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13768 No. 13768
Well, not a whole lot to say here. All I can really say is... Spoilers follow.

A recap of "Aria of Deception: Spirited Away by the Demon Chapter".

Aoi Watarase, a 17 year old high school student, had recently become the son of the owner of the Han mansion, as a result of his mother's remarriage. His step-sister, Maribel Han, wasn't very crazy about him, and still isn't, but her friend quickly warmed up to Aoi.

Renko Usami, 18 year old high school student, had quickly befriended Aoi, and ended up with him as her only friend in the club she and Merry used to have at high school. This was due to the small gap between her and Maribel''s ages, which put Mary in college while Ren still attended their old school. Content with her new best friend and average school life, Renko accepted this reality and grew even closer to Aoi, to the point where some people thought that Aoi might have been her replacement for Maribel.

Maribel had invited the two friends to spend the night at the Han mansion, and they had soon left to go investigate a graveyard for their evening activities. While this may not seem like the average going-ons for your typical group of friends, it was perfectly normal for the Ghostly Field Club, which still counted Maribel as a member. After stumbling upon an old and eerie flute, Aoi and the others went back to the mansion, unaware of the events that would unfold that evening.

After beginning to unwind, the group began to do their own things about the mansion, Aoi choosing to follow his step-sister to the basement-library of the home, where all sorts of strange volumes and tomes were kept. After a close encounter of the ninth kind, Aoi had grown wary of his sister's strange behavior, and curious as to what made her act so alien and dangerous around him, and yet so open and normal whenever Renko was near.

After finding his best friend in the back garden and asking her to attend to the possibly psychotic Maribel, Aoi found himself playing the strange flute he had picked up at the grave yard, only to have a strange yet white creature appear from the instrument, making its presence known with a chilling aura. Aoi had stopped paying mind to this thing for a while, until later on in the night when he saw it and dared himself to touch the thing, only to find that it was now soft and warm.

After going to sleep, a strange noise woke our "hero", if you could call him that. Following this thing's trace, he found himself rescuing one of the mansion's maids from a surely grim fate, which had something to do with a brownish creature that had been dragging her along the floor, leaving a few claw marks on the floor. He regrouped with Renko and Maribel in Merry's room, deciding on what to do about the strange intruder. He and Renko left to face the creature, only to find that, it its place, a tall blonde woman and small brown haired girl had appeared from the basement, only to accuse Renko of being a man and to take her with them to the depths of the mansion, locking the door behind them.

After returning to Mary, Aoi found that Eliza was far too faithful a servant, who would even step in the way of a punch to protect her employer. Maribel sent the two down to find Renko, and to try and put a stop to whatever was causing this mischief. Once they made it to the bottom, they opened the door to the basement only to find a hellish landscape beyond the door; a floating field of godforsaken eyes, with no owners to speak of. A woman appeared before them, declaring herself Yukari, and sending Aoi flying into this horrible land of unblinking eyes. At this point our "hero" blacked out, to where we now join him once again, to see how his adventures unfold...


And with that said and done... Let's get this show on the road!

>> No. 13769
File 123157502934.jpg - (30.79KB , 570x370 , Renko_007.jpg ) [iqdb]
13769
...

A sharp pain rises in your throat, giving way to a few coughs. Pushing yourself to open your eyes, you see that the sun isn't up, and that nothing but countless trees surround you. You aren't very shocked, though, because your surroundings don't really register to your half-awake mind. The only thing that you really notice is the large object on top of you.

"Urgh..." Rolling about a bit, you attempt to shake the thing off, only to see a hand roll off of your back and land in front of your face. The shock of this sends you flying up off the grond, now fully awake.

"Ah... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!"

Scrambling away from the spot, you clutch to a tree, breathing rapidly. As you do so, everything begins to sink in. The scenery, the lack of light, the possible corpse on your back... Just where are you, and why are you here? As you ponder these things in your mind, a voice speaks up from behind you, where the dead person should be.

"Ow, ouch..." A feminine, yet slightly masculine voice speaks up, as the person sits up. "A-Aoi...? What are you doing here?"

Turning about, you recognize the person immeadiately, and rush over to embrace her, much to her surprise. It takes a second, but she's soon returning the hug, though not holding on as tightly as you are.

"So... Wait, where am I?" Pulling her head back a little, Renko looks from side to side at the dense forest, and then up at the dark night's sky. "Ah... Well, at least there's a lot of pretty stars out..."

"R-Renko!" Shaking her slightly, you look her in the eyes. She seems a bit space out, but mostly there. "Renko, we need to find out where we are! We need to get out of here! We need t-"

Your words are silenced as she puts a finger to your lips, and winks. You can't help but think about how cute her smile is, even at a time like this. She nods, still grinning, then speaks up yet again, her voice in a rather hushed tone.

"We need to be quiet, Aoi. Don't want to wake anything up, eh?"

"A...a-ah..." Turning your head, you blush, backing away from the girl. Lowering your tone to match hers, you speak up yet again. "I guess you're right... But, we really do need to get out of here, so..."

Standing to her feet, Renko puts a hand over her eyes as she looks in each direction, as if scouting the land. Rotating as she looks, she finally turns around, pointing off into some unknown direction in this unknown wood. Still whispering, she explains.

"Since we have no idea where we are, and which way is north, any direction is fine. Let's just go this way, okay?" Grinning, she nods, her hat bouncing a bit as she reaches down to grab your hand.

Standing to your feet, the only noise you can hear in this wood besides yours and Renko's breathing is the sound of the cicadas chirping, their mournful song fitting well with your outlook on the situation. The two of you, yourself and Renko, begin to quietly make your way through this forest, looking for a way out. Time passes, and no sign of an exit makes itself known. As the two of you continue on, you can't help but think this is a pointless effort, but the look on Renko's face as she marches on keeps you from saying this aloud. Her current expression isn't a proud one, or an adventurous one, but... a determined face.

After a little more walking, with no sign of life in sight, the two of you sit down to rest. The cicadas continue to sing their loud song, as they climb around the branches of various trees. Renko seems to be playing with the ribbon on her hat, and Nyom...

It suddenly hits you, the realization that the thing is nowhere to be found. Looking up and down, and side to side, you can't see it anywhere. Renko notices your odd searching, and soon remarks on it.

"Ah, Aoi..." Now speaking louder, after the two of you agreed that there seem to be no wild animals around, she continues. "What are you looking for? If it's the moon, then you should look between those two trees right there. It looks really nice out tonight."

"Um, no... no. I'm not looking for that, I'm just-" Averting your gaze to the place she mentioned, you see the larger lunar ball hanging in the middle of an opening of trees. It shines down, making a circle of light on the forest floor. "Wow... that really is pretty."

"I know, isn't it?" Standing up, Renko pulls a swiss army knife from her pocket. "It's sights like these that make me want to do... This. Come on, Aoi."

Taking your hand, she pulls you up, and leads you over to the tree which looks as if it's right beneath the moon. The thick bark of the thing is cold to the touch, and you quickly pull your hand back from it. Just as you're about to ask Renko what she's up to, she flicks the knife out of the device, and begins to carve something into the tree.

R... E... N... K... O... &... A... O... I...

"Ahh... There." Putting the knife away, she smiles. "There. Now anyone that ever sees this will know that, no matter what happened, we were best friends. Right?"

"Oh... I guess you're right." Glancing the thing over, you feel blood rush to your face, as a thick blush beings to cover your cheeks. "B-but, if you leave it like that, it makes it look like we're a couple or something!"

Looking over the piece of wood, Renko holds her chin studiously. She nods, making a few sounds that sound like her agreeing, then looks back to you.

"Well, I suppose that's fine too, isn't it?"

Left without words, you only stand there for a minute, as the bugs continue to cry out into the night. Eventually you give up, resulting in Renko smiling a very satisfied grin. The two of you are soon sitting back down, looking up at the bright moon together. Trying to hold back the words, you find yourself asking Renko a question you didn't mean to ask.

"Renko... Do you think we'll be okay?"

She looks at you expressionlessly for a moment, as if studying your face. She then looks back up at the moon, and nods, though slowly.

"Yeah... I think we'll be okay, so long as there's a moon to guide us. Right?"

"Ah... I guess. Though, I think we should do something about this... Like, maybe..."

[ ] "We should keep walking."
[ ] "Maybe you should climb up that tree and look around?"
[ ] "Maybe we should call out for somebody to help..."
>> No. 13770
[ ] "Maybe you should climb up that tree and look around?"
>> No. 13771
[x] "We should keep walking."
>> No. 13772
[x] "Maybe you should climb up that tree and look around?"

Fuck yeah we're back on track.
>> No. 13773
[x] "Maybe you should climb up that tree and look around?"

FUCK YES AoD
>> No. 13776
[X] "Maybe you should climb up that tree and look around?"
I nearly forgot how much I love Renko.
>> No. 13777
Okay then. I'll be back in a few hours, and hopefully I'll be able to get a good number of updates out today.
>> No. 13778
[x] "Maybe you should climb up that tree and look around?"
>> No. 13779
Okay then. Back and (attempting) to write.
>> No. 13781
File 123162741227.jpg - (23.76KB , 579x630 , Renko_018.jpg ) [iqdb]
13781
"Maybe... Maybe you should climb up that tree?" The two of you look up to the top of the tree where Renko had carved your names together. Quietly, you continue. "From up there, you could probably get a good look around the area, right?"

Looking the trunk of the plant up and down, Renko nods, making a few noises that sound like hums of agreement. Taking a firm hold of the trunk, she boosts herself up to grab the first branch, and, pulling herself up to rest on the branch, finds her balance. She steps on it a few times, nods, then gestures down to you with a thumbs-up and a goofy smile. Laughing, all you can do is return the hand gesture, and watch as she begins to ascend the tall pole of hard bark and leaves.

Little by little, she gradually makes her way up the trunk, until she's so high up that you can't even see her through the foilage anymore. A few moments of silence pass, followed by the sound of her gradually making her way back down. After a few more moments she's gotten back on the ground, with a look of rapture on her face.

"Aoi! You won't believe what's this way!" She grabs your arm and pulls you along with her, causing the two of you to begin running off in a new direction through the woods.

Before you have time to object, you find yourself looking at a familiar, yet still creepy, graveyard. The gravestones are still as they were the last time you were there, and, looking at one of the most important locations in the area, the place where you found the flute has... been patched back up, as if the tile had never broken through. Renko tugs your arm, guiding you along through the graveyard, the moon still shining brightly up above. After you reach the middle of the place she turns around, throwing her arms in the air as she cheers out with joy.

"Aoi, we did it! We can get back to the mansion from here!" She pumps a fist into the air and laughs, a look of childish amusement spreading over her face. It's just now that you realize how hungry you are, as your stomach lets out a large roar.

Clutching your middle, you blush heavily as Renko turns around. She looks you over, then pokes your head to get your attention.

"It's okay, no need to be embarrased! To tell you the truth, I'm pretty hungry too!" Clutching the back of her head, she laughs merrilly, making herself as vocal and loud as ever. You can only smile as she grabs you by the hand, and the two of you make your way out of the grim place.

Just as you leave, one grave stone catches your eye. On it, you see the names of a man and woman, probably married, who both have an extremely odd last name.

"...Prismriver..."

"Eh?" Slowing down, Ren turns her head to look at you. "Prismriver? What is that, some kind of foreigner's drink or something?"

"Ah, no..." Ignoring the grave's name, you continue to walk along the path, picking up your speed. "It's nothing, nothing at all."

Surely enough, the two of you soon find yourselves leaving behind the loud chirps of the forest's cicadas for the near-solitude of the city. Houses along the street all have their lights off, except for a few where you imagine some busy wives must be up early to take care of some chores, and to prepare lunches for their husbands and children. No cars are moving about on the street, and, instead, they just sit on the sides and in their driveways, as quiet and dark as the homes they belong to.

Passing through the district, you can't help but wonder what happened earlier. It's as if you had some strange nightmare, where a horrible blonde witch had thrown you into some hellish pit, for reasons beyond your understanding. You try to shrug the dream off, but curiousity gets the best of you, as you begin to talk to Renko about it.

"Renko... I was wondering, did you have any weird dreams during the night?"

"Eh?" Taking her hat off to enjoy the early morning breeze, she nods. "How did you know, Aoi? Did you have a bad dream too?"

"Yeah... It was really weird. You were there, and Mary was there, and there were some really strange people running around the mansion. They took you away, and then they took me and threw me into some weird place where the library should've been..."

Renko suddenly stops in her tracks, and you come to a stop, as well. A moment passes before she turns around, bringing her head close to yours, with a grim look upon her face. The words that follow are whispered in a hushed, serious tone, though you can tell that she's being silly.

"Aoi... Are you clairvoyant?"

"E-eh?" Shaking your head, you squeeze her hand as you respond. "No, it's just that I..."

Falling silent, you just look at the ground, until Renko puts her arm around your shoulder and starts to walk again. You merely continue your staring contest with the pavement, as your heart begins to beat faster. Thinking about Renko's arm on your shoulders... and the smell of her hair... It's hard to not be embarrased, as you can't stop yourself from noticing all of these things about her. Soon enough, you've found yourselves back at the gates of the Han Mansion, and just as Renko reaches for the call button, she stops, looking thoughtful.

"Hmm..." She brings her hand to her chin, looking at the box as she does so. "Do you think we should really bother Mary at this time of the day, Aoi...?"

[ ] "She must be worried, so it's only right."
[ ] "...I guess you're right. Maybe we should just go back to our homes."
[ ] "Maybe we shouldn't... so, I guess I'll just go home now..."
>> No. 13782
>>13781

[x] "Actually, do you think I could stay over with you tonight?"
>> No. 13783
[X] "Actually, do you think I could stay over with you tonight?"

This is pretty nice.
>> No. 13786
[x] "Actually, do you think I could stay over with you tonight?"
>> No. 13788
[X] "Actually, do you think I could stay over with you tonight?"

I can get behind this.
>> No. 13793
[x] "Actually, do you think I could stay over with you tonight?"

Though I still want to punch Mary in the face.
>> No. 13795
I suppose it's that time, yet again. Best get to work.

Writing now.
>> No. 13796
File 12316516456.jpg - (10.42KB , 300x225 , heated table.jpg ) [iqdb]
13796
"...No, actually..." Stepping around so that you're once again facing Renko, you hold your hands behind your back. "Do you think I could stay over at your house tonight?"

Renko lowers her hand to her side, smiling. Even around your new family, you never really get to see a real smile, which is actually a sign of happiness. It's only around Renko that you get to see this sort of thing. She mimics you by putting her hands behind her back, but she pulls a leg back to punt a small rock that was resting on the pavement.

"That's right, it's been a while since you were over at my house, right? I guess it'll be fine, so long as you behave yourself, of course."

"Ah! Of course I will!" Clenching your fists, you nod excitedly. Other than serving as an excuse to not see your step sister for a little longer, you honestly enjoy the atmosphere at Renko's home. Her parents are so kind, unlike your new father who hides his distaste for you because of your mother. Her little sister is really cute, too, and her little brown cat is really sweet. Other than those things, Renko lives in a nice area, where most everybody is nice, as opposed to the area around your apartment, where everybody ignores everyone else.

