your newest assignment is as follows: retrieve the envelope from Hakurei Shrine's donation box and take it to the following recipent:
Patrick Knowledge Library Office Scarlet Devil Mansion Gensokyo
The address is also written on the back of the envelope, but we thought it would be nice to list it here, in case you forget it. And because the message would look rather empty without it.
We hope for you to start working immidiately. (yeah, same here)
Well, that's a bit unexpected. They used to contact you through your phone, but... Yeah, seeing how it's out of range in this place, and there's no way to tell if it'll ever come back, since it's a pretty desolate-looking area, hand-written notes are a good medium as well. More troublesome to make and deliver, but it's none of your concern. Patrick Knowledge... huh? A peculiar name. Well, fuck that. No reason to think about it. Now, the donation box was...
Here. At the front doors. Strange that you knew it's whereabouts, but it doesn't matter. Taking a look around, there's no one to disturb your little act of desacration. Good. Should that crazy priest catch you, there would be some unpleasant consequences, that's for sure. That was smart to leave the dinner prematurely. If you procrastinated nad stayed, the danger of getting caught would be much higher. But enough of negative speculation. The lid of the humongous and heavy-looking box turns out to be unfittingly light. Good for your weak arms, at least one facilitation in this string of unfortunate events. Without any problems, you lift it off the box and put it on the floor beside it. "... huh." On top of a small - very small - pile of weird banknotes, there's a white envelope, just as it was described. Good. It looks like your luck got boosted a little. Encountering no complications almost makes you feel nervous a little. Not enough to make you forget about the job. And security. Losing no time, you retrieve the envelope and quickly put the lid back on it's place. Perfect, like if no one ever touched it. That loony won't suspect anything.
Now, you're practically ready to depart. Not counting your guide still apparently being busy with something...
[ ] Wait for him here. If he wants to go with you, he'll find you. [ ] Go look for him. [ ] Depart on your own. Maybe it'll teach him a lesson.
Irritation grows from idleness, and thus it would not be wise to linger around here any longer, unless you have something to do while you wait. Which you don't, unfortunately. So it looks like you have no choice but to move your ass and actually look for that idiot yourself. Yeah, he was the one offering help, he should be here first, waiting for you, not the other way around, but you'd expected nothing less from a moron. No wonder he's gay - no girl would come up with such treatment. Well, it's not like you gave him much time to finish eating and grab his stuff either, but - does it matter, now? "..." It's his fault for making you wait, and while it's a pain to look for him, if it'll teach him a lesson, you might as well get to it. Waste of energy, waste of time, but what can you do? With a sigh, you turn to the front doors, intending to open them, when... "...!" Almost like if an elephant rammed the from inside, they swing ajar with a momentum that could probably be enough to knock an adult man out, let alone a poor girl such as you. Immidiately following that, a red-white shape dashes from inside, and towards the box that you've been meddling with just a minute ago. That was close. Well, he didn't even gave you as much as a glance, so it's safe to assume that he hasn't noticed you. And this creates a nice opportunity for you to enter the shrine, and escape the scene of crime at the same time. Let's go then.
Now, where could he be? If the priest is outside, then it means that either the dinner has already finished, or he couldn't stand someone wandering around his shrine while he's sitting around, devouring those atrocious rice balls. You can only hope - for the sake of your patience - that it was the former option, and that Renji is already on his way out. Hm, come to think of it, maybe it wasn't a good idea to look for him after all... You've no idea where he is, and just walking around aimlessly could create a situation where the two of you would walk in circles, searching for each other. Almost like a poor cliche from a poor romance or comedy movie. And as far as you're concerned, your life is neither of these. It's more like a really low budget C-class slice of life movie where the main heroine (that's you!) is constantly pestered by some idiot who appears to have a personal mission to piss off everyone in his vicinity. Later on, the boy realizes the main heroine will never return his feelings, and decides to kidnap her, then transport her to some desolate place, far away from any civilisation, and after that, acts like if it wasn't his fault at all. Some time after that, they start journeying together, helping each other at first because of necessity, then because of compassion, and finally because of companionship, and then they fall in love with each other and oh my fucking god, you don't want to think about it anymore. Then it is decided. He has to play out his role as a guide, and then be thrown away like a useless rag. Otherwise this whole ordeal might devolve into something you'd rather not deal with. Hell, you feel almost grateful when taking a turn, you spot Renji's too familiar back disappearing behind a door not even 10 steps ahead. "Ren--!" You almost call out his name, but collect your scattered thoughts when a short hiss reaches your ears from somewhere behind. "Pssst!" Out of reflex, you turn around, and spot a hand sticking out from another door, gesturing you to come over. "..." Alright, this is awkward.
