Soothing. Relaxing. Calming. This is what it feels like. For some reason, you almost forgot what it was like to receive a hug when you were on the brink of collapsing. It's not long afterwards that it dawns upon you, you're really tired. All this running around, worrying, screaming, both your body and your mind have reached their limit, and they need to shut down and rest. There's more you want to do, but after a while of struggling, you submit to the feeling and decide that you can do this stuff when you're not feeling like insanity is knocking on your front door. The hug is just so nice, you can't help it; you drift off asleep without much warning, wondering how long this period will last before your life is turned upside down yet again...
"Ah...she fell asleep." You say this shortly after noticing that Satoko became rather comatose. Even shaking her a bit doesn't seem to wake her. She's really out of it.
"Leave her be, Souya... she needs the rest." Alice walks over and picks Satoko up from her chair after you stand back, and takes her upstairs into a bedroom, presumably. You just stand there, feeling quite helpless in it all, like there's really nothing you can do about it, and you're merely forced to watch those you care about suffer because of it. Such an empty feeling. "You know, that was pretty brave of you." Your attention is regained when Alice seems to have come back down from upstairs.
"Huh? Oh... uh, thanks. Why do you say that though?"
"Hugging someone out of the blue like that, especially someone like Satoko. I don't think even I could have done it myself." You look down towards the floor a bit.
"I don't really think that's true... you care a lot for Satoko, and she just... really needed that, I think." After a short moment of silence, you feel Alice's hand rest on the top of your head.
"You're right. Thank you." Alice takes her hand back soon though, disallowing you from savoring the moment of praise as she looks out the window. "With how things are right now though, she could really use a friend. Maybe it would be a good idea if you stuck around her a bit more."
"Stuck around her?" You ask Alice, wondering what kind of meaning that would have. You feel you stick around her enough, or does she mean even more?
"She lost her best friend in a murder, and she's in danger of someone out to get her... while she's free to stay here as long as she likes, I know she won't be here all the time and I won't be able to just follow her out."
"I understand then. I owe her my life, so this is something I'll do for her without hesitation." You feel as if you're letting your extreme loyalty get in the way a little of common sense, but this is the least you can do for someone who's offered you a place to hide out from the tengu, right? Alice then turns to you.
"That's all you need to do then. I'm going to get back to work, Satoko will likely not be awake for some time. Feel free to do whatever you like." With that, Alice excuses herself into the back room.
You're alone again. You're not sure what you should be doing now. Satoko is still asleep... you've been left to your own devices in a situation you would rather be told what to do in. That's pretty much how you've always lived life, you guess. Being ordered around just meant that you didn't have to decide on what to do by yourself. Well, there's a time where things need to change, you suppose.
>Stay by Satoko's side until she wakes up >Help Alice with her work >Go out and find something that Satoko can wake up to >Wander about the town, maybe you'll find clues
Sorry for the weak update, still in a massive motivation slump.
I consider small updates that could use a lot more info to be weak. I myself can see a lot more I could've put into this; I just felt so demotivated to write it though that I never ended up doing it. This is why I don't force myself to update usually, I produce stuff that I regret not making better when I can instantly tell what I could've done to make it so. This time I happened to force myself because I felt it had been way too long and I needed to at least try to get myself out of this slump that I've been in.
There's really nothing much else for you to do. Going outside now would be dangerous, after that run in back at the Youkai Faction Headquarters. It kind of seems like Alice wants to be left alone too. Maybe it's just you, but after what happened to Satoko, she seems a little distant. You wouldn't dare distract her from her work either, particularly when you're not feeling too up to working yourself. Not on dolls. You kind of have something more important to turn your attention to. Rather, someone more important.
As you arrive in the small bedroom that you took upon Alice taking you in, you see Satoko laid out gently on the bed you were given. The covers are over her as she sleeps rather soundly in the bed. She looks so peaceful, quite the opposite of how she was when you first saw her today, screaming her head off and about to break down into tears. You sit down on the floor beside the bed, watching over the human girl. Sure, you could have tried striking it out on your own. Maybe rely on help from the Moriya shrine a little. Possibly even look towards the Youkai Faction for support. But instead, you went to this girl. This human girl, you did nothing more then reward your efforts with a modest muffin, for saving her. Most people would have just said 'thanks' and moved on with their lives. Without saying another word. You're not even sure what came over you, although it was the first time you had seen such a thing occurring. You guess the intense training just kicked in suddenly, and you felt the need to do something about it. Who knew that action would eventually lead to this?
You're not sure how to feel about Satoko... sure, she's the first person you've socialized with so closely outside of the tengu camp, and the Moriya Shrine, but even though she clearly has a multitude of her own problems, she's been going out of her way to look out for you, even though she really doesn't know you. You feel like you owe her a lot. You definitely feel like you should be doing more for her. She's sacrificed a lot for you, much like how Alice has. You think you just haven't realized it because Alice was the one you've been living with. But Satoko was the one that took you out to Myouren Street, the one that hid you from her parents, gave you a place to hide out and came to see you when she could have went on about her merry way. Now with the advent of a murderer intent on taking her life on the loose, looking much like you, you feel more responsible then ever. Who knows, maybe you'll run into this assassin yourself. You'd sure love to see if he can emulate you beyond your looks. You'll just have to keep a more steady eye on Satoko from now on.
After giving off a yawn, you realize you kinda feel tired yourself. Maybe it was all the excitement back at the Youkai Faction, but you could use a short nap. You wouldn't dare take up anymore bed real estate though. For one, it's only made to comfortably fit one person to begin with. Satoko looks small, but certainly not small enough to fit into bed with her. Not... that you would try to sleep with her like that anyways, what the hell are you thinking about. You just decide that laying your head down on the side of the bed is good enough for you. Rigorous tengu training has taught you to be able to sleep comfortably in any position, and wake up to any threat, rationing your energy perfectly. You gotta admit though, you guess for a human girl, Satoko is kind of cute. Ah, is this what they call affection? You feel drawn to her, but you've always assumed it was because after feeling praised and rewarded by her, you just looked to her all this time for more. But you still feel attracted to her even after getting it from Alice. You're not sure why. Something about her just makes you want to stay by her side more, even regardless of the situation. There's probably a logical explanation for it, but you can't be too bothered to care right now. A good nap will clear your mind...
"Grandma, grandma! Look what I made!"
"Wow, that's really nice Satoko... you made this all by yourself?"
"Yep! Just for you."
"Thank you, Satoko. You're actually very handy with this stuff, aren't you?"
"Of course, it's because you showed me how, grandma."
"I can show you more, if you like."
Could you just... come back. Please...
... ugh. Your heart feels like it's sunk a thousand leagues as you finally wake up. You had a very pleasant dream about your grandmother, about what life would have been like if she had stayed. Never went anywhere. You've never even met her, and yet you feel so close to her. Like she's always been there. But the empty hole in your heart tells you that she isn't, and torments you every day because of it. You're just thankful you didn't wake up with tears all over your cheeks. You felt so happy but now it's really saddening that you had to tear yourself away from that dream.
As you wearily sit up in the bed you've apparently been placed in, you look to your side and see Souya resting his head on the side of the bed, quite well asleep himself. Has he been there this whole time? Creepy...
You don't recognize the room very well though. Judging from what you remember before falling asleep and Souya's presence, it's safe to assume that this is Alice's shop still. You feel too tired still to get out of bed though, so instead, you lazily prod the white wolf boy's head until he awakens.
"Hey. Souya. Wake up."
"Nnmphf... nnn... nnnuh?" Souya finally opens his eyes and raises his head after a little struggling to stay asleep. He blinks only a few times after noticing you and immediately stands straight up nervously. "Ah! S-S-S-S-Satoko! G-G-Good morning!"
"You mean good afternoon. I'm pretty sure I've missed all of school now."
"Ah, uhm, uh..."
"Don't worry about it." You can't help but feel like Souya's already giving you a headache with his panicky behavior. Maybe it's just you though, you hate waking up, regardless of what time of day it is. "Where's Alice?"
"She's uh, working right now. Are you okay?" You look over and notice Souya's looking at you with a really concerned look on his face. You feel somewhat annoyed by it, but it's kind of comforting too in a way, that someone would be worried about you. You just wish he wasn't so much so.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just tired..."
"Maybe you should get some more sleep then?"
"I've slept about fifteen hours now. I don't think I need anymore."
"Th-Then..." Souya looks down briefly before looking back at you with a more determined look. "Then, please, tell me what I can do. I want you to feel more comfortable so I will do anything." You really can't resist giving the obsessive boy a really weird look. You're definitely not used to this kind of treatment.
"Eh? That's not really... necessary. I'm fine. You don't have to go that far, Souya."
"But I do. Remember? I promised you that I would be your slave to pay my debt to you. For taking me in from the tengu..."
... that's right. You do remember that now. While you feel a little bad for taking advantage of him like this, he has caused you a bit of trouble... maybe you'll indulge yourself just this once, and tell him what to do.
>A simple meal is enough for him to handle right now. >No holding back, you want this wolf waiting on your hands and feet every second of the day starting now. >Maybe just a chat will do. You don't feel like ordering him around too much. >Make him dance like a bird while meowing, or something equally retarded. >Something else maybe... (write it in)
[x]No holding back, you want this wolf waiting on your hands and feet every second of the day starting now.
Anything she dishes out will probably be much, much lighter than the lightest tengu regime, plus, it looks like he's more comfortable following orders, so let's go. AND THAT'S THE ONLY REASON I'M PICKING THIS CHOICE I SWEAR NO HIDDEN MOTIVES WHATSOEVER
>No holding back, you want this wolf waiting on your hands and feet every second of the day starting now.
You swing your legs around, sitting on the edge of the bed properly before crossing them, making sure you drive the point home that you are this wolf boy's master, and you will most definitely look the part while giving orders.
"Well, in that case then, Souya, are you prepared to serve my every whim starting today?" Souya actually seems to give you a bit of an odd look before confirming it.
"Uh... yes, of course, Satoko." For his insolence, you point a finger accusingly at him.
"That's ma'am to you! You know, I don't think you get the kind of situation that you're in, Souya. You're going to be my slave, isn't that right?" Surprisingly, this time there isn't too much hesitation as he somewhat nervously nods his head.
"Y-Yes, ma'am. I'll do anything you ask me to." You close your eyes and give off a satisfied smile, knowing that this was your victory. Even if it was like taking candy from a baby. You know the very first thing you want him to do too. You've been sitting on it for a while, but you've resisted up until now because you thought better of yourself. Today, the curtains come down.
"Good. Kiss my feet then." This earns you a hesitant response as Souya gives you an awfully funny look.
"Uhh... e-excuse me?"
"You heard me. Kiss my feet. I thought you were my slave, starting now."
"..." He doesn't seem willing to comply at first, and you're about to scold him for it, before he gives off a reluctant sigh and slowly brings himself down on his hands and knees, pressing his lips rather embarrassingly on your higher foot.
This sparks a very dangerous feeling within you that you feel you shouldn't have provoked with this.
"... you show the determination at least, but aren't you going to take my sock off first?" Souya looks up at you a bit ludicrously, but his position just makes the look seem very derogatory of himself instead.
"W-What? What do you--"
"What else do you think I mean? Kiss my bare foot, slave. Put a little passion into it too. You owe me your life, and I want to feel that you do." Closing his eyes, Souya realizes that he has no choice. This is what you've willed him to do, and he dares not goes against your wish. Not after what you've done for him.
"Y-Yes, ma'am..." Soon, Souya is tenderly slipping your sock off, and you can't deny that your heart is racing a little faster feeling it. He's really gonna do it. He's going to kiss your bare foot like he means it now. You're going to rue the day you awakened this volatile part of you, but for right now, you don't care enough to not enjoy this.
After the sock comes off, Souya hesitantly leans in for the smooch. You point your foot up at him a bit as he tries coping with the thought of snogging your foot so intimately to encourage him to go on. Eventually, he does get around to it, but he does such a bad and roundabout job at it that you demand he does it better. When he tries again, it's still not enough to satiate your selfish desires. More and more you urge him to kiss it like he means it. It isn't long until you've nearly got him tonguing your foot in a very embarrassing, if intimate, way. You're not sure if you're feeling very satisfied to make such a fool out of him, of if you're genuinely turned on by it. But the feeling is almost indescribable. It's a little frightening.
Not nearly as frightening as the fact that you only just now realized Alice had walked in though. Souya realizes only a little later, looking even more mortified then you do, you think. You... hope, anyways. You don't know what kind of face you have on anymore, but judging from Alice's face, who looks like she just walked in on her parents doing it, yours can't be all that much better.
Yeah, you knew you were going to rue this day. You just didn't think you'd rue it so soon.
It's been about an hour since you were caught by Alice doing... that. Not only was it really embarrassing, but really disgusting too. You hope Satoko doesn't get anymore bright ideas like that. You've been reconsidering your relationship with her since then...
After helping Alice with what she came up for, you return to the back room and find Satoko hasn't touched her lunch at all. She's been staying at Alice's shop, probably because while she doesn't want to return to school, she doesn't want to go home and worry her parents any, possibly. That and the possible danger of being outside after what happened earlier is still likely fresh on her mind, as she doesn't seem to be in the best of moods, though whether it's because she was scolded by Alice or something else has yet to be seen. You can't help but grimace though upon seeing the sight, knowing that there's still something wrong, but you can't seemingly help her. It's painful, to say the least. You go ahead and walk over to the chair opposite of her and sit down. You're probably wearing a worried look on your face like it were your hat, but it's not something you can help right now.
"Satoko, are you okay?" All this gets you is her face being turned away, so lacking in effort to do so that it was practically mechanical.
"I'm fine." Not much more is said then that.
"Do you, uhh... want to go somewhere?" Satoko just shakes her head nonchalantly, without saying a word. "Do you want to do something?" Another shake of the head is what she gives you. "Talk about something?" Yet another one. This is hopeless. You're going to have to take charge of the situation yourself, you see. That is, if it's even a good idea to, anyways. You get this distinct feeling that Satoko wants to be alone, but there's also a distant thought in the back of your head telling you that she could still use your company, somehow...
>Maybe she'll warm up to one of Alice's board games >Try some small talk, that could work >Stay silent, and hope your presence is all she needs >Leave her alone, maybe go out somewhere
>>8566 I enjoyed the scene, and if it wasn't supposed to be there, the author wouldn't have made it a choice in the first place (or given so many subtle pushes in that direction). I'm sticking with my choice, and if something similar comes up again, I'm voting the same way.
Deal with it.
[x]Stay silent, and hope your presence is all she needs
>Maybe she'll warm up to one of Alice's board games.
She could really use something to take her mind off her worries. Besides, she probably feels just a little awkward about what she was caught doing, so the best way to clear that up is by being more friendly. You hope so, anyways. You have to admit to yourself that you feel pretty awkward about it yourself but this is the only way to get past it effectively.
"Satoko, do you, uh... know how to play shogi?" It was just the first thing that came to mind. You always liked shogi, for some reason. It was the only activity you had fun doing with your superiors back at camp. Apparently your mother really liked it too. Satoko, on the other hand, doesn't seem nearly as ecstatic about it.
"Shogi? Don't old people play that?"
Well, with that realization out of the way, you try to push yourself past the discouragement and keep pressing forward.
"W-Well, yeah... I'm guessing you don't?"
"No. I don't."
"Do you want me to tea-"
"Ah. W-Well, okay. How about chess? It's a lot like shogi, just not as complicated."
"I don't care for chess."
"Okay, okay. Uhh... how about Checkers? I think that's the last board game Alice really has..."
"Fine, fine... I'll play I guess."
Whew. That was a close call. After breathing a sigh of relief, you go ahead and fetch the board out of the cupboard and start setting it up on the table Satoko is sitting at. You can't help but worry yourself more and more as you keep stealing glances at Satoko's tired and down state. You really want to help her, seeing her like this is kind of painful. More over, you feel partially responsible for it too... damn chivalry acting up at a time like this, when you should probably be out looking for clues on what's happening as of right now. Oh well, you don't think you mind too much. Even white wolves take breaks once in a while, right? With the board set up, you go ahead and let Satoko take her first move...
God, you're bored.
You are sitting at Alice's table in the back room about a half an hour after Souya first offered playing Checkers with you. You think, anyway. Time not only flies when you're having fun, but when you're half asleep too, apparently. You're so bored out of your wits that your mind tends to wander as Souya plans out his next move like it were some sort of chess tournament match. Or shogi. You still can't believe he plays such a game. Is it because he's a youkai? Do youkai normally take interest in such... old fashioned games like that? Certainly something to add onto your research pile for youkai.
As for yourself on the game, you've really been mindlessly playing it. You mostly just take a random piece and move it forward after deducing that it can be moved in such a fashion, and wouldn't end the game so soon. Souya seems to be taking it easy on you, for some reason, since with the haphazard way you've been playing, the game should have ended a while ago, but it barely looks like it's half way in. You can't really take this kind of boredom anymore, so you need to think of something to break the mold you've settled yourself into. Even if it ends at Souya's expense.
>Ask Souya about himself >Flick one of the pieces at Souya in a none too subtle gesture >Call Alice into the room >Ask Souya to leave you be for now
"Souya," you start off with, catching the wolf boy's attention fairly quickly, "what was life like at the tengu camp? Apart from... you know." Souya seems to stare back at you a little quizzically at being asked this, but nonetheless goes on to think about it.
"Uhm... it was pretty uniform I guess. The tengu are surprisingly strict, even though they drink a lot. The other boys in my section were pretty rowdy, but otherwise diligent. It was a lot of hard work and training though."
"So you never took any breaks?" You ask Souya while rather mindlessly continuing the game with him. You don't even pay any attention to it, far more interested in youkai culture as it is.
"Oh, no, every two weeks we would get a day off... not that we were allowed to slouch during them though. They really drove us into the ground."
"So is that why you escaped?"
"Well... the instructors don't seem to really care about us. Just about fulfilling themselves and doing their job, which is to make sure we're turned into the ultimate defense and task corps. Although, at some point it feels more like they're breeding us for taking over the world..."
Sounds terrifying. You can't begin to imagine how horrific that would be. If that one boy you ran into could be so well trained, then an elite force of adult wolves...
"So... why then?" Souya just shrugs his shoulders.
"The tengu don't really trust us enough to have the right to know that beyond 'defending the tengu,' which I kind of doubt."
"They don't even trust members of their own race?"
"Eh... the white wolves are anything but tengu at this point. One white wolf in the past did something treacherous, and now the rest of the tengu don't trust the white wolves anymore."
Jeez... how sad. For it to turn out like that, you think you can vaguely understand why Souya came to you in such stark desperation now. If other humans rejected you like that, you don't know how you'd feel about that. Except...
"... what about your family?" Souya's expression seems to cloud over suddenly, the touching on a sensitive subject hitting him like a pile of bricks.
"I... my mother is dead... and I don't even know who my father is..."
"... I'm sorry" is all you can erk out with a low, submissive tone. You actually feel a little pang in your heart. You guess this feeling proves that maybe you do consider Souya to be a friend. No, of course you do... he's one of the only friends you have anymore. You never thought you'd have a youkai for a friend, but somewhere along the way, you lost touch with having human friends... though you fear you might lose touch with having youkai friends too before you even get any outside of Souya.
The two of you quietly continue the game of checkers uneventfully. You don't even finish, the both of you just feel too poor to go on after a while.
It's about an hour later. You return to the back room to find Satoko still sitting there. She looks bored, but a little depressed at the same time. You wonder how she feels about not returning home, but you can't bring yourself to bring it up, since you know it's her decision, a decision she probably doesn't like making. After a short while of staring at her inadverdently though, she seems to catch on.
"What is it?"
"H-Huh?" You can't help but be caught off guard a little. You were staring at her so solemnly... she must have thought you were pitying her or something. "Uhm, n-nothing, really. Sorry for bothering you." You just look down at the floor as she goes back to staring at a wall mindlessly. You really don't want to end your exchange with her like this, so regrettably, so you find yourself chirping up. "I-Is there anything I can do for you?" Satoko just looks over at you nonchalantly.
"Why do you ask?"
"Well... I am your servant, after all. I owe you my life." You find it weird that you have to repeat that so often, but Satoko is probably just not used to having a slave on hand, being so young. In fact, when she starts pondering something, it looks more as if she's wondering when this happened, more then trying to decide what you should do for her. It's an awkward feeling in your gut that is soon dispelled when she looks back at you.
"Well, you could talk more about yourself, if you don't mind. I've never really been friends with a youkai before..."
You find it a little heart warming that she would admit something like that to you, but to be quite frank, isn't she being a little intrusive? You're not sure how you feel about spilling your life story out to her, even if it's Satoko you're talking to. It's a bit of a sensitive subject for you. But...
>Talk more about the tengu >Talk about who you associated with >You may as well actually talk about yourself >Ask Satoko to reveal more about herself first
"Well, I don't really remember much back from when I was really little. I spent most of the life that I remember being trained... I never really had parental figures but Miss Aya was a lot kinder then the rest of the crow tengu and she told me a lot about my mother." You open your mouth to say more about your mother, but then you remember Alice telling you how much of a bad idea that would be. While you don't see anything wrong in telling Satoko about it now after the time you've spent with her, you can't help but feel that following Alice's advice would save her the worry, so you choose to follow it regardless. "A-A lot of that is pretty boring though, she was like any other white wolf, like my father." Jeez, you don't even know who your father is. For all you know, he might not even be a tengu. "I-I do take after them a bit though, I've been told, even though I don't really know them. I was told that I had a lot of stamina and could recover quickly."
"..." After the brief silence, you can't help but take a look over at Satoko, whose expression seems to be a little hard to read, but definitely looks weird. You can't help but feel like you said something wrong.
"Uhh, Satoko?" You see her shake her head a bit, and return to her previous state of focus.
"Eh, sorry. Go on." You feel a little hesitant to now after seeing that kind of reaction, but ignore it for now and do as she says.
"Well the tengu had high hopes for me, being born with such good genes, they said... they thought I adapted and took control very well, on top of getting up from a lot. Miss Aya told me I had the potential to be among the best white wolves the tengu had ever seen." You notice Satoko tilting her head, looking at you awfully puzzled now.
"And yet they treated you so terribly?" All you can muster up is a simple reply that follows a deep sigh.
"Yeah." Satoko shakes her head in disgust as her response to that. However, as you expect her to stop there, she goes on unexpectedly.
"That's not right. They're abusing their power against you. As tengu, shouldn't you be on equal grounds with them? I know humans and youkai are so different, but..."
"... that kind of prejudice isn't just between humans and youkai though. Not only is it between youkai, but don't humans do that to each other too?"
You're not sure about that. You just assumed it. You felt it was logical, really. The 'prejudice' you mentioned stems from human emotion, which youkai suffer from, but is a trait normally special to humans. So of course, it makes sense that humans would have it a lot worse, right? However, this fact seems to hit Satoko like a ton of bricks, as she looks at you like it was a stunning realization to her. Soon, she starts accepting it.
"Y-You're right. This whole war between humans and youkai... I wonder if it's because of us, that this city can't support itself anymore..." You feel a sting in your heart as you hear that. It's mainly the tone that gets you; she's depressed and feeling bad about herself. It's like she's trying to shoulder all the blame for this war herself. That's not right. She shouldn't have to feel that way.
"N-No! You were just listening about what I said about the tengu, right? It's not just humans. Us youkai are as every bit to blame as well. It's not just you..."
You wonder, where did the balance end and the emotion begin? It was never like this, from what you were told. Hell, you still feel it yourself. Human emotion is an alien concept to you, but it still infects you... but why? Weren't youkai free from the shackles of human emotion long ago? Why are so many youkai acting so... human, now? That is what's tearing this society apart, but at the same time, it's also what's holding it together. Even now, you feel sad. Angry. Scared. Sad that Satoko is sad. Angry that people could be like this. Scared of what your so called emotions might start doing to you.
You're not human. Why are you acting like one?
You gave a half-assed thanks to Souya after he tried cheering you up, but it seems to have ridden past him. He's now in deep thought, it looks like. How rude. But you're too upset to really give any thought about it. Your heart is sinking, fast. This whole ordeal has taken you through a loop so many times that you're getting nauseous and want to hurl. You're getting motion sickness despite not even moving. Why were you born in such a world full of strife and hardship? The more you think about it, the deeper into the pits of despair you feel yourself falling into.
"Satoko?" You snap back to reality suddenly upon hearing Souya's voice. You look over to him to see his utterly worried face. He breathes in after opening his mouth to say something, but all the comes out is a regretful sigh that accomplishes nothing while he looks away, unable to look you eye to eye because of his failure.
No, you gotta do something. You're failing as a friend, you can't let him...
Friend? No, he's your slave, isn't he?
