Laziness, problems and then computer problems. That's the only excuse I can give. ================= "Hey... Kisume." You speak to the little bucket girl. "Huh?" And she ends up looking at you wide-eyed. Really... Dealing with her is going to be interesting. With a sigh you continue. "Can you tell me anything about Yamame?" "...?" She tilts her head to the side. "Why?" "Uh, you know..." Youkai are supposed to be underground for a reason, and you're bit worried about exactly what you might run into. "I'd like to know some basic stuff to make things easier." Still, it might be best to not say that outright. "What kind of youkai is she?" "She's a spider!" Well, that doesn't sound so bad, there's a bug-youkai on the surface too and- "She has the power to control diseases and stuff!" "..Diseases?" You try your best to keep your face stable. "That sounds... nice." Kisume frowns a bit, but continues. "Oh, I know what you're thinking! But she's actually really nice, seriously?" "Oh, that's good." Currently you can only believe her, and also really hope what she's saying is true but.. wait. "What do you think, Clay?"
<Heh.> Dry laugh comes through the orb. <I know just as much as you, it would have been better to ask Hina... When she was still around, that is.> Right... Seeing how she ran off like that, she must have some kind of idea about things. And even if that isn't true, she would be better to have around than him. <In any case, I wouldn't be that hopeful. They are youkai, after all.> After that last remark Kisume looks at the orb for a moment, and then back at you. "I don't like him. What's with that attitude?" "Ahaha..." You let out weak laugh. "I know he can be kind of annoying at times, but he has his reasons."
A new voice comes from the ceiling, and looking up you see girl in weird orange dress lowering herself towards ground with a rope... Upside down. Soon she gets down and stands up straight. When she does, you notice that the white rope she was using is coming from under her big dress... Is it really just the way it was made that's making it so round on the bottom? "Kisume, you said that there are two people." Oh right, Yamame! You look back up at her and see her talking with smaller girl. "And I'm pretty sure I heard a man when I was heading here. What's going on?" "Umm, it's..." Kisume looks at you. She must not be sure what to tell. "...I came alone." You should be nice and help her. "But this orb can carry voices from the surface to down here, and... the other way too." "Oh, you got back up? Interesting." She extends her hand to you. "Yamame Kurodani." You hesitate for a moment, but then grab her hand and smile. "I'm Adahn, pleased to meet you." "Hah, I guess you already know my power, then..." She smiles bitterly and lets go. "What's yours?" "Excuse me?" "You're a youkai too, right?" No way, she already noticed?! "You've only got one name, after all." ...Oh. "No, I'm a human." "Seriously?" She crosses her hands and tilts her head, inspecting you. "Without a surname? That's weeeeird." "Yeah, I know..." You swear, next time you'll say that you're 'Adahn Inubashiri'. "People have mentioned it before." "...Anyway, you're a second human coming down here today. It had been quiet for months before this, did something happen or what?" "Oh, yes." You take a quick look at her feet, and see that the rope is gone now. "...Didn't Marisa mention anything?" "Hah, that witch zoomed through here without a single word!" That definitely sounds like something Marisa would do... Yamame looks at you smiling and continues. "You look like you have time, though. "How does some tea and cookies at my house sound?" [ ] That sounds great! [ ] ..No, you really shouldn't. You're in hurry.
>>96493 I know. But it's very hard to write if the main computer you have access to has a habit of overheating every now and then, usually when you're writing. ========================== The offer is very tempting, but considering your current situation... "No, I just can't." Shaking your head you continue. "I'm really sorry." Yamame's smile turns into look of disappointment. "Really? Well, I understand. Not many people want to get close to youkai that controls diseases..." No, she's getting it all wrong! "That's not it at all!" You shout immediately after her. "Any other time I would've agreed without second thought, but there's something I have to do." "Ah- alright." She seems kind of taken aback at first, but nods. "What is it, though? It has been quiet for ages, why are people suddenly rushing down here?" "It's a long story..." You sigh. "Basically a hot-spring appeared in our shrine's back-yard, totally destroying the garden. That would be fine by itself, but ghosts and spirits are also coming out of it." "Ooh~" Yamame grins. "That sounds interesting! But what about Marisa, did something come up near her house too?" "No... But she wants one too, and came down here to see if she can do anything about it." "Hah, that's crazy!" Laughing a bit she continues. "So, is there anybody else up here that would come down in hopes of free hot spring?" "Hmm, I doubt it, but..." You think for a moment. Reimu isn't coming down for sure, and Sakuya... Remilia already has that huge mansion, it has to have some incredible bathroom, it probably isn't worth the effort for them. Kappas and tengus already have theirs, is there anybody else...
<Adahn, that's enough.> "Huh?" You give the orb an annoyed glance for a second forgetting that Clay can't see what's happening on this side. "What do you mean?" <Not what you think> Dissatistfied grunt can be heard from the orb. <But you have a reason to be down there, and friendly talk with locals isn't helping you one bit.> "That's..." That's true, you admit it. But as usual, the way he said it wasn't the best possible. Biting your lip you look at Yamame. "I'm sorry, but he's right. As for anybody else... I don't think you'll have anything to worry about, but you never know." Yamame nods as you turn to leave. "Got it. Still, it's a bit sad that we can't just relax and talk." You pause for a moment and then look back over your shoulder. "...How about a party when this is done with?" "What?" <What.> Ignoring both of them you continue. "You and Kisume could come to our shrine, let's have a big celebration for the new spirit free hot spring!" "I... I don't know." Kisume looks up to Yamame. "What do you think?" She stands with her eyes closed and arms closed but finally nods grinning. "Sure! Tea and cookies is nice, but parties are better!" "That's great!" You smile. "I should have everything settled by the time I get back here." Waving to the two, you continue deeper to underground. . . .
<That was unnecesary.> A while later, when the walls of the cave you're walking through have turned more refined, and floor isn't so rough anymore Clay finally decides to voice his complaints. <Why did you do it?> "She honestly seemed upset that we couldn't talk, and I want her to know that I don't care what her power is." <Do you really want the shrine to be filled by youkai?> You can't help but to look at the orb and frown. "Filled with? It'll be just one party, and those two seemed nice. If you really can't stand it, you can go stay the night at human village." You set your gaze forward again, and try to change the topic. "...By the way, isn't Hina back yet?" <Nope, haven't seen her for a while.> "Any idea where she went?" <I know just as much as you. She told me to look after the place, and flew off to somewhere.> You sigh. "I just hope nothing happens..."
<...Aren't there any youkai there?> "Huh?" You hadn't actually thought about it, but now that Clay mentions it... "No, I really haven't seen anybody after Yamame and Kisume." <I don't like this at all. You should get ready for a fight.> "...Any reason why you think that way?" Sometimes it's better to listen to what he has to say. <They should be getting over the shock from Marisa soon, and when they do, they're going to be upset.> He does have a point... [ ] Right, take the katana out and- --- Have a closer look at it. --- Be on your guard for any youkai. [ ] ...But you don't want to seem too aggressive. Keep it sheathed.
Instead of drawing the blade, you just position it so that you can draw it quickly if any trouble arises, no need to look too interested in a fight, after all. Also, having both of your hands free is more convenient. <Are you ready?> "Yes, I am." Well, ready enough for yourself. You really don't want to fight anybody if you don't have to. <Hmm, good.> From that smug sound you can just tell that he's smiling on the other side. <There'd be lots of people angry if you wouldn't make it back.> "...Angry?" That's not really what you expected. "How so?" <Imagine... 'Human shrine maiden killed while investigating an incident underground'... That's enough to start something much worse than simple water-accident.> "I.. understand." The way he says it with almost no change in tone makes it just worse. <Same goes for the other side too. Don't kill anybody without actual need to.> "Speak for yourself, as if I'd even consider that!" Annoyed, you scream to the orb. "I'm not blood-thirsty youkai killer like some people!" <Hahah, I know that. Just messing for a bit, I imagine it's actually best for everybody if you avoid confrontations.> For once it seems you got similar interests to his. "Which is why you wanted me to have that sword out?" You swallow. "Scaring out possible attackers. <Well, that's one reason but-> <Just what are you talking about?> Oh, seems that Hina came back.
"Just why I shouldn't get into fights." Walking forward you speak. "Where did you go, Hina?" <Human village. I thought it would be better to have some concrete information of what you'll be facing.> "Oh?" This is starting to sound good. "What did you get?" <Keine and Akyu were happy to provide some documentation of underground. That is, as long as you'll answer few questions when you get back.> You nod to yourself. "Sounds reasonable." <Since you're talking freely like this, I imagine you got past Yamame?> "That's right." <You... Know that she can control diseases, right? What was she like?> "Really nice, actually!" Smiling you continue onward. "Hina, I'm your shrine maiden, I know that no matter what somebody's power is supposed to be like, the person itself can be like anything." <...I'm glad to hear that. It seems that these records are quite accurate together.> "And separate...?" <Keine gives facts, while Akyu is more detailed, but also... Opionated. Imagine if Aya wrote a guidebook to Gensokyo.> The thought alone is enough to almost make you laugh... Maybe you should suggest it to her some time. "Is it that bad?" <Not too much, so they can still be helpful. Anyway, ran into any onis yet?> "Not yet." Maybe you'll see Suika? That'd be nice. Sound of pages being flipped. <A huge bridge, then?> "Just caves here." <Well, prepare for one. It's supposed to be quite a sight, if this illustration is anything to believe. Has anything worth noting happened?>
"Ah, yes." For a moment you consider whether or not you should tell her, but why not? "I asked if Yamame and Kisume would like to celebrate our new hot spring when all of this is over. Is that fine with you?" <You... Did? Hmm...> There's silence, but soon Hina speaks again. <Clay?> <What now?> <You have time to spare, correct? Could you run to the mountain and speak with kappa about the hot spring?> <Don't tell me you're going through with that idea!> You've stopped walking, and are now leaning against the wall listening to the two quarrel. Somehow you wish you knew how to turn the orb off. <I'm still thinking about it, but we can't leave the backyard like it is, now can we?> <I know what's going to come out of this! Few weeks from now there will be a party and whole shrine will be filled with youkai!> <If it annoys you that much, we could invite some humans too.. actually Adahn, who do you think will be coming from down there?> "Oh, uh." Snapping out of your thoughts, you stand straight again. "Right now it seems just Yamame and Kisume, but..." [i]<Right, there will probably be more. In any case, you'd better go now, Clay.> <You two are unbelievable...>
"...He's gone now?" After a while you dare to speak again. <Yes. Don't worry about it, he may complain alot but he really doesn't hate it nearly as much it might seem.> "Is... That so?" You're bothered by entirely different things, though. Like Hina's and Clay's relationship right now. Turning around one of the corners, you gasp in amazement when you see what next cave holds. By now it's obvious that floor is tiled, it's nothing like rough stone surface from before. There's also big stone pillars that reach the ceiling, with decorations carved into them... You can't tell what they are about though, maybe if you got closer. But no matter how great they are, there's something much more amazing in the same room.
A huge, long and wide bridge. Since stone looks different from rest of the cave, it must've been man-(or youkai?)made. There's probably river running under it since you can hear water, but you can't see how down it is from the darkness and- "Ugh." You turn away from the bridge, holding your forehead. <Did something happen?> Hina sounds worried. "Oh, no. I saw that bridge, and it really is amazing." You reply, keeping your back turned to it. "It's just... Do you remember how Scarlet Devil Mansion used to be?" <..."Yes, I could never forget.> "I imagine it must've been like this." You glance over your shoulder, and vividly colored spirals keep raising from under the overpass, and bridge itself is covered in them with spirals surrounding and climbing the pillars like snakes... This all would be horribly beautiful if you didn't know what it meant. "Terrible amount of misfortune is concentrated on the bridge, and more keeps coming from river under it." Just looking at it makes you feel nauseous. <Oh, that was never mentioned in these. No wonder though, there is hardly anybody in Gensokyo who can see the misfortune...> "Is there a way around this thing?" You swallow, hoping that you don't have to get a foot closer to that thing. <I fear not, although you could maybe fly around it-> You lift yourself into the air. <-but that would be just foolish. Anything and everything could go wrong!> "R-right..." Eyeing the bridge reluctantly you ask. "Is there anything you could tell me about this thing." <Yes... it's guarded.> Hina pauses, but continues with in more relived tone. <Not very tightly, though. Appearently there's only few guards, maybe one or three. Also, that bridge won't come crashing down the moment you set your foot on it, you're unlucky enough as it is!> She's trying to cheer you up, but was that last thing necessary? "What a relief." You let out a weak laugh. "I just hope it doesn't get much worse." [ ] Inspect those pillars, there could be something helpful in them. [ ] Take a look down at river, maybe shoot danmaku for light..." [ ] Just get over it fast! Run, run!
>[ ] Inspect those pillars, there could be something helpful in them. I don't know about all of you, but this makes as much sense as smashing crates that are lying around for no good reason in the off chance that maybe there's a gun inside.
[x] Take a look down at river, maybe shoot danmaku for light..." Know your environment.
>>97323 But Momizi's corridor is so small, there's no way pillar that large could walk through it. ======================
"I'll have a look at those pillars." You speak to the orb. "There's something carved into them, might be helpful." <Oh, that sounds interesting. I just wish I could... Hmm.> Hina's voice gets quiet as she hums to herself. "What is it?" Usually when she's like this, she'll suggest something. <Actually seeing it myself would've been great, but since that's not possible would you mind doing something?> "Uh, not at all. What is it?" <Descripe what's in those pillars.> That's kind of weird thing to ask, but you agree. "...Okay, but why?" <Who knows, maybe something useful will turn up. Maybe not.> Well, she's right. It isn't a big thing to do, and all the help you can get is welcome. Though, there's one thing... "Are you sure I'll be fine when I step on that bridge?" <The misfortune?> She asks, but continues gently. <I doubt anything will happen to you. Scarlet Devil Mansion was quite bad too, but thanks to the charms nothing but minor things happened. Also, we spent quite bit of time there every day, now you just have to cross the bridge. That shouldn't take too long.> "R-right." You know she's right. But... would you have been so willing to walk into that mansion if you knew it was like this too. "...I'll do it now." Hina must be amazing.
