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13294 No. 13294
Flying; there's a nice goal. And maybe not an impossible one either; there's nobody that hasn't seen the shrine maiden fly rather than bother to climb the stairs of her own shrine, and rumor has it that the black and white blur that flies out of the Forest of Magic every so often isn't a youkai after all. Clearly, it can be done; the question is--

"What the hell do you think you're doin', kid? Quit daydreaming and hold the damn thing straight!"

You sigh. Construction work sounded a whole lot more interesting when you weren't doing it everyday. Shaking your head, you return your mind to the task at hand: holding a piece of wood while somebody who presumably knows what he's doing nails it to another piece of wood. Looking around, you see a half dozen instances of the same scene, and you have no idea how any the ersatz pieces of lumber you've handled so far are going to fit together to make a house. A quick look at the overseers, all four of which are crowded around a piece of paper arguing with each other, makes you begin to doubt that anyone does. You manage to block out the din of hammers hitting wood and think for a few seconds about better uses for these poor dead trees until--

"Goddamnit, kid! Hold it straight or the next nail goes through your hand! I ain't gonna tell you twice!"

"You already told me twice," you mutter to yourself, abandoning all hope of an internal monologue for the next few hours.

---

"That's it for today, folks! Same time tomorrow!"

No sooner are the words out of the foreman's mouth than you're off. Moving lumber from sunup to sundown is definitely the most taxing job you've had so far, and you ache for a warm meal and a bed. You almost catch yourself wondering why you started working construction in the first place, but you already know the answer to that: there wasn't much else you hadn't already tried.

You were born in Gensokyo, and so were your parents and grandparents, but talking to people from outside the border (the ones that decided to stay, at least) has given you a longing for... you don't really know what. Apparently not construction, and not cooking, ever since you filled in for the chef from that soba stand who broke his arm, and not pottery, ever since your aunt needed "just a teensy bit of help" for a "small favor", and... you stop your train of thought as the list gets depressingly long. You aren't quite ready to march up to the Hakurei shrine and have the shrine maiden send you across the border (and from what little you've heard of her, you doubt she would even if you asked), but for as long as you can remember, you've been looking for something new, something ouside what's waiting for you as the son of a farmer. Of course, you're not particularly athletic, so youkai hunting and the like is out, and you know you don't have the intelligence to be a scholar (though that doesn't really sound that exciting in the first place), which leaves... what? You idly wonder if being a youkai hunter would get boring as fast as everything else has. You sigh and look up at the sun setting over the trees as--

A scream. A scream? Children screaming, from far away. On reflex, you look towards the town, hoping to see a group of overexcited schoolkids chasing each other, but you realize as you do that the sound came from the opposite direction. Straining your eyes to catch the light of the setting sun, you turn away from the village and peer into the rapidly darkening plains neighboring the Forest of Magic.

You see nothing but grass for about a hundred feet, where a small hill stands, blocking your view of the rest of the field. You try to reassure yourself that even a child would know better than to stray that far from the village at this time of day, but you don't get too far before another scream, this one slightly louder than before, confirms that that's exactly where the noise is coming from.

Your mind races. The contract with the youkai that keeps them from attacking the human village directly is common knowledge, but so are the stories of villagers lured away with all kinds of trickery, only to be set upon and devoured before they could make it out of earshot. A step away from the village makes you fair game for any youkai prowling the dusk, but if there are children over there, the same is true for them.

Another scream brings you back to reality.

[ ] There could be children in trouble over there! Rush over as fast as you can.
[ ] Move towards the sound quietly, keeping a watch out for youkai as you go.
[ ] It's a youkai trap. Keep walking home.

---

So what with Anonymaster's Underground LA on hiatus, I figured I'd take the opportunity to try to write one. Methinks /others/ is slow enough to support a second one anyway, should SouTY restart. What say ye, Anon?

>> No. 13295
[ ] Move towards the sound quietly, keeping a watch out for youkai as you go.

I'm the sort of fellow who would think "it's a trap" but grudgingly investigate anyway, just in case it wasn't.
>> No. 13296
>>13294
[X] Move towards the sound quietly, keeping a watch out for youkai as you go.
>> No. 13297
[ ] Move towards the sound quietly, keeping a watch out for youkai as you go.
>> No. 13298
>So what with Anonymaster's Underground LA on hiatus, I figured I'd take the opportunity to try to write one. Methinks /others/ is slow enough to support a second one anyway, should SouTY restart. What say ye, Anon?

I was about to announce today that I was restarting, actually. Still, I approve. It's always interesting seeing different characterisations of the same characters.
>> No. 13299
Also vote. I was tempted to whatever it and go home, but...

[X] Move towards the sound quietly, keeping a watch out for youkai as you go.
>> No. 13309
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13309
>>13298

I have awesome timing. Thanks for the go-ahead.

---

Even if there are children being attacked, you aren't going to save them by charging down the hill and punching out a youkai. Stealth is called for here.

Keeping yourself as low to the ground as you can while still remaining ready to run for it, you creep towards the source of the screaming. As you walk, you keep an eye to the forest to the west and south, hoping to -- well, don't kid yourself, hoping to catch a glimpse of any youkai before it rips you to shreds, since a glimpse is sure to be all you could manage. You almost laugh at the thought that you could stand up to something like that. Still, any chance is better than no chance, and you keep a keen eye towards your surroundings.

In doing this, though, you fail to keep a keen eye on where you're going, and you stifle a gasp as you nearly walk off the edge of the cliff before you.

Wait, cliff?

Distracted from your self-preservation for a moment, you look down into the chasm you nearly stepped into. At first glance, it looks like something just ripped the hill in half and took the other half somewhere else. The grassy plain takes a ninety degree turn towards the ground a few feet ahead of you and goes about fifteen feet deep, and the crater of dirt spreads out at least fifty feet in all directions from its center. On second thought, you think, looking at the jagged rocks jutting out from the floor of the depression, it looks like an earthquake hit. For a minute, you forget what brought you out here in the first place and just stare. This definitely wasn't here yesterday, or for that matter, when you went to work this morning.

A scream almost directly below you interrupts your thoughts roughly, and you remember yourself immediately. Looking down, you see a kid, a 7 or 8 year old boy you recognize as one of the village kids, trying to climb the sheer wall you're standing on, tears streaming down his face. Must have fallen down here while playing and then not been able to get back out. You lower yourself carefully down the wall and take hold of the kid, getting him to face you. "Don't worry, kid, I'll get you out of here."

"A g-ghost! A ghost came out of the cave! We have to hurry!" The boy wails in your face, evidently oblivious to anything you just said. Fears of youkai rising to the surface, you examine your surroundings again, but the crater is as empty as it was when you looked into it from above. Whatever this kid saw, it's gone now.

"Hey, hey, relax, kid. There's no ghost, see?" you say in as comforting a tone as you can manage, trying to turn his head towards the center of the depression so he can see for himself, but he ignores you entirely, opting to continue his pitiful struggle up the wall, continuing to scream at the top of his lungs about a ghost.

You sigh. "Okay, if you want to run from a ghost, we'll run from a ghost. Gimme your foot," you say, crossing your fingers and putting them at your waist. This, of all things, seems to stop the boy's screaming, and after a confused second, he figures out what you want him to do and puts his foot in your hands.

"One, two, three, and go!" With a heave, you lift your hands over your head as the boy jumps, and you watch as he sails over the wall with little trouble. As you pull yourself out of the pit, you hear him resume screaming with full force, and by the time you're standing on horizontal ground again, you can just barely hear his cries echoing from the direction of the village.

"You're welcome," you grumble, though you'd expect as much from any kid his age, let alone a panic-stricken one. Looking back towards the pit, you wonder what he mistook as a ghost in the first place. Straining your eyes in the twilight, you manage to make out the cave the boy was yelling about, a small cut-out of black against the browns of the north wall of the pit. As you focus on it, you almost feel like you can see something moving, beyond the limits of your eyes. You start to wonder if the boy actually did see something; ghosts aren't as common as youkai, but you've heard stories of them as well.

[ ] Adventure calls! Head into the cave and look for the ghost.
[ ] There's still a little daylight left. Stick around outside and see if the ghost comes back.
[ ] Better safe than eaten. Head home before it gets too dark.
>> No. 13310
[ ] See the kid back. Make sure he got home okay. Adventuring can wait until tomorrow, in the proper daytime.
>> No. 13311
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13311
[X] Adventure calls! Head into the cave and look for the ghost.
>> No. 13312
[X] Adventure calls! Head into the cave and look for the ghost.
>> No. 13317
[X] Adventure calls! Head into the cave and look for the ghost.
>> No. 13319
[S] Adventure calls! Head into the cave and look for the ghost.
Suicide option ahoy!
>> No. 13320
[x] Yell "Zombie Goasts leave this place"
>> No. 13322
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13322
May as well mention before I forget that this takes place before the events of SA. That said, depending on whose route you take, you may need to cause, prevent, or ignore its events to get a good end, so make your choices without fear of creating a time paradox.

---

[X] Adventure calls! Head into the cave and look for the ghost.

You know you should head back to the village before something comes and eats you, but the lure of the cave and its ghost is too much to resist. Before you can talk some sense into yourself, you've slid back down into the depression and come to stand at the mouth of the cave.

Even standing right next to the cave, you can barely make out the walls past where the setting sun illuminates them. Putting a hand on the cold stone of the entrance, you lean your head inside. The difference in climate is drastic and immediate. The end-of-fall chill doesn't seem able to cross the distance into the cave, and your head is easily ten degrees warmer than the rest of your body. Even the atmosphere itself is different here; the air is a little stuffy, like a room full of people, and drawing a breath gives you a whiff of a wet, earthy smell, like standing in a freshly tilled field, mixed with just a hint of a pungent odor like rotting eggs. With a final look back at the setting sun, you make up your mind. Ducking to avoid hitting your head on a low-hanging rock formation (is that a stalagmite or a stalagtite, you idly wonder), you walk into the darkness.

Apart from the entrance, there's more than enough room here to walk comfortably upright, and there haven't been any forks in the path, so you won't have to worry about getting lost. Even nature seems to be on your side, as the wet rocks reflect the sunlight from outside farther into the cave than you realized standing outside it. Before you know it, you've traveled far enough that the entrance appears the size of your thumb. Looking back at the fading light, you know you should call it a day and come back when there's more daylight, but it would be pointless to come all this way and not get another look at the ghost, wouldn't it? Besides, this cave wasn't here yesterday; who's to say it won't be gone tomorrow? Rationalizing as best you can, you head further into the cave.

Another few minutes of walking brings you to a junction of sorts. Looking at it, you can see it might have been a fork in the path some time ago, but the right branch goes only a few yards before being blocked by several huge rocks. You try in vain to shift them for a while, not really knowing why you want to go that direction in the first place, but end up taking the left branch.

You don't walk too long down this path before the reasonable portion of your brain finally gains enough leverage to make itself known. The sun has probably completely set by now, and with the turn you took, you can't even see the entrance anymore. Wait, what? If you can't see the entrance anymore, how can you see at all? Looking around, you can plainly make out the features of the cave walls, despite no apparent source of light. You may have better eyes than you realized, but nobody should be able to see without any light at all, right?

That means there must be a light source somewhere farther down this path. Using that fact to push the reasonable portion of your brain back into check, you continue on down the pathway--

And repeat your earlier performance of nearly walking off a cliff. A step ahead of you, the path you were traveling down abruptly comes to a halt, opening into nothingness so deep that even your apparently heightened senses can't see the bottom. How do you keep missing these things?

Taking a step back and a deep breath to calm yourself, you survey your surroundings. Now that you're paying attention to what's ahead of you, you can see that the opposite wall is easily a hundred feet away, and there is nothing even remotely resembling floor in view. Steeling your nerves (and putting a hand against the wall to brace yourself), you lean your head out and look to either side. The right side is as desolate as the forward view, but looking to the left, you catch a glimpse of another shelf. And on it...

Floating about four feet about the ground is a small white ball, almost perfectly round if not for the wisp of a tail sprouting from what you assume is its back. Its bright whiteness, along with what you realize is a faint glow coming from it, sets it apart from the darkness of the rest of the cave. As you watch, it bobs along slowly from one edge of the platform to the other, then stops abruptly, becoming perfectly still. Nothing moves for a moment, then you see its tail begin to shorten, as though it's being sucked into its body. Is it disappearing? No, it must just be keeping its body perfectly still while turning--

You stifle a gasp as you realize that the... ghost, or whatever it is, has turned to look directly at you. Or at least, it's pointed towards you; there's no sign of any eyes on the thing. You duck your head behind the cave wall, heart beating wildly, and everything in your body tells you that you should be running for the exit now, that you should have been running for the exit a while ago, that you're going to die a horrible death--

Relax. You force yourself to take slow, deep breaths, and the smell of the earth restores some clarity to your thoughts. If its previous movement was indicative of its speed, you could outrun it even if it turned hostile; the important thing is watching it to see if it attacks. Taking another deep breath and holding it, you peek out slowly from behind the cave wall.

Apparently it wasn't hostile, as it seems to have forgotten about you entirely, turned back and continued on its original path. You watch it enter another opening in the stone you missed on first glance, much like the one you're standing in but with the benefit of solid ground on the outside. As soon as it completely disappears from sight, you let out the breath you had been holding and sag against the cave wall. You're about ready to thank the gods you're alive, run back to the village, and keep this as a story to tell when you're old.

But is that what you really want? Did you really come out here and put yourself in danger for something to tell the folks back home? You have no idea anymore, but something deep in your gut tells you that your adventure isn't over yet, that you should be following that ghost, that this is the least boring thing you'll ever be able to do with your life, that you'd be better off taking a step off the cliff than going back home now, that--

You put a stop to that line of thinking and take another few deep breaths. Maybe the air down here is getting to you.

Either way, if you're going to follow it, the dead end you're faced with now is the first problem. If you took a running jump at the platform the ghost was on, you cuold catch up pretty quickly... But as soon as the thought enters your head, you shake it out. 'Missing, presumed caved' is not what you want on your tombstone. Looking at the wall between you and the platform, you see plenty of rough spots and protrusions that you could use to make your way across to the other side. True, the ghost will have gotten away by then, but you know which way it went, and you seem to be faster than it is.

As you take a deep breath and consider your options, the smell of the cave enters your head again. If you jump the distance, you won't have to worry about losing it.

[ ] Try to jump it.
[ ] Climb across to the other side.
[ ] That's enough exploring for one day. Head back to the surface.
>> No. 13323
[ ] Climb across to the other side.
>> No. 13324
[x] That's enough exploring for one day. Head back to the surface.
Have we done a cautious anon yet?
>> No. 13325
[X] Try to jump it.

It's time to be manly (maaaaaaaanly~)


>May as well mention before I forget that this takes place before the events of SA. That said, depending on whose route you take, you may need to cause, prevent, or ignore its events to get a good end, so make your choices without fear of creating a time paradox.

...On the other hand, I find this somewhat annoying, because now nobody will believe me when I say that SotUY was (and CS is) going to do the same thing. Unlike you, I guess, I didn't want them to know about it.
>> No. 13326
[x] Climb across to the other side.

Stupid choice, boring choice, and this. Well, whatever.

>>13325
I already kind of expected that.
>> No. 13327
[x] Climb across to the other side.
>> No. 13329
[X] Stupid choice.

I'm sick of shmups, I want a platformer.
>> No. 13330
[x] Climb across to the other side.
>> No. 13331
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13331
[x] Climb across to the other side.

There's no way you're going back now after coming this far, but if you try to jump it, you probably won't be going back at all. You aren't that strong, but you climbed enough trees as a kid that a wall like this should be easy, right? After another quick look around for more ghosts, you edge yourself back towards the cliff and start looking for a suitable handhold. Once you find one, you lean your upper body out of the opening in the rock and grab it, keeping one hand in place against the inside wall. After a few testing tugs to make sure the rock won't break once you put your weight on it, you grab it with your other hand, keeping your feet in place, and begin searching for a foothold. As soon as you do, you realize that the bottom of the cavern, obscured from view when you tried to see it from your original perch, seems to be more illuminated from this vantage point. Before it occurs to you that looking down may be a bad idea, you shift your attention from the wall down into the cavern.

...

Yes, the bottom of the cavern certainly is visible now. Plain as the nose on your face. Hard to miss, really, considering the bottom can't be more than fifty feet - ah, better make that sixty feet from where you stand. And those nice spiky rocks, glistening with condensation from the cave, some of them so sharp you'd swear something was sharpening them--

You turn your attention back to the wall, knuckles as white as the ghost you just saw. At least when you couldn't see it, you could imagine it was a bottomless pit and you would just fall until you died of starvation; this way, you can imagine in stomach-wrenching detail exactly what will happen should you lose your grip. Struggling to keep your calm, you take a few deep breaths before stepping out onto a foothold. As you move, you try to distract yourself from the danger below by taking in the sounds of the cavern, amplified in the large space. You hear a drip of water falling into a pool from no direction in particular and focus on the calming tone, and before long you find the tension disappearing from your grip as you make your way across.

Progress across the wall is extremely slow, with you shifting your weight onto each new handhold and foothold over a period of minutes to make sure none of them snap. Still, progress it is, and before too long you find yourself nearly within arm's reach of the platform. However, the platform is at head height, and with no other handholds or footholds in the vicinity, you'll have to stretch with one hand to reach it, then grab with the other hand and pull yourself up with your arms. Nothing impossible, but not something to take lightly, either. Still, this is the only way, and if turning back seemed silly before, it seems unthinkable now.

