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24238 No. 24238
I probably should have done this at the beginning of the second thread, but oh well, here's the link to the first:

>>22621

Also, picture courtesy of GD.
------

“…To be honest, you scare the hell out of me,” I answer, losing myself in those golden-brown eyes of hers as she stares down at me fixatedly.

Her devious smile widens when she hears that, slightly moving her head to the side as a lock of hair obscures one of her eyes. “I wouldn’t be a very good ghost if I didn’t,” she says with a slight air of triumph.

“…But I really like having you around, all the same,” I say, gently pulling her hands a little closer to me. It’s true that she does frighten me, and the stuff she pulled with the bathtub and computer… those were real nightmares. But even so, she’s a genuinely a great help around the house, and now that I’ve come to expect those surprises from her, there’s a small part of me that anticipates seeing what she’ll try next.

Fondly, I give her hands a gentle squeeze, and as I do so, I notice something about them. They’re neither warm, nor cold. Even though she’s wearing gloves, they’re thin, and should be able to transmit body heat, but it’s like she has none at all. I don’t know why I noticed that then, but at that moment, I thought to myself, Ah, so she really is a ghost. Not that I had too many doubts, but…

“Times like now, for example,” I say as I push myself up, crossing my legs together as I place myself into a sitting position. Kana moves to accommodate me, her hands still tightly woven with mine as she sits between my legs, kneeling. “…And I don’t mean just the housework, either,” I say with a bit of a jokingly suggestive grin.

She seems a little surprised at first, giving me a very short glimpse of a flustered face, but she recovers instantaneously, countering with a coy smile. “Oh master, when did you get so bold?” she says teasingly.

And then, unexpectedly, she pounces on top of me, pinning me to the bed again, this time, with her full weight. Bewildered, I stare up at her face as she lies on top of me, touching my cheek with her hand. Her hat lies off to the side, blown off by the sudden impact. “What else did you mean, master?” Kana asks with a knowing grin.

“Huh?” I say, dumbfounded.

“If not for housework, what else do you appreciate about me?” she asks again, in a firmer voice this time, her grin widening and widening with each passing second as I struggle to answer her, feeling all the blood rushing to my head.

“Well, uh, you know…” I awkwardly say, too flustered to think or speak straight. My heart feels like it’s going to burst with how fast and hard it’s pumping. My legs feel weak and cold.

“Hm…?” She stretches the syllable out as her face travels lower down my body. Her ear comes to a rest on the center of my chest, pressed against the surface of my body. “Your heart is beating so fast, master. Do I frighten you that much…” She pauses to crawl back higher, looking at me directly in the eyes, “…or is it because of something else?”

I don’t answer. For a moment, I feel like the only response should be to throw my arms around her, to press her body even tighter to mine, and then throw her to the bed and lift myself over her so that I’m on top of her and…

But I don’t do it. Whether it was fear or embarrassment or inexperience holding me back, I don’t dare.

Silently, Kana just stares at me, smiling as she holds herself over me. And then, slowly, she begins to close the gap between our face. She closes her eyes, and I do the same. I’m nervous. My head feels so very light and dizzy. I wait for her desired lips...

But it never comes. Instead, I get a very unwelcome, chilling sensation spreading through my head, and my entire body. In shock, I open my eyes, and see Kana’s body passing through mine the same way her arm did earlier. I squeeze my eyes back shut until the feeling leaves me, though I’m still shuddering by the time I feel warm again.

Slowly opening my eyes, I sit up and look around the room. I don’t see a trace of Kana anywhere, except for her discarded hat to the side on my bed. I reach out for it, but it’s lifted up into the air as Kana’s head pokes out from the surface of the bed itself, giggling, her hat coming to rest on the top of her hair again.

“Oh, that was great, master,” she says as she pulls the rest of her body out from the bed, floating in the air until she reaches the floor by its foot. “You should really have seen the look on your face.”

Ugh, I really should have expected that…

“Good night,” she says in a sweet, cheerful voice as she opens the door to my room, shutting it on the way out.



Not too long after, I’m on the computer. Business as usual. On a whim, I decide to see if I can do any research on youkai sightings in the area, but all I find are crackpot rumors and nothing really concrete. It’s amazing, though, the way Yuuka and Elly were talking about it, you’d expect there to be hundreds of those things lurking in the dark, and yet there haven’t been any reports by the authorities or civilian panic. Just isolated murder cases that were determined to have no leads. Is there something greater at work here? Maybe the police, or even the JSDF, are covering something up here?

Before I can start going off on that tangent that would probably lead me to form some kind of ridiculous theory about a government conspiracy, my train of thought is broken when I hear scratching at my door. It can’t be anything else other than Ellen’s cat, that disrespectful little fur ball. It’s probably seeking sanctuary from the unwanted attention both Kotohime and its owner are showering it with.

[ ] Let it in.
[ ] Keep it out.

>> No. 24241
[X] Let it in.
We've had our troubles, but I don't have the heart to leave the cat out there if Kotohime's bothering it.
>> No. 24242
[x] Let it in.
-[x] But if it starts being a pain, out it goes.

That was a very Kana moment. But I think she gets the message.
>> No. 24243
[x] Let it in.
>> No. 24244
OH GOD

THERE'S A MONSTER OUTSIDE. WE'RE GONNA DIE.
>> No. 24245
[x] Let it in.
-[x] But if it starts being a pain, out it goes.
>> No. 24246
[x] Let it in.
>> No. 24251
[X] Let it in.
>> No. 24252
[X] Let it in.
>> No. 24256
[X] Keep it out.

>>24244
>> No. 24258
[ø] Let it in.
-[ø] But if it starts being a pain, out it goes.

Oh god I love Kana even if she teases us like that. Also, kudos to GD.
>> No. 24268
>>24256

That would imply that monster would be able to get through the other residents, which I doubt would be an easy task.
>> No. 24270
[X] Let it in.

If the cat's here, maybe Ellen is here too.
>> No. 24271
File 126324735862.png - (90.42KB , 450x417 , 122063736530.png ) [iqdb]
24271
[X] Keep it out.
I dig cats
>> No. 24272
>>24268
If we're the one letting it in, then it can kill us before any of the others have a chance to do anything.
>> No. 24273
>>24272

No, it's scratching at our door, as in our bedroom door, not the front door. In order for something to scratch at our bedroom door, it would have to get by all of the girls.
>> No. 24274
OH GOD

THERE'S A STEALTH MONSTER OUTSIDE. WE'RE GONNA DIE.
>> No. 24275
>>24273

And there's Kana (who's more or less not-alive) so she can't really die.
>> No. 24276
[x] Let it in.

Kitty~
>> No. 24286
Sighing, I lift myself from my chair as I walk over to the door, pulling it ajar just a crack. As expected, the white-furred cat slyly slinks in with its usual lazy demeanor. Ignoring me completely, it climbs up on my bed and curls itself up on top of the sheets. Now that ticks me off.

Its dull eyes open up as I cast my shadow over it, looking down at it with my arms crossed. Its fur bristles and stands on their end, and it lets out a low, growling hiss as if to keep me at bay. Damn it, I’ve never liked this cat, but how can it act so ungrateful to me when I’m offering it protection from two probably very bothersome individuals?

“What a rude cat,” I remark as it looks up at me with its sleepy-looking eyes. Such a lazy cat, too. I never see it do anything active at all unless it’s running away from someone. It‘s a wonder that it isn’t as overweight as it should be.

I reach out with my hand cautiously, and Sokrates watches it carefully as it hovers over its head. With hesitation, I lower it down to the cat’s head. Surprisingly, it doesn’t pull away or take a swipe at me like it would before, and calmly tolerates me as I give it a single stroke on the top of its head.

“Heh, you’re just a normal cat after all, aren’t you?” I say with a laugh. I figured that since Ellen was apparently from the same place the others have come from as well, that there would be something weird about her and her pet. But I guess not. “What, not gonna start talking all of a sudden?” I ask it jokingly.

“No.”

Well that’s a relie-

I freeze up, my eyes fixed on the cat as it calmly cleans its paw, licking its fur. It seriously spoke just now. Either that or I was hearing a voice in my head or something. A deep, throaty sort of voice, like one you’d expect from an aged old man.

“You gotta be kidding me…” I say, feeling a headache approaching fast. Ugh, a talking cat? What is Ellen then, some sort of a witch? Actually, that might not be a bad guess. She did mention something about selling magic charms and potions, after all. Well, that’s just great.

But first I’d better confirm that the cat did, indeed, talk.

“H-hey,” I say, trying to get the cat’s attention by waving my hand in front of its face. “Say something again, would you?”

The cat’s eyes follow the movement of my hand with disinterest, seemingly out of boredom, but it doesn’t make a single sound or any reaction other than that. Maybe… it can’t speak after all? I must be stressed out. Hearing voices. After all, it was just a single word. I could have easily imagined it. Well, anyway, so what if the cat can talk? Far stranger things have happened already, and if it is able to talk, it’s not exactly very verbose to begin with, anyway.

“Sokrates~!” I hear Ellen’s voice coming from outside the room. She pokes her head in through the door way. “Is Sokrates in here?”

Without a single moment of hesitation, I point at the cat curled up on my bed. It raises its head and gives me a scathing look of deep betrayal. Ellen happily hurries into the room, and as her cat attempts to bolt away, she grabs it by the torso, forcibly turning it onto its back.

“Stop running away so much!” Ellen says in a mock scolding voice as she giggles, rubbing the cat’s tummy. Sokrates adopts a look of resignation and allows its body to go limp as she picks it up, cradling it in her arms like an infant. “Nighty night!” she says cheerfully to me before heading back out of the room.

Shrugging, I turn back to the computer. On a whim, I decide to check my e-mail; I haven’t done that in nearly a week and a half now. Skimming over my inbox, I see a whole bunch of spam’s been piled up. My contacts at the website I work with haven’t sent me anything yet, so I’m probably still in the green. What interests me most, though, are the two most recent mails, sent within a day of each other. I click on the top-most one to check it out.

Subject: (no subject)
From: S

Good evening.

At around 15:00 on the sixth day of November, there will be a [murder]. The victim will be discovered with multiple [laceration wounds] to the torso and neck. The authorities will rule the case as [homicide].

Victim(s):

[You].

Have a nice day.

P.S.: Congratulations on surviving the first ordeal.”

What kind of a bad joke is this? November 6th? But that’s tomorrow. What? Meh, it’s probably some kind of a chain letter thing. I click on the e-mail that came a day before that, the one that has the same subject and sender.

Subject: (no subject)
From: S

Good morning!

At around 20:00 on the fourth day of November, there will be a [murder]. The victim will be discovered to have been [dismembered and partially eaten]. No further investigation will be initiated by the police.

Victim(s):

[You].

Have a nice day.”

[ ] Fucking spam.
[ ] Oh shit.
>> No. 24287
[x] Oh shit.

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
>> No. 24289
[x] Oh shit.
[x] Calm down, take note, and be aware of that might happen on those days.

Shades of Devil Survivor much?
>> No. 24290
[x] Oh shit.
[x] Panic. Let everything you’ve kept bottled up out.

He is human, he has to let it all out before he can face reality and make a plan on what to do next.
>> No. 24292
>From: S
Suggestions for Touhous, anyone?

[X] Oh shit.
[X] Go tell Yuuka and El-- shit, they're gone, aren't they?
[X] Go tell someone. Quick. Now now now. Get them out of bed if you have to.
What >>24290 said. Keeping it to ourselves is a good way to have a nervous breakdown.
>> No. 24294
>>24292
Sunny Milk, obviously.

{X} Oh shit.
{X} Go tell Yuuka and El-- shit, they're gone, aren't they?
{X} Go tell someone. Quick.
>> No. 24295
>>24289

>November 6th? But that's tomorrow.

That would make the current date November 5th. This means that the second prediction was supposed to have already happened yesterday. Yesterday was when the lead had his first run in with a youkai.

That means tomorrow, he'll most likely be attacked by another youkai.
>> No. 24296
S = Shikieiki Yamaxanadu?
S = Shinki?

[X] Oh shit.
[X] Go tell Yuuka and El-- shit, they're gone, aren't they?
[X] Go tell someone. Quick. Now now now. Get them out of bed if you have to.
>> No. 24298
Sariel? Sara?

...Shingyoku?
>> No. 24300
S = Sokrates

[X] Oh shit.
[X] Go tell Yuuka and El-- shit, they're gone, aren't they?
[X] Go tell someone. Quick. Now now now. Get them out of bed if you have to.
>> No. 24304
[ø] Oh shit.
[ø] Go tell Yuuka and El-- shit, they're gone, aren't they?
[ø] Go tell someone. Quick. Now now now. Get them out of bed if you have to.

S- Shiki? Saigyouji?
>> No. 24305
[X] Oh shit.
>> No. 24306
>>24296
According to the trend, it's a PC-98, so not Sikieiki.

>>24295
Additionally,
>P.S.: Congratulations on surviving the first ordeal.
So whatever threat the first one was (were we almost eaten? Or was it just a 'take the wrong turn and die' thing?), we survived.

[x] Oh shit.
>> No. 24307
>>24306

See:
>>24295
>> No. 24308
>>24307
How the hell did I forget that happened?
>> No. 24310
>That means tomorrow, he'll most likely be attacked by another youkai.
Tomorrow another PC-98 lost youkai will be added to the ever growing household. It was already hinted that 50 is the maximum, still have a way to go.
>> No. 24312
>>24310
What the fuck are you on about?
>> No. 24313
Lion has obviously been playing some SMT: Devil Survivor lately.
>> No. 24314
>>24310

Nope there's a bunch of wild feral youkai running around that Yuuka and Elly are hunting.
>> No. 24318
[x] Oh shit.
>> No. 24327
[x] Oh shit.
>> No. 24331
[x] wat
[x] Scratch your ass
[x] "Hmmmmm..." yawn
[x] Delete. Way too jaded for this shit at such a late hour.
[x] Open your door and shout into the house in disinterest "Apparently I'm going to be dismembered and partially eaten sometime tonight, by what I don't know. Info source via unknown sender. If you hear any screaming, don't bother knocking. Goodnight."
[x] Turn off the lights and go to sleep.
>> No. 24332
[X] Hit 'Reply'.
[X] "cool story, bro"
[X] Hit 'Send'. Go to sleep.
>> No. 24333
[B] Hit 'Reply'.
[B] "cool story, bro"
[B] Hit 'Send'. Go to sleep.
>> No. 24334
[ø] Oh shit.
[ø] Go tell Yuuka and El-- shit, they're gone, aren't they?
[ø] Go tell someone. Quick. Now now now. Get them out of bed if you have to.
>> No. 24343
…Oh fuck. Oh shit. The gears turning in my head come to a sudden stop as it all falls into place. November 4th… that was the day I was attacked. If Elly hadn’t shown up to kill that monster, it would have ripped me apart before I could even scream. Dismembered and partially eaten? Was that… what was going to happen to me!?

With trembling hands, I scroll up the message checking the time it was sent. November 4th, at 15:32. It wasn’t sent after the attack, dashing my hopes that maybe it was sent to me by someone who had witnessed to event. In fact, it predicted it hours before it even happened. That’s insane…

Then… then that means, the second prediction. Is it going to happen? Am I going to be attacked again? Am I… am I going to be killed? Cut apart, throat slit, and left in the streets or in my room to be just another corpse? Why am I going to be attacked!? This doesn’t make any sense. This doesn’t make any sense at all! I’m just a normal guy; no, not even that, I’m much less important than a normal guy, so why is all of this happening to me? Why not someone else…!?

Damn it, this all because of those girls! If I hadn’t gotten involved with any of them… if I hadn’t gotten involved with any of them…

I probably would have been killed by that monster last night.

…That’s right. I can’t blame them for this, especially when I don’t even know who this “S” guy is. Regardless of why it happened, the fact remains that I owe my life to them. If they weren’t around, I might really have been killed by that monster, sooner or later.

