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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.


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...


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?


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.
Expand all images
>> No. 30360
[x] Do some scouting, but don't stray too far in case they are getting help.
I wouldn't count on help but a little recon is important when you're trying to gather your bearings. Though risking getting a bit more lost when climbing also sounds tempting.

Also, welcome back dude.
>> No. 30361
[x] Do some scouting, but don't stray too far in case they are getting help.

Holy shit you're alive. Welcome back man!

Still hoping beyond hope for a continuation of Creeping Shadows, but a new story is good too.
>> No. 30362

[x] Start trying to make your way up. One hiker probably means more, and being closer makes you more easily heard.
>> No. 30363
[X] Start trying to make your way up. One hiker probably means more, and being closer makes you more easily heard.
>> No. 30364
[x] Do some scouting, but don't stray too far in case they are getting help.

Safest option.
>> No. 30365
[X] Do some scouting, but don't stray too far in case they are getting help.
>> No. 30366
[x] Do some scouting, but don't stray too far in case they are getting help.

Ah, a classic start. Getting some Fragmentation of Memories vibes too.
>> No. 30367
Called. Update... in a few days.

Creeping Shadows is dead. I can safely say that I won't make the mistake of trying to raise its corpse again.

I did keep world notes, though, so maybe I could put together an eulogy of sorts that has the ending. Might make a good short if I feel the urge to write one, and more practice never hurts.
>> No. 30369
[x] Do some scouting, but don't stray too far in case they are getting help.

... decide it best to stay put. Mostly. A bit of scouting won't hurt if you can find something useful like the trail, but wandering too far probably isn't wise. If they noticed you, you want to be where you were seen. Not to mention that you're not even sure you can get there from here.

You scan the peak and the surroundings for a little bit longer, but don't really notice anything else interesting. Time for a bit of bushwhacking, then. Not wanting to get lost, you take out your compass and make a mental note to not get turned around or move too fast. You grab a walking stick too, for good measure.

The brush is thick, but once you get back from the cliff the trees provide enough shade to keep it manageable. Had you been paying attention earlier rather than just walking, you'd have notice that it's different than the stuff you had at the start of your walk. Not entirely different, so you're probably in the same geographic region, but not the same either.

Still no sign of the trail... or anything else useful. No water and not even a few berries or something to munch on. You scout for perhaps an hour, confirming that you are indeed on a relatively flat plateau of sorts, when a fog rolls in. Fog? You guess it's low clouds this high up. So much for the sun, you guess.

You take a seat on a nearby rock to reassess. This situation hasn't improved in the slightest. Not that it would have likely improved had you tried to bushwhack straight to the peak either, given these clouds.

"Seriously, what the hell!?"

Your frustration gets the best of you. This is completely stupid. Absurd! Completely---

"Seriously, what the hell!?"


Your heart starts pumping as you jump to your feet. Something like your voice echoes out from the mist, but... it's way too loud.


Instinctively, you grip your walking stick with both hands. This is not your day. Voices calling out from the mist while you're alone in a forest... what is this, a horror film now?

"Who's there!?" you demand, trying your best to not freak out completely.

It replies in your voice all the same. "Who's there!?" This time, though, it's close. WAY too close.

[ ] Fight.
[ ] Flight.
I'll look to call this one early next week again, because bite-sized updates don't actually take long to write. This week was kind of abnormal and I screwed around on my one somewhat normal day.

Also, I dunno where that post went asking why I dropped CS (and sorry for the delayed response), but short answer: low mental energy and stressful stuff in real life.

Longer answer:
I stalled that out the first time because I had just left college and ended up in a job that wasn't ideal for myself. Playing corporate politics is really taxing for me and I was pretty stressed in general. Not a good environment for writing, and trying to force it just made more frustration.

Failed restart was me trying to get into a hobby again to distract myself from my job. Not a good idea - I should have sorted my issues with the job first - which I did about a year later by getting a new one elsewhere.

Those aren't really generic pitfalls but maybe there's some wisdom there. It was funny because I'd taken care to guard against the pitfalls that killed other stories of mine, but found a new one anyway. There's always one to stumble in to and let fester until it becomes unreasonable to continue.
>> No. 30370
[x] Fight.
I think running away in a fog is probably a bad idea, like out of a horror movie. But I guess I wouldn't fight either, just cautiously stand your ground for the time being.
>> No. 30371
[x] Fight.

We gonna get eaten by Kyouko
>> No. 30372
[x] Fight.

>> No. 30373
[X] Flight.
>> No. 30374
[X] Fight.

Stand your ground.
>> No. 30375
[x] Fight.

Running + fog + clifftop = bad idea.

> dunno where that post went asking why I dropped CS

I realized I was beating a dead horse story and tried to hide the evidence. Thanks for answering anyway. I'll shut up now.
>> No. 30376
Called. Shooting for tomorrow or Thursday.

No worries my friend.
>> No. 30378
[x] Fight.

This isn't right. Nothing has been right since you ended up wherever this is, and now something is seriously trying to mess with you. You've got nowhere to back down to and a body full of adrenaline. The image of your knife flashes through your mind, but you're not sure you're hands would listen if you told them to stop gripping the stick.

"Come out!"


Another response, and still fairly close. You sprint a bit in the direction of the sound, but... there's nothing there, and you saw nothing moving around as you ran up. Some kind of ghost? Demon? Slipping into hell seems a bit far-fetched, but you guess anything's possible.

"What do you want with me?"

"What do you want with me?"

The voice sounds a whole lot further out this time. You... don't go after it. No sense. Is it backing down? You can't tell with the visibility like this.

"Hello?", you call out one last time for good measure.


Whatever the hell "it" is, it's back to sounding more like a strange echo than an immediate threat. You think you're safe from it for now, even if it's going to take your body a little while to calm down. Even if your head is still buzzing with "why?".

