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15933 No. 15933
So here we are on our twentieth thread. It's hard to believe it's been more than a year since I started writing this, but I guess I'll save the sentimental stuff until after the story's ended.

But I'd like to just briefly thank everyone who's been reading this.

Now, let's keep this pace up until the end.




---
>> No. 15934
[x] …
------

Why does this hurt so much?

I knew this sweet dream couldn’t last.

It was only a matter of time.

It’s impossible for me, after all.

It was a doomed effort to continue this dream from the very beginning.

Why did I think that things could change?

There is no use in it.

Nothing has changed.

Nothing will change.

you are an existence destined for solitude

For the first time, you feel your smile falter – the smile you wear not for your own sake, but for the sake of others. Amidst these frightened, unwelcoming, scathing stares, you can no longer smile. Even though you try to smile, even though you try to command the muscles around your mouth to form into a smile, and show everyone that you are alright, they won’t budge.

Another small fragment of your mask flakes away, falling to the dirt.

Ah.

This mask…

…is it broken?

Stop.

…don’t look at me.

Don’t look at me!

DON’T LOOK AT ME DON’T LOOK AT ME DON’T LOOK AT ME

STOP LOOKING AT ME AS THOUGH I’M A MONSTER

Your body gives a jolt.

Drowning out the world around you, you lower your gaze to your hands, staring at them as you turn your palms up.

They’re covered. Covered in black. Long strips of burnt black skin cover your palms, your fingers, the entire back of your hands twisting and coiling around and around and reaching up to your entire body like and they feel like they’re on fire it hurts it hurts it hurts so much please stop it

Ahahaha…

Now they’ve become covered in red.

Soaked a nasty dark crimson in blood.

The blood covers the entirety of your hands, reaching up to your elbows. Even the impossibly black brands on your hands from earlier are blurred out of sight by the blood painted over them. Red, red, red, red, red.

Everything is always red.

Red hair, red eyes, red mouth, red hands, red feet.

The world is red red red.

Slowly looking back up at the world around you, you see it as though through a red filter. Everything’s become covered in red. What an eerie sight it is, to see the world as though someone had painted it completely with blood.

Your hands slowly fall to your sides.

Dazedly, you look at the god standing beside you, standing tall with her finger pointed accusingly in the direction of the tengu as her lips part and close rapidly.

What is she saying?

There is nothing entering your ears.

But.

The stares are still there.

Stop it! I said stop it! Stop it stop it stop it please!

I need

I need to get away from here.

I need to get away from those eyes.

Turning around, despite your exhausted limbs and the extensive pain from the battle your body is still undergoing through, you break into a run. No further than two steps away, you feel someone brushing up against you, grabbing you by the arm to stop you. Sanae speaks, but her words carry no sound. You shove her off in frenzy, sending her, startled, back. Not looking back, you run off.

Run, run, run run run. I need to get away. I need to run. Run. Run. Run. Always running. Haha. I’m always running. Hahahaha! Always always always running from everything. Running from anything.

That’s all I’ve been doing.

Running.

Because I’m a coward and I know it.

Because I can’t be brave.

I can’t bear to confront anything.

I don’t want to be responsible for anything, because I’m scared to take on the burden of responsibility.

I’m always too afraid.

Even now, I’m running.

Running until I can’t run anymore.

Your feet snags against a tree root. You promptly trip, falling over. As you fall to the ground, you twist your body around, landing on your back. Heaving as though you’re dying, you look up at the orange sky, which is quickly turning to darkness.

Is there no longer any way out?

Slowly, you stand up. You need to get away. You need to get as far from here as you can. Run, run, you have to run. Still in the middle of steadying your breathing, you feel a dizzy spell coming on, and to balance yourself, you lean against the tree whose root you tripped on, closing your eyes.

“…Why did you run?”

A single voice pierces through the silence you had been trapped in.

You open your eyes, still seeing the world through that red filter, and behold the girl speaking to you before you, her hands folded together behind her back and a worried look cast upon her face. Slowly, she walks closer to you, staring at you with those green eyes. Instinctively, you take a step back, pushing yourself up against the tree.

“Why did you follow me?” you ask.

“Because I was worried,” Sanae replies.

“You don’t have to worry about me,” you say immediately, frantically. “I’m alright by myself. I don’t need help. I can… I can help myself, so I don’t want you to worry about—”

“That’s a lie, isn’t it?” she cuts in crossly.

You stop, silenced.

“I don’t believe there’s anyone out there who can be fine alone.”

“You don’t understand, I—!”

“And anyway, it’s a bit selfish of you, don’t you think?”

“Wha…”

“It’s unfair,” she says. “You’ve always been helping me, ever since we all moved here, even though we must have caused you a lot of trouble then. How can I ever repay you if you keep refusing other people’s help like that? That’s why I’m calling it selfish.”

You stare at her. “I never thought you owed me anything. I don’t need you to—”

She reaches up and lightly taps you on the head, cutting you off.

“There you go again! Acting selfish like that,” she says, furrowing her brows sternly. Her expression becomes gentle, however, as she lowers her hand, speaking in a softer, warmer voice now. “… Let us help you.”

Your vision flickers.

The redness is gone.

The world is no longer covered in blood.

Feeling a heavy lump in your throat, you swallow uneasily, as the girl breaks into a silly grin, giggling slightly.

“...heheh, I got most of those lines from a manga I read,” she says with slight embarrassment, winking. “That wasn’t too corny or anything, was it? But I really meant what I said. I don’t know what’s happened between you and the other tengu, but if you explain, I—no, we—can help you.”

She reaches out a hand toward you, her palm facing up.

“So… won’t you tell me?”

[ ] Do I deserve to be helped?
[ ] Always alone.
>> No. 15935
[x] Do I deserve to be helped?

>It's hard to believe it's been more than a year since I started

Don't know about the rest of you, but that year went by rather quick.
>> No. 15936
[X] Do I deserve to be helped?
Short answer: yes.
Philosophical answer: no man is an island.
>> No. 15938
[X] Do I deserve to be helped?
>> No. 15939
[x] Do I deserve to be helped?
This is magnificient.
>> No. 15940
[x] Do I deserve to be helped?

SHIT JUST GOT REALER

IN A GOOD WAY
>> No. 15941
[x] Do I deserve to be helped?
>> No. 15942
[x] Do I deserve to be helped?
>> No. 15943
[X] Do I deserve to be helped?
>> No. 15944
[x] Do I deserve to be helped?

About damn time Mikio's gonna get some help.
>> No. 15945
[X] Do I deserve to be helped?

20 threads later, Mikio finally sees a shrink gets some help. Though Sanae being able to cancel out our flashback sequence darkness starting to rise up does intrigue me. We still have yet to figure out what EXACTLY it is that has tied Mikio, Hoshuu, and Taysumi together. So the Moriya crew and the tengu are now aware of what Mikio can do, plus we just got our first duel win, even if it was by technicality. Things are about to get interesting.

Isn't it sad, Shizuha?
>> No. 15946
[c] Do I deserve to be helped?

I feel even more miserable after reading this update ;__;
>> No. 15947
>>15945

>Isn't it sad, Shizuha?

FFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

Yes, it is very sad.
>> No. 15948
>>15945
Don't you dare rub it in our faces. If it was Autumn, Shizuha would have been the quickest to stick up for us.
>> No. 15949
[X] Do I deserve to be helped?
>> No. 15950
[X] Do I deserve to be helped?

I love the OP pic
>> No. 15951
>>15945
>>15948
I don't see why we couldn't just two time Shizuha and Sanae.
>> No. 15952
[x] Do I deserve to be helped? (Yes I do)
A year... oh man, I'm old. Good job!
>> No. 15954
File 127409251369.jpg- (152.48KB , 799x641 , P4top2 (1).jpg ) [iqdb]
15954
>>15947
>>15948
>>15951
I don't think that this is that kind of story.
Getting him to face his true self is more important than who he sleeps with.
>> No. 15955
>Running.
>Because I’m a coward and I know it.
>Because I can’t be brave.
>I can’t bear to confront anything.
That was a powerful and stirring update. With this choice we come one step closer to stop running and facing the problem.

[x] Do I deserve to be helped?

The happy days lazily spending the days are over. This will be everything but easy.
Sanae will not turn her back to us and Kanako will give enough to drink and tell him that she will beat the evil out of him.
>> No. 15956
[Q] Do I deserve to be helped?

Wonderful~
>> No. 15957
[x] Do I deserve to be helped?

It sure beats hopeless bleak despair.
>> No. 15958
[X]Do I deserve to be helped?

Yes Mikio, yes you do.
>> No. 15959
[X] Do I deserve to be helped?

Magnificient, as always.
>> No. 15960
[ ] Always alone.
I'll vote this if this vote actually means "I've always been alone before, I wouldn't know what being helped means."

[ ] Do I deserve to be helped?
And I'll vote this if the above isn't what I think it is.

Am I the only one who sees the "help" as Suwako knocking Mikio unconscious and Kanako fighting against Headgames?
>> No. 15961
Well, that's interesting. I was digging through my archives and found a sonnet I had written that's actually oddly appropriate right now.


==
What do I do when the pain in my mind,
Only beckons for memories; things left behind?
Freedom is with me and yet I do question
Why am I now wandering; this my concession?

Conniving and shrewd is the world we live in,
With allocate death and coupled with sin,
I got to this point by just blaming another
Instead of accepting the fault, unlike others.

The singleton instance that I am demure
Is probably why I seek no instant cure,
I hold to myself that I am who I am,
Assured and with willpowr I hold to my mind's dam.

But there is no human who can do things alone,
No simpleton child who can be on their own.
==
>> No. 15962
>>15960
Sadly not. It means just what it says.
Always alone
Running away once again and feeling shit someplace alone. Only the voice in your head slowly telling you that everything is in vain until you finally believe it and slaughter everyone that you love and hold dear.

This is now a crossroad, choose to be alone and it will stay like this until the obvious end.
>> No. 15963
>>15954
We know that, but it doesn't mean we can't talk about it during a lull.
>> No. 15964
>>15954

This is going to go like Teddie's shadow, isn't it.
>> No. 15965
>>15964

Only without the whole turning into a blonde bishounen thing.
>> No. 15966
>>15965

Whaaaaat. That's no fun.
>> No. 15967
>>15966
Mikio seems to be on the cute side as it is.
>> No. 15968
[x] Never alone, always constrained.
>> No. 15969
[x] Do I deserve to be helped?
Like anyone would vote for the other option.
>> No. 15970
>>15969
[X] Always alone.
>> No. 15971
File 127422584470.png- (1.20MB , 1447x1447 , 87e8abdb74f59f9e3210dd7184d85831.png ) [iqdb]
15971
>>15970
>> No. 15979
[X] Do I deserve to be helped?