My heart races, however, and I can feel the blood draining from my face. “S” called the attack the “first ordeal.” Does that mean that there’s going to be more? Even if I do survive tomorrow, will the e-mails predicting my death still keep coming? Am I… Am I really going to have to live each day fretting for my life? No… I don’t want that.

Well, I can worry about that later, but right now, I have to make sure I live through tomorrow. These predictions can be thwarted; there’s no doubt about that. If what the message said was true, then I really should have died yesterday, but I was able to survive thanks to Elly’s interference. Then, that means if whatever’s going to kill me tomorrow is killed or avoided, then I won’t have to die…!

Yeah, I have to tell them no-wait, shit, they’re not here right now, are they? Well, I have to tell someone, or otherwise I won’t sleep a wink tonight!

With shaking, numb legs, I half-fall half-stumble out of my chair, nearly hitting the floor. Using the computer desk as a support, I pull myself up and unsteadily walk toward the door, pulling it open and stepping out of the room. It’s a pretty late now, so most of the lights are off.

As I pass by the heavy front door, I hear it creak open. Fearfully, I turn my gaze to it, my heart pounding furiously. Who is it…? Yuuka and Elly?

“Oh? Did you come out to welcome us back?” Yuuka says as she steps inside, with Elly following behind her.

“H-hey,” I greet them, raising a nervous hand. “Kill a lot of monsters today?” I ask as if it were a common topic of conversation.

“Couldn’t find a single one,” she says with a tired sigh. “What a waste of time.”

“Oh. Uh, too bad about that,” I say, forcing myself to let out a lame chuckle. “So, uh… actually, there’s something I want to talk to you about, but…”

“Can it wait until tomorrow?” Yuuka says, placing her parasol off to the side, leaning it against the wall. “I’m tired and I want to go to sleep.”

But sleeping is all you did today!

I gulp, forcing myself to keep calm. “Y-yeah, but this is important, see…” I say with a trembling voice, threatening to break at any moment. “Uh, I got this message that I’m going to die.”

“Hmm?” Yuuka raises an eyebrow in a manner that I am not quite sure if it’s curiosity or mock interest.

“Yeah… according to it, I’m going to be attacked and killed tomorrow.”

“So?” she shrugs, turning away. “Why are you worrying about it now, then? You still have plenty of time, don’t you?”

Wha…

“Just go to sleep.”

“But-!”

“You heard her. Go to sleep.”

I’m left speechless as they walk away from me. Why aren’t they taking this seriously? Is it because they couldn’t care less what happens to me? That’s cold… Ugh, but I can’t just insist on trying to talk to them, or otherwise my death will come a lot sooner than tomorrow afternoon.

Sighing heavily and touching a hand to my forehead, I retreat to my room. Shutting off the computer, I plunge onto my bed, covering myself in my blanket. Ah, whatever. I’ll just stay home all day like I used to, and beg on my knees for protection from Yuuka and Elly. As long as I’m around those two, I shouldn’t be in danger, right?

…That sounds kind of ironic now that I think about it.



Even so, I’m having trouble sleeping, my eyes wide open and staring at the dark ceiling above me. It’s funny; the more you try not to think about something, the more you actually do think about it. Therefore, it’s not unusual that I’m still awake imagining the horrific possibilities that might befall me tomorrow. What if the monster that attacks me is too much for those two girls to handle? What if it climbs into my room and slits my throat before I can even scream for help? Things like that are weighing heavily on my mind…

I freeze up when I hear the door to my room creak open. I left it a bit ajar when I came in earlier, having been used to living alone and thus not exactly making keeping my own privacy a habit. I can hear someone’s light footsteps shuffling toward my bed. Who is it? Is it Kana, or…

“Mmnyah…” a sleepy voice moans, and I feel my bed give a slight lurch as someone topples over onto it. Its surface shakes a bit more as that someone sluggishly crawls closer to me and snatches away my sheet.

“...so she’s a sleepwalker too,” I hear myself mutter as I sit up, looking down at Kotohime now curled up next to me in my bed. A troublemaker even when she’s asleep. Feeling slightly irritated, I pinch her cheek between my index and thumb, tugging at it. She doesn’t seem to notice at all, peacefully sleeping through the abuse, and even snoring slightly.

[ ] Wake her up.
[ ] Bah, whatever. Go to sleep.
>> No. 24344
[x] Wake her up.

As much as we'd rather get to sleep, it's better to avoid a misunderstanding if someone comes in and finds her in bed with us. (and with our lead's luck, the chance of that is 98% at the lowest.)
>> No. 24346
[x] RAPE.

She wouldn't notice a thing~
>> No. 24347
>>24344
You kidding me? The lead's luck is just that - if we manage to wake her up, the first thing she'll think is that we brought her into our room to do questionable things.

Not that she'd freak out about it like some girls would, she'd probably just make suspicious assumptions and leave drowsy.
>> No. 24348
[X] Wake her up.

>>24347
That's exactly what I'm expecting.

"Did you come to do dirty things to me in the night?"
"This is my room, Kotohime. You sleepwalked here."
"Oh. ...Did I come to do dirty things to you in the night?"
"Go away, Kotohime."
"I'm not hearing a 'No'~"
>> No. 24351
>>24348


pffffft....
>> No. 24352
[x] Wake her up.
>> No. 24353
[x] Bah, whatever. Go to sleep.
>> No. 24354
[ ] Bah, whatever. Go to sleep.
>> No. 24355
[x] Bah, whatever. Go to sleep.
>> No. 24356
[x] Wake her up.
>> No. 24359
{Wake her up.}
>> No. 24360
>Why are you worrying about it now, then? You still have plenty of time, don’t you?
Flawless logic.

[x] Bah, whatever. Go to sleep.
>> No. 24362
[x] Bah, whatever. Go to sleep.
>> No. 24368
>>24347

It's not Kotohime's reaction I'm worried about; it's everyone else's should they walk in and find the two in bed.
>> No. 24370
[x] Bah, whatever. Go to sleep.
>> No. 24371
[x] Bah, whatever. Go to sleep.
>> No. 24372
>>24368
Actually, they probably wouldn't care. Ellen wouldn't understand, Kana would mock sadness, Elly would sneer, and Yuuka would tell us not to wake her up with any vigorous humping noises.

We aren't really that close with the girls, yet. Right now it's pretty much "Your life, just don't bother us with it."
>> No. 24374
[x] Wake her up.
>> No. 24376
>>24372

Even then it'd be a terrible annoyance. And who to say Kana would be mocking sadness or not?

Since our lead let Yuuka stay there has rarely been a moment where things went as planned for him.
>> No. 24380
[ø] Bah, whatever. Go to sleep.
>> No. 24381
>Yuuka would tell us not to wake her up with any vigorous humping noises.
I bet sex with her would be a real joy. I can already see that bored look on your face.
>> No. 24387
[x] Drag her outside of your room and lock the door.
>> No. 24388
>>24381
There is some pronoun mismatching going on here and I am confused.
>> No. 24389
[X] Wake her up.
>> No. 24390
[X] Bah, whatever. Go to sleep.

Knowing cloud-head, she'll have sleep-walked out of our bed by morning. Just leave it be.
>> No. 24402
…Bah, whatever, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to just leave her there. Sighing, I shift around on my bed, turning to my side with my back facing her. Honestly, why am I even letting her stay here…? She’s just going to be troublesome anyway. Was it because I’m a kind person, like that woman from the church said? Pfft, yeah right. For years I haven’t really cared about anyone other than my family, so why am I so generous now?

Could it be that, despite all the complaining and worrying I do about my situation… I’m enjoying it? It sounds crazy, I know, but until just a few days ago, I was living a normal, dull life. And then Yuuka showed up in my home, and from then on my life was flipped completely on its head, and I was made aware of just how different everything was going to be yesterday when I was attacked, and tonight when I received those mysterious messages… But even so, even though my life’s in much more danger than it used to be…

…Am I having fun?

Like hell I am. I don’t want to die. I want to go back to those peaceful days of doing nothing, feeling unmotivated and bored with everything… At least then I wouldn’t have to worry about living to see another day… right?

Is that really how I feel?

Ah, whatever. Let’s just go to sleep.

I close my eyes, trying to push these thoughts away and focus on falling asleep. In the peaceful silence that follows, I hear only the slow and steady breathing of the girl peacefully resting next to me. You know, I thought I’d be a bit more excited about having a girl sleeping in the same bed as I am, but I’m just not feeling it.

…I wonder if she’d notice if I copped a feel or two.

Motivated by this dirty thought, I sit up in my bed, looking at her lying on my bed, defenseless and vulnerable. She’s sleeping in the kimono she was wearing earlier in the day, minus the robe she wore on top of it, fitting very loosely on her slim body. It’s partially open at the top, exposing a bit of her pale skin. Looming ominously over her, I reach out with my hands, intending to stealthily open up a bit more without waking her.

“…Mmm…” she moans in her sleep, squirming slightly and giving me a fright. Her legs squeeze themselves together as one of her hand reaches out, grabbing a fistful of the bed sheet. Her breathing quickens as she continues to flail about, until it reaches to a point where it looks like she’s hyperventilating.

What’s wrong with her? Is she having a nightmare?

I grab hold of her shoulders, trying to keep her still. “Kotohime, wake up,” I say to her in a sharp whisper, trying to shake her awake. “What’s wrong?”

She doesn’t wake, her eyes still shut. She struggles against my grip, trying to physically push me away with her hands. She lets out a frightened whimper, gasping. Just what kind of nightmare is she going through?

“Hey!” I say, a little louder than before. “Wake up!”

She goes limp, before slowly and dazedly opening her eyes. Blearily, she looks up at me, and begins to speak in a sleepy voice. “Ah… why are you in my room…?”

“This is my room. You walked in here.”

“Oh, is that so…?” she says, sluggishly rubbing at her eyes. “I’m sorry…”

“Were you having a bad dream?”

“…I might have been,” she says with a mysterious smile. “I remembered the time… my father said I couldn’t keep a pet…”

Well, I wouldn’t blame him.

“I cried and I cried and begged… but he wouldn’t let me.” She yawns as she finishes saying this, grabbing hold of the blanket and covering herself with it. “Good night…” she says with a sigh as she closes her eyes again, falling asleep within seconds.

Robbed of my blanket, I shrug and lie back down, turning to face the wall.



When Kana comes to wake me up the following morning, Kotohime’s already gone from my bed. Not particularly caring too much about where she could have gone, I sleepily walk out into the living room, accompanied by the maid, and along the way, we make some small-talk.

“So master,” Kana says, biting her thumb, “Do you like redheads?”

“…Huh?”

“You didn’t seem to mind sharing a bed with that girl,” she says.

“You saw that…?”

“How unscrupulous of you, master,” she says, looking away from me, “Taking advantage of a poor girl like that.”

“Cut it out, I didn’t do anything to her.”

She giggles in response, and I take a seat at the dining table, giving Ellen, who always sits next to me, a morning pat on the head before starting breakfast.



“You’ll be getting a job today, Elly.”

“I know, I know, Yuukarin,” Elly says with a resigned sigh. “…geeze, I can’t believe this.” She throws a sharp glance my way; so sharp that I avert her gaze. “You’re coming with me,” she says.

“What? Why?”

“Because I don’t even know where to start.”

And you think I do?

“No way, I’m not going outside today,” I say simply, crossing my arms. “It’d be suicide.”

She raises a questioning eyebrow. “Are you still on about being attacked?” she asks with a sneer. “If you’re so worried about that, then let’s make a deal.”

“A deal?”

“You help me find a job,” she says, pointing a finger at herself, “, and I’ll act as your bodyguard for today.” She finishes by turning the finger on me. “Understood?”

[ ] Accept.
[ ] Refuse.
>> No. 24403
[x] Accept.

The E-mail said we'd be killed by wild youkai, not Elly.
>> No. 24404
[x] Accept.

Win-win, really...

...unless she gets a job and we are out of her sight during the critical time.

We should be sure to tell her everything about it, so that she is prepared. Maybe ask if this sort of thing (the message) seems like anyone she knows.
>> No. 24408
[x] Accept.
This sounds like a good deal. Maybe we can even improve the relationship with her so that she doesn't see us as enemy number 1.
But of course she could also be shitting us and not help when we are about to get killed.
>> No. 24409
[X] Accept.
>> No. 24410
{X} Accept.
>> No. 24413
[X] Accept.
>> No. 24414
>>24408
>But of course she could also be shitting us and not help when we are about to get killed.
very troubling.
[ø] Accept.
>> No. 24416
[X] Accept.
Why not?
>> No. 24417
{Accept}
>> No. 24419
[ ] Accept.
>> No. 24425
[x] Accept.
>> No. 24426
“Okay, I got it. Deal,” I say, extending my hand to her. “Shake on it?”

“Ew, no. I don’t want to touch you.”

Well, that was an expected response, anyway, so I don’t feel put off at all. I don’t think she’ll ever stop seeing me as an enemy, anyway.

Standing up from the table, I make my way back to my room, and open one of the drawers of my desk. Not having opened it in months, the inside is pretty thick with dust. Sitting on top of some documents is a silver wristwatch. A present from dad some years back. It’s expensive, and I don’t go out much, so I’d kept it tucked away here since the day I moved in here. Good. The battery hasn’t died yet.

I strap it around my wrist. I’m going to need to keep a close eye on a clock while I’m outside, and I don’t have a cell phone or anything, so I’ll have to do with this instead. Making sure the time on the watch is set correctly, I change into my jeans before heading back out to the living room. It’s already noon. I can’t believe it. Did I really sleep that long?

That means if that prediction comes true, I will die in three hours.

I can’t let that happen, no matter what. There’s still so much I want to do. I’m not going to die today. I’m not. Knowing the fact that the predictions aren’t absolute is the only thing that’s keeping me calm right now. Right, it can be overturned. I won’t let whatever’s after me kill me.

Briefly, I consider carrying a kitchen knife with me, but I wave the thought away. If it’s a youkai that will kill me, then an unsharpened kitchen knife is going to do exactly jack shit against them. I can’t fight anyway. I just have to stay close to Elly. She can fight. She can kill those things. And if we return before time is up, then Yuuka and Kana and the rest are here too. I’m safe, as long as I’m with them. Alone, I’d just be another murder victim to be shown on the evening news tonight.

“You ready?” Elly asks as I approach, waiting before the front door.

“Yeah.”

“Good, then let’s hurry up and get this over with.”

I put on my sneakers and follow Elly outside.



“So what are you looking for in a job?” I ask Elly as I walk up next to her, stepping down the concrete pavement of the sidewalk.

“I want a job where I won’t have to do a lot of work, and I can just relax and still get paid a lot of money,” she says bluntly.

“…Yeah, good luck trying to get a job like that without really working for it,” I grumble, ignoring the dirty look she throws my way. “Let’s take a different approach, then. Do you have any special skills?”

“Huh?”

“I mean, are you good at anything that would be useful in a job? Like being good at math, or being able to talk to people. Something like that.”

“I’m pretty good at killing things.”

“…is that all you ever think about?” I sigh, shaking my head. What a violent girl. Is this how all youkai are? Well, it’d make sense for youkai to be violent, but come on. She doesn’t look like a monster at all. If it wasn’t for her disposition for killing and horrible temper, I’d say she’s actually a fairly attractive-looking girl, even.

“Would you stop ogling me?” she says impatiently. Ack, she caught me. “It’s gross.”

“Why do you hate me so much, anyway?” I ask bitterly, grimacing. “What did I ever do to you?”

“Because you’re not worthy of Yuuka’s attention, you spineless wimp,” she says coldly. “Honestly, I don’t even know why she’s keeping you alive. She should have killed you the moment she stepped into your home.”

“And how is that my fault!?” I retort harshly, stopping and turning around to face her completely, my anger at her currently exceeding my fear of her. “Look, you cunt,” I hiss at her, “I never agreed to this, alright? I was coerced into this stupid arrangement, and it’s fucking stupid for you to hold a grudge against me for it. Why can’t you understand that!?”