Taking one more look at the impressive structure that is the Han Mansion, Renko sighs, putting her arms behind her head as she stretches them. Turning about, she starts off towards the direction of her home, and you follow her. It isn't long before you find yourselves in the shopping district, where the storeclerks have all gathered to go about getting their shops ready for the day. You can't help but take notice of the store you and Renko were at the other day, and of a few other shops that look really interesting. One of the shops, however, looks a lot more strange than it does interesting. The would be the "occult" shop, tucked away tightly between two less as strange places, one which sells makeup, and another which sells the latest light novels and DVD sets.

"Ahaha." Turning your attention back to Renko, you can see that she had been watching as you glanced over the shops in the area. "We should really come down here later. Maybe we could get you a really cute pink dress, with some frills and a pur-"

"N-No! That's embarrassing, don't talk about that sort of thing so openly in public!"

Renko merely chuckles in response, and you realize how silly your words were. Even in a place like this, there's barely anyone around at this time of day. There used to be a lot more people , and the shops would stay open much later, but they soon moved onto a new city that had been built nearby. As a result, the whole area has calmed down a bit, and it feels more like a modern village than it does an actual city. At least, in most areas it does.

Soon enough, you find yourself in an area where all the houses are two stories tall, and each one has a little front and back yard to go with it. Such places are nice, since they keep a bit of nature that the city always shoves out. Soon enough Renko has led you to the front door of her home, and you notice how much your legs are aching, and how much more tired you feel as the sun peeks over the horizon, making your eyes ache. Putting a key in the slot, she opens the door as quietly as she can, and looks around inside slowly, as if she were ready to rob the place.

"Okay... I think nobody is awake. Come on, let's go up to my room."

Following Renko's lead, you make your way into the place and up the stairs, making sure to be as silent as you can be. Passing by another room that is on that floor, which is the room where Renko's little sister sleeps, the two of you enter a room on the other side of the hall, which is, of course, Renko's.

It isn't a very fancy place. A few mats lay on the floor to make it look a bit better, and a large heated table sits in the middle of the room, with a small television seated on a dresser just a few feet from it. Two other doors are in the room, one which is Renko's closet, and another which is a small space that has two nooks that, oddly enough, make for comfortable beds. One thing you notice, which wasn't here the last time you visited, is a little fridge humming gently as it sits near the window. Renko's old computer is still there on a little desk, though it looks like she added some things to it since you had last been here.

"Ah..." Renko speaks, with her voice very low. Sitting down, she gestures for you to do the same, which you do. "Wow... I'm beat. It feels like I haven't slept for days or something... You know what I mean?"

"Ah... yeah." Rubbing your eyes, you stifle a yawn. It's early in the day, but... you'd really rather just get some sleep.

Renko stretches a bit more, then begins to unbutton her shirt, much to your surprise. For a second you hunch back in shock, feeling a blush come over your face, and remain that way until the girl speaks up.

"If you don't want me to tease you for being a pevert, you might want to turn around."

"A...Ah! R-right!" Spinning about, you swallow deeply as you hear Renko discarding her clothing and rumagging through her closet for something else to wear. After a few more moments you hear her say it's okay to look, and you turn about to see that she's now wearing a pair of crimson pajamas, with her hair still tied in a ponytail in the front. She makes her way to the strange beds in the wall behind you, and opens the door to them slowly.

"Hey... You want the top or the bottom?" Your blush gets deeper, and Renko merely grins at your expense. A moment passes in silence, and she then shrugs, climbing into the lower of the two spaces. "If you can't choose, then I'll call bottom. You can borrow a pair of my pajamas for now, so hurry up and do it, so we can get to bed."

Brushing off her last embarassing comment, you make your way to the closet as you hear her shut the door. Opening the thing, you mainly see some school uniforms, along with other more casual clothings... and a pair of blue pajamas, just like hers, hanging at the end of the closet. Pulling the thing out, you make a quick change of clothes, setting your own clothing down near Renko's, and beginning to make your way over to the hole where the bed is, when you can't help but think... How long had you and Renko been out there? Should you really be sleeping right now?

[ ] It's fine, just go to bed.
[ ] Check the computer.
[ ] Turn on the TV.
>> No. 13797
[ ] Check the computer.
>> No. 13800
[x] Check the computer.
>> No. 13804
>[ ] Check the computer.
It's rude to check other people's computers without asking for permission!
[X] It's fine, just go to bed.
>> No. 13805
[x] Check the computer.
>> No. 13807
[x] It's fine, just go to bed.
>> No. 13809
I guess I'll leave this open until I'm done eating, and then I'll write. So yeah, updates should be here soonish.
>> No. 13811
[x] Check the computer.
>> No. 13813
...Actually, you really are curious...

Making your way over to the computer, you press the button that causes the screen to light up. The background on the thing is a picture of some girl's comic that you aren't too familiar with, though you at least recognize the characters. A few shortcuts to different folders and programs are on the desktop, including a folder named "Special pictures", and another folder called "Aoi's drawings". Ignoring these two, you roll the mouse over the time in the lower right on the screen, giving it a second to display the date. As soon as the day comes up... You're left confused. According to this computer, you and Renko were gone for a full day, which is... It must be a mistake, you tell yourself.

Looking again, and thinking over things that could make it look wrong, you conclude that the date is right, and the two of you must've been in that forest for a full day. The strange discovery aside, you notice the sound of someone downstairs, moving about and making a few recognizable noises, which sound like the noises a mother makes when preparing a packed lunch. Figuring that you'll talk to Renko's parents about this issue of being gone so long later, you finally crawl into the upper alcove, pulling the blanket in the thing over yourself as you try to get some rest.

. . .

...It's useless. No matter how exhausted you are, no matter how tired your eyes are, and no matter how much you want to sleep, you just can't. Questions keep popping up in your head, like "Where's Nyom?", and "How did we stay out there so long while going untouched?"

Sighing heavily, you turn over in the space. After doing so, you notice something in the compartment with you. It's... a video tape. It take a moment to sink in, but you soon recognize this as a video Renko had been shooting one day of you, Mary, and herself going around the city. She had insisted that things like that are special memories, that shouldn't be forgotten... You can't help but agree with that statement. That was one of the few times all three of you had fun and laughed together, despite the hate Mary seemed to have for you. Holding the thing close, you smile, and open the door once more so you can put it outside of the compartments, where it'll be safe.

Even after closing the door again, you can't sleep. All you can do is toss and turn restlessly, wanting to sleep without the ability to do so. All of this comes to an end, though, as a soft, warm blob presses itself up against your back. Making its usual "myon" noises, the thing settles down next to you, giving you a feeling of security. It doesn't matter how it got there, so long as it's around. Finally content, you close your eyes as you fade off into sleep.
>> No. 13814
File 123170931650.jpg - (258.52KB , 850x1181 , Yukari and Yuyuko.jpg ) [iqdb]
13814
...

It's her again. That woman that calls herself "Yukari". For some reason she's floating around in that awful hole of hers, which suspends her in the air. Next to her is a woman you recognize as Layla Prismriver, though how you know that woman is beyond you. The two seem to be talking, and enjoying a cup of tea as they look at the cherry blossoms that are all over the large yard they're sitting in. Another woman, who is a girl with, oddly enough, pink hair, floats over to them, seemingly unaffected by logic. She seems to sit down in a tall chair that isn't there, as the edge of her dress blows around below her.

The petals from the trees fall slowly, dancing around as they land. No cicadas can be heard in this calm place. Only the sounds of a group of what seems to be friends dominates the air around you, and just as the woman, "Yukari", is about to fall back through her hole, a young girl with grey hair appears from a palacial mansion nearby, hurrying over to the group with a plate that's covered in strange yet tasty looking snacks. Also on the plate, which may be morely accuratley reffered to as a tray, is a large teapot and a few cups, which the girl distributes to the three women, then pouring tea for every one of them.

"Ah, thank you, Youmu!" The pink haired woman addresses the young girl, who bows her head in reply. The woman has a rather sweet voice, which sounds both youthful and carefree, as if the owner hadn't a care in the world. "So, Layla... What were you saying about a magical singing chicken?"

"Oh, no! It's not a magical singing chicken, she's a young, talented youkai. I thought that we might like to see about getting her help next time my sisters and I played music here." Layla's voice matches her looks. She looks to be a somewhat young girl, maybe no more than 27 years old. Her voice, young as it may sound, is still like that of an old woman compared to the pink woman's voice.

"Oh, yes, her." The most mature of the three, Yukari, speaks up now, fanning herself as she sips some of her tea. "I'm sure we can get her help one way or another, so long as we make an effort to do so."

The three laugh together, the girl, Youmu, remaining stately and silent, as she merely sips her own cup of tea. The pink haired woman grabs the girl around the chest, giving her a firm squeeze as she does so. The girl gasps in reply, a thick blush coming across her face. It's just now that you notice the familiar blob behind her, which wiggles around just as she does, as if it felt the same thing she had.

"...Nyom?" Though you speak, there's no reply. It's as if you're watching a movie, where your speaking and mere presence has no effect on the events taking place. After a little while, the four of them have finished off the tea and food, and the youngest of them has gotten up, heading back to the palatial residence in the distance.

"Ahaha..." Yukari speaks up once more, sounding a little more immature than she had earlier. "Hey, Yuyu. This is such a nice view of the cherry blossoms, so don't you think it'd be a great time for a drink?"

The pink haired woman, "Yuyu", nods, and then turns to look at the small girl who is almost back at the building she was walking to.

"Yooouuumuuu!" She belows her words out, so that they'll be able to carry accross the yard to reach the girl. "When you come back, make sure to bring us something to drink! If you're good, then you can have some, too!"

The woman breathes out dreamily, and in the most luxurious way you could imagine. The three left just sit there for a second, before Yukari, who seems to be very talkative, speaks up once more.

"Layla, about what you told me before..."

"Yes, yes, I meant it." The girl speaks with a grin on her face and a blush on her cheeks, and the 'third wheel', Yuyu, merely watches in confusion. "You said you felt the same way about it, didn't you?"

"Hmm... I suppose I did, didn't I?" Yukari laughs, with a laugh that's unexpectedly sweet and cheerful. What happened to the frightening, fearsome figure you had first encountered? Is that just an act, and is this who she really is? "Well then, I guess Yuyuko could give us her blessing on that effort, right, Yuyu?"

The woman, who you now know is properly named "Yuyuko", nods. She seems unsure of just what the other two are talking about, but she seemed a little spacey earlier, too. Looking out at the horizon, there's a large, and, for that matter, impossibly tall tree off in the distance. Yukari's eyes shine with glee as she looks on at the thing, and she remarks with one last thing before this vision of happiness comes to an end.

"I think that'll be the perfect place to hold it. In front of the most beautiful tree in all of Gensokyo."

...
>> No. 13815
...

Stretching your arms, you're met with the hard roof of the alcove. After fidgeting about from not remembering just where you are, you remember how you came to Renko's home and that you're now sleeping in, or, you were sleeping in, one of her beds. The door is open, and at the heated table you can see Renko, smiling at you as you pull yourself out of bed. She grins, and pats the spot next to her at the table. Though you'd like to sit right next to her... You don't, and as a result you find yourself sitting at the other side of the table, looking directly at her.

"So, how'd you sleep?" Her smile is unrelenting, as she continues to beam joyfully at you. "I can honestly tell you that I feel great now. It's like I was never even that exhausted earlier!"

You smile, and place your hands on top of the table. Since it's summer, the heating part is turned off, and yet, for some reason, Renko has decided to leave the thick blanket on the table. A few rays of sunlight beam into the room through the window, and it looks like it must be some time in the afternoon.

"I slept well, too. I can't believe how comfy those things are, and they smell so nice too!"

Renko merely chuckles for a moment, and then speaks back up.

"Actually, that's the one I normally use. I'm glad you think that I smell good, though. It's a really sweet thing to say."

After the realization of having slept where Renko normally sleeps hits you, your heart begins to pound madly as you remember the smell of those sheets. Your breathing slows a little bit and... No! Shaking your head, you get rid of the impure thoughts you were having as a result of Renko's smell on the sheets. As the girl grins playfully, the door to the hall opens, and a small girl skips in, her arms spread out to either side.

A blue ribbon is in her hair, holding it up in a ponytail behind her head. Her hair itself is the same color as Renko's, though, unlike her big sister, she has blue eyes, which are actually kind of dull in this lighting. She swings her hips about as she closes the door to the room, causing her white, one piece dress to fly about as she does so, giving her the appearance of some sort of little sister you'd expect to see in a game, or some other form of media.

"Ah, so you're back?" Renko seems to have a normal expression as she talks to her little sister. The girl nods, and takes a seat at the table, smiling in a way that's not as exagerated as her older sister's smiles.

"Yeah, and it was really fun too! You should've been there, they had all kinds of animals, and there were really great snacks too! Papa even carried me around on his shoulders when I got tired." The small girl giggles, and then looks over at you. "So, you're awake now, Aoi? Did you sleep well?"

"Ah... Yeah, I did. Thanks for asking." You return the smile, and then turn your attention back to Renko as she speaks up.

"Well, now that he's awake, I think we should get going to see Mary. I called her earlier and said we'd come by, so it'd be rude to keep her waiting, right?"

Renko's little sister merely puffs her cheeks out as a response, pouting as she lays her arms out across the table. Renko laughs half-heartedly, ruffling the little girl's hair as she does so.

"Don't worry, we'll be back later, okay?" The smaller girl looks up at Renko with pleading eyes, and Renko answers before her sister can even ask. "Yes, really."

The girl sighs, and stands back up, walking over to the door. She turns back and looks at you, and then at Renko, before exiting the room. Before she closes the door, she says one more thing.

"I really wanted to play with Aoi today, but I guess I'll just wait... If I have to..."

With that, she shuts the door, and takes off like a jet down the hall, making her way to the stairs. Renko sighs, shaking her head slightly, and then looks back to you.

"So, are you about ready to head over? You should really change first, but that shouldn't take too long, right?"

It's just now that you notice how Renko has already changed into a school uniform, and how her pajamas from last night have been left on the edge of the wall in a pile, along with a few other articles of clothing.

[ ] "Okay, can I borrow one of your uniforms, then?"
[ ] "Sure, but could I borrow something to wear?"
[ ] "Okay, but... why don't we take your sister with us? I think she'd like to go, too."
>> No. 13817
[X] "Okay, can I borrow one of your uniforms, then?"

Don't want to risk the little sister's safety, but I feel bad about leaving her behind...

Oh well, Aoi can cheer up by soaking up Renko's smell while wearing her clothes.
>> No. 13819
[X] "Okay, can I borrow one of your uniforms, then?"
>> No. 13820
>[ ] "Okay, but... why don't we take your sister with us? I think she'd like to go, too."

