[Return]
Archived Thread

File 123354069269.png - (785.32KB , 617x795 , 19.png ) [iqdb]
14077 No. 14077
Hooray, thread two!

Reworded the write-in very slightly; fuck the subjunctive.

---

[X] "Would you hold me if I said I was?"
[X] Head up the stairs.

So now she's trying to embarrass you? Well, two can play at that game, Yuugi. Willing yourself to blush, you gasp softly and tilt your head down, breaking eye contact for an instant. You reestablish it immediately, however, looking up at Yuugi through your eyelashes, eyes as wide as you can manage. To complete the image, you lace your fingers together and hold them over your mouth demurely, which has the added benefit of concealing your own growing smile.

"W-would you hold me if I said I was?" you say softly, even managing to affect a slight stutter.

Your act works just as planned; Yuugi looks at you blankly for a moment, unmoving, before her mocking smile evaporates into an open-mouth stare. A blush rises to her face, and she looks away from your face, past your shoulder at nothing. That action, however, seems to remind her that her hands are still on your shoulders, and she pulls them back as though they'd been burned. "I... that's..." she says haltingly, waving her hands around in front of her as though she's unsure of where to put them.

As much as you'd like to see this continue, keeping your composure quickly becomes impossible, and when a stifled laugh slips through your hands, Yuugi's embarrassment gives way to confusion, and then to annoyance as she realizes you've set her up.

"Real funny, Taizou," she says, giving your shoulder a light shove before cracking a smile and laughing along with you. "I guess I had that comin'." The two of you take a moment to calm down before Yuugi points a finger towards the staircase. "So are we headin' up or what?"

Your answer is interrupted by a meow from near the wall, and looking over, you see the single cat that stayed by the dish of milk sauntering slowly over towards the two of you.

"Oh, there's still one left. S'it too old to bother runnin' away?" As she speaks, the cat walks right past her on a straight path towards you. "Guess it must like you."

You have no particular feelings on cats; it's pretty rare to see a domesticated animal that couldn't work on a farm in the village, and the few that did keep less practical pets were usually the rich type that kept their distance from the rest of the village.

This one really does seem to like you, though; once it reaches you, it makes a muffled purring sound as it rubs the side of its face against your leg. After a few seconds of that, it looks up at you and mewls loudly again, as though asking for something; you find yourself unable to resist bending down and petting it a few times.

"You might wanna be careful there," Yuugi says matter-of-factly. "If that's Komeiji's pet, it's probably a bit on the weird side."

You see her point; the cat seems harmless enough, but now that you're close to it, you can see its tail is forked at the base, a sure sign that it's a youkai of some sort. Still, you'd feel bad if you ignored it just because of that; you give it one last scratch behind the ears before standing back up.

"Yeah, let's look upstairs," you say to Yuugi, turning around and starting towards the stairs. Before you get far, though, the cat races from its position at your feet to sit on the first step, as though to block your way. Did you really make that much of an impression on it? You move to maneuver around it, but before you can reach the stairs, it turns its body and jumps towards you, claws first...

...and becomes a girl in mid-jump, flying towards you with all the momentum of the cat.

...Seriously? This again? Between your encounter on the way to the palace and the incident from just a moment ago, you find you just don't have it in you to be surprised at the sudden change as the figure lands in front of you and, pulling itself up on its tiptoes, stretches its face up to yours.

Your poor reaction doesn't seem to sit well with it, however. "No fair! You didn't even flinch!" it whines in a high-pitched voice. The face, inches from your own, fills your vision, and you see a small fang protrude from behind its pout. "How about this, then?" The face smiles toothily, red eyes glowing. You tense up involuntarily at the sight of its full set of fangs, but before you can do anything, the distance between the two of you widens as Yuugi grabs the girl by the collar, pulling her away from you.

"So it was you," Yuugi sighs, holding the girl in the air at arm's length, leaving her feet about a foot off the ground. "So much for gettin' this done with in a hurry."

Now that she's not so close, you begin to notice some of the features of your would-be attacker. Most notable is the tail -- no, the pair of tails, same as the cat -- peeking out from under her plain green dress. A pair of cat ears, too, atop short, red hair that tapers off into twin pigtails tied off with black ribbons at either end. From her features, she seems like a young girl, around the same age as Yamame, but you know better than to judge by appearances by now.

"Hiya, Yuugi." The girl smiles and waves at Yuugi, apparently not bothered at being dangled by the scruff of her neck. "Back for more fun and games?"

"Go play with some yarn or something, cat," Yuugi says gruffly, suddenly releasing her grip on the girl's collar. The girl lands nimbly and, in a single motion, spins around and tilts her body backward as though stretching, with the end result being her looking up at Yuugi, undeterred by the cold treatment.

"Already did that today!" she says happily, miming striking a ball of yarn with her hand a few times in the air. "And my name's not cat, Yuuuugi." As she speaks the last syllable, the girl spins gracefully on one foot without straightening up, turning herself back around to face you, meeting your eyes in a strange upside-down stare. "It's Orin! And you're Taizou," she finishes, poking your chest with a slender finger. "But you're a human. What are you doing here?"

"Just ignore her," Yuugi interjects before you can reply, brushing past you and Orin and beginning to climb the stairs. She seems almost as irritated as she was after you met the oni on the way to the palace; is there some kind of bad blood between her and the cat?

Disoriented, you turn to follow Yuugi, but Orin's hand catches your wrist; when you turn back around, you find she's returned to being rightside-up, but is still staring at you. "Let Yuugi go be grumpy somewhere else," she purrs, "and talk to me for a little while, okay?"

[ ] Let Yuugi go on ahead; introduce yourself to Orin.
[ ] Follow Yuugi; bring Orin along with you.
[ ] Follow Yuugi; ask Orin not to follow the two of you.

>> No. 14079
[x] Follow Yuugi; bring Orin along with you.
>> No. 14080
[x] Follow Yuugi; bring Orin along with you.
>> No. 14081
[X] Follow Yuugi; bring Orin along with you.
More "I'm going upstairs, if you really want to follow, go 'head."
>> No. 14082
[x] A cat is fine too
>> No. 14083
[x] Follow Yuugi; bring Orin along with you.
[x] You can even carry her, but only if she goes back to being a cat.

Let's try to minimize the annoyance factor for our oni friend. I imagine you'll have plenty of time to talk to Orin later.
>> No. 14085
[x] Follow Yuugi; bring Orin along with you.
>> No. 14086
[x] Follow Yuugi; bring Orin along with you.
[x] You can even carry her, but only if she goes back to being a cat.

Let's try to minimize the annoyance factor for our oni friend. I imagine you'll have plenty of time to talk to Orin later.
>> No. 14087
[x] Follow Yuugi; bring Orin along with you.
>> No. 14088
{X} Follow Yuugi; bring Orin along with you.
{X} You can even carry her, but only if she goes back to being a cat.
>> No. 14090
[x] Follow Yuugi; bring Orin along with you.
[x] You can even carry her, but only if she goes back to being a cat.

We place the kitty on top of our head~
>> No. 14091
[x] Follow Yuugi; hold cat for focused movement.

Might as well keep the Stage 4 midboss where we can see her.
>> No. 14092
>>14091

And stage 5 midboss, and stage 5 boss, and stage 6 midboss....

IF I SEE THAT FUCKING CAT ONE MORE TIME
>> No. 14098
File 123359467334.jpg - (15.89KB , 114x227 , o.jpg ) [iqdb]
14098
>>14092
Gauging reaction. Ready. Start.
>> No. 14099
File 123359979345.png - (528.77KB , 900x750 , fiery rage.png ) [iqdb]
14099
>>14098

GOD DAMN IT

YOUR STAGE AND YOUR FIGHT ARE SO MUCH BULLSHIT IN SO MANY WAYS

GODDAMNED MINDFUCK DANMAKU

THE STAGE MUSIC MAKES ME WANT TO FALL ASLEEP

THE BOSS MUSIC IS THE SAME OLD SHIT ALL OVER AGAIN

MOTHERFUCKER
>> No. 14101
[X] Follow Yuugi; bring Orin along with you.
[X] You can even carry her, but only if she goes back to being a cat.
>> No. 14114
>>14099
>THE STAGE MUSIC MAKES ME WANT TO FALL ASLEEP

Hey, that's one of my favorite stage songs in the whole series, fuck you it's awesome.

[x] Follow Yuugi; bring Orin along with you.
[x] You can even carry her, but only if she goes back to being a cat.
>> No. 14130
Work interferes; update tomorrow.

>>14099
My thoughts exactly. Orin is the reason I haven't beaten SA on Normal yet. I like her boss theme, though.
>> No. 14153
File 123382182286.png - (48.70KB , 600x800 , 20.png ) [iqdb]
14153
Sorry for the delay and the quality. I intended for this to be a bit longer, but settled for actually updating on time (or some semblance thereof).

Pic is the only one on danbooru with Yuugi and Orin alone. I think I need an illustrator.

---

You don't want Yuugi to leave you behind, but that's no reason to give Orin the cold shoulder. "I'm going upstairs, but you can come with me if you'd like," you say, gently removing your hand from her grip.

She gives you another disappointed pout, but shrugs it off quickly. "If you say so," she says, bounding up the stairs ahead of you. "That way, I get to talk to Yuugi, too! Yuugi's lots of fun to talk to! Right, Yuuuugi?" Orin calls up the stairs, elongating Yuugi's name in a high-pitched whine. Yuugi doesn't reply, but a glimpse of her face in profile as she rounds the staircase reveals her opinion on how fun talking to Orin is.

Leaving the two of them together for too long is probably a bad idea, you decide as you hurry up the spiral staircase after them. Sure enough, even with you struggling to keep pace, Orin manages to bounce up and down the stairs around Yuugi in what you're beginning to suspect isn't childish exuberance, but a deliberate attempt to annoy. Yuugi stays silent, but you can tell it's getting to her; she clenches and unclenches her fists at her side, as though just barely managing to restrain herself.

This may call for emergency action. You don't think Yuugi would actually try to hit Orin, but you'd rather not put her to the test. Rushing up the stairs after the two of them, you can't help but wonder why Orin seems so eager to bother Yuugi; she seemed much calmer as a cat.

...Calmer as a cat. An idea forms in your mind. "If you'd like, I can carry you up the stairs, Orin," you call up the stairs.

"Oh?" Orin abruptly stops and turns toward you, crossing her arms and looking down at you. Taking advantage of the distraction, Yuugi gives you a small nod and keeps moving up.

"You'd like to carry me, would you?" Orin continues, putting her hands on her hips and smirking at you. "And here we've only just met!"

You immediately see the critical flaw in your plan; even if she can turn into a cat, it's still a little strange to ask to carry her like that out of the blue. "I... ah..." you backpedal, trying to rationalize your request, but you're stopped by Orin jumping from her position above you down to the step above you, putting the two of you at eye-level.

"It's okay; I don't mind being carried by you," she says, and, crouching slightly, throws herself into the air above you and...

...does not return to cat form. You realize her intentions just in time to throw out your arms under her, managing to stagger back a step and catch her in an awkward cradle. Letting out a breath, you take another step backwards to balance yourself; Orin's light even for a girl her size, but you're lucky the two of you didn't end up tumbling down the stairs.

Orin, however, doesn't seem to notice your relief. "I am now ready to be carried," she says haughtily before doubling over into a fit of giggles in your hands.

Critical flaw number two in your brilliant plan. "This... isn't really what I meant," you say, taking an step up uneasily; you're not sure you can take the entire staircase like this.

"I know, I know. I'll change back now," she says, wiggling in your grasp. Then, without warning, she leans forward, throwing her arms around your shoulders and nestling her chin in the crook of your neck. "As long as you pet me like you did before," she whispers into your ear in a soft, sultry voice, completely different from her normal high-pitched squeal.

