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File 154457098052.jpg - (133.62KB, 800x800, The Most Despicable and Disastrous.jpg) [iqdb]
16408 No. 16408
With a current vote of

[0] MORE business. It’s time to start talking with money-makers.
[2] Meeting up with Yuugi again.
[3] Fuck. Just relax with Koishi for the rest of the day. Fuck, man.

Thread 1 >>16139

Still voting phase
Expand all images
>> No. 16409
[X] Fuck. Just relax with Koishi for the rest of the day. Fuck, man.

Girl's gotta chill sometimes.
>> No. 16410
[X] Fuck. Just relax with Koishi for the rest of the day. Fuck, man.

No point being Princess Moneybucks if you don't have anyone to share it all with.
>> No. 16411
File 154494505919.jpg - (247.69KB, 650x876, girlfriend.jpg) [iqdb]
16411
[X] Fuck. Just relax with Koishi for the rest of the day. Fuck, man.

[ ♫: http://listenonrepeat.com/watch/?v=Blx474SY36s ]
[No Laughing Matter - Transition (Modulogeek)]

Koishi and I decided to meet up in front of this one little, weak-flow fountain in a few hours after we went searching by ourselves. It’s in the heart of the city... or more like just outside of that. I check my clothes for damage and check my breath for cigarette smoke. Nothing. I feel a little jumpy, a little on edge, and kinda pissed off all around. Like I’m anxious. Like, I’m ready. Sis has gotta be out there. It’s frustrating. Hell, ffffuckin’ frustrating.

So even though I could delay it, even though I could just touch base with her and go do something else: because my fingers are shaking and my head feels nuts and even after the golden flame seared me clean I can feel blood and heat on my knuckles... I want to relax with her.

I step down a street of red flagstones, hearing people whisper after me while I pass. My shoulders are hunched—I can’t lower them, it’s involuntary. They’re talking about a golden fire taking a building in one of the forgotten districts—about the god with golden fire who stirred up trouble only a day ago. I need to keep that momentum up—

“Joon.”

I hear her voice at my ear and feel her resting against my back, her arms light around my neck and sleeves bunching up like scarves. She holds me, and I see her third eye out the corner of my right.

“Wanna go home? What happened?” she asks.

“Well... yeah, I don’t wanna talk about it here but,” I stop talking for a second and I grab hold of her forearm, turning my head left a bit, “don’t worry about it. Let’s hang out for the rest of the day, huh?”

Koishi floats around me until I can see her frowning face. What’s she miffed about? “I think I know where your sister is,” she says.

—Wha?

I open my mouth and she puts her finger tall against it.

“Let’s do what you want for a little while first. It’s not all good news I’ve got.”

She puts her nose-tip to mine and I shut my eyes against the tingling feeling. Then, there’s a tingling on my cheek and I look to see her touching her lips there.

Man...

I don’t deserve someone this good to me.

Koishi vanishes for a second and in the next she’s to the right of me, locking her arm with mine. She gives me a worried look.

... Frig, screw feeling down for a bit.

I smirk at her and say, “Come on.”


The only thing I love more than making money is spending it. There’s a release when I do it, like this weird and permanent sense that I made a call, and now my life’s just that small bit different, officially. It’s more than the idea of getting something new, it’s the idea that it took me however long getting however much, and I threw it away in an instant, in an impulse.

I don’t know how Koishi feels about that. She was a little worried when I got that ring for her, but I think that was mostly ‘cause we’d just met. While I walk with her past shops, stopping often to look at pretty things—modeling them only a bit before putting down cash—she doesn’t criticize. Honestly, it’s spending like this that makes me closer to Sis than I like to admit. The reason Sis doesn’t hold onto her money is since she’s so clouded with misfortune she literally can’t keep any of it. One way or another—debt, accident, mugging, or anything—she’s gonna lose that money. Me on the other hand... sitting on cash doesn’t sit right with me. Hell, I will burn money if I feel like I’ve got too much of it. Now there’s a goddamn release: setting fire to cash and knowing that money’s destroyed forever, the economy’s just a little more damaged. Like the biggest “fuck it” you can commit.

All these acts are displays of me being alive, and on my own. My own person.

I love it, but hate it a little lately.

Even though I started out being smug and fun while we went from store to store, Koishi notices fast that my heart’s really not in it. It’s a lotta things. It’s not just Sis being out of my reach. I want to keep being selfish—I love being that obnoxious, I love being that “myself”—but—

It’s like Koishi said last night. It’s there: “a want to be good”. Right now my mind feels split in half. On one side, I want to run away. I wanna leave Hell—take my money and live without a care. Not even bringing Koishi. No religion, no responsibility, no prospect of rescue. Just me, myself, and money. But on the other side, I want something any god wants...

