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File 139967328691.png - (582.27KB, 600x960, presently a bit unhappy.png) [iqdb]
28208
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
Thread 12: >>/youkai/26039
Thread 13: >>/youkai/26370
Thread 14: >>/youkai/26676
Thread 15: >>/youkai/26981
Thread 16: >>/youkai/27293
Thread 17: >>/youkai/27603
Thread 18: >>/youkai/27909

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I leave the drunken, useless bastard behind without looking back, without even sparing a glance for any of the servants as I pass them in the hall. I don't pay attention to their curious whispering as I stalk out of the palace, and I certainly don't pay attention to how the guards flinch as I leave Tenma's flashy hiding place.

I really want to be with Hina right now. But I'm in an incredibly pissy mood at the moment, and don't want to subject her to it. Besides, I still have some work to do, and some flying would do me good in any case. Thus, I spread my wings wide and rocket away from the tengu village as fast as I can.

I fly around for a little while after that, letting myself calm down. Tenma has disappointed me beyond words, and there's no two ways about it. My hopes weren't high that he'd come around, but being forced to deal with that obstinate wreck of a man just puts a foul taste in my mouth. Well, fuck it. Maybe I'll pay a visit to Eientei. Wandering through the bamboo forest might be calming, provided I don't go off the marked path.

Soon enough, I land in front of the vast Bamboo Forest of the Lost. A narrow path winds inside, and a sign next to it reads 'This way to the Eientei Medical Clinic. Please make sure to follow the path without deviation. Leaving the path guarantees that you will get lost, and very likely killed and devoured by the creatures inside, and not necessarily in that order. Seriously, it's a bad way to die, and there's no guarantee that any of the friendly residents will find you in time to save your dumb ass. Also: there's a metric fuckton of traps in here. This traps will kill you. Painfully. So KEEP TO THE FUCKING PATH, DUMBASS.

The helpful, informative sign bears the signature of one Tewi Inaba. I gather that heeding it might be a good idea, judging from the tally at the bottom of the sign, labelled Dumb idiots who went off the path. They're dead. Get it? There are quite a few marks down there.

So. Keeping to the path, then. That's the thing about Eientei: you can't fly there. Flying out of the forest is fine, but flying in? Space warps, and throws you around willy-nilly. I know this from personal experience. So yeah. Path!

I walk through the bamboo forest, marveling at just how quiet and peaceful it is here. Not even the sound of birdsong permeates the endless stalks of bamboo. There's just green, green, more green, rabbits fishing a feral youkai out of a trap-

Uh,

I stop in my tracks and take a closer look at that last one. Some sort of trap involving sharpened bamboo stakes has brought a sudden end to the life of some manner of feral youkai, one that's more teeth than body. And the carcass is currently in the process of being disentangled from the trap by a pair of rabbits.

Not rabbit-girls. I mean actual rabbits, wearing some kind of work vests and fiddling around with the trap using only their front paws. One of them notices me and nods politely before going back to work. After a moment, I just decide to forget about it and move on. This is far from the weirdest thing I've ever seen in Gensokyo, in any case.

Soon enough, I come upon the sprawling palace of Eientei, well known for its serenity and excellent medical services. The angry, feminine screaming coming from inside is something new, though. As is the muffled voice of someone trying to play peace-maker. Must be another tiff between Kaguya and Mokou.

I make my way up to the gates, where I see the familiar figures of Tewi Inaba and Reisen Undongein Inaba. Reisen is leaning against one of the gates, looking towards the palace with an interested look on her face, while Tewi is slowly munching on popcorn. All throughout the yard, rabbits and rabbit-girls are looking at the building with varying degrees of interest.

"Hello," I say politely, walking up.

Reisen gives me a lazy salute. "Welcome to Eientei. However, this may not be the best time."

"You're wrong," Tewi says lightly. "This is the best time. As a matter of fact, this may be the best time ever."

"...You're right," Reisen admits. "This is one of the best days of my life."

"It's certainly up there," Tewi admits. She holds her large bucket of popcorn out to me. "Want some?"

"Thanks," I say, helping myself to a handful of the crunchy treat. "So, what's going on?"

"Eirin cloned herself," Reisen says lightly.

I swallow carefully. "Hm. I think I might have just shit myself a little bit."

"So did I, at first," Reisen says, stretching. Bunny-girl has some curves, gotta give her that much. "Then this happened. This is definitely Eirin's greatest invention ever."

I listen for a moment at the outraged screaming coming from inside. There seem to be two identical voices tearing into each other, along with a third, different voice.

Tewi nudges Reisen. "Go on, give her the story."

Reisen nods. "Well, Eirin made a cloning machine. All of the earth rabbits pretty much headed for the hills when she announced it. As for me, Eirin asked me sweetly if I wanted to help her try it out, and I ripped through a wall getting the hell out of there. I spent three days hiding in the woods until she gave up."

"We were all hiding from that one," Tewi snorts.

"Anyway, she apparently decided to try it out on herself," Reisen continues. "She's been arguing with herself ever since over who gets to do what research. It's even broken down into fistfights. Poor Kaguya is beside herself trying to get the two of them settled down."

"This machine sounds like it'll have Reimu reducing this place to a charred crater," I say, accepting some more popcorn from Tewi.

"Eh, the clone is just an energy duplicate, or something," Reisen shrugs. "It'll go away after a few days. In the meantime, we have prime seats to the best show on Earth."

"Kiss my ass, you arrogant bitch!" a voice screams from inside.

"Only when you stop trying to act like you're better than me, you scatter-brained whore!" an identical voice screeches.

"I could listen to this all day," Tewi comment. "Maybe I will. Popcorn, moon bunny?"

"Yeah, thanks Tewster," Reisen says, accepting some of the snack.

Yep. I have no idea how to deal with this.


[ ] Make the offer to Reisen and Tewi.
[ ] Go check it out.
[ ] Turn around slowly, walk awaynobody's going to take this option, are they?
[X] Go check it out.

No longer actively writing or not, there isn't a single journalist who'd pass up a story like this.
[X] Ask to try out the machine. With two of you, you can get twice as much advertising done.
I want to vote for the testing the clone machine but uh... Will 1st Aya be happy with her clone? I mean, Hina's gonna be shared... And Yamame has Kogasa... Or maybe they haven't hooked up but there might be repercussions in that kind of decision.

I'd want to see Two awesome crows though... While the clone can disappear in few days.... Hmmm...
[x] Make the offer to Reisen and Tewi.

It's best to not get involved. Make the offer, and leave. Though I doubt it will be that easy, at least we tried.
>"...You're right," Reisen admits. "This is one of the best days of my life."

... I'll take "things I never expected Reisen to say on THP" for $400, Alex.

Eirin♣Kaguya♣Eirin OT2½

[x] Make the offer to Reisen and Tewi.
- [x] Enjoy the show?
[x] Inform the Eirins about the trade show.
-[x] "Hey, you two, there's going to be a trade show at Hina's old shrine. Only one of you can come so you two better show me your best stuff so I know who to pick."
--[x] Invite them both anyway.
[X] Go check it out.

Once a journalist, always a journalist.
[X] Make the offer to Reisen and Tewi.
-[X] ...and the Eirins.
--[X] Just be ready to get the hell out of there if they turn on you.

why not both?
[X] Make the offer to Reisen and Tewi.
-[X] ...and the Eirins.
--[X] Just be ready to get the hell out of there if they turn on you.

Haha... HAHAHA! Aya getting chased by two Eirins, Tewi and Reisen simply chilling out... One of the funny pictures in my mind.
[X] Make the offer to Reisen and Tewi.
[X] Ask to try out the machine. With two of you, you can get twice as much advertising done.
-[X] Send the other you to the Scarlet-Hakurei Mansion, while you report back to your goddesses.
[x] Go check it out.
>"...You're right," Reisen admits. "This is one of the best days of my life."

>...I'll take "things I never expected Reisen to say on THP" for $400, Alex.

Ah, it's good to be back to our regularly scheduled hi-jinks.

[×] Sit back and enjoy the show.

Why screw with a good thing? Aya needs to blow off some steam, and we've got some prime entertainment right under our nose. Let's sit back and do nothing.
[X] Turn around slowly, walk awaynobody's going to take this option, are they?

I just did. What now, Keymaster!?
>>28222
Me again, love how the link image to this thread is completely opposite of what Eirin's going through right now
[X] Make the offer to Reisen and Tewi.
-[X] ...and the Eirins.
--[X] Just be ready to get the hell out of there if they turn on you.
[X] Passively consider what it would be like to have a nice evening with Hina and another you.
>>28224
Why stop there? Why not an infinite amount of Hinas and Ayas so that whichever way you turn, there's someone there to have fun with?
[X] Make the offer to Reisen and Tewi.
-[X] ...and the Eirins.
--[X] Just be ready to get the hell out of there if they turn on you.

WELL.

I don't know what I was expecting from Keymaster's Eintei, but this certainly wasn't among them. Good job.
[x] Make the offer to Reisen and Tewi.
-[x] ...and the Eirins.
--[x] Just be ready to get the hell out of there if they turn on you.

>>28224
I believe you typoed "have a nice evening with two Hinas."
Okay, and the write-in for talking to everybody wins out. Yes, I love writing hijinks. And I regret nothing!

>>28222

Well, now you've just screwed everything up. Are you happy now? Are you?!
Dang. I was hoping enough people would go for the cloning Aya vote. I think it would have been a lot of fun (and chaos, of course).
File 139975187234.jpg - (380.29KB, 735x1015, she mad.jpg) [iqdb]
28230
I clear my throat. "Well, allow me to explain why I'm here. The Mikami Shrine is going to be hosting a trade show at the base of Youkai Mountain sometime soon. A good number of Gensokyo's notables are going to be there, and I wondered if folks from Eientei would like to attend as well."

Reisen and Tewi perk up with interest at my words, and think it over with the endless screaming coming from within the clinic serving as background noise.The look at the sky, chewing on their lips. They look out at the forest, munching on popcorn. They look at me, then back at the clinic, and finally share a glance that somehow manages to communicate a great deal between them. Some instinct deep within me sends me warning signals, but by then it's too late.

Reisen turns to me with a broad smile. "Well, I can assure you that we here at Eientei would be delighted to attend your trade show!"

"Sadly, we are unable to formally accept your invitation," Tewi adds sadly. "Not enough authority, you understand."

Understanding comes over me like slow dread. "Then the person I need to speak too..."

"Is within the clinic at this very moment," Tewi smiles back at me. "And in duplicate, no less! That totally doubles your chances for success!"

I hear the distinctive sound of something shattering inside the building. "What have I done to deserve such treatment from the two of you?" I ask, putting as much hurt into my voice as I can.

"Remember that special you ran last year?" Reisen asks me. "That whole 'Rabbit Heat' special?"

"Yes," I reply, cringing.

Reisen and Tewi grin broadly. "So do we!" Reisen says cheerfully. "So I think we can call it even after this, hm?"

"Absolution can be a bitch sometimes," I mutter, walking towards the clinic.

"Or two of them, in this case!" Tewi pipes up. Reisen helps herself to the popcorn, while I enter the clinic itself.

I've been in war zones before. Sometimes even helped make them, in my earliest days. But this... this is a scene of utter chaos. The normally immaculate clinic looks like a small army ran through the place with the sole purpose of trashing everything in sight. Chairs are overturned, there are holes in the wall, and there is a tangle of blue and red rolling around on the ground.

Oh. That must be Eirin...s. Plural.

The ball of red and blue resolves itself into two figures, who stand panting, glaring at each other with enough heat to burn half of the clinic to the ground. Princess Kaguya herself runs in from another room, a frantic expression on her face.

"Okay... just... just stop fighting, you too!" she wails, stomping the ground in frustration.

"Not to worry, princess," the Eirin on the left says, not taking her eyes off of her rival. "As soon as this replica admits to her nature and accepts the assignments I have for her, everything will go back to normal."

"Me? A replica?" The Eirin on the left snorts rudely. "I seem to recall you being the replica, dear lady. And as you came from my body, I demand that you follow my orders!"

"I have too many important projects to take care of!" Left shouts angrily. "Why don't you do your job and take care of some of the grunt work?!"

"My brilliance wasted on such chores?!" Righty spits on the ground. "I will never accept such an insult!"

"Ummm... oh hey!" Kaguya suddenly speaks up with forced, frantic cheer. "It's Aya Shameimaru! Welcome to Eientei! How can we help you?!" The words 'HELP ME' are all but glowing in the air all around her, but I am more concerned with the fact that two Eirin Yagokoros have suddenly pierced me with their gaze.

"How can I help you?" Left says with manic politeness.

Righty shoves her out of the way. "I am at your disposal for any and all medical needs, Miss Shameimaru."

Left slugs her counterpart in the face, sending her spiraling to the ground. "I'm the doctor her, clone-bitch!"

Right launches an amazing handstand kick at the other Eirin, flooring her while the right-hand doctor springs to her feet. "You're one to talk, you defective replica!"

...This is so confusing.

"Which one is real?" I ask the room quietly.

"I am!" both Eirins shout, immediately glaring at each other.

"We don't know," Kaguya groans. "Eirin stepped on the platform and hit the switch, then there were two of them standing there. And they both keep renewing the energy flow, because even they don't know who's real!" The two doctors look a bit awkward at this. "And they've been fighting with each other ever since!" Now the two doctors are glaring at each other again.

Righty suddenly looks at me with a brilliant smile. "Say! Would you like to help me with an experiment, Miss Shameimaru?"

Lefty dodges in front of her, beaming at me. "How would you or someone you know like to be cloned?"

Righty pushes her out of the way. "Just think of the many, many advantages!"

Lefty tries to force her way in front again. "There are... absolutely... no downsides!" she grunts, struggling for position with Righty.

...For a moment I think it over, and envision three or four of me ganging up on Hina. Or three or four Hinas ganging up on me. It is a wonderful, glorious thought. Then I take a look at the twin, feuding doctors and decide that some science is a little two advanced for me to deal with.

"I'll uh, pass," I say carefully, causing the Eirins to slump. "But allow me to give you a counter-offer! Mikami Shrine is going to be hosting a trade show at the base of Youkai Mountain! Would you like to attend?"

The Eirins freeze, their gazes going distant. Slowly, smiles cross their faces, turning wicked as they turn their heads to face one another. Kaguya just stares at me with unmitigated horror.

"Of course... what a wonderful opportunity to show off what I can do," Lefty muses. "It should prove once and for all just who the real doctor is around here!" She glares at her counterpart hatefully.

Righty nods in agreement. "You're right it will. You brain-dead replica."

Kaguya looks at me with dead eyes. "WHY."

I cough. "Sorry." In the next moment, the two Eirins are on either side of Kaguya, tugging on her arms and demanding that she assist them with their respective projects. As Kaguya's eye starts to twitch, it occurs to me that discretion might well be the better part of valor here.

"Thankyouverymuchlookingforwardtoseeingyouthere," I say in a rush of words before running out of the clinic as quickly as I can. Almost as soon as I clear the doorway, a blast of magical energy erupts behind me, and I hear the Eirins yelp in surprise. This is followed by some angry scolding from the Lunarian princess. Sounds like somebody finally decided to put their foot down.

I walk back up to Reisen and Tewi, who are watching the scene in amusement. "Satisfied?" I ask them.

"You know what?" Reisen comments. "I am. I really, really am."

"Too bad Mokou wasn't around to see this," Tewi notes. "it'd probably make her day." She considers for a moment. "Hey moony, wanna go let her know, maybe go looking for guys in the bars afterward?"

"Why not?" Reisen shrugs, straightening up. "This seems like a good time to get away from Eientei for a while." I can't help but nod in agreement, hearing the shouting coming from behind me. "Well, thanks for coming by, Aya! I guess we'll see you at the trade show, and we can consider ourselves even now."

"Ever the generous heart," I quip, looking back at the noisy clinic.

Reisen just laughs as Tewi tosses her popcorn bucket to another rabbit. Without another word, the two rabbits are off through the forest, leaving me there with only the sounds of arguing as company.

Well. Still quite a few hours left in the day. What now?


[ ] Kappa time.
[ ] Underground visit.
[ ] Scarlet Devil Mansion.
[ ] Secure advertising.
[ ] Head home for the day.
[ ] Write-in.
Love that for once, Tewi and Reisen are both getting along, maybe even as friends. That is a rarity in most Touhou works.

[x] Kappa time.

Haven't seen the Kappa in nearly 10 threads, maybe more.
[x] Kappa time.
[x] Secure advertising.

We can probably grab both of these at the same time.
[x] Scarlet Devil Mansion.

Yeah this please.
[x] Scarlet Devil Mansion.

Let's get this over with.
[x] Kappa time.
[×] Write-in.
-[×] Go for a drink at Albrecht's bar. See if he can get you in touch with Yuugi.

The oni are the lynchpin of the whole thing, and I'm pretty sure Aya doesn't want to go through the underground tunnels again.

Since Albrecht and Yuugi are in a relationship, Yuugi must make regular trips above ground-- and know other oni who do the same.

And Keymaster? I'm still hoping to run into a former Crown Prince while I'm there. We voted for it, after all...
[κ]
[X] Kappa time.

This should be good.
[X] Write-in.
-[X] Go for a drink at Albrecht's bar. See if he can get you in touch with Yuugi.

I smell a good write in. Besides, more Albrecht. I can always do with more of the bartender.
[x] Write-in.
-[x] Go for a drink at Albrecht's bar. See if he can get you in touch with Yuugi.

