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File 151148287160.png - (1.17MB, 1126x1600, 13jpg.png) [iqdb]
15717 No. 15717
Wherein happens something terrible.
Expand all images
>> No. 15718
File 151148332930.jpg - (131.76KB, 600x793, 60280653_p0.jpg) [iqdb]
(X) She said something to him.

Yamame Kurodani knew well what she wanted to say. It was a simple spell. It was as simple as three words. More syllables separated a drunk from his next serving at the local tavern than Yamame wished to vocalise now. Her human had said it, and he had been tiddly, tired, and not a trivial degree careless. I love you. Three lousy words, and it would all be out in the open.

But was it love? Yamame Kurodani had stitched together a handkerchief idea of the term from those stories told at the table by nostalgic Oni, or written down in various books. She knew what it stood for, and closer or farther what it symbolised. Nor was there any doubt in her mind that she wanted her human to remain at her side. There was little within, in fact, telling her otherwise than she wanted his company to be a regular thread in the fabric of her life. Though his jokes were bland, and his thoughts were hard to follow, and he kept his attention priced as high as precious jewels. Still Yamame Kurodani wanted to say the same about him that he had said about her. Those three words.

But there was a problem. A hole in the lining of it all. For whichever way Yamame spun the months of their acquaintance between her fingers, none of them turned out a single tragedy. No one was being exiled. No duels were being fought in the name of love on beaten ground; no punitive sieges were being mounted, and no fires of disagreement were raising pillars of ruddy smoke into the sky. No bodies were cropping up in the dead of night. There was one death to count, yes – but it was years distant and uninvolved with what the earth spider now felt. There was nothing else. Only she, her human, a few mild misunderstandings, and a slowly tiding awareness that neither of them wanted to be apart from the other.

If it was love, then it was a very quiet one. Altogether unworthy of a story.

The question, Yamame realised then, had never been whether she loved him or otherwise. That slice licensed no lack of confidence. Might be, even, that she had loved him for a well good bit, but for her uncertainty had not allowed her to think she was… well, allowed to, before. The sole question, then, was whether her internal definition could stretch enough to include what she was feeling.

There was even less of a story to tell when she found it stretched very easily.

And so it was that, with a heart clear of doubt and a-puff with a warm sense of satisfaction, Yamame Kurodani uttered the spell that had razed civilisations.

“I love you, too.”

The spinstress was rather proud of that custom finish. It reminded, at least – despite the applications of fault – that it was he by whom this potential war had been started.

The war did start, too: snake-like, with a sibilant replacement of air that Yamame’s confession must have punched out of her human’s chest. Then it was joined in earnest.

“… I don’t think you do, Yamame.”

The earth spider’s response was stridently direct.

Satisfaction wrapped up inside her heart so it could not escape, Yamame ripped short the distance between herself and her human, who would defy her spells. She stepped noiselessly up the edge of the cart, and tore the blindfold away from Paran’s head. Inside the same, smooth motion, she shoved out at him – not too strongly, but enough – so that he tumbled backwards off the crate, and down onto the sacks of rice and turnips and bales of fabrics that were Yamame’s reimburse.

Then, spider-quick, she leapt after him.

The cart made nary a groan of objection when she prised apart her human’s arms and pinned them down. What it did not, Paran made up for at volume.

“All right,” Yamame calmly rode over his exclamations. “Why?”

Her human, his eyes scrunched painfully shut, squirmed underneath her like a stuck fly. “Yamame,” he grated, “It hurts—

Yamame hissed. “I’m not sorry.”

“Not you!” snarled Paran. “The light!”

Yamame Kurodani, the mother of plagues, let this human – who would play with her feelings so – to be punished by his own weakness for a few more pained grunts. Then, feeling not a little ashamed, she unlocked a half of her hold, and slid her freed hand across his eyes. Paran quit writhing.

“There. Is this better?” Yamame asked him gently. “I’m not hurting you, am I?”

The reply was resigned. “… No.”

“The bald truth is,” the spinstress went on, “I am sorry. I really am. Only, I thought I’d heard you denying my confession – and it hurt me quite a bit.”

“… Right.”

“We both know it is unwise to hurt a spider, don’t we? It makes them want to do unpleasant things. Me, I wanted to smack your mouth for a moment. Maybe brick it up afterwards.”

“That would have been inconvenient,” Paran opined.

“We are woefully short of bricks around, too,” Yamame added. “And, even if I were to dig up some clay and sculpt some on the spot, it would still take a decent while for them to bake. And it is oppressively hot out.” It was, as well; and Yamame had but to slightly curl her fingers to find the human’s skin was sticking wetly to hers. It was not an entirely unpleasant sensation now – but with time, it could feasibly become it. “So, Paran,” Yamame continued, “tell me this. Without risking us cooking to steaks out here… Why am I not allowed to say to you, what you already said to me?”

Paran, to start, had no answer. Only there was a flicker of expression on his mouth, and his liberated hand seeking out hers. Once it found this landmark, the hand traced farther on. It grazed upward her arm; it reversed at her shoulder, and brushed the tips of its fingernails up Yamame’s exposed neck. In the end, it came up to her face and cupped one of her cheeks. It was offensively hot. Its palm was bumpy from calluses, and reeked sharply of the cart’s bare iron handles. It was big and clumsy. It was sticky. It was rough all over.

Yamame pushed against it, wishing silently it would touch her more often.

“… May be I picked my words wrong,” Paran’s answer finally issued. “I meant to say, it was too simple. Sorry. I’m bad with… saying things.”

“Sometimes,” granted Yamame. Mostly when it is meant for me. I wonder. “So, what was it that was so unacceptably simple? My confession?”

Her human nudged his head down and up. “Yes.”

“Was there some other way you wanted me to do it?”

He thought about it. “… Not here,” he concluded a little helplessly. “Not now. Not like this.”

“Yours was no better,” accused the spinstress. “I’m not saying I’m not glad you told me – but it left something to be desired.”

“That is why,” sighed her human. “You’re more creative than I, Yamame.”

“So, you wanted me to make up for it? Me?”


“Who knows nothing about these things? The dumb me?”

Paran made a grimace. “You’re less dumb than I am.”

If we make this a contest, thought Yamame, then shudder, Underworld. “So,” she asked, “if you didn’t want me to tell you… well, that – then what did you want me to do?”

Again now, her human secured no spoken reply. Again, it was his hand which did the answering first of all. Now, its thumb was disengaged from its sibling fingers. Then, it glided – slowly and longingly – across Yamame’s lips.

The spinstress could not hold back a soft laugh.

“And you curse me for being simple!” she moaned. “Sloppy, Paran. Sloppy!”

“… You underestimate how addictive this is for me, Yamame.”

“No,” she told him. “No worries. I understand completely.”

At least, I’m beginning to, she corrected inside, even as she bowed down and gave to her favourite human what he so desperately wanted.

Might be it was because now was a time of answers and returns; but the spinstress mirrored her human’s drunken kissing from the previous night – touching her lips firstly to the corner of his, then slipping toward the centre, and there pressing down in a tender expression of absolute trust. Trust, and – which was little deniable now – that other thing as well. The three-word thing.

Thinking about this, Yamame took away the kiss – for long enough to sense the human readying to speak inside her hold. Then, in a swing of pointless, petty, loving revenge, she kissed him again.

She did it three more times until she had her fill.

When finally she let him let it out, her human’s voice was noticeably diluted.

“… You know, of course,” he was almost whispering, “You know that I have lied to you?”

Yamame indulged him with a smile he couldn’t see – but probably felt. “About what was it this time?”

“This.” He moved underneath her vaguely. “What you just did. It’s not a sign of affection – not just.”

“I imagine you would have stopped at my cheeks if it had been,” Yamame said. “Which you positively couldn’t – if I recall a certain evening a while ago.”

“You were really pretty that evening, Yamame.”

That squeezed another tiny laugh out of her chest. “Tell me why I was ever convinced you were hard to please!”

“I frowned a lot?” Paran theorised. “Grumbled, as well.”

“Kept trying to hide?” supplied Yamame.

“Kept trying to hide,” he gave up. “I should have eaten less. Would fit in more cracks now.”

“But you still wanted to kiss me – really kiss me – as soon as you were close to it.”

“… These things keep turning out, don’t they?”

“And still, here we are,” Yamame dramatized. “You – unbitten, and me – thoroughly un-outraged. The Oni might pull you out of your hide for lying alone; I think your lies are small. My sisters lie bigger than you, and they are subtler about it as well. You? Yours need work. Because this—” She brushed her lips briefly against his. “This? This, even now, doesn’t outrage me. At all. I’m built of less flammable stuff. I need worse lies to bite.”

“… How much worse?”

“Mm, let me see,” she purred. “Say that you doubly lied to me right then, and that was but a tiny sign of affection – just. I’d be put out overall. Not saying I’d bite, necessarily,” she teased, “but I’m not saying I wouldn’t. Any way you trim it off, you can never know with spiders – right?”

Paran deflated with mock relief. “I’ll vow by the one lie, in that case.”

Yamame chuckled. “That’s disgusting, you know? Maybe I should let slip the dread Oni on you after all. How would you like to hide from those?”

“Here’s something that isn’t a lie then,” offered her human. “I have a wad of very hostile turnips stabbing me in the small of my back.”

“Heinous. What about them?”

“Ah—” The human’s clipped exclamation was so familiar she was smiling before the reply produced. “See… A spider of some sort is aiding them enormously from above.”

The spinstress grinned. “Are you calling her fat, perhaps?”

“I’m calling her in cahoots. These are some ferocious turnips, Yamame.”

Yamame Kurodani, who was unconversant with the villainy perpetrated as a rule by farmland goods, rose up on her knees until the human was free to adjust, notwithstanding of the diplomatic implications. Hot air billowed out from under the skirt of her dress. The human Paran, escaping at last the turnips’ torture, arched his body up. Then, vengeance apparently on mind, he fell again on the sack – killing droves and droves of treacherous little vegetables in one pitiless stride.

Thusly having satisfied his blood-thirst, the human spoke again to their whilom ally.

“… Yamame?”

“Yes? I’m here.”

“You are,” he agreed. “Would you happen to have my blindfold?”

“I have it. Would you like it back?”

“Would so,” Paran wheezed. “Much as I’d love to lie around with you on top of me all day, we aren’t getting any closer to home.”

Yamame bit back the yearning question that had stitched together in her chest. Instead, she drew about it the entirety of her pride that had been scattered before the human’s dismissal of her feelings. The scattering had been, of course, unsubstantiated; and Yamame swore to maul whichever internal division of her had ordered it in the first place as soon as opportunity presented. The pride was a little dirtied, but it wrapped evenly around her throbbing heart.

“Not yet,” she said. “I haven’t heard how you are going to apologise to me yet.”

The rewards of acting – for once – with authority were instantaneous; and the human Paran must have remembered all about the turnips below. His jaw set.

“… I must, mustn’t I?”

“Must,” declared Yamame. “I’ll forgive you, naturally. But not before you make it up to me.”


“How do you want to?”

“… That is a trick question.”

“It is. I’ve tricked it out. So? Chop-chop, Paran. We aren’t getting closer to home, are we?”

The human feigned a period of deep consideration. “… When we are home,” he said at length. “When this is settled in; when I have taken a shower and eaten… Would you like to try doing something else with me?”

“Another ritual?” Yamame guessed.

“… Of a sort.”

“And this is what you want?”

“… It is,” Paran surrendered. “It’s what I want.”

“Then,” said Yamame, “I’d absolutely love to try it.”

The human sighed as the manacles of promise locked around his wrists.

Yet, even when the not-so-fat earth spider did undo her hold and let him to rise, the human Paran did not seem at all a man who was shackled and being dragged to the gibbets. There was even – Yamame saw as he was tying the sash again round his maladjusted eyes – something like a smile quirking his mouth against his will. A small, diffident smile: almost like that of a boy who had secretly wished a wooden sword for his birth-day but never told anyone – yet got exactly that. It was an adorable little smile, which Yamame Kurodani wanted to coax until it was a wide, crescent Moon of happiness.

The thought, somehow, made her feel extremely fulfilled. Though she had done nothing for the smile yet; she knew – in time, and out of the heat – that she could. It made her feel warm. It made her feel sure. It made her feel needed and purposeful.

Most of all, for the first time since the day’s tragic revelations, it made her feel that she could – eventually – really deserve to be loved.

>> No. 15720
> Three lousy words

Goddamn you crazy bastard my monitor doesn't drink coffee.
>> No. 15721
And she said four!

Nevermind that, this update was great. I
Never got why people want a confession to be set in a spectacular scene. The words are what make the moment special.

Well, unless you're sick or, god forbid, drunk. I understand people wanting to avoid a situation that would even suggest dishonesty.
>> No. 15722
If my sense of dramatic timing is correct, something terrible is about to happen in the following update(s).
>> No. 15725
File 151157695591.jpg - (2.82MB, 2525x3367, 62692978_p0.jpg) [iqdb]

The few hours in consequence dashed by in an escort of squeaking wheels. Always slightly uphill, rarely deviating, Yamame Kurodani walked beside her human in the furnace late-Summer heat, all the while as he carted her rewards to her home under the Goddeses’ Mount.

Though never more on both their lately mishaps, they filled these sweating hours with talk. They discussed, at excited length, how best to design the ice-box which was soon to outfit Yamame’s home; they fought, for a bit, about where it was then best to be located. Paran, ever practical in his insights, wanted the ice-box without the house – where the air was admittedly cooler; Yamame, who ever lived on the nearer side of her surrounds, wanted it closer at hand. At the most heated point of the argument, the spider and the human both convened on the idea the weather ill needed a wildfire to boot with the blasting Sun. They agreed to fight another day.

Afterward, a new amusement chanced across Yamame Kurodani. The human was persuading the cart past an especially rough stretch of the road when it did; and Yamame, all soul of politeness, suggested gently that she may, in pretty actuality, be possessed of two arms and legs (at the moment), and thus capable of helping.

Paran’s reply was jealous.

“This is my job,” to hear him grunt it at the rocky ground.

He spat it again and again, in fact, until – with pouting indignation – the spinstress slipped under his straining arms, grabbed at his big head, and kissed it until he was soft. Then, using of this weakened state, she shoved him away from the stubborn cart.

They switched again, of course, soon enough; but, no matter his nagging, Yamame continued to utilise this threat of tactically-deployed affection to keep the workload from irreversibly bending her favourite human’s back. Oddity of oddities, even a dozen such manoeuvres after, the human still seemed keen on pressing the issue to the end each time. Obviously, a deception of a sort of was in progress. Yamame scented it well enough.

She did not pursue it.

After the thirteenth repetition, she realised why else she didn’t. There was a glowing sense of achievement in being the initiator for these moments of intimacy. Though it was not the first and only instance she had; all the same when she searched her memory, Yamame Kurodani knew it had been her human, a majority of the time, who had played seamstress to those moments. There was nothing shameful about it; and when she coupled to it the theory that Paran hadn’t fallen in love with her yesterday, it made precious much sense that he would have been trying to express it in the one manner he could. In essence, he had been confessing to her every morning, and every evening, for weeks already.

Now she knew finally what he had meant, Yamame enjoyed returning his every little confession tremendously.

Thus did the human Paran arrive un-bent at the mouth of the tunnel at the bottom of which Yamame’s home was waiting. Thus the earth spider, gladdened immensely of this result, did kiss away his complaints, and helped him to prepare the cart for transporting down.

The cart, commissioned by Paran from one of his kinsmen months prior, was a drop of dexterity in the sea of clumsiness that was humankind. The tall, steel-hoop-shod wheels, which were fitted onto a high-set axle and sturdy enough to traverse Moriya’s slanting roads, could be detached; the load, then, rested upon a set of long skids, which ran lengthwise underneath the cart, perpendicularly to the axle. This in turn made it perfect for sledding the goods – carefully – down the stairs, which led to Yamame’s domain, all in one trip.

It was only halfway to the bottom when Hijiri’s generosity became an unexpected twig in the net of usual procedure.

The cart – sled now – had attempted thrice already to ride over the human who had been supporting it from the front; now Yamame, with whom he had switched places, felt it attempting to do the same to an earth spider. Something, as well, must have spoiled in the Sun and spilled over inside one of the crates from the shaking – for an acrid smell was brining the stale air of the tunnel. This, as things were with earth spiders, was at once met with reprisal.

“All right, no!” yelped Yamame. “That’s enough! I’m going to hop on down and grab some rope!”

“What?” It was not the cart questioning her sentence in a startled voice, but her human. “What for?”

“We’ll run it under,” explained the fuming spinstress. “Under and over. Then, you’ll take it from the front, while I rein it from the back. I’ll not have a gods-forsaken cart ruining my afternoon! Fuh!

Then, ahead Paran might point out any flaws in her plan which she would then need to smother, Yamame Kurodani skipped down the even basalt steps at an urgent bounce. The stench of rotted matter seemed to trail behind her.

It was not. And, when she reached the base of the stairs, Yamame Kurodani realised, horrified, that it was she who had technically been following it.

Her home was devastated.

From the tunnel’s opening, where she all but became part of the stone floor from shock, Yamame could see the ruined insides of her salon – visible through a monstrous hole smashed through the wider flank of the house. The cavity encompassed fully half the building with its bizarrely rounded edges. Confused, rancid chemistry was sloughing from those edges in fat, putty-like swells, climbing groggily down what still remained of the walls. A disgusting moment, and Yamame recognised that these were the walls, and that the hole had not been punched – but eaten through from within by some malignant substance. An ankle-deep pool of rank, necrotic sludge encircled the half-digested house. As Yamame watched on in still awe, a pane of glass loosed from a partly-dissolved window. It plunged with a sickening plop into the stinking pool, exciting an eruption of decomposing gas. A film of sick, yellowish haze draped the whole catastrophic scene.

One of Yamame’s forearms tingled suddenly; and she cast downward on a reflex, to flick the irritant away.

The irritant was her own body.

The naked patches of her skin were bubbling – sizzling, dying, and discarding in purplish flakes – as her magickally-sustained biology rapidly reconfigured itself to combat the predatory poison that had subsumed her home. The hem of her dress close to ground was quickly becoming stiff and black and brittle.

If anyone else walked into this… Yamame managed to think.

Then, it clotted into something much more terrifying.

If Paran walks into this…!

A clamp of blind, all-enveloping fear closed down on her every sentient thought.

Without so much as glancing twice at her consumed home, Yamame Kurodani ripped back into the exiting tunnel. It felt hardly three heartbeats before she reached the most important thing in her life. It was less than a quarter of another, and not a scream, before she seized it in two fright-gripped arms, and launched for the safety of open air above.

The cart, bereft of its support, leaned forward precariously, and skidded with a great clatter down into the ravenous death below.

Yamame did not hear it.

>> No. 15726
File 151158557936.jpg - (44.42KB, 600x797, are-you-wizard.jpg) [iqdb]
>> No. 15727
WooooooooooooooooooooooooW, what kind of asshole just melts someones home.
>> No. 15728
Some sorta nega-Yamame, perhaps.
>> No. 15729
Inanimate objects can't catch diseases, silly.
>> No. 15730
I'm betting that this is Eientei's doing. There's that message from Reisen after all.
I mean, some are theorizing that it was Futo's writing, but antiquated speech could be a Lunarian quirk too.
>> No. 15731
We don't have enough information to tell who it is exactly, but I don't know. Reisen/Eientei doesn't make any sense to me.

> 「Earthe Spyder! We have found your kill.
Mas Good doct Master Eirin has found cause: spyder bite & poison.
 Human Village quiet; HOWEVER we are informing your Prin Lady!
  — House Eter Inaba Udongein of House Eternal」

>Her human, assuming a tragic face, shook his head left and right. Then, he grunted, “That isn’t what our village is called.”

Reisen would know what it's called, she goes there regularly! And besides, why would she cross out so much stuff? You'd only do that if you're trying to impersonate someone else (and also weren't very good at it).
I think we can eliminate that option.
>> No. 15732
File 15117400508.jpg - (891.58KB, 964x1024, __kurodani_yamame_touhou_drawn_by_kuronuko_neero__.jpg) [iqdb]

The tunnel spat her out, tumbling, onto the green Summer grass.

As she broke the flight with her back, Yamame’s instincts flash-burned with activity. Her upper limbs opened up, spilling her baggage to the side; then, she rolled onto her belly, scrambling to find a gravitational level. The baggage issued a rattling noise, and the earth spider all but moulted then and there. She whipped around, hairs standing on the ends.

The baggage… The human – her beloved human, Paran – was laid curled up, foetal, on the rocky ground. His hands were pressed painfully to the front of his head.

“Curses!” he was grating between his teeth – only the word wasn’t “Curses,” and what it was brought the less primaeval Yamame, deadening, back to the surface of her mind.

The spinstress flipped her human forcefully onto his back. There seemed nothing off the usual about him at first; less one counted his clothes – which he had again put on before they had descended – were damp from perspiration, the human Paran looked to be untouched by the foulness which had dominated their home. The areas of his skin showing were tan and healthy. No outward damage was conspicuous. He had his hands stuck tightly to his eyes – but Yamame knew this was for he had taken off his blindfold once inside the tunnel, nothing else.

None of it did anything for her crushing fear.

“Paran?” she gasped. “Are you all right? Can you breathe?”

“What?” His voice was alarmed. “I can. What—”

“Are you itching anywhere?”

“… No,” he said after a few seconds. “Yamame, what are you—”

“Stop. Can you feel your body? Are your senses working?”

“I can feel you kneading me. That counts?”

Yamame’s attention startled down to the human’s front – where her hands were clawing up and down in tugs of insensate panic. She willed them to quit. They didn’t.

Then, they did quit, when her human had freed up one of his, and overlaid it cautiously on her twitching fingers.

“Calm down,” he hushed. “I’m fine, Yamame. Calm down.”

“I am calm.”

“You’re pinching me,” Paran disagreed. “I can hear you going like a bellows, too.”

“Maybe I am not calm,” Yamame gave up.

“I’ll hug you, if you want,” he offered. “But not when you’re like this. Calm down.”

An anxious giggle shoved past the block in her chest. “Still so proper, after all that?”

“My ribs are only bone. They can crack.”

He was, of course, right, and not even about the material of his internal workings. Yamame should calm down. She was doing no one favours succumbing to hysteria. The insipid jokes had helped; and – slowly, by degrees – the spinstress did re-master her ragged breathing. Paran, sensing the change in the breeze, pushed up to a sit. He looped one arm in front of his vulnerable eyes, but kept the hand of the other stoutly atop Yamame’s. The double staccato of his heartbeat under his skin was somehow very soothing.

“What happened?”

Almost, and the question would have shot the choking lump back up into her throat.

Yamame swallowed it down. “… My home,” she murmured. “Our home. It was attacked.”


“Someone… Someone ate it.”

“Ate? What sort of—?”

“There was a huge hole,” Yamame interrupted. “And poison. And everything was dissolving! The house was half gone – melted down. The rest still is. The whole chamber is as if someone had emptied their stomach into it. My dress began to break down after only a few moments. If you had gone down there—”

Paran squeezed her trembling fingers. “But I didn’t. Was the culprit there?” he wanted to know. “Did you catch them?”