Helping, fostering. I’ve got the power to do that much.

I put down an earring I’d had against my earlobe, the shopkeeper looks surprised I’m not bringing it to the register. Yeah... I won’t buy it.

“Koishi,” I say, and my girlfriend looks up at me past a display of sparkling brooches, “let’s get the fuck outta here. I want you to level with me for a bit.”

“‘Course, Joon; no problem,” she says smiling kinda weakly.

.

.

.


5 PM



Way outside the market, carrying ten shopping bags.



The bridge to the Common District.



It’s still early enough that the atmosphere doesn’t suit the gravity I feel right now. Like, I’m gonna talk serious, can’t the city die down and the lights go up? That’d be nicer than just feeling... ordinary.

I put my bags down on the bridge. Normal, red bridge like the one that princess lives on. Koishi stands behind me with her hands held over the back of her skirt.

“Koishi...” I start, looking out over the mess of dark caves and spikes that make the Underground, “you were being honest with me last night, right?”

“About how I love you?”

“N-No! Not that. Love you too, though,” I mumble, blushing deep. “You think I’m really strong? Like... in my heart?”

“Yeah,” she says flat. “I can see it.”

“You can...” I mutter. “... I can’t. I honestly can’t stand myself. Like, I’m looking at what I need to do and this... this knowing that defeat is what I’m coming up against is tearing me the fuck apart.”

I grimace.

“I wanna leave,” I admit to her. “I’ve always been more of a talker than anything else. I even talked big when I made a vow to you and now I just wanna leave it behind.”

I bring up my shoulders again.

“You should’ve found someone better than me, Koishi. I’m really just... I’m not trying to beat myself up here: the truth is I’m a garbage person... and honestly, that’s the sort of person that I’ll always be. I can’t picture it!”

I’m yelling now.

“I can’t picture this fuckin’ Yorigami Joon doin’ any fuckin’ thing ‘right’! It’s all gonna fuckin’ crash and fall! What the fuck!”

I turn and look at her.

“Why the fuck did I come here!? Did I think I could talk slavers into giving my sister freedom!? Talk oni out of it!?

“And the fucking fact is, I can barely fight! I don’t have time to get that much better, either! If I’ve got to, and the oni I’m fighting is for real I’ll get fuckin’ torn apart! I’ll lose!

“Koishi, if I try... if I really try, and I don’t win...”

I pull my sunglasses down, feeling gross warmth in my eyes again, turning my gaze out over the railing again.

“Nothing will matter. I don’t...

“Everything doesn’t...

“This whole thing... I’m shaking thinking about it; look.” I hold my quaking hand up. “How do real strong people do what they do?

“How’d you cut your mind out of yourself just for a chance at happiness?

“How did Hoshiguma Yuugi stay around when all her pals left her behind?

“How’s anyone do anything that isn’t easy, knowing it can go wrong as hell and ruin everything? That’s what happened to you. You didn’t make it out alright at all... All my goals, even in at my lowest points, have felt just in my reach but this shit...”

A bunch of slaves—faithless gods under the Underground.

A goddess who can’t have anything good happen to her.

And me, a god who spreads ruin, thinking to save others. And I don’t even think past now with 98% of the shit that I do. Even my plans so far’ve been these all over the place random... “figure out how to figure it out, so when you’re ‘ready’, you can just burn everything down. Something will work out—something always does”.

Koishi shows up in front of me, flying in the air beyond the bridge. She reaches out and puts her hand over my heart. My frown deepens, and my brow lowers further.

“Thanks for telling me,” she says. “I guess you can’t give yourself hope, huh?” she follows with a bit of a smile. Well no, I can’t... do that, or smile either. She feels my chest and moves her palm to kind of grab my front and side, her gaze getting distant. “... You just want someone to know that you’re not sure. It’s what I didn’t do.”

“Hmm? Huh?” Not sure... I get what she means.

Still holding me, she goes on, “Something I remember as a full satori is how even oni were dishonest. Not in that they’d lie with their words, but without. Omission, y’know? And I was guilty of that too. Like if I’d told my sister Satori about how I was feeling... wouldn’t she have just stopped me? I didn’t want someone to tell me to try harder—I wanted to give up. I didn’t want to look sad to her... Oni never want to look weak to anyone. You hate that too, Joon: showing weakness,” she tells me. She then lifts my glasses, showing my tearful eyes, and puts that free hand of hers on my cheek and a bit under my chin. “Even though you hate it, you showed me... thanks...”

Well, I’ve already showed you all of me and I’ve seen all of you so...