We can't always rely on Yamame for our underground needs.

...aaaand mentioning her is gonna cause a fight between anons, isn't it?
[X] Write-in.
-[X] Go for a drink at Albrecht's bar. See if he can get you in touch with Yuugi.
[×] Write-in.
-[×] Go for a drink at Albrecht's bar. See if he can get you in touch with Yuugi.

This is a good write in, though I'd be good with advertising with the Kappa too
As much as I'd want to see the underground, SDM, or Albrecht, I wanna see more Nitori.

[X] Kappa time.
and in the moment that Kappas print things out, include:
[X]Secure Advertising

... I wanna see Kogasa and Yamame... or know how they are.
[X] Kappa time.
and in the moment that Kappas print things out, include:
[X]Secure Advertising
[X] Kappa time.
[×] Write-in.
-[×] Go for a drink at Albrecht's bar. See if he can get you in touch with Yuugi.
[X] Write-in.
-[X] Go for a drink at Albrecht's bar. See if he can get you in touch with Yuugi.

The write in. It calls to me.

More seriously, as long as we don't drink to much and just watch ourselves, we should be perfectly fine to see the other possible options after this. After all, our main reason for hitting up the bar is to get in touch with Yuugi and the Oni. (Though if we aren't in luck there, I suppose we could always try hunting down Sukia in order to contact the oni)
C'mon, guys, one more vote and the write-in will be tied with the Kappa!
[X] Write-in.
-[X] Go for a drink at Albrecht's bar. See if he can get you in touch with Yuugi.

This is good
[X] Write-in.
-[X] Go for a drink at Albrecht's bar. See if he can get you in touch with Yuugi.

Been a while since we had any news from our favorite pistol-wielding-oni-romancing-bartender.
[X] Kappa time.

NO
Okay, let's see what the votes look like-

>A tie.
>Again.

......

Wat.
Nitori and some kappa are at the bar, problem solved.
>>28255

You know what? Perfect. Let's just go with a trip to the bar, and Aya gets to meet a bunch of people there. Bar mini-arc is a go.
I've got to ask why are people avoiding the SDM, considering its place in Aya's character development.
>>28257

Saving the best for last?
>>28257
My understanding is that at one time, people would always vote for the SDM if given the chance, so that no matter what board the story was in or what the story was actually about, the MC would find themselves at the mansion at least once before the story was over.

Naturally the Scarlet crew appearing in and even taking over stories eventually started to get on people's nerves and now a lot of voters go out of their way to vote for anywhere but the mansion because the SDM is "cliche."

That's my take of it at least. Looking through older stories, the SDM does make quite a few appearances.
File 139984310614.jpg - (362.38KB, 800x722, you asked.jpg) [iqdb]
28260
Leaving the Bamboo Forest of the Lost is, as expected, incredibly easy. Simply fly upwards and boom, you're out, with all of Gensokyo spread out beneath you. For a moment, I hesitate as to where I should go next. Today's been fairly busy, but I still have a few good hours left in the day. Still, I can't deny that I've been put through a bit of a wringer with the whole Tenma thing. And running into the dual Eirins was just weird enough to put me off my stride. No, what I think I need right now is a good drink, like what Minoriko would offer.

...Except for the fact that I still feel a little grouchy about how much of an ass Tenma was, and I'd appreciate a bit more time to cool off before heading on home. The last thing the Mikami need is for their shrine maiden to come home all surly, after all.

Well then, it feels a tad disloyal, but there is a pretty good bar in town after all. Nodding to myself, I set off for the Human Village at full speed. After a few mere minutes, I land in the streets and head off for my destination, a well-known and popular bar.

The bar itself has become quite popular in the village as of late; it's one of Minoriko's biggest competitors, and she's been thinking about hiring away the bartender. The place is quiet and understated, giving it a sort of homey feel. Works of art are tastefully arrayed at strategic points throughout the bar. Overall, it's the sort of spot someone can go to unwind after a long day. Note to self: take notes, confer with Minoriko later.

Once inside I head up to the bar, taking a good look at the bartender. He's an Outsider for sure, and foreign to boot, but he speaks the local language without a trace of accent. There's a relaxed air about him, like he's taken a good look at Gensokyo at large and come to the conclusion that he just doesn't give a damn about the weirdness going on. Man's got a bar to run, after all. I do notice the Oni-made vest he wears, which makes me raise an eyebrow, but it's probably none of my business. Wish I could remember his name, though.

Still, what gets my attention more is the fact the Miko Toyosatomimi is sitting at the bar in front of him, sipping away at a drink. This bears investigating.

"I was under the impression that hermits such as yourself had no desire for alcohol," the bartender says as I take a seat next to Miko. He gives me a nod of acknowledgement, but Miko's eyes are closed, her chin resting on her hand.

"I am beyond such worldly desires," Miko agrees, sounding a bit weary. "Departing Senkai for a time was simply a matter of necessity, nothing more. In other words, I needed to get away before I throttled a pair of my subordinates. Hello, Aya."

I jump a little bit. How the hell did she know I was here? "Um, hi," I say carefully. I look at the bartender. "Could I get a cup of sake, please?" He nods, heading for his bottles, and I give Miko a sympathetic look. "Tough times at Senkai, then?"

"Just the usual," the Taoist sighs. "I had to get Futo calmed down first. Then I needed to restore the damage she had caused. Then I needed to break up a fight between her and Tojiko and repair some more damage. Then my illustrious mentor was trying to capitalize on the discord, and... well, it made for quite a time, I assure you. I do hope that this hasn't given you a bad impression of us." The bartender hands me my drink and refills Miko's own cup. "Thank you, Albrecht."

Right, that was his name. "Eh, I'm in no place to criticize. My own people have been driving me up the wall as of late. Including our illustrious leader." I roll my eyes at the very thought of Tenma.

"Yes, the reputedly very sedate ruler of all tengu," Miko muses. "One whose name is spoken of in awe, and whispered in confusion. Quite a few contradictory tales there, though I confess that the internal politics of the tengu have been of minor interest to me. Your kind usually stays to its mountain, after all."

"Unfortunately true," I grumble. The door opens, and Nitori Kawashiro walks in, accompanied by a few kappa. She looks exhausted. Still, this is a good opportunity to talk to talk to her, if she's going to be here.

"In any case, we look forward to the trade show. It stands to be a very entertaining, and interesting, event." Miko glances over at me. "Word has it that a fairy of sorts is going to be organizing the evening's entertainment. Is this true?"

"Lily Black," I nod, sipping at my drink. Truth be told, this is actually a pretty damn good vintage. "She's trying to get more involved as of late, and I figured that this would be a good opportunity for her. Will you staying for the performance? Or is musical appreciation a desire to overcome, or something? I don't really know much about your philosophy."

"Being a hermit doesn't mean you aren't allowed to have some fun or enjoy life," Miko laughs. "If it did, none would pursue the path. What good is a long life if it is a long, dull, uninteresting one? No, I can still enjoy the finer things in life. Just with a bit more moderation than most."

I nod as the door opens and someone else- whoah.

Holy shit, that's Yuugi Hoshiguma. What the fuck is she doing above ground?! And... looking awfully feminine in that blue kimono, to boot. It looks like she's been putting a lot of effort into her appearance, too. One would hardly suspect the muscle she's packing on that powerful frame. And now she's walking over and talking to Albrecht, the bartender... and smiling warmly at him? And he's returning the smile, and now they're even gently squeezing one another's hands...

"Wow," I comment, looking at the understated display of affection.

"Indeed," Miko comments, glancing over at the two of them. "I have to say, I'm not sure what to make of the idea of a human and Oni falling for one another, but they seem to be quite happy." She sighs. "And Albrecht has been quite clear that he cares nothing for Japanese convention, and will live as he pleases."

"An attitude I can respect," I reply. Miko just grunts in response.

Well, there's a few things that I can do here.


[ ] Go talk to Yuugi Hoshigma.
[ ] Go talk to Nitori and the Kappa.
[ ] Something else?
[x] Go talk to Yuugi Hoshigma.

She's closer.
[X] Go talk to Yuugi Hoshigma.

Haven't seen her in a while, and we really need to get in touch with the Oni so we can invite them to the show.
We also need to get threatened with foot-shooting, otherwise it's not a proper visit to Albrecht's bar.
[x] Go talk to Yuugi Hoshigma.

Haven't seen Yuugi in a while.
[X] Go talk to Yuugi Hoshigma.
...

I misspelled Yuugi's name in the votes, and now it's going to be staring me in the face. Fuck my typing so hard.
[X] Go talk to Nitori and the Kappa.
[x] Talk to Yuugi Hoshiguma

Kimono!Yuugi is amazing. Also wasn't there a statue of General Hoshiguma down in the Underground?
>>28265

Don't feel bad, I didn't notice either.
[x] Go talk to Nitori and the Kappa.

I'm more curious about the kappa and why they're here than predictable Yuugi.
> "Unfortunately true," I grumble. The door opens, and Nitori Kawashiro walks in, accompanied by a few kappa. She looks exhausted. Still, this is a good opportunity to talk to talk to her, if she's going to be here.

Keymaster, as much as I hate to point out another typo...
[×] Something Else?
-[×] Chat a bit more with Miko, then talk to Yuugi.
[x] Go talk to Yogi Hoshiggles.

>>28271
We'll get to them.
[x] Talk to Yuugi Hoshiguma
Okay! Yuugi it is!
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28277
I slowly turn my head to look over at the famed Deva of the Mountain. Yuugi Hoshiguma. I kinda sorta vaguely remember her from way back when, but I wasn't personally acquainted with her or anything. Just saw her at a distance. Besides, Yuugi probably would have been more of an 'it' back then, a far cry from the extremely feminine being that I'm looking at right now. Obviously powerfully built, but still feminine. Beautiful, really.

...You know, this could spare me another trip to the underground if I talk it over with Yuugi first. Nodding to my self, I glance over at Miko. "It was good talking to you. I'll see you later, alright?"

The Taoist nods, placing some money on the counter. "Very well. I shall look forward to the trade show, Miss Shameimaru. Until then." With a final wave, Miko makes her way out the door, and I stand up to walk over to Yuugi and Albrecht.

"You should totally come visit me down below," Yuugi is murmuring to him. "You'd be more than welcome, and a lot of my friends are eager to meet you."

"Tempting, but last I heard not a lot of humans are welcome down below," Albrecht replies, an easy smile on his face as he polishes a glass.

Yuugi chuckles. "Things change. And you're with me. Ain't nobody going to give you a hard time." She raises an eyebrow. "Besides, I know what happens to the feet of those who give you a hard time." The Oni makes an odd gesture with her fingers as she says this.

Albrecht chuckles now. "Am I ever going to live that down?"

"Live it down?" Yuugi smirks. "Wear it as a badge of honor! Keeps all of the riff-raff away from you, and the smarter ones would never cost Gensokyo its premier bartender, People love their booze around here, you know." She pauses, noticing me walking up, and an amused smile crosses Yuugi's face. "My, my. Aya Shameimaru herself. The one Tengu willing to hang around with us Oni."

I shrug. "Well, what can I say? Most of my people do consider me to be a little bit nuts."

Yuugi grins and pats the stool next to her. "Nothing wrong with that. The crazy ones have the most fun."

"They do call me crazy for choosing to spend my time with you," Albrecht comments. "Best choice I ever made."

"Awwwww~," I coo, grinning at the two lovebirds.

"Yeah, he's a real charmer," Yuugi laughs, a bit of affection in her voice.

"How did it happen, anyway?" I ask.

Yuugi shrugs. "I'm an Oni. He serves booze. Our paths were bound to cross. We hit it off. Nothing more to it than that."

I feel like I'm missing a lot here, but I'm not going to push an Oni for details of her personal life if she doesn't want to tell them. Yuugi's a personable sort, but that doesn't mean I want to risk pissing her off.

As I sip my drink, I notice Kokoro Hata step in, her pink hair and outfit rather distinctive. She pauses when she sees me, and gives me a piercing yet expressionless look before nodding and taking a table. Hm. Must want to talk to me. Maybe about Sukuna? Well, she can wait for a minute or two.

"So, you just here to chat, or do you have something else on your mind?" Yuugi asks, looking over at me. "Not that I don't like the company mind; it's been way too long since I drank with a Tengu! I just figure you look like a woman on a mission."

"There was something I wanted to talk to you about," I admit. "See, the Tengu have collectively had a stick up their butt for the last... well, centuries anyway."

Yuugi nods easily in agreement, and Albrecht shrugs. "Can't say I really do business with your kind," the bartender says. "Though I did serve a few of them drinks at the big Hakurei-Scarlet wedding. Lousy tippers."

"Well, I want to snap them out of that. Especially given that things on the mountain are coming to a boiling point." Albrecht pauses at this, and Yuugi looks genuinely concerned. "Yeah. It's getting bad. Basically, I need to encourage the tengu to be more willing to travel beyond the mountain and deal with other peoples. Expand their horizons, you know what I mean?"

"The trade show," Albrecht notes.

"Not a bad idea," Yuugi says thoughtfully. "That'd drag them out of their shells for sure... and I assume you want some Oni there as well."

"Yes," I say. "Our two peoples have a long association. You Oni have done really well for yourselves, while us tengu have been sitting on our asses doing nothing. Seeing how well our old bosses have been doing would be a real shock to the collective tengu psyche. Getting a taste for everyone else's wares would help too, but I really think that the Oni have to be there. Just... not all at once. I want to lure the tengu out, not scare them up the mountain."

"What, you saying we're too boisterous?" Yuugi grins.

"More the pathological fear all us tengu have," I correct her. "I sort of remember the old days, and most of the elders do as well, I'll bet."

Yuugi goes silent at this, looking down at her drink. "...Yeah, I remember those days," she sighs after a moment. "Guess I can't blame you all for being a bit spooked." Looking concerned, Albrecht touches Yuugi's hand gently, and she gives him a gentle squeeze in response. Finally, the Oni Deva looks up at me. "Okay, I see this as a good excuse for a bunch of us to get out and about for a while. What we'll do is we'll have a few of the other underworld youkai stake out a couple of good spots at the trade show. Then, when the tengu show up and are committed, I'll come in with a bunch of Oni I trust to keep a grip on themselves, and we can start showing off our stuff. At that point, your people won't be able to back out without looking like cowards. They'll have no choice but to see what we bring to the party. After that, what happens, happens."

I nod. "That sounds pretty much like what I had in mind. Thanks, Yuugi."

"Yeah, no problem," the Oni says with a smile. Then she hesitates. "Just... can I ask you for a favor?"

I blink in surprise. "Yeah, sure. Just name it. What can I do for you?"

Yuugi sighs deeply. "You remember that crazy shit that happened at that Pleasant Meadows place? Well, Suika... that's Suika Ibuki, remember... she's been really out of sorts ever since it happened, Whatever happened there... I think it frightened her but good. It's kind of scary to see her like this, you know what I mean? Like she's dead inside. Anyway, me and Reimu have both tried talking to her, but she just bottles herself up whenever we do. I dunno, maybe if someone else talked to her, she might open up a bit? Suika might feel more comfortable around a tengu, what with past association and all that. Can you do that for me?"

"Yeah, no problem," I say, feeling a little unnerved at the thought of the normally jovial Suika Ibuki being down in the dumps. "Not sure what I can do, but at the least I can try talking to her."

"All I ask for," Yuugi says with a smile.

The conversation dies down after that, and I decide to leave Yuugi to have some privacy with her man. Meanwhile, I see Nitori nursing a drink with her fellows, while Kokoro is looking at me like she wants to talk. So, who do I speak to first?


[ ] Nitori and the kappa.
[ ] Kokoro Hata.
[X] Kokoro Hata.

I do say it'd be impolite to keep the lady waiting.
[x] Kokoro Hata.
[x] Kokoro Hata.
[X] Kokoro Hata.

I'd vote for Nitori, but it wouldn't be polite to leave Kokoro hanging when she wants to talk right now. Nitori's still talking to other kappa right now, so I think we can still catch up with her afterward.
[x] Nitori and the kappa.

if we wait too long, Nitori'll be too drunk to talk to.
[X] Kokoro Hata.

Damn, I thought Suika turned out alright. Dropped the ball on that one.
[x] Kokoro Hata.

Well, she did make eye contact, so it's pretty much mandatory now.
[X] Kokoro Hata.


>>28283
I don't think anyone turned out "all right" from that. Just a scale of more or less fucked up.
[×] Kokoro Hata.
I hope we run into Iku and Yumeko not long after Suika (we are supposed to meet with Shinki for the trade show afterwards, so Yumeko can't be far behind).

Also, how long has it been since Pleasant Meadows? Lily Black mentioned that it was mid-summer, and Being Meiling started at the beginning of Spring. So I imagine, what, one-and-a-half, two months since then?
[×] Kokoro Hata
>>28282

[x] Kokoro Hata.

We've dealt with drunk Nitori when she was worse, and we really don't want to test the patience of a hot-blooded girl who could probably beat Yorihime in a fair fight.
>>28288
general discussion is not the same about asking them about the trade show or other reasons.
[x] Kokoro Hata
Hatatatata.
[x] Kokoro Hata.

