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File 139034861591.jpg - (118.19KB, 600x800, bad sukuna.jpg) [iqdb]
25690
Thread 1: >>/youkai/22769
Thread 2: >>/youkai/23061
Thread 3: >>/youkai/23345
Thread 4: >>/youkai/23651
Thread 5: >>/youkai/23942
Thread 6: >>/youkai/24231
Thread 7: >>/youkai/24553
Thread 8: >>/youkai/24863
Thread 9: >>/youkai/25150
Thread 10: >>/youkai/25419

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


"I just want a pretty girl for my self, is that so wroooooonnnggg?!" Sukuna wails as she slashes wildly at me.

"No it isn't, so stop swinging that thing at me!" I squawk back, narrowly avoiding another strike.

"Not until you stop being a... being a... big meany person!" Sukuna howls, diving at me. As I dodge, I rush past Hina and Yamame, who stare at the spectacle with wide eyes and open mouths.

"A little help?!" I shout at them.

"And now you want to ruin the sanctity of our duel?!" Sukuna screams. "You have no honor!"

Clearly, I can't win with this girl. Alright, then. I have no weapons, talking won't work, and I'm not sure that we can move fast enough to dogpile someone as small as Sukuna. I could run for it outside, but that would leave me somewhat... exposed, to the people in the streets below, something that doesn't really appeal to me.

Ah, but I'm not unarmed, now am I? Of course not! I never leave my fan behind! You never know when a little bit of magical wind will come in handy, after all. Like, say, when a crazed inchling is currently trying to slice and dice you due to apparent insecurity regarding the size of her sword. And I thought it was only guys who worried about that.

Landing atop the head of the laughing Oni stature, I pull out my fan and assume a defensive posture. "Sukuna, if you don't calm down and talk to me right this instant, I'm going to have to get rough with you!" I shout at her.

Bracing herself on the upstairs railing, Sukuna gives me a steely, and pouty, look. "And if you don't take it back and tell me that the Shining Needle Sword is the noblest of all blades, then you shall face my unparalleled wrath!"

I groan. "Fine! Your little needle is a truly amazing weapon, all right? I can feel it's-"

"Aaaaarrrghh!" Sukuna screams in frustration, "You did it again!"

I wince. Ooops. It must be too early in the morning for my diplomatic senses to be working properly. Oh well. Looks like I have no choice but to end this fast, and patch things up with Sukuna while I can keep a grip on her. Said patching up will involve some very pointed words, I assure you.

Still, I let a cocky grin cross my face. "Little Sukuna, you just made a very bad choice." I ready my fan. "Get ready to feel the might of the fastest Tengu in all of Gensokyo!" I let my strength flow freely through my weapon, and swing it with all of my strength towards Sukuna, launching a focused blast of wind towards the inchling. Should keep collateral damage to a minimum, and hopefully won't bang her up too badly.

Fast as breath, the wind bolt flies towards Sukuna, ready to finish this battle in one mighty blow. Sukuna eyes the bolt with wide eyes as it is upon her in a heartbeat and is helpless as-

*KA-SLASH*

-she... cuts it apart... into a harmless breeze with a single strike of her sword. Right. The whole 'cutting the wind' thing I heard earlier. Ahaha...ha. Sukuna just gives me a cocky look of her own. "Ready whenever you are~!"

"Oh that is such bullshit!" I sputter, feeling outraged.

"It's just the culmination of all my efforts and skill!" Sukuna says, chuckling confidently. "Now! Yield before my skill, thou rude Tengu!"

It's about this time that I notice Yamame and the Mikami, watching the confrontation with interest from the balcony. "Are you guys just gonna stand there and watch?!"

"Given the level of strength involved here... yes," Shizuha says with a shrug.

"Besides, it feels wrong to intervene somehow," Minoriko adds.

"It's too early for this stuff," Yamame grumbles tiredly.

"Aya! Good luck!" Hina calls out excitedly.

Ah yes. I forgot. Gensokyo, land where insane battles fought for inane reasons are all par for the course, and even a source of entertainment for the locals. Oh, my homeland, if you were personified right now I would smack you upside the head so hardINCHLING LUNGING FOR ME DODGE.

So I dodge up as quick as the wind itself, while Sukuna's sword whiffs the air where I once stood. My momentum causes me to brace myself against the ceiling, and I look down just as Sukuna lands on the head of the Oni statue and leaps up towards me. Okay, gotta use timing here. A quick dodge to the side, Sukuna whiffs again and lands on the ceiling, momentum keeping her there as she turns to face me-

*BAM*

-aaaaand a full-power blast of wind to the face! Off she goes, bouncing off the wall and aaaallll the way down to the floor where I'm already waiting for her (thank you, speed of mine!), and I have her pinned down with one hand with my fan at the ready in a matter of moments! "Done now?!" I snap at her.

"...Ouch..." Sukuna says weakly.

I blink, and let up on the pressure a little bit. "Uh, are you okay?" Now that Sukuna isn't charging at me with weapon drawn, I can't help but feel sorry for the little girl. It's kinda weird, really, trying to make that link between her tiny size, sheer cuteness, and incredible power.

"...My everything hurts," Sukuna groans, and I sigh. Yeah, she's okay. Nodding to myself, I pick the inchling up and march back to my room as onlookers clap with approval. It's time for the two of us to have a bit of a heart-to-heart.

"Don't be too hard on her, okay Aya?" Hina calls out to me.

"No promises!" I call back. Sukuna groans weakly.

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

"Now, what have we learned?" I ask sternly, as the humbled inchling genuflects before me.

"I have learned that I need to stop being so sensitive over the size of my sword," Sukuna says glumly.

"And?" I press.

"And I need to recognize that beating somebody up is not a valid means of proving yourself to a prospective partner. Especially not when you're attacking someone that you're supposed to regard as a friend. Also, my actions were very foolish and motivated by ultimately selfish whims, without considering the feelings of Miss Yamame." Sukuna slumps further with every word. "By my reckless act, I have embarrassed myself and my family line, and will endeavor to make amends to you, Miss Aya." She gives me a teary expression. "I'm sorry, Miss Aya! It's just... Miss Yamame is so lovely, and it felt like you were keeping all the ladies to yourself and... and I just lost my head! I'm soooooo sorry!"

I fold my arms and look sternly down at the little warrior. "Unfortunately, your cuteness will avail you nothing, young lady," I tell her sternly. "You must do something to make amends for your actions today."

"Awww..." Sukuna groans, hanging her head.

Well. If nothing else, I'm certainly wide awake now.


[ ] How should Sukuna make amends?

Also! Pick your first destination today!

[ ] The batting range.
[ ] The Great Market
[ ] The Museum
[ ] The Crazy Wombat.
[x] She should prepare and deliver an appropiate gift for Yamame.
Let's teach her how to actually conquer a woman.

[x] The Great Market
Go big or... go bigger!
[x] Put her on Kokoro duty, we need a strategic weapon.
-[x] Just...don't phrase it that way, Kokoro does not like feeling used.

[x] The Great Market, let's see if we can be creative this time.
[x] Go get Aya a proper Shrine Maiden outfit from that Oni seamstress we met earlier. Help with the stitching, of course.
Yamame is busy working stuff out with Hina. Let's not bug her today, hmm?

[x] The Museum.
More history! More evidence with which we can hit the Tengu elders in the face!
[x] Go get Aya a proper Shrine Maiden outfit from that Oni seamstress we met earlier. Help with the stitching, of course.
Yamame is busy working stuff out with Hina. Let's not bug her today, hmm?

[x] The Great Market
[x] Go get Aya a proper Shrine Maiden outfit from that Oni seamstress we met earlier. Help with the stitching, of course.
[X] Send one of the Mikami to check on the shrine.

Getting a shrine maiden outfit sounds good to me, but I'm not very concerned about the apology at the moment. I've been thinking on something for a while, and I think that sending one of the goddesses back to check on the main shrine might be a good idea.

That storm that was brewing when the group left has been bugging me for the past few days. Now I'm not dissing Yamame's Oni-proof construction or anything, since there is no reason to doubt that a normal storm would even put a dent in it. Heck, even a super-storm probably wouldn't have any real effect. But a storm created and directed by a scheming and potentially vengeful war goddess who is known for taking on her opponents by overwhelming them with her power? This is something that would get me worried, especially since all of the shrine's occupants have left all at once, leaving no one to guard the place at all. And if Kanako notices that no one is currently at home, what's to stop her from attempting to invade the shrine in the meantime?

I can't blame Aya for not noticing this before she left due to Spiderbutt, but this is something that has been feeding my paranoia for a while now. I feel like someone needs to go back and check whether or not the shrine is still holding up at this point.

The good news is that this is something that should be relatively easy for any of the goddesses to do, since if I remember correctly goddesses have the ability to instantly move to any shrine that is dedicated to them. A bit of spoiler to Mountain of Faith, but when Marisa created a "mini-shrine" to Kanako in one of her endings, Kanako was able to appear next to the shrine to tell Marisa off for building such a shoddy shrine in her name. The Mikami goddesses should be able to do this as well now that they have a little faith of their own, so if the group can create a mini-shrine of their own and dedicate it to the Mikami one of the goddesses should be able to pop back to the main shrine, after which they can easily pop back and let the group know if anything is out of place.

It's a little paranoid on my part, I know, but I can't help shake the feeling that with the Mikami so unstable at this point and time that it might be worth it to make sure that their base of operations doesn't fall so soon after it was built, especially if it can be done in a relatively simple manner.
>>25696
I doubt anyone could stop Kanako from storming the shrine down if she really wanted.
I also doubt she'd just nuke an upstart like that; it implies to outside observers that she's afraid of them.
>>25697

You aren't thinking like a schemer. If Kanako can get the storm to destroy the shrine then she can essentially take down the home base of a new rival without having the deed directly attributed to her. It would be one thing if she bombarded the place with pillars, but a storm? Even if it's suspicious as hell it would be difficult to pin a storm on a single individual, even if said individual has domain over the sky.

If I were Kanako, I'd get the storm to destroy the shrine, then when the Mikami come back and find the place in ruins I'd come down and offer my "condolences". "Oh, and since your home base is destroyed and you are unlikely to get any more money from the Tengu due to the article in the Kakashi Spirit News why don't you all let me help you in exchange for joining my pantheon?"

I'm not saying that this is actually happening mind you, but considering that we know Kanako is scheming something it would be foolish not to have a contingency in place, especially if one of our goddesses can literally just pop in to check the place out and make sure it's still standing with relative ease.
>>25698
I doubt Kananko could do that without tipping off other people. I doubt she'd want whatever to be an incident as that means Reimu'd get involved.

You're awfully paranoid about this.

As for my vote.

[x] Go get Aya a proper Shrine Maiden outfit from that Oni seamstress we met earlier. Help with the stitching, of course.
-Don't mention the last bit to her.
[x] The great market.
[X] Go get Aya a proper Shrine Maiden outfit from that Oni seamstress we met earlier. Help with the stitching, of course.
[X] The Great Market

wheee
[x] Go get Aya a proper Shrine Maiden outfit from that Oni seamstress we met earlier. Help with the stitching, of course.
[x] Also get Aya an improper Shrine Maiden outfit. You know, for those private ceremonies and stuff.
[x] The great market.

>>25698
I get the feeling that intentionally trashing their temple is a dick move way beyond what Kanako would be willing to do. Plus Suwako seems to be supporting the Mikami, or at least willing to reign in Kanako if she starts going overboard.
>>25701

If making a dick move means that you have one less upstart stealing your faith, chances are you'll make the dick move. If Kanako can cover her tracks as to whether or not she was the one that caused the storm then she doesn't have to fear any PR backlash that might normally come her way. And while Suwako might hold back Kanako a bit she has the unfortunate tendency to leave the major decisions to Kanako and stay out of the way, so it's hard to tell how much she will actually be able to hold the war goddess back.

>>25699

I'd rather be paranoid than shrineless. When you're a start-up business or religion you really have to watch your back, since your competitors will try their darnedest to either stomp you out or bring you under their wing. And it's very doubtful that Reimu would even think about getting involved unless Kanako covered the entire land in storm clouds. If she saw the Mikami Shrine being trashed by an isolated storm she'd probably just shrug her shoulders and consider herself lucky that her competitors seem to be taking themselves out.

All that said I'm going to drop the argument at this point since a) If Kanako did actually try to pull something it's been a full day by this point, so if she actually did try something it would probably be more or less over by now, and b) even if we did get one of the goddesses up to the shrine getting Aya back to the surface is going to be a hassle in and of itself. I still think that sending one of the goddesses up is a good idea, just so we know nothing bad has happened, but I'm going to respect the majority decision here.
[x] Go get Aya a proper Shrine Maiden outfit from that Oni seamstress we met earlier. Help with the stitching, of course.

[x] The Great Market
File 139038904268.jpg - (46.24KB, 310x400, gentle persuasion.jpg) [iqdb]
25706
>>25702
Eh, if she wants plausible deniability she would create a regular storm (nothing too bad for the human village, just something like "well, we're gonna have to repair the roof, but we should have done that last year anyway so no biggie") and it just so happens to hit the Mikami shrine worse than the rest of Gensokyo. Tough luck, huh? My condolences. I can help you rebuild, etc.
Hell, if she really wanted plausible deniability she would wait a while before doing it too. A new faith appearing near the local storm/war goddess and a day after the shrine is built a freak storm comes out of nowhere to demolish it, with pinpoint accuracy. A bit too obvious to be a coincidence, don't you think?

This time the storm clouds were gathering above their shrine, so if it were to move over to the Mikami shrine and demolish it, it couldn't be more obvious even if she went down there and took it apart with her own two hands.
I think it's just an outside expression of her bad mood. Her storm clouds are just literal, rather than figurative.

The Mikami also have Reimu's tacit approval, even if on a technicality, so an unprovoked attack (just because they also happen to be Goddesses doesn't mean an attack is justified) on them would likely be seen as an instigation for an Incident.
A fight between divinities with Gensokyo as the battlefield is definitely an Incident, and would require intervention.
The Mikami would get a token warning not to rise to the provocation (Stage 3. Stage 1 is Remilia who wants to cuddle but duty calls, and stage 2 is Cirno wanting to get in on that EvilButt-Kicking Action and wants Reimu to wait for her while she equips her DyCirno armor and gathers the team. She is gently persuaded to sit this one out) and Kanako would get her ass kicked.
Derp, forgot to vote.

[X] Prepare the seamstress for getting Aya a proper shrine maiden outfit.
[X] The great market.


If Aya is going to be a shrine maiden, she needs the outfit. She will have to stop by for measurements and fitting later, but Sukuna can at least get things started.

We were at the smaller market yesterday, and merchants are great at spreading gossip so it's likely that news have gotten around and thus is time to go big or go home.
(Since this is a more "ye olde marketplace", rather than a modern market with prices set way beforehand, the merchants are likely to start with some small talk, get the customers to lower their guard before the real haggling starts. And the biggest news right now are the Mikami.)
[x] Go get Aya a proper Shrine Maiden outfit from that Oni seamstress we met earlier. Help with the stitching, of course.
[x] Also get Aya an improper Shrine Maiden outfit. You know, for those private ceremonies and stuff.
[x] The Museum.

After some thought, I'm leaning against the whole check-on-the-shrine idea. First of all, I'm not sure if Kanako would risk such a move, though I'm not entirely convinced she wouldn't try some sort of scheme in our absence. Second, it's a little late to worry about that now. If something's gone wrong, as soon as we have someone check on it our underground adventure will be over. Best to finish things up down here, and then deal with whatever surprises are waiting for us when we return.
[X] Go get Aya a proper Shrine Maiden outfit from that Oni seamstress we met earlier. Help with the stitching, of course.
[X] The Great Market
Calling vote for getting a shrine maiden outfit and visiting the Great Market!
>>25708
And, in the off chance that Kanako is up to something, and the EXTREMELY off chance that she decided to go ahead and wreck the Mikami Shrine, guess what the Mikami will have that Kanako doesn't if they don't cut short their visit underground? It starts with an "o" and ends with an "oh jeez they're coming up and not only are they pissed but they're also pissed help hide everything we don't want them to burn the town, pillage the womenfolk, and rape the fields."
File 139042763227.jpg - (218.91KB, 850x850, this could work.jpg) [iqdb]
25712
I think it over. I don't intend to hold a grudge against Sukuna, but I can't just let her off scot-free. Then again, she at least apologized, and who am I to hold it against someone if they act foolishly? So maybe if I set her some random chore to even things up a bit... or actually, now that I have her attention, why not get her to do something that I've been thinking about myself for a while, but never really got around to?

"Sukuna," I intone seriously, "To earn forgiveness for your actions, I hereby charge you... with securing a shrine maiden outfit for me!" If I'm gonna be a miko, I should at least dress the part, after all.

Sukuna looks up and blinks at me. "Oh. Really?"

"Well, yeah," I shrug, dropping the officious act. "I mean, that's practically what I do anyway, and Reimu said she might give me some instruction. I might as well have an outfit on hand, you know? And yes, people have already observed just how weird it would be to have a tengu shrine maiden. But I don't care about that. Anyway, you already showed some skill with a needle and thread, so I thought that you'd be perfect for the job."

