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14284 No. 14284
People are interesting beasts. They search frantically for any manner of understanding that they can divine, whether it be the truth or a lie, and are quick to label anything they stumble across in a sad attempt to claim it as property. There is no escaping this primal urge of theirs. No place in the world is safe, neither earth nor ocean nor the heavens above nor even thought itself. This, throughout the years, has been both their greatest strength and greatest downfall, as it perpetuates the petty falsehoods that once filled the holes in their ancestors' comprehension of the world. History on the whole holds very little evidence, and much that is accepted is, in fact, simply a patchwork of comforting lies blanketing their entire race. I cannot say that I am not thankful for this. As much pain as it has caused me, I know more vividly than any creature alive what pain it has prevented.

They are, after all, one and the same.

Currently, my arm is broken, I am suffering from a concussion, I have not eaten in six days, my skin is peeling from a particularly deep burn, and my left eye is blind. My body is in pristine condition, thankfully, but my spirit only stands from the centuries of experience. Meanwhile, five people continue living blissfully unaware that there was ever a risk posed to them. The pain will fade when it fades, and I will bear it until such time as the malice from which it spawned has lost its flame, calmed from its simmer, and eventually evaporated, its reason forgotten. I can take steps to hasten the process, but there are astoundingly few whose hatred can be easily sated.

There really is so little to think about during breakfast. How many times have I gone over this monologue, now...?

Opening the door reveals a sky stained red by the rising sun, whose light dances along the clouds and earth alike and reveals streams of energy in the air all the more vividly. Normally sensing them requires a great deal of concentration, but even the sun is affected by their presence. The angle it sits at in the morning is best for my very particular line of work, meaning there's very little time for me to prepare myself for what's to come. If nothing else, I can pray to whatever gods will listen that wherever I land will house a relatively benevolent perpetrator – young, stupid, or if nothing else human. Youkai have an unbearable capacity for grudges.

Roll the dice,

spin the bottle,

and land on...

[ ] Red
[ ] Orange
[ ] Yellow
[ ] Green
[ ] Blue
[ ] Violet

---

Indigo is shit tier. Picture isn't actually NSFW, but I wanted people to read before looking.
>> No. 14285
[ø] Green.
woah.
>> No. 14286
[x] Green
>> No. 14287
[X]Green

Level 4 Laser go!
>> No. 14289
File 126789883319.png- (141.34KB , 507x638 , 2348.png ) [iqdb]
14289
Black and
[x] blue
>> No. 14290
Oh, and don't let the picture fool you. She is most decidedly benevolent, or she wouldn't put up with this shit at all. The one I wanted to use was taken though, so eh.

Also, not writing until I know a certain person who helped me out a great deal has voted.
>> No. 14291
[X] Yellow

Hina CYOA by NARH? Fuck yes.
>> No. 14292
[x] Orange
>> No. 14293
[X] Green

A Hina CYOA, is it?

bison_thisisdelicious.jpg
>> No. 14294
[x] Orange
She helped Kogasa a lot, after all.
Wait, wrong story.
>> No. 14295
[X]Green
>> No. 14296
[X] Blue

The calm.
>> No. 14297
[X] Green
>> No. 14298
Green, Green.

Greeeeen.

Writing?
>> No. 14299
File 126792476614.jpg- (491.58KB , 1200x960 , 1214866011933.jpg ) [iqdb]
14299
Before my eyes are even half open, it's clear where they've landed. It's difficult to describe exactly what a "curse" feels like, even to people who can feel it themselves. So much time has passed since it was anything but natural to me, it would be like trying to tell a blind man what it feels like to see. If I could do it, this job might be a bit easier. Then again, it's entirely possible that everyone would believe me mad. Maybe they already do, but I'd still like to think the risk outweighs the benefits.

Introspection aside, the site for today will be the forest of magic. Odd, considering its usual placidity – most of its residents are either animals or too insignificant to hate. Even when they do kill a human, the dead are considered more at fault than the youkai themselves, which makes me more than a little worried about the concentration of hatred today. At least it's no Bamboo Forest. I've been terrified to enter there since the day I started doing this. Even now, its contents have yet to spill out from its borders. The day they do may very well be the day that I retire. If I think about it that way, this seems like a small job! Maybe I'll even have time for another before tonight! Positivity, positivity.

It's more important than you might think.

The target is clear within minutes of flight. Trees open gradually, first revealing a small portion of a dirt path, then opening to a clearing at the center of which sits a quaint wooden house. No more than one story, possibly an attic, and a small extension to the back for a shed of some sort. The wood is unpainted but well-kept, (unlike the grass around it, which grows wildly and shares the clearing with all manner of wildflower and mushroom) showing no signs of warping or damage. I wouldn't doubt that the surface of the house lacks even a single splinter. Quite the odd arrangement, but there have been stranger. A gentle rap on the door garners no reply, so a shout will have to do.

"Hello? Is the master of the house in?"
"Ah! Yeah, yeah, I'll be right out." A voice echos just slightly from behind the house, a reminder that the forest is indeed still around us. That would explain why she didn't answer the knock, then.

When I reach the shed, I'm greeted by a young woman perhaps no older than 20, wearing earth-stained blue overalls, an off-white shirt with sleeves rolled up to the elbow, and a skewed grin unfitting of her appearance (And, for that matter, the negative energy flowing from her.) Behind her is presumably the focus of her previous efforts, a rather large fenced-in garden. Though better-kept than the surrounding plant life, it seems to overflow with mushrooms of assorted sizes, shapes and colors. I make no claims to being a nature expert, but there is a creeping feeling that some of those varieties don't exist outside of this garden.

"Hey, I remember you! You're that, uh...Kagimiya?"
"Kagiyama. Have we met?"
"Oh, ouch. That's cold. Don't you remember, around when that new shrine popped up?" At this, she makes an exaggerated gesture while crossing her fingers...Oh!
"Right, you! I could hardly recognize you without that hat of yours. How are you?"
"Well, I can't say getting a visit from you doesn't worry me a little bit. Is someone gonna draw swastikas on me when I go to bed?"
"I'm afraid I can't say just yet. Would you mind if we sit down for a moment and discuss the matter?"
"Sure thing. Just lemme wash up and I'll put on some tea." Ah, isn't cooperation such a lovely thing?

---

The inside of her house is as astoundingly decorated in its plainness as the outside is. Again there are no marks of damage on the walls or even the floors, as though the construction was finished just days ago, and no effort is spent on setting down rugs or furniture beyond a coffee table and a sofa against the east window. Instead, the house is lined with framed scrolls, bookcases filled beyond capacity, and drawers labeled with terms I can neither read nor recognize. To say the house is cluttered would be an understatement, but it seems so thoroughly organized that both ends of the term "method to the madness" feel like understatements.

"So. What'd you come by for?"
"As you likely expect, there has been a curse placed upon you." Lying is distasteful, but it makes things fast and easy for everyone involved, beyond the initial worry which quickly spreads across her face.
"Gh...Can you do anything about it? I've read about some pretty nasty curses that don't show up till it's too late..."
"I already am." Were it not for my hair, she would already be able to see the slowly spreading bruise across my neck. Were it not for my dress, she would see much more. At the sound of a snap, though, the weight of the situation sinks in and she springs to her feet.
"Holy fuck! What're you...Is this...Why would...?" It takes a great deal of concentration to raise my left hand toward her, and invite her to sit once more.

In time the bruises fade and my collarbone heals, though only in the physical sense. The pain of what could only be a series of furious blows will linger for some time. It takes several minutes before I can see straight again, much less speak, but when I do recover she seems to have calmed down.

"Al-" Ugh. Raspy. Perhaps a sip of tea is in order. "All done."
"What the fuck was that?"
"'That' was what would have happened to you, otherwise known as my job. Now, if you will let me, I would like to do the other part of it."
"Hey, anything you need."

[ ] Suspicious persons
[ ] Unusual places
[ ] What are these things?

---

Hopefully I'm not going too overboard with the descriptions. They're just so fun to write. Also, feel free to ask for clarification on the choices – as you might expect, I don't have much experience making them understandable but not horribly bland.
>> No. 14300
[x] Suspicious persons
[x] Unusual places
[x] What are these things?

Is this okay, since if Hina's going about investigating who placed the curse, all the information possible would be useful.

And do "these things" refer to what's in her garden?
>> No. 14301
[x] All of the above
>> No. 14302
>"Is someone gonna draw swastikas on me when I go to bed?"
...Is this something Marisa worries about on a regular basis?

[X] Suspicious persons
[X] Unusual places
[X] What are these things?

In that order, just in case multi-voting isn't allowed.
>> No. 14305
I'd say the trend here is pretty obvious, though I'm unsure of why I didn't see it coming. Gonna try and get some writing done tonight, but tomorrow is my mother's birthday celebration and as such the chance of updating more than the one time either tonight or tomorrow morning is slim.

>>14302
Look deep within your heart. The answer is there.
>> No. 14311
[X] Suspicious persons
[X] Unusual places
[X] What are these things?

Good stuff so far. I like me some delicious Hina~ this story already.
>> No. 14312
File 126793517195.jpg- (129.35KB , 572x800 , 61fbf1cea58ec5d91c8dbf51adce2caa.jpg ) [iqdb]
14312
"In that case, let's start at the top. Have you met any unusual or suspicious individuals who might have gotten a bad impression of you, in the past few days? Most times, older acquaintances will forgive your trespasses for the sake of friendship, or otherwise confront you simply because they know how to." It's a shame that someone could wish such violence upon her for a single meeting, but it's not unheard of.
"Nah, I've been keeping to myself for the most part. The batch of mushrooms I'm working on right now are more important than you can imagine, 'cause...well. I'd have to explain some, uh. Some things." It's difficult to read her expression, both due to the overwhelming look of concern that has yet to leave her face and the blur in my vision as my eyes water slightly. It may not be visible, but the pounding she was due for included a single hard slap in the face. Whether I can withstand the pain or not, there's a simple physiological reaction at work. At least, that's what I tell people who ask.

"I understand. So, you've been staying at home, working on these mushrooms...Do forgive me if this is too prying, but what exactly does that entail? You may be stepping on someone's feet, as it were."
"I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but my magic runs on love. I mean, there's the love you feel for other people, yeah, but that's not the only kind. Not by a long shot. The mushrooms, here, they work as a catalyst more than anything. I only use them as an ingredient because I love the type of plant, itself," As she speaks, her voice gains more and more strength and her arms accompany her words with both sharp and sweeping gestures. Just speaking about this seems to excite her, but then if she's as focused around love as she says that should come as no surprise. "The shape, the taste, the colors, everything. And the love I feel for magic itself, that I show every time I study one of these books or hunt down one of these scrolls, or the love for this house, this forest, all of Gensokyo? It all goes into the magic. So I've gotta make sure they all understand just how much I love 'em. Every day, I go out there into my garden, and I check in on 'em, water 'em, sing to 'em, make sure the soil and the temperature and the condition of the fence is okay, sometimes I'll try and see if two that I really like can cross-breed, all that. Bright and early – you actually got here right when I was finishing up. Hell, sometimes at night I even go looking for friends to bring home to 'em." Her last sentence is accompanied by a light chuckle and a sip of her tea.
"Your dedication to your craft is admirable; I'm sure the mushrooms appreciate having you tend to them. How long does it generally take for a batch to mature?" Something about the idea of mushrooms showing appreciation is both cute and disturbing. Then again, so is her enthusiasm.
"Well, generally speaking they work mostly by themselves. Plants are pretty self-sufficient, you know. They're good to use in a week or two. Recently, though, I've been doing a lot of experiments, trying to perfect growing them. I need these to be world-class. Couldn't tell you how long it'll take, but it isn't any time soon."
"And you intend to follow that schedule every day until then?"
"No questions about it. When I say need I mean need."
"Hm. You haven't seen anyone at all in this time?"
"Not in the past four days, no. Sorry if I'm not being much of a help, here, but I'm about as stumped as you."
"Indeed. May I have a moment to think?"
"Go right ahead. I'll put on some more tea." With a light 'hut' and a push against her knees, she gets up from the sofa, leaving me to ponder the current possibilities.

First and foremost, there is the chance that she's lying. I hate considering it, but not doing so could jeopardize her safety and make that snapped collarbone meaningless. Besides, many humans feel the need to hide that they've done some wrong as long as it doesn't affect them. It's only natural. It may be prudent to try a cross-examination of people she might know. Then, there's the chance that she's simply forgotten meeting someone or something – there are, after all, creatures more petty than I'd like to admit, and she did mention going out at night. Going along that line of thinking, there could be something she's neglected to tell me. This could even be a force of nature; misguided and general emotions toward all mankind set adrift and choosing an unfortunate and undeserving target. There's too much to consider right now.

A squealing whistle breaks my concentration, and in short order the fragrance of chamomile drifts lazily over the table. "So. Think of anything?"
"I do have a few ideas, but nothing very solid. Your case is a rather uncommon one."
"Well, we are in Gensokyo." At this, she raises a teacup with as hearty a smirk as is possible to muster. I mimic her as well as I can, but think better of downing a full glass of near-boiling liquid. Unfazed, she continues, "So what's the plan, then?"

[ ] Good cop Good cop
[ ] Trust is for the weak
[ ] Keep track of the visions

---

This may be my first shot at something resembling a detective thing, but it's also the first case. You're not always gonna have your thinking done for you.

Also I really hope someone else actually gets that last option or I'm gonna feel so fucking old.
>> No. 14314
[x] Good cop Good cop

I think this would work with Marisa, since she's too used to people accusing her of various stuff (some of which she actually is guilty).

But I'm starting to suspect that someone's upset that she'd rather spend time with mushrooms than them.
>> No. 14315
>The batch of mushrooms I'm working on right now are more important than you can imagine, 'cause...well. I'd have to explain some, uh. Some things.
>When I say need I mean need.

[X] Trust is for the weak

The time for white lies and half-truths came and went with the broken collarbone, Marisa.
>> No. 14318
[x] Good cop Good cop
Continue with this.

>Also I really hope someone else actually gets that last option or I'm gonna feel so fucking old.

Marisa wouldn't wear sunglasses at night, would she?
>> No. 14319
[x] Good cop Good cop
>> No. 14323
[X] Keep track of the visions

We're feeling the pain that would be brought onto Marisa by this curse and it's obvious Marisa has a few things to hide, so we at least want to keep track of what exactly WILL happen to her if she keeps withholding info like this. We shouldn't call her bullshit out just yet resulting in her vehemently denying her lies and then throwing us out less nicely than one would do, while still not picking up any useful info to save her from injury, but at the same time, we can't pretend that we don't know that anything bad will happen to her which would probably result in the curse befalling her, and then blaming Hina for leaking misfortune onto her. Let's hear her out first and then tell her what we are aware of as far as the curse intended for her goes.
>> No. 14324
>>14323

I think the Good Cop Option would result more in an attitude of reassurance and kindness that Hina wouldn't tell anyone as to get Marisa to open up to her.

It's the bad cop that gives the person shit.
>> No. 14332
There's a two-woman line for the shower ahead of me, which means I've got time to write maybe probably writing now.
>> No. 14333
File 126798324492.jpg- (124.21KB , 400x600 , 1214864583044.jpg ) [iqdb]
14333
"There isn't much to form a plan on, sadly. At the moment I intend to finish the tea you've treated me to, and try to recover from a few internal injuries." At this, her eyes tense for only an instant.
"I'm, uh. Sorry you had to take a broken bone for me. At least it healed up fast, right?"
"Not quite. My throat will take some time to recover due to being punctured by the spine behind it, which itself won't sit quite right for another hour or so, and my lungs still need to clear out from internal bleeding." Yet more lies, though without intervention they may become truths. Judging from the successively deeper shake that besets her with each listing of fake injuries, hypotheticals are effective.
"That's horrible. If it's choking, then it's a person directly doing it, and some serious scorn besides...Why me?"
"It's what I'm here to find out. If I fail, it may yet come to pass. Are you absolutely certain that there's nothing else you can tell me that will aid me to these ends?" Her brow furrowed, she hunches forward and stares deeply into the bottom of her empty tea cup. A long silence passes, broken only by the chirping of distant birds until her voice, barely above a whisper and quivering either through fear or shame, escapes her lips.
"If I tell you this...you have to promise me that you won't let it get out." The phrase is tempered with a heated determination despite the weakness of the voice which carries it. It's difficult for me to imagine just how heavy these words are for her, but her sidelong stare demands my reply. As difficult as it is to say, lying would only cause her more pain.
"I can't guarantee that. If telling someone is the only way to stop this, you may have to let your secret go."
"I'm already letting it go by telling you. You have to promise me." Her gaze hardens even further.
"If it's the only way, then...I promise. Your words won't leave this room."
"There's a reason I can't afford to screw up these mushrooms," she continues, my promise clearly eliciting no relief, "You know that mansion over on the lake? Big old red thing?"
"It's within view of my house, actually. I've yet to visit, though."
"The master of that house has a personal library. I've seen it through the windows, but I haven't been able to get inside for more than a minute or two. The first time I went inside, I couldn't believe my eyes. The inside is bigger than the outside; they have bookshelves filled with who knows what that stretch past the clouds. About a week ago I managed to get away with one of the books, but it cost me. Bad."

Wordlessly she reaches down her left leg, grips the hem of her overalls, and pulls it back with utmost care. Slowly it reveals a gradually darkening leg, until perhaps a thumb's length below her knee her flesh sharply recedes. There is a gash that should reach to the bone but which reveals neither flesh nor blood. Instead a jet-black marble inhabits the wound's walls, the color of which stains her skin around the site in stringy waves, seeming almost to threaten to continue digging through her.