Holding your breath, you walk closer to the bridge, knowing that slowly more and more of the misfortune is gathering around you. When you're standing in front of one of the pillars you're sure you can feel it on your back, you breathe out, and in. Feels like breathing through cold cloth. "...This is crazy." <What is?> "I can't believe that there would be something like this on the surface." Misfortune is like thick mist around you. "I can clearly feel how it moves around me... Even normal person would feel troubled here." You wave your hand a bit to see if it does anything... Good, it doesn't. That would've been too freaky. <..You'll have to tell me more about it when you get back. But the pillar, Adahn.> "Right, right." You clear your throat, as you start explaining what you see. "The writing seems to be very old Japanese, I can't understand too much of it. But bits I can make out seem to be a... there's warning to 'surface people' who have come this far, something about youkais that were sent underground... This seems like a documentation, Keine probably has it written down already." There's hum signaling confirmation from the orb and you continue. "The pictures seem to be more or less going with this. But... This one pillar seems to have something about the bridge itself. Or how it was built, at least. Seems that there actually was a natural bridge here, but they expanded that into this. These pillars might actually be actually natural stalactites...Oh, I mean drip stones, they must have been carved like this. That would explain why there's uneven distance between them." You take another look down from side of the bridge, and continue. "...As for why it's like this right now, I don't know. Has it always been wrapped in misfortune, or did this only happen recently? I could ask somebody local about that river down there, but I'm not sure if that'd result in anything." "I don't suggest checking it out closer if that's what you're thinking." She speaks in disinterested tone. "There's only water under this bridge. Not interesting at all." "Oh that's too-" The moment you realize it's not Hina speaking you quickly turn around, and face the mystery commentator.
...Your eyes go wide. Not because of her appearance, she doesn't look weird at all, she's a blond woman probably around your height. Well, if you don't count her clothes, even if somewhat simple(well, not those things on her arms) they're quite different from what you normally see, but that's minor concern here. The only things that make her look different from normal human are her bright green eyes and pointed ears... Probably the first you've seen in Gensokyo. No, what's so shocking is how misfortune completely avoids her. The moment it's about to even touch her clothes, it quickly changes its direction. How? The woman flicks her hair and smiles quietly at your reaction. "Oh, sorry, did I scare you? Well, I'm Parsee Mizuhashi." She extends her hand to you. "Ah..." You hesitate for a moment before grabbing her hand, but do it. "A-Adahn Inubashiri." Yes! She grips your hand tightly, and shakes it. "It's rare for humans to show up here, but there's always people like you." "P-people like me?" Her tone is a bit unsettling, and that smile doesn't help one bit. "Yes, you're insane, aren't you?" She opens her eyes, and you see the green glow in them. "With all that talking to yourself, not to forget that you came here... Ah, I'm a bit jealous of that boldness and free nature." "You, think I am...?" You try to pull your hand away, but can't. "Don't worry," Still smiling, and still not letting go, she grins showing her teeth. "I know few insane people, they're alright at times." [ ] That's not right, you're not insane, at all! [ ] ...Anyway, she's the guard here, right?
"Sorry-!" Pulling your hand away from her you yell. "You must've misunderstood something. I'm not insane." Agh, your hand is all sore now... "Oh, it's not good at all to deny it." Grinning she swings the hand she was holding yours with in air, as if to shake something off from it. "...But I guess expecting somebody to accept the fact right away is too much to ask for. The facts speak for them self, though." "No, no. Really, I wasn't talking to myself. See this orb? It can transmit voice from here to surface, and.." Parsee's amused smile makes you stop. Right, this probably sounds crazy to anybody you'd just tell it to like that. "...Can you tell her, Hina?" Quietly under your breath you curse at her for keeping quiet. <...That is correct.> You sign in relief when her voice comes from the orb. <Since I can't see what is happening down here, I merely asked Adahn to describe it to me.> "...Oooh." Smile that was on Parsee's face has turned into slight frown. "So, I guess you didn't come here just for the heck of it, then?" She looks at you quietly and then grins. "...You're a shrine maiden?"
"That's ri-" You realize that seeing how new it is, she hasn't heard of Kagiyama shrine yet. "Ah, no relation to Hakurei shrine. Ours is new, the building finished just recently." "I'm so jealous of you~" Sighing, she wraps her arms around herself. "So many responsibilities, lots of people counting on you, being representative of a god... Compered to how I'm stuck here on this bridge it's so much better, don't you think?" <I'm sure life down here must have its ups too.> Thankfully Hina spoke before you did, if she hadn't you would've admitted that it really must be bad for Parsee. <...And shrine maiden's life isn't that easy, you know.> "Right, right, I know what they say! After you've spent all that time dancing on the roses, there will be nothing left of them but thorns!" She looks at you for a moment with her face beaming, but since you don't give much of a reaction she quickly looks away. "...Right, it wouldn't be like that. You must have it great." "N-no, not at all!" Oh, why are you even spending all this time talking to her? "We had it easy for long time, but now some bad things have happened." "Oh? Like what?" Her face lights up. "Yesterday a hot spring came up in our garden, destroying most of it. All kinds of evil spirits are also coming out of it, so I came down here to see if I can take care of it." "...And after this is solved, you're left with regular hot spring?" Why does everyone care about that hot spring so much?! <Nobody knows for sure, we might as well end up just having our garden in a mess.> "Hahah!" Parsee lets out loud laugh that rings in the cave. "I don't even have a garden down here, so no matter how you look at it, you have it so much better than me!" "Uhm..." You fight against the need to back away from her. Misfortune is starting to swirl around her, forming a small, but growing vortex. Why is it happening?
And there's no telling if she knows it herself. She's horrifying. Standing in the middle of the bridge, she covers her face with her hand. "...I can't let you pass. Those from surface have no need to come down here, and you've already wandered far enough." You should've expected this. "Then..." You swallow. "Are you telling me to head back? Let that hot spring just be?" She shrugs. "However you like, it seems that everything else is going your way. I wouldn't want to meddle with that great life of yours by letting you get killed by some youkai when you get deeper down." "That can't happen. If that hot spring isn't taken care of, the whole shrine might be in danger. And with the amount of misfortune stored in there..." You stop, it's no good to think about it. "There's so much at stake here that I can't fail in some stupid way like that." "I'm so jealous of that resolve." She speaks coldly as she raises into air, with lit orbs appearing next to her. "Why don't you show me what it's worth?" "You want a danmaku battle?" It has been a while since you had one, and... You've never played it seriously. "Isn't that the better option for you?" She grins. "This is only fair, I can't imagine how ordinary human would even stand a chance against youkai in actual fight." [ ] "Wait, stop!" You don't want to fight her! [ ] Danmaku it is, then. Yours is... --- Individual shots you charge to be more powerful, good things take time. --- Just like misfortune, it comes from everything around you. --- Something different? (Obvious write-in option) [ ] Rather than danmaku, wouldn't it be faster to settle this with normal fight..."
There's no way out of this, huh? Sighing you nod and look up to her. "Fine then, you can go first." "Hahaha!" As she laughs, first few orbs of light shoot towards ground. "It's great that you're letting this go smoothly like this!" You jump back into air to avoid her shots, and concentrate on forming your own danmaku. With the amount of misfortune floating around in here it isn't hard to visualize the patterns for it, but- "Khh!" You narrowly dodge few shots by spinning in the air. "What, you're not going to attack at all?" Looks like Parsee hasn't moved at all from that spot between the pillars. "Did you already resign or do you honestly think you're good enough to win just by dodging?!" "No, this just takes some time for me." Right, you shouldn't let your concentration break. there's not many good output places you can use, except... those pillars. "They should be good enough." Speaking to yourself you smile, and imagine danmaku in place of that misfortune surrounding the pillars. "Hmph, if you still won't do anything, then I'll- WOAH!" She lowers her hand as your first few shots hit her, and then flies away from the rest of your spiraling danmaku. "Wah- What is that?!" She alternatively looks at you and the danmaku heading for her. "What, you're not used to different danmaku?" Her confusement is nice change from that earlier attitude. "Gimme a break, you didn't even declare spell-card! It's not supposed to work like this!" Shouting at you from air, she does her best to avoid your bullets, although her own barrage has grown quite weak. "...I can't win like this. That fighting spirit you have is so enviable!" Lifting her hand again, she calls out. "Jealousy Sign [Green-Eyed Monster]!"
As soon as she says that thick green barrage appears behind her and shoots towards you. But it's going in straight line, so dodging it should be eas- "?!" It followed you! Seeing her danmaku still following, you fly towards Parsee, trying to land some hits on her while you avoid getting any yourself. Just as your own barrage is about to reach her, she disappears. And so do her shots following you. And soon you see her again, as well as her green barrage shooting towards you again. Managing to land an eye on Parsee, you see that she's grinning at your attempts to still shoot at her, easily dodging any danmaku heading for her. ...You can't concentrate on your own danmaku with all this dodging. Instead of futile attempts to damage her, you decide to just avoid getting hit, and fly away from that monster as fast as you can. As Parsee's first spell-card goes out, you smile and lift yourself higher into air. "My turn!" Pulling one of the cards from your pocket, you call its name out. "Spell card! [Misfortune] Pale Horse!"
"Heeeey~, Adaaahn~! Are you awake yet?" A voice calls for you from behind the door. Stretching a bit, you look away from the screen and answer. "I am." That other girl's... Renko's face peeks inside the crack of door. "...Huh, I imagined you'd be type to sleep through mornings." She opens the door fully and walks in. "Mary told me to come and check up on you. When did you wake up anyway?" "When...?" You take a brief look at computer's clock. 8:06? Then... "About forty one and half hours ago." "Shouldn't you sleep?!" Renko slams her hand to table, and you push yourself deeper into the couch in response. "Oh, sorry..." She turns away for a moment, but soon looks back at you with concerned face. "But really, normal person would've been asleep ages ago. Are you alright?" You shake you read. "No, I-" Quickly you change that into nod. "I'm fine! Isn't it normal to stay up when you're doing something interesting?" "Hmm? What is it then?" Renko leans past you to look at computer's screen. "Woah, there's tons of windows open... Can you read all of that?" "Huh?" You stare at the scree, and don't notice anything weird, unless she means... "English? I can read that fine." "Wow, that's pretty neat!" Renko looks at you with odd expression. "..But I guess that's to be expected."
"...?" You don't really get what that look meant, so you'll just ignore it. "You can't read it?" Strange, isn't most of the stuff on internet written on English? And you're using her lapto- oh right! "Thanks for letting me borrow your computer." "Don't mention it. And yeah, I'm pretty useless with English. You'd expect me to learn at least a bit with foreign friends..." "You know others than Mary?" "Yeah, through school and stuff. Anyway!" She jumps back and stands straight. "Do you want some breakfast?" "Uh.." It's a bit late for you to get breakfast, but even if time is wrong you are getting hungry. "..Yes." "Then come downstairs, Mary is cooking." She heads to walk out of door, but looks back. "Unless you start feeling faint from lack of sleep." You wave after her when she disappears. Her being so concerned about you sleeping has made you kind of curious, how much does she rest herself?
...Well, you can ask that later. Maybe it will make a nice topic for that breakfast talk? Standing up you let your eyes run through the room as you stretch and- ah. There's that black leather-bound book you've been meaning to read since you noticed it sitting in the corner at evening, but you got busy with other stuff. But right now you want to eat too. [ ] Reading comes first. [ ] Eating comes first. [ ] Take the book with you and read while you eat.
>"Heeeey~, Adaaahn~! Are you awake yet?" Looks like I messed up here, I kinda started suspecting something the moment I started writing this one. Also <%Vodka> From today on I aim to update once a day! inb4 this fails. ============================
...Right! Why waste your time doing only one thing, when you can do both, at the same time? In high spirits thanks to that little idea you grab the book and head downstairs. Mary's... And Renko's house too you guess, seems kind of old in comparison to Yukari's. The doors and stairs creak and walls seem a bit paler than you think they're supposed to be... But maybe they're meant to be that way? You don't know! Downstairs you follow the smell of food to kitchen, where you find both Mary and Renko, former in front of oven and latter at table..."Weird, there's no chairs and she's sitting on her knees. Oh well. They both turn to look at you when you enter.
"See, I told you she'd come!" Mary is the first to talk and get back to whatever she was doing. Maybe something food-related? "Yeah, well..." Following the example, Renko looks away from you. "I just figured she'd come up with something more interesting than eating." "You can also do interesting things while eating." Proclaiming this proudly you sit down next to table like Renko. "Yes, it'd be silly to skip food for something else!" ...You decide to not say anything in response to Mary, since that's actually exactly what you've done few times. But not anymore you won't! "By the way Adhana, Renko said you couldn't sleep last night?" "Uh, she must've gotten it wrong." You say this while clearing some space from table for the book. "I didn't need to sleep yet." There's a small silence before Mary speaks again. "...Ah, so you're nocturnal? Drat, I was that we could do something today." "Nocturnal..."No, that's not right. I can still go on for..." You take a moment to think. All that moving around yesterday really took a toll on you. "...Few more days before sleeping." Another silence follows. Mary silently moves her gaze from you to Renko, and... Makes a face? You look at Renko too, and see that she's doing something similar too. What?
"...Anyway, what's with that book?" And then like nothing happened, Renko suddenly speaks to you. "I remember getting it from somewhere, nobody could understand what it was about." "...Really?" Those two are weird, but in better way than Yukari. "I think I might be able to read it." "Seriously?!" Instead of going silent, they both yell. Although you're shocked at first, them being surprised makes you a bit proud. Yukari would've just laughed at you. They both move behind you, Mary with spatula still in her hand. "W-well, what is it about?" She takes a hold of your shoulder and looks at the book on table. "Uhm..." You flip through the pages, and give brief description. "Looks like this is about summoning demons, or something like that." "Demons?" Renko peeks over your shoulder. "Shouldn't that be dangero- I mean, how is that even possible?!" Ignoring her second question, you just answer the first. "I don't know, I've never really tried that before." "Then why don't we do it now?" Mary leans over your other shoulder, much like Renko did before her. "What!?" Renko yells and looks at Mary. "Are you crazy?!" "Oh, it should be fine, right Adhana?" [ ] Okay! [ ] No way!
"No it wouldn't!" Her suggestion about summoning demons shocked you so much that you couldn't contain yourself and just scream out. "They're demons, haven't you heard what happens if you get something wrong?!" "Uh-" This time it's Mary backing away from you. "Calm down, it might not even work.." She looks seriously frightened, that makes you think if you went a bit overboard. "I-I, I doubt that." Collecting yourself, you look away from her eyes and concentrate on the book. "It not working, I mean. It looks pretty real." You hear a sigh from next to you, and turn to look at Renko. "This all seems too crazy to be true. How can you be so sure that it's the real thing?" "Either the real thing, or really good copy that'd work just as well." You shot the book and look at Renko. "But for something so old it really is in good condition, are you sure you don't know where you got it?" No way it can be recent copy, nobody makes these things anymore. "Might've been something I got from my great-grandfather... Or Mary, was that yours?" "I've seen that book lying around in here for years, maybe somebody else would know?" Letting so old and dangerous book just lie around like that...! At least you have the sense to keep all of them locked in your room, so that nobody else can get their hands on them. "All I know, there might be even more of them locked in some chest in attic." Renko suddenly grabs the book and pulls it towards herself. You quickly move to stop her, but she's too fast. "Relax, I'm not stupid enough to read it. I'll just hide it in some safe place until I can think what to do with it." "But..." You really wanted to read it more, even if you weren't going to use it. "...Can't you let me keep it?" "Ehh..." Renko frowns while eyeing you. "Sorry, no." She turns to look at Mary. "And I'm not giving to you either."