"Well. That seems easy enough," Sukuna says, relaxing a bit. "Um... what kind of miko outfit are you looking for? Traditional, maybe a tad revealing to attract some worshipers...?" the inchling grins eagerly as she says this.

I think about getting a mini-skirted version of a shrine maiden's garb, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I have to take my newfound role seriously after all, for the Mikami's sake! "Just get a traditional outfit, maybe incorporating the colors and symbolism of the goddesses," I say. Then after a moment, I add, "But um... maybe get another version. Sleeveless, miniskirted, that sort of thing." Just for the off-hours. I swear.

Sukuna giggles excitedly. "Okay! You got it! I'm gonna go talk to that lady that made Hina and Yamame their new outfits, because she obviously knows what she's doing!" Can't argue with that.

"Will you be okay out there?" I ask. "I mean, all that talk about natural enemies..."

"Eh, I think I've started to get used to the Oni," Sukuna replies, rubbing the back of her head. "They're not that bad when you get used to them. Oh, and um, sorry about challenging you to a duel like that, Aya."

I wave it off. "Fights have broken out over dumber things in Gensokyo," I point out. "Just get me that outfit, and we'll call it even!"

Sukuna nods eagerly. "You got it, Aya!" Quickly, the inchling bounds out the door, closing it behind her and leaving me to get dressed for the day.

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

After a quick breakfast (Minoriko insists that she could do better), the group of us stand around in the lobby of the Laughing Oni. I've put on my Tengu robe again, mainly because I love the way it looks. Yamame has her kimono on, and Hina, in a display of divine benevolence, is once more wearing her incredibly gorgeous new dress.

Shizuha raises her eyebrow. "So, that gonna be a new look or something?"

Hina shrugs, blushing. "Well... I like the way it makes me look! And I probably couldn't get away with wearing it on the surface..."

"Well, maybe," Minoriko shrugs, "but it's your call. But maybe we could use some new outfits, too." The harvest goddess gives me, Yamame and Hina a considering look.

Note to self: get the Akis some flattering dresses! Anyway...

"So, I was thinking that we should head to the Great Market today," I say to the others.

Yamame nods. "Good idea. There a ton of people that pass through there, and by now word will have spread about the Mikami. Now's the best time to capitalize on all that."

"So, we go and preach," I say with a shrug. "To a hectic market place full of hungry drunks. Easy." I get some dark looks at this, and snort. "Please. If I can get this far underground without completely losing my mind, we can nab a few worshipers down here."

"Speaking of which, how are you feeling, Aya?" Minoriko asks curiously. "I mean, we've been underground for a full day now."

"My biggest defense is not thinking about it," I say easily, and take the opportunity to pointedly feast my eyes on Hina and Yamame. Yamame grins, and Hina giggles in amusement. "And on that note, do you folks think that the shrine is doing okay? I mean, that looked like a pretty big storm."

Yamame scoffs. "Hey, that's my construction work, I'll have you know! Guaranteed to hold up even against a drunken Oni party! A little old storm is nothing in comparison!"

Not unless it's divinely-powered, I consider darkly, Kanako on my mind.

"It's fine," Minoriko assures us. "As it's devoted to us, we have a natural sense of how the shrine's doing. It's holding up perfectly." Hina nods in agreement.

"At worst, we'll just have to clean up a little bit," Shizuha puts in. "And I'm a goddess of falling leaves. I really don't think that we'll have any trouble at all."

I nod, feeling a little relieved at their assurances. "In that case, with no further ado: to the Market!" It was time to get some faith!

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

So, the Crafts Market was a real sight, with all of its crafts on display. But it was only a smaller part of the much larger Great Market. This place? It's a lot bigger. Noisier. More intense. Stalls are packed side-to-side, offering just about everything that you could dream of. Foods of all sorts, both familiar and not. Some of the stranger items for sale seem to include a manner of shellfish, huge mushrooms fried in gravy and spices, and bizarre, fluffy balls that tasted unbelievably sweet.

Every manner of foodstuff you could imagine, and more besides, are on sale, both to take home and to eat on the spot. Small restaurants dot the area, and alcohol salesmen are absolutely ubiquitous. Rather than fine arts and crafts, the merchants here deal in more perishable goods, both edible and not. Some Oni proudly sell off destructible furniture, 'Perfect for your next bar fight!' Others sell an array of fireworks, odd toys for youths, noisy pets that look too dangerous for anyone but an Oni to keep, and so, so many more things. If it isn't something delicate to be sold at the Crafts Market, it is absolutely to be found here.

The sight of so many goods for sale, the intoxicating smells, the sheer noise of the crowd, pressing against one another as they haggle, bicker, laugh and argue, it's all so overwhelming! And yet, this is where the highest concentration of people in the entire city is. If we're going to sell the Mikami to interested folks, this is where we'll do it.

"Well, here we are," Yamame says as she gestures to the crowd.

"Cool!" Minoriko enthuses. Her sister nods, in awe at the sight before us.

Hina looks over at me. "So, how do we do this, Aya?"

Hmmm...


[ ] Your suggestion here!
Why didn't we bring any fliers?! Bah. Stupid oversight.
[x] Set up stalls for each goddess, preferably spread around the market, and start selling 'Divine Favours'.
I think we should try to make something emphasizing the three new roles and at the moment the fact Hina is dressed up well (among others) should help.

Though it'll be interesting fidning something that flatters Shizuha as opposed to highlighting her flaws.
[x] Find a fountain and get Minoriko to work her Goddess of Booze magic by turning water into wine.
[x] Shout "FREE BOOZE!"

If this doesn't get them followers nothing will.
Here's my idea for Minoriko.

I was thinking about the booze fountain that >>25715 suggested, but I think "FREE BOOZE!" would be hard to get followers from. They'd be too busy drinking to listen to preaching. Besides, turning that much water into wine would be a major miracle, one that might be too much for the still-getting-started Mikami.

I think it would be better if she were to bless cups of alcohol before they are drunk to make them taste better and be more potent.
Like, make a deal with one of the alcohol merchant. A special offer: Buy two cups of booze at a reduced price (say, 25% off) to try the difference between blessed and unblessed alcohol. Even if the first ones aren't convinced that the alcohol will taste better, it's still a special offer for cheaper booze and that's always interesting.

We pour the cups in front of them, from the same bottle. They are free to check the cups and all that before, if they want. You know, standard "there is no trick involved" theatrics.
They pick one to drink, and can then watch Minoriko bless the other. Then they try that one, and BAM! Same stuff, but so much better.

The merchant gets to sell a lot of booze, and Minoriko gets to impress the oni.
I mean, if they can get some of the oni to say a prayer (or even just remember her) over the occasional cup of alcohol then we're golden, baby.


I'll try to think of something for Shizuha and Hina as well.
[X] What this guy said:
>>25716
[x] >>25716
Yup, maybe a bit lame to refer to a post as a vote, but I'm not going to be the one to abbreviate that.
>>25716
That would have been better done at the bar than here and it's a crass display that may overshadow the other two.
>>25716
I think she should do a painting in public. It is a common way to gather attention for her. Hina? She can do a dance and then push the misfortune thing into the most "juicy" target in the public
>>25719
I'd rather call it "taking turns in the spotlight".
Shizuha was the one who got the most attention at the crafts market, because the craft market was about, well, arts and crafts.
If you don't like it, just come up with a suggestion. If you can think of something really good I'd be happy to vote for your idea instead.

And yes, it might have been better to do at the bar, but now we're at the market so we'll have to do our thing at the market.


>>25720
Sounds like an interesting idea. Maybe just paint the market and the bustle of people? I've heard that can be pretty difficult to get right with the way your motif is constantly changing.
Maybe if she can make some sort of divine painting with such impossible level of detail that you can look at it for hours and say "that guy wasn't there a minute ago, I'm starting to think they move around whenever I'm not looking". And maybe they do... Cue X-Files theme.


>>25717
>>25718
Yeah, I'm very bad at writing short posts.
>>25721
due to the wider mix of thigns and people, a mixed approach would be best as opposed to just Minoriko/Booze.

Unfortunately I'm at a loss of how to go about that exactly without one thing upstaging the others. Though an idea would be for Hina to be using her charms to attract people.
>>25722
I don't think it should be only that, but I just haven't thought of any good ideas for the others yet.
I think the public painting was an interesting idea though.

Eh. I don't think "using her charms" would get quite the right kind of attention. I'd put that as plan B, maybe...
>>25723
I don't mind insanely flaunt it, just that more often than not an attractive girl can get attention and from there, they can see the actual stuff.
Gonna leave the voting and discussion open for another night on this. Partly due to being tired.
>>25724
Then she's pretty much doing that already by wearing her new dress.
an attempt at things
[x] Get people's attention
[x] try to see what art things Shizuha could emphasize/talk about
[x] Have Minoriko highly not just booze but food.
[x] Somehow talk people about Hina's services.

this isn't that great but it's a try at something.
File 139060439459.jpg - (153.16KB, 850x935, on the job.jpg) [iqdb]
25728
I bite my lip, thinking it over. "Minoriko, you're up," I say finally. "Shizuha already had her moment in the Crafts Market yesterday, and this is clearly more your scene."

Shizuha nods her agreement. "This place is pretty much ideal for you, Minoriko. It's all about food, drink... lots of drink, actually... and hard work. Definitely where you'll find a lot of potential followers."

"Well, I don't know about full-blown followers," Mino muses thoughtfully, "But as long as I can get a few prayers on a regular basis, I'll be satisfied. On that note, how are things on your end, Shizu?"

"Pretty well, actually," Shizuha replies, looking pleased. "I've been receiving a small trickle of faith on a regular basis as some of the craftspeople make a prayer to me for inspiration. Really, all you need to do is get the Oni to say a quick toast to you before a drink, and you'll be set."

I snap my fingers. "That's it! That's exactly what we'll do!" At the Akis' confused look, I grin. "Minoriko, all you have to do is go up to one of the alcohol merchants around here and make a deal with them: do a quick blessing to boost the potency of the alcohol. You can do that, right?"

"Easily," Minoriko nods. "So that's the plan? Lure the Oni in with more potent alcohol? She grins, because it'll probably work.

"Let's make a business plan out of it," I continue. "Like, invite people to taste the difference between unblessed and blessed alcohol cups. The Oni, naturally, will go for the more potent blessed alcohol and snap it right up! You get some faith, the merchants make money... everybody wins."

"Hey, now that's a good plan!" Mino nods in approval. "Okay, let me scan the market and pick out a likely vendor."

"Don't forget to mention your sister and Hina when you talk to people!" I call after her. The harvest goddess just waves back as she walks over to a bearded Oni selling massive kegs of booze and strikes up a conversation with him. The alcohol merchant strokes his beard thoughtfully as Minoriko makes her pitch, then carefully pours out two cups of sake. Mino makes a gesture over one of them, and the merchant samples both. His eyes light up as he sample Mino's blessed drink, and he immediately gestures her into his stall, moving on to what looks like some fierce haggling with the harvest goddess.

"That was a good idea," Shizuha admits, looking on as her sister adeptly handles the situation.

"Not feeling left out, are you?" I ask her.

Shizuha shakes her head. "Nah. I had my moment yesterday. Honestly, I think I'll do pretty well from all of the craftsmen down here, so that'll let me get my foot in the door. Maybe in a bit, we'll be able to turn more Oni to the doctrine in full... but I kind of doubt that."

"They don't seem all that devout, do they?" I say wryly, watching as Oni begin lining up in front of the booth Minoriko has chosen to patronize. They're mostly interested in trying more potent booze than any religious observance, but that' not really the point. "All they need to do is say a prayer to Mino before they take a drink, and we can call this one a win."

"From here, she should be able to branch out to some of the cooks," Shizuha observes. "This really is Minoriko's element. She picked out a salesman that clearly had some good stock, but was maybe looking eager to increase revenue just a bit. There's a bit of a knack to it, and I don't fully get it, but notice how some of those food vendors have wandered over?"

"Friends of the alcohol merchant?" I ask.

"Yep. Minoriko sized the situation up pretty well, but then she is a harvest goddess. Markets like this are practically her natural element." Shizuha folds her arms and looks over at me. "So, what do we do about Hina? I mean, Mino and I are pretty much set at this point, but right now all Hina can expect is an occasional prayer from an Oni going to a gambling parlor, or trying to get a warped door open."

"Small things that add up," I say simply. "As long as the Oni want to ward off the little misfortunes of the day to day, Hina should be just fine." I glance over to where she had wandered off with Yamame to grab a drink of their own at a little stall off to the side. They seem to be making animated conversation with the female owner of the stall. "I'm glad those two made up. Anyway, we'll poke around a little more before we leave. There's gotta be some place that'll take to Hina."

"It's worth looking around this city for its own sake," Shizuha says with a smile. "But yes, I agree with you there. As for Hina and Yamame, that was starting to get a little worrisome." Shizuha shivers a bit. "I was afraid that they were going to come to fisticuffs for a little while there, never mind a danmaku duel."

"Catfights are usually all kinds of fun," I say idly, causing Shizu to roll her eyes, "But when the participants can throw around diseases and raw misfortune... yeah, not a very nice thing." I eye the leaf goddess sideways. "Er... did you know what they were fighting about?"

"I can infer," Shizuha says dryly, "But Minoriko and I decided that we'd stay out of this sort of thing. A bit too complicated, you understand."

"Can't blame you," I say with a shrug. Meanwhile, Minoriko's strategy is paying off; Oni are lining up down the street to sample the blessed alcohol, and I notice a few others in the street experimentally saying a prayer over their cups before taking a sip. "So, what's it like to receive prayers like this?"

"It's bit hard to describe to a non-god," Shizuha says with a frown. "It's like... we can hear a chorus of voices whispering our name, offering up strength. We then reach out with a fragment of our minds and respond to them. There's a lot of give and take, but the whispers of prayer are never distracting; it's more like background music that invigorates us the more we can hear it. I'm not sure how else to put it."

"Interesting..." I say, genuinely intrigued. I've never really considered just what it meant to be a goddess. I have to wonder if Hina hears the same thing now, people calling out to her to remove their misfortune. This might bear further investigation.

Anyway, it looks like Minoriko is doing her thing pretty well, so it might be a good idea to check something else out afterwards. The batting range sounds absolutely hilarious, but checking out the Museum and taking in some culture couldn't hurt either. Then again, maybe we should try to appeal to the people more directly by going dancing at the Crazy Wombat. I wonder...


[ ] Go to the batting range.
[ ] Go to the Museum.
[ ] Go to the Crazy Wombat.
[ ] ...Wait, what are Hina and Yamame laughing about?
[ ] Wait, I wanna do this while we're at the Market! (specify)
[x] Go to the Museum.
Photograph everything! Ammunition against the Elders!
[x]Go to the Crazy Wombat.

Minoriko and Shizuha already had their chance to gain followers, now its Hina's turn. Isn't Hina trying to branch out into a patron of dance in addition to luck? There's no better place to do that than at the dance hall.
[x] ...Wait, what are Hina and Yamame laughing about?

This choice calls out to me and I don't think it'd take up too much time. That and if we pass it up we might not get another chance.
[x]Go to the Crazy Wombat.

Seems like the best place to go to from those options for Hina.
[x]Go to the Crazy Wombat.

Because spinning is sorta like dancing, right?
[X] ...Wait, what are Hina and Yamame laughing about?

MERRIMENT!
is there any reason people are passing up the nigh-obvious plothook (why Hina and Yamame are laughting)?
[x]Go to the Crazy Wombat.

Going to stay on target myself.
[x] ...Wait, what are Hina and Yamame laughing about?
>>25736
It wouldn't even take that much time. And on target for what? Hopefully Keymaster can do both in the worse case.
[X] ...Wait, what are Hina and Yamame laughing about
[X] Go to the Museum.
Btw aren't the youkai of the underground constantly at risk of having their very beings sheared away by the evil spirits of old hell? Won't Hint be able to get prayers to ward off such misfortune? And she wishes to extend into the unexpected changes in life, no? Does that not include every moment of a fight? And you know what oni love. Why not pick a champion, maybe Sukuna or Yuugi if you can find her, bless said champion with a little 'miracle of the unexpected', then ask for volunteers to challenge her. (Alternatively get two volunteers and bless one of them to demonstrate the power or go find where oni frequently have fights)

Also Shizuha plans on branching into the change in phases of life too no? That does include love and marriage if I recall. Then why not pitch up wit Big Papa in spreading the message of Loooooooove?
[X] ...Wait, what are Hina and Yamame laughing about
>>25740
The fight idea sounds like it could be considered "cheating" (getting some sort of "outside advantage"), but the rest sounds good.
[x] ...Wait, what are Hina and Yamame laughing about?
[x] ...Wait, what are Hina and Yamame laughing about?
I have a good feeling about this. Maybe they're planning a surprise party for Aya. A sexy surprise party.
Okay, calling it for investigating what Hina and Yamame are up to.
File 139068684413.jpg - (116.86KB, 850x638, girls are acting mysterious.jpg) [iqdb]
25747
Slowly, inexorably, I find my eyes drawn to the sight of Yamame and Hina laughing and chatting as they share a drink. Even the owner of their stall is grinning and laughing along with them. And it's not just the appeal of two attractive, alluringly-dressed women that draws my attention, it's sheer curiosity. I'm a journalist at heart, dammit! Wanting to know the truth of things is what drives me as a person! So yeah, I kinda want to know what's up, here.

