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30359 No. 30359
"... what?"

Not more than an hour ago, you'd set foot on a short hike through the forest. A forest nowhere near a mountain. And here you are, standing on the edge of a massive mountain ravine?

"The old guy never mentioned this..."

This is not how you thought you'd be spending your day.

At dinner last night you found yourself parked next to a talkative old man. The guy was clearly there to talk to anyone who would listen, and you don't mind catching an earful from a local when you're visiting a new place. By the time you finally stumbled back to your hotel he'd told you not only the nearby attractions, but the entire history of the town since he was a lad.

One thing in particular kept coming up, though - the nearby shrine. He was insistent on you seeing it. Every anecdote or story he told somehow came back to that shrine.

The hike up to it sounded interesting, so you decided to take that in as part of your vacation. You're not much of a believer in spirits and gods and that, but if the shrine was even half as wonderful as this guy said it was worth seeing. The two hour walk there and back wouldn't be a bad way to start the morning either, and after that, you could see some of the other more normal touristy things you had planned on.

Initially the trail was a bit difficult to follow. It clearly didn't get much use, much like the old man said. But after you got deeper into the forest the undergrowth stopped crowding it out and you were able to follow it easy enough. Stone markers guided you along most of the way.

After a while, though, you lost the markers, so you tried to backtrack. It was clear that you'd lost the trail, as the brush behind you was much thicker than you thought when you first passed through. Eventually, you thought you'd spotted a clearing through the thinning treeline, but... well, here you are - face to face with a several thousand foot drop that shouldn't be here in any reasonable world.

"Jeez!"

A stiff gust of wind from behind catches you by surprise as you're peering over the edge. You steady yourself fine, but that ravine suddenly seems much closer. That's... a long way down. You back up a bit to calm your nerves.

Is this a dream? It feels too real for that. The void calls, saying that you could confirm easy enough by taking a few dozen steps forward. You shake your head. You've been lost before. Nothing like this of course, because this is nonsense - but the principals are the same regardless. Don't panic. Stabilize your situation first, and worry about getting out later. All you really have is a light backpack with some snacks, a fair amount of water, your knife, and a compass.

Not ideal, but probably enough for today if you don't waste it. At least you thought to wear your boots before getting sucked into a temporal rift, or being blasted back in time, or being abducted by aliens, or...

...focus.

After gathering your courage, you get close up to the edge again. There doesn't seem to be an easy way down from here. You're pretty close to the top of this... mountain. Definitely a mountain. Why the hell are you on a...

... doesn't matter right now. Focus.

You're on some kind of ridge, and it looks like whatever brought you up here was cruel enough to put you above the steep part - the slope going down is a lot greater than the slope going up. Maybe you could get a better look up there? It's probably not more than a mile. Going up would be a waste of energy if you can't find a better way down, though. Maybe you should just cut back into the forest and see if the other direction is better.

It almost looks like a person moving around up top... but at this distance, it's hard to be sure. What else could it be, though?

"HELLO! OVER HERE! I NEED HELP!"

You muster the biggest voice you can, trying to get their attention. It certainly seems like they should be able to hear you, but the only answer you get back is a disturbingly loud echo. Strange acoustics here. You get the idea to use your compass to catch their eye and continue yelling.

After a few minutes of that, the figure moves behind the peak. Or in front of, maybe - it's hard to tell when they aren't silhouetted by the sky. It's not clear that they heard you, so you...

[ ] Do some scouting, but don't stray too far in case they are getting help.
[ ] Start trying to make your way up. One hiker probably means more, and being closer makes you more easily heard.

===============================================================================
I'll be updating this at least once a week. Eventually I'll be trying to stick to a specific day but for now I'm going to see where it naturally lands. I hope you all enjoy.
208 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 30581
>>30580
Sigh. Thursday. Really need to get my shit together.
>> No. 30582
[x] Back up a significant distance. You'll get caught in the crossfire if you stay here.

A battle between priestesses and gods is really no place for someone like you. Although you're curious how it ends up, you don't want the next branch to land on your head. You keep moving until you feel relatively safe - or at least, safe from the danmaku battle. This forest still doesn't feel right.

From this distance, you can still faintly hear the battle, but you can't see it - mainly due to the the thickness of the trees. You guess the thing to do is to wait until the raucous stops. You've got faith enough that Sanae will win it, so you'll just wander over when she does.

