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[☥] Speak with the dead

A friendly sinister walk I take I go.

Noise on either side of me, but I gravitate towards the familiar.

Pushed a little further away from the fence.

I enter pink halls with pink walls.

needs more metaphor

okay, well, i think this building is actually a flower, too

aaaand trifecta

i wonder if it's intentional

"--'cause otherwise it isn't Hendrix if you don't do it, Lulu!"

"...I'm still not very sure about it."

"Well, we've got two more shows and you can try it then."


I enter the room from before as they enter the room from before, but we're both in the now.

Behold: time travel.

Little Red gives me a grin. "Everything go over fine with Mystia?"

I pause, and then smile back. "It seemed to. I see why you wanted someone who could read, I think."

Pinkblue Madness rolls her eyes. "Man, I don't get her. She runs a business, she knows how to sing, she can cook, and she's a wizard at the damn mixer, but words take her out. How does that even happen?"

"Don't badmouth the help, Merlin," Little Red says, shooting her sister a glare.

"No, no, I'm not badmouthing. I'm praising her and expressing confusion."

"She probably never learned how," Black Hand of Slap offers quietly.

Pinkblue Madness shrugs, and throws herself onto a couch. I sit down near her and lean back.

The noise of the crowd outside rises and falls momentarily, and footsteps coming down the hall herald the arrival of a flushed-looking White Opening. Little Red looks over, and waves her over. "Been eaten alive much, Kana?"

White Opening bobs her head in agreement, and wipes her forehead with a handkerchief. "Dear me, yes. They were so rambunctious, all of them. I am oddly glad we don't do these tours so frequently," she confesses, and has a seat next to Black Hand of Slap.

"It's sort of like a king going out in public to visit the Royal whatever facilities and the farms," says Little Red. "It's a reminder to people that you still really exist, and it lets you get out in the fresh air."

"I see. Shall I start wearing a crown, then?"

This earns a few snickers.

"So, um," I begin, drawing everyone's gaze.

Well, that was embarrassing. I make an effort to finish anyway.

"Uh, what's going to happen now?"

Little Red looks up at the ceiling.

"Well, Yuuka said something about a party afterwards, backstage. I guess that'll be in a bit. Then after that, we'll be crashing early. Big day tomorrow."





knock knock

"My, what timing," White Opening remarks.

I get up to get the door at the other end of the hall by virtue of being the closest one to it, except that Little Red has had the same idea, and there's that er uh look stupid smile kind of embarrassed half step no you no you little pause in a sliver of a second on either side who goes first oh fuck it and then you go ahead and feel silly and thank them.

And on my first time, too!

Neither of us need have bothered, it turns out, as Extra Bird has already beaten us to it, and ushers inside a couple of girls pushing carts. One of them looks like White Opening with more blue, less pink, and less hat.

But the maidy frills are still there.

The other one makes up for Blue Copy's lack of pink and throws a pair of wings (tucked in while indoors) into the mix as well.

They look almost the same.

It's very strange, and I go to wow what smells so damned good?


something something something

It's coming from the stack of wide, flat boxes on the cart. Blue Copy eyes me a little strangely as I lean in close to the boxes, entranced. Pink Copy leans to her side to see why her partner isn't setting up and unloading like she is.

"Um... you the food tester or somethin'?"

Fehwd, she says.

This smell~

"What is this?"

"...Um. Pizza?"


She says it like I should know.

"D'you mind maybe not gettin' so close yet...?" asks Blue Copy, a little concerned, now.

"She's an oni, Gen," calls a voice from behind them. The voice sounds tired but authoritative. The boring kind of authority, though. No wielding of interesting power or holding the fates or money or futures or jobs or lives of millions. No respect. Front desk sort of authority.


The owner of the voice (sign here please) walks into the room (Now just take this up to the office on the second floor) and I see what she looks like (Yes, may I help you) and I make a slight adjustment to my impression.

It's hard to not respect authority, no matter how boring, when it carries an enormous scythe.

Dark red like dried blood and pink like fat under the skin. And the silliest, most curly curly curls ever. And yet, not a drill. I didn't think that was possible. Isn't there a law about that?

"So she's probably never heard of it. Or she's drunk. Maybe both," she finishes.

"Neither yet. No, wait," I say, correcting myself. "I've never seen it. Smelled it. Eaten it. Uh. Hey, I'm in your way, aren't I?"

"Sorta looked like that, yeah. But yer all better now," says Blue Copy with a little smirk as I back away from her cart. She finally begins to set things out and open them. Oh, the carts turn into tables. Neat.

How do you only occasionally twang?

People aren't guitars.

Chop Clerk turns and looks back over her shoulder down the hall. "Are you coming, mistress?"

Tall Red reassures her that she is as she steps into the room, and the party gets underway.


This paytza stuff is fucking wonderful.

I remember that fact clearly.


At some point, I had an idNo, I had no such thing.

I considThere's nothing to think about.

I want to tell somThere's nothing to say.

It just might wThere's nothing to plan.

Now, wheThere's nothing to share.


No, this won't work.

To fool your enemies, you must first fool your friends.

That's not enough.

I need something more ridiculous.

How does one stay on the bleeding edge of paranoia?


Oblivion, guide me / Nothingness, watch over me / Void, be my hope


I proceed to get absolutely hammered.


Arms encircle me, clinging close, afraid to let me go.

I am returning the embrace of these dark arms.

She's crying. Quiet sobs by my ear. Body shaking a little with each one.

I'm buried against her, hair brushing over my face.

There's difference in it. Slow but gradual. It isn't important.

We stay like this for another minute. Another year.

"This is all I can do," whispers the distraught voice, and I feel her move.

She doesn't let go of me, but


Lips lightly touch my forehead.

She draws me in close again, and holds me.

"Sleep," she whispers again, and strokes the back of my head.

As I fade out, I can hear her starting to cry again


I wake up.

Something isn't right.

It takes me a moment to realize that I didn't wake up screaming.

I blink. There's wetness. Well, it's probably a giant flower, so condensation issues are going to occur.

I look around, but feel the chill in two lines down my cheeks.

Touching them, I realize I've been crying in my sleep.

This is ...different. I hesitate to call it "not unwelcome."

Probably a step up from screaming, though.

Up the ladder of misery, one rung at a time?

I dry my cheeks, and have a look around.

What the hell happened?

..No, hold on. That's a good question?

What the hell did happen?

I can't remember a single thing about last night.

Perhaps that would explain my confusion at the extreme state of disarray the room is in, or why people are scattered here and there.

Pinkblue Madness is fervently clutching a seat cushion, Little Red is sprawled out in the middle of the hall, Black Hand of Slap is snoozing quietly on Tall Red's lap (who sits peacefully on a chair, eyes closed), Chop Clerk and Extra Bird are in the middle of the floor with no shirts on, and the caterers are on the ceiling.

i have no clue about any of this.

well shit

White Opening does not seem to be among them. I get up to look around and possibly procure some food Still some paytza left; going to grab some of the sushi, too but am stopped rather abruptly by someth


mystery solved

you should totally become a detective

no, i can't noir worth a damn

White Opening is sleeping like a baby, head rested on my lap.

Everyone's accounted for, then.

I carefully extricate myself, swapping out a pillow for my lap in one swift movement.

I hold my breath.

...Nope, still asleep.


After hanging the towel out to dry, I leave the bathroom (down the hall on the right from the Audio Room) and open the door at the end of the hall. I stand there, looking outside at the dawn and the sunflowers and the cool morning air.

Gold everywhere.

Another day not yet captured.

I smile to myself. Getting frustrated, green girl?

...It'd be just my luck to have her find me tonight. Better not get cocky. Stay safe, stay off the radar.


And with that, my day begins.

[ ] Locate and secure rations
[ ] Notify the next person to relieve you on watch (Who?)

Last thread: >>94836

Not sure if I should keep this title or not. It's a reference to what inspired a lot of it, and what I wanted to call it in the first place, but now I wonder if maybe the short version was fine after all. Any opinions?

Correct, and why thank you.
File 125565634567.jpg - (140.44KB, 500x333 , brought to you by Getsu-Fed-Well Catering.jpg) [iqdb]
...This post was supposed to have the Last Thread link in it. Dammit.

In other news, Round Table Pizza's "Maui Zaui" is the best pizza known to man. Pic related.
[ ] Locate and secure rations
[x] Locate and secure rations

Now that is a damn fine pizza
>>White Opening is sleeping like a baby, head rested on my lap.
Oh god that is so cute.
[x] Locate and secure rations
[0] Locate and secure rations
Yes, yes I am exceedingly happy about that, thank you very much. Not exactly the intended aim, but indeed, yes, quite satisified.

[ ] Notify the next person to relieve you on watch
Who? You hoo! You hoo who?
Extra Bird!
[x] Locate and secure rations
...man. That should've been "guard duty," not "watch." Got my contexts screwed up.

Oh well.

Keep voting, I'm going to sleep.
[X] Locate and secure rations
[X] Locate and secure rations
[Q] Locate and secure rations
If only we weren't in disguise. Oni probably don't usually go around waking people up at the crack of dawn after a party.

[X] Locate and secure rations
[X] Examine intelligence from your allies
That is, whatever we got from Yuuka.
[X] Locate and secure rations
[X] Examine intelligence from your allies
>If only we weren't in disguise. Oni probably don't usually go around waking people up at the crack of dawn after a party.

What kind of CRACK are you on? For an Oni? The party NEVER stops.

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[⌔] Locate and secure rations

I am a monster.

A terrible monster.

I am an oni!

And I hunger.

I find my morning's meal cowering in a low-ceilinged room with flimsy paper walls.

Someone has clearly been here before me; only a few survivors remain. They're huddled close together, for safety, or perhaps merely out of fear of the night-stalking terror that took their kin while they slept.

No matter; there's more than enough here to satisfy me.

I grin wide, and then I am upon them.

Eagerly I devour the silent, fearful bodies, one, two, and then a third. Even cold and no longer as vibrant and alive as they once were, my prey's flesh and blood and everything tastes like nothing else.

I am sated.

It is good.

"Good morning to you, maybe-impostor."

I freeze in the act of wiping off some of the breakfast's spattered blood off my cheek. Turning towards the sound of the voice, I see Tall Red carefully laying Black Hand of Slap back down in the just-vacated chair.

"Oh. Good morning to you, too," I reply. Calm and steady.

Was she watching me eat?

How embarrassing.

She looks down almost fondly at Chop Clerk's dozing form.

"You're doing quite well for an oni. I haven't seen my dear gatekeeper get quite so worked up in some time. And as for my neighbors..."

She casts a glance at Blue Copy and Pink Copy, nestled together on the ceiling. Well, that made a bit more sense. Explains why there was no problem with them joining in Joining in what? I guess.

"Well, um, thank you, then. It's quite an honor."

Stepping over the slumbering bodies, she walks over to me, peering at me closely.

"...Is it, though?"

step, step


"You can't do this forever, maybe-impostor. Run forever, and you'll be worn down."

I know.

"And even if you don't, sooner or later, the 'Rookie' will tire of the game."

I suppose even broken people get bored. Not sure about the green girl, though.

"And when the game is over, so are you."

I know.

step, step

Very close.

"You need to bring this to a close. Stop your running."

I know.

"End it."

"...I can't."

My voice makes itself heard, finally. "I can't. Not yet." I can't? Why not? Where the hell did that come from?

Tall Red stares at me, her face inches from mine, expression blank.

Eternity passes.

She sighs, and closes her eyes as she straightens up, and steps away.

"Perhaps one day you'll remember what it means to be alive, maybe-impostor. Remember what it was like to really be yourself."

I know what it's like to be alive. You learn to tell the difference after dying once.

Tall Red opens her eyes again, and looks at me. The blank expression returns.

"I mean exactly what I mean. Nothing more, nothing less."

Could have fooled me.

She shakes her head and smiles a little, and begins to walk out of the room.

Just before she leaves my field of vision, she stops.

It's time for the oni weather forecast for Tall Red! What's the weather look like, Kabuki?

Partially obscured meanings, and light showers of nonsense, with temperatures ranging from highs of Have a Treat and reaching lows of Don't Bring Your Trouble Here. Back to you, Maki.

I know it because I've heard it while lying immobile and bleeding. Humans can tell the weather ahead of time in the outside world, it seems. I would have asked her about it but she doesn't like it when I ask about anything regarding the outside world.

Besides, speaking wasn't an option: my tongue hadn't grown back completely from last time, yet.

It's a very hollow feeling, having no tongue.

She speaks.

"Maybe-impostor, what do you think of carnations?"

I pause.

...I was expecting something more dramatic.

"I, uh... They're nice to look at? They're okay, I guess. ...Why do you ask?"

What does she want me to say?

"Mmm," is all she says for a few moments, then, "Oh? I was just thinking of flowers that suited you."

And with that, she leaves the Pink Stage Flower Building.

so what was that all about?

i don't know

i am severely lost

oh? no better off than i am, then, sorry

it happens

not really all that often, no

Oh well.

Little Red, who had been only a few feet away from us-- between us, in fact --doesn't seem to have woken up during the whole thing.

It's still early in the morning, probably.

[ ] Back to your bunk
[ ] Double-check your First Aid Kit


I hated this update, then I liked it, then I hated it again but now I'm on speaking terms with it.
[x] Double-check your First Aid Kit

I think Yuuka means by being alive is having friends, actually enjoying life as opposed to running away all the time and keeping distant.

But it's interesting when Kogasa said "Not yet", it might mean a plan is forming in her head to finally resolve things.
[x] Double-check your First Aid Kit

Normaly, I'd be all for waking up everybody in the most abrupt and loud way possible, but this is probably the only chance we'll get to take a look at whatever it is Yuuka gave us.
[x] Double-check your First Aid Kit
So, Yuuka is disappointed in us. How unfortunate.

[X] Double-check your First Aid Kit

And since I missed your question before, I like the title.

Or she meant living means relying on others, and we should gather forces and strike back. Or she meant living means fighting, and we should man up and roll that bitch already. Or she meant living means eating pizza, and we should have it for every meal. Yuuka is the more annoying kind of crazy, where you speak in brief, opaque riddles and make people guess what you mean; trying to guess what her advice means is a study in headache generation.
[X] Double-check your First Aid Kit

Let's see what yuka gave us.

I loved your description of eating pizza, but I like the title "The Game" more...still, it's your story, and I won't complain no matter what you call it (well, perhaps some exceptions, but you get my meaning)

Also a good point, since it seems Sanae's done some information spreading to certain corners. So some help would be nice, at the very least in terms of evening the playing field for a final showdown.
Going to be busy most of the day, it seems, so keep voting.
[x] Back to your bunk
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[✙] Double-check your First Aid Kit

It occurs to me, says the old man in his chair, that I have a lot of things left unfinished.

