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13599 No. 13599
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Loading Scenario: Day 2, Late Morning

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You like the flowers, do you? We do have a few empty places at the party...

>> No. 13602
Loading User Commands:
[X] Change the subject. "So... what's for lunch? And I don't believe we've met before."

---

Vincent squeezes Youmu's hand in return before letting her go. While he certainly feels happy that Youmu is on his side, he can't let this misunderstanding get any more complicated. The best thing he can do now is to try to change the subject.

"A-anyway," he starts, raising both his hands toward the stranger in grey robes, "I don't believe we've met before."

"E-eh?" says the stranger. The guy looks startled. Perhaps he should introduce himself first.

"My name is Vincent," says Vincent. "I am a guest of Hakugyokurou. Nice to meet you."

The stranger nods politely, though he still looks worried about something.

"I am Grimnír. I'm an apprentice magician of sorts." returns the stranger. "Pleasure to make your acquaintance."

Vincent walks over the Grimnír, and they shake hands. The magician still seems a bit distracted, but he smiles at the gesture. He seems like a good guy; maybe they can talk more over lunch. Somehow, Vincent feels that the guy is in a similar type of mess, so he doesn't push the subject any further.

"So... what's for lunch?" says Vincent.

"Oh no!" cries Youmu. She hurries over to the counter where she was cooking earlier.

"I took care of it while you were... busy," Grimnír returns. "Don't worry about it."

"Thank you very much!" Youmu says, complete with a formal bow.

Grimnír carefully transfers his now cooked dish onto a plate and prepares to carry it out with a tray.

"I'll take these to the dining room," says the magician before heading out of the kitchen. He seems to be in a hurry for some reason.

"Hey Vincent," calls out Komachi. "Could you taste this and see if it's any good?"

"No! No! No!" cries Chen suddenly. "Big brother is going to taste this soup first!"

"Ara? Maybe we should let him decide for himself~" says Yuyuko.

Komachi frowns slightly at his hesitation; maybe she is worried about how her stir-fry tastes. Yuyuko doesn't look too bothered, but Chen looks like she will pout if he doesn't give her a little attention. Youmu seems to be busy catching up with her own cooking. Grimnír already left the kitchen; he must be heading toward the dining room.

[ ] Taste Komachi's stir-fry first. She seems worried about her cooking.
[ ] Have a sample of the soup Yuyuko and Chen made. Chen looks in need of attention.
[ ] Help Youmu with her cooking. She still hasn't finished the last two dishes.
[ ] Make up an excuse and see what Grimnír is up to. You need to get out of here.
[ ] Custom
>> No. 13603
[x] Take a sample from both dishes and down them at the same time. Compliment them on their cooking even if it tastes horrible.
[x] Help Youmu with her cooking. She still hasn't finished the last two dishes.
>> No. 13604
[!/] Take a sample from both dishes and down them at the same time. Compliment them on their cooking even if it tastes horrible.
[!/] Help Youmu with her cooking. She still hasn't finished the last two dishes.

Can't deny Machi-Machi~
>> No. 13605
Well, we stole the snack from Chen (and Komachi) earlier, but we swiped it from Chen's hand directly. Then we were beaned by Machi-Machi.
Hm. Not being knocked-out again.

[x] Taste Komachi's stir-fry first. She seems worried about her cooking.
[x] (of Chen's soup; spoken aside) "And, the best for last ..."
>> No. 13612
[†] Take a sample from both dishes and down them at the same time. Compliment them on their cooking even if it tastes horrible.
[†] Help Youmu with her cooking. She still hasn't finished the last two dishes.
>> No. 13635
[X]"Do I get a sweet bun after?"

We never learn.
>> No. 13638
[x] "Do I get a sweet bun after?"
[x] Have a sample of the soup Yuyuko and Chen made. Chen looks in need of attention.
>> No. 13640
Loading User Commands:
[X] Custom

---

"I'll be glad to try them both. I'm sure I won't be disappointed," says Vincent with a forced smile upon his face. He can't afford to make either of them angry again.

To his surprise, Komachi comes up to him with a small serving of her stir-fry dish before Chen can say anything. She smiles cheerfully as she shoves the plate and a pair of chopsticks into his hands.

Vincent takes a closer look at the dish. No matter how he looks at it, the meat she used reminds him of a snake or other reptile. He can even see the scales, though they looked well-cooked. The rest of the ingredients look like the usual vegetables and spices used for a normal stir-fry. Still, he can't help but wonder why she would use such strange meat.

He takes a deep whiff of the dish, enjoying the aroma. It might look a little strange, but it certainly smells great.

"No hard feelings about earlier, alright?" she says as she waits for him to take a bite.

Vincent shakes his head and manages a weak smile. Quickly, he takes a little of the dish into his mouth with the chopsticks, bracing himself for however inedible the dish may be.

"T-this..." he mutters.

"I know it isn't that good," starts Komachi as she looks away.

"This stir-fry is wonderful!" cries Vincent. "It's like a fiesta in my mouth! The deep, full flavor of the meat is brought out by the powerful peppers and spices. The exotic texture and delicate taste is incredible!"

He pauses dramatically, as if suddenly enlightened.

"W-what's this? Normally, such a strong flavor would steadily deaden a person's taste buds, but somehow, my tongue is excited with every bite, as if it was the first time I've tasted it. The subtle herbs and vegetables quickly neutralize the spicy meat, and every bite is just as tasty as the first."

He raises his hand and points at Komachi.

"This stir-fry is awesome!"

Komachi blushes brightly as she turns away in a futile attempt to hide her happiness. She quickly returns to her cooking, muttering something about "finishing touches", but there is something different about her. An honest, cute little smile of joy is upon her face, and she can't hide it.
>> No. 13641
"No fair! No fair!" cries Chen as she rushes over toward him. She is carrying a small bowl of the soup she and Yuyuko were preparing earlier.

"C-Chen?" Vincent says. "Take it easy! Don't run or you might spill -"

Without warning, she takes a large spoonful of the soup and shoves it roughly into Vincent's mouth before he can argue.

"Mmph!"

His eyes widen in surprise. Suddenly, he finds himself standing in the middle of a grassy plain. The sun shines warmly upon him from the clear blue sky. Somehow, this place feels familiar. It reminds him of a more peaceful time, out in the country. Only after a rough tug and several excited shouts does he find himself back in reality.

"How was it? How was it? How was it?" cries Chen.

"So nostalgic," says Vincent. "This flavor has such a homey feel about it. The rugged, almost rough aroma of the herbs take me back to my childhood days out in the country. The broth is thick and smooth; its distinct motherly touch can't be compared to anything else."

He closes his eyes and smiles. A single tear rolls down his cheek.

"I-I'm sorry," struggles Vincent. "I don't know why, but I feel so damn homesick suddenly. I never realized how long I've been away from home."

He quickly wipes his eyes and turns to Chen, ruffling her hair softly.

"That soup was heavenly," he whispers. "Thank you, Chen."

Without warning, Chen gives him a hug around his waist. Slowly, he returns the gesture, as if she was his long lost little sister. An innocent and pure gesture, the two of them hold each other in a tight embrace, as if they were truly brother and sister. He doesn't know how long they stayed together, but by the time he realized, Yuyuko was gently pulling Chen away.

"B-big brother," she says softly, one last time.

"Come on," returns Yuyuko. "We have to take this soup to the dining room."

Chen reluctantly follows.

...

The two dishes were simply too good - his senses must have been overloaded. By the time Vincent recovered, only he and Youmu were left in the kitchen. Looks like Komachi, Yuyuko and Chen already took their dishes to the dining room.

Youmu is almost finished with her cooking, but she seems agitated, perhaps even irritated. Did something happen?

Vincent still feels a little dazed.

[ ] Approach Youmu and see if you can help.
[ ] Head for the dining room alone.
[ ] Find a place to sit and stare blankly at a wall.
[ ] Take a quick walk around the grounds to clear your head.
[ ] Custom
>> No. 13642
>Komachi blushes brightly as she turns away in a futile attempt to hide her happiness. She quickly returns to her cooking, muttering something about "finishing touches", but there is something different about her. An honest, cute little smile of joy is upon her face, and she can't hide it.

>Without warning, Chen gives him a hug around his waist. Slowly, he returns the gesture, as if she was his long lost little sister. An innocent and pure gesture, the two of them hold each other in a tight embrace, as if they were truly brother and sister. He doesn't know how long they stayed together, but by the time he realized, Yuyuko was gently pulling Chen away.

So...so....;_;

>Youmu is almost finished with her cooking, but she seems agitated, perhaps even irritated. Did something happen?

Fuck.

[!/] Approach Youmu and see if you can help.
>> No. 13643
[†] Approach Youmu and see if you can help.
[†] "I wanna taste your's too"


"Not fihished yet! Hmph!" (Tsundere)
"Then im gonna eat you."
>> No. 13644
[x] Turn to her and say "And now, the best for last. Youmu, may I taste your culinary masterpiece?"
[x] Bright smiles; bright smiles.
>> No. 13652
[x] Approach Youmu and see if you can help.
[x] "You lost me." he says with a shrug.
>> No. 13655
[x] Turn to her and say "And now, the best for last. Youmu, may I taste your culinary masterpiece?"

sure is Yakitate Japan around here
>> No. 13656
[x] Approach Youmu and see if you can help.
What have we done?
>> No. 13661
Loading User Commands:
[X] Approach Youmu and see if you can help.

---

Vincent feels a little dizzy, but it isn't severe enough to hinder him from helping out. There is still one person cooking in the kitchen. Youmu is a blur moving between two different counters. A glance tells him that she is almost finished cooking, but surely, she will appreciate the gesture.

He remembers seeing that guy earlier (Grim-something?) helping the half-ghost. He should help out, as well. Without further hesitation, he approaches Youmu cheerfully.

"Need any help?" he asks.

"No thanks," says Youmu, not meeting his eyes. "The others are already in the dining room."

Vincent rubs his head innocently.

"I'll feel bad if I don't help you out, even just a little bit." he says.

Youmu turns to glare at him. He shivers slightly at her cold blue eyes. Her tone of voice is just as icy.

"It is not necessary," she says. "You will just get in the way."

She sounds so formal, perhaps even a little angry. She returns to her work and proceeds to ignore his presence. Did he do something wrong? He better try to clear up any misunderstanding while they are alone together. Putting on his most sincere face, he clears his throat before speaking.

"So, did I do something wrong?" asks Vincent.

"..."

"If I did anything to offend you, I'd like to apologize."

"..."

"Despite the circumstances, I'd like to think of us as friends."

"Stupid," whispers Youmu suddenly.

"W-what?" says Vincent.

Youmu turns to face him. This time, he is completely sure that the half-ghost is angry.

"I don't know whether you are just playing the idiot or you really are this dense," she says. "Either way, I would really appreciate it if you would leave me alone for a while."

"I-I don't understand," he mumbles.

"And that seems to be the main problem," returns Youmu. "Just leave."

"B-but!" he argues.

Youmu's final glare sends chills down his spine. Suddenly, he recalls yesterday's incident. No need to mention that she was pretty angry when she discovered that he had tied her up and gagged her. But that isn't the scary part. The way she is looking at him now; somehow he feels that it is much worse.

"Please," she says. The way she says that word fills him with dread.