"We make our stand here, now! This is where we draw the line!"
>> No. 15987
File 127447788197.jpg- (23.47KB , 1280x546 , grab116527.jpg ) [iqdb]
15987
>>15979
>> No. 15989
[x] Do I deserve to be helped?
------

Do I

I

Do I really deserve to be helped?

Really?

Truly?

Can someone like me… really be helped?

But I… What I’ve…

No, I don’t care anymore!

No more, no more, no more–!

I don’t want to be alone anymore!

I don’t want to be looked at like I’m a monster!

I don’t want to be treated like a pariah!

I just…

I want to live—!

No matter what it takes, no matter what I have to do — I want to live!

I don’t care if I’m undeserving, I don’t care about the past, I don’t care about anything – I want to live a happy life surrounded by friends and the people I love! Can’t I… can’t I be allowed to have at least that much?

can you really say that

Shut up…!

Shut up, shut up, shut up!

I don’t need you… I don’t need you… I don’t need you… I don’t need you!

So why… why did I end up all alone again?

I can’t… I can’t stand being watched by those eyes. Eyes that reject me. Eyes that persecute me. Eyes that make me miserable and hateful and fill my entire being with resentment.

eyes that drive you to kill

No…!

Before the girl extending her hand out to you, your knees tremble. Your eyes unfocused, you slowly turn away, trying to limp away. But your legs feel like they’re made of water – before long, you can’t take another step.

Weakly, you collapse to the ground, gripping clumps of grass growing below tightly in your hands as you lower your head, a harsh sob escaping your throat. Your body shudders, twitches, and jerks wildly as you grit your teeth, desperately trying to fight back the tears, your breath coming out in short huffs. Your teeth grit, you tear at the grass in frustration, unable to keep your emotions in check.

“Why!?” you cry out, your voice in anguish. “Even though I… even though I’ve been trying so hard… nothing ever works out. Even though I tried my best to fit in with them all… even though all I wanted was to be liked… why am I being rejected?”

Is it a sin to be what I am?

Do I have no right to exist?

“…Ah.”

You gasp in surprise when you feel warmth behind you. Unable to turn your head, you freeze, still on your knees. You look down at the slender arms wrapped gently around your body, reaching around your waist.

“It’s alright. Just try to calm down for a moment.”

Slowly, your fingers loosen their grip on the blades of grass clenched in your hands, opening up as you straighten your back, tears freely leaking out of the corners of your eyes. You feel the drops rolling down your cheek and fall from your chin as you look up to the night sky, your body convulsing in hiccups.

Somehow, this feels comforting.

This feels… very familiar.

…very nostalgic…

“Are you feeling better now?”

Wordlessly, you nod.

Slowly, almost regrettably, the arms holding you between them slowly slide away from your body, and the warmth at your back fades away. Shifting your body, you turn around, sitting on the ground with your back leaning against the trunk of the tree you were nearby, your legs extended out. Looking up at Sanae, you see her move to sit right next to you, leaning against the same tree. She is… sitting so close to you now.

“…Hey,” she calls out to you quietly. “Won’t you tell me what’s wrong?”

Slowly, you open your mouth.

------

“…I see, so you’re not actually a youkai,” Sanae says, her tone of voice uneasy and conflicted. “And that’s why the tengu… are afraid of you now?”

You nod. “They don’t know what I am. They believed I was a human, but now that it seems like I’m not, they’re afraid… afraid of what I might be, of what I might be capable of.”

“And so… what are you?”

That is…

“…I don’t know.”

She turns her head away with a thoughtful expression, watching the evening’s stars. Following her lead, you look up at the stars as well, shifting your gaze to the surface of the moon. For a minute or so, there is silence between the two of you, but it is not unwelcoming or awkward; rather, it feels more like a resting period between one conversation and the next.

“But that’s not really a problem, is it?” she finally speaks up.

“Eh…?”

“You have amazing abilities,” she says, looking over to you with a grin. “You should be proud of them. Our Lady Kanako is really strong, you know. I don’t think there’re a whole lot of people who can really match her in single combat.”

“…but aren’t you afraid of me, too?” you say timidly as you hug your knees to your body.

“Why would I be afraid of you?” she says confidently. “Ever since we’ve arrived in Gensokyo, you’ve done nothing but help us. Um, as Lady Kanako would say it, ‘it’s only beneficial for the shrine to have powerful allies!’ or something like that, I guess.”

“…I might not be human,” you continue in a grave voice, unconvinced. “I might even be something worse than a youkai. Even so… even so, would you still not be afraid of me?”

“Of course,” she answers immediately, her nod firm and sure. “And it’s not just me. Lady Suwako and Lady Kanako will stand by you, after everything you’ve done for us. And I’m sure, with some time, the tengu will accept you again! They might just need a little time to adjust, that’s all…”

“But… what if they don’t want to do anything with me anymore? I… there were people there who didn’t want me in the first place. What if… I’m not allowed to go back?”

“Then you can come with us.”

Your head swiftly turns to her, your eyes widened in surprise. “…What?”

“If you don’t have anywhere to return to, then you can come to us.” Seeing the incredulous look you’re giving her, she quickly adds, “I’m serious.”

She stands up from the ground, dusting her skirt off as she turns around to face you, bending forward to reach out to you with her hand.

“Well… if that’s fine with you, that is,” she says, somewhat hesitantly. “…I’m sure Lady Kanako and Lady Suwako will approve, especially if I explain everything to them, but if you don’t want them to know, I’ll keep my lips sealed.”

What…

“It doesn’t have to be for good. You can just stay with us until the tengu are ready to accept you back again. I’m sure everything will work out eventually, but until then, you’re welcome at our shrine.”

…help?

She is…

offering me help.

Looking at her outstretched hand, you slowly raise your own.

[ ] Take her hand.
[ ] Refuse.
>> No. 15990
[x] Take her hand.

One hand forward is a large step in the right direction.
>> No. 15991
[X] Take her hand.

Don't be a pussy. This girl seems legit.
>> No. 15993
[x] Take her hand.

Believe in me,
Drink the wine,
Take my hand,
Let me follow.

>> No. 15994
[X] Take her hand.

And the process begins.
>> No. 15995
[x] Take her hand.

Another "Is there really another option?" choice. That was pretty damn touching to, that Sanae really warms the heart.
>> No. 15996
[x] Take her hand.

No more masks.
>> No. 15997
[x] Take her hand.

He's making up for Fell. And he's doing a damn good job.
>> No. 15998
[x] Take her hand.
>>15996
Seconded. Mikio is deserved this for a long time ago. I just sad that Aya and Momizi didn't stand behind him.
>> No. 15999
[X] Take her hand.

This is the only possible choice.
>> No. 16000
File 127452038210.jpg- (43.22KB , 500x640 , MechHisui_03.jpg ) [iqdb]
16000
>>15991
I'd say.
>>15995
I agree. 'Heartwarming' defines quite well this update.

[x] Take her hand.
Sanae: The shrine maiden that steps in, when the rest of the world steps out.
>> No. 16001
[c] Take her hand.

I'm now torn. Shizuha and Sanae have appealed me since I started following this story, and I can't choose.

>>15922
>>15923
>>15926
So who's Mikio going to be? I just hope he didn't end up as Zakhaev's son or worse, Makarov.
>> No. 16002
[x] Take her hand.
>> No. 16003
[x] Take her hand.
>> No. 16004
[Do It] Take her hand.

I wanna hold your hand~
>> No. 16005
[X] Take her hand.
>> No. 16006
[Q] Take her hand.

Yes. yes
>> No. 16007
[x] Take her hand.
That was beautiful Lion. It really warmed my cold heart up.
>> No. 16008
File 127453535330.jpg- (7.87KB , 480x360 , 0.jpg ) [iqdb]
16008
>>16006

You forgot your Bison
>> No. 16009
[x] Take her hand.
Ok, I d'awww'd, happy now?
>> No. 16010
File 127453614494.jpg- (452.72KB , 700x700 , 119059ab8f763996421868d0028e1505.jpg ) [iqdb]
16010
[x] Take her hand.

>>16001
Sanae was too late, I'm afraid. Shizuha stole my heart and there's no getting it back.
>> No. 16011
[X] Take her hand.

Other choice? What other choice?

>>16010

Unfortunately, there's an unspoken law in Touhou: if you get her involved, the shrine maiden always wins. Period. Unless there's a certain oni and/or gap youkai involved
>> No. 16012
>>16011
She isn't Reimu though. But she has been making up for lost time. It doesn't help that this isn't in the fall. I'd think Shizuha would have stuck up for him about as quick if not quicker than Sanae.
>> No. 16013
>>16011

Mikio and Yukari? Now THAT I would like to see if there's another run. Seems she'd be the "big sis" and Mikio the little brother. Bah fappi.... reading too many damn incest doujins....


One thing I would like to see eventually though is a What If? update or two. Curious to know what if Mikio gave in and Headgames took over. Things of that nature....
>> No. 16014
>>16012

That's why I said shrine maiden and not specifically Reimu. I didn't mean just in fights. But too true, Shizuha would have probably thought our display was more awesome than frightening and would have stuck up for us in a heartbeat. If there's still a chance for the Shizuha route, I'm all for it. As far off as it may be now ;_;

>>15998

Fucking seconded. I was SORELY disappointed in them. I thought at least Momizi would say something. She knew that something was wrong with him to begin with. Yet she still didn't stick up for him.
>> No. 16015
Guys. I think Lion is not like Taisa and that there are no characters to go for and specific routes. Every time we tried to set some flags for characters and get closer to them it did not have the outcome that most of us thought it would have.
That is why i think there will be End A,B and so on.
>> No. 16016
>>16015

True. So far, Mikio hasn't really show any actual romantic interest in anybody beyond just friendship. But it could change, eventually.
>> No. 16017
[X] Take her hand.

To hell with the tengu.
>> No. 16018
[x] Refuse

He left for a reason, you're just gonna end up hurting her again.