I smirk. “Don’t be a pervert,” she lightly chastises me with a smirk of her own, her purple eye waving beside her. “I think that... what’s really strong is to be able to show what makes you weak, and wanting to hide it in a better way than just ignoring it. Wanting to fix it if you can. You don’t just want to run away, Dear: you want to stay here and try.”

At her “Dear” my heart thumps. Aw man, that makes me happy as hell...

“You already saved one person. Don’t lose hope.”

“I already said I haven’t saved you,” I tell her, self-loathing building up in me again already.

She shakes her head. “I’m me, Joon. I can think for myself, and when I say you saved me, I’m saying it because you gave me the strength to be able to say it. I... before I met you, I would’t’ve even had the chance to think whether or not someone had saved me. I wouldn’t’ve thought anything was wrong in the first place. I didn’t.”

Koishi looks stern for a second. Then, she looks at me with the kind of determination I had when I swore myself to her. “You also can’t forget that you’re not alone down here...”

She brings the hand on my chest to my face, cupping me now. “You’re a real bitch of a girl, Joon, and I love you for that, but you don’t need to take this Underworld on your shoulders. You’re worried that you might fail, and you’re right. You might. But I’m here.”

She brings me close and kisses my lips. “I’m here for you,” she says, “like you’re always here for me.” She looks for a moment at the pink jewel set on her finger. “If you want to help me from the bottom of your heart, then you’d better not dare stop me from helping you right back.”

I guess that’s true... something like pride, that’s the real problem. I keep imagining busting doors down and rescuing Shion, and when I do I’m by myself. Like, I really... really want that.

Not just ‘cause it’d be cool. I want Shion to see how much I care about her without me having to say it. I want her to see me walking through flames and taking her hand and I want her to know just like that that I’d do anything... anything to know she’s okay. No matter... whatever else I’ve said...

And giving that up... isn’t easy.

But Koishi is right. And more than anything, what I want to do is finish this, right.

That’s... in the end, that’s what I really, really want.

“Will you... really help me?”

I ask her that, and I realize my heart’s in a mess again. Koishi leans forward, and kisses a tear from my cheek.

“This never had to be just you,” she answers, and... something in me feels incredibly relieved.

“Okay...”

I’m okay with that. Yeah.

Even a god needs support...


... After Koishi comforts me out of a sobbing state, she tells me that she’s heard of blue divine flames showing up in the Ibaraki Quarter. Specifically, that an enslaved god has them. The problem is the slave-runners... whoever they are, they don’t sound weak.

Now Shion didn’t have fire last I saw, but hey neither did I when we met last. So, she’s somewhere in there for sure... Probably for sure.

... I know I said I need to keep momentum up, but I think if I hit another wall again I’ll end up taking a ticket to fuckin’ Hokkaido and getting the hell out of here because my poor, pathetic, easy money heart can’t take much hard opposition. Thrills and seat-of-your-pants chills are fun and all, but I gotta accept the reality that this isn’t just fun and games. I need to stay away from causing trouble for a little bit...


[] ... and work on training until then.

[] ... and work on gathering information until then.

[] ... and just stick with R&R. Get my head sorted out.


Bonus.
Should I let Koishi handle money for me while I, well, don’t?

[] Yes.

[] No.
>> No. 16412
[X] ... and work on gathering information until then.

Should I let Koishi handle money for me while I, well, don’t?

[X] Yes.

Nothing could possibly go wrong with handing Koishi money by the wadload. And know thy enemy.
>> No. 16413
[X] ... and work on gathering information until then

[X] Yes

Koish a cute
>> No. 16414
[x] ... and work on training until then.
[x] Yes.
>> No. 16415
[x] ... and work on gathering information until then.

[x] No.

Joon may not be mature at handling money, but we don't know anything about how Koishi would be at it, either.
>> No. 16416
[X] ... and work on training until then.

All the plans of the world won't help you when there's a big Oni between you and your sister.

[X] Yes

She just said she'd rather burn it than accumulate it pointlessly.
>> No. 16417
File 154521933636.jpg - (344.87KB, 1062x2138, ・・・.jpg) [iqdb]
16417
[X] ... and work on gathering information until then.

Should I let Koishi handle money for me while I, well, don’t?

[X] Yes.

Sounds good.

Let’s do all that...


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[ ♫: http://listenonrepeat.com/watch/?v=kxcpFylSmEg ]
[Black Tar - Hotline Miami 2 (Nounverber)]

... People are muttering outside.

I wake up with the side of my face against the stone wall. My shoulder really hurts... I guess I fell asleep while counting in my head to pass the time. I look through the bars, to the door leading to my cell. I look down at myself... my lousy sitting posture. The flame around my ankle flickers.