He mumbles something like an apology before turning to leave. As he rushes toward the door, he clumsily trips on his feet. Youmu doesn't say anything; she just continues with her work. Half-walking, half-running, he somehow makes it out of the kitchen with all of his limbs intact.

"What the hell was that?" he mutters to himself.

Youmu doesn't seem to be in a talkative mood, and sticking around the kitchen seems dangerous.

[ ] Return to your room. Some time alone might help.
[ ] Head for the dining room. Everyone else should be there.
[ ] Wander aimlessly around the mansion. You need to clear your head.
[ ] Wait quietly outside the kitchen. This may not be so smart, but...
[ ] Custom
>> No. 13662
[!/]GENUFLECT.
>> No. 13663
[x] Turn to her and say "And now, the best for last. Youmu, may I taste your culinary masterpiece?"
[x] Bright smiles; bright smiles.

Perfect.
>> No. 13668
[x] Wander aimlessly around the mansion. You need to clear your head.

Girl needs some space.
>> No. 13669
[x] Wait quietly outside the kitchen. This may not be so smart, but...
[x] If you get no results, go to your room and bang your head against a wall.
>> No. 13670
[x] Head for the dining room. Everyone else should be there.
Don't ignore the advice of an angry half-ghost gardener.
>> No. 13672
[x] Head for the dining room. Everyone else should be there.
>> No. 13676
[x] Head for the dining room. Everyone else should be there.

Vote change.
>> No. 13691
Loading User Commands:
[X] Head for the dining room. Everyone else should be there.

---

Vincent doesn't understand. Why would she be angry at him? Why did she call him dense? Did he unknowingly do something supid again?

Dangerous. All he knows is that the situation he just left was most certainly, very dangerous. She looked angry enough to slice his limbs off. While he doubts if the half-ghost would actually do so, it would be best not to tempt Lady Luck. Come to think of it, luck hasn't really been on his side lately.

After calming himself down, Vincent decides to head to the dining room. He doesn't know much about girls, but he does know when to stay out of their way. The walk back is quiet and peaceful, and soon he finds himself before the door.

Upon opening the door, the delicious twin aromas of stir-fry and soup waft into his nostrils. He smiles as he spots both dishes on the table. His mouth waters as he remembers their delicate flavors.

There are six seats prepared, three on the left and three on the right. Chen is sitting at the far end on the left-hand side, while Komachi is sitting opposite her on the right-hand side. Yuyuko is nowhere to be seen, oddly enough.

"Glad you can join us," says Komachi with a smile. "Good to see that you weren't spirited away."

"You can't eat yet," says Chen sternly. "Big sis Yuyu said we should wait for everyone to arrive."

Where is he going to sit?
[ ] Sit right beside Chen.
[ ] Sit right beside Komachi.
[ ] Sit one seat apart from Chen.
[ ] Sit one seat apart from Komachi.

While waiting...
[ ] Talk to Chen.
[ ] Talk to Komachi.
[ ] Ask about Yuyuko.
[ ] Ask about Youmu.
[ ] Custom
>> No. 13692
[!/] Sit right beside Komachi.
[!/] Talk to Komachi.
>> No. 13695
[x] Sit on the table.
[x] "Middle-man.... Horrible joke"
[x] Ask about Yuyuko.
[x] Ask about Youmu.
[x] Remain seated on the table in the lotus position.
[x] Bright smiles when Youmu comes back. If she asks what we're doing, just smile and say "I don't know what you're talking about~" and sit in the seat across from the one she chooses.
>> No. 13701
[x] Sit right beside Komachi.
[x] Talk to Komachi.

It's like I'm watching Heavy Metal!
>> No. 13714
[x] Sit right beside Komachi.
[x] Talk to Komachi.

did want a youmu route, but seeing how complicated shit is with her and how Youki's trying to kill us Machi Machi's looking sweeter and sweeter, despite almost killing vince
>> No. 13721
[x] Sit right beside Komachi.
[x] Talk to Komachi.
>> No. 13722
Loading User Commands:
[X] Sit right beside Komachi.
[X] Talk to Komachi.

---

Vincent hesitates for a moment to consider which seat to take. Sitting apart from either of them might give a bad impression. Chen is starting to get a little bit too comfortable around him, and while he has nothing but good intentions for the girl, he doesn't want to start more misunderstandings. He smiles as he takes the seat right beside Komachi, instead. He leaves his crossbow leaning against a nearby wall.

"I won't be spirited away so easily," he says. "Dealing with spirits is part of my job, after all."

"Ah! Someone who understands! They can be especially difficult at times," replies Komachi.

"Difficult? Definitely," says Vincent. "But I have my own methods of dealing with them."

"Do share it with us," returns Komachi.

"I use persuasion and reason," explains Vincent. "This is persuasion," he says as he pats the handle of his sword. "And this is reason," he says as he pats his crossbow. He barely stops himself from revealing his pistol, which is meant to be hidden.

"Interesting," Komachi says with a smile. "Maybe you should come work with me after you finish your training."

"Huh? What training?" he asks.

"Youmu is teaching you, isn't she?" she returns. "I finally remember where I've seen that kind of sword technique. It isn't exactly like hers, but the similarity is unmistakeable."

Vincent feels a cold chill as she says those words. Somehow, he feels that he is missing something important. But before he can think it through, their conversation is cut short by a familiar voice.

"Oh, Vincent is already here?" Yuyuko asks.

The ghost princess enters the room with an additional dish. It looks like some breaded chicken slices, deep fried to a crisp. She places it beside the other dishes before taking the seat next to Vincent.

"Hope you don't mind if I take this seat," she whispers.

Komachi looks awkwardly away, muttering about the weather. Chen, however, looks agitated. But before Vincent can ask, the nekomata stands up and transfers to the seat directly across him.

"I'll sit here," Chen declares.

This situation seems both pleasant and incredibly dangerous, for some reason.

[ ] Talk to Chen.
[ ] Talk to Komachi.
[ ] Talk to Yuyuko.
[ ] Talk to everyone.
[ ] Sit silently.
[ ] Custom

Optional:
[ ] Specify the topic of discussion.
>> No. 13726
[x] Drop your head on the table and sigh.
[x] Spring up with the most forced smile you can possibly muster.
[x] "So, how was everybody's day?"
>> No. 13727
[X] Talk to Chen.
[X] About her, what she does everyday and such
>> No. 13730
[x] Get up. Lift Chen. Carry her to your seat. Put her down. Take her former seat.
>> No. 13731
[x] Get up. Lift Chen. Carry her to your seat. Put her down. Take her former seat

genius
>> No. 13747
[x] Get up. Lift Chen. Carry her to your seat. Put her down. Take her former seat.
>> No. 13748
Loading User Commands:
[X] Custom

---

The situation is developing into something pleasant, but incredibly dangerous. While he isn't very knowledgeable about dealing with girls, he still isn't comfortable with getting inappropriately close to them.

Komachi is sitting beside him on the right. Yuyuko is sitting on the seat to the left. Chen is sitting right across from him. For some reason, he feels surrounded. No, that isn't the right word. He feels trapped.

Vincent gets up from his seat, and without a word, steps around to the other side of the table. He gets behind Chen, and before she can argue, he gently lifts her up. The nekomata is surprisingly light, even for her size.

"N-Nya?" stammers Chen, completely surprised.

He carries her to his former seat and places her gently on it. Chen looks up at him with a puzzled expression. He gives her a smile as he goes to the other side and takes the seat directly across Chen.

"Ah!" says Komachi. She looks a bit disappointed.

Yuyuko chuckles at him, clearly amused.

Suddenly, the door slides open. Youmu step inside and wordlessly places the last two dishes on the table. She doesn't look directly at Vincent as she takes the seat on his right. A serious expression is on her face.

"It is time to eat," the half-ghost declares.

...

The five of them had a pleasant and lively conversation over the meal. Yuyuko shared several interesting stories of her travels. Most of them included careful and vivid descriptions of the different rare dishes that she had tasted. Komachi talked about her work at the Sanzu River, though she seemed to be ranting about her boss most of the time. Chen discussed her daily life at Mayohiga, and while this Yukari person sounds interesting (and dangerous), Vincent can't help but feel a little sorry for the nekomata. By the sounds of it, Ran, her master, seems to be too busy for her lately.

At the start of lunch, Youmu was silent and kept to herself, but even she couldn't help but get caught up in conversation. Soon, she and Vincent had an interesting discussion on the difference between Western and Eastern swordsmanship. The animosity she showed earlier seems to have disappeared.

For some reason, Vincent feels at home with them like this. Eating a delicious meal together and chatting about anything under the sun - somehow, it feels like nothing can possibly go wrong.

"Ah, I almost forgot!" says Yuyuko suddenly. "I'll have one of the spirits bring it in."

After a moment, a ghostly white wisp enters the dining room (how did it open the door by itself?). It heads straight to Yuyuko and deposits something beside her. It seems to be a bucket full of ice and bottles.

"What's the occasion?" asks Komachi. She seems to have an eye on one of the stronger drinks.

"We must welcome our new guest of course!" declares Yuyuko. "Even Chen can have a little bit."

"Yay!" cries Chen. "What is that stuff? Is it tasty?"

"W-what?" argues Youmu. "I must say that it is truly inappropriate to drink at this time of the day!"

"Ara? Don't be such a party pooper!" says Yuyuko.

"I am completely against this," says Youmu sternly.

"Youmu is so mean!" returns Yuyuko as she pretends to weep.

"Why don't we let Vincent decide?" suggests Komachi.

The girls wait for his decision. He doesn't have much time to think.
[ ] "This is not the appropriate time to drink."
[ ] "Perhaps a little bit won't hurt."
[ ] "What is a party without some alcohol?"
[ ] "Let's drink until we can't walk anymore!"
[ ] Custom
>> No. 13749
[†] "This is not the appropriate time to drink."

Youmoe was sufficiently furious, let us not make the trouble worse.
>> No. 13750
[x] "This is not the appropriate time to drink."
>> No. 13752
[x] "I think I'll pass, thank you".
[x] "But if you all wish to drink, please don't hold back on my account. I do not think it is in my jurisdiction to tell you not to".
[x] "By the way, Youmu, your dish was incredibly exquisite as well. I love y- IT, IT. I loved it" blush~
>> No. 13753
[!/] "I think I'll pass, thank you".
[!/] "But if you all wish to drink, please don't hold back on my account. I do not think it is in my jurisdiction to tell you not to".
[!/] "By the way, Youmu, your dish was incredibly exquisite as well. I love y- IT, IT. I loved it"

Feel bad for Machi...Machi route.
>> No. 13754
[ ] "What is a party without some alcohol?"
>> No. 13755
[x] "I think I'll pass, thank you".
[x] "But if you all wish to drink, please don't hold back on my account. I do not think it is in my jurisdiction to tell you not to".
[x] "By the way, Youmu, your dish was incredibly exquisite as well. I love y- IT, IT. I loved it" blush~
>> No. 13780
[x] "Let's drink until we can't walk anymore!"
Token vote for the ZUN option.
>> No. 13784
Loading User Commands:
[X] Custom

---

"I think I'll pass, thank you," says Vincent. Hearing this, both Yuyuko and Komachi frown at him, visibly disappointed. Youmu, however, nods her head slightly in approval. Chen simply looks curious, since she doesn't seem to understand the situation.