You're basically out of options at this point.


Something smashes into you from behind. The brush bites into your face on the way down and you lose your stick in the process. When you try to roll over, something firm pins your shoulder down. A roll in the other direction fails as well as the weight on your shoulder shifts. Before you can try anything else, you feel something cold - and sharp - press against your neck.

"Don't move," A female voice, this time. "How did you get past our guards?"

"Is this a joke?" you practically scream, "Are you serious?"

She presses the blade firmly against your skin. There's no doubt that it's a blade now, and there's no doubt that this is a dangerous situation. "The Tengu wouldn't be so careless as to let a mere human wander by. How did you do it?"

"Hello! Is someone over there?"

Another female voice, this one almost friendly sounding, calls out from... well, you're not in much of a position to see where. Whoever has you pinned seems to notice it, too - you feel her shift her weight and move that horrible sword away. In that instant, you...

[ ] Call out, but don't struggle.
[ ] Try to get out from the pin.
[ ] Remain still. She said "don't move".
>> No. 30379
[x] Call out, but don't struggle.

She said "don't move", not "don't yell".
>> No. 30380
[x] Call out, but don't struggle.

>The Tengu wouldn't be so careless as to...

>> No. 30381
[x] Try to get out from the pin.
I'd call out but I'm afraid of tengu ninja showing up.
>> No. 30382
[X] Remain still. She said "don't move".
Not even sure if that woman is tengu or not. She referred to "our guards" before "the Tengu", are they humans sneaking by ?
>> No. 30383
[x] Call out, but don't struggle.
>> No. 30384
[x] Call out, but don't struggle.
>> No. 30385
Called. Update in a day or two.
>> No. 30386
[x] Call out, but don't struggle.

... let your desperation get the better of you, blade be damned.

"Over here! ---oof!"

The pressure on your back becomes almost crushing as it forces you into roughly into the ground, and the blade finds it's place at your neck again. By some miracle you do keep your head... at least for now. Whoever is out there responds cheerfully.

"Ok! I'm coming!"

"Calling for your friends?" Your assailant quietly states, "Well, that's fine. I'd have to find them anyway. Come on, up you go."

An arm grasps you around the chest and forces you back to your feet. She's strong. It takes almost no effort for her to get you up, even though her arms aren't burly by any means. At least they look like human arms and not some horrible demon arms.

Branches pop and leaves rustle as whoever you called out to makes their way closer. They're obviously not trying to be sneaky about it. Why would they? They don't have any reason to. They.... don't realize there's someone dangerous over here. Oh.

Well, you're not even sure what this person behind you wants. You're probably a bit cut up from the tackle, and you feel like some of the scratches might be bleeding, but you can't really check right now. But beyond that you'd be dead

"Hello?" The voice calls out again, much closer, "Are you over here?"

The arm around your chest squeezes a bit as your assailant leans in close. "Answer her."

"O-over here!"

Whoever it is, you hope they're as exceptional as the person behind you. Doesn't seem unlikely, considering what you've seen in the last few hours.

"Ok! Almost there!"

And sure enough, after a bit more twig snapping, she's there.

Definitely exceptional - exceptionally out of place, though she doesn't seem to be aware of it. Really, she'd look more at place in some kind of temple than out here. A long skirt isn't really mountain climbing material, much less. And she's got some kind of paper fan thing with her for no obvious reason. Weird hair doodads.

"Oh? There's two of you?"

She seems confused as to what she's managed to walk herself into. Not that you blame her. A weary smile creeps across your face. This is still absurd, but at least one of these two

"Oh, I think I get it!" She says, after thinking for a moment. "That's a youkai, isn't it? And you're being attacked, right?"

Youkai? I mean, you're being attacked, but a folk monster... well, you guess you were thinking demon before, so maybe she's coming from the same place. Before you can answer, your assailant pipes up.

"Not just 'a youkai', human. A Tengu!" She moves the blade a bit as if to make a point. "How did you and your friend make it past our watch unnoticed?"

"Hm? He's not my friend."

The tengu laughs. "You both got by undetected? At separate times? I find that hard to believe."

"Oh," the green-haired girl pipes up, "Well, we just moved our shrine here with magic! We probably didn't go past you."

"Morya shrine?" You blurt out, desperately trying to make sense of anything she's saying. She clearly recognizes that name.

Should have bitten your tongue. The iron grip around your chest pulls you tighter. "So, you DO know each other!"

"No. But, maybe... huh." The girl shakes her head. With a sudden fire in her eye, she points the paper fan over your shoulder. "Tengu, let go of him right now!"

This is starting to get dicey again. Not good.

[ ] Try to talk them down.
[ ] Try to make an opening for the girl with a distraction.
...or three days, I guess. Got home yesterday and basically fell asleep so I didn't get this written.
>> No. 30387
[x] Try to talk them down.

Talking good. Crossfire bad.

At least, that's what I'd be thinking in this situation.
>> No. 30388
[x] Try to make an opening
>> No. 30389
[x] Try to talk them down.
Getting killed due to too much fussin' would suck. And there rare no police snipers around to take the shot.
>> No. 30390
[x] Try to talk them down.
>> No. 30391
Called, update in a few days.
>> No. 30392
Probably Friday, actually - didn't finish today, and I have stuff going on tomorrow so I'm not sure I'll do it then either once I get back. Sorry for the delay.
>> No. 30393
[x] Try to talk them down.

"Hey, hold on a second!"

Your frustration rises up again. You don't understand what the girl's doing, but you can tell by her pose that it's not good, and you're already got a blade pushed up against your neck. You really don't want to be in the middle of this. There's no reason you should. It's absurd.

"Look, I don't know what's going on here," you continue, trying not to give much of a gap for them to interrupt, "but I think there's some kind of misunderstanding. I was just out for a walk to visit the Morya Shrine and somehow I ended up here. And I definitely don't know this person."