"She's got demons guarding it. Everywhere. I don't know what they are specifically, but one managed to nick me – barely a fuckin' scratch – and it's only gotten worse since then. I'm starting to lose feeling around there, too. I've been putting together my strongest magic ever to go back in there. I don't know what I'm gonna do when I'm in, but I can't just let this kill me. I've worked way too hard to let all my magic just scatter and die." This is...horrible. To wish such pain upon her even after inflicting this, the owner must care dearly for each and every book.
My voice comes out hushed, suppressed by the low intensity with which she yet speaks, "What were the contents of the book?"
"Stuff you wouldn't believe. It took three of my own just for me to figure out how to read the damn thing, and it was all worth it. It'd take me a lifetime to read it all and three more to practice it, but by the looks of it I'm not gonna get either."
"So you intend to...what? Barge in there and win her over with more violence?"
"I intend to steal more books and hope that I can figure out a cure with them before it's too late."
"Rather than making amends and requesting that the residents help you."
"They're demons. There's no way they'll make a deal with me."
"Perhaps. Regardless of whether you will deal with demons or gods, you will need to form a plan, and as long as I'm here it's my responsibility to help you."
"Does that mean you have a better idea?"

[ ] STR
[ ] DEX
[ ] CON
[ ] WIS
[ ] INT
[ ] CHR

---

Good call, guys. This was the fastest way to get where you are. Again, feel free to ask for clarification if my choices are too indirect – I'm still looking for a good balance. And again, picture isn't really NSFW.
>> No. 14334
>>14333
Are the choices various methods involving certain things like Str involving a method with brute strength?
>> No. 14335
[X] CHR
>> No. 14336
I wonder why Marisa's so concerned about keeping her injury secret. If my leg was falling off and I didn't know how to fix it, I'd be telling anyone within earshot.

[X] WIS

Wisdom is the spellcasting stat, right? Maybe there's something Hina can do to prevent the spread of the injury? Barring that...

[X] CHR

...we negotiate, leaving Marisa behind and going alone, if necessary.

>feel free to ask for clarification if my choices are too indirect
I'll probably just include justifications for all my votes, same as I do for Fell's story; you should be able to get an idea of whether or not the choices are too confusing from those.
>> No. 14337
[x] CHR

To many it's a dump stat, but if you get it high enough, you can get away with some incredible stuff.
>> No. 14338
>>14336
Preventing worry and it's a result of Marisa's 'borrowing'; though this Gensokyo seems rather crapsack if removing curses hurts Hina in the process and there's fierce demons in the library.
>> No. 14339
>>14334
Yep. You and her will be going it together, and this is your chance to try and influence the planning process.

>>14338
I have a soft spot for grimdark. Not enough that the story will be completely without happiness or love, but enough that people will see things for what they are as opposed to a little girl with a title.

Not to say they aren't still little girls with titles, of course.
>> No. 14340
[X] CHR

>>14337
And then there's settings where using it as the dump stat is a really bad idea. For instance, I'm in a group playing Xcrawl, where dungeon crawling is a national sport. Charisma helps get you a sponsorship and deal with the press, fans and sycophants. If your character has the personality of a brick, he'll be turned into a laughing stock.
>> No. 14341
[x] CHR
She needs to learn to let go. Either she returns the book or she dies. Greed is a terrible thing to have.
I'm sure that, after that love speech, she could understand the love that mages can give to objects. How would she feel if someone would steal her 'world class' mushrooms? (Although stealing a book is more a kin to throw salt to the entire area)
>> No. 14342
>>14341
I think the main solution is figure out a way for both parties to be happy, i.e. Marisa being able to look at the books but isn't bascially stealing them.

[x] CHR.

I hope this works.
>> No. 14343
Dinner plans were canceled. Writing, though I may end up giving up on it for today.
>> No. 14344
File 126800210673.jpg- (98.29KB , 600x750 , 1231618280452.jpg ) [iqdb]
14344
Despite the brightness of the sun and the cloudless sky, an ever-present chill lingers over Scarlet Lake, seeming only to drive further into my mind that the world into which we plan to delve is completely different from our own. The inside of that mansion, if this girl's description can be believed, will be as different as the sky and the lake itself, whose waters seem to extend below us forever despite their clarity. If I was flying upside down, I'd never tell the difference. Knowing this, though, only tempers my resolve. There will be only one chance at this.

"...This is stupid." She, however, still seems to have some reservations.
"No, it isn't. We've been over this." Quite extensively, in fact!
"It still bothers me, though. Is it too late? Can we go back?"
"If we go back, you'll be in no condition to do this by the time you build up the courage. Besides, we don't know how well that wound will heal – if it heals. Best to nip it in the bud."
"It just feels wrong. I don't like it."
"Do you like dying?"
"…"

In time (and in relative silence) land shows itself underneath the waves, and meets us above them. If the mansion was imposing from a distance, seeing it from here is like staring into a hole to hell. Surrounding the mansion itself is a great obsidian wall, tall and sheer enough that climbing over would be an impossible feat. All light which dares come near it seems to be absorbed, but looking closely reveals intricate reliefs filled in with shaped onyxes of a color nearly indistinguishable against the wall itself until it's too close to see more than a small section. It's clear from the few shapes I can make out that they form a story, though how far it goes or what it depicts is a matter for the imagination. A construction of both elegance and intimidation, it very efficiently showcases the status and style of the person inside.

I can't even see the mansion itself over it without leaving the island it resides on.

My admiration for its craftsmanship is called away, however, by a statement delivered with the same intensity as a command, "The gate's this way."
"You don't need to speak so harshly, dear. I can see you shaking."
"Don't remind me."

Said gate proves equally extravagant. The tell-tale semi-circle of a door extends even further above the border through which it opens, decorated with spiraling dragons carved from gold. Their entire bodies convey the same majesty with which a true dragon might carry itself, no detail overlooked by whatever beautiful creature made it. Each scale has been given the same attention as the mural from before, and shimmers in the morning sun as though backed by an otherworldly glow. Their eyes have been carved from emeralds which seem to stare back at the observer, their talons with amethyst, and their tails with sapphires and rubies. Each one has a unique design, possibly even modeled after the real thing, and each could be admired as a work of art on its own.

A tall, muscular woman stands perfectly still in front of the doors in what I and anyone who's seen the camp where the human village trains their guards recognize as a military stance. She wears a relatively simple gold-lined green dress split at the side to reveal a pair of loose-fitting pants which, themselves, are almost completely unremarkable. Her long red hair is tied into braids in the front and topped by a green beret with a lightly decorated star in front, but is left otherwise to flow in the wind. Even then, it seems almost as smooth as water – not a single strand flickers out of place, and whenever the wind dies down it falls back into place where it belongs. I'll have to ask her to show me that one.

Later. My first priority is getting her to let me in, from the looks of things.

[ ] What's the story, Morning Glory?
[ ] Wonderwall
[ ] Champagne Supernova

---

The difference between my quick-and-lazies and other peoples' is that I just spend the whole thing describing stuff. I fucking love doing descriptions.
>> No. 14345
Could you perhaps clear things up? since I think the first option is asking her.
>> No. 14346
>>14345

If I had to guess, I'd say option one is talk and three is attack, but I got nothing for two.

Guess I'll go for [X] What's the story, Morning Glory?
>> No. 14347
>>14345
If I had to guess, the first option is ask, the second is sneak in and the third is to beat her up.
I may be wrong though.

[x] What's the story, Morning Glory?
>> No. 14348
>>14345
Pretty sure they're just different ways of starting a conversation with Meiling.

[X] Wonderwall

She spends all day out here with the artwork; surely she'd appreciate someone to talk to about it.
>> No. 14349
[x] What's the story, Morning Glory?
>> No. 14350
>>14348
Ding ding ding.

Option one involves asking about the SDM on the whole. Option two involves art. Option three involves her role specifically.
>> No. 14351
>>14350
Oh, and for anyone who's concerned - you've already chosen your approach to the situation. You can't change from a bard to a thief in the middle of Sky, and you can't do it here.
>> No. 14355
[x] What's the story, Morning Glory?
>> No. 14356
[X] What's the story, Morning Glory?

I like your descriptions, the take on the SDM wall is intereseting.
>> No. 14359
[ℤℯ] Wonderwall

This story is fucking lovely and you should feel fucking lovely.

No, seriously. You should.
>> No. 14360
I have the perfect name for this story.

"Curses Foiled (Again)"
>> No. 14368
>>14356
Why thank you. I'm kind of trying to change things up from the accepted standard so people actually have a reason to read the long descriptions. Good to know it's working.

>>14359
Aww, shucks.

>>14360
Maybe for the second thread.

I'm gonna call it here, though I'm not sure when I'll be writing. I want to make some use of having to call out sick, though, so it will happen.
>> No. 14372
File 12680839538.jpg- (699.02KB , 1042x950 , ffd9b3349ee2160d5f2b9c36b4a137c9.jpg ) [iqdb]
14372
No time like the present, I suppose. "Excuse me, miss?"

Her stance remains solid, right down to her eyes; either she's ignoring me or she's just very disciplined. Either way, it's clear that she's all business. "I've seen this place from a distance many times, but never actually approached until today. It's quite the lovely mansion, I must say. Who lives here?" Again, nothing. The silence is beginning to get awkward. "I suppose they like their privacy, if you're not allowed to tell. In that case, does the house have a name?"

Her persistence is telling, but quite aggravating.

"I told you it wouldn't work. My turn." Trying to hide her slight limp under a veil of aggression, my companion approaches within an inch of the human statue's face. "It may interest you to know that I have in my pocket a nifty little device that can burn this whole island to the ground six times over, and that I'd very much like to get into that mansion. Now you can step aside, or you can answer to whoever pays you after digging them out of the ashes." As she speaks, her hand slides within the folds of her dress and pulls out a small wooden box adorned with intricate runes and patterns formed by time-worn dyes. The implications are worrying.

Before I can seize her arm, though, the guard finally shifts and strolls casually to the side of the door before reassuming her previous stance. If I didn't know better, I'd swear I caught a glimpse of a smirk, too. "I'd very much like to see you try." Oh, no. Oh, no no no no no...With an uncomfortably wide grin made all the more unsettling by its sole place in the sun under the wide brim of her hat, she extends a glowing hand to her side, continuing to face the guard.

The last thing I hear before the ringing sets in is a low but arrogant, "Watch me."

To describe what follows is difficult without having had the experience. No words can truly represent the blinding light that seems to bend time and space themselves, the grinding noise of matter decomposing and lending itself to the explosion, or the sadness that besets one as they realize the sheer amount of destruction occurring before them and the source of its power. This is the result of her love. If I weren't focusing so intently on deciphering what little color washes through the lingering white even after the assault's end, or on dulling the ringing in my ears so loud I would prefer to simply bear with a scream, I might have time to wonder how exactly that works.

I do, however, have time to pray that she doesn't destroy it in the process.

When my vision and hearing do return, the extent to which I was affected becomes clear. The ground is scorched black, leaving no trace of plant life. From it rises a thick, deep smoke that proves as blinding as the beam itself. As it clears, the first thing that I see is the young one's face. Her expression is a mixture of horror and frustration, mouth agape and eyes wide but tense, focused intently at the still-silent guard. Despite her arm being replaced with empty air and her scorched locks missing a matching length, she stands back in her position between us and the gate, which seems completely untouched.

"I underestimated you. I suppose that makes us even." I have to step in, before the witch has time to retort and worsen the situation further this time.
"I apologize for my companion's rudeness, miss. She's very eager to meet with the master of this mansion."
"I'm sure. However, you have yet to state either your business or your names. My mistress appreciates honesty." ...Come to think of it, I never did catch her name.
"Marisa Kirisame and Hina Kagiyama. We're here to balance a debt." Thankfully she answers quickly, her patience having run thin enough to snap under its own weight. That's one very awkward moment avoided.
"Very well. Wait outside, I will arrange an escort." For the first time since we've landed, she shows us her back. Facing the massive, towering gate before her, she extends her remaining arm,

and pushes it open

effortlessly.

What little glimpse of her back I catch before the door shuts with a thunderous slam seems regal enough for her to lead this mansion, herself, though it's difficult not to after that display.

"So it was that easy. The whole damn time..."
"Do you realize the importance of the plan, now?" Her gaze goes from me to her hand, still clutching that small wooden box with blackened fingers, and back once more before she pockets it with a sigh.
"Yeah. I got it."

---

"I apologize for the delay. The Mistress generally does not see visitors without notice, but was able to be convinced that you deserve an audience. Now, if you would..."

A girl seemingly even younger than Marisa beckons to us, completely unfazed by the scene of destruction and the condition of who is apparently her underling. Her eyes are sharp but seem almost lifeless, which is only furthered by the bright silver shade framing her face in braids. Despite dressing in a man's style tuxedo her jacket and pants have been tailored directly to her proportions, curving and accentuating her femininity. Were it not for the headdress, fitted to her as naturally as skin, one would never have guessed her a maid.

At her call we follow behind her, but I can't resist the urge to check the inside of the wall and door in the hopes of revealing some otherwise lost beauty. To my disappointment, it looks much the same as the outside – all-encompassing. The only difference is the fantastically red mansion. Its material is a mystery, but it feels like the entire building was hand-carved from a single piece, detail by detail. What corners and edges there are seem too smooth to have been shaped separately, but it's clear that the shade is natural rather than painted. Whatever it's made of, there's little doubt in my mind that it was outstandingly expensive.

"I will lead you directly to the Mistress. Please do not stray from me, as I cannot guarantee your life's safety otherwise." Her last line is delivered with an eerie flatness reminiscent of that she might serve breakfast or buy rice with. Somehow I find myself reluctant to disobey; more so when the doors open to reveal a vastness unmatched by any building I've seen. This house may even be able to fit the mountain inside.

We...may be a while.

[ ] Knowledge is power
[ ] Ignorance is bliss

---

Dear god this took a while. Next time I suggest writing while sick, stop me. Couldn't find a good picture, didn't feel like danbooru surfing.
>> No. 14373
[X] Knowledge is power
>> No. 14374
[x] Knowledge is power
>> No. 14376
[X] Knowledge is power
>> No. 14380
[X] Knowledge is power
>> No. 14381
[x] Knowledge is power

Chatty Chatty Talk Talk
>> No. 14385
[X] Knowledge is power

My Patchy senses are tingling...
>> No. 14386
Yeah, that choice was kind of lame, sorry. My head was already spinning by that point, though, so it was cut it off there or wait till this morning.

Speaking of which. Same deal as yesterday.
>> No. 14387
File 12681473954.jpg- (201.42KB , 1000x480 , 1224561451293.jpg ) [iqdb]
14387
"This way, please."

Her footsteps draw a perfectly straight line on the decadent scarlet carpeting, and what little noise they make is swallowed entirely by the emptiness of the hall. For all the statues, paintings, pottery, candles, and chandeliers lining the walls and ceilings, a deep darkness still seems to choke the life out of the place. It almost feels sentient, like it would reach down my throat and kill words before they escaped if I dared attempt to speak.

"Pardon my asking, but it has been bothering me since I was informed of your presence. You said that you were here to settle a debt, but I don't recognize either of your faces," Her voice is as hollow as ever, and fails to echo even in this cavernous place. "What debt do you speak of, exactly?" My gaze meets Marisa's, who offers assent in the form of a small, troubled nod after a short pause.
"My companion has made the mistake of stealing an entry from the house's library, and wishes to return it of her own will in the hopes that her cooperation and apologies will prove enough payment for treatment of a wound she received in the process."
"...I see." Without turning to face us or breaking her stride in the least, she delivers her reply in the same dead tone as always. Despite the lack of inflection, it feels sharp enough to rend flesh.
"May I ask you a question of my own?"
"I cannot guarantee an answer."
"In your opinion as a worker in this mansion, what is the likelihood that we will succeed?"
"It is difficult to say. The Mistress is a creature of whim and may take pity on you, but if you committed such a slight against the resident librarian..." She pauses, though it's difficult to tell whether it's for dramatic effect or honest thought. "Low. Very low."
"Is there anything we can do to help our chances?"
"When speaking with the Mistress, recognize your place. She is very proud of her position, and few who make light of it survive. Those who do are either extraordinarily powerful beings, or were both clever in their execution and lucky in their timing. If she allows you an audience with the librarian, do not speak needlessly. She carries a strong distaste for the spoken word, thinking it terribly inefficient."
"Thank you very much for your advice, madame...?" Abruptly, her steps halt in front of one of the myriads of doors lining the wall. There is nothing marking it from the rest, no nameplate or plaque conveying its purpose, but she grips its gilded knob without hesitation. With a dull click, the door cracks open a slither of darkness.
"Good luck."

Inside is another impossibly wide room. The other passages should intersect with it, but empty space and smooth walls are all that I can see where they would be. Opposite us is a balcony lined with stonework that puts even that of the outside to shame, backed by a perfect view of the lake and forest beyond it. It can't be later than noon, yet they are blanketed in the darkness of a starless night. Over them looms an enormous blood-red moon, closer than I've ever seen it, before which is the pitch-black silhouette of what I can only presume to be the mistress of the mansion.

She's surprisingly short.

"Today is a very unique day, I must say. To be visited by a rat in the company of a god is a pleasure I am not likely to repeat." Her voice rings out powerfully, as piercing as her maid's but of a completely different nature. "I am told that we have a debt to settle, but whose debt is it, I wonder?"