"But... that's no fun," mutters Komachi with a sigh. She gives the bottles a forlorn look. Looks like she really wants to drink.

"Vincent is mean!" cries Yuyuko suddenly. Her eyes are growing damp as she shudders. This time, she looks like she is about to cry for real.

"D-don't misunderstand," Vincent says. "If you all wish to drink, please don't hold back on my account. I do not think it is in my jurisdiction to tell you not to."

The room falls silent for a moment.

"I must refuse as well," declares Youmu. "This is not the appropriate time to drink."

"What is a party without some alcohol?" returns Yuyuko. "We don't have such company everyday, you know?"

"It would be a waste not to drink it," mutters Komachi. "I suppose that a little bit won't hurt."

Yuyuko turns to the shinigami and gives her a thumbs-up in approval. Her eyes flitter towards Vincent before she looks at Chen with a sly smile.

"How about you? Would you like to try some?" she asks.

"I want some!" cries Chen. "It's tasty, isn't it?"

Vincent glances at Youmu, but the half-ghost doesn't say anything. Certainly, she does not look like she approves, but she isn't arguing against giving the nekomata girl something to drink. Perhaps she knows something that he doesn't. He decides to keep his mouth shut and see how this develops.

"Alright then! The three of us have to work hard to finish everything, so give it your all!" cries Yuyuko happily.

...

Needless to say, Chen started feeling sleepy after drinking half a glass. The nekomata simply stood up and stretched her arms for a moment before declaring that she was going to take a nap. She walked drowsily to a quiet corner of the room, where she curled up and fell asleep instantly.

Things got more complicated with Yuyuko and Komachi. Without a word, the two started an impromptu drinking contest. As she drank, Yuyuko maintained a calm, almost regal air. Komachi laughed heartily as she told random stories together with her drinks. Vincent watched with mouth agape as the two imbibed a ridiculous amount of alcohol. Normal humans can't possibly drink that much (there may be a few exceptions, but he isn't one of them).

After only twenty minutes, the floor was littered with empty bottles. Youmu simply watched in silence as she sipped her tea. The other two girls had grown visibly tipsy, and it seemed like the duel was about to end.

"You know what?" says Komachi. "You're pretty good at this, for a princess. I'll give you that!"

"Ara? You aren't that bad yourself, for a slacker," returns Yuyuko.

Suddenly, they both burst out in laughter. It takes almost a minute for them to recover.

"It's been fun," mutters Komachi. "But I think that we should end this."

"You know what? I was thinking the exact same thing." replies Yuyuko.

The two of them glare at each other menacingly. For a moment, Vincent half expects them to stand up and start attacking each other with spells. Instead, they each grab a bottle from the bucket.

"First one to down it straight wins?" asks Komachi.

"Sounds like a challenge," says Yuyuko.

After a wordless signal, they both start drinking straight from their bottles at the exact same time. Youmu plants her palm lightly on her forehead in exasperation. Somehow, Vincent can understand the half-ghost's feelings.
>> No. 13785
The contest ended in a draw, with both of them passing out, bottles still in their hands. Vincent feels glad that he didn't try to keep up with such heavy drinkers.

"I'll take Lady Yuyuko back to her room," says Youmu. "May I ask you to carry Komachi to one of the empty guest rooms? There should be a few near your room."

"What about Chen?" asks Vincent.

"She'll be fine like that. The girl hates being woken up from her naps. You'll probably get badly scratched if you try," she says.

Without another word, Youmu leaves the dining room, carrying the ghost princess on her back. Vincent sighs as he looks down at Komachi. She lays splayed out on the floor. Her dress seems to have gotten a bit loose, and is she drooling?

After cleaning the poor girl up a bit, Vincent hoists her up onto his back and begins to carry her out of the dining room. Komachi grabs him tightly, seemingly by reflex. He does his best to ignore a certain pair of sweet soft things pressing against his back.

"Warm," Komachi whispers. "So warm."

Vincent peeks at the girl, but it looks like she is just talking in her sleep. Her flushed, sleeping face looks so cute and peaceful, though. No one is looking right now. Maybe he can...

"No," he tells himself firmly. "Bad idea."

Somehow, his rational side wins over and he manages to carry Komachi to a guest room without incident. He lays her out on a futon, making sure to cover her up with the blanket warmly. After one last glance at the sleeping shinigami, he closes the door and begins to walk toward his own room.

On the way back, he praises himself silently for his own self-control. Perhaps he can learn to live with these nice girls without getting into unneccessary trouble. Maybe he can even -

"Ugh!" cries Vincent. "W-what the..."

His vision starts blurring once more. Pain. Something is cleaving deep into his head. Again and again. This isn't right. He didn't even drink anything. It burns. He feels himself crumple down on the ground. It slices. This is too much. He can't hold on much longer.

[ ] Call out for Youmu.
[ ] Call out for Yuyuko.
[ ] Call out for Komachi.
[ ] Call out for Chen.
[ ] Just pass out.
[ ] Custom
>> No. 13787
[X] Call out for Youmu.

Besides the obvious Youmu route she is the only one awake and able to help us.

Also, in during Tewi.
>> No. 13789
[x] Call out for Youmu weakly, but audible enough for someone within earshot to hear a clear yet faint murmur.
[x] Crash into a sliding door before passing out.

If your voice doesn't reach, this sure as hell will.
>> No. 13790
[!/] Call out for Youmu.
>> No. 13791
[†] Call out for Youmu.
>> No. 13792
[X] Call out for Youmu.
>> No. 13798
{X} Call out for Youmu.
>> No. 13799
Suddenly, Tengu ninjas.
>> No. 13828
>>13799
> Tempting, but nah...
>> No. 13834
Loading User Commands:
[X] Call out for Youmu.

---

Vincent's vision is beginning to darken. Not this shit again. What the hell is going on? This is like a bad dream that just won't quit. He can barely see a few feet in front of him.

"Youmu," he cries out weakly. With that last word, his strength finally fails him.

And the world is enveloped in darkness once more.

...

Tired. Exhausted. Drained.

But something is disturbing his rest. Something loud and annoying. Why won't it just leave him alone?

"Still sleepy," he mutters. "Lemme 'lone."

".. up!" someone cries.

He ignores the voice. He doesn't feel like getting up. This soft sensation is simply too comfortable. It feels warm too.

"Get up! Damned lazy recruit!" repeats the voice. Somehow, it feels familiar. But before he can recognize it, his pillow suddenly vanishes. Gravity, being the inconvenience that it is, pulls his head down hard against the ground.

"Ow! W-what the hell?" he mutters as he peeks from his now tear-filled eyes. That really hurt! What kind of person would do that? Really, now!

Before he can argue further, he feels a sudden, sharp pain in his stomach. He curls up in anguish for almost a minute. What the hell? First, someone pulls away his head pillow. Then, someone kicks him while he is down. What kind of inconsiderate jerkoff would -

"Get up! I'm tired of you slowing me down! If you don't get up and follow me, I am going to leave you here for the vultures!" she cries out.

Vincent sits up, rubbing his stomach in protest. He looks up at the person who just woke him up. He stares blankly as he recognizes the person. This can't possibly be right.

"Youmu?" he says uncertainly.

The silver-haired girl glares down at him menacingly. Without warning, she grabs him by the collar and pulls him up roughly.

"Who said that you could call me by that name?" she cries. "Getting yourself a bit comfortable, are you?"

Vincent only gurgles in reply. Her strength is remarkable. She is choking him without any effort at all. With the same power, she tosses him back on the ground like a rag doll.

"Now, what are you supposed to call me again?" says the girl with a sneer.

He coughs violently as he gasps for breath. What else should he call her? Maybe he should call her by her last name? No, that isn't right. It will only earn him another beating. There was something else. Headquarters gave instructions...

"Captain," he whispers.

"Very good," replies the Captain. "At the very least, you can recognize ranks."

The Captain turns around and looks into the distance. Vincent tries to follow her gaze, but the bright morning sun is blinding his eyes.

"I understand that we are short-handed, but I can't believe that they sent a novice like you as my backup. Those pig-headed bureaucrats are fools to spread our forces so thinly!"

She looks back at him.

"Anyway, I do hope you remember what we are hunting today." says the Captain. "I would be a little bit more than displeased if you have already forgotten..."

Vincent pauses to think.
[ ] Ghouls
[ ] Poltergeists
[ ] Vampires
[ ] Demons
[ ] Custom
>> No. 13835
[x] Lycanthropes
>> No. 13836
[X] Lycanthropes
>> No. 13837
[x] Non-Euclidean horrors
>> No. 13845
[x] Tentacle demons.
>> No. 13846
[x] Tentacle demons.

You just had to go there, didn't you? Oh, why the hell not. Toss your rifles and yank out your guns, men! No fighting, only fun!
>> No. 13847
>>13846
ಠ_ಠ

...wat?
>> No. 13848
[x] Vampires
Let's just hunt Remilia and be done with it.
>> No. 13855
[!/] Lycanthropes
>> No. 13860
[X] Lycanthropes
>> No. 13881
[x] Tentacle demons
>> No. 13889
{X} Lycanthropes
>> No. 13890
UPDATES BAHHH
>> No. 13911
Loading User Commands:
[X] Lycanthropes

---

"Hurry up! Don't lag behind!" says the Captain.

Vincent nods as he hurries behind her. After a long trek through the Woods of the Wicked, they finally arrived at their destination. He looks around him, contemplating the place carefully. All around them lie broken and crumbling structures. As they walk along the worn path, the ruined buildings loom over them ominously, as if watching men approaching the gallows. The air itself is filled with the stench of decay and old rot, and the shadow of death can be felt in the thick fog.

"Captain, if I may respectfully inquire," he says. "What is this place?"

The Captain does not slow down as they walk, but she turns her head slightly toward him.

"Have you heard any rumors about a village that just vanished?" she asks.

"Of course, Captain," replies Vincent. "It was all over town a few months ago. One day, during a full moon, one of the small villages in the frontier just vanished. Merchants and travellers were baffled for weeks."

"And how did those rumors end?" asks the Captain.

"After a few weeks, it turned out that the maps distributed at the nearby town were wrong. Updated maps were given out, and everything returned to business as usual."

The Captain suddenly stops in her tracks. She doesn't turn around to face him.

"So the higher-ups did cover it up," she comments. "Amazing what one can do with enough gold, isn't it? A whole village can be written off the map, and no one would be any wiser."

She pauses for a moment, but he can't see the expression on her face.

"Since we have arrived, I can give you a briefing of the mission," says the Captain. "Forget what headquarters said. This isn't a standard investigation."

"Captain?" he says.

"Just listen," she says sternly. "Remember that village that you mentioned? The one that supposedly vanished in a single night? This is the place."

"B-but that's impossible!" cries Vincent.

"After the initial investigation, this place was quarantined from all civilians," she explains. "If the public knew the truth, panic would spread across the whole province. Anyone who had information was silenced with some gold and a threat."

"I don't understand," he says.

The Captain turns around and gives him an irritated look.

"Simply put, this village has been written off the map," she says. "The first team that was sent here never made it back. We must assume that everyone here is dead or worse. There is no need to search for survivors."

"W-what are you saying?" asks Vincent.

"Search and destroy," says the Captain. "Our mission is to put an end to the source of this incident. Do not hesitate to cut down these heretics, and give no mercy to the corrupted."