There's a laugh from behind you. Well, more like a snort than a laugh. "You were out for a walk and ended up on top of a mountain?"

"I'm absolutely serious," You say, "I don't get it either. I just want to figure out what's going on."

"That's probably our fault," the green-haired girl says, lowering her paper thing. "You were out for a walk in the forest by Morya Shrine, right? Maybe on the path coming from the edge of town?"

"Yeah," You say, not risking nodding with that blade so close, "One minute I'm walking along and the next I'm looking over a cliff."

"You were the one yelling for help?"

"He was," the tengu answers for you, "And you were who he was yelling to. Why didn't you answer?"

"Oh..." She frowns for a moment. "Haha. That would have been a good idea, wouldn't it?"

The tengu sighs. "You said you moved some kind of shrine to our mountain? Where is it?"

"Right over the peak," The girl says, "You should come see it sometime! But can I take him now? He's hurt."

The arm around your chest finally lets go, and the blade removes itself. A not-so-gentle shove sends you stumbling towards the girl, but you manage to keep yourself from falling. Finally. You rub the side of your head to check your wound from earlier, and... yeah, that's a little too red to be sweat.

"Here," The girl says, pulling a bit of cloth from somewhere inside that getup of hers. You wipe a bit of the blood off your face. "It's not too far, but can you walk?"

"I think---"

"We can just fly. I'll carry you both."

Turning around, you finally come face-to-face with the girl who tackled you earlier. It's not just the sword that she's got, but a shield on her back. And... those eyes aren't quite right. No, silver hair and red eyes and... a second set of ears?

"A monster?" You mutter in disbelief. That, or someone with an extremely realistic costume who claims to fly and just walked up a mountain. This is just way too real to be a dream, and shurly you'd have woken from it by now if it were.

"Tengu!" She yells, clearly displeased, her sword arm moving a bit. "I should cut you down for that!"

"I'm sorry!" You yell out, wanting to be nowhere near that blade. "I didn't mean it!"

"Flying?" The girl interrupts, "Oh, maybe I could...?"

The wind picks up a little, but it's... odd. The leaves around the girl are all moving, but in different directions and with far too much force. As if this day couldn't get any stranger, she slowly lifts off the ground and hovers a few feet above it, giggling.

A triumphant grin crosses her face. "I can carry myself, but could you carry... oh," She pauses again. "My name is Sanae! What's yours?"

You give your name. It's nothing special.

"And you?" She asks, turning to the mon---tengu.

"Momiji, of the Tengu."

Momiji steps closer. "Turn around. Like I said, I'll carry you. Walking would be too slow."

This is all moving too fast for your brain to handle. You do as told. Not that you'd really want to walk up the mountain anyway. With you pressed tightly into the tengu's chest by her iron grip, you feel your feet lose contact with the ground.

"Ok!" Sanae yells, rising a bit unsteadily, "Follow me!"

Momiji easily holds on to you as the three of you rise above the forest you were just in. You're... flying.

It's probably a good thing there's clouds, because you're not sure you could take seeing anything other than the whitish-grey void right now. Like this, it's almost peaceful - although the moist air you're flying through is a bit cold, and being held in a reverse hug isn't exactly comfortable. But, still, you can feel your mood improving.

Maybe you'll finally get to the bottom of this. This Sanae girl seems to know what's going on, this Momiji person... well, you think she's decided you aren't a threat by now, but you'll still have to be leery. You're still past their guards, whatever that means.

"Down here!" Sanae calls out, descending.

Sanae lands a bit fast, nearly falling over as she does. But your pilot sets you down with as much ease as she lifted you with.

"Thanks," You say, but Momiji hardly acknowledge you as she walks towards Sanae.

A massive set of torii greets you, two in total, and what looks like a half finished path. With the clouds as they are you can't really see any further than that.

"You moved this here?" Momiji asks.

"No," Sanae responds, "I only helped. Our shrine's god did the real work."

She then turns to you. "We should get your scratch cleaned so it doesn't get infected. Are you hungry? It's almost lunch time, too..."

You nod. Food. Shelter. This is great. It seems you've been found by a goddess. As you walk though, you notice that Momiji isn't following. Sanae either doesn't, or doesn't care.

[ ] Mention it to her.
[ ] Continue walking.
Probably going to try to update Sunday if I've got enough votes and I'm feeling up, otherwise around Tuesday as normal.
>> No. 30394
[x] Continue walking.

Scary wolf girl is scary.
>> No. 30395
[x] Continue walking.
>> No. 30396
[X] Continue walking.
>> No. 30397
[x] Mention it to her.
>> No. 30398
[X] Mention it to her.

Sure, she went all territorial on us, but she also flew us up to the shrine, so I think that more or less evens it out.
>> No. 30399
[x] Mention it to her.
Keep frenemies close.
>> No. 30400

[x] Mention it to her.
>> No. 30401
[X] Continue walking.

k thx bye
>> No. 30402
>>30394 here, changing my knee-jerk vote to

[x] Mention it to her.

to break the tie.
>> No. 30403
Didn't feel up to it this weekend, I guess. Called, update in a few days.
>> No. 30404
[x] Mention it to her.

"Anything you've got is great," You say. "Thank you so much!"

Sanae giggles. "The Morya shrine wouldn't let a lost hiker go hungry."

Though you're eager to get going, you feel a little uneasy with leaving someone who just held you hostage to their own devices. She came to see the shrine... but now she's just going to look? Seems odd. "What about her?"

You turn your gaze back to Momiji, who seems to be watching with a curious eye. She's clearly intent on watching you two walk away.

"Hey!" She calls out, "You're invited too, are you coming?"

The wolf girl snaps out of her thousand yard gaze and focuses on you two.

"Yes," she says, moving to catch up with you both, "I won't turn down your hospitality."