Do not want another casualty to Mary's games.

[x] "Sure, but could I borrow something to wear?"

Because I want to indulge Renko's desire to play dress-up with us, of course picking out her raciest underwear.
>> No. 13822
>[ ] "Okay, can I borrow one of your uniforms, then?"
"They should fit well, since I don't have any kind of chest to speak of either!"

[X] "Sure, but could I borrow something to wear?"
Hopefully this will lead to Renko picking something for us.
>> No. 13823
[x] "Okay, can I borrow one of your uniforms, then?"

WALLS
>> No. 13826
[X] "Sure, but could I borrow something to wear?"
>> No. 13831
[X] "Sure, but could I borrow something to wear?"
>> No. 13832
Okay, calling it now. Writing here shortly.
>> No. 13833
>>13832

Hooray!
>> No. 13840
File 123173905213.jpg - (111.60KB , 600x600 , Renko and Maribel.jpg ) [iqdb]
13840
"Yeah, I guess so. But I was just wondering, would it be okay if I borrowed something of yours to wear?"

Renko stops for a moment, then a sly, scheming look appears on her face. She nods, and gets up to open her closet. Pushing the school uniforms to one side, she pulls some other clothing down on the pole holding the clothes up. This group of clothing is much brighter and frillier than what you've ever seen her wear, and it all looks like something a pop idol may wear. After looking through that bunch, she pushes it to the side as she continues her search, looking for someting to have you wear as you go over to visit Mary.

After another minute of searching she pulls out a big, white dress, which has two big bows on it. One on the chest, and one on the rear, both of which are a deep blue color. Rummaging around a bit more, Renko finds a similar white hat which has a black trim around the base, and turns back to you as she holds the two up proudly.

"...You... you don't want me to wear that, do you?" She doesn't even need to answer. The large grin on her face and the look in her eyes are enough of an answer on their own. After setting the two down on the table, she snaps her fingers and returns to the closet, to pull out some shoes and stockings that also go with the getup. You can merely look on in horror at the strange thing she had been keeping tucked away in her closet, and you can't help but wonder why she has things like this. Opening the hallway door, Renko steps out and gives you a wink.

"Hurry up! It's getting late, and we don't want to make Mary mad, do we?"

She shuts the door, and the sound of footsteps descending a flight of stairs can be heard after a moment's wait. Turning your attention to the outfit, you sigh, removing the pajamas so you can wear this... thing. After a few minutes you buckle both the shoes and leave the room, making your way into the bathroom to look at yourself. Your ponytail had kept getting in the way of the hat, so you decided to undo it for now, and let your hair hang loose. Paying attention to the outift itself, it seems to actually fit you just about right, which sends chills up your spine as you think about it.

Exiting the room, you look to the foyer below, where Renko is waiting by the door with two large, custard filled buns. Noticing you, she gestures to you with the other, and you take the thing and begin to eat it as the two of you leave the house, making your way to Maribel's home. You can't help but notice a few strangers looking at you, and some of them even mentioning the white dress. All you can do, for now, is clutch the sides of it and try to hide your legs away, as a thick blush covers your face. In all honesty, this attention is the last sort of thing you'd want.

The trip goes by pretty uneventful, with Renko just pointing out a few shops that should be open whenever the two of you head back. Soon enough you've found yourself at the gate of the mansion, with Renko actually pressing the call button this time. After a few seconds the call is answered by a feminine voice, which you recognize as that of one of the maids.

"Hello? Are you here to see Miss Maribel today?"

"Yeah!" Renko replies loudly, pointing her head at the box, as if she were actually talking to it and not the person on the other end. "It's Renko and Aoi, we called earlier. Mary told you, right?"

"Oh, right! I'll let you in right away."

No sooner than the maid's finished these words does the gate to the mansion open up, letting the two of you enter the grounds. Passing by the shrubbery and other luxuries, you soon find yourself inside the mansion, with Maribel trotting down the stairs hurriedly. She runs towards Renko and flys at her with a hug, holding her tight.

"Oh, Renko! You wouldn't believe how worried I was when you vanished, it was like a complete nightmare! I couldn't find you downstairs, or upstairs, or even out back! You really scared me, you know?"

"Ahaha..." Renko, taken aback, pats Merry's head reluctantly. Regaining her posture, she looks around the place and then at the floor, where a few tiles have been scratched up from the night you had spent here a few days ago. "Oh... where'd those come from?"

"Mmm? Those?" Maribel looks at the scratches and nods. She seems hesitant to answer, but then puts on a smile and replies. "Those were left there when one of the maids had a little accident with a package. It's nothing to be concerned about."

Renko takes a second when Mary is looking the other way to pass you an odd glance, as if to ask 'Is she telling the truth?'. This surprises you, but there's no way to give her an answer, as Maribel turns her attention back to the two of you, though she seems a bit more foccused on you at the moment.

"Hey... what's with that outfit? It looks pretty strange, like something someone would wear at one of those conventions." She taps her chin with a finger, looking slightly dismayed. "Could it be that you enjoy that sort of thing, Aoi?"

"Ah... no, no! It's not that, I just... Couldn't find anything else to wear, is all."

Mary sighs visibly and vocally, then turns her attention to Renko for a moment. After a brief silence she turns back to you, gesturing to the direction of the basement.

"Hey, could you go get something for me from down there? It's called 'Demonstrations of Uncomely Rituals of Reconfiguratioin'. It should be near the door when you enter, so it shouldn't be hard to find."

[ ] "...Couldn't you just have a maid do that for you?"
[ ] "Well, okay. I guess it's fine... but you'll owe me one."
[ ] "I'd rather not..."
>> No. 13841
>>13840

[x] "After what happened a day ago? Hell no."
>> No. 13844
OBJECTION!!

[x] "After what happened a day ago? Hell no!"

>It's called 'Demonstrations of Uncomely Rituals of Reconfiguration'.

DURR
>> No. 13850
Delicious Aoi~

{X} "After what happened a day ago? Hell no."
>> No. 13861
[x] "After what happened a day ago? Hell no!"

DURR HURR
>> No. 13866
[X] "I'd rather not..."
That write-in doesn't really fit with my image of Aoi, but if necesary, count this as it for the matter of votes.
>> No. 13869
Okay, warming up to write. Expect an update in a little bit.
>> No. 13876
File 123180860711.png - (280.19KB , 450x600 , Renko_001.png ) [iqdb]
13876
"After what happened before? No way!"

Huffing, you fold your arms. Maribel merely shrugs, while Renko looks back and forth between the two of you. For a moment you only stand there, as a maid or two passes by to attend to chores in another part of the mansion. Mary turns about, climbing up the stairs. After a second she's reached the top, and she gestures for you and Renko to come with her.

Looking at Renko before you do so, you can see that she's smiling, just like her usual self. Deciding that nothing can happen so long as Renko is around, you climb up the steps with her, meeting Mary at the top.

"Come on, this way!" Mary takes off into one of the hallways, and you follow, with Renko just a few feet in front of you. Taking another look at the halls, you can see that the maids have been going all out today, as there's not a spot left untouched. Every vase is gleaming, every carpet fiber is clean, and every wall is free of smudges. After a few more seconds you and the others enter a smallish room, with a television and a large couch, which curves at one point to fit in this space. Sitting in the middle of this scene is a coffee table, with a few drinks and snacks laid out on it.

Plopping herself down, Maribel sighs heavily. Renko also takes a seat as she pulls her hat off, letting her hair be free of the tight, hot space it had been in. Following their lead, you also take a seat, and listen in as Renko begins to talk.

"Hey, Mary?" Maribel turns her head to look at Renko, who sounds a bit more vocal than usual. "What happened before? You know, what were you and Aoi talking about?"

For a split second, you exchange glances with Maribel, a wicked look in her eyes. It shocks you to see her so grim about something, but she swiftly returns to her happy expression that she wears around Renko.

"Ah, it was just a little misunderstanding is all. I was showing Aoi a book down in the basement, and he freaked out, and even started to yell at me!"

Renko raises and eyebrow, and looks at you curiously. Your fists are clenched up between your legs, and you can feel your anger rising. While everything she just said was true... she left one important part out. That being the knife she threatened you with. A few words from Renko makes you focus on keeping your cool once again, as she begins to speak.

"Aoi... is that true? Did you really yell at her for no reason"

"It wasn't for no reason!" Holding on to the edge of the dress, you look at Renko pleadingly. "I only yelled at her because she threatened me!"

The grin on Mary's face vanishes, instead turning itself upside-down. Her eyes widen a bit in shock, as if she hadn't been expecting you to say that, and she doesn't even change that expression after Renko turns her attention back to her.

"Mary, is that true? Did you really threaten Ao-"

"No!" The blonde girl shakes her head violently, pointing an accusing finger out at you. The look on her face has gone from a visage of surprise to an expression of rage, and she begins to yell as she continues. "He's not telling the truth! He's trying to make you think I'm a bad person, so he can have you all to himself! He..."

As if noticing how strange she's acting, she begins to breathe clamly, returning to her neutral disposition. Renko folds her arms and closes her eyes, nodding knowingly.

"Huh... I guess I shouldn't have asked, right?" She smiles, not at you, and not at Maribel, but inwardly to herself. Opening her eyes back up, she reaches out and takes a cookie that was laying out, continuing to speak inbetween bites. "I don't think we should let something like that get in the way of three friends enjoying themselves, though. So I don't know about you two... but I'm really hungry right now."

After finishing the sweet, she picks up an orange and a knife, slowly removing the skin from the thing. You and Maribel look at eachother, not exchanging glances, but merely looking in eachother's directions. She frowns, then turns her attention to the food before the three of you. Reaching out, she grabs a bun and bites into it, chewing slowly as she picks up the remote to the television.

Turning the thing on, the channel that first appears is the news. A man with brown, neat hair is sitting at a table, with a picture of an average home on the left side of the screen. The title of the report is strange, and you have to look twice to see that it has to do with someone in that place... killing... themself.

"Earlier this morning, police found a father of three dead, having cut his own throat open with a kitchen knife. Authorities are currently attempting to figure out why he'd commit suicide, and if there was actually a killer behind this event. Also found in the home was his wife, who had been located with her head gone, leaving behind her neck and her body. The body had been cut up a bit, and an incision had been made, where a potential killer removed her-"

Maribel changes the channel, a look of disgust on her face. She leaves it on some show about a pop idol and her career, then turns to Renko.

"Can you believe the sorts of things they show on the news? I mean, they could at least censor the images, right? Nobody wants to see that!"

"Ah... I guess so. It sounded pretty weird though, right? I mean, why would something strange like that even happen?"

Maribel shrugs, then turns her attention back to you. Standing up, she makes her way over to the door, opening it only slightly. She looks back at you, then gestures out the door with her head.

"I'm going to go use the toilet, I'll be back in after a few minutes."

With that she shuts the door, leaving you and Renko to yourselves. Taking a donut in one hand and your cup in the other, you see that the cup is full of lemonade and ice. Renko takes a slice of the orange, offering it to you. You take it and chew it as you think about what the news said, when she suddenly speaks up.

"So, Aoi... I was wanting to take a quick look at something before Maribel gets back, and knowing how she is with bathrooms, we should have plenty of time. So... Let's go look at the basement!"

[ ] "What? Why?"
[ ] "No, I think we should stay here."
[ ] "...Okay. Let's go."
>> No. 13878
[x] Lower your voice: "She's not in the bathroom, Renko. She was motioning for me to follow her, probably to the basement. While I'm not exactly keen on mucking around down there, anything is better than being left alone with her when she's like this."

Wherever you want to go Renko, I'll follow you.
>> No. 13879
[x] Lower your voice: "She's not in the bathroom, Renko. She was motioning for me to follow her, probably to the basement. While I'm not exactly keen on mucking around down there, anything is better than being left alone with her when she's like this."
>> No. 13880
{X} Lower your voice: "She's not in the bathroom, Renko. She was motioning for me to follow her, probably to the basement. While I'm not exactly keen on mucking around down there, anything is better than being left alone with her when she's like this."
>> No. 13885
File 123190015576.jpg - (36.44KB , 480x640 , Maribel.jpg ) [iqdb]
13885
"...Renko..." Lowering your voice out of the fear that someone may be listening, you continue. "I don't think she's in the bathroom. When she left the room earlier, she motioned for me to follow her, most likely to the basement. I don't really want to go down there, but..."

Renko leans forward, looking at you curiously. A few crumbs decorate her cheeks, making her look rather silly as she speaks.

"But?"

"Well... I guess, so long as you're there, too, it'll be fine. Let's go!"

Renko watches as you get up and head for the door, her eyes full of curiousity. Opening the door, you motion for her to follow, and she does. The two of you leave the room and make your way to the hallway that has the entrance to the basement, which takes all of three minutes to reach when walking at a quick speed. Opening the door to the stairway, a foul smell comes up from below. Both you and Renko grab your noses in disgust, and, reaching into the place, you turn the lights on with a quick flick of a switch.

Other than the awful smell, nothing seems out of order below. Just a simple hall, and a not-so-simple door. Moving slowly, you descend the steps with Renko in tow, making sure to not make a single noise. Approaching the door, you knock on it, to see if anyone will answer. After a few seconds of silence you knock again, still with no reply.

"Hey! Mary, I followed you down here! Open up!" Knocking on it a few more times, there's still no answer. Not even a single sound from the other side of the door. You can't help but feel that you might as well head back up, since the lack of answers from Mary and the horrible smell are both making you want to leave. Just as you turn to head back up the steps, Renko knocks her hand against the door, looking at it with a determined face.

"Mary, open up! What are you doing in there?" Her voice is stern, unlike how it normally is. The look in her eyes shows that she isn't very amused by this act, though neither of these are enough to make you want to stay. As Renko continues to knock, you begin to ascend the steps, holding your nose the whole way up.

Setting your feet back in the hall, you breathe deeply. The smell of the basement is still there, but it isn't as strong as it was before. Looking back down, Renko is heading up the stairs, shrugging her shoulders. After she comes back up, she plops down against the wall, sighing loudly. You sit down next to her, holding the end of the dress up against your legs.

"Maybe she isn't down there, afterall..." Renko looks up at the ceiling, her eyes glazed over with thought. As she speaks, she shuts the door, making the strange odor vanish completely. "I can't see why she would be down there anyway, it smells like someone left something out for too long."

"Yeah..." Holding your hands together, you continue to peek over at her. The look on her face isn't angry, but it doesn't seem very happy either. "Maybe we should head back...?"

Renko sits there for a moment, not saying a word. She looks over at you, and then back to the door. She then looks out at the foyer, and then back up at the ceiling. You merely sit there and watch as she does this, until she speaks back up.

"Yeah... I guess that's a good idea."

Standing up, Renko yawns loudly, spreading her arms as she does so. You follow her lead and get up as well, and the two of you begin to walk back to the room you left behind. While walking along, a question pops into your mind, and you ask it before even thinking twice.

"Renko..." She turns her head to look at you, a smile now on her face. It seems she's back to her usual cheery mood. "What were you wanting to do down there, anyway?"