Huh... the stuff about Suika seems a bit... mm... not really 'sudden', but unexpected. Last I remember from the epilogue of Pleasant Meadows/No Escape was that she was working on improving the relationship/understanding between humans and Oni, along with some help in that from Byakuren.
[X] Kokoro Hata

Just because... We could ask Nitori later on. And I saw some Kappas now so I'm happy.
>>28294
I thought the Kappa was half the point of going here. Though I partially blame Keymaster for intentionally provoking anon's ADHD
[X] Kokoro Hata

>>28295
sometimes that ADHD is a side effect of real life. Keymaster updates pretty much daily, and I know I miss an update once in a while.
Okay, looks like Aya will be having a quick word with Kokoro first!
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28299
I glance over at the expectant-looking Kokoro and nod, making my way over to her. The Meinriki sits up a little straighter as I approach, sipping at some sort of fruity drink. I have no idea what's wrong with good old-fashioned sake, but whatever.

"Miss Shameimaru," Kokoro says politely as I approach. "It's good to see you. Though I'm a bit surprised to see you in here, I admit." Kokoro's voice remains neutral, her face impassive, but I easily pick up on her curiosity from her body language.

"I've had a bit of a rough day," I admit, sitting down across from Kokoro. "Didn't want to take it out on anyone from Mikami Shrine, so I came here to cool down for a bit."

Kokoro nods. "I'm very sorry to hear that. Would you like to talk about it?" While her voice remains impassive, Kokoro nonetheless manages to seem concerned. It's definitely body language; the way she sits and moves manages to convey a lot. Leave it to an actress to figure that trick out.

I shake my head at her offer. "Nah, thinking about it gets me all annoyed again. I'd prefer to just forget about it and move on."

"If you like, I could dampen your anger-" Kokoro cuts herself off, and bows her head, eyes closed. "Sorry about that. I try to help, but I know it comes across as a bit creepy sometime. What with the emotion based powers and total lack of facial expressions, I mean."

I wave her off. "Eh, don't worry about. You mean well, and that's enough for me. Anyway, how have things been going for you?"

"Fairly well," Kokoro replies. "I get quite a number of attendees to all of my performances. I also consider myself a devoted follower of Lady Shizuha." I nod, feeling pleased at this. "Though I do make the occasional donation to the Hakurei shrine. Even if she doesn't need it anymore... I think it's best to stay on her good side."

"Can't argue with that," I mutter.

"Plus, I've been practicing facial expressions, with varying success..." Kokoro trails off. "Ah, sorry. I'm babbling, I know. Actually, I was hoping to get a chance to talk to you, Miss Shameimaru."

"That's what I figured," I nod. "And please, just call me Aya. Anyway, what's on your mind?"

"Hair," Kokoro says evenly. She pauses. "Sorry, bad joke. Actually, I was hoping to talk to you about Sukuna."

I nod. "Is she coming on a bit strong?"

Kokoro actually hesitates at this. "Um... does she talk about me, then?"

"Sukuna considers herself something of a friend to all women," I chuckle.

"I picked up on that," Kokoro nods. "And that is actually part of the problem. You see, I like Sukuna. I find her cute and very pleasant to be around. But I don't like her in the way I think she wants me to like her. We're friends, good friends, but that's all I want us to be. Besides, I prefer men myself."

"And you're afraid of upsetting her if you try to cut her loose?" I ask.

Kokoro shifts uncomfortably. "I'm not good at this sort of thing," she says quietly. " I want to keep Sukuna as a friend, but I can sense that she has some sort of romantic interest in me. But I'm not convinced that it's a very genuine romantic interest, and I don't feel the same way anyway, and..." Kokoro shakes her head, pink hair cascading around her. "I just don't know what to do, Aya. How do I handle this?"

I pat Kokoro's hand sympathetically. Poor, confused, emotionally-screwed up young youkai girl. I can sympathize, really. "Well, first of all, don't worry. Sukuna isn't the type of person that would stop being your friend just because you didn't want to be in a relationship with her. She's playgirl second, and warrior-poet first."

"I guess that's true..." Kokoro allows.

"Second, Sukuna has, as of late, been doing some serious soul-searching. I think she's starting to work her way out of this phase of hers. Deciding to find some nice girl and focus on her. Or even switch to guys, I don't know how she thinks." I shrug helplessly.

"Well, that's good," Kokoro nods. "Personally, I found her wish to form her own harem to be one of Sukuna's more annoying traits. Something I could put up whit, mind you, but also something I really wished she'd cut out."

"Well, I'd say your wish has been granted," I reply. "Sukuna's been putting a lot of thinking in as of late, and I really feel like she's finally getting her head screwed on straight." An idea occurs to me. "Say, why don't you head back with me to the shrine later? You can meet up with Sukuna, talk things over. And if you need any backup, I'll be there to lend you a hand."

Kokoro stares at me for a long moment, and I think I see the ghost of a smile on her lips. "Thank you, Aya. You're good at giving advice, you know that?"

I sigh. "Only because I've been through this kind of thing before. Seriously, don't use me as a role model. It's a bad idea."

"I'm not so sure I agree with that," Kokoro replies, tilting her head as she sips at her drink again. I just shrug, faintly embarrassed at the praise. Well, maybe talking to Kokoro and hearing out her concerns will be good for Sukuna, and help her work things out in her head. Personally, I'm feeling loads better myself. Maybe a drink is just what I needed.

Still, I might as well take advantage of the opportunity to talk to Nitori, since she's here.


[ ] Go talk to Nitori.
-[ ] Anything in particular you want to bring up? (Besides the trade show).
[X] Go talk to Nitori.

Wasn't she crawling inside a bottle after that whole Pleasant Meadows experience?
Let's make sure she's here, ah, "socially" rather than to kill her conscience (and liver).
You know, tactfully try to find out her general mental state, and if needed, offer support.
We've been playing therapist for just about everyone involved anyway (and those we haven't yet, we're well on our way towards).
[x] Go talk to Nitori.
-[x] See how she's holding up
-[x] see if she needs help.
[X] Go talk to Nitori.

>>28300
>Wasn't she crawling inside a bottle after that whole Pleasant Meadows experience? Let's make sure she's here, ah, "socially" rather than to kill her conscience (and liver). You know, tactfully try to find out her general mental state, and if needed, offer support. We've been playing therapist for just about everyone involved anyway (and those we haven't yet, we're well on our way towards).

I'm guessing you haven't read the beginnings of this story? That's one of the first things Hina and Aya do. Though we haven't seen her for a while, and we need to contact the Kappa anyway, so might as well talk to her.
[X] Go talk to Nitori.
[×] Go talk to Nitori.
-[×] See how she's holding up, and if she needs help.
[×] Go talk to Nitori.
[×] See how she's holding up, and if she needs help.
[X] Alert her to happenings on the mountain so the kappa have a chance to prepare if thing go to hell
[×] Go talk to Nitori.
[×] See how she's holding up, and if she needs help.
[X] Alert her to happenings on the mountain so the kappa have a chance to prepare if thing go to hell...or so they can join us, as they stand to have a lot to gain from better human access to the mountain.

The more pressure we can put on the elders without directly stirring up the tengu population at large, the better.
[×] Go talk to Nitori.
[×] See how she's holding up, and if she needs help.
[X] Alert her to happenings on the mountain so the kappa have a chance to prepare if thing go to hell
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28311
"Can you give me a minute?" I ask Kokoro, "I see somebody that I'd like to speak to."

She nods her agreement. "Sure. Just make sure to get me before you leave." I nod back and make my way over to where Nitori is sitting with a couple of other kappa, who are giving her some amused looks.

"I told you so!" one of them chides her.

"Yeah, yeah..." Nitori sighs.

"That guy has a reputation, there's never anything simple with him!"

"I know, I know..." Nitori grumbles, glaring at her compatriot. Then she notices me and straightens up a bit. "Hey, can you two give me a minute? I'd like to talk to Aya here." The other two kappa glance over at me in surprise before smiling politely and clearing the table for Nitori and myself.

"Good afternoon," I say as I take a seat. "You look completely exhausted."

"I can only imagine," the kappa sighs wearily. "It's been a hell of a day, let's put it that way."

"Is there any way that I can help out a follower?" I ask, a bit concerned.

Nitori just chuckles and waves me off. "No, no. It's nothing major, just... well, okay. I do a fair amount of work here in the human village to fund my experiments, right? It's what we kappa do; we sell our wares and services to whoever can afford them. The village is a big boon to our businesses these days."

"I've heard about that," I comment. "Doesn't seem to be any real pattern to what services you provide, though..."

"Eh, we work on whatever we're interested in at the moment," Nitori shrugs. "And generally, if I'm working on something, somebody somewhere is interested in my work, and will pay me for it. It's all I need."

Not really the best business plan I've ever heard of, but what do I know? "So in other words, you had a difficult client?"

Nitori lets her head fall down on the table. "...Put it this way. The guy's a nobleman, and has been quietly obsessed with state-of-the-art plumbing for a long time now. Right at the moment, I'm working on a new fluid-distribution mechanism, for..." she pauses. "Kappa technical terminology, is the short version."

I sigh in relief, spared the long version and gods know how much technobabble. "In other words, you were working on plumbing."

"Basically," Nitori shrugs. "So, word gets around, and this guy makes me an offer. I head over with a couple of helpers and put in a new plumbing system for him. He asks me to modify his bathroom, and I agree. Then it comes to the toilet." Nitori makes a face. "See, he apparently heard about this weird butt-scrubbing system the outside has..."

"Please stop, you've said enough," I say flatly.

Nitori just shakes her head in bafflement. "See, I know that us kappa have a reputation about that sort of thing, and yes it's our own fault. But her went into so much detail... it was so damn awkward! And then he tried it out and we had to make adjustments..." the kappa trails off, giving me a face of pure and utter suffering. "It's just been one of those days, Aya."

I pat her on the shoulder gently. "Hina be with you."

"Thanks," Nitori grumbles. There's a moment of silence. "So. Big trouble in the tengu village these days."

"You've heard?" I ask, looking over at her.

"Kinda hard to miss," Nitori replies, looking troubled. "I saw a couple of the wolves arguing with each other the other day, and it was getting really heated. Aya, what the hell's going on?!"

"Conflict between very conservative tengu, and those who want to open up our village a little bit," I tell her. "Personally, I side with the more open-minded sorts, but I really don't wanna see some sort of civil war break out."

The kappa shudders. "That... would be bad. For everybody."

I nod. "I know. That's why I'm hoping this trade show will get through to them. By the way, if you haven't heard about it, we're hosting a trade show at Hina's old shrine. The kappa are invited, of course."

Nitori smiles at that. "Oh, thank you! I had heard about it, and was going to ask you... wait, what was that?" She frowns. "So, you're doing this to make to tengu get out more?"

"Let them see what Gensokyo holds," I say. "Let them see what they're missing out on. I honestly think that this will open their minds a little bit, get them to accept other people. Or at least bother to deal with non-tengu enough to give them a fair chance."

"So that's what's going on..." Nitori muses. "Not a bad idea. But what if it goes wrong? What if this only polarizes things even more?"

I close my eyes. "Then we deal with the fallout. But I'm doing this for the tengu. Better to take such a risk, than to let my people keep decaying like they have been. Just... be ready in case of the worst case scenario, all right? If this doesn't help, and the tengu do start fighting each other... I mean, I hope it won't but if it does..."

Nitori nods, very solemn. "I know. We'll keep an eye on things, and if fighting does break out... well, we've needed to work on our underwater habitats for a while, anyway." She pauses. "Damn. I just had the best idea for an exhibit at the trade show!"

Nitori's kappa friends creep back over. "So... are we on for the trade show, then?" one of them asks.

Nitori looks over at them and nods. "Yep! I just got the official invite! So anyway, we have to tell the others and figure out what we want to show off..."

And just like that the conversation breaks down into excited babbling between kappa inventors, and turns to lengthy technical terms that I can't even begin to understand. Backing away from the kappa mob with a polite farewell, I catch Kokoro's eye and nod to the door. The meinriki nods back, and soon the two of us are heading for Mikami Shrine.

It's a peaceful, trip, and the two of us chat companionably as we make our way to to the shrine, discussing Kokoro's plans for some new performances, details of the trade show, that sort of thing. As we get closer to the shrine, the two of us can make out Sukuna and Youmu in the front yard, weapons drawn and staring each other down. There doesn't seem to be any sort of malice there, though. It's more like some sort of spar.

"They aren't angry," Kokoro confirms my suspicions a moment later. "I would sense it. But they are very intense. Hm." She glances over at me. "Shall we take the opportunity to play a little prank on them?" As expressionless as Kokoro's face is, I swear that her eyes twinkle with a bit of mischief.


[ ] No, no, leave the two of them be.
[ ] Sure!
-[ ] A rain of danmaku to scare the hell out of them.
-[ ] Spooky, spectral masks.
-[ ] A nice, refreshing gale.
-[ ] (Your own idea)
[x] No, no, leave the two of them be.

>>28311

I realize, Keymaster, that you're trying to steer us in certain directions, because you find a situation amusing, but can't really write about i this story unless we vote for it, but I just want to get on to the plot-important bits.

By the way, where did the whole "Sukuna's doing some soul-searching" thing come from? There have been a few references of her looking contemplative, but WHY? What was the catalyst for her changing her horndog ways?
[x] No, no, leave the two of them be.
[x] Sure!
-[x] A nice, refreshing gale.
[x] No, no, leave the two of them be.

Messing with them right now would be way fucked up.
[x] No, no, leave the two of them be.
Someone could get stabbed.
>>28312
Um, the bit where we gave her a dressing-down because the last person we knew with that sort of habits was ourselves?

[X] Nah, it'd be a shame to spoil this. This should be good.

I want to play the prank, but Youmu v. Sukuna should be pretty cool to watch.
[X] Nah, it'd be a shame to spoil this. This should be good.
-[X] We can prank them after the fight.
[x] No, no, leave the two of them be.


As fun as a prank would be, you don't get involved in a dramatic standoff between warriors.
joy killers.
[jk] Play a prank.
-[jk] Watch them duel for a bit.
-[jk] Go stealth and retrieve your swords from somewhere without getting caught.
-[jk] Interrupt the fight, telling them to stop, and fighting in the shrine grounds is bad.
-[jk] Offer them a duel later on at the trade show, to entertain some people.

[X] No, no, leave the two of them be.

... I wanna see awesome sword fights.
[x] Play a prank.
-[x] Watch them duel for a bit.
-[x] Go stealth and retrieve your swords and some clothes from somewhere without getting caught.
-[x] Interrupt the fight, while wearing some kind of disguise, while yelling 'WE ARE THE DEMONIC DUO, KOKOYA, AND WE'RE HERE TO DEFEAT YOU YOUMU! WHO WILL STAND UP FOR YOU AND FIGHT BY YOUR SIDE?'
[×] Nah, it'd be a shame to spoil this. This should be good.
-[×] If anything, go "Rah, rah, sis-boom-bah!" or something.

Hopefully this is a prelude to Youmu piercing Sukuna with her lance, IYKWIM.
>>28323

>Hopefully this is a prelude to Youmu piercing Sukuna with her lance, IYKWIM.

She doesn't have the right anatomy. She could play cave explorer though.
I feel like voting to give their battle some dramatic wind, but I'm too tired to find the right words.
[x] No, no, leave the two of them be.
- [x] A little dramatic breeze wouldn't hurt though.
>>28325
Something like this; >>28322 but with logic and actual humor?
[X] No, no, leave the two of them be.
- [X] A little dramatic breeze wouldn't hurt though.

the key to a good prank is subtlety.
[X] No, no, leave the two of them be.
- [X] A little dramatic breeze wouldn't hurt though.
Of course! The law of dueling means there must be a dramatic breeze before every fight!
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28332
I purse my lips, thinking for a moment, and finally shake my head. "Nah, they look pretty into this. Best to not disturb them."

Kokoro tilts her head. "You're no fun at all, you know that? That's what I'm gonna call you from now on. No-Fun Aya."

"You mean you'd pass up the chance to watch a duel like this?" I ask her, smirking.

Kokoro seems to think it over. "Okay, you make a good point. Spectating it is." The two of us land and get into a good position to watch the two swordswomen face off.

Sukuna is staring Youmu down, even though the half-phantom has to be a giant from her perspective. Her needle-like blade is held carefully in her hands, every muscle in her body poised and ready to move. Youmu holds both of her swords in a cautious stance, looking down at the inchling only in the most literal sense, clearly ready for a tense battle.

It's a magnificent scene, and the two of us watch expectantly. The moment goes on... and on... and on... and, well, you get the idea. There's a gentle wind blowing, causing the warriors' clothes to rustle, but it almost seems mocking, or maybe impatient. Seriously, aren't they supposed to move or something?

"Come oooooon~," Kokoro calls out in a monotone. "Do something already."

"Booooooriiiinnnggg!" I yell. Neither of them respond. I sigh and look over at Kokoro. "Well, maybe they aren't actually going to duel. This could just be one of those mental discipline exercises, where they face each other down and wait for one another to get impatient. Something like that, anyway. I guess it builds character-"

Then a leaf blows between the two of them and everything explodes into motion.

One second, leaf. The next second, Youmu tears through it so fast even I can barely track her movements. Sukuna is on her in an instant, needle-blade flashing as fast as lightning. The inchling leaps and spins through the air, the steel striking against Youmu's flurry of blows, intercepting each blow and moving past it. But Youmu is far from helpless; the young gardener stays on the move, dancing nimbly away as Sukuna keeps trying to gets close to her. Sukuna rebounds off of Youmu's sword and tries to get closer, only for Youmu to knock her to the ground with a blocked overhand strike. But Sukuna uses the momentum to dive closer to Youmu, leaping over a sweeping kick and trying to go in for a killing blow. But Youmu rolls away, dashing back in to continue the encounter, and...