"Good! Oh," Sanae pauses, "But... I wonder what we have...?"

With Sanae lost in thought, the three of you pass silently beneath the torii. You're not sure if it's just the day getting to you, but you definitely feel... something as you do. A sort of weight on your chest, maybe - probably a bit of adrenaline coming back. You're sure that once the clouds are gone this will be one quite the place to see.

For now, though, the entrance doesn't even look complete. The two-and-a-half torii clearly aren't the end of this entryway. There's quite a few logs stacked nearby, some in the process of being cut, and the stone path leading in is missing a significant number of tiles where the ground isn't quite flat enough yet to support them.

"Well, we can start with tea." Sanae says after an inordinate amount of time. "Did you start towards our shrine this morning?"

You nod. "If this is the same Morya shrine, yeah. How did we end up in the mountains?"

You've definitely got a clearer head now. Things might be OK after all, even if this situation doesn't make sense. You can figure it out in time.

"We moved it here, like I said," Sanae says, "I, um... don't really understand how it all worked, so I'm not really sure why you came with it."

By now you can see two buildings coming into view. Big ones - presumably the shrine and the place where the staff stay. You wonder who else is staying there. If she doesn't understand how she moved this place up here, she probably didn't do it alone.

"Was it magic or something? Sorry, I still don't know what's going on here."

The building directly across from the torii is clearly the shrine itself. You can't say that the old man was lying - it really was worth seeing. You're not a spiritual person normally, but a real live god wouldn't be out of place in a shrine like this.

"It's not magic," She says, shaking her head, "I'm a priestess, not a magician, so... it's more like a miracle."

A miracle. "It's a miracle you found me in this fog, I think! And maybe a miracle I didn't waltz off a cliff earlier on accident."

"Those are small ones," She says, responding seriously to your half-joking suggestions. "But maybe they were related to the one that brought the shrine here. That was a miracle of 'safe travel to our new location'."

Sanae stops walking in the middle of the plaza between the two buildings. It seems like she's leading you up to the shrine itself, not the quarters to the side.

"Welcome to the Morya shrine!" She says, with pride. "You two are our first visitors, but we'll be having many more in the future. Excuse me for a minute."

She walks up to the shrine and kneels in front of it, presumably in prayer. You do the same. A priestess serves her gods, and you've seen enough today that you're able to believe that it's literally true for her. This is their house, so it's best to show some respect.

... not that you're sure what to pray for. Some sanity, maybe? Making it home and out of this bizarro land safely?

"OK, let's---" Sanae interrupts, surprised to see you beside her "Thank you! And now you're the first person to pray here."

You stand. Momiji just watches silently from behind you two, uninterested. Maybe she's a little more willing to risk wrath than you are.

"Over here," Sanae says, walking towards the side building. "This is where I live. Let me get the tea started."

The three of you enter. Despite the outside, it's actually quite modest on the inside. The rooms don't feel too large and there isn't much decoration. You guess a lot of it must just be general storage, or maybe it did have more staff at one point.

Sanae motions for you both to enter a room with a low table. "I'll be right back."

Both you and Momiji have really just been following Sanae around for this entire time. Now that she's gone, you both look at the table. Then to each other. It's not exactly a friendly look.

[ ] ... (take a seat quietly. You could use a rest.)
[ ] (take a seat.) "This place is something, huh?"
[ ] "I'll be outside if you need me."
>> No. 30405
[x] (take a seat.) "This place is something, huh?"
Small talk will be shot down. But it'll be on her, not us.
>> No. 30406
[x] (take a seat.) "This place is something, huh?"
Momi route?
>> No. 30407
[x] ... (take a seat quietly. You could use a rest.)

Let the stare-off commence.
>> No. 30408
[X] (take a seat.) "This place is something, huh?"

Doesn't hurt to try making small talks.
>> No. 30409
Have some faith.

[x] (take a seat.) "This place is something, huh?"
Small talk will be shot down. But it'll be on her, not us.
>> No. 30410
How 'bout some unrelenting faith?

[x] (take a seat.) "This place is something, huh?"
[x] Don't expect an answer in return.
>> No. 30411
[X] ... (take a seat quietly. You could use a rest.)

>> No. 30412
[x] (take a seat.) "This place is something, huh?"
>> No. 30413
[x] (take a seat.) "This place is something, huh?"
>> No. 30414
Called, update in a few days.
>> No. 30415
[x] (take a seat.) "This place is something, huh?"

Well, friendly or not, it doesn't matter too much. She's not going to attack you here you don't think. And although you're still sore from earlier. You make your way over to the table and take a seat. That's what it's here for, and you've got no intention of leaving.

"This place is something, huh?" You ask Momiji, who follows not too far behind you.

"I won't comment on it," Momiji says, quietly, "As this is a sacred place. But the top of the mountain was bare for a reason."

"Where am I anyway?" You ask, "I get that I'm on your land or something, but I don't really understand."

"You are on the top of Youkai Mountain, Kingdom of the Tengu," She says, "The mountain itself and the surrounds are in a land called Gensokyo."


"A place where youkai and humans coexist," She says, "From what I understand, that's not true in the outside world."

Something clicks in your mind. That... actually makes sense. Not that getting here makes any sense, but the idea of this not being the world you knew makes sense. "So it's not a dream then?"

Momiji smirks. "No. Not that you could trust my answer if it were."

"True," you say, leaning back a bit to stretch. "Huh. You said coexist?"

"We coexist with the humans here," She says, "But outsiders are fair game."

"What about trespassers? And what do you mean by 'fair game'"

"We remove them from the mountain," She says, "By force, if needed. As for fair game... well, we are free to do what we like. For you, we'd have a short trial and likely execute you. You'd be deemed too weak to survive if you were placed at the foot of the mountain, so we'd spare you the trouble."

Execute? Your eyes go wide, not expecting to hear that. She laughs in response.

