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There's no 'might' about it. Either I get her outside, or I risk having my shoulder drenched in vomit. The latter is, for me, not an option.

I somehow manage to carry Youmu out back, though how I managed to maneuver through that mess of empty bottles and drunken shrine maidens without tripping even once could only be seen as a God-given miracle. I wonder if I should thank Sanae for that one..

I don't bother slipping on my shoes, as Youmu seems about ready to blow. I'm sure all the moving around isn't helping, so I'd better hurry.

I take a few steps into a patch of tall grass behind the shrine, and figuring that this is a good a place as any, I carefully shrug the dead weight off my back. She immediately falls to her hands and knees, and turns her head to give me this weird angry look.

I think she wants me to go away..

I'm not about to leave her out there alone, so I take up a seat beside Suika on the porch, who happens to still be sitting out here, alone, with an army of empty bottles knocked on the grass beneath her.

"'Sup." She asks with a silly grin, not even waiting until I've sat down. I'm sure she saw me carry Youmu out on my back, so the question seems pointless.

I hear some rather revolting sounds coming from the grass where I left Youmu, and as if on cue, Suika pushes a bottle of something into my hands. It looks like scotch whiskey, but it tastes a lot stronger than the usual fare. Suika doesn't seem at all offended for not receiving an answer.

I finish off the bottle, and start to walk back over to where I left Youmu. Rather, I stagger over. I doubt it was a very good idea to finish that drink off so quickly.

Good news is, she hasn't passed out yet. I'm just thankful I don't have to carry her back in.. I hope.

"Feeling better?" I ask.

"Ugh." She wipes her mouth and pulls herself to her feet. "No."

"Didn't think so." Her voice sounds weaker than it did, but I'd expected this much. "Let's get you back inside."

I carefully take her hand--the one she didn't use to wipe her mouth--and do exactly as I'd said. She flops down on the floor as soon as she's inside, and I take an extra minute to clean the dirt off my feet.

If she wasn't passed out before, she certainly is now. Looks like I'll be carrying her to her room, too. I hope Kanako has enough open beds--I don't think any of us are gonna leave here alive.

"Heya!" Kanako grabs my attention as soon as I'm in the room. "Hope ya didn't let the kid make a mess outta my backyard."

"I didn't, but..." I should at least warn her. "Just try not to step in any patches of tall grass."

She laughs as I hoist Youmu up over my back once again and cart the poor girl off to the private rooms. Perhaps this time I won't get quite so lost.

A door on the left, another on the right.. I'm surprised I didn't see my way through this before. I set Youmu down in the first bedroom I see. Kanako--or more likely, Sanae has seen fit to prepare a number of beds ahead of time. Youmu gets the one closest to where I stand, and I make sure she's comfortable--or at least looks to be--before heading back.

I close the door behind me as I leave, but something stops me dead in my tracks. I could swear I heard a whisper, just now. I sit tight and wait. Maybe I'll hear it again.

Sure enough, I do. It seems to be coming from the direction of that closet I was thrown into earlier by Satori.

[ ] Investigate the noises.
[ ] Don't wanna miss the party.
[X] Investigate the noises.
[ ] Investigate the noises.
[ ] Assume CQC position.

Habits die hard.
[ ] Investigate the noises.
[X] Investigate the noises.
[X] Assume CQC position.
[x] Investigate the noises.
[x] Assume CQC position.

Oh christ, suddenly I remember when this story first started.
Stranger still, it sounds like her voice. I wonder who she's talking to.. Anyway, if I were to have an issue with eavesdropping, I doubt my relationship with Aya could've gotten very far off the ground. I have to investigate this.


I keep to the walls as a precaution. Maybe it's just something instinctual built into me from years of practice--I don't make even the slightest noise during my approach.

What bothers me more is Satori's ability. If I get too close, she'll know I'm here no matter the amount of noise I make. I know there's got to be a rage limit to her ability to snoop around in people's heads, so when I'm able to hear the conversation clearly..

"..heard me! Do I have to spell it out for ya?"

I stop dead in my tracks. From here, the voices are just above the level of a whisper. The room is quiet, so I can hear them clearly. I think that was Yuugi taking just now.. It would make the most sense.

"How many more has she brought back?"

"None! They're just dropping in outta nowhere! I found three more yesterday after you left, and that Parsee pulled a fourth out from God-knows-where this morning."

"Parsee did?"

"Yeah, I know. It's not like her to lend a hand. Maybe she knows something's up, too."

"Ooh, interesting~" That one came from behind!

My hand drops to my waist instinctually, searching for a weapon that isn't there. My eyes register Kanako standing... Floating behind me. It's no wonder I didn't hear her approach. Jeez, I wish she wouldn't do that!

I flash a hand signal telling her to keep quiet.

"..right." The voices continue, unaware of our presence. Thankfully, they didn't seem to have heard Kanako's voice a moment ago. That, or they're not paying it any mind.

"But something else has me worried.."

"Utsuho has disappeared?"

"I really wish you'd just let me speak, but yeah. Your sister, too. Haven't seen 'em since you left yesterday. Rin's been looking all over the place."

"That's strange.. Normally, she's such an obedient child.."

"Which one?"

"Okuu- err, Utsuho."

"Yeah, well. No offense to her, but she's been a little off ever since that little scuffle with the shrine maiden."

I can hear footsteps. The voices are getting louder. Naturally, I hide. Kanako doesn't bother. I suppose she's in the mindset of, 'this is my house, I'll do as I please'.

"Hey, where are you-" Yuugi's voice becomes agitated. "I wasn't finished talking!"

This... Doesn't bode well for somebody in my position.

[ ] Leave.
[ ] Stay put.
[x] Stay put.
[ ] Stay put.

She knows we're here anyway.
[ ] Stay put.
[x] Stay put.
[ ] Stay put.
But I'll stay where I am, see how this plays out. I wonder if she's noticed me. My life isn't in any mortal danger as far as I can tell, so I feel surprisingly calm about the whole thing.

The footsteps are heading my way. That is, until I hear a small commotion outside.

"Hey, I was wonderin' where you folks had run off to!" Kanako lets out a greeting as usual, friendly tone and everything. "Huh, looks like you found each other okay."

"We did." Satori seems agitated, judging by the sound of her voice.

"Something wrong?" Kanako either is, or plays dumb. I wonder if she's trying to buy me time to escape. I'm not running, but she wouldn't know that much.

"No, it's nothing, I'm sure." Satori's voice suddenly becomes calmer. Is she going to ignore me? I'd like that. Oh yes, I'd like that very much. And then, out of nowhere..

"Could you step aside, please? I believe I left something in this room."

Oh. Well I guess that's that.

"This room?" Kanako, you sound so guilty right now she wouldn't even have to bother reading your mind to know you're up to something. "You mean this one behin--"

"Yes, this one." I hear the door start to move, and I watch almost disbelieving as I see it begin to slide open.

Light from the hall floods the dark room I'm in, and a silhouette of a person steps inside.

Right up to me, her feet approach directly in my line of sight as I stand crouched in the corner. I can feel her eyes on me.

"I'd ask what you're doing, but I already know."

I stand to face her. She doesn't appear, or for that matter, sound angry in any way. A sort of gentle nonchalance, if anything.

"Just trying to get a better understanding of--"

"You were eavesdropping." She scowls, "I'm not one to speak on the subject of morals, but--"

"Aww, what's wrong?" Kanako throws her arm over Satori's shoulder. The move catches the both of us off guard. "You do it all the time~" Kanako grins wildly.

"That isn't--" Satori's face begins to turn red. "Stop that."


"I'm not kidding." Her eyes turn to the floor and she begins to fumble with one of the cords tied to her dress. "I can't turn it off, so..."

"Hmmm~?" Kanako seems far too amused by the reaction she's getting. I, too, would like to know what's on her mind right about now.

"Alright, fine! I see your point, so just--" Satori pauses, giving me a tense look before sighing heavily any shred of her previous demeanor is erased. "That's better." She shifts her entire body as her concentration turns to me. "As you no doubt overheard, it would seem the situation has worsened. My sister and one of my pets have disappeared, and though I intend only to take the oni's words at face value, I may require your help more than before."

"I still don't know what I have to do with all of this." I say flatly.

"Neither do I." She reverts to her more usual cold stares as she speaks. "For that matter, I deem finding my sister to be far more important that a few dead bodies piling up in the underworld."

"Hey, hey, hey!" Yuugi seems to take offense to something she said. "Don't say that! Even if your little train-wreck of a pet cat comes 'n picks 'em all up, the places they were found at all smell like corpses for days!"

Satori's eyes turn disbelieving to Yuugi. I find myself doing the same. 'Days' is probably a gross exaggeration.

"What's with that look?" Yuugi snorts. "An oni's nose is incredibly sensitive, you know!"

"Sure, sure." Kanako chuckles, her arm still thrown over Satori's shoulders. I don't think she intends to remove it anytime soon. "And my name is Jesus H. Christ."

"What was that?" Kanako's jab seems to have made matters worse. "Say that again!"

"Oni don't lie, Kanako." Sensing some sort of imminent threat, Satori pulls herself away from the goddess. "I suggest you take that back."

Kanako, seeming to have sensed the same, complies with a heavy sigh. "Alright, fine. Sorry I insulted your scout's honor or whatever."

She doesn't sound sincere in the least.

"You itchin' fer a fight?" Yuugi grins, no less angry than she was a moment ago.

"I'm not drunk enough to start burning down my own shrine, but thanks." Kanako smiles and shrugs.

"Ah, that's more like it!" Yuugi's jolly spirit returns, leaving me a little bit baffled. Was she just playing around? She puts an arm over the goddess' shoulders in the same manner that Kanako had done to Satori. "Drinks're on you, of course!"

"Yeah, let's leave these two secret lovers alone, eh?" Kanako gives me a disgustingly silly wink, like something my father would've done had I brought home a girl after school one day.

Her and Yuugi walk out, practically hand-in-hand, leaving me alone with Satori. Crap, now what?

"Oni are rather fickle creatures, are they not?" She asks me.

"I have no idea what to make of what I just saw." I can only reply as such. I'm just thankful to have averted yet another crisis situation.

[ ] Stay here, talk with Satori.
[ ] Go back to the others.
[ ] Stay here, talk with Satori.

Oh god, why am I still awake.
[x] Stay here, talk with Satori.
[X] Stay here, talk with Satori.
[X] Stay here, talk with Satori.
[x] Stay here, talk with Satori.
[x] Stay here, talk with Satori.
Overhearing that previous conversation leaves me with more questions than answers. The situation seems to have become more serious in the past day, judging from Yuugi's words, but I have no idea how Utsuho and Satori's sister would fit into this. I don't believe I've ever met her sister, or even knew she had one come to think of it. I turn to Satori and--

Hey, wait, where'd she go?

I look around the room to find her. She's headed in the same direction Yuugi and Kanako took earlier. Is she ignoring me? I know for a fact that she can hear all of this. Hey, don't ignore me, dammit!

I catch up behind her with the intent of continuing our previous conversation, but I can't seem to remember where it left off. Or where I should begin, for that matter. Seems like this isn't going to get anywhere until later.

A door slides open in front of me, and I somehow find myself back in the middle of things. Save Youmu, everyone has gathered into this one room. The fire still roars in the background, though from here it seems to have gotten considerably smaller. I retake my seat next to Aya, only to have my other flank taken up by that damned Tenshi.

Talk about uncomfortable. I know she doesn't like me, that for some reason or another she has a chip on her shoulder for most of the folks in this room, too. Why she chooses to sit here, or why she's even here to begin with is beyond me. I'll just ignore her, and hope she does the same.

"So, Aya--" I turn to face her on my left.

Something hits my leg. It's coming from Tenshi's side of the table. I give her an irritated glare and continue to ignore her.

"So, Aya," I repeat myself, finding the sound of my voice surprisingly calmer than before. Maybe I'm trying too hard not to sound so pissed off. "How would you feel about another adventure?" I expressly place emphasis on the word 'adventure' to sound sarcastic.

"Adventure? You mean, like.." She doesn't seem to pick up on it. Probably just too drunk to notice. "An adventure in the sack?"

"Yeah, that too." That was a little much, even for her. "But what I meant was--"

Another pain in my leg.

"Dammit, would you stop that?!" I turn to the crookedly grinning girl to my other side.

"What you meant was dammit-would-you-stop-that?" Aya asks, smiling, entirely oblivious to my situation.

"Your leg is on my side of the table." Tenshi sneers. Why that snooty little..

Then, I get an idea.

[ ] Challenge her to a drinking contest.
[ ] Confess your undying love for her.
[ ] Give her Suika's gourd, tell her she can't handle it.
[ ] Give her Suika's gourd, tell her she can't handle it.
[X] Give her Suika's gourd, tell her she can't handle it.
[X] Give her Suika's gourd, tell her she can't handle it.
File 123749491925.jpg - (49.16KB, 165x247 , LaLiLuLeiLoLaLiLuLeiLo.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] Confess your undying love for her.
[X] Give her Suika's gourd, tell her she can't handle it.
[X] Confess your undying love for her.
[x] Give her Suika's gourd, tell her she can't handle it.
[x] Confess your undying love for her.

It's like I'm really in a soap opera!
[x] Give her Suika's gourd, tell her she can't handle it.

Are you ever going to back to the old write-ins only part?

For specific parts, yes. I'll accept any winning write-in at any given point, though. The options provided are mostly there to keep the votes flowing in case folks can't come up with something else. For now I'll follow the usual style, but I'll go back to write-ins only if there's enough demand.
[ ] Give her Suika's gourd, tell her she can't handle it.
[ ] Challenge her to a drinking contest.

I don't know, Suika might get pissed that we let Tenko use her gourd seeing how nobody likes Tenko anyway.
"Hey, Suika!" I yell across the room. She turns her head just enough to show that I have her attention. "Toss me that gourd of yours!"