"Ah, that." Touching a finger to her cheek, Renko looks a bit embarrassed. "I was wanting to look at those books of hers and see what sorts of things were in them."

"Is that so...?"

The two of you continue to walk side by side, until you reach the room you had left earlier. Opening the door, the first thing you notice is Maribel sitting on the couch, looking at the TV. Her attention switches over to the two of you, and she raises an eyebrow.

"Oh, there you are. Where did you two go?"

Looking on in confusion, you manage to make some semblance of words. "You... You weren't in the basement?"

Maribel shakes her head, looking a bit annoyed. Renko steps into the room, and you follow her lead. Mary looks between the two of you before speaking again, but her question seems aimed at you, and not Renko.

"Like I said, I was using the toilet. Do you mean to tell me you thought I was in the basement or something?"

[ ] Let Renko handle this.
[ ] "Wait, if you weren't down there, then what was that smell about?"
[ ] "Oh, no... We thought you might've been down there, is all. We were just looking around."

--------

Just noticed that I put my trip in wrong on that last update. Sorry about that.
>> No. 13886
[ ] "Wait, if you weren't down there, then what was that smell about?"
>> No. 13887
File 123190885453.jpg - (21.24KB , 315x299 , 1209632403811.jpg ) [iqdb]
13887
>"Like I said, I was using the toilet. Do you mean to tell me you thought I was in the basement or something?"
>"Wait, if you weren't down there, then what was that smell about?"
>> No. 13888
[ ] "Wait, if you weren't down there, then what was that smell about?"

Hahahahaha!
>> No. 13891
{X} "Wait, if you weren't down there, then what was that smell about?"
>> No. 13894
>>[] "Wait, if you weren't down there, then what was that smell about?"
I love how insulting this option sounds.

>>[x] Let Renko handle this.
>> No. 13899
[x] "Wait, if you weren't down there, then what was that smell about?"
>> No. 13906
Yeah, no updates today. Expect some activity tommorow.
>> No. 13909
I am still looking forward to the day where Aoi is forced --by circumstance-- to wear panties instead.
>> No. 13910
File 123208725290.jpg - (14.00KB , 350x263 , 1231871711890.jpg ) [iqdb]
13910
>>13909
>> No. 13933
File 12323364253.jpg - (60.22KB , 287x333 , Aoinotamused.jpg ) [iqdb]
13933
"Oh... Wait a second..." Raising a finger to your mouth, you inwardly ponder why she had been telling the truth, and... "If you weren't down there... Then what was that smell about?"

Maribel's face turns red in an instant, and the way she bites her lips makes you realize what you had just said. You really don't care that you said something so insulting to her, though, since you don't really care for her at all. Clenching her skirt, Maribel speaks up, a slight hint of anger in her tone.

"You..." Another second passes, and she breathes in, then out. Seemingly calmer, she looks at you dead on, her eyebrows twitching a bit as she continues to look annoyed. "You thought that there was a bathroom down there, or something?"

"Oh, no, I..." Fumbling for words, your thoughts seem to 'trip' over eachother. After a short pause you continue, thinking that you can now say this the right way. "I thought you were doing something weird down there, like before. I mean... What was that thing you did with your head about?"

Maribel looks taken aback, as she starts to look up, as if she were trying to remember something so small that she had forgotten it in no time flat. She nods, then resumes speaking, barely sounding angry at all now.

"You mean that? I was just motioning out the hall. It's kind of become a habit, you know?"

"Ah, I know just what you mean!" Renko speaks up, nodding happilly. "I have some bad habits too, like picking my sister up and setting her down in the hall whenever she starts to get really annoying!"

For a moment, there's silence. Renko merely grins at the two of you, and you exchange glances with Maribel as she does so. For once, you think that you and Maribel have the same sort of feeling.

"Renko... That's not really a habit at all." Maribel sighs, shaking her head with a grin. "That's more like a mean thing to do to your sister, than anything."

"Huh... I hadn't thought about it like that."

Renko rubs her chin and looks up, looking thoughtful as she does so. Maribel shakes her head once more and turns her attention back to you, the smile vanishing from her face. She looks a bit serious, though she also seems unconcerned at the same moment. You can only describe the emotion on her face as "apathy", since it doesn't resemble anything else.

"If there really is some weird smell you want to check out, you can go bug a maid for a key to the basement. It'll be fine, anyway, since I was wanting to tell Renko something in private."

With a flick of her hand, she shoos you off. Looking at Renko, she's just shrugging with a silly grin on her face, leaving you a bit unsure of what to do.

[ ] "Okay, I'll do that. I'll be back in a few minutes."
[ ] "If you have something to say to Renko, I'm sure you can say it with me around too."
[ ] "Actually, no. I want you to come with me, Mary."

-----

I had been thinking of not updating until the weekend was over, but whatever. Next update will make up for this one being so short.
>> No. 13935
[x] "Okay, I'll do that. I'll be back in a few minutes."
Ideally, I'd prefer to just talk to one of the maids about the basement.
>> No. 13936
>"Ah, I know just what you mean!" Renko speaks up, nodding happilly. "I have some bad habits too, like picking my sister up and setting her down in the hall whenever she starts to get really annoying!"

Is Renko really dumb as a box of hammers, or is this just her desperate way of playing peacemaker?

[x] "Actually, I was leaving anyway. I have so much homework to do, and the laundry, and the dishes, and all those other things that regular people have to do when they don't have servants to wait on them hand-and-foot."

If I'm sure of anything in this story, it's that Mary is the Antichrist. If Renko is keen on being her willing hostage, then fine; I'm sure they'll be very happy together. Hopefully though, she'll either stop you or decide to ditch Mary and follow.
>> No. 13937
[x] "Actually, I was leaving anyway. I have so much homework to do, and the laundry, and the dishes, and all those other things that regular people have to do when they don't have servants to wait on them hand-and-foot."
>> No. 13938
{X} "Actually, I was leaving anyway. I have so much homework to do, and the laundry, and the dishes, and all those other things that regular people have to do when they don't have servants to wait on them hand-and-foot."
>> No. 13939
[X] "Actually, I was leaving anyway. I have so much homework to do, and the laundry, and the dishes, and all those other things that regular people have to do when they don't have servants to wait on them hand-and-foot."
>> No. 13940
[x] "Actually, I was leaving anyway. I have so much homework to do, and the laundry, and the dishes, and all those other things that regular people have to do when they don't have servants to wait on them hand-and-foot."

Homework, laundry and dishes from a few days ago.
>> No. 13942
[X] "Actually, I was leaving anyway. I have so much homework to do, and the laundry, and the dishes, and all those other things that regular people have to do when they don't have servants to wait on them hand-and-foot."

There, vote changed.
>> No. 13947
I got started on writing an update, but I'm too tired to continue. I'll be pretty busy tommorow, so the update won't be up until the evening comes around.

Also, slowing down a lot here. Going through a lot of annoying changes, so I don't have much of a choice.
>> No. 13978
>I'll be pretty busy tommorow, so the update won't be up until the evening comes around.

Which evening do you mean here?
>> No. 13979
>>13978

Yeah, sorry. I've had to go through some really annoying shit the past few days, but I should be getting back to activity today.

Also, I decided that I'll allow the Renko route for the first "route", for reasons such as "It splits into three parts", and "This probably won't have many playthroughs anyway". Also for the obvious reason that hers would probably be the most interesting.
>> No. 13980
>"Actually, I was leaving anyway"

Why this? Seriously, why do you guys keep on avoiding Mary and the Mansion? Are you blind or can't you read the immense sign of PLOT HOOK on them?
>> No. 13981
>>13980

Nine's portrayal of Mary is probably the most unsympathetic yet seen--an unabated string of dick moves. This is in spite of Anon's interest in her early in the CYOA (i.e., "Mary~").
>> No. 13982
>>13980
A good DM knows how to lock doors. I was the first vote btw.

>>13981
Isn't that what makes it interesting? or is this like U.N.Owen's Nathaniel: the plot calls for more interaction, but the audience feels they've had more than enough of him?
>> No. 13983
"...Actually, I was thinking of leaving." Brushing the skirt, you notice how Mary doesn't seem to care, though Renko looks concerned. "I have a lot of homework to do, along with laundry and dishes. The kinds of things people do when they don't have servants waiting on them hand and foot."

With that last comment, you've managed to strum the chord that is Maribel's anger. Her gaze pans over to you, an agitated look in her eyes. Renko also notices this, and begins to get up, until Maribel stands to her feet in a swift motion, clutching her fists at her sides as she continues to glare at you begrudgingly.

"You wouldn't have to do those things if you weren't such a problem child!" Her words are as sharp as her double-edged tongue, and her eyes are filled with a formerly dormant fury. She brandishes her tongue once more, letting out another blow. "If it weren't for you, everything would be normal!"

You try to respond, but no words meet your lips. Many thoughts accumulate in your mind, however, but you just don't have the expertise to put them together and get them out. With your lack of a response she continues, making it known that she, unlike you, can easily put similar thoughts into sentences.

"You're to blame for everything! Until you came along, everything was great. Dad was happy, Renko was happy, and I was happy, too! Even he was-"

Her words come to a sharp halt, and the angry girl bites her lip, turning her gaze to the floor. Renko, now standing up, has a look of terror on her face. A look that seems to say that something is about to be said that will either tear you apart, or do the same thing for Maribel. A look that is a mere harbinger for what is about to come.

"...Y... you!" Gritting her teeth, Maribel shakes her head in an incurable anger. Drops of what appear to be tears fall to the floor, and all at once she lets her rage go free. Breathing slowly, she takes her seat, with Renko holding her by the arm. Wiping at her eyes, she looks at you with a gaze that is anything but loving.

"Calm down, Mary..." Renko holds the blonde girl's arm, even now. Patting her shoulder, she turns her gaze to you. That look on her face doesn't show anger, and it doesn't show sympathy. It tells of an odd mixture of the two, which not even you can put into words. "Aoi... Wait for me in the foyer, okay? I think we should go home together."

Your heart throbbing in your chest, it's impossible to think that anything Renko says might be a bad idea. Merely nodding, you exit the room, leaving behind the two girls to their own business. The hall is the same as it has always been, and yet... Despite all that Mary has done and said to you... is it possible that she had a reason?

Your thoughts race as you walk through the hall, making your way towards the foyer. Not even the sound of small pitter-patters, like those that would be made by the feet of the smallest of children, register to you. Finding yourself in the foyer, you take a seat and merely think.

Maribel and Renko... Does Renko understand what Mary feels? Does she know this, while still being friends with you? You can only wonder if Renko is really happy to be there with you all the time, to support you, and...

This isn't what you want to think about, yet your mind continues to act on its own accord as it plays these questions over in your head. It replays the voice that was Maribel's, that voice full of anger. That image of deep and firmly rooted hate in her eyes sticks to your sight, and you can't shake it. Not until a slight touch on your shoulder startles you, making you instantly abandon these thoughts.

The woman pulls her hand back, looking somewhat surprised at your reaction. She then smiles sweetly, and pats your shoulder.

"Are you okay?" Her voice isn't rough or heavenly, it's merely feminine. "You looked kind of sad."

"Oh... Yeah. Yeah, I guess I'm fine." Looking her over, you slowly recognize who she is. For some reason, you couldn't even recognize your mother in the shock. "What are you doing down here?"

She smiles, and sits down next to you. In her hands is a large book, whose title leads you to think that it must be about the stock market.

"I was going to put this away, is all." She gestures to the book, and then looks at you closely. "What about you? What are you doing down here, hmm?"

Looking away, you notice the pitter patter of rain outside. It sounds pretty light right now, not like a complete downpour. The woman puts a hand on your head and gives you a soft pat. A small blush comes to your cheeks, and, turning your attention back to her, you can't help but smile.

"I was waiting for Renko to be finished with talking to Maribel. We had a bit of a fight, and..."

"Aoi." Her voice isn't stern, it's still warm and friendly. She moves her arm around you and pulls you close for a hug, which makes you feel much warmer inside. "I know that Maribel doesn't like you, but your father has been able to accept you for who you are. I'm sure things will work out with time."

"...I guess you're right..." The rain begins to pick up, making a heavier sound against the roof of the house.

The woman stands, struggling to keep a hold of the heavy book that had been in her lap. With a small nod of her head she begins to walk away, off into the halls of the Han Mansion. The sound of the rain continues to make itself known against the mansion walls, and soon enough you find yourself gazing at the floor absentmindedly.

[ ] ...Maybe it's okay to go back, now.
[ ] You really don't see your mother enough. You two should spend more time together.
[ ] That rain sounds kind of harsh now... Maybe you should look out the window to see how bad it is?

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

Sorry about how long it took to write this one up. I really need to do my best to update often.

Also, that comment about Mary being the Antichrist? She may not be that, but the first three letters of that title certainly apply in another word.
>> No. 13984
[ ] You really don't see your mother enough. You two should spend more time together.
>> No. 13985
[x] You really don't see your mother enough. You two should spend more time together.

Momma put my guns in the ground;
I can't shoot them anymore.
>> No. 13986
[x] That rain sounds kind of harsh now... Maybe you should look out the window to see how bad it is?
ADD, away with you.
>> No. 13989
[x] You really don't see your mother enough. You two should spend more time together.
>> No. 13990
Is that all?

I'll be back in an hour or so to write, so I guess I'll leave the votes open until then.
>> No. 13991
[x] You really don't see your mother enough. You two should spend more time together.
>> No. 13992
>>13990

hooray!
>> No. 13994
...A sudden desire to talk to your mother some more enters your mind. Not only talking to her, but telling her how life has been, and hearing about how she has been. As much as you hate it, living in this mansion would be horrible for you, and as a result you've started to grow distant from the woman who is now known as "Mrs. Han". Standing to your feet, you clench your fists tight as you run after her, following the direction she had been going in.

It doesn't take long to find her, as she's still having problems carrying that heavy book. After a few grunts and moans, she almost looses her grip on the thing, but you rush over and grab the bottom of it, now making your presence known.

"Is it okay if I help you?"

At first she has a look of just a slight surprise on her face, but that visage soon becomes that of gladness. Nodding, she gets a better hold on the thing, and continues to walk down the hall, with you now walking beside her. If one thing is true, it's that you got your hair from her. Her brown locks dangle and sway, curled at the ends for a more upper class feel. While you got your hair from her, her eyes are a different matter. Her eyes are a somewhat boring dark blue, and nothing to be envious of.

Even so, you still love her. After all, looks don't judge affection, right? Maribel is one of the most gorgeous girls you've ever seen, with her bright, foreign hair, and her well-sized chest. Despite how good she looks, she's never matched on the inside. At least, not to you. As you walk alongside the woman who is the last of your actual blood related family that you know, you can't help but be thankful that at least she is still here. After a moment she breaks the silence, turning her head to look at you as she does so.

"So, Aoi... How has school been lately? Good, I hope?"

...

...