As you wait, though, you feel like you're being watched. A glance around shows nothing, but you can't shake the feeling. Strange.

... wait, did you just hear a laugh?

Another look, but still nothing. Ah. No, not nothing... some movement in a bush a short distance away.

You focus intensely on it, trying to catch a glimpse of whatever it was. Probably a squirrel or something, but if there's one thing you've learned so far is that this is a dangerous place. The forest still has you on edge, too.

More rustling, this time from off to your other side. You turn, and the first bush rustles again. When you turn back to it hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever it is, a third bush rustles. You also think you hear a faint giggle.

Ok, you've either developed paranoia or you're being toyed with. Perhaps both.

Well, whatever it is, you've got a nice solid tree to your back. You decide to pick up a nearby branch and ignore the noises for now. Just need to wait until the battle is over.

"Hey, hey!"

You feel a light tap on the top of your head. When you look up, you see a tiny human floating there. A tiny human with wings? Doesn't seem that dangerous, at least.

"This way!"

It seems to want you to follow it.

[ ] Never trust a fairy. Stay put.
[ ] Follow, keeping one ear on the battle.
===============================================
Took longer than I wanted, but I think said shit is together enough. Sorry for that - didn't really want to quadruple post and I worked myself into a frustrating place mentally. Guess I'm still adjusting to my new living space.

Anyway, new update schedule. I plan to stick to this one strictly, rather than going ad-hoc about it:
Call Monday night, update Tuesday.
Call Friday night, update Saturday.
>> No. 30583
[x] Never trust a fairy. Stay put.

Around fairies, stay wary.

Actually, "hey hey this way" is just about the sketchiest thing you could possibly hear in this kind of situation, fairy or not.
>> No. 30584
[x] Never trust a fairy. Stay put
>> No. 30585
[X] Never trust a fairy. Stay put.

Trust a Fey? Not today.
>> No. 30586
[x] Never trust a fairy. Stay put.

We are too weak to get too far from Sanae. I wish we could change that.
>> No. 30587
>>30586

Sanae seems like she has the main character thing figured out. I say we let bland, forgettable dude stay bland and forgettable.
>> No. 30588
[x] Never trust a fairy. Stay put.

Obvious choice is obvious and therefore probably wrong, but details.
>> No. 30589
[x] Never trust a fairy. Stay put.
Anon "every fairy shall be my adversary" Nymous
>> No. 30590
No real need to say it for this vote, but yeah, this is about the time I'll be calling things.
>> No. 30591
Anon "Glitter Wings Get Pointy Things" Nymous.
>> No. 30592
[x] Never trust a fairy. Stay put.

You look to it, unamused, and shake your head slowly. Not today, little fairy. You're not sure what it has in mind, but it can't be good.

"Aww, why not?" The fairy asks, looking a bit dejected. "It'll be fun!"

"For you, but probably not for me," You say, hoping that the battle ends soon. How long can those two keep fighting? Although you doubt a fairy is much of a threat, it's best not to underestimate anything here.

"No, it will be fun!" She pouts, stomping her little feet on what would be the floor if she weren't flying. You ignore her.

She calls out a few names, and in response you see a few more faries come out of the bush. Four of them?

"Come, come!"

The fairy grabs onto your uniform, around the shoulders, and tugs. She's surprisingly strong. Probably about the strength of a large child. She doesn't put up much resistance when you brush her off, instead flying to her friends.

"Let's make him come!"

"Yeah!"

Oh, geez.

"Look," You say, with a firm shake of your head, "If I don't know what it is, I'm not going."

The leader's face scrunches up. At least, you assume she's the leader, as the rest of them seem to be looking to her for guidance.

She stares right at you, scrunched up face and all. You stare right back, unmoving.

The battle in the distance sounds like it's still going on, so that's not an option... well, maybe it is if this gets really bad. And, you do still have your stick, although using that now feels pretty cruel.

[ ] Try to buy time, somehow. They seem distractable enough.
[ ] Remain stoic. Maybe they'll get bored and wander off.
>> No. 30593
[x] Remain stoic. Maybe they'll get bored and wander off.