Stop being a burden.
>> No. 16019
>>16018
Useless as it may be, props to this guy for speaking his mind to the wall of votes.
>> No. 16020
>>16015
I don't think there's a "route", but I still want to see him hook up with Shizuha in the end, even if it's just for the epilogue or something.
>> No. 16021
>>16018

If we end up hurting Sanae because of this vote, I shall rage SO hard.

That said: [X] Take her hand.
>> No. 16022
>>16015

Didn't Lion say there were only three character routes? Or was that someone else?

[ ] Take her hand.
>> No. 16023
[X] Take her hand.
>> No. 16024
>>16020

This to the power of 1000.
>> No. 16025
>>16022
I have no idea anymore at this point. Lion is not that talkative about things like that.
>> No. 16026
[x] Refuse.

Just the offer is enough. I'm sure it'll be open whenever we need refuge. We're not outcasts, yet. Also, the less time we spend there, the less chance of Sanae recognizing we're Hoshuu.

>>16022
I think that was the Devil May Cry crossover.
>> No. 16027
>>16026
>Also, the less time we spend there, the less chance of Sanae recognizing we're Hoshuu.

Why would that be a bad thing?
>> No. 16028
>>16027

Theoretically she might try to kill us for a little bit. But mostly the bad effect would be on her.

And of course, this all assumes we look anything like he did.
>> No. 16030
>>16015
Well duh, there's not any routes, but it doesn't mean we can't help but to be interested in his romantic prospects.

>>16018
I think even back then, if Sanae knew, she'd want to help him. Trying to do everything alone is how Headgames prospers. Don't forget either that the gods have more power now and might be able to help him unlike back then.

>>16028
I think if she realizes the connection, she might be upset some, but couldn't bring herself to be mad at someone different. Now if this triggers all the old memories Mikio seems to have, then the result might be different. But it'd be far better to break the cycle for the greater good than to perpetuate it for a doomed status quo.
>> No. 16034
>>16027
>>16030
I'd think she'd be too freaked out to even look at him, with memories bringing up negative emotions. Even if it lasted only a day, that's enough to make Mikio retreat further into his shell.

"She lied. I knew it, no one could ever love me. They're all afraid. I'll always be alone."

That's enough to make headgames stronger, and we don't want him taking over near her or the goddesses. Hoshuu tried to strangle Sanae, and he didn't even have headgames at the time. The goddesses also forced him to leave. If they found out, they may try to kill him - and if not, they'd banish him, which is just another reason to feel like an outcast.
>> No. 16035
[X] Take her hand.

I WANT TO BELIEVE
>> No. 16037
I'm amused by the idea that anyone thinks Mikio is going to be alive at the end of this.

>>16026
Where the fuck did Chielsa go, anyway? I liked that story.
>> No. 16039
>>16037
Eh, guessing the motivation just wasn't there.
>> No. 16040
[X] Take her hand.

No Surrender.
No Retreat.
No Regrets.
>> No. 16041
>>16040
No remorse.
No regret.
No mercy.

>> No. 16042
>>16037

He got lost when the site switched domains.
>> No. 16043
>>16037
she got lost in the move.

>>16034
That was the first sign of headgames in Hoshuu. And at the time the gods weren't as powerful as they are now. And Sanae didn't know about Hoshuu's problem at the time. I think Sanae might realize that was what happened to Hoshuu.

The gods might have come to regret what happened back then and would try to do everything to help such a person.
>> No. 16044
>>16043

Why does everyone assume Mikio and Hoshuu look alike?
>> No. 16045
>>16044
I think many people believe they're the same body, which is improbable given the implied age gap between late-Hoshuu to early-Mikio.
>> No. 16046
>>16044
>>16045

Hoshuu was 14 (15 at most), and definitely looked it, going by Mikio's estimate of his age when he saw the photograph.

Mikio, when he was discovered, looked to be around the age of 13-14, and has consistently been described as having a slim build.

They also share the same hair color.

There are no coincidences, friend.
>> No. 16047
>They also share the same hair color.

It's black, right? The most common hair color in Japan?
>> No. 16048
Adding to >>16046 's comment

Both Mikio and Hoshuu had dark eyes. (>>14245 for Hoshuu, >>12155 for Mikio)
>> No. 16049
>>16048

Hmm... speaking of his eyes- >>12183

Anyone else think Ogata knew who we were somehow?
>> No. 16050
I suspect Ogata knew something, but I doubt the eyes would've connected Mikio and Tayasumi. (Very few people seemed to know Tayasumi was something more than human before he started busting out his moves, blank red eyes would've been a dead giveaway.)
>> No. 16052
>>16049
I think a man in his position would automatically kill or order the kill if he knew who Mikio was at the time. He at least would not have let him into the Tengu. It's a force he could not allow in this world, especially not near his own people.

If this is the case, but he let it be, then that means something happened with Keine's mother that kept him at bay, and decide to protect Mikio instead. A promise or something similar that he could not break. If I'm right in assuming all this, then I can't wait to see what happens in the next Tayasumi story sequence.
>> No. 16053
>>16052

Or he could have known even more than we do/did.
>> No. 16054
>>16052
He might have helped to nurture Mikio as to not go down that path.
>> No. 16055
>>16054

That would explain that despite his reluctance, he went and taught Mikio himself.
>> No. 16057
File 127494461230.jpg- (299.72KB , 874x800 , d5c56927e6b781017acf94e264142359.jpg ) [iqdb]
16057
I miss the 'update every two days'
>> No. 16058
>>16057
Thats not the funny part Im reading 14 different CYOA's and there is no update any one of them in days... But I'm understand the writers so I'll always wait warmly.
>> No. 16060
>>16058
>Im reading 14 different CYOA's and there is no update any one of them in days
So you aren't reading A Fairy's Tale or The Idea of Alice or A Certain Devilish Library or that monster story on /th/ or Resentment or Snake's stories or Phobe's Outing or Wintertime Alchemist or Let's gooooo or any of the other stories that updated in the last 2 days?

What the fuck are you reading?
>> No. 16062
>>16060
Not the same anon, but of all the stories I read, only one of them you've listed. It's not surprising, really. That's just how many there are that would count as current/ongoing cyoas.

There's not enough time to keep up with them all, and sometimes either the story or writer just doesn't grab your attention. Slower updates are fine for the busier people here, anyway.
>> No. 16064
I personally look at many stories, including those mentioned. I think the author might be suffering a bit of game-induced laziness.
>> No. 16065
[x] Take her hand.
------

Cautiously, hesitantly, you take her hand into yours. There is warmth in her hand that flows into you from the tips of your fingers, and you can’t help but give a small shudder. It is a pleasant warmth. A little more surely, and with more eagerness and desire for that warmth, your hand clenches tighter around hers. She, in turn, gives your hand a firm squeeze before giving it a tug, helping you to your feet.

Beaming and still holding onto you by the hand, she says, “…so don’t feel like you’re all alone, okay?”

“Why…?” you say, your tone a little incredulous. “Why do you want to help me?”

“That’s because…” she pauses, biting her lip. “…that’s because I know what it’s like to feel like you’re alone.”

Ah…

“I don’t think I told you before, but my mother died when I was young,” she says, her smile showing a bit of sadness tinged in now. “…And I never knew my father, or any of my relatives. So when she was gone, I thought I really was all alone. It was a hard time for me, you know? Not having anyone to welcome you home, not having anyone to welcome home. The shrine really felt too big for me. Too big, too empty…”

… I…!

“…That’s why, if you don’t have anywhere to go, and if you don’t have anyone to say ‘Welcome home,’ I want to be able to help you.”

…Ah… I…

“I’m sorry,” you mutter.

“What?”

You hang your head silently for a second, before raising your chin to shake your head. Taking a large gulp of air, you let out a sigh. “…It’s nothing. I… Thank you.”

She stares at you for a moment, her eyes blinking rapidly a few times before she raises her shoulders in a shrug, replacing that look of curiosity with a very casual grin. “Well, I hope you can stand to see a lot of us, since from now on, at least for a little while, you’ll be a part of the Moriya Shrine.”

“I’m… glad to be on board,” you say, faintly smiling back. “Really. Thank you so much.”

------

“…So you want him to stay for a while?”

Lady Suwako reaffirms, leaning to one side while (in a rare event) standing upright, her arms crossed together with her back facing one of the walls of the shrine’s interior. She seems to be giving this a significant consideration, her eyes (and the eyes on top of her hat) fixated on you and studying you in silence. You feel a little apprehensive now.

Sanae claps her hands together and winks. “Pleeeeease, Lady Suwako? I’ll never ask you for another favor!”

“Bah, let him stay,” Lady Kanako says with a tone of irritation from her seat at the dining table, slamming a bottle onto the tabletop, her face red with inebriation. “It’s fine, it’s fine! Tch, I never thought the tengu would show such a disgusting lack of camaraderie for one of their own.”

“Please don’t speak badly of them,” you interject in a quiet voice.

She lets out a ‘hmph!’ but says no more about the subject, quietly drinking straight from the bottle. Lady Suwako, on the other hand, shrugs her shoulders.

“I guess we do owe him a good deal. Alright, it’s fine,” she says with one eye closed thoughtfully. With a less serious expression, she adds, “…Hey, don’t let this getcha down too much. I dunno what’s up between you and the rest of the tengu, but whatever shock and fuss they’re in right now, they’ll probably get over it before long.”

“Thank you,” you say with a smile.

“But man, this is a pretty terrible way to start off the New Year,” she says as an aside, slumping onto the floor with her legs crossed.

You keep silent.

“…Ah! It’s not that I’m blaming you for it,” she speaks up, looking back toward you. “It’s just… bad luck, ya know?”

“A-anyway, I’ll show you to the guest room,” Sanae hurriedly says, her hand gripped around your wrist as she leads you away from the living room.

Sliding open one of the doors, she steps inside, fiddling with something on the wall. In the next instant, light fills the dark room. You follow after her, stepping through the doorway as you take a look at the inside of the room. It’s… very neat, though it’s also a bit bare. It doesn’t seem to have been in use for a long time.

“The futon is over here,” the girl explains, walking over to a sliding door on one side of the room, opening it to reveal a closet behind it. Inside, you see a rolled up futon, resting on the floor amidst a pile of clothing.