"Right-o!" She replies, immediately tossing the thing my way. It's like a purple blur, headed straight for my face. I catch it, but she certainly could've gone easier with the pitch. I shake my hand a bit to relieve some of the pain, take a swig, and pass it to Aya.

She does the same, and passes it back. From here, I begin to get another idea. No time for thinking, I just take it and run.

"Tastes like water." A lie, with no good intentions behind it. Suika wouldn't be pleased, but she doesn't have to know. I look to the celestial--now more behind me than beside me like before. I bet that toss scared her a bit. "Think you can handle it, kid?" I chuck the bottle into her hands with a stupid smile on my face, and wait for a response.

"How dare you talk down to me, you-- You commoner!" So she's taken offense, has she? Good, it's all part of the plan. "I'll have you know.." She uncorks the container and takes a huge gulp of it's contents.

And another.

I'm surprised. Honestly surprised. I didn't think she could manage. An unexpected twist, but I'll stay quiet and see what happens.

Shouldn't the damned thing be empty by now" she's not even bothering stopping to take a breath. She must've seen it as some sort of challenge..

Finally, she pulls the thing away from her lips and throws it back at me.

"I'll have you know, I'm far better at this than you!"

"I don't think she'll be saying that an hour from now.." Aya giggles and whispers to me from behind.

"Yeah, we should get rid of the evidence in case she dies." I replace the cork and toss the bottle back to Suika with a shout. Funny, it still felt full when I tossed it just now.. Ah, well never mind.

I notice that there's suddenly a whole hell of a lot more noise coming from the far side of the room where Kanako and Yuugi are seated. I-- What the hell are they doing?

By the looks of it, those two have started up some sort of dance around the fire. It looks like some sort of strange tribal ritual, and not even the addition of Sanae, or more particularly Satori--who looks depressed, like they'd forced her into it--can add any measure of class to the nonsense.

"Aww, man. They've completely lost it!" Aya laughs wildly, and something abut the smile on her face tells me that she may up and join in any second now.

"Tell me about it." I find myself unable to contain my laughter as well.

"Oh great fire lord!" Sanae bellows as the others begin to break up the show. "We beg of thee!"

"Bring us more fire water!" Yuugi cuts in, shaking a fist at the roaring flames. Why do I get the feeling this may have something to do with my words earlier?

"Beer for the beer gods!" Kanako starts in as well, nearly screaming at the top of her lungs. Satori says nothing, and returns to her seat in silence.

"But you're a wind god!" Says Sanae.

"Stop stealing my thunder, Sanae!" Replies said wind god with an air of extreme pride. "Today I'm a beer god!"

"...Fools." Says the downer sitting behind me.

"Lighten up, will ya?" I turn to her for a moment. It's about time somebody says something to this girl, but why do I get to do the honors? "They're having a good time." I turn back to Aya. "Hey, why don't we get in on this before it's over?"

"Naah." She waves her hand passively. "Not my style. Too embarrassing."

Well at least she's not trying to stop them or call them names, like somebody behind me. Well, maybe that's about to change, judging from Tenshi's massive dosage of alcohol a moment ago. It's just a matter of time until I find out, I suppose.

"Everybody!" Kanako's voice silences the room, and she points to the door. "Outside!"

I turn to Aya, who turns to me.

[ ] "Well, you heard the lady."
[ ] "I like it fine right here."
[ ] "So who's gonna babysit little miss Party-pooper?"
[ ] "Well, you heard the lady."
[ ] "Well, you heard the lady."


Yeah, ignore that, forgot to erase that.
[X] "Well, you heard the lady."
[ ] "Well, you heard the lady."
[ ] "Well, you heard the lady."
[x] "Well, you heard the lady."
"Well," I say, "You heard the lady." I grab Aya by the hand and pull her out of her seat. She staggers and falls into me. Probably just dizziness caused by all the alcohol.

The goings on in Kanako's head are still a mystery to me, but I can make a rough guess from the direction she's headed--through the back door to the springs. I wonder if I should try to rouse Youmu. The water might help clear her head. But supporting both her and Aya would be a little overwhelming. It's selfish of me, but I'll let her rest for now.

"Oh, and before I forget," I turn back to where I was seated earlier, and look a little to the right--directly at Tenshi, who doesn't seem to have any motivation to stand up at all. "You're coming too."

"Huh?" She looks at me, though her eyes don't focus directly on my face. It looks like the drink is starting to take effect. "Who the.." She raises an arm to point at me, but slumps forward because of the attempt. It takes her a moment to right herself, and by the time her eyes turn to me again, I'm standing in the doorway.

"Who the hell do you think you are?" She asks, "You can't tell me what to do!"

Annoying. I suppose what annoys me the most is her unwillingness to go out and enjoy the springs on her own accord--something Youmu is incapable of doing at this point and time. I know I should just leave her to do what she wants, but something inside me just can't seem to let it go.

"If you stay here, we'll just have to carry you out and toss you in."

Aya laughs. She must think I'm joking. I'm not. I'll really do it if I have to.

Tenshi sighs, begrudgingly pulling herself to her feet. She's a little less shaky than Aya, who's still leaning on my shoulder, but it's enough that I'm able to notice it. She pushes her way past me without a word.

"Well at least she's outside.." I shrug, and continue helping Aya outside.

We're the last ones out. Kanako and the others are already standing around the doorway as we exit. Drunk as they are, it would seem as though they haven't forgotten that I'm still here. Being the only man here is somewhat of a blessing and a curse.

"Alright, you!" Kanako points to me. "You're on that side." She points to the far side of the spring cordoned off by that sloppy-looking barrier of her's.

"It's still light out," Satori voices in over the crowd. "Shouldn't this wait until later?"

"'s fiiiine~" Says one of the two Oni--I can't tell which. They both sound the same when they're drunk.

"It'll be dark by the time we get out, anyways.." Sanae adds sullenly. Must be some terrible mood swings with this girl. Or maybe it's all Kanako-induced, like with Youmu and Yuyuko.

"Aww, cool it, Sanae." Kanako says with a mischievous grin. It's the kind that says, 'keep it up and I'll toss you in'.

Speaking of which, where's Tenshi? I see Suika and Yuugi, Kanako and Sanae. Satori stands off in the corner some feet away from the group, but that's it. All accounted for but one.

"Maybe she took a wrong turn somewhere.." I think aloud. She was awfully angry when she walked past me, so maybe she made a wrong turn on purpose just to show me up. Figures.

"You say something?" Kanako's eyes glance at me.

"Just talking to myself."

"Oh." Her attention returns to Sanae, who's expression has started to brighten a little. "Well if ya want," She keeps talking to me, however. "You can go right on in. Baskets for clothes are on the floor, and take the path around the side of the house if ya need to get inside."

Her eyes don't settle on me for even a second as she talks. Her mind is completely engrossed in calming or bullying Sanae--whichever of the two.

[ ] Don't wait around.
[ ] Stay and chat.
[ ] What the hell is wrong with Sanae?
[ ] Look for Tenshi.
[ ] Don't wait around.
[ ] Don't wait around.
[ ] What the hell is wrong with Sanae?
[x] What the hell is wrong with Sanae?
[x] Suggest she talk with Youmu at a time when she's more conscious; they'd seem to have a lot in common.

Maybe she could give her tips in dealing with highly demanding superiors.
[X] Look for Tenshi.

We said we'd toss her in if we had to, and goddamn if we're not a man of our word.
[z] Search for Tenshi
[e] Suggest, later, that she talk with Youmu at a time when she's more conscious; they seem to have a lot in common.
Bah, 4-way tie. Not waiting for a tiebreaker vote, so writan is go~
I'm at odds with myself. Part of me wants to run right in, and another part of me wants to go find Tenshi. If she thinks she can simply get away and not face the consequences, she's got another thing coming. I'll make good on my threat, or my name isn't Snake!

Wait, it's not.

Well, anyways..

"Something wrong with Sanae?" I tap Kanako on the shoulder. "She's acting a little weird."

"Meh." Kanako shrugs. "She's just moping. About this and that. She probably wouldn't appreciate me going around telling everybody her every little problem, so let's just keep it with what you said earlier."

"And what was that?" I can't quite remember. Did I say anything quite so noteworthy?

"Too much firewater."

"Oh, right." I laugh. "Fine by me." I have no intention of prying. Sanae's problems are her own, and whatever they may be, if she wants me to know she can tell me herself. I suppose it might've been a little rude of me to ask in the first place.

Still, these 'symptoms' she's showing are strangely similar to how Youmu behaves around Yuyuko. The two may have more in common that I imagined. I wonder what they'd talk about if we--Kanako and I--were to sit the two in a room together. I might make the suggestion if this strange behavior keeps up.

"In any case.." It's off to find Tenshi. With the route we all took to get outside, there was only one hallway branching off.

If I recall correctly..

It headed into the same area where I'd left Youmu earlier.

I should go investigate.

"Where are you going?" Aya stops me as I turn to head back.

"Hunting Celestials." I reply, "Care to join?"

"Yeah, sure." She seems nonplussed by the whole idea. She could care less, at the very least. At worst, my interest in the little terrorist could possibly invoke a jealous sort of wrath from her, something I'd like to avoid at all costs.

"Remember what I said earlier?" I turn back around to face her. Hopefully explaining the situation may help. "About throwing her in if she tried to run away?" I pause, look behind me, and smile. "I plan to make good on it."

"Ooooh! Sounds like fun!" Okay, now I've got her attention. "Well, what are you standing around for then? She's getting away!"

Of course, she doesn't know if that's actually true. This is all just an act on her part to make it all seem a little more dramatic than it really is. The smile on her face makes even the heart of an old war veteran's hear like my own melt. God, she's beautiful.

In the face of all this, I'd almost lost sight of my objective. Find Tenshi, drag her out, and throw her in the water. Do not, for any reason, attempt to sexually assault Aya. Do not! Do not do not do not--

I keep that thought in my head as I backtrack through the halls. Aya follows, floating behind me in that oh-so-giddy way. She probably wants to dunk Tenshi more than I do. I'd bet my entire life savings on it!

The halls are clear as I pass by the room where Youmu sleeps soundly. I look in just to check up on her. She's hardly moved an inch from where I left her, sound asleep.

I press onward, searching empty room after empty room and eventually winding up back where I started--the roaring fire to my back as I stand by the very same table I'd sat under only minutes ago.

"Well, shit." I curse under my breath.

"She's not here." Aya says, "Maybe she really did go outside.."


My eyes sweep the room once more, just to be sure. Nothing, nothing, fire, nothing, nothing, table, nothing, empty bottles, nothing, floor--

And out of the corner of my eye, I see movement. Something in the shadows, down the hallway we'd just walked through. Damn, I wasn't thorough enough!

[ ] Chase her down!
[ ] Aya can head her off on the other side.
[ ] Tell Aya to catch her! She's faster!
[ ] Ignore her, it's too much trouble.
[X] Chase her down!
[X] Chase her down!
[X] Aya can head her off on the other side.

Target is attempting to flee. Pursue and capture. Tengu 1, move to intercept.
[X] Chase her down!
[X] Aya can head her off on the other side.
[X] Chase her down!
[X] Aya can head her off on the other side.
[ ] Chase her down!
[ ] Aya can head her off on the other side.
But I'm more than capable of making up for the blunder with speed! I'm not alone, as well. Two against one is good odds--for me. I formulate a plan as quickly as I can.

It'll be easiest if Aya waits at the other end of the hallway by the door to the springs, while I chase Tenshi down. Either I'll get to her first, or she'll run right into Aya trying to run from me. It's foolproof!

"Aya." I say softly, trying not to openly declare that I've found her out. Tenshi doesn't know yet, I hope. "By the door, to the left." I try not to make any movements that could give it away.

Aya starts to turn her head.

"Don't!" I whisper, but my words carry enough force to stop her cold. "Head to the other end of the hall, by the way to the springs. I'll chase her down and we'll meet up back there. Be ready to catch her."

She nods, and heads off in the proper direction. Slowly, so it looks like I'd just shooed her away. The pouty look on her face is perfect! I watch as she leaves the room, and then turn my full attention to the shadow lurking just behind the doorway.

"You there, get over here!" I yell, starting into a full run through the room.

She runs, as I'd predicted. Her hat flies from her head as she sprints down the hall. I swat it aside before it flies into my face.

Damn, she's fast! And it's so dark in here! Why are all the windows closed?

I stumble over something lying in the middle of the hallway. A rug, a loose shoe, it doesn't matter. I regain my balance and resume the chase.

My footsteps echo hollowly throughout the room, as do those of the target in front of me. I can barely see her, I can barely keep up with her, but I somehow manage to grab hold of her clothes.

A loose thread?

I yank it back, just hard enough to throw her off balance. My arms swing around her as she begins to fall backwards.

"Gotcha!" I yell.

But she's gone. Disappeared right before my very eyes.

I can still feel her body in my arms, proving beyond a doubt that she's still here.

What the hell is going on? This isn't some special ability she has, is it? It must be that 'active camouflage' device Nitori was building. But why does she have it?

Her struggling grows ever increasingly more violent, and I'm forced to dedicate more of my conscious thought towards keeping her from slipping away.

"Aya!" I yell out into the hall, hoping assistance will arrive in time.

"Let go!" The girl in my arms screams. But..

That voice doesn't sound like Tenshi's

"Let me go!" She demands yet again in that far-too-childish-to-be-Tenshi's voice. I can't quite place it, but there's a vague familiarity to the voice's quality. I feel like I know this girl.

But if I can't see her, I can't put a name to it. I need to get her out into the light, get the camouflage device off her. The latter will most certainly prove to be more difficult. What was it that Nitori said?

"You got her!" Aya's voice rings loudly in my ears. She's right in front of me.

"No time, help me get her outside!" That's right! There was an issue with the device's waterproofing! I can disable it if I throw her into the water!

"Let me go! Put me down!" Her demands keep coming. Her voice breaks as she screams oh so loudly in my ear. She must be facing towards me, now--the ringing in my ears the sound creates won't stop.