... Hm. I could use another bath, I think.

Anyway, I can hear them.

“... No shit?” That’s the slave master.

“No shit,” that’s the younger oni of the group, “but since they got so fucked over, no one knows what the deal is.”

Then get the heck outta here and ask ‘em.

No reply for a second.

“They’re quiet, and they’ve got barriers around the place to stop people... at least, like if you pass through one of those Yosho’ll probably come at ya.”

“Yosho... he’s alive then.”

No answer. The boss keeps talking.

“They all alive?”

No answer. Maybe he’s nodding?

“So someone, or a group a’ someones burned the whole place down huh. But that’s all they did... So we’re okay.”

Again, nothing. Yeah, he likes to talk with his hands and head and shoulders.

He does speak up next, though.

“Told you we shoulda put a fly on the wall up in there. Boss, it’s just a matter of time—”

I know, Jashi. You were right—look, just... get what rumors you can for now, at least. I mean, facts would be the best but I know how it is.”

“Alright. Why’re you in front of Yorigami anyway, boss?”

“I’m checking to see if she can curse people through walls. Took off the ofuda too.”

Ehhh... really? ... Huh, she’s right. There aren’t any seals around.

... Well, I can’t. Not through walls...

“Boss... use someone else for that. What if she can?”

“I’m an oni, Jashi! You are, too! This is a matter of pride—are you a fucking coward!?”

Loud... ouch.

“Wah! Stop! I get it! Hey, I remembered something else, so calm down!”

“If you know something fucking tell me, you dipshit!” The floor shakes, and I hear Jashi yell “Ow!”

“Sorry... I remembered that people said the fire was gold.”

“Gold?” she doesn’t say anything for a little while. “Haven’t I heard about gold fire recently?”

“Boss, I can’t remember everything you hear.”

“Shut up! Shut your stupid mouth, Jashi!”

“Sorry.”

They go quiet.

... Golden fire? Hmmaybe, like this fire on my leg? A godly fire? A divine flame?

I don’t know what they’re talking about, though. I guess someone burned something down, but I don’t have the pieces of information to figure out what the problem is. It’s someone else, not related to them, but they care about what happens to them...

... I think...

... Wasn’t there another slave ring like this one? They’ve been talking about it here and there. Was it them—uhh, the Kurode?

Hehh... That’s big news. Did they anger a free god out there? Maybe I can get saved...

...

I fish the coin out of my hoodie’s pocket. It pulses with dark energy. They start talking again.

“... Well, I don’t remember. Anyway, thanks for doing that stuff with the earth spiders ‘til now, you cutie. Come to my room tonight. I’ll give you a reward~... Alright, shoo!”

Hmmm...

I might not do anything yet, but... they might answer some of my questions if I ask them. I’ve been good ever since I got here... aside from threatening someone. Uh...

Should I get their attention?


[] Rattle the cage.

[] Keep quiet.
>> No. 16418
[X] Rattle the cage.

Let's go for it.
>> No. 16419
[X] keep quiet

Don't give them info. Just wait and hope.
>> No. 16420
[x] Keep quiet.
>> No. 16421
[X] Rattle the cage.
>> No. 16422
[x] Rattle the cage.

It's probably less sensible, but it should be more interesting.
>> No. 16423
File 154612215775.png - (1.41MB, 800x1200, questions.png) [iqdb]
16423
[X] Rattle the cage.

[ ♫: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIcuh2_7Azc ]
[Interlude - Interlude (Chromacle)]

I crawl over to the bars of my cage: to the bar farthest to the right, which I put the coin against. I look to the left, and pull my hand that way, striking eight times. Then I drag it back toward me, hitting them all again and falling on my back before throwing the yen into my open left palm. I close my fingers around the coin while dirt settles in my wake and stinging sounds shoots around the once quiet room. Raising hell. Loud as hell. Can she hear i—?

“OI!”

The door flies open and the echoes of my noisemaking flow out the room, while the metal frame clangs and booms something new to replace them. My Joon-sized captor comes in in a rage.

“What the hell are you up to in here!?”

“Nothing?” is what I tell her, looking her way lazily. She drags a thumb up one of her black horns, tapping her thigh with her free hand. She looks around the part of the room she’s in, then scrutinizes the inside of my cage from afar.

“‘Nothing’... Only ‘something’ makes that kind of noise... You’d lie to an oni?”

I puff out air from my lips without thinking, like a reflex. What a joke.

“You’re still the kind of oni that thinks she has honor?” I ask her. “You’re despicable, you know.”

