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File 139181475982.jpg - (207.39KB, 850x1189, mikomiko ayayaya.jpg) [iqdb]
26039
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
Thread 11: >>/youkai/25690

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"OH THANK YOU GODS!" I gasp out, throwing myself onto sweet, beautiful, not-underground earth, before launching myself into the blessedly open sky. Aaaah, that's much better! A crow is not meant to be pent-up underground, after all!

"...You're welcome?" Minoriko says after a moment. Hina giggles. Shizuha groans.

I settle back down to the ground, stretching my wings wide. "Okay, trip underground complete!" I declare. "Next step, off to the shrine, and necessary cleanup!" I look up at the skies. A bit cloudy, but the storm has clearly passed. A bit recently at that, judging by the moisture still on the ground.

"Sounds good," Hina nods. "What then?"

"Well..." I think it over. "Yamame, wanna come with us?" I wink at the spider. "Come on, it's gotta be kinda lonely down in the cave all the time, right?"

Yamame blushes, looking flattered. "I... thank, you, Aya! But I think I'll have to turn you down, there. My cave may not be in the center of civilization, but it's still home, and it took me a lot of work to get my showroom just right."

"Then at least come visit us from time to time," Hina says, walking over to take Yamame's hands in her own. "We'd really like to see more of you, you know."

"I encourage hard work, and Shizuha is all about artful craftmanship!" Minoriko speaks up.

Yamame just raises an eyebrow. "...Are you trying to recruit me?"

"Unabashedly," I shrug.

Yamame actually giggles at this. "Well... maybe. I mean, it's clear that I could stand to gain from offering you guys a prayer from time to time... and I wouldn't mind hanging out at your place." The spider shrugs. "Well, sure. I have some work orders coming up that i have to deal with, but I'll be sure to stop by and visit, okay?"

I nod. "All we can ask for." Hina draws Yamame into a tight hug and whispers something to the spider, who whispers back. The two share a giggle, and with a final wave Yamame disappears back into her cave, a spring in her step. I wonder what Hina said to her? Actually, on second thought, I just don't want to know. "Back to the shrine?" I say instead. The goddesses nod (or groan, in Shizuha's case), and the five of us take to the air, heading for home.

"You're being awfully quiet, Shizuha," Hina notes, looking at the inchling perched upon my shoulder.

Sukuna jumps a bit at this and looks over at Hina sheepishly. "Er, sorry... I was kinda thinking about what we should do next. I mean, I know Aya has some stuff she wants to do, but you guys could still do with some support, right?"

"That's very true," I say, casting a suspicious look at Youkai Mountain. "I'm sure that storm had nothing to do with Kanako, but I'm acutely aware that all it would take is someone more powerful than us to start cracking down, and we could run into serious trouble. Maybe it'd be because we annoyed another faith, or maybe the tengu just want to drag me back into line, I dunno. But we could use some more backing. I'd rather you goddesses be more secure before I started to deal with my issues concerning my people."

"Did you have any ideas?" Minoriko asks.

"There's basically an active and passive defense, the way I see it," I explain. "In other words, get someone really powerful on our side, so that anybody who messes with us messes with them as well, or try to take away any ammunition that they might use against us."

"You mean Akyuu," Hina notes.

I nod. "Yeah. Akyuu has a lot of respect among the humans, and what they believe tends to have an effect on Gensokyo. We've already talked to her about you, Hina, but maybe we can talk to her about some other youkai as well."

"Tricky," Shizuha rasps out. "I've talked to Akyuu before, and she can be a real player if she has to. Turning her into advertising for us might not go over very well."

"We wouldn't have to be so direct." I grin at the others. "Remember how I wanted Reimu to give me some shrine maiden training? Well, if we can get Akyuu to start saying nice things about the Hakurei faith, and Reimu learns that we were behind it as a gesture of good faith..."

"Get the red-white on our side?" Sukuna thinks it over. "Yeah, that could work."

"A lot of people had some issues about her marriage to Remilia," Minoriko notes. "So Akyuu could probably help with that, and having Reimu on our side would really help."

"So would having Akyuu," Shizuha coughs. "Or even both of them. So, I guess that covers both of your ideas, Aya."

"Unless we wanted to go whole hog and get someone really powerful on our side," I chuckle. "Like, I dunno... how about we get the dead princess to vouch for us?!" I burst into laughter, and the others join me. I mean, getting Yuyuko Saigyouji to suddenly start showing up at our shrine and say nice things about us? Pretty damned unlikely, am I right?

"Feasible," Shizuha says with a shrug. It takes a minute for this to sink in. I stare at the leaf goddess, who frowns at my expression. "What? We already had this discussion once. Yuyuko is a noblewoman. She likes art, and is something beyond a gourmet."

"All-consuming void, I think some would call her," Minoriko quips.

"Whatever," Shizuha shakes her head and winces at the sensation. "Ugh... anyway, the point is that we have some things to offer Yuyuko: good food, and nice art. Not sure how Hina would fit in, but I'm sure the princess of the dead has a run of bad luck from time to time. My point is that it can be done, and we'd get a great ally on our side. Be a tough sell, but it's do-able."

We fall into silence afterwards, pondering. Clearly, securing the shrine's position is crucial, but how should we go about it. As we come upon the shrine itself, I wonder just which ally wouldoh holy fuck look at all that shit.

I sigh wearily as the Mikami groan. The good news is that the shrine itself looks completely fine. if a bit muddy. The bad news is that the storm wrecked the grounds, throwing leaves and branches all over the place.

"This is gonna be such a pain in the ass to clean up," I say unhappily.

Minoriko jerks a thumb at herself. "Goddess of hard work, remember? So, let's hurry up and do some hard work, oh shrine maiden of ours!" The harvest goddess claps me on the shoulder cheerfully, and I stare balefully at all of the grime encrusting the shrine and all of the debris littering the ground. This is going to take forever.

Well, may as well get starting. Shaking my head, I I descend with the others to the shrine. Nobody ever said that this gig would be easy.

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

For the occasion, I decide to put on my new uniform. It's actually a nice piece of work, all told. The top is white, in a kimono cut, with (naturally) sleeves that are separate from the main body. Pretty much essential for any shrine maiden in Gensokyo, for whatever reason. The sleeves are tied on around the elbow with ribbons that look a lot like Hina's ribbons. The hakama are an autumn-brown with a falling-leaf design embroidered on them. A hairpin shaped like a cluster of grapes adorns my head, while the top has a green spiral embroidered over the heart. Overall, it marks both my function and allegiance quite well. Sukuna even got a miniature version for herself!

She also got me a few mini-skirts to go along with the outfit. You know, for private company.

I'm working away outside, pondering whether to seek out assistance from Akyuu or the mighty Yuyuko when I notice a figure approaching us, walking down the path to the shrine. I pause, shifting to the load of twigs under my arm, as I take in who the figure belongs to.


[ ] A sparrow
[ ] That pink-haired girl from the other day
[ ] A fairy in black.
[ ] An Ibis
[ ] Oh hey, it's Momiji!

ALSO

Which plan do you go with?
[ ] Go talk to Akyuu
[ ] Seek out Yuyuko
[X] A fairy in black.
[X] Go talk to Akyuu.

If only because a part of me is hoping it's actually Malla, not Lily Black. I'd be perfectly fine with either, though.
[x] That pink-haired girl from the other day
[x] Seek out Yuyuko

Kokoro needs some love
[X] That pink-haired girl from the other day
[X] Go talk to Akyuu.

I'm still for the Yuyuko plan, but I think that Akyuu should be our first step. If we want to make Yuyuko an ally, we should have a presentation and plan for when we meet with her. She's a noble and crafty, so we can't just waltz in and expect things to go well. There's a sort of etiquette she'll expect if we want her to take us seriously. In this respect, I think it would be good to do a little planning, and Akyuu would come in handy as a source of information about the ghost princess. Plus, we really need to get started on the whole Reimu issue sooner than later.
[x] That pink-haired girl from the other day
[x] Go talk to Akyuu.
>>26047
You mean like how last time Kokoro was a choice people voted for Lily Black?

Yeah people sure voted for the new character there.
[x] MALLA. Because pyro-fairy is best fairy.
[x] Go see Yuyuko.

GO BIG OR GO HOME...wait, they're already at their new home. SOMEONE GIVE ME A RELEVANT MOTIVATIONAL PHRASE!
[x] That pink-haired girl from the other day
-[x] Befriend her, be honest, and let her make her own decisions.
[x] Seek out Yuyuko
-[x] Appeal to her intelligence more than her vices (not that offerings would be remiss…)

Kokoro isn't just for novelty's sake, she can manipulate emotions and is better at danmakufu than even Reimu. Don't give Kokoro the impression that you’re trying to manipulate the emotions of herself or others, that’ll get her violent.

The reason for Yuyuko are two-fold. Again, she’s Yukari’s co-schemer (see Silent Sinner in Blue) and we could use someone who can think three steps ahead. Furthermore, asking Akyuu to be an advertiser for us after how we treater her last (at my Insistence) doesn’t feel like a good idea, at least not right away.

Say…perhaps Yuyuko could help with that…
[ ] Oh hey, it's Momiji!
[ ] Go talk to Akyuu

Well we haven't seen her in awhile.

Also, Thread 12 already, shooting for 20 Keymaster?
>>26050
sounds like a course for failure as you're advocating using her but somehow not letting her find out. Such a stunt would be ill fated as it'll put us in the shithouse with all three factions.

And it's Danmaku, Danmakfu is a program used to make touhou bosses.
[x] Oh hey, it's Momiji!
[x] Go see Yuyuko.
- [x] Appeal to her intelligence more than her vices (not that offerings would be remiss...)

Yuyuko because >>26050. Momiji because Momiji.
[x] Oh hey, it's Momiji!
[x] Go see Yuyuko.
- [x] Appeal to her intelligence more than her vices (not that offerings would be remiss...)

>"You're being awfully quiet, Shizuha," Hina notes, looking at the inchling perched upon my shoulder.

Oh noes, Shizuha has suffered an ailment.
[x] That pink-haired girl from the other day
[x] Seek out Yuyuko

Yuyuko is powerful and isn't directly attached to any other religions. She's attached to Yukari, who is attached to Reimu, but she isn't directly attached to Reimu herself.

This by its self is a fairly good reason, but it's only part of why I think that talking to Yuyuko is a good idea.

We've been making good progress with making sure that all of the people involved in the Pleasant Meadows incident are all doing fine. Most of the people we've talked to have seemed fine, but there are several who we KNOW aren't doing as well.

It just so happens that going to see Yuyuko is a direct path to all of the others who were involved. We may very well run into Lyrica in or around Hakugyokurou. Other than that, Yuyuko is close friends to Yukari, who is probably the easiest way to get in touch with several of the others involved in the incident. Yumeko is Yukari's lover's maid, it prevents us from having to cross the Higan to talk to Eiki and the other Alfred, Suika is a good friend of Yukari's, and let's not forget that Yukari was involved as well, and was perhaps one of the ones most hurt by the whole thing.

Of course, making sure that the Mikami Shrine is safe is also important. Yuyuko herself would be very helpful for this purpose, but Yukari is the very person in charge of resolving disputes between important individuals and groups in Gensokyo, so getting on her good side is an important step. Even if we don't get her on our side, it's still a good idea even if just to prevent her from turning against our side.

Talking with Akyuu is also a good idea, but seeing Yuyuko has the potential to help us more, and in more ways than talking to Akyuu.
[x] Oh hey, it's Momiji!
[x] Seek out Yuyuko

The only reason I voted for Yuyuko is also the only reason I need.

Because it sounds awesome.
[x] Oh hey, it's Momiji!
[x] Go talk to Akyuu
[x] That pink-haired girl from the other day
-[x] Befriend her, be honest, and let her make her own decisions.
[x] Seek out Yuyuko
-[x] Appeal to her intelligence more than her vices (not that offerings would be remiss…)

And we are forgetting that Seija is still not showing up.
[x] That pink-haired girl from the other day
-[x] Befriend her, be honest, and let her make her own decisions.
[x] Seek out Yuyuko
-[x] Appeal to her intelligence more than her vices (not that offerings would be remiss…)
[x] Pink girl!
[x] Visit the other pink girl, Yuyuko.
I don't think we have seen her yet, but she's usually a orcs to be reckoned with. She'll see right through our intentions but if it helps her...
That said , I wonder if we're ready for her yet. Specially Hina. The "task" she could help with are going to be beyond her level unless the Oni are more devout thsn I thought.
[x] That pink-haired girl from the other day
[x] Go talk to Akyuu.
[X] A fairy in black.
[x] Seek out Yuyuko
>>26054

Ergh. Fucking typos. Oh well, just assume that Shizuha's divine hangover temporarily screwed around with the fundamental nature of reality for a moment. Or something.

Anyway! Vote called for the two pink-haired ladies!
File 139189732858.jpg - (296.81KB, 850x1322, came to visit.jpg) [iqdb]
26067
Oh hey! I remember her! That's the girl Sukuna was hanging out with the other day! Some kind of meinriki, if I remember correctly. I tale a good long look as the girl in question walks up to me. Long, pink hair, matching eyes, a plaid shirt and very eccentric skirt. Also, virtually no expression on her face. That seems kinda weird, but who am I to judge?

What was her name again? K- something. There was definitely a K in it. Crap, just can't remember.

"Hello," the girl says in a bland voice as she walks up to me. "Is Sukuna in, by any chance?"

I snap back to attention and put on my best professional smile. "Why yes she is! I believe that she's out back, taking care of things over there. As you can see, we were hit rather hard by that storm."

"Yeah, everywhere was," the girl says, nodding. "The village is doing a bit of a clean-up as well. Actually, you might see a few worshipers today. I hear some people were going to stop by and offer a prayer for fortune in doing some rebuilding."

I nod, a little bit put off. This girl is talking in an extremely bland tone of voice, all while holding an extremely casual conversation. It's a little weird, to be honest. Like talking about the weather with someone who couldn't care less, but was talking to you anyway. And yet, she seemed pleasant enough. Just... dispassionate. "Well, we'll be sure to welcome them properly," I assure the girl, forcing a smile on my face regardless. "Anyway, is there any way that we can help you today, Miss...?"

"Kokoro Hata," the pink-haired girl introduces herself. Right! Now I remember! "Well, perhaps a prayer to Lady Shizuha would be a good idea. I have a strong interest in the arts, you know."

"Oh really?" I ask, interested. Hm, from what I can tell, Kokoro showed up while I was still imprisoned. I can't say I know much about her.

"Theater, especially kabuki," Kokoro elaborates. "Also, it's my emotions. They don't work quite right."

I blink, a bit confused. "Sorry?"

"Your reaction to me. I've seen it before. I guess that my demeanor can be a bit off-putting to some." Kokoro's expression doesn't change, but her shoulders slump a little bit. "You see, as part of my nature, I have a hard time expressing my emotions. I'm dependent on these masks to fully express myself." The girl raises a hand, and a number of spectral masks appear around her, the same ones she was using to play with Sukuna a while back. "The thing is, I don't want to be too dependent on them, so I try to get by without them." The masks disappear, and Kokoro's eyes shift to the side. "It... doesn't always work all that well."

"Okay, I think that I understand now," I say with a nod.

"...It's nothing that I can help," Kokoro mutters. "I mean, it's not that I don't care... I'm all about emotions, I do care, I feel a lot more than people realize. I mean, just because I have a hard time emoting doesn't mean that I don't have feelings..."

"Um, Kokoro?" I say carefully. She seems a bit... upset.

"I mean, people keep acting like I don't feel a thing, like I can't hear them muttering... I'd like some attention too... like some guy to ask me out on a date, or people to ask me how I'm doing, or even someone to rub me on the head or... I dunno..." The meinriki just keeps muttering to herself, and I think I see a spectral mask slide over her face. One with a very aggravated expression. I get the impression that Kokoro isn't exactly aware of me right at the moment.

"Um, sort of like this?" I hazard, reaching out to start rubbing Kokoro's head.

"Eh?" Kokoro's voice is as bland as ever, but her body suddenly goes rigid.

"Sorry, I'll stop that now-" I start, feeling a bit embarrassed at my actions. Seriously, what was I-

Kokoro's head whips around. "Please don't stop," she says, face bland, and body quivering. I quickly put my hand back and start to pet her again. The two of us just stand there, with the meinriki staring at me with disinterest, while I keep petting her like she was a good child. Eventually, Kokoro closes her eyes and I think I hear the faintest of sighs from her. "Miss Shameimaru... will you tell me that I'm a good girl?"

"...Huh?" I ask, staring in disbelief.

"...Please?" Kokoro repeats. An incredibly sad mask seems to flit across her features for a moment.

"Uh... you're a very good girl?" I hazard, feeling a little awkward.

Kokoro actually seems to rub up against my hand. I might even hear the slightest of happy sighs in there, I'm not sure. "Thank you," she says quietly. "I'm just so tired of everyone coming after me and telling me why I should do what they want. And I just want people to see me for me without needing the masks." Her voice is so calm, but her words are so sad. Also, she sounds like a tough convert.

"You're a good girl," I say carefully, wracking my brains. "A very good girl. And you're pretty, and very nice even if you don't show it, and um-"

"KOKOOOOOO! HEEEEEEY!"

At Sukuna's excited voice, Kokoro leaps back from me as though my hand was made of magma. Quickly adjusting her ruffled hair, Kokoro looks down as Sukuna comes running up, dressed in her little miko costume. "Hey! You came back!" Sukuna says excitedly.

Kokoro nods. "Of course. I said I would, didn't I?"

Sukuna giggles excitedly. "I'm so glad! Come on, I'll show you around!" Leaping up on Kokoro's shoulder, the little inchling urges her meinriki friend further into the shrine. Kokoro gives me a final bow before rushing off at Sukuna's urging. If it weren't for the total lack of facial expression, I'd almost think that Kokoro was excited to be here.