Elly stares at me with her mouth agape, apparently not expecting that outburst. Finally, when it all seems to sink in, she glares at me. “Have you said all you wanted to say?” she asks through her teeth. “Because they’re about to be your last words.”

My heart quails slightly against the threat of death, but I manage to stand my ground this time, not backing down. “Go ahead,” I say, trying to sound as nonchalant as I can. “Kill me. That’s what you really want, isn’t it?”

Elly growls and extends one of her arms, grasping the air and preparing to summon her scythe. “You don’t need to tell me to, because I’m-!”

“Oh, but that’s not what your Yuuka would want, is it?”

She freezes up, and I grin smugly at her.

“Didn’t she specifically tell you not to kill me?”

Silently, she lets her arm drop to her side. She stares at me with cold eyes. It’s strange, though, despite everything I’ve said until now, she doesn’t really seem all that angry now. “…Hmph,” she snorts, looking away. “So you’ve grown a bit of a backbone,” she spits out. “Whatever. Let’s go.”

…was that grudging respect just now?

She begins to walk again, but I remain rooted to my spot. I just thought of something dangerous but fun. When Elly notices that I’m not following after her, she turns back around and looks at me inquisitively.

“Hey, hurry up,” she says, tapping her foot.

“…Nah, I think I’ll go home,” I reply back with a grin.

“Wha-!?” She’s completely taken aback by my answer. She stomps up to me and grabs me by the front of my shirt, pulling me forward. “What do ya mean you’re going back home? We had a deal!”

“I changed my mind,” I say. Oh god, I know I’m treading on dangerous ground here, but there’s a chance I might die today, anyway. I might as well have a little fun before the time comes. “I don’t really feel like staying outside. I might get killed out here, anyway.”

“Hey!” she yells at me while shaking me back and forth, looking distressed. “I said I’d be your bodyguard, didn’t I, you idiot! I can’t do this by myself, and I can’t go back home and face Yuuka without getting a job today!”

“That’s not really my business,” I say teasingly as I look away from her. “I don’t really stand to gain anything from helping you, anyway. If I just stay home, I’ll be safe.”

“You…!”

“Well, maybe if you ask nicely…”

She looks like she’s just been slapped in the face. “Wha…?” she says in a dazed voice.

“You know. Say please.”

Her astonished face soon changes into one of anger, then one of outrage, and then becomes a conflicted one, before settling on reluctant resignation. “…please help me,” she mutters quietly, blushing heavily from embarrassment and shame.

“I didn’t hear you too well, could you say it again?” I ask, savoring the moment.

“I said please help me! Geeze! I swear I’ll kill you for this,” she says, wiping at the corner of one of her eyes with the back of her hand, humiliated.

Well, now I kind of feel bad, but honestly? I can’t say I sympathize too much with her after the repeated death threats these last few days. Chuckling, I place my hand on the top of her hat and press it down on her head. “Alright, I’ll help you.”

She frowns, her face still red, but doesn’t dare raise a finger against me now that I’ve got leverage against her. It’s too bad I won’t be able to do this after she gets a job; she’s actually pretty cute when she’s docile.



“I hate brats, why’d you get me a job here of all places!?” Elly asks indignantly, as we exit the local daycare.

“Because we don’t exactly have a lot of options,” I say in an annoyed tone of voice. “Honestly, you should be glad I got you a job here. Every other place we visited we were practically run out because you wouldn’t keep your mouth shut. Honestly, what were you thinking, screaming death threats at that old guy back at that one shop?”

“He felt me up!”

“Well thanks to that we had security sicced on us,” I say, shaking my head. “You should thank me for handling all the talking here. You probably would have tried to stab the head of the daycare with a pen if you were there or something.”

“Well I won’t. I hate kids,” she says stubbornly, crossing her arms together as she walks up next to me.

“Hey, it’s a job,” I say, shrugging. “At least now you won’t have to go back home still unemployed, right?”

She still looks a bit dissatisfied, but she makes no further complaints. I take a moment to stare at my watch. We’ve been job-hunting for a long while now, so it’s… 2:55 PM. It’s almost time. I begin to feel a little nervous, heart pounding. I’ll be fine… right?

Elly notices my strange behavior, and probably sees a golden opportunity for getting back at me for earlier. “Hey hey, is it almost time for you to die yet?” she asks with an unsettling giggle. “You said you were going to be attacked at around this time, didn’t you?”

“…Yeah, almost,” I say, sighing. I can see where she’s going with this, and I can only hope that she’s joking around. “I’ll be counting on you.” I try to smile at her, attempting to reassure myself as well.

“Oh, yeah, you can count on me alright,” she says, cackling deviously. “Well, unless I change my mind, you know? I don’t really stand to gain by helping you anymore, right?”

Geh.

“Or maybe…” she continues, “…maybe I’ll just kill you here myself, and then tell Yuuka that I took my eyes off you for just a moment, and before I knew it, you were dead? Ohh, I’m sure she wouldn’t blame me too much for that.”

…Shit, I seriously can’t tell if she’s playing around or not.

“What do you say to that, hmmm?”

I might have pushed her a bit too far earlier. If she’s just trying to scare me, then she’s doing a damn good job right now, because now I’m slowly backing away from her, beginning to lose the strength in my knees, blood draining from my face. If she isn’t… then the death predicted in that e-mai, is she my murderer? Laceration… wounds.

[ ] Trust Elly.
[ ] Don’t trust Elly.
>> No. 24427
>no vote asking whether or not to be a gigantic dick to our only source of protection
ಠ_ಠ

[X] Apologize.
[X] Trust Elly.
>> No. 24429
[] Trust Elly.
>> No. 24430
[x] Trust Elly. But let's just make damn sure that trust will hold.
[x] "You think she really won't be able to tell that you're lying? This is Yuuka we're talking about."
[x] "I have done everything I can to help you today, and succeeded in getting you a job. So drop your crappy, petty, unwarranted and misplaced hatred of me for the next few minutes and kindly hold up your end of the deal, would you? Unless you're the kind of person who breaks her word as quick as she makes it."

Bitch, my life is on the goddamn line. Do not push me.

Besides, isn't a laceration a ragged, untidy cut, not a neat, clean one?

Now watch as he doesn't get to say all that because he gets interrupted by her or the attacker.
>> No. 24431
>>24430
...On second thought, maybe remove "petty" from that. It's a bit too much.
>> No. 24432
>“…please help me,” she mutters quietly, blushing heavily from embarrassment and shame
oh god.
>I’m slowly backing away from her, beginning to lose the strength in my knees, blood draining from my face.
And suddenly all the manliness fades away.

[x] Trust Elly.
What else is there to do. Tell her as convincing as possible that you trust her that she will keep her word.
>> No. 24433
[x] Trust Elly.
>> No. 24435
[x] Trust Elly.
Yeah.
>> No. 24437
[x] Trust Elly.
>> No. 24439
[x] Trust Elly. But let's just make damn sure that trust will hold.
[x] "You think she really won't be able to tell that you're lying? This is Yuuka we're talking about."
[x] "I have done everything I can to help you today, and succeeded in getting you a job. So drop your crappy, petty, unwarranted and misplaced hatred of me for the next few minutes and kindly hold up your end of the deal, would you? Unless you're the kind of person who breaks her word as quick as she makes it."
>> No. 24440
[x] Trust Elly. But let's just make damn sure that trust will hold.
[x] "You think she really won't be able to tell that you're lying? This is Yuuka we're talking about."
[x] "I have done everything I can to help you today, and succeeded in getting you a job. So drop your crappy, petty, unwarranted and misplaced hatred of me for the next few minutes and kindly hold up your end of the deal, would you? Unless you're the kind of person who breaks her word as quick as she makes it."

About how I would feel in this situation, but the attitude earlier definitely came out of nowhere. It's good to see this guy with a backbone, but I think we pushed our luck a little too far.
>> No. 24443
[ø] *sigh* "I get your point, the way I acted to you back then, it was really uncalled for. How about this, I know a few other places where you could get a job. There's a flower shop down the street, a restaurant that we passed by on our way to the department store was also looking for some waitresses."

yes, this is Yuka that we are talking about here, and I don't think she'd really care if we died or not, unless there's a specific reason for her to keep us alive, but it's best not to tread down that dangerous path. Also, please feel free to improve this write-in, I could only think of two places that Elly may dislike less.
>> No. 24446
File 126397174270.png - (171.27KB , 879x601 , 4520418.png ) [iqdb]
24446
…No, I’m sure she’s just playing around. I’ve kept to my end of the deal, so she wouldn’t carelessly go back on her words, would she? I’m not sure how much you can trust youkai to keep to an agreement, but…

“Look, okay, okay, I’m sorry, what I did back then was a little uncalled for!” I say, too unnerved to mask the fear in my voice, still backing away as Elly takes slow steps toward me, smirking in delight at my current disposition.

“Oho, what happened to all that confidence you had earlier?” she asks, her devious smirk turning into cold dissatisfaction as she continues to approach me. “I thought maybe you’d evolved into a vertebrate, but I guess not.”

Damn it, I thought so too, but apparently not, because while it’s easy to talk the talk when you’ve got something of an advantage at your side it’s not so simple to do it when it’s the other way around. I’m so ashamed of myself. Shit, even if I live past today, am I still going to have to go on like this? Cowering and fleeing from even a hint of confrontation with my tail between my legs? It’s not like I have much of a choice! This isn’t fair. I’m not a youkai like they are, they treat me like they would each other…

“…I just don’t want to die,” I say, looking down at my feet. “That’s all.”

“Then you should watch what you say, weakling,” Elly replies harshly, stomping a foot on the ground. “Strong words should come from strong people.” Her expression somewhat lightens up after a moment, becoming less cold and austere.

“…Well, I guess you can’t be blamed for clinging to life, though,” she says, looking aside. “Since you did help me find a job, crappy as it might be, I’ll keep to my end of the deal.”

I breathe a sigh of relief, putting a hand to my furiously beating heart. I really thought she might kill me for a second there.

“So? You sure something’s going to attack you?” she asks me, raising an eyebrow as she casts her gaze to me.

“Not really,” I say with a sigh. “It might.”

“And it’s about time, right?”

I lift up my hand to check the time, glancing at the glass surface of my wristwatch. 3:06. The e-mail said it would be around 15:00, after all, so I guess it wouldn’t be right on the dot. Still, I’m beginning to have doubts about those messages. What if that last prediction was just a freak coincidence? There’s no way anyone could actually see the future, right?

“Pretty soon, yeah,” I reply to Elly’s question.

“Well, not that I think anything’s going to show in broad daylight like this,” she says, shrugging her slim shoulders.

…That’s right, these streets are still busy, after all, especially in the middle of the day like this. There are crowds of people going about their daily business. Will a youkai really dare to show itself amidst all these people?

“Nothing’s showing up,” Elly says in a bored drawl, taking a scan around the area. “Are you sure you’re not just making all this u-“

She freezes all of a sudden, and I think I know why.

Suddenly, without warning, the sounds of the busy street cease, and leave nothing but an unnatural, deafening silence in its wake. The footsteps, the chatter, the sound of car engines sputtering… they’ve all suddenly been muted. Eyes widened, I look around. The scene before me is the same as the one I’ve been seeing a moment ago, with one major difference: there’s not a single person that can be seen. All the cars have stopped moving, and looking closely, I don’t see any drivers or passengers.

“What is this…?” I hear Elly wonder aloud. “No way. You weren’t kidding about this?” she asks as she turns her head back around to me.

...Come to think of it, the night I was attacked. It was the same. Not a single person or a moving car within sight or hearing, and a subtle yet overwhelming sense of wrongness. Where are we? Have we been transported somewhere else, or has everyone else simply disappeared?

“KeeeeeeeaaAAAAAAAaaaAAAH!” a piercing screech shakes the air, the pitch so high that we have to cover our ears before they burst.

At the same time, red lightning strikes down from the sky, hitting the ground not far from use, kicking up bits of concrete into the air. The lightning swirls and grows in size, forming into a large orb before shattering like a glass dome to reveal something residing inside it.

“KilllLLLL thE foooRSaaaKeeeEEEN!”

The thing that emerges from the rubble around it is humanoid in shape and size, but where a human head should be, there’s only one of what looks like a hairless dog, with a long, slender snout and bright blue mane. Tall, dark-skinned, and slim in stature, with wicked hooked claws on its human hands, whatever it is, it definitely isn’t human.

“Tch,” Elly spits, swinging her arm to the side. Her scythe appears out of nowhere, snugly fitting itself around its owner’s body. “Guess you were right. I’ll kill it in an instant, though. You go ahead and run or something.”

“A-ah, yeah,” I say, nodding clumsily while taking a few steps back. Turning around, I make to begin a full sprint, desperate to get away from the situation. If I stuck around, I’d only end up getting in her way, anyway.

“YOOOooUUuu wOOoNnn’t geeEEt awaAAAyyYY!”

“Come and get it!” I hear Elly yell behind me. “Trash like you aren’t-Wha!?”

I turn my head around to look at what’s happening back there, and see only Elly standing there, looking confounded. Wait, where did the doghead go? I stop in my tracks, looking around. Where is it, where is it!? A sense of dread fills me when I see Elly look toward me, her eyes widening in astonishment. I turn back around, and see the tall demon standing there, one of its long arms raised up toward the sky, its sharp hook-like claws glinting in the sunlight.

Shit.

I close my eyes, and brace myself for the worst.

But the next thing I feel isn’t the feeling of those claws ripping into my abdomen or my throat. What I feel next is someone roughly shoving me aside, hard enough to lift me off of my feet and fly several feet before hitting the ground.

“Ugh!” I hear Elly gasp.

I open my eyes, lifting myself up from the ground. “Elly!” I scream, my eyes wide open in shock. I can’t believe she did that. She pushed me out of the way and ended up getting slashed across the gut.

The doghead youkai doubles back, leaping away. Elly glares at it, teeth grit and one hand clutching where she was clawed.

“Like I’ll let you go after that!” she screams, reaching back with her scythe arm.

She flings her scythe at the retreating youkai, and it flies out, spinning through the air like a circular buzz saw. It cuts cleanly through the upper and lower half of the demon, bisecting it, and then returns to its owner like a boomerang. She snatches it out of the air, and the rod coils around her body. The two halves of the youkai hit the ground with a nasty squelch, twitching around and hissing before going silent.

I hurry on over to her as she crouches down, leaning on her scythe for support while wincing in pain. “Elly!” I call out, kneeling down next to her. “Are you okay?”

She gives no answer, but even I can tell it’s really bad. The gash in her stomach is deep, and so much of her blood’s soaked into her dress. Her face is pale, and her breathing is ragged. “Damn... I screwed up,” she says bitterly. "P-poison..."

“Come on, we have to get you to a hospital or something,” I say urgently, looking around to see if there’s any payphone I can use nearby.

“No need…” she breathes out, waving her bloody hand in dismissal. “I’ll be okay.”

Damn it, it’s my fault she was hurt like this. If I hadn’t frozen up like that, she wouldn’t have needed to…

“kiiiiiLLLllll theeEEEE FOOOrSAAAAAAAAkEEEEEEEEEEN!”

“What the…?”

The severed upper-torso of the doghead floats up into the air, convulsing with spasms as blood drips from where it was separated from its other half. It turns its ugly head over to the two of us, and lets out that piercing screech again.

“No way…” I mutter, staring at it in horror. “It’s still alive!”

Elly tries to stand back up, but she nearly falls over from the effort. I manage to catch her by the shoulders and steady her before she collapses to the ground. But what should I do now? I don’t think she can fight like this, and the way things are going, we’re both going to die…

Why is it after me?

What am I supposed to do?

[ ] Try to fight it.
[ ] Carry Elly with you and try to escape.
[ ] Draw its attention and run away on your own.
[ ] Something else?
>> No. 24447
[x] Carry Elly with you and try to escape.
>> No. 24448
[x] Carry Elly with you and try to escape.
FFFFFFFFFFFF
>> No. 24449
We're a smoker and a shiftless shut-in; we couldn't outrun this thing by ourselves, let alone while trying to carry Elly.