Not today, you little crayon munchers
>> No. 30594
[x] Remain stoic. Maybe they'll get bored and wander off.
channel your inner rock!
>> No. 30595
[x] Try to buy time, somehow. They seem distractable enough.

haha time for fairy distractin games
>> No. 30596
[X] Remain stoic. Maybe they'll get bored and wander off.
Jiiiii~
>> No. 30597
[x] Remain stoic. Maybe they'll get bored and wander off.
-[x] Describe head fairy.
>> No. 30600
[x] Remain stoic. Maybe they'll get bored and wander off.

Staring contest!
>> No. 30604
Providing a description of your characters is probably a good idea in general.
>> No. 30605
[x] Remain stoic. Maybe they'll get bored and wander off.

Maybe they'll just back off once they realize you're having none of it. The only thing you offer this leader is an unamused stare. If they want a ruse out of you, they're going to have to work hard for it.

"Grrrr!"

The two-foot tall girl stamps her feet again as her wings vibrate aggressively. She's mad, but no more than a kid who was just told they couldn't have any more sweets.

"Bleeeeeh!"

She sticks out her tongue at you before rushing past you and out of sight. Her two cohorts look to you, then to each other... and then follow.

Huh. That was easy enou---

*crrrack*

A loud noise above you triggers something primal in you, causing you to move out of the way, and quickly. By the time you get to your third step though your leg snags on something, nearly toppling you. You do manage to keep from tripping yourself up completely, but it's far from graceful. You quickly look down to see what snagged you.

"Hehehe!"

One of the fairies has you in a big bear hug around your calf. You try to give your leg a shake, but she's held on tight and refusing to move.

*thud*

... and the source of the noise, a branch it seems, lands right where you had been seconds ago. You look up. The leader is high above you in the canopy. You can't hear her from here, but she almost looks doubled over with laughter.

A more vigorous shake dislodges the fairy around your leg, and she quickly hides in the brush. When you look up again, the leader is no longer in sight. Hmm.

You listen for any signs of movement, but all you hear is Sanae's ongoing battle. Those fairies are still around, you imagine.

[ ] You'll take your chances with the stray danmaku. Work back towards Sanae.
[ ] Running from a few fairies? You do have some pride. Return to your tree.
=======================================================
I'd normally get this out earlier in the day, but not today I guess.
>> No. 30606
[x] You'll take your chances with the stray danmaku. Work back towards Sanae.

At least Hina and Sanae aren't trying to kill us.
>> No. 30607
[x] You'll take your chances with the stray danmaku. Work back towards Sanae.
spin~
>> No. 30608
[x] Running from a few fairies? You do have some pride. Return to your tree.
Something something pride something something fall
>> No. 30612
[x] Running from a few fairies? You do have some pride. Return to your tree.

what's the worst a fairy could do anyways?
>> No. 30613
[X] You'll take your chances with the stray danmaku. Work back towards Sanae.
>> No. 30614
[x] You'll take your chances with the stray danmaku. Work back towards Sanae.
A fairy hugging your leg seems more amusing than dangerous. I guess immortal sprites can hardly understand the meaning of death.
>> No. 30615
[x] Running from a few fairies? You do have some pride. Return to your tree.

Anon "Cross my clique, get the stick." Nymous.
>> No. 30616
[x] You'll take your chances with the stray danmaku. Work back towards Sanae.

Although you strongly consider dealing with these three yourself, in the end you decide it best not to. You'd rather take your chances with the stray danmaku than let these three keep trying to get a ruse out of you.

So, after a quick second look, you start walking back in the direction of the battle. You move quickly, but not so quickly that it looks like you're alarmed.

"Hey!"

One of the fairies calls out from directly behind you, almost causing you to jump, but you continue on.

They try the branch trick once more. You're ready this time, though - you watch your legs, and when one of them makes a dive you quickly dodge sending it sailing past. A second fairy also dives this time, but you dodge that one too.

"Hah!" you call out, unable to help yourself.

"No fair!" you hear the leader faintly from the canopy. Then, louder, "No faaaiir!"

Although you don't turn around, you can almost see the leader's pouting face.

You keep walking, and soon, the roar of the danmaku is close. They seem to have shifted to fighting above the treeline, however, because although you can see an extreme amount of blue and red light from up there you can't really see what they are doing.

The three fairies seem to be more interested in the danmaku by now, so they drift higher up. Maybe that was the distraction you needed.

At that moment, a stray bullet passes through the canopy. It strikes one of the fairy underlings head on.