You're about to say something, when suddenly there's light beep-beep noise coming from the oven. "Oh, the eggs are ready!" Mary rushes to oven, and starts doing something there. "You eat eggs for breakfast?" You ask Renko in amazement, all you've had is instant noodles. "Yeah, well..." Renko shakes her head. "Mary eats eggs, can't stand them myself." She gets up and goes to the fridge. "Which do you want? Boiled eggs or Rice Krispies?" "Uhh... Eggs please." You'd like to try the other one too, but you'll save that for some other day. "At least Mary won't have to eat all of them alone now." Renko smiles when she closes the fridge's door after grabbing milk, and then rummages through closet. . . . Breakfast passes by peacefully, and you like how eggs taste with salt and pepper. Renko and Mary also seem happy with their food. Do-do-do-doo do-do-doo-do, do-do-do-doo do-doo doo-doo-do Then it's all broken by ghastly melody that comes from... Mary?! Having stopped your eating, you just stare at her. "Oh, yes, it's my cellphone." She smiles while reaching into her pocket, and soon pulls out small mobile phone... You notice that it looks much neater than one Yukari has. "Oh, it's from Elisa!" "Really?" Renko suddenly seems much more active. She's stopped eating and is trying to catch a peek from the phone in Mary's hand. "What's it say?" "Give me a moment.. Okay, 'Still no snow here, but winter is knocking on door. I got some new clothes so I can work even on cold weather, are you dressing properly too? No good hunting for spirits and catching flu!' How nice!" Mary closes the phone with her face beaming. "Looks like everything is working well for her!" "She never says anything about coming back..." Renko sighs as she slumps down on table. Mary gives her head a poke with the phone. "Don't you remember those first messages? You won't be doing much traveling with lost papers." "Well, yeah, but it's been months already!" Renko looks up with bitter face. "How long can it take?"
"Uh..." You speak up, and they both look at you. "W-who's Elisa?" "Oh, she's our friend." Looking a bit more cheerful Renko speaks. "She had to leave suddenly some time ago for a trip, and there was some trouble." "Yes, and now she's stuck there..." Mary sighs. "At least she's having fun." She then looks at you. "Like we should too! I have something great in mind that we can do together today!" "Hey Mary!" Renko yells at Mary again. She seems to do that a lot. "I thought we had a promise?" "Ah, sorry." Bowing her head, Mary quickly turns to Renko. "But that really wouldn't work out with three of us, right?" "...I guess you have a point." She rests her head on her arms. "But is she fine with this too?" "I'm sure she will be!" Smiling again, Mary speaks to you. "Adhana, I looked through some papers yesterday and found few interesting articles we could look more into. Would you like to investigate them with us?" "...Uhh.." The articles like what you read? You're not sure if you're cut looking for UFOs or vampires yet. "What did you find?" But you'd at least like to hear what she has to say. "There's actually just two." Mary lays two news cut-outs on table. "The first one is about haunted house. Lots of people have noticed something suspicious there, and one couple even reported seeing ghosts in there!" "A couple...?" You look at article's picture of smiling man and woman standing hand-in-hand in front of old house. "They don't look very scared." Maybe people aren't actually scared of ghosts anymore? "They got into news." Renko speaks from other side of the table. "Obviously they have much more important things to think about than some ghosts." "Ooh." You nod in acknowledgement. "I see." "Okay, that one is a bit silly. But what about this?" Mary points at the other cut-out. "Lots of things, even people, have disappeared from this abandoned parking building!" "How's that possible?" With this article the picture is just of the building. Looks like nobody wanted to go inside. "...I can only think of dark explanations." Renko speaks quietly. "Somebody got kidnapped there and was never found again?" "Don't say things like that." Mary smacks Renko to head with rolled news paper, maybe that's the one she cut these from? "Anyway, which seems more interesting?" "Hmm." You spend a moment to think over the options. [ ] Maybe ghosts at that haunted house are only floating bed sheets. Or maybe they're more modern? [ ] That building seems creepy... But in a good way, you're curious. [ ] Why not do what Renko wants?
Sorry, my friend had a birthday yesterday at my place, and after that drinking I wasn't really in condition to write. ===============================
"I'd like to see that building." You answer quickly. "Those ghosts don't seem too interesting." "Glad you think that way!" Mary speaks cheerfully. "Then let's head out!" "Huh...?" You look outside from window, and notice that it's very light out. "Right away? Just like this?" "Yes, is there a problem?" Renko asks, while pulling coat over herself. "Uhh..." You have your worries, but maybe... "...No, not really." Mary is the first to leave the house, with you after her. You take a deep breath, and...
"Agh-!" As soon as you walk outside, you shield you eyes and look down to ground. "Huh?" Mary turns to look back at you. "What's wrong?" "The sun is always so bright in the morning..." You reply while keeping your eyes on the ground. Renko laughs behind you. "Hahaha! That sounds like something you'd hear on a bad hangover day!" Since she's still inside, you dare to lift your head to ask her. "Hangover?" "Uh, well..." Light hint of red creeps on her face while she thinks of an answer. "It's not something you can explain so easily. Maybe we could go drinking after the-" "Renko, don't be silly." Despite her words, Mary lets out a giggle. "But does sun really bother you so much Adahna?" "Mmh, yes..." It feels a bit weird to speak to her while she's behind your back, but... This is better than covering your eyes all the time. "It's not really a problem otherwise, but it hurts my eyes." "Ah, right. It was cloudy yesterday... Renko, could you borrow one of your hats to her?" "Hey, no! What if they get lost or something?" "Not your good ones, anything is fine." Maribel sighs. "I'd give her my umbrella, but it got lost somewhere." "..Okay, come here for a second." Renko motions to you, and you follow her inside again.
At the porch she starts going through lots of different hats, mumbling to herself and occasionally holding one of them next to you. "Umm, Renko?" You speak to her when she's reaching into upper drawers. "What is it?" "Sorry if this is trouble." Because of this whole thing you couldn't leave right away, and now you're borrowing her stuff... Again. "And you wanted to do something different today." "..." She quietly looks at you, but soon smiles. "Don't mention it. I haven't used most of these hats in ages, so it's not trouble at all- aha!" She jumps down from small chair and shows you a colorful cap. "What do you think of this?" "It's... pretty?" You can't really think much else to say about it. "...Come on now." Renko takes hold of your shoulders and places you in front of little mirror, then sticks the hat on your head. "Looks nice, right?" "Yes, but..." You try to lift it a bit, only to have it fall back down again. "It's kinda big, and..." It smells of Renko. You're not sure what to think about that. "Isn't that just better? The sun won't get into your eyes so easily." She grins next to you, and snaps her fingers. "Actually, since Maribel has hat too, I might as well take one." Saying that, she grabs a fedora from shelf and heads outside.
Outside you notice that.....The hat does help. Even if it's big and smells weird. "My, you two look so stylish now." Leaning at wall next to door, Mary smiles when she notices you two. "Let's go, we have train to catch." "..Huh? That building is far?" Hopefully you won't have to walk too much. "Wasn't there anything closer?" "There was." Renko replies while locking the door. "...But we've gone through everything interesting over here already. Well, unless graveyards are your thing..." "No thanks! At least not during night, zombies are creepy." "Oho, are you scared~?" Renko looks at you from under her hat, grinning. "Even though you can read all kinds of weird books?" "...Wouldn't you be?" You wouldn't know what you'd do if you ever saw a zombie, never mind lots of them at same time. "I have my ways." Wow, Renko is pretty amazing. Mary has walked away from you and is now waving. "Now you two, let's go already!" You wonder, is Mary as brave as Renko? Well, she did save you from that scary man yesterday...
That sure was nice walk. Or it would've been if it wasn't for this god-forsaken weather. Damn this cold and wind.
It's a small wonder there hasn't been any snow yet. Only clear sky without clouds... At least nights aren't dark like this. You pull your coat more tightly to yourself as you look at the Youkai Mountain in front of you. Hina wanted you to talk to kappa, but with river frozen like this you doubt any are still outside. How will you find somebody here?
...How about that one girl? Or rather those two, since they seem to live together. They have been pretty helpful, and Adahn seems to be in good terms with them. Finding the door to their cave isn't hard thanks to the easy-to-remember location, but the nearby waterfall also makes things annoying. Finally, feeling more and more cold thanks to water vapor, you end up knocking on their small blue door. It doesn't take long for somebody to come and open it.
"Yes, what is i- oh." That blond girl opened the door, and now she's staring up at you. "Why are you here?" "Yes nice to see you too..." Gah, what was her name again. It's been ages since you talked with her. "...Yuri, right?" "..Chiyuri. Sorry but I'm not as pleased to see you Clay." She frowns, positioning herself between you and door. "So, what do you want?" This would've been so much easier if that kappa came for door instead of her... "Hina asked me to come here." You were hoping mentioning her would've helped, but Chiyuri's face doesn't soften one bit. "Ooh, she did, now?" "Yes, you must've heard that explosion yesterday, right?" "...I did. Was that her fault? Well, it sure is nice that she sent somebody to apologize, but damage was done, so-" "It wasn't." Is everything you're saying wrong? This girl looks just about ready to explode! "I have no idea what you're upset about, but if you'd just let me in, we could talk more-" "No." Instant reply. "...Why." It's taking all your self-control to just stand there like nice guy. "Both me and Nitori are busy right now, and- Agh, I'm losing seconds just talking to you!" She looks at you furiously. "Would you kindly leave?" [ ] Oh no, you walked all this way and that waterfall made your clothes wet, so you are coming in. [ ] ...Okay? So what now? --- Head back to the shrine, report the failed mission. --- Have a look around the mountain, you have to find somebody.
"No, I won't leave." You reply to her. "I came here to look for kappa and to my understanding there's one just inside there." "I bet there are other kappa out there." She speaks in a bored tone, and takes a small pause to look over your shoulder. "...Somewhere." "The river is frozen, how am I going to find them like this?" You spread your arms, showing your clothes to her. "And even more, I'm totally soaked. Do you want me to catch lung disease?" "At least then there'd be one less person to bother me!" She grins. "And you? Get sick? As if, I've heard that you can take much more than that." Clenching your fists together, you speak coldly. "...Adahn told you?" "Ooh, yes!" Spinning her eyes, her tone changes into mocking. "Seriously, I can't believe how someone like her can have servant like you!" "And..." No, you should control yourself. She obviously doesn't know what she's talking about. "What do you mean by that...?" She must've realized something is wrong, as instead of giving another remark, she only looks up to you and swallows. "...It was..." "Just joking around, right?" You lean forward and give her a nice friendly smile. "I understood that. Now, why don't you just let me inside so I can finish my business and get back home?" "...Like I said..." She's slowly moving back inside, and closing the door with her. "We're busy..."
"Hey, Chiyuri!" Voice, probably that kappa girl's, comes from the house. The one who the call was directed to looks between you and inside... And sighs, after which she looks back inside over her shoulder... While still covering the doorway. "...Yes, what is it Nitori?" "It gets really hot working while you wear this... Do you want to take a break?" "Ah-uh-" Chiyuri looks back to you. "I..." If they're going to have a break, that's enough of a proof to you about your visit not being an interference. Quickly you grab Chiyuri's arms and lift her up a bit, then move her so you have room to get inside. "Hey, what are you doing now?!" She's quick to protest, but you dodge her kick and soon door to outside closes with you comfortably inside. "You... You're breaking the law here!" "If it bothers you so much, rest assured that I will leave soon." You grunt as you take your coat off and hang it on convenient protruding pipe to dry. "Let's just get this out of the way so we don't have to stand each other anymore, hmm?" "Chiyuri..."What is going on there?" Nitori's voice again, this time she sounds worried. Looks like she's deeper into the... house? Cave? Seems like this place is inside the mountain, but with these wooden walls you really can't tell. Chiyuri stands next to door for a moment with her arms crossed, but soon she speaks with very annoyed tone. "...Nothing. Just seems like we got a guest for a change." "Huh, somebody from the mountain?" Following this, her face peeks from one of the corners... She seems to be wearing really weird helmet, it's almost like huge box colored slightly yellow with screen for her to look through. ...Well, it's none of your business why she has that on. "Hello." You raise your hand in friendly greeting. "HIM?!" Nitori didn't seem to appreciate it, though. Her eyes widen and she soon disappears from view. Judging by that crash she must've fallen on her back. "Are you having fun scaring the poor girl?!" Chiyuri hisses at you and runs to where Nitori was. ...Usually you'd blame this on how women are, but maybe now problem is elsewhere.
A while passes before the two appear again. Chiyuri is still on her standard clothes and while Nitori has removed that helmet, instead of her usual blue dress she's wearing strange large overalls, with gloves off it seems. Carrying a plate with few cups and two pots and can, Nitori looks just about ready to panic. Chiyuri walking behind her is sporting her usual bitter face. Despite both of them seeming to be avoiding eye-contact with you, they sit opposite to you on table you're waiting at. ...Well, if it bothers them, fine. It's not like need to get along with these two that well.
"I-I'm sorry t-this took so long." Nitori carefully sets the plate on table, thankfully managing not to spill any of the drinks. "W-we weren't e-expecting anybody, s-so..." "No, I wasn't expecting any kind of service either, so..." Dear gods, she's horrified of you. Why wasn't she like this when you met at shrine? "...I really appreciate this." "You better." Chiyuri grunts. "We had things prepared only for us two." "Chiyuri!" Nitori screams at her friend, and then looks back to you apologetically. "I'm sorry about her, she's not very good with people!" If you may say, Nitori isn't doing very well either. [ ] ...Just what are they working on right now? [ ] Straight to point, there's something they could help with back at the shrine. And as for drink? [ ] After drinking so much tea you've gotten used to it. [ ] After drinking so much tea any change is welcome, coffee please. [ ] You've heard stories of these two... Water is fine.