Old men make no sense.

But this imaginary-in-the-head old man

imaginary-in-the-head is different from imaginary-real, you see? I see.

He makes a point.

I have a lot of things.

What do I have? Let us see, lettuce sea.

A professional always keeps her tools on hand.

I step into the Audio Room, and shut the door. I drag over a large table, one of the chairs, and gently empty out my bag That's a good one onto it, item by item.

Or as much of it as I know about.

Two green metal eggs

One marker

One shaker marked " 'Pepper' "

One shaker marked "Pepper"

One shaker marked "Salt"

Two pieces of chalk

Three little bean pods. Or something. They feel warm. I think these were Tall Red's gift. ...But weren't there only two? Whatever.

Some sheets of "plastic wrap"

A spool of clear wire ("19 strand 5 meter")

Two braided packets of firecrackers

A bulky cardboard box with a crossed pair of thick, short red lines on it, and some foreign letters

A package of "exploding cigars." What's a cigar?

A thing with a metal tube and a squeezy thing and it makes a flame at the other end!


...I've seen about a third of this stuff before.

And compared to last time I tried emptying this thing, there's about seventeen things missing.

But what good is a bag of tricks that doesn't live up to its name?

Everything's a surprise.

See, it's tricky~

I'm proud of it.

Giving my bag an affectionate little pat, I replace the items inside it, flip the table up to balance on one corner, and carefully balance the chair against it.

See, I know how to plant seeds too.

Satisfied with my handiwork, I turn off the lights, and carefully shut the door as I leave the room.

As I step out the door, I hear talk talk talking chatter very softly out over in the main room.

Somebody's up.

That would be Pink Copy and Blue Copy.

But somebody is also awake.

The voices are too soft to make them out, so I walk quietly into the room.

Chop Clerk Ah, she found her shirt is talking to Pink Copy and Blue Copy, who are actually awake and not up.

You need a trained vocabulary to spot the difference.

They're packing up their supplies and the food, leaving some of the leftovers and some breakfast-ish foods.

Blue Copy gives me a wave, and Chop Clerk looks over her shoulder, having noticed the gesture.

"Oh. Kabuki, was it? You, uh..."

She actually blushes for a moment, but smooths over her expression quickly.

"...Um, definitely helped keep the party going last night. I haven't had such a good time in a while."

She bows slightly, and Blue Copy and Pink Copy wink at each other behind her back.

what the hell did i do last night?

i have no idea, I got just as smashed as you

yeah, that hangover's going to

hold on a sec

...i should be moaning unhappily in a little ball on the couch

i was wondering about that

you didn't do this?



Someone was crying (lord)

I don't think I'm going to get anything more out of Chop Clerk and the Copygirls, so I smile, nod, and let them get on with their work.

I sit back down where I'd dozed off, next to White Opening.

She snickers in her sleep, and grins unpleasantly.

Did I ever have dreams I could grin like that about?

It's been a while.

Countless years of existence in various forms and parts, and six months sends it all to shit.

Fuck you, green girl.

I sigh, and lean back on the couch.

I just



for just a few minutes


a few

"Hey, 'Kabuki.' We're going in just a few. Wake up."

Somebody's talking.

The room's brighter.

Must be a bit later.


Unidentified vessel detected dead ahead, distance 3 inches and holding.

I can hear her breathing and the sound of other people trying not to giggle.

The edges of something very lightweight sit on top of my head.

[ ] Amaze!
[ ] Entrance!
[ ] Captivate!


The bag of tricks does not change color or contain moon women.
A freaking flame thrower. That's a pretty cool Bag of Holding you got there.

[x] Captivate!

What are we all but actors pon' this grand stage of life?
[X] Entrance!

>>The bag of tricks does not change color or contain moon women.

But will it threaten to stab us?
>Someone was crying (lord)
At first, I was certain this was Gengetsu or Mugetsu in our dreams, but now I'm less sure.

>See, it's tricky~
Cursed bag of holding? More like awesome bag of holding.

[X] Amaze!
I'd rather be amazing than captivating or entrancing. It's a more general skill.
[X] Amaze!
....It's just one of those lighters

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Also, I forgot to mention three other things in the Bag:

One bag of 15 marbles

Three twisted, sharp pieces of palm-sized scrap steel that always rest with at least one point facing up

One empty glass pop bottle with screw-on metal cap; label reads "Now with less more sugar!"

>A freaking flame thrower.
<No witty comment.>

[ ] Entrance!
Don't forget we have 2 (two) grenades on us too.
>Two green metal eggs
Oh, is that what those are?
File 125584385566.jpg - (8.35KB, 400x400 , grenade.jpg) [iqdb]
Well, I can't really think of anything else that fits the description so well.
File 125584391671.jpg - (11.08KB, 306x267 , caltrops.jpg) [iqdb]

Aww i am fuckin' disappointed now.
[X] Amaze!
Called for [x] Amaze!

Writing some time tomorrow~
>One shaker marked " 'Pepper' "
>One shaker marked "Pepper"
>One shaker marked "Salt"
I'm wondering why she has 2 shakers of pepper?
One's not "Pepper", it's " 'Pepper' ". It's a subtle difference.

I was wondering if I was the only one that figured that's what they were. The funny thing is, because of lack of knowledge of the outside world, a grenade would be a devastating weapon against pretty much anyone in Gensokyo... EXCEPT Sanae, since she's one of the few that would actually probably recognize it. That and I half expect our dear crazy umbrella girl to blow herself apart on accident.

Don't worry, she'll get better.
I know. I'm surprised nobody said anything.

And you bring up a very interesting point that I'd thought of for my next story.
...I hate forgetting to sage. But since it's up here, then I might as well capitalize on the damage done:
Update coming in 1-2 hours, hopefully. Don't touch that dial.
>grenade would be a devastating weapon against pretty much anyone in Gensokyo
"Look, this is an egg for an outsider's steel birds just pull out that ring and a new one will be born in a few seconds."
Anyone else think of a better way to trick a touhou into using it?
That could work, but it would also require our dear Kogasa to actually know what they are and how they work.
Which, by here calling them green metal eggs, I doubt she does.
Maybe she thinks they're phoenix eggs. makes sense in a strange way.

...you are now picturing a baby mokou hatching out of a grenade.


I assume one's 'pepper' spray.
Give me another half hour or so.

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[❢] Amaze!


Oh, I see.

It could be worse.

They could be drawing on me. I never saw the point in that, and it looks kind of stupid.

Or at least, drawing silly faces and black eyes is stupid. You should draw something clever and small. Something that gets them in a tizzy, not angry, or made fun of.

Not immediately angry.

But that's for pranking.

Counter-pranking is trickier, and to do it and come out clearly on top is harder still. You need to be a master at jackassery to be successful.

Or you can come at it from the sides, where it isn't expected.

Like me~

It appears I'm going to have to spend a little to make a little. It should come out equal, at worst.

i'll need your help with this

already been on it

I reach behind my head with both hands, yawning and streeeeeetching Eyes closed, that's the clincher, and bring them back down, sweeping something off my head Spend a little~ and bringing it back down to my lap as I slowly open my eyes, blinking blearily at the wide-eyed faces before me.

Ah, there's the rush~

Black Hand of Slap is riiiiiight in my face, with a pack of playing cards in her hand. Her eyes are the widest of all, and one hand is still frozen, outstretched and holding a card above my forehead.

It feels good to one-up those who have one-upped against us.

This is definitely paying off.

I look back and forth at the other three ghosts behind Black Hand of Slap. White Opening has gotten over her initial surprise, and is grinning. The other ones are still still. No bowl of fruit and no illegal alcohol.

"Oh. ...Hey. 's it morning already?" I say, mumbling my words a bit as though freshly awoken and not very awake.

Little Red is next to recover, quickly trying to assume a casual, I-totally-expected-that air about herself.

"Uh, yes," she says. "And we're leaving soon, so--"

"Oh yeah, yeah. Sorry," I say a bit sheepishly, and then leap up off the couch Spend a little more and keep that hand with something on it perfectly balanced.

A little bit. Not a full refund, but I'll cash in soon enough.

"Lemme hit the bathroom first, and I'll be ready to go." With that, I get up, stumble stumble stagger like you're asleep or half-dead I've been both before and move to the bathroom.

Juuust before I go into the hall, I come to a stop. Pause.

They can see a question mark over my head, I'm sure of it.

I look confusedly down at my right hand. Wher' that come from? says my thought bubble.

But it doesn't~

I look a little bit upset. "Oh, man... again? I thought I'd stopped doing that."

Confusion, now. That's Surprise's sister. She has lots of sisters and a rather large extended family.

Exactly as many people in it as you can think of, in fact.

It's good, because now they've snapped out of it and are moving. They're all still watching me, though.

I shuffle back around to face them. Clear eyes, fully alert, pleasant smile, very not asleep.

"I guess you can have this back, then," I tell them sweetly.

And I lob the house of cards.

It's like a one-two punch. Absolutely beautiful, and the me-me throughout me by definition enjoys the ensuing rush, as do I. My friend gets a chuckle, too.

Pinkblue Madness lets out a squawk of panic Huh, that was actually pretty tall as she dives forward to catch the still-intact structure, only to trip over Black Hand of Slap, who also lunges for it, probably wanting to preserve her creation.

The pair of them end up tumbling to the floor together as the house lands upon them, bursting apart on contact.

I resume my interrupted trip to the bathroom, entering the curved hall as I take a


And I keep on walking.


Yes, this will be a good day.


We fly through the air, and I'm just able to keep pace with all of them, this time.

After apologizing to me, the ghost sisters and White Opening (not one of the sisters, it seems. No cinders, no mice, so she's really much better off) grabbed their by-now-packed things and we took off Extra Bird already went ahead, I guess flying over Golden Lands, over the village beware of hakutaku trespassers will be violated teehee laugh with friends But they still reflexively look around them as if to make sure she can't hear them whoosh over we go over this one more time no I haven't

and I see the Blue Fairy and Curly Fairy on the lake and I wish I could be that carefree.

I'm me me I he all of us none of that carefree and we never have been except for when we do what we love best.

I still love that the best but on most days I think I'll settle for not dying because the ink gets in your clothes.

Red ink is the mark of the deceased: write it on the ground in shaky letters, but don't be obvious, no, that's too much to ask.

It sounds like something easy but I bet I think I don't want to test it out

But I will if I have to

I'd never do it myself but she'll happily oblige me


If I want to suffer blood loss for a silly experiment

--because, see, that's where it all comes back, is: Wouldn't the euphoria and dizziness keep you from being clear and obvious?

Or are you sharp like a knife?

I bet the knife people aren't bleeding out.

Joke's on them, they don't have free ink.

Or maybe it's the kind of person you are?

Who(ooo) are you? (ooh-ooh)

I'm all of every kind of me.

And I don't like to die.

Don't think about ink. It's not good.

It stains. Too much ink and it sticky stick sticks and you get thought-sick.

I'm trying to be healthy.

So maybe I shouldn't be approaching the up and up, then.

But I feel better when they remind me grab me have to take ahold of me calm down calm down we're not going to ow lunasa grab her hands but won't that ow she'll think we're shut up and do it dammit hold still listen we're not going there we're going to an outlying river nearby okay what oh wait that's right.

I'm sorry.

I'm very sorry.

I straighten my clothes and fall a little further behind.

That's not sick, that's only to be expected.

Six months of running and dying makes one a little jumpy near the hunter's house.



I don't feel any better.


Ashamed of my earlier panic, I stay in back back but keeping pace not a race still not eager to come in first but White Opening falls back a bit and keeps me company.

She smiles.

Nicely warmly like a good neighbor and I know I'm in good hands.

Something seems familiar.

I don't remember it.

Only a feeling. But nothing surfaces, and I shrug and my shoulder movement sends it flying.

I smile back a little, and I think they sort of understand.


I'm all right with that.

Over we fly the river it goes under the neath and along the neath and in its place in bed. All day in bed except when it rains.

It gets out of bed because it has company.

Rivers are lazy like that.

And then a hole in the cliff face.

Oh. There's a cliff indeed.

Small, not big. Plenty rocky, and tall enough. Little plants, hide on the edges and ledges. Maybe you can be unstable and hold lifesaving medicine someday!

It's a well known fact that valuable medicine is only top of mountains.

This is because Nature hates humans, and wants them to work for it, or more preferably, die trying.

Shinto priests don't talk about it, but I've been around long enough.

We enter the rocky hole and reduce speed, water louder now with echo below.

There are lights deeper in.

It should be warmer, but it isn't. Not as much as it should be.

Kappa caps show themselves and little people underneath and they meet and greet and here's our identification White Opening did mine up for me, because how does an oni know what identifications is? and oh hey yeah, they say, we're going to the show as well.

They smile and nod, and off we go further down the tunnel, electric lights at regular intervals in sturdy, secure metal wireframe fixtures.

On and on we go.

are we there yet


how about now



The river flows into a large, large cavern and there are buildings her and there and I can see large, artificial entryways into connecting caves. More buildings-- squat, choppy things; did they hack these out of the rock? --and more little people in hats abound. Blue is not the only color, but it's the most frequent choice of clothing color. More often than not it's variations on blue.

Maybe not out of conformity, but camouflage?

I know I'd notice something wearing pink and green spirals swimming along.

As expected of the kappa.

We fly over to the left, straight a few, right, and enter a cavern wider than it is high, and it's clearly our stage.

I can tell by its stage-y-ness.

And the seats.

And Extra Bird setting up speakers and adjusting the microphone positions.

And I guess maybe from the large banner strung above the entry to the cavern saying, in huge writing: PRISMRIVERS, LIVE IN CONCERT TONIGHT!

But that'd have been too easy.

We alight upon the ground-inside-more-ground, and I stay there for a few moments.

taptap dance on my shoulder

I turn and see White Opening there. She gestures at the departing sisters, saying, "You go us?"

They seem to be heading for a rock wall with some windows and a doorway cut into it, marked "Performer Housing 1."

That was a little odd.

"I'm sorry, what?"

Maybe I haven't met this one before.

"You go us to ready?" she elaborates. After a moment she seems to remember something, and points at the busily working figure of Extra Bird. "Or you go work with Chirpy? Your job, right?"

Then she grins slyly.

"Or we skip and you come me; show many people, many place."