Sighing heavily, the blonde haired girl shakes her head. Ever since he first appeared, that step brother of hers seemed to be an omen for bad circumstances that seemed to follow after him like stray cats. That boy is one she honestly can't feel anything but spite for. Though the girl knows very well that he couldn't really be responsible for all the things that happened, she can't help but blame it on him. Even so, over time the girl actually convinced herself that he was the reason things had taken such a gloomy turn.

Her friend, a girl with brown hair and an only slightly feminine build, still sits in her place, watching the first girl as she massages her brow. Renko speaks up, probably in an attempt to break the silence.

"So, Mary... What did you want to talk about, again? You made it out to be something important, didn't you?"

The girl looks up to Renko, and a slight smile breaks her lips, making the two mounds of flesh open just slightly. If anything is still good, it's that she still has her friend nearby, always there for her.

"It was about Aoi... I think he may be up to something. The way he was just acting was kind of suspicious, don't you think?"

Renko only shrugs as a response, apparently not entirely supporting either "faction" of this battle. If you could call it either of those things, that is. Maribel has always been at odds with something, but never really like how she's grown to hate the boy that her new mother brought to the mansion with her. Even so, Renko is somehow able to not only tolerate, but like the boy. She would go on and on at some times, telling Mary about their days at school, and how she should be there with them.

In reality, Maribel really does wish she could be there with Renko and Aoi. Though she won't say it to herself, she is envious of how close Aoi and Renko have grown. As if it were some sort of perfect match, the two managed to get along very well in no time at all. It may have just been her imagination, but at a time Mary thought that she really wanted to be able to get along with her strange new relative.

"Still, he seems pretty interested in the basement, wouldn't you say? I can't help but think it may be strange, especially if there's a chance he may know what's down there..."

"Nobody knows what's down there other than me, you, your father, and the branches of your family, right?" Renko speaks up, reassuring Mary. "I know that Aoi has no idea about it, and... I think it may be for his own good that he doesn't know much about it. I kind of wish I didn't, hehe."

Maribel, in all her wealth and splendor, has still always been frightened because of that one little thing. That one thing that had to be kept down there, that her father would be forced to use because of the family's rules... He may be the head of this branch of the family, but another man is the one who could be called the "true" head. Despite their relation, Mary never wanted to meet a man who would ignore such large events in other parts of the family just because the members of those branches were of "diluted blood".

Mary couldn't help but think of how she hated the traditions of her family, when she thought about that room down below. Due to her being the only child of "pure" blood that her father had, she was to inherit the fortune and the responsibilities that were his. This, too, she blamed on Aoi, for not being a family member with Han blood. If only he had been born to her father, he would be able to take up that fate in her place...

"Well, I'm going to keep an eye on him." Even now, Maribel attempts to shift the blame for the bad things that happen to herself onto Aoi. She can't handle the truth, that she's to blame for a number of her problems, and that others are the fault of her blood relatives. "I think you should too, though you probably have that covered with how you treat him as if he were a little girl for you to call a sister."

Renko merely smiles, as the pitter patter of rain begins to pick up. The rain that had been so light is now becoming heavy, and at this rate... Aoi will have to stay at the mansion for the night, if it doesn't let up. On the bright side, Renko would also stay, which would make Maribel feel so happy. After another moment, a noise of confusion comes from Renko as she looks at the TV.

"Huuuuh? The picture went out with this storm? You've gotta be kidding me..."

The screen of the television is a bunch of black, grey, and white dots, making an odd sound as they buzz in place. Maribel, unable to tolerate the noise, grabs the remote and tries to turn the thing off, only to find that it won't respond to any command the remote gives it. As if possessed by some monster that likes to ruin televisions, the thing continues its hum, as it just sits there, reminding Maribel of many events that had happened in this room before...

...

...

"...and then we ski- ...Er, we went back to class, and then ran off to go relax once school was over."

After explaining how school life has been to your mother, you've found yourself out of breath. Retelling it took up a lot of time and energy, but she listened attentively the whole way through. After a moment she notices you swallowing to try and refresh your mouth, and she takes the chance to make a suggestion.

"Aoi, you look thirsty. Would you like something to drink?"

[ ] "Sure, that'd be nice!"
[ ] "Actually, I think I should go back to Maribel and Renko."

----------

Sorry that it took so long.
>> No. 13995
[x] "Sure, that'd be nice!"

Mother~
>> No. 13996
[x] "Sure, that'd be nice!"
>> No. 13997
{X} "Sure, that'd be nice!"
>> No. 13999
[x] "Sure, that'd be nice!"

Probably dodging a major event here.
>> No. 14000
[ ] "Sure, that'd be nice!"

Abruptly changing viewpoints? That's cheeeeeeeeat-iiiiiiiiing.
>> No. 14006
>>14000

Whoever said I played by the rules?

Anyway, I'm in a good mood today, so I think I may be able to get out more than one update. Expect the first one somewhere in the next few hours.
>> No. 14009
[x] "Your love ju
[x] "Sure, that'd be nice!"
We know, but he doesn't.
>> No. 14011
File 123302649856.jpg - (79.12KB , 424x600 , Renko_003.jpg ) [iqdb]
14011
"Ah... Sure! That'd be nice!"

Taking your hand, she leads you off towards the kitchen, moving along swiftly. It's been a while now since you held your parent's hand... The distance created by Maribel and living in an apartment house had robbed you of your time to spend with your mother, and if the rain outside means that you can finally get closer to her again, than it's worth being in the same place as Maribel. As the two of you continue to walk along, hand in hand, you decide to find something to talk about.

"Hey... what about 'dad'?" It pains you to call him that, but he really has made an effort to accept you. The least you can do is call the man 'dad', even if you don't really think of him like that. "How has he been?"

"Oh, your father? He's been okay, though he's been acting a bit strange lately. He's acting kind of like a child who's afraid that the boogeyman will pop out and scare them, constantly checking his surroundings and acting really nervous. I guess he's only acting like that because he has no blanket to hide under..."

The look on her face is of melancholy, of being helpless and unaware of just what she's even talking about. After a moment her eyes perk up, though, and she smiles once more.

"Ah, blankets and your father. That reminds me of a funny story... You see, this one time he was trying to cover up his car with a blanket, because the actual cover had gone missing, and..."

...

The television continues to buzz, frustrating Maribel even further. She detested this sound almost as much as the sound of cicadas, or of gravel being dropped to the ground. All these noises wore on her nerves, though that could probably be connected to how she missed so much sleep to read her prized books.

Over time, she really had grown attached to all the strange tomes and volumes, which contained such things that no sane person would speak of in the open. The contents of those books were so foul that they had been banned for a long time, and most likely still are. Plugging her ears, Maribel can't help but shake her head in a desperate attempt to make that noise go away, and to stop it from grinding on her nerves.

"...You can turn it off another way, you know." Renko spoke up, looking at Maribel concerned. "All you have to do is walk up to it and..."

With that, the girl stood up to turn the thing off manually, and yet she drew her finger back in shock as she went for the button.

"Ooow! It shocked me!" Wiggling her finger in her hand, Renko glared at the TV. Reaching back to it, she pressed the button, only to find that it still would not shut off. This surprised her, as she was sure that that would be enough to make the thing stop.

"It's okay, I'll go ask my mom about it." Maribel spoke up once more, tired of even looking at the thing that caused her headache. Renko merely nodded, her arms crossed, looking at the television with some intent in her eyes. Mary looked at it as well, noticing that one area of the thing seemed to stay constant in the static.

...A few lines, making an oval shape, stayed still in the picture. Within it was a circle doing the same thing, unmoving and only slightly disturbing. It wasn't until she noticed how they formed an eye that she felt a cold sweat roll down her neck.

It was an odd thing, that shape. Why would it stay stuck like that, of all things? It was a really strange coincidence, though it seemed Renko didn't even notice it. She was too busy opening the door of the room.

"Well, I'll go look for Aoi. If the rain starts letting up, we'll have to move as fast as we can to get home."

With a nod, Maribel dismissed her friend. Despite how strongly she believed that the boy was up to no good, Renko still had faith in him, probably moreso than she did in Mary. This angered Maribel further as she left the room behind to locate her mother, the TV still buzzing back in that room. Unknown to her, however, was that the TV went off with a small "click" after she had left the area. The picture as it turned off made it look like the eye that had been in the static had shut.

...

"Wow..." Blowing on the cocoa once more, you can barely believe the silly thing your mother had told you. "So, in the end, cats had curled up under the blanket and made the whole reason for it to be there pointless?"

"Yes, yes." Your mother laughs softly, and sips her own cocoa. "It really was a strange thing... Even stranger is this weather! The forecast said nothing about it coming down this hard, so you think the weatherman would've at least have said it'd be cloudy, right?"

"I guess so..." Looking out the window, the rain seems to be coming down really hard. You can't help but wonder how this is affecting the roof and the garden.

After a moment of silence, some footsteps come up on you from behind, and a familiar voice calls out.

"Yo! Aoi!" Turning around, you see Renko with one hand in the air, slowly lowering itself. "Glad I found you so quick! Oh, and it looks like your mother is..."

Renko nods towards your mother, then holds her chin as she thinks out loud.

"Ah, Mary was looking for her... Maybe I should go find her real quick..."

[ ] "Eh... I'll go too."
[ ] "She'll find us soon enough."
[ ] "Maybe we should all look for her?"
>> No. 14012
[X] "She'll find us soon enough."
>> No. 14013
[X] "She'll find us soon enough."
>> No. 14014
[X] "She'll find us soon enough."
I just know it. Somebody is going to die soon, all pieces have been set for a murder mystery.
>> No. 14016
[x] "I'll do it. I should apologize for storming out like I did anyway."

Act like the bigger man girl, at least in front of your mother.
>> No. 14017
{X} "She'll find us soon enough."
>> No. 14018
[X] "I'll do it. I should apologize for storming out like I did anyway."

And the killer is... me!
>> No. 14024
[X] "I'll do it. I should apologize for storming out like I did anyway."
>> No. 14025
[X] "I'll do it. I should apologize for storming out like I did anyway."
>> No. 14027
One vote will break the tie, and then I'll write. Only that one vote will be counted after this message.
>> No. 14028
[x] "I'll do it. I should apologize for storming out like I did anyway."

┐(´~`;)┌
>> No. 14030
...Even if you don't like her, that was a real scene you made back there...

"I'll do it." Standing to your feet, your brush the skirt, looking dead on at Renko. "I should apologize for storming out like I did, anyway..."

For a moment everything is quiet, but gradually a silly grin spreads across Renko's face. After ruffling the sides of your hair, she sits down and grins.

"Well then, I'll keep her company while you're gone. Make sure to be careful when talking to her, though. She seemed kind of steamed when I last saw her."

With a nod, you walk off into the halls, leaving Renko and your mother there. For a second you wonder why Renko wasn't going, but you figure that if she thought you'd be in danger, she'd go with you. Not wasting any time, you run around the halls of the mansion, looking for Mary, or at least for a maid. After a few moments you spot one of them with a cart of cleaning supplies, and walk over to make yourself known. The girl turns about from her business, noticing you, and smiles.

"How can I help you, Master Aoi?"

"I was wondering where Maribel was... have you seen her?"

The maid merely shakes her head, but grabs your shoulder as you begin to take off once more, pulling you over as she presses some keys on a house call box. After having entered a long, complicated code, she presses the button and speaks.

"Hello, Alexander? Aoi was looking for Miss Maribel, have you seen her anywhere, by chance?"

It takes a few moments, but the speaker responds, a masculine voice on the other end. The owner of this voice must be at least 20 years old, if not more. At least, this is what you conclude from hearing the sound of his rather manly voice.

"Yes, I did. She was making her way towards the hallway on the right side of the mansion's first floor, last I checked. I believe she had asked a servant for a key before heading that way, so I... I should probably stop now."

Pressing the button once more, the maid responds cheerily to the man on the other end.

"Thank you, Alex." Letting go of the button, she turns her attention back in your direction, looking at the end of the hall as if to rush you along. "You heard what he said, Master. She's on the first floor hallway, where the entrance to the basement is. I'd suggest making your way there before she winds up somewhere else."

You don't need to be told as much, though, and begin to take off towards the foyer. It's rude to run in the halls, but after hearing that she might be going down to the basement, where that strange smell was coming from... It can't look like anything other than suspicious. As a result, you lose yourself in running towards that location, darting down the stairs, and making a sharp turn to enter that hall, where she is standing at the entrance to the basement's staircase.

The look on her face isn't frustration, like you thought it would be. It looks like she has something else on her mind, and that she's interested entirely in it. She speaks, but seems like she doesn't really care too much what you have to say.

"Oh, Aoi... I was just about to check the basement. You were right when you said there was a real bad smell down there, and I... Actually..." Biting her lip, she furrows her brow in thought. You merely watch, as she slowly starts to speak again. "Actually, I'd like you to come down, too. You can go get Renko if you want."

[ ] "Actually, I heard you were looking for my mom. I can show you where she is, if you'd like."
[ ] "No thanks, you can go by yourself."
[ ] "...I'm curious too, and getting to Renko and back would take a while. Let's go down."
[ ] "Sure, getting Renko first sounds like a good idea. Come on."

-----

A pretty short update, but I'll write one more today if I get enough votes in time.
>> No. 14031
[ ] "...I'm curious too, and getting to Renko and back would take a while. Let's go down."
>> No. 14032
[X] "...I'm curious too, and getting to Renko and back would take a while. Let's go down."

Live dangerously!
>> No. 14034
[x] Apologize like you said you were going to.
[x] "Sure, getting Renko first sounds like a good idea. Come on."
DBUTT
>> No. 14035
[x] Apologize like you said you were going to.
[x] "Sure, getting Renko first sounds like a good idea. Come on."
>> No. 14036
[X] Apologize like you said you were going to.
[X] "Sure, getting Renko first sounds like a good idea. Come on."
Renko will protect us!
>> No. 14038
[x] "Sure, getting Renko first sounds like a good idea. Come on."
[x] Apologize like you said you were going to.
>> No. 14039
[X] Apologize like you said you were going to.
[X] "Sure, getting Renko first sounds like a good idea. Come on."
>> No. 14040
Ah, lovely. Okay, gearing up for another update.
>> No. 14041
>>14040

hooray!
>> No. 14042
...I hate to say it, but I was trying to push myself too far. I'll update tommorow, once I get some sleep.
>> No. 14047
File 123320108577.jpg - (94.29KB , 640x480 , 82.jpg ) [iqdb]
14047
"...Yeah, getting Renko may be a good idea." Just as Mary is about to enter the staircase, you grab her hand and pull. Though you don't really move her so much as an inch, she nods knowingly after you do this. "Come on."

Without a word, the two of you leave that door behind, making your way towards the foyer once more. The loud noise of a heavy rain against the roof can still be heard, and at a glance, it looks like the entire world beyond the windows is nothing more than a

sea of rain. As the two of you enter the foyer, you remember how you said you would apologize to Mary, even though you almost don't want to. Clearing your throat in a rude manner, you speak up as the two of you enter the door between the two staircases.

