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File 138135925395.png - (792.78KB, 777x1087, hungry tengu.png) [iqdb]
23345
Thread 1: >>/youkai/22769
Thread 2: >>/youkai/23061

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


I groan from my uncomfortable place on the ground in front of Mystia's stand. There's a lot I want to say here right now. Starting with comments about disproportionate retribution on Mystia's part, Hina's lack of concern and support for her beloved friend, and the fact that from my position, I can't peek up anybody's skirt and see the good stuff.

Seriously, Hina's a classy lady! I bet they're all lacy, and frilly, and I can't see a damn thing!

However, my irritation at my lot in life is slightly overridden by a more pressing concern. One given voice by my loudly rumbling stomach.

"I'm hungry," I announce to the two peering down at me. Mystia snorts with amusement and disappears back behind her counter, while Hina giggles and extends a hand towards me.

"Come on, up at at 'em," the goddess says cheerily. "I think you've had a long enough nap!"

Shaking my head blearily, I accept Hina's hand and let her pull me to my feet, then guide me to a stool. As I sit down, delicious smells from the grill waft over to me, making my mouth water. Whatever else may be true about Mystia, the girl can sure cook.

She also has a nice ass. Not to mention a short temper. Hmph.

"What's wrong, Aya?" Hina asks me, munching on a tasty-looking bit of eel.

I look away from the cold, uncaring woman and fold my arms, feeling cross. "You sure didn't help me out when Mysty was beating up on me," I complain.

"Now, Aya," Hina reprimands me, "You really need to take punishment for your misdeeds, and it sounds like you did something terrible to Mystia! Besides, she might have peeled my face off if I got in the way."

"I probably would have~!" Mystia sings from the grill.

"Well... you didn't need to leave me laying there on the ground!" I protest.

Hina shrugs. "Where would I have put you? Besides, you looked so comfy there, off in dreamland!" Hina pats my shoulder gently. "Anyway, just look at it as part of your punishment. Whenever you get drunk from now on, you'll think back to this moment and remember when Mystia knocked you out and left you on the ground. It's all part of becoming a better person!"

"Hmph." Still annoyed, I don't turn to look at the goddess.

In response, Hina slides her arms around me in a hug. "Awww, don't be mad~! Here, lunch is my treat, how about that?" Her hug feels very nice. And I am kinda hungry.

"...Can I have sake to?" I ask hopefully.

"I'm watching your intake, so be ready to be cut off!" Mystia warns me sharply. I just nod humbly, and the sparrow smiles. "Good! In that case, your meal will be ready in a second!"

It's closer to a minute, but I won't nail such a pretty bird for false advertising. Mystia's food is delicious, and the sake hits the spot. I decide not to hold a grudge over this; I kinda went too far that one time, and I really had it coming. At least she didn't insult my newspaper or writing skill.

Thoughts of Flandre send a chill down my spine, and I try to focus on my food to banish the memories.

Mystia watches me eat while Hina nurses her own drink. "So, you two are working together?" she asks.

Hina nods. "That's right. Aya is helping me rebuild my reputation here in Gensokyo. I want people to understand that I take bad luck away. I certainly don't bring it!"

I notice Mystia sigh a little bit in relief. "Don't tell me you believed those dumb stories?" I ask her.

"Er..." Mystia flushes in embarrassment. "Well, I mean, I heard the stories, and um..." the sparrow looks nervous for a moment before bowing to Hina. "...Sorry."

Hina smiles weakly. "It's okay. I understand, That's why we're doing this, after all. To restore my reputation."

I ponder a moment while chewing on some delicious eel. "You know, for someone who believed that bit about Hina actually being bad luck, you were sure willing to serve her some food."

"Money's money," Mystia says evenly. "I don't care if it's a human, a youkai, a god, or whatever. As long as they pay me for my hard work, they're welcome at my stand!" She tugs on her collar in embarrassment. "Though I admit I was thinking about getting a blessing afterwards to deal with any bad luck. Sorry."

"Hey, that means you'd just have to go to Hina anyway!" I protest, "Hina doesn't have your unethical business practices, missy!"

"How many times do I have to tell people that I don't do that anymore?!" Mystia wails.

Seeing Hina's lost expression, I clear my throat and explain. "Mystia here used to have a racket where she'd sing her song and mystically give people night-blindness. Then they'd happen across her stand, which just so happened to sell food guaranteed to cure said blindness. See where I'm going with this?"

Hina looks over at the embarrassed sparrow. "I see. So what happened? Did the shrine maiden force you to stop?"

"Not exactly," Mystia grumbles. "People figured out what I was doing and stopped visiting me. My business tanked." She sighs. "I had to put out a public apology in Aya's paper and slash prices to lure customers back."

"I see," Hina muses, "How did that work out?"

Mystia blinks. "Surprisingly well. My business is booming these days, and I'm a successful musician alongside Kyouko. We collaborate with the Prismrivers a lot. The money's just pouring in!" She giggles happily.

I jerk a finger at Mystia. "Yeah, she's a youkai who went from preying on humans to doing honest business with them. Doing pretty well from it, I'd say."

"Hmmm..." Hina looks at the sparrow with an unreadable expression. "So, which do you prefer? The way you used to live, or the way you live now?"

"Uh..." Mystia looks distinctly uncomfortable. "W-well, how should I respond to that?"

"Easy, you two," I interject. "Mysty, Hina's pretty pro-human, so try to be understanding of her. Hina, Mysty's trying to do something different, so cut her a break too, yeah?"

The two look at me, then at each other before shrugging. "My apologies," Hina says, bowing her head. "I suppose that was a very personal question."

"...I've made friends among humans," Mystia murmurs, looking at her grill. "I try not to think about the past too much. Besides, business is a lot better these days."

I nod to myself. I think a lot of us try to do some forgetting. Funny how things change.


[ ] Anything else you want to say to Mystia?
-[ ] Write-in.
[ ] Nah, time to go home and make some plans.
[x] "Say, how's Kyouko doing? What's she like? You two doing anything besides the band?"
-[x] Probably not asked all at once, of course.
[x] Attempt to convince Mystia to join the Immaculate Holy Order of Hina

Worth a shot!
[X] Actually...
-[X] "How's the music thing been going?"
[X] Actually...
-[X] "How's the music thing been going?"
-[X] And Kyouko?
-[x] Try to sneak in an invitation to Hina's church
[X] Actually...
-[X] "How's the music thing been going?"
-[X] And Kyouko?
-[x] Try to sneak in an invitation to Hina's church

This is the best way to do it. Bring it up, but don't make it the focus of the conversation, and don't make it too obvious.
[X] Actually...

-[X] "How's the music thing been going?"
-[X] And Kyouko?
-[X] When's the next big gig?

-[x] Try to sneak in an invitation to Hina's church
[X] Actually...

-[X] "How's the music thing been going?"
-[X] And Kyouko?
-[X] When's the next big gig?

-[x] Try to sneak in an invitation to Hina's church

We can play the "next big gig" thing as an attempt to get some kind of story.

Besides, if Hina gets involved somehow, it could potentially be good publicity, depending on the timing. Once we've gotten the ball really rolling in regards to Hina's popularity, it could really be a big help. It may also be a chance for Aya to be on her best behavior and show that she's changed.

we'll probably try and get her to be on her best behavior and she'll probably ignore our majority rule, but who cares!
[x] Nah, time to go home and make some plans.
This whole pitstop has left me drained, what with the beatings, the dreams, and the, ah you know what I'm talking about.
[X] Actually...

-[X] "How's the music thing been going?"
-[X] And Kyouko?
-[X] When's the next big gig?

-[x] Try to sneak in an invitation to Hina's church

Nothing wrong with some small talk after eating.
Okay, looks like that write-in has a fair bit of steam, so vote called!
File 138144798249.jpg - (116.38KB, 850x574, rebels.jpg) [iqdb]
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I take another drink of my sake and set my cup down. "So," I say, searching for a topic, "Overall, how's the music thing going? I mean, compared to running a food stand and all."

"Actually, it's going pretty good!" Mystia says brightly. "This stand gives me a steady income, but the music gives me the occasional burst of money, and also makes me more visible, so my food business does even better! I make sure to advertise at my shows, too." She giggles at bit.

"Always the businesswoman," I say dryly. "But you're getting pretty popular, I hear."

"Yeah, Kyouko and I had a rough go for a while, but things have been picking up for us since we hooked up with the Prismrivers. It's worked really well; we've been sharing musical strategies, collaborating, and it makes us a lot more visible." Mystia laughs happily, clearly pleased with how things have been going for her. "Singing and playing alongside the others is a lot of fun, and it's good business sense, too! I'm really glad I teamed up with her. Kyouko, I mean."

"Kyouko is a yamabiko, correct?" Hina asks.

Mystia nods. "Which makes her great at singing. We make a natural team!"

"If you can call that noise singing..." I mutter under my breath. Mystia hears me anyway.

"Hey!" the sparrow protests, hands on her hips. "I'll have you know that our type of music is all the rage on the Outside! It's a way for people to vent their rage, their frustration at The Man always keeping them down!" Mystia's eyes flash with determination as she speaks.

"...'The Man?'" Hina asks wonderingly.

"Wouldn't it be 'The Woman' here in Gensokyo?" I suggest.

"Oh, whatever!" Mystia snorts. "The only people who don't like our music are old fools who can't embrace the new age! We rock out, baby!" Mystia smiles dazzlingly, eyes aflame with passion.

"Oh, maybe we'll have to visit one of your concerts!" Hina says excitedly.

"Eh, pass," I say dismissively. I am not an old fool, dammit! I an ever-young, ever-sexy, brilliant reporter and disciple of the Truth! Better change the subject. "So, your partner, Kyouko. She's with Myouren temple, right?"

"Eh, sort of." Mystia looks a bit troubled. "Honestly, Kyouko's been in a bit of trouble lately. Apparently Byakuren doesn't like 'the path she is taking,' or something stupid like that." Mystia snorts. "Whatever. Just another sign of The Man looking down on youthful enthusiasm."

"Byakuren's a woman," Hina points out.

"Whatever! The point is, Byakuren just can't appreciate Kyouko's cool outfit and singing! Really, a yamabiko's gotta do more than recite sutras all day! That Buddhist just doesn't know how to have fun." Mystia rolls her eyes and takes our plates to wash them. "Anyway, there's been a lot of arguments between them. Byakuren wants her to stop, Kyouko doesn't want to... you get the idea."

Heh. I can sorta sympathize. "So, that aside, how are you and Kyouko doing? Hm?" I waggle my eyebrows. "Come on, a couple of pretty girls out to defy the establishment? Passions running high after a performance? Gimme some details here!"

Mystia stops what she's doing to glare at me. "Just to be clear, Kyouko and I are friends. As in, platonic. Now get your head out of the gutter, or it'll be more than three blows next time."

Aw. There goes my happy little mental image of punk girls getting passionate with each other. Such a tragedy... On the other hand, Kyouko might be looking for an alternate religious authority if things don't work out with her and Byakuren. Veeeeery interesting indeed. We really gotta work out a doctrine for Hina at some point.

Assuming Hina wants to encourage that noise, mind you.

"When are you playing next?" Hina asks.

"Yeah, when's the next big gig, and are you giving discounts on tickets?" I smile hopefully. Not that I really like their idea of 'music,' but if it ingratiates us, it might give Hina a shot at getting some followers. Oh, the sacrifices I make.

"It'll be in two weeks, on the edge of the forest, and no, you can't get discounted tickets," Mystia says primly. "But you're more than welcome to come! Choujuu Gigaku welcomes the angry and disaffected of all types, be they human, youkai, or whatever!" She looks over at Hina, eyes burning with excitement again. "Gods are welcome, too!"

"I'll keep it in mind," Hina says with a smile.

I stand up. "Well, we should really get going. Stuff to do, and all of that. Say, if you ever feel the need for divine intervention, why not stop by Hina's shrine? The Immaculate Holy Order of Hina is always looking for new members!"

Hina gives me a strained look. "Please tell me we're not going with that name."

"Eh, it's working title. We can settle it later," I assure my goddess.

Mystia giggles from her stand. "I appreciate the offer, but I'm not currently in the market for a deity. Still I'll keep you in mind if I have any bad luck! Oh, and if you're looking for more followers, be careful! Everyone else is always on the lookout for more worshipers, and well, they're tougher than you are."

Hina nods seriously. "I'll keep your words in mind. Anyway, farewell for now!" The two of us wave goodbye to Mystia, and head back home.

*********************************************

The rest of the day is uneventful. Hina does some work around her home, dragging me into it, and eventually settles on some meditative spinning. As for myself, I take the opportunity to fly across Gensokyo at top speed, glorying in the ability to go wherever however fast I want to go. Which is, universally, maximum speed!

Seriously, if you go anywhere at anything slower than maximum? You're doing it wrong!

Anyway, that's how I come to be relaxing in Hina's bath later that night, luxuriating in the warm water and thinking on the day's events. The deal with Akyuu was pretty nasty, in retrospect, but at least we came to an understanding with her. And maybe of her; I kinda see where she's coming from. Still, holding grudges doesn't net you anything. I learned that the hard way.

That also reminds me of the dreams I've been having lately, like my mind's been shaken loose and all of these old thoughts are coming out of the woodwork. I wish they wouldn't. I hate living in the past.

And finally we come to Mystia, the lovely sparrow with a lovely voice and a nasty temper. Looking back on it, I guess I understand why she was mad at me; that sort of thing shouldn't be done in public. Still, I can't shake the thought that Mystia was a little mad at me for doing it in the first place, and that she'd be just as angry if we'd been the only two around when I got a little frisky. I mean, sure I was drunk, but come on! I got it going on, don't I? I'll bet if I'd sobered up, we could have had a lot of fun together! I know all kinds of tricks~!

...Maybe she really does have a crush on Kyouko? I dunno.

Still, that sparrow is hot as hell. But that memory of me getting drunk and kinda grabby bothers me for some reason. And not just because I wish she'd reciprocated. Which would been awesome.

Mmmm... amorous Mystia...

But am I missing something?


[ ] _____ ___ ______ ____ ______ ___ ________ _____ ________
[ ] Mmmm... sexy Mystia... (day dream)
[x] _____ ___ ______ ____ ______ ___ ________ _____ ________
[X] _____ ___ ______ ____ ______ ___ ________ _____ ________

Ha. Alright, i'll try and go against The Inevitability.
[X] _____ ___ ______ ____ ______ ___ ________ _____ ________

who needs a daydream when Hina could walk in at any time?
>Am I missing somethiing.

Yes. Yes you are.

[x] _____ ___ ______ ____ ______ ___ ________ _____ ________
File 138145557487.png - (39.68KB, 585x237, Choo-Choo_.png) [iqdb]
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[X] _____ ___ ______ ____ ______ ___ ________ _____ ________
[x] _____ ___ ______ ____ ______ ___ ________ _____ ________

I'm curious as to what this is.

> "Honestly, Kyouko's been in a bit of trouble lately. Apparently Byakuren doesn't like 'the path she is taking,' or something stupid like that."

Byakuren, I expected better from you. Punk is about thinking for yourself, just like Buddhism is. And weren't you a rebel at one point?

…I better stop here, I don't wanna be like Miko.
[ ] Mmmm... sexy Mystia... (day dream)

I'm a loose cannon who plays by his own rules.
[ ] _____ ___ ______ ____ ______ ___ ________ _____ ________

What genre or type of rock do Mystia and Kyouko perform?
>>23366
Punk. It's stated in SoPM.

[ ] _____ ___ ______ ____ ______ ___ ________ _____ ________
[X] Mmmm... sexy Mystia... (day dream)

Burn the rails
[X] _____ ___ ______ ____ ______ ___ ________ _____ ________
Okay, vote called for the mysterious-

Yeah, okay, it's the character development option. Which means that I don't have to write Aya's sex daydream. This may be for the best.

Anyway, update later!
File 138152926777.jpg - (101.28KB, 753x1000, doubt.jpg) [iqdb]
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Mmmmm... sexy Mystia. I know just how it'd play out, too~! I'd visit her stall, and be short on cash, and she'd come up with another way for me to pay my bill. And while I'm in the middle of paying my dues, maybe Kyouko would come along wearing leather clothes and spiked collar, the whole nine yards! After all, I'd been a bad tengu~!

I'm easing into the tub, grinning at the thought, when I remember what actually happened with Mystia. The drunken fumbling, the shouts of anger. The tears of fear and humiliation in her eyes-

Wait. Wait wait wait a sec, I don't remember that happening! Except that I kinda do. I was in a drunken haze at the time, and only thinking about warm night sparrow skin, and how nice Mystia looked. However I distinctly remember a frantic, frightened tone to Mystia's voice. And tears, too.

All of a sudden, the fantasy I have crafted in my mind changes into an angry Mystia and Kyouko glaring at me, and the whole thing pops. I frown, thinking it over. I mean, why would Mystia be frightened? I was drunk, but I wouldn't have forced her!

Did she know that? I ask myself.

Well... maybe not. Come to think of it, having a drunk tengu force herself on you might have been an unnerving experience for the poor girl. But c'mon! All I was doing was expressing my admiration for her assets!

Maybe...

Well, okay. Having me slobber all over her in front of customers was pretty bad. I mean, if it had happened to me... Hm. Having a drunk Mystia stagger up to me and fondle me during an interview sounds like a really humiliating thing to have happen. So I guess I sorta deserved that clobbering she gave me. Man, I feel guilty over it.

My good mood well and gone know, I start to get out of the bath, when something else occurs to me. Those tears in Mystia's eyes. Fear isn't the right word. Not quite. It wasn't, I think, so much that I was pretty much groping her in front of other people, so much that I was doing it at all.

But come on! That's just how I show my appreciation! I mean, Hina said it herself: I'm impulsive. And booze makes me even moreso. Okay, I guess I can't expect someone to be thrilled even if a sexy babe like me starts molesting them, but the feeling was pure! I was just showing Mystia my appreciation!

Maybe she didn't like her...

I mean, what's wrong with that? It's all about being honest! If someone looks good, you should let them know! And how better to let them know than by being direct! I am a disciple of Truth, after all!

Except something about it still feels wrong. Mystia wasn't flattered. She was really upset. She was angry, and... hurt. It horrified her that I was doing such a thing. Looking back, her cute flustered expression wasn't all that cute after all. Actually, it's the kind of thing that rends your heart. If I saw someone doing something like that to someone else, I'd feel obligated to kick their ass.

But, that kind of reaction... the cute, flustered, embarrassed faces, I mean. I see them all the time, whenever I take a sweet little prize with my camera. And it's not like I'm doing any harm!

But that just makes me remember when Hina slipped in and took pictures of my last night. How I felt then... it must have been the same way the others felt when I took pictures of them. And Mystia probably felt the same way when I got all drunk and grabby. Because it isn't showing appreciation, is it? No, what really happened... what it's all about-

Maybe she didn't like her personal space being violated.

Yeah, if you want to be clinical about it. But that's the key word: violated. I was taking something that should only be given away freely. And it doesn't matter that I was drunk. I still did it. And if it had happened to me, I know exactly how I would feel. I can just picture it: Hina getting drunk, and trying to force me to the ground with a drunken leer on her face. It sounds cool but when I really try to visualize it? It feels horrible just to think about.

It's not just Mystia, either. All those times I snuck pictures?

......

Fuck.

Fuck a goddamned duck. I think I get it now.

I think I get why Kasen was being so edgy around me. Why she kept one eye on me like I was some kind of rapist. In a way, I was, wasn't I? And all those times I thought I was flirting? Yeah, no. Everyone was angry at the bitch of a tengu who was taking pictures of them that she had no business taking. Putting myself in their position... I'd want to throttle myself.

Which explains a lot. Why so many people give me this weary look whenever I show up. Aya the creepy tengu. You can't get rid of her, but if you let your guard down, she's gonna take liberties with you whether you like it or not. And nobody would like it.