[ ] Barbershop Quartet
[ ] Night Song~
[ ] White Album


After thinking on it a while, I decided to keep it as "The Game."
[x] Night Song~
{X} Night Song~
[x] Night Song~
[x] Night Song~

Damn, it must take some skill to be able to swipe a house of cards off your head and then carry it around, all while managing to keep it standing.
[X] White Album

Kogasa's not a girl who misses much. (Doo doo doo doo doo doo, oh yeah)

Plus I want to know why Kana's reverted to caveman-speak.
Something I noticed in the latest update: She refers to Lunasa by name as opposed to a nickname.

I suspect whatever Kogasa did to herself while in flight might have affected something.
[x] White Album
If you're talking about the stream-of-consciousness bit during her freakout (okay, the more stream-of-consciousness bit), I'm pretty sure that's the bits of the Prismrivers arguing among themselves.

"calm down calm down we're not going to ow" "lunasa grab her hands" "but won't that ow" "she'll think we're" "shut up and do it"

Something like that.

Entirely incorrect.
[X] Night Song~

I thought she was making fun of either our heroine's outfit (oni), or the kappa's speech style...kind of hard to tell, as we don't know how kappa speak yet in this rendition of gensokyo.
[x] Night Song~
The thing is, almost every time she speaks to us it's in some way different.
File 125598667281.jpg - (1.67MB, 2481x2700 , Extra Bird\'s Extra Outfit.jpg) [iqdb]
[▓] Night Song~

A certain dark look resurfaces in my mind.

I think I know what I need to do.

If looks could kill, we would all be shooting laser beams out of our eyes. Nobody would ever get any work done.

And that's why we can't have nice things.

"Actually, you're right," I tell White Opening. "I'm supposed to go help out with the setting-up."

"Aha," she says, and nods. Grin-grin. "Hokay. See later, then. Have work hard!"

With that, and a little wave, White Opening skips off to follow the other poltergeists.

that was different

yeah, i was kind of creeped out

sounded like a foreigner

and not the brightest one at that


she'll probably be better in an hour

I go over to where Extra Bird is pulling out a cart of sound equipment and adding onto an already-established little pit near the seats, but still a ways back from the stage proper. "I hope this counts as early," I offer, by way of a greeting.

She looks over at me, and raises her eyebrows in surprise.

Ah, a little spark, there.

"Eh? Oh! Hi, Kabuki~ No, I didn't expect you this early, but so much the better~ Come give me a hand! I might actually have some free time before the show starts, at this rate~"

I help her unload the consoles which seem to be more for some kind of special lighting effects or something. Maybe the light show I heard mentioned before? I don't know what that would involve.

Aside from lights, maybe. Just a wild guess, there.

She hands me a sheet after we're done, and asks me to walk her through the instructions for setting up "laser emitters."

I do so, and one long and painstakingly precise installation later, she sits up with satisfaction, and tells me to follow her.

We walk over to a little door by the stage with no handle or knob. I'm about to ask how it opens when she presses a little button set into the wall by it.



And the door slides away to reveal a little room. We step over a metal grate or something, and into the room.

It's very very small.

I try not to think about the cell about this size that I've been kept in before.

It didn't have lights, or a small panel of buttons on the wall, or carpet, and it damn for sure didn't have this flaky, warbly, pointless music coming in from... somewhere. Neither did it start humming and feel like it was moving.

But it was nearly this size, and that's all that matters. Everything else only just barely manages to cancel it out.

Extra Bird looks back at me, then does a double-take, looking a little concerned. She's wearing some kind of blue jacketish thing and a skirt, and it whips a little as she turns.

"...Are you all right, Kabuki? You look sort of tense~"

I shake my head. Nails are biting into my palms. Trying not to grit my teeth.

She looks around for a moment and then nods sympathetically. "Ahh... you're claustrophobic? I'm sorry, I wouldn't have brought you down here if I'd known~ We'll be using the larger service elevator on the way back up, anyway... This one was just a little closer to where we were, so just hang on a little longer, okay~?"

She squeezes my shoulder and smiles.




gentle bounce


The door slides open again, into a small warehouse of sorts. A very large storage room, perhaps. As we leave that damnable moving room, I see her pull a little metal key out of the panel of buttons, which I hadn't noticed.

Machines and equipment and microphones and all kinds of things I don't even have names for are resting in here, all neatly labeled. I notice that each of the labels has a picture of sorts by it. That at least explains how she knew where to find what she needed, I guess.

I pull out of thinking and up short as I nearly bump into Extra Bird, who's frowning at one of the labels Thank you so much that's not nearly as decorated as the first.

That same annoying music is playing, though.

Carts get pushed in, we follow, key goes in, button gets pushed, doors close

...wow, this is faster than the other one.


Quicker than we went down, we're up again. We exiting from the wall opposite the entrance to the concert hall where all of us had entered earlier. It's a longer trip over to where we were working, like just like Extra Bird said. We leave her cart by the "service elevator," and the two of us together take speaker carts over.

Once we've deposited them back by her control center, Extra Bird starts back, but only goes a few paces before exclaiming, "Oh! I almost forgot~"

She comes back over, and digs a folded piece of paper out of her blue jacket-thing, and hands it to me. "This is where I want you to set these up, okay~? I'll be busy with the fog machines, and they can be kind of tricky, so work on this. It's easy, so you should be able to do it fine~"

I don't think that was an insult.

Well, I hope not.

After showing me how to wire up the speakers, and which cables went in where, and what those plug into, she pats me on the back, and goes back to fetch the final cart.

I take a look at the paper she handed me, and unfold it. It's a very well-drawn diagram, obvious even to one who hasn't seen many such things before. Neat, precise illustrations, an overall map of the hall, and clearly marked points where the speakers need to be placed. There are even small illustrations detailing how they should be wired.

There's no text anywhere, however, making it seem like a cryptic sheet of instructions at first glance.

I do spot a few points where something has been erased or furiously scribbled over, usually right next to one of the more detailed drawings.

One of the scribbled-over parts hasn't quite obliterated whatever lay underneath. By holding the paper at various angles to the light and peering at it, I can see part of what looks almost like kanji. A few of them, in fact. But they aren't the same sort of thing. I can see little circles in one of them, and there aren't many kanji that have circles.

How strange.

Shrugging, I begin the long, laborious process of unloading, setting up, and then plugging in the large black boxes, following the diagram to the (non-existent) letter.


"It's perfect~!"

Extra Bird trills this proclamation happily as she flits about from speaker to speaker, and claps her hands together.

"I've never been done this early, before!"

"How early is that?" I ask. I lost track of the time a while ago.

She looks at one of those watch things that go on the wrist. Not on a chain Like a certain going-to-be-lungless bitch or something.

"Just about one-thirty~" she announces, and looks back up at me. "Want to go get something to eat~?"

[ ] Sorry babe, I gots ta chill with ma polter-posse.
[ ] Sho' thang, Mama Bird.


Reading stories on THP right before going to sleep makes for strange dreams.
[x] Sho' thang, Mama Bird.
[ ] Sho' thang, Mama Bird.
[X] Sho' thang, Mama Bird.

> Not on a chain [i]Like a certain going-to-be-lungless [b]bitch[b/][i/] or something.

Sounds like Sukia. But I may be wrong. Seems like Kogasa has a bone to pick with someone. Besides greeny of course.

I believe she was talking about Sakuya, since right before that she was talking about a wrist watch as opposed to a pocket one that a Sakuya uses.

I suspect that Kogasa got a particularly cold steel welcome from Sakuya when she went around the mansion.
[ ] Sho' thang, Mama Bird.

It sounded like her entire scarlet devil adventure didn't go well, sakuya just being one part of it.
[X] Sho' thang, Mama Bird.
[X] Sho' thang, Mama Bird.

We went through all the trouble of helping her out, it would just be rude to decline her offer, now wouldn't it?
>and there aren't many kanji that have circles.
There aren't any, as far as I know. Kana do, yeah, but not kanji.
Did someone write instructions in Korean?

[+] Sho' thang, Mama Bird.
That's what I thought, too, but it'd be hard to mistake kanji for hangul.
File 125607003334.jpg - (21.76KB, 732x356 , It could mean \'out for lunch\' or \.jpg) [iqdb]
[♬] Sho' thang, Mama Bird.

All work and no food makes me a hungry youkai.

What better judge of food-providing places than a restaurant owner?

"Sure, sounds good!" I say, and accept her offer.

"Great, let me just go leave a note for them, and then we can go!"

...A note?

All right, I'm intrigued.

Extra Bird pulls out a sheet of paper and puts pencil to paper, and pauses for a moment, then laughs nervously, quietly, mainly to herself. Then she doodles out two smiley faces, one with a winged hat and one with little horns. From them, she draws an arrow to a small person who wears the sort of hat which kappa seem to favor that, and who also holds a plate with a piece of cartoony meat on it.

Grabbing a pair of headphones, she sets the 'note' on her main console (Or maybe not main, but she was fiddling with something similar-looking more often than the others, last time) and the headphones on top to pin it down.

She turns and flutters up into the air, wings beating. "All right, let's go~!" she calls out.

I follow behind her, and we zip and soar through the air of the caverns.

Not many other people besides us, up here. I notice that most of the kappa seem content with walking. Maybe flying underground is a tourist thing?

I wonder if my kimono is garish enough to qualify as tourist clothing. Needs more loud flowers, I decide, so I'm okay.

"So..." I say, after a few minutes. "Do you have some place in mind?"



Then, um.

"...Have you been here before?"

"First time~."

...Okay. This is not what I expected.

"Do you know where we're going?"

"Someplace that smells good~"

It appears I have vastly overestimated my companion's food-selection process.

"How are you going to know where--"

"There we go~!"

Extra Bird banks down, skirt fluttering as she lands in the middle of a street.

We seem to have entered one of the busier, more commercial areas of this place... what was it called? Mizukan?

Signs are set up here and there for various businesses, and wow it smells good.

She walks ahead of me, eyes closed, gently sniff-sniffing at the air. I figure it's best not to interrupt her, so I wordlessly steer her out of the way of kappa on carts Where are the horses? and a few on some kind of metal-legged walking something. Somethings. And occasionally, one who just isn't watching.

There's a constant, light trickle of the rush coming into me as we walk through the area. Minuscule, but constant. I assume it's due to our appearance. This place must not see visitors very often.



like a dog... bird... thing.

"Aha!" shouts Extra Bird, all of a sudden.

Ya got somethin', girl? Go geddit!

A grin creeps over her face, and her path takes her to a building marked "Chinese Restaurant ~ They Kappa Food!"

Certainly an odd name, but it's an interesting change of venue from paytza and 'sandwiches.'

We head in, and are greeted by an enthusiastic kappa child who leaps to his feet and is falling all over himself to show us to a seat.

Extra Bird doesn't seem very worried about the menu. I don't think she can read--

I look back at my own menu

like any other menu, following the tried and true

item - description

item - description

item - description


And I have an Idea.

But first I will need to Ask some Questions.

Not yet, though.

--but she seems to already know what she wants.

Exhibit 1: she hasn't even picked up her menu.

I'm buried in mine, but my friend tells me what she's doing.

I decide on beef fried rice (she orders a few spring rolls. Maybe she's a light eater?), and the kid scurries off to the kitchen after taking our menus. I hear a


voice from the kitchen, confirming the orders, and then speaking to somebody else in quieter tones.

It sounds...

Not familiar.

There's the touch of something I know on it.

Where have I heard that?

I shrug and put it out of my mind. I've had stranger things happen to me, and enough strange things makes everything else a little off, sometimes.

If I intently investigated every half-familiar voice I've heard, I'd...

I'd have a very strange hobby.

"...meet the Prismrivers, Kabuki?"

Ah, I'm being talked to.

I look back, as though recalling the past. "Well, I happened to make their acquaintance one day. One of them laid me out flat because I didn't see her. Heh, it was kind of embarrassing... I haven't really done much except wander here and there all over Gensokyo, recently, and when they heard that, they wanted to make it up, so... yeah, here I am. How about you?"

you're lucky there's no real oni around, because they'd probably punch you

what? i'm telling the truth

you're being misleading and tricking her; they hate that sort of deception

why? there's no malicious intent

doesn't matter, because it's still... 'human'

...i see

Extra Bird leans back in her chair. "Well... I've been feeding them whenever they come back from a concert tour, and plenty other nights besides. They already had a singer, but, well... me and sound, you know? Ah, maybe you don't. I'll tell you later. Anyway, I'd always wanted to help them out, and finally one of them said that..."

She goes on for a while, telling of this and that. How she runs a grilled lamprey stand, the customers, how she used to hunt people but doesn't do that anymore because of a nasty run-in with the hakutaku lady, how she likes to sing, her favorite songs, how long she's worked with the band, the charcoal girl whom she has a crush on (She didn't actually say as much, but it comes out in her expression and choice of words and behavior), and how she wanted to be the singer, but never volunteered, and how interesting it is to be working in a kappa city...

I get the impression that she doesn't get out as much as she used to, and treasures the occasions when she can.

"...and so she'd brought back an entire deer! So I sighed, and smiled, and chopped it up, and-- ah, they're done!"

I look at her strangely for a moment, then look around, and see the curtain to the kitchen part as a girl in green and yellow comes out, humming something in what sounds like Chinese.

She's very much not a kappa.

She's of a far more normal height, and her clothes seem to match her song, but perhaps for their color.

Or her hair.

It's somewhat eye-catching; long, reddish hair, one long part of it tied with single a white ribbon, draped over one shoulder. She's like a walking collection of citrus-ness. It really stands out.

She places out food onto the table, and graces us with a wide, friendly smile. "Is there anything more I can get you?"

I see a few kappa by the counter who appear to be watching us, furiously taking notes.

"We're quite all right, thank you. But, I must say, if this smells half as wonderful as you look, I might come back again soon."

I turn to raise an eyebrow at Extra Bird for saying something so... so... trying to be charming. Cheesily.

But when I do, she's looking at me.

wait, was

hold on


i said that?

sure did

what the hell

where did that come from?

dunno, but she's got nice legs

and stop overreacting

I barely keep myself from looking at her legs. How can my friend even see them, anyway?

trade secret

uncooperative bastard

so harsh~

I try not to blush, but this Orange girl just takes it in stride, grinning.

"Oh, you're too kind! I'm just helping this restaurant get going, and showing them the ropes. Chinese cuisine is my specialty!" She adds a little wink at the end.

That explains why a human is working with-- no, that's no human. Kappa don't hang around humans too much, do they? Maybe she's a youkai of some sort, then.

Extra Bird assures her that we're fine before I say anything more, and we're flashed another smile from Orange before she trots off back to the kitchen. I can hear something like a lesson being given as the kappa scurry in after her and begin asking questions.