Aya picks her up by the legs as I keep hold of her waist, her shoulders--whatever I've grabbed onto. We manage to get the girl out of the hallway, and eventually, through a more than herculean effort on my part, we have her outside.

"Let go! What are you doing?! Get off of me!"

Closer to the water's edge. I feel that if I were to take even one step further this girl's struggling will throw me in as well. The others outside are staring at me in utter shock. I don't have time to pay attention to that, now.

My arms release the girl, as she'd so desired. I hear the sound of bare feet slipping against the cold stone floor, and a huge splash of water erupts before me.

"What the hell?" I hear Kanako blurt out behind me, as I look on in amazement as the device breaks down. A crackle, a sputter, and a shape begins to take from. First as small blocks sparking into existence under the water, almost perfectly square yet shapeless all at the same time. More of them appear in quick succession, revealing the shape of my former captive, utterly drenched with spring water and glaring up at me with a pair of deep blue eyes.

She brushes her silvery hair from her face, then throws her arms out to the side in a huff.

"You're not supposed to find me! How did you know I was there?!"

I'm sure I'm not the only one made speechless by all this. Aya, still standing beside me, has an utterly scary surprised look on her face. The others soon begin to crowd around as well. First Kanako, and Suika, and then the others. I'm even more surprised when Satori suddenly pushes me aside.

"What are you doing here?!" She yells. I've never heard her raise her voice before. Not to me, not to her pets, not to anybody. Now, only to this girl.

"He threw me in, okay?!" The girl yells back, jabbing a finger at me angrily.

Satori sighs, placing a hand over her eyes as she frowns.

"You know what I mean."

"I do?" The girl stands, shakes her head, and tries wringing out her skirt--a greenish fabric made black by the water it soaked up.

"Yes, you do." Satori stands firm, pulling her hand from her face instantaneously.

[ ] ...What?
[ ] Who is she? Satori seems to know her..
[ ] I still haven't found Tenshi.
[ ]
[ ] Who is she? Satori seems to know her..
[ ] I still haven't found Tenshi.
{X} I still haven't found Tenshi.

... Koishi?
[x] Who is she? Satori seems to know her...
[X] I still haven't found Tenshi.

Looks like we need Ultra Balls after all ...
[X] I still haven't found Tenshi.
[~] Apologize to the dunked girl.
[d] Satori seems to know who this girl is, so I'll ask her, later.
[a] I still haven't found Tenshi.
[-] ...what did I trip over in the hall?
[z] I should grab her hat, too, while I'm checking up on those things. Hopefully it'll smooth over ruffled feathers, a bit.
[e] ...Hold on. Why the fuck does someone Satori apparently knows very well have access to Kappa technology?
[☆] Find the hat, and the thing you tripped over. See if Aya can grab one while you get the other; minimize time spent inside so you can talk to her and get to the bottom of this.
The two lock eyes with each other, and at least a good minute or two passes before one of them makes a move.

The girl in the water turns to me. It's so sudden that I have no means to react properly beyond stumbling backwards a few steps. Despite my surprise, she doesn't seem to be angry. At any rate, my chances for survival seemed to have increased dramatically.

"I'll give you two choices." She says plainly, holding up two of her still soaked fingers. "You can either tell me how you were able to see me just now, or I can throw you in the water, too." All this, with such a friendly smile on her face. Truth be told it's incredibly threatening, and I don't intend to find out whether or not she's being serious about throwing me in.

But telling her how I was able to see her hiding in the hallway isn't going to be much better. I didn't use any magic tricks, like her words seem to suggest. I just did. See her, that is.

"You don't know, do you?" She says, staring at me with this sort of deadpan annoyance, starting to roll up her long, flowing sleeves--rather more floppy due to the added water weight--and stepping towards me.

I turn to Aya, to whisper whatever last words I may have to offer. I sling the rifle off my back and thrust it into her arms. "Take this." I tell her, "Black powder is useless in water, so keep it dry. Remember me!"

My eyes turn back to the girl, now standing on dry land and mere feet from myself. She grabs me by the collar, and I have only seconds to prepare myself for my inevitable fate.

"This is all your fault!" She yells, her high-pitched girlish voice hardly threatening at all. To me, it sounds more like a small child throwing a tantrum. The fact that she's likely to be stronger than myself would confuse any man not used to this sort of nonsense.

Her muscles tense, and she pulls me in closer. Close enough that all I can see in front of me is her eyes.

"If you didn't do that we wouldn't have been found out!"

"Would it help if I said I was sorry?" I ask. Truth be told, I do feel a little bad for ruining whatever plans she may have had.

"We?" I hear Satori's voice come from behind the girl. A bona-fide voice from the heavens, come down to save me from a miserable and very damp fate! Satori, I could kiss you!

"Eh?" The girl releases me, and with a guilt-ridden look turns back to face my new-found savior.

"You said 'we' just now." Satori bleeds suspicion.

"No I didn't." The girl flat-out lies.

"Yes you did, Koishi." So her name is Koishi? Satori steps up and confronts her directly. If it was me in Koishi's position, I'd have collapsed immediately into a pathetic sobbing wreck. The look on Satori's face is purely terrifying. "Who's with you? Is it Utsuho?"

"N-n-n-n-no?" Koishi's will shows signs of breaking down almost immediately. The incomprehensible stutter, the utter uncertainty to her words--Satori won this battle before it even began.

"It is, isn't it?" Satori turns around, scanning the room with her eyes. "I know you're up there! You can come out, now!" She yells out in no particular direction. I'd have thought her mad were it not for the complete confidence in her words.

I look on silently, as do most of the others. Kanako seems utterly speechless--something I never thought to be possible until just now.

My eyes dart across the room, pausing only when catching sight of some movement up in the exposed rafters. There's a bird up there, black as the hair on Aya's head. It flutters it's wings once, but doesn't move from it's perch.

"Come down, I say!" Satori's voice grows more and more angered with each passing moment. "If I have to come after you, I swear to God--"

"Present~" Kanako's hand shoots up into the air. A joker as always, eh, miss God?

"Don't interrupt me, please." Satori says, keeping her eyes pasted on the sky. If I were a betting man, I'd say she's got her eyes set on that bird as well.

"Come down this instant!" She stomps her foot like an angry parent. I assume the simile is justified in this instance. "Koishi, you tell her!"

"She's your pet." Koishi retorts belligerently.

Satori falls silent, unable to choose who to glare at and who to ignore completely.

"Uhh, Satori.." Aya leans over my shoulder, speaking with a gentle unease. "I believe that is a bird you are talking to."

"I know that!" Satori shoots back venomously.

"No, I mean.." I find myself being pushed aside a moment later, and Aya steps into the spot where I'd been standing until just now. "That's a normal bird, not Utsuho."

"How would you know?" Satori's reply seems a bit contemptuous. Aya seems taken aback by this gross misdirection of anger.

"..." She pauses, steps away, and turns her eyes from our resident pissed-off mind surgeon. "Well soooorreeeee!" She says. "I guess my help isn't wanted. Fine, keep talking to that bird. Look like a fool, see if I care."

She grabs me by the arm and begins to pull me away. "C'mon, Snake. Let's go."

What a strange turn of events. It probably wouldn't hurt to let her have her way, so I give in and let myself be dragged back inside.

Once we're out of view, she decides to let me go. At the same time, she also decides to thrust the rifle I'd handed off to her back into my hands.

"What a bitch!" She huffs, crossing her arms and walking further inside. Rather, she just seems to be pacing around the room. "Who does she think she is?!"

"Uhm.." Well, I've got nothing. Satori was out of line talking to Aya like that, sure. But I don't think it's that big of an issue, but I wasn't on the receiving end so I probably shouldn't voice that opinion.

[ ] "I get the feeling that Satori isn't used to being around other people."
[ ] "Yeah, she's a bitch. We should totally throw her into the water, too."
[ ] "On another note, Tenshi is still unaccounted for."
[ ] "Was that really just an ordinary bird? Or did you make that up?"


Also, I'm keeping the old inventory system in place. Just a reminder for the folks who've forgotten.
[ ] "I get the feeling that Satori isn't used to being around other people."
[ ] "I get the feeling that Satori isn't used to being around other people."
[ ] "On another note, Tenshi is still unaccounted for."
[ ] "I get the feeling that Satori isn't used to being around other people."
[X] "I get the feeling that Satori isn't used to being around other people."
[X] "On another note, Tenshi is still unaccounted for."
In a writing mood for once. 4 votes is enough.


But I should still say something, regardless. It might help to calm Aya down a bit.

"I'm getting the feeling that Satori isn't used to being around other people." I say. A half-truth, really. It's just something I came up with on the spot. Plausible though, considering she spends most of her time underground in a cave.

"And that gives her the right?! Don't you dare try to defend her!" Oh, great. Now she's turned it on me. This wouldn't be the first time she's done this, and I've learned that trying to fight her would just make it worse.

"I'm always on your side, Aya." I try to sound convincing. Truthfully, I am on her side, but it won't mean shit if I don't make the argument convincing. "Just saying that there's really no point in getting worked up over it."

"I know, I know." She says, shaking her head rather dejectedly. "I shouldn't, but I just get so.." She grits her teeth in anger. At least I've managed to stop her from pacing around in circles. Calming her down might take a bit more effort.

"Yeah, I know the feeling." I'd rather not think of the carnage that would ensue were I to put this girl through boot camp. Oh, God, what a mess that would be. "Look, why don't we just go back out there and enjoy ourselves? You don't have to talk to her so long as you're with me." Kanako's tactic seemed to work well enough. If I can just come up with a lewd or vulgar enough thought, she'll leave us alone.

"If you're so confident in that.." She smiles meekly, and takes me by the arm, ready to be led to the gates of hell if I were to take her there. "Let's go, then."

"But before that," There's an issue I can't seem to get out of my mind. "There's one party that hasn't been accounted for."

"And that is.."

"That Tenshi." I still want to find her. After that last screw-up, I've only strengthened my resolve to find her. I lay the blame partly on her for my having tossed Koishi into the water, and I intend to fully enforce the promise I made before.

"You still haven't given that up?" Aya sighs. "Okay, I guess. I was kinda looking forward to a little tryst in the springs, but I suppose it can wait."

"You're serious." I laugh.

"I am." She grins.

"I wonder about you, sometimes. I really do." Never a dull moment. Her penchant for such public acts is one of those things I'll probably never grow accustomed to.

"Keep on wondering, then~" She pulls me onward towards the door. "You can keep on wondering about that blue-headed moron, too."

So I find myself being dragged around yet again. Outside, past whatever nonsense is taking place by the water's edge where Kanako and the others still stand, receiving a few noteworthy awkward looks from Satori and Koishi on the way. Then finally through the barrier to the makeshift 'men's side' of the spring.

And lo and behold, right before my very eyes sits the very person I'd searched high and low for. In the water and completely naked, by the way. It comes as more of a shock than anything. I'm speechless yet again, all while trying not to stare.

"What are you doing?" Aya, thankfully, engages in conversation in my stead. She might as well be breathing fire she's so angry.

"Eh?" A small voice replies. I keep my head turned away. "Wha-" Right now, I find myself begging for her just not to scream.

"You're on the wrong side." Aya firmly declares.

"I-I--" Tenshi is so stunned she can't even form a proper sentence. Or rather, maybe she's just so drunk. I remember how she'd handled Suika's private reserve a short while ago.

"If you don't get up and leave right now he's gonna rape you." I can feel Aya pointing at me.

"Not gonna happen, Aya." I'll certainly remain firm on that stance. I'm a little concerned that she brought it up in the first place.

"No-- I--" 'Verge of tears' is probably about right.

"Look," I can't say I like how Aya's handling this, so I decide to step in. Figuratively--I don't plan on moving from this spot until she's gone. "Just get your clothes and get going. I'll stay staring at the wall until your gone."

"N-No way!" Tenshi yells back at me, her voice uneasy but still intent on pissing me off. "I was here first, so you have to wait until I'm done!"

"Ugh.." Even drunk, her personality sucks. "Aya, can't you just toss her out?"

"Ew, no way!" She acts like I just asked her to do some indescribable and disgusting act. Like on the level of eating dirt, or something close.

"Yeah, sorry I asked." I scratch my head, remembering that celestials are a walking biohazard as considered by most youkai. I won't force Aya to touch something that could make her ill if it so much as spits on her.

I guess it's up to me, then, to figure this mess out.

[ ] Get in. Just pretend like she isn't there.
[ ] Turn around. Stare at her until she reacts.
[ ] Hostile takeover. Just kick her out by force.
[ ] Leave. This is a losing battle no matter what.
[ ] Get in. Just pretend like she isn't there.

Quick! While he's still in writefag mode!

[x] Knock her out with danmaku.
[ ] Get in. Just pretend like she isn't there.
[ ] Get in. Just pretend like she isn't there.

[X] Get in. Just pretend like she isn't there.
[X] Get in. Just pretend like she isn't there.

As usual, the best way to deal with the brat is to ignore her.
[X] Get in. Just pretend like she isn't there.
And no matter what I do, it'll either end poorly, or very poorly. It's a lose-lose situation for me, and all I need do is act. So, why not have a little fun with it?

Come to think of it, why doesn't she just move? It's been brought to her attention that she's on the wrong side, and I'm getting the feeling she's only acting this way to be confrontational. I simply can't understand it, and I'll be damned if I let her get away with it.

So I'll just pretend she isn't even there.

Right, she's no longer there as far as my mind is concerned. So I act as I normally should. I get undressed, fold my clothes and put them aside.. I'll forego covering myself with a towel and just sit right down across from her. This is about as far away as I can get from her, though the distance is about maybe ten feet.

The water isn't unusually warm--about average I'd say. Perfect temperature for washing dishes, pets.. Oh, and bathing. Wouldn't want to forget that.

Though getting up and leaving might be a chore if it gets windy. One downside to open-air baths: folks never want to leave once they've sat down. Maybe I understand Tenshi's sentiments a little better because of this, but I still plan to show no mercy.

