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File 138352426487.jpg - (160.27KB, 850x1195, building shrines.jpg) [iqdb]
Thread 1: >>/youkai/22769
Thread 2: >>/youkai/23061
Thread 3: >>/youkai/23345
Thread 4: >>/youkai/23651


"Well, this is just me," Hina speaks up, "But I think that some prayer wheels and prayer cylinders would make for a very nice shrine. I mean, yes I like the whole spinning thing," she shrugs in embarrassment, "But think about it! They're a perfectly valid addition to any shrine!"

"I'm fine with that," Minoriko comments, "Just put them out front for general meditation and prayer, maybe?"

"And on that note, auspicious architecture in general would be a good idea," Shizuha notes thoughtfully. "Various mystical sciences all specialize in constructing buildings so as to maximize the good fortune within them." She glances over at Hina. "That would work well not just for Hina, but for all of us. However, if Hina's wing was specially made to help in the absorption of misfortune..."

Yamame nods. "Yeah, I know somebody that I could consult with on that. So, great! Prayer wheels and specialized Feng Shui, can do!"

"I'd also like lots of space to display artwork," Shizuha puts in. "You know, spots for sculptures and paintings, scroll racks for original copies of poetry. That sort of thing."

"I can totally do that," Yamame nods, scribbling down notes. "With that said, should we build a full-on art gallery?"

Shizuha bites her lip. "Tempting... but not just yet. We should catch on first, and once the artists start cropping up and donations begin to flow in... maybe then we can build some additions like that. So perhaps leave some space for additional buildings in the future." Yamame nods her understanding, and I can't help but approve of Shizuha's thinking. She's planning for the future and thinking positively, thinking of 'when' the donation come in and not 'if.'

"So what I'm reading here is that there will be some commonalities throughout the shrine, but a specific focus in each of your wings," Yamame notes, looking over what she's written so far. "Hina's wing will be specially made to remove misfortune, while Shizuha would like an emphasis on artwork. What about you, Miss Minoriko?"

Minoriko thinks it over. "Honestly, a lot of what I do is harvest work, so things should reflect that. But beyond that, I'd like the shrine to have a nice, natural feel to it. I mean, Shizuha represents natural, progressive cycles, and I'm a harvest goddess. Heck, even Hina's spinning can represent the natural cycles in life."

"I do spin to get in touch with the natural flow of the world," Hina speaks up.

"Right," Mino nods. "So what I'm saying is that I'd like to see nature incorporated wherever it can be to the shrine. Wherever it would be feasible, or even just plain appealing. I'd really like our shrine to be a place where people can just gather and relax if they want to." The harvest goddess thinks over her words. "Yeah... I want the whole shrine to look comfortable and homey, you know? I mean, sure, the shrines themselves should look impressive... we need to impress worshipers after all," Minoriko laughs a bit in embarrassment, "But not to the degree that we put people off. I mean, one of our selling points is how close we are to people, so we should play that up. Make our shrine a place where people feel encouraged to meet up and just talk."

"Like say... a neutral ground between humans and youkai?" I suggest. "After all, we're practically equidistant between Youkai Mountain and the human village."

"That's a good idea," Yamame muses, "And would actually work in your favor. Heck, just make your shrine a popular place to meet for lunch or maybe do business, and you'll have people showing up and offering a prayer just for that! Good way to get converts, that's for sure. Hell, maybe people want to make a business deal with the kappa, but don't want to do it in the human village. This would make a great compromise."

"I never thought of that!" Hina exclaims. She beams at the harvest goddess, as does Shizuha. "Good thinking, Mino!" Minoriko just giggles, embarrassed but pleased that her suggestion went over so well.

Then Minoriko gets a glint in her eye and looks up. "I also want a full alcohol distillery and cellar, if you please. I think selling our own special brands of booze would really work in our favor." I can't help it. I burst into laughter as soon as Mino says it. The harvest goddess looks at me, affronted. "What?! I thought it was a good idea!"

"It is!" I get out between peals of laughter. "It's just... that's so you!" It takes me a moment to get my breath back. "But yeah, this is Gensokyo. Set up a quiet place where people can drink high-quality liquor with a nice view, and the petitioners will be beating down the door!"

"You might even get some Oni showing up," Yamame giggles. The thought freezes me in place, and makes my blood run cold. Also, I don't like the thoughtful look in the goddesses' eyes.

"Now, I'm going to assume that you want me to make this place fairly rugged, right? As in, incident-proof?" Yamame gives us a significant look as she says this.

"That's a good idea," I put in, shaking off my thoughts of the Oni. "It's also a good idea just in case a certain storm goddess decides we're too much competition and 'accidentally' lets a storm hit the shrine. Wouldn't put it past her." The three goddesses grumble at this, but no one questions it. We're pretty much on the Moriya shrine's doorstep, and Kanako isn't one to let perceived challenges pass without notice.

Yamame nods in agreement. "No worries, everything I build is pretty rugged. But just to bring this up... all of this won't be cheap. I'm going to have to bring in some work crews to get this done in any reasonable timeframe, and some of this stuff is going to be pricey."

"Just charge it to the tengu," I say simply. "Like I said, feel free to go all-out! No expenses spared! I mean, okay, keep it understated, but if you think something would make a nice addition, go ahead and add it! The more money we pour into this baby, the better!" I have a huge, feral grin on my face as I say this, and Yamame is staring at me blankly.

Hina coughs awkwardly. "Feeling a bit bitter, Aya?"

"...Maybe a bit," I allow. "But screw it. I've had issues with the elder for a long, long time. A little kick in the wallet is the least they deserve."

Hina mulls it over, then nods at Yamame. "She makes a good point. Spend away." The Akis snort in amusement.

Yamame grins broadly herself. "Bankrupt the tengu, gotcha. Okay, we have a pretty solid basis here. Anything else?"

"Actually, I have a few ideas for Hina," I put in, "Seeing as how I was originally sent to help her out and all. First of all, how about a series of indentations running into Hina's branch, ones that resemble the footprints of someone spinning as they walk. I want to convey that spinning is awesome, and everyone else should like it, too!" Hina turns bright red as I speak, but I'm not done yet. "Also, you want to tie Hina to natural processes? Then how about this? A spiral of water in her room, visible under glass, that runs from the egdes of the room to the center. That's Hina, sucking in misfortune. I dunno, build it into the floor or something." Hina looks at me in astonishment. She actually looks a bit... touched.

"I can do that, although I might need to get some help from a kappa or two," Yamame notes. "Although I probably want to bring a couple of them in anyway to connect electricity and plumbing."

"Hmm, we were pondering hiring the kappa to start with," Shizuha says pointedly. "What is the advantage of dealing with you over them directly?"

Yamame isn't offended. "Kappa have flashy stuff, but they don't do aesthetics well. I do, and I'm also good at keeping a couple of kappa under control. With me, you don't get all of the fancy stuff that a kappa might install... but you also don't have to be worried about all that fancy stuff either." Yamame winks, and Shizuha nods in acceptance.

"Contact Nitori Kawashiro," I suggest, "She's a follower of Hina's anyway. So, since we're on the subject of plumbing, how about installing a hot tub?"

Everyone stares at me blankly.

"...I don't think a hot tub is going to have the same religious impact as a natural hot spring," Minoriko says hesitantly.

"Religion, nothing," I snort. "You're getting the tengu to pay for this, so get a hot tub for your private use! It'll be sweet to soak in!" Specifically, it'll be sweet for me to soak in foamy water with a trio of hot deities!

"I can probably trick out your bathroom and set up a hot tub," Yamame says with a grin.

"Sounds fun. I say we do it!" Hina says cheerfully. Still looking a bit taken aback, Mino and Shizu slowly nod their acceptance.


Hina, you are truly, the sweetest of all women! Ahhh, to soak in a hot tub with my beloved misfortune goddess! And the Akis! And we can invite Yamame and Momiji, too! All those sexy women, soaking in foamy water! Now that's heaven, baby!

Oh wait, Yamame just asked if there were any other ideas.

"...So maybe set up decent-sized torii when you're putting things together," Shizuha comments. "Not gigantic, but enough to look impressive, at the very least."

A stroke of genius occurs to me. The Aki sisters' property line is pretty abrupt, to say the least. I mean, it's like a line in the ground with green grass on one side, and fall on the other. "Put the entry torii right on the property line," I speak up, "So it looks like you're stepping directly into autumn as you do so. Make it, like, the gateway into autumn or something." The goddesses look at me in surprise, and I swear that Mino and Shizu's eyes are gleaming.

Yamame gives a low whistle. "Nice! Okay, I can definitely work with all of this." She scribbles in her note book a little more. "Okay, anything else?"

I shrug. "Well, I was thinking that a library or something might be a good idea. Maybe a chemistry lab, to start studying physical change?"

Shizuha shakes her head. "A bit too ambitious starting out. We'll probably need to contract out the printing of any pamphlets, and I can already think of a couple of libraries that already have us beat. As for a chemistry lab, that's more a kappa thing, and If we get into that..." She winces. "That means stepping on the Moriyas' toes. I'd like to avoid that for now."

Ouch. Good point.

Still, we have a pretty solid start, here! Is there anything else we can think of?

[ ] Anything else?
[x] Not for now, that's more than enough.

I mean the whole update was just posting one thing after the other.

Just one thing, I assume there'll be someplace where youkai and human businessman can sit and talk right? it's the most basic thing I can think of, but still worth considering.
This is mostly just a thought, but...
Could we maybe embezzle acquire some extra funds to rebuild Aya's house?
(It doesn't have to be connected to the shrine, Just so she doesn't have to sleep at Hina's all the time. She's nice and all, but having your own home is best.)
Sure, she could probably get the Tengu to foot that bill too, but I think it would be better for her peace of mind if her house was unattached to the Tengu bueraucracy.
She built her previous house herself, but when we're hiring a work crew and everything we might as well get some extra work done while we're at it.
Just skim a bit off the top on "executive expenses" or something and then re-hire them on a separate contract.

I'm sure the tengu would catch on eventually, but when they're already paying for a huge shrine, the costs for a modest home is a drop in the ocean and they would look terribly petty if they brought it up and they're trying to save face with this promise to help Hina.
In the end, they won't be able to prove anything but they will "know" that they paid for Aya's house too, and Aya can feel smug about that every time she comes home.

I mean, with no centralized banking there is basically no way to know how much money someone has "hidden in the mattress", so they can't prove that Aya didn't have the funds to rebuild her house, (or maybe she borrowed some extra money from Hina and the Aki sisters' personal funds?) and they can't really prove that the "executive expenses" are larger than necessary either. And, again, keeping face will be more important than balancing all the numbers to perfection, so even if they realize they probably won't say anything.
No library? Foo. And I put a lot of love into that comment...


[x] We're good to go!
-[x] But keep the library in mind for later. Every place should have a library!
[x] We'll be able to charge the tengu for future additions, right?
[x] A storehouse. That's about all we need.

Why, exactly, would Aya not want to continue living with Hina?
We~ell, you know. It's nice to have your own place to bring cute spider youkai back to sometimes~

(I don't actually advocate embezzling though.)

But [x] a storehouse is probably worth considering, yeah.
[x] We're good to go!
-[x] But keep the library in mind for later. Every place should have a library!

Not the library guy, but it wouldn't hurt to have a small one on the shrine grounds. Nothing too fancy, there's plenty of places to go for obscure hocus pocus and what have you after all. But I could see something containing references on farming, engineering, art, and stuff being worthwhile. Throw in a decent entertainment and children's section or something too. And for that matter, how many libraries in Gensokyo let you check out books?

Aim less for the Library of Alexandria, and more your local neighborhood's library. Versatility and availability over all else.
[x] A storehouse. That's about all we need.
-[x] But keep the library in mind for later. Every place should have a library!

I like the idea of a having a modest collection of relevant literature, although I'm not so sure we should let people move the books.
Both because it's worse for the books and because we'd get more activity at the shrine if the have to visit to study the books.

Like I said, Hina is lovely, but even your best friend will start to get on your nerves (and you on theirs) if you don't have your own home to go back to. And it just feels better to have your own house, with your own room, and your own bed.

Being the one who wrote the embezzlement suggestion, I was only about 70-80% serious about it. Hence I didn't write it as a vote, just thinking out loud.
>best friend
Oh. Okay then.
I was implying otherwise.
Yes, but as much as Aya would like otherwise, they're still on the level of "just friends" unfortunately.
[X] Not for now, this will be fun!
> I like the idea of a having a modest collection of relevant literature, although I'm not so sure we should let people move the books.

Not all libraries are public libraries or even lending libraries. In this case I was proposing what's called a special library; basically the research organ of a private institution, though browsing privileges for members is often part of the deal. If the shrine becomes a learning center the library may become an academic library.

…But I'm getting ahead of myself.

> Throw in a decent entertainment and children's section or something too.

Sure; rebranding themselves as community centers seems to be the in thing among public libraries, it should work for a shrine library as well.

> Aim less for the Library of Alexandria, and more your local neighborhood's library.

Even a pokey branch library has a lot, using my local branch as an example I counted 117 shelves of nonfiction books alone.