“But, um…” you begin, looking back toward the living room. “…where do Lady Suwako and Lady Kanako sleep? Isn’t this the only other room apart from yours?”

“Oh, they don’t sleep in here,” she says, adding a small giggle at the end. “Actually, they don’t sleep in the same sense that we do.”

“Eh…?”

“Okay, um, this is going to be a bit hard to explain,” Sanae says, biting her lip, though she honestly seems glad to be given a chance to do so. “Well, first of all, gods exist in both the physical and the spiritual sense, and faith is what bridges the two planes. You know how they say that there are gods within everything?”

“…Yes. The myriad gods, right?”

“Right. That’s because every object and every aspect of this world eventually comes to possess a spirit. It might be dormant, or it might be awake and aware of itself, but it’s only through the power of faith that they’re able to manifest themselves outside of their spiritual forms and interact with the physical world. When a god ‘sleeps,’ they’re just relinquishing their physical body to return to a spiritual state. Actually, that’s a pretty bad choice of words, but that should be good enough to understand, right?”

You nod.

“Anyway. Um, you should… er, get comfortable, or something,” she says, somewhat fumbling over her words. “If you need anything, like if you need to know where the bathroom is, just ask, okay?”

You nod again.

She shows a nervous smile to you before stepping back out the doorway, leaving you in the room. You gently slide the door shut, flicking off the switch you saw her mess around with earlier to turn the lights off before walking over to the open closet, taking the bedroll and tossing it to the floor. As you do so, you notice that there was something behind it.

It seems to be a bag, wide with a single strap at the top.

You find yourself reaching toward it.

[ ] Examine the bag.
[ ] Shut the closet.
>> No. 16067
[c] Examine the bag.

Can this be...?
>> No. 16068
[x] Examine the bag.

A bag full of memories~

Mikio will take up smoking.
>> No. 16069
[x] Examine the bag.

Getting comfortable through potentially uncomfortable means.
>> No. 16070
[X] Shut the closet.

Rest today, flashback tomorrow.
>> No. 16071
[x] Shut the closet.
Better not, this would be rude towards Sanae and might come off wrong if we go and rummage through her memories.
The time will come soon enough to take responsibility for it.
>> No. 16072
>>16071
She may not even know it's there. We could wake up tomorrow to find it gone.

Though I doubt we're going to suddenly become different just from this.
>> No. 16073
[x] Shut the closet.
>> No. 16074
[X] Shut the closet.
>> No. 16075
[x] Shut the closet.
>> No. 16076
[x] Examine the bag.

I AM THOU
THOU ART THEE
STICK YOUR HAND IN THE TV BAG DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT

>>16062
Then you should be reading more of them. Most of those are pretty good.
>> No. 16077
File 127502393943.jpg- (60.07KB , 640x693 , This_Or_School_Days.jpg ) [iqdb]
16077
[x] Examine the bag.
>> No. 16078
[x] Examine the bag.
>> No. 16080
[X] Examine the bag.
>> No. 16081
[X] Examine the bag.

Mysterious items must be investigated.
>> No. 16082
>“Actually, they don’t sleep in the same sense that we do.”
Tetro ;_;

[X] Shut the closet.
>> No. 16083
[c] Examine the bag.

inb4 Mind games or kogasa popping out and scaring us to death.
>> No. 16084
[X] Examine the bag.

If we get caught, just pass it off as you thought it was part of the sleeping attire/bed/porn stash.
>> No. 16085
[X] Shut the closet.

You don't rummage through other people's shit without explicit permission.
>> No. 16086
>>16060
Certain Devilish Library

this is the only one Im reading on your list.
>> No. 16087
[X] Examine the bag.
>> No. 16088
[x] Examine the bag.
Flashback now, I have a faint feeling we're already on the fast track to endgame, so better gleam off any potential information we can get, just in case we need it.
>> No. 16089
Right, so lets all just pop up of the woodwork whenever a plot shaping event shows up, eh?

[X] Examine the bag.
>> No. 16090
[Q] Examine the bag.

No choice. We are going to break through this with all our will, and then ride the ensuing wave of controversy like a motherfucker. Or something like that.
>> No. 16091
[X]Examine the bag.

>>16090

Mikio, Cursed...
>Wave

Now why did that make me think of Morganna?
>> No. 16092
[x] Examine the bag.
>> No. 16093
[x] Examine the bag.
>> No. 16094
[X] Examine the bag.
>> No. 16095
[X] Shut the closet.
>> No. 16096
[X] Shut the closet.
>> No. 16097
>>16088
You might be wrong though.
>> No. 16098
>>16097

>Now, let's keep this pace up until the end.

From the sound of this, I'd think we're heading toward an ending sometime soon.
>> No. 16099
>>16097
Even if he is, it's well worth the 'risk'? Can I even call it that?

[x] Examine the bag.
>> No. 16100
[X] Examine the bag.


Forward, into the Unknown!
>> No. 16103
[X] Examine the bag.
What he said
>> No. 16116
[x] Examine the bag.

I expected Hoshuu to take his belongings with him. Maybe he left something behind on purpose?
>> No. 16117
>>16116

Or maybe he left everything behind unintentionally.

Or it could be Sanae's bag, and this is just some crazy red herring.
>> No. 16126
>>16117
>this is just some crazy red herring.

A storyteller generally wouldn't introduce those things in the second act, unless red herrings were a large part of what preceded.
>> No. 16142
[x] Examine the bag.
---

Taking a hold of the strap, you lift the bag up, pulling it out of the closet. It doesn’t weigh much at all. You set the bag down on the floor, crouching on one knee as you reach for the zipper at the top of the bag. With hands that seem strangely full of anticipation, you zip the bag open, looking inside it.

Clothes.

There’s nothing inside but clothes.

…After all, what did you expect?

What did you hope to gain by opening this bag that doesn’t even belong to you?

Dully, you zip the bag up again, shoving it back into the closet. Letting out a sigh, you touch your hand to your head as you stand up, feeling slightly dazed as you slide the closet shut once again. Your fingers run across the smooth, cracked surface of your mask. Anger flares up inside you, and in one swift motion, you tear it from your face, tossing it to the floor. It’s such an ugly mask.

Now touching the tips of your fingers to your bare face, you walk on over to the other side of the room, staring outside the window. Reflecting the room’s light back toward you, you see your own image on the surface of the glass. Lowering your hand, you stare silently at your own reflection. Is the image you see here really you? The one standing there, staring back at you with those eyes that show the color of blood, dressed in clothes torn and rent from battle.

Wrong.

So then, what is it that you are looking for when you search for your own reflection?

Who is it that you wish to see in that window?

Suddenly, the image in the window changes.

The boy reflected in that glass is wearing the same clothes you found inside of that bag. A boy with dark, messy hair stares out at you. Though he seems younger and a little shorter than you are, in his outward features he seems fiercer, and his dark eyes are full of the life that your eyes lack.

You extend your hand toward the glass, and the boy opposite you extends his.

You feel the cool surface of the window on your palm. The vision of the reflection seems clearer now, more distinct. It’s like he’s just outside the window, pressing his hand to the glass just as you are doing right now. Somewhere in the distance, you can hear the sound of a train running on its rails…

“…You’ve really changed,” he says to you.

Even though he’s speaking to you from beyond the glass, his voice sounds as though he’s right next to you.

“Have I… really?”

“Yeah, you really have,” he says, nodding solemnly.

“…Someone told me that people are defined by their memories,” you murmur under your breath, lowering your head. “If that’s so, then maybe because of what’s happened to me, I really have become someone else. Someone completely different from who I was before.”

“Maybe.”

“Hey, what do you think I should do?” you ask, raising your chin. “Is it… okay to continue on like this? Can I really… do something like that?”

“It’s not really my place to say,” he says with a sad smile. He lowers his head, his smile fading away. “I don’t exist anymore, after all. Right now, I’m only just a memory. Who I was before is no longer here.”

“… Don’t say that.”

“It’s alright, isn’t it?” he says, grinning wryly. “You don’t care about the past, so all you have to do is leave me and everything else behind.”

“But I…”

“…I know. You can’t do that, and that’s why you’re suffering,” he says, giving a weak nod. His eyes pointing away, he remains silent for a moment, before looking back over to you. “Then, if that’s the case, I have a request.”

“…What is it?”

“Can you…” he begins hesitantly, his voice trailing off.

Knock, knock, knock.

You snap out of your daze, hurriedly snatching your mask up from the floor. Just as the door opens up, you manage to tie the straps around your head and face the open door. Sanae walks in, carrying an armful of clothe piles.

“Here, I think these were my father’s,” she says, setting them down on the floor. Looking up, she glances over to the window. “Were you talking with someone? I heard you speaking.”

“…No, it was nothing. Thank you.”

“No problem. Hope they fit.”

She takes her leave of the room, and you find yourself staring at the door as she closes it. Heaving a sigh, you turn back to the window, staring into it once more. Reflected on the surface of the glass, you see only your masked self, the beaked mask hiding your menacing, inhuman eyes from view.

Do I… really know nothing but how to be a monster?

Was this decided from the moment of my birth?

If I… were to become someone else, then would this change?

---

You lie on your blanket, your eyes wide open and staring at the ceiling. The yukata you’re wearing now is a bit too big for you. Of course, it was meant to be worn by a man of average bulk, whereas you have more of a slim build. But, though both your clothes and the futon are cozy and comfortable, you lie there, unable to sleep.

A low, almost inaudible knock comes from the door. Then, carefully, cautiously, the door opens, and you hear someone tip-toeing their way inside. Your eyes flicker toward the direction of the quiet footsteps. Sanae, dressed in her pajamas, crouches down at your side.

“Um, are you sleeping?” she asks in a whisper.

You immediately prop yourself up upright, startling her. Turning your head in her direction, you shake your head. “…I can’t go to sleep.”

“Yeah, me neither,” she says, nodding.

Now seated on the floor next to your futon, she hugs her knees and stares up at the ceiling. “…It’s pretty unbelievable. What happened today, that is.”

“…Which part?”

“Everything, I guess,” she says with a low giggle. “I mean, your fight with Lady Kanako was seriously insane. I really had no idea that you could do something like that!”

“I’m not proud of it.”