"Aya?" I turn around to face the dumbstruck girl behind me. "Is something wrong?"

I'll just play it cool.

"Uhm, err.. No, I just.." She's at a loss for words, as I might've expected. "I didn't think you would--"

I'll up the ante.

"Are you just gonna stand there?" I raise an eyebrow and try to act like nothing's wrong. I hear a commotion coming from Tenshi's side, but I don't turn to acknowledge that I've heard it. From what my ears pick up, I think she's mumbling something to herself.

"Uh, yeah, just a sec." Aya replies, staring at me for a second or two longer before beginning to undress herself. By this point, Tenshi's fallen completely silent, and out of the corner of my eye, I see her sitting huddled up and red-faced, trying to cover her eyes with her hands.

"Huh." Her reaction is a little different than I'd expected. I thought she'd stand up, arms thrust out at her sides, and scream, 'What the hell are you doing?!' rather than sit still in silent humiliation like she's doing right now.

"Aya, you ready yet?" I turn around to see her. She stands hovering right over my head, naked as the day she was born save for a pair of thin black lace panties.

I grin. "Trying to impress somebody with those?"

"What's it to you?" She puts her hands in my face, hiding that oh-so-fine view before my eyes. I think that it's at this very moment that Tenshi's presence across from me becomes more or less irrelevant.

"You've got my attention." I pull her hands down, ready to catch her in the unlikely even that she may fall forward.

She doesn't, and I find myself privy to an extra close-up view of her body. She's thin, lightweight, but by no means lacks the curvature of a woman. The wings on her back are just an added bonus.

But as a bonus to what, I've no idea. But a bonus nonetheless. For Aya to not have them would be to lessen her charm as a person.

"But you can't wear those in the bath, just FYI." I add, watching closely to see her reaction as I start to place my hands on her.

"Why don't you take 'em off me, then?" Oh, she's good. I don't know what's better--the sex or her twisted personality. She seems to take no small note of enjoyment out of having other people around at times like this.

Truth is, I'm starting to feel a little uneasy. Every so often, I'll remember that Tenshi is still there, sitting on the other side of the bath and staring at the two of us with who-knows-what on her mind. I was fine with just sitting here, but now that Aya's decided to start playing around..

My eyes turn towards Tenshi once more, and I find an empty space where she sat previously.

"Hey, uh.." I look to Aya. "Where's the brat?"

"She left." She replies plainly, still refusing to wipe the smile off her face. "You scared her off. I think it was when you started grabbing my ass."

"I was doing that?" Surprise, surprise.

"Still are."

"Well whaddaya know.." That explains the pleasant sensation in my hands that felt exactly like Aya's ass in black lace panties.

"You can stop whenever you want.." She puts on a more impatient face and pinches one of my hands.

"Naah, I'm fine." Squeeze. I start to move my hands lower, pressing my fingers into the small space between her legs.

"Look, just let me finish getting undressed and you can touch me wherever you want."

"You're not gonna make me take those off for you?" I grin and squeeze again. She lets out a quiet moan, but her expression doesn't change at all.

"If you want." She shrugs. No big deal, eh Aya? It's only a pair of panties I'm taking off. 's not like anything'll happen because of it. Yeah, sure.

"Oh, I want." I say plainly, smiling as my fingers loop under the garment on either side of her hips. Then, I slowly bring my arms down. The fabric goes down with them. Aya places a hand on my head, firmly directing my vision to the center of her hips.

"Get 'em wet and I'll kill you." She says, trying to sound as threatening as possible.

"Alright, done." I slide them the rest of the way down her legs in one go, making doubly sure not to have the fabric touch the ground.

"Done?" She seems disappointed. "Already?!"

"Yep." I hand them off to her, and turn back to where I was sitting. "You spoiled the mood with that little quip about killing me, so that's all you get."

"Aww, no fair!"

"Now get your ass in here before I start getting bored." What fun, what fun. She reacts well to my teasing, only to tease me right back. She hops in beside me, but chooses to use my outstretched thing as a perch rather than sitting on the submerged stone wall like regular people would.

But the feeling of her naked butt on my thigh leaves me with few complaints. Even her body weight isn't intrusive.

"This's the life, eh?" I lean back.

"Yeah, sure." Again, I find her tone impatient. "You know the drill. Your cock. In me. Now."

"Feeling desperate?" The view up here is lovely.. On a scale from one to ten, one being a barren wasteland and ten being the gardens of the Netherworld, I'd say this view rates at about a nine-point-five.

"Is that any way to act when your girl is begging you for sex?"

"It sounded more like a demand for sex to me." The sky is clear, today. It makes me wish that this eyesore of a roof wasn't blocking the view. From this high up, I wonder if I'd be able to see right out into space..

"Same difference, now come on!" She shakes me by the shoulders, thrusts her full weight onto my thighs, and I find myself wholly unable to ignore her cries for help any longer.

[ ] No, it's always better when she waits for it.
[ ] She asked for it. Show no mercy!
[ ] That bird in the rafters is still there..
[ ] She asked for it. Show no mercy!
[ ] You love playing with her wings. Nibble and caress then gently and slowly up the ante.
[ ] She asked for it. Show no mercy!
[ ] You love playing with her wings. Nibble and caress then gently and slowly up the ante.
[x] She asked for it. Show no mercy!
[x] You love playing with her wings. Nibble and caress then gently and slowly up the ante.
[X] She asked for it. Show no mercy!
[X] You love playing with her wings. Nibble and caress then gently and slowly up the ante.
[~] "...That damn bird is watching us."
[d] "You know, the one Satori was yelling at?" Point to it. "Up there, in the rafters."
[a] "It's making me so self-conscious. If only it could be shooed away with danmaku, I could properly focus on the unbelievably sexy woman trying to to hump me into oblivion."
And after she does (hopefully)
[z] She asked for it. Show no mercy!
[e] You love playing with her wings. Nibble and caress then gently and slowly up the ante.

>"You scared her off. I think it was when you started grabbing my ass."
>"I was doing that?" Surprise, surprise.
>"Still are."
>"Well whaddaya know.." That explains the pleasant sensation in my hands that felt exactly like Aya's ass in black lace panties.
This was golden.
H-scene in the middle of thread two~ So do I win something?


It'd be best if I just give her what she wants. She'd probably take it by force if I chose otherwise. Actually, that might be kind of fun..

I slouch down just enough so that she can position herself over me. She throws a leg over my body, but fudges the landing by just enough to put her off balance. She topples forward, pressing her breasts into my face. Another small moment of bliss, come and gone in less than a second.

"Whoops." Is all she says as she rights herself using my own body as a support. One hand drops from my shoulder, and is obscured by the water's surface.

"You're really rushing into things, today." I don't think I'll be able to play it cool much longer, not with her fondling me so freely. I don't mind skipping the foreplay, not one bit. But I still like to play with her in other ways.

"It's been, mmm, too long since the last time." She leans forward, whispering to me.

"It's been a day." I say flatly, resting a hand on her chest, playing with her nipples between my fingers. Her body is warm, and seems to be growing hotter with each minute she spends in the water. "Not even a day, now that I think about it. We did it just last night."

"Too long." She purrs, shutting me up by pressing her lips to mine.

I can't hold back any longer. One kiss, and I'm already past the point of no return. Onlookers be damned!

She presses her tongue through my lips. And even as I push back with my own, I can already feel my mind going blank. I press my tongue between her lips, and I feel her to back off just the slightest bit. Then, she clamps down on it with her teeth.

"Ah!" I try to pull away, but she won't let go! I don't feel any pain, but it's the surprise that got me. "Ahh!"

She's smiling, the bitch! Smiling when she's gotten such a good grip on me. The look in her eyes says, 'serves you right'.

She only lets go when I give her chest a good firm squeeze. The time it takes for her to let out a soft moan is more than enough to reclaim what is rightfully mine.

"You bit me!" I say, squeezing her a second time. She emits yet another moan, but now she's locked her eyes on me.

"You wouldn't shut up." I feel her hand grabbing me, guiding me below the water's surface.

And then a warm feeling. Hot even, almost to the point of burning. I'm inside--I can feel her squeezing tightly around me. Her eyes scream with the utmost pleasure, but not a sound escapes her.

"That.. shut me up.." I lean my head back, eyes closed, and completely silent as she'd wanted. I breathe heavily, allowing myself to fall completely into ecstasy. I feel like I'll explode, if she does so much as move.

"Ah- ..You're still talking." She presses her body against mine, her wet skin clinging to my own. I can feel every movement she makes, every breath she takes, all through my place inside of her.

Then, I feel her begin to lift her body. Slowly. Arduously and excruciatingly slowly. It feels so good that it hurts. I can't speak, I can't think.. I can't keep my hands off her any longer.

I reach for her hips, and push her back down.

"Ahh~" Her face scrunches up, and she bites her lip. I think she was expecting me to do that. She muffles her voice by burying her face in my neck. Her wet hair sticks to the skin on my face, and she drives her teeth into my shoulder.

"Ngh!" I hardly even feel it, but the pain is still strong enough that I know she's done it. I don't have the wherewithal to chastise her for it. She's already begun to thrust her hips all on her own.

"Mmmmmmmmmm~!" She moans, biting harder as she quickens her pace. Her muffled screams cause my neck to vibrate, and her arms start to tense up. If she squeezes me any harder I won't be able to breathe.

Funny thing is, I could care less. My mind is a blur, able only to concentrate on the feelings of pleasure her body has imparted to me. I don't think I'll last much longer at this rate.

"Ah- Aya!" I use what little self-control I have left to try and slow the movement of her hips.

She fights it. With all her might, she fights it. Her body tries to shake my hands off, but the firm grip I have on her ass makes it impossible. Again, she brings herself down, forcing me deeper into her.

"Oooh! There--!" She tears her head away from my shoulder. A rush of pain to where she bit me makes it seem like she tore a chunk out of me, too.

I lick a small trickle of blood from her chin, and bring her into yet another kiss. I don't want to fight her any longer. My hands move up her back, removing the limiter I'd set on her movements as I begin to play with her wings. I love to play with her wings. She loves it, too.

Then, she asserts her newly regained control. It's too much for me to bear. She vigorously plunges me deeper into her body, and the combined sensations from the heat of her body, her tongue in my mouth, and the soft and feathery sensation at my fingertips makes me want to lose my mind.

I do, despite my efforts to control myself, and it's all over in a moment. I feel an explosion of pleasure, then a numbness, and then only the throbbing of the veins in my own head. My mind is blank, only a supreme sense of satisfaction can be felt.

Aya leans back, letting out her last quiet moan as I slip back out of her. She falls forward, hands at her side. The two of us become a heaving and panting mess, and remain as such for a number of minutes. Until she finally says..

"It's not enough.."

She picks herself up and looks me in the eye, pleading with me to keep going. "Hey, wake up! It's time for round two!" Okay, so maybe not pleading.

She slaps me lightly on the face, and shakes me by the shoulders.

"You bit me again." I say, not wanting to move.

"I'm sorry~!" She holds her face in her hands, pretends to cry, but seems wholly apologetic beyond that.

"I'll live, but I don't think I have it in me to go another time."


"That's what you get for rushing into it like that." I laugh to myself. Had she been a little bit more patient, we could've done it properly. Trying to have sex quietly really takes away from the enjoyment of the act itself. Never mind her love for exhibitionism.

"Maybe later then?" She looks hopeful.

[ ] "No. You've had your fun."
[ ] "I'll think about it."
[ ] "Depends on how drunk I get."
[ ] "I think Satori's had an earful for one day."
[ ] "I'll think about it."
[X] "I'll think about it."
[X] "I'll think about it."
[ ] "I'll think about it."
[X] "I'll think about it."
[X] Answer her question...
Selfsage due to issues with multiple spaces/tab key.


"I'll give it some thought." A non-committal answer like that ought to keep her a little on-edge. At the very least things'll stay interesting for the night.

Her hopeful expression fades into one of disappointment, and she almost immediately begins pouting. She crawls off of me, crosses her arms, and takes a seat at the far edge where Tenshi was sitting previously.

"You're no fun." She says, turning her head away and puffing out her cheeks. It looks silly when a grown woman like her makes such a childish face, but I think it would be best for me to keep my mouth shut on the matter.

"It's gotten awfully quiet on the other side.." I think aloud, trying to overhear what little conversation coming from beyond the veil. It really is damn quiet.. I can't hear a thing. "Huh, maybe they all left."

"Or maybe they're all behind you, staring at us~" Aya says, her eyes turned behind me.

"Wha--" I have to look. I know it's a lie or a joke but I just can't stop myself. I turn my head to face the empty space behind me. It's.. Well, empty, as expected. "Aya, that isn't funny." If only because it's plausibility is high.

"Sure it is~" She giggles, hiding the toothy grin on her face behind the palm of her hand. "Made you look~"

"Yeah, yeah." I shake my head and smile. "Keep it up and see what happens."

"Was that a threat?" Her smile becomes a jeering grin. "Did I make you mad?"

"Yeah, I'm pissed." I reply, words topped with an extra helping of indifference. "Can't you see the veins popping out of my head?"

"Sure can~" Her attitude is as carefree as ever. Almost makes me wonder if all that actually happened..

"That obvious, huh?" I touch my forehead.


"So are you gonna come back over here, or do I have to get up?" I'd rather have her at my side than where I can see her. She's probably the only person capable of creating this sort of feeling in me.

"Oh, fine." She acts like it's a chore. Acts like it. Her words are made far less believable by the constant smile on her face. She stands up, water dripping from her naked body, and wades across the short distance back over to me. In a moment, she'll be close enough for me to touch her, and--

"Whatcha doing?" A voice calls out from above. I think. Maybe it came from the other side..

"You hear that?" Aya stops head in her tracks, staring wide-eyed directly at me. Her body sinks down below the surface, until just her head and shoulders are visible. A pity, I liked it better when she was standing.

"I heard something.." But I can't tell from where.

"Hey, are you listening to me?" Again, the voice calls out. This time, I'm sure it's coming from above. I look to the roof.