Yamame blinked. “What? No. There wasn’t… There wasn’t anyone. It must have happened a while ago; these kinds of poisons – acids – are slow-working. It could have been as long ago as yesterday. It could have—”

And it was then she realised. The thought was a glowing red welt across her mental processes.

Had the human Paran not joined the great architect at Myouren-ji the previous day… Had he not ventured out prematurely to meet with her in Hijiri’s domain; had he not missed her enough to risk her displeasure at running ahead of their timetable… Then, he could have well been caught in the attack. He could have been in the house when it had been assaulted. He could have been naught now. Naught, but a puddle of spoilt residue – meat rendered down, bones naked and bleaching – lost in the glutinous ruin of her home.

He could have been dead.

“Yamame, focus!” The human’s voice was sharp, commanding. It was alive. “Shaking isn’t telling me anything.”

The earth spider gathered up her will. The shakes, for the minute, shrank away. “… You’re awfully placid about this,” she accused her human. “What gives? It was your home, too.”

“Maybe because I didn’t build it,” Paran joked humourlessly. “Would flying to pieces have helped, Yamame? Trust me. I’m as furious as you are.”

“You aren’t.”

Her human shrugged. “No, I’m not,” he surrendered. “But I am scared. That is why I need you to focus. I’m at your mercy out here. What do we do?”

The weight of expectation – of responsibility – at last pressed the panic out of her head; and Yamame, thinking the clearest since her plan for the overburdened cart, analysed the next possible moves.

The eldest Komeiji would need to be let know. Never mind she had personally extended her protection over Yamame’s “endeavours;” since the earth spiders were technically exempt from the laws of Gensokyo, it fell therefore into the hated mind-reader’s lap to resolve their complaints. If the attack had been aimed at Yamame, who was the architect of the Underworld, then Satori Komeiji by rights should take up investigation. This much was unambiguous.

But what about him? What of Paran? What about the luckless human stuck between the two worlds? If the attacker was at large still – and aimed to harm Yamame – then it was Paran – not her home, not her belongings – who was her greatest weakness. There was another layer of meaning beneath such a statement, but Yamame shelved it for later.

Something must be done about her human. An option implied itself out of custom that Yamame ought to turn to her brood – her sisters – first of all. But the excitable exteriors of younger earth spiders were no thriving neighbourhood for one of the frailer species. His own home environs likewise were out of the question. As he would be endangered in her habitat, so Yamame Kurodani should be in peril if her presence was discovered in the Human Village. Then, she could no more protect him. Should he be protected? she asked the busying threads of her mind. Would he not be safe among other humans? Yamame had but to remember her uncritical panic minutes before to decide differently. Slim though the chance may be; still, whoever should draw the ire of the “lawless” Underworld, they might also violate such edicts as bound the youkai on the surface. Yamame did not wish to lure this chance.

There were other, more selfish reasons as well. They did not matter much. Not for now.

The web of possibility tore down, therefore, to a dual twine. There were but two places in the Underworld that a human might be – and indeed had been – safe inside. The first of these was the underground Capital – with its shining lighthouses and their empty rooms, whence a spider and her partner may cast their summons for a mind-reader’s help.

The second, and more forbidden… was the mind-reader’s den itself.

( ) The Capital, and its lighthouses.
( ) The mind-reader’s forbidden den.
>> No. 15733
(x) The mind-reader’s forbidden den.

Me see Satori option.
Me vote Satori option.
>> No. 15734
(x) The Capital, and its lighthouses.

I would vote Chirei, but consider the following:
Either way we're getting at least one Satori scene, and a house for the two of them is far more private...

Also, I wanna see more oni.
>> No. 15735
(x) The Capital, and its lighthouses.

Hopefully this will attract the least attention from our enemies.
>> No. 15736
(x) The mind-reader’s forbidden den.

And let's get relationship advice while we're at it.
>> No. 15737
Satori: "Just fuck already!"
>> No. 15738
[x] The mind-reader’s forbidden den.
-[x] But ask Paran if he has an opinion, and priorize his preferences if they differ.

Well, Satori did promise a safe heaven. Somewhat.
And, while her pets may be responsible, I doubt that's the case. Even if it is, that she condoned her actions.

My money's on the Taotists or other spiders for now. They're the most obvious posibilities until we get more clues.
>> No. 15739
File 151179519083.png - (70.64KB, 1257x540, Words that Awoo.png) [iqdb]
Since we seem to have a Divide of opinions for once, I’ll hold off starting up on the next bits for a day or so yet. To fill in the gap, here’s some replies!

Whoa, there. What do I look like, a small hostess enthusiast to you? Not gonna happen!
Even not gonna happen-er! Nope! Spiders are gross. Gross! Shoo!

>A magician and an Oni is an unusual pairing to be sure.
Not necessarily if you’ve played the Patchister’s routes in the fighters. Some do take it a touch far, but who am I to tell them they’re wrong? The only fighters I ever play are GG and Drunkken. That’s Tekken while drunk, where I pick Asuka and keep spamming the leg grab until I’ve beaten everyone else in the room. It’s my favourite fighting game.
>I'd say Yammy, but you're already writing about her
Now, in all seriousness, I seem to have an opener for some kind of Kagerou short story on my drive. The trouble is, since writing it I seem to have suffered a mild case of the writers. That is, I’ve forgotten completely what it was supposed to be about. I’ve attached a slice, because I can. I’ll try to marinate it for a while and see if I can distil an idea, but I really guarantee nothing. I’d need to put the Yamams to the side, too – and while I wouldn’t mind it so much, I think I’m in the minority on this point.

>(and don't you try to deny it).
I have never denied anything. Never! Nuh-uh.
All right, see, while I’ll be the first to admit rather enjoying Nitoppai in a tight tank-top, the Nitori in my head is an abrasive thing in human company. Think what flashes (darkenings?) of Sekibanki you’ve seen from me, only substitute self-doubt with a sense of well-conserved arrogance. That’s my mental Nitori. And call me Akyuu’s-little-slippers-in-mouth-retarded, but I don’t think many on this site like their ‘hus that way.

I’ll leave this to that friend I mentioned. I’m no SDMeister in general. I even like Rumia more than I do Flandre…
This is an idea. Though the Wriggle in my heart is more like a discount Eiki (to wit, the plainer, neighbourhood girl who looks kind of like her, whom you run crying to when the lofty Yama turns you down), I could certainly see it happening. Again, though – no solid ideas, and I’d need to put the spider back in the terrarium.

>Grump is love, grump is life.
You are my flesh and blood, and you can come pick my cotton any time – even if I only respect Nazrin because she doesn’t respect Byakuren.

Stealing my job? Why don’t you come over here and write the next update for me as well, ah?

>not a single voice for the Banc
Sadness. But it goes to show.

Hello. My name is UlySekisses. It’s the name I Bear, and I will Bull-y anyone who makes a problem of it. Apparently, I am also a year older since Saturday. Hopefully we’ll be able to finish this story before I turn a retirement age. Seems like it’s closer with every Saturday that comes by.

Lie down on the couch and show on the doll where the dread mind-reader touched you. Because that is definitely not healthy.
>> No. 15740
File 151179640779.jpg - (250.31KB, 1920x1080, HALLOWEEN.jpg) [iqdb]
>not a single voice for the Banc

Dude, I thought she was a given! After all, you're... well, you.
>> No. 15741
[x] The mind-reader’s forbidden den.

'tori time? 'tori time.
>> No. 15742
>And call me Akyuu’s-little-slippers-in-mouth-retarded, but I don’t think many on this site like their ‘hus that way.

Well, in that case, 'many on this site' can go piss up a rope.
>> No. 15743
> KageWaka interaction.
Well, that confirmed one thing: I love how you write friendly banter.
>> No. 15744
> not a single voice for the Banc

I also thought this went without saying.

But since it seems it doesn't, more Sekistory would certainly not go amiss.

> Lie down on the couch and show on the doll where the dread mind-reader touched you.

Right in the TIiTS.

The feels. I meant feels. Pay no attention to the typo above.
>> No. 15746
File 151200220412.jpg - (172.25KB, 360x768, __kurodani_yamame_touhou_drawn_by_sakurame__977373.jpg) [iqdb]
(X) The mind-reader’s forbidden den.

But qualms like these meant little and littler when disaster had fallen so close. The Komeiji may not make for the best of company – perhaps not even good – but their function they would dutifully serve. The youngest one had claimed as much; and as for Yamame’s human, she knew by way of rumour already one of his kin had stood Satori Komeiji’s care, and lived. Another one was a matter of recounting the training.

Yamame Kurodani sighed her hope that the vicereine of Old Hell would treat kinder this human than she had treated her previous. But perhaps, as well, a touch less personally.

A tiny, embarrassed frown pushed her brows together. What am I imagining? The jealousy was misplaced. It was ugly to boot; Yamame wrung it out together with another sigh.

“Any decisions?” Paran quizzed her exhalations. “Anything? Yamame?”

The spinstress starched her heart. “Yes. Two,” she told him resolutely. “Can you walk, first of all?”

“Somebody wouldn’t allow me to do my job properly,” reminded Paran. “I should be fine with some more walking. Why?”

“There is another opening an hour away thereabouts.” Yamame swung her free arm approximately westward. “There are few who use it, since it is fairly new and leads nowhere but the Hub, and there are some narrow bends to fly, but it is a more direct route.”

“Yamame. If you are pointing somewhere, I can’t see it.”

“Oh.” Yamame’s arm went limp. “Um. It’s to the… It’s on the western slope. Opposite of the Tengu settlement.”

“That doesn’t mean anything either way,” said Paran. “What is that Hub?”

“A sort of cross-roads,” explained the spinstress. “Some call it the Heart Chamber. Some say it itself is Old Hell. It lies above the Capital – straight below the peak of the mountain. There are tunnels there branching off more or less to any place in the Underworld you can name. Satori Komeiji has her home there.”

“Your so-called Lady,” Paran remembered. “And we are going to impose on her?”

“Impose is what you did yesterday,” chided Yamame. “We are going to ask for her help. The eldest Komeiji is our counsel, even if we rarely call upon her in that capacity. My home is still in her realm; if nothing else, then she will house us while I get messages out to friends who will help us find what caused this. You will be safe.”



“… I could still return to town.”

Yamame’s fingers – those still encased in her human’s – curled into tiny hooks. The human Paran, if he had noticed, did not say.

“I haven’t enough money to lodge in an inn or stay-house,” he went on, “but I could beg of my mother to let me stay in for a time. Until this blows over. Until you deem it’s safe again. My mother is hard – but she isn’t unreasonable.”

“I’ve thought about this.” Yamame, senselessly, shook her head. “I’ve thought about it. No.”


The spinstress breathed in. “… I don’t want you to leave.”

“… Why?”

“Because I love you.”

She launched the words very fast, as if the briefest thought could knock them out of her web.

In the end, it was selfishness, and nothing else, which had thrust them out. There were – to Yamame Kurodani’s tottering honour – other excuses, and no mistake. Had the mother of plagues, for instance, trodden with reason rather than greed – then there was no doubt in her mind the human would have outpaced her inevitably. Had she given Paran but the chance to, he would have snapped the links of her logic with never a care; for reason was the humans’ arid kingdom, and no place for a spider. But she had danced these dances, had Yamame Kurodani, and threaded out what it was which her human could absolutely never say “No” to.

A little trivially, it was this basic argument. These three (or were they four?) sorcerous words.

The effect on her human was almost obscenely efficient. He glared at her – for what good it did him to glare through the flesh and bone of his arm – his mouth set into an angry line.

“… All right,” he rumbled. “All right, Yamame. Very good.”


“I’ll abide by whatever you think best; but,” he warned, “I warn you, Yamame Kurodani, I hold no sympathy for youkai who aren’t you. Keep this Satori Komeiji away from me, or I will visit with the Hakurei on my very next trip.”

“You tolerate my sisters,” Yamame argued. “You’ve tolerated Niku – eventually. You’ll be fine.”

“Only because of you,” he disagreed. “Only because they’re yours. You’re special, Yamame. No one else is.”

“What about Ashi?”

“I like her,” Paran said artlessly. “Mostly because she and I both adore you. This Satori-lady sounds a different story by half.”

“She doesn’t hate me.”

“But she doesn’t love you,” he insisted. “And I despise those who do not love you. Forget it, Yamame; you’ve decided,” he pre-empted whatever reply had been shaping on her lips. “That is plenty. You’ve polished up the sharpest blades. I’m not going to fight back.”

I’d love it if you did, even for a bit, thought Yamame. But for her human’s integrity she agreed, “Very good. Then let’s impose on the Komeiji.”

That earned her a tight smile. “… Are you sure we cannot go down?” Paran asked then. “There were some pricey things on that cart.”

“No,” Yamame said, firmly. “No, Paran. If it’s slipped all the way down, it is as good as gone. If it hasn’t, then we can recover it later. Once the poison has run its course. It’ll turn benign in a few days at most; even our venoms seldom last longer. Until then…”

“Until then,” Paran picked up, “no turnips.”

Yamame chuckled. “And no ice-boxes, either! All that squabbling, and look! Here we are. Maybe someone had been listening, and we’d been too loud?”

“Then I hope he isn’t listening even now.”

This dearest hope cast, the human Paran released Yamame’s little hand, and sought out the blindfold safe-kept in one of his pockets. This, once found, he gratefully wrapped around his head. Yamame Kurodani, kneeling beside him, then met with her human’s invisible stare.

With a pull of sudden and overweening misery, the spinstress realised she had not seen his eyes – or at least looked at them very long – ever since the distant previous evening. There had been other things to mind since then – and to look at – yes, there had been; but for Yamame, who loved her human’s eyes, these were now very sorely missing. All but, and she would have reached out, pushed up the protective cloth, only to have a single look.

These were a foolish spider’s urges. Yamame willed them out.

In time, as well; for the human had one question yet.

“… What is the second, then?”

Yamame looked at him, confused. “Huh? Second what?”

“Second decision,” Paran said. “You said you had two.”

“Oh! Um. Well… There are two ways to the Hub,” she explained. “There is a path down the opening I mentioned, that can be climbed down. It is a long going, but doable on foot. The other path is… less climbable, shall we say? Quicker, though – and easier. So…”

“… So, we might want to fly,” Paran guessed, forehead wrinkling like a freshly washed bed-sheet. “Splendid.”

“Will that be OK? I promise I’ll hold onto you very tight.”

“We flew just now, Yamame,” sighed Paran, “and I’m only bruised. It should be OK.”

“… Sorry,” said the spinstress. “I was scared. I hadn’t even thought what I was doing. I just wanted to get you out of there. As fast as I could.”

Only bruised, Yamame,” repeated her human. “It should be OK. My mother used to say men were made to be bruised – and learn therefrom.”

What did you learn here, then? wondered Yamame, even as she watched her human rise to a wobbly stand. The stand was wobbly, too; and even as the spinstress realised it, her human’s hands were promptly crushed into fists.

The fists were shaking.

“… Yamame?”


Paran tore his blindfolded gaze away from the black mouth of the poisoned tunnel. He looked down instead: at his still-sitting rescuer.

“… You seem calmer,” he noted.

“A bit,” admitted Yamame. “What about you? You look upset.”

“Not at all. I’m fine. Gods watching, I’m fine.”

“… Did you want a hug?”

The human Paran opened his mouth to answer.

Then, whatever staid, propriety-made response had been forged in the underground vaults of his word-bank, it was smashed into a thousand glass-shard pieces. Paran swallowed them down, gagging from the effort.

“… I think,” he choked out at last, “I think I’m going to need that.”

>> No. 15747
I sure hope they have some clothing they can spare. I doubt they do, though, considering Satori's social life, but we can hope. Wouldn't want this to turn into 'Kurodani Yamame Has No Clothes'

No, wait, maybe I do.

Anyway, do those two have cash in hand? Where do pre industrial people keep their money anyway? Afaik, they either keep it in vaults in the church, in their castles or they don't have any. Before banks there was no middle class.

Wait, banks came long before steam machines, fuck. Which ones are there in Gensokyo anyway?
>> No. 15748
'Mame's Memetic Mishaps.
>> No. 15749
File 151206871345.png - (318.99KB, 900x844, DC9LaPIXcAQrsCt_png:large.png) [iqdb]
>“I’ve thought about this.” Yamame, senselessly, shook her head. “I’ve thought about it. No.”


>The spinstress breathed in. “… I don’t want you to leave.”

>“… Why?”

>“Because I love you.”

>She launched the words very fast, as if the briefest thought could knock them out of her web.

The time for me to quit writing has come. My 2hus will never ever be this cute and that makes me sad.
>> No. 15751
File 151208307418.png - (102.35KB, 600x600, waggy_landed.png) [iqdb]
Since I am unlikely to post tonight’s update within the following hour, here’s a Town Portal back to >>/gensokyo/15237 for your convenience.
>> No. 15752
File 151213618628.png - (456.58KB, 488x487, sekibutt.png) [iqdb]
Can you believe I actually forgot to post this between finishing it and going to sleep last night? Neither can I! I’m probably lying, the bastard that I am.
>> No. 15754
File 151213701467.jpg - (304.15KB, 800x503, __kaenbyou_rin_and_kurodani_yamame_touhou_drawn_by.jpg) [iqdb]

Satori Komeiji’s domain was a cyclopean eye, rent in the obsidian rock in a time and by forces inconceivable even to the mightiest youkai.

The white – in the absence of a more imaginative term – of this eye was a colossal ring of a cavern; impossibly tall, fissured pillars of dripstone were threaded throughout the entirety of the ring: a forest of supports for the mass of the mountain above. Shadow stalked these woods of stone; but as the underground Capital had its own miniature Suns, so too did this chamber house a brilliant light within. A vast chasm made up the eye’s orange iris; as deep again as the pillars were high, round beyond the reach of coincidence, the chasm was a peek-hole into the molten core of the earth. At its bottom, a magmatic lake broiled with a potent, barely-restrained fury.

Married to the heat rising from the lake, the chill of the underground conjured up lashes of chaotic, differential wind. Yamame braced against them as she descended.

“Almost there!” she yelled over the portentous roaring.

The human inside her embrace made a seasoned impression of a taut, desiccated husk. Not seasoned enough; but for the spinstress, who vied with more immediate concerns, it passed her by.

The eye’s squinting pupil, beside its environs, was grotesquely small; an islet at most, nothing more. A singular finger of stone jutting out the volcanic abyss – yet enough large sill to bear an entire mansion (including its gardens) upon its flattened tip. Those more poetically inclined Oni of the Capital (the same, in the main, who referred to their vicereine’s seat as the “Heart Chamber”) oft claimed Satori Komeiji’s house to be “sunken” or “collapsed.” The metaphor was plain; for the mansion above the magmatic lake had clearly been fashioned by the weather-minded mode of human architecture. Three floors up with a slanted roof, and windows all across. Had the Underworld’s architect not known differently, she could easily have believed the house had indeed rolled in down from the world above in some darker time.

An ancient bridge – pure stonework from end to end – joined the islet to the safer shore of the chasm. Attired with a better (better yet, for faster) alternative, Yamame landed rather in the midst of the mansion’s gardens immediately. Her human, continuing his imitation of old prey, crumpled into a broken heap, and heaved over a bed of familiarly crimson roses.

“… Never,” he sputtered, past a nauseous few moments. “Never again, Yamame.”

The spinstress offered him a little smile in compensation. Whether it did compensate or no, the marooned two walked over to where the front door of the mansion stood, forbiddingly closed.

Thus, similarly ticklish in the stomach, Yamame Kurodani pushed apart the double wings omitting a knock, and stepped inside.

To knock, in the first place, would have been without a sense for such a grand-spanning house; even from above Yamame had seen scarce few windows were alight, none of which nearby the entrance. But her earth spider’s eyes had caught something else: luminous fibres of loosed magick energy, wafting on the cavern’s turbulent air. Not snares – for Satori Komeiji needed not restrict her prey physically – but bell-strings: subtle incantations designed to alert the mansion’s master to a foreign approach.

All the more alarmed the spinstress, when who received her inside the deafeningly silent foyer was not Satori Komeiji at all. The great door slipped ominously shut behind.

Two feline ears, knife-edged and tipped with sensory hairs, flicked at the earth spider and her human from atop a head of hair as red as cooling embers.

“Guests who come,” said their owner, “one from near, and one from far. Matters not – little sister welcomes all. Good day.”

The cat-eared creature then pinched the skirts of her grass-green dress, and curtsied in an antiquated way. The dress, Yamame passively noted, was a single, overlong piece. Cut from one, vast sheet of fleece – or other like material – and finished copiously with lace; it hung until the wearer’s feet in a flat, unbroken slope. When raised, two booties – black and hard-shod – were revealed, peering out curiously from under the hem, one before the other for the bow.

Coiling snake-like behind them were the twin tails of a kasha.

“Rin Kaenbyou,” Yamame recognised. “… Hello.”

The corpse-thief of Chirei-den carried an ill repute among the Capital’s Oni. Not because Rin Kaenbyou’s nature was deplorable in itself; rather, her particular inclinations had led her to socialise with the surface people, from whom the same Oni had cut away. This, perhaps inescapable, association had made the red-tressed cat the most notorious of Satori Komeiji’s pets – beside, anyway, the god-raven and the human.

The corpse-thief of Chirei-den tossed her head, tails weaving sinuously. “Ooo-rin,” she moaned. “Ooo-rin! Those alone who wish mean things should happen to little sister call her by her full name. Those and perhaps Master Satori. Those who are friends of little sister as one call her Orin. So must sister Yamame.”

“What makes you say we’re friends?” asked Yamame. “I’m an earth spider. Kasha and we don’t mix.”

“Simple,” Orin said with a pleasant smile; “yes, it is. Yamame-of-Black-Valley is a friend to everyone. Orin knows.”

The spinstress tucked in her fangs. “… Very good,” she gave in. “Same to you, Orin. Yamame. No need for the full name.”

The cat-she curtsied once more. “It shall be even as sister Yamame wishes.”

“I am not your sister, either.”

“No?” Orin set a long-nailed finger across her lips. “Was little sister perhaps mistaken? She has so many siblings, so many: sisters, even a little brother since lately years. Might be she has erred? Might be.” The corpse-thief curtsied for a third time. “Apologies to sister Yamame.”

Yamame throttled a groan. “… We need an audience with your Master,” she cast another net. “Is she available?”

The cat seemed to catch. “Ah! Here is their request. Sadly, Master Satori is… preoccupied, at current. Yes. Most noticeably preoccupied. She may be hours still… depending. Any way it goes, she is not available now. Not close.”

“And her daughter? Could she hear us out?”

Orin laid her ears at the mention of her owner’s overzealous progeny. “Young Master San is unfortunately away,” she said, mournfully. “Though it leans on who says it uppermost of all. It may be she is fortunately away for some; little sisters knows not which way her thought lies. Away, at any rate; taking lessons in the shiny Capital, yes she is. Grows quickly, does our dear Young Master. So quickly… Ah, but sister Yamame needn’t be so glum of face!” The cat-she laughed at the earth spider’s failing expression. “These are but minute obstacles! She may guide them to a room, may little sister. There they may wait, where one has waited before, until such a time as little sister’s Master comes un-occupied. Will they, nil they? Orin wonders.”