Shizuha wanders up to me, a bag of ice on her head as she looks back at the departing duo. "Well now, that was certainly something," she comments.

"I'll say," I snort. "I have really gotta get some new information on Gensokyo. Do you know anything about a Kokoro Hata?"

Shizuha thinks it over. "Meinriki, quite powerful, influences emotions, and I think is at odds with at least one of the other faiths. The buddhists or taoists. Maybe both."

"Talk about a tough sell," I mutter, thinking about some of what Kokoro said. "Not really sure how we can get somebody like her to offer up her faith."

"Something to think about at least," Shizuha replies. "Anyway, do you think we will have any worshipers today?"

"Kokoro seemed to think so," I reply, getting back to work. "So we might want to take a couple of days to settle into a routine. Also, I was thinking about what we were talking about earlier. All told, I think that Yuyuko would make one hell of an ally to have on our side."

Shizuha nods. "Agreed. But how do we go about it? I've been thinking it over, and I don't think that appealing to her vices is the way to go."

"It isn't," I agree, fanning some twigs into a pile. Gotta love magic. "I remember reading a dossier on her once, and Yuyuko is tricky. Really tricky. She's a former Japanese noblewoman who has ruled the land of the dead for centuries. She isn't a fool, however she likes to portray herself. Getting her as an ally would be an amazing accomplishment, but pulling it off won't be easy."

"Any ideas?" Shizuha asks. I pause for a moment, thinking it over.


[ ] How do you get Yuyuko on your side? (Think this one over carefully. Yuyuko would be an incredible ally, but I'm not going to make this one easy on you guys.)

ALSO

[ ] Want to get Kokoro as a regular follower? How do you go about it? (Ditto, but this one will be a bit easier.)
I think part of our strategy for getting Yuyu on our side should be through appealing to Youmu. I'd bet that the Hungry Ghost cares for her quite a bit, so if we could give her a bit of comfort and make her life easier she would look on us favorably.

Youmu calls herself a gardener so that would cover Shizuha, she cooks everything for Yuyu so that would be Mino and something something Hina.

Not the whole strat, but just a part of it.
Hina's the lynchpin for the whole operation. The Aki sisters have some appeal, but we need to find something for Hina too. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what.
Kokoro: all three goddesses have something to offer.

Shizuha is the most obvious; expression through art, as well as observing the world around her, rather than focusing on herself. Emotions are a natural thing; they can't be forced.

Minoriko can help her loosen up; sure Kokoro has trouble expressing herself, but getting all down over it doesn't help.

Hina can do the standard misfortune thing, and also dispense divine hugs and headpats. Maybe teach her the spinning trick? Other than that I dunno.

Yuyuko: we need intel. The gardener will know where the bodies are buried; get the Mikami to bless our Maple Leaf Fan and make it better than any stupid old sword, then challenge Youmu to a duel. She'll probably relish a proper challenge to test her skills.
>>26069
I'd imagine Youmu could stand to have some misfortune sucked away.
One thing occurred to me about Hina. Given how she handled the spirits in the underground, might she be able to have some effect on ghosts? Naturally, we don't want to take the same approach, lest we end up making Yuyuko an enemy rather than an ally, but it could mean that Hina's powers could be of some use to ghosts.
Yuyuko may have power over death and be the master of the Realm of the Dead, but she still values life greatly, which is why she almost never uses her power. If we are to recruit her, we must appeal to her appreciation of life.

Hina can help in this regard. Every day, hundreds of people die needlessly over things beyond their control. Sudden earthquakes that cause the house to collapse on someone, accidentally tripping on a rock and breaking their neck, mistakenly grabbing the bag of rat poison instead of sugar from their herb rack and eating their own poisoned cake, even being driven to suicide by all of life's accumulated misfortunes. Hina can help prevent innocent lives from tragically being cut short and ensure that more people live long and happy lives.

As the goddess of natural change, Shizuha can help too. Death is a natural part of life, which means Shizuha should be able to help stave off death. Shizuha would also have dominion over birth and rebirth, perhaps allowing those whose lives were cut short a second chance.

Minoriko has a role to play too. As a fertility goddess, she already brings life to the fields and to all who feast upon the harvest. As the goddess of hard work, she can help insure that people put more effort into protecting their lives, from working hard to build houses that won't collapse as easily, to doctors working tirelessly to find a cure for an untreatable disease. Minoriko can ensure that peoples efforts are fruitful so that they will not have died in vain.

As for recruiting Kokoro, just follow Sukuna's example and be her friend. That seems to be all she truly wants in the end anyway. Perhaps point her towards Shizuha for help in learning how to act out her emotions. Acting and facial expression are an art form after all.
>>26072
Like taking care of those stray ghosts around Yuyuko's house?
>I don't think that appealing to her vices is the way to go.
It isn't? Well, shit, there goes my plan.
>>26073
[X] THIS.
But really, for all the planning and scheming Yuyuko is generally capable of, her goal is almost always relatively altruistic. She IS the first person to figure out what's going on in SWR. This said, it's not like she's all about avoiding death, just that she treats it more like Death in The Sandman. Death should be the last part of a good life. Mind, this is mostly based on the crap she pulls in canon.
Given she is that way, though, I will add that we should on some level be able to convince her that helping us (be it in minor ways or no) isn't going to cause a hell of a power shift. She doesn't want to throw the political balance out the window, either.
>>26070
[X] For Kokoro, as a strategy. It's a good idea.

Partly bandwagoning, but I've offered my thoughts on Yuyuko. Even if I voted Akyu, I want to see this done right.
>>26073

I like this approach. It ties back to the whole goal of the Mikami: to help people with the small things in life. Helping protect people against the small yet lethal chances of fate would fit right into our criteria.
>>26073
This, but perhaps we should also try appealing to Yuyuko's more mellow nature. Not to her vices directly, mind you, but talk about how the Three Goddesses can help with all the little things to help everyday life. Just something to consider.

Also, KM, I have a killer idea for a write-in that I'd like to submit when Aya gets some downtime...
File 139198722799.jpg - (64.64KB, 594x841, an enigma.jpg) [iqdb]
26083
I close my eyes. "Yuyuko Saigyouji," I say out loud. "Estimated birth date slightly over one thousand years ago. Died approximately in her mid-twenties, based upon external appearance. She might even be a contemporary of mine." I chuckle a but at the thought.

Shizuha doesn't respond, just listening to me recite the dossier I read on Yuyuko some time ago.

"Came to be ruler of the regional netherworld through unknown means. Definitely of noble blood, that much has been confirmed. Her noble descent may have had something to do with her ascension to the rank of princess of the dead. Her innate powers may have also had something to do with it. The details are unknown..." I pause, opening my eyes. "The tengu dossier goes into a bunch of supposition here, but it isn't really important at the moment."

Shizuha nods, looking interested. "Go on."

"Well, it seems as though in life that Yuyuko had a sort of... aura, about her. People around her got sick and died. It was probably a lonely existence, or maybe she was guilt-stricken at causing harm to so many people. Either way, she took her own life, and now she's the princess of the dead." I fold my arms, frowning. "It's uncertain just how much of her old life she remembers. It is known that she's close friends with Yukari, and has been for a long time."

"Isn't she supposed to be a real ditz?" Shizuha asks. "I remember talking to one of the Prismriver sisters about her, and she seemed a bit irritated about her behavior."

"She might very well ask like a ditz, but that doesn't mean a thing," I reply. "Anybody can act like anything that they want to. But the heavens have entrusted her with control of the netherworld for centuries. That doesn't imply incompetence to me."

"Good point," Shizuha agrees. "So level with me, just what are we dealing with here?"

"Well, her personal power is enormous," I point out. "Aside from innate magical ability, she can kill people just by thinking about it. Fuck everything else in Gensokyo, that's a hell of a power. She rules the netherworld and has dominion over its spirits, so she has a lot of information at her fingertips. She is a former noblewoman who now rules the dead, which means she's used to dealing with the celestial bureaucracy."

"So you're saying that her ditzy image is just a front?" Shizuha asks.

I shrug. "Hard to say. The tengu certainly think so. How else to disarm someone than to make them underestimate you, after all? Plus, she's the ruler of the dead. She might not have the exact same personal interest in Gensokyo as the rest of us. Plus, from what I learned personally, she was entirely willing to plunge Gensokyo into an eternal winter for the sake of satisfying her own curiosity."

"Hm," Shizuha muses. "You make her out to be very threatening, when you put it like that."

"Maybe," I shrug. "On the other hand, I hear Yukari was in on that, and it's not like she would let anything permanently bad happen to Gensokyo. Yuyuko's been a ghost for a long time, so maybe the affairs of the living are a bit distant to her. A thousand years is a long time, after all, and I sure as hell don't remember everything that happened that long ago."

"Then there's the whole thing about her taking her own life due to her powers," Shizuha muses. "That implies a certain level of concern about the lives of mortals."

"She does seem to care, at least a little bit," I agree. "But my point is that Yuyuko is about as inscrutable as Yukari herself, and shouldn't be underestimated. Still, she can be approached, at least. The question is, how much?"

"All we can do is find out," Shizuha says with a shrug. "I can already think of a few things that we can do to earn her favor. Assuming that she's as compassionate as I hope she is. And if she isn't, why the hell would we even bother with her?"

I laugh a bit at this. "Yeah, that's true, huh?"

"Anyway, I think it's worth talking to her a little bit, and showing how we can help people out in their everyday lives. We can sound her out, see if we can figure out what she's like. Hell, if nothing else, she'd probably send us the occasional donation in exchange for Minoriko blessing her food."

"Maybe meeting with her directly would be a good idea," I muse. "Nice thinking, Shizu. Any other ideas?"

"Well..." Shizuha thinks it over. "Her gardener, Youmu? She comes over to Gensokyo from time to time, doesn't she?" I nod; I've seen her around more than once. "Well, maybe you should challenge her to a duel, and try to get some information out of her."

I snort. "A danmaku duel? Well, maybe, but I'm not sure that Youmu would accept terms such as those when the price was her master's privacy-"

"No," Shizuha cuts me off. "I don't mean danmaku. Youmu's a warrior. She'd probably be eager to face another warrior in an actual sword duel, don't you think?"

My stomach drops to somewhere in my feet. "...I haven't swung a sword in centuries, Shizuha." I say hoarsely.

Shizuha reads my face for a moment. "And nobody will force you to do so again. I'm only putting all of the options out there. Anyway, we'll think about Yuyuko for a little while. Meanwhile, what about this Kokoro girl? Do you think we should try and recruit her, or do we leave her in peace?"

I'm a bit taken aback by the sudden change in subject, but rally as fast as I can. "I think... we should be a bit hands-off with her. From the sounds of things, she has an issue with religious authorities. Just be friendly, and let her approach us at her own pace. Anything else would probably blow up on us."

Shizuha nods, then glances over my shoulder and takes the ice-pack away from her head. "Fair enough. Anyway, I'm going to go and make myself more presentable. We seem to have patrons." As Shizuha turns to walk away, I follow where her gaze was and see a group of people trudging towards our shrine. Well, time to get on the job! We can go see Yuyuko after we've had a few days to think it over.

...And I have a chance to think over whether or not to take up the sword again.


[ ] A
[ ] B
[ ] C

Also:

[ ] Train to challenge Youmu
[ ] No. No swords. Never again.

(Also, feel free to keep discussing Yuyuko. More planning is better, here.)
[X] C
[X] No. No swords. Never again.

The answer is always C. Nonlethal is the better option.
Regarding Yuyuko: Be a Friend. It seems to me that Yuyuko would have plenty of experience with conniving pricks seeking political gain, and that she doesn't have very many who are just friends. But being friendly, hell, just inviting her over for some Tea, no strings attached, could be a good idea. Friends are good things to have.
[ ] B
[ ] Train to challenge Youmu
[x] A
[x] Train to challenge Youmu

Face your past, Aya.
[x] C
[x] Train to challenge Youmu

Times have changed. Aya won't be using her sword to kill for the sake of the Tengu.
[x] C
[x] No. No swords. Never again.

To take up arms once again for something like this, after swearing off swords for centuries? I could see if those close to her were threatened or hurt, but for something like this Aya shouldn't have to take up arms.
[X] No. No swords. Never again.
>>26088
[x] C
[x] No. No swords. Never again.
What the man said. She swore it.
[x] C
[x] No. No swords. Never again.
-[x] But maybe we can use an alternative...
srsly just bless the fan
[x] C
[x] No. No swords. Never again.
What are A, B, and C anyways?
>>26093

They're how I pull off 'random encounters.' Mystery options.
[x] C
[x] No. No swords. Never again.
[X] C
[Y] No. No swords. Never again.

I get the feeling all a duel would do is cause Bad Things to happen.
[x] D
[x] No. No swords. Never again.

Off the rails
[x] Tojiko
[x] Have Sukuna challenge Youmu, assuming the gardener isn't sick of sword talk.
>>26090
She swore to never use them in combat. This is a duel, and a non-lethal one at that. She has to face her past, as she has done several times before, to get over it.
Besides, a weapon is a tool and only as bad as the person holding it. And I trust Aya.

[x] A
[x] Train to challenge Youmu
[X] C
[Y] No. No swords. Never again.
[x] A
[x] Train to challenge Youmu

The context for wielding a sword again is completely different.
[x] A

[x] Train to use a sword again

Because while it's been long enough, and as has been mentioned, it's for a different reason. To use a sword in war is different from the use of a sword in a duel.
[x] A
[x] Train to challenge Youmu

I feel like this is like with the oni. Something Aya needs to grow past. Although part of me feels like this could have consequences. Like maybe a tengu spy sees her training and people get the wrong idea.
[x] C
[x] No. No swords. Never again.

>>26069
>lynchpin
"linchpin".
[x] D
[x] Train to use a sword again
[x] A
[x] Train to challenge Youmu

We dont want to wield the sword for bloodshet and this is really one of the only ways to get accurate information. Seriously guys, what do you have against swords?
[x] C
[x] Train to challenge Youmu
[x] No. No swords. Never again.

Unlike the situation with the Oni, there's no need face this issue. Taking up the blade once again might trigger Aya's PTSD, which is especially bad if she has a flashback while fighting Youmu. It would be terrible if we accidently got ourself or Youmu killed because we're stuck in a past battle.

Some things should just stay in the past. Aya's already got enough trauma to deal with.
[x] C
[x] No. No swords. Never again.

Really, breaking a life-changing decision she made on her own and kept to for centuries, for the chance at solely getting information on someone they haven't even met yet? That sounds like a piss-poor reason to pick a blade back up, when the idea to drop it came from seeing just how fucked up the Tengu had become and leading to the rest of her decisions and their consequences with the Elders.

Actually, knowing the Elders are watching Aya to see if she'll try to cause a revolution in a culture they have a stranglehold on, what would they think that "the best fighter" they once had is actively using it once more? I'll tell you what it won't be: Peaceful nor Quiet.
[X] Peacebonded sword.

For extra points, literally weld the sword to the scabbard or something.

The intent behind the oath isn't "I will not wield sharp sticks of metal again." It's "I will not kill innocents again." Or even "I will not kill again, period."

Taking up the sword is not something to be afraid of. Taking up the symbol of a lethal warrior is.

On a more amusing note - suggest to Kokoro that she might emote more dramatically? Acting like a genki girl with a perfectly apathetic face might be a tad creepy, but at least it'd get her emotions across.
>>26109
The reason she abandoned the sword was because of the bloodshed tengu committed. As was mentioned, the context is now completely different, it's for a more or less friendly duel. Also did you just happen to miss how the point of the story is to grow as a person?

And the elders can go fuck themselves. If they get scared by Aya making trouble in the neighbourhood, so what. She has a new home now in the mikami shrine. Unless they plan on sending a war party to meet her (unlikely, it would most likely break the already fragile morale of the people that actually do the fighting) there's jack shit they can do.
>>26111
I did notice that this story is about her turning her life around, but at the same time changing every thing about her from her past will not always be positive or good, and the choice to to train in swords again has me worrying about options and consequences that may occur down the line.

Also, you seem to forget the elders don't have to physically attack Aya to hurt her: Momiji and Hatate are still within their grasp, and the can heavily suggest to the populace to neither read Hatate's paper or give faith to the Mikami since they seem to cause tengu who interact with them to start doubting the elders, like Itchy and Aya herself.

Spite at past offenses and the fear of losing power will make those who are the most offended or the most to lose do anything to destroy those that threaten them, be it by killing the body, destroying the spirit, or crushing all that the opponent holds dear until the threat is gone. We already know that they saw Aya as a threat they believed culled and tamed, and now with the public confession they see that she is returning to how she once was and believe that she might one day succeed at the reason they exiled her for; Fear. Fear of losing power, fear of other races interacting with the populace, fear if the truth of their past history and crimes ever being brought to light for all to see.

So no, I do not believe the Elders can't hurt Aya or the shrine if they truly wanted to; sabotage, politics, stirring up or supporting other faiths, any action that can be done that can't be shown as either purely hostile or proof of guilty actions are open for them to use as their weapons as long as they believe Aya is a threat, which they already see her as.
[X] B

[X] No. No swords. Never again.
[X] A
[Y] No. No swords. Never again.


Rereading what I wrote before posting I realized that this post will probably sound more offensive than necessary, so I apologize in advance. But to me this looks like a pretty huge decision for Aya, and while I'm not one to shout "stop liking what I don't like!" I really think there is one "right" and one "wrong" option here and I'll post accordingly.
(Damn you Keymaster for your brilliant characterization that just gets under my skin and refuses to let go.)