There, perched in the rafters like some kind of bird, is a girl in a small green and white dress, staring down at us with a pair of red eyes. Funny, that's the same spot--

The same place that small black bird was resting moments ago. With a switch of this magnitude, I should've noticed. Damn, I'm getting sloppy.

[ ] Tell her to go away.
[ ] Ask her what she wants.
[ ] See what Aya does.
[ ] Answer her question...
   [ ] In detail.
   [ ] Quick and simply.
[X] Answer her question...
[X] In detail.

I imagine Orin having ADD. She's not going to pay attention long enough to care about an explanation.
[x] Ask her what she wants.
That's no Orin...
[x] Ask her what she wants.
Orin, Okuu, what's the difference?

[X] Answer her question...
   [X] In detail.
...it's a space station?

...I'll get my coat.

[X] Answer her question...
   [X] In detail.
   [X] Keep an eye on Aya to watch her reaction.
[X] Answer her question...
   [X] In detail.
   [X] Keep an eye on Aya to watch her reaction.
[X] Answer her question...
[X] In detail.

This'll be good.
[~] Answer her question...
   [z] In detail.
   [e] Keep an eye on Aya to watch her reaction.
My combat training never did include a course on winged girls magically appearing out of what seems like nowhere. My intuition tells me better. I know this girl, and her appearance is definitely deceptive. She didn't replace the bird in the rafters--rather they're both one in the same.

Utsuho. 'Okuu', she calls herself. I've only met her once before, and I can't seem to recall her full name. Nobody uses her family name--sometimes I wonder if half the folks here simply make up named for themselves just to fit in with everybody else. Nobody I know, or knew, would ever in their right mind name a child something so strange.

And then I recall the fact that I'm still naked, and this girl is still staring down at me. Aya sits uncomfortably just below the water's surface, her entire body below her nose and ears hidden and obscured from view. But from a bird's-eye-view, who knows how much of her is visible.

Utsuho doesn't waste any time in flying down. I hear an outraged sort of yell come from across the way.

It sounded like Satori, but my attention has been placed entirely on the dark-haired girl taking up a perch just on the other side of the water's edge. She stares at me with considerable curiosity. Am I really going to have to tell her? Aya sets her eyes on me, her expression vaguely nervous.

"Yes?" I keep my eyes trained on Utsuho, who cocks her head to the side as I start to speak. "Is there something you need?" My voice sounds a little frustrated, but I'm far too surprised by this recent turn of events to notice.

"Watcha dooooin'~?" She asks me directly, eyes unblinking. The vapid, curious look on her face turns to a smile. I don't know what to make of this kid..

"Hey Utsuho," I have to think fast. "You ever wonder where babies come from?"

Aya's eyes widen with shock. I can feel her grabbing at my ankles, trying to pull me under. I think she wants me to shut the hell up. I want me to shut the hell up, too, but the girl won't go away unless I give her something to think about.

"Babies come from eggs!" Utsuho declares, "Everybody knows that!"

"That's true for birds, but what about humans?" I can't stop grinning--this is just too much!

I hear a soft pitter-patter of feet running across the floor on the other side..

"Humans don't come from eggs?" She puts a finger to her lips, staring at me somewhat stupefied. Is she really this stupid, or is this all just an act to get a rise out of me? "But Satori said--"

"I said nothing of the sort!" Satori's voice calls from the other side of the curtain. "Now stop being a nuisance and get over here!"

I can tell she's angry. At me, at Utsuho, or at the situation that's been pushed onto her--I have no idea. I think it's a combination of the three. But her butting in makes things go by a lot faster.

"You heard her." I point and nod to the curtain. "Now get going."

"Hmph!" Utsuho scowls at me. I feel a rush of wind, and the next moment I look back she's gone. Did I say something wrong?

"You were going to tell her, weren't you?" Aya lifts her had out of the water, eyes staring at me scornfully.

"In great and explicit detail, yes." I laugh.

She slaps me on the shoulder, more playfully than I should have expected, and resumes sitting on my leg.

"I'd have killed you first." She says, turning her head away angrily.

"You're free to try at any time." I find myself digging my own grave, but I just can't stop myself. Just giving the girl a taste of her own medicine for a change.

"Careful, now." She turns back to me with a smile, and laughs pleasantly in my face. "I'm easily swayed by temptation."

[ ] "So if I told you there was free cake inside.."
[ ] "Is that so?"
[ ] "I can attest to that."
[ ] ?
[X] "So if I told you there was free cake inside.."
[x] "I can attest to that."

[ ] "I can attest to that."
[x] "Is that so?"
[x] "So if I told you there was free cake inside.."

Hahaha. This. Please this.
[X] "So if I told you there was free cake inside.."
[X] "So if I told you there was free cake inside.."
[x] "So if I told you there was free cake inside.."
I must be missing something.
{X} "I can attest to that."

... cake? Seriously?
"So if I told you there was free cake inside.."

"I'd be inclined to go get it." She smiles playfully, and then splashes water in my face. "If I wasn't so certain that you were lying."

"What if I was telling the truth?" I wipe my eyes.

"Then I'd take you in with me, and maybe beat the crap out of you if I found out otherwise." She just keeps on smiling.

"You're being awfully violent today." I give her a light push. It's just enough force to send her reeling backwards, falling head-first straight into the water.

She comes back up scowling, her eyes shut with wet hair over her face.

"That.." She brushes her hair from her eyes, "Was uncalled for."

"Cake's down there now." I point towards the water and smile, and try my darndest not to laugh at the silly look on her face.

She takes one step forward, and stands looming over my peacefully reclined figure. She grabs me by the shoulder and starts pulling me toward her.

"Then why don't you--"

I don't hear the rest, and I find myself a moment later with my head under the surface. I can vaguely hear her yelling something above, but an earful of water muffles her words into a hollow vibration. I struggle with my own inner balance to find which way is up, and with my feet on hard ground I push myself back up.

"Yep, there's definitely a cake down there." I laugh. Truth is I probably deserved that one, so I can't really be angry about her throwing me in.

"Really?" She narrows her eyes, grinning as she crosses her arms around her naked breasts. "I'm sure it's gone soggy by now, so why don't you go fetch me another one."

"That was the last one, actually." I take a seat on the ledge nearest to me--which just so happens to be almost in the exact same spot I was sitting prior to my being drowned. "Sucks for you."

She puts a foot on my stomach, pinning me to the wall as she leans forward. It's probably unintentional, but by doing this she graces me with yet another amazing view of her naked body. I can see everything, even the slightly pinkish color of her--

"Oy, up here." She grabs me by the jaw. "Look at me when I'm talking."

"I was." I smile.

"My face, you bastard." She smiles back--that devious sort of smile that implies my certain death if I keep pushing it.

"You could use a shave." I say, trying to throw her off.

"I'll give you a shave." It backfires. She presses her foot into me a little harder.

"I was kidding, you know. You look beautiful."

"Well, thanks." She nods once, narrowing her eyes yet again. "Does that mean you'll put out for me, now?"

"Somehow I'm getting the feeling that our gender roles are slowly being reversed, Aya." I'll be perfectly honest with her. She's incredibly straight-forward in her approaches. I don't think I've ever met--or will ever meet a woman quite like her.

"So, what?" She licks her lips in anticipation.

"So it'd be in your best interest to move that foot off of my groin." Else I grab it and dunk her for a second time. Sure, it's unrelated to my last point, but I'm getting the feeling that she doesn't want to comment on that sort of subject right now.


[ ] ?
[x] Grab her foot and throw her in a way that she lands in your arms.
[x] "Or... I'll have to fix these gender roles of ours."
[x] Add suitable corny remark here.
[~] Grab her foot and throw her in a way that she lands in your arms.
[z] "Or... I'll have to fix these gender roles of ours."
[e] Add suitable corny remark here.
[X] Grab her foot and throw her in a way that she lands in your arms.
[X] "Or... I'll have to fix these gender roles of ours."
[X] Add suitable corny remark here.
[X] Grab her foot and throw her in a way that she lands in your arms.
[X] "Or... I'll have to fix these gender roles of ours."
[X] Add suitable corny remark here.
"So, I'm going to count to three..."

Her foot doesn't move, so I make a snap decision and grab for it instead. Her body is light enough that I can not only throw her off balance with ease, but I can just as easily pick her up in my arms before she even touches the water.

She looks up at me in shock, and I can see the thoughts turning inside her head as she tries to recognize just what had happened.

"What about to counting to three?" She asks, crossing her arms and pouting as I hold her up to my chest.

"Meh, too much work." It's more interesting like this, anyway. Had I counted, she'd have moved her foot right at the last second, leaving me with a fistful of air and nothing to say for it. This way, I get to see her blushing furiously as I hold her like a baby.

"..." She says nothing, only staring at me in silence for a minute. The redness in her cheeks is a relentless testament to her growing embarrassment.

"You can put me down, now." She says uncomfortably, after an equally uncomfortable silence has passed. "I'm getting cold."

"A shame.. I kinda liked it." I say, smiling as I let her down.

"Makes you feel like you're in charge?" She asks, still blushing as she rushes back into the water. A momentary resurgence of calm, but all that can change in an instant. She's still visibly flustered.

"Ahhh~" She breathes a relaxed sigh, inching up to me for what feels like the millionth time today. "This is the life~"

"You said it." Despite having nothing to eat or drink, I'm completely satisfied. Hell, even sitting around all day and all night is starting to sound like a good idea. Too bad I'd likely die of heat exhaustion first.

She flips herself over and rests her knees on the ledge next to me. Her hand goes for my face, but I immediately catch it.

"Awww~" She gives me this disappointed look--faked, emphasized beyond the point of believability, but enough to tell me that she'd really wanted to do whatever the hell it was that she was trying to do.

"Your turn to mess with me again, huh?" I smirk, pulling her hand, arm, and by extension her entire body closer to me. Her eyes remain glued to mine, despite the redness creeping back to her cheeks. "What's wrong? Can't take your own medicine?"

I touch her lightly with just the tips of my fingers, my free hand moving up her back as I brush my lips against hers. I want to kiss her, but what little self control I have after today's previous endeavors prevents me from doing so.

"Mmmh.." Her arm tries to wrench itself free from my grasp.

Futilely, of course. I'm still far stronger than her. My other hand pulls her closer--close enough to make her want more, but just far enough out of reach that her body doesn't touch mine.

"Oooh, stop it!" She giggles, breaking out into a smile. "Don't tease me!"

"But you're still enjoying it." The look in her eye says it all.

"I am not!" She begs to differ.

"Fine, then." I let go, speaking with a note of conclusion.


"I suppose that's enough fun for one day." I turn back to face the open vista in front of me. The view really is amazing up here..

"Hey, I was kidding!" She nudges me with one hand. "Hey! C'mon!"

I turn to face her for a brief moment. "You told me to stop, so I did." I love how her logic can so easily be used to my advantage. I wonder if I should just keep toying with her for the rest of the day..

[ ] Yes, yes I should.
[ ] No, she'd just get angry.
[ ] Yes, yes I should.
[x] Yes, yes I should.
[x] Yes, yes I should.

Such a nice couple.
[X] No, she'd just get angry.
[x] Yes, yes I should.
[X] Yes, yes I should.
[x] Yes, yes I should.
[x] Of course, who's to say I can't do more that just tease?
I just can't get enough of that expression. It's rare that I get to see her blushing so apparently, so I think I'll keep at it--if only just to see how far I'll get without having her react negatively.

"Really, don't stop!" She complains, her voice a half-moan as she pulls on my arm.

"Oh, quit your--" A watery interruption.

I think she splashed me again, if it wasn't for the water being so incredibly frigidly cold. I go to wipe my eyes, but more water just floods right back down to my face. Has a waterfall suddenly appeared above me?

"The hell?" I stand and step aside, finding myself continuously drenched by an incredibly cold flood of water. I'd think it was the middle of winter and raining, were it not for the roof over my head and, oh, let's not forget that it's the middle of fucking spring!

"I guess there is a God.." I hear Aya say with astonishment beside me, giving no indication whatsoever as to what exactly has just transpired--and is unfortunately still transpiring to this very minute. Oh, woe is me--it's fucking cold!

"This isn't your doing, is it?" I put my arms out, blindly reaching for her.

"No, but.." She giggles.

"But what?" I sit back down, trying to get away from this constant cold sensation on my back. "What the hell's going on?! I'm fucking freezing here!"

"It's raining." She replies, trying desperately to conceal her laughter. "Only on you, but it's raining."

"What?" Like I've got a rain cloud over my head or something? That's ludicrous! Nonsense! But still fucking cold!

Never mind. It's probably exactly what I'm imagining. This world is weird enough for such things to exist. "So, how do I turn it off?" I try to keep calm, try to keep from passing out due to my rapidly declining body temperature.

"Hell if I know." I can practically hear her shrugging as she speaks.

"Well it certainly spoiled the mood." My outward and inner calmness is thanks only in part to all the other weird natural phenomena I've encountered in the last year. Though this one certainly feels more like an act of vengeance than any of the others.

"It did, didn't it?" Please don't tell me 'I'm all washed up,' Aya. Please, for the love of God! I don't think I could take that level of corniness and not explode with indomitable fury. My heart couldn't take it. My poor, slowly freezing heart..

"So who's the one with the death wish that did it?" I make a mental note to myself--kill the fool that did this. Kill them and kill them dead. Damn, it's gotten even colder. I move to yet another spot inside the spring hoping the hot water may grant me precious warmth.

"I dunno, Kanako maybe?"

"The hell did I do to her?" The torrential downpour of near-freezing rain shows no signs of stopping. Hey-! Anybody got an umbrella-"

"I never did say it was her.." I faintly hear her wading through the water. "Hold on, I'll go get her."

"Ugh.." Well, if this is Kanako's doing, what good would it do to bring her over here? Won't she only make it worse?

"Heee~y!" Aya shouts, "Kanakoo~~"

And from the other side..