"Mary, about earlier... I'm sorry for acting like I did." A slight shock enters her eyes, as if you had just said something she had never expected to hear. "I was being really rude, and... you seemed pretty hurt."

Looking back at you with a stony gaze, Maribel neither smiles nor frowns. The expression set on her face is that of confusion, as opposed to the earlier disdain she seemed to have. With the parting of her lips, she replies.

"I... I forgive you. I guess..." Averting her gaze, she starts to frown, ruining that baffled look that felt so rewarding. "I suppose I should say that I'm sorry for how I've acted in general... I guess I haven't been thinking right for the longest time..."

A blush rises to your cheeks, and you look to the floor as the two of you continue to walk along through the hall. Though you don't like her, you can't help but feel that she was actually being honest with what she had just said. As opposed to the frightening

Maribel you saw in the basement, this side of her is kind of... nice.

Continuing on through the hall, it isn't long before you gain sight of a certain brown haired girl, sitting alone with a glass of lemonade in her hand. As you approach she sticks her hand up in a waving gesture, smiling warmly as always.

"Yo!" Raising the glass to her mouth, she gulps down a good portion of her drink before speaking. "Looks like you found her, but your mom already left. She said she was going to go talk to your dad for a while."

"To dad, huh...?" Maribel speaks for the two of you, getting across the same thing you would've said. "Well, that isn't very important. We have something much more interesting to do than just watch television."

Renko's eyes shine as she hears this, and she bounces in her seat, making her short hair bob up and down in a cute way. It seems that Maribel also thinks this is cute, as she chuckles softly in reply.

"Oh! Oh!" Renko's expression tells you that she's ready for some sort of great thing to be said, as if she were about to be told she'd visit the moon. "What is it?"

"We're going to have a look at the basement." Maribel takes Renko's hand and helps her up, much to your displeasure. In all honesty, you had wanted to help her up so you could feel those soft hands of hers.

The look on Renko's face quickly becomes that of confusion, but not the kind of confusion Maribel had expressed not long before. This is more of a pure confusion than one that had surprise mixed in to dilute it.

"Eh? Why would you want to go down there, it smells like garbage!"

"That's exactly why we want to go down there." Maribel pulls out the key to the place, and begins to walk back towards the foyer. "It's strange for it to be like that, so we're going to investigate."

You and Renko follow after Maribel, and you hold your hands in front of yourself as you walk down the hall, feeling small in this situation. This aside, you still speak up to ask your question.

"What do you think it is? Some kind of leakage, or maybe some rotting trash stinking up the place?"

"I bet it's a corpse!" Renko grins widely, winking one eye. "It'd be pretty exciting, wouldn't it? If we found the body of some dead person down there, and then tried to figure out who the murderer was? It'd be just like a book, wouldn't it?"

...Renko's words send a chill up your spine. In a normal situation it'd just seem silly, but here it feels a bit too creepy. Considering the heavy rain, the weird smell... seems like it really could be something that horrible. You push these thoughts from your mind, however, and tell yourself that it must only be some leakage. Eventually you find yourselves at the door down, and Maribel herself has stopped, looking a bit concerned.

"...What if it really is something strange?" Her eyes shake a little as she speaks. "If it is, then I wonder how we would approach it...?"

[ ] "I don't want to be first in, that's for sure!"
[ ] "It's only going to be some dripping liquids that smell horrible, and nothing more."
[ ] "...I guess that seeing it sooner would mean that you would forget it sooner, if it was something horrible..."

-------

Okay, I might write again here soon, if the votes come soon enough. Which I guess is always the case. Also, found a certain picture which looks like the mansion. Guess you can tell what I've been reading.
>> No. 14048
[X] "...I guess that seeing it sooner would mean that you would forget it sooner, if it was something horrible..."
You go insane before you die.
>> No. 14051
[X] "...I guess that seeing it sooner would mean that you would forget it sooner, if it was something horrible..."
>> No. 14052
[x] "...I guess that seeing it sooner would mean that you would forget it sooner, if it was something horrible..."

The power of rationalization is strong in this one.
>> No. 14053
File 123320731241.jpg - (44.38KB , 540x405 , 1.jpg ) [iqdb]
14053
[ ] "...I guess that seeing it sooner would mean that you would forget it sooner, if it was something horrible..."

Sanity check
>> No. 14054
[X] "...I guess that seeing it sooner would mean that you would forget it sooner, if it was something horrible..."

Roll for SAN loss.
>> No. 14062
[X] "...I guess that seeing it sooner would mean that you would forget it sooner, if it was something horrible..."

Like the moon and the ocean, the situation governs the tide. I am but froth on the waves.
>> No. 14067
[X] "...I guess that seeing it sooner would mean that you would forget it sooner, if it was something horrible..."
>> No. 14075
[x] "...I guess that seeing it sooner would mean that you would forget it sooner, if it was something horrible..."
>> No. 14081
Be expecting an update here soon.
>> No. 14082
>>14081

Hooray!
>> No. 14084
File 123328965146.png - (145.66KB , 627x907 , Bloodsplat.png ) [iqdb]
14084
"...Well, I guess..." You look down as you speak, your imagination running wild. Thoughts of all forms of horrors fill your mind, but you shake them off as you continue. "If it was something terrible, seeing it sooner would mean forgetting about it sooner... Right?"

Maribel looks at you for a few seconds, and then a sliver of a grin comes to her face. She opens the door to the staircase, and begins to walk down. The words she speaks shock you a little, but they weren't that unexpected.

"If that's what you think, then you'll be the first to look. Okay?"

...Silently, you nod. As the three of you descend the staircase, it becomes easier and easier to feel your heart beating. Beat after beat ring in your head, and the thoughts of horrific demons return to your mind. The darkness of the staircase doesn't help in anyway, and you then find yourself standing before the large door, looking on at it in fear. Even though you know that nothing strange could happen, even though you know nothing horrible could be back there... That thought still lingers in your mind.

"...Okay then. Aoi, I'm unlocking the door... So, be ready. I guess."

With those words, Maribel sticks the odd key in the slot, and turns. The lock makes loud, obnoxious clicking noises as it's turned, each one sounding almost like a man clicking his tongue. You can hear the gears shifting, and other unknown devices moving about, creating a horrible racket that only stiffens your nerves further. With one final click, the door is unlocked. Timidly you go up to the edge of it, and push it out a little, giving you room to walk in. As you enter, you notice that a dim light is on, and your vision begins making an attempt to readjust.

As you do so, you notice someone seated at the table, holding on to their neck. After a moment you recognize the person as Eliza, and with steady steps, you walk over to her. The foul stench is even stronger down here, filling the whole room with its aroma.

"...Eliza?" She's looking right at you, an odd look on her face. Her gaze doesn't move an inch as you continue. "Eliza, what are you doing down here? Are you the one who made that weird sme... ll..."

Your words are cut off, as you can now see every detail of her body in this light. All over her are strange purple worms, slowly crawling about her body, and in and out of her sleeves. One even crawls past her eye, slowly inching its way to her hair. As your gaze goes lower once more, you see the one thing that shocks you the most.

She isn't holding onto her neck, like you had thought. She's... holding a knife, which has the full blade buried deep in her throat, cut across from the front. Dried blood can be seen going down her neck, and the look that had been in her eyes... That vacant, unfocused look... is...

"Aah..." Taking a step back, your eyes widen, and you try to see if this is just some strange illusion. The unchanging scene is your reply, and slowly you continue to walk backwards, towards the wall. "Aa... Aaah..."

In one moment, all the fear you had felt has been let loose. All that paranoia, all that fright, every last drop of it is poured out in only a few seconds, as you fall to your knees, covering your eyes.

"AAAAAIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEE...!"

The door swings open, and you can hear Maribel and Renko walk into the room, only to stop a moment later. As you continue to shake your head and cover your eyes, Maribel can be heard, speaking lowly.

"N...No way, this is...?"

Sent into a rage, you continue to shake your head violently, back and forth as you continue to scream, now holding your forehead.

"No, it isn't real! It isn't real isn't real isn't real! You aren't real, you...!"

A hand touches your shoulder, making the words stop for a few seconds. It's tough, but you manage to open your eyes to see Renko holding your shoulder, biting her lower lip. Her eyes are shaky, and tears can be seen trying to escape from her eyes as she kneels there, holding your shoulder. Even so, she doesn't cry, and she doesn't scream.

"Aoi, calm down! Stop yelling, you're only making it worse!"

At that point you continue to shake your head, clenching your eyes shut as you do so.

"No way! It's not real! It's not real! There's no way it can be rea-"

A palm meets your cheek, and your face begins to burn and sting as a result. As warm tears streak down your face, you look up to see Maribel, perfectly composed, standing over you. She holds her right hand steady, ready to go for another hit if she has to.

"...Are you done yet?" The look on her face is serious, but it's easy to tell that she's nervous, as she swallows hard before she continues to speak. "If you are, I won't have to do that again."

Breathing slowly and deeply, you hold your head steady. The horrible stench continues to fill the room, burning your nose as it does so. Pushing yourself up to your feet, you almost trip over for a moment. After regaining your balance you make a fast, yet unstable walk out of the room, and back up the stairs.

...

You've mostly calmed down, but you can't help but breathe quickly. Holding your head, you mess up your hair as you wonder if you really saw what you thought you did. As these thought enter your mind, Renko exits the staircase, and leans against the wall, right next to you. After a short pause she speaks, her voice a little shaky at the moment.

"...Hey... Are you... okay?"

[ ] "...I guess... but, is Eliza really...?"
[ ] "...Maybe..."
[ ] Stay silent.
>> No. 14086
[X] "Eliza is... she..."
[X] Break down and cry.

Eliza ;_;

You were our comfort.
>> No. 14087
File 12332923375.jpg - (190.68KB , 500x773 , 1177311830878.jpg ) [iqdb]
14087
[x] Stay silent.
>> No. 14088
[X] "...I guess... but, is Eliza really...?"
>> No. 14089
Part of me is ";_; Eliza..." but the other part is HAHAHAHAHAHAA FUCK YES I KNEW IT!
>"If that's what you think, then you'll be the first to look. Okay?"
Go to hell for all I care, Mary.

[X] "...I guess... but, is Eliza really...?"
>> No. 14090
{X} "...I guess... but, is Eliza really...?"
>> No. 14091
[X] "...I guess... but, is Eliza really...?"

I don't like you anymore, Nine.
>> No. 14094
>>14087
oh jesus christ these books
these books
>> No. 14095
[X] Stay silent.

You wanted a return to the horror feel, well, there you go.
>> No. 14096
[x] Stay silent.
>> No. 14097
File 123333979219.gif - (96.38KB , 346x550 , 1174986774989.gif ) [iqdb]
14097
>>14094

I know right
>> No. 14098
[x] Stay silent.

FFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUU
>> No. 14099
[x] Stay silent.
>> No. 14100
[x] Stay silent.
>> No. 14102
Staying silent wins. Expect an update here soon.
>> No. 14103
"..."

You merely keep your lips shut, attempting to shut out the cruel fate that befell Eliza. The sound of the rain beyond the windows not only beats against the mansion, as it also beats against your brain, as if it were mocking you. The merciless downpour seems to be sticking its tongue out at you, and laughing at how you've been trapped in this place by its cold embrace.

Renko doesn't say anything for a while, and merely leans against the wall, looking out into the rain. At first you don't notice it, but little by little... That creeping sensation returns. Moving your eyes around, you can't much make out where the source is, but it's definitely nearby. After a few more moments... The chill of the unknown thing passes by, and you go back to looking out the windows of the hallway, where nothing more than rain can be viewed.

...It's just then that something catches your attention. Beyond the window, out in the cold of the rainfall, it seems as if... as if something was watching you, tracking your every move. There's no visual proof of whatever might be causing this, but the mere feeling of hopelessness beats against you, shaking you to your core. The erosion of this invisible stare is so intense that you step back into the staircase, and look down for a moment, before speaking once more to Renko.

"...I'd like to see her one more time. I didn't really get a very good look before."

Renko looks a bit surprised that you'd be wanting to do this, but she eventually shrugs and follows you down into the basement, escaping the gaze of that unseen eye.

Sitting solemnly in one chair is Maribel, whose gaze is aimed at the floor, so that she could avoid looking at her former maid. Getting a good look at Eliza... It looks like she's not beaten up all that bad. The intense stink coming from her is really disgusting, but aside from one or two holes in her skin, which you avoid looking directly at, and the knife in her throat... she looks kind of happy, in an odd way.

It's more like relief than anything. As if she was glad to go this way, for one reason or another. Her mouth opened slightly, she just sits there, looking at the wall with a sense of success buried deep beneath her glazed over eyes.

"...I wonder how this happened..." Renko, stepping forward, rubs her chin in thought. Looking over every detail of the corpse, she nods then looks back at you. "What do you think, Aoi?"

"I don't really know..." Shaking your head slightly, you breathe in and notice how dry your throat has become. "Actually, I don't think I want to know... but, I kind of do."

Renko nods in understanding, and then turns her gaze to Maribel, whose hands are clenched as she tries her best to ignore the situation set up before her.

"So, Mary... What do you think? Maybe she did this to herself, or maybe someone made it look like she did this to herself...?"

Maribel shrugs, seemingly not interested in further discussing the gruesome thing that sits only a few feet away from her. A few of the worms have fallen off Eliza now, and have been vanishing whenever you went to turn your eye. Even so, Eliza looks thinner than she had been when you had last seen her alive. Becoming somewhat used to looking at this sort of thing, you rub your head as you think, wondering just how this could have happened.

"...Hmm..." Thinking the situation over, you nod and avert your gaze from Eliza, now facing Renko and Maribel. "You know, the smell had been here for a little while now, so we know that this has been like this for some time now, right?"

"Yeah, yeah." Renko nods in agreement, and then proceeds to add her own two cents worth. "Plus, those things were all over her. Unless they were thrown on recently and parts of her were taken out by the attacker, she must have attracted them, somehow. So I guess she's been like this for a good amount of time, right?"

Maribel stays silent as the two of you speak, and, touching your chin, you continue from there.

"That's true, so I guess it must've happened at some time yesterday, right? After all, we had seen her alive really late on the day before that."

Renko nods, and you fall silent once more. It's not until you notice something odd about the knife Eliza had used to do this that you actually get closer to her body. It scares you like nothing else, but somehow you manage to get close enough to read the initials on the knife.

"M.E.H... M, E, H...?" After a moment, your eyes get wide in surprise. "...M... Maribel...? This... is..."

[ ] "This is... your knife?"
[ ] "This is... your fault? You did this?!"
[ ] "This is... just what is this, actually...?"
>> No. 14104
>>14103

[ ] "This is... your fault? You did this?!"
>> No. 14106
[ ] "This is... your knife?"
>> No. 14107
[x] "This is ... your knife?"
I can't count the number of times someone killed someone else with something I owned.
>> No. 14108
[x] "This is... your knife?"
>> No. 14109
[X] "This is ... your knife?"
>> No. 14110
[x] "This is... your knife?"