Also, I'm glad to see others liking my library idea. I'd also like to add to this (>>23949):

[x] Composting toilets, because all that food Minoriko's serving up has to go somewhere.
-[x] And good toilet paper! None of that splintery manilla hemp or those flimsy perfumed tissues but durable paper towels!

Yes, I think about these things. If I were a gappy my first questions would be about the toilet facilities.
As much as I applaud going eco-friendly, isn't there kind of a big... thing in traditional Japanese culture about not having contact with anything that's touched, uh. Excrement? It'd be a neat idea otherwise, but it could also turn a lot of people off, and we're trying to get these ladies some faith, after all.

And why the sudden push for a library, all of a sudden?

[x] A storehouse, because they're always useful.
I imagine the push for a (future) library is because religion is great for educating followers, and education is one of the most important elements for improving the overall quality of life in a town or similar settlement, regardless of size.
Educated followers are happy and productive and will let others know that it's all thanks to this great new shrine that they should totally go visit to learn more about farming and art and receive blessings of fortune. (And try the booze. It's the best!)
>religion is great for educating followers
So's Keine though. If you really want to embezzle something, let Keine have the funds. She could use a library more than we could -- and she may still be a little resentful of how we made Akyuu break down and cry.

Also a) I still think a library is really off-theme for the group, and b) I don't fancy becoming a target for a misguided Marisa.
[X] We'll need a printing press to print those explanatory pamphlets
Keine generally teaches elementary school material.

This would be more like texts about advanced agricultural techniques or the proper use of artistic tools and pigments. Very specific, and advanced, subjects for worshipers wishing to better themselves as well as ask for blessings.
I think calling it a "library" would probably be a bit grand, since it would be a very focused collection of texts within a narrow set of subjects, while a library has... Well, "everything".
But "library" is quicker and easier to say.

And Marisa probably isn't a problem. She doesn't raid libraries because they are libraries. She raids them because they have books she wants.
Unless they stock up on "The Witch's Guide to Advanced Mycology" or something, the odds of a break-in are low.
Going to have to agree with >>23962 here. A library can be best used elsewhere, and doesn't really fit any of the three. While it would be nice to have all that stuff on hand to publish, archive and so on, right now it's extraneous and somewhat takes away from the focus we're trying to go for.

Rather than that, we'd be better off getting help from our local historian archivist and book store owner to assemble relevant things into some kind of compendium, print it from a publishing house somewhere in the Village, and sell or give the things away. You could even include stuff from field-keeping or weather-sensing/monitoring Youkai to build a good guide on how to take advantage of the natural flow of the world to build better harvests. Sort of like a Farmer's Almanac that works at least 70-80% of the time. It'd be a great way to build rapport and integrate the temple with the community.

Remember, we're not trying to become a stand-alone be-all-and-end-all sort of place. The temple should try to integrate itself with the petitioners that come to it. That's how we differentiate it from Kanako's place on the mountain: work with the common folk, instead of just handing things down to them.

Maybe they could publish this sort of thing annually, evaluating soil quality and bringing in things like efficient crop rotations. Add daily or weekly weather reports and you're good.

Or in other words, we can definitely provide knowledge as a service, but the library/archive thing is a bit excessive. We might eventually get to the point where we could build an archive of harvest seasons, weather patterns, artwork and auspicious events, but that will come in time.
[x] Not for now, that's more than enough.
File 138360570317.jpg - (247.17KB, 850x1254, they were not like this.jpg) [iqdb]
I chew my lip for a moment, trying to think of anything else we could buy to really stick it to the eld-

That is, to ensure a prosperous start to the religion of the Three Goddesses of Change! It's not like I'm deliberately trying to screw over those crusty old, superior-acting bastards! No sir!

"A storehouse might be a good idea," I comment, "And I'm not so sure that a library is a bad idea, but I guess we can shelve that for now." I shake my head. "Nah, that's everything that I can think of. How about you ladies?"

The three goddesses shake their heads. "That's everything we can think of as well," Hina agrees, "But if we think of anything else, we'll be sure to call you, Miss Kurodani!"

"Call me Yamame, please," the spider says pleasantly. "Anyway, I'm always available for future additions! Which, I assume, will also be charged to the tengu village?"

"Hell, yes," I say with a broad grin. "Believe me, they totally have it coming."

Yamame gives me a look. "Pardon me for asking, but why are you so hell-bent on draining the wallets of your own elders? I mean, they're your people, aren't they?"

I shrug. "It's a long story. Just chalk it up to centuries of frustration and disappointment." Not to mention being jerked around like I was on a leash, but that's neither here nor there. "Anyway, you wanna stick around for a bit? Minoriko makes some good food, and some great booze~!"

Come on, stick around, get drunk, and regale the others with the joys of miniskirts and sweaters! Work with me here, women!

Yamame smiles and shakes her head. "Sorry, I have to turn you down for now."


"I need to head back to the underground and start sorting out my work-crew. But I'll be sure to come back bright and early tomorrow morning." She turns to the goddesses. "Do you have a specific spot in mind?"

Hina nods. "Yes, and we just need to adjust it slightly after Aya's idea. We'll show you tomorrow. Actually, I live a fair ways away, but I'll make it a point to be here good and early."

"No worries, it'll take me a bit to get everything set up," Yamame assures her. "Anyway! I have some arrangements to make, so I'll see you all tomorrow!" With a polite bow to us, Yamame lets herself outside and flies off, leaving the four of us alone.

"She seems nice," Hina comments. "I really feel for her, too. It's not easy when you have a bad reputation and nobody wants to look past it."

Minoriko puts a hand on Hina's shoulder. "Don't worry about it. We're all in this together now, remember? We'll make it big as a group, and won't let anybody say anything bad about any of us!"

"Of course, the written word is the best way to change peoples' minds," I murmur to myself. I miss my newspaper. I really gotta look into getting it back up and running. Maybe I can start by writing articles on the new shrine? That sounds like a good idea.

As the goddesses get around to making plans, and making dinner in Minoriko's case, a thought occurs to me now that Yamame's gone. She had mentioned a "work crew." I guess that makes sense, but... "What kind of work crew would Yamame have?" I ask out loud.

The three goddesses pause what they're doing to look at each other, and look at me with a shrug. "Oni workmen?" Hina suggests.

My blood runs cold.

Oh gods.



What have I done?!

I don't really taste dinner that night, and just mumble responses to the worried questions sent my way. All I can think of is the distinct possibility that the old masters of the Mountain are coming to the surface... and I'm going to be there when they arrive.

I have a very hard time falling asleep that night.


The Oni.

The tyrants of the Mountain, ruling everything that they survey, and none dare to question their rule. Not even the tengu. Especially not the tengu.

Every being that encounters the Oni fears them. Their power, their recklessness, their sheer zeal for life, makes them something beyond overwhelming. None can win an argument with one of the great beasts, for the Oni will simply laugh in a voice like an avalanche and do things their way regardless.

None can win a fight against the Oni, for the giants are simply too strong. And if you do win a battle? Why, that simply marks you as a worthy opponent, and the Oni will seek you out to do battle with you again. Over and over again.

They are boisterous beyond belief, and their endless parties shake the Mountain to its core. Get in the way of an Oni's partying, and you are likely to be dragged in regardless of your wishes. Refusal is impossible; if an Oni chooses to drink with you, then you will wind up drinking with the Oni no matter what you want, for their strength allows no argument.

They're a force of nature in a way; when an Oni comes along, you can only scramble out of its path. They are nearly invincible, inexorable. When its mind is set to the task, an Oni does as it wills, and not even the elements themselves can stop it.

Heavens help you if you manage to incur the wrath of an Oni. Your lifespan is then measured in moments. I have vague memories of enraged Oni, so far in the past that I can't even remember them clearly. I may not have been fully intelligent at the time. I just don't know. But I remember quaking in terror at the sight.

The Oni are more or less chaos embodied, which may be one reason that the orderly tengu don't like to talk about them. Only the eldest actually remember the Oni anymore, but all have heard the stories. And the elders know, in their truest hearts, that if the Oni ever decided to come back and claim the mountain, the tengu would not be able to stand against them. All of our accomplishments, all of our strength and abilities, are as nothing before the true masters of Youkai Mountain.

So it is that I dream, dreams that have no true sight or sound, but are dreams of raw emotion. Dreams of awe and fear. Dreams of unwilling submission before the unassailable.

Dreams of the Oni.


My eyes flutter open as I hear Hina calling out to me. The light coming from the window is still very dim; it must be just after dawn.

"Aya, wake up! We're heading out to the Akis' place to greet Miss Yamame and her work crew! You don't want to miss this, do you?"

I freeze solid where I lay in bed. Oh gods. That's right. The Oni are coming. Probably. Most likely. It's a distinct, non-zero possibility.


[ ] Hide in bed.
[ ] *cough* I'm sick today...
[ ] I don't wanna!
[ ] Suck it up and go, already.

On the one hand, Hide in bed is probably going to rot my teeth out.

On the other hand, sick option is doomed to failure.

And then 'Idonwanna' is straight up shenanigans

Leaving sucking it up to be the CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, NO STRINGS ATTATCHED deally.

Right, last segment was kinda heavy at the end with the tengu, so I'm going with...

[x] Hide in bed
Man, now I kind of want to see what would have happened to The Beast back in Pleasant Meadows had Suika gotten her ridiculous mitts around its throat.

Just, y'know, as a What If kind of thing, because I kind of want to see that ludicrous beatdown.

As for this, hmm.

[x] Do it for the lady, Shameimaru. After all, maybe the Oni won't even be there! Maybe the Earth Spider got Humans. Maybe.
[x] Bring secret alcohol, just in case. To serve as bait so we can spring a get-away/to beg forgiveness from angry oni.
[X] *cough* I'm sick today...
[x] Who's this "Aya" person?
[x] come along any way
-[x] At a distance such that you can see them but they cant see you and that if necessary you can run.
--[x] bring bait alcohol (smell-proof casing) and stealth gear.
---[x] when Hina asks explain exactly why the preparations are necessary.
[x] Someone'll drag me out, I might as well go.
-[x] As a devotee of Hina I will have faith in Her to remove any misfortune.
-[x] Might as well get a news story out of it.
--[x] Um... Ask about their relations with the satori? Anything to keep my mind off of scary ONI!
[x] Hide in bed.
[x] I don't wanna!

When Hina comes to get us out of bed, we pull her in with us!
Who's with me for some goddess loving?
[x] I don't wanna!
[x] Hide in bed.
[x] *cough* I'm sick today...
[x] Who's this "Aya" person?
[x] I have a note from my mother saying I don't have to go.
[x] I'm not decent!

[x] I don't wanna!
[x] Hide in bed.
[x] *cough* I'm sick today...
[x] Who's this "Aya" person?
[x] I have a note from my mother saying I don't have to go.
[x] I'm not decent!

We are dealing with true terrors here. True embodiments of chaos that will drag our sexy damn legs down the underground and keep us there until they have enough drinking with us. In other words! We'll get out there no less than after a week, if we are lucky!
[x] Suck it up and go, already.
Because spiderbutt.
I like this one.

[x] Do it for the lady, Shameimaru. After all, maybe the Oni won't even be there! Maybe the Earth Spider got Humans. Maybe.
[x] Do it for the lady, Shameimaru. After all, maybe the Oni won't even be there! Maybe the Earth Spider got Humans. Maybe.
[X] Do it for the lady, Shameimaru. After all, maybe the Oni won't even be there! Maybe the Earth Spider got Humans. Maybe.

Here's a bullet, Aya. Start biting.
[x] Do it for the lady, Shameimaru. After all, maybe the Oni won't even be there! Maybe the Earth Spider got Humans. Maybe.
[x] I don't wanna!
[x] Hide in bed.
[x] *cough* I'm sick today...
[x] Who's this "Aya" person?
[x] I have a note from my mother saying I don't have to go.
[x] I'm not decent!
[x] I don't wanna!
[x] Hide in bed.
[x] *cough* I'm sick today...
[x] Who's this "Aya" person?
[x] I have a note from my mother saying I don't have to go.
[x] I'm not decent!

Yay for shenanigans.
[x] I don't wanna!
[x] Hide in bed.
[x] *cough* I'm sick today...
[x] Who's this "Aya" person?
[x] I have a note from my mother saying I don't have to go.
[x] I'm not decent!

This is so like Aya.
[X] Do it for the lady, Shameimaru. After all, maybe the Oni won't even be there! Maybe the Earth Spider got Humans. Maybe.

And if it turns out the work crew isn't Oni, one day Aya will look back on this and laugh. And laugh. And laugh. Nervously.
[x] I don't wanna!
[x] Hide in bed.
[x] *cough* I'm sick today...
[x] Who's this "Aya" person?
[x] I have a note from my mother saying I don't have to go.
[x] I'm not decent!

for lulz
[x] I don't wanna!
[x] Hide in bed.
[x] *cough* I'm sick today...
[x] Who's this "Aya" person?
[x] I have a note from my mother saying I don't have to go.
[x] I'm not decent!

Avoid the issue like a pro!
>[x] I'm not decent!
Any of the goddesses: "So what else is new?"
[ ] pro level evading of the problem
[x] Do it for the lady, Shameimaru. After all, maybe the Oni won't even be there! Maybe the Earth Spider got Humans. Maybe. You hope. ...please?
[x] I'm not decent!