Suddenly, they hear something howling in the distance.

"Just a wild wolf," mumbles Vincent.

"That is no wolf," says the Captain. "Wild animals do not come near this cursed place."

She draws her two blades and takes a combat stance.

"They are coming," she whispers.

[ ] Take an offensive stance. Cleave your blade into these monsters.
[ ] Maintain a defensive stance. Let the beasts come to you.
[ ] Support the Captain in battle. Follow her instructions.
[ ] Flee from this place. This is a fool's errand.
[ ] Custom
>> No. 13912
[X] Maintain a defensive stance. Let the beasts come to you.
>> No. 13913
[x] Take an offensive stance. Cleave your blade into these monsters.
[x] "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker".
>> No. 13914
[ ] Support the Captain in battle. Follow her instructions.

Teamwork!
>> No. 13916
[x] Support the Captain in battle. Follow her instructions.

she know what she doing
>> No. 13917
[x] Maintain a defensive stance. Let the beasts come to you.
>> No. 13918
[x] Support the Captain in battle. Follow her instructions.
>> No. 13919
[†] Support the Captain in battle. Follow her instructions.
>> No. 13920
{X} Support the Captain in battle. Follow her instructions.
>> No. 13922
Loading User Commands:
[X] Support the Captain in battle. Follow her instructions.

---

"Take care of these two on my left," commands the Captain.

"Yes, Captain!" cries Vincent.

He draws his sword and, with a single swing, he deftly slices open the throat of the nearest beast. The second creature jumps toward him, baring its fangs and raising its claws, but he dodges the attack easily. He sidesteps a few times, then he launches himself from the ground at the creature, thrusting his blade into its right eye. The beast dies instantly as cold, ruthless steel goes right through its brain.

Vincent takes a moment to recover his sword. He pulls it out of the creature's skull with a single motion while pushing its head to the ground with his heavy boots.

"Not bad! Maybe you can do something useful after all," says the Captain. "Defend the rear, I'm going to push forward."

"Yes, Captain!" cries Vincent. He hurries after the Captain, who dashes toward the beasts with inhuman speed. Three more wolfmen are approaching from behind. He licks his lips in anticipation.

...

After cutting down the last beast, Vincent pauses to catch his breath. They must have slaughtered at least three dozen of the creatures, perhaps more. He feels too tired to count the bodies.

"You aren't half bad," comments the Captain. "How often to you hunt lycanthropes?"

Vincent shakes his head.

"This was my first time," he replies. "They aren't as strong as vampires, but damn those things are fast! I could barely dodge their attacks."

The Captain turns around to face him. She seems to be examining him, as if curious. Looking at her closely, he realizes how beautiful she is, and how young she looks. She can't be much older than him, yet she has already reached the rank of captain. Her swordsmanship is as graceful as it is deadly, and as a woman, her curves are quite enticing. He has never seen anyone as powerful and attractive as this person before him.

"Your skill is impressive," she says finally. "With a little more experience, you should be able to handle more critical missions on your own. Now I understand why headquarters only sent you."

"T-thank you," he stammers. "I just try my best."

"That is unacceptable!" cries the Captain. Vincent jumps in surprise.

"You can do much more than just this," she continues. "I can see it in your eyes."

"I-I don't think I'm that good," he replies.

"Then train harder!" commands the Captain. "Work yourself to the limit! I look forward to the day when we can cross blades as equals."

Cross blades with her? Vincent simply nods weakly. He doesn't have any plans of fighting with the Captain. He won't stand a chance against her. This girl is something else - a genius of swordsmanship. He is only just another nameless soldier.

"Anyway, there should be more of them ahead," she says. "The ones we fought are too weak to be the Master. As soon as you are ready, we will start -"
>> No. 13923
Suddenly, something grabs his attention. From the side of his eye, he can see one of the wolfmen getting up. Oh shit, was it only playing dead? Before he can react, it runs straight toward him. He only has time to stand up. He won't have enough time to dodge or parry this attack. A glance tells him that the Captain hasn't noticed it yet. There isn't enough time to do anything. He closes his eyes and braces himself.

But the attack never comes. By the time he opens his eyes, the beast is lying dead on the ground with an arrow lodged at the back of its head. The Captain seems to be facing the direction of its source.

"Who are you?" cries the Captain. "Show yourself!"

From the fog, a small humanoid figure approaches. Fairly small, the person could easily be mistaken for a child, if it were not for her military garb. This girl, as innocent as she looks, is a soldier just like them. But somehow, she seems familiar.

The girl walks up closer to the Captain, still holding a loaded crossbow in her arms. The weapon looks far too heavy for her, but she is carrying it as if it were some child's toy. He recognizes the metal of the tip of her arrow. It is made of silver.

"Cadet Yakumo reporting, Captain!" she says with a salute. "Formerly of the 11th regiment, investigation team."

"Formerly?" asks the Captain.

The Cadet lowers her eyes slowly.

"No one else survived," she whispers.

"I see," the Captain replies. "I have no choice but to ask you to join us, then. I cannot send a soldier out alone in this area."

"T-thank you very much, Captain," the Cadet says. "And as for your subordinate, I -"

The girl pauses as he meets his gaze. Her eyes widen in recognition, as do his. He knows this person. There is no mistaking it.

"Big bro- I mean, senior?" the Cadet returns. "I-It's me! We met back at the academy, d-don't you remember?"

Vincent pauses to recall. There were a lot of other girls back at training. The Cadet frowns as he continues to think. No, this girl wasn't any ordinary person. Her name is one that he can't forget.

"Chen?" he says. "What are you doing here?"

Without warning, the Cadet tackles him to the ground, holding him in a tight embrace.

"Y-you remembered! Big brother remembered!" she squeals with delight.

The Captain only raises an eyebrow, but makes no further comment.

"How could I forget my favorite little marksman?" he replies as he ruffles her hair. "Seems like you improved quite a bit."

"Y-yes! I worked hard, just like you said!" says Chen. "The past year was tough, but I knew that if I studied and practiced enough, I would become strong just like big brother!"

"Ahaha! Quite calling me that!" he replies. "You should be calling me by my rank. You are a soldier now."

Chen leans her head against his chest. Her tails wave energetically back and forth. He gasps slightly as he feels something pleasantly soft press against his lower body. She definitely isn't fully developed, but she is starting to show promise as a woman.

"I was hoping that I would meet you again soon," she whispers. "You see, I still..."

Suddenly, the Captain clears her throat.

"While I hate to break up this reunion, there are a lot of evil monsters that still need slaying," she says coldly. "We shouldn't keep them waiting."

Chen pulls away from him reluctantly.

"After we finish checking the village, we need to sweep the nearby farms for any hostiles," says the Captain.

Looks like this will be a long night.
[ ] Talk to the Captain. Perhaps you can discuss your potential as a swordsman.
[ ] Talk to Chen. You haven't seen your favorite junior for quite some time.
[ ] Stay silent and focused. Here, there be monsters.
[ ] Custom
>> No. 13925
[†] Stay silent and focused. Here, there be monsters.

Impress our Captain.
>> No. 13926
[X] Talk to Chen. You haven't seen your favorite junior for quite some time.
>> No. 13927
[!/] Stay silent and focused. Here, there be monsters.
>> No. 13928
[x] Stay silent and focused. Here, there be monsters.
[x] We can talk with Chen later.
>> No. 13929
[x] Stay silent and focused. Here, there be monsters.
>> No. 13932
[x] Stay silent and focused. Here, there be monsters.
>> No. 13943
Loading User Commands:
[X] Stay silent and focused. Here, there be monsters.

---

"Hey Vince, I heard that you joined the special unit," says Chen energetically. "How is it? Are there a lot of strong people there?"

Vincent mumbles something in reply. While he feels pretty happy to meet the young marksman again, he must maintain focused on the mission. Chen said that she is the only one who survived. Whoever or whatever did this to the village must be pretty powerful to defeat one of the investigation teams. They can't afford to be careless right now.

"I bet that you go on all sorts of exciting missions all the time," Chen continues. "Escorting dignitaries, rescuing captured prisoners, exorcising demons - it must be great!"

"..."

There isn't anything great about his work. While he does battle powerful supernatural creatures, the rest of reality isn't that ideal. Escort missions usually mean prioritizing the lives of politicians and wealthy merchants over the common townsfolk. Rescue missions usually mean recovering dead bodies that have been left to rot. And by the time they corner demons and other evil creatures, most of the damage has already been done.

"Why don't we have a drink when we get back?" says Chen. "Despite how I look, I'm old enough now. I would love to hear some of your stories!"

"Chen," whispers Vincent.

"Y-yes, Vince?" she replies.

"Be quiet," he says sternly. "Stay focused on the mission. And don't call me Vince anymore."

"A-ah! O-of course, sir," she stammers. Her ears droop slightly as she follows behind him.

...

The rest of the village is deserted. There are no further signs of the beastmen. After checking the last house, the Captain allows them a few minutes break while she surveys the terrain around the area.

"Wait here," she said. "Don't wander off. We can't afford to lose each other."

Vincent and Chen gave her a salute as she left. The waited together in awkward silence. As the minutes passed, a strange thought came to his mind. Why didn't they find any bodies in the village? It is as if everyone had vanished into thin air. This is very strange.

He turns to face Chen, and is mildly surprised that the girl still seems a little bit depressed. Maybe he was too hard on her earlier.

"Hey Chen," he starts. "About earlier, I -"

A loud piercing howl interrupts him. He prepares to draw his blade, expecting Chen to do the same with her weapon. However, when he takes a glance at the girl, she cringes as if she is in pain. Her eyes glint with bravery as she tries to fight it, but she is failing. Something is wrong. She drops her crossbow and crumples down on the ground.

"Chen? Chen!" cries Vincent. He quickly runs toward her and examines her body. She doesn't seem to have any wounds. What is going on?

Without warning, the Captain steps in front of them. How the heck does she move that fast?

"Get up, both of you!" she cries. Both of her blades are drawn, their cold steel glinting in the moonlight. "It's an ambush!"

"D-dammit!" mutters Vincent.

[ ] Rush forward and attack the beasts.
[ ] Support the Captain during the fight.
[ ] Focus on protecting Chen.
[ ] Flee from this place.
[ ] Custom
>> No. 13944
>>13943

[x] Rally Chen towards helping you support the Captain.
>> No. 13945
[x] Focus on protecting Chen.
>> No. 13946
[X] Focus on protecting Chen.
>> No. 13948
>>13943
[X] Focus on protecting Chen.
>> No. 13949
[x] Focus on protecting Chen.
[x] Keep an eye on her, something's not right here.

>[X] Lycanthropes
>"That is no wolf," says the Captain. "Wild animals do not come near this cursed place."

>"No one else survived," she whispers.

>A loud piercing howl interrupts him.
>she cringes as if she is in pain.

Oh, fuck.
>> No. 13950
[x] Focus on protecting Chen.
[x] Keep an eye on her, something's not right here.
>> No. 13969
Loading User Commands:
[X] Focus on protecting Chen.

---

"Chen! Just stay behind me," Vincent says. He draws his blade and prepares a defensive stance.

"No, d-don't," whispers Chen. "Follow the Captain. I.. I'll be fine.."

Vincent shakes his head.

"I'm not leaving your side until you recover," he declares. "The Captain is very skilled. She can handle herself easily."

