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File 153244072559.jpg - (472.29KB, 3259x2444, __fate_stay_night_and_fate_series__75aafd8738ebec5.jpg) [iqdb]
16035 No. 16035
So here it is. I said I was preparing to write something, and, well, it's happened. I haven't written much in at least three years, and this format in longer, so it might be a bit rough, so just bear with me. If you have any feedback, I'm here to listen to my audience, too.

With all that said - Let's begin.



NIGHT 1

It’s dark. A shivering, swallowing, oppressive darkness. Not a darkness of the world, but of knowing there is a world and being unable to see it. My other senses report back to me, letting me know that I’m not alone. A soft voice – not speaking to me, but making noises to itself. A soft touch, the fluffiness of pillows and the delicacy of thin fingers that work across my face.

“ ––––––, wake up.” The voice calls to me. “I’m almost done, so you should wake up.” I hear a ‘word’, but I can’t understand it. I know it has to be my name, it just feels like it. How does one even describe the sensation of hearing their own name? But that means I need to wake up. Am I even asleep? Or was I already awake? Were my eyes closed in slumber, or incomplete, like me? I move my mouth a little to reply, but I can’t understand what comes out.

...This is pointless. I need to wake up. Pushing those that thought to the forefront, and willing my sight to return, I start to move…




...my eyes open, and my senses correct themselves. Neither the softness of the bed, the pillows, nor Her fingers remain, and I’m left with the familiar sight of the blood-red sky. There’s no helping it, so I pull myself up off the ground, and try and take stock of my situation.

I’m on the ground. Outdoors, too. That much is obvious, but I have to start with the basics, and leave the questions for later. Even as my mind starts running through all the things I want to ask, like ‘how did I get here’ and ‘why was I sleeping outside’. The scenery isn’t itself familiar to me, but I feel like I’ve lived my life underneath this sky, so I’m not in some totally strange place. I might be able to orient myself toward home from here.

The grass is soft and lush. It seems healthy. There are sparse trees, and off to one side they seem to get thicker, like a forest, which could provide cover. However, I can hear a burbling noise, like water flowing down a stream from the other direction. It would be more open, but I might be able to drink there – at least if it’s as healthy as the grass here. It’s a good thing to keep in mind… but there’s one more problem on my mind before I decide where to go…

...and that’s what to do with these eyes that are upon me. Something’s hiding between the trees as they start to turn to forest, so they aren’t that close… but once they leave cover, it may already be too late to make up my mind.

If I hadn’t woken up when I did, I wouldn’t have noticed it. This legitimately might have been dangerous… but it feels like my instincts are used to it. Where I got such a sense, I’m not sure… now that I think about it, I’m not sure about a lot. I had naturally accepted so much about my situation in order to try and escape it, but… there’s so much I’m not sure about. Not this place, but this person.

The revelation nearly staggers me, but I have to keep my head. It’s not safe. It’s not safe, but I can’t stop thinking it. What’s watching me? Where am I?

Who am I?!

[ ] Head into the forest, but not toward the eyes.
[ ] Head further along the grassland.
[ ] Head toward the river.
49posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 16086
File 153456973340.jpg - (36.76KB, 461x640, 37ab7294f7c3c87256c57190715258d6.jpg) [iqdb]
16086
Where did my week go?

That said, have another before-the-deadline update. This time, hopefully with 100% less broken tags. And definitely with 100% more actual attached images.

---------------------------------------------

DAY 1?

[X] Though I don’t really want to, dine and dash is probably my only option.
– [X] There was a dango place I could go to. Something filling is probably best.

I literally don’t remember the last time I ate. My stomach is complaining something fierce by the time my nerves and guard have dropped from this latest near-combat encounter. Of course, having only spent one day without food, it might not be bad… but really, I don’t want to put up with this. Letting myself get hungry will only make me weaker, and if there’s anything like those monsters, I can’t help but want to be at full strength to defend myself.

...and so I go for something filling. The dango stand I’d seen earlier should probably still be in business since it’s only recently dark out. As I near, I notice the rabbit ears on the heads of the two girls behind the adjacent carts for the first time. These are… yet more demons? Still, they don’t seem to draw attention from the other humans around, so they probably aren’t dangerous. Or I’m the only one seeing the bunny ears.

I’m… just going to file that thought away and not think about that again. Down that road lies madness, and I’m not crazy. At least, I hope not. The thought that it could be an illusion effect springs to mind, but I squash it back down. I’m not doing that, period.

With a casual greeting, I start looking over the dango that have been freshly prepared. Though it’s just sweets, the doughy nature of them should help keep me full… but I have no idea what these types are. Honestly, taste is a little irrelevant, however. I’m not eating here to enjoy it, but to stop my stomach from growling.

The blue-haired rabbit girl smiles at me. The way her expression perks up and way her eyes shine a little in the dark makes me think she’s kind of cute, but it’s just customer service, obviously. Looking between the two, the other one is munching on her own product. ...Is that really good for business? Rather than voicing the concern, though, I need to think of a way to get away with the food.

Going over the facts in my head… there are two dango stands, right next to each other. That can’t really be that good for business, so they have to be rivals in some degree to want to stay in the exact same location despite competition being literally at hand. If there’s an emotional investment, I can use that… though honestly, this whole line of thought makes me feel kind of scummy.

But it’s for my stomach, so it can’t be helped.

NIGHT 2

But it’s for my stomach, so it can’t be helped.

The words echo back to another place, another time, and my mind with it. The darkness of the night, the redness of the sky, and the pure and terrible red moon. The world, stained in the crimson of my hands that dances across the night and drips down to the ground below.

It’s for my stomach, so it can’t be helped.

The juicy, red liquid stains my tongue a deeper color as I lick it from my fingers, feeling sated in a way I couldn’t have imagined. The fullness of my stomach warms me from deep within. So this is what it tastes like… The savory feeling of meat, the richness that lingers even after the meal…

The hoarse voice of people nearby cries out into the night, but it doesn’t matter. Even though they sounds like it’s been screaming for a while, cracking and broken… A chorus of agony, of dying shadows, doesn’t mean much to me at all.

...but one of those voices is livelier than the others. One of those voices is familiar. A voice of agonizing sorrow mixed in with the cries of pain, coming together in unified despair.

I clench my teeth shut to try and muzzle it. It hurts a bit, and it needs to stop.

It’s for my stomach, so it can’t be helped.




Another dream, another day. I pick myself up off the ground and reach for my sword. ...It’s still here, of course. This time, my memories aren’t entirely gone, and I can remember that I had forgotten where to find it or that I could use it.

The red sky above me is fading into slightly lighter hues, as if dawn is on the horizon. Not that this place seems to really have a horizon… I get the familiar feeling of days just passing how they wish, instead of a circle of the sun through the sky.

My black dress is covered in stains. I didn’t think I’d received that much splatter from the beast that looked like a woman who’d attacked me, but here it is. Shaking my head a little, I try and account for my surroundings.