"Weather's gone bad~~!" At least she didn't say 'I'm all washed up'. I'd have to kill her if she did. "Gimme a hand over here~!"

"Kaay~~!" God, Kanako, you sound so drunk right now.. I wonder if she'll fix it.. Though I get this unshakeable feeling she'll just laugh at me and leave it at that.

"Oh, hey, whaddaya know~" It's nearly instantaneous, but I can hear her voice right beside me. I know for a fact it's not a trick my ears are playing on me.

"Please don't tell me that I'm all washed up." I say sullenly. "I've been on the receiving end of enough corny catch-phrases already today."

"Damn, and that's exactly what I was gonna say!" She snaps her fingers. Oh, I just wish I could see the smile on her face right now.. I wish I could see it so that I may swiftly wipe it the fuck off.

"So let's have a look here.." She tilts my head to the side, like a doctor examining a patient's ear. "Hmmm... Alright, there we go!"

It's gone. I can't believe it, it's gone! I can open my eyes again! Hallelujah! Praise be to God almighty! I'm free of the terrible evil!

So maybe I'm overreacting. Just a little.

"Well?" I look to her, half expecting to see her naked and red-faced in front of me.. But sadly, I'm a little disappointed. She's fully clothed, and floating just above the water's surface like--well, like a goddess out on the job. "Was this your doing?" I ask.

"Naah!" She waves her hand at me, leaning back in her 'seat' in the air. "I'm a bigger fan of hailstorms. Packs a bigger punch, yeah?" She pounds a fist into an open palm.

"Sounds painful, actually." I don't dare stand up. The situation is weird enough as it is, without having me standing around butt-ass naked.

"Yeeeah.." She smiles, "Problem solved. Bye~" A wave, and she disappears.

"Huh." I'm speechless. And only a moment ago I was spending a pleasant midday alone with Aya. No rainclouds over my head, and no smiling Goddesses staring me down the throat. Nuts to that, so sayeth the powers that be. There is a God, and her name is Kanako. Now all I need to do is find the little devil that started this mess.

[ ] Get out, get dressed, start looking.
[ ] Talk to Aya, see if she saw anything.
[ ] Fuck it. It's not worth the effort.
[ ] Fuck it. It's not worth the effort.
[X] Talk to Aya, see if she saw anything.
[X] Promise her the screwing of her life if she helps catch the culprit.
[X] Get out, get dressed, start looking.

Commencing: 'Operation Rainmaker'
Mission: Search and Destroy
[X] Talk to Aya, see if she saw anything.
[X] Promise her the screwing of her life if she helps catch the culprit.
[X] Get out, get dressed, start looking.
[X] Talk to Aya, see if she saw anything.
[X] Promise her the screwing of her life if she helps catch the culprit.
[X] Get out, get dressed, start looking.
[~] Talk to Aya, see if she saw anything.
[z] Promise her the screwing of her life if she helps catch the culprit.
[e] Get out, get dressed, start looking.

Changed my vote. I love this.
[X] Talk to Aya, see if she saw anything.
[X] Promise her the screwing of her life if she helps catch the culprit.
[X] Get out, get dressed, start looking.

After 3 days of reading GiG, i finally catch up...
So I turn to the one person I can rely on in this situation. The only person I'm convinced is my ally--and for that matter not unconscious as well. Many sympathies for Youmu.

"So Aya." I say, "Did you happen to see anything just before I had a damned cloud form over my head?" The fact that I mean it literally makes me want to laugh. Long and hard. Such is the stupidity of my predicament.

"Just your ugly face." She replies, grinning widely like she'd just won a triathlon in the olympics.

"Ouch." Really, ouch. I know she's joking. With that grin it's hard to imagine otherwise. But I'm still trying to be serious here, so she can just--

"Lemme make you an offer, then." I say in my best Chicago accent, pressing my face closer to hers. Uncomfortably close even, were we strangers. "So you, help me, find the brat that did this." I thumb at her, myself, and the space behind me between words.

"And?" She gives me a confused look and raises an eyebrow.

"And then we string 'er up, and then you get the screwin' of a lifetime if-you-catch-my-drift." I'm really starting to get fired up over this. It's not unlike me to be motivated--or to motivate Aya with the promise of sex, but over something so silly...

I sigh, she smiles. I get up, she follows suit. A wordless sort of agreement--her eyes tell me that she'd run to the ends of the Earth and back so long as I hold up my end of the bargain. I don't think it'd take her more than a few minutes to do it at full power, so I should be glad I didn't make that sort of request.

Or now that I think about it..

So I win either way. We find the culprit, she gets her reward. Nothing happens, well.. I'm sure it'd end the same no matter what happens. I'm sure she knows this, and is only playing along because this impromptu investigation might kill some time. But anyway--hooray for me!

"You'd better hold up your end of the bargain, kid." She follows me to where we'd left our clothes, smiling so carelessly that I doubt it'd be too much of a stretch for me to expect her to suddenly start prancing around like some naked ballerina.

I'm almost disappointed when it doesn't happen. I might've liked to see her lose all inhibitions and publicly humiliate herself for once. Lord knows I've done it before for less--like seeing her smile after a bad day at work, or more commonly to make her blush with embarrassment.

Alas, we are soon dressed, and with no naked prancing to be had. We begin the search promptly. First order of business?

Have Aya go over to the far side and collect a list of names of all who are present. She walks back with a small scrap of paper in her hand. A little bit soggy on one of the corners, but the names are clearly legible and are as follows:

Kanako Yasaka, Kochiya Sanae, Suika Ibuki, Hoshiguma Yuugi, Satori Komeiji, Koishi Komeiji (So she is Satori's sister, then..), Okuu.

"Huh." All that remains are Tenshi and Youmu--and Youmu is unconscious. I should start with our prime suspect numero-uno, then--Tenshi Hinanawi.

For that matter..

"Hey, Aya. Why did you just use Utsuho's nickname?" It's strange, at least to me. The others have been handwritten in English--properly romanized for my convenience, with the given name first and the family name last. Utsuho only received a nickname designation.

"It's fine, isn't it?" She waves me off, but somehow senses that it's not going to make me back down. "Alright, alright~ So she's made it very clear to me that she wants to be referred to as 'Okuu' by everybody from now on. Very, very clear."

"Did she make some quip about grilled chicken?"

"Thankfully, no." Aya punches me lightly in the arm, putting a wing-full of feathers in my face at the same time. "She's way more bird than I am, so I should rightfully be the one to make those kinds of jokes."

"I see.." I begin to wonder if Utsuho is 'more bird' enough to lay eggs. Aya did say a while back that there are bird youkai out there that do, in fact, lay eggs. Best not dwell on the subject for too long, lest my mind be dragged into the gutter.

Not when there's a criminal to catch!

[ ] Search the bedrooms.
[ ] Search the living area.
[ ] Search outside.
[ ] Search the liquor cabinet.
[x] Search outside.
[X] Search outside.
[ ] Search the liquor cabinet.
Maybe later.

[x] Search outside.
[X] Search the liquor cabinet.

Where would a moody drunk go if they're still conscious, if not to find something to help keep them drunk?
[ze] Search the liquor cabinet.

No, seriously. Maybe Tenshi went back and got even more shitfaced.
[X] Search the liquor cabinet.
[x] Search the liquor cabinet.
[x] Search the liquor cabinet.
[x] Search for the updates.
Updates found.


So, to start from the top, where would I be if I was drunk and a celestial?

How the hell should I know the answer to that? For that matter, what the hell is a celestial anyway? The only one I know is an annoying, sniveling little brat--which gives me little confidence in their race as a whole.

For now, I need a drink. So it's off to the liquor cabinet. Thankfully, Kanako puts such things in so easily accessible places, so I don't have to search for two things at once.

It's just around the building, through the back door, and right on the left. Practically right next to where I was sitting before everyone decided to head outside.

Aya follows me inside expectantly. I don't know what she plans to find inside, but it sure has her in high spirits, whatever it is.

I find a bottle of gin--nasty stuff that. I push it aside and go straight for the scotch whiskey. Huh, never heard of this brand before. It's about half empty--plenty left over for Aya and myself.

I still don't find anybody else in the room. So that rules out a better portion of the living area, as well as the liquor cabinet. Maybe the little brat went to sleep?

Sure, she creates an abomination of weather over my head, and then goes right off to bed. Funny how it sounds just like something I'd expect her to do. Best go check it out.

The room is still dark, the hall is still dark. I wonder what happened to all that electric lighting they'd put up in here. Sure, the lights are still there, but none of them seem to be working.

I pick up Koishi's hat on the way--maybe the act of returning it'll put me back in her good graces. It's not every day that I throw someone into a pool of steaming hot water, so I hope she'll be understanding.

Youmu is still asleep where I left her, still having not moved an inch from the position she fell asleep in. The rest of the beds on this side of the hall are empty. Same goes for the other side too, by the looks of it.

Aya sticks close by me, afraid of the dark as is normal for her. She keeps a hand gripped firmly around my wrist until we're back by the fireside. With nobody to tend to it, the blaze has died down quite a bit since I first walked in.

I set Koishi's hat on a nearby table, along with the bottle in my hand. By now, it's nearly empty. I've been absent-mindedly taking swigs from it since I grabbed it from the cabinet, though only now do I realize just how much I'd drank. Aya picks it up and has a go at it. Once she's finished there won't be so much as a drop left. Mighty selfish of her, but I can't really be one to judge.

I have a seat, now beginning to feel the liquor's effects. It's an oh-dear-the-room's-suddenly-started-to-spin sort of feeling. Standing back up would definitely mean the end of me--at least for another hour or two. So I'll postpone the search until later in lieu of chatting it up with Aya..

And Utsuho, who's just now walking in. Needless to say the conversation will certainly be simple enough for even somebody in my condition to comprehend without effort. Aya has a seat beside me, and Utsuho seems to be wandering aimlessly about the room. Well, not entirely aimlessly--she seems to be looking for something.

[ ] Give Utsuho Koishi's hat.
[ ] Talk to Aya.
[ ] Talk to Utsuho.
[ ] Pass out.
[ ] Give Utsuho Koishi's hat.
[ ] Talk to Aya.
[~] Give Utsuho Koishi's hat.
[z] Talk to Aya.
[e] Talk to Utsuho.

I wanna hear me some drunken ramblings.
Real ones, not just thinking it means change all the S/C sounds to Sh.

Damn, I don't know of a single drunk person that does that.
[X] Talk to Utsuho.

If giving Koishi her hat back is a way to make amends, wouldn't it be better to hand it over personally?
[X] Talk to Utsuho.
[x] Give Utsuho Koishi's hat.
[x] Talk to Utsuho.
[x] Talk to Aya.
"Looking for something?" I toss her the hat. Lazily, drunkenly, but a toss is still a toss. It lands just at her feet.

"Oh, hey! This is--" Utsuho seems surprised.

"She dropped it earlier." Aya says, hovering over me with a worried look in her eye. What, is she not used to seeing people drunk? Ugh, every time I move my head..

"Shit won't stop spinnin'.." I sound like an ass, but without the wherewithal to give two shits about it, I'm screwed. At least I'm conscious enough to realize it. The room still spins. Jeez, how much did I drink?

"Is.. He alright?" Utsuho's voice from across the room, now in front of me. She leans over, too, staring at me with much the same expression Aya has on as well. I laugh, finding something funny about this.

"Oh yeah, I'm just greeeeaaat~" More words come out of my mouth. "But, boy I tell you what, there's something wrong with this mountain." My world continues to run circles around me, even as I rest my head down on Aya's lap.

"Hmm?" Utsuho seems intrigued. Another excuse for me to run my mouth.

"I think it's the air. 's thin up here. Makin' my head spin." Sure, no attribution to massive alcohol consumption. Excuses, excuses. Sure to generate more than a few giggles.

I get only one--from Aya. Utsuho looks confused as ever.

"I think this's it for you, Snake." Aya calmly brushes a hand over my cheek.

"Is he dying?" Utsuho looks like she's about to cry.

"Nay! I'm only just getting warmed up!" I feel like I could fly!

Hey, I am flying! For a second there I forgot I could do that. Wow.

"Snake, sit--"

"Gimme another bottle! Bring on the damn Germans! I'll take 'em all on--blindfolded! With both arms tied behind my back!" I wonder why I'm getting all fired up like this. Utsuho shows a mix of worry and confusion, while Aya has started laughing for some reason. I'm too busy trying to stop the room from spinning to care.

"Whoops, bad idea." I sit back down. Moving around only seems to be making things worse.

"I don't think you'll be doing any more drinking tonight, Snake." Aya pulls me back, trying to calm me down. I rest my head back on her thigh, and look up at her past all my drunken confusion. She giggles. "And I don't think you'll be finding any Germans here, either."

"Germans?" More confused questions from Utsuho. "What'd they ever do to you?"

"Don't get me started on that one, kid." I've got a list eighteen miles long for that one, but there's no use explaining it all to somebody ignorant of my current situation. I doubt she'll be able to fit it all in that bird brain of hers.

"Hmmm..." She looks at me inquisitively, unsure of what she wants to say or do next. She grips that black hat tightly in her hands, looks at it, and suddenly heads for the door. I don't ask her where she's going. Not when I already know. Her motives are transparent.

"Now that the nuisance is gone," Aya turns down to face me, smiling widely. "How's about you and I--"

"Nuh-uh. Not yet." I'm not that drunk, to have forgotten our deal. "We still haven't found.." I trail off, pausing to look across the room as I hear footsteps.

The prime suspect walks right on in, like nothing is out of the ordinary.

"You gonna take that back?" Aya whispers, turning to face our blue-haired adversary.

"What the hell is wrong with him?" Tenshi stares at me, pointing--stabbing her finger at me like it could possibly kill me.

"Oh dear." Aya groans. "I think she's talking to me."

"I am. Is there something wrong with that?" She glares venomously at Aya. I wonder if there's some kind of grudge between the two, or if Tenshi is just that confrontational.