Her dark eyes fall on me, but she doesn’t answer.

“Well since you’re listening to me, now...” I mutter, looking toward the stone ceiling. “Hey, will I ever get out of here? Even as a slave... No one’s interested?”

“Someone’s interested,” she says bluntly. I glance over her way, finally noticing she’s totally alone. “Someone could use you, I’m trying to get in contact with him. He’s a busy guy, and even when I do it’ll be tough convincing him you’re worth anything.”

That’s honest at least... my mouth squirms with faint disgust. “So much for letting me go, then...” I say, just a little jokingly.

She talks straightly again: “I wouldn’t let you go even if no one was interested in buying you. You’re dangerous when you’re free. That’d be like swallowing roasted soybeans for me: just stupid, and suicidal.”

She shakes her head.

“Even if I have to keep you locked down here for a hundred years, that’s what’ll happen.”

My eyes narrow. Fucking bitch... I decide to prod her.

“You’re afraid I’ll ruin everything for you?” I question.

“Yes.”

“Why? Is it because you think there are gods out to get you?”

“You mean the arsonist?” she asks. Then, she grins “Good. That’s right. Listen in, and be defiant. Don’t just roll over... even if you know talking back too much will get my fist in your gut.”

“Shut up.” She laughs at that. I grimace.

“But yeah, that’s right... golden... that’s a type of divine flame, right? There’s a rogue god, tackling the god-selling racket. You think they’re after us next?”

She smirks at me. My frown deepens.

“You’re a real piece of shit,” I say. “You’re lower than dirt.” And she guffaws.

“You’ve been a good girl all this time! You starting to get fed up? Even though I treat you nice ‘cause of all your good behavior.”

“This isn’t ‘nice’... you threaten me, and keep me locked up...”

“Hahh? You don’t like getting fed either? You don’t like the baths?” she looks annoyed.

“I don’t like you,” I tell her, clenching my left hand. “I regret... not cursing the fat man when I had the chance.” She shakes her head.

“You didn’t have a chance.” She starts walking toward me, and I turn my eyes and neck slightly as she gets nearer to the bars. “Then, you were spiritually trapped. If you want to curse someone, do it now.” She taps some metal with a knuckle, her lips twisting nastily. “Look: no seals. It’s open. Do something.”

“... Who are you?” I ask.

“Kobari, of the Tenryoushin.”

“And who... is your lover?”

She huffs a breath through her nose.

“Seiyou is just a boy.”

“Well... Lady Kobari... I don’t believe in karma,” I start to say, my gaze on her drifting. She folds her arms and eyes me curiously.

“Oh?”

“Karma is a silly hope to believe in. Retribution’s only dealt by those who want it dealt. The freak misfortunes of the world are outside the reasons of fate. It’s all ‘luck’. Those who suffer suffer by chance...” I look at her directly. “Unless they encounter me.”

“So you will curse me?” she asks.

And, I inform her:

“I—


[] already have.”
---- [] (lie)
---- [] (truth)

[] won’t. Not yet.”
---- [] (lie)
---- [] (truth)

[] absolutely will.” (use the coin)
>> No. 16424
>>16423
[x] already have.”
---- [x] (lie)
---- [x] (truth)
"You think seals like these actually worked? Oh I know they kept me from cursing you all personally, but let me tell you a secret, My nature as a god is to invite in disaster no matter the circumstances, so all these wards accomplished was to make it hard for me to curse you all personally. All ready my nature is inviting in disaster of the most calamitous kind upon the "family" that keeps me. To be honest at this point id rather you keep me here so that i can witness your inevitable destruction first hand"
>> No. 16425
“I—
[x] won’t. Not yet.”
---- [x] (truth)
>> No. 16432
[X] absolutely will.” (use the coin)
>> No. 16433
(X) already have.”
---- (X) [lie]

Speech checks, here I go.
>> No. 16436
File 154639410064.png - (1.84MB, 1600x1600, runs in the family.png) [iqdb]
16436
[X] “I already have.”

With completely dishonest words.

She smiles wide at this. She reaches for the door of my cage. I gave her an excuse, but—

I’m not going to waste my misfortune on her, Not yet.

The bars creak as she drags them open. I drag my body up through the filth of the ground, reaching into my sweater’s pockets: slipping the coin into a hole in the lining. I speak too, telling her: “You knew, right? That I can’t help cursing anyone around me, including myself.” She walks toward me, rolling her neck. I show my teeth a little in a halfway smile. “But I’ll admit: this one was on purPO—”

The words are cut from by mouth when she grabs the front of my sweater and jerks me toward her. I squint at her, keeping my misfortune in check,

She pulls back her free hand, and throws it at my face.