The river I’d headed towards is gone. Since I probably wasn’t moved, the tainted water might have had me walking around in a feverish dream. I don’t feel all that great, either. My throat feels sore, and my body feels heavy. It’s such a weird contrast to last time I woke up that I have trouble understanding it until I start trying to stretch and move as I’d used to.

Until now, I’d taken the continence of that trained and light body for granted, but the difference is like night and day. I kind of wish I could just undo whatever put me into this situation (probably the water), but I don’t exactly remember how the water here works, either.

...Though, I don’t think I have to worry about more water. The place I’ve found myself in is like a deep forest, and I don’t hear the familiar burbling of a stream or anything like the last time I’d wandered out. The trees are definitely unfamiliar, though – last time they had looked ‘normal’ enough, but here they’re like… fossilized or crystallized where they stand, the bark unnaturally treated in a way I find it hard to describe.

This world is weird. Like the weird mountains from before, I find myself amazed at everything I find.

...But it’s there that I start picking up something worrying. The crackling sound of a fire. I don’t know if these trees are resistant to flames due to being… whatever they are, but I don’t exactly want to be roasted alive.

On the other hand, it doesn’t sound that big yet, so maybe somebody’s set up a camp, and I’ll meet someone human in this weird world for the first time. But the chance of finding another human… maybe it’s just another monster like the last one, that was ‘human enough, but not really’.

...There’s just too many unknowns, I have to pick something.

[ ] Go toward the fire
– [ ] There might be a human I can finally get in contact with.
– [ ] There might be a monster, but I’m not scared.

[ ] Go away from the fire.
– [ ] I don’t think it will harm this weird forest anyway.
– [ ] It’s dangerous to get close.
>> No. 16087
[X] Go toward the fire
– [X] There might be a human I can finally get in contact with.

Everyone knows that monsters move away from fire.
>> No. 16088
[x] Go toward the fire
– [x] There might be a human I can finally get in contact with.
>> No. 16089
[X] Go away from the fire.
– [X] It’s dangerous to get close.
>> No. 16090
[x] Go toward the fire
– [x] There might be a monster, but I’m not scared.

Knowing > not knowing. In b4 mothgirl.
>> No. 16091
Well, that didn't go as planned. I kept waiting for a clear frontrunner, but it didn't really come, and planned to write it the day of if it really came down to it, but...

Well, I passed out in the morning and woke up at 11 PM.

I'll get an update to you tomorrow, so consider it called here.
>> No. 16092
This is why I didn't want to let things go late, because it's hard for me to write during the week. Sorry for the delay, folks, but we're back on schedule once again.

---------------------------------------------

NIGHT 2

[X] Go toward the fire
– [X] There might be a human I can finally get in contact with.

I keep walking toward the sound of the fire. I’d never expected it to be far away, even with my body’s great hearing, but the further I walk the more I wonder how much longer it will be until I see it. What’s worse is that it just… keeps getting louder.

After several minutes of walking, I get the feeling this isn’t really the campfire I’d hoped it would be.

The crackle slowly builds into a roar – weak, the sound of a dying fire, but a large one nonetheless. My instincts scream at me to not go closer, but I can’t just turn back now. Monsters hate fire, so I shouldn’t be in any danger… whatever is going on here, I just need to keep pushing forward and see it for myself…

...Through the treeline, my eyes catch a glimpse and my heart sinks.

Buildings, houses, burning, dying, a village lost in a blaze that consumes everything. Nobody’s screaming – not anymore – so the chance of survivors is slim. My feet start moving faster, my body breaking into a sprint. There’s no way that everyone is dead. There’s no way that the humans I’d been looking for are gone entirely…

The heat is unbearable, but since I’m not getting actively burned by it, I force through anyway. I glance around, flicking my vision this way and that as I try and find anything that might indicate another human exists here. Another person that could be saved.

...It takes me a while to realize I can talk. The fear that had gripped me just strangled my voice, and I have to work my jaw a bit to get anything to come out.

“Anyone! Can anyone hear me?! Is there anyone here?!” The words leave my mouth, but don’t make it over the sound of the fire at first, so I find myself slowly making my way through the burning town, calling out every so often, trying to pause and give anyone time to respond without me shouting over them between my own attempts to get heard.

...The smell gets to me, once I notice. As I get deeper into the wasted village, the scent of roasting flesh meets my nose. It’s terrible, and yet sickly enticing at the same time. But this almost certainly isn’t the kind of meat I’d want to be cooking… any farm animals would have been on the outskirts on the other side, out toward the pastures, and away from the forest. This ‘meat’ is definitely casualties…

I try and push that out of my head. All that’s left now is to help deal with it.

As I get closer to the other side of the village, my heart starts to sink. Nobody responds… not a single one. What happened here? Why did this village burn? Who could have done this? There’s so many questions, and… they’ll never be answered like this.

I almost want to say I’ve given up hope, but I’m still pressing onward for some reason. Like some kind of sense of mine still believes I’ve got a chance to save even one person.

It goes on for what feels like forever. A desperate eternity between moments. But finally… I hear a call back. I can hardly make out what it says – the voice, a woman’s – is weak, to put it mildly. Though I break into a sprint toward it, I hear what I never wanted to hear.

...quite clearly, these are her last words.



The crystal spires of the forest are beautiful today.

It’s been a while since I last got out on my own like this, and this is one of my favorite places to go during free time. It is not like I even desire the alone time much – I have my purpose now, and this is time spent not achieving it… but even so, I love the beauty of the tree-like pillars. The order within chaos – growing from the ground at random angles, the ‘trunks’ of the crystals dotted with ‘branches’, reflecting the colors of the light until the entire forest is like a sparkling dance.

Something about it, as otherworldly as it is, is also homey to me.

Describing these things as ‘otherworldly’ feels a little strange as well – I can’t imagine living anywhere but Makai, where things such as these are not uncommon. A world only bound by the limits of its ruler’s imagination, that of the divine queen of demons. Despite that, it’s what initially comes to mind. This forest, too… something about it is familiar in a way deep within me, though I can hardly tell what.

The idea that there’s something I’m missing… something I can’t remember… As much as I love this place, this feeling I get around it dampens the mood just a little.

After all, I’m a wonderfully splendid demon. I was created to be perfect and elegant, and my swordmanship is second to none.



DAY 2

I wake up with a groan, finding myself face-down in a paddy field. ...Must be near the human village, if that’s the case. That place was surrounded by them, since they’re presumably used to support the entire village’s main food supply.

My stomach isn’t growling at me anymore, so it seems like I’ve gotten food… but my head is all blurry about what happened last night. I’m clearly not supposed to be taking a nap here, though, and my dress and thigh-highs are all dirty now.