>>26106
>>26111
She discarded her sword to symbolize how she refused to ever participate in such an atrocious act again.
Picking up a sword again would symbolize that she is willing to accept the massacre.
The context may be different, but the act is the same.

Would it be okay to put down a nest of feral youkai, brutally mutilating the cubs and mounting the heads of the bigger ones on sticks for the flies to feast on, and just generally be pointlessly "evil" about it because they're not humans? I mean, Aya's vow was because a human village was destroyed so it's totally not the same, right?
The act is the same, regardless of context, and Aya vowed to never perform the act again.

To Aya, picking up a sword is (symbolically) equivalent to going back and committing that massacre again.
It's not a trauma that she needs to get over (like her exile or her fear of oni), it's not a phobia that she can conquer to grow as a person (like her fear of enclosed spaces).
Her character growth happened when she discarded the sword as a vow to never let the same thing happen again. Going back on that vow, for whatever reason, would actually be a step back, the way I see it.


>>26110
But "a sword" is literally "the symbol of a lethal warrior" to Aya. Which is why she vowed to never wield one again in the first place.

You're mincing words and twisting intentions.
It's like saying "well, drinking a beer with my friends is not the same as drinking hard liquor alone in my home, therefore it's OK" after vowing to stay sober for the rest of your life because you woke up one day to realize that you have fucked up your life and you're an alcoholic.

Mr. Example, the alcoholic, fucked up and vowed to never touch alcohol again.
Aya, the tengu swordsman, fucked up and vowed to never wield a sword again.

Intentions and circumstance doesn't make it OK. It's a binary choice. Wield a sword(/drink alcohol)? YES/NO
There is not gray zone in between.
>>26114
>alcohol is equal to a sword.

Guess which ones provokes physical dependency? As it was said, it is a symbol, nothing else. Aya is scared because she simply can't face directly her days as a mindless killer, not due to some magical compulsion in the sword: Not even with a darker than dark, black coal tewi you can deny that.

She has recovered from all other traumas already, this will be the last step on her recovery. Or her downfall, if we ignore it.
I'm reading Doctor dream right now (or dream doctor or dr. Dream or Dream MD or whatever it's its actual name: I'm reading it in Spanish) and I can already tell that the MC's reluctance to exorcise ALL of his demons will come back later. It is a common trope really.

That said, is that some vote spam?
[x]A
[x] Train to fight against Youmu
This is a test, we'll see how it goes.
>>26115

Mr.>>26109 and >>26112

Just because different people point out different reasons for the same vote in a row over time, it doesn't mean it's a vote-spam and you sadden me by even bringing it up; it shows that you don't trust the people who are voting in a way that isn't yours and that only causes shit-storms later for choices that will be more important.
>>26114

>Picking up a sword again would symbolize that she is willing to accept the massacre.

But thats the whole point. She is not at all okay with it and she doesnt want it repeated, but she accepts the massacre, whereas the other Tengu deny it. I thought that was pretty clear. If she wouldnt have accepted it she would have had no reason to split from the Tengu in the first place, she would be the same as them.

>To Aya, picking up a sword is (symbolically) equivalent to going back and committing that massacre again.

And thats where I disagree, same with most of the points after that. Her sword was a symbol of murder,massacre and her standing as one of the Tengu Elite, the same elite she now despises. BUT there is a gray zone, and there is such a thing as Intentions and circumstance in this case and many others.

If she was to wield a sword again, but for friendly duels, nonlethal combat and the like, it would send a message. Not "Oh god she has a sword again, the massacres will be back". And she certainly would not start killing again, with how her life went so far. If she wields a sword again, not for the Tengu Elders and not for killing, but for herself and a good cause, maybe it would get some Tengu thinking, especially the ones that were dissapointed about her giving up like Itchy. She would show that there is a way other than following the Elders, that they havent broken everyone yet.

About the other stuff, if the ferals ate or attacked humans or in this case Tengu or whatever, then yes, killing them would be different. Thats the whole point about "ferals", they are beasts, feral in nature. If they try to take a chunck outta you you dont stand there and wonder if its right to use a sword against them. Of course, sticking thier heads on a pike and killing the cubs would be too much but klling innocent, thinking beings that have not acted against you is different from killing a wild beast that wants to devour or severly maim you.

There is a difference in intention if you are wielding a sword to dismember sleeping children in a village or if you fight against the agressors trying to dismember children in said village.

And the alcohol and sword comparison is a pisspoor example. A sword can not only be used for attacking, it can be used to defend aswell,same with any weapon really. It can be used to raid villages, it can be used to defend your family. It depends entirely on the person using it what you do with it.
If you drink alcohol, you get smashed. In most cases that means unpredictable. Sure, some people get sleepy, some open up more, it also depends on the person. But they have no control over it apart from stopping to drink it or not even starting.

And a vow is a personal choice. If you uphold it is entirely up to the person vowing it.
If you vow to never speak again and you witness the murder of 22 people, 2 puppies and a turtle and would have no other choice to tell people about the culprit, should you speak again? Maybe you should think about it.

If you vow to never fight again, but doing so could save people from gettin harmed, should you fight?
Maybe you should think about it.

If Aya vows to never use a sword again but now has the chance to change what she is fighting for with it, to help her new friends and set an example against her enemies(who were at least half at fault for her vow in the first place), should she wield a sword again?
Maybe she should think about it.


And lastly you are "mincing words and twisting intentions" aswell, but so am I probably. Sorry if it sounds agressive.
[x] C
[x] Train to challenge Youmu
[x] B
[x] No, no swords. Never again.
Are you guys forgetting that Yuyuko has objections to unnecessary death herself? I get the feeling she'll understand.
As much as I'd like to see Aya use her blade for good instead of evil, I don't think this is the right time to start. And somehow, I get the feeling Aya might not even need a sword in a duel with Youmu. After all, she hasn't needed one for centuries.
>>26117
No. What causes shitstorms are overreactions and assumptions; keep them to a minimum, will you?

Also, I like how you assume that there's only one person opposing you and then call out others for doing something similar.
>>26123
Hey, everyone knows that there's only three people on the internet: you, that guy you agree with, and that guy you don't agree with.

We are both massive samefags, of course, but I hope you liked the stories I wrote!
>>26123
...Where did I say that? I know that there are others for both sides, and I addressed that person solely for bringing up vote-spam, something that enrages me since I see it as cheating and lying combined.

I am really having trouble understanding what you believe I assumed in this case; Is it because I said 'your vote' instead of 'the vote you like', which could be taken as me singling him out for doing the same thing for his side despite accusing the other side of he same at the time? Since I can tell you right now, that was written to specify the choice he was backing with his arguments, not that he was the single person voting to take back up a weapon.

God damnit, now I'm going to be annoyed till I either figure it out or you tell me what the assumption is, and I wanted to wind from class.
It doesn't have to be Aya who duels, Sukuna's good with a sword and all-too eager to use it. Use it she will when Youmu points out it's a sewing needle.
>>26126
This actually sounds like the best solution to me. It lets Aya confront and move forward from her past while still holding to her vow, which I think is important. And by being the instructor, Aya can hopefully channel Sukuna's enthusiasm down a path that does not lead to misery like her own path as a swordsman did. It also helps build ties between Aya and Sukuna and give the inchling a stronger role with the Mikami.

Therefore, my vote is as follows:

[X]Train Sukuna for the match. She's a sword fighter, isn't she? Certainly not a needle, as you learned the hard way.

-[X]Be sure to stress the importance of valuing peace and avoiding unnecessary violence as you train her. Make her into the type of sword fighter you wished you could have been instead of what you were.
Why couldn't we just get the Fan blessed, Keymaster?
You could have stopped this. You could have prevented it all.
Remember guys, she wasn't addicted to killing. She was very, very good at it but she wasn't hooked on it. If she was, she'd have been out there slaughtering people and things because her blade hand got twitchy. She gave it up as a symbolic gesture, but it was ages ago. Thousands and thousands and thousands of years ago- that's enough time for a symbol to lose its power, and to be remade into something new.

A sword can be a tool for killing, but it can also be a means to protect what you care for, after all.
Didn't Aya wield a sword during Remilia's and Reimu's marriage? Sure, she wasn't exactly in her be condition mentally back then, but if she was as opposed to it as you guys make it out to be, she would have never done that.
>>26130
that would be something Keymaster has yet to explain/ass cover. I mean I have doubts Keymaster had this in mind during that scene.

Though it speaks a good deal about his talent that such an obvious ass covering is still entertaining.
>>26130

Wait what-

>Re-checks the wedding scene.
>One sentence mentioning that Aya was twirling a sword.
>Totally fucking forgot about that little bit of flavor text.

...............

MOTHERFUCKER

Well, it's not all bad. It did mention that she was good at using it. Please excuse me while I go scream a little bit and figure out a way out of this one.
I still think that Sukuna is a decent compromise. It helps address Aya's issue with the past while still letting her keep her vow. Sukuna is a fairly skilled fighter, as her duel with Aya proved, she just needs to learn to hone her skill and focus a little. Only issue I see with this is that it may take some time to train Sukuna to face Youmu, but then again it would take some time for Aya to retrain herself as well.
File 139207329025.jpg - (60.77KB, 680x512, keymaster.jpg) [iqdb]
26134
>>26128
WHY DIDN'T YOU LISTEN.

In all seriousness, a little debate is good now and then.
>>26124
Ah, the good old, "THP is one person" thing. Good one, me!
>>26132
Well, this might be a bit of an ass-pull, but you could "Claim" that she had gone so far off the deep end for a story, she was prepared to make one at any cost.
>>26133
I disagree, because I want to see Aya train, fight and get over her trauma.
>>26133
I disagree, because I want to see Aya train, fight and get over her trauma.
>>26132
You could always play the unreliable narrator card and claim that Meiling knows so little about weapons that she confuses katanas with wooden kendo training swords.

Either that or swallow your pride, bite the bullet, and just retcon that one sentence out of existence.
>>26135

Honestly, I'm probably gonna just gloss over it than bend over backwards trying to explain things. The actual truth is that when I was reviewing Being Meiling and making notes for this story, I somehow missed that line entirely. So, fuck it.

Anyway, I'm gonna see if people want to debate about Aya's swordsmanship a little more.. If not, I might call the votes in a bit and start writing.
>>26136
such vows are not undone so casually for a flimsy reason. I think training Sukuna would be a good idea, mentoring her some more and she'd be an interesting challenge for Youmu.
I want Aya to move past her trauma too, but I think that having her pick up the sword again is going a little too far. It would work better if she instead trains Sukuna. It would still be training for Aya in the process, as she will need to relearn some of her skills to properly teach Sukuna. I think Aya would have some qualms even teaching sword fighting, and doing so would force her to confront her past to a degree. It would be a learning process for both participants. Still, she can keep her promise to not pick up the sword. It's a decent compromise, and I like how it looks outside the box of the options given to us.

Also, Keymaster, if you decide to head to votes, please give us a little warning so we can write up actual votes if we haven't made them yet.
>>26142

No probs. Actually, I think I'll give the voting another day after all. This has provoked more discussion than I thought it would.
>>26127
[x]
I agree with this.
I wanna see Aya overcome her trauma but I don't want to risk her having a ptsd flashback. Training Sukuna seems like a good compromise.
>>26142
What you said it's true, but 'facing her past to a degree' isn't what I'm looking for. And a promise is as good as the intent behind it (in this case, to stop killing)

Fulfilling a promise for its own sake, following the letter and forgetting the spirit, is meaningless. As an example of the logic that stems from that path: she could go on a rampage again as long as she kills people with her fan.
>>26142
What you said it's true, but 'facing her past to a degree' isn't what I'm looking for. And a promise is as good as the intent behind it (in this case, to stop killing)

Fulfilling a promise for its own sake, following the letter and forgetting the spirit, is meaningless. As an example of the logic that stems from that path: she could go on a rampage again as long as she kills people with her fan.
Still, the symbolism of her decision to lay down the sword has formed a critical part of her resistance to the Tengu elders. In a way, it marks the start of her decision to go against the elders for the sake of the truth. The importance of that vow should not be trivialized, and I feel that breaking that promise to herself would be the wrong choice.

Plus, I think that a Sukuna vs. Youmu duel would be interesting. Not to mention the fun as Aya tries to teach Sukuna the ropes.
Uh, did you guys miss the part where Sukuna is already hella skilled with a sword? She doesn't really need any training.
Aya still beat her. Sukuna's sword fighting skills are impressive- that's why I think she could be a suitable opponent for Youmu- but her hotblooded nature is going to be her undoing. She gives into her emotions while fighting, and loses control in the process. I feel that's the reason Aya was able to defeat her earlier; for all her skill, Sukuna lost her focus in the moment and didn't have the inner calm to think ahead. It made her attacks predictable once Aya calmed down, and then Aya was able to time herself and beat her.

If Sukuna goes up against someone like Youmu, she's going to fail unless she learns to up her game. That's where Aya comes in. She can train Sukuna to have better control over her swordplay and hopefully get her ready to face off against Youmu.
>>26148
She's talented but having a teacher like Aya wouldn't hurt.
Agreeing with >>26146 here. She made a promise, but her promise was really more along the lines of never again taking an innocent life- or any life at all. Over time that may have turned into Never Wield A Sword, but the spirit of the oath can remain in tact even should its letter change with the times.
I honestly regret ever suggesting a duel. Jesus Christ.
[X] Train to challenge Youmu

I think Aya picking up the sword again will create some drama, but will be beneficial in the end.
[B]
[X]Why not have Sukuna challenge Youmu? She's good with her nee...sword, after all.
-[X]She needs to be more focused when she fights though. Have Aya give Sukuna some sword lessons.
>>26147
Heh, the elders are gonna shit their pants of they find out that the best Tengu swordswoman has picked it up again.
[A]
[X]Why not have Sukuna challenge Youmu? She's good with her nee...sword, after all.
-[X]She needs to be more focused when she fights though. Have Aya give Sukuna some sword lessons.
[C]
[X]Why not have Sukuna challenge Youmu? She's good with her nee...sword,after all.
-[X]She needs to be more focused when she fights though. Have Aya give Sukuna some sword lessons.
Goddamn, that got a lot of discussion. Anyway, the vote is now called for option C and (narrowly) 'no' to training to fight Youmu.

A was Marisa, B was Merlin Prismriver, and C is Sekibanki.
What about the Sukuna option? Did it pull through in the end or not? If not, is it still potentially up for consideration in future votes?
>>26167

The world needs more Banki.
>>26167
>Sekibanki

Perfect
I'm interested to see how the Sekibanki encounter goes.
> A was [censored], B was [censored], and C is [censored].

And here I thought we were choosing one of the Taoists, thus my vote for Tojiko.

I suspected that while I was one step ahead, Keymaster was two.
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26173
"So, relationship troubles?" I ask the red-headed youkai sitting across from me.

The youkai girl, Sekibanki, sighs and takes a long pull of her drink. Around us, Minoriko's bar wing of the shrine is fairly busy as people quietly talk and discuss business in what most consider to be a truly neutral setting. "I try to keep the whole youkai thing under wraps. It's easier that way," she begins.

I nod, gesturing for her to go on.

"So anyway, one day while I was in the market, I met this really swell guy." Sekibanki sighs again and listlessly runs her finger around the rim of her glass. "We hit it off. We went for drinks. We dated a couple of times. And I'm thinking that I've finally met someone special, you know what I mean?"

I nod, smiling. "I do. But I take it this story doesn't have a happy ending?" Sekibanki shakes her head wearily. She had wandered in to the the bar of the shrine, looking a bit lost, and I, being the devoted shrine maiden that I am, decided to sit down and talk to her for a bit. Maybe see if I couldn't impress her and get her to be a more permanent follower. Currently, the two of us are sitting in a private booth, the sounds of the bar coming from outside of the screen.

"I thought things were going well," Sekibanki grumbles. "And they were. One day he invites me back to his place. Things start getting a little hot and heavy, which was awesome as far as I was concerned. I lose my concentration a little bit, and... well..."

"Concentration?" I ask.

Sekibanki groans. "I can detach my head and make it fly around," she explains. "Normally, keeping it on my neck is easy; it's just an effort of will, and that's that. But we'd had some drinks to help us loosen up, and I was getting a little, you know, warmed up myself. So he goes in for a kiss at the same time I do our heads collide, and my godsdamned head pops off and rolls across the floor." The red-caped youkai lowers her forehead to the table miserably.

I wince. "Killed the mood, did it?"

"As swiftly as a guillotine," Sekibanki says dully. "So. There's my disembodied head rolling across the ground, and he's staring down at it with these huge, wide eyes. I just let out this nervous giggle, having NO idea how in the hell I was going to deal with that situation... and he pisses himself, visibly, and runs out the door screaming."

I have to know. "What did you do?" I ask fascinated.

Sekibanki sits back up, staring at me blearily. "I picked my head back up, jammed it on, and ran after him, trying to get him to settle down. He's screaming bloody murder and slopping his sake all over himself, so by the time the guards stop him, he's smells like urine and strong alcohol and is babbling about talking disembodied heads. That's when I walk up, ask him if he's all right, and he loses control of his bowels and passes out. I can't get over the smell..."

"So how did things end up?" I ask

Sekibanki sighs. "He spent the night in the drunk-tank, convinced himself that it was all just a booze-dream, and is too embarrassed to talk to me anymore. I had to take care of myself that night, if you know what I mean." She cuts her eyes at me. "Please, no jokes about detachable heads and giving oneself head, or anything like that."

"Wouldn't dream of it," I lie.

Sekibanki sighs. "Anyway, I decided to come here today to have a drink and get my misfortune removed. In no particular order." The red-head takes a long drink of her beer. Then she hiccups, and her head rolls off and onto the table. I stare solemnly as it slowly rolls over the table-top, finally coming to a stop next to me, Sekibanki's face staring up at me. "...This is my life," the rokurokubi says sadly.