[ ] Show me yours, I'll show you mine.
[ ] Have I got a deal for you!
[ ] Debt? Among friends?

---

Think hard. This time it's actually important.
>> No. 14388
Hmm. Option 3 is right out, but I can't decide whether whether we should try to cast ourself as equal to her (after all, she did make an exception to give us an audience, and seems interested in the fact that we're a god) or go into full-on Uriah Heep-style obsequiousness.
>> No. 14389
>>14388
This is Remilia we're talking about she'd only grudgingly admit that a god of kanako's caliber to be equal to her.

Option two sounds nice but sounds a bit overbearing. Option 3 is out since this Gensokyo has the SDM as a whole on bad terms with Marisa.
>> No. 14390
I suppose I should mention that option three is no more dangerous than the other two, but I completely failed at coming up with the right wording for it. For that matter, the wording on all of them kind of sucks, but the meaning is there.
>> No. 14391
>>14390
I'm honestly not sure what option 3 entails, then; anything I can think of it meaning seems like an obviously bad choice.

[X] Have I got a deal for you!
>> No. 14392
>>14390
I'm guessing three is a more casual/amicable approach then.

>She is very proud of her position, and few who make light of it survive. Those who do are either extraordinarily powerful beings, or were both clever in their execution and lucky in their timing.

[x] Debt? Among friends?

I'm betting on us being clever and/or lucky.
>> No. 14393
[X] Debt? Among friends?
>> No. 14394
>I'm betting on us being clever and/or lucky.
>lucky
>Hina

Yeah, have fun with that.
>> No. 14395
>>14394

I remember hearing something about her not being affected by the curses herself.
>> No. 14396
>>14395
...What are you, serious? Have you actually been reading, or what?
>> No. 14397
[x] Debt? Among friends?
These kind of choices are more annoying than entertaining now.
They work in TG because... well, because the story's weird like that.
>> No. 14398
>>14396

No I haven't been reading, actually. Considering it though.
>> No. 14399
>>14397
Hmm. I was worried about this happening. If it's a shared feeling, then I'll tone it down a bit. Not all choices would be completely transparent of course, but the vast majority.

And in the spirit of doing so, this particular choice (for anyone who wants to make an informed decision):
[ ] Show me yours, I'll show you mine. would involve playing up the value of the book, demeaning Marisa, and bargaining with Remilia.
[ ] Have I got a deal for you! would involve putting Marisa's survival above all else, offering as much as is needed to get your end of the deal.
[ ] Debt? Among friends? involves trying to use your status as a god to negotiate with her, essentially "Why make a deal on this one incident when we can make a partnership?"


I apologize for failing to read the mood. Update coming tomorrow, unless a lot of people delete their votes to show they've got the message.
>> No. 14400
Well, that's close enough to what I was thinking.

>>14399
I'd be disappointed if you made the choices completely transparent; they're fun, and it's a good thing that they force people to think a little before voting. But yeah, tone it down a little; the choices from >>14333 and >>14344 strike a good balance.
>> No. 14401
[X] Debt? Among friends?

>>14399
I'd say the only bad phrasing was on option three. "Among friends?" implies there was goodwill between the parties in the first place. I'd have used "Act now, and I'll throw in...", but then it sounds like those cheesy infomercials.

>>14396
http://touhou.wikia.com/wiki/Hina_Kagiyama
>Any human or youkai around her will run into misfortune. However, she herself never has this problem. It only affects those around her.
>> No. 14402
[X] Have I got a deal for you!

Martyr Hina in a grimdark world. Fuck yes.
>> No. 14403
>>14397
I've noticed that trend in Lion's story at times. Unlike Fell and Hippie, Lion is completely vague about things. It works for Fell because the lead of TG is a bit nutty.

>>14400
But if you make them too vague, then it'll be impossible for Anon to make an intelligent choice when they're trying to.

[X] Debt? Among friends?
A vampire's mansion is sure to have some curses around in need of removal.

>>14401
You mean Hina's been suffering for nothing?
>> No. 14404
[x] Debt? Among friends?

>>14400
what he said (regarding choices.)

>>14401
Sounds like this story is taking the opposite tack.
>> No. 14405
Seeing as three is enough to win anyways, writing. Not sure if I'm gonna finish tonight, though - I have places to be in the morning.
>> No. 14406
>>14403
>>14404

>>14401 here, I've been interpreting the injuries as the price Hina pays for her Empathic Healing. The curses can't affect her the way they were designed to, but they can't vanish into thin air either. Instead, her body undergoes physical stress to incorporate the curses.

Of course, this is all theory and I could be proven wrong.
>> No. 14407
>>14406
Well, yes, but it's made pretty clear that the injuries Hina just received are the same as the ones Marisa would have received had Hina not intervened. Thinking about it that way, the definition of 'curse' being used here sound a lot like the one from "A Story for the Evening" from Kagetsu Tohya (the Tsukihime expansion disc): nothing necessarily magical, just a situation set up by someone with a grudge to hurt someone else.

Which makes me wonder what the effect of Hina 'absorbing' the 'curse' actually is; just alerting her ahead of time, actually preventing or delaying a specific instance of violence, or something more?
>> No. 14415
>>14406
I always assumed that she just carried them normally until depositing them into those type of dolls and sending them down the river.
>> No. 14423
File 126826710024.jpg- (256.61KB , 1024x768 , 1214862006373.jpg ) [iqdb]
14423
"Mine," Without a trace of fear for the imposing figure before us, Marisa is the first to step forward. "She's just here because I was too afraid to come myself."
"Afraid?" The shadow's gaze finally leaves the gentle glow of the moon, and is followed in turn by the rest of her body. What was the figure of a child reveals a set of majestic wings, glistening lightly at the all-too-sharp edges but never quite dispelling the impenetrable blackness that continues to shroud her every step. "I've never even seen you before. What's to be afraid of?" The fangs that her smile reveals share that light, petrifying whatever poor creature falls at her mercy. Whatever bravado Marisa had mustered has been ruthlessly crushed under the heel of this woman's flair for the dramatic.
"Perhaps fear isn't an entirely appropriate word. Admiration? Respect? Intimidation? Certainly, you're worthy of all three." Remember your time in finishing school...
"Such praise, and from a god! What wonders might I have committed to be bestowed these kind words?"
"Your presence alone is powerful enough to convey your regal nature, Milady."
"Perhaps the same can be said of all individuals of our stature." As my eyes adjust to the darkness, and as her steps draw gradually nearer, more details spring forth from her figure. The first and most powerful impression is given by her eyes, which shine with a deep crimson not unlike the moon she had been admiring. Her milk-white complexion draws a stark contrast to them, and is framed by hair an almost matching shade of blue which waves beautifully, recalling pictures of the choppy waters of the lake on which she resides. Her dress hangs lightly against her skin, a sheer black fabric trimmed in lace and seeming more fit for nightwear than seeing guests, though I dare not give voice to my doubts.

"But enough pleasantries. We have business to conduct."
"Indeed we do. As the child said, she does have a debt to repay – and she will – but I, too, have a matter I would like to discuss." Her eyes narrow, and her stare seems to bore through my skull.
"I see, I see. Whose is more urgent?"
"With any luck, Milady, they can be resolved concurrently. As this is my first visit to your most resplendent home, I wish to propose an exchange of favors as a sign of good will and friendship between us."
"My ears reach wide and hear well, Miss Kagiyama, but I know very little about you. I may be able to grant nearly any wish of yours with the snap of my fingers," To accentuate her point, she does so. The sound is clear, and she lets it echo to its end before continuing, "But what favor could you return me?"
"I can protect you. As the currently active goddess of curses, should anyone place a hex on you I am capable of removing their potential effects before any harm should fall upon you, your property, or those you hold close."

Her laugh is terribly haunting.

"Is that all? I'm not sure you're aware, but in this mansion I have at my beck and call a magician who has practiced her craft longer than even I have been alive. Any curse that could befall me would be dispelled with a single of her breaths. I'm afraid you'll have to do better than that."
"May I speak on her behalf?" Marisa's voice comes out weak and strained compared to her usual boisterous nature, and is met with a mocking smirk.
"Please, do."
"This woman only knows me from a time that I beat her senseless for trying to keep me from walking into danger. This morning, she came to me in my own house and saved me from what, if what she tells me is right, would have most definitely killed me, both at her own expense and without asking for anything in return. I know that I'm not the only one she's done this for."
"That's certainly admirable, but it doesn't make her any more useful."
"Yes, it does." Finally, her eyes regain that determination that led her here, and lock with the Mistress'. "Do you know where you are? Without PR, all the riches in the world don't mean a damn thing. We could leave this mansion and spread the word in an afternoon how you're a selfish, demeaning crybaby that was born into your status, and it would become true. You might want to rethink your little business deal."

The silence that follows is deafening. Neither of them move a single muscle for what feels like an eternity, locked in a battle of wills, until the Mistress finally speaks. "I will take your views into consideration. In the mean time, what is this debt you've come to settle?"
I pull the book in question from a bag around my waist, and hold it for her approval while Marisa speaks. "I stole a book, and wanted to give it back."
"...Is that all?" No it is not.
"She was attacked on the way out. While we understand your position in doing so, we had hoped that you would be gracious enough to have her wound tended to; That would be the favor I asked for."
"Fine. Take it to the library, Patchouli will see to you." The sudden shift of her tone concerns me, but it would seem the hard part is over for both of us. "Sakuya?"
"Yes, Milady?" When did...?
"See that these two make it to Patchouli's quarters without anything befalling them, and explain to Miss Kagiyama what I expect of her."
"Yes, Milady."
"It's been a pleasure, but I really must be back to bed. You understand." With a small flourish, she turns and waves us away, walking off to some far corner that may or may not even exist any more. While the end of our conversation is a great relief, it seems to have come under rather unpleasant circumstances. I suppose a bit of rudeness is to be expected from such a "lady." The maid from before – Sakuya, apparently – guides us back out into the hallway. Even knowing that it was eerily dark before, after that encounter it feels like stepping out into the sunlight from a cellar.

As the lock clicks behind us a heavy sigh bursts from Marisa, who sees fit to summarize the situation with a very succinct, "Fuck."

---

Unlike the previous room, it is outstandingly apparent when we have reached the library. Even the doors of seem majestic, though the size of the tree that must have been cut to form them is unfathomable. The wood is a deep but natural red (much like everything in this place) and sits comfortably on its hinges either with the aid of magic or simply from top-notch craftsmanship. Upon opening them, though, one is assaulted with the smell of incense and paper aged for countless generations. The floors seem to hold a river of energy which offers them a gentle purple glow, the sole source of light: Neither candle nor window can be seen from where we stand. Despite the nostalgic smell and the comforting light seeming to invite one to stay and read, the towering bookshelves reaching into unknowable darkness inspire a sense of urgency.

"The entirety of the library is Lady Patchouli's quarters. Finding her can be...difficult. I would not blame you for requesting guidance."

My legs are urged forward by the ambiguous stream, making it extremely difficult to keep my balance. The more I focus on it, the more...natural, it feels.

[ ] Go with the flow
[ ] Take me home
[ ] Buddy system

---

>>14406
>>14407
>>14415
It is always a pleasure to see that someone cares enough to devise a theory. When it becomes important to know the specifics, they will be (hopefully) apparent.

This, by the way, is the longest single update I have written yet (one-shots notwithstanding). It may not be a wall, dear Russia, but it is progress.
>> No. 14424
Let me guess:

>[ ] Go with the flow
Let the path take you somewhere?
>[ ] Take me home
???
>[ ] Buddy system
Either seek help or have Marisa try guiding you
>> No. 14425
>>14424
I suppose I still need a bit of work.

Sakuya is not your buddy.
>> No. 14426
>>14424
Oh come on.

>[ ] Go with the flow
Let the "river of energy" guide us
>[ ] Take me home
Have Sakuya take us to Patchy
>[ ] Buddy system
Follow Marisa? (not 100% on this one)

[x] Take me home
I guess we might get a random encounter the other ways, but fuck it.
>> No. 14427
[x] Go with the flow
>> No. 14429
[x] Take me home
Curious
>> No. 14430
[x] Take me home
>> No. 14431
[x] Go with the flow

I have a feeling they all go to the same place.
>> No. 14432
>Her laugh is terribly haunting.
>"Is that all?
...Told you so.

[X] Take me home
>> No. 14434
[X] Take me home

Following the path is tempting, but we don't have the time to wonder around. There are other people who need Hina's help too.
>> No. 14438
[x] Take me home

Hot, splendid fuck.

For the first time ever, I have found a Marisa whom I truly like.

You have done well. Thank you.
>> No. 14447
>"Perhaps the same can be said of all individuals of our stature."

>"But enough pleasantries."

Oh, you...

[X] Go with the flow

We can't just back out on Marisa now. If we hadn't said anything, Remilia might have broken her. Besides, I'm positive she'll need help dealing with Patchy.
>> No. 14448
>>14434
Yet it'd be bad form to leave now.
>> No. 14449
>>14448
You're reading the option literally, not figuratively. It doesn't say whose home it is. And would you peg Hina as the type to back out now?
>> No. 14454
So I've got no excuse for not updating yesterday other than it being one of those days. Gonna try and put something out tonight.

>>14447
Oh god that wasn't on purpose what have I done?!

>>14438
She's the first one I've liked, too. Surprised?
>> No. 14455
File 126844104468.jpg- (184.74KB , 626x885 , 1237175159037.jpg ) [iqdb]
14455
In fact, I'm beginning to believe that it's not fabricated in any way. Rather than summoned energy, it feels like millions upon millions of small creatures that have come together of their own accord underneath the library. Their forms may not be physical but each one most certainly has life, and their combined brilliance eclipses this gloomy place. I don't see any reason to look away from it, knowing what I'm sure to find. More wood? Books? An expanse of blacks and greys? I'd much rather look on as tiny streams of light leap from the rest, forming a beautiful crest before rejoining their companions.

It looks awfully fun.

"Hina! Where are you going?" A shout disperses the crowd and brings my attention back to the misty passages. The looming wooden doors are no more, and the maid is walking a few paces ahead of us.
"Oh, um. Sorry. I just kind of spaced out."
"I must ask you to refrain from further such 'spacing out', Miss Kagiyama. The library may be daunting, but that is all the more reason not to lose you within its walls." Or floors, as it were.
"I will attempt to control myself in the future, Miss Sakuya."
"I am not bothered, myself, but my betters are rather unforgiving. Should I allow you to be harmed, I would be chastised." That wording of hers always leaves room for interpretation. Perhaps finding new and interesting ways to insult people is a pastime of hers, or perhaps she's just an awkward child. Is being good at concealing things the sign of a world-class maid, or the sign of a corrupt one? Do I only have time to think about this because of the admittedly rather appropriate silence permeating the building, or is my thought process a means of distracting myself from it? Mysteries, all of them.

The rest of the walk continues as I can only assume it had been, with the exception of Marisa making a point to hold my hand with each turn. Every time she does her eyes meet mine with a look of parent-like concern, bringing to mind an old adage about the value of trust. Not entirely fitting, but it's difficult not to think about trust when we're so close to our goal. In five or six years' time, she's likely to forget about all of this, myself included. Maybe she'll even attack me again. I'd like to think she won't, but it wouldn't be the first time I was disappointed.

She's only human after all.

"They're here, Miss Patchouli."
"Thank you." A fittingly meek voice creeps out from a small circle of tables and armchairs, slightly better lit than the pathways of the library but still dim enough that I have to wonder whether it would really be possible to make out fine print, reading here. In one of the nondescript (but quite comfortable-looking) chairs sits the voice's source: A woman in a knit purple sweater that hangs off her shoulders and a long skirt a shade darker that ends in bare feet. It's difficult to tell how tall she is while she's sitting, but her features are soft and comforting compared to the sharp, alert nature of the maid. She being the only other living being we've interacted with as equals, the contrast is quite apparent. Her large, round eyes hint at an energetic beauty, but rest half-lidded behind their small rectangular spectacles, which themselves sit comfortably on a petite nose. If she was just smiling, I'd have never pinned her as a librarian. Her hair, a mashing of highlights all shades of purple decorated simply with a small golden hair clip in the shape of a crescent moon, is tied in one long braid with a blue ribbon and set across her shoulder in the front. Meanwhile her skin is as pale as one might expect from a resident of such a place, but her cheeks carry a light blush hardly noticeable from a distance.

"What do you want?" Not one to mesh words, I see.
"Marisa?" With a small gesture to her knee, she gets the message and begins rolling up her dress to reveal the wound while I bring the book out of my sack. It's begun outright throbbing since I last saw it, and the entire leg looks painfully irritated. "She got that while taking this, and wants to give it back. Will you heal her?"
"Depends." She holds out her hand, which I quickly fill. When the book opens, the same energy that lit the halls gathers in the pages for her (there goes my concern about the fine print) as she skims through them as quickly as I would read a sentence. Page after page flies by, sometimes without having time for the first to fall before another is piled atop it. In swift order, she hands it back.
"Put it back."

[ ] Save you a trip?
[ ] No rest for the Wicked

---

These options took fucking forever to come up with. Hopefully they don't reek of "fuck this." Also, NARH loev alt costumes.
>> No. 14456
[X] No rest for the Wicked
>> No. 14457
[x] No rest for the Wicked

I think this is who puts it back, Hina or Marisa. I think it'd count more if it's Marisa putting the book back.
>> No. 14458
[X] No rest for the Wicked

>>14454
This is the true danger of memes: eventually, you spread them without realizing you're doing it.
>> No. 14459
[X] No rest for the Wicked

>>14454

While it did flow with the story rather well, as >>14458 said, it's the risk of memes. You can invoke one without even knowing you are.
>> No. 14461
File 126845235852.jpg- (151.52KB , 512x512 , ea5ea6a6e37fe0a99784f9bd67375c3d.jpg ) [iqdb]
14461
>Also, NARH loev alt costumes.
As do we all.