Grabbing the last handhold with your left hand, you stretch your body towards the ledge, practically standing on your tiptoes, and reach out with your right hand. After a bit of looking, you find a small protrusion from the ledge that makes a perfect grabbing point and latch on, making your grip as firm as possible.

You breathe out. That was the easy part. Now for the hard part: giving up your foothold and grabbing with your left hand, then pulling yourself up before your arms get too tired and you lose your grip and fall onto the--

Best to ease up on the negativity for a minute. You close your eyes and focus on the sound of your breathing for a few seconds, then open them and begin to count aloud to yourself.

"One..."

"Two..."

"Whatcha' doin?"

At the sound of a voice behind you, your heart jumps into your throat and before you know what you're doing, you push off of your foothold with your legs and grab your right hand with your left, struggling to pull yourself up and away from whoever or whatever that voice belongs to.

Except you can't. Your left hand misses the ledge entirely, and you swing facefirst into the stone base of the platform protruding from the wall. Hard. Stars explode in your vision, and you feel your grip on the ledge weakening in reflex. You blindly reach with your free hand towards anything to grab, but it's already too late; you feel your right hand's fingers slipping from their tenuous hold on the ledge. You make one last grab for anything with your left hand as your right hand opens, and you fall.

But before you even have time to feel yourself begin to fall, a strong hand closes around your left wrist, and you grab back with your left hand. Your whole body jerks to a stop as your momentum is roughly brought to a halt, and your wrist burns with pain as it supports the weight of your entire body.

"Hey, careful! It's a long way down, you know!"

The return of the voice nearly shocks you into losing your grip again, but survival instincts take over and you grip even tighter as you look up at your savior, vision still blurry from your close encounter with rock.

Her eyes are the first thing you notice. Big, brown eyes, with just a hint of mirth behind their concern. Short blonde hair falling along the sides of her face. Her mouth, quirked up into the smallest of smiles, with just the slightest hint of... a fang peeking out over her lower lip...

You feel your grip tighten as your vision clears and the little details about this girl assault your senses. The feeling of her fingernails digging into your wrist, sharper than any human's would; the light in her eyes that, more than reflecting the cavern's light, seems to come from within; the fact that she's in this cave at all...

"Gimme your other hand and I'll pull you up, okay? You're really heavy."

[ ] Getting eaten is better than getting impaled, right? Give the girl your hand.
[ ] Lunge for the ledge and run for it.
[ ] Anemia option.
>> No. 13332
[ ] Getting eaten is better than getting impaled, right? Give the girl your hand.
>> No. 13333
[x] Getting eaten is better than getting impaled, right? Give the girl your hand.
>> No. 13341
[ ] Getting eaten is better than getting impaled, right? Give the girl your hand.
>> No. 13342
[x] Getting eaten out erotically is better than getting impaled, right? Give the girl your hand.
>> No. 13343
[ ] Getting eaten is better than getting impaled, right? Give the girl your hand.
>> No. 13348
>"Gimme your other hand and I'll pull you up, okay? You're really heavy."

[x] "That just means I have more meat on my bones."
[x] Getting eaten is better than getting impaled, right? Give the girl your hand.
>> No. 13350
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13350
[X] Getting eaten is better than getting impaled, right? Give the girl your hand.

She's already caught you; she can kill you whenever she wants, and if you piss her off here, killing you would be as simple as letting go of your hands. You understand that extremely well, and it gives you a kind of grim peace. May as well play along and give yourself a slightly higher chance of surviving.

"Just means more meat on my bones." You reach your dangling right hand up to her reaching left hand, and she grabs it. A distant part of your mind notes that her hands are warm, warmer than you'd think a youkai's hands would be.

"Huh? Well, whatever. Got a good grip?" she smiles down at you, giving you a better look at her fangs, and you nod silently back at her. If she's going to eat you, you at least wish she would be a bit less cheerful about it.

"Okay, then, let's go!" With this, she begins swinging you back and forth, sending your already perturbed stomach into another round of gyrations. You don't really have any qualms about throwing up on your captor, but she's above you, so you hold it in for a better opportunity.

"Ready..." The two of you reach the top of a swing and begin falling in the opposite direction. "Set..." You reach the nadir of your swing and start ascending. You feel a strange heat on the back of your neck. "Go!"

And then you're flying through the air, far faster than you've ever moved before, clutching onto the girl's hands as the two of you sail through the cavern. As the rocks below flash past at breakneck speed, you finally give up and empty the contents of your stomach. You hear a sound like "Ew" from above you, but you're in no condition to pay attention to anything else as you open your eyes to the rocks, this time much closer and you're still falling towards them, and they can't be more than a hundred feet away now and you can practically see the sharp points glistening and oh god this is the end and--

You feel a jolt from above and strengthen your grip on your captor as your momentum tries to tear the two of you apart. Watching the ground, you realize your trajectory has changed, and while you're still falling, you're moving more sideways than down, and before you know it, you're moving back away from the rocks and up into the air again.

Struggling against the wind to look above you, you scarcely believe what you see: the girl, your captor, swinging on a white thread she's gripping between her feet and looking as though she's having the time of her life.

This is too much. You feel your grip weaken as you stare in shock.

Whatever shock you felt, however, is doubled as you see her let go of the rope, then somehow produce another another one and grab onto it again as the two of you begin your descent.

This time, however, as the rope suddenly loses slack and the two of you are forced apart, your hands slip free of hers, and you continue on towards the rocks.

So this is how you're going to die. You idly wonder if the youkai will still eat you after you splatter all over the rocks.

And then, like that, your body decides it's had enough. Your vision goes black, like smothering a candle, and, after hearing what sounds like a scream from ahead of you, your hearing goes with it. You spend a oddly calming moment racing through the air blind and deaf, with nothing but the wind against your skin to tell you you're alive, before you lapse into unconsciousness.

---

Your first surprise when you wake up is that you woke up. Your second surprise comes a second later, when you open your eyes only to see that same pair of brown eyes staring back at you from about a foot away. The face attached to them, upon seeing your eyes open, breaks into a toothy grin.

"You're awake! Yay!" she cheers, apparently oblivious to the fact that she's close enough to your ears to be whispering. You try to scoot away from her and cover your ears, which brings you to surprise number three: you can't move your arms and legs. A look down reveals the reason: your entire body, up to your shoulders, is wrapped tightly in a strange white cloth that looks like millions of strings stuck to each other. You try to wiggle your fingers and see a small bulge form in the middle of the bundle. You try to move larger parts of your body, but are stymied by the girl's hands slamming into your shoulders, pinning you against the ground, and straddles you, beaming.

"Hey, are you hurt anywhere? You're not, right?"

Looking into the girl's face brings everything back in full force: entering the cave, getting caught by a youkai, falling to your... well, apparently not to your death. You realize that the being that's going to eat you is on top of you, immobilizing you, and showing off several impressive rows of teeth.

You close your eyes and try to summon up the same calm acceptance of death you had when you thought you were going to become one with the rocks. After a few seconds of that, you decide calm acceptance can get fucked and you scream like a little girl, shimmying backwards as fast as you can, which, with the youkai pinning your shoulders, isn't particularly fast.

"What? What's the matter? Are you hurt?"

In your panic, you manage to babble something about not getting any closer, and the girl's face clouds in confusion for a moment.

"What do you mean by..." she says, brows furrowing, then gasps and covers her mouth with her hands. "You mean... you think..." Her cheeks redden, and she closes her eyes in an expression that even your panic-stricken mind registers as adorable. "I'm not going to... e-eat you or anything!"

...What's all this now? "Huh?"

"Honest!" she says. As if suddenly realizing her position, she scrabbles off of you and sits on her knees by your side, blushing even more furiously. "I just wrapped you in my silk 'cause you fainted and I didn't want you to get cold or anything, and I wasn't sure when you were going to wake up since I didn't know why you passed out, and I didn't know if you were hurt or anything after I caught you like that after I..." The sudden torrent of explanation fades into silence, and the girl's blush threatens to overwhelm her entire face. "Do... do you want me to cut you out?" she asks in a small voice, holding her hand out.

Her hand full of half-inch long, sharpened fingernails that could probably shish-kebab you without too much trouble. You stifle another scream and swallow your fear; if she was going to eat you, she probably would have done it while you were out cold. "Yes, please," you croak.

She lays a delicate hand at your shoulder and, in a flash, cuts a line through your bindings all the way down to where they end at your feet. After a little bit of struggling to get your legs free as the girl cuts the fabric into smaller pieces, you manage to get out and sit in a pose mirroring hers a few feet away from her.

"So... hi."

No way. All this, and she wants to make small talk? Screw that; you've got some questions that are going to get answered.

[ ] "...Who are you?"
[ ] "...What are you?"
[ ] "...Where are we?"
[ ] "...What happened?"
[ ] "...How do I get back home?"
[ ] "...You really aren't going to eat me?"
[ ] Write-in question

---

If you choose multiple choices, list them in the order that you want to ask them. This will apply for pretty much every question that has choices that aren't mutually exclusive, in case something interrupts you before you can finish the entire list.
>> No. 13351
[x] "How do I shot web?"
>> No. 13356
[x] "...Who are you?"
[x] "...What happened?"
[x] "...Where are we?"
>> No. 13357
[X] "...Who are you?"
Asking anything else is just plain rude.
>> No. 13360
[x] "...Who are you?"
[x] "...What happened?"
[x] "...Where are we?"
>> No. 13361
File 123165471079.png - (252.00KB , 640x480 , 1220282157849.png ) [iqdb]
13361
>several impressive rows of teeth.

[X] "...Who are you?"
[X] "...What are you?"
[X] "...Where are we?"
[X] "...What happened?"
>> No. 13363
[x] "...Who are you?"
[x] "...What happened?"
[x] "...Where are we?"
>> No. 13366
[x] "Why are you blushing?"
>> No. 13370
[x] "...Who are you?"
[x] "...What happened?"
[x] "...Where are we?"
>> No. 13374
[X] "...Who are you?"
[X] "...What happened?"
[X] "Why are you blushing?"
>> No. 13396
[X] "...Who are you?"
[X] "...Where are we?"
[X] "...What happened?"

The only important questions here barring meta-knowledge.
>> No. 13397
File 123169976255.png - (502.56KB , 1000x1200 , 6.png ) [iqdb]
13397
[X] Who are you?
[X] What happened?
[X] Where are we?

Best to start out with the basics. "Who are you?"

"Ah! I forgot!” The blush that had just left the girl’s face returns with full force; you begin to wonder if blushing is just her natural state.

“I’m Yamame Kurodani. Nice to meet you!” With that, she thrusts out a hand and grins at you hesitatingly.

You blink. You’re not altogether unfamiliar with the concept of shaking hands, but even people from outside the border grow out of the mannerism within a few days of falling into Gensokyo. Is this a common greeting among youkai?

As if sensing your confusion, Yamame frowns and withdraws her hand slightly. “Is this... wrong? Miss Yuugi said you should shake hands when you meet someone new...” You get the impression that she’s even more unfamiliar with the practice than you are.

Before she has a chance to take her hand back, you grab it with your own and give it a firm shake. “Nice to meet you, Yamame.”

The smile returns to her face, and you feel her grip strengthen as she gives your hand a shake of her own. “Yeah!”

As the two of you shake, you get your first good look at your new acquaintance. At first glance, she looks like an ordinary teenage girl (though you remind yourself that as a youkai, she’s probably older than anyone you know), albeit an unusual one by Gensokyo’s standards. Her blonde hair, rather than being as short as your originally suspected, is back in a bun tied off with a large black bow. Her dress pools in a brown puddle around her knees, and your eyes are drawn to the bright yellow strips of fabric wrapping around it, which seem to be made of the same material you were just wrapped in.

As the two of you separate, you ask Yamame your next question. “So what exactly just happened?”

“Ah! Um...” The blush returns, though you only see it for a moment before she looks down at her knees. “That’s... ah...” Her hands open and close on handfuls of her dress nervously as she struggles with her words. After a few more seconds of uncomfortable silence, it becomes apparent that she’s not going to tell you anything anytime soon. “If you’d like to wait until later to talk about it...” you begin.

“I’m sorry!”

You don’t have a chance to finish your sentence, as Yamame’s interjection is closely followed by her thrusting her upper body down in the space between the two of you, hands flat against the ground, in what you realize, after a stunned moment, is a bow. Heart racing from the sudden movement, you begin to ask why, but before you can get any words out, Yamame speaks from her position on the ground, speeding through her words as though trying to make up for the time she spent silent.

“It was my fault you nearly got hurt! I just thought that since you were the first human I’ve seen in a while that I would try to show you something fun, and I didn’t realize that you wouldn’t be able to hold on, and normally I just hold on to Kisume’s bucket, and then when you let go of me I got surprised and lost my grip but I didn’t mean to throw you or anything and...” For the second time since you met her, Yamame catches herself midway through her monologue and fades into silence. “I’m sorry,” she finishes lamely. Her body is still bowed low, and her voice cracks slightly with her last words.

You struggle to make sense of the sudden barrage of words, and fail for most of it, but you can tell she’s apologizing for dropping you during... well, whatever it was she was doing earlier. “Don’t worry about it. I’m still alive, right?” you say as brightly as you can manage, trying to lighten the mood. Even if she did nearly kill you, being apologized to this earnestly makes you a little uncomfortable.

“So you’ll forgive me?” she asks hopefully, turning her head to look up at you with a weak smile and wiping her eyes with her hand.

“I...” You falter. There’s only one thing you can say in response to that face. “Yeah, I forgive you.”

No sooner are the words out of your mouth then Yamame springs from her prone position into your chest, wrapping her arms around your chest in a hug and burying her face in your shoulder; it’s all you can do not to fall backwards from the impact. “Thank you!” she speaks into your shoulder, tightening her grip to nearly painful levels. You are, at least, spared the trouble of figuring out what to do with your hands, as her hug leaves them trapped to your sides with incredible force. The hug continues on for a few more seconds, and you feel your fingers beginning to go numb.

“Um...” you begin hesitantly.

“Ah!” Yamame’s voice is muffled by your chest, but you feel her release you and step back. “Sorry,” she says sheepishly, her face reddening once again.

The two of you sit in silence for another second before you ask another question. “So where are we?”

“Huh? We’re in the underground.” Not a helpful answer, but about all you expected. From what you’ve heard talking to people in the know back in the village, all but the strongest youkai stay in the area they were born their entire lives and know relatively little about anything else. You look at your surroundings for clues as to your whereabouts, but nothing of interest; you seem to be on the floor of the cavern you were swinging over before you passed out, with rocks surrounding you on every side and nothing noticeable enough to use as a landmark.

“I got it!” Your examination is interrupted by Yamame’s cheerful cry. “You’re from above ground, right? Miss Yuugi knows a lot about above ground! I’ll take you to see her!”

Another youkai? You lucked out once, but you aren’t so sure you want to press your luck. “Who’s Miss Yuugi?”

“Oh, she’s really nice! She lives in the Ancient City! C’mon, I’ll take you to her!” Ancient City? Well, either way, it seems that Yamame doesn’t want you to get hurt, so she wouldn’t take you to someone that would hurt you, right?

“Okay, let’s go. Which way is it?” you ask, standing up and shaking out your legs.

“Here, grab on and I’ll take you!” Yamame rises with you, holding out her hands. You almost follow her instruction before you realize what her “taking you” is likely to mean, and recoil out of instinct. “You’ll... take me?”

“Yeah!” she says, oblivious to your concern. Or maybe not, as she takes in the look on your face. “Oh! Unless...” She looks down again, clearly remembering your earlier mishap. “We can just fly there the normal way, if you want.”

“The normal way?”

“Y’know, just floating like this.” Her feet lift from the ground and she floats back and forth a few feet to demonstrate. “It’s a little slower than the fun way, though.” She drops back down to the ground. “But if you don’t mind, we can do it the fun way again!” she says, a hint of pleading entering her voice.

You consider your choices. Flying through the air has started to lose its luster, given recent events, and you wouldn’t mind a nice long walk to get your thoughts straight before meeting this Miss Yuugi. On the other hand, you’re pretty sure you left the complete contents of your stomach back on the rocks, and the revelation that you aren’t going to be eaten has calmed you down significantly.

“I won’t drop you this time! I promise!”

[ ] Who could say no to that face? Let her have her fun.
[ ] Just flying looks safe enough, right?
[ ] You’ve had enough mid-air acrobatics for one day. Ask Yamame if the two of you can go by foot.

and

[ ] Write-in for what to do on the way.

Also, I forgot to include a request for names for our protagonist in the last post. If you want him to remain anonymous for now, you can vote for that too.

[ ] Name: ___________?
>> No. 13399
[x] Just flying looks safe enough, right?
[x] She said you're the first human "in a while", how often do people end up here? What happens to them?
[x] Ask about the Ancient City.

We've both had enough "fun" for one day.
>> No. 13400
[X] Who could say no to that face? Let her have her fun.