From the shadows, two beastmen jump out toward them. He waits patiently until they are within his territory. Then, right as they leap to tear him apart, he draws his blade. After a few seconds, the creatures fall lifelessly to the ground. Vincent returns to his defensive stance.

Suddenly, Chen grabs on his shoulder and pulls herself up. She points the crossbow towards the darkness. He doesn't understand. There isn't anything there. Without delay, she fires the bolt. They hear a shrill yelp from the darkness, then something falling heavily to the ground. Chen leans against his back, panting.

"I.. I said that I'm fine," Chen says. "You don't need to treat me like a kid anymore."

"Are you sure that you are alright?" says Vincent. "You worried me back there."

Chen pushes herself away from him and stands up on her own.

"Big brother is a really kind person," she says. "I guess that some things don't change.."

She reloads the crossbow and points it at him.

"W-what?" he stammers. Without warning, she presses the trigger before he can react. Another yelp comes from behind him. He turns around to see another of the wolfmen lying dead on the ground, an arrow stuck right between its eyes.

"I am strong enough to fight by your side now, Vincent," she says, smiling confidently at him.

Vincent grins back at the girl. She has certainly grown a lot.

"Very well then, Chen," he says. "I'll be counting on you to watch my back!"

"Yes, sir!" she replies.
>> No. 13970
"Are you two ready?" cries the Captain. "The Master seems to be approaching."

"I'm ready to fight, Captain!" replies Chen. She aims her crossbow forward, her fingers itching to press the trigger.

"Yes, sir!" says Vincent. He tightens his grip on his weapon.

Suddenly, they feel a foreign presence approaching. This isn't anything like they felt earlier. He can feel the Master's power permeating through the thick fog. This creature is strong, he knows this. A glance at the others confirms his suspicion. The Captain's face is calm, but she is gripping her blades more tightly than normal. Chen's legs are shaking slightly.

A humanoid figure walks through the fog. He blinks in surprise as the Master comes in view.

"Expecting a monster?" says the Master. "Or perhaps some primal evil that was released from hell?"

A girl who looks barely older than the captain stands before them. She is wearing a green and white dress, and she has long silver-green hair. Two horns protrude from her head, with a red ribbon tied upon one of them. Her crimson eyes are shining with intelligence, wisdom, and a deep, unexplainable sadness.

"You are the cause of this incident?" asks the Captain.

"That is the truth," she replies.

The Master turns to look up to the full moon. It shine brightly down on the battlefield.

"I will not ask for mercy or forgiveness," she says. "I deserve neither."

She glances back toward them.

"I only ask that you hear my story before this ends," she says.

"Your story?" the Captain repeats. "And what makes you think that will matter?"

Chen stamps her foot on the ground.

"Y-you killed my friends! You don't deserve any last requests!" she cries out.

Vincent pauses.

[ ] "Let's hear what she has to say."
[ ] "Forgive us, but we must put our duty first."
[ ] "The words of a heretic will not fall upon the ears of the faithful."
[ ] "You can tell your story in hell, you demon!"
[ ] Custom
>> No. 13971
[ ] "Let's hear what she has to say."
>> No. 13972
[x] "Let's hear what she has to say."

Damn it, I knew we'd run in to Keine.
>> No. 13973
[x] "Let's hear what she has to say."

Dammit, I hate hard choices like this. Voice of reason it is, then.
>> No. 13975
[x] "Forgive us, but we must put our duty first."

Time to end this. Also, why do I have a bad feeling with Chen carrying a crossbow?
>> No. 13976
[x] "Let's hear what she has to say."

Hopefully we won't have to tell Chen to... stop killing her, and let her finish talking.
>> No. 13977
[!/] "Let's hear what she has to say."
>> No. 13987
[x] "Let's hear what she has to say."

we're gonna fight her anyway.
>> No. 13988
[†] "Let's hear what she has to say."
>> No. 13998
Loading User Commands:
[X] "Let's hear what she has to say."

---

"Let's hear what she has to say," says Vincent. The Captain raises an eyebrow at him, but says nothing. Chen, on the other hand, looks furious.

"What are you saying?" cries Chen. "She is a murderer and a heretic! She admitted it herself! We have no reason to hear her blasphemy!"

"She is only one left," he replies calmly. "Heretic or not, we can't destroy the last source of information we have. We musn't let something like this happen again."

The girl raises her crossbow at the Master. Her hands shake as she aims her shot. For a moment, he thinks that she is going to do something reckless. But after a few seconds, she slowly lowers the weapon.

"We will hear your story," declares the Captain. "Then, we will deal upon you fit judgment."

The Master nods slowly, a sad smile upon her face. Again, she puts her gaze upon the moon, watching it in silence. She does not raise her claws to fight.

"The moon is quite beautiful this evening," she remarks. "Don't you agree?"

...

It had all started a year ago. A group of merchants and nobles came into town with gold and equipment. Everyone was excited. The townsfolk had never seen such activity in years. Even the mayor went out of his way to dine with them, along with the other leaders in the village.

They had come to build a new dam. The structure would serve two purposes. It would provide a reliable water supply for the area, and it would increase the amount of land that could be used for farming. This would increase both the commerce and productivity of the village. Perhaps it could even change the place into a small city.

Everyone was excited, at first. But after the construction started, the details of the project began to create new problems.

The landowners living near the river would have to move away, and several of them refused, as their houses were ancestral homes, passed down for generations. Others refused because they claimed that the gold the strangers offered was not enough, and that the strangers were sending thugs to threaten them.

On the other hand, a lot of other villagers sided with the strangers. The construction of the dam brought jobs and tools to the village, which had been doing poorly over the last few years. Many of the workers and artisans saw the dam as their opportunity to earn a good amount of gold. They weren't going to let the stubborn landowners stop the construction that easily, and they were willing to fight for their jobs.

Over the next three months, the dispute would turn into open hostility between the two factions.

"I chose to stay neutral, as I had no interest in politics," the Master said. "I am only a simple school teacher, after all."

"But you said that you were the village guardian and deity," said Vincent.

"I was," she said sadly. "And perhaps I got involved when it was already too late."

One of the young men of the village knocked at her door that night. He had a long gash on his chest, and he wouldn't stop bleeding. The teacher did her best to bind the man's wounds, but she knew that he would not last much longer in this world. He whispered to her that he was attacked, and that the village was in danger. Before he could explain, he fell unconscious.

"I was in panic," she said. "The young man was going to die if I didn't do anything."

The Master lowered her eyes.

"As the guardian of the village, I decided to break the taboo and share some of my powers with the man. Like myself, he would be able to regenerate his wounds and survive."

"But he would also become a monster," the Captain commented. "You knew that, didn't you?"

"It was a mistake," she replied. "I didn't realize it until the next day."

The construction foreman was found murdered. His body was heavily mutilated, as if he had been attacked by a wild animal. There were no witnesses, but she knew who did it. It took her several days, but she tracked him down in the hills.

...

"I killed him myself, in the end," says the Master. "But it wasn't enough. He had spread the curse all over the village."

"The infection couldn't be controlled, and everyone was killed or corrupted?" asks the Captain.

The Master nods sadly.

"Men, women, and children," she says. "The curse does not distinguish between them. I only retain my sanity because I am the guardian."

"T-then, that means," whispers Chen. The girl turns away and empties her stomach on the ground.

"The beasts you killed were the last of the villagers, mostly," she replies.

The Master takes one last, forlorn look at the moon before turning to them.

"This is enough," she says. "My story has been told."

Vincent watches as she looks at them with pleading eyes.

"Please. Kill me."

[ ] Let the Captain do it. This is her duty.
[ ] Let Chen do it. She desires retribution.
[ ] Do it yourself. Make it quick.
>> No. 14001
[x] Do it yourself. Make it quick.
>> No. 14002
[†] Do it yourself. Make it quick.

She is serious. Be a man.
>> No. 14003
[X] Do it yourself. Make it quick.
>> No. 14004
>>13998
[X] Leave: "Death is too light a punishment for your sins. You deserve nothing less than a long life of penitence for the crimes committed here."

HA!
>> No. 14005
[X] Leave: "Death is too light a punishment for your sins. You deserve nothing less than a long life of penitence for the crimes committed here."
>> No. 14007
[x] Do it yourself. Make it quick.

Write-in, do not want. Not only is it a dick move, it leaves open the possibility of a repeat of the incident.
>> No. 14008
>>13998
>They had come to build a new dam.

>>12739
>"I wouldn't say that they are ghost stories, but I can talk about some of the things I've encountered..."

>Vincent starts describing an incident at a rural village. He was sent to investigate a series of unusual murders. Every year during a festival, one person would go missing while another would be found brutally murdered. Yuyuko listens intently as she eats. Youmu seems disinterested, but her movements seem oddly mechanical.

>"... so on the third day, we discovered one of the villagers dead on the road. By the wounds and markings on his neck, we concluded that he must have clawed his own throat out and bled to death..."

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
>> No. 14010
[x] Let the Captain do it. This is her duty.
>> No. 14015
[x] Do it yourself. Make it quick.
[x] Whisper to her "It wasn't your fault"
>> No. 14019
Loading User Commands:
[X] Do it yourself. Make it quick.

---

"This is enough," she says. The school teacher turns to face them with resolve in her eyes.

"Please. Kill me."

The night becomes deathly silent. The Captain's face is calm and collected, but she fails to hide the trembling of her hands as she grips her weapons. Chen has gone limp, barely holding on to her crossbow. Vincent hesitates as well. He has been part of many missions, slaying monsters and beasts all over the country. Never has he delayed with the judgment of the sword.

But this time is different.

"You are a good person," says Vincent, breaking the silence.

He approaches the village school teacher slowly and somberly. Careful and deliberate, he draws his blade. It is a fine weapon, he notes, forged of the best steel. This sword has saved his life countless times from all manners of evils.

"Please forgive me for asking this favor," replies the school teacher. "But can you make it swift? I do not deserve pity, but I fear pain more than death."

Vincent nods solemnly.

The school teacher takes one last glance at the moon before kneeling herself in front of him. She lowers her head, her silver hair hiding her face. Without another word, she clasps her palms together. Silently, she begins to pray.

Vincent approaches her, making every footstep loud and deliberate.

When his shadow falls upon the school teacher, she gasps slightly. Her shoulders begin to shudder, but she does not raise her head or flee. Instead, she continues to pray, louder this time, as her hands tremble fearfully.

Vincent raises his sword high in the air.

As the school teacher finishes her prayer, she begins to sob uncontrollably. The sound of her tears falling upon the ground make him pause. For some reason, he becomes more painfully aware, more than he desires, of this woman's true nature. Her sadness and tears are unmistakably...

Human.

It takes her a few minutes to compose herself. Finally, she manages to wipe away the last of her tears. Full of compassion and kindness, he would never forget her final words, nor the gentle sound of her voice.

"I'm sorry, everyone," whispers the teacher.

With cold dry eyes, Vincent lowers his blade upon her. It is swift and merciful, just as he had promised. He can almost see her mouth form a word of thanks as the last light in her eyes dim.

Then, it begins to rain.
>> No. 14020
Vincent opens his eyes and stares at the ceiling blankly. As he blinks, he realizes that tears have started rolling down his face. He does not bother to wipe them off. Instead, he carefully burns the images into his mind.