I pat her red hair. "Poor 'Banki." She just sighs in response.

Sometimes, it's the job of a shrine-maiden to just listen to peoples' woes.

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

It's been a few days since we got back from the underground. Business has been fairly steady for the shrine, although nothing incredible. A few people filter in and out, offering a prayer to one goddess or another before leaving. Still, it provides a steady stream of faith which has left the Mikami feeling far more energized than they have in years, You can see in in the faces, from the newfound spring in their step. People believe in them, and appreciate their blessings. What more could a goddess ask for?

Things between me and Hina are going well. We still sleep in separate rooms, but I tend to find occasion to just keep close to her and cuddle. It feels good. Real good. Knowing that Hina is there for me, not just as a goddess, but as a woman, is really important to me.

Though we both still wish that Yamame would come for a visit. I do miss her, and I can tell that Hina feels the same way.

For the most part though, I've spent my time cleaning up the shrine from the big storm, and guiding patrons to the Mikami shrine. I barely have a damn clue what I'm doing. I really wish that Reimu would agree to train me; I haven't heard back from her on that one.

Still, the biggest thing on my mind right now is our plan to speak with Yuyuko and solicit her patronage. It's a risky plan, but one with huge potential payoffs. Part of that is why I'm currently staring at one of the storage rooms in the shrine. One containing some of my oldest stuff that I never unpacked.

Among those possessions is my old sword.

A pair of arms encircle my waist as Hina hugs me from behind. "Mmm... busy day," she comments.

"Not bad," I reply absently, stroking her hands.

"Are you alright?" the misfortune goddess asks in concern.

I sigh. "My old sword is in there. Shizuha thinks that I should challenge Youmu to a duel, and get more information on Yuyuko that way."

Hina looks at me carefully, gently stroking my wings in a tender gesture. "And what do you think?"

"...I could talk about all of the pros and cons of that plan," I say after a moment, "But the real reason is that I... just... I'm not ready to pick up a sword again."

"I realize that you don't like remembering the incident, but you did have a sword at the Hakurei-Scarlet wedding," Hina points our, giving me a little squeeze.

I snort. "Yeah, one that I swiping from a guardsman when I broke out of the village. And as I recall, I had also strapped a little youkai to my back to use as a makeshift cloaking device." I laugh a little bit. "Yeah, I wasn't really in my right mind there."

"Then you don't want to do it?" Hina clarifies.

"...No," I sigh. "Maybe another day, but... not yet. Maybe not ever. There's just too many lousy memories connected with it."

Hina keeps on stroking my wings. "I was talking to Mino and Shizu, and we think that now's as good a time as any to meet with Yuyuko. What do you think?"

I nod. "Good idea. The way I see it, we have a few choices. But I personally think that we should..."


[ ] "...Show up at her place unannounced, as a surprise. Maybe bearing gifts."
[ ] "...Formally request an audience with her at her place."
[ ] "...Invite her to the Mikami shrine for food and drink."
[ ] "...Invite her out to a picnic. Someplace neutral."


(The swordsmanship thing isn't permanently ruled out, just put aside for now. Voting was pretty divided on it. It may come up again in the future. The 'train Sukuna' thing may also be considered... but keep in mind that Sukuna may not necessarily require it.)
So, guys, what would be the best option to catch Yuyukos interest and make a good first impression here? With the things from >>26083 in mind.
[x] "...Invite her to the Mikami shrine grounds for a picnic."
Because leaves.
Also, no mention of the Fan makes me sad.
[X] "...Formally request an audience with her at her place."

Showing up unannounced probably wouldn't end well if we're going by canon Youmu's "slash first, ask questions later" style of groundskeeping.

Inviting Yuyuko either to a neutral place or the shrine seems much too brazen to me. When dealing with royalty of any sort, you gotta come correct; odds are she's going to see through both, why not go with direct approach? Maybe bring a couple of bottles of the good stuff as an icebreaker?

Once the formalities have been dealt with, I'm sure both sides would have no issue coming to friendly terms even if Yuyuko ultimately decides against directly supporting the Mikami.
[X] "...Formally request an audience with her at her place."

Also, bring some sort of small gift to show our good intentions and just generally be good guests.
Then we explain our situation and what we can do for her and how we'd like her help. (Mostly she just needs to put in a good word for us every now and then, I guess.)

Just like with Kokoro there's no point in trying to be scheming and manipulative because we're likely to get a better result by simply being straightforward.
[X] "...Formally request an audience with her at her place."

Took the words right out of my mouth.
[x] "...Invite her to the Mikami shrine grounds for a picnic."

Food and booze are powerful arguments. Lots of them.
[X] "...Invite her to the Mikami shrine for food and drink."

Let's be open and frank with our intentions. No need to scheme against a master schemer. Inviting her and letting her into the shrine would be a gesture of openness. Invite her over, show her the benefits of a well-placed prayer to the Mikami, then talk shop openly. She may be more willing to trust us if we show we're honest from the get go.
>>26167
crap, if I knew that I'd have voted for B as she hardly gets much page time on THP these days while Sekibanki actually has a route in a /th/ story.

Oh well looks like we'll have to wait for another super random thing and hope we get the right choice.

[X] "...Invite her to the Mikami shrine for food and drink."
[X] "...Invite her to the Mikami shrine for food and drink."
-[X] Be upfront and honest with your intentions

I forget what Yuyuko's canon appearance was like in Perfect Cherry Blossom, but Keymaster at least seems to build her up as a master schemer, so she will probably not be fooled by any subversive attempts by us. Our entire game plan so far has been transparency of our actions, so let's go with what we know.
[X] "...Invite her to the Mikami shrine for food and drink."
-[X] Be upfront and honest with your intentions
[X] "...Formally request an audience with her at her place."
-[X] " So we can invite her to the Mikami shrine for food and drink."

Basically, I think the first impression needs to be formal, we don't know how well she'll take this. If she shows interest, then we bring her back and make the real sales pitch, in a more informal manner.
[X] "...Invite her out to a picnic. Someplace neutral."
>>26184
[X] "...Formally request an audience with her at her place."
-[X] "...So we can invite her to the Mikami shrine for food and drink."
-[X] "...or invite her out to a picnic. Someplace neutral."

Remember, even in canon, Yuyuko is more calm, friendly, and laid-back than characters like Remilia and Yukari. We should leave a good first impression by respecting her stature, but we shouldn't offend her by being too uptight.
[X] "...Formally request an audience with her at her place."
-[X] "...So we can invite her to the Mikami shrine for food and drink."
-[X] "...or invite her out to a picnic. Someplace neutral."
-[X] Be upfront and honest with your intentions.
By my count, it's currently a tie between seeking an audience with Yuyuko, and inviting her to the shrine. Next one takes it.
[x] "...Formally request an audience with her at her place."
-[X] Be upfront and honest with your intentions.
>>26191

Aaaaaaaand taken. Will start writing soon.
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26193
"...Formally request an audience with her, at her place," I finish. "We might as well make our intentions clear, after all. I suppose we could invite her here, but given that we're trying to make a deal with Yuyuko, it might be better to acknowledge ourselves as supplicants."

"Are we supplicants?" Hina muses. "We might benefit from an arrangement with Yuyuko, but I have to say, I think she might come out ahead, too. But yeah, we are the ones making the proposal. It might annoy her if we dragged her all the way out here just to hear us make an offer."

"If Minoriko cooked for her, she might forgive us," I quip. Then I think my words over. "...Actually, we might want to get Minoriko to cook up something to bring to Yuyuko. Nothing like a nice gift to butter somebody up, after all."

Hina gives me a final squeeze before stepping back. "So, how do we send a message?"

"I think that Youmu usually makes a run to the human village around this time every week," I reply, missing Hina's touch already. "At least, assuming that my information isn't completely dated. I'll write up a formal request for an audience and hand it to her, maybe try to get on her good side as well." I smile a bit. "Hey, I'm out of practice at writing things. It'll be good to settle back into the groove, even if just a little."

Hina gives me a quick peck on the lips. "I'm sure you'll do fine, Aya. Anyway, I'm going to go meditate and digest some of the misfortune being sent my way. Good luck with the writing!" I nod and wave to Hina as she heads off to her room, before going in search of a pen and paper. Better make this good.

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

Writing a missive comes back naturally. It sounds weird, but when you're used to writing things on a regular basis and fall out of the habit, you start to miss it in the back of your mind. It feels like something's missing. Going back to old habits feels good, somehow. I enjoy sitting there and letting the words flow freely, writing down a polite, formal-sounding missive to Yuyuko Saigyouji, requesting that we be permitted into Hakugyokuro to meet with her.

Once I've finished my writing, I change into my comfortable reporter's outfit and take to the glorious, open blue skies, in search of the relatively familiar sight of Youmu Konpaku. After about a half-hour of searching, I finally locate her on her way back from the human village. Looks like I got a bit lucky; any later and I would have missed her.

Youmu comes up short when I come to a stop in front of her, eying me suspiciously as she adjusts her packages to one arm and keeps her other near one of her swords. Nothing innately threatening, just giving the impression that if I were to cause trouble, she'd be able to respond. Fortunately that's the furthest thing from my mind.

"Shameimaru," the half-phantom says carefully, her ghost half lazily orbiting around her. "What business do you have with me?"

I bow formally, kind of a strange pose in mid-air, but I've gotten used to it over the years. "Miss Konpaku, my apologies for disturbing you like this. I come bearing a missive from the three goddesses of the Mikami. They wish to speak with your Lady Yuyuko, should she deem it worth her time to do so. May I ask you to bring this message to her?" I hold the letter out humbly, waiting for a response. When Youmu doesn't say anything after a moment, I peer up to see if I've annoyed her somehow.

Youmu is staring at me with a stunned expression on her face, hand no longer anywhere near her sword. "...What?" she says faintly.

I straighten up. "Sorry, um, I was just trying to be respectful. I serve the Mikami goddesses, and they wanted to speak with Lady Yuyuko. This is the formal request." I gesture to the letter in my hand again.

Youmu starts. "Oh. Oh! Yes! Yes, of course! An audience! Um... on behalf of Lady Yuyuko, you have my word that this message shall reach her ears, and I shall encourage her to heed your request." Youmu reaches out and takes the note, fumbling with it a little as she stares at me in disbelief.

"Is something wrong?" I ask, confused.

"No, not at all!" Youmu assures me. "I mean... well, I was going to ask if you were feeling all right," she amends.

I think it over. Life turning itself around, have a divine girlfriend (literally). Yeah, I'd say that I'm doing pretty well these days. "I'm fine," I say with a shrug.

"Oh." Youmu blinks, looking at me for a moment. "It's just... you seem so different, somehow. This... really isn't how I remember you acting."

I laugh weakly, rubbing my head. "Yeah, I guess I deserve that, huh? Well, let's just say that I've been trying to turn over a new leaf. Or maybe flip over an old one that's been neglected for way too long." I pause. "Never mind. That analogy went some very strange places."

The half-phantom looks at me curiously. "So, the rumors are true. You really have changed. I mean, there's a breeze today, but you haven't tried to peer under my skirt even once." She starts a little bit. "Uh, n-not that that's the thing that stands out the most to me or anything, I just, uh-"

I laugh and wave her off. "No worries, I deserve it. And yeah, a while back I probably would have tried to do just that." It is kinda breezy today, now that she mentions it. And I can't help but notice, out of the corner of my eye, that Youmu has some very nice legs. But this is neither the time or place. "Incidentally, I've started wearing shorts beneath my short skirts. You might wanna try it."

"Now there's a thought..." Youmu mutters, looking off into the distance. Then she seems to come back to herself and nods to me, suddenly all business. "My apologies for my irreverent behavior, Miss Shameimaru. As I said, I shall deliver this notice to Lady Yuyuko at once. We look forward to seeing you in Hakugyokuro."

With a final nod, Youmu turns and flies off, on the way back to her mistress. Message delivered, I turn and head back to the shrine. We've got a trip to plan.


[ ] Who do you bring with you to Hakugyoukuro?
+
[ ] What's the dress code? Formal, relaxed?
+
[ ] Do you bring something with you as a gift? And if so, what?
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26194
Oh man, Yuyuko is gonna have a blast with this, I can sense it.

I mean, when was the last time someone treated her with the proper reverence in canon?
I know she discourages that stuff, but, from my experience, it feels a little discouraging to see people acting like they want without even an 'at ease' order.

Voting later.
[X] Only Aya.
The goddesses have been running around everywhere lately. I kind of want to see just Aya again for a change.
[X] Formal clothing.
She didn't get the miko outfit just for fun. (Well, not the standard version at least.)
[X] A small gift from each of the goddesses, to show that we represent all of them.
I guess something like a bottle of fine sake from Minoriko, a modest piece of art from Shizuha and maybe a good fortune charm or something from Hina?


So basically staying with the formal flow, Aya goes there as a representative of the goddesses because it's not proper for "people of importance" to show up themselves without first building up a certain rapport through intermediates.
First you ask for an audience, then you send a (classy) servant to speak to them and deliver a few gifts, the servant brings their response back, the correspondence goes on for a few more trips back and forth before a meeting is agreed upon, and so on... You don't just show up and go "eey, how're you doin'?" like some sort of base commoner.

Of course, I'm pretty sure Yuyuko won't really go through all that trouble, but if we're being formal about this then we're going to do it right, until told otherwise.

They can just laugh it off as Aya getting too much into her role as miko or something if it starts going weird.
I mean, she's already goofed once while talking to Youmu, anyway.
I imagine Youmu will appreciate an opportunity to be MAXIMUM FORMAL and have it be reciprocated as much as Yuyuko will find it amusing.

Contemplating vote.
[X] Only Aya.
-[X] And a little inchling who just happens to have secretly stowed along for the trip. (I'm still hoping to see a Sukuna vs. Youmu duel.)
[X] Formal clothing.
[X] A small gift from each of the goddesses, to show that we represent all of them.
[x] Aya and Hina.
-[x] And an Inchling stowaway.
[x] Formal.
[x] Cakes! Booze! A painting! Hina's smile!
>>26198
Oh I like this.

[x] Aya and Hina.
-[x] And an Inchling stowaway.
[x] Formal.
[x] Cakes! Booze! A painting! Hina's smile!

Especially Aya and Hina time.
>>26195
I like this write-in

[X] Only Aya.
The goddesses have been running around everywhere lately. I kind of want to see just Aya again for a change.
[X] Formal clothing.
She didn't get the miko outfit just for fun. (Well, not the standard version at least.)
[X] A small gift from each of the goddesses, to show that we represent all of them.
I guess something like a bottle of fine sake from Minoriko, a modest piece of art from Shizuha and maybe a good fortune charm or something from Hina?

Please, guys. No inchling stowaway. If she does it will show that she has learned NOTHING from the past. That really takes away from her character, making her one-note comic relief. And we don't need that right now.
[X] Only Aya.
The goddesses have been running around everywhere lately. I kind of want to see just Aya again for a change.
[X] Formal clothing.
She didn't get the miko outfit just for fun. (Well, not the standard version at least.)
[X] A small gift from each of the goddesses, to show that we represent all of them.
I guess something like a bottle of fine sake from Minoriko, a modest piece of art from Shizuha and maybe a good fortune charm or something from Hina?
>>26195
I, too, like this write-in.

[X] Only Aya.
The goddesses have been running around everywhere lately. I kind of want to see just Aya again for a change.
[X] Formal clothing.
She didn't get the miko outfit just for fun. (Well, not the standard version at least.)
[X] A small gift from each of the goddesses, to show that we represent all of them.
I guess something like a bottle of fine sake from Minoriko, a modest piece of art from Shizuha and maybe a good fortune charm or something from Hina?

I could go either way as to the stowaway, but I'm inclined to suggest "no". Mostly because of the "one-note comedy relief" issue, which she probably deserves more than. Oh, and because having Aya go alone kind of loses its effect when she isn't actually alone.
[X] Only Aya. 
The goddesses have been running around everywhere lately. I kind of want to see just Aya again for a change. 
[X] Formal clothing. 
She didn't get the miko outfit just for fun. (Well, not the standard version at least.) 
[X] A small gift from each of the goddesses, to show that we represent all of them. 
I guess something like a bottle of fine sake from Minoriko, a modest piece of art from Shizuha and maybe a good fortune charm or something from Hina? 
[X] Only Aya.
[X] Formal clothing.
[X] A small gift from each of the goddesses, to show that we represent all of them.
I guess something like a bottle of fine sake from Minoriko, a modest piece of art from Shizuha and maybe a good fortune charm or something from Hina?

I was thinking of a possible prayer to Shizuha. Basically, an occasional prayer to her would make falling leaves gather into piles as they fall, depending on the strength of the prayer and their devotion. It would be probably be something Youmu and Reimu would be interested in. It could even be made into a charm.
As always, the main write in is quite quite wrong. So Yuyuko is important enough to warrant a formal request but not enough to get to see the goddesses? She's a main power, Yukari/Reimu tier: she deserves all we got.

[x] Aya and the three goddess.
[x] formal clothing
[x] Gifts from each one of the mikami. Regular to big size/value.
[X] Aya and the three goddesses.
[X] Formal; shrine maiden outfit. The proper one.
[X] A small gift from each of the goddesses, to show that we represent all of them.
-[X] Be Friendly.
>>26205
Of course she's going to meet the Mikami, I just wanted to get focus back on Aya for a while. This story is, after all, mainly about her. (The Mikami have strong supporting roles, especially Hina who has the lead supporting role, but the main character is without a doubt Aya.)