*ccchhhss*

... and, with a slight sizzle, it pops - almost like a balloon. Nothing remains, not even her dress.

"Woah."

Two thoughts pass through your mind. One - that's mildly disturbing. Would that happen to you? You can't imagine so, but it makes you wonder. And two, you wish you could do that. Would have made things a whole lot easier.

"Eeeee!"

The remaining two fairies scatter. You hope you won't be seeing them again. You've taken quite a liking to your stick though, so you keep it handy.

After about one more minute, the loser falls through the canopy and to the ground rather violently. Judging by the clothing, it's the goddess from earlier - not Sanae. You breath a sigh of relief as Sanae slowly drifts down.

"See?" She says, talking to the loser. She doesn't seem to have noticed you yet. "Now you have to listen to me. Tell us about the area."

"Give me... a minute," You hear the loser mutter. "Uuugh."

You make your way over with no particular stealth. Sanae notices you right away. She's practically beaming with joy right now - if that grin were any wider, you're not sure it would fit on her face.

"Oh," She says, hovering over to you. "That was exciting! Did you get to watch? I didn't see where you ran off too."

[ ] Be brief. Don't mention the fairies.
[ ] Confess to being bullied.
>> No. 30617
[x] Confess to being bullied
stupid bloody fairies
>> No. 30618
[x] Be brief. Don't mention the fairies.

They're always listening.
>> No. 30619
[x] Be brief. Don't mention the fairies.

We can always tell her about them later, but for now let's not give them the satisfaction of hearing us complain.
>> No. 30621
[X] Be brief. Don't mention the fairies.
What fairies?
>> No. 30622
[X] Confess to being bullied

We might need to come up with an alibi since Sanae/Hina totally just "killed" that poor fairy.
>> No. 30623
[X] Be brief. Don't mention the fairies.
They were cute, if murderous
>> No. 30626
[x] Be brief. Don't mention the fairies.

"I kept my distance after nearly having some debris land on me," You say, shrugging, "Sorry, I didn't see it."

Sanae looks a bit glum at that. "Well, at least you kept yourself safe."

Sanae just shot down a goddess - and she's got enough power to obliterate one of those fairies with a single shot. The fairy thing is embarrassing even before you consider those two facts. In the end, you decide to keep it to yourself.

"And you just won your first duel," You say, shifting the topic from yourself, "Must feel good, right? Was it tough?"

Her grin immediately returns. And she seems no worse for the wear, either. "You bet it feels good! I thought it would be harder than that though, to be honest..."

"How cruel... I nearly had you once or twice."

The goddess has gotten to her feet and wandered over to you two, though she seems a bit unsteady. There's scorch marks and tatters all over her clothes. On closer inspection, Sanae herself has a half dozen marks around the edges of her own clothes.

Sanae laughs. "Well, maybe once. But you'd have to hit me more than once to bring me down."

"Hmph."

"I'm Sanae Kochiya" Sanae says, breaking the tension "You know, we haven't been introduced yet. And if you live around here, I guess we're neighbors. What kind of goddess are you?"

You also give your name.

"Hina Kagiyama. I gather curses to prevent them from lingering near humans too long," The goddess says, before turning to you. "Are you sure you won't come with me to the village? The mountain really is no place for a human."

"I'm fine," You say, shaking your head. Maybe this is someone good to practice your act on? You give it a shot. "Our shrine is on the mountain, and my faith keeps me safe."

Ah... but this time, it didn't, so you're not even sure that sounded convincing. Maybe you'll ask Kanako later what you should do if you run into a similar problem. The wilderness here is absolutely crawling with danger for someone like you, and any tips would help.

"Since you can talk now," Sanae says, "Tell us everything you know about the surrounding area."

"Everything?" Hina asks, "There's quite a lot... we'd need to put on some tea."

"Is your house near here?" You ask.

Hina laughs. "This forest is my house. But, I do have a few comforts nearby..."

On one hand, information is good. Sanae doesn't seem all that tired on the outside, but you imagine that after a long battle like that that she could use a rest. Especially if she'd going to be lugging you around like she has been all day.

On the other hand, you don't really need much info - a general overview of the surroundings would be enough to get you two moving again. The Tengu can probably get you the gritty details later, and the thought of spending the afternoon with a curse goddess is a bit unsettling.

[ ] Defer to Sanae on this one.
[ ] Accept the invitation to tea.
[ ] You'll take the summary and be on your way.
>> No. 30627
[x] Defer to Sanae on this one.

