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30643 No. 30643
[x] Wait patiently.

Hina leaves you two to yourselves as she heads off, teapot in hand. After she's out of earshot, Sanae leans in close to you.

"This is weird," She whispers, "What kind of goddess doesn't have a shrine?"

You look around. There's definitely nothing resembling a shrine around, not even a small one. Nor is there anything resembling a path into or out of this small clearing. In fact, when you look to where Hina just walked off to you notice that the underbrush doesn't seem disturbed at all.

"Maybe it's somewhere else?" You whisper back, "We'll just have to ask."

She doesn't seem satisfied with that. "Hmm."

After a few minutes, Hina returns, carefully cradling the now heavier pot. With a wave of her hand, she makes a small bit of flame near the center of the stumps. Much to your unease, it's a bizarre whitish-purple color rather than a more normal orange.

"That's... scary," You mutter.

"It is." Sanae agrees with a nod, carefully focusing on it. "But I... think it's safe."

Hina just smiles. "Well, it won't hurt the tea. Just don't touch it yourselves, OK?"

"Hina," Sanae asks, as the three of you wait for the tea to brew, "Where is your shrine?"

Hina looks puzzled by the question. But after a few moments, she responds. "This isn't quite like the outside world. I can gather faith directly, without a shrine."

"Oh?"

"It's easy to believe in something you can see, right?" Hina giggles, "I just have to make sure to wander close to the village every once in a while. But I try not to get too close. I gather misfortune and curses, but sometimes they get loose from me."

That sounds dangerous, especially when uttered around that purple flame. Sanae, however, doesn't seem to pay it any mind.

"But, there's at least one major shrine here... are you saying goddesses like you don't need even a minor one?"

"That's right," Hina nods. "By the way, do you mean the Hakurei shrine?"

Sanae nods. "That's right. Do you know where it is?"

That's your first time hearing of any of this. A competing shrine would be trouble, wouldn't it? Maybe Sanae thought it wasn't important to mention, but it definitely seems important.

Hina laughs. "Why, would you go there? I wouldn't recommend that. The shrine maiden doesn't take kindly to troublemakers."

"I think you have to answer my questions now, right?" Sanae laughs, deflecting the question. "Or else I think I'm allowed to beat you up again."

Hina sighs a little in resignation. "Well, that's true. It'll make more sense if I start with what's between here and there. First, let me start with this forest..."

You sense your chance to ask about this other shrine slipping away, but maybe it's best not to bring it up right now.

[ ] Ask for more information about this other shrine... from both of these two.
[ ] Let Sanae continue with her questions.
177posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 30829
[x] You're curious about the water sounds. Head that way.

NITOOOOORIIIIIII
>> No. 30830
[X] You're curious about the water sounds. Head that way.
>> No. 30831
So as you may or may not know, the incentive for NaNoWriMo was having a writing request get written by some volunteers if you made 30 updates. I though that I'd put said reward up to people reading this story (or people stumbling on this thread randomly). I'd be nowhere without you all guiding me through the votes, and I thought you all could make better use of it than I could.

To manage the chaos, we'll do it in two phases.

Make suggestions on what you'd like to see this week. It can be anything Touhou related (technically, I don't think it has to be, but I'm making that rule). They are just ideas, so if you have more than one post more than one.

Next week, around this time, I'll compile it into a list and we'll put it up to vote.
>> No. 30832
Suggestions...hm. I guess something cute and nonsensical then.

Aunn hears about the presence of other 'dogs' in Gensokyo and demands Reimu take her to meet them.
>> No. 30833
[x] You're curious about the water sounds. Head that way.

"Listen. Does it sound like there's water nearby to you?" You ask, "I wonder if that's the river."

Sanae listens for a moment. "... huh, I do hear it."

"Let's head that way instead," You suggest, "I'm curious about it."

She nods. "If that's the river, we should find the trail that way."

So, rather than head backwards, you two head forwards. As you do, you faintly notice the breeze shift again to keep you upwind of the carcass. At least Sanae isn't going to make you smell that the entire way.

It turns out you were both right, you find, when you arrive. The trail, or at least you assume it's the same trail, is running up next to the water you heard. You see the same signs of use, anyway.

The river doesn't look very deep, being filled with stones and gravel washed down the mountain, but its plenty wide. You wouldn't want to try to cross it.

"So this is the river," You say, breaking the silence. "Looks pretty pristine."

"Are you thirsty?" Sanae asks, "We could stop for a rest."