[X] Try to fight it.

At least we buy some time for Elly to stay still and recover/regenerate this way.
>> No. 24450
>[ ] Try to fight it.
Suddenly unleash your hidden shounen powers. Yeah right.
[x] Carry Elly with you and try to escape.
She took that blow for us. No one gets left behind.
>> No. 24451
[] Carry Elly to the nearest car (hope the key is still in it), ram the monster, or if the monster is floating too high, just make a run for it.
>> No. 24452
[x] Carry Elly with you and try to escape.
>> No. 24453
[ø] Grab the monster's attention, and try evading it by using the cars parked on the street as a barrier between you and the monster.

Here's hoping that the monster will cease to move as it is bleeding furiously.
>The severed upper-torso of the doghead floats up into the air, convulsing with spasms as blood drips from where it was separated from its other half.
>> No. 24454
[x] Carry Elly with you and try to escape.
>> No. 24455
[X] Try to fight it.
>> No. 24456
[ø] Grab the monster's attention, and try evading it by using the cars parked on the street as a barrier between you and the monster.
>> No. 24457
[x] Carry Elly with you and try to escape.
>> No. 24458
[x] Carry Elly with you and try to escape.
>> No. 24460
[X] "Trace On."

Yeah, no. We're a pretty big loser so...

[x] Carry Elly with you and try to escape.
>> No. 24461
[X] Carry Elly with you and try to escape.
>> No. 24463
[x] Carry Elly with you and try to escape.
>> No. 24465
Damn… damn!

“Uh…!?” Elly gasps in surprise as I slip an arm under her legs, lifting her up in my arms with some difficulty. Ugh, she’s heavier than she looks, though I suppose I’m no Olympian when it comes to strength. “What are you doing, idiot…” she mutters weakly at me, looking up at me with hazy eyes, still applying pressure to her freely bleeding wound with her hand.

“Let’s get out of here,” I say, hurrying to run away in the opposite direction of the monster. I don’t dare look back behind me, because I’m afraid that I’ll see the floating torso there, ready to sink its claws into my back. As long as I don’t know how close it is, I can keep running.

Weaving around the cars frozen in the street, I keep running even though my I quickly begin to find it difficult to get enough oxygen to my brain, panting heavily and gasping desperately for air. I ignore the gradual, burning pain of fatigue building up in my legs and arms.

“…Fool.” I hear Elly whisper in my arms, raising her bloody hand from her wound to grab a fistful of my shirt, struggling to pull her head higher. “You should have just… run away on your own…”

We’re both going to die, aren’t we?

My body at its limit, I nearly collapse from exhaustion. I can’t run anymore. I shouldn’t be able to run anymore. I’m tired, mentally and physically, and all I want to do at this moment is just lie on top of a bed and knock myself out. But still, I’m running. I don’t know if it’s second wind or just my plain stubborn human resolve to survive, but my legs keep on moving even though my lungs feel like they’re on fire.

“DiiiIIIIiiiiE!” I hear the doghead demon scream from somewhere uncomfortably close behind us. Even now, I refuse to look back, because I’m afraid that if I do, I won’t be able to run anymore. But then I hear a metallic crunch. I turn back my head in surprise, and immediately wish I hadn’t.

That dog youkai thing is only about ten feet away from us. What’s more, he’s lifted one of the cars in its hands, holding it over his head. Reaching back, he hurls the small automobile at us. Holy shit! Diving to the ground, I tightly wrap my arms around Elly, covering her with my own body as we take a tumble on the concrete, the thrown car flying over us and crashing into another with a booming crunch. We end up on the ground, Elly on her back, and me on my front on top of her.

I lift myself from the ground, taking a glance at Elly beneath me. She’s closed her eyes now, her scythe nowhere to be seen. From the corner of my eyes, I can see the doghead floating toward us at a leisurely pace.

Shit.

I roll off to the side, lying down next to Elly on the concrete. I can do nothing as the beast looms over me, raising its arm to drive its claws into my stomach. It’s going to kill me first, huh? Damn it, Elly, I’m so sorry. It’s my fault you got hurt like that. If I hadn’t been so stupid and slow, we wouldn’t have to…

“Haah!”

“KeeaAAH!?”

The doghead gives a lurch forward, the tip of a sword driven through its back and out the other side. The tip of the sword twists itself, and slices through the creature’s flesh, cutting itself out of one of its shoulders. The demon flails its arms around, screeching wildly, before it bursts into blue flames, flickering away like a candlelight blown out.

Dazed, I manage to stand up from the ground, staring at the youkai’s killer and our savior. It’s that swordswoman from yesterday that ran away from Kotohime, the same one that challenged Yuuka and lost. She gives her sword a swipe through the air, flinging the blood on it to the ground.

“I made it in time,” she says solemnly, looking at me.

“You…” I mutter, stumbling forward with weak, unsteady steps. “You saved us…”

Her eyes flicker from me to Elly, still lying on the ground. She narrows her eyes, and takes a step forward with her sword raised. Understanding her intention immediately, I step in front of her.

“Hey, wait!” I say, nerves tensing up again. “What are you doing…?”

“Move aside,” she says in a commanding tone of voice. “She’s a youkai.”

“I know that already,” I say, swallowing. “But still, you can’t kill her!”

“…You understand what she is and you still defend her?” the swordswoman asks, seemingly bemused. “I will not ask again. Move aside.”

I’m scared. I’m scared as hell right now. I know if she wanted she could just kill me to get to Elly, but still, she’s in this situation because she was protecting me. I can’t sell her out for my own safety like that now, after what she’s done.

The swordswoman frowns, but when it’s apparent to her that I won’t step aside, she sighs and carefully places her sword back in its sheath. “Fine. Consider this mercy a repayment of the one her master showed me, then,” she says while averting her gaze. Her eyes shoot back at me as she continues to speak, “My associate will contact you sometime soon. Be on the lookout.”

Turning her back to the both of us, she floats up into the air, and soars away, disappearing from sight. So, she’s not from this world either, is she? Is she also a youkai? No, from the sound of it, she seemed to be prejudiced against them. So is she a human, then?

“…what a bitch,” I hear Elly mutter, still lying on the ground. She looks a little better now; some color’s returned to her face, and she’s got enough strength to sit herself up.

“At least we’re still alive,” I say, collapsing back onto the ground with a relieved sigh. That was seriously too close.

After a moment of reprieve, I stand back up, and take a look around. I still can’t see any people, or any signs of life, really. Just where are we? Are we in the same place, same city, and same world? Or are we in some place completely different? Well, forget all of that for now. For now, we should just focus on getting back home.

I walk over to Elly. “Hey, can you stand?” I ask her.

She tries to lift herself up, and almost succeeds, but nearly falls over, lacking balance. I catch her by the shoulders again, pulling one of her arms over my neck and supporting her, keeping her standing.

“Ugh, how pathetic…” she spits, wincing in pain. “Having to be helped by you like this…”

The bleeding still hasn’t stopped yet. I’m worried about her, even though she does seem to be getting better by the minute. “Hey,” I begin. “You want me to carry you?”

“Huh?”

“Piggyback, I mean.”

“You must be kidding…” she says with a grimace. “No way, that’s too embarrassing.”

“Come on, it’s not like there’s anyone around to see.”

“I don’t care,” she says, looking away. “I’d rather die.”

[ ] She’ll just have to deal with it, then.
[ ] If she doesn’t want it…
>> No. 24467
[x] If she doesn’t want it…
[x] …Then bridal style will have to do.
>> No. 24468
[x] "It's that or bridal style. Just get over yourself already, would you?"
>> No. 24469
[x] "It's that or bridal style. Just get over yourself already, would you?
>> No. 24470
[X] "It's that or bridal style. Just get over yourself already, would you?"

Excellent.
>> No. 24471
[x] "It's that or bridal style. Just get over yourself already, would you?
Perfect!
>> No. 24472
[] "It's that or bridal style. Just get over yourself already, would you?
>> No. 24473
[x] "It's that or bridal style. Just get over yourself already, would you?"
-[x] "Oh, oh! Or the fireman's carry! Then everyone would get to see your cute butt!"

Dat vertebrate.
>> No. 24474
[x] "It's that or bridal style. Just get over yourself already, would you?
>> No. 24475
[x] "It's that or bridal style. Just get over yourself already, would you?
>> No. 24476
[ø] If she doesn’t want it…
[ø] …Then bridal style will have to do.
>> No. 24477
[x] "It's that or bridal style. Just get over yourself already, would you?
>> No. 24481
[x] If she doesn’t want it…
[x] …Then bridal style will have to do.
Nice update. Also: PLOT EXPLOSION
>> No. 24484
[x] "It's that or bridal style. Just get over yourself already, would you?
>> No. 24486
[x] If she doesn’t want it…
[x] …Then bridal style will have to do.
>> No. 24505
[x] If she doesn’t want it…
[x] …Then bridal style will have to do.
>> No. 24507
[x] "It's that or bridal style. Just get over yourself already, would you?
>> No. 24508
[x] If she doesn’t want it…
[x] …Then bridal style will have to do.

The other write-in seems too cocky.
>> No. 24514
[X] "It's that or bridal style. Just get over yourself already, would you?"

>>24508

Cocky is good. She likes the backbone.
>> No. 24530
>>24514
>She likes the backbone.
I want to reply with something like "And if she keeps talking shit to our face like this, then let's bend her crippled ass over the hood of a car and see just how much she likes the [i]front[/b]bone. Hope you still like 'cocky,' bitch!" but it would be in bad taste.
>> No. 24531
[X] "It's that or bridal style. Just get over yourself already, would you?"
>> No. 24532
“It’s either that or bridal style,” I say, snorting. “Just get over yourself already, will you?”

“You’ve got some nerve…” she says, turning her head to look at me. Surveying my expression for a moment, she attempts to continue walking on her own, but stops to wince in pain. Letting out a resigned sigh, she slips her arm out of my grasp. Averting my gaze, she speaks, “…Hurry up, then.”

Grinning inwardly, I turn my back to her and crouch down enough for her to get on. She wraps her arms around my neck as I stand up, carrying her on my back, supporting the back of her thighs with my hands.

“I’ll kill you if you tell anyone about this,” she hisses into my ear, her body pressed tightly against me. “Seriously, I really will do it you know—Ahh!” she suddenly yelps, her face growing red. “You squeezed my butt!” she says indignantly, raising a fist and giving me a thump on the chest, knocking the wind out of me.

“Ow!” I say, letting out a short cough, massaging the spot where she hit me with one hand. “You didn’t have to hit me that hard...” I mutter, breathing through my grit teeth.

“…was that too strong?” Elly asks in what seems to be a genuinely concerned voice, looking over my shoulder.

“If you can hit that hard, maybe I should just let you walk on your own,” I say in a little bitter tone.

“I didn’t ask to be carried around, you know,” she says with a huff.

Briefly, I consider just dumping her there, but I can see quite plainly that she’s struggling show any pain in her voice. “…Hey, Elly,” I begin solemnly, frowning. “Are you sure you’re going to be alright like that? I can take you to a hospital, if you want.”

“I said I’d be fine,” she says quickly. “We’re made of sturdier stuff than you guys are, you know. A wound like this will heal up in no time. It’s that thing’s venom that’s been keeping me down.”

“Its claws were poisonous?”

She nods. “I’m guessing even a single scratch would have been enough to kill a normal human by the effects of the poison alone,” she says.

Scary. So if I had tried to fight that thing and ended up getting nicked even slightly, I would have died, huh? I give a shudder as I continue to walk down the depopulated street, striking a way back home. Along the way, Elly seems to relax a little, her limbs not as tense and stiff as they were before, her breathing slower and steadier. She seems to be recovering well.

“…Elly?” I call her name, breaking the silence between us

“Mmm?” she responds in a sleepy voice, her eyes drooping slightly as she rests her chin on my shoulder.

“Why’d you save me back there?” I ask, curious. “…It would have been convenient for you if you’d just let me die, wouldn’t it?”

She gives no reply, though she squirms a little uncomfortably. Lifting her head, she looks away. “…Because we had a deal,” she says simply, in a cold and hard voice. “Don’t think I went soft just because I took a hit for you. That was an accident.”

That makes sense, I guess.

“Well, thanks,” I say. “I owe you one.”

“No you don’t,” Elly replies immediately.

“Huh?”

“If you hadn’t stopped her, that crazy sword-bitch would have finished me off,” she says, still not looking at me. “So, we’re even.”

“Is that how it is?” I say, laughing. “Anyone would have done that.”

“Still, that took some balls,” Elly cackles, turning her head to me with a grin. “You know, she might have been willing to kill you with me.”

“Well, that was a chance I was willing to take, I guess,” I say, shrugging one shoulder. “I wasn’t really thinking much at the time, anyway.”

She continues to grin until she catches herself, looking slightly dumbstruck before adopting a frown on her face. “This doesn’t change anything, you got that?” she says in a harsh tone. “We’re still enemies. We just don’t owe each other anything, that’s all.”

“Yeah yeah, whatever you say,” I chuckle as I speak. “…Damn, you’re heavy,” I mutter under my breath.

“Why you… I heard that!” she growls as she tightens one of her arms around my neck, putting me into a headlock while still latched onto my back. “You’ve just stepped into a forbidden territory there!”

“Sorry, sorry!” I choke out, trying to pry one of the arms off me.

Hearing Elly giggle playfully as she loosens her grip makes me realize that even though she claims otherwise, our relationship’s somewhat changed a little for the better after today’s events. She seems almost friendly now. Almost. Well, maybe. She seems to have a slightly higher opinion of me now, at the least. Maybe she’ll let up on the death threats too.

---

“Isn’t it nice to see the two of you getting along so well with each other?”

We jump at the sound of a voice as we turn a corner, not far from our home now. I nearly run into Yuuka, who seems to have been waiting for us around the corner with a smile.

“Gah!” Elly opens her eyes wide in shock, scrambling to get off me and causing us to lose our balance and stumble and fall to the ground.

Yuuka raises an eyebrow in interest as we pick ourselves up from the ground, staring at Elly.

“Y-Y-Yuuka!” Elly stammers, her face completely red. “It’s not what you-“

“You’re injured,” Yuuka says in a calm but surprised voice, cutting her off.

“Ah,” Elly winces as she covers up the gash in her stomach with her hands. “It’s just a scratch,” she says.

“Did something attack you?” Yuuka asks me, her eyes lingering for a moment on the bloody handprint on my shirt.

“Yeah, it was a youkai, I think,” I reply. “It was just like the e-mail said. We were attacked at 15:06.”

“So it wasn’t a fallacy,” she says thoughtfully, placing a hand on her chin. “I didn’t think anything would really attack you, but I suppose now it’s irrefutable that the messages tell the future.”

So she doubted me, huh? “What are you doing outside?” I ask. She didn’t come looking for us, did she?

“Look around you,” Yuuka says, not moving an inch. “What do you notice?”

“…There’s no one around,” I say, looking at the normally busy streets, empty, silent, and completely devoid of life or action.

“Exactly,” she says. “This is too strange. Either everyone’s disappeared, or we’re the ones who did. Either way, the TV won’t turn on, so I came outside to examine the situation.”

…So basically you were bored and wanted to waste time.

It is strange, though. Where the hell are we? What’s going on? Where is everyone? Is this related to the e-mail, too? Maybe we’re in some kind of pocket dimension? I don’t get it…

“Well, I’m going to look further into this,” Yuuka says, promptly walking between the two of us. Turning to me, she says, “You. Get her home, and stay there.” Afterwards, she turns to Elly, and says, “You. Rest.”

We both give a nod, and satisfied, Yuuka steps past us, reaching down and opening up her parasol, holding it above her head as she walks off. We exchange looks with one another, and share a sigh. I crouch down to let her get on my back again, but she refuses with a wave of her hand. I guess she’s recovered enough to walk on her own now, although I still feel somewhat uneasy.