How can she be THIS rotten if she's only been dead for a day?
>> No. 14111
>[X] "This is... your fault? You did this?!"
>[X] Stab Maribel. Repeatedly.
Would be fun, but no.

[X] "This is ... your knife?"
>> No. 14112
The fact that it's her knife means she's not the one who did it. After all, what kind of murderer would be stupid enough to leave a murder weapon with her initials on it?

Unless, of course, she knew we would think that way, and intentionally left such incriminating evidence at the scene of the crime, knowing that we would see it and immediately dismiss it due to its being far too obvious, and by extension, planted.
>> No. 14113
>>14095
>You wanted a return to the horror feel, well, there you go.
I wanted no such damned thing.
>> No. 14115
>>14112
noLitisIwhoambehindyou.jpg
>> No. 14116
The specific wound is the traditional Japanese way for women to commit suicide; it carries connotations that the person performing it was determined, prepared, and conscious of how her body would be found. Not eating in the weeks leading up to the attempt is common for the morbidly depressed, or it might be a sign of some other ill. The fact that this was done in the basement instead of a normal location, like her room, signifies that this place has a special meaning. The use of her mistress' knife and the apparent summoning or release of the worms is probably less to implicate Mary as the murderer, but rather as a final attribution of blame: She was driven to this by Mary and her family. Mary is conscious of this, as it threatens to blow the lid off the family secrets, explaining why she's nervous and irritated but not overly surprised or saddened that her maid did this. Her reaction is yet further damning of her family's mistreatment.

Finally, the stench could be explained by the fact that corpses often loose their bowls a few hours after death.
>> No. 14117
>>14113

I did.
>> No. 14118
I had been writing an update, but I just don't feel like I can work on it anymore tonight. I'll try to work on it in the morning.
>> No. 14119
>>14118

hooray!
>> No. 14122
File 123352813968.png - (492.55KB , 990x900 , Renko_031.png ) [iqdb]
14122
Maribel looks on at you, her emotions unwavering. As you look at the knife to confirm things, it really does have the initials M. E. H. on it. Turning back to look at Maribel, you see that she's gotten up, and is now smiling with a thin sliver of a grin, directly at you. It takes a moment, but you manage to get the words out.

"This is... your knife?"

Maribel nods, looking both sarcastic and amused at one time. You can't see Renko, but you imagine that she's probably stood up herself by now, and that she's keeping an eye on Maribel as she stands somewhere close behind you. Maribel takes a step

forward and frowns, raising one finger to her chin.

"Yes, yes. That is obviously my knife, but it's not my handiwork, that's for sure." Brushing a few locks of hair from her face, she looks behind you at Renko, then continues. "Even if I didn't cry as much as you, you still wouldn't understand how much

that hurt me."

Her grin returns, but it's no longer subtle or small, but large and frightening. Her eyes shake a little as they slowly water up, and she clutches the edge of her dress. The volume of her voice is raised, though she still isn't shouting.

"I need to ask you, though, were you really knocked out as well, just like Renko said? Isn't it possible that you had trapped and drugged Renko down in the basement, taken Eliza down with you, and then killed her for your own sick little games...?"

"Mary!" Renko dashes forward, an extremely angered look on her face. "Shut up! Aoi wouldn't do something horrible like that, I know he wouldn't!"

Maribel laughs lowly, and takes a seat once more. It seems that an eternity passes before she has sat down, though, as you feel your heart slowly beating, resonating loudly in your chest. After having sat down, Maribel continues to grin, looking dead on at

you. The words she says take a while to register for you, but only manage to make you even more confused about this situation.

"I didn't kill Eliza, because she was my most faithful servant. Aoi didn't kill Eliza, because he's just too kind to do something like that?" Maribel laughs loudly, her eyes ablaze. "You've got to be kidding me! With how much you hate me, Aoi, isn't it true that

you killed Eliza to try and get back at me? Isn't it true that your breakdown back there was only an act? Come on, be honest! Aren't you the one responsible!?"

The next second seems to last for minutes on end, as you watch it slowly occur. Renko raising her hand, a look of terror and disgust on her face, as she approaches Maribel. By the time Maribel notices what she's doing, Renko's hand is already next to her

head, about to make contact. In that moment, a loud sound can be heard, which is the sound of skin hitting skin at a high speed.

"..." Maribel raises a hand to her cheek, and looks at Renko pleadingly, her eyes seeming to ask her 'Why did you do that?' Renko merely holds both fists, clenched, at her sides, as she backs away from the girl who is likely to break out into a fierce rage any

moment now.

...Maribel doesn't betray your expectations, and stand to her feet, hot tears all at once falling down her face like two twisted waterfalls.

"R...Renko! How could you?" She shakes her head fiercely, scattering the tears on the ground as she does so. "You... you're supposed to believe in me, not him! Ever since he appeared... Ever since he appeared, you've grown more and more distant! Are you

really okay with that, abandoning your friend for a boy?"

Renko stays quiet, what looks like one tear falling down her face. As she grits her teeth, you realize just how hard it must have been for her to do something like that, and you attempt to act as a mediator.

"...Guys... I-it's okay! We don't have to fight, and we don't have to get mad at each other, because none of us could have done this, ri-"

"SHUT UP!" With one swift move Maribel hits you across the face, sending you falling to the floor, unable to tell how that thing called 'balance' is supposed to work. After this you see Renko step in front of you, and spread her arms out, all while the hot

tears continue building up.

"Aoi... He's right! I... guess... I shouldn't have slapped you, so I'm sorry. Let's just not fight with each other anymore, okay?"

Maribel raises a hand to strike Renko, but stops in mid swing, as a loud voice makes itself known through a harsh, shrill laughter.

"HehehEHEHEHEhehEHEHEHEHE!" The voice almost sounds familiar, and, looking about the room from your spot on the ground, you can't find the owner of this voice. "Yes, she's right! Dolls can't fight with each other, because they need a little girl to be pulling

their strings to do so!"

Sitting back up, you can see Maribel and Renko looking all around the room, yelling out as they do so.

"H...Hey!" Renko isn't really doing as much yelling as she is talking loudly. "Whoever you are, show yourself! Where are you?"

The voice doesn't speak again, and the two that might not be friends anymore split up, looking all over the room for a source. After a few minutes they sit back down, still looking around carefully.

"I don't get it..." Maribel is the one speaking, now. "How could someone yell at us like that without being in this room? It's entirely sound proof, and there's also only one door in and out, which nobody could have used!"

Renko looks down at you and holds out a hand, pulling you up to stand. Taking a look around the room, you see nothing but those bookshelves and the dead maid that had brought you down here.

[ ] "Mary... just what were you doing down here, anyway?"
[ ] "This is... pretty creepy."
[ ] "Hey, show yourself! W-where are you? Stop hiding!"
>> No. 14123
>"You've got to be kidding me! With how much you hate me, Aoi, isn't it true that you killed Eliza to try and get back at me? Isn't it true that your breakdown back there was only an act? Come on, be honest! Aren't you the one responsible!?"

You know what, Mary? You're a sociopath. And you can talk to my fucking lawyer.

[x] What does any normal person do when there's a possible intruder in their house: Yell very clearly and deliberately, "I am calling the police!"
[x] Bolt for the door; tell your mother what happened.
>> No. 14124
[X] "This is... pretty creepy."

Crazy shit man!
>> No. 14125
[X] "This is... pretty creepy."
>> No. 14126
[X] "This is... pretty creepy."

>"You... you're supposed to believe in me, not him!"
Alright Merryberry, you can't get much worse than this.
>> No. 14127
[X] "This is... pretty creepy."
[X] Whoever's responsible, proper procedure must be followed. Call the police.

FFFFFF, just when I thought Mary was being sort of pleasant this time around--
>> No. 14128
[x] "This is... pretty creepy."

GODDAMMIT MARY
>> No. 14129
{X} "This is... pretty creepy."

crazy white bitches
>> No. 14131
[X] "This is...pretty creepy."

Looks like Mary is rapidly losing her mind. It's almost as if she didn't realize that reading eldritch tomes and learning about extradimensional horrors that move through space in no way mortals can comprehend isn't particularly good for one's sanity.
>> No. 14132
>>14131
It's not like all Eldritch Abominations come with proper warning labels attached.
>> No. 14138
>>14132

When a book is titled "Demonstrations of Uncomely Rituals of Reconfiguration" you can be pretty sure it won't be filled with pictures of puppies and kittens.
>> No. 14148
Sorry for not updating, I've been going in and out of sickness and have to get the whole situation resolved. I'll update in the next day or so, at least.
>> No. 14149
>>14148

hooray!
>> No. 14189
File 123404472126.jpg - (91.76KB , 592x850 , Renko_023.jpg ) [iqdb]
14189
"This is... pretty creepy." Looking between Renko and Maribel, you smile in a small way. "Isn't it...?"

Renko nods, making a small grunting noise as she does. While approaching the door she takes a slow look around, panning her view over the whole of the room, and then she carefully, gently, pulls the door open and peeks out. Maribel follows her, and, after calling back the feeling in your legs, you do the same. After the three of you exit the room, Maribel slams the door shut and locks it, laughing as she does so.

"Haha! Take that, you won't get out now!"

Renko smiles softly, and Maribel grins happily, but you're left to wonder how they forgot about the corpse so quickly, and how they've so swiftly recovered from seeing and smelling it. After running up the stairs, the three of you make your way towards the room you had all been happily talking in last night. As you do so, you notice Nyom following closely behind you.

After settling down in the room, the three of you begin to gradually calm down as Maribel calls a servant over to the place. After a few moments, a red headed girl in a more Japanese-styled maid's uniform arrives at the door, smiling as Maribel gives her orders.

"Koto, we need a few drinks here. It might be best for you to get a kettle of tea and some cups, and maybe a few snacks too." Giving her orders without hesitation, Maribel, points the maid towards the kitchen. "You think you can do that? If it's too much for a new maid, then I could ask another one to..."

"Ah! No, no, it's fine." 'Koto', the red headed maid, smiles sweetly before trotting off to collect the things Maribel had asked for. A few seconds later Mary closes the door, looking a little upset.

Renko leans forward, puffing her cheeks out as she does so. Her vision affixed to Merry, she begins to speak in a childish tone, letting you know that she's back to her regular, playful mood.

"Mary, why didn't you tell her about the basement?" Renko averts her gaze and picks up an orange, poking her finger into the hole on it and then using that opening to peel it open. "Someone has to clean that up, right?"

Mary shakes her head slowly, looking more than a little distressed. "No, no. We can't let the other servants find out about that just yet, at least, not with her telling the rest of them. That girl is easily scared, you know?"

As the two exchange their words, you hear a bit of what the TV is saying, with some talk about the man who had been found earlier, and how his body went missing not long after they had taken their gaze away from it. Shrugging off the strange news reports, you refocus your attention on Renko manually, as she grabs your arm.

"Aoi, hey Aoi!" Grinning widely, she holds on to your arm tenderly, bringing a fake blush to her face. "Isn't it true that Maribel is behind me? Don't I already have someone... 'speciiaaal'?"

"Eh... Eeeeeh?" A deep red comes over your face, and you shake your head violently. "No, no, no! I-I never heard of something like that!"

Renko, looking dejected, looks down, sighing a bit as she does so. Maribel merely raises and eyebrow in confusion at the spectacle, as Renko begins to laugh the whole thing off.

"Yeah, you're right." She flashes you a small grin, looking oddly happy. "Aoi doesn't have anybody either, does he?"

"It's probably because no girl would want to go out with what looks and acts just like another girl, right?" Maribel shrugs her shoulders, grinning menacingly. "Not even a lesbian would. It'd be a pretty weird fetish for a girl to like boys who are dressed up like cute little girls!"

Renko sticks her tongue out at Mary, and then the maid, Koto, comes back into the room, balancing a tray with tea on it, and another tray with some cookies and candies on it. Renko, who has already eaten her orange, lunges hungrily at the cookies, grabbing a few and then munching on them slowly, savoring every last crumb of the things.

Reaching out, you also take one, and after biting into it you discover that it's one of the best cookies you've had in a long time. Maribel does the same, and then makes an obnoxious "Mmm, mmm!" sound as she chews it.

"Ah, Koto! Did you make these, or was it Reina?" Still chewing the thing over in her mouth, a blush comes to Maribel's cheeks as she grins in delight.

"Ah... Ah!" The maid bows, trying to hide a smile. "I-it was a joint effort! Reina and I both worked on them together, and we put our best into the tea, too."

After Renko has grabbed another one of the cookies, Maribel pats an open spot at the table, smiling benevolently at the maid.

"You should enjoy them too, then! It'd be horrible of us to have these all to ourselves without giving you any of them!"

The maid waits a moment and then holds her sleeve to her face, to hide her embarrassment. As she does this, Renko looks on, still munching over one of the sweet baked treats. You're still shocked at how they're already acting like nothing has happened.

"Ah... No, I really shouldn't. It's not my place to be able to enjoy food with the young Master and Mistress, and their friend..." Koto looks back at the door, and then looks at you. As you look back at her, you can't help but feel that she's lying, and that she might just want to stay here.

[ ] "...Come on! Stay here with us, please?"
[ ] See if Renko or Mary say anything.
[ ] "Mary, she's right. If a maid is that devoted, you should let them continue working, right?"

---

Sorry for taking so long. I've been feeling sick all week, but I know that that's no good excuse.
>> No. 14190
>As she does this, Renko looks on, still munching over one of the sweet baked treats. You're still shocked at how they're already acting like nothing has happened.

ಠ_ಠ

[x] "...Come on! Stay here with us, please?"
[x] "And if you both put your best into it, then Reina should enjoy them too. I'll go get her."
[x] Find an adult. Any adult. Tell them what happened.
>> No. 14191
[x] "...Come on! Stay here with us, please?"
[x] "And if you both put your best into it, then Reina should enjoy them too. I'll go get her."
[x] Find an adult. Any adult. Tell them what happened.
>> No. 14192
>a red headed girl in a more Japanese-styled maid's uniform
>'Koto'

...you just made my day.
You just made my freaking day.

[x] "...Come on! Stay here with us, please?"
[x] "And if you both put your best into it, then Reina should enjoy them too. I'll go get her."
[x] Find an adult. Any adult. Tell them what happened.
[X] Failing that, tell Koto, if you can catch her alone.
>> No. 14193
...Eh, fuck it. If those two are going to be ignorant of what happened, I'll just go with it.
[X] See if Renko or Mary say anything.
[X] No matter what their answer is, get closer to Renko. Out of everybody in this mansion, she is the one you can trust.
Will this road lead to our doom? Maybe, but that road will be colorful, and full of excitement.
>> No. 14195
[X] See if Renko or Mary say anything.
[X] No matter what their answer is, get closer to Renko. Out of everybody in this mansion, she is the one you can trust.
Will this road lead to our doom? Maybe, but that road will be colorful, and full of excitement.
>> No. 14196
>As the two exchange their words, you hear a bit of what the TV is saying, with some talk about the man who had been found earlier, and how his body went missing not long after they had taken their gaze away from it.