[ ] No time for this. Go grab your idiot and get out of here. [ ] The idiot can wait. Investigate.
You're losing to Wizardry8 and World of Goo here, Anon. That's pretty pathetic if you ask me.
== [X] The idiot can wait. Investigate.
It's weird. The secrecy alone is suspicious, and you've no idea who could that be, calling you over in such a manner. Of course, there is one person who comes to mind, but he's just disappeared behind completely diffirent door, so it doesn't really make any sense. Who else? Oh damn it. You're supposed to chase Renji, but since it was his fault in the first place, it is your turn to loiter around and make him wait. That's one reason. The other one is that making him wait appears very amusing to your poor mind, for some reason. Why? Maybe because there's some grim satisfaction in trying to annoy him, despite knowing that you're going to fail in the end. Aside from one person, Renji seems to be completely oblivious to anyone else's hostility. And too bad, you're not that one person, no matter how much you'd like to be. Ehh, unless you definitely get rid of him, looks like you're going to have to cope with his overly warm smile every single day. And yeah, definitely, because if you just run away, he's going to find you sooner or later. That sly bastard. Does he have a poor, homeless girl detector in his head? Anyways, back to the matter at hand, it's pretty clear that investigating who exactly would be wanting a secret word with you is going to satiate both your malice and curiosity... A profit on both sides, at the cost of delaying the work. A small price to pay. You glance back at where Renji disappeared, but he's still inside that room, it seems. Great. In a silent, sneaky step, you approach the door and slip inside.
"Ssssh!" Oh yeah. Right. Why didn't you think of that? Of course, besides Renji, there's only one person here capable of pulling something like this. He winks at you while holding a finger over his lips, then gestures you to sit down. Mimicking the silly, childish gesture one would expect from a kid like him, you comply and squat down. Come to think of it, you don't know his name... "Quiet." he whispers, with a grin stretching his mouth. Uh-oh. Either he's up to something vicious, or just found someone's wallet. This could get ugly. "Eh?" Like if suddenly noticing something, he gives you an examining stare. Unsettling... But for some bizarre reason, you can feel your body start to sweat. Uh, is he really that intimidating? No, this is something else... But, more importantly, what does he want from you? "... uh--" "Were you leaving?" He asks in a completely innocent tone, and you're disappointed to see his grin slowly dissolving. Don't know whether it's a good or bad sign... "Uh... Actually... kinda..." Aw crap. Now he's stopped smiling completely. And what's more, crossed arms on his chest. Damnit. "Awwww." he lets out a disappointed growl "And here I thought someone would finally help me pull that prank I've been working on..." ... a prank. That was his reason? Well, it's... Not what you'd hoped he'd be wanting. Wait, come to think of it, what exactly had you hoped for him to want? No, it's a diffirent thing. Now, why... "... then..." you try asking "... why not ask someone else..."I'm not the only one here..." He shakes his head, making his horns wave around in an extremely eye-catching manner. It's almost like if... Goddamnit, why can't you unstick your eyes from those things?! They're not natural, humans aren't supposed to have horns, there's something disturbingly wrong with them! "Eeeh, I tried, but... Ren won't help me cause he's afraid of Reymo, and Mari is too busy... So I though..." He gives you a puppy-eyed stare. Shit. You're already metling inside. "Help me?" "... I've got... a job... to do..." "Heeelp meee~?" Oh my nutpicking god of harvest, this is worse than any torture you've ever heard of! It's like if he was staring straight into your soul, into your weakest point! Gather yourself, Fukuzai! Where is your cold, bitchy self? Come on, you can say 'no'! You can refuse!