I turn back to look at my lunch companion, who giggles to herself and then pretends she hasn't done so.

Okay, so I slipped.

I happen to like that sort of look.

That's not a crime, is it?

...I hope not. I'd be doing hard time if it were.

Hell with it.

The food really does smell good, so I dig in.


I think I really might make good on my earlier comment. It's worth it to come back here. I've never had such delicious Chinese food in all my life. Lives. Some of me and me and I and we never had any, so that's easy to say.

Easy for me.

It was Extra Bird's treat, so she pays for us. The boy working the till was very eager to make sure we had enjoyed the meal, and gave us both a little business cards marked with the name and address of the restaurant and a handful each of these funny little bent cookie things and some mints decorated in what looked suspiciously like danmaku patterns. And even a little box with a handle for my leftovers!

On the slow, lazy flight back, I decided to ask Extra Bird something that had been bugging me for a while.

"I know this sounds maybe a bit rude, but..."

I see her shoulders slump just a tiny bit. I think she knows what's coming.

"...you can't read, can you?"

I can almost hear her teeth grit from here. She doesn't know there's a kicker soon to follow.

"...No. It's kind of obvious after spending a few days around me, I know," she replies, wearily. "Or did Lyrica mention it when she hired you?"

"I kind of guessed on my own, and no, she didn't really say that." Not as such.

I let it stew for a moment.

"...But I'm pretty sure you can read, can't you."

Oh, theeere it is. I can feel it plenty. Reduced, as she's a youkai, but it's there.

Her head whips around, eyes narrowed. "What? No."

A pause.

"Why would you ask me that?"

"Well, It looks like you were trying to make little notes by parts of that diagram you gave me. That really helped a lot, by the way."

Her voice relaxes, but not her posture.

"Oh, that. Ha, yeah. Thank you, Kabuki. But no, I was going to try and make little sketch of something to help elaborate here and there, but I figured you could get it with what I had there."

I think I figured out what makes her seem tense.

The lilt and trill are gone. She's definitely still on guard.

Guard be damned, I'm curious.

"Ah, okay."


"Only I could see what definitely looked like writing, but it wa---"


I'm pinned against a section of rocky cavern wall faster than I can blink.

Hold on.

No, I'm... not?

Extra Bird's right arm is slammed against the rock over my shoulder, apparently having been pulled off course by my own hand, which grips hers by the wrist.

Her left hand is leveled at my throat and damn, when the hell did those nails get so long? And clawlike? And sharp?

Her eyes are wide, her expression dead serious.

"You saw nothing," she hisses.

I don't think she's noticed, yet.

Maybe the shock is making me giddy. Or the unpleasant knock on the back of my head when she slammed me against the rock jostled some stupid loose.

Either way, I frown, seeming to mull it over for a few seconds, and then shake my head.

"Nope. Pretty sure I saw something."

"Are you that eager to die, Kabuki?"

Extra Bird has definitely got some extra issues.

I take the arm in my wrist, and


a blur of motion

and now she's backed up against me, right arm held behind her just so that moving it any further would make things painful.

What the hell?

did you do that?

i might've helped you a little

a little?

you have a better plan?

i've got no plan at all, actually


do something an oni would do

like what

wear tigerskin and eat people?

you know, there's a funny song they have ab

ooh, i got something

This had better work.

They like games and bets and stuff, right?

I should get an award for this.

"Look, I can see this is something you're touchy about. Tell you what. Let's play a little game. I'll trade you one spooky dark secret for another, and then I'll let you go. Sound fair?"

Extra Bird struggles against me, for a bit, and finally slumps against me. She half-turns in my grip, and narrows her eyes. "Fucking hardly, but whatever, fine. You first."


"I'm not really an oni."

She blinks, and looks at me in incredulity.

I know she wants to accuse me of lying, but an oni doesn't lie. And yet---

Spin, gears, spin!

It's a little funny.

"So," I prompt her. "Now it's your tu---"

"I can read and write Korean, all right?! There, I said it! We're even! Now fucking let me go!"

I'm rather unprepared for how...


...this is, but true to my word as the not-an-oni that I am, I let her go.

She yanks herself away from me, and spins around to face me, one unpleasant clawlike... claw pointed in my face. "Don't tell a fucking soul," she snaps at me, expression a mix of anger and panic. "And neither will I."

After delivering that outburst, Extra Bird zips off ahead, fuming, leaving me to ponder things as I watch her rapidly departing figure.

...that's it?

i guess so

you got ripped off, I think

she seems to think otherwise

some people just have hangups about the most minor things, i guess

I sigh, and brush myself off. My foodbox thingy seems to have not suffered any damage during that, luckily.

And with that, I set off for the concert hall.


All in all, back at the hall.

I think I'm on leave without pay Not getting paid anyway, though so I won't bother Extra Bird right now.

That leaves me with a few options.

[ ] Scurvy Prevention

[ ] Spook Palaver

[ ] Snooze-Partaking


The picture for this was originally going to be a picture of a plateful of fried rice with the filename, "The best Chinese invention since paper.jpg"

Yes, and she realized as much.
Motherfucking THP and its motherfucking mishandling of filenames.

Should read:
>It could mean 'out for lunch' or 'eaten by kappa'.jpg
File 125607039597.jpg - (178.30KB, 800x526 , The best Chinese invention since paper.jpg) [iqdb]
And while I'm at it, here's the rice.
Oh man, an awesome writefag and and drawfag? You are a man of many talents, my friend.

[x] Scurvy Prevention
[X] Spook Palaver
[x] Scurvy Prevention
[X] Scurvy Prevention
>They Kappa Food
A John Dies at the End reference? Are you me?

>The best Chinese invention since paper.jpg
I'm no historian, but I'm guessing the rice came before the paper.

[X] Scurvy Prevention
Fuck scurvy. Seriously.
[x] Scurvy Prevention

Extra Bird is kind of a douche.
I must say, I particularly enjoy the little conversations our dear little Kogasa has with (I'm assuming here) her umbrella.

[x] Scurvy Prevention
>"...and so she'd brought back an entire deer!

oh ho, I see what you did there

I accidentally the whole deer.
[+] Spook Palaver
So, Mokou is Charcoal Girl? Someone likes the Mokou/Mystia doujins~
File 125614975896.jpg - (21.32KB, 600x452 , perfectly innocuous.jpg) [iqdb]
[橙] Scurvy Prevention

I don't think I'll head back just yet. Instead I'll head back.

Dorms, restaurant.

Draw the lines, it's easy to follow.

Is a train of thought a freight train or a passenger train, I wonder?

And if the person is wild and flighty, is it a runaway train?

Trains on the brain.




All aboooooard

Next stop, Mizukan Business District.

That's what the card says, anyway.

Ghosts are preparing for concerts and doing their best, and Extra Bird is angry warmly, so I shall wait until everyone is finished.

Besides, there's plenty of time until the concert starts, and we already finished the setup process, so...

I have some time.

Time is flying, and so shall I.

I take a


into air

And I keep on walking.

Flying is walking with magic in three dimensions.

This is a lie, but it helps you prepare for what it really is.

And what it is, is: tricky, if you don't have a knack for it.


My mind is made up.

Orange seemed like a decent sort, and now...

Now, I'm apparently following up on some kind of weird pass I made at her.

...What the hell am I thinking?

This is insane.

Also incredibly embarrassing.

and yet i don't see you turning back

yeah i've been wondering about that part, too


i'm allowed to compliment someone on their food, dammit

of course you are

how can you be such a bastard and yet be agreeing with me?

years of practice

With a sound of resigned disgust, I shake my head, and swing down over the larger cavern of Mizukan's rows and rows of businesses. I really don't know how big this is supposed to be compared to other kappa cities, but it seems well-sized to me. Maybe twice as large as the human's village, but only because much of it is spread out, just a few buildings per cavern.

This area is, of course, one of the exceptions.

I run into a problem almost immediately upon starting: I have no idea where the hell I am, and I don't want to attract any more attention. I'm already an oni tourist, flying around. No need to make it worse.

Since I can't recall exactly where this place was, I'm about to try doing what Extra Bird did, and follow my nose there.


After the second time I bonk into one of those damnable pointy hanging rock things, I drift wearily down to a rooftop, clutching my aching head, and rest for a little bit

Asking for directions is looking more and more attractive a prospect at this rate.

Sighing, I get up, looking out over the other rooflines, and get ready to hop down into the street below--


Problem solved.

Three or four rows beyond mine, I see the familiar citrus ensemble up on another rooftop.

She appears to be curled over backwards and holding herself up with one hand on the ridgeline of the roof.

[ ] Investigate
[ ] Observe

There is a terrible shortage of decent Orange pictures, and I'll be damned if I start posting pictures of fruit once I run out.

Mitsumoto's series, specifically, but what kind of heartless monster wouldn't like that?

Yes, but it wasn't introduced to the west before paper

I'm flattered, but I can't get much crazier than that with my drawings.
But I'll be happy to whip something up if someone wants to see what I mean by a certain shape, design, floor layout, whatever.
Just don't expect amazing things.
[x] Investigate
[X] Observe
When I saw the picture the first thing I thought was Blaine the Mono from the Dark tower series.
[X] Investigate
[x] Investigate
[X] Observe

gather intelligence before leading an assault into uncharted territory.
File 125623671771.jpg - (82.32KB, 760x760 , don\'t try this at home kids.jpg) [iqdb]
[⌕] Investigate

Well, how's that for...



No, let's try that again.

Just the person I wanted to see~

Ah, there we go.

With a smile on my lips Happier than I should be

an ache on my head Hurts less than it should

and a spring in my stepHopeful as I should be




lather rinse repeat

until I reach my destination

(ding ding Now Arriving)

I'm a building down from hers. She's doing these strange exercises on the rooftop of They Kappa Food! Saw the sign just before I jumped so I take a look around, geting an idea of where this place is in relation to the overall district layout Just in case, of course and committing it to memory.

Scene....... ☑

Subject....... ☐

The Orange girl is still in the same position as before: propping her entire body up with just her left hand, she stays stock-still Except live- or market; they're never still, but she is in that contorted pose. Her lower half curls backwards, legs suspended over her head, slippered toes only a finger's length from her nose. Her eyes are closed, her breathing is even, and her right arm is stuck out to the side, just as motionless as the rest of her.

Almost the rest of her.

That long, beribboned lock of hair hangs down, a little ways the arm supporting her. It is the only thing moving, and even so, it's barely noticeable but for the white ribbon against dull grey roof making slight movement noticeable.

you know, i used to think the tengu being able to walk around on those crazy single-block geta was tricky


it's impressive


and just think how she could prob

you can shut up now

ain't nothin' you're seeing i'm not seeing

and what's that supposed to mean?

hoh, naaaaaathing

I sigh quietly to myself.


Not quietly enough.

twist, twist, shift, turn of the hand

"Ah, am I already needed back down there, Yotsuji?"

...She still hasn't opened her eyes. Does she think I'm one of the kappa, then?

"I'll hurry back down, but give me just fiiiiive more minutes..."

And she reaches up with her right hand Wasn't she using that for balance? and puuuullllls one leg down and forward and down and further and now her eyes are level with the back of her ankle.

I can't stop staring.

Oddly enough, it doesn't look grotesque at all.



There's a quiet, peaceful smile on her face.

I guess some people have very, very, very different ideas about what's relaxing.

What is relaxing for me, these days?


... ...

Not... a whole lot, when I stop and think about it.

That's a very unpleasant realization.

I suppose not being captured by the time dawn breaks, but... no, that's more of a relief than something relaxing.

Is this what I'm going to be facing for who knows how long?

Running and running and running and hiding and fearing and running and running and hiding and panicking and screaming and suffering and bleeding and crying and dying and waking up a day later broken and mangled and being dragged out and paving a spotted trail of red circles behind me but it disappears fast Her father makes it return to the earth, she says and so I bid my road goodbye and being dragged through the avenue of red sticks and the view from the top I can't see my house from there; I have no home no house and then the invocation and floating a little and a giggle and it's just like pachinko But I don't know what that is you see I put the coin in and I get a new ball and the smile turns into a grin and now the ball's in the hopper and now a new round of the game starts and another giggle and the hand moves and




and the landing and the impact and the bleeding and the pain and the pain and the pain and the pain as I pull myself together


and the healing and I become whole again and this goes on and on and on and on and night after night after night the youkai hides and we spraypaint the grass with a different shade of green.





It will break me.

I know I can last for a while longer, but how many more years?

I don't want to do this for years I don't want to do this at all

This must come to an end.

Her end.

I won't die trying. I won't die doing.

...There is... a very real likelihood I'll die shortly after the doing.

See, I don't think her parents will take kindly to my actions.

Them's the breaks.

Them's the broken.

Me and she, we make they, and they is Them.

The trick is to break the other one first. That's my guess.

I don't know what else could drive her to this, but--

I think?

--I stopped caring about why. Now I just care about not getting driven over.

That must be so.

A touch.

Ice water once again, and the frigid fountain flows furiously


[ ] Banshee curses
[ ] Barghest announces
[ ] Basilisk stares


That's a perfectly wrong answer that's 90% right. The other ten percent you have flipped around.
File 125623704091.jpg - (37.11KB, 400x337 , holy shit I didn\'t know this was actually do.jpg) [iqdb]
Incidentally, you would not believe how much porn I encountered while looking for this update's picture.

I didn't even know there was a contortion fetish.
Is this what we've come to? Really?
[Q] Barghest announces
Try to think of it as a positive thing. Humanity's search for new and exciting things to get off on.

[X] Basilisk stares
Hopefully something that's unlikely to attract attention.
[X] Basilisk stares
[x] Barghest announces
[x] Banshee curses

Always with the undead
[X] Basilisk stares

Barghest: had to look up what this was. is the author from the UK, perhaps?
File 125625041281.jpg - (17.72KB, 300x309 , large bunny.jpg) [iqdb]
>Humanity's search for new and exciting things to get off on.
That's not positive.
That's not positive at all.

Nope. I just read.

That last word in the filename should be "doable."

Fucking mishandlings.

Have an enormous rabbit to make up for this oversight.
[X] Basilisk stares
[+] Basilisk stares
File 125634697849.jpg - (18.96KB, 200x285 , i\'m in a bit of a hurry so pic sucks.jpg) [iqdb]
[磐] Basilisk stares

Silent and unmoving.

Just like how prey should be.

This is disgusting.

But I



being stopped.

I can't start, I can't stop.

Welcome to Limbo.

The grass grows greener and greener a little more every time.

Perhaps it's just so green it's really that relaxing?

No. I know that's not true.