Nodding to myself, I take a glance over at where Minoriko is still holding forth with her booze blessings. "Mind if I leave you alone for a moment?" I ask Shizuha.

"Sure," the leaf goddess replies, "I'm just gonna look around for a bit. See you later." Shizuha starts looking through the many, many wares for sale, and I make my way over to where goddess and spider are holding forth on a subject that seems utterly hilarious, judging from the number of giggles coming from them.

"...taut as a rope!" Yamame finishes, waving her hand with a flourish. Hina gasps, wide-eyed and seems to stare at Yamame in wonder, while the owner of the stall just laughs uproariously. She's another type of youkai that I don't recognize, one with scales around her jaw, but whatever. I have other questions in mind at the moment.

"Hey girls, what's so funny?" I voice my question as I walk up, a faint smile on my lips. The response just happens to be Yamame and Hina yelping and jumping nearly a foot in the air, spinning around to stare at me wide-eyed.

"A-Aya!" Hina stammers, red-faced. "Where did you come from?"

I raise an eyebrow. "From right over there. You know, where I was talking with Shizuha?" Why is her face red? Is the alcohol having that much of an effect on her, or is she just embarrassed that I startled her?

"Eh, sorry, we were just talking with Sheeva here," Yamame says, gesturing to the stall owner. Wordlessly, Sheeva hands me a cup of some sort of liqueur, which I take gratefully.

"Charmed," I say with a nod. "So, what was so funny? Seemed like you two were really getting worked up over something." Hina chokes as I say this, and Yamame laughs sheepishly.

Sheeva, for her part, just bursts into laughter before eying me up and down and then winking at Hina. "I think you were right, to be honest." This makes Hina flush even redder, and Yamame starts laughing as well.

"...Okay, seriously, what were you guys talking about?" I ask suspiciously.

"They were talking about you," the stall owner says simply, causing Yamame and Hina to look at her in horror. "They were wondering how much trouble it was to wash your wings."

"...Fundamentally true," Yamame admits.

"It's not too hard," I say, sipping at my drink. "I mean, I just have to be careful due to how sensitive they are, but they're actually pretty tough appendages, and I can stretch them out far enough to wash them pretty easily. It's just that part where they join with my back that gets a bit complicated. Why were you wondering?"

"Oh, I just figured that they'd be very sensitive, like you were saying," Hina says innocently. "Also, I was wondering if you've ever had to... bind them down, let's say." Yamame grins as Hina says this.

"...Not that I remember," I say slowly.

"What a shame," Yamame says easily, causing Hina to giggle. "But I was also wondering. You seem like a pretty athletic woman. Very... flexible, shall we say."

"And lots of endurance," the stall owner, Sheeva puts in.

"Not to mention creative," Hina says with a wicked smile.

I give all of them a flat stare. "Okay, seriously, what the hell were you talking about?"

"Nothing~!" Yamame tries to assure me. "It's just that Hina and I got to talking last night, trying to patch things up, and the conversation inevitably turned to you. You, and certain parts of your anatomy."

"What?!" I yelp.

"Your wings," Hina giggles. "We were just talking, and Yamame showed how she could extend and retract her extra legs. Then we started talking about your wings, and what is was like dealing with them." She takes a sip of her drink. "And then, you know, we started drinking."

"And...?" I ask, feeling a bit agitated.

Hina gives me an innocent smile. "We had a very fascinating, and illuminating conversation. Your name came up a few times. Then it got late and we went to bed, and we thought we'd take the conversation up a again this morning."

I look at the grinning spider, and at the innocently smiling goddess. Then I look at the scaly shop-owner. "Is there anything I should be worried about?"

"Many would feel envy that they were not in your position," Sheeva replies. "Or utter relief, it all depends on your perspective."

"You guys are not making any sense at all!" I complain.

"All I'm saying is that I really, really like that outfit!" Hina giggles again.

"It does wonderful things for you," Yamame adds, grinning suggestively.

"...You two are acting all chummy, and somehow that makes me nervous," I say carefully.

"You're just paranoid," Hina says dismissively. "Just because you were the main subject of discussion doesn't mean that you need to worry silk ropes!"

"What about silk ropes?" I ask warily.

"It's one of the main ways I catch larger prey," Yamame explains.

"She was explaining some of the concepts to me, and Sheeva was elaborating on the technique a little bit," Hina adds.

"Either that, or they were just having an innocent laugh and are now messing with your head as hard as they can," Sheeva puts in. She gives me a very wide, fanged smile, making me wonder what sort of youkai she actually is. "The question is, which one is it?"

I give them all a narrow, unamused look. "You're all a bunch of jerks, and I refuse to associate with you while you're acting like this," I say sternly. I turn on my heel and start to walk away. "I am going to associate with my good friends Mino and Shizu who don't make me the butt of their jokes!"

"Aw, don't be mad, Aya!" Hina pleads as she skips over and glomps me. "We're just messing with you a bit! There no need to get upset."

"I'm not, but I got a free hug out of it," I quip, grinning back. "But seriously, what were you guys talking about? You were getting pretty energetic."

Hina ponders for a moment before giving me a mysterious smile. "Wouldn't you like to know~? If you're a good girl, you might find out!" Yamame laughs into her drink, while Sheeva shakes her head and turns away.

"...Right," I say slowly, not sure if I should feel amused, offended, or intrigued. "Anyway, Shizu and Mino look pretty well looked-after, but I wanted to find a place where I could drum up some more faith for you. Yamame, do you have any ideas?"

"Well..." the spider gives it some serious thought. "Maybe you could do something with the evil spirits of Old Hell? They're a constant threat down here, and the type of energy they're made of seems similar to Hina's misfortune. If you could figure out a way to ward them off, you'd have tons of prayers rolling in!"

"Hmmm, that's a thought," I nod slowly. "Well, we'll keep our eyes open." I hesitate. "But come on, just what were you guys laughing about?"

Hina and Yamame smile sweetly. "It's a secret~!" The sing in chorus. The stall-owner just shakes her head ruefully. I hate being out of the loop.

Still, it looks like Minoriko is finishing up her pitch, so we can probably start thinking about heading somewhere else now. The question is, where?


[ ] Go to the batting range.
[ ] Go to the Museum.
[ ] Go to the Crazy Wombat.
[ ] Wait, I wanna do this while we're at the Market! (specify)
[X] Go to the Museum.

If getting Hina to ward off evil spirits is the next objective, the museum might be a good place to start. Since it seems that she's not entirely sure how to go about it, the museum might have some information about the spirits to give her a better idea how to counter them. After we've got the information, we can probably wrap things up at the Crazy Wombat.
[x] Go to the Museum.

sounds as if rather lewd things are in store for Aya.
[X] Go to the Museum.


>>25748
Sounds reasonable enough to me. Let's go!
[x] Go to the Museum.
[X] Go to the Museum.

Research. Knowledge is important for any reporter.
[X] Go to the Museum.

Time for learning.
[X] Go to the Museum
Vote called, and we'll be visiting the museum!
File 13907743486.jpg - (93.27KB, 850x602, big sis will look after you.jpg) [iqdb]
25766
Some time later, I'm leading my group of ladies to the local museum. There's still no sign of Sukuna, which has me vaguely worried. Still, I'm sure that the little inchling can navigate the city without getting into too much trouble. Or getting into a fight with an Oni. Probably. So, I'm going to trust her discretion and very small size to keep her out of trouble.

Yamame leads us to the underground museum, a building put together by some of the more scholarly Oni (to my amazement, such beings actually exist). She's still exchanging the occasional smirk with Hina, but I've resigned myself to not knowing what they were talking about. At least they seem to be friends again.

"So, successful outing?" I query Minoriko.

She nods, looking a bit flushed. "Absolutely! I'm already receiving a bunch of prayers from beings looking to make their food taste better!"

I raise an eyebrow. "That gives you a lot of faith, then?"

"...No," Minoriko admits, "But like you pointed out, it's all about getting tiny amounts of faith in large quantities. Like, if every Oni in the city just asked me to bless their food a little bit before eating, that's a big net gain for me! And then things will spread to the farmers and the chefs and... well, you get the idea."

Hm. In other words, the Akis are pretty much all set underground. Still, that leaves me wondering what more I can do for Hina. I guess all we can do for now is wait for some stroke of fortune to come our way. Kind of ironic, when you think about it.

Finally, Yamame leads us to the Museum of the underground. It's an austere looking place, almost stern-looking, honestly. Everything is in order, and the building is clearly well-maintained, but the structure seems a tad... lonely, somehow.

When I point this out, Yamame nods. "Well, yeah. The Oni are more beings of action. Drinking, fighting, hard work... sitting back in quiet contemplation really isn't their thing unless they're having a drink while doing it, and a museum just isn't conducive to that kind of behavior. Still, they're proud of their history, and every so often a couple of them come by to look around things."

"Is there even anybody in there?" Hina wonders out loud.

"...Maybe?" Yamame says uncertainly. "I mean, I know that a few of them come by every day to clean things up and all, but as to there being a full-time staff... I just don't know. Still, it's not like there's an entry fee, so I guess they just work on the honor system. 'Please don't wreck the exhibits,' and all that."

"Eh, fair enough," I say, walking toward the Museum. "I don't have any intention of messing up their stuff. Anyway, let's see what's inside, shall we?" The others start to follow me, and we approach the front doors when-

I sense something.

A feeling of impending doom. Relentless. Uncompromising. Immune to reason. And I can sense it coming closer second by second.

"Fooooouuuuunnnnndddd yyyooooouuuu~!" A familiar voice sings. Moments later, my body shakes from the impact of Okuu catching me in a diving tackle-hug. The only thing that mitigates the force are her pre-installed crash mats. "Good morning, little sis! Good morning, everyone!" I think Okuu's waving at the others. I can't really say for sure, what with my face being imbedded in friendly softness.

"Good morning, Okuu," Hina says, sounding a bit amused. "You look as energetic as always."

"Hiya, Miss Hina! Yeah, I got a good night's sleep, and I'm currently on break from tending to the reactor, so I'd thought I'd come check up on my favorite little sis~!" Okuu snuggles me happiply as she says this.

Actually, I don't think that I can breathe.

"Just to be clear: you realize that you two aren't related, and that technically you're a raven and she's a crow?" Shizuha idly asks.

"That just means that I got to try even harder to be a good big sis!" Okuu asserts. "Oh, and Little Aya? Um... maybe try not to fly around the city like that? I mean, your outfit looks fantastic, but I don't have a set of shorts that would look good with it."

I make a gesture somewhere between an acknowledgement and a desperate cry for oxygen. Oh, Hina, why do you not come to your unfortunate follower? Oh, wait.

"We were just going to check out the Museum," Minoriko says. "Would you like to come with us?"

I can feel my conscious fading, and all I can feel is a warm softness. This isn't a bad way to go, per se, but I was really hoping to get a shot at some other warm softness first. Help? Someone?

"Sounds great!" Okuu chirps. She pulls me away from her chest to give me a joyful smile. "Hear that, Aya? We're gonna go to the Museum! This is gonna be so much fun!"

"Yeah..." I wheeze out, "Sounds great..."

Okuu gives me a stern frown. "Aya, you really shouldn't try to hold your breath that long, okay? It's gotta be bad for your health!"

"...I'll keep that in mind," I wheeze out, and Okuu nods, pleased at her sisterly skill at teaching bodily safety. I glance over at Hina, to see if my goddess is getting jealous at all the attention the hell raven is showering me with. But no, Hina just gives me a sympathetic smile and an encouraging nod. Is she gaining strength at my misfortune? Is she perhaps unwilling to meddle with my good fortune at having found such a loving elder sister? Or is the scene just too cute in her eyes to interfere with?

I'd hazard a guess, but I still haven't gotten enough oxygen to my brain, and it's doing weird things right about now. This might be karmic punishment for all of my long years ogling boobs; the boobs have come for me now, in all their furious softness.

"Anyway!" Yamame says, clapping her hands to get everyone's attention. "Shall we head on in and check out the exhibits?"

"Yeah!" Okuu cheers rubbing her cheek against mine happily. Spinning around, Okuu slips an arm around my waist and a protective wing around my shoulders. "Now, Little Aya, the Museum is a big place, so I don't want you to wander too far, okay? I don't want you to get lost!"

I look over at the serious hell raven. "...Okuu? I'm over a thousand years old. Just kinda putting that out there, okay?"

"You're still my little sis, and I don't want you getting lost!" Okuu says firmly. There's a tone of finality in her voice, and I give up the argument. I also try to tune out the giggling and snickers from behind me. Oh, Okuu. For all that I crave physical affection, you're making things a little embarrassing for me with the big sister act.

Well. Maybe the wing hug feels a little good. Maybe. Just a bit, though.

We enter the main doors of the museum, pass an empty receptionist's desk, and look around a the cavernous interior. There are a few simple stone carvings, and a remarkable statue of a stern-faced Oni in armor. It takes me a moment to realize that the Oni in question is a woman, and that the plaque describes her as "General Hoshiguma.' Huh.

Long hallways lead out into several different wings of the museum. One wing is named 'THE WORLD OF BOOZE! SEE HOW OUR BREWING TECHNIQUES HAVE EVOLVED OVER THE CENTURIES!' Another hall is titled 'WEAPONS AND ARMOR FROM THE DARK AGES OF THE PAST! THIS IS WHY WE STICK TO CLUBS AND BOTTLES!' A third describes 'ANCIENT ONI ART, FROM THE CRUDE TO THE MODERN! LEWD TO THE HOLY! COME ON IN AND FEEL YOUR SPIRIT GROW! A fourth wing announces that it has 'ART FROM OTHER CULTURES! HUMAN, TENGU, AND A BUNCH OF THINGS WE DON'T EVEN KNOW! CAN YOU MAKE A GOOD GUESS?'

Finally, there's a fifth wing which talks about 'WORLD HISTORY! THE FULL LENGTH AND BREADTH OF WHO WE ARE, AND HOW WE GOT HERE!' However, this wing is heavily roped off and warded. Signs proclaim 'EVIL SPIRIT INFESTATION. STAY OUT. NOT ONLY WILL THEY DESTROY YOUR SOUL, YOU WILL FEEL EVERY SECOND OF IT. GO SOMEWHERE ELSE, THE OTHER WINGS ARE SAFE. BUT SERIOUSLY, KEEP OUT OF HERE.'

Okuu pulls me closer in a protective gesture. "We're not going down that wing," she says seriously. I decide not to argue with my dear big sister- Dammit! She's getting to me!

Still, that leaves us with several options. Where to go?

[ ] The World of Booze.
[ ] Weapons and Armor.
[ ] Ancient Art Appreciation.
[ ] Other People's Stuff.
[ ] History Lesson. Big Sis said no! You don't want to argue with Bis Sis, do you? She might give you a spanking!
[x] Ancient Art Appreciation. We're here to learn about the oni and this seems the best place to start.
-[x] Ask Okuu why Satori and Orin haven't dealt with the evil spirits.

Oh, if only the Mikami had a human miko. Think of all the faith she could gather by cleaning out the evil spirits!
[x] Other People's Stuff.
[x] Other People's Stuff.
-[x] Ask Okuu why Satori and Orin haven't dealt with the evil spirits.
[x] Ancient Art Appreciation. We're here to learn about the oni and this seems the best place to start.
-[x] Ask Okuu why Satori and Orin haven't dealt with the evil spirits.
[X] Ancient Art Appreciation. We're here to learn about the oni and this seems the best place to start.
-[X] Ask Okuu why Satori and Orin haven't dealt with the evil spirits.

We should visit all the wings, save the Forbidden Hallway for last.
[x] Ancient Art Appreciation. We're here to learn about the oni and this seems the best place to start.
-[x] Ask Okuu why Satori and Orin haven't dealt with the evil spirits.
[x] Ancient Art Appreciation.
[x] Ancient Art Appreciation. We're here to learn about the oni and this seems the best place to start.
-[x] Ask Okuu why Satori and Orin haven't dealt with the evil spirits.
[x] Other People's Stuff.


Wasn't someone saying how the underground evil spirits were kinda "made of misfortune", so Hina should be able to do something about that.
And a resounding win for ancient art appreciation! Vote called.
File 139086590777.jpg - (100.99KB, 850x478, watchful protector.jpg) [iqdb]
25777
I pause for a moment, looking at the warning sign skeptically. "Hang on, isn't an evil spirit infestation kind of a bad thing?"

"Don't worry, little sis!" Okuu says reassuringly, pulling me into a tight hug. "I won't let any of the bad spirits get anywhere near you!"

"Um, that's great..." I say, my voice faintly muffled. "But I was wondering why nobody had cleared it up yet."

"Oh." Okuu lets me go, and I am treated to the sight of the others just barely holding back their laughter. Jerks. "Well, the Oni actually don't have to worry about them overmuch. Apparently, possession doesn't take all that well with an Oni. Something to do with having fiery spirits that drive away evil spirits or something." In other words, even evil spirits don't want to mess with an Oni. Sheesh. Either that, or they're just too drunk to possess.

"But there's more than just Oni down here," Hina points out, nodding to Yamame.