[ ] "O--... Okay... I'll help you." [ ] "N-no! Sorry! I can't!"
You can refuse! Come on, if it was Renji asking, there wouldn't even be any discussion! For fuck's sake! But... this puppy-eyed bot is just... Too much to take. No, no, of course, you don't feel anything towards him! No fucking way you'd ever! You're just feeling weird because... Uh... Because... Because he looks so innocent! That's right! Only 'cause of that! It doesn't have anything to do with his horns and how much you'd like to touch them! No, nothing at all! Well, to be honest, you would want to touch them, but it's completely unrelated!
... maybe if you help him, he'll let you...
Damnit! "O--..." you hesitate for a split second, if only to satisfy the inner pride "... okay... I'll help you..." "Yay!" Like if your words were full of mysterious magic, bright and cheerful smile finds it's way back onto his face. Ah, how warm it makes you feel inside. An equal exchange, eh? You make him smile, he makes you feel good. Ah, how nice. How nice indeed. But there's another thing. Now that you've agreed to help, you're going to lose more time. The job is waiting, and it's really... bothersome to delay it even further. And you might lose sight of your guide again... No, wait. You already did. Hell. Still, it's nice to see this boy smile like that, so... Nothing bad that wouldn't turn out good in the end, eh? Patrick's not a cat, he won't run away. He can wait. And he will have to. He's not gonna die while waiting, damnit. Uh, so... Yeah. It's settled. Kind of silly, to be helping a young boy pull a prank while there's a job to be done, and irresponsible too, but to hell with it. His smile is enough to compensate for that. So yeah. No reason for you to worry. "Take this." he hands you a piece of paper that you take out of a reflex. It's a banknote. At least you think it is. It looks like one, but aside from a number '1000' and some sort of code, it doesn't have anything you'd expect from a banknote. Like letters. Doesn't it usually say something like 'two hundred whatevers'? All it has are those weird shapes... Wait, why is he giving it to you? "You'll go and find Raymo, okay? Then tell him you want to donate and give him this... But don't! Instead, let it drop and act like if it was an accident! Don't pick it up!" he waves a finger in your face "Let him do it!" Okay, so... Take that note, tell the priest you want to donate and drop it... Wait. Just that? What is this all about? Why would he need anyone's help? He could just leave it laying somewhere, that loony would find it sooner or later... Eh, whatever. You decided to help, now there's no way to back away. "Got it?" Yeah, yeah, not really, but you do... "... mhm..." "Thanks!" Suddenly, there's a pair of little arms wrapped around your shoulders. For some reason or another, a scent of watermelons and alcohol reaches your nostrills, making you want to pull away, but... Before you're even able to move, something soft presses against your cheek. "... wha--" "I'm counting on you!" And then he's gone.
Still a bit wobbly and confused, you stand up and approach the nearest wall. This is gonna hurt, but your head needs it. Badly. SLAM! You could swear you heard a loud crack when your forehead met the wooden surface. Well then, again. On the other side. For a good measure. SLAM!
Well that wasn't pleasant. Damn, it hurt like hell. But the dull pain at least blocks out the unwanted thoughts you could be having, if it wasn't for it. How ironic. That you needed it. How many times has Renji tried to make a move on you? Wait, come to think of it, not even once. Nonetheless, if he was the one to pull something like this, his face wouldn't survive the encounter with your hellish rage. No freaking way you'd ever let him do anything like that. Well, it could happen if he used the suprise factor, but he'd be the one with paining head if it happened, not you. Yet, right now... Ugh, it's nonsensical. Calm yourself. Take heed. What needs to be done? Don't think about that soft pressure on your cheek. Instead, concentrate on finding the priest. He was at the donation box just a minute ago, so... Oh, wait. He's right here. You were so lost in thought, that you didn't notice him approaching you in this overly long corridor. "Why are you here?" Oh, and look, he's actually noticed you as well. Even though he paid practically no attention to you after that... excess of yours. That had to piss the hell out of him, huh. But, he's here, and asking you a question. A nonsensical one. "..." "You deaf?" he leans forward a bit "I asked you, why are you here? Your boyfriend already left, weren't you supposed to go with him?" "..." Oops. So Renji left already? Damn, this is not good. No, wait it is. No, it isn't. Damnit. The only hope is that he will wait instead of running off or searching for you in the forest. Oh well, why do you even care? Didn't you plan to ditch him anyway? "You're annoying. Well, whatever. As long as you don't steal anything." He starts to walk off in the direction he - at least you think so - came from.