[X] No rest for the Wicked

Sending Marisa into the stacks on a bum leg is kind of a dick move, but if the alternative is leaving her to antagonize Patchy unchecked, it'll have to do.
>> No. 14462
[x] No rest for the Wicked
>> No. 14463
>>14461
I was thinking more that Patchy would want to see Marisa put the book away herself as to perhaps get her used to it. I suspect that Marisa's book stealing days may be at an end.
>> No. 14464
[X] No rest for the Wicked
>> No. 14465
[x] No rest for the Wicked

Though I'd like to somehow convey to Marisa that we're handing it off to her not because "Well, this is your problem, YOU fucking deal with it," but for something more like what >>14457 said: It means more if Marisa herself does it.

>I'd like to think she won't, but it wouldn't be the first time I was disappointed.
>
>She's only human after all.
;_;

>A woman in a knit purple sweater that hangs off her shoulders and a long skirt a shade darker
Fuck yeah, doing away with the traditional mauve nightgown.
This is making my day more and more with each word.
>>14461
...and every picture.

>>14454
I think it's because she's not acting or speaking or really coming across at all as an asshole. Instead she seems like a decent, caring person.

She seems real.

Hell, I could almost see Marisa trying to genuinely make up with Patchy, and try to get in her good graces so as to have access to Voile.

You are making Marisa x Patchy into an acceptable and pleasant thing, and I hate that pairing with a mighty fury.

Keep being awesome, Hip ("NARH" sounds like you're some kind of activist group).
>> No. 14475
Between it being Saturday, it being rainy (<3) and my life being a husk of its former self, I am going to write the shit out of this update. Possibly a few more, depending on how friends' plans go.

Sometimes they kidnap me. Black van, ski masks, skid marks, everything.

>>14431
I forgot to address this before, but this is never quite the case. If an option doesn't have an impact on the story in some way, I don't bother with it. It might be an obvious choice if I'm just not feeling up to writing more, but there will always be very distinct results - whether you link them to that choice or not.

>>14461
God damn it is there already a picture for every costume I come up with?!

>>14465
Honestly, I'm a fan of NARH because I did this really cool report on narwhals back in the sixth grade. I drew a bunch of posters, and actually memorized the information instead of reading them off a sheet of paper and occasionally glancing up at people to pretend I was talking to them instead of at them, and by the end everyone actually thought narwhals were pretty freakin' cool - which they totally are. What were we talking about again?
>> No. 14477
File 12684903964.jpg- (98.87KB , 640x800 , 1262150132479.jpg ) [iqdb]
14477
"Sure thing." Marisa's hand eagerly snatches away the book, and with it she hobbles over to the nearest shelf and attempts to insert it into the nearest space that looks able to fit it. Unfortunately, the book seems to have other plans. Rather than the usual, stereotypical "invisible wall" trick, it actually pushes back visibly. Putting her entire body behind the effort proves no more effective, and in fact results in her feet slowly sliding back.
"Stop fighting it, Marisa. You're not going to win." My calls go unheeded, possibly only inspiring her to redouble her efforts.
"Like hell I'm gonna lose to a book!" This, it would seem, is the last straw. The book kicks upwards and her arms collapse, giving it an open passage to her forehead. The force of impact sends her quite squarely on her back, and her face is soon covered by the open pages, adding insult to insult.
"Where it belongs, please." Not even a smirk graces the librarian's face. In fact, she barely glances over at us.
"...Fine. You wanna give me a shoulder, Hina? My leg's killin' me."
"The goddess stays. Sakuya, accompany her." There is considerable strength behind her words. They are as quiet as before, but her tone has a certain sternness to it that gives them the force of a scream. I know better than to underestimate the meek, and if she has even a trace of memory so does Marisa.
"It's fine. Go."

With a very unsatisfied glare, the witch and the maid are engulfed in mist, their figures gradually losing focus until they simply cease to be.

"...Are they gone?"
"So it would seem."
"Oh thank goodness. Do you know how long it's been since I had a chance to speak with anyone casually? Demons are all right, but they're terrible conversation partners. It's always about our contract or the work they do, it's like they don't know anything outside of work! And don't get me started on that Sakuya woman. She's so creepy, with those cold dead eyes, and the way she always sounds like she has something to hide. I used to try, but now I think it's better that she just think me a shut-in and an introvert. Maybe that way she'll just leave me alone." A torrent of words comes flowing from the dainty woman with an as-of-yet unseen enthusiasm, accompanied by sweeping hand and head gestures. Even her face opens up with a genuine smile, her eyes wide, bright, and just as beautiful as I had thought. This is quickly cut off by a small coughing fit, at which I step over to offer what comforts I can. When it subsides, she continues.
"I'm sorry. It's just been so long since I've had any visitors. Allow me to properly welcome you to Voile."
"It is an honor, Miss Patchouli. Never in all my days have I seen such an array of knowledge before, and I have a strong feeling that I never will again." A light but unhindered giggle escapes her as she carefully removes her glasses and sets them atop a small stack of books that she had presumably been studying before our arrival.
"I wouldn't say that. As long as you don't cause trouble, I'd be happy to have you visit again. Your friend, too."
"We're not quite friends, I don't think. I'm just helping her make some positive decisions."
"Oh? This sounds like a story. Please, do go on..."

---

The minutes pass quickly as we converse about the events of our fantastically long lives. The longer we talk, the more it occurs to me just how long it's been since I've had a chance to sit back and relax. The Mistress (one Remilia Scarlet, as I was informed after realizing her name had somehow never come up in conversation) had apparently been dropped into Gensokyo while being visited by Patchouli some three hundred years ago, and viewed her as an indentured servant immediately upon realizing the extent of the situation. As a result, she set about building her library in the hopes that "scholar" was an acceptable job title, and in time the world she had been dropped in sapped her interest in researching the supernatural. Understandable, all things considered. By that time, though, she had become too large a presence to discard.

"Wait wait...I think I hear footsteps." She scrambles to put her glasses back on, knocking over a book in the process. With the condition of her desk being what it is, it's unlikely that anyone will notice, though. When she finally settles back into her facade of coldness, she gives me a sly wink and a, "Let's scare her." Her hearing is much sharper than mine, as all that I can make out is her unusually heavy breathing. Living in complete silence must do wonders for that sort of thing. In time, though, the distinct lopsided clack clack of Marisa's mary janes echos to the small clearing. Sakuya is either absent or disturbingly quiet.

[ ] Thriller
[ ] Smooth Criminal

---

This update brought to you by NOFX.
>> No. 14478
>The Mistress (one Remilia Scarlet, as I was informed after realizing her name had somehow never come up in conversation) had apparently been dropped into Gensokyo while being visited by Patchouli some three hundred years ago, and viewed her as an indentured servant immediately upon realizing the extent of the situation. As a result, she set about building her library in the hopes that "scholar" was an acceptable job title, and in time the world she had been dropped in sapped her interest in researching the supernatural. Understandable, all things considered. By that time, though, she had become too large a presence to discard.

I'm confused by the pronouns here.
>> No. 14481
>>14478
Sorry, bad habit. I dislike names in general, and try not to use them - sometimes at the cost of clarity.

Remilia is a bitch who views people as property. Patchy tried her very hardest to become what she is, and succeeded - until Remilia decided that studying magic wasn't very interesting any more. Fortunately by that point Patchouli and her library outgrew Remilia's ability to expel either, and they became something like symbiotic entities. Remilia has very little to do with Patchy these days, but uses her as a status symbol, court magician, and thinktank as needed. Patchy meanwhile cares very little for the SDM on the whole, but has nowhere else to go.
>> No. 14482
[X] Smooth Criminal
We're trying to help people here, not make them fall over due to their wonky leg and then having them horribly injure themselves from the fall.

Or at least that's what I think we're trying to do...
>> No. 14483
[x] Thriller

And grisly girls from every womb...
>> No. 14485
[x] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEA9LHyQOjs
>> No. 14486
>>14485
Here

Time to make Marisa believe in Murphy's law for just a minute or two?
>> No. 14488
[X] Thriller

Lonely Patchy is adorable. I cannot refuse her whims.
>> No. 14490
[x] Thriller
>> No. 14492
>>14481
Thanks for the clarification. Also, I love your (?) Patchouli.

[X] Thriller
>> No. 14494
>>14492
I'm not sure how she'd be anyone else's. Any similarities are purely coincidence.

A flip of the coin says writing before instead of after shower, so writing nowish. Only one smooth criminal, though? Shame, shame.
>> No. 14495
>>14481
Interesting, and your Patchy isn't quite so stereotypical. And there's hope for Marisa being able to look around... provided she doesn't go about stealing, which I doubt she'd do now. Nearly dying has profound effects on people.
>> No. 14503
File 126850868224.jpg- (313.28KB , 700x892 , 1679108.jpg ) [iqdb]
14503
I suppose she does have it coming. A bit of a scare won't really hurt either, right? As she approaches, Patchouli uses her position behind books to signal to me with facial expressions – first shock, then horror, then sadness, with a finger bouncing between the two of us. Ooh, you're terrible...

"I'm done. Sakuya said you'd be able to guide me back, I guess she's busy or som-" Her wheezing breath is cut off abruptly as she catches sight of my face. The more I think about the possibilities, the easier it becomes to call forth actual tears from my eyes. I just hope I can hold back laughter long enough to keep up the act. "...What? What is it?"
"I'm...so sorry..."
"Talk to me, Hina. What's going on?"
"We talked about your symptoms. It's incurable." At least she's got her act down. How many years has she had to practice?
"No way. No fucking way! I returned it! You're telling me I'm gonna die for borrowing one goddamn book?"
"Worse. What you've got isn't just a curse, it's a toxin that's normally only found in the underworld. If it's not removed in the first 24 hours, it begins altering your body. By this time tomorrow, you're likely to be a statue." How thick can I lay it on before she realizes?
"You're shittin' me." Not very.
"No. She is correct."
"So what, the cut's just been getting worse because of all the walking? The problem is that weird tentacle shit? You made me put it back just to fuck with me, didn't you?! Get some free labor before the rat dies, right?" She practically spits her words at both of us.
"There's nothing we can do but ease the pain, now. Come sit, and we can start." By now, her face is as red as her eyes, from which streams of tears bubble and fall. She collapses to the ground, letting out something between a scream and a cry before punching it in a final act of rebellion against her fate.
"All this fucking time...all this fucking time..." While she pounds the floor in time with her cries, I take the opportunity to glance at Patchouli, who is having a great deal of trouble concealing her glee. With a concerned look and a small nod, she gets the message that we've gone far enough. I slide down on my knees and take her in my arms, holding her gently against me. At first she resists, but eventually her rage dulls and she simply cries into my shoulder.
"Just kidding."

I never was much one for tact.

Patchouli has long since passed her limits, and lets out a hearty, lasting laugh. She doesn't go so far as to double over and point, but it's rather infectious and although I'm sure I'll feel terrible about it a small chuckle escapes me too. Sure enough, Marisa's head flies back and her eyes widen as she stares at me in disbelief. Locks of gold whip my cheek as she turns her head to look at an ecstatic Patchouli, (which only makes her laugh harder, though at my expense this time) and again as she turns back to me before pushing me away and scrambling to her feet.
"You fucking...you...why would...I've never..."
"Sorry, sorry. It was her idea, I just couldn't resist teaching you a lesson." I barely have time to finish my sentence before her hand flies out and collides with my face with the combined force of the day's emotional trauma behind it. I suppose I deserve that.
"You're horrible."
"And you needed a visit from a goddess to remind you that stealing is wrong. Are you aware that this is, in fact, my personal library?" Not quite the torrent I was walled with, but it's enough to surprise her – especially after what we just did.
"Well...Well I..."
"Had you ever thought to ask Meiling for a tour? Maybe get to know the person behind the books before 'borrowing' their things? I'm not unreasonable, child. This all could have been prevented quite easily had you simply asked first." Her tone is back to that we used with each other: Understanding and happy, though with just a hint of scolding for a young fool.
"Then I'm not gonna die?"
"Unless you decide to steal from me again, no. The books don't take kindly to being kidnapped."
"That's an odd way of putting it."
"Being a magician, you should understand what we put into everything we make. Magic isn't something you practice, it's something you become. Even breathing exudes magic in time. Knowing this, what do you think happens to a book written by a magician on paper they themselves treated and bound?"
"It becomes more than a book about magic. It becomes..." A look of realization dawns on her face. I'm sure there's some nuances I'm completely failing to pick up on, but then I'm not a magician.
"This library isn't just my home. It's my family. Miss Kagiyama, I was informed to be careful not to lose you. What caused you to 'space out' before?"
"Hina is fine. The moment I walked in the door, there was this energy flowing through the floors. The more I focused, the more it drew me in. Apparently I had been walking along it without even realizing, until Marisa shook me out of it."
"That river is the combined force of these books' magic." A warm smile crosses her face, and with no small deal of satisfaction she states quite matter-of-factly, "They like to play together."
"So what about the cut, then? That weird black stuff that made me go all numb."
"Oh, the cut itself was quite innocuous. It was the easiest point for the book to start fighting you, though. He wanted to go home." At this, she finally takes a seat to inspect the cut on her knee – sure enough, the blackness has mostly faded, and while the leg does look quite irritated the cut itself looks better than even when I saw it in her house. "That isn't to say we don't have access to a toxin like what Hina described, though."
"Even though I was making it up on the spot?"
"There is no such thing as fantasy in Gensokyo. I think that's why I like it here. Now, that said, I have been talking with Hina while you were gone and I am quite exhausted. I'm sure you have many many questions, but you're always welcome to come back and ask them another day. In the mean time, let me rest."

It doesn't take much persuasion to get Marisa up and walking. This time, though, when we set foot on the cold wood of the library halls, the glow strengthens to a bright yellow that weaves between shelves and illuminates what I can remember of the path here. Looking back, Patchouli is nowhere to be seen.

---

"Thank you for visiting. Please feel free to come back any time." After spending so long around an actual person, I'm reminded of just how bizarre Sakuya's doll-like mannerisms are. Her perfectly flowing motions and unblemished skin make her feel unnatural and intimidating. It's easy to sympathize with Patchouli, especially watching her face flash with emotion in the second before the giant dragon gates slam shut.
"Marisa. Did you catch that?"
"Catch what?"
"...Never mind." I don't want to give too much thought to something so meaningless. Outside, the skies have darkened considerably. My sense of time gets thrown off, staying in the dark for so long like that. From the moment we stepped through the gates this place has been blocking off my view of the horizon. Can't let myself get too excited about going home, though. "Did we forget anything?"

>Did we?

---

No, this is not a hurr durr look close because you did, this is a do you want to do anything else before I declare chapter end? Think of it as bonus credit for thinking things through more than the author.
>> No. 14505
>>14503
>picture
aieee

[X] Be sure to check on the gate guard on the way out. Try to get Marisa to apologize for blowing her arm off.
>> No. 14507
[X] Be sure to check on the gate guard on the way out. Try to get Marisa to apologize for blowing her arm off.
[X] Ask Marisa what she's going to do with the mushrooms she's growing, now that she doesn't need them to save her leg.

>>14494
>Only one smooth criminal, though? Shame, shame.
I would have voted for it, but I didn't get the chance. Scaring Marisa right when she thought it was over was a bad move. I hope she doesn't bear a grudge against Hina for it.
>> No. 14509
Damn it, why are ALL your characters so loveable, NARH!?

No bastardizations of "ze." Good shit.
>> No. 14511
[X] Be sure to check on the gate guard on the way out. Try to get Marisa to apologize for blowing her arm off at least.
[X] Ask Marisa what she's going to do with the mushrooms she's growing, now that she doesn't need them to save her leg.
-[x] Apologize to her for the prank; it was in bad taste.

Might as well try to get Marisa to make full amends. Since Patchouli seems willing to let Marisa drop by and read and Meiling giving a Tour. I think with this we made a big change in this Gensokyo.

>>14507
Same here; I didn't a chance to vote as well.
>> No. 14512
[X] Be sure to check on the gate guard on the way out. Try to get Marisa to apologize for blowing her arm off at least.
[X] Ask Marisa what she's going to do with the mushrooms she's growing, now that she doesn't need them to save her leg.
-[x] Apologize to her for the prank; it was in bad taste.

One apology healed her leg. A few more could patch up quite a bit.
>> No. 14515
[X] Be sure to check on the gate guard on the way out. Try to get Marisa to apologize for blowing her arm off at least.
[X] Ask Marisa what she's going to do with the mushrooms she's growing, now that she doesn't need them to save her leg.
[x] Apologize to her for the prank; it was in bad taste.

I don't know about bad taste--it was harsh, but an apology is good anyway.

Next question, though... Hina seems once-bitten twice-shy about human nature. ...Fuck it.

[x] Ask to check in on Marisa every so often.
>> No. 14519
[x] Be sure to check on the gate guard on the way out. Try to get Marisa to apologize for blowing her arm off at least.
[x] Ask Marisa what she's going to do with the mushrooms she's growing, now that she doesn't need them to save her leg.
[x] Apologize to her for the prank; it was in bad taste.
[x] Ask to check in on Marisa every so often.
>> No. 14523
>>14515
I like your idea. I do not know if it will be practical, though. Voting for it, all the same.