Ignoring her, you grab one of the mugs and pour yourself some water. "Did Chiyuri already tell you why I came for a visit?" "Uh-" Nitori quickly looks to Chiyuri who shakes her shoulders in response. "N-no, she didn't." "Well..." You look as the two pour their own drinks. Are they really as bad as Momizi and Adahn say? "...You must know about that explosion from yesterday?" Well, the bitter aroma of Chiyuri's tea is apparent even to you. Nitori simply keeps her gaze on her cup, so Chiyuri speaks. "We do. And thanks to that few days worth of careful work was ruined. We've been doing our best to get back to schedule." She's holding her spoon over the cup, but continuous clicking noise makes it obvious that her hand is shaking. "If that was your fault I hope you came to apologize." "Then it's good that we had nothing to do with it." Taking a sip from your water you're relieved to find out that at least that is entirely normal. "Although, we were victims too, probably even more than you." "Ohoho!" Chiyuri laughs. "You have no idea what's riding on thi-" "Chiyuri!" Nitori takes hold of her friend's shoulder and pushes her down. "You don't even know what happened to them!" A sigh escapes your lips as you watch the two friends glare at each other. "Right, to put things shortly, that explosion was at our garden." You shouldn't spend too much time here. "It turned out to be hot spring, but as we also found out, evil spirits were coming out of it." "Spirits...?" Nitori tenses up. "What will you do with them?" "Adahn is currently looking into some way we could stop them." You cough, hoping they won't ask how. "But I came here to ask about the spring itself." "...You want kappa to do something about it?" Chiyuri asks. "We got their..." Doing your best to not seem intimidating, you look at Nitori. "No, your help earlier. Hina and Adahn were hoping they could count on you again."
"...I don't know." Nitori speaks to Chiyuri. "How big of a job do you think it would be?" "Depends, but if that explosion took out their whole garden, then..." "Most of it." You correct her. "Okay, it took out only most. It'd still end up being huge work, to the benefit of few people." "Just so you know, they were planning on making it publicly available." "Hah, it'd still result in more visitors to the shrine." Chiyuri leans back, drinking her coffee. "That shrine wasn't made for free either, you know. I know Nitori gave you a discount..." Her friend tries to hide herself behind the small mug. "...But there was still expenses like materials, and you can't expect somebody to put their time into something for free." "Don't take this personally, but why are you, a human, saying this?" If you had just let her continue, there would've been no end to this. "Shouldn't it be Nitori's business to decide about her... business?" "Her business is my business too." She smirks. "I plan the work, estimate the costs and how long everything takes, maybe make some blueprints..." "I see." You must've gotten off lucky last time. "Then what do you think is reasonable price?" "No idea." Her frank response makes both you and Nitori to stare at her. "I mean, I need to see the place first, hear what you want there..." "But it's possible?" You ask. "Hey, I've designed ship that sails between dimensions and this." She points something in her empty hand at you. "Anything is possible for-"
A sound at the door interrupts Chiyuri's boasting. She sighs, and yells. "Who is it now?!" "This is tengu mountain guard, officer Sayo." A young male voice responds. "Please open the door." Nitori and Chiyuri look at each other, until former nods and sailor suited girl gets up and walks to the door and opens it. "Yes, what is it? We're in the middle of the work here, so make it quick." "I apologize for this interference, but we had a report of suspicious human male forcing his way in here." Oh, so this is about you. But what were you supposed to do to get in? "Is he...?" You can tell that he's trying to peek in, but Chiyuri skillfully blocks his view. Shame, you don't get to see him either. "And what if he is...?" "I must to take him up the mountain and ask few questions from him." He answers formally and fast, no way those are his own words. "This is troublesome time, you see. But if everything goes well he should be free soon afterwards." "Is that so~?" Chiyuri looks over her shoulder and grins at you, oh no... "Well then officer, why don't you come in?" Well, at least she covered for you in the beginning.
A black haired man with wolf ears steps in, and soon spots you. "You there! Are you the man who was spotted entering this house?" ...He's kinda short for a wolf tengu, but what do you know. Much bigger concern is how he looks very young. "And if I am?" You reply calmly while drinking. He breathes in, and speaks. "I must to take you up the mountain and ask few questions from you." ...Oh dear gods. Holding back laughter you question him more. "And, how long should this take?" "If you cooperate and there is no trouble, everything should be over in a flash." He has his eyes locked on you. "Please, don't make things difficult." [ ] Surrender yourself, no need to make a big deal out of this. [ ] You don't have time for this, get away from here. =========================== I felt that I should comment something, since Sayo is from another story and everything... But I have no idea what to say.
Sorry about no update yesterday, I had unexpected work and decided to get good night of sleep instead of writing. Oh well, it was only one day in between. ======================================
"...Fine then." You get up and place you cup on the table. "Thanks for the water." "N-no, it's f-fine." Nitori stammers, moving her gaze between you and table. "We'll think about that job! Right Chiyuri!" With her eyes wide open she looks at her friend. "...Right." She nods at you. "I'll probably come have a look when we get work done here." "How long do you thi-" "Ahem!" The guard coughs quite soundly. Right right, you get the message. "We're in a hurry I see." Picking up your still damp coat you walk to the door. "Lead the way." Nodding, he pushes the door open. "Follow me please." Oh, this will not do at all. He's walking in front of you, with his back totally exposed. "Hey now." You protest. "Aren't you going to put me in ropes or something?" He gives you a thoughtful look, but shakes his head. "You look well built, but you're still human." Turning his back to you again, he keeps walking. "Even if you tried to escape or fight me, you'd have no chance of winning." "Just a human, huh..." You sigh. Seems that escaping from this guy would've been ridiculously easy, but... You decided to obey him. After a bit of walking, he stops. "We wait here." "...Here?" You have no objections to waiting, but the spot is somewhat... "We're almost next to waterfall, can't you pick better place?" "...I was instructed to wait for reinforcements here." "...Or rather, can't we get this over as soon as possible? There should be a way leading up the mountain." He pouts and looks away from you. "Walking the stairs up isn't possible in this weather, and... It will be easier to get you up with more people." "Fine then." You cross your arms, trying to ignore the cold water getting on you. "Let's wait."
. . .
And you wait. Time passes without sight of those reinforcements. You take a quick look at the tengu at your side, and notice that he isn't standing any more still than you. He's glancing around the place, probably trying to see somebody who'd arrive to help him. Makes you wonder, are all guards like him, or is he an exception? "Hey, your name's... Sayo, right?" No sense just standing here quiet. "...Yes mister." It takes him moment to answer, but unlike Nitori or Chiyuri, he looks at you into eyes sincerely. "And who are you?" "Clay, from Kagiyama shrine." He just nods in response, either news are slow here or he's just an exception. You suspect it's him. "...Can I ask something about this whole deal?" "Hmm... I'm not allowed to give out any confidential information, but ask away." Not confidential? Well, no sense not asking. "Who was it that did the report?" Chiyuri and Nitori took quite some time back then, maybe... "One of the kappas. He saw somebody forcing their way into Kawashiro residence." "...Right." Seems like there were kappas out there. "They're still in the river at this weather?" "Not as much as in summer, but they still use river to enter and exit their homes." He looks back the way where you came from. "Few have overground doors like Nitori's." Damn, even a thought of diving into that water is making you shiver, you try rubbing your hands together to get some blood flowing in them.
"Ah-CHOO!" You sneeze. "Are you getting cold?" Sayo looks at you worriedly. "Yes." Turning your face away from him you speak bitterly. "You're not?" "No, this cape is keeping me warm." With a smile he unwraps it from around himself. "Do you want to try too?" "Sure, why not." You speak without thinking, and soon you feel something warm cover you. Immediately you look at Sayo who has moved closer to you, and is now sharing the cape with you. "...Sayo." Holding your hand in fist you speak slowly, and he looks up to you smiling. "What is it?" ...No, he's still young. He's kind hearted fool who didn't think about what he just did, so you shouldn't think too much about it either. Letting out a breath, you relax your hand. "You're a good man Sayo." "...?" He just gives you a confused look in response.
. . .
Time passes some more. You're not cold anymore thanks to cape and Sayo's body warmth, but it's needless to say that you don't feel much better than before. "Where are they...?" Sayo looks up the mountain and talks to himself. "I heard it's been busy recently." Image of Momizi... and Adahn appears in your mind. "Yes, but this is just weird. Maybe something happened up there?" He turns to look at sun, and then back at mountain. "We can't just stand here all day." "What are you thinking of?" You lift an eyebrow. "We'd walk around the mountain? You'll go get somebody?" "It'd be against rules, you might run away." Oh, he can't still think you'd do it.... "I'm going to carry you." "What." You look down to small wolf tengu. "You? Alone?" "Yes." He nods. ...That'd mean more bodily contact with him. [ ] ...Fine, anything to get away from this waterfall. [ ] No, absolutely no. [ ] You've had just about enough of this. Get back to shrine immediately.
Sorry. These developments kinda bother m- Oh who am I kidding, I just spent 60% of weekend sleeping. It's not like I didn't expect this to happen. white wolf tengu." "Oh, I see!" He laughs for a bit. "But I'm still considered to be white wolf. It's just that sometimes a child with black hair is born, it's uncommon but not unheard of." "First time I've even heard of that." Sayo goes silent, but replies. "...You don't seem exactly like normal human yourself." "Do you visit away from mountain often?" "No!" Your flight shakes a bit when he replies, and for a moment you fear that he might drop you. "Wolf tengu are guards, crows are the ones who do reporting and intelligence gathering!" "So..." You don't really know what to think of this guy. "Where do you talk to humans then?" "Sometimes when they visit the mountain. It doesn't happen often, though." Right, and you believe that humans who visit youkai mountain are a anything but ordinary.
Thankfully the flight doesn't take that long, and soon Sayo lands near a cave opening, with guard in front of it. He... seems somewhat surprised at your arrival. When you get closer to him, he lifts his sword and speaks. "Sayo, who is this?" "The one kappa report made report about." Breathing heavily, he continues "...I think this is just a misunderstanding." "Hmmm, another one... Don't worry about it, things like this have been happening a lot lately." He inspects you for a moment and nods, moving out of the way. "Just head inside." Sayo walks past the guard and you follow after him, glancing over your shoulder as the entrance to cave gets farther. After a bit of walking, the walls and floors are covered with timber, and cave opens up with many other passageways. There is also people, mostly wolf tengu moving around. You're not sure what they are, but some kind of... things are keeping the place lit. "...Is this a natural cave?" Everything goes way too straight for it to be, but who would be insane enough to clear something like this out of mountain? "Not at all!" Seems like these guys are. "The first caves were dug millenniums ago, and they're still being expanded!" Sayo explains it to you cheerfully, while taking few turns every now and then. "Must be lots of work." You memorize the route you're taking, just in case. "It keeps you fit. Ah, here we are." He stops in front of a door and knocks on it. "Officer Sayo, here to file a report." "Right right, come on in." A voice you're familiar with responds from behind the door.
Sayo opens the door, and you smirk when you see Aya at the table working on some papers. "You have it so nice..." Mumbling to herself, she doesn't bother looking up. "You get to move outside, while I'm stuck here doing paper work." "I don't think you'd be saying the same if you had to wait half an hour close to waterfall." You speak, and Aya looks up from her papers at you. "Here you have a warm cozy room." "...Huh, so it was you." Aya smiles, and gets up. "Sayo, could you go get commander Inubashiri?" "Ah, but..." Startled, he looks around. "I have no idea where to find her." "I imagine she's keeping watch at upper part of the mountain, and we do need somebody more high-ranking here too..." She snaps her fingers. "Oh, tell somebody to find that kappa too." "...Right away!" He gives a salute and busts out of the room, leaving you and Aya alone. "So..." Aya sits down again, and grabs a piece of paper leaning back in her chair. "I never imagined that "perpetrator trying to hinder important projects and possibly scientist working on them" would be you. When the cat is away mouse dances on table, huh?" "You should know what Chiyuri is like. I wanted to talk to Nitori and had some trouble with her when trying to get inside." You sigh. "Never imagined that would lead to this." "You've seen nothing." She writes few things on the paper, and continues. "People have been captured for ridiculous reasons, mostly due to things relating to kappa." "It's always like this?" You take a seat too, nice to rest a bit after all that standing. "How would you expect us to get any work done if it was?" She throws the paper on the table, filled with many similar looking ones "This just started few days ago, and it's only been getting worse." "And you're just sitting here all day, not out trying to find why this is happening?" Giving a dry laughter, you lean back too. "Disappointing, I expected more of you." "I was looking into it until yesterday, and then I heard that not only should I stop, but that they needed more people back at the mountain." "Which is why Momizi couldn't go with Adahn?" You ask. "Right, although that was probably for the best." "Furthermore, there's probably nobody currently working on news. Last time it was like this in mountain was when Moriya shrine appeared."
The door opens, and Aya waves to person behind you. "Ah, good to have you here, Momi!" "I can't believe there's another one... So who is it this- oh." You turned to look behind you and see Momizi, with Sayo standing behind her. "You?" "That's right, me." You have to ask one thing. "You're a commander?" "Yes, I am, but..." She frowns. "You're the last person I expected to see, you never come around the mountain." "Hina's orders." "Ah, that explains it." "Momizi." Aya taps her fingers on table. "Right!" Momizi stands straight in attention. Maybe Aya ranks even higher than her? "Any luck finding the kappa who reported this?" "Sadly, no." She shakes her head. "I have no idea what they're thinking, it's become way too hard to find them." "And..." Aya picks another paper. "That other case from an hour ago? Or the one before it?" "Still nothing. I have my men searching through the place, so it should be only matter of time before something comes up." Momizi turns to Sayo. "Actually, why did it take so long for you to get Clay here?" "S-sorry commander!" He bows his head. "There were no problems with finding him, but-" "Blame everybody else." You interject, no reason for that kid to take everything on him alone. "We waited good while for backups to show and help with transportation, but nobody came." Momizi lifts an eyebrow. "Transportation?" "From down there to up here." "...Ah, I see." Sayo looks at you in admiration. "Mister Clay..." ...Maybe you just did something unnecessary.
A knock on the door, and you all turn to look at it. "Shameimaru, I have a report to file!" "Wait a moment, I'm busy right now!" After yelling at the door Aya looks back to you. "This will probably take until tomorrow." "What, I thought this would be over quickly?" You shoot Sayo an annoyed glare, but he doesn't notice since he's looking at pictures hanged around wall. "...Anyway, do I have to stay at the mountain and wait for this to be settled?" "No, that's not necessary." Momizi shakes her head. "You're free to go home and head back tomorrow. Actually, the last I heard was that we don't even have space here..." "Then why don't you stay at my place?" Aya makes a suggestion, and both you and Momizi turn to look at her. "It's not like I don't have any rooms free. After you two, Adahn and Hina moved it's been pretty lonely." "Hmm, I see." Momizi eyes you. "That would also make it easier to keep a watch on you." "I'm telling you, I won't run away." You would've done it already if you were going to. In any case... [ ] This mountain gives you a bad feeling, better get back to Hina for the night. [ ] You don't want to walk all the way back here tomorrow, spend night at Aya's place.