He knows that this vision may not be accurate, but he believes that this is something important. He believes that this is something he can't afford to forget.

After a few minutes, sensation and thought return to his body and mind. He sits himself up slowly, making sure not to push himself too quickly. At a glance, he recognizes the place.

He seems to be back at his room in Hakugyokurou. As he waits for his head to clear up, he rubs the fabric of his futon absent-mindedly. Somehow, this place feels safe and familiar.

Turning his head from side to side, Vincent scans the room. His belongings are stacked at the corner. All of his weapons seem to there. He sighs in relief. It wasn't a question of safety. Simply put, he just feels naked without them. Carrying these holy tools is second nature to him.

"Must have passed out again," he mutters aloud. One of the others must have found him unconscious and carried him back here.

Vincent turns his head toward the door. He can hear someone approaching his room. The footsteps steadily get louder.

[ ] "Yuyuko?"
[ ] "Youmu?"
[ ] "Komachi?"
[ ] "Chen?"
>> No. 14021
{X} "Youmu?"
>> No. 14022
[x] Stay silent
>> No. 14023
[†] "Youmu?"
>> No. 14026
[X] "Youmu?"
>> No. 14029
[♪] "Youmu?"

A tear was shed for Keine.
>> No. 14033
[x] "Youmu?"
>> No. 14037
>>13599
>> No. 14043
[x] "Hisui?"
>> No. 14045
The end of the day approaches.

Having fun yet?
>> No. 14092
>>14045
...We reset the seal, right?
>> No. 14093
>>14092
Yes, but we don't have the book, which means we'll have to keep worrying every 2 days. Let's just hope we don't take an unexpected vacation until we find it.
>> No. 14130
Calling it.

[x] "Youmu?"

Unable to connect to the Internet for the past few days, but this will continue in a bit.
>> No. 14133
Loading User Commands:
[X] "Youmu?"

---

Vincent can hear someone approaching his room. He turns his head toward the sound as the footsteps get louder. The sliding door opens, but he can only see the newcomer's silhouette.

"Youmu?" he asks hesitantly.

The newcomer responds with a light giggle as she covers her face with her fan.

"Sorry to fall short of your expectations," says Yuyuko. "But if you must know, she only left your side a few minutes ago."

The ghost princess walks close to him. Before he can argue, she begins wiping his forehead with a damp piece of cloth. The cool sensation feels quite nice, so he stays still to let her continue.

"You shouldn't worry my little Youmu like that," whispers Yuyuko.

"Youmu? W-what happened?" returns Vincent.

"She said that she found you unconscious after she took me back to my room," replies Yuyuko. "You really should take care of your health. Are you sure that you aren't anemic? Maybe you need medication?"

Her eyes glitter with a hint of mischief when she says the word "medication". While he could use something for a headache, the better part of him thinks that requesting for such a thing will only lead to trouble.

"I'm feeling fine now," he says as he forces a smile. "Good thing that Youmu passed by earlier. She must have noticed during her patrol."

"She wasn't patrolling," says Yuyuko, her face unusually serious. "She said that she heard you cry out for her."

"... huh?" he manages. She was much too far to hear him, if he recalls correctly. Unfortunately, he can't be sure of his own head right now. Maybe he just didn't notice.

"Youmu stayed beside you until just a few minutes ago," she continues. "You didn't have any visible injury or symptom, but she was worried all the same. If I didn't tell her to prepare dinner, she would still be here, looking over you with tearful eyes."

Vincent wonders idly if the ghost princess isn't exaggerating a little bit, but she seems to be speaking sincerely. In any case, he should apologize for worrying the half-ghost unnecessarily.

"Sorry for the trouble," he mutters slowly.

"You should try to stop passing out like this," she says. "While I find it kinda cute, it is really inconvenient for Youmu. That girl is pretty sensitive, after all."

Vincent agrees completely, except for the part about Youmu. That girl is pretty damn tough and strong willed. Sensitive isn't one of the words he would use to describe her.

"..."

He realizes that Yuyuko still seems to be staring at him. She smiles at him gently. Somehow, he feels calm around her.

[ ] Stay silent and wait.
[ ] Have a short chat with Yuyuko.
[ ] Excuse yourself and try to find Youmu.
[ ] Excuse yourself and try to find Chen.
[ ] Excuse yourself and try to find Komachi.
[ ] Custom
>> No. 14134
[ ] Have a short chat with Yuyuko.
>> No. 14135
[x] Have a short chat with Yuyuko.

We don't really talk to her enough.
>> No. 14136
{X} Have a short chat with Yuyuko.
>> No. 14137
[x] "You know something? I had the funniest dream..."
>> No. 14140
[X] Have a short chat with Yuyuko.
>> No. 14141
[!/] Have a short chat with Yuyuko.
>> No. 14142
Loading User Commands:
[X] Have a short chat with Yuyuko.

---

Vincent realizes that Yuyuko is still looking at him, a gentle smile upon her face. She really does have an air of royalty about her, like a princess of some sort, yet she speaks and acts in a most down-to-earth and carefree manner. Her eyes reflect both childlike innocence and ageless wisdom, unlike anything he can remember (which, truthfully, isn't very much, but that is besides the point). And this person is undeniably beautiful, perhaps supernaturally so (he can't help but blush when he looks at her this closely).

But that isn't what stands out most about her. For some reason, he always feels calm around this girl. Even if she is most definitely an unliving ghost, he doesn't sense those chills he gets when he encounters evil spirits. He can't explain it, but she seems familiar for some reason. And he feels safe around her. Safe.

"Yuyuko," he says. "Why is it that I feel so comfortable around you?"

"Ara? Could it be that you finally noticed my charm?" she replies as she moves dangerously close to him. The ghost princess playfully puts a hand on his leg. It feels surprisingly warm.

"N-not exactly," he mutters as he carefully moves her hand away.

"I know that," she says. "I was just teasing you."

Yuyuko sighs in disappointment. Slowly, she looks up at him with a determined, if not slightly sad expression.

"I'm not the one you are in love with," she says.

Vincent looks away and doesn't reply, though he can feel himself blushing. From the side of his eye, he can see Yuyuko stand up. Then, he feels her lean her back against his. She isn't very heavy, and her warmth is comforting, so he doesn't move away. They sit with their backs against each other. The minutes pass in silence as they collect their thoughts.

"Hey, Yuyuko," he mutters.

"Hmm?"

"Want to talk about something?" he says.

"..."

"I guess that I'm not the best conversationalist, but I think it would be nice if -"

"Hey Vincent," she interrupts. "Could you tell me another ghost story?"

"Eh?"

"Youmu doesn't like them much, but I do enjoy a good ghost story," she says.

Vincent can't see it, but he is sure that the ghost princess is smiling again. He, too, smiles thoughtfully as he clears his throat. A moment later, he begins searching his fragmented memories for an interesting tale to tell.

"Well, there was this one time when I was sent to a lone mansion on a privately owned island..."

...

Time passes quickly when one is having fun, and before he knew it, Youmu had come in to call them for dinner. She smiled and nodded at him slightly, but the half-ghost made no other expression of concern during the meal. He finished his story while they were eating, though he made sure to leave out the gruesome parts (he promised Yuyuko that he'd tell the complete version at another time).

After eating, Youmu explained that Chen had to return home, since someone named Ran would be worried if she stayed out late. Komachi flew off, saying that her boss might notice her missing if she isn't careful.

Before he knew it, he found himself bidding the two girls good night. He didn't encounter anything unusual on the way back to his room, thankfully.

Vincent yawns loudly as he closes the door. He feels pretty tired, and it's been a damn long day.

[ ] Explore the mansion.
[ ] Wander around aimlessly.
[ ] Go to sleep.
[ ] Custom
>> No. 14143
[x] Wander around aimlessly.
[x] Keep on the look-out for Youmu. We must apologize to her.
>> No. 14144
{X} Go to sleep.

Time to chill~
>> No. 14145
[X] Go to sleep.
>> No. 14147
[!/] Go to sleep.
>> No. 14154
[x] Go to sleep.
>> No. 14155
Loading User Commands:
[X] Go to sleep.

---

"Wait!" she cries out.

He stops, but he doesn't turn around to face her.

"I must go," he says. "This is one duty I cannot abandon."

"But it's dangerous," she says. "You will be killed!"

He smiles gently.

"Then perhaps we can be together in the afterlife."

She lowers her head sadly.

"That chance is next to none," she whispers. "You have no reason to become a ghost like me."

He sighs. Slowly, he turns around to face her.

"Aren't you a good enough reason?" he asks. "We have walked along parallel roads for too long."

"..."

"Besides, I always wondered about how it would be like on the other side," he says carelessly.

"N-no! You can't!" she cries out.

Suddenly, she runs up and grabs him by the chest. She leans her head against him. He begins to hear her sobbing. Gently, he strokes her long silver hair. After a few moments, she finally calms down.

"Don't be a fool!" she whispers. "Life isn't something that can be thrown away so easily!"

"But is my life worth more than those who have already died?" he asks. "How about those who are, at this very moment, fighting for their lives? And how about those who have yet to taste death?"

She looks away sadly.

"You, of all persons, should understand this," he whispers. "I cannot watch as others die because I refused to take responsibility."

A forlorn silence passes between them.

"Your moment will be my eternity," she whispers.

He looks at her with a sad smile as he remembers.

"And your eternity will be my moment," he answers.

He begins walking again, this lovely, lonely spirit following behind him. She does not argue any further. Perhaps she understands that this is his only option. No matter how painful it is, this is the right choice. But his heart aches painfully as they walk. The silence is deafening.

This may be the last time he will see her.

[ ] Kiss her.
[ ] Continue walking.
>> No. 14157
[x] Continue walking

Kiss of Death, no thanks.
>> No. 14158
[†] Continue walking
>> No. 14159
{X} Continue walking
>> No. 14160
[x] Continue walking.
>> No. 14161
[!/] Continue walking.

NANTO.....
>> No. 14162
[x] Kiss her.

I play dangerously.
>> No. 14163
[x] Kiss her.
>> No. 14164
[X] Continue walking
>> No. 14165
Loading User Commands:
[X] Continue walking.

---

Ordinary humans cannot defeat the ancient evils that have been awakened. Certain death awaits those foolish enough to try. Worse still, the brave souls who fall often return to haunt the living as ghouls and revenants. None have returned alive from the towns that have fallen to their demonic influence.

But he is different. He is one of the few who carry the bloodline of the sword. The things he cannot cut are next to none. Even the most vile and powerful creatures will fall by his blade.

She follows silently behind him, knowing that this is the right choice. Even if he is fated never to return.

Her heart aches painfully at the thought.

...

"This is the border," he says. "Beyond it, your safety can't be guaranteed. The barrier only extends up to this point."

"..."

He was never good with words, and he never needed to be. But at this moment, he wished he could lift this girl's sorrow. He opens his mouth slowly as he thinks of something to say. But in the end, he says nothing.

The swordsman nods at the girl slowly before turning around to leave. He can feel her watching him. Waiting for him.

He does not turn around as a single tear rolls down his cheek.

...

She stood at the edge of the border, watching him walk away. Carrying only a small pack and his trusted blades, he headed deep into the dark woods without turning back. A man of valor, indeed, must put the good of others over his own.

But he was not just a man of valor, nor a swordsman. He was the only man she had ever loved. And she must let him go.