We head back home in silence, with nothing really unremarkable happening to us along the way. But as we start on the staircase leading to the front door, a rush of sound almost deafens me. All of a sudden, the scenery before me changes, and what was still and lifeless a moment ago comes to life. The streets are filled with people again. The sudden change almost makes me dizzy.

“…Just what the hell is going on?” I ask myself.

Elly shrugs, looking too tired to really give two shits about it now, and walks past me. “Ah,” she exclaims as she reaches the door, and looking at her, I see her holding an envelope in her hand. On the surface, it has my name messily written on it.

“Here,” she says, giving it to me. “It was stuck under the door.”

I take the envelope from her, and Elly swings the front door open, stepping inside ahead of me. Eagerly, I rip the envelope open, taking out the sheet of paper shoved inside in a crummy way. Unfolding it, I see a hastily scrawled e-mail address written across the middle, with only a single line underneath it. “Contact me,” it reads.

I flip the sheet of paper around, looking at the back of it just in case there’s anything else written on it. Who’s it from? Frowning, I think back to what that samurai woman said. Her associate will reach me soon or something like that. Is this from whoever that person is?

Sighing, I fold the paper up and shove it into my pocket, tossing the envelope over the railing. It must have been at least an hour since we left that daycare center. I look at the watch on my wrist. The face says 3:08.

…Huh?

Is this thing broken?

Ugh, damn it. It must have been damaged when I fell or something. Oh well, it’s not like I really used it much, anyway.

Heaving another sigh, and worrying that I might indeed get wrinkles on my face before the age of thirty, I open up the front door and head inside, kicking off my shoes. What a tiring day. I just want to go to sleep right now.

[ ] Go sleep.
[ ] Send an e-mail to that address you have in your pocket.
[ ] Something else?
>> No. 24533
[x] Send an e-mail to that address you have in your pocket.

We might need their help down the line so why not play nice?

I suspect when something happens, time freezes explaining the watch.
>> No. 24534
[x] Send an e-mail to that address you have in your pocket.
[x] Write something like "All right, consider yourself contacted. Who the hell are you and what the hell is going on? And don't tell me this isn't secure."
[x] Check for new mail from that bastard S. You'll need to be able to plan around your attack, tomorrow, if there is one.
[x] Hug Ellen good night.
[x] Kiss Kana good night.
>[x] Make sure Kotohime's restraints are secure good night.
[x] Time for sleep. Go to it.
>> No. 24535
>>24533
>Time freezes
>S.
...Sakuya?
>> No. 24537
[x] >>24534

>>24535
She may be able to make time freeze, but people don't disappear from it.
>> No. 24538
[X] Send an e-mail to that address you have in your pocket.
>> No. 24542
[X] Send an e-mail to that address you have in your pocket.
>> No. 24543
[X] Send an e-mail to that address you have in your pocket.
-[X] Check the hour on your PC: your watch isn't broken at all.
>> No. 24545
>Is this thing broken?
>Check the hour on your PC: your watch isn't broken at all.
Watches do not tell time, they simply move ahead at a constant rate. So if time stops but not for you, your watch continues to tick ahead because watches (when functioning) do nothing but tick ahead.
>> No. 24548
>>24545

Then how would you explain our hero feeling as if an hour passed and his watch only shows that two minutes has passed since the attack? Logically your explaination is valid, but when magic and youkai are involved, well there's no place for logic.
>> No. 24549
>>24548
The watch actually is broken, and the "Huh, is this thing broken?" that caused people to think of timestops was a red herring.

Oh, and S- being Sakuya just wouldn't fit with the whole PC-98 thing going on.
>> No. 24550
[x] Send an e-mail to that address you have in your pocket.
>> No. 24551
>S-
>Predicting our death.

Sariel as the Angel of Death, sometimes invoked in Gnosticism as a protector?
>> No. 24596
…But before I go take a nap or anything, I should make certain to contact the address written here. After all, if there’s any chance that I can find out anything about the madness I’ve been pulled into recently, then I need to capitalize on it as soon as possible.

Moving sluggishly, I take a deep breath, relishing in the comfort of my own home. It may have gotten a little crowded as of late, but there’s still no sweeter place than home, after all. Here, I’m completely safe. Or so I would like to believe, anyway. Still, after a harrowing, life-threatening experience like that, there’s really nothing more relieving than the knowledge that you’re safely at home now.

I make my way directly to my room. I’m a bit nervous about whether or not that “S” guy has sent any new messages; hopefully not, if all of his mails are going to be predictions of my death. I’m not seriously going to be attacked by demons or youkai or whatever the fuck they are every single day, am I? In that case, I might as well become a full shut-in and just stay at home.

Opening the door to my room, I take off my bloodstained shirt and toss it to the floor. There’s the bloody handprint on the front, and a large spot on the back, too. It’s a good thing I was able to make it back before all the people “returned” to the streets, or there would have been a lot of awkward stares, or maybe even an unwelcome inquiry by the police as to why I’ve got such an incriminating article of clothing. Slipping out the crinkled sheet of paper from my pocket, I toss it on the surface of my desk before taking off my pants.

Changing into a pair of shorts and another shirt, I sink back into my chair, leaning forward to turn the computer on. I tap my fingers on my desk impatiently as I wait for the machine to boot up. Once it’s loaded, I open up the web browser, immediately going to my e-mail inbox. My heart skips a beat when I see two new mails; both titled (no subject) and sent by S. With bated breath, I click on one of the mails.

---

Subject: (no subject)
From: S


Good afternoon!

At around 23:00 on the ninth day of November, there will be a [murder]. The victim will be found to have died of [asphyxiation]. The authorities will rule the case as [suicide].

Victim(s):

[Takeshi Kurosawa]

Have a nice day.

---

It’s… not me this time? Takeshi Kurosawa… do I know that guy? Well, it’s a fairly common name, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard it somewhere, but who cares! I’m not going to be targeted the next time! No, wait, there’s still that second letter, isn’t there? With renewed anxiety, I open up the second message.

---

Subject: (no subject)
From: S


Good afternoon.

Congratulations on surviving the second ordeal. You’ve done well to avert your fated end. By now, I hope you realize that this is no game. The danger to your life these predictions of your death carry is very real. With one other exception, you are the only human to be able to escape their destined death thus far.

But you cannot have escaped death without assistance. And this time, it’s not your life on the line, but someone else’s. Without certain variables to change the outcome of fate, this individual, without a doubt, is doomed to die. Will you risk your own safety in order to change that destiny, or will you allow him to die for the sake of your own safety?

I look forward to observing which choice you make.

---

…So, is he asking me to save whoever that Kurosawa guy is? Give me a break. I’ve got enough on my hands to worry about without having to stick my neck in other people’s business. Why should I have to care about other people being killed?

I want to say that, but I know just how selfish and ungrateful I would be if I did. After all, if Elly and that samurai chick hadn’t interfered with my supposed destiny, I would have been just another victim of a murder. But what the hell am I supposed to do? Beg Yuuka and Elly to go act bodyguard to some guy I don’t even know? It’s not like I can even do anything on my own.

Oh well, I still have three days to think about it, anyway.

Shrugging it all off, I click on the Compose button, ready to send that e-mail. Unfolding the sheet of paper with the contact information written on it, I carefully type out the address. On the body, I put something like, “Who are you? What’s going on?”, because I really have no idea what the fuck else to ask at the moment, and then hit send.

I wait for a few moments, furiously hitting the F5 key to refresh the inbox before realizing how stupid it would be for a reply to come back immediately. Oh well, I guess I’ll just take a nap in the meantime. I’ll check the inbox when I wake up.

But just as I’m about to tear my eyes away from the computer screen, something catches my eye. A command prompt opens up by itself in the corner of the screen, its black surface completely blank except for the blinking cursor at the top. A moment later, a line of words suddenly appears on the screen.

A.> Are you there?

I look at the single line with a gaping mouth. What the hell is this?

A.> Respond. Type anything.

Closing my trap shut, I gulp hard as I type on the keyboard.

>Hello?
A.> Good. It’s working, then.
>Who are you? What have you done to my computer?
A.> Established a two-way link.
A.> It’s easier to talk this way.
A.> And before you ask how I did this
A.> Your connection isn’t very secure, I’ll tell you that.
>Did you just hack my computer?
A.> You could say that.
A.> What, are you going to report me?
>I should.
A.> I don’t think it would be in your best interest.
>Who the hell are you?
A.> A castaway stranded far from home.
>Are you from that other world?
A.> Yup.
A.> I bet you have a lot of questions you want to ask me
>Damn straight I do
A.> I’ll try to answer them as best as I can. But I have a pretty limited knowledge of what’s going on, so don’t expect too much from me.

[ ] >Do you know anything about S?
[ ] >Who is that samurai?
[ ] >What’s with those monsters?
[ ] >What’s with those instances of people disappearing and then reappearing?
[ ] > (write-in)
>> No. 24598
[x] >Do you know anything about S?
[x] >Who is that samurai?
[x] >What’s with those monsters?
ANSWERS
>> No. 24599
[X] >Do you know anything about S?
[X] >What are all of you people from that other world doing here?
[X] >What’s with those instances of people disappearing and then reappearing?
[X] >What’s with those monsters?
[X] >Who is that samurai?

In that order. We can ask Yuuka and friends about youkai and Konngara if we must; information about S can't wait.
>> No. 24600
>A.

PC-98 Alice? Or Dr. Asakura (Rikako)?
>> No. 24601
[x] >Do you know anything about S?
[x] >What is your name?
[x] >What’s with those monsters?
[x] >Do you have any idea why you got sent to this world?
[x] >Do you know how to return?
Maybe he/she knows why Yuuka and co got sent here and maybe how to return back.
>> No. 24602
[X] >Do you know anything about S?
[X] >What are all of you people from that other world doing here?
[X] >What’s with those instances of people disappearing and then reappearing?
[X] >What’s with those monsters?
[X] >Who is that samurai?

As for that S person I'm guessing Sariel.
>> No. 24604
[x] A vote that combines all questions from the above posts and any posts made after this.

Because I'm too fucking lazy to copy-paste.
>> No. 24605
>>24599
Isn't it Meira?

[ø] >Do you know anything about S?
[ø] >Tell me more about yourself besides the fact that you're from the 'other' world.
[ø] >Who is that samurai and how are you related to her?
[ø] >What’s with those monsters?
[ø] >What’s with those instances of people disappearing and then reappearing?
[ø] >Do you have any idea why you got sent to this world?
[ø] >Do you know how to return?
>> No. 24607
[ ] >What’s with those instances of people disappearing and then reappearing?
[ ] >What’s with those monsters?
[ ] >What should I do?
[ ] >What do you know about me?
[ ] >Any chance of this conversation being tapped?
[ ] >What is your name?
[ ] >S (leave it at that)
[ ] >Do you have any idea why you got sent to this world?
[ ] >Who is that samurai?
>> No. 24611
>>24605

But our main character doesn't know that, just the readers.
>> No. 24612
>>24611
wat
I'm merely saying that this samurai touhou is probably Meira, not Konngara seeing how she doesn't have a horn/spike though her head.
>our main character doesn't know that
are you saying that MC knows who Konngara is, then?
>> No. 24613
>>24605
Derp. >>24599 here; just mixed up my PC-98 sword-wielding Touhous.
>> No. 24620
[x] >>24604

I'm lazier.
>> No. 24622
>>24620
Bastard!

Well played, anonymous. Well played.
>> No. 24665
[x] Where are the updates?
>> No. 24678
I take a deep breath in anticipation. Here’s my first real chance to figure out just what the hell’s been going on recently, and I’m sure as hell not going to let it go without squeezing all the information I can get from it. With trembling fingers, I begin to type on the keyboard, addressing my biggest question at the moment first.

>Do you know S?

There’s a small pause before a reply comes back.

A.> I knew it.
A.> So would I be correct in deducing that you received messages from someone calling himself “S”?
>Yeah, that’s right.
A.> And these messages contain predictions of your death?
>Yeah.
A.> It’s as I thought, then.
A.> Okay, first of all, even I’m not certain of this “S” individual’s identity
A.> or what his/her intentions are for sending these messages.
A.> But I can confirm that they’re not jokes or pranks.
>I know.
A.> And you’re not the only one receiving them.
>Really?
A.> Yes.
A.> Do you know about the murder case in Aoyama?
>Yeah I heard about it.
A.> Then it shouldn’t surprise you that that murder is linked to this whole business.
A.> If my line of thought is correct, the victim of that murder probably also received an e-mail from S warning him of the event before he was killed.
>How do you know?
A.> I’m currently inhabiting the home of one of the recipients of the message who managed to avert the prediction sent to him.

Wait a minute, S mentioned in that earlier letter that there was only one other human who had survived their “destined death”, didn’t he? So whoever I’m talking to is that human…?

>So he survived the youkai that came after him?
A.> Not exactly.
A.> He committed suicide when he saw the message.
>What?
A.> Better to die than be killed, I guess.
A.> But even after his death, S continued to send the messages.
A.> The first one that arrived after his death mail congratulated him for avoiding his death.
>But he still died.
A.> Not the way the message predicted him to.
A.> Anyway
A.> S continued to send the death mails, only they predicted other people’s deaths instead of his.
A.> And two of the most recent ones
A.> predicted your deaths.
>Then the next victim of the attack is going to be
A.> Takeshi Kurosawa.
>So we’ve received the same message.
A.> So we have.
A.> Anyone you know?
>I don’t think so.
A.> That’s troubling.
A.> With a name as common as that and no face to go by, it’s going to be a hassle to find him.
>Why do you want to find him?
A.> To save him, of course.
>Are you serious?
A.> Of course I am.
A.> Isn’t it natural for people to do what they can to help others?
>But he’s a stranger.
A.> So were you.
>You saved me?
A.> Tried to, anyway.
A.> The first time, we couldn’t find you in time
A.> but you were fine anyway
A.> But it seems this time, you owe us your life.
>So you’re with that samurai woman?
A.> Yeah. Her name’s Meira.
A.> I’m sort of busy myself, and she’s eager and willing to fight, so I sent her out to do the fighting.
>Thanks.
A.> You’re welcome.
A.> But if you really want to thank me, you can help me.
>How?
A.> Well for now you can start by helping to protect the next victim.
>I can’t do anything though
>I can’t fight those monsters
A.> You’re surrounded by those who can, aren’t you?
>How much do you know about me?
A.> Let’s just say “a lot” and leave it at that.

Creepy. I take a look out the window, briefly scanning the area, expecting to see someone peering inside with a pair of binoculars. Not spotting anything, I return to the computer, resting my fingers on the keyboard again.

>I have another question to ask
A.> Go ahead.
>What’s with those instances of people disappearing and reappearing?
A.> You mean when there’s an attack?
>Yeah.
A.> Magic.
>Come on, be serious.
A.> I am serious.
A.> I haven’t really had a chance to do a thorough analysis on its effects
A.> But from what I can tell it’s a variation of a time-and-space spell on a massive, dimensional scale.
>what
A.> It’s a bit difficult to explain to someone with no knowledge of magic
A.> But to put it simply
A.> It transports select few individuals from this current world
A.> As in, the normal world where you live
A.> To a “copy” world.
>what
A.> The moment the spell is activated, it places the real world in a complete stasis
A.> In an instant, all non-organic objects are “copied” and “pasted” into a world separate from the real one.
A.> following that, select individuals are placed in the replica world.
A.> From my observations, this includes those from the other world like me, the victim, and the would-be murderer.
>You mean we get teleported to a fake world?
A.> Pretty much that yeah.
A.> I’m not sure how wide the range of the spell is
A.> But I’m guessing it’s between the size of a capital city to the entire nation of Japan.
>That’s insane.
A.> Tell me about it. It would take someone with immense magical power to be able to pull off something like that.
A.> Technology goes crapshoot within the fake world, too.
A.> Electricity, clockwork, etc.
A.> Everything stops functioning once you’re there.