"Then I'll be staying here at mountain." You turn to Momizi and continue. "Inform Hina about this... and also tell her that Chiyuri will decide on the work when she has seen the situation." "Wouldn't kill you to be polite..." She sighs, but nods. "Fine, I'll tell her. Now Sayo, could you-" "Sayo, lead our guest to the house." Interrupting Momizi, Aya speaks while bearing on her desk. "Also, keep an eye on him until I get back home.." She looks back to you, and grins. "...Although, I doubt he'll try anything. So just keep him entertained." ...Whatever she's planning, you're not exactly stoked about it. "Understood, miss Sha-" "Sayo, wait a moment! Who are you taking orders from?!" Poor kid, Momizi stops Sayo's salute in mid-air and pulls his arm down. She then turns to yell at Aya. "And you, don't steal my subordinates!" "Oh, you'd like him to chase after useless reports and increase our work load even more, rather than secure a healthy relationship with Kagiyama shrine?" "...Clay is hardly representative of the shrine, and you know it Aya." Speaking slowly, Momizi brings her face on level with Aya's. "But if you really think he is, shouldn't I be on at least same level as him?" "Ayayaya, and why would you say that?" Faster than you could see, Aya pulled out her pen and notebook. "Is this a time for some shocking revelations, hmm?" "I-I didn't mean..." Momizi looks behind her back to you, and quite confused Sayo. "..." You hope she's not going to say anything stupid just to win argument with Aya.
"Shameimaru, how long still!?" The same voice calls from behind the door.
"Fine, have it your way." Saying this Momizi walks over to the door. "But I won't forget this one." "Hahaha! They always say-" BAM. Momizi went out and slammed the door shut behind her. "-that. Well, I believe you know your orders, Sayo?" "R-right, miss Shameimaru." Sayo salutes again, although a bit less enthusiastically than before. "Off you go then, I have a lot of work to do." She breathes deeply, leaning back. "I think I'll be free in... few hours from now. It would be great if there was meal ready when I got home, if you know what I mean." "...Understood." After this final 'command', Sayo leaves the room with you following him. Outside the door there's two wolf tengu, with other one having caught somebody. At least you assume he has, as the 'prisoner' isn't bound or anything, and is just dementedly leaning against the wall.
"You're really going to cook for her?" While Sayo is leading you through caves, you ask him. "...It's not like I have room to complain. She just freed me from rest of my guard duty, and making food doesn't take long." His tail wags as he talks. "I'd much rather spend time in warm room rather than in out cold keeping watch." "Hmm, true." Since you've also been recently forced to cook something against your will too, it's easy for you to sympathize with him. "Anyway, you're that Clay?" He looks at you with his eyes beaming. "The former sword of Kagiyama miko? I thought that was all just a weird rumor." "I won't go saying what of it is true and what isn't." You haven't even heard the rumor in question. Can't be too right, since you're still Adahn's sword. "Why do you ask?" "You must know a lot about combat!" Few tengu dodge him since he's walking backwards while talking to you. "It'd be great to cross swords with you sometime!" "Well, why not..." But first you'd like to change your clothing.
"...I'm going to win." Smiling you speak to yourself as Parsee's barrage dies down. "And this will settle it, [Curse]! Last Cup Of Sorro-" "O-hoi! Parsee!" The voice coming down from bridge interrupts calling the spell-card, and you look down... Thankfully Parsee does too. The one who yelled at her is... A tall blond oni with one horn? You're sure you've seen her before. "Yuugi!" Parsee gets down on the ground, and yells back to the oni. "You can't just appear in the middle of danmaku battle like that!" "Right!" Following Parsee's example you also lower yourself, but not entirely to ground like she did, you feel more not standing on that bridge. "We were settling an important thing!" "Oh hey, Lady of Pain!" The oni... Yuugi lifts her hand and waves to you. "Long time no see!" "Wait, you're...!" That's right, back at that Moriya festival, she was with Suika! "Sorry that I didn't remember you right away!" "Hey, it's fine! Been doing much... Uh, whatever it's that you do, Lady?" "I'm the shrine maiden for Hina Kagiyama... Didn't I mention it back then?" Truth to be told, you really weren't one the last time you talked. "...Also please don't call me that. Adahn is fine." "Really?" Tilting her head, Yuugi frowns. "I think it sounds neat." Personally you think it's embarrassing. "Hmph..." Parsee pouts while crossing her arms and turns away from Yuugi. "You're having nice conversation all without me..." "He-hey, I'm sorry." Yuugi tries to move back into Parsee's view, but she keeps insistently avoiding eye contact. "It's just been ages since last time I talked with Adahn."
"...Why did you come here anyway?" "You remember that party I told you about? You never showed up so I came to get you." "You wouldn't want me there." Turning her back to Yuugi, Parsee then notices that she's looking at you, and quickly closes her eyes. "I'm no fun to be with at all, and everybody would just get upset if I was around. You can have a great party, without me." "See, it's because of attitude like that that you never get invited to any parti- oh geez." Noticing what she just said Yuugi covers her face with her palm, and speaks in desperate tone. "Look, can't you just come?" "No." Parsee shakes her head. "I have work to do here." "Her?" Yuugi points at you. "Yes." "Okay then." She turns to talk to you. "Hey, would you like to come to that party? We got lots of drinks, and another visitor from overground!" Another visitor? Could that be Marisa...""I don't know, I have a lot to do and-" "Great, that's decided then!" With one swift motion, Yuugi grabs Parsee and lifts her in her arms. "W-w-w-what are you doing you fool?!" Parsee wiggles in Yuugi's arms, trying to hit her but then grabbing her for support when she's about to fall off. "Let me down right now!" "Hey, it's alright for you to come if Adahn comes too, right?" She looks over her shoulder to you. "Come on, I'll lead the way!" ...That danmaku fight is probably as good as finished. Well, it won't hurt to go with them for a little while. <Lady of Pain?> Hina's sudden voice from orb startles you. "Eh... That's..." You try to think of something to say, but give up. "..Please don't mention it anymore." <Ahaha, you're funny sometimes~>
. . .
"Oi, Adahn!" The moment you step into the huge, noisy room familiar orange haired girl assaults you with a hug. "Yuugi, I didn't know you were going to get her too!" "Hahahah! It was all just a happy accident!" Yuugi laughs while still holding Parsee, who's been quiet for a while now. "I ran to her while fetching this one!" "Wow, that's awesome!" Suika turns repeatedly between you and Yuugi. "Why are you here anyway, did Reimu tell you there was going to be party underground?" "I wish that was it..." You sigh while patting Suika. "But there's something I got to do, so I won't get to drink too much." "Not too much, huh~?" Suika grins and lets go of you. "So you can still drink some! Wait a while!" As she runs off, you call after her. "Hey, Suika! Is there somebody else from overground here too?" "Yeah, Marisa! She just showed up a while ago and won an entry here!" "Won...?" You don't get a chance to ask what she meant with that, as the little oni disappears into crowd of people. Well, what to do now? [ ] Talk to somebody? --- Yuugi (and Parsee). --- Parsee (and Yuugi). --- Marisa. --- Suika. (Feel free to define topic of discussion, but you don't have to) [ ] Just quietly slip out.
Okay, first I'd like say I'm sorry for the eight days of pause in updates. ..But then I'd also like to bring your attention to something you must've already noticed. When the focus shifted back to Adahn, I stopped updating. Similary, the moment it switched away from her my schelude got better. No, I haven't gotten tired of writing her, it's rather that I don't like this SA thing very much. What seemed like awesome idea earlier turned out to be not so awesome to me. Compared to all of the other stuff that's going on in other places(Clay and Adhana) writing something set on such a clear path is pretty annoying. So before deciding anything, I'll ask you guys. Would you be fine with more scenes with other two in lead, with only few necessary parts of Adahn's SA in between, or would you prefer some aggressive skipping/speeding up with Adahn alone? I'm not going to write all the thing underground, but this is also definitely something I won't just ret-con.
On the unrelated news, this >>107568 Oh god that's awesome! Thank you!
<What are you planning to do?> People don't seem to mind the orb as it floats after you, although few turn to look at it. <Head on now that everybody else is occupied with party?> "No, even if there aren't going to be any guards I won't don't know what way to go." Instead of just straight cave like before, the path now splits into many roads. "...I don't want to get lost down here." <Asking for directions, then?> "Hmm, yes..." That's not all of the reason why you're looking for Marisa, but if she doesn't know you can just ask from somebody else. "But it's almost impossible to find somebody from this sea of people." <There's always Parsee and Yuugi, those two seemed helpful. Helpful? Although that probably applies to Yuugi, Parsee? No way. You silently look towards where you remember last seeing them. "..." True, finding them would be easy, but it doesn't look like they'd appreciate your intrusion right now. Yuugi seems to be doing her best to calm Parsee down and get her to good mood. "I'll go to them later if I have to."
Finding Marisa wasn't very hard, you happened to hear something like explosions and rushing to them you noticed that it was just danmaku used as fireworks. Inside. ...You're not in position to speak about how people should behave at parties, and everybody seems to be having good time anyway. You're now sitting bit farther from most of the crowd with Marisa who's more than happy to talk. "Why am I down here?" While spinning the sake in the glass that Suika brought for you, you speak. "Right." Maybe Aya was just making stuff up and she has actual reason to be down here. "Well, you got that hotspring for yourself, right?" As you nod she grins, leaning forward with the half-full bottle in her hand. "It's always such a pain to heat up bath water, you know. Especially in winter!" "...So you do want one for yourself too?" You sigh, this really isn't surprise with Marisa. "But it isn't that nice, you know. Lots of evil spirits and-" "Bleh, who cares about that!" That forest is full of youkai anyway, somebody hunting near my house is normal wake-up call for me. If anything, those spirits might make them a little less eager to come steal from my garden!" She bursts out in laughter. "Hey, you know what that fortune I drew at your shrine said?" "I think..." It has been weeks since Marisa's visit. There's no way you could remember something like that. "...Probably good, right?" "Extreme Luck. Nothing awesome had happened recently, so I'm using all that luck I got from that draw on this!" With that, she pulls out a crumbled piece of paper, with 'Extreme Luck' written on it. "You-" You were about to say about how she doesn't have to save it, or that it doesn't even have any power in it anymore, but if she really believes that helps... "-really didn't use it after all this time? That's amazing." "Hehehe! Witch has to know these things!" Laughing, she takes swig from the bottle.
<Then, can I ask you something too?> After a bit of silence, Hina's voice comes from orb. "Uu-huh?" Marisa turns to look at the source of sound. "...Sure, what is it Hina?" She's probably not comfortable speaking to somebody when she can't see their face. <Suika mentioned something about winning an enterance here. What did you do?> "Ooh, it was simple, really!" She starts rummaging through her bag, while still keeping an eye on the orb. "You know how oni love all kinds of competitions?" "What did you challenge them to?" During Marisa's search you manage to get a look inside the bag too. There's lots of bottles with weird liquid inside, all scrambled up, few books, scrolls, and... "This!" She pulls out one Game and Watch device, and holds it in front of her. You take the machine, flip it open and turn it around. "Isn't this... Donkey Kong?" Yep. And in excellent condition too. "Oh, you know that?" Marisa smiles as she watches you inspect it. "I got it from Rinnosuke when I promised to show it to people down here." "But isn't this cheating?" There's probably less than 10 people in Gensokyo who can play something like this. "They have no chance of beating you at this." "I know! Do you think I have any better chance of beating them at... Well, anything they might suggest?" She nabs the red gadget away from you. "The trick is challenging them into something you'll definitely beat them at."
"Then, hmm... Could you borrow that to me?" "You're going to challenge them too? What for?" "Directions? Help with finding who's responsible for this?" You shake your shoulders. "I really have no idea where to go now." <Adahn, I have no idea what this 'Donkey Kong' is, but do you really think they will fall for same game twice?> "Ah." Hina's words remind you of who you're planning to go against. "That's true..." <...Don't worry. I'm sure you'll come up with something. Just take a moment and think.> "Hehehe, well.." Marisa laughs. "I wouldn't have given it to you anyway. This little baby is my treasure now." "I thought Morichika only gave it to you so you could do some advertising?" "Hey, we never talked about me having to return it!"
Scenery starts moving slower again, and you look out of the window at the houses and... trees? This place is completely different than from where you left, is this even city anymore? When the train comes to halt, Renko taps your shoulder. "Hey, Adhana. This is our stop." "...Here?" You look over shoulder at the two, and then back outisde. "We're out in sticks here." "That's why the parking building was decommissioned." Mary takes you arm and drags you out of the train, with Renko following behind. "Not enough houses were built here to warrant it... Kinda sad really." "Rather than sad, that's just poor planning. And now nobody wants to demolish it after that news article. Waste of good space, I say." Renko laughs a bit, and spreads her arms. "But really, you say we're out in the sticks? This is suburbia at most!" "The air here doesn't feel like city." You look up to the sky and breathe deeply. Thankfully sun isn't so bright anymore. "...How are going to get to that building?" "It isn't far from here, they usually build these things close to stations." Mary starts walking down the road. "I think we'll be there in... Maybe fifteen minutes?" "Fifteen minutes of walking?!" You skip after Mary and slow down as you get next to her. "Then what will we do when we get there?" "Look around. Try to find something weird." Renko appears next to you. "If you get tired, try drinking this." She hands you weird black bottle. "...What's this?" You roll it in your hands, and look at the label. "Brawndo, the thirst mutilator...?" "It's got electrolytes." Renko says with a smirk. "...I thought you might want one, so I bought few." "O-oh. Thank you." That's so nice of her. . . . Unlike yesterday when you had to run, now Mary keeps a nice slow pace. Rather than speaking you look at all the different houses built next to road, and occasionally the two stop and wait for you to catch up to them again. There's big houses, small houses, western houses, Japanese houses, some have mail boxes, others have dog-houses and sometimes both! You don't even notice the flow of time when you're soon standing in front of big worn out building, with several ways leading inside it. "We're going to go inside there?" There's.... things growing all over it. When they told you it was abandoned you didn't think it would be this abandoned. "Yeeep~. Looks great, doesn't it?" You turn to look at Renko when she speaks. Normal people definitely aren't this fascinated with old buildings. "Great?" After inspecting it for few seconds more you speak. "...I think it looks pretty run-down. What if it breaks?" "Oh, that would never happen." Mary giggles as she pats you to head. "People go there all the time, if something happened to us it would extremely bad luck." "...That's not really encouraging." Renko sighs. "Actually she has a point, they were planning to demolish this. Are you sure it's safe?" "I would never lead my friends to somewhere that I'd consider dangerous!" Saying this she starts to walk the building. [ ] Mary is the one who thought about this, so she should be prepared. Follow her. [ ] Stick close to Renko, she's brave. If anything happens she should know what to do. [ ] ...Actually, you don't want to go in. That place gives a bad feeling.
[X] Mary is the one who thought about this, so she should be prepared. Follow her.
Even if she has absolutely no plan whatsoever to deal with anything that crops up, Maribel strikes me as the sort of girl who would enough sheer dumb luck to pull through anything. Plus, she can see borders, and Adahna can apparently manipulate borders to some degree, so they make a good combination.