Before you can reply, she's gone, and the weight of the arms around your neck is replaced by a slightly heavier weight over your left shoulder. Looking to your left, you find yourself staring into that same bright red pair of eyes attached to a significantly furrier face. Trying not to blush from her earlier words, you hold out your arms uncertainly, and Orin jumps down into them; after a moment of fumbling while you try to figure out the most modest position to carry a cat in, you get situated and head up the stairs after Yuugi.

As you hoped, having the annoyance taken away seems to have improved Yuugi's mood somewhat, and her pace has slowed enough that you catch up to her before the two of you reach the second floor. She looks back as you approach and, noticing Orin in your hands, makes a sour face. "You don't have to bother with her, y'know," she says bluntly. There's no polite reply you can give while Orin's listening, so you just shrug, and Yuugi does the same. "Eh, suit yourself."

The three of you continue up the stairs in silence, and before long, you find yourself on the landing of the second floor. Unlike the floor below, the doorway onto the second floor opens up into a narrow hallway that seems to span the entire length of the building. This floor is much brighter than its counterpart below, and you can see a bright light filter in from behind a corner about halfway down the hallway. Even with the extra light, though, there still isn't much to see; the decor is still as austere as it was on the first floor, and the high ceilings makes even the narrow hallway seem imposingly large.

One feature does set this floor apart from the lower one, though: dozens of doors, all identical to each other, spaced evenly as far as you can see down the hallway. Looking down at them makes you a little dizzy; this may be a palace, but you still can't imagine what anyone could possibly want with that many rooms in a house.

You snap out of your reverie as Yuugi walks past you and into the hallway. "What a pain," she says without looking back. "I'll take the left, you take the right."

Wait, what? Does she really plan to search all of these rooms? Admittedly, you don't have a better plan at the moment, but there has to be something easier than this.

[ ] It can't take that long working together; start checking the rooms.
[ ] Maybe you'll have better luck on the next floor; keep going up the stairs.
[ ] Do something else (write-in)
>> No. 14155
File 123382539224.png - (529.82KB , 1000x876 , 2872313.png ) [iqdb]
14155
[x] Use Orin to find the right room.
Seems really obvious. Assuming we're looking for Satori, there's no way Orin isn't going to have a link with her master/be able to sniff her out.
>> No. 14156
[x] Use Orin to find the right room.
It may backfire on us though.
>> No. 14157
[x] Use Orin to find the right room.

Follow your nose~
>> No. 14159
[x] Ask Orin if she knows where her master is.

"Use Orin"? What is this, Zork?
>> No. 14160
[x] Ask Orin if she knows where her master is.
>> No. 14161
>>14159
We use her because she's an item we hold.
>> No. 14162
[x] Ask Orin if she knows where her master is.
[x] Head towards the corner with the light coming from it.
>> No. 14163
[x] Use Orin to find the right room.
>> No. 14164
File 12338613105.jpg - (5.73KB , 200x150 , auryn.jpg ) [iqdb]
14164
>[ ] Use AURYN to find the right room.
>> No. 14167
[x] Ask Orin if she knows where her master is.
>> No. 14169
[x] It can't take that long working together; start checking the rooms.
[x] As you search, absentmindedly scritch that area right above the tailbone that drives cats crazy.
>> No. 14179
"[X] Ask Orin if she knows where her master is", updates tomorrow. Self-sage for missing deadlines twice in a row.

It was for a good reason this time, though: http://users.bshellz.net/~glasnost/index.php
>> No. 14182
>>14179
WHOA. Now there's something ya don't see every day. 1 question: what's up with the orange font for some stories?
>> No. 14183
>>14182

I'm going to take a wild guess and say that indicates inactivity, whether it be abandoned or completed.
>> No. 14192
>>14179

hooray!
>> No. 14234
File 123421523413.jpg - (290.65KB , 563x800 , 4934832.jpg ) [iqdb]
14234
Needs more updates.
>> No. 14250
>>14234
Tell me about it.

Basically, circumstances have conspired to prevent me from updating, not least of which is the a dead battery in the laptop with all my story files on it, including half of the latest update. I held off updating until now in hopes that I would be able to get them back without ordering a new battery, but since that doesn't seem like it's going to happen, I'll go back to rewriting the next update from scratch.

tl;dr updates tomorrow at the latest. Honest injun this time.
>> No. 14292
File 123441230792.jpg - (285.45KB , 850x865 , 21.jpg ) [iqdb]
14292
[X] Ask Orin if she knows where her master is.

Sighing, you follow Yuugi through the archway into the hallway, preparing yourself for what looks like it'll be a few hours of knocking on doors. Oh well; at least if you're lucky, there'll be someone in one of them who'll know who you're looking for and where to find her--

But if all you're looking for is someone who knows where Miss Komeiji is, there's an easier way, isn't there? "Wait a second, Yuugi," you call out to your oni companion, who stops and looks over her shoulder at you with a "Hm?" You look down at the cat in your hands, who looks up at you with a questioning meow. "Orin, we're looking for Miss Komeiji. Do you know where we can find her?"

You can barely get the question out of your mouth before the cat in your arms is replaced by Orin in human form; you stagger slightly, adjusting to the sudden increase in weight. "You're looking for Lady Satori?" Orin asks, hopeful excitement in her voice.

"Yeah, do you know where we can fi--augh!" Your question is cut short by Orin jumping from your arms, pushing off against you with enough force to send you tumbling to the ground.

"Why didn't you say so? I'll take you to her!" she says, and without bothering to wait for you to stand, runs off down the hall ahead of you.

Yuugi reaches down and gives you a hand, and you pull yourself up. As your eyes meet, she quirks an eyebrow at you. "We're followin' the cat?"

"She's Miss Komeiji's pet, right?" you say. "She should know where to find her."

Yuugi frowns, clearly unconvinced. "I don't know about any of that, but it ain't gonna end well if we're followin' that damn cat."

That damn cat? You can see how Orin would get on your nerves after a while, but Yuugi seems a little more hostile than warranted. "Is she really that bad?" you ask.

"She just--" She stops and bites her lip, as if unsure of how to continue. "It's a kinda long--"

"This way! Don't slow him down, Yuuuugi!" Orin turns back towards the two of you and yells from halfway down the hallway, hands on her hips.

Yuugi sighs, then chuckles slightly. "Or maybe it ain't that long a story after all," she says, turning and walking down the hallway after Orin. You move to follow along, and as you do, Orin takes off down the hallway, getting another few yards or so before turning around and yelling at the two of you to hurry up again. Neither you nor Yuugi makes any attempt to do so, and the pattern repeats every few seconds, Orin maintaining the distance at all times, until you feel like just yelling back at Orin to go on ahead.

As you pass the halfway point in the hallway, though, you walk past the corner you noticed earlier and squint involuntarily at the brightness of the light pouring in around it. Turning your head to look into it and shielding your eyes, you see the stained-glass window that makes the building unique, light streaming through it, even more incredible now that you're close enough to walk over and touch it. Looking around the area, you see a few chairs arrayed in a circle under the window, and a table with what looks like some books laid out atop it; a typical living room layout. You can't imagine anyone relaxing here, though; the strange hypnotic effect of the window's design aside, the whole area is so well-lit you can barely stand to look at it.

That's strange, though; from the outside, it seemed like the light was coming from inside the palace. Is it some sort of optical illusion, or an effect of the stained glass? No, that doesn't seem right; besides, even if it was, you know it wasn't nearly this bright outside. Just what is--

"You guys are so slow! Come on!" You're broken out of your reverie by Orin's whining soprano right next to you, accompanied by a hand on your wrist, pulling you along. When did she get there? Somewhat reluctantly, you turn your attention from the window and allow yourself to be led to the end of the hallway.

Or, more accurately, try to keep yourself from being dragged down the hallway; Orin's size belies her strength, and you find no amount of pulling will remove your wrist from her grip. Unfortunately, that means that you're stuck moving at her pace, which is rather predictably fast, and the three of you make good time with Orin running, you stumbling behind, and Yuugi following along, trying to get Orin to let go of you.

Once you get to the end of the hallway, Orin slows (but keeps her grip on your wrist) and the three of you go back down a different set of stairs to the first floor. From there, you can barely keep track of the path you take, turning left and right through one empty room after another under Orin's guidance. Before too long, however, you come to a set of unlatched double doors, and Orin lets go of your wrist. "Ready?" she asks you, with an expression more serious than you'd ever seen her make before.

You nod solemnly, and without further ado, she pushes them open with both hands. "We're here!" she cries, bounding into the room ahead of you, and you follow behind cautiously, feeling slightly nervous; you've never met a queen, self-proclaimed or otherwise, before, and you'd like to make a good first impression.

But a quick scan of the room shows nobody to make a first impression on; you don't see anyone other than the three of you. "I don't see Miss Komeiji here, Orin." Taking a further look around, you do, however, see a large icebox, cupboards full of plates, and what looks like a walk-in pantry tucked away in a corner. "This... is a kitchen."

"Yeah, I got hungry, so we took a detour," Orin says, flinging open the icebox lid, pulling out something that looks suspiciously like a tuna sandwich, and taking a bite.

You put a hand to your forehead and massage your temples. You're beginning to understand Yuugi's opinion of Orin a little better. "Told ya so," Yuugi says quietly, with a grin on her face a bit wider than you think is strictly necessary.

"Anyway, I can find Lady Satori no problem even from here," Orin says through a mouthful of sandwich. "Based on her scent, I'd say..." Orin looks up from her meal, sniffing the air a few times. "...she's probably on the third floor." Another sniff. "Or maybe the fourth floor. The tuna smell makes it kinda hard to tell." She takes another bite of her sandwich without swallowing what's already in her mouth. "Yeah, the fourth floor's more likely." Another bite, accompanied by ridiculous chewing noises. "But it could be the third floor."

"Completely useless." Yuugi very nearly takes the words out of your mouth. "Let's go, Taizou."

"Aww!" Orin whines, her attempt at a petulant pout ruined by her mouth full of sandwich. "I'll take you up there if you just wait a little bit!"

[ ] Wait for Orin to finish her meal, then let her take you to Satori. (Specify what to do while you wait.)
[ ] Leave Orin behind and go to the third floor.
[ ] Leave Orin behind and go to the fourth floor.
>> No. 14293
>>14292

[x] "You can eat while guiding us."
>> No. 14294
[x] Leave Orin behind and go to the third floor.

I think we've had enough of Orin for now, and the third floor's closer.
>> No. 14295
[x] Leave Orin behind and go to the third floor.

Yuugi seems like she's at her limit.
>> No. 14296
[x] "You can eat while guiding us."
>> No. 14297
[x] Leave Orin behind and go to the third floor.
>> No. 14298
{X} Leave Orin behind and go to the third floor.
>> No. 14301
[x] Get a couple of water bottles.
[x] Throw Orin over your shoulder and tell her to point the way while she eats.
>> No. 14302
[X] Wait for Orin to finish her meal, then let her take you to Satori.
[X] Consider thumbs.
>> No. 14303
[x] "You can eat while guiding us."

Oh Orin, you adorable pain in the ass.
>> No. 14305
[X] Leave Orin behind and go to the third floor.
>> No. 14307
[x] "You can eat while guiding us."
It's just a sandwich, not a 3-course meal or whatever.
>> No. 14308
[X] "You can eat while guiding us."
>> No. 14309
[x] Leave Orin behind and go to the third floor.
>> No. 14310
>>14307
Perhaps, but we don't need it, Satori can be found without using it.
>> No. 14416
Been nearly a week since the last update. As an anon who's watched the rise and fall of a majority of stories on this site, I'll put money now on this one not reaching its conclusion.
>> No. 14417
>>14416
Yeah, writefags are leaving left and right, chain, glasnost, sukima, vodka, anon of plague, norseman, scorn.... they're dying like flies.
>> No. 14418
>>14417
>Vodka

Huh?
>> No. 14419
>>14418
Non-IRC fags wouldn't know the lazy faggot is still around.
>> No. 14421
>>14417

BlackAmethyst, PaperBoy, Desdaxis as well. Patchwork, Mystia, and Inquistor's stories still shuffle along like zombies.