[x] Be sure to check on the gate guard on the way out. Try to get Marisa to apologize for blowing her arm off at least.
[x] Ask Marisa what she's going to do with the mushrooms she's growing, now that she doesn't need them to save her leg.
-[x] Apologize to her for the prank; it was in bad taste.
[x] Ask to check in on Marisa every so often.

This story continues to awesome hard.
>> No. 14526
So with the release of Double Spoiler (Which is absolutely amazing) and the borrowing of Assassin's Creed 2 from a friend (Thanks again~) I might not make my one-a-day goal. I'll try of course, but god damn is it gonna be hard.

That said, totally not writing right now.
>> No. 14527
[X] Be sure to check on the gate guard on the way out. Try to get Marisa to apologize for blowing her arm off.
[X] Ask Marisa what she's going to do with the mushrooms she's growing, now that she doesn't need them to save her leg.
>> No. 14528
File 126861759941.jpg- (448.58KB , 740x1035 , 0f9df8bdb65bb4794fd694dd04fe62fc.jpg ) [iqdb]
14528
The conversation pauses for a brief moment as Marisa very visibly ponders the question before looking back over her shoulder at the gilded gate. The guard from before doesn't seem to be around. Despite this (or perhaps because of it) she slowly walks closer, her head tilting back as she goes to admire the artwork.

"Yeah. Yeah, we did." Letting out a small sigh, she falls into a sit against the wall and pats the ground, signaling me to do the same. "Come on. I don't know how long we're gonna be."

---

Hours pass in silence, as swiftly as the clouds drift and the sun sets on us. Today has been both physically and emotionally exhausting for her; I have no right to deprive her the pleasure of sitting back and watching the distant twinkle of stars. If she would have me join her, then I can certainly spare the time. I could get used to this, though...Generally it's straight to bed at sunset, no time to relax. There's work to be done in the morning, no matter how much I get done today. Maybe some day people will just stop. Hatred and malice will finally topple, their foundations having been chipped away, and love will spread across the world as it breeds more love. Marisa would certainly like that.

"What're you laughing at?" With a hint of a laugh, herself, she finally speaks to me.
"Just thinking."
"About?"
"Your magic, I suppose. Hoping that it'll get a bit stronger."
"Of course it will. I'm not just going to stop studying because of this. One day, I'm gonna carve out a star in the sky for myself."
"I'm not sure that's possible. Aren't stars supposed to be other people's suns?" Without looking away from the horizon, she extends a gently glowing finger in front of me. Its light swiftly gathers at the tip, flowing like water from her hand. As it does, the fading afterimage continues blinding me, making the light seem all the more dazzling. The hand itself is barely even visible by the time her spell leaves its perch, floating and spinning in midair before finally shaping into a small, stylized star.
"There's no such thing as fantasy in Gensokyo, remember?"

An earth-shaking creak breaks her concentration, shattering the little star and spreading its pieces to the wind. The gate finally opens beside us, revealing the guard from before. She seems no worse for the wear, aside from a change of clothes into a thick green sweater. Even her arm is back. Upon giving a quick look around and spotting us, though, her face breaks into a smile and she jogs over to meet us.

"Hey, you two. Didn't think you'd still be around. How'd it go?"
"I should ask you the same! I could have sworn I took an arm off you."
"Chi, man. Chi. It's good stuff." As though we were supposed to understand with simply that, she pats her not-at-all-missing arm proudly and joins us on the ground.
"Well hell. You're gonna have to teach me about it some time." ...So I'm the only one in the dark. "Really though. Sorry about all that. If there's anything I can do to make it up, I'm kind of making rounds with the amends here."
"Nah. I was just giving you a tough time because it's your first visit. I'm Meiling, by the way. Pleasure to meet you."
"You tricky bitch!" The two share a hearty laugh, arms around each others' shoulders, as I'm left staring in bemusement. Around the time they settle down is when words finally find me.
"Might I ask how you two got so friendly so fast?" The guard is the first to reply.
"Power! It's the truest form of expression, and damn has this girl got it. I'd rather be her friend than her enemy any day."
"Yeah, she's got that right. Did you see her open that fuckin' thing? I mean, is there a trick to that, or?"
"No way. It's all me. They put this thing up so humans who think they're the next big thing don't come and get themselves killed hunting a real life vampire. So anyways, you still haven't told me! What went down, anyways?"
"Well, my girl Hina here came by this morning telling me I was cursed. I kind of stole a book from the library." As the words leave her mouth, Meiling immediately cringes as though she took an invisible blow.
"Yeah, you don't wanna do that. Patchy's kind of serious about her books."
"Yeah. So we went and talked with the bat bitch, made a deal, gave back the book, and now everything's peachy."
"You talk with Patchy at all?" Conversation between the two of them darts back and forth with such rapidity that the chance to contribute barely registers in time.
"Ah...Yes, I did. She's a lovely woman, really, and quite knowledgeable."
"She sure is, huh." What's that snicker for?
"Yeah, real lovely. You know those two hit it off so well that they decided to make me think I was gonna die as a prank?"
"About that. It was extremely distasteful, and I sincerely apologize. I should never have gone along with her idea, but I was just so caught up in the flow of things...Please, forgive me." A moment's silence seems like an eternity between the stone glare that she shoots me and the swift and pleasant conversation that had been taking place a moment before.
"I dunno, Hina. That was pretty fucked up." I knew it. I don't deserve forgiveness for such a horrible deed.

"But!" Her face quickly spreads with a grin as she slaps my back. "It was also pretty funny, in retrospect. Besides, it was Patchy getting back at me, right? I can't get mad at you for wanting to help people other than me, too."
"Ah, you two. First time we talk and you're already gettin' all mushy? I think it's time you get to bed. I'll still be here in the morning. Shoo, shoo." She's astoundingly good at getting her arms around you before you realize it. She's also very persuasive – almost as persuasive as the lake rushing at my face.

And so, we fly.

---

"So...What are your plans for those mushrooms you were growing, now that your leg is healed?" Her house is lovely at night. Small glowing particles float in the air, a rainbow of spores from the variety of mushrooms that naturally grow around it catching and reflecting the moonlight. The house itself is covered in a light dusting of them, likely from the years of crops that she's kept growing at all times, causing it to look like the shimmering scales of a fish in this more subtle light.
"Well, I can't just let 'em go to waste. Haven't really got any plans, but I'm still gonna tend to 'em till they're ready. Hell, I might even keep 'em growing till I come up with a good cause."
"Don't go changing the world, now." Another light smirk before she turns to open her door and end what may have been the longest day in her life. As she steps in, though, her head turns back one last time.
"I can't keep that promise alone. You're gonna have to come by and make sure now and then." With a smile and a knowing wink, she closes the door behind her without waiting for an answer that never comes.

I think I'll take tomorrow off.

Chapter? Day? Mission? It's done, in any case.

---

It is astounding how difficult it was to find an appropriate picture. It is also astounding just how much of the inappropriate was porn. Anyways, congratulations or something! Next comes note taking, planning, and writing up an intro for the next bit. Thanks for reading, come back later, etc. etc.
>> No. 14529
>Chi, man. Chi. It's good stuff

You are now imagining a pothead Meiling.

Mission 1: Accomplished

Now that we're done with the tutorial first job, let's get the real stuff started!
>> No. 14532
File 126862581968.jpg- (453.75KB , 800x800 , 212beebd7866478af1980b6cd2a0dc70.jpg ) [iqdb]
14532
[X] Preemptive vote for Meiling.

Seriously. I don't think I've ever read a Meiling that could realistically be good friends with Marisa until now.

Really, really looking forward to more of this. Please accept these tiny Hinas as a token of my sincerity.
>> No. 14537
File 126863279612.jpg- (29.60KB , 455x453 , album-s-club.jpg ) [iqdb]
14537
Goooooooooooooooooooood stuff.

I love your characters. Continue this story, would you? Don't go stopping now.
Also, you should never surrender, your head should be aiming upwards at all times and, eventually, you'll find your way into the highest place.
>> No. 14547
Looking very forward to the next anything.

>>14529
Well, what do you think she grows in that little shed? I take a pretty dim view towards drugs in general, but hell. After a few years of gate guarding, I'd be bored out of my skull and probably willing to add a little color to my day however I could, too.
>> No. 14550
Next up, Perfect Cherry Blossom, if NewAgeRetroHippie is going by the games.
>> No. 14553
To clarify, this story is continuing. I wasn't kidding when I said every choice was important, though, so I'm kind of weaving the rest with what you've given me.

Speaking of things you've given me, your compliments are very much appreciated. It's good to know that people are enjoying this, with the amount of effort I've been putting into it.

And no, we're not going by the games. Remember that Marisa recognized Hina, before. Not writing yet because I just got home and am not feeling particularly well, but with any luck I'll have the intro to the next part up by tonight.
>> No. 14554
>>14550
This is post MoF at least. Though things are a bit different than we'd normally expect (the demon(s) in the library being good for more than book sorting and sex appeal).

I wonder what's next, Making Reimu not lazy?
>> No. 14557
File 126867589498.jpg- (627.55KB , 630x741 , 9b07bab26c3d74a29499d27a10edef68.jpg ) [iqdb]
14557
The sounds of birds chirping under a light rain wake me from an unusually deep sleep, the remnants of which are shaken off by a cacophony of pops and snaps that comes with morning stretches. Being given a day off does wonders for the soul, it would seem. Already the wounds from the previous week seem almost nonexistent, though it may be in part due to the particularly lucky resolution of what could have been particularly dire problems. I never quite realized just how fun it could be to float around aimlessly, taking in the scenery.

The allure of further experimentation is a strong one.

Still, knowing what it is that I do makes it difficult to want to stop. Opening my door reveals a new day, covered with thick but benevolent clouds. The slightly chilly air is shrouded in a misty rain so light that it barely falls at all, but the smell of earth is summoned by it all the same. As lovely as it is to be in, it does make seeing where I should be more difficult. And so,

we roll the dice,

spin the bottle...

[ ] 1
[ ] 4
[ ] 6
[ ] 8
[ ] 11
[ ] 13

---

Long wait, short post. Such is the way of things. Oh well.
>> No. 14558
[x] 11
This curse goddess... she goes up to it.
>> No. 14559
[x] 6
>> No. 14560
[X] 11

Prime numbers~
>> No. 14561
[X] 11
>> No. 14562
[X] 13
>> No. 14566
Lucky number
>friday the
[x] 13
>> No. 14570
[X] 11

hmm
>> No. 14571
[X] 11

Oooooh, what does this number do?
>> No. 14573
[x] 13

The hina-mber.
>> No. 14574
[x] 13

The die has spoken!
>> No. 14576
Looks like we're going with 11, the one option that features original characters which I haven't named yet because I totally suck at naming stuff, if you haven't noticed.

I'll come up with something, though. Update'll come when it comes.
>> No. 14578
File 126875726736.jpg- (1.28MB , 1700x1000 , 1257702456822.jpg ) [iqdb]
14578
The flaws of this system are becoming apparent. This is the fourth day this week I've opened my eyes to find a staggering wall of earth, and I get the feeling there will be a fifth. If it wasn't such a nice place I might be a bit tired of going there, but then I suppose if it wasn't such a nice place I wouldn't live there either. It's the variety, I think. In five minutes of flight, you can pass by rocky wastelands fit only for the most daring climber, forests so dense it brings to mind creatures the world has yet to discover and may never, a fantastic waterfall visible from the other end of the border that feeds a river from which half the life in Gensokyo drinks, and then stop for lunch with living gods.

This of course is only if you stay on the outside. Not to say you'd be depriving yourself, though – quite the opposite, in fact. Any nook hidden by trees is likely to be inhabited by a tengu and a matching entrance to a tunnel system a thousand years strong, though either they've calmed down or their population isn't what it used to be. I hardly ever hear about kidnappings or even sightings these days. To even think about setting foot on the mountain would have scouts visiting your house to warn against it the day before, some hundred years ago. Surely, then, it should be no surprise that I am set upon by a small group after poking around for a short while.

Dealing with tengu isn't difficult as long as you're quiet and submissive, and less so if they recognize you. The problem is earning that recognition from such an innately aggressive people. Even now, standing straight as a board with my hands in a gesture of surrender, the sight of four highly trained and naturally powerful youkai terrifies me. The weather may play a small part in this, as its grey overtones lend a certain depth to the mountain that would normally be hidden by the sun. The light rain, too, dampens not only their hair (which itself is telling of how long they've been in it) but the normally ambient noise of the wilderness. Even the great waterfall seems distant when one of them breaks the silence by barking out an order.

"Southpaw. Search her."
"On it." The shortest of the bunch (though not quite the smallest) raises his spear to his side and steps forward tentatively. His black hair looks neat, despite falling over his face sloppily and drawing wet lines toward his almost unnaturally red eyes. They're young and soft but extraordinarily determined, making me wonder just how early they start training. His left shoulder is protected by a decorated plate, and a long chain extends from underneath to loosely wrap around his arm as though it were a gauntlet. His right, oddly enough, remains unprotected. While it does reveal thin but very well-toned muscles, I have to wonder whether it's an actual uniform or just a fashion statement – especially considering the rest of his outfit is, essentially, a simple white gi as though one would wear while practicing martial arts. At least it's thick enough to pass as light armor.

As he approaches, his eyes scan me up and down slowly. Every step is taken as though approaching a bomb or an unconfirmed corpse, either out of fear or discipline. Maybe even both. I almost want to try to reassure him, but two of the others have circled to my back and judging from the leader their weapons are still raised. When he finally reaches me, he rests his spear in his shoulder and extends his hands only halfway toward me. His hesitation proves to be his downfall as the spear slips from his shoulder's grasp and clatters to the ground, which is met with an excited giggle and a slow chuckle from behind me. The leader, though, doesn't seem to see the humor, and simply shoots him a hard glare.

The poor boy's nerves must be shot.

[ ] Every dog has his day
[ ] You ain't nothin' but a hound dog

---

Something tells me I'm gonna want to use this picture later but fuck it.
>> No. 14579
[x] Every dog has his day

The kid can use a bit of supportive words.
>> No. 14580
[X] Every dog has his day

I wonder, is he nervous because he's green, or because he's searching a woman?

...damn, now I'm imagining Hina offering to teach him how to handle a woman. IYKWIM.
>> No. 14581
[x] Every dog has his day
>> No. 14582
[x] Every dog has his day

>>14580
>IYKWIM.
Of course, it would be quite nice of her to help him. After all, proper search techniques can be crucial in that line of work, and this young man clearly needs to review his training.
shirou.jpg
>> No. 14583
[x] Every dog has his day

There's one thing you need to know: I am not left-handed.
>> No. 14584
[X] Every dog has his day
>> No. 14585
[x] Every dog has his day

Why not? The guy looks like he could use a break after all.
>> No. 14586
>>14580

Are you suggesting that we attempt to take away the poor kid's potential misfortune of remaining a virgin for too long? Because I will totally support that if you are.

[X] Every dog has his day.
>> No. 14587
>>14578
[X] Every dog has his day

Take it easy
>> No. 14589
Okay, so I know this is gonna sound really bad but I still can't come up with names. I'm gonna get some help with that, (You know who you are.) either before or while writing...tomorrow. Things'll go a bit quicker after all that. Promise!
>> No. 14590
[x] You ain't nothin' but a hound dog.

Because I can.
>> No. 14601
[x] Every dog has his day

Eh, why not?
>> No. 14614
File 126894808433.jpg- (70.24KB , 800x1023 , barkbarkbark.jpg ) [iqdb]
14614
"Take your time. I won't bite." It's the least I can do to try reassuring him with the kindest voice I can muster, but the effort only sends him hopping back into a defensive stance.
"Who said you could speak?" Fine, fine. I'm not dense enough to actually answer that when a burning at my back tells me those spears are a bit more than just spears. After a quite literally excruciatingly long approach, the boy's hands are on me. Slowly, carefully, and with more than a few pauses to glance back up at my face, he works his way down my body. Hair, arms, shoulders, sides, torso, legs, all gripped with trembling hands just tightly enough to feel anything that might be more than just cloth. It may not be the most thorough check, but I appreciate the consideration.

"She's clean." As he turns his head and then his body to face his boss, I catch a glimpse of movement at the edge of my vision. Extending from a small fold in his pants is a ball of fluff matching his hair, curved in on itself to reveal a touch of white underneath. If it were straight I'm sure it would be quite long, but as it stands the sheer bend makes it invisible from the front. Seeing that makes something click, and I finally notice underneath his hair a pair of ears held so low as to be hidden by it.

He's a dog tengu.

My hand drops as though possessed as the rest of the world fades away. Its target is clear, its route unbending to the will of mortal men. When I realize what I've done, I am on the ground and very much secured. Not a single muscle is left unchecked by the hold I'm in. I can't even tell which of the four took me down. Some would call me insane for scorning a tengu, but that half-second of heavenly fuzz running past my skin, the ears' instant twitch to attention, the almost inaudible yelp of surprise, be it welcome or otherwise...It was so worth it. As my hearing comes back (Long before realizing it was gone, mind. That impact must have been quite hard.) an almost insane laughter fills my ears.