Because lol hypocrisy
[x] Someone'll drag me out, I might as well go.
-[x] As a devotee of Hina I will have faith in Her to remove any misfortune.
-[x] Might as well get a news story out of it.
--[x] Um... Ask about their relations with the satori? Anything to keep my mind off of scary ONI!
Vote called. Oni are scary. Update later.
File 138369218691.jpg - (353.27KB, 850x1216, all is lost.jpg) [iqdb]

Not getting out of bed. Not today, no sirree. Granted, that means that I'll miss out on seeing the lovely Yamame, which truly breaks my heart, but it also means that I don't run the risk of encountering any Oni. I consider this a fair tradeoff. Besides, it just means that I have to pay Yamame a visit later to apologize for my absence! Perhaps while she's off work! And thus wearing a particularly fetching little number! Yes, that seems like a good plan...

My door opens, and Hina pokes her head in. "Aya, I know you're awake. Now get up, already!"

Silently, I pull the covers up over my head. There's no Aya here, no sir!

Hina sighs and walks over to my futon. "Aya, it's time to get up. Come get breakfast, already! It'll get cold! Don't you remember what we're doing today?"

Why yes, yes I do. And it runs the risk of encountering Oni. This bed seems like a much better idea. So warm and comfy... but it would be so much warmer with someone else in here with me.

Hina tries to pull the covers off, and I struggle to keep them over me. "Oh for pity's sake, Aya!" the goddess scolds me, "What is wrong with you this morning?"

I lift a corner of the blankets up. "Care to join me~?"

"I'll pass, thanks." Aw. "Now Aya, I don't know what's gotten into you, but I am not going to stop until you're out of bed!"

I seal myself back under the blankets and rack my brain for some excuse, any excuse to get me out of this trip which threatens to expose me to the greatest source of fear that I have ever known.

"...Who's Aya?" I ask innocently.

...Okay, so that wasn't my greatest moment ever. Give me a break, here. It's the first thing in the morning, and I'm currently overwhelmed with soul-crushing dread. My brain isn't working properly.

I hear something that sounds remarkably like a palm hitting a forehead. "Aya, be serious here. I know you're awake, and I know that you're trying to get out of going to the Akis' place today. Why is that? I mean, we might be moving there, you know?"

I hesitate. "Hina, there might be Oni there, okay? Maybe you don't remember the Oni. I do. Right now, the only two Oni that Gensokyo knows about are that one that comes up from the underground from time to time, and the one that hangs out at Reimu's shrine every now and then. I avoid them like the plague, because I remember what Oni were like back in the day. And I'd rather not relive that experience. I hope you understand." There. It's out. Hopefully, Hina will now find it in her heart to leave me alone, and not force me to encounter those brutes.

There's long silence, and then Hina sighs. "Okay. I understand."

Yay for Hina!

"...And you're still coming with me, Aya."

Damn it, Hina!

I start coughing weakly. "Well, normally I might be willing to face those gigantic terrors, but I have this awful feeling in my chest today... I think I might be coming down with something. It'd probably be best if I got some rest today and didn't go anywhere. You go ahead, I'll be fine."

"Aya," Hina's voice says flatly. "You're not hiding in here all day. You're coming with me, whether you like it or not. Now get out of bed." Hina starts tugging at the sheets.

I have only one last resort. "I don't wanna!" I wail, and roll tightly into a ball, dragging the sheets with me into an impenetrable defense.

It doesn't last long against Hina's sheer determination. "You are coming with me, you are going to say hello to Yamame, and you are going to meet any Oni, should they be part of Yamame's work crew!" With one final, might tug, Hina rolls me out of the blankets, and sends me toppling onto the floor.

"Waaah! I'm not decent!" I shout, covering myself up and trying to distract Hina.

"It's nothing I haven't seen already," Hina snorts, grabbing me by the arm and dragging me over to the dresser.

"I have a note from my mom saying that I don't have to go!" I wail, racking my brains for something to get me out of this.

"Well, I have a note from me saying that you're going!" Hina retorts as she starts forcing clothing onto me.


"Your make-up assignment is to go over to the Akis' then!"


"Then face your fears!"

"NOOOOOO!" My protests avail me nothing as Hina drags me out to the dining room, forces me to eat, and then hauls me behind her to the Akis' grove.

I wanna go back to bed!


I stand rigidly, hurriedly scanning my surroundings as the goddesses talk quietly a few feet away. I've only been here for ten minutes, and they feel like the longest ten minutes of my life. So far, no Yamame. And no Oni. No Yamame is sad. No Oni is good. I hope we have an abundance of Yamame today, and a complete lack of Oni! Is that too much to ask for?!

"Heeeey~!" a familiar voice calls out to us. Turning around, I see Yamame walking up with a broad smile on her face, dressed in a set of coveralls and carrying a clipboard under her arm. Funny how the spider can make coveralls look sexy, but there it is. "Sorry I'm late! I stopped by Nitori's house, but she's still putting some things together. She'll be here in a bit."

"Not a problem," Minoriko assures her with a smile. Her eyes light up as she looks behind me. "Ah, and this must be your work force!"

A shadow falls over me, and I realize my mistake.

I was distracted by the Yamame. By how the coveralls hugged her soft curves, highlighting everything like a sign saying 'sexy lady.' So distracted was I by the earth spider, that my senses tuned out everything else in order to focus on this vision of loveliness. Seriously, she makes that thing look good.

And now it's too late.

Something is standing behind me. I can smell brimstone in the air, mixed with the scent of strong alcohol. And the shadow falling over me has horns.

[ ] Can't move. Too scared.
[ ] Scream.
[ ] Run.
[ ] Fly.
[ ] Faint.
[ ] Turn around. Slowly.
[X] Can't move. Too scared.
[X] Fly.

Nobody can catch her after all, even if they wanted to.
[x] All the above
[x] Can't move. Too scared.
[x] Scream.

The faintest eep ever.
[X] Fly.
[x] Can't move. Too scared.
[x] Faint.
[x] Can't move. Too scared.
Shit is going down and our worst fear is not even an armlength behind us. We got Yamames sexy display that we came here for but staying here is just not worth the wrath of those oni. We're getting out of here, crying to Momiji or anything else out of harms way in maximum speed
[x] Can't move. Too scared.
-[x] "...eep..."
[x] Can't move. Too scared.

Maybe their sight is based on movement, like a dinosaur, so if we don't move they can't see us?

...Shut up! It makes total sense when you're panicking.
[x] Can't move. Too scared.

Don't worry, if we can't see them, they can't see us!
[x] Hide behind Hina
[x] Can't move. Too scared.
tempting as it is vote [ ] all of the above, I'm fairly certain that fainting while flying around and trying not to move at the same time is going to be a bad idea.
I kind of like the image of
[x] Hide behind Hina

Because Scary Oni are Scary.

Keymaster, any chance of ever seeing YUKARI-VISION of what Suika might have done to the Beast in some kind of weird alternate timeline?

Because I am curious.
[X] Sound barrier? What sound barrier?

And I second the Suika v. Beast question.

...Maybe. Sometime in the future, perhaps. I honestly don't have any real plans to revisit PM; the story's told as far as I'm concerned. Suffice it to say that a pissed off Suika, one of the four devas, would be... awe-inspiring.
It'd be neat to see! Well, even if we don't see her murder The Beast, maybe Aya will get (un)lucky and see Suika get really, really angry at someone this time around.
[X] Stay perfectly still
-[X] Don't look back Don't look back Don't look back
-[X] Theycan'tseemeIcan'tseethem
>I can smell brimstone in the air, mixed with the scent of strong alcohol. And the shadow falling over me has horns.
This is just Minoriko with a pair of fake horns and some sulfurous incense, isn't it.
Minoriko's standing in front of us.

It's prrooooobably an Oni. Unless it's /not!?/
[X] Scream.
[X] Faint.

Event skipped.Hooray for aya.

if she faints, they're gonna force some oni liquor down her throat to wake her up.

happened before.
[x] Eep.
[x] Faint

Of course, after this we must switch to the Oni's point of view as they look on in amusement.
[X] Turn around. Slowly.
[X] Turn around. Slowly.

If Aya wants to keep seeing Yamame, she'll need to face her fear.
[X] Scream.

"Give me a place to scream and I will move the earth"

~Aya Shameimaru
[X] Turn around. Slowly.

I bet this will be one of those gentleman oni. Come to sweep this wayward tengu off her feet.

Like Big Papa? Who is the best Oni EVER. Keymaster, I'm impressed that you made an OC even more likable than the canon oni. Or maybe those polite Oni who literally "showed Koakuma a good time", being all nice and polite with her, showing the succubus the sights and whatnot, much to Koa's chagrin.
[x] Scream.
[x] Soil yourself.
[x] Cry.
[x] Lewdly submit, while shouting what a wretch you are.
-[x] Get those thoughts out of your head, you pervert!
Calling vote. Oni. Scared. Update later.
File 138377476534.png - (412.80KB, 824x888, time to get started.png) [iqdb]
Don't move. Movement agitates them. Or can be taken as a sign of surrender. Depends on the Oni, how drunk they are, how they act while drunk. Doesn't matter, I can't move anyway. Too scared.


Oh gods. Oni.


I'm screwed. Totally screwed. It's seen me by now. It will have seen me, and realized that I'm a tengu. I don't know what happens now. Abduction? Will it eat me? Or force me to run its errands? I don't know. I can't think. All I can remember is the sheer terror of ages past. All I have left is fear.

A huge, warm, heavy hand comes down on my shoulder, and I prepare for the end. "Pardon me, madam, but are you feeling all right?" A polite, cultured voice asks.


A huge, lumbering figure steps around me, giving me a good look at it. Massive. Muscular. Reddish skin. Horns. Oni. Well-tailored suit...? Not to mention a delicate pair of spectacles and a concerned expression on his face...

Biting his lip, the Oni places a hand on my forehead. "Hmmm... you were spacing out there for a bit, but I don't think you're sick or anything... do you feel okay?"

"Buh," I respond.

"Oh, don't mind her, she just didn't sleep well last night," Hina puts in cheerfully.

"Ah, of course," the Oni says, nodding in understanding. "After a long night partying, I often have a hard time waking up as well. That's why I only had a single keg of alcohol last night." He puffs his chest out in pride. "A sacrifice, yes, but a man must take pride in his work!"

Another Oni, wearing a well-tailored robe, steps up and coughs meaningfully. "Aren't you forgetting something there?" He asks the firsts Oni.

The Oni who was checking up on me blinks in confusion, then a look of embarrassment comes over his face. "Argh, how rude of me! Of course!" He then bows politely to me. "Call me Goro! It's always a pleasure to meet someone new!"

"And you can call me Yondo," the second Oni, the one in the robe, says. "You're a tengu, aren't you? Looks like the centuries have been kind to your folk! Say, I don't suppose you'd like to sit down later and have a drink with me? I'd like to hear first hand how things have been getting on at the mountain." He winks. "Tea, of course. I remember how you tengu always had a hard time keeping up with us over sake. Ah, no offense, of course!"


Goro facepalms at something else. "Oh, come on, Kintaro, do you really have to do that?" I follow his gaze, and see that Kintaro is an Oni in a extravagantly embroidered vest with a massive top hat and a golden monocle. He is currently bent over, kissing the back of Shizuha's hand.

"M'lady, let me just say that it is an honor to be able to serve you to the best of my ability!" He steps to the side, and kisses Minoriko's hand. "You have my word, all of us will put forth 110% on this job!" Now it's Hina's turn to have her hand kissed. "This will be a shrine to call forth worshipers from far and wide, just you wait and see." The goddesses are giggling bashfully at the Oni's gentlemanly behavior.



No, gentlemen.




Kintaro turns to me with sparkling eyes. "Ah, but don't think I've forgotten about you either, my dear!" Walking up merrily, the dapper Oni takes my hand in his massive, surprisingly gentle palm, and kisses the back of my hand. He winks at me. "My, the tengu have certainly produced some lovely women over the centuries, haven't they?"

An Oni just kissed my hand.

I'm stuck somewhere between blind terror and confusion. Is my face burning? Why is my face burning? What is even I don't know what what.

I'm confused.

Goro rolls his eyes in exasperation. "Brother of mine, must you flirt with every woman who comes by?"

Kintaro laughs merrily. "Goro, dear fellow, one must give the ladies the appreciation they deserve! You don't want them to feel neglected, do you?"

Goro pauses, then smirks ruefully. "As always, I can't argue with that logic. You're still a total flirt though."

Kintaro puffs out his chest. "I am a gentleman, and an admirer of women! And proud of it!"

Yondo clears his throat. "Which is all well and good, but we do have a job to accomplish, remember?" This get Goro and Kintaro's attention, and the two Oni immediately snap to attention. "Good then. Miss Yamame? We're at your disposal!"

Yamame nods, giggling at her crew's antics. "Great! Now, let's just follow the plans I put together, and we'll be done in a few days, tops!"

Hina raises a hand. "Um, question! Are you really going to be doing work in those fancy clothes? I mean, they could get dirty!"

The Oni look at her as though she's nuts.

"But of course!" Goro scoffs. "We have an image to keep up! Why, our friends would never let us live it down if we did otherwise!"