No no no, he's your friend. By now, he is. Maybe he owes you his life for saving him from the tengu and hiding him from them. But he's been working his ass off to help Alice and prove his stay here. He's also bailed you out once or twice before as well. He's not all that bad, and he's the only youkai you really know... even if you didn't like it, he's your only open portal to understanding how youkai work, and maybe getting down to the bottom of what's eating this city's society inside out... as well as what happened to your grandparents.
"Souya." With a simple 'huh,' Souya snaps his attention back to you as you give him a straight look. "Do you want to hear more about... me?"
Maybe you're being a little over dramatic about it, but this is the first step. If he's really going to be your 'friend,' then this much is necessary. Besides, he's told you his story. It's your turn now. With a hesitant, or maybe surprised, nod, Souya confirms that he wants to listen to what you have to tell him. As for what though... you're positive Alice hasn't blabbed too much to him, as she likes keeping secrets and sealing her mouth shut. Usually. So it's just a matter of how much you trust this guy. Not to mention, how much he trusts you... just how much of his story was really true, you wonder?
>Tell him about your parents >Tell him about your grandparents >Tell him about your friends >Tell him about yourself
"Have you ever heard any stories about people trying to unite youkai and humans as one?" Souya seems to blink in response before finally confirming that he doesn't really know. You wonder if that's a lack of education talking or if it's really kept that much of a secret... "My grandparents tried to do that, a long time ago, when Risou was still being established. My grandmother was a youkai... my grandfather was a human." You briefly look up towards Souya to gauge his reaction. He seems to be interested, at the very least. Knowing that, you look back down at the table and gather your thoughts, continuing your story. "They loved each other very much, even though they were both afraid that because they were human and youkai, they would never be accepted together. But because of that, they felt that there was no need for that kind of prejudice. That not being accepted simply because they were different was wrong. They used their love to try and prove that humans and youkai could coexist peacefully."
"... what happened?"
This is the question you were afraid of. You spent a few moments sitting there in silence trying to figure out what you should say. In the end, there's no helping it, you have to admit it.
"I don't know. That's what I've been trying to figure out..." You can't even be bothered to look at Souya right now. You're depressed, ashamed and discouraged. All you can do is just keep going. "I've never even met them... apparently they had to abandon my father and my aunt while they were still young. My father won't tell me anything either... but I don't think he really knows either. I keep thinking, eventually, they'll be back, but--"
You stop suddenly. Your eyes widen a bit as you feel a hand on your shoulder. Of course, you don't even have to look over to tell that it's Souya. It just depresses you further. He's pitying you. Feeling sorry for you. You wonder how you managed to sink so low. Being pitied by your supposed servant. Maybe in the end, this was fate. He's a youkai. You're a human. You're inferior to him in every way. There's no helping it, of course he'd pity you. Because he doesn't know how it feels to be so weak and helpless. To be so fragile and unreliable.
In the end, there's no way a youkai could understand what it truly means to be human.
It's a bit later into the day. The sun is going to set in a couple hours. Alice has suggested to you that you take Satoko home.
Neither of you did much together after that lengthy talk the two of you had. Neither of you felt the need to anymore. You feel rather penitent about it, but there wasn't anything you could do you suppose. You feel like you've made significant progress with Satoko, yet at the same time it feels as if you're even more distant from her. It's as if you took one step forward, only to take two steps backwards. The gap between the two of you created by your different races had widened with many sudden realizations, but you want to close or at least bridge that wide chasm. You want to believe that Satoko feels the same way as well. Though it certainly doesn't feel like it when you go back into the back room to fetch her.
"Satoko, Alice thinks you should go back home now."
"... I guess." Lethargically, she gets out of the chair and walks past you into the vending area.
You feel really helpless right now.
"Considering the recent attack on you Satoko, I'm going to have Souya escort you back home. In fact, why don't you escort her to and from school every day starting now, how does that sound Souya?" Alice looks at you as she asks the rather unexpected question. You can't help but stand up straight as if you were addressed by your superior back in camp.
"Y-Yes ma'am." After giving you a somewhat sarcastic 'at ease,' Alice looks back at Satoko, who seem to be every bit as lethargic as ever, despite the weak attempt to lighten the mood.
"Is that okay, Satoko?" There is a noticeable hesitance as Satoko seems to think about it. You think however, that her response represents the possible realization that she really has no choice in the matter.
Again, you feel extremely helpless. This feeling is the bane of your existence.
As the two of you are walking out of Alice's shop, you start thinking about your options. You want to cheer Satoko up. You really do. It's such an intense feeling that you simply can't ignore it. However, you need to consider how to go about it carefully. Going about it the wrong way might depress her further, or backfire in an even worse way. You need to think of a good way to do this...
>Take her to Myouren Street >Walk around the park with her >Swing by the Moriya Shrine >Just try to talk with her on the way home
I really hate to be a beggar, but there's something I want to ask. What do you guys think of this story so far? I've probably not been the first person to write of a 'real' Gensokyo future, but this concept I've sat on for a long time is what I feel to be one of the more likely scenarios that would play out in a canon future of Gensokyo, just with Orin's/Momizi's Little Visit incorporated into it. This story was also the result of a few experimentations, such as multi-protagonist, female protagonist (certainly not the first but I wanted to try it myself), and an emphasis on political matters, which is something I've been learning over the course of the past couple years. I'm also interested in what you think might happen; are you optimistic and feel that if you try, things will turn out, or do you believe you're on your way to a huge downer ending? I'd like to know what people expect of me now that I've been writing for some time on the site.
Why do I ask this now? Well, truth be told, this story is actually coming to a close. I'm surprised I've reached the last third of the story just going into the second thread, but a lack of posts other then mine and a little rushing on my part seems to have helped that. This was intended to be a little short, much like it's predecessors, and I think I might make it a tad shorter so that I don't have so much to worry about anymore. It's time for me to settle down and just focus on one thing now. I'll write this story to it's conclusion regardless of whether or not I'm answered; I'd just thought I'd use this time to get to know what my readers are thinking, since it's been too long since I've last connected with any of you. I am still very, very busy, but I'm going to try hard to fit at least some writing in every couple days and keep my stories alive again.
"Uhm... Satoko?" You sheepishly look over to your side towards the girl you hope to cheer up, afraid that she's going to snap at you or something similarly aggressive, but instead she just gives you a tired and expectant look.
"What is it?" You guess it's better then her being unresponsively depressed or exceedingly angry.
"Did you want to take a walk around the park on the way there...?" Satoko seems to stare at you for a few moments, as if wondering something before she gives off a brief sigh, going back to a depressed state.
"Yeah, I guess..."
You start wondering, thanks to your deep feeling of helplessness, if this is really going to do anything for Satoko. There's just so much on her mind right now, it seems. It worries you. In multiple ways, no less. You think what might be most worrying to you is your own reactions to all this. They're starting to become new to you. So-called 'human' feelings have invaded your virgin heart and have started populating it, causing you to lose judgement and do things you would not normally do. What you just offered is a good example. It's very likely a side effect of getting close to a human that's causing you to feel this way. This is no different from an exchange between human friends, you believe, but likely due to your shut in upbringing in the tengu camp, you've never really experienced this before. Do other youkai in the city get this as well? Do they have similar questions about it? How do they react to it? How do their human friends react to it?
As you realize that the two of you are approaching the park, you start realizing that maybe now is a good time to stop being philosophical with yourself and focus on more important matters. You can ask Alice about this later. In fact, you think you will. Although you've mentioned something like this once or twice, you don't believe you've really gotten to know her own experiences with it herself. You wonder if they're any different from your own.
"Souya?" You stop suddenly as you realize Satoko has wearily gotten your attention. She looks rather tired. "Can we rest somewhere...?"
"Oh, y-yeah. We can sit next to a tree once we get to the park." Satoko seems to nod lethargically to that, affirming you that she can wait for a good tree to sit next to before collapsing. That's what you're afraid of, in any case, and you feel as if you should carry her there, but it shouldn't be that much longer. Not to mention, that'd also likely be socially embarrassing, at least for Satoko, who doesn't need anymore weight on her shoulders as it is.
The sun has nearly begun setting. The sky is slowly turning a deep, orange tint. You feel relaxed and almost soothed by looking at the sky as you sit against a remote tree in the park. Hardly anyone seems to walk by here, so you gather that it should be safe for you. Satoko sits on just about the other side of the tree, practically falling asleep like that. You can't say you blame her, the breeze is nice, the lighting is perfect and air smells wonderful. You'd feel like taking a nap yourself if you didn't need to be absolutely alert for passer-bys. Not to mention that you did promise to take Satoko home as well, showing up fashionably late may not be the best course of action in this situation. Your heart feels much more at ease here, with Satoko, which is strange, as you've never actually noticed it feeling any different when you've been relaxed before. Maybe the sense of relief is greater now after all the trouble and hardships you've been through, as well as what Satoko has had to deal with thus far. You do dare say that you've genuinely started caring for the girl, but after what she's done for you, you can't say it wasn't inevitable. You owe her a lot.
"Hey Souya." You're brought out of your daze by Satoko's sudden grasp at your attention, sudden enough that it almost causes you to jump.
"H-Huh? What is it?" You can't necessarily see Satoko right now, being behind the tree you're sitting at, but you can still hear her loud and clear nonetheless.
"What do the wolves like you... do?"
"What do we... do?"
"Yeah. Do you play any games?"
"We play a few. One of them was a tag game where we would split up into teams, and if one team tagged someone from the other team, then they had to 'freeze' and if someone tagged another person on their own team, they could unfreeze them, and the goal was to freeze everyone on the other team."
"So it was kinda like freeze tag?"
"Kinda, but with our own little twist on it. Why do you ask though?" After a short hesitation, you get a peculiar answer.
"... youkai are weird."
You don't really get it. They act human in every way. They do the same things, they feel the same way, they think the same thoughts. Why this oppression? Why this controversy? Why is all this happening? Your grandparents clearly made amends with each other, but no other can seem to. Humans and youkai oppress each other so violently, and yet, despite what everyone says, they're so much alike...
"What do you mean?" You hear Souya ask behind you, probably puzzled as to what you mean.
"You're no different from us. You just have extra features, and that's it. But... at the same time, it feels like you're so... different. Just, why is that?"
It takes a while for Souya to gather up an answer, but when you hear, it clears up something.
"Maybe it's because you guys are so different to us, that we want to mimic you... so while we seem to be the same, we're really not."
So even if a youkai acts every bit like a human... in the end, they're not human. They are youkai.
Strange, it makes so much sense when it's put like that, even though you never really came to that conclusion yourself. Is that what separates everyone in this fair city? Is that why no one can get along? Because in the end, everyone knows they're... different?
No, that can't be it. Your grandparents would have never come together the way they did otherwise. They got over their differences. Just everyone else here has to. An easier said then done prospect, your grandparents as well as Saint Hijiri have both failed that mission. With the recent turn of events, odds seem even shorter of that happening now. You feel as if giving up is the only reasonable option left to you. You feel as if no one would even know about your grandparents anymore. As if they made absolutely no impact on anything, and could never be remember by anyone other then their close friends and relatives. This truly did seem like a worthless endeavor after all.
As sink further and further into depression, part of you seeks warmth. Comfort. Help. It disturbs you... downright creeps you out, but there's only one person you could truly feel at home with right now.
"Souya. Can I sit next to you?"
Another long hesitation plays out.
He was probably surprised. You're surprised too, you somehow managed to say it so casually, despite how embarrassing it was to do so. You can't help it though... you've connected none with any other youkai apart from Alice. Alice, who feels like she's babying Souya more then you, now. Like he's taken all her attention away from you. Perhaps asking to sit next to Souya was a bad idea, but instead of rapidly changing your mind and earning a lot of confused and puzzled questions from him, you'll just grin and bear it for now.
You don't sit too close. Just close enough to clearly see the other's face as long as your heads were turned towards each other. The side you choose to sit on has some additional benefits compared to your previous position. You're now facing the magnificent sunset, casting it's fading gaze across the land. The orange sky is beautiful, and the light is keeping you awake with it's majestic shimmer. The way the sunlight dances around the tree tops is mystifying. You quickly lose yourself in the sunset and feel more relaxed. At least, you've temporarily let go the frustration you feel for Souya. It kind of feels... nice.
Souya is possibly the first mature friend you've had that wasn't already grown up. All your other friends that were anywhere close to your age were far more childish then you. You consider yourself to be very mature for your age, so this was to be expected. No one has really grown up. You feel that you have though. Maybe not truly, but far more grown up then anyone who was pampered in their childhood. You have a much greater understanding of human emotion, thanks in part to your grandparents' teachings, which were passed down to your father and aunt. Souya almost seems to share this understanding, or at least a far better one then any of the children you've met. He's not on the ball all the time, but he's certainly not childish. You guess, in the environment that he was raised in, it'd be hard to be childish after all that. You haven't had it nearly as hard as him... but you feel you haven't had it easy either. You almost wonder what he would think if you told him you visited and even stayed at the cemetery frequently. Waiting for your grandmother to show up. Just once. Just to see her.
As you start day dreaming about your grandmother again, you realize that the sun has just about finished setting. Though Souya hasn't said a word. Looking over at him, he's not asleep, but something is clearly on his mind.
"Souya?" Souya simply looks over at you curiously.
>"What kind of friend am I to you?" >"Are you going to run away from the tengu forever?" >"Did you want to play a game?" >"I think I should head home before it gets dark."
"H-Huh?" Souya seems kind of flustered by the question you suddenly posed him. You're curious though, even if it seems a little personal. You want to know how youkai think. How they feel. Souya's probably the closest outlet to that you have.
Maybe... part of you deep down actually wants to know how close you two really are, as well. Just maybe.
"You heard me. Out with it." Souya just seems to blink a few times, looking at you as if you were a little bonkers. He then looks back up the horizon, and it almost feels as if he's trying to avoid answering until he looks up at the sky a little bemused.
"I-I'm not really sure... y-you're just someone who I swore my life to b-because you saved me from the tengu..." You start feeling a little disappointed, but it turns out too soon as Souya looks down, continuing. "Uhm, but, well, you're really nice... fun to hang out with... I-I guess you're a really good friend?" Souya seems to attempt looking at you to gauge your reaction, but it isn't working out very well for him as he's just simply far too embarrassed. It's honestly adorable, he's like some small child confessing to his crush.
Although, given how things ended up this way, you start fearing that you might be more accurate then you give yourself credit for, so you turn away from the wolf, looking up at the sky yourself and giving a rather nonchalant answer.
"I see. Good enough then."
The react you get from this gesture actually takes you off guard.
"W-What?! Why did you go and ask me something like that and just say something so, so... mean?!" You turn to look at Souya, wondering what he's getting on about, but you nearly slam your face into his as you hadn't noticed him leaning towards you, very uncomfortably close no less, causing you to fall back a bit, catching yourself on your elbows.
"What?! It's not like you deserve anything more!" Ooh, you quickly realize you shouldn't have said something that you really didn't mean like that as soon as you see Souya put on his best 'hurt puppy dog' face. Which, possibly thanks to his heritage, is highly convincing.
"S-So what am I to you then? Just some throw away pet?"
"N-... No! That's not what I meant!" Jeez, that act is getting you really good. This is what you get for letting your guard down. Even a dog can be clever sometimes. "I mean, ugh! I really like you as a friend too, so stop that!" As you feel like you're at the end of your rope, Souya looks at you a bit surprised at first before finally retreating to where he was, smiling softly.
"Thank you, Satoko... that means a lot to me."
Rather then sit back up, you just take advantage of your new position and lay down on the grass, staring up at the branches of the tree next to you. You can't believe you caved like that. You would have rather told him in a much more sincere manner, rather then feeling like you were backed into a wall for it. Now you feel like you were just trying to outwardly deny it at first, even though you didn't. You were planning on telling him... eventually anyways.
"You know," Souya suddenly starts off with, talking while you lay there beside the tree, "I didn't really have a lot of actual friends... I had people I talked to and played games with, but I didn't really have a whole lot that I could truly call a 'friend.' They all thought I was too weird... that I was different."
"... me too." You can't help but sympathize with him now. You've spent the last few days realizing that about yourself, and upon finding out that Souya felt the same way, you feel like you can relate to him much better now.
"Maybe this whole thing between humans and youkai isn't because there are humans and then there are youkai. Even humans don't accept other humans, just as much as youkai don't accept other youkai. Because we're different."
"Huh. Maybe you're right. So I guess this whole thing... really is kinda stupid then, isn't it?"
"Haha, yeah. That's definitely true."
Quite funny, how things work out that way. You feel more enlightened now.
You're now walking down a dimly lit street through the residential area of Risou. You took Satoko back home shortly after the sun finished setting. You hope she'll be alright. The goodbye was fairly mundane, though maybe deep down you were hoping it'd be a little... bittersweet? You're afraid now that Satoko has gotten you interested in feeling more of these human emotions that she's been introducing you too. You wonder if you would have felt this way with any other human, or if she just has a certain effect on youkai like you. Her personality is somewhat unique, but that may be because you've spent the majority of your life cooped up in the tengu camp where such behavior would quickly get her snapped in half. A horrifying thought, to say the least.
As you near the city, you see that it's gotten rather dark. Actually, too dark... the street lamps have not come on. No, wait. They're not off, they've been disabled.
It suddenly occurs to you how dangerous this situation is. Someone blew out all the street lamps here. For a reason. You quietly draw your sword, realizing that you may not indeed be alone.
"Why do you associate yourself with her?"
You hear a voice come out from within the shadows. It seems to be coming from further ahead of you. The voice is clearly masculine, though young. A little... disturbed, too?
"What do you mean? Who are you?"
He must have seen you walk Satoko home. Well, no big deal, not like you have to tell anything to this punk.
"What's it to you?"
"She is a human."
"You are a youkai."
"... and?" You're not sure what he's getting at, but for some reason you start feeling very unnerved by his questions.
"She isn't worth caring for."
"Who are you to tell me what to do?"
You didn't get it at first, but it becomes clear when one of the street lamps start flickering back to life, clinging to it desperately. Into the fading light walks the culprit.
Everything seems to shut down the moment you see him. It's... you. He looks exactly like you. Although, maybe with a couple key differences. His eyes are dead. Empty. As if he truly lacks life on the inside. Like he were nothing but an empty shell. The other key difference... his lack of wolf tail. This part would disturb you most if you weren't lost in the apparent sea of turmoil that his eyes clearly give off.
"Why do you care for her? Why do you care for anyone here?" He asks you a somewhat cryptic question. This... you, that he is. You're still unsure of what he'd get from you answering him. But you swallow your sudden uneasiness from having to confront 'yourself' and stand steady with your resolve.
"Wh-... Wh-Why not?"
"No one here is worth caring for... didn't the tengu teach you that?" The tengu... is he referring to how badly they treat the white wolves?
"That... That's why I left. I-"
"You know nothing." You feel your heart sink after being interrupted like that. What is he talking about? It's clear he means no good though. "She killed her."
"... who are you talking about?"
"That girl. Killed the Hakurei shrine maiden."
"... I don't believe you."
"It's true. I saw it while I was killing the previous one."
It's just one twist after another. Well, at least you know the story behind it now. You think it's so shocking though that you can't even process the information, and it's quickly lost on you.
"... you. You attacked her that one day, didn't you?" The figure that resembles yourself seems to narrow his eyes at you.
"She saw me kill her. I had to dispose of her."
It's become clear what his intentions are. There's no other reason why you'd cross paths with him. You have to stop him here.
"I'll ask again. Why do you associate yourself with her?"
"Why should I tell you?"
"Do you love her?"
You feel yourself freeze up as your doppelganger asks quite possibly the most embarrassing question possible. You quickly shake it off though, you need to get a hold of what he's getting at first.
"Why do you ask!?"
"It's stupid to think that you'll get along with her. She'll just backstab you later on. Because you're a youkai. You're not like her. You never will be like her. She can't accept you."
"Why do I have to be the same as her to be accepted by her? What does our differences matter?"
"Because everyone wishes for someone like them. That they can relate to. You can't relate to someone who's different."
"That's... that's not true. We relate a lot with each other..."
"You're lying. You can't even say it straight."
Ugh, he's got you there. You couldn't help but sound unsure when you said that because it really isn't all that true. But... you know that it can change. You just have to give it the chance to.
"I trust her."
"Trust is stupid."
"It's a fake word people make up to fool one another. No one actually trusts anyone."
"How can you say that?"
"Have you even looked at this city?"
... you can't deny him, but you can't say that he isn't blowing it out of proportion either. There's a lot of strife and disagreeing, but that doesn't mean people can't trust one another.
>>9798 Voting certainly is fun, for who does not like to influence where a story will lead or see how masterfully an author can weave a tale in accord with the audience's will? However, more often than not, I find that there is no need to cast a ballot, as the choice I would have selected already has its victory all but assured.
Sorry, that was really unnecessarily fishing for attention there I realize. I should probably be happy enough to write.
Also, I should apologize for stating I'd be updating daily and then not quite following up on it. My GPU has been having really weird issues and it's adversely effecting my system so I haven't had as much time to write as I would like. Nonetheless, promised update!
You grip your sword tightly, grit your teeth, and steel yourself. This is going to be one bumpy ride, and you're taking this joker along for the ride.
"Prepare yourself!" You rush at your doppelganger blade first, determined to put an end to all of this once and for all. What bothers you though is that he doesn't bother even flinching until just before you strike him down, deftly dodging your swing and pulling out a sword of his own; as to be expected, it looks exactly like yours. As you thought, he is a white wolf after all.
"If this is your first reaction to me, what makes you think that humans are even worth your trouble?"
"Who are you!?" You yell out, possibly unnecessarily as you give chase yet again, gunning him down in the darkness, the only light coming from the sparks that rain upon the both of you as your swords clash with great might. With each swing you take, he returns it, and you both block equally.
"You're no different from me. Wanting to change this world. The way it works is meaningless." One of your attempts to get past his brilliant defenses suddenly falls short and you nearly expose your back to him, but you recover just quickly enough to intercept a blow that would have likely cut you in half, holding his blade back with your own.
"You're not changing the world! You're destroying it!" You manage, somehow, to push your aggressor back and try to turn the tables on him, but no matter how much strength you put into your arms, he just meets it with an equal amount of power, creating an impenetrable stalemate between you two.
"If that's what it takes then that's how it'll be. No one here is worth fighting for, admit it."
"You're lying!" You find some extra strength in your heart to actually push your foe back further then usual, and take this opportunity to try and pin him down, but something seems to go wrong somehow, as you miss your target and nearly fall onto the ground. You whip back around to find that your enemy has stepped back a considerable distance... almost as if he felt you weren't worthy anymore.
"Are you going to fight for that worthless girl? That human who will just mere discard you once she's had her fun?"
"You don't know her, how could you-"
"She is no different from any other human. She killed her own kind to advance her own selfish needs."
Ugh! There he goes again! Spouting nonsense that you feel you just absolutely cannot believe. Satoko... you can't think that she would ever do such a thing. She has trouble hurting you, for crying out loud. How could she hurt anyone else?
"... what about you? You're a murderer too!"
"I'm setting things right. I'm bringing down this stupid political nonsense. Everything will return to nothing, the way it was meant to be."
"You're... you're insane!"
"Brother, your death will be the first step in returning to that nothingness."
You could swear he called you by such a despicable name just to throw your guard down, because he moves in for a lightning quick strike after saying this, nearly hitting you in your shock. You can feel the clothes on your shoulder tearing from the dangerously close call you just had with the business end of his sword. It doesn't stop there though. He continues his relentless assault, pushing you back with ease by using your initial close call to keep the pressure on you and close the gap between the both of you. You're just barely succeeding in keeping his blade from cutting you up, but it's getting very difficult. If the way behind you isn't perfectly straight until you can find a way out of this, you are as good as dead.
Then, suddenly, a misstep. That is all it took. Blood was drawn at that moment your knee gave in. It was over.
"... urgh... guh... how did you--..."
You can't see very well in the darkness, but your opponent sounds like he's in pain. You don't know why. You don't think you struck him. In fact, he should have been the one that struck you. But for some reason, you don't feel pain. Just a lot of anxiety. You stand yourself up and focus your eyes a little. You see that there's a large gash running down his left shoulder. It's bleeding a lot.
"--ah. Are you okay?" Your concern is only met with an angry growling noise.
"Shut up! I don't need your pity! Damn it! We both came from her... why are you better!?" You're not sure you understand what he's talking about anymore, but you realize that neither of you are willing to fight anymore. "... it's because I'm half breed."
"A half... breed?"
"Listen, when I'm done with all this, I'm coming for you. And then I'll prove that I'm better, even if you have more of mom's genes then I do."
With injured arm in tow, the apparition leaps back, into the darkness. No matter how hard you try to keep up with him, the darkness is just too thick. By the time you reach light again, he's gone. You stand there in the night, still panting, trying to catch your breath from your brief brush with death... and your apparent brother. That can't be though, you were told you were an only child... though, if he's a half breed, then it makes sense that his identity and origin would be hidden, even from you.