...It’s been a while since I changed clothes, anyway. I should probably bathe and clean them. But I don’t really have anything to change into lined up…

[ ] Go find a river or lake to bathe in, and wash my clothes. Just deal with wet clothes and put them back on.
[ ] Go back to the village and try and find something to dry clothes with, or spare clothes. Of course, since I don’t have any money that means more stealing…
[ ] Save the bath for later, once I have something else to change into.
– [ ] Go back to the village and try and figure out what I was doing last night. My memory is a total mess.
– [ ] Go visit Reimu, maybe she’ll let me borrow clothes.
– [ ] Write-in
>> No. 16093
[X] Go find a river or lake to bathe in, and wash my clothes. Just deal with wet clothes and put them back on.

Also, welcome back! Don't worry if your schedule is difficult sometimes. Do what you need to do, and we'll always be here waiting.
>> No. 16094
[X] Save the bath for later, once I have something else to change into.
– [X] Go visit Reimu, maybe she’ll let me borrow clothes.

I'd ask why there's no option to just skip the clothes, but this isn't that kind of story. Also welcome back.
>> No. 16095
[x] Go find a river or lake to bathe in, and wash my clothes. Just deal with wet clothes and put them back on.

Tough it out.
>> No. 16096
[X] Save the bath for later, once I have something else to change into.
– [X] Go visit Reimu, maybe she’ll let me borrow clothes.
>> No. 16098
A little hard to write the next update with a tied, contradictory vote...
>> No. 16099
[x] Go find a river or lake to bathe in, and wash my clothes. Just deal with wet clothes and put them back on.

If anyone asks, we say a river attacked us
>> No. 16100
A recent addition to my schedule has caused a bit of a delay - since this seems like it will be ongoing, I'm changing the update day of this story to Sunday (I.E. today), and finishing this up today. Stay tuned for the update.
>> No. 16101
File 153655294840.jpg - (549.87KB, 1000x708, 7d26cb570fb440228fa070d3ee7b7728.jpg) [iqdb]
16101
After moving the schedule back a day, we're back. New chapters will be coming weekly (faster if I get enough people responding earlier).

For full transparency, I don't tend to start organizing everything and begin working on what I want the next part to contain until about mid-week if I don't have 3 votes for the same thing. If there's just two, (and especially when it's split between two different votes) I generally let it sit longer since other people might trickle in and read it and want to vote. Once I have where I want to go with it, I write it once I have the free time (which is why having something added to my friday schedule cuts into my writing free time for saturday).

With that all said and done, let's get to the reason why you're actually here.

---------------------------------------------

DAY 2

[X] Go find a river or lake to bathe in, and wash my clothes. Just deal with wet clothes and put them back on.

It’s really easy to find a river to bathe in, thanks to my amazing ears. But as convenient as this body is, it doesn’t clean itself, or make clothes for itself. A soft liftoff, and I’m flying through the air with little more than a thought – heading in the direction of the water that tickles at my hearing from far away.

...I really wonder what happened last night, though. I don’t have a lot of memories, so the fact that I’ve lost another chunk of them is pretty worrying. The only thing that comes to mind is that it was right before I fell asleep, apparently, so I’ll have to keep an eye on what I’m doing before I pass out to see if I can usually remember it, or if something about last night was different.

Though the stream is easy enough to find after a moment, it doesn’t really look good for a bath where I’m at. The water is too far downstream and slow at first, so I start heading up toward the source, hoping for a spring or waterfall basin or something that would be better for diving into or getting under, and running faster so that it’s less gross.

I almost slip back into my own thoughts along the way, but I can clearly sense other creatures around as I fly low, entering the cover of trees and reducing my speed so that I don’t end up running into one. It’s almost like I’m being followed, since the feeling doesn’t go away at all, but I don’t feel like I’m in danger, either. I’ve fought dangerous beasts before, I think, and this isn’t so much like that at all. Perhaps the words I should use are ‘killing intent’? I don’t sense anything like that, like when the shrine maiden attacked me. There’s a certain kind of aura something that intends violence has, and though I can hear the movements of at least one creature nearby, they don’t seem to have any such ill intentions.

...But I’m still a little shy about bathing in front of an audience.

Pushing on, I hope they just decide to leave me alone before I have to decide on something like that in the first place. My progress is definitely slowed by the tree cover, even if trees don’t grow directly in the middle of the river. My body is super convenient, but I’m not sure to trust my flight perfectly. I’m aware that my movement through the air isn’t one-to-one with what I’m imagining in my head when I try and move, so I’m not sure just how much to correct, and I don’t feel like smacking into a tree anytime soon.

Though I haven’t been paying much attention to the scenery the entire way here, as I grow nearer, the river starts opening up into a larger tributary that splits off into other channels besides the one I was just following. At the same time, the soft sound of water rises to almost a roar, and I have to actively try not to focus on the sound and reduce my hearing sensitivity. Though this body is really convenient in a lot of ways, I’m starting to find a weakness in it. Loud noises drown out everything else, and if I was caught off guard by something incredibly loud, it would almost certainly hurt like hell. At least my attempts to turn down that sensitivity seem to be something I can control, with how the roaring fades out into the background the more and more I think about it, despite growing closer every moment.

Eventually, the river opens up into what is a grand waterfall off a mountain, with a large lake-like basin. I feel somewhat stunned just looking at it. There was nothing like this where I was from, I’m almost certain. Or at least I never went far enough out to see this before. Rather than feeling like I’m triggering any kind of memory, it’s the overwhelming beauty of something I’d never even imagined before.

My first instinct is to fly straight into the lake, but I hold back on that. The thought of my ability to move freely potentially turning off the moment I hit the water is immensely worrying – I don’t even know if I know how to swim or not. Not tearing my eyes from the majestic falls, I use peripheral vision to navigate myself near the shore and tear off my shoes. I don’t want to be dealing with wet shoes, even if I’m just going to have to bathe in my clothes, due to the eyes on me and lack of anything to change into. Setting my sword aside next to them – let’s not rust my only weapon – I start to step into the riverbank, but stop.

My thigh-highs are already muddy, but part of this is to clean them. I can’t just walk around in the mud of the bank and expect them to come out cleaner. Stripping them from my legs, I just put up with the feeling of the mud beneath my feet and between my toes. I really hate it, but there’s no better option. A soaked skirt floating in the water and weighing me down isn’t great either, but I start washing the mud out of my clothes, first. The work is tedious and takes a bit, but it’s all I have. Though I don’t like it, until I have a better place to bathe and clean my clothes, I’ll just have to do this as sparingly as possible.

Ah, but the running water around me is nice. If anything’s an upside of this, it’s the beauty of the scenery and the feeling of the water flowing around me. I could come here just to hang out, though it’s not like I have anyone to hang out with. Aside from my current stalker, at least. Once I’ve scrubbed the mud out of my clothes and scrubbed myself enough I can hope I smell relatively not terrible, I check again for their presence and find myself calling out rather boldly.