I am frozen like prey. I have been trained to do this unconsciously. Trauma and panic, hand in hand, robbing me of choices.

But it doesn't always happen, I'm certain of that.


Look around you me I I I mostly I.

Bad thoughts littered hither and yon, unpleasant memories unpacked and I've left them all over.

Clean up your room, someone could trip on one and break their neck!

I've left my things all over, and now my neck is snapped

broken spine

So I can't move.

That's not how it works.

But I I I me we my all of some of me we don't tick tock talk to the same drummer of mental metal, not in the land of Gensokyo where bullshit becomes true if enough people believe it hard enough.

And this us we I me my is a lot.

That's still not how it works.

Don't lie to yourself: you'll have nobody to trust, and from there, it's not far to being broken for good.

trauma leads to fear

and living and dying and over and over qualifies, no?


Pray, prey.

Pray it goes away, pray it doesn't stay.

Pray it isn't the bad thing.

"Are you all right?"

Genuine concern in that voice. The voice that sang the voice that



It did might have what I don't know.

It probably did.

And I know this voice, and it is a relief.

Maybe someone heard the prayer.

The kind, worried face is next to my trembling body where I sit still and moving.

I can manage that.

The touch again, but no ice water. Only caring.

Strong, light hands touch my shoulder, and the face is bordered by the long orange tail tagged with white ribbon.

"No." Honesty seems like something she deserves. Up to a point.

How long have I been looking, not seeing?

It seems been a while.

I see again, now, she finishes, uncurls, looks over, step step notices moves a little faster


are you all right

and I just gaze at nothing at her in front of me and nothing is seen in my head but what's in my head.

Memory sticks

and unsticks

Nail it down.



Warmth suffuses me, and I am free.

I look up at Orange and laugh it off.

"Oh, ha ha... sorry. Yes, I'm fine. I was just--" Lost in thought. "--thinking."

She frowns a little, but nods, and looks a little relieved.

"Well, you're an awful hard thinker, then. I was getting worried."

"I'm sorry to have bothered. I didn't mean to interrupt you during your... exercises?"

Orange flashes a smile at me. "Don't worry about it, Kabuki. I was just about done, anyway."


The question must show on my face, because she answers it still-unspoken, with a wink: "Heehee... I have very good hearing, and there's not much chatter in the kitchen. Your friend was talking quite a lot, and you answered to the name a few times."


She smiles a little craftily, and brushes the long sidetail aside. It flops back into place a moment later.

"Ah, would you like to come in, again? You... must have liked the food, it seems."

Am I hearing implications from her?

Or are those from me?

[ ] I seek a man with six fingers on his left hand
[ ] I come in search of "the essence of perfect flavor"


No matter where I post the picture of that fucking enormous rabbit, nobody talks about it or mentions it. I don't know how this is possible. I know I said "Wow, that rabbit is big."
So how could nobody see a huge damned rabbit?
Then it hit me: It's Harvey.
That explained everything.
[x] I come in search of "the essence of perfect flavor"
I think the Internet is, as always, to blame for this. Run across enough photoshops of breasts infested with maggots and harlequin babies, and "enormous rabbit" seems like a welcome return to the status quo.

[X] I seek a man with six fingers on his left hand
More flirting with Orange, please.
Yeah, that's pretty much it.
Also, a Rabbit of Unusual Size fails to impress after having watched Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail numerous times in my youth.
Whoops, forgot my vote.

[+] I seek a man with six fingers on his left hand
Harvey? Really? It's like you want me to fall in love.

[X] I seek a man with six fingers on his left hand
Orange will have to do for now, though.
[X] I seek a man with six fingers on his left hand

When you've seen the image a hundred times, it kind of loses it's effect.
[X] I seek a man with six fingers on his left hand
Son of a bitch. It should have been "right hand."

I was fed false information, but such is life.

That was my other theory, but the pooka one is cooler.
>Rabbit of Unusual Size
I just got finished watching Princess Bride, entirely unintentionally, and it didn't hit me until now why that phrase seemed close to familiar.
[+] I seek a man with six fingers on his left hand
File 125640394946.jpg - (33.75KB, 658x569 , fuck year.jpg) [iqdb]
[∀] I seek a man with six fingers on his left hand

I liked the comparison with a cluttered room and kogasa's broken mind
File 125643774333.jpg - (633.71KB, 1916x2379 , Technically correct is no excuse for being wrong.jpg) [iqdb]
[ⅵ] I seek a man with six fingers on his left right hand

What do we have here?

Smuggled contraband: insinuations, innuendo, and implied meanings!

I don't think I care how or who or what smuggled this in.

But it seems it never reached the evidence room.

does that make me a customs officer, then?

i think that makes you lazy


am i getting fired, then?

no, not at all

remember: you're here forever

i'm going to start a union if this keeps up

cry harder

"It was," I answer. "But then on the way back, it occurred to me that I hadn't paid my compliments to the chef directly! That was downright inexcusable, so I came back here to remedy this terrible accident."

Orange giggles at this, and has a seat next to me on the tiled rooftop.

"Well, then... thank you very kindly, Kabuki. I'd be lying if I didn't say this chef was feeling pleasantly complimented, indeed."



did you notice that she's gone straight to using your name plainly?

well, yeah; i never gave a family name

but even then, no formality

either she's planning something or you're one smooth operator

can't you let a girl dream?

gosh you're right! how dare i look out for your well-being

why are you doing this, anyway? don't get me wrong, i'm happy to watch--

not voyeurism if it's a mirror, huh?

--but this sort of came out of nowhere


i don't really know

it doesn't feel wrong, though

i guess i haven't done this sort of thing in a long time

might've wanted to pick a better point in life to start this

i dunno about that

you lost me

i lost me, too

i'd explain it if i could


hmm indeed

"That's a relief, then," I reply. "I'd hate to think I'd made the trip back for nothing."

This gets me an odd look.


remember what i said about being a smooth operator? i take that back

quit snarking and help me

ask about her

...i knew that

i'm not going to feed you lines, though; i'll be damned if i let this turn into some kind of romantic comedy

oh please, i have better taste than that

Time to recover.

"So, what's a youkai like you doing in a place like this?"


are you deliberately trying to make me break the vow i just made?

hey, what are the three things you're supposed to dream about on new year's day? a hawk, mt. fuji, and ...what was the third thing?

not funny

then enough being all mr. doomy clouds

...'mr. doomy clouds'?

first thing i could think of


I'm still never sure who wins when we argue.

She doesn't seem to think it's a weird question, however, as she answers right away.

"Oh, it's not too much more than what I mentioned earlier. Like I said, I'm here helping to get this restaurant started. I've always had a talent for cooking Chinese, and it's gotten to the point where I'll get requests from people opening this kind of restaurant to teach them just how it's done. It's not even just cooking, sometimes. There have been a few places that I've had to help along nearly every step of the way."

She chuckles for a moment. "You know what's funny? I used to just be a delivery girl, when I first started out. And now that I'm finally at the top, and telling people how to run the place, I still have to run around here and there. But even if I have to go further than I did back then, it's not nearly as often."

"Oh, you're not from--" the Mountain "--around here?"

She shakes her head, and her hair sways with the movement. "Nope! I live a long ways from here. It's in the mountains, but not these ones. My sister likes it. She says it reminds her of where she works."

"You have a sister?"

"Mm-hmm! She's ...a sort of security guard. It doesn't really sound glamorous, I know, but she's been living there for a long, long time. She tells me that she took the job because she wanted it, and the company suit her."

What an odd person.

I think I should head back, soon. I don't want to make everyone worry.


I think I'd like to see Orange again before we leave, tomorrow.

But it should be an offer.

I want to probe the waters a bit: will the echo return when I send it out?

Echolocation should not sound like a metaphor in a weird, generic love song.

But the principle is sound.

[ ] Wanna see my hard rock?
[ ] I bet you make breakfast well, too.

So yeah, I'd have updated last night except I was puking my guts out, and then this morning, I was saying goodbye to a friend who's moving back out into the middle of the state, which also happens to be in the middle of nowhere).

But hey, good times, yeah?

If it shows, I'm sorry.
[x] I bet you make breakfast well, too.

China and Orange are sisters, eh?
[X] Wanna see my hard rock?
Better to have plenty of people around next time we meet, on the off chance she really is plotting against us.

Plus this way, we have the opportunity to say "I'm with the band," which everyone knows is a sure-fire pick-up line.

>She's ...a sort of security guard.
Now I'm wondering what role Meiling played in our heroine's Scarlet Mansion ordeal.
I think this might have been one of the best updates yet, if only because of Kogasa and her umbrella.

Huh? Oh right, the vote.
[x] I bet you make breakfast well, too.
[∀] Wanna see my hard rock?

we play the uhh...soundboard

I get the feeling that she was sleeping or similar.

Meiling's known for napping and being among the nicest SDM residents. Sakuya in contrast is known for her ruthless manner (The only one that Kogasa as mentioned)
[X] Wanna see my hard rock?


I would guess fairly little, since we didn't notice the woman we were talking to was similar to anyone else we remember.
[x] I bet you make breakfast well, too.
Wow, it's actually tied.

Feel free to break it, folks.
[X] Wanna see my hard rock?
Called; writing.

But first, some halftime entertainment.
File 125650233969.jpg - (98.07KB, 500x375 , (lem)hon meirin(gue).jpg) [iqdb]
Yes, I know that this is not how family names work in Chinese.
File 12565024657.jpg - (1.62MB, 2592x1944 , li(m)e meirin(gue).jpg) [iqdb]
File 125650258088.jpg - (639.56KB, 1208x806 , orange meirin(gue).jpg) [iqdb]
And I know how to spell meringue right, too.
You mean merengue, right?

Damn, that looks tasty.
I think that's the British spelling.

As you can see in >>100432 , it's otherwise spelled "meringue," which makes it work a lot better for this joke.

Also, writing.

...Oh, I already said that. Well, back to writing. I was learning how to wire a house, and I got confused because of the similar look of the words.

That's actually true, up to the bit about getting confused.
File 125652748215.jpg - (62.21KB, 600x600 , my waiter was the ghost of hendrix`s guitar.jpg) [iqdb]
[ℋ] Wanna see my hard rock?

Enough is enough.

This is clearly obvious to anyone who can read or hear. And yet, it's popular to say.

So, ask.

"Hey, Orange?"

Oh, dammit.

...or... not?

People generally don't react well to the name they have which was given unbeknowledgingst by of from me when it's spoken aloud.

The best is generally confusion. On rare occasions, a laugh-- if they're intuitive or their name is easy to understand.

Sometimes they get irritated.

But from her, nothing, like I'd said her name instead.

Maybe she misheard me?

Maybe she's so used to not being called by her own name that it doesn't even bother her anymore?

I feel bad about it either way, but I'm gambling on what follows to make up for it.

Specifically: "You know there's a show going on later tonight, right?"

She nods, and better yet, her response sounds interested. "Oh, yes, I've heard as much! Historically, kappa aren't very well-known for being... erm... the most open sort of people. Not very much to youkai, somewhat to the tengu, and hardly at all to humans. But I'm told by the people around here," --here, she gestures down below us in the direction of the restaurant-- "that Mizukan has a large population of younger kappa who lean more towards the progressive side, so they're trying to encourage that sort of thing. Openness, and all that, you know?"


I must learn it

You have to learn when you hear. You don't have any other choice. If it goes in, it's stuck.

You might mishear it, not believe it, know that it's false, believe otherwise, forget it soon after, or whatever.

But unlearning?

Impossible, if not stupid.

Runaway train (might be) on a one-way track, but the track can still branch, you know.

Even if you're never going back (you can still rejoin the first track).

Signal house where?



"Um, really..."That does explain a few things." It does, but they aren't the focus focus focus, foooocus, come on now. "But you know about it, then, it seems. Are you going to go see it tonight?"

Orange looks a little disappointed. "No, unfortunately. They were sold out long before I got here."


"...How long have you been here?"

She looks up for a moment, in thought.

"...About two weeks? I'm almost done, though, and I'll actually heading back home the day after tomorrow."


Mix them together and you get a Little Guilty.

Distraction barges in and yells over the pair of them: Two weeks? Damn, she really wasn't kidding about the kappa trying to open up. This must be something really huge to them if they're gone so soon.

Secondary Thought mutters quietly (but it's perfectly audible since all the others in the room have fallen silent as they paused to think about what Distraction mentioned): That, or they're new to the whole event-ticket-sales practice.

Rationality offers calming words: Maybe, but the kappa have been around for a long, long time. Surely they have their own fairs and shows and get-togethers. They've probably learned how to do that by now.

Apathy, the cheater, wins everyone over in the end: Hell if I know. Anyway, who cares? You were trying to--


I was. Right.

"Well," I say, hesitantly. "I think I might be able to get you in... well, probably not backstage. But I work with their sound technician-- the woman I came in here with --and at the very worst, we can pull you up a chair behind us. It's got good acoustics."

Okay, I'm making that last part up.

Wiiiiide eyes.


Down, bravado! Down!

"Sure, it'll be fine with her. Just show up an hour or so before showtime, and I might even be able to introduce you to the band."

now you're just making things up and guessing

i can't control my mouth

it wants to make her happy, so it runs and runs and doesn't listen to me



nothing, nothing at all

i'm sure it'll be fine

It's a real talent, being a bastard to someone and them not knowing how, what, or why, but knowing nonetheless that it happened.

My friend has learned this art well.

Orange is about to says something; gleeful words of acceptance, perhaps?

A voice from down below on the ground below which be low that one (attached to a kappa youth. Looks like the one by the door yesterday?) calls up to us.

"Can you come down, quick? Kuwari's kind of burning the beef, and---"

"I'll be right there!"

The citrus princess turns to me, squeezes my hand, and gives a resolute nod.

"I'll definitely be there!" she exclaims.

Standing up, she gives me a wave before hopping off the rooftop, turning a few somersaults on the way down.

I almost want to clap before I realize that she didn't do that to show off: no pause, no bowing for the audience.

Or maybe she did?

Fucking echolocation, making me confused.

Well, now I have a date.


I have a date?

you have a date

how the hell did I do that?

maybe she doesn't get out much

who knows

wait, when did this become a date?

...if you start loudly sputtering about this and hotly denying any interest in her, i am turning this car around right now

you don't even have a car

it's like a boat with wheels, right?

and a roof


So. I have an outing of sorts with a girl I met.


I still think I cheated somehow. Should it be this easy? I'm not exactly amazing and charming, am I?


I think... I think there's something there.

But what's there is there, and by definition, isn't here.

It stands for "t'ain't here."


So when I'm there, maybe I'll know what that something is.


As long as I have a plan, then.