As he disappears into the shadows, her legs begin to shake. Finally, they give way, and she kneels down on the ground. Slowly, she begins to weep.

She did not tell him. She could not tell him.

In the first place, it was supposed to be impossible for such a thing to happen. It went against both the laws of nature and man. But it did happen, and only time will tell if this was a blessing or a curse.

She was pregnant.

[ ] Japanese
[ ] Chinese
[ ] Italian
[ ] French
[ ] Custom
>> No. 14166
[†] Japanese
>> No. 14167
what is this i don't even

Are these languages or nationalities?

[]Canadian?
[]Australian?
[x] French
>> No. 14168
[x] Sanskrit
>> No. 14170
[X] Japanese
>> No. 14171
[X] Klingon
>> No. 14172
[X] Japanese
>> No. 14173
[x] English pl0x.
>> No. 14174
[x] German

Deutchland über alles.
>> No. 14175
[X] Japanese
>> No. 14176
Holy shit.

[x] Chinese
>> No. 14182
[X] Irish.

Let the Guinness drinking commence.
>> No. 14215
Loading User Commands:
[X] Japanese

---

"When's breakfast? I'm huuungry!"

Youmu sighs as she carries the food toward the dining room. Her gluttonous mistress must be satiated, after all. The half-ghost shivers slightly as a chilly breeze passes.

"It's a bit cold today," she mutters. Despite being part ghost, she still prefers warmer weather.

There is a thick fog around the grounds this morning, but nothing especially unusual. A few ghosts are floating lazily near the mansion. They don't seem to be causing a disturbance, but she better shoo them away later, just in case.

"..."

Youmu pauses to stare at the dreary grey sky. She has been having some very strange dreams ever since Vincent arrived. And for some reason, the outsider swordsman seems familiar. But she can't recall seeing him anywhere else. In any case, she still doesn't trust the man. Though some small part of her really wants to..

"Breakfast! Breakfast! I'm gonna die, uwaaa!"

The half-ghost sighs deeply as she enters the dining room. Yuyuko is quite impatient about the food, as is her custom. In any case, it takes slightly longer to prepare a Japanese-style breakfast for three.

"Here it is," says Youmu. She carefully puts down the dishes before taking her seat.

Yuyuko inhales the aroma of the food with a smile.

"Ah, it smells great~" she says sweetly. "It makes me feel so alive."

Youmu simply gives her a nod as she looks around the room.

"Vincent hasn't arrived yet," says Yuyuko in response. The half-ghost feels herself blush at the words, but she says nothing.

Strange. Their guest seems to be missing.

[ ] Start eating without him. He can take care of himself.
[ ] Wait patiently. Make sure Yuyuko doesn't start until everyone is here.
[ ] Head to his room and call him. He should have breakfast with everyone.
[ ] Excuse yourself and walk around the grounds. You need time to think.
[ ] Custom
>> No. 14216
[X] Inventory
A long sword named "Roukanken". This blade can kill ten spirits in one stroke.
A sword named "Hakurouken". This blade can dispel the confusion of those it cuts, but it can only be used by the Konpaku family.
A black hair ribbon. You feel naked without it.
A skull wrapped in some cloth. To avoid trouble, you are hiding it inside your ghost-half.
>> No. 14217
>A skull wrapped in some cloth. To avoid trouble, you are hiding it inside your ghost-half.
But I thought the ghost half was inside the skull.
>> No. 14218
>>14217
> A skull wrapped in some cloth. Youmu's half-ghost core is sealed inside.
> core
Someone would notice if that wisp thing behind her was missing.
>> No. 14219
[x] Wait patiently. Make sure Yuyuko doesn't start until everyone is here.

Hahahaha
>> No. 14220
[x] Wait patiently. Make sure Yuyuko doesn't start until everyone is here.
>> No. 14221
[X] Wait patiently. Make sure Yuyuko doesn't start until everyone is here.
>> No. 14225
[x] Head to his room and call him. He should have breakfast with everyone.
>> No. 14234
[x] Wait patiently. Make sure Yuyuko doesn't start until everyone is here.

Deja vu, anyone?
>> No. 14257
Loading User Commands:
[X] Wait patiently. Make sure Yuyuko doesn't start until everyone is here.

---

Youmu sits quietly as she gathers her thoughts. Somehow, she has a bad feeling about this. But it must be her imagination. If evil spirits tried to attack Hakugyokurou, she would feel their presence. In fact, she doesn't feel any foreign presence in the mansion at all.

"Let's eat~" says Yuyuko as she clasps her hands together. A pair of chopsticks in her hands, she makes for some meat. But before she can grab a piece, the whole dish disappears from beneath her chopsticks.

"You can't eat yet," Youmu says coldly. "It is unbecoming of a lady to start before everyone is at the table."

Yuyuko looks up at Youmu with damp, tear-filled eyes.

"B-but I'm huuuuungry!" the ghost princess cries.

"No," replies Youmu sternly. After giving Yuyuko a harsh glance, she replaces the dish on the table.

...

Ten minutes pass. Youmu glances idly at the empty seat across them.

"Can we start now?" whispers Yuyuko. "I'm starving! If I don't eat something, I'm gonna die!"

"Ghosts do not die when they are killed," returns Youmu.

...

Twenty minutes pass. Yuyuko starts shifting in her seat uneasily.

"Huuuungry... huuuungry... aaaauuuu..." she whines.

Youmu promptly ignores the ghost princess.

...

Thirty minutes pass. Even Youmu is starting to get irritated.

"Maybe he died in his sleep," says Yuyuko. "So let's just have breakfast already~"

"..."

Suddenly, Youmu stands up. She grabs hold of Yuyuko's hand as she walks out of the dining room.

"I'm going to check his room," says Youmu. "You're coming with me. I'm not letting you eat anything until everyone arrives."

Yuyuko sobs silently, but she allows the half-ghost to drag her across the mansion. Vincent's room isn't very far, so they arrive in a few minutes. Youmu calls out for him politely, telling him that breakfast is ready, but no one answers. Curious, she slowly slides open the door to peek.

"..."

"He's not here?" says Yuyuko. "How strange."

Yuyuko gives her an enigmatic smile as she says those words.

Youmu pauses to think.
[ ] Return to the kitchen and eat without him.
[ ] Examine his things and look for clues.
[ ] Search the mansion grounds for him.
[ ] Ask Lady Yuyuko about his whereabouts.
[ ] Custom
>> No. 14258
{X} Examine his things and look for clues.
>> No. 14259
[x] "Very well. Then we shall go searching for him until we find his whereabouts. Lady Yuyuko, you shall accompany me the entire time, the food growing ever colder with each passing minute".
[x] "It seems to me as if you may have some clue as to where he is located, but I really don't feel like playing games with you right now, so I will wait patiently as your hunger could not possibly outlast your whimsical nature".
[x] Search the mansion grounds for him - Lady Yuyuko in tow.
>> No. 14260
[x] "Very well. Then we shall go searching for him until we find his whereabouts. Lady Yuyuko, you shall accompany me the entire time, the food growing ever colder with each passing minute".
[x] "It seems to me as if you may have some clue as to where he is located, but I really don't feel like playing games with you right now, so I will wait patiently as your hunger could not possibly outlast your whimsical nature".
[x] Search the mansion grounds for him - Lady Yuyuko in tow.
>> No. 14263
[x] "Very well. Then we shall go searching for him until we find his whereabouts. Lady Yuyuko, you shall accompany me the entire time, the food growing ever colder with each passing minute".
[x] "It seems to me as if you may have some clue as to where he is located, but I really don't feel like playing games with you right now, so I will wait patiently as your hunger could not possibly outlast your whimsical nature".
[x] Search the mansion grounds for him - Lady Yuyuko in tow.

That was an excellent update.
>> No. 14278
Loading User Commands:
[X] Custom

---

"He's not here?" says Yuyuko. "Now isn't that strange~"

The ghost princess gives Youmu an enigmatic smile as she speaks those words. She licks her lips as she waits for the half-ghost to react. Yuyuko seems to be enjoying this, for some reason.

But this half-ghost hasn't the time for these foolish games.

"Very well," says Youmu. "We are going to search for Vincent together."

The half-ghost sneers at Yuyuko coldly.

"No one eats until we find him," she adds.

"W-what? Wait, are you serious? Y-you can't do that!" cries Yuyuko.

She grabs Yuyuko's wrist and pulls her closer. The ghost princess gasps slightly in surprise. Her deep maroon eyes meet Youmu's icy blue gaze.

"Lady Yuyuko," says Youmu. "You know something. I can feel it."

"Err... I haven't a clue to what you are talking about~" returns Yuyuko.

Youmu tightens her grip slightly as she takes a few careful breaths before speaking.

"Where is he?" she asks sternly.

"I-I said that I don't know," replies the ghost princess. "S-stop it! Don't look at me like that!"

"Please," whispers Youmu.

"..."

Yuyuko sighs heavily as she gently pulls away from the half ghost. She straightens up her kimono carefully before she speaks.

"Ara~ I didn't expect you to worry about him this much," she says.

Youmu feels herself blushing, but she stays silent.

"Vincent is fine," Yuyuko continues. "At least, he should be. Humans like that don't die very easily."

"Where is he?" repeats Youmu.

A moment of silence passes between the two.

"I don't know exactly," replies the princess of ghosts. "But wherever he is, I'm sure that he is being useful to Gensokyo. A hero must go to where he is needed, after all."

Yuyuko pauses for a moment, as if remembering some distant memory.

"In fact, he sort of reminds me of -"

Suddenly, she shakes her head.

"Never mind," says Yuyuko, a fresh smile upon her face. "You don't have to worry about him right now. So let's go back and have breakfast~"

The ghost princess starts walking back to the dining room before Youmu can reply. The half-ghost opens her mouth to protest, but then closes it. She understands that Yuyuko won't say anything more than this. The conversation is already over.

[ ] Join Lady Yuyuko for breakfast.
[ ] Examine the guest room carefully.
[ ] Take a walk around the grounds for a while.
[ ] Head to the dojo and do some practice swings.
[ ] Return to your room and clear your head.
[ ] Custom
>> No. 14279
[x] Head to the dojo and do some practice swings.

Vincent comes back to find a distressed Youmu. I know this scene~
>> No. 14282
[X] Join Lady Yuyuko for breakfast.
>> No. 14283
{X} Head to the dojo and do some practice swings.
>> No. 14307
[x] Head to the dojo and do some practice swings.

EMOTIONS
>> No. 14308
[x] Head to the dojo and do some practice swings.
>> No. 14312
Loading User Commands:
[X] Head to the dojo and do some practice swings.

---

Lady Yuyuko starts walking back to the dining room before half-ghost can reply. Youmu opens her mouth, as if to argue, but at the end, she closes it. If the ghost princess wants to keep secrets, then she can't do much about it. She certainly can't force Lady Yuyuko to talk. In any case, this topic is already dead.

"Love grows sweeter with time," says Yuyuko suddenly. "Take it easy~"

The half-ghost turns completely red this time.

"W-what? Don't misunderstand this!" cries Youmu. "I-It's not like I care about that violent idiot anyway..."

The ghost princess only giggles as she continues walking.

"I'm not falling for him," she mumbles in protest to no one particular. "No, it's not that..."

She closes her eyes for a moment, remembering the strange dreams of the past few days.