This makes me wonder how many friends I actually have. The answer... kinda scares me.

I lower my head into the water as a realization I've been trying to avoid for a very, very long time finally hits home. I feel very alone again.

***************************************************

I don't say anything to Hina as I walk out of the bathroom and tumble into bed. I think she calls after me, and even sounds a bit concerned, but I honestly barely hear it. The shock of revelation, and the understanding that I should have figured it out by now, has hit me too hard. I just lay there in bed as a lot of things become clear. The general way people talk to me. The lack of trust and abundance of suspicion. Hell, how many people are actually comfortable around me? Is that really my reputation? Aya Shameimaru, tengu pervert? What ever happened to uncovering the Truth?

When did things go all wrong?

Actually, I know why things went wrong. But... I don't want to think about it now. Give me a break, brain. I've had a rough night. I just want to sleep, and try to pretend that the people I used to consider friends actually gave a damn about me.

It takes me long time to get to sleep.

***************************************************

I'm quiet the next morning at breakfast. I just munch halfheartedly at my food, trying to keep my mind on my job. That's what I'm here for. That's what I do. Just keep on task, and I can pretend everything is fine.

"Aya, what's wrong?" Hina asks me, voice laced with worry. "You've been quiet since last night, and it looks like you just lost your best friend." Naturally, the goddess is attuned to people's feelings. Is it too much to ask for that I have a nice brood once in a while?

I take a moment to respond to her. "Hey, Hina. Do you actually like having me around?"

She stares at me in shock. "That came out of nowhere! What's on your mind?"

I sigh. "I've been doing some thinking. About Mystia, and how angry she was. And how people really don't like it when I take... risque pictures of them for my paper, or just for myself. About why I became a reporter in the first place. And I can't help but think that people don't really want me around. A tengu that just shows up, takes humiliating pictures, and then flies off laughing about it." I shake my head as the bitter words flow from my mouth. Is that how people see me?

Hina looks at me. "Well, how would you feel if you were resting in bed and Hatate took some pictures of you in your underwear? And then put it in her paper with a title like 'Cute Sleeping Shameimaru,' or something?"

I shudder. "I don't think I'd like it that much. That's why I'm wondering how much people actually like having me around." I close my eyes, trying not to tear up. It's a very lonely thought. A scary one.

Hina just looks at me for a moment longer. Then she slides around the table to sit next to me, and draws me into a tight, warm hug. "I like having you around."

"...You do?" I ask.

Hina nods. "Yep! Don't be so hard on yourself. You have some flaws; we all do. But at least you know what they are now. Yes, people get very upset when you take embarrassing photos and fill newspapers with them like it's a point of pride for you. And I also feel that it's a waste; you have talent you're wasting, Aya."

"Well..." I try to find words. "There's a lot that happens around here, but then we have long periods of nothing. I guess I was just trying to spruce things up." I sigh. "Or I just like looking at panties. Probably both."

"Getting your own collection from unwilling participants wasn't your best move," Hina admits, stroking my hair. She's really warm and soft. Damn, this woman gives good hugs. "But you know what? You're fun, Aya. You're energetic, and excitable, and you go after what you want with all of your might. Being around you is really energizing. I mean, you seem like the kind of person that would fly up to the Dragon itself just to ask for an interview!"

"I totally would," I admit, causing Hina to laugh. "Hey! That would be one hell of an interview!"

"That's exactly what I'm talking about," my companion giggles. "Aya Shameimaru! She knows what she wants, and she's gonna go for it! You just need to learn when and how to go after certain things, if you get my meaning."

I think about it. "Sometimes, to get the best interviews, and the juiciest information, you gotta piss some people off," I tell her.

"And I wouldn't want you any other way!" Hina assures me. "Just try and respect people's physical privacy a bit more, okay!"

"So just fantasize about what I can see, and don't advertise it to everyone?" I suggest. That does leave a few options open for me! Mystia and Kyouko in leather...

Hina pauses. "I guess that's a step in the right direction," she admits.

Huh. It's pretty obvious when she puts it that way. "So all I need to do is find willing models!" I declare.

"Yeah, good luck with that," Hina quips back at me.

"Hey, a lady can dream." I sigh, enjoying Hina's embrace. We should totally make this a part of her faith: join the Order of Hina, and get a free hug! I'd totally join. "Thanks, Hina."

"My pleasure," the goddess says warmly.

I look up at her with a hopeful grin. "So, you wanna go in the other room and take a tumble? I know tricks~!"

Hina turns as red as her dress. "If I say no, will you be hurt?"

"Nah. It was worth a try, though." I sigh again, resolving to enjoy the hug for as long as I can. Current objective: find a willing lingerie model. That would be so awesome. Well, I should really help Hina out first. Call it a long-term goal.

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

SYSTEM UPDATE: There will be a time-skip of a few days between updates to allow certain parameters to develop.

HINA STATUS: It's been a jarring day for her, but Hina has finally decided to leave her past bitterness and grudges behind. She's ready to face the future with confidence and an open heart! In addition, Akyuu has been circulating updates regarding Hina, and people no longer see her as a harbinger of doom. On the other hand, it's hard to trust a goddess focused around misfortune, so more will have to be done to truly give Hina a good reputation.

AYA STATUS: Learning. Slowly, but learning.

WORSHIPERS: Nitori. There are several more candidates for direct recruitment, but remember that they won't be easy! You need a good plan to lure named characters into the fold. On the other hand, they may bring benefits with them as well.


THE LIST:

[ ] The shrine.
-[ ] Location? Here, elsewhere?
-[ ] Any improvements to be made?
-[ ] What services should be offered?
-[ ] What about clergy?
[ ] Public relations.
-[ ] Improving Hina's image.
-[ ] Advertising her services.
-[ ] Getting followers.
--[ ] An encountered named character (Specify: Kasen, Akyuu, etc.)
--[ ] The kappa.
--[ ] Other.
[ ] Strategic alliance with another faith?
[ ] How big should you grow?
[ ] Internal matters: We should put together a doctrine...
>AYA STATUS: Learning. Slowly, but learning.

The problem is, would anyone really want Aya to... "learn" at this point? This is just me, but I think it's entirely possible that, given Aya's reputation, people are likely to
(a) want her creepy soon-to-be-past self back, complete with Bunbunmaru full of embarrassing, funny, disturbing, etc. photos,
or
(b) want her dead,
neither of which involves accepting the "new and improved" Aya.

Anyway,
[x] Internal matters: We should put together a doctrine...
[x] Discuss the possibility of strategic alliance with another faith.
-[x] Consider the possibility of allying with a secular group as well.
-[x] Don't commit to anything just yet, just list the pros and cons of each faction.
[x] Strategic alliance with another faith?
-[x] Maybe the Akis? They also seem to be down on their luck in terms of faith.
[x] Discuss the possibility of strategic alliance with another faith.
-[x] Consider the possibility of allying with a secular group as well.
-[x] Don't commit to anything just yet, just list the pros and cons of each faction.

If we can mix a few others in this time around, add
(X) Internal matters: We should put together a doctrine...
>>23373
What.

Who, in the name of all the gods, would want the creepy aya back? Who doesn't want her to learn and become more than a stupid pervert meme? Oh, look, the mighty tengu, fastest in gensokyo, flying around like a 40 year old neckbeard taking pictures of panties!

[x] How big should you grow?
[x] Internal matters: We should put together a doctrine...
[x] Discuss the possibility of strategic alliance with another faith.
-[x] Consider the possibility of allying with a secular group as well.
-[x] Don't commit to anything just yet, just list the pros and cons of each faction.

I have to ask does the whole "pervert meme" Aya has in much of fanon have any basis in canon?
>>23378
She has a camera, is super fast, and is known for making dubious stories in her paper. Fans just combined those traits and exaggerated it to the point of creepyness.
>>23377
Well...maybe not the out-of-control-creepiness-level Aya, but the not-quite-as-creepy pre-Cirno-obsession Aya that printed humiliating photos of Marisa very early on in Being Meiling. (Of course, if she was already obsessed with Cirno at that point, that screws this point up...)
[x] Internal matters: We should put together a doctrine...

>>23379
Keymaster on the other hand took it to a level beyond the normal in flanderizing Aya. It's to the point where the typical fanon Aya looks rather respectible in comparison.
[] The shrine.
-[] What services should be offered?

Before we go and drum up hype about the shrine, we should think up the services that make us valuable.
[x] Discuss the possibility of strategic alliance with another faith.
-[x] Consider the possibility of allying with a secular group as well.
-[x] Don't commit to anything just yet, just list the pros and cons of each faction.


I think the best option, if we decide to do ally with someone, would be the Aki sisters.
Unlike the Taoists and Buddhists, the are on a more "personal" level instead of being more of an institution. (Just like Hina is alone, it's just the two of them, no temple or monks or anything.)
Kanako and Suwako are a bit too big for Hina to fit in easily, and they already have a bit of strange balancing act going on with two gods in one shrine.
And the Hakurei Shrine is, well... The Hakurei Shrine.
Okay, the votes seem to be mostly in favor of discussing alliances, so we'll go with that!

Update later.
File 138161544643.jpg - (346.05KB, 800x568, planning.jpg) [iqdb]
23385
Hina and I spend the next few days just letting things happen. The deal with Akyuu, and then my moment of insight in the tub were all kinda draining, and we needed some time to just... reflect, I guess. Besides, I kinda wanted to see what all of the fallout would be.

Turns out, Akyuu was as good as her word. An update got circulated (possibly helped along by Keine), and all of a sudden people were muttering to themselves about whether or not the terrifying misfortune goddess was so bad after all. Not that Hina got a flood of people coming to visit, mind you. But it was progress. And one day, after coming back from a nice flight, I decided to corral Hina and have a long talk with her about her faith.

"We need to start getting down to brass tacks," I say, slamming my hands down on the table.

Hina winces. "Um, please be careful with the table. One of its legs has been getting wobbly lately."

"...Oh. Sorry." I cough, and try to get back on track. "Anyway! Things have been going well lately, so I think that it's time we really started to get to work and start defining your religion! Y'know, doctrine and all of that stuff."

"Hmmm..." Hina muses, rubbing her chin. "I hear what you're saying, but I don't know. You see, what I keep coming back to is that I'm really kind of a minor goddess. I'm the being that people come to when they have bad luck, but in terms of day-to-day guidance?" Hina shrugs. "I'm not sure if I'm qualified for that."

"Pffft," I wave a hand dismissively, "Don't worry your gorgeous head about that! Look, people are always worrying about luck, right? And there's always something in day-to-day lives that constitutes misfortune! Like stubbing your toe, or dropping your buttered toast, or... something! All you need to do is offer a regular service to keep people's bad luck away, and when they see the difference, they'll start coming by all the time!"

Hina's eyes light up. "So I win hearts not by broad strokes, but by doing something reliable all the time! Building up faith with lots of small pieces, in other words."

I shrug. "That's one idea, anyway. But you're already a goddess. Maybe now's a good time to build up a doctrine and start offering further guidance. Maybe all of this time you've just been too humble, y'know?"

"Maybe," Hina murmurs, leaning back in her chair, "But the problem there is that there's already several major faiths well-established in Gensokyo. How do I compete with the likes of them? Or, should I, even? They might not like an upstart."

Ugh. That's true. And we're right on the front porch of one of those major faiths. The last thing we need is for Kanako to smite us or something. "I do have an idea, there," I muse. "There's always the thought of forming an alliance with another faith. You know, add yourself to their pantheon. That gives you a lot of support, but you might wind up playing second-banana. On the other hand, it's bound to increase your visibility."

Hina thinks it over for a moment. "In other words, by tying myself to someone else, I get the benefit of their resources... but I become subordinate as well."

"Yeah, and there's no avoiding it, either," I say. "Join up with one of those groups, and you're gonna be working for them as opposed to with them. I mean, they'd probably love the extra faith you bring in, and it'd help, but you'll always be a subordinate. But that might not be a bad thing, either. Leave the big decisions to others, you know?"

Hina think is over. "Well, let's play with this idea for a bit. My first, and most obvious option, are the Moriyas."

Aya snorts. "They'd take you on in a heartbeat. I mean, those two, and Sanae, are always trying to get more faith. Having a bad-luck goddess on their side? It'd be just another service they can provide, all in the name of the Moriya shrine." I start to tick points off on my fingers. "Hooking up with the Moriyas gives you a lot of benefits. You'd have the advantage of their public relations division, which is already alive and busy. They could probably make you look good in a heartbeat. Hooking up with them gives you the kappa and tengu, and a lot of humans as well. Plus, they're the main technological group in Gensokyo. That's a whole lotta benefits, there."

Hina nods. "And the drawbacks?"

"Welcome to being a subordinate," I say grimly. "I mean, you might get away with just being an ally to the other faiths, but here? Not a chance. It'll be Kanako and Suwako calling the shots, no two ways about it, and they like people following their instructions. Any new plot of theirs they cook up? You're a part of it, like it or not. Then there's the fact that there tends to be some intrigue going on between them and the tengu elders, and a lot of people are going to want to use you as a pawn in that." I shrug. "Like I said, lots of benefits, but be prepared to be their subordinate."

"Then there's Byakuren and her Buddhists," Hina points out.

"Not a bad choice," I muse. "Byakuren has a good reputation, and a lot of followers among the humans and youkai both. That'd get you in good with both groups. I mean, even Buddhists have got to want to get rid of bad luck, right? So ally with Myouren temple, and you'll probably have Byakuren saying nice things about you to a lot of people."

"Not a bad thing, and I can't see Byakuren trying to control me like the Moriyas would," Hina comments.

I frown. "Yeah, but it's not all good, either. Hook up with her, and Byakuren will probably want you to get involved with the temple a lot more. Show up at functions, preach equality, that sort of thing. Which is not too bad, but it also means wading right into the middle of the humans/youkai debate. That can get pretty nasty at times. Also, you're gonna make an enemy of the taoists, and there's no two ways about it. So yeah. Byakuren won't be too demanding I figure, but it means making flat-out enemies. Be mindful of that."

Hina frowns. "The taoists would be the same thing, but in reverse."

I suck my breath in through my teeth. "The taoists are tricky. I gotta be honest, Miko could probably make you solid gold with humanity overnight. But I'm a little wary of them, personally. Sign up with Miko, and you make an instant enemy of the Buddhists, it's true. But more than that, you're gonna wind up alienating a lot of youkai; Miko doesn't exactly like youkai, y'know what I mean? Plus, you're gonna be working for her. Miko's a prince, and she knows how to play people. At best, you're gonna be a subordinate, following her orders, and doing what she wants. Doesn't matter if you're a god or not."

Hina winces. "I wonder how Nitori would take it."

I shake my head, "Dunno. Probably not well. I mean, maybe you could get Miko to lay off the youkai; she seems a bit more interested in her studies than anything else, but I just can't trust her not to make a power-play. Once you've been in charge, you kinda like it, know what I mean?"

"So it's being an instant hit with humanity balanced against being Miko's servant, and making a lot of enemies." Hina think about it for a moment before looking back to me. "Then there's Reimu."

I let out a low whistle. "Yep. The Hakurei shrine. What a wildcard. Now, Reimu and Remilia are married, so Reimu has the full might of the Scarlet Devil Mansion backing her up. Make a deal with her, and you've got all of that on your side. The Hakurei name carries a lot of weight with just about everybody in Gensokyo, and Remilia's resources are huge. So you'd have that in your favor."

"On the other hand, their reputation is a bit...mixed," Hina notes.

"To say the least," I agree. "I mean, humans are wary of Reimu because she hangs out with so many youkai, and youkai are wary of Reimu because she clobbers them if they step out of line. Meanwhile, Remilia doesn't always play to the same rules that the rest of the youkai do; she pretty much does her own thing. Plus there's Flandre." I shudder a bit as I remember the little vampire's terrible words, but quickly bring myself back to the present. "Anyway, there's a whole lot of ifs, ands, and buts there. Things could go very well, or it could all end in a disaster. You could be Reimu's best friend, or you could wind up fetching her tea. Who knows?"

Hina is silent for a moment, weighing the pros and cons in her head. "What about the Aki sisters?" she asks all of a sudden. "I see them a lot, and they're pretty much in the same position I am. It's just that they have a better reputation."

...Now that's and interesting idea. "The Aki sisters..." I muse thoughtfully. "Their portfolio is mainly in the fall, but that doesn't mean that they can't branch out a little bit. I mean, Minoriko is all about good food, and Shizuha is pretty much about art. They're familiar to humans, and deal with day-to-day issues, sorta like you."

"Plus, we're all on the same level, roughly, so there'd be no fear of anyone lording it over anyone else," Hina notes.

"On the other hand, there's little benefit to helping them outright," I point out. "Humans like them, but their word alone won't make you popular. Plus, that would extend this venture to building up their faith alongside yours. You'd all be starting out weak. On the other hand, a triumvirate of beautiful goddesses?" I shake my head. "Stick with it, and you could do some really, really big things there. But it would probably take a lot more work. Still, interesting idea."

Hina thinks about it. "Actually, why do I have to ally with another faith? Why not make a deal with one of Gensokyo's secular institutions?"

"Because 'faith' and 'Gensokyo' pretty much go hand-in-hand," I point out. "There aren't a lot of secular groups around here. Hakugyoukurou doesn't care about faith all that much; people are gonna die whether they like it or not. Eientei is more concerned about curing physical ills than spiritual ones. As for the underground... where do I even begin?" I shrug. "But if you have any ideas, I'd like to hear them. So anyway, that's where things stand in terms of making allies."

"And finally, I could just go it alone," Hina says, "Working for my own faith, and my own agenda. That means I'm on my own, yes, but I'm also beholden to no one. Anything I do is at my own judgement, and anything I gather belongs only to me. I call the shots for myself, rather than have to take orders or consider the wishes of an ally."

"It also means that you have no support, and if the other faiths think you're poaching worshipers from them?" I wince. "That means going up against some serious power with only yourself and whatever friends you can bring to the battle. But yeah, it also means more freedom to act. So anyway, those are the choices as I see them. What do you think?"


[ ] Let's go talk to this group (specify).
[ ] Wait, what about (another group the writer missed).
[ ] Eh, let's leave this for now and do something else (specify).
[ ] Write-in.
[X] Let's go talk to this group (specify).
-[X] The Hakurei-Scarlets. Or is it Scarlet-Hakureis?

It's a gamble, sure. It's an uphill battle getting an alliance, sure. It's also a guarantee if you make the alliance that you have the local incident resolvers on your side if you get more popular. You'll have to spin it right to make it work, but the way I figure it, unless you're working for the Moriyas, they will take you as an enemy. In reverse, working for the Moriyas, you're working for people who are actively against your growth on some levels.
Let's take the risk that Reimu presents, it's gonna be tough, but it's gonna be one hell of a ride, and it's the best option I can see.
[x] Let's go talk to this group (specify). 

SDM
[x] Let's go talk to this group (specify).
-[x] The Buddhists

-Hina doesn't want to be jerked around anymore so that eliminates Moriya and the Taoists.
-While Hakurei-Scarlet is a neutral party Reimu's competitive and Aya's past with the SDM will strain relations.
-While Byakuren'll pull for activism her control over her allies is notably loose. Wanna keep eating meat and drinking booze? Even otherwise lawful-good Shou'll back you up here.
-Speaking of allies, Aya and Hina should consider the number of notable (and powerful) individuals in each faction.

Moriya: 3; Kanako, Suwako, Sanae
Taoists: 3-5; Miko, Futo, Tojiko, Seiga, Yoshika; Note that Miko and Seiga have gone their separate ways and Yoshika is Seiga's pet.
Hakurei-Scarlet: 6-8; Reimu, Remilia, Meiling, Sakuya, Flandre, Patchouli; Include Meiling's friends (Yuuka, Cirno) and this goes higher.
Buddhists: 9 (the strongest number!); Byakuren, Shou, Nazrin, Ichirin/Unzan, Minamitsu, Nue, Mamizou, Kyouko, Koishi

-Koishi could also help with Aya's character development given their similar interests...
[x] Let's talk to this group
-[x] The Aki Sisters

We've seen the SDM group already. They're a colorful bunch, and given that Flandre's already got an eye on Aya, we're likely to get involved with them later on.