Yondo shrugs. "Someone has to give the drycleaners some work, am I right?"

"Besides, these things get dirty all the time down below," Kintaro shrugs it off. "Just part and parcel of living in the underground city! Am I right, my friends?" The other two Oni nod enthusiastically.

"Just checking," Hina says evenly.

"Okay, then let's get started!" Yamame declares. The Oni nod, and begin lugging in huge pallets full of wood, stone, tools, and kegs. I guess Oni need a snack-time, after all. It isn't until Yondo takes a massive shovel in each hand and begins shoveling up massive wads of dirt that I realize that these three constitute Yamame's entire work force. And they plan to be done in a few days.

Well, that's Oni for you. Oni with manners. In classy suits. And. I. Just.

Brain no worky.

Aya confused.

A small figure walks up beside me. "Sorry I'm late!" Nitori chirps, watching the scene of construction with fascination readily apparent on her face. I notice that she's brought a motorized cart with some equipment of her own. "Wow, these guys work fast, huh?" I don't respond. Nitori look over at me in concern. "Um, Aya? You okay, there?"

[ ] Yes.
[ ] No.
[ ] Maybe.
[ ] I don't know.
[ ] Warning. An error has occurred with Aya. Please restart your tengu now.
[x] Warning. An error has occurred with Aya. Please restart your tengu now.
[X] Warning. An error has occurred with Aya. Please restart your tengu now.

Poor poor aya she has BSOD on us from the shock of gentleman oni.
[ ] Warning. An error has occurred with Aya. Please restart your tengu now.
[X] Warning. An error has occurred with Aya. Please restart your tengu now.

I see what you did there with the Oni, Key.

I like it.
File 138377570228.jpg - (185.93KB, 850x815, okuu404.jpg) [iqdb]
File 138377581275.jpg - (11.19KB, 224x226, bsod.jpg) [iqdb]
[x] An unexpected error has occurred. This Tengu must shutdown.
-[x] Would you like to send a report?

> I see what you did there with the Oni, Key.

You mean the names Goro and Kintaro? I'm not familiar with Yondo, though.
[X] Warning. An error has occurred with Aya. Please restart your tengu now.
Still one of my favorite images.

[x] Warning. An error has occurred with Aya. Please restart your tengu now.

I never liked the name Motaro, so I just made something up.

Yeah, that. Seconding the 'i no get yondo' thing, though.
[x] Warning. An error has occurred with Aya. Please restart your tengu now.
>A problem has been detected and Aya has been shut down to prevent damage to your tengu.

>The problem seems to be caused by the following file: ONI.BHV


>If this is the first time you've seen this Stop error screen, restart your tengu. If this screen appears again, follow these steps: [...]
[ ] Warning. An error has occurred with Aya. Please restart your tengu now.
File 138377855217.jpg - (131.79KB, 640x480, c544aeffc7c49c122d84494db8a8ddd4.jpg) [iqdb]
[X] Warning. An er__r _as o_cu_red with A_a. Pleas_ res_art your t_n__ now.
[x] Warning. An error has occurred with Aya. Please restart your tengu now.

Gentleman Oni are best Oni.
[x] Warning. An error has occurred with Aya. Please restart your tengu now.

I would make some computer related joke, but it's late here and I'm tired. Just image it was something really funny.
[x] Warning. An error has occurred with Aya. Please restart your tengu now.
[X] Warning. An error has occurred with Aya. Please restart your tengu now.

...I think we've seen these guys before. unless I'm mistaken, Koakuma had a wonderful night with them
You may as well call it, Key. Seems pretty unanimous to me.
That whole portion of the story was great. And Big Papa. Wonder how long until he shows up again.
File 138379547462.png - (87.72KB, 453x1262, csod.png) [iqdb]
[X] Warning. An error has occurred with Aya. Please restart your tengu now.
> And Big Papa. Wonder how long until he shows up again.

He'll show up when Aya gets engaged to Yamame's miniskirt and butt.
>living arthropod used as a sex toy
Sometime between "no" and "never", I hope.

Also, sage your non-votes, please.
Well that was unanimous. Vote called, update later.
File 138386551722.jpg - (76.62KB, 850x1201, your mind cannot comprehend.jpg) [iqdb]

Oni, the great terrors. Oni, the rulers of the mountain. Unstoppable, unreasonable, powerful as all get-out, and now apparently gentlemen.

Oni gentlemen.

Classy, polite, cultured, flirtatious Oni, who liked to work with a smile on their face, and what sounds like a song on their lips.

"Aya?" a concerned voice that sounds like Nitori speaks, coming from either right next to me or a million miles away. I'm not too sure on that one. I'm having a hard time thinking. Oni. Gentleman. Oni gentleman. Oni gentleman.




There is a massive fucking discrepancy here! This does not fit in my worldview! This is not what Oni are, there is a decided lack of thunderous roaring and boozing, and insane parties, and wrecking everything within arm's reach and-

Kintaro just tipped his hat to Minoriko.



"Aya? Hey, Aya?" That sounds like Hina for some reason. It is Hina! She's coming towards me, looking worried as the ground tilts baaaaack and fooooorth and this makes no sense and what was I so worried about and this pretty much knocks out one of the pillars of my understanding of everything and...


I'm done.

I'm out y'all.

Time for this tengu to go bye-bye.

My body is numb, and I think I have a stupid, empty smile on my face as everything goes all spinny and I topple forward and land in Hina's boobs.

Hina boobs are soft boobs. So nice~.

Good night!


"You gotta be kidding me!" I sputter, unable to believe their demands.

"Not at all, Shameimaru," the elder replies in THAT voice. There's a lot you can read from a simple tone of voice. This one says 'I am better than you in every way because I have a fancy chair and a fancy robe. Also, I'm totally going to lord it over you while trying to act all smooth and stuff.'

All the elders have voices like that. I think they train for it or something. Elder douchebag training camp. Must be.

"You're telling me to lie in my newspaper!" I shout, struggling to contain my anger.

"Not lie. Just... embellish," the elder replies in a voice he probably thinks is reasonable. It isn't. "After all, it's not like you don't already make certain... alterations when writing your articles, now is it?"

"I... only do that to increase circulation!" I protest weakly. "I mean, I want people to buy my newspaper, but there isn't always something interesting going on, so yeah, I embellish things... a bit." It shames me to admit it. I've always believed in the Truth in all things, but people don't always want to hear the Truth. Sometimes the Truth is kinda dull. And I really want people to read my newspaper. So... that means I exaggerate things a bit from time to time, yes, but it's always completely true. But this... "You're asking me to do everything but flat-out lie," I say, my voice trembling. "Do you have any idea what this will do to my reputation?"

Another elder snorts. "Oh, please. I really don't know why you care what your lessers think about you. Hell, I don't understand why you want to do business with lesser beings in the first place!"

A lot of those lessers could mop the floor with you, jackass. A lot of those lessers have had more original ideas in the last day than you've had in centuries. And I sell to them because no tengu wants to listen to me.

"It doesn't matter," I say dismissively, "I'm not screwing up my paper like this, and that's final."

A third elder nods sagely. "You choose exile, then?"

I freeze. "What?" I ask faintly.

The first elder shrugs. "All tengu must contribute to the well-being of the village. If you refuse to contribute, then you can barely call yourself a tengu, now can you? Therefore, we have no reason to tolerate your presence, now do we?"

...You fuckers.

I glance over at tenma, but he's in his cups, as usual. There's always a bottle of sake close at hand, and he keeps staring at the proceedings blearily, like he isn't even paying attention. Maybe he isn't.

But they have me dead to rights. I... can't go into exile again. I spent forever totally cut off from everyone. I just... can't go through that again. I can't. I've finally made an actual friend among my own kind, and Momiji's pretty much all I've got. But she's young, and would never openly defy the elders. If I lose her, then-

-if I lose everything again-

I close my eyes, shoulder slumping. They've got me. "...What do you want from me?"

"Much better," the first elder says with a note of satisfaction in his voice. "Now, don't look so bitter. I suspect that this will greatly improve the readership of your... newspaper." He tastes the word uncertainly, not liking the thought of something novel. Then he goes on to explain how the tengu would prefer if a certain individual got a lightly less than stellar review in my newspaper. It would complicate things if public opinion of them got too high...

I don't even remember who it was that I was supposed to exaggerate about. I do know that this wasn't the last time the elders called upon me to doctor, or even outright falsify my stories. It was infuriating in a way; I started writing a newspaper as a way to get other tengu to acknowledge the Truth. They ignored it, and then a few started to take after me and write their own papers, distributing them solely to the tengu. Not that I ever got any credit for it.

But I became a tool of the elders. The only alternative was exile. The worst part? I'm not sure. It's true that I exaggerated things from time to time, but I had to get people to buy my paper! So that meant that I made things more exciting than perhaps they actually were. A fistfight between youkai is dull; a dramatic battle is exciting. The point is that they had a fight, right? Everything else was gravy.

And yeah, I put pictures of girls in the paper at times. I mean... those were my ladies! I couldn't leave them out!

But the worst part... I'm torn. It was horrible that I got jerked around by the elders, forced to write whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, or be thrown out.

It was just as bad that the exaggerations I made... people loved. My stories, horrid distortions of the sacred Truth, sold like mad. Even the pictures of sexy legs didn't do so well as a true story bent over backwards and dressed up like a two-cent hooker. People liked the falsehoods. That... stung, somehow.

And then... no. I'm wrong. There is a worst part. The worst part was that over time, these overexaggerations these distortions, became normal for me. In fact, they became like a game. Something to aspire to.

The Truth was dead in my heart.


[ ] Grapes
[ ] Leaves
[ ] Ribbons
[x] Sulfur. Because a concerned Oni is even better.

Poor Aya. Tell a lie long enough, and you'll start believing it's true. Or something along those lines. I forget the exact quote.
[X] Cobwebs
[X] Grapes
[X] Ribbons.
go goddess, go
[x] Ribbons
[x] Ribbons
Aya's issues run far deeper than I thought. Severe PTSD, guilt, loneliness, and now we find out that she betrayed her own ideal for a friend- I wonder if the wolf that turned her back on her (albeit shortly) knows how much she had to sacrifice.
Aya's heart was already exiled long ago. It's fitting that her body follows suit yet... She just chose, by herself, the thing that she was so afraid of a few years ago. Damn.

[x] leaves

Keymaster, I think this character is growing even more than you intended. Hot damn.
[x] Sulfur. Because a concerned Oni is even better.
I love Keymasters gentlemen onis. No suprise that I like this write in too
This is a character piece in the truest sense of the word.

[x] Leaves
[x] Leaves
[X] Ribbons

Hina is probably the person in the best position to see that Aya is really fucked up. The people who've known her longer have gotten used to her, and the people who know her less have little context. Hina is at an almost perfect spot to realise something is really, really wrong.
[x] Ribbons

Hina is love.
[x] Sulfur
[x] Cobwebs

Because character development.
[x] Ribbons!

Because Hina is the best option.

And it will break my heart if the person the Elders got her to embellish turned out to be our favorite fortune goddess.
[x] Ribbons

Choosing between your integrity and the people you care for.

Being Aya is suffering.
[x] Leaves

Normally I'm a sucker for a good write-in, and both Sulfur and Cobwebs are. Barring that, normally I'd pick Ribbons, for all the reasons named. But we haven't really gotten to see Aya interact with either of the Aki sisters, let alone only one of them, and I think that's something that might not come up again for some time.
[x] Grapes

... of wrath?
[x] Leaves.

I kind of want to see more Aki.
[x] Ribbons

Hina route continue.
[X] Ribbons

>It is Hina! She's coming towards me, looking worried as the ground tilts baaaaack and fooooorth
Silly Aya, Hina's supposed to be doing the swaying, not you.
I am very disappointed that no one voted "yes no, maybe, I don't know, can you repeat the question?"

I just wanted to say that.

[X] Ribbons
[X] Ribbons
[ ] Ribbons
In that case, I would have gone with "No! I mean yes! I mean, which one is correct?! I mean... I WAS DEAD AT THE TIME!"
[x] Cobwebs
[X] Ribbons
And a commanding victory for ribbons! Vote called, update will be later.
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I groan a little bit as I slowly come back to wakefulness. My head is resting on something soft, and another soft something is gently stroking my hair. It feels kinda nice, actually. There's a pleasant smell in the air, and I hear someone singing gently from somewhere close by.

And beyond that, several more someones singing a lot more raucously. With deep voices. What...?

I crack open my eyes to see an amused Hina looking down at me. 'Are you okay now?" she asks with a smile in her voice.

I groan again and rub my eyes. "Hina, I had the weirdest dream. Yamame's work crew turned out to be a bunch of Oni, and they were acting all strange and stuff. As in, dressed to the nines, being cultured and... gentlemanly, and stuff. It was weird."

Hina just smiles down at me. Hina points at something with her finger. I raise my head to follow here gesture and oh what the actual fuck.


Goro, Kintaro, and Yondo are hard at work. For that matter, so is Yamame, and she's lugging a bunch of lumber over her shoulder like it was nothing. Spider-strength, or something. But back to the the Oni. The ONI, I emphasize. They've started to get a bit dirty, but they're still hard at work and singing as they put together the shrine. And damnation, do these guys work fast. They really will be done in a few days! Off to the side, Nitori is eagerly puttering away at something mechanical, occasionally lugging lengths of pipe into the beginnings of a wooden building. Which appears to have already had a basement built and lined with concrete. Holy shit.