Besides, they just got back from the underground and prayers have started rolling in. Let's give them some time to just get things up to speed at the shrine, instead of running from shrine building, to oni, to Yuyuko, to.. Whoever is next. Just stop and smell the figurative roses.

As soon as Aya has made the sales pitch, so to speak, the Mikami and Yuyuko can meet up to discuss actual terms and stuff like that.
[ ]Just Aya (definitely no Sukuna).
The point of the formal audience is to leave a good impression on Yuyuko. We're basically just delivering her an invitation. She can meet the goddesses when she accepts.
[ ]Formal; namely, Her miko robes.
It's more formal than Aya's regular outfit, and it denotes that she works for the Mikami Shrine. We don't need to get any fancier than that.
[ ] A small gift from each of the goddesses, to show that we represent all of them.
Fine saké from Minoriko, a small painting from Shizuha, and a good-luck charm (the cutest one you have!) from Hina.
[X] Aya and Minoriko
The point of a Pantheon is not every goddess needs to do everything. When the Moriya wanted to Scope the Mikami out all three didn't come barrelling down, they just sent Suwako.
[X] Formal
We should look our best when meeting one of the most important figures in Gensokyo
[X] Gifts from all three goddesses.
>>26209 has the righ idea here
Vote called! Aya alone will be visiting Yuyuko, in formal wear, along with a small gift from each of the goddesses.
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26212
Later that afternoon, I'm out front taking some photos of the gorgeous autumnlands, both for a personal photo album, and to possibly use in some flyers for the shrine, when Youmu arrives, landing just outside the entrance Torii and walking along the pathway. She seems quite impressed by what she sees, which I can't help but feel a bit pleased by. I like our shrine an awful lot, myself!

I walk up to meet her, and Youmu bows formally when she sees me coming. "Miss Shameimaru. Your goddesses indeed have a most lovely shrine."

I return the bow. "My thanks, Miss Konpaku. We are indeed proud of this place. Have you a reply for us from your mistress?"

We straighten, and You nods politely. "Indeed. Lady Yuyuko agrees to grant you an audience, and would like to invite you to Hakugyokuro to speak with her. She is interested to know just what the newest faith in Gensokyo could possibly want of her."

It's all a bit painfully formal, but Youmu almost seems to be enjoying the situation. Maybe Yuyuko never lets her be too formal? Well, getting on the servant's good side never hurt. "Then we shall make preparations at once. Might I offer you some tea while you wait?"

Youmu bows again, suppressing a smile. "I would be most delighted, Miss Shameimaru." Her eyes are shimmering with happiness. This girl really enjoys all of this formal stuff, doesn't she? I wonder just how she'd respond to the tengu courts.

In any case, I lead Youmu into the shrine and call out for our smallest member. "Hey, Sukuna!"

Sukuna is there in an instant. "Yes, Aya?"

I think I hear a little squeak from Youmu, but choose to ignore it. "Could you please give our guest some tea? I need to speak with the Mikami."

Sukuna seems to pick up on my formal behavior and mimics it. "Certainly. If you will please follow me?" She bows to Youmu, who just nods at Sukuna with wide eyes and a slight blush on her face. Taken in by the cuteness of Sukuna, I see. "Thank you. By the way, I couldn't help but notice that you're a swordswoman! You certainly have the noble bearing of one! I myself am also a swordswoman, and was just curious..." Sukuna continues to chat Youmu up as the half-phantom gazes down at her in rapt fascination. Well, the inchling's flirting technique has certainly evolved. Shaking my head, I make for my room.

Hina and the Akis are waiting for me, and fall in step as I walk. "What's the verdict?" Hina asks me.

"We've been invited to Hakugyokuro," I reply.

"All of us?" Shizuha inquires.

"It was a general invitation," I respond, "But I'm the only one going right now. It's a sort of courtly thing. Basically, I go first as your chosen servant and sound her out while also giving Yuyuko the chance to get a feel for what we want from her. If she's interested, I get sent back with an invitation for you three to come in person next time, or I can try to invite her here as well. Then again, Yuyuko will know exactly what I'm up to, and try to keep the home court advantage." I sigh as I enter my room, heading for my dresser. "It's politics, and not something that I enjoy. It's necessary, though."

"Then what should we do?" Minoriko asks.

"Remember how I suggested that you three have some gifts in mind? Well, if you have them, I'll take them with me, just to give Yuyuko a good impression of us. Also, think about some good, classy clothes that you could wear while meeting with Yuyuko. They'd be a worthy investment right about now." And as much as I love it, Hina's new dress would likely not be appropriate for such a meeting.

The Mikami nod, and hurry off to gather their gifts while I quickly change into my shrine-maiden uniform. This isn't going to be easy. Yuyuko is being polite right now, but she has absolutely no reason to help us with anything. I need to figure out just what she thinks about us, if anything, and then change that to a favorable impression. Then I need to figure out what to offer her to get her on our side. Tricky, to say the least.

After a few minutes, I'm all changed and prepared, and exit out into the hall to get the gifts from the Mikami. Minoriko hands me a fine bottle of sake, brewed by herself. Shizuha gives me a beautiful painting of the autumnlands she made. Hina hands me an intricate, hand-made good luck charm that absorbs misfortune and spreads good fortune. Hopefully, it will be enough to get on Yuyuko's good side. It's a start, at any rate.

Hina gives me a quick kiss and looks me in the eyes. "Good luck," she murmurs. I nod, and go to find Youmu.

The half-phantom is on one of the shrine's verandas, sipping her tea while Sukuna tries her very best to put the moves on her. Currently, it involves reciting some of the newest poetry she had written. Somehow, I don't think that Youmu-

"That's so lovely, Sukuna. You're quite talented!" Youmu smiles down at the inchling, who just chuckles bashfully.

...Well. I may have underestimated little Sukuna. Go figure.

Youmu notices my arrival and jumps a little bit. "Aya! You're... dressed as a shrine maiden?"

I smile and show off my uniform. "Yep. Gotta play the part, after all! I'm about the closest that the shrine has to an actual priestess. I'm going to get Reimu to give me some pointers, hopefully... but anyway. At your earliest convenience, I am ready to pay Lady Yuyuko a visit."

Youmu stand up at my formal air. "Only you?"

"I feel it better for an emissary to make our case before the goddesses themselves make a appearance."

Youmu nods. "I understand. Then, shall we be on our way?"

Shortly thereafter, the two of us take our leave from the shrine, heading for the path to Hakugyokuro. I can feel the Mikami's eyes on me as I depart, carrying their hopes. No pressure, Aya. Aside from the massive pressure I feel to get this right. Youmu picks up on my mood, it seems, and respects my silence as she leads the way through the blue skies. The whole time, I think long and hard about how to approach Yuyuko, to get her to agree to a deal with the Mikami. It's all about earning favor, right now.

The two of us fly higher, higher, as Youmu leads me to the massive gates to the netherworld. Which, for some reason, have some fairly crude graffiti on them. Youmu sighs wearily, but just shakes her head at my questioning glance. Beyond the gates lies a massive stairway, seeming to go on forever. I'd hate to be the poor sap who has to climb up that. Flying's great, you know?

Youmu lands at the head of the stairs, and I look around at the palace of Hakugyokuro. It's... big, to say the least. I figure the whole of the tengu village could fit in here, many times over. Hell, I think it could make up a sizable chunk of the underground city! Within its walls lies a tremendous garden, with cherry trees in bloom swaying in a breeze that I cannot feel. Ethereal forms flit through the trunks, doing whatever it is that ghosts do to occupy themselves. The sound of running water comes to me from the distance. Some sort of stream?

Finally, we pass through the garden and come to the main building itself, where a figure in a blue kimono sits patiently, sipping what looks like a cup of tea. The pink-haired princess of the dead herself looks up with a benign smile as we approach.

Youmu snaps to attention. "Lady Yuyuko! I bring with me Aya Shameimaru, the... representative of the Mikami Shrine!"

Yuyuko giggles. "Oh, Youmu, you're just so adorable when you try to act all formal! I just want to give you such a biiiiiiig hug~!" Her voice is airy and playful, the very image of a content woman who would never mean anyone any harm.

Youmu blushes intensely, her formal air shattered. "L-Lady Yuyuko! This is an important meeting! Please treat it with the gravity that it deserves!"

"Oh, poo!" Yuyuko pouts. "Youmu's mad at me! I'm so depressed now..." The princess actually sniffles a bit, looking genuinely dismayed.

Youmu sputters, at a loss for words. "L-Lady... I... please don't... I'm not... please greet our guest correctly!" Youmu is now red in the face, desperately trying to get her mistress to cooperate. It's quite the comical scene, really.

Yuyuko sighs. "Oh, all right... but I want an apology cuddle from you later, young lady!" She giggles, suddenly bright and happy again. "Eheh. You're so soft and smell so nice, you know~!" Youmu slowly lowers her face into her hands, mortified beyond words. Meanwhile, Yuyuko turns her gaze to me, eyes bright and genuinely welcoming. "Well, what a lovely visitor! Welcome to Hakugyokuro, Miss Aya! I love your outfit!"

Yuyuko is lovely, with kind and welcoming eyes. Eyes that are filled with more calculation than the entirety of the tengu court. Eyes that let me know that this is a woman who has probably already planned three steps in advance. At least. I need to move carefully.



[ ] What do you say to Yuyuko?
[ ]"Hello, Yuyuko! So nice to meet you! I'm Aya, head miko of Mikami Shrine..."

I guess we can take the formal act and let it down just a bit. Just be sweet, friendly, honest, and casual, but don't forget why we came here. Don't act like a businesswoman trying to pitch a sale, act like a hostess handing out invitations to a party (since that, in essence, is what we're doing).

I think our problem is less "How can we get Yuyuko to support us?" and more "Does Yuyuko even want to get involved in Gensokyo politics in the first place?" Considering how uptight the other faiths seem to act...
[X] Be friendly and maybe tone down the formality a bit.

So basically:
>>26215 I agree with this.

We should stay at least sort of formal even if it's obvious that Yuyuko is acting flippant about this whole thing.

As for the offer itself, we should simply be friendly and straightforward.
She's a much better schemer and plotter than Aya, so there's no point in trying to trick her. Just be honest and open about everything. Maybe with just a little bit of verbal sparring, for the sake of it but no real attempts of actually tricking her.
[x] Try to remain pompous and courtly, expressing indignity at Yuyuko's behaviour without being directly critical.
-[x] Break down laughing.
--[x] Offer booze.
[x] Try to remain pompous and courtly, expressing indignity at Yuyuko's behaviour without being directly critical.
-[x] Break down laughing.
--[x] Offer booze.
[x] "Did you know that the Mikami Shrine is the only shrine guaranteed to get you 60% more cuddle time with your gardener? It's true!"
-[x] ...but wait until Youmu's out of earshot for that one. Let's keep the esteem of our favorite half-ghost.

[x] Ask about the graffiti from earlier. Maybe there's something we can do to help?
[X] Try to remain pompous and courtly, expressing indignity at Yuyuko's behaviour without being directly critical.
-[X] Break down laughing.
--[X] Offer booze. (other gifts, too)
[X] "Did you know that the Mikami Shrine is the only shrine guaranteed to get you 60% more cuddle time with your gardener? It's true!"
-[X] ...but wait until Youmu's out of earshot for that one. Let's keep the esteem of our favorite half-ghost.

[X] Ask about the graffiti from earlier. Maybe there's something we can do to help? (assuming it IS a problem. May not be.)

This will be fun.
[X] Try to remain pompous and courtly, expressing indignity at Yuyuko's behaviour without being directly critical.
-[X]Make it clear even then that you're exaggerating (don't want to take the joke too far and make them think you're serious).
-[X] Break down laughing.
--[X] Offer booze. (other gifts, too)
[X]Become slightly more serious after a little bit (while still having a good time), and be upfront about your plans for an alliance.
[X] "Did you know that the Mikami Shrine is the only shrine guaranteed to get you 60% more cuddle time with your gardener? It's true!"
-[X] ...but wait until Youmu's out of earshot for that one. Let's keep the esteem of our favorite half-ghost.

[X] Ask about the graffiti from earlier. Maybe there's something we can do to help? (assuming it IS a problem. May not be.)
X] Try to remain pompous and courtly, expressing indignity at Yuyuko's behaviour without being directly critical.
-[X]Make it clear even then that you're exaggerating (don't want to take the joke too far and make them think you're serious).
-[X] Break down laughing.
--[X] Offer booze. (other gifts, too)
[X]Become slightly more serious after a little bit (while still having a good time), and be upfront about your plans for an alliance.
[X] "Did you know that the Mikami Shrine is the only shrine guaranteed to get you 60% more cuddle time with your gardener? It's true!"
-[X] ...but wait until Youmu's out of earshot for that one. Let's keep the esteem of our favorite half-ghost.

[X] Ask about the graffiti from earlier. Maybe there's something we can do to help? (assuming it IS a problem. May not be.)
X] Try to remain pompous and courtly, expressing indignity at Yuyuko's behaviour without being directly critical.
-[X]Make it clear even then that you're exaggerating (don't want to take the joke too far and make them think you're serious).
-[X] Break down laughing.
--[X] Offer booze. (other gifts, too)
[X]Become slightly more serious after a little bit (while still having a good time), and be upfront about your plans for an alliance.
[X] "Did you know that the Mikami Shrine is the only shrine guaranteed to get you 60% more cuddle time with your gardener? It's true!"
-[X] ...but wait until Youmu's out of earshot for that one. Let's keep the esteem of our favorite half-ghost.

[X] Ask about the graffiti from earlier. Maybe there's something we can do to help? (assuming it IS a problem. May not be.)
Wait, Lunasa? I thought Lyrica was one of the survivors?
File 139241749070.jpg - (770.97KB, 722x1000, valentine youmu.jpg) [iqdb]
26229
>>26228

WHOOPS! No errors here! Not like I deleted and corrected the entire post or anything! C-carry on!

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

...Faced with a formal request for an audience, Yuyuko's reaction is to act fluffy and air-headed when I show up to meet with her, despite me clearly being decked-out for a serious meeting. It's not something she's doing without reason; those eyes are far too calculating for that. And she wouldn't be doing it just to get a rise out of her servant. No, she's doing this for a reason. Testing my reaction? Trying to get a rise out of me or take me off-guard? Hard to say. But two can play at that game.

I stiffen my back and force my face into a stony expression. "Lady Saigyouji," I say in a cool voice. At my tone, Yuyuko's expression doesn't change, but I can see her searching me more carefully than before. "I thank you for your kind words, though I must admit, this is not quite the reception that I had expected." I glance over at Youmu, who winces at my words.

"Oh, no?" Yuyuko says airily. She keeps her gentle smile on her face, but her eyes look very sharp. "But Miss Aya, I assumed that you would know how nice it is to cuddle your loved ones in the comfort of your own home."

"And is that really appropriate behavior for a formal meeting?" I ask, in full court-mode now.

Yuyuko just smiles serenely. Her eyes have relaxed, and almost appear to be laughing. She doesn't buy my act for a moment, I can tell. Oh well, might as well go with the flow.

The ghost princess reaches out and tugs Youmu into lap, who reacts with a startled yelp. Hugging the gardener to her tightly, and rubbing her cheek against Youmu's, Yuyuko winks at me. "Yes. Yes, it is."

"L-L-Lady Yuyuko!" Youmu sputters, struggling but unable to get out of her mistress' grasp.

I consider Youmu's situation with a face of stone. Her blushing expression, her desperate, futile squirming... coming from the shattered remnants of her attempts at formality, it only makes the swordswoman look adorable. I heave a disappointed sigh. "...I must concede to your logic," I admit.

Youmu's head whips around to regard me with horror. "WHAT?!"

Yuyuko just grins. "It gets better! Look!" Still with that happy smile on her face, the ghost princess starts to tickle her embarrassed servant.

"Ahahahahahha!" Youmu shrieks helplessly. "L-Lady Yuyukooooaaahahahhahahah!" Youmu is even redder in the face now, laughing helplessly as her mistress torments her. "P-p-please stooooop!"

Yuyuko just giggles, relenting but cuddling Youmu even tighter. "Oh, you're just so fun to tease, Youmu! You see, Miss Aya? This is absolutely appropriate behavior for any situation!"

I bow politely. "I apologize for my breach of protocol, and thank you for your wisdom, Lady Saigyouji," I say, struggling to keep the laughter out of my voice.

"Apology accepted!" Yuyuko chirps.

"You gotta be kidding me..." Youmu groans.

Yuyuko releases her servant and pats her on the head benignly. "There, there, Youmu. Be a dear and get some tea and snacks for our guest, will you?" Youmu bows hurriedly and scampers off, eager to be out of there. The two of us watch her go, and then turn to regard one another, one of us stone-faced, the other with a gentle smile.

And then we break down laughing. It's impossible, I can't hold it in! That had to have been one of the most hysterical reactions that I have ever seen, and Youmu's innate cuteness only made it moreso. I wind up collapsed next to Yuyuko, the two of us hanging on to each other as we let our mirth out.

Finally, I get a hold of myself and wipe the tears from my eyes. "That was mean," I chide Yuyuko.

The ghost princess waves me off. "Nonsense. Youmu is far too stiff and formal for her own good. She needs to stop taking herself so seriously, or she's going to wind up hurting herself. A little lesson in humility will go a long way." Yuyuko winks at me. "Besides! She's soft and smells nice."

I think about cuddling with Hina and nod thoughtfully. "I'll take that under advisement, Lady Saigyouji."

"Yuyuko," the spirit corrects me.

"Lady Yuyuko," I correct myself, and the princess nods at my compromise. A simple enough verbal dance. "In any case, I come bearing gifts from the goddesses of Mikami Shrine."

"Oh?" Yuyuko's eyes widen in interest.