"Stop laughing!" The boy's voice half-pleads and half-threatens the source of the laughter, which responds by intensifying.
"Hahahaicahahahahahaha!" I could almost swear she was trying to force out words. The attempt is fruitless, unfortunately. "Yohouhuhuhuhu..." The only pause is to gasp with the strength of a drowning man. I almost feel sorry for the girl.
"Cut the shit, Goose." No nonsense from this one. This is a rather interesting position to be in, I have to say – both physically and situationally. Most tengu wouldn't be caught dead letting an outsider see them like this. At the stern order, her efforts turn to muffling the laughter. Sounds like it's coming through a hand and a closed mouth, now.
"Hmhmhmhmhmhm...hmm. Mmm. Hoo. Hmmhahahahahaha!" The laughter seems to stop, before making a stunning comeback and shattering all barriers! A for effort, dear.
"Would killing her help you out here?" ...Well. Maybe not so worth it, then. I have to commend his ingenuity though; that stopped it quite quickly.
"Awww. That's not fair, I wanted to keep her." What.
"Are you sure? You'll have to feed her, bathe her, play with her."
"I'm capable o--" Any protest I could have presented is prematurely killed by a swift pressure at the back of my neck, which drives the front into a rock underneath it quite painfully. I suppose I just won't have any say in this, then.
"Look! You can already tell she's gonna be trouble."
"I promise I'll take real good care of her! And I won't just get bored with her and leave her to die or anything!"
"...Fine. But you're carrying her."
"Not a problem." The clack-clack of geta skipping across the rocks to the tune of entirely too happy humming stops inches from me. "Move your knee real quick?" Is that what it was? A knee on my neck? Who comes up with this stuff? For that matter, why just th--

---

When I awaken, it is inside of what looks to be a stone house. The walls are lined with tapestries and weaponry on their racks, but for each of the examples of expertly forged steel is a primitive, unevenly carved piece of furniture that grows from the floor or wall itself. Tables, couches, shelves, and the bed I'm set upon all mold seamlessly with each other, though the effect is hidden with clever use of tablecloths, cushions, and blankets. The most unsettling of the decorations, though, are the machines. When one sees a sword, one knows that it is a weapon and that it belongs to a warrior. When one sees a book, one knows that it belongs to one that enjoys reading. When one sees a machine with no discernible purpose which glows as though with magic and bears no resemblance to any of the other hundreds lining the walls and shelves of one's captor, one is left to their imagination, a more terrible creature than any living beast.

The only comfort, if I can call it that, is the series of lights lining the border of wall and ceiling. Neither flame nor natural glow, they are bright enough to read by but dull enough to sleep in. As long as I don't think too hard about them, they're about as nice as the quiet singing from a few rooms over.

[ ] I Wanna Be Sedated
[ ] When I Come Around
[ ] The Rocky Road to Dublin

---

And with this, I will give thanks for the privilege to use this character. Picture's by MikoSpark, character's by Thirty Terawatt Satellite Cannon. They are both awesome people.

The other tengu are mine, though. Also, hello to any new readers who came by because of the mention in The Game! I do hope you like the story enough to stay.
>> No. 14615
Congratulations, Hina. You lived the dream we all have dreamt.

[X] When I Come Around
>> No. 14616
[X] When I Come Around

Even to goddesses, tail feel so good. Though I'm a little confused as to which Tengu wanted to keep Hina. I'm guessing it was the girl who was laughing.
>> No. 14617
[x] The Rocky Road to Dublin
Dublin, fuck yea.
>> No. 14618
[x] When I Come Around

It'll be funny if those Tengu have some bad luck.
>> No. 14620
[X] When I Come Around

Well now, our delicious curse goddess seems to be in a bit of a situation. Though I couldn't help but laugh at this.
>> No. 14622
[x] When I Come Around

Hina seems to be chasing some tail.
>> No. 14623
[x] When I Come Around

>Picture's by MikoSpark, character's by Thirty Terawatt Satellite Cannon. They are both awesome people.

Seconded.
>> No. 14626
X] When I Come Around
>> No. 14634
[X] When I Come Around
>> No. 14642
File 126903835039.jpg- (167.08KB , 530x719 , not quite it but still awesome.jpg ) [iqdb]
14642
The song itself is difficult to pin. While I can't say for sure without the instrumental backing, her voice seems to be used more as an instrument than in most songs, falling into wordless sounds that follow an indiscernible pattern of jumbled notes. The way she sings, too, ranges from professional and smooth to what can only be a purposeful grit to a completely ridiculous falsetto, bringing her already-high pitch to cracking peaks more funny than unpleasant. What could she possibly be doing that would inspire something like that?

"Hold on a minute, I'm in the middle of something." Keen hearing, this one. Despite her request, curiosity gets the best of me. After passing through a room filled with shelves and lined with books as thick as my arm, I see what this 'something' is. Sort of. The door out is a hollow passage, from the top of which hangs a series of what would be jeweled necklaces if they were closed and a good deal shorter. They seem to have been strung solely for this purpose, and completely block off the view inside the room while still allowing easy passage. The design is rather clever for reducing light's passage, as the very act of walking through blocks light with your body. Inside is a pitch-black room of unclear proportions, the floor of which is littered with noticeably thick wires not unlike those used on the lighting from before. Rather than giving any meaningful light, though, they conglomerate at a single point in what could reasonably be the center of the room.

The vertical center, lit by a single spark.

In an instant, the vastness of the room becomes clear. A goliath of steel and bronze towers over us on the far side, dwarfing...Well there's nothing here to dwarf, really, but I get the feeling if I ever see my house again it'll be awfully cramped. His eyes are like camera shutters, and his mouth is a single enormous joint not unlike a pair of scissors bent in on itself. Without a nose or ears, his head simply extends into antenna reminiscent of an insect's. In fact, his entire body is put together with visible joints, and only breaks the insect metaphor with the occasional steam-spouting pipe or gear visible from the outside.

What I can only hope is my captor faces the gargantuan thing, holding a bundle of wires together with both hands and craning her neck back to stare at it. With the stomp of a foot and a, "Test one!", she spurs the creature into action. It takes several seconds for it to finish even one small step, but that proves enough to take it halfway across the room with a horrible quake that shakes me to my bones. Its leg is carefully compressed under the creature's weight, each separated section sinking into the joint below it one after the next until reaching some level of stability. When it does, the next leg swings forward in a clumsy crescent.

"Run."
"What?"
"Run!" Her hand is on me fast enough to pop my arm out of its socket, but when we crash to the floor of the unsuspecting room I had passed through before being covered in dust and pinned down by one of the antenna her intentions become clear. "Whoo, man! Was that awesome or what? Aside from losing that camera. Probably. Hopefully not! I mean, one whole step! I've got something to build Mk.8 around!"
"I'm sure this would all be fascinating if I weren't pinned against the floor with a dislocated arm."
"Oh, shit! Right!" The unbelievable weight of the antenna is lifted from my back without delay, and judging from the stream of incomprehensible rambling without much effort, either. Even while she jerks my arm back into place (Apparently her technical knowledge extends to medicine.) she goes on about the project. The technicalities are lost on me, but I can very clearly tell that she built that thing herself.

"Ah, man. You know how long it's been since someone actually listened to me talk about that stuff? Everyone's all 'What are you talking about?' or 'You're an irredeemable nerd you know that?' or 'All right fine but what about dinner?' and it just builds up and I can't take it after a while! You know what I mean?"
"I can relate, yes. A lack of outlets can be terribly frustrating." Ouch ouch ouch hold off on the hugs please.
"I knew getting a pet would be a good idea! You, you get it."

[ ] Meow
[ ] Rawr
>> No. 14643
[x] Meow

I think playing nice is in our interests, though Hina should send a written request for a passport from Tenma.
>> No. 14649
[x] Meow

Acting out won't get us anywhere. If anything, playing along for now will keep people from questioning our presence in the mountain. With any luck, that will make it easier to track down the curse that brought us here in the first place. Then, after that's settled, we'll go about teaching our captor why it's a poor idea to try treating a goddess as a pet.
>> No. 14650
File 126905195287.jpg- (309.23KB , 512x640 , 7146a3a66825560d1c429a42aac34877.jpg ) [iqdb]
14650
[X] Meow
>> No. 14651
[x] Meow

Play nice with the tengu. You can always outlive them.
>> No. 14652
[X] Purr
[X] Nuzzle Breasts
>> No. 14653
[X] Purr
[X] Nuzzle Breasts

I like this. A great deal.
>> No. 14657
[x] Rawr

A tengu inventor, not a kappa? This is an intriguing twist.
>> No. 14659
Writing? Writing!
>> No. 14661
File 12691153484.jpg- (263.38KB , 600x800 , Also not it but an artist i am not.jpg ) [iqdb]
14661
While the status of "Pet" isn't what I'd call an ambition of mine, struggling against her at this point lacks a certain tact appropriate for the situation. With what little strength I can muster through the still-great pain, I wrap an arm around her to return the embrace. It's the least I can do for my once-captor twice-savior. Even if the situations were caused by her hand, I was there against her warning.

"So what's your name, anyways? Do you have one?" Either she's quite dedicated to the act, or she seriously believes I'm a wild animal. I'm not sure how to feel about this.
"Hina Kagiyama. You can stop treating me like an animal, by the way. I've been living in a house at the base of the mountain for several years. Or rather, I was until earlier today."
"Hina, then. Hina, I'm not sure you realize just how long you've been out for, but it's been about two days and I've gotten a lot of work done." Finally, she lets go of me and steps back enough to facilitate a good look at her. She's almost as short as the boy from before, though I wouldn't be able to tell had I not already made the comparison at our first meeting. Her entire body seems almost unhealthily skinny, even through the loose-fitting jumpsuit she wears. The innumerable pockets covering it are visibly stretched, stuffed unevenly with all manner of tools and in some spots bearing holes drilled through by sharp points that poke through even now. Small patches of a dark blue are clumsily sewn in here and there, the only indication of its original color past the years and years of stains that have rendered it black, brown, and in certain spots the dark coppery red of old blood. The sleeves are rolled up to reveal bony elbows and the pale arms below them, which break into slender but scarred fingers ending in filthy half-chewed nails.

Her face, however, is quite well kept. Around her neck hangs a simple doctor's mask, and over her unkempt auburn hair is a pair of comically oversized glasses of a design that would completely seal away one's eyes. The sides, top, and bottom all extend back to fit the contours of a face, leaving a clean stripe across her that makes the layer of dust almost as apparent as the undying excitement that beams through her. Her grin is almost painfully wide, and is matched by her emerald eyes despite the severe bags under them.

"Have you...Not slept?" I have to say, I'm rather weary of being laughed at. I would settle for a well-meaning or happy laugh, but it seems that mocking is all I am fit for.
"No...No, I haven't. We've only got the one bed, you know." A certain sinking feeling strikes as I realize what she's been going through for me. Even if I wasn't really responsible for it, I still acted as the obstacle in this case.
"I'm sorry. You must be exhausted."
"Ha! I've gone longer without blinking. Hell, I should be thanking you. I spent most of the time doing adjustments on the big guy here." With no small amount of pride in her voice, she turns to face the fallen beast.
"That doesn't seem healthy."
"Hina, would you say that eating worms and crickets is healthy for a human?" Her head barely turns toward me while delivering a bizarre question, but a small movement of her eyebrow says she expects an answer.
"No, I wouldn't."
"And would you say that fattening yourself up and then going to sleep for four or five months is a good idea for a human?"
"If it was even possible, no."
"Then what makes you think that a kappa can't stay up for a few days?"
"...What do kappa have to do with it?" Her eyes finally close as she looks to the floor and shakes her head. Without replying, she simply walks past me with a hand on my shoulder and sighs before making her way through another door leading to another ambiguous room.
"And you're telling me I need more sleep. Though, you were out for a while. Maybe your brain's just not up to speed yet! Maybe it's permanently damaged! Maybe we should do some..." Her head pokes back through the door, her grin still plastered firmly on her face. Showing only her head floating parallel to the floor, the effect is spine-tingling. "Experiments."

As though on cue, her body slithers back out into view. Already she holds one of those ungodly machines, sending out a series of rapid clicks and whirrs that pierce my ears even from here. Her approach is smooth but swift, and within a second's time I'm surrounded by the smell of oil and dirty iron. Her hands probe my head with the aid of the oddly warm metallic balls extending from the machine, which sends echos through my skull. The sensation is actually not entirely unpleasant, though it's hard to enjoy when administered by a slinking scientist of questionable ethics. As fast as it began, though, it ends with a nonchalant backstep.

"Nah, just messin' with you. Enjoy the massage?"
"Uh...yes. Yes, very much. Thank you."
"Feel free to use this thing, if you can recognize it. If there's even a shadow of a doubt though, ask me which one it is. Wouldn't want you getting electrocuted. Now come on, I'm gonna try and get one of the guys to watch you while I'm sleeping."
"I thought you said you didn't need sleep."
"Doesn't mean I don't like it."

[ ] Like a Boss
[ ] Mister Cellophane
[ ] With A Wonder And A Wild Desire

---

Don't forget to check the file name, kids. Also, figured I was having enough fun with the music choice streak, and it's always kind of nice when people are like "Oh man I've heard that one".

It bears mentioning that with this update, I have officially written more for Untitled than I did for ONI. Except the ending. So I guess it's not official. Fuck.
>> No. 14662
[X] With A Wonder And A Wild Desire
>> No. 14663
>Showing only her head floating parallel to the floor, the effect is spine-tingling. "Experiments."
Mad scientist moe~

[X] Mister Cellophane

Not really sure on the choices here, but I assume this is "Don't mind me, get some rest".
>> No. 14664
[X] Mister Cellophane

>"And would you say that fattening yourself up and then going to sleep for four or five months is a good idea for a human?"
>"If it was even possible, no."
>"Then what makes you think that a kappa can't stay up for a few days?"
I think she's missing a few steps here.
>> No. 14665
>>14663
Quick google on Mister Cellophane gave me lyrics.
"'Cause you can look right through me, walk right by me, and never know I'm there."

I dunno, doesn't seem to fit.
>> No. 14666
[X] Like a Boss

MAKING REPAIRS! Like a Boss!
DOING SCIENCE! Like a Boss!
GETTING ELECTROCUTED! Like a Boss!
BLOWING STUFF UP! Like a Boss!
>> No. 14667
>>14664
Definitely on a few cans short of a 6 pack.

>[ ] Like a Boss
Tour option perhaps?
>[ ] Mister Cellophane
Act like Hina's not there?
>[ ] With A Wonder And A Wild Desire
Work with her option?

That's what I could pull form the lyrics at 2:30am in the morning.
>> No. 14668
I think you guys are missing something. Read the lead-in a bit more carefully, and go at these options at a different angle. Outright explanation can wait because I really like how these options came out and I want you to stumble upon their meanings yourselves.
>> No. 14669
>I'm gonna try and get one of the guys to watch you while I'm sleeping.

Maybe the votes determine which of them she gets to watch Hina?
>> No. 14670
[x] With A Wonder And A Wild Desire

mostly going by intuition here
>> No. 14671
>>14669
I think you're onto something here.

>[ ] Like a Boss
Leader
>[ ] Mister Cellophane
The one we didn't see or hear
>[ ] With A Wonder And A Wild Desire
The newbie (that Hina felt up)

Changing >>14664 to
[X] With A Wonder And A Wild Desire
>> No. 14672
>>14671
Works for me.

[x] With A Wonder And A Wild Desire
>> No. 14673
[x] With A Wonder And A Wild Desire

It'll be interesting finding out what makes him tick. I wonder how he'll answer the question "How did feeling a goddess up feel?"
>> No. 14674
[Q] With A Wonder And A Wild Desire

I hope to god(dess) you are right.
>> No. 14675
I wonder how I didn't predict this outcome. Writing now.
>> No. 14676
File 126920968651.png- (306.83KB , 383x733 , it\'s a goose!.png ) [iqdb]
14676
"But who to leave you with. None of 'em got a very good first impression." Beckoning me to follow her, she casually strolls out into an altogether nondescript hallway lit much like the room I awoke within. Assuming we're inside the mountain, though, that plainness could itself be an interesting feature. Underground tunnels have always summoned forth the image of gaping holes barely struggling to stay open with the aid of a great wooden skeleton, not these thin, straight gaps and polished walls. After a minute's walk, she spins on her heels without missing a step and continues along the path backwards. "I don't suppose you'd have a preference?"
"I feel like I should apologize to that Southpaw boy." Among other things.
"And I feel like you'd need a guard, but I got a good laugh out of it last time. Sure."
"Oh, come now. All I wanted to do was pet him a bit." In the blink of an eye, she's out of sight and her hands are in some very compromising positions. "H-hey!"
"Oh, come now. All I want to do is pet you a bit." Her voice comes through in a sultry whisper, her hot breath caressing my ear.
"Point taken! Hands off!"
"It's not a perfect analogy, but tengu don't take that sort of thing lightly." She removes herself from me with one last long stroke, and skips ahead nonchalantly. "I'm not saying don't do it, but remember what it means if you do."

The rest of the walk passes without much incident, her rattling off bits of information about the tunnel system and the living quarters of the tengu and I trying to brace myself for the possibilities of what is sure to be a...fun encounter. In time, we reach a simple wooden door unlike any we've encountered thus far in that it's actually a door and not just empty space. Her hands rise with a snap to something resembling a boxing pose, and crack out a series of rhythmic knocks utilizing the different tones of different spots on the door. It actually sounds quite professional, making me wonder whether it's really a code that all tengu are expected to know or if she's just very good at being obnoxious. In short order, though, her song is interrupted when a knuckle meets nothing but air.