She's adorable. I can't deny her.
>> No. 13401
[x] Who could say no to that face? Let her have her fun.
[x] "I'll hazard a guess that you're a spider youkai, Miss Yamame?"
[x] "You said I was the first human you've seen in a while, yet you seem very personable. We could use more youkai like you above ground; you ever visit human village?"
[x] Ask her about her friend Kisume, Miss Yuugi, and the Ancient City.

Letting her carry us the way she wants is going to make her more pliable to her questions.
>> No. 13404
[x] Who could say no to that face? Let her have her fun.
[x] "I'll hazard a guess that you're a spider youkai, Miss Yamame?"
[x] "You said I was the first human you've seen in a while, yet you seem very personable. We could use more youkai like you above ground; you ever visit human village?"
[x] Ask her about her friend Kisume, Miss Yuugi, and the Ancient City.
>> No. 13405
[x] Who could say no to that face? Let her have her fun.
[x] "I'll hazard a guess that you're a spider youkai, Miss Yamame?"
[x] "You said I was the first human you've seen in a while, yet you seem very personable. We could use more youkai like you above ground; you ever visit human village?"
[x] Ask her about her friend Kisume, Miss Yuugi, and the Ancient City.

>all but the strongest youkai stay in the area they were born their entire lives and know relatively little about anything else.
>underground
Row row.
>> No. 13410
[X] Who could say no to that face? Let her have her fun.
[X] "I'll hazard a guess that you're a spider youkai, Miss Yamame?"
[X] "You said I was the first human you've seen in a while, yet you seem very personable. We could use more youkai like you above ground; you ever visit human village?"
[X] Ask her about her friend Kisume, Miss Yuugi, and the Ancient City.
>> No. 13413
[x] Just flying looks safe enough, right?

Where's the caution he had at the start of the thread?
>> No. 13417
[x] Just flying looks safe enough, right?
[x] Promise her you'll be glad to join her the fun way another time; you're still feeling a bit wobbly.
[x] Talk about her, about Miss Yuugi, about this entire place. What does she do down here, other than swing around to pass the time?
>> No. 13418
Before any more voting happens, "[X] Who could say no to that face? Let her have her fun." wins, and I've been writing it for the past five hours or so; brace for ~2000-word wall.
>> No. 13419
File 123172602733.jpg - (40.20KB , 640x352 , 1229552270329.jpg ) [iqdb]
13419
>>13418
>> No. 13422
File 123172943487.png - (48.85KB , 747x960 , 7.png ) [iqdb]
13422
Holy crap. I have no idea how the other writefags manage updates of this length (final word count 2401) on a daily basis. For bonus fun, try to figure out the order in which I wrote the parts by watching the writing quality fall from “oh yay i get to update again” to “DEAR GOD JUST LET IT STOP”. Needless to say, next update comes tomorrow.

Fun fact: I mistyped “spider youkai” as “spider loli” about three times while writing this update. Despite the fact that the phrase “spider youkai” only appears once in the entire thing.

Also, nobody voted for names, so I’ll take that as a tacit consensus for remaining anonymous, but if anyone comes up with something, feel free to chime in.

>>13405
?

---

[X] Who could say no to that face? Let her have her fun.
[X] "I'll hazard a guess that you're a spider youkai, Miss Yamame?"
[X] "You said I was the first human you've seen in a while, yet you seem very personable. We could use more youkai like you above ground; do you ever visit the human village?"
[X] Ask her about her friend Kisume, Miss Yuugi, and the Ancient City.

While swinging through the sky may be some people’s idea of fun, you think you’d rather keep your feet on the ground for the time being. Besides, having just been handed down a reprieve of what you had assumed was your death sentence, you aren’t all that eager to jump back into the figurative hangman’s noose again. No, you’ll just have to tell Yamame you’d rather--

Oh, dear. The pleading brown eyes looking up at you are just too persuasive. You can’t really bring yourself to deny her this little bit of enjoyment, can you?

But no! You have to resist! Think of your health, of your well-being!

“Okay, Yamame, we can do it the fun way.”

...Well, that didn’t go quite as planned.

“Really?! Yay!” Yamame jumps up and down a few times before doing what looks like a small victory dance in place; you can’t help but laugh at her unbridled joy, though you don’t think she notices.

“This time we’ll have to take special precautions to make sure you don’t fall, okay?” As she speaks, she steps towards you, and you notice the length of rope in her hand, made of the same material she just cut you loose from. Where did she get that from, exactly? Before you have time to consider it, she takes another step forward, wrapping her arms around your waist and pulling the rope around your midsection.

“This should keep us together,” she says, pulling the other end of the rope around herself and bringing both ends together to tie a knot. As she does, you grab a portion and rub it between your finger and thumb. You can feel how thin it is, but it was strong enough to keep you immobilized when you were wrapped in it, and will apparently be strong enough to keep you strapped to Yamame as you travel. Coupled with its unusual texture, it makes you think of...

“Silk,” you realize. Yamame’s words from before come back to you; she wrapped you up in “her” silk? “I’ll hazard a guess that you’re a spider youkai, Miss Yamame?”

Having completed her task, she smiles up at you. “Yep! How’d you know?”

“Lucky guess.” Thinking about it, it makes a strange sort of sense; the only youkai you’ve ever known to be personable enough to come to the human village was that Scarlet girl, who, by the looks of her, was some kind of bat youkai. Maybe the underground youkai are calmer in general? The thought gives rise to another question. “Have you ever been above ground to the human village?”

“Oh! Ah... that’s... n-no, not really.” she says, looking down and fiddling with the already-tied knot. Before you have a chance to respond, she looks up at you again. “We’re all ready to go now, so grab on tight, okay?” As if to demonstrate, she slips her under your armpits and up your back, grabbing onto the back of your shoulders with her hands.

As she pushes your bodies together, you feel something soft pressing into your stomach. Without looking down, you try to pull yourself away gently, but the arms behind your shoulders prevent any movement in that direction; you can’t imagine how Yamame could have though you were heavy if she’s this strong. Resigning yourself to the inevitable, you can’t help but take notice; the dress she wears hides her figure pretty well, but she’s easily a B-cup, maybe even a C, judging by -- nonono. Bad thoughts. You slide your arms behind Yamame’s back, anxiously trying to take your mind off the subject before she finds something entirely different bumping into her.

“All ready? Then let’s get started!” With that as a warning, the arms under your shoulders hoist under your armpits as Yamame begins to levitate. As the two of you slowly ascend, you can’t help but gape down at the retreating earth, your arms hanging limply over Yamame’s back. You’re... flying. You close your eyes, feeling the cool cave air blow past you, and relax in the moment.

For about three seconds, before you’re violently upended, gravity snapping your head backwards and sending your feet flying in odd directions. After a moment of panic as you try to reorient your viewpoint, you look down -- er, up -- at Yamame, who has already produced another strand of silk that runs as far as the ceiling and grabbed on with her feet. “Do we have to be upside down for this?” you complain as the blood rushes to your head.

“Yep!” she says, clearly oblivious to your discomfort as she begins swinging the two of you back and forth. “Ready... Set... Go!”

And with a sudden jolt of kinetic energy, the two of you take off into the air.

---

Continued in next post.
>> No. 13423
After a few minutes, you get used to the continual sensation of rising and falling; it almost reminds you of a ride you took on a boat as a kid, only multiplied by a thousand. As you do, you have to admit that this is certainly the fastest you’ve ever traveled before, and feel of the wind against you is exhilarating. On the other hand, the sound of rushing air makes conversation nearly impossible, even with the two of you so close to each other; after the third attempt at asking how long the trip is going to take is met with “HUH?” from Yamame, you give up and try to take in the sights.

And sights they are; it’s not long before the dull collection of rocks passing beneath you gives way to a more interesting display of what looks like a network of roads, complete with small buildings scattered into little neighborhoods. You even pass over a huge gorge dotted with several bridges. Absorbed as you are in the scenery, you barely hear Yamame’s voice shouting over the whipping of the wind. “We’re coming in for a landing now, so get ready!”

You don’t know exactly how to get ready for a landing, having never been conscious for one, so you just tighten your grip on Yamame. As you do, you feel the two of you beginning a downswing and the feeling of weightlessness that comes with it. Looking over her shoulder, you watch the ground rush up and watch as it pulls away slowly.

But this time it doesn’t pull away. As you reach the lowest point in your swing, you feel Yamame make a quick movement, and you feel yourself spinning sideways, end over end, as you continue to move in a straight line. The flip disorients you, and when you try to look up to make sure the silk rope is still there, you end up looking back down at the ground speeding past, only feet below you and getting closer every second. You close your eyes and brace yourself for the impact--

KRRRRCSH. A sound like trying to cut a stone in half with a saw; you wish you could cover your ears with your hands, but you don’t dare let go of Yamame’s back. Gravel pelts your body from what feels like all directions, and the moment you try to open your eyes, dust enters and forces them closed again. You feel Yamame’s arms under your shoulders lifting your body up and away from the ground as the two of you gradually slow down. In time, the noise fades, and you feel your momentum dissipating until you’re moving slower than walking speed. As you try to open your eyes again, the support under your arms releases itself and your feel your feet touch down on solid ground.

“We’re here!” Yamame yells, cheerful as ever. You sink to your knees, rubbing your eyes with one hand and supporting yourself with the other, and fight the queasiness that reenters your stomach.

“Yeah, Kisume feels bad too after landings sometimes. We’ll wait here for now, so you can stay still for a while,” Yamame advises, and you feel a hand ruffle your hair gently.

Ignoring the small slight to your pride, you take that advice, sitting on the ground and brushing the dust out of your eyes with both hands. As you open your eyes, your jaw literally drops open as you take in the scene before you. From as far away as you can see, two furrows cut through the ground, deeper than as a plow cuts the field, piles of gravel on either side of them. You stick your hand into one and feel solid stone the entire way through. Looking at them, you try to piece together what sort of device she used to land. No tool you know of can cut through this much solid stone, and it’s not as though she just put her feet down and waited to stop, right?

...Right?

You look back and forth between the path of destruction behind you and the girl that caused it ahead of you, who has taken off one of her shoes (what the hell are those things made of, you wonder) and is dumping the gravel out of it. You realize that, up until now, youkai had been moving slowly away from the ‘terrifying’ category of beings in your mind, and resolve silently that, if for different reasons than before, you should put them back there and make sure they don’t get out again, for your own safety’s sake.

After another few minutes of brushing the dirt and gravel out of your clothes and hair, you turn back to Kisume, hoping to ask her a little about who you might meet before they show up, but it seems you’re too late, as she’s already jumping up and down while waving with both hands. You follow her gaze up a small hill to a house, where out on the porch you see another figure waving back at her.

As the two of you walk up the hill, the figure walks down, and you gradually begin to make out more of its features. The long blond hair and pleated blue skirt make it obvious that it’s a woman, and as she comes closer, you recognize the strange plate in her hand as a ridiculously oversized cup. Bit of a drinker, are we?

The one thing you can’t figure out is the strange red thing on her head. At first, you assumed it was a hat, but it’s clearly too narrow to sit on her head without a chinstrap. You squint a bit, trying to make heads or tails of it, but as you do, you see the figure drop into a crouch; almost that of a sprinter, but there’s a little too much weight on her heels to run. From that stance, the only thing she could do is--

Jump. Before you know it, she leaps into the air with a sound like a cannon, and you have to crane your neck to follow her path. As you watch, she arcs through the air, as high as you were with Yamame, it seems, moving in your direction. You realize what this means, and take a step backwards, holding up a hand just in time for--

BANG. If her jump sounded like a cannon, her landing sounded like a tree falling right next to your face. You hold your stance, and manage to shield your eyes from bits of flying rock. As the dust clears, you see the girl stride confidently out of the crater, and Yamame runs forward to greet her with a hug.

...Yes, the ‘terrifying’ category is definitely best. In fact, you consider starting a new category whose name is just an inarticulate screech of horror.

Well, at least you know what the red thing on her head was now; the horn is quite clearly attached to her, ending in a point about six inches away from its starting point in her forehead.

And you know what she is, too; an amazingly strong, horned youkai with an unreasonable love of alcohol could only be an oni. Thinking back to the stories you heard as a kid, you try to remember anything you can about oni and how they got along with humans, and what comes back isn’t at all pleasant. Legend has it that oni terrorized humans for hundreds of years, challenging them to contests of strength and abducting them when they lost, until humans managed to beat them with trickery and they disappeared to the tops of mountains, holding a grudge that led them to kill any human they saw.

But apparently they didn’t just head for the hills, because there’s one right in front of you, crouching down to look Yamame eye-to-eye as she pats her on the head.

---

Continued in next post.
>> No. 13424
“How’ve ya been, spider-girl?” she chuckles. Her voice is gravelly, and lower than you’d expect for a woman.

“Miss Yuugi! I found a human!” Yamame chirps happily, pointing towards you.

“A human?! No way! I ain’t seen a human out here in ages!” The girl stands up from her crouch, bringing her up to a full height easily a head taller than yours, and looks at you with almost as much excitement as you saw from Yamame when you agreed to let her carry you. “Hey, wanna fight?” she asks you, putting up her fists.

“I-I’m not here to make any trouble,” you stammer, taking a step back, heart hammering.

“Naw, not like that, I mean a fight! Y’know, a challenge, sparring, a little brawl to get to know each other better!” She claps a hand on your shoulder, nearly dropping you where you stand. “Don’t worry, I ain’t gonna hurt’cha or anything! Whaddya say?”

You blink. You know a little martial arts, and you were actually pretty good among your class, despite your poor conditioning, but you know you don't have what it takes to stand up to this challenge. You look at Yamame, hoping for a voice of reason, but you don’t know why you bothered, as she looks back at you, nodding you on.

[ ] If she says she won’t hurt you, what harm could a little exercise be? Sounds like fun!
[ ] Does refusing an oni sound like a good move to you? Fight her, but tell her to go easy on you.
[ ] Fighting isn't normally against your principles, but if it's an oni, your principles can change. Lie through your teeth, beg; anything to avoid fighting her.
[ ] A fistfight with an oni? Haven’t you faced death enough times today? Outright refuse her.
>> No. 13425
[ ] Does refusing an oni sound like a good move to you? Fight her, but tell her to go easy on you.
>> No. 13426
[x] A fistfight with an oni? Haven’t you faced death enough times today? Outright refuse her.

This seems like the smartest option, since we won't risk dying from or lying to an oni.
>> No. 13427
[X] If she says she won’t hurt you, what harm could a little exercise be? Sounds like fun!
Either bad end or hospitalized end.
Either is worth it.

>>13422
Gurren Lagann, of course.
We shall help these youkai pierce their way through the heavens, etc. etc. etc.
>> No. 13428
[x] "Well, as long as you don't kill me, or break any bones... or kill me... I guess a little sparring wouldn't hurt, right? How about just some close-quarter grappling and reversals? Since I doubt I could withstand much more from an Oni".
>> No. 13429
File 123173223893.jpg - (81.84KB , 1280x930 , 1911827.jpg ) [iqdb]
13429
>>13424
Quick updates + giant posts = excellent. Also, good vote options.

[X] Does refusing an oni sound like a good move to you? Fight her, but tell her to go easy on you.

>>13405
>?

Don't watch a lot of anime, eh? No worries, a vote's a vote.
>> No. 13432
>>13422

Taizo (first) Hori (last).
>> No. 13433
[ ] Does refusing an oni sound like a good move to you? Fight her, but tell her to go easy on you.
>> No. 13434
[ ] Does refusing an oni sound like a good move to you? Fight her, but tell her to go easy on you.
>> No. 13435
[x] A fistfight with an oni? Haven’t you faced death enough times today? Outright refuse her.

Are you people idiots?

>Legend has it that oni terrorized humans for hundreds of years, challenging them to contests of strength and abducting them when they lost
>> No. 13436
[x] A fistfight with an oni? Haven’t you faced death enough times today? Outright refuse her
>> No. 13437
[X] Does refusing an oni sound like a good move to you? Fight her, but tell her to go easy on you.

Nothing could go wrong.
>> No. 13438
>>13435
I'm sorry, but I don't get your point, here. It's just a friendly sparring match, anyway. And why would you want the story to end by going back to your normal life? Of course we stay down here.
>and abducting them when they lost
All I can say is, HOT MAMA, yeah!
>> No. 13439
>>13435
You have too much faith in anon.

[x] A fistfight with an oni? Haven’t you faced death enough times today? Outright refuse her.
>> No. 13440
[x] Does refusing an oni sound like a good move to you? Fight her, but tell her to go easy on you.

>>13435

Getting abducted by Yuugi doesn't sound too bad, honestly.
>> No. 13448
[x] Does refusing an oni sound like a good move to you? Fight her, but tell her to go easy on you.
>> No. 13453
[X] Does refusing an oni sound like a good move to you? Fight her, but tell her to go easy on you.

>I have no idea how the other writefags manage updates of this length (final word count 2401) on a daily basis.

They don't, what you've done here is build four walls and a roof. Also, barely any writers update daily anymore.

Wow, remember when Patchwork was considered slow for updating only once a day?
>> No. 13454
We take her out with a submission move!

[x] Take her on, aim straight for the breasts.
[x] Get behind her and squeeze~
[x] "Say uncle! No, sexier than that! Yes! Yes!"
[x] The trophy from this match is a kiss from the lovely miss Yamame!
[x] Take a dive from sudden stomach ache. For justice! For lesbian action!