I hand her each of the Mikami's gifts in turn. "First, a bottle of sake brewed by Minoriko Aki herself."

Yuyuko smiles happily at Minoriko's bottle of sake. "I've heard wonderful things about Lady Minoriko's brewing technique!"

"It's all accurate," I assure her. "Secondly, a painting made by the hands of Shizuha Aki."

Yuyuko takes the painting and looks it over, her bubbly expression fading to one of genuine awe and pleasure. "Remarkable... it feels like I could just reach out and touch the leaves with my own hands..."

"She has genuine talent," I concur. "And finally, Lady Hina wanted me to give you this fortune charm she made herself."

Yuyuko takes the charm and examines it thoughtfully. "Interesting... there's a lot of power within this little thing. Apparently, fortune has favored your goddesses as of late."

"We have all been working hard," I agree. "You should come visit our shrine at some point! Good food, drink, scenery, and we guarantee you 60% more cuddle time with your gardener! That's a promise unique to us!"

Yuyuko's eyes get s sharp look in them, but she regards me with an amazed expression. "Truly?! Why, I might have to pay you a visit with Youmu some day, and make an offering to your goddesses, hm?"

She's on to me, unsurprisingly.

"Well, I would think that someone in your position would have many of her spiritual needs seen to already," I say with a shrug. Yuyuko regards me curiously, trying to take my measure. She remains as inscrutable as ever, but I can tell that she's probing. Seeing Youmu heading our way with a tray of snacks, I decide to change the subject. "So, I noticed some graffiti on the gates of the netherworld on the way in. What's that all about?"

Yuyuko sighs, looking honestly sad, while Youmu answers for her, setting the tray down between us. "That would be Lyrica Prismriver," the half-phantom says quietly. "She's been having a difficult time as of late."

"Difficult?" I ask.

"You know of the Pleasant Meadows incident, of course?" Yuyuko speaks. I nod. "Unfortunately, Miss Lyrica has been having a difficult time dealing with the memories as of late, and has been acting up a great deal with some of her friends. Her sisters are beside themselves trying to reign her in."

I grimace. Damn. I thought that the other survivors of that deal were doing so well. Then again, it's not like we spoke to every last one of them. Maybe something for Hina to do in the future.

I help myself to some tea and snacks, and just take a moment to enjoy the peaceful air of Hakugyokuro. "You seek an alliance with me," Yuyuko says after a moment. It's not a question. Youmu blinks, apparently surprised.

"Yes, we do," I agree. There's no sense in denying it.

Yuyuko considers for a moment, looking out at her gardens with a composed expression. "Elaborate, please."

I take a sip of tea, gathering my thoughts.


[ ] What do you say now to Yuyuko?
First of all, bring in the benefits we discussed earlier for her: Yuyuko's clearly interested in Shizuha's art, and Hina's fortune-based powers could also help with preventing unnecessary deaths. And the food from Minoriko, we can't forget that! (Since we're getting serious though, best to add that in at the end).

Second, make it clear that you're looking for a balanced alliance, neither side truly absorbing the other.

Third, make clear why you want the alliance to begin with. Explain how we may potentially come into conflict with some of the other religious factions in Gensokyo. Don't indict any of the factions, but still make it clear that internally we're bracing for the first blow. Also potentially hint at the Tengu conflict looming. Don't say anything harsh against the factions, but leave enough hints for her to get an idea of what's coming.

Finally, ask if Yuyuko could possibly arrange for Hina to meet up with Lyrica to try to work past the Pleasant Meadows incident. Explain how it's already helped with a couple of the people involved such as Nitori, and that it could help Lyrica too. Emphasize that this is entirely separate from any potential alliance.

These are my rough suggestions on the matter. Not quite sure how to put this into a vote yet, and I'm open to other ideas.
One other thing I forgot to mention in my earlier post! We might want to bring up how we've also made some links with the underground, and, if Yuyuko gets interested enough, bring up how the museum incident and Hina.

I think that this might be an interesting benefit for Yuyuko. While we can't promise anything, she could feasibly use us as an intermediary for the underground, and from that point get involved with the evil spirit issues down there. I think she might be interested in trying to help the spirits, or at least alleviate their suffering. Plus, it helps us better showcase Hina's powers, which could also potentially benefit ghosts.
The Mikami faith is new, and fledgling. An early alliance with an existing major faith would provide protection from the others, but would also relegate us to something of a second fiddle.
We have made steps to remain neutral in order to retain independence, but that also means we are vulnerable.
Yuyuko's patronage, or at least endorsement, would give some pause to any hostile group's plans to move against us, while also yielding an improved public image.

As for benefits for Yuyuko, >>26230 and >>26231 do quite well, though we should definitely close out with the fact that the Mikami are genuinely nice people and would love the chance to make a new friend, even if Yuyuko doesn't wish for an alliance of any kind.
I think >>26073 summed up most of the benefits. We can't really offer much to her directly, it's more about alignment of goals - how we're working to improve the world in ways she could appreciate and want to support. Plus she gets more opportunity to screw with people like Kanako, but we probably shouldn't try to mention that.

Also, as >>26230 said, we need to make the terms clear. There's no reason not to be completely open about what we need and why.

>>26231
Do we know how the "evil spirits" we saw in the underground tie into the rest of the afterlife? If anything like that shows up occasionally in the netherworld, Hina could help deal with it, but I get the impression they're left over from Old Hell. Can't do much for them if they're damned.
There are two main definitions for evil spirits on the wiki. One is that youkai stole the spirits' bodies before they can cross the Sanzu River, turning them into evil spirits. However, Kasen says that they were criminal spirits who committed evil while alive. Given that, I'm not sure if Yuyuko would be that interested. Still, it might suggest that Hina can have an effect on ghosts, which could be used in other ways.
Some way to be reminded of the incident which seemed to have been forgotten.

Those covered:
Nitori
Kasen
Parsee (sort of)

Those left:
Lyrica
Eiki
Hatate
Yumeko
Tokiko (?)
>>26239
I thought we weren't going to be making as big a deal out of the PM thing now that Hina's over it.
>>26241
Hina may be over it Lyrica certainly isn't. I'm sure Hina will want to help when we tell her.
>>26241
>>26246
Hina might be over it, but there's no promises about everyone else. And yeah what better way to get faith than by helping people?
We still need votes or Keymaster can't write.
Since we both know that she's the one in a position of power in this case, we should be completely open about our situation, what we want, why, and what we can offer in return.
Like most of the suggestions so far seems to agree on.

We could also point out that while the Mikami may be small now, they are growing and could be a valuable future connection to the Celestial Bureaucracy (this is based on two assumptions: I'm assuming that it exists since e.g. Eiki has a proper job, she's not just doing it because it's what she does, and that all divinities are in some way connected to it even if it's just like a regular citizens connection to their country's government. If that's not true, just ignore this suggestion) and they're also the only faith in Gensokyo that has currently managed to secure some contacts in the underground, which is an entire "untapped resource" when it comes to faith, so they can solidify their power base with a minimum amount of confrontations with other faiths. Which has three advantages:
1. It keeps disturbances and incidents to a minimum.
2. The other goddesses cannot as easily cut them off from their supply of faith.
Leading to a very steady and safe supply of faith meaning 3. Their growth is mostly a matter of when they "make it big", not if.


>>26239
We have talked to Hatate, even if not about the Meadows, and she seems to be doing pretty fine. (Current troubles with the Elders notwithstanding.)
I don't think we need to worry about her.

Parsee and AlfredY are doing fine, and there's nothing to suggest that Eiki and AlfredX are seriously troubled either. (If she was moping around or acting up, it would be noticeable, since she does after all hold a very important position. If she had stopped judging the dead, all of Gensokyo would have noticed by now.)


Also, you forgot to mention Suika, Iku and Yukari. Although Iku has found a new way to let off steam, so she also seems fine.
File 139249676152.jpg - (453.74KB, 627x885, 2d75d7c7158006984cb400d91baffa88.jpg) [iqdb]
26251
I would kill for an Aya's and Hina's valentine special.
...Actually, it's a bit hard to turn all of this discussion into an update. Can I get some votes summarizing what people want said? Thanks.

>>26251

So greedy.
Putting my suggestions into a vote:

[X]First make it clear that while you are interested in an alliance, you and the Mikami would at least like to be friends with her. Emphasize that the Minoriko, Shizuha, and Hina are all good people. Therefore, regardless of what Yuyuko decides, you hope that she might at least consider dropping in sometime just to visit.
[X]Explain the potential benefits of the alliance.
-[X]Hina can help protect people against misfortune, and this could help prevent chance deaths.
-[X]Shizuha is a goddess of art, and also embodies change, which could feasibly include birth and death.
-[X]Minoriko is a goddess of fertility and hard work, so she could help support lives through better harvests and support people's efforts to help others.
--[X]Plus there's gourmet food and drink! (Mostly as a joke)
[X]Explain why you want an alliance in the first place. Say that while the Mikami have potential to grow into an important part of Gensokyo, at the moment they are small and hence vulnerable to absorption or subversion by other factions.
-[X]Casually bring up the Moriya gods. Officially state that so far you have gotten along well with them, but hint that you're bracing yourself for potential conflict.
-[X]Also bring up the tengu. Give nothing but statements of gratitude for their help, while making it clear how you dislike the current order, and how in the future there may be some turbulence (aka revolution).
[X]Shift to how you are looking for allies that are strong enough to provide support in these uneasy times yet are not particularly interested in subverting or absorbing the Mikami.
-[X]Bring up how you just got back from another mission into the underground. Satisfy and fuel Yuyuko's curiosity with various tales of your adventures down there should she or Youmu show interest.
--[X]Eventually lead into the museum incident with Hina and the evil spirits. You're wondering if maybe this is another way the Mikami could help Yuyuko. You're not an expert on ghosts, but perhaps Yuyuko has more of an idea of opportunities.
[X]Finally, suggest that Hina meet with Lyrica to try to move past the Pleasant Meadows incident. Mention how you've helped Hina move past it and how she in turn helped Nitori. It's a shared experience they've had, so perhaps they can help each other get over the trauma. Emphasize that this matter is entirely separate from the alliance.
>>26254
>First make it clear that while you are interested in an alliance, you and the Mikami would at least like to be friends with her
Come on, don't lead off with bullshit like that, it's not going to help convince her of anything. We can worry about being friends later, she wants us to get to the point. Saying that, you just sound like you expect her to refuse.

Same for the Lyrica thing, not only is it a separate matter, but it's a personal matter for Hina to deal with if and when she wants to. It's not our place to offer her help with that.

The rest sounds alright, so for now I'll go with:
[x] >>26254 except for the first and last lines
-[x] Mention the tengu only as your own personal conflict which could spill over and complicate things for the Mikami.
You make some good points. I'm not sure about dropping the friends thing entirely though; 26233 made a good point that we might want to make it clear that the Mikami are nice people and that we'd like to be friends, alliance or not. Still, you do have a point that it kind of makes us seem dishonest and expectant of failure.

Revising my argument now:

[X]Explain the potential benefits of the alliance.
-[X]Hina can help protect people against misfortune, and this could help prevent chance deaths.
-[X]Shizuha is a goddess of art, and also embodies change, which could feasibly include birth and death.
-[X]Minoriko is a goddess of fertility and hard work, so she could help support lives through better harvests and support people's efforts to help others.
--[X]Plus there's gourmet food and drink! (Mostly as a joke)
[X]Explain why you want an alliance in the first place. Say that while the Mikami have potential to grow into an important part of Gensokyo, at the moment they are small and hence vulnerable to absorption or subversion by other factions.
-[X]Casually bring up the Moriya gods. Officially state that so far you have gotten along well with them, but hint that you're bracing yourself for potential conflict.
-[X]Mention the tengu only as your own personal conflict which could spill over and complicate things for the Mikami.
[X]Shift to how you are looking for allies that are strong enough to provide support in these uneasy times yet are not particularly interested in subverting or absorbing the Mikami.
-[X]Bring up how you just got back from another mission into the underground. Satisfy and fuel Yuyuko's curiosity with various tales of your adventures down there should she or Youmu show interest.
--[X]Eventually lead into the museum incident with Hina and the evil spirits. You're wondering if maybe this is another way the Mikami could help Yuyuko. You're not an expert on ghosts, but perhaps Yuyuko has more of an idea of opportunities.
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26257
"Let me just clarify something," I say slowly. "You're right in that we desire an alliance with you. The reasoning for it shouldn't be too hard to figure out, but I'll get into that in a bit. But even if you don't want to get involved with us politically, I was hoping that we could at least be friends."

"No doubt," Yuyuko replies evenly. I don't even hear a hint of sarcasm in her voice. Impressive.

"I mean it," I insist. "Hina, Minoriko, Shizuha... they're all wonderful people, and I think that you'd really like them. Hell, feel free to stop in some time just to chat, if nothing else! The Mikami Shrine is just as relaxing as your home, and has better scenery, if I may say so myself."

Yuyuko considers this, and glances between her new painting and her garden. Youmu has also noticed the painting, and keeps giving it awed glances. "Maybe. Maybe," Yuyuko says, and sips her tea, saying nothing else.

I decide to get to business. "I'm not going to insult you by offering the Mikami's services to you. Giving you artwork and freshening up your food isn't something worth basing a friendship on."

"Or a political agreement," Yuyuko says lightly, not letting me imply friendship just yet.

I decide to press on. "Let me ask you something. When somebody dies, what do you feel about it?"

Yuyuko actually looks surprised at it. "Well... as the ruler of the dead, I see many come before me who have passed on. Over a millennium, I have come to see death for what it is: simply the natural conclusion to life's end."

I nod. "Then, seeing someone pass through here who was an old man in life doesn't trouble you any."

"Why would it?" Yuyuko shrugs, smiling faintly. "That individual has simply had a full life, and is now moving on to his final reward."

"What if that old man died alone and unmourned? What if his life was lonely and miserable? Would you be so complimentary of his passing then?"

Yuyuko frowns a bit at his words. "A life wasted is truly sad, I must admit. But in that case, I can at least grant that death is a cessation of their suffering, if nothing else."

"Not that you think people should commit suicide if life goes wrong for them," I comment.

Yuyuko actually looks a bit offended. "Of course not. Life is too precious to throw away so idly. A life lived poorly is depressing, but it is still life, and I would never advise anyone to simply cast it aside like rubbish. Life is precious, tengu, and I know this better than anyone. Do not imply otherwise." There's a sudden chill in the air as Yuyuko speaks, and Youmu looks a bit nervous. It looks like I stepped on a nerve here. Good, I can use this. Assuming that I don't piss Yuyuko off so much that she wills me dead, that is.

"What about a young man, full of life and hope, who dies from happenstance?" I push on. "What about his grieving family, who will be crippled by his loss? What do you think of his spirit? Of theirs, when they come before you? What do you think if his loss ruined their lives prematurely?"

Yuyuko blinks, a bit taken aback. "Well... that is nothing short of a tragedy," she admits. "But those are the affairs of the living. I fail to see how they apply to the princess of death."

"You just said it yourself," I shrug. "As the one who can see the live lived by a soul, you can understand how precious life is. And how tragic it is when a life is lived poorly, or lost prematurely. Is not death supposed to be something that is a warm climax to somebody's full life?"

Yuyuko stares at me, long and hard. "Your point?"

I look out at the cherry trees. "Hina is the goddess of fortune," I say, pointing at the green spiral design on my uniform. "The one who wards people against happenstance. The one who grants fortune. Through her, unavoidable chance deaths are avoided, and serendipity that enhances life is attained." I point at the leaves on my hakama. "Shizuha is the goddess of artistic expression, of leaving something behind for others. She also represents natural change, like birth and death, and helping people through them. Like helping the bereaved." I point at my hairpin, a cluster of grapes. "Minoriko is the goddess of fertility, the goddess of hard work. Her portfolio is life lived fully, and a life helping others." I smirk. "Not to mention gourmet food and drink." This earns a snort of amusement from Yuyuko.

I get to my feet and walk out into the garden a few paces before turning back to Yuyuko. "I'm not here to offer to shower you with gifts in exchange for support," I tell her. "You want our services? You want Minoriko to make your food taste better, for Shizuha to fill your mansion with paintings, for Hina to shower you with fortune charms? All you need to do is offer us donations for funding, and we'll do that, obviously. But that's not why you should support us. You should support us because of what we represent. A lived lived well, long and full. For spirits that would pass through here, filled with stories of how happy and rewarding their lives were. Isn't that what you'd rather hear, oh princess? For the spirits here to sing songs of happiness of what they had, rather than mournful dirges of all that they lost or never possessed?"

Yuyuko stares at me for a long moment. Youmu stares at her mistress. Eventually, Yuyuko closes her eyes and pulls a fan out of her robes, opening it over her mouth. "Why me?" she asks.

"The Mikami are different from the other faiths," I say quietly. "They're not about sitting on high, dispensing high-sounding advice about people's lives, and not really mattering in day to day affairs. They're about being there for people in those daily affairs that truly matter, and have the potential to grow into a major force in Gensokyo. They've already grown much stronger, and will grow stronger yet. But at the moment, they are vulnerable, and could be subverted or outright absorbed by another faction."

"Another faith," Yuyuko corrects me. "The secular groups wouldn't care all that much. Reimu is too central to Gensokyo to fear disappearing, and would not care for such games in the first place. Byakuren and Miko are too involved in their dispute with one another to threaten you." The princess opens her eyes and looks at me. "You fear Kanako, and her plans for you. Rightly so."

"We've gotten along very well with them so far," I say evenly. "I hope that continues. I'm also grateful for the aid my own people have shown the Mikami, despite the folly they continue to indulge in, and the unrest they continue to ignore."