Wait, what? You finally take a glance at the clock display of the computer’s taskbar. 15:18… No fucking way. So time actually did stop? This is getting more and more insane…

>Just what the hell is with those monsters? What are they?
A.> They’re not from our world.
A.> They’re definitely something like youkai, but I’ve never seen ones like them in Gensokyo.
>Why are you people here?
A.> I don’t really know myself.
A.> My arrival here was very abrupt and sudden.
A.> It’s possible that whatever’s summoning those monsters here also ended up summoning us, but until I can figure out what’s behind that, that’s a dead lead.
A.> Also, I need to ask you something myself.
>What is it?
A.> I may not hold all the answers, but there’s someone else who probably does.
A.> The spell, the monsters, the messages.
>You mean S, right?
A.> Of course.
A.> The most important thing right now, other than staying alive, is to uncover his identity and his motives.
A.> If that’s made possible, then all the answers to our questions can be obtained.
>So what do you suppose we do?
A.> First of all, we should decide on an angle to approach this from?
>What?
A.> Whether S is acting as our guardian
A.> or our enemy.
>But isn’t S warning us about the attacks?
A.> Maybe
A.> If you believe that he can tell the future
A.> But there’s another possibility.
>Like?
A.> Think about this more logically.
A.> Ignore the fact that there are monsters.
A.> Someone sends you a message predicting your death.
A.> What’s one way that someone can be absolutely sure that you will die at that time?

…oh my god, why hadn’t I put more thought into that?

>if they’re planning to commit the murder themselves.
A.> Very good.
A.> It’s possible that S himself is the one sending those monsters after you.
>But why would he bother sending us those messages?
A.> Good question.
A.> But based on the information we have so far
A.> Do you think that S is trying to protect us? Or is he hostile?

[ ] Hostile.
[ ] Not hostile.
>> No. 24680
[X] "It's too soon to tell."
[X] "...But I'll be surprised as hell if he doesn't turn out to be hostile."

He hasn't said anything overtly hostile, and he does wish us a good day with every e-mail. No point in jumping to conclusions; it's not as though it's going to affect our behavior at all.
>> No. 24681
[X] "It's too soon to tell."
[X] "...But I'll be surprised as hell if he doesn't turn out to be hostile."

Also in Devil Survivor, the e-mails predicting death seems to have "have an nice day" as a scarastic remark more than something supportive.
>> No. 24683
[x] I'd have said "not hostile" before now, but I guess it could go either way. How about "weird and suspicious"?
>> No. 24685
Yeah, I'm pretty sure A. Is Rika/Rikako.
>> No. 24686
[x] "It's too soon to tell."

>>24680
I laughed.
>> No. 24689
[X] "It's too soon to tell."
[X] "...But I'll be surprised as hell if he doesn't turn out to be hostile."

this is good.
>> No. 24690
[x] "It's too soon to tell."
>> No. 24692
[x] "It's too soon to tell."
From a storypoint perspective, the most ATLUS approach would be this:

S: Good.
A: Betrayer, bad.

But let's not base ourselves on cliches.
>> No. 24693
[X] "It's too soon to tell."
[X] "...But I'll be surprised as hell if he doesn't turn out to be hostile."
>> No. 24695
>>24692

>But let's not base ourselves on cliches.

Funny how you say that since many stories are shackled by such cliches, VN ones to be exact.
>> No. 24719
File 126485344392.png - (1.09MB , 900x1271 , fb9ac27c69c1ec969900c600d559dcfe.png ) [iqdb]
24719
Have some Yuuka while we wait.
>> No. 24751
>How the hell should I know?
>It’s not like we have much information to go by.
A.> Not even a hunch or a guess?
>Well
>I’d be pretty damn surprised if it turned out that he isn’t hostile.
A.> Yeah, I think that’s the reasonable way to look over what little we know at the moment.
A.> It’s not a good idea to blindly trust an enigma like that guy.
A.> I’m not completely sure, but I’m almost certain that those monsters are summoned in order to target the victim specified in the messages.
A.> I’ll have to study their behavior, I suppose.
A.> From here on, pay close attention to any messages S may send you.
A.> Keep an eye on your inbox.
>I got it.
A.> And another thing.
A.> If it’s possible, I’d like to meet with you all.
A.> Sometime soon, I mean.
>What do you want me to do about it?
A.> Nothing for now.
A.> Just letting you know.
A.> I’ll provide the date and location when I’m good and ready. Bring everyone then.
>Can’t you just come over?
A.> No.
>Alright, fine.
A.> Check your desktop.
A.> MaS.exe

Placing my hand on my mouse, I minimize my web browser to return to the desktop, cluttered with shortcuts, folders, and text files. I immediately notice an unfamiliar icon, depicting a monochrome gear. MaS.exe? When did she transfer over something like this…?

A.> If you obtain any valuable info or if you need to contact me
A.> just double-click that executable.
A.> It’ll open up this window.
>Okay, got it.
A.> Oh, and keep your computer on.
A.> It’ll be more convenient that way.
>Oh
>Uh
>You’re not going to pull any sensitive info from this machine, are you?
A.> wouldn’t dream of it.

I hope I can trust that.

A.> Don’t forget
A.> You agreed to help me find the next victim.
A.> Takeshi Kurosawa.
>I did?
A.> Terminating program.

The chat window freezes up, and then blinks out of sight. I stare at the monitor for a while, mulling over all the new information I’ve gained from the exchange. So I’m not the only one receiving those messages from S, and now that hacker A. expects me to find out who exactly the death mail’s next victim is so we can protect him. Give me a break. I’m no hero. I’m not obligated to do any of thi-oh, right, I guess I do kind of owe that samurai partner of hers my life.

Still, there’s so much I can’t wrap my head around. What the hell was that all about the “replica world” and the “real world” being in stasis? Am I being transported to some kind of an alternate dimension every time something like what happened earlier today occurs? And then there’s that suggestion that S is the one behind all this. Well, if he is, I’d sure like to give the guy a swift kick in the nuts.

Ah hell, there are still a couple of days before the predicted death of Kurosawa or whatever the heck his name is. I shouldn’t be fretting over this too much. Not when I’m this tired and worn out. It’s only now that I’ve finished speaking with the hacker that I feel just how thirsty and parched my throat is, and how sore my legs are. I’m going to go down a cup of water and then knock out.

Yawning loudly, I get out of my chair, massaging my tired shoulders. I’ve been doing a little too much running lately: running from that samurai chick, running from the police, running from those monsters. Sheesh, what am I going to have to run away from next? A stampede of African elephants?

I swing open the door to my room, stepping out the doorway. As I do so, I’m confronted by the appearance of a very troublesome person, likewise just stepping out of a room. To be more specific, the bathroom opposite my room.

“Ah, hello!” Kotohime greets me with a cheerful grin. Clenched tightly in her hands are… a bunch of toothbrushes?

“What are you doing with those?” I ask, pointing at the brushes in her hands.

“With what?”

I jab at her forehead with a finger, nudging her head back to a small yelp before pointing at the toothbrushes again. “The toothbrushes.”

“Oh,” she says, looking down at her hands. She stares at them for a while, and then looks back up with a wide grin. “They’re very cute,” she says.

“Uh…huh…” I mumble, rubbing the back of my head. “So, what are you doing with them?”

“Huh?” She blinks at the question, as if not understanding it. “Um…” she falls silent, looking back at the toothbrushes in her hands. “They’re in a variety of colors,” she finally says, grinning wide again.

“That’s not what I asked, though…” I say while sighing. Is she a klepto on top of everything?

“Can I have the red one?” she asks eagerly.

“No, I’m using the red one.”

“Oh…” she hangs her head, looking disappointed. “That’s too bad. I think red is the strongest color.”

“You’re attaching power levels to them now?” I ask bemusedly. “How do you figure that red is the strongest?”

“Well…” she shifts all but the red toothbrush to one hand, vigorously shoving the lone dental cleaning instrument in my face. “Look! Doesn’t red give off a feeling of power?”

I brush aside her hand. “We are still talking about toothbrushes, right?” I ask for clarification.

She politely folds her hands together with the toothbrushes between her palms, nodding. “Yes, we’re talking about toothbrushes,” she says in that ever so cheerful tone of hers.

“Heh, whatever,” I say with a snort, shrugging my shoulders. “Anyway, I’m using the red one already. But if there’re any other colors you want, go ask around and see what’s left. Oh, and put them back where they belong, would you?”

“Yes sir!” she says, nodding obediently. She then turns around and heads back into the bathroom. Every conversation with her just adds to my conclusion that she’s just not right in the head somewhere.

---

As I enter the living room, the first thing I notice is that Elly’s spread over the couch, peacefully napping. Well, maybe not so peacefully, because she’s snoring a bit, but her expression looks pretty comfortable. It’s hard to believe that just an hour or so ago she looked like she was going to die. I glance at the rip in her dress showing bare skin, where the monster struck. The healed wound looks raw and red, but there’s no bleeding. Youkai really are made of sterner stuff than us, huh?

I resist the urge to pinch her nose while she sleeps, instead settling for covering her face with her hat before heading off to the kitchen. A foul smell greets me as I step inside, followed by the feeling of soft, fuzzy fur beneath one of my bare feet, which is then succeeded by an irritated yowl and a few scratches on my leg. Stupid cat. It’s not like I meant to step on its tail.

But more importantly…

“Hm hm hm~” Ellen hums by the stove, apparently not noticing me enter the kitchen. Before her is a giant pot; the source of the foul smell. It contains a blackish-green liquid, bubbling and boiling and giving off a terrible, vomit-inducing scent. What the… what the hell is that? Is she cooking something? Because I am not going to be the one to taste test that, whatever it is.

[ ] Inquire.
[ ] Just go about what you were going to do.
>> No. 24752
[x] Just go about what you were going to do.
-[x] Eat something now, so that you won't be hungry come dinner.
>> No. 24753
[x] Inquire.
-[x] 'I'm afraid to ask but... what is that?'
>> No. 24754
[ø] Inquire.
-[ø] 'I'm afraid to ask but... what is that?'
-[ø] Eat something now, so that you won't be hungry come dinner.

Vote combining.
>> No. 24755
[x] Inquire.
-[x] 'I'm afraid to ask but... what is that?'
-[x] Eat something now, so that you won't be hungry come dinner.~
>> No. 24756
[x] Just go about what you were going to do.
-[x] Eat something now, so that you won't be hungry come dinner.
>> No. 24760
[x] Inquire.
-[x] 'I'm afraid to ask but... what is that?'
-[x] Eat something now, so that you won't be hungry come dinner.
>> No. 24764
{Inquire.
- {'I'm afraid to ask but... what is that?'}}
{Eat something now, so that you won't be hungry come dinner.}
>> No. 24773
[x] Inquire.
-[x] 'I'm afraid to ask but... what is that?'
-[x] Eat something now, so that you won't be hungry come dinner.
>> No. 24774
File 126525694992.jpg - (98.64KB , 500x720 , 3410702.jpg ) [iqdb]
24774
…Still, I want to know just what the hell she’s making. Pinching my nose and attempting to breathe through my mouth as much as I can, I step closer to Ellen, looking over her shoulder and into the cooking pot. She’s stirring the disgusting looking, bubbling mixture with a ladle while humming happily, still not aware of my presence.

“Uh, I’m not sure if I want to know, but…” I begin, making a scrunched up expression as I continue to watch the content of the pot boil. “What is that?”

“Fuwah!” The girl gives a small jump, finally noticing me. She turns around and greets me with a wide and cheerful smile, taking her attention off the pot. “Oh, welcome back!” she says.

“Right, thanks,” I nod, before pointing at the pot. “But, uh, what’s that?”

“This?” she gestures toward the pot. Receiving a nod in response, she takes a hold of the ladle again, giving the mixture a stir while still maintaining eye contact with me. “It’s a magic potion,” she says happily.

“Magic… potion?” I repeat.

“Yup, a magic potion!” she nods vigorously, accidentally splashing some of the foul substance around with her overenthusiastic movements. “It’s a wonderful elixir that’ll make you feel all fluffy-fluffy and light!”

Are you… are you mixing up a drug in my kitchen?

“Is that so…” I say, backing away slightly. This isn’t illegal, is it? “Uh, you said before, you had a shop, right?”

“I did!” she replies quickly. “It was… um…” She stops, blinking for a bit while hardening her expression. “Um…what kind of a shop was it again?”

“You said it was a magic shop, right?”

“Oh!” she says, letting the ladle rest inside the pot while clapping her hands together. “Yeah! There were a lot of charms and stuff, and lots of potions, too…”

…Mixing up potions and selling magic charms. Sure does sound like a witch, alright. So the question, then, is…

“So can you use magic?” I ask her, leaning back against the wall.

“Fueeh?” Ellen cocks her head to the side, her hands at her waist. “Magic?”

“You know, magic,” I repeat. “If you can, I’d like to see it.”

“Umm…” She furrows her brows in concentration, as if trying very hard to recall something.

She reaches into her dress and produces a small memo book, flipping through the pages. From what I can see of its contents, there seems to be a lot of things written down in very small print, filling up each page with lines and lines of notes. Just what does she need to write all of that down for?

She stops at a certain page, perusing its contents. From what I can see of it from here, I can see a bunch of diagrams, pictures, and text written in a language I don’t recognize at all. Is this her spell book or something? Finally, she puts away the memo book, looking satisfied.

“There’re a lot of different types of magic and spells,” she says brightly. “Like spells that go shoom-shoom’.” She points a finger to the ceiling, and unexpectedly, a shower of star shapes gush out from its tip.

With widened eyes, I watch as the stars rise up into the air and gently drift back down like falling leaves, breaking up into glowing particles as they descend.

“And spells that go ‘fwham-fwham’!” Ellen continues, this time, giving a bit of a flourish with both of her hands. This time, glowing hearts form around her body, traveling with her as she spins herself around like a top. She reaches out with her arms as she comes to a stop, and the hearts launch themselves away from her body, gently floating up like airborne bubbles. I reach out and poke one with a finger. A small, tingling sensation runs through my hand as the floating heart bursts with an audible “pop!”

“Whoa, that’s pretty neat!” I say, impressed. It’s like fireworks, but cooler. Immediately, I go about popping the rest of the hearts with child-like enthusiasm.

“Heehee~” Ellen giggles proudly, covering her wide grin with her hands.

“By the way, is that thing supposed to do that?” I point at the cooking pot behind her, nearly overflowing with disgusting green foam.

“Fueh?” she slowly turns back to the pot, and jumps in surprise. “Fuwah! Oh no!” she says in a tone of distress, hurriedly rushing over to the pot and clutching up her ladle. She lifts it up, ready to act… only, she doesn’t. She instead pauses, mumbling to herself. “Um… let’s see, when something like this happens… what was I supposed to do again…?”

Meanwhile, the pot continues to overflow with the “magic potion.”

[ ] Get out of the kitchen.
[ ] Pull her away.
[ ] Watch.
>> No. 24776
[X] Turn off the stove.
[X] Be ready to make a break for the door if the 'potion' keeps boiling after that.
>> No. 24778
[X] Turn off the stove.
[X] Be ready to make a break for the door if the 'potion' keeps boiling after that.

>It’s a wonderful elixir that’ll make you feel all fluffy-fluffy and light!
Holy fuck, we are running a meth lab. At least we don't have to worry about money now.
>> No. 24779
[x] Try to remind her that she was making a magic potion
-[x] If that fails, turn the stove off and pull her away to see what happens.
>> No. 24784
[x] Grab her by the hand and run out of the house screaming. Everybody else can fend for themselves. We'll miss them... Not really, but it's a nice thing to say, regardless.

lolexplosions

But hey, at least we'll be saving the ones that are actually pleasant to be around, right?
>> No. 24785
[X] Turn off the stove.
[X] Be ready to make a break for the door if the 'potion' keeps boiling after that.
>> No. 24787
[x] Try to remind her that she was making a magic potion
-[x] If that fails, turn the stove off and pull her away to see what happens.
The most obvious solution is often the correct one.
>> No. 24788
[ ] Grab her by the hand and run out of the house screaming. Everybody else can fend for themselves. We'll miss them... Not really, but it's a nice thing to say, regardless.
>> No. 24791
[X] Turn off the stove.
[X] Be ready to make a break for the door if the 'potion' keeps boiling after that
>> No. 24794
[B] Turn off the stove.
[B] Be ready to make a break for the door if the potion keeps boiling after that.
>> No. 24798
[x] >>24776 , but also shove it onto an unused burner.