The Aki Sisters though, they're an unknown, but we'd be on the same level as them if we were to consolidate our power base. We'd be working to bring them up with us, but that's just part of the fun, I think
[x] Let's talk to this group
-[x] The Aki Sisters

I really hate the idea of one of the a big groups dominating the rest of the story.
[x] Let's talk to this group
-[x] The Aki Sisters

Why join a faction when you can create one?
>As for the underground... where do I even begin?"

You know, going underground sounds like a pretty interesting idea to me. No one could say we were poaching followers, unless there's a god down there I haven't heard of. There's quite a few potential converts there, the festivals might be good for business, and AFAIK it's the only major settlement in Gensoukyou with no competing religion.

[X] Wait, what about the Ancient City?
[X] Wait, what about the Ancient City?

I still think we should have soldified some internal works before jumping head first into Gensokyo politics
>>23393
Freaking genius. Hadn't even thought about getting faith underground

[X] Wait, what about the Ancient City?
[X] Wait, what about the Ancient City?

I really like this idea. Assuming that there isn't some religion down there that we've never heard of, if this goes well, it could be a great start to actually giving Hina a good power base.
[X] Wait, what about the Ancient City?

This is a great idea. A whole city made up of youkai exiled to the underground, that's a huge amount of misfortune. The only problem is the lack of humans.
[X] Wait, what about the Ancient City?

Love. And tacos.

This is the only path. YOU KNOW THAT THIS IS THE ONLY PATH.
-[x]Let's Visit:
-[x]Underground Sun

Get in Satori's good graces, chat up Solar God. It's not like there's much competition down there, so we can work on our appeals with honest folks.

Plus, Aya can have character development via flashbacks to the bad old days and talking with old acquaintances she never really wanted to see again DEPLOY EMERGENCY BOOZE SUPRESSION SYSTEMS THERE IS NOTHING WRONG HINA AHAHAHA
>>23400
While the Ancient City itself might be a possible, Okuu is not. She's directly connected with the Moriyas through the Yatagarasu they gave her, and their participation in the Underground Geyser Center/Nuclear Furnace. Satori is likely a mitigating factor on their influence over Okuu, but it's still effectively under their banner.
>>23386 here.
Changing my vote to the new write in,
Dangerous as the underground can be (somehow I get the feeling Oni are more likely to steamroll through a bad day and leave a trail a wreckage in their wake) it's a safe place for character development, and Looooooove and Tacos!
>>23401

Sooo the Moriyas can make a portable nuclear reactor eh? Maybe we should make a point to ask Hina just how powerful she can get/what she can do when her faith battery is fully charged.

Might help us get a few converts if she can pull off some cool miracles.
...Huh. I can honestly say that I wasn't expecting that one. The underground city, eh? Hmmm.

Well, I'm willing to humor this vote. We'll follow it and see where it goes for now.

Update later, once I've had a chance to think this one over.
File 138168988139.jpg - (170.90KB, 850x850, how the hell do i do this.jpg) [iqdb]
23405
...'Kay. I'm gonna level with folks, I'm having a hard time with this write-in. It really just doesn't fit my image of the characters.

First of all, Aya REALLY doesn't want to go underground. She gets really claustrophobic at the thought, and antsy at the thought of being surrounded by all those Oni.

For Hina, it isn't a natural leap of logic either. While she's getting better, she still favors humans as followers, of which there are none in the underground. Suddenly heading underground looking for worshipers is a bit of a stretch for her.

Finally, in all honesty, the Oni themselves aren't terribly devout. I mean, they might make the occasional donation if they lose a few too many bets, but I just don't see the Oni as getting too worked up about a string of bad luck. They're more likely to just shrug it off and have a drink.

I mean, I can still do it, if people really want me to. It just isn't something that flows all that naturally, and honestly, at this point Hina probably won't get too much benefit out of it.

Anyway, your call.

[ ] Do it anyway.
[ ] Something else (specify)
>>23405
Fair enough.

[x] Let's talk to this group
-[x] The Aki Sisters
Well, when the author himself says that it isn't a good idea, it's time to change the plans. Besides, when the author has no clue how to write something, it never goes well.
[X] Something else (specify)
- [x] Let's talk to this group
--[x] The Aki Sisters
[X] Let's go talk to this group (specify).
-[X] The Hakurei-Scarlets. Or is it Scarlet-Hakureis?
Huh. Well then, let's go for
>[X] The Aki sisters
instead.

Maybe we can head to the Underground later or something.
Assuming we're revoting from zero I'll repeat mine:

[x] Let's talk to this group
-[x] The Aki Sisters
Aw, I would've liked to see Satori in this story.

Anyway, I'll repeat my vote (>>23388) for the Buddhists since I'm a Byakuren fanthing.
>>23405 well...
>>23402 here.
Forget I changed my vote. Hakurei-Scarlet-Hakureis.
>>23385
[X] Let's go talk to this group (specify).
-[X] The Hakurei-Scarlets.
[x] Let's talk to this group
-[x] The Aki Sisters
Aww... I guess that didn't work then. Hoped we could get a glimps of Parsee and Alfred on our way down there.

Changing my post from >>23395 to

[x] Let's talk to this group
-[x] The Aki Sisters
[x] Let's talk to this group
-[x] The Aki Sisters

While there are no immediate benefits, we will at the very least be subordinate to no-one.

If we create an alliance with them, I think that at first there will probably be a two on one imbalance of power (the Aki sisters don't seem too competitive or anything, but Hina will be a bit of a third wheel early on) but that will eventually even out since Hina will probably become a lot bigger, faith-wise.
She has a much larger sphere of influence and will have followers all year round, while the Aki sisters are mostly active in autumn due to harvest season and turning leaves.


But of course that all depends on them.
Maybe they're content with the current status qou and don't actually want to be bigger and risk the trouble of getting powerful rivals.
[X] Let's go talk to this group (specify).
-[X] The Hakurei-Scarlets. Or is it Scarlet-Hakureis?

It's been a while since we spoke with our old protagonist, here's to hoping we run into a certain gatekeeper!
>>23418
The best group to belong to. Let's see anyone bother reimu!
[X] Let's go talk to this group (specify).
-[X] The Hakurei-Scarlets. Or is it Scarlet-Hakureis?
[x] Let's talk to this group
-[x] The Aki Sisters
[x] Let's talk to this group
-[x] The Aki Sisters
[x] Let's talk to this group
-[x] The Aki Sisters
>>23405
[x] Work on that doctrine

Better to work this out first than to make alliances, but I suppose "ooh shiny" is in full effect.
>>23423
Agreed. If Aya and Hina are serious about this religion thing, they need to figure out the extent of Hina's powers and determine suitable forms of worship/offerings.

[x] Work on that doctrine
>>23423
>>23424
Thirded.

[x] Work on that doctrine
>>23417
If what you want is to be subordinate to no one, we can do that better without making a useless alliance.

[x] Work on that doctrine
[x] Work on that doctrine
[x] Work on that doctrine
[x] Work on that doctrine

Seems way too early to be looking for help. Does she even need it?
Okay, gonna count votes and call it now. Anyway, thanks for letting me off the hook there; I really wasn't feeling it. That said, I'm not saying a visit to the underground is never gonna happen ever; it just doesn't make sense right now as a basis for Hina's power. Maybe we can do some missionary work later, hm? I'll try and set things up so that it makes a bit more sense to visit there.

So:

Aki sisters- 10
Hakurei-Scarlets- 5
Byakuren- 1
Nah, work on Doctrine- 7

Visiting the Akis it is. Vote called, update later.
File 138178759786.jpg - (189.44KB, 850x638, the sisters.jpg) [iqdb]
23432
Hina taps her finger on the table, lost in thought. "You sort of skipped over the underground," she notes, "Why's that? I mean, to the best of my knowledge, no other faith has a presence down there, so..." Hina stops and blinks. "Are you okay Aya? You just got very pale."

I stare at Hina, unable to speak. My mind is revolting of the very concept of heading underground. The horrible, terrifying underground, full of spirits which can wipe out my identity in a second, tight and confined tunnels with no blue sky to be seen, and the ONI. Oni everywhere, big and tough and strong, and utterly convinced that they can do whatever they want. Which they can. I mean, are you gonna argue with one of those guys?! I'm sure not!

Okay, maybe it's a bit closed-minded of me, but I remember when the Oni called the shots, and I really don't want any reminders. There was no such thing as day of peace on the mountain back then; every single day was a loud party. Which sounds nice, but after the third week, a girl starts to want some peace and quiet, you know? I can just see it: down in the dark depths, with nowhere to fly, and this big lumbering guy starts shouting out orders, and your body starts to obey automatically, because it's the fucking ONI, what the hell do you do when something that powerful tells you what to do?! You get up and do it, and I don't wanna go back to that and-

Hina starts shaking me, a worried look on her face. "Aya! Snap out of it, Aya! You're freaking out on me!"

I take a deep, shuddering breath and swallow thickly. "I'd rather not go underground," I say weakly. "And anyway, the Oni aren't really the most devout of individuals. You'd need to impress them with a lot of strength to begin with, and in any case you wouldn't get a lot lot of devotion from them. A lot of effort for no gain, know what I mean?"

Hina gives me a searching look, then shrugs. "Fine by me. Honestly, I'd like to appeal to some humans first and then branch out into youkai, and I've heard some dark stories about the underground. Let's forget about it for now, okay?" I nod eagerly. "Anyway... what about the Akis? Do you think they'd be interested in a partnership?"

Oh boy! Something to think about that doesn't involve visiting the Oni! "It's worth thinking about," I admit in a voice that isn't the least bit shaky, no sir. "Like I said, you'd be starting out on more or less the same level as them, so it'd be more of a fair partnership."

"There's two of them and one of me," Hina muses, "but my level of strength tends to be a bit more stable overall. Plus, they're good-natured and accepted by humans. They could help me find greater acceptance."

"Pretty much stuff we went over already," I agree. "So... you wanna go talk to them, then?"

My goddess nods and stands up. "Worth a shot, anyway. Let's see what they think, and then go from there." I nod in agreement, and moments later the two of us are airborne, heading for the home of the Aki sisters."

********************************************

It really doesn't take too long for us to get there. The Aki sisters live in a grove near the base of the mountain, close enough be in its shadow, but far enough that the mountain youkai don't head out there. As opposed to Hina's lonely, abandoned shrine, there's a well-worn path leading from the human village to the Aki sisters' personal realm, though it looks a little neglected at the moment. One of the downsides of being seasonal gods, I suppose.

The realm of the Akis itself is permanently locked into autumn. The trees are dazzling, a riot of reds and oranges, while the few small fields here are always full of ripe crops, ready to be harvested. Gotta hand it to the Akis; they may not be terribly powerful gods in terms of personal strength, but they still have their moments. Only a god could have such a dramatic effect on the land.

...Maybe I should do a photo shoot here. Hina, and maybe the Akis if they're interested, laying in piles of fallen leaves, naked except for a few carefully-placed drifts, smiling at the camera with smiles full of lewd promises...

"Aya. You're drooling," Hina interrupts my thoughts with an unamused-sounding voice. She gives me a dark, knowing look. "I don't know what you're thinking about, but stop it." I just smile innocently. It's always time to think about pretty girls, as far as I'm concerned!

The two of us land on the edges of the Akis' grove, looking around. "They have a nice place," I note, "It's always pretty to fly over it when I'm heading out from the mountain."

"Yeah," Hina agrees, looking impressed as she takes in the scenery. "I'm not gonna lie, Aya; I feel kinda jealous."

I shrug. "That's one of the differences between you and the Akis," I point out, "They're more accessible than you, in more ways than one, but their influence is pretty much confined to fall. That could be a stumbling block in any deal with them."

"Maybe not," Hina muses, walking forward, "I've been thinking about that myself, and I have a few ideas there." I walk alongside her, giving Hina a curious look, but she doesn't say anything more. I shrug, and resign myself to waiting until she makes her thoughts clear.

Then I start to walk through a drift of leaves, and a pained yell comes out of it. "Gods DAMN it, move your damned foot!"

I yelp, and spring back. "Oh, geeze, sorry! I didn't know anyone was there!"

There's a rustling of leaves, and a blonde figure sits up in the innocuous pile of fallen leaves, looking up at me with a pained glare. Let's see... red-gold eyes, check. Short blonde, hair, check. Red dress with a leaf motif, check. The leaf in her hair pretty much clinches it. "Aha!" I declare, pointing in triumph, "You are none other than Shizuha Aki!"

The autumn goddess just gives me a flat glare, still rubbing her stomach. Then she starts to clap slowly, harshly. "Congratulations. I applaud your investigative abilities. Truly, you are a detective whose powers of deduction shall be renowned through the ages." Her tone is as flat as her expression, and tinged with irritation.

I frown a little bit. "You know, your tone suggests to me that you might be less than honest with those remarks."

"You'll have to excuse me," Shizuha grunts, getting to her feet, "I try to be good-humored with guests, but when someone jabs the heel of their damn shoe into my stomach..." she trails off, staring at my geta. "But seriously, how the hell do you balance on those things."

"Practice," I shrug.

"Of course." Shizuha shrugs and looks down at the pile of colorful, fallen leaves. "And just why were you stomping through a neat freshly-raked pile of leaves anyway?"

"Eheh..." I scratch my head in embarrassment, "I dunno. It just looked fun, I guess?" Shizuha sighs, running her stomach one last time, and I counter with a question of my own. "Why exactly were you lying in the pile, anyway."

"Er..." Shizuha actually blushes at this. "Well, it's relaxing. I mean, haven't you ever thought that it would be nice to lie down in a comfy pile of dried leaves and just nap the day away?" Hina and I look at each other, then back at her. "Well... it's what I do! Don't judge me!" Shizuha is blushing fiercely now, clearly embarrassed.

She's just so cute! Oh, I can definitely work photographic magic with this little lady.

"Well, let's just chalk it up to bad luck and move on, okay?" I suggest, holding out my hand companionably.

Shizuha starts to take it, then pauses when she finally realizes that Hina is there with me, breathing a bit heavier then normal. The leaf goddess frowns, and opens her mouth to say something when-

"Don't even think about it!"

-a sharp voice causes her to freeze, comment dying on her lips. Slowly, Shizuha turns in place as her sister (the younger one, apparently) comes marching towards us. Point of order, the Aki sisters are both beautiful women. But where Shizuha has this more austere, delicate, doll-like beauty to her, Minoriko has a more familiar, earthy allure. Warm, inviting smile. Confident gait and posture. Gorgeous tracts of land, as they say.

Right now, Minoriko's inviting smile is directed towards Hina and myself. However, it quickly shifts to a a stern, scolding frown as she looks at her sister. "Shizu, you know better than to believe rumors like that! Come on, this is no way to treat guests!"

Shizuha doesn't say anything, just looking away from her younger sister. "Sorry," she mumbles, and starts to walk away. Minoriko watches as Shizuha walks away, a look of deep concern etched on her features. A similar, sympathetic expression adorn Hina's own face.

Finally, the harvest goddess sighs and turns to us with a polite bow. "I apologize for that," Minoriko says, "This really isn't Shizuha's season, so she tends to get a little bit moody."

"You seem as cheerful as ever," Hina notes with a gentle smile.

Minoriko shrugs. "Harvest goddess. People always appreciate good food. But changing the colors of leaves? Not exactly something that draws in a ton of faith, you know what I mean? It gets to her, from time to time."

"I understand completely," Hina says with a nod. "But thank you for not believing those rumors about me."

"Time was, people would appreciate someone who took away bad luck. What a world, huh?" Minoriko shakes her head ruefully. "Anyway, welcome to our home! What can I do for the two of you?"


[ ] Do I have a business deal for you!
[ ] Actually, we should go get your sister first.
[ ] Mind if we talk about this over tea or something?
[ ] Can I... take a picture?
[x] Mind if we talk about this over tea or something?
[x] Actually, we should go get your sister first.
She's not just turning the color of the leaves, she's the harbinger of autumn! Without her influence the new station would not come to pass!
[x] Do I have a business deal for you!
-[x] How'd you like to be part of the new and burgeoning Pagan Faction?!

Seriously, it makes sense. These're gods you pray to not because of a doctrine but because you want something broad yet simple, such as bountiful harvests or removal of misfortune.
[] Mind if we talk about this over tea or something?
> Pagan Faction
The description sounds more like a guild.
a guild of merchant gods
[ ] Mind if we talk about this over tea or something?
[x] Mind if we talk about this over tea or something?
[x] Mind if we talk about this over tea or something?

Teeeeeaaaaaaaaa...
[x] Actually, we should go get your sister first.

So are here for the Aki sisters or the Aki sister?
[X] Actually, we should go get your sister first.

Best talk it over with both of them
[x] Mind if we talk about this over tea or something?
-[x] Actually, we should go get your sister first.

We want to talk to both of them about this idea, and it will take some time.


Also, I've been thinking about something so there will be a bit of wall o' texting going on in this post, but first of all:

>haven't you ever thought that it would be nice to lie down in a comfy pile of dried leaves and just nap the day away?

I would totally do that.
Imagine one of those perfect early to mid autumn days. The air is pleasantly cool, but the sun is still barely warm enough to keep you from being actually cold.
Especially with the leaves insulating to keep some of your body heat inside the pile, and then there is a slight rustle as a calm wind touches the leaves around you and you drift away into a half-sleep.

Too bad I live in a pretty cold climate so those days are almost impossible to get here.
But hell, cold or not, I'm tempted to go see if there are any leaves to rake just to take a nap on them anyway.


Anyway, I was just thinking.. Assuming they agree and the votes wills it:
If they become something like a pantheon, even it's just the three of them, would that mean they sort of share a pool of faith?
I mean, the old polytheistic religions like the greco-roman or nordic pantheons were sort of like "you believe in all the gods, but pray to individual gods for more specific blessings".
I'm guessing the sisters already sort of share faith (assuming it works that way) since Shizuha is active, if cranky, even though she's not exactly getting a lot of faith right now with no leaves to change.

When Hina gets back on the right track, she would help make their "faith income" much more stable. Minoriko gets some faith all year because people always appreciate good food, but I'm guessing she gets most of her faith during harvest season, with some extra during planting season (since you won't get a good harvest if your fields aren't planted properly).
Hina, on the other hand, would have a very stable and constant flow of faith since (at least minor) misfortune is a part of life all day, every day. She won't have the same peaks as the sisters, but probably a higher average.
>>23444
There's also a bit of synergy between harvest and misfortune, basically Minoriko takes way the misfortune (possibly from the field) while Minoriko blesses it.
Calling votes. Negotiations over tea shall commence. Later today.
[x] Mind if we talk about this over tea or something?
-[x] Actually, we should go get your sister first.

I must admit, before this and Pleasant Meadows I never really thought of Hina as actually getting off on bad luck. I mean,it makes sense, but I never really thought of it.

Although I never really gave Hina much thought at all before Pleasant Meadows, so thank you for opening my eyes up to the possibilities for her.
>>23449
Yeah, I thought about that when the idea was originally brought up.
Minoriko brings fortune in the form of a good harvest, Hina removes misfortune.
They approach from different directions but reach the same general goal.

>>23451
I don't think it's so much "getting off" on bad luck, just... The literal reason for her existence is to remove misfortune.
It's more like throwing a ball in front of a dog, but it can't run after it until you say so. Every part of her is going "Ball! Ball! Fetch! Ball! Misfortune! Get it! Remove it!", but she's not as impulsive as Aya, so she wouldn't just sexually assault people to steal their misfortune.
File 138187710428.jpg - (433.96KB, 700x990, ayas thoughts on the matter.jpg) [iqdb]
23453
Hina pauses, trying to figure out how to put our proposal into words, and I clear my throat. "Actually Miss Aki, do you mind if we discuss this over some tea or something? It's... kind of a big deal, y'know?"