...And it just goes on. It's the classic encounter of a giant versus the diminutive swordsman, except that the 'giant' in this case is just as good a fighter as her smaller opponent. It's dazzling, dizzying, a dance of steel punctuated by the faint scream of incredibly sharp metal cutting through the air.

And in a heartbeat, it stops, Sukuna and Youmu halting where they stand, breathing heavily and smiling. "I could totally see your panties," Sukuna heaves.

"No you couldn't," Youmu snorts.

"...Okay, I couldn't. But it was worth a shot." The inchling sends a playful grin Youmu's way, and the gardener just laughs mirthfully.

And I am applauding. So is Kokoro. And I realize that the Mikami are there as well, cheering and clapping their hands. "That... was cool," I am forced to admit. Damn. I knew they were good, but that was just out of this world.

Youmu gives me a smug look. "Are you entertained now?"

"Yep. No two ways about it," I agree.

"You certainly did do something," Kokoro speaks up. She pulls a blue fan from somewhere and gives a fancy-looking bow. "I applaud your skill and showmanship." She glances at me afterward, and I nod subtly. There's an easy camaraderie between Youmu and Sukuna now. Perhaps the inchling has finally set her sights on a fellow master of the sword? Or is this just a tight friendship I spy? It's kinds hard to tell with her sometimes.

The moment is broken by the sound of tiny footsteps on the pathway. Not Sukuna's footsteps, either. They sound lighter, somehow. Slow, filled with hinted menace. I glance up and see a sight that I will remember for the rest of my days.

A blonde figure, long hair blowing in the wind. Blue eyes glaring with passion and something much like madness. A sword gripped in one hand, a shield held in the other. Framed by the setting sun, she strikes a figure to either take your breath away or stab fear into your heart. Maybe both.

The effect is somewhat muted by the fact the Shanghai is about one foot tall. Also, Alice Margatroid is landing beside her just now, with an embarrassed expression on her face.

"Hello, everyone," the puppeteer says awkwardly. "Um, I'm really sorry about this." She glances down warily at her creation, who steps forward and points her tiny sword at Youmu with a trembling, jointed hand.

"Um, me?" Youmu asks, pointing at herself in confusion. Shanghai nods stiffly, eyes boring into the gardener.

"Oh! Hi Alice! Hello Shanghai!" Sukuna says cheerfully, walking forward. The doll's head spins to look at her so quickly, that Sukuna's steps actually falter. The inchling stares at Shanghai in confusion. "Is... something wrong?" In reply, Shanghai sheathes her sword and holds a hand out to Sukuna, which only confuses the inchling even more.

Meanwhile, Alice walks over to me, Kokoro, and the Mikami. "I am so, so sorry for this," she whispers to us.

"What's going on?" Hina asks, watching the scene play out in befuddlement.

Alice coughs. "Well... Aya, do you remember how I mentioned that Shanghai had some very advanced neural architecture?"

"Um, vaguely," I reply.

"And that I mentioned that I used my own neural patterns as a model for my dolls?"

"Yes..." I say slowly, watching Shanghai slowly advance on Sukuna while Youmu watches on in befuddlement.

"Well... do you also remember how I had that period when I was a bit... obsessive... with Marisa Kirisame?"

I slowly swivel my head to regard Alice. "Why, yes. Yes I do. But you said you were over her."

"I am, and I love my boyfriend very much," Alice assures me. "But guess what trait Shanghai went and inherited?" I don't respond. Instead, I just turn my head to watch as the obsessive doll reaches Sukuna and seizes her, drawing her into a tight hug.

"Um, Shanghai?!" Sukuna squawks, "That's a bit too tight!"

"Hey, now!" Youmu protests. "You're being too rough! Why don't you take it easy on poor Sukuna?" The gardener reaches out to assist, but Shanghai's eyes flare and the doll whips out her sword in a flash. Youmu just barely avoids getting an extreme manicure by jerking her hand back. "What the...?!"

"Shanghai, what are you doing?!" Sukuna cries, diving to block the doll's path.

Shanghai regards Sukuna for a moment before putting away her weapon and pulling out a miniature whiteboard and marker. She scribbles down a message and presents it to Youmu: HANDS OFF OF MY WOMAN, BITCH.

Youmu's eyes narrow. "Oh, you are joking."

"Um, Shanghai?" Sukuna says carefully, "Youmu's my friend, and you and I still don't know each other all that well."

Shanghai hurriedly wipes away the message and writes another one in its place. YOU CERTAINLY DIDN'T PROTEST WHEN YOU LET ME DRESS YOU UP.

"What?!" Youmu yelps, blushing. Sukuna just facepalms.

"Oh boy," The inchling sighs, "I should have seen this one coming. Listen Shanghai, I've been doing some serious thinking, and have been talking to some experts in the field, and I think that I might have been a little too free with my affections. I mean, don't get me wrong; you're a beautiful girl, and get all of the best parts from your lady mother! But I've been doing a lot of thinking, and I've definitely been throwing myself at women way too hard. I really did with you, and I think I might have rushed things far too much. What I'm saying is, I care for you, and think you're nice, but it's just too early for us to be anything more than friends. Is that okay with you? To be friends?"

I blink. Where the hell did Sukuna get all this insight? Was this Yamame's doing? They were talking an awful lot this morning.

Shanghai thinks it over for a moment, then writes a new message. NO. THAT'S DUMB. WE'RE IN LOVE, AND WE'RE GETTING MARRIED. I HAVE YOUR SUIT READY. LET'S GO.

Alice groans. "Is this why everybody used to be creeped out by me?"

"Yes," I say in unison with Hina, Minoriko, and Shizuha. Kokoro is fanning herself, watching the scene in fascination.

Sukuna is looking incredibly uncomfortable. "No, see, this is what I'm talking about. I shouldn't have come on to you as hard as I did. I don't want to hurt you, but I really think that we need to take things a little slower. I mean, this is all so sudden..."

Shanghai tilts her head. WOULD YOU PREFER ME TO WEAR THE SUIT?

"That's not what I mean," Sukuna says awkwardly.

I CAN HAVE MY SISTERS JOIN IN IF YOU THINK IT WOULD BE FUN.

"This conversation is getting so weird~!" Sukuna wails, flapping her arms. Then she goes very still. "Oh geeze. Is this how all of those women felt whenever I..." a look of dawning horror appears on Sukuna's face.

YOU'RE CONFUSED. LET'S GET MARRIED, AND I'LL TAKE CARE OF YOUR ADORABLE LITTLE HEAD. Shanghai steps forward and seizes Sukuna's wrist.

"Should we do something?" Minoriko asks nervously.

"I don't think that's necessary," Shizuha muses, watching the scene. Specifically, watching the increasingly angry Youmu.

"That's enough!" the gardener shouts, causing Shanghai and Sukuna to look at her. "Listen, you insane little doll! Can't you see how uncomfortable you're making her? Just back off, or I will teach you to respect peoples' boundaries!"

Shanghai stares at Youmu for a long moment. THEN YOU CLAIM HER FOR YOURSELF?

"That's... not quite what I was getting at," Youmu says hesitantly.

Sukuna gasps, hands going to her mouth as she gazes up at Youmu, eyes sparkling with wonder. "Youmu... do you mean you're here to claim my hand for yourself?"

"I, I, I didn't mean it like that," Youmu sputters, looking incredibly embarrassed. "All I'm saying is that it's wrong to try to force somebody into loving you, and I'll put a stop to it if you don't cut it out!" She huffs, glaring down at Shanghai in annoyance.

"Youmu... that's the most romantic thing anyone's ever said to me..." Sukuna breathes, looking up at the gardener in wonder.

"What." Youmu's response is a bit more abrupt.

Shanghai nods slowly. SO BE IT. THEN I CHALLENGE YOU FOR THE HEART OF THIS BEAUTIFUL CREATURE. WIN, AND SHE IS YOURS TO MARRY. LOSE, AND SUKUNA SHALL WED ME. EN GARDE! The doll draws her sword and shield, settling into a ready position.

"You mean I'm the damsel in distress?!" Sukuna squeaks. "Or... the maiden being fought over?! Wow, I never dreamed this would happen. Um..." the inchling scampers a few feet away, and turns to regard the encounter, trying to act like a noble lady watching suitors fight for her hand. "P-pl-please fight your best!" She calls out.

"Um." Youmu is starting to realize what she's gotten herself into.

SO. YOU FREELY LORD IT OVER CREATURES A FRACTION OF YOUR SIZE. Shanghai shakes her head derisively. SO BE IT. THOUGH I QUESTION JUST HOW EVEN A BATTLE THIS WILL BE, I WILL FIGHT YOU WITH ALL OF MY MIGHT!

"Oh, well, if you wanted to fight Youmu on even terms, I've been experimenting with my mallet!" Sukuna pipes up. "I could make you her size! Or make Youmu your size! Um, if you want to do it that way, that is." She looks up at Youmu questioningly.

Youmu looks at me in bafflement.

The Mikami are eating popcorn.

Kokoro is taking notes.


[ ] Small warriors!
[ ] Human-size duel!
[ ] Just keep your normal sizes.
[X] Small warriors!

[JK] Just bop at random and see what happens!
[x] Human-size duel!
File 140020946831.jpg - (780.11KB, 857x1200, 3699661.jpg) [iqdb]
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[x] Just keep your normal sizes.

Shanghai challenged her despite the size difference, there's no reason to give anyone more or less of an advantage now. Save the mallet for a romp in the mountains later.
[x] Small warriors!

Youmu will be the same size as Sukuna. This will make this easier for all of them. Especially the love making.
[x] Shrug wordlessly before hiding behind Kokoro and breaking down in a mostly-silent fit of giggling.

It's not that I don't care (although I don't); it's just that it feels inappropriate for Aya to make the decision, and thereby implicitly egg them on and/or give the duel a veneer of legitimacy.

... I should probably be ashamed of not also feeling similarly about spectating, but I'm not.
>>28337

I'm operating under the assumption that this is a vote that may not necessarily directly apply to Aya. There have been cases before where someone else acts on the vote instead of Aya, so I'm assuming for now that Youmu or Sukuna is going to decide. If not, I'm in favor of still hanging back and watching.
File 140021300265.jpg - (732.77KB, 1105x1600, I know who I'M rooting for!.jpg) [iqdb]
28339
[×] Just keep your normal sizes.

I get the feeling that if we shrink Youmu, or grow Shanghai, then they're going to have trouble adapting to their new size, and the other side will win.

Unless, for the lulz, we do both.
Oh no, clingy jealous Shanghai.

[X] Human-size duel!

Alice has spells that can make her dolls bigger, such as Testing "Level Titania". So if she's used it on Shanghai, a human-sized Shanghai might not be at a disadvantage.
[x] Human-size duel!
It's not like Alice hadn't done it before anyway
[x] Human-size duel!
Oh god, this shit is getting hilarious.
Do you hear that?
That is sound of symbolince of seriousness getting punted out of the story.
And it is glorious.
>>28343
And it has absolutely nothing to do with Aya.
[X] Just keep your normal sizes.
[X] Reverse sized duel.
--[X] After all, it's no fair if only one of you has to get used to a new size?
--[X] Proceed to d'awe. (That's not a typo.)
>>28344
And again, I don't even think this vote actually applies to Aya in this context.

[X] Reverse sized duel.
--[X] After all, it's no fair if only one of you has to get used to a new size?
--[X] Proceed to d'awe. (That's not a typo.)
[x] Human-size duel!
[x] leave it to the contestants
its not Aya's decision
[x] *holds up hands* "I'm staying out of this."
[X] Reverse sized duel.
--[X] After all, it's no fair if only one of you has to get used to a new size?
--[X] Proceed to d'awe. (That's not a typo.)
--[X] Go nab Yuyuko before the fight. She'll want to see this.

As the shrine's patron, we have a duty to make sure she doesn't miss any embarrassing moments regarding her gardener.
Okay, calling vote now for a human-sized duel!
Awwww.
File 140028667263.jpg - (309.00KB, 850x894, noble warrior.jpg) [iqdb]
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I raise my hand. "How about a Youmu-sized duel? That way the rest of us can see what's going on."

Shanghai scribbles a quick note. A BIT BESIDE THE POINT, BUT I AM WILLING TO FIGHT THIS WAY. BESIDES, THIS WAY I CAN CRADLE SUKUNA AS I TAKE HER HOME FOR OUR WEDDING AND HONEYMOON.

"...Okay, you're really starting to get creepy," Youmu says, narrowing her eyes.

AT LEAST I HAVE BOOBS, MISS IRONING BOARD. I'VE SEEN PLATES THAT HAVE MORE CURVES THAN YOU.

Youmu's eye twitches. "Sukuna. Get your damn mallet."

"Oh my~!" Sukuna squeals, rushing off. "Don't go anywhere! I'll be back in a minute~!"

As the inchling runs off, Youmu regards Shanghai coolly. "At least what I have isn't completely fake." Shanghai clutches her sword tightly in response, her gaze burning into Youmu. This thing just got even more personal.

Shortly, Sukuna rushes back with her mallet in hand. Hefting it carefully, she gently bops Shanghai on the head. The next moment, the doll is the size of a human woman, slightly taller than Youmu. She looks down at herself and nods, seemingly pleased with the transformation.

Alice sniffs. "Well sure, if you wanna cheat..."

Sukuna takes her position as the damsel in distress. Shanghai raises sword and shield. Youmu settles back, hands resting on the hilts of her swords. Doll and gardener face off, much as Youmu and Sukuna were earlier. But this time, the feeling is far more tense, the stakes much higher. Also, Minoriko and Shizuha are eating popcorn.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5xZbJDZZo4 Eh, I just like the tune)

Then Youmu moves. Almost quicker than my eye can follow, she flashes across the distance separating her and Shanghai, drawing her swords and slashing in one fluid movement. Shanghai, however, moves far more quickly than I would have guessed possible, blocking Youmu's strikes with sword and shield. Taken off guard, the gardener stumbles as she moves past Shanghai, staggering as she tries to regain her footing.

The doll spins, eyes flashing with malice as she charges, longsword thrusting with deadly intent. At the last moment, Youmu brings up one sword, pushing away Shanghai's sword and finally blocking it as she brings her other one into play. Her sword blocked by Youmu's dual katanas, Shanghai narrows her blue eyes and smashes Youmu in the face with her shield.

Sukuna gasps, shocked. Youmu staggers away, grunting with pain. Shanghai, sensing victory, lunges once more, sword coming around in a killing arc. Fast as quicksilver, Youmu leaps and rolls, flipping over Shanghai and landing behind her before spinning around in a pirouette that Hina would take pride in, lashing out with a katana. Shanghai catches the blade on her shield, but is forced to dance away from Youmu's other weapon. All of a sudden, it is the doll who is on the ropes, frantically backpedaling as Youmu presses her.

The gardener brings both of her swords down in an overhand chop, which Shanghai easily blocks. She does not block Youmu's follow-through: a high kick straight to the face. The doll reels back as Youmu snarls at her. "You're creeping Sukuna out, you insane toy! What the hell is the matter with you?!"

Shanghai does not even try to respond, instead rushing Youmu with all of the ferocity that her artificial frame can muster. She tears into the silver-haired swordswoman with an unholy fury, trying to batter apart the half-phantom's defense and pierce her innards with a longsword. Youmu staggers under the onslaught, but does not falter, finding a rhythm and gradually learning Shanghai's own patterns. The doll's attack starts to fail as Youmu begins to push her back, katanas flashing in a dance of steel that Shanghai simply cannot stand up to.

So the doll headbutts Youmu instead. Squealing in pain, Youmu tries dive back, but Shanghai is relentless, trying to end the battle as quickly as possible. Desperate, Youmu starts to roll wildly on the ground, leaving Shanghai struggling to keep up with her. The evasive maneuvers stop when Youmu suddenly surges to her feet, driving the hilts of her blades into Shanghai's shield hard enough to stagger the doll. A round house kick connects with the doll's arm, and her grasp on the shield weakens. In the next moment, Youmu has torn it from Shanghai's grip and hurled it aside, dodging away from any counterattack. The two glare at each other balefully for a moment.

"This ends now, villain," Youmu says darkly, the wind ruffling her silver locks. Shanghai's only response is to charge, longsword gripped in both hands. The doll thrusts, and Youmu starts to fall to the side, away from the edge. Shanghai adjusts her grip, clearly planning to drag the edge against Youmu's stomach, but Youmu raises one of her swords to block Shanghai. Then she pushes against the longsword, launching her into a spin that leaves both katanas in a position to strike, and Shanghai totally open.

Twelve strikes land in a heartbeat. The doll falls at once, and Youmu stands over her, breathing heavily as a gasp of awe comes over the spectators. The gardener sheathes her weapons. "A commendable effort. But in the end, you cannot compel love. Such was your downfall. Be grateful that I struck you down with the flats of my blades."

Damn. She's totally into this.

Silently, Sukuna approaches Youmu. Carefully, she taps Shanghai on the head, returning the insensate doll to her regular size. Setting aside the hammer, she then looks up at Youmu, expressionless and silent.

"Sukuna, are you all right?" Youmu asks in concern.