Merry Christmas THP! those..." Renko opens one of the bottles and drinks bit from it. "I'm getting tired you only hearing from you what it looks like on the other side." "No, this should be the real thing. I'm sure of it." "...Fine then. Lead on." ...Weird. But you don't mind it, whatever Mary is looking for should be exciting!
You walk around for a good while, letting Mary lead you around the building, and into deeper levels. Following Renko's example you open a bottle of Brawndo. It would be better if you could use a cup or glass, but... You can try drinking straight from bottle too. ...The taste isn't very good. But it's different from anything you've had before, so it's fine! "...There." Suddenly Mary points down one of the numerous holes. Looks like this one is larger than the others. "What?" You try to what she's talking about, but the darkness must be too much for your eyes. "Is there something important there?" "Not important, but interesting." She kneels down, and feels the ledge. "...Climbing this would be hard." "Couldn't we just jump?" Renko looks down too with puzzled expression. "Floor isn't far away, we'll manage." Mary shakes her head. "It's hanging in the middle of the air, so if we jump then we'll go through for sure." "That's a problem then..." Sighing, Renko kicks a rock through a room. "I never imagined our first crossing would be through a jump... If we're even going to do it, that is." "Go through? Crossing?" You tilt your head to side. "To where?" "Ah." Quickly Renko turns to you, scratching the back of her head. "How do I say this... You're just an outsider so you shouldn't get too wrapped into this." She turns to look at other girl. "Right Mary?" A moment passes in silence, with Mary simply staring down the hole in ground. "...She's anything but outsider." Finally she answers, making Renko's eyes widen as she continues. "She isn't a normal human, if even a human at all. She knows about Yukari, and considers her a friend. But still you don't believe in Gensokyo?" With those last words she turned to look at you, so you don't answer right away due to surprise. "R-right, it's humbug. Compared to every other worlds and pocked dimensions, there's way too little documentation of Gensokyo for it to be real." Something about Mary's eyes worries you. She looks more serious than before. "That is..." Renko rubs her palm with her fingers. "Some serious bias. Do you want to know what we're looking for in here?" Thinking back what they just said... "Gensokyo, right?" Replying with nod, Mary speaks. "Yes. The border between two worlds is weak here, we could probably cross it right now if we wanted." You can't wait to see their faces when this thing fails. "How are we supposed to do that?" Renko picks up a small rock from the ground. "Well, the fastest way would be to jump," She throws the rock down the hole and... "but if you can think of some other way to reach down there, that's fine too." There was nothing indicating that rock had hit ground.
...There was something, but it wasn't a sound. You just had the strangest feeling, like if something disappeared. They actually might be onto something here. [ ] Jump. [ ] Find a way to get down safely. [ ] Reach out your hand. [ ] ..No, borders are dangerous.
Updating from Brazil! It's pretty nice here. =========================
"Let's jump." "..Are you sure?" Renko speaks slowly, with a hint of disapproval in her voice. "I mean, we have no way of knowing where we might end up at." With your gaze still fixed at air where rock disappeared, you answer to her. "Yep, if all that stuff written about Gensokyo is true, what is there to fear?" "You mean...?=" Smiling widely you look at her. "It's an utopia, right? Humans and monsters living peacefully together..." You let your mind wander, thinking about what there might be there. ...It really does seem like nice place to live at. Renko sighs, and turns away from you. "...What do you think Mary?" "Well..." Maribel looks down too, holding tightly on your shoulder. "...What she says is true, and even if this doesn't lead to anything that fall isn't long at all."
Those words make you look away from hole. "Y-you mean it might not work?" Falling to concrete doesn't seem like a... nice thing. "Uh, yes. Something like that has happened before." Renko shrugs. "But really, all that jumping a floor down from here could lead to is getting your feet sore for a while." "I already told you that this time it will work!" Pouting, Maribel crosses her arms and turns away from Renko. "...why are you suddenly so worried Adahna?" Geez, you thought they had this figured out already. "I'm not good with physical stuff..." Saying this, you take another gulp of Brawndo feeling the electrolytes flow into you. A moment of silence follows, which is broken by Renko's sigh. "Well... If she doesn't want to do it, then I guess we have no choice but to-" leave? "N-no!" That's not something you want to happen! You either want to see Gensokyo or laugh at this not working! "Let's jump! It's scary, but let's jump!" The two stare at you for a while, until Maribel speaks with worried voice. "Adahna, you're shaking." "A-am I?" You hadn't noticed... She smiles. "Do you want me to hold your hand?" "...I think that would be nice." After you say this, you feel Maribel's warm and soft arm on yours, gripping it softly. "Is it better now?" ...Yes, you have no idea why it is, but with your hands together you do feel calmer. You don't dare to look at her, so you turn your head away, and speak while looking down the hole. "...T-thank you." "Maribel Han..." Renko's annoyed voice sounds from close to Mary. "Oh, you want to do this too?" "Hmmmh... There, are we going to jump now?" It apparently didn't take long for Renko to gather her resolution. "Yes, on a count of four. One..." You all gather in a row in front of the hole in ground. "Two..." Are you supposed to jump the moment she says '[i]four[i]' or right after it? "Three..." Actually, is this such a goo idea after all? What if you'll hurt your leg or fall down in bad position or- "Four!" The three of you jump, with you holding your eyes closed. But the ground doesn't come, instead when you peek to look what's happening there's
[Eyes], [eyes], [eyes], yes [eyes], all around you, and inside them (and at the gaps between them) more [eyes]. Does Mary see this too, you feel her hand still on yours good, but what does she see, she's probably looking at Renko but I wish it would be me.
I pass out.
...Those eyes reminded me of Yukari. ...Strange. Is Yukari connected to eyes? Well, she has two of them like everybody else, but... Something else? Her room? Those cards she leaves at restaurants? ...No, none of those. If there's nothing connecting them to Yukari, why did I think of her? Why not Mary or Renko? ...Oh yes, I only met them yesterday. That's probably not enough. ...Even in dream I can't shake off the feeling that those eyes are still watching you. ...And I could've stayed up for few hours more, even if you did move a lot earlier. ...This dream is annoying. Won't anything happen?
As if in answer to that, you wake up and open your eyes, to see--- A person with two different colored eyes, red and blue staring at you. Noticing that you're awake, she smiles and sticks out her tongue. "Boo!" Another larger tongue appears in front of her face and wriggles around. "Aah!" Covering your face you quickly roll over to face the other way from her. "Don't eat me!" "O-oh... That must've really surprised you..." The person.. Girl sounds kind of amazed at this, and continues, now in calmer tone. "...We, didn't mean it to be that bad." "...Are you going to eat me?" You look back to her, peeking through your fingers. "Uh, no, I don't think we will. Right?" That sounds reassuring, but... There's others with her? She looks up for a moment, and the nods. "Right, we don't eat people we just surprised." You don't see anybody else, who is she talking to? "W-who are you talking to?" Daring yourself to ask this, you turn your head from side to side. "Us!" She answers quickly and clearly, although the doesn't clear anything. She must see the wonder on your face, as she hits lightly hits herself to head, sticking out her tongue. "Oops, sorry! You probably don't know this stuff!" She hops few steps backwards, and spins around, giving you a proper look at her. She's wearing normal and pretty blue skirt and green vest, and has turquoise hair. "Ah.." There's also her purple umbrella that has a single red eye that's looking at you and a long tongue that's sticking out from its mouth. "We are Tatara Kogasa!" She smiles, and sits down on the ground, holding the umbrella for support. You notice that on at end of its leg there's a shoe... Matching the ones the girl is wearing. "Ah, n-nice to meet you. I'm Adahna." You bow your head down, and scuffle up to sitting position too. Only now you notice that something isn't matching with your surroundings. There's beautiful sunflowers all around you, but you feel really cold. "...Where am I?"
"The sunflower field." Quietly she looks around herself. "...I know this might be a dangerous place, but it's always better to sleep somewhere not-completely-in-plain-sight. Oh, I took your friends over here too." She nods to behind you, and you turn to see Mary and Renko, gently sleeping in the middle of the sunflowers. "...Did you watch over us while we slept?" "Yep! I wanted to give you a surprise the moment you woke up! What do you think?" ...Finally you manage to smile. She might be weird, but it seems that she's good a person. "Thank you, it was nice of you." "...Now you surprised me, nobody has said that before." She shrugs and then stands, looking over the sunflowers. "This is a great place! I wonder if other people are easier to surprise here...?" "..?" You stand up too, and gaze at your surroundings. Simply put, there's sunflowers everywhere... Except behind your back, soon that way turns into a forest, with all of the trees having lost their leaves... That's really strange, since flowers around you are in full bloom. ...is this Gensokyo? Ah! In the distance the other way, you can see a little red house at hill in the middle of sunflowers! What kind of person would live in place like this? [ ] Try to wake up Renko and Mary. [ ] Talk with the strange girl a little longer... [ ] Go look at that little house!
"...Is this Gensokyo?" Turning to Kogasa and her umbrella you tilt your head. "Uh, yes?" She seems surprised at this questions, and similarly tilts her head in response. "What kind of question is that? Obviously this is Gensokyo, unless..." She leans closer to you and peers into your eyes. "...Are you from outside? You seem like youkai, though." "Outside...?" You repeat the words, and blink while Kogasa's miss-matched eyes are still in front of your face. Well, sometimes it goes weeks without you leaving the house with Yukari. "No, I'm from inside." That should be the correct answer, what a silly question! "Huh, okay then." Kogasa hops back, and brushes her skirt a bit with her free hand. "That was weird... Have you been traveling or something?" You follow her gaze to Mary and Renko who are still lying on the ground. There' stuff coming out of Renko's bag, like those bottles- ah! "Yes! That's what we were doing just now!" "Wow, that's awesome! We haven't seen anybody else who does that, how does it work?" "Uhm... Not really." Once again looking at the two on ground you speak with hint of worry in your voice. "This is my first time, I think Mary and Renko have been doing this more." She smiles cheerfully in response to you. "Oh, okay. We'll just have to ask them when they wake up, then!" That's an idea, but... Is this really good? "Hey... Mary?" You try nudging her a bit, but there's no response from her.
"What are you doing?" Kogasa looks over your shoulder. "It's not good to sleep outside when it's cold." You respond without looking at her. Don't people usually make fire or set up tents when something like this happens? "We should move somewhere else." With tents and fire, you don't think Renko packed either. "Hmm..." Behind you Kogasa hums as you try waking up Renko as well, with similar results. When you're about to stand up- "Aha! We know!" Kogasa claps her hands together and yells. "Aaah?!" You lose your balance in surprise, but thankfully Mary's chest is on your way to break your fall. Hitting the ground(or Renko's chest, that doesn't seem very soft) would've hurt. "W-what is it?" "We have few friends who can help us! We'll just call them and we'll get you somewhere warm!" "That seems like good idea!" You answer while pushing yourself up, safely this time, with no falling again. "Though..." Kogasa trails off. "They might want something in return, but we're sure that won't be a problem!" ...Oh, you don't really have anything on you, at least anything that you'd feel alright parting from. Sure, Renko has lots of stuff in her bag, but would that be alright..." Once again, you notice the red house on top of the sunflower hill. There's smoke coming from the chimney, so somebody must be home!
[ ] It will be great if Kogasa gets her... You mean their friends to help! [ ] Shouldn't you go ask the person living in that small house for help instead?
I can't eat chocolate because I'm part of the dog family, but... I worked my hardest... and made this.
White Day would be hard with someone like me, so... even though it's a little selfish... could you maybe give me a little more time with Adahn instead of chocolate, Mister Vodka? It would make me... really happy...
>>112177 Okay! Sorry if there are typos in this, I wrote it on laptop with broken keyboard(N doesn't register sometimes, buttons are missing) and I'm really sleepy, but I hope you enjoy it! =====================================
Going to work is never enjoyable. Sure the work itself can be nice from time, but flying there alone... I can never bring myself to like it. The cold winds around this time of the year don't help at all. Heading back home on the other hand... Oh, how I love it! ...With this I don't mean to say that I would hate the mountain, complete opposite really. It's where I grew up, and many of my friends still live there. And day of work away from home isn't nearly enough to strain ties like those. But when you have to go away from somebody you love, even for a day... Is feeling like this normal? Adahn always sees me off with a smile and kiss, so maybe this is just me?
"Momi~!" Alarmed by her voice, I manage to evade Aya's hand. "Huh, normally you just let me pet you. Something on your mind?" I keep flying, and she follows behind me. Since we are going the same way, she probably won't leave before I say something. "Depends, will this end on paper?" "Ahehe, you should know me better than that! Nobody wants to read about boring normal problems..." She pauses for a moment, and continues. "That's what yours is, right?" Attentive as always... If I can't talk with Aya about this, who could I turn to? "It's... about Adahn." "Huh, did she finally do something to make you sad?" In a blink she's in front of me, rolling up her sleeves. "Just give me the word and I'll go set her straight!" "Oh no, nothing like that." I cover my mouth and giggle a bit, Aya is always fun to have around. "Rather, it's about... Her not doing anything." "I'm not sure I follow." She [i]sits[i] in air crossing her arms, with her wings wildly flapping on her back. "With normal couples I'd know what to say, but you two are always so lovey-dovey that I'm going to need more info on this." "Um, specifically it's about..." I really don't know how to say it. When I'm home she always puts me first, I don't need anybody to convince me that she loves me. "...She never seems sad about me leaving." Aya stares at me for a moment, and then speaks in disbelief. "So you... You're upset because she doesn't mind being being away from you for a day, because of work?" "I, uh..." When she puts it like that, yes. It really does sound silly, but that's how it is. "..My concerns are pretty stupid, huh?" "You have it so well." She sighs, spinning in air. "Some people worry about their lovers not being faithful or about them arguing all the time. But with you it's something like this." "...I know that." Looking down to the ground below, I reflect a bit. Love should be the least of the worries for a person, and my trouble is hardly a problem at all. "Sorry, I shouldn't have brought this up, next time I'll kno-" "Hey hey hey, I never said anything about not helping! Problem is still a problem, you know!" She grabs my sleeve as I'm about to fly past her. "So, for a solution... Ah, I know!" She snaps her fingers, while still holding onto me with her other hand. "So...?" Her advice often isn't very helpful at all, it's just better to let her listen to your worries. "I heard about special day for outsiders that's coming up, it's supposed to be really important to couples! Now, if you approach her at that day, I'm sure it will be easy for you to talk this through." "...outsiders?" I lift an eyebrow. Seeing what Adahn's background is, this might actually be helpful. "Who did you hear this from?" "Rinnosuke, he mentioned it year or so ago." I'm about to open my mouth when she continues. "Now before you say anything about his reliability, I know this is true! I checked with Sanae a while ago, and she confirmed it." "...I see." Then this might actually be worth trying. "What is it called?" "Valentine's Day."
. . .