“Do you really like watching girls bathe that much? Come on out already.” I make sure my sword is close by when I call out the ‘enemy’, just in case. I never want to have to fight without having my weapon, though I don’t like the risk I’m taking. These waterlogged clothes aren’t the easiest to move in, though thankfully my ability to fly should help with that kind of mobility, since at least my legs aren’t going to be restricted by the wet skirt if I fly.

Something I don’t expect at all follows next. Something just kind of melts out of the air, like a shield around it was dissipating, and now becomes visible. I immediately go on alarm, but there’s no aggressive intent in her face or stance. ...She was a lot closer than my instincts had been telling me. Whatever was going on with that was no joke.

“Ahaha, sorry about that. I didn’t think you’d noticed me, either. You’ve got good eyes to pick me out through my upgraded Optical Camouflage suit.” The girl makes a polite little bow and continues. “They call me Nitori, and I’m a kappa of the valley. But you’re… weird. Who are you? I don’t think I know anyone like you who comes out here.”

...valley kappa. Right. There was something I could tell about her that warned me she wasn’t human, and yet… she acts like she expected the same of me, like I was something that could be dangerous. “...I’m going by Carol right now. I don’t know if that’s my name or not. I can’t remember much of anything.” The first thing I can really say about her is she’s pretty nice-seeming and, well, very blue. Hair, outfit, hat, nothing but blue. Is that just how kappa fashion works?

Nitori’s eyes light up. “…Nothing, you say? Oh, this seems like a great time to get some data! It’s rare you run across someone with amnesia. Would you mind coming with me and subjecting yourself to a few tests? For science? I’ll see if it reveals anything that could put your mind back in working order, and let you know if it does.”

Something about the way she says that causes a little bit of a warning sign in my danger sense. “...I’ll consider it, but right now I’d like to know more about what’s going on and where I am. I ran into a shrine maiden yesterday – do you know her? She seemed in a hurry about something related to an ‘incident’. I’m also not really sure what I’m doing from here on aside once I finish this bath.” Nitori’s expression scrunches up a little. Good, so I’m not the only one confused by that shrine maiden’s behavior.

“...If you’re talking about incidents, you mean that red-white, right?” I don’t even bother taking a moment to think about it – those colors are burned pretty vividly into my mind. With the confirmation, Nitori continues on. “Alright, good news and bad news. Good news is that I know what she’s doing, bad news is that I have no idea what the cause is.”

“...Ah, so that is…?” It’s all nice and good when someone provides you with the answers, but if you don’t actually say them it just turns into a frustrating little waiting game. Thankfully, not one that Nitori keeps up any longer than it takes me to reply.

The kappa crosses her arms and gets a serious expression. “...Gensokyo is currently suffering from some kind of plague, we’re guessing. Something that changes people and youkai into ayakashi.” The word isn’t familiar to me, and Nitori probably gets it from the look on my face. “Monsters. We’re calling them Ayakashi for now, until we have a better idea of what they are. Reimu’s flying around trying to hunt down whoever’s responsible, but she hasn’t had any luck yet. The shrine maiden of Moriya is probably setting out soon, too, since we just had a case of Ayakashi appearing on the mountain.”

...I have no idea what Moriya is, but that’s not the relevant part. People are turning into monsters? No wonder Reimu was struggling to put it into words. It takes a bit for me to just put my own thoughts into words at having heard it for the first time. “...I, um… Wow. That’s a problem.” I feel stupid just saying it, though. Obviously that’s a problem. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like she takes it against me at all – it must have been a shock for everyone back when it first started happening.

“Yeah. But don’t worry too much, the usual incident-solvers are on the case, so things should go back to normal soon, and hopefully your memory, too.” The girl gives her a little wave, that’s half cheering her on and half indicating the conversation’s coming to an end. “So, unless you’ve changed your mind on the science…?”

Um, well… I still don’t have a good feeling about it, but she doesn’t seem bad at all.


[ ] Self-preservation comes first. Let’s get out of here.
[ ] Let’s let Nitori down gently. Don’t want to lose one of our small number of nice acquaintances.
[ ] Make it clear that you’re not going to be a test subject at this time or another, but don’t be rude.
[ ] Just tell her that you don’t trust her science at all.
>> No. 16102
[x] Let’s let Nitori down gently. Don’t want to lose one of our small number of nice acquaintances.

She seems friendly enough, but we've only just met.
>> No. 16103
[x] Let’s let Nitori down gently. Don’t want to lose one of our small number of nice acquaintances.

Though I'd take the experiments, no option
>> No. 16104
>>16103
Currently, the character isn't in a state where she trusts immediate strangers enough to accept it; it'd be possible to accept later, if she gets to know Nitori better, or is less worried about nonhumans killing her.
>> No. 16105
[x] Let’s let Nitori down gently. Don’t want to lose one of our small number of nice acquaintances.
>> No. 16106
[x] Let’s let Nitori down gently. Don’t want to lose one of our small number of nice acquaintances.
>> No. 16107
File 153718112994.jpg - (1.69MB, 1000x1454, __hakurei_reimu_touhou_drawn_by_inuno_rakugaki__7e.jpg) [iqdb]
16107
Getting this out a little late due to computer troubles, but it's not even the next morning yet, so it's okay for now. Time to sleep soon, since I stayed up to get it out at least somewhat promptly.

---------------------------------------------

DAY 2

[X] Let’s let Nitori down gently. Don’t want to lose one of our small number of nice acquaintances.

I don’t really want to get caught up in this rather shady science. But Nitori… isn’t bad at all. I wouldn’t mind spending more time around her, and she seems rather nice. I don’t really want to push her away just because of the shady deal she’s pushing. “I’m not sure about that, and I have someone I’m expecting sometime today anyway.” The words slip from my mouth fairly naturally. It’s true – there was that ghost-thing who I was supposed to be getting a visit from today.

Nitori, at least, seems to take it pretty well, which takes the little bit of stress off. “Ah, I see. Well, if you have the time and change your mind, just come back here. I’m sure we’re likely to meet.” I’m a little surprised that she can be so sure she’ll be around the one waterfall that often, but at the same time… well, this place is beautiful. I could come back here pretty often.

“Whether I change my mind or not, you’ll likely see me again, then. I plan to come back here pretty frequently… It’s really quite an amazing place.” The praise isn’t insincere, and Nitori doesn’t seem to take it that way. Her face kind of lights up a little, glad that someone so different from her shares the same interest – but then gets a complicated expression that I can’t tell the source of.

“Well, be careful, alright? You might not always be able to get here so easily. And definitely don’t try and fly up to the top of the waterfalls.” The warning is… absolutely baffling to me, but the way she says it doesn’t make me think she wants to talk about why (or else she’d have been more specific from the beginning), so I just take it to heart at that.

“Right. Well, I’d like to dry these clothes off quickly, so I’ll see you later.” Our pleasantries ended, Nitori and I part for the day, and the whistling of the wind around me takes the place of her cheerful voice. Air-drying is a thing I know exists, especially in the sun, so I fly and turn a bit at times so that the sun can beat down upon each side of my clothes until the sogginess starts to alleviate more.