Sukuna remains quiet. Without a word, she hovers up off the ground and settles into Youmu's hands, which come up to hold her. The inchling leans against Youmu's chest, staring deeply into the swordswoman's blue eyes. "Okay. From today on, I'll be your bride." The she gives Youmu a gentle peck on the lips.

For a moment, there is silence. Then, the gardener of Hakugyokuro responds:

"Ehhhhhhhh?!"

"But, I don't want to rush things," Sukuna explains to a blushing Youmu. "So... can we start off engaged, and get to know each other first? I wanna be a good bride to you, eheh." The inchling nuzzles herself contentedly against Youmu, who is sputtering helplessly, unable to understand the situation she's gotten herself into.

"So romantic," Kokoro sighs.

"Well, that was neat," Minoriko comments. "What do you think, sis?"

Shizuha shrugs. "Well, as long as Sukuna gives her a chance to back out and isn't too pushy, I guess it's okay."

Hina giggles. "Oh, it's cute. Besides, I'm sure she'll get Youmu to come around~! It'll just take some time."

"So, what'll you do with Shanghai?" I ask Alice as the puppeteer stares dismally at her fallen creation.

"Oh, take her home, repair her," she replies. "Shanghai, for all of her faults, is still my proudest creation. She's right on the verge of crossing over from high-order creation to sentient life-form. I just need to sit her down and explain what not to do when attempting to attract someone." The puppeteer sighs heavily.

Alice goes to pick up Shanghai, while Youmu smiles and pats Sukuna on the head. "...How about we take things one day at a time, and see how it goes?" The gardener finally offers.

Sukuna smiles cutely. "All I ask for! Just give me a chance, and I'll prove that I can be a wonderful bride." She pauses. "Um... but can we keep this quiet from your mistress for a while? I want to know where we are before we tell her anything."

Youmu swallows heavily. "Probably a good idea. If she learns you want to court me... she'll try to help out. In her own special way." The gardener shudders at the concept.

I clap my hands together. "Well, that was fun. Celebratory drink, anyone?" Aside from Alice, there are more than a few takers.

Ultimately, Youmu and Sukuna agree to take things nice and slow. Youmu is flattered, but uncertain how she feels about being courted by Sukuna, while the inchling doesn't want to scare the half-phantom off. But if you saw the two of them after a few drinks, with Youmu sprawled out in a doze, Sukuna snoozing happily on her chest while the gardener keeps a protective hand over her tiny body, you'd think it was the cutest thing in the world.

I just have no idea how the mechanics would work. You know, what with the size-difference and all.

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

To-do list:

[ ] Visit the SDM.
[ ] Talk to Suika.
[ ] Arrange advertising.
Aya, Aya, Aya. Completely aside from "Gensoukyou": you forgot the Mallet.
[X] Arrange Advertising.

We seriously need to get this over with then simply spend the rest of the day visiting other people.
[x] Talk to Suika.
[x] Visit the SDM.
[X] Arrange Advertising.
[x] Visit the SDM.
[x] Talk to Suika.

Little Oni need help.
[x] Talk to Suika.
[☆] Talk to Suika. (Maybe bring Hina too?)
[x] Talk to Suika.
[×] Talk to Suika.
-[×] Bring Hina with you.
[×] Talk to Suika.
-[×] Bring Hina with you.
[×] Talk to Suika.
-[×] Bring Hina with you.
[×] Talk to Suika.
-[×] Bring Hina with you.
[x] Talk to Suika.
So hey. I graduated today. Feels good, man.

Anyway! Votes are in favor of visiting the littlest Oni, so we'll be paying her a visit.
Congratulations!
>>28370
We can be the just-graduated writefag duo!
Except I still haven't updated.
>>28373
I haven't even read it yet, but there's a pretty major typo in the first line.
File 140037914766.jpg - (118.39KB, 640x800, what is an oni.jpg) [iqdb]
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Hina and I look down at the sleeping Sukuna and Youmu, practically giddy at the sheer, concentrated cuteness. Youmu is curled up on her side, cuddling the inchling to her like a kitten. Sukuna, for her part, looks to be entirely happy with the situation, judging from her smile as she sleeps.

"Do we wake them up?" I ask Hina.

She squeezes my hand in response. "Nah. Just leave them be, and let the two of them work things out." Nodding to herself, the misfortune goddess finds a blanket and drapes it over the two of them. "Let them sleep in this morning. Anyway, what did you have on the agenda for the day?"

I start ticking points off on my fingers. "Well, we still need to visit the Scarlet Devil Mansion and invite them to the trade show, and there's still advertising to set up. Word of mouth only goes so far."

"Not to mention making plans for the show itself," Hina puts in.

"Yeah, but we should figure out what we'll have for attendance first," I reply. "But before any of that, I'd like to track down Suika Ibuki."

"Suika the Oni?" Hina asks me, a bit puzzled. "Whatever for?"

I sigh. "When I was talking to Yuugi Hoshiguma last night, she mentioned that Suika was going through a bad spell. Apparently she isn't taking what happened to her on the Outside all that well."

"Really?" Hina is silent for a moment. "Word had it that she was doing just fine. She was visiting the Human Village, and I even hear that she was working with Byakuren at one point. No one mentioned that she was feeling down in the dumps."

"Public facade versus private feelings?" I suggest. "All I know is that one of her friends hasn't been having any luck getting through to her, and asked us for help." I bite my lip. "Probably Reimu and Byakuren tried to get through to her and failed. I guess we're up next."

"In that case, I'll let Mino and Shizu know we're heading out," Hina agrees. "And don't even say anything. You know very well why I'm coming along." I just nod, silent. "Good. I'll be along shortly."

About ten minutes later the two of us take to the skies, on the hunt for Suika. "Let's head for the Hakurei Shrine," I suggest. "Word has it that Suika tends to spend a lot of time there. Given that Reimu spends a lot of her time at the Mansion these days, at lest when not on-duty, Suika might find it a private place to gather her thoughts."

"Sounds like a plan," Hina says absently, lost in her own thoughts. I decide not to push her on the matter.

The two of us make good time to the Hakurei Shrine. I have to admit, the place is looking loads better than I ever remember it looking. Everything is nice and clean, shiny and well-maintained. The grounds look pristine, like a team of gardeners looks after it. Then again, Reimu now has the resources of the Scarlet Devil Mansion to call upon. That would naturally lead to a more presentable shrine.

And speaking of the shrine maiden, Reimu herself is standing in the yard, looking up at a small figure sitting quietly on the roof of her shrine. Hina and I land behind her, and she starts a little bit, turning around to face us.

"Oh... Hina and Aya," Reimu remarks, surprised but clearly distracted. "What brings the two of you here?"

"Yuugi asked us to speak to Suika," I say simply, looking up at the figure on the shrine. It's definitely Suika; those horns are a dead giveaway.

"How is she?" Hina asks quietly.

Reimu sighs deeply, and I see worry cross her face. "Not good. She still puts up a good front, mind you, but anyone who knows her can see right through it. This just isn't like her. Yuugi's talked to her, I've talked to her, even Byakuren came over and tried talking to her. Nothing works. She just stays like... that."

"Like what?" I ask.

Reimu sighs again. "Talk to her and you'll see. Listen... I have some things to take care of, and I'm not getting through to Suika. If you can get her to listen, I'd be hugely grateful." She glances at Hina. "Will you do this for me?"

"It's why we're here," Hina says firmly.

Reimu nods and turns to leave, but I hold up a hand to stop her. "There was something we wanted to ask you and Remilia about. Will you be available later today?"

"Yeah, just drop by the mansion around lunchtime," Reimu replies. She gives one last glance at Suika. "Good luck." And with that, the shrine maiden departs, leaving Hina and I to fly up to Suika.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRoWm-_PYXQ)

The Oni is silent, staring without expression into a clear cup of sake. She doesn't respond when we land on the roof, and even a polite cough only causes her to slowly raise her head. When she sees me, Suika starts and immediately plasters a broad smile on her face. "Well, hey! Welcome to the Hakurei Shrine! I'm one of the boarders here, but Reimu-"

Then she sees Hina, and her smile evaporates.

Misfortune goddess and Oni stare at each other in silence for a long moment. Something passes between them, something I might never fully understand. "Hello, Suika," Hina says in a voice just above a whisper.

Suika nods. "Hey."

"How are you?" Hina asks.

"Worthless." There isn't even a moment's hesitation before the reply.

Hina reels. "That isn't true!" The Oni doesn't respond, instead looking down at her sake. It looks untouched. The misfortune goddess coughs. "You must think very ill of me, huh?"

"Why would I?" Suika asks, her voice frighteningly emotionless.

"Because I lied to and mislead everyone. Isn't deceit something that Oni hate above all else?"

"I did at first," Suika admits, "But then I got the full story. You were lied to. Used. You were frustrated, and somebody manipulated that. It wasn't your fault, and I know that. But if it makes you feel better, I forgive you for what you did."

Hina hesitates for a moment, then takes a seat beside Suika. I keep my distance for the moment. "Tell me what's on your mind, Suika."

The Oni turns the cup in her hand slowly. "You know, I've always liked humans. Always. I always wanted to hang out with them, party with them. I just never grasped why they always ran away from me. Why they always hated me, why they always tried to trick me." She holds the cup up to the sun. "It made me mad, but I was always just that much more determined to get to know them. To figure them out. Humans always tricked the Oni, or at least that's what it seemed like. A lot of us could never forgive them for it. But then, we never figured out why they did that."

I'm not so sure about that. Big Papporo probably has a good idea.

"Why did humans always lie to Oni then, Suika?" Hina asks.

Suika shrugs. "When you have someone crazily more powerful than you making your life a living hell, what do you do? When someone wrecks your home, steals your food, and laughs about it, what can you do? Of course, that was just our way of saying 'hello.' But let's face it, we were bullies. So humans did the smart thing, literally: they used their heads and tricked us. And you know what? We fucking deserved it." There is a startling amount of bitterness in Suika's voice at the end."

"Why do you say this, Suika?" Hina asks gently.

Suika stares at her blankly for a moment, and I realize that there are tears forming in Suika's eyes. "I was afraid..." she whispers. "I've never been so afraid in my life. An Oni is a being of strength. Of power. And all that was taken away from me. I was just a scrawny little girl who couldn't do anything. All bravado, with no substance." She snorts. "All I could do was drink, to try and drive the fear away. I was worthless."

"Suika..." Hina speaks up, looking pained.

The Oni suddenly throws her cup and gourd away with a savage toss. "Worthless, Hina. Absolutely worthless. But hey, I got rescued, right? And I figured that I had a pretty good idea of what humans felt way back when. So I got together with Byakuren, and tried to broker some sort of peace. Lay rest to the days of Humans hating and fearing the Oni."

"I heard about that," Hina agrees. "That was very good of you."

"It failed," Suika says flatly. "Because when I talked to somebody, the first thing they saw was a little girl. Okay, good enough. Then I would explain that I was an Oni, and a Deva at that. That's when things changed. I would see it then. That look of fear. Of helplessness. Like they were in the face of something unstoppable and terrifying, and they could do absolutely nothing about it. The Oni wants to make peace? Sure, sure! Just play along, smile and nod, anything so that she doesn't get mad and murder your family! That's what the savage beasts do, after all!"

Suika pauses a moment to rub her forehead. "And then I realized something... that helplessness in their eyes? That feeling of being able to do absolutely nothing in the face of something you simply can't stand up to? I understood it completely. And I couldn't fault them for it in the least. All the lies, all the deceptions of the past? All completely justified." She laughs, a horrible, empty sound. "I am an Oni. And I understand, and approve of a people's deception. I know what it is to feel helpless and terrified, to crave a mother's embrace if it would just make all the scariness go away. And moreover..." She closes her eyes tightly. "...When I lost my strength, I become utterly useless. My one defining trait, my strength; without it, I'm literally nothing. Almost everybody else here has something to fall back on, something that defines them. But me? Without my power, I. Am. NOTHING." Her head falls. "What kind of Oni am I? What kind of person?"

Hina is silent, just staring at the defeated Oni in horror. I shake my head, stunned. What the hell do you even say to that?



[ ] What do you say?


>>28374

Not anymore there ain't.
[X] ... What I just heard? Doesn't sound like someone who's only characteristic is strength to me.
--[X] Compassion. To forgive Hina, and the humans who deceived you.
--[X] Empathy. To link your own feelings with those who feared you.
--[X] Agency. To act on your realization, even if it failed. To try to change something in the world.
--[X] So, fine. You lost your power, for the first time in your life, and you panicked. Fine. Plenty of people do that. I'm Shameimaru Aya. I got kicked out and proceeded to be a pervy crow for three decades. But you got up and started changing things the minute you got back
[X] ... What I just heard? Doesn't sound like someone who's only characteristic is strength to me.
--[X] Compassion. To forgive Hina, and the humans who deceived you.
--[X] Empathy. To link your own feelings with those who feared you.
--[X] Agency. To act on your realization, even if it failed. To try to change something in the world.
--[X] So, fine. You lost your power, for the first time in your life, and you panicked. Fine. Plenty of people do that. I'm Shameimaru Aya. I got kicked out and proceeded to be a pervy crow for three decades. But you got up and started changing things the minute you got back.

Anon, who are you and why are you taking the words out of my mouth. I can't improve on that vote.
File 140039231010.jpg - (16.31KB, 300x193, Die monster.jpg) [iqdb]
28383
>what is an oni.jpg

A miserable little pile of drunks! But enough talk... Have at you!


[x] ... What I just heard? Doesn't sound like someone who's only characteristic is strength to me.
--[x] Compassion. To forgive Hina, and the humans who deceived you.
--[x] Empathy. To link your own feelings with those who feared you.
--[x] Agency. To act on your realization, even if it failed. To try to change something in the world.
--[x] So, fine. You lost your power, for the first time in your life, and you panicked. Fine. Plenty of people do that. I'm Shameimaru Aya. I got kicked out and proceeded to be a pervy crow for three decades. But you got up and started changing things the minute you got back.
[×] "...What I just heard? Doesn't sound like someone who's only characteristic is strength to me."
-[×] "Compassion. To forgive Hina, and the humans who deceived you."
-[×] "Empathy. To link your own feelings with those who feared you."
-[×] "Agency. To act on your realization, even if it failed. To try to change something in the world."
--[×] "So, fine. You lost your power, for the first time in your life, and you panicked. Fine. Plenty of people do that. I'm Aya Shameimaru. I got kicked out and proceeded to be a pervy crow for three decades. But you got up and started changing things the minute you got back."

Also:
[×] Have Aya share her own experience and understanding of oni.
[×] Offer suggestions on what to do next time she meets someone who might be afraid of her. (I don't have any ideas, though. Help me out, guys?)
[×] Tell her about your plan to use the oni to enlighten the tengu. If she can discover how other species feel about the oni, maybe she can help other oni-- or the tengu-- do the same.
-[×] We should definitely ask her to share how she feels with the other oni. Since the oni are regularly communing with the humans again, they might not be aware why they were banished in the first place, and history might repeat itself. We need to prevent that from happening.
[×] "...What I just heard? Doesn't sound like someone who's only characteristic is strength to me."
-[×] "Compassion. To forgive Hina, and the humans who deceived you."
-[×] "Empathy. To link your own feelings with those who feared you."
-[×] "Agency. To act on your realization, even if it failed. To try to change something in the world."
--[×] "So, fine. You lost your power, for the first time in your life, and you panicked. Fine. Plenty of people do that. I'm Aya Shameimaru. I got kicked out and proceeded to be a pervy crow for three decades. But you got up and started changing things the minute you got back."

[×] Have Aya share her own experience and understanding of oni.
[×] Offer suggestions on what to do next time she meets someone who might be afraid of her.
-[x] Possibly try politely calling them out on it. It's hard to just smile and nod if you know that the person you're doing it to can tell.
-[x] There's also the pre-emptive step of proving their fears wrong. Find a farmer who is injured or ill? Help them plow or harvest, and refuse to take anything in return even if they offer it.
-[x] Talk to Yuuka about it. Hina and Yamame had similar issues, but people were afraid of them because of their abilities, not just who they are. Yuuka, on the other hand, suffered exactly what Suika is suffering: people terrified of her just because of how powerful she was, and stories of how ruthless she is. We experienced this from the other side in Being Meiling. This also ties into both of the aforementioned suggestions: it's essentially what Yuuka did, and it turned out quite well indeed.
[×] Tell her about your plan to use the oni to enlighten the tengu. If she can discover how other species feel about the oni, maybe she can help other oni-- or the tengu-- do the same.
-[×] We should definitely ask her to share how she feels with the other oni. Since the oni are regularly communing with the humans again, they might not be aware why they were banished in the first place, and history might repeat itself. We need to prevent that from happening.
A lot of these options are very preachy. It's late and I can't think of anything else, but whatever it is, it's not these votes.
>>28384 here.
If my write-ins sound too grandiose, then don't vote for them, or only vote for a few of them. I can take it.
[X] ... What I just heard? Doesn't sound like someone who's only characteristic is strength to me.
--[X] Compassion. To forgive Hina, and the humans who deceived you.
--[X] Empathy. To link your own feelings with those who feared you.
--[X] Agency. To act on your realization, even if it failed. To try to change something in the world.
--[X] So, fine. You lost your power, for the first time in your life, and you panicked. Fine. Plenty of people do that. I'm Shameimaru Aya. I got kicked out and proceeded to be a pervy crow for three decades. But you got up and started changing things the minute you got back.
[×] "...What I just heard? Doesn't sound like someone who's only characteristic is strength to me."
-[×] "Compassion. To forgive Hina, and the humans who deceived you."
-[×] "Empathy. To link your own feelings with those who feared you."
-[×] "Agency. To act on your realization, even if it failed. To try to change something in the world."
-[×] "By their powers combined, you are ... Captain Planet!! Wait, no, thats not where I was trying to go with this."
-[×] "So, fine. You lost your power, for the first time in your life, and you panicked. Fine. Plenty of people do that. I'm Aya Shameimaru. I got kicked out and proceeded to be a pervy crow for three decades. But you got up and started changing things the minute you got back."