"Well, Adahn likes hot springs, drinking, you, this shrine..." "Ah sorry, you misunderstood me." I stop Hina from listing any more things. "None of those things would make a working gift." Except drink, but that wouldn't suit the occasion. According to Aya, on Valentine's Day couples normally give gifts to each other. Problem is, I have no idea what would be a good romantic gift to Adahn. "She's your lover." Hina takes another sip of the tea, and gazes at the shrine grounds where Adahn is talking with some humans. "Aren't you the one who should know what these things are?" "Yes, but..." Even I couldn't come up with anything better. "Are you sure there's nothing else?" "I have an idea." Clay appears from inside, and leans to the doorway. "...What?" He's the last person I expected to be of help with this, but any help will do. "Well, go ahead." "I think she likes sweets, particularly... What do you call that stuff? From the outside world, it already was around when I was there..." Holding his forehead, he taps the wall while thinking. "Cacao? Chocola? Well, something like that." "Chocolate?!" Hearing the name makes me recall the horrid taste of one dark bar Aya gave me. "Are you sure, how do you know this?" "I never said I was sure of it." He turns away from my glare. "But back when we visited that store together, she kept asking about the stuff that man had for sale. Chocolate came up quite a few times." "Ugh..." If it had been gift, I hoped it would have been something I could've enjoyed with her. "Is it... that bad?" Hina leans closer to me, trying to catch a look at my face. "I don't know." Shaking my head I stand up. "Everybody else seems to like it, but I can't stand it. But since it's the only lead I have for a gift..." I get off the ground, and start flying towards Kourindou.
. . .
Last few days I've been getting a bit nervous about all of this. If I counted right, today should be February 14th on outside calendar... Hopefully. I peek into kitchen, and see her working on food like she does normally around this time. "A-Adahn, c-could you come here?" "Hmm?" She just gives me a quick glance before putting her attention back to chopping vegetables. "Sorry, I'm still preparing dinner, could you wait a bit?" I bite my lip, feeling a bit frustrated. "...No, this is important." If I'll push this back now, I probably won't get a chance to do this later. It doesn't seem that there's any other way to do this, so I walk behind her and grab her hand. "H-hey, Momizi! What now?!" ...Thankfully she put the knife down when it became clear I weren't letting go. She doesn't struggle, and just calmly walks along as I head towards our bedroom. "...What is it Momizi?" When we reach our destination, Adahn looks into my eyes and strokes my hair. "You don't usually act like this." "Uh, uhm..." I avert my eyes from hers, looking around the room. When I finally feel composed, I let out a deep breath. "Could you sit down? N-not on the floor, the bed is fine." "...Okay then." When she sits down I calmly walk to the clothing drawer, and open the one meant for shirts reaching my hand through the layers of clothes and... ...It's not there. The paper bag I got from Kourindou should be there, but it isn't! In a small panic, I feel through the drawer again to no avail. I then open the next one, meant for dresses, but it's not there either! What happened to it!"
Adahn watches me for a moment before she speaks. "...Are you looking for a paper bag that was under your clothes?" I turn back to look at her, and see that her face is slightly red... Although most likely not as red as mine. "Y-yes, do you know where it is?" "I, uhm... I found it while... cleaning and put it in the closet." She turns her head to the window, keenly gazing out of it. "Ah, right..." Yes, how silly of me. Adahn does clean the house, so it would be only normal of her to find that. It was entirely my fault for hiding it to so stupid place. Right.
With these thoughts repeating in my head, I look through my closet, and true, on top of everything else there's small paper bag. With shaking hands I take it, and ask Adahn. "You... you didn't look inside, right?" "N-no! I don't do stuff like that!" Her reply is surprised and upset. "Thank the gods..." I quietly sigh to myself. She's telling the truth. "So, um..." I turn and walk towards her, all while taking it out of the bag behind my back. I really have no idea what to say now... Not knowing what I'm planning, she speaks with a restless tone. "...Momizi, whatever it is, I'm sure it'll be fine." That does it for me. I pull now uncovered package from behind my back, and show it to Adahn. "H-happy Valentine's day!" I hope I got that right... "Ah. Um." She just looks me and chocolate confused. "This is..." No, did I actually get the day wrong?! "S-sorry, I'm not really familiar with outside calendar so...!" Or is it something else? "If you don't like chocolate, I can get you something else!" Actually, you heard this from Aya, so... "If Valentine's day doesn't exist, this can be our own celebration!" "N-no, wait Momizi, you got everything right!" She takes a hold of my shoulders and looks into my eyes with a smile. "...I think, it's been ages since I last thought about outside calendar." "Oh." I can't really say anything other than that, and "You like it then?" She pulls me to bed, embracing me. "It doesn't matter what it is if it's present from you, but yeah, I like chocolate." I feel your eyes moisten as I return her embrace. "I'm glad..."
As my thoughts clear up, something comes up in my mind. "Hey... Adahn?" "What is it Momizi...?" She asks dreamily while still holding me. "You... Just cleaned up a few days ago, right?" "...I did, why do you ask?" The tension in her voice tells me that she knows where I'm going with this. "I put that bag in the drawer two days ago. That was after you cleaned." There's only silence, although Adahn's hold on me is a bit tighter than before. "...How did you find that bag?" "I... I don't really want to say." She muffles into me. "You're going to think I'm silly." This time I'm the one to stroke her hair. "Please, I want to know. Won't you tell me?" "...Fine." She lets go of me, and buries her face into the bed. "There are days when I... get lonely." "Lonely? But Clay and Hina are here too." "Not that way, I mean... Without you." Hearing her say that makes my heart skip a beat. "So, sometimes I take a break and come here to... get some feeling of you." After finishing she sits up and looks at you. "See? It's silly." "...No." Smiling from ear to ear I shake my head and embrace still confused Adahn, running my hands through her hair. "No, it's not silly at all."
Asking Kogasa's friends for help seems like good idea, but you have to be sure of one thing first. "Your friends are... good, right?" "Huh, what's that supposed to mean?" Kogasa frowns a bit, and leans closer to you. "Of course they're nice. We're nice, aren't we?" "Ah, I didn't mean it like that." You speak with a hint of worry in your voice but that's only justified since according to what you read some youkai... "I mean, they don't eat people, right?" "...Oh." Kogasa backs away a bit, and thinks for a moment. "Yes... We see why you'd be worried about that. Your friends are humans, right?" "Yes." At least, as far as you know. Maybe not. "So, do they...?" "Don't worry!" Kogasa winks at you, sticking her tongue out. "They only eat dead humans!" ...Oh! "Oh!" Mary and Renko are still alive! "Then there's no problem!"
"Yep!" She smiles, then stands up straight pointing forward. "They live in the forest. We can carry the other girl, can you handle the other?" "Oh, uhm... Maybe?" You look between Mary and Renko, and finally decide to try lifting Renko since she seems lighter of the two... Needless to say it doesn't work very well. You manage to lift her up a bit, but there's no way you could carry her. "...So it's no good, huh?" Kogasa sighs, sitting down again. Or maybe you just made the wrong choice about who to carry? Probably not. "...Yeah, I can't carry either." "Hmm..." Kogasa looks around for a bit, then gets closer to you speaking quietly. "Can you lay low for a while?" "...What?" You tilt your head and feel the ground. It's cold and kinda muddy, you'd rather not lay there. "Do I have to?" "I mean... Wait here for few minutes?" She asks again. "Keep low profile, don't let anybody know you're here?" "Oh, I see!" Your eyes light up in realization of what she meant. "Yes, I can do that!" Happily you nod to her, and Kogasa smiles to you back! "Great! We're going to get one of our friends to help with this, so it shouldn't take long." She turns, and starts walking away from you. "Look after your friends while I'm gone, okay?" "Okay!" You wave to her for as she walks away, and then turn to look at sleeping Renko and Mary. ...They sure look peaceful. From all the times Yukari woke you up in the middle of your sleep, you know it's never nice to be bothered during rest, but it really would've been helpful if they had been awake. Hopefully Kogasa won't take too long.
"..." Atmosphere like this frustrates you. Every now and then there's a sound of finger (yours) quietly tapping to table, sometimes accompanied by Sayo sipping tea from a cup. Another cup (yours, now empty) sits on the table. You give the table one louder tap, and Sayo quickly asks: "I-is something wrong?" "Hmmm?" Bringing your eyes away from various pictures lined on the wall, you notice that he's staring at you, looking quite concerned. "What's this now? Asking a prisoner something like that... Is that how the things work around here?" "Like I said before!" He puffs his cheeks and crosses his arms (that's way too feminine gesture for a man to use). "You're not prisoner, Aya asked me to look after you. Your well being is my concern." "Oh?" Then this should be worth trying. Standing up you turn for the door. "If so, I don't think you'll mind if I take a walk around-" "Absolutely not!" He yells at you, banging his hands at the table. "Aya also told us to wait for her here, and that means we won't leave this house." "Psh." You sit down again (and lift up the two teacups that fell over thanks to him moment before). "I suppose this is like when we waited by that waterfall?" Bashfully he looks away from you. "...Yes, but now we don't have to worry about getting wet or being cold. So there's no concern about that." You're about to open your mouth in another protest, but look on Sayo's face says that there's no arguing about this. You did decide not to cause any trouble, after all. That stern behaviour brings your mind to Adahn, which in turns brings it to Hina. ...wonder what Momizi is planning on telling her. Or if she's hear anything yet.
Uncomfortable silence sets in again. Few more taps of the finger, and you stop. You can't keep waiting silently like this, something has to be done. [ ] Try to strike up a conversation with Sayo, there has to be something you can talk about. [ ] You need a dib in a hot-spring after what just happened, isn't there a one here..." [ ] Have a look at backyard, particularly that old shack.
[x] Try to strike up a conversation with Sayo, there has to be something you can talk about. Oh man, how many real time months has it been since we last had Adahn's POV? I've completely forgotten where everybody is.
"Sooo...." "Yes?" "..." Even with humans, you've never been good with small-talk. And now you should do it with tengu? "What do you exactly do here on the mountain?" "Oh, not much." He tries to act nonchalant, but you can tell he likes this topic. "Mostly what you saw, keeping watch, checking reports, catching people-" "That stuff come up often?" If every day is like today for him then you really feel sorry. "I-" His ears twitch a bit, and go down. "I don't think it does. I'm still green, but other than past few days everything has been calm. Seems like something has made everybody really sensitive." "Any idea why that might be?" Might as well get some information about current situation while you're here. "Beats me." He shrugs. "I'm not familiar with kappa, much less the humans." "Humans...?" You didn't know there were... Oh yes, that shrine you visited a while ago. But they don't seem to come down to village much. Shady bunch. "Hmm, right." This boy clearly isn't the best person to ask about these things. "Anyway, you're from the shrine near the human village, right?" Gah. So this came up again. "What do you over there?" "That is-" What should you even tell to him? Normally this isn't a problem at all to you, but when faced when somebody as diligent as this... "I'm a guard." Might be best to lie. "Eeh, is that so?" Sayo tilts his head in wonder. "Even a small shrine like that needs somebody to guard over it?" "Actually, that was a lie." A familiar voice, from behind you.
You turn over to look at her, but don't see anybody. "Truth is that Clay is just a bum who does odd-jobs around the shrine to justify his presence." Up? No, she's too quick for you to even see. "He's the only man living with three beautiful women, that's pretty enviable situation, don't you agree Sayo?" In a situation like this it's better to just give up and let her speak. Sighing, you cover your face with your hands. "You're just living with one pretty girl, isn't that a bit upsetting? Don't you think Clay should share a bit? I could have Momizi while you-" Now she's going bit too far. Slamming your fist to table makes her stop. "Aren't you a bit too old to count as 'pretty girl'?" "Huuh?" You finally see Aya's face, but only because she's upside down right in front of you. "Are you saying that I'm not a young maiden anymore? Surely these looks don't lie, I'm as youthful as anybody!" "Even if you compare that youthfulness to people living in the shrine, it's-" You stop in the middle of the speech, and lose your thought. "Hmm, what's this? You can't think of a argument, can you?" She pushes her face even closer to you grinning triumphantly. Now you're sure of it. "Aya... You have bags under your eyes." "W-what?" Those words make her eyes go wide, and she quickly gets away from you. "No no no, you must've been seeing things. Something like this couldn't happen, ahahaha!" Aya..." Sayo timidly speaks from the other side of the table. "Has the work been hard?" "...No, I mean, how should I put it..." Scratching her head, she sits down next to table as well. "Well, this is different from normal. I'd much rather be outside chasing news than filing reports." She reaches out and pats Sayo's head. "Don't worry about it, okay?"
"Speaking of reports..." As you open your mouth, Aya freezes in mid of her calm motion. "I thought you were supposed to stay later tonight? Whatever happened to handling my case?" O-ooohh, don't worry about that, okay?" She waves her hand at you, while looking up at ceiling. "That's taken care of, you just need to be around for a while tomorrow and then you can head back, okay?" "And the other work?" "That's my other work! You just worry about whatever it is that you need to worry about, like..." She gets quiet and swings her arms in the air. "Like, if that sex Adahn and Momizi are having is really wonderful lesbian sex and-" You can't even believe this. "M-miss Aya?!" Sayo is staring at her, mouth open. "What did you just say?! You mean, Momizi is... with a human.." His face gets more red the farther he goes. "...female human, doing..." Ahahaahahh!" Seems that even Aya can't stay completely calm in situation like this, as her face is faintly red too. "Who knows, but you know they say about Bunbunmaru Paper! You shouldn't take the news from it too seriously, and I'm the only reporter for the paper!" She talks while walking around the table, and swinging a rolled paper around. "Really, don't think about it too much. And don't talk about it either, if it really bothers you then ask somebody who knows something about it, like..." Her gaze stops at you for a moment. "...I need to take a bath." "...Yes, you do that." It's true that Aya can liven up the situation, but after this things will be really awkward. "Well then..." Standing at the door, she looks at you for a moment before adding, "Care to join me?"
[ ] ...It should be fine, right? [ ] No, you're going later with Sayo. [ ] Why waste time, you can all go together.
Well, not like you care too much. Standing up you reply "Sure, it's fine." You doubt Aya is actually planning anything. "Huh, really?" From the way she's blinking it seems like she didn't expect that response either. "I don't really mind it, but what about..." She nods to Sayo's direction. "Eh?" Sayo didn't seem to be following your conversation, since it takes him moment to realize what's going on. "N-no, it's fine. And, me going to bath together with Clay would be-" He stops in the middle of the sentence as his face goes red. Oh, what next. "If you still want to talk about some things, I'll go on ahead." You sigh and start walking towards baths, at least where you remember them to be. "...Right. I'll be there in a minute." As you make your way out of the door, you hear Aya start talking to Sayo in quiet voice. "Listen, if you ever feel like talking to me about anything, feel free to." "But, I don't think is something you could help me with..." "Sayo, I lived with Momizi for years. Sure, she's a bit older than you and also a... girl, but I have experience with this stuff." ...It might be for the best if you didn't eavesdrop on this conversation.