[ ] Rest here for a while.
[ ] You'd rather push on.
===================================================
Short, but I'm gonna be resetting my sleep schedule over the next couple days, so my brain will be more fried than usual.

If you skipped past it because I didn't flag it as an update, see >>30831
>> No. 30834
Chen and Orin decide to set up Crino and Utesho on a picnic date.

Someone asks an un-interested virginal remu for romance advice for the winter holiday.

Yukari bullies Reimu into performing the Kagara. Alice ends up involved with fabric.

Alice rescues someone, and they leave a few days later. Rumia probably doesn't eat them.

Rumia and chen on a playdate.

Amu and chen on a playdate.

Earth spiders go to the hotsprings.
>> No. 30835
[x] Rest here for a while.
>> No. 30836
[X] Rest here for a while.

Might as well.
>> No. 30837
[x] Rest here for a while.
>> No. 30838
>>30834
??

[x] You'd rather push on.

There's more to see.
>> No. 30839
[x] Rest here for a while.
>> No. 30841
[x] Rest here for a while.

"I wouldn't mind a rest," You say, "This looks like a nice spot."

"Good," Sanae responds, looking relieved, "I could keep going, but I think a short rest is a good idea."

Squatting down next to the water, you can see that it looks clear enough. "I wonder if it's safe to drink."

"Here," She says, handing you a small wooden cup over your shoulder, "It'll be safe."

"Where'd you get this?" You wonder. It's not like either of you brought any sort of gear with you.

"Don't worry about it," She smiles, squatting next to you, "Let's drink."

You decide not to worry about it, find a fallen tree nearby, and take a seat while you drink. Sanae follows your lead. The cool water and taking a load off your legs does feel good - though, you think you're mentally exhausted as well. Probably just the shock finally wearing off.

Neither of you says much. Rest can include silence, too, so you both just sit and watch the river flow by. It won't be long before these leaves start to turn either, you think. A few of the trees you can see have already turned.

Eventually, though, you feel the need to break it after your cup runs dry.

"Want another?" you ask, noticing Sanae's cup being empty as well.

Sanae nods. "Thanks."

You take both and head down to the riverside. As you are down there, you see something floating down stream. It's a ways out, but you snatch up a convenient nearby branch and pull it in. It's some kind of dark cloth, but it's all waded up.

"What's that?" Sanae calls out, still some distance away. She doesn't seem keen on giving up her rest that easily.

"Not sure," You answer back. After fiddling with it for a bit, you figure it out - it's something resembling trousers. Something like the style the villagers were wearing.

"Oh, here we go," You say, turning around to display your find. You hold the soggy pants out in front of you. "They'd be a little big on me, I think. Weird."

"Really weird," Sanae says, "I can't even imagine... is someone going for a swim?"

She's sounding a bit spaced out, much like she was before after talking with Hina. It might be worth giving her some more time to rest.

[ ] If it's related to that mess from earlier, it's probably better if you don't rest.
[ ] No need to rush off. You'll figure it out eventually.
===============================================
I went to bed thinking this was posted, but I guess it wasn't. Sorry... I'll call it tomorrow at the usual time.
>> No. 30842
[x] No need to rush off. You'll figure it out eventually.

Rest and recompose yourselves.
>> No. 30843
[x] No need to rush off. You'll figure it out eventually.
>> No. 30844
[x] No need to rush off. You'll figure it out eventually.
>> No. 30845
[x] No need to rush off. You'll figure it out eventually.
>> No. 30846
[x] No need to rush off. You'll figure it out eventually.

And besides, it's weird, but it's not rush off worthy. It came from the direction you are heading, so you'll figure it out eventually. Or not.

"Well," you say, neatly laying your newfound pants down on the bank, "I guess we'll find out when we head upstream. Or maybe someone will come looking for them."

"It seems like a weird thing to lose," Sanae says, as you return with her water. "Ah, thanks."

You return to your seat next to her. "I've seen weirder things today. It's hard to care much about it, to be honest."

Sanae laughs. "Well, you're doing a good job! Though I feel a little bad saying it, since you didn't really have much choice in joining us."

You shrug. "Eh, I'm having fun. Even if I'm having a hard time keeping up."

"It's a lot even if you know what's going on," Sanae says, sighing a bit, "I'm beat. I think after we reach the Tengu village, we should head back to the shrine."

You look along the river, trying to follow it up the mountain. "That's still a ways, isn't it?"

"Well, it's on the way," Sanae says, "Don't worry, I'll make sure not to leave you stranded or anything."