“Oh, sorry,” she says, quickly shutting her mouth. “…But you know, I also can’t believe that you’re really living with us now. I mean, it was really just a suggestion I made, you know, in the heat of the moment and all that, but wow. Er, I don’t regret it or anything like that, so don’t think of it that way. Just, you know, it’s a pretty unbelievable event!”

She’s saying all this rather fast.

“In a way, it’s kind of exciting,” she says, giggling nervously.

You just smile and nod in return.

“…Since the two of us can’t go to sleep, why don’t we talk a little?”

“Eh?”

“What happened today just got me thinking,” she says, looking strangely insightful. “…So if you’d be willing to put up with me for a bit, then could we just… I dunno, talk to each other a little bit? Maybe I can fix you up a midnight snack, too.”

She seems much more relaxed than before.

“You don’t have to, of course, but you know…”

[ ] …Yeah, let’s do that.
[ ] You should sleep.
>> No. 16143
Oh god, Sanae in pajamas~

[c] …Yeah, let’s do that.
>> No. 16144
[x] …Yeah, let’s do that.
>> No. 16145
[x] …Yeah, let’s do that.
As if there was any other way.
>> No. 16146
> There’s nothing inside but clothes.

> …After all, what did you expect?

OH YOU!

[X] …Yeah, let’s do that.
>> No. 16148
[X] …Yeah, let’s do that.

>Sanae walks in, carrying an armful of clothe piles.
This should have been either "an armful of clothes" or "a clothes pile".
>> No. 16149
>>16148
Gah, one of those instances where you forget to backspace away what you're revising.
>> No. 16150
[x] …Yeah, let’s do that.
>> No. 16151
[x] …Yeah, let’s do that.
>> No. 16152
>Do I… really know nothing but how to be a monster?
How do you escape your past and all the horrible things you did and start anew? I don't know too.
>“Can you…” he begins hesitantly, his voice trailing off.
..take care of Sanae? Would be the only fitting. He really loved her.

[x] …Yeah, let’s do that.
>> No. 16156
[X] …Yeah, let’s do that.
>> No. 16157
[X] …Yeah, let’s do that.
>> No. 16158
[x] …Yeah, let’s do that.
>> No. 16159
[X] …Yeah, let’s do that.
A blast from the past uh?
Question: what do you guys think that he should so about his mask? I know that it works somewhat like Shiki's glasses but, in this case, that could be useful to try and control himself.
>> No. 16160
[Q] …Yeah, let’s do that.

>Question: what do you guys think that he should so about his mask? I know that it works somewhat like Shiki's glasses but, in this case, that could be useful to try and control himself.

It seems more like a way to 'hide' from himself. Especially after his eyes went both red and snakelike. He didn't like to look at them, or for other people to look at them.
>> No. 16161
[x] You should sleep.

No Sanae-stranglin' games tonight~
>> No. 16162
>>16161
>No Sanae-stranglin' games tonight~
Maaaan, why not? You take the fun out of everything.
>> No. 16164
>>16162
Ohh, alright. Maybe just a little.

Remember as she's writhing in your grasp to tell her she's a good girl.
>> No. 16165
[x] …Yeah, let’s do that.
>> No. 16169
>>16161
>>16162
>>16164
>>16165

For some reason, reading these in successive order made me laugh much more than I should have.
>> No. 16170
[x] …Yeah, let’s do that.
[x] Be extra thankful of her taking you in.

Why strangle Sanae? It's the perfect time to hit on her. Play it right and Mikio gets sexy time.
>> No. 16171
>>16170
It's what Headgames tried to have Hoshuu do shortly before he left. I don't think it'll happen this time, Mikio is stronger as a personality, and I'm sure the stronger aura of the shrine helps in suppressing it compared to back then.
>> No. 16173
>>16171
>Mikio is stronger as a personality
>his dark eyes are full of the life that your eyes lack

Is he?
>> No. 16174
>>16173
He managed to resist headgames those times.

And I've made a comparison of then and now.

Then (Hoshuu): Two gods with barely enough power to manifest, a little girl who had yet to to start training

Now: Two gods with considerable amounts of power, and a fully trained Shrine Maiden.

I think they have better options than sending the guy in question away now.
>> No. 16175
However, if you're talking about personality, Hoshuu had a way stronger personality than Mikio.

(As in, Hoshuu managed to run away from home, find a job, and go out on a date. Mikio is berated by his opponents to stand up for himself more and didn't even know what Hatate meant by 'love'. If resisting Headgames was simply a matter of strength of personality, I would say that Hoshuu probably would've lasted longer than Mikio.)
>> No. 16180
>However, if you're talking about personality, Hoshuu had a way stronger personality than Mikio.

There aren't different amounts of personality, just different types.

Mikio is an indefatigable stoic. Afflicted by a baleful curse, he has spent his whole life wearing a mask just to fit in. He sought no challenges, but he has held his own in the face of adversity. His range of emotion is limited, but because of that, he is unlikely to fly into a fit of rage, which is what Headgames feeds on. More so, now we know Mikio can tap into internal reserve and seek victory in ritual combat without him falling into blood lust.

It should not be surprising: We've spent 20 threads guiding Mikio's development with the assumption that he will inexorably face a great evil, one that will attack both his mind and his body.
>> No. 16183
>>16180
Hoshuu in contrast was more volatile emotionally.
>> No. 16184
Forgot my vote.

[x] …Yeah, let’s do that.
>> No. 16186
>>16183

Volatile Really? When? Other than running away, (Which happened almost a year before he started breaking down, and after a long period of alienation from his home situation.) where was Hoshuu ever seen as volatile? And for that matter, the first time Hoshuu gets his impulses he's in the middle of ruffling the sleeping Sanae's hair - so, where were the negative emotions then? Before that, the only things that even seem remotely negative is some mild exasperation when dealing with Suwako and the way he teases Sanae.
>> No. 16187
[X] "Sure. Why not. I didn't want to die alone anyway."

-Black Mesa Security Guards
>> No. 16188
>>16186
Having a messed up homelife and going about being a loner generally implies some negativity, just buried deep down at best. I think the anxiousness associated with leaving Sanae as planned caused that first reaction.
>> No. 16193
>>16188

Aaaaand Mikio is the odd-one out on the mountain, weak, an orphan of sorts, perpetually pushed around, and prone to bouts of despair.
>> No. 16198
>I think the anxiousness associated with leaving Sanae as planned caused that first reaction.

*Sigh* Dr. Q already addressed the other sentence, so I'll do this one.

What you propose is impossible. >>13417 has Hoshuu almost killing Sanae for the first time, and all he's doing is messing with her hair. >>13452 is post right after, where he's informed he has only one week left to stay - very much against his wishes.
>> No. 16202
File 127552427981.jpg- (172.89KB , 660x660 , d1c9e918f60e5c7d7ca7faddad8b7b13.jpg ) [iqdb]
16202
>>16198
Thanks for opening a wound with that link man, appreciate it.

>“I…!” you begin to protest. Damn it, that’s so cheap! Gritting your teeth and clenching your hands into fists, you yell, “I can’t! But if you know why I was acting like that, then tell me!”“…It was because of your connection to the shrine,” Moriya says, her eyes lowered to the ground. She seems really reluctant to talk.

>You run your fingers through her hair, soothingly caressing the back of her head as she continues to cry into your chest. “Hey, come on, Sanae,” you say, your voice strained and hoarse. “Don’t cry. You’re too big to be bawling like that.”
>She pulls herself away from you, looking up. “You’re crying too,” she says, sniffling.
>“Ah?” You reach up with your hand and touch your cheek to find it damp. “Ahaha… so I am,” you say, the tears flowing freely from your eyes now. “Haha… damn, how uncool.” You take a deep breath, wiping it all away from your face with your shoulder.

>“It’s not as if we’ll never meet again,” you say, attempting to grin lightheartedly. “When you’ve officially started up the shrine again, and I’ve shaped up and become a man, I’ll definitely come to see you, no matter what.”
>“Promise?”
>“I promise,” you nod. You raise your hand, extending a pinky, “Here. Pinky swear.”
>“…You’ll just break it again,” she says rather sourly.
>“I won’t. Cross my heart and hope to die; we’ll definitely meet again.”
>Sanae links her pinky with yours, and the two of you shake on it. Withdrawing your hand, you wait for her to settle down as she hiccups and sniffles, recovering from the aftermath of the crying.
>“Hoshuu?” Sanae suddenly speaks up after going silent for a moment, staring at her feet.
>“Yeah?”
>“I love you.”
>“…I know. I love you too.”
>> No. 16207
[x] …Yeah, let’s do that.
-[x] Make sure to thank her for taking you in.
>> No. 16221
File 127563272054.jpg- (1.11MB , 2000x1600 , 8328769.jpg ) [iqdb]
16221
[x] …Yeah, let’s do that.
------

“…That sounds good,” you say with a smile, giving a firm nod.

Gently, you rise from your futon as Sanae claps her hands together lightly, putting on a delighted smile. Pushing herself off the floor, she stands up, and you follow her lead as she walks to the door leading outside, sliding it open. Maneuvering in the darkness, she makes her way through the hallway leading to the living room, and you follow after her steps.

“Mn, I think we have some cup ramen left lying around the house somewhere. We need to finish those off before the expiration date passes, so let’s go with those for now, okay?” she says, turning back to glance at you.

“Yes, that’ll be fine,” you say, nodding again.

You’re not very hungry and you don’t care about what you eat, anyway.

She walks briskly past the living room and heads into the kitchen, where she gropes about the wall for several seconds to find the switch for the light. The sudden brightness of the room blinds the two of you for a few seconds. Still adjusting her eyesight, Sanae shields her eyes with her arm as she makes her way to the cupboard, opening it and peering inside.

“Great, only two cups left!” she says happily, reaching inside and producing two plastic bowls. “Just enough.”

Nudging the cupboard shut with her elbow with those plastic bowls in her hands, she turns to you, presenting one of the bowls. Though you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do with it, you take it from her anyway, glancing what seems to be a sealed paper lid on the top of the bowl. Something something ramen. This is ramen? But there’s no broth at all…

“You’ve never had one of these, have you?” Sanae asks, noting the puzzled look on your face.

“N-no, not at all,” you reply.

“Hehe, well, you’d better enjoy it this time around, because this is probably the first and last time you’ll get to taste it,” she says, giggling slightly. “Anyway, just keep a hold of it. I’ll go put some water on.”