. . .
After undressing and washing yourself you step in to the familiar out-door bath.... It has really been a while since you last came here, and that time you were alone. You don't know if it's Adahn or Momizi, but one of them is really against mixed bathing, or being naked on same room with you in general. Well, if it's this time of the year then they wouldn't have to worry about seeing anything from all of the steam. "Haaaahh..." You sigh gazing up at the sky. Although it's not night yet, sun has started going down, painting the sky of Gensokyo in mixture of red and yellow.
"Having fun all by yourself?" And your calm moment comes to an end when Aya walks in. Turning away from the sky, you look at the direction of the voice, and see that she's also wearing a towel as well as carrying a plate with bottle and two cups. "Did you get some nice leads from Sayo?" Her question wasn't worth answering. "Don't be ridiculous." She steps down to the bath and walks close to you, stopping when there's few meters between you. "I'm not foolish enough to write something like that about somebody who's living with me." You smile. "Yet you had no problems when it was Adahn, me, Hina or even Momizi." "Hey hey, that's completely different!" She answers you with a grin. "You're all mature adults, Sayo is just a kid!" "For a kid he's quite..." You think back to what happened today, like waiting at waterfall, or flying to the headquarters. "No, never mind." "Ooh, is a little tengu boy making you confused~?" Aya pours herself something from the clay bottle, and floats the wooden tray to you through water. Sake? Well, you don't have anything against drink now and then. "If anything, this shouldn't have surprised me even this much." Pouring yourself a cup too, you continue. "What with how things seem to be here." "Ahaha, I know you won't believe me when I say this, but it really isn't as common as you think. It's just that people you've met are..." She giggles a bit and takes a sip of sake. "Anyway, I apologize." You turn to look at her. "What, for Sayo?" "No way, I don't think he has done anything wrong. And if he himself thinks he has, then it's not my job to say anything." Aya shakes her head. "No, I mean what I said, earlier." "Oh. That." You turn away again. "Don't worry about it." "I was out of line, and you're pretty close to Adahn, so if I made any inconvenience for her, then..." She pauses for a moment. "I'm sorry." "I'm telling you, don't worry about it." What's with her now?
Following your last remark it gets quiet for a moment before Aya speaks again. "Hmm... Well, how has it been on the shrine? I haven't had much of a chance to visit much lately." "Huh? Well..." You take a second to think. "Fine like usual, business isn't great, but alright and Adahn and Momizi are as happy as ever-" "I'm not interested in that, those are things I can hear from anybody." You turn to look at her, and see that she's smiling widely. "Why don't you talk about the interesting things for a change?" "And those would be...?" The alcohol couldn't be affecting her already? "Ahehe. You know entirely well what I'm talking about." No, it's not the alcohol. She grins, drinking some more of the sake. "Or do I need to spell it out for you?" "...You want to know what's happening between me and Hina." Maybe it's your own fault that this talk is happening. "Bingo!" Aya brings her finger up and waves it in the air. "A man living with three attractive women... I wonder if anything is happening?" "You brought this up earlier as well." You sigh. "And you know fully well that Adahn and Momizi would have no part in anything like that." "Yes, that I do! But I also know fully well how stressing it can be (for a man), with all those feelings bottled up inside, when you can't do anything, and..." She quiets down from earlier enthuastic speech. "Another thing I know is that Hina won't have part in anything that those two lovers do. So, that's two adults living in same house with two attractive young women." "You're ridiculous." Aya's logic is ridiculous, you need a drink. "There are other ways to take out stress." "Yes, I hear you have been waking up early, and beating trees with wooden swords, amongst other things... That's not really good for nature, you know?" "Where did you hear this?" When Aya is about to answer, you say it yourself instead. "No, Adahn, Momizi, Hina... It doesn't matter, could've been any of them." "My, aren't you being manly here. But." Her tone gets more serious, and she moves in front of you. "You have been getting along well with Hina since the beginning, and I know that she has certain fancy for you, even if I don't see the appeal. So don't tell me it's nothing."
[ ] It doesn't take a genius to figure it out. [ ] Honestly, you're not too sure yourself either. [ ] ...She shouldn't be asking something like this. [ ] What does she have on you? Why should you answer?
"Gh." Biting your teeth together you glare at Aya, and then behind her to the door. It really doesn't look like you can get out of this one without saying anything. "...What do you think is going on?" "Me? Well," Aya brings her finger to her chin, and thinks for a moment. "You like her, that much is obvious. Compared to how you act towards others, be it youkai or humans, with her you're much more..." She searches for words. "Open?" You suggest. She laughs in response. "Nobody could make you open up! No, when you're with Hina you're easier to approach." Is that so? As far as you know... "No, you're way off here." "I don't mean for other people. You have no trouble talking with her, and she seems to be at ease with you too. When other people - especially Adahn - are around she always has this air of dignity. To me it looks like she can calm down with you." She's getting closer and closer... Both figuratively and practically. "I won't say that you're wrong, but that's still just the bare details. Do you really expect to get far with just this?" "No." She shakes her head. "That's why I need you to fill in the details for me, and tell me what I missed. You can do that, right~?" As her finger touches tip of your nose, you back away quickly. That was a bit too close. "Ahah-ha! You should've seen the look on your face!" "...If you keep this up I won't be saying anything." You peer at her while raising the cup for another drink of sake.
"Don't worry about that, so-" She reaches for the something in the rocks. "And I hope this won't end up on the paper?" "Eeh, why? That's so boring." "I don't really mind it myself," A small lie is fine every now and then. "But if this somehow affected the shrine, neither Adahn, Momizi or Hina would be pleased." She holds still for a moment but pulls her hand back, not holding anything. "...Understood. So this is all off the record?" "However you wish to put it, sure." You pause for a moment, thinking what to tell her, and then continue. "You're right about us being close." "Just how close?" "Huh, well..." Relationships were never your strongest side, and if she asks something that broad... "She's possibly the most important person to me that I've had for ages." "But then again, you spent lots of years just being a sword, if I recall right?" You have a feeling she's missing something here. You're about to open your mouth when she continues. "Had sex yet?" "Just what kind of question is that!?" Yelling you glare at Aya. Looks like that shocked her a bit, since her eyes are wide and her wings are spread. "That's... Interesting. Not what I was expecting, at all." "What do you mean? You seriously couldn't think that we wouldn't have other stuff to think about than-" "No, but it seems that Momizi does." You turn to look at her, and she continues with completely serious expression. "You live under same roof, so I really wonder how she got something like this wrong... Unless you're lying to me, but from your reaction I don't think that's right either, hmmm..." "I... think I know." Gods. Obviously you should've thought about this, she's a wolf tengu after all, and she used to keep watch here at mountain. "Even though there's no sex, we do some other things." She raises an eyebrow. "For example?" You can't believe you're saying this to her. "For example, both of us have a liking to being tied, and I also-" "Okay, okay, that's enough." She waves her hand at you. "Although I like hearing about people's private matters, what gets them going at bedrooms isn't really on top of the list of things I want to know." Aya coughs few times, and continues. "But really, now I'm curious. Why just that?" "Actually..." Now that you think about it...
"...You don't know?" "No." The moment you say that Aya looks incredibly annoyed. Wait, you meant to say- "I didn't mean it like that, rather, I don't believe it'd be correct." The annoyance on Aya's face turns into simple frown. "You... You're not one of those people who think that there shouldn't be any sex before marriage, are you?" "No, this is something different. You know everything about how Adahn is my master, and all that?" She nods. "Yes, couldn't hear the end of it during those first weeks you guys lived here." "Then this will be simple. I don't think it's proper for me to be in relationship that intimate with her goddess." You hope she can understand this. Aya stares at you blankly for a minute, before speaking in dumbfounded tone. "Are you an idiot?" "What was that?!" For her to just insult you like that out of blue- "I asked if you're an idiot. All this time you've been doing things that have made Adahn really upset, so I figured that you didn't really care what she thought as long as you could do your thing. But now-!" She stands up and glares down at you. "Now that there's somebody else involved too, you come up with something as stupid as this, not to protect the other person, but for Adahn!" You can only stay still when she takes the sake cup from your hand and throws it somewhere over the wall. "Sure, it would annoy her again, she could get furious at you for doing something like that with Hina, the one person she cares for as much as Momizi!" What Aya is saying seems to make perfect sense, so why is she so upset? "Yes, and that's why-" "No, that's not why you should be doing anything like that! If Hina really is the 'most important person you have had in ages', then think about her first, and everything else second." "T-that's what I'm doing!" You yell back at her, but not anymore so sure about your words. "What would happen if Adahn found out that her goddess was in relationship with somebody she-" "I don't know if you think too much, or too little." Aya sighs, covering her face with palm of her hand. "Either way, your problem is that you think that everybody else are stupid. Now, ponder this for a moment: if Hina thought it was going to be a problem would she have let your relationship get as close as it is now?" She... has a point there. "Even more, if Adahn hated you as much as you think she does, would you still be living under the same roof?" "Then, you're saying I should just stop worrying and just go for it?" "Pretty much. Some trouble might come up after that, but I'm sure Adahn and Hina can work that out together, but.." She eyes you, up and down. "...I can't believe that I'm saying this so somebody like you, but you have to work on your people skills." "Huh?" You tilt your head to side as she starts moving away from you. "If you don't work out your relationship with Adahn... and Momizi too, the life at Kagiyama shrine will turn very uncomfortable." She gets up from the large stone bath, with the wet towel around her. "I've been here long enough, and tomorrow will be a hard day. You should head to bed too." And with that she walks away. Well, that definitely was not what you expected. [ ] Do as she says, go to sleep. [ ] You need time alone to think this through, head to the mountain. [ ] After all this you need a drink. Find Sayo and talk things through with him.
Uh... Yeah. There's not much to say. ===================
After what you've been through today, Aya's idea seems sensible. And somehow you get a feeling that tomorrow will be just more of the same. First looking over your shoulder that she has actually left, you get out of the bath and wash yourself off quickly. Funny how you've changed, years... or even months ago you wouldn't have cared at all. Although back then you didn't live with health-concerned women. While walking out of bath house with towel wrapped around your waist, you notice that your clothes have disappeared from the bin. Did Aya take them away as joke or did Momizi nab them back home for "washing"? Sighing as you start walking towards the room you used to live in, you hope on former. "..Empty." Walking past the living room you speak to yourself. Makes only sense, Momizi has no need to stay here and Sayo needs to wake up tomorrow. Probably, you have no idea what his work is like at all. As you get to your room's door, you stop with your hand on it. Nobody got around telling you where Sayo is sleeping. Could it be..." No way. Boldly you slide the door open.
"C-Clay!?" Not entirely unexpectedly, your former room is now Sayo's. "Wh-why are you---" "Oh." What you didn't expect was walking on him... undressing? Dressing? "What are you doing?" "I'm changing into paja-" Suddenly his flushed face turns more determined. "Why did you walk in here?!" "It's a... habit I guess?" He's covering himself? What's the point really? "I used to live here after all." "T-this used to be your room?" He looks around quickly and then back to you. "If you want to I can make some space or ch-" "No no, it's fine." You'd hate to impose, he seems like a nice kid too. "There's still a room left, right?" "Aa- yes there is. You know where Aya sleeps?" "Yes, I do." Turning you raise your hand before closing the door. "I hope you get a good rest." He looks up to you and speaks meekly. "Y-you too Clay." ...What kind of man wears pajamas anyway?
When you walk forward in hallway a thought about doing same with Aya's room too crosses your mind. Hahaha. Yeah, funny. Let's not do that.
At the end there is an uninhabited room, with a dusty scent in air. Makes sense really, nobody has used this sense Kagiyama shrine was finished. This one was probably... Adahn's. You'd remember where Hina slept. Before getting to bed you take a look in the closet. Yep, there's some clothing meant for male tengu there, guess that's a standard issue over at the mountain. Getting on to bed, you can't help but to think about what happened at the shrine, and what's going on underground... Wonder how Adahn is doing down there? If she really wants to turn that spirit infested pond into usable hot-spring... You don't know how you feel about that. Sitting in one is fun sometimes, but frankly they make your stomach turn after a while.
So far you have seen lots of crazy things while here, like that bridge or the big openings oni used for their party but this... It just takes your breath away. A single huge cave, containing a whole city surrounded by stone wall. Unlike earlier caves there's no light giving plants here, whole area is illuminated by lights streaming out of the windows of the houses. "My goddess..." You can only breathe in amazement as you look down on it, standing on top of the spiraling staircase leading the road down. This makes every other cave you've seen so far look tiny in comparison, even the one you just walked through. There were lots of people, even non-oni at the party but you never imagined how many people could live down here. Comparing human village to this city would be a joke. How long has the life underground gone on? Looking around, you see that there's also lights on the walls and even on the huge stalactites hanging from the ceiling... Did they actually build houses there? You can only imagine what kind of work that was, or what would happen if they dropped... No. Shaking your head you dismiss the thought, they should know what they are doing. Like Yuugi said, at the far end of the city there's a mansion, encased on reddish light, unlike blue and yellow coming from the other houses. Now, you could just fly over the city, but she advised othervise.
"Spirits, you mean the nasty kind?" "They'll be a problem eventually, can you help with this?" "Weeeeell... Yes, kind of. But uh, not reeeally, I don't have time right now. I know somebody who can, though." "Who? Where does she live?" "Just keep goin', you'll soon come see this city, she lives in a palace at the end of it." "Not any more specific instructions?" "Can't really miss that place, you see it the moment you're at the top of the stairs." "Stairs? Down here?" "Hey, there's roads too! It's all about keeping the style." "Can you say anything about that person?" "She's ah, hmm... She's okay. Really friendly, yeah. Loves animals." "But she's not here?" "She doesn't go out much, kinda sad really..." "It should go fine then, thanks for the advice." "Oh! Oh oh oh, don't leave just yet!" "Yes?" "I know it seems like a pain, but don't fly over that city. They aren't 'xactly used to strangers." "How about those stairs? Can do I have to walk them down?" "You don't 'ave to worry 'bout those! Just don't fly over the walls, okay?" "I'll keep that in mind! Oh, and Yuugi?" "Yeah?" "You'll come visit us on surface later, right?" "Hahahaha, sure! As long as there's party, good company and drinks!"
After that game there's no chance she would lie. You take a look over the edge, preparing to fly down... The drop must be at least hundred meters. The wind whistles in your ears as you drop, never would you have imagined to feel this down here. As your feet touch the familiar stone road once more, you notice the raise in temperature again. Who knows how far down you've come by now. The road leads onward into the city, through huge ominous looking stone gates.
[ ] Enter the underground city. [ ] Do you really have to go there..."Maybe you could go around. [ ] Consult Hina first, you haven't heard from her in a while.