Still though, so many questions you want to ask. You feel none of them will be answered. But biggest one of all... if he is a half breed, who is his father? It's clear from the way he talked, you two share a mother, which meant...
Your mother loved a human?
Another trip to school.
Another trip back home.
It feels like it just passed you by, the next day that came. After all that excitement. No one at school ever questioned you about your absence yesterday. Nor did you feel the need to say anything. Your family is trying hard to keep things on a light note, knowing that you're still upset with Raimu's death, though far more then they could ever possibly realize.
Your mind stays empty the whole day, all the way through dinner. It takes your mother asking you what's wrong to help you realize that you father and brother left the table a while ago, and you've been sitting there with an empty plate in front of you mindlessly. You can't even remember if you actually ate whatever was on it, or what it even was for that matter.
"Y-Yeah. I'm fine."
"... Satoko." You look over to see your mother pulling up a chair and sitting next to you, looking genuinely worried. "If there's something you need to talk about, I'm right here honey."
"I-I know. I'm... okay, really."
"You don't seem okay."
"I... I..." You're having a really tough time getting the words that you want to say out. It's really been a lot more difficult on you then even you anticipated. Your mind has been so bogged down and overworked with all these emotions that it seems to have shut down. Your heart is also in a rather catatonic state itself, from all this emotional overload.
"Honey, I know it's hard, but you need to be strong in times like this. If you dwell on it too much, it'll just attach itself to you and you won't be able to move on. You need to look ahead, not look back." You know what she's referring to, and honestly you're not sure if that's really what's getting to you now. But you're still thankful for her, for caring so much about an otherwise worthless daughter.
"Th-Thanks... Mom." After a short hug, your mother reassures you something.
"We're always here for you Satoko, and I promise you that we won't be leaving you anytime soon. If you ever need someone to talk to, I'm here to help you get those things off your chest, okay?"
You continue looking down at the floor rather blankly and hopelessly. You want to answer her after a short while, as you realize she isn't going to leave it at that.
Since she offered...
>Ask her what she thinks of your grandparents >Ask her what she thinks of your father >Ask her what she thinks about Risou's situation >Ask her what she thinks of youkai >Ask her nothing
"... Mom?" You see your mother perk up again, waiting for your question. "What do you think of youkai, anyways...?"
"Youkai, huh? Hmm... I can't say I've really thought about them a whole lot. I was born off an entirely human family and inducted into an all human school. In fact, I was rather surprised when I heard your father was born from youkai, even though he was human himself."
"So you haven't really interacted with them a whole lot?"
"No, but the few I did weren't very... pleasant." Your mother seems to sigh now as she sits back a little. "Humans and youkai are trying so hard to coexist now as they are but in the end, it really feels like youkai have all the power. They can do anything that humans can do and then do anything that humans could only dream of achieving. The only way for them to go farther is to join their ranks and toss away their humanity..."
"... you don't think youkai are having the same problems?" Your mother suddenly looks over at you, intrigued. Noting this, you continue. "Youkai are stronger, but they don't have the humanity that we have... but they have the same emotions we do. If they didn't, there wouldn't be so much strife in the first place... they just don't have the humanity to control them, so-" It's at this point, you feel your mother's hand on your head, and you see her looking down at you smiling.
"You're a lot smarter then I take you for Satoko. A lot more mature, too. Still though, I don't think that's really the problem. That would be assuming we could control them ourselves." She takes her hand off your head after pushing some of your hair aside over your ear and stands up. "I think once you find someone you love as much as I love your father, you'll see that first hand."
Love... huh? If only it were that simple, really. No, rather, thank god it isn't that complicated. Yet, problems still persist in this city. Torn between humans and youkai. What's that essential key that needs to bring them together...?
The next day comes. You wake up, get yourself ready for school, come down to the kitchen and have breakfast with your family. Very typical. Your father greets you, your little brother makes fun of you, your mother serves breakfast, you all start eating, it was all fine and ordinary until the radio is suddenly interrupted.
"We have breaking news from the Tengu Headquarters that the identity of the Hakurei shrine maiden's mysterious murderer has been found." You freeze up intensely, and suddenly feel like your soul is about evacuate your body at an insane speed, until the broadcast continues. "The murderer is a small rogue white wolf tengu, presumed to be adolescent still. One of the defining characteristics is that he has no tail, unlike other white wolves. The tengu have code named hi the Tailless Wolf, but citizens are advised to be on the lookout for him, who goes by the name of Souya Inubashiri, and take extra caution with this highly dangerous wolf. If he is seen, please contact the proper authorities right away..."
Tailless... you could have swore you've seen that somewhere before. But this isn't good. Souya was already on the run from the tengu before, but now they have the entire city after him.
You wonder how Alice is going to take this...
"So I guess you weren't lying about your so-called 'brother' then."
You just heard it on the radio. Your name is being slandered. You know it's your 'brother' that the broadcaster is referring to, but it has your name written all over it. You wonder if the fact that you have a tail will save you.
"... I am so sorry, for bringing this misfortune to you." Alice just waves it off after turning the radio off.
"It's alright. This was probably inevitable anyways. Still though, a proper incident hasn't really hit this place in a long while... ah, if only she were here."
"Who?" Alice seems to look up, reminiscing about something before shaking her head gently.
"No one in particular. At least, no one either of us should be worrying about right now. She's long gone." Alice then turns to you. "You know what this means though, right?"
"Yeah... things are much more dangerous. I wonder if I should leave the city..."
"That would be for the best... you should talk to Satoko about it first though. I'd hate for her to yell at me for taking you away somewhere without at least a proper goodbye."
Jeez... how did things come to this? You felt maybe you were about to really connect to Satoko too, as an actual friend. At least, what concept of friendship humans seem to have anyways. You can't properly grasp the feeling, but you feel that it might be just that. Maybe something slightly different. Human emotions are difficult.
A while later, you're on your way to Satoko's to escort her to school. You talked with Alice for a bit about it, but in the end, you're still unsure. Leaving would be the safest option, but you'd be leaving so much behind, not to mention that you really have nowhere to go, unless you really felt like becoming a hermit. When you think about that though, all you can imagine is yourself with an ugly long beard by a campfire all the time, burning bugs to eat. Not a very pleasant lifestyle. You've also vowed to protect Satoko, an objective made all the more important by the fact that she's being stalked by someone who claims to be your brother, no less. That very objective is why you're going in to meet her now. Though you're afraid of people seeing you and recognizing you as the framed culprit behind the Hakurei murder, you're hoping that the change of clothes and wear Alice has put you in will conceal your identity enough that it'll be hard to do that without looking very closely.
You stop as you see Satoko leaving one of the houses down the street. Seems you caught her just in time. Hopefully she doesn't get scared when you approach her.
"Hey! Satoko!" The young girl stops as she was about to walk, looking over at you curiously as you walk towards her.
"Who are you?" She asks as you come to her. You guess your 'disguise' is convincing enough if it can fool even Satoko.
"It's Souya. I'm here to walk to school." Satoko seems to blink a few times, seemingly processing this bit of information before looking a little embarrassed.
"W-Walk me to school? I'm not five, Souya."
"No, but it's as dangerous if you were, with that boy after you." Satoko clearly wants to argue, but in the end, she just sighs after being unable to find a proper comeback.
"Fine, do as you want."
As the two of you walk side by side, you can't help but feel something odd. Strange. Weird. Yet, it's a rather euphoric feeling. Something you could get used to. A rather fulfilled, happy feeling that's very new and uncomfortable at the same time. It almost gives you shivers up your spine thinking about it, and you're not sure why. It's an exotic feeling, to say the least. You try and think of what it could be, but the scene is ultimately so mundane that you don't know what it could really be. Although, in thinking enough about it, you start realizing that this scene seems somewhat familiar. A boy and a girl walking side by side to school, early in the morning and alone...
... ah, that must be it. A boy and a girl, alone. You realize what the feeling might just be upon remembering that your camp had no female white wolves, and that realistically, Satoko is the first girl, period, that you've had such close interactions with. This also causes you to remember various other things, more embarrassing then the last. Like the fact that you're adolescent and past puberty, a perfectly healthy young male, and how attractive Satoko ultimately looks for her age, and--
"H-H-Huh?" You nearly jump when Satoko calls your name. Your mind is filling up with toxic thoughts that really needs to be disposed of, before you start wearing them on your face.
"Is that jacket heavy? You're panting."
Jeez! Hormones picked a great time to suddenly remind you of their existence! Sure, you've had a few moments where you couldn't help but be attracted to someone of the female persuasion but in all those instances, you never really knew the female in question, or even talked to them. You just admired them from afar. You've never been attracted to someone you actually considered a friend.
Well, that may be because the amount of female friends you had before Satoko was bordering on the nonexistent. You've never really thought about Amaya that way and Aya always struck you as a simple looking woman. That, and you hold a deep respect for the both of them, and don't feel like you're anywhere near on the same level as them as you do Satoko, that would be dishonorable, you feel. Then again, with how much Satoko has done for you, this is equally as such. You need to stop it.
>Wave it off, think about something else >Maybe taking Satoko to Myouren Street will help >A discussion with Satoko might alleviate it >You want to take Satoko back to the park again
"Yeah. You don't have to walk me to school if it's this much of a problem, Souya. I should be fine during the day." You shake your head, you really need to get your stuff together. Making keeping to yourself is a bad idea right now.
"No, it's alright. I don't mind, in fact I like it this way." Satoko seems to be a little confused by this prospect.
"Uhh..." Well, maybe being totally honest is also a bad idea too. "It's nice to get out once in a while. Besides, I'd like to talk to you a little more..."
"Talk to me, huh? About what?"
"Uhm... w-what's your family like?" You end up asking it a little awkwardly, due to your hurry to get it out. You really weren't sure what you were going to discuss with her when you decided to, so this was a brief fumble on your part. Your mind is still humoring hormone induced thoughts, towards Satoko and other girls you've 'seen' in general, and this is a rather bad time for something like that to happen.
"My family?" Satoko seems a little puzzled. You guess you can understand why. It's pretty out of the blue. You're afraid that your current state of mind had a hand in deciding that awkward topic, but you try to casualize it nonetheless.
"Y-Yeah. I've never really had a family of my own, so I was... curious to know what it was like." Well, okay, casualization failed, but you've assured Satoko of your reasons and made yourself far less suspicious.
"I see... well, I pretty much just live with my parents and my little brother. My brother's only seven, so he's really hard to deal with. He's always making fun of me and being obnoxious."
"Really? Having a family sounds tough." Satoko looks up at the sky a little forlornly.
"Not really... my father is probably the most loving one I could ask for, my mother is really, really kind and as annoying as my little brother is... I don't think I could replace him. I really haven't had the time to be with them since I met you and I kinda miss it now..."
"Ah... I'm sorry." Satoko shakes her head, reassuring you.
"No, don't be sorry. This whole situation has really helped me start to grow up I think. I always thought I was really mature for my age but... all this has made me realize that I still have a lot of growing up to do."
"Hah... you and me both, I think."
It certainly feels that way. You don't feel nearly as adult as many of the worthy white wolves do. You especially feel childish in comparison to Alice, who is among the most elegant youkai you've ever had the pleasure of befriending. But while the road ahead of you is long and potentially arduous, having that much more experience later will set you up for greater things, you feel. Your strength could only improve from here on out.
"Souya?" You stop suddenly as you notice Satoko stepping ahead of you and turning to you. Behind her, you notice that you're approaching the school. "Thanks for walking me to school. Even though I don't really need it... it's been pretty lonely for me lately. So I appreciate it." After realizing that you're being rewarded, however minor, for a job well done, you can't help but give a heartfelt smile to Satoko, finding it hard to keep your tail from waving around behind you, somewhat embarrassingly.
"Of course, Satoko! I'll always be at Alice's shop if you need me, so..." You trail off a bit as you notice Satoko walking towards you, before doing something very surprising.
Those are the words she says to you while giving you a generally loving hug. It almost feels as if she were hugging you to make sure you wouldn't go anywhere, or even to remember the feeling of hugging someone for later...
Afterwards, Satoko bids you farewell and starts walking towards the school she attends further down the street. You're more or less left standing there, stunned. For your first time being hugged by Satoko herself, it felt rather... depressing. You could really feel the intention behind it very strongly. It was a particularly lonely feeling. Once again, you're left feeling rather helpless towards the situation. All you can do is sigh, turning back towards Alice's shop and making your way there. You actually feel kind of bad now, thinking about Satoko in such a way... it seems she still hasn't gotten over the situation, not at all. You wish you could manage her feelings better, but without human experience, it's very difficult.
Maybe someday, you'll understand...
The sun is still high in the sky. No clouds in sight. The blue sky that hangs overhead is a constant reminder that just because school is over, the day isn't.
With a big sigh, you mindlessly walk out of the front gates of the school building, staring up at that big blue yonder up there. You feel like you have so much you need to do. Yet, you don't think you can do any of it, nor do you feel like you want to do any of it. All you know is that you just want to be happy again. It's not easy being you.
As if that weren't enough, there's so many things out to get you. Souya's double being the biggest threat. You think you might just soil yourself if you saw him again. In fact, a small part of you is still afraid, even when you know it's the real Souya, that he's just fooling you and he'll eventually kill you. Sometimes, you wonder if they're actually the same person, and you've just been fooled all along. It's a frightening thought, to say the least.
As you step out next to the street your school resides on, watching the rest of the kids walk by to and fro, you wonder what you should do now. Your day at school has been relatively uneventful, not willing to associate much with humans anymore but any youkai attending your classes not very responsive to you either. You bet you must seem like an outcast to all of them now, so you doubt anyone would miss you anymore. Probably a good excuse as any to disappear for a while. You don't think a whole lot of people would miss you.
>Time for another trip to the graveyard >Maybe it's time to check out the Moriya Shrine >You're feeling lonely, maybe Alice and Souya will help >Don't do anything stupid, just go back home
If there's one easy place to disappear in, it's the graveyard. No one goes there, so no one would see you. You doubt even Souya's doppelganger would find you there. Knowing a good place to take solace in, you make your way there.
Once again, you find yourself waiting. Waiting for her. Your grandmother. To someday arrive there on a random mission to loot a corpse, and there you will be. Waiting there for her.
Sometimes you think you should hide. That she doesn't want to be seen by you, and the only way you'll catch her is if she doesn't know you're there. Sometimes you feel that you're just plain unlucky, and that the only times she is actually ever here are when you aren't. Other times you just sit around not even knowing what you're doing. You've just grown accustomed to the graveyard. The numerous tombstones all around, walking the ground that the dead are buried under. The lonely, heavy atmosphere of the area. You just like it now, you suppose. You're not entirely sure why, either. You've been here for so long, that it just started feeling natural one day. Maybe You really do have your grandmother's genes...
Today, you just simply sit down next to one of the gravestones and lean against it, watching the day pass by you. It's hideously boring, but you're too tired and stressed out to care. Sometimes to relieve the boredom of waiting for your grandmother, you like to play a few games with yourself. Usually involving ghosts or the dead. You've scared yourself shitless once or twice through it, but you don't regret it. It keeps things interesting. Although now, you feel that you'd truly die if you were frightened in any way here. There'd be no escape, and after all that's went on, it feels as if the world is after your blood. Your blood is precious, though maybe only to you. It's blood you share with your grandmother. Sacred blood that you will cherish the rest of your life, at least until you finally meet your grandmother. Once you do, you can finally do everything you want to do with her. Tell her what you've been through, what you want to do, play games with her...
You guess you really do idolize her, just a little. Well, maybe not just a little. Probably a lot. But you don't care. You've never met her, but she sounds like an amazing youkai without having to meet her. Just what you've been told is enough to assure you that she was truly someone that deserves all your respect. Especially after all that you've been through, and, most particularly, involving your changing feelings. You guess now your affinity has slowly been gearing towards youkai after Raimu's death. Really feels absolutely disrespectful, but it's entirely possible that she was all that was standing between you and being primarily interested in youkai to begin with. Although it's funny, you never really thought about it until Souya entered your life. A weird wolf, he is, but he's technically your first youkai friend that matches your age group... to some extent. You know many youkai and feel you are good friends with them, but none of them really relate to you in a way that you feel equal to them.
Maybe that's why you treasure Souya so much. He feels like the first equal of yours that happens to be a youkai. All other youkai, even in school, feel high and above you, but Souya pledged his life to serving you the moment he ran away from the tengu camp. At the time, you felt above a youkai for the first time, but now, it seems like you're on equal footing with him, emotionally. You're not even sure how it came to be like that. You guess you weren't really fit to be ordering anyone around, especially a youkai. You feel kind of silly about it, now that you think about it. But you feel you're past making Souya your slave now. Your human emotions can't help but interject and feel sorry for him due to his situation. It would kind of make you out to be a bad guy, wouldn't it? Even if you are saving him, that's still taking advantage of him. Well, you do that anyways, but in a more subtle fashion now. Which is more friendly, you believe. Maybe it's the weight of having murdered someone, but you just can't bring yourself to do any bad to Souya anymore, or anyone else for that matter. Your hands are too stained in blood to want to deal with any further sins.
Hours seem to pass. Looks like she isn't coming this time either. Typical. You may have actually missed her this time because you spent the majority of your time daydreaming in a dazed state, but your lack of optimism tells you that it's unlikely that you did. As the afternoon winds down, you find yourself getting up and taking your way back home. The graveyard is nice, but your parents might start worrying about you. Besides, the longer you spend out here, the more danger you can wager yourself being in. Souya's double is still out there, after all. Better high tail it out of here before you get seen.
"Is something wrong, Souya?"
You snap back to reality, you can't guess how long you must have been sitting here not moving, when you were sewing up a doll with Alice just earlier. You just lost it suddenly, your attention flying off to la-la land and leaving you behind.
"I-I'm fine. I'm sorry."
"No need to apologize. If you can't concentrate, it might be better if you did something else, though."
"You're right. I'm not really used to doing things like this, after all."
"I don't really have much else for you to do here, I hate to say."
"Yeah... I'm going to take a walk then."
"Are you sure it's safe out there for you?"
"You gave me a disguise, right? I think I might be fine." You hop out of the chair, feeling rather skittish for some reason. Anxiety is starting to grab hold of you in an aggressive way. You're not sure why, but it's seriously messing you up.
"... if you say so then. Take care."
One of the things you've always appreciated about Alice was the nondescript way she would refer to you and tell you things. You know she worries about you, but she's so calm and subtle about it that it doesn't feel like it's bothering her. You don't feel like a burden at all on her, even though it's clear she cares about you. You suppose that's just how youkai care about one another, it's not nearly the same with humans, like Satoko, who seems to get her panties all up in a bunch so frequently that it's hard to tell if she's legitimately angry with you, or just being sarcastic.
You step out of Alice's shop, looking up at the sky. It'll be sunset in an hour or two. You better get done what you feel needs to be done before that happens.
>Stop by the Youkai Faction Headquarters >Head to the Moriya Shrine >The graveyard is where you feel you need to be >You need a place to relax, like the park
Maybe, just maybe, they will have answers to this mystery. The mystery behind your 'brother.' While being audience to Lady Chen is very difficult under normal circumstances, you might be able to make do with someone lower, but still in charge. The Youkai Faction is made up of a very grand amount of youkai,one of them must know something. It doesn't have to be Lady Chen, as much as you would really, really, really like to see her again...
It's at this point that you realize that Lady Chen's presence has a strong effect on lower youkai like you that make you feel empowered to be alive. She is a worthy leader, for sure.
It's a hop and a skip to the headquarters, weaving your way through the pedestrian traffic that makes Risou what it is during busy hours. The upside to the crowd is that anyone actually looking for you will have a very hard time picking you out effectively. This changes as you walk inside the familiar tall building, as the lobby is not only much quieter, but far more diverse. Your disguise makes less sense and turns out to be less useful, as it's difficult not to stand out amongst the many different youkai here. You remember the last time you were caught by tengu here... you had the extreme luck of being rescued by none other then Lady Chen last time, but this round might see you less fortunate. You'll need to be on your guard for this, more so then usual. Deciding that the lobby is a very easy place to get spotted in, you quickly move your way through it and into the grand hallway that it leads into.
That's when you look up. You always knew the sheer height of the building was staggering, but now that you've gotten a good look around the foyer, it truly seems taller then it actually is. The center of the hall extends up into what seems like the sky, with all the floors of the building circling the great chasm that the foyer creates. The sun brilliantly lights up the whole building, foyer and all, without ever actually letting any sunlight in. You wonder how it looks when it's night time and the lights are turned on. It must be a stunning display that you wouldn't be able to find anywhere else in Risou. From here as well, you can see that much of the building is decidedly modern looking, a style that makes all the architecture elsewhere in Risou seem archaic. Upon realizing this, immediately one thing comes to mind; the kappa. You heard the tengu and kappa had a wonderful relationship a long time ago, but you guess eventually the two groups parted ways. You know the kappa is the technological front of the Youkai Faction, run by geniuses and amazing engineers, but their intelligence could only go but so far without getting brains from other youkai.
The kappa obviously designed this building, but you wonder why this kind of influence hasn't reached any other part of Risou. Another question you might have to get an answer to right here, which is specifically what you're here for.
The walk back home was, fortunately, uneventful. No rampaging tengu with swords intent on ending your life. No crazed murders that you accidentally took part in. No meteors coming crashing down on your head from the sky in a fit of extreme bad luck.
Sometimes, you wish the latter would happen.
"I'm home!" You shout out to no one in particular. Announcing your return has always been something you got used to doing. Usually, your mother or father come to greet you and welcome you home, but this time they don't. Which you feel is a little odd, causing you to walk around a bit until you happen across your little brother, listening to some music and generally playing with some toys in the living room. "Hey, Kouhei, where's Mom and Dad?" Your brother doesn't even bother looking at you to answer, going on with his toy dolls.
"They went out."
"Went out where?"
"To do what?"
"You're not helping, Kouhei."
"They didn't tell me, Satoko. Stop bugging me."
Ugh, your brother is being unusually cold... maybe you've been too caught up in recent affairs and he feels like you've been ignoring him. Well, for the most part, you have. It's hard to concentrate on what your life actually is when it's been turned upside down and inside out rather effortlessly. Still though, it's probably not healthy to your lifestyle here at home to just be unresponsive like that. You've been making a steady recovery... somewhat, kind of, lightly. Okay, maybe not really, but you feel bad now so you sit down across the table from your brother and watch him do his thing.
The dolls he has are understandably masculine. Certainly nothing girly. Looks like they were made by Alice. Of course, who else, as Alice is very well acquainted with your family, your father most of all, having been taken care of by her for most of his childhood. She very much is like your surrogate grandmother, but you bet you don't feel nearly as strongly about that as Kouhei does. Kouhei never says anything about your real grandparents, but to this day, he still calls Alice 'grandma.' You always wondered how she felt about that, but then you remember that youkai really don't have any sense of 'age' like humans do. Who knows how old Alice is by now. It must be in the hundreds by now, but she barely looks thirty. The weight of the title is probably nothing to her like it would be on you or your mother. Thinking about it, your mother would probably not take being called that very well at all, being sensitive about her age...
"What do you want?" You only just now realize that Kouhei had stopped playing with his dolls suddenly to look at you, noticing your state.
"Huh? Well, isn't it natural for a sister to want to be around his brother?"
"You never play with me anymore, so that doesn't count."
"Eh, so what if I wanted to play with you now?"
"I don't want to play with you."
Ouch. Stupid rebellious stage. If you hadn't had it yourself, you'd be scolding him right now. Okay Satoko, different course of action, what to do here...
>Ask him what he's doing >Ask him about his school life >Ask him what he thinks about youkai >Take his dolls
"... hey Kouhei. What do you think of youkai?" Kouhei seems to look at you with a mixture of surprise and confusion. You don't blame him. It's an unusually serious question for you to pose him, a small child. You don't really expect much of an answer, but he looks down at the table he'd been playing at and gives you one nonetheless.
"They're... alright, I guess."
"Well... all the youkai in my school are mean and always causing trouble. They never get good grades either."
"I see... I guess they don't really like school, huh?" Your little brother suddenly looks a little perplexed as he thinks about it.
"... but they always say bad things about us humans. Like we're dead meat, or that we're so stupid that we need school when they don't. They also say that we're a sickness to the world..." Kouhei then looks back up at you, an obvioualy pained expression on his face. "Satoko, are we really that bad?"
That... that isn't a question for you to answer. It's far too difficult. You know what your parents would say, but you? You're not sure anymore. As long as humans and youkai refuse to coexist like that, everyone may as well be a sickness to the world. It's agonizing to know that your brother, someone you truly care about, has been bullied by youkai like that. What's more, he isn't the only one. Why do youkai harbor such a deep hatred for humans? Is it because humans hate them back? Isn't the cause of one the cause of the other? Ugh, you want to fix this, but if your grandparents couldn't, then...