"I'm more worried about you. Don't work too hard, ok?"

She nods. "I won't. But we shouldn't slack off, either."

"Agreed."

Again, you two fall back into river-watching. It's a bit comforting to know she's actually got some limits like a normal person. Honestly, after all you've seen today, you were starting to wonder.

As you watch the river, you start to notice some oddities. Abnormal bits of foam. Splashes. They're subtle, but up until now, you'd not noticed them at all.

"Is that new?"

"Is what new?" Sanae asks.

"Look."

Another ripple. This one is quite big, actually.

"That."

"Huh. That's new."

The river isn't exactly deep enough to hold much of anything, although you guess it could be fish. Or... well, no. Thinking "something youkai related" in Gensokyo around random mundane things is liable to turn you into a conspiracy nut.

[ ] Head over and take a look.
[ ] You'd rather watch from here.
>> No. 30847
[x] Head over and take a look.
>> No. 30848
[x] Head over and take a look.

What's the worst that could happen?
>> No. 30849
[x] Head over and take a look

ominous
>> No. 30850
[x] Head over and take a look.
>> No. 30851
[x] Head over and take a look.
>> No. 30853
First proper Wednesday in a while (somehow I lucked out during November on these), meaning I spent 6 hours driving. This would have been OK if I had remembered to check the vote before I started the return leg, but I forgot. Will update tomorrow because I'm going to sleep now.
>> No. 30854
[x] Head over and take a look.

You wanna check it out. Looking at your cup, you can see that it's nearly empty again, so that's a reasonable excuse.

"More water?" You ask Sanae. "I'm gonna go see what that all is."

"Oh," She says, looking down and noticing hers is nearly empty as well. "Sure. Thanks!"

You take both and make your way over to the river, treading lightly but not conspicuously so. But rather than the spot you used last time to fill up, you head upstream a ways nearer to where you'd been seeing the disturbances.

Seems the water gets quite deep up here, actually. Or maybe it's just some strange way the light reflects off this part of the bed. Either way, you can't see the bottom.

*Fwoooosh!*

Without any warning, a giant fountain of water erupts from the river. You fall backwards from the shock.

"What---?"

... and with even less warning, during the distraction, something grabs your leg.

"Help!"

A hand? No, as you reach down to pull it off, you find that it's some kind of rubber and it's attached to two sets of zig-zagging metal bars. Almost like one of those things you'd use for grabbing items off a top shelf.

"What is it?" Sanae asks, having made it up to your side. "Wait, what's that?"

The grabbing tool does what it looks like it should do, and gives your leg a good tug. You manage to brace yourself with your other leg to avoid being pulled into the river.

"It's pulling me in," You manage, while trying to force the grabber open, "Help!"

Sanae reaches down to help you yank whatever this thing is off. As she does, another one shoots out of the water - this time, taking your arm. It wastes no time tugging, and were it not for Sanae taking firm hold of you you'd have tumbled into the water.

The situation is looking rather dire. A blast of light takes care of both arms, severing one bar from each to render the unable to grip. Judging by Sanae's pose you imagine it was her. The sudden lack of grabbers sends you both tumbling back.

"What the heck?" You yell, standing up immediately. "Who's there?"

No answer. In fact, the water seems still again. But you do feel like something is still watching you from down there.

[ ] Another traveller might not be so lucky. Needs investigation.
[ ] Restraint. You'll investigate tomorrow.
>> No. 30855
[x] Another traveller might not be so lucky. Needs investigation.
>> No. 30856
[x] Another traveller might not be so lucky. Needs investigation.

Let us strike while the iron's hot
>> No. 30857
[x] Another traveller might not be so lucky. Needs investigation.

Safety first.
>> No. 30858
[x] Another traveller might not be so lucky. Needs investigation
>> No. 30859
[x] Another traveller might not be so lucky. Needs investigation

"Come out!" Sanae demands, "We know you're down there!"

If she's fired up, you've got no problem supporting her. You got lucky, but who knows what'd happen if someone else came across that thing first. And that does seem likely, given how close the trail is to the river.

Still, the murky water doesn't really answer Sanae's demand either. You turn to her. "I don't think they're listening."

"Oh," She says, "I'll make them listen! Ha!"

Again, you're knocked over, but this time by a violent wind. The river parts before your eyes - mostly, anyway - and you can see the bed about a man's height down. But, you notice something odd about it.

"A cave?" You yell, trying to be heard over the wind. Sanae nods, but the wind falters before you can really react.