“Ugh!”

Ouch!

She drops me and I grab my already-swelling face. It hurts... It’s radiating...

But it’s fine...

“Wanna know how I cursed you...?” I mutter, my voice quaking. “I did it special... just keep an eye ou—oofph.”

My insides tighten, and my guts and parts are searing hot. She kicked the toe of her boot into my stomach. I hold my bladder back, and tears start falling out of my eyes while I squeeze my shaking mouth shut. Speckling the floor. I claw the ground.

It’s fine...

Pff—whuh...!”

This is all fine.

“Mmg—! Guh! Hahh! Hah!

I want her to worry.

Worry worry worry, little demon.

You said it yourself: somebody’s out there and gunning for you.

Beat me all you want...

“...” I go silent against the other wall. She steps near me and drags her boot back while touching her knuckles.

It’s way more satisfying to think you’ll fall apart without me doing a single thing.

“Go ahead...!” I shout, laughing too. I look her dead in the eye. “Just don’t be surprised when it all burns dow—!”

Bfsh.

...
>> No. 16437
File 154639416157.jpg - (22.13KB, 1300x1500, -.jpg) [iqdb]
16437
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>> No. 16438
File 154639432056.jpg - (263.94KB, 1137x1395, street watchin.jpg) [iqdb]
16438
[ ♫: http://listenonrepeat.com/watch/?v=F9u2lxr0oDY ]
[Froze the Atlantic - Feeelings (Light Club)]

So, a funny thing happened.

“Yorigamiii, hey!”

“Yo.”

Ever since I burned down the Kurode base, faith in me skyrocketed.

“Hi Joon.”

“Hmph. C’mere.”

I was thinking the more shit I did, the more recognition I’d garner. The faith game’s kinda nebulous to me... before all this, I used to exploit it for high, quick gains. I didn’t think about the effect my disappearing after doing a bunch of shit would have.


Summer.



The eighth month.



In the Noble District—The Ibaraki Quarter.



Rumors went nuts.

A mix of fear and respect followed in the wake of all my actions. I was the sudden god who’d, in a period of two days, become a new star of the ring, beaten down a known thug, spread money like it was nothing, and ended my twisted rampage with an entire building razed—one that belonged to yakuza. People couldn’t read me, so they started making shit up. As they did, everything about me grew much stronger, and in a month everyone knew the name “Yorigami”.

Now I’m in the Ibaraki Quarter, where I bought a place two months back and have been operating outta since. Koishi, who’s right next to me as usual, still hasn’t opened her third eye. I feel bad about it, seriously... but she says it’s fine. We’re focused right now. Focused on finding Sis.

She’s been making me more money than I know what to do with, too. She started gambling more often: on me, on whatever, and she’s just made a killing. She doesn’t really spend it either. It’s like every day I come back to overstuffed coffers. I think, when I’m ready... I’m gonna burn most of it. Security is “nice” and all, but I really don’t need all that much.

Some shit to note since my arson job happened:


* The Kurode went silent for a while. They started operations back up a while after, and started looking into who I was. Right now, I don’t know what they’re planning, but if it’s not revenge I’ll be fuckin’ stunned.


* I still don’t have a name or place for the group I think took Sis. Since I’ve grown more famous, especially for attacking a slave ring, people don’t want to tell me shit. I know it’s in the Ibaraki Quarter, and that’s all I know. Even though I’ve gotten more involved with fighting and gambling, even though I’ve started shaking hands with adult services, I still ain’t even a bit closer to them. I’ve been more pissed off about that lately instead of how pissed I tend to be over my lack of strength.


* And: Yuugi came after me last month for neglecting training.


I’d say all in all it’s not great, just okay. Trying to find things out has basically been a crapshoot, but because I was low-key for so long my spiritual power is higher than I’d even figured was possible. That’s nice, I feel like I’ve wasted time. By this point, is Shion even still unsold? I’m assuming she was unsold in the first place... If she got a master, that just fucks things up for me further.

Today I’m out in one of my other outfits while Koishi’s clinging to me and telling me what she could figure out last night about everything going on. It’s not much, but I’m not complaining—not about what she can or can’t do. That said, we gotta do stuff differently. Right now I have Koishi sneaking through places and trying to catch useful whispers. Satori’s also tried helping out, but she’s too conspicuous most of the time. People just fuck off if she’s around. As for me, I’ve been exercising influence. Too bad I’ve allied with too many good-hearted types. That’s why my way “in” to the slavery racket is blocked. Seriously: nobody’s talking. I thought by fighting and getting respect, I’d just stumble on answers eventually by merit of being so well-known and badass but... no, it hasn’t been like that at all.