[ ] "... uh, actually... I wanted to donate. Here." [ ] "..." [ ] "Donation!", drop the note, and depart as fast as possible.
[X] "... uh, actually... I wanted to donate. Here."
Not letting him go. You agreed to do it, and have to take it all the way to the end. Renji can wait... Or not. It's his call. You've always been good off on your own, there's no reason why you wouldn't be now.That idiot will either get lost or find you somewhere on the way, when you finally get out of this crazy shrine. Eh, but now... "... uh... actually... donation..." Just in case he misses your mutters, you add a light stomp to emphasize that someone in fact is calling for him. Frankly, you haven't expected any reaction whatsoever, but alas - he stops in his tracks and turns to you. Amazing. Can he already smell the money or what? "Yes? Donation?" Okay, his face isn't exactly friendly, but considering that he's been treating you like air for the last twenty hours makes this semi-kind reaction even more impressive. "Did I hear something about a donation? You've got money? Where?" That proves it. He's crazy about money. First that dynamic entry he's done just to get to the donation box as fast as possible, now this. Uh, okay, everyone has his obsessions - some like abusing homeless girls for example - but he's a monk! A goddamn priest! Shouldn't he be, like, living in poverty? Isn't it in their rules or whatever? Why is it that everyone you encounter has the most ridiculous personality you could imagine them to have? What's this, a carnival of idiots? The only apparently sane ones turn out to be perfect housewives despite being male, or little boys. To be fair, you haven't met THAT much of them, but hell, this doesn't foreshadow well. If someone as respected - in theory - as a priest acts like this, you don't even want to meet other authorities. "... yeah, I wanted to donate... Here..." You pull out the note from your breast pocket and make a gesture like if you were about to hand it to the priest, but... Well, plans are plans, and with a slight twist of your wrist, you make it fall down. "Ooop--" Your forced, theatrical gasp of suprisal gets stuck halway out, because... Before the note touches the floor, the religious freak is already there, despite being at least five steps away a split second ago, with his insane stare stuck to the falling piece of paper... Urge to step back, not to bump into him or anything surfaces, but too slow. He bends down, with his arm stretched out to the money you dropped...
The exact moment he catches the note, a loud and obnoxious sound of ripping fabric fills the corridor. Like in a badly directed cabaret sit, the priest grabs his pants and quickly stands up, terror and suprisal painted all over his face. That didn't keep him from holding onto the note, as you notice. Is he blushing? No, no way. "Nayahahaha!" a familiar voice sounds from somewhere behind you "Hahaha! Got you!" That boy. Well, you saw that coming - it was obvious he would be hiding somewhere while you faced the priest you were supposed to play a prank on, but... Wait, that's that? No, it appears it isn't, as a piece of cloth hurled by the boy slaps against priest's face. A piece of red cloth, with a large rip in the middle. ... this doesn't make any sense. Was that it? The boy wanted you to drop the money so that the piest would pick it up... And then think that he's ripped his pants? ... that's one stupid joke. "Aaaaaa..." the red-white fool seems to think otherwise though "Kiuuuusss...." he pulls the rag from his face. Oho. If you were ever told to think of a very angered face, this would be it. "Why yoooouu..." "Hahaha!" The boy dashes past the two of you, laughing cheerfuly. "Just you wait!" The priest takes off after him, still holding the note, and the rag now. "Try to catch me! Nyahahaha!" "Hold it right there!" "Hahaha!" They disappear behind a corner, their footsteps and cries gradually fading away. And you're left to stand here, confused and disconcerted about the whole incident. Before you can do anything about it, your fingers are squeezing your nose bridge in consternation. "... what an ordeal..."