Bet you Eliza's body is going to be gone when we get back. If we tell other people, we'll probably end up looking a liar.

[x] "...Come on! Stay here with us, please?"
[x] "And if you both put your best into it, then Reina should enjoy them too."
>> No. 14197
File 123406070492.jpg - (329.76KB , 707x807 , 2774467.jpg ) [iqdb]
14197
At first I thought, "Ah, she must be deep undercover."

But now I think I'm wrong.

There's no way the meek maid Koto can be the same person as the cheerful princess-slash-police-officer Kotohime.

It's not because the personalities are different. That could be easily explained by Kotohime pretending to be a shy, nervous maid.

Rather, it's because the names are different.

There's no way Koto could be the same person as Kotohime. The names are different. "Kotohime" has "hime" at the end of it, and "Koto" doesn't, so they're clearly different people.

Too bad. I became excited for a moment...
>> No. 14198
[x] "...Come on! Stay here with us, please?"
[x] "And if you both put your best into it, then Reina should enjoy them too."

>Find an adult. Any adult. Tell them what happened.
helpless anon is helpless
>> No. 14199
If I don't see things wrong, one vote will break the three way tie.

I'll update at different times depending on when that vote comes in.
>> No. 14200
[x] "...Come on! Stay here with us, please?"
[x] "And if you both put your best into it, then Reina should enjoy them too."
>> No. 14201
Calling it. Going to update tommorow because I'm too tired right now.
>> No. 14202
>>14201

hooray!
>> No. 14203
>Out of everybody in this mansion, she is the one you can trust.

She's been hiding the horrible secrets of your family from you, and makes every attempt to involve you in her and Mary's dangerous exploits when it would be clearly safer to keep the two of you separated.
>> No. 14205
>>14203
We're turning Onikakushi-hen into Taraimawashi-hen. Prepare for fun times!
>> No. 14206
>Onikakushi-hen into Taraimawashi-hen
I thought we were stuck in the early stages of Watanagashi-hen, eventually playing out the role of Satoko.
>> No. 14207
>>14206
Renko is Keiichi and Mary is Shmion? Or is the opposite?
>> No. 14210
File 123413443529.jpg - (24.69KB , 400x300 , tsukihime_mahirunotsuki-p1-full.jpg ) [iqdb]
14210
>a red headed girl in a more Japanese-styled maid's uniform arrives at the door, smiling
>>14197
I'm thinking of someone else entirely.
>> No. 14211
>>14210
Don't be silly; "Koto" doesn't sound anything like "Kohaku", either!
>> No. 14212
>>14211
You must be trying to make a point but you are not succeeding.
>> No. 14213
>>14212
I am? Well, if you say so.
If you understand, please tell me, because I don't.
>> No. 14222
Sorry about not updating, I was really sick. Despite my hate for blogging, I'll have to say that it was bad enough that, for the longest amount of time, I couldn't even get out of bed because of everything spinning, and because I was always about to vomit after standing up. Reasons for doing nothing aside, expect an update later.
>> No. 14223
Also, looking at that scene again, writing it while feeling like that was a bad idea. I'm going to rewrite it so it actually makes some sense, and I'll add in the last vote so that it actually counts.
>> No. 14224
>>14223

hooray!
>> No. 14227
File 123441798689.jpg - (80.94KB , 1000x665 , Renko_032.jpg ) [iqdb]
14227
"This is... pretty creepy..." Making yourself small, you look around the room slowly, inspecting every spot for the shadow of a person. "Renko, Mary... Should we really stand around like this?"

After a few more moments of silence, all of which seems to pass like an eternity, Renko speaks up, taking the lead in this situation. As she does so, Maribel's gaze goes back to the floor, with that worn-out look on her face.

"Yeah..." After unlocking the door, Renko gives it a firm push, and the three of you rush out of that room, leaving behind the unknown person and the deceased woman. It doesn't really take any conversation to get the point across, since... You had all, apparently, been thinking the same thing.

Maribel fumbles around in her pockets for a minute before pulling out the key, and firmly locking the door. Depositing the key back into her own pocket, she looks at the door, as Renko lets out a sigh of relief.

"Ah... I don't like what happened to Eliza at all, but I'd be a liar if I said that getting out of there doesn't make me feel better..."

Maribel merely nods, her hands up against the door. All seems calm for a moment... until Mary's knees buckle, and then give out. Falling to the ground, she lets a few tears fall from her eyes to the floor, making the faintest dripping noises you had heard in a long time. As Maribel begins to sob madly, Renko pulls on your sleeve, gesturing to the door at the top of the staircase.

After having left Maribel downstairs where she could be all to herself, the two of you had decided to take a seat in the next closest room, which was nothing more than a little sitting room, with a television and a few windows in it. After pulling down the blinds, your ears fill with little more than the sound of the rain, which has gotten a little bit weaker at this point.

"...Hey, Aoi..." Looking over at Renko, you can see that her eyes are a bit unfocused, and that she has a general air of being 'disconnected' about her. "...Do you feel sorry for Maribel? After she started crying like that...?"

Still too shocked to form any good words, you merely nod, to which Renko smiles the smallest bit.

"...That's a lie." Focusing on you, she has an expression which is a gruesome mix of silent horror and amusement. "Not what you said... but, how Maribel was acting. She was lying that whole time."

Swallowing hard, you feel just how dry your throat is, and it takes you a few seconds to manage any comprehendable words.

"...What do you mean, a lie? She seemed really torn up..."

Renko laughs smalley, as if she didn't believe much of anything that had just happened, and as if she was mocking it.

"Eliza's death... that's a lie too, I know it." Flicking on the TV, all that appears is a static fuzz. You ignore it as Renko continues. "That knife and the wound were just props, I'm sure. And the worms must be there to keep anyone from trying to check her pulse..."

Feeling your heart beat slower, you look on silently at the person before you. More than the happy Renko, who seems to always try to make peace between you and Mary, only to fail... This seems like a Renko who stayed silent until now, and who doubts Maribel just as much as you do.

"Well... Even if it seems like something a weird person like Maribel would do, why would she do something like that...?"

"She want us to believe." Renko's gaze falls to the floor, her eyes feeling distant. "In this city, full of nothing but Han supporters, she wants us to believe that she can perform magic... That she can use that thing that the Han faction had prided itself on so much."

Slamming a hand onto the table, you make a sudden exclamation.

"What do you mean, Han faction? I thought this was a city that had all its old residents get attracted to a newer, better city!"

"No, that's also a lie. Though you weren't here for it... You see, this city had been much busier, even with that new city. Two beliefs had clashed, though. The beliefs of the original inhabitants, who believed in their shrine god, and the beliefs of the Han group and their followers, who believe..."

Suddenly, Renko perks up, smiling once more. This catches you off guard, and you merely look on as she continues.

"Never mind, that's a story for later. I think Mary must be getting lonely, now, right? Let's go get her, and then tell your mother or father about what happened."

...All you can manage is to nod, and follow after Renko as the two of you return to the basement, to go find Maribel again.

-----

As I said, rewriting this. I had left out some important scenes in my bad state, so I'm putting them in this time. I need my sleep though, so I'll finish all of this tomorrow.
>> No. 14229
This is more like it.
>> No. 14237
This is still weird, but it flows much, much better, despite a few bumps at the end, there.

Also, Han magic-pretending wat
>> No. 14245
what
>> No. 14246
Gah... Well, if that last part was too crap, let me know. I think I need to get some actual rest before I can write this out.
>> No. 14254
Yeah, I'll get some sleep and write the rest tommorow. I guess that it'll be the last update(s) in this thread.
>> No. 14256
>>14246
It was fine. Keep writing.
>> No. 14264
>>14256

Seconding this. You need to be less critical of your own work, Nine; you've obviously come a far way from Border Crossing. You just write, and we'll handle the criticism.
>> No. 14265
Stepping down the cold steps, you enter to find Maribel leaning only slightly against the large door, her eyes slightly red. A distant haze coats those eyes, until Renko speaks up.

"Hey Maribel..." Timidly, she makes her thoughts known. "Now that we've seen all that, we should go find an adult, right?"

For a moment, Maribel merely stands there, looking at the ground, then at Renko, and back. She sighs heavily, and points to the side of the staircase, where a red headed maid is standing, looking a bit nervous. As she shakes a bit, stepping around nervously, Maribel finally speaks up.

"Koto was kind enough to see if we were okay... I told her about how you had to go show Aoi something real quick, and how I was just locking up."

From those words, you can tell that she isn't being honest. Though, with a maid that nervous around, you can't blame her for being like that. The girl would probably turn pale and fall over if she found out that one of her fellow servants was 'dead' in the room right next to her. Taking a moment before thinking of anything else... you take note of the girl's appearance.

Long, red hair, and a Japanese maid's uniform. It looks like she has a sort of supply belt about her waist, and, as you look up to inspect her eyes, she averts her gaze. Looking over at Maribel, she speaks softly, with an oddly high voice.

"Um... Miss Maribel, what is it that happened? Is everything okay?"

Maribel nods reassuringly, again lying to the poor maid.

"Yes, everything is fine. It's just that Aoi hurt his leg when he fell over earlier, and his face, too. He was being a little too sensitive about it is all."

Koto sighs with relief, after having heard Maribel's lies, and having taken them as the full truth. You clench your teeth in anger, but... Unclenching them, you go along with it, as the four of you make your way up the stairs, and through the hall.

With no stops along the way, you soon find yourself seated in a familiar room, which you had been in a few nights ago. After having told the maid to go get some snacks, Maribel sits heavily in her chair, and Renko speaks up not long after.

"...So, you're not going to tell her anything?" Renko cocks her head to the side, looking a bit worried. "Then, if we have to spend so much time with her, how will we be able to tell one of your parents?"

Maribel merely shrugs her shoulders in response, as you hold your cheek, watching the other two talk.

"We can't just leave it be, you know. We need to tell someone who can do something about it, right?"

"...Well... of course." Maribel sighs, looking out the nearby window. A few seconds pass before she speaks again. "...You know... Once she gets back, I could find a reason to leave with her, and you could..."

A silence follows, with the three of you frozen in place. As you hold your cheek, thinking over the few events of this evening... the door to the room opens once more, and Koto steps in with a tray holding a tea pot, a few cups, and some cookies. As she sets them down, you could swear that you saw an odd look on her face, aimed towards Maribel.

"...R-Reina and I put a lot of effort into these cookies." Taking a deep bow, the maid, fidgets around as she picks her words. "Please enjoy them."

Renko suddenly grins, snapping her fingers as she grabs a few cookies.

"If you put so much effort into making them, then you should enjoy them, too!"

...Just then, a thought enters your mind. Isn't this the perfect chance to get the maid to leave, so that you can go talk to your mother? Looking over towards Renko, who is thoughtfully chewing on one of the cookies, you see a glint in her eyes which says the exact same thing. With her mouth full and Maribel distant, you speak up.

"If Reina put so much effort into them with you, then she should also have some, right?"

The distressed maid looks between you and Renko, making pathetic and confused noises as the two of you both say such things to her. After another minute of her odd grunting and humming, she finally manages to speak up, stuttering a bit as she does so.

"R-Reina and I... We... Or, um, I- I can't enjoy those sorts of things! That's the kind of thing that only the young Master, Mistress, and their friend should enjoy..."

Maribel, picking up on this, has a thin, barely noticeable smile spread over her face. She nods, and grabs Koto's arm, leading her out the door.

"Come on, I'll help you find her. Maybe she's on the first floor? Or the second? I wonder if she's in the bo..."

As Maribel's voice trails off, you and Renko just sit there, watching the door frame in a hushed awe, wondering if it's really fine to go now. A few more seconds, pass, and the two of you silently slip out of the room, heading off in the direction of a library where you might find your mother...

...Breathing deeply, you keep your eyes averted from Renko's face. Thinking back to what she said earlier... Just what was she saying? Curses, factions, magic, something like that? As these thoughts fill your head, you must have become visibly worried, as Renko catches your shoulder, saving you from falling over sideways.

"Aoi, is something wrong?" Holding you in one of her arms, she looks dead on into your eyes, her nose dangerously close to your own nose. "It's not like you to be so careless..."

[ ] "Your face is... too close!"
[ ] Pull yourself together and ask about what she was saying earlier.
[ ] "It's nothing, really... Um, let's keep going. I don't think we'd have much time..."

-----

>>14264

Thanks, I don't know if you understand how much it means to know that my readers will actually be ready to critique.
>> No. 14267
[x] Give her a spacey look, "Careless? A girl committed suicide. In my home, you understand? Even if I'm not living here right now; it's still my home."
[x] Ball your fists at your side, hot tears on your face, "I know it's not the brightest of places, nor does it hold the happiest of memories, but there's no getting around this. Whatever business as usual is around here, it has to change."

Verbosity because Aoi really needs to develop a sense of purpose, otherwise I'm afraid it will degenerate to him simply following Renko around silently.
>> No. 14268
[x] Give her a spacey look, "Careless? A girl committed suicide. In my home, you understand? Even if I'm not living here right now; it's still my home."
[x] Ball your fists at your side, hot tears on your face, "I know it's not the brightest of places, nor does it hold the happiest of memories, but there's no getting around this. Whatever business as usual is around here, it has to change."

I don't know if >>14267 is the right way to vote, but the motives given for voting that way are dead on.

>>14265
>Thanks, I don't know if you understand how much it means to know that my readers will actually be ready to critique.
WTF? I told you this somewhere between seven hundred and eight hundred goddamn times, myself.
>> No. 14270
[x] Pull yourself together and ask about what she was saying earlier.
>> No. 14271
[X] Give her a spacey look, "Careless? A girl committed suicide. In my home, you understand? Even if I'm not living here right now; it's still my home."
[X] Ball your fists at your side, hot tears on your face, "I know it's not the brightest of places, nor does it hold the happiest of memories, but there's no getting around this. Whatever business as usual is around here, it has to change."
>> No. 14272
[X] Give her a spacey look, "Careless? A girl committed suicide. In my home, you understand? Even if I'm not living here right now; it's still my home."
[X] Ball your fists at your side, hot tears on your face, "I know it's not the brightest of places, nor does it hold the happiest of memories, but there's no getting around this. Whatever business as usual is around here, it has to change."
>> No. 14274
[X] Give her a spacey look, "Careless? A girl committed suicide. In my home, you understand? Even if I'm not living here right now; it's still my home."
[X] Ball your fists at your side, hot tears on your face, "I know it's not the brightest of places, nor does it hold the happiest of memories, but there's no getting around this. Whatever business as usual is around here, it has to change."
>> No. 14275
[ ] "Your face is... too close!"
>> No. 14276
Okay, going to try and write this up tonight. Update will be in a new thread.
>> No. 14277
>>14276

Hooray!
>> No. 14298
Delayed, but who's to say it wasn't expected? New thread.

http://www.touhouproject.com/border/res/14297.html