"Don't worry, you're under the shrine maiden's protection for now. We wouldn't be as brazen as to remove you from a temple without good reason."

"That's... good," you say, still a bit unsettled "I guess. But why'd you let me go and carry me here?"

She shrugs. "Convenience. It wasn't worth fighting her to keep you, and it made scouting this shrine easy."

"I see."

Seems reasonable enough. If you need to get into a place, best to let the person there open the door and show you around. You're not sure she has bad intentions, but you can definitely tell that this shrine being here is going to lead to some friction at the very least.

The two of you pass the time with a bit more idle chat. The current day doesn't seem to have been changed when you entered this Gensokyo place. The mountain itself has the tengu living near the middle, with a large stream running down the west side - and you guess the waterfall is something to see. She also seems very interested in your compass, for whatever reason.

Eventually, the entryway slides open. It's Sanae with the tea.

"Sorry that took so long! I forgot where I put the tea in all those boxes..."


She laughs. "Well, we were moving after all. But I guess I didn't really need to use the boxes in the end."

You sip the tea. It's... actually really good.

"Thank you. This is delicious."

Sanae seems satisfied with your response. "I'm glad you like it! It's one of my favorites."

You can't remember the last time your tea was this good, though you suppose that all the excitement earlier has helped with that.

"So, Momiji, right?" Sanae asks her other guest, "You said there are other tengu on this mountain?"

"Many," She responds, "Why?"

"Well," Sanae says, "We were hoping there'd be humans, but if there's a lot of tengu... there's probably not, right?"

"If you wanted humans, you should have placed your shrine near the village."

Sanae looks a bit glum at that, but only for a moment. She sips her tea, as does Momiji.

[ ] Try to steer the conversation towards the shrine.
[ ] Try to steer the conversation towards Sanae.
[ ] Sip your tea, relax, and just listen for now.
>> No. 30416
[X] Try to steer the conversation towards Sanae.

She's not just any outsider, she has potential to be a citizen of the mountain. Let's get best wolf to understand that.
>> No. 30417
[x] Try to steer the conversation towards Sanae.

Who wouldn't be curious about the person who just saved their life, even if she doesn't know it yet?
>> No. 30418
[X] Try to steer the conversation towards Sanae.

MC knows nothing about her yet.
>> No. 30419
[x] Sip your tea, relax, and just listen for now.
Taking it easy is always the right choice.
>> No. 30420
[X] Try to steer the conversation towards Sanae.
>> No. 30421
[x] Sip your tea, relax, and just listen for now.
>> No. 30422
Called. Update... probably in a few days, but we'll see. I'm a bit busy this week so it may take longer.
>> No. 30423
[x] Try to steer the conversation towards Sanae.

You can't really help smiling at that. What an odd girl.

"So it's just you, then?"

"I'm the only priestess here, if that's what you mean," she says, "This shrine only has one at a time."

Sip. "That seems tough. Did you go to school and all that too?"

She laughs. "It wasn't tough to do both because not many people visited. There isn't much faith in old gods in our world, so not many people visit old shrines like this one."

"Our world, huh?"

For a moment, you'd forgotten that fact. This setting was so perfectly natural that your current situation had slipped your mind. But, even if she and you are from the same world, you're absolutely certain you couldn't fly like she could or any of that. Maybe you're the abnormal one here. No, you definitely are.

"Were you always able to fly?"

Again, she laughs. "No, no. But this is Gensokyo, so common sense doesn't apply here." she pauses for a moment to take another sip of tea. "...at least, that's what Lady Kanako keeps telling me. I didn't think it would work by just trying."

"Lady Kanako?"

"The god of this shrine."

As if on cue, you hear a large rumble from outside some place. You turn to look, but as there's no windows it doesn't help much.

"Oh," Sanae says, "Sorry. We're still finishing the shrine grounds, that's why the entrance looked the way it did. It might be noisy for a while."

"So that was..."

She nods. "I'll have to help after we get you fed. After that, we can figure out what you want to do. More?"

Sanae pours you another cup of tea. "Ah, right, you mentioned something about that. So you think you brought me over with the shrine?"

"No, that's definitely what happened," She says, "The miracles we used to bring the shrine here somehow grabbed you rather than most of the entrance to the grounds."

You laugh. It's absurd, but... something about common sense not applying. Fine. Sure. You'll accept that. It's an answer, and anything is good right about now. "Seriously?"

"We wondered what went wrong, but that has to be it. We didn't count on people visiting at such a weird time. More?"

Momiji nods. "Yes, thank you." She's been quiet, but she seems interested in all this.

Sanae and you chat about nothing in particular for a while. She's curious in what kind of travelling you were doing that brought you to the shrine in the first place, so you fill her in. Just a vacation. It's extremely mundane compared to her story, but she listens intently.

After a while, Sanae steps out for a bit leaving you and Momiji alone. She'd put some rice on with the tea, and you guess it's almost done.

The two of you glance at each other again, but it's quite a bit less harsh this time.

"She's an excellent host, isn't she?"


Not a word more is exchanged between you two before Sanae returns with lunch. It's simple - onigiri and miso soup - but it really hits the spot. Mostly, you all eat in silence.

After the meal, Sanae pipes up. "Feeling better?"


"After I clean up," She says, gathering the dishes, "We can talk about getting you home."

[ ] Offer to help with the cleaning.
[ ] Let her be a good host and stay put.
Hopefully less busy next week, sorry that took a bit longer than normal.
>> No. 30424
[x] Let her be a good host and stay put.
I know most people will want to help out but I want to see what happens when we take it easy and enjoy hospitality properly.
>> No. 30425
[X] Let her be a good host and stay put.
>> No. 30426
[X] Let her be a good host and stay put.
Chat with Momiji too, I guess.
>> No. 30427
[xxxx] Offer to help with the cleaning.