But I'd trade any of them in heartbeat for a blankfag.
>> No. 14422
>>14421
>blankfag
We're much better off without that fool.
>> No. 14423
>>14422
You know as well as I do that for all his failings as a human being, ranmilia was an excellent writer. In him we truly lost an important part of this site.
>> No. 14425
>>14422
He was right about YAF, at least. We should have just left that shit banned, not done that 'probation' bullshit HY wanted.
>> No. 14426
>>14424
>I'd be fine with having him around so long as he wasn't a mod. As a writer, he's good, but as a mod, he's absolute shit. Also annoying how his reason for leaving was "staying here will make me the victim of YAF and his troll brigrade".

Of which you are no doubt a part of.
>> No. 14427
>>14425

That never worked which is why HY tried the probation thing.
>> No. 14430
Christ, are we beating that dead horse again? Ranmilia left. YAF stayed. Life goes on. Get over it.
>> No. 14438
I have faith in Glasnost.
>> No. 14498
Come back, Glasnost! ;_;
>> No. 14499
Still alive.

I apologize for leaving for so long without any contact; I have several highly relevant real-life excuses, but I'm sure nobody's that interested, so I won't go into it. The update is mostly written and I will be finishing it tonight, come hell or high water, promise. Additionally, from now on, I'll try to stick to ~3 days/update, a happy balance between daily updates, which I am quite clearly incapable of doing, and the current pattern of weekly updates, which has gotten me in a strange funk that makes updating even harder than usual. Okay?

>>14422
I have no idea what the guy was like or what circumstances he left under, nor do I care; RaAN is hands-down the best thing I've ever read on this site and I wish it was still going.

>>11438
Thanks.
>> No. 14507
>>14499

hooray!
>> No. 14510
File 123520381015.png - (174.71KB , 1049x754 , Cirno - Hooray!.png ) [iqdb]
14510
Because it deserves the picture, too.

Welcome back, Glasnost. And come to IRC more often.
>> No. 14540
File 123526217285.jpg - (86.71KB , 770x1000 , 22.jpg ) [iqdb]
14540
...and by 'tonight', I mean 'tomorrow'. Ugh. Clearly, this bodes well for my new resolution to update on schedule.

---

[X] Leave Orin behind and go to the third floor.

Although you'd rather not get lost wandering through the palace, the last few minutes give you the feeling that waiting around for Orin isn't a constructive use of your time. "You can come up after you finish your meal," you say, moving towards the door and hoping she catches the hint.

Sure enough, her eyes widen after a second, and she gasps dramatically, giving you an eyeful of half-chewed sandwich in the process. "You're leaving me behind?" Before you can reply, she twists up her face and starts the loudest and most obvious display of fake crying you've ever seen. "Fine, go, then! See if I care!" she yells, wiping a nonexistant tear from her cheeks before, burying her face into her arms and wailing.

"Yeah, yeah," Yuugi says from behind you, rolling her eyes. "Let's go, Taizou."

"Yes, go, and leave me to my sorrow!" Orin shouts, lifting her head to pose dramatically, one hand outstretched in Shakespearean anguish. After a moment of confusion, you decide just to go with it, and head for the exit with Yuugi, closing the double doors behind you as Orin continues her one-woman show.

The two of you make your way back to the stairs in silence and walk up to the third floor. Unlike the second floor, this one splits into two paths from the staircase, with otherwise identical doors leading left and right.

"Wait a sec." Yuugi suddenly stops ahead of you, holding up a hand. "You hear that?"

You strain your ears, and before long, you can hear it too: music, something like the sound of a harp, coming from far away, the sound amplified by the echoes of the palace.

"I got a feeling that's who we're lookin' for." Yuugi cups a hand to her ear. "Which way's it coming from?" she asks. You shrug; the sound is faint enough that you can't tell the echoes apart from the original source.

Yuugi sighs, putting a hand to her forehead. "Who needs a house this big, anyway? Geez." She turns to look at the pair of doors in front of you. "It'll probably be faster if we split up. I'll take the right, okay?" You nod. "Good. We'll meet up here in twenty minutes, then. Bring her along if ya find her." With that, she turns and heads towards the door on the right. You make to do the same on the left, but a last-minute thought stops you.

"What does Miss Komeiji look like, anyway?" you ask.

"Hm?" Yuugi turns in the doorway. "You'll know her when you see her." She chuckles. "She's kinda hard to miss."

O... kay. You'd like to know exactly what that means, but before you can ask, Yuugi is already through the door and out of sight. You don't follow after her, deciding to take her on her word, and go through the left doorway.

You spend the next ten minutes getting yourself lost in the maze of rooms, using the sound of the music to decide which direction to go. The source of the music seems to have gotten closer, and you can hear it without straining your ears now, but you're not so sure you can find your way back to your starting point anymore.

But that only leaves you with the option of pressing on, and you continue towards the source of the sound for another few minutes. Even muffled as it is, the music is still quite good, the echoes of the palace giving it a haunting quality. You can tell now that the instrument making the music isn't a harp, but you still can't quite tell what it actually is.

You're spared having to guess, though, when the next door you open presents you with the source itself. The first thing you notice is the girl, sitting with her back to you, hands moving back and forth over...

...a piano. You remember the name vaguely from back in the village, after one of the villagers got the idea to try and build one after hearing about it from an outsider. At the time, you ignored it; it wasn't like any instrument you'd ever seen, and it seemed like too much work to build for what looked like a overcomplicated version of a harp.

If you had known it could make music like this, though, you would have chopped down the trees to build it yourself. Without a wall between you and the instrument, you are engulfed in its unique sound, echoing around the room. You watch as the player's movements, at first small and gentle, gain power, and the volume and tempo increase to match them. As the intensity reaches an apex, the pianist's right hand breaks away, traveling up and down the keyboard faster than you think a human hand could move. Around you, the strong chords of the song fade away, replaced by a high, flowing melody supported by a rich, steady bass.

You don't move from your position in the doorway, listening transfixed for what seems like hours, but you know couldn't have been more than a few minutes, before the song ends, the chords growing lower in pitch and softer until the pianist reaches as far left as she can to caress the final key. As the echoes fade into silence, the pianist's hands slide off the keyboard, and her slim shoulders slump forward, as though tired from the exertion of playing.

Her movement breaks you from your trance, and you take a step forward into the room. This must be Satori Komeiji; you should introduce yourself and take her back to find Yuugi. You open your mouth to call out, but pause; you are wandering around in her house uninvited, and you don't want to startle her.

[ ] Such a performance deserves a show of appreciation; applaud.
[ ] She doesn't realize you've been watching; knock on the door.
[ ] It's best not to surprise a youkai; say nothing and wait to be noticed.

---

For the interested, I'm imagining Satori as playing a more melodic piano arrangement of Heartfelt Fancy. Unfortunately, I can't find such a beast, so you'll have to use your imagination.
>> No. 14541
[x] Such a performance deserves a show of appreciation; applaud.
>> No. 14543
[X] Such a performance deserves a show of appreciation; applaud.

Clap clap clap clap clap
>> No. 14544
{X} Such a performance deserves a show of appreciation; applaud.
>> No. 14546
[x] Such a performance deserves a show of appreciation; applaud.
>> No. 14547
Slowclap.gif
>> No. 14548
[x] Such a performance deserves a show of appreciation; applaud.

derp forgot my vote
>> No. 14549
[x] She doesn't realize you've been watching; knock on the door.
>> No. 14551
[X] Such a performance deserves a show of appreciation; applaud.

Glorious!
>> No. 14554
[x] Such a performance deserves a show of appreciation; applaud.

in b4 blushing
>> No. 14556
[x] She doesn't realize you've been watching; kick on the door.
>> No. 14557
File 123528978357.gif - (540.38KB , 400x300 , slowclap_kane.gif ) [iqdb]
14557
[x] Such a performance deserves a show of appreciation; applaud.
>> No. 14564
File 123529770414.jpg - (479.30KB , 800x1113 , 78132948.jpg ) [iqdb]
14564
[x] Such a performance deserves a show of appreciation; applaud.

Because, uh, if we act like we weren't watching, she'll just read our heart and find out we actually were.
>> No. 14572
[X] Such a performance deserves a show of appreciation; applaud.
>> No. 14661
[X] Such a CYOA deserves a show of appreciation. Update.
>> No. 14712
>>14661
Truly, this man is a prophet.

I guess you can take 3 days as a minimum, at least until spring break comes and my schedule eases up a little. Updates tomorrow.
>> No. 14713
>>14712
Hooray!
>> No. 14770
>>14712
Why you do this thing?
>> No. 14774
File 123571300852.jpg - (60.44KB , 610x800 , 23.jpg ) [iqdb]
14774
>14770
Mea culpa. I told myself when I started that I wouldn't delay updates just to try in vain to improve the writing, but I never expected it to turn out quite this awful. Nonetheless, a promise is a promise (even if I already broke it), so here it is.

---

[X] Such a performance deserves a show of appreciation; applaud.

After hearing something like that, you can hardly help but applaud, and you do so, walking slowly towards the piano and its player. You find yourself clapping a little louder than you intended, but it feels like a natural reaction; if you had been sitting, you're sure you would have stood involuntarily as well.

Fortunately, the girl seems to take it in good humor, chuckling slightly. "Stop that, Orin," she says softly, turning around. "You know I don't--" She stops abruptly as your eyes meet and frowns as she realizes that you're not who she thought you were. "You are..." she begins warily.

Well, it's only fair for her to be suspicious of a stranger wandering around in her house; you'd better introduce yourself. "I'm--"

"Taizou Hori," she says, cutting you off. "I am Satori Komeiji, queen of the Palace of the Earth Spirits. It is a pleasure to meet you." All signs of suspicion gone, she rises from her seat and bows politely.

Years of social conditioning taking over, you return her bow absently, but your thoughts are somewhere else entirely. Didn't Yuugi say she hadn't made an appointment? If that's true, then how did Satori know your name? Did she--

"Oh! I apologize," Satori says, falling into another bow before she rises from the first one. "My intention was not to unsettle you. I assumed that you had already been informed as to my ability."

Ability? Oh, right, Yuugi said she can read minds. "Actually, I was--"

"Ah, you've met Miss Hoshiguma? Is she here with you?"

You swallow your words as Satori interrupts you for the second time and reply. "Yes, we're going--"

"We are to meet her near the western staircase, correct?"

This is getting ridiculous. You pause this time, mouth open, half-wondering if you can get as far as "Yes" before she interrupts you.

"Oh." This time, she starts speaking before you can, and her tone is softer than before. "I apologize." She bows towards you again, slower this time, and when she rises, her eyes don't meet your own. "Those with whom I speak with rarely have the means to do so in return."

It takes you a moment to figure out exactly what that means, another moment to realize that it was in repsonse to your own thought, and a third moment to realize that thinking that basically means you've just called her a loudmouth to her face. "Sorry," you say, mirroring her bow. "I didn't mean to... ah, think anything like that..." you apologize lamely.

"You have no need to apologize. Raise your head," she says, moving closer to you, and you comply, straightening up from your bow. In doing so, you get your first good look at her. At this distance, you can see that her eyes match her hair, a light shade of purple. She pushes a lock of hair over her ear with a dainty hand, then drops it to her side, where it is engulfed by her shirt, a billowy blue garment that seems far too big for someone of her size. For the first time, you notice a gold hairclip in the shape of a heart, with a small cord coming out of it and running down her body. Almost unconsciously, you follow its path down to her waist, where--

A disembodied eye. You recoil slightly at the sight of it, its blood-red eyelid wide open and unblinking, staring straight at you. You don't need to wonder whether it's real or not; even without seeing it move, you can tell instinctively that it's part of a living thing. You had thought you were prepared for some non-human attributes after walking through a city of people with horns, but this is creepy in an entirely different way.