"Haaaa... ok," Sanae says, sounding exhausted, "Come out of there, or we'll come after you! No one attacks the Moriya shrine and gets away with it!"

Scary. But not scary enough, it seems - again, the water remains still.

"It's probably the Kappa," Sanae says, making you recall the conversation you had earlier with Hina, "They do this kind of thing. Well, usually, they just drag you in... I don't know what those extendo-arms were."

"I wonder if there's another entrance?" You ask, "She said they were further upstream in some kind of obvious ravine."

As you think through your options, you recall something about them being particularly proud, and curious... you decide to try something.

[ ] Taunt them into coming up.
[ ] You think you've still got that nice compass...
>> No. 30860
[x] Taunt them into coming up.
>> No. 30861
[x] Taunt them into coming up.
>> No. 30862
[X ] You think you've still got that nice compass...

Appealing to her pride will work but we can do this without harming our future relationship... much
>> No. 30863
[x] You think you've still got that nice compass...
>> No. 30865
Rolling 1d2 => 1
>> No. 30866
[x] Taunt them into coming up.

You wonder if they can hear you down there? Rather than finding an entrance yourself, maybe making them come to you would be better.

"If they weren't such cowards," You start, "We wouldn't even have to look."

Sanae gives you a strange look, as if she wasn't expecting you to get angry like that. It's non-verbal, but you give her a slight smile to tell her not to worry too much about that or what's coming next.

"I mean, they couldn't even manage to drag one human under," You continue, turning to Sanae, "And those grapple devices looked pretty flimsy. Did you even do much to them?"

"Not much," She says, looking honest. "They were pretty weak."

"Why even bother, I wonder? Maybe they're just too scared to show themselves---"

"We are not! We'll drag you down right now if you're not careful!"

A voice calls out in protest from the river. Turning to look, you see three heads bobbing in the water looking at you with fiery eyes. All three of them are wearing various caps. Well, you got them to come up - but maybe you overdid it?

"Sanae!"

"Yep!"

Again, that vicious wind displaces most of the water in a dramatic downburst. You manage to brace yourself this time, half-expecting it, but the kappa are not so lucky - the strong gust pushes them onto the river bank just downstream of you. It's far enough that you don't feel in any danger.

The one with the large backpack manages to get back on her feet first.

"Rude! You two are just rude! Do you think you can treat the kappa genius like this?"

"You weren't going to come out otherwise, were you?"

"Why's it matter?" The kappa asks, straightening out her clothes and hat. "We've got no business with you."

They don't seem to be bailing back into the river, so maybe you've got their attention now.

[ ] No business? Didn't you just try to eat me?
[ ] Take a deep breath. Need to settle down a bit.
====================================================================
I forgot to collect the writing prompt suggestions last night (see >>30831), so here they are. I'll count the votes Friday, around update time. Please pick up to two:
[ ] Aunn hears about the presence of other 'dogs' in Gensokyo and demands Reimu take her to meet them.
[ ] Chen and Orin decide to set up Crino and Utsuho on a picnic date.
[ ] Someone asks an un-interested virginal Reimu for romance advice for the winter holiday.
[ ] Yukari bullies Reimu into performing the Kagara. Alice ends up involved with fabric. (???)
[ ] Alice rescues someone, and they leave a few days later. Rumia probably doesn't eat them.
[ ] Rumia and Chen on a playdate.
[ ] Amu and Chen on a playdate.
[ ] Earth spiders go to the hotsprings.
[ ] (Write-in)
>> No. 30867
[x] No business? Didn't you just try to eat me?

[x] Alice rescues someone, and they leave a few days later. Rumia probably doesn't eat them.
>> No. 30868
[x] No business? Didn't you just try to eat me?

[x] Aunn hears about the presence of other 'dogs' in Gensokyo and demands Reimu take her to meet them

bork bork and such
>> No. 30869
[x] No business? Didn't you just try to eat me?


[x] Someone asks an un-interested virginal Reimu for romance advice for the winter holiday.
>> No. 30870
[x] No business? Didn't you just try to eat me?

[x] Aunn hears about the presence of other 'dogs' in Gensokyo and demands Reimu take her to meet them.

The fact that it has Aunn already influenced my vote.
>> No. 30871
[x] Take a deep breath. Need to settle down a bit.


[x] Someone asks an un-interested virginal Reimu for romance advice for the winter holiday.
>> No. 30872
No particular reason (well, ok, it's probably low sleep), but I feel like I need a rest today. Resuming tomorrow.
>> No. 30873
[x] No business? Didn't you just try to eat me?