The mother of plagues had but to look to her human to see he was ill at ease with… perhaps everything at present. But, ultimately, what other choice did present?

“Nil we?” she asked him, half-jokingly.

“… Methinks we will,” grunted Paran.

“What he said,” Yamame told Orin.

The cat-she glanced incuriously at the sweat-sheened human. Then, she resumed staring expectantly at Yamame.

“… We will, Orin,” repeated the spinstress.

For the fourth time, Rin Kaenbyou lifted her dress and provided an obeisant bow. “As sister Yamame so wishes.”

Then, without waiting so much as for them to clasp hands, the corpse-thief of Chirei-den started down one of the dozen dimly lighted halls.

>> No. 15755
> “Young Master San

*Roars incoherently in joy and delight*
>> No. 15756
>where one has waited before

cheeky git
>> No. 15757
File 151217080117.jpg - (82.69KB, 400x309, __komeiji_satori_and_kurodani_yamame_touhou_drawn_.jpg) [iqdb]

The cat-eyes of Orin had proven an ally above allies inside the mansion’s mirror-same corridors. Though little did Yamame doubt her own spider’s acuity could retrace their steps to the foyer; but to have located the one desired room among a hundred identically-doored was a feat subject to envy. This, or like her Master, the corpse-thief of Chirei-den had played at tricks complex even beyond the earth spider’s mind.

As they had walked, and Yamame had been studying the curious, glyph-like tiling of the mansion’s floor sliding by, Paran as well had given to his own curiosities. In he had leaned, and whispered into the earth spider’s ear:

… Black Valley?

The warmth of his voice – his precious voice – crashing on her skin had all but caused her to forget about floors entirely.

“It’s—” she had murmured back, “It’s what my family name means, when written in Gensokyo’s script. It was… probably… where I was born.”

“I’ve not heard of any Black Valley.”

“It’s probably nowhere close. I’m not sure if it’s anywhere, still.”

“Except in your head.”

Yamame had giggled – quietly. “It is a nice name. It made me feel like I had my roots put down somewhere. That I was a person – not a sickness in the wind. It was something that kept me going… well, after I’d come to the Underworld. I needed an origin point. Somewhere I could call my birth-place. Somewhere I could loop around to – even if I never will.”

“… I see.”

“Isn’t it the same for you? Maybe you’ve put your true name someplace where I can’t catch it, but you are, nevertheless, Paran of the Human Village. That is where you loop around. Would that make you… Paran Ningensato?”

“… That isn’t what it’s called, Yamame.”

“Someday, you will have to tell me what it is.”

The room where Orin had led them dutifully had by earmarks been meant for guests. A single, royal-sized bed took up a half of one wall; otherwise, a writing desk, a bookcase of some content, and a vacant dresser occupied the remaining space. The floor was clean, soft-carpeted. As well to reinforce the purpose of it as a guest-room, the cat-eared denizen of the house had curtsied for a final time, and fled, as soon as completing her task.

Yamame Kurodani, squealing delightedly, unhooked from her human’s grip, and hopped over to flump bodily onto the bed. Here, too, the guest-ness of it all was in cushioned evidence; and the bed, which Satori Komeiji had delegated to those rare visitors, was downier and more comfortable than Yamame’s own.

At least, she mused with less delight, while it still was.

The spinstress, soured by the thought, sat upright in the borrowed covers, and looked to the end of the room where the human Paran was nervously pacing.

“Paran?” she called out to him. “Is something wrong?”

Her beloved human stopped. Then, he was pacing again.

“… It’s just filtering in,” he muttered.

“What’s filtering in?”

Paran paced another full course before replying. “Where I am. What I’m doing.”

“You’re here,” Yamame offered. “Scuffing a hole in the floor.”

“That’s not it.”

The spinstress shaped a wan smile. “I know,” she said. “I was joking. Can’t I? I don’t know how else to help.”

The human, who hadn’t before, now reached for his blindfold and jerked its binds loose. His eyes at once screwed up at the orange light intruding from beyond the window. In a few, impatient sweeps, he yanked the curtains close. The room became a little more shadowy.

Then, at last, he looked directly at Yamame.

There was no love in that look.

He had gorgeous eyes, even now; but they were so dark and a-swirl with fear and insecurity, no ray of love was filtering through. There was no overt allegation inside; but though Yamame put her entire heart in her returned gaze; though she pleaded with him mutely to forgive her; all the same, she could not deny the insidious thought that she had perhaps strained his trust too far this time. That, by pursuing the convenience of Komeiji’s quicker involvement, she had shoved her human too deep down the Underworld’s indiscriminate jaws.

Was this where she wanted him to be? In these inimical realms? Yes. Yet between the two permissible, she had put him in one with which the human was dismally unacquainted. The Capital, she realised all too late, would at least have been explored before. Here? As good drop a spider in an empty glass and watch it fumble. So was it for humans in the Underworld.

And yet, even these guilty thoughts were pushed through the gaps in her internal webbing when the human, having paced one final round, approached her instead – and knelt at her side by the bed.

With no preamble whatsoever, he deposited his messy head onto her lap.

“Pa—Paran?!” Yamame startled when his arms were slipped around her waist. “Um, what—”

“It feels safe here.” He breathed the words into her clothes. “It’s warm, it smells nice, and it feels safe.”

“Are you mocking me?”

“I’ve never.” Her human rubbed his chin left and right on her thighs. “Made fun of you, yes. Never mocked.”

Against her tenseness, Yamame let go of a small chuckle. “You’re as bad as Ashi is, did you know that?”

“She loves you,” Paran reminded. Then, quieter, he added, “I love you.”

That made the apprehensions melt.

A rush of warmth, happiness and fulfilment working up from her tiny heart, Yamame Kurodani wove her spinstress’s fingers through her human’s matted hair. The hair was hot, greasy, and not a little gross at first; but when the human sighed contentedly and sank against her with unaffected trust, there was nothing else in the world (even if only for now) which she wanted more under her hands.

Slowly, with care – as he had done it to her many times before – she scratched along the tough skin of his scalp. She cooed a happy little song that needed no words (nor had any); and sooner than she may rethread his confession for the thirtieth (or so) time over in her head, the human Paran had lapsed into a sedate, undefended nap.

A clock-less wedge of an hour hence, a tap was sounded on the door. A measured hand rested on the handle, and the door smoothly inched ajar.

Framed inside it, her cat-maid in obedient escort, was the most hated among the Undeworld’s cast-out.

The vicereine of Old Hell, the eldest of her name, judge and counsel to those estranged under the earth, the dreaded mind-reader, Satori Komeiji, was a tiny, almost insignificant-looking woman. Though the most recent upheavals of her life had seen the eldest Komeiji adorn a healthier complexion and additional stuffing in her flanks; even so, Lady Satori – so-called by those less censorious of her subjects – could readily have disappeared inside a group of human striplings. The tired, pale-blue smock she was wearing and the likewise faded, flower-patterned skirt admitted her only a modicum of stateliness. The part-translucent shawl circled round and round her neck gave her the appearance of drowning instead.

It had to be said, all the same, that Satori Komeiji was dignified in her own, separate right, and Yamame respected her above all.

“Spare me,” said Satori. Her voice was hoarse, as if she had been speaking to someone at great length and volume. “Spare me,” she repeated. “And you,” she said to her cat-evasive pet, “Stay.”

Orin flicked her steeple-like ears, but shut the door, and stalked behind her Master as Satori went to draw the chair from the desk. The small vicereine sat down weightily.

“… What have you gotten yourself into?”

Yamame cast sheepishly down at her slumbering human. Satori shook her head.

“Not that,” she said, faint mirth stamping her spinel-pink lips. “As a matter of fact, I would have been a boundless hypocrite to hold this against you. You know that he is not asleep, however. Yes? Quite awake, in fact.”

Yamame blinked her incomprehension.

Satori made a shrug. “He likes it there, but did not think you would have let him stay like that if he hadn’t pretended.” The small governess paused. “He thinks you smell like home. He likes it very much.”

The spinstress looked down in time to see her human come away with the crinkles of her dress pressed as red lines into his face. The face was scowling.

Satori Komeiji summed it up with a self-satisfied smirk. “Those measures may have worked on lesser of my kind. I am older, and more nimble as well. As a matter of fact, I have plucked more secreted thoughts than those you are having of our dear Kurodani. Chant your school-books at me all your heart desires; in the end, you are as good wearing it on your sleeve. No need for frowning, is there? After all, she is the prettiest spider there is, hmm? Isn’t she just, Nao—?”

Paran,” growled Paran. “My name is Paran.

“You have a number of those, then. How very, sickeningly, nostalgic.” The vicereine touched a weary hand to her brow. “Men! Make one, and they’ll make themselves a dozen. Rin.” She fanned the same hand at her waiting pet. “Take this one to the bath, why don’t you? I’m not going to; I don’t want to repeat that particular mistake. I need to speak with Kurodani here, anyway.”

Orin’s tails swished. “Take whom, Master Satori?”

Satori fixed the corpse-thief with a steady glare. “I don’t care this one doesn’t smell dead, Rin. He still smells awfully. Your hobbies are for your own time. Take him, or I won’t have breakfast made for you tomorrow.”

The cat-she made as though to grip her dress and bow, but threw the skirts down at the last second in frustrated defiance. Still, she flitted out the door, headed, imaginably, for the ordained bathroom.

“You had best go,” Satori told the staring human. “She won’t harm you – but she won’t wait for you, either. You’re too lively for her tastes. Go!”

The human Paran stood up. Yamame, at once, followed.

The eldest Komeiji switched her fix to the spider. “Stay, Kurodani,” she urged. “Nothing is going to happen to your lover; if it does, then you have my permission to pull the whole mountain down on our heads as revenge. I’ll even have Utsuho and the rest stand down. I promise. And you, you idiot spider enthusiast – go, already! Scoot! Why are you men so damnably thick-skulled?!”

The man did scoot – though not before throwing a guilty, parting look at Yamame. Then he was gone.

The small governess slumped tragically in her chair.

Yamame sat back down on the bed. “… If this isn’t the best time,” she offered, “then we can come back later.”

Satori Komeiji swatted the offer out of the air. “That… self-effacing servility… may impress your Oni friends, Kurodani, but not me. No. As a matter of fact, it thoroughly disgusts me when people of your standing don’t dare to give themselves the esteem they’re due. It makes my teeth ache.”

“But you look—”

“You’ve irritated my plans for the evening, Kurodani,” Satori replied with an arch smile. “I am upset at that, and I make no apology for looking like it. But would you have come otherwise? Would you ever have come if you had known I’d had plans laid out already? No, Kurodani. This is also part of my responsibilities. It’s the duty I bear with my titles, this mansion, and all. My plans can wait. Tell me what happened.”

“Yamame,” Yamame said.

“Excuse me?”

The spider spinstress pursed her mouth. “Yamame. You asked, in your letter, if you could address me by my first name. I never wrote back no.”

Something lurched behind Satori Komeiji’s perfectly guarded expression. The small vicereine’s penetrating, amethyst eyes seemed to soften and go a little wide; and her cheeks suddenly blushed a very pale, almost indiscernible pink.

“… Very well.” Satori Komeiji made a nod, her face overall a bit bemused. “Please, Yamame. Tell me what has happened.”

>> No. 15758
Man, Satori probably shits dignity. I've never seen a fictional character that has suffered so much and still so... well, warm.
>> No. 15759
> These three (or were they four?) sorcerous words.


> little sister
> Young Master San

>> No. 15760
she got a backhand to the face last time around i guess, and was edged for the entire running time of a story

doesn't seem like that much suffering, altogether
>> No. 15761
I've reread (for some reason) and come to the conclusion that the whole faked note thing is moot. In case anyone else wanted to know and it wasn't just me stupidly wondering about it for longer than warranted.

From the scene where reisen comes and places the note:
>Yamame Kurodani’s spider acuity told of two new, stranger elements present within the walls. The first of these was a faint scent of small prey Yamame knew she knew, but could not place.
Reisen smells like rabbit

From when Satori's daughter comes to visit:
>The Moon-doctor’s pet spoke of spider poison, and yet this is not how you would have killed.
Meaning, presumably, they actually met with her.
>> No. 15762
> After all, she is the prettiest spider there is, hmm? Isn’t she just, Nao—?”

What is thy name, Paran?

Right Nao?
Hi Nao Ma?
>> No. 15763
Well she did kind of got run out of the surface, she did lost their parents and her sister did kind of killed herself.

But what do I know?
>> No. 15764
File 151235212138.jpg - (92.56KB, 772x1000, __komeiji_satori_touhou_drawn_by_marsen__ccdfc3ffc.jpg) [iqdb]

As with the younger one once, Yamame Kurodani quit the room containing the eldest Komeiji – a time later – possessed of a re-patched overlook of things.

As her daughter had once, so too had Satori Komeiji made for a rapt and graceful audience for the earth spider’s unnerving account; attentive – if not amazed – she had listened to the spinstress describe the chain of events parading up her predicament. Though the vicereine’s Third Eye, suspended in a lattice of fleshy cords at her chest, was black-gazed and baleful; but if Satori had found a tangle in heeding both of Yamame’s voices at once, then she had sewn around it with never a snag. Only once, as the spinstress had been recalling the frightful fate of her home, had the eldest Komeiji interjected.

“One moment,” she said, one white palm raised flat. “What did you say it was? Eaten?”

Yamame Kurodani chewed on a lip. The association had not been wholly advertent.

“It’s just what it put me in mind of,” she explained. “Because it seemed melted from inside.”

“Because that’s how spiders feed?” Satori asked.

“Most of them. Some do it… differently. Me, I haven’t—”

“No, you haven’t,” Satori agreed, smiling a knowing smile. “As a matter of fact, Oni would have tasted foully, and you had no appetite for those oh-so-hateful humans. Why, but isn’t there one who doesn’t hate you now? How would you have eaten him?”

Yamame gaped at the openly treacherous question, hurt welling up in her chest. “I would never—!”

“No. As a matter of fact, no. You wouldn’t. Forget I mentioned it.” There was another smile – less knowing, and more sympathetic. “You are a little too easy to tease, Yamame. It’s not an evil quality, but it can smother you under misunderstandings if you don’t take it in the loop. There are times when a barb isn’t a barb, but… something that isn’t a barb.” The small governess waved the slip away. “Maybe not a compliment, either – but the next best thing. My… husband… for instance, calls me small or bony at times. I realise this is true, and I realise he may have preferred I was less so; but, since neither one of us can do anything about my shape, he only points it out every now and again as a way of coping with these perceived flaws. I act offended, of course – but not to the extent he thinks I really am.

“That sounds dishonest,” fussed Yamame.

“It’s a game.” Satori slightly lifted her shoulders. “The only catch is, we both win. He gets to make it up to me. I get to confirm he accepts me as I am – flaws and all. If it’s the earth spiders’ diet to obstinate on flattery alone, by all means… I’m sorry. We were talking about your eaten house. What else stood out to you?”

The remainder of the story was pointed and short. As it had ended, Satori Komeiji, leaning back, broached her own conclusion.

“The way I see it,” she said, “this is what we should do. The very first thing is I’m going to need more details to go by. As a matter of fact, you absconded the scene a little too soon for anything telling to register. Yes, yes. I know. It was melted down and stank of spoilt food, and you had… other things, shall we say?… to mind right then. Nobody is condemning you for that. Still, I’m going to need a clearer picture before I – excuse me – throw up any allegations. I’d much rather this remained an inside issue, so… I’d like to send someone up from our side.”

“I don’t know that’s a very good idea,” Yamame protested. “The poison was—”

“So it was, yes,” agreed Satori. “Very strong. As a matter of fact, it is as you said: it’d be for the best if we waited for it to simmer out before we blunder on in… Unless,” another option loomed behind the vicereine’s violet eyes, “we sent in someone more naturally resistant to this sort of unpleasantness. More acquainted, if you will. At least, in theory.”


“Your siblings, yes. Mind,” Satori cautioned, “I cast no judgement when I say this, but there is a slim possibility one of them may have done this. It’s terrifyingly easy to antagonise a spider, and your younger relatives are almost legendarily inconstant. If I had my best choice, I’d like it if you could go back and have another look, but… It’s no hard guess it might be difficult to persuade you to leave in your current state.”

“One of my sisters can go,” Yamame quickly assured. “I trust them.”

“Any ones you trust more than others?”

“Hachiashi never let me down yet.”

“Jet-haired, ruby eyes, dimples that make her look impudent, insufferable sense of humour…” The small governess filed away the finer details of Yamame’s mental image. “… That should be enough to pick her out. I’ll send Orin up first thing tomorrow after breakfast. It might be worth the side trip to seed the news in the Capital as well. Those Oni drunkards do love you; they may feel compelled to do some snooping on their own time. You are, more or less, one of them.”

Yamame felt an Oni-red blush crawl out onto her cheeks. “I’m not that popular.”

“Were you asking for my help, or did you want to do it the snail way?” Satori folded her arms. “As a matter of fact, now you’ve brought this to my attention, I’m closing off the snail way. We’re doing it as I’ve decided, and that’s final.”

“And what about us?” Yamame asked. “What about me and Paran?”

The vicereine cocked one small brow. “What about you?”

“Are you going to let us wait it out here?”

“Aren’t I? This room is fine, isn’t it? Or did you want another? I’ve to tell you, though – there are hardly any tidier than this. It’s a big house to keep clean.”

Yamame gave an almost startled shake. She bowed her head. “No! It’s fine. It’s very, very fine. Thank you, Lady Satori. We will be a couple of days at most, I promise. We won’t be trouble. As soon as the poison has cleared out, I’ll take him back, and—”


Yamame looked up. The frown on Satori’s pale face was disapproving – even disappointed.

“This mansion has about one-hundred-and-five rooms like this one, give or take,” she said. “It has four big kitchens, half a dozen smaller ones, a full dozen bathrooms, two ballrooms, and at least one basement I can attest to existing. There are probably leagues of corridors taken together. I have a library here that rivals anything on the surface. When the Yama forgot to have this place demolished, ages ago, they left behind everything – walls, floors, furniture, carpets, books, documents, personal effects, even clothing. What is one room to me?”

“The Yama?” Yamame was confused.

Satori gave a little smile. “You didn’t know? It’s a fascinating little sidelight on the story of this place – if a bit humbling. This place, Chirei-den – the Palace of Earth Spirits – used to be a vacation house for the bureaucrats of the Old Capital. That is an entire city of overworked push-quills it once had to accommodate. Someone else could probably tell you the story in full better than I. Anyhow, my point, Yamame, is that I could host you twenty times over and scarcely even notice the loss in living space. Your Oni friends could throw a party in the farther chambers, and I may never find out – until I trip on the debris one day.”

“That could happen,” Yamame chuckled.

“It may have already.” Satori shuddered. “Anyhow, even imagining this wasn’t so, and that I hadn’t expressly communicated my willingness to help you, there is still a third factor.”

“What’s that?”

“My daughter.” The small governess sighed. “San has run into this idea, see, that we – the Komeiji – since we are technically the governing force here, that we should take a… more active stance… in any and all incidents that pop up every now and then. She treats it very seriously. Why, if she heard that I turned you away… As a matter of fact, she may just decide to shriek my ears off. She has her father’s lungs, but a little girl’s range. It’s horrible.”

“Orin said she was in the Capital,” Yamame remembered.

“Yes. She’s taking classes in spell-scribing from a castaway yamanba. My grasp on incanted magic is tenuous, and my pets are too elemental to teach her their methods, but she finds the concept of witchery somehow very romantic. I couldn’t tell you why. There are abstractions in that girl’s mind even I can’t dig around, and she’s become extremely skilled at keeping me out.” Satori’s brows suddenly crashed together. “… Yamame. We weren’t supposed to talk about San. We were talking about you. Stop distracting me. Very plainly, dear earth spider, you have in your care something that commands a unique consideration here in the Underworld. This is a consideration for which Chirei-den is uniquely equipped for. It has been for a while. Here is very well the safest that something may be in this place. Other than your home, I suppose… but we both know – or don’t know, yet – what happened there, no?”

“Then you’ll let us stay?” Yamame wanted to confirm.

“Then I’ll let you stay, you silly Oni-spider,” Satori answered. “It was never a question of if. I’d have helped anyone – for varying reasons – but having you come to me is the greatest thrill. Among all the souls in the Underworld, it gladdens me the most that beloved Yamame wants my help. As a matter of fact, it almost makes me feel not-hated… Speaking of, though.” The tiny vicereine tilted her head and tapped her nose conspiratorially. “Say. Since we are waiting for your special something to be brought back anyhow, why do you not tell me a little more about it? San has told me a few choice snippets, but I’ve seldom had the opportunity to listen to someone in a similar circumstance to one I once was. How-ever did the feared mother of plagues do this to herself?”

And so, issue of this request, Yamame had begun to explain exactly how she had.

It was as she was harshly criticising the warped door with which good Hijiri had saddled her for the latest project that Paran was, at last, returned from his bath.

Yamame’s beloved human had been skinned of his dirty clothes, and wrapped inside a delicately embroidered bathrobe of silver and pearly white. His hair had been mostly dried; it stood, in a fluffy clump, atop his head, and smelled very good even from afar. Orin swished in behind him, tails curling – for all outward impressions denying the man’s persevering existence altogether.

Satori scanned the refreshed Paran over. “I see you’ve helped yourself to some spare clothes.”

The man sketched a shrug. “Your cat-youkai said these were for guests.”

Orin’s tails whipped. “Little sister has said no such thing.”

The eldest Komeiji laughed them down. “You two are off to a sparkling relationship, aren’t you? Try not to sparkle over any carpets. Yamame,” she called the earth spider, “Your turn? As a matter of fact, let’s make this a statement. Your turn. I don’t care all too much if he likes it; I think you’re overdue for a bath myself. Orin, if you will very well please. After that, you’re free.”

This time, the cat-she drew a full and proper bow. “It shall be as Master Satori wishes,” she said respectfully; “for Master Satori is kind and understanding. Sister Yamame?”

The spinstress hopped up from the bed. Paran’s eyes bolted her to the spot.

“Are you leaving me here?” he demanded. “With this?”

Almost Yamame had opened her mouth to chastise this selection of terms; but Satori Komeiji’s mouth was quicker and more seasoned.

“You—” the small governess began.

And then, quite matter-of-factly, she called him a word which made both his and Yamame’s extremities wilt.

The owner of the destructive vocabulary smiled at their combined reactions. “Good,” she said. “Now we’ve swapped insults, perhaps we can talk civilly. Paran, dear – or whatever you want to be – I’ve known who you were and where you stood since I laid my deuced three eyes on you. Had I but wanted to use that at your loss, I would have done so already. I haven’t. I know what your… Hieda-lady… wrote about me in her little compendium. A wealth of that information is out of date.” Satori aped the human’s shrug from before. “As a matter of fact, you did well to study the Underworld before you came in to sweep our dear Yamame off of her feet… but you see, even here, the world doesn’t just stop. There have been developments. Why, I’ve even gotten a husband, did you know? Well, no rings, though.”