"... if we are, then they are too. We can't accept them until they accept us, and visa versa. So if we're bad, they just as bad."
"Yeah. I've been working on it so far, I can't give up now."
Such a childish, foolish thing for you to say. But it's fitting considering who you're saying it to. You know you couldn't truly fix everything, but if there's one thing you can fix, it's how your family feels... you won't let things like that continue as they are. Even if it's the slightest change, you're hoping that someday, it'll make a difference...
Here it is, the building directory. This should tell you a few things about the Faction Headquarters. You'll be able to know the choices you have while you're here. Seeing Lady Chen is a nigh impossibility right now, you're going to assume. but that's okay. Plenty of other people here have power and information too. All it takes is one simple step.
The military quarters appear to be stationed behind the main building. Makes sense. It'd be a short walk from here, as long as you go through the rear entrance. As far as information goes, you're going to wager that it's rich in it, but convincing someone to talk will be difficult. Military personnel are always tight lipped no matter where you go, you learned this being with the tengu for so long. Still though, there must be someone trustworthy amongst the ranks of the Youkai Faction's elite troops.
The legal department is situated on the floor right above you. Funny how they're the closest to ground level. Much like the military, you're willing to bet that they have all the secrets and are happy enough keeping them that way. There's far less chance you'll see someone trustworthy here, though. But if such a person does exist, they'll have much greater control over the politics surrounding this situation then anyone in the military feasibly would. What matters in Risou right now is political power, although brute force comes a close second. Everyone is too afraid to use it though for fear of an awful war breaking out. No one, not even the tengu, would want that.
The logistics department is on the next floor. You're not sure if anyone would really be useful on any front here. But they might know people that would be. The kind of youkai that litter this floor are known to be a little seedy though, so you might have to take risks if you ask anyone milling about here. Given the way things have been lately, finding someone you can trust here would be like finding a needle in a haystack. Sure, they'll tell you everything you want to hear, but whether or not it's true is a different matter altogether.
Looks like the statistical department is the last floor available to a civilian like you. All the others are reserved for staff members and personnel. There are people on this floor that would definitely know something, but probably not of much use to you. It'd sure as hell be the easiest place to get information, as all the statistics presented here are open to the public. Classified statistics seem to be kept elsewhere on the building. You might not even have to talk to anyone to get some information here, since they allow the public to look through files and records themselves. That fact alone would make you feel safer, since no one would be able to point out that it's you, the wanted wolf tengu for murdering the Hakurei Shrine Maiden, supposedly...
Seems like the kappa are stationed below ground, in a basement floor. In fact, the only basement floor available to the public is the kappa front desk. Kind of strange. You wonder how the kappa feel about the tengu now. How far they've advanced. There's a lot of questions you could ask them, but realistically, none of them would produce any answers productive to your current mission here. But you never know, these guys might be a quiet bunch, but they are highly trusted in the faction. Possibly for that reason. They might know something, and if they do, as long as you came clean with them, they would tell you. You could definitely find someone very, very trust worthy here.
Now that you know how the building is more or less laid out, you guess you should make a choice.
>Military Quarters >Legal Department >Logistics Department >Statistical Department >Kappa Front Desk
I wonder if this is where Shou is as I think she'd know more about the root of the discord than anyone else shown. I'd like to find out also how a temple made to promote co-existence wound up run by purely humans.
And I hope Satoko's efforts to fix things go far better than her grandfather's as I don't think Gensokyo could withstand another screw up like that.
The military quarters sounds like the most logical conclusion. People there have to know something, and having been a part of the tengu camp, you feel that you know what it's like for them. You might be wrong, but you certainly have a better chance of relating to anyone there then anywhere else open to you. Looking past the directory, you see the hall leading out to an open exit out back, and make your way towards it. Heading out the doors, you're treated to a sight that's not unlike what you got used to at the tengu camp; training fields, barracks and warehouses every which direction. The feeling is nostalgic, but also nauseating. You immediately start remembering all the abuse you took at the camp, and why you left in the first place. You better get what you need to get done here quickly, before you find yourself losing your lunch in a hurry.
After a bit of looking though, you find yourself lacking in luck, realizing that the quarters appear to be dead, either because it's break time or today is not a day for them to be active. You want to disbelieve this, knowing how rigid training for something like this can be, but without going into any buildings, you can't seem to find anyone, not even people walking from one place to another or just milling about. Eventually though, you do stumble across something. What appears to be a woman with blonde, striped short hair and a ripped body on display thanks to the white tank top she wears appears to be giving a pack of recruits some training. Looks like they're all doing push ups right now. The woman is working just as hard as they are, strictly enforcing the push ups all be synchronized and quick, not allowing even the slightest mistake. Shouting, pacing back and forth, making herself known to be the boss. The recruits themselves appear to be... feline youkai? Maybe you better stand back for now...
Sitting behind a tree, you watch the cruel training regimine take it's toll on the recruits, with the instructor completely unrelenting, truly formidable and absolutely terrifying. You almost want to believe that the tengu camp instructors were more lenient then she is. The way she lays into the recruits is frightening, and would definitely force you to go over your own limits just to keep yourself from being brutally punished in whatever way this woman would deem fit to punish you with. The more you watch, the less it seems like training and the more it looks like slavery. Of course, this is just how youkai do it most likely. You can't even guess at the strength all these recruits must really have. Despite their slender frames, they all might be able to lift buildings. Really scary, when you think about it. That they would be in training still even after being able to accomplish something like that. You almost wish you stayed in training for such a noble cause, but then you remember that the tengu are anything but noble.
Eventually though, the instructor excuses all the recruits. She sits down at a nearby bench, wiping her own sweat off as eventually, all the recruits scatter to do their own thing. The instructor is alone now. This would be your chance. It's too bad that watching that has made you stiff. Your knees won't move, simply because of the fear that training session struck into you. It's very embarrassing, but while a part of you wanted to be a part of that trainings, you are just too afraid of what punishments await you should you not meet expectations. The thought is absolutely horrifying, that even if you knew you wouldn't be receiving any punishments like that just by talking with her, just having her address you would...
"Excuse me! Sir!" After nearly jumping out of your skin, you realize that the woman had noticed your presence and is now calling out to you. "If you need something, come over here and ask for it!"
Well, you guess you have to now.
You approach the instructor, trying to get over your emotional trauma brought on by your time at the camp. You can't help but feel that while it was routine for you to be beat up all the time and you dealt with it when it was happening, after tasting what life is like without such rigorous punishments, going back to it seems like it would kill you outright. The closer you get to the woman though, the less visibly frightened you get. Maybe it's because you know that showing fear to an instructor, even if it's not your own, would quickly get you your tail handed to you, but you're also coming to a realization that there's really no reason to be scared in the first place. As terrifying as the woman was acting when she was training the recruits earlier, the way she looks now is decidedly casual.
"H-H-Hi." You clear your throat as you realize the fear and not talking for a while has made speaking a little difficult. The woman just tilts her head a bit though, she seems to be a little puzzled about your current state.
"Are you okay, Sir?"
"Y-Yes, ma'am!" It was purely by reflex, just knowing the way she drills her recruits is enough to put you in their place subconsciously. This makes the woman laugh a bit though and then sit back up, leaning over to give your head a playful rub.
"Relax, I'm not going to shout at you like I did them. They're lazy so if no one tells them how it is, they won't do anything. So what about you? I noticed you were watching us for a while."
"I-I'm sorry. I just wanted to ask a few questions, i-is all."
"What kind of questions?" You look down at the ground briefly, trying to remember what it is you came here for. You got really caught up remembering your time at the camp. While it seems very silly now, it's scattered your mind a bit.
"Uhh... oh, i-is it true that the city is being terrorized by a tailless white wolf tengu?" The woman seems a little hesitant to answer you at first. Seems like it might be sensitive information to the faction, which isn't good. Not for you, anyways.
"... well, yeah. You heard about it on the news, right?" You give a quick nod before going on.
"Yes. Do you know anything about him...?"
"His name's Souya Inubashiri, he escaped from the tengu facilities a few weeks ago and went rogue, but otherwise, no, not really."
You wonder if you truly expected anything more. You knew that sensitive information geared towards your so-called brother wouldn't just be openly available. You're going to have to use some equivalent exchange to get this to work, you feel. Trade some sensitive information of your own. It's certainly risky, but hopefully you can trust this woman.
"... can you keep a secret then?" Another brief hesitation, but it seems to be because the instructor doesn't know what to expect now.
"Huh... sure, I guess."
"Then can we go inside somewhere?" The woman looks behind herself at the building she's sitting in front of before standing up.
"This barrack should be empty." You give a short nod to the instructor before following her inside.
The barracks are very simply furnished, possibly even more so then where you stayed at the tengu camp. Just lines of beds stretching from one end to the other on each wall. Barely even any sheets on them either. This distraction lasts very briefly as the woman sits down on one of the beds and confronts you.
"Alright. Tell me your secret then, kid. What do you know?" You realize it's now or never. Revealing yourself is the only way anyone will get farther into this mystery until your brother is caught. You hope that this woman is trustworthy enough to not apprehend you right away, but with the casual way she talks, it might just be the case. You go ahead and remove the hood from your head, and look at the instructor with your wolf ears bared.
"I'm actually Souya... the white wolf that murdered the Hakurei Shrine Maiden is actually my brother."
As expected, the woman seems a little shocked. Not a whole lot though, certainly less then you anticipated, but as would be expected of someone with a decently high ranking in the military, she keeps her cool and starts interrogating you.
"... alright then. How do you know this?"
"He was chasing down a girl that witnessed him doing it." You open your mouth to say what he told you before that, but you decide that would be a bad idea really quickly. You don't even intend on telling her who Satoko is, so telling her what she herself did would be counter productive. You can't even believe it personally anyways. "I was with this girl at the time and he told me about it... he looked almost exactly like me. He told me he was my brother, even though I thought I was an only child." The instructor before you seems to be processing this information for a bit, looking at you like she were analyzing you for weakness. Like you did with Lady Chen, you keep a straight face and don't falter, to let this youkai know you're telling the truth.
"Okay. So who's this girl then?" You were afraid of this question. You would avoid it, but your attempt to avoid it would be easily seen and she'd mark you as being suspicious. There isn't any fail proof way around it.
"... a human girl I know. She was a friend of the shrine maiden there. But..." You shake your head, ridding yourself of what your supposed brother said. There's no way. You're not telling her that. You couldn't tell anyone that. Because you simply cannot believe it. "She's really sensitive about it, and I don't really want to drag her into anymore trouble..."
"But is she saw what happened, then we need to confirm it with her and get every detail about what happened." While the instructor makes a good point, you don't relent. You don't even know what actually happened there. You never bothered asking; why would you? You imagine that's the last thing Satoko wants to be questioned about, whether or not she had a hand in it.
"I'm sorry. But please trust me on this. I don't want her to be sad, scared or taken away. I just want to know more about my brother..." You seem to get a rather confused look from the woman before you for a few moments before she sighs, looking at you a little sympathetically.
"I guess you really care for her, huh? Really strange, seeing a youkai care for a human like a human would." For a brief moment, and only a brief one, the mighty youkai looks up with a strangely wistful expression. "I knew someone like that before..." As if it never occurred, the instructor turns her attention back to you with a calm look on her face. "Alright. Even if it's not as much as I would like, your info's still useful. I'll go ask someone with knowledge about your brother. Maybe it'll turn up something more useful." You give a quick bow to the woman, showing your appreciation.
"Th-Thank you very much! I really appreciate it. E-Even if I don't get to know anymore about it personally... at least I've helped. I don't want this to go on any longer then it should."
"Don't worry about it. We'll get it solved soon enough." The woman then stands up, stretching. "If that's it, you're free to go. I have some duties to perform."
"Alright. Thanks again."
As you leave the headquarters later though, you realize that you really haven't gotten anywhere yourself personally. You decide to walk back to Alice's quickly. You think you've had enough excitement for one day. Learning more about this situation can wait. At least you feel you've possibly made a difference... if only you knew.
Not even half way into the thread... it's pretty much just me and one other person posting here.
I'm getting kind of tired of that honestly. I like writing but if I wouldn't be posting here if I was writing for writing's sake. I wouldn't need to since I store what I write locally now, posting here is an unnecessary step.
I'm ready to end this story now. I'll start writing it piece by piece and post my progress as it goes on tomorrow or the next day. Originally, I wanted to have a lot more interaction between Souya and Satoko, and maybe write in a few other characters, but since none of that is really thought through right now and all of one person is reading this story anyways, it doesn't feel like it'd be very productive to try and write that out, especially when I have another story that I'd rather be writing now.
The ending is a little long, so this isn't the last vote the story will want (but it's the last one it /needs/) but apart from that, thanks for sticking with me to the end of this wayward experiment.
>>10029 Sorry to hear that, but to be honest finding out that Satoshi's efforts in Momiji's visit played a small role in things becoming so messed up in Gensokyo is a hard pill for some to swallow, especially when the ending to that seemed pretty bright.
That and some of the previous votes are what I would say, directionless or valueless (wasting time at the graveyard)
I'm not sure if I'm the one poster but I'm going to see this to the end.
>>10029 Yeah, sorry to hear this. I did vote when I could, but I haven't been really all that enthusiastic about this story lately as I was when it started. Things just kept getting bleaker and bleaker. It looked like Momizi died, Satoshi and Rin ran off somewhere, the Kirisame line basically died out, and the Tengu turned into the mafia. Most of the characters from the first story either disappeared or became utterly apathetic. Then Satoko somehow killed her best friend.
The whole time we were left in the dark without any answers at all. No one in-story wanted to talk about it. It felt slow. The interactions between Souya and Satoko felt stale for a long time. This was probably due to the votes, but regardless, many of those scenes where hard to get through. It was getting better lately, but I think by then it was too late.
And I hate to keep hitting you over the head with this, but that feeling was amplified from the lack of a solid update schedule too. It got to the point where if I saw that this story was bumped, I'd essentially ignore it and wait for updates to build up. I'm a terrible reader, I know.
I do not blame you for thinking about my update schedule that way. I'm trying very hard to change it now. Even if it might be a little late.
I also don't blame you for not liking the story interaction, though some characters I wanted to put in just never got the chance (votes chose to avoid them or never really found the time to fit in) and I was intending on wrapping a lot of things up with the ending. I'm sad that the interactions between Souya and Satoko weren't great but, eh, cest la vie. I can only blame my poor writing on that.
The ending is something I've been waiting for a long time to do though, honestly. My eagerness to write is really half the reason why I rushed the story half way in. I'd like to think that people will really enjoy the ending. Especially people who've followed Orin's and Momizi's Little Visits
>>10029 Man, now I feel bad for not recommending your story at the Recommendations thread, just because I want to keep this story to myself.
Well, I hope the story will have a nice ending.
>>10036 Well, my feeling about the bleakness of this story is basically the opposite. I prefer stories that have a darker take on the human-youkai relationship in Gensokyo rather than the usual lighthearted ones, so I have no problem with it.
>>10044 The issue isn't the vibe but the vicious 180 from the ending of the previous story. That and the implication the previous MC almost reached the MiGanon level of "MC that did the most damage to Gensokyo"
>>10041 if you want to have something, don't leave it to a vote where Anon might choose teh shiny useless thing over it.
Part 1Sukima!g/OFHYXEWQ2012/07/23 (Mon) 01:57No. 10060▼
It's been about a week since you last saw your 'brother.' Found yourself fighting him to the death in that empty, dark street before he slipped away from your grasp. You haven't heard anything since. You knew it was only a matter of time though. That whatever plan he was concocting would be sprung into action. He wouldn't have killed the shrine maiden without a reason... or a follow up.
"I'm gonna visit the Moriya Shrine really quick, is that okay Alice?"
"Be careful out there. It's late at night. Who knows what might be lurking in the shadows."
"I think I'll be fine."
The relationship between you and Alice feels so casual now. Like you've been in her care for years. You're truly grateful to Satoko for introducing you to her. You're going to have to think of something extra special to do for her the next time you see her.
Once you got to the Moriya Shrine, you were no longer sure when that would be.
Your friend's name is the first thing you shout out upon turning the corner and confirming what you feared as you saw the red light in the distance as you were walking towards it. The entire shrine is ablaze. Burning to cinders. The Moriya shrine maiden is nowhere to be found. Neither are any of it's usual inhabitants. You wade through the rubble as it burns, nearly catching fire yourself, until you spy the battered body of the Moriya Shrine Maiden sitting against a tree near the back of the shrine. You fear the worst as you freeze up, looking at her, but soon get a grip over yourself and immediately rush to her aid. After a little shaking, she seems to come to, albeit rather weakly.
"Someone... who looked like you, came by... did this..." Amaya's voice is weak. Understandable, as her whole body is bruised and cut up mercilessly. Blood is everywhere. You can really feel the panic setting in. You fear that even though she's alive now, any help would not come in time.
"A-A-Amaya! Save your strength please!" With a tender, weak smile, the shrine maiden confirms your worst fear.
"It's... too late, Souya..."
"N-No! It can't be! Please, don't-"
"I'm passing... now..." Argh! Where the hell are the Moriya gods during times like this?!
"Amaya!! No, stay with me!"
"Thank you... take... care..."
The shrine maiden can no longer hold her eyes open, and soon, falls limp, drawing her last breath. Try as you might, no matter how hard you shake her, no matter how loudly you scream, no matter how much you cry, she doesn't come back.
This makes the second shrine maiden your brother has murdered.
This must stop.
This can't go unpunished.
With a deep rage and uneasiness settling inside you, you get up and run. Run away. You leave behind the shrine and immediately make tracks towards Alice's shop. Your sword is there. With that one tool, you will put a stop to this once and for all. Even if it kills you. You've stopped caring. You've realized that you can't protect everyone by just sitting here anymore. You have to act, or more will die. More death...
"Souya, what is wrong with you?!"
This is the first thing you hear as you grab your sword. Although it's really the only thing that's actually registered with you since you left the Moriya Shrine. Everything since then has been a blur. From you running back to the shop, to bursting in unannounced, you likely ignored Alice up until now too, but it's only when she grabs your shoulder sternly that you're forced react.
"I'm going to kill him!"
"Who?! Your brother?! Don't be absurd!"
"Shut up!" You try to break free of Alice, but the moment she realizes you're trying to get away, she grabs you more tightly.
"Don't you tell me to shut up! Who kept you here in hiding up until now?!
"You don't have to do that anymore! I'm leaving!"
"What do you think Satoko is going to feel about this?!"
Satoko, it's always about Satoko. You realize now that Alice hasn't really been friendly with you because she wants to be, it's because she cares about Satoko. Much like you do. Feelings like that are precisely why you're going out to do this.
"If I don't, then she might die!"
"And what about you?!"
"Let go of me!!"
You finally wrestle yourself from Alice's grasp and head downstairs with the puppeteer in hot pursuit. You don't intend on letting her catch you though, as you rush towards the do-
"Open up!" You freeze in your tracks as you hear a deep, menacing voice from behind the front door. "We know he's in there!"
It couldn't be... that's clearly the voice of a daitengu. A higher ranked one, no less. But how did they know you were here? Did they see you? In this darkness?
You hear the burly hand of the tengu beat on the door a few times, nearly knocking it in before the big lug gets the bright idea to try and twist the door handle...
"Souya!" Alice sounds as she quickly unleashes her finesse as a puppeteer, flooring the doorway with an insurmountable amount of controlled dolls, all of whom somehow keep the door shut. Judging by the way Alice is struggling with the strings though, it doesn't look easy. "Go! There's a back exit on the second floor!"
Wait, is she...?
"But what about-"
"I'll be fine! Just go!"
The way Alice looked at you, the serious, stern and pained expression on her face, you couldn't not follow her orders. As you turn your back regretfully and head back upstairs, you frantically search the second floor for some sort of exit. Sure enough, a window that leads out onto a neighboring roof is located at the end of the hall. You're not sure if this is what she meant, but you'll take anything right now. Just to get away from the tengu. You can handle jumping down a flight anyways.
What started all this? Why did this happen? Where are things going to go from how? How did things get to this point? So many questions run through your panicked mind as you run through the dark streets blindly, hoping that somehow, someway, things will be alright. Your destination for right now is the only place of solace you have left...
You close the door to your room and sigh. It's been a really long day today. You had to yell your good nights to your mother from upstairs as you had just gotten out of the shower. You cannot wait to get into bed and sleep forever. At least, you'd like to sleep forever, but you know you won't get the chance to, even if it's a weekend right now. Relieving yourself of your towel, feeling adequately dry now, all that's left is to put on your night wear and collapse into bed. Nothing could be sweeter then that right now. Just having to do absolutely nothing else and sleep the night away.
Of course, life wouldn't just make things easy and simple like that. Not at all. This is what you think when you hear a tell tale knocking at your window, and a familiar voice from behind it.
"Satoko? Can I come in?"
Thank the lucky stars you keep your curtains closed. You think the last thing you'd want to end the day on is Souya seeing you naked. If you had any slight fear at all that you had left your curtains open, you'd have frozen up on the spot and died right there. Thankfully, you know better then that.
"In a minute...!"
Okay, first thing's first, making yourself proper. You would have liked a little time to pick out something comfy to sleep in but you don't get that luxury tonight it seems. You just whip out a the nearest pair of underwear and quickly get them on, then take the first nightgown out of your dresser. Thankfully it's a modest one. Giving Souya a show isn't on your mind right now when he's really inconveniencing you. At least last time you didn't have a choice.
You go ahead and walk up to your window after making sure you're not looking totally embarrassing. With a few quick movements, you open the curtains and slide open the window, there you see Souya kneeling on the window sill, staring up at the moon. After you open the window, he turns his head to look at you, and a faint breeze blows in.
You could swear that this scene is straight out of a sappy romance novel you once read. Especially with the impressive balance Souya has on your window sill. It's almost embarrassingly cliche, and had it been any other strapping man and not Souya, you might have actually blushed.
"Why are you here?" This is instead the first thing you say to Souya.
"I'm really sorry." Souya apologizes to you as he hops inside and you close the window and curtains back up. "But something really bad just happened."
"What could have possibly happened?"
"The tengu found me at Alice's..."
Well, okay, that is really bad.
"I don't even know how they did, but they were banging on Alice's door, and then she told me to leave through the back, so I did but... now I'm really worried about her." It finally came to this then... the tengu discovered Souya at Alice's. You want to chastise him for allowing such a blunder to happen, but the same thing gripping Souya starts gripping you. What became of Alice? Would she really be alright facing off against the tengu of all people? What of her shop? What of her...?
You quickly shake your head after thinking about it too much. If there's one thing you learned when you were attacked at Sango's, it's that you must have faith, or otherwise the fear will control you. "She'll be fine. She's Alice, after all." Souya seems to look at you a little puzzled.
"She's... Alice?" You nod to affirm him.
"Yeah. Because she's Alice, she can get herself out of everything. Trust me. I know her."
"But, those were..."
"I know her, Souya. And I have faith in her. Won't you have faith in her too?" After being told this, Souya seems to relent, after a few moments of surprise.
"... y-yeah. I will. Thank you."
With a short sigh, you fall onto your bed, sitting down while leaning back a bit. You're really tired. It's taking a lot of effort to not just lie down and fall right asleep. But you'd have immense difficulty actually doing so once you did lie down because of Souya's presence. Well, less his actual presence and more the feeling of anxiety he brought in with him with the news of Alice. He looks really shaken up. He also seems rather... jumpy. Like he's about to fly right back out the window at any moment. It makes you a little nervous yourself, honestly.
"... s-so, can I stay here the night?" Souya seems to ask you after some thinking. He sounds like he has a lot on his mind. You're not sure if you really want to hear about any of it either, but after all you've done for him and all he's done for you, kicking him out would just make you feel bad.
"Yeah, I guess. Lock the door, I don't want my parents coming in and finding out that I'm hiding a boy in my room." Even disregarding the fact that Souya's a youkai, this situation has misunderstanding written all over it. You can't imagine how your parents would take this. You don't think reasoning would have any effect at that point.
"Alright. Thank you so much, Satoko."
As Souya locks the door, you still realize that while no one else will be able to misunderstand the situation as long as they can't come into your room, you're afraid that Souya himself might. You have to lay down some ground rules, since it is your room.
"Okay, first thing's first, you're sleeping on the floor."
"And no touching my stuff."
"No breathing my air either."
Okay, he can't be listening. You're not sure if this is pitiable or pathetic. Maybe both.
"Souya. Pay attention to me when I'm talking to you."
"H-Huh?" The wolf boy seems to snap out of his daze to look at you before realizing he's doing something bad and looks back at the floor again. "S-Sorry..."
Ugh, somehow this is more awkward then if he did misunderstand the situation. Well, if he's gonna act like this, mistaking the situation is probably the last thing he'll do anyways, so you may as well throw the poor dog a bone.