It'll cool down even faster that way.
>> No. 24816
“Holy…” I mumble as I hurry past Ellen, reaching for the stove knob and shutting off the fire as fast as I can. I reach for the handles of the pot to try to get it away from the burner, but the white-hot metal singes my fingertips, causing me to instinctively draw back my hands away. That’s hot!

“Oh! I got it now!” Ellen says, pounding one hand with a closed fist. “Um, when this potion starts to overheat…”

“What?” I say, turning my head to her. “What do we do?”

“…you should get away from it as soon as possible,” she finishes with a cheerful grin, apparently taking pride in herself for being able to remember that.

While normally, I’d freak out and shout at her as to why she’s telling me that just now, I don’t have the heart to get mad at her. Besides, there’s something more important to take care of right now, like that cooking pot full of what looks to me like acidic sludge that’s threatening to overflow. Speaking of which, now it’s started to make this high-pitched whistling sound, and I’m guessing that can’t be too good.

I grab Ellen by her wrist, ready to haul our asses out of there. I’m actually not quite sure what’s going to happen, but hell, if she says we need to get away from there, I’m certainly not going to protest about it. As I turn to run, I take one last look back at the boiling pot. “Oh shit-!” I yell as the surface of the “potion” glows a brilliant white, squeezing my eyes shut.

Kaboom!



No pain. No flames. Nothing. I think I’m still in one piece. Slowly, I relax my grip on Ellen’s wrist, opening my eyes and taking a look around. The first thing I notice is that the kitchen’s filled with this bizarre green mist. I look over to the pot. It’s almost completely empty, save for a few spots of that green gunk. What just happened…?

“Pffthah!” I snort involuntarily, rapidly blinking my eyes. What was that? That was like… like a sneeze of some sort. “Khhpfffthah!” There it goes again! “Khhahahah…ahahahahahahaha!” I suddenly burst out into laughter, doubling over on the spot.

“Ahaha, ahahahaha!” Ellen soon joins me in laughter, leaning against the wall and holding her side. “Oh, oh no—ahahaha!” she manages to gasp out in between fits of laughing and giggling, tears leaking out of her eyes.

“Pffhahahahaha!” I continue to bellow out, collapsing to the ground while all curled up, holding my stomach with both hands, kicking at the air while continuing to laugh. Shit, is this laughing gas of some sort!? Ugh, I’m starting to feel dizzy… I have to get away from this weird mist that’s around, or I’m going to end up dying from laughter!

That’s easier said than done, though. I’m laughing it up so hard that my stomach’s aching and I can barely even move my legs.

“Ehhh? What’s going on here~?” Kotohime’s voice inquires from outside of the kitchen. Crap, if she comes in here, she’ll start laughing too.

“W-wait…hahahaha!” I struggle to speak, pushing myself off from the ground, using a nearby cabinet as support. “Kotohime…! Don’t, don’t come in, ahahahahaha!”

“Huh? Why not?” she asks, peering inside. She blinks as she looks about the room curiously, staring at all the green mist present in the kitchen, then at the two of you laughing and cackling like maniacs while writhing around. “Did something very funny happen?” she asks, stepping inside.

“Hol-hold, hold your breath—hahaha!” I manage to say to her, struggling to keep myself standing. Okay, I am really starting to feel lightheaded now. I’m going to pass out if this keeps up!

“Um… I don’t really understand why you’re…” Kotohime suddenly pauses, her nose twitching a little. She brings her sleeve to her face, letting out a squeak-like sneeze. She stands still for a moment, and then begins giggling like crazy into her sleeve, stumbling further into the room as she staggers around, bumping into the wall.

Damn it. It’s always one thing after another. Taking a deep breath, I do my best to resist the urge to continue to laugh as I push myself away from the cabinet, staggering over to Ellen and grabbing her wrist again. It’s almost painful to keep the laughter in, but I manage to do just that, tugging at the girl’s arm. She stumbles over and nearly falls against me, but I secure her waist under one arm. I drag myself to the kitchen entrance, grabbing Kotohime’s arm and pulling her along on the way.

I breathe a sigh of relief as we exit the kitchen, away from that fiendish green laugh gas, and promptly burst into the bout of laughter I’ve been suppressing while making my rescue. I let go of the girls and weakly fall to my knees, gasping for air. I turn to my back, looking back at the kitchen. Crap, the gas is going to leak out into the living room.

Kotohime stops laughing long enough to straighten herself up, pointing her palms at the kitchen entrance. She mutters something under her breath. Is she…? I get up from the ground, holding my sore stomach. I reach out with one hand toward what should be empty space, but I can feel an invisible, glassy surface erect there. Huh.

“Virus containment successful,” she says, smiling. “That was fun!”

“What about it was fun?” I say bitterly with a tired out voice, my throat sore from all the laughing.

“People laugh when it’s fun, right?”

Not when the laughter is forced.

Ellen sits up from the ground, wincing. “Sorry,” she says quietly. “I messed up.”

“That’s alright,” I say, sighing. “So how do we get rid of that thing?” I point at the green gas still lurking in the kitchen.

“Um, it should dissipate on its own in a while,” she replies, though she doesn’t look all too sure.

“Alright then,” I shrug, turning to Kotohime. “Hey, can you keep this up until all that stuff is gone?”

“Roger!” she responds with a military salute.

“Then I’m going to sleep,” I say, rubbing the back of my neck as I whirl about to head back to my room.

It’s not until I’m at the door that I remember that the whole reason why I headed into the kitchen was to grab a drink. And once I’ve reminded myself of that, the thirst comes back to me in full force. No, not full force, but twice as much as before! Damn it, and now I can’t go back to the kitchen to get a drink now. What am I supposed to do now, drink out of the bathroom sink?

[ ] Fuck it. Go to bed.
[ ] Go outside and buy a drink for yourself.
>> No. 24817
[X] Fuck it. Go to bed.

We've been a hikikomori for long enough to know how to ignore problems like this.
>> No. 24819
[x] drink out of the bathroom sink?
I love this guy
>> No. 24820
>>24819
[x] Drink out of the toilet.

Now if only Elly were to walk in on us...
>> No. 24821
[x] Go outside and buy a drink for yourself.

Going to bed thirsty sucks.
>> No. 24823
[x] Go outside and buy a drink for yourself.
Need a break from the madness
>> No. 24824
[x] Go outside and buy a drink for yourself.
>> No. 24826
[x] Go outside and buy a drink for yourself.
>> No. 24828
[ø] Go outside and buy a drink for yourself.

that was one hell of an update.
>> No. 24832
[x] Fuck it. Go to bed.
>> No. 24835
>Kotohime being with it enough to understand the danger of a situation and able to come up with a useful and effective remedy in a timely manner
what
what is this I don't even
>> No. 24837
[] Drink out of the toilet. Tap waters in Japan is safe
>> No. 24838
File 126551657473.jpg - (13.12KB , 320x402 , Water2.jpg ) [iqdb]
24838
[x] Drink out of the bathroom sink

You fucking pansy. Cups are easy mode.
>> No. 24839
>>24838
Don't do it! It gives like 8 rads
>> No. 24844
>>24820
Now if you would make Elly do it i would agree. Bad Girls have to be punished.
>> No. 24856
File 126560272787.jpg - (70.80KB , 374x665 , 4b498da5d831c738cf10b9be92170d94.jpg ) [iqdb]
24856
[x] Go outside and buy a drink for yourself.
------

…Fuck it, I don’t really feel like drinking out of the sink, and I could really go for a can of beer or two right about now, anyway. The whole day’s been an exhausting ordeal, and I don’t want to have to go back out again with my body being as tired as it is right now, but it’s better than going to bed while I’m dying of thirst.

I open the door to my room to change into my jeans, making sure I have my wallet on me before heading back out and to the front door of my home. I’ll just run down to that convenient store and get myself a few cold cans of beer. Hopefully, I won’t get jumped by a monster like I did the last time I went there. Well, if I can trust that e-mail, the next attack won’t be for a few days, anyway, and it won’t even target me, so, I should be safe… right?

Well, whatever.

Sighing over my predicaments, and really wishing my mouth wasn’t feeling so dry, I push open the metal door and head outside. It’s only around 16:00, so the day’s yet bright. I step down the staircase leading to the house and through the front gate, hands shoved in my pockets. I walk down the sidewalk, yawning loudly. I swear, there’s some sort of cosmic conspiracy to drive me insane. It’s always one problem after another…

Continuing to walk, I see an unusual sight: a short little blonde girl, looking about ten to twelve and wearing a big blue ribbon in her hair and a blue-white dress, running towards me. She’s clutching a thick volume of a book to herself as she runs. She turns her head to me as she passes by, making eye contact for a brief moment before turning her head away. I look back behind me, watching her grow smaller as she becomes farther and farther away. I get this feeling that I’ve seen her somewhere before already, but I can’t remember where.

Shrugging off the feeling, I silently continue my trek to the convenience store. Once I’m there, I shell out the bill and grab a six-pack of beer, carrying in a plastic bag. As soon as I’m out of the doors, I set the bag down and retrieve a can from it, popping the tab open and greedily gulping down its content. Ahhhh! This burning sensation in my throat! Finally, I feel like I’m alive again. Holding the bag in one hand and the beer can in the other, I prepare to make my way back to my home, where I can hopefully go to take that nap without any interruptions.

Only…

I look back behind me. I see that little girl from earlier, not far off from me. She’s just standing there, staring straight forward. What’s up with her? Turning back around, I continue to walk. As I do so, I look over my shoulder. She’s started walking now. Is she following me? I stop again, turning around. She stops walking as well. I start walking again. She starts walking again. What the hell?

I turn back my head away, shaking it as I continue to be off on my way. At this point, I just don’t care about anything at all. Wait, is she getting closer? Her footsteps sound louder now. I stop, looking back over my shoulder again. The girl bumps into my back, surprised by my sudden halt and stumbling back a few steps.

“Can I help you?” I ask, facing her. “Are you lost or something?”

She shies away, hugging the book in her arms tighter to herself as she shrinks back, looking at me warily. She doesn’t do anything else, though. She doesn’t even answer my question, making no sound at all.

Shrugging, I turn back around. If she’s not going to say anything, then that’s fine. But as I lift my foot to start walking again, I feel a tug on the back of my shirt. I look back to see the girl clutching it in her fingers, staring up at me with unblinking gold eyes.

“On the eve of the New Year,” she says clearly and without emotion, “All will become as one; a magnificent land of wonder.”

“…Huh?” I raise an eyebrow. “What was that?”

The girl clams up, not saying anything further, but still keeps the back of my shirt tightly in the grip of her hand. What was that she said? A magnificent world? What is she talking about? No, wait, before that, who is this kid?

“What are you staring at?”

Yuuka’s voice. I look away to face her, walking toward me while holding up her parasol in her hand. What am I staring at? Shouldn’t it be obvious—

I look back to where the little girl was just a moment ago, before Yuuka drew my attention. She’s gone. Vanished without a trace. What the hell?

“What’s wrong?” Yuuka asks me, somewhat puzzled. “You look boggled.”

[ ] "It's nothing."
[ ] Explain to her about the girl.
>> No. 24857
[x] Explain to her about the girl.

she might have an idea of what's going on.
>> No. 24858
Votes for "drink from the sink/toilet": 4
Votes for "go to bed": 2
Total votes for staying inside: 6
Total votes for "go outside": 5

Not that this isn't fine too, but it bears pointing out.

[X] Explain to her about the girl.
>> No. 24859
[x] Explain to her about the girl.

Best to tell it as it happened.
>> No. 24860
[x] Explain to her about the girl.
>> No. 24861
[x] Explain to her about the girl.
An Alice is fine too
>> No. 24862
[X] Explain to her about the girl.

If we want help from Yuuka we need to keep her informed.
>> No. 24863
>>24858
9 votes for drinking, 8 votes for not drinking. Outside was the more popular drinking option.
>> No. 24864
>>24863
Sorry, guess I wasn't clear; the "total votes for staying inside" number is the sum of the "drink from the sink/toilet" number and the "go to bed" number. There were only 11 votes total, and 6 of them were for some variation of staying inside.
>> No. 24865
>>24864
Oh, you were clear. I was just offering the only justification I saw.
>> No. 24866
>a short little blonde girl, looking about ten to twelve and wearing a big blue ribbon in her hair and a blue-white dress, running towards me
At least now we know what timeline this plays at.

[X] Explain to her about the girl.
Must find loli Alice and hug her. Then take her home.
>> No. 24867
[X] Explain to her about the girl.
>> No. 24868
[x] Explain to her about the girl.

>"On the Eve of the New Year, all will become as one, a magnificent land of wonder."
Sounds like Gensokyo is going to meld or merge with our world or something, so as to provide these folks with a suitably magical environment. Just a wild guess, though.
>> No. 24869
>>24858
He could have, you know, counted the different votes separately.
>> No. 24876
“Huh?” I reply with a bit of a clueless tone, looking around and searching for the girl. She can’t have gone far from here, where is she hiding? Damn it, and she said something really cryptic before she disappeared, too, and now I won’t be able to ask what the hell she meant by that. Damn it, Yuuka, why do you have to have the worst timing?

“Uh, well, wasn’t there a little girl about this high standing next to me just a minute ago?” I ask Yuuka, raising the hand holding the beer can just a little above my waist.

“… Are you drunk?” she asks in response, her eyes lingering for a moment on the can I’m holding in my hand. “What little girl are you talking about?”

…No, I’m not drunk. I haven’t even drunk half the can yet. There’s no way I’d get smashed that easily. But wait, does this mean that she didn’t see that girl? Was I hallucinating the whole time, then? No, that’s not it. With what’s been going around lately, I can safely say that it’s not me who’s gone crazy, but the entire world. So, I shouldn’t be surprised if something unexpected and strange happens. It’s just something I’ll have to get used to, as much as I resent that thought.

“Um, she had short blonde hair. Wore a blue dress. Uh, what else… oh! And she was carrying this thick-looking book around,” I say, using my hands to try to show how big the book was. “Do you know anyone that looks like that, maybe?”

Yuuka raises an eyebrow inquisitively. But she seems suddenly struck with a sudden inspiration, her mouth gaping open slightly. Retaining the shock for only an instant, she immediately masks her surprise with a smirk. “I see…” she says in a slow, drawling voice, her grin growing wider and wider. “Heh. If she’s involved in this, then things might get a little more entertaining after all.”

“So… she’s someone you know, then?”

“I suppose you could say that,” she says off-handedly, turning around in the direction of our abode. She turns her head to me. “Come on,” she says. “If you saw that girl, then I have a few things to ask you.”

I follow after her as she begins walking, awkwardly stepping along at her side.

“Did she talk to you about anything?” Yuuka asks me without looking at me.

“Uh… hang on, lemme try to remember,” I say, rubbing the back of my neck nervously. What did she say again…? “Something about… something about all becoming a wonderland. On the eve of the New Year, she said. I think.”

“Is that so…” Yuuka says distantly, expressionless. “…does she mean to merge the outside world with Gensokyo? That would mean the Great Border hasn’t completely collapsed yet…” I hear her mutter to herself. I wonder what she’s talking about. If Gensokyo’s the name of their fantasy land, what’s the Great Border? A… border between our world and theirs? That’s ridiculous… how can anyone separate worlds like that?

Yuuka seems too busy contemplating matters to ask any questions than just the one, so we end up walking back home in silence. I allow her to take the lead as we climb up the stairs, though she stands and waits in front of the door, refusing to move and staring directly at me until I open the door for her. Such a haughty…

“Ah!” I suddenly remember something as we head inside. “Yuuka.”

“Hm?”

“Did you find anything out while you were out there?” I ask her. She had gone out to investigate earlier, hadn’t she?