"Yeah, which is why there are so many signs warning people," Okuu agrees. "Besides, a bunch of them could even cause problems for an Oni. No, the big deal is that evil spirit infestations are pretty easy to contain, but really hard to clean up. I mean, a few wards and they're locked up. But getting rid of them?" Okuu shakes her head. "Rin's probably the best with dealing with them down here, and even she can only do so much. The Oni can force them around too, but it's tricky work. Basically, Master Satori has to get a bunch of Oni in one place at the same time, and carefully plan out the whole thing, so that no spirits escape."

"That sounds... complicated," Minoriko notes.

Okuu nods in agreement. "Yeah, the evil spirits are a real pain down here. It's best to just stay away until the clean-up crews do their thing. So no going down that hallway!" She folds her arms sternly.

"Fair enough. How about some art?" Shizuha suggests, pointing down the hallway labeled 'ANCIENT ONI ART.'

"Fine by me," I nod. Since there are no objections, our group makes its way down the hallway to see what the Oni regard as artwork. As we walk, Okuu keeps giving suspicious glances back at the sealed-off hallway, and firmly draws me back to her side. She also starts walking rather close to Yamame, and gives her a reassuring nod, which makes the spider smile. Hina just giggles and walks on my free side.

"You two look so cute together," the misfortune goddess quips.

"Aw, thanks~!" Okuu says happily. "It's the big sister's job to look after the little one, you know?"

"She is certainly smaller than you in several ways," Shizuha says idly.

"I can hear you, loud and clear!" I call over to her.

"Don't care~!" Shizuha sings back with a teasing grin. I just chuckle ruefully.

"Anyway, do you need me to help you find a boyfriend, little Aya?" Okuu suddenly offers, making me choke with shock. "Because I know some really nice guys!"

"Oh, I think you'll find that Aya's well taken care of there," Hina says idly. Yamame just snickers.

"Oh. Okay then! Little Aya, you have to tell me all about it later!" Okuu gives me a serious look as she says this.

"As soon as I figure it out, I will," I say faintly, which she seems to accept. I quickly glance at both Hina and Yamame, but neither return my look. Is something going on here? Should I be aware of something? This... is one of those things that'll keep you up all night, dammit! I would complain more, but the hallway opens up, and we suddenly come upon the ancient Oni art exhibit.

The first artpiece, right in front of the entryway, is... a bit less than impressive. It is quite clearly a cave painting, of sorts, with a stick-figure Oni laughing as it jumps up and down on a bunch of red smears and black lines that I take to be corpses. The caption states 'Untitled Oni cave painting, believed to convey some manner of classical joke.'

"...Kinda brutal for a joke," Yamame comments.

"Well, the Oni of old had a kinda... rough sense of humor," I explain. Leaving the poorly-drawn painting, we progress further into the art exhibit.

The area seems to run along a timeline of sorts, with the oldest works being near the entrance, and getting progressively newer the further back you go. We seem to be alone in here, aside from a couple further in. Looks like a blonde girl and a guy in a suit, probably on a date. Some of the closer works of art include rough paintings of Oni drinking, hunting while drinking, fighting while drinking, and apparently having an orgy. While drinking.

"Ancient pornography?" Minoriko suggests.

Hina shrugs. "Doesn't do anything for me. A bit too crude in the depiction, you could say."

"Master Satori says that pornography is one of the words I'm not allowed to know," Okuu says primly.

"Speaking of pornography..." Shizuha says slowly, pointing with disbelief at a nearby stone statue. We all turn to take a look at it. It seems to be an Oni with a huge shit-eating grin on his face, a fist raised in the air triumphantly, a keg under one arm, and no clothing. However, the statue has a rather noticeable addition to it, around waist-height. A rather long one, I should add. That looks much more worn than the rest of the statue, for reasons I can't even begin to speculate on.

"I think it's an ancient towel rack," Okuu says knowingly. I guess that's one explanation.

"...An impressive towel rack," I comment.

"One sure to satisfy many a washerwoman," Minoriko adds with a raised eyebrow.

"Either that, or they rubbed it for good luck," Hina snickers.

"...Pass," Shizuha replies.

"He looks so damn proud of himself," Yamame says, staring up at the statue's grinning face. "Must be a guy thing."

I look a bit to the side. "Well, at least he has a girlfriend," I point out. Everyone turns their heads to see a matching statue, but female this time. It's very similar over all, with a naked Oni woman having a shit-eating grin on her face, and a keg under her arm. Still, the anatomical details are pronounced in a very different way.

"Ouch," Yamame winces sympathetically. "That has to murder her back."

"Miss Satori says I'm not allowed to look at either one of these statues too long," Okuu says with a pout.

"Well, she's an Oni, so maybe it wouldn't bother her?" Hina suggests, looking at Yamame.

"Either way, this stature makes me feel irked for some reason," Shizuha sighs.

"According to this plaque... the statues were trotted out whenever the Oni needed to choose a new chieftain," Minoriko says, looking at an inscription.

"That's the Oni for you," I laugh. "Always looking for a party." Chuckling to ourselves, our party moves a little farther along the hallway, looking at some more of the crude statuary and paintings, which gradually get more and more detailed until we come upon one that stops us in our tracks. "...And then there's this side of them," I sigh.

The others can only stare at the painting in silence. The figure is shrouded by darkness. Instead, there's only the hint of a huge being with burning eyes and a blazing maw. The earth around the figure seems to shatter from its very presence, and smaller figures are running away from it in terror. Blood seems to run in torrents from the shadowy figure, which exudes an aura of menace and terror. Even as a painting, the creature is terrifying.

Hina stares at it, stunned. "Aya, is this...?"

"Yep," I sigh. "This is the Oni as I remember them. Now you know why I panicked when I first saw them when Yamame came along."

"It's a past they won't let themselves forget," Yamame says. "Though not for lack of trying." We continue to stare at the painting for a little while longer before moving on. We're getting close to the end of the gallery now, but there are a few things that draw my attention. Aside from that couple acting all lovey-dovey, that is.


[ ] A dark painting that seems familiar somehow.
[ ] A lewd painting with a figure that you almost recognize.
[ ] A statue of a sad Oni.
[ ] Eh, we're done here. Let's go somewhere else (specify).
>That Couple

It's good to see that Parsee and Alfred are getting along so well!

Also, really liking the imagery in the art so far. So.

[x] A dark painting that seems familiar somehow.

OR

[x] A statue of a sad Oni

Because the Oni do, contrary to popular belief, feel regret, and it's worth seeing how they express it.
[ ] A lewd painting with a figure that you almost recognize.

Bonus points if it's Aya herself.
[x] A lewd painting with a figure that you almost recognize.
[x] A dark painting that seems familiar somehow.
[x] A lewd painting with a figure that you almost recognize.
[x] A statue of a sad Oni.

I can't pick just one, they're all educational! Also:

[x] Ask Okuu why Satori doesn't want her thinking about erotica.

What can I say, I'm fussy about fussy parents. Besides, artsy oni statues are nothing compared to the nasty stuff.
[X] A lewd painting with a figure that you almost recognize.

haha time for self introspection.
[X] A statue of a sad Oni.
-[X] A lewd painting with a figure that you almost recognize.
--[X] A dark painting that seems familiar somehow.

This order, if possible. If not possible, go for the top option, and consider that my vote.
[X] A lewd painting with a figure that you almost recognize.
[x] A lewd painting with a figure that you almost recognize.
[x] A dark painting that seems familiar somehow.
[x] A statue of a sad Oni.

In order of preference, if you're not going let us have our cake, eat it, and then bake a second cake.
>>25782
good point as well.... Satori's words aren't going to stop her from having nature take their course.

[x] A lewd painting with a figure that you almost recognize.
[x] A dark painting that seems familiar somehow.
[x] A statue of a sad Oni.

[x] Think about talking to Satori about keeping Okuu in the dark.

I htink the last one's important as sooner or later it will backfire.
It might be hard to get Satori to admit that as she is basically an embodiment of the Super Ego.
Not voting, but I suggest dropping the matter. Okuu's a hell-raven that can spawn suns, I'd rather not have to deal with the after-effects of her having sex, would you?
>>25790
err, poor choice of words. Satori's smart, I think she just doesn't want to deal with Okuu learning about 'that sort of thing'. Also because sun-spawning + orgasm = not good? maybe? hard to say, most doujinshi points to otherwise, but then, this keymaster's world.

eh rambling. Have some votes

[x] A lewd painting with a figure that you almost recognize.
[x] A dark painting that seems familiar somehow.
[x] A statue of a sad Oni.
>>25790
>>25791
I only mentioned it as I figure it'd be part of helping them and in a way helping Okuu to avoid some sort of problem. It's a very good thing modern Oni are gentlemen who wouldn't dare take advantage of her.
[x] A lewd painting with a figure that you almost recognize.
[x] A dark painting that seems familiar somehow.
[x] A statue of a sad Oni.
[x] A lewd painting with a figure that you almost recognize.
[x] A statue of a sad Oni.
[x] A dark painting that seems familiar somehow.

In my order of preference.
[x] A statue of a sad Oni.
[x] A dark painting that seems familiar somehow.
[x] A lewd painting with a figure that you almost recognize.

Better to close on a relatively upbeat note.
[x] A statue of a sad Oni.
[x] A dark painting that seems familiar somehow.
[x] A lewd painting with a figure that you almost recognize.

>skipping interesting artwork
It's like some of you don't even worship Shizuha.
...I gotta stop doing this to myself. So! The order of seeing the paintings will be: lewdness, darkness, and sadness. Vote called.
File 139095407350.jpg - (109.59KB, 479x678, kinda like this.jpg) [iqdb]
25801
"Now this looks promising," I say with a grin, walking towards a rather erotic-looking painting.

"Why does this choice not surprise me?" Shizuha snorts, giving me a sideways glance.

"You can tell that it is a very well-made painting, and understand my appreciation of fine artwork?" I suggest.

"Yes. Of course. That must be it," Shizuha says flatly, a smirk tugging at her lips.

"Unyuu, is this a painting that I'm not allowed to look at?" Okuu asks worriedly.

Yamame pats her on the shoulder. "Don't worry. All you're doing is chaperoning your little sis!" This brightens Okuu up considerably. Thanks, Yamame. You're such a big help. In any case, our group comes to a stop in front of a rather detailed painting that seems to involve a massive party, or orgy, or maybe just a bunch of rich people sitting around partaking of every vice they possibly can. Oni parties tend to go that way, although this one seems rather more sedate than normal. Maybe everyone in it is just worn out.

"Who is that?" Minoriko asks, pointing at the center figure. It's obviously an Oni, though a rather slender-looking one, with long horns and decked out in some ridiculously expensive-looking clothing that covers about as much skin as a handful of tissues. Thin tissues. The rest of her costume is all suggestively placed jewelry, and a smug, confident look adorns the Oni's face. I frown. She looks a bit familiar...

All around are signs of people having passed out after too much excess. Bleary-eyed men and sleeping women of the Oni, tengu and human persuasion all are sprawled out on pillows, looking absolutely exhausted while the queen bee in the center looks utterly pleased with herself. The name of the painting is 'THE DEVA'S PARTY.'

"Huh. But that's not Yuugi..." Okuu wonders thoughtfully.

I stare at the painting, eyelid twitching.

"She looks so familiar," Hina muses. "Aya, do you...?" She trails off as she sees my face. "Um. Is something wrong?"

I lower my face into my hand. "I assume this is an exaggerated depiction of something that happened a long time ago. Like, before the Oni headed for the underground. I'd say this one was having one hell of a good time."

Shizuha snaps her fingers. "Wait a minute! Isn't this that Oni that's always hanging around at the Hakurei Shrine?"

"Yep," I sigh. "Suika Ibuki. I have no idea if this is in any way truthful, or if Suika just hired somebody to paint this to make her look good."

"Has to be fictitious," Shizuha says. "This version of Ibuki actually has boobs."

"Ouch!" I laugh. "Well, Suika isn't that bad off. Just a bit short, and on the slender side, but it's not like she looks like a kid or anything." I pause. "But yeah, her boobs aren't that big. Must've paid off the artist or something."

"Maybe she hasn't been eating right lately?" Minoriko suggests.

"So is this something that actually happened, or is it just one of her fantasies?" Shizuha cracks.

"Eh, who knows?" I shrug. "Nice artwork, though. Looks realistic." We take a moment to look at the smug Oni, surrounded by her den of vice.

"Never would have expected it of her," the blonde woman mutters from behind us, talking to her boyfriend. "She never seemed the type."

"Well, miss Ibuki was rather eager to find some companionship," her escort comments. I notice Okuu wave at him from the corner of my eye. "Reliving the escapades of her youth, or trying to put some truth into the lie?

"Oni don't lie," the blonde comments.

"...That puts this painting in a whole new light," the man admits. "Which makes me wonder about the structure of her... clothing. So deceptive, for an Oni. How shameful. Unless that's the vice in question."

"Are you checking out what that thing does for her boobs?" the woman asks, sounding a bit jealous.

"Nonsense. I have some much nicer ones to regard." This earns him a swat. "Though I think that outfit would look amazing on you. Shall we visit a tailor later? And a jeweler?" This earns him another embarrassed swat, which he laughs off.

"Eh, the last thing I want to look at is one of Suika's sex dreams. C'mon, let's look at something else." The couple start to move off. Hina seems very still, all of a sudden. Is she hiding behind Okuu's wing...?

"You know him?" Minoriko asks.

"He's Master Satori's new butler," Okuu explains, but I find my attention drawn by another painting. This one is much gloomier than the previous. A bunch of Oni are sitting around a pit leading into the ground. They're covered in blood, and look sad and disconsolate. A few of them are staring into the pit, which yawns deep and wide. A few more march into the pit with their backs straight, but depressed expressions on their faces. A few more reach out to figures of humans in the distance, but the humans in questions have their fists raised angrily at the Oni. A few more Oni stare expressionlessly at a group of inhuman monsters who seem to be eyeballing the scene. A few of the monsters stand at the forefront of their group, far more prominent than the others. Monsters with beaks and wings, claws and white fur.

Holy shit. That brings back memories.

And there-

Goddamn.

"It's titled 'The Departure,'" Hina notes, reading the plate below it. "Apparently, it describes the Oni's departure from the world above after all hands had turned against them, and all those they had thought to be friends started to curse them." I shiver. I know how that feels. But there's part of this painting that chills me to the core. Old memories keep surging into me. God, this is so nostalgic. Not that I remember this scene, mind you.

But it looks like the artist remembered me.

"Something wrong, Aya?" Yamame asks me. Wordlessly, I point at a figure in the painting. A vicious-looking creature, with ragged robes and a sharp beak, that seems to snarl at the Oni. A figure that radiates malice and hostility. The sword in its hand, long and gleaming, brings back a lot of memories.

"What about it?" Minoriko asks me.

I shake my head. "Nothing. Just reflecting that I have much better dress sense these days." I turn and walk away from the specter of the past. Some things are better left forgotten.

As the others are left silent in my wake, staring either at me or at the painting, I walk over to an amazingly detailed statue of a sad-looking Oni, moping as he sits on a rock. A cup of sake is held in one hand, forever ignored. And the reason for this Oni's depression? The title reads 'DROPPED HIS SAKE BOTTLE.'

Well, admittedly, that would depress me.

Hina walks up beside me, giving me a long look. She clears her throat. "For what it's worth, you're a lot sexier these days~," Hina tells me with a smile. I can't help but smile back. You know what, maybe I shouldn't be so uptight. She wants to flirt with me? I'm damn well gonna flirt right back, especially after that scene from earlier! I open my mouth to give her a comment about her oh-so lovely new dress-

-When I am interrupted by a sound coming from the mouth of the gallery. A sound that is much like dozens of heavy chains all snapping at once.

A sudden feeling of pure menace falls over our group. A feeling of soul-chilling dread that freezes me right to my core. Whispers of madness and moans of torment begin to echo from the opening of the gallery.

Yamame gasps in horror. Okuu whirls around, her eyes suddenly blazing. The apparent butler's head whips around, his expression intense, while his girlfriend carefully takes hold of his arm. "The spirits are loose," the blonde says quietly.


[ ] Engage the enemy.
[ ] Hold position.
[ ] Tactical withdrawal.
[ ] Scream and panic.
[ ] Write-in.
[x]Scream and panic Tactical withdrawal.
[x] Ask the blonde and her boyfriend what their capabilities are.
-[x] Once we learn about Alfred's space-bending, have him bring Satori, Orin, and some oni (and maybe kasha if they're as resistant) for containment.
-[x] Keep the spirits occupied but in the museum so they don't get out and all over the place.
--[x] Preferable occupation is giving them something to chase rather than engaging them directly.
--[x] Don't have Utsuho engage the enemy, nuclear flamethrowers and museums don't mix. This is something even Okuu should know.
--[x] Have Hina spin away misfortune, we need all the help we can get.
[c] Ask the blonde and her boyfriend what their capabilities are.
-[c] Once we learn about Alfred's space-bending, have him bring Satori, Orin, and some oni (and maybe kasha if they're as resistant) for containment.
-[c] Keep the spirits occupied but in the museum so they don't get out and all over the place.
--[c] Preferable occupation is giving them something to chase rather than engaging them directly.
--[c] Don't have Utsuho engage the enemy, nuclear flamethrowers and museums don't mix. This is something even Okuu should know.
--[c] Have Hina spin away misfortune, we need all the help we can get.