Minoriko stares at me like I just grew another head. " 'Miss Aki?'" she echoes me, "Geeze, if you're acting all formal, it must be something big!"

"I can totally act all formal if I need to!" I protest, feeling a little affronted.

"Oh sure, it's just that you actually feel the need to do so here that throws me." Minoriko shakes her head. "Anyway, sure! I'll put something on and we can talk." Turning around and gesturing for us to follow, the harvest goddess makes her way towards a table set outside of her quaint home.

I follow along, fuming a little bit. I can totally be polite! I can totally be the very picture of formality and regality. I just don't want to, usually. It's dull. Doesn't mean I can't do it. Stupid Minoriko...

Hina just giggles a little bit and pats me on the shoulder, leading me in Minoriko's wake.

Hina and I take a seat at the table alongside a somewhat surprised-looking Shizuha, who shifts awkwardly while Hina gives her a benign smile. Minoriko hustles inside to get some snacks, leaving us alone with the elder sister.

"So..." Shizuha begins, before stopping awkwardly. "Um... what I mean to say is... sorry." She bows her head. "I know better, Miss Kagiyama. I know you don't bring misfortune, or anything like that. I was just-"

"Don't worry about that," Hina says warmly. "I understand, and I'm working against that stereotype right now. Besides, this is a rough time of year for you, isn't it?"

Shizuha sighs. "Yeah. Yeah it is. Really, any time of year that isn't fall is kinda rough on me."

"That's exactly what we want to talk to you and your sister about!" I say with my best smile.

"Talk about what now?" Minoriko asks, coming back out of the house with some tea and snacks.

"Me. You. Shizuha." Hina shrugs. "Really, our mutual situation as regards the faith we receive. Or the lack thereof, rather." The Akis grunt as Minoriko sets the snack down on the table. They know damn well where Hina's coming from.

There's moment of silence as the four of us sip tea and nibble on these absolutely delicious little pastries. Maple flavored. "Gotta hand it too you, Miss Aki, you sure know how to cook!" I inform the harvest goddess.

"I always have some food in hand in case of guests!" Minoriko chirps happily.

Shizuha stares at me. "Wait. Did you just call her 'Miss Aki?' Did I hear that right?"

I grumble in irritation. "I can have some manners, you know... But never mind that!" I fold my hands on the table and face both of the Akis sisters. Please allow me to explain the situation. As you may have heard, Hina recently went through a very personally troubling experience..."

It takes a few minutes to get the Akis up to speed on what's been happening. Hina's being manipulated by Rinnosuke, the tengu peoples' feelings of regret, my final vindication from the clutches of ever-so-slightly overzealous legal bureaucrats... pretty much the whole story.

"Huh. And here I thought you were just creepy by nature," Shizuha comments, raising an eyebrow as she looks at me.

"I'm not creepy!" I wail, "I just got a little carried away by an adorable bundle of newsworthy material! I said I was sorry! Give me a break here!"

"How about you, Hina?" Minoriko asks, patting the misfortune goddess' hand in concern, "Are you holding up all right?"

Hina nods. "I'm doing much better, thank you. I think I can finally face the future, having let go of the bitterness of the past."

"And now the tengu are helping you build up your faith," Minoriko notes. "That's great! I'm glad you're finally getting the recognition you deserve! Heck, I'm kinda jealous!" In fact, the harvest goddess' smile is a tad strained at the sides, while Shizuha is staring off into the distance, looking forlorn.

"Well..." Hina takes a deep breath, "That's actually what we wanted to talk to the two of you about."

I grin. "How about it? You two want to form a pantheon with Hina?"

The sisters of autumn just stare blankly for a moment, letting my words sink in, before Shizuha utters an eloquent "Huh?"

"See, here's the deal," I start to sketch on the table randomly with my index finger. "Hina isn't exactly a big-time goddess, right? Plus, humanity in general doesn't trust her due to the whole thing with misfortune. Same deal with youkai. It's gonna be an uphill battle to get a decent religion up and running." The sisters nod at this.

"There's also the reality that the big players are already in competition for most of the existing faith," Hina adds, "So they won't be really happy if I suddenly start gathering followers." The sisters nod again. "Anyway, Aya and I were discussing the idea of tying myself to one of the larger players in Gensokyo, offering my services in exchange for some extra faith. Of course, that would involve becoming their subordinate, which I really don't like. And then we thought of you."

Hina smiles hopefully, and I lean over the table with a huge grin. "How about it, you two? Wanna form a triumvirate of lovely goddesses along with Hina? Why work for one of the big factions when you can start your own?"

Minoriko blinks, mouth working silently, while Shizuha looks thoughtful. "W-wait a sec! This makes no sense at all!"

"On the contrary. It makes perfect sense." Shizuha looks at the two of us with a surprisingly calculating look in her eyes. "We're all pretty low on the totem pole, so to speak. But on the other hand, we're all a lot closer to humans than some of the more powerful holy beings in Gensokyo. Rather than dealing with the big questions, we deal with things much closer to the heart of the average human."

"That's what I was thinking," I say thoughtfully. "I mean, Kanano and Suwako are trying to present themselves as the mightiest gods in Gensokyo, Byakuren is all about peace and harmony, the Taoists have their own message, and Reimu..." I hesitate. "...is Reimu." There are a few chuckles at this.

"I think I see what you mean," Minoriko says slowly. "Most of the farmers I talk to aren't too concerned about the big picture. They're more worried about, well, their harvest turning out alright. But more than that, they want their family to be healthy, they want to get a good deal at the market... that sort of thing!"

"Pretty much," Hina nods, "and that's what some of the big players kind of miss. They look at the big picture, while there's a lot of little day-to-day issues that don't get tended to." She smiles. "That's where we come in."

I jump back into the conversation. "See, one time I read this outsider book, I forget the name, but it had this goddess in it, see? She was the goddess of something silly, like drawers getting jammed shut, and she only had one part-time priestess. Anyway, this guy was putting together a business, and her needed a patron goddess, so he got her to do it, and started advertising for her in return. The thing is, everyone has a drawer that gets jammed shut. All of a sudden, her priestess got drowned by donations, and this goddess was one of the big players in her home city. Because she did the little things people needed on a day-to-day business."

"If we pooled our resources, it'd benefit us all," Hina notes. "I would probably have a higher steady rate of faith due to taking people's misfortune away, while you two would have big influxes every fall."

"Still, I don't really see how a misfortune goddess, a harvest goddess, and a leaf goddess all go together," Minoriko says hesitantly. "I mean, the two of us are both fall deities, but how does that go together with misfortune?"

"It's more about day to day concerns," Shizuha reminds her sister. "Besides, this is Gensokyo. It's all about stretching your area of focus as far as it can go. Look at Hina." Shizuha turns to face the misfortune goddess in question. "You're all about taking bad luck away. That means, by definition, you allow good luck to enter. With just a little bit of faith, you become a luck goddess. That's something useful all year around." Shizuha turns to her sister. "As for you, Mino, you're a deity who's all about good food. Good cooking, good drink, healthy living. You're basically a health goddess in all but name. That's something people would follow, and not just in the fall."Minoriko looks a bit thoughtful at this.

"What about you, Shizuha?" Hina asks, "How far could we push your area of influence?"

The elder Aki chuckles weakly. "Not all that far, I'm afraid. I mean, I make leaves turn colors. That really doesn't lend itself to anything else."

"Bullshit." Minoriko suddenly stands up, a determined look on her face. "I'll tell you what you can do, Shizu. Just wait here." Spinning around, Minoriko marches into her house while the rest of us look after her in bemusement. Minutes later, she re-emerges with a huge smile on her face, and what appears to be a painting in her hand.

"Ah, that's...!" Shizuha's face turns as red as some of her leaves, while Hina and I are entranced by the painting itself.

It's beautiful. That's the only word for it. It's a painting of the mountain in the grips of fall, and it looks real enough to be a photograph from the most advanced camera the kappa have ever dreamed of. The swirl of oranges and reds, the blue of the skies... heck, I think I even see a bit of the tengu village!

"Shizuha made this?" Hina asks wonderingly.

"Why so surprised?" Minoriko asks smugly, beaming at Shizuha. "Shizu paints all of the leaves every fall, and does an amazing job! Of course she's a great artist! One who enjoys nice, peaceful contemplation, capturing the scenery while sipping some tea."

I snap my fingers. "Patron goddess of artists. There ya go. Gensokyo doesn't have one of those."

"N-now wait a minute!" Shizuha sputters, utterly embarrassed. She starts arguing with her sister, Hina tries to edge into the conversation, and I just sit there with a smirk on my face, wondering just how far we can take this.



[ ] Write-in: Commentary on what the three goddesses could do. Any more ideas?
At some point we should have Aya make some explanatory pamphlets and visit infidels with them.
[ ] Write-in:
1. Build a branch shire for Hina close to the sisters.
This means that they share worshipers and Hina can take away the sisters misfortune. Hina gets a more accessible location and more worshipers on peak season.
Keep the old shire for the Youki and the old shire for the humans. it will appease the humans who don't have to worry about Youki.

2. share Aya
Aya is supposed to help Hina and with an alliance, what helps the sisters help Hina. there for Aya can be justified helping the sisters.

3. Make a schedule/plans
This could be that start of a market place of faith so consider how new members are to join along with working out the minor details.
-[x] These ideas are good for a start but now we should work in our doctrines-specially Hina
-[x] Also, how about making a branch of Hina's temple right here? It'd be mainly for humans and attended in different days than the old branch, which will be for Youkai (although humans and Youkai can come to the wrong place if it is an emergency)
>>23455

[X] What dis nigga said
> Keep the old shire for the Youki and the new shire for the humans. it will appease the humans who don't have to worry about Youki.
fixed
[ ] Write-in:
1. Build a branch shire for Hina close to the sisters.
This means that they share worshipers and Hina can take away the sisters misfortune. Hina gets a more accessible location and more worshipers on peak season.
Keep the old shire for the Youki and the old shire for the humans. it will appease the humans who don't have to worry about Youki.

2. share Aya
Aya is supposed to help Hina and with an alliance, what helps the sisters help Hina. there for Aya can be justified helping the sisters.

3. Make a schedule/plans
This could be that start of a market place of faith so consider how new members are to join along with working out the minor details.

[x{ Become inspired by the painting. You know that you can do something like that with your camera. You just know it.
>shire

This is probably just me nitpicking, but now I can't help but imagine that Hina lives amongst a cheery community of small, furry-footed burrowers.

Anyway.

[x] Become inspired by the painting. You know that you can do something like that with your camera. You just know it.

[x] Suggest the possibility of a joint shrine somewhere nearby. If they float the idea of a branch shrine of Hina's on their territory, go for it.
-[x] Hash out the details of how best to set this sort of thing up: shrine logistics, services, marketing.

[x] Look for ways to really differentiate from the Gods on the Mountains. Think of ways to set up convenient ways for busy farm-folk to put in a few words of prayer through the day
-[x] Prayer wheels or cylinders might work well for Hina, for instance! Spinning and all that.

I think playing King of Dragon's Pass has got me thinking in terms of tulas, but asking for a place on a new ally's turf straight out the gate might be pushing it.

(Also, Exalted Prayertech, I've been looking at it.)
....

Just going to say: Best Discworld reference.
a mix of >>23456 and >>23460

We do need to on that doctrine.
[X] Suggest the possibility of a joint shrine somewhere nearby.
-[X] If they float the idea of a branch shrine of Hina's on their territory, go for it.
-[X] Hash out the details of how best to set this sort of thing up: shrine logistics, services, marketing.

[X] Make talismans, charms, or something similarly portable for farmers and such to carry with them.

I don't have much in the way of ideas for this one, so I'm just refining some earlier ones.
[X] Suggest the possibility of a joint shrine somewhere nearby.
-[X] If they float the idea of a branch shrine of Hina's on their territory, go for it.
-[X] Hash out the details of how best to set this sort of thing up: shrine logistics, services, marketing.

[X] Make talismans, charms, or something similarly portable for farmers and such to carry with them.


I'm assuming doctrine, that some people wanted to discuss, is included in "hash out the details".
But yeah, sounds good to me.
What do you mean, they don't fit together?

They're all thematically linked by the concept of cycles and rotation.
>>23465
...True, that.

Personally I also find the end of Autumn to be the worst time of the year as well, so you can link in misfortune there I suppose.
>>23465
THE GODDESSES OF (POSITIVE) CHANGE
I really wish I had the creativity able to come up with a great write in, but since I don't...

[x]Bandwagon. Specifically:


[X] Suggest the possibility of a joint shrine somewhere nearby.
-[X] If they float the idea of a branch shrine of Hina's on their territory, go for it.
-[X] Hash out the details of how best to set this sort of thing up: shrine logistics, services, marketing.

[X] Make talismans, charms, or something similarly portable for farmers and such to carry with them.
Mmmkay, got some good stuff here. I'll start writing an update.

Also, just as a head's up, my schedule over the next few days will be kinda manic, so my update rate will likely suffer a bit. Unavoidable, sadly.
File 138196041277.jpg - (192.41KB, 683x900, deal or no deal.jpg) [iqdb]
23470
I watch the discussion for a little while, thoughts running madly. This has potential. In fact, this has a lot of potential. However, if we go through with this, there's gonna be a lot of stuff to go through. This really expands my job, but who cares? I'm on the verge of helping a brand-spanking new faction form in Gensokyo! I'm in the thick of politics, baby!

...And when I finally get my newspaper back, just think of the articles I'll get to write! Ooohh, I'm trembling just thinking about it.

"Aya?" I'm jolted out of my haze yet again by Hina, who is giving me a worried glance while the Aki sisters look on curiously. "You have that drooling, spacy look on your face again. Should we be worried?"

"I am totally not drooling!" I protest, wiping my totally not damp lips. "I was just thinking that if this pans out, I'll get to write one hell of an article in my newspaper. A special report, even! Heck, I might even write a book!"

"Sheesh, you're the most excited person here," Shizuha comments.

"Breaking news excites me," I say simply. "Among many other things. But never mind that! From the looks of things, the three of you are more than a little bit interested in this little idea of Hina's, yes?"

Shizuha nods slowly. "I'm really sick of being a nearly powerless goddess. This could work for us. In fact, this could work for all of us very well."

"It sounds like a lot of work, but since when has that ever stopped me?" Minoriko looks thoughtful. "I mean, I miss the good old days when I was a big-time harvest goddess, you know?"

"Well, it was my idea, and I stand by it," Hina says with a smile. "I think the three of us have a lot to offer each other. Assuming Minoriko and Shizuha want to form an alliance, that is." I glance over at the Aki sisters, who seem to be mulling over the idea in their heads. Well, it is a big step for the two of them, so I might need to sell them on the idea a little more. But first...

"I had a few ideas I wanted you ladies to consider," I say, snatching another one of those delicious, maple-flavored pastries. "See, if the three of you really do want to form a pantheon, you need to think about the structure, y'know? I mean that literally, too." It looks like I have their attention, so I press on. "The first thing to consider is shrines. Now, given that you all embody different things, it's not unreasonable to want your own shrines. I mean you Akis have yours and Hina has hers. On the other hand, it's a lot more logical to have one shrine at a central location that all of the people can visit."

"I see what you mean," Shizuha nods. "As much as I love the brilliant colors of our home, it might not appeal to worshipers who want more than gods of the fall."

"Likewise, why would you go all the way to youkai mountain to say a prayer to Shizuha and Minoriko," Hina adds. She frowns. "Honestly, this is exactly what I was thinking about earlier. Moving my shrine, I mean."

"Well, it's something to consider," I shrug. "Maybe you girls want to keep your private homes but have a centralized place for worship? You also need to figure out clergy. There's stuff to consider anyway, like location, form, function, the whole nine yards. But if you really wanna do this thing, it's something to keep in mind. I mean, Hina has a hard take getting visitors as it is."

"What about setting up a branch shrine on our property?" Shizuha asks Hina.

The misfortune goddess shrugs. "It's certainly an idea. As I said, I have been toying with the idea of moving my shrine anyway, so that might even mean me moving here altogether. On the other hand, that could also cause some complications with regards to your connection to fall."

"Then again, we're also trying to expand your respective areas of influence," I point out.

Minoriko nods. "It's something to think about, anyway. What else was on your mind?"

"Well, that's just it, really. I mean, you guys have a lot to work out when setting up a religion. Doctrine, services, that sorta thing." I pull out my notepad and frown at it. "Honestly, that's the sorta thing I've been thinking about all this time. But we can tackle each of those in turn. It's just best to keep it in mind."

"Shrine services..." Shizuha muses. "Yeah, Mino already goes out to help the farmers around harvest time. It's part of how we keep ourselves visible. But then there's Hina's service of removing misfortune to boot, and whatever else we think we can provide."

"Yeah," I nod. "I mean, you've got your talismans and charms, your blessings, wedding ceremonies, trinkets you sell to people to make money for the shrine... that sort of thing."

Minoriko looks a bit overwhelmed. "This... sounds like a lot of work," she says dazedly.

"It is," Hina agrees, setting her hands flat on the table. "I came here because going it alone might be a little rocky for me. On the other hand, if we do this together, there's going to be some work to be done in making our various spheres of influence work well together. This could end very well. This could end poorly. I'd just like to know what you two think of all of this. Do we form a religion together, or do we go our separate ways?"

The Aki sisters look at each other, engaging in a silent communication, while Hina and I look on silently. This is the big one: do we side with the Akis or not?



[ ] Join with the Aki sisters.
[ ] Don't join with the Aki sisters; seek someone else out instead (specify).
[ ] Don't join with the Aki sisters; go it alone.


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

So, I'm going to give people some time to think this one over. Basically, making a deal with the Akis is full of potential, but it means sharing the spotlight with them a little. On the other hand, it's easier to work as a group than to do things all on your lonesome; three goddesses get more attention than just one.

Rest assured, even if you do decide to stand with the Akis, Hina will still be center stage; it's not like she needs to live with the Akis to cooperate with them! This is just a vote to see if you like the Akis as I've written them and want to work with them, or would rather Hina do this on her own (or with another group).

Feel free to discuss, and take your time. I'm gonna be pretty busy, anyway.
[x]Join with the Aki Sisters

TIME TO TAKE THE WORLD BY STORM!
[X] Join with the Aki sisters.

I don't see why a lot of work would stop us. It will probably slow us down, but with three times the power behind it? This is the right path.
[x]Join with the Aki Sisters
>>23470
>[X] Join with the Aki sisters.
Let's make this threesome a thing.
[X] Join with the Aki sisters.

Not only are they absolutely lovely here, I'm not even seeing any major downsides with teaming up. Everyone wins!
[X] Join with the Aki sisters.

Alright, let's group up!
[X] Join with the Aki sisters.

Side note: How is the whole "Aya getting her newspaper back" thing supposed to work exactly?
> How is the whole "Aya getting her newspaper back" thing supposed to work exactly?

Testimonial from Reimu? She's a news junkie if SoPM is any indication.
[x] Join away!
[x] Join with the Aki Sisters.

All for one. One for All.
[x] Join with the Aki sisters.
[x] Inspired, painting, beautiful photographs, etc.
[x] Join with the Aki Sisters.

The akis could use more spot light anyways.
[x] Join with the Aki Sisters.
[x] Join with the Aki Sisters.

I haven't seen any of your characters that I didn't like so far, so I'm definitely okay with more of the Aki sisters.
Besides, they are kind of underrepresented so it's nice to see them get some attention too.


>>23477
Well, I'd say it's partly just her rebuilding her home (including office and printing press), but I think it's also up to the Tengu to decide when she's learned her lesson.
Basically, she's on parole right now. Once she's behaved well enough for long enough she can get her old life back, as long as she avoids causing any more incidents, of course.
[x] Join with the Aki Sisters.
All hail Keymaster, the hero of the underdogs!
[x] Join with the Aki Sisters.