But then again, it's Oni, and they always do whatever they want. Regardless of natural law, or feasibility, or anything. Seriously, if these guys wanted to build a floating bar, they'd do it, and gravity wouldn't dare to mess with them. Organized by a skilled architect like Yamame? This is a hurricane of creation. Nothing less.

It was all real.

This is actually happening.

I wearily rest my head back on Hina's lap. "My worldview has now been utterly destroyed."

Hina laughs out loud. "Oh, come on! They're really nice! You just have to give the gentlemen a chance."

"That's just it," I say, raising a finger to make my point. "The whole gentlemen thing. Oni aren't gentlemen. Never have been."

Hina shrugs. "I vaguely recall tengu not being the same as they are today. Stories about about bloody war waged between humans and bloodthirsty flying beasts, you know?"

A cold chill runs down my spine.

"Aya?!" Hina exclaims, looking worried. "I'm sorry, are you okay? Did I go too far, there?"

I shake my head. "No, no. You're right. It's just... I remember those days. More than I want to. And yeah, you're right." I sigh, rubbing my eyes. "I don't know why I expected the Oni to still be the same after all these years, when my own kind had changed so much. It was pretty dumb of me, huh?" My hand falls to the ground as something occurs to me. "Not being ready to accept a change in others... I think I'm starting to understand how the humans of the village feel about youkai."

Hina gives me a firm look. "And...?"

I can't look away from her emerald eyes. "...And I shouldn't be like that. I shouldn't have cowered away from the Oni like that when I've been trying to get people to give you a chance. That was hypocritical of me, and I'm sorry."

Hina smiles dazzlingly, and nods. "Excellent. I knew you had it in you."

Heh. My own divine therapist. She sees right through me, huh? No wonder Hina dragged me out here. I'm kinda glad she did, though.

There's a long moment of silence as I sit up, sliding over to sit next to Hina. It's kind of mesmerizing to watch the work go by so fast. So the Oni have gotten good at construction, huh? It makes me wonder what other skills they've developed... I just can't shake the feeling that the Oni have kept moving forward with their usual zest for life, unlike the members of my own kind. It kind of makes me sad. Why can't we tengu just relax and enjoy the world half as well as these guys do?

"Goro was checking you over," Hina puts in. "He was genuinely worried about you, and wondered if you were terribly ill. I just made the excuse that you'd had too much to drink and they laughed it off. Seemed to think that tengu were lightweights."

I snort. "Compared to them? Yep."

"You were crying in your sleep."

I'm silent for a moment, not meeting Hina's gaze. "...Yeah?"


More silence. "I was remembering how the elders dicked me over once. Once out of many, many times." I sigh, closing my eyes. "I remember a time when I loved the Truth. I felt that it should be available to everyone in its purest form. What the hell happened to me?" I lower my face into my hands. I know already, mind you. Deep down. But I can't... think ... about...

"I'm running away," I whisper. "I really am a tengu, huh? Looking away from all of the things that I don't want to. All of the things that are too hard. I hate that about my people. But I'm doing it too, huh? I've been doing it since-"

-lying on the floor, crying, completely alone for the tenth year in a row-

"-for a long, long time, anyway. Goddammit. Momiji was right. It wasn't the village that broke me, it was being kicked out of it. What the hell is wrong with me?"

I realize that Hina is hugging me. "Things change. I don't know what you've been through, but you're not alone now. You hear me? You have friends. Real friends. Momiji, me, Shizuha and Minoriko..."

I take a deep, shuddering breath, finding Hina's hand and squeezing it. That's right, huh? Hina wasn't too thrilled with me at fist, but she warmed right up to me. Actually...

"How long have you known?" I ask.

Hina shrugs. "You constantly leak misfortune out of your pores. I had a few hunches. I overheard a bit of your conversation with Momji, and things started to click together. I don't know your story, Aya. But I'd like to."

"...Later," I say quietly. "Just... give me some time to get my thoughts in order."

Hina releases me and nods, gentle smile still on her face. I really like Hina. She tries to understand me, even as creepy and screwed up as I am. Not a lot of people have that kind of strength and compassion-

"You're the goddess of booze?!" Goro's disbelieving voice echoes across the grounds.


"That's right!" Minoriko says cheerfully, "Among my fields of interest are the proper brewing of good alcoholic beverages, and the preparation of good food!"

Mino what are you doing.

"Wow..." Goro says a look of fascination spreading over his face.

Shizuha is chatting with Yondo. "Yes, I represent the natural changes in life, and consider myself a patron of the arts. And really, anything can be considered an art, as long as you put your soul into it."


Yondo is nodding energetically as he works. "Yes, we have a large number of individuals who can consider themselves artists. Our friends Motaro and Shao are actually sculptors of no small skill; we're using a few of their works, as a matter of fact..."

This is not happening.

"So, Miss Hina," Kintaro says, walking up to where we sit, "I understand that you're good at ridding people of misfortune? Because I've been having a bad run of luck with the ladies of late, to say nothing of my run of bad luck at the casinos, and well..."

Hina don't.

Hina smiles. "I'd be happy to help you out with that! After all, I want people to have good fortune in their everyday lives!"

Kintaro seems impressed. "Wow, we could use a goddess like you down below."

The words hammer into my skull. I see where this is going and I DO NOT APPROVE.

Look, I'm trying, but three Oni is one thing, a whole city is something else entirely! To say nothing of a city deep underground, buried under tons of rock! I am not okay with that!

Kintaro looks at me and smiles broadly. "Ah, Miss Aya! Glad to see you're up and about again! Well, try to watch your intake from now on, yes? It's all about pacing yourself, and enjoying the experience! Come visit us sometime, and I'll show you how it's done." He winks at me and walks away, leaving me to scream internally.

You just had to say it, didn't you?!

Shizuha and Minoriko walk up to us, thoughtful expressions on their faces. "So, we've been talking to the Oni," Shizuha begins, "And I think we should consider paying their home a visit. I mean, the Oni aren't exactly devout, but we have enough services that they'd take an interest in that we'd get at least the occasional prayer, and that all adds up in a big city."

Minoriko speaks up now. "On top of that, this would be out of sight of the other faiths, so we wouldn't be accused of poaching followers, and people wouldn't get upset that we were soliciting faith from a bunch of youkai. Heck, by the time they found out, they might even be drinking buddies!"


Hina smiles in excitement. "I know! We should totally consider a trip to the underground at some point! What do you think, Aya?"

[ ] No.
[ ] Nononononono.
[ ] No!
[ ] Start crying.
[ ] Panic and run screaming.
[ ] Beg.
[ ] Hide under your futon.
[ ] ............................fine.
[X] ............................fine.
(X) On one condition! You blindfold me and drag me down there in my sleep and make sure I have ample flying room!
[X] B-b-but...
-[X] ...On one condition! You blindfold me and drag me down there in my sleep and make sure I have ample flying room!

because really, it's perfectly in character to do so.
[x] Smile brightly. "Have fun! I'll hold down the fort while you're gone!"
[x] ............................fine.

I feel like we already had enough of this joke.
[X] B-b-but...
[X] Whenever you decide to go for a trip to the Underground, somebody should stay back and watch over the shrine... just in case. I'll make sure to guard it well!
-[X] ...wait, what do you mean I'm going too?
--[X] I-in that case, can the three of you stick close to me and...um, hold my hands as we go? We Tengu are not particularly good with sky-less, cramped, dark places one cannot properly fly inside of.

Actually, now that I think of it, haven't Aya (and Hatate) visited the Underground during the events of Double Spoiler? Oh well, Tengu claustrophobia is entertaining (Poor Aya).
[X] ............................fine.

Duty before pleasure, for us at least. I think for Aya this is more duty before pants shitting fear, but whatever.
[X] ............................fine.

Haha, time for character development. And oni!
-[X] ...On one condition! You blindfold me and drag me down there in my sleep and make sure I have ample flying room!

In addition to it being in character, I'd just like to note that the flying nuclear reactor has no problem, y'know, flying. So I'm sure Aya could get some claustrophobia in some wide-open spaces rather than repeat her previous performance.
I'm also pretty hyped for meeting our temporally cloned butler. How do you make such compelling OCs, Keymaster?
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[x] Smile brightly. "Have fun! I'll hold down the fort while you're gone!"

[x] Have a glass of (drugged) milk.
[x] Get conked on the head with a board.
[x] Wake up to Koishi feeling you up.
[x] Have a long talk with Satori, you need a therapist!
[x] "Sorry, not this time."

Her prejudices against oni aside, she really DOES have a bad case of claustrophobia.
[X] ............................fine.
(X) On one condition! You blindfold me and drag me down there in my sleep and make sure I have ample flying room!

Maybe we could hang on to the blindfold for a visit to Yamame's place...
>flag tiggered.jpg
Maybe not.
[X] ............................fine.

At this point, we can't just say no. We could have just been that creepy pervert for the entire story and get along just fine, but you guys just had to have your character development and other such nonsense.

Back in my day, all we had was creepy Aya, and we got along just fine. I swear...you kids don't know how good you got it these days.
A Hina is more than fine too and maybe with the rate of things going on in Gensokyo, maybe there'll be some outsider or native that has an interest (I didn't say gender as well the only people that have ended up in a het relationship with a touhou character are a Bartender, Two versions of a person, and one half-breed bastard (formerly))

Don't forget Koakuma's beau. The pharmacist.
-[X] ...On one condition! You blindfold me and drag me down there in my sleep and make sure I have ample flying room!

The city is open enough to not cause massive claustrophobia the same was as the tunnels. There's enough room to put on an entire air show if they want to, you just can't see the sky.
If Aya learns to deal with that, she can maybe start working on her claustrophobia enough to visit Yamame once in a while at least.
Hey, don't put all the blame on us voters. Remember what the author did to that “[X] Pose” write-in? And the lecture he made us just sit and take from Meiling? This story is on rails, and there's little point struggling against them.
[x] ............................fine.

Meh. All that lecture did was tell me that Meiling's kind of a bitch.

Different kind of flag, actually. And you won't be taking that trip immediately or anything.

So they're not gonna get her underground the way the A-Team got BA on a plane (>>24098)?

I still wanna see Koishi groping Aya. "How come no one tells her off for being a pervert?"
[X] ............................fine.
The only other kind of non-literal flag I know of is the death flag, but that obviously doesn't apply here.
Well, if you look at the image, it's Hina in a state of less than completely dressed in an autumn setting with a lot of maple leaves.
This implies that the flag is not related to us...
What did they get up to while Aya was unconscious, hmm?

(Okay, enough perverted fantasies for now. I'm also wondering what it means if it isn't one of those two flags.
Although, if you want to be picky, triggering a flag only means that you have taken a step towards a particual scene and/or ending. You usually need more than one flag to actually get there.)

Okay, fair enough. I just mean that visiting the underground is now a viable option when it comes time to choose another option from the LIST. The filename was just me trying to mess with people a little bit. Maybe I got my terminology screwed up; I've never been too big on VNs.

Anyway, voting's still open. I'll call the vote and write later today sometime.
I'd say it's technically correct since, if you go for the very basic definition, "flag" just means you picked the right choice for something to happen.
On the other hand, as >>24112 said it's mostly used for two specific things, and you implied it had to do with Hina...

Suffice to say, Aya's options are open. Anyway!

Grudging acceptance has the lead, so consider the vote called. Update later.
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I give Hina a bleary look. "There's really no way I'm going to get out of this, is there?"

"Aya, I was just telling you that you really need to get over your fear of the Oni..." Hina starts, but I cut her off with a shake of my head.

"Not that that. I mean, not completely." I shift uncomfortably. "I'm partially worried about the spirits down there wiping out my identity, but I'm sure they have that under control. What really bothers me, though... is the fact that I'd be trapped underground, beneath tons of rock, and with absolutely no way to get to the surface quickly." I shudder at the thought.

Shizuha nods in understanding. "A bit claustrophobic, huh?"

I give the leaf goddess a look. "I'm a crow tengu who has spent her entire life flying free in the skies above ground. You'll have to excuse me if the thought of being stuck down there doesn't really appeal to me. Hell, just going into Yamame's cave was trial enough." Though I at least got to see something nice down there.

Minoriko nods in understanding. "I see. Sorry Aya, we didn't know. Look, just forget about it, okay? We won't force you or anything." Minoriko smiles warmly at me.

I shake my head. "No worries. I mean, I'm sure that an underground city has a lot of room to fly and all, it's just... not a happy thought, okay?"

"Eh, I'd rather not just run down there right at the moment anyway," Shizuha says with a shrug. "Honestly, I'd like to keep an eye on things while the shrine is being built, and then there's the whole business of moving in and making ourselves at home... basically, we can set this thing on the back-burner."

Hina pats me reassuringly on the back. "Don't worry, this is something we can talk about later. But I'd be happy to help you get over your fear of closed spaces. I have an idea you might like~!" Something about Hina's tone simultaneously fills my head with delightful images and fills my heart with dread. What is this woman thinking?