Haven't seen Alfred around for a while.
[x] Tactical withdrawal.
Oh hey. Now what were the chances of that happening?

[x] >>25803
[x] Ask the blonde and her boyfriend what their capabilities are.
-[x] Once we learn about Alfred's space-bending, have him bring Satori, Orin, and some oni (and maybe kasha if they're as resistant) for containment.
-[x] Keep the spirits occupied but in the museum so they don't get out and all over the place.
--[x] Preferable occupation is giving them something to chase rather than engaging them directly.
--[x] Don't have Utsuho engage the enemy, nuclear flamethrowers and museums don't mix. This is something even Okuu should know.
--[x] Have Hina spin away misfortune, we need all the help we can get.

Time for miracles.
[x] Tactical withdrawal.

Honestly, I don't feel like we need to see any more of Alfred and Parsee.
As Aya, we have no idea who Alfred is or what his capabilities are. I don't recall him having space-time abilities, either.
[x] Ask the blonde and her boyfriend what their capabilities are.
-[x] Once we learn about Alfred's space-bending, have him bring Satori, Orin, and some oni (and maybe kasha if they're as resistant) for containment.
-[x] Keep the spirits occupied but in the museum so they don't get out and all over the place.
--[x] Preferable occupation is giving them something to chase rather than engaging them directly.
--[x] Don't have Utsuho engage the enemy, nuclear flamethrowers and museums don't mix. This is something even Okuu should know.
--[x] Have Hina spin away misfortune, we need all the help we can get.

>>25814
This is the quantum-clone of Alfred that ended becoming a Youkai with limited time-space powers/teleportation after getting pumped full of corruption/poison and losing his arm during his timeline's version of the fight with the Thing From Beyond Time and Space. The one who died and ended up in Higan also got time-space powers, but his are a more job related, rather than lingering effects of surviving "shoggoth" poisoning.
>>25814

> As Aya, we have no idea who Alfred is or what his capabilities are.

True, that's why I included asking them in my vote. Remember that (at least in this setting) Aya's a retired badass who required a massive multiplayer conspiracy to catch, and that was when she didn't even have a shack to call home.
[X] Ask the blonde and her boyfriend what their capabilities are.
-[X] Once we learn about Alfred's space-bending, have him bring Satori, Orin, and some oni (and maybe kasha if they're as resistant) for containment.
-[X] Keep the spirits occupied but in the museum so they don't get out and all over the place.
--[X] Preferable occupation is giving them something to chase rather than engaging them directly.
--[X] Don't have Utsuho engage the enemy, nuclear flamethrowers and museums don't mix. This is something even Okuu should know.
--[X] Have Hina spin away misfortune, we need all the help we can get.
[x] Engage
Not everything needs to be a master plan
>>25817

She also had several weeks to plan, and had Rumia strapped to her back.
File 139103833886.jpg - (461.90KB, 750x1000, she was on a date dammit.jpg) [iqdb]
25826
I swallow, my mouth suddenly feeling very dry. "I thought those wards were supposed to hold the spirits back?"

"They're supposed to!" Okuu cries, a long rod materializing over her arm which she points in the direction of the moaning. "There's just no way they can bust through wards that strong! I mean, infestations happen all the time, but even the biggest ones can't break through those wards!"

"And yet, it seems to have happened," the butler points out. "And the Oni don't really build these building with rear exits. A conundrum."

"You're being awfully cool about this," I note.

He shrugs. "I've been through worse." No kidding?

I shake my head. "That's great and all, but do you and your girlfriend have any special powers that would be helpful right about now?"

The blonde shoots me a look. "The name's Parsee, tengu." Oh, the bridgekeeper. I remember that name. "And yeah, maybe. Alfred can teleport, for one thing." My heart soars at this. Could an escape be that easy?!

"Unfortunately, I can only move myself," Alfred says apologetically, and my heart sinks. "Still, if I move quickly enough, I can have Miss Orin and a troop of Oni down here ready to contain the infestation. Though this does require me to leave Parsee, and the rest of you, behind." He's visibly hesitant.

Parsee squeezes his hand. "Go on. We'll be fine here. Hurry." Alfred hesitates for just a moment longer, then nods quickly before vanishing into thin air. Parsee sighs deeply then looks in the direction of the moaning, which by the sounds of it is getting closer.

Hina steps out from behind Okuu's wing. "...Hi, Parsee," she says quietly.

Parsee's head whips around in shock. "Hina?! The fuck are you... wait, you're one of these 'Mikami' or whatever?" Hina nods silently. Parsee opens her mouth to say something, then pauses, staring at Hina for a long moment. Then she shakes her head and gets into a fighting position. "Whatever. We can talk later. Kind of more important things going on right now, y'know?"

"No kidding," I reply to her. "So, no rear exit? That kind of sucks. I don't suppose we could just blow a hole in the wall or something?"

"Not through Oni architecture," Yamame tells me. "And even if we could, that opens up another problem."

"The evil spirits are currently confined to this location," Okuu says, her voice brisk and serious. "Compromising this building's integrity would lead to the spirits escaping into the vicinity. The Oni have a certain resistance to possession; other youkai do not. Letting them loose would be a catastrophe. They have to be contained here until help arrives." Well, she turned official all of a sudden.

"Yeah, which means you and spider-gal need to stand back. You too, tengu." Parsee doesn't take her eyes from the direction of the moaning.

"I can totally fight off possession!" Okuu protests. "I mean, I'm a hell raven, and I have the power of a sun god!"

"Yeah, and I hear that your best way of fighting off possession is to flare up, literally, and drive them out. I don't think the Oni would appreciate having their memories incinerated, do you?"

"Unyuu~," Okuu deflates, looking unhappy.

"Is there something that you can do, Parsee?" Hina asks.

"Maybe," the blonde youkai replies. "I can manipulate feelings of jealousy, and can probably set these things at each others' throats, at least until help arrives. If anybody else has something that'll help, feel free to join in. Really." She hesitates, and glances over at Hina. "You absorb misfortune, right? Maybe you can help neutralize 'em." There's a certain hesitation in her voice as she says this, but I don't have time to think about it right now.

"I have wind magic at my disposal," I say. "I can probably blow them around. Failing that, I doubt any of them can catch me, even in this closed space."

"We can help, too!" Minoriko says seriously. "The three of us are gods, our souls aren't so easily taken by wicked spirits."

Parsee nods. "Yeah, that all sound great. But try to keep away from these things regardless. If you're a youkai, and not an Oni, one single touch is pretty much the end for you." She grins. "Heh. Not really the excitement I was looking for here, but oh well. I've handled worse."

"Yeah, I guess you have," Hina says quietly. And then the spirits arrive.

Visually, they actually looks kind of silly. Goofy little skulls wrapped in dark flames, they probably wouldn't even scare a small child. That is, just by looks. But the feeling about them is different. The moan. They howl. They scream. They chatter endlessly in torment, despairing in their self-made burning prison, and desiring only to escape their misery. A cold feeling of dread emanates from them, and seems to sink deep into my chest. I can't help but shudder; just thinking about the doom that would befall me if one of these spirits were to take me terrifies me. All of my experiences, all of who I am, gone in a heartbeat.

There are dozens of them, filling the wide hallway, speeding up as they catch sight of us. And in the face of them, Hina steps forward, stepping in front of me with determination, becoming a human shield, or perhaps a divine shield, for my soul. And then she spins. Faster and faster she spins, drawing dark energy from the spirits and into her body.

Parsee's eyes flash, and the evil spirits start to scream and rage, some of them slamming into each other, tormented voices filling the air with shouts of outrage and accusation. Still, it only slows them down.

Minoriko and Shizuha stretch their hands out and begin to fire bolts of holy energy, formed from the power of their newfound faith. These bolts succeed in knocking the spirits back, Shizuha's power especially so. But it cannot destroy them, and the spirits come ever closer.

I lash out with my fan, and A miniature hurricane fills the hallway, knocking spirits against one other, against the exhibits, against the walls. Ii slows them down quite a bit. But it doesn't stop them. Still, they press on.

"They're so determined," Okuu mutters, aghast. "This is so weird. Normally, they wouldn't be coming on with so much force. At the very least, we should be holding them back! So, why...?"

'Why' is a good question, but not really one that I have time to figure out an answer to. The spirits just keep coming. They come in a dead tide, swarming towards us, circling, spiraling...

...Spiraling around Hina.

"Hina!" I shout, watching in horror as the cloud of evil spirits form a blazing cyclone around the misfortune goddess. Their energy flows into her, and she just keeps spinning, sweat pouring down her forehead as she desperately tries to contain their fury. They aren't even paying attention to the rest of us, I realize. No, their attention is solely upon Hina as they circle ever closer to her, trying to reach out to her, to touch her.

One of the spirits brushes close enough to touch her shoulder. My heart freezes.


[ ] Use your speed! Get her out of there, now!
[ ] Get Parsee to drive the spirits nuts! Get them off Hina!
[ ] Danmaku! Blast them away!
[ ] Wait! She's got this! ...Maybe?!
[x] Wait! She's got this!
Faith.
[x] Wait! She's got this!
-[x] Believe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k8craCGpgs
[x] Wait! She's got this! ...Maybe?!
-[x] Pray
[x] Wait! She's got this!
What 25289 said.
Aya, if you're going to be a Miko, you gotta do what you gotta do.

[x] Have faith, pray and--
[x] Get these other schmucks around here to pray, too!

Even the gods need appreciation, trust and encouragement! They need it more than most, so give it to 'em! It's Okami all the way down!

Oh, and can Aki and Shizuha contribute some of their own faith, too? She might need it.

My biggest concern is where all this hateful energy is going, and what it might do to Hina, though.
[x] Wait! She's got this! ...Maybe?!
[x] Have faith, pray and--
[x] Get these other schmucks around here to pray, too!

Oh god, I hope this doesn't backfire on our poor misfortune godess. Guess the only thing we can really do is try and offer her faith so that she can better spin to win
[x] Wait! She's got this!
[x] Have faith, pray and--
[x] Get these other schmucks around here to pray, too!
[x] Wait! She's got this! ...Maybe?! Definitely!


As everyone already pointed out, Hina is a Goddess. We need to have faith. Our faith in her will help her much more than any attempts of "rescue".
[x] Wait! She's got this!
[x] Have faith, pray and--
[x] Get these other schmucks around here to pray, too!

It's finally Hina's time to shine.
Huh. That was unanimous. Vote called!
File 139112470017.jpg - (201.71KB, 850x601, believe.jpg) [iqdb]
25844
There's nothing that I can do. There's absolutely nothing that I can do. If I try to rush in and pull Hina out of there, I'm dooming myself. I'll be destroyed, utterly, while some dead bastard takes over my body. We can't just blast them off with danmaku, and just about anything else that I can think of would only drive the spirits into a frenzy and endanger Hina even more.

I'm completely helpless. There's absolutely nothing that I can do to help my goddess, and it drives a nail into my heart just thinking about it. In the end, all I can do is hope and pray that Hina can pull off whatever she's doing.

...Wait.

That's just it, isn't it? I have to have faith in Hina. Literally.

And so I do. As the evil spirits form an impenetrable cloud around the goddess of misfortune, I clap my hands together and pray. I pray as hard as I can, and believe as hard as I can. It's all that I can do, and I hope that it's enough.

"Aya?" I hear Shizuha ask over the howls of the spirits. "What are you doing?"

I crack open an eyelid and peer back at her. "Exactly what it looks like I'm doing." Shizuha stares at me for a moment as my word register, and then slowly nods. She and Minoriko share a glance, then turn to face the cloud of spirits, faces locking into expressions of deep concentration.

"Aya, what...? Yamame sounds confused as I close my eyes again, unwilling to look at the sight before me. I push down the worry as far as I am able and just believe.

"I'm praying," I say quietly. "Mind lending a hand? Every little bit helps."

I glance over at Yamame, who stares back at me, blinking. After a moment, she nods, and bows her head, face calm. Okuu gives me a confused look before shrugging and clasping her hands in front of her, lips moving silently as she mouths a prayer. Parsee, for her part, just looks on very hesitantly before sighing and closing her eyes, arms folded. Not exactly a devout pose, but it'll do.

And so, four youkai pray while two goddesses try to share their strength with their partner. For a long moment, all that I can hear is the shrieking of the damned, coming from several feet in front of me.

After a while, it starts to fade. Opening my eyes, I look on hopefully. The whirlwind of damned souls around Hina has started to weaken, with spirits beginning to drift away, looking somehow smaller and lethargic. The moaning has lowered to a raspy mutter, and the feeling of dread had almost completely vanished. In the midst of the spirits is Hina, still spinning away, her entire body drenched with sweat. Still she spins, drawing ever more energy from the weakening spirits. One by one, the burning skull-shapes start to drift away from Hina, somehow looking dazed.

One of them drifts on blindly, only to be seized a a long-nailed hand. "Hello, what's this?" Curious eyes in a red-haired face gaze down at the spirit. Black cat-ears twitch as Rin the kasha investigates the exhausted soul. "Hm. Looks to be totally played out, it does. All the better for us! Have at 'em, boys!"

The 'boys' in this case turn out to be a bunch of determined Oni clad in something like uniforms, the familiar figure of Tsung leading them. Armed with metal-plated clubs, the Oni proceed to lay into the spirits, mashing them into the floor with all of the might an Oni can bring to bear.

*WHAM**WHAM**WHAM*

Holy shit I can feel the ground shake. Oni, man! I look over at Yamame nervously. "You sure the building can stand up to this level of abuse?!"

She hesitates. "Probably?"

"Not encouraging, Yamame!"

The Oni start to go after the spirits still lingering around Hina, knocking them senseless with their specialized clubs. In their wake, the kasha in the green dress gathers up the spirits, packing them under her arms in an almost comical fashion before lugging them back to be tossed into a wheelbarrow. It seems like a well-practiced scene, and happens very efficiently. In under a minute, the spirits are all gathered up and placed under a tarp with runic figures stitched into it. Rin Kaenbyou dusts her hands off, nodding in approval. "Well, that went easier then usual!" A few of the Oni nod their heads in agreement.

I barely pay attention to them. I'm too focused on Hina, walking over to her as the goddess slowly comes to a stop, visibly tired and breathing heavily. "Are you all right?" I ask her, placing a stabilizing hand on a sweaty shoulder. Her skin glimmers in the light.

"I think so," Hina gasps, chest heaving as she tries to get her wind back. "That was tough. Their energy is just so thick, so tormented... I wasn't sure if I could stop them."

"But you did," I say, voice heavy with relief. "I just... fuck, Hina, I didn't know what to think! I mean, there you were, surrounded by all of those damn things and, and..." I can't find the words. I'm just too glad that Hina's really safe. "I'm glad you're all right."

Hina just smiles at me, tired but happy. "I felt you, Aya. I felt your strength, yours and the others'. You were praying to me, right? Thank you." The misfortune goddess strokes my face gently, and I feel my heart leap for a moment. It's a timeless moment, one that is unfortunately cut short by the sound of thunderous applause. The two of us jump and turn to see a bunch of grinning Oni, and a smiling cat girl walking up to us.

"Very impressive!" Rin says as she walks up to us. "I didn't know spirits could be drained like that! Why, these ones will be no problem at all to toss back in the flames. But, you must be one of those Mikami we have heard so much about, yes?"

Hina nods. "I am."

"That's HIna!" Okuu pipes up. "She's one of the people I was telling you about, Orin! Oh, and Aya there is my little sister! Cute, isn't she?"

Rin snickers at this. "Dragged you under her wing, did she? Well, fear not, Okuu can be a bit overbearing, but she only has people's best interests in mind. What can I say, she takes Master Satori as a role model, and gives it her own unique spin." The kasha turns to face Hina. "So, on the prowl for followers, are you? I don't suppose you'd object to people sending you the occasional prayer to help neuter those spirits, would you? I wager that all of us would pull ahead in such a bargain."

"Sounds like a brilliant idea!" I say with a grin, seizing upon the notion at once. This is exactly what we needed!

"I concur, the idea is most sound," Alfred the butler comments, stepping forward. He nods politely at the misfortune goddess. "Hello, Hina. It has indeed been a while. Have you been doing well?"

Hina opens her mouth to speak, but no words come out. For a long moment she just stands there, wordless and still. Then Hina closes her mouth and coughs. "...Please excuse me," she murmurs, and quickly makes her way past kasha, butler and Oni, hurrying for the exit. Alfred just watches her go with a sigh.

"Hina, wait!" I shout, rushing after her. Dammit, I thought Hina was over this! We'd talked to Kasen, she spoke with Hatate, she should know better than to keep kicking herself over that whole Pleasant Meadows thing! "Hina!" The goddess doesn't slow her steps, and I put on a burst of speed, winding up in front of her in an eyeblink. "Hina, listen to me..."

"Aya, no, it's not-" looking tormented, Hina raises her hands defensively, but I won't let her run away.

"You've got to stop doing this!" I press her. "I though we went over this, I thought you knew better than to keep blaming yourself over-"

"It's not that!" Hina yelps, looking panicked. "I just... I really gotta get outside, okay?!"

I stare at her wide-eyed, terror gripping my heart. "Hina. What did the spirits do to you?"

The misfortune goddess hesitates, looking deeply troubled, and opens her mouth to speak.