Yamame saw her human’s brows shoot up. As well did Satori.

“Go, Yamame,” she hurried the spinstress. “Quickly – before I lose his interest.”

“Curiosity,” Paran corrected – even as he took up Yamame’s spot on the bed. “My interests lie elsewhere… As you know.”

“That is very well,” countered Satori, “because ten minutes is about all I can spare for smoothing out your irrational fears. I’ve something better-looking than you – if just as impatient – waiting for me in my bedroom; and I’m not about to let this evening go entirely to waste. Well? Will you deign to perhaps address me as a person now? Paran of the Human Village?

“… Very good,” Paran consigned. “… Mistress Komeiji.”

“That makes me sound so old,” Satori complained.

Can I go, in that case? Yamame wanted to ask – but the human Paran was not holding her with his eyes anymore.

That was when she stealthily quit the room.

As she clicked the door close, and turned to follow Orin’s clacking booties down the long hallway, Yamame Kurodani patched over a certain long-sewn and moderately well-washed opinion.

Satori Komeiji was not a snake.

The sloppily-dressed, thankless vicereine of Old Hell was a diminutive creature, which had naturally to be compensated. The was no Oni alive (nor vengeful spirit dead, nor another member of the underfolk in any intervening state) who would respect the eldest Komeiji’s dictates had they not been backed by something otherwise than her empty titles. So the teeny vicereine threatened. So the tiny governess extorted. So Satori Komeiji – she whose pets matched her out in strength – had forged her sole advantage into a weapon none in the Underworld dared cause to fall upon them. The big-headed Oni may pride themselves on their honesty, but even they had thoughts most guarded; spirits did just the same, and everyone else as well. There was not one wretch in the Underworld who did not have a rotten secret of one stripe or another concealed.

Satori Komeiji knew them all. Not told. But knew. And that was enough of a deterrent.

Though her personality was all the same not one with which Yamame Kurodani would drink herself into the wee hours; even so, Satori had heeded the earth spider’s troubles, and shown to be appropriately concerned. Not shocked, perhaps; but perhaps it lay not within Satori Komeiji’s responsibilities to be shocked. Her influence would still be lent in solving the case of Yamame’s ruined home, and that counted for everything. That, as well as the shelter she promised the spinstress and her human.

The one stitch yet unknown was whether Satori Komeiji could convince the human Paran, who hated youkai on very good principle, that there were those in the Underworld warranted of his trust (and love?) other than the one Yamame.

An ugly, oily kernel of a hope bubbled up from Yamame’s tiny heart as she walked, that Satori Komeiji should fail.

>> No. 15766
Stop it, you're gonna make me want a San story.
>> No. 15767
Plot twist:
Paran and Orin's beligerrent attitudes eventually grows into love, and she steals Paran away from Yamame.
>> No. 15769

But San is In This Story!
>> No. 15770
She was. But she probably won't return at the most dramatic moment possible.

>> No. 15774
File 151243691834.jpg - (171.38KB, 800x587, __kurodani_yamame_touhou_drawn_by_beni_shake__25aa.jpg) [iqdb]

Whether she had or no was a puzzle Yamame Kurodani took even as far as the bed that evening.

Might be it was for Satori Komeiji was no more in attendance in their room; but the human Paran – who Yamame would precious sooner he trusted her first of all – was standing in an intense study of the room’s bookcase when she returned. Her beloved human had grown into his silvery bathrobe; and he sounded all but disdainful as he jabbed a thumb over his shoulder at a heap of clothes piled up on the writing desk’s chair.

“Clothes,” he offered helpfully.

The spider spinstress smiled. “Have you stolen these as well?”

“Lady Satori did.”

That is your final address? wondered Yamame. But, for dodging an argument she cared scarce for anyway, she went over to the heap.

A glance behind (but the human was turned the other way), and the earth spider slid out of the robe she – as well – had filched from the bathroom’s guest-minded supply. A pick or two (but the clothes were unmerited visually all across), and she chose a clean, white, woollen tunic as her bed-wear. The tunic was wide and cut rather for a more masculine figure; yet it proved to contain Yamame with room to spare, once she had wriggled inside.

“Yamame?” Paran rumbled behind her.


He hedged before grunting his question. “… You knew her husband was a human?”

“Yes,” said Yamame, tugging her hair up the tunic’s collar. “It’s subject to a number of naughty rumours in the Capital. Why?”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“It never came up. Is it very important?”

Paran ground out a tired breath. “It is, Yamame. We like to know these things.”

“Who’s we?” she asked, turning to face him.

Her human was idly paging through a musty-looking tome of some weight. “Men,” he told her. “Men like to know. It makes us feel safer when something has been explored before… and more excited, if it hasn’t.”

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” Yamame wondered aloud.

“In this circumstance,” said Paran, “it feels a touch safer. Why can’t I read this?”

Yamame, hovering at his arm, scanned the spiral, fox-tail runework on the book’s rice-paper leafs. “It’s youkai script,” she explained. “It was in use before it became… less degrading to employ human systems for writing. This one takes a lot of ink to say what it wants.”

“Never took youkai for a tale-telling kind.”

“It’s not as much tale-telling as it’s archiving communications. These are likely separate messages that were only later compiled into a book for keeping; you can see the gutter isn’t near wide enough to accommodate being stitched together like this. The page you’re looking at is talking about a settlement of some kind, or truce. It’s hard to read when the ink’s gone crusty like this. Komeiji wasn’t lying; these are really old texts.” The spinstress disengaged from her human and went to sit on the bed. “What else did she tell you? Nothing too scary?”

“Nothing too much.” Paran slammed the illegible book close and jammed it back into its slot on the shelf. “That I am yours, and that she didn’t want the mountain torn down. That she wasn’t quite the monster I’d expected, and wouldn’t poke her dainty little nose into our affairs. That I am, ‘as a matter of fact,’ free to leave if I should want. And, that I am not to pull her cat-youkai’s tails.”

Dainty? “You pulled Orin’s tails?”

“Figuratively, Yamame.”

“Oh. That’s all she told you, then? Nothing else?”

“She said to kiss you good-night for her.”

“She did not!”

Paran forced a smile. “It was worth a try.”

The spinstress walked him with her spider’s eyes as he shuffled up to the bed and folded down brokenly atop it. The ensuing shockwave caused her to rise and fall like a small, blond-haired empire. It made her smile.

“Are you so tired?” she asked him softly.

Paran groaned into the covers. “… Tuckered out, in, and every which way,” he rasped. “I’ve been up on my feet since morning, Yamame. It’s been a very long day.”

Too long, I’m sure, thought Yamame. I’m sorry, Paran. I’m so sorry it ended up like this. “We had such plans, too.”

The pearly-robed man sprawled in the foreign-scented covers did not appear to hear.

A minute raced by on a very lazy spider’s legs. Yamame, drawing her own legs up onto the bed, crawled nearer her beloved human.


The reply came muffled. “… Mm?”

“We’re going to have to sleep together,” she warned him.

“… We are, too.”

“And you are fine with this?” asked the spinstress. “We slept together last night, but… I understand we were both out of light to care. We napped together once or twice, too, before that. I never bit you, either. But, if you want to, we can divide up the bed. You can lie in one end, and I – in the other. If you’ll feel safer, we can—”



“… I’ll be your human pillow, if you’ll shush.

Yamame Kurodani, the yearly malady, had rarely been ordered to shut up in such a way it made her want to hug the orderer, rather than give him a nasty sneeze. This, in the very knife-point of fact, might just have marked the first.

So she did hug him. More applicably she tried to hug him; for hugging someone sunk half up their breadth in soft mattress and quilts needled close to what even a spider could call difficult. But she did lie across his back, burying her face in the hair behind his ears, and that had to do.

The pillow Paran smelled very good.

Nothing evil had been disguised in the admission. The simple reality was that Yamame’s human was owner to a singularly pleasant scent. Though his bath and borrowed robes had layered it beneath another – a mantle of soap, and some alien flower which made the spinstress in equal measures annoyed and excited – still the core of Paran’s basic smell was fixed indelibly to his skin. It was a core which Yamame had learned intimately. It was a core which, on some insidious level, had been made into a lining thread of her home. The very home, which – destroyed though it had been – was in part lying at her side (or under it) even now. Thanks to him. Thanks to her human.

The logic was not wholly sound; but logic – as reason – had never been Yamame Kurodani’s strongest malady. It did not spread very far. Sometimes, it lived no longer than a few heartbeats.

Without figuring out why, she shifted her position, and began to nuzzle the human’s ear.

“… Yamame,” groaned Paran. “Stop that.”

Yamame chuckled. “Why? It’s fun. I’m not going to bite.”

I am. I’m ticklish.”

“That just makes it more fun.”

She blew into his ear. Her beloved human squirmed.

Yama— Stop that!”

“No.” She blew again. “Nooo.”

Yamame,” Paran begged. “What do you want from me?”

Yamame, for the briefest moment, reined in her teasing.

The inquiry was, after all, legitimate. Her human had, in his humanly chase of misappropriated knowledge, issued her with many a question before which had not been fully so. Not so this. This could be one for ages. It could be a quandary posed in story-books for hundreds of years to come; sleep could be driven from generations of human eyes by a riddle such as this. Already one had fallen prey to its mystery. The question stood on, unrelenting.

What did Yamame Kurodani want?

( ) Something.*
( ) Nothing.

* You can treat this as a write-in option, but you don’t need to.
>> No. 15775
(x) Something

Doesn't every couple want the other person to be happy? Doesn't every breakup end in heartbreak because you loved the person you're fighting? Doesn't every day where you wake next to a loved one marvels you? Don't you feel guilty of feeling so happy with no cost?

But the cost is there. Happiness today for sadness tomorrow.

A fair trade.
>> No. 15776
What the heck are you going on about?

(x) A promise fulfilled.
>“… When we are home,” he said at length. “When this is settled in; when I have taken a shower and eaten… Would you like to try doing something else with me?”
Yes, he's really tired. No, it wasn't technically a promise. I don't really care, it's time to be spider-greedy once again.

I get the feeling this might be what the non-vote-in 'something' means but, just being certain.
>> No. 15777
(x) Nothing.

no /at/ allowed
>> No. 15778
(x) Nothing.

The blueballing must continue!
>> No. 15779
(x) A promise fulfilled.

Hoping for something lewd ayy
>> No. 15780
They aren't at 'home'.

(x) Something.
>> No. 15782
>> No. 15783
File 151251682996.png - (195.49KB, 625x880, __kurodani_yamame_touhou_drawn_by_fun_bo__50ae2fed.png) [iqdb]
When the spider’s a dunce,
And it’s cat ears he wants,

When she says I love you,
And yet nothing ensues,

Though the legs are first class,
Still he ogles cat ass,

Kiss she may him in spades,
But he craves those twin braids,

When the plans all fall flat,
That’s when strolls in the cat,

>> No. 15784
I'd greatly enjoy seeing a-cute spider despair, to be honest.
>> No. 15786
File 151269929981.jpg - (599.96KB, 900x1200, 28391205_p0.jpg) [iqdb]
(X) Something.

Something was close; everything would have passed closer yet. None prettier – but closer. Yet Yamame Kurodani – who had lived with her selfishness and knew its unbridled stretch – had, for her human’s sorry condition, best to content with the former. At least, she hushed the greedy fractions of herself, for tonight.

So she nosed once more at her human’s ear. So, entreatingly, she touched her lips to the back of his cheek. So, in the softest of voices earth-spiderly available, she whispered her demand.

“You promised me something – didn’t you?”

The human’s answering quiver registered curiously all over Yamame’s front. Paran, his next breath lifting her up, replied with another groan.

“… That was for home,” was the groan. “When we were on break. After we settled in everything. After I’ve showered and eaten.”

“You’ve showered,” noted the spinstress.

“We aren’t home.”

“We don’t need to be.”

“Nothing’s settled in,” Paran objected. “Last thing I ate was an apple and a strip of dried pork hours ago.”

Yamame smiled. “That’s eaten. Technically. Two out of four is good enough, isn’t it?”

“I’m ragged, Yamame,” her human pleaded. “I couldn’t get up if you lit this bed afire.”

The spinstress giggled into his tortured ear. “So what?” she asked him. “Where were you going to go? I’m right here. Was there something you needed to fetch?”

“… No.”

“Then don’t. And face me, already.”

The human underneath her shifted with a tectonic struggle. The earth spider, climbing up on her knees, gave him the space necessary to complete the motion. Paran rolled around with all the grace of a tipped stack of timbers.

His face was thunderous. It was red from chin to forehead as well – owing, like as not, to Yamame’s fooling; but most of all it was thunderous. It put the spinstress in mind of a glowering Oni. The Oni was roped around the ankles, and strung upside down from the rafters as a drunken prank. The glower was perhaps substantiated.

“… You have no pity,” Paran accused her. “Which part of ‘tired’ gave you the slip? Ti? Red?

The spinstress swung one leg over and sat astride him. “You didn’t say you were ‘tired,’” she declared. “You said ‘tuckered out.’ Then ‘ragged.’ The only tucker I know is one you put over a dress. Maybe that confused me.”

“What about rags?”

“You don’t look like one. A rug, conceivably. Not a rag.”

Paran stared up at her. “Wit, Yamame? You?”

That made her chuckle. “I know!” she moaned with feigned despair. “Maybe you’re rubbing off on me? You have been doing that a lot. What-ever next?”

Her human snorted. “Sleep, hopefully.”

“No. Not yet, Paran. Something first, as promised.”

The human Paran let off a long, grinding sigh.

But even as he gave up the life-sustaining air, his hands wandered quietly up to Yamame’s legs. The legs (which her tunic had refused covering up, on account of length) tingled, even as his tough-tipped fingers walked up the length of their thighs. The spinstress shivered. Not at all because her spider’s instincts were up to their dance again. Those had, by now, been mostly inured to Paran’s hands. Mostly. But, for whichever instinct was rearing, Yamame’s shoulders tensed, and a silent gasp slipped out between her lips.

Then once more, when the same hands traced back down toward her knees. They stopped, and waited.

Yamame’s attention slowly rethreaded to her human’s eyes. With a burning sense of shame, she realised he had been closely watching her reactions.

But if they had been any wrong, he had something else to point out.

“… Have you ever noticed this?” he asked. “How this always happens?

Yamame willed out her distraction. “Wha— What always happens?”

“This.” Paran drew a circle with his chin, enveloping both of them, the bed, the room, and everything else apparent. “Whenever we… do things, you tend to always end up on top of me some way.”

The spinstress bit down on a lip. “Is that a problem?”

“Only pointing out what I noticed, Yamame.”

“It feels… natural,” she tried to explain. “Not in a youkai sense; but it feels… It’s like I’m… I just like being here,” she surrendered. “I like being on top of you. Is it a problem? Am I too heavy?”

“You aren’t light – but,” Paran added quickly, “you’re soft and warm as well. It feels good.”


“I’m not tossing you, am I?”

“No,” she admitted. “But you are tired, aren’t you?”

Paran clicked his tongue. “… Yamame,” he grunted, “I like having you here. You feel good. You aren’t heavy. You pretty idiot.

Yamame Kurodani, the pretty idiot, smiled awkwardly at the reappearing compliment. Or had it been a compliment? It was impossible to tell for a surety without a Komeijic access to her human’s heart; but the one certainty presenting was, he at least forgave the earth spider’s ballast and its inexpressible need to rest that atop him. That by itself merited recognition. So Yamame Kurodani, smiling, brushed her hair behind her ears. So the pretty idiot laid her hands flat on her human’s chest. So she leaned down to kiss him thanks.

The kiss was brief – even chaste – meant to communicate gratitude, rather than… well, the usual.

Still, Yamame’s tiny heart puffed up with the same, glowing sense of fulfilment, which she had markedly discovered earlier in the day – while wresting her human away from his work on the road. It seemed, nonsensically, it made no matter why; doing these things alone convinced her silly heart everything was to a measure precisely how it was supposed to be. That all the little bits and pieces of the four-letter-thing she and her human felt for each other were sticking neatly home whenever their lips met. That perhaps, regardless of what she had intended to convey, what she truly felt instead was stubbornly expressing.

But, whether her human felt loved or thanked by the kiss, it was not ever for Yamame to spin.

“… One thing,” Paran was all but whispering. The words brushed the skin of her face, and Yamame opened the eyes she had pleasantly shut, never knowing. Her human’s own eyes were waiting when she did. They were big, dark, a little sardonic, and very tired – but every inch ones she loved above any other. “One thing, Yamame,” Paran told her again, and the earth spider dragged herself out of those eyes. “I’m going to do one thing. Then, I want to sleep. OK?”

The spider spinstress grinned happily. “And if you try more than one?” she teased. “Should I punch?”

“I won’t,” Paran assured her. “I won’t,” he assured again, for some reason. “But, you’re going to have to do as I say, if you want to stay on top.”

Yamame sat up and squeezed her legs around him in readiness. “Say away.”

“Very good. Kiss me.”

She blinked. “… What?”

“Kiss, Yamame,” Paran repeated. “I want to ease you into it. Kiss me, same as always. Then I’ll start. Very good?”

The spinstress made a shallow nod. “… Very good.”

As always, she span the phrase over inside her head. It struck her, somehow, as wrong; it was, factually, wrong – even discounting the fact they had been kissing but for a week or two at most. Yet she did bow down anyway, did Yamame Kurodani, closed her eyes, and her human was obediently given his commanded kiss.

And there, again, was her heart – puffing up in joy as soon as he was. It really seemed to make no difference what prompted these anymore.

The kiss lingered; and even as Yamame (who did not mind overmuch unmaking the error in her human’s words) was approaching the upper end of confusion, something weird – warm and slightly wet – prodded at her squeezed-together lips. What was that? She canted her head in an unspoken question. Her human must not have felt; but there the weird thing was once more – no less wet, but more daring in its advances. The spinstress pushed out at it, but all that did was chase it off. What’s going on?

“… Yamame,” Paran suddenly shaped the name atop her lips.


“… Open up.

Ah, she thought a bit dumbly. So that was it.

… And then again, Ah—, when she finally let him in.

A sticky, clumsy, and intensely satisfying minute later, and Yamame Kurodani reluctantly drew away from her human. The mother of plagues, swallowing, wrenched open her keen spider’s eyes…

… And, blushing, palmed away the trace of spittle stringing out between her mouth and his, before Paran followed her suit.

His expression was a touch critical when he did. He exhaled. “… There you have it. Was that any good?”

“It was—” Yamame caught her own breath. “Mm. It was… something.”

“That’s what it was supposed to be. Something. You shove too hard, Yamame.”

“I do what?”

“You push too much into… well, into my side. My tongue can only bend back so far. It’s nothing awful, just… Think about me a little more.”

I was, thought Yamame, and was only slightly lying. “… Um. Anything else? It felt… It felt like I was doing well – until you said that.”

“It’ll come to you,” he promised. “Give it time.” Then, he gave her a worried look. “… I’m not going to die, am I?”

The spinstress frowned. “Why should you?”

“Well, you know…” Her human waited. He gave up when Yamame made a pout. “… Sorry. You tasted a bit funny, that’s all.”

He reached up and petted one of her cheeks ahead any further offences might mount.

“… Want to go again?” he offered.

“What about you?” returned Yamame.

“… I want to go again.”

She gave him a winning smile. “Then let’s go again.”

“… Yamame?”

“Mm. Hold on… There. Yes?”

“That was way better, but… Was all that moaning really necessary?”

“Mm. Can’t I? It feels good doing this, so…”

“It’s fine. Gods, it’s very fine. But remember we aren’t at home.”

“I’ll remember. One more, then?”

“… One more.”

“And one after that?”

“… But then it’s go to sleep. All right?”

“All right. Mm… Paran?”

“What is it?”

“I love you so much.

“… I’m not sure you d—Mmh!

>> No. 15787
poor paran
very high risk of being accidentally poisoned or his bones broken because of an errant twitch as things progress

maybe that sorta thing floats his boat?
>> No. 15788

I have a shit-eating grin on my face and it's all your fault. You bastard.

Never change.
>> No. 15789
>“… I’m not sure you d—Mmh!”

That's the second time. And the excuse he gave the first time around is very weak and unconvincing to begin with. How the hell do you take "I don't think you love me" to mean "Your confession was too simple"? I can't see it.

It's understandable that Yamame would let it pass since she's completely drunk on the moment and deep in the grasp of limerence, but I can only assume he actually believes this. Maybe he thinks she's too inexperienced to make such a call? That she's just excited and basically having her first crush, like a teenage girl?

He wouldn't be completely wrong, I suppose.
>> No. 15791
File 15128727129.jpg - (292.04KB, 1200x900, __kurodani_yamame_touhou_drawn_by_asutora__7218a18.jpg) [iqdb]

Waking up beside someone else was, between the lately novelties in her life, altogether unsensational.

It might have been for it came in partitions. There was the vague linking of consciousness. The syrupy wash of homecoming senses. The slowly filling cognisance of some other-ness nearby… A click of recognition at last, when a familiarly moody face blurred into focus. Yamame Kurodani was all the same unexcited. Comfortable, yes; gratified in some mysterious way – perhaps. But possibly she had overstocked on excitement yesterday, and that was that.

Her beloved human was much still asleep. The plain tell was the lack of dissent vocalised when Yamame flexed one of her legs – which, at some point of the night, she had slung around his waist. Frown though he might his best regular; the eyes beneath his hugging brows were anyway shut tight.

This was an obstacle.

Here, after all, was a fidgety thing. Here was a human who, the last he had been roused by a spider, had fled instantly into the lightning-wracked realms of panic. Here was her beloved Paran, who, in the one situation she had woken him without forewarning, had badly battered his knuckles on her skull.

Here was a man who might well bite off her nose if he woke up to an unheralded kiss.

But Yamame Kurodani was an earth spider, and earth spiders were hunters subtle beyond compare. So she did not kiss him. So she did not shake him. So she did not lovingly speak his name, either; but she did begin to rub the leg tossed over his side softly up and down, and watched his sleeping face for change.

The change did come; and the eldest of Underworld’s spinstresses soon witnessed as the furrows in her human’s forehead grew almost geologically deep. A desperate word popped between his lips. Then, breathing in implosively, Paran reeled; and his beloved eyes were all at once thrown wide open.

For the span of a few distressed heartbeats, the human stared at Yamame’s very close (and mischief-filled) face.

Then, his breath evacuating, he closed his eyes again, and muttered, “… I prefer this one.”

“Nightmares?” asked Yamame.

“… A bad dream.”

“That’s what ‘nightmare’ means.” Yamame pressed a touch closer. “You were scowling up an earthquake. What were you dreaming of that was so awful?”

“It was…” he began. Then, a returning shadow of the dream crashed his brows back together. “… I dreamt a youkai had snuck in my bed,” he said at last.

“Oh?” The spinstress pushed closer still. “What kind of youkai?”