"He is just... familiar somehow," whispers Youmu to herself.

By the time she opens her eyes, the ghost princess is nowhere in sight. Her gluttonous mistress must be feasting on the food already. Really, now! Yuyuko is far too carefree when it comes to strange and important events. Vincent's disappearance might even be a sign of another incident!

"..."

No. Lady Yuyuko would tell her if something bad happened to him. If anything, she seems to be pushing them to become a couple. As if such a thing could ever happen! It would never work out. Her place is here in the land of the dead, while his is in the realm of mortals. Besides, she can't abandon her duty to the House of Saigyouji. Her father entrusted her with this responsibility before he left on his journey.

"Master," whispers Youmu.

Youki Konpaku left many years ago, leaving her to care for the ghost princess. He never explained his reason, and she never asked. Before anything else, he was her master and teacher. It would be improper to speak out of turn or argue. He must have had his own reasons. As a student of Konpaku swordsmanship, she did what was expected of her. She accepted his last order without question.

But deep inside, underneath the facade, the half-ghost knew her own feelings.

She missed her father.

...

"Haa.. Haa.. Haa..."

Youmu lies on her back as she catches her breath. She feels completely exhausted, and she can barely move. Even her ghost half has grown limp. Seems like she overdid it this time.

Instead of heading back to the dining room, the half-ghost decided that she should do some practice swings at the dojo. Partially to complete her daily training and partially to clear her head, it seemed like a perfectly good idea. Unfortunately, the training only reminded her duel with Vincent.

Before she realized it, she was practicing her most powerful sword techniques as she visualized a rematch. For some strange reason, she kept imagining him as not only keeping up with her speed, but completely blocking her every attack. She could even visualize his confident smirk as he toys with her. The ghost hunter could easily find weaknesses in her own imperfect technique.

"..."

Slowly, Youmu sits herself up and wipes the sweat off her brow. This is getting ridiculous. Why is she getting so worked up anyway? She only met the damn idiot a couple of days ago and not in the best circumstances.

When she tried to help him, that fool knocked her out, tied her up and gagged her. He even found a way to place a sealing barrier on her ghost half's core. Where Vincent learned such a complex technique, she would never know. If it weren't for the seal, she would have beaten him senseless by now. But why is it, then?

Why is it that she feels so worried about him?

"Get it together, Youmu," she whispers to herself. "This isn't like you."

The half-ghost forces herself to stand. A glance tells her that no one else is in the dojo.

[ ] Head for the bath to clean yourself up and relax a bit.
[ ] Return to the dining room and have some breakfast.
[ ] Investigate the guest room where Vincent was staying.
[ ] Wander aimlessly around the grounds for a while.
[ ] Go back to your room and prepare to leave Hakugyokurou.
[ ] Custom
>> No. 14313
[x] Wander aimlessly around the grounds for a while.
[x] Head for the bath to clean yourself up and relax a bit.
>> No. 14314
{X} Head for the bath to clean yourself up.
{X} Return to the dining room and have some breakfast.
>> No. 14315
[X] Head for the bath to clean yourself up and relax a bit.
>> No. 14327
[x] Head for the bath to clean yourself up and relax a bit.

No Anon, you are the Youmu.
>> No. 14328
[x] Head for the bath to clean yourself up and relax a bit.
>> No. 14330
>>14327
And then Anon was the little girl.

[x] Head for the bath to clean yourself up and relax a bit.
>> No. 14334
Loading User Commands:
[X] Head for the bath to clean yourself up and relax a bit.

---

"Get it together, Youmu," the half-ghost whispers to herself. "This isn't like you."

A glance around the dojo tells her than no one else is around. Besides the occasional friendly spirit, the mansion is generally devoid of anyone besides Lady Yuyuko and herself. It has been this way for as long as she could remember. However, she feels like something important is missing.

Strange. She has never felt this way before. At this moment, the dojo seems like such a lonely place. This doesn't make any sense. It has always been just her and Lady Yuyuko. While irritating at times, she must agree that she was content and happy here (though she would never admit that openly). Why then? Why is it?

Why does this place feels so empty right now?

After a few minutes of pondering, Youmu stands herself up. She must just be confused right now. Those dreams are starting to get to her. They can't possibly mean anything important. However real they were, dreams are dreams. While similar in some ways, that man she saw can't possibly be Vincent. The two are far too different. Maybe the stress of handling the new guest is affecting her. Yep, that must be it. She needs to relax and clear her head. She has to find a place where she can forget about everything for a moment and focus. Some privacy would be nice as well.

"The bath should be empty," mutters Youmu.

Only the sound of the cicadas in the garden can be heard as she heads for the baths side of the mansion.

...

"O-ouch!" cries Youmu as she tests the temperature of the water. It seems a little bit too hot for her preference. She sucks her finger tenderly as she waits for the bath water to cool down.

The half-ghost heads to the tap to scrub herself while waiting. She does so absent-mindedly, enjoying the sensation on her skin. After cleaning herself, she pulls her ghost half near the tap to wash it as well. While spirits don't really get dirty, the feeling of the water flowing over her ghost half is quite enjoyable. She strokes it carefully, making sure to clean the object she hid inside it as well.

After washing herself, Youmu lowers herself into the bath water, which has started to reach a comfortable temperature. The half-ghost relaxes as she sits herself down. She then pulls the skull out of her ghost half and looks at it thoughtfully.

"So, what are you grinning about?" she says threateningly. "I don't see anything that looks especially funny."

"..."

"W-what are you talking about? What kind of question is that?"

"..."

"I always take good care of my hair, a-and not just because we have guests!"

"..."

"Like him? Well, I don't really hate him, but I don't know..."

"..."

"D-damn! Stop looking at me like that!"

"..."

"I-I know they aren't that big... you don't have to say it out loud!"

"..."

"Hmph!"

Youmu puts the skull down on the floor nearby and faces it away from her. Somehow, she just doesn't feel like continuing this conversation. Instead, she simply stares at the ceiling as she enjoys the warm water. Several minutes pass, and soon she is able to clear her mind a bit. She can hear herself breathing calmly, her chest moving in and out under the water.

Suddenly, she hears footsteps approaching from outside.

Youmu gasps silently as she realizes that she left her towel near the washing area. Her clothes and weapons are in the changing room, so she can't reach them without running out of the water. The skull is the only thing nearby.

[ ] Don't say anything. Just stay in the water and wait.
[ ] Quickly move toward the farthest part of the bath and try to hide.
[ ] Make a break for the towel and wrap it around you.
[ ] Run for the changing room and try to get changed.
[ ] Shout at the the person and tell him/her that someone is already inside.
[ ] Custom

The skull is out in the open.
[ ] Replace the skull inside your ghost half.
[ ] Hide the skull in one of the wash basins.
[ ] Submerge it in the bath water.
[ ] Leave the skull where it is.
>> No. 14335
[x] Quickly move toward the farthest part of the bath and try to hide.
[x] Replace the skull inside your ghost half.
>> No. 14338
[x] Quickly move toward the farthest part of the bath and try to hide.
[x] Replace the skull inside your ghost half.
>> No. 14341
{X} Quickly move toward the farthest part of the bath and try to hide.
{X} Replace the skull inside your ghost half.

>Youmu puts the skull down on the floor nearby and faces it away from her. Somehow, she just doesn't feel like continuing this conversation.
SDMLA flashbacks.
>> No. 14342
[X] Quickly move toward the farthest part of the bath and try to hide.
[X] Replace the skull inside your ghost half.
>> No. 14343
how big is this bath?
>> No. 14345
>>14343
The bath is fairly spacious and is designed to hold large numbers of people. The area is also filled with a light layer of steam. However, this is still an indoors bath.
>> No. 14346
[x] Quickly move toward the farthest part of the bath and try to hide.
[x] Replace the skull inside your ghost half.
[x] Cover yourself with your ghost half as best you can.
>> No. 14356
[X] Quickly move toward the farthest part of the bath and try to hide.
[X] Replace the skull inside your ghost half.
>> No. 14364
Loading User Commands:
[X] Quickly move toward the farthest part of the bath and try to hide.
[X] Replace the skull inside your ghost half.

---

Suddenly, Youmu hears footsteps approaching from outside. She gasps silently when she realizes that she left her towel near the washing area. Her clothes and weapons are back in the changing room. She can't cover herself up without leaving the water.

"D-damn!" whispers the half-ghost.

She looks around for other options, but there aren't any. This is bad. She glances at the skull is lying exposed nearby. Carefully, she stuffs it back inside her ghost half. She can't let anyone get suspicious of this inconvenient misunderstanding.

"Thud!"

Youmu jumps slightly. That sounds like a sliding door. Seems like someone just entered the changing room. From this distance, she can't tell who it is. But she probably only has a few minutes before the person comes inside.

Perhaps she can just stay put and wait for the person to arrive. After all, she has bathed together with Lady Yuyuko and the others in the past. Doesn't look like she has enough time to grab a towel or sneak into the changing room either. Shouting at the person is simply rude. This is a large mixed bath area designed to hold a number of guests.

"..."

Wait a minute. This is a mixed bath...

"Ah!" she squeaks.

This is a mixed bath, so that might be Vincent coming inside. Just the thought of him seeing her naked turns her face bright crimson. S-she can't let that happen! It would be completely inappropriate and embarrassing!

Youmu moves toward the farthest corner of the bath as quickly as she can. As she approaches, she carefully thinks about how best to hide. There are a few large stone statues lying in the water near the back. Lady Yuyuko added them as decorations a while back, though the half-ghost must question her taste.

One particularly strange carving is that of a female knight of Medieval Europe. She is dressed in heavy plate armor, and she has an intimidating and confident expression upon her face. But instead of a sword, she seems to be holding a knife and fork in her hands. Engraved on the bottom is a single word: "Rival".

Youmu quickly hides herself behind this statue, as it is the largest one in the bath. She lowers her head as much as possible, keeping everything below her nose under the water. Maybe if she stays still and silent, the person won't even notice that she came inside.

In a few moments, she hears a single pair of footsteps walking around the washing area. The half-ghost stays completely still as she listens to the sounds of the person washing up. Finally, she hears a soft splash as the person enters the bath water.

"..."

[ ] Stay completely still and silent.
[ ] Slowly take a peek at the person.
[ ] Come up with a diversion to escape.
[ ] Try to sneak away while the person is relaxing.
[ ] Hold your breath and hide yourself completely under the water.
[ ] Custom
>> No. 14371
[x] Hold your breath and hide yourself completely under the water.

Since staying completely still is rather boring, I'll go with this. The others just scream for trouble, especially if it's not Yuyuko OR Vincent.
>> No. 14379
{X} Hold your breath and hide yourself completely under the water.

This will end well.
>> No. 14382
[x] Hold your breath and hide yourself completely under the water.

This sounds fun.
>> No. 14384
[x] Slowly take a peek at the person.

Curious.
>> No. 14396
>>14364
>One particularly strange carving is that of a female knight of Medieval Europe. She is dressed in heavy plate armor, and she has an intimidating and confident expression upon her face. But instead of a sword, she seems to be holding a knife and fork in her hands. Engraved on the bottom is a single word: "Rival".
>> No. 14397
[x] Slowly take a peek at the person.
>> No. 14409
Calling it.
[x] Hold your breath and hide yourself completely under the water.
>> No. 14411
Server reconnected at: >>14410