"What." The boy cracks open the door with a smile that fades the instant he catches sight of me. Behind him is an entire room of wood, traditionally furnished from what I can tell. The contrast is as strong as anything you see on this mountain.
"Hey there! Can you babysit for me?" Shrugging off his clear disdain, she forces the door open and pulls me in. The room is fairly large, though parts of it indicate that it may be the only one in the building. In one corner is a bed fit for two, in another is a quaint fireplace facing a small circle of chairs and a thick rug. Yet another is occupied with a table surrounded by shelves and drawers, each filled with cutlery, plates, bowls, and spices. There's only one walled-off section, with a door leading either to the outside or a room with a purpose I couldn't possibly divine. The walls themselves feel more like driftwood than processed lumber, each plank lacquered despite being unevenly cut and covered in knots. It lends a very homey feel to the place.
"Ask someone else."
"Oh, come on. Those two would probably kill her on the spot, and I really need someone to watch her. I can't just leave her alone while I'm asleep."
"Sure you can." How cold. Perhaps now would be a good time for that apology.
"If it makes a difference, I wanted to apologize to you for my earlier...actions. It was absolutely uncalled for, and I promise that it won't happen again." Probably. Maybe. Forcing the words out isn't easy when I can see that fluffy tail and those adorable ears again, and his look of indignation makes it all the more tempting.
"...Fine. I'll be outside. Don't bother me." One of these days I'm going to get more than a three-word sentence out of him. I am staying with him for a while, though, so that's a step up. Without another word, he walks very calmly to the door and slams it behind him, sending tremors throughout the room.
"All right! I'm gonna go vividly hallucinate for a while. Have fun with Southpaw, kiddo." Her exit is punctuated with a swift and hopefully playful slap of my rear. By the time I can raise a protest, she's already long gone, leaving me alone in an unfamiliar cabin.

Damn tengu speed.

While poking through the house is interesting for all of seven minutes, there is a distinct lack of intellectual stimulation. No books to read, no paper to draw on, no ingredients to cook with, not even a window to look out. He shouldn't mind if I leave as long as I don't bother him, right? Right. The door outside offers no resistance, and reveals an absolutely stunning starlit night. From up here they seem even bigger and brighter than before, and with the insects' choir a hundred thousand strong echoing up through the softly glowing forest, backed by the ever-present flow of the great river...it's all just so overwhelming.

Southpaw is nowhere to be found.

[ ] Road Trip
[ ] I Can't Do It Alone
[ ] Let It Be

---

This picture was drawn when one CG was bored and wanted something to sketch. It's not got the gift mentality of fanart, but Goose is like a daughter to me at this point so the picture makes me really happy. And, now I have written more for this than for ONI. Hooray!
>> No. 14677
>[ ] Road Trip
Attemp to escape/explore?
>[ ] I Can't Do It Alone
Try to call out for him?
>[ ] Let It Be
Just relax in the house?

Not sure here.
>> No. 14678
[x] I Can't Do It Alone

We WILL find and harass you, boy.
It will be our mission in life.
>> No. 14679
[Q] I Can't Do It Alone

>bed fit for two
I love how Hina notices this.
>> No. 14681
>I'm gonna go vividly hallucinate for a while.
And then possibly have amnesia about the whole thing? I love you, mysterious tengu benefactor.

[X] I Can't Do It Alone

He's had two days to get over what we did; something else must be eating him.
>> No. 14682
[X] I Can't Do It Alone

>I promise that it won't happen again." Probably. Maybe.
Doooooooo eeeeiiiittttt. My suggestion in >>14580 must be fulfilled.
>> No. 14684
[X] I Can't Do It Alone

As if there was any other choice.
>> No. 14690
[x] I Can't Do It Alone

Well, why not?
>> No. 14698
You mean to say no one figured out better meanings behind those choices, since I'd be worried if people are making choices just off of my interpretations.
>> No. 14699
Holy shit this is the most obnoxious headache ever. It's not the kind of standard pain that you can tune out, it's a single sharp spike in a random part of my head in random intervals that breaks off my line of thought every time it strikes. I'll write through it, but if it turns out crappy I'm not posting it till this subsides.

>>14681
I'm glad someone else does, too.

>>14698
If the accepted interpretations are way off, I'll step in. I'm not the kind of guy to make a choose-your-own-adventure where you don't get to choose. I think. Maybe? Still getting the hang of this choice thing.
>> No. 14700
File 126926813172.jpg- (246.56KB , 896x717 , 122753071113.jpg ) [iqdb]
14700
That just won't do. These may not be the best conditions for searching, but he was wearing mostly white. If he hasn't gone too far, he should be easy to find. A quick scan of my immediate surroundings doesn't reveal much of anything, so a lap around the house is in order. As I walk, though, its unique design draws as much of my attention as the search. Rather than building support underneath the house and having it jut out of the mountainside, the ground itself plateaus to keep it level. A good portion of the back is buried within the slope of the mountain, as well. The house seems too new for the ground to have naturally shifted around it, making it apparent that a slot was carved out specifically for construction. I suppose there's not many better ways to hide an entrance to a tunnel system than inside a residence.

Architectural musings aside, I've reached the entrance again without a sign of the boy. A better vantage point is in order. With his image firmly in mind, my feet slowly lift off the ground as I turn to scan the environment. Every turn brings me just a bit higher, gets me just a bit faster, until I'm at twice my normal height. At this speed the scenery blends and blurs, but within it everything becomes so clear. All of life's boundaries fall into the spin, allowing me to rely on its energy to make any meaningful distinction, but as it's absorbed it only pushes me further, further toward the heavens!

"Wah!" Found him. Stopping isn't easy, though. Momentum, both physical and spiritual, continues pushing against me. Even if I try to slow down, I can feel its influence pushing forth as unstoppably as the blood pumping through my veins. With all my effort the best I can do is turn an axis into a spiral, but it has to dissipate from there. Mercy to whatever soul tries to stop it; in this case, him. I'm aware of the presence of a chain around me, but it is ineffectual. I'm aware of his attempts to pull me down, but he's only drawn in. I'm aware of his panicked yelp, but there's little I can do to comfort him until we've stopped. As the spin continues his chain draws him ever closer to me, until our bodies are pressed together. In time we settle clumsily, our uneven footing giving way to the hard roof of the cabin. My attempts to rise are thwarted, however, by an embrace. His chain has long since fallen, snaking lazily around us. What binds my arms are his own, trembling as they are. His weight is on my lap, and his head is buried in my chest.

It's all I can do to return it. My hands find themselves tightening around him, occasionally giving a gentle stroke through his soft but stringy hair or down his back and being rewarded with a hint of a nuzzle. Wish granted.

---

Dawn breaks fairly shortly. It must have already been early in the morning when I was taken up here.

The last hour or two has been spent sitting with Southpaw, watching the sky and waiting. In time, he did calm down enough to draw his head from me, showing off eyes about as red as my dress (more than the usual parts, mind) and a wet patch that's going to need a shower to hide. As lovely as petting him was, he did eventually draw back. All good things must come to an end, I suppose. With a 'hut', he hops to his feet and dusts himself off.

"This never happened." ...What?
"Why do you need to hide it?"
"Do you really need to ask that?"
"I'd like to think we could be friends, after that. I assure you my intentions are pure."
"Maybe. But this. Never. Happened." Without giving me time to reply, he hops back down to the entrance. The way he slams doors, you'd think he's never seen one.
"I'd let him be, if I were you." shitfuckgoddamntenguspeedwho could it be this time, I wonder. No one that I know, anyways. His voice is deep and distinguished, but by the time I look back he's gone again. "For a while, anyways. If you're around us long enough, he'll come around." Or just behind me. Are we really going to play this trick?
"Thank you for the advice, but just who do I have the pleasure of speaking with?" No reply. Of course. Is this what humans are doomed to at the peak of their evolution? Playing with people's heads, inciting anger or frustration just for the sake of a laugh? Advancing civilization is overrated, if that's all that waits.

With a touch of indignation, I head inside to see Southpaw preparing his equipment on a seat in front of the fireplace. Its once-grand flame has been reduced to its last embers, a thin stream of smoke the only evidence of a fight to stay alive through the pile of ashes. Without looking away, he addresses me.

"I'm hunting today. Go bother someone else." Doesn't seem like I'll be making much progress with him.

[ ] She Blinded Me With Science
[ ] Like a Boss
[ ] Mister Cellophane

---

Why yes, this is a "meet them all" choice. Last one before something actually happens though.
>> No. 14703
[Q] Mister Cellophane

Simply because I'm curious. Also, Hina's maternal/shotacon instinct is strong.
>> No. 14704
[X] Mister Cellophane

What made him think chaining a spinning goddess was a good idea? And I get the feeling he's a tsundere.
>> No. 14705
[X] Mister Cellophane

Southpaw seems a bit caught up in Tengu pride to enjoy Hina's comfort. I'm curious as what this guy is like.
>> No. 14706
[X] Mister Cellophane
>> No. 14707
[X] Mister Cellophane

Oh god tengu moe.
>> No. 14709
[x] Mister Cellophane
>> No. 14710
[X] Mister Cellophane

My tsundere senses went off...potentially a good sign if we can convince ol' Southpaw to open up to us somehow.
>> No. 14711
Southpaw is delicious, and I wish to do naughty things to him.

[X] Mister Cellophane
>> No. 14712
>>14710
I wonder if he's overloaded with misfortune. And we know a good way to removing it IYKWIM
>> No. 14738
File 126939520636.jpg- (150.78KB , 600x600 , not being lazy honest.jpg ) [iqdb]
14738
"I'm not quite certain how I would do so. I've been unconscious for the last two days."
"...Goose does good work." As irritating as it is to hear, I've seen it first hand. He's right.
"So, would you be so kind as to escort me to 'someone else'?" As I speak, he stands and walks to the door, marking the oh say hundredth time one of these tengu has ignored, interrupted, or otherwise cut a line of thought short. Not very good conversation partners, these tengu types. Regardless of social graces, without a guide I'm quite helpless. With this in mind, my feet scurry along of their own accord and stop the door mid-slam. Likely not the best idea, judging from the vibrations that it sends all up my leg, but every time I hear that boy go through a door it feels like the mountain is going to collapse in on itself.

In the extra second that it takes to close it with some level of care, Southpaw has perched himself on a few relatively large rocks overlooking the forest. After last night's show, the cloudless morning seems so much more empty. Even the birds refuse to chirp, offering an almost eerie tranquility made even more unsettling by the tall man landing a breath away from me noiselessly. Not even his coat flutters in the wind, falling with the solidity of a limb – one of which, incidentally, has found itself around my mouth. With a single-finger signal held for me to see, he gradually steps forward and takes his hands with him. Whether he wanted a halt or quiet, he gets both.

His back doesn't reveal much more of him, except the top half of a head of thinning grey hair and two matching wolf ears, pointing forward and held low. His steps are silent and level, making me wonder if he's not just floating a hair's width over the rocks. As he reaches Southpaw, a single gloved hand calmly extends to his side before swiftly slapping him on the back and sending him tumbling with a yelp. Cupping his hands around his mouth, the new arrival shouts one last piece of sage advice down the mountain's slope.
"Watch your back out there!" Well, I suppose that would be my visitor from before then. With his hands in his coat pockets, he keeps watch until the sound of falling rocks stops.
"I somehow get the feeling he didn't hear you over his fall."
"Oh, he did. The kid's got better hearing than I ever did. Sturdy, too. Just wish he wasn't so dense." With a smile and a small shake of his head, he walks back over. His ears sprout from light, short hair, and are visibly scarred. The left is split into two at the end, while the right is missing a small chunk and sporting a not-quite-closed hole nearby. His forehead sags slightly, but above his sharp milky-blue eyes it still seems flat and hard. While his nose is crooked and his cheeks wrinkle, they still come together with a well-kept goatee over a solid square jaw to form an intimidating look. The rest of his body is covered almost entirely by his old, worn coat, which emanates the smell of leather and brass buttons so strongly it reaches even here. "Come on. It looks like it's my turn with you."
"You make it sound like a chore."
"I assure you, it's a pleasure. A friend of Goose is a friend of mine."
"Are we really friends at this point? We've hardly spoken at all."
"Well, has she experimented on you yet?" The phrase reminds me of that bizarre vibrating machine she sprang on me. Was that an experiment...?
"I'm...not sure." My puzzled expression is apparently funny enough to warrant a hearty laugh from him as he swings open the door to the cabin. "Back to the tunnels? So soon?"
"Well, there is another way to where we're going. It's a bit longer, but we'd get to talk."
"That sounds lovely."
"Well, then..." With a small flourish he quietly closes the door, gives a low bow, and offers his hand. "Shall we, madame?" Which I take gladly. The gloves seem to be covering more than just a hand, though. His palm is about as soft to the touch as expected, but as my fingers glide down to a grip they hit unnaturally hard knuckles.
"That's quite the hand you have."
"Cestus. Never leave home without 'em." With that, we take off flying; a brisk enough ascent for the thin air to send a slight chill through me but not so fast that it feels like he really has somewhere to be.
"You're rather well-prepared, then. Do all tengu follow those standards?"
"With things being the way they are these days, you have to. It's a damn shame what happened to Tenma. Best lord I've ever served under." Tenma...Wasn't that their leader? Tengu are a rather secretive people, but you tend to hear the big names now and then.
"I'm afraid I'm not up on my current events. What happened?" His face darkens considerably, and his already low voice drops further. I can barely make him out above the wind.
"I suppose you wouldn't be. This is a matter of safety, so pay attention, all right? Tenma's gone. Disappeared one day and didn't come back."
"That's horrible."
"No, what's horrible is how the population took it. He was the only damn tengu in the mountain that had everyone's respect. To this day, nobody knows whether he left or died or what, but it didn't take long for the news to spread. When it came time to find a new leader, people got tricky. Dirty. There's a lot of blood in these rocks, and all of it spilled in secret."
"You mean assassins."
"At first, yeah. It was better then, though no one would have told you at the time. Too many of us were more concerned with not letting outsiders see the fight than with putting any kind of order in place, and when more and more higher-ups started dying the chances of that happening died with them. The worst part is that with the lack of communication, by the time anyone realized we were in a goddamn civil war we weren't even a nation any more. Nowadays you just stick with people because you can trust 'em not to stab you in the throat while you're sleeping. I made that mistake once already." As he delivers the last line with a disturbing flatness in his voice, he traces a finger across his jaw line. I hadn't noticed earlier, but along with the wrinkles of his neck is a scar going all the way from his earlobe to the edge of his goatee.
"I'm surprised you let me stay with you, then."
"I was against it from the beginning. If Goose wasn't carrying you, I'd have dumped you in the river myself."
"...Harsh."
"Cautious. Just like you should be, now that you're with us. If you see another tengu, don't assume they're a friend. Don't trust them, and don't let them get close to you. Not for anything."
"Fair enough. Is all this nickname business caution, as well, or do tengu just have very odd naming conventions?"
"More habit than caution. Call names are easy to remember and have a bit more personality than something you were arbitrarily given at birth. You can call me Grey by the way. Hope it's not too boring for you."
"Grey, then. It's a pleasure to finally meet you."
"Likewise. I'm glad we didn't kill you." What a compliment.

As we reach the peak of the mountain, he slows to a stop and eyes the shrine atop it in silence for a long moment. He seems awfully distracted, though he floats onward almost imperceptibly.

[ ] Cloudwalker
[ ] Arrive

---

And you thought I wasn't going anywhere with this. You thought right. I'm a slow thinker.
>> No. 14739
[x] Arrive
>> No. 14740
>[ ] Cloudwalker
Try to check out the shrine to see what's distracting him?
>[ ] Arrive
Straight to the point.
>> No. 14745
[x] Cloudwalker

Shit. All is not well in Tengutown.
>> No. 14747
File 126940592620.jpg- (268.81KB , 1280x960 , rock_lee.jpg ) [iqdb]
14747
[x] Cloudwalker

>>14738
On a whim, I clicked iqdb for the image, and this was apparently the closest match. It's strangely fitting, no?
>> No. 14748
[X] Cloudwalker

Geez, Tenma was the only person holding the Tengu together? Why didn't he make contingency plans for the inevitable end of his rule? Unless he had the hubris to believe it wouldn't end...
>> No. 14752
I think some kind of curse is at work.
>> No. 14755
[X] Cloudwalker

Damn nice story. Now I just have to resist the call of aping your ideas. Not so much need to resist copying the style, though, since it's a damn nice style.
>> No. 14760
[X] Cloudwalker

>>14748
Well, depending on what caused him to disappear, he may not have had time to put any such plans into action. From the sound of it, he was rather well-liked, so he was probably wasn't expecting to be usurped.
>> No. 14765
[X] Cloudwalker

Maybe the tengu race as a whole are cursed right now.
>> No. 14772
This is why I like when you guys post theories. Imagine if I thought you hadn't all mixed up the options! Disastrous. Positively disastrous. You can thank Satori and Koishi for me actually writing, the first for bringing back the most universally hated spellcard in the entire series which is completely fucking luck-based argh and the latter for ruining everything just like she's best at. Ten shots on a pattern-changing card? You're right! I was having too much fun!

>>14747
Rock Lee, like most of the secondary characters in that show, was awesome. It's a shame the story didn't live up to him. Or any of them, for that matter.