Yuyuko raises an eyebrow at that. I hope that peace with the Moriya Shrine continues, I tell her, but I don't expect it to. Also, the tengu village may be a source of trouble in the future. Naturally, she understands my words in an instant.

"What we desire are allies who genuinely respect our cause and would want to support it," I continue, moving to sit next to Yuyuko again. "Those who would be our friends and support us, without trying to manipulate, subvert, or absorb us. Right now, the Mikami are strengthening their position. We have followers among humans and youkai both. The denizens of the underground have also found favor with our message." This earns an interested look from Yuyuko, and Youmu gazes at me with open curiosity. "Incidentally, did you know that Hina's powers afford her some influence over evil spirits?"

"Most likely due to their damnation," Yuyuko muses. "By absorbing the damned energy within them, they would become quite docile, I wager. Not something that applies to most of the ghosts that pass through here... but some of the angrier ones could potentially be pacified through similar means. Interesting."

I look at Yuyuko as she stares out at her garden. Her gaze is inscrutable, but I get the feeling that she isn't quite convinced yet. Words are one thing, but a noblewoman would hear many words over the course of her life. Still, I've hopefully at least gotten her interest.

I look out at the garden myself. "I think that I'll have Hina go talk to Lyrica at some point. I helped Hina get over the Pleasant Meadows incident, and she helped Nitori in turn. Maybe Hina can help Lyrica. Shared trauma, and all that. In any case, Hina has been wanting to talk to Lyrica for some time now. Maybe hearing about Lyrica's turn is as good an excuse as any."

"Maybe so. The girl could certainly use a good talking-to." Yuyuko rises to her feet. "Thank you for calling upon me, Miss Shameimaru. I will consider your words carefully. Please, do come back to visit me tomorrow, and bring your goddesses with you. I should like to speak with them in person."

I rise and bow to the princess, who turns and leaves without another word. The doors slide shut behind her soundlessly, leaving me with no further clue as to Yuyuko's mood. Youmu stand quietly and comes to my side, ready to escort me out of Hakugyokuro.

Thus ends my first meeting with Yuyuko.

[ ] Go home.
[ ] Invite Youmu home with you.
[ ] Challenge Youmu to a duel.
[ ] (write-in)
[X] Go home.

Looks like I didn't get in my couple of changes in time, but things still worked out pretty well in the end. I think we had the most success we could hope for in the first meeting.
>>26259

Sorry. Got a bit over-eager, maybe. It went fairly well, for what it's worth.
That's fine. Things worked out okay anyway, so no worries.

I'm changing my new vote slightly:

[X] Go home.
-[X] Before you leave, ask Youmu if it is all right if we bring one more small (literally) guest in addition to the goddesses?

Since Yuyuko only invited Aya and the Mikami, we should at least give them fair warning before we bring along Sukuna. I don't know if Sukuna's coming or not, but we should at least make sure things are okay with the ghosts first. If we show up with an unexpected add-on, it could be seen as impolite, which could mar negotiations. That's why we need to get things clear with Youmu now. If they say no, we still have a stronger reason to refuse Sukuna's request than if we just refused arbitrarily.
[X] Go home.
-[X] Before you leave, ask Youmu if it is all right if we bring one more small (literally) guest in addition to the goddesses?

If yes, it means we can bring friends to meet with friends. If no, then we have the host's backing on not bringing Sukuna along. ...this is kinda forcing the decision on whether or not to allow/bring Sukuna with us next time on Youmu.
but I wonder if I already know what response she'll give...
[x] Go home.
Aya needs to de-stress, I think.
[x] Invite Youmu home with you.

Friends and followers.
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26265
I'd like to see more of Sukuna and Youmu, but would Yuyuko be okay with Youmu leaving now? Since it's a given option, I'd assume so, unless it's a trap?
I don't think now's the right time and place to invite Youmu. You've already agreed to meet with the two tomorrow, and Yuyuko has already gone back inside. If you ask Youmu now with Yuyuko absent, it would be rude. Even if Yuyuko was willing, she isn't there. Keep in mind that Youmu can be rather stiff about honor, and making the request right now could rub her the wrong way.

Plus, taking Youmu home with you right now would make things too complicated. It's late, and you need to prepare with the Mikami for tomorrow. Likewise, Youmu probably needs to confer with Yuyuko about the matter.

We've made progress with Yuyuko, but things are still up in the air. Let's wait until tomorrow, and see how things go. If things work out well, perhaps we can invite one or both of them to the shrine.
[X] Go home.
-[X] Before you leave, ask Youmu if it is all right if we bring one more small (literally) guest in addition to the goddesses?

I think Sukuna should tag along next time, but only to keep Youmu busy. She may actually help Youmu loosen up a bit, which Yuyuko would definitely appreciate.
[X] Go home.
-[X] Before you leave, ask Youmu if it is all right if we bring one more small (literally) guest in addition to the goddesses?
[x] Invite Youmu home with you. 
[X] Go home.


Just because we're not directly talking to Yuyuko anymore doesn't mean our words and actions won't affect the deal.
Youmu will stay here, and I'm afraid that Sukuna will have to wait until another time. It's not up to Youmu to decide whether or not it's okay to bring her.
[X] Go home.
[x] Invite Youmu home with you.

How could you not?
>[ ] Challenge Youmu to a duel.
With no training? Pffff

[x] Go home.

Our time here is over and the doors have been closed to us. Entering now would be... unappropiate.

I'm pretty sure we can bring her along with goddesses anyway. If Yuyuko disagrees, she can just come back.
Okay, voting is in favor of just heading home, so off we go!
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26278
"Well, here we are," Youmu tells me as we reach the foot of the stairs, the massive gates rising before us. "Thank you for visiting us, Miss Shameimaru. It was... interesting, to say the least." Youmu bows formally as she speaks.

I return her bow. "My thanks for having us over. I look forward to seeing both you and your mistress tomorrow." I think it over for a moment. "What time do you feel that we should arrive?"

Youmu considers. "Well, I would suggest coming by in the late afternoon. If I know Lady Yuyuko, she plans to greet your party, and then discuss things over supper." The gardener smirks a little bit. "I hope you have large stomachs."

I grin back. "Living with Minoriko, I've gained an appreciation for food, I assure you." An idea occurs to me. "Incidentally, is it acceptable for us to bring one more guest with us?"

Youmu's eyes light up. "Oh, you mean that adorable little Sukuna?!" She seems to catch on to her reaction and gets control of herself with an embarrassed cough. "Uh, that is, we would of course be honored to greet any member of your shrine. Within reason, of course, please don't show up with a massive retinue."

"Of course," I tell her with a smile. So, at the very least we don't need to leave Sukuna behind and make her feel left out. But as to whether bringing her along would be the best idea... well, Youmu certainly finds her adorable, and Yuyuko probably would as well. On the other hand, if Sukuna couldn't restrain herself around the two of them, it could lead to things getting a bit awkward. Yuyuko is very... pillowy, let's say.

"I shall see you tomorrow evening," I say with a final nod to Youmu, and take my leave, departing through the gates which open for me as I pass through. Lyrica's fairly crude graffiti is still there, demanding that the 'tit-monster tyrant' stop oppressing spectres everything. Kids these days...

The evening sky is beautiful. There isn't a single cloud in sight, and the stars twinkle merrily. Off in the distance, I can see the lights of the tengu village, burning warmly. It's been a while since I talked to Momiji. I really wouldn't mind checking in with her and Hatate, just to see how things were going for the two of them, and if they had any new revelations to share.

In another direction, I peer towards where the Prismrivers live, in a dilapidated old mansion. Maybe Hina would be interested in paying Lyrica a visit? If we got up nice and early tomorrow morning, we could probably squeeze a few things in before meeting with Yuyuko, after all.

Or maybe I should visit Nitori, and see about getting a printing press made up. Maybe contract Yamame to make a private building for me. Writing that letter to Yuyuko really made me remember just how much I miss writing the Bunbunmaru Times. Maybe now's as good a time as any to start it back up?

In any case, I'm coming upon the Mikami Shrine, which is illuminated by warm lights, as though welcoming me home. As I touch down on the pathway, Hina exits the shrine with a warm smile, a cup of equally warm tea held in her hand. The misfortune goddess walks up to me and passes me the cup, which I sip from gratefully. "How'd it go?"

I swallow the tea and slip an arm around Hina's slim waist, leading her back towards the shrine. "About as well as I could hope for," I say finally. "She's not exactly convinced, but I think that I left her curious for more. She wants all of us to pay her a visit tomorrow, so there's that at least."

Hina nods as we enter the shrine, sliding the door closed behind us. "I'm glad to hear that. There's hope at least. What time does she want us there?"

"Late afternoon, so we can dine with her," I reply, the two of us slowly walking towards the living quarters. "We'll need to be on our best behavior, and have our best arguments ready. Yuyuko's intrigued by us, but we need to clinch things somehow, present an argument that portrays us an obvious choice to support due to our own merits. Anything we have to offer her personally should come secondarily, if at all."

"And is she the sort of person that we want to have support us?" Hina asks pointedly.

"She is," I nod, taking another sip of tea. "Yuyuko's as calculating as I suspected, but she seems to have a caring side as well. She'd be interested in a faith that helped people to live longer, fuller lives. I think that's the angle we should take." I start to say more, to tell her about Yuyuko's reactions to my arguments, her interest in the gifts given to her, when the two of us come upon a scene of such utter devastation that it sweeps my words away.

Minoriko is in her underwear, lying flat out on the floor and mumbling to herself in a drunken stupor. Shizuha is looking rather rumpled herself, at least what I can see of her; the leaf goddess is slumped over a couch. The occasional belch comes from her slight frame. As for Sukuna, the inchling has taken up a cozy-looking spot nestled between Mino's breasts, a happy look on her face as she rises and falls with every breath.

I slowly turn my head to look on Hina, who seems on the verge of laughter. "What in the holy name of you three happened here?"

My goddess grins back at me. "Remember how Mino got Shizuha drunk while we were in the underground city? Well, Shizu decided that she wanted some revenge, and tried to ambush her sister with a bottle of strong alcohol. It didn't go according to plan, turned into a struggle, and then Sukuna got involved." She points at the heap on the ground. "This is the result."

"Sorry I missed it," I quip. "Anyway, wanna help me get them into bed? Maybe suck up some of the misfortune of being hung-over? We need them in top form for tomorrow." Hina nods, and the two of us spend some time getting the sisters and the inchling into bed. It takes some time to dislodge Sukuna from her chosen resting place, though.

And then the two of us decide to retire to Hina's room for the night. It turns into a lovely way to relieve the stress of dealing with a ghost princess. I'll have to visit Yuyuko more often.


Tomorrow, Aya will:
[ ] Take Hina to check up on Lyrica.
[ ] Go visit Youkai Mountain to check on Momiji and Hatate.
[ ] Go talk to Nitori- gotta get that paper started up again!
[ ] Take it easy for most of the day (fast-forward to speaking with Yuyuko).
[X] Go visit Youkai Mountain to check on Momiji and Hatate.
[X] Take Hina to check up on Lyrica.

>Lyrica's fairly crude graffiti is still there, demanding that the 'tit-monster tyrant' stop oppressing spectres everything.
Hina needs to meet with her sooner or later, and with Lyrica acting out like this, sooner would be better. It's probably bothering her sisters as well, and resolving these issues could help convince the musicians to become followers of Shizuha.
[x] Take Hina to check up on Lyrica.
[x] Go visit Youkai Mountain to check on Momiji and Hatate.

The whole reform the Tengu thing needs to be done.
[X] Go talk to Nitori- gotta get that paper started up again!

I'm for having Hina talk with Lyrica, but given that the sisters reside in Hakugyokurou, I think it would be better to deal with that as a side business when we go to meet with Yuyuko.
[x] Take Hina to check up on Lyrica.

I think this is far more pressing.
>>26283
They don't, they live somewhere outside the gates, and it's said they're not too far off from the SDM.
In that case, I'm changing my vote:

[X] Take Hina to check up on Lyrica.
[x] Take Hina to check up on Lyrica.

We need to get Lyrica over her hatred of the "tit-monster tyrant"
[x] Take Hina to check up on Lyrica

While I'd like to check in on the Tengu situation soon, we're headed out in this direction anyway, so two-birds-one-stone. Hopefully there isn't anything particularly time sensitive that has happened or is going on, which can't wait until tommorrow.
[X] Take Hina to check up on Lyrica.

MUST HELP PEOPLE
>>26287
In the previous story did she ever express such feelings about Yuyuko?
[x] Take Hina to check up on Lyrica.

Why do I get the feeling the Moriyas will pop up when Yuyuko visits?
If anything, the news that Yuyuko is actually entering an alliance with someone is bound to draw attention. Once we complete the negotiations, we'll have to be on guard.
>>26290
Having just reread it, no. At least, as far as I can tell, Lyrica doesn't mention Yuyuko once. Part of that might be that Lyrica didn't have a whole lot of characterization. What we did get from it was that she seems to have an inferiority complex to her sisters

"Yeah, " Lyrica agrees. "Then there's me. The third girl, neither as cheery as Merlin, or as solemn and quiet as Lunasa. The one people forget." She sighs wearily. "I mean, it's not like I don't understand. It's just frustrating. I mean, I work hard, you know? I'm the one that manages the finances, and handles the bookings, and mediates between the two extremes of mania and melancholy when we play. All that, and I make my own contributions as well. Hell, I'm the one who got us hooked up with Mystia and Kyouko... those are the other two youkai we play with." Lyrica shakes her head. "But despite all of that, I'm the one that people tend to forget about. It's kind of frustrating, you know?"

So there might be some family issues to fix as well.
[x] Take Hina to check up on Lyrica.
>>26292
Which is exactly why I've been suggesting we go for 'endorsement' rather than 'alliance'.
>>26294
Same thing-and they know it.

[x] Take Hina to check up on Lyrica.
Obviously.
[x] Take Hina to check up on Lyrica.
[x] Take Hina to check up on Lyrica.

All of this time spent trying to reinforce Mikami Shrine, and we forgot about the survivors of Pleasant Meadows... I feel like a heel...
>>26297
>All of this time spent trying to reinforce Mikami Shrine, and we forgot about the survivors of Pleasant Meadows... I feel like a heel...

To be fair, so far we've been more focused on getting ourselves and Hina back on our feet, and since Nitori felt the most guilty of the lot we focused on her. Everyone else mostly became an afterthought once we started dealing with Aya's issues and starting to establish the shrine. It's easy to lose focus on "smaller" things, especially when a lot of readers haven't bothered with either Pleasant Meadows or Being Meiling. Personally, I want more Nitori facetime, but that can wait. Oh, and Eiki, because Eiki is Eiki.




[x] Take Hina to check up on Lyrica.
[x] Take Hina to check up on Lyrica.

I would like to check up on the Tengu village and get the Bunbunmaru Mk.II started too, but this is a bigger problem right now.
Even if we can't help her get over it in one day we can at least get the lay of the land, so to speak.
>>26298
I tried to bring it up but well everyone else (Keymaster included) seemed intent on another direction so I gave up.

I figuer helping Lyrica would be a boost to the planned trip as well.
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26301
Wakefulness is something that I greet willingly for a change. Possibly due to the beautiful woman in my arms. What can I say, waking up to someone like Hina nuzzling you and stroking your wings really makes you welcome the morning.

"Hey," she murmurs.

"Hey yourself," I sigh, feeling incredibly relaxed. "So. Big day today, huh?"

"Hm. It can wait," Hina replies, stretching. "Me, I'd like to take a nice, slow day and just lounge around the shrine."

That does sound like a good plan. But the more I think about it, the more my thoughts keep turning back to Lyrica, and the path her life has taken. I forgot to mention it to Hina last night, what with my mind being on other, softer things, but now...

"Something wrong?" Hina asks, looking up at me.

I sigh. "I learned something on my trip to Hakugyokuro yesterday. Remember Lyrica Prismriver? Sounds like she's really let her life go down the tubes as of late."

Hina is suddenly all business, and pushes herself up to give me a serious look. "What do you mean?"

I shake my head. "Well, it sounds like she's been giving her sisters an awfully hard time, and she even left some pretty crude graffiti on the gates to the netherworld. I'm not exactly an expert on her thought processes, but that sounds pretty abnormal to me, you know what I mean?"

Hina stares at me for a long moment. Then she springs to the floor and begins rummaging around for some clothes. "I'm going to see her."

I sit up in bed. "That doesn't surprise me, somehow."

"I mean it," Hina says, getting dressed. "Aya, you weren't there. I don't mean that as a strike against you... but you don't know what it was like to be in that house. I was there, and I was... in on it. I can't imagine what it must have been like for Lyrica. But I need to talk to her about it, let her vent if she needs to. I... owe it to her, you understand?"

I nod, getting out of bed myself. "I know. But I'm coming with you, and that's that."

Hina closes her eyes. "Thank you." Silently, I pad over and give the goddess a hug.

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

The two of us leave soon after, with little more than a cursory breakfast. Minoriko and Shizuha are on the mend, and should be fine for the meeting with Yuyuko tonight. As we leave, they promise to find some nice clothes for the three goddesses to wear tonight. That leaves Hina and I to soar through the sky, heading for the Prismriver mansion.

Hina is quiet throughout the flight. I know what she's thinking. She's thinking about her role it that debacle, and wondering if she has some responsibility in Lyrica's current behavior. I want to tell her not to worry about it, not to blame herself, but Hina knows that already. She's come to terms with what happened. The problem is that Lyrica hasn't and Hina feels the need to help her through it. I understand, and support Hina the only way I can: by being for there for her. Reaching out, I take the misfortune goddess' hand, and she squeezes back tightly.