Don't mind us, we're just along for the ride.
>> No. 30628
[x] Accept the invitation to tea.
>> No. 30629
[X] Accept the invitation to tea.
More important to gather as much info as we can.
>> No. 30630
[x] Accept the invitation to tea
>> No. 30631
[x] Defer to Sanae on this one.

let the bosslady decide
>> No. 30632
[x] Accept the invitation to tea.

We might not be running the show, but we can show some initiative every now and then
>> No. 30633
[x] Defer to Sanae on this one.

Nah. Initiative is for important characters.
>> No. 30634
[x] Accept the invitation to tea.

"I think that's fine," You say, putting aside your unease for now. "What do you think, Sanae?"

Sanae seems to be caught a bit off guard by that. "Huh? Well, I guess we shouldn't be rude."

"This way," Hina says, motioning towards nothing in particular. "It's not far. In fact, you two showing up interrupted my lunch."

Ah... lunch time already? You ate your fill for breakfast, but part of you hopes she's got some cookies or something to go with the tea. In your haste, you didn't bring anything to snack on.

"You could have kept eating," Sanae says, "We were just passing through."

Hina sighs. "I had to see why there were humans crawling about around here. If you're strong, it's not much of an issue, but if you aren't you'll get eaten."

"Eaten?" Sanae asks, "By what?"

"Oh," Hina continues, "All kinds of things. Feral youkai mainly. Neither of you are from the village, so you'd be fair game."

"Why is that?"

"I keep my distance from a lot of things, so I don't really know. Oh, there's one now."

As you walk, she points out a huge mass of fur and muscle that you hadn't even noticed off to your right. It's quite bear-like but disturbingly muscular. Or perhaps ape-like? Regardless, it's huge. How did this thing even manage to sneak up on you three?

"Shoo!"

Whatever it is, it seems to respect Hina and saunters off without much argument. You imagine you'd be fine with Sanae around, but... yeah, you'll try not to wander around this place alone.

"Wow!" Sanae says as she watches it run. "Are there a lot of those?"

"Enough," Hina says, pausing for a moment to get her bearings. "And even if it doesn't want to eat you, it might accidentally kill you while having some fun. Even the fairies around here might prank you to death."

You laugh. "Come on now, that's just silly."

Sanae laughs too. "Fairies are really, really weak. They shouldn't be a problem."

"He'd have trouble with them," Hina says, looking to Sanae grimly, "So keep a close eye on him, OK? Ah, here we are."

You arrive... or so she says. There's nothing but a clearing here, though. And a half dozen stumps... although, on closer inspection, they do seem quite smooth.

"Take a seat. It's not much for a human," Hina laughs, turning to a tree with a large hole in it, "But for me it's plenty."

Sanae takes her seat on a nearby stump without much hesitation. You do the same, sitting next to her. Hina pulls a full tea set from the hollow of the tree.

"Wait here," Hina says, "I need to get some water from the spring nearby."

[ ] Offer to go with her.
[ ] Wait patiently.
===============================================
Next update will be in a new thread. I think we've hit the bump limit, but it won't matter too much on this board and I don't have an image handy.

Also the update will be Thursday, because I'm doing most of nanowrimo with this story (see >>/gensokyo/15589 ). My plan is daily updates, with double updates on Saturdays - a noonish one and an evening one, the time of this post being "evening" for me.
>> No. 30635
[x] Offer to go with her.

I hope she mentions she-s a goddess. Even Sanae would realize that they're natural allies in a mountain hostile to gods and a partnership could be beneficial to both.

If the mountain would welcome gods, they would be competitors, but as things stand...
>> No. 30636
File 15409562017.png - (766.36KB , 654x800 , image.png ) [iqdb]
30636
[x] Offer to go with her

Hinaisbestgod
>> No. 30637
[x] Wait patiently.

Hina best goddess, but we've only just met. We'd probably just end up being a bother.
>> No. 30638
[X] Wait patiently.
Strategy meeting with Sanae in the meantime.
>> No. 30640
[x] Wait patiently.
>> No. 30641
[X] Offer to go with her.

Very slight chance of fairy beach episode.
>> No. 30644
I forgot to flag the new post as an update, so I'll flag this one instead - I don't know if anyone relies on that. New one is at >>30643
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