Ah, geez.
>> No. 13455
>>13454

I fully support this plan of attack.
>> No. 13456
File 123180701016.jpg - (84.10KB , 600x847 , 8.jpg ) [iqdb]
13456
>>13454
My outline is holding up surprisingly well so far, but I must admit this is not a bad end I had planned for.

---

[X] Does refusing an oni sound like a good move to you? Fight her, but tell her to go easy on you.

It doesn't look like she's going to give up, and you don't know what she'll do if you refuse, nor do you want to find out. "If you really want to..." you begin.

"Yes!" she exclaims before you can finish, punching the air in triumph. As you feel the breeze from her punch whip past your face, it dawns on you exactly what you've gotten yourself into.

"Just... go easy on me, okay?" you say quickly, holding your hands up in a conciliatory gesture.

"Go easy? I already said I wasn't gonna hurt ya, what more do you want?" Yuugi's tone is harsh, but the smile never leaves her face; you get the feeling she was expecting this request. "You wait here; I'll getcha something. I gotta get a refill anyway," she says, crouching down as she did when you first saw her. Realizing what this means just in time, you turn your back to her and hunker down for--

Silence. After a few seconds of cowering, you peek over your shoulder to see that the horned figure has already landed back at the house in the distance without so much as a sound. You don't bother to suppress a scowl; apparently the sound and the fury are only necessary when she wants to make a grand entrance. Just as well; as long as she's gone, you may as well try to find out a little about your opponent.

"Yamame, how strong is Miss Yuugi?" You feel a bit silly, taking Yamame as your battle advisor, but you shrug it off quickly, reminding yourself that as a youkai, she would probably be more of a match than you are.

"She's really strong!" Yamame says, eyes glittering, apparently never having encountered the concept of "breaking it to them gently". "I fought her with danmaku just a few days ago, and I couldn't even touch her!"

Danmaku? The word strikes a chord in your memory. You remember hearing something about the shrine maiden fighting that Scarlet girl using danmaku, but that was as far as you knew; based on what you just heard, you can guess it's a fighting technique for youkai rather than some kind of magical item. But if the shrine maiden used it, does that mean humans can learn it too? Distracted from your pre-fight preparation, you open your mouth to ask Yamame about it when the sound of footsteps behind you makes you turn around.

"Catch, spider-girl," she calls, throwing a thick jug of what you assume is sake to Yamame, who catches it with both hands. "Brought you something too," she says, smirking at you, and you notice the rough wood staff in her left hand.

"This enough of a handicap?" she asks mockingly, tossing you the staff - or, more accurately, throwing the staff at you like a spear. Rather that try to catch it, you dodge to the side, managing to narrowly avoid being impaled before the fight even begins, and pick the weapon up off the ground.

It seems like a nice enough staff, but what little training you've had didn't get nearly as far as using weapons. "I don't really know how to fight with this," you say, prompting an incredulous look from the oni.

"Huh? It's a stick. You hit people with it." Turning the staff over in your hands a few times, you have to agree that its use seems pretty simple; at about 3 feet long, it's too short to be a proper staff, but in the right range to use as a sword or a club. Its roughness makes it easy to grip, and a few practice swings show you that it's solid wood with almost no flexibility, but light enough that you could wield it with one hand as well as you could with two. You pass it back and forth between your hands a few times before deciding to keep in your left hand, leaving your dominant hand free for punching or grappling. Taking a deep breath, you try to calm yourself, imagining this as just another practice match back in the human village.

"You about ready?" Yuugi asks, taking a swig from her overlarge cup before settling back into a fighting stance. "Don't you go tryin' to hold back on me either; you'll break your stick before you can do anything I can't get better from."

Except you never had a practice match against someone who could probably divide you into bite-sized pieces without using their hands. Giving up all hopes of putting your mind at east, you nod silently and take up your own stance; as you do, Yamame scurries backwards, giving the two of you plenty of room to move in.

"You first," she says, grinning.

[ ] A long fight isn't in your favor here; put all your power into your first few blows and aim for a quick knockout.
[ ] You can't beat her in a battle of strength; you'll have to rely on your speed and small hits to win.
[ ] It'll only take one hit to end it for you; stay on defense, try to wear her down, and wait for an sure-fire opening to attack.

In addition, pick a temperament:

[ ] Cool and collected - You fight like playing a game of chess; given enough time to size up your opponent, you can formulate and implement a plan giving you the highest possible chance of victory, but you struggle when it comes down to snap decisions.
[ ] Hot-blooded - You fight on pure instinct, acting on the first thought that enters your mind. If you see an opening, you'll take it and capitalize on it faster, but your poor long-term planning skills mean you may get less openings and expose more of your own weaknesses than a more controlled fighter.

No multi-voting this time; if you want to combine options, try to recast them as a write-in instead.

Note that your choice here will affect your fighting style and temperament for not just this fight, but any subsequent fights you may get into this playthrough. Consequently, it will also change which enemies you may be particularly strong or weak against later on, to the point of making some fights extremely hard to win (though not dead-ending any routes; we're a bit too early on for that). Choose carefully.
>> No. 13457
>Giving up all hopes of putting your mind at east
>putting your mind at east
>east

facepalm.jpg
>> No. 13459
[x] It'll only take one hit to end it for you; stay on defense, try to wear her down, and wait for an sure-fire opening to attack.
[x] Cool and collected - You fight like playing a game of chess; given enough time to size up your opponent, you can formulate and implement a plan giving you the highest possible chance of victory, but you struggle when it comes down to snap decisions.

Turtling like the motherfucking wall of the northstar.
>> No. 13460
[x] You can't beat her in a battle of strength; you'll have to rely on your speed and small hits to win.
[x] Cool and collected - You fight like playing a game of chess; given enough time to size up your opponent, you can formulate and implement a plan giving you the highest possible chance of victory, but you struggle when it comes down to snap decisions.

Lets face it, we’re not going to be able to hurt her, but if we can get in a few hits then we can at least come out with a bit of dignity. Also, I doubt she’d even be able to feel the difference between a small hit and a hit we put our full strength behind.
>> No. 13461
[x] You can't beat her in a battle of strength; you'll have to rely on your speed and small hits to win.
[x] Cool and collected - You fight like playing a game of chess; given enough time to size up your opponent, you can formulate and implement a plan giving you the highest possible chance of victory, but you struggle when it comes down to snap decisions.
>> No. 13462
[x] You can't beat her in a battle of strength; you'll have to rely on your speed and small hits to win. Or get knocked out as quickly and painlessly as possible. No shame in losing an impossible battle.

[x] Hot-blooded - I get the impression we're not that smart. Planning during a battle wouldn't be our strongest point.
>> No. 13463
[x] Strength, speed and willpower are all you need in a fight. Let's face it, you're only human, and against youkai, you're going to get badly hurt even if you can take a few hits. So, pushing aside all forms of defense and endurance, you excel in the art of dodging every attack your opponent throws at you and countering with an equally as strong - if not stronger - blow. You rely on quickly winning a fight, but one wrong move, and you may end up shit out of luck(or basically, dead).
[x] Fight instinctively. Make no rash decisions, but do not hesitate even for a second. Take every chance at success, only forfeiting what your intuition tells you is a bad idea, and regroup for the next move. You avoid what might cause you harm, and take on what will benefit you, putting everything into survival. Chase down the rabbit, outrun the wolf. You are your own animal.
>> No. 13464
[x] You can't beat her in a battle of strength; you'll have to rely on your speed and small hits to win.
[x] Cool and collected - You fight like playing a game of chess; given enough time to size up your opponent, you can formulate and implement a plan giving you the highest possible chance of victory, but you struggle when it comes down to snap decisions.

Out of curiosity, what would have happened had
>A fistfight with an oni? Haven’t you faced death enough times today? Outright refuse her.
won?
>> No. 13465
[X] You can't beat her in a battle of strength; you'll have to rely on your speed and small hits to win.
[X] Hot-blooded - You fight on pure instinct, acting on the first thought that enters your mind. If you see an opening, you'll take it and capitalize on it faster, but your poor long-term planning skills mean you may get less openings and expose more of your own weaknesses than a more controlled fighter.
>> No. 13467
[X] You can't beat her in a battle of strength; you'll have to rely on your speed and small hits to win.
[X] Hot-blooded - You fight on pure instinct, acting on the first thought that enters your mind. If you see an opening, you'll take it and capitalize on it faster, but your poor long-term planning skills mean you may get less openings and expose more of your own weaknesses than a more controlled fighter.
>> No. 13468
[x] A long fight isn't in your favor here; put all your power into your first few blows and aim for a quick knockout.
[x] Hot-blooded - You fight on pure instinct, acting on the first thought that enters your mind. If you see an opening, you'll take it and capitalize on it faster, but your poor long-term planning skills mean you may get less openings and expose more of your own weaknesses than a more controlled fighter.

Let's make this interesting for her.
>> No. 13471
[x] You can't beat her in a battle of strength; you'll have to rely on your speed and small hits to win.
[x] Cool and collected - You fight like playing a game of chess; given enough time to size up your opponent, you can formulate and implement a plan giving you the highest possible chance of victory, but you struggle when it comes down to snap decisions.
>> No. 13472
[x] You can't beat her in a battle of strength; you'll have to rely on your speed and small hits to win.
[x] Cool and collected - You fight like playing a game of chess; given enough time to size up your opponent, you can formulate and implement a plan giving you the highest possible chance of victory, but you struggle when it comes down to snap decisions.
>> No. 13476
Calling it for

[x] You can't beat her in a battle of strength; you'll have to rely on your speed and small hits to win.
[x] Cool and collected - You fight like playing a game of chess; given enough time to size up your opponent, you can formulate and implement a plan giving you the highest possible chance of victory, but you struggle when it comes down to snap decisions.

Expect an update this evening.
>> No. 13481
File 123190112634.jpg - (346.26KB , 600x800 , 9.jpg ) [iqdb]
13481
>>13464
Oho, that would be telling~
Seriously though, you should have a pretty good idea about that within the next few updates.

---

Martial arts was just another thing that got old after a while for you, but you still remember your teacher's words. "The winner is decided before the first blow is struck." So, taking a deep breath in, you fix your eyes on Yuugi's form and...

Focus.

She squares off with her left hand leading; her right is still occupied with her sake cup (isn't she going to put that down?) Based on her height, her reach is a few inches longer than yours, but your weapon should compensate for that, allowing you to move to the inside or outside of her attack range as circumstances dictate. Your gaze shifts to her hands, and you notice the thick manacles around her wrist, complete with a length of chain dangling to elbow height. Even for someone with her strength, those should slow her punch speed down somewhat--

A voice. You listen to it for a moment.

"...just gonna stare at each other, or are we gonna--"

You tune it out and resume your analysis, moving to her lower body. Her stride is obviously larger than yours, and from her jump, you know she has enough leg strength to kick you into an early grave. On the other hand, her deep stance probably means she isn't planning on doing much kicking, and her maneuverability may be limited. Your best plan, you decide, is trying to use your speed to your advantage, moving in as necessary for quick hits and jumping out of range before she can bring her full strength to bear.

You breathe out.

The scenery comes back into focus, and you move onto the balls of your feet and grip the staff in your left hand. About fifteen feet in front of you, Yuugi remains unmoved from her stance with a bored expression on her face. "You can keep lookin' 'til we both grow moss, but I don't think it's gonna help you any," she says, giving you a lazy smirk.

You don't think so, Yuugi? Fine, let's start. Two quick shuffle steps forward puts you just inside your striking range, and you swing your staff in a diagonal arc towards her left shoulder--

And hit air, as she ducks under the blow and, in an instant, is right next to you. You turn your head to the right just in time to catch a glimpse of her left fist, coming at stomach height; you jump backward, body overbalanced from your swing, and stumble to regain your footing. You manage to steady your stance and raise your staff for a counterattack, but she's already right there, her left foot aimed towards your head in a roundhouse kick. You swing your staff horizonally, catching the kicking leg's shin, but the only effect is deflecting its target downward, and the foot catches you in the right shoulder, spinning your body away from your attacker and pushing you backwards. Without even trying to look over your shoulder for the next attack, you jump sideways to evade, and as soon as you land, you jump again; each time, you can feel her attack fly through where you just stood without even having to see it.

So much for limited mobility. You manage to turn your body around in time to see Yuugi plant her right foot and rear back with her left hand, and, pivoting around your left foot, you move your body out of the way and slash towards her stomach with your staff. This time, she's the one that jumps backwards, giving up on delivering her punch in exchange for avoiding your blow. You move to charge in, but before you can get within range, she drops into a crouch and leaps, flying towards you at chest level with her right foot extended. Startled, you reverse your charge to jump backwards outside her range, and end up directly in front of her as she lands on her kicking foot and shifts immediately into a punch with her left hand that you barely manage to avoid with another jump backwards.

She follows the punch up with a roundhouse kick, but you've seen this trick already; as you duck under the kicking leg, you move in close and use the force of your legs straightening to power a strike with your empty right hand towards her exposed ribcage. Before your hand can reach, though, your arm is trapped, grabbed by her left hand at the forearm.

Shit.

You look up into Yuugi's snarling grin for an instant before swinging your staff wildly towards her, but it's too late; you're flying through the air, thrown by your already aching limb across the plain. You land and skid along on your right shoulder, sending up a flare of pain even the adrenaline isn't enough to completely kill. Gritting your teeth, you try to push yourself up, but your right arm buckles and you land on your back. Looking up, you see Yuugi high above you, preparing her left fist for a punch as she falls from a jump. This isn't an attack you can block or parry; if you want the fight to continue, you have to roll away and hope that the recovery from her landing allows you enough time to get to your feet.

Unless you attack now. While she's in the air, it'll be nearly impossible to dodge a thrust to her midsection, and a direct hit could prevent her from landing her punch and open up a window for you to stand back up and counterattack. On the other hand, if your thrust misses, you're done for; she'll be able to get in an attack while you're still defenseless, and you know you can't take a direct hit from her and keep fighting.

[ ] Thrust.
[ ] Dodge.

---

Hoo boy, fight scenes. I have some experience with martial arts, but relatively little with sparring, so I'd be interested in hearing from anons with brawlin' experience to know if I'm doing it wrong or not. And, of course, from everyone else to know whether my style of description is boring or not; there's at least one more fight scene coming regardless of what route you take, so get your complaints in now so I have a chance to improve.

Also, in before "thrust" innuendo.
>> No. 13483
[x] Thrust. WITH. ALL. YOUR. MIGHT!
>> No. 13484
[x] Dodge.
>> No. 13490
>>13481
[X] Throw staff to disorient
[X] Shift laterally and into a crouch to avoid her left straight and prepare a...
[X] Right upper to her stomach; get those legs working.

Huck stick with left hand, shift sideways to a crouch as we compensate for the throw, and use our lower body strength to amplify our upper-cut to her gut to compensate for our injured right shoulder.

I read a lot of Hajime no Ippo.
>> No. 13494
thrust. hopefully she won't kill us if we miss.
>> No. 13497
If we're gonna get the shit beaten out of us anyway, might as well take a risk.
>> No. 13498
[x] Both. Kick your legs forward and slide your back along the gravel, removing both body and head from the blow; thrust your staff upwards while doing this so that she lands directly on it with her stomach.
[x] Get on your feet, spin and kick her in the back while grabbing the staff out from under her, then land a quick blow with it when she's down. Move far enough away to gain the distance you had at the start of the fight.
[x] If your staff breaks from the impact, kick her in the side instead, before continuing to create a distance.

Arms and legs won't reach us like this. If she decides to change her directory to become vertical, she'll land either with her knees or spring up with the hand she's using to punch, but she still wouldn't land that blow if we kick out from under her hard enough to do a headstand. If her horn hits the ground and gets stuck while trying to perform the latter, we might win, but we'll definitely see something very moe if she has a hard time getting unstuck.
>> No. 13520
File 123207095142.jpg - (110.76KB , 645x645 , 10.jpg ) [iqdb]
13520
[X] Thrust.

Dodging will only prolong a fight you're already at a disadvantage in; better to strike now while you have the chance. Ignoring the pain in your shoulder, you push yourself up onto your right elbow and, twisting your left shoulder forward, thrust your staff as hard as you can towards her stomach.

The look on her face says everything. She tries to twist in midair, but it's too little, too late; she continues to fall directly toward you as your staff thrusts forward, the distance becoming shorter and shorter until--

Impact. The force of the blow forces your weapon arm against the ground, and you hear a cracking sound as your staff strains to hold the weight of the falling body. Above you, Yuugi thrashes, limbs flashing through the space between you, unable to reach their targets. Straining with the effort, you push your left arm off the ground, throwing the body above you off to the side, and, using your staff to push yourself to your feet, take a step away from the area and ready yourself.

You see Yuugi is already back in her stance, and you step forward, hoping to press your advantage, but stop as you begin to see the full picture. Yuugi's left hand is pressed over her abdomen, and her head hangs down, her face hidden by her long, blonde hair. Did you really hurt her? You take another step forward tentatively, not sure whether to attack her or give her first aid, when her head snaps up; all you see are her red eyes before she--

Disappears. You immediately know this is different from anything you've seen from her so far, but you still tense and look above you for another flying kick. Seeing nothing, you hold your staff to your side and move in a circle, inspecting your surroundings. All you can see is Yamame's small form far in the distance; Yuugi has completely vanished. Where did she--

Pain. The air is forced out of your lungs, and your vision blurs as you double over the fist pressed into your gut. You try to counterattack, swinging your staff, but it's already fallen from your hand, and you follow it, sinking to your knees before falling onto your stomach, gasping for breath.