I'm distracted from the three goddesses by an equally heavenly sight. Yamame, having worked up a sweat, has stripped her coveralls down to her waist, revealing a tight black top and a toned stomach. Whoever said that sweaty girls are unappealing has no idea what they're talking about. Hmmm, maybe I can get the goddesses to help in building their own home...

Hina follows my gaze ans snorts with amusement. "Well, that's Aya for you."

Shizuha shakes her head ruefully. "Well, she was the one talking about a swimsuit calendar. I guess we shouldn't be surprised."

"There is nothing wrong with appreciating a fine lady!" I say in a huff.

"I agree whole-heartedly!" Kintaro shouts from the other side of the construction site. How the hell did he even hear me? Frickin' Oni...

"I'll choose to be flattered the next time you bring up your little ideas, then," Minoriko says with a wry smile.

I perk up. "In that case, there's this little number I saw that I think would look fantastic on you-"

"Nope, not happening," Mino says pleasantly.

Aw. Way to shoot down my hopes and dreams.


The work goes by pretty quickly for the rest of the day. Yamame and her crew are a real construction machine, laying down foundations and building walls at tremendous speeds. Yamame takes the occasional break, but the Oni just keep going, only halting to grab the occasional snack from their meal-cart. Drinking alcohol straight from the keg is a very Oni-like thing to do. As is chewing on a huge, meat-filled sandwich while you work. And yet, these guys manage to make it look classy! How the heck do they do that! And how the hell does their work seem to improve as they keep drinking?!

Finally, as the sun begins to go down, Yamame bids us farewell and promises to be back bright and early the next day. Goro, Yondo and Kintaro just flop onto the ground and start snoring like it's the most natural thing in the world. They also keep sipping from their kegs even as they sleep. Seriously, Oni.

Hina and I bid farewell to the Akis, and make our way back to her place to make some supper. As we sit down to some authentic Kagiyama cuisine, I pose a question to my host. "So, we gonna be moving in with the Akis?"

"I think so," Hina replies thoughtfully. "It just makes a lot of sense for us all to be close to one another, after all. It should be fine though, the Oni are building a lot of room for us all." She shrugs. "Besides, I've been thinking about moving away from the mountain for a while now. A change could be a real breath of fresh air, you know?"

"I guess," I say with a shrug. I suppose I can't blame her. She's probably come to look at this place as a prison, after all. Well, it's her choice.

Hina hesitates for a moment. "Do you want to talk, Aya?"

"About how hot I think you'd look in a miniskirt and sweater?" I ask with a grin. "No really, hear me out. We get all three of you together, deck you out in tight sweaters and miniskirts, and send out pamphlets with a title like 'the new change blowing into Gensokyo.' It'd totally sell! And I'd be happy to do the photoshoot for you!"

Hina smiles but shakes her head. "Tempting, but not what I meant. I was wondering if you wanted to talk about your past. What you went through. Where you've been."

About your dreams, the words hang in the air, unsaid.

For a long moment, I am silent.

"Aya?" Hina prompts me.


[ ] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[ ] (Optional) But I want Momiji here, too.
[ ] No. Not yet. Maybe later, okay?
[X] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[X] Just Aya and Hina.
[x] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[x] (Optional) But I want Momiji here, too.

Momiji should be there for equal parts emotional support and because it's relevant that she hears it too.

This story should be renamed "All Aboard the Character Development Train that has no Breaks (and that's a Good Thing)".
...It's a working title.
[x] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
Not completely sure dragging Momiji into this is a wise idea...
[x] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
(no Momiji)

We can tell her later and we need to talk to therapist Hina first, Patient confidentiallity and all that.
[X] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[X] Just Aya and Hina.

>This story should be renamed "All Aboard the Character Development Train that has no Breaks (and that's a Good Thing)".
>...It's a working title.
The Shawshank Shameimaru Redemption?
[x] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[x] (Optional) But I want Momiji here, too.
[x] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[x] But I want Momiji here, too.

Because the poor girl deserves to be in the know.
[X] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[X] Just Aya and Hina.

Not sure that revealing all the dirty little secrets of the Tengu to Momiji is a great idea.
Sounds good.

[X] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[X] Just Aya and Hina.
First Hina, then Momijii
[x] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[x] (Optional) But I want Momiji here, too. She won't understand unless she hears this.

[X] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[X] Just Aya and Hina.

Just Hina for right now. Aya probably has a LOT she wants to let out and she might feel better just having one other person around, especially someone "third-party", if you will.
[x] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[x] (Optional) But I want Momiji here, too. She won't understand unless she hears this.
[X] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[X] Just Aya and Hina.
[x] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[x] (Optional) But I want Momiji here, too.

I'm not sure Aya has it in her to tell the story twice. Speaking as someone who's been in Aya's position, telling it at all is probably going to be torture for her. That's not even mentioning that it's likely to be a long story. I only had to talk about ten years and it took a couple of hours, Aya has to talk about centuries. It's important for Momiji to understand Aya's reasons if they want to have any chance of mending their friendship. With Momiji present, Aya's talk is likely to end either really well or really badly, depending on how well Momiji takes it. While the risks are greater, so are the benifits if it succeeds.

I'm honestly not sure if Aya is ready to talk about it at all, but I don't think that the "maybe later" vote will win.
[x] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[x] (Optional) But I want Momiji here, too. She won't understand unless she hears this.
[x] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
- [x] Just Aya and Hina, for now.

Momiji will have her turn, but ... not just now.
[x] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[x] (Optional) But I want Momiji here, too. She won't understand unless she hears this.
Sorry -- I'm >>24136, and your comment deserves to be addressed.

I think Hina can, eventually, help Aya come to terms with it all—and that that's going to be a prerequisite for talking about it with Momiji, who still thinks Aya did the wrong thing by leaving the village. I don't think either their friendship (still very strained) or Aya's mental and emotional state (ditto) would be helped by Momiji's probable reflexive defensive interjections.

I agree that now really isn't the time, though: I'd expect Aya either to continue to evade the question but would we get bonus points for grazing it?, or to give only a summary, avoiding the pain of details. But I didn't vote for that for the same reason you didn't.
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[x] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[x] (Optional) But I want Momiji here, too.

I was thinking, the Elders lucked fucking out. Exiling and manipulating the strongest Tengu in the village til she goes nutty? Strong enough to stop Tenma and faster than anyone else in Gensokyo?

Things could have gone much worse.
[x] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[x] (Optional) But I want Momiji here, too.

I mean why the hell not? Momiji have been Ayas friend for centuries so I bet she'd love to hear what troubles her friend. And if someone stubbornly still lingers on the fact that "She burne down our house!" We have seen how much she regrets that with our own eyes. And I don't think that this topic is something that Aya want to repeat or being upp again due to how hard this is for her
[X] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[X] Just Aya and Hina.
[x] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[x] (Optional) But I want Momiji here, too.
[x] Yeah. It's time to get this out in the open.
-[x] (Optional) But I want Momiji here, too.

Momiji is love.
Voting seems to have dried up, so I'm calling the vote now. It's unanimous for Hina talking about her problems, and there's a slight majority for Momiji being there as well.

Update will be later today.
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"...Yeah," I say at last, my voice small. "I think I should. I think I need to. But... do you think we can get Momiji to come here, too? I really want her to hear this."

Hina nods in understanding. "Of course. After we clean up, I'll go look for her."

"You will?" I ask in surprise.

"I want you to wait here. Meditate a little bit, if you'd like. I know this won't be easy for you." Hina gives me such a sympathetic look that I have to turn away. I'm scared. I'm digging up parts of myself that I really don't want to. But I can't keep running. I can't keep hiding, and lying to myself. I don't want to be like this anymore.

Hina reaches over and gives my hand a gentle squeeze. After a moment, I squeeze back. Why the fuck does life have to be so difficult?

We finish our meal in silence, and take a moment to do the dishes. Hina then leaves to look for Momiji, and I sprawl out on the couch, looking out the window as the sun sets. Momiji should be finishing her patrols right around now. Poor wolf gets worked to the bone, all day every day. Funny thing is, she seems to enjoy it. To each their own, I suppose. Gods know I loved my own job, when I had it.

...Why now? Why now, of all times? I've spent years in a happy little stupor, just flying around writing trashy stories and taking photos of panties, thinking how great life was. Now I'm starting to see just how deluded I was. I love my newspaper, but that's the sort of crap that I never would have dreamed about writing, once upon a time.

So why the change?

...I think it's a lot of things. As much of a disaster as the Cirno Incident was, it forced people to take a good, long look at me, and regard me as more than the Creepy Tengu. Hell, it galvanized Momiji to take some sort of action, any action, to bring me around. Maybe being forced to take a look at myself worked, and now I'm finally looking in the mirror, long and hard.

I'm not liking the reflection.

For fuck's sake, I was masturbating to pictures of Cirno! She's like, way too young to do that shit! What the fuck was wrong with me! That's the sort of thing I'd clobber people for doing! So why was I...


...But I already know. I can feel the memories bubbling up, deep within my mind. The floodgates have been broken, and the memories are coming, whether I want them to or not. I just wonder if I'll keep my mind once I remember how things came to be.

I look at the far wall, at Hina's green spiral symbol, and make a brief prayer. Take away this misfortune, Hina. Get me through this, okay? Can you do that? Just for a little while, can you be my goddess of mental health?

I close my eyes and start taking deep breaths, using meditative techniques that I haven't practiced in human lifetimes. My heart rate slows, my nerves calm, and my mind clears. And after a while, I doze off.


I'm curled up on my futon, crying my eyes out, and I just can't stop.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. It wasn't.

I was supposed to strike out on my own, and quietly, solemnly protest the direction my people had taken. I was going to live in splendid isolation and continue to write, while still being visible in the skies around the mountain. Tengu would look at me, and whisper, and talk about what could have driven me to turn away like that. Aya Shameimaru, the unstoppable warrior who had cast away her sword. Shameimaru, with some of the most detailed records the village possessed, whose writings were forbidden to those that wished to peruse them. Naturally, this led to many curious stares, but no one ever quite worked up the courage to come read.

So I lost patience. I lost patience with the endless lies, the arrogance, and the endless entreaties of elders to fall in line with them 'for the good of the tengu.' More like, 'comply with our demands because we want you to.'

So I left, to set an example.

Time passed.

Years. Tens of years. I'm not sure how long. Time has just fuzzed together into one big blur to me, each day the same as the others. I must have re-wrote my documents dozens of times, getting the lettering and artwork just right. And I was alone.

I never understood what a deafening silence was until I was forced to experience it. All the normal sounds you expect to hear; the talking and chatter, the laughter and tears, even just the normal sounds of people in motion. They all make a sort of background noise after a while, something you just accept as there. A million subtle interactions each day, which are conspicuous only by their absence.

It took me a while to realize just how much I missed them. A bit longer to realize just how much I needed them. And then one day, I looked around at my empty house and burst into tears.

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

It wasn't.

It wasn't.

I was supposed to leave on principle. I was angry, frustrated. And what did I expect? That the rest of the tengu would whisper about it and follow my lead? Come to me and ask just why I had turned from them? Was I planning to overthrow the order by quiet resistance?

Maybe I was. Maybe things would have changed if I had held out just a little bit longer. Maybe not. What I knew was that I just couldn't take it anymore.

I tried. I really did. I tried to talk with humans. They rejected me, seeing only a monster at worst, or an arrogant, contemptible tengu at best. Other kinds of youkai? Too sick of having tengu look down upon them. I was a victim of my own people's reputation.

So I went back to the village one day. I would walk up to the elders and ask if they had changed their minds. I would make it sound like a business trip, and linger just long enough to have something to eat at a teahouse. Enjoy the sights of the village. Feel like a person again.

They wouldn't even let me through the gates.

An elder, not looking at me, informed the confused guards that I was not to be permitted anywhere near the village. I was outcast, to be shunned. By order of the elders, no tengu was to give me so much as the time of day. And so they didn't.

I've held on as best I can. I really have. But day after day after week after month after year after I don't have a fucking clue how long crawled past, and I am all alone. All by myself, with no one to give a damn about my very existence, and I think I'm losing my mind.

It's been ten years since that day. Ten years since I've seen another tengu, hell, since I've seen another intelligent being! And here I am, lying on my futon, a slight change today from lying on the floor, crying, completely alone for the tenth year in a row and I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE.


It can be the town drunk for all I care, I just need someone to acknowledge my existence! Fuck, it can be some diseased prostitute, I'll happily pay them to just sit there and smile and nod while I chatter away, just please, for the love of god, somebody talk to me!

I...I can't take this anymore.

I need to be around other people. I need people to speak to me, to acknowledge me. I'm a social creature, and all of this isolation is killing me.

I hate the village, and what it's come to. I hate what the tengu are doing to themselves. But they're the only ones who would see me as an equal, as someone to speak to. And they're all shunning me to the last.

I am Aya Shameimaru, one of the greatest of all tengu, and I am completely alone. And I think I'm losing my mind. I am all alone, in a house that's so empty my eardrums feel ready to burst, and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

And so I curl up into a ball and wail, longing for the days when I had people I could talk to. Friends I could trust. The closest thing I have right now is spying on people from afar and watching over their daily lives. And that just isn't enough.

I pray for someone to help me.