Soon enough, we come upon the Prismriver Mansion. It really isn't in the same league as Remilia's abode. The architecture is similar, but this building is much smaller, and visibly dilapidated. At one point, it was probably a gorgeous home, but now it serves as a home to only a group of poltergeist musicians. Then again, I hear that the Prismrivers throw some great parties. Maybe it makes clean-up a lot easier if your house is already a mess.

Hina and I land, and the goddess swiftly walks up to the door, knocking urgently. I walk up from behind and edge my way in front of her. "We don't know how Lyrica will react to you suddenly showing up like this," I say gently. "Better let me do the talking first, okay?" Hina bites her lip but reluctantly nods, stepping back just as the door opens.

I turn around with a friendly smile, which fades as I see who has answered my summons. Lunasa Prismriver has always struck me as a pretty girl, if a bit melancholy; though that last bit suits her personality, so who am I to judge? Now, though, heavy bags hang under Lunasa's eyes. She looks like she hasn't slept in days, and just seems... haggard, overall. Like the weight of the world is on her shoulders.

"Yeah?" the poltergeist asks me.

It takes me a moment to find my voice. "What the hell happened to you?" I ask.

If Lunasa is offended, she doesn't show it. Instead, the blonde Prismriver just heaves a sigh. "Family issues. It's personal. Now if there's nothing else-"

"Who is it?" A higher-pitched voice asks from inside. Lunasa is gently pushed aside, and Merlin Prismriver appears in the doorway. She looks like hell herself, though she seems a bit more put-together than Lunasa. However, I can see faint traces of red around her eyes. She must have been crying earlier. Said eyes light up as soon as she sees us. "Oh, thank goodness! I kept meaning to come and see you two, but it looks like you came to me! Us, that is!"

Hina looks around my shoulder. "We're here about Lyrica."

Lunasa nods wearily. "I thought you would be. It's just... we-"

"Lunasa." Merlin speaks firmly and puts a gentle hand on her sister's shoulder. "We can't do this alone. We've tried and failed. You know that."

Lunasa just hangs her head in response. "I know. I know, Merlin. It's just-"

"WHO THE FUCK IS THAT?!" a voice shrieks from inside. I flinch at the volume, and Hina goes rigid with shock. In contrast, however, Lunasa and Merlin just sort of... slump. Merlin audibly groans. Reluctantly, the two poltergeists step aside as the third member of their trio stomps up to the doorway, and I get to take a good, long look at... Lyrica... Prismriver...

......

The fuck?

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3UuQL4boy4)

Black, spiked leather makes up Lyrica's new ensemble. A heavy, leather jacket, with angry symbols stitched all over. Spiked leather brassiere. Spiky leather miniskirt. Long boots that are, yes, leather and studded with spikes. The woman looks like she could be a lethal weapon just by rolling around. A pair of thick sunglasses cover her face, and she wears no hat, unusual for the poltergeist trio. Also, I'm pretty sure that those are tattoos on her body. They depict the violent death of various authority figures of Gensokyo. Yuyuko and Reimu are there, among others.

This horrid caricature of Lyrica grins at me. "Sup, bitch?!"

I stare at her. What the hell did she just call me? "Sorry?"

"My bitch!" Lyrica repeats herself. "My fellow bitchette, in the war against the establishment people and the authoritarian structure thing that keeps the man down, you know what I mean?" Lyrica makes a weird gesture with her hands as she talks. What the hell is a bitchette? Is she insulting me, or what?

"No," I say slowly.

Lyrica makes an exaggerated, disgusted-sounding voice. "Come on, whore!" WHAT. "Don't tell me that you're letting The Woman get you down! They're everywhere! Agents of the Oppression Apparatus scheming to control our minds with their huge tits and gigantic houses! It's all an evil conspiracy to take freedom away from peace-living ghosts and gals everywhere! Guys too! We have to make bloody war for the sake of our peaceful future!"

My head hurts. "I... what?"

"The establishmentarianisms are always plotting to assimilize the innocent peeps of Gensoko-town and the world!" Lyrica crows. "Are we supposed to just stand around an abandon our creedo? Our credence? No way! I vote that we prosecute the grand revolution and burn down everything to fertilize a new garden! Down with the tit-tyrant and all her cronies!"

...I think she's making words up now.

Lunasa is just staring helplessly at me, and Merling is facepalming and groaning wearily. "Sister... you're embarrassing us," Merlin says weakly. "Please stop."

"Fine words from a sell-out, tit-girl!" Lyrica spits noisily.

I don't even. I. What.


[ ] What the fuck are you talking about, you insane ghost?
[ ] Slap Lyrica.
[ ] Let Hina handle this.
[ ] I see that you're pretty 'gangster.' I am also pretty 'gangster' myself.
[x]Ignore her for now and get a more coherent story from her sisters.

Oh no she's joined Choujuu Gigaku
[X] Let Hina handle this.

There were a couple ways I saw this meeting going. This was not one of them.
[x] Take Lyrica to see Yukari, and bring Hina along.
-[x] Ask her to explain anything you don’t understand on the way.
-[x] Once Lyrica’s done making a fool out of herself (ideally in front of Yukari, assuming we can even get to her), let Hina handle this.
[x] I see that you're pretty 'gangster.' I am also pretty 'gangster' myself.

Rap Battle. Do it.
[x] I see that you're pretty 'gangster.' I am also pretty 'gangster' myself.
I'm not sure if taking Lyrica to Yukari is the best idea right now. Given that Yukari is apparently on Lyrica's enemy list, trying to lead her to Yukari might make her hostile rather than simply crazy.
[ ] I see that you're pretty 'gangster.' I am also pretty 'gangster' myself.

Better step off before you get stepped on.
[X] I see that you're pretty 'gangster.' I am also pretty 'gangster' myself.

I assure you, Shameimaru is most definitely "down with the street". Word up, my homie, as it were.
[x] Slap Lyrica.

This vote calls to me, partially because it's the Bright slap method.
[x] Slap Lyrica.
[x] What the fuck are you talking about, you insane ghost?

This seems reasonable.
Ahahahaha wow that was amazing and terrible all at once.

I laughed so I guess that makes me even more terrible!?

[x] BRIGHT SLAP
-[x] I have no idea what you're even saying!
--[x] Hina, go
[X] Let Hina handle this.

Backhanding her doesn't seem like the best of plans.
Oh god, I can't choose! I know this is supposed to be serious, with Lyrica having major issues, but I can't help but laugh.

>[ ] What the fuck are you talking about, you insane ghost?
That's kind of what I'm wondering.

>[ ] Slap Lyrica.
I do sort of think she needs a brightslap, but it might not go over too well.

>[ ] Let Hina handle this.
This would be the best option, but it's also the least entertaining.

>[ ] I see that you're pretty 'gangster.' I am also pretty 'gangster' myself.
Now THIS...this has the best potential for hilarity, but could also turn out bad.



I'll be back in a few hours with my official vote.
>>26310
It seems like the feces are about turn into a reality, no?

[X] I see that you're pretty 'gangster.' I am also pretty 'gangster' myself.
[x] I see that you're pretty 'gangster.' I am also pretty 'gangster' myself.
She wants to talk about war? We'll talk about war.
[X]...That...is a very interesting idea you have there. But I'm afraid that I am still a little confused. Could you please explain it more clearly to me?
-[X]What exactly inspired you to organize this revolution?
[X]...That...is a very interesting idea you have there. But I'm afraid that I am still a little confused. Could you please explain it more clearly to me?
-[X]What exactly inspired you to organize this revolution?
[X] Let Hina handle this.
[x] I see that you're pretty 'gangster.' I am also pretty 'gangster' myself.

Don't worry guys, Aya can pull this off easy. I mean, just look at her internal monologue in this thread!

http://www.gizoogle.net/index.php?search=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.touhou-project.com%2Fyoukai%2Fres%2F26039.html&se=Gizoogle+Dis+Shiznit

I can't stop laughing. Can't breathe. I blame you for this Keymaster!
File 139271092358.jpg - (53.02KB, 489x750, bur.jpg) [iqdb]
26324
[x] I see that you're pretty 'gangster.' I am also pretty 'gangster' myself.
[x] I peep dat you're pretty 'thug.' I be also pretty 'thug' mah dirty ass.
My sides. Escape velocity.
[x] I see that you're pretty 'gangster.' I am also pretty 'gangster' myself.
>>26323

That can't be real. . .
Made up my mind.

[x] I see that you're pretty 'gangster.' I am also pretty 'gangster' myself.

RAP BATTLE!
I don't think the gangster approach is the right way to go with this. Given the last snippet, Aya doesn't really have a clue what's going on. Pretending to already be "in" on Lyrica's new mindset is just going to leave Aya confused and potentially offend Lyrica when she realizes that you don't actually know what she's talking about.
>>26330

This. We're here to stop this behavior, not encourage it.
>>26331
And to resolve it, not milk it for laughs.
>>26330
But its obvious what's going on and why it happens. The only thing that we don't know is how to solve it and the option that's winning is a good start
Which is why my vote is to humor her, but still don't go as far as the whole gangster imitation. Say that she seems to have an interesting idea, but that you're still a little confused, and ask how she got the inspiration for her revolution.
>>26330
You forgot that this is not a over the top serious story where you mess up when you pick a vote. From my viewpoint this vote is to indimidate her, showing her what it means to be tough. And if it is funny the more the better.
>>26334
Yes, I'm sure that straight up asking will work wonders. I mean she did it at the end of the last chapter and it worked just fine no?
Besides, she looks really cooperative
>>26330
Which is why I made my 'talk about war' comment. Show Lyrica that she is the one that doesn't have a clue what she's talking about.
Just a shame we can't say we like war. That we do, in fact, love war.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUB9QGKCNmI
[x] I see that you're pretty 'gangster.' I am also pretty 'gangster' myself.


>>26337
Eh, I figure Aya would be more along the lines of "Somebody once wrote, 'Hell is the impossibility of reason.' That's what this place feels like. Hell.", if we're talking war stories.
>>26323

Oh god what.

Anyway! Votes are clear that Aya is going to show how "gangster" she really is.

Hint: it's not very much.
I have a bad feeling about this.
File 139276800662.jpg - (103.54KB, 850x1202, i am so gangster.jpg) [iqdb]
26341
Okay. I'm familiar with this. I can deal with this. This is something that I have read about, a phenomenon from the outside world that has spread like a plague among some of Gensokyo's young and disenfranchised. It's called being 'gangster.' I know all about it! I read something about it once! So I'm confident in my ability to talk to Lyrica on her own terms and make her see some sense.

And I'll keep telling myself that until I believe it.

"Um... you, biatch!" I shout out. Yeah, I think it goes like that.

Lyrica whirls on me. "You talkin' to me, homely?!"

Well, that's just mean. I don't think I look homely. But pressing on. "I see that you are pretty gangster," I say, trying to make weird gestures that my hands just can't quite form. "I am also pretty 'gangster' myself."

Lyrica actually pauses. "... How 'zat?" she finally asks.

"Like, I am totally about ripping up the authority... ization and shit!" I declare. "I mean, the tengu man has been getting down with me for a long time now! He's always riding me! Just like a horse!"

"Awwwww, bitch, why didn't you say so!" Lyrica cries as her sisters stare at me in horror. Hina is staying out of Lyrica's line of vision, but I can see her blank stare. "We're like, sisters, you know?!"

"Uh, yeah?" I ask. "I mean, yeah! We're like, down in the hizzy-town... and shit!"

"Shit yeah!" Lyrica enthuses. "I mean, why the hell should I listen to Queen Tits when she tells me that she's... the Queen?! With tits?! Who the hell appointed her, huh?"

"Heaven," Lunasa comments.

"Well, to the fuck with that!" Lyrica tries to spit again, but doesn't get a lot out. Unperturbed, she keeps ranting. "I mean, if some heaven guy tells me that I gotta listen to Yo-yo-ko or whatever, well why the hell should I listen, huh? It's time to rise up and throw off the shackles! And put in... I dunno... an elected government! Ghosts for ghosts, am I right or what, yo?"

"Yo!" I respond. "Yo, yo... yo!"

"That's what I said!" Lyrica says confidently. Lunasa and Merlin facepalm.

This is so fucking ridiculous.

"So like, the tengu are always getting down on me!" I tell Lyrica. "And you know, that totally sucks, and stuff! Because they're... bad at it, I guess. So I walked right the hell outta there... and now I'm not there any more. I'm taking the system down from the outside. But zip your... fly 'bout that! You dig a grave.... biatch?" I have no idea what I'm saying anymore.

Lyrica hesitates. "Um... right on, sister! Fight the power! Use your power of speech to overthrow all the oppressors!"

Wasn't there an incident like this while I was imprisoned? Still, I don't think that has anything to do with Lyrica. "Uh, yeah! Death to all oppressors! War to make peace. Especially dead oppressors, who should be... double dead!" Someone please stop me.

"...Yeah! Righteous!" Lyrica says at last, sounding a bit awkward and hesitant.

I dive right in. "Yeah! Righteous! We gotta go kill us some guards and send a strong message! No to chains! Yes to swords! Yes to music and speech! No to big-ass speeches! Gensokyo for the land of the free! Let's burn this shit-hole and dig it... deep underground, with all our bee-hatches, am I right?"

"...Y-yes!" Lyrica says, looking uncomfortable.

"Yeah!" I force myself on. "We're gonna make bitches out of everything! Even us! We're gonna be the biggest bitches of all!"

"Right! Ain't no bigger bitches!" Lyrica hesitates. "No, wait! Everybody else is our bitch! Yeah, we gotta make everything else a bitch!"

"...Why the hell do we want bitches?" I ask after a moment. "I mean, I'd rather have nice girls around. Um, yo."

"W-well, that's because bitches are tough girls! Or maybe they do what tough girls say... ummm..." Lyrica is visibly floundering. "Uh, the point is, there ain't nobody gonna tell me what to do! Ever!"

"Lyrica, for fuck's sake, Yuyuko never told you what to do!" Merlin all but shrieks. "She's not that kind of ruler! I mean, she pays us good whenever we perform at her place, and you know it! Her job is just to regulate lingering spirits until they finally move on by their own volition! She isn't a damn tyrant, and nobody is oppressing you, you brainless twit!"

"Well... at least I have more brains than boobs, titty-mcoppressress!" Lyrica retorts. It's almost painful to hear.

"WHAT THE SHIT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!" Merlin screeches.

"Lyrica," Lunasa says calmly. "I love you. You are my dear sister, and I adore you. But if you don't start making sense soon, I am going to slap you."

"Oh-ho!" Lyrica leaps out of the house and falls into a weird fighting stance. Point of order: her boots have stiletto-heels, and she can't seem to balance in them right. Matter of fact, I think that she's hovering a little bit to stay upright. "Now we espy the violence inherent in the system! Behold tools of the established oppression... apparatus! Hammers and screwdrivers of the princess oppressor!"

"Were you even listening to us?!" Merlin looks ready to throttle her sister.

"Um... power to the people?" I try weakly.

"Yeah! Power to the peeps and chicks!" Lyrica nods firmly. She thrusts a fist triumphantly into the air, and almost pops out of her leather brassiere. She manages to keep herself in place, somehow.

"I have no idea what anybody is saying," Hina says weakly. Lyrica doesn't respond to this.

Actually, wait. Lyrica rather pointedly doesn't respond to this. In fact, there is a sudden absence of sound from her, the kind of thing that feels much like a sudden calm before a terrible storm. I can't see the look in her eyes through those ridiculous sunglasses, but she is staring right at HIna. And then she speaks.

"What the hell are you doing here?!" Lyrica hisses, voice full of venom.

Uh-oh.


[ ] I'm totally a gangster!
[ ] Call her on her attitude.
[ ] Bitch-slap. Who does she think she is...
[ ] Let Hina handle it.
>>26339
You say that as if any of us voted for it for reasons other than the potential for comedy.

Seriously, there is NO better way to make voters willingly and knowingly dogpile a poor choice than making it funny.
I knew this was a bad idea.
[x] Let Hina handle it.
-[x] But don't let things spiral too far out of control. If Lyrica gets aggressive, make it clear you won't tolerate threats against your goddess.
[x] Call her on her attitude.

Let's get on with it.
[x]Let Hina handle it.
-[x]Prepare for aggression.

Looks like Lyrica is still holding a grudge. She may want to get physically aggressive, so we should take steps to prevent that if it happens.
[x] let Hina handle hit
-[x] prepare to defend her if miss revolution wants to get physical
[x]Let Hina handle it.
-[x]Prepare for aggression.

I voted for the gangster option, I regret nothing. Lyrica would likely have reacted to Hina the same way no matter what choice was made.
[X]Let Hina handle it.
-[X]Prepare for aggression.

And yeah, this won't be pretty.
>>26348
This.

[x]Let Hina handle it.
-[x]Prepare for aggression.
[x]Let Hina handle it.
-[x]Prepare for aggression.

Lyrica's comment was directly addressed to Hina, so the ball's in her court now. That said, we should at least keep an eye on things. Especially since our recent actions have done nothing to alleviate the situation.
[x]Let Hina handle it.
-[x]Prepare for aggression.

I don't think there was anything we could've done to lower Lyrica's aggression. Besides, this is Touhou, not Touched by an Angel.
[x]Let Hina handle it.
-[x]Prepare for aggression
--[x]And possible bright slaps
[x]Let Hina handle it.
-[x]Prepare for aggression.
[x]Let Hina handle it.

Because, if nothing else, "What the hell are you doing here?" is the one thing she has said so far that actually makes sense.
[x]Let Hina handle it.
-[x]Prepare for aggression.
File 139285102180.jpg - (161.50KB, 800x500, inaccurate depiction.jpg) [iqdb]
26371
New thread:

>>/youkai/26370
...you all are such idiots
Hi, I have a question for you. If you don't mind
Hi, I have a question for you. If you don't mind
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