What comes out is a massive belch, loud enough to rattle some of the exhibits where they sit. I just stare, stunned, at the mortified goddess as she presses her hands over her mouth, skin flushing a deep red. "...I'm having a hard time digesting those spirits' brand of misfortune," she says quietly. "I'm kinda... gassy."

I burst into laughter.

"Stop laughing, dammit!" Hina squawks at me, looking adorably frustrated. "It isn't funny!" But it totally is, and I just throw my arms around Hina, tears of laughter streaking down my face. "N-no! Don't squeeze me right now!" Too late!

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

Some time later, after Hina's 'stomach' has had a chance to settle, she finds herself accosted by a group of curious Oni, who keep asking her questions about what she did, and whether she can act as a sort of patron protector for their unit. Rin the kasha seems particularly interested in her powers as well. The rest of my group stand around chatting, and Alfred and Parsee are talking quietly by themselves. Alfred seems to be relieved that Parsee is unharmed.

Well, Hina's gonna be a minute. What now?


[ ] Go talk to Alfred and Parsee.
[ ] Go talk to Yamame and Shizuha.
[ ] Go talk to Okuu and Minoriko.
[ ] See if you can have a word with Rin.
[ ] Actually, I'm just gonna look around the museum for a little bit (specify which area).
PFFFFFFFFFFFT...

... Yeah that seems about right.
[X] Go talk to Alfred and Parsee.

welp, post season time for Alfred, let's see how he's doing with Parsee
[x] Go talk to Alfred and Parsee.

We need more of Alfred's british-style Snark
[X] Go talk to Alfred and Parsee.

Paru Paru~

Alfred too I guess...
[x] Go talk to Alfred and Parsee.

I'm interested in hearing from our old protag.
We should ask if he's had any interesting conversations with... himself, though I don't think Aya would actually know about that.
[X] Go talk to Alfred and Parsee.

Hopefully at some point we can talk to the other pair of the previous story.
[x] See if you can have a word with Rin.

I'd like to see how her character is here, and she seems the most interested in giving faith. Also:

[x] 'WORLD HISTORY! THE FULL LENGTH AND BREADTH OF WHO WE ARE, AND HOW WE GOT HERE!'

Should be safe now that it's not infested.
[x] Go talk to Alfred and Parsee.
[X] Go talk to Alfred and Parsee.

YES
[x] Go talk to Okuu and Minoriko.

Pissing, tide, etc.
[X] Go talk to Alfred and Parsee.

I'd piss in the tide, but I LIKE the butler.
[x] Go talk to Yamame and Shizuha.

It just calls out to me that and I'd like to see how Yamame might have to say about Hina and such now.
[X] Go talk to Alfred and Parsee.
[x] Go talk to Yamame and Shizuha.
[x] Go talk to Alfred and Parsee.
Overwhelmingly in favor of Alfred and Parsee, it seems. Vote called!
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Well, I have to say, I'm awful curious as to just who the hell this guy is. He's an underground youkai, but he honestly looks perfectly human. Aside from the red eyes, that is. Not really a trait that I usually associate with most humans. Furthermore, it looks like he's in a serious relationship with Parsee over there. Yeah, I'm more than a tad curious about him, and his blonde lady love. May as well investigate until Hina gets some free time.

I walk over to the two, who are speaking quietly to one another. Parsee seems to be assuring Alfred that she's all right. Kind of a cute scene, really. "Hi there!" I say cheerily. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything."

Alfred seems to ponder the question. "In the strictest definition of things, the answer would be a yes, but given that the two of us are perfectly willing to speak to you, let's just call it 'no' and move on, hmm?" He smiles disarmingly.

"Uh. Okay?" I say carefully.

"Eh, don't worry about it, that's just kind of his thing," Parsee says with a shrug. "You get used to it. Also: he's mine, and if you make eyes at him, I'll rip your throat out. Got it, bitch?" The way she says that so conversationally is quite impressive.

"...Can I assume that this is just your thing in play?" I ask carefully. Parsee nods, grinning. "Okay then. You know, that's one hell of a way to greet someone."

"Simply stating the truth," Parsee says evenly.

"You'll have to forgive her," Alfred speaks up. "Jealousy is simply at the heart of Parsee's nature, as you had already surmised. Really, it can be quite charming once you get used to it."

I glance at how Parsee is possessively gripping Alfred's arm. "That's charming?"

"Absolutely!" Alfred smiles winningly. "Later on, she'll feel compelled to remind me just why it is that I'm in love with her, and that always leads to a very pleasantly exhausting evening." Parsee flushes to the tips of her ears. "Why, I'm always nearly late for work afterwards!"

I chortle. "Sounds like fun."

"The type of indoor sports that all beings should participate in," Alfred declares boldly.

Parsee glares up at him. "Hon, I'm right here you know? You don't have to talk about our sex life to everybody within earshot."

"And you didn't have to rebuild the walls of our house to be thinner so as to show off your prowess," Alfred retorts. "But you did anyway. Not that I mind, the congratulations from the Oni around here are quite refreshing."

"I'm staking my claim, lest any of those Oni bitches try to make a move on you," Parsee grumbles. "You know how they are."

"Greatly and in detail, thanks to your running commentary, Alfred agrees. "Oddly enough, the details you provide are rarely in accord with my own observations, but I must of course defer to your greater experience in such things. It must simply be a lack of observational capability on my part, hm?"

Parsee coughs. "Yes. Yes it is," she says flatly.

Alfred shrugs. "As you say, lovely light of my life." He smiles warmly at the bridgekeeper, who blushes and looks away, pouting. But it's the kind of pout that has a smile behind it. I realize that I've been turning my head this way and that as the two banter, and can't help but laugh.

"You two are such a cute couple," I say with a smile. "I think I'm a little jealous!" Parsee seems to preen a bit at this, and Alfred just bows politely.

"Truly, there are few greater pleasures in life than having a beloved at one's side," the butler states. "But you must forgive me, my manners seem to have abandoned me! Alfred Arthur Westcastle at your service, and this is my lovely lady, Parsee Mizuhashi. As you have me at a disadvantage, might I ask your name, madam?"

"Aya Shameimaru, and it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance," I say as a few things click together. "So... from what I hear, you were involved in that whole deal at Pleasant Meadows, right?"

"An unpleasant affair that most of us would much rather not recall," Alfred sighs.

"I can understand that," I say seriously. "Look, Hina's really been beating herself up over that whole thing, so I hope you aren't going to be too hard on her about it."

"We're not mad at her," Parsee sighs. "I mean, I'm the last person to get on another woman's case because she did something because some guy screwed her over royally. No, I don't hold a grudge, and neither does Alf."

"I knew she was in the museum from the beginning," Alfred admits. "Actually, I was just trying to figure out how to approach her when the issue with the spirits came up. My thanks, by the way, for looking after my lovely Parsee."

"Eh, thank Hina. She'd really appreciate it, on multiple levels." I glance over to where Hina is still speaking to the Oni and Rin Kaenbyou.

Parsee nods seriously. "We will. By the way, what the hell is up with her new look? She wanna show off her tits or something?" The blonde looks jealous, unsurprisingly.

"She's trying a new look, and attempting to be attractive," I say evenly. "Personally, I think it looks good on her."

Parsee raises an eyebrow at this. "A bit defensive, are we? Is this out of duty to a friend, a goddess, or is there a little something special between you two, hm?" She grins wickedly.

I just give the bridgekeeper a bland look. "I wish I could tell you. I'm trying to figure that out myself, still." Parsee looks a bit taken aback at this, even a bit guilty.

"Affairs of the heart can be a bit complex," Alfred speaks up quickly, "And we can but wish you luck in this endeavor. Shall I say, I wish you luck in getting lucky."

I stare at him. "How the hell can you say that with a perfectly straight face?!"

"It's what he does. Constantly," Parsee replies.

"All of us have our own skills, and mine just so happens to be the traditional repartee of the butler," Alfred says calmly.

"And teleportation," Parsee adds.

"It is a useful secondary trait," Alfred admits.

I snicker. "Ever teleport in on Parsee while she's taking a bath?"

Alfred's eyes twinkle. "Why, that would be telling, Miss Shameimaru." A pause. "The answer is yes."

"Goddammit, Alfred!" Parsee protests, smacking him in the arm.

"Parsee my love, I feel absolutely no shame in declaring my undying love for you for all to hear," Alfred says gallantly. It's enough to render Parsee red-faced and speechless.

"Damn. I really am jealous," I sigh. "Incidentally, aren't you supposed to be a human? You come across more as a sort of youkai, somehow."

"That is easily explained by spiritual contamination by otherwordly powers penetrating our dimensional space via a weakening of the subspace fabric through repeated abuse of powers beyond the ken of men," Alfred says evenly. "Fortunately, I was able to receive medical attention."

"Yeah, that pretty much sums it up," Parsee agrees.

I try to parse Alfred's statement, and fail utterly. "Sorry I asked," I mutter. "Anyway, it was nice speaking to both of you. Try and talk to Hina for a bit, would you? I think she could use it."

"Yeah, sure thing," Parsee replies, Alfred nodding in agreement. The two walk off to speak to Hina, who greets them guardedly. Okuu seems to be talking energetically to Rin, while Yamame and the Akis walk over to me.

"Well, that was exciting, " the earth spider comments.

"Not my idea of a good time," Shizuha quips. "Anyway, Mino and I just checked, and the storm is slacking off a bit. Should we think about heading home sometime soon, or did you want to stick around here a little while longer?"

I shrug. "Let's stay another night. Can't really clean up the grounds until the storm stops, after all. But we'll need to get an early start of it in the morning, yeah." I mull it over. "Well, we probably have time to do one more thing today before making a night of it. What would you like to do? Check out some more of the museum? Relax at the batting range? Go dancing?" Yamame and the Mikami think it over.


[ ] Culture! Check out the rest of the museum!
[ ] Dancing! To the Crazy Wombat!
[ ] Chill time! To the batting range!
[x] Culture! Check out the rest of the museum!
That's why we were here in the first place.
[x] Dancing! To the Crazy Wombat!
[x] Dancing! To the Crazy Wombat!

I think it's a nice way to wrap up the day. Each of the Mikami has had their fill of the spotlight. My main reason for going to the museum was to get Hina ready for some evil spirit clean-up, so now that she's gotten some fame in that regard I'm ready to head out.
[x] Chill time! To the batting range!

Somethign relaxing would be good. Though I do hope we get a chance to talk with Yamame a bit in the future, mainly her side of what happened in that conversation and its effects.

Good to see Alf and Parsee being themselves.
[x] Chill time! To the batting range!

Oh yeah. What else is better than that?
[x] Dancing! To the Crazy Wombat!

If there's only one more thing we can do then perhaps there's a chance we could see Iku before we go back up.
[x] Dancing! To the Crazy Wombat!
Iku chance? Hina spotlight? A indian/snf-like ending for this arc? Count me in!
[x] Culture! Check out the rest of the museum!
[x] Dancing! To the Crazy Wombat!


When in Rome Old Hell, do like the romans Oni. And party!
[X] Dancing! To the Crazy Wombat!

Alfred is such a joy to read.
Vote called! We must dance!
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"You know what? I haven't gone dancing in, like, forever," Minoriko finally says. "How about we try out this Crazy... whatever the heck you call it place?"

"Wombat," Yamame speaks up, "It's called the Crazy Wombat."

"What the hell is a wombat, anyway?" I ask.

Yamame shrugs. "No idea. But there was a strange youkai that wound up here a while back, said that he was a wombat youkai. Quite a character; don't really know what happened to him."

"All that aside," Shizuha speaks up, "Is this really the time to slacking off? I mean, we came down here for a reason after all."

"Honestly, I think we're fairly set on that end," I say with a shrug. "I mean, the craftspeople know you, Shizuha, the folks at the market know Minoriko, and word will spread about how Hina can help to ward off evil spirits. Really, I think we've done what we can. Only thing to do now is let word spread and reap whatever faith you can get."

"It's not like you would have gotten an actual shrine down here," Yamame points out. "Really, I think you all have done about as well as could be expected."

"Besides, I wanna relax and unwind for a little bit," Minoriko states.

Shizuha looks at all of us and sighs. "Well... all right. I guess we have earned a bit of time off, after all."

"What's this about time off?" Hina asks as she walks over.

"We were talking about going to the Crazy Wombat and doing some dancing," I explain. "Incidentally, how'd the meeting over there go?"

"Pretty well," Hina says with a smile. "Some of the Oni, as well as Miss Kaenbyou, were very interested in my ability to absorb misfortune. I think we might be able to put together a ward or sigil of some sort that will let people down here protect themselves from the spirits by redirecting some of their strength to me." She pauses. "Though, I intend to make sure that the energy is purified somewhat. I, er, don't much care for some of the side-effects." I can't help but laugh at that, and Hina just coughs and carries on. "As for speaking with Alfred and Parsee... it went well." She smiles gently. "I'm glad I had the opportunity. So, dancing was it? Sounds like fun, but I wouldn't mind stopping back at the inn for a moment. The mess with those spirits left me a bit sweaty..." She looks down at herself awkwardly.

Personally, I think the signs of exertion on Hina's skin are rather appealing, but perhaps this isn't the time to mention that.

"Yeah, I wouldn't mind stopping in there for a moment either," Yamame says with a chuckle. "This kimono is nice and all, but isn't really suited for dancing."

"Then to the laughing Oni first, and then the Crazy Wombat!" I declare. My companions nod their approval.

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

Back in my own room, I decide to stay in my tengu robe for the trip to the Wombat. It looks nice, and in any case has more than enough room to dance in. I wonder what this place is like, anyway? Anyway, Hina's taking a bath right now, and I keep feeling the urge to go and join her. Maybe invite Yamame to come along, too.

Gods, but my libido is overwhelming. I've almost started to just regard it as a sort of background noise. Maybe all I need is some private time in the bath, along with some custom-ordered kappa products. I'm sure Nitori would be able to hook me up.

A knock on my door jars me out of contemplation about my sex life. I call out for whoever it is to enter, and the door slides open to reveal a grinning Sukuna, hauling a package along with her. "I'm back~!" The inchling sings.

"Hey, Sukuna!" I say with a smile. "You're just in time! We're pretty much done in the underground, and were just thinking about heading out for some dancing before calling it a night, and a trip."

"Glad I made it then," Sukuna comments, dragging her package behind her. "Look what I found~! Or, well, helped make, anyway."

I perk up a little bit. "Is that my shrine maiden outfit?"

"Yep!" Sukuna smiles happily. "Wanna have a look?"

I'm about to agree when Minoriko pops her head inside my room. "Hey Aya, Sukuna? We're ready to head out now if you two are."

I nod. "Sounds good. Mind if I look at that later, Sukuna? It'll be a nice surprise for tomorrow morning."

"Okay," the inchling replies agreeably. Carefully, she stows my new outfit in the corner of the room before bouncing on up to my shoulder. "Now, let's get going!" Laughing, I follow Minoriko out of the room and meet up with the others downstairs. Gloriously, Hina is still wearing her incredible new dress while Yamame is back to her magnificent combination of a miniskirt and sweater. Perfect for dancing, I say! All together now, the six of us head out and make our way to the Crazy Wombat.

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

The Crazy Wombat has that 'new building' feel to it, like it had been torn down and reconstructed more than once. Maybe it has, for all I know. The thought of dancing Oni is truly a terrifying one, after all.

The place manages to look highly upscale, but it still has the unmistakable air of an Oni bar around it. That sense of massive debauchery and endless alcohol creates a definite feel that I've managed to learn to recognize during my brief time in the city. Glowing signs proclaim the establishment's name and offer drink and dancing in a variety of ways, ranging from offering 'good drink and fine dancing entertainment,' to another sign that more bluntly encourages patrons to 'GET TRASHED AND HIT THE FLOOR, YO!'

"It's actually a really nice place," Yamame comments, pointing to some particularly large Oni men standing by the door, wearing immaculate suits. "The bouncers here make sure to keep things civil. Until late at night, when everyone gets a little crazy, but every non-Oni leaves before then."

"Good to know," Shizuha comments. "Let's check it out."

The bouncers nod sternly to us as we enter the club and the interior proves to be just as upscale and tidy as the outside. Shiny wooden tables and chairs line the outside rim of the floor, which has a massive bar lining every side of the interior. A few individuals are up there, drinking their cares away. Most of the clientele are down on the dance floor, giving performances that range from the familiar to the utterly alien. It's all a lot more energetic than what I'm used to, though. Very passionate and aggressive, to say the least. It looks like fun!

"Pretty energetic spot," Hina says, looking around the place with interest.

"Yeah, it's all kinds of fun! Wanna join in?" Yamame has a massive grin on her face.

"What's going on over there?" Minoriko asks, pointing to the dance floor. From what I can tell, a crowd of patrons have crowded around an area of the floor and are cheering someone, or something, on. Hm

Well! This is out last stop in the underground, after all. What to do first!


[ ] Dance, duh! (Pick your partner)
-[ ] Something sedate.
-[ ] Something energetic.
-[ ] Dirty dancing.
[ ] Go get a drink.
[ ] What's that crowd about?
[ ] Is that a pole? Time to show off and stripJust kidding. Sorry.

Also, regarding that cop-out with Aya's new miko outfit? I have no fashion sense. Suggestions welcome.