You don't know how long you stay like that, but the next thing you see is Yuugi standing over you. She's rolled up her shirt to expose her stomach, which she's still clutching with her left hand, and you think you see a trickle of blood seeping through her fingers.

Following your gaze, she looks down at herself for a moment before adjusting her shirt, obscuring her stomach from view. "S'fine. Be good as new in a day. More important's you." She kneels down next to you, placing a hand on your chest. "Take a deep breath and hold it as long as you can."

You try to follow her instruction, managing to take in a full breath before the pain in your chest forces the air out in wracking coughs. "You'll be fine. Just rest there for a while." She stands up and looks away, her expression unreadable.

"This one's your win. I... cheated." You want to ask what that means, but trying to speak just aggravates the pain in your midsection, and you roll onto your side, coughing. As you do, you see Yamame, still carrying the jug of sake, run towards you, face full of concern. Knowing better than to try to call out to her, you smile weakly and wave. Even moving your arms, though, sends spikes of pain into your battered shoulder, and you involuntarily squeeze your eyes shut.

"Is he all right?" you hear Yamame squeak from above your head.

"He'll be fine." A throaty laugh. "You found yourself a real winner, spider-girl. He's untrained, but he's more of a fighter than half the people I ever saw on the mountain."

"Does that mean he can stay?!"

"Yeah, he can stay."

What are they talking about? Feeling better, you open your eyes, force yourself to a sitting position, and try to speak. "What do you mean I can stay?"

"You're tired, right?" Yamame's face enters your field of vision from above, and you feel her hands on your shoulders as she leans over you. "You need someplace to sleep for the night. I don't have a house, but Miss Yuugi does, so I brought you here."

Thinking about it, you realize she's right; you entered the cave at dusk, and depending on how long you were unconscious after falling, it could have been several hours since then. You wonder for a moment how Yamame knew what time it was, but shrug it off. "What does that have to do with the fight?" you ask.

"It's a old oni tradition." Yuugi replies. "You can't let someone live in your house until you've fought 'em."

"But..." You don't really know what happened in the last seconds of the fight, but you know the end result. "I lost."

"Well, duh." she says. "Only natural that you ain't gonna stand much of a chance against anyone that lives down here, let alone me. Winnin' and losin' ain't the point in a fight like this; it's makin' sure the other guy's got his head on straight, ain't gonna go crazy and kill you in your sleep. We were strangers not a minute ago, but now I know a little about you." She smirks. "And you know a little about me, don'cha?" she drawls, taking a swig from her oversized cup.

Her oversized cup?

No way. Not possible. Your mind races, recalling her every attack. The punch she countered with after your first attack. The grab that prevented your punch and threw you. Even the final punch you avoided. All with her left hand. Because...

She kept her cup in her right hand the entire fight.

You flop on your back, stunned by the gravity of your realization. Not only was she clearly using less than her full speed and strength, but she beat you without using one of her hands. Hell, if she took a drink now, she must not have even spilled any of the contents. "You really were going easy on me," you mutter.

"Not as easy as I coulda gone," she says, her smirk replaced by a more genuine smile. "You got nothin' to be ashamed of." She extends her hand down to you. "Come on in and make yourself at home."

---

You spend the next half hour doing just that, in a mild daze after coming down from your adrenaline high. After staggering up the hill to Yuugi's house (she walks with you rather than jumping there herself), she points you to the bathroom, and, at her insistence, you enter first and soak your aching body. Yuugi offers you an extra set of her clothes, a plain white shirt and a pair of jeans, which, despite being a size too large for you, you accept; your own clothes, covered in dirt and torn all over from today's events, are barely even wearable. Coming out of the bathroom, you follow your nose to the kitchen, where Yuugi and Yamame are waiting with a dinner of some sort of stew. Yamame comments on how delicious it is, and you're sure you would agree if you ate it slow enough to taste it; you finish four bowls before your appetite is sated.

"So!" Yuugi begins, once dinner is finished. "It's not every day a human comes this far underground, so I got some questions for you, and I know you've got questions for me. But!" She holds up a single finger, grinning. "As a gesture of good will, I'm letting you go first. Ask away!"

You open your mouth to begin, but before you can, Yuugi interjects again. "But first, we have something to get out of the way." She extends her hand to you across the table. "Yuugi Hoshiguma. You are?"

[ ] Name: (Taizou Hori) _____________

[ ] Ask about... (Write-in)

---

Last chance for a name if you don't like the suggestion from >>13432.
>> No. 13522
[X] Taizou Hori

But only if we start to haul around a giant drill at some point.

[X] "So, you two single?"

I can't deny that I'm interested...

[X] "So, what did you mean when you said that you cheated, Yuugi? Seemed to me that I wasn't any match at all."
>> No. 13524
File 12320734702.png - (44.87KB , 450x256 , Taizo_Hori.png ) [iqdb]
13524
[X] Taizou Hori
[X] "So, what did you mean when you said that you cheated, Yuugi? Seemed to me that I wasn't any match at all."

I support this name 100%. Even more so if we can inflate people until they explode.
>> No. 13526
[x] Johnny Cash.
[x] Ask her to explain the underground city. How they live, what they do, why they're friendlier than most youkai.

We already know what she meant by cheating; there's no reason to ask. Even the protagonist can take a good guess. Also, the name is a joke, but the question is a serious vote.
>> No. 13532
[x] Taizou Hori.
[x] Ask her to explain the underground city. How they live, what they do, why they're friendlier than most youkai.
>> No. 13534
[X] Taizou Hori
[x] Ask her to explain the underground city. How they live, what they do, why they're friendlier than most youkai.
>> No. 13535
>>13526

Oh man, he'd look so stupid if they decide to ask what surface youkais are like.
>> No. 13558
[X] Taizou Hori
[x] Ask her to explain the underground city. How they live, what they do, why they're friendlier than most youkai.
>> No. 13559
[X] Taizou Hori
[x] Ask her to explain the underground city. How they live, what they do, why they're friendlier than most youkai.
>> No. 13576
[x] Taizou Hori.
[x] Ask her what happened to Stage 2.
>> No. 13624
File 123225288374.jpg - (250.24KB , 800x1109 , 11.jpg ) [iqdb]
13624
Damn dialogue. Even after working an extra day on it, it's still not that great. But hey, quantity over quality, right? ...Right?

orz

---

[X] Taizou Hori
[X] Ask her to explain the underground city. How they live, what they do, why they're friendlier than most youkai.

"Taizou Hori," you reply, shaking her hand across the table.

"Nice to meet'cha, Taizou." Her grip, while firm, isn't uncomfortable. "Now, as unofficial ambassador of the Ancient City, I'll take your questions!"

The Ancient City... you remember Yamame saying earlier that Yuugi lived there, but the whole idea still confuses you. Why an underground city? Who lives there? How do they even survive underground?

"My first question is about the Ancient City. What..." You struggle to summarize your thoughts. "What's it like?"

"What's it like?" She shrugs. "If you're talkin' about the city itself, it's kinda hard to explain without goin' into a whole bunch of boring history, but I can give you the short version." You nod.

"Basically, before there was a real city here, the whole underground used to be a part of Hell. That's why all the oni are down here."

Hell? Does that mean...

Yuugi laughs, seeing the concern on your face and anticipating your question. "Relax, you ain't dead or anything. Hell's always been connected to the mortal realm; people wouldn't be able to get there after they died if it wasn't. Besides, this ain't Hell anymore in the first place."

You don't really understand what she means (though you take some heart in hearing that you're not dead), but a more pressing question than your whereabouts enters your mind. "Does that mean you're a... hell oni?" You shiver involuntarily. In legend, the hell oni were the worst kind of oni, responsible for torturing those who ended up in hell. Whereas other oni treated humans as a game, hell oni treated them as a food source, and were said to go on murderous rampages, eating whole villages of humans until their hunger was satisfied.

"Nah, I'm a foreigner." Yuugi says, brushing your concerns aside with a wave of her hand. "Moved down here not too long after the Hell downsizing."

"Hell... downsizing?"

"Old story. Coupla hundred of years ago, they decided they didn't need quite as much real estate in Hell as they did before." She shrugs. "Maybe people started doin' good deeds. I dunno. Anyway, it just meant they stopped sending humans down here, so it stopped being a part of Hell. A few of the oni left after that, but most of 'em stayed here and set up a proper city."

So it's a city of hell oni? "Are they--"

"Hold it!" Yuugi yells, pushing a palm forward in front of your face. "You had your question, now it's our turn!" She hunches over and brings her hand to her chin in an exaggerated thinking posture, holding it for a couple of seconds before hammering a fist into her palm in a gesture of realization. "And the honor of asking the first question goes to Miss Yamame Kurodani!"

"Huh?" Yamame, judging by the pile of used silverware stacked precariously in front of her, got bored of the conversation a while ago and found something else to do.

"You're up, spider-girl! What's your question for our esteemed guest?"

"Ah! I have to ask a question?" The now-familiar blush returns to her cheeks. "I d-don't have anything interesting to ask!"

"Just say whatever comes to mind first! That's what I always do!" Yuugi says exuberantly.

"Whatever comes to mind..." Her voice trails off, and she stares into space for a moment before coming to a decision with an "Ah!". "What's your favorite color, Mr. Taizou?" she asks with the utmost seriousness.

A moment of silence. Then, earsplitting laughter as Yuugi collapses, face forward, banging her fists against the table. "That--" she manages before the laughter chokes off her breathing again, and she convulses on the table for a moment. Yamame, for her part, reddens to a yet-unseen degree and tucks her chin into her chest, like a turtle trying to hide in its shell. You feel a little bad for her, but you can't help but chuckle a little.

Eventually, Yuugi finishes laughing, straightening up and wiping her eyes with her hands. "That was great," she breathes, chuckling. "So?" she asks. "What's your answer, Taizou?"

You think. You've never really thought about a favorite color before, and with how embarassed Yamame looks after asking, you want to do something to cheer her up. "I'd have to say..." You examine her outfit again. "Brown."

"Really?!" She jumps, clasping her hands together. "Mine too!"

"Well, ain't that a coincidence," Yuugi says, smirking at you. "Next question?"

---

Continued in next post.
>> No. 13625
Thinking of hell oni reminded you of another question rather important to your health. Two youkai is two more than most people meet and live to tell about it, but neither of the two you've met seem about to pounce on you; is the same true for all the youkai underground?

The question, of course, is how to phrase your query without offending your hosts; you can't imagine anyone would be too pleased to have to answer to why they didn't kill someone.

"You've been very hospitable towards me; even more than I would expect above ground," you begin hesitantly. "Is that... usual for youkai from underground?" You prompt gently, hoping Yuugi, at least, will get your point.

"Huh? It's usual for anyone to treat a guest nice, isn't it?" Swing and a miss.

"Yes, but..." You try another tack. "The youkai from above ground and the underground ones seem very different to me, so I wondered..."

"You mean, like, on the inside? I dunno anything about science." Stee-rike two.

"No, I mean... as a youkai... and a human... getting along is..." You gesticulate wildly, hoping to avoid the actual words at all cost.

After a couple more seconds of blank staring, her eyes widen. "So what you're tryin' to ask is, why didn't I chop you up and put you in the stew?" You cringe at hearing it put so bluntly, but you have to admit that that's the basic idea. "You coulda just said so rather than tryin' to beat around the bush like that, y'know." She grins. "Unless you think I'm gonna eat you if you're too impolite."

You feel yourself flush. "Sorry. It's just that all the youkai from above eat humans, so I wasn't--"

Crash. To your left, Yamame's silverware sculpture breaks apart and falls to the table as her hands strike the table in front of her, palms down. "That's not--"

"Yamame." Yuugi reaches out to put a hand on Yamame's arm. The look on the smaller girl's face tells you even she's surprised at her own outburst. You feel bad for putting it like that, but it's true; humans disappear from the village about one a month, taken while gathering firewood, hunting, anything that took them outside the boundaries of the village itself.

With Yamame calm, Yuugi turns back to you. "So all the youkai from above eat humans, huh? You're sure about that?"

"I... I think so. There are some that come to the village and don't hurt anyone, but they're few and far between." You think of the Scarlet girl. "I think one of them might be from underground, too."

Yuugi leans forward. "And you still have youkai hunters up there, right? About how many youkai do they kill in a year?"

"Maybe three or four. Normally all they find is empty living spaces the youkai left long ago, and even when they find one, they normally can't beat it unless it's already injured."

"So a whole bunch of humans going up against one youkai, and you still only win a few times a year? What would happen if all the youkai attacked your village at once?"

"They couldn't; the treaty says they can't attack the human village directly."

"And they all follow the treaty?" she asks. You nod; there hasn't been a human taken from inside the village for as long as you can remember.

"Have you ever wondered why?"

"That's because..." you begin, then trail off as you realize she has a point. You don't know how many youkai there are out there, but it wouldn't take more than a handful to wipe out the human village and everyone in it. They say the shrine maiden enforces the treaty, but you can't imagine her standing up to the entire youkai population of Gensokyo. "I don't know."

"When you're up against an enemy that's stronger than you, you have to fight together to beat it." The smile drops off of her face, and she breaks eye contact, looking down at the table. "But you can't bring everyone together to fight unless everyone hates what you're fighting against. And the only way to do that..."

"Is to make sure that everyone thinks what you're fighting against is something they hate," you finish. You see where she's going, and the conclusion she's driving at disturbs you. "So what are you saying? Even the above-ground youkai don't really eat humans? It's all a lie spread by the leaders of the village?"

"Don't get the wrong idea; nobody's lying to you. It's just..." Yuugi's hand flexes open and closed against the table, as though trying to grasp the words from midair. "Imagine a youkai saved your life one day. Would you tell anyone?"

"Of course! I'd tell everyone I knew!" you respond, a little louder than you'd intended.

"Really? Even the mother whose children were taken by youkai? And how many of the people you told would believe you?" You have no response, and she continues. "Definitely your children, and maybe their children, but after that, the story of the youkai that saved a human's life dies." A short, bitter laugh. "But the stories of fathers, mothers, children abducted in the night stick around. The bad takes longer to go away than the good, and there's plenty of bad to go around. Some of us are bloodthirsty monsters." She looks up at you, looks you in the eye; this is the most serious you've ever seen her. "Just not all of us."

Us? Oh, right, she said she wasn't from the Ancient City, which means she must be from above ground.

And you just accused her of being a murderer and a man-eating monster. You have to say something. "Yuugi, I--"

"Relax." She reaches across the table and puts a hand on your shoulder, her eyes softening and a hint of a smile in the corners of her mouth. "I ain't mad or anything. Can't be helped you think of youkai the same way everyone around you does. Important thing is you get to know the truth, right?" You nod, mumbling an incoherent apology. She turns to face Yamame. "Right?" Yamame nods without looking up.

The three of you spend a moment in silence before Yuugi stands and stretches. "Well, now that we got all that taken care of, I think it's time all of us hit the sack," she says.

So much for the question and answer round. At least you got your most pressing questions answered. "If you still have questions you want to ask me, you can ask now," you say, feeling a little bad for killing the mood.

"That's nice of ya, but in all honesty, I ain't really as curious as I figured." Yuugi gives a short chuckle. "Guess nostalgia ain't what it used to be." She turns to Yamame, who has also risen from her place at the table. "You stayin' here for the night or headin' back home?"

"I think I'm going to go home. Beds are too hard to sleep in." She turns to you and smiles, anger from before apparently forgotten. "Bye, Mr. Taizou!" she says, giving you a small wave. You consider apologizing personally to her, but decide against it; she seems to have gotten over it now, and doesn't seem like the type to hide a grudge. Instead, you just wave back, and she leaves shortly after.

With you having already bathed, Yuugi gives you a brief tour of the house, ending in a spare room with a bed laid out, and bids you good night. As you lay down, the fatigue from the events of the day comes rushing back all at once, and you fall asleep in minutes.

---

Continued in next post.
>> No. 13626
You wake in darkness. After a brief moment of panic, you remember where you are, and your eyes begin to adjust to the dim glow of the strange, sourceless light of the underground. After dressing in a set of clothes you find laid out by your bedside (definitely Yuugi's again, judging by the size), you make your way out into the room the three of you ate dinner in last night.

"Late riser? It's gotta be an hour past sunup by now," Yuugi calls to you from her position at the table, and you stare at her. How can anyone tell what time it is down here, with yards of rock between you and the sun?

Seeing your expression, Yuugi laughs. "The light from the Palace changes dependin' on what time of day it is above ground. It's hard to pick up on at first, but you'll get the hang of it eventually. C'mon, sit down and have some food." You follow her instructions, taking a place at the table across from hers and taking a bowl full of rice from the pot in the center of the table.

"Yamame already stopped by this morning," she says, once you've gotten yourself seated and eating. "Like we figured, the cave you came in through closed itself off sometime yesterday."

"Closed itself off? Like a cave-in?"

She shakes her head. "Different than that; almost like a little earthquake. It's been happening pretty often lately; new holes open up on the surface, then they're gone in a few hours. The Palace says they're tryin' to control it, but whatever they're doin' ain't workin'."