"Well, I guess you can look around if you want to, just keep yourself occupied until you want to go to sleep, okay?"
Honestly, I've been lurking this story since it started. Think I voted once or twice, but other then that I personally feel its better to just read the story instead of take part in it. which is stupid because CYOA hurr
Part 2Sukima!g/OFHYXEWQ2012/07/23 (Mon) 11:06No. 10065▼
No matter how hard you try, you can't seem to get your mind off it. Alice, your brother, Amaya... it's left you in such a sorry state that you can't tell one direction from the other anymore. You're trying to distract yourself by looking around Satoko's room and not getting on her nerves, but it's hard. The worst part about it is that you've abandoned your previous plan to get revenge on your brother. Who knows where he is by now. You're a sad, pathetic excuse for a white wolf, and it shows. You wonder why Satoko still places sympathy on you, up until you remember that she's human. It's only natural. You don't even know why you're friends with a human. Humans and youkai can't coexist... what was even the point of Risou? Of Gensokyo? Of everything...
"Y-Yeah?" You turn back to Satoko as she tries to get your attention again. She had just been watching you look around her room like some watchman eager to catch you doing something wrong. She looks worried, however. Well, about as worried as she could possibly look anyways.
"Uhh, well maybe you should sleep it off?" You just shake your head, and resume looking around her room.
Truth be told, you're not actually paying any attention to what you're looking at. How could you? Your mind is scattered and all over the place right now. There's no way you could distract yourself from this. Everything has come crashing down on you at the last moment and...
Hold on. Something somehow manages to catch your eye. Bring you out of your daze. It happens when you cross Satoko's dresser, and notice a peculiar picture.
"... hey Satoko. Who are the people in this picture?" Satoko seems to get up as you pick the picture up and stand beside you to get a good look at it herself. In the picture looks to be an ordinary human male, standing in between a red haired feline youkai... and a white wolf tengu.
"Oh, them? Those are my grandparents with their pet."
"... pet?" Satoko seems to catch on to how potentially offensive that could be to you before deciding to reward her statement.
"Uh, I-I mean she just lived with them like a housemate. I don't really know much about her apart from that, sorry..." She seems to have caught on quickly enough that you were more interested in the white wolf in the picture then her grandparents, making her more observant then you give her credit for.
"I see... so your parents were born from a youkai..."
"Well, my dad was. But he turned out human, even though my grandfather turned himself youkai after a while, so that he could live longer with my grandmother." You can definitely see the resemblance. Not only does she have her hair, but the face is unmistakeably the same too. If Satoko braided her hair and put on cat ears, she'd look the spitting image of her grandmother.
... this doesn't really interest you at all though. Not right now. Your mind is too cloudy to think of other people like that. You just want to know more about this white wolf tengu. Maybe you'll feel more comfortable with Satoko knowing that she was more related to the white wolves then you thought she was. "So what do you know about the white wolf in here?"
"My dad hasn't really said much about her... from what Alice told me though, I think her name was... Momiji?"
Mo... Momiji... white wolf...
... it couldn't be.
There's no way. It can't be. This can't be right. Not at all. No, it just... how could it...
"... was... your grandmother... a kasha?"
"Huh? Yeah, she was actually... why? How did you-"
It happened in an instant. At the most unsuspecting time too. You were afraid that Souya might snap, but not like this. He was just asking questions and you were answering them to the best of your ability, the next thing you know, you have the wind knocked out of you. Before your senses can grasp what is about to happen next, you're grabbed by Souya and pinned to the floor helplessly under the much stronger youkai. When your senses have finally recovered from being shaken, you find the white wolf above you, looking down at you like you were the scum of the earth.
Maybe you are.
"Why?! Tell me!!"
"T-Tell you what?!"
"Why did she do that?!"
"I don't know what you're talking about Souya! Get off me-" The moment you struggle, Souya just forces you into the floor harder, causing you to yelp out before you realize that resisting is useless. You truly feel weak. Weak and helpless. Like a human against a youkai would. This is the truth of the world. You've come to realize it in a very harsh way.
"No!! You knew didn't you?!"
"Kn-... Knew what?"
"That 'pet' is my god damn mother!!!"
"Momiji! Momiji Inubashiri!! And your stupid grandmother took her away from me!!!"
The more and more Souya shouts in your face, the smaller and weaker you feel. You want to cry, but you're honestly too scared to even do that. You're so weak and vulnerable right now. You wonder what he's going to do. Beat you? Rape you? Kill you? He's a youkai. He could do anything he wants to you. You would have no control over it as well. You're just too weak. Because you're human. In the end, this is the way it will always be, with humans underfoot. Always.
"... I... I didn't know..."
"I-It's true! I don't even know where my grandmother is! I've never seen-"
"Shut up!" You can't help but close your eyes when Souya yells at you again. You can feel it. It's coming. He's going to hurt you. He won't stop. He's too angry to stop. He just...
... won't... do anything?
You open your eyes when you feel something warm drip into your cheek. You see Souya still above you, with a different expression on his face. Most importantly though, tears are falling from his cheek and onto yours.
You think you know that look on his face. He wants to hurt you. He's so angry. But he just can't bring himself to do it. He simply won't allow himself to harm you.
"Why did... you..."
You're not in a right state of mind right now. Your mind is panicking but your body is limp. You can't will yourself to resist at all. Your body fears the retribution that would come should it try to go against the mighty youkai on top of you. With your mind as scattered and chaotic as it is right now, the only option it finds is to shut down.
"Souya... just..." But it cannot self terminate. "Do... as you wish."
You close your eyes, rest your body, and accept your fate. You realize there is nothing that can be done. If guilt free revenge is what Souya wants, you may as well give it to him.
Nothing happens though.
Soon, the weight is lifted off your body. You open your eyes just in time to see Souya opening the window and heaving himself onto the sill.
"I have to go. I'm sorry."
This is all you hear him say before he vanishes into the night.
For some stupid reason, you find yourself rushing to the window. Thinking that you could stop him. You don't even know why you want to stop him. You just do.
You don't bother calling out though. You've realized it's too late well before you even reach the window. But you look it anyways.
The moon... is very bright.
... surely, Souya will find his way. Somewhere.
You just wish you tear your heart out right now. Because it no longer knows what it wants. Souya ignited a huge rush of emotions inside you with all the outburst he laid upon you.
But why...? Why do you care so much?
Ugh, why do emotions have to be so confusing...?
You just don't understand. You don't think you ever will.
Next update might take a little longer then a day.
Part 3Sukima!g/OFHYXEWQ2012/07/24 (Tue) 09:26No. 10077▼
You can't believe you did that. You almost went crazy. Insane. Completely out of it. You would have hurt her... if you hadn't realized what you were about to do.
You went to Myouren Street and slept there, under cover of one of the stands that had been abandoned. You didn't think much of anything while you were sleeping. Or trying to sleep, at least. You just wanted the day to end before anything worse could possibly happen. You just wanted to disappear. Completely.
The next day comes. It's still early morning. It's foggy. Very foggy. You can barely see your own hand in front of your face. This is good. Means you won't be spotted quite as easily. Though it's not like you really care anymore. You only care for one reason now.
As you walk through the cloudy streets of Risou, you reflect on the past incidents that have happened.
First of all, your mother's grave was looted. You were angry, upset and depressed when you found out. You swore that you would take revenge on the person that took your mother's body from her resting place and desecrated it. Well, you know who the likely culprit is now. Of all people though, to be related to Satoko... you never would have figured it out had she not practically outright told you. The correlation is just too coincidental. It has to be her. But what will you do? Would you take revenge on a relative of Satoko's? Doing so would be akin to shedding Satoko's own blood, of whom you supposedly dedicated your whole life to now after she saved you from the tengu camp. Although, who are you kidding, after what you did just to her, that pact is likely null and void now. How could she ever want you back by her side?
Speaking of the tengu camp, you escaped from there and went into hiding. The tengu tried very hard to find you. They were out for your blood. To make sure there would be no traitor amongst the white wolves ever again. They wanted to prove that traitors are never let off easy. That your mother would be the final instance of such. You were saved by Lady Chen the first time they saw you, and Alice sacrificed her shop to get you out of harm's way the second time. You're downright afraid to check there now. You don't want to see what kind of destruction the tengu had laid upon it. You would rather die before you see what your sin had brought things to like that. You can only hope that Alice got out of there alright, but being the tengu, it's highly unlikely. Satoko couldn't possibly know what Alice was getting herself into, going against the only people who could stand toe to toe against the Hakurei Shrine Maiden herself.
The shrine maiden... yes, she was murdered. By a tengu, no less. As Lady Chen hypothesized. However, it wasn't the kind of tengu you were expecting. A lone white wolf tengu that lacked a tail had assassinated her, all by himself somehow. He called you his brother. You thought you were an only child. You can't be sure if anyone truly knew or if they just hid it from you. You want to find out, but you've been too afraid to go back to the Youkai Faction Headquarters and meet back up with that woman you met at the military quarters. There's not even a guarantee that she found anything out either, so if your trip was for naught, then you'd just be risking yourself unnecessarily. There's certainly no reason to go back now, as they've probably got their hands full dealing with not one but two shrine maiden murders now, one of whom was closely tied to the faction.
The second shrine maiden... Amaya. You don't understand why that came to be. Why did your brother murder her? What kind of plan is he setting in motion? You didn't visit Amaya often but she was the human you felt closest to... and now she's gone. Dead. Because your brother has gone out of control. You want to kill him. It's blasphemy, thinking of spilling your own kin's blood, but he needs to be stopped. You think there is no reasoning with him anymore. You don't even know how he did it, killing two of the land's most prominent shrine maidens so easily. Why weren't the gods there to prevent it? What happened to them? Do you even stand a chance against your brother if he can defy even the gods? One thing's for sure, you will meet your end at your brother. Even should you defeat him, you will end your own life after taking his, to ensure that you pay back your debts and redeem yourself of your sins.
To that end, you must find your brother. You don't know where he is, but you will find him eventually. If not, he'll find you. The first place you think of going... for some reason, is the tengu camp. You don't know why, but something is compelling you to go back there.
Maybe you will... greet the tengu, while you are there.
You wake up. Another day, another time. You had absolutely abysmal sleep, but that is to be expected when you found yourself on death's door introduced to you by none other then Souya himself. Your mind is rather blank now. You prefer not to think of anything. You just want life to be the way it used to be before you met him. Everything changed when he saved you from that youkai on the street. You were thankful, but had you known it would have eventually lead to this, you would have rather been beat up and raped mercilessly instead. The swirling torment of emotions is a worse punishment then you could ever truly bear.
It's foggy outside. Every bit as foggy as your head, incidentally. Maybe no one will see you looking so grim as a result when you go outside. If you feel like going outside anyways. Maybe it'd be best if you just stayed in all day.
As sit at the table to have breakfast, no one comments on your sorry state. Nor do they ask what happened last night. You hardly believe you have walls thick enough to contain the screams of anguish Souya threw at you but you're not about to point it out. Still though, your family acts as if you look just fine. Maybe you don't look so bad after all. Maybe they'd just gotten so used to seeing you like this that it's normal to them now. If the latter, you better hurry up and eat your breakfast so that you can get to killing yourself sooner.
As you're reluctantly chowing down on the breakfast served to you though, your father turns on the radio... to static.
"Huh, that's weird. The morning news isn't on?"
"Maybe they're having trouble with the signal. It's really foggy, after all." Your father doesn't seem satisfied with your mother's response though.
"No, I've gotten it to work under worse conditions... maybe they changed the channel."
"The tengu changing the channel? They fought really hard for that one though. They're too hard headed to give it up."
"Yeah, you're right. Maybe it's down for maintenance or something. Weird though, they never said anything about it."
The tengu radio station is down... at this time of day? When everyone would normally be tuning in?
... no way.
"... I need to go!"
You can't think for a single second that this isn't related to him in some way.
Souya... what are you doing?
Part 4Sukima!g/OFHYXEWQ2012/07/26 (Thu) 10:47No. 10091▼
Ugh... you can't believe it. How did he do this?
The entire tengu camp.. leveled to the ground. Nothing left of it exists, apart from the occasion rubble and debris. In the deep fog, you can't even tell if there's really anything still standing. The fences were all torn down though, and any buildings you'd recognize were disintegrated. By what though? You can guess that your brother had a part in this, being the only eprson so far with the power to destroy like this in such a destructive manner. But how, is what you want to know. He's capable of such impressively catastrophic feats, even though he's just a white wolf tengu. White wolves have incredible physical strength but for one person, all that he's done shouldn't be possible. You'll find out soon enough though. This was done recently, you feel. Even if it wasn't, it's likely he was staying here over night. The tengu were just at Alice's last night, so this must have happened sometime between then and now.
"Brother!! I've come for you!!!"
You shout to the air. The sky. The immense fog. To reach your sinful brother and end this farce once and for all.
Eventually, he answers your call, emerging through the fog with a blood stained blade in his hand, looking no different from the last time you met him otherwise.
"You came. I didn't think you had it in you." You don't want to talk to this... thing. This being. That claims that it is a white wolf but is something far more sinister and undeserving of this earth. It's taking all your restraint right now to simply run at him with all you've got, but if he could destroy so much, such a strategy would destroy you as well. First though, you unsheathe your sword, letting your opponent know that this is where the line gets drawn. Now you need to find out what exactly is behind this kid's power.
"Just one thing before I kill you... how did you do all this by yourself?"
That is when your brother smiles. A creepy, satisfied smile. As if he were waiting for you to ask that question ever since he first knew of your existence.
"You really don't know, do you? Well okay, I'll tell you something about our mom. When she had you, she was with another white wolf, just like her. He was just an ordinary white wolf so it was a plain and simple birth. But then she ran. She ran back to her old lover; a human magician that was married to a kasha."
Kasha? No, it couldn't be... Satoko said he was youkai too. No, wait, he merely turned himself youkai... using... magic?!
"Hahaha, the look on your face is priceless. I love it." Your little brother is taking a lot of amusement from your shock. A very eerie and demented amusement. The deep bags under his eyes combined with the sorrowful and detached complexion his face offers makes him look absolutely mad when he smiles. "That's right... I'm a half breed. But more importantly... I inherited all of Mom's skill and body... and all of my Dad's knowledge and spirit."
That explains it. He must have used some powerful magic to create destruction amongst the landscape like this. He's obviously strong, but no one his size could flatten the land this efficiently so quickly. To prove his point, he holds up his other hand, and almost instantly, a flame ignites in it. It's definitely no child's magic trick; the flame he creates is easily almost twice as big as his own head. His hand twitches, as if in pain from holding such a large ball of fire.
"I held back from using this against you last time, brother. I wanted to know if the body Mom granted me was better then the one she granted yours. But I lost only because the corrupted tengu honed that body of yours into a raw beast. This time though... I won't give you a chance. I will kill you... and everyone in this damned city."
"... why?" You can barely mutter out the word as you try to recover from your shock. Out of all the questions you could have asked, this one seems to amuse your half brother the most, as he has to hold himself back from laughing, although he fails, almost sounding like a hyena.
"Hahahaha!! Why?! Why not?! All these people made Mom and her friends suffer! Then they go and waste their power on stupid things... I'm returning Gensokyo to the way it was before. Before all this stupid fight over power happened!"
"You... You're wrong! Doing that isn't going to solve anything!"
"I'm wrong? You're wrong!"
"You killed the Hakurei Shrine Maiden! She's supposed to help sustain the barrier! If you end the line... then Gensokyo will just disappear!"
A stark silence follows. The pupils of your brother's eyes contract. It's as if he just realized something very stupid. He couldn't have...
"... just... die! Shut up and die!!"
He rears back his arm to toss his flame at you and you're about to put up your guard to block or dodge it, until you both stop upon hearing a familiar voice.
Ah... maybe you shouldn't have called out to him. You just saw him in the thick of the fog and shouted out to him to get his attention. It's only when you approach him do you realize you're seeing double.
One of the white wolves has a giant fire ball in their hand, the other one doesn't. One also lacks a tail. You can guess who the real Souya is just from this, but the imagery is still very disorienting. Souya facing off against... Souya. It's disturbing, on many different levels.
"... S-Satoko, wh-... get out!"
You only now realize that you're being attacked sometime after Souya screams to move, but luckily he's more on the ball then you are and tackles you out of the way of the oncoming fire that you just barely notice at the very last moment. Things then start happening in fast forward it feels like; by the time you sit up, Souya has gotten off you, his twin has rushed towards you, Souya intercepts him and the two start duking it out with swords. By the time you've stood up, Souya's twin has gotten distance between the two of them and started throwing magic at Souya, and Souya has already closed the gap and resumed the sword fight without being at the disadvantage of being magicless, but Souya is still losing the fight regardless.
Throughout the battle you realize that Souya's double periodically starts aiming for you, but each time Souya intercepts it and loses a small part of the battle as a result. The more this occurs, the more you realize your presence is an issue to Souya. But you can't just leave... you want to help? But how can you help in a fight between youkai as a lowly human being? You're powerless. Just like you were back home, when Souya attacked you. Hah, you feel silly, wanting to help your aggressor, but you can't help it... you knew that if Souya genuinely wanted to hurt you, he would have. But he controlled himself... even though he still knocked you down, he could have done much worse. Far much worse. Instead, he left, knowing that if he stayed, it would in fact just get worse.
Now, here you are, failing to be able to do anything about the fight that's broken out between him and someone that looks an awful lot like him. You're not just useless, but you're in fact detrimental to the battle for Souya.
What a horrible feeling.
"You're wavering, brother."
Brother? He's Souya's brother?
"Shut up! You'll die for your sins now!"
Sins? Is he talking about the Hakurei incident?
"You can't kill me. Mom won't save you this time."
Mom... he means Momiji. The white wolf that stood beside your grandmother... had you known that he was related, you...
"Ugh... Mom will save neither of us! I... will take you to hell with me...!"
"To hell? The only one going there is you, right now, dear brother!"
It happened in a flash. You don't know what came over you. If Momiji wasn't going to save Souya... if your grandmother wasn't going to save Souya... if no one else was going to...
Everything that happened in the past few minutes flashes by your eyes again. Souya was trading blows with his brother. But ultimately, his brother was coming out on top. Because of his magic. That magic that Souya lacked. Every time Souya would stray from the battle, he'd simply be bombarded with spells. One of them finally caught him. He stared his adversary down with steel resolve, knowing that the end was nigh, but not without a conclusion to his goal. As he charged his brother one last time, Souya lost the battle of steel, and was soon struck down by his brother's blade. As Souya was about to take the final blow to the heart, someone stepped in the way. Someone took the blow for him.
It was you.
"Bitch! Out of the way!"
Souya's brother flings you aside, reclaiming his sword. You simply hit the ground lifelessly, a hole in your back, and one in your chest.
Blood pours out. It doesn't stop. Your vision fades. Soon, the rest of your senses do too.
Your grip on life becomes weak, and everything goes dark.
To think, that it would end this way, and you never got to see your grandmother still...
I can't help but to expect you to pull a tomino style ending with how bad things are getting as I'm not sure how things are going to get better from here. Not even Yukari's finest asspulls could fully fix things.
>>10096 that wouldn't be a good ending, especially the note it'd end the "visit" series (which didn't start out so dark) on. I'm hoping that Satoshi and Orin would actually show up and actually take some responsibility.
It's no use. Your cries fall on dead ears. Satoko has suffered mortal damage. She won't be waking up again. Her life has come to an end.
"Useless. Humans live like they're never going to die, and then die having never really lived. Why do you associate yourself with such trash?"
"That's right. Trash. Just like you." Your brother raises his sword again, ready to end it all for you. "So join trash like her in hell!"
But this is not where it ends. Not yet.
With a swift movement, your brother's sword is broken in two. While your own suffers some brutal damage, it has successfully snapped it's opponent in half with the most recent clash brought about by you intercepting your brother's attack.
You don't let up. Even as your brother stumbles back in complete shock and awe, you quickly get back on your feet and put on the pressure. No holding back. This is where it ends.
"Die!!" You shout at the top of your lungs as you proceed forward towards your brother aggressively, swinging your sword towards him in unrelenting eagerness to separate his head from his shoulders. Each time he steps back and dodges it, but with every step back, the closer you get to hitting him, as he can't outrun you and can't get far enough away to use his magic again.
"How?! Get away from me you monster!"
"Monster?!" Now's your chance. "You're the monster!!" You slide forward. "You took everything from me!" Your brother can't get away fast enough. "Give them back!!!"
Your brother falls backwards, having been slain. A giant gash stretches from his right shoulder to his left hip. You're unsure if his right arm is still fully attached to his body anymore. Blood is spilling everywhere. This blood of your own that you shed. No... it's not even worth calling your blood.
Grasping his intense wound, struggling to hang onto life, blood leaking from his mouth and desperately trying to find a way to continue the fight, your brother seems to ask just what went wrong for him.
"Ugh... why... why did Mom choose you..." Your brother coughs up more blood, desperately trying to find answers to why the pieces fell this way. "I have the magic... the power... but you're... you're not a half breed... so why..."
There is only one answer you can believe in, one answer that you give to your fallen brother as your raise your sword, ready to end this cruel game of chess.
"She's not your mom." Your brother's eyes widen, not believing the utter bullshit that he just received.
"Mom... would never allow such a vile being to exist in this world."
With that said, you do the deed that should have been done long ago. The deed that your mother should have dealt when he was born.
Your brother's life should not have existed to begin with. It should never have happened. It set the course for all the terrible things that have happened.
Maybe if not for him, you would have lived happily with your mother. None of this would have had to happen. You would be content. With just that.
After finishing the battle and claiming your brother's life, granting him, if nothing else, a swift death, you turn around. The only thing left to consummate is your grievances for Satoko.
But, you won't even get that. As when you turn around, you find her limp body being harvested by a red haired kasha. She takes notice your shock at this sight.
"Oh, don't mind me. I'll just be taking this. I trust you won't mind, right?"
That woman... she's the woman you saw in that photo with your mother in it. She's Satoko's grandmother?
Now she's taking her away, just like she took your mother away.
You can't let that happen. Not again. Not this time.
"Un... Unhand her your fiend!"
With a brave charge forward, you leap towards the kasha with bloodied sword drawn, ready to retrieve Satoko's body from the same fate that possibly befell your mother.
"Ah, well I guess we all have to be stupid at some point in our lives."
But nothing could have ever prepared you for what was about to happen.
With sickening speed, the woman leapt back and was instantly surrounded by a countless number of bullets and needles. No matter how tough you withstood your brother's magic, the sheer amount of it that the woman throws at you is staggering in it's own right, more then enough to take your down. After being downed by the magic, you try to get up, only to recieve a swift kick to the chest after the kasha had dashed forward to deliver it, knocking you completely senseless, flying the other direction.
You never believed that your story would end the very same way it began, one day being kicked so hard in the chest that your ribs may as well have turned to dust. But your strength completely leaves you as soon as the woman's foot connects, and once you've stopped rolling across the ground, you realize that all the nerves in your body have shut down, and you're beginning to lose consciousness. You've failed in your mission.
The last thing you hear before you lose it though...
"What a bother. But if you do see your mom again... tell her I'm sorry."
Your head hurts.
You wake up.
Go to school.
Come back home.
Enjoy the rest of your night. Go back to sleep.
This process seems to repeat itself endlessly, as if you were watching your whole life flash before your eyes.
Your ugly, human life. Oh how useless you felt when you watched Souya and his brother fight. You could have done something. You could have helped Souya. You could have changed things.
But no. You went ahead and died. Like a worthless little human.
If you died though, why does your head hurt so much...?
You sit up and realize that you're still alive. For some reason, questions as to why aren't the first thing to come to mind. The first thing that comes to mind is assessing your position. You're on a strange table in what looks like a deep part of a cave. There's various instruments and tools around. Strange ones which you feel as if you don't want to know the use of, as they are all rather gruesome looking. There's a distant light towards one side, which is strong enough to faintly illuminate the area or room that you found yourself resting in. The place has a burning yet death-like air to it that's unsettling, yet right at home.
This scent... it's like the one at the cemetery, actually. You realize why you feel at home here.
"I see you're awake."
You turn your head to the voice that came from beside you. What you see is a sight that astonishes you like no other.
"Yeah, that would be me. I'm glad you made it through."
You can't believe it. After all this time, you finally get to see your grandmother in the flesh. After spending a few moments getting over your intense shock, you immediately get off the table and rush to your grandmother's side, giving her the tightest hug you can manage, unable to stop your tears from flowing.
"Where were you?! Where did you go?! Why did you leave...?" Your grandmother merely pets your head lovingly, reassuring you.
"It's okay, I'm right here. No need to worry now."
"So many things happened...! Aunt Sango went into industrial work, Alice took a white wolf in, I got attacked by Momiji's son..." You stop suddenly as you remember an important detail that you neglected up until now. Looking up at your grandmother, you decide to get the answer straight up. "W-Wait, did you save me...?" Your grandmother simply looks over to the side.