"No business?" You ask, "Didn't you just try to eat me?"

"You looked tasty!" One of the kappa calls out, "It's a compliment! I still wanna suck that---"

"H-hey," The leader says, turning around to quiet her companion, "Yeah, I mean, we did - but we're done with that now. So we've got no business with you. So, we'll just be going..."

"Hold it," Sanae says, as you consider your options, "I'm Sanae, the priestess of the Moriya shrine. We're trying to make this path safe. If you're going to make it unsafe, we've got business with you."

"I'm Nitori," The leader says, resigning herself to staying a bit. "Kappa inventor extraordinaire. This is Midori, and this is Kiyori."

"Hi!"

"Hello."

You greet them in kind, although you're unable to ignore that these are kappa and they just tried to drown you a minute ago. Sanae seems to want to try her luck with diplomacy, so you just resolve yourself to fuming a bit.

"What do we need to do to make it so no humans would get attacked here?" She asks, eliciting a laugh from all three kappa.

"Not gonna happen," Kiyori says, "Is it?"

"Nope," Nitori says, "Kappa do what they want in kappa lands. And that's where you are right now."

"How far from the river do you claim?" Sanae asks.

"The whole valley is ours, up to the waterfall and down to the edge of the forest."

"Isn't this trail for trading, though?" Sanae asks, "I can't imagine you get much trade if you just eat everyone."

"We don't eat everyone," Midori butts in, "Just some who look really tasty! Like your friend. And that trader from earlier, for example---"

"Quiet," Nitori says, "Yeah, we don't eat everyone. Not even most! Actually, we're pretty peaceful as far as the mountain goes! Eating no humans is ridiculous, but we leave most of them alone."

Kappa, what they eat, and those pants from earlier... ah. A wave of realization washes over you. That might solve that mystery, then. The poor guy probably wandered up to the river like you two did, and, well, didn't have someone like Sanae nearby.

[ ] Speak up. That's not cool.
[ ] Keep quiet for now.
===================================================
These names probably do not make sense and would not be real names, but oh well.

Reminder that the note on >>30866 runs through Friday (I will post this every day until then, sorry).
>> No. 30874
[x] Speak up. That's not cool.
>> No. 30875
[X] Speak up. That's not cool.

Sorry, but that's not gonna fly with the new sheriff in town.
>> No. 30876
[x] Speak up. That's not cool.
>> No. 30877
[x] Speak up. That's not cool.

[X] Aunn option
>> No. 30878
Gonna not do one today either, sorry. Back tomorrow, I think - I'll write the update in my head during my travels.
>> No. 30886
[x] Speak up. That's not cool.

"Wait, you murdered him?"

The question just kind of escapes from your mouth without too much thought. It's one thing to see it, or hear it talked about in a distant way. But, it's quite another to be talking face to face with people who just killed less than an hour ago.

"Hm?" Kiyori asks, "What's the problem?"

... and apparently one who don't care.

"He was an outsider, so it's fine~" Midori muses.

"Gah," Nitori frowns, "Come on. It's not really murder if it's killing for food, is it? Don't get the wrong idea."

"I don't think it's a problem," Sanae says, turning to you, "Gensokyo is a dangerous place. We just need to make sure it's not too dangerous."

Suddenly finding yourself in a one against four situation, you decide to drop it. Yeah. It's really fortunate you ran into someone like Sanae - a miracle, in fact. Presumably the one that dragged you here in the first place.

"So," Sanae says, "If it's not going to be a problem, I guess we don't really have any other business. Can you think of anything?"

You can't really think of anything else right now, so you just shake your head. Nitori looks disappointed at that, though.

"Really?" She pipes up, "You're not even going to keep us here against our will?"

Sanae looks to you, confused. You probably look about the same. What is this person even talking about.

"You're not," Nitori says, scratching the back of her head. "Huh. Well. I'm gonna test it anyway. Kappa Smoke Screen!"

With a yell, she pulls some kind of rip cord on her pack, causing a massive plume of fog to roll forth from it. Within just a few seconds, it coats the entire area, leaving you unable to see more than a few inches in front of your face.

[ ] This is dangerous.
[ ] This is amusing.
=======================================================================
Almost didn't, but then I did. Low sleep is not good though. Please try to get enough if you aren't already.
>> No. 30887
[x] This is amusing
>> No. 30888
[x] This is amusing.
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