“An eight-limbed fiend of some stripe,” sighed Paran, “with powerful legs and big… uh, eyes. Can we not talk about this? I’ve enough youkai harrying me when I’m awake.”

“Is one harrying you right now?”

Paran’s lips cracked into a fatigued smile. “She’s about to, I feel.” He pried open his eyelids, and looked fully on the earth spider – who by now was no more than a three fingers’ breadth away. “If you want to kiss me,” he warned, “no tongue.”

Yamame made a petulant sound. “Why?”

“My mouth’s stuffier than the underside of a cupboard.” Paran’s face approximated a shrug. “It’s probably the air here. It’s very dry.”

“So what? Mine’s no better.”

“All the more reason to rinse it down first.”

“I don’t see anything to drink.”

“That is just too bad, isn’t it? We should ask Lady Satori for a water fountain next time.”

Yamame gave him a venomous look. “… Snake.”

She pecked a perfunctory good-morning kiss on his (truthfully a bit parched) lips, and sought a path up to a sit.

The easiest, of course, would be to follow her over-slung leg and come up atop him; and while the easiest may not have been the mother of plagues’ way, Yamame Kurodani was not above lowering herself to her human’s level of depravity. As she rose, the quilted duvet spilled down the arch of her back; and Yamame, with her spider’s sensitivities, shivered from the fall in temperature from a shared bed to the tepid air of the room. Her woollen tunic held its heat well enough; but her uncovered legs huddled closely about her human, longing for his warmth.

If he had meant to deny her this as well, he was too clever to do so transparently. Yes. He was even smiling.

“See?” he said. “Always happens.”

“That is just too bad,” Yamame replied, “isn’t it?”

He faked a pained squelch. “Oof.”

The spinstress tossed her head. “Any more quips? Hmm? No? Good. Good morning, then, Paran of the Human Village. How are we feeling today?”

“Good morning, Yamame of Black Valley. We’re ambulatory, if that is what you’re asking.” He shifted below her. “Weighty, though.”

“And your interminable fear for oneself? Is it ambulatory as well?”

“I’m weak all over with it.” Paran skewed an inquisitive brow. “Yamame? Why are we talking like this?”

“Well, why shouldn’t we?” Yamame humphed. “As a matter of fact, would we really want to wrong her highness Lady Satori with our crude, stuffy tongues?”

Her human rolled his eyes ceiling-ward. “Oh, please.”

“You did call her that,” reminded Yamame. The blunt denial of her not-just-affection moments before had re-stoked the fire under a yesterday’s offence. “You called her Lady Satori – and you don’t even like youkai. Or do you?”

Paran made a sour face. “She is your lady, isn’t she? Politically.”

“Mine,” the spinstress agreed. “Not yours. You owe her no fealty.”

“No. I owe her for these clothes, this room, and this bed instead. Yamame, what is this?”

Yamame puffed up her cheeks. “You’ve never called me a lady.”

“You aren’t,” Paran told her. “Ladies don’t work. You do.”


“So, no ladyship for you. All right, look,” he swapped the thread of his approach; “I’m at her mercy here. As you said, I owe her no fealty – and she owes me the same in return. That’s the problem. So, if Lady Satori wants to be addressed as such, then – gods watching – I will address her as such. I like her no more than I did yesterday morning, but I’ll even call her ‘Sacchi’ or ‘Your Excellency’ if she wills.”

Yamame blinked. “Then you are going to lie to her?”

“After a fashion.”

“But won’t she know that?”

“Yes,” Paran gave up, “but it’s the directed effort she wants. I’ve been handling clientele for a long while now, Yamame – first for my mother, then for you. I’ve known these types. They know I’m lying, but they’re satisfied that I bother. It’s like a play.”

The spider spinstress grimaced. “That’s disgusting.”

“We didn’t design the world, Yamame,” Paran said sententiously; “we but try to live in it. On this note, has her ladyship been coached by yet?”

Coached? What? “No. Why should she?”

“She said last evening she’d have us join her for breakfast. She didn’t say where, though.”

“In the dining room?” Yamame guessed.

“Which is?”

The spinstress twisted her head left and right. “I don’t know. I’ve only been here once or twice. Never for dinner. Lady Satori doesn’t really associate with the rest of underfolk. She’s more of a… a hanging threat.” She won’t like me for thinking this, but she is. “It works, though – since nobody wants her to get involved. So we play nice. As nice as it’s standard for the Underworld, anyway. Overall, you’re right; we should be honoured. It’s rare for her to stoop to our company.”

“None of which tells us where the dining room is.”

“Lady Satori isn’t dumb. Someone will come fetch us.”

“The waiting game, then.” Paran grumbled his discontent. “The worst game there is.”

Yamame grinned. “That is just too bad, isn’t it?”

“Stop that,” her human snapped – but smiled back.

Yamame Kurodani, a spider with such easily ironed tantrums all but she could use them for tablecloth, pried her attention away from him below her, and peered sidelong at the curtained window.

Waking up beside someone else was novel. Not as novel as touching had been; nor was it much similar to embracing or kissing (although it might demonstrably come in the same sequence). Indeed, between those other novelties visited on her life, it was, all said, unimpressive. It was sluggish. It was sticky, stuffy, and all too prone to disappointing. But even with these pitfalls in mind, Yamame Kurodani wanted nothing more than to goad out its hidden potentials.

This, for instance. All but she would have jumped when it started; but when she looked down, those were her human’s hands, and nothing else, cupping her exposed knees.

“… Yamame?”

The spinstress crushed out a more startled response, and murmured, “… It’s fine. Keep going.”

No assent was voiced. None needed, perhaps; for Paran’s fingers did the speaking for themselves.

It was sign language: mute – but simple to appreciate – and a night familiar. A brief pressing down on her skin to start. A tiny half-circle with the thumbs. A long and tantalising slide up the naked stretch of her legs. A pause at the border of her tunic. Another, more teasing half-circle on the inner side of her thighs. An equally torturous journey down.

Then, up again. Though whatever the signs stood for, the earth spider did not know.


“Nn… Yes?”

“… I’d never do something like this to a lady.”

Yamame chuckled, the final note squeezing out as a clipped moan. Her legs inched a little farther apart. The spinstress wedged a thumb of her own between her teeth.

The length of the tunic was openly spooling away Paran’s masculine patience; up and up, his hands were bumping it away, to reveal more and more of those legs he so (allegedly) enjoyed. A handful more such shy bumps, and the patience spooled free. His thumbs hooked under the edge, and jerked the cloth up to Yamame’s waist.

The spinstress, breathing shallowly, lifted on her knees to help him extract the bit pinched under her seat. He did.

… Then, experimentally, he pulled the bunched edge up to her navel.

Yamame did nothing.

“… Yamame,” Paran choked out. His breath was every bit as elusive as hers. “… Are you going to just let me do this?”

“… Why not?” she asked back. “I was going to change out of it anyway – right?”

His eyes flashed alertly to her face. As soon, they flaked back down; for whatever was under the tunic licensed evidently upper interest. His mouth set in a conflicted curve.

“… You are wearing something under this, aren’t you?” he asked at length.

Yamame felt her cheeks flare. “I… I am! You can see that. Can’t you?”

Her beloved human made an ugly throttling noise. “… Yes,” he rasped, “down there. Very cute. What about up there?”

“Oh. Um. Well, I—”

( ) Was.
( ) Not.
>> No. 15792
(X) Not.

>> No. 15793
(x) Not.

Ay, brazen little thing, ain't she?

Anyway, who wears a bra to bed? That don't make no sense.
>> No. 15794
(x) Not.

Okay, I'll bite. Do your worst, Sekitroll.
>> No. 15795
(x) Not.
>> No. 15796
(X) Not.

Kurodani Yamame Is Fucking Lewd.
>> No. 15802
File 15134616907.jpg - (1.49MB, 1080x1861, 51576685_p1.jpg) [iqdb]
(X) Not.

“… Am not,” Yamame finished. To trim, she shaped a tiny smile. “What dummy wears a bra to bed?”

The human Paran – the sober, steady Paran – looked less steady than he had been in weeks. The curvature of his mouth was progressed into geometric warfare; and had wool not made for a naturally sturdy cloth, then the spinstress did not doubt his fingers would have poked an eight of ragged holes through. At last, Paran’s lips were flattened out; and, with a groan like a great gate shutting, he let the tunic drop back down to the Yamame’s lap.

All but, and the spinstress would have hotly criticised this repealing of promised help (in undressing). Only then, her beloved human – as slowly and punctiliously as a spider might – began to roll the edge of her tunic up into a neat, tightly compressed tube. Yamame watched, tensing each time his cool fingers brushed against her skin. The better swing of a minute had clocked past before the cloth was curled up to the height it had been before the drop.

“Is this fun?” Yamame wanted to know.

Paran’s gaze kept trained on her evenly unveiling body. “… It has some artistic merit.”

“Are you going to be long yet?”

“Art should not be rushed.”

Then he rolled on, at the same provocative pace.

Yamame’s whole exterior itched with impatience. She raised up her arms, and folded them over her head to stave off scratching. Her calves pressed into her human’s sides, and Yamame Kurodani, murmuring, gave a voice to her frustration. But the human was too intent, too transfixed by his own art to pay attention to her begging stare. He rolled on.

… At least, until the most stuffed stretch of the tunic was reached, and his fingers bumped into something that was not skin.

The art, instantly, became damned; and Yamame’s human, discarding his pride together with his masterpiece, roughly yanked the tunic up to the spider’s chin. The black of her simple, silken brassiere was only matched by the black of his gaze when he swung it accusatorily at her rosy face. Because Yamame could think of nothing clever to defend herself, she began to laugh.

Her laughter hitched when Paran jerked the tunic up over her head, balled it up, and threw it at her face. Yamame grabbed at the cloth, and flung it beside the bed. Then, she resumed laughing.

Paran’s brows were clambering over each other. His lukewarm hands gripped onto her hips – for bracing, apparently, over anything else.

“… Was that fun?” he demanded.

“It was slightly fun,” Yamame offered diplomatically. “Wasn’t it for you?”

Her human, omitting a reply, poured his corrosive gaze at the offending bra. Somehow, somewise, the bra held.

“So,” he grunted. “… What dummy wears a bra to bed?”

Yamame graced the jab with a chuckle. “Well, you see,” she said; “wool is very fine. It’s easy to comb, spin, and it’s warm and comfortable. But when it isn’t combed properly, one ends up with shorter fibres in the yarn, which makes it rougher on the skin when you put it together into clothing. My skin is a little more sensitive than most, so… I wore a bra underneath. It’s a very fine bra – almost all silk – so it isn’t all that restricting. As for why I picked this to sleep in,” she added, smiling; “it was the closest to my normal bed-wear – in form.”

“Left legs free?”

“That’s it.” The spinstress nodded. “I sleep easier with my legs uncovered. It’s just how I am. You’ve complained about this before, haven’t you? Anyway, that’s why. I hadn’t considered the bra would become a problem until just now. I hadn’t considered you’d want to… well, do that.

Paran briefly followed her motion to the discarded tunic. “… I hadn’t, either.”

“Or had you?” she teased. Then, appealingly, she laid her palms atop his. “… Are you so disappointed?”

The human Paran rested his overloaded eyes. His wide chest swelled up with a lenitive breath. Then, he released it in a long, trailing capitulation. It had done its work; and when he looked once more at the earth spider perched atop him, it was not with anger. This time, his gorgeous eyes were calm, even appreciative – in a sarcastic sort of way.

“… Not so much,” he told her. “At least I know why you feel so soft, now.”

Yamame, beaming happily, dug her knees into his ribs. “Are you calling me fat again?”

He slid his hands up her flanks in estimation. “… Chubby, at best,” he opined.

Yamame smacked him. “Snake. I’ll have you know I’ve sisters both smaller and heavier than me. And they don’t even eat as often as you and I do.”

“I’ll believe,” allowed Paran. “… You’re still a bit round, though.”

“But you still undressed me,” the round Yamame pointed out, “even though I’m chubby.”

“I love how you look any way you call it, Yamame.”

The spinstress let go of a dramatic sigh. “I know,” she said. “I know you do. It’s gotten really bumpy where I’m sitting.”

The human Paran – the staid, well-balanced Paran – abruptly lost his stability. He appeared to buck and flip inside-out without ever actually moving. He pitched with a violent cough; and the colour that took up on his face was so dark, all but it put Orin’s carmine braids to shame. It was, on the whole, all rather artistic.

“Yamame—” sputtered the artist, “That’s not—”

“If,” Yamame overruled him, “If you’re about to tell me it’s only some small animal slipped inside your robe – don’t. I know what it is. I’m not clueless. I’ve seen males… nude, before.”

Paran controlled his tint with difficulty. “… You have?”

“The Oni,” reminded the spider. “The Oni drink together, sleep together, and bathe together. I lived as one of them for very long. It was inevitable I’d end up coming along to the bath-house every once in a while. You remember – the bath-house in the Capital? Well, I don’t know about up on the surface; but down there, we don’t bathe inside our clothes. So, yes. I’ve seen some things. Those things too.”

“… Oni?” Paran repeated.

“Yes,” Yamame confirmed. “Oni.”

“… Way to make a man feel inadequate,” he muttered.

“What was that?”

Nothing,” he grunted. “Nothing, Yamame.”

Again – it appeared for nothing more than structural support – his hands grazed down and locked about her hips; and her beloved human started the long process of recovery.

Yamame Kurodani the round (not fat) watched on, all bemused, as he began to strain from neck to abdomen, as though drawing the blood up by force from the region which had caused him this latest embarrassment. On a rogue whim, the spinstress feigned a tiny cramp in one of her thighs, and ever-so-slightly readjusted her seat.

Paran’s expression fell as his efforts were instantly undone. He glared up at their destroyer.

“What?” asked Yamame.

Her human yielded, his body going limp all over (except one part).

“… If nothing else,” he delivered his last, hopeless argument, “If nothing else, then this proves I wasn’t lying.”

“About what?”

“About you being attractive.”

A foolish grin pushed Yamame’s cheeks out. “Am I, really?”


“I must be,” she giggled, “if you’re reacting like this.”

Paran’s face became a bubbling bog of misery.

A pause came on. It was one the spider and her human spent more idly soaking up each other’s body warmth than anything nearby getting ready for coming out of bed. The orange light outside the window was dim, sunset-like, and rendered the guest-room in a lovely, muted half-shadow. Yamame’s human was its most lovely subject.

Though his expression was none too enthusiastic for this turn of events; the human Paran was all the same a wonderfully handsome sight. His silver-trimmed robe, which he had ended up wearing to sleep, was messily tugged open halfway down his front. There was little else inside that gap but he. His broad chest, only a little less rug-like than Yamame had joked, was surging gently up and down. The criss-cross of valleys and bumps on his stomach was working out in synchrony – growing deeper first, then less whenever he exhaled. The tiny play was captivating beyond any excuse.

It was then, perhaps, that Yamame Kurodani made an earth-shaking discovery.

The human calling himself Paran was a male.

He had always been a male, of course; nor did Yamame Kurodani contravene those blatantly masculine of his features. His shoulders were robust and widespread. His arms were strong enough to move her two-legged form at no expense of effort; and his fingers were tough and very long. He had a slab-like chest, a sprinkling of stubble on his chin, and a pair of brows as fuzzy as gorged caterpillars crowning his eyes. A monument to his already well-evidenced gender, a certain part of him down below was still unashamedly stiff.

But these were the hallmarks of a human male – not a spider’s. And Yamame Kurodani had ever been the latter.

Why, then, was she so incurably drawn by those arms? Why did she, an earth spider since birth, want nothing else but to be enclosed inside them? Why was Yamame Kurodani, mother of plagues, vainly willing those hands to touch to her face and lace their fingers through her loosed hair? Why did the yearly malady, she who harried humans – not kissed them – wish for a few (many) more good-morning kisses above everything?

This raw, kinaesthetic attraction was not an entirely new thing; for Yamame had allied already with the notion that touching her human felt very good. But that had ever been stored on a neighbouring shelf to her lately realised love. To knit the two together felt wrong – even immoral. To debase their almost magical partnership with these corporal urges seemed to Yamame someway the peak of insulting.

The trouble was, “seemed” was as far as this sentiment extended. When she silently reached out, and obediently he rose up, and his long arms whelmed lovingly about her body, Yamame Kurodani no more had a pride to insult. She was base and low. She was rude and insidious. Worse, for she felt there was nothing greater she wanted to be.

Yamame Kurodani, the worst earth spider of all, intersected her ankles on her human’s back, and nested her nose in a shallow dimple above one of his collarbones. Her crimes against propriety were quietly absolved with a single, hair-tickling sigh from him. Him, who had put aside his kind’s inherent fear, and valued the yearly malady for what she was beneath her terrible names: a person. A woman. A female to his male, species notwithstanding.

It was a liberating idea. That, in itself, was funny – given she could very hardly move where she now was. Yamame chuckled at the gross metaphysical paradox.

Paran alerted (as he did), and asked, “… Yamame?”

“A happy thought, that’s all,” calmed the spinstress. “It’s a happy place, here where I am.”

“… Is it?”

“Isn’t it? You’re liking this too, aren’t you? And don’t lie. I’m soft and warm, so it feels good – doesn’t it?”

Paran sighed again at his own words swinging back to shame him. “… I won’t,” he said. “It feels great.”

“Same here,” Yamame agreed, “even if you aren’t very soft yourself.”

“… Mm.”

The spinstress laughed once more. “Speaking of,” she then said, sneakily off-hand. “Is this doing anything for your problem downstairs?”

Paran breathed in sharply. Then, he blew a deep, disgruntled sound.

“… Nothing good,” he said.

Yamame purred. “Should I help you out with that?”

Her human’s replying voice was rusted thin. “… Yamame.”


“Please,” he begged, “don’t make me an offer I won’t be able to turn down.”

“Why not?”

“Think,” hissed Paran. “It will be difficult enough to face Lady Satori as it is.”

“Oh.” The spinstress, reminded, made a ruffled frown. “It is, isn’t it? I hadn’t considered that.”

“I didn’t think you had. So, please, Yamame – don’t.”

“But you want me to help out?” she categorically needed to know.

The human Paran shaped a bunch of unflattering words. “… Yes,” he grated. “Yes, curse you. I do want you to help out. Satisfied?”

Not nearly, the greedy spinstress thought. Smiling her most appealing, she grazed up along his chest, and looped her arms behind his wiry neck. Then, weathering the abrasive staring of his fantastic eyes, she craned up hers, and brushed her lips playfully on his.

“… Maybe just a little?” she offered.

The good, well-mannered Paran actually began to swear. There were some inventive terms in his glossary, but none worse than what Yamame Kurodani had had scraping her ears during her long years in exile. She waited, the patient hunter she, until he had sworn himself out. Then, she kissed him one more time. A longer one.

When it was done, Paran was as Oni-red and putty-soft as he had been once his troublesome body mechanics had been first revealed. All required was a closing crop. A precipitous push.

Come ooon,” she moaned. “Tell me what to do. Anything you’d like.

That broke him.

Her beloved human, rusty red from shame, retreated his eyes to one side. Then, in a voice corroded by the same, he gave up:

“… What you did just then. When I was trying to… And then you moved.”

Against the heat breaking out up her own cheeks, Yamame smiled. “Did that feel so amazing?”

“… It felt really good.”

“Mm.” The spinstress licked her lips. “Yes. It felt… kind of good when you pressed up on me, too. All right. I’ll do that. Could you… Um. Could you lie back for me? It’ll be easier to move like that.”

The human, surrendering to the truth of her words (and who knew to what else), did lie – first to half, then fully down on his back. Yamame, on all fours, crept up over him, until she was above the part of him that was not so much bumpy anymore, but openly tenting.

A tiny, dust-like speck of a doubt wafted onto the tablecloth of her thoughts, that perhaps the silly Yamame – who herself had wheedled her human into this desperate a condition – had spun herself into an unnavigable funnel. The speck was sent flying away by the gasp tweaked out the earth spider’s chest when she lowered herself onto the strained rise in her human’s robe, and felt it give. She lowered still, until she felt the rigid shape below distinctly – squished between Paran’s abdomen and her unmentionables. Her human let go of a twin gasp. His was lined with guilt… and just a hint of harshly reined satisfaction.

Yamame Kurodani, the eldest of the Underworld’s spinstresses, blushed like one of the youngest when her full weight was settled atop her human’s thing and she felt a jolt of pleasure tickling up the inside of her belly. The jolt was alien… but all at once it was not; and Yamame laid one palm flat on her stomach in worried confusion. She nudged her hips a shy bit forward for a test… and experienced the same sensation again, fluttering up from the point of contact. It pinched another unwitting sound out of her mouth.

… And Paran’s as well. Her human slung an arm over his ever-reddening face.

Yamame,” he groaned.

Startling, Yamame stuck halfway into another nudge. “Pa—Paran? Am I… Am I doing something wrong?”

Her beloved human wrenched his trapped head left and right. “… No. It’s just… Your name.”

“It… It is,” she agreed, uncertain. “I’m Yamame. Yamame Kurodani.”

I know,” Paran whimpered “I know. I just… I wanted to say it. Yamame.

“Oh.” The spinstress felt stupid. “Um. Should I…?”

“Yes.” Paran’s answer was exasperated. “Yes – please.

So Yamame Kurodani, she with the name, spread her legs a little wider out for a steadier pose, and resumed the vulgar ritual.

And it was in that moment – not a quarter one sooner, though possibly a half of it later – that the door of their private sanctuary was all of a sudden knocked.

Yamame Kurodani, mother of plagues, seized with half her fingers stuck inexplicably below the bands of her underwear. Her beloved human was frozen as well; only his chest heaved on and on, and his other part throbbed indignantly between the spider’s thighs.

The door was knocked again.

The spinstress pried her mouth to answer. All coming out was an old wood-like squeak. Her human made no move – save breathing and twitching.

There was a third knock. But it had a follower this time, and it was a voice. A male voice – young, almost boyish, muddily familiar.

“Good day!” it called. “Uh… Yamame Kurodani? Are you awake? Good day?”

“We—” Yamame croaked. “We are. We are awake.” She cleared out the motes in her throat. “Um, was there something?”

The caller outside the door hedged. “… An it please you,” he said ultimately, “Satori reaches out with a cordial wish that you join her for breakfast. Would, though, that mine own opinion were heard,” he added, “she did not quite mean ‘wish.’”

“I think I understand,” replied Yamame.

“The foods are all but ready; your servings as well have been prepared. We do but wait now your arrival. Some of us in the slips.”

The spinstress remembered something. “Um. How do we get to the dining room?”

“Ah! Therein’s a known tale.” The voice affected a ceremonious tone. “Come, you, easterly of this chamber, and you shall erelong a crossing reach. Walk past it, then, and its sibling farther on also. Take thereafter a turning once more easterly, and seek you the nearby door great-winged awash in delectable smells. There, yes there, the dining hall lies beyond.”

Yamame grimaced. “Which way is ‘easterly?’”

“… It’s right.” The speaker sounded faintly put out. “Go right, then straight past two crossings, turn right again, and seek a large door. It’s through there. Uh… Anything else our guests may require?”