"See for yourself."
You take a glance over at where she's looking towards. You see a mirror leaning against the wall precariously. You guess she means look at yourself? You separate from her and walk over in front of the mirror, and find something rather peculiar on your head.
... cat... ears...
"W-What are these?"
"What do they look like?" Your grandmother kneels down behind you while putting her hands on your shoulders, looking at you in the mirror. She seems oddly pleased with herself. "I gave you some of my blood and spirit to keep you alive. I had to give enough to turn you into a kasha yourself, though I think you've had it in you this whole time. Much like I did for Satoshi..." You look over at your grandmother, who seems to put on a solemn face after mentioning that name. Is he...
"Grandmother?" Your spitting image then weakly smiles at you.
"Satoko, allow me to tell you a story. A long, long time ago, there was this human. He lived a strange life, living amongst youkai and separating himself from other humans during a time where humans needed to stick together. This human met a youkai one day, and got acquainted with one of her pets rather well... soon, she left this pet of hers with this human, and the two began to converse. Eventually, they fell in love, but before those feelings could be traded, the pet fled back to her master in fear of what those feelings might uncover. When she came back, she saw that the human had found another, even though he loved her the most, this other youkai stayed a constant bearing on the human's heart. Eventually, the human and the youkai's pet had children, and ran away together, but no matter what, the human could not leave behind his second love. Soon... the human had a child with her, and fell into despair, realizing that he committed a grievous sin against his first love. To redeem himself, he ended his own life, unable to face his lover again. His second love, the other youkai, followed after him, loyal and brave, wishing for him to not be alone."
"... grandmother, is-"
"Satoko." Your grandmother interrupts you before you can ask your question. Though, she answers it for you anyways. "It's time I joined them. I can't let them stay alone together forever."
Your heart starts hurting. Your eyes well up with tears. You begin trembling. You turn around and give your grandmother a tight hug, not wanting to let go. It's just too soon. You only just saw her for the first time.
"No!! Don't go! I don't want you to leave again! I have so many things I want to tell you! So many things I want to do with you! So-... So...!"
You can't help but wail out your tears, digging your face as deeply into your grandmother's shoulder as possible as she hugs you comfortingly. You never want this feeling to end, and yet...
"Don't cry, Satoko. I'm trusting you to carry on for me."
"But I can't! Not without you...!"
"You can do it Satoko. I believe in you, after all." Suddenly, you start noticing that your grandmother has started becoming limp, her weight beginning to lean against you. "Satoshi..."
"No! No!!" You try and shake your grandmother back to reality as you realize what's happening. "Grandmother, please don't!" It seems to be too late though, for certain, your grandmother has accepted her fate.
"Maybe if I hadn't... reacted that way, none of this would have happened..."
Your grandmother closes her eyes.
She has finally joined your grandfather and Momiji in death.
It was selfish of you to try and stop her. In the end, she still loves your grandfather... keeping her from going after him would be against everything you believe in, even if it means her demise.
To the very end, she loved him with all her heart.
You soon find yourself in front of a large, run down mansion, deeper into the cave. This must be her home... her true home.
It's here that you feel you will find all the answers you seek, and unravel the secrets behind what truly happened. What no one else would tell you about or even knew...
This is where it all began. This is where it will all end.
Where do you search first?
>The Living Room >The Kitchen >The Bathing Area >Rin's Room >Utsuho's Room >The Komeiji Room >The Gardens
>>10103 I can deal with bittersweet endings, really. I can deal with heart wrenching horrible endings too.
But this? It feels like a kick in the pants. Not as bad as say, Evangelion, but I feel very similar. We guided the previous MC, Satoshi, and took him through two stories. He wasn't a bad guy and his heart was in the right place. We even guided him towards becoming a youkai so this sort of heartbreak wouldn't happen.
Regardless, I can see how this would be a possible ending for Satoshi, given our choices, but things seem like they went completely downhill when we "lost" control of him. The whole "get married" and then cheat on your wife and have illegitimate children with another woman and then commit suicide with her, seriously pisses me off. I honestly don't think Satoshi would have done that and I feel like Momizi deserved better. But whatever, they just died miserably and without purpose in a fit of insanity leaving all sorts of loose ends and shit. No extra lives, no bombs, no graze. Just despair.
I'm done ranting for now. I just want to forget this whole thing happened. Just as planned? I sure hope not.
Geh, yeah I'm sorry. I probably could have thought of a better way to draw a life conclusion to the trio that wasn't hurp durp can't live with myself anymore better commit suislide
I kinda wish I could take it back now and rewrite it but as it's already posted and being voted on, I don't think that'd be very fair. I'll just do my best to explain what happened between then and now to better shed some light on things with upcoming updates.
>>10107 I'd be fine with a retraction, retcon, or flippin reboot. But that's up to you and the other readers. It's fine if you make it sad, tragic, and heart wrenching too! Just make it mean something. That's the source of my anger here. I know you can do better, it just feels like you're rushing through this.
This must be your grandmother's room. You look around it, but as much as you want to clean it up from it's abandoned, dilapidated state, you dare not touch a single thing in here. It's sacred. At least to you. This was the room that your grandmother inhabited before she fell in love and inevitably moved out. You can still even smell your grandmother's scent in here... despite it having been half a century since it's likely seen it's last use. If not longer. It was here that your grandmother lived out her most carefree days and was just herself; Rin Kaenbyou. This is room holds the essence of her and you couldn't possibly think to trifle with it. Not by a long shot. At this point, it's the only real thing you have to remember your grandmother by...
In one corner is a bed, a dirty, messy bed, but you're certain that it was often clean when she lived here, if a little strewn around like it is now. The pattern is notably paw print... how cute. Just like her, you feel. The bed is only made for one. Obviously, but you suppose she didn't need much room around to sleep with anyways. Over by the wall is a dresser with a mirror attached to it. The mirror has long since been broken, but the dresser otherwise seems to be in usable shape. Not that you'd touch it. There also appears to be a desk with a simple chair on the other end of the corner. The desk seems to have seen a lot of use; perhaps your grandmother was an aspiring writer. That would be interesting. Finally, across the last wall appears to be some sort of couch. You have no idea what it was used for, but given your grandmother's tendencies so far, she probably used it as an alternate bed. It looks like it used to be comfy enough to be one, in it's prime.
When I think about you, I... no.
You touch me like... ugh, definitely not.
You... you... mean...
This is hard. I can't just write sappy poetry in one day. I'm not a human.
... but... he is.
Him. That guy. He confessed his love to me. Me! I'm just a youkai whom death follows in my footsteps, so why would anyone fall for me?
No, I think the most important question is why aren't I just shrugging it off like it means nothing? Why am I sitting here wracking my brain over such a frivolous display of feelings?
Why do I feel... human?
Maybe Master Satori was right. Human emotions... they aren't just special to humans. Koishi is about as far from human as you could get, and yet she closed off an important part of herself because she didn't want to be hated.
Why would a youkai care if she were hated or not?
Why would a youkai cut off a part of herself that makes her what she is just for a frivolous emotion?
... if youkai weren't capable of feelings, Master Satori wouldn't love me and the other pets as much as she does. She wouldn't be capable of the emotion called love.
So... I guess I'm every bit as capable of it too, huh?
I want to learn more about them. Know what to expect. What I'm dealing with. But Master Satori says that I'll never know. It's a mystery of the universe that will never get solved. Maybe she's right...
But I won't stop until I've experienced everything that this emotion called love has to offer me. Even though I haven't even told him I love him too...
Ugh, do I love him? I don't know. I'm just a youkai, I don't know what these emotions mean!
No, no, that doesn't matter right now. What matters is him. That's all that matters to me right now... him.
I just hope he likes this letter I'm writing him. Humans like writing, I heard... although I don't know if I'll ever finish this...
Ah, don't worry Satoshi, when I come back, I'll change... I'll change everything. I'll take back all those stupid things I said and did, so please...
>The Living Room >The Kitchen >The Bathing Area >Utsuho's Room >The Komeiji Room >The Gardens
My issue is that the first two stories weren't dark and the sudden mood whiplash is generally more a cheap stunt than a truly artistic move.
>>10107 I found it excessive as didn't Rin find out about the first time Satoshi and Momiji had sex? That's about another 10 points on to the "junvile stunts to sound dark and artistic" counter.
>>10103 Because they have less of a place than other universe? People like you are why these cheap stunts happen.
But I do agree this is only second to MiG in various terms, such as how much damage one MC did to Gensokyo.
>>10112 You're alone in that area, particularly if history has anything to say about it. There's a difference between misplaced logic and outright spiting the readers and I'm not sure where Sukima was thinking when he made this.
>>10115 Why do you say the previous MC did damage? Wasn't it said earlier in the story that he tried to do something but it just didn't work out? It doesn't sound like he did anything wrong outside of what he did with Rin and Momiji. In fact, it seems like his greatest failure was just not getting any change to happen. Which you kind of have to expect when you consider he's just some random guy who turned youkai against Gensokyo's most influential people (Reimu, Yukari, Kanako, Byakuren, etc...)
>>10115 I agree with your points. The turn in mood was pretty drastic between these stories. I really don't think Sukima is spiting us though.
What I see from this side is a distressed writer with problems IRL, thus his update speed was erratic. His motivation and such seemed to dwindle along with it. But I gotta give Sukima credit, writing an epilogue story with the descendants of the original main characters is daunting. You can't make them too similar to the originals or too different. There's also an expectation from the readers that everything will turn out "all right" in the end, more or less. He handled the story pretty well imo. I especially enjoyed reading about Chen and the Youkai Faction, that was some good stuff. I also really like both Souya and Satoko. Because the fate of the original trio was hidden for so long, I had this expectation that Rin, Satoshi, and Momizi had worked something out and went out to see the world and adventure or something. We purposefully guided Satoshi towards the "youkai" end.
I have a suggestion, why not branch off the story at the end of the fight between Souya and his brother? Offer several endings and explanations about what happened in grand ole "Clue" style. The one we're going through right now would be the ultimate end of the road where being unable to choose between Rin and Momizi leads Satoshi, or the True End.
Why not also write an end where Satoshi chose Rin and not Momizi?
I loved both of the previous stories! They were great reads. Wouldn't offering multiple endings make everyone happy? Masochistic Anon gets his kick in the pants, and the rest of us can choose a different end.
I'm thinking: Best, Good, and True end. What say you?
I'm glad I got most of those problems out of the way, which is why you're seeing a lot more updates more frequently now. I'm praying something like that doesn't happen again. I like peace.
I'm a stupid fan of stories that branch out like that (really why I like visual novels so much, even though I don't feel like I have the time to play them) so once I get through with this ending... I'll consider it. This ending is important in a few ways though and you'll see why.
Is it me, or is someone deleting their votes without revoting or anything like that?
>>10116 please go ahead and say it, I apologize for sounding so angry but finding out the MC and his loves went and killed themselves isn't something to take perfectly calm (that response was somewhat restrained)
I did not intend of accusing you of spiting just, just curious what caused you to do down this path.
>>10118 Let's see: he went interfering in Tengu politics, resulting in the white wolves getting treated worse and this attempt might have colored tengu-human relations as a whole. The worst part is that it's partially our fault as voters.
>>10120 it'd be better, Rin end, Momiji end, true/best end. I dislike that bittersweet type moon bullshit.
But your idea about different endings is a good one.
I think I'll let the story say what I want to say. There's still plenty of things left to answer.
This room must belong to one of your grandmother's best friends. You see a couple pictures of her in here, but you know it's not her room. Many of the other bedrooms had no pictures of her like this. In all the pictures, you see your grandmother with a long, black haired raven. This woman must have meant something to your grandmother. So why is it that you've never heard of her? Why are you so in the dark about your grandmother? One thing's for sure, you know you won't be for long. You're piecing together the clues you find and little by little the truth becomes clear. Yes... this is your grandmother's best friend you're looking at. Practically her sister. Someone she cared very deeply for until... until love happened. Until the swirling torment of emotions twisted everything into a painful knot. Nothing was clear anymore after that.
There's a large bed in the middle. You'd say it's for two, but it doesn't quite seem like it. Your grandmother's best friend must have been a large person. There's a really huge dresser to the side, helping confirm this fact. The doors to it are open, showing nothing inside. This room, above all else, seems to be the messiest. What are perhaps the tattered remains of what belonged in the dresser are thrown about everywhere. There's many containers, all of which clearly held something but are all empty now. They aren't especially dirty though, so they didn't hold anything wet or perishable. Toys, maybe? But the most prominent thing about the room is the various pictures and photos that it has. It's like someone took a photo album and spread it's contents throughout the entire room. Many of them are still in good enough shape to see what occurred in them. You can see your grandmother's entire family in these photos... what became of them, you wonder?
She's home again. Why does she come back home though? It's not like she really cares anymore. All she cares about is that man. She's home even less then Koishi is now. That bothers me. She's never around to even play...
"So what did you need to talk to me about, Okuu?"
She's using that name again. That name I used to love being called. But coming from her, it doesn't sound sincere anymore.
"Why do you still come back...?"
She's confused. She doesn't even know what's going on. She thinks that things can just go on being the same as they ever were but that's just not possible anymore...!
"Why do you come back when you don't care anymore, Orin?!" She doesn't even take me seriously. She just looks at me confused and tries to downplay the issue.
"O-Okuu, come on, you know there's no way in the world that I couldn't care..."
"You liar. You're never home anymore. You never play with me. You don't even bring corpses to blazing fires anymore!" Maybe I'm jealous. That she has feelings. Emotions. That I want to experience. So I'm forcing myself to experience some now... "It's because of him! Why do you fawn over him so much?"
Orin took me seriously after I mentioned that man. I can't stand her because of things like that.
"What does this have to do with Satoshi?! You're being unreasonable, Okuu!"
"Am I?! You're spending so much time with him that you aren't spending any time with us!"
"That's because he lives so far away! I'm not going to walk that distance every day!"
"So you spend two days with us and two weeks with him?!"
"Shut up, Okuu! What do you even know?!"
What do I know... I know a lot more then you do, Orin! A lot more then you think!
"I know that you don't care about us anymore! What happened to the times where we'd just spend the entire day playing together, Orin?! Huh?!"
"You don't want to anymore! You'd rather spend the day playing kissy kissy with some stupid human!"
"Shut up!! I don't like you anymore, Orin! Just... just leave, and never come back!"
Orin looks so conflicted. I know she wants to argue, but she's too hurt to do it. I am too... I don't want to say anymore painful words.
I just turn my back to her. I don't want to see her face. I don't want to see her run. I don't want to see her cry. Because I know no matter how much I try, I can't forget her. She means too much to me. But the way she is now, it's just too painful.
I'm sorry Orin... I really am. But if I don't do this, then I'll just be really sad every time you leave. And I don't want to be sad anymore...
I hope someday I'll fall in love with someone like you did and we'll both be happy again.
>The Living Room >The Kitchen >The Bathing Area >The Komeiji Room >The Garden
The living quarters are quite spacious. Still in rather good shape too, for how long this place must have been empty for. You wonder what occurred here. Likely that many guests would sit here while your grandmother and her family tended to them. Maybe parties happened here. Maybe not. You wish you knew more about your grandmother's family, they seemed like a rather nice bunch for youkai. This being their home solidifies that fact. Everything is so well decorated. It must have looked incredible in it's prime. Though now, it's all run down, abandoned for so many years. What happened, you wonder? Where did they go? Are they Risou? Did they vanish? Or did something much worse happen? You're not sure if these answers you'll find even here. If they did pass though, at least your grandmother is with them again.
There are various couches and tables strewn about. One of the tables has been knocked over. Strange things happen when abandonment occurs. What causes all the displacement? Random people or youkai that just wander in here? Did a fight break out shortly before it was left behind? A mystery of the universe if there ever were one. It seems as if the couches saw plenty of use. Perhaps your grandmother's family was popular. Many paintings are on the walls, but only a few have been left telligible. One of them appears to be a painting a girl with short pink hair and a strange eye attached to her via various external veins. You've seen this girl a few times around the mansion in passing, in pictures, paintings and other things. She must have been very important to this household. You wonder what her relationship with your grandmother she had...
"Welcome home, Master Satoshi."
It's been like this since he finished his transition to becoming a youkai. He's become colder. Less caring. He still has his moments where he genuinely has feelings, but I cannot help but feel that this goal of his has gratuitously backfired.
Rin does not seem to have noticed any change.
"Welcome home Satoshi!" She seems to shout from the kitchen. "Dinner will be ready in a few minutes! Can you bring the kids out?!"
He does not respond. Nor does he comply. It is truly sad and pathetic to see him reduced to such, but this part of him I believe is not entirely because of his new bodily structure.
Master Satoshi and Rin have been trying desperately to make an influence on Gensokyo's rapidly changing state. The unification of the populace, the shifting of the gears, the advancement of civilization as it exists in the land. A large scale change is sweeping Gensokyo, and Master Satoshi wishes to be a part of it. To make true his dreams of setting aside differences and having complete freedom. However, one thing has been a constant roadblock in his desire for influence.
With my exile from the tengu, he had earned the hatred and contempt of many of the tengu. Even though I had agreed I would eventually pass my genes on with another member of the white wolves, even they cannot forget what kind of sin Master Satoshi had committed along side me. The tengu, who arguably has the most influence now, having partial control over the technological advancement of Gensokyo through the kappa and a strong influence on the gods who have initiated it, are doing everything in their power to shut Master Satoshi and his dreams down. Being only one person, it has worked superbly well.
"Satoshi?" As I was staring at the Master lethargically sitting there unmoving, Rin seems to have come out of the kitchen and noticed it herself, seating herself next to him. "What's wrong?"
"I got rejected again... seems like even Reimu has forsaken me."
"What...? But that doesn't make any sense."
"She's old now. And I'm just a random youkai to her now. What I have to say means nothing anymore. The longer I stay here, the more hate I just get..."
I can't help but chime in.
"Perhaps it's time we put our weapons down and leave this land then."
As expected, both Master Satoshi and Rin look at me a little surprised. For someone like me to back down is unusual in and of itself. However, Master Satoshi seems to realize that my words have wisdom to them.
"Hah... maybe you're right. I should quit while I'm ahead. Can't say I didn't try." Rin, however, doesn't seem wholly satisfied.
"But... what about us? What about the kids? Our friends? Family..."
Surely, Rin is talking about her former owner. Before she more or less became her own person. She still holds that satori close to her heart, even though she parted ways with her. Being myself... I cannot relate.
"Ourselves are the only family we need, right?" As expected, Master Satoshi, already having given up, agrees with me.
"Yeah, you're right. Maybe we'll come back someday, when all the heat's cooled down. But right now, everyone is too adverse to me for it to be safe here. Especially for the kids..." Rin seems to nearly freeze up, realizing something.
"So..." After closing his eyes, Master Satoshi relents the painful truth to her.
"I would like to take them with us... but they'll just be associated with the hate we've earned if we do. I want them to experience this revolution first hand, so I want them to stay here..."
"Who will take care of them?" I can't help but ask. They may be the children of Rin, but they are still the children of my dear master.
"I'll have to talk to Alice and Keine about it. They won't like me running away, but I'm sure if I begged hard enough, they'll understand." Begging someone to take your children... where has this world gone for Master Satoshi?
"Satoshi, you can't really be serious. We just..." Before Rin can finish though, Master Satoshi stands up.
"I'm going to go see them now. Get it over with..." Without really saying any other words, he leaves back out the door, the same way he came.
He has lost touch with his human feelings. He swore to Rin that he never would, despite this change. But it had happened anyways. Truly tragic. I feel this is one thing I can relate to Rin with.
It is for that reason that I shall hold her when she cries. Comfort her when she's sad. Because while she may be the rival of mine that won out in the end, we both share a common enemy; love. Love, a truly mysterious game where the only winning move is not to play...
>The Kitchen >The Bathing Area >The Komeiji Room >The Garden
This must be the master bedroom. It's so large and grand. The bed is not only big, but very fancy too, even in it's run down state. The master of the house was obviously living here. The master of your grandmother. The thought is a little terrifying to you. Someone who could tame your grandmother, that wasn't your grandfather. She must have been a powerful being indeed. But she was also a part of the family. Someone that your grandmother cared about. Your grandfather too, to some extent. She was the head of the household and she was loved by everyone who lived here. That is what it must have been like. Such a family is rare these days in Gensokyo. Risou is so full of strife and conflict. You can only pray that one day, that conflict will end, and every family in Risou can be like your grandmother's. Even if it seems like a fairy tale ending.
The bed sits in the middle, adorned in what must have been some classy cloth all around. There are two dressers on each side, and the room is very well decorated. A giant stained window larger then most of the ones you've seen in the mansion sits behind the bed. Unlike many of the windows, this one is still pristine. It seems to depict various animals. To go along with this imagery, there are an absolutely absurd amount of photos and pictures everywhere around the room. Many of them seem to be burnt or too dirty to tell what they used to be, but gathering from the rest of the photos that you can clearly see, it seems the master of the house was a huge animal lover. Figures... your grandmother was one herself. Your grandmother's entire family is the highlight of one of the photos... it's certainly huge. You just wish you could have had a family like this...
Rin has not stopped explaining herself to me. I've lost track of how long she's been talking. She must be very desperate.
But there comes a time where a mother must let go of her child. Where a master must release her pet. All living things mature. Rin is no different. As much as I would like her to remain my pet for all of eternity, I want her to move on to much greater things. Her new found love was her first step.
Our separation will have to be the next.
"Rin. When will you learn that there is nothing you can say to move my decision?"
"I don't care. It's dumb. I took this shit from Okuu already. I don't want to take anymore of it. I want to be here!"
"Being here is a distraction. You have more important things you must focus on now."
"No I don't! Why are you rejecting me too, Master Satori?!"
"I'm not rejecting you."
"Yes you are!!"
I can already read it in her heart. No matter what I say, nothing will convince Rin that my intentions are pure. Not now, anyways. She is too blinded by the same emotions that she had been working hard to uncover this whole time. This is the end then, I suppose.
"... fine then, I suppose I will reject you then, Rin." After I close my eyes, I turn away from my now former pet. This is where my story ends and where Satoshi's begins. "You will no longer serve as my pet, so in effect, there is no reason for you to stay here. Please leave."
As I had expected, Rin's heart explodes at this moment.
"What?! After all the things we've been through together?! After all those times we spent being a family?! It's just over, just like that?! Why?! Why do you all hate me now?! Why do I have to choose between my family and my lover?! Why, Master Satori?! This is ridiculous! I enjoyed all those times I sat in your lap, Master Satori! I enjoyed all those meals I had together with you, Master Satori! I even enjoyed all the times you forced me to take a bath, Master Satori!! There's no reason for you to be doing this! I can't do this! You saved me, Master Satori! I owe my life to you! All of it...!"
You fool Rin. I did no such thing. You would have made it on your own even without me. Satoshi is the one saving you. Saving you from something more frightening then death.
"Rin. Your life is not mine. Your life... is yours. Yours to control. Yours to share with the person whom you've chosen as your mate. I wish not to get in the way of that."
"You're not getting in the way!"
"... yes, Master Satori?"
"When one falls in love, you are not just just simply experiencing a greater feeling. You are making a life long commitment to that person. By swearing your eternal love to someone, you present them with your life and everything that it contains, for them to grasp hold of. This means that you must move on from this life and go on to your next one."
"Why can't I come back here? Why can't I at least visit? Is it that much of a bother?"
"Rin, when you come here, you come here as my pet. That cannot go on."
"Someday I will join you on the surface Rin. Only then can we start over as equals... as friends."
"..." I have kept my bearings in check, but it is becoming very, very difficult on me now. Thankfully, Rin seems to have finally understood. "... can you promise me that you'll come to see me sometime, Master Satori?"
"... sorry." After taking in a deep breath, Rin prepares to ask me again. "Will you come up to see me again, Satori?"
"Yes. Of course."
"... thank you."
Rin, seemingly not wanting to make it any harder on either of us any further, takes her leave from my room. A smart move. Had she stayed, I fear I would have buckled under the immense weight of my own emotions now. Already I am on the brink of tears, even though she may not know it. I built this family with my own hands and heart. Watching someone go is too difficult.
Koishi... I feel I can fully understand your pain now.
The most run down room in the mansion by far. Mold is everywhere. The air is disgusting. Filth litters the area. You hesitate to walk in, but for some reason you're drawn into it. You're not even sure why. This room must have been important to your grandmother as well... though, perhaps for different reasons. If not for how depressingly gross this room had become, you might have let your new instincts take over and become hungry yourself. It's funny, you haven't felt a whole lot different since you woke up as a kasha. You can notice some subtle differences, but you still feel like yourself. You wonder how your grandfather felt when he became a youkai. Your grandmother mentioned she did something similar for someone named Satoshi. That had to have been your grandfather. Did he become a kasha too? No, he would have had cat ears as well then. What kind of youkai did he become? Did he have help? How exactly did he do it? The answers to these questions eludes you, but maybe you'll find something else here...