[ ] (Right here)
[x] What's that crowd about?

Because I'm here for Iku, and Aya can't dance with just one partner.
[x] What's that crowd about?
[x] A sportier take on the usual shrine maiden outfit, (i.e. adjusted for easier moving and for possible appeal)
[x] What's that crowd about?

As for the outfit, didn't we agree on something resembling a traditional miko outfit?
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>>25879
I really should remember to actually attach the image I spent 20 minutes looking for when I post.
[x] What's that crowd about?
[x] What's that crowd about?
>>25876
[x] What's that crowd about?
Curious tengu is curious.

[x] It's mostly a traditional miko outfit.
- [x] The top is the least traditional part, and that's not by much. Unlike either Reimu's or Sanae's, the main body of the top is white, and kimono-cut. It's still separately-sleeved, though.
- [x] The sleeves are apparently meant to hang near the elbow joint. They can be adjusted by means of white ribbons with trimmed with thin red ruffles -- miko-red or maple-red, as you like, but looking very much like counterchanged versions of Hina's ribbons however you name it. The same ruffling is used as a trim on the hems of both the sleeves and top.
- [x] The hakama are plain, and solid autumn-brown. (Sukuna wants to embroider some swirls of falling leaves on it, but is still working on a good design, and doesn't have thread with her anyway.)
- [x] There's also some extra brown cloth, color-matching the hakama. Pinned to it is a piece of paper, on which are hasty sketches of a few designs for skirts and miniskirts, with some question-marked variations.
[x] What's that crowd about?

In regards to the outfit
>>25901
Sounds good
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[X] What's that crowd about?

Off topic: You know, in regards to Aya becoming a shrine priestess, I can't help but think of another badass escaping their past through the cloth of religion...
>>25901
nothing about a sportier cut?
[X] What's with the crowd?
[X] This: >>25901
Unsurprisingly, we'll be checking out the crowd. Also, I have a good idea of what to do for the miko outfit, so thanks for that. Vote called.
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I open my mouth to speak when I am suddenly drowned out by a huge cheer from the crowd. Blinking, our group peers over to see the Oni and other youkai getting increasingly more excited by... whatever the heck is in their midst. My curiosity finally gets the better of me. Turning to the others, I say "Wanna check it out?" and am greeted with a chorus of nods.

The six of us make our way onto the multicolored dance floor, Sukuna clinging carefully to my shoulder. I think the music and all of the massive figures dancing somewhat erratically are a bit intimidating for her. It's a fair call; I'm pretty damned intimidated myself, and can't imagine what it would be like for Sukuna. Still we manage to carefully push our way through the crowd, the people making it up politely making way for us, until we can get a good view of what all the fuss is about.

So, I've seen Iku Nagae around before, usually when she was tearing after Tenshi and trying to get the celestial to stop doing some stupid thing. I always felt a bit sorry for the woman; for such a classy lady, she always looked so stressed out. Then again, being put in charge of a loose cannon like Tenshi would be enough to put anybody at their wits' end. I actually tried to get a few candid snaps of her at one point, but got zapped quite severely.

...Ugh. I hate remembering how I used to be. But never mind that.

Iku is still dressed as I remember, with her incredibly long scarf and the hat with its long ribbons, like antennae. But she seems noticeably happier and less stressed out. Instead, her eyes are closed as the music pounds over her, a faint smile on her face as she moves and flows along with the tune, body turning and gyrating in very practiced motions.

It's kinda sexy without seeming overly seductive. Beautiful and mystifying. All in all, this is definitely one classy woman, thoroughly enjoying herself. Kinda weird that a messenger of heaven should be relaxing in Old Hell, but whatever.

Iku finally whips to a stop in a familiar pose, one finger pointed skyward, while the crowd around her cheers uproariously. Sighing, the oarfish youkai, opens her eyes, and immediately notices us.

I raise my hand in a salute. "Hi."

Iku's eye twitches, and she lunges forward to grab me by the arm before hauling me off the dance floor. Around us, other patrons murmur in confusion but quickly go back to enjoying themselves. Dragging me off to a relatively quiet corner of the dance club, Iku whirls on me with burning eyes. "Not a word of this to anyone, tengu! Not a single word or picture in any newspaper, do you hear me?!"

I shrug. "Sure. Your secret is safe with me."

Iku starts to reply, then comes up short when my response register with her. "...Really?" she says uncertainly.

I nod. "Absolutely. I don't do that sort of thing anymore, or even have a newspaper. Your secret is safe with me." I pause, then give her a smirk. "What, haven't you read the papers in Gensokyo lately?"

"I've been a bit out of touch," Iku sighs. "There's... been a lot going on in my life. I don't know if you've heard about my adventure on the Outside."

"She knows," Hina says quietly, stepping up next to me.

Iku blinks at the misfortune goddess' sudden appearance. "Hina? What are you..." the oarfish trails off, taking in Hina's dress with slowly widening eyes. "Uhhh... new outfit?"

Hina smiles and places one hand on her hip, striking a bit of a pose. "What? Doesn't it suit me?"

"I won't argue with that," Iku chuckles. She pauses, looking from me to Hina. "So, how have you been?"

"Oh, I've been getting better," Hina shrugs. "Aya helped me get over the, you know, all-consuming, soul-crushing guilt." I put a gentle hand on her shoulder. "Actually, the Akis sisters here and I have been sort of putting together a new faith."

"The Mikami..." Iku muses. "Yes, I had heard, and was thinking of taking a look for myself. But, well, I wanted to enjoy my vacation first."

"Fair enough," I shrug. "How about you? How have you been holding up?"

"About as well as can be expected," Iku says with a shrug. "When I got back, the House of Hinanawi was very understanding, and gave me some time off to get my thoughts back in order. I'm doing better, but I've been a bit more aggressive about taking my time off ever since. I really can't let myself be a workaholic anymore."

"Are you still having a hard time of it?" Hina asks quietly.

Iku shakes her head. "No, no, I've pretty much recovered. It's just that... well..." she looks uncomfortable. "When she found out what I had been through, Tenshi took it upon herself to help me out."

"That sounds nice," Shizuha comments.

"Except that Tenshi's idea of helping involves, well..." Iku looks uncomfortable. "Bringing me inedible breakfast in bed at about 4 in the morning, washing my clothes poorly so that I have to work to repair them, cleaning up my room and asking me about some of the more... awkward... items I have around," Iku blushes and coughs at this. "As well as constantly following me around and asking me if I'm all right every 10 seconds. I mean, it's nice that she's showing such compassion, it's just that Tenshi can be a little too overbearing about it. As well as, well, horribly clumsy about the whole thing."

"So you come down here to get away?" Minoriko asks with a grin.

"A place where I can dance the night away, drink all my cares into oblivion, and Tenshi is too distracted by her friend to notice?" Iku chuckles. "You'd better believe it. The worst part was when Tenshi wanted to get me a boyfriend, and tried to set me up with... actually, you know what? Let's not even go there."

"No wonder you wanted this kept quiet," I laugh.

"This club is my little refuge," Iku admits.

"Well, I'm glad you're doing well," Hina says with a smile.

"Right back at you," Iku replies, also smiling. "So, lady of spinning, care to join me out on the dance floor!"

"Sure!" Hina enthuses, and the two immediately rush back out to dance.

Minoriko looks at her sister. "Come on, let's get some alcohol in you and get you loosened up a bit."

"I'm perfectly loosened up," Shizuha grumbles as her sister drags her along.

"Yeah, knowing you, you'll just stand on the sidelines and watch. I'm gonna do something about that!" Mino hurries over to the bar with a mischievous grin on her face.

"I'll chaperone!" Sukuna declares, before bouncing off after them. That leaves me alone with Yamame, and the two of us watch as Hina and Iku begin to dance in the middle of the dance floor. Hina moves in graceful, mesmerizing loops, while Iku twirls around with more energetic movements. It makes for an interesting contrast, really.

"I'm glad for her," I sigh. "Hina, I mean. It's good to know that the people at Pleasant Meadows really don't hold a grudge against her."

"You've spoken to them, then?" Yamame asks.

"Most of them, anyway."

"I see." Yamame watches the pair out on the floor. "You know, for the time being, I think I'm going to give you two some space."

I feel a pang in my heart. "Oh... really?"

Yamame winks at me. "Don't misunderstand. I haven't given up on snagging a Tengu in my web~. I just think the two of you have some stuff to work through before I can even dream of having any success if I get involved."

"Things are... kinda complicated," I admit.

"Don't worry," Yamame says, patting me on the shoulder. "I'm sure things will work themselves out soon enough!"

"How do you mean?" I ask, looking over at her.

"Just a hunch~!" the spider sings back, winking. I just shake my head and laugh at the teasing. Then Yamame's smile turns gentle. "Look, I realize that there's a lot going on between the two of you, but if things don't work out there... feel free to look me up, okay? I think we could have some fun together."

I look over at her and nod. "Yeah. Okay. I mean, I don't know how things will work out between me and Hina, so... I'll keep it in mind."

"Sweet," Yamame grins. "So, wanna hit the floor?"

[ ] Dance with Yamame.
-[ ] Slow dance.
-[ ] Fast dance.
-[ ] Sexy dance
[ ] Actually, go sit with the sisters and Sukuna.
[ ] Write-in.
[x] Dance with Yamame.
-[x] Slow dance.

just felt like it.
[X] Dance with Yamame.
-[X] Fast dance.
[x] Dance with Yamame.
-[x] Slow dance.
[x] Dance with Yamamammies
-[x] Fast dance.
[x] Dance with Yamame
-[x] fast dance
[X] Dance with Yamame.
-[X] Slow dance.
File 139139727760.jpg - (427.17KB, 1000x692, yamami.jpg) [iqdb]
25929
>>25923
After much searching I have determined that there is only one Mami/Yamame crossover pic on the entire internet.
How this is even possible I do not know.
I did find a rather lovely design that could be used as reference for a shrine maiden outfit for Yamame, but I'll save that for later.
[x] Dance with Yamame
-[x] Fast Dance

Fastest in Gensokyo.
[x] Dance with Yamame
-[x] Fast Dance


This is a place where Oni dance. The "slow dance" is still fast and aggressive.
[x] Dance with Yamame
-[x] Fast Dance !
[X] Actually, go sit with the sisters and Sukuna

No spiders allowed.
>>25930
fastest doesn't always mean better. That and I figure slow dance would be better just for a nice moment.
[x] Dance with Yamame
-[x] Fast Dance
[X] Dance with Yamame.
-[X] Slow dance.
Vote called for some quick, energetic dancing!
File 139148195666.jpg - (109.10KB, 850x531, dance master.jpg) [iqdb]
25943
I grin back. "Why the hell not?" Laughing in delight, the spider takes my hand and tugs me out onto the dance floor, where Hina and Iku have already started to amass a following. Yamame immediately starts to break out into some energetic moves, which I desperately try to mimic, without a whole lot of success. Darn tengu geta, making it hard to show off on the dance floor...

Still, it's a lot of fun to dance with Yamame. The earth spider is energetic and vivacious, pulling me along and twirling around the floor without a care in the world. It's a sharp contrast to the grace and beauty of Hina and Iku. Yamame is just a girl having fun, and that has its own appeal.

Also appealing is the way she makes her assets bounce as she springs around the floor. And the way her tiny skirt flies up when she spins. And, well... the woman is just plain hot, okay? I think I've made that clear by now.

Things pick up as the two of us swing one another around, laughing with delight. Oni whoop and holler, smaller youkai dance around them, and a few folks start to take to the air. Still, I'm fine on the ground with my earth spider companion. In the midst of it all are Hina and Iku, laughing happily as they show off their respective moves. It's a stark contrast to some of the 'dances' I've been to before at the tengu village. Rather than the stilting refinement, the painstaking precision, this is just enthusiasm at its finest.

And then someone throws a chair into the middle of the floor, which explodes into fragments.

"All right! Midnight came earlier tonight!" An Oni shouts enthusiastically.

"Oh crap," Yamame squeaks, looking around her nervously. That seems to have been the signal for the Oni to start getting rowdy.

"SHADDAP!" A commanding voice shouts angrily. Everyone stops, and the music freezes. Heads slowly turn and fall upon Shizuha, who is visibly drunk with a grinning Minoriko behind her. "This... this is... this is dancing?" she slurs out.

"Um. Yeah?" One of the Oni hazards.

"I said SHADDAP!" Shizuha snarls, causing the Oni to cringe.

"But you asked-" he tries.

"No, no, no!" Shizuha barks. "You know what... you know what... You know what dancing IS?" She hiccups. "Dancing. Is leaves. Like a whole buncha pretty leaves blowing around in a fucking hurricane. You ever dance in a hurricane? Well I have. Once. An a dare. Her fault." Shizuha jerks a thumb back at Mino, who smiles and waves cheerfully. "Well, lemme show you what a leaf dancing in a godsdamned hurricane is! Where's that damn music?!"

Almost hesitantly, the music starts back up, as eyes all throughout the club fall on Shizuha with curiosity. The leaf goddess puffs out her chest and proceeds to rip the sleeves off her dress. Then she rips off most of her skirt, resulting in a ragged form of miniskirt. She has nice legs, I have to admit.

And then Shizuha starts to... well, I hesitate to call it dancing. It's the kind of movement that only the extremely drunk can pull off, oblivious to how ridiculous they actually look. From what I can tell, Shizuha is trying to rip off what Iku and Hina were doing, throw in some graceful, floating movements like a leaf on the wind, and then crank it all up to eleven. In other words, like a leaf dancing in a hurricane.

It's the strangest damned thing that I've ever seen, and the Oni naturally seem to love it. And so, the dancing starts up once more, with Shizuha tripping, stumbling, and prancing her way this way and that while Hina and Iku laugh and go back to their own movement. I see Sukuna urging a grinning Minoriko out onto the floor, while the other patrons start to join in again as well.

Yamame raises an eyebrow. "Well, not the greatest show of divine grace," she comments.

I shrug. "Eh, she's having fun. Who cares about the rest?" Yamames giggles in response, and pulls me once more into the throng. It's loud, it's chaotic, and damn if it isn't fun. It's the release that I've needed for a long, long time.

Well, part of the release that I've needed, anyway.

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

We spend a few hours at the dance club before starting to make our long, slow way back to the Laughing Oni. Iku bids us farewell before heading to her own hotel, while Yamame and Hina run ahead of the rest of us, laughing. That leaves me to help Minoriko lug an unconscious Shizuha back to our rooms.

"What did you do, pour booze down her throat?" I grumble.

Minoriko giggles. "Well, yeah, pretty much. Look, I'm sorry, but sis really needed to unwind a little. Besides, now both she and Hina can be patrons of dance!"

"Very, very different forms of dance," I snicker. My eyes flick up to where Sukuna is snoozing away on Mino's hat. The inchling is completely played out from the long day, and I feel much the same. It's been a good trip down here, that much is sure. Tomorrow, we can go back topside with our heads held high and deal with peoples' reactions to our new shrine. But right now, bed calls to us.

Hina and Yamame have disappeared when we get back to the Laughing Oni, probably to talk some more about whatever the hell it was they were laughing about earlier. I help lug Shizuha back to the room she shares with Mino, and Sukuna wakes up long enough to plop down on a corner of the pillow. I wave farewell to Minoriko as she gets her sister ready for bed and head back to my own room. It reall has been a good trip. Time to get some rest, now. I open my door, and head on in.

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



So, I wrote some smut.

It's the first time I ever did this sort of thing, and I can't really attest to its quality. Suffice it to say, something happens in Aya's room, and I can either do a fade to back, or post the little oddity I wrote and give you all of the details.

Your call, Anon. What say you?
[x] Yay, smut

so long as its posted in the proper spot
>>25943
I've got nothing against smut, but there's been complaints about it. Best to post it in /at/.
Just make sure that you post it in /at/.
[X] SMUT!
post it in /at/ and pass a link our way.
[x] don't you fucking dare not post it
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25949
I remember when we posted smut anywhere, even the spin-off smut threads like >>/border/8916 were on the same board. At least we get less people freaking out about sex ruining the story somehow.
[x] DO EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET
[x] Put it in.
>>25949
Goddamn Hivemind, I was just thinking about >>/border/8916 too.
[x] Sex scene, posted wherever you feel is best.
-[x] Suicide mission, since that's what follows hot sex if BioWare's taught me anything.
Your story, your rules.
Ah well. It was fun while it lasted.
Just post it over at /at/ and link it here.
I'm kind of curious as to what's going to happen, so go for it.
File 139152627188.jpg - (36.07KB, 460x435, ayawut.jpg) [iqdb]
25957
>>25955
After all the flirting and innuendo and sexual frustration the entire story's been drenched with, the fun is suddenly ruined because the characters are actually going to have sex, effectively off-screen? I don't get it.
>>25957
Forget it. Retarded puritan dipshits like him get their panties all twisted whenever the EVIL SPECTER OF TEH SEKS raises it's head. It's best to ignore those fuckwit scum.
[x] Smut
-[x] Post it here if it's canon

What has happened to the site where people are overly prudish? Back in the day, H-scenes were a given in stories.

That and unlike some stories, smut/lewdness wouldn't be out of place.
>>25959
Eh, I wouldn't say that H-scenes being given in stories actually makes it better.
They're only good if they're either A. relevant to the story, or B. the story is just about smut (in which case, see A).