[ ] Mix Master / Cut, cut faster
[ ] A garage band / from Seattle


Mizukan: Shirikodama-related crime-free for over [ 12 ] years!

Today's update is brought to you by the Malayalam letter vocalic Rr, or ൠ .
It looks like a little alien face/head sort of thing at higher font sizes, and this amused me.

I meant to write about "wiring a house." The whole bit about similarity makes no sense otherwise.
>didn't object to a ` in the filename or make it look ugly with a damned backslash
Fuck you, filename parsing bastard thingmajig, I win.
[X] A garage band / from Seattle
We've made Mysti rather upset with us; best not to ask her for a favor. Although the band may be rather jaded to roadies trying to get someone into the show...
[X] A garage band / from Seattle

The band controls the mixer.
[x] A garage band / from Seattle

Perhaps this'll work due to the fact the sisters will see this as progress on Kogasa's part.

That and I get the impression that Orange is someone who stands by her friends always. She might have gotten that from her sister.
[X] A garage band / from Seattle
[Q] A garage band / from Seattle
[Q] A garage band / from Seattle
[+] A garage band / from Seattle

Well it sure beats / raising cattle
[x] Mix Master / Cut, cut faster
Pissing, tide, etc.
Writing when I get back from the gym, then.
File 125660328889.jpg - (114.55KB, 1024x768 , Bonus Round - translate this to Japanese Braille.jpg) [iqdb]
[涅槃] A garage band / from Seattle

Plans are planned, even with no man.

No canals this time, just ghosts.

Unless of course the ghost says to kill the canal man, but that's not even possible.

These ghosts don't seem lethal, anyway.

With that reassuring thought in mind, I spring off the roof, and fall into the air.

Up and down

over and through

back again

the joke's on you

It's my flying song.

But I don't sing too loudly.

Music is a road through which emotions may travel.

And the I that's thinking and doing and saying definitely qualifies as an emotion, or at least a strong ally of it.

So I'm allowed to pass.

zip, flit, flutter


Oh. They've got bats.

I nod and carry on.


I set down on the porch of Performer Housing 1.

I hear music.

But so does everybody else. How else would you do it?

Music comes from within the building.

There we go.

I open the door, and it's a funny door: Western material, eastern design. It slides.

Kappa are strange like that.

I look over my shoulder, back at the audio lair/pit/center/bastion. Extra Bird is sitting there, her head laid down on top of one of the machines. She must be tired, but it seems early, for that. It looks like she's shivering, or something, too. Maybe I should bring her a blanket or something when I'm done in here.

I walk in, closing the door behind me.

Music increases.

The inside of Performer Housing 1 is kind of boring, but there's fuzzy blue carpet everywhere. Neat!

I slip out of my sandals and hop up onto the carpet. The hell with indoor shoes, I'm going in socks!


The carpet is soft and thick.

I love it~

I walk through the halls, walking on soft blue clouds, following the music wherever it gets louder.

After ending up in a closet, a bathroom, and a kitchen (I put my foodbox in the chillyblock while I'm there), I come to two conclusions:

First: The kappa make a heating and ventilation system that carries sound well.

Second: This does not seem to be a very efficient method of ghost hunting.

Perhaps that sign in the entry hall meant something.

I go back.

I look again at the sign.

"Kabuki / Mystia / anyone else: We're in the Camphor Room."

Attached is a drawing of a what seem to be the sisters, a large musical note, an arrow leading from it which goes up a bit and points at the largely drawn name of the room.

I read the sign several times.

What could it mean?!

No time to wonder about such things. I'll have to go tell the poltergeists that somebody's scribbling about them. The scribbler's writing isn't best, either. They do seem to have had access to colors, though.

Stairs, stairs. Where are they?

Are they even at all?


I take the steps, two at a three at a four at a ti

Oh hey, person in the way


After apologizing to the frightened kappa Small rush during impact; not a total wash! that I bowled over, I race on down the hall and pass by several nameplates Maple Room, Cypress Room, Oak Room, Camphor Room, Magnol-- whoops, back up and come to a halt in front of the Camphor Room.

Yep, the room is bleeding music.



[ ] _ _ _ _ _ Jane
[ ] _ _ _ _ Bill
[ ] _ _ _ _ _ _ Pete


I think coming up with the choices has to be one of the parts I enjoy the most about writing this story.

Update comes to you sooner than planned, as someone has absconded with my gym bag (unintentionally).
[Q] _ _ _ _ Bill
And I enjoy decoding them, although this one is a fair bit harder (and I still don't think I got it right).

My best guess, for those of you who don't want to give it a try: "_ _ _ _ Bill" = hornbill = Merlin, and the number of spaces for the other choices give us "Violin Pete" = Lunasa and "Piano Jane" = Lyrica.

[X] _ _ _ _ _ _ Pete
Riddles aside, the real question is who we should ask, and I think Lunasa is our best bet: she seems rather empathetic, speaking up for Mystia earlier, whereas Lyrica will see the obvious security issues with inviting strange ladies backstage and Merlin is crazy.
[x] _ _ _ _ _ _ Pete


Ah, i'll go with it anyway.
[ ] _ _ _ _ _ Jane

But wasn't Lyrica the one who agreed to have us go with in the first place and finding out about the full extent of "Green girl"'s handiwork?

She might see our friendship with Orange as a nice thing for our progress.
I went through all nine pages in /th/, where's thread 1?
It's called "the game"
Maybe I should have kept the full words.

Well, I'll give'em to you. Kinda messed it up, I guess.

Plain Jane, Wild Bill, Sneaky Pete. It's about entry styles. I admire the thought you put into this one, though.

Feel free to revote.
Yeah, sorry about that... It was originally just "The Game," but I wondered if I should change it. I did so, for this thread, but I think I'm just going to keep it as "The Game" from now on, unless there's some kind of massive outcry demanding that I not do so.
[Q] Wild Bill
[X] Plain Jane
[x] Jane

Normal would suffice.
[X] Sneaky Pete
We seem like a bit of a trickter. sneaking up behind one of them could be fun.
[X] Sneaky Pete
> "The Game"

Stop making us lose damn it!
[+] _ _ _ _ Bill
Because, who ever heard of an oni doing things the quiet way?
(Yes, I know it's an act. Play it up.)
>>100712 here; it's really pretty funny how far I overthought this one. Keeping the same vote, though.
[X] Sneaky Pete
Sneaky Pete wins either way.

Writing now. Thank you all for your patience and putting up with my screwup.
File 12567125865.jpg - (23.66KB, 432x277 , The building is choking on you.jpg) [iqdb]
Intent of previous interpretation has been taken into consideration.

[Ք] Sneaky Pete

I could just go in, normal as you please, like the ever-returning cat.

I could break on through to the other side.

I don't have treasures, though.

I would probably need some to pay for the door.

No, no. These won't do.

these are things a normal person would do.

Or a crazy one.


It'd be a real pain trying to explain why talking to my friend doesn't make me crazy.

Good thing we don't have courts.

Just the other one, and the Yama when you die.

So, other ways, other ways.


Thereways they are.

I unscrew the screws on the grate, and slither on in, like some kind of slithery thing that lives in metal lungs.

It's kinda tight, but I can move around fine.


Music's a bit louder in here, too. Not quite painful, but something to cover my ears with would be nice.

scoot scoot shift scoot

wiggle and wriggle, shift and move

Am I going the right way?

I don't have any maps of this area.

The music stops.

Good, I can hear things again.

The ghosts talk talk chatter discuss but I can't hear the words. They became noise before they got here, so it's no help.


shuffle scoot move move shift wiggle and now arriving at Camphor Station.

Mind the gap.

The Emperor's Color talks and fans and sits on things that can't be.

Deeply unsettling to look at or be looked at.

Criss cross of metal below me.

Well, this is just grate.


I see the people below. Talking too, but now I have to focus.

Grab and pinch and caaarefully turn the screws.

It hurts a little, but I keep at it.

Oh, they're moving. Something about a late lunch.

Three go out You say goodbye and only Black Hand of Slap remains.

Spend a little to make a little more.

Without moving, I use a little, and the grate is encouraged to collapse right now, because it'll be worth it.

The brief groan of metal doesn't even make her look up.

And I say hello~

The not-an-oni falling out of the ceiling onto the floor right behind her, however, makes her scream like a jumpy banshee having night terrors.

Ah, the lovely rush~

Her usually calm expression is now flushed, and her eyes are wide weyed whites.

I give a little wave. Calm, casual. Oh hi.

Me? I'm the ceiling oni. I am watching you hyperventilate.

...Which is awful funny, since she's a ghost, and she shouldn't have to breathe, buuuuut, whatever.


"What were you doing up there?!"

"The door was locked?"

"...Are you sure you're not a burglar?"

Ah, a little smile now, as the shock and panic are brought under control. Moving swiftly back to calmness and unflappability.

She brushes herself off, and puts her hat back on after a moment or two of searching for it.

"Just an assistant to the Sound Lady."

"Ha. Did you want something, or were you just trying to scare me?"

"Both, actually." Succeeded; not just tried.


She's a little curious, and looks in my direction.

"Is there any chance I could get someone i--"

There must be a shorter word for the face of someone thinking "Oh. Okay. I should have been expecting that."

That word would describe her perfectly as she waves a hand and nods.

"If she's not going to stab, eat, or throw things at you, us, Mystia, or someone in the audience, then sure."

How unexpectedly trusting.

I must be thinking loudly enough, as she adds, "I figure you'd be more suspicious of someone than anyone of us."

...That makes sense, but it's still a little worrying.

For a moment.

"Oh?" I say, still a little surprised at how easy that went. "Well then, um. Thank you very much."

I bow a little, and wink.

"Sorry about dropping in for a visit so unexpectedly."

I think she wants to facepalm.

Well, good.

And now?

Should I stay or should I go go go?

[ ] Four and twenty blackbirds (-23)
[ ] Ghost Birds in the Sky Kitchen?
[ ] Return to the Nest


If this seems a little short or rushed, I'm sorry. My dad's in the hospital (Getting a brand new hip put in after dislocating a supposedly undislocatable hip for the third time. Long story.), so I've been busyish.
[X] Four and twenty blackbirds (-23)
Hangin' out with the quiet sister.

>dislocating a supposedly undislocatable hip
"The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong, it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair."
Still, fucking ouch. Hope everything turns out all right.
[x] Four and twenty blackbirds (-23)
[x] Four and twenty blackbirds (-23)
[x] Four and twenty blackbirds (-23)
[Q] Four and twenty blackbirds (-23)


[+] Four and twenty blackbirds (-23)

I'll be honest, most of the time, I have no idea what I'm voting for in this thread.
[x] Four and twenty blackbirds (-23)
It's not too hard. They generally follow a theme or a common aspect. Once you figure that out, it gets easier.
[X] Return to the Nest
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[烏] Four and twenty blackbirds (-23)

I sit and stay awhile to listen to her chirp some more.

Then again, maybe I don't.

Quiet bird is quite quiet. She makes a few rustles and things as she works and looks at sheet music on sheets Where else would it go? and now I'm bored and I should say something.

Oh, that's right.

The thing from way before in the pink flower metaphor room filled with noise and crowdy rowdiness.

"What's a 'light show'?"

Black Hand of Slap pauses and looks up at me. Not disturbed from her work, just ...and there.


"Beyond what it sounds like?"

She sounds like maybe that was a joke. I thought she was serious.

But I let her know:


She looks at me strangely.

"...I'm tempted to ask what you're imagining--"

and this over here is my prize-winning ultraviolet. isn't it pretty

goodness yes. and look over there

ah, she's won the last two competitions with her x-rays

wow, how did she do that

nobody knows. she just smiles a little

have you seen the pair of miniature infrareds over there

yes, they were just darling, weren't they

"--but that feels strangely dangerous. ...Anyway, you probably helped Mystia unload some of the machines for them. They use these light beam things to make a bunch of pictures. I don't really understand it, but I've seen it done before a couple times. Lady Saigyouji always hires some kappa for things like that when we hold concerts at Hakugyokurou."


...nope. I have no idea what she's talking about.

And I liked my idea better.

Oh, she doesn't seem to be done.

"There is another person we work with who does those. We only barely got her to agree to work at the concert tomorrow, actually."

Grumpy help?

Or maybe jumpy.

Who would be jumpy around humans, though?

Well, it could be another human.

"She does it differently?"

"Yes. She ...well, I'm not sure how she does it, but she uses fireflies."



...I could see her being a little nervous around people.

But hey, fireflies? That sounds sort of neat, actually.

blink blink flutter

clap, humans! clap!

The ghosts are strangely resourceful.

She frowns at me.

"Hold on. Aren't you supposed to be working with Mystia, right now?"

[ ] yassuh, but we done hadda fight
[ ] naw boss, we done early
[ ] Mishap


I don't like this update. I hope at least one of you does, though.

...I'll be honest: I hadn't really thought up what to do very well for her, you see. I had something, but it turned out to be less than I thought.

On another I'm probably going to piss someone off with these choices.

And I'll say to them: It's a joke, man. Calm down.

And besides, one of my best friends is Cuban, and that's close enough.
>I had something, but it turned out to be less than I thought.
Don't you just hate it when that happens?

>[ ] Mishap
...So damn tempting.

[X] yassuh, but we done hadda fight
Uh, buh--


[X] Mishap
{X} yassuh, but we done hadda fight
[X] yassuh, but we done hadda fight
[X] naw boss, we done early
[X] Mishap

Wall me.
[x] naw boss, we done early
[x] Mishap
[x] naw boss, we done early
[x] Mishap
[x] Mishap
[x] Mishap

Well...you see...

[x] Mishap
[X] yassuh, but we done hadda fight

wriggle + concert:

I... I really don't know how to interpret this. Clearly, [ ] Mishap is winning, but then there's a bunch of combo things.

I'm going to combine all this together, and if you're unhappy with me doing that, then do say something.

Please at least wait until the update is posted, though. If you're still not happy with it, then say something.

This is probably a terrible policy.

I'm sorry.

To be honest, I wish writers would combine votes more often. It is VERY frustrating when a good write-in or combination of choices comes in late and ends up not getting written even though its completely compatible.

Then again, I've always thought that the votes should be more of a general guideline rather than a rule, but whatever.
File 125687967513.jpg - (67.00KB, 600x450 , Oh that was for minutes-- not seconds.jpg) [iqdb]
[+] Er... ah... shit, dey's onto me

Spotlight's on me, now.

But if it's her spotlight, that makes it a black light.

What would that look like, anyway? Would it cast darkness?

I'm sure it would have been a finalist.

"Oh, I, er, we finished early," I tell her.