Only polite to do so.
>> No. 30428
[x] Offer to help with the cleaning.

Only polite to make ourselves at least marginally useful.
>> No. 30429
Good point. Well help her from now on so no reason to leave our fellow guest alone.

[X] Let her be a good host and stay put
>> No. 30430
Called. Same deal, busy this week with real life stuff, so it'll probably be Saturday for the update.
>> No. 30431
Delayed slightly because reasons. I'll get it up tomorrow.
>> No. 30432
[x] Let her be a good host and stay put.


Sanae leaves, taking the dishes with her... and leaving you with Momiji again. Although, after about a minute or so, Momiji stands up. You look to her, curious.

"I'm leaving," She says, sensing your question. "I've been gone long enough."

"Maybe I'll see you around."

"Hope that if you do, it's near this shrine." She says, flatly. "You might not live if it's anywhere else."

Oddly enough, it doesn't sound much like a threat. Just a warning. You give a nod in response. At least it sounds like you'll be safe from her and whoever the rest of the Tengu are up here.

"Right." You say, "See ya."

Without another word, she heads out through the door. Now it's just you, alone with your thoughts. Not that they're useful ones. It's mostly just buzzing what-ifs and speculation and trains of thought that don't make any sense. Tiring morning, but you managed to find safety. And, in the end, you guess that's what matters.

You rest your eyes for a moment... or a few. The scratch you took - and it was just a scratch - still stings. Your body still aches from being handled like you were.

After a while, you start to hear conversation coming from the hall. Two people, you think. Sanae, and... someone else. Not wanting to be rude, you try not to pay too much attention to it. After the conversation ends, the door slides open.

"Oh, were you taking a nap?"

Your eyes open up to see Sanae standing in the doorway.

"No," you say, "Just resting."

"Could you come with me?" She asks, "There's someone else who wants to meet you."

The second voice, perhaps? You stand with a bit of effort. "Sure. Where are we going?"

"Just outside."

"By the way," You say, as you leave, "Did Momiji let you know she was leaving?"

Sanae nods. "She was very polite about it. But I kind of worry about what the Tengu might think of this place. Momiji didn't sound happy about us moving up here."

It occurs to you that she wasn't around for most of your conversation with her. You'll have to fill the shrine maiden in later.

Sanae leads you outside. By now the clouds have passed again, leaving you with a spectacular view of the sky and the whole grounds. The shrine itself looks so much more impressive like this. While you were eating, it seems like a few more torii appeared, as well.

"Over here."

A short walk takes the two of you to the front of the shrine. Again, Sanae kneels in prayer, and again, you join her - but only because it seems appropriate.

A booming laugh, followed by a huge voice fills the air. "Do you really think I can't tell? Put your heart into it!"

Startled, you leap to your feet and look around. Eventually your eyes track skyward, and only then do you see the source of the sound. There's a figure floating there in a sitting pose, several dozen feet in the air, with the sun at it's back. The presence is overwhelming.There is no doubt in your mind that this is the god of this shrine.

Almost on instinct, you drop to your knees again. A god. And you've maybe made it angry.

"Fear is good," The voice booms again, seemingly drawing closer. "But surely, you've got more than that?"

This is absolutely a god. Does this day never end?

Sanae speaks up from next to you. "Lady Kanako, don't you think that's too much?"

Another laugh. This one sounds a bit less like the heavens themselves are laughing, and more like a genuine laugh from a person. "Maybe. But I haven't gotten to do that in a while, and I couldn't help myself. You."

You raise your head. It's a woman clothed in red with a slightly stern look on her face.

"Do you realize how much trouble you've caused?"

[ ] "Trouble?"
[ ] (Shake your head)
[ ] (Don't react)
Right, sorry about that. I'll call Wednesday, because this one was a little late.
>> No. 30433
[x] "Trouble?"

All the choices seem fine because gods tend to do whatever the hell they want regardless.
>> No. 30434
[x] "Trouble?"
-[X] "I don't want no trouble."
>> No. 30435
[X] (Don't react)
Challenge her a bit.
>> No. 30436
[x] "Trouble?"

It's not like we did it on purpose. We were on our way to pay respects to her shrine, even!
>> No. 30437
[x] "Trouble?"
>> No. 30438
Called. Few days, etc.
>> No. 30439
[x] (Shake your head)
>> No. 30440
[x] "Trouble?"

Caught off guard by the question, the response almost spills out of your mouth. "Trouble?"

Kanako's intense gaze is unwavering, but you try your best to not shrink from it.

"Moving a shrine is delicate work," She says, "And you disturbed it. Why didn't you use the main entrance?"

The old man said nothing about that. "There was a---"

She cuts you off.

"As a result, we'll have to spend a day or two getting the grounds back into shape. Troublesome. And what do you plan to do with yourself?"


She continues. "This is Gensokyo. There's really no place for a normal human like you to go and remain safe. Even in the human village, as an outsider you'd likely be eaten before too long. So, not only did you have to be rescued, but you'll be staying here in the meantime. More trouble for poor Sanae."

"It's really no trouble," Sanae says, quietly.

"Well?" Kanako says, her overbearing gaze still locked on yours, "Do you get it now?"

"I do. I'll try not to cause any more."

You could make some excuses, but what she said is true - it's trouble, excuses or not. And talking back probably isn't the best option.

"Good," She says, her gaze softening a bit as she hovers closer to the ground, "Then, I'm sure you'll have no qualms about providing appropriate compensation for all this."

"I'm... not sure what you mean," You say, "I don't have much money on me."

Kanako laughs. "Outside money is no good here, anyway. No, the only thing we need is faith... and perhaps a bit of manual labor. This is a shrine, after all. Sanae, do you think you can work with this man?"

"Work with... oh, you mean, to start gathering faith?" Sanae looks to you. "I think so. But why?"