Might as well call the vote right now, Keymaster. It looks unanimous.
>>23486

You seem to have a point.

It's official: we are joining up with the Akis! Update will be delayed, due to life currently kicking me in the nads. The only bright side is that it shall pass. Eventually.

>>23461

Praise to Anoia. Just not as much as Hina or the Akis.
Take your time, Keymaster. Though I admit I've gotten spoiled a bit by your rapid updating pace, I don't begrudge you for needing some time off. I only wish I could write both as fast and as well as you. Good luck with whatever came up.
File 138214157972.jpg - (158.30KB, 473x650, aki brand ale.jpg) [iqdb]
23489
For a long moment, there is silence in the home of the Aki sisters as Minoriko and Shizuha look deep into one another's eyes. It's the type of communication that only close siblings can pull off. Finally, they turn back to look at us, expressions blank.

Then a smile crosses Minoriko's face. "Count us in," she says.

Shizuha nods. "Gensokyo isn't going to know what hit it. Let's do this!"

Hina grins broadly. "I was hoping you two would say that!" She holds out her hand. "It's a deal, then?"

Shizuha and Minoriko both grasp Hina's hand, smiling with excitement. "Deal!" they say as one.

I find myself laughing, full belly-laughs from the depths of my gut. "Oh, man!" I gasp out, pounding the table. "This is fantastic! It's beyond my wildest dreams! Oh boy, your three are gonna take this place by storm, I can just tell!" I look up with a huge grin on my face. "And of course, I'll be there to help out along the way! It's my job, after all."

Shizuha snorts. "And of course, it has nothing to do with the stories you'll be able to publish, right?"

I look at the crazy mad-goddess. "You kidding me? That's one of the biggest reasons I'm so behind this! It's just that I also happen to want to help Hina out. You two, as well." I puff out my chest. "A woman can not be defined by a single motivation. Nay, one can have multiple motivations, all working in concert!"

Minoriko looks amused. "Well, we can't argue with that, can we?"

"Nope," Hina agrees cheerfully, "Aya wouldn't let you, anyway."

"You guys suck," I pout. "What, is it pick on Aya week or something?"

Hina reaches over and pats my head. "There, there. I tease because we're friends. You know that!"

"...I'm only forgiving you because you're so nice," I inform the misfortune goddess. I then turn my attention to the three deities in general. "So! We got a lot of work ahead of us, huh?"

"You got that right," Minoriko snorts. "Where do we start, anyway?"

I wave her off. "One thing at a time. If we do too much at once, we'll overwhelm ourselves. I'll put together a list, and you three can work out your priorities. But first: this calls for a celebration! To the new faction of Gensokyo: the Three Goddesses of Hotness!"

Shizuha rolls her eyes. "Yeah. No. We aren't calling ourselves that."

"It's a working title," I say innocently.

"Your working titles need some work themselves," Hina chuckles. "Still... maybe this does call for a celebration, hm?"

"Absolutely!" Minoriko declares, clenching her fist in excitement. "You guys, we're doing something big here! Something that'll change our lives forever! Hell yes, we gotta celebrate!" She pauses. "Besides, it's Gensokyo. Since when have we needed and excuse to drink?"

Oh, I think I'm gonna get along just fine with Minoriko!

***************************************************************

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1tLG_JIFGE)

So, the Aki sisters have a very nice house. Comfy and homey, with comfortable furnishings and tasteful decorations. Not to mention a kappa-designed refrigerator stocked full of all the fixings for a huge meal, and a wine cabinet full of Minoriko's finest concoctions. Turns out that the goddess can make wine from just about anything. Good wine, at that. Sheesh, we should turn her into a patron of alcohol and see if that lures any Oni to our side.

Except not really, because the Oni terrify me.

But it any case, the three of us sit around the living room, glasses raised in a toast to the newly founded Association of Three Goddess. Working title, Minoriko's idea. Girl seriously needs to re-calibrate her naming sense, if you ask me.

"To a productive future!" Minoriko declares.

"To new friends and agreements," says Shizuha.

"To finding hope for the future," puts in Hina.

I grin. "To good drink and good food, not to mention great parties!" is my toast.

Minoriko nods at that, smirking. "Now that I can drink to." Then she downs her entire glass in one go before pouring herself another. I take a sip of mine, enjoying the flavor, when the harvest goddess snorts and tilts my glass back, forcing me to down it all. "You gotta slam it back to get the full effect! Sheesh, and I thought you tengu were drinkers!"

Wow. She ain't kidding. This stuff is potent, but it leaves a nice taste of berries in your mouth. I normally hate aftertastes, bu this stuff makes it feel like you're having a meal! I gotta get some more of this.

Shizuha rolls her eyes at Minoriko and me. "Great. So those two are about to get totally plastered on our watch. What do we do, Hina?"

The misfortune goddess thinks it over, then slams the whole glass down. "Join in?" she suggests merrily.

Shizuha stares at her, then smirks. "Why the fuck not." Then Shizuha is the fourth of our group to down a full glass of wine in one go.

Things kinda go downhill from there. Or uphill, depending on your interpretation.

It starts with the four of us guzzling down Minoriko's wine while stuffing our faces. The stuff's potent, no two ways about it. Somewhere along the way, it comes up that Hina regards her spinning as a form of dance, in tune with nature. Shizuha soon reveals that she's always enjoyed watching dancing. Which is how things reach the next stage.

"Yeah, baby, just like that!" the incredibly drunk leaf goddess hoots as Hina gracefully spins on a table, face red from the booze and ribbons flying out as she spins and giggles and she looks so pretty heehee hey Hina gimme a hug.

"You guysh are shuch pigsh," Minoriko slurs out. Yep. Slurs. She actually gets a lisp while drinking. I'd laugh at it, but Hina's doing graceful things and looking hot. And Shizuha getting all hot and bothered over it. Or just enjoying it way too much. I dunno. Same thing.

Man, my head is spinning. And it's hot in here. "Oi, Minomino," I call over to Minomino, who's lost her hat somewhere I dunno where an' I don't care, "What the hell's in that booze you fed us, anyway?"

"Alcohol," Minoriko grunts back.

"No shit," I laugh, trying not to giggle, "I figured that from the way my head's spinning. I mean, damn, girl! What did you lace that stuff with?"

Minoriko giggles. "More alcohol. Lotsh of it."

This woman is a godsdamned genius.

"Everybody shut up," Shizuha complains, "I'm watching Hina do stuff." I turn my head to see Hina doing stuff. Hina stuff. Spinny stuff. Graceful stuff. Pretty stuff.

"Needs a miniskirt," I say.

"Pfff," Shizuha scoffs, "S'all nice and graceful-like. Quit complainin', tengu."

"Is it so wrong I wanna see some of Hina's legs?!" I demand, affronted. Stupid Shizuha. They're right there, and you act like you aren't affected. Pshaw, I say! Then I have another drink.

Man, I got a buzz going.

"I can do that, too!" Minoriko shouts, then she jumps to her feet and starts spinning. And gets dizzy and falls down, 'cause she ain't Hina with her awesome spinny-ness power and stuff. But she does make good booze, so it's all good.

Hina's giggling. I think she's having a good time. Man, she's hot.

"I can do that, too!" I yell out, suddenly remembering my spinny gift from Hina, and I hop onto the table next to her and start spinning, too. But faster, because man I am pumped up right now! Spin, spin, spin... oh, and Hina's laughing and spinning faster, too! It's a spin contest. 'Cause Hina spins me right round baby, right round like a... spinny round thingy. I dunno, I only heard the song once.

Hey! Shizuha's cheering me on, too! Sweet! Wait, she's saying something. "Yeah, just like that! Let's see some goodies!" Hey, is she checking me out? He eyes are fixed on my legs, but they're climbing awfully high...

Oh. Wait. I have a shorter skirt than Hina's. Huh. I feel like this should bother me a lot more than it is, but I'm really drunk, and spinning is so fun~! Eh, Shizuha's drunk, too. She'll forget it in the morning. Proabably.

That's right, Shizu, only special people get to see my special stuff~! Are you a special enough goddess to check me out? All signs point to no!

Then I stumble, trip, and land on my head. Hina lands on me and starts laughing. Then Minoriko tackles Shizuha and starts running around the room with her, yelling about playing battering ram. I decide that it's time to drink some more to get rid of my headache.

Things get very blurry after that.

****************************************************

Oh, fuck, my head... where am I? Wait, wait... Aki sisters' house. I remember that much. Damn, but Minoriko brews some heavy-duty booze.

...Why am I lying on the floor?

Why am I in someone else's clothes?

I'm wearing Shizuha's outfit. And Shizuha is pressed up against my back, hugging me, and snoring. Loudly. Also, she appears to be in her underwear.

Oh god, I think I was flirting with her last night. I really gotta learn some control. Had fun, though! From what I can remember, anyhow.

Hina's sprawled out on the couch, apparently wearing my shirt as a scarf. She looks surprisingly peaceful in her alcohol-induced slumber. Minoriko is laying face-down on the floor, as stiff as a plank. I'd worry, but it sounds like she's snoring, too. Good view of her butt, though. I wonder where my skirt went?

I... I don't think it's even night fall yet. Crap, but we went all-out.

Wait... I think I'm still a bit drunk. Yep, room's spinning. And a pretty girl is laying next to me. Screw it, I'll take it. Aya is signing off for the day, world!

Night night~

Zzzzz......

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

SYSTEM UPDATE: You are now officially allied with the Aki sisters! Together, perhaps you can form a religion that will shake Gensokyo's very foundations!

HINA STATUS: Drunk.

AYA STATUS: Drunk.

MINORIKO STATUS: Drunk.

SHIZUHA STATUS: Drunk.

KEYMASTER STATUS: Wishes to be drunk.

WORSHIPERS: Nitori, plus some human farmers on the Aki side of things.



THE LIST:

[ ] The shrine(s). We really gotta sort that out.
[ ] Public relations.
-[ ] Improving Hina's image.
-[ ] Advertising services.
-[ ] Getting followers.
--[ ] An encountered named character (Specify: Kasen, Akyuu, etc.)
--[ ] The kappa.
--[ ] Other.
[ ] How big should you grow?
[ ] Working out services to offer.
[ ] Should we get a clergy at some point?
[ ] Internal matters: We should put together a doctrine...

NOTE: Pick one of the above. Each one is complicated enough on its own to work through. Take pity on your poor writer.
File 13821425699.png - (72.68KB, 202x332, MikoOfMisfortune.png) [iqdb]
23490
[X] Should we get a clergy at some point?
-[X] Appoint Aya as head miko. Get her some miko robes (pic relevant) and a gohei or onusa. Put Hina's spiral logo on the robes.
[x] The shrine(s). We really gotta sort that out.
First things first Although Miko Aya is adorable
[x] The shrine(s). We really gotta sort that out.

Having a place to go is important.
[x] The shrine(s). We really gotta sort that out.
[X] The shrine(s). We really gotta sort that out.
[X] Internal matters: We should put together a doctrine...

This is Really important. Without an actual Doctrine, there's no way for the worshippers to actually, you know, Worship the three goddesses. And now that they've allied, they truly Need to define this. Setting up an actual Doctrine is the first step on the path to gaining Faith, after all!
[X] Should we get a clergy at some point?
-[X] Appoint Aya as head miko. Get her some miko robes (pic relevant) and a gohei or onusa. Put Hina's spiral logo on the robes.

I like this plan
[x] The shrine(s). We really gotta sort that out.
-[X] Appoint Aya as a (tentative) head miko. Eventually get her some miko robes and a gohei or onusa with logos, but for now prioritize the shrine its self.

These also go together thematically. We don't need to worry about a full clergy for now, just being able to say that they have a miko is enough.

I really want to see everyone's reaction when Aya tells them she's become a miko. Especially Meiling and Reimu. Just thinking about it has me all excited.
[X] Internal matters: We should put together a doctrine...

What is it with people and ignoring the important stuff in favor of whatever's shiney? The sooner we work this out, the better everything else will work out. I just know someone will go asking about it and then laughing when it's revealed it's been neglected.
>>23495
>>23498

Any suggestions? The way I see it these are goddesses with a faith no more complex than "give faith, get blessings."
[X] Internal matters: We should put together a doctrine...
>>23499

We effectively have Goddesses of Luck, Health, and Art.

If we can't think of ways to blend those together into a working Trifecta of Religious wonder, we aren't trying hard enough.
The way I see it, we need two things: A temple where all three can be worshiped conveniently, and a doctrine to say how people should follow in the faith. Once we have both, we can hold a party at the new shrine as a festival to publicly commemorate the formation of the new faith.

[x] Establish the doctrine, hash out what everyone would like to see in a proper shrine ahead of time.
[X] Internal matters: We should put together a doctrine...
[x] The shrine(s). We really gotta sort that out.
[X] Internal matters: We should put together a doctrine...

These are the two most important things. We need a shrine that encapsulates all three goddesses plus potential followers, or modify the existing ones to better suit them all. A doctrine is also important; what exactly will the trio be about, what will their name be and what will be the best way to get Faith?
[X] Internal matters: Sorting out the shrines and putting together a doctrine.

We've had our fun. It's time for business.


The way I see it they obviously represent good fortune, but especially in creative matters.
Both farming and painting are about creating something from "lesser" materials. The end result is always greater than the sum of it's parts.
A farmer uses seeds and dirt to create food, cloth, ropes or whatever can be made from the kind of crop they might be growing, while an artist uses pigments and a brush to create, well, art.
Not to say that anyone else couldn't drop by to remove their misfortune, just that the "extras" are mostly for farmers and artists.

Worshipers would probably ask/thank them for success in their endeavors or for inspiration in their work. (Inspiration would be mostly for artists but a farmer might get a sudden idea how to grow a different crop that others haven't been able to grow on a large scale, for example.)

I'm not sure how exactly to put that into a doctrine, other than "This is what we do: Ask and ye shall receive, thank the Lord Ladies for thy blessings" and so on.
Although that might work for them, at least to start with, since they are on a more personal scale (for now). No big rituals or fancy ceremonies, just a simple, honest prayer to ask for success and to ward off misfortune and gratitude once the work has been completed.


Later, if they are planning to step up to the big scene, the could branch out to other forms of creation as well.
Especially since "art" can be found in anything man -or youkai- made. (Quick examples of things that are "art" besides just painting:
Sculpting, printing, photography, architecture, music, dance, literature, theater, movies... Even machinery can be art, the way different parts mesh and interact with each other. Although that would put us at odds with the Moriya shrine, most likely. Not recommended.)
But that's only if they want to take on the added pressure and responsibilities of going big.
[X] Internal matters: We should put together a doctrine...

Why do people always refuse to do what's asked, it's Pick one, not mash two together and pretend it's one.
>>23506

Because it's good to give a general idea about where to go once the primary topic is taken care of. Keymaster's good at letting us get into the principle character's head when a particular secondary objective is brought up in voting, to give people a better idea of where to go with that secondary thing later.

It's worked in all his other stories so far!
>>23499
>The way I see it these are goddesses with a faith no more complex than "give faith, get blessings."

Well, you don't necessarily need much more than that. But prayer wheels are good; a lazy Susan [1] hand-painted in autumn colors with prayers is possibly even better.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazy_Susan
Except in this case, it specifically says pick one at the bottom of his post, and with them being separate choices...
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23510
The stench of blood fills my nostrils. I can barely breathe through the smell of iron in the air, yet sickeningly, there is a part of me that glories in it. In the carnage surrounding me. Isn't that how it is supposed to be, though? As a youkai, is this not supposed to be what stirs my heart, what drives me to ever-greater heights? Is this not simply the rightful way of things?

If it is, I suddenly feel no desire to be in the right.

I turn around, looking over the battlefield. It's a victory for us, barely. The humans had attacked us in retaliation for one of our raids. Which was itself retaliation, and likely the one before that, and so on. I have grown tired, I find, of keeping track of such things. Some of my fellows enjoy it. But I? All I can focus on is the carnage of the battlefield, the silence of the dead, the blood everywhere, the thick gore, and the handful of tengu moving among the bodies.

So much death. Our clash with the humans was brutal. It was meaningless as well, save for what meaning could be torn away from the killing field. Personal glory, mainly. How anyone can consider this madness glorious escapes me.

I see some of the wolves bend over to feed, and a sickness fills my stomach. I must turn away, my jaws snapping as I try to keep from vomiting. So many of our own are dead, alongside the human warriors, and I cannot help but notice... in death, they seem so similar. So still.

So full of lost potential.

Those who fell... did they have families? Lovers and children? Parents and brethren? Did they hope for the future, and regret the past? Did they have hobbies, stories to tell? Who can tell what they experienced? Who can tell what will never be, now that the world will no longer feel their touch upon its happenings?

It occurs to me that my words can apply to human and youkai both.

Such a waste.

The only sound in the air is that of flesh rending as my kin start to feed, hungry after the battle, and I realize that I am near weeping.

I am Aya Shameimaru. I am one of the greatest warriors the tengu have ever produced. None are faster than me. My bladesmanship is exceeded by none, equaled by few. I have lost count of how many have perished at my hands, dead in instants from one slash of my sword. Some wish me to take rulership of the tengu people.

And I feel ashamed of myself. Ashamed of inflicting so much death. Ashamed of reveling in it. What purpose does it serve? What point is there, besides causing so much needless pain? How can anyone enjoy this?!

Yet the triumphant howls of my comrades reminds me that they do enjoy it. And it sickens me.

My sword slips from my hands, and I whirl in place, letting the hot tears fall from my eyes. I accost the other tengu, forcing the bewildered wolves and crows to stop eating and give the dead a decent burial. All of them. Some protest. A look, and a few harsh words, silence their objections. The dead are buried with honor. I fear I am the lone figure among us feels compassion for what has happened. I pray the dead feel it is enough.

Eventually, the battle which claimed so many lives, and was only a victory due to the fact that some of our soldiers were still standing afterwards, grows exaggerated in our tales. A great victory for the tengu. A total slaughter of our foes. No mention of the atrocities committed, of the devouring of the fallen. My fellows choose to forget what is inconvenient for them.

But I remember.

I never touch a sword ever again after that day.


******************************************************

"Aya?"

A sweet voice calls my name. I crack open my eyes, and through a fog, I see the dazzling sigh of Hina, still wearing my shirt like a scarf. Right, I'm wearing Shizuha's dress for no terribly clear reason. Well, other than alcohol, that is. Heh, man Minoriko makes some good booze.

I realize that Hina is looking down at me in concern. "What's the matter, Aya?" Confused, I rub my eyes to clear away the haze covering them, and my hand comes back damp. I realize that I was crying in my sleep.

Crying...

Fuck.

That dream. I haven't thought of that day in... oh, what? Centuries? I've always tried to put it as far away from my mind as I could, forgetting it as best as I was able to. Time's a great way to deal with unwanted memories, after all.

So why am I remembering now?

You know what? Fuck it. I'm on the floor, in another woman's dress, with said woman pressed up against my back in nothing but her underwear. And Hina is looking down at me with worry in her eyes. How can I let myself trouble such a dear friend?

I put on a brave smile. "No worries. Just a bad dream. They happen, from time to time."

Hina reaches down and strokes my hair in an incredibly relaxing gesture. "I'm always here if you want to talk about it."

...Dammit. She can see right through me. "Not now," I sigh, closing my eyes as Hina strokes my hair. It really does feel nice. "Another time, maybe. Okay?" The misfortune goddess doesn't look convinced, but nods and rises to her feet, giving Shizuha a speculative glance. That's right, how the hell am I gonna get loose? She has an iron grip, for crying out loud!

Fortunately, our talking seems to have roused the leaf goddess, who grumbles under her breath, releases me, and sits up, stretching in an extremely fetching manner. Then Shizuha looks down at herself and blinks. "Where the fuck are my clothes?"

"Over here!" I chirp, sitting up with a happy smile. Fuck you, nightmare, there's a half-naked goddess next to me!