The earth spider glanced down. “… Washroom?”

“There is one at the end of this hall. I will leave its door open for you to mark.”

“Thank you. That— That should be all.”

“You will be joining us, I take?”

“We will. Shortly.”

“As you wish.”

There was a delay long enough to fit a bow (however illogical); then, a flight of footfalls fading down the corridor. Then, they were alone.

Yamame Kurodani, the eldest among Underworld’s web-spinners, looked bashfully at her beloved human. A delightfully mussed-up one peered back from under his overspread arm. She held the silence, adoring his state, until he resorted to cracking it.

“… A lesser man could hate you,” he murmured.

Yamame made a powerless smile. “What did I do wrong this time?”

The human hid his eyes again. “… I wasn’t that hungry.”

“Is that all? That’s less mistakes than yesterday.”

“It’s not all.”

Yamame’s smile curdled. “I know. It was a joke. I make those sometimes.”

“Your humour has been obscure of late, Yamame,” muttered Paran.

“Maybe,” granted the spinstress. “Maybe it has been. We don’t really have to go, you know. Lady Satori can do without us. I’d just have to genuflect to her about it later. If you want, we could stay and…”

… And finish with your thing, she thought, but was too ashamed to say.

At any rate, Paran turned his messy head. “I’d like to wash my mouth down, now I know where I can,” he said. “At least that. Something to eat wouldn’t go a miss, either.”

“But you said you weren’t hungry.”

“I’m bound to become, if we keep at it.”

Would that take so long? “You aren’t going to forget this, are you?” Yamame questioned. “You aren’t going to pretend nothing happened if we stop now?”

“Would you let me, after all that?”

“I wouldn’t let you.”

“Then what’s the sense?” sighed Paran. “I can’t tell if I would let myself, either. But for now, let me go. Lady Satori’s waiting – in the slips.”

The spider spinstress made a face. Though, in the end, she did let him go – wistfully sliding off to the side. The act of disconnection left her feeling cold and unhappy.

Her beloved human scrambled, as though to cover himself up. Then, however – maybe recognising his over-lateness – he rolled to his feet, and threw off his robe completely. Yamame Kurodani, her spider’s heart hammering suddenly up her gullet, walked him with saucer-wide eyes until he began to rifle through the heap of clothing assigned to them by their stately host.

He cast a sidelong look in her direction, and Yamame found her stare fleeing as well as her heart.

“… You too,” he suggested.

The spinstress groped behind for the hook of her brassiere – before her mind parsed this was not what he had meant. She stood up, blushing, and went to excavate a suitable day dress beside him.

They managed to make presentable (he, in another robe, and she – in a flower-spotted frock) without too much stray touching.

They managed to leave their sanctuary, somehow, without pushing each other down.

They managed to arrive in the marked washroom wanting an incident.

They didn’t manage not to make it a longer stop.

But love could wait, otherwise to vicereines, and Satori Komeiji’s call was law.

>> No. 15803
The Eternal Blueball continues.
Also, this delightfully lewd update is supremely satisfying, BB.
>> No. 15804
graze graze graze graze
>> No. 15805
oh my god
>> No. 15806
I will patiently wait for the (inevitable?) eventual update where Paran goes on the offensive again with a vengeance. That shit is the best. Satori is in This Story remains some of the best erotica I've ever read. Not that it's a genre I frequently seek out, but for what it's worth... I encourage you, fellow readers, to ctrl+f it in the story list and (re)read if you're still feeling randy.
>> No. 15807
File 151350558933.gif - (1.46MB, 2048x2048, thinthinkingking.gif) [iqdb]
fellas, is it gay to enjoy this?
>> No. 15808
WEll you see, Yamame here is having a bit of *ahem* 'fun' with Paran.
Paranseberi here is a human, also known as 'Homo Sapiens'.
So yeah, this update, and Yamame, is quite Homo-sexual.

TL;DR : You're totally gay, bruvva.
>> No. 15809
Sound logic right there, fellas. Someone give this guy the Reticulated Giraffe medal.
>> No. 15810
File 15135373748.jpg - (132.63KB, 758x335, ACTUALLY.jpg) [iqdb]

One could make the argument that this update was mainly focused around some dude's pingas. Soooo yea man...liking it would be kinda gay.
>> No. 15811
File 151361741134.jpg - (37.97KB, 600x600, satorin_ad.jpg) [iqdb]
More pertinently, is it gay to write this?

Hello, Sekidrone here. You may have noticed the gaps in update scheduling. This is because I’ve managed to find employment (at a small publishing company at that, whoa). It’s hectic at present, but should consolidate after New Year. We’ll see how Yamams end up fitting into that.

I must mention, I am having tiny second thoughts (more like first-and-a-one-third thoughts) about tying this story with the absolute blunder masterpiece starring a certain blond boy. Too late to back out now, I guess. I can only hope those of you who aren’t familiar aren’t very much turned off.

Stay Seki. Breathe Banki.
>> No. 15813
It is certainly gay to write this. However, the amount of gay decreases in proportion with the amount of written updates.
>> No. 15814
To be honest, if they aren't familiar, it's their own goddamn fault.

Sure, the other story may have had a lazy ass homosexual, with terrible personal hygene as a writer, but it still is worth reading.

If your story incentivizes people to re read old stories, more power to you.
>> No. 15815
> gay

Only if you're a woman.

> employment

Gratz. Hope it works out this time.

> second thoughts

Are you fucking kidding me? I'd mortgage my soul for more grumpy Satorin. You're showing the light to a new generation.
>> No. 15817
File 151372419166.jpg - (591.67KB, 1203x1699, 49069057_p0.jpg) [iqdb]

The dining hall, so-named, was fabulously modelled. Images of the surface world, enclosed in wreaths of cast gold, were fastened to the scarlet walls; above all, a grand chandelier of half a hundred electric glow-globes was hanging. A long table, enough to seat all of Yamame’s sisters thrice over, ran lengthwise the hall, empty almost all along.

At its far end, three figures mismatched were clustering.

The first among those figures was enthroned in a padded, carmine chair, and presided over the remaining two. Satori Komeiji (who the figure was) watched on, speaking in hushed tones, as the green-clad Orin and a third denizen of the house were busying with final adjustments of the tableware. The last figure was tall, unmistakeably male, and – detecting Yamame’s entry – turned his eyes pleadingly at the tiny vicereine. Lady Satori shook her curly locks no.

The man – whose cropped, wheat-like hair was not unfamiliar to her – threw up his arms melodramatically. Then, finding no recourse but to fall in, the not-so-stranger folded the dishcloth he had been holding over one forearm, and went out to receive the despotic woman’s guests.

Though he had forgone his wanderer’s rags in favour of an impeachable evening vest and hose, still Yamame Kurodani braced herself on her heels at his approach. For here was the ghost-like man – the same which had delivered to her Satori’s letter one industrious week ago – whose dreadful pall had all but sent the earth spider skittering for the roof. Lessened here (or by the lack of clothes complementing the image), the deathly messenger was not so deathly; and, even as he halted and shaped a flourished bow (again?), Yamame reeled up enough courage to step out from behind her own human’s shoulder.

The blond man, unfurled, contrived his features into a thousand-magnified apology. “I apologise,” he said, in case either of the guests were thicker than usual. “Satori there,” he indicated, “she decreed I get myself ‘more accustomed’ to visitors. She is incorrigibly oblivious to the reality my handling of those is first of all abysmal, secondly inept. I implore thee, noble guests two, forgive my calling upon you on such brief notice.”

Yamame Kurodani, instantly and irrationally, disliked the man’s overblown mannerisms. Still, for all he had torn short an exceptionally pleasant morning, she was not about to assign blame senselessly.

“Quite fine, old boy,” she aped, repeating something she had read in one of the more useless books previously stashed in her home.

The blond man and the one who was hers both blinked at the earth spider at varying stages of surprise. The blond one, however, screwed up his faculties first.

“We know each other,” he remembered, offering a hand. “You are the spider of illness, Yamame Kurodani.”

“Santuko… Takumi?” returned Yamame, offering up her own.

The one called Santuko (was he?) volunteered a fake smile. Then, taking her fingers in his, he bowed once more… and touched his lips to the top of her palm.

And though Yamame had made ready to curb her over-keen instincts – or to leap for the chandelier, failing… there was all the same nothing remarkable about this human’s touch. There was no reply. Nothing roused under her skin; and Satori Komeiji’s blond partner released the earth spider’s hand with never a report otherwise than dully informative. Yamame Kurodani, not slightly perplexed, registered her own human eyeing her speculatively from the side. Then, she noticed him roll his eyes.

Santuko Takumi tracked the spinstress’s embarrassed stare, and his own expression shed some of its schooled edge.

“Satori has described your circumstance to me,” the blond man said to Paran. He put forward a hand to him as well. “For what it is worth, welcome to the Crone, Old Hell. Your name, if I recall, was—”

“Paran,” said Paran, clasping Santuko’s wrist. “My name is Paran.”

Something unspoken appeared to nonetheless communicate between the two males before Santuko joined the greeting.

“Paran, then,” he acknowledged. “Very well. I am Garion.”

One of Paran’s brows arched – presaging both of Yamame’s doing the same.

“I heard something else just now,” he noted.

Santuko (Garion?) Takumi slid out of the gesture, his mouth tweaking again into a polite smile. “I’ve dressed in ‘Garion’ for many years, and have rubbed its edges and corners enough to wear it comfortably at home,” he explained. “My other names are newer, and still tend to squeak when I turn around too fast. I endeavour thus to break them in. Aye, indeed – whenever possible.”

“What this vagabond oaf means,” huffed Satori, stomping up from behind him, “is that since he cannot lie to me, he makes it an exercise to lie to everyone else. Isn’t that right, Santuko ‘Garion’ Takumi?”

Garion (?) shrugged. “Only keeping in practice, mother.”

“Call me that again, and I’ll twist your ears off,” threatened the vicereine. “You’re a right villain, Garion. As a matter of fact, San is better than you at not offending everyone she comes across, and she is barely five years old last month. What do you have to say for yourself?”

“I wish she were here,” sighed Garion.

“She isn’t,” said Satori; “and you be glad she isn’t, because she would have long had your ears in some drawer in her room.”

“San is a better host than Satori and I boiled together,” the blond man explained to Yamame and her partner. “Withal we are getting on in years she is yet as fresh and gentle as morning grass.”

“Getting on!” The vicereine made a derisive noise. “You certainly are! As a matter of fact, you are starting to sound like your father.”

“Good. You loved my father. I should not want you to stop now.”

“That is very low, Garion.”

“Old wolf won’t mind.”

“No,” Satori agreed a little stiffly. “As a matter of fact, no. He won’t. That’s what makes this so low.”

Yamame Kurodani, who had seen enough familial spats, knew this one was now in its first (which often were final) lull. She spoke up.

“I don’t get it,” she admitted, bitter. “What is his name?”

“It’s Garion,” insisted Satori.

“Santuko Takumi,” Garion said at the same time.

Satori flashed him a scorching look.

Paran put a cough in edgeways. “… I see the table has been laid?”

Lady Satori and her husband (he had to be) as one benefitted Yamame’s human with their attention; still, Paran kept his own stubbornly fixed on the other man alone.

Singled out, Garion obliged with an answer. “So it has. What about it?”

“Are we taxing your stocks very much?” Paran wanted to know.

The blond man slowly crossed his arms. “Truth told,” he replied, “not overmuch. The mansion is stocked to feed four more beside Satori and I. Then, too, three of those are away. Our lovely San is in the Capital; mighty Okuu is frolicking above like as not; and Koishi, easily-forgotten… Who can tell? Our larder may have gotten fat if not for your timely relief.”

Paran swam past the joke. “Where do you get your food?”

“Orin stocks it as a rule.”

“In our town?”

“So she does. Albeit, on those occasions my legs betake, I at times purchase goods from the settlement under the mountain.”

Paran flaked incredulity. “The Tengu one?”

“Oh no,” scoffed Garion. “No, no, no! Not the Tengu. Their lands are beyond the reach of you or I. There be yon a teeny village, see,” he intoned, slipping into yet another voice, “no more’n a handful a’ bare huts’n gardens an’ all – under yon Moriyan ropeway. Them minders an’ ‘gineers wot main-teen it need t’ eat too, don’t y’know. Well, yet I suspect few do,” he revealed, Garion-like again. “Most anyone asked realises in full the ropeway is kept by the Kappa, and the settlement is for appearances alone. Mayhaps ‘tis why they part with their produce unafraid.”

Yamame’s human scratched at his chin. “… Curious.”

“Anything but,” Satori’s husband disagreed. “The ruse is thin and in bad taste. It saves Orin’s back, is all the good.”

“… It might have saved mine,” grunted Paran. “I’ve not been to the ropeway. Where is it?”

“About half a league south-westerly of the Tengu territory. Their guard make appearances to pilgrims riding up to vouch for the goddesses’ long arms. There is a road splitting north from the Pilgrim’s Way at the foot of the mountain that leads one there.”

“I’ve not been up there. Yamame’s home is farther west. The access, anyway.”

“I have walked the spiders’ warrens. I know. Maybe—” Garion broke off. Then, his wanderer’s face lit up. “By chance,” he said, “I keep in the library an assemblage of maps of the Underworld and its surrounds. Mayhaps, your willing, we shall consult those on our dilemma?”

Garion,” chided Satori, wrinkling her brows up at her husband. “You can talk shop until your teeth rot loose later. As a matter of fact, I will want to talk on something private with Yamame, so you’ll have full exclusivity to our other guest in the meanwhile. Or did you perhaps outright want me to starve?”

“You cannot starve,” the blond man reminded.

“Not for want of trying – on someone’s account. If you’re going to stand here and chatter like a hen all morning, then I don’t want to hear another observation on my hips at least for the week. No, I don’t want to hear another observation, ever.”

The vicereine’s husband fingered his forehead. “Satori, love, your hips are fine. Actually, they are very good hips. Only a jot hard when you roll around. That is my observation.”

“Did you want to pad them out or not?”

He flicked his hand in sufferance. “… As you wish. Let us pad them out.”

“Yes. As a matter of fact, let’s.”

The Underworld’s diminutive authority posed out a silent command. The grey-faced Garion, as if automated, allowed her tiny arm to loop through his.

As they started, arm-in-arm, again for the laden end of the long table, the small governess craned her head up, apparently to give her dissembling husband a look filled with absolute and imperishable warmth. Then, however, her amethyst eyes travelled on farther; and the Old Hell’s vicereine, she dreaded by youkai and spirits both, peered back at the stunned Yamame.

And then, the most exalted of her name, Satori Komeiji, winked.

>> No. 15818
Glorius. Absolutely glorious. But...

> impeachable

Garion's dress sense must be worse than I thought.
>> No. 15819
> And then, the most exalted of her name, Satori Komeiji, winked.

"You see, little spider? This is how you deal with your husband."
*Next update*
*Spider-on-human french kiss*
"Well, noble vicerine, this is how I deal with mine."
>> No. 15820
File 151375309395.jpg - (166.68KB, 1772x1772, 63201767_p1.jpg) [iqdb]
Wow, and I re-wrote that line on two separate occasions! What the heck, brain? Or maybe that is what I really meant? Hmm.
>with mine
Husband? Who married those two off when I wasn't looking?
>> No. 15822
They're married in the court of public (anon) opinion.
>> No. 15824
File 151432452961.jpg - (367.09KB, 1032x1457, __komeiji_satori_touhou_drawn_by_koretsuki_azuma__.jpg) [iqdb]

After their meal was eaten (which meals are, even in Old Hell), their motley party was mercilessly split.

The keen Paran – who had spent half the hour ducking from Satori Komeiji’s field of view, and half eyeing how the cat-eared Orin fawned outrageously over the vicereine’s husband – now at last met his salvation; and as it had been proposed the men tidy up after on the table (then adjourn to their maps), Yamame’s beloved human had pounced on the arrangement which would remove him from the mind-reader’s surrounds. So Satori Komeiji had left the male part of her household on kitchen detail. So the tiny vicereine quit the grand dining hall with a spider and a cat in a file. So she had led – on her small, slipper-clad feet – toward the sliver of space inside the great mansion which she habitually filled.

The private chambers of Satori Komeiji – screened behind a sturdy, oaken shield of a door – were shockingly feminine. A grand, canopied bed of old was central; atop it, cushions and wraps and drapes were stacked, colourful all: yellow and pink and sky-blue, and trimmed with princely widths of snowy lace. A broad wardrobe, exquisitely faced, comprised a half of one wall; winging it – loaded bookcases as tall as the ceiling. The air of the room was delicately scented with perfume; and bathing it in muted orange was the magmatic glow – the same as in Yamame’s room – slanting in past a broad, curtained window. The floor was carpeted and warm.

In a corner, whimsically odd out, a set of two wicker chairs and a likewise table was standing. Satori Komeiji, awash in angry crunching, sank onto one of the chairs. She waved Yamame to the one remaining. The spinstress, gingerly, imitated her hostess. Somehow, the fretful furniture withstood her weight – though not without complaint.

For the count of minutes Lady Satori briefed her cat-maid on what must be done – concerning, at least, Yamame’s home – the eldest of the Underworld’s spiders waited, incumbent, absorbing the mystifyingly homelike quality of the room. Here, marks were, was a retreat not grossly unlike her own (had hers not been reduced lately to a slurry ruin); it was one which Yamame Kurodani’s study might possibly have become – had the spinstress one day taken to clear the floor of creative castoff, stray scraps, and towers of folded dresses. It was a curious connection – and not without its curious insinuations.

At length, Satori Komeiji achieved the desired impression on her cat-eared server; and, the communiqué and relevant warnings both committed, the corpse-thief of Chirei-den pinched her green dress, bowed, and swished off to her task. Alone now (discounting a spider), Old Hell’s frumpy vicereine withered in her chair. The chair put out its thoughts on this at volume, but Satori Komeiji withered anyway.

Then, opening her gemlike eyes, she turned their concerted favour at Yamame.

“… It’s gratifying, isn’t it?” she asked.

Yamame blinked. “What is?”

Satori Komeiji smiled. “When they find us attractive.”

Yamame Kurodani needed but one moment – and one memory from no farther than waking up – to burn to a spidery crisp.

“Is that so shameful?” wondered Satori.

The spinstress, smoking, bunched up her brows. “Since when—”

“Yamame,” Satori sighed, “even if you hadn’t been mulling it over every idle second, he would have been. I can divert my… talent… elsewhere, but not when it’s positively pelleted with those sorts of images.”

“Why didn’t you—”

“Why didn’t I rat you out in front of everyone and each other? Because, Yamame, regardless what your Oni friends say of me, I’m very much capable of respect. And among the souls stranded here in the Underworld, you, of all of them, present something I respect above all.”

Yamame glared her suspicion. “… What is that?”

The vicereine, at first, didn’t answer. Only she laced her fingers together in a gesture, which – on someone else’s hands – might have been mistaken for consternation. At last, it was smelted out; and Satori Komeiji’s spinel-pink lips spoke anew.

“… Will you take a theory?” she proposed.

“What kind?”

“I think,” said Old Hell’s small governess, “I think that youkai like you and I just want to be human.

Yamame Kurodani, mother of plagues, she who could never be anything else, bleakly stared the smaller youkai down. “That’s ridiculous.”

“… A leap too far, maybe,” Satori permitted. “But consider this, Yamame. When humans settle in a new place, they pursue a number of things to support their continued existence. They seek shelter, food, water, and warmth; and they secure the means of providing themselves with those indefinitely. They build homes; they plant fields; they raise fences and dig wells. But when those prerequisites are no longer a question but a certainty… What do those frail humans do then as a rule?”

Yamame, drawing on her own expertise, supplied, “They read books. They tidy up their nests, write letters, and make plans.”

And tease the spiders every now and then, she added inside… before remembering who it was across the table.

Satori Komeiji gracefully accepted all the answers. “Quite. But none of those are required by what they are,” she went on. “They eat, because they would die otherwise. They drink because of the same. They build homes, because those facilitate almost every other fundamental. But do they need to read? Do they need, in strict terms, to write letters, make extensive plans, or to tease their cohabitants? Not at all. And yet they do those things. Why do you suppose that is?”

“… I don’t know.”

“What I think,” Satori confided, “is that they do it because it is who they are.”

The spider spinstress frowned. “But you said—”

Who, Yamame,” the vicereine stressed, “not what. To wit, once the what humans are is satisfied, they set out to find who they are above that. Knowledge, possessions, or certain social configurations – all of these are means of constructing an identity over what is prescribed by their make-up as a species. This is my theory, anyhow.”

“And what does this have to do with us youkai?”

“All of it.” Satori spread her hands eloquently. “As a matter of fact, shall we turn it around? Tell me. What have you, Yamame Kurodani, spider of illness, been doing across the most recent months? Other than being teased.”

“I have been… building,” said Yamame, realising as she spoke how outlandish it was. “I have been working. I have been reading books, and educating myself. I have been learning how to… how to handle humans, without biting.”

“And is this what a youkai does?” Satori asked shrewdly.

Yamame bit down on a lip. “… It didn’t seem that weird until I thought about it.”

“But you did it,” said Satori. “And that is precisely what I respect, Yamame. You elevated yourself above what you are… and began to discover the who.”

“… Is that so rare?”

Satori smiled again, indulgently. “Isn’t it? Take a look around the Underworld. Show me ten – no, even five – youkai who don’t live on the extreme inside of their skin. Take my Rin, for example. Yes, she is house-broken, I grant you – eats her food from a plate very nicely. And yet, she never strays farther from what she is than the bare necessary to please me. In time, she may very well find passions and loyalties otherwise than those dictated by her species. But until then, in all her aspects, she is only a kasha. A what, if you will. Not a who. You and I, Yamame… We are something more.

“… Human?” Yamame dumbly guessed.

This accorded her a chuckle from the mind-reader. “No, visibly not,” she disagreed, touching her Third Eye. “But there is some overlap, and if that compels us to seek company from the other side… Why not? There’s no shame in it, Yamame. As a matter of fact, the only shame there is lies in denying to yourself what your mind and body want you to have. There is enough… latent power, shall we say?... here, in Old Hell, to sustain what we are without need for our additional input. Might be the spirits left behind by the Yama effect this; might be the humans of Gensokyo above have unwittingly been feeding into us even before the unsealing. I could never get to the bottom of this one. But it makes – or should make – for the perfect opportunity to explore who we are, beside youkai. The sad reality is, naturally, that very few of us do. I can name but two.”

The earth spider sensed more familiar ground. “You and me?”

“Although,” noted Satori, selfishness perking up her nose, “not to take away from me, my case was far more turbulent than yours.”

Yamame could not restrain herself from asking. “How so?”

Lady Satori’s expression conveyed a world of modesty – mostly feigned. “It’s an overlong and largely irrelevant story,” she said, suppressing a smirk, “one that would, at that, be more intriguingly told by someone else. Not to mention years old. The very short of it is: I decided, one day, to use my talent to help a certain someone recently happened across my home on unrelated reasons. Someone, I knew, with a problem far too internalised for anyone else to solve. Therefore, I spent time with this someone – a lot of time, as a matter of fact – until I had devised a way to heal them. Well, I still didn’t do it myself. I had to resort to instructing Rin – and suffering a deal of pain on my own. But it worked out anyway; and the unfortunate aftermath was, that someone and I realised we loved each other too much to part ways at that point.”