A long counter top stretches from one end to the other. There are two sinks. Various cupboards line the walls. There are windows that look out towards the gardens from in here. There's a long table in the middle too. Possibly for when the counter top, despite it's length, was full. There are broken dishes everywhere, and one of the sinks has been leaking for probably years now. You're impressed that water still flows into this mansion. At the far end of the kitchen appears to be a brick oven. Of course... electricity doesn't seem to be available to this mansion, judging from what you've seen thus far, so the technology here is rather primitive. At least compared to how Risou is now. You wonder though, in it's prime, what this mansion must have been like. Was it luxurious? Strange? Any number of guests could have had varying opinions on what this mansion offered. For someone like you, it's drastically different because it's like you're exploring old ruins rather then being invited to a luxurious playground.
It was supposed to be an ordinary day like any other. I was in the back room, sewing together another doll to put up for display in my shop, when I got a curious knock on the door.
"Alice? It's Keine."
I hadn't properly talked to Keine in years. We kept up with each other, but it was all very brief and in passing. Of course, such time to youkai such as us means nothing, so I never thought much about it. So her going out of her way to come to me was unusual.
"Come in," I tell her, after putting my work down. The teacher graciously opens the door and closes it behind herself, greeting me before sitting down at the table I was at, opposite of me.
"Hello, Alice. It's been a while since we had a chat."
"Yes, it has. But that can't be why you're here right now." Closing her eyes, Keine knows I've seen right through her.
"You're right. I've come bearing some bad news, actually."
"Let's not delay it then. It seems they've finally found Satoshi."
"Satoshi?" I'm honestly intrigued. I haven't heard from him in the longest of times. It's true that I taught him some magic and aided him in his quest to become a youkai, but we seemed to become distant after he achieved that goal. I never held it against him, as that is just the nature of youkai. "So we know where he and his wife and pet ran off to?"
"Well..." Keine, in a somewhat unusual display of emotion, looks down, unable to look me in the eyes anymore, with a solemn look on her face. "They found him somewhere near the border of Gensokyo, further north... dead."
"... I see. What of Momiji and Rin?"
"Momiji's body was together with his. She has also passed."
Keine just looks away when she notices I'm giving her a steely glare. How can she not know where Rin is? I wonder if she knows... there's no way she couldn't know. What happened up there, I wonder?
"I see. You realize we cannot tell them about this, right?" Keine nods and seems to regain some of her composure, putting a serious look back on her face, despite the mournful emotion still surging through her.
"Yes, I know. This will have to be our secret. At least until Rin shows up."
"So then, how did it happen?"
"There were no signs of a struggle... we can only assume they took their own lives." After hearing this, all I can manage at this point is an exasperated sigh. Just what the hell were they thinking?
"Why would they do such a thing... it's bad enough that Satoshi rejected Marisa."
"Didn't Kirisame find someone else, though?"
"It's the principle of the matter. If he was going to reject another girl he could have done it a lot more cleanly then that."
"Satoshi was never very good at handling matters he couldn't do anything about." She's right. It showed when he left so suddenly. We assumed it was because he got tired of trying to become a part of the political war that had engulfed Risou little by little.
"... so what do you suppose we do now?" Keine is still taken aback by Satoshi's sudden passing, but given enough time, she gives a wise answer.
"Rin is the only one who knows much of anything. We can only wait for her eventual appearance. If she's still alive now, then that means she's doing something and for a reason."
"Waiting for something?"
"Then... we will have to wait ourselves for that moment. When she comes forward to achieve her goal. Hopefully we'll catch her."
"I can't say I have my hopes up. She is very slippery." That she is. Satoshi hid her very well in the beginning. Even I didn't see much of her. After a brief silence, Keine seems to change the topic. "I can't stand talking about such a depressing thing for so long though. Especially when nothing can be done about it. How have things been with you?"
"They've been fine, as usual. Would you like some tea?"
"That would be splendid."
"Hm, by the way. have you heard? Satoko is getting a little brother soon."
"Satoko... yes, I remember her."
Satoshi... you may have passed, but you and your wife have still passed on your legacy, as you planned it seems. I wonder if you had planned all of this from the very beginning...
The baths... they look like veritable hot springs. The water seems to be missing though, so there's no bathing to be had here. It's probably fixable, since these aren't real springs anyways. At least, you don't think they are. Your grandmother must have hated water though, being a cat-like creature on top of being so well associated with fire. Possibly more the latter then the former, since even though you have cat ears yourself, you can't say you feel any new found adversity to water. Not yet, anyways. Still though, she had to have bathed often. This place seems like a good way to do it. She likely bathed with much of her family too while she was at it... her best friend, her master, possibly others too. The baths are always a good place to interact socially as you're never hiding anything here, for better or for worse. The way this area is shaped, it's completely possible that this is where your grandmother got most of her social skill before meeting your grandfather.
Even though they're empty, the two pools that were used to bathe in are rather large. Maybe they seem larger because they're empty. One is much smaller then the other, implying it's use for less social experiences. The stone used to make up the area is still rather pristine, despite how dilapidated the rest of the mansion looks. The towel racks are understandably empty, but also big, signifying that this must have been a rather big family... that frequently bathed together. That really says something about how close together everyone really was. You don't have that kind of fortune, not even remembering if you had bathed with your parents or your little brother. Your mind turns to your grandmother again, who must have had many people see her naked body... you wonder what your grandfather must have thought about that.
Ahh, so satisfied, so relaxed, so much in... bliss~
I love him. I couldn't possibly say that I love any other anymore. Being with him is just... absolutely heavenly.
After such a fulfilling session, I thought a nice trip to the bathing house would set me further at ease and perfectly end a highly satisfying day.
Boy, was I wrong.
"What are you doing here, mutt?" The damnable white wolf doesn't even bother looking up at me. Sitting in the water like she owns it.
"I am taking a bath."
"At this time of night?"
"One could pose you the very same question." Tch. Guess I won't get the bath to myself tonight. Rather disappointing, I kinda felt like playing with myself after all that...
"Fine. You don't mind if I take one too, do you?"
"No one is stopping you, Master Rin."
She's so smug and yet stuck up. So modest yet so full of pride.
So ugly, yet so cute. Something draws me to her like a smell that is hazardous to your nose, but addictive to your body.
I go ahead and sit next to the pup, not too close, but not too far. There's something I've been meaning to talk to her about for a long time now, since me and him got married.
"Momiji, now that I've affirmed myself as Satoshi's wife, what exactly did you do with him before I came back?" The tengu avoids looking at me, or even budging much, which is only really confirming my suspicions.
"Something you can't talk about then. That's fine, that's the only clue I need." After taking a breath to assure myself of my position, I go on. "I won't tolerate you doing anything like that with him anymore. You understand that, right?"
"Why do you assume I would go out and do such a thing with someone that is not mine?"
"I've seen you two alone. Don't think it escapes me all the time."
That's when she says something a little unexpected.
"I'm sorry..." As I look over to her, I see that she's looking down rather regretfully. It's almost unlike her.
"Why are you apologizing? I'm not looking for your sympathy." Instead, she just shakes her head, assuring me it's something different.
"That is not it. I am dishonoring not only you, but the person that I love no less. I had done all these things, even with prior knowledge that Master Satoshi's heart belonged to you. I do not deserve any mercy."
Ugh, there she goes with her honor bull again. The worst part about it is that it actually makes me sympathize with her. Totally not what I want. I'll have to find some way out of it.
"... look, there's no telling what the future holds. Me and Satoshi may be married now but if you backed down like that I wouldn't feel right with myself." Looking away, I say my next piece. "After all, we're still family, right? It's not like I can take that away from you..."
"... if that is how you feel, Master Rin, then thank you." A little exasperated, I look back at the pup with a stern expression.
"And no more of this Master stuff, okay? That makes me feel like I'm not on equal footing with you." I was going to say why, but then I realized that my poor heart can't take admitting that this wolf stole Satoshi's love from me, however briefly.
"... alright. It is settled then, Rin."
Satoshi, sometimes I wonder what you've gotten yourself into. These kinds of things just don't work and yet you're trying so hard... I can't say I don't admire you but I can't help but be afraid that this is all going to come crashing down someday and when it happens, I won't be able to handle it...
There's no need to vote. This is just to give me some lull time to write more of the next update with.
Ah... the gardens. What a sight to behold. Even in their poor state, much of the foliage seems to have weathered the harsh conditions of abandonment and, well, being underground. You wonder how plants can even survive without sunlight, but it may be due to the fact that there is a constant source of light resonating from nearby. As if a sun itself were stored away here, for the express purpose of taking care of these gardens. This must have been an area of peace and solitude, not just for your grandmother but for her family too. You know that if you ever lived here, you would spend most of your time here. Admiring the flowers. Savoring the atmosphere. Feeling right at home. The perfect thing about these gardens is that they bear an air similar to that of the cemetery, but far less depressing and sickening. You feel like this is your perfect haven, right here. Your grandmother must have felt the same way.
The structure of the gardens is absolutely beautiful. The stone paths, despite some wear, are still steady and pleasing to look at. They're also easy to navigate, which is good, as the gardens are quite big. It must have been a royal pain taking care of all of it, but you suppose that with such a big family, it wasn't really a problem to them. The plant life is very exotic, unlike anything you've seen on the surface. Many vibrant colors fill the soil in the gardens, going through every color of the rainbow. The actual foliage ranges from simple ferns to intricate flowers and everything in between. You're positive you don't even know half the species that grows here. They're all so exotic. You could stare at them for days and never stop being mesmerized.
I found her.
I finally found her.
There sits Momiji. On a hill of flowers. Not any ordinary flowers. These are lycoris flowers. A popular symbol of death.
I know this from being with Rin so long... Rin, my former wife.
After finding out the news of what I'd done with Momiji, she disowned me. She was so mad. She must have been so hurt. I'm certain she never wants to see me again. I've disgraced her and our children by making a really painful mistake...
It just happened one day. Momiji got sick, and I tended to her. It was at that point I let a certain something grab a hold of me. Ever since we left Gensokyo, Rin had been very... distant. I guess she wanted to be with the kids more then me. Understandable. I'm despicable as I am now. I've ignored her and Momiji for so long. Caring only about myself. My heart grew cold and rocky after trying so hard to change Gensokyo. I stopped caring about the simpler things in life.
When we went out on our own and got away from that mess, I felt better. I thought I could go back to how I used to be again. Maybe it was because of all the stress I felt turning myself into a youkai and working towards changing Gensokyo that I lost sight of who I was. I realized that I separated myself from the human village not only to see the world and youkai for who they really were, but to get away from all that hustle and bustle and keep myself from being too stressed. I think getting away really improved my life.
As for the others... Momiji improved too. She was a lot happier. A lot more active. As I thought, she was a loner from the very start. All she cared about anymore was me and Rin. Well... maybe just me. Having gotten away from the tengu and the majority of people whom she had issues with, she was more content again. She had the only thing in the world that mattered to her and hardly anything else. I want to believe that she cared about Rin too to some lesser extent. Maybe not as much, but she was still her family. Otherwise, she would not be here on this hill now.
Rin, on the other hand, was far less ecstatic about leaving everything behind. She adored her children like they were her life, and she won't be able to watch them grow up anymore. We've both toyed around with the idea of having more children but... I'm not sure if either of us were really ever serious about that anymore. I love her to death, but it feels like since I became a youkai, things have went... downhill. We stopped talking as much as we used to. We weren't quite as playful with each other as we used to be. We were still a couple, but it seemed... less so.
I wanted to put our relationship back together so badly... but in the end, I was just too much of a coward to. I couldn't do it, fearing that Rin would just reject me, even though I knew she likely wouldn't have...
I'm such an idiot.
I let that distance intimidate me... and then I came crying to Momiji about it. When she got sick, we both took advantage of the situation...
I cheated on my own wife. It was worse then when I did it after the first time she left, long, long ago. Before she even returned my feelings. I paid the ultimate price for it too... it got Momiji pregnant.
It was inevitable that Rin would find out. Momiji, despite knowing how wrong it was, decided she would bear the child. It was only sometime after she finally bore it that she realized what kind of sin she had committed. What she did to both me and Rin. Her only family.
I don't know what happened to the child. Or Rin, for that matter. Rin has likely gone back to Gensokyo. Never to return to us. Maybe that's how it's to be. But honestly... I don't want to live in a world where all my efforts to appease a girl have been for naught.
It's been so long. I feel so old. I should have died long ago as a human. But my youkai body has kept me alive this long. But maybe it was a mistake. I'm ready to discard this body and go back to being a normal, ordinary human being. A dead human being, but a human being nonetheless. That's all I care about right now. Without Rin, this body means nothing to me.
There, Momiji sits, dressed in a pure white cloth, wearing nothing else. I know what she's prepared for. I dare not even think about it. But it's something I'm prepared for now too. I just need to settle a few more things before I go.
"Momiji. Are you really going to do this?"
"I have gravely sinned, Master Satoshi. As a white wolf, this is the only way I know of to atone for my sins."
"As hard headed as ever, huh? I guess that comes with being born a youkai. Death is meaningless to you."
"... I wish that were honestly true. Perhaps the biggest death to me right now is the death of something intangible."
"... our family, huh?"
"It is not your fault. All of us were at fault. But nothing can go back to how they were now."
"... why not?"
"Emotions are not that simple."
"Yeah... you're right."
"Please forgive me, Master Satoshi."
"I'm the last person you should be seeking forgiveness from. What about your son back in Gensokyo?"
"You are the only person I care about Satoshi. That is my absolute feeling towards it."
It disturbs me that even though she had a child with someone she seemed to genuinely like, she would still say something like that, as if she were rejecting her own kin. Was she always like this? If not, what brought her to this? Me? I'm truly a monster, aren't I...?
"And... what about... ours?"
No answer, huh? That figures. I suppose she wouldn't want to think about it if she's parting from this world. I want to stop her. But I don't think I could. I can't even stop myself. There's really nothing to be living for anymore.
You've had enough. You know everything now. Your mind has finally been enlightened.
The past has submitted itself to you, so now you must focus on something greater; the future.
What are you going to do? Where will you go? How will you fare? Your grandmother granted you a second chance at life at the expense of her own. You wish not to waste it. But how?
Even as you are, trying to turn the tides with Risou is impossible. You've relented yourself to the fact that as one person, you're not strong enough to initiate any sort of change. While your grandfather had the handicap of dealing with the tengu, you know that even without that, his road would not have been easy, and success would have been by a slim margin indeed. For you, who has still yet to truly grow up and become an adult, that goal is too far off to chase. Though you won't lie, you've definitely matured a lot in the past few weeks. Your eyes had been opened to a lot of things, both good and bad, and you walk this vile earth a little wiser now.
You don't know why though, but your heart aches. It's yearning for something. You properly parted with your grandmother. You're too afraid to see your family. You know your friends are safe. But no matter how much you try to shake it, your chest hurts something awful. Your emotions cringe in pain and desire something. You know exactly what it is though. It's not something you ever expected yourself to long for. This emotion is very familiar to you, yet you have no experience with it. It's the most painful feeling you've ever had, yet you want more of it. It makes you cry, both good and bad, and dictates all your other feelings and thoughts without effort. You can't believe it, but you fear that this emotion wants something you never believed it would desire. Could it really be? That you...
As you walk through the underground path, away from the former home of your departed grandmother, you stumble across a strange and interesting sight in middle of your heart wrenching musing. It appears to be... a city? There are lanterns everywhere, giving light to a city that is otherwise too far away from the natural light near the mansion you left behind and too far from the surface to get any sunlight. Most intriguing though is the fact that the city is absolutely full of youkai. Many of the youkai you're seeing down here are kinds you wouldn't likely see on the surface, particularly those who prefer the underground. Still though, there's still a fair share of youkai that should be in Risou... in fact, you can recognize a few that did in fact come from Risou, thanks to the difference in clothing styles between here and Risou. The people native to this city seem to wear very old fashioned clothes, reminding you of what you were taught about Gensokyo's past, and how old fashioned it was then.
You quit staring in majestic awe of the city when you see a somewhat familiar sight. Looks like a street stand that serves alcohol and fast food such as ramen.
You guess that while you're more or less a different person now, you may as well start acting like one.
There's no one really attending the stand, thankfully. The only people here are the stand owner and a patron. The owner seems to be very quiet and to the point, somewhat unlike most youkai you feel. However, the patron, a middle aged guy with large black bird wings, seems to have been waiting for a drinking buddy. Is he a tengu? No, he looks like he's an employee for a big business up in Risou. He's also relatively cool headed. Immediately after seating yourself down, he takes a shine to you.
"Hey there little lady. You don't look like you're from around here. Convenient, since I'm not either." You wonder if anyone would notice you're underage. Then again, you're youkai now; people could very well assume you're well into your hundreds while still looking like this.
"Yeah. Um, can I have some sake?" As you hoped, the tender doesn't seem to argue about your looks and serves up a small glass of the warm booze. Despite brushing him off, the patron next to you continues talking.
"So then, what do you do up top?" After taking a swig of his own drink, he continues on as if he weren't expecting you to answer him anyways. "Me, I work in the youkai faction. One of the financial advisors. It's a boring and dirty job but hey, someone's gotta do it, right?"
"Uh, sure." You don't feel like talking to strangers right now. You feel like forgetting your worries and heart ache. Down the hatch...
Ugh. This stuff is so bitter. How do people stand drinking this stuff so often?
"Don't like it? I think it has a unique flavor to it." The patron sitting next to you continues running his mouth off while you try to stomach more of the alcoholic beverage. It's not sitting well with your system but you really need a distraction.
"Rgh... i-it's not that it's bad, really..."
"Oh, I get it, not used to it huh? That's fine. This stuff is kinda strong."
... if you need a distraction, maybe you'll use this guy instead. You don't want to end up vomiting on the sidewalk or something now that you think about it.
"S-So... you're a financial advisor?" As if ecstatic about his success at sparking a conversation, the patron next to you gleefully continues on like a woman with the gift of gab.
"Oh yeah, been working up the ranks though so hopefully I'll get a better job. I know a few people in there. I've even talked with Lady Chen on a few occasions... ah, such a maginificent beauty but I know she'll never be mine. But hey, a promotion or two I could handle, right? I just wish I had something to get me there..."
You need this guy to stop talking about himself. It's getting obnoxious. You go ahead and ask the first question that comes to mind.
"So uh, what is this place exactly? I just kinda stumbled in here?" The guy looks over at you suddenly, a little bemused at how one could 'stumble' into here. But, thankfully, being a little tipsy, he doesn't give it too much thought as it would likely hurt, and answers you quite happily.
"This place? This is the Ancient City. It's been here for ages, since before Gensokyo even existed. So a lotta youkai live here. It's a really quaint place, and no one really attacks one another. It's a really chill location, if you're not a human that, haha." Ha. Ha indeed. You were one not too long ago though.
"I-I see. So how come no one in Risou knows about this place?"
"Oh there's plenty of people who do, but it's never really mentioned because it's supposed to be a sorta safe haven for youkai to just be... you know, youkai. Although it's calmed down a lot compared to what it was like in the past. No one here liked anyone that came from Risou before, even other youkai. Now they're just indifferent."
"To be youkai huh... so how come people who don't like living with humans just come here then?"
"Well, for one, it's quite a distance away. Though I think the main reason would have to be... that it really wouldn't solve anything in the end. I mean, wouldn't Risou just become a city of humans then? I know humans and youkai are totally different but..." Different. Different. You keep hearing that word. You can't stand it anymore.
"... but they aren't." You stare into your empty sake glass, digging back up your painful feelings to explain to this guy just what it means. "Youkai and humans aren't different at all. Just because youkai have longer lifespans and inhuman powers doesn't mean humans can't. There are humans that are completely inhuman and youkai that are more human then most humans. If this is a haven for youkai, it would be a haven for humans who are like the youkai here too. Discriminating between them doesn't make sense when we all share the same kind of feelings. It doesn't make sense when human emotion isn't just human--" Suddenly, in middle of one of your pauses, the patron next to you laughs. Quite rambunctiously too.
"Hahahaha! Hahaha, oh man, that's deep! You know, a lot of youkai would think you're softening up."
"Well isn't it true?!" You shout back, a little angrily. You don't mind lashing out, since this guy had become so boisterous and presumptuous so suddenly. "I know I can't be the only one! I'm sure a lot of humans would think I'm too soft too!" Then, just as suddenly as he turned exuberant, he mellows out, staring into his own sake glass now.
"No, you're right. You're quite right. A lot of the youkai that work at the faction are a lot like that. Especially the kappa... they absolutely adore humans. So they try their hardest to be like them... they're so different from what people think youkai are but... there are actually a lot of different youkai that are like them." You chill out as well, going on with your thoughts as they are.
"I've been thinking. Maybe people in Risou can't live with each other not because there's a difference in humans and youkai, but because there's a difference individually. We're trying to make everyone live together in one happy city but not everyone is happy with everyone else. It's not because of the race, it's because of the people. Or maybe the race just fools us into thinking we can't stand them..."
"... you know, in the outside world, humans suffer like that just the same way we do?"
"Yeah. Something they don't teach you in school. There are difference races of humans, just as many as there are difference races of youkai. And the humans out there... they discriminate against other humans that aren't of their race too."
"... do youkai discriminate between themselves like that too?"
"Oh, of course. That will never change, because of how diverse youkai are. Some kinds of youkai are just mortal enemies with others. But once in a blue moon, you'll still see a snake youkai dating a mongoose youkai."
"... if even mortal enemies can put aside their differences to come together, why can't humans and youkai...?"
"Because that's a specific example. Two people out of a hundred thousand. There are plenty of youkai and humans that get along with each other in Risou. There's just a greater number that don't." He's right. You were a part of that statistic until just recently, having befriended Souya as a human. If you and Souya can do it, why can't others?
"... hey. What if we put the people that can't live with human ways here? In the Ancient City?"
"This question again?"
"I'll keep asking it until I get an answer I like." Your straight forwardness seems to win the patron over as he laughs again, putting his tab on the counter in front of him before turning around in his seat.
"Alright then. I'll bring it up with someone at the faction. Maybe they can pass the message onto Lady Chen. It'll be hard without approval from other parties like the Hakurei Shrine but... who knows, maybe it'll work."
"Say. What's your name, anyways? So I can tell the people who had this amazing idea." He couldn't have made his sarcasm any more obvious, but you don't care. You'll just have to trust him that he'll stay to his word.
"... Satoko. Promise me that you'll tell Lady Chen about it."
"Haha, don't worry, I will. It's crazy, but at this point, anything might work." He goes ahead and gets off the seat he was on, saying something to himself as he walks off. "And if it does, then I get another promotion~"
... youkai really are no different from humans, huh? He's going after his own motives, his own dreams, just like a human would.
You suppose you know what you must do now. There's still hope. Even on the darkest of horizons, the sun always rises, huh?
It takes you a while to get through the cave. It's also quite a walk back to Risou, by the time you're at the city outskirts, it's nearly dusk. All that's left once you arrive is to find him... you have a pretty good idea where he may be though.
The sun has nearly begun setting. The sky is slowly turning a deep, orange tint. You feel relaxed and almost soothed by looking at the sky as you walk towards a remote tree in the park. Hardly anyone seems to walk by here, so you gather that it should be safe for you. Not just you, but a certain someone else too.
There he sits, broken hearted against the tree that the two of you sat together at. You remember it very distinctly. For reasons you will never speak of now that you've realized why.
Souya sits on just about the other side of the tree, practically falling asleep like that. You can't say you blame him, the breeze is nice, the lighting is perfect and air smells wonderful. You'd feel like taking a nap yourself if you didn't need to be absolutely alert for passer-bys. Not to mention that you did promise to protect Souya from the tengu as well.
Your heart feels much more at ease here, seeing Souya here. Maybe the sense of relief is greater now after all the trouble and hardships you've been through, as well as what Souya has had to deal with thus far.
You do dare say that you've genuinely started caring for the boy, but after what he's done for you, you can't say it wasn't inevitable.
"Hey." Souya's wolf ears perk up after he hears you call out to him from right next to him. "You just gonna sit there and sulk all day?" When Souya looks over and up to you, standing there with a stern expression on your face and your arms crossed, the poor tengu looks like he had just seen a ghost.
"W-W-W-W-What?! S-S-S-Satoko?!" He's obviously taken aback by this sudden appearance by you. But you're not about to give him the time of day. Not after what you sacrificed for him.
"Come on, you stupid mutt. We're going." You take Souya's hand bravely and pull him up on his feet, and immediately begin dragging him away.
"I'll explain later. Just come with me. You don't want to get caught, do you?" Of course he wouldn't. He wouldn't be here if he didn't. He would have turned himself in by now otherwise.