“Not really,” she answers immediately and shamelessly, folding up her parasol and letting it rest on the wall next to her. “I did meet some interesting people, though. Or should I say an interesting person, instead?” she adds that last part as an afterthought, seemingly addressing herself.

“Uh… right,” I say, not really having any idea what or who she’s talking about. As for me, I found out plenty of stuff, but let’s not bring that up until I’m feeling a bit more energetic. I don’t want her shaking me for answers when I’m all fatigued like this.

We part our ways, Yuuka heading off to her room to sleep while I go to stuff the cans into the fridge. Sheesh, that girl sure does sleep a lot. Well, I guess I can’t really complain about it at the moment, since I’m planning to take a nap as well. Luckily for me, the kitchen seems to have cleared out of all that green stuff by the time I’ve returned, and the barrier thingy in the doorway’s been lifted as well. I can feel a slight itch in my throat as I enter the kitchen, but I don’t burst out into laughter or anything. I shove the remaining cans, plastic bag and all, into the fridge.

I head into the bathroom next to take a leak, washing my hands once I’ve finished my business. Feeling more tired out than ever, I push the door open, and without even bothering to change out of my jeans, collapse on top of the bed. My eyelids drift down, and almost immediately, I fall asleep.

------


Bump.

Ba-bump bump bump.

Huh, what?

I’m suddenly startled awake when the bed gives an abrupt jump, nearly throwing me off of it. I hastily lift head up, looking around dazedly with groggy eyes. It’s gotten pretty dark. I must have been asleep for a while. But never mind that! What was that feeling just now? An earthquake? But earthquakes never happen here!

“Wha-!?”

I’m suddenly forced off the bed as something pulls the bed sheet out from under me, sending me tumbling to the floor with a crash. The pale white bed sheet flies up into the air, floating around the room, its slow, gentle movements reminiscent of a swimming fish. As it circles the room, it gives a ghostly wail, going like “OooooooOOOOOoooooohhh!”

[ ] Act scared.
[ ] Unamused.
>> No. 24878
[x] Act scared.

Let's humor her. But a remark about the great border collapsing? Just what is going on in this story?
>> No. 24879
[x] Unamused.

It's the middle of the goddamned night.
>> No. 24884
[X] Unamused.
[X] "If you're going to come into my room in the middle of the night, at least show up in person and not as a bedsheet ghost."

In before it's not Kana.
>> No. 24886
[ø] Act scared.
>> No. 24887
[ ] Act scared.
>> No. 24888
[x]Grab the covers and go back to bed.
>> No. 24890
[X] Gently take the sheet back.
[X] "Sorry, but a certain special lady has set my standards a little higher than that. I'll be needing those sheets back for when she scares me into bed; I'm counting on them not to keep her out."
>> No. 24893
>merging the worlds
Called that shit.

[x] Act scared.
then
[x] >>24884
>> No. 24895
[X] Unamused.
[X] "If you're going to come into my room in the middle of the night, at least show up in person and not as a bedsheet ghost."

I wonder what a Ghost feels like.
>> No. 24896
[X] Unamused.
[X] "If you're going to come into my room in the middle of the night, at least show up in person and not as a bedsheet ghost."
>> No. 24902
[x] Act scared.
>> No. 24903
[x] Act scared.
>> No. 24907
{Gently take the sheet back.
- {"Sorry, but a certain special lady has set my standards a little higher than that. I'll be needing those sheets back for when she scares me into bed; I'm counting on them not to keep her out."}}

I'm calling not Kana.
>> No. 24917
[X] Unamused.
[X] "If you're going to come into my room in the middle of the night, at least show up in person and not as a bedsheet ghost."
>> No. 24931
[grouper] Gently take the sheet back.
[cod] "Sorry, but a certain special lady has set my standards a little higher than that. I'll be needing those sheets back for when she scares me into bed; I'm counting on them not to keep her out."
>> No. 24943
[X] Unamused.
[X] "If you're going to come into my room in the middle of the night, at least show up in person and not as a bedsheet ghost."
>> No. 24953
[X] Gently take the sheet back.
[X] "Sorry, but a certain special lady has set my standards a little higher than that. I'll be needing those sheets back for when she scares me into bed; I'm counting on them not to keep her out."
>> No. 24963
“Goddamn it, Kana…” I grumble irritably as I slowly lift myself up, rubbing my sore back. “If you’re going to come into my room and wake me up in the middle of the night, at least do it in person and not as a bed sheet ghost.”

The flying bed sheet continues to circle around the room while wailing loudly, until it swoops down toward me. Before I can react, the sheet wraps itself tightly around me, restricting the use of my arms and legs and encasing me in a sort of a cloth cocoon. With widened eyes, I begin to fall back, losing my balance. Before I hit the ground, though, I feel my body floating up.

“Whoa, what!?” I say in disbelief as I’m lifted up from the ground by a mysterious force. I struggle against the sheet I’m all rolled up in, but it’s clinging so tightly to my skin, it’s impossible to try to loosen myself.

Kana suddenly appears in front of me, fading into my view with that ever present smile of mischief on her face, sticking out a tongue at me. “I had to wake you up somehow, master,” she says, giving me a gentle poke on the bridge of my nose. “It’s dinner time.”

“It is?” I say, turning my head—the only thing I can really move around at the moment—and looking out the window. It looks so dark out there I figured it was nighttime already.

“That’s right, master,” Kana replies. “It’s not healthy to skip a meal.”

“Right, thanks, but uh… can you let me down now?”

She giggles into her hand, crossing her arms together as she cocks her head to the side. “I don’t know, master,” she says in a slightly gloating tone of voice. “You don’t seem to have really appreciated the bed sheet ghost very much.”

“It’s scary, it’s scary!” I say impatiently, struggling. “Just let me down already! I don’t like this!”

“No respect at all, master,” Kana says, ignoring me and shaking her head hopelessly. “It’s undeniably one of the classics, you know. Your reaction was completely unacceptable. I’m angry now.” She turns around, facing the opposite direction from me, pouting.

“I’m sorry, geez! Lemme down already!”

Kana turns back around, facing me again with that smile of hers. Leaning forward so that her eyes are on level with mine, she touches a cheek with her hand. “Well, I suppose I could let it slide just this once,” she says playfully. She gives me a tap on the forehead, and immediately, the bed sheet loosens around me, sending me to the ground. As I lift myself up from the floor for the second time, the sheet flies back onto the bed, arranging itself neatly beneath the pillow and the blanket.

“Come, master. No dilly-dallying!” the maid says from the door way, waiting for me.

Muttering a few choice words about her under my breath, I follow her as I step out of my room and into the living room, yawning loudly on the way. At the table, the other temporary residents of the house are already seated there: Yuuka looking calm and collected as always, Elly eating her meal as though she had been starving for two days, and Kotohime and Ellen engaging in a discussion I doubt anyone sane can make heads or tails of.

Still feeling a bit drowsy, I mostly eat my meal in silence, trying my best at tuning out what I’m sure is quite the riveting conversation about how the shape of a certain kind of bread is somehow linked to some ancient curse which can only be lifted by the seven prism-colored rabbits, only they’re not really seven anymore because the youngest member is currently suffering through depression and has retired from the business, and… Well, I sort of just stopped trying to follow along at that point.

“By the way, Elly,” Yuuka calls out suddenly, as if having remembered something only just now. “Did you get a job?”

Elly nearly chokes on her food, pounding at her chest to help get it down. Swallowing hard, she stares at Yuuka. “Huh? A job?” she asks cluelessly.

“You didn’t, did you,” Yuuka’s expression hardens, her lips curled into a scowl.

“N-no, no! I did, I did!” she replies hurriedly. “It was at a… at a…” She stops, turns her head and looks at me, pleading for help with her eyes.

“A daycare,” I finish for her. “She’s been hired at a daycare.”

“Really?” Yuuka raises an eyebrow, her face softening. She quietly sips from her cup. “Good,” she says simply after a momentary pause.

Elly relaxes a bit, letting out a relieved sigh.

[ ] You should let everyone know about what you found out. Discuss it now.
[ ] Attempt to join in on the nonsensical discussion next to you.
[ ] …Hold on, where was Kana all day? Inquire.
>> No. 24964
>“I don’t know, master,” she says in a slightly gloating tone of voice. “You don’t seem to have really appreciated the bed sheet ghost very much.”
hahhaa
[x] You should let everyone know about what you found out. Discuss it now.
>> No. 24965
[x] You should let everyone know about what you found out. Discuss it now.

Your Paranoia really ruined her fun.
>> No. 24970
[x] …Hold on, where was Kana all day? Inquire.

Can't stand daylight? Hidden mode.
>> No. 24971
[x] …Hold on, where was Kana all day? Inquire.
>> No. 24972
[x] …Hold on, where was Kana all day? Inquire.
[x] Fall asleep face first in your dish.
>> No. 24973
[x] …Hold on, where was Kana all day? Inquire.
[x] You should let everyone know about what you found out. Discuss it now.

BECAUSE I CAN.
>> No. 24974
[x] You should let everyone know about what you found out. Discuss it now.
>> No. 24975
[x] …Hold on, where was Kana all day? Inquire.
>> No. 24977
>>24965
She seemed to have quite the blast tho
[x] …Hold on, where was Kana all day? Inquire.
[x] You should let everyone know about what you found out. Discuss it now.
>> No. 24985
[B] …Hold on, where was Kana all day? Inquire.
>> No. 25008
>Master, I am disappoint.

[ø] …Hold on, where was Kana all day? Inquire.
[ø] You should let everyone know about what you found out. Discuss it now.
>> No. 25111
I set down my eating utensils, burping into my hand. Mumbling an “’scuse me,” I pull my chair away from the table, getting up. While I was eating and thinking on a few things, I remembered something: I haven’t seen Kana at all during the day. She wasn’t around to greet me when I came back, and I hadn’t seen her at all since morning until this evening. Just what does she do during the day?

With this question in mind, I head to the kitchen, where she’s already started on the dishes. I do a double take when I enter through the opening, not quite used to seeing dishes hovering in the air on their own. Although it’s something I should expect, I still can’t suppress my surprise at the unnatural. I guess even I’m still grounded by logic.

“Oh, master,” Kana greets me as I head inside, turning around from the sink. If she can make the dishes wash themselves on their own, why is she even watching them? What, does she supervise the dishes or something, like a musical conductor? “Oh nooo,” she says suddenly, touching her hands to her cheeks in mock shyness. “You can’t watch me work! I’m so embarrassed…”

“Yeah, sure,” I say dismissively, moving closer.

She crosses her arms together, smirking a little deviously, her eyes lingering on my movements. “Did you enjoy dinner, master?” she asks.

“Uh-huh,” I nod. “It was great as always.”

“I’m glad you enjoyed it,” she says happily. “I put a lot of effort into my cooking, you know. Choosing the best ingredients is one of the most important parts. Like the meat you ate. Oh, that came from quite a feisty one.” Her facial expression becomes darker, her voice slowly becoming more drawn out and sinister. “What was his name again?”

“Wait a minute, you…?”

“Yahaha,” she giggles while grinning widely. “Just a joke, master. Really, it was only a joke,” she quickly adds when she sees the still mortified look on my face.

“…I should have figured,” I say, running my fingers through my hair while sighing. “Sheesh, do all ghosts enjoy macabre humor like you do?”

“Only about eight out of ten of us,” she replies with a laugh. “So master, what did you come in here for? Oh, maybe you just came in here to admire your beautiful and hardworking maid?” She spins around while holding her dress up, politely curtsying to you. “In that case, feel free to go ahead and take a good look, master,” she says haughtily. “Oh, and throw out some praises while you’re at it.”

“Cute,” I say, snorting. “Actually, I wanted to ask you something?”

“What is it, master?”

“I notice you’re not around much during the day,” I say, leaning back on the fridge. “What do you do?”

“Well, isn’t it natural for a ghost to not be seen during the day?” she asks in return, raising a finger to her lips. “We phantoms are at our strongest during the evening. Sunlight makes us feel a bit woozy, you see. During the day is when I rest.”

“Huh, I guess that makes sense, sorta,” I say, shrugging my shoulders. “You never hear about ghost sightings during daytime.”

“Have I satisfied your curiosity, master?” she asks with her hands folded on top of her apron, her head tilted to the side slightly.

“Yeah, thanks,” I say, nodding.

“Then take care, master,” she says, bowing to me. “Andpleaselookforwardtomyvisittonight.”

“What was that?”

“I said not to stay up for too long,” she says innocently, though I’m sure that’s not what she actually did say. “It’s not good for your health, after all.”

“Er… right,” I awkwardly respond, waving goodbye to her as I turn around and head out of the kitchen. Well, at least I’ll be sure I’ll never be bored with that girl around, even if some of the things she does and says seriously freak me out at times.

---

Back at the kitchen table, everyone’s finished their meals by now. Ellen and Kotohime seemed to have finished their discussion, though only the latter seems to be in a good mood; the former looks visibly shaken somehow, absentmindedly scratching the spot behind Sokrates’ ear with a blank look on her face. Did… she break her mind, or what? And here I thought the two of them would be a match for each other… I guess that crazy police-princess is unmatched in nuttiness after all.

“Ahem,” I clear my throat to announce my presence to everyone there. “Hey, you guys, I have something to tell you.”

Yuuka raises an eyebrow, looking toward me. Kotohime and Ellen raise their heads curiously, looking at me expectantly. Elly, meanwhile, is lazing around on the sofa still staring at the TV screen. She really doesn’t care about anything, does she?

“What is it?” Yuuka asks.

“Well, uh, I might have found some vital info,” I say nervously while scratching an itch on the back of my shoulder. “And I thought it might be relevant to you all. It’s… really important, I think.”

“Hm? Well, feel free to share it with us.”

“Alright…”

Now, where to start?

[ ] Tell them about what you found out about S and his mails.
-[ ] Tell them about the next victim?
--[ ] Yes.
--[ ] No.
[ ] Tell them about the mysterious correspondent from their world.
[ ] Tell them about the “dimensional spell.”
-[ ] Isn’t Ellen an expert on magic? Be sure to question her about it.
>> No. 25114
[x] Tell them about the mysterious correspondent from their world.
[x] Tell them about the “dimensional spell.”
-[x] Isn’t Ellen an expert on magic? Be sure to question her about it.
>> No. 25117
[x] Tell them about what you found out about S and his mails.
-[x] Tell them about the next victim?
--[x] Yes.
[x] Tell them about the mysterious correspondent from their world.
[x] Tell them about the “dimensional spell.”
-[x] Isn’t Ellen an expert on magic? Be sure to question her about it.
>> No. 25118
[x] >>25114 plus mentioning the emails.

Stupid inability to copy and paste on this phone.
>> No. 25119
[x] Tell them about what you found out about S and his mails.
-[x] Tell them about the next victim?
--[x] Yes.
[x] Tell them about the mysterious correspondent from their world.
[x] Tell them about the “dimensional spell.”
-[x] Isn’t Ellen an expert on magic? Be sure to question her about it.
Well, let's not leave something out.
>> No. 25124
[x] Tell them about what you found out about S and his mails.
-[x] Tell them about the next victim?
--[x] Yes.
[x] Tell them about the mysterious correspondent from their world.
[x] Tell them about the “dimensional spell.”
-[x] Isn’t Ellen an expert on magic? Be sure to question her about it.
Long explanation
>> No. 25127
[x] Tell them about what you found out about S and his mails.
-[x] Tell them about the next victim?
--[x] Yes.
[x] Tell them about the mysterious correspondent from their world.
[x] Tell them about the “dimensional spell.”
-[x] Isn’t Ellen an expert on magic? Be sure to question her about it.
>> No. 25130
[X] Tell them about what you found out about S and his mails.
-[X] Tell them about the next victim?
--[X] Yes.
[X] Tell them about the mysterious correspondent from their world.
[X] Tell them about the “dimensional spell.”
-[X] Isn’t Ellen an expert on magic? Be sure to question her about it.