My flight doesn’t really go anywhere… or rather, it goes nowhere in particular, since I end up pretty far away from where I started, but over a forest I’m not familiar with, by the time I actually pay attention. Rather than getting caught up in something else, I depart from the forest of towering bamboo stalks and head back toward the town.

My clothes aren’t quite dry, but it’s close enough that I don’t think I’ll look totally out of place around the human village while I wait for the ghost to come find me. So, thinking that I’ll kill some time and try and get to know some actual people, I touch down, and…

Wait. Something’s wrong here.

I’m at the end of the rice fields as usual, not that far from where I woke up this morning. I touched down not far from here and walked into the town before, too. So why…

Why is this an empty space?

Why are their untouched fields where that town should be?

What is going on here?!

At first, I just start pacing along through the fields, as if trying to confirm with my feet along the ground that nothing is there. That nothing had ever been there. Everything is confusing, now. How much of my time here was real? I met Nitori earlier, right? ...I met that shrine maiden, right?

I’ll definitely go visit Reimu, and see what’s going on here. Resolving that to myself, I take off flying in the direction of the shrine, keen to put this behind me with the relaxing freedom of taking to the air. But even then, I can’t quite get it out of my mind.

...I feel almost sure that I had seen the village on my way there…


It doesn’t really take that much longer to get back to the shrine. The trip just feels a lot longer than it did the first time, when I was heading to it from the mountain instead of the other way around. But that’s probably just everything weighing on my mind right now.

The first thing I sense as I arrive is the sudden ‘killing intent’ that separates Reimu from Nitori – but it fades almost immediately, as she announces herself with an exasperated sigh. “Okay, what are you doing back here?”

I set down on top of the Torii, sitting myself so that my legs are hanging off the edge. It’s weird, how I can feel like I might fall if I’m sitting like this, and yet have no problems when I have nothing supporting me. “I went to the village, but it disappeared.”

Reimu just stands there in shock. “Disappeared? No, that shouldn’t be…” Floating up, she soars over my head and stares out into the distance.

...She has pretty good eyes, I guess.

Eyes that narrow at me, a little later.

“I don’t see anything wrong with the village.” The words are baffling but they lift a heavy burden off my back. I don’t have to question everything, anymore. I don’t have to worry about if I can trust what I’ve seen, I’ve heard, and who I’ve met. She seems pretty confused by my sigh of relief instead of defensive comments.

“That’s good. Everything’s where it should be, then. I didn’t understand what happened, but whatever it is passed now, at least. It was like a village had never been there, so I didn’t know what to do, or if I could trust my own memory.” Reimu’s expression just starts to get more confused.

“...Well, it doesn’t seem like you’re lying about it, and I might be able to narrow down the source… there’s not really that many people who could do such a thing, and I’ve seen something like that once before.” Well at least someone knows what’s going on here. It’s frustrating how many people know what I don’t, but don’t feel like sharing, but I can’t exactly force them to talk… especially someone like Reimu, who seems way stronger than me in battle.

“Right… well, I don’t really know what to do with myself, and I was looking for a job in the human village, but if it disappears if I get close to it, then I can’t do much of that.” I put my current predicament in as easy to understand terms as possible, kind of hoping that Reimu will get the hint and help do something about it, but the shrine maiden just kind of seems a bit too surly for that, and waves it off.

“Yeah, well, unless I can find the source of this incident, I’m not in much of a place to help you with your issues, so sooorry.” Her arms cross and her head turns. “Can you get off my Torii and find a new place to hang out? You’ll scare away the visitors.”

“...Visitors? It kind of seems like I’m the only one who comes out this far, and who’d be scared of a lone girl, anywa-”

My instincts flare up.

It seems I made a mistake.

[X] Find a new location to muse about your issues.
– [ ] It’s a bit early for another visit, but let’s go back to the waterfall. It looks nice, at least.
– [ ] Let’s see if the village will really disappear on us again.
– [ ] I passed that forest by earlier, maybe I can find it again.
– [ ] There might be a nice place if I follow the river down, instead of up to the waterfall.
– [ ] Hiding behind the shrine worked last time.
>> No. 16108
[x] Find a new location to muse about your issues.
- [x] Let’s see if the village will really disappear on us again.

Dammit Keine, stop screwing around.
>> No. 16109
[x] Find a new location to muse about your issues.
- [x] Let’s see if the village will really disappear on us again.
>> No. 16110
...I only just realized that we probably got on the wrong end of the history-eater because we were caught stealing. Derp.

Not sure how we're supposed to make up for something we can't even remember though so not changing vote.
>> No. 16111
[x] Find a new location to muse about your issues.
- [x] Let’s see if the village will really disappear on us again.
>> No. 16112
I warned you guys. I warned you about those stairs.

[x] Find a new location to muse about your issues.
- [x] Let’s see if the village will really disappear on us again.
>> No. 16114
Well, damnit. I lost my cat and a bunch of non-essential things got kind of lost in the ensuing depression. I'm here, but need to sort out my work again. Hopefully I'll be on-schedule to producing an update for Sunady.
>> No. 16115
Sunday, even.
>> No. 16116
[x] Find a new location to muse about your issues.
- [x] Let’s see if the village will really disappear on us again.
[X] Apologise to Reimu.
>> No. 16118
A shorter update today, but only because your feedback on how to deal with this is needed before continuing from here.

It's good to be back, though.

---------------------------------------------

DAY 2

[X] Find a new location to muse about your issues.
– [X] Let’s see if the village will really disappear on us again.


In summation, I decide to get off of Reimu’s Torii and find a new place to hang out. At a speed which is courteous and understanding of my host’s temperament.

As I head back through the sky, I once again keep my eyes out for the village – I thought I’d seen it from a distance, and Reimu could, too, so it shouldn’t be hard to find, even if it vanishes on me. And true enough, due to the height advantage of flying, I can make out the houses and buildings in the middle of the rice fields.

As much as I fly, I can’t stop taking some enjoyment in the sense of freedom from gravity, the wind in my hair – even if the wind in my eyes is annoying. I feel like I blink at least twice as much when I’m flying, but it honestly doesn’t matter. There’s something so liberating about the lack of cares I have when I’m in the air…

Of course, if I land, my cares have to come back – and this is another one of them. When I land where the village should be, it… well, it’s where the village “should be”. It disappeared. It definitely disappeared on me. Trying to pinpoint the moment when it disappeared is like trying to memorize a ton of things in only a few seconds, my brain just kind of slips and loses the information. What is even going on here?

My curiosity and confusion lasts a bit, but doesn’t really take up too much time as it is broken by an unfamiliar voice.

“Oh? I'd heard from Tojiko, but this truly is something interesting.” I look up at the source – what is it with people getting the drop on me? - and, well... The woman above me is... striking, at the least. She's dressed regally in pinks, purples, and yellows, carrying both some kind of sword and some kind of scepter, with dirty blonde hair in a shape that looks like ears.