Agh... what the fuck do I do?

... Maybe—


[] Get your hands dirty.


The most I’ve done has been working with host and hostess clubs, and a few titty bars. Maybe if I looked into prostitution, it could lead to slavery...? Problem is, everyone already knows how I feel about slavery, or assumes they know. The rumor’s that I’m basically a crusader... But on the bright side, it’s only a rumor: a belief. It’s possible for me to change that perception, and alter the view of my actions against the Black Hand. I told their top guy that I was after the gods, but he’s the only one who knows that, and he’s not talking about what happened that day.


[] Work with the old and influential.


In other words, talk with Yuugi and Yamame about all this. I haven’t yet, mostly ‘cause of pride and the feeling I’ve burdened those two enough already. Yuugi I’m pretty sure wouldn’t want to help me because she’d prefer I fight on my own. I might be able to convince her, though, since this is about family... Yamame, she’d help, but how helpful she’d be is another question. I don’t see her knowing much about slavery down here. On that note, Yuugi’s probably not good about figuring things out. If I do get her help, she might not be helpful at all. Mmmgghh... I dunno about this option. Almost feels “last resort”.


[] Change approach.


I’ve been roundabout all this time—talking to other people or having Koishi listen in. I haven’t been direct so far—haven’t really broken bread with people in the Ibaraki Quarter—because the rumors around me are just that: rumors. Keeping it that way gives me wiggle room and leeway in the Underground. Only a few people know what I want to do down here. Fewer have a solid idea on my plans. Most are assuming, and cautious. Maybe I can lower caution by just being my friendly, charming, poverty god self. Basically like... a more subtle take on my first choice. Wading in instead of diving in.


To be honest, I’m not confident about any of this. I just know something has to change and it’s been too long. My blood is boiling because my blood is out there and still not safe. No more waiting. I have to finish this.

++++++++

>>16436
forgot
image source: https://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=67403251
>> No. 16439
>>16438
[X] Get your hands dirty.
A god so evil she will sell her own kind to slavery, just for money.
>> No. 16440
[X] Change approach.
>> No. 16441
[X] Work with the old and influential.

Weird how one that complains about being weak neglects training. That said, your pride is not as important as your sis. If you end up indebted to them for life, then so be it.

Wish we could just throw money at the problem though.
>> No. 16442
[x] Work with the old and influential.
>> No. 16443
>>16441
>Weird how one that complains about being weak neglects training.
I think the thing is she did a head in the sand approach. Ignore the biggest concern
>> No. 16445
File 154747597710.jpg - (353.92KB, 1250x800, wisdom delivery.jpg) [iqdb]
16445
[X] Work with the old and influential.


Fuck it.

I squeeze Koishi’s hand in mine. She looks at me.

No holding back. I’m going all in.


[ ♫: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj5yr0Xuk1s ]
[Hydrogen - MOON (M.O.O.N.)]


On another day, in the same place.




An unfamiliar sight walks into a ladies bar.




3 AM.



The Underground has a currency: in paper bills and copper coins. It’s arbitrary. “Value” ultimately adds up to “strength” in a land of oni, and anything before that is just formality. Yorigami Joon took stock in both kinds, She only ever needed one, and with as much as she has, her implicit influence is far beyond any other’s.

A fair giant walks through flush pink curtains, casting a hidden gaze around a packed room. It’s hidden by a large hood, leaving the top of her face in shadow. Her head is not concealed, however. Like any oni: disguise isn’t her greatest skill, and her crimson horn extends prominently out from the dark cloth. It’s emblazoned with one half of her name, gold and shining whenever the lights of the clubroom catch it. She isn’t noticed at first, but that glinting star eventually finds enough eyes to start more than a few murmurs—murmurs she either does not pay attention to, or does not notice.

She walks to the bar, plucking at a loose thread of her hoodie.

“Bartender,” she says directly to the spider at the counter, dropping her heavy hand on the top and shaking every drink upon it, “give me a girl.”

And were it not for the music, the room would have fallen silent.

“Y—” the man behind the bar starts, his face having gone pale, “Ho... Ah... What... sort of girl... Miss Customer?”

“I want a god,” she says, and the bartender’s face turns monochrome.

“W-We don’t have anything like that...!” he insists, slightly leaning forward. “And even if we did, we don—don’t give girls! This isn’t that kind of place.”

“Huh,” the customer slumps her shoulders, turns, and reaches over the countertop, “take me to a place that is.”

She grabs the bartender by his collar, and pulls him across the top, crashing glass and sake.