At least the fresh air helps to wash away all the irrelevant emotions. That prank was stupid and you should feel stupid. Nothing extraordinary here. Now calm down and think. Renji is nowhere to be seen, and if that commotion didn't summon him, that means he wasn't at the shrine when it happened. There are two possibilites - either he's already left, or fell asleep somewhere. Looks like your guide won't be helping you after all. Is it a good or a bad thing? You don't really know.
The stairs leading supposedly to a road of some sorts are a real pain for your legs, but well, no one's gonna carry your sorry ass down to that road. And thinking that the damn place is surrounded by kilometers of thick forest only makes you feel worse about it. Unless people live in tree houses here, it's gonna be a long way to your destination...
"... ehhh..." A sight escapes your lips when you finally step onto a gravelled surface of a path beneath that horrendous set of stairs. There's a roadsign on the side of it, and you're more than grateful for an excuse to stop for a moment and catch your breath.
[ ] Go left (Eientei, Moriya) [ ] Go straight ahead (Kourindou, Human Village) [ ] Go right (???) [ ] Go back (Hakurei) [ ] Go wrong (Forest of Magic)
A question to you. If a Renji abuses two Fukus during the day, but compensates it to two of them during the night, will he still look fabulous in the morning?
A question, this time a serious one. I've been feeling a bit ill today, and to be honest, I forced myself to write... And every time I do that, all I write looks off to me. Not necessarily bad, but... Like if there was too much dust and grease in a gear-based mechanism. That's how it feels.
Well, shit. The place where you want to go isn't marked on any of the wooden arrows, and the ones labeled not interest you a slightest bit. Now, what to do? It wouldn't be wise to ditch the job again and go on exploring, but... Is there any choice? Shit, to think there wouldn't be any problems with that if you had your guide here... Too bad, but what's been done cannot be undone. But wait. There's something else here, isn't it? The only unlabeled arrow, pointing somewhere to the right, where the path dissolves into forest and disappears somewhere away... It's unmarked, but it has to lead somewhere, right? And since none of the other options look any good, taking this choice would be logical... right? Well then. This short rest was enough to return a bit of energy to your legs, so there's no point in further delaying the march. Hell, if it gets you farther away from the crazy priest, then it's even better.
The path, altough not gravelled, and visibly not used for a while, is still distinguishable, and you have no problems finding your way on it's meanders... Soon the stairs disappear behind trees, and you submerge yourself totally in the thicket that smells of bark and resin.
Goddamnit. You should have seen this coming. No, come to think of it, it was pretty much obvious. Taking an unmarked path, one that looked rather tatty at that, it had to lead to this sooner or later. Bah, you can't even see that damn thing anymore. You couldn't for at least half an hour now. It just gradually melted into the soil, while the fresh air and ubiquitous noises of woods were putting your awareness to sleep. And now, you find yourself in the middle of a fragnant thicket, where no matter where one looks, everything appears the same. "..." You don't even find enough strength to curse your inconvenient situation.
[ ] There's no secret to living - just keep on walking. [ ] Call out for help... It's very unlikely, but there could be someone around. [ ] Turn around and try to find a way back. [ ] Stay here and sulk.
[X] There's no secret to living - just keep on walking.
Turning back would pretty much negate all the effort you've made to get here. Wherever 'here' is. You could always try to find the path you've been following for the last hour or so, but seeing how it's completely gone, it could only make your situation worse. Shit, what's gotten into you, to make such a reckless move? It seemed somehow logical, but in the end... Ehh, this is hopeless. In the worst case, you can always camp here, but first - you can't be lingering around forever, your supplies won't last longer than two days, and... There's that strange, bad feeling making itself comfortable in the back of your head. Like a slimy worm digging just beneath your skull. Some sort of fear, even though there's nothing to be afraid of. While it makes you want to call out for help, you do realize that there's probably no one around that could hear you. There's always your cell, which should still be operational, but... Well, having no signal renders it pretty much useless. Shit. "... ehhh..." There's only one thing you can do here. Keep on rolling. Sure, your legs have been feeling strangely weak ever since the morning, and this exertion doesn't make it any better, but... A necessity is a necessity. You'll worry about weariness later, when it's safe to stop. Cause it's not safe to stop now, at all. For both your nerves and health.