"Mr. Hori." At the sound of her voice, you manage to tear your attention away from the eye and bring it back to Satori. She looks into your eyes for a moment before speaking. "I understand that my ability is often troubling for others, but please do not feel compelled to restrain your thoughts when I am present."

You... what are you supposed to say to that? You still can't shake the feeling that you should be apologizing, but you were just told not to.

"You need a moment to collect your thoughts," she says. "Shall we go meet Miss Hoshiguma?" You nod dumbly, and the two of you set off, Satori leading the way back to the stairs.

Well, this is awkward. Even if she tells you to 'collect your thoughts', you can't bring yourself to do that so easily when you're standing next to someone who could just as easily collect them for you, and the heavy silence makes you almost more uncomfortable than you were before.

[ ] Make conversation. (Write-in)
>> No. 14775
[x] Ask about her pets.
>> No. 14779
[x] Silence. Play a game of Mahjong in your head.

Oh God, this will be good.
>> No. 14780
[x]Silence.
[x]Rickroll in your head.
>> No. 14781
>>14779

Nice idea, but lets try something simpler first.

[x] Silence.
[x] Challenge Satori to a game of tic-tac-toe.

HEY WHO SET THIS THING ON HEAD GAMES
>> No. 14783
[x]Silence.
[x]Rickroll in your head.
This is so stupid that it should be vored for.
>> No. 14786
File 123576030910.png - (67.78KB , 862x960 , awesome_photon.png ) [iqdb]
14786
>[ ]Silence.
>[ ]Rickroll in your head.

AWESOME idea! And our character isn't even from Outside the border.
>> No. 14787
[X] Collect your thoughts, huh?
[X] You probably should, if you want to explain anything about how or why you're down here... then again, do you really know? You just got the urge to explore that cave, and went with it. It felt right at the time, which is a lot more than you can say for many of the things you've done. And you've done a lot.
[X] You're glad you went through with it, though. You've learned a lot about youkai since you came down here, and you've met some wonderful people. Yamame, Yuugi, even Orin, and now Satori...
[X] Come to think of it, aside from that Rasetsu prick, all the youkai you've met have been women, haven't they? Attractive women at that.
[X] Yamame is real cute, and when she smiles it really makes you feel happy.
[X] Yuugi is... gorgeous, really, and she's refreshingly straight forward. Great fun, too.
[X] Orin seems kind of scatter-brained and silly, but she's quite attractive, and when she acts seductive, it... yeah...
[X] Satori is really pretty, too, isn't she? Elegant, in a way, and...
[X] Wait? Can she hear all this?
[X] What about subconscious stuff, like how you might want to--
[X] ARGH! STOP THINKING! STOP THINKING!
>> No. 14789
[X]Silence.
[X]Try not to think about fucking Satori's eyes out.
[X]If you understand where I'm going with this.
>> No. 14792
[X] Rickroll in your head.
[x] Ask about her.
[x] Ask about her pets.

In that order, if we have enough time.
>> No. 14793
[x] Ask about her pets.
>> No. 14795
[x] Rickroll in your head.
[x] Ask about her pets.

>>14786
Yeah, who cares if our character wouldn't have heard of Rick Astley? Or even Alfred Bester...

Eight sir, seven sir, six sir, five sir, four sir, three sir, two sir, one. "Tenser" said the Tensor, "Tenser" said the Tensor. Tension, apprehension and dissension have begun. Eight sir, seven sir, six sir, five sir...
>> No. 14796
[X] Collect your thoughts, huh?
[X] You probably should, if you want to explain anything about how or why you're down here... then again, do you really know? You just got the urge to explore that cave, and went with it. It felt right at the time, which is a lot more than you can say for many of the things you've done. And you've done a lot.
[X] You're glad you went through with it, though. You've learned a lot about youkai since you came down here, and you've met some wonderful people. Yamame, Yuugi, even Orin, and now Satori...
[X] Come to think of it, aside from that Rasetsu prick, all the youkai you've met have been women, haven't they? Attractive women at that.
[X] Yamame is real cute, and when she smiles it really makes you feel happy.
[X] Yuugi is... gorgeous, really, and she's refreshingly straight forward. Great fun, too.
[X] Orin seems kind of scatter-brained and silly, but she's quite attractive, and when she acts seductive, it... yeah...
[X] Satori is really pretty, too, isn't she? Elegant, in a way, and...
[X] Wait? Can she hear all this?
[X] What about subconscious stuff, like how you might want to--
[X] ARGH! STOP THINKING! STOP THINKING!

amusedlemon.jpg
>> No. 14797
[X] Think out loud. It makes no difference one way or the other so actually vocalizing your thoughts might help strighten them out.
>> No. 14800
File 123578144293.jpg - (570.34KB , 1110x1600 , magical_aria_07.jpg ) [iqdb]
14800
I almost want to vote to do witty things with the mind-reading to amuse/charm her, but I can't really think of any (no, thinking about how hot everyone is doesn't count) and our protagonist is too nervous anyway. Some other time.

[x] Try thinking out loud. It makes no difference one way or the other so actually vocalizing your thoughts might help straighten them out. (If it ends up complicating things, just give up on it.)
[x] Ask about her pets. She mentioned speaking to those who can't speak back?

>>14797
This may or may not be a great idea. Pic related.
>> No. 14801
[x] Try thinking out loud. It makes no difference one way or the other so actually vocalizing your thoughts might help straighten them out. (If it ends up complicating things, just give up on it.)
[x] Ask about her pets. She mentioned speaking to those who can't speak back?
>> No. 14802
[x] Silence.
[x] Imagine consensual sex in the missionary position for the purpose of procreation, with Satori.
>> No. 14803
[x] Try thinking out loud. It makes no difference one way or the other so actually vocalizing your thoughts might help straighten them out. (If it ends up complicating things, just give up on it.)
[x] Ask about her pets. She mentioned speaking to those who can't speak back?
>> No. 14805
>>14802
That's disgusting.
>> No. 14806
[x] Try thinking out loud. It makes no difference one way or the other so actually vocalizing your thoughts might help straighten them out. (If it ends up complicating things, just give up on it.)
[x] Ask about her pets. She mentioned speaking to those who can't speak back?
>> No. 14863
[x] Collect your thoughts, huh?
[x] You probably should, if you want to explain anything about how or why you're down here... then again, do you really know? You just got the urge to explore that cave, and went with it. It felt right at the time, which is a lot more than you can say for many of the things you've done. And you've done a lot.
[x] You're glad you went through with it, though. You've learned a lot about youkai since you came down here, and you've met some wonderful people. Yamame, Yuugi, even Orin, and now Satori...
[x] Come to think of it, aside from that Rasetsu prick, all the youkai you've met have been women, haven't they? Attractive women at that.
[x] Yamame is real cute, and when she smiles it really makes you feel happy.
[x] Yuugi is... gorgeous, really, and she's refreshingly straight forward. Great fun, too.
[x] Orin seems kind of scatter-brained and silly, but she's quite attractive, and when she acts seductive, it... yeah...
[x] Satori is really pretty, too, isn't she? Elegant, in a way, and...
[x] Wait? Can she hear all this?
[x] What about subconscious stuff, like how you might want to--
[x] ARGH! STOP THINKING! STOP THINKING!
>> No. 14864
[†] Collect your thoughts, huh?
[†] You probably should, if you want to explain anything about how or why you're down here... then again, do you really know? You just got the urge to explore that cave, and went with it. It felt right at the time, which is a lot more than you can say for many of the things you've done. And you've done a lot.
[†] You're glad you went through with it, though. You've learned a lot about youkai since you came down here, and you've met some wonderful people. Yamame, Yuugi, even Orin, and now Satori...
[†] Come to think of it, aside from that Rasetsu prick, all the youkai you've met have been women, haven't they? Attractive women at that.
[†] Yamame is real cute, and when she smiles it really makes you feel happy.
[†] Yuugi is... gorgeous, really, and she's refreshingly straight forward. Great fun, too.
[†] Orin seems kind of scatter-brained and silly, but she's quite attractive, and when she acts seductive, it... yeah...
[†] Satori is really pretty, too, isn't she? Elegant, in a way, and...
[†] Wait? Can she hear all this?
[†] What about subconscious stuff, like how you might want to--
[†] ARGH! STOP THINKING! STOP THINKING!
>> No. 14865
[x] Try thinking out loud. It makes no difference one way or the other so actually vocalizing your thoughts might help straighten them out. (If it ends up complicating things, just give up on it.)
[x] Ask about her pets. She mentioned speaking to those who can't speak back?
>> No. 14867
Sure why not.

[X] Collect your thoughts, huh?
[X] You probably should, if you want to explain anything about how or why you're down here... then again, do you really know? You just got the urge to explore that cave, and went with it. It felt right at the time, which is a lot more than you can say for many of the things you've done. And you've done a lot.
[X] You're glad you went through with it, though. You've learned a lot about youkai since you came down here, and you've met some wonderful people. Yamame, Yuugi, even Orin, and now Satori...
[X] Come to think of it, aside from that Rasetsu prick, all the youkai you've met have been women, haven't they? Attractive women at that.
[X] Yamame is real cute, and when she smiles it really makes you feel happy.
[X] Yuugi is... gorgeous, really, and she's refreshingly straight forward. Great fun, too.
[X] Orin seems kind of scatter-brained and silly, but she's quite attractive, and when she acts seductive, it... yeah...
[X] Satori is really pretty, too, isn't she? Elegant, in a way, and...
[X] Wait? Can she hear all this?
[X] What about subconscious stuff, like how you might want to--
[X] ARGH! STOP THINKING! STOP THINKING!
>> No. 14868
[x] Try thinking out loud. It makes no difference one way or the other so actually vocalizing your thoughts might help straighten them out. (If it ends up complicating things, just give up on it.)
[x] Ask about her pets. She mentioned speaking to those who can't speak back?
>> No. 14907
File 123612374598.jpg - (167.25KB , 850x1038 , 24.jpg ) [iqdb]
14907
Two days late again. Sorry.

>>14786
While most modern culture references can be explained away as something he's learned from an outsider, I do reserve the right to veto anything too far out there. Note that I'm less likely to veto references to awesome things; I probably would have allowed even rickrolling after some consternation, had it won, but after >>14795, I nearly wrote in the bit from "The Demolished Man" even though nobody actually voted for it.

---

[X] Try thinking out loud. It makes no difference one way or the other so actually vocalizing your thoughts might help straighten them out. (If it ends up complicating things, just give up on it.)
[X] Ask about her pets. She mentioned speaking to those who can't speak back?

On the other hand, it's been one thing after another ever since you entered the city; maybe taking a little time to get things straight in your head isn't such a bad idea. Still, you can't help but feel a little uneasy thinking what could turn out to be private thoughts around someone who can read your mind. Forget thinking something rude; you have a hard enough time keeping yourself from saying something rude.

...But you manage at that, don't you? "Miss Komeiji? Do you mind if I think out loud for a bit?" you ask.

"Not at all," she replies. "And you may call me Satori, if you please. I dislike excessive formality."

Satori? Not exactly what you expected from a queen, but not at all disagreeable. "You can call me Taizou, then."

As she stops to open a door ahead of you, Satori looks back at you and smiles. "I'll do that, Taizou."

Your heart takes a funny beat as she says your name. All of the youkai you've met so far have had some distinguishing trait, a physical feature that sets them apart from humans, but Satori doesn't have anything... except a sort of ethereal, indescribable beauty impossible for any human to achieve, as though she was a porcelain doll, sculpted instead of born.

...and the third eye, you remind yourself, shuddering slightly as the body part in question moves itself to stare at you over its host's left shoulder. Just what is that thing, anyway? Does it have something to do with her ability to...

...read minds. You've been thinking all this around someone who knows what you're thinking.