"The Palace?"

"Yeah, that's where we're headed this afternoon. Sorta the rulers of the Ancient City. They'll wanna know about you, and they'll probably have a plan to get you sent back home." Home? Oh, right. You find yourself less worried than you could ever have imagined about being trapped away from the village with your only route of escape blocked.

"In the meantime, you'll have to find some way to amuse yourself," Yuugi says, rising from the floor. "I got business in the city, so I probably won't be back 'til lunchtime or so."

"What are you doing there?" you ask, genuinely interested.

"Ah, meetin' up with a bunch of other oni. Kind of a long story." She frowns and averts her gaze. "I'd take you along, but I don't know how well any of the city oni'd get along with a human." She bites her lip and looks you in the eye. "Sorry."

You wave your hand dismissively, surprised at how serious she's being. "Don't worry about it. I'll be fine here."

"Be seein' ya, then." With that, she's off, and you're alone in the dining room. Finishing your breakfast, you lean back on your hands and look up on the ceiling. What should you do until she comes back?

[ ] Hang around the house.
[ ] Walk back towards where you met Yamame; try to find her.
[ ] Take a walk around the area of the house.
>> No. 13627
[X] Take a walk around the area of the house.
>> No. 13628
[ ] Take a walk around the area of the house.
>> No. 13629
[ ] Walk back towards where you met Yamame; try to find her.
>> No. 13634
[X] Walk back towards where you met Yamame; try to find her.
>> No. 13637
[X] Take a walk around the area of the house.
Get to know people and shit, chance encounters and such, if we tried to find a way to Yamame we'd probably just get lost.
>> No. 13639
[x] Take a walk around the area of the house.
>> No. 13642
{X} Take a walk around the area of the house.
>> No. 13680
[x] Take a walk around the area of the house.
Basic explorin' games. Agreed it's a bit risky trying to find Yamame again, much as I'd like to.
>> No. 13682
[x] Take a walk around the area of the house.
[x] Leave a note.
>> No. 13708
File 123242881977.png - (56.44KB , 400x350 , 12.png ) [iqdb]
13708
[X] Take a walk around the area of the house.

Looking up at the ceiling, you ponder Yuugi's words. If the cave entrance that got you underground is closed, and new ones only stay open for hours at a time, it could be a while before you have a chance to get back above ground, and if you're going to be living here the entire time, it would probably be a good idea to know a little about your surroundings. Besides, no point in sitting around the house all morning doing nothing, right? Nodding silently, as though to agree with yourself, you stand up from the table and stretch.

Or rather, try to stretch. Just tensing your muscles causes you to hiss with pain involuntarily, and you think you heard your shoulder pop when you tried to raise your arm above your head. Apparently, the events of yesterday were pretty hard on your body; your muscles feel like you've been on the job doing construction work for the past week, and the bruise on your right shoulder has turned colors you didn't think existed in nature. On the other hand, a quick once-over of your body reveals nothing that seems to be outright broken, which, considering the number of times you fell from high enough to kill you, is more than a little remarkable; you remind yourself that you should probably thank Yamame properly for saving your life more than once, even if she was the one that put it in danger both times.

Thinking of Yamame reminds you; Yuugi said she had stopped by earlier. Does that mean she lives nearby? You consider trying to find her, but decide against it; she said yesterday she doesn't have a house, which would make her even more difficult to find, and considering how fast she can travel, there's no telling how far away she lives in the first place. Besides, you think, it's probably best not to travel too far away from the house; it's the only truly unmistakeable landmark you've seen so far down here, and you don't want to get stuck in a maze of rocks like the one you and Yamame landed in yesterday.

Sighing, you pick up your empty bowl from breakfast and take a quick walk through the house. You already got a tour from Yuugi, though there wasn't really much to tour; all the rooms are connected by a central hallway that opens on both ends, with the porch you came in from on one side and the front door on the other. You cross the hallway from the living/dining room into the kitchen and leave your bowl in a basin full of water, then walk down the hall to the porch. On the way, you pass Yuugi's room and the room you slept in last night, which are directly across from each other, along with two other rooms that Yuugi explained as "storage rooms, unless someone passes out in one of 'em during a party, in which case they're guest rooms". Stopping to slip your shoes on at the door, you step out onto the porch.

There isn't really much of a difference between the climate indoors and outdoors in a house like this, but something about stepping outside makes you want to take a deep breath of the fresh air, and you do so, taking a moment to stand and admire the scenery.

Or, more appropriately, the lack thereof; from where you stand, the landscape consists mainly of dirt and rocks in irregularly spaced intervals. Looking from side to side, you don't see any other houses, and there are no obvious divisions like fences to give you any idea of property lines; the sight is a far cry from the human village, where one man's farmland is right next to the other's, and some people are ready to go to blows over the location of a fencepost.

Returning your attention to the sight before you, you notice one break from the monotonous scenery. Far in the distance, a blackness stands out against the dull browns and greys of the cave; a canyon, a fair distance away, but close enough that you could probably walk there and back in under an hour. Looking closer, you see a bridge spanning the gap, a dull red and brown contrast to the blackness.

Making a note of it, you step off the porch and circle around the outside of the house until you come to the front door. If what Yuugi said about the oni in the city being hostile to humans is true, this is probably as close as you'll get to the city, but it can't hurt to look, right? It seems that the house is on the outskirts of the city, as the road ends at your feet as you sit at the front step. Looking down the road, you see houses, designed similarly to Yuugi's, scattered along it on either side, fairly far apart from each other, but getting closer together as they move closer to...

...Wow.

The building that catches your eye could only be the palace Yuugi told you about earlier. Against a backdrop of simple, one-story houses, it towers to at least four stories, easily the biggest building you've ever seen. Its stained-glass windows, besides being more glass in one place than you've ever seen in the human village, are incredible works of art; the small fragments of glass have no discernible pattern, but instead seem to move as you watch them, oscillating back and forth like a technicolor lake. Even the building itself seems to give off a faint glow.

You sit and stare at it for a few minutes, almost unable to tear your eyes away from it, before coming to your senses. That's where you're going this afternoon? Now that you realize it, it's hard to keep your mind off it. What sort of people are these 'rulers' of the Ancient City? Will they be oni, or some other type of youkai? The questions bounce back and forth in your head to the point of distraction, and you stand up abruptly; if you don't go do something, you'll just worry yourself into uselessness. But what?

[ ] You've fought one oni and lived; why not press your luck? Sneak into the city.
[ ] You could do with a walk; go check out the bridge.
[ ] Thinking isn't so bad; stay at home.
>> No. 13711
[x] Thinking isn't so bad; stay at home.

Maybe Yamame will come back.
>> No. 13714
[x] Thinking isn't so bad; stay at home.

It's the smart decision.
Regardless of what route I want, it's the smart decision.
It's best not to go gallivanting into strange lands...
>> No. 13715
[x] Walk leisurely into the city as if you've lived down here your entire life.

This should be interesting.
>> No. 13716
[x] Thinking isn't so bad; stay at home.

Do not want green eyes, and the ravens, cats, and Satoris can wait until a more favorable time for interaction.
>> No. 13717
[x] Thinking isn't so bad; stay at home.

No jealous nutcases, no disregarding our host's advice.
>> No. 13728
[x] Thinking isn't so bad; stay at home.
Yeah, it seems pointless to risk potentially landing ourselves in trouble when we're going to be heading to the palace later anyway. Glad to see the anons voting here are a little more level-headed than usual.
>> No. 13729
{X} Thinking isn't so bad; stay at home.
>> No. 13740
[X] Thinking isn't so bad; stay at home.
>> No. 13749
File 123250621942.jpg - (743.36KB , 871x1193 , 13.jpg ) [iqdb]
13749
[X] Thinking isn't so bad; stay at home.

On second thought, maybe you'd better stay where you are; Yuugi already told you that the city might be dangerous, and you don't want to risk getting lost on the way to that bridge. Besides, there should be plenty to do at home, right?

After an hour of wandering around the house halfheartedly, you lie on your back in the middle of the living room and conclude that you were mistaken: the house is just as boring as any other house with nobody in it. You consider doing the dishes or cleaning just to pass the time, but can't find the motivation to actually do it; instead, you feel yourself become drowsy as you stare blankly ahead of you, and decide that a quick nap would be alright.

---

You wake up to a new world.

Color surrounds you on all sides; all colors of the rainbow at every possible level of brightness, swirling in a shapeless mass in front of your eyes. The feeling is suffocating, like drowning in a paint can, and you close your eyes, only to discover that it makes no difference; the color bleeds through your eyelids like they aren't even there.

Your senses tell you that this is bad, that you should be panicking, but something in the back of your mind tells you that everything is safe here, that this is just a dream that you'll wake up from eventually. Faced with that uncanny reassurance, you calm yourself somewhat, but can't help but remain slightly on edge. "If this is a dream, my subconscious is really something," you mutter to yourself.

"Preconscious."

A voice; with it; a color. In front of you, the waves of color part, and little by little, a patch of a deep green, like moss, appears, the only constant point in the ever-changing landscape. Like everything else in this place, its size and shape is indistinct; when you try to focus on its edges, you find yourself staring into its center, and looking into its center sends your attention away from it altogether. Still, it's clear to you that this is something distinct from the scenery; a person of some sort.

"I read it in one of Sister's books." The voice itself, that of a young girl, speaks in a detached monotone, like reciting multiplication tables. "The unconscious, or subconscious, is things you can't think about with your conscious mind. The preconscious is things you can. You'll still remember this until I move it, so for now, it's in your preconscious." The color flickers on and off rapidly, like a oil lamp in a strong wind. "They both feel the same to me, though. I guess some people just like to make things complicated."

Oddly enough, the voice doesn't startle you at all; it feels like it's only natural for it to be here with you. "It reminds me of the Palace," you say absently, looking into the sea of color and voicing the first thought that comes to your mind.

"Wrong again." The voice reprimands you with the same flat tone. "The Palace is the imitation, so the Palace should remind you of this." You sense a change, a shift in perspective, and the patch of color seems to grow and shrink all at once, and you realize, without knowing why, that the color's attention is no longer on you, but instead on the landscape surrounding the two of you. "Sister is a very good artist. I described it to her and she made that window, even though she'd never seen it before." Another shift, and the color's attention is back on you. "I couldn't do it, even though I see it all the time. Isn't that strange?"

The monologue leaves you completely lost. "Who are you?"

"It's my home you entered. Who are you?"

"I'm--" you begin, but your voice catches in your throat; that same part of your mind that told you not to panic when you first awoke is telling you that now is the time to panic, that answering wrong will have consequences you don't want to face. The voice isn't asking for your name or a job title, but... what? What is it asking for?

"You can't answer? I'm not surprised." The color reverberates, and you catch a hint of a laugh in the voice. "Don't worry; I'll find out for myself soon enough."

"Now, I'll move this somewhere that you can't find it. You just go back to sleep and forget everything."

And you do.

---

You wake from your doze one sense at a time; first the sound of your clothes rustling against the tatami mats of the living room, then the now-familiar smell of the underground air, followed by the ache in your back from falling asleep on the hard floor, and ending with the endless swirl of colors fading into the bland pattern of the ceiling as you open your eyes.

Wait, swirl of colors? You blink a few times, but the sight doesn't return, waiting just beyond the edge of your memory. You feel like you had a dream, but the particulars are already fading; all you remember is bright colors and... a girl? No, it's no good; the details are already gone. Too bad; you get the feeling it was an interesting dream.

Sitting up and looking around, you realize that your surrounding seem to be better illuminated than when you fell asleep, as though someone turned up the power to the ubiquitous, sourceless light of the underground. This must be what Yuugi meant when she said the light changed depending on the time of day. Of course, without a reference point, you still have no idea what time it is, but if you fell asleep for as long as it feels like you did, you've probably got an hour or so before noon.

Your stomach growls, and you wander into the kitchen. A quick check of the icebox reveals nothing but ice; apparently Yuugi isn't big on perishables. Thinking about it, you realize that it's probably a matter of availability; you don't know of any game animals that live underground. Of course, you don't know of any vegetables that grow without sunlight either, but the cupboards are stocked full of a healthy selection of them. Are they grown above ground and brought down, or does the Ancient City have some other method of growing them?

Another growl from your stomach, and you decide to leave your questions for another time. You start pulling down ingredients when the thought strikes you; you were told to make yourself at home, but it still isn't your house or your food. You could make enough for two without much trouble, and Yuugi doesn't strike you as the type to be particular about things like this, but appearances can be deceiving.

[ ] Everyone loves a home-cooked meal; try to make something for the two of you.
Optional: [ ] Suggest a dish.
[ ] What Yuugi doesn't know won't hurt her; make enough for yourself and destroy the evidence.
[ ] Rooting around in your host's kitchen is impolite; put everything back where you found it and wait for Yuugi to get back.
>> No. 13751
[x] Everyone loves a home-cooked meal; try to make something for the two of you.
--[x] Pasta and a salad.
>> No. 13753
File 123250932220.jpg - (100.84KB , 400x486 , 1039753.jpg ) [iqdb]
13753
>>13749
[X] Everyone loves a home-cooked meal; try to make something for the two of you.
-[X] Soup; the thicker the better.

Hopefully she's got some chicken stock kicking around. If not, potatoes are a reasonable substitute. I'd say a hot, heaping bowl of cheddar ale soup would be ideal, but I doubt she has the milk/cheese necessary. Speaking as a person who enjoys his libations, a thick and hearty soup compliments drinking quite well: contents the appetite without being too filling, coats the stomach, and facilitates moar drinkan. Even if she drinks lunch/dinner, it's the thought that counts.
>> No. 13756
[x] Everyone loves a home-cooked meal; try to make something for the two of you.
-[x] A hearty stew.
[x] You may as well look the part: Find an apron to wear.

Lends itself readily to the random assortment of vegetables, and the oni palate probably wouldn't appreciate anything with a more subtle flavor.
>> No. 13757
[X] Rooting around in your host's kitchen is impolite; put everything back where you found it and wait for Yuugi to get back.

Succumbing to hunger already?
You people are wussies.
>> No. 13760
>>13757

We're cooking her dinner. Every oni knows that a (human) man's place is in the kitchen.
>> No. 13767
{~} Everyone loves a home-cooked meal; try to make something for the two of you.
-{~} A hearty stew.
{~} You may as well look the part: Find an apron to wear.
>> No. 13768
[x] Everyone loves a home-cooked meal; try to make something for the two of you.
-[x] A hearty stew.
[x] You may as well look the part: Find an apron to wear.
Adorable option is adorable
>> No. 13769
[X] Everyone loves a home-cooked meal; try to make something for the two of you.
-[X] Soup; the thicker the better.
>> No. 13779
I really, really like this story and your writing style.
>...Yes, the ‘terrifying’ category is definitely best. In fact, you consider starting a new category whose name is just an inarticulate screech of horror.
This line in particular I especially enjoyed.

>“A human?! No way! I ain’t seen a human out here in ages!”
For some reason, I'm imagining Yuugi sounding like a female version of Mitch Hedberg.

Also, Yamame is loev. Enjoy writing your spider loli route.
>> No. 13782
[x] Everyone loves a home-cooked meal; try to make something for the two of you.
[x] A manly stew.

This is how a MAN lives.
>> No. 13797
File 123268380260.jpg - (197.39KB , 550x573 , 14.jpg ) [iqdb]
13797
Some people would avoid writing cooking scenes when they themselves know nothing about cooking (let alone cooking in what is basically 19th century Japan). I am not one of those people. Enjoy.

>>13779
I guess it's kind of implied by the fact that people vote on it, but it's nice to hear that people actually enjoy reading this. Thanks.

---

[X] Everyone loves a home-cooked meal; try to make something for the two of you.
[X] A hearty stew.
[X] You may as well look the part: find an apron to wear.

It's not like Yuugi wasn't planning to eat lunch, right? Surely it'll be fine if you make something for the two of you. Reassuring yourself, you continue opening cupboards, pulling down ingredients more or less at random with no particular recipe in mind. You make your way from left to right across the surprisingly spacious kitchen, coming finally to a small door set in the wall opposite the door into the hallway. You open it, expecting more ingredients, instead finding a small closet full of a broom and dustpan, a mop, and...

A plain white apron, hanging from a hook on the opposite side of the door. The apron, along with all the other contents of the closet, are covered with a thin layer of dust. Not really that surprising; you can't imagine Yuugi bothering to put something like this on while cooking. (You find that you have no problems whatsoever imagining her wearing it, or, for that matter, imagining her not wearing it, but those thoughts are best left for another time.) On a whim, you pull the garment off its hook and slip it over your head, tying the strings behind your back.

Appropriately clad, you return your attention to the ingredients that you found: mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, and a few odd-shaped roots that you can't identify. With this hodgepodge of ingredients, the only thing that comes to mind is stew; you fill a pot with enough water to make a meal for two, throw in a few whole mushrooms and light a small fire under it. While the liquid simmers, you wash and chop up the remainder of the ingredients to prepare them for cooking.