The terrain is - how you suddenly notice - much harder to move along. Damn, how ironic. Before you noticed that the path is gone, it had been much easier. Power of reverie, eh? 'Legs that carry one on their own' get an entirely new meaning.
With an uncertainty worthy of your poor situation, you continue to march onward through the thicket, in no particular settled way, just making sure not to stray too far away from the initial direction.
And lo and behold, it paid off. Despite the weariness that makes you want to drop on the spot and just rest for a minute or two, you've finally arrived at a small clearing. According to every single law of fiction, almost like if to mock your resolve, there's a rundown, wooden shack standing in the middle of it, looking abandoned and ruined and all. Classic. How many times have you spent nights in those kinds of places? Oh wait, not even once. Somehow, your job always led you to big cities, never once out to the countryside. Huh. Kinda regrettable, now that you think about it. You know full well how to survive in the concrete jungle, but have practically no idea how to behave in the wilderness, other than to light a fire... Which you probably wouldn't be able to do without a lighter. This is rather embarassing, for someone of your kind to not know such things... There seems to be no one else around. Even animals appear to stay away from this place. Nothing disturbs the afternoon silence under a bright sun, maybe with the exception of wind's humming.
[ ] Leave this place. [ ] Approach the house, but do nothing. [ ] Come out leisurely and knock on the door. [ ] Stay hidden and call out. Better to be safe, in a case something's made that house it's lair. [ ] Throw a rock at the house.
[x] Stay hidden and call out. Better to be safe, in a case something's made that house it's lair.
And in that silence, you wait, surveiling the surroundings for a bit longer. Having made sure there's really no one around, you take a last glance at the house, just for the heck of it, and decide to shout. "... uh..." too bad it's not coming out that easily. Being not used to even talking on a daily basis, doing something like this is just... Embarassing. Hard to do. Hard to let out. It's neccessary, but... You just can't... "He... Hello?" Now, that wasn't exactly a shout, but... No, just as expected, there's no reaction whatsoever. If there's someone inside, he, or she, probably couldn't even hear you. "Hello!" you try again, this time much louder. Still nothing. Alright, one more time. It's awkward, but for the sake of staying safe, you need to endure. Can't just walk up to it and politely knock on the door, now can you?
Your voice echoes around, but other than it's gradually fading sound, there's nothing else. What a waste of time. Well, it could be that there IS someone in there, just... asleep or whatever, but come to think of it, why would anyone live here, in such a place, in a ruined house like this? Well, you don't really know about the local customs, but... Hell, it really looks uninhabited. Broken windows, holes in the roof...
Lost in thought, you don't notice silent rustling of a pair of feet landing on the grass behind you. You don't even manage to gasp when something hits the back of your head, and you slowly begin sailing towards the ground, only to lose consciousness before the fall is done.
The first thing that breaks through the overwhelmind darkness is pain. Dull, perpetuous, drilling in your skull like a diamond borer, constantly... Your left eyelids are stuck together by something, and trying to wipe it off, you discover that you can't move your arms. The right one should still be okay, so...