It's not her appearance that leaves an impact, though. The way she carries herself, the way she speaks... it's familiar, sure, and important. I feel like I'm struggling not to bow to her as I try and maintain eye contact. “...Who are you?” The words themselves struggle to come to my lips.

She folds her arms closer to her body, placing that thing she holds up to where the top slightly obscures her mouth from my view as she holds it in both hands. “...Yes, how very interesting indeed. Your desires are all jumbled, like I'm hearing many voices at once.”

...I don't know how to react to this. My words catch in my throat and I just sort of... raise a hand a little, wanting to protest. It takes too long for my thoughts to form into something productive, and she's already talking again. Just who is this? Just what is this?

“So very interesting. No wonder Tojiko didn't know what to do with you. Though I cannot read your body or heart, no doubt such warped desires are a result of twisting of more than just the mind.” She continues on like that, saying such things without any regard for me, standing here dumbstruck.

...It's offensive. I hate it. It might be irrational, but when she starts calling me 'twisted' and 'warped' like that, I can't help but have this feeling boil up inside of me. My blade is simply in my hand before I notice I've drawn it, consumed by the disgusting feelings that boil up beneath the surface. “Shut up! What do you know about me?! We've never even met! What kind of person goes around calling others such rude things!”

It doesn't even get a rise out of her. Either she's unflappable or something, because I don't feel like I'm weak. In her eyes it feels like I just... am. Angry or not. Strong or not. She looks upon me no matter what, and I feel smaller than I have in ages.

“...Ah, I suppose you're right. Forgive me, I didn't mean to offend you with it. Compared to the other desires I've seen, you're simply all up in knots about yourself. Do you mind telling me... who are you?” The woman floats down so she's on my level, but somehow the action makes me feel more looked down upon than before. I hate those words. She's being 'nice', but I can't imagine she means them in the way I want her to.

I bite my lip, burning in frustration. I can't answer that question, and I don't want to. My sword flashes, and I shift position. “I'm not going to introduce myself to someone who shows up and starts bashing me without even giving so much as their name!”

The distance between us closes, and I feel smaller than ever. That 'sword' at her waist isn't even partially drawn – the item in her other hand just presses against my blade with a grace and ease that I haven't seen before. As if turning away worldly desires, she turns me away as well.

“Forgive my rudeness. I am Toyosatomimi no Miko, Advisor of the human village. Some surprisingly drastic measures have been taken recently to avoid letting you run loose inside it, so I came out of Senkai to check on just what kind of person you are. I surely found something more interesting than I'd expected.” Miko's expressions remains calm, almost kind.

Almost.

Something about her rubs me the wrong way. Something about her is ever so familiar, and ever so disgusting. I feel like I know the type just from listening to her words. A liar, a manipulator, a 'king' who controls the masses.

…And yet, something about that isn't fully infuriating. My desire to cut her down is conflicted with some other kind of desire, and my 'intent to kill' falters. No, rather it was never there in the first place. Of course she could turn aside such a halfhearted strike like that. If I need to strike down a tyrant, I can't be holding some kind of affection for them in my heart like this.

The thought alone disgusts/reassures me.

Gripping my head, my sword falls to the ground as I sink, barely able to support my own weight for any longer. I feel exhausted for some reason, like I've been straining myself really hard for a long time. The words come so easily this time, but they're even more painful upon the lips than ever before, carrying with them a fundamental failure, instead of a missing piece.

“Who am I?”

[ ] Ask Miko for help.
[ ] Take up your blade.
[ ] Run. This woman is dangerous.
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 16119
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16119
What a classic mistake. I forgot my image again.
>> No. 16120
[X] Pledge allegiance to Miko
[X] Ask Miko for help.
>> No. 16121
[x] Ask Miko for help.

Not the best first impression, but we should give her a chance at least.
>> No. 16122
[x] Ask Miko for help.

As the advisor, she might be able to get us access again, and help us find out what happened in there that we can't remember.
>> No. 16123
[x] Leave

If she can't strike her down with affection in her heart, we just have yo wait until she isn't a threat or those feelings die out
>> No. 16124
I'm a bit late, but at least you're getting it before you're up in the morning. Now, it's time for me to get some sleep.

---------------------------------------------

[X] Ask Miko for help.

The words slip from my lips, and I feel heard for the first time.

“Who am I?”

Like paper carried upon air, they float from my grasp and fly away. But that woman hears them. She definitely hears them. I don't have to worry about that, I can just tell.

Miko nods slowly. “I'm not sure, but we'll find out.” She nears me, taking my hand gently. It's... surprisingly soft. I haven't touched anyone else since... well, since I woke up here, on that first day. It feels like it's been an eternity, even though it was only yesterday, and I'm drained just thinking about it.

The woman seems to understand my desire to rest without me saying anything, and before I know it, we're somewhere else, and I'm being guided into bed. I vaguely remember passing through something, but my head can't quite grasp it, and doesn't seem to want to. Once I'm settled in, she takes a seat next to me.

“You really are interesting, you know.” Miko tells me. I shake my head a little. I don't get what is so interesting about someone like me, but she continues on anyway. “I think you're the first, actually. The others have had to have been put down, but among the Ayakashi, you're reasonable enough. If we forgive that little incident last night, at least.”

Suddenly I'm off the deep end again. Just when I was starting to put things together about myself, this woman says something completely incomprehensible. “A... Ayakashi?” I feel like I've heard that before... That's right. Earlier, Nitori, that Kappa, had talked to me about it. People and Youkai were changing into Ayakashi. Some kind of monster.

“But... but I'm not a monster.” My protest is weak, and something deep within me sinks when I hear it. Like something's not right.

Miko shakes her head. “It was hard to notice, but all Ayakashi have one unusual Desire among theirs. It's a single one I can't understand, and I could hardly even call it a desire, but there it is. Your body is definitely less like a monster than what we'd seen of ones before you... but perhaps you're a new model, or maybe an old one? Whatever it is, you have that one, telltale desire all the same.”

I don't even get it. What's all this about desires, and what does that have to do with me being a monster? My head pounds, pleading for answers that I hardly even have to bring to my lips. It feels almost like she's known from the beginning that I wanted to know more about myself, so Miko already understands. Her words only seem to reinforce it.

“The desire to Obey. It's quite clear that whatever is creating Ayakashi is doing it for a purpose, for someone's gain, because all these rampaging monsters have an 'Obedience' in them, like something was supposed to command them, but isn't yet.” Miko explains. “It is why you struggled to raise a hand to me, even when you were so inherently upset – as long as I know it's there, I can exploit it.”

The thought alone sends bubbles of rage popping in my head. Like I'm not supposed to listen to her, like this woman is a betrayer and a snake who used me. But I fight it back. She has answers, and I need answers more than anything. That rage that boils... is that related? Because the wrong person is taking advantage of that desire withing me? If so, who is the 'intended' target... and just what am I? The words struggle to leave my mouth, but this time I can force them out. “...I don't understand. What does it mean, that I'm an Ayakashi? Who am I supposed to be listening to, with that desire you're talking about?”