"Imagine," Kanako says, looking you over, "An outsider travelling with a priestess. Gensokyo is a hostile place, and everyone here knows this - but the traveller is completely unafraid because of the power of his faith. Or at the very least, completely safe, because of the power of the head priestess."

She turns to you. "Can you do that?"

This has taken a strange turn. "Well, I'm not sure if---"

"Let me rephrase. Can you at least fake it?" With a completely straight face, she adds "It's pure marketing. It doesn't have to be real, just convincing."

What kind of god is this? Saying that with such a straight face is a bit much.

"I think I can do that," you say, not really having the spine to refuse.

"Good," Kanako says, "Starting now, you're an assistant priest of the Morya shrine. I still have your mess to clean up, so Sanae will fill you in on the rest and find you some appropriate clothes."

Without so much as another word, she floats back up into the sky. You have to look away as she rises near the sun - and by the time you look back, she's nowhere in sight. You just stare upwards, bewildered.

"So that's what she had in mind," Sanae says from behind you. "I can never tell what she's thinking..."

Broken from your spell, you finally stand up. "So that was this shrine's god?"

"And your god too," she says, giggling, "Oh, that makes me your boss now, doesn't it?"

[ ] "Don't let it get to your head."
[ ] (Accept your fate.)
Trying to get back to normal next week (call tuesday->update by thursday).
>> No. 30441
[X] (Accept your fate.)
Become a Moriya Shrine conspirator.
>> No. 30442
[x] "Don't let it get to your head."
-[x] "So, Kanako Moriya uh? She seems strict, but she did introduce herself with her name so maybe she's friendly?

Kanako is a first name, Moriya is a last name. The reason of the question is that I want him to address the idea of a god named Yasaka leading a shrine named Moriya.
>> No. 30443
[x] (Accept your fate.)
>> No. 30444
[X] (Accept your fate.)
>> No. 30445
[x] (Accept your fate.)

Let's see where this goes.
>> No. 30446
[x] "Don't let it get to your head."
Pissing against the tide.
>> No. 30447
[X] "Don't let it get to your head."

We shall piss against the tide together!
>> No. 30448
Called. Shooting for... tomorrow or Friday. I have some inescapable nonsense on Thursday night.
>> No. 30449
[x] (Accept your fate... mostly)

Well, you suppose there's no use complaining. Whatever "it" is, you guess it's fine. Paying what you owe isn't unreasonable. You'll go with it for now.

"So, Boss, what else did I need to know?"

"Right," She says, "Well, we don't have any idea how to get you home. So you'll be here a while probably."


"But, we'll figure it out. Even if we did figure it out now, we need faith to do anything like that. Is it ok to talk now, or is this too much for one day?"

You shrug. "To be honest, it's probably too much. But if I'm going to be here a while you can fill me in again later."

She nods. "I guess that's true. Well, let's take a seat. Have you seen the view yet?"

"I haven't", you say, following her... apparently, around to the back of the shrine. "Oh. Wow."

This shrine really is far up. You're not quite at the tip top of the mountain, but you're far enough to see well into the distance. There's... a whole lot of trees, and a bit of cleared land far in the distance.

"It's a lot different than the forest," She says, "But it's really beautiful. I just hope that that Momiji person wasn't right about this being a bad spot."

"Honestly," You say, taking a seat on the shrine building next to her. "I think people would come up just to see it."

"People did that at our old spot, too," She says, "But - oh, right. Faith. The history of the shrine is important too, and... well, your duties, and... hmm."

She gathers her thoughts for a minute. "Do you absolutely believe in Lady Kanako? That she can get you home safely?"

It's an odd question, but there's no real doubt in your mind currently. "If she can move me here, she can move me back. ...even if the first time was an accident."

Sanae smiles. "Right. A god's power stems from that. If they don't have faith, they have no power. Does that make sense?"

"I think so."

"So," She continues, "You can probably see why we had to move here then. We could barely get by in the outside world, because there's not much faith."

You process that for a second. "Right. The person who told me about this place was pretty sad that no one visited much any more. Even then, it was probably just tourists like me. I didn't see the front entrance, but that side one was pretty unused."

"The Morya shrine has been around for many generations," She says, "And females in my family have cared for it for all of them. But, lately, people just haven't been visiting. Lady Kanako thinks we can gather a lot more faith here, enough that it was worth moving."

You gaze out onto the landscape. "She'd need a lot of faith to even appear like that in the outside world, right? If I'm getting this faith thing correct."

Sanae nods. "People here have faith in general. It wouldn't be odd for a god to appear, so she can do it."

"But teleporting someone might be harder."

Again, she nods. "Right. Or doing things people normally need, like ensuring safe travel or making their crops grow better."

You lean back on your elbows. "Sounds complicated."

"Well," She says, "You really only need to know the basics. Unless you want to become a full time priest?"

"Hmm, we'll see," you say, "My life wasn't too bad."

"I was just joking," She says, laughing a bit. "I'm not sure you could be a real one, anyway."

The two of you gaze out for a bit, with you mainly just listening to the wind. You can't say you get it entirely, but the whole thing is just kind of a mess in your head right now so you don't know what questions to even ask. Maybe something simple.

"So - it's just Lady Kanako and you, right?"


"How did the shrine get it's name?"

"Long ago," She says, "It was a shrine to a different god, but now it's not. Kanako didn't want to change the name because she thought it would be confusing."


"When she's not working," Sanae says, "you can ask her the whole story. She's usually not as scary as she was today. We really were hoping to move the entire shrine, but because we got you too we only got most of it."

Working. Right, like you'll be doing soon. "So we'll be going door-to-door, basically?"

"I think so," She says, "But mainly to meet everyone. We don't know what people need yet, and getting people what they need is the best way to gather faith. We'll want to convince them to come up to leave an offering, too. Though, if this is on a youkai infested mountain, that might be hard..."