“And that was—” Yamame began.

“Him,” Satori finished. “Although, to be unequivocally fair, the ‘love’ part came somewhat later. I had to evacuate the stasis of this place for a while first. It did pay off, however. I even became a mother. I did have to keep trying an entire winter, but I managed to do it.” The tiny vicereine shaped a smirk. “I got all I wanted in the end.”

“And this,” dared Yamame, trying out her human’s brand of humour, “this is what a youkai does?”

Satori laughed. It was a startlingly girlish laugh, and absolutely free of shame. “Awful, isn’t it? And yet, dear spider, if this is who I am, then I regret it not one bit. Tell me how flighty, irresponsible and sentimental I am; I will have gone to him to bicker and let him hold my hands before you’re a quarter way in.”


“He likes them.” Satori shrugged. “And I like a good bicker. It weighs out. All in all, Yamame, it boils down to simple admissions. You need to admit to the other person what you want from them, and hear out their desires in turn. There is no deeper secret. It’s all trust, then striking a balance. But first of all, before you saddle your chosen one with your needs, you must admit them to yourself. You want him to love you – don’t you?”

Yamame Kurodani, feeling the point of the conversation swing back at her throat, stiffened.

Still, when she caught and wrapped her darting feelings, the great architect of the Underworld realised the answer had never been any less straight than one of her rulers. Since the day the secret of her human’s name had been broken, she had always silently yearned for his attention. Not always consciously; not always by that name; but when she examined the Yamame of the previous weeks on what she had been thinking, the reply was all the same across the picture. The picture was none too flattering from this angle.

But if – as Satori Komeiji had said – this was who she was… then, perhaps, there was no defence left but releasing the truth.

“… I do,” mumbled the spider. “I want him to… to love me.”

“Intimacy is a part of that, Yamame,” Satori cautioned. “Men are bodily creatures. They extend that onto love as well. You do realise that, don’t you?”

“… I realise.”

“And still you want this?” Satori went on. “Still you want him to love you?”

The spider spinstress choked. “… Yes,” she rattled out, “Yes, I do! Is that so wrong? Am I not allowed to?”

“Is anyone forbidding you, Yamame?”

“… He is,” Yamame gave up. The miserable need to complain – it mattered not to whom – swelled to enormity inside her chest. The eldest of the earth spiders folded her arms on the table, and set her head down atop. “He’s forbidding me,” she moaned. “He keeps putting up… walls. He pushes me away whenever I think I’ve found a crack. I thought I’d shown him he could trust me, but—”

“But you made a mistake,” Satori chimed in, matter-of-factly. “He brushed very close to accepting you, but then you said something that made him wary all over again.”

Yamame propped up on her elbows. “… How do you know that?”

“As I said, because men are bodily creatures, they carry their emotional wounds on their sleeves. I just have the Eye to see it.” The tiny vicereine leaned closer. “I’ll have you know, you silly spider, that ‘your human’ loves you a lot. Not excluding a few rather shameless ways, either. I’ve been the aim of these kinds of sentiments myself, so I will tell you this outright. You seduced him quite thoroughly this morning. Well done.”

The earth spider’s ears all but puffed steam. She buried her face in her arms.

“That is what it’s called, Yamame,” Satori insisted. “Have you heard the saying? If you can’t take the heat—”

“But it didn’t work!” protested Yamame (into her arms). “So what if I… seduced him? It did nothing. He still pushed me away.”

“That is because your… assets, Yamame, are not the issue. As a matter of fact, by no standard are you not at least pleasing to look at. Why, I’d wrestle an Oni for straight hair like yours. Mine curls up a mess every night I go to bed. It drives me absolutely insane. You are a bit… let’s say hippy; but you should know this doesn’t bother him a lot. By a human measure, you are a healthy, not-too-old woman. Garion thought you were pretty, and he is usually more reserved with praise.”

The spinstress squirmed under the hailstorm of scrutiny. “… Then what is the issue? What am I doing wrong?”

“Now that, my dear spider, I cannot tell you.”

Yamame wriggled her head, revealing one misty eye. What she saw was Satori Komeiji watching her from above with smug amusement.

“… Cannot,” murmured the spider, “or will not?”

The tiny vicereine’s smile smeared wider. “He has asked me not to. I promised, too.”

“But you know?”

“As a matter of fact, I do.”

“… That’s disgusting.”

“I am what I am, Yamame – and he is what he is. Since we are reasoning beings, however, we can talk and act civilly. I can’t tell you what I promised not to tell, because he would know, and I gave my word. I don’t want to stir more enmity than the inevitable.”

“But you know,” Yamame accused. “That’s not fair. He’s not yours.”

“And are you so selfish, Yamame Kurodani?” Satori mocked. “You, Oni-raised, the humblest soul in the Underworld? The beloved grand architect? Are you so self-seeking you would have me break a promise I gave – in my own house? And to your precious lover as well? Come, now. You are better than this – aren’t you?”

Yamame glared up at the smirking Satori with smouldering, one-eyed hate.

Satori Komeiji, hated since centuries, did not even seem to notice.

( ) A hint. A hint would do.
( ) Everything. Now.
>> No. 15825
(X) A hint. A hint would do.

Just a teeny tiny little hint.
>> No. 15826
(X) A hint. A hint would do.
>> No. 15827
(x) A hint. A hint would do.

CYOAs are supposed to have more than one option, ya dope.
>> No. 15828
Yamame had better be damn grateful for this absolutely free-of charge advice and friendly shoulder. Satori's going above and beyond the call of duty out of the pure kindness of her hearts. Possibly because she's the best 2hu there is.

(x) A hint. A hint would do.

>but then you said something that made him wary all over again.
And you can sod off if you think you're gonna lure me into spending even more time than I already am re-reading and thinking about this story. Are you trying to kill all of my holiday time off? Bastard.
>> No. 15829
File 151435151836.png - (3.38MB, 1133x1604, Crappily-Drawn Bushy Banki.png) [iqdb]
Yo, OP. Banki Boss. Whatever your ID is, do you celebrate XMas? I don't but here's a present anyway.
Merry belated Crithmin.
>> No. 15830
If her "I love you" speech isn't the problem, I'll shit post about it shirtless under the awful Londinium rain, mark my words.

[X] A hint
>> No. 15831
I'm late on this, but please don't describe someone's eyebrows as "fuzzy caterpillars" if ou're trying to make them seem attractive. That's like, next door to describing eyes as precious gems.
>> No. 15832
File 151441205057.jpg - (598.03KB, 900x1259, 62239201_p0.jpg) [iqdb]
(X) A hint. A hint would do.

But hate had never comprised a larger part of the yearly malady than that transposed. Yamame Kurodani, whimpering, allowed hers to die out.

“… I won’t,” she mumbled. “I won’t have you break a promise.”

“And why not?” Satori, slyly, asked. “You do wish to know, no?”

The spinstress hid her face. “… It wouldn’t be fair,” she gave up.

A pause as strained as a web on the wind stretched between the spider and mind-reader.

Then, it broke; and through blew a gale of laughter. The laughter was Satori Komeiji’s. And though on Yamame sprung up with a warping mouth, there was no malice in the tiny vicereine’s laughing. Only a hint of something directed inwards, under layer and layer of unabashed relish.

“You are a bundle of delight, did you know that?” asked Satori, wiping at her eyes. “How-ever did you survive down here with the rest of us snakes?”

Yamame flushed. “Um…”

Satori fanned her worries away. “You needn’t speak. I wasn’t criticising you. As a matter of fact, the only one remiss here am I.”

And then, as casually as she might one of her pets, Satori Komeiji reached out, and stroked the earth spider’s blond head.

And as it had (not) with the ghost-like man before, now – too – the most basic of the spider’s instincts offered no reply. Her other senses did; and Yamame’s head did tilt on its own as the small governess petted on the one side of it, but no alarm rose of the stripe which had ever plagued her contacts with her partner. Not one warning. Not a startled tug. There was nothing offensive about the mind-reader’s touch – where her beloved human’s had once sent her into shivers. It was a discomfiting thought – not least in front of one who heard it as well as she.

Satori Komeiji slid her tiny digits through Yamame’s golden locks, chuckling. “Maybe because you don’t really care how I perceive you? Has that ever crossed your pretty head? Whereas he…”

The vicereine left it hanging. Yamame dropped her gaze in chagrin.

“Is that so shameful?” Satori repeated her earlier question. “Of course you don’t care. What am I to you? All I can and will do is touch your hair and wonder what you do to it to keep it so smooth.” She paused, rolling a lock between her fingertips. “… What do you? Mine looks worse even right after washing.”

“… Nothing,” murmured Yamame. “Not really.”

“Then it’s naturally like this?”

The spinstress gave a weak smile. “… Yes.”

“… Talk about disgusting.” Satori’s voice had an overtone of scissors. “Never mind. Let’s retrace a few steps. No, of course it wouldn’t be fair if I handed you your lover’s thoughts on a silver tray. It would be unfair to me, first of all, whose only talent lies in… extricating secrets. I will keep this advantage to myself.”

“What about a hint?” Yamame asked. “A teeny, little hint wouldn’t be unfair – would it?”

Old Hell’s small authority batted her eyelashes in faint astonishment. Then, a cunning expression draped over her pale features. “… Why, I believe you’re right,” she said in mock surprise. “As a matter of fact, a hint would be very much appropriate. We are sisters by circumstance, after all.”


“Well—” Lady Satori lifted her shoulders, “—co-prisoners, more like. Co-conspirators, potentially. What I mean is, you are facing a similar entanglement I was but a few years ago; it isn’t beyond the realms of reason that you would choose to pursue my advice… notwithstanding of promises I may have made. Am I being fair so far?”

“So far,” confirmed Yamame.

“Very well. Then supposing you sought said advice, and I had to share my experience…” Satori’s fingers quit stroking, and fell to tap musingly on the table. “… All right. We could put it like this. Men, Yamame – human men, especially – are much compartmentalised creatures. They think in lines. Not straight ones, necessarily; but any line is drawn along certain pre-set points. It is those points, in fact, that define what the line is. Imagine a drawing, or one of your projects – except copied from only a map of points where the lines intersected originally. It could still be reproduced to some approximate, no?”

The great architect righted up attentively. “More or less,” she granted. “As long as the copyist understood what it was.”

“Good. Now imagine, if you will, that the snake that I am, I rubbed one of the points out clean. At least one. It could have been more; you can’t tell. What becomes of your drawing, or project, now?”

Yamame Kurodani scowled, picturing a house whose outer wall had, someway, omitted wrapping around one of the corners.

“… It’s a mess,” she said, shying from stronger terms.

Satori narrowed her eyes. “Is it? The walls are all there, no? There’s nothing amiss, is there? The lines are all joining.”

“But they haven’t—”

“They haven’t gone the full way,” agreed the vicereine. “They haven’t touched all the points. It is no accomplishment, then, if their destination is reached – is it? The copyist was probably a fraud. The male mind, Yamame, is just the same. It becomes agitated when its lines haven’t passed through all the goalposts – even if the end is reached regardless. And even – dare I say – when those goalposts shouldn’t matter in the first place. I know you’re happy you’ve reached the end of the line at all, my dear spider, but the end is not enough for him. This is your hint, then. Touch all the points. Then, it’ll all join up.”

“… I don’t understand,” Yamame confessed.

Satori Komeiji sat back, appearing (for the first instance since their meeting yesterday) dampened by the earth spider’s limited comprehension. As she sensed the guilt curdling Yamame’s thoughts, however, the tiny vicereine passed a weary hand in front of her eyes, and presented a less steep angle:

“Have you ever told him,” she asked, “why exactly it is that you love him?”

“… No,” admitted the spinstress.

“Has he told you?”

“… Yes.”

“Then this—” Satori smacked the table, “—this is your hint. Tell him. Think on it long and hard, if you must – but tell him. Then, it’ll all join up.” She let go of a disappointed sigh. “That was less fair than I’d planned, Yamame. Weren’t you reputed to be a genius?”

Yamame felt her ears growing hot again. “Um—”

“Never mind. As a matter of fact, I tripped myself up on verbose explanations when I should have spoken plainly. San says I’ve taken this from her father. Garion is supposed to be a storyteller, however; I’m meant to be a scholar. It’s my fault.” The small governess’s eyes hardened then. “You do realise,” she said in a dagger-like tone, “that this mustn’t leave this room? I’ve a reputation to keep thorny, Yamame. What would those Oni brutes say if they heard I have been dishing out relationship advice?”

“They may joke,” objected the spinstress, “but they wouldn’t—”

“No,” Lady Satori cut her off. “No, little spider. The only reason I am giving you this hint is because you and I have both had to contend with the same hellish twists of trying to understand how human men work. I’ve enough trouble prevailing on San we aren’t meant to be selfless problem-solvers. At least my husband has received something from his malefactor that makes those in the Underworld less like to become overly fond of him. But I, Yamame? I must remain what I am. The Underworld needs me to be the dread mind-reader, and I accepted that when I took the station. Who I am is only for select few.”

Satori Komeiji, the dread mind-reader, made a wan smile.

“So, please,” she begged, “don’t noise this about.”

Yamame’s mouth slacked open stupidly. She dragged it back shut. “… Um, OK.” She nodded. “I won’t. I’ll try not to.”

“Try your hardest,” Lady Satori urged. “Tell you what. I’ll buy your silence. I’ll ask Garion to find a bottle of something nice to… ease what’s no doubt coming to you no later than tonight. I’ll even say this: take a few towels from the bathroom, and a bowl of clean water to keep nearby. I say this from a personal mistake; those come in handy.”

“… I will,” said the spinstress.

“And not a peep.” The tiny vicereine slashed a finger grimly across her neck. “Are we clear, little spider?”

Yamame numbed. “… Crystal.”

Satori Komeiji’s three penetrating eyes judged her sincerity. “Good. Good…”

… And then, their quiet verdict cast (demonstrably, in Yamame’s favour), the small governess deflated, sighed once more, and sank powerlessly back into her chair.

As the yearly malady looked on, puzzled no small amount herself, Satori Komeiji fingered the sudden weariness out of her eyelids. It was not until they had finished, however, and drew away to unveil a down-cast, melancholy gaze, that Yamame Kurodani saw someone else on the tiny vicereine’s seat. Not the ruler of the Underworld, tightly strapping her domain with an overhanging threat – nor a counsel, to whom the earth spider had turned in a dire hour for ordained aid.

Satori Komeiji, Yamame presently realised, was, beneath all, a woman. A caretaker to her pets, a mother to her daughter, and a wife to her husband; she was a person – with personal quirks, loyalties and preferences – and glad of another youkai taking the same confusing steps she had in her ascent from what-hood. It had been, more often than not, near impossible to see one who spat on the natural privacy of other minds as anything other than evil. Now, Yamame dimly saw, that evil had been jarred out far enough to show an edge of another side. Not a friendly one; for Satori Komeiji wished no friendship from the underfolk. But agreeable – and that was the term which Yamame’s heart finally enclosed.

Lady Satori, as Lady Satori did, had been listening.

“It is satisfying,” she said with dry self-deprecation, “to be reviewed positively by such an esteemed referee of character as our beloved Yamame. Oh my indeed. As a matter of fact, that has to be the single kindest word I have been called since decades – counting out my Garion’s pretty lies. Agreeable! What-ever else?”

… Maybe not so agreeable, Yamame thought sullenly.

Satori Komeiji, snickering, once more reached out and mussed the spider’s hair.

“You and I may be similar, Yamame,” she told the pouting spinstress, “but don’t construe it as us being compatible. We aren’t. We have never been. So, don’t sully your cheerful reputation by associating with me too closely. Stay where you are – as beloved Yamame. I will stay where I am – for the good of the Underworld.”

“… Isn’t it lonely where you are?” asked Yamame.

“I have my pets,” reminded Satori. “I have my husband, and I have my daughter. I have my sister – when she comes home. I don’t need an earth spider as well.”

“… I wasn’t offering myself.”

“No. As a matter of fact, no. You weren’t. And very well, because you are someone else’s anyway. But did you know what you could offer?”


“A conclusion.” The tiny vicereine pulled away. “Last time we spoke, you were telling me something about a door you had almost ripped down the middle. I’d love to hear what became of that door. I may not be very agreeable, but I’ve seldom disagreed with doors. Well, then?”

And so, the tale of Byakuren Hijiri’s door continued.

>> No. 15833
There's nothing quite like people denying themselves happiness for some self constructed reasons only they know-or care - about.
I should know.
>> No. 15834
>I’ll ask Garion to find a bottle of something nice to… ease what’s no doubt coming to you no later than tonight

>> No. 15835
File 151441546175.png - (77.77KB, 381x428, yamame_uhh.png) [iqdb]
>> No. 15836
> And so, the tale of Byakuren Hijiri’s door continued.

Such an innocent sentence. So many possibilities.
>> No. 15837
Really wish I started reading this sooner.

See you in the votes soon.
>> No. 15838
Same thing here, friend. I'm racing to catch up just to contribute to present-time votes.
>> No. 15839
"A key that opens many doors is a master key. A door that is opened by many keys is Byakuren Hijiri"
>> No. 15840
File 151445911638.jpg - (1.80MB, 2560x1942, img20170525065747.jpg) [iqdb]
I won’t bore you with platitudes about how gratifying it is to receive OC from one’s readers (although it is, insanely), and will simply say thanks for the meal~
The idea right there, my dear Watson, was “masculine.” Hairy and rough around the edges. And what else could Yamame compare fuzzy eyebrows to, but a pair of scrumptious insects?
And where did you two come from? Wasn’t THP supposed to be dead? Back to /blue/ with you!
Ah yes, the secret sequel, Byakuren Hijiri Has no Door.

Hello. Deus Seki here. Sorry for the delay. I caught a head-splitting sinus infection over Christmas, and couldn’t focus a thought on anything other than trying not to feel stupid about breathing through my mouth. I can do about half-and-half now. Ahh, if only I could get rid of this head and replace it with another…
>> No. 15841
>And where did you two come from?
Seen this story regularly updating for a while now. Skimming over random updates in boredom was enough to make me interested. The dialogue is entertaining, even without all the context.
>> No. 15842
>that pic
>> No. 15843
Whatchu talking bout?
>> No. 15844
>And where did you two come from?
TL;DR: I haven't followed a whole lot of stories actively for a while because keeping up with my own stories is hellish.

I'd say I'm a big fan of the resident 'pider, considering I once wrote a story (RIP) with her as the protag. So, yeah, the story caught my interest a while back.
>> No. 15845
File 151467528569.jpg - (1.05MB, 2560x1942, img20170525065558.jpg) [iqdb]
Not allowed!

Hello. Sekicrates here. I have been entirely unable to focus these last few days. Weather swinging around like it’s Hidden Star in Four Seasons, making my brain rebel. I’d wanted to squeeze one more update into this year, but that doesn’t look as likely anymore… So sorry.
>> No. 15846
Bah, just go out and celebrate New Year or something, treat yoself and shit. Go to a party or drink vodka to near-death alone, whatever makes you happier

dafuq does that mean?
>> No. 15847
Rape the Heads, I think and agree.
>> No. 15848
This guy got it. Just a Turkeyhandle Porkslope reference.
>> No. 15850
Are you the guy who had a popular Yamame story that suddenly died? I've always wondered wth happened with him.
>> No. 15851
>popular Yamame story
Prooooooobably not me. I wouldn't have ever called mine popular, anyway. Nothing compared to this one.
>> No. 15856

Fame and Misfortune was awesome and I was sad when it died.

If that's not your story (and I'm once again 99% sure it is) then by all means throw names and/or links at me so I can read it and tell you you're wrong anyway.
>> No. 15857
Oh, okay, then that is/was me. I moved from FaM to working on Don’t Call Me A Glutton and the Nemuno story on /at/. Never went anywhere, just didn’t try to draw a whole lot of attention to myself.

And, for my part, I’m sorry for killing off FaM. Unfortunately, I figured out after a lot of soul-searching that my plot was unmanageable and needed a shitload of retconning to really work, and that would have been a bitch and a half after three years with barely any progress. I guess if I’m completely frank, I got too weary of it to put in that kind of work. The path of least resistance and such.

Anyway, I shouldn’t hijack OP’s thread any further than this.
>> No. 15858
File 151491033820.jpg - (1.36MB, 1297x1113, 66602234_p0.jpg) [iqdb]
>I shouldn’t hijack OP’s thread any further than this.
Oh, no worries. I was curious myself, actually, if you were the one behind FaM, fam. You’ll forgive me, but I accidentally recommended your story to someone on the jay recently while clumsily attempting to be coy about my own. They seemed to like it in any case.

Hello. It is I, Banki guy. I may not have an update for you today, because going back to work after a break is aaaaAAAAAAAA, but the happy news (for one of you, anyway) is that I’ve more or less nailed down a solid baseline for a Nazrin short. It shouldn’t be any longer than my Sekibanki, but it could segue nicely into a full-er story once this one is done. It isn’t that far off. I’ll let you choose whether to unsubtly scream at me to forget about mice and get the heck back to spiders, or the reverse.

Yourseki Trulybanki.

PS. The patchy-melon guy I mentioned a bit ago? He’s here. Go check him out. >>/others/65260
>> No. 15859
thx fam

>Nazrin short
>> No. 15860
> Nazrin short

Rude. Naz isn't short, everyone else is just too tall.
>> No. 15861
File 151494175592.png - (3.39MB, 1200x1920, give.png) [iqdb]

Oh, I knew who you were right away. I think you know who I am too.

Shitposting aside, I am still hoping for a reboot of the singing spider. I know you had your reasons for canning it, but it was a very enjoyable read.

So was the Almanac, for that matter. If you're still bugging Sage about it, give him an UPDATES WHERE from me, will you?

>> No. 15862
Haw. Right, should've guessed.

That story is (still) also on The List.

>reboot of the singing spider
Pledge all of your faith to the wolf goddess of gluttony and your prayers may find themselves answered in time. (Cheating with a certain mountain hag is permitted as a sacrament.)

>bugging Sage
He says he'll drag himself out of the trash pile tomorrow.
>> No. 15864
File 15150259554.jpg - (1.48MB, 1420x2000, __kurodani_yamame_touhou_drawn_by_makuwauri__e8e8a.jpg) [iqdb]

The rest of that day darted by sooner than any right it had. Inertia did that to a day; and Yamame Kurodani spread no webs to obstruct it.

Once the finish of her most late project had been compliantly recalled (and the drink-lined night before, and the morning full of mistakes after), the great architect had readied to progress into an even less impersonal part of the story. Then, however, as progress is usually, hers as well was restrained by the noise of an approaching argument.

A vexed moment, and she recognised these arguing voices; and before long the door to Satori Komeiji’s most private room was – with never a knock – brazenly opened.