Her tan hair shakes a little. “If I knew who it was, I wouldn't have had to guess at the purpose for it. But it's not likely anyone I know. As for what it means... You were not originally you. You've been transfigured, and I'm not sure the depths of what was changed within you.” I almost have to fight back the urge to cringe when it sinks in. Is my memory gone because it didn't exist in the first place? Am I really two days old?

One thing is out of question, at this point, though. This is why Reimu attacked me so suddenly. She thought I was an Ayakashi, which, though I don't want to believe it, looks likely, and at the very least I seem to be one to residents who know how to tell the difference. “Then... who was I?”

Another shake, as her head waves the question off. “I only know what you are, not who you were.” Miko smiles a little. “But I can at least try and help you become what you want to be. Just, no more incidents like that, alright? The way of Tao provides power, but how you use that power is up to you, so I don't want it in the hands of someone bad.”

...That's right, she mentioned something from yesterday. Some kind of incident. “...Um, what do you mean by that? Did I do something wrong?”

Miko's face actually changes, scrunching up unpleasantly. “...Don't try and play innocent. You know exactly what you did.” ...It doesn't really matter what she says, I definitely don't know anything. Rather than try and convince her, I just sit there, confused. She tried to be nice to me, but... at the same time, she calls me a monster and says that I've done something horrible. I don't really know how to feel about her. She's all over the place, sending the most mixed messages I've had since I got here.

But really, she's probably my only hope. So I just wait.

The woman stands and leaves after scrutinizing me for a while, and I'm left alone, the light slowly dimming. ...I'm pretty exhausted from this whole ordeal, so I might as well take a nap.

NIGHT 3



The world around me glimmers and dances. The fires in the sky reflect off the crystal-clear pool, causing the world above and below to burn as I spin slowly between. It's not often I get out like this, into the wondrous nature that was made here.

These moments are when I truly feel alive, that soaring feeling within my heart. My job is wonderful and fulfilling, but it doesn't quite compare. Perhaps it's because of how much time I spend at it – these sights and sensations might not be as meaningful if they were not points of light within my world.

So, I'm grateful.

I'm grateful that I was born, I'm grateful that She made me.

The joy within my heart never ends, even if the hardening of my heart never ceases. Every time I come out to these wondrous landscapes, I feel like I'm less human than before, that a little more of this demonic world carries with me wherever I go.

And I fall in love.

Perhaps that's being too dramatic for someone who's life is restrained within the reflection of silver, but it's how I feel, in this moment. A moment for me, that will never leave, no matter what happens. No matter what I might forget. I'll definitely never lose sight of this dream-like day.


Isn't that right? After all, here I am.

DAY 3?

I leap from bed with a startled cry. What the hell was that all about? The dreams I have are getting increasingly nonsensical, and that ending was somewhat terrifying. Like I was looking on a memory, and the memory looked back upon me. That kind of thing just isn't okay. Let's decide never to do that again.

Staggering out of the strange bed – just where exactly did she take me? I was too caught up to really focus, earlier – I stumble toward a mirror, sat upon a dresser with a bowl of water beneath it. Taking the time to wash my face, since what else would that be for, I examine my reflection and flinch away a little.

It's kind of unpleasant to look at me. Not like I'm hideous or anything, I just look bad after rough sleep like that, and this sort of instinctive aversion crops up, so I tear myself away rather quickly. There's so much that had happened earlier, that it's hard to process, even now. Rather than trying to sort out everything and come to some kind of real truth, though, I need food. Humans have to eat, after all – well, I suppose a monster might need to eat, too.

Before I can go any further, a voice rings out across the room. Standing in the door is roughly who I expect to see – the woman from before, the, uh, ears person...

Ears person speaks up again, making sure I'm paying attention. “Well, at least you're up. Even if it's the early morning hours, now.” If it's that early, then why is she even awake? Does Ears even sleep, or is that something someone like her doesn't do anymore?

“...I'm really kind of hungry, sorry. We never really got around to that job I was trying to look for, and if I don't have money for food...” I don't even get to finish my thought.

“You'll cause another scene, right.” Ears starts turning off to go get something.

...Right?

[ ] Follow Miko
– [ ] Question Miko
– [ ] Get some food

[ ] Wait for Miko.
– [ ] Explore the hall outside.
– [ ] Search the room.
>> No. 16125
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16125
>>16124
I did it again. What is wrong with me?
>> No. 16126
[x] Follow Miko
- [x] Get some food
FOOOOOOOD
>> No. 16127
[X] Follow Miko
– [X] Question Miko

I think we need to try and explain that we really don't remember anything. That the incident is a blank place in our memory. Explaining the dreams might also help.
>> No. 16128
File 154024512032.png - (11.97KB, 762x540, rabbit.png) [iqdb]
16128
[x] Follow Miko
– [x] Get some food

I think I know what we did and I really don't want a repeat of it.
>> No. 16130
[x] Wait for Miko.
- [x] Search the room.

Patience.

Also, I think Miko might not even be aware of Keine's (probable) involvement. That's awfully meta though, so I'm not sure what to do about it.
>> No. 16131
[x] Follow Miko
– [x] Get some food

Yay phonevoting
>> No. 16132
>>16125
Just so you know, you CAN delete your posts, so if you forget again later just delete and repost
>> No. 16133
File 154077950539.jpg - (1.76MB, 879x1230, fe1abb52b8bd1015aad01336c58c1722.jpg) [iqdb]
16133
DAY 3

[X] Follow Miko
– [X] Get some food

Since I'm not sure where she's going, and I'd really like that food right about now, I start moving as well, following along behind Ears. The words of the woman continue to echo in my ears as I walk along in (otherwise) silence. What happened last night? Was that really me? I just went and got some food, and then I went to bed...

...no, wait, that's not quite right. I woke up, I didn't go to sleep. So I'm definitely missing some kind of memory there. I was intending to steal that food, though, so I probably got caught stealing, and that's what made a scene in the village. I think making the village disappear whenever I get close to it is kind of overreacting, though. I can hardly be the only one to ever perform a dine-and-dash, after all. Or do they normally banish those who do? That seems even more like overreacting, if I think about it that way.

The soft patter of our footsteps makes me realize something. I don't have my shoes anymore, and my bare feet have been walking along the wooden hallway of the compound. “Um, do you mind giving me my shoes back? It's kind of weird walking around without them.” The look I get is positively confused, which only makes me more confused. I hadn't said a single thing that had caught her off-guard before now, and all of a sudden she's like this over shoes?