Shizuha gives me a hazy glare. "...And why the hell are you in my clothing?"

"I'm just that charming?" I suggest.

"It was a really good party," Hina comments. Shizuha just glares at us both. Then my skirt hits me in the head.

"Morning, everybody~!" Minoriko sings, walking through the living room. The one who tossed my skirt at me, she looks none the worse for wear, with a bright, cheerful smile on her face. "I'm going to make breakfast, so get cleaned up and be ready in thirty minutes! No later!" Humming a cheerful tune, the harvest goddess disappears into the kitchen, already hard at work.

Hina and I stare in her wake, and Shizuha sighs. "That's sis. Morning person, and she never gets a hangover, Ever." The leaf goddess glares at me. "Now give me my damn dress back."

I smile as broadly as I can. "Aww, are you that eager to get me nak-"

"NOW."

************************************************************

Thirty minutes later, back in our regular clothing and fairly washed up, the four of us sit down to one of the nicest breakfasts I've had in, like, ever. I mean, everything's there! Bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, sausage, toast, about a billion forms of jams, juice, tea, coffee... and it's all so great! I'm stuffing my face practically before everyone's sat down. Not that Hina's much better. This stuff is a lot more filling than her usual fare, I have to say! Not that Hina's a bad cook, but Minoriko is definitely a goddess of food.

"So," Shizuha says over a cup of tea. "Since we're all going to be working together now, what do you think our first step should be, Aya? You seem to be the manager of this little operation, after all."

I down my current mouthful of food with the help of some orange juice, thinking as I do so. "Well... frankly, I think that you ladies should hammer out some doctrine first. You know, what you represent, what you have to offer, how exactly your influences mesh... I mean, people are gonna wonder when they realize that Hina Kagiyama has teamed up with the Akis. So yeah, you really want to get some of this stuff nailed down before doing anything else."

"No reason in having a shrine if people don't know what they're praying to," Minoriko notes.

"Exactly." I look at the goddesses. "So, we need to figure out what each of you represent, how you all mesh together, what your philosophy and doctrine is towards believers... that sort of thing. So, any thoughts so far?"

The three goddesses take a moment to think it over.


[ ] Write-in.

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

Debate time! While I'm busy with other stuff, feel free to talk this over and float ideas as to just what the religion represents, and each goddess' role in it. As for the sudden update, I just started writing, and things were going well, so I went with it. Forgot to call the vote, but there was a bit of a majority in favor of talking doctrine, so we'll go with that.
[x] The goddesses of change:
-[x] Aki Shizuha, the quiet leave: patron of the artists, herald of autumn. Represents natural and progressive change.
-[x] Aki Minoriko, the generous child: patron of harvest, food and parties. Represents change brought by perseverance, effort and hard work.
-[x] Kagiyama Hima: the beauty of the mountain; patron of dance, bringer of fortune. Represents unexpected change, luck and quick adaption to new circumstances.
[x] Goddesses of the common people
-[x] Aki Shizuha: watching over the changes in life (birth, marriage, death)
-[x] Aki Minoriko: making the people's labors fruitful
-[x] Kagiyama Hima: protecting people from accidents during a day of work
[X] Not necessarily excluding >>23511 either.
>>23511
I like the cut of your jib.
[x]for something similar to 23511's write-in.

Collectively, the group shares the color red and a secondary color: Red/Green for Hina, Red/Orange for Shizuha, and Red/Purple for Minoriko.

Hina:
[x]Hina should move to co-op the nagashi-bina ritual. Maybe try to work a more agricultural bend into it? Free faith!
[x]Ritual bindings for absorbing misfortune (see Hina's left arm), get tied up by/to a priestess/the goddess for major cases.Thank you, SHaG!

Aki Sisters:
[x]Minoriko can ask farmers to put up small Jizo-esque shrines near fields so she can help them more.
[x]Write a short poem about the changing colors and falling of leaves, burn poem as offering.
>>23510

Daaamn... I knew that going to sleep drunk never gives good dreams..
[x] The goddesses of change:
-[x] Aki Shizuha, the quiet leave: patron of the artists, herald of autumn. Represents natural and progressive change.
-[x] Aki Minoriko, the generous child: patron of harvest, food and parties. Represents change brought by perseverance, effort and hard work.
-[x] Kagiyama Hima: the beauty of the mountain; patron of dance, bringer of fortune. Represents unexpected change, luck and quick adaption to new circumstances.

This write in is perfect.
...I thought Aya's problem might be something like that.
>>23515

I'm liking this, especially since Gensokyo is all about change.
Hmm.


[x] The goddesses of change:
-[x] Aki Shizuha, the quiet leave(s?): patron of artists, herald of autumn. Represents natural and progressive change.
-[x] Aki Minoriko, the generous child: patron of harvest, food and celebration (and alcohol!!). Represents change brought by perseverance, effort and hard work.
-[x] Kagiyama Hima: the beauty of the mountain; patron of dance, bringer of fortune. Represents unexpected change, luck and quick adaption to new circumstances.

And for services they might provide, let's go with that one suggestion:
-[x] Aki Shizuha: watching over the changes in life (birth, marriage, death), providing inspiration through observation of the natural world.*
-[x] Aki Minoriko: Making the people's labors fruitful, making booze especially flavorful. The usual fertile-field thing, too.
-[x] Kagiyama Hima: protecting people from accidents during a day of work, providing everyday luck (removing misfortune!)

As for potential means of providing worship in daily life- or as some people might say, the discipline of this faith:

--[x] Shizuha: Respect always the natural world and its cycles- live in harmony with and draw inspiration from the living land. Be creative and inventive in all things.
--[x] Minoriko: Endeavor in all things. Work hard, play hard, and be thankful for all that you receive. Be hospitable to those who have less and respect the hard work of others.
--[x] Hina: Work to relieve the misfortune of others. When disaster strikes, be there to lend a hand. When you are blessed with good fortune, share it with others. Do not blame the blameless for a turn of poor fortune, accept what has occurred and resolve to move forward, learn from the experience and grow.

And specific forms of worship (and festivals wherein they could be honored)

---[x] Shizuha: Art shows, mid-autumn festivals (shared with Minoriko), a particularly large festival when a majority of the leaves in Gensokyo are beginning to change.

Offerings: The usual stuff, but especially sincere works of art dedicated to the divine.

---[x] Shizuha: Harvest festivals, small commemorative parties for the completion of a new batch of booze. Cooking competitions or festivals, etcetera.

Offerings: Booze, food, fresh produce. The usual stuff, too.

---[x] Hina: Anything dedicated to attracting good fortune or driving away bad fortune. Worshipers or dancers who twirl in Hina's name could be useful in all manner of situations. Also, dances in general, maybe?

Offerings: Turn that damn prayer wheel! Dolls, small mementos from misfortunate accidents (a spoke from a broken cart wheel, a nail from a burn house), and the same from events that are particularly auspicious.

Phew, that's a lot of stuff!

(*Inspiration through nature is pretty important in Shinto, so this this is actually pretty big)
[X] >>23518

Has anyone else noticed that Hina is spelled "Hima" in every single vote?
>>23519
Not every single vote.
Just the ones that copy/pasted the first guy
[x]Goddesses of the common people

Or something like that. That seemed like it was going to be a major draw at the beginning of the meeting. Good food(Minoriko), good art (Shizuha, good luck(Hina). In essense, the goddesses of everyday life. The quick "Itadakimasu" all Japanese people say before a meal? Prayer to Minoriko, and by extention the other three. Wishing someone good luck? Same but with Hina. Wanting to do your best in a painting or something? Shizuha. They should be the goddesses of everyday things, things that you always pray to, even if it's just a murmured prayer of "thanks". At the end of the day, those are what most people care about above all else, and the trio (plus Aya) should push that angle.
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23522
I wonder what Hina's role was during those turbulent times?
>>23518
>-[x] Aki Shizuha, the quiet leave(s?)
http://touhou.wikia.com/wiki/Shizuha_Aki/Fun_Facts
You're right, it should be 'the quiet leaves'
>>23518
[X] Giant walls of text are never wrong, they're to big to fail!

But seriously, I like it. It's a pretty nice combination of both previous write-ins, and it fits pretty well with all three of them.

"Goddesses of Change" sounds pretty down to earth for something divine, but considering they'll be in charge of everyday life if this works out, that might not be too bad.
Usually, divinities tend to have some sort of impressive (and often pretentious) "official title" but I guess "The Quiet Leaves", "The Generous Child" and "The Beauty of the Mountain" are those. (Even if it is just direct translations of their names, it's still pretty nice.)

Besides, when someone can personally visit the Goddesses in question to have a cup of tea with them, the whole "above you petty mortals"-thing some divinities go for kinda loses most of it's impact.
[x] The goddesses of change
[x] The goddesses of the common people

These two go together perfectly. According to James Burke, change happens not due to precognitive Great Inventors but because of 1) the right idea 2) at the right time 3) based on previous ideas 4) and with unforseen results. As an aside, this may be the biggest challenge Kanako will have to her goal of becoming the goddess of technological innovation, more than even the Kappa's inability to work on large projects (e.g., hydroelectric dams).

Say, maybe Keymaster could incorporate this...

Anyway, here's a bit of what I'm talking about: http://youtu.be/kv3pBAlisVA?t=6m57s
Goddamn, these are some nice ideas. I'm gonna take these and put together a doctrine for the goddesses.

Well done, THP. I am impressed.
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23527
"Well... what are we, for starters?" Hina asks, contemplative.

Minoriko shrugs. "Basically, we're the goddesses of the common folk. We deal with the daily concerns, the everyday struggles. We're not about sitting on high and dictating lives, we're about helping people get through each day with a smile on their face."

"Helping people..." Shizuha murmurs, "Yeah. Yeah, I like that. We're not like certain entitled gods who think people should fall to their knees before them just because they're gods. We actually want to help people. We want to earn our praise."

I raise an eyebrow at that. "Feeling a little bitter there, Shizu?" I ask.

The leaf goddess shrugs. "Maybe just a bit."

Hina stares at Shizuha for a long moment, seeming to drink in her features. "Shizuha Aki," she says quietly, getting Shizuha's attention. Hina continues on as though reciting poetry. "The quiet leaves. The patron of artists, and the herald of autumn."

Shizuha blinks, blushing at Hina's declaration. Meanwhile, Minoriko rests her head on her hands, staring hard at her sister. "The one who represents natural and progressive change. Change occurs, and it can seem frightening, just as fall can serve as a warning of the cold winter to come. But the change can be enjoyable in and of itself. Change is inevitable, so why not accept and appreciate it?"

Shizuha's face is now burning red as she looks wildly from Hina to Minoriko. "Hey, come on you guys, you're embarrassing me! I mean, I'm just a leaf goddess, you know?"

"Then be more than a leaf goddess," I interject with a shrug. "I mean, nobody can come down and tell you what you're supposed to represent. And they're right. All of that applies to you. Why not accept it, and be more than what people think you are?" I grin. "Change your perception of yourself. It'll be 'natural and progressive,' you know what I mean?"

Shizuha blinks, staring at me, then appears to be lost in thought for a moment. Her face betrays deep thought, as she ponders the titles given to her by her fellow goddesses. After a moment, Shizuha turns her head to regard her sister. "Minoriko Aki," she intones, "The generous child. The patron of the harvest, of food and celebration." Shizuha's lips quirk into a smile. "And of alcohol, of course."

Minoriko giggles at the sudden attention, blushing a little herself, while Hina gazes at her new ally. "Also one who represents change. Change brought on by perseverance, by effort and hard work. The one who guides people through changes they effect with their own hands." The misfortune goddess nods as she speaks, apparently satisfied with the assessment.

Minoriko smiles back at Hina, taking her friend's features in before speaking. "Hina Kagiyama. The beauty of the mountain." Now it's Hina's turn to blush as Minoriko continues speaking. "The patron of dance, and the taker of mis- no. The bringer of fortune." The harvest goddess nods in satisfaction.

Shizuha contemplates Hina for a moment before speaking. "She who represents unexpected change, luck, and quick adaptation to new circumstances. Change can happen unexpectedly, for good or ill. She is the one who helps people through these unexpected quirks of fortune." A moment passes as Shizuha's words sink in, and the three women nod in satisfaction.

And with that, the three goddesses have Named one another.

"The three goddesses of change," I breathe, adding my own words to this declaration. The three consider my words for a moment and then nod, smiling. "All right. So, how should people go about worshiping you? Think both large-scale and small-scale."

Hina 'hmmms,' closing her eyes in thought. "Well... I work hard to absorb misfortune. But what I'd like is for people to work hard to relieve the misfortune of others. You know, lending one another a hand in case disaster strikes, or when someone just needs help in their everyday life." She leans back in her chair, staring at the ceiling. "When one is blessed with good fortune, one should share it with others. Conversely, when afflicted with misfortune, don't be so quick to blame others. Just have the maturity to accept what has happened and move forward. Learn from the experience, and grow as a person." Hina looks at me with a wink. "Besides, I'll always be there to absorb that delicious misfortune!"

There's a round of laughter at this. "Okay, sounds great!" I enthuse. "What about larger-scale stuff? Festivals, offerings you'd like, that sort of thing."

Hina thinks it over some more. "Well, in terms of festivals, just about anything that deals with attracting fortune or driving away bad fortune- to me- would be welcome. Heck, we could probably work that into whatever Mino and Shizu have in mind." Hina's eyes twinkle as she imagines it. "Dancers would be nice. Dancers who twirl in my name, ribbons flying out as they come into tune with the rotation of the world. Actually, dancers period would be great! As for offerings..." she giggles, "Prayer wheels are pretty obvious, aren't they? I have a fondness for dolls... oh, and anything that serves as a memento of an unfortunate incident." She purses her lips. "Maybe things that remind one of fortunate and auspicious incidents as well, since I want to branch out into actual fortune as well."

I nod, pleased. "Okay! We've got something good here. Mino, It's your turn. How do you want to be worshiped?"

Minoriko shrugs. "The same as I usually am, really. Oh, but I'm trying to branch out a little, huh?" She ponders it for a moment. "...Call it 'endeavor in all things.' Work hard, play hard, you know? Be thankful for all that you receive. Try to be hospitable to others who have less than you and need a helping hand. Take pride in your hard work, and respect the hard work of others."

I nod my appreciation. That goes really well with what Hina said as well!

"As for festivals, I've already got the autumn harvest festivals. I guess the occasional cooking competition would be nice, maybe say a nice prayer to me after finishing a big job." She grins. "Oh, and of course a nice celebration after finishing a new batch of booze!"

"Sheesh. You'll be the most popular goddess in Gensokyo at this rate," Shizuha snorts, to another round of laughter.

"Maaaybe~," Mino says wickedly. "Anyway, for offerings, I also want the usual. Booze, food, fresh produce. Y'know, the kind of stuff I get already. People already know about all that stuff."

I nod. This is really coming together! "How about you, Shizuha?" I ask, turning to the leaf goddess.

Shizuha is silent for a moment, looking at one of her many paintings lining the walls of her house. Gods, but this girl has some serious talent! After a moment, Shizuha starts to speak. "Respect the natural world and its cycles," she says quietly. "The world is always changing. Accept this and appreciate it. Glory in these changes, these cycles, and draw inspiration from them. Be creative and inventive in all things, and share your inspiration with others, just as they can be an inspiration to you."

Shizuha turns to smile at the rest of us. "I've already got the fall festivals with Minoriko, but I wouldn't mind having a big one when the trees start to change color. Like, a fall leaf-viewing, you know what I mean. And... maybe art shows, too. We need those in Gensokyo." She closes her eyes. "As for offering, maybe... the occasional work of art? So that I can decorate the house and see how creativity is developing in Gensokyo."

I nod again, smiling gently. "That sounds beautiful, Shizu," I say warmly. "So, it looks like you guys have some basic doctrine nailed down. Now think about services you can render. What can your faith specifically do for people?"

Shizuha speaks at once. "Well, since I am apparently spreading out to the cycles of natural change, I can provide charms to help people through such times. Birth, marriage, death... even things like starting a new job, although that might be moving into Minoriko's field."

"I think a lot of our influence will start to overlap," Minoriko notes, "But maybe that's the way it should be."

Shizuha nods, then looks back to me. "Beyond that, maybe I can provide inspiration to people through the observation of the natural world. Showing people the finest sights in Gensokyo, and how to appreciate them. Providing protection from beasts while they simply enjoy the sights." I nod in agreement. Truly a patron of artists at heart!

Minoriko speaks up next. "I'm pretty obvious, really. Making people's efforts fruitful. Making food and drink taste good, yadda yadda. I already do the fertile field things, so there's that too."

Hina shrugs. "I already remove people's misfortune, so I could probably provide people with charms that protect them from accidents in the everyday. As I gain faith, I can branch out into genuine luck-charms as well."

"As well as the standard battery of services that a shrine would offer," I finish with a grin. This is sounding great! "Anyway, we can work on that some more as we get things set up. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to suggest some colors for the faith. First of all, you all share the color red, so that can be your predominant color. Secondly, each of you should take a secondary color to signify yourselves. Hina, you can be red and green. Mino, red and... purple, lets say. Shizu, red and orange, no doubt." The goddesses nod their appreciation, and I smile. "So, it's official then!"

I stand up and address the triumvirate sitting before me. "From this day forth, you three are the goddesses of the common people: the goddesses of change!" Hina, Mino, and Shizu all smile, and I see the flames of hope and determination rising in their eyes. "So, anything else?"


[ ] Go with this for doctrine.
[ ] Wait, what about this! (Write-in your last-minute addition.)
[ ] Celebratory orgy! Just kidding.
[x] Go with this for doctrine.

Aya's dreams provide insight to her before she became... how she is. Someone who started out wanting to consider things other than bloodshed/killing and breaking from the rigid rules and couldn't as they insisted on her twisting her pen until she herself became twisted.
[x] Consider how the portfolios of change and the common people overlap with the portfolio of technological innovation, as mentioned in >>23525. If nothing else it'll help with future dealings with Moriya.
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23530
[x] "That day...all Goddesses will be required to wear tiny miniskirts!"
[x] Go with this for doctrine.

Their influence will be gigantic and will not override other faith's... if other gods want to take issue with this, they'll really have to put effort.
>>23530
This.
[x] Go with this for doctrine.
[x] Go with this for doctrine.

It sounds good. They're not exactly stepping on any divine toes with their new spheres of influence, so nobody should have any objections.
The only question is, how are they supposed to get people to notice the change?
I mean, sure it's Gensokyo so I don't think anyone would actually be too surprised if they marched to the village and said "We are now The Three Goddesses of Fortune! Worship us like this.", but still...

Also:
[x] Celebratory orgy orgion!

>In ancient Greek religion, orgia (ὄργια, sing. ὄργιον, orgion) were ecstatic rites characteristic of the Greek and Hellenistic mystery religions.
>Religious ecstasy is an altered state of consciousness characterized by greatly reduced external awareness and expanded interior mental and spiritual awareness, frequently accompanied by visions and emotional (and sometimes physical) euphoria.

What's the easiest way of inducing "altered states of consciousness accompanied by emotional and physical euphoria"? BOOZE!
[x] Go with this for doctrine.

I have to second the question about how we're going to spread the news- oh wait. We're Aya, aren't we? Now's the time to start on building a better reputation directly. If the news of the goddesses joining forces coincides with rumors of Hina stealing misfortune, or better, the truth, then it'll be all the more effective.
>>23534
We kinda JUST woke up from a party.

Then again, this is gensokyo.
[x] Go with this for doctrine.

Small steps. Or perhaps not so small. Either way, it's a good step in the right direction, for both goddesses and tengu.
>>23538

No shitposting, please.
>>23539

It's just a silly vote, man, roll with it. Even if it did make a majority vote, somehow, it'd be slapped down in-universe. Anyway!