But going the other way and declaring a story ruined because of a sex scene is probably worse. If you don't like the sex, you can just skip it, don't go crying "NO FUN ALLOWED".
Okay. I went and did it.

>>/at/34132

If you have zero interest (perfectly understandable, given that this is my first awkward effort), then feel free to pass this one ever.

Short version: Aya gets laid. There, you're in the know.
>>25961

Well if anything else, at least Aya is happy with this.
>>25961
Eh. Couple of out-of-character bits but mostly okay.
>>25960
Just saying back in the day people didn't have fits about H in their stories, but given the short's unknown canonicity, /at/ was the better place to put it.
Excellent.
Anyway, that was my first attempt at something lewd. However it turned out, it was at least an interesting learning experience. I'll leave the final verdict up to you.

[ ] Actually happened.
[ ] Intense dream sequence.
[X] Intense dream sequence.

It was certainly a good first effort, but I think Aya needs to be cockblocked longer.
>>25967

...yeeeaaaaahhhh, no.

[X] Actually happened.
[X] Intense dream sequence.

It's funnier this way.
[x] Intense dream sequence.

Mainly because I don't see Hina doing that so fast, Yamame.... I woudln't rule it out.

Sorry Aya, you're going to have to go dry until Keymaster has a more fitting scene.
[X] Intense dream sequence.
[X] Actually happened.

You guys, stop being so mean to Aya.
>>25972
wanting her first time with Hina to be something more affectionate/normal isn't exactly mean.
[x] Intense dream sequence.
Personally I think their first time should be back at Hina's old shrine, and as much as I like the spider youkai and support a menage a trois end, Yamame should most definitely be elsewhere.
[X] Actually happened.

Because as much as another h-scene would be nice, I'd prefer that it not be Aya forcing herself on Hina because her pent up lust jumped exponentially, making her lose control.
>>25975
that's assuming that would be the first H scene otherwise.
[X] Actually happened.
>>25966
>[] Actually Happened
[x] Actually happened.

Allright.
[x] Actually happened.

Because Aya needs loving, and we need to move on to the next story arc. Besides, this wasn't weird enough for one of her dreams.
>>25958
I wouldn't say I'm a puritan, just that I'd prefer to keep my pronography (completely) separate from stuff I read for the story.
Keep calling me names if it makes you feel better about it though.
[x] Actually happened.

Because Aya deserves the v. Now let us move away from this.
[X] Intense dream sequence.
[x] Actually happened

Aya's been without companionship for centuries and after what she's accomplished and been through she deserves this.
[X] Actually happened
[X] Actually happened.

Choo-choo.jpg
[x] Actually happened.

Aya NEEDS this. She hasn't been able to think clearly about anything related to sex or romance. Also, it was pretty clear in the story that they were planning to do it. After >>25576 I don't think it's really out of character for Hina to go along with this.

>>25973
>wanting her first time with Hina to be something more affectionate/normal
With how pent up Aya was, it was either this or fucking like animals their first time.
[x] Intense dream sequence.

>>25987
And this way we can get both options!
[x] Actually happened.
Not voting for this means you are a very, VERY bad person.
[x] Actually happened
[x] Actually happened

I just can't bring myself to deprive Aya of that.
[x] Intense dream sequence.

She's been pent up for this long, she can deal with a few more days of no action.
[x] Intense dream sequence
[x] actually happened

There's no need to drag this particular horse any longer- not when shit is about to hit the fan in the story.

Besides, she deserves it
Calling vote. Apparently, some stuff did indeed happen. I'll start writing soon.
You guys are Youmu levels of soft. Why make it so easy on Aya?
>>25999
Because this is the start of corrupting Aya. Mwahahahaha. Let her taste the sweet pleasure. Drown in it.
>>25996
sure is alot of assuming.

>>25999
Because of sympathy, because of wanting to see her actually get laid, wanting it out of the way, etc. Hopefully Keymaster does something with Yamame if/when the time comes.
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26002
I take a deep breath, slowly coming back to wakefulness. Damn, but that was an intense dream. I'm still stiff in areas where I must have stretched or something in my sleep. Sheesh, I must have been so pent-up that my subconscious went and assumed direct control to take care of the situation. Kind of a creepy thought, really.

Still, I feel awfully good right about now. Maybe a hot dream is exactly what the doctor ordered? Seriously, Yagokoro should look into that kind of therapy. I mean, I just feel so much more relaxed than I have in ages! Like a whole lot of stress has just been let off my shoulders! Yep, I think that I'm perfectly happy to just lay in bed right about now, stroking Hina's hair and feeling awfully good about life!

Somehow, I feel like a brand-new woman.

Hang on.

What's this warm something with the nice smell and the soft hair and oh holy fuck I wasn't dreaming it really happened it was all real oh man oh gods oh wow.

So. To recap, Hina ambushed me when I entered my room. Sexy things ensued. I am now in bed with her. Holy shit.

As I stare at the beautiful goddess curled up next to me, she lets out a low murmur and her eyelids flicker open, letting her lovely emerald-green eyes regard me. "Mmm... hey, Aya," she murmurs.

"Hey yourself," I say quietly, looking at my goddess in wonder.

Hina yawns sleepily, and smiles at me. Then, slowly, her hazy eyes start to clear up, getting wider and wider. At the same time, a bright red blush begins to cross Hina's face. She pulls the sheets of the bed up, covering everything below her eyes as she just stares at me, wide-eyed. "Umm... so."

"So," I agree, unable to take my eyes off her.

"Um..." Hina looks around nervously. "Feel any better?"

"A lot," I nod. I hesitate, taking in her behavior. "Do you regret it?" I ask quietly.

"NO!" Hina shouts, jerking up in response. She blinks, then sighs, relaxing. "Oh course not," the goddess says, shifting over to kiss me. "It's just... the kind of thing that you look at in retrospect, and think 'oh wow, did I really do that?' You know what I mean?"

I chuckle. "I think so. Um, what brought it on?"

Hina reaches over and starts to play with the feathers on one of my wings. I sigh in contentment as she does so. "Well... I was starting to think that it would be nice if you and I got together, you know? But you always seemed so hesitant, like you were afraid of taking that last step."

"I was," I admit, running a hand along her side. "I was scared of ruining what we had. Of doing something that was too much for you and scaring you off. Or of completely losing control of myself and making you hate me."

"Which was a bit frustrating," Hina replies. She takes my hand and begins to stroke it. "It's one of the things I was talking about with Yamame. How hesitant you were to move any further when, well... I wanted it, too." I blink a bit as Hina keeps talking, feeling a bit warm and tingly inside. It's nice to be wanted. "So, it was up to me to make the first move."

"And you most certainly did," I chuckle. I run a hand through her luxuriant locks and sigh. "Sheesh. Was Yamame teaching you ambush tactics?"

"Among other things," Hina grins. "Anyway, we figured that the best thing to do was to get some of the pressure out of your system. That way you wouldn't lose control and... well..." Hina shrugs, idly stroking my face.

"That way I wouldn't do something we'd both regret," I sigh. "Yeah, if you hadn't done what you did... I mean, I was running wild inside for a while, there." Still, I can't help but grin. "But dammit, I never knew you had it in you! My little goddess isn't so innocent after all!"

"I have my moments," Hina says, blushing.

We're silent for a moment, just looking at each other. I gently stretch my wings out to envelop Hina, and she caresses them, watching my face. "So. Where are we now?" I ask.

Hina gives me a long look. "Where do you want us to be?" She asks quietly.

I gather her into my arms. "That's a big question. I think... right now I'd just like to see where things go. Without me, you know, afraid that my head will pop off from sheer, restrained libido."

Hina laughs, a musical sound. "Honestly, I was sort of starting to worry about you." She runs a hand through my hair, and I purr a little bit at the affection. "I felt like you were going to lose your mind at any minute. So, I'm glad I was able to lend a hand. And, you know, enjoy myself in the process." She pauses, then blushes a little bit. "And, um, on that note... last night was interesting, but maybe... we could do things a bit more normally next time?"

I kiss her on the nose. "Sounds good to me," I chuckle. "Honestly, as long as I can just hold you in my arms, I'm happy." Hina just smiles warmly at me. "...So, can next time be right now?" I ask hopefully.

Hina snorts. "Didn't you have enough last night?" she asks, rolling on top of me.

I relax into the mattress. "It's been a long time, Hina. Besides... I want to do something you'll like this time."

She just grins wickedly. "Didn't I just say that I enjoyed last night, Aya?"

"Such a lewd woman," I say teasingly, taking her hand in mine, and Hina silences me with a kiss. What follows is quite slow, gentle, and very, very fulfilling. I feel like a new woman afterwards.

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

"I feel like a dead woman," Shizuha groans.

I look the leaf goddess over. "You look like a dead woman, too," I remark. "Hangover?"

Shizuha glares at a sheepish Minoriko. "Do you even have to ask? Ugh, I feel like shit..."

"You needed to cut loose a little bit, sis," Minoriko asserts, helping her sister along. We've met up in the lobby of the Laughing Oni, and Yamame is preparing to guide us to the surface. We would have stopped long enough for some breakfast, but Shizuha was looking absolutely green at the thought of agitating her stomach. Finally, it was decided to just head on home.

I pat my new uniform, held in its package under my arm, resolving to put it on as soon as we get back to the shrine. As I'm feeling like a new woman, I should celebrate by tidying up the shrine in a new outfit, right? Sukuna is perched on my shoulder, talking animatedly with Hina, while Yamame gives us a gentle smile. I really have to do something nice for that spider. I don't know how things will ultimately turn out, but I really owe her for helping me over that hurdle with Hina. And she has great legs. And... everything. No denying that, no sir.

Hina slips her arm into mine, making Minoriko raise an eyebrow in interest. "Shall we be off?" the misfortune goddess asks me warmly.

I grin back. "Absolutely!" Head up, back straight, a lovely goddess on my arm, I lead the way out of the Laughing Oni, throwing the doors wide and onto a scene of pure and utter devastation holy Mikami WHAT.

Hina and I stare, numb. Sukuna points wordlessly. The Akis start to walk past us and freeze, disbelieving. The entire street is a wreck. Buildings are toppled, debris litters the street, and I'm pretty sure that I can smell something burning. A group of Oni with toolboxes walk down the street, whistling a cheery tune. It somehow makes the scene incredibly surreal.

I slowly turn my head to look at our earth spider guide. "Yamame... what the hell happened?!" I sputter.

Yamame looks over at me. "A weeknight in the underground city," she says simply, and walks off without another word. The rest of us watch her go, speechless. All around us, Oni start digging themselves out of piles of rubble and making repairs to their city.

"I think this is why Yamame wanted us back here before midnight," Sukuna says quietly, looking up at the hotel. The exterior is trashed, but the stone walls look mostly unmarked. I think I know what Yamame means when she talks about Oni-proof construction. I'm pretty sure that this thing could withstand a volcanic eruption, which makes me wonder a but about our shrine.

Shizuha raises a hand. "Can we go home please?" she asks weakly. The rest of us nod and start after Yamame, looking around in amazement at all of the reconstruction going on around us. It's reassuring in a way; in the end, Oni will always be Oni.

Sukuna gives me a thoughtful look. "Hey, Aya? How are we gonna get you through the tunnels again?" I freeze, coming to a horrified stop.

I KNEW I FORGOT SOMETHING!

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

Apparently, I get back out through the tunnels the same way I came in: through the liberal application of spiderwebs, and a lot of screaming. I have never been so glad to see the surface.

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

UNDERGROUND CITY ARC: COMPLETE.

MIKAMI STATUS: ENERGIZED!

AYA STATUS: SATISFIED

SUKUNA STATUS: OBLIVIOUS

YAMAME STATUS: A BIT LONELY

ONI STATUS: DRUNK


SELECT NEXT OBJECTIVE:

[ ] Get some allies (specify)
[ ] Relations with the other faiths
[ ] Investigate the tengu village
[ ] Recruit some followers
[ ] Re-start the Bunbunmaru Times
[x] Recruit some followers
Yamame. Worship Hina. Like, right now.

[x] Relations with the other faiths
Get Akyuu and Keine to help Reimu fix the misconceptions about the Hakurei Faith.

Also, can we go talk to Akyuu about clearing up the whole 'Yamame is contagious' thing?
[c] Recruit some followers

This should do.
[x] Get Yuyuko as an ally.

We haven't seen her at all in Keymaster's fics, and the Mikami could use the help of someone with Yuyuko's scheming savvy. We are planning sedition, after all.
[x] Get Yuyuko as an ally.
[x] Recruit some followers
-[x]Try to talk with Yamame on the way out. See if she can continue to be a liaison for the shrine in the underground.
--[x]And above all, make it clear that we're all going to stay in touch.
[x]Meet with Akyuu (for fixing both the Reimu and the Yamame situations)

Besides getting Yamame, I'm not the biggest into recruiting right now. After the whole gig in the underground, I think we're good for a little while. Now it's time to focus on getting diplomacy going for the shrine.
>>26007
>>26008

Not sure if Yuyuko is a good idea. Does she actually have any reason to support us over someone else? Or support anyone at all other than Yukari, for that matter?
>>26007
I thought the plan was for co-existance and merely offsetting other schemes.
>>26010

I think they were referring to the Tengu.
I assumed that the Yuyuko idea was just to feel things out. Naturally, we're going to be cautious about making any sort of alliance, but it's worth a shot. Yuyuko isn't actually affiliated with any religion, so she could be a potential ally. But we won't know until we get into contact with her.
[1] Get Yuyuko as an ally.
[2] Recruit some followers
-[2a]Try to talk with Yamame on the way out. See if she can continue to be a liaison for the shrine in the underground.
--[2b]And above all, make it clear that we're all going to stay in touch.
[3]Meet with Akyuu (for fixing both the Reimu and the Yamame situations)

My full agreement, here. Though if this is like some other direction choices, I've numbered for priority. Just use the 1 if you can't merge choices.
Just saw someone named Mikami in Nether, reminded me to read this update, good work!
>>26012

>Yuyuko isn't actually affiliated with any religion, so she could be a potential ally.

Well, she's loosely affiliated with Yukari who is firmly in the Hakurei camp, but I suppose we might have a chance. Would still rather spend time elsewhere though, like with recruiting followers, following up on Reimu's miko training or restarting our beloved newspaper. Bunbunmaru-chan, don't cry! We'll fix you up good as new real soon! ;_;
>>26009
>>26010
>>26012
I believe Yuyuko was more for endorsement than anything else.
Just "Those Mikami are wonderful people! You really should visit them sometime!" and so on.

Also, didn't Yamame come with us back to the Shrine?
[x] Recruit some followers

>YAMAME STATUS: A BIT LONELY
Profound sadness.
>>26018
it's something to work on.
[x] Investigate the tengu village

The way this is worded has raised a flag.
[x] Recruit some followers
[x] Recruit Yamame as a follower
[x] Ask the Mikami if Aya can invite Yamame to live in the follower's quarters and maybe even open up shop there. She might as well. There's nothing left for her in her lonely cave. Here at least she'll have friends and a chance to get out more with the Mikami's help. Plus she'll have more business opportunities and she'll be around if the shrine needs maintenance or work.
[x] Investigate the Tengu Village

Gotta do that snoopin', and check to see how Momiji is holding up.
[x] Recruit Yamame as a follower
[x] Ask the Mikami if Aya can invite Yamame to live in the follower's quarters and maybe even open up shop there. She might as well. There's nothing left for her in her lonely cave. Here at least she'll have friends and a chance to get out more with the Mikami's help. Plus she'll have more business opportunities and she'll be around if the shrine needs maintenance or work.
[x] Talk to Akyuu about misconceptions and other important things.

This sounds like a great idea, as long as we get people to understand that Yamame is not contagion.
If we have to, we can just say that the Mikami has put a divine seal on her to make her unable to spread diseases or whatever. Just make up some bullshit that makes it easier for people to accept it until she fit in topside.
>>26024
If they're coming to the shrine, they've already accepted that about Hina. I don't think we need to worry about it.
Changing my vote ( 26009- http://www.touhou-project.com/youkai/res/25690.html#i26008 ) to this:

[x] Recruit Yamame as a follower
[x] Ask the Mikami if Aya can invite Yamame to live in the follower's quarters and maybe even open up shop there. She might as well. There's nothing left for her in her lonely cave. Here at least she'll have friends and a chance to get out more with the Mikami's help. Plus she'll have more business opportunities and she'll be around if the shrine needs maintenance or work.
[x] Talk to Akyuu about misconceptions and other important things.
-[x] Including the Hakurei and Yamame issues.
We already talked to Akyuu, Yamame is practically a followe already and "that lonely cave" is her fucking shop! Did you forget about her showing up all the advancement in stonemasonry?

[x] relations with the other faiths.
A necessary step before we take a bite of the human village/kappa city pies.
[x]>>26003
[x]>>26021

This please. If possible.
>>26027
not about Yamame IIRC, mainly about Hina.
Okay, so the voting definitely indicates recruiting Yamame, and there's a bit of division between talking to Yuyuko and talking to Akyuu. I can work with this. Vote called.
File 139181479866.jpg - (69.69KB, 500x450, back later.jpg) [iqdb]
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