"Not really. I just don't wanna talk to you, that's all." Aya waves a hand, dismissing Tenshi from the room. Tenshi, of course, doesn't so much as budge. Rather it seems to have just made her angry.

Aya keeps to her purposeful oblivion, ignoring any further action Tenshi could possibly make. Both of them turn their eyes to me.

Then, Tenshi starts to walk over, practically standing on my ankles as I lay slowly recovering from my drunken stupor. The room is still spinning.

"He's drunk! What a slob!" She points and laughs, like a small child bullying another.

"So, what about you, then?" I remember her actions previously, noticing a bit of redness to her face. Pot, meet kettle.

"I'm fine." She gestures to herself, with a single hand placed snobbishly on her breast. "Don't you worry about me."

"I'm not." Merely trying to bring to light the hypocrisy of her prior statement.

"Of course." She takes a step away, turning her back on me.

[ ] Trip her while she's still close.
[ ] Do nothing, see where this goes.
[ ] Ask about the cloud over your head.
[x] Well, if she's so fine, why doesn't she have some more?

>"Is he dying?" Utsuho looks like she's about to cry.

[X] Trip her while she's still close.
[X] Well, if she's so fine, why doesn't she have some more?
>Hey, I am flying! For a second there I forgot I could do that. Wow.


[x] Ask about the cloud over your head.

"I am so fucking wasted right now."
[ze] Ask about the cloud over your head.
[x] Ask about the cloud over your head.
[ ] Ask about the cloud over your head.
"So, was it you?" I ask, being vague on purpose to lead her back into a conversation. She'd probably walk right away if I outright mentioned it.

"Was it me, what?" Tenshi gives me a confused stare.

"That thing with the cloud over my head. Was that your doing?" I don't know what I'd do if she answers affirmatively. I'm in no shape to stand and fight, and I'm in no mood to get angry with her. Maybe I'll just forgive her if she owns up to it..

"Hmm~?" She smiles and snorts. "What if it was?"

"It was, wasn't it." I'd rather not get drawn into an argument over what-if's. I'll have her play by my rules, here.

"It was, wasn't it~" Aya mirrors my words, adding a bit of playful inflection.

"Wh-- What do you want from me?" Tenshi becomes defensive, realizing that she's been outnumbered.

"How about an honest answer, for starters?"

"Hah! Sure, then what?" She remains defensive, crossing her arms in a huff.

"I dunno." I don't feel like answering. I'm starting to not feel like talking to her as well. An honest answer may take more work than I'm willing to put forth right about now.

"Well, fine! It was me! I did it!" She owns up to it proudly. "But don't say you didn't ask for it!"

"I didn't." Smirk.

"Oooooohh!!" Shot down in a ball of fire, she turns tail and storms off furiously.

A wave of silence passes as she walks out of view, and then Aya suddenly springs into action.

"Now, Snake~" Aya's hands massage my chest. "About that promise~"

"I haven't forgotten." But the least she could do is give me a bit of time to let the alcohol wear off. And at least wait until Utsuho has left the room. She's been incredibly silent ever since Tenshi walked in.

Still, that seemed almost too easy. I find myself beginning to question Tenshi's motives--particularly why she's so taken with annoying the crap out of me. She seems at least cordial to most of the others, so why me?

"So~" Aya's hands move up my chest, my neck, and rest on either side of my head.

"In a bit." I doubt I'd be able to feel anything other than my own drunkenness. Utsuho is still here, too. The blank stares I'm receiving from her direction are a little unsettling.

"So you're still gonna make me wait, huh?" She takes her hands away, crossing her arms. "Bastard."

"Born and bred, my dear." I laugh, pulling her forward by the shoulders, and kissing her lightly on the cheek. She giggles, and rests her hands back on my chest.

"I guess we have time.. I guess." She still seems a little downtrodden, but tries her best to hide it. "You know, we could always go after her, rough her up a bit?"

"Then we'd be no better than common thugs." Or rapists, depending on her meaning of 'rouging up'. "I'm willing to let it go, for now." Forgive your enemies, but never forget their faces.

"You're no fun~!" Aya nudges me slightly.

[ ] Write-in only.
[x] "Aya. I'm drunk off my ass. If we're going to do it, I want to do it when I'm sober."
>"You're no fun~!" Aya nudges me slightly.

[x] "Buck up Aya. When you have IMAGINATION, fun is always just a cardboard box away."

I don't know where I'm going with this, but this story needs less slice-of-life, more TACTICAL ESPIONAGE ACTION.
[x] "Buck up Aya. When you have IMAGINATION, fun is always just a cardboard box away."
[x] "Buck up Aya. When you have IMAGINATION, fun is always just a cardboard box away."
[ze] "Aya. I'm drunk off my ass. If we're going to do it, I want to do it when I'm sober."

What the hell's the point of the cardboard box vote?
I have put this off for far too long. Here, have some updates. SOW sometime tomorrowmaybe.


"Fun is only a cardboard box away, Aya!" I say with enthusiasm, looking up at Aya with a smile.

"You're drunk." She frowns. "I think that's it for you."

I find myself being pulled to my feet.

"Off to bed with you, then." She nudges me from behind, once I'm standing.

"And here you said I'm no fun." This is clearly a clever ruse to get me in bed with her, no doubt about it. I'm not so drunk that I don't notice her ploy. "I'm fine. Really. I am."

"That's what they all say~" She pushes me towards the door, chuckling and adding a bit of playful inflection to her words.

She isn't even trying to hide it anymore. Part of me wants to stop her and all of this, but the rest of me is telling to play along.

So, I play along. I'm curious to see where this'll take me. Will it be exactly as I expect, or will she prove herself to be seriously concerned for my well-being? Only one way to find out.

I just start walking forward. Aya seems a bit confused by my sudden cooperation, but I keep walking and don't let it bother me. I head straight down the hall and into the bedrooms.

Shit. Now I remember that this is the same room where I'd put Youmu to bed previously. I seriously hope that Aya isn't... Well, serious--about doing what I'm sure she's thinking about doing. I'd have no choice but to stop her if she takes action so long as Youmu's in the room.

I lay down in the nearest bed--also the farthest away from Youmu--weighing my options. Should I stop Aya and risk angering her? Or should I let her do what she wants and risk waking Youmu? Bah! I'm not sober enough to make a proper choice, and I'm not drunk enough to keep myself from thinking so hard about it. One more or one less drink is all I need, right about now.

"So," Aya sits beside me, looking at me from over her shoulder.

"So?" It feels awkward. She goes to say something, pauses mid-sentence, and doesn't give me any indication as to what her intentions are.

"So," Again, she pauses, looking down at me from her seated position. Then, she giggles.

"What?" I ask.

"You don't look relaxed at all." She says, smiling.

"Only 'cause you're making me feel uncomfortable." Isn't she going to lay down or something?

"Hmm~?" She pretends to have not heard me.

"My point exactly." I raise a hand to her shoulder, trying to gently ease her down beside me. But just as I touch her, she practically throws herself down over me. I try to ignore her elbow digging into my ribs.

"Something wrong?" I ask, entirely unsure with myself. I have no idea what she's thinking.

"Nope~" She looks up, resting her head on my chest. I try to ignore her chin digging into my sternum. "But it's still day out. Can't have you falling asleep just yet~"

"So how are you gonna stop me?" I've been starting to feel tired ever since the alcohol took effect. Not nearly enough to the point of wanting to sleep.. Normally. But when I'm put in a warm bed and given a woman to lay with me, well.. Then things start to change.

"I have my ways~"

"Those ways are gonna put me in one hell of a mess if she wakes up." I nod at Youmu, never once forgetting her sleeping soundly on the other side of the room.

"I'll keep my voice down~" Aya leans back, starting to take her top off.

"You know that's impossible for you."

"C'mon~" She shakes me by the shoulders, delaying my inevitable sleep for just a moment longer. I'm wide awake for just as long as her hands are on me.

Her top comes off, her skirt nearly falls off with it.

"You're not gonna take 'no' for an answer, are you?" I smile, laughing inwardly at the awkward glare I receive from her. She looks.. almost a little hurt. I suppose that does it for mind games.

"Look," I tell her,

[ ] "Now isn't a good time."
[ ] "I've been ready from the start."
[ ] "I've been ready from the start."
[ ] If she makes any noise, then it's "Punishment time~!"
[ ] "I've been ready from the start."
[ ] If she makes any noise, then it's "Punishment time~!"
[x] "I've been ready from the start."
[x] If she makes any noise, then it's "Punishment time~!"
[X] "I've been ready from the start."
[X] If she makes any noise, then it's "Punishment time~!"

Sure, ok
Am I the only one hoping Youmu is drunk enough to join? I seriously doubt I am.

[x] "I've been ready from the start."
[x] If she makes any noise, then it's "Punishment time~!"
"I've been ready from the start, ever since I walked--"

"Staggered." She interrupts me.

"Staggered.. Into the room." I accept it simply as a proper clarification. I was staggering. Just a bit. Nothing all that worthy of note. I'm not that drunk.

"Well then~" She throws the sheet over the two of us, and leans back down over me. "Let's get started, shall we?"

I'm in no position to argue, nor would I even remotely consider doing so. She's naked, kissing my neck, and making me feel--

Aroused, up until the point of her suddenly stopping. Now I just feel incredibly awkward.

"Something wrong?" I look up, watching her eyes dart across the room. She looks directly at Youmu.

"You're awake, aren't you?" She says, her tone sharp with annoyance. I feel that at any minute Aya might just simply get up and walk over there.

Thankfully, she doesn't. My eyes turn to Youmu's bed as I begin to wonder how Aya could've possibly noticed such a thing. Is she just acting on suspicion?

"You got me." I hear Youmu's voice. Muffled behind her heavy blanket, but undoubtedly hers. "I was trying not to be a bother."

Aya sighs raggedly, trying to let out her frustration through means other than directing it towards Youmu. I suppose I could call the two of them friends, in the regard that they at least try to spare each other's emotions at the most awkward of times.

I, however, make no such considerations. So I remain silent, bottling away my frustration and anger for use at a more opportune time. I was really looking forward to this. Damn you, Youmu!

"You should've said something." Aya tries to sound sympathetic, but I can still hear the faint angry tone in her voice. "I'd have noticed regardless, and you of all people should know this."

"Yeah, well." Youmu can't seem to come up with a proper excuse. She seems as uneasy as the rest of us. I can't say I feel too sympathetic at the moment. Had Aya not spoken up, we'd have likely given Youmu a front-row pass to listen to the sounds of our love-making. Oh, I could cry tears of blood and rage for having such a thought.

The physical impossibility prevents me from doing this, however, and I resign myself to steeping in silent resentment. Likely, were the act to have been completed before our noticing Youmu's currently not asleep state, I'm sure the embarrassment would make me want to just die. Yeah, there's enough melodrama for one night.

I grab Aya by the shoulders and pull her back down. I'd rather she didn't try to make idle conversation with the half ghost across the room while she lays--completely naked--on top of me.

And with a loud, "Go to sleep!", I end the conversation for both parties.

Fuck mid-afternoon, I'm going to sleep!




I'm too damned riled up to go to sleep. Aya's out like a light, so there goes my one source of conversation.

Or, maybe..

[ ] Try talking to Youmu.
[ ] Just go to sleep!
[ ] Go rejoin the party.
[ ] "You too, Youmu."
[ ] Just go to sleep!

We all need to sleep off this bender we're on.
[ ] Just go to sleep!
[X] Try talking to Youmu.
[ze] Just go to sleep!

Snuggling leads to peace. Peace leads to relaxation. Relaxation leads to sleep.
[x] Try talking to Youmu.
>[ ] Just go to sleep!

This shit will never work.

>[ ] Try talking to Youmu.

Yeah? About what?

[x] Go rejoin the party.

If I were Snake I would be incredibly annoyed at the both of them.

>"You're awake, aren't you?" She says, her tone sharp with annoyance. I feel that at any minute Aya might just simply get up and walk over there.

She'd known Youmu was awake the moment she entered the room; why didn't she say anything then?

Time to look grizzled and complain about relationships while making specious analogies to military troop formations, drinking until you pass out.
[O] Try talking to Youmu.
[x] Try talking to Youmu.
"Hey," I just blurt out, talking to nobody in general. But then, Youmu's the only one still awake. Who else but her could possible answer me?

I hear a sleepy groan of acknowledgment, and turn to find her staring right at me. Her hair is a mess. The rest of her, concealed by the sheets she's pulled over her. I think she's trying to hide from me.

I turn away.


Not a damn thing to talk about. Why did I even speak up in the first place? Aya shifts under the covers, arms squeezing me tighter, nuzzling her head into my chest. I place my arms around her. She's warm.

Still can't get to sleep. Not with Youmu still staring at me. Her eyes are slowly starting to close--a sheer sign of her slowly beginning to drift off. I should just let her. I shouldn't say anything, but..


I overcome the urge to ask her why she stayed quiet the whole time. I open my mouth just to close it again. A small sigh in place of the words I wanted to say. I don't even feel angry anymore, just tired. I stroke Aya's hair, and calmly wait for sleep to come.


When I awake, I find myself alone. A small ray of sunshine floods in through a crack in the roof. They really ought to get that fixed.

I pull myself up, listening to the blowing wind whistling in from the outside. No trees all the way up here to act as a buffer, I suppose.

"Ugh.." I scratch my head, shaking off my sleepiness as I head back out into the hall.

Some noise coming from out front. I follow the sound to the source.

Everybody, save myself, Suika and Koishi, have all gathered around the front walk at the end of the porch. They seems to be crowding around something--and something very interesting by the looks of it.

"Hey guys," I greet them normally. "What's going on?"

"Oh, Snake." Aya pops her head out of the crowd--the first to lock eyes with me. A few others look my way, but clearly with less interest than her.

"Come have a look at this, will you?" Aya waves me over.

"Eugh.." Something stinks. A smell I know all too well.

I push my way in between Aya and Kanako, and look to the ground. Well, that explains why I'm smelling corpses. There's a dead body laying on the walk right in front of the shrine.