Man, that doesn't sound believable at all. It sounds like an excuse in a story. Or made by a lazy person.

Don't say lazy.

And yet, she seems to accept it. She nods, and goes back to work.

Wait, is she trying to trick me? This is too calm a reaction.

Far too calm.

You won't corner me so easily!

You want the truth? Fine!

"Um... we also kind of had a bit of an argument. Not really a fight, exactly, but..."

Aha, now she's looking up!


That's a bad thing.

Dammit, she can't handle the truth!

Curse my witless mind, I hadn't planned any further than this... Something, something... I need a distraction, I need an out...!

Spend a little? Need to pump it up a bit because it's not right nearby.


There's a boom, and a thud, and a shriek from downstairs. Small small rush, so not entirely a waste.

Bright face, concerned smile.

"Oh dear, something must have happened downstairs! I shall go and see what it was!"

Saying this to her slightly alarmed Success! expression, I hurry out of the room.

that was either very stupid or very clever; possibly both

at least it was 'very'

you don't deserve to sound so proud about that

whine whine whine

I follow the smatter of chatter chatter down and along and through once I'm downstairs. They originate from what seems to be a kitchen-shaped sort of thing. You can tell from the chillybox and the hotbox and the food.

I suspect that that placard outside it which read "Kitchen" also supports this theory, but I'm going to need more grant money before we have any conclusive findings.

"--don't get how the hell that happened, though. Sake isn't supposed to explode in the microwave!"

Irritated and high-strung. Pinkblue Madness.

"Clothes got stained. Need new ones before the show."

Weird, short, twitchy-but-not-showing it, and clipped. One of the many White Openings.

"Quit moaning and help clean this up, Merlin."

Bossy-- not in the bad way, but the literal way: someone who knows how to give orders, and is used to managing others --and patient. Little Red.

Time to go see what I've wrought, then!

I step into the kitchen, and narrowly miss spatters of alcohol on the floor, radiating from a smoking hotbox. Poor thing.

I kind of feel bad, so I offer to help. They jump a little on hearing me-- White Opening doesn't, though --and my offer is graciously accepted.

wash wash clean clean scrub a dub

all done~!

"Having some problems with kappa technology?" I ask innocently, as I wash out the rag in the sink.

Little Red laughs a bit, and shakes her head.

"No, that's actually a device from the outside world."


I knew that.

"More like having drinking problems."

...One of them's an alcoholic?

Little Red snickers at my alarmed look.

White Opening smirks a little, and Pinkblue Madness does not look the slightest bit amused.

"Problems," says White Opening, pointing at the ruined hotbox. "It's inhibiting our drinking."



She made a funny!

I giggle, having gotten the joke.

Pinkblue Madness tries to defend herself.

"Look, I was just trying to heat it. It's supposed to taste good warmed up, right?"

"That probably isn't how you're supposed to do it, though."

"Fine, screw it. I'll stick with Dom Perignon in a beer stein, then."

"It does suit you."

"Damn straight."

"Oh hey, could you take this to Mystia?"

Damn, almost got out of there in time.

"Sure," I say, taking a small cardboard box from Little Red. Oooh, the bottom's warm.

White Opening gives me a wink for some reason as I depart.

Well, I have to go back there, sooner or later.

...Sooner or later.

[ ] Tortoise
[ ] Hare


...This makes me feel a lot better.
>but I'm going to need more grant money before we have any conclusive findings.


I'm sure Mystia is over mostof it by now.
[ ] Hare

>Spend a little?
So it looks like Kogasa's ability to snatch a house of cards off of her head without knocking it down is mediated by some sort of strange juju which also allows her to superheat liquids at a distance. Very interesting.

[X] Hare
Meh, sooner we get back, sooner we can make up with Mysti. Wouldn't do to spend the whole remainder of the tour not speaking with each other.
[X] Hare

So far the effects themselves seem unrelated, so I'm guessing that her ability to "surprise others" is just that, an ability to do things that would surprise others.
[x] Hare
Going with the flow.

I demand victory!
[X] Hare

vote comment: may as well simply deal with it...maybe it won't go as bad as we expect it to.

to writer: I think you did a fine job of combining the options. Remember, at the end of the day, YOU'RE the writer. Don't worry so much about pleasing everyone.

I'm also starting to think we're a "puck youkai". I mean think about it: we keep talking about spending a little to get more. It's almost as if we use some power over chaos to cause surprise and eat this...I suppose that statement didn't make much sense, but if you can read this story, you get the point.
>to writer:
Well, thanks, I think.

>but if you can read this story, you get the point.
...Man, I'm the writer, and I didn't get the point. Gotta be honest with you, there.
[x] Hare
[x] Hare

I don't think Mystia cares for cold liquor, so fast like a tengu, not like youkai moe!
[x] Hare
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[⋙] Hare

Move, hustle,

scoot, hurry


It's like normal curry, but without the one and a half essential vitamins and nutrients that it otherwise provides.

But hey, it cooks in one-third the time!

If only it were real, I could sell it. I would be ludicrously rich.

But I wouldn't sell it at my cafe of chairs. Too low-class for for such a high-altitude establishment.

I might have real curry, there. Not the brown crap people put on rice, but the kind the people with long names make that's spicy and amazing. At least, according to that one book.

Another dream, another day.

I walk out the door, not wasting any time, and head back to Extra Bird's little Electric Empire of devices and switchboards and dials oh my. She's still resting her head on one of the panels, but she doesn't seem to be shivering anymore. She looks up as I draw near.

Her eyes look a little red. Nothing like seeing a ghost, more like crying.


Her cheeks color a bit, and she tries to get back into her professional groove again.

"Oh... Thank you, Kabuki. Did Kana send that out here with you?"

Okay, not talking about it. All right, then.

"Yeah," I confirm, feeling a little awkward.

"Just, um... set it down there, by the... that."

She gestures to a something with several green bright bars on it.

...Oh, right. We haven't gone over the 'equipment check,' yet.

I set it down in the place she indicated, and then sit down in my chair.

She seems to be taking the not-really-an-oni thing pretty well. That, or she's forgotten about it.


The Idea takes form, and I know now what I must do.

She busies herself with one machine-- the same one she always sits in front of; perhaps these ones are usually similar? --and I pull up my chair closer to hers.

"What time is it?" I ask, gently.

She jumps, apparently a little startled.

C'mon, calm down. Being on edge can't be good for you.


Other people being on edge can be good for me, but only when I'm trying. And right now, I'm not.

She relays the time after looking at her watch. Still two and a half hours before showtime.

Well, I've got the time to get started.

I find a few sheets of paper, a pencil, and the Idea is put into motion.


90 minutes later, I'm almost certain I've covered every damned piece of deviceryishness even tangentially related to sound in this entire concert cavern hall thing.

Got too stuck in automatic; I almost included the doordingdong thing on Performer Housing 1 when some kappa stopped by.

And to cap it off, the two of us just finished the equipment check.

Or as I've come to think of it, the Sound Equipment Quiz Show.

I look at the long, long list I've compiled, and smile in satisfaction.

Tomorrow's equipment check will be a little different.

Extra Bird is more alive and animated now, and barely seems to notice me as she gets into her work.

The headphones probably help with that.


That box is still unopened.

[ ] Mandarin
[ ] Mystery


I was tempted to write the winning vote as "[x] Hare Hare Youkai" but I think I would have felt dirty. Also neither Tewi, Reisen, nor Reisen were involved, so it's not even in a very good context for it.
[x] Mandarin

Your name is now Skimmy.
[x] Mandarin

Orange is delicious.
[0] Mandarin
[ಠ_ಠ] Mandarin
[x] Mandarin
[Mandarin] ಠ_ಠ
[x] Mandarin
[X] Mystery

Shhhhhh! It's a surprise!
>Her eyes look a little red. Nothing like seeing a ghost, more like crying.
Mystria ether felt very bad for arguing with her or that she revealed she can only read Korean.
[x] Mystery
I'm guessing he does it to get the first vote, which, unfortunately, has a rather high probability of becoming the winning vote in most CYOAs due to bandwagoning Anons.

Clearly, whatever complex she has about being able to read Korean was caused by a specific experience in the past and not just general hatred; we probably dredged up an unpleasant memory for her.

[X] Mandarin

>I'm guessing he does it to get the first vote, which, unfortunately, has a rather high probability of becoming the winning vote in most CYOAs due to bandwagoning Anons.

Actually it's more along the lines that I read rather fast than anything else.
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[みかん] Mandarin

What tiiiiime is it, Mrs. Foooox?

It's an hour before the show.

And that means it's time to scoot.

But first, I should probably check with the boss lady.


Extra Bird barely looks up.


ug ug.

"I'm going to be out for a bit," I say, as casually and yet this-is-okay-with-you-I-hope-ly as I can. "I've got a, uh, guest coming...?"

It's a request without being worded like one.

Tone is everything, despite not being spelled like it.

That only proves words aren't.

Extra Bird pauses.

"Go ahead. Bother me or make too much noise or start making out, and I'll throw something at you."

"Oh, it's nothing like that!"

Is it?


"Eh, whatever. You heard the rules. Enjoy."

"Thank you very much~!" I bow to her and hustle out, a spring in my step.

boing boing boing~

I come to a dead stop as I reach the exit/entrance of the concert cavern.

An unsettling realization has come over me:

I never said where to meet.

[ ] Wait back at the cave
[ ] Hunt at the oasis
[ ] Stay here, at the edge of the plains

Micro-update! Vote now so I have something to think about while working tomorrow. I promise it'll be much bigger.

Any chance you could take pity on me and read it twice, or wait 5 minutes, or something?

It makes my poor ego sad.

I wouldn't blame you for a 1 minute difference for this update, though. Not at all.

Who knows, but I thought in Gensokyo everyone gains the ability to speak and read japanese thanks to Yukari's tweaking.

I think it might be the bad relations that Korean and Japan have.
[X]Hunt at the oasis

I always thought that Yukari had simply removed the boundary between language and understanding.
I'm not >>101704, but I took an few online reading speed tests in between updates and managed around 400 wpm with nearly 100% comprehension, so reading a ~500 word update in a minute isn't implausible if he happens to refresh at just the right time.

[X] Hunt at the oasis
It sounded like the kappa at the restaurant were keeping her pretty busy.
[x] Hunt at the oasis
[x] Hunt at the oasis
That probably falls under "tweaking."

>Who knows, but I thought in Gensokyo everyone gains the ability to speak and read japanese thanks to Yukari's tweaking.
I really hope this isn't true. I had a neat idea for NiG that that'll screw up, or at least make trickier. Got a source for this?
[X] Stay here, at the edge of the plains

I've never heard anything about yukari messing with language, and as open as the touhou universe it to interpretations, I reject this possibility, and substitute my own.
[x] Hunt at the oasis

As far as I am aware, this has never been stated in canon, and doesn't even make sense in the first place. Pretty much all of the outsiders that wander into Gensokyo are going to be speaking Japanese anyway, so there would be no need to ever do such a thing.

Contrary to what the CYOAs tell you, Yukari doesn't go around the western world abducting people for no reason. That's if her power even has that range to do that in the first place (in SSiB, she had to wait for special conditions to get to the moon).

Not confirmed or denied; just a fan speculated thing. Of course it helps that ZUN keeps things Japanese as to avoid such complications. Ultimately in CYOAs it's up to the writer.

Still one must wonder how it might explain the Scarlets speaking japanese (Remember, they're based in europe before the trip)


The other side of the world is but a stone's throw compared to the moon distance wise.

That and you forgot about the Scarlets and perhaps the Prismrivers in terms of originally non-japanese speaking groups.

Still it can be possible.

There's so much related stuff I would like to discuss, but this isn't the place to do it.

Suffice it to say that Yukari probably isn't doing something so useless at all times.
[X] Stay here, at the edge of the plains
>Still one must wonder how it might explain the Scarlets speaking japanese (Remember, they're based in europe before the trip)

Patchouli taught them?
"Patchy, what the hell does this say? You know I can't read these damned nip scribbles."
"Perhaps it's time you learned how to, then, Remi."
"Are you high?"
Not sure if want racist Remilia.
I've known some French people about as dickish. And then factor lingering immaturity on top of aristocratic snobbishness, and you're lucky to get just this.
It could be so much worse, though. They could have been Swiss.

Also, that was more of an early-morning spur-of-the-moment reply to >>101751 than anything serious.
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[Ѳ] Hunt at the oasis

i do believe i have detected a slight flaw in my plans

kind of a big one, too

how come you didn't say anything?

caught up in the moment



why do i keep you around again?

roguish good looks

you barely have any looks

you wound me to the quick, madam

Well, no help for it now but to go and help myself and the situation and hopefully --in the middle of that somewhere-- her.

Off I go, through rocky halls of rocky walls, flitting through the kappa kaverns That would make an perfect name for a water park around here lit by lights and brights and sunholes and glowing things which aren't too bright and shine just right.

I wonder if kappas eat porridge.

They would probably put cucumbers in it.


Long cucumbers and thick drops and globs of white porridge?

Maybe... maybe not the best idea, after all.

Putting such disturbing thoughts out of my head, I continue through the partitioned city, watching the buildings and roofs and liiiiittle tiny people walking around below me. I wave to a few of them.

People like to be noticed.

I think I covered that already.

It's a bit of a sore point for some of my me.

Ah, I'm getting closer. Big signs here and there advertising places in the business district start showing up ("Honest Kozlov's Frame Repair" reads one. For some reason, there's a picture of a bear next to the name.), and the noise of hustlery and bustlizing begins to pick up.

Beginning descent now~

What's a Jewelbug, anyway?

Okay, I've been here several times before.

So it should be easy to find, right?

If several is...


...two... then yes.

Damn, beaten again.


I waste fifteen fretful minutes before spotting the sign out front as I pass over it for what I figure must be the third time.

How appropriate.

I wait outside for several (more than two!) more minutes before getting myself psyched up enough to go inside.

I stride purposefully through into the more dimly lit interior, moving quickly, wanting to hurry and find her before the show starts.

Move with speed and confidence, that's the key.

"Hello? Afwmphargh."

I ask this of anyone who happens to be around.

People being around happens to consist of a green and yellow blur with an orange tail racing for the front door which I just came through.

A mouthful of softness, a moment of shock, a little rush, and a smarting bottom is what I get for it.


Why, it's none other than the citrus princess herself!

Chuckling a little, I help my friend and Orange both up.

She's almost as red as her hair.

"I'm so sorry, Kabuki! I was running late, but trying to finish up, only Miss Shuribetsu wanted to ask me how you make barbecue pork, and I was writing it down as fast as I could, except then she had some more questions on that, and I finally finished and wanted to get there as fast as possible to meet up with you at... uh..."