[x] Go with this for doctrine.
>>23540

I've seen "silly posts" completely ruin otherwise good CYoAs, because then someone else thinks it's "funny" and copypastas it, then somebody else does the same, then people start jumping on the shitpost bandwagon and the quest heads off rather quickly into Bad End material, or the author says "fuck it, you want this? You get what you wanted." And shows the consequences of the stupid idea in question.

Then you get people whining that this isn't going the direction they wanted, even though they are the ones who shitposted or copied the shitposter. They have none other than themselves to blame.
Looks like people are pretty happy with this doctrine. All right then! Update should be done later today.
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23543
Hina glances at her fellow goddesses and nods. "Well, I think that we've pretty much decided what we want. I mean, there's some subtleties to work out, sure, but I think we have a nice, solid doctrine for our new faith!"

"One emphasizing acceptance of change..." Shizuha muses thoughtfully.

"Not to mention staying close to the common folk," Minoriko adds. "I think that's an advantage that we all have; we're a lot closer to humanity than most other goddesses."

"Just don't forget that a lot of youkai would be happy to send a prayer your way," I feel the need to add. "Also, try to put some thought into how you're going to get along with the other faiths. They're a lot bigger and stronger than you are, know what I mean?"

Minoriko shrugs. "Eh, as long as we stay out of the way and don't go around poaching their followers, I don't think that there'll be any trouble. Unless we wanna go really big-time, of course." The three ponder this for a moment.

"Well, anyway, there's a point of order that I want to bring up," I tell the goddess trio, "And that is that I think you all should switch to wearing sexy miniskirts!" I grin hugely as I picture the three of them in tight, clingy miniskirts...

"Nope," Hina says with a smile.

"Pass," Minoriko snorts.

"Not gonna happen," Shizuha says evenly.

"Damn," I sigh, seeing all of my dreams go up in smoke.

I'm about to say more when a knock comes from the Aki sisters' front door. Curious, Minoriko goes to answer it. There's a brief murmur of conversation from the door, and the harvest goddess calls out to me. "Aya! It's for you!" Someone looking for me? Huh. Shrugging, I get to my feet and make my way to the front door where Minoriko is waiting.

Standing just outside is Momiji.

I blink in surprise as I espy my former compatriot. "Hey Momi," I say with a wave, walking up to the wolf-girl, "What brings you to this ever so colorful neck of the woods?"

Momiji shrugs. "It's time for your report," she says simply.

"My what now?" I ask blankly.

"Yes, your report," Momiji repeats, looking at me closely. "You know, your weekly update with Ichiro. Progress report, letting us know just how things are going with you and your assigned task, that sort of thing?"

"Oh yeah," I grumble, "That." Okay, maybe it had slipped my mind just a little. Maybe I was hoping that Itchy would forget about it, buried under the rest of his paperwork as he was. I guess I should have known better. Once Tengu bureaucracy gets its claws into you, it never lets go. Ever. I want to kick up a fuss about this, try to annoy Momiji until she gives up, but you know what? She'd just come back with a squad to 'escort' me back to the village, and I don't feel like dealing with that. Better to just get this nonsense over with.

"Fine," I say at last, slipping on my geta, "Let's just go and do this so I can get back to my job, okay?"

Momiji blinks a little bit in surprise. "Really? Wow. I thought you were gonna put up more of an argument than that..."

"The quicker I do this, the quicker I'm done," I sigh, walking past the wolf tengu. I turn to look back at Minoriko. "Mino, can you let the others know that I'll be back in a couple of hours please?"

She nods in response. "Sure. There a problem or something?" Minoriko's eyes betray a bit of worry, which touches me more than I can say.

I just shrug, dismissing the whole situation with a gesture. "Eh, just gotta meet with my parole officer. The bean-counters love their paperwork, know what I mean?"

Minoriko nods. "Good luck with that, then."

"Thanks. C'mon Momi, let's get this stupidity over with." I take to the sky, closely followed by Momiji, who is giving me a somewhat nonplussed look.

The skies are a bit cloudy today, promising some rain. Bit windy, too. Hmm, might even be a bit of a thunderstorm tonight. I wonder if Hina likes thunderstorms? Maybe I can get her to put on a sexy little number, and take some pictures of her with the lightning-wracked sky as backlighting...

Nah. She'd shoot that idea right down. Still worth thinking about, though. Mmm...

Momiji's awkward cough shakes me out of my reverie, and I glance over at the wolf to see her giving me an unreadable expression. Well, whatever. As soon as I get this done, I can go back to my circle of divine lovelies, and start turning them to the unmitigated glory of bikini calendar shoots! Those things will sell like hotcakes, and...

...And I keep wondering if Momiji would ever let herself fall so low as to devour the corpse of a fallen enemy. That dream is really sticking with me for some reason.

"You're awfully quiet," Momiji says into our silence, "I was half-expecting you to be talking my ear off." I just grunt. I think I can see the village up ahead. "So, how are things going with you and Hina?"

"Fine," I say evenly. She'll be overhearing my conversation with Itchy, so she can damn well wait.

"That's informative," Momiji snorts, still staring at me. She looks agitated. Finally, Momiji sighs with exasperation and tries again. "Come on, Aya, stop pouting. This is just something that you need to do to keep your superiors happy. There's no reason to ignore me-"

"You burned my fucking house down," I snap, piercing Momiji with my stare.

She actually flinches back. "Wh-wha..."

"You. Burned. Down. My. House. My one and only sanctuary from that shithole that our people like to call a home. Why? Because you found a place that was, admittedly, kind of sick. Yes, I went too far with Cirno, I admit that, we've been down that road, blah, blah, blah. But you didn't have to burn my house down."

"I..." Mimiji actually looks a bit hurt.

"No. Shut up. There were memories in that house, Momiji. Good and bad, but most importantly there were lots. And you couldn't think of a better way to deal with things than burning the whole damn place down. Why? Because you saw something you didn't like and decided that fire was the solution. After I'd put you up in there more than once. After I considered you a friend." I take a deep breath, feeling my anger drain out. Momiji doesn't deserve this, but the thought of being yanked around by the elders again has me on edge. Well, too bad. It still pisses me off.

I force my hands open, noting that my nails have left grooves in my palm from how tight my fists were. I feel tired after that outburst; it just isn't like me. But it's too late to take it back now. I fly silently towards the village, trying not to notice the dampness in Momiji's eyes.

***********************************************************

I don't really see much reason to wander around the village; too many staring eyes, too much vicious gossip. I just make a landing in front of Ichiro's office, knocking once before entering. Momiji quietly follows along behind me.

Gods, I hate this place sometimes.

Ichiro looks up as I enter. "Ah, Aya. Abrupt as usual, I see."

I come to a stop in front of him. "Are you prepared to take my report?" I ask flatly. Godsdamned bureaucrat.

Ichiro blinks. "Yes, I am. Now then-"

"My report is as follows," I interrupt. "Things have been progressing well. Hina had some personal issues which are not relevant to to this report, so I shall not list them here. They are now resolved. She has obtained one full-time kappa worshiper, and has reached an agreement with the human chronicler to start spreading amended information about her, more properly conveying her true nature as a being that takes misfortune away. Finally, she has just reached an agreement with the Aki sisters to form a collective religion. This is still in its infancy, but things look promising. This concludes my report. May I go now?"

Ichiro looks a bit taken aback. His eyes are wide and his mouth is slightly agape. He even blinks once. This is more emotion than I've seen out of him in a very long time.

Did you ever eat the dead, Itchy? Would you admit to it if you did? Or do you like to pick away at people from the safety of your desk?

"Very well..." Ichiro says slowly, giving me an odd look. "Thank you for being concise. Now then, as regards your personal development-"

"I have made no attempt to approach Cirno or any other youthful individual, barring Hieda Akyuu; however this latter person can now be considered a young adult, and in any case the meeting was a matter of business, as I alluded to previously. Furthermore, I acknowledge for the record that my actions when it comes to Cirno were thoughtless and likely disturbing to an observer. You have my apologies. May I please leave? This is taking time away from my assignment."

Do you believe in the truth, Itchy? Or do you like to pretend things never happened? The thought makes me very angry, somehow.

By the gods, I hate this place.

Ichiro stares at me for a long moment, then looks over my shoulder at Momiji for a moment before turning his gaze back to me. He stares at me for a long moment, searching for something, before nodding. "Your report is hereby acknowledged, Miss Shameimaru," he says evenly, "Now, is there anything we can do to support you in your efforts? Anything we can provide?"

......

[ ] I want my damn newspaper back.
[ ] Give me my fan back.
[ ] How about a new house? The last one got a terrible infestation of fire.
[ ] Money. Lots of it.
[ ] I want to stop coming to these meetings. They're pointless.
[ ] I want to leave now, please.

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

In this post, slapsticky humor seen in a very different light.

Also, just to be clear, Aya's flashbacks are not necessarily in chronological order.
[X] I want to leave now, please.
[x] Give me my fan back.

Aya's at her best with her two tools of destruction: Her fan and her camera.
[X] I want to leave now, please.
[x] Give me my fan back.

Harsh. Nice to see things coming to a head though.
[x] Give me my fan back.
[X] I want to leave now, please.
[X] Give me my fan back.

Better to get something out of this instead of simply walking away empty-handed
[X] Give me my fan back.

We need a way to defend our self and there's no way Aya would take up a sword if she could help it.

I'd say a house but they might insist on building inside the village, and we know how Aya would looove that.

Now that I think about it, Aya probably had to build that house herself, which just adds to the bullshit.
[x] I want my damn newspaper back.

This seems like the thing most immediately helpful to our job.
[X] Money. Lots of it.

An up and coming religion's gonna need it.
[x] Give me my fan back.

It's almost as bad as not having her silly hat.
[X] Give me my fan back.
Keymaster didn't say pick just one this time, now did he?

[x] I want my damn newspaper back, or I can't publicize the new religion.
[x] Give me my fan back.
[x] How about a new house? The last one got a terrible infestation of fire.
[x] Money. Lots of it. You owe me for the house. Also, the new religion's gonna need funding.
[x] I want to stop coming to these meetings. They're pointless.
[x] I want to leave now, please.
[x] Give me my fan back.
[X] Give me my fan back.

Not sure how good her newspaper would do until she did some redeeming evident to most of Gensokyo.

That being said, this story is showing behind Aya-related jokes is anything but funny.
>>23557
Her newspaper's reputation is on shambles. Let's recover her reputation first yes?

[x] Faith can be a cutthroat market in Gensokyo. I need my fan in case someone else takes the Tengu approach to Hina's breaching of the status quo.

Though choice between this and the money but I guess other faiths might want to show some muscle at one point or another.
I suppose money is a close second. For the next meeting maybe?
[X] Give me my fan back.
Later
[X] Apologize to Momi. This whole reporting business put me in a bad mood, but I didn't mean to take it out on you. Even if you did burn my house down.

It's too early to actually forgive her for something like that, but let's at least take the first step towards kissing and making up.

Money and a house can be dealt with later.
The housing issue will be delt with outside the Tengu bueraucracy, too. That way they can't influence her choice of general area to live in.
I'm guessing Aya would prefer to live somewhere near the shrine for the new pantheon she just helped found. It would still be on youkai mountain, most likely, but not in the middle of Tengu territory.
Better neighbors, nicer area, don't have to file four applications in three copies to take a walk.
[x] Give me my fan back.
[X] I want to stop coming to these meetings. They're pointless.
[X] I want to leave now, please.

We shouldn't be the ones to make up with Momiji. Other way around, here. Aya put it in very clear terms: it was reasonable to remove the shrine. Much less reasonable to burn the house down. Let it sink in, first. This will also give Aya a chance to digest her memories, which brings me to one last addition.

[X] These dreams are getting to me, I need to talk with someone.
-[X] ...I wonder what Hina did back then?
[x] Give me my fan back.
[x] No apologies. Not now

Her fury is justified. She'll come around, later, but now's not the time.
[x] I want my damn newspaper back, or I can't publicize the new religion.
[x] Give me my fan back. Its for self defense.

We don't want the house to come from the bureaucracy. They will be end up making the decisions and we don't want that. Later we can get Meling and Momiji to build a new one. You burn it down you build it.

We don't want money from sources that can be used against us. Also we don't want direct ties from the pantheon to the Tengu. that leads to reliance.
Meetings, while useless, allow us to make requests for supplies, like this one.

She forgot to mention Flandre in her report. She counts as youthful, although not approached. If nothing else her threat should be acknowledged by the bureaucracy.
[X] Give me my fan back.
[X] I want to leave now, please.

Admittedly burning down her house might have been a bit extreme, but Aya was seriously being a creeper. Aya might be indignant, but do any of you remember how horribly creepy it was when Aya started talking to Meiling about her obsession with Cirno? I'm sure more than a few readers found it incredibly disturbing.

While Gensokyo is obviously not anything like the U.S., prisoners who do that sort of shit over here actually have to LIE about why they're in prison, otherwise they will get will get KILLED by their fellow prisoners, who are often murderers and thieves themselves. Even Evil Has Standards. I think Aya got off lightly, all things considered.

Now, Aya is taking steps in the right direction, and she didn't actually do anything outright, so she may be forgiven for her actions, but that doesn't mean her actions never happened.
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>>23565

And then Meiling found out Cirno was in no danger at all.
Vote called! Aya will be requesting that her fan be returned to her. Update later today.
[X] I want to leave now, please.
>>23562
While it was reasonable to remove the shrine and Aya is justified in resenting them for taking the rest of her house down with it, she didn't have any reason to snap at Momiji that bad just because she wasn't happy about reporting in.
This is this and that is that.
Besides, both sides have to work towards making up if it is to happen, and step one is to at least not make the situation worse.
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23570
"There is one thing," I tell Ichiro, "I want my fan back."

"Your fan?" Ichiro echoes, "What would you ever want that for?"

Bureaucratic prick. "Aside from the fact that it belongs to me, not the tengu as a whole, and you really don't have any right to hang on to it?"

"My response to that is that your fan is in and of itself a powerful magical artifact," Ichiro replies calmly, "And given that you are still on probation, it would be neglectful of us to simply release it into your custody. You are not yet fully absolved of your former actions, Aya."

Oh, come on. What does this jerk want from me, for me to whine and beg? Actually, that's probably exactly what Ichiro expects me to do. Gods, being in this place in making my skin crawl. "Fine," I say in a flat tone, "Let's leave aside the fact that Flandre Scarlet of all people came up to me and let me know that she's keeping an eye on me, and I want it for self-defense." Ichiro blinks again. This is really more emotion than I've seen out of him in a while. "Think about this instead: I'm helping Hina put together a new faith. Even if she stays under the radar, this is probably going to ruffle a few feathers and lead to a couple of challenges. Now, Hina and the Aki sisters aren't helpless, but they aren't exactly tough in combat, either. So, it pretty much falls to me to play bodyguard. I'm going to need my fan for that."

Ichiro nods slowly as I speak. "Concise and accurate," he admits, almost grudgingly. "I confess that you have a point Aya. Very well, one moment please." Getting to his feet, Ichiro stands up and walks over to a safe in the wall. He takes a moment to fiddle with the mechanism before finally withdrawing a very familiar shape from it. "Your fan, Miss Shameimaru," my parole officer says formally, handing me back my favored weapon.

I've had this fan for a long time; it's absolutely ancient. It focuses the power of the wind, and gives me access to most of my higher-level magic. Making it wasn't easy, either; it took a lot of time and a lot of effort. It was all worth it, though; this baby is packed with power, and is perfectly capable of nonlethal takedowns.

Besides, it's probably one of my last possessions, thanks to certain pyromaniacs.

"Is there anything else we can do for you, Miss Shameimaru?" Ichiro butts into my thoughts. All of a sudden, I've had enough.

Maybe it's the way he says my name, with a bare minimum of respect over a layer of disapproval and disappointment. Maybe it's the way he always stand like he has a rod up the back of his robe, always way too stiff. Maybe it's the fact that his eyes are always searching, always judging. Maybe it's just the fact that Ichiro's demeanor is pretty common in the village. Either way, I've had enough. I want out of here.

"So, are we done?" I ask.

Ichiro nods slowly. "Yes, I believe that will suffice. Good luck in your endeavors, and please give our regards to the goddesses."

"Yeah, sure," I say, spinning on my heel to walk out of the office.

"Aya," Ichiro says from behind me, "Please understand that all of us are merely trying to do our jobs. It's all for the common good-"

"Yeah, sure," I say brusquely, and leave without another word. I'm pretty sure I hear him mutter in irritation behind me, but I brush it off. That crap's done, and I'm happy about it.

I take a deep breath and sigh as I step out into the streets of the village. It's always a bit awkward coming here; the rest of the tengu see me as something of a black sheep, and not without reason. After all, I'm the tengu who lives outside of the village and hardly ever comes by except to check in with the elders (read: gets summoned to be bitched at by the elders). Hell, I even consort with 'lesser' beings like humans and other youkai. Gasp! The horror!

I take a look around the village, at the fine architecture, the well-made tapestries fluttering in the breeze. They're lovely, but it's all the same stuff that was here years ago. I guess that's the main problem I have with my people. I mean, we're born with great speed, strength, and magic, to the point that we pretty much see ourselves as being on top of the heap, and not without justification. At least, until someone tougher comes along, whereupon we grumble about it and try to make it look like our idea all along. See: the Oni and the Moriya shrine. But the worst part? It's how things never change around here.

It's the same buildings. The same food. The same craftmanship, the same stories, the same everything. The only thing that really changes is just how much pomp and ceremony the elders gather around themselves; that's always increasing. Hell, when I started using these clothes, it practically started an uproar; I have no idea how Hatate got away with it. Even kappa technology is held at arm's length. About the only thing people have accepted around here is newspapers; everybody likes to look informed.

It just frustrates me that with all of our abilities, we just sit around and pretend that the world hasn't totally changed. Not to mention how we all choose to remember only what we want to remember. What ever happened to the Truth?

Heck with it, I'm out. I've already had as much as I can stomach of this place. Ignoring the stares being sent my way, I spread my wings and launch myself into the sky. If I hurry, I can be back to my lovely goddesses before the hour is out! There's so much more to do if I want to set up my bikini shoot! Or maybe... lingerie? Mmmmmm.......

"Aya, wait!"

Eh?

I pause mid-flight and turn around to see Momiji flying after me as fast as she can manage. The wolf comes to a halt in front of me, breathing a bit heavily. She must have been really pushing herself to catch up to me. Of course, I am a whole lot faster than her. "You okay there, Momiji? What did you need?"

"I'm fine," Momiji says, standing up straight. She meets my gaze, and her eyes look... sad. Hurt. I try to ignore it as Momiji keeps talking. "So, are you really going to leave already? You don't have to push yourself all the time, you know. At least get a cup of tea before you leave."

I sigh. "Yeah, no thanks, Momi. Honestly, I really don't like being in the village any longer than I have to be. Never have. I just wanna get away, and back to my job. Believe me, it's a lot more fun than it looks!" After all, I get to look at pretty girls all I want!

Momiji is silent for a moment. "Do you hate me, Aya?" She asks quietly.

I stare blankly. "Huh?"

Momiji looks away. "I'm sorry. I've always found you a little aggravating, it's true. You never had any of the discipline we tengu are supposed to have, always flying off wherever you want to go, heedless of the consequences. It always frustrated me to have to clean up after you. And yet... whenever I needed to talk to someone, you were there. Whenever I was frustrated with the village, you let me stay at your house until I calmed down. You annoyed me... but I always valued your friendship." Momiji looks back at me, and I realize that the woman is barely holding back tears. "So, did I go too far? Is that all over now? Do you hate me?"

......

How do I even respond to that?


[ ] Angry.
[ ] Sad.
[ ] Hug.
[ ] Fly away without another word.