Without anything resembling cooking oil at hand, you fry the vegetables in a bit of water, and just as you finish cooking them and put them into the bubbling stock, a loud bang at the front door nearly makes you drop your frying pan into the pot along with them. You set the pan down and are just about to go see what made the noise when it happens again, louder this time, and you think better of it. Yuugi would have mentioned if someone was coming over, right? If what she said about the city oni is true, you probably shouldn't be seen here; you move towards the closet you found the apron in, preparing to hide in case the visitor has a key to unlock the door.

As you do, a different sound reaches your ears; the door rattling back and forth in its frame as whoever's outside tries to force it open. A burglar? You continue your creep towards a hiding place, but as you go, you take a short knife from its place among the kitchen utensils. Reaching your destination amidst more rattling from the front door, now mixed with muffled cursing, you shut the door partway behind you and wait for--

Bang. Much louder than the first time, you hear something strike the door, and this time it's accompanied by the sound of splintering wood. A second later, you see the door itself, freed from its hinges, bounce into view in the hallway, sliding to a stop in front of the entrance to the kitchen. On instinct, you drop into a crouch and shut the closet door almost completely, leaving yourself only a small gap through which to watch the outside. You aren't going to stand much of a chance against any intruder from the underground, but if they come to search the kitchen, you may be able to hit them with a surprise attack before--

"Fuckin' idiots, every one of 'em!"

Yuugi's voice in the hallway. You exhale. Dropping from your crouch to sit with your back against the wood of the closet door frame, you put the knife down and bring a hand to your chest to calm your erratic heartbeat. You spread your legs out in front of you, pushing the door open with your feet, and take a deep breath as the adrenaline works its way out of your system.

"And now I gotta fix the damn door again!" You hear Yuugi stomp her way down the hallway, and she comes into view in the entryway, crouching to examine the broken door. Before she says anything, though, she notices the bubbling soup on the fire and moves towards it. She only gets halfway, though, before she catches sight of you and freezes.

At this point, it occurs to you that you're sitting in her closet, wearing her apron, and panting with a discarded kitchen knife at your side. Some sort of explanation is probably in order.

"What... are you doing?" All traces of her earlier anger gone, she sounds genuinely mystified at your presence.

"I... thought you were a burglar," you try lamely.

"..."

"..."

---

Eventually, Yuugi stops laughing, picking herself up off the ground and wiping tears of mirth from her eyes. "I sure do feel safe leaving you to guard the house," she says, chuckling weakly a few times before turning and heading into the dining room. You don't think the situation is funny enough to have kept her laughing for quite this long, but it seems to have broken the mood she was in when she got home, and she seems to be back to her usual self by the time the food's done.

"You don't have to worry about burglars in the first place, y'know," she says between mouthfuls of stew. "I don't think I've got anything anyone wants to steal. Besides, if somebody from the city wanted something outta my house, most of 'em could just pick the whole damn thing up off the ground and take it home with 'em to sort through later." As she mentions the city, she frowns, and a harsher edge enters her voice. "Hell, most of 'em would do just that, too," she mutters, more to herself than to you.

The meal continues in silence, with her anger from before tempered, but still strong; everything about her seems to give off a sort of fierceness, from her posture at the table all the way down to the way she eats (you're a little concerned she's going to bite the head off her spoon if she continues like that). Even knowing it's not directed at you, just sitting across from her is a little unnerving. From what you've heard, you can guess her morning meeting didn't go well, and you interrupted her chance to rant and get it out of her system; maybe you should try to talk to her about it, if only to let her vent her frustration.

[ ] She's got something to get off her chest; ask her what she's upset about.
[ ] She needs to take her mind off of it; talk about something else.
[ ] If she wants to talk to you about it, she will; stay silent.
>> No. 13799
[ ] She's got something to get off her chest; ask her what she's upset about.
>> No. 13802
[x] She's got something to get off her chest; ask her what she's upset about.

Might as well get it out now, it's not like she isn't thinking about it.
>> No. 13803
{X} She's got something to get off her chest; ask her what she's upset about.
>> No. 13805
[x] She's got something to get off her ample chest; ask her what she's upset about.
It'll be handy to know what the score is for when we visit the city ourselves.
>> No. 13807
[x] She's got something to get off her chest; ask her what she's upset about.

Aren't we such the housewife.
>> No. 13808
[X] She's got something to get off her chest; ask her what she's upset about.
>> No. 13810
[ ] She's got something to get off her chest; ask her what she's upset about.
Perhaps they caused her sake to drop?
>> No. 13813
[x] She's got something to get off her chest; ask her what she's upset about.

Did something happen at work today, honey?
>> No. 13821
[x] She's got something to get off her chest; ask her what she's upset about.
>> No. 13822
[x] She's got something to get off her chest; ask her what she's upset about.

I like this story. I hope you keep writing.
>> No. 13859
File 123285656118.jpg - (275.28KB , 768x1024 , 15.jpg ) [iqdb]
13859
>>13822
No worries on the 'keep writing' front. Writing has become an essential self-justification for slacking off at work; if I stopped now, the guilt might force me to actually do my job.

---

[X] She's got something to get off her chest; ask her what she's upset about.

This is too much, you think as Yuugi glares into her soup, daring it to start something. You have to say something; if not for her sake, then for your own.

"It doesn't sound like your meeting went well," you say mildly, trying to start the conversation as neutrally as you can.

"No shit," she spits, glaring at you for a moment before her face falls and she sighs, clutching her head in her hands and looking down at the table. "Sorry. Just dealing with them leaves me pissed off for a while. Yeah, it went... 'bout as bad as I figured it would."

"Do you mind if I ask what happened?" you ask cautiously.

"If you ask me something I don't wanna answer, I'll tell you myself, so don't waste your breath askin' if I mind first." Her words are harsh, but her tone lighter than before; you think you even see a small smile cross her lips, but it disappears before she raises her head to face you. "'Sides, even if I did mind, this is somethin' you probably oughtta know."

"Basically, I told 'em about you. Said you showed up on my doorstep, told 'em the whole story. I already know we're goin' to the Palace, but they're big-headed types who like people askin' for their opinion, so I asked 'em what to do." Her frown deepens. "And they told me exactly what they thought I should do with you. You can figure out the rest."

She shakes her head. "I know there are plenty of 'em that don't hate humans any more than they like 'em. Probably didn't care either way even while they were torturin' 'em in Hell, just did it 'cause it was part of the job. I thought maybe more of 'em thought the same way now that they've been away from humans for this long." She laughs bitterly, biting her lip. "Shows what I know. Fuckin' idiots never change, holdin' a stupid grudge for this long. I shoulda guessed, but I hoped..."

You don't know what to say. More than just being angry, she sounds... sad, somehow, as though she had honestly hoped the oni would accept you. All this for someone she met yesterday? You open your mouth to say something, but before you can, Yuugi raises her head and gives you a weak smile. "Ah, fuck it. I could talk about it until I turn blue in the face, but that doesn't do either of us any good." It's obvious she's still upset, but her voice carries a note of finality, and you decide not to push it, letting the conversation end there.

The rest of the meal is spent in silence, and before long, the two of you finish your meal and walk out onto the front step, where Yuugi continues the conversation while roughly forcing the broken front door back into place.

"Anyway, this doesn't change anything. We're still headin' in to the Palace, which means we're goin' through the city. None of 'em are gonna attack you if you're with me, but you still don't have a whole lot to look forward to. There'll be a few folks in the city who give you a hard time, but you'd probably better just stay quiet and--" She stops midsentence and stares into space for a moment before turning to face you and smiling, a broad grin with just a hint of malice in it. "On second thought, fuck that. Anyone gives you any shit, hand it right back to them. If you start a fight, it'll give me an excuse to beat 'em down once and for all."

Her last sentence is punctuated with a small click as the door latches. "Let's go!" she says, heading off down the road towards the city. You follow after her, but your mind stays on that last instruction of hers; how should you act in the city, anyway?

[ ] Yuugi says start a fight, you start a fight; break out the 'yo momma' jokes.
[ ] No reason to act differently than usual; be civil, but don't be a doormat.
[ ] Yuugi may be ready for a fight, but you aren't; stay quiet no matter what.
>> No. 13860
[ ] No reason to act differently than usual; be civil, but don't be a doormat.
>> No. 13861
[L] No reason to act differently than usual; be civil, but don't be a doormat.
>> No. 13863
[X] Yuugi may be ready for a fight, but you aren't; stay quiet no matter what.
>> No. 13864
[x] No reason to act differently than usual; be civil, but don't be a doormat.
>> No. 13865
[x] No reason to act differently than usual; be civil, but don't be a doormat.
>> No. 13866
[x] No reason to act differently than usual; be civil, but don't be a doormat.

Joyous.
>> No. 13868
[x] Yuugi says start a fight, you start a fight; break out the 'yo momma' jokes.

Yo momma yo momma yo momma yo momma

INCINERATED

YOU ARE THE INSULT MASTER

>> No. 13869
[x] Yuugi says start a fight, you start a fight; break out the 'yo momma' jokes.

hahaha
>> No. 13871
[x] No reason to act differently than usual; be civil, but don't be a doormat.
>> No. 13872
File 123287065852.jpg - (26.21KB , 647x421 , superfly.jpg ) [iqdb]
13872
>>13868
If we do this, we're doing it right.
>> No. 13876
[x] No reason to act differently than usual; be civil, but don't be a doormat.
>> No. 13878
[x] Yuugi says start a fight, you start a fight; break out the 'yo momma' jokes.
'Yo momma' jokes are a bit overboard, but giving 'em a mouthful might actually do us a lot of favours. It'll show we've got guts at least.
>> No. 13881
[x] No reason to act differently than usual; be civil, but don't be a doormat.
>> No. 13882
[x] No reason to act differently than usual; be civil, but don't be a doormat.

I don't trust our protagonist to out-diss an entire city of oni.
>> No. 13883
[X] Yuugi says start a fight, you start a fight; break out the 'yo momma' jokes.
[X] Yuugi says start a fight, you start a fight; break out the 'yo momma' jokes.
[X] Yuugi says start a fight, you start a fight; break out the 'yo momma' jokes.

THIS.
>> No. 13885
Yo mama jacked the Kool-aid man for a sip.

Yo mama goes fishing with a hook & reel in the frozen foods section.
>> No. 13887
File 123293977364.jpg - (62.46KB , 640x840 , 16.jpg ) [iqdb]
13887
Man, pictures of angry Yuugi are hard to find; include the constraint that she has to be alone and I'm already out.

---

[X] No reason to act differently than usual; be civil, but don't be a doormat.

Regardless of what Yuugi says, acting normally has worked so far; you don't see any reason to change your behavior. Silently deciding, you catch up to Yuugi and the two of you walk together into the city. Yuugi spends most of the trip telling you about the hitsory and everyday workings of the city, as well as describing a few oni she knows to be friendly to humans.

The conversation trails off, however, as you enter the city proper. Really, it's not that different from the human village, you think; as you walk down the street, you hear the familiar cries of shop owners and see gaggles of housewives talking among themselves as their children play in the streets.

Except the shop owners, most of whom have a pair of horns, abruptly silence themselves as you walk past, and the housewives, once they catch sight of you, tighten their gossip circles and try to steal glances at you without you noticing. As you approach, some of them even pull their children off the street and rush into their houses.

If the atmosphere of the city wasn't so tense, you'd laugh at that last sight; even the child of an oni could probably tear you in half without too much trouble. Still, the reception concerns you; if this is an average reaction, what will the ones that really hate humans try to do?

"Worried?" Yuugi, catching the expression on your face, gives you a pat on the back that, for an oni, would probably be reassuring, but sends you stumbling forward a few steps and reminds you of the pain in your right shoulder. "It's just 'cause most of 'em haven't seen a human since this place was still part of Hell. Give 'em a little while and they'll be back to--" Yuugi stops abruptly in the middle of speaking. "Shit."

"Yuugi?" You look up at her face, and follow her worried gaze to what seems to be an ordinary oni walking down the street towards you. Unlike Yuugi's single horn, this one has two smaller horns, one above each of his eyebrows, peeking out from under a short, but well-groomed, coiffure of blood-red hair. His plain, black kimono seems a size too big for him, nearly hiding his long, thin hands ending in fingernails that look sharp enough to rightly be called claws. Watching him, you can tell he's quite a bit shorter than Yuugi, probably even shorter than you, but the way he carries himself suggests a presence much larger; you've seen plenty of oni with physical characteristics like his on the short walk in, but you notice that even the city crowd seems to shrink away from him the same way it did for you.

Yuugi continues walking, undaunted in spite of her earlier curse, and you follow her. As you get nearer to the oni, he notices the two of you, and, grinning, alters his path towards you. Before long, the two of them stand practically toe-to-toe in the middle of the street.

"Rasetsu." Yuugi's greeting is cold and blunt.

"Hoshiguma." The oni, on the other hand, has had a broad smile on his face since he caught sight of the two of you, and it doesn't dim at Yuugi's brush-off. "Imagine seeing you again so soon." His voice matches his face, carrying an undertone of cruel amusement, as though every word he speaks is a joke at someone else's expense.

"I didn't think you'd be the one to show up," Yuugi says. "You here to arrest me, or just to piss me off?"

"Ah, so harsh, Hoshiguma," the oni says, smile never moving from his face. "And here I just wanted to meet your precious human." With that, he swiftly dogdes past Yuugi and comes to stand well within what you consider your personal space, amplifying the effect of the invasion by standing on tiptoe to bring his face even with yours. "So what happened, human? Nobody wants you above ground, so they sent you down here to die?"

"No," you say shortly but without rancor, taking a step backwards; you can tell you're being baited and decide not to give him the pleasure of getting a reaction.

"Really?" he drawls. "You don't have to lie, you know." He brings a clawed finger to his chin in a mock thinking pose. "Yes, I can see it now..."

And suddenly, the being in front of you is no longer an oni.

Instead, a housewife, a female human, clad in apron and hair bun as though she'd just been pulled from the village, stands sobbing hysterically into her hands. "That thing is no child of mine! It's a demon's child!" she wails, before being replaced in an instant by a wizened old crone shaking a knobby finger in your face. "That's right! We have to get rid of him!" And then she too is gone, and where she stood stands an old man, dressed in the ceremonial robes of a village head, glaring down at you contemptuously. "I hereby exile you from this village! Begone!" he thunders.

And then, as though nothing had happened, the oni is back in front of you, wearing the same sickening grin as the last time you saw him. "Something like that, right? Did I guess it?"

You stand stock-still, trying to come to terms with what just happened in front of you, and before you manage to gather your wits and reply, you feel Yuugi's hand grab your shoulder, pulling you back a step. "Using your power on him is as good as attacking him, Rasetsu," she says from behind you, voice dripping with anger.

"Oh dear, and you said at the meeting you'd fight anyone who did that, didn't you? It's very scary, fighting Hoshiguma, you know," the oni says, leaning towards you to deliver a mock whisper; you lean away out of instinct. "You never know what's going to happen. But then again, neither does she!"

His last sentence devolves into a high-pitched cackle, cut short by Yuugi stepping forward, placing herself roughly between you and the oni, causing him to take a step back. Before she has a chance to say anything though, he regains his composure and speaks again.

"Ah, always so tense, Hoshiguma. Luckily for me, I haven't used my abilities on anyone but myself, so I'm spared having to face your terrible wrath."

"Not if you don't shut up and go away, you aren't," Yuugi growls, her fist clenching at her side.

"Ah, well. If you put it like that, I have no choice." He spins on his heel in an exaggerated about-face and marches a few steps before looking back over his shoulder. "Welcome to hell, human!" he calls to you, fixing you with a stare and a mocking grin before continuing to walk away.

Yuugi watches him go for a moment, then turns around sharply and continues along her original path. "Let's go," she barks without looking back at you. She walks faster than before, and even after catching up, you practically have to jog to keep pace with her.

The two of you walk together in silence, still heading on your original path towards the palace. Even at this pace, though, it looks like you still have a bit of a walk before you get there, and you have some questions that need answered. Yuugi, however, might not exactly be in the mood for conversation after that encounter. For that matter, you aren't sure you are either; just what was that?

[ ] If that was one of the human-haters, you should know about it; ask Yuugi about the oni.
[ ] There are more pressing concerns than that oni; ask Yuugi about the palace.
[ ] You need some time to think; stay silent.
>> No. 13888
[x] If that was one of the human-haters, you should know about it; ask Yuugi about the oni.
>> No. 13889
[x] He seemed kind of fun, even if he was mocking you, but he seemed more interested in Yuugi's reaction than your own; ask Yuugi about their personal history.

He's just jealous of Yuugi's new husbando.
>> No. 13890
[x] If that was one of the human-haters, you should know about it; ask Yuugi about the oni.
[x] "Is he always such a dick?"
>> No. 13891
[ ] You need some time to think; stay silent.
>> No. 13893
File 123294665547.jpg - (114.19KB , 875x710 , 1743804.jpg ) [iqdb]
13893
>>13887
The dude is a douche bag to the 10th degree. Probably would've been fun to get the dude Told ("Why yes, that's exactly what happened. The similiarity... it's uncanny. You must have gone through the same. Speaking from experience?"), but that kind of shmuck lives off of getting a rise out of people so keeping it brief was for the best. Changing appearences is a damn troubling ability, though, since it's not too hard to imagine him looking like Yuugi or Yamame and fucking with us.