She frowns.

Damn, my brilliant cover is in danger of being blown.

a gentle breeze could blow it

shut up

"Well," I say with a laugh, "I decided to pick you up instead. After all, I figured, why make you wait on me?"

She's flustered, now.


Now, just avoid blushing. Like her.


"Well, that's... that's very kind of you, Kabuki. And... well, thank you!"

Flash that winning smile.

Mmmm. Yeah.

It's fun to watch her blush, if absolutely nothing else.

I extend my hand to her again, this time in invitation.

"Shall we be off, then?"

"Oh, right, yes!"

And off we go.

I learn something about her: She doesn't fly in a straight line.

Little sweeps and wavers, weaves and turns, occasionally doing a roll or a swoop, even the occasional loop-de-loop or corkscrew.

Humming happily all the while.I don't think she's actually aware that she's doing that. Lucky me, though. This means she's keeping about pace with my slower speed.

I actually seem to be going a bit faster than before, though. Getting back into practice is doing me some good.

I just hope that when if wh i

—I hope that it doesn't all go away soon.

Bad thoughts

Bad thoughts bad place

I need a safe place

not just a hiding place.

"Kabuki, you're... are you sure you're all right?"

She banks down to fly alongside me, close in.

She smells like a kitchen.

It smells pleasant and warm and good.

Her face looks worried.

I feel bad for doing that to her face with my own.

"Ah, you caught me again..." I laugh a little guiltily, trying to dodge any further inroad-making toward this topic. "Sorry. Things haven't been going so well, until recently. Sometimes they sort of catch up to me, I guess."

Awkward, but honest-ish, so it carries the ring of truth.

Sufficiently vague, so it deflects from the truth of the matter.

Remembering my friend's earlier comment, I'm really glad that there aren't any real oni around.

Orange looks sympathetic and upset and caring all at once. How do you even manage that?

"Come on, Kabuki, don't get all glum and stuff!" She takes my hand and gives me a thumbs-up with the other, breaking into a grin. "We're going to go have a good time tonight, right? So no more being unhappy, by royal decree!" She breaks into a laugh at this, for some reason.


I look at the hand clasping mine.


If this is the reward of loyalty to a ruler, I will unhesitatingly follow any such commands of the citrus princess.

My laugh joins hers, and we race on towards the concert cavern.


...there are a lot more people here than there were a while ago.

What the hell happened?

Crowds of eager tiny people are lined up for quite a ways away, and more are coming and milling around and talktalktalktalktalk all around and underground here in town.

Word travels fast, kappa travel faster. They give the finger to time and tide alike, it seems, and I wonder how.

If a kappa studies herself, does she implode?

Truly, a question to ponder.

Some frighteningly tall and muscular kappa are watching the exits.



This is perfect.

We walk up together-- is she still holding my hand? ...aww, she let go a few minutes ago.

We walk up together to one of them.

His name is apparently SECURITY.

Or Mazochi.

Depends on which words attached to him you want to believe.

Okay, okay. Play it cool and don't fuck up.

He glares at me, and then grunts as he sees the horns--

"I'm with the band."


Nod, grunt. Scoot scoot.

Oh god Oh god it actually worked! And I got to say it and everything!

Okay, so she isn't looking at me with stars in her eyes and flinging her panties at me but that's okay, I'm not looking for that, anyway.

...That would be sort of creepy, actually.

We pass through a short hallway, and then back into the concert cavern proper.


There are a bunch of places open.

[ ] Admit 1
[ ] VIP
[ ] This is where I work
[ ] Standing room only (Sorry, mosh pit is already filled to kappacity.)


I had something to put in here, but it didn't really work well.

I'm not fucking this up yet, am I?

Nope, not yet.
[x] This is where I work
[x] VIP

I love that umbrella so much.

Man, this thing is awesome.
[x] VIP
[+] VIP

[x] VIP
[x] VIP
'Protect the VIP team'
There's a lot of update being written.

Please wait warmly until it is finished.
File 125714770637.png - (1.15MB, 1000x802 , Not even close sorta almost maybe loli dotn know.png) [iqdb]
[♚] VIP

A normal seat? That won't do.

It won't do a lot of things, like: be the best seat I can reasonably get right now.

Hold on.


Fuck reasonably.

That I can possibly get right now.

I think my life left 'reasonably' behind a long time ago. Sort of got dragged out to the curb.

Couldn't bother kicking it, you see: I had other worries on my mind back then.

And still do, now.

Except instead of on my mind, they're on the back burner, and instead of back then, it's now then.

Now, then.

Seats, where?

Everywhere, and no time at all to spring.

Seating seating everywhere, so all I do is thingk.

Gensokyo still doesn't have an ocean, you lying bastard.

There's the audio lair/pit/den/center/station, and it's certainly exclusive seating. Extra Bird still sounds a bit on edge, though, and I don't blame her. Showtime is getting closer.

I look around for somewhere good, while Orange stands next to me. Lucky for me, she appears momentarily content simply standing here After we moved off to the side and taking in the whole production, audience, equipment, lights, stage, seats, hall, people, concession stands, thanks for the drink, decorations, cha--

Wait, what?

I look down.

Fizzing pale green drink in a glass bottle in my hand. Label says "Kappa Cola," and beneath that "now with artificial preservatives!"

I look up.

The Orange Girl is unscrewing the cap off an identical bottle in her own hands. She takes a long pull from the bottle.

glug glug

There was something disturbingly fascinating about watching that. I think it might have been a different part of me that watched, but we all watch the same when one does and the response is distributed equally as well.

It's like memories that aren't yours, but seem so familiar and natural.

Except not memories.

Things, thoughts, actions, behaviors.

I think.

I think?

I are sure I is I I?

Perhaps I is not I, but I me we they or myself.

Nobody can really claim responsibility.

It doesn't work like this at all.

Except when it does.

Welcome to Gensokyo, Land of I totally don't understand.

"Wha..."Did you just--"

"Yep! Sorry about that. I made sure to be quick about it, though. Did you even notice I was gone?"

"Well, no--"



damn damn damn shit wrong thing to say oh god dammit ple

She laughs her ass off at my panicked look.

Wait, that kind of thing is funny nowadays?

Damn, what is wrong with kids today?

Still giggling, she pats me on the shoulder, and shakes her head.

"Hee hee hee... don't worry about it. I wouldn't have expected you to notice, after all."


She winks.

"I did delivery for years on end. I can move pretty quickly if I've got something to drop off."


It's only the exercises (?) she was performing earlier that give me some hope she's not a... some kind of delivery-based youkai.

Or something.

What the fuck would that even mean?

"It's just something I got good at after doing it for long enough, and it paid the bills."

...Okay... hope slowly returning. No youkai would talk about that so casually.

You are what you do.

This applies to youkai on more than just a metaphorical level.



"Heh, I see," comes my reply Not sure if I do. "Thank you very much."

She shrugs. "It's the least I could do."


I don't deserve to be me, right now.

Screw that, yes I do.

Do I?


We'll have a vote on it tomorrow.

Where were was I?



Look look looking around up and down all around--



Up there, in the



that over there place thing!

Totally looks plush.

Okay, do it just right.

I put my bottle in my bag.

I look over at her. She's recapped hers already. Still looking around, though. Is it really that interesting?

...Well, yes, it is.

Mysterious surprise time!

"Are you ready?" I ask. Cryptic and yet suggesting more. Can't go wrong with classics.

only you shouldn't even be touching classics for so many reasons it makes my head hurt

beginner's course? tutorial? i laugh at such things

are you drunk?

...not drunk enough


She turns around at the sound of my voice, possibly thinking I asked her something more.


One arm around the back

Pull slightly

One arm down, around the legs, scoop up, gently heft

No problem

Briiiiiiight bright redness on her cheeks.

"Ah...! Kabuki? What are you--?"

"I found our seats!"


A scream of unexpectation; surprise, and a little rush, and UP we go as I spring jump and spend a little

accelerate slightly

long red sidetail brushes my cheek as we soar

aaand land

one two

keep moving forward--


And I keep on walking.



No jarring impact.

A grin on my face like the damned idiot I am.

A glance at her face: wide eyes, almost angry but more surprised and confused. It's hard for a beginner to spot the difference.

That's why I think I've screwed up until she speaks.

"Kabuki..."Why did--"

Oh, right. Still holding her in my arms.

I kind of like it.

Must resist the temptation to squeeze.

do it do it do it do iiiiit

don't i get an angel, too?

they were fresh out of consciences; i'm all there is

i want a refund

life is full of disappointment; get used to it

too true, and that's which is why there's no squeezing

curses, foiled again

Setting her down on one of the soft, padded chairs up in the balcony sort of thing we're on In? Something I look around.

Two chairs, one door, balcony, and the best damned spot in the house. Nice view; close enough to see well, far enough to avoid ear-bleeding.


I look out.

Who would have guessed that there was more than one kappa named SECURITY?

Or Shonoke.

The other name is bigger, so it has to be the more important one, right?

"Hi there."

"Wh-- how .... hold on a moment."

No, I thought I said reasonable was left on the curb.

"Don't worry. We're with the band."


SECURITY/Shonoke peers in and sees my citrusy companion, looking flustered and still blushing, but smiling.

Good, I'm not dead yet.

Leeeeer, wink.

"Ah, I gotcha."

The kappa leans closer.

"Nobody booked this booth, but I'll let you off. I know how it is at your age. Just keep it down and don't mess up the place."

He laughs, and pats me on the back, before quietly shutting the door.


That age? What's that supposed to mean? I'm (not) an oni, dammit. I should be older than you.

Or maybe he means it the other way?

What other way?

Whatever. I'm not going to complain with such a weird response.

Life seems to be looking out for me in the oddest places, lately.



Oh, music starting.

I scramble for my seat, next to Orange, just as the ghosts come out on stage.

Much much much much cheering.

White Opening grabs a microphone off a stand.

I remember putting that one up.

I look down below at the roof of the Hut o' Sound.

I can't see Extra Bird, but I know she's ready to go, now.

Or already gone, rather. For here, The Show starts earlier than merely at showtime.

She's very dedicated.

I hope she'll appreciate the Idea.


White Opening looks very... in her element.

Little Red is rolling her eyes.

Black Hand of Slap looks ...neutral. Shocking.

Pinkblue Madness looks excited.

Orange looks giddy and already immersed in the show. She screams an affirmative back at White Opening along with every other kappa in the crowd.

I am smiling.

Tonight is going to be a good night, I think.


Unlike the show in the Golden Lands, the poltergeists have original and Outside songs intermittently, this time.

The first song, one of their own, is a weird and bizarre thing called "Tengu and Octupus." They meet a walrus and eat some beetles and a disc of some sort turns red and then there's a really neat instrumental piece. The rest sounds like a gangster's memoirs. While drunk.

The second, written by Pinkblue Madness, is titled "Shabu and the Horror." It's a sad song about a girl falling in love with her own nightmare, only to forget everything about him after waking up. Black Hand of Slap plays some really nice slow music for this.

Next is an outside song. White Opening's voice grows much more powerful for this one. There are screens showing the translated lyrics here and there so that the audience can follow along. It's something about a woman and her beloved, beyond an ocean, or something. It's very good.

The song that follows is purportedly by White Opening herself. She has a wicked smile on her lips as she sings, and she slinks back and forth across the stage as a spotlight follows her. It's a slower song, called "Cucumber Love" and it gets a lot of laughs from the audience. Orange blushes a lot. I try not to giggle, and fail miserably.

Number five is another song from outside. Entirely instrumental, it too, is named after a long green vegetable ("Green Onions," says the screen). It's odd, but as I soon discover, quite catchy.

Six sees the pace pick up and grow weird and heavy. I don't get half of what's going on. Some kind of Outside world song about three treasures and gold in the mind or something. It's not my first choice, but it could be worse.

On its heels is a song by Little Red about a tiny man named Tanigawa and his battle with an enormous housecat. The song is incredibly serious and incredibly absurd at the same time. The music is hard and almost warlike. Fast, too. White Opening's voice becomes almost like that of an opera singer. I briefly wonder if my bottle will crack.

Ah, that's right, I should drink this.

The last song is something strong, clear, and powerful. Another outside song. I thought it was called Journey, but it seems that's the group, or singer, or whoever. How strange. I can't make out the title, though. I don't really care, though; both Orange and I are on our feet singing along with the chorus by the second half. And given everybody else is, too, it seems that having that effect on people is not unusual. It's a really good song.

There is clapping and cheering and generally thunderous applause

And then


It might be later.

Or is it just now?

[ ] Suddenly
[ ] Gentle blanket of stars
[ ] The hour of the witch
[ ] Long, rose-colored fingers


This is the last update for this thread. Tomorrow's costume will head it regardless of which timeskip, if any choice you pick.

200% armor never got chewed through so fast.
But I suck at CS anyway, so yeah.


[∀] Gentle blanket of stars

>Walrus, Octopus, Beetles

[x] Long, rose-colored fingers

I'm pretty sure this refers to morning, but I couldn't help but to think it might refer to finger-banging a woman on her period. I'm hoping both.
I'm assuming the choices are basically

> [ ] Right then
> [ ] That night
> [ ] Midnight/Really late
> [ ] Morning

Lets go with

[x] Gentle blanket of Stars
>some kind of delivery-based youkai.

[X] Suddenly
'Suddenly' is right in our wheelhouse.

In before 'Suddenly, the green girl jumps out of nowhere and eats my eyeballs'
>In before 'Suddenly, the green girl jumps out of nowhere and eats my eyeballs'
You have my word that I will never do such a thing, or anything like that.
...Not without some warning.
And besides, she doesn't do such business on-site. That sort of thing done back at the workshop.
And she wouldn't eat them.


[x] Suddenly
It's like I'm really taking Letty to the Prismriver concert!

>Green Onions

"I believe that this tune can be equated with the great classical music around the world. Well now you go to Germany, you got your Bach, your Beethoven and your Brahms. Here in Gensokyo, you got your Prismrivers, your Kana Anaberal, your Mystia Lorelei, and your Booker T. & the M.G.s!"

>The last song is something strong, clear, and powerful. Another outside song. I thought it was called Journey, but it seems that's the group, or singer, or whoever. How strange. I can't make out the title, though. I don't really care, though; both Orange and I are on our feet singing along with the chorus by the second half. And given everybody else is, too, it seems that having that effect on people is not unusual. It's a really good song.




[x] Suddenly
[x] Suddenly
[x] Suddenly
New thread: >>102071
New thread: >>102071
New thread: >>102071

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