>>14755
But Hina can't take on a gorilla! That's horrible! Seriously though, the heart of storytelling isn't in 100% original ideas but in their presentation. If this can serve as inspiration for something that you can make your own, I'd consider it an honor. Especially considering I started this on a whim, and am completely failing to plan more than two posts in advance.
>> No. 14773
>>14755
>>14772

Inspiration is no crime, plagiarism is. And out of any characters to be inspired by, it's better a nice depiction like This Hina than say Fell's Sanae or Nine's Yukari.
>> No. 14774
>Ten shots on a pattern-changing card? You're right! I was having too much fun!
It's funny, because that card is an exercise in masochism with Aya, but with Hatate, it's so easy you don't even need to think about your strategy. (Of course, that's true for virtually every difficult card in the game. Hatate is basically the Maria to Aya's Richter.)
>> No. 14775
File 126947090362.jpg- (28.87KB , 400x309 , lovely valentine.jpg ) [iqdb]
14775
"Something seems to be bothering you. Should we stop in?" After another second's consideration, he turns a pensively raised eyebrow to me.
"...Do you mind?"
"Not in the least. It's been some time since I've visited, anyways. I'd like to see how those two are holding up."
"I'm gonna need your help with something, then. Just visit up front like you normally would, and pretend I'm not with you."
"We're not doing anything illegal, are we?" At that, a mischievous smile forms on his lips. He wastes no time flying off to the side of the shrine, but casts back a final assurance before we're within earshot.
"You'll see."

---

"I'm sorry, but visiting hou--Hina! What a surprise!" Before even answering the door, she's already shooing me away. When did shrines become so business-like?
"Good afternoon, Sanae. I trust you've been well?" It feels like it's been ages since I've seen this girl. In the short time she's been here, she's gone from an immature teenager tossed like a rag doll between thoughts of suicide and genocide to a beautifully matured young woman. She's since cut her long, silky green hair to a more manageable length which leaves even the base of her neck relatively untouched. All that remains as evidence that it was ever there are her long bangs, neatly tucked behind her ears. Under one is the same childish frog-style clip that she wore when she was thrust into Gensokyo, but without hair to tie around, the white snake decoration that came with it has been converted into an ouroboros necklace. Her clothes are loose and simply designed, but thick and colorfully patterned. The pants are held up by a single drawstring, but are too long for her and drag under her bare feet. The shirt appears to be in a set with the pants, the pattern continuing seamlessly past her waist, but is covered with a second, thicker article. At first glance it seems to be a slightly frayed light blue sweater, but its knit is smooth and the front is adorned with spiky metallic jacks on either side rather than buttons. Another set of drawstrings hangs lazily over her chest, attached to an unused hood crunched up on her back. Must be a relic from her old life that managed to make it through. Her smile is, as always, an honest and welcome one that shines at full force through all of her actions. Even the one that pulls me impatiently through the door.

"Come in, come in! It's freezing out there! How are you? It's been so long!"
"I'm going through interesting times, if nothing else. It should please you to know that I'm not here on business, though."
"Oh, thank God. I mean. You. Kanako. Uh..." She may have grown up, but her youthful energy hasn't left her. In the span of seconds, her expression speeds through elation, concern, relief, shocked worry, and confusion. With each comes an exaggerated body movement that sends strings flying, and on one occasion almost hits me with one. It's a wonder she knows how to sit still at all.
"Relax. I know what you mean. Shall we have a seat somewhere?"
"Yeah, yeah, sure! Would you like some tea? I was just putting some water on when you came by."
"Tea would be lovely, thank you." The halls of the shrine haven't changed much either, though looking into an open door or two reveals that it's been at least somewhat prosperous. What were almost completely undecorated walls now hold neatly framed paintings and calligraphy, and the floorspace has been filled with all manner of furniture. Flat surfaces, too, are covered in trinkets – likely things that have fallen from the outside, from how few I can identify. Her house has really become a home.
"I've got this lovely cinnamon stuff. If you let it steep long enough it'll burn your tongue, but the aftertaste is hea...ven..." As she turns to open a door, the contents freeze her in place. The first sign of motion is a dropped jaw, followed by slowly widening eyes that well with tears. Before I'm able to ask what's wrong, though, the edges of her lips draw upwards into another lively grin and she dashes into the room.

The only evidence of her stopping is a slam.

When I do catch sight of the inside, Grey is sitting against the wall and holding an ecstatic Sanae. With half her face still pressed against the chest of his coat, she turns her eyes to me and takes a deep whiff of it before 'introducing' us. "Hina, this is Daichi Takeyuu, the single most sneaky, dastardly, kind-hearted, incredible old man in Gensokyo. If it weren't for him, I don't know where I'd be right now." With a wink, he replies for me.
"Nice to meet you, Hina. It's a pleasure." Before I can get a word in, Sanae pushes herself off of him to look him in the eyes.
"So can you stay? Please tell me you can stay."
"I'm afraid I'm here on business. I'd like to talk with Kanako, if it's at all possible. Hina, you're welcome to come with me if you'd like."
"Party pooper. Hina, there'll be time to catch up with him! Stay with me? Please?" Twisting her back to look at me, she clasps her hands together and makes the best puppy dog eyes I have ever seen out of a human being.

[ ] Shinto Shrine
[ ] Infinite Being

---

It is worth noting that I'm going with given name first for this story, if you haven't been paying attention so far. It is also worth noting that Daichi was created between TTSC and myself in just about equal parts, bouncing concepts and details back and forth until a character was made. And yes, I got lazy with the choices and hit up Alstroemeria. Picture is uh...Well, I didn't want to try finding a Sanae picture that wouldn't be better used in the neighboring Sanae story. I should just hire a damn artist if I'm gonna do all these alt costumes.
>> No. 14776
>>14774
Yeah, faster charge time in a game whose primary challenge is waiting for your camera to charge is going to make a lot of things easier. I feel like Hatate is mostly in there as a playable character for novelty's sake.
>> No. 14777
>>14776
Wouldn't be surprising, since StB's known to be basically a slapped together quickie project. I somewhat suspect DS to be similar in many ways.

But I must say interesting implications about this Sanae, both with her struggles, hinting at a post SA and UFO place in time. And how she knows "Gray"/Daichi, and in what way. Since as I see it it's perhaps romantic or in a fatherly way, hard to tell by her reaction. It's clear that he helped Sanae out a great deal. It also confirmed what I thought of Gray: Ruthless, experienced, but has a heart of gold.

>[ ] Shinto Shrine
Hang around with Sanae; catching up, finding more about this Gensokyo no doubt.
>[ ] Infinite Being
Go with Gray and learn more of the major plot.
>> No. 14779
>>14777
All indications are that if anything, DS is more slipshod than StB. (Stage 12-6? Did you playtest at all, ZUN?)

[X] Shinto Shrine

We'll have plenty of time with Grey later, and he's shown surprisingly little reluctance to tell us secrets so far.
>> No. 14781
>Twisting her back to look at me, she clasps her hands together and makes the best puppy dog eyes I have ever seen out of a human being.
That's not fair, Sanae, pulling out the big guns. Must... resist... aw, who am I kidding?

[X] Shinto Shrine
>> No. 14782
>I didn't want to try finding a Sanae picture that wouldn't be better used in the neighboring Sanae story.
So you represented her as a valentine's card-slash-bear instead.
Strangely, I'm okay with this.

Assuming you continue to find yourself without an artist, might I suggest you search for pictures with the outfit you want, and to hell with whoever the character happens to be? It's not as if the readers require a reminder as to what a Touhou looks like. Unless it's some obscure PC-98 boss.


[x] Shinto Shrine
>puppy dog eyes
We've already established that this Hina is weak to such things, and coincidentally, so am I.
>> No. 14783
[X] Shinto Shrine

Sanae~

>>14782

I believe Hina is weak to a little more than just puppy dog eyes, IYKWIM. She just so happens to like puppy dog tails too.
>> No. 14784
[x] Shinto Shrine

>puppy dog eyes

Can never say no to that face.
>> No. 14786
>>14782
>Assuming you continue to find yourself without an artist, might I suggest you search for pictures with the outfit you want, and to hell with whoever the character happens to be? It's not as if the readers require a reminder as to what a Touhou looks like.
I do this with not just people, but things, too. It's a very good idea. Danbooru is not the answer to everything.
>> No. 14787
>>14779
I remarked on that due to Hatate, since some consider her a poor copy of Aya, for one the similarity to outfits. But it might be the crow tengu uniform for all we know. And since Tenma's a guy... yeah he likes that kind of outfit.

[X] Shinto Shrine

with Sanae's vouching I think Gray'll trust Hina more now with things. That and Sanae could use the company.

I'm surprised that no one else is remarking on what I noticed. That and I really do want to find out what exactly happened with Sanae in this Gensokyo. Sucide/Genocidal thoughts and a hair cut? Quite some differences.

Now I'm curious what differences the other characters have.
>> No. 14788
>I'd like to see how those two are holding up.

Wait, two? Then that means either Kanako or Suwako are gone.
I wonder what happened.
>> No. 14789
[X] Shinto Shrine

You win this round, miko. Hope Daichi can fill us in.
>> No. 14791
And that, my friends, is how you keep other people's interpretations of characters out of your own. Breakfast then writing, but I've gotta go to court later so I don't know how soon it's gonna be posted.

>>14777
If it was slapped together, it hasn't shown till now. The first 8 stages had a much smoother difficulty curve, the cards were more fun than challenging, and the camera mechanics actually came into play to make it more of a puzzle game than a rape game. I sincerely hope that stage 10 picks back up on this one - Hell, Satori's cards were pretty fun up until now, too!

>>14779
That makes me worried, though. Very worried.

>>14782
I would do this, but I'm not willing to put that much effort into finding a good picture when my words should speak for themselves. If they're not doing their job, then I'm not doing mine.

>>14787
I'm nipping this one in the bud: She was a teenager. Not just a teenager, but a teenage girl. That's all. As for the haircut, NARH loev alt costumes and not enough Touhous have short styled hair.
>> No. 14792
File 126952529926.jpg- (52.07KB , 500x368 , oddly appropriate.jpg ) [iqdb]
14792
"As much as I'd like to get to know you, Mr. Takeyuu, I fear that I would only intrude on any business you could have with a god of Kanako's standing. Sanae's company will do nicely." Almost as soon as words start to leave me, her hands separate into fists and draw to her sides by the elbows as sharply as her expression changes to a victorious grin.
"You can say that again. She may be a little overenthusiastic now and then, but she really is a good girl." As the two clumsily work back toward their feet, Grey's hand finds its way atop her head and delivers a few soft pats, which draws forth a satisfied giggle from the girl before she playfully swats it away.
"Quit talking about me like I'm still a little girl! I'm in my twenties, you know."
"And I'm in my six hundreds. You'll always be my little girl. Now go play, if I get through this fast enough we'll still have time to catch up."
"Fine, fine. Hina, meet me out front. I've got something awesome to show you." Before even finishing her sentence, she dashes out of the room. Her bare feet slam against the floors like a trained runner, sending a light patpatpatpat all through the house. With Grey already gone (He really must teach me how he does that one of these days) it's all I can do to wait out front as requested.

Neither the path nor the wait are long. By the time I've reached the door, in fact, another set of excited half-stomps echos through the hallway. Their consistent approach is punctuated with a skid and a slam before Sanae opens the door with a smile. She's put on a pair of sleek, flashy shoes of a material I can't quite pin under rough-looking pants roughly the shade of her sweater, which has since closed in front of her. Setting all of those jacks to interlock must have been one of her miracles – doing it by hand should have taken ages. She wastes no time pulling me along to the large lake out back, her hand delightfully warm against my wind-chilled one.

"So I'm pretty sure our shrine is haunted." As we arrive, she lets my hand go and turns to face me with an air of absolute gravity.
"That's quite the claim. What makes you think that?" Immediately, she draws close enough to feel her breath and drops her voice to one below even a whisper.
"I've been having these weird dreams, right? Some voice I don't know talks to me, but I can never remember them long enough after I wake up to do anything about it. That's been going on for years, but I didn't really pay it any mind. Later on though? I was out at this lake, and I hear someone call my name from under the water. Clear as day. It wasn't muffled or anything."
"Hmm. Have you visited Hakugyokuro recently? Someone might have gotten attached to you, or tried to use you to escape."
"Nah, I've never been there even once. But that's not all! I didn't mention it to anyone, because I didn't want them to think I was crazy or anything and I might have just been hearing things. Then one day, Kanako mentions that it happened to her too."
"How strange..."
"And recently, I've been seeing frogs in the lake. It didn't really click with me at first, but it's cold up here year-round. Top of a mountain and everything, right? Put your hand in the water." She steps away, gesturing with her arms toward it. As I take my first steps she turns to walk alongside me, going as far as to duck next to me. The action pulls back the ends of her pants, revealing that she's kept on the thicker items from before underneath them. Clever. A tentative dip of a finger almost scorches my finger, the sudden and unexpected change in temperature more at fault than the heat itself. Still, for a lake atop a mountain to be warm enough to bathe in...This is worth investigating.
"I'm beginning to see why you might think your shrine is haunted."
"I've been trying to find more evidence, but I'm no good with this occult stuff. Do you want to help me look around?"
"Yes. Yes, I do." No wordplay. No unnecessary frills. This is weird, even for Gensokyo.

[ ] Skeletons in the closet
[ ] The wild green yonder
[ ] Indian burial ground

---

Act fast and get a BRAND NEW THREAD!
>> No. 14793
[X] Skeletons in the closet
Frogs, you say.
>> No. 14794
[Q] Indian burial ground
>> No. 14795
[x] Skeletons in the closet

So why the frog pendant, Sanae?
>> No. 14798
[X] Skeletons in the closet

No knowledge of Suwako? We're definitely not in canon anymore.
>> No. 14800
>>14791
I just remarked on that due to how some can see Sanae in a depress post MoF due to how she found out she wasn't anything special here. As for the genocide speculation, referencing the zeal she showed in UFO, which might be interpreted as something disturbing, which Fell too to its unholy extent.

Here's a pool about Patchouli becoming younger and a short haired sanae. http://danbooru.donmai.us/pool/show/396

I'm not projecting anyone on to your Sanae, just curious as to the exact causes. Your Gensokyo is familiar yet different.


>>14798
That much was obvious in the first chapter where the library had demons good for more than sex appeal, the SDM not being on good terms with her (canonically they are). As I mentioned earlier, this is not your normal Gensokyo.

>[ ] Skeletons in the closet
Inquire into her life as to find an unexplained link.
>[ ] The wild green yonder
Look around the lake?
>[ ] Indian burial ground
Go swimming? (Clear your thoughts folks, you have danbooru for that)

Weird how Kanako says it happened to her (Since she should have a good idea who's behind it)
>> No. 14802
[x] The wild green yonder
>> No. 14805
[X] Indian burial ground

>>14798
Or we've traveled back in time to the first few months after MoF's release, when everyone thought that Sanae not knowing about Suwako was canon due to a translation error.
>> No. 14806
>>14800
Not quite right. Keep thinking. As for Sanae's moods, again: Teenage girl. If you've been around 'em, you know they don't really need reasons.

>>14798
When were we ever?
>> No. 14807
>>14806
I assume the vote is for locations to search?

>[ ] Skeletons in the closet
The living quarters.
>[ ] The wild green yonder
The grounds.
>[ ] Indian burial ground
The shrine proper?

Honestly, assuming I'm right about this being a vote for where to go, I'm not too terribly concerned with what wins. I voted for "Indian burial ground" because I can't figure out what it is.
>> No. 14808
>>14807
Clarification, then.

Skeletons in the closet involves checking living quarters and the shrine for physical and historical evidence. Wild Green Yonder is for the area around the shrine (including the lake) and Indian Burial Ground is for the mountain itself. It's kind of good that you don't particularly care which wins, but I meant for this to be a fun little side-quest before getting into the whole Tengu...thing. If the opinion is shared, I can timeskip and just pretend I never even had the idea.
>> No. 14809
>>14808
>timeskip a Suwako event
There's not a ಠ_ಠ that's ಠ_ಠ enough to accurately
represent my ಠ_ಠ at that idea.
Opinion conveyed.
>> No. 14810
[X] Skeletons in the closet

>teenage girl

...no further questions.

Though this interpretation of Sanae is growing on me rather quick.
>> No. 14813
>>14808
>It's kind of good that you don't particularly care which wins, but I meant for this to be a fun little side-quest before getting into the whole Tengu...thing. If the opinion is shared, I can timeskip and just pretend I never even had the idea.
Don't misunderstand; I don't mean to say that I'm bored with the plot or dislike the characters, not at all. It's just that, perhaps due to the opaqueness of the choices (opacity of the choices?), I tend to view choices in your story the same way I view choices in Fell's story: more valuable for the opportunity they give to discuss where things are going than for the opportunity they give to change the direction of the plot.

This may or may not be the wrong way to think about things.
>> No. 14815
[X] Skeletons in the closet
>> No. 14817
>>14813
Yeah, that's a risk since it seems ever since Fell started doing that story Lion started doing it for Frag half the time as well.
>> No. 14822
[X] Skeletons in the closet
>> No. 14840
Okay, so. I had a plan until I realized it totally sucked, and am taking (already took) today to reformulate it. In other news, I have to redo community service because justice is dead which means the coming days are going to be littered with soul-crushing and thus writing may or may not be hindered. Figured you ought to know.

>>14809
Duly noted.

>>14813
To be fair, these choices do most definitely influence the direction of things, some of which I kind of want to reveal but being the author I have trouble fully understanding the impact of spoilers so eh. Discussion is always welcome, though.

I'm gonna keep using this topic to stay 'in touch' because this board is slow enough for it, but when I update again it will be in thread 2. My very first thread 2! How exciting!
>> No. 14846
[X] Skeletons in the closet

>>14840
>I have to redo community service because justice is dead

Man I'm glad I talked and "Charisma'd" my way out of Community Service way back.
>> No. 14852
Second thread up at >>14851
Update your bookmarks, yo.


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