Anyway, vote to change topic to keep Yuugi from fuming and get some info:
[X] There are more pressing concerns than that oni; ask Yuugi about the palace.
[X] "Doesn't royalty live in palaces? What's the king, or um... queen, of the oni like?"
>> No. 13894
[X] There are more pressing concerns than that oni; ask Yuugi about the palace.
[X] "Doesn't royalty live in palaces? What's the king, or um... queen, of the oni like?"
>> No. 13895
>>13893

>fucking with us.

Oh GODDAMN IT DID YOU HAVE TO WORD IT THAT WAY
>> No. 13896
[x] You need some time to think; stay silent... for about five seconds.
[x] Burst into laughter. "What in the world was up with that?"
>> No. 13897
>>13895

Oh god, no.
>> No. 13901
Pff. The first two people we met down here nearly killed us, and they're our friends.
>> No. 13916
>>13901

Yeah, I'm not really getting hate vibes. I was expecting rotten fruit to be thrown at Taizou, not an introduction to Yuugi's smarmy ex.
>> No. 13925
[x] You need some time to think; stay silent... for about five seconds.
[x] Burst into laughter. "What in the world was up with that?
>> No. 13928
>>13888

Changing vote to:

[X] There are more pressing concerns than that oni; ask Yuugi about the palace.
[X] "Doesn't royalty live in palaces? What's the king, or um... queen, of the oni like?"
>> No. 13936
[x] Test the water to see if Yuugi's up for conversation.
[x] If so: There are more pressing concerns than that oni; ask Yuugi about the palace.
More info's generally a good thing.
>> No. 13954
[X] There are more pressing concerns than that oni; ask Yuugi about the palace.
[X] "Doesn't royalty live in palaces? What's the king, or um... queen, of the oni like?"
>> No. 13967
Started writing "[X] Ask about the oni" yesterday without saying so, and now "[X] Ask about the palace" is winning. Whoops.

Calling it for the palace before "[X] Stay silent" makes a sudden comeback; update tomorrow.
>> No. 13991
Too tired to find a picture.

---

[X] There are more pressing concerns than that oni; ask Yuugi about the palace.

You have no idea what to think about what just happened, but there are more important things to think about right now. You're within five minutes of the Palace, and all you've heard about it so far is that the rulers of the city live there; you should probably find out a bit more about them before you meet them.

Your only source for information, however, is moving down the street like a woman possessed, face locked forward in a glare so intense you half-expect her to start shooting lasers from her eyes.

But that's just because of who you just met, right? Another topic should be fine. "So what's the palace like?"

"Yeah, he's a dick," Yuugi says bitterly. "Sorry you had to--" She pauses, breaking her stride for a moment, and frowns. "What?"

"The palace. What's it like?"

"You're not gonna ask about Rasetsu?" Yuugi asks, tone slightly incredulous.

This isn't the reaction you were expecting. "Was I supposed to?"

"Hell no." Yuugi snorts. "The less I have to talk about him, the better. Guy's a freak among freaks." She turns her head to look at you, a curious expression on her face. "I just figured since you're a human, you'd be more scared of his power than that." Turning away, she grins slightly. "I guess humans have gotten a little stronger since I came down here, after all."

You blink, unsure of how to reply. Was that a compliment?

"Just don't think the rest of the oni are gonna be like him," she continues. "They probably won't do anything to you unless you piss 'em off personally, but if they decide to do something, it won't just be to scare you."

Doing your best to ignore the frightening portion of that sentence, you return to your original question. "So the oni in the palace are more reasonable?"

"Oni in the palace?" Yuugi wrinkles her brow. "Yeah, I guess you would think of it like that if you didn't know any better, but there aren't any oni in the palace."

"Huh?"

"Lemme start from the beginning." By now, Yuugi's pace has slowed to a walk, and you don't have to struggle to keep up as she explains. "The head of the Palace of the Earth Spirits, the person we're going to meet, is Satori Komeiji. I guess she isn't really a ruler, not the way you normally think of it. She doesn't make laws or anything, and she doesn't have an army. Well, maybe if you count her pets." A hint of a smile flickers across her face.

"Pets?"

"Long story. Anyway, she's not like the ruler of a country or anything. She's sort of a... judge for people's problems. An arbitrator, I guess."

Arbitrator? The idea seems similar to how things work in the human village. "So she's like a village head for the city?"

"Sort of, but different. In human villages, you've got a book of laws, right?" You nod. "Most youkai wouldn't go for anything that complicated, not when they've been livin' their whole lives where the strongest person makes the rules. So when this place stopped being Hell and some folks wanted a city, they knew it wouldn't work unless there was someone strong up top makin' everyone go along with it. So instead of makin' laws like you humans, she just set herself up as the strongest, and if there's a dispute, everyone takes it to her and she decides who's right and who's wrong."

The strongest? "But if she's not an oni, she can't really be the strongest, can she?

Yuugi laughs dryly. "Sorta depends what you mean by strong, doesn't it?" For a second, she looks towards the ground, and her lips twist into an unreadable expression; almost as soon as you notice the change, though, she recovers and continues. "Anyway, she doesn't really deal with any of the oni's problems. We got our own book of laws, goin' back further than this city. Hell, goin' back further than Gensokyo, for that matter." You hear a hint of pride enter her voice. "We don't need her gettin' involved to settle our own fights, and she knows better than to bother, so the oni don't really see her a whole lot."

"So you don't know much about her?" you ask.

"Nobody really knows a whole lot about her. Every once in a while, she'll show up in the city, but she just wanders around lookin' at people. S'more like she just wants to remind everyone she's still there. Most of the time, she stays shut up in the palace with her pets until someone comes to her."

For the second time, you notice Yuugi smile briefly at the mention of pets. "Is there a joke here I'm not getting?" you ask, smiling slightly yourself.

Realizing she's been found out, Yuugi's grin broadens and she chuckles lightly. "It's more like gossip among the oni; sort of a legend, really. They say she's got hundreds of pets, and the reason the palace is so big is that each of them have their own room. She doesn't seem like the type to be that affectionate, but that's what makes it funny." She shrugs. "Sorta makes sense, though, when you think about it. What could be better when you can't talk than someone who knows what you're thinking?"

Knows what you're thinking? "Huh?"

"Hmm?" Yuugi's confusion mirrors your own for a moment, then her eyes widen in realization. "Oh, yeah, I guess you wouldn't notice it at first if you didn't know." She smirks slightly at your confused face. "I guess a little history lesson wouldn't hurt."

"Back in the ancient past, most youkai didn't bother with language, so they didn't have proper names of their own. When humans came along, though, they started naming things, and that included youkai. So when the youkai found out and wanted names, they usually just used the humans' words for themselves. So even nowadays, you can sometimes tell a youkai by its name."

"Satori Komeiji... so she's a satori?" You vaguely remember hearing about satori as a kid, but the stories were never quite as interesting as the ones about more dangerous youkai. You do, however, remember their defining characteristic: their ability to read the minds of anyone they got near. This is the person you're going to meet?

"Yeah, but it's not as big of a deal as you're thinkin' it is. She's a little creepy, and you never get to finish your sentences, but she's not the type to take your private thoughts and blackmail you." Yuugi pauses for a moment. "Or at least, if she is, she's pretty quiet about it."

Your conversation comes to a halt as the two of you reach the palace itself. The building itself is as jaw-dropping as the first time you saw it, and you catch yourself staring up at that stained-glass window multiple times as you walk towards the door. Something about the arrangement of colors, the way they seem to flow into each other, as though the glass itself were moving... it gives you a bit of deja vu, as though you'd seen something like it somewhere else, but you can't put your finger on it.

"A little creepy, isn't it?" Yuugi says, looking up at the window herself. "Even folks who've lived here for years'll still stand there and stare at it every once in a while." Shaking her head, as though to clear it, she looks away and walks to the ornate set of double doors at the entrance of the palace. "Let's go," she says, pulling one door open, and the two of you walk into the palace.

---

Continued in next post.
>> No. 13992
If you hadn't spent the last day in a underground city, you would have described the room you were met with as cavernous; as it is, it just seems desolate. The huge window visible from the outside of the building apparently doesn't extend as far down as the first floor, and darkness spreads over the huge room, the deepest you've seen since you came underground. The walls, painted a somber brown, are unadorned, and there's no furniture in sight. The only interesting aspect of the room is its exits, one on each wall; besides being big enough to ride a horse through, the elaborate ornamentation around each door stands out starkly against the plainness of the rest of the room.

As depressing as the room is, you're hardly surprised it's empty, but that presents a problem. "Which way do we go?" you ask, turning to Yuugi.

"Dunno. Last time I was here, she was waiting here in the front room. We could wait around, I guess, but it's not like I made an appointment or anything." She turns to face you and shrugs. "You're the guest of honor. What do you wanna do?"

[ ] How often do you get to visit a palace? Wander around a bit.
- [ ] Choose a direction.
[ ] Palaces have servants on call, right? Call out for someone.
[ ] You're in no hurry. Wait around for someone to come.
>> No. 13993
[x] How often do you get to visit a palace? Wander around a bit.
- [x] Whichever direction strikes your fancy.

Koishi option.
>> No. 14000
[x] How often do you get to visit a palace? Wander around a bit.
- [x] Whichever direction strikes your heartfelt fancy.
>> No. 14003
{X} How often do you get to visit a palace? Wander around a bit.
- {X} Whichever direction strikes your heartfelt fancy.
>> No. 14004
[x] How often do you get to visit a palace? Wander around a bit.
- [x] Through Stage 4.
Fastest way to find Satori. And possibly Orin.
>> No. 14007
[x] How often do you get to visit a palace? Wander around a bit.
- [x] Whichever direction strikes your heartfelt fancy.
>> No. 14011
[x] How often do you get to visit a palace? Wander around a bit.
- [x] Left.
[x] Palaces have servants on call, right? Call out for someone.
>> No. 14012
[X] You're in no hurry. Wait around for someone to come.

It's not nice to wander around in people's houses.
>> No. 14016
[x] How often do you get to visit a palace? Wander around a bit.
- [x] Whichever direction strikes your fancy.
>> No. 14024
File 123338235658.jpg - (24.55KB , 350x299 , 18.jpg ) [iqdb]
14024
So the only archive I know of with text from CYOAs (sentrygun.com) never updates anymore, and I thought I'd throw something of my own together over the weekend. To that end, I was paging through the forum-based archive linked in /th/ yesterday going through some stories. Then I came across "For Starters" in /shrine/.

...where is the IRC channel, anyway? I can't help but want to see just what kind of perverse force of nature can drive otherwise reasonable humans so batshit insane.

---

[X] How often do you get to visit a palace? Wander around a bit.
- [X] Whichever direction strikes your fancy.

If nobody knows you're coming, there's no point standing around waiting for someone to notice you. "Let's see if we can find someone," you say to Yuugi.

"Works for me," she says, wandering absently around the room. "Which way?" After a quick game of eeny-meeney-miney-moe in your head, you head towards the door on the right, Yuugi following a short distance behind you. Your eyes still haven't adjusted to the dim light of the palace, and you come within a few steps of the doorway before you can see anything through it. It takes another few steps, however, before you recognize what you're looking at.

Stepping through the doorway, you look up and see that the ceiling is much higher in this room, clearly far enough away to be the roof of the palace. Realizing that, you can tell that the object in front of you is meant as a staircase to the higher floors. Unlike any staircase you've ever seen, though, its 'stairs' are arranged around a central pillar of rough stone; anyone going up would have to walk around in a circle as they ascend.

Moving closer, you wonder briefly why anyone would bother to build a staircaes like this; it seems like a lot of trouble for no actual benefit. You do have to admit, though, that it serves quite the aesthetic purpose; the twisting path around the stone pillar looks more like a work of art than anything else. The steps themselves, stone as well, project from the central pillar like petals from a flower, as though the entire staircase was carved from a single block. Stepping forward, you reach out and touch the cool wood of the banister; everything feels solid enough, but you can't shake the feeling that the entire thing would break into pieces if someone tried to stand on it, like a work of art handled too roughly. Is this what they call craftsmanship?

You stand in wonder for a moment before your reverie is abruptly broken by a flash of movement from the corner of your eye. Putting a hand against the banister, you turn and look towards the doorway...

Only to recoil as you catch sight of what you saw move. Hunched against the wall at knee level, just out of sight of anyone looking from the opposite side of the entryway, is a spot of... nothingness; more than just being unable to see through, it seems like someone painted the floor black. From within that blackness, eyes; dozens of them, different sizes and colors, but all with the slitted pupil of a youkai, and all staring out at you, unblinking. The edges of the darkness undulate constantly, and you see small tendrils emerge from it, only to be sucked back in a second later.

You know you should run, that this is some strange kind of youkai that won't hesitate to kill you, but you find yourself unable to move, feet rooted to the spot. You turn your head to Yuugi, still on the opposite side of the entryway, and open your mouth, ready to call out... for what? To warn her not to enter? For help? It doesn't matter, because your voice dies in your throat, and she steps over the threshold, oblivious to what lies in wait.

As soon as she does, the creature undulates, and the eyes shift their attention to her. As they do, she glances to the side and catches sight of the monster.

Silence. Then...

"Huh. That's a lotta cats."

Cats?

Straining your eyes against the darkness, you realize that the perfect darkness isn't quite as perfect as it seemed at first. As your eyes begin to adapt to the low light of the palace, you make out shapes within it; pairs of eyes match up with heads, and the creature's tentacles become tails. You take a halting step forward, trying to confirm what you've seen, when--

"Boo!" Suddenly, Yuugi yells and waves her hands wildly, sending the herd of cats running all at once, past you and up the staircase behind you. In a few seconds, all that remains where they were is an abandoned saucer of milk and a single black cat, who continues staring for a second longer before returning to its meal, apparently unfazed.

"Heh." Yuugi chuckles from her position in the doorway. "Looks like the rumors ain't just rumors after all." Walking from the doorway past you, she looks up the stairs at the wave of retreating felines. "We goin' up too?" she asks, leaning over the banister and craning her neck in an attempt to see to the top of the staircase.

You open your mouth to answer, but find yourself letting out a breath you hadn't realized you were holding in. Reflexively, you put a hand to your chest and pant slightly, nerves still tingling from your earlier confusion. As you take a few calming breaths, Yuugi returns from the staircase to stand in front of you. "You okay there?" she asks, putting her hands on your shoulders as she looks into your eyes. "What's got you all..." Her voice trails off, and her eyes go from narrowed in concern to wide with amusement as she comes to a realization. "Ohh."

"You can't see that well in here, can ya?" she says airily, making no attempt to hide her smile. "Buncha black cats in a dark room musta gotten you all worked up." Unable to admit it, you turn your head away, but the hand on your shoulders pull you back into meeting Yuugi's gaze; free of malice, but mocking all the same.

"Hmm? Were ya scared?" she asks.

[ ] Dialogue write-in

And a choice:

[ ] Head up the stairs.
[ ] Try a different door.
>> No. 14025
[x] Respond honestly: "A little bit. I think I'll stick close by, just in case, you know, an actual tentacled, multi-eyed, cosmic horror shows up."
[x] Head up the stairs.
>> No. 14027
[x] "O-Of course I wasn't! Who'd be scared of something like that? C-Come on, let's keep searching"
[x] Head up the stairs.
>> No. 14030
[x] Respond honestly: "A little bit. I think I'll stick close by, just in case, you know, an actual tentacled, multi-eyed, cosmic horror shows up."
[x] Head up the stairs.
>> No. 14031
[x] Respond honestly: "A little bit. I think I'll stick close by, just in case, you know, an actual tentacled, multi-eyed, cosmic horror shows up."
[x] Head up the stairs.
No scaredy cat joke? Good.
>> No. 14032
[x] "No, but from the look on your face, I could ask you the same thing".

Mindfuck option.
>> No. 14035
[X] "Would you hold me if I said I were?"
[X] Head up the stairs.

I like this Yuugi. I want to hug her. Also Yamame.
>> No. 14038
[X] "Would you hold me if I said I were?"
[X] Head up the stairs.

>a spot of... nothingness; more than just being unable to see through, it seems like someone painted the floor black. From within that blackness, eyes; dozens of them, different sizes and colors, but all with the slitted pupil of a youkai, and all staring out at you, unblinking.

I expected Yukari.
>> No. 14039
[X] "Would you hold me if I said I were?"
[X] Head up the stairs.
>> No. 14041
[x] "Would you hold me if I said I were?"
[x] Head up the stairs.

haha
>> No. 14055
[-] "Would you hold me if I said I were?"
[-] Head up the stairs.

yuuuus
>> No. 14056
[X] "Would you hold me if I said I were?"
[X] Head up the stairs.
Too good.
>> No. 14059
>>14035
>I like this Yuugi. I want to hug her. Also Yamame.
Coincidentally (or not), they're the only two characters we've really had any interaction with so far. When it comes to the underground, it seems Anon has a tendency to give his heart away rather quickly. See: Parsee.
>> No. 14064
>>14059

Yeah, but Parsee Anon went for exclusively to the point where it hampered our interactions with other characters and frustrated the writer.

Here we just have a young man meeting supernatural beings he's been told to fear all his life and finding out that they're surprisingly affable.
>> No. 14078
File 123354082085.jpg - (106.63KB , 500x690 , 18-orig.jpg ) [iqdb]
14078
>>14038
Just as planned; pic related.

New thread's at >>14077.