Nobody ever does.

It's another twenty years before I return to the village on my knees, and beg for forgiveness. Beg for readmission. Tenma doesn't say a thing, just sips from his bottle. The other elders just smile, with gloating laughter in their eyes, and triumph in their grins. I'm readmitted to the village, and why not? The pathetic, broken thing before them would never dare to challenge their carefully crafted lies ever again.

And so I don't, and what's left of me goes about my business, pitifully glad to be able to walk down familiar streets again. Even distant, faintly disgusted stares are better than nothing at all. Let them think me the bizarre eccentric. At least it's something.


...But never enough.



My eyes flick open to see Momiji and Hina looking at me, concern etched on their faces.

I remember the endless years of isolation, and I think I'm going to tear apart. I need somebody, right now.

[ ] Hug Hina
[ ] Hug Momiji
[x] Hug both Hina and Momiji
[X] Hug Momiji

We know Momiji better and it'll be a reconciliation hug while we're at it!
[X] Hug them both
[x] Hug Hina
[x] Hug Momiji
You have two arms. Why settle for hugging just one friend?
[x] Hug Hina
[x] Hug Momiji
[x] Hug Hina
[X] Hug them both

Thirty years of isolation? Holy shit, that's terrifying.
[x] Hug Hina
[x] Hug Momiji

Jesus, it was worse than I thought. I kinda wish Aya snapped the other way >>24139 just to wipe the smirks of the Elders faces.

Longer. It was thirty years between the time she sought to re-enter the village and the time of her breaking down. It took her a long time to get desperate enough to go back. Or try to, anyway.
[x] Hug Momiji
-[ ]Scratch behind the ears
[X] Hug Hina
[X] Hug them both.
[X] Hug them both.

Definitely more serious than Being Meiling, and serious in a different way than Pleasant Meadows.
[x] Hug them both.
[x] Write a book airing all the tengu's dirty secrets (not right now, of course).
[x] Wait for Meiling to set the elders on fire.
File 138413981920.png - (358.84KB, 452x521, 1334544938070.png) [iqdb]
[X] Hug them both.
-[X] Cry
--[X] "I'm scared..."

Let the healing begin.
[X] Hug them both

This is painful to read.
[x] Hug Momiji!
[ ] Hug Hina
[ ] Hug Momiji
[x] Hug yourself both
[x]Hug them both
Isolation... Such a terrible feeling that is
[X] Hug them both

Godsdamn that's terrible. Especially the way the elders decided to banish her.
Fucking bastards. Aya is definitely better off without Tengu society now that she has somewhere else "to belong".
Once she gets all her stuff back I can totally see her leaving for good.
Except for high-speed flyovers to dump her new paper, full of actual Truth from now on.
"We're not dropping BOMBS on them, we're just airdropping bread news to them."
Vote called. There will be hugs for everybody! Update later tonight.
File 138421366139.jpg - (125.18KB, 850x680, close enough.jpg) [iqdb]
No. I don't need somebody right now. I need everybody. That's why I lunge forward and seize both Hina and Momiji, wrapping one arm around each of their necks in a tight, desperate hug. And then I start to bawl.

It's just too much. All of that pain, and frustration, and soul-searing loneliness. Everything that I've pent up over the years. I've tried to push it away, and largely succeeded. But things have just been going to hell lately, and I've been forced to see just how far I've fallen and-

...I just can't take it anymore. So I cry. I bury my head between their shoulders, hiding myself in Hina's ribbons and Momiji's smell, hanging on tightly for dear life. After a while, once my tears and sobs have started to die down, I realize that arms are gently wrapped around me, holding me tightly, and people are whispering gently to me. Also, something fluffy is tickling me in the side. Actually, that really tickles...!

"Momiji..." I whimper, "Cut it out already." Momiji doesn't respond, just clutching me tighter and stroking my wings gently as that damn tail keeps working its way around my ribs...!

"We are having a moment here," I manage, voice somewhere between a sob and a giggle. "Stop it."

"Sorry," Momiji says, "I just don't like seeing you cry. So, what else can I do?"

"Are you feeling better now?" Hina asks me, her voice calm and soothing.

I take a deep breath and nod. "Yeah. I think I got all of that out." I shake my head, feeling numb inside.

"Good," Hina says with a nod. "Now Momji, where else is Aya ticklish?"

"Base of her wings," the wolf replies primly.


And then Hina starts tickling me at the base of my wings while Momiji holds me in a tight hug, still tickling my ribs with that damned fluffy tail of hers and pfffffthahahahahah!

This isn't fair!

"I was supposed to be miserable, dammit!" I wail, voice nearly lost in my laughter.

"Well, happy and cheery Aya is so much better than sad Aya, in my opinion," Momiji says with a shrug, a grin in her voice. "Besides, how better to cheer yourself up than with laughter?"

"You guys suckEEEP!" Oh god, Hina just figured out how sensitive my pinfeathers are! Aaaaaaaand she's really going to town on them!

"Come on Aya, cheer up already!" Hina entreats me as she goes to town on my wings. I can't even struggle. Momiji has me in a fierce bear-hug, holding me down as my two friends do their damnedest to cheer me up in the cheapest way possible. Seriously, I was all ready for a good pout, and they have to go and tickle me!

...My kinda people, honestly.


A few minutes later, Hina and Momiji finally release me and sit down on either side of me on the couch. "What the hell brought that on?" I manage, flushed and still giggling a bit.

Momiji shrugs. "I saw you crying and let you get it out of your system. Once you started to settle down, I just asked myself what I could do to raise your spirits."

"The tickling seemed to work," Hina notes. "Or maybe you just liked having two pretty girls work over your most sensitive spots, hmmm~?"

I grin. "Well, if we're going that route..." I trail off, then shake my head. "Sorry. You probably want to know what was going on with me, huh?"

Momiji's face goes back to an expression of worry. "Actually, yes. I've never seen you like that before, Aya. What happened?"

I sigh, leaning back into the couch. Momiji slings an arm over my shoulders, while Hina takes my hand in hers. "It's a long story," I finally begin. "Really long. For starters, do either of you know how old I am?"

Momiji frowns. "Not exactly, but rumor has it that you're extremely old. Over a thousand years, at least."

I nod. "I can't give you an exact date, but yeah. I'm at least over a millennium in age. Actually, I think I might be one of the first tengu to come into existence." I frown. "And there's the problem. Memory's a funny thing. Too far back, and things get... blurry. It becomes hard to separate fact form fiction, even in your own mind. And it doesn't help that in ages past, we tengu were far more feral."

"Your people were warlike and savage, you mean?" Hina asks.

"Yes, but more than that. I mean that we didn't look remotely human. I have memories of beaks, fang-filled jaws, and long talons for hands. I remember a time when the biggest thing on my mind was the taste of warm flesh. Those days are very hazy in my mind."

Momiji's eyes widen. "Then, what happened to us?"

I shrug. "Dunno. I think it happened gradually over time. Bit by bit, humans became familiar with us, and saw bits of themselves in us. That grew over time, until we looked just like a human being. Even built villages just like them. And our thoughts... they started to grow beyond savagery and bloodlust, too." I sigh. "Of course, even when we could think, it didn't mean we wanted to. We just kept fighting. Back in those days, I was one hell of a warrior. No one could stand against me. Not even Tenma. I was the best swordsman anyone had ever seen."

"Really?!" Momiji looks amazed. "I never knew that!"

I shrug. "I'm very rusty. It's not something that I take a lot of pride in anymore. Not since I threw down my sword..."

And I talk.

I talk about a time when I woke up to the carnage around me, and saw what my people were doing. I tell them of how I refused to fight a war ever again, and tried to get my people to do the same. I tell them of how the tengu listened to the honored Shameimaru, and gradually became more civilized... but not enough. I tell them of watching humans, and other youkai, in fascination. Of the blooming of care and compassion in my heart. Of how hard it was to look upon a laughing, happy family and see them as prey, or as somehow beneath me. I tell them of being the first tengu to see other beings as people. Of carrying a lost, frightened child home.

I tell them of the atrocities my people committed. Of the endless coverups to preserve our honor. Of my determination to record these things, and keep them for posterity. I dig out my old texts and show them the records I made. The painstakingly drawn pictures of our terrible past, and the meticulous notes I transcribed, over and over.

I tell them of growing sick of the elders' obstinacy, and leaving the village in disgust. I tell them of going mad from loneliness, and begging the village to let me back in. I tell them of how the elders have kept me on a tight leash since then, constantly threatening me with exile once more should I stand up to them. I tell them of my utter, soul-crushing dread of being alone.

By the end, my head is resting in Hina's lap as she strokes my hair, my legs in Momiji's as the wolf pets my wings reassuringly. I close my eyes, letting the vile memories roll over me. Gods, but those were bad days.

"It's even worse than I thought..." Momiji whispers in horror. "To go that long without a pack... or a flock, or a murder, or whatever. I'd go mad."

"I did go mad," I point out.

"I guess you did," Momiji says sadly. "I've heard the stories of how your were once a respected force in the village. Whenever the elders were being obstinate, people would turn to you. Aya Shameimaru, energetic and strong. The voice of progress, who brought changes and shoved them down our throats. Like newspapers, for example. Though I guess you started the newspaper after returning to the village. Still."

I chuckle. "Yeah. I never let the elders rest on their laurels. Probably why they hated me, and forbade people from reading my histories. Not like they could move against me directly. Not until I gave them an opening, anyway."

Hina, who has been silent up until now, speaks. "Is that why your newspaper went so wrong, Aya? You said that the elders made you change your stories around, and eventually you just started going along with it. What about the candid photos? Was that the same thing?"

I shake my head. "I started writing my paper because it was a natural progression for me. And yeah, I eventually got used to the exaggerations the elders made me write. It got people's attention. But that's just it. In many ways, the newspaper, and all my alterations, were just a very loud way of saying 'Look at me! Pay attention to me!' I just wanted people to notice me. As for the photographs..." I hesitate for a long moment, then press my hands over my face. After a minute, I start recounting a story that pretty much illustrates the whole thing...


Oh, baby, look at them curves~!

I'm lurking in the shadows of the trees, peering in at the shrine. In my hands I clutch one of the kappa's new toys, something they rebuilt from the Outside. A 'camera,' I guess it's called. It took me a while to figure out how to run it and develop the pictures it produces, but was it ever worth it! My Bunbunmaru now has a whole bunch of photos in it, just the thing to reach the discerning reader! I mean, people are gonna love my paper! They have to!

But there's no reason that I can't spice things up a little bit, now is there~? Not to mention get a little something for myself while I'm at it! And that's why I'm hiding in the trees, completely unseen, while the shrine maiden bathes, completely oblivious to my presence.

Ahh, she's a beauty! Long, black hair, tight muscles from endless training, a few scars here and there from close calls with youkai (which do nothing to dispel her beauty), and damn if she doesn't have just the right amount of fat and muscle to look absolutely mind-blowing!

I wish I could make friends with her, but she'd kill me on sight. Right now, humans and youkai don't speak to each other, unless it's to yell 'Die!' Kind of a pity, really. It means that I can't tell the lovely Hakurei just how much a love her in person!

But that's fine. Because now I'll have a part of her with me, always!

And so, as the Hakurei warrior-maiden washes herself, the pure and honest tengu expresses her love by capturing a fragment of this beauty for all time. A few pictures that I will keep for my personal...use... in the long hours of the night. As I take the pictures and watch the Hakurei, I can't help but feel close to her, seeing things that almost no others will ever see. It's the same whenever I take pictures of someone, be they male or female, human or youkai or whatever. Just a private relationship between the two of us that only I will ever know about. I love them all, and our love will stay my little secret~.

It's all I have.

So I will treasure it.

And I viciously force down the voice in the back of my head, protesting what I'm doing. After a while, it doesn't bother me anymore.


There is stunned silence as I make my final revelation, the final admission from my spirit. How I took pictures of people and collected them, mainly because it was the only way I knew to get close to anyone. Even if it did the exact opposite.

This is me. This is what Aya Shameimaru has come to.

God, I'm fucked up.

[ ] Do nothing.
[ ] Drink.
[ ] Go to bed.
[ ] More tickles, please.
[X] Drink.
-[X] Not alone. Have fun with friends. Play poker or "truth or dare" or something.
[X] Drink.
[x] More tickles, please.

Aya responds well to physical affection, and apparently has a Need for it.

Where's grabby Koishi when you need her?
[X] Drink.
-[X] Not alone. Have fun with friends.
--[X] Only with Momiji and Hina.

While the Aki sisters are allies, they're just that. So far it's more of a business relationship than anything, and their presence wouldn't help. Maybe in time they'll become true friends, but for now just have the trio drink.
Oh hey, Hakurei Miko. How's MUGEN been treating you?

[x] Drink
-[x] More tickles please?
[X] Drink.
-[X] Not alone. Have fun with friends.
--[X] Only with Momiji and Hina.
---[X] Also tickles. And sleepover. With pillowfights in underwear.

Or, if you filter out the wishful Aya thinking: She needs friends tonight, after she just re-opened old emotional scars that will take some time to settle down again.

Wow, that kinda paints a completely different picture (no pun intended) of her stashes of "pornography" that were hidden in her house.
[x] Drink.
-[x] Enough to put an Oni to shame
[x] Drink
-[x] More tickles please?