“...Do not wear your shoes inside someone's house. That's obvious. You can have them back when you head out somewhere.” Ears' statement is super confusing. What kind of rule is this? The homeowner steals your shoes? I realize I'm making a face, but I can't really help it, and Ears notices for sure. “...Ayakashi sure are an unusual type of creature, I suppose. But if you weren't interesting like this, it would have been better to exterminate you in the first place.”

“You keep calling me that... I still don't even know what it means. What exactly is an 'Ayakashi'? What am I? Who am I?” The desperation might have leaked into my voice, but at the same time it feels like Ears can just understand me in the first place, and she reacts kindly, placing a hand on my head and rubbing my hair gently. Something about the gesture seems to calm me down, even though I feel like it shouldn't, since my hair's getting messed up a bit. ...Oh well. I had some bed head anyway.

Ears lifts her hand from my head. “Don't worry too much about that right now. We're still looking into this incident ourselves, after all. We hardly know enough about Ayakashi at the moment to explain to you the details of what you are – but hopefully, by studying you, we can learn more about this problem, and what exactly you are.”

...Ah, this sucks. Not only do I not know who I am, but the wise one I'd run into didn't know either. “...Carol.” I say softly, as if answering my own question. The patter of feet stops ahead of me, and I stop moving as well. “...I vaguely remember a name, 'Carol'. That's all I know about 'me', if that is even me.”

Ears stares long and hard at me. “Well, I've never heard of a human or youkai by that name, but I am a fairly newer arrival to Gensokyo. Immediately, though, I know one thing; your name does not sound 'of this place'. It is very western, like the vampire in the manor. Perhaps she knows something of you. I will send for her later.”

The difference between 'western' and presumably, 'eastern' is pretty beyond me, but this is a definite ray of hope in this darkness. “...Thank you, so much, uh... Ears.” I accidentally say the name I've been keeping in my head out loud and Ears once again pauses for a moment before realizing that I've been having trouble with her name.

“Miko is fine. Seriously, what a troublesome child we've found here.” Her tone is amused and jovial, so I don't think she actually regrets helping me, like her words indicate. Which is itself a relief at least. I don't exactly have many bridges off this island left, after burning that one last night.

The trip continues mostly in silence, and Ears leads me to a main chamber where several others are already waiting. A girl in white with the silliest hat I've ever seen is kneeling on a cushion on the left side, while... oh! That ghost girl from before, is sitting on one on the right. I take up my indicated position between them, while Ears sits at the head of the room, and both study me as I cross the room and take my seat, rather intensely. As expected, Ears seems to be the leader, since they both wait for her to speak... and so, so do I.

“Futo. Tojiko. This is 'Carol', our resident Ayakashi. Since the incident going on endangers the humans, and the Shrine Maiden has yet to solve it, she is our biggest clue toward the perpetrator and the goal of such events. If we can solve this without the Shrine Maiden's aid, then we'll certainly expand our influence by proving that we can secure the safety of Gensokyo without her.” Small cheers come from either side around me, but they're definitely directed at Ears' plan, as opposed to me. “So, we need to find out what exactly has happened to 'Carol' here, and for that, I have tasks for each of you.”

...this is going on a bit too long. My stomach rumbles a bit, and my tongue traces along my teeth unconsciously. It's like I'm surrounded by ways to eat, but starving to death, since nothing in this main chamber really seems edible. I bite back the urge to interrupt her, and let Ears keep talking, though. God, I need food, though. I've only had, what, one meal in two days? How am I supposed to survive like this?

Ears continues her speech, looking directly at the ghost and naming her, making it a lot easier on me to try and figure out what to call my new acquaintances. I'd had a 50-50 shot, but certainty is always better. “Tojiko, I will request you to meet with one of the vampire's servants – or the vampire – and bring them back here. Someone at least high-ranking enough to keep track of her acquaintances. The name of our Ayakashi is suspiciously out of place, so one potential theory is that she is someone who did not fully complete a transformation into an Ayakashi, and retained her sense of self, and some degree of her name. If this is the case, surely someone in Gensokyo knows of her, and the most likely one is that western vampire.”

“Let's do it!” The ghost – that is, Tojiko; jumps up and bows a bit to Ears. Her stupid hat nearly falls off her head when she does so, too. Seriously, those things are too tall and not secured well enough. What is it with this place? At least Ears isn't wearing one. Maybe that's why she's the boss? Almost immediately, the ghost just sinks through the floor and is gone. ...Well, she didn't really get along with me much anyway, so I'm not disappointed we don't have time to socialize.

“Futo.” This time, the other one bows to her. “Please fetch a meal for this one. Prepare the three marked containers I brought, if you would. There is some experimenting to be doing.” Oh, hell yes. Finally, something to eat.

The girl rises from her cushion and gives another small bow. “Then, if thou dost excuse me...” She patters off the other direction from where we came from, and my stomach growls again, this time probably excited by the prospect of being filled.

I don't receive any instructions like the other two, leaving me to wait with Ears until the food comes back; three containers with something in each of them. One is some delicious-smelling meat scraps, the other clearly some kind of steak, and the other a pair of rice balls. The two of them seem to watch me curiously, but I can't be bothered with whatever they're thinking of. There's food, and I want to sate my stomach.

I treat the meat scraps like finger food, before eating through the rice balls, and finally filling my stomach with the delicious steak. All the meat is so savory and nice, but the rice balls are a great change of pace. I don't think I'd gotten a chance to eat them much before, despite how common a food they are. I can definitely see the appeal. But when I look back at the other two, Futo is on her way out, and Ears has a curious look upon her face. “...So what next?”

Ears shakes her head a little. “Nothing important for now. Since your stomach is full, we'll just wait for Tojiko to return with the vampire or one of her close associates so that we can try and confirm your history.”

“Right. Sure.” The down time is not unwanted, but I don't really have much to do if Ears isn't 'supervising' me, so I don't know what to do with it.

[ ] Train
– [ ] With your sword. It's your trustworthy companion, isn't it?
– [ ] With spellcards. They surely know how these things work, right?

[ ] Relax
– [ ] Try to play a game with Miko.
– [ ] Try to play a game with Futo.
– [ ] Try to find something to play on your own.

[ ] Question
– [ ] Ask Miko something. (Write-in up to three questions.)
– [ ] Ask Futo something. (Write-in up to three questions.)
>> No. 16134
[X] Train
– [X] With spellcards. They surely know how these things work, right?

Let's learn how to spellcard
>> No. 16135
[x] Train
– [x] With spellcards. They surely know how these things work, right?

When in Rome and all that. We're bound to need it sooner or later.
>> No. 16136
[x] Train
– [x] With spellcards. They surely know how these things work, right?

Miko can help us with this, and it would be kinda like playing a game with her.
>> No. 16137
[x] Train
– [x] With your sword. It's your trustworthy companion, isn't it?
>> No. 16138
x] Train
– [x] With spellcards. They surely know how these things work, right?
>> No. 16313
>>16138
Ugh, my time has just not been mine recently. I'll definitely get back to this, it definitely won't be dropped, but I need some time.
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