“—and meticulosity,” the ghost-like Garion was explaining over his shoulder, “is ever a part of that. As, yea, indeed, of any craft.”

Paran, following in, replied patiently, “But the goal of all craft is purpose.” The patience was so deep it might very good be mined. “These? These have none – none practical, anyway. There is no need—”

Yamame’s beloved human, as though only now noting the switch in his surrounds, abruptly stood as still as a pillar of salt. His brows took on a rather more sour (than salty) bend when his gaze fell first on the grand, canopied bed, and then on its tiny owner – still seated at her quaint wickerwork table. Satori Komeiji, smirking, raised a hand and wiggled her little fingers. The spell was unknown to Yamame, but it must have worked. Paran’s brows compressed even tighter.

Heedless of his wife’s tampering, the blond storyteller countered, “Navigation, neighbour. Navigation is practical. Not to you or I, perchance; but think you of a future, yet clandestine, wherein these maps might come to bear. What use then, pray tell, would an inexact map be?”

“To whom?” questioned Yamame’s human, the contention at hand exceeding the anyway small mind-reader. “Those who live here know these paths already. Those who don’t – those have no business knowing. Your maps are at best useless. At worst, they are dangerous.”

The blond man’s eyes went wintery. “Then we’ve a difference in views.”

Paran, shoulders squaring, crossed his arms. It was a slow process, because Paran had fought enough views to learn they could be skittish things, apt to duck out of the way and leap down the jaws of defeat. More importantly, the process was familiar; for Yamame’s (even so) beloved human had done it once before, to another of the Underworld’s denizens. It puffed her cheeks up with piqued memories.

She vented them into an accusing growl. “You’re doing it again!”

Her human – and Satori’s as well – gave her a dull glance. Then, they gave the same to each other. And then, to her again.

“… What?” Paran spoke their thoughts.

Yamame squeezed the armrests of her noisy chair. “What!” she huffed. “Spreading hostilities, that’s what! Again! What were you going to do – bite him? Here, in front of us, too?”

“… Were you?” Paran asked the other man reprovingly.

Garion shook his head. “Methinks the miss means you.”

“Well, I wasn’t. Nor have I – ever. That more or less settles it.”

“I do not know that,” disagreed Satori’s husband. “I only ever bit one, and she is—”

Lady Satori clapped her hands explosively. “All right. That is far enough. Garion, love—” she gave the blond man a stare that might smoke a hole through a thatch roof, “—what and whom you use your teeth on is nobody’s concern but yours and that person’s. As a matter of fact, she should very much like to discuss that with you, at length – out of shot of bystander ears. Good? Good. Yamame,” she addressed the (also fiery) earth spider next. “Yes, well, snuff that out. You’ll be pleased to hear these two oafs weren’t… spreading hostilities, if you’ll lend the term. I know. It might have looked that way, but it was quite something else.”

It was Yamame’s turn to speak her mind. “… What?”

I thought we were,” Garion noted sidelong.

“Shush, you!” hissed Satori. “As I was saying, it is all rather simple. Silly, yes. Most simple things tread that edge. What these two were doing, Yamame, was making order. Among themselves, by themselves, and I think quite despite our own selves.”

“I don’t—” began Yamame.

“I feel nobody does but me,” murmured Satori. “See, my dear spider, what these idiots got into their swollen heads—” she slashed said heads with a sword-like glance, “—is that, since one of them looks older – but not enough, and the other looks bigger – but not enough, that their customary means of setting the pecking order have sorely failed them. So, to amend that void in their delicate worldview, they went and invented themselves a problem. What was it, again?” The demand had been aimed at the vicereine’s husband. No answer came forth; but, of course, none had to. “Ah yes,” Satori chirped. “A philosophical question! About maps and use thereof. Amazing. And then, I suppose me, whoever had won that tilt of wits would have come out atop, while the loser would tuck their tail under and have to wash the winner’s dishes. No? Am I not just the rightest in the world?”

The men peered at each other – rather more boyish than manly. Satori Komeiji chopped their prides even shorter.

“And why those big frowns?” she mocked them. “Hmm? Why, and here I thought you’d brought this riddle here so I could solve it for you. As a matter of fact, I shall solve it anyway. Garion here, the one with a haystack for a head, is your winner. I own this house, and, by some miraculous turn, I happen to love him very much. Older-looking, clever-mouthed and all. So, there you have it. Congratulations. You’re still both doing the dishes.”

The blond man managed to look conciliatory as he turned to his philosophic rival.

“Is this what we had in mind?” he wondered.

“… I suppose we might have,” gave Paran.

“Shake, then?” Garion asked, one hand offered.

Paran sighed. Then, surrendering, he shook. “… I stand by what I said about those maps, though.”

Garion beamed. “Well now,” he said speculatively. “Well now.”

At the table, Satori Komeiji became a picture of exasperation. “See?” she complained to Yamame, “See what I meant by lines? I’ll tell you all what. Why do we not go to the library and take a good, long look at those deuced maps? As a mapper— bother, as a matter of fact, it’s been a while since I did myself. Well?”

Though the proposition was well-received by everyone but the giver; still go they did, quitting Lady Satori’s warm chambers in loose pairs.

All the same, they hadn’t two steps (or it might have been three, or just one) past the library’s braced, double-winged door, when the men sped ahead for their maps wholly unconcerned of the trailing women. All but, and Yamame would have stormed after; only then, Satori Komeiji seized her by the wrist, shaking her lavender curls and (unsuccessfully) suppressing a fond smile. Instead, the small governess of Old Hell led the eldest earth spider deeper among the unlit shelves. As they went farther from the entrance, the air grew stuffier; soon, and Yamame saw dust resting in a grey film over lower-stored tomes.

“You’ll have to excuse me,” said Satori, picking out the thought. “I haven’t as much as read a book board-to-board since San was born. Same with keeping this place neat. Sometimes…”

“Yes?” asked Yamame.

“… Sometimes,” Satori gave up, “Sometimes I wonder how it was ever all I could do, to sit here and read.”

“Wasn’t that lonely?”

“I don’t miss it, if that’s what you’re casting for. Not too badly, anyway. There should be a section on architecture hereabouts; lend me those spider eyes, and we’ll find something to tide you over until those two are done. I’ll gladly do some catching-up myself.”

It was another clock-less sweep of time after that the men, taking their fill of food of knowledge, announced another kind of food was promptly required. A wiser (or were they?) two of human men thusly fled the confines of Satori Komeiji’s library to toil in one of her mansion’s dozen kitchens. A touch later still, Yamame followed Lady Satori out as well.

Their dinner was unconventional; even so, the spinstress registered a few accents so domestic, instantly her love welled up again for her human. Satori Komeiji’s own blond lover, pleading an unspecific lapse of memory, rushed out the dining hall ahead any other one of them was close to finish. No sooner had that been reached than Paran picked their dishes and cutlery up, and likewise hurried out. The eldest of the Underworld’s spiders nursed no doubt who would wash them would become the next point of philosophical debate in the nearest kitchen very soon.

As for her elder self, poked with stares by her hostess, Yamame Kurodani stood to retrace her yesterday’s steps even as far as the mansion’s marble-tiled bathroom. Then, an armful of towels and a wash basin dutifully riding pillion, the earth spider negotiated the trail yet again, now to her and her human’s assigned guest-room.

A slim, ceramic bottle of sloshing content waiting atop the desk was the first to hook her attention – after, anyway, she had set her tottering baggage down. Accompanying, just beside, a twin pair of wine-glasses was standing: long of leg and so fine as to be gauzy. Against her best stress calculations, Yamame pinched one between her strong youkai’s fingers, and filled it half-full of the mysterious drink.

The drink was as scarlet as oxidised blood and bottomed with a dump of whitish residue. When, however, it was rolled around in the glass, it clouded up at once into a cute, pinkish suspension. Yamame tried a sip. The taste was, over all, very sweet (sweeter, even, than the apple-barley wine from two nights before); a coarse after was left, however, occupying the earth spider’s tongue. She topped the testing batch off, and poured herself a proper one. Then, she sat cross-legged in her borrowed beddings.

And then, swirling her drink, Yamame Kurodani, the yearly malady, began to think – long and hard – on what might very good be one of the more embarrassing investigations in her life.

>> No. 15865
you are a brave one, at this point i'd be sick and tired of coming up with spider- and seaming-related turns of phrase
>> No. 15874
I dreamed this updated, and there was something about a severed foot, too.
>> No. 15875
You call that pointless speculation, I call that interesting analysis.
>> No. 15883
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She hadn’t half of it stitched out when he slipped into the room.

Her human, he calling himself Paran, pushed the door shut and turned about to face her. His mouth was holding onto a checked half-smile when he did; it broadened first (when he saw Yamame on the bed) then spoiled (when he saw her drinking). His head shook its disapproval.

Yamame’s replying smile was a little shy. Still, when she indicated the bottle on the desk, unerringly the remaining glass was filled and raised to inspection.

“Had fun?” she decided to ask once Paran took the chair.

Her human was eyeing the dichotomous drink from below. “… Mm.”

“‘Mm?’” mocked Yamame. “That bad?”

“Oh no, I had fun,” said Paran, in a tone implying anything from sincerity to a severe allergy to fun. “Only, I’d forgotten what it was like, talking with normal people. Well—” he made an ugly sound, “—normal-ish.

That makes you not-normal, a voice in Yamame’s head needlessly translated. She gave her best surmise. “Because he’s Lady Satori’s husband?”

Her best, apparently, wasn’t very good.

“Not even.” Her human – how to proceed with the parti-coloured mixture finally dawning – twirled his glass around. His eyes narrowed with suspicion when everything seemed to work out along his guesswork, precluding volcanism. “… He talks up a flood, for one,” he went on, still a-frown. “We’re about of age, but it’s like we’re from neighbouring centuries, for another. He actually went all thee-thou on me once, if you’ll believe. And, I think, his world is some five times wider than mine.”

“How do you mean?”

“The way he talks about it. Not that it’s in-accurate; but, hearing him say it, you’d figure it should take days to get here from our town – and another week to the top of the Goddesses’ Mount. Imaginative terms, I guess.”

“Lady Satori said he was a storyteller,” Yamame remembered. “Maybe that’s it?”

“Ah, yes.” Paran shot enough sarcasm into his reply to bed-ride an Oni for a fortnight. “That could distract the roads awfully.”

The spinstress giggled. “But you had fun, no?”

“A bit,” he admitted. He thrust his glass out toward the bed. “Cheers?”

Yamame, inching up on all-fours (or anyway all-threes), clinked her drink to his. Gently. “Cheers.”

As he retracted his arm and tried of the sugary mixture (mouth warping in surprise), Yamame Kurodani took a close, careful stock of her partner.

Paran of the Human Village (not-so-called), envoy of earth spiders, the solitary priest of his namesake god, was a median instance of his inscrutable species. As humans did, he, too, had four limbs in sum: two on top and two lower. As those of human males went, his as well were long and robust. His shoulders seemed almost oversized compared to her own; atop those, a stubborn head was carried, housing some of his more appreciable features. He had lengthening hair of a certain shade. His two eyes were narrowed, by themselves slightly angular, and…

Yamame Kurodani’s brows hugged as she registered – for a confused first time – what colour her human’s eyes were.

It made no sense. It could make none. The spider’s mind vended in detail-work. That she had never recognised it ahead of now belied her fundamental self.

At the same time, it did not. After all, her human’s details had never been important – until they were – but, by then, he had already been an accustomed part of her home. At first, he had been but yet another man; by the time he had turned more, he had become fully an everyday sight. He had already been her human – only then not yet so close. Why should she have dwelt on his details? What use would it make? She saw what, now – but that did not erase her mistake.

A full half of her not-half-done inquest into her own feelings seemed now very foolish. She still had the other eighth, though.

“Paran?” She attired an apologetic smile. “We need to talk about something.”

The human Paran, as he had whenever put nearby these words, ranged through a variety of complex expressions. At length he settled on one less straining on his facial muscles – rather a mild discomfort than his foot getting chopped off for a drunken bet. At last, he sighed.

“… When have we not?”

Several heartbeats were done before Yamame understood the quip. “… Right,” she indulged. “So, can we?”

“Talking is the least we will do, I feel.” Paran gave her an unamused stare. “On one condition, Yamame.”

“What kind?”

“Until we’re done,” he issued, “you will stay there. I will stay here. No touching.”

The spinstress puffed up her cheeks.

“Why?” she blew out.

“Because,” said Paran, with a cough of a personal illness, “Because, very clearly, I can’t think in a straight line when you’re near.”

Yamame Kurodani, startling, searched her human’s face for tells he had, somehow, overheard her conversation with Lady Satori. She found nothing except innocence. It was slightly foxed (humaned?), a touch sarcastic – but it was still a kind of innocence.

“… All right,” she gave. “No touching, then. Very good.”

… Snake, she added inside.

Paran accepted their newest compact with an incline of his head. “Very good. So? What did you want to talk about?”

“Your problem.”

“I have problems, Yamame – plural.” He fairly scoffed the word. “Which one did you want?”

Yamame, that much cannier, denied him the rise. “You know which one,” she told him. “The one you have with me.”

“I don’t have a problem with you, Yamame.”

“This morning told me something else.”

The human Paran actually wrenched on his chair. His drink poised to spill. “… I don’t have a problem with you,” he repeated.

“With whom, then?” challenged the spider. “Was there someone else? A small animal inside your robe after all? It didn’t feel like one, you know.”

Someway, by an effort of a youkai’s will, she held her ears from melting off. The yearly malady kept her face as white and regal as Satori Komeiji’s had been when scolding her husband. Paran, no greater will available to him but his own, winced without pretence.

“… My problem,” he grated at last, “is with me, Yamame. Not you.”

Hoarder. “Are we going to give it a name soon?”

“I’m not positive what it’d be.”

“Why don’t you describe it? We’ll figure it out together.”

Threading out his lately hobby, the human Paran, rumbling, stared philosophically into his glass. In the end, he quit applying the motions of particles inside the drink to his own circumstance, and set it down on the desk.

“… How long,” he asked, quietly, “How long do you think I have been in love with you?”

The yearly malady, Yamame Kurodani, said nothing. As well since she knew no answer she may give owed anything to her human’s inner framework, as that she knew she did not know.

Paran, demonstrating he knew she knew, continued. “What I would say,” he said, “is that I’ve loved you since before we met.”

The spinstress could not help but smile. “That is silly.”

“Might be.” Her human framed a shrug – with his mouth. It was all she could do not to comment on it. “Might not,” Paran guessed on. “Might be the feelings I’d been jarring up had to go somewhere when I found you weren’t – after all – responsible for… for what happened, to my father. Might be they went the entirely wrong way. What I do know is that, since then, I had wanted to meet you. To make amends. And, I won’t lie… probably more.”

“And then you actually met me,” Yamame supposed.

“Yes,” confirmed Paran. “And you were not at all whom I’d imagined.”

“Who did you imagine?”

“A beautiful maiden,” he teased, “with lustrous black hair, wide eyes, and a smile which could goad the nails out of a wall. It makes no matter, Yamame,” he grunted; “I had not known you, and so pictured someone else. What I still reckoned, you and I could still get along; I thought, if I treated you good, that I could at least make you friend.” Maybe more went unsaid. “So, I tried. I kept trying. And then…” He let go of a sigh. “… Then, you bit me.”

Yamame pinned the guilt clawing up her chest. “… I did,” she admitted – for what good that did. “I did do that, didn’t I?”

Her human nodded. “And that was the first time – I thought – that I had misjudged you.”

He reached behind for his drink again, and drained a half of it in a swig that bulged his throat when he washed it down. His long, rough fingers occupied with the fragile stem of the glass as he hammered out his next words.

“… I had time, though,” the words forged out – and Yamame scented a trace of the false, priestly Paran, who dealt with their warrantees’ exuberant demands as a rule; “I had time,” this Paran said, “as I lay there in bed, aching and hawking up my innards, to get used to that thought. I had time to internalise you were a youkai after all. An earth spider. Something not meant for… for what I had meant for you. But I had those years I had unjustly hated you to atone for, so, well… I resolved to keep working. To keep you at a safe arm’s length from then on as well – but, mostly, I told myself seeing you fulfilled was enough. That this was everything there was. Almost… and I would even have believed it.”

“Then I began to experiment,” Yamame surmised.

“Then you began to experiment,” agreed her human. “And that… That, there, was the second time I realised I had misjudged you.”

He raised the glass he had been molesting back to his mouth. The remaining drink, emptying unceremoniously, rolled down his gullet with an almost audible rasp of regret inching down along. Paran, sullen, eyed the trail of white residue in the glass as though it was that which had concealed the regret inside it all along. It had not, of course; and Yamame’s human quickly wrenched the allegation back around – on himself.

“The bald truth is,” he confessed, “that I can’t decide how you feel about me.”

Yamame bit her lips. Not least because the phrasing of the question was weird; most of all, she bit her lips because the question itself was as well. “I’ve told you,” she reminded. “I’ve told you how I feel. Or did I dream that?”

“No,” grunted Paran. “You did. You did tell me. And I don’t believe you.

“… Why?”

Somehow, the question surfaced in a marked absence of a less delicate escort.

Someway, Yamame Kurodani, the yearly malady kept her bubbling emotions wrapped and short of boiling out of said wrap in a spray of hot accusations. Somewise, the mother of plagues did not leap up and bite. Instead… and it was an “instead” thicker than any she had swallowed in her life… she eased the grip on her own glass and kept her fangs sheathed tightly behind her lips.

Paran – the good, reliable, steady Paran, whom she loved whatever his beliefs – felt them all the same.

“… Wrong words,” he granted, pushing out a bitter, self-loathing smile – one all too familiar to Yamame. “And this… This is the problem. I don’t understand you. I thought I had – twice. Twice, I was mistaken. I want to believe I understand you now. That our definitions match. I just don’t know that I can.”

All that the spinstress could stitch out – safely – was the same question all over again. “… Why?”

“Because,” said Paran, “Because, Yamame, I’ve never done anything for you to feel that way.”

Now she did leap up.

Though not wholly fang-free; but she did not leap at him – nor spill her drink – and that was a roof over her net. “But you have!” she yelped. “You have, you idiot! You’ve spoken for me! You’ve allowed me to pursue my greatest, my oldest passion – to lengths I couldn’t before. You’ve shown me that there was still a lot left for me to learn! Is that nothing to you?”

“I didn’t do that to win your favour, Yamame.”

“Then why?” she demanded.

“Because I had wronged you,” Paran insisted. “At least, at first. A ways in, and I found watching you work was reward enough – but I had never meant that to endear me to you, Yamame.” He shook his overgrowing hair left and right. “You deserve better than that. I have said this already. You are honest, hard-working and neighbourly. You are the best draughtswoman in Gensokyo, but don’t flaunt it. You know where you stand, but still strive to rise. You’re irresistibly pretty. And I?” Her human fanned out his arms cynically. “I am only a skilled liar. I can’t even keep an oath I made to myself. I can’t measure up to you. I can’t even understand how you feel. I’m not good enough for you.”

His eyes – those lovable eyes, of a certain colour which could have been anything and would still be lovable – steeled as though he had now struck the deepest seat of his dilemma – and set into a hard-edged stare.

“I’m not good enough for you,” he repeated, the criticism – so simple as to be trite – somehow encapsulating an problem so enormous, it had filled out an entire month worth of evenings – evenings which otherwise could have been spent, if not voicing their feelings, then at least exploring them in a less web- and promise-wrecking climate.

Yamame Kurodani, the humble, the best draughtswoman in Gensokyo stared back. She stared back at him, who would reject her on the simplest grounds she was too pretty to resist, over her less immaculate features. The eldest of earth spiders, she who had seen the Underworld laid out and built, an aeon ago, narrowed her ageless, amber eyes at the human who had – with few evident stitches on his side – shown her she had still another aeon of study ahead.

So, was he? Was he, who called himself Paran and lied about it, good enough for her?

( ) He was.
( ) He wasn’t, but…
>> No. 15884
(X) He was.

And we'll make him see it.
>> No. 15885
I don't know what to pick here... I knew what Paran felt here, and I'm never quite sure whether the best answer should be "yes, you are worthy," or "I don't give a shit about worthiness, I love you no matter what."

If we told Paran he's good enough for Yams, would he really stop worrying? He might think that "I'm good enough now, but there are better person out there."

I'm thinking that if we were to have Yams tell Paran that 'he's not good enough, but it doesn't matter,' it might alleviate some of Paran's insecurity or whatever, by telling him that his vague idea of worthiness doesn't bother Yams at all, and that she likes Paran no matter what.

Thoughts, fellow spider-fan?

Anyways, glad to see you're still alive, bruv!
>> No. 15886
(X) He was.

Goddamn, I missed this story.
>> No. 15887
I feel like no matter what we say, he's not going to feel good enough. He's worthy? He doesn't think that's the case. He's not worthy, but that doesn't matter? It matters to him.
So in the end, it's really just a matter of what you think is best to say. Is he worthy because he's the one that makes us feel good no matter what he thinks, or is he not worthy but we want him anyway?

Does that help?
>> No. 15888
Very helpful, thanks.

I've decided on
(X) He was.
>> No. 15889
I am so behind on this story that I can't vote in good conscience, but I want to say that the fact that this story is still going brings me joy. Not that a symbolic show of support means as much as a real vote, but there you go.

I swear to Tenma, this is at the top of my list to get caught up on.
>> No. 15890
Welcome to the spider apreciation club.
>> No. 15891
I think I've reread this whole story, like, thrice since the previous update.
>> No. 15892
I feel like this is one of these extra-railroady choices where it doesn't matter what we pick. She's gonna tell him what she thought about either way and it'll be all teary eyed and stuff.
(x) He was.

But it's a weird, I don't think Paran has come across as the insecure type even once before. Not that I can recall, anyway.
>> No. 15893
(x) He was.
>> No. 15894
We're dealing with a classic case of lack of self-confidence. It doesn't really matter what the spider says to him --especially since he admitted he doesn't really trust what she tells him-- until he himself realizes that he's more than good enough.

(x) He wasn’t, but…

That said, it'll be easier for him if she gives him a relatively short-term goal for perceived self-improvement to help him gain confidence in himself.
>> No. 15895
> Yamame Kurodani’s brows hugged as she registered – for a confused first time – what colour her human’s eyes were. It made no sense. It could make none. The spider’s mind vended in detail-work. That she had never recognised it ahead of now belied her fundamental self.

> His eyes – those lovable eyes, of a certain colour which could have been anything and would still be lovable.

Is this just a flavor text, one that symbolize how Yams is slowly begins to understand / see Paran, or is this a hint to Paran's secrets?
>> No. 15896
(X) He was.

I can't see the other option being something Yamame would think. Her idea of "good enough" would be whatever she wants now.
>> No. 15897
[x] He was

This isn't a fairy tale: sometimes good enough is, well, enough. And.by giving her a chance he has done that.

And then he went above and beyond, told her the complete truth, trusted her almost completely worry about her when the easy way out would have been taking her word... and all of it while letting her set the (incredibly slow) pace.

That is much more than enough, honestly.
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