Now she notices the crowd watching her. Holding the man like a coat behind her shoulder, her red eyes glint as she scans the sea of people, seeking whichever are willing to fight, and finding none. She turns her eyes to the exit and asks, “You do know, right?”

But the man has become petrified and won’t answer. The curtains open as she’s looking at them, and in walks an oni her size. He looks at his sovereign, swallows, and steps to block the door. At once, a smile crawls up Hoshiguma Yuugi’s face. The beat of the music fades to a pulse.

And the newcomer speaks up: “Hoshiguma, sis... There... something wrong? What... What are you planning?”


[] Be straight.

[] No talking, let’s just fight.

[] ... Wait, actually, what? What plan? There ain’t no plan.


In another place, at the same time.




Somewhere cold and quiet.




It total, 34 legs.




They don’t usually show them, but earth spiders have as many limbs as you’d expect from the name. Most of the time, you’ll only see brief flashes while they prop up buildings in the middle of the night. Right now, everyone’s got them out, though. Coming out their backs, six extra legs each—thick, carapaced. Guess the “arms” don’t count.

I’m sitting down on a boulder and smoking again. I’ve really gotta stop, but isn’t it cool? The way smoke and distant city light mix. I stand and crush the cigarette to ash in my hand, briefly looking back at the Former Capital. Yuugi said she’d do “something”, and said “don’t worry”. I’m not worried about her, I’m worried about how good or bad this is gonna be for the whole thing. There’s no doubt in my mind: my girl is gonna flip the town over tonight. The problem is whether the roaches will scatter while she looks. I swore it two days ago: this is the last push. That’s why I’m here now. Yamame’s helped me out, too.

“So you can’t just get her to talk?” I ask, waving ash out of my hand while stepping toward Yamame and one of her pals. “Can’t you make diseases? Make hyoscine.”

“I don’t know what that is, girl,” she says. Psh.

“Pfsh,” I breathe out. Her other friend stands up from tying the remaining spider to a chair. “She isn’t even awake,” I tell them.

The spider who bound her coworker tells me, “Yamame made her fall asleep. We didn’t want to fight.”

I look at Yamame, who looks at her sisters before looking at me. “Just shake her a bit and she’ll wake up. But for the thousandth time, I can’t make her talk. All we know is what we know.”

“I know, thanks.” I hold the tip of my ring finger, thinking things over. “... You can’t get her to talk, but you’re sure she knows the details?”

“She probably doesn’t know where it is—when she was bragging forty-seven years ago she said they always blindfolded her before taking her to the job site, set up illusions and barriers a good distance around, and only let her survey the immediate area for work,” the girl next to Yamame explains. “But yes, she’s the only one who’s done below-below-ground contract work for the Former Capital in the last fifty years, and it wasn’t on any books. When we asked her about it yesterday, even those of us who’ve been especially close to her, she said she never had. She’s been mum about it for thirty years, apparently. She’s lying.”

Now I touch my forehead, start sliding my fingers into my hair. I sigh through my nose and say, “One of your sisters... Do you at least know if she was in on it?”

“She’s been maintaining it,” Yamame says, and I look over at her, “consistently, and secretly. I don’t exactly monitor my sisters, but we all have our eyes everywhere.” Yamame scratches her head, not looking in my eyes and wincing. “She’s complicit.”

Oh, well...

I walk to the grandma chair that this girl is seated in, fast asleep and wrapped in webs. Her hair is red and she seems like any normal, nice-looking youkai of the modern age. She’s in her night gown, and it looks like her weird-ass legs came out when Yamame drugged her.

“...”


[] Alright, just talk... persuasively. Money talks, and it’s better with a silver tongue.

[] Threaten her for the floor plans. Don’t hurt her, just make her think she’ll get hurt. Not just physically.

[] Torture this youkai for info. This isn’t the time for pussyfooting.

++++++++

image sources:
https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/1541680
https://danbooru.donmai.us/posts/1374105
>> No. 16446
[x] No talking, let’s just fight.

[x] Threaten her for the floor plans. Don’t hurt her, just make her think she’ll get hurt. Not just physically.
>> No. 16447
>>16445
[X] ... Wait, actually, what? What plan? There ain’t no plan.
[X] Alright, just talk... persuasively. Money talks, and it’s better with a silver tongue.

Money is not an objection when you are rescuing a poverty goddess.
>> No. 16448
[X] ... Wait, actually, what? What plan? There ain’t no plan.
[X] Alright, just talk... persuasively. Money talks, and it’s better with a silver tongue.
>> No. 16449
[X] Be straight.
[X] Alright, just talk... persuasively. Money talks, and it’s better with a silver tongue.

Let's try this.
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