...Shit. You shoot a look at Satori to see her reaction, but she's walking slightly ahead of you, leading the way through the palace, and your instinct tells you that you'd probably rather not see her reaction in the first place, anyway. For the second time in about as many minutes, you suppress the urge to apologize for something you didn't actually say. Taking a deep breath, you decide to enact your plan of talking out loud before you think yourself into another faux pas. But even saying that, you don't really know what to think about first. "Where to start?" you ask yourself aloud anyway, trying to get yourself started.

"You may find it useful to begin with the most pressing matter first," Satori says evenly from ahead of you; if she's angry about your thoughts, it doesn't show in her voice. "Ah, not to interrupt..." she continues, voice trailing off.

"Don't worry about it. I need all the help I can get," you say dryly. "But the most pressing matter... I guess that would be getting back home." Even as you say it, you feel like amending it. "Something about that feels... strange, though."

"Strange in what way?" Satori prompts.

"I... don't really know." You mean it; thinking about the village, it's not as though you aren't leaving anything behind. "My family and friends are all back there, so it's not like I don't want to go back or anything. Just... not so soon, I guess. It feels like..." You pause for a moment, then remember that she'll hear it even if you don't say it and continue. "...there's something for me to do here. Some purpose." Listening to yourself, you can't help but laugh a little. "But now I'm just getting wrapped up in silly daydreams."

"I don't think they're silly," Satori says, a little louder than before, turning to face you. "True, you may not be destined for anything, but that feeling came from your own mind. Even if has no basis in reality, it means something to you."

"So it's my subconscious's way of telling me to stay?" You nearly laugh again; it feels like you should be on a psychologist's couch for this conversation.

"Your subconscious?" She looks at you for a moment before breaking into laughter herself; a gentle, refined sound, more like you reminded her of a good joke than you're being laughed at. "That's one way of looking at it, I suppose. Perhaps my sister could shed some more light on the matter."

"Your sister?"

Satori's laughter fades away, and she smiles wanly. "My ability only works on thoughts actively being considered, but she can access one's subconscious, the things that cannot be actively considered, and see those thoughts." A pause, and a brief sigh, so quiet you could barely hear it. "Among other things."

With that, she takes off walking again, and you follow after her. "At any rate, we should save the question of your future plans to discuss with Miss Hoshiguma."

That's probably true, you think, and change the topic to a lighter subject. "You said something about pets earlier, right? I think I met--"

You stop your sentence midway as Satori abruptly sighs and brings a hand to her head. "Orin. Did she do anything... untoward?"

"N-not really," you say, caught off guard by the directness of the question. You consider bringing up your brief detour through the kitchen, but decide against it; you feel a little bad for her, with even her master assuming the worst about her actions. "Why would she?"

"Don't be mistaken. Orin is very dear to me," Satori says, answering your thoughts rather than your words. "She does, however, have a reputation for... antagonizing guests at the palace, and I fear it is quite well-deserved." Contrary to her words, she cracks a smile, almost small enough to be invisible. "I'm sure you've already heard some of the particulars from Miss Hoshiguma."

"Actually, I haven't." Now that you think about it, though, Yuugi seemed like she was holding something back when she told you about Orin earlier. "What's this all about, anyway?"

Her smile grows slightly bigger, and she brings a hand up to cover her mouth. "I wouldn't deign to-- Ah." She abruptly stops both speaking and walking, and you nearly run into her. "It seems you can ask her yourself in just a few moments, if you desire," she says, pointing towards a door on the far side fo teh room you've just entered.

Sure enough, Yuugi emerges from behind it within a few seconds. "Ah, ya found her!" she calls when she notices you, and crosses the room in a few quick strides.

As she gets there, Satori smiles and thrusts out a hand, a gesture that doesn't seems to suit her small frame. "Miss Hoshiguma."

Yuugi smiles back and grasps the hand in a firm handshake. "Lady Komeiji."

...'Lady'? You don't know what you were expecting, but that wasn't it. You watch, slightly stunned, as the two separate.

"Welcome again to the Palace of the Earth Spirits," Satori says. "Shall we find somewhere to sit and discuss matters?"

"Sure thing," Yuugi says, and another few minutes of following Satori through her maze of a house leads you to a small room with a small table and a few chairs, where the three of you take a seat.

"Now then, without further ado." Satori's demeanor seems different now, more imposing, somehow. "Please, go ahead."

You glance at Yuugi, and she looks back at you, raising an eyebrow. Does she want you to talk first?

[ ] Yuugi's the one who wanted to meet with Satori; let her talk.
[ ] It's your story; you may as well tell it yourself.
>> No. 14911
[X] It's your story; you may as well tell it yourself.
>> No. 14916
[X] It's your story; you may as well tell it yourself.

Give ourselves a chance to tell it all. It'll be good for us, and we'll be able to feed in a little commentary that Yuugi wouldn't know about in the first place. Like how dull our life on the surface was.
>> No. 14917
[x] Yuugi's the one who wanted to meet with Satori; let her talk.
>> No. 14918
[X] It's your story; you may as well tell it yourself.
>> No. 14919
The reason she's having you speak here when you've already shown you're fine with communicating mentally is probably so she can get a feel for how precisely your thoughts match your usual manner of speaking.

[x] It's your story; you may as well tell it yourself.
[x] Embellish floridly, starting with the event of your birth. The more outrageous, the better.

Satori will find this funny, and Yuugi will think you have massive cojones.
>> No. 14964
[x] Yuugi's the one who wanted to meet with Satori; let her talk.
>> No. 14965
[x] It's your story; you may as well tell it yourself.

This is the reason we came here, remember?
>"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."
>> No. 14973
[x] It's your story; you may as well tell it yourself.
>> No. 14974
[x] It's your story; you may as well tell it yourself.

Auron.jpg
>> No. 15025
[x] It's your story; you may as well tell it yourself.
>> No. 15026
[ ] It's your story; you may as well tell it yourself.
>> No. 15157
Update.
>> No. 15166
File 123654084574.jpg - (36.72KB , 500x360 , 1236537236710.jpg ) [iqdb]
15166
[x] It's your story; you may as well tell it yourself.
>> No. 15167
[x] It's your story; you may as well update it.
>> No. 15198
File 123657684612.jpg - (183.82KB , 600x800 , 25.jpg ) [iqdb]
15198
>>15167
excuses, schedule, sorry, etc.

---

[X] It's your story; you may as well tell it yourself.

Just as well; you haven't told anyone the complete story yet, and you don't really remember how much of it you've told Yuugi.

Settling into your chair, you start talking, beginning your story from when you found the cave to waking up this morning. You stop there, figuring that Yuugi might want some of today's events kept private. The two women listen politely, with Yuugi laughing raucously as you recount how you and Yamame got to Yuugi's house that first night.

Even as she does, though, you can't shake the feeling that your audience's attention is elsewhere; Yuugi shifts around in her seat several times over the course of the story, and both her and Satori's eyes wander the room. Not that surprising, you suppose; both of them already know the basics, and all you're adding is details that probably aren't that important. Hurrying through your fight with Yuugi, you wrap up your story.

"May I ask a question?" Satori asks as soon as you finish speaking.

"Go ahead," you say, nodding.

"Could you please describe the area around the cave you entered?"

The cave? That wasn't the part of the story you thought she'd be interested in, but you oblige her, recalling the scenery. "The cave was on the wall of a big, rocky hole in the ground. Like I said, the whole area just appeared on the side of the hill that day; I hadn't seen it before then. The ground was pretty smooth, and the walls were steep enough that it wouldn't have been easy for me to climb out. It looked almost like a quarry, but more... polished, somehow. Like..." You pause, struggling for the perfect phrase to describe the scene.

"Like somebody had cut off the other half of the hill." And Yuugi provides it. As she speaks, she looks up at Satori for a moment, and something passes between them; a look, or maybe even a thought.

"Y-yes, something like that..." you reply, confused. You know you didn't tell Yuugi anything like that; how did she know?

"And you are certain that the cavern had never been there until the day you saw it?" Satori asks.

"You heard him," Yuugi cuts in before you can respond. "S'not really somethin' you can miss, a big hole in your backyard. And it ain't like I could coach him or anything without you knowing." Yuugi lays her arms on the table and leans forward towards Satori. "So there's your third party right there."

Satori pauses for a moment, and when she speaks, she seems to intone her words, as though reciting them from a textbook. "I'll maintain my previous position. While the shifts may be caused by a youkai from underground, they are most certainly not the result of any wrongdoing on my part, nor negligence of any kind."

Yuugi leans back in her chair and waves a hand dismissively. "Hey, you already know how I feel about all this. All we're askin' for is some sort of independent verification."

"To which end you would require me to allow a group of ill-willed individuals to roam my house unsupervised, searching blindly for something that does not exist." Satori's voice is cold, and grows louder as she speaks until she is nearly shouting.

"Ill-willed? That's one hell of an accusation, even comin' from you," Yuugi says with a low chuckle. Satori stays silent, however, and the two of them look across the table at each other, Yuugi grinning lazily and Satori staring neutrally. You watch them in silence, wondering if you should say something, but just as you work up the nerve to do so, Satori's expression cracks and she smiles mirthlessly.

"And you always say precisely what's on your mind, don't you?" she asks, voice taking on a low tone you haven't heard from her before. "It really is quite a shame."

"Damn shame," Yuugi replies, her own smile growing wider. Nobody speaks for another moment, and they both stay still, eying each other.

...what? You figure out a second late that Satori's last sentence must have been replying to one of Yuugi's thoughts, but even knowing that doesn't help; you were having a hard enough time following the conversation when you could hear both sides of it. Verification? Coaching? You don't even know where you fit into the conversation anymore.

Before you can voice your confusion, though, Satori's expression softens and she turns to face you. "My apologies, Taizou. It wasn't my intention to exclude you from the conversation."

Yuugi raises an eyebrow at Satori. "So you're going to include him now?"

A pause.

"It seems I've forgotten my manners," Satori says, in a more cheerful voice than you'd expect such a phrase to be uttered. "Would either of you care for any tea?"

The question takes you by surprise, and you nod silently, as does Yuugi.

"I'll be just a moment then," she says, and disappears through a door behind her, different than the one you entered the room by. You and Yuugi sit in silence for a moment.

"That was your cue, Taizou."

"Huh?" You look over at her. "My cue to what?"

"Gimme a break." Yuugi sighs and hits her forehead lightly with the heel of her palm. "We're on opposite sides of this stupid little argument, and whatever weird code of conduct she follows makes it so she can't explain it for you with me around." She smirks and points towards the door Satori left through. "So you're supposed to say you'll help her carry the tea or somethin', and then you can talk to your heart's content without her actually havin' to tell me to go away." She lets out a short, bitter laugh and looks up at the ceiling. "'Cause, hell, who knows what would happen if people actually started saying what they meant. Here I thought humans were the only ones who made up social rules so stupid even they can't remember them."

You don't move. Her tone is harsh, almost angry at you, but still glib enough that you're almost unsure of whether she's serious or not.

"What're ya waitin' for? Go on. S'not like I'm angry 'bout it or anything," she says, waving you away with her hand. "Or I guess I could tell you about it. She's probably waitin' for you, though." She shrugs, putting her feet up on the table and slouching in her chair. "Eh. Do what ya want."

[ ] Go after Satori.
[ ] Stay with Yuugi.
>> No. 15199
[x] Stay with Yuugi.

Satori didn't make the slightest intonation to follow her when she's been very explicit about her wishes so far. Besides, I think Yuugi is the one who is going to reply to our questions with the most candor: Oni don't lie.
>> No. 15201
[ ] Stay with Yuugi.

I'd rather stay on her side.
>> No. 15202
[X] Stay with Yuugi.

Let convoluted social expectations be damned. If Satori wants to speak with us in private, she can damn well tell us herself. We would tell her if we wanted to, after all - and even if we wouldn't, she would know immediately.

I respect straightforwardness at these times.
>> No. 15203
[x] Go after Satori.
may as well.
>> No. 15210
[X] Stay with Yuugi.
>> No. 15218
[x] Stay with Yuugi.
[x] Put on the facade of a beaten puppy-dog, cowering in the corner from its masters.