"Well," you say, "It sounds like we're going to have to play it by ear."

She nods. "Oh, but I'll have to put together something for you to wear, too."

"You don't think I'd look very assistant priestly with this t-shirt?"

"No," She says, laughing, "Fortunately, I'm good at sewing too, so I can probably do it today. Let's go inside so I can measure you."

The two of you walk back around the shrine and towards the living quarters. The two buildings form a square in the center. If you're facing the shrine, the peak and the living quarters are to the right and the entrance to the bottom. The quarters and the shrine don't quite touch, and you notice a path heading off behind them.

"What's back there?" you ask, motioning to the path.

"That's the pond," She says, "It's part of the shrine, too, so you should go see it when you get the chance."

Getting your measurements taken is... rather uneventful, if just a bit awkward. She wasn't kidding when she said she was good at this. Afterwards, she turns to you.

"Well, I guess I'll be busy for a while," She says, "So you can take a break, assistant. Don't wander too far, ok?"

"Anything that needs done? Not to turn down break time, but I feel like moving a bit."

She thinks for a moment. "Well, everything we had in storage did get a bit jostled when we moved. Kanako might need some help, too, even if that sounds weird."

[ ] A bit of manual labor might help your thoughts.
[ ] Not every day that a god needs help.
>> No. 30450
[X] A bit of manual labor might help your thoughts.

Manly man manually laboring.
>> No. 30451
[X] Not every day that a god needs help.

Getting along with Kanano might have benefits.
>> No. 30452
[X] A bit of manual labor might help your thoughts.

Could use some time alone.
>> No. 30453
[X] A bit of manual labor might help your thoughts.

Just don't wander off.
>> No. 30454
[x ] Not every day that a god needs help.
this is true
>> No. 30455
[x] A bit of manual labor might help your thoughts.

Fishing for frogs.
>> No. 30456
[x ] Not every day that a god needs help

Get the basics done so you can do this even without help.

Not much to learn about carrying things though.
>> No. 30457
[x] Not every day that a god needs help.
Even if there's not much that can be done to help, it'll be interesting to see what she's up to.
>> No. 30458
Called. This was a tie, so I flipped a coin and fate decided on the second option.
>> No. 30459
Update tomorrow, I guess.
>> No. 30460
[x] Not every day that a god needs help.

"I think I'll see what Kanako is up to."

Sanae nods. "I'll see you later then."

You leave her to... well, whatever it is that goes into making a religious outfit, and head outside.

It doesn't take you too long to cross the shrine grounds and end up near the entrance. You can see that progress is being made - there's another row of torii up, and the path seems like it's getting more tile laid, but there's still a lot to go. Although... right now, you don't see anything going on. There's a large pile of tile nearby Hmm.


Maybe she's not here? You scan the horizon, but all you see is a trio of massive logs hurling themselves up the mountainside from the forest you were in earlier.

... wait, what? You instinctively duck for cover behind one of the nearby torii - not that it would help much, you suppose.

All three continue sailing up what would be the side of the mountain were you not at the top. They launch high into the air far above your head. Two of them land upright, embedding themselves in the ground with a loud THUD. The third lands nearby, but much more softly.

Ah. It takes you a second to see, but the two upright ones are perfectly lined up with the rest of the torii here. A look skyward does eventually yield sight of the god responsible for this - because who but a god could hurl logs like that? She doesn't seem to have noticed you yet, or perhaps doesn't care. Either way, she looks focused, so you decide not to interrupt.

The wind picks up. And up. Soon, it's difficult for you to stand. Near the fresh logs, though, the wind is downright violent. The bark on the fresh logs soon succumbs, leaving them bare. You eventually lose sight of them after a large cloud of reddish dust whips up.

Eventually, the storm subsides... leaving a fresh torii in its wake. The god responsible lowers herself from the sky, settling down on it like a bird might settle on a nice branch. She looks at you from her perch.

"Do you need something?" She asks, flatly.

You move closer to the new torii. It's indistinguishable from the others here now, even if it was just logs a few minutes ago. You hesitate for a moment. "I, uh... Sanae said you might need some help."

After seeing that display, you're starting to think Sanae was just trying to set you up. What could you possibly offer that could compete with that?


Kanako remains silent for a few moments, looking straight at you. Eventually, she looks towards some of the tiles nearby.

"Those need to be laid."

You look to the tile, and then to the remaining bits of the path. You'd be laying the tiles in holes as it currently is. And you don't notice any sort of tools nearby.

Kanako laughs. "This will go much faster if the tiles are mostly in the right place. Don't worry about making it look nice - I'll take care of that later."

"I... see," you say, looking back to the tiles. Not that you do, or why it would be easier to level the ground after placing the tiles on top of it.

"Don't be shy, boy. A question you don't ask is one that won't be answered."

You spin around. When you weren't looking, she moved to being right behind you - still floating, but only slightly above the ground. Up close, she doesn't look that different from a human.

"Some gods use fear to keep followers," She says, putting on a faint smile, "But I'm not one of those. As long as you're respectful I won't bite."

You nod. "Sorry. I'll need some time to get used to this."

She seems to accept that. "I suppose it does take time. Now, did you have a question?"

"Right," You say, "It seems backwards to lay the tiles before levelling the ground. I'm wondering why it's easier to do it that way."

"Humans are better with human-scale problems," She says, "And moving tiles is one of those. I can level the ground just fine even if there are tiles sitting on it. I want this finished by tomorrow morning, so splitting the work in any way possible is ideal, especially since Sanae is preoccupied."

"That makes sense," You say, eyeing the pile again. "Do we have a wheelbarrow or anything? I don't think I'd get very many moved with just my hands."

"There's one off to the side of the living quarters."

[ ] Continue chatting for a while.
- Ask something specific
[ ] Get to work. Always time for chat later.
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