[×] Offer suggestions on what to do next time she meets someone who might be afraid of her.
-[x] Possibly try politely calling them out on it. It's hard to just smile and nod if you know that the person you're doing it to can tell.
-[x] There's also the pre-emptive step of proving their fears wrong. Find a farmer who is injured or ill? Help them plow or harvest, and refuse to take anything in return even if they offer it.
-[x] Talk to Yuuka about it. Hina and Yamame had similar issues, but people were afraid of them because of their abilities, not just who they are. Yuuka, on the other hand, suffered exactly what Suika is suffering: people terrified of her just because of how powerful she was, and stories of how ruthless she is. We experienced this from the other side in Being Meiling. This also ties into both of the aforementioned suggestions: it's essentially what Yuuka did, and it turned out quite well indeed.
[×] Tell her about your plan to use the oni to enlighten the tengu. If she can discover how other species feel about the oni, maybe she can help other oni-- or the tengu-- do the same.
-[×] We should definitely ask her to share how she feels with the other oni. Since the oni are regularly communing with the humans again, they might not be aware why they were banished in the first place, and history might repeat itself. We need to prevent that from happening.
File 140044939681.jpg - (125.03KB, 850x515, hope for the future.jpg) [iqdb]
28392
"...I think you're wrong," I say quietly.

Suika looks up at me after a moment. "Hm?"

"I said that I think you're wrong," I repeat myself. "About being worthless, that is. Let me ask you, do you consider me worthless?"

"The skilled reporter who's managed to build a brand-new religion and elevate three nearly forgotten goddesses into the spotlight?" Suika shakes her head. "No. Only a fool would think that."

"Then you agree that someone's worth goes far beyond just what level of power they wield," I press her.

Suika frowns at me. "Of course. That's what I'm getting at. I HAVE nothing else other than my strength and power."

"Yeah, no," I say, planting my hands in my hips. "You've got a lot more going for you. Want a list? Then here we go." I start counting points off on my fingers. "Firstly: you've got compassion. You have enough compassion to forgive Hina for her misdeeds, and to forgive the humans who deceived you in the past. Someone without compassion isn't even worth dealing with."

"Well, okay," Suika admits, holding up her hands. "I feel for people. But that alone-"

"Second," I cut her off, "You have empathy, something that's frighteningly lacking in a lot of people in the world today. You're able to link how you feel to the emotions of others who feared you in the past. You understand people's fears, and that's a good thing, dammit! You understand people's pain, their worries!"

"Well, but-" Suika looks uncomfortable as I continue to speak, but I just keep plowing on.

"Third! A little something that a some people like to call agency."

"Agency?" Suika blinks at that. "You mean like a talent agency, or something like that?"

"No," I reply, "I mean that you get shit done. You had a revelation, and you acted on that revelation. You realized that there was something screwed up in the world, and rather than just shrug you shoulders and say 'Oh, that's just how things are,' you straightened up and decided to fix what was broken. And yet you look me in the eye and try to tell me that such motivation isn't a virtue?!"

Suika just stares at me in stunned silence.

"Okay. I get where you're coming from," I continue. "Really, I do. After centuries of being one of the strongest beings around, you were made to feel weak. Powerless. And you panicked. I somehow doubt that you were the only one."

"She wasn't," Hina says firmly.

"Right," I nod. "So yeah. It's a perfectly normal reaction. But let's stop talking about you for a moment. Let's talk about me."

"You?" Suika asks, confused at the sudden segue.

I jerk a thumb at myself. "I got kicked out of the village, and broke down into Aya Shameimaru, pervert reporter and stooge for the elder council. I was stuck that way for decades. You, on the other hand? You get back and you immediately try to change things. After what had to be the worst, most soul-shattering experience that nobody should ever be subjected to. All of that, and you still feel bad about yourself?!"

Suika stares at me, blinking. After a moment, she lets out a weak laugh. "That's... thanks. I think I needed to hear that."

Hina gently puts an arms around the Oni's shoulders. "Are you okay now?"

Suika sighs in response. "Well, maybe a bit. It still kinda stings that people look at me like they're afraid that I'm going to rape and murder their families, you know?"

I cough. "Well... I kinda had that fear myself, up until recently."

"Oh yeah. You probably remember the old days, huh?" Suika asks, looking up at me.

"Sort of," I shrug. "Everything past a certain point is pretty hazy."

"Same here," Suika frowns. "Guess that's time for you. But what changed? For you and your fear of Oni, I mean. You sure aren't cowering away from me right now."

"She was cowering when she met a group of Oni a little while ago," Hina says dryly.

"Yeah, I was." I shrug. "And then I got to know them. Now I'm fine. It'll be the same with humans. There's going to be a big leap of faith to start with, and that isn't going to be easy to get over. But once you do, things will get a lot easier. Trust me on that one."

Suika hugs her knees. "Fine. But where do I get started? I mean, Byakuren is already working with me, but what happens the next time I meet someone who's too scared of me to even listen to what I say?"

"Well..." I think it over for a moment. "For one thing, call them out on their behavior. Politely, I mean. If people know that you're on to them, they'll be harder-pressed to just play along with you. You might even get them to admit their true feelings, which means you've opened a dialogue at least. Also, what about proving their fears wrong?"

"Yeah, just be helpful," Hina agrees. "You have mega-strength and control over density. So, help build things. Help farm. Just be passing by and do things out of goodwill, and try to get to know people while you're doing it. Let people visibly see you helping them, and they'll get over their fears soon enough." She winks at the Oni. "We'll put in a good word for you. Hey, if people can get over their fear of me, they can learn to accept you too, right?"

Suika gapes at us, tears twinkling at the corners of her eyes. "You guys... I..."

"You're not alone, you know," I say quietly. "There's a lot of people in Gensokyo who just want to make friends, and can't because people are scared of them."

"There are also people who don't want to make friends, and make it hard on the rest of us," Suika mutters.

"Then don't be one of them," I shoot back. I walk over at sit beside the Oni. "The tengu can be really bad for it. I think for the longest time I was the only tengu with non-tengu friends. Momiji and Hatate came out of their shells, and a few others are as well, these days. Though the elders are making it hard." I hesitate. "I'm trying to do something about that, actually."

"Hm?" Suika gives me a curious look. And so I explain to her. I tell her about the trade show, and my plan to get the tengu to come out of their shells. To confront other people, the Oni, and their own prejudices. "Assuming I can get Reimu and Remilia to agree, everybody will be there. It's a good chance for you, too. You can learn what people think about the Oni, and what you can do about it. Especially given that there's going to be an Oni contingent there."

"Hmmm..." Suika muses. "Do you have Yuugi coordinating that end?" I nod. "Good. Your people aren't going to like it, but maybe Yuugi can help smooth things over. But yeah, I'll go. It sounds interesting, and maybe I can help out a little bit."

"While you're at it, can you talk to your people?" Hina suggests. "Tell them about your experiences. Tell them about your revelations. And make them realize that not every human alive today might even know why the Oni were sent underground in the first place. If the Oni reach out a hand in friendship... well, not everyone will take it. But a few will. And that's a start, right?"

"Talk to Papporo- I mean, Big Papa about it," I say. "He understands that sort of thing really well. Hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? Just don't get discouraged. You don't wanna wind up like me."

"Dunno, I'm short enough to get a good look at panties," Suika says with a teasing grin. She follows up with a gentle laugh. "Sorry, sorry. Low blow. But heh, I didn't realize that I was being such a downer. Thanks for the advice, though." She takes a deep breath and sits up a little straighter. "But you're right. I am being too hard on myself. And I can't expect centuries of prejudice to just evaporate overnight, can I? It's gonna take a lot of work."

Hina and I nod approvingly.

"...Maybe if I kidnap some folks and bring them underground for some hot sex..." Suika muses.

"No kidnapping! NO KIDNAPPING!" Hina and I yell in alarm.

Suika bursts into laughter. "Joke, joke! I know better than that! But heh, the looks on your faces!" The small Oni giggles helplessly for several minutes before getting a hold of herself again. "Okay! Feeling better now! I'm gonna go meet with Byakuren and start my plans over from scratch. Um... thanks, both of you." Suika blushes a little bit as she says this.

"No problem," I smile.

"Our pleasure," Hina says happily.

Suika nods to both of us, and after taking a moment to reclaim her gourd, is off in the direction of Myouren Temple. Hina smiles at me. "Hey, Aya?"

"Yeah?" I ask.

"I think we did good."

"Yeah," I smile back. "I think we did."


[ ] Advertising.
[ ] Scarlet Devil Mansion.
[x] Advertising

Saving the Scarlet Devil Mansion for last.
[X] Advertising.

I agree that it is better for SDM to be left for last.
[×] Advertising.
-[×] On the way to Hatate's, see if you can find out if news of the trade show got out to the tengu.

A lot of people didn't like Lord Tenma's reaction to Aya. I think we should check to see what happened.

If it turns out Lord Tenma didn't respond to us, then we'll have to go with our old plan of using Kanako to coerce the tengu.
One thing I think we've forgotten about: when we arrived to meet with Suika, we talked to Reimu about meeting later, and she said to stop by around lunch.

I'm just wondering how much time we have until lunch. I'm fine with handling the advertising first if there's enough time, but if it's close to lunch we might want to head over to the mansion.
[x] Scarlet Devil Mansion.

Advertising last, once all the players are ready.
[x] Scarlet Devil Mansion.
[X] SDM

If we advertise first, it might look like we aren't inviting the SDM.
[x] Scarlet Devil Mansion.

Aya's regained her good humor and Reimu will be happy to know that Suika is better as well.
>>28395
I think we should take the time to bring out Aya's old records about the Tengu's history. With that young Tengu's threat to Tenma's guards, I think the younger generation need to be reminded that violence isn't the answer.

>"...Maybe if I kidnap some folks and bring them underground for some hot sex..." Suika muses.

Could work. Throw in some Yagokoro High-Grade pain relievers and most of the men would be 'converted', some women too.
[x] Scarlet Devil Mansion.
[X] Scarlet Devil Mansion.
[X] Scarlet Devil Mansion.
[X] Also Warn Reimu of rising tensions among the Tengu and all your doing to alleviate pressure but ask her to prepare in case of open warfare among the Tengu in Gensokyo.
[x] Scarlet Devil Mansion.

Okay.
「☆」 Scarlet Devil Mansion.
[X] Scarlet Devil Mansion.

Ok, now we can go.
[X] Scarlet Devil Mansion.
[X] Scarlet Devil Mansion.
File 140053574563.png - (369.51KB, 660x632, a valid theory.png) [iqdb]
28412
"Well," I say slowly, "I suppose we may as well get the Scarlet Devil Mansion on board."

Hina looks over at me. "But Reimu just left. Didn't she say to come by around lunchtime?"

I respond by sprawling out on the roof of the Hakurei Shrine. "So she did. Which means we may as well rest and relax for a couple of hours before heading over, huh? Besides, I've been flapping around like crazy the last few days. I could use a nice nap."

"And you're going to snooze on top of a rival shrine?" Hina pouts at me. "Should I be angry at you for being unfaithful?" I respond by holding my arms out to her. "...Fine. You pass, but just this once!" Adjusting her dress, Hina curls up beside me, and the two of us enjoy a nice, peaceful moment there in the sun. Such times are rare and must be cherished, after all.

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

After resting up a bit, the two of us decide to head on over to the Scarlet Devil Mansion, even if it is still a bit early. In any case, 'lunchtime' is a fairly vague time period, and it's not like we need to stay for very long. Just long enough to explain about the trade show. So it is that Hina and I fly over the misty lake, the crimson abode of Hakurei-Scarlets looming before us.

You know, credit where credit is due, Meiling does one hell of a job on the flower gardens here. Maybe Yuuka is chipping in a bit? And speaking of the gate guard, she's currently walking along the shore of the lake, a clipboard in hand. Also, she seems to be dipping some manner of instruments into the lake water? And that girl from the library, Koakuma, is with her, doing pretty much the same thing. The heck...?

"Are they checking the water's purity?" Hina suggests.

"I dunno," I shrug. "Let's go find out." The two of us head down to where gatekeeper and demoness are focused on their tasks, making sure to make a bit of sound as we land. "Hello," I say politely.

Meiling looks over at me and nods. "Hello, and welcome to the Scarlet Devil Mansion, you two. You're earlier than we expected."

"You were waiting for us?" Hina asks.

"Yeah, Reimu came by just a few minutes ago, and said you'd be by for lunch," Koakuma puts in.

"Well, we aren't going to stay long, so we figured we'd just do our business and be moving on," I explain. There's still advertising to set up, after all.

"Ah, allow me," Meiling says, straightening up. Quickly, she strides over to the gate and pulls it open, gesturing for us to enter. "Please, consider yourselves guests of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, and be welcome here." There is a polite smile on her face.

Koakuma rolls her eyes. "Yeesh. Are you two going to be this tense around each other until the end of days?"

Hina shrugs. "I think this is as good as it gets."

"It has more to do with neither of us really wanting to get into it again," Meiling explains. She glances at me. "At least, so I assume."

"Yeah, pretty much," I agree. "It's in the past, so let's leave it there. Anyway!" I start to head through the gate, then pause. "Um... just out of curiosity, what are you two doing, anyway? Testing the water?"

Meiling stares down at her clipboard in consternation. "Well... sort of, but not quite. Which tells you nothing, sorry. Um, Koa, you wanna field this one?"

"What we are doing is a silly task for my silly mistress," the demoness says primly. "Which keeps me from the far more important task of love-pleasing my beloved boyfriend, not that she cares all that much about my love life. Anyway, to make a short story short, she's wondering if the lake itself is going to awaken as a youkai."

I stare at her blankly. "What."

"Um," is Hina's contribution.

"Well, you know how many people have drowned in that lake over the years?" Meiling asks me.

"A lot," I snort.

"Yeah," she agrees, frowning at her clipboard again. "And that's just since we've gotten here. Anyway, Patchouli feels that all of the drowned spirits might be fusing together and causing the lake to awaken or something." Meiling pauses. "Personally, I think that's stupid, but hey! I just watch the gate."

Koakuma raises her hand. "Being somewhat more acquainted with magical theory, I can confirm that yes, this is indeed stupid. But then again, she's my boss, so what do I do?"

"Do strange tests on the water, apparently," Hina quips.

"Tell me about it," Koamuma grumbles. "Anyway, wanna give me a hand here Meiling? The sooner we do this, the sooner we can put it behind us."

"Well, might as well," the gate guard says. She nods at the two of us. "A fine day to you two." Then the two of them are back to doing some sort of bizarre experiment upon the lake water, and Hina and I shrug at one another before walking up the pathway to the mansion itself.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3LsGpKOKm8)

"...Aya, why is there a giant bonfire, and what is that fairy doing in front of it?" Hina asks me.

I sniff, detecting the scent of caramel on the wind. "You know what? I'm not even going to ask. There's probably a very good reason for it that we're just not privy to. Like why that fairy is dancing in front of a bonfire. With sticks in her hands. Weird." Hina just shrugs in response, and the two of us continue on.

Sakuya greets us at the door with a polite bow, and agrees to lead us to Reimu and Remilia. As we head through the giant hallways, we see all the bustle of day-to-day life in the mansion. Fairies cleaning and breaking things. Blurs of green at the corner of our eyes as something cleans up after the fairies. Red everywhere. The occasional yin-yang decoration. Flandre lugging a metal girder across the hall.

"Young mistress, please be careful with that!" Sakuya calls out.

The blonde vampire waves back. "No worries! I got it covered!" She glances over at me. "Hi Aya! Hi, uh. Miss Kagiyama! Sorry about freaking you out that one time, Aya, I thought you were still a pedophile. Glad to know you aren't. Later!" Whistling merrily, Flandre walks off down the hallway.

I look over at Sakuya. "What-"

"She's currently building a destroyer in an attempt to awaken it as youkai and dress it up like a schoolgirl so she can play a live-action version of the board game 'Battleships.'"

"Oh," I reply. "Perfectly logical, then.

"My head hurts," Hina murmurs.

"You get used to it after a while," Sakuya says encouragingly.

We finally meet Reimu and Remilia in a sitting room, where they have just started to have some tea. Reimu blinks as we come in. "That was faster than I thought. How did things go with Suika?"

"We decided to come early, thanks for having us," I reply. "And Suika's doing better, I think."

"That's a relief," Reimu sighs. "It's been so weird to see her so down like this."

"Anything that makes you feel better makes me feel better," Remilia says warmly. "Now then! What brings the esteemed lady of the Mikami and her Shrine Maiden to my door?"

"We're having a trade show at the base of youkai mountain in a little while," I explain. "Care to come along?"

Remilia gives me a dazzling smile. "Why, we'd be delighted to attend! Wouldn't we, darling?"