Now that you've foreshadowed it so heavily, KM, I'm going to be extremely disappointed if the climax of the story doesn't involve Aya picking up a sword and going all Miyamoto Musashi on some fools.
[X] Drink.
-[X] Not alone. Have fun with friends.

In the end. Aya is still Aya.
[X] Drink.
-[X] Not alone. Have fun with friends.
--[X] Only with Momiji and Hina.
---[X] Also tickles. And sleepover. With pillowfights in underwear.
[x] More tickles, please.
{x] Recruit Momiji to get Hina.

To depressing need more cute.
[X] Drink.
-[X] Not alone. Have fun with friends.
--[X] Only with Momiji and Hina.
---[X] Also tickles. And sleepover. With pillowfights in underwear.
What >>24187 said.
[X] Drink.
-[X] Not alone. Have fun with friends.
--[X] Only with Momiji and Hina.

tempting as it is to invite the Akis.
It'll come with time. They're relatively new to us, after all, and we're still building those particular bridges. These two however are more strongly connected, and besides which listened to us.

[X] Drink.
-[X] Not alone. Have fun with friends.
--[X] Only with Momiji and Hina.
[X] Drink.
-[X] Not alone. Have fun with friends.
--[X] Only with Momiji and Hina.
---[X] Also tickles. And sleepover. With pillowfights in underwear.
[X] Drink.
-[X] Not alone. Have fun with friends.
--[X] Only with Momiji and Hina.
---[X] Also tickles. And sleepover. With pillowfights in underwear.

...This is exactly what I thought Aya's problem was from the early days of this story, right down to the taking lewd and almost pornagraphic photos as a desperate way of connecting to people.

...Goddamnit Aya, stop reminding me of myself...
Whoever came up with this idea:

>---[X] Also tickles. And sleepover. With pillowfights in underwear.

Is REALLY FUCKING STUPID. Aya finally got all that out of her system, and is getting a lot of character development. You REALLY want to throw all that to the wayside for some cheap laughs? Sure, maybe later that option will be valid, but right now is the WORST time for that choice.

Can't speak for the original voter, but when I voted for it, I figured Aya would say it in jest/self-mockery, but it could be interpreted straight, couldn't it? Mmmm, too late to really change it now I guess.
I for one think that lately, this story has been walking through angsty/narmy territory for too long, and I'd like to go back to the cheerful hijinks of usual.

Also, stop insulting people just because you don't agree with their inputs. One thing is to argue why you think their options aren't good, but to go for the ad hominem and calling voters "fucking stupid" is outright rude. Drop it off.
As the one who wrote the original post I can confirm that it was, as >>24195 guessed, more along the lines of self-derision/poking fun of Aya's "normal" behaviour than a straight vote.
I did say that
>if you filter out the "Aya wishful thinking"
it just meant that she shouldn't be alone tonight after tearing open old wounds.
Besides, I'm sure Momiji has things to do (and thus can't drink all day and half the night because she has to get up in the morning) and Hina would veto the underwear pillowfight.

And it's not as if she's going to suddenly forget all that just happened just because she goofs off for the rest of the evening.

Personally, I think it's better to deal with problems that big by cutting it into separate chunks with something fun in between.
It's terribly emotionally draining to drag up old troubles, so it's good to just cut loose a bit afterwards to get your energy back. That way you'll be better prepared to deal with your troubles tomorrow than if you spent all day feeling down after remembering all that bad shit from your past.

It's not an ad hominem because I pointed out exactly why the vote was fucking stupid.

Well said.
File 138428583692.gif - (15.54KB, 64x64, 1355539357172.gif) [iqdb]
[x] Do nothing.
- [x] Go along with whatever Hina and/or Momiji suggest.

>Mmmm, too late to really change it now I guess.
No, it's not. If you can't delete your old vote, just link to it: "I am >>#####, and this is my new vote: [x] A..."

It's a little annoying when tallying votes but it's still doable in two passes, max.
Okay, vote called for some therapeutic drinking! Albeit not too much. Update will be later tonight.

>No, it's not. If you can't delete your old vote, just link to it: "I am >>#####, and this is my new vote: [x] A..."

I am aware. That's not what I meant. I was talking about making the intention of the write-in more clear. It's way too late for it to have any effect because everyone who voted for it is asleep by now, and Keymaster will call the vote shortly.

Case in point:
File 138429911453.jpg - (109.92KB, 850x600, recovering.jpg) [iqdb]
"I am so incredibly fucked up," I sigh wearily, spiritually exhausted.

"I can tell," Hina replies, breathing heavily. "You've suffered a great deal of misfortune in your life."

I stare up the misfortune goddess. At her flushed face, and her slightly glazed eeys, at the faint hint of drool at the corner of her mouth. "...Hina, are you getting off on my crappy life?"

"I can't help it!" Hina protests, "It's just my nature! I'm absorbing all of your misfortune by reflex, and it just feels good! That is totally different from enjoying your pain, which I most certainly do not!"

"So, that's a yes, then?" I confirm.

Hina glances away. "...Well, yeah."

I sit up and hug her tightly. "Do me a favor, and suck it all away, will you?"

Hina returns my hug. "I'll do what I can."

Momiji is still stroking my wings reassuringly. "That... explains a whole hell of a lot," she admits. "I always wondered why you were so obsessed with getting pictures of people. I guess I know now."

"Yeah, just some lonely tengu who really wanted to get laid. Or to get a hug. Or some kind of social interaction of any sort, really." I shake my head as Hina strokes my hair. It feels good. Really good. Like a burden has been lifted from my shoulders.

"Is there anything else you need, Aya?" Hina asks me, her eyes looking clearer now.

"Some booze would be fantastic," I chuckle.

Momiji stands up. "I'll go get some. Anything else you need, Aya?"

I think it over. "Ticklefights. And pillow fights. With everybody in their underwear."

Momiji raises an eyebrow. "While we're at it, what about an erotic photo-shoot, too?"

I give her a hopeful look. "Can we do that?"

"Unlikely," Hina quips, patting me on the back.

I relax into her embrace. "Didn't think so. The booze will be fine."

A few minutes later, she three of us are curled up together on the couch, sipping away at some of Hina's best sake. The misfortune goddess has developed a sudden fascination with my wings, and is stroking them carefully. I don't mind; they're very sensitive, and what Hina's doing feels good. Meanwhile, Momiji is watching me carefully, her fluffy tail resting on my lap so that I can pet it. That's real concession on her part; and one that appreciate.

"How do you feel now?" the wolf asks gently.

I think it over. "Like hell," I say at last. "But... the kind of hell that you can eventually bounce back from. Like, I know how badly I screwed up, and why. And yeah, a lot of it wasn't totally my fault, but some of it was, too." I shake my head. "A lot of the creepy stuff I pulled was of my own free will, after all. But now that I've finally accepted it... I want to be someone else besides the creepy tengu pervert everyone avoids."

"So, you're not going to keep pushing me into a miniskirt all the time?" Hina asks.

I scoff. "Like hell! Those things are great! And I totally plan to make them the new Big Thing in Gensokyo! I'd just like to persuade people to start wearing them, rather than trick them into it. Also, I'm not willing to accept cheap pictures as substitutes anymore." I grin. "I think it's time I turned on the charm and put myself out there, you know?" I pause. "...Once I remember how to do that, I mean."

Momiji laughs. "Same old Aya, then. That's kind of a relief."

I shrug. "Hey, I know what I like. I just don't intend to, say, drunkenly assault sexy sparrows with nice asses."

"Wait, what?" Momiji is staring at me blankly.

I just shake my head. "One of my many indiscretions. Probably got drunk and was in an 'oh god please anyone!' kinda mood." I sigh again. "Fuck. I have a long way to go, huh?"

Momiji wraps her arm around me in a hug. "Maybe. But I'll be beside you all the way."

"Me too," Hina says warmly. "I heard your prayer, you know. I'm your goddess now, it's my duty to help you!"

I smile faintly. Maybe it is time to leave the the creepiness behind me, once and for all. Which doesn't mean that I won't keep pushing that swimsuit calendar idea. Because a) it's a brilliant business decision, and b) cute girls in bikinis are fucking awesome.

"What are you going to do about the village?" Momiji asks me. I take a long moment to think about it. Reluctantly, I acknowledge to myself that the village really isn't my home anymore. Honestly, it hasn't been for a very, very long time.

The thing is, I have options now. These days, a youkai can talk to a human or another type of youkai without being considered weird. I want to start over, to reboot my public image. That's as good a reason as any to get out there and meet people. Try and make up for being a weirdo. Make friends. Move on. Get laid.

Really have high hopes for the getting laid part, truth be told.

But I really mean it. I actually do have options now.

"I can't go back," I say at last. "Not after the way the elders have been jerking me around all this time. I don't hate my own kind, Momiji, I'm just disappointed at the path we've taken." I think it over. "Tell Ichiro that I no longer consider it necessary to report in to him. If he has a problem with it, he can come talk to me about it." And I'll kick his ass. "Beyond that, I might try starting my paper up again. It'll take some time, but I think I can pull it off."

"So you plan to act independently of the village," Momiji sighs. She looks sad. "I...was sort of hoping you'd come back, really. I think you could do a lot of good there, now that you've accepted your past..."

I reach over and scratch Momiji behind an ear, making her yelp. "Sorry, Momi. I can't go back, you know? Not as things are. I need to find myself again, and establish myself out of the village so that I can't be jerked around like that again. Hell, maybe I should even swallow my pride and talk to Hatate, see what she thinks about things." Hatate isn't a bad sort, when it comes right down to it. She has the right idea, I just always objected to how to seemed to copy me. Maybe I should be flattered?

"You could always fly over the village and drop copies of your records all over the place!" Hina suggests, giggling.

I grin nastily. "Oh, that would really piss them off, huh?"

Momiji winces. "Please don't. Do that, and I'm the one who'll have to clean it up." This strikes me funny, and I burst into laughter, Hina and Momiji joining in after a moment. It feels good, cleansing. Like I'm finally getting rid of some poison that had rotted my insides for way too long. Which I am in a way, I guess. Once our laughter subsides, Momiji looks at me with a smile on her face. "Want a refill?" she asks, nodding at my empty cup.

I grin at her in response, a grin which makes Momiji lower her ears warily. "Actually, there is something you can do to cheer me up~!" I sing.

"...What's that?" Momiji asks suspiciously.

In response, I tackle the wolf onto the couch seizing her arms and holding them down. "Hina, get her wrists!" I shout. Immediately the goddess vaults over me and wraps her ribbons around Momiji's arms, holding her fast. I take the opportunity to pull Momi's tunic up a little bit, exposing her flat tummy.

The wolf's eyes widen in horror. "Don't you dare!" she shrieks. Ignoring her, smiling wickedly, I extend my fingers and begin tickling Momiji's sensitive abs. The response is immediate. "Aya, you baaaaahahahahahaha!" Momiji begins laughing uncontrollably, tail wagging wildly... and then her leg starts to kick, mortifying her even further.

"Revenge!" I declare triumphantly, and Hina topples over, gasping with laughter.

Things get a little rowdy after that. It feels good.


Later that night, after some liberal drinking, the three of us are sprawled out on Hina's sped. No sexy-times, more's the pity. Just three friends passing out after too much booze and fun. My head is laying on Hina's stomach, while Momiji hugs me in her sleep, looking peaceful. Hina belches in a very unlady-like fashion, and I can't help but giggle.

It's been a long, hard time, but I think I'm gonna pull through now.

Time for sleep.

[ ] Spiderbutt.
[ ] Ribbons, and nothing else.
[ ] Call of the wild.
[ ] Repaying the sparrow.
[] Spiderbutt
[x] Call of the Wild
[X] Spiderbutt.
Does whatever a Spiderbutt does.

Spins a web.
That's because.
She's a spider.

Look out
Here comes the Spiderbutt
[X] Spiderbutt
[x] Spiderbutt.
[x] Spiderbutt

If her dress is any indication, Yamame's probably got a big one worth dreaming about. Also, it might encourage Aya to go underground.
[X] Spiderbutt
[ ] Repaying the sparrow.
[X] Call of the wild.

I desire fluffy tail.
[X] Spiderbutt
I can't not vote for this
[x] Ribbons, and nothing else.

Unfortunately no one else is voting for Hina.
So guys, we are going to try to convert Yamame at some point, right?
[ ] Ribbons, and nothing else, wrapped around some spiderbutt.

Why go for one?
[x] Ribbons wrapped around some spiderbutt
Because the and nothing else bit doesn't work like that.
[x] Arachno-posterior.
[x] Spiderbutt
Wanted to get ridd of the elders stupid confidence in controlling Aya as soon as possible buuuuut... I guess this is totally okay too
[x] Ribbons wrapped around some spiderbutt

It looks even more juicy when its wrapped up tight
[x] Spiderbutt
[X] Ribbons wrapped around some spiderbutt
[x] Ribbons, and nothing else.

The other choices aren't bad but this calls out to me BIG time.
[x] Ribbons, and nothing else.
[x] Ribbons, and nothing else.
[X] Spiderbutt.
Calling vote for the spider. Update will be in a new thread later today.
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