The sight is suprising, to say the least. All that you can see through a red mist of pain, are stone walls of a cavern, lit only by a bonfire sizzling happily in the center. No, but that's not the most suprising thing. Hell, you couldn't care less about being carried or transported around in your sleep, considering what you've went through with the comedian duo, but... The person... No, actually, two people sitting at the fire, with their back turned at you are... The first one, taller, dressed in a violet robes of sorts is humming silently while hugging the other one, judging from the proportions, a child, wrapped tightly in brown blanket, nodding slightly to the rhythm. But what's more disturbing, is the larger one's back. To be exact, the two objects sticking out of it. Are those... wings? The song suddenly ends when the kid looks up at the singer's face, to which the latter responds by nodding. "You're hungry, right?" the child nods "Then I guess it's time to wake up our today's prey." The winged one stands up and faces you. While your sight is still clouded by both pain and fire's light, you can clearly make out his brown, slightly glowing eyes... Or are they just reflecting the light? Goddamnit, why can't you move? "Hello there." he says in the most kindly manner you could imagine him to speak. He slowly kneels before you. "I see you're awake." "I--ghh..." You try to speak, but it's useless. Your throat is so dry it hurts to breathe, let alone talk. The stranger pats you gently on the head. "Don't worry. It won't last long." He raises his hand, which you now notice, is armed with blood-red claws. Not nails - claws. Humans can't grow nails so thick and... red. And he's going to... And then you notice. Scattered all over this cavern are bones. Ribs, skulls, all kinds of bones. Some of them still have chunks of rotten meat stuck here and there. So that smell was... It was a man with his entrails pulled out that's been laying beside you all this time. His face, unmoving, stuck in an expression of utter horror, appears to be staring at something on the ceiling. Dirty, bloodstained clothes, white worms writhing around, chewing through the half-rotten meat, bathing in blood. This place is... but a terrifying graveyard. "Oh," the stranger gives you a sagacious look "Don't worry. That was a failed experiment. I'm just going to kill you first." "W-Wa--GH!" Faster than you can beg for mercy, his claws plunge into your throat.
It doesn't even hurt.
It doesn't hurt at all.
Perhaps... if it wasn't... for the inability to breathe... and that kid's emotionless stare... you'd be...
Goddamnit. This is hopeless. Getting lost like that, isn't it embarassing? Should be. Like a goddamn child. What made you go down this unmarked road anyway? What sort of ridiculous thoughts made you... Argh, screw this! You're supposed to be doing your job, not wandering around a godforsaken forest! To top it off, you have no idea where to go!
Letting out an angered growl, you spin around and face the direction you came from. Surely, somewhere over there, you'd going to find that path. Find it, get back to the stairs and go where you should have in the first place. The destination you want to reach wasn't marked on any of the signs, but damn, you'll find a way. Definitely. There's no way for you to fail so pathetically again. Not ever fucking again.
Pissed off at your own stupidity, you literally start storming forward, paying heed only not to bump into trees. And well, that's your undoing. Because by concentrating on the anger instead of coordination, you lost the latter and before you know, you're tripping on a stray rock. Just like that. "FUCK." Only a curse manages to escape your lips as you fall down to the ground... And misfortune had it, that another rock popped up directly under the place your forehead will hit in a second.
That is, now.
The sound of your skull cracking is like a music for your infuriated mind.
I do however feel enraged by the lack of logic in your actions. Alright, I won't deny you the privilege of ditching Renji, for the sake of playing pranks on Reymont (sic!), but fuck, you KNEW that there's no straight way to SDM from Hakurei! So yeah! Why not get lost in a forest instead? Why not, for example, go to a place where you KNOW you could get help? Or direction? Oh nooo, that's nonsensical, isn't it? Getting lost in a forest sounds like a so much better idea!
Fuck you. I restarted the story despite NOT wanting to continue, just for you, who want (or not, I couldn't care less) to read it, and you decide to screw around fuck it up. Fuck you very much.
If you would drop the trip and stop the IRC faggotry it would be pretty much impossible for anyone to bother you to update. No one's making you write here except for yourself. But, maybe you just want someone to blame when you inevitably get bothered for updates after quitting, so:
[x] YAF stops writing, and I don't bother him to update
I won't bother you, and I bet there are 4 others who won't either. There will still be plenty that will though, this vote won't change that.
That's the point. Whether we ALL get serious, or we ALL stop giving a damn about CoMN, or anything else. Completely stopping to post on the boards didn't help last time - some faggot kept posting Code Gayass in /shrine/, keeping the useless thread up, and making the actual active stories drop.
That's why I said: it's your call. Your. You. As in, all of you. If I quit (again), I do NOT wish to see anyone whining for me to return, trolling me, or trying to stir up trouble by mentioning my name. If we do continue though, I do NOT wish for anyone to try to make stupid choices like these in this thread.
You're writing a Choose Your Own Adventure thing on the internet, with setting based on series of Japanese games where little girls fly around and shoot magical colors at each other. Maybe you're just going about this the wrong way.