"Hm? Oh yeah, sure," Reimu says with a shrug.

The vampire nods happily. "And there you have it. Was there something else?"

"Well... no," I admit. "We just wanted to give you a verbal invitation is all."

"Ah. Then I appreciate your consideration in this matter." Remilia nods politely at us.

Well. That was easy. Now what?


[ ] Go work on getting some advertising.
[ ] (Um.)
[ ] (......)
[ ] (Well, that's it really, unless you all had something else in mind)
[X] (Um.)

I'm thinking this is the option to let Reimu know whats happening on the mountain.
If the civil war happens it could spread across gensokyo.
>>28413

No, no, this is me having run out of multiple choice options and seeing if people have anything else they want to do, or just go to the advertising.
[X] (Um.)
-[X] Give Reimu a heads-up, then get to work advertising.

Keep the keeper of the peace in the loop and all that.
[X] (Um.)
-[X] Give Reimu a heads-up, then get to work advertising.
[](......)
[x] Give Reimu a heads-up, then get to work advertising.

Might as well, we told damn near everyone else.
[x] "So...who at the mansion has something to sell? I mean, who can we be expecting?"
-[x] Give Reimu a heads-up, then get to work advertising.
[X] (Um.)
-[X] Give Reimu a heads-up, then get to work advertising.

Just so she knows we're trying to AVOID causing an incident. In theory.
That lake....
()"what would you sell anyway?"

It always bugged me how SDM gets money.
[×] (......)
-[×] Give Reimu a heads-up, then get to work advertising.
[×] (......)
-[×] Give Reimu a heads-up, then get to work advertising.
....yeah that's rich coming from a loli vampire and her sister...F*ck the SDM and the **** of a Gate Guard.

[×] (......)
-[×] Give Reimu a heads-up, then get to work advertising.
>>28422

> It always bugged me how SDM gets money.

To start with, I can imagine Patchy using wood magic to bless crops and make toilet paper.
File 14005745866.png - (760.79KB, 600x960, Flankaze.png) [iqdb]
28428
[X] (Um.)
-[X] Give Reimu a heads-up, then get to work advertising.

>"She's currently building a destroyer in an attempt to awaken it as youkai and dress it up like a schoolgirl so she can play a live-action version of the board game 'Battleships.'"
Did someone show KanColle to Flandre?
[X] (Um.)
[×] (......)
-[×] Give Reimu a heads-up, then get to work advertising.
--[x] Make it clear that we wish for the change to happen peacefully, and we do not intend to start an incident if we can at all avoid it.

This may turn out horribly, but
-[x] While we're here, I bet Tenma could use a drinking partner...

[x] We should also thank Meiling properly for everything. If it weren't for her, the Mikami wouldn't have been formed, and we wouldn't have gotten together with Hina.
[x] Burn down the mansion in a fit of insanity.
-[x] Jump in the Lake.
>>28429
How exactly is Meiling responsible for forming the Mikami? The only thing Meiling did was burn Aya's house down and get her thrown in jail. That's like saying that Rinnosuke is responsible for Hina and Aya getting together because he traumatized Hina so badly that Aya was sent to help her. Meiling and Rinnosuke are indirectly responsible at best.

I can understand wanting to make peace with Meiling, but we have already done everything we could possibly do on that front. We have turened over a new leaf and issued an apology to the entirety of Gensokyo (including Meiling) for our perverted ways. We directly apologized to Reimu and Remilia. We brought Meiling with us when we appologized to Cirno and Rumia, so Meiling already knows that we are genuinely sorry. Meiling even saw us get strapped to Rumia's mecha and flown all across Gensokyo against our will, so if Meiling had any lingering thirst for revenge it should be sated. Our obligation to Meiling is complete.

Really, the ball is in Meiling's court now. The only way our relationship with her will ever improve is if Meiling swallows her pride and apologizes for burning Aya's house down. Momiji, our best friend in the whole world, would have remained an enemy if she had not come to us and tearfully apologized for burning our house down (thereby proving that burning the house down was indeed a bad thing). Until Meiling apologizes, Meiling and Aya will continue to hate each other (or at best, grudgingly tolerate each other).

As for what to do now:
[x] Give Reimu a heads-up, then get to work advertizing.
Just adding this fake vote for fun:

[X] Cloning fun!
-[X] Start by asking about how Flandre can split into several clones.
--[X] Add that it sounds very interesting as you listen to the explanation, and subtly hint how it would be interesting if they could try out something like that too.
-[X] Bring up Eirin's discovery, and how they will be at the trade show.
-[X] Suggest that they ask them about the cloning process if they're interested.

This could actually work, if Remilia's interested enough, so that she could maybe convince Reimu to give it a go. Especially if Reimu isn't aware of the problems the Eirins are currently having as a result.

Still, I don't want to actually vote for this, given the likely fallout- not only will we probably cause Gensokyo's greatest incident solver to cause an incident herself (/themselves), doing so will erase all our progress to get back on her good side. Even so, it would be fun to contemplate, perhaps as an omake.
>>28432

This actually sounds kind of interesting.

Changing my vote slightly:
[X] (Um.)
-[X] Give Reimu a heads-up, then get to work advertising.
[X] Cloning shenanigans!
-[X] Ask Remilia how Flandre clones herself.
--[X] Bring up what Eirin's gotten into. Just as a fun conversation topic.

I don't think we should actually try to trick Reimu into trying out the machine, but I think we could still at least bring it up. If Remilia and Reimu decide to test it out, we never actually told them to do it. Could still get blamed for mentioning the whole thing to begin with, but I think the potential chaos is worth it.
>>28431
she's too much of a prideful **** to do that.
Really? People are still broken up over Meiling? Get over it already. They've made their peace.
[X] (Um.)
-[X] Give Reimu a heads-up, then get to work advertising.
[X] Cloning shenanigans!
-[X] Ask Remilia how Flandre clones herself.
--[X] Bring up what Eirin's gotten into. Just as a fun conversation topic.
[X] (Um.)
-[X] Give Reimu a heads-up, then get to work advertising.
[X] Cloning shenanigans!
-[X] Ask Remilia how Flandre clones herself.
--[X] Bring up what Eirin's gotten into. Just as a fun conversation topic.
>>28431

Seconded.
Okay, so Aya will be giving Reimu a head's up on several issues, and then... advertising!
File 140062240998.jpg - (176.01KB, 850x611, oh hell no.jpg) [iqdb]
28440
"Well... I guess there are a couple of things I should bring up since I'm here, Reimu."

The shrine maiden glances over at me. "Hm? How's that?"

"Well, first of all, my main reason for holding this trade show is because I want to try and get my people off of the mountain a little more. Expand their horizons, you know what I mean?"

Remilia raises an eyebrow. "Well, foreign travel does expand the mind wonderfully." The vampire frowns a bit. "Though in this case, 'foreign travel,' probably just means an occasional trip to the human village."

"Yeah, that's roughly how bad things have gotten," I sigh. "But anyway, that's the main reason I have for getting everyone together at the trade show."

"...Okay," Reimu says slowly. "Good on you, I suppose. But I don't really see what this has to do with me."

"Well, the tengu are on the brink of civil war," I say.

Reimu sits bolt upright. "You have my complete and undivided attention." Remilia, for her part, leans forward in interest.

I sigh. "Our village is getting polarized between conservative and liberal-minded tengu factions. Though 'liberal' in our case just means that they want to leave the mountain without having to fill out reams of paperwork. It's getting...bad."

"How bad?" Remilia prompts me.

"Potential civil war bad," I say quietly. Hina takes my hand in hers and squeezes.

Reimu frowns and bites her lip. Remilia glances at her wife, stroking her chin thoughtfully. "Miss Shameimaru, what are the odds that the fighting will spread beyond the mountain?" The vampire asks slowly.

"Hard to say," I reply. "It could very well stay contained. But if some tengu decide to get up and leave, some loyalists may try to stop them."

"Meaning duels between the tengu outside of their territory," Reimu murmurs. "Definitely incident material." She runs a hand down her face. "Okay, look. As long as any trouble stays confined to Youkai Mountain, there isn't much I can do. As long as it doesn't affect Gensokyo as a whole, it's really none of my business. If the fighting spreads, as you say, then you can count on me to get involved... so far as smacking down any battles that happen beyond the slopes of Youkai Mountain. But that's it. I can't exactly storm your village and tell everybody to behave, or else. Sorry, but meddling in politics is not my forte, be they human or youkai."

"That's fair," I admit, "And thank you for your honesty. I just thought I should let you know."

"I'll talk this over with Yukari, see what she thinks," Reimu says, thinking. "Have you spoken with Kanako about this?" I nod. "Well, it's pretty much in your court for now. Again, my job is incident resolution. Not solving deep societal issues or whatever. Still, if there's something that I can do to help, I will."

"Thanks," I say gratefully, "That's all I can reasonably ask."

"No problem, for all it's worth," Reimu says with a smile. "Is there anything else?"

I cough. "Well, you know how Flandre can clone herself?"

"A common enough magical power," Remilia shrugs.

"Yeah..." I hesitate. "Well, Eirin Yagokoro made a machine which creates independent, long-term clones which last for an unknown period of time. She cloned herself, and the two Eirins are currently in a private war in the middle of Eientei. Just thought you should know."

Remilia dives under the table.

"WHAT?!" Reimu shrieks, standing up so fast that her chair falls over. "Oh no. No. No. Nononononononono... not happening! Mass-produced clones are not allowed, I am putting my foot down!" She grasps her temples, eyes glazing over in horror. "Oh gods, what if Yukari got cloned, or Mima... or anyone for that matter!" She starts marching for the door. "Nope. Not happening! I am putting a stop to this right now!"

As Reimu leaves the room, Remilia peeks her head up over the table. "I do admire her devotion to her job."

"Then why are you hiding under the table?" Hina quips.

Remilia cuts her eyes over at the misfortune goddess. "And run the risk of getting between her and her objective when she's like that? Married couples know better, thank you very much." I have to concede the point on that one.

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

We leave the Scarlet Devil Mansion shortly afterwards, heading for home. "That was certainly exciting," I comment.

"No kidding," Hina chuckles. "So! All that's left is advertising, right?"

"For now," I nod. "Anyway, right now I can see three options for us. First of all, we can have Nitori print out a bunch of fliers for us. That's a proven tactic. Secondly, we can have Hatate do an interview, take a few shots, and do the advertising for us. Or we can do it all on our own. Make a few pamphlets, hit the roads, and start telling people ourselves; let word of mouth do the work from there."

"All decent options," Hina notes. "What do you think we should do?"

Hmm...


[ ] Help from Nitori.
[ ] Help from Hatate.
[ ] Help yourselves.
[ ] Wait! I have a better idea! (write-in)
[X] Help from Nitori.
>>28435
...go get your eyes check.
>>28442
Proper English certainly isn't your first language.

[x] Help from Nitori.

Can't have too much Hatate, but Nitori deserves some screentime as well.
[X] Nitori

We had too much Hatate during the visit in the Mountain.
[X] Help from Nitori.

I'm afraid I lack a witticism for my vote this time around.
[x] Help me, Nitorin!
>>28444
You can never have too much Hatate.

[x] Help from Nitori.

As far as Aya and Meiling's relationship, as things stand, they'll never move past polite yet tense acquaintances. Aya went out of her way to make peace with everyone she had ever wronged and when she approached Meiling, she basically told us to go fuck ourselves. There's no starting a healthy relationship from that.
>>28443
Dude don't insult him alright. Though I do wonder why you want Aya to thank Meiling despite her being a B*tch and saying that she will gladly kill Aya with a smile.
[x] Help from Nitori.
[x] Help from Hatate.

Get help from both! I don't know why we couldn't have both help us.
[X] Nitori
>>28448
>As far as Aya and Meiling's relationship, as things stand, they'll never move past polite yet tense acquaintances. Aya went out of her way to make peace with everyone she had ever wronged and when she approached Meiling, she basically told us to go fuck ourselves. There's no starting a healthy relationship from that.

>>28447
>Dude don't insult him alright. Though I do wonder why you want Aya to thank Meiling despite her being a B*tch and saying that she will gladly kill Aya with a smile.

You may want to reread these two story posts by Keymaster. >>24818 and >>24992. I'll be kind and assume they slipped your mind while you are in self-righteous "hate Meiling!" mode.
[x] Help from Nitori.
[x] Help from Hatate.
[x] Help from Nitori.
[x] Help from Hatate.
>>28451
Another anon here.

I have read those when they first came out and my stance on the topic (Meiling was and will be a bitch to Aya) has not changed. Imagine that.
>>28454

So, past actions can't be forgiven, then? Well, I guess Aya is still nothing more than a bloodthirsty, murdering, shameless pervert.
[x] Help from Nitori, because she has printing.

> "Sorry about freaking you out that one time, Aya, I thought you were still a pedophile. Glad to know you aren't. Later!"

[x] Have drunk Flan talk to Mailing, because it truly is ironic that chaotic neutral is better at admitting mistakes than lawful good. Honestly, we need to do something about that trope.
[x] Have drunk Flan talk to Anon, for obvious reasons. Can she destroy the fourth wall or does she need Yukari's help?
>>28455
Are you talking to yourself or something?
[x] Help from Nitori.
[x] Help from Hatate.

We can have the interview and include it with the pamphlets. (Just print a short version on the back or something and then "To find out the whole story, read Kakashi Spirit News!")


>>28455
The problem isn't that they can't be forgiven.
Aya has realized her mistakes, apologized, and taken steps towards being a better person.
Meiling is unwilling to accept that Aya has actually moved past her old ways, hence her lack of trust. She isn't being a bitch, she's just not a friend.
>>28455
I checked, and the words "I forgive you" and "I am sorry" were never said by Meiling at any point during this story. So yes, according to Meiling past actions can't be forgiven, and Aya is still nothing more than a bloodthirsty, murdering, shameless pervert. Which is why they will continue to hate each other.

[x] Help from Nitori.
File 14007053036.jpg - (278.89KB, 550x721, working on her exhibit.jpg) [iqdb]
28461
"Honestly, I'm kinda antsy at the thought of getting Hatate involved any further in this," I say after a moment's thought. "I mean, she's kinda being watched already, and if she does anything that the elders can construe as as sedition, she'll be in a whole world of shit."

Hina nods in understanding. "I know what you mean. So, do it ourselves or get Nito to help out?"

"Well, Nito might have some gadgets that can help out," I muse. "Er, Nitori that is. Besides, we'll have our own duties at the shrine to think about, not to mention getting ready for the big event itself."

"Then Nito it is!" Hina cheers, grabbing my hand and pulling me forward. Together, we fly towards Youkai Mountain, in the direction of Nitori's workshop.

The kappa herself proves to be working on a strange machine out in her front yard, covered from head-to-toe in grease, and nearly disappearing into the incomprehensible mechanisms of whatever the hell this is supposed to be. Hina and I touch down, and stare in confused interest. After a moment of Nitori obliviously clanking away inside of her project, I decide to call out to her.

"Hey! Nitori!"

CLANG

Nitori jumps and hits her head on something.

"Ow, fuck!" The kappa expresses her pain in the politest way possible.

"Oops," I say awkwardly, "Sorry about that."

"Sorry?!" the kappa sputters, struggling out of the machine. "Now, you listen here, you empty-headed, brain-dead-" Her rant is cut off when she sees the two of us, and the kappa turn pale. "Er."

Hina waves cheerfully. "Hi, Nito!"

Nitori is genuflecting so fast I almost miss the motion. "Lady Kagiyama! Miss Aya! I apologize profusely for my terrible words, and can only beg your forgiveness!"

"Ah! Oh, no no no!" Hina yelps, rushing forward to help Nitori up. "It was our fault, no need to get all humble! How's your head?"

"Um, sorry for startling you there, Nito...ri." Dammit, that nickname's starting to stick with me!

A few minutes later, Nitori has calmed down and cleaned up a bit, and we're explaining the situation to her. The kappa nods agreeably. "Sure! You just want a general announcement, right? I can print up a bunch of fliers and have them distributed all over Gensokyo! That'll let people know what's happening, and word of mouth will do the rest. Us kappa wander all over the place these days, we'll make sure that everyone knows about the show."

I nod. "Thanks, Nitori. You're the best, you know that?" The kappa just chuckles in embarrassment. "By the way, have you heard anything about the tengu attending? Maybe any official word from Lord Tenma himself?"

She thinks it over. "Well, from what I hear, Tenma hasn't left his palace in quite a while. But I was talking to a wolf tengu, and it sounds like Lady Kanako pulled some strings with the council and got them to permit a handful of tengu to attend the trade show-"

I spin around and punch the wall of Nitori's house. "Fuck!"

"What, what?!" Nitori yelps, startled at my outburst. "I-Isn't that a good thing?!"

Hina strokes my wings in a comforting manner. "It is, but it's not what we were hoping for," she explains. "Aya was trying to get through to Tenma, to encourage him to give the tengu open permission to attend the show. Apparently that hasn't happened."

"Oh," Nitori says in understanding. She pats me consolingly on the shoulder. "Sorry, Aya."

I shake my head, feeling disappointed. "It's fine, we can still work with this. I was just hoping the old dope would come through this time. Oh well." I shake my head. "Anyway, so we can leave the advertising in your hands?"

Nitori gives me a perky salute. "You can leave it to me!"