You blankly nod as she sets her bowl down on the kitchen counter, reaching over to a kettle. Filling it with water, she places the kettle on a hole in another countertop covered by a grate. She turns a knob in the counter, and fire erupts from the hole, beginning to heat the kettle. You watch the strange sight with wide, curious eyes.

“Right, go on and wait at the dinner table. I’ll be there once the water starts boiling.”

Snapping yourself out of it, you meekly nod, stepping out of the kitchen with the plastic bowl in hand. Setting down the bowl on top of the square dining table, you reach out, grabbing hold of two cushions and placing them at opposing sides of the table. Seating yourself on top of one, you patiently wait for Sanae to come.

“Sorry to keep you waiting!” Sanae says as she hurries on over to the table with the kettle, steam billowing out of the spout, emitting a high pitched whistle. “Here, open up the lid a little so I can pour the water in.”

You do as she says, tearing open the paper lid and holding it back as she bends forward slightly, pouring the boiling water into the bowl.

“Ah, forgot the chopsticks!” she says, hurrying back into the kitchen, taking the kettle with her.

After a moment, she returns from the kitchen with her own bowl of ramen in hand, with a pair of chopsticks resting on top of the lid and a second set held in the other hand. She places her bowl down on the table, and hands you the chopsticks, which you receive graciously.

“Let it sit for about two minutes, and it’ll be ready,” she says.

Standing up, she walks over to one side of the room, flicking a switch. The light at the ceiling of the living room shines, illuminating the living room. With a satisfied nod, she seats herself at the table again.

“Thank goodness for electricity,” she says, grinning brightly as she stares up at the ceiling lights. “I said this before, but we really came unprepared. But, thanks to the kappa, everything’s almost as comfortable as it was back in the outside world.”

“The tengu also use electricity,” you say.

“Mm, I thought so. But, well, outside of here, its use isn’t very widespread, is it?” she notes, glancing back down. “…And Lady Kanako says the current method the kappa use to generate electricity is too wasteful and inefficient.”

“Really?” you ask, cocking your head.

“Yeah, it’s just not up to par with the energy sources from the outside world,” she says, with a somewhat fervent look in her eyes. “Harnessing electricity for power is one of humanity’s greatest accomplishments!”

“You sound very enthusiastic about that,” you say, chuckling.

“Of course! I may be a living god, but I’ve also got my pride as a human, after all,” she says, thumping her chest. “…Anyway, I just thought it might be great to spread something as convenient as electricity to everyone in Gensokyo.”

“Maybe,” you shrug.

“Ah, it’s done!” she blurts out suddenly, snatching up her chopsticks and peeling back the lid of her ramen bowl completely. Glancing up to you, she says, “Go ahead and open up the lid. Stir it around a little before you eat, okay?”

You nod, and peel back the lid the same way she did. The trapped steam inside immediately comes rushing out of the bowl, and a delicious smell wafts to you from within. Grabbing hold of your chopsticks, you plunge the tips of it into the bowl, stirring the noodles inside and letting it soak up the broth. Finally, you slurp up some of the noodles, having a taste.

“How is it?” Sanae asks.

“…It’s good. It’s really good,” you say, glancing up.

“It’s just cheap stuff, though,” she says, giggling. “…But, even cheap stuff is pretty nice once in a while.”

You nod, returning your attention to the ramen.

------

Just as you finish the bowl, you see Sanae letting out a yawn, though she quickly catches herself and suppresses, small teardrops leaking from her watery eyes. She quickly wipes them away with the sleeves of her pajamas, taking the opportunity to rub her eyes a little and massage the bridge of her nose, blinking rapidly several times in succession at the end of the whole process.

“If you’re tired, you can go ahead and sleep,” you say. “You don’t have to feel like you have to keep me company.”

“Huh? Oh, no no no no no,” she says quickly, lifting both of her hands and waving them furiously in refusal. “I’ll be fine! I’m not tired at—at…”

She’s interrupted by another yawn, covering her mouth with her hand.

“…mmn, at all, so don’t worry…”

Even though she says that, she’s clearly feeling a little tired. Still, even if you insist it doesn’t seem like she’ll listen to you tonight.

“…Thank you,” you suddenly say.

“Huh? For what? The ramen? That was really no big deal.”

“No, I mean…” You take a deep breath before continuing. “Thank you for taking me in.”

“Oh, that again,” she says with a laugh. “Don’t worry about it. It’s really no big deal at all.”

“You’re very kind,” you say, smiling. “Even though it must be uncomfortable for you.”

She has a confused look on her face now. “…Huh?”

“I mean, I heard girls are usually embarrassed to be sharing a roof with a man and all, but you’re not showing it at all for my sake, aren’t you?”

Gradually, her face begins to grow red.

“U-um… y-yeah. I-I mean! O-of course it doesn’t matter at all. N-not to say that I’m not thinking about it at all, I really am, but still—ow!”

She lets out a gasp of pain, apparently having bitten her tongue in the middle of what she was saying. You inquire if she’s alright, and she painfully responds that she is, before an awkward silence overtakes the both of you.



“Hey, Mikio?”

“…Yes?”

“I said that I was thinking about what happened today, right?” she says with a somewhat dreamy tone to her voice, her eyes staring off into space. “You know, what you and Miss Momizi said about being treated like you’re different.”

You nod.

“I feel like I can understand that, too,” she says, frowning. “It really is an unpleasant feeling, isn’t it?”

“Eh?”

“…In the outside world, people called me a ‘miracle worker.’ They were all amazed by what I could do, so much that I really felt like I was a god compared to them all. Of course, I was happy about that, but at the same time, I thought it was… kind of lonely, to be separated from them like that. Everyone would just, sort of give me this look whenever I entered the room.”

Ah…

“I used to wonder what it’d be like to be, you know, one of them. I didn’t really have any trouble making friends or anything, but I still wondered how differently things would be if people didn’t look up to me like that.”

You nod.

“…But even before that, I think I knew that feeling,” she says, her expression becoming more distant now than before.

“Before?”

She nods, and swallows before continuing, lowering her voice slightly. “… Just after my mother passed away, I noticed that all the kids at school were looking at me differently. I was pretty miserable, so it took me a while, but I realized that, probably, they were treating me like that because of what happened to me then.”

You remain silent, looking away as you continue to listen to her.

“We lived in a pretty small town,” she says, taking a deep breath. “…So news spread pretty fast. Probably, everyone in the class knew that I was alone at the shrine. The teacher probably told them all to be nice to me. To treat me special, because I was going through a hard time.”

You reach down, grabbing hold of your knee and clutching it tightly.

“…But I just remember being angry at everyone for dumping their pity on me,” she continues sadly. “…I’m pretty horrible, aren’t I? Everyone was trying to be nice, but I just pushed them all away. I hated the attention I was getting. I was almost glad when no one wanted to even talk to me anymore. I would go to school alone, walk home alone, and stay at home alone. I thought that would be how it would be for the rest of my life. I remember thinking that would be just fine, but then…”

You find yourself glancing up at her again, staring at her face. She stops, lowering her eyes for a moment before lifting her face again with a weak smile.

“…Sorry, I’m just rambling about the past now,” she says, shaking her head. “…You must be going through a hard time too, and this probably isn’t helping at all. It’s just… I don’t know, I just wanted to get everything off my chest. I’ve never even talked to Lady Kanako or Lady Suwako about this, so I guess I wasn’t really showing self-restraint…”

You open your mouth.

[ ] “…Please, go on.”
[ ] “…”
>> No. 16222
[x] “…Please, go on.”
>> No. 16223
[X] “…Please, go on.”

Who's helping who, now?
>> No. 16224
[x] “…Please, go on.”

Sorry, Shizuha. ;.;
>> No. 16225
[x] “…Please, go on.”
>> No. 16226
[X] “…Please, go on.”

>>16224

Shizuha....who?HAH
>> No. 16227
>Just as you finish the bowl, you see Sanae letting out a yawn, though she quickly catches herself and suppresses, small teardrops leaking from her watery eyes. She quickly wipes them away with the sleeves of her pajamas, taking the opportunity to rub her eyes a little and massage the bridge of her nose, blinking rapidly several times in succession at the end of the whole process.
Sanae, so cute. We probably never had a chance in choosing a girl.

[x] “…Please, go on.”
>>16223
Grow strong together. The Strongest Pair.
>> No. 16228
[x] “…Please, go on.”

>>16227
If we ever have a chance in actually meeting her again, perhaps our indifference will cause her to work harder for our attention.
>> No. 16230
[x] “…Please, go on.”

This is excellent.
>> No. 16231
>>16227
DDaaawww.

*Ahem* Anyway...
[x] “…Please, go on.”
>> No. 16232
[x] “…Please, go on.”
>> No. 16233
[X] “…Please, go on.”


We have a promise to keep.
>> No. 16234
[Q] “…Please, go on.”

Nice~
>> No. 16235
[X]"...Please, go on."

Hmm, too bad I can't gauge how willing Shizuha and Sanae would be to share in this story, if at all. Mostly because I want them both now. They're too adorable.
>> No. 16236
[x] “…Please, go on.”
>> No. 16237
Can't you guys stop talking as if this story was just a Hgame?
>> No. 16238
I suppose.... but in retrospect, instead of grinding our STR and MAG stats all the time, we really should of balanced ourselves out more. At this point, our only hope is to visit the Voile Library and save-scum until we can find the FORBIDDEN BOOK so we can get a desperately needed injection into our ERO stat.
>> No. 16239
>>16237

It's really the only thing we can discuss at the moment. Pretty much all of our theories about the actual plot have been put up, repeatedly, with plenty of evidence or none at all.
>> No. 16241
>>16237
If you don't like it, you don't like it. Some people just wish for certain things.
>> No. 16242
File 127568743060.jpg- (36.98KB , 480x640 , Entire_Thing_Is_Shaky_Though.jpg ) [iqdb]
16242
>>16239

Come to think of it, I don't know if I posted these. (I haven't updated these since around the middle of Thread 17, and I had some misgivings about it even before that.)

Speculation : Suwako's 'help' in dealing with Hoshuu's problem actually didn't involve sealing or repressing Headgames. Such a thing would have been a losing battle, while both Suwako and Headgames were weak, the latter could gain power faster than Suwako. What she did was actually did was something very different.

She installed an override switch.