Why pretty ladies so scary? ;_;
>> No. 15221
[x] Stay with Yuugi.
>> No. 15222
[x] Stay with Yuugi.

Ohhh, Yuugi. Telling us to say what we mean and having mixed messages in your own monologue.
>> No. 15227
File 123661484128.jpg - (139.38KB , 563x463 , 2304802.jpg ) [iqdb]
15227
>>15198
[X] "Do you want anything in your tea?"
[X] Go after Satori.

Wouldn't do to keep a lady waiting, but we can make up for leaving Yuugi by offering to try and slip some intoxicating liquids into her beverage.

Tide pissing gaems~
>> No. 15230
[X] Go after Satori.
>> No. 15233
[X] Go after Satori.
>> No. 15235
[X] Stay with Yuugi.
>> No. 15238
[X] Go after Satori.
>> No. 15239
[x] Stay with Yuugi.

I like Satori, but what the hell, man.
>> No. 15240
[X] Go after Satori.
>> No. 15242
[x] Stay with Yuugi.
[x] Put on the facade of a beaten puppy-dog, cowering in the corner from its masters.

>Why pretty ladies so scary? ;_;

Indeed.
>> No. 15284
[x] Nod, and then hug Yuugi.
[x] Go after Satori.
>> No. 15285
[x] Stay with Yuugi.
>> No. 15286
File 123666747547.jpg - (28.23KB , 275x275 , los.jpg ) [iqdb]
15286
[X]"...You lost me."
>> No. 15320
So essentially what Yuugi is telling you is to get back in the kitchen?

[x] Stay with Yuugi.
[x] Stare a her with a smile on your face.

You're so transparent, Yuugi. And it's a good thing, because duplicity, even self-directed, doesn't suit an oni.
>> No. 15321
[x] Stay with Yuugi.
>> No. 15455
updates?
>> No. 15476
File 123701291649.jpg - (872.08KB , 1109x998 , 1790216.jpg ) [iqdb]
15476
>>15455
In my fantasies Norseman, QWL, Harker, Patchwork, and Glasnost all meet together weekly to discuss how awesome their stories are, and how great it is watching anon wait for them to update. Every once in a while blankfag or GM drops by to remind them to keep up the good work. They all come up with awesome updates and sit on them until the planets on this side of the solar system are aligned just right.

In the meantime, they drink festive brews and sing the songs of many nations
>> No. 15504
>>15476
Shit, we've been rumbled.

Anyway, update is mostly written, but I'm visiting family and accidentally left the hard drive it's on elsewhere; I'll try to post it tomorrow and then use spring break to actually get some writing done (yeah, I know).

Sage for extreme slowness.
>> No. 15894
File 123743448784.jpg - (191.19KB , 850x1168 , 26.jpg ) [iqdb]
15894
[X] Stay with Yuugi.

"I think I'll stay here," you say, squaring your chair off with hers. "So why don't you tell me what's going on?"

"Heh. If you say so." Yuugi smiles lazily, taking her feet off the table. "S'actually pretty simple. Y'see, the cave you went into ain't the first one like it we've seen lately."

Not the first one? "So there have been other humans down here?" you ask.

Yuugi shakes her head in response. "Not like that. You said the cave and everything that came with it just showed up out of nowhere, right?" You nod. "Same thing's been happenin' all over the place, most importantly in the crop fields."

Crop fields? You start to ask a question, but Yuugi waves you off before you can begin. "Lemme start from the beginning."

"You remember I told you about how the Ancient City got started, right? Some folks wanted a city, so they set Komeiji up as the leader and agreed to play nice with each other. Trouble is, that includes not eating each other, and with no more humans coming down to Hell, the food supply would have dried up pretty quickly."

"What about other food? You don't have to eat meat to live, do you?" you ask.

"Hang on, I'm gettin' there," Yuugi says with an impatient air. "You got that right, but growin' crops is a bit harder down here. The palace produces light enough for seein', but you can't grow anything in it. And even if you could, most of the underground is build on rock, not soil.

"So the farmers set up an operation to farm above ground. Nothin' complicated, just a quiet place away from humans and youkai where we can head above ground a couple times a year to plant and harvest. S'not perfect, and we probably don't harvest as much as a human farmer with the same amount of land would, but we get by with plenty to spare." Yuugi leans forward, talking faster now, and waves a finger at you. "Except this season, we damn well near didn't get by at all. Come harvest time, nearly a quarter of our fields were gone. And just what do you figure had happened?"

"They were destroyed by whatever made the cave near the village," you say, finally beginning to connect the dots. "But what does Satori have to do with any of this?"

"I told you what Komeiji does nowadays, but I guess I left out a few things." Yuugi puts her elbows on the table and gestures with her hands. "Y'see, back when the Ancient City was still part of Hell, there was more to it than just torturin' sinners. Takin' care of the bodies, makin' sure all the reincarnated souls get sorted out right, all that kinda stuff. None of the oni wanted to do it, so the Yamas had to find someone else to put in charge, and she was it.

"Most of that stuff went away during the hell downsizing, but not all of it. All the upkeep on the underground itself is still her job. Stuff like regulatin' the temperature, diggin' out new land..." Yuugi pauses and grins, the same snarling grin she gave you when the two of you fought. "...And monitorin' any new passages from the surface into the underground."

As you realize what she's implying, you find yourself wanting to deny it. "How could she actually move that much earth? She doesn't seem that strong," you say, voice rising involuntarily.

She barks a laugh at you. "You oughtta know better than to judge youkai by their looks by now. 'Sides, we know she's done it before, back when this was still Hell and she had to open holes to the actual land of the dead all the time. For all we know, she got some power from the Yamas that lets her do it without leavin' her bedroom."

"So you think..." Your eyes dart towards the door as you speak; you haven't known Satori for more than a few minutes, but it still feels strange to talk behind her back like this. "...that she's destroying the crops intentionally? Why would she do that?"

"Nah, nothin' like that." Yuugi leans back and puts her feet up again. "I don't think she'd do it on purpose, if she's behind it at all."

Now you're completely confused. If she's behind it? "Then why--"

"Politics." Yuugi spits the word, like a curse. "Mostly just a pissin' contest for the Council now. The old bastards are bitter about not gettin' to rule over Hell with an iron fist, and they're takin' it out on her by pullin' these kind of stunts, sayin' they wanna inspect the palace to figure out what's going on. They ain't gonna do much more than turn all the furniture upside down and go home happy."

Council? Is that the meeting she went to this morning? She didn't seem too broken up about going against them on their advice about you. "If that's what you think, then why are you going along with it?" you ask.

She lets out a sigh and tilts her head back limply, looking up at the ceiling. "Said I would," she says simply and shortly. "It's..."

Before she has a chance to continue, Satori returns, carrying a tray with a teapot, two cups, and... what appears to be a beer mug half-filled with tea. "I trust everyone is up to speed now?" she says happily, setting the tray of drinks on the table before sitting down herself.

"Yeah, we're blazin' right along," Yuugi says, grabbing the large mug and filling it to the brim with what you assume is alcohol of some kind from a gourd at her side. "Now we were talkin' about havin' some folks come over here."

"Were we? I had hoped we could put an end to that topic," Satori says, the energy falling out of her voice.

"Had you now," Yuugi says, with a tone that doesn't indicate a question.

And then silence falls, same as before Satori left; the two women staring at each other, not quite friendly, but not quite antagonistic either. At least this time, you think you understand what's going on, but that doesn't tell you what you should do.

[ ] There must be some way they can compromise, right? Suggest a plan. (Write-in plan)
[ ] Just because you know what's going on doesn't make it your place to interfere. Keep your mouth shut.
[ ] You didn't come here to watch these two talk politics; change the topic back to plans for yourself.
>> No. 15900
[ ] You didn't come here to watch these two talk politics; change the topic back to plans for yourself.
>> No. 15902
[x] Instead of growing vegetable crops, they could grow cave fungus.
[x] Or even create a miniature sun of their own!
>> No. 15903
>>15894
I saw the picture and suddenly thought of the Axe Armor picture
>> No. 15904
dwarf fortress + touhou = ?
>> No. 15923
>[ ] Instead of growing vegetable crops, they could grow cave fungus.
>[ ] Or even create a miniature sun of their own!
>[ ] Naw, that'd never work. you'd need the power of a god to do something like that.

Sure is meta in here.

[X] There must be some way they can compromise, right? Suggest a plan. (Write-in plan)
[X] I can't really blame Satori for not wanting a herd of Oni to stomp around her house, especially if they were all as ill mannered as the one I met earlier. Still, Even if nothing is going on, it wouldn't hurt to appease the Oni. Last thing Miss Komeiji would want is an Oni uprising... Why not have a neutral third party take a look? someone uninvolved with either party? If nothing else, they could look for the cause of these quakes.
[x] Oh, that'll never work. Just because you know what's going on doesn't make it your place to interfere. Keep your mouth shut.
>> No. 15929
[X] There must be some way they can compromise, right? Suggest a plan. (Write-in plan)
[X] I can't really blame Satori for not wanting a herd of Oni to stomp around her house, especially if they were all as ill mannered as the one I met earlier. Still, Even if nothing is going on, it wouldn't hurt to appease the Oni. Last thing Miss Komeiji would want is an Oni uprising... Why not have a neutral third party take a look? someone uninvolved with either party? If nothing else, they could look for the cause of these quakes.
[x] Oh, that'll never work. Just because you know what's going on doesn't make it your place to interfere. Keep your mouth shut.
loli dunno
>> No. 15940
File 123747662344.jpg - (648.22KB , 890x1100 , 3488782.jpg ) [iqdb]
15940
>>15894
[X] There must be some way they can compromise, right? Suggest a plan.
[X] Propose an inspection team composed of someone selected by the council, someone selected by Satori, and someone mutually agreed upon. The team will investigate the mansion and report their findings to the council.

Council wants to display some authority, and in order to do so they've created a food shortage situation. While the superficial issue (the food) could be addressed, it wouldn't change the fact that the council still wants to stay relevant. Compromise provides three benefits. First, Satori is agreeing to sit down at the bargaining table with them which immediately lends them credence. Second of all it gives them, in a modified form, what they want: access to the mansion and some way of displaying control. Third, if they refuse, they're the ones that look unreasonable. Satori doesn't have to let them in, let alone even talk to them. If they deny this they just look petty. It's a blow to their reputation, but that could be mitigated by their spin/latent enmity towards Satori.

All kind of depends on what restrictions Satori would want to put on them (time limit, supervision, area restrictions, etc.) if she even agrees to the idea.

If it all falls through, the next best option is to announce that a large scale fungus harvesting operation has already been established by Satori elsewhere underground and to try and catch them in the act of wrecking something that isn't there.
>> No. 15950
[X] There must be some way they can compromise, right? Suggest a plan.
[X] Propose an inspection team composed of someone selected by the council, someone selected by Satori, and someone mutually agreed upon. The team will investigate the mansion and report their findings to the council.

Best plan so far. I like it.
>> No. 15959
[X] There must be some way they can compromise, right? Suggest a plan.
[X] Propose an inspection team composed of someone selected by the council, someone selected by Satori, and someone mutually agreed upon. The team will investigate the mansion and report their findings to the council.
>> No. 16036
File 123760160531.jpg - (416.00KB , 2129x1164 , utsuho.jpg ) [iqdb]
16036
>[x] Or even create a miniature sun of their own!

I see what you did there
>> No. 16185
holy shit it's a timely update

what is this i don't even

---

[X] There must be some way they can compromise, right? Suggest a plan.
[X] Propose an inspection team composed of someone selected by the council, someone selected by Satori, and someone mutually agreed upon. The team will investigate the mansion and report their findings to the council.

"I already know," Satori says, suddenly breaking the silence, "that you are certain I am hiding something, and that you have no intention of negotiating with me unless I allow the inspection you suggest." Her voice, far from the emotion she showed before, are plaintive and flat. "I think you should know in turn that I am certain you have ulterior motives for such an inspection, and I have no intention of negotiating with you while the terms include an invasion of my home."