"Someone you know?" I look to Kanako, who looks back solemnly, shaking her head. I guess there's things in this world that can have even her spooked.

"Damn.." Someone messed this guy up good. I'm not even sure it's actually a guy, for that matter. There's a large gash running from the left shoulder all the way down to the body's hip, cut diagonally across the torso. A wound like this could only be caused by something incredibly sharp--maybe a knife or a sword. But that's the least of this poor bastard's worries. The head is missing, as well as the right arm.

"You know what I'm gonna ask." Kanako mutters, "And I want a straight answer."

"She has more sense than to do something like this.." Satori responds hesitantly, but honestly.

"God, it stinks!" Yuugi whines, stepping away and covering her nose. "Who the hell'd leave someth'n like this just lying around out here?!"

She sounds like she wants to hit somebody. I don't dare open my mouth.

"It certainly wasn't anybody here." Satori too, takes a step back, though keeps her hands at her sides. "Oh, and get Sanae inside. She's about to be sick."

"Yipe!" Kanako grabs the priestess and does exactly that. Hurried footsteps, the sound of the front door slamming shut. I don't bother to look back.

"This one's pretty old." Utsuho, standing dangerously close to the body, adds in, "I bet it'd burn pretty well!"

"Now's not the time." Satori grumbles, and with a flick of the wrist she orders Utsuho away. Surprising obedience, considering that girl's track record.

"And this," She turns back to me. "Is what I was talking about before."

"But what's it--" Yuugi tries to speak, but is silenced.

"I can't say for certain. Until now, there's only been a few instances of this happening in the underground."

She means to say that this is the first time it's occurred on the surface, I'm sure. Something about the clothes on the body strikes me as odd, but I'm not exactly sure what it is. The fabric is too soaked in blood to determine anything beyond the clothing's shape and style. It seems oddly familiar..

"Isn't somebody gonna cover it up?" Aya asks, strangely calmer than the others.

"Er.." Satori acts like she hadn't thought of that.

"Yeah, throw an old blanket over it or something!" Yuugi yells, acting her usual rowdy self. "Least it'll do something about the stink.."

Just then, an idea pops into the oni's head. I can see her face light up almost immediately. "Ya know what? I'll go get one right now."

She leaves without a word.

"Hmm.." Aya leans over, studying the body closely--closer than I'm willing to get to something that smells so damned rotten!

"See anything?" I ask.

"Nope." She shrugs, turning her eyes on Satori.

"I'd believed that he may be able to offer some insight, being an outsider and all." Satori, reading people's thoughts as usual, says matter-of-factly. "Though it seems that he knows just as little as I."

"And..?" Aya seems to be waiting for further clarification.

"And," Satori acts a little upset. "It might be quicker if I show you to where the first one appeared."

"Two heads are better than one?" I say, understanding her probably a little better than Aya. She means to ask for my help, is what she's implying.

"Three, if she plans to follow you." Satori jabs a finger at Aya.

[ ] No way in Hell.
[ ] Of course I'll help.
[ ] Aren't I forgetting something?
[X] Of course I'll help.
[ ] Aren't I forgetting something?
[X] Aren't I forgetting something?
[x] Aren't I forgetting something?

[x] Aren't I forgetting something?
[X] Aren't I forgetting something?

Did we leave the oven on, again?
[O] Aren't I forgetting something?
[x] Aren't I forgetting something?

If three is a crowd, four is a party.
[z] Of cour--
[e] Wait, aren't I forgetting something?

What exactly has been recurring?

Dead bodies showing up on doorsteps, or dead bodies with the right arm and head missing?

If the latter, perhaps we should be considering the significance of those missing parts. Some kind of symbolism, is/are the killer/s keeping them, or was there something about those pieces that they didn't want seen?
[x] Aren't I forgetting something?
I'm thinking it's more the "dead bodies popping up out of nowhere" thing more than the dismemberment. Sure, the missing parts are odd, but considering the clothing makes it clear the corpse didn't belong to a local, I would think the more pertinent question isn't why it's missing parts but why is it even there to begin with?
"So what if I do?" Aya replies, getting angry. Well, I guess Satori did sound a little rude there..


I feel like I'm forgetting something.

Something, or someone.

I try to think. I've seen everybody so far today.. Youmu is standing a bit to the back, so I'd missed her before. She hasn't said a word, only staring down at this body with the most sober of expressions.

So why do I feel like I'm missing something? Is it something about the body? It seems to be getting closer..

Or I could be falling.

Somebody pushed me from behind. It feels like I'm falling in slow-motion. The body lays right in the path of me falling, so I'll certainly land on it. I can't turn--my feet fall out from under me. I can only brace myself as I near it's smelly, meaty embrace..

And land on hard ground.

I must've fallen right past it. The ground is cold and hard, and very dark.

So, who turned out the sun? Why did it suddenly get so dark?

I pull myself to my feet, rubbing the soon-to-be-bruised forearm I'd landed on. Shit, I fell poorly. This is the price I pay for carelessness. God, it hurts.

I immediately call out to Aya.

No response, save for the echo of my own voice. It almost sounds like I'm inside some kind of large building.

Something lands hard on the ground behind me..

"Oof!" It--she, exhales loudly, though I can't see who it is.

Shit, why is it so dark? What the hell is going on? My mind floods with questions, and I immediately begin to feel stressed. I have to tell my own mind to shut the hell up. I can't do anything until my eyes adjust.

"What the hell?!" The woman exclaims, vigorously--audibly--clamoring to her feet.

The room is set ablaze in red-orange light. I can see the floor clearly. Tiled, solid, with an almost mirror finish. This definitely isn't the shrine.

And the woman in front of me--she's definitely Tenshi.


Oh, and that's what I was missing! Well,

Shit. Just, shit. I couldn't think of a worse scenario unless I were getting shot at as well.

"What the hell is going on?" I say aloud, neither asking her nor thinking to myself. I just absent-mindedly throw it out there.

"How should I know?!" She answers defensively, waving her brightly glowing blade across the room, searching for something. There's something odd about the way she acts..

"You pushed me, didn't you?" It's just a feeling I'm getting.

"N-no!" Her eyes dart towards me as she yells. Her suspiciously guilty voice echoes across the room.

She did, no doubt about it.

[ ] ?
[X] Walk around the perimeter of the room
[X] Walk around the perimeter of the room
[x] Walk around the perimeter of the room

I sure hope you guys know what you're doing.
[ze] "What. The Fuck. Did. You Do."

[x] Walk around the perimeter of the room
[x] Walk around the perimeter of the room
[X] Explanations can wait, get your bearings and search for an exit.
[X] Keep the brat close, by force if necessary.
But I still can't force myself to be angry with her. That can wait. Right now, I'm focused entirely on where in the name of fuck I've been sent to. My first inclination is to blame Yukari. She's at fault for nearly all of the happenings even remotely similar to this.

But I need to figure this place out. It doesn't look like anything I'd see in Gensokyo, nor is it similar to anything where I'm from. The floor appears to be almost metallic, and the walls that are just now coming into view are riddled with tubes and piping that serves a purpose even I don't understand. It's like a goddamned oil refinery or something. But the piping snaking in and out of the walls is where the similarities end.

I still can't see the farthest walls, but the room appears to be organized like a normal man-made structure. Flat floors, ninety-degree angles. Nothing obscure beyond the industrial look. The light from Tenshi's blade flickers, reflecting off of the nearest wall.

This appears to be some sort of hallway. It's wide--incredibly wide. And tall enough to drive a truck through with room to spare. The floor doesn't appear to have been used in a while--a fine coat of dust covers just about everything, and the air feels stale.

I can see light fixtures built into the ceiling, but none of them are on. Of course, the place is clearly abandoned. But that doesn't mean we're the only ones here.

Better safe than sorry.

I draw out my gun, the quick and deliberate motion eliciting a frightful yelp from Tenshi. She's been unbelievable quiet for the past minute. I'm sure she's scared shitless, having never seen anything like this before. It's safe to make that assumption--this place looks alien even to me, somebody from the outside.

My gun is a typical one-shot musket. I carry enough powder and spare shot on me just in case, but if there's no room for error if I actually do encounter something in here.

I keep close to the wall, and start to move forward. I can hear Tenshi's faint footsteps following me as she waves that sword around behind me.

"Please don't stab me in the back by accident." I plainly state the worst fear on my mind at the given moment. I have no idea how well she's been trained to use a sword, but her fear is what frightens me the most.

"I can't see!" She replies in a whisper.

"I know you can't see. But please be careful with that." My vision in the dark seems to have only gotten better with time. It's almost clear as day.. Almost. I can see just a little farther past where I can reach. The only light in here seems to be emitted by Tenshi's blade.

"Don't you worry about me!" She keeps to her whisper, though it's clear that she's grown more aggravated, and seems to be getting worse as the conversation goes on. Her tone is as condescending as always.

"I am worried." What if something startles her? I figure the best way to keep her mind preoccupied is to keep talking to her. At least it'll prevent her from silently stewing in her own worries and fear. I wonder if she's afraid of the dark..

"I'm perfectly capable of handling myself!"

"Sure, sure." I'm not convinced until she can stop her hands from shaking. I wonder what sort of God I might've angered to wind up stuck in a strange and dark room with a girl like her.. She's not handling herself well at all.

The room-slash-hallway veers off to the left, and I follow it down until it ends abruptly a few feet later. Ahead is a door--an average office door by the looks.


A tap with the butt of my rifle produces a dull metallic sound. It's made of steel, probably--or some form of aluminum. Either way, it's not exactly ordinary. Tenshi tries to push it open, forcing me aside in the process. She strains herself pushing, tries pulling, and eventually gives up.

"Locked." She says curtly.

"Apparently so.." Judging only by the effort she put into it, yeah. And there doesn't seem to be a way to bust it down, unless..

"Can that sword cut through metal?" I ask.

"No." No explanation. Just, no.

"Damn." And it's nearly flaming and everything.. I could've sworn..

"Well, looks like we'll have to keep going, then."

[ ] Backtrack, try the other direction.
[ ] Keep going forward.
[ ] Maybe try knocking?


[ ] Talk to Tenshi (Specify subject).
[ ] Stay silent.


[X] Backtrack, try the other direction.
[X] Talk to Tenshi about...hell, anything, as long as it's quiet but keeps her mind occupied.

Until we're certain we're alone here, or at least who/whatever else is there isn't hostile, it's probably best not to mess with the door. Assuming it's simply locked, there's still probably nothing we could do to open it that wouldn't make a lot of noise.
In the meantime, we should probably continue talking to Tenshi. If we can't calm her down, we can at least keep her distracted enough from the situation so she doesn't wind up more scared than she already is. The last thing we need right now is her freaking out on us.

Why do I get the feeling this is going to turn out to be one of those situations where two people who don't like each other have to learn to cooperate to get out of the situation they've been placed in, and in the end come out with a better appreciation for the other, perhaps even becoming friends?

...oh, hell, who am I kidding. By the time this is over, it will probably be all we can do to not try to snap her neck with our bare hands.
[X] Backtrack, try the other direction.
[X] Talk to Tenshi about...hell, anything, as long as it's quiet but keeps her mind occupied.
>"Well, looks like we'll have to keep going, then."

[x] Keep going forward.
[x] "I know you can't see very well in here so let me describe the architecture. See if it rings any bells."
[x] All this metal reminds you of those killer robots. Tell Tenshi the story of how you died and went to hell, only to claw your way back with the intent of wrecking vengeance on the living; tell her how surprised you were to find that it was those machine things that killed you in Scarlet Devil Mansion that night, and not her.

You're just glad you didn't do anything rash before you had the whole picture.
[X] Backtrack, try the other direction.
[X] Talk to Tenshi about...hell, anything, as long as it's quiet but keeps her mind occupied.
[x] Keep going forward.
[x] "I know you can't see very well in here so let me describe the architecture. See if it rings any bells."
[x] All this metal reminds you of those killer robots. Tell Tenshi the story of how you died and went to hell, only to claw your way back with the intent of wrecking vengeance on the living; tell her how surprised you were to find that it was those machine things that killed you in Scarlet Devil Mansion that night, and not her.
[x] Keep going forward.
[x] "I know you can't see very well in here so let me describe the architecture. See if it rings any bells."
[x] All this metal reminds you of those killer robots. Tell Tenshi the story of how you died and went to hell, only to claw your way back with the intent of wrecking vengeance on the living; tell her how surprised you were to find that it was those machine things that killed you in Scarlet Devil Mansion that night, and not her.
[x] Keep going forward.
[x] "I know you can't see very well in here so let me describe the architecture. See if it rings any bells."
[x] All this metal reminds you of those killer robots. Tell Tenshi the story of how you died and went to hell, only to claw your way back with the intent of wrecking vengeance on the living; tell her how surprised you were to find that it was those machine things that killed you in Scarlet Devil Mansion that night, and not her.
File 124206789826.jpg - (24.76KB, 800x535 , gdr_a_9.jpg) [iqdb]
[~] Keep going forward.
[z] "I know you can't see very well in here so let me describe the architecture. See if it rings any bells."
[e] All this metal reminds you of those killer robots. Tell Tenshi the story of how you died and went to hell, only to claw your way back with the intent of wrecking vengeance on the living; tell her how surprised you were to find that it was those machine things that killed you in Scarlet Devil Mansion that night, and not her.

Wait, did that actually happen?

>It doesn't look like anything I'd see in Gensokyo, nor is it similar to anything where I'm from. The floor appears to be almost metallic, and the walls that are just now coming into view are riddled with tubes and piping that serves a purpose even I don't understand.
>I still can't see the farthest walls, but the room appears to be organized like a normal man-made structure. Flat floors, ninety-degree angles. Nothing obscure beyond the industrial look.
Gosh this sounds familiar.

Yeah, Snake's an evil spirit. He got murdered in the Scarlet Devil Mansion in his sleep.
Autosage, new thread.

Thread Watcher x