Or rather, when Hoshuu finally loses it, she at least ensured that his body wouldn't come back and kill Sanae. Another soul was stuck inside there waiting to take over when the worst came to pass. If this seems like a harsh thing to do... Suwako didn't have much of a choice. Nothing less of killing him would have worked, and she probably couldn't even try killing him without Headgames taking over. She can't actually tell him what she did either - not only for his own fragile mental state, but such a plan relies on catching Headgames completely off-guard.

Another possiblity is that Mikio was originally 'installed' to defuse Headgames. Not by brute divine force, but more like carefully, gradually defusing a bomb. Here, Headgames absorbs his previous hosts somehow - what Mikio did was set up barriers/worlds where what was left of the previous hosts can think things through and reject Headgames. In this case, the problem here is Mikio's resolve - if he cured Hoshuu, then there wouldn't be any place left for him. (Particularly a problem given he's pretending to be a Tengu - it would be hard to explain away what happened to everyone.) In this case, those in the know like Miss Yamalegs and Tayasumi would have a very good reason not to tell what's going on - at that point, if he had to face up to what he was doing, then his resolve, and thus both his and Hoshuu's chances would've disappeared that instant.
>> No. 16243
>>16242
>Theory

Sounds interessing. Though I think Mikio is more like the result of what happened, and not a tool used to format Hoshuu's hard disk.
>Miss Yamalegs

Shiki's new name. I approve
>> No. 16244
>>16243
>Miss Yamalegs
>Shiki's new name
Isn't it sad, Shiki? ;_;

IT'S ALL YOU HAVE.
>> No. 16249
Tch... it's as if Shizuha never stood a chance. I doubt the timeskips to non-fall times were coincidental. If Lion only introduced Sanae sooner, I'd be able to like her with less guilt!
>> No. 16253
File 127576404060.jpg- (119.74KB , 640x800 , sample-0ac65c85c9ba56c04dd7ea011a2c7b60.jpg ) [iqdb]
16253
>>16249

;_;
>> No. 16256
>>16253
Someone should somehow ask him about this, us Shizuha fans must know if we've been strung along or not.
>> No. 16257
I strongly suspect it has to do with 75% of the year being non-fall parts.
>> No. 16258
>>16256
I believe it is because the focus of the story goes beyond a 'route' and might even end without one. Less of ero game and more of CYOA I guess.
You can ask him to make a more vainilla story after this ends, if you'd like.

That said, I'll be kinda sad if Hoshuu's story doesn't get a happy ending.
>> No. 16260
>>16258
>That said, I'll be kinda sad if Hoshuu's story doesn't get a happy ending.

Considering Mikio exists and Hoshuu, who has already left the shrine, is another 'barrier' against Headgames, I suppose you already know if it will be happy or not.
>> No. 16261
What the hell is wrong with you people? Did I overlook the part of the update where we dramatically declared our undying love for Sanae and wrote sonnets about how much we hate fall? There's nary a hint of romance here; just talking with someone who's clearly an important part of our past.
>> No. 16264
ZUN never said what exactly happens with the Akis outside of fall, some assume they disappear, some have them seek shelter somewhere, etc.

>>16260
the whole barrier part is just theory at this point.

>>16261
There was no such scene but the fact of the matter is this: Shizuha's been taking the chronic backstage ever since Sanae appeared, thus she's left out of some of the big moments, like what happened with the Tengu. I'll refrain from what this is starting to remind me of.

>>16258
We are Mikio, and thus during lulls in the events, we ponder who he'd end up with.
>> No. 16265
>There was no such scene but the fact of the matter is this: Shizuha's been taking the chronic backstage ever since Sanae appeared, thus she's left out of some of the big moments, like what happened with the Tengu.

oh look a character who is obviously pretty central to the main plot is getting more attention than a character who isn't how can this be
>> No. 16266
>>16242
>>16243
Defrag of Memories?
>> No. 16269
>>16266

An internet for you, good sir.
>> No. 16271
>>16264
>the whole barrier part is just theory at this point.

I recall Tayasumi said domething similar during his final moments with Mikio, before his world broke apart.
>> No. 16274
>>16265
Do try to leave discussions out of this thread. And that goes too por pointless paranoia. We don't want a second GH.
>>16266
I smiled. Good one.
As for all the theories... I guess all we can do is wait.
>> No. 16283
[x] “…Please, go on.”
------

“That’s okay,” you say, taking a deep, shuddering breath, too afraid to directly look at her in the eyes as you sit there, your gaze fixed instead on the floor. With a somewhat hesitant, unsure voice, you speak, “…Please, go on.”

“…Are you sure? I mean, you have a lot on your mind without me adding to it.”

“You don’t need to worry about that,” you say, lifting your head and looking toward her. “I don’t mind. I don’t mind at all. We should… help each other, right? That is… only natural. So… don’t feel like you’re imposing on me. I… also want to do anything I can to help you, so you don’t have to hold yourself back.”

…anything at all would do.

I want to help.

“…Hehe,” she giggles weakly, looking away. “And I thought I was supposed to be the one doing the comforting. But, um, if you’re really willing to listen to what I have to say, even though it’s probably really boring and uninteresting, then… um, I might indulge myself just a little.”

You show her a genuine smile, hearing that.

“Right,” she nods. “…so a couple of months passed after my mother died. Before then, I hadn’t really felt anything. I guess experts would say I was clinically depressed or something like that. But you know, one day it just sort of hit me that I was all alone. No parents or any relatives or friends. Nothing. That’s when all the tears came out. I’d just cry and cry for hours.”

She seems a little embarrassed saying this, and takes a deep breath to calm herself before continuing on, talking with a relaxed demeanor despite the heavy nature of the subject.

“…And then that’s when he showed up,” she says, smiling faintly.

…He?

“The person who bought me that hairpin,” she says. “…He just showed up out of the blue one day, when I found him sleeping inside the shrine. A boy, a couple of years older than I was then.”

Ah…

“…Anyway, somehow he ended up living with me. It’s a bit silly, but back then, I… well, I really liked him, you know? I think I sort of saw him like a… a prince. A prince who came from some distant land to save me from solitude, or something like that,” she says, her voice possessing a somewhat dreamy tone to it.

Your smile grows a bit wider.

“H-hey, don’t laugh!” she says when she notices the change in your expression, cringing a little as her face glows red. “Th-that was just what I thought as a kid, that’s all. I know he wasn’t really a prince. He certainly wasn’t very much like a prince. He would always tease me and joke around…”

Her expression grows a bit more sullen.

“…but even so, I really liked him,” she says, smiling fondly. “I guess he was my first love or something like that. It was… because of him that I became strong again. I… started being able to talk with other people again, and make new friends. If he had never come, I don’t know what I would have done…

…but he left one day.”

She lowers her head, as well as the volume of her voice.

“… He said he’d be back. He promised it,” she says quietly. “But he never returned. Just… disappeared from my life just as quickly as he’d entered it.”

She lifts her chin up again, her smile strained. “I was fine, though. I had Lady Kanako and Lady Suwako with me from then on, so I wasn’t alone again. I mean, who cares about people who can’t even keep their promises, right?”

“…and if he came back?” you find yourself asking.

“Eh?”

“What if…” you slowly begin, looking aside, “…what if he came back now?”

“…Then I’d sock him one in the face for keeping me waiting for so long!” she says, forcing herself to smile cheerfully as she flexes an arm, though she quickly loses her enthusiasm and lets out a sigh. “…but anyway, that’s impossible now.”

Impossible…

Is it really impossible?

Can’t he still keep that promise?

“…Yeah, I guess so,” you say, nodding. “I’m sorry for asking such a strange question. Excuse me…”

“Oh!” she stands up. “Are you going to bed now?”

You nod, following suit. “I think I’ll be able to sleep now.”

“That does sound like a good idea…” she trails off, covering her mouth as she lets out another yawn. “…Anyway, tomorrow will be your first morning here, so it’s going to be a big day! Kind of. So, you should rest up. Um… do you have any preference for breakfast…?”

“Anything is fine,” you say. “I’m not very picky about food.”

“Okay then,” she says, nodding. “I guess I’ll just make the usual.”

“Then…”

You turn to head off toward your designated room.

“….Good night, Mikio.”

You turn back around. “Good night.”

------

You’re back here again.

You sit on one end of the train compartment, looking out of the window that shows you only darkness. Listening to the rhythmic sounds of the train running on its rails, you sit there in silence. Slowly, you turn your head around, looking straight forward. Sitting on the other compartment is that boy, his hands stuffed in the pockets of his jacket.

Slowly, cracks begin appearing in the walls of the train. You say nothing. He says nothing. The two of you sit there, in this train that is slowly falling apart. The window behind you shatters with a loud crack, and yet leaves nothing behind. No glass fragments. Nothing. There isn’t even wind that you should be feeling now.

The boy stands up, even as the walls around him are cracking up, tearing itself to pieces, the world losing any semblance as to what it was before as anything and everything within it is swallowed—consumed completely—by the void that surrounds the two of you. Walking over to you, he reaches out with a hand.

“Do you want a way out?” he asks. “…If you’re willing to do anything to help her, then will you please listen to my request?”

[ ] Grab his hand.
[ ] Leave.
>> No. 16284
[x] Grab his hand.
>> No. 16285
[X] Grab his hand.
>> No. 16286
[X] Grab his hand.
>> No. 16287
[X] Grab his hand.

The pieces are finally starting to come together...Right now....over me.
>> No. 16288
[X] Grab his hand.
>> No. 16289
[x] Grab his hand.

No one is enough of an asshole to pick the other choice.
>> No. 16290
[x] Grab his hand.


But damnit if there's a way, no matter how hard or improbable it is, I wanna rescue Honshuu. His story just is to tragic....I want him to be able to live. Doesn't even have to hook up with Sanae (although I would prefer this, Mikio is just too damn nice and young brother~ish)
>> No. 16291
>>16290

>Honshuu

HOSHUU.
>> No. 16292
[x] Grab his hand.


Believe in me,
Take my hand,
Let me follow.

>> No. 16293
>>16289
I'm surprised to say that you're right.

[x] Grab his hand.
>> No. 16294
[x] Grab his hand.
Very powerful again the last part. Sometimes you just write so good that it just makes you shiver.

Also, i think we are nearing the end.
>> No. 16295
[Q] Grab his hand.

Wonderful
>> No. 16296
[†] Grab his hand.