"Kinda already figured that out," Yuugi replies matter-of-factly. "That's why we're sittin' here starin' at each other, right?" As if to accentuate her point, she rests her head on her hand lazily and takes a swig of her drink.

Thus begins the second round of the staring contest between the two. There's no indication that either of them even register your presence anymore, and you almost doubt they'd even hear you if you said anything.

"Still, callin' it an invasion is a little much, ain't it?" Yuugi says. "I mean, I ain't sayin' things might not get a little messy. Oni earn their reputation, sure enough. But it's not like the only reason we're--"

"Your reasons," Satori interrupts, "may not be so simple as mere pleasure from causing me trouble, but I have little doubt that several of your comrades have that alone in mind."

"So you're worried that the search party will mess up your home?" you ask before Yuugi has a chance to reply. You're a little surprised at yourself for speaking up, but not nearly as surprised as Satori and Yuugi; the building tension dissipates in an instant as the two of them stare at you as though you had just teleported into the room.

"I have several concerns, but yes, that is foremost among them," Satori says after collecting herself.

"So what if you sent someone along with them? Someone to go along and make sure that all they do is search." As you speak, the idea comes together in your head. "Really, it only has to be one person, somebody who knows their way around the palace. It could be you!"

"Me?" You have Satori's attention now, and while she doesn't seem actively disapproving, she certainly isn't smiling. "You do me an honor by assuming my requests would carry any weight whatsoever among an oni..." She casts a long glance at Yuugi. "...search party, but I'm afraid the situation would be no different then allowing them to enter unchecked."

"So it doesn't have to be a search party." You can't stop thinking; you know you're near the solution now. You whip around in your chair to Yuugi, whose cocks an eyebrow at you, mug stopped halfway to her mouth. "Yuugi, it doesn't have to be a whole bunch of people, right? All you need is one searcher?"

"I guess, but--"

"Right, yeah, you don't want your one guy to be told where he can and can't go by a whole bunch of escorts." You're there now; all you have to do is say it. A small part of your mind notes you must be talking as fast as you think now; Satori listens, wide-eyed, without interrupting. "So it has to be one person on either side, but that's not enough. You need a third person too, somebody you can both agree on, somebody who doesn't have any stake in the outcome, but still wants to make sure the search gets done."

You can tell by their faces they can't think of anyone, but you can. "Satori, you have ties to the Yamas, right? Can you call one of them down here?"

"They would certainly be impartial," Satori says. "I could contact them, but it would be quite difficult to--"

"That ain't really necessary, is it?" You and Satori both turn to look at Yuugi, who leaves her mug on the table as she looks at you, the corners of her mouth twitching up slightly. "Someone unaffected by the outcome, but who still cares enough to make sure nobody gets a raw deal?"

"I agree." This time it's Satori, fixing you with the same subtle grin as she speaks. "Wholeheartedly."

Okay, they're not arguing anymore, but this is a little creepy. What exactly are they agreeing about, and who are they--

Oh.

---

Twenty minutes later, you're still sitting outside after having been ousted from the room. "It would be improper to have one of the inspectors involved in the negotiations," Satori said with a smile as she walked you out and closed the door behind her.

Now that you've gotten some space, you can see why they chose you, though; that was probably the most excitement you've showed since you came down here. You have to admit, you do find the idea of what amounts to a guided tour around the palace quite fun, but these emotions are part of a familiar pattern for you; all of the jobs you took in the village started with the same irrational burst of excited activity, a sort of trance you would never really notice until after the fact.

Of course, all those jobs ended the same way too: boredom, drudgery, and then you'd find something new and the cycle would begin anew. At least, you think to yourself, that only applies to your attempts to play negotiator and not your new whereabouts in general. What you said to Satori earlier about having a purpose wasn't quite right, but the inaccuracy was more from the lack of a word for what you feel than anything else. At any rate, you know you like it here so far, and being part of this search gives you an excuse to stay for a little while longer.

Your thoughts are interrupted by the door opening, and Yuugi and Satori file out. Yuugi carries her mug with her, which has been refilled with something that looks like it has a much lower tea to alcohol ratio. You rise from your seat and meet them across the room.

"The negotiations are complete," Satori says. "You'll convene here with the other investigators in two hours, if that doesn't conflict with your schedule."

Your schedule? You can't help but laugh a little at that. "I'll have to check my calendar, but I think it'll be fine," you say, chuckling. "When will this all take place?"

"Coupla hours, after we go pick up the Council's man," Yuugi says.

"So it's not going to be you?" you ask, slightly surprised; it seemed like Yuugi, for whatever reason, was the one who really wanted the investigation to take place.

Yuugi snorts in laughter. "S'if they'd let me. 'Sides, it'd be improper for negotiators to be involved in the investigation, right?" She grins at Satori as she finished speaking, drawling her last word. Satori doesn't respond, but keeps smiling.

But if that's how Satori feels, then she must not be investigating either, right? "So who'll be investigating for you, Satori?" you ask.

"Ah, yes! Let me introduce you." With that, Satori takes a step back and motions to the door her and Yuugi came in through. "Taizou Hori; my younger sister, Koishi Komeiji."

You follow their gazes, looking to the door, and wait for a few moments. And then another few moments. And then a few more moments. Nobody enters, and the door stays unmoved. So do Yuugi and Satori, eyes locked to the door, Satori even keeping the same pose. After a few more seconds, you start to wonder if there's not some cue you're missing here. Do they want you to do something?

[ ] They're looking at the door; head over and open it.
[ ] You have no idea what's going on; speak up.
[ ] Obviously, the big reveal is coming soon; keep waiting.
>> No. 16186
[ ] They're looking at the door; head over and open it.

A more pro-active approach.
>> No. 16187
[ ] You have no idea what's going on; speak up.
[ ] "You... want me to open that?"
>> No. 16190
[x] Obviously, the big reveal is coming soon; keep waiting.

Hahaha.
>> No. 16191
[x] They're looking at the door; head over and open it.
>> No. 16194
[x] Obviously, the big reveal is coming soon; keep waiting.
>> No. 16201
[x] Obviously, the big reveal is coming soon; keep waiting.
>> No. 16202
File 123773937151.jpg - (116.12KB , 600x1153 , f30064ecc5ed7028f34f36a0f55e8551.jpg ) [iqdb]
16202
[!/] Obviously, the big reveal is coming soon; keep waiting.

OHHHHHH BOY OH BOY OH BOY
>> No. 16203
[x] Obviously, the big reveal is coming soon; keep waiting.

The suspense is killing me.
>> No. 16217
[x] They're looking at the door; head over and open it.
>> No. 16219
[x] They're looking at the door; head over and open it.

Koishi fell asleep standing or something?
>> No. 16233
[~] "...Tell me the door isn't your sister."
[z] "No offense. I mean, for all I know she could be some kind of nurikabe or something. After all, I've already met a tsuchigumo, an oni, and a satori, and a... what's Orin, again?"
[e] "What? She could just as easily be the door, is all I'm saying, and I wouldn't have any clue."

>>16219
Narkoishilepsy~
>> No. 16234
[x] You have no idea what's going on; speak up.
Koishi's using subconscious hax/stealth mode.
>> No. 16246
[x] "...Tell me the door isn't your sister."
[x] "No offense. I mean, for all I know she could be some kind of nurikabe or something. After all, I've already met a tsuchigumo, an oni, and a satori, and a... what's Orin, again?"
[x] "What? She could just as easily be the door, is all I'm saying, and I wouldn't have any clue."

hahaha
>> No. 16295
This is cute

[x] "...Tell me the door isn't your sister."
[x] "No offense. I mean, for all I know she could be some kind of nurikabe or something. After all, I've already met a tsuchigumo, an oni, and a satori, and a... what's Orin, again?"
[x] "What? She could just as easily be the door, is all I'm saying, and I wouldn't have any clue."
>> No. 16322
[X] "...Tell me the door isn't your sister."
[X] "No offense. I mean, for all I know she could be some kind of nurikabe or something. After all, I've already met a tsuchigumo, an oni, and a satori, and a... what's Orin, again?"
[X] "What? She could just as easily be the door, is all I'm saying, and I wouldn't have any clue."
>> No. 16421
I think my write-in has come too late to be taken into consideration.

I can but hope otherwise.
>> No. 16428
[x] "...Tell me the door isn't your sister."
[x] "No offense. I mean, for all I know she could be some kind of nurikabe or something. After all, I've already met a tsuchigumo, an oni, and a satori, and a... what's Orin, again?"
[x] "What? She could just as easily be the door, is all I'm saying, and I wouldn't have any clue."
>> No. 16577
I want a update so bad
>> No. 16730
>>16577
Putative update sometime this afternoon/evening. You know the drill.
>> No. 16899
File 123829396539.jpg - (491.60KB , 600x800 , 28.jpg ) [iqdb]
16899
Ugh.

---

[X] You have no idea what's going on; speak up.
[X] "...Tell me the door isn't your sister."

You wait for just a little while longer, but to no avail; the two of them just turn to look at you expectantly. What exactly is it they're expecting? If they want you to go open the door, this seems like a roundabout way of telling you. They wouldn't be looking at you like that if you were just supposed to wait, right? What, are you supposed to greet--

No way. The idea that pops into your head is completely ridiculous. The thought itself is too stupid to even consider. There's no way this could possibly be the case.

But still...

"...Tell me..." Are you really saying this? "...the door isn't your sister, is it...?"

...

Silence. You know the room didn't actually get colder after you said that, but it certainly seems like it. The look Satori gives you seems to indicate that she thinks you've got a screw loose, and Yuugi's face is caught in a strange transition, seemingly unsure of whether to laugh or scowl at you.

...Guess she's not the door.

"No offense," you say hurriedly. "I just mean, for all I know--"

"You..." Satori cuts you off, only to fall silent herself, word left hanging in the air, still staring at you as though she can't quite figure out what the hell is wrong with you.

This could be bad. Before you can say another word in your own defense, though, Satori speaks again. "You... didn't think that. How did--" Another pause, but this on is accompanied bya look of realization as Satori turns back in the direction of the door. "Koishi!" she says sternly, losing her temper and snapping at... what? The door? You have no idea anymore. If nothing else, at least the look on Yuugi's face indicates that she doesn't either.

Satori, however, has a firm grasp on the situation, or at least, seems to think she does, as she turns back to face you. "Yes, I told you to introduce yourself! How can you do that if--"

That can't be directed towards you, can it? You look over your shoulders, hoping to find that Satori is yelling at someone behind you, but the room has no more occupants than when you entered it. You turn back to Satori and try to apologize for... whatever she's yelling at you for.

"...aww."

The voice comes from behind you, and you jump forward and spin around, acting on instinct. There, standing just behind where you were, is the girl from before, smiling happily at you.

Wait, what 'before'? You know there was nobody behind you when you looked, but you feel a strange sense of... deja vu, or something. Even her sudden appearance, while definitely surprising, seems somehow expected; like you'd been searching for your glasses, only to have someone tell you that you were wearing them. Oh, of course she was there all along. Thinking back, you feel like you can almost remember seeing her, seeing something there when Satori first introduced her; a movement in the corner of your eye you didn't pay any attention to.

It's not as though she's hard to notice at all; her silvery, nearly white hair alone would be enough to make her stand out in any crowd you've ever been in. Setting that aside, she's still obviously a youkai; a thin tube, of a darker blue, but the same shape as Satori's, wraps around her body several times before ending in what you assume to be a closed eye.

"Koishi!" Satori continues yelling, stomping towards the person who you realize must be her sister. "Apologize, now!"

"Ehe~" Koishi seems completely unaffected by her sister's anger, giggling softly and tapping a fist against the side of her head. "Sorry, Taizou," she says to you.

Satori, apparently satisfied with that, turns to face you again and bows deeply. "Please excuse my younger sister," she says without rising. "She has a rather untoward habit of using her power to surprise people."