Specific write-ins are welcome.
[X] Hug.
[X] "I'm not mad, I'm just frustrated. It's true I went overboard with Cirno, but you went overboard with my house! How would you feel if your best friend burned down your house because she saw something she didn't like?"
-[X] "I know you're upset, and I want to forgive you. So how about you take a break we go get some lunch... Somewhere that isn't here."
--[X] Hug
[X] Fly away without another word.
[x] Sad.
I don't think I'd be able to forgive so easily. There will be a time for that-later. Now Aya needs to deal with his own issues first. For all we know she doesn't completely 'get it' yet.

The thing I like the most about this story is how things look on the other side of the fence. During 'Being Meiling' everything was fun games and justice. Now that I see it from here it was... cruel. The crime was terrible but the punishment isn't really far behind either.
[] pick Momiji up and bring to house wreckage. "Rebuild this and then we can work on forgiveness" or something along those lines

I would say that losing almost everything that she owned and being a social outcast probably is worse then the crime seeing as the victim was never in much danger and does not need counselling.
In the end the Tengu ignore the fact that Momiji committed arson against a fellow Tengu unnecessarily, destroyed evidence, let in an outsider (barely), trespassed, broke and entered(probably), and did all this without bureaucracy say so.
[x] Hug.
[X] Sad.

As long as hug doesn't win I'll be happy, it's much much too soon to forgive her for burning down the house.
[x] Fly away without another word.
-[ ] Loop around as she begins to cry
--[ ] As her silent tears begin to fall
---[x] Hug her from behind

Genius
[x] Sad

While I don't think Aya should hold a grudge, it's too soon. Momiji needs to understand that Aya is serious.
Keep in mind that Momiji was doing what she thought was right in response to Aya's Cirno shrine. Burning the entire house down was an overreaction, so she should be trying to at least make amends instead of acting like a child with her "do you hate me now?"

I say that once she makes an effort to right that mistake and rebuild the bridge she burned(heh) down, we can start on the path of forgiveness.
[X]Sad hug

Also goddamn would just leaving be cold.
[x] Sad

Seems most appropriate, as much as I'd love to do the fly-around-glomp thing. Maybe once things start improving. But right now, I think the wound might still be a bit too raw.
[X] Sad

Oh hey. She's taken the opportunity she had to actually think on things. Let her think longer. We don't hate her, but she's crossed a line that will take time to step back over.
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23583
[X] Sad.
-[X] You need to think about things. Reflect a bit. Suggest Momiji do that too.

No good answer here. Anger is partly unjustified, Sad twists the knife, Hug is too much too soon, and Fly Away is final.

Suggestion; Dodge the question and sleep on it. It'll hurt at first, but allows both Momiji and Aya to dissect their relationship and see if it's worth saving.
[x]"I don't hate you, Momi. What I hate is this." (Gesture to the Tengu Village) "Have you ever noticed that this place always looks the same, physically? The years dwindle past us, those years turn into decades, and those decades into centuries, and yet this place is unchanging. Some would applaud us for holding onto our traditions for so long, but it personally makes me sick. The Elders want to think that we're somehow superior to everyone, but the times are changing, and we need to change with them."

... Crap, I'm drawing blanks. Help me out, people!
[X] Sad
-[X] "I only hate you if you have become one of them (gesture at village)", then leave.

Please consider this distinct from >>23584 for vote-counting purposes.

As >>23575 pointed out, Momiji acted far outside of the standard Tengu bureaucracy in burning down Aya's house. While Aya may not like Momiji's actions, they at least show that she is different from the standard stick-up-the-ass tengu.
[X] Sad

I'll go with this option
...I'll go with what feels right here.

[X] Sad
[x] Sad
[X] Sad
[X] "... No."
[X] "But I don't forgive you yet either."
[x]Sad

Momiji set Aya's house on fire. She might not be a bad person worthy of hatred, but quick forgiveness is ridiculous.
[x] SadHug
[X] Sad

I personally would say something like "I don't hate you, I just don't want anything to do with you anymore." Then leave it at that. Nice clean ending there, but i'll be a bit more optimistic here seeing as they were both in the wrong.
[x] Sad look.
[x] Fly away.
[X]"Is our friendship worth saving?"

A question worth asking
[x] Sad Hug
[x] "...I'm sorry I blew up on you. You'll be always be my friend, as long you still want to be."
-[x] "But you're helping me rebuild my house."

Didn't Aya recently freak out about how many real friends she has? Momiji was definitely in the wrong by burning down her house, but now that Aya blew up on her she realized that and wants to make amends.

She's a true friend. Don't throw that away.
[x] Sad
[x] "...I'm sorry I blew up on you. You'll be always be my friend, as long you still want to be."
-[x] "But you're helping me rebuild my house."

Something like this.


I don't think Aya actually HATES Momiji. She went to far with the Cirno thing, she knows it, and she's also starting to understand just how bad her image is so when it seemed like she was about to become even worse, Momiji panicked.
She just didn't want her friend to become "a bad person", and lashed out at the signs of it in front of her.

That said, burning down a house is way too far and will take quite some time to make up for and get over, but neither side is "right" in this so while Aya shouldn't just let it go (house, fire, GONE, I mean seriously!) it's not as if she can just push all the fault away either.


So yeah. It's too early to forgive and forget, but if Aya holds a grudge now she might lose one of the few real friends she has and, unlike a house, that can't be rebuilt.
[x] Sad Hug
[x] "...I'm sorry I blew up on you. You'll be always be my friend, as long you still want to be."
-[x] "But you're helping me rebuild my house."

Just a reminder of what's in charage of Aya's development in this: Us.

If we keep on pushing things like this away expecting said development to magically happen, we'll get nowhere.
[x] Sad

Seriously, you burn someones house down, with almost everything they own inside of it and you thought they'd be okay with that? If Aya's going to forgive you, it's going to take a lot more than that speech. Honestly, if it had any chance of winning, I'd be voting for the fly away without a word option.
[x] Sad Hug
[x] "You'll be always be my friend, as long you still want to be."
-[x] "But you're rebuilding my house."
-[x]"And paying for my stuff that went down in flames"
Weird write ins. I want a sad answer but I do not want her to forgive momiji so easily.
>>23601
It's not complete forgiveness. Momiji still has to pay for what she's done.
[X] Sad
[X] "... No."
[X] "But I don't forgive you yet either."
>>23602
It's still too early. 'Oh you turned your back on me and burned y house? OK, cool, I forgive you'
Vote called. Aya is sad. Update later.
>>23604
It's not as if it was yesterday that her house was burned down.
Aya has been in the tengu "correction facility" for a while, and she was on the run for a few days or so during the Hakurei-Scarlet incident, too.
Aya has had enough time to get over the initial anger of losing her home, anything from now on is just holding a grudge.
>>23607
How the fuck is spending months in the place she hates the most with the people she dislikes the most going to help her calm down?
While I can't talk about Momiji's situation, we've gotten directly into Meiling's head, and we know she considers Cirno almost like a little sister, and I can't blame her for wanting to burn down Aya's house.
File 138265504224.jpg - (348.04KB, 838x1200, the last thing seen.jpg) [iqdb]
23610
I just stare at Momiji in silence for a long moment, trying to think of how to respond to her. I mean, what do I say? Sure, I was acting stupid and all, but... but...

I realize that I'm on the verge of tears myself.

Momiji starts a little as she looks at me. "Aya? Are you-"

"Just stop," I interrupt, my voice sounding thick to my ears. "Just cut it out, you hear me? How... how the hell can you say this to me after everything?" I try to focus on Momiji, but my vision keeps getting blurry for some reason. "You know, I thought we were friends, too. Actually, I thought I had a lot of friends, but I guess I'm wrong about a lot, huh?"

"Aya, I-" Momiji tries, but I don't want to listen to her.

"Shut up," I snap, rubbing my eyes furiously, "Just shut up, okay? So, I hate the village, you understand me?" I look at Momiji, trembling with emotions I just can't put a name to. "I mean, I really hate it. It's one of the reasons I left all that time ago. Just a bunch of tengu sitting around, talking about how great they are and how much everyone else sucks, all while the world passes them by. And I thought you were like me, too. I know you've never been too happy with how things are in the village, either."

"Well... no," Momiji admits, rubbing her arms awkwardly. "I mean, it's not my place to say-"

I just laugh bitterly, interrupting again. "Yeah. That right there. You might not like how the wolves are just the goons no matter what you do, but you just stick to it, huh? Even if you've stormed out of there more than once. Even if I lent you a room, drank with you, talked with you, let you vent on me, whenever things got too much for you." It hurts to remember. I mean, I was always there when Momiji needed someone to talk to. Always.

"...Yeah, you did," Momiji says quietly, her eyes looking redder than normal.

"So, yeah, I'm not disciplined like the other tengu," I say, shaking my head in frustration. "Fuck it. I like being free, I don't like those old shitheads jerking me around. I do what I want and I don't hurt anyone doing it. Just piss people off until they hate my guts, I guess." I laugh bitterly. "But I thought you were like me, deep down. I thought we understood each other. I guess I thought that beneath all the exasperation, you didn't mind all that much if I was a little off compared to the other tengu."

"I didn't mind all that!" Momiji shouts at me, her voice breaking a little bit. "I mean, yes, you annoyed the hell out of me sometimes, but it was nice to have a place I could get away to! I appreciated all of that, but for fuck's sake, Aya!" Momiji shakes her head, tears starting to roll down her face. "That shit with Cirno was crazy! What the hell was I supposed to do?"

"Anything but what you did," I sy quietly. I float forward until our faces are very close. "So, yeah. I fucked up, Momiji. I know it. I was a creepy perv that made everyone sick to their stomach. I've figured that out." I close my eyes and try to catch my breath. "But you know what? That was my fucking house."

"I... I know, but-" Momiji is wavering, trying to explain herself, but I just don't want to hear it.

"No, but nothing. My house, Momiji. My home. The place I could go when I couldn't stand to look at another tengu. The place I built centuries ago with my own two hands when no one else would help me. My home, all of my possessions... everything. It's all gone now, because you didn't like the creepiness in one room." I close my eyes and clench my jaw shut, trying not to let a sound out.

Momiji has fallen silent. I don't know what's going through her mind. I can't even look at her right now. I just know how I feel.

"But you know what the worst part is? I trusted you. I trusted you of all people to understand what was going through my head." I stare at her, my voice shaking now. "And not only do you destroy the place that held my entire life, you turned me over to the authorities on some bullshit charges, and watched while they worked me to the bone because I 'shamed the tengu.'"

Momiji stares at me, mouth working. "What was I supposed to do?" she finally manages, voice shaking. "Aya, I'd tried to tell you how weird you were being, but you weren't listening me! When I found that place, it was like I'd found all of the sickness in your head! You're my friend, and I saw you going down a path that would ruin you. What the hell was I supposed to do?!"

"Not burn away my entire life," I say quietly. "Not turn me over to people I can't stand in a place I hate, all so they could point at me and remark just how far Aya Shameimaru had fallen." I shake my head. "That's what you did, Momiji. You didn't try to help me. You decided that I was shaming the tengu and decided to destroy my life."

Momiji reels like I just punched her in the face. Her face is nearly as pale as her hair. "You... you take that back," chokes out. "I would never... I would... I wouldn't-"

"You did," I spit out, "And now I have nothing. Absolutely. Nothing. Not even a home." I clap sarcastically. "Way to dance for the elders, doggy. I thought you were better than this. But I guess friendship doesn't mean anything when the elders tell you to take Aya down a peg, huh?"

"It wasn't like that at all!" Momiji practically screams at me, openly crying now. "Dammit, Aya, stop twisting my words!"

I shake my head. I'm crying too. "I don't wanna hear it. I'm sick of this place, and now I'm sick of you, too." For a long moment, the two of us just stare at each other while my words ring in the air. Momiji just stares at me, speechless, and I realize that I can't look at her anymore. I turn my back, letting the wind on my face dry my tears. "...Later, Momi. I'm not going back for any more reports. If Ichiro wants one, he can damn well come find me, and the tengu can't do a damned thing about it. Bye."

I flap my wings and am off like a shot, leaving Momiji, and the village, far behind me.

*********************************************

I don't know how many drinks it's been. I don't feel drunk, though. Maybe my system keeps flushing it out, or something. Figures. I want more than anything to drink my cares away, and all of a sudden I can't get drunk. Oh, my head is spinning, but my thoughts are all too clear.

I flew around for a couple of hours just to wear myself out before landing in the human village and heading straight for a bar. The bartender keeps 'em coming, fortunately. Nice guy; I can't remember his name, but he's got a nice vest that looks to be Oni in design. I'd ask about it if I could make myself give a damn.

...What would I do? If Momiji had suddenly gotten obsessed with a fairy and wouldn't let it go, what would I do? And if she broke out of her 'treatment' to go after some other prize, how would I react?

I dunno. But I sure as hell wouldn't burn down her only sanctuary and subject her to the elders' tender mercies.

I mean, the wedding was a trap to begin with, so how can I be blamed for it? Besides, I was just sick of being lectured by stupid officials with their stupid official tone, when I'd seen and done more before they were even born.

I just don't know. But I miss Momi. I miss the fun we used to have. I'm sorry, but any girl whose leg twitches when you rub her tummy while she's drunk is just too adorable for words. Especially when she cuddles you afterwards.

So yeah. No home, and no friends. I feel just swell right now.

I need another drink.


[ ] A word from the barkeep.
[ ] A troubled gatekeeper.
[ ] A drunken oarfish.
[ ] An upstart rival.
[X] A troubled gatekeeper.

No point in delaying this.
[x] A troubled gatekeeper

On the one hand, Albreicht is win, no exceptions.

On the other hand, what's got our favorite gatekeeper worried? Is it us, or something else?
>>23610
You know, a therapist would probably be able to live well forever in Gensokyo.
[x] A drunken oarfish.
wat
[X] A drunken oarfish.

I feel like seeing another aggressor against her isn't gonna help matters much, an outsider would be better.

Also, so cruel! Hah! A++.

And in response to >>23580 Leaving WOULD just be cold.. but a lot less cruel than that. Hah
[ ] A drunken oarfish.

I need drunk Iku after melodrama please.
I kind of want to put [x] A troubled gatekeeper, but right now Aya's feeling a bit too indignant, and she won't listen to whatever one of the people who burned down her house is going to say. Kind of the same for Hatate, so no [x]an upstart rival. She still views Hatate's paper with utter derision; the last thing either need is to get into a shouting match.

So, a neutral party. Let's have:

[x] A word from the barkeep.
[x] A drunken oarfish.
The most interesting of the third parties. Problem is she may have something against Aya.
[X] An upstart rival.

Assuming that Hatate isn't completely crazy, she might be the best at actually forcing some sense into Aya.
Guys, don't you watch any pulp stuff? Times like this, the bartender always has choice words of advice. Besides, it might mean Yuugi. Or he pulls out the Special Oni Brew. So.

[x] A Word from the Barkeep
[X] A word from the barkeep.

Can't go wrong with unbiased advice.
[x] A troubled gatekeeper

I would like to see what happens here actually. Meiling have so far been warm to pretty much everyone (except Aya). If she realy sees her situation, maybe she will actually try to help?
[X] A word from the barkeep.

As much as I really do want to see our gatekeeper, we're definitely not in a frame of mind appropriate for it.
[X] A drunken oarfish.
[X] A drunken oarfish.
[x] A troubled gatekeeper
[x] A troubled gatekeeper

I think she's troubled by her conscience, can't imagine why...

Maybe Aya's story of woe could get her some sympathy if ranted in public? Maybe.

What can I say? I thought Momiji and Meiling went too far before it was trendy.
>>23619

[x] An upstart rival

I'm of the same mind, but more than that, she's a survivor of that madness at the mansion, meaning she has ties to Hina, and she still has her newspaper. We can use that.
[X] A troubled gatekeeper.

If Aya's gonna start getting closure, she NEEDS to talk to Meiling. Which also opens up an opportunity for Flan antics. And that's perfect.
>>23629

I hate seeing Flandre. Mostly entirely because she's become a flandrized character. Heh. Flanderized. But all she has been in her later appearances in his first story, and her only appearance in this story is a vehicle for drunkeness. And it doesn't even make sense, either. Its not like the booze would cause her to say something she isn't thinking, so she could just be as cruel as she was drunk if she were sober, if she wanted to. And if she's threatening using booze, it means she wants to, so there is no point in using the booze. ...I just don't like this flandre, at all.
>>23630
To be fair, Aya did crash her sister's party and was in general pretty creepy in Being Meiling.

That said, yeah Aya's been getting way too much crap. Seriously, burning down her fucking house? Too far.
[x] A troubled gatekeeper.
[X] A word from the barkeep.

They say he's romanced one of the Four Devas and once shot a gap youkai in the foot. All we know is everyone calls him "Barkeep."
[x] A troubled gatekeeper.
[x] A troubled gatekeeper.

Hey Meiling! Let's talk about how you destroyed everything I owned!
[x] A troubled gatekeeper.
[x] A troubled gatekeeper.

>If Aya's gonna start getting closure, she NEEDS to talk to Meiling. Which also opens up an opportunity for Flan antics. And that's perfect.
Yes. Also, depending on how Flandre's powers work in this story, she may be one of the few people who can really help set things right here.
[X] A word from the barkeep.


That talk with Momiji was rather... Well, sad.
I just hope they'll be able to make up eventually.
[X]A troubled gatekeeper

People used to say misery love company.Lets see how the gatekeeper have problem that is more fucked-up than our's just to make the story darker.
[x] An upstart rival.

>>23639
That'll likely depend on us, which is probmatic to say the least.
Damn, voting gatekeeper seems heartless. Way to kick her while she's down. Wait.

Inb4 its not Meiling.
>>23642
How many gatekeepers are there in Gensokyo?

[x] a drunken oarfish
>>23643
2-3, because it isn't specified that it'd be in Gensokyo.
[x] A drunken oarfish.

While a confrontation with Meiling will likely need to happen, I don't like the idea of it happening right after the huge argument with Momiji and while being drunk. It's too soon for Momiji to tell Meiling about the confrontation and for Meiling to feel guilty about it: she had no regrets in her story, and her recent (non)appearance doesn't seem to indicate any change of heart.

Unless the scene that will follow will involve an Aya/Meiling fight that will make Aya's life more difficult. That would be an interesting thing to happen.
I don't see why so many people are assuming Meiling is going to be troubled about Aya when none of the other options are. My first thought was that it would have something to do with her unconventional love life.
>>23647

Meiling seems to be the type to be troubled about Aya, especially if Momiji turns to her for comfort and tells her the whole story. Meiling's likely gotten a reputation for solving people problems by now.
Okay, the gatekeeper has a majority of votes, so consider the vote called! Update will be later today, in a new thread!
File 138273230674.jpg - (107.27KB, 707x1000, at the bar.jpg) [iqdb]
23653
New thread:

>>/youkai/23651

Also, if you have any questions about the story so far, go ahead and ask them in this thread. I'll answer what I can.
>>23653
This is actually a question about the first game, but man did you really had to got that far with Aya? I mean, yeah it was funny at first, but at a certain point it really went too far. I wasn't even able to finish the story, that's how much it bothered me and I know that it did the same to a few others too.

I get that it was fun, but it just felt like there could have been other things to explore instead of well what led to this.


Also, why the hell hasn't Yukari gapped a few therapists in Gensokyo? Cause it sounds like to me that would have made life better for a lot of people here, even without the events of the last game.
1: Normal therapists would have to much trouble with all the ravenous man-eaters around.
2: they have the Komeji's
3: if they did come they would take one look and think "I have to restart my buisness taking care of
a. ravenous man eaters
b. unnamed and magical insanity
c. pre-Meiji level technology
d. a massive gender divide causing more problems
e. overpowered patients and non-human
"
"no thanks" and then leave.
>>23669

All I can say is that is was 1) my first story ever, and 2) meant to be humorous. It was, in the end, a cartoon in written format.

For what it's worth, I actually do like Aya as a character. And her legs. Her delicious, saliva inducing-legs.

Also, "Therapist in Gensokyo," sounds like a hilarious idea for a story. Someone should get on that.
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