YES!
>> No. 16297
[X]Grab his hand.

How did the target jump to Sanae anyway?

Isn't it sad Shizuha?
>> No. 16298
>>16297

I'm considering, actually, that Lion's been planning this for a while.

Isn't it sad, Mikio?
>> No. 16299
[x] Grab his hand.
>> No. 16300
[x] Grab his hand.
>> No. 16302
[x] Leave.

I wonder if Hoshuu could take over Mikio's body, and Mikio would be left to disappear like Tayasumi did. I don't like the idea of losing our protagonist to a dream sequence one. Or being railroaded into a Sanae route for that matter.
>> No. 16303
[x] Grab his hand.

Well, Mikio hasn't exactly shown open romantic interest in anyone thus far, so I'm not too worried about routes, even at this point. I'm just more curious as to how this will all turn out in the end.

Plus I'm too torn to pick out a single route ;_;
>> No. 16305
>>16302
I think it might not be either, but both, possibly after a final appearance saying farewell. We never did know what happened to those two in the end.
>> No. 16307
>>16305

Well, Tayasumi went crazy, or something. Lost his memories and became a new person who is friends with Headgames. Or at least was.

Though, we never saw the end of his meeting with Keine's mother and Mokou, did we?
>> No. 16308
>>16307

Tayasumi 'died' and got headgames inside him. They worked together for a bit, then Tayasumi decided he'd had enough, and headgames did a hostile takeover.

Best timeline I can figure:
Tayasumi -> headgames takes control -> death, reincarnated as Hoshuu -> headgames comes back -> ??? -> amnesia, found by Momizi, becomes Mikio
>> No. 16309
I've been thinking a little about who Headgames really is.

Current hypothesis being pondered : Izanami-no-Mikoto
>> No. 16310
>>16305
We haven't had a mind-talk with Tayasumi in a long time, even though we still have dreams about him. That's because Tayasumi decided he had enough of being a part of our past and went with the rest of his world when it crumbled from our mind. He met his end and no longer had regrets, so he disappeared from Mikio. The same could happen to Hoshuu, and I'm worried the same could happen to Mikio (depending on who has the power to completely take over).
>> No. 16311
Actually, chances are high that

There are no character routes
>> No. 16312
[for sure] Grab his hand.

This thread made me love this story again. I had lost a little of my interest when things started to feel a bit stagnant, but that's long over. This story will have an awesome ending.
>> No. 16313
Having posted both >>16242 and >>16309 , I will attempt to piece together what's going on. Sorry if my spelling is off, my computer is on the fritz.

'Headgames' is Izanami-no-Mikoto. For more information, read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izanami-no-Mikoto and http://www.st.rim.or.jp/~cycle/MYTHE.HTML#second

There are a few important facts about Izanami that I've noted :
-She is a goddess - a very high ranking one it seems, given that is seems she was either the third or fourth being in existence and birthed a multitude of other deities. (Up until she gave birth to a baby on fire, sparking the first Pro-Life/Pro-Choice debate.) This satisfies how we were able to match Kanako (another goddess) when our youkai gifts (most notably the sword) failed, and how Tayasumi was able to shatter youkai-forged steel. In this case, I doubt that anybody else in Gensokyo would be able to stand up to her at full strength.
-She is dead, a goddess of death. This may explain why she seems to be able to regenerate her host from a skeleton (back from death) and perhaps why Tayasumi was able to escape back to the ground again. (That's where you put corpses anyway.)
-According to the Kojiki, she apparently transfered her soul to a human and an animal before she died. Then, it says that it's unknown if she has any further incarnations. This is obviously very, very important.
-Very likely, the 'snakes/tentacles' are actually maggots and worms - slimy, carrion creatures that inhabit corpses.
-Similarly the second link I gave mentions that Izanami was also covered in terrifying gods of thunder. This surprised me, but it would explain how Mikio seems to be summoning lightning.
-Tayasumi/Headgames seems to know Sarutahiko personally (and seemed to be personally betrayed), and recognized Sojobo. This at least, seems to indicate great age to me.
-She started the cycle of death by threatening to kill 1000 of her husband's followers per day - tearing the world down.
-For a crazy voice in the head, she sure is lonely. Witness her calling Tayasumi 'friend' and her panic in >>15062 about 'being left alone again'.
-Most importantly - her story is that of being abandoned by her loved one.


With this, I will then tie together some repeating themes in the story.

Sanae and Hoshuu's story is a mirror of Izanami and Izanagi's. In this one, despite being the one burdened with Izanami, Hoshuu is unwittingly playing Izanagi's part - he's abandoning Sanae. Sanae, for her part is playing Izanami - left behind, she misses and feels fury towards Hoshuu.

The Aki sisters, oddly enough, also show this mirror. Shizuha, seen as a symbol of death was left behind for the Autumn feasts, breeding resentment towards her sister Minoriko. In this case, Shizuha played Izanami and Minoriko played Izanagi. This may also explain why Headgames thought it futile to have them make up with each other.

Finally, Mikio and the Tengu show this. By turning their back on Mikio, the Tengu as a whole have unwittingly played the part of the unfaithful Izanagi. Mikio, having made himself look suspicous is Izanami here.


If this is indeed the case, then the path to a happy ending involves no less than breaking three nested cycles, the abandonments of Izanami, Sanae, and Mikio - scaling from personal to mythic in scope.
>> No. 16314
>>16313
If that isn't Lion's intention, it damn well should be. That would make a great story. Not that this one isn't, though.
>> No. 16315
>>16313

I wish there were more people like you. I mean, you just outlined a story of epic proportions. If that isn't what Lion was already going to do, he would probably feel embarrassed. Though you might be right, what with the ambiguous description of the white limb-things.

The one thing that doesn't fit is headgames' goal- "a world for humans alone". Currently I can't see how that would mesh into the Izanami theory.
>> No. 16317
>>16315
Not the same anon, but this is what I think would fill in the blank.

Izanami and Tayasumi appear to center around Tengu mythology in this story. Perhaps Izanagi's followers were all of youkai origin, and he had no human followers. The couple only created islands and deities, after all.

She continues to seek revenge by killing all gods born of her husband and all of his followers, as well as the gods she bore with him. This includes the ancestors of those children and followers. After many years of birth and the weakening of divine blood, or the goal to create new life by the child gods, you eventually come upon the creation of the many youkai races.

I'm willing to bet the Tengu god(s) was of the same bloodline of Izanami and Izanagi (though that doesn't mean much). Headgames originally just wanted to kill all youkai, but later decided to kill gods as well. She probably found it best to wipe out any and all possible existence that she and her husband had created so that no more followers could be produced. She would finally be able to rest in peace by completing her task.
>> No. 16318
>>16313

Suddenly, it all makes sense...good show, sir.
>> No. 16319
File 127606306830.jpg- (34.15KB , 800x600 , stupid use of toilet.jpg ) [iqdb]
16319
>>16313
>> No. 16320
>>16313
I am now reading all of Headgame's text in a female voice. It's quite strange.
>> No. 16321
[x] Grab his hand.

This evil is far too great for a single person to defeat. However, if there were more than one...
>> No. 16322
>>16313
>>16317
Dear god, it all makes sense.
Lion you magnificent bastard you brought us an epic story.

But more important, how do you beat an ancient god that wants to take control of you to wipe out Gensokyo?
>> No. 16323
>>16322
By including her into the harem so she doesn't feel left out and emo.
>> No. 16324
>>16322

It's not that simple. Izanami died while giving birth to Kagu-tsuchi. If Mikio ever becomes aware of his connections to Tayasumi and Hoshuu and if he accepts them and becomes a whole new entity unto himself, then it'd be similar to giving birth to Kagu-tsuchi, which was the very thing that killed Izanami.

However, the problem is the fact that in grief, Izanagi killed Kagu-tsuchi by slicing him into eight parts and sending said parts down to earth. Still trying to work out how all that will factor in.

Those eight fragments parts may be the people that we've had the deepest effects on thus far:

Sanae
Shizuha
Minoriko
Momiji
Aya
Nitori
Kanako
(arguably) Youmu


Feel free to correct me on these, but this is just the theory I have going so far.

Chances of survival at the end of this: slim to none ;_; isn't it sad, Mikio?
>> No. 16325
>>16320

That it is! But quite intriguing, don't you think?
>> No. 16326
>>16324
Wait a minute. So we should have sex with them all and get them pregnant? hmmmmm
What >>16323 said sounds more reasonable. Sounds like she is just a big yandere, so why not show her we love her and only her.
>> No. 16327
>>16326

I...don't think that's what he meant.

On another note, there is the possibility that she just wants to be loved, so to speak, but if she really is yandere, there's the threat of her wanting to eliminate the rest of the competition, which would end up putting everything back at square one. There are two things we can do in this situation: we can choose to try and kill her, which I think was >>16324's jist, or...we can accept her and love her, like >>16323 said. The former choice has a higher chance of Mikio dying, all things considered, than the latter.
>> No. 16329
>>16326

If we're Izanami, chances are it's more like "have sex with them all and be impregnated".
>> No. 16331
>>16324
During the battle with Yuuka, headgames said Tayasumi would be stronger by defeating her. If he is one of those eight parts, she could be another. Up until then, all other youkai merely sated his hunger. Water gods were born from Kagu-tsuchi's blood, it's possible a god of nature, sun, life or something similar was born of him, too. That could have lead to Yuuka's birth, if not the god that created her.

I find it funny by just clicking on the references in the Izanami and Izanagi pages, you come across a lot of familiar names.

Izanami was buried on Mt. Hiba, the border of old provinces of Izumo and Hoki; the former is now the eastern part of the Chūgoku Region (China region) and Hoki borders on several others, one being Inaba.


I'm sure with enough clicking around on that page and looking for connections, any loose-ends can be tied.
>> No. 16332
I never really saw Mikio coming out of this alive, so I'm okay with all this.
>> No. 16333
>>16332
OH YE OF LITTLE FAITH

What a horrible person ;_;
>> No. 16335
>>16332
If The Game's Kogasa could be in more despairing situations and still get a happy ending, then so can Mikio.
>> No. 16337
[x] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyXXwzPvUBk&feature=related&fmt=18

(Seems appropriate for this story, no?)
>> No. 16338
File 127631476725.png- (48.86KB , 488x258 , 124200146655.png ) [iqdb]
16338
>>16337


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