Power? That's right; Satori said it was... something to do with the subconscious, right? Is that why you didn't notice her at first? "It's all right," you say, bowing slightly yourself.

Satori rises from her own bow and immediately turns on her sister, putting a hand on her shoulder and pulling her away. She's talking too quietly for you to hear, but it looks like Satori is still scolding Koishi for surprising you. You glance over at Yuugi, who shrugs.

"We all ready to go here?" she asks. "Let's get this started before it gets too late."

"Ready!" Koishi yells, breaking away from Satori's grip and running over to where you and Yuugi are standing.

After a moment, Satori turns around, a long-suffering look on her face. "I suppose we are."

With Satori and Koishi leading the way, the four of you navigate your way to the main entrance of the palace within a few minutes. "I'll expect you back within two hours," Satori says from the doorway as Yuugi, Koishi, and you leave. "Stay out of trouble, Koishi."

"Okay!" Koishi yells back, waving goodbye with both hands over her head. A little overexaggerated, you think, considering the target of her wave is about 20 feet away.

With that, the three of you set out down the road, with Yuugi leading the way and Koishi humming tunelessly by your side.

[ ] Talk to your traveling companions. (Write-in)
>> No. 16900
File 123829433454.jpg - (150.21KB , 700x1232 , 0fc656b90e35b8621273ca4c709d036a.jpg ) [iqdb]
16900
[!/] "Have we meet before, Ms.Koishi?"
>> No. 16902
File 123829598538.jpg - (151.94KB , 800x800 , 6669e5bbd2fb8b8a3d8e29d6fe9712e4.jpg ) [iqdb]
16902
[X] "Have we meet before, Ms. Koishi?"

>"She has a rather untoward habit of using her power to surprise people."

Read a different way....
>> No. 16904
>>16902

Nah, Kogasa is no good at using her power. That's why she's so moe~.

[X] "Have we meet before, Ms. Koishi?"
>> No. 16935
[x] "So Yuugi, where are we going? Anything I should know about before we arrive?"
[x] "Have we met before, Ms. Koishi?"
>> No. 16950
[x] "So Yuugi, where are we going? Anything I should know about before we arrive?"
[x] "Have we met before, Ms. Koishi?"
[x] "Your sister told you to apologize for using your power, but what exactly did you do?"
>> No. 16961
>>16899
[X] "So Yuugi, where are we going? Anything I should know about before we arrive?"
[X] "Have we met before, Ms. Koishi?"
[X] "Your sister told you to apologize for using your power, but what exactly did you do?"

Surprisingly moe little sister is moe. However, I'm kinda wondering if this wasn't a tactical decision by Satori. With her control of subconscious, could she have instructions to keep the other inspectors (Taizo included) under control and limit their observations? Hopefully undue suspicion...
>> No. 16963
[x] "So Yuugi, where are we going? Anything I should know about before we arrive?"
[x] "Have we met before, Ms. Koishi?"
[x] "Your sister told you to apologize for using your power, but what exactly did you do?"
>> No. 16972
[x] "So Yuugi, where are we going? Anything I should know about before we arrive?"
[x] "Have we met before, Ms. Koishi?"
[x] "Your sister told you to apologize for using your power, but what exactly did you do?"
>> No. 17059
[d] "So Yuugi, where are we going? Anything I should know about before we arrive?"
[a] "Have we met before, Ms. Koishi?"
[z] "Your sister told you to apologize for using your power, but what exactly did you do?"
[e] "I know you're not a nurikabe, at least, but beyond that..."

My poor vote.
>> No. 17326
X] "So Yuugi, where are we going? Anything I should know about before we arrive?"
[X] "Have we met before, Ms. Koishi?"
[X] "Your sister told you to apologize for using your power, but what exactly did you do?"

Bumpin' this thread, please update
>> No. 17536
updates? ;_;
>> No. 17552
>>17536
Sometime today, probably in the neighborhood of 15:00 server time.
>> No. 17555
>>17552

hooray
>> No. 17587
File 123881768449.png - (256.99KB , 600x390 , 29.png ) [iqdb]
17587
I have no idea what possessed me to predict a time for updates when I can barely manage to predict a date most of the time. At least it's still the same day.

---

[X] "So Yuugi, where are we going? Anything I should know about before we arrive?"
[X] "Have we met before, Ms. Koishi?"
[X] "Your sister told you to apologize for using your power, but what exactly did you do?"

You know you're going to pick up the investigator from the Council, whatever that is, but that's about all you know. "Where exactly are we going, Yuugi?" you ask.

"Council house," Yuugi says shortly. "At this time of day, he'll be havin' a 'strategy conference' with his idiot yes-men." She sighs and lowers her voice to an annoyed mutter. "May as well run the damn Council himself. Heh, like he doesn't want to anyway. That asshole is--"

You speak up before Yuugi has a chance to work herself into a froth. "Who is it we're going to get?"

"Ah, right. It's the head of the Council. Kisaburou Oosenri, just in case, but you're better off callin' him by the title."

"So what exactly is the Council?"

"Remember I told you the oni govern themselves? The Council are the ones that actually do it. Course, the law's been set for ages, so we're only supposed to meet when there's a problem, but that idiot's got us goin' 'round the clock, 'strategizing'." She laughs to herself. "Guy's got a military fetish, that's the problem."

Setting that aside, something in what Yuugi just said caught your attention. "'We'? Yuugi, are you part of the Council?"

"Duh. You think I'd bother with the old bastards otherwise?"

"I guess not," you say, unable to completely hide your surprise. Besides the fact that you haven't heard a good word out of her mouth about the Council, Yuugi doesn't really strike you as the type to be interested in politics. On the other hand, she did seem excited to set up this inspection, even though she said herself she thought it was a political move; you guess there's more to her than meets the eye.

"Anyway, he's at the top of the order, so the agreement says I gotta report to him every time I stand for the oni, and he gets to decide who stands next time." She sighs. "There's some politics mixed in there, but long story short, there's no way he'll trust anyone else on the Council when it comes to Komeiji."

And this is the person you're supposed to be cooperating with? If he doesn't trust the people he works with, you can't imagine he'll care much for you.

"Don't worry about it." Yuugi says, catching a look at your expression. "Good news is he ain't the type to hate ya just 'cause you're a human."

"And the bad news?"

"He's gonna hate you whether he has a reason or not, same as he does with everyone else." She smiles wryly. "He'll probably say it's 'cause you met with Komeiji before coming to see him, but it'll just be an excuse."

Fantastic. "Is there anything I can do to get on his good side?"

"Find it," Yuugi says with a sharp laugh. "Seriously, though, there ain't really much for you to do other than let me do the talkin'. I know it sucks, but I can't imagine too many people're gonna like either one of ya, what with you bein' a human and her bein' a shorter, creepier version of Komeiji." As she speaks, she looks over your shoulder at Koishi. "Nothing personal, uh... Komeiji's sister."

"Okay!" Koishi doesn't blink at the strange form of address or the insult; you wonder if she was even listening.

A look around, though, confirms that, insulting or not, the oni in the city definitely find you strange. When you came through the city in the opposite direction, people shied away; now, with the three of you together, it looks like a ghost town. The only people you see on the street literally run for shelter when they see you coming, and you even spot a few pairs of eyes staring out at you from behind windows.

Or are they staring at you, after all? As you move forward, catching the brief stares and hastily pointed fingers of passerby before they hide, you realize that their attention isn't directed at you at all. Instead, it's directed at the small figure to your right, currently humming along, apparently oblivious to everything around her.

Koishi? You can understand why the city might be wary of you; even the human village stays on its toes whenever someone from outside falls in. Koishi is a resident of the city, though; even if she does live in the palace, she shouldn't be this much of a stranger to its citizens.

Now that you think about it, though, even Yuugi called her 'Komeiji's sister'. You decide to start asking questions there. "So have you two met before?" you ask Yuugi and Koishi.

Yuugi shakes her head. "I'd heard Komeiji had a little sister, but I met her for the first time 'bout five minutes before you did. She didn't do... whatever she did to you when she met me, though."

That reminds you; you're still not entirely clear what happened back there. "Miss Koishi, what exactly did you do that your sister asked you to apologize for?" you ask.

Koishi makes a face somewhere between a pout and a smirk, and stops walking to twist her foot in the dirt nervously. "Sister doesn't like it when I move people's thoughts around without them knowing about it," she says in a tone that indicates a desire to follow up with "...even though it's so fun!"

Even with that explanation, though, you still can't figure out exactly what she did to you. "How did... moving thoughts make you invisible?"

She takes a step closer to you, grinning guiltily. "It's easy when you don't pay attention."

And then the space in front of you where Koishi is standing is empty.

"See?"

Startled, you jump forward, spinning around to face the voice behind you, only to be met with Koishi's laughter. "Just like before," she says, sticking her tongue out at you.

Almost immediately, your confusion fades into the same strange feeling as before, as though you had never really had a reason to be confused in the first place. "How did you..." you trail off, keeping your eyes on her while beginning to walk down the road again.

"Easy!" she says, continuing to walk along with you. "You weren't paying attention to where I was standing, so that thought moved to your unconscious. Then I just had to move it all the way to the back of your head, so you couldn't get it back to your conscious for a while. That way, even after I started moving, you couldn't notice because you couldn't think about it."

That's easy? You think you have some understanding of her power now, but the idea of thoughts being physical objects that can be moved is still a little beyond your grasp. Above your confusion, though, the deja vu from before comes back stronger than ever; you could swear you've heard someone talk like that about the unconscious before, and it certainly wasn't anyone from the village.

"Miss Koishi, have we... met before somewhere?"

You notice an odd look from Yuugi, but Koishi just smiles and shakes her head. "Nope! Why?"

You shake your head. "I don't really know. For some reason, it feels like--"

Thunk. You're on the ground before you realize you've been hit. You gasp involuntarily as you land flat on your back, and your head snaps backwards against the cold ground. Stars fill your vision, and you grimace through the pain as you crawl backwards blindly, hopefully away from whatever hit you. You hear yelling, Yuugi's voice from above you and some others you don't recognize in the distance. Putting a hand against your head, you try to look around for your attacker, but you're too stunned to see anything too far in front of your own face. Shaking your head, you pull your hand away from your head to check for bleeding--

And the blood freezes in your veins as your hand fades into your dazed vision, stained bright red and dripping.

[ ] Call for help.
[ ] Attack anything that comes near you.
[ ] Get up and run as fast as you can.
[ ] Anemia option.
>> No. 17588
[!/] IRON HEART SURGE!

After which, pass out.
>> No. 17589
>>17587
[X] Call for Koishi
[X] "Do you think you could move the pain into my unconscious for a bit?"

Adrenaline will spare us a moment of clarity before we freak out? I dunno, all of the options seem pretty loaded with bad for my taste.

In before it doesn't work like that
>> No. 17591
[x] Call for help.

My guess is somebody threw a rock.
>> No. 17592
[x] BULL CHARGE
>> No. 17593
[x] Call for help.
>> No. 17595
[x] Call for help.
>> No. 17597
[X] Anemia option.
[X] Anemia option.
[X] Anemia option.
[X] Anemia option.
[X] Anemia option.
>> No. 17601
[~] Call for Koishi
[z] "Do you think you could move the pain into my unconscious for a bit?"
[e] "Dammit. This goes against my policy of never bleeding."
>> No. 17602
[X] Call for help.
>> No. 17604
[ ] Anemia option.
>> No. 17605
[X] Call for help.
>> No. 17607
[x] Try to get up and see what's happening.
[x] If you're too disoriented, call for help.
>> No. 17732
[x] Call for help.
>> No. 17822
[X] Update
>> No. 17973
Updates, as always, coming tomorrow. This one's shaping up to be a big'un.
>> No. 18021
saved by a wall.
>> No. 19082
Knew I forgot something. Next thread's at >>18088, for you rereaders.