Hina salutes her back. "It's all in your hands, Miss Kawashiro!" The two friends laugh, and I can't help but chuckle at their antics. Well, that's a lot of the prep work done right there.

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

After meeting with Nitori, Hina and I fly back to the Mikami Shrine, where Minoriko is waiting for us out front. "Welcome back," she greets us. "You're just in time. Lily Black is here along with Yamame. They'd like to talk about the trade show, and how you want to set up the event's grounds."

"Oh, perfect," I say eagerly, striding inside along with the two goddesses. We finally find earth spider and fairy chatting with Sukuna and Shizuha in a sitting room. They look up as we enter.

"Hey, how are things?" Yamame asks with a smile.

"Mixed," I reply. "Tenma decided to flake out on me, but at least Kanako came through. Anyway, most of the big players in Gensokyo are planning to arrive."

"Gonna be packed," Lily notes.

"Eh, we'll be fine," I reply. "I hope. Anyway, what do you think of the locale?"

Yamame purses her lips. "I understand why you picked it, and I can work around it, but it's gonna be tricky. Still, the idea of working with the surrounding woods, and even building treehouses for some of the exhibits sounds like a fair idea to me. Lily and I were talking about it, and I can certainly do carpentry. But anyway! I was wondering if you had any ideas for setting up the trade show grounds."

"Also, your thoughts on hours, entertainment, refreshments, that sort of thing," Lily comments. "Hey, it's your show. Let's hear what you're thinking."

Sukuna, the Mikami and I share a glance, pondering.



[ ] Write out your thoughts for setting up the trade show!
[x]Entertainment: Try to book the three bands to play; Choujuu Gigaku, the Tsukumo Trio, and the Prismrivers (if Lyrica is up for it)
>>28459
don't forget that in Meiling's eyes Aya will Rape Cirno if she turn her back for a second.
>>28463
[citation needed]
Time: Until very late at night. I was thinking from sunset to sunrise.
Entertainment:
[×] Choujuu Gigaku, the Tsukumo Trio, and the Phantom Trio, either rotating, or on different ends of the locale.
[×] Flandre's life-size game (secretly hoping for something like >>27322)
[×] Mock fights:
-[×] Danmaku demonstrations?
-[×] Old fashioned, non-danmaku, physical fights?
-[×] Ichirin v. Futo? DyCirno v. Mima again? (We haven't seen Mima in Tengu of Misfortune yet, have we?)
[×] An art exhibit featuring the works of Shizuha Aki and Alfred A. Westcastle.
[×] Some good, old-fashioned carnival games.
[×] One or two storytellers or historical reenacters (the show is about celebrating the various cultures of Gensokyo, after all).
[×] Flower displays by Yuuka.
[×] Technology demonstrations by the kappa (and maybe a certain human we haven't seen since the PC-98 era).
[×] Lots of booze and other fine refreshments, naturally, like the Hakurei-Scarlet wedding.

Come on, guys, we need ideas!
I'm surprised we haven't asked Yamame how things have gone with Kogasa so far...
>>28468
Wasn't that just a day or two ago? I'm not sure they've had much time for anything to happen.
>>28466
>from sunset
Was the plan always to have it at night? I don't remember that.
>>28466
Don't forget Alice's puppet shows.
>>28470

Remember how Lily Black was the fairy of Spring Nights, and how she was bitter that she was less popular than her daytime sibling? So we hired her to manage the entertainment as a sort of practice run for the Spring night parties idea we gave her? I think that's how it went anyway.
>>28472

The original plan was to start to exhibitions during the day, and to segue more into entertainment as the evening came on. However, this can be totally changed around as Anon sees fit. Also, I'm probably going to leave discussion open on this for another day or so.
Refreshments:
[x] Minoriko is the goddess of good food and drink. She could divine up some grub easily.
[x] Ask Youmu if she wants to help. Youmu cooks for Yuyuko, so cooking enough food for a trade show should be easy in comparison.
[x] Ask Mystia if she wants to set up her food stall somewhere. She can do that whenever she is not performing.

Hours:
[x] Trade show during the day. Lily Black takes over at night.
Adding to refreshments:
[x] Maybe ask Cirno if she can do anything about some shaved ice, or something. It's summer after all.

Because if we have Mystia we may as well get Cirno.
Here's my vote, based on a couple of the previous submissions while adding a couple of votes of my own (see the double Eirin exhibit and Gensokyo/Oni history display votes)

Time:
[X] Sunset to sunrise.

Entertainment:

[X] Choujuu Gigaku, the Tsukumo Trio, and the Phantom Trio, either rotating, or on different ends of the locale.
[X] Flandre's life-size game (secretly hoping for something like >>27322)
[X] Mock fights:
-[X] Danmaku demonstrations?
-[X] Old fashioned, non-danmaku, physical fights?
-[X] Ichirin v. Futo? DyCirno v. Mima again? (We haven't seen Mima in Tengu of Misfortune yet, have we?)
[X] An art exhibit featuring the works of Shizuha Aki and Alfred A. Westcastle.
[X] Some good, old-fashioned carnival games.
[X] One or two storytellers or historical reenacters (the show is about celebrating the various cultures of Gensokyo, after all).
[X] Flower displays by Yuuka.
[X] Technology demonstrations by the kappa (and maybe a certain human we haven't seen since the PC-98 era).
[X] Lots of booze and other fine refreshments, naturally, like the Hakurei-Scarlet wedding.
[X] Either a demonstration of the Eirins' new cloning technology, or a celebration of Reimu's most recent incident resolution.
[X] A small display of Gensokyo's history, along with a side display on oni history (Akyuu can provide the main display on Gensokyo, and then we can include something about the oni similar to the museum)

Refreshments:

[X] Minoriko is the goddess of good food and drink. She could divine up some grub easily.
[X] Ask Youmu if she wants to help. Youmu cooks for Yuyuko, so cooking enough food for a trade show should be easy in comparison.
[X] Ask Mystia if she wants to set up her food stall somewhere. She can do that whenever she is not performing.
-[X] Have Mystia ask Cirno about maybe providing some shaved ice (even if things have been worked out, I think it would be best if we keep our distance until things cool down.
[X] Ask Youmu if she wants to help. Youmu cooks for Yuyuko, so cooking enough food for a trade show should be easy in comparison.
[X] Ask Mystia if she wants to set up her food stall somewhere. She can do that whenever she is not performing.
[X] Shizuha should set up the art exhibit.
[X] Set some extra places in the food area and art exhibit aside for the Tengu, Oni, and others who might want to show off their wares.
[X] Music? Maybe the Prismriver sisters are doing better. Ask them for entertainment
[X] Set up the equivalent of Open Mic, or an open stage, so anybody who wants to can perform.

No mock fights
>>28466 This

Time: Until very late at night. I was thinking from sunset to sunrise.
Entertainment:
[×] Choujuu Gigaku, the Tsukumo Trio, and the Phantom Trio, either rotating, or on different ends of the locale. (Possibly.... a collaboration as well?)
[×] Flandre's life-size game (secretly hoping for something like >>27322)
[×] Mock fights:
-[×] Danmaku demonstrations? (Maybe a danmaku art contest? I'm thinking of something like two people-teams outdoing each other on who gets to make the prettiest/grandest pattern combinations)
-[×] Old fashioned, non-danmaku, physical fights?
--[×] Ichirin v. Futo? DyCirno v. Mima again? (We haven't seen Mima in Tengu of Misfortune yet, have we?)
[×] An art exhibit featuring the works of Shizuha Aki, Alfred A. Westcastle and Alfred A. Westcastle.
[×] Some good, old-fashioned carnival games.
[×] One or two storytellers or historical reenacters (the show is about celebrating the various cultures of Gensokyo, after all).
[×] Flower displays by Yuuka.
[×] Technology demonstrations by the kappa (and maybe a certain human we haven't seen since the PC-98 era).
[×] Lots of booze and other fine refreshments, naturally, like the Hakurei-Scarlet wedding. (Provided by the Mikami?)
[×]Oni Artifacts?
I thought this was supposed to be a trade show. Not that there shouldn't be entertainment, but from >>28478, >>28476 and >>28466's suggestions put more emphasis on entertainment than the actual show.
Okay. Changing my vote. [ >28478 ] to this, based on several of Anon's recommendations and [ >>28479 ]'s note:

12:00 - 24:00 Exhibition (Start at noon, so people will flock to Cirno's ice stand! Also, end at 24:00 because, even when the entertainment starts, the exhibitions will not really close.)
OR
14:00 - 24:00 Exhibition (May be more comfortable for the visitors)
[!Stalls]
-[⑨] Cirno's Shaved Ice Stand (To keep people cool and hydrated in the middle of the day)
-[鳥] Mystia's Lamprey Stand (Maybe give her the Mikami's blessing as well, as to provide more faith to the Mikami?)
-[神] A stall selling stuff made from things Minoriko has grown or otherwise blessed. Have Youmu help with the preparations?
-[百鬼酒] A sake stand selling things Minoriko's brewed. (Since the venue is some distance from the Mikami shrine and Minoriko's cellar....)

[X] Set some extra places in the food area and art exhibit aside for the Tengu, Oni, and others who might want to show off their wares.

[!Galleries]
-[X] A display of gensoukyou's history, along with a side display on oni history (Akyuu can provide the main display on gensoukyou, and then we can include something about the oni similar to the museum)
--[ア⑨] Maybe an impressive scroll or sideways wallpaper that tells of Gensoukyou's history? It would have Art by Minoriko and maybe a few of her patron artists, and caption by Hieda no Akyuu. Maybe it would be a good idea to promote Reimu's name and get into her good graces by noting her contributions to Gensoukyou's peace. (Especially the Spell Card System)
--[鬼] Make a gallery showcasing the Oni's achievements in the arts and the like. Maybe have a few stories describing their epiphany and subsequent exodus? ...SUIKA!

-[静派] Open an art room showing the works of the best Artists in Gensoukyou.... Such as Shizuha, Alfred A. Westcastle and Alfred A. Westcastle, for example. Don't neglect the works of the Oni and the humans from the Village.
-[書物] Satori is a writer, right? What about having her works on display, maybe for sale? (Maybe this should be under [!Stalls]?)
-[静川] Kappa techonological achievements! 'nuff said.

[!Side]
-[Music] Have one of the three possible bands play music at this time. Something that blends in the background and does not command one to pay attention. Atmospheric? Definitely something a bit festive though.

17:00 - 24:00
[!entertainment!]
-[X] One or two storytellers or historical reenacters (the show is about celebrating the various cultures of gensoukyou, after all).
>>This is nighttime enterntainent. The people are going to go around and buy things, chitchat, etc. during the daytime. During the night, they will be paying attention to performances.
-[×] Mock fights:
--[×] Danmaku demonstrations? (Maybe a danmaku art contest? I'm thinking of something like two people-teams outdoing each other on who gets to make the prettiest/grandest pattern combinations)
--[×] Old fashioned, non-danmaku, physical fights?
---[×] Ichirin v. Futo? DyCirno v. Mima again? (We haven't seen Mima in Tengu of Misfortune yet, have we?)

[X] Set up the equivalent of Open Mic, or an open stage, so anybody who wants to can perform. Maybe some dancing as well. (This is after the reenactments/main concerts are done. After-party disco, if you will)

[!Side]
-[Music] Choujuu Gigaku, the Tsukumo Trio, and the Phantom Trio, either rotating, or on different ends of the locale. Maybe with some collaborations here and there as well.
>>Maybe have them play a few classics composed and/or well known in gensoukyou? Maybe have them play the background music for the stage plays/reenactments as well.

A bit rushed. Oh well. Just throwing my ideas and mixing them with others'.
On a side note, every time someone says "Nito" I think "Gravelord Nito."
[x] >>28480

Throwing my vote behind this guy's blend/set up
>>28479
Eh, from the beginning the idea veered more towards a more festival type arrangement so I'm ok with it not being strictly about business.
>>28480
Changing my vote to this.
[x] >>28480
>>28480
I'm still voting for this, but I think the schedule should be shifted a little more to give it a night focus like we were originally planning with Lily Black.
[x] >>28480
I also agree that we should move the schedule forward a bit for Lilys sake
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28489
Yeah, pretty easy to see what option wins.

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

As it turns out, there are quite a few ideas, on everything from architecture, to music, to the entertainment at the venue itself. The whole meeting turns into a combination brainstorming and planning session, with ideas being thrown around and arguments had over what the best time to open the trade show would be. Ultimately, though, a plan is made after a lot of drinking.

"Okay," I say, leaning back in my seat. "So we go with the original construction plan, and stick to something based around Hina's old shrine, with the exhibits being held in the surrounding forest through a network of tents and treehouses."

"Can do," Yamame says with a smile. "In fact, it'll even be a fun challenge!"

"We start at noontime, then?" Hina asks.

"That's the plan," Lily nods. "That way, participants can show up nice and early in the morning to set up their events, and spectators can filter in from all over, even if they have to go on foot. They'll also be showing up around lunchtime, which will make the food vendors very happy. Anyway, the official time for the event is until midnight, but chances are that the festivities will keep going after that."

Shizuha shrugs. "No biggie. We'll just consider the times a suggestion and go from there."

"As for food, I'll contribute a little bit, but I'd like to see other vendors show up," Minoriko puts in. "I mean a stall selling my own food and booze is fine, but food is a type of product people can show off, right?"

Lily starts scribbling down notes. "So, our ideas there include getting Youmu to help out with meals, Mystia the night sparrow and her cart, getting Cirno to make some shaved ice... maybe do something with maple syrup? That's pretty tasty when you put it on ice. Oh, and then there's that immortal. She makes grilled chicken, right?"

"Anyway, the event stalls themselves will pretty much be on a first-come, first-served basis," Yamame continues as Lily continues to putter away. "Anything we should keep in mind?"

Hina starts to tick points off on her fingers. "Yes. Make sure to keep some space open for anyone else who wants to cook their food for others. We should make the refreshment stand a central area, as discussed. Probably near the shrine itself."

"Don't forget a dedicated area for art," Shizuha pipes up. "We also need to get in contact with Akyuu and set up a display of Gensokyo's history. I'm sure she'll have some ideas on that, and that can also make up her contribution to the show." She looks over at me. "And you wanted a section for Oni history?"

"Yeah, though they'll be opening up later," I nod. "I'm gonna see if I can get some tengu to at least look at their stuff. But yes, the Oni need to have a prominent role here."

"Yadda yadda, lots of people who can show off their art," Lily says distractedly. She bites her lip. "Should authors be put in with artists, or have their own stalls? Hmmm..."

"Either way, there should be a couple of galleries for related things," Hina puts in. "The kappa will likely need their own section of the grounds, as well. This is gonna get complicated."

"Can't be helped," Shizuha shrugs. "Okay, so the main shrine is refreshments and reception, with a couple of galleries for the larger exhibits. Art, technology... and probably an Oni-dedicated gallery as well. Everyone else can find their own stall. What about entertainment, Lily?"

"I'm going to get the Prismrivers to play some gentle background music though the whole thing," the fairy replies. "Mystia and Kyouko will probably chip in later on; that sparrow'll want to make some money with her food first, after all. Plus, I'm gonna try and get a hold of that tsukomogami trio to play as well."

"What trio?" I ask blankly.

"Newbies, showed up when you were in jail," Lily says dismissively. "Anyway! The entertainment will really start at around five in the afternoon. Storytellers, performers, reenactors, that sort of thing. And yes, Sukuna, I'll have a word with your friend Kokoro as well."

The inchling nods, satisfied. "Great! That way, we can kind of have a cultural festival as well as a trade show!"

"What about duels?" Hina suggests. "Danmaku, spars, martial arts, that sort of thing. There's probably a lot of people who would like to show off their skills there."

Yamame scrambles for a diagram and makes some hurried adjustments. "I'll set up a ring of sorts," she agrees. "So, are the performances going to be all pre-scheduled?"

"Yes and no," Lily replies. "The early stuff can be organized, with people on a schedule, We'll just open things up later on. Whoever wants to perform can get on stage, that sort of thing." She looks things over. "This is going to be a busy motherfucker, isn't it? And my plan is to let things get even rowdier as the evening goes on."

"It's Gensokyo, that's how parties go," I retort. "But yeah, this is going to be big. I'll probably be on the move all day long, trying to keep things going and getting the tengu to actually go talk to people. Should be fun." I sigh heavily.

"When are the Oni showing up?" Sukuna asks.

"The plan is to have them set up beforehand, and then open up their galleries once everyone's committed," I tell her. "Maybe around one or two o'clock. Depends on how things go. Geeze, a lot of this is gonna have to be flexible, huh?"

"We'll pull it off," Hina says serenely, smiling.

"All right, folks," Yamame speaks up. "I need to work on some diagrams, but is there anything else we need to consider here?"


[ ] Last-minute additions.
[ ] Fast-forward to the show.
[×] Last-minute additions.
-[×] Flandre's game.
--[×] Since the focus of the trade show is sharing knowledge and information, it should be a trivia game, with material written by Patchouli. (Still hoping for something like >>27322)

Probably not much more than that. The entertainment shouldn't overtake the exhibits, after all.
[X] Fast-forward to the show.

Let's make history.
[x] Fast-forward to the show.
[x] Fast-forward to the show.

Time to get this party started.
[×] Last-minute additions.
-[×] Flandre's game.

Should be fun.
Right, aside from making note of Flandre, on to the main event.

This should be interesting.
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28500
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>>/youkai/28499
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