"B-But... where are we going?"
You need to take him somewhere absolutely safe this time. You have a good idea where that place is now...
It's been roughly a hundred years now. A hundred long, long years.
You've grown. Your chest finally filled out, just like your parents predicted. You've since cut your hair a little shorter though. You've also begun braiding it up, just like your grandmother did. After you began growing, you also started using some of her clothes. You want to say that it's dishonorable, but knowing her, she would have wanted you to wear her old clothes anyways. She would have been very happy to see you wearing them.
As a result of all this, as well as your new race of being a kasha, you're not just the spitting image of your grandmother anymore. You downright look like her twin. Maybe it was your obsession with her that brought you to this, but you don't think you could live very well not looking like her. You're certain your personality is drastically different from how she was, however.
Souya has grown too, though he doesn't look nearly as cute as his mother did, you think. Certainly not a spitting image, but he still carries some resemblance. He's a hell of a lot taller then he was when you first met him though, that's for sure. He truly looks like a strapping adult now. A very well built physique too. Even if he is a little unkempt. At least he's very neat with the mansion.
Oh yeah, the mansion... the fabeled place your grandmother lived in. You brought Souya here when you first turned youkai, so very, very long ago. You told him to stay put. You then left him there. You returned to Risou. You had to explain things. You needed to confront your family. There was no way around it, as you really did not wish for them to believe you had died. You would never want your family to be hurt that way.
They couldn't believe it at first. It wasn't until your father regained his bearings that he realized that this was completely possible. But it was also a terrible happening. You couldn't be accepted as a member of the family truly anymore. It seemed that the difference between humans and youkai were still too great on a more tangible scale, but it was more akin to the fact that your race had drastically changed compared to your immediate family's, which is highly uncommon to say the least. It only took a couple days to realize that your new mentality and structure were too much for your family to handle. It wasn't a bitter goodbye though, as they still loved you from the bottom of their hearts. It was primarily a conflict within yourself, a conflict you felt couldn't be resolved the way you would have wanted it to. Things just weren't meant to be that way anymore.
Your Aunt Sango was surprised by it as well, though she really didn't treat you any differently at all regardless. You also had learned that Alice, who you feared was taken by the tengu, had stayed entirely safe, noting that the tengu that were at her door that fateful night left without breaking in at all, having to retreat back to base to aid the rest of the tengu with Souya's wayward brother demolishing it. Alice herself was quite surprised by your transformation too, but her face turned solemn after hearing about your grandmother. It was at that point she told you everything. A lot of things you knew, and a lot of things you didn't, but ultimately, it was just a final closure on a chapter that you feel you've left behind now.
It was barely a week that you stayed in Risou before returning to see Souya back at the mansion again. When you had come back, you were shocked to find that it had been cleaned up and restored to it's former glory. You were impressed with Souya's work up until you realized he touched your grandmother's room, at which point you scolded him quite harshly, as stupid as it may sound. But it still seemed like Souya had found a home that he was happy with. Sure, it was underground, but it didn't sound like there was anything on the surface that he missed anymore. It was down here that he found solace and solitude that kept him from letting all his losses drive him insane. Here, he managed to stay the same, lovable little scamp that you knew him as, and he remained that way for as long as he stayed down here, which has been ever since.
After a while, you decided to live in the mansion together with Souya, finding your time in Risou to be too difficult to muster. You would take frequent trips to it at first, but quickly enough, they dwindled. You haven't seen the city in several decades now. Though that isn't to say you haven't kept up with it. The last time you were up there, you were checking on Kouhei and his wife, as they had just recently bore a child. It felt so strange, to still hardly feel any different from how you felt as a child and see your little brother, all grown up with a family of his own. You haven't been back since, but you've still heard from them. Kouhei by now has passed away, and his children are having children of their own at this point. This will likely go on for generations while you continue to age far more slowly. It's for that reason that you've ceased going up to the surface yourself. That's not to say you haven't kept up with others.
Alice visits you from time to time. She never really changes. Even a hundred years later, she still runs the same doll shop, making the same dolls, enjoying the same days. She's finally starting to look a little older, but not by a whole lot. Keine, likewise, still teaches school. She's changed a bit more now, getting into the improving technology that's happening above ground. She's become a lot more strict too, though unlike Alice she doesn't look like she's aged much, despite being half human. You guess even youkai age differently from each other. Aunt Sango eventually married herself, and had kids, unexpectedly. Not exactly passing down a legend, but it comforted you to know that she was still happen in the end. As for the rest of Risou...
After the tengu losses were accounted for after Souya's brother decimated it, it turns out he may have done something right, in a more or less broken way. The crow and daitengu population had greatly dwindled, leaving behind mostly yamabushi and white wolf tengu. This change forced out the current Tenma, and a new one was reappointed. This new Tenma restructured the tengu, allowing the tengu to spread out their jobs across themselves without having to specialize, making the yamabushi and white wolves more prominent and, as a result, more acceptable amongst their social ranks. In turn, this seems to have quelled their intense desire to overthrow those that rule Risou, and are now a proper jurisdiction under the Youkai Faction, that has promised to treat them well and use their numbers effectively and efficiently; just how the tengu would want it.
The Youkai Faction itself was presented with a highly unusual offer at the time though. Due to the recent losses of the Hakurei Shrine and the Moriya Shrine, Risou, and Gensokyo itself as a whole, was without a powerful shrine maiden. No one at the Hakurei Shrine could take the helm anymore, even though the gods at the Moriya Shrine were not worried for some strange reason. The people who ran the Hakurei Shrine then swallowed their pride and finally decided to make amends with the Yakumo family they'd been rejecting all this time; they offered a suitor to Chen, the leader of the Youkai Faction. In order to ensure that the next heir to the Hakurei Shrine would never fall prey to something so tragic again, they wished the most powerful youkai in the faction to bear a child with the priest of the highest potential in the Hakurei bloodline. From what Souya has told you, he wasn't even that bad a guy, and was even a little clumsy. Eventually, the two were married and did indeed bear children; it was the greatest step towards a human/youkai unification that Risou had ever seen, and finally drew open the curtains on what the city, as well as Gensokyo itself could very well become. A place where humans and youkai could coexist in harmony.
Things seemed to calm down after you heard Chen gave birth. You rarely heard much about Risou after that, or at least anything worth noting. Seems the land finally achieved the peace it so sorely deserved. As for you... well...
Today, you walk into your grandmother's room for possibly the millionth time since you left it absolutely pristine as Souya made it. Even though it had been changed, it's still an absolutely sacred room to you and you dare not touch anything that isn't your grandmother's closet. This time, however, you're feeling somewhat... adventurous. You walk around a little, examining every item carefully and thoroughly. You're certainly obsessed, but it's times like these that remind me of who you are and where you've gone in your life. How content you are. How simple things are. How... unfulfilled you feel.
You have a feeling you know what it might be. But you can't bring yourself to act upon it. Ever since you started living with Souya, you've denied feeling this way. Sure, you've traded hugs with him, leaned against him a number of times and even kissed once or twice. But you had always kept things on a casual basis and never once let it go any farther then that, letting it be known that you will never be together with him in that way. He must have felt so broken hearted so many times but he's always put up with it because he's always been thankful for just what he's got. He can't complain. Yet, here you are, toying with his heart. Denying your own. You felt that after your grandmother died, love was beyond you. That it wasn't going to go anywhere happy for you. That it just wasn't worth it. Despite that, you can't help but think of how much your grandmother loved your grandfather, and...
Getting your mind off it, you open up your grandmother's drawers. No use fussing over feelings you can't stand. There's really no need to--...
"... what's this?"
You ask yourself this as you take a beautifully adorned envelope out of the drawer. It stood out so much as being clean and tidy, compared to everything else in the drawers, which had been sitting in there for hundreds of years. It's as if what's in it was so strong that it stood the test of time.
You open it up, knowing that it's a sin to your grandmother. Something in here isn't meant for you. But at the same time, you feel that you're the only one that's allowed to read it.
What you find inside is shocking. Eye opening. Saddening. But most importantly, you realize that this... this would have changed everything. But it didn't, because she didn't act upon it.
You now realize that you can't let yourself become a victim to the same thing your grandmother did.
Last time I saw you, I was telling you that I would be going away to help Master Satori. The truth of the matter is... I was just scared. Scared of what you told me on that hill that one night. That one night that changed everything...
Hurry. Hurry. You need to go. You need to...
I didn't know what to think. My heart was racing. It was feeling things it never felt before. I was getting bothered by something completely intangible. Satoshi, you made me feel... human. I wasn't a pet anymore. I wasn't a beast, an inhuman being or even an apparition. With you, I was as human as any other human would be. You made me feel that way, and for some reason, I don't regret it.
Tears stream down your cheeks as you rush through the halls of the mansion.
Now that I've finally had time away from you to think about it. I've realized... I want to feel that way more often. I want to feel more human, with you. I almost... actually want to be human. I don't know what I'm saying. It's stupid to think of a youkai becoming human... is it? Maybe, just maybe...
You can't let it go on like this anymore. At any moment, he could...
When I'm with you, my heart races. When you talk to me, I feel happy. When you touch me, I shiver. I can't stop thinking about you now that I can't see you Satoshi, and it hurts my chest knowing that I left you without saying a thing. I should have said something. I was too busy wondering what I was doing with myself and not thinking about how you felt. Any ordinary human would have done that and I've failed you by not acting on my own emotions properly, like any human would. I know you deserve a real human, and not me.
"Souya!" As you run to him in the gardens, he looks over and is a little shocked to see your poor state. This doesn't stop you from diving into his chest, holding on for dear life.
But even so, I want this to work. I want to be with you. Even if it's a crime! No sin could stop me from feeling this way about you anymore. And I hope that you feel the same way about me. I know you do. You wouldn't have approached me on that hill that night any other way if you didn't. And I thank you for opening my eyes to something truly wonderful, Satoshi.
"S-Satoko? What's wrong? What's the matter?" Souya is definitely confused as to why you're digging your face into his chest, crying your heart out. As soon as you can talk though, you give him your words.
I hope that one day, other people will realize this too. That they can feel something as spectacular as this. That no matter who you are, where you live or what you do, your emotions are the most fulfilling part of who you are.
"S-Souya... th-there's... something I need to tell you. Something that I've neglected to say. Left unsaid for all these years because I always kept denying it, thinking that I didn't truly want it... but now..."
"Satoko..." Souya seems to realize what you want to say as he grips your shoulders suddenly, being taken by his own emotions. "You don't have to. I'm-"
"No! I do! Not just for you, but for me too!"
So thank you, Satoshi. Thank you for showing me what it means to be human. Please wait for me, Satoshi, for when I return to you, I will say those three words that mean the most to you, those three words that I should have said to you long ago, those three words that you gave me that I've cherished all this time... those three words...
"Satoko...!" You look up at him. Tears falling down your cheeks. Your face contorted in pain and sorrow. Wishing for these feelings to come out. You will grant your heart release now, with these three words.
Alright, this wasn't a total disaster. I still resent the suicide end, but I'm not angry. This was a great end. Though I still have several questions:
What happened to Satori and Okuu? Where did Yukari and Ran get off to? What was it that Alice could only tell Satoshi on his deathbed? What fate befell Aya?
I don't know if this needs another ending to be honest. It'd be nice and all, but I'll leave it up to the author. Maybe an epilogue post story with Satori and Okuu returning to the underground would do it for me.
1: It can just be assumed that Satori and Utsuho both kept to their word and migrated to Risou to fulfill that promise. 2: I'll never tell 3: I believe this was actually addressed in a previous Q&A. If you need a recap though: Alice originally intended on telling Satoshi that Marisa had feelings for him that he never noticed.s 4: You know, I never thought about this in particular. She wouldn't die of old age. It can probably be assumed it was business as usual for her up until the tengu restructure, at which it was... business as usual.
Thank you very much for reading, by the way. I'm very happy that at least one person has enjoyed this. The ending was just one of those things I worked really hard for, personally. Even if it wasn't wholly satisfactory, this ending was something I've waited a year to do.
>>10179 Could their location possibly tie in to your other story?
Your hard work shows, not entirely sure why votes completely dropped off. Or was it all that proxy dodger? Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing you continue your other story, though if you want to take a break, I wouldn't blame you.
Ah... I feel so old. You wouldn't know it by looking at me though, but I suppose that's one of the perks of being a youkai. Inhuman. You don't age like humans do. Not physically, anyhow... I've learned that simply because you're no longer human doesn't necessarily mean you don't feel human. Alice doesn't seem to agree with me, but maybe that's because her circumstances were a lot different. She also isn't in love...
I've tried so hard to help people believe though that even if you weren't born human, you can still feel human deep down inside. Momizi is a good example of this. We had something of a... fling. But that time is over now. I'm happily married with two children and one grandchild, with another on the way. It wasn't always sunshine and rainbows, of course. My wife and Momizi had lots of differences, and being romantic rivals certainly didn't help. But with a lot of perseverance and a little luck, I convinced Momizi to find someone else. She did, too. She, as well, is now happily married. I heard she even gave birth. The offspring isn't female, but since it's her, she still has a chance to prove herself fertile even off season and continue to conceive children that will unbind her race from it's awful curse. Perhaps that goal alone is what compelled her to go on living the way she does now.
I wish my goal were that simple. My influence on a greater scale is a lot less then I imagined it to be. I guess thinking I could start a revolution by myself is pretty far fetched. I had a lot of support, but in the end it really wasn't enough. I was met with difficulty and animosity everywhere I went for the most part. I guess not too many with actual power shares my ideals. I had thought I earned so much hatred that I wanted to run away, take a break from all this and leave Gensokyo for a while, even if it meant abandoning my kids for most of their lives. It was just too hard. I was convinced out of it though, thanks due in part to my wonderful, beautiful wife, Rin, the woman, the youkai, that started all of this.
It's funny, when I first met her, I saw her as nothing more then an annoyance, a little pet that a good friend of mine had that seeked to make my life miserable. Thinking of doing anything human with her felt like doing something human with an ordinary cat; but soon I found out that this was the most extraordinary cat that resided in Gensokyo, and she is a perfect example of what youkai here in Gensokyo are like. I found out that she too had feelings, thoughts and was in fact, quite very human. She could even fall in love, and have doubts about herself based on it. Around that time, I met Momizi, who also had similar feelings and a human heart. These two were the ones that taught me that youkai aren't truly inhuman after all. Being youkai is merely skin deep, so to speak; it doesn't change the fact that the way you think, the way you feel... is still very human deep down inside.
After Rin convinced me not to leave Gensokyo, I settled down, stopped trying to play the revolutionist, and just went on with my life the way I originally intended to. Sure, I was youkai now, but I never really put that fact to any use barring living longer. Hell, I probably could have simply went on just extending my lifespan using a magic spell or something, without having to alter my bodily structure. But the way things are right now, I couldn't care any less. I love my life the way it is now, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Having a simple home on the outskirts of Risou, Gensokyo's new capital, living together with my loving wife, and seeing the rest of my family on a weekly basis... this is what I truly wanted all along. Even Keine is happy for me. It's a liberating experience.
"Hey Dad, where's Sango?" I sit up from my chair on the balcony, snapping myself out of my day dreaming and look at the one referring to me; my now 25 year old son. He almost looks older then I do. That's because he's human, much like the woman he mentioned, his sister.
"Sango? Probably with Satoko."
"You know that doesn't help. Those two are everywhere." I guess like me, all my son wants to do is settle down. He's kind of already achieved this though, having a 7 year old daughter, Satoko, and his wife, my daughter in law, ready to give birth to another one in a few months. So I guess he's ahead of me in life, despite being several decades behind me in age.
"That they are. Why do you need her though?"
"Momizi came over looking for her." Oh, that's right... Sango works for the tengu now. After the white wolves stood tall against the rest of the tengu, they've been having lots of different structural changes. They're still considered one big entity, but they've more or less assimilated into society like the rest of the youkai now. It's not uncommon anymore to see tengu becoming individuals and doing things on their own terms without being commanded by a leader anymore. While tengu as a whole run a large part of the city, they're every bit as much of Risou as the rest of the youkai are. More or less, the tengu have settled down as well, it seems.
"I see... well, I guess we should look for her then." I get up out of my chair and stretch, ready to form a search party, until I see the very white wolf that was mentioned round the corner.
"Satoshi, long time no see." I guess Sango wasn't the only person she came over for.
"Likewise, Momizi. Are you doing well?" With a gentle, beaming smile, the wolf nods.
"Yes, I am. Thank you, Satoshi." I return the smile back at her with confidence knowing that our decisions weren't wrong, and that we're both happy like this. Although, out of the corner of my eye, I spy something interesting.
"Say, Momizi. Who's that behind you?" Momizi blinks a bit before looking behind herself, then down to where my eyes laid. Hiding behind one of her legs is a small boy in a similar outfit to her own, even down to the same hair. He looks awfully shy.
"Souya... don't you want to introduce yourself?" As Momizi asks him, he just hides himself further behind the bigger wolf, resulting in her sighing. "I'm sorry, Satoshi. He is a little--..."
"It's fine. I know that feeling, really." Any further discussion is halted suddenly when I hear my dear wife's voice come from behind me.
"Satoshiii! Satoko needs--" As I turn to Rin, she seems to stop a few steps away from me, a little stunned as she looks past me with our granddaughter right next to her. The moment Rin realizes who it is, her expression turns a bit sour. "What's the mutt doing here?" Over half a century has passed... and she still has not made complete amends with Momizi. In fact, it feels like the time she spent away from her has only made it worse.
"I have business with Satoshi. Is that a problem?" As usual, Momizi's curt responses to Rin just fire her up even more.
"Yes, that is a problem!"
"Rin, calm down, please. She's just here looking for Sango. Speaking of which, wasn't Satoko with her?" Rin then puts her hands on her hips, looking at me in that sassy way that reminds me that while I may feel old, she probably never will.
"Yeah, that's just it. Sango left for work, so Satoko needs someone to play with now." With a sigh, Momizi realizes she picked a bad time to come.
"I see. So I was unnecessary." Taking a brief look at her, then at Satoko, who seems a little restless, I realize this is a good opportunity to tie up some loose ends.
"... hey, Satoko. You know Aunt Momizi, right? You want to meet her son, Souya?" As soon as I mention the boy's name, he peeks out from behind his mother again to spy who I'm talking to. At this very moment, Satoko glances over at him, and either he must be extremely shy, or she looks rather intimidating, as he immediately hides his face again. I'm willing to bet it's the latter though, given how her grandmother can be.
"Him?" Satoko seems to ask as she walks over towards the boy, with Momizi in between them, not even sure of what to do. She must not be a very experienced mother, socially. Thankfully, Rin is by now, and learning from the best, Satoko gruffly grabs the boy's hand and starts dragging him off... "Come on! I need help with this anyways!"
"A-Ah! W-Wait...!" The boy seems rather reluctant, but if he truly felt afraid, he could easily overpower Satoko, being a youkai. So to anyone who knows better, it looks as if he is merely letting himself be dragged into it. Momizi doesn't seem to be a part of that group though.
"Ah, S-Satoshi, are you sure this is okay?"
"Relax. Satoko is my granddaughter, after all. Even if she's Rin's, too."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Rin is giving me a skeptical look, but if she were truly against this, she would be giving me an evil eye instead. Something tells me that even with the ill feelings between her and Momizi, neither of them truly want to be on bad terms with one another anymore. Maybe this will help them get along a bit better.
Maybe. Someday. They will learn to coexist with each other, happily, just like I wish for humans and youkai to be. One day.
In another place, in another time...Sukima!g/OFHYXEWQ2012/09/05 (Wed) 12:01No. 10541▼
"Someone get the nurse, I think he's about to throw up!"
Ah, such is life in the tengu corporation. Wild, hectic and crazy. I don't think I'd prefer it any other way. It certainly beats how the human village was before I left it.
Oh yeah, the human village... I ended up leaving because of a youkai I saw. She made me interested in the world outside the village. I knew it was dangerous, and everyone thought I was insane, brave or just dumb. Later on, I would meet this youkai that ultimately led me to my journey outside the village, and I would fall in love with her. But she would end up not returning my feelings properly... so in the end, I fell in love with another youkai.
"Satoshi! Please hand me that stack of paper!"
A hard working, energetic and pretty white wolf tengu, named Momizi. She came to me very similarly to how my previous, unrequited love did, and in the end, I fell in love with her very much the same way too. She opened my eyes to the troubles and strife of youkai, and helped me learn that youkai have the same problems as humans often do. It was through her that I found out that youkai and humans truly are very alike in many ways, and because of that, I've been trying to work towards uniting them as a more equal whole. The first step was obviously trying to convince the tengu that, as one of their own becoming involved with an outsider was seen as treason, and grounds for execution. Rather then run away, I stood up to them together with Momizi, and tried to set things straight. That they shouldn't be so exclusive with their peers, that they should be able to do what they want, and that they should support them for their cause, especially if it would help the tengu out on whole. Of course, me being with Momizi wasn't helping them at all, due to the white wolf's curse that she alone evaded.
"That doesn't go there!"
"What?! That's not what I was told!"
"Satoshi, I told you that it goes over there!"
As I soon found out though, the curse was set up; a method of controlling the white wolves as the crows pleased and ensuring that they continued to be below them, even though the white wolves were physically superior in every way. It was risky, even Keine believed that just knowing would bring about disaster and disdain, but somehow, me and Momizi put an end to the curse and lifted the covers from over the crow tengu, and after that, equality amongst the tengu was a tangible thing again. I'm still surprised we managed to do it, but we couldn't have been all the better for it. Momizi was no longer the sole responsible one for bringing the white wolves out of their curse and I was appointed one amongst them, declared a tengu despite being human, a first in history, as even Keine says.
"Ahh... ah... ah..."
"Satoshi, are you-"
"I'm fine! No, really, let's keep moving!"
Of course, it isn't without it's caveats. I've been guaranteed a longer life with some help from the tengu and Keine, allowing me to stay with Momizi longer, but that isn't the only thing keeping me alive. Being a tengu... is quite the hard work!
Since then, the tengu have more or less assimilated into the society of the new capital of Gensokyo, Risou. The city was built largely with the help of the tengu, kappa and the Moriya shrine gods, effectively over throwing the Hakurei clan's reign of power and even diminishing by large the Yakumo family's influence. While they still hold power of their own, it's safe to say that 'ownership' of Gensokyo has shifted quite a bit from days of old. I can't help but feel partially responsible, as even Lady Kanako never expected the tengu to take the reigns so freely and skillfully as they did...
"Satoshi, we can rest now."
After flopping into a nearby chair and taking a breather, I look back on the past few years. Almost every day has been a constant work load to take care of and hardly any rest. I rarely get time with Momizi alone, but I don't care. I spend almost every waking minute with her in the tengu facilities and we work together for a brighter future. Together with the rest of the tengu. I never thought I'd see myself in this position later on...
"Satoshi..." I notice Momizi sitting next to me and looking at me worried. I must look like I'm overworking myself.
"Hahaha, I'm fine, I'm fine. Don't worry, really. If I don't keep this up, I'll never become as strong as you, after all." The wolf girl beside me just gives me an exasperated look.
"Satoshi, please mind me sounding complacent, but I do not think that is something you could feasibly achieve. In any case, that does not really matter-"
"But it does. I won't be able to keep up with this life style if I don't put enough effort into it. And then I wouldn't be able to be with you." Despite feeling hurt at such a prospect, Momizi gives me a tender smile.
"Thank you, Satoshi..."
"Anything for you, Momi-"
Oh, right. About that unrequited love... as it turns out, it wasn't quite unrequited after all.
"R-Rin?! What are you doing here?!" My surprise doesn't faze the hellcat at all. She gleefully wraps her arms around one of mine like a lovesick school girl even in the presence of my quite obviously annoyed wife.
"What do you think? You promised me you'd take me to the new diner down Myouren Street!"
"Later! After I'm done with work!" Momizi clears her throat, and uses the opportunity to pitch in.
"The schedule for today is unusually tight, Miss Kaenbyou, so I am afraid Satoshi cannot join you today."
"Oh, that's a load of bull if I had ever heard it." Rin is a lot more upfront about her own frustration, which doesn't make things any better. "Maybe if you worked like a proper tengu, Satoshi could have more free time that he could spend with me."
"If Satoshi had more free time, he would surely be spending it with me!"
"Not if you don't have any free time yourself, you dumb mutt!" Well, Rin does have a point, but still...
"Girls, girls, isn't it a little inappropriate to be fighting in the work place like--..." I stop myself cold when I realize both women are giving me the scariest damn stare I had ever been on the business end of.
"Stay out of this."
Them saying it in unison is all I need to let them have their pointless squabble. I wonder how long this will continue for... oh well, at the end of the day